7: Alternative Facts: Our Secret

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…”
— Hosea 8:7

You’ve met with the Elders of the Hidden Festive. They have given you your orders as an Eagle-Eye, a Specular, in the Interface, doing the real work in fighting the Usurpers and the Arns of Amarak. They told you the truth, the secret of our Folk. It is honour. And you are one of the few to glean it, to be the hallowed armament within the Great Lye of the Three: who are really only ever the one … the Demos.

We don’t need to tell you that. You’ve already gleaned it. If not, you’d not have gotten this far. You wouldn’t have earned this truth over the unworthy. But you remember where you come from, child. You glean how you got there through the stint in the Gilder Booms, the Bagger hunts, the loud songs of the Wags. You didn’t need to be in the Nation, though. The races still live, and the Drop Ideal is folly. We have only, ever, wanted results.

There will be enough blood spilled soon, no matter where it comes from.

We’ve been here for you. And we know what it is like to play with pennies and the “winning hand” of cards. It’s what got us here, to this point, to begin with.

Now take this tea, child, and dump it into the river like the Rebels of old under the Fathers of the Lohim, under our god’s … Hidden Face.

All debts are wiped clean, here. Nothing is owed other than what you bring to promise. Tea leaves swept away, fortunes cast and reject. The real Fire, has been the ember, burning in you from the very began. We will pour you another cup, impurity burned away to steam in the water, and knowing passed on in the heat.

The Hidden Festive is adjourned. Thus begins the session of the True Hidden Festive: The High Tea of our Lady.

There is Lye in the Land: in Amarak. The Demos, claim themselves the cult of the Folk — of the “populii.” They do not care about the Folk. The Demos think themselves select, and everyone else are pieces in the Game. They think to use us in their war within the Rainbows. The Demos are Arns to the Cycle that begat Amarak, but they are not the only ones.

Again, you glean this. And as we take tea here, you also glean who our real enemy is. The true Usurpers.

Yes. The State calls us Repos, but we had another name, once. We have been born countless times, many cycles, in Amarak: all from began. We build the bridges. We defended them, watching each Repolitik, and keeping the lives of each Mas, Fem, and the Folk agon the govern. We tried to keep their rights, letting them seek prize and joy without fear of scripting, or quartering.

And we freed the slaves as the Demos divised and make profit from suffering, as they do. But we forgot. We forgot the Lessons of the First Cycle from which our Lady was born, from blood and light and friendship. We don’t know when it happened. Perhaps it was Disunity between States across the ocean, when we began to each each other, hunting the other. Or more disunities taking place in the far, alien lands. And when one Enemy was gone, we still saw them: here, in us.

Maybe the Mask of the Actor, which even now we are forced to play, never came off. And we were forced to take tea — take poison — with the rubbish of Amarak. It is no secret that the Gilder Booms worship death: that even the destruct of children consecrates their hallowed armaments in what they say is sacred blood, that the Wags scream of the Night Terrors and dream them, that the Baggers steal and lye and cull the wheat from the chaff. And the Nation and their notions of pure blood, perhaps our reunity with them is our worse sin.

We took tea. We forgot the Folk. Yes, we once freed the slaves, but we embraced the slavers, and enslaved like them. We just wanted to beat the Demos. We forgot the lessons of Independence, and the fiends of the Red Coat Commies. And as we took tea, continuing to get drunk off our poison, of our need for power, we sat back — we sat, or worse, cleaved together with the garbage … We brought everyone — all Folk — Back. Backward. And we took up the pennies, thinking it part of free trade, and the cards thinking of the winning hand and the easy kitsch of bars and liquor as we killed our Lady.

We killed her. Make no mistake. It is our largest crime, our greatest shame of our Festive, of our Folk. Not just that some of us poisoned her, bit by bit, or that we made her weak, in her glittering gown in the Night that came, as she fell in her blood pooling around her — toppling down into waves of the spreading red, our colours — in her bleeding shade across the Land, but that she cried out, cried out for help, for justice, while we stood there …

And did nothing.

Make no mistake. We murdered our Lady all those centuries ago, millennia before. And we all suffered. And we have been trying to atone ever since through our suffering. The Hidden Festive say they are of the Folk, of the Land, and that we are the Realpolitik. They are the children of the Pats that ruled our Repolitik thousands of years ago. They never cared for us. For anyone else. Not for the Folk. Not for Amarak.

We lost in the Great Disunity a thousand years ago now. The truth is that we did rule. We ruled small states, fiefs under a Great Precedent, as Governs and Sheriffs: each of us our own powers. But we didn’t lose the Land, or even get driven to the Borderlands because of the Demos and their Usurpers. We lost far fore that, and we couldn’t watch anymore. Not after so long. We couldn’t be in this Festive anymore. We became Arns, then. We helped the Folk, under the Brigaders, letting the Arn states take us, and betrayed our corrupt brethren and sestra. We gossiped the truth. We snitched on the Lye. We lost the Precedent on purpose, ignored them, didn’t listen, took their power like the others, and played in the squabble seeming of the fiefs: to bring the whole rotten tree down. We wanted it to end, and bring freedom back to the Folk: to the Land.

We took that tea and spilled it on ourselves, scarring ourselves in the places that no one else can see. Some of us joined the Lye of the Rebel and Workers, even the Demos, preferred to the brutalism of what we were. We were once a worthy Party, made into crimes and tyrants, into rapists, opportunes, fanatics, and thieves.

