19 November 2006

Poem for November

One wonders if life
is nothing more than
a pantomime of
all the bullshit we've read,
all the fairy tales
and happy endings,
that song playing
on the radio.

My television wants
to suck my soul dry
and steal all my ideas,
but the eternal hard-on
will not go down.

This culture is killing me
and everyone else
with its cigarettes
and its savage approximation
of the truth.

I have to watch
five talking heads,
read three different newspapers
and fuck myself twice
before I even know
what's going on.

We live in a world
only mothers could
lie about
and tell us
everything is going
to be all right,
but we know,
we know: the poets lie also.

30 September 2006

They Say I Should Write More...


They say I should write more. So I light a cigarette and try to find a way to tell them the well has dried up, that there aren’t any words left in this cracked vessel. I no longer carry water; the few precious drops of wine left quickly evaporating into the air. I sense them in the invisible spaces between my eyes and the wall, hear their faint rustling like wind in the trees, but I can no longer touch them, bend them into words written on pages. I take a drag of my cigarette and watch as the smoke exhaled draws shapes across the air, a paragraph here, a sentence there. I reach out for them, but come back empty-handed. They say I should write more, but the words I bond to paper with my pen flake off and float away.

My characters cry out against the famine engulfing them. They starve off little by little until there is hardly anything left, but the desiccated corpses of fictional characters. I remember somewhere a discussion I had with someone about the use of the present tense in describing the characters from a book because, though the author may be dead, their characters live on. I wonder about the half-formed, nameless ones lying on pages scattered about the floor, their empty, fleshless faces and vacuous eyes staring at the ceiling. Can they feel their immortality? Do they realize they are doomed to suffer an eternity of hell, only partially written, partially finished? Do they realize that even if I take all the pages of all the half-thoughts and momentary delusions I’ve written over the last few years and burn them that they, my incomplete creations, will still exist, still live and breathe, but only in the cracked forms I have given them?

A cry of anguish attempts to break out of my throat, but is cut off before it can be uttered. A sense of guilt knots itself into my stomach, and I know that I cannot leave them to this fate, that I must give birth to them, must breathe life into them regardless of my fears of imperfection and failure. I wonder did God, in attempt to write the Beginning, have such thoughts of failure? I wonder also if someone somewhere might not have burned me at the stake for uttering such blasphemies. I laugh for the first time in several days; a real laugh. It bridles against the sides of my mouth, dances around my tongue and escapes into the air. I watch it float off, holding tightly to the shape I’d given it, not willing to dissolve and become nothing. I feel its brothers and sisters, grief and anger and pain and joy dancing a mad dervish dance in the center of my being. I wait for the madman. He comes.

He whispers in my ear all the little details of a life that never was, of its loves and joys, its horrible end. I use the words to wrap around the breaches in my cracked vessel, use them to repair what was broken. I bond the words to my frame and grow fat on their blood. I hear the tale of a woman who lost her child to the wolves, only to be devoured by the same ravenous wolves and a hauntingly familiar wolf-child with her eyes. They circled her and leapt nipping her flesh until she could no longer stand. And lying there, bleeding on the ground, I approach and kneel as though genuflecting to lap up the pools of blood. I walk off as her cries and the cries of the wolves mingle into one song.

I pause before a window and watch as two lovers become one. My finger traces out their story on the windowpane. I wander off to find a man sitting in front of a typewriter smoking a cigarette, trying to find the words he has lost. I whisper in his ears till they bleed. I lick the small trickle of blood off his neck and settle down in the chair where he is sitting, my body becoming transparent, like smoke. I entwine myself in his limbs; feel his fingers become mine. I start to write…

22 August 2006

One.


The problem is I am not sitting here writing this and you are not reading this. I am not real. I am simply a character in someone else's novel. So are you. There is no messianic import to my statements; I wish only to convey the truth as I see it. Whatever you take from this is no consequence to me, for I am simply a messenger of the author, or the Author, if you will. This is no strange, new concept, for we have long considered the idea of Fate to be in the hands of God. I simply profess that my fate lies in the hands of the Author. I give him no attributes such as man has commonly given God, but see him in the light of human error.

Perhaps, the Author is out there somewhere in the night, or the day, writing furiously to keep up with the succession of moments, his or her hand cramping with slivers of pain crawling up their arm. Perhaps, these moments were written half a century ago, the Author long dead to the flesh, nothing more than an idea immortalized in these words. Or else, they are forgotten to Time, but in the thoughts of a scant few readers before falling asleep after a brief hour reading before bed.

