Dexter: The Care and Feeding of a Dark Passenger

Dexter_Is_DeadI just found out there was one more book coming out in the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter is Dead. I rather thought that Dexter’s Final Cut was going to be the last book.

I thought I would take this time to talk about the supernatural/paranormal/fantasy element of the series, the Dark Passenger.

The Dark Passenger is an entity which inhabits many or most serial killers, or perhaps all. It seems that in the Dexter-verse, childhood trauma is a rather reliable attractor to Dark Passengers. Dexter and his brother Brian both witnessed the murder of their mother, at the ages of 3 and 4 respectively. Both got Dark Passengers and became serial killers. Dexter’s stepkids Astor and Cody, both traumatized by their abusive father, also have Dark Passengers. Dexter expects that Cody will grow up to be a serial killer but in Dexter’s Final Cut seems to think Astor will settle for being a ruthless corporation type, since girls are different. I don’t know whether there is a protest movement yet to destroy Jeff Lindsay for the thoughtcrime of admitting there’s a difference between the sexes.

The Dark Passenger can be recognized by other people who are hosts to Dark Passengers. Sometimes this doesn’t happen on first meeting. Dexter wasn’t aware that Astor and Cody had Dark Passengers until he witnessed Cody ruthlessly stabbing a fish that he’d caught.

Each Dark Passenger seems to inhabit one person. It directs Dexter’s killing pattern— when he’s gone without killing for a while, Dexter’s Dark Passenger gets restless. Sometimes at a crime scene, the Dark Passenger flaps invisible bat-like wings to let Dex know that a particular crime is something to pay attention to— the work of a serial killer, someone Dexter needs to pay attention to.

The Dark Passenger seems to be a secularized version of a demon. It can leave its host. That happened to Dexter in one book. Dexter still wanted to kill without his Dark Passenger, but was not able to. I’ve wondered whether Dexter’s desire to kill at that time was more force of habit than anything. Or perhaps Dexter would have killed if he had never had a Dark Passenger to call his own, and Dexter was just missing his usual invisible partner in crime.

One of the Dexter books gives some info on an entity which is the father of all Dark Passengers. This entity tells of his witnessing the evolution of life on Earth, its love of witnessing creatures killing one another, and its preference for inhabiting human beings once they came along. The entity realized that it could initiate more killing by inducing humans to regard him as a god— such as Moloch– and encouraging human sacrifice. In Miami Moloch even convinces his followers to create a great metal bull statue to use in the sacrifices. You’d think Moloch, who preferred infant victims in his historical incarnation, would have been more than satisfied by the killing at Florida’s abortion mills, but I guess he liked a varied diet.

The interesting thing is, while Dexter is aware of his Dark Passenger and even at one point wonders if it is a demon, he for the most part mocks other characters’ beliefs in any form of the supernatural or in religion. But then I guess we are all blind to our own favorite lapses in logic.

Supreme Court: Barbarians at Our Gates

marriageWestern civilization: I’m going to miss it. I think we all are, including those who celebrated a tragedy by pasting rainbow symbols all over the internet and bullying those who wouldn’t do likewise.

No matter how much a person hates Western civilization, Christianity, the Catholic faith, man-woman marriage, and the family, we all depend on these things. When you need help, who will you turn to when Christian charity has been mocked, regulated, and punished out of existence? When you are old and need young people to pay in to your pension fund, to mow your lawn and to provide skilled nursing care when you need it, what will you do when your society values children so little that there are no longer enough people to help the aged— and no moral law telling those young people why they should.

In Pagan Rome, people were allowed to kill their slaves— by crucifixion— for any real or imagined misdeed. The father of a household could demand that a newborn baby of that household be killed by ‘exposure’— taken out and abandoned. Gladiatorial games grew out of a custom of having two slaves fight to the death at a funeral to provide a sort of human sacrifice in honor of the dead man.

Later in Rome, the emperor was declared a god, and people who for religious reasons could not give the emperor-god worship when asked to do so were executed in the arena for the entertainment of the masses.

This is how it was before Christianity civilized the Western world. What will it devolve to when the people with power are so definitively rejecting Christianity— along with human biology, logic and common sense?

But there is good news among the depressing stuff. The last time the Supreme Court made a decision this evil, people said everyone would accept it and the opposition would melt away or die off. On the fortieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, the March for Life was bigger and stronger than ever, and it was frequently remarked how many young people were getting active in the prolife movement.

I predict the same thing for this new decision. Human biology will not change. The teachings of the Bible and the Church can not change. And Christianity has endured far worse than this and rather than disappearing, it has grown stronger.

