Forever Like a Dove

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 19 Sep 2023

"Apollo has been recognized as a god of archery, music
and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases,
the Sun and light, poetry, and more."

"Apollo is Spanish for 'a chicken.'"
Pablo Smog


Yo mom,

I was thinking about the first time we crossed the border.  There was a Mexican kid at the gas station, tripping on hardcore Photoshop drugs.  He offered to take our picture with an obsolete imagery-capturing device.  Do you remember?  He snapped the pic, which projected the subjective experience of his Photoshop trip onto the film.  The image stuck out from the unwieldy mechanical device like a flat, colorful tongue.  The image either sat on the dashboard of a portable meth lab in the sun, or was a freak occurrence of future-tech, in the ye olde here and now.  Your face looks all warped, and the dog is melting happily into the seat beside you.  It's an unrealistic, anachronistic image.  The kind of technology necessary to project the visual effects of a Photoshop trip onto paper (or anything) wasn't available until I was in my 40s.  This makes me think the Mexican kid was some kind of Terminator agent from the future.  A spy, or perhaps a benevolent one, who had a side-hustle shaking down gringos at the border for psychedelic Photoshop Polaroids while helping Enrique build his helicopter fortress in the Sonoran desert.  Y'know, to survive the nukular apoplexy, the apocalypse of chicken lips, the imagined, imminent return of the Greek-fried fake Apollo gods.  Is it Putin, or Apollo, who will finally push the button?  Apollo, or a pollo?  Chickens seeking truth?  Breaded, sage philosophers submerged in salted grease?  A Terminator gumball salesman?  Prighozin's ghost, or maybe Biden?  A janitor from the lunar jellybean program, trapped inside a future kid from 40 years ago?

Hard to say.  The picture, though, is my most cherish-ed possession.


Also anachronistic is the Pablo Smog sticker, which is more unbelievably-prominent than anything else in the background that day.  I can't even tell what planet we're on, looking at the pic, but there's Pablo Smog anyway, 40 years ahead of time, dripping down the wall like the chemical printout of a tongue, developed in the underlife.

Well, mom, I just wanted you to know that I found him.  Pablo Smog took your post-apocalyptic, fictional advice, and began the long process of befriending all the Spanish-speaking robot dogs in a small town with no Google Street View, in preparation for the end.  Here he is not pointing the camera at anyone, to thwart the Terminator bosses at facial recognition-Tube.

Perhaps it isn't wise to build communities of dead people, corpses in the mist, scrolling through their flu-phones.  Will they really have your back, when the Russian Roulette wheel spinning in the playground of unquestioned normalcy bias finally lands on double naught, and they are consumed by the fast-food bombs of yet another mini-me Apollo, a robot chicken overlord loaded to the gills on synthetic morality and wine?  Will their kids turn into marshmallows, roasting by the fire?  Will they stand before the gates of eternity without ever asking once, why it is we have to die?   Cuz it's getting kinda weird out there, don't you think?

You did say, "siempre como culebra," upon meeting Enrique in the doomsday desert, when we arrived there that one time with Uncle Bob.  

Always like a snake.  Not the worst advice I've ever heard from a spaghetti documentary, disguised as a sci-fi film.

Did we travel upstream against the tide of northbound immigrants to make it to Enrique's place?  Aliens, invaders, 8-bit hustlers from outer space?  Termites in the voting bloc.  Whatever you wanna call them.  Did we travel south against the current?  Are we the final carriers of the proto-English flame, fist-bumping the covertly-armed car mechanics who offer us a drink on our birthday in towns that have never been photographed, and in which the Google surveillance car has never been?

Is it siempre como culebra, or siempre como paloma?

Forever like a snake, or forever like a dove?


Do the dogs work for the cartel, or are they shouting "Happy Birthday Gringo," while threatening to chew my face off?


Both, perhaps.  Be as crafty as a snake, and harmless as a dove.  Sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself, on the day you die.

Why not.


"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of
wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents,
and harmless as doves."
Matthew 10:16


Unfortunately, mom, the font in the "Paloma" image above isn't free for commercial use, but there are 2 other font options available on my Redbubble, including the ICBM font, which was chosen for its horrible, apropos appropriateness.  Lick the clink for all your post-apoplectic merch needs.  Including hardcover journals and spiral notebooks, in which to record your final dying words, at the moment of your demise.  Or the bloody curses of your dying enemy, over whom you have achieved a Pyrrhic victory from which you may never recover, as the case may be.

Forever like a dove, building sandcastles of words on the shores of the burning, hoary hula coast,

Just like you taught,

John Connor


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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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