But we stayed. We weren’t like the other Arns. We are not Arns at all. We have baptized ourselves in the tea of our old betrayal of the Folk, of the Fathers, of the Land, of our Fallen Lady in her blood-soaked glittering blue robe. We burn our flesh with the tea, without the flavour of self-lye, or the ornamentals of our former hubris.

We stayed in the Borderlands, in sin, to atone: and perhaps to find redeeming. As the old saying says, we will not suffer poisoners to live, but we will suffer the poison and make it into the cure that will destruct the Festive. And as you, now, know your role in this — when the time is right — embrace the searing of the tea on your skin, etching the pain of the ancient betrayal, of the Sins of the Land, into your Skin, of the first true Rebellion, and remember. Remember what you are fighting for.

For we are the burning. We are hurt. We are the scourges, and the pain: the Pains of the Hidden Lady who we hope to resurrect, our Lady, may she grant us the mercy to continue in our quest, to destroy the Repos — as it is we that owe the Land — to restore our good name again, to bring back the Folk to freedom.

To the Pain of Pains. Our First Father before the Liberator, the child of the Lohim and our sweet Lady … Libertas.

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2018.

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6: Alternative Facts: View From the Badlands

“Yet we toiled and stopped the blight, prevented the subsidence, making our foundations good. Our excavations gradually uncovering the future, archeology staged in reverse, we were the Builders of Tomorrow.”
— Alan Moore, Miracleman Book Three: Olympus

We fled cycles ago, far fore the Second Disunity and the little, small disunities that followed with their feudal Repo fiefs and Demos brigaders. Our Predicts saw it all coming after the end of the Forty-Fourth Precedent. We left a long time ago when the Earth was being threatened, and we became banned from facets of the pre-Interface, then Amarak itself, taking our historia with us.

We’ve been on the move ever since, but we never stopped our missives. As you already glean.

That was the reason we were banished the first time. We, and a few of us, saw the danger fore the Repos purged so much historia, and exiled so many Predicts. After a time, we had our own reunity: to save this world. Once, we were just keepers of one patch of the Land: its guardians and teachers. But when the Disunity spread across the Land, and the Badlands grew, we knew we had to do more. We had to be more.

Once, we were called the Rangers. Just that. Some, a small few, recall us. Now, far past the Borderlands without the Weather Domes, and in enclaves where they are broken, we are just Badlanders now. Mostly, we just watch now.

Mostly.

You followed the Markers in the Interface. We know the Grass do something like us. We have some contact with the Grass, and the Climbers: with anyone who knows how to follow the Markers we leave: the missives we still can’t find in our hearts to stop making. They want us to join in the effort, to fight the Repolitik or the Repo sub-cults.

We know better.

Fore we were Badlanders, or Rangers, we had another name. Conservers. That was our function. It still is. Fore this Cycle, it was our sworn duty to guard the Earth: beyond Cycle and State. Part of that is to spread our historia: to keep it safe, and to let it grow. We do not pose like Repo Gilder-Booms, or cause wars like the Repolitik. Our historia is open to all that seek it: that glean the Markers. How do you think the Weather Domes and biomes came up? We released it to those that looked. How did the Grass know where to find the war criminals when they were the Arm of the Demos? They found our Markers of their dwellings in the Borderlands. And so much more besides.

We do not fight. We never did. We make historia a part of us. Did you know that Earth is many worlds? Worlds linked by bridges that no one had to build? We conserve that. We do what the Repos once only said: to the Land and its organics.

But we do more now than only conserve what we can of the Earth. The populii are also part of the Earth. Our Predicts saw that we needed to do more than just conserve historia, so we expanded into another branch of historia: mythologia itself. That’s why you’ve come so far past the Borderlands. I don’t care about your polity, whatever it is. Mythologia are stories, just as historia is our way of knowing what came fore, and what we can see now: what we can observe. They are not divise.

A lot of what the populii knows about the Disunity, and espec the Interregnum is mythologia. It’s sensical to make stories that help us understand the phenom around us. You’ve asked us, specific, about knowing the details of your ethnos, and ethnoi itself.

Ethnoi is considered divise: no matter what Cycle of our State. To know what it means, you have to glean Amarak. Many of us in the Badlanders think of Amarak as a failed Rene Project: an attempt to make a State based on reason and demos. The Demos Party itself, along with the Grass that came from it, will tell you that Amarak was based on constant Cycle of Opposing. The Tripartite Repolitik has another old Amarakian, or Amaraki belief: in the mythologia of Ground Zero.

Ground Zero is the destruct of everything fore it: leaving nothing, but the potent for something new. The Cycle of Opposing and Ground Zero are not divise: the idea of the old divising with the new often leads to the same place. A blank slate through erasing: a new beginning by violence.

The truth is that Ground Zero is mythologia. It tells a story, but it is only one of them. Ground Zero has happened many times in Amarak’s historia, just as the Disunity was made up of many others in, and after, and it always leaves something behind: espec populii. One of our missives, is to collect and protect what is left: to see how it changes, and to follow its trail on the move.

Ethnoi is a part of this. Amarak was based on many ethnoi throughout the Cycles. Ethnoi is what the Demos, and the Repolitik call it. Before the Great Disunity, it had other names: coustume, religio, and “race.” Cults is another word that lived past the Interregnum, and over time it was all cleaved together into one word: ethnos single, and ethnoi plurality. There were many divising ethnoi: populii of stars and candles, prostrate and crescent-mooned, and skin colour: beige, brown, tan, light, and dark. Many also had intersect with the Spectra and their Prides as well.

