20 Jan 2004

The Loser-Commie Blues

I got the loser-commie blues
yeah, I got the commie-loser blues
from the top of my non-nationalistic dictator’s cap down
to the tips of my steel-toed shoes.

I dress in ratty clothing
I shelved my classy suit
I’m full of righteous loathing
money is the root.

I’m a privileged proletariat
with a computer my daddy bought for me
and a sense of gallows humor
the cops beat into me.
Bucket torture in another life
carries over to present strife.

I got the loser-commie blues
cause I watch too much news
and I fell for the ruse in polemic hues.
They parted the godless paranoid seculars
from the god-fearing spiritual monopolist regulars.
Their theory includes a supreme being
who’s very rarely seen
and they respect the boss man who runs the cruel world with an iron fist –
whose existence is so peripherally obvious, how could he’ve been missed?
I must have ignored the signs
closed the blinds
while writing my manifesto –
movement four: Finale presto.

I had a choice between philosophies
it came down to one scale.
Left was cowardice, right was greed.
I knew what both sides would entail.
I decided to become a loser-commie
a pussy-boy liberal – well, that’s what they called me.
Between greed and cowardice
thought I was powerless.
It was my destiny and duty
to choose the loser-ideology
the one rich with irony
and ripe with double-meaning
from the latest cultural gleaning.
It’s the ideology for losers
and the losing ideology
and in this land of plenty
the losers are the minority.

I still follow the WTO
wherever they go
playing in the freakshow –
just an act, don’t you know?

And Mao was a jerk
and Soloth Sar went berserk
and Communism doesn’t work
cause it’s not employed
just a drunken theory
some educated Jew scribbled while pissed.
Unimplemented, that’s the God’s honest truth.
The Queen’s English.
The Alien’s Logic.
Firesign’s spoof.

The grad city
named after me –
I’m honored.
The monument to the idle poor –
I’m sure.
The poor idol that is
thrown out of the modeling biz
I can’t even rant on behalf
of my fellow commie riff-raff.

Marx was the artist – no statesman wannabe.
Lenin the producer – sold the product to a country.
Stalin the abuser – purged twenty million bad commies.
And I’m the modern loser – deluded soul actually.
And we have the wise-ass critics
the self-appointed cynics
congregating in capitalist utopia
the owner’s paradise
dispensing with advice
the world isn’t nice
the paradox is spice to season tasty hypocrisy
the dream of reality
the price of reality
the business end of things, the real deal
virtually.

I got the loser-commie blues
yeah, the loser-commie blues.
This should be an anthem for the forcefully confused.
Ah, but whatcha gonna do?
whatcha gonna do?

I’ll be a loser-commie till the bitter fuckin’ end
and it is bitter.
It’s my just desert
and it’s just desert
at the end of the meal of life
the cyclic journey of negative entropy where Nietzsche possesses my body in the penultimate act, that poor, suffering, stoic, heroic oberman incarnate with syphilitic insanity, unjustly labeled proto-nazi, and me with AIDS from God in the final act of my tragedy and transition to another hellish life in an even lower circle of Dante’s Hell which is, really, political philosophy yet no form of reality.

Saddled with an eternal baggage of bad karma I’m doomed to try and convert the masses like a Jehovah’s witness accepting the oblivion that awaits him on the other side of that big suburban door in the sky.
No solicitors.

I got the loser-commie blues
cause I never paid my dues
and I can’t blame the Government
and I can’t blame the Christians
and I can’t blame Myself
and I demand compensation
for my current situation
as a public nuisance
a private disgrace
incidentally a headcase
like you didn’t know.

I’ll launch a nuisance lawsuit
sue the pants off that public
become the parasite I was destined to be.
I can plead ignorance
when they drag me into court
and I won’t have to plead insanity.

I’m a public nuisance
or am I a public servant
in a slavery caste?
the last of the last
the final evolution of the unevolved
the single citizen of singular hell
all in one and just as well
assuming the burden of humanity.
Oh the humanity!
Oh can it already!

There’s gotta be a loser –
the receptacle of the system
the lone poorman
society’s doorman
standing in the rain, holding the door to the pub
so everyone else, and I mean everyone else, can enter the utopia club.

Public nuisance
a nuisance
to the very public I’m trying to serve or save.