Without Christians, Who Would Forgive You?

fortnightforfreedomENMostly the news media today portrays Christians as ‘haters’ for not supporting things such as abortion, euthanasia, adultery as a Constitutional right, and faux gay ‘marriage’. But have you ever thought about how much more savage our society would be without Christians sharing their belief in forgiveness?

Kirsten Powers has an article in USA Today: Christians forgive the unspeakable. It’s inspired by the people who lost loved ones in the Charleston church shooting who have expressed forgiveness to the shooter. But it’s not just that one incident.

Since the Early Church, Christians who are serious about their faith have felt an obligation to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who prayed that the men responsible for his crucifixion would be forgiven. That’s the ultimate in forgiveness— forgiving those who are currently murdering you. But many Christian martyrs have done the same thing.

We don’t all commit mass shootings, and the only people who do crucifixions these days are ISIS terrorists. But we ALL have done something to other people that wasn’t right or kind. Any one of these things could lead to quarrels or even violence. But the example of Christian forgiveness can teach people— even non-Christians— how blessed it is to forgive.

Writers in the Land of Not-Good-Enough

Kitten Therese being bathed. Not Happy.

Kitten Therese being bathed. Not Happy.

From unpublished writers to bestselling authors, all writers tend to spend some time in the land of Not-Good-Enough. Even Stephen King has insecurities, and they are not about his antichristianism.

How do you deal with the inner voices that tell you that you— and your writing— are No Darn Good? That tell you that you are a fraud or a dilettante, that you can never write to the level of the authors you admire?

I think we need to face up to our Not-Good-Enough feelings. First, write down a list of the negative self-talk that runs through your brain while in Not-Good-Enough land.

For me, there is the ‘you never finish anything’ that I got from my parents, at which time it had nothing to do with writing. Also there is the ‘you have Asperger’s Syndrome, you are not REALLY clever at all in spite of your IQ, writing for your kind is HOPELESS’.

Then, go through your list for things you can do something about. If you are worried about your spelling and grammar, start a program to learn these things. If you feel you are not well read, start a reading program of great literature.

Dealing with the ‘you-never-finish’ thing, I am putting more effort in the kind of writing that I do, in fact, finish: poetry. I’m trying to write a poem, or work on an already-written poem, every day. It has helped me— I’ve actually finished a short story—- something I haven’t done in ten years. (I have nuclear-Armageddon level chronic writer’s block.)

The thing to remember is that you are in charge of your writing life, not that part of your mind that keeps repeating the Not-Good-Enough stuff. You can be a writer— if you are willing to put in the effort to write and to build up your skills.


tamburina danco/Fortnight for Freedom day 1


Fortnight for Freedom— a time of fasting and prayer for the restoration of Religious Freedom in the USA.

Poem shared at Poetry Pantry #257 at Poets United (which is not, actually, an English football team).

poem                                                         translation
tamburina danco                              tambourine dance

en la pin-arbaro                                        in the pine woods
la fraulaj tamburinoj                                the unmarried tambourines
dancas kamparan dancon                       dance a country dance
kaj esperas                                                 and hope

sed la fraulaj                                               but the unmarried
tamburoj                                                     drums
vendas drogojn                                          sell drugs
al la pluveroj                                              to the raindrops
kaj tute ne                                                   and don’t at all
rimarkas                                                      notice
la tamburinojn                                           the tambourines


The poem this week is in Esperanto. This was inspired by a suggestion in Sandford Lyne’s Writing Poetry From the Inside Out, that foreign-born poets translate the keywords into their own language. No, I am not a native of the mythical Esperantujo [Esperanto-land] nor is Esperanto my native language. But I love playing with words and I don’t always care what language I get them from.

The Esperanto poem contains a word play that cannot be translated. Esperanto uses a lot of affixes— suffixes and prefixes— to build words. One common affix is -in- which indicated female gender. So— hundo is dog, and hundino is a female dog.

The word for ‘tambourine’ is tamburino, which reminded me that the word for drum is tamburo. One could interpret the word tamburino as ‘female drum’ although the -in- in tamburino has nothing to do with female gender. But I took the interpretation of tamburino as female drum and ran with it.

Esperanto Information:

Free language lessons in Esperanto:

Fortnight for Freedom


I am a convert to the Catholic faith. (Yes, I know that gay women are supposed to LEAVE the Church, not join it. I’m independent that way.) And so when the Catholic bishops announce an annual period of prayer and fasting for religious freedom, and my Catholic internet buddies participate, I mark the occasion on my blog.