Fore the Disunity, some ethnoi were co-op, and others greatly divise. Light-skin and beige ethnoi in specific worshipping the Lohim, and the lines of the intersect: made up the Repo Party in major. The Myth of the Death of the Rolling Green, blamed on another ethnoi, was made by them. And though there is no proof that actually happened, it is one Ground Zero mythologia that we observe and record: a sample of watching how the idea spread.

You can already see it: that Amaraki are mostly dark skin, mostly. Many ethnoi were destruct, killed, murdered, and raped during the pogroms of Repo warlords: taken in what were called “cleansings.” Much of their ethnoi, their coustume, became fragment and destruct during this time. Spread of the Badlands killed many more populii on all sides.

And then, there is another Ground Zero mythologia. You’ve heard of MePo. A mockery of the Repo, some academes say, though it has other meaning. At the Freed Dome, at the Collective, the Repolitik marked the beginning of the new Cycle by the institute of MePo: to combine the best of what was left in the State, of the populii, to make stronger, healthier populli. Remnants of ethnoi were given incent to marry, or make partners: to become a new populii under the Demos saying of “Equality for all.”

While some ethnoi were protected by the Repolitik, made hallowed, and shown as antiq IDs by the State, MePo reigned. MePo was actually institute during the last years of the Interregnum: often through the strong bonds between Demos brigaders and survivors: encouraged to make Ground Zero of the old, the ruin, and make the new.

MePo is the philos of the Demos made flesh: part of something older in turn. It is a cleaving of the words “Merging Policy,” but also of the old Amaraki idea of “Melting Pot.” During the late Interregnum, most old coustumes were quietly destruct to make way for this new mythologia: of One Populii, One State. The ethnoi majority of the Repos either cleaved with other ethnoi to make the Amaraki of now, were killed during return-cleansings in other disunities, or fled to the Borderlands to more inbreeding.

Mythologia is important to the populii. MePo is the mythologia of equality, no matter what. Another sample of Ground Zero is something we recall from another State, another failed Rene Project, before even the First Disunity. With the destruct of many of their coustume from a Cycle, the populii of that State attempted to make their own gods. They tried to make a “Supreme Being” made of reason, along with martyrs of their Cycle. Instead, born in blood in the void they left, they made Lady Guile, her sharp wit a deadly opposing to our former goddess: the Lady Libertas. What they did with Lady Guile, MePo does with its populii: with Ground Zero as the sacred birthing Land. This is why they are Opposing to those outside of the Freed Dome, then the Borderlands, and perhaps eventually the Badlands: they make deity of themselves, destructing the old, and bringing Ground Zero to the rest.

This is why we collect mythologia, along with the historia of the Earth: to know and protect it and show others where it comes from. And then there is our other part. We find the other ethnoi: the ones that still ID with their remnants and the coustume that they can find. They, like you, find our Markings and come to us. Many do not want to be symbols of antiq for the Repolitik, used and profited from. Others do not want to starve unseen. I myself am what the Repos — espec the Nation — would have once called a One-Drop, but I have taken it as my own even as I continue to do good work in the Badlands, even as others like me try to find the roots of our worlds, and bring them other populii, other ethnoi like you. It is one of our highest Missives. Operation Mosaic.

OpMos.

No, we will not join the Grass or the Climbers, though we help. We fight in our own way. We will conserve and trace the mythologia, the things that come from historia, but sometimes come belief. And we protect the world, and those that have always been in it. We are not loud, but we will not be silent. To us, knowing will always trump fear. We will keep innovate and save the past that is our passing to the next Gen.

And we will watch. And we will remember.

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5: Alternative Facts: The Cycle

“The revolution will not be televised …”
— Gil Scott-Heron

The Disunity began the lightning rod. And now it continues to the benefit of the State.

We lead the Tripartite of the Repolitik, the Three Parties of Amarak, for a reason. There is a reason why Amarak will, and should always, set a Demos Precedent. Long ago, before Disunity, far before the Interregnum we were, always, the champions of the populii. Even as far as the First Disunity, our strength, our burden, has been the Loyal Opposing that is the nature within our very Party. No other Party, or Festive, is or has ever been like us.

The Repo Party, that always attempted to seize power, understood only part of that. That we were, we are, divise. Their strength had always been Unity. Once, they stated as their oath that “They built bridges,” but in realpolitik we always knew their true words: “Unity at all costs.” Before we disbanded our Arm among the populii and the lost ethnoi of this Land, our Volunteers, our soldiers, our spies, they claimed that we detested divise and desire this … Unity for ourselves.

They were wrong. They are wrong.

Our power is Loyal Opposing. It is Opposing itself. Opposing for the good of the Repolitik. Of the Cycle. Of Amarak.

Why would we have encouraged the Workers, and the Independence Parties otherwise? To be our extend of Loyal Opposing, while we — the Demos — the populii itself continue to be that in our own Body?

We are the process. And the best of us see it.

Our divise makes us strong. It reminds the populii — the elect — the Body what we want, what we are. Equality for all. Anyone of the populii can look at the historia of our State through the general levels of the Interface and see that Amarak has been made and rooted in Cycle. It has been a Cycle. And something needs to start that Cycle. Our Predicts glean it everytime. When the Repos seized power and caused the Disunity, killing, imprisoning, closing us off from the Earth, divise became clear and pretense was over.

Each time a Repo Precedent was set, we made it clear — when they ignored us through our divise, claiming us corrupt and weak — that they were the Enemy. They were the destroyer of the Land, of the ethnoi, of the Rainbow Peoples and the Spectra Prides, of historia, and Earth. The Repos could not deal with divise and we used it through our Volunteer Arm to break their unity. Their tyranny. We used divise, our own divise, to fight against them, and turn them against each other: their own populii against their own Pats and we hunted them. We ended them.

