Tag Archives: love


Blood Roses

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Categories: Bands & Music, Blog, Tags: , ,

Once upon a time, there was a teenage boy who loved a teenage girl, and the girl was in love with the boy. Like teenagers everywhere, they had no idea who they were or who they would become, but they thought they would find out together. They were right, and they were wrong.

However, the girl listened to a woman’s music, and that helped her find a part of herself. The woman wrote songs that spoke to the girl’s soul. The boy, like many boys in love with girls, started listening to the music the girl loved because it’s what one does. (It didn’t hurt any that the boy listened to a man’s music, and that man sang a song with the woman.)

A strange thing happened, however; the boy fell in love with the woman’s music, too – and maybe a bit with the woman herself. Her voice was bewitching: her talent undeniable. The woman possessed a seductive, dangerous charisma the boy couldn’t resist. She seemed like a modern-day Siren: her songs beautiful, yet damning.

Through the woman’s music, and what it meant to the girl, the boy learned more about the girl. He learned how she struggled to show him, and everyone else, the person behind the mask of polite society and parental expectations. He learned about her need to be more than just his girl.

Then he learned something about himself. He learned something about being silenced, being violated. He learned about being joyful in spite of these tragedies. He learned something about being one’s truest self, no matter how much the rest of the world might not understand.

The boy and girl saw the woman perform her music several times, and even got a chance to meet her by skipping school. (The boy felt no regret, and assumed at least one of his teachers would understand.) The boy couldn’t speak when face-to-face with the woman. She was as enchanting in person as she was on record. Thankfully, his handmade T-shirt spoke for him: “Real men listen to Tori Amos.”

While the boy and girl didn’t stay in love forever, happily ever after, the man the boy became is eternally grateful to the girl that one of the things she shared was the music.


New Poem: “Black Cherry”

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Categories: Poetry, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yes, it’s about hair dye. Sort of. And yes, it was inspired by a certain Type O Negative song.

Black Cherry

She used to dye it black; she had the blues.
Lacy gowns and scaring all of the dudes.
‘Twas All Hallow’s Eve; we didn’t look back.
Oh, one last time to dye it all black.

Now this phoenix’s rising, it’s still true;
Oh, Lilly Munster’s got nothing on you.
So now you’ve taken on a lighter hue.
That Black Cherry looks goddamn good on you.

Well, if you wanna go out, it don’t matter if your roots are showing.
Yeah, you can go out to remind yourself where you’re going.
Just don’t dye it black.
You can’t go back.

Loving you, ’cause we’re both undead.

Black, black, black cherry, oh.


Moar H8

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Categories: Poetry, Randomness, Rant, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While I can appreciate the goals of the NOH8 Campaign, I think they might have it wrong; we don’t need less hate, we need more, and we need to direct it at the right things. Not sure what the right things to hate are? Don’t worry! I’m here for you:

  • Hate intolerance. Having an answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything else is great. Using that answer to treat humans different from yourself like garbage is odious.
  • Hate violence. Animals resolve disputes with claws and fangs. Beating a problem down is a sure sign one is the intellectual equivalent of a beast.
  • Hate gingers. I believe Trey Parker and Matt Stone have done a good job on this topic, so no further explanation from me is needed. See also; Brian Campbell.
  • Hate greed. Enlightened self-interest is OK. In fact, it’s a moral obligation to improve yourself and your situation. It’s not OK to crush the less fortunate under your heel as you climb to the top, however.
  • Hate dishonesty. A hurt delivered immediately is still painful, but far less so than one with months of deceit piled on top.
  • Hate excuses. There is a difference between an excuse and an explanation. Learn to see excuses for what they are, and unleash your ire when given one.
  • Hate hating hate. Those who claim to hate hate are either ignorant of the basics of English composition, or lying assholes. Either way, they should be avoided and shunned.

Of course, with your hate properly channeled, it’s important to remember that other humans are never a valid target of your hate. Hate what they say; hate what they do; but treat the people themselves with love, or at least indifference.

Conveniently enough, I wrote a poem regarding hate shortly before getting the inspiration (a NOH8 twibbon on someone’s avatar) for this post. I’ll finish off, then, with the poem. As always, I appreciate every piece of feedback I get.

Holding On To Our Hate

Because they were whores

who cared not for their kids,

we’ve lost our mothers,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because we borrowed more

than we could beg or steal,

we’ve lost our homes,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because we weren’t shown

the right way to love,

we’ve lost our wives,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Call it pain, wrath, or rage,

the answer’s always the same.