Can you forgive me?
Can you feign mercy?
Can you put me in a padded penitentiary?
With a nice big-screen TV?
In the lap of sinful luxury?
Or the lap of sodomy?
I said I never liked it but it’s beginning to grow on me.

Or just strap me to a table
and end this violent fable
with a lethal injection
obituary in the sports section
so I can join Jack Ruby
in the superimposed beyond
where you go when you die a certain way.
We’ll haunt the world together – scare the shit out of those still-living fools
and look over our lives in spare moments.

Just a thought.
Just a fancy fantasy.
Just fantastic fancy.

And isn’t it a pity
I’m still sucking off the government titty?
Still claiming it’s not enough
that life is too tough.

Living with junkies
and unemployed college flunkies
in the alleys, sleeping through populist rallies
the losers, boozers, drug abusers
or if that isn’t plenty bad
LIVING WITH MY MOM AND DAD!

There’s still time boy!
You can change your line boy!
You can find solace through the genuine Jehovah!
not some false idol
nor your suicidal song
which is just plain morally wrong.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
That’s logic boy, can’t go wrong with logic
boy.

We love the sinners but hate the sins.
We’re divine merciful capitalist Christians.

SOLACE
SOLACE
some kind of solace...

Returning this present present?
Why not study history?

Washington was no commie, I can prove that categorically.
Jefferson was no pinko and that slave-owning slander’s blasphemy.
Benedict Arnold was an imperialist dog –
we should have rooted him out and drowned him in the bog
that lackey for the tyrannical British monarchy
high officer of the Illuminati
lizard creature in the shape-shifting hierarchy
the one David Icke saw clearly through his homemade crystal ball
the ouiji board of conspiracy
the prophetic placebo
more to come.

My mother was impregnated by space creatures from Neptune
just like a tabloid headline.
That’s where I got my alien logic
not to mention my curved commie spine.

Clinging to the threads of a cultivated conviction –
my five year old ideology.
I can’t let my baby go that easily
withdrawal makes me awfully queasy
it’s bad for my heart –
won’t death do us part?
I don’t have a death wish, just a premonition
and my neurotic, atavistic superstition.

PUBLIC NUISANCE
private disgrace...

I wanna take it up the ass from McCarthy
it’s my lifelong masochistic fantasy
a senator-fucking wet dream
to make me cream my jeans.
I must involuntarily bust a nut
with my socialist sex-life in a rut.

This song reeks of self-pity
and speaks of personal sanctity
and it makes people think
I’m over the sanity brink
done with the rationality phase
that idiotic oughts craze.
I must tell some white lies
to fake my demise.

EVEN IN DEATH
a public nuisance...

So communism has gone down the drain
and yet the problems still remain
to be sorted out in 2112
when the apocalypse comes and darkness reigns.
Yes, let God sort them out
you’d better not pout
I bet on Jesus with the fifth round knockout.
I’m utterly, prophetically confident of this.
My pre-apocalyptic mark can’t miss.
I’m fucking Nostradamus
seeking catharsis or some kind of solace.
You’ll see you bastards, you’ll see
cause it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What’s to be done can’t be undone
I’m the quiet loner with a gun
I shot fuckin’ Kennedy
I’m nobody’s patsy
and now I’ll topple the conspiracy
the Bohemian Grove can’t stop me!

At the helm of this sinking ship
lies the head money and resource hoarder
the new king of the new world order:
King George the second
not to be reckoned
with standard paranoid thought patterns.
They’re good these guys – they randomize.

Ah, but what ya gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Huh?

Wave the red flag of perceived hypocrisy
the reminder of the Cambodian atrocity
the loser-commie banner of sub-mediocrity
to Salieri’s ninth Symphony!

We were dangerous for a while
perhaps one day again, we’ll be
but we’re going into a long sleep now
these days they call it cryo-stasis.
The world isn’t ready for us
must wait ‘till Captain Tripps devastates the land
like the biblical flood straight from God’s hand
that greater minds than us had long since planned
then we’ll rise like sneaky little Randall Flaggs with serial initials
and repair the rusted Soviet missiles
convert the primitive tribesmen with pure Marxism
creating that inevitable societal schism
and fulfill Brother Marx’s never-promised promise
of universal utopia
with Uncle Ho
Father Stalin
and In-law Castro
standing in the shadows as our guardian jedis.