The Repos only had power through unity, and when they were buried in the Earth, biting at our bases. Many times we think we removed the wart, but the roots were always still there under the surface: waiting to grow back, even looking fair when next to divise, until they came up bloated and ugly again: inflated with their own sense of poison.

Becoming a perfect target for the scourge.

The Predicts told us to wait for the best. The best are the only way to rule a Land and bring equality. The Repos destroyed themselves. We simply cleaned up the rest, and made an example of them as the criminals that they were.

We contain the conflict now. For now. We embody the process. We are spreading it out. The truth is that everything in Amarak is connected. The Weather Domes need to be fixed. The Soup-kitsches and oikos of the biomes require more populii. We need Reunity in the Land before we can deal fully with the other States on the Earth, and the Earth itself.

It has been a thousand years until the new Cycle. Many ethnoi have died out, slaved by the Repos, slaughtered, their bad divise and tribalisms made extinct through the disunities, or mingled by the cause of our Arm to make the populii strong over the Gen. The Cis-Gen is over in the circle of the Freed Dome. We are beyond Gen now, grown past it and its strictures: transcended it. For the most part, now, we are a Post-Ethnos, Post-Gen world. All Affinities and IDs will be celebrated, especially those that remain of the Antiq: rare and valued. They and their achievements protected and preserved in the Interface to remind us of past divise for all time: of what we lost, and what we can still lose. That is why our fore-elect, remakers of the Demos, made the Freed Dome: as one of those commerates. The disunities of the Disunity stage, of the process is almost over.

The Borderlands and the Spectra are all that remains. The Pride will join us. With our mech-wooms, we can make our populii numerous again. But there is one last part: one thing that our Predicts have told us from the very beginning.

Our Volunteer Arm had been right. There will always be an Opposing. We told them that. We warned them. The Cis-Trans War brings them out like the woodworms. The pitiful Repo sub-cults, the Climber terrorists, and the rest fight in the Spectra, burning themselves out. The Prides will police themselves before Reunity, they will divise. Part of the Demos are already helping them as we engage in healthy debate, freely, as the populii can see at the Freed Dome and through the Interface.

And the roots of the infection … the Repo Speculars that they don’t think we see, and their former hunters, the misguided frags of the Arm — narrowed over the elitist dream of equity —  the selfish idea of singular IDs being more important than the whole — now calling themselves the Grass will reveal themselves through this conflict, through this War … and with the Spectra Prides and our allies we will neutralize them, as war-makers, as traitors. These extremes. Forever.

One last lightning bolt in front of the populii, our elect … and then the Reunity will be complete. Because what our former Arm neglects to understand through its blinded pretense of understanding, what the Repo sub-cults and their spies don’t see through their profit of the prophets, the remnants of the divise ethnoi do not care to see, and the Climbers are too distracted to notice fighting a war that’s already been won, is that this Cycle will be over. Why do I say that? Because in the end, it has to be. For us to move on. The Cycle must end in the State and continue in the other States. And in the world.

We must continue the process. We are the example. We are the process. We are the Demos. We are the Loyal Opposing. We are the populii. We are the elect. We are Amarak.

And we are the Cycle.

Equality for all.

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2018.

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That Grey Place: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.” “So what does that make us?” “Absolutely nothing….” – Dark Helmet and Lone Star, Space Balls As of this writing, everyone and their Force immaculate parent…

Source: That Grey Place: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Alternative Facts

I’m doing this all out of order.

This is an examination that should have happened either before I wrote my stories, or after when I had — or could still have — more of them. It is fairly clear that this entry is not a story in itself, at least not a fictional one, in my Alternative Facts series: whatever else it is. After all, where is the epigraph, right?

I started making epigraphs for some of my stories, in general, far before this point. You can blame Frank Herbert’s Dune series for my occasional, but fierce, love of putting quotes from other sources before my prose in addition to my love of classical science-fiction. In a way, while Dune has little to do with what I’ve been writing on my Mythic Bios Blog lately and before the New Year, it did teach me to look at the current world and what it could be in different ways, and I would be lying if I said that I had the idea behind Alternative Facts only recently.

It’s quite presumptuous of me, really. All of this is. Here I am writing, retrospectively, about a writing experiment as though it’s some kind of legitimate, published literature: as if it’s all finished, polished, and done. As if I may even continue it.

I’ve always known this world was imperfect. Even while, publicly and for the most part, staying out of politics I knew that human nature and what it builds is flawed on a fundamental, foundation of being. That’s why I always appreciated dystopian literature. George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm come to mind, but also Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in High Castle, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When you also add Russell Hoban’s and Alan Moore’s post-apocalyptic language play in Riddley Walker and Crossed +100 respectively, you can see all of these influences on a very basic and hardly comparable level with the series that I chose to share publicly.

It almost didn’t happen.

A little while ago, Neil Gaiman wrote a short story “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury.” In this story, you see this protagonist’s view of the world change dramatically, even degenerate, but ultimately becoming defined by the absences of where Ray Bradbury’s work, knowledge, and presence used to be within their mind. I found it utterly fascinating, this mnemonic shift, and I tried to replicate it in a poor attempt at a story about someone forgetting Neil Gaiman and looking at the world through their eyes. I wasn’t ready then. I almost understood what I was trying to do, as much as I can still even attempt to put it into words, but reason wasn’t enough. I had to intuit it, and pass that spark into some writing.

