Wickie Stamps

Southern Syncope


Some things stick in my memory. Maybe that is what memory is – a stickiness with time where certain events float through one’s consciousness. Like flotsam, but with people drifting in its midst. The 1959 Bethlehem Steel strike is one such piece of detritus. Involving a dozen steel mills across the US, it was a strike that lasted six months. My stepfather was one of those strikers. I remember him and my mother living in a housing project near the children’s home me and my siblings were in. My mother and stepfather lived off of the union’s strike fund, a coffer that grew slim as each month ticked by. I was flipping through Ghostly Ruins: America’s Forgotten Architecture looking at photos of abandoned buildings. I am soothed by black and photographs of things from my past and earlier – cars from the ’50’s, prisons, mental institutions. Maybe it is because I am of that era; perhaps it is due my being a Southern. A malady in and of itself, my sense of time lopes along at a pace that is out of synch with other parts of the US. I think this is the Southern illness. Born and raised there, it was not in synch with the rest of the country. It is as though it has a stuttering relationship with time preferring to dwell in its own past. It was in that book that I stumbled across photos of Bethlehem Steel. It was then that I fell into my rabbit hole of memory.

There’s more to be said on this syncopated sense of time that is so much the my experience of being from the South. But, for now, I thought I might just give you a link to the photography of the Southern author Eudora Welty and leave it at that.

Dark Moon Days Off for Vagueness Maniac

As a means of unionizing against my over-working, vague-about-when-i-am-working-or-not self , i am basing my work patterns, my obsessing about work, as well as the days i close my biz on the lunar phases. Currently, we are in the dark moon aka new moon phase. The actual day is monday although like some cults, cultures, covens, spiritual practices etc., i am noting the dark moon phase as including 2-3 days before the actual event. “Hush crazy mind, hush,” i’m telling myself. “No work, no thinking about work. Just hush.”

Emerging from Blackstring Hell—again

Ah! After being vomited out of Blackstring Hell a few weeks ago, I’ve spent the following time in some foggy recess of my mind. Grisly business this thing within which we exist.
During this time which spread into months (it could have been longer as Blackstring is a non-linear place), I’ve had many obsessions that the Blackstringers either cursed with or, like a rock climber beginning to fall, I perhaps grabbed onto whatever would hold me. As I stare back, volition remains elusive. TV, crime shows in particular, kept my mind silent. I’d even wake up into the night and immediately turn on the TV. Although a true rarity, I think I have finally gorged myself so badly on the Law and Order shows that like when I ate Lima beans with salt, pepper and butter for three years (of course while in front of the TV watching old Sherlock Holmes movies) I would almost retch if I even saw a box of frozen Limas. This retch-response lasted for about 10 years. I am afraid. Will I have to “Be Here Now” as old Baba Ram Dass insisted in his book “Be Here Now”?

Not yet as two newer shows (as well as new episodes of CSI and The Closer have saved me from myself—Fringe and Eleventh Hour. I am now obsessed with scientist on Fringe. Plus Fringe has cool illness and maladies often accompanied by even cooler special effects. I also find the mad scientist’s relationship with his son of some interest. But Eleventh Hour has better plots. I say this as Fringe has that conspiracy theory thing going on. I hated it in X Files; my resentment of it as a backstory/frontstory has not tempered.

Musically, Matthew Schultz’s new album Division as well as his website, have also keep me sane (or as close to it as I ever float.)

There have been other things—cool clothes from friends who moved as well as a skeleton closet that looks like it is straight out of a legit funky New Orleans Voodoo shop. And of course, my cadre of friends as well as my brilliant partner in crime…

On Spiders, Shaman-girls and Louise Bourgeois


I just got a tattoo of a spider. There was a tangled web of motivations behind this decision. The hallucination was primary. Methadrine-induced and 30 years in my past, that hallucination or vision – I can never discern the difference – stuck in my head. Hallucinations tend to stick with a person. Especially if they are of very large SUPER creepy spiders that show up while you’re flirting with your college advisor. I am not an actor, but I can guarantee you, carrying on a conversation as though everything is normal while a three-foot arachnid leers at you from over your lust-interest’s shoulder, demands a command performance. I think I handled the situation rather well. My Southern training in manners, which insists that no matter what, you remain genteel, occasionally pays off like that.

My shaman–yes, I see spiders and shamans but no dead people as far as I know–thinks the spider was trying to tell me something. “Sure,” I said. “Run! motherfucker, run like the wind!” We both laugh.