A lot of people don’t get why religious freedom is an issue for Catholics (and others) because many people don’t know what religious freedom is. There have been political figures who’ve called on Catholics and other Christians to change their basic beliefs and replace their Bibles with rewritten versions that conform to the politicians’ core beliefs. And yet they don’t admit that what they are doing erases the traditional concept of religious freedom.

You may agree or disagree with this concept— after all, thoughts are still free, since thoughts are hard to detect and punish. But if you want a little more info on Fortnight for Freedom, here is the link:

This blog will be covering the Fortnight for Freedom. I’m hoping to blog each day about it, and also include links to other people’s Fortnight for Freedom blog posts.

Poetic Resources:

New Poetic Market: Magdalena Lamont: Poetry from the Other Side is an online poetry ‘zine currently accepting submissions. Here is the submission information:

Facebook page for Sijo Poetry:

Goodreads poetry group Poetry Readers Challenge:  Group encourages members to read and review 20 poetry books a year. If you have a poetry book of your own out, you perhaps know how vital it is to get the book reviewed on Goodreads and This group makes it easier for that to happen.

Friday Update June 19th

0619150741This is a post for the Birth of a Novel blog hop.

My writing week:

Pretty good. On Monday I submitted poems to a poetry magazine, something I haven’t done since last fall. I wrote poems every morning from Monday to Thursday. I also finished a short story I had been working on a couple of months ago.

This last was quite a surprise to me. I’ve had severe struggles with writer’s block which have lead to me not being able to finish novels or short stories.

What is different this time is that I have been working to accept myself as a successful poet rather than seeing myself as a failed novelist and short story writer. Somehow that made a difference.

In other news, my mama cat Umberto decided yesterday it was time to move her kitten. The new home she chose for baby girl kitten Norbert was my favorite chair— a recliner which I also sleep in at night. So I woke up this morning to find Umberto nursing her kitten on my chest. That’s what happens when you have a mama’s baby cat who loves to hang out with her person, and that cat has a baby. She’s torn between staying with baby and getting attention from her person. (She went into labor on my lap, but I persuaded her to move to the kitten box by the time she actually gave birth.)

birth of a novel

Your Skin Color is Not Your Uniform

Thinking about the violent riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, I am saddened at how far we have to go into making a color-blind society where we are judged by the content of our character (if any) and not by our skin tone.

It has been illegal to have skin color preferences in hiring for longer than most Americans have been alive (with the exception of affirmative action based preferences). It ought not to matter. But for political reasons skin color divisions are being kept alive and well.

When we hear reports of incidents between police and suspects, isn’t it crazy to hear that the suspect shot by police had a ‘black’ skin color and the police officer who did the shooting had a ‘white’ skin color? Wouldn’t it be equally valid to report that the suspect had a blue shirt color and the police officer had a tan shirt color? Or that the suspect wore size 11 shoes and the police officer size 9s?

And imagine people listening to that last news report. “You just can’t trust those size 11 people,” says one man. “Those size 9 police officers just never give a size 11 man a break.”

And to think that all of one skin color group has to have the same opinion of such an incident— and that this whole skin color group needs to be placated or some of them will go out into the street and do property damage….. What a sad world we have.

But don’t go blaming people based on their skin tone here. It’s not the people, it’s certain political leaders that want to make careers for themselves as spokespersons for a ‘disadvantaged’ skin color. An example of this is Al Sharpton, allegedly a Christian minister but instead of spreading the Gospel he goes from place to place spreading skin color divisions. Other, only locally known men do likewise. Because without the skin color divisions, ‘black’ people would not need ‘black’ leaders, but could support ordinary candidates of any skin color based on their policies rather than their skin tone, just like ‘white’ people get to do.

One time I researched hard-core racist groups for a story I was writing. I came across the skinhead saying ‘Your skin is your uniform.’ This is bull.

In wartime we use uniforms to tell the two sides apart. But we are not in a skin color war. And if we were, what use would our skin be as a uniform? For most of us our skin color does tend to change based on sun exposure. And ‘black’ people can have such light skin that they are not easily distinguished from ‘white’ people.

Looking at a person’s skin color doesn’t give you accurate information about that person’s ethnic identity, economic level, education, religious convictions or politics. You have to actually talk to a person to find things like that out. And isn’t that what we should be doing more of— talking to one another to learn more about each individual’s uniqueness, rather than to score points off of one another as is the custom of the times?