These thoughts consume many of my waking hours, but I have just had a revelation of sorts. I suddenly saw the world through the eyes of the Author, tinged with a crystalline precision, an almost absolute form of vision. I was not frightened, but intrigued by what I saw. I saw a man walking down the street. I saw that he was almost transparent; as though I could look through him, look through his life both forwards and back. I knew how he died, how he was born, how he had injured his ankle stumbling drunk off a curb after drinking five beers and two shots of cheap whiskey. I asked myself, in doubt, whether he had not sprained his ankle because of the natural sequence of events one would expect from drinking to excess, or whether or not he had been implied in my thoughts because I had created him.

My sure step wavered and I nearly fell over with the shear weight of realization. I had created this moment. I created this scenario in my head: the alley I was walking down to avoid the curious eyes of the world; the halogen street light half a block away with it's halo of nocturnal angels dancing through the night believing they were revolving around the moon; a silent, spurious breeze passing across my face...

01 August 2006

Real Enough

I've been staying awake longer, not sleeping. I've been staying away longer as well. Afraid to come back. But from where? And to where? I've been drinking longer and longer stretches of time, never quite drunk. I haven't been sleeping longer, though. That's the one thing that doesn't add up. I feel like something is out of balance. Something feels wrong. Something. Me? The whole fucking world?

The Middle East burns with the heat of a thousand towers falling. Violence. Terror. Fear. Death. Always Death, ever present. The world spinning off its axis-something wrong, out of whack. Am I becoming the same? Is my internal motor off, burning out? I can smell the ozone in the air, the tingling of the fine hairs on my arms, my ears starting to hum. The world is smoldering. I feel like it will soon erupt, pop loudly, and with a sigh, go out. Thousands upon thousands of years, millions upon millions of lives- gone. Gone. Only the dust will remain. The dust. And the wind. The wind blows the dust about in spiraling clouds, almost...like galaxies?

The wind blows cold and hot. Blowing. Blowing. Passing through the eves of an old, creaking house. Around the roof. Trying to find a way in. And you can hear it, clawing at the walls. At the windowpanes with fingers made of lifeless branches. The dead. The undead. Swaying in the wind. The swirling cacophony of wind. I listen to it even though I know it's all in my head, as though I were young again, reading Poe and Lovecraft in the middle of the night, no one else awake but me. Clocks ticking everywhere. And the sound of the wind. Clocks ticking, calling off the minutes and hours, ticking off the seconds into the future with a grave authority speaking from centuries long turned to dust. Counting down the minutes and hours until the end. Forever and a day. And the last night on earth.

Forever and a day. And a night. What will the last day of your life be like? And the last night? What will you do with it? Will you know? Will you sense it coming and prepare yourself? Will you be capable of having a perfect death? The Perfect Death? The one that is just for you? Not too bitter. Not too sweet. Will you cry out into the darkness with rage and fear? Or will you whimper and beg forgiveness from your God? Will you be caught unawares, blindsided by Fate? Will you lose yourself in the contemplation of your death? Or will you claim ignorance, as though you didn't know of Death?