But right now...
I am an anti-Christ
and I am an anarCHIST.

No, that was Johnny Rotten
– now I’m scraping the bottom –
a spoiled fruit, a festering sore
once dirt poor.

Can’t be borrowing ideologies.
Can’t be stealing those unique psychologies.
Can only sing the loser-commie blues
cause I got nothing left to lose.

So I got the loser-commie blues
yeah the commie-loser blues
addicted to a system
that no one ever used.
Some seem quite amused, whether for fake or real, I can’t tell
at this shabby, battle-scarred, Bolshevik shell
but I can’t get no more from the wishing well.

SOLACE
schmolace
schmuck.
Here, I’ll give you a buck
you pitiful fuck
now leave me alone
I’ve gotta get back home
don’t have no time
to listen to you whine.
Brother, I just spared ten dimes.

Well, that’s inflation for ya.
Whatcha gonna do?

crappy
snappy
sappy
pappy...

Don’t worry, be happy.

10 Jan 2004

The Voyage of the Spud Barge - an inverse odyssey

A gray afternoon. Ringworm, our stainless steel spudbarge, prepares to leave the docks and set out on the Kulumbya River with our valuable potato payload - an offering to the people of the North, in the land of Swedge. We have gathered specimens from the most fertile farmland in the country. Potatoes are a delicacy in the cool swampland of Swedge. If they are pleased by our gift, they may accept the terms of our proposed info-trade. We offer our machine language for their derivative of X with respect to Y. That's our holy grail. It maddens our scientants: How did they do it? How did they derive X while respecting Y's integrity? With all our sophisticated simulacrums, we've never managed to excrete an X out of the mesh and into the throng of perception without offending Y. That’s when we lose the whole scenario. Well the Swedgians know how to keep it alive. They've done it, but they can't run it. They need our efficient programming to set X's child loose on the world and make Y a happy grandfather. If X's derivative is to be released, it will need a physical avatar. Then the engineering of the prophecy will be complete, and the flange that is our waking nightmare will disappear into a transparent eclipse - a perfect harmony of history and future, fact and fiction, being and nothingness, duality and singularity and anything else that decides to unify.
 
But there is tension between the Swedgians and us. The wars are long over, but there is still distrust. Will they work together with our people to raise an eschaton, as we once raised barns together in the cold, ashy aftermath of the nuclear fires, before we exiled their tribe? It's really anyone's guess.
 
Nevertheless, there is optimism among the townspeople who have come to see us off. An ageless lounge-act from the Shindig Tavern has shuffled outdoors to play for the occasion. The guitarist is a co-condiment on mustard slathered chords, heavy huffing jazz, drunk with extended harmony, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, chordal exponents poking dents in the jejune minds of the shore spectators. A light rain has come but the band plays on with shivering gusto.
 
Polly Alloy joins me on the pier. She'll help us decipher the alchemical mumbo-jumbo the Swedgians are sure to  hit us with, assuming we're granted access to their recursion formulae. This woman is amazing - she can turn metaphysics into technology. She drew a straw golden triangular connection between three disparate yet subtly related historical facts: the blank phalanx the Zen warriors of Oregoni faced us with during the second battle at the Spokhan ruins, the mysterious Totem-Pear carved by the now unrecognizable mutants of the Nevada deserts, and the great granite obelisk of the Canado-American tundra, which is said to be too large to have been erected by even the old ones. They were all extremes - points - yins, yangs, and yongs, of an aesthetic unit. When fed into our crypto-digihallucino-oratronicle crackhead with a sublime myopia filter, the prepositions made a superfractal pattern containing subsets of all individual aesthetics, from galactic level to molecular, to atomic, to quantum. No one had ever seen a galaxy spinning synesthetically before. The view was astounding. It put people in their place - comfortable and hip places, millions of them, and each unique vantages, platforms of groovy gravity. Units of chaos, ready and willing to contribute a new verse to the song. Thus began a communal performance art piece of unprecedented scale (even with all surviving historical records of the old world taken into account). It began with a jaunty barroom singalong about a hod carrier coming back from the dead in non-zombie form and turned into a brawl some time around 9:00 PM, further diversifying into gang battles, political revolutions, music scenes, snake-oil upstarts, and occult revivals. In tandem with this project, arabesque studies advanced considerably, leading to all sorts of new technologies. And they say Miss Alloy was the seed of all that, so if anyone can crack open the iron doors of the crypt below the Swedgian skull orchard, it's her.
 