My second inspiration for my tattoo was murder: I killed way too many wolf spiders as a child. Good God Almighty, those things that cruised through my Southern childhood home were about 4 inches wide and COULD JUMP! Second only to the previously mentioned gargantuan hallucinatory beast, hairy pole-vaulting things scare the be Jesus out of me. So crush, crunch and squash I did. I wreaked karmic spider hell on myself. Thus Veronica—the name of my spider tattoo.

I should have probably named my newest skin art Louise since it was the 30-foot high spider iron sculptures of Louise Bourgeois that I used as a prototype for Veronica. I was particularly charmed by her spidey sculpture that is down by the waterfront here in San Francisco. Entitled Crouching Spider, it is the only thing that will get me to venture into the foreign territory of SF’s financial district (that and when my boyfriend begs me to pick him up for any work he may snag down there).

So there you have it. The tale of my tattoo, my shaman and the odd hallucinations I suffer from.

Buried Under a Heap of Literature

Well, I am at it again reading China Mieville. I’d stopped reading Perdido Station, but I could not get the dark brain-sucking flying things out of my head. So I found it buried beneath the easily-two-hundred unread books in my kitchen. Yes, my kitchen as I ran out of space in my hallway, my bedroom as well as in my meditation room. I also picked up Mieville’s newest book The City and The City as began reading that too. I lost them book in my bed-also filled with at least twenty unread/half-read books, articles and ‘zines. What is the fucking need to bury myself alive with books. Christ, I just had an ephiphany. I am buried alive. And forgot. Now I am remembering. I was in a library when it collapsed. And there I still lie. I am under the pressure of a thousand books all of various genres. I keep buying books and recreating the stress in the hopes that I will jog myself out of my daze, wake up and try to get out from under the paper tomb I am in. I suddenly feel relieved because I am merely trapped under a collapsed library. I’d prefer that to the reality that I actually have to READ all the books, newspapers and magazines I keep buying.

Legless Maniacs in Need of Couples Therapy

This week I decided I need to take my brain to couples counseling.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!,” it screamed banging itself so hard up against my skull that I wonder if I might not have suffered a contracoup injury.
“Sorry, we’re going,” I said. I affected detached attitude. I knew better than to engage with my brain. It is a resentful adolescent with a borderline personality disorder. There is no reasoning with it. You set the limit and just sit through the hell that breaks loose. It did.
“You suck,” it said picking up my manuscript and heaving it across the room. I was surprised at this gesture as it is an armless thing. I think it actually hissed at me too. I refrained myself from reacting, something I’ve done for years. Because it always wins.
“Couples,” I reiterated, picking up my manuscript.
“You don’t even know what reiterated means. And anyway,I’m going to Berlin.” This was a standard tactic of my brain. Threatening to leave me. Wishful thinking on my part. I wanted to say “fine go, good riddance,” but I’m supposed to be a practicing Buddhist which means I’m committed to well, at least being civil. I don’t roll with compassion. So rather that swear at it, I just shrugged my shoulder.
“I have the checkbook,” I said looking over my chronically bent cheap-ass Walgreens wire rims. “And the debit card. And anyway you don’t even have a name, much less a passport.” Okay, so I barely roll with civility.
“I knew it, you hate me.” It sat down in my chair (or rather squished down as it is just a brain. and it has no legs.)
“I do too,” it said.
“Do what?” I was confused.
“Have legs.” It started to cry which is a major feat for a disembodied brain.
Like I said. Couples therapy is clearly in order here.


I have begun to worry and thought I’d put my concerns out into the darkness of the internet. For isn’t a problem shared a problem cut in half?

So here’s my trouble: you know when you suddenly enter darkness or are thrown into pitch black, that, all you can see is blackness? But, if you wait, and shapes begin to appear? You begin to see the outlines of things—chairs, lamps, bookshelves or, if coutside, garbage bins or the boats by the water. This return of vision, night vision I suppose it is, calms your pounding heart. It gives you a sense of orientation, control and power that you can now negotiate your way through the area.
But lately, when I am in my own darkened rooms or other inky places, I’ve noticed flickers, shapes of things that are not apart of the normal landscape. They do not evolve out of the darkness into chairs, garbage cans even rats. In fact, they do not evolve at all. No matter how much I blink my eyes or command them to focus, my orbs refuse to bring me clarity. As if this wasn’t fretful enough. But what I find even more worrisome is that lately even in the bright of day I am seeing flickers of forms, movements of some things dark, unclearly shapened, things that should not be there in my rooms or even in the questionable environs I find myself in.
I will be honest. I am heavily medicated. I’ve wondered if this visual aberration wasn’t a side effect of one of the various neurological drugs I must take. But the seeing of things not there is not listed in the copious side effects on the small-print inserts that come with my prescriptions. When I mentioned my concern to Dr. Panchek, he barely glanced up from my chart. He merely snapped it shut and moved the conversation on to how I liked my new abode.
“Rats,” I said. “There are rats in the alley outside my window.”
“And how do you know they are there?” Dr. Panchek asked. I knew what he meant. How could I tell the difference between real and imagined was what he was getting at.
“By the bites,” I said and left it at that.

to be continued…

The importance of accents over E’s.