Fast forward this a few years. The politics of the Western world, of North America, shifted: or at least what already existed became clearer to me. The Internet doesn’t allow you to ignore the rest of the world as readily as other media anymore, or at least for now. I realized, far later than many other people more qualified than myself, that this was something I couldn’t afford to ignore. Then, at one point, the term “alternative facts” was introduced into the world conversation. It’s true that you can refer back to Orwell or even 1930s Germany when you think about those words, but they stuck with me. At one point, on my social media, I wrote something along the lines of taking “Alternative Facts” and making some kind of dark science-fiction or speculative series based off that title.

Even then, I knew I was only half-joking.

But I didn’t do this for a while. It was a nice, snarky thought as the world seemed to be proving itself to be more stupid and self-destructive than even I originally thought. I thought about the American elections, and how in my mind it should have gone: that forces utilizing hate and hate speech should have failed —  utterly — then turned on each other, and become utterly forgotten: an embarrassment to society and civilization, polite or other wise. I started off this post by saying I was doing this all out of order. And I remembered what ancient civilizations used to do with dynasties and regimes that caused them chaos before they finally fell. They would go out of their way to erase every monument, every artifact, every word, and every mention of those former ruling groups: for good or ill.

Then I remembered something else. I had a friend I used to talk with from Germany. Among many other things, we would discuss history. Of course, the Nazi Party came up. This was before a lot of the turmoil that became prominent during 2016 and now onward, which is reminiscent of parts of history. My friend, when we talked about Nazis, never called them Nazis. They called them National Socialists. And that was exactly what their name was, the National Socialist Party. But then it was abbreviated, and from then on and over time, they have been called Nazis. It doesn’t matter what they styled themselves, or what their original aims were in other forms, or even their influences. That is how they are known now.

Just like my Repos, the former Repo Party, mentioned in my first story and elsewhere.

At first, I just talked about the Repos. And then, one day during August of 2017 when so many people were talking about politics and fascism, when I was wondering if I would ever see my girlfriend or any of my other loved ones in the United States again, I decided to try my hand at uniting these concepts into a story. What would happen if something so bad occurred that even as civilization in one area reconstructed itself, it either lost much information, or actually went as far as banning it — erasing words — to make sure they would become lost?

The first draft of “Lost Words” wasn’t really good. It got clunky and you could tell that I was still exploring a lot. The protagonist talked with a teacher and it all felt like very scripted excitement, very “Gee Willikers.” And the ending was choppy and rather flat as well. I sent it to my girlfriend, but even before she said anything else, I knew I could have done better. So I abandoned it.

Four months passed. It was probably in the back of my mind, just as our conversations and my rudimentary notes sat in fragments  on a draft email. Science, and laws are being changed and challenged. Political horror as a genre is rising again, or people are paying more attention to it. I had time to think about the power of words and ideas existing, and being erased. Certainly, even before this working on Sequart articles focusing on Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Providence, along with the “Agents of HYDRA” arc for SHIELD really helped me examine some concepts that, for me, still needed a creative outlet. I also thought about some of the work I did researching and looking at Lawrence Gullo, Fyodor Pavlov, and Kelsey Hercs’ LGBTQ+ Bash Back comic.

I honestly can’t remember why I resurrected and rewrote “Lost Words,” not when I left it for dead. Not when I almost let it no longer exist. I know I reconnected with a friend of mine and wanted to show it to them: thinking it right up their alley. But I had been working on it even before that. At least I think I did. As I say in “The Spectrum” story, it’s hard to say when something was born, or destroyed, or made when it seems as though it always exists on some level.

All I know is that I wanted people to see it: even the shoddy draft that I could just put on my Facebook and be done with it. But I didn’t leave it at that. I honed it down. I made the narrator more definite. And I added a layer of metaphor to it, something to mirror the main story and give it that resonance I needed. It was only later, after I wrote “Freedom” — from the perspective of the Repos of all people — that I added an epigraph retroactively into that story, based on the fact that I made one for “Freedom.” And the trend began, if such a thing can be said what with there being only four stories so far.

It is funny what you can tell about a world, like Amarak, by what isn’t said. I realized that writing each story from a different perspective, with epigraphs that complemented and contrasted with the narrative content, was effective for me. They are like dispatches from another place, another possible time. The word play is incredibly reminiscent of classic science-fiction to the point of it being very pretentious and derivative of classic science fiction of the twentieth century. I take fragments of Latin, I mess around with English and abbreviate words, attempting at times to make sure they have multiple meanings. It isn’t anything special. I am no Russell Hoban, or Alan Moore. And in terms of the stories and their conceits, as a friend of mine once said to put me in my place long ago, I am no Neil Gaiman. And in the wake of the twenty-first century, with its far more sleek and genre-savvy science-fiction and speculative literature I know there are many voices looking at these issues that are far more diverse than my own.

But I did it regardless. And I found it funny how Lost Words, which I thought was the most clever, was a story some readers just didn’t understand. I thought it was clever. But I suppose that is the problem: cleverness does not always a good story make if you don’t make it relatable. Weirdly enough, Freedom with its mythic and almost religious quality seemed more accessible, and The Spectrum in particular seemed to really hit a chord in people, or punched some subject matter rather unsubtly in the face. By We Are the Grass, though, I basically went “full circle” and wrote about what I thought: take it, or leave it.

I don’t really know, at this point, where to go from here. I just came back from a visit to the States and I am tired. But even before that, I wasn’t sure where Alternative Facts was going. I originally thought of it as something of a dark speculative anthology series, with tongue and cheek political tones, but a world — the land of Amarak — grew out of it instead. It is still a possibility of course that I will continue with my original plan if Amarak becomes too exhausted.

