Thursday, January 29, 2015


My obsession with human meat never ends----its texture, its nuance, the way it bends, folds, spindles and mutilates. Call it erotica, call it clinical, call it pathology, call it a disease, call it Asperger's. Call someone who gives a damn.



reviling the mirror perversion, mecury blasphemy, this stain, this ache, this blot on his soul. Pug is true to his stigma---chases those parked cars, bashes his fool nose in—pokes, heaves. Pug huffs and crawls,
humps cruel linoleum. Climbs, laughing, cursing his forsaken flab, his opaque, his fishwhite. Mounts porcelain face first, groans, retches---cascade of resentment and broken expectations. Puerile dream. Shuddering, Pug natters, ugly powdered hailstones, pelted with psychic pains, learns no lessons, hands over his head, sputters, rattles. Blessed Mess, Immaculate Decline.
Muscles grind, constrict and Pug bites at the strings of a liquid rainbow, vivid filth. Permanent stains in toilet, in sets color, decoration. Bitter bane, gastric walls of acrid hues...shit tube wells in revulsion, forever a graffiti salad. Pug heaves, pulls remnants of spew away from his flat, unrequited face---Pug pelts off-sterile white with his drudgery and existential bathroom woe. Throws darts at his own eyes—conjures thorns for your braincake.
Hitting the floor with a meaty pug thud, Pug whispers curses to his dull, limp pallor, throws hatred and disdain toward his genitalia dangling sorry---exercise in vile science Pug cools head on cold appliance---fever broken reverie, indulgence suicide. Pug hates full-on, jealousy smashes bugs in multitudes------

The notation on the back of “Pug Hates his Nakedness” says it was published in PSYCHOTRAIN. My association w/the Hyacinth House Gang was pretty incestuous and at one time I acted as an assistant editor (a role that mostly entailed running around trying to get the cheapest xerox jobs I could)---I may have popped up in PSYCHO, BROWNBAG PRESS or CROWBAIT REVIEW at one point or another....I'll trust my own notes. This also appeared on a spoken word tape I did with KEVIN HIBSHMAN around '93 or '94.....the piece really doesn't lend itself to Spoken Word, but I really didn't draw that kind of distinction back then and I'd read any damn thing live or on tape. Live and learn....

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I have several finished (or semi-finished) book length projects.....this is an excerpt from my first novel, HELLO, UGLY, which I finished in 1990. The excerpt here was originally published as a stand-alone segment in Robert W. Howington's EXPERIMENT IN WORDS. My recollection is that it won the Best Fiction Award for that year (and it was '92 or '93, but I'm not exactly sure which). Not sure it deserved such an honor but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a happy camper.





How are you? Jack?


Do you know what day it is?

Tuesday I think

Do you know what year it is?




Would you like to go home, Jack?




Would you like to go home?



I don't have a home



fuzz in my head like it feels when my foot sleeps

and angel fingers I hear them stroking through my hair

fingers that are liars I don't care I can't care

You've been gone a long time, Jack.



DEEP PURPLE-Made in Japan
KING CRIMSON-Three of a Perfect Pair
KING CRIMSON-The Noise: Live in Frejus
SCORPIONS-Best of Scorpions
THE MAKERS-April March Sings Along with the Makers
APRIL MARCH-April in Paris
THE OBLIVIANS-Popular Favorites
UFO-No Heavy Petting

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


“The Customer is always right,” booms this week’s stand-in Martin Boorman, repeating the klaxon litany of every damned slave auction since antiquity.
The attention of any mark is desireable but when the High Dollar Mark asks for a jumper every fifth column middle management sweat pony in a thirty foot radius will yodel in gospel call-and-answer form, “how high?”
The High Dollar Mark is, after all, the one who greases the wheels of progress; the strength of his patronage is known far and wide and he’s always willing to pay those high import prices.
“Most people in the area don’t appreciate pure, unbleached honey almond flour,” he tells a rabbity-looking fourteen year old stock girl. “Not many people in the U.S. will pay for it, but it would be in their interests to do so.” He chews and licks his lips for a moment. The High Dollar Mark’s skin is pale and soft, almost translucent. “Write that down, would you? Pure, unbleached honey almond flour. With orphan tears. They have to be Bolivian Orphans….not those cheap, gamey Messicans.” He says this last part in a fast, breathy voice, knowing he is relaying information in the stock girl’s dialect. He claps his hand on his left buttock for emphasis and he throws his head back letting out an overly loud, effeminate laugh. The stock girl says nothing, fails to write any of the above down and tries vainly to blink away a tear.
The parade of fresh-faced young grunts in and out of the market is ceaseless, and supply and demand creates a hearty turnover. The light in their eyes is extinguished on a daily basis----they slave away in silent despair over donuts and juice spills, being harped on by Mama Lupo and her hot firebrand of clitoral mutilation; They weep over discrepancies at the cash register and they pick gingerly through maggot-infested vegetables. Now and again one of them gains a semblance of dignity and it’s over---out to the butcher’s for the “Special Treatment”.
No one over eighteen is ever used for hamburger meat---they’re no good to eat by then but it’s never necessary. You push them and push them and it’s only a matter of time before they snap. You tenderize them and then you go in for the finale. The meat is best virginal.
“Much better than that chuck beef the white trash dole out for, “titters the High Dollar Mark.
The minds of the Market are very industrious and they have a deal with all the food co-ops in the region. There’s always plenty of virgin meat to go around and it can easily garner an “Organic” Classification. Everybody wins and a sense of Community is fostered.
The Pillar of the Community nods sagely as the newest shipment of virgin meat comes in. “It’s an Wholistic Approach,” she says. She fingers herself lightly through her skirt and tries to imagine their final moments.