When everything else washes away,

we’ve got no one else to blame.
Because our fathers never

showed us how to be men,

we’ve lost our strength,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because we played Doom

for hours on end,

we’ve lost our control,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because his pain was too great

for antacids to kill,

we’ve lost our Voice,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Call it pain, wrath, or rage,

the answer’s always the same.

When everything else washes away,

we’re left with nothing but shame.
Because our leaders lied

time and time again,

we’ve lost our trust,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because we smoked and snorted

and shot up too much,

we’ve lost our sanity,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Because our priests betrayed

their most sacred vows,

we’ve lost our faith,

so we’re holding on to our hate.
Call it pain, wrath, or rage,

the answer’s always the same.

When everything else washes away,

we’re holding on to our hate.


From Bitterness To Joy

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Categories: Family, Father's Day, Holidays, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Father’s Day used to be a source of bitterness and resentment for me. I was not born hating Father’s Day. I learned to despise it as a celebration of something I thought I never had.

My biological father, David Allen Duncan, has never been a part of my life. He left my mother and me before I was even a year old, so I have absolutely no memory of him. From what I understand, that’s probably for the best: most stories that I’ve heard about him paint a picture of an abusive, manipulative piece of shit. I don’t judge Mr. Duncan based on those stories, however. I judge him based on the things that I’ve experienced, the injustices he’s visited upon me personally.

Witness, wherefore, that this cocksucker never paid even the pittance of child support he was ordered to pay by the court in 1980. Behold, this asshole fled to Tennessee to escape his meager obligations as a father. Consider, this douchebag sired another child who bears his name but seven months after me. (Not that I’m particularly bitter. It’s really just the principle of the thing. Traditionally, the first-born son would carry the father’s name. I happen to love my first name. Being a Dave would be so blasé.)

Obviously, my actual father was not a source of happiness and love on Father’s Day. My erstwhile step-father was not much better.

My mother’s ex-husband, Erico Santiago, was, in some ways, a worse influence on my life than my absentee father. Whereas Allen was not present to love me and nurture me, Eric was available physically, but completely stonewalled emotionally. He came into my life when I was about five years old.

As a child, I tried every way I knew to make Rico love me. I was rewarded with indifference for my efforts. When I behaved in ways expected of me, I was met with silence. When I misbehaved, I was rewarded with physical abuse and neglect. I could fill an entire post with the blatant and subtle ways in which this man hated me, but there’d be no point to it over than to play upon your sympathies in a self-serving attempt at garnering your pity.

In time, I gave up trying with Eric. He had taught me, along with the absence of my actual father, that seeking validation from without was as pointless as seeking rain in the desert. I learned that the only sustainable sense of worth came from within.

On the other hand, my grandfather, Ed McCaskey, was one of the few men who showed me unconditional love and compassion when I was younger. His deep, booming voice comforted me when I needed it and corrected me when I needed that too. He made me understand that despite my flaws and errors, I was worthy of love and forgiveness.

My grandpa is also directly responsible for my enduring love of sci-fi. One of my earliest movie memories is watching the copy of the Star Wars trilogy he taped from TNT or TBS. My grandpa is also a Trekker from back in the day, and while I prefer the Next Generation, there is a certain fondness in my heart for Kirk, Bones, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Checkov et. al.

In a charming bit of serepidity, I became an ice hockey fan as a teenager; my grandfather is also a huge hockey fan. (He’s got season tickets to his local team, in fact.) As a kid, I never knew of his love for the sport, though it doesn’t surprise me. He’s from South Dakota. There’s not much to do there in the winter except for hockey. I only mention this to illustrate two points: 1) I regret that I didn’t spend more time with my grandpa before he moved to California, and 2) I may be more like my grandpa than I previously knew. That would make me very happy.

>>>2 paragraphs redacted to reflect my new reality<<<

My Grandpa McCaskey taught me that hard work is eventually rewarded. I’ve learned from him that one must stand up for what they believe in and that one cannot simply run away from one’s problems: they must be confronted and overcome. He’s taught me that one can be better than one’s past says they should be.

So yesterday’s Father’s Day was filled with joy in place of bitterness. Thinking about the father figures in my life, I reflected on the lessons I’ve learned from them. I hope to take what my past has taught me and raise my daughter to be strong, compassionate, hard-working, peaceful, geeky, persistent, and considerate.