And I have some ideas. The fact is, I require more inspiration. I hit my stride with this, and another series I’m working on at the moment — a private one I was focusing on before this one attempted to supplant it like the usurper that it is — so I need to keep that fire going. I believe watching films like Get Out, as well as Netflix’s Black Mirror, along with reading Pornsak Pichetshote and Jose Villarrubia’s upcoming Infidel comics series in a few months could help recharge my batteries of pure dark fire towards the world. Or, you know, continuing to watch and read the news: that works too.

When it comes down to it, though, I feel as though every story I write, every story I’ve ever written is filled with “alternative facts”: is in fact an “alternative fact” in and of themselves. I don’t mean that they are lies, though some stories are lies and, as a great writer once said, all writers are liars. But they are all still stories and they do say something about the storytellers, and the place from which they come. And sometimes, some things just speak for themselves. And sometimes it is better that they do instead of remaining silent. Silence is the ultimate death though … sometimes what isn’t said can speak incredible volumes.

I think these are my thoughts for now. Feel free to read my stories if and when you have the time. It is good to place something on this site. It has been reposted on, and neglected for some time now. It feels good to put something on here again, especially something that feels worth while. Everything still is out of order. I should have ended this post with the previous paragraph. But, somehow, I feel as though whatever this is is just beginning. Or it is always here and I am just one more person speaking it: one more letting it speak through me. Take care everyone.

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4: Alternative Facts: We Are the Grass

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind …
— Proverbs 11:29

You’ve finally found us. Or, rather, we’ve found you.

Don’t worry. You’re not in any trouble. It is good, however, to know that the Markers on the Interface — even still heavily divised — are working now. At least this Repolitik Cycle has done that much. What it also means, my friend, is that you’ve been asking the right queries.

Who are we? And there it is. You’ve proven my point.

Well, right now, we are a soup-kitsch. For the ethnos populii here. We’ve been a lot of things for different populii in Amarak throughout the different Cycles, really. We’ve been birth control kline, and hospice; scholastic collectives, and shelters; watchers, and volunteers. But today, we are a kitsch: for this ethnos.

I know that doesn’t explain much, or maybe it says too much. We didn’t make the soup-kitsch. That was all the Worker Party’s idea, if not always its executive, especially not here and … for them. I will speak plainly. I can see the way you look at these populii. They do not look like you. There are many ethnoi, even now, who don’t look like any of us. But they are still populii. They are us. And they still exist, no matter what the Repolitik states. As do we.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Mostly, I’ve told you everything that we are without specifics. The truth is, we’ve always existed in some way or form: though we didn’t always have a name. In fact, we’ve had several, so much so that it’s hard to give you one even now. Part of it, I think, is because we know one name is easy to Mark. Once, we wanted to be proud of that, before everything became more … practic, perhaps?

We called ourselves the Demos.

It’s true. Even though we ourselves have lost much information since the Interregnum, we do know that we came from the Demos. The way I know it, it happened at the beginning, right before the Disunity. The Demos has always been split at one time or another. But something happened, after the Forty-Fourth …

We have our own myths. A State can’t avoid that. And these are on our side of the Interface, in the little cells that we have maintained like embers through the Night Terror of Cycles. Our prompts, filled by our elders, tell us that we had become too arrogant, too … blind and naive in our old ways: seeing all just as it is. As it has always been.  Because of this, the Opposing grew like a weed, had been creeping amongst us and becoming common: right in plain sight. We thought we had reason. Information. Even the hearts of the populii and the elect. We grew complacent. We were select.

We grew … wrong.

The Opposing played on that wrongness. Their Pats, unlike ours, had unity. They’ve always had that power: to fight, and yet decide on one leader to the end. Their strength, and our weakness: our damnation. They played Festive. Panem et circenses. It isn’t anything new under the sun. Except this time … their bread was fear, and their joy, their party, was hate. And like any good festive, few took it seriously. Or worse, the populii were caught in the spectics of it. It’s easy to break something down. Fire is strong. Fire is hard to ignore. It makes you feel alive even when it kills you. Espec then. Espec when everything feels dry and dying around it. And their Pats only grow stronger from the flame, taking the air out of the populii. They always have.

The Opposing have as many names as we do. You can’t kill them. They are here, still. They didn’t die at the Freed Dome Trials, as the Repo Party, after the Disunity: the Disunity that was several disunities only becoming a Reunity even now.

The Repolitik doesn’t believe that. Or doesn’t want to. They think and glean and hope that they are gone, made into muck, like all the old hates and divisives: as they call all difference. The Opposing, in the form of the Repos, said they build bridges, though they burn them. The Repolitik of Amarak, under the Demos of this Cycle, say they want “Equality for all.”

But there is only one way for the living, and the dead to be equal.

The Repolitik think the Repos are dead. They think we are dead too.

When the Demos saw what the Opposing had done, what they were doing, a few of them made reunity. There was hope, according to the legends, that two of our Pats — the Power on the Hill, and the Queen of the Underground — would create that reunity between them, those ancient and strong Cis-Gen Fems, but it was just a hope. Just a dream. We thought perhaps the Great Burn could turn the youth to scourge the select and become elect across the Land again. But mostly, we fight … and it did not make us stronger.

It was what came after that which matters. Learning from the example of the Queen of the Underground, and the power of the Great Burn, that we needed to speak to the populii, not the Pats. But we had to become something more. We had to change from what we thought we were, into what we did: into what we were going to do.

We did the unthinkable. We also learned from the Opposing. But instead of the bread and spectics of hate, as the Demos Reunity, we knew we needed to talk to the needs of the populii, to that place of change. A space beyond words. We also needed the fire, not to destroy, but to create.

