"If it's provable we can kill it."
There's nothing in the dark, really. Nothing at all.
Published on November 1, 2007 By EmperorofIceCream In Misc
James River City.

There’s something old here, old and bloody.

And it’s so stinking hot most of the time that you
Fail to notice the white chill of the air

The kind of white that’s best seen
Stained with blood.

There are houses in England that are older than America
But there’s nothing in England that’s older than what’s here.

This is a place accustomed to hate, and those of us that
Live here know how to manage it. We hate each other
Discreetly. Joyously killing our own kind but walking circumspectly when we consider
Killing those that aren’t our own color.

It’s taken me awhile but recently I’ve become able to
Smell the old blood that’s still fresh on the streets here. And I knew from the first moment I smelled its shit-stained air that the City on the James River has every
Sin for sale, every sin imaginable and some that aren’t,
If only you know where to look and who to sell to and have the coin that’s wanted.

This is the oldest city in America, maybe the world. It’s sick with sin but makes sin look like virtue. Old virtue. The kind that has money and power; the kind of power that can
Break a life.

It’s a human city, James River City, the humanest city since
Sodom, and like Sodom it’s full of its own certainties, its privileges of faux-Aristocratic lineage and pride, its secret internecine feuds and hatreds.

It’s a City of Powers, and Thrones, and Dominions, is James River City, all of them too
Genteel to murder in the open.

And the women here…

They look like silk feels when you cut it. And the prettiest of them all have
Eyes that say hurt me. Hurt me real bad. Please.

But haughty? They might be hawks to stoop upon the Sun and burn out their hearts in
Hatred of it before ever its fire ate them whole.

I’ve learned to love them, crack whores stalking Jeff Davis Highway and more than
Happy to talk to the white man in the car, no matter how black they are. And the white girls in the offices, glad-handing the calculation of the monetary worth of each dick they
Let fuck them.

I can’t tell you how old, and wise, and sick, and evil, this place is.

It’s taken me awhile to see it, the white-columned elegance in its unutterable foulness, the hothouse
Orchid heat of its malignancy and vileness. But it’s here. And it’s addictive.
And, loved for itself, beautiful.

The Princes and Princesses of this City don’t advertise themselves;
They’re too proud to boast. Their preferred spell is one of complete
Silence. Because nothing changes here.

No King ever dies here, no Queen is ever barren, and nothing will ever be other than it has always been. This is the city of Perfect Certainty, the Principality of Flesh in its Power.

There is no more erotic city, no more perfect expression of the
Geography of Desire, than the City on the James. Even the light in hidden alleyways and secret places smells of sex. Even the light smells of it.

This City on the James has its own Angel. An Angel of Old Night, and Murder, and Rape. An Angel of death with an iPhone on his hip and a site on My Space, and endless ages sat in his eyes.

That’s the thing. You can’t see the Angel until you can see the City on the James, and once seen then you have to love it. You have to. It seduces you, carries you to a place full of spices, where every spice is an exhalation of the dead.

Every day here is Halloween. Every day. The City on the James is not a good place to be if you’re afraid of the dark.

Because it’s pitch black here at noonday, no matter how bright the sun.

on Nov 01, 2007
Now here's the thing. It's been a very long time since I've written anything that could remotely be called poetry - though there was a time, long ago, when poetry was my preferred mode of literary expression. The only other way to talk about Richmond is the novel - but I'd have to be Quentin Tarantino to write it, and I'm not.

Since I came to Richmond I've lived on what can only be described as the poor side of town. Not the ghetto, but next door to it. I've always equated poverty with honesty. Not in the sense of 'telling' the truth, but in the sense of 'being' the truth. Somehow, the Projects here say more to me about the reality of Richmond than does anything in the Slip, or Schokoe Bottom, or the Fan.

What I see here is violent, dirty, corrupt. If I had any inclination to smoke crack I'd be falling over dealers as I stepped out the door. If I wanted a whore I've only to spend ten minutes on Jeff Davis Highway. And while I've no evidence to substantiate the claim I know in my bones that anything humanly desirable can be bought here.

Richmond is the only city I've lived in that stinks of shit every morning - because they burn human waste here. But underneath that, it stinks of sex. And money. And blood. If America is the new Promised Land then Richmond is its Sodom, and I know just by looking at its gray stones that a wrong word or a wrong turn will get you sacrificed on one of those three altars. And those who sacrifice you will grin while they do it. This is not a good town.

When I first came to America I missed the age of things. There's a cottage in the village I last lived in that's older than America. I missed being surrounded by things that were physically old. Richmond has taught me that there are parts of America that are older than England will ever be. Older, and wickeder.

And as I've come to appreciate these things I've discovered in myself a liking for and sympathy with this City of Old Night and Evil that I wouldn't (didn't) suspect in myself. I begin to find Richmond congenial - comfortable, even. As I travel across the city in my various jobs I begin to find it it reflected in my own soul, in my own nature. I begin to find myself at home.


Because every day is Halloween here. Every day.
on Nov 02, 2007
Reading through this, I kept thinking of one thing. You've definitely got your finger on the soul of Richmond.

There was a reason that Richmond used to be on the top 10 most deadly cities list. They've just gotten better at hiding it.
on Nov 02, 2007
Oh no, say it aint so!Don't get too comfy here, my Beloved. Greater wickedness awaits you elsewhere. Trust me on that

There may be greater violence elsewhere; there may be greater corruption elsewhere - but there's only one Richmond. Elsewhere they'd call you motherfucker as they slit your throat. Here, they'd simply smile. A little. And don't ask me how I know it. I've gone looking for none of it, and the little I've seen has found me out for itself and never treated me with anything other than that faux-Southern Charm that people here think marks them out as part of the Deep South.

Perhaps I've read too much of Poe and Lovecraft. But for months past I've been doing Ritual in a back-alley in Shockoe Bottom and I already know that the stones I stood on are intimately familiar with every impulse that motivated me to do so. I could almost see them smile in recognition. And in all honesty, I am starting to like it here.
on Nov 02, 2007
You've definitely got your finger on the soul of Richmond.

Well thank you. When I'm the world's most notorious serial killer people will say "He lived in Richmond." And that will be explanation enough.