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socks are underwear, after all!

socks are underwear, after all!

eating spaghetti with a cattle prod
the small byzantine child asks
mother may i keep this fish head
it followed me home

& the mother
a neophyte carpet prostitute, says
yes, but only if you
drink your opium
all gone

(c) 1990 Nissa Annakindt

Shared on Poets United‘s Poetry Pantry #256

Back in the day when I and this poem were a lot younger, absurd poems came much easier to me. These days I have to work to be that weird. Back when I first started writing poetry seriously, I submitted a lot of poems to various poetry markets, and was published. This particular poem was published in HEATHENzine’s Aug/Sept 1990 edition.

For a number of years I didn’t submit poems, but I’m starting again. I’m planning to submit a group of poems to Scifikuest, which publishes science fiction and horror themed haiku, sijo and other minimalist forms.

Have you ever submitted poems to a magazine? It’s a good idea to try, I think. Not the big high-level markets like Poetry magazine, but the smaller ones that are more open to beginning and not-yet-published poets. I get a copy of the annual book Poet’s Market every few years. I then check out the web site for each magazine I’m considering submitting to. Sometimes their requirements change or they are not open for submissions during some months.

Poets— do you read poetry books? And do you review them on and/or Goodreads?

It ought to be a given— if you write poetry, you should read the work of other poets, and not just online. Not enough people buy poetry books these days, or read them from libraries. But how can we expect our own poetry to be valued when we don’t show that we value other poet’s work by reading their books?

In the modern world, any poet can self-publish a poetry book or chapbook using CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, and other resources, and you don’t have to pay. But in order to get the books read, poets need to have their book reviewed at places like or Goodreads, and on people’s blogs. There is a group over at Goodreads that helps with that. It’s called Poetry Readers Challenge and group members have a goal of reading and reviewing 20 poetry books a year. I joined the group myself, and hope others will do the same.

And that’s My Poetic Life for this Sunday. How is your own poetic life going?

Birth of a Novel blog hop: Friday update

Over at Charity’s Writing Journey they’ve got a Friday blog hop where you update the world on your writing progress and then visit others on the hop. I’m up for that. Because otherwise I’d do nothing all day but look after 10 new kittens from 3 mama cats that have recently appeared in my life (I have barn cats).

My writing: I’m working to accept that I’m primarily a poet, not a novelist. So I’m resolving to write poetry every day and have done so every day this week. I haven’t gotten to it today yet.

I also started a short story and have worked on it for two days. The rough draft is going to be pretty rough, but that’s OK.

I’m also reading more poetry. I’ve joined a group over at Goodreads where we vow to read and review 20 poetry books in a year.

So that’s how my writing is going. Pretty good. Now if only I could close that portal to hell in my basement so the basement floor won’t get so wet….

Writing a Collom Lune

Step one in the adventure of writing a Collom lune— discover what a Collom lune is. Which involves knowing what a regular lune is. The lune is a poetic form— like the sonnet, haiku and rispetto. The lune was created by poet Robert Kelly, and is a poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 3 in the second, and 5 in the third. There are no other rules, unlike haiku.

Enter the poet Jack Collom. He was teaching a class of children to write poetry, and misremembered the rules for the lune. He had his students counting words, not syllables.

The Collom lune is also a tercet (three-line poem) but has 3 words in the first line, 5 in the second, and 3 in the third. There are no other rules.

While some readers may think of the Collom lune as something to use in a homeschooling lesson on poetry writing, the Collom lune can do more than that. It is a great poem for the serious poet to try.

In most poetry, it’s the syllable that’s important. That goes for an iambic pentameter poem as well as for a haiku or a sijo. By using word count, the poet can achieve interesting effects by using both multisyllable and one syllable words. I have written poems consisting of three or four Collom lunes together.

To write the Collom lune, I start with a group of keywords to give me ideas. I write down three lines that I hope end up in the 3-5-3 word structure, but I’m not too fussy. If the word count’s not quite right, I revise.

Like Jack Collom, I am a misrememberer. My first attempt at a Collom lune was 5-3-5, which I call a reverse Collom lune.

Collom lune examples:

When the sun’s
rays hit the shades, it
lights up lines

written by a schoolchild

An envelope labelled
loose change holds coins meant
for loose teeth

Robert Lee Brewer, Poetic Asides columnist

Fireflies weave light
threads through corn, bean fields.
Sparkling tapestry rises.


for poets, writers who are not poets, homeschooled kids, Barack Obama, and everyone else

Write a Collom lune today, using one of the following words as one of your keywords:


Feel free to share your Collom lune as a comment on this blog. Or share it on your own blog and put a link to it as a comment here. Or, if it turns out REALLY well, DON’T share it online, save it so you can submit it to a poetry market (which consider blogging a poem to be a form of previous publication, which is why I haven’t shared one of the few Collom lunes I’ve written here.)

Poetic Asides: The Lune: