Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Uncle Hugo's 1974-2020

An empire of the imagination, Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore, the US's oldest (and only surviving) independent science fiction/fantasy bookstore was not only a well-loved local landmark, but a site of pilgrimage for readers all over the Midwest as well.

Now it's gone.

(It also had the grungiest men's room in the Midwest, which—on the evidence of it—had never once been cleaned since the store was founded in 1974. Ah, fandom.)

An unknown arsonist or arsonists burned it to rubble and ash on the night of Friday, May 29, in the arson that has stalked the first George Floyd protests here in the Twin Cities like a withering shadow.

I stand on the sidewalk before the hollow cave of the ruins. Strata of burned books carpet what was once the basement floor.

Touchingly, some people have left flowers. I, however, am here for another purpose.

I raise my arms. The raw words of my curse ring back and forth from wall to ruined wall.

I curse the burner, the burners.

Him, her, or them: I curse them by Flame, by Ash, by the Wane's withering Breath.

On their own heads I call down the morth-work of their hands and hearts.

Ninefold I call it down.

My words have power. I feel the ashes drinking them down.

I lower my arms. Turning to leave, I notice a clutch of disaster tourists across the street, still filming. I wave. Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed the show.

That's how we do things on the Southside.


Uncle Hugo's


Hail and Farewell

Reborn to the People


To aid in the rebirth of Uncle Hugo's:


To aid in the rebirth of small business on Lake Street:







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Tagged in: curse curses hex hexes
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz Thursday, 04 June 2020

    If I could have levitated my body off this cruel and inexplicable world yesterday, even if it would have meant a cold and breathless death between mother earth and brother moon, I would have done it gladly.

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