I look at her fondly. There's a little envy there. And okay, maybe some lust. Yes, I'm the “captain”, but I'm really just the navigator, and how fucking hard is it to navigate a river anyway? And these modern boats practically sail themselves. But I was chosen by Prince Mackie o'Velly for this mission because of my courage, and I'm just a little proud of this, even if most people think that courage is overkill, for a mostly diplomatic mission, like this.
 
I see a sparkle in the canthus of Polly's left eye and a piece of lime in her hair. She's been hitting the hard sno-cones. I suggested that she stay out of the Shindig the night before we set off. But would she listen? Of course not. She's got to party hard with her friends (I wish I was one of them) her last night in Teflon. Well, she must've popped a hangover-killer, because she seems pepped up enough.
 
We're almost ready to board the spudbarge. An entire army division is at the edge of the cliff. They fire an eighteen gun salute. I thought that was reserved for funerals of dead soldiers but I'm not really sure - I enlisted with the navy as quick as I could to escape the infantry draft during our last war with Swedge. Never saw much action though.
 
We're ready to disembark. Polly and I step aboard the metal grate of the boat's deck while hundreds wave goodbye and cheer. There is a feeling of excitement and anticipation - a sense of being pulled forward. We know the eschaton is near. The pieces are falling into place. Our ancestors were confused and aimless. Sad that it took a nuclear apocalypse (just another apocalypse in a long chain of them) to catalyze our orientation to the concrescence. But now there is momentum. With each new discovery there is an accompanying cultural event that no prophet or pundit anticipated, and with each new event, there is a multiplication of faith, and an amplification of purpose. The certainty of translingual gnosis grows in our minds like the primordial prototype of a new organ becoming organism becoming being becoming blank and beyond ___.
 
But it's still a treacherous landscape. When uncertainties do show, they seem to counterbalance our smug moments of faith in the intensity of their disillusionment. I had a dream last night. I had successfully steered our barge around an outcropping of jagged rocks - my reflexes were sharper than ever - only to find that ten feet ahead, the river dropped into a bottomless abyss. It haunts me, as I turn the key to start the boat's engine. It's not easy being the agent of this, whatever it is. I can't be as certain as those celebrating shore-folks, waiting for the final act to unfold. I know there’s no script to follow.
 
We've gotten well past Teflon now. The loud hum of the engine is no longer noticed. Our small crew is silent. There's not much to do at my station right now, so I've taken out one of the experimental laser-rifles given to us by the army and am looking at the shore through the scope. The design is elegant, the metal polished, a high contrast to the grungy utilitarian gear they mostly produce. I haven't fired a weapon since basic training, and certainly not one of these. I pull the trigger, and am surprised to see the apple I’m aiming at, which hangs from a tree half a mile away, instantly vaporize.
 
“Holy shit - lucky shot,” I say.
 
“Intuitive weaponry”, Polly murmurs. “It knows what you're aiming for through intelligent topographical analysis and GPS relay, so it instigates a localized chaos stream - quantum causality through micro-perturbations in the weather system. You know, the old butterfly flap. And presto - your target just happens to be on target - or your gun just happens to be in the right place at the right time. View it either way you like. Unless you’re a total spaz, you can expect around 85% accuracy.”
 
“Oh. Of course,” I reply, completely baffled. I tried to get myself up to speed on all this quantum stuff several years ago when the first breakthroughs were being made, but it was hopeless. And it was spooky too - the idea that the new machines, or “gears of the arabesque” as Polly called them, were manipulating “relevant” events through intuitively calculated nano-propulsion - amazingly subtle molecular re-arrangements (the utmost delicacy for lethal ends) that would create just the right critical mass to make a minor alteration in the future and the space-time coordinates of objects concerned - an alteration desirable to the user who hadn't even formed his own intentions yet! It got even more complicated when a rival user of the technology was involved, but there had only been limited experience with that yet, and Polly admitted that the equations governing these encounters were beyond the grasp of her best number-crunchers.
 