From DOO-DAH Days in Mammon, a work in progress

Friday, January 16, 2015


One of the nicest things the recent Holiday Season brought me was six new canvases and a box of new paints (thanks to assorted family and friends who know that enabling my artistic wrongdoings is the way to my black little heart). I'm starting off 2015 in some good, self-indulgent fashion.


Art addiction is a jones like any other. You have to create. When you run out of material to create with you need to improvise. When you run out of room for what you're creating, doesn't matter, because you still have to create. There are little road blocks, sure, but you need to improvise. Faced recently with a space crisis, I've spent the last several months dumpster diving for cardboard boxes that I've been makeshifting into “canvases”.
The boxes present their own kinds of problems....because they're flatter than a traditional canvas they're easier to store and they take up a lot less space. The downside is that because they're all oddly
sized, I have no idea how I'm going to frame and/or mount these things in any kind of a nice presentation.

'Nice presentation”, of course, has never been my forte. 

For the time being, anyway, I'm good on canvas and so I'm reverting back to the normal format. The Space Crisis is an ongoing issue, though-----but like I already said----with an Art Jones you create by any means necessary.



All kinds of hype seems to be surrounding this TV mini-series called “The Slap” that's coming out soon. Saw an ad for it and it looks like shit---no huge shock, I suppose. A neighborhood and a family is divided over some guy smacking his kid.
You're joking, right?
Ooooohhhh.....what if it happened in YOUR neighborhood????
There seems to be this running paranoid delusion, mostly among people who fetishize hurting children, that if you so much as swat an errant kid on the butt, Hillary Clinton, DHS and a legion of UN Peacekeepers are going to descend on your lawn, remove your children and issue some kind of PC Smackdown. I've yet to see this scenario play out in any kind of realistic fashion, but we do seem to keep hearing stories about kids dying from what someone considers to be “good, old fashioned discipline”, and none of these folks seem to have any good responses for that.
And then I looked and saw that the crux of this miniseries is some adult slapping a kid who is NOT HIS OWN.
(Channeling Gilda Radner) That's very different. NEVER MIND.
Or maybe it's NOT that different. I don't know. I don't give a shit.


Between blogs I heard that any/all local newspapers are officially kaput-----they had really been busted down a lot over the last few years, I guess....the Corporate Consolidation Monster just took another big bite and what's left of these papers will basically be a newsier version of the Parade section attached to the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.
As ever. Money talks and localism's a shambles and the streamlining from the overlords ain't helping much....of course, I have to recall some of the feuds me & mine have had over the years with local editorial staffs-----that of the NWA TIMES in particular---and think if they'd spent a little less time doing hack jobs on local activists or toadying up to local politicians and real estate interests, maybe their journalistic pedigree would be a little more robust and it would have been harder to defend killing them.
So-----sorry to hear it.....but not THAT sorry.



THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS-Piougheed/Widowermaker
BUTTER 08-Self-titled
ROBERT CALVERT-Hype: Songs of Tom Mahler

Friday, January 9, 2015


(Excerpt, HELLO, UGLY, a novel by C.F. Roberts)