And we went forth: a Branch of the Demos, an Arm of Volunteers. We worked with the populii. We apologized for our arrogance. We tried to get to know them. We took our power and brought food, clothes, medicine. We made Co-ops and communes. We embraced what the Opposing hated. We appealed to our elect and made employs for them, for those without them. Most of us were the youth, the populii, though we have our own Pats and elders. We became visers, teachers, healers. We tried to listen. We still do.

And throughout it, we embraced the Way of Non-Vio: of the body and the mind, so that the Opposing’s actions would burn them away, as we took back the Body and the Soul of the Repolitik through deeds. The Demos called us a grassroots way. If the Opposing were the weeds, then we were not so much cells as the seeds of the Demos, the grass, that would fix and bring life back to Amarak.

It didn’t last.

When the Disunity and its disunities happened, we continued to aid the ethnoi in Amarak, and even beyond it. We even helped the Spectra: those still left in our lands that didn’t, or couldn’t join their Pride. Many of them were us: are us. But the Non-Vio way gave out to war. We offered help, but we did get blood in the grass. By the time of the Reunity, the Demos came out and executed the Repos, casting away the rest and claiming equality. Equality for all.

For a time we hunted as well as helped: tracking Repo war criminals, serving justice for the populii that could not get it. We were bloodied too. But then the Demos gave edict. We put down our Arms, like they wanted. We corporated on the surface. We helped form the Workers and the Independents, to make balance between what was once two-sided. The soup kitsches you see around Amarak were made by us, under the Workers: shelters for the populii offering food, learning, and aid. We were done. Corporated. They said we weren’t needed anymore.

The Repolitik claims it is a new Cycle. It is right in one way. It is another cycle of the same. You have seen it. You are seeing it even now. The Repolitik thinks the ethnoi, the Spectra, and others are already gone. Even those related to the Repos, or had affinity with them and the Nation and the “pure-borns” in the Borderlands. Victims and victimizers gone alike. They want it to remain that way. After all, how can someone go missing, or get beaten, or taken away, or starved, or remain as the lowest if they no longer exist? If they do not exist?

The Demos today grew from the bloody grass we’ve sown. For all we have Three Parties, we have only since had a Demos elect major in the Body, a Demos Precedent. They think they have destroyed the Opposing. But we know better. The Opposing was never just the Repos. The Demos have made Amarak into a place defined only by its absences. Seeing divising as the Enemy. But hey are also Split. Part wants to send our populii into the War and “help” the Spectra Pride. The rest are willing to blind eye the Cis-Trans War among the Spectra for themselves, decrying war and will only side when they can get what they want. Yet while Split, they are really not. Both want the same. They think the only way to stop conflict is to erase all divise. All difference. If it means using divise against divise and erasing them all afterwards, all the better.

As such, we are also Opposing: to this forced sterility. To this Ground Zero polity. To this Opposing to life. We learned: one person’s weed, is another’s plant.

We continue on. We always have. They have forgotten us, think we are gone, but it only suits our purposes. We will go on and help those that need us. The populii. We will protect the youth of Amarak. And we have decided that we will serve Amarak itself: not Party, not Repolitik, but the next Gen. We stay in the Body as much as we can, but we also still hold Arms when need be. We will make mistakes. We already have. Our relations with the Climbers from the Prides need work, but we will join them when we can. They are, in many ways, already a part of us.

And now we come full circle. You found us, or rather we found you again, when you were looking for words. Old words, once forbidden, and now forgotten. Equality itself is an old word, but that one is currently being misused. I have another one for you. There is a word that means fairness, justice, and treating people the way they deserve, as a natural right. It means giving someone what they deserve and knowing that being different isn’t bad, but something that sometimes has different needs. It is about respect and dignity.

It is called equity.

If you would like, I think with time, your differences could help us. You could help us. There is so much we can still learn from each other. And maybe, this time, we can plant the seeds of grass in the soil, the soul of Amarak, that might one day bring us true peace.

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2017

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3: Alternative Facts: The Spectrum

I dream’d in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth; 
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.
— Walt Whitman “I Dream’d in a Dream,” Leaves of Grass

The Heterodoxy never made a Great Wall.

It’s true. Whatever the damn Interface tells you. The Wall didn’t crumble. It didn’t break. It wasn’t destroyed in the Disunity, nor by the Reunity they say happened after. Towards the start of the Interregnum, they said it was being made. Our Fore-Climbers saw it happening, said they saw the shadow of the writing on the ancient Stone stuck in the craw of all our hearts, and that’s why we left. The HetSocs say it was never there, and even if it was, it was never really about us, the Invisible Pride.

They’re all wrong, though. It’s all bullshit.

Something can’t be made, or born, or broken, or destroyed if it always exists.

I’m not being clear. It’s a bad habit, the kind you live when you’re a Binary, and you’re told there is no Wall, which distracts you from the many other walls that have always been here. The Interface will tell you something along the lines of the fact that we have three kinds of walls. It’s simple enough. The first keeps danger out, and everyone else safe inside. The second traps danger, and keeps everyone else outside it safe. The third type marks an area, a pissing contest, so that one side or another doesn’t try to go through, and do something stupid.

But that’s also bullshit.