I hope that when my daughter reflects on her childhood, she’s happy that I was her daddy.


This I Believe


Categories: Rant, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I decided last night (after a fairly heated exchange on Failbook) that I would put this post up so that people considering whether or not to create or maintain a friendship with me would know what they’re getting into. Consider it truth in advertising. Also, on the off chance that NPR ever asks me to do a “This I Believe”segment, most of my work will already be done. Yay for advance preparation!

Fair warning: this post is probably not safe for work. These beliefs are in no particular order. While I do hold some convictions more strongly than others, their order in this list in no way denotes their importance to me. This list is pretty thorough, but not comprehensive. Also, some of the things you’re about to read are intended to be humorous and light-hearted; some are not. You figure out which is which.

  • I believe choice and free will are the greatest and most frequently squandered gifts humanity has.
  • I believe you are ultimately responsible for your own life and must deal with the consequences of the choices you make.
  • I believe rape in all forms is one of the most heinous crimes possible, because it denies the victim choice in one of the most private and inviolate parts of their life.
  • I believe the Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup this year.
  • I believe people are betrayed by their biology more often than they would like to admit.
  • I believe I’m a conflicted and hypocritical person, but I’m working on it.
  • I believe it is the height of arrogance to presume to speak for anyone but yourself.
  • I believe it is the depth of self-loathing to allow anyone to speak for you.
  • I believe in peace, bitch.
  • I believe there is a power greater than myself in the universe, but I don’t pretend to understand what it is or how it works.
  • I believe humans can live better lives through the practical application of chemistry, biology, medicine, engineering, and imagination.
  • I believe I love my daughter more than any other person in this world, including my wife, whom I love very much.
  • I believe my wife understands the preceding statement and feels much the same way.
  • I believe the preceeding two statements do not diminish the relationship my wife and I share, but enhance it instead.
  • I believe marriage is a social contract between two individuals, not a holy institution. As such, it should be available to all consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
  • I believe government-issued underwear are very uncomfortable.
  • I believe it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
  • I believe words are innocent. They have no meaning except that which you ascribe to them. Make them your own and define them: don’t let them define you.
  • I believe the following statement is true.
  • I believe the preceding statement is false.
  • I believe most people take themselves too seriously.
  • I believe I have many acquaintances, but few friends. You may be one.
  • I believe things on the Internet are not real.
  • I believe fascism by committee in the guise of social justice is the most insidious lie ever told to Americans.
  • I believe American federalism is not a perfect governmental system, but it’s as close as we’ve gotten so far.
  • I believe the Framers of the United States Constitution would not recognize our country as their own.
  • I believe the American federal government has little to no authority to legislate social issues.
  • I believe abortion is abhorrent, except in cases of rape and incest. However, I would never presume to tell a woman what she may or may not do to her own body. That’s between her and whatever higher power she believes in.
  • I believe anyone who would claim I’m not entitled to an opinion regarding reproductive rights because I have a penis is the worst kind of hypocrite.
  • I believe we are not alone.
  • I believe freedom of choice is the only true freedom.
  • I believe thou shalt not kill.
  • I believe Metallica sucked, then got good, and now sucks again.
  • I believe Rush is the greatest rock band of all time.
  • I believe pity is something reserved exclusively for children and the mentally handicapped.
  • I believe disagreeing with one aspect of a person does not invalidate the entirety of that person.
  • I believe magic is nothing more than the judicious application of human will.
  • I believe in striving today to be better than I was yesterday.
  • I believe the only valuation of my worth as a human being that truly matters is my own.
  • I believe “I” is the most beautiful word in the English language.
  • I believe, if you don’t like what I have to say, you can kindly go fuck yourself.


St. Valentine’s Day Poem

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Poetry, Valentine's Day, Tags: , , , ,

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would share one of my love poems with you. You can find this piece and over three dozen other poems in my chapbook, Angst and Wrath. You can buy a print or electronic copy of Angst and Wrath from my Lulu store for under fifteen bucks. What a deal!

I Think Of You

When I’m afraid,

I think of you.

When I’m alone,

I think of you.

When I’m frustrated,

I think of you.

I think of you

and your loving embrace.

I think of you

when I leave this place.

I think of you

and your pretty face.

When I’m sad,

I think of you.

When I’m being bad,

I think of you.

When I’m glad,

I think of you.

I think of you

when we play.

I think of you

every night and day.

I think of you

and my problems go away.

No matter what I say or do

I think of you.