The gloomy, steamy, neon-diseased beer commercial night parts in half and I'm sitting in this grey, stonelike room. I'm dressed in a white outfit and I have a beard, or rather half a beard. I don't think I've shaved in at least a week.
I'm sitting in this grey chair that looks rugged, like stone, as does all the furniture here. I pick up the white phone on the stone end table and dial the number.
“H'llo?” Says a man on the other end. Instinct. My brain screeches out, this man is an asshole.
And it makes me nervous. “Hi, uh, I'd, uh, like to talk to Zoe, please.” Fuck it, I may as well just get to the heart of the matter and not play around.
“Oh. You'd, uh, like to talk to Zoe, please?” I knew he was an asshole.
“Is Zoe there? I'd like to speak to her.” I know, now, that I'd better be real careful not to sound too desperate. This is the kind of creep who'll just thrive on that, exploit it for all it's worth and throw it right back in my face.
“Yeah,” he sneers, “we have a Zoe here.” I hate him. Smarmy, wiseass fucker. He's making fun of me, but I have to depend on him so I can reach her. Having to tolerate this creep is like having someone put a gun to your head.
“I need to speak with her,” still trying not to sound upset.
“Well, she's a little busy right now,” he says, but I think he may be lying. I hear sounds in the background—people laughing and talking, a TV blaring. It sounds like there's some kind of noisy game show on.
“It's an emergency,” I tell him. “I need to speak with her. Tell her it's Jack and he has to talk to her, she'll say yes.”
There's a brief, edgy, doubtful silence on the other end of the line. Then he speaks up. 'Look, Jack, let me save you the grief. Zoe's busy, now, real busy, and she hasn't got time for this shit.” Amid the laughter I hear Zoe. She blurts out this sentence I don't understand. It sounds like a joke or something, because everyone's laughing, now, and I hear her cackling away, too.
Now I'm getting pissed off. “Busy with what, the fucking television?”
“She can't talk, bub. I think you oughtta be a man and just shove off.”
“No! God dammit, no! You tell her! Right now! Jack needs to talk to her!”
“Ho, ho! Aren't WE demonstrative?”
Sinking heartwise and knowing he's got me by the balls, “I'm sorry. I haven't seen her since she fell down. I need to speak with her. Please. Please.”
“Tell ya what,” he sneers, “I'm a pushover for a good sob story. Lemme just check and see what I can do for you.” He puts the phone down with a loud bonk. I hang on the line and listen as he addresses her. “Hey, Zoe! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! Guy named Jack! Blah blah blah!” There's a pause. Then everybody laughs.
He grabs the phone again and now he sounds all jovial. “Hey, ah, Jack Buddy! Zoe wanted me to ask you a question. She wants to know if you'll ever consider making love to someone who has brain damage! Ha! Isn't that a fuckin' smoker?” He rattles off into a torrent of obscene laughter.
“Listen, asshole, put her on! I need to talk to her. Life or death!”
“Aaaaah.....aaahhhh.....sorry, chief, no can do! Zoe's occupado, now, know what I'm sayin'? Like,
REAL indisposed!”
“Please! I have to talk to her, please.”
“Sorry, Jack ole boy, she can't come to the phone.”
“No,” yelling, now, “you're NOT sorry! Tell her I'm here! I need to talk to her!”
“No dice, Jackson,” and the line goes dead.
Now I'm on the street. I'm walking barefoot in some little suburban neighborhood I've never seen before. I step lightly and I watch where I'm going, because I don't want to chance getting any broken glass in my feet or anything.
Step, step, step, step, one foot in front of the other until my foot touches the bird and I jump back. It's dead, squashed, its little face frozen in a painful scream.
“Huh. Huh, huuuuhhh,” and I back up and step on a dead squirrel. Tip toe as I scream and try not to look, shaking all over, but I see a dead dog by my side, run over and ripped in half. “Jesus,"  I pray and I shriek, “oh, Jesus, oh, Jesus, oh, Jesus!”
I find I can't walk two feet without stepping on a dead animal. The bodies go on for miles up the road. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, mice, rats, bunnies. I see a cow. A buffalo. I see a big boa constrictor, torn open and spilled across the gutter. I see a baby, dead. A little, bespectacled girl, dead. I can't turn anywhere to avoid the carnage. It's everywhere, everywhere. It's like a minefield, and here I am in the middle, screaming and shaking and screaming, “oh, Jesus, oh, Jesus, oh, Jesus, JEEEEEEEZUUUUUUUUSSSS....”
“Shut up,” somebody snaps and I look to see my mother glaring out the window of some old colonial house. “God dammit, Jack, quit overreacting! You want people to think you're a freak?!”
I try to answer. I try to ask her to help me, but I can't believe she can't see what's happening, I can't believe it and I try hard to say something but I just stand there amidst all these bodies with my mouth open. Nothing comes out. She looks at me with a grimace of disgust. She pulls herself back into the house and slams the window shut.

Copyright 1990 C. F. Roberts/1991 Shockbox Press/ 2015 Molotov Editions

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


New Art Available. Keep an eye peeled on my website----I'll be posting this stuff in the next day or so.