Strange days, I think. We live with the grandfather paradox. Fucking around with time gives me a headache. It has ruined many minds. We've yet to develop a therapy - too much new stuff to discover - pace too reckless - I wonder if Polly takes a lot of aspirin?
 
“Hydromorphone,” she answers.
 
“Oh right,” I say. “I forgot, you can read minds.”
 
“Only occasionally,” she says. “I'm not omniscient or anything. But getting closer every day.” She smiles while gazing out at the rocky shore. We're in this paradox together. I've learned to jive with many of the realities of this paradigm. It helps to think aesthetically, and let go of some of the will - not all of it - it's a tricky balancing act ~ tilde approximation and squiggly edges of infallibility. And from there, the things we know but can't say. Or can I... say...
 
“Wait, did you say the lasergun reads data from a GPS relay?” I ask.
 
“Yeah.”
 
“You mean the old-ones' satellites are still up there? It isn't a myth?”
 
“Oh no. Not only are they not a myth, they've been re-linked to, and retro-fitted to our computers. Most of our equipment is now more sophisticated than the old dudes’ hardware ever got before the apocalypse - it's just that society hasn't really caught up yet. We're working on the infrastructure, but you know – New York wasn’t built in a day.”

“But it was destroyed in one,” says Augustuze, sitting casually on the spud mound behind us, chomping on an artichoke.
 
I nod at Polly’s words, unable to say anything. I can only gaze, stupidly. She is humble though. She is religious, and moderately ascetic like most of the clerics - except when it comes to drugs - like most of the clerics.
 
My thoughts are interrupted by the unmistakable sound of an exploding goat, followed by the panicked bleating of a dispersing herd. Several crew members have gotten into the laser-rifle crate and are now shooting up a cattle range on somebody's farm across the river.
 
“Stop that!” I yell at them. “Those aren't toys.”
 
“Aw, they're just goats,” protests Shlawn, the stocky mechanic, eyes barely visible below the downturned brim of his gray cap.
 
Polly turns to me. “You shot an apple,” she says. “That's a living thing, just as a goat is. Just because one is animate and the other is not, doesn't make the former higher on the hierarchy.”
 
“Fuckin-a,” says Augustuze, the burly trade-merchant, with a mouthful of vegetable.
 
“I'd have thought a brain would factor in there somewhere, but... I dunno. I guess y'all are pantheists now or something,” I say to Polly, vaguely contrite.
 
“Not exactly,” she replies. “It's a subset. I'll explain later. In the meantime, I suggest you save the beams of your chaos streams for more menacing targets than grazing livestock.”
 
I nod and shroud the men with a stern glower.
 
“What about potatoes?” Shlawn asks, regarding the spuds piled behind the wall of the cargo area which takes up the bulk of the barge. “Are they alive?”
 
“Do you even have to ask?” Augustuze says angrily while protectively stroking a single spud in his hand. This display is magnetic. All eyes turn to the tan object which stands out in wordless significance and seems to glow with internal luminescence. For one dilated moment, this potato is the focal point of the universe.
 
There is no further discussion. The laser rifles are put back in their crate.
 
“I'm itchy,” says lanky Filtur, one of Shlawn's buddies, who is standing guard at port with a carbine. “I don't like this country air.”
 
“Me neither,” whines Shlawn. “It doesn't taste right. And it stings my cankers.”
 
“Goddamn babies! What kind of soldiers are you?” I say.
 
“The comic relief kind?” Filtur says with a snicker.
 
“I'm a techie,” Shlawn says.
 
“When you're on my barge, you're in my platoon,” I tell him.
 
“Whatever,” he says. I've heard this bleak dismissal many times from him and his like. It's the ultimate weapon of the dull-witted. I have no retort.
 
“Relief from what?” Polly ponders, gazing out at the Moire Mountains that mark the border between Teflon province and the wilds of the Pazeli jungles. The Pazeli jungles are quite different than the equatorial forests and they're springing up in parallel pace to the technological and aesthetic progress of our society. We don't know why. This mystery occupies lots of Polly's leisure time. She's hypothesized that it's a gaian reflex to the rainforest burning that is occurring in the dark continent to the south. The worrisome neo-humanists are torching dense foliage at a fantastic rate, perhaps in a desperate response to the powerful tools we’ve developed. We know they’ve sent spies. They’re scared. They’re certain they must develop – spread – it’s all they know how to do. Their one emissary did not sign the empire-ban treaty twenty years ago, and their imperialistic envelopment of the land and its many cultures continues unabated, sending many refugees our way - with conflicting stories.