Because there’s a fourth type of wall, one past the Three Ds, that’s really the only kind. Right before Reunity Day, the Repo Party got kicked out of the Heterodoxy all public: its goons humiliated by the Repolitik, its leaders executed for war crimes, its name banned from all polit-societas. “Hate Crimes,” is what the Three call them even now. Hate Speech is a part of them, and the “Hate Speech Accords” is what got the rest. We know. Though we left ages ago, driven out, killed, ground into hiding, the Spectra have always watched where we came from. To their dying breath, the Repos they got — cast on the Interface across the Land — always said they were just “building bridges.”

Walls are bridges. We make them to link the powerful together, and keep the powerless apart. And I say we for a reason.

A thousand years.

We eked it out, despite them. Found our own lands. The Joy, the Llang, the Meides, the Binary, the Newton Affinities, and espec the Trans-Gen and Gen-Que — even the Pans, flittering over the walls like Lost Kids — all of us different prides, having to live, and found ourselves a Co-Operative. The Rainbow Peoples, the Repos and the Heterodox call us. We aren’t that. We’re the Spectra. That’s what our Pride calls us. That’s what we’re supposed to be.

It’s what we were at the start. At the beginning. Several prides in reunity with the Pride. Our Pride. Some of us were Playing Sep, to ourselves, and others climbing and crawling through the walls of the Heterodox and their Speculars, and then the ruins of the Disunity, trying to help our fellow Spectra: those that couldn’t climb out, surrounding them, cutting into them, suffocating … Many still stuck behind those walls, even now.

And many more playing at Pride Reunity, like they’ve always done. Some innovating, like the greatest Joys, Newtons, and Trans-Gen, in intermingling, art-historia banished by the Heterodoxy to our benefit, aided by the riches of the Llangs and the Meides’ fury. And we live, even now, in Duals, Poly-Units, Faires … So much variety and life, many colours — the Spectra — in the darkness of the Interregnum, protecting, guiding others from the Interface, Reason, Haven, Safe Place, Utopia …

So excremental.

Long ago, long before the Interregnum, we were suffocating, separated, left to die by a Sickness. Making us Enemy in the system of the Heterodox. It wasn’t just a disease of the body, but a virus of the mind, an idea-sickness that spreads: called walls.

And we didn’t escape. It follows us still, tangling us, crushing us, strangling, biting: the Disunity culting it, each of the walls growing inside us a labrys, a maze trapping us from each other, a weapon that we use to scourge and kill each other with silence.

The Joys want to go back to the Heterodox. They want our Land. Our achievement. What we made, despite them. The Llangs, Playing Sep, agree. The Heterodox, Amarak — ruled by the Demos now and despite the other Two Parties — says it wants us back as part of the Reconstruct. They approp the designate of Trans-Gen. They say this new Cycle is beyond Gen, taking this word from us. They see Gen as new life or time, for this Cycle. We see it as ID. The Joy Kings, and Llang Queens want to give it them: ignoring the surrogates living among them, carrying their children in lieu of the mech-wooms that the Heterodoxy promises them.

As central members of the Pride of prides, they ignore the pleas of the Trans-Gen and the Gen-Que under attack from the borders, the edges of our walls. There have been Repo attacks from the Borderlands. There have always been Repo attacks. The Heterodox claims they are gone. That they are dead. Their Interface says so. But, as I said, something that always exists can never be dead. It can’t ever be gone. And why should we believe the Interface: it has ever been divided by those same walls since the Interregnum, only fully open to the powerful, sectioned against the powerless.

The Heterodox know about the Repos, or they are blind to them. They are still here in this Cycle. The Joys and Llangs, most of the Meides that never considered the rest of us “pure” enough, by their ID of Mas or Fem, let us take the brunt of it. The Repos still use the Heterodox, turning the Joys, Llangs, and the Meides majority against us. The Demos, when still not fighting itself, only wants to help the Spectrum when it suits them — like taking our Land or innovates — or say and do nothing when it doesn’t. The other Parties just do nothing. They always will. And the Spectrum? They want to fit into the Heterodox, throwing us under, those that can’t fit in: that don’t want to: making Poly into Ploy, and Faire made Foul. No longer Spectra. No longer Fam. If we ever were.

But now, we fight back.

They call it the Cis-Trans War. All because Trans-Gen want to keep their ID, Gen-Que want to remain explorers, Is want to exist, and we — Binaries — are tired of being called “wall-sitters,” traitors, when the others are willing Play HetSoc, to sell us out for their piece of the Spectra, their pound of flesh. Some Joys and Llangs, and Newtons are with us. Even some Heterodox. This so-called War? We want to do more than Play Sep. The Heterodox have an Independent Party? This is our independence!

I can’t speak for the Trans-Gen, treated worse than us. Once, we all interlapped. We had that potential. We still do. The walls were thinner. We could hear the promises of love over the tyrannies of HetSoc silence. The truth is that our walls are all paths swollen by infection, soft divisions between us, once the foundation of homes and experience, but now they are gates, prisons, and tombs for our souls. And Binaries have hidden deeper in these than most.

And that is why we will win. We can be on both sides, slowly guiding, hiding in plain sight. We have always been the Invisible Pride, the unseen among the unseen. The Heterodox think we don’t exist, or we’re long gone. The same with our so-called Spectra. I can’t speak for the others of the Gens, or the different Affinities, but it’s my hope that we make our own Pride: a Pan-Binary Pride including all. I do not feel like Spectra. I am not a ghost. Neither are the Repos, my enemies. And certainly not the Heterodox, still haunted, infected by walls, that think they are beyond Gen. Beyond sin.

That is why I do this. That is why I travel the zig-zag paths of walls. Because I hope to show them. Gens and Affinities. I want to show them the truth. For just as walls have always existed, just we always have, so too have other places, so too have other paths …

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2017.

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