      A little writing, now, before I haul off to the day job. In the early 90s, my friends Randal Seyler and Shannon X. Caine gave birth to The Micro-Novel, a marginal form I always loved and strive to keep going. Lemme give you guys a Micro Novel:


A Micro Novel by

C.F. Roberts

Neil tore across the second floor hallway. “Fuck this shit,” he roared, “I’ll take on all comers!!!!” He flung himself headlong down the stairs. It was a good day to be alive.

2010 or thereabouts
     More in a while

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


i fell into your rabbit hole
to the tune of innocuous beckoning,
smiling ghosts
now caught in the tube and
choking in the confines

bad little rabbit hole
sordid point of light
angels, devils, children,
dancing on the head of a pin

and now i need to tell you i have no use for nostalgia

i love you and i hate you
as young hormones only dictate
i go on half answers, half stories, usually less

yet i swear i killed these demons years ago
DIY, cold turkey when a pin prick
dropped me back down for a visit
baleful stares and old favors
your rabbit hole, your garbage dump
the bottomless pit,
the best years of your lives

i love you and i hate you
i recognize you but i don't know you
nothing much has never felt
quite this bad
nothing worthwhile  has never marked me
quite this deep

angels, devils, children,
dancing like pinheads
here's your auld lang syne and a
bullet in my brain

pulled down your rabbit hole, your toilet bowl
and i need to reiterate
i have no use for nostalgia


copyright 2010, C.F. Roberts/Molotov Editions

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Back, Dammit

Well, I'm back-----just went through the usual Holiday madness where I filled in for vacationing co-workers and did the chief editor thing for a couple of weeks and that ate up a lot of my capacity for constructive thought. So I'm back and I'm trying to work on building this furshlugginner thing.
      It's New Year's Day and after two weeks of  me and Dave Johnston killing it in general and attacking news video like a school of TV News Piranha, I'm decompressing and don't wanna hear jack about anyone's news, politics, trending topics, Year End Favorites or anything else.
      I was pleased, in my way out the door, to hear about Air Asia and the discovery of wreckage, bodies, etc. Don't get me wrong----I feel very badly for all those families who lost loved ones----but at least I won't have to hear any weird theories about where the plane is being hidden and who might be behind it.....(yawn)

      So, anybody wanna buy a painting? I've got tons of 'em. This stuff is taking up tons of room in my tiny-ass apartment and you should take it off my hands.
          Hoping you guys are going to have a good 2015. I hope nobody has died. Kick ass, do something that's meaningful to you and keepliving strong.

So I've been working, off and on, on this thing that might be a book-or-at-least-novella-length piece of whatever, tentatively titled DOO-DAH DAYS IN MAMMON. Here's another excerpt. Enjoy.


Downtown everyone is precious and witty. They throw words like “paradigm” and “dialogue” and “sustainability” around, and everyone refers to everything that happens to them as their “journey”. The pretty embankments cause cars to collide on all corners and in the grip of the car crash derby everyone adores the saplings that have been planted in the middle of the road. Members of City Council take turns scolding smokers and policing their litter. The Mayor even took it upon himself to carp at some slovenly ham-and-egger who left his engine running while parked. All in all a picayune utopia.
There’s little debating that we love our city and that we know we’re something special. Everything’s pretty---even the gas stations are pretty. Not like the old ones---just---you know….pretty. Places where people can gather and shop.
There’s even an ordinance for that now. We hammered that through. We have an ordinance for everything.
The last gas station was a thing of beauty----they knocked down slums for a block and a half and it was gorgeous---you drove past it and the lights were so nice you had to think there was a 24-hour fiesta happening there.
Nobody needed those dirty slums, anyway----that’s what the lower levels, the outer rims, Dogtown, Sherberville, The Holler, Betty Jo, the whole damned Southern Quadrant are for. The property values have already gone up and they’ll be able to put in a whole new row of condos later this year.
The parking lot of the new gas station is always hopping and there’s plenty of room to park, so the investors are already seeing returns. And jobs---yes, jobs---roughly a dozen—all part time, so they don’t have to pay benefits or anything sticky like that—further returns on investment and it keeps the kids off the street, doesn’t it? It’s a win-win.
Did I mention that it’s clean? Not like the old ones. Looks like a museum. The employees are all dressed like museum guards, too---collared shirts, blazers, the whole nine yards----there won’t be any “broken windows” here! No dirt, no scum, no shirt, no shoes, no service…you can buy groceries there, too---not just soda pop and microwave burritos---homemade tabouli. Almond Flour----the good stuff, with Bolivian Orphan Tears. Tahini. Yes, I said Tahini. Pickled Asparagus. Dried red chili peppers. No broken windows here…
There’s no litter or dirt in the parking lot, either. Ever. We have an ordinance for that, you know. Hell. I sat on the committee that wrote it.