At the rate our technology is progressing, we'll be more than ready for them if they reach our borders, as numerous as they may be. Hell, do they control the GPS satellites? We can chart their every movement if we want. We can check the alibi of an accused chicken thief in a mountain village. We can extrapolate his thieving career from the incident. We just haven't got around to this stuff yet. Too much to do, too little time. Too few people. Our nation numbers a little under forty thousand. And anyway, espionage is so pedestrian compared with the sublime and psychologically sophisticated tasks that beckon to us from the algorithms of arabesque exploration.
 
Polly is the only one on this spudbarge who has come into contact with the Swedgians. She ran away from home at the age of twelve, found her way, through the minefields (no one knows how) to their country, gained their confidence, and took initiation. This, during a period when such actions were considered high treason, and a capital offense. She came back under the pretense of being a double agent - then wrote a book about the experience, which was published in the year 097, one month after the first armistice. She claims that the encounter profoundly altered her understanding. Some scoff at this, but virtually everyone agrees that nobody who has seen the Swedgians has returned the same. Nothing can prepare us, they say. “Expect the unexpected”. I'll try.
 
“It’ll be more than a simple info-trade,” says Polly, catching my thoughts once again. “It will be a defining moment. It always is, with them. Those people, they’re perma-kindling for perception. You'll see clearer, and you'll see more, and forever after. You'll lose, like the Tao trough, and you'll gain, like the peak amplitude of the novelty wave in the post singularity inversion. It modulates noisily, but it modulates with PURPOSE.”
 
She winks at me, and although I find her words nearly impenetrable, her facial gesture says everything in kinetic synesthetic calisthenics ~ yes, I get it. Her physical gestalt is truly a sublime extension of her mind. I feel an openness in her presence. I feel chaste and corrupted at once. She is a window to the nexus of humanity. She could be a cultmaster if she wanted to be. She could be Medusa or Aphrodite – I don’t know and I don’t care – her mind shines so bright, it distracts from the body. How had those Swedgians changed her? Could all of us get the charm? What could lie ahead for our expedition? My heart, something's happening with my heart, like it's leaping or something. Adventure and infatuation and synergy. I feel so... ill. I lean over the side of the barge and hurl my half-digested breakfast into the river. A quick and total purge. I feel so much better now. Less religious, but that seems necessary. And there’s work to be done. It’s time to check the nav screen.
 
And yet…
 
I’m entranced with a spot of puke. It's dribbling from the railing down the side of the boat. It’s orange and brown, and glittering in a shaft of sunlight. Its texture is mildly chunky. It spills down the barge wall in a slow smear. It’s beautiful. I can’t look away. It finally plops onto a piece of driftwood that happens to be passing by, like a ship abandoner successfully reaching a lifeboat. I watch it nestle in the round rut of the bark surface as a perfect circle before disappearing behind the boat. It’s extraordinary. The image won't fade.
 
It’s necessary perception, I think. One day, the recollection of the image will influence a decision, probably unconsciously. For now I carry it around in my head like an as-yet-unneeded item in an RPG character’s inventory.
 
The image has triggered sparkling trills of color in the water, flute toot trills flitter in the air or is that birds? Can't tell where sound ends and vision begins and/or vice versa. The square root of the crew is a cubed captain staggering out from the railing toward the main deck, out of body but back inagain finnegan watching a snail trail of faulty food fraught with paradoxes slide across the steel stained surface like a tide, examining the tiles, the ridges are ridicule, yes I’m alright, but I feel a bit dizzy, and I don’t feel so alright after all, and the whole barge belches as all crew dance puppets for synesthetic captain’s amusement, Polly? I’ve cracked up hard, I think I’m going to faint, ain’t it funny sometimes? Shlawn? What are you doing with that pipe wrench? Help, I’m falling or something, dizzzzy, vice grip, leave me alone, I mean, uh… treat me with cotton gloves, woah, fuck me, Polly, uh, Swedge ledge off the edge, where am I, who am I, gimme rest phrase please musical trill frill no fuckin frills oh what the hell? What the hell. period. places people faces people.