My apologies for the delay in getting this up. I got bogged down writing a blog on ergodic literature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergodic_literature). Hope to get that to you later.

These are my recent radio meanders: since my iBook stopped accessing Pirate Cat Radio (http://www.piratecatradio.com/), I’ve been listening to Vegan Freak Radio (http://veganfreakradio.com/). Simultaneously, I been trying to find an anarchist podcast /radio show. I found Under the Pavement (http://www.underthepavement.org/) out of Manchester, England. But, so far, I’ve not heard any news from them, only some music some of which horrified me as it was bad almost American disco. In fact, I think it was both American and disco although they did have some good stuff in there too. No news or interviews yet. I can’t say this is their fault as they are only every other week and 8 hours later than my time zone. Am currently listening to Radical Radio (http://radicalradio.org/). I can already feel my eyes (and my mind) glazing over. Even though I was once a member of Line of March, a Marxist-Leninist organization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Communist_Movement), even then (the 1980’s), I was never really able to understand what the fuck people were talking about or keep my attention away from just wanting just slit my throat, get high, or just generally kill myself. Not that I have self-destructive tendencies. I just turned off Radical Radio and will turn back to Vegan Freak. I can listen to it (and do) for hours on end. I can actually do this since I am a latecomer to the podcast and have lots of back episodes to cycle through. Because of their podcast as well as some zine I seem to have recycled (FUCK!), I am aiming my brain towards the SHAC 7 (shac7.com/index.htm). What the hell is that mess all about?

On the book front, I have Thirteen Stories by Eudora Welty  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudora_Welty) on my chair (not that I’ve read them). “Why I Live at the P.O.,” comes highly recommended. I have managed to eke my way through a few more pages of China Miéville’s (http://wwwhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Mieville) Perdido Station. That brings me up to page 313, leaving me only approximately 400 pages to go. At this rate, I’ll finish it in about five years. ARGH!!!! But a greater accomplishment than completing Perdido is my ability to place an accent over the “e” in China’s last name. This is no small feat, especially since I have now launched Monstre Sacré my “handyman to the damned” service. More will be revealed on this at a later date.

My recent music interests have veered into The Residents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Residents) then stumbled across Lou Reed’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Reed) newest release (I think) Hudson River Wind Meditations. This last one, a huge departure for Reed, is great to listen to late at night. It started to feel like the soundtrack to some crazed slasher movie, although I might be a rarity in making this connection to this “new age” effort of Reed’s as I find most things menacing.

There are many more things I could dive into, as I suffer from obsessions, but I have to get this fucking up.

Fugue State update and Homemade Superheroes

Jed and I have been madly (and I don’t use the word loosely) producing Fugue State, my work-in-progress. A staged reading which Jed directed, this project just premiered to sold-out audiences here in San Francisco. Now, we’re at it again, doing a two-night run at The Garage aka 975 Howard (ttp://www.975howard.com/) here in SF. The dates for our encore run are Weds. and Thurs. July 30 and 31st at 8 p.m. If you’re in the ‘hood check us out especially since the more people we get to show up the more we can pay everyone! Tix are cheap: $15 and $10 at the door. We’ll also be showcasing parts of Fugue State at the SF Fringe Festival in September. So check out their website once we’re closer to that date: http://www.sffringe.org/.

Jed was also busy working with Rocco a.k.a. Katastrophe on Homemade Superheroes. An amazing one-time show, according to SFStation.com Homemade Superheroes “draws a parallel between the double life of a super hero to the experience of a transperson.” Jed did an incredible job on the animation for the project which was synced to Rocco’s styling lyrics.

That’ll do it for now.

The project

Last summer I applied for a grant through the Queer Cultural Center (http://queerculturalcenter.org). Per usual, I need money. My project was to bring to life some of my characters from Fugue State my novel-in-progress. The impetus behind my application was lack of funds, the usual artist/writers state of affairs. I hadn’t really thought about the project much. Actually, I heard someone at the required grant meeting, say that’s what they were going to do. Sounded good and fundable. So I submitted my grant thinking that if I got the money, I’d pull something together for Queer Fest which was the venue for the grant. Well, in lieu of a grant, I was offered AIRspace, an artist-in-residency. On that day, last November, when I said yes I had no idea I’d be entering the writer’s fifth circle of hell…