I hate to tell you this, but...Death is real. Your Death is real. It has a name, whether Suicide. Or Cancer. Or Drowning. Or Burning. Maybe it will be a head-on collision with a Ford F100 driven by Larry who is recently divorced because he drank too much because he lost his job at the factory because he dreamt constantly of what his life would have been like had he not left college in the middle of his third year because Sheila Dawson had broken his heart after a year and a half of bliss because it wasn't as blissful after all, as he had thought, because he was drunk half the time, and besides, she'd met someone, Jake, who treated her the way she was meant to be treated, even if he later called her names and beat her until there was nothing left but a cracked shell of a woman who later took sleeping pills in a motel room in Kansas and never woke up, who, even though she had broken his heart, Larry loved with all his soul, and is currently thinking about while driving 68 mph down a two-lane highway, swerving back and forth across the double yellow line that means "Do Not Pass", at 7:30 in the morning, eight beers past the legal allowable limit thinking really hard about that Sheila Dawson and how much he really did love her, even if, even if she had broken his heart and shattered his dreams, while you, O nameless character, are fiddling with the knob on your radio dial trying to get clear reception so you can listen to the weather report to find out if it will rain tomorrow and whether you should bring your umbrella to work because you're afraid the rain will flatten your hair out, thus showing the world the poor comb-over you use to hide your bald head because Sara at the office might not smile at you when you say, "Hello, Sara. You look lovely this morning," all while you are trying hard to be as charming and handsome as possible, even though you're already married, have been for twelve blissful years, even though it doesn't feel like bliss right now because your wife isn't the same person you married, and neither are you, for that matter, but at least you try to act positive, be supportive, even if she won't, and you haven't had sex in the last three months because she doesn't feel like it and because you don't really care either because she's really let herself go in the last few years and she weighs twice as much as she did when you first met and started dating your second year of college, and because, really, you want to taste those beautiful twenty-three year old lips belonging to Sara at the office, and so here you are, moments away from your own death, thinking about fucking her on your desk some night when you're both working late and she suddenly stops working to tell you she's been secretly in love with you since the moment she laid eyes on you, and you are telling her the same thing, and then you're both ripping each other's clothes off and thrusting with the entire weight of your being, your soul, your very heart, and you're moaning so loud and grunting and calling out each other's name, and the name of God, and you're on the verge of the greatest, most satisfying orgasm of your life, when you realize you've missed the weather report, and you'll just have to bring your umbrella along, just in case, and besides you're afraid of your own hair and not the fact that Larry has just come around a bend in the road, has just crossed far over into your lane, is now traveling at 73 mph, trying to open another beer, still thinking of Sheila Dawson, while you are headed towards him at 62 mph, for a combined total of 135 mph, while you grope yourself thinking of the last residual moments of Sara's 23 year old cunt wrapped around your five and a half inch cock, in fact, almost the last thoughts of your boring, safe, pathetic life before you and Larry collide, killing poor, lonesome Larry instantly, the steering column finally completing the job Sheila Dawson had done so long ago by crushing his chest and heart, although you still have a few more painful moments of life before your very own Death.

This is your death. Are you ready for it? As you lay dying on the asphalt, the blood pouring out of your eyes and ears, you blink away red tears and see a tall figure coming towards you. He seems to have no discerning features. He may or may not be dressed in black, as though for a funeral. He seems to have something to tell you. He is now kneeling down and leaning over you. He puts his hands gently on both sides of your broken and bleeding face, and now he leans even closer to you and kisses your forehead. Still holding your head in his hands, he says, "I am sorry for the pain I've caused you. I didn't mean for it to end this way."

"Are you God?" you ask, choking back tears.

"Yes. And no," the stranger answers. "I am your creator, but I am not God."

I see the reaction on your face, and realize my words have hurt you more than the crash, that there is more you want to ask me. So, I lean closer, my ear almost touching your bloody lips, and still I can barely hear you.

"What...is my...name?" you ask with desperately imploring eyes, bright and dull at the same time.

I'm so sorry. You don't have one. I never gave you one. Then you die in my arms and I take your death away from you. A small tear rolls down my cheek. I recoil suddenly. Suddenly aware I have given Life and taken it. I feel like a child who has just killed a bug beneath its foot, though it hadn't meant to step on it. Now the child cries at the sight of the bug, lifeless and crushed on the sidewalk. Have I killed you? Will you, poor nameless character, now haunt me? Will I now wonder whether I am not just the figment of someone's imagination? I tremble at the thought, the warm summer evening growing chill. I feel the skin on my arms go goosey. I'm not the figment of someone's imagination, am I? Am I!? I'm real. I'M REAL! I shout into the bar and everyone grows silent, looking at me.

"You're real enough. Now, pay your tab and get out of here. You're scaring the clientele."

19 July 2006

Somewhere between here and there...

He went east across the mountains until there were no trees, only scrub grass and sage all around him, and the infinite blue sky above. He came to the mighty Columbia, cold and dark, roaring with the voice of a thousand years and more, ever moving, ever replenishing itself. He stopped the car and stood looking out over the great river and the dun-colored cliffs draping it's sides. A thin bead of perspiration broke out on his brow. He wiped it away. He remembered Heraclitus then, and his wisdom of waters: "You cannot step into the same river twice, for the waters are ever flowing, ever changing." After a while, he got back in his car and drove on. He passed mile after mile of sagebrush, gnarled and low to the ground, barely a hint of color to their branches. Some had long since given up the ghost, flitting about the earth in search of home; lost souls seeking heaven, tumbling along.

He'd once thought of this place as hell, as a blasted heath upon which no one in their right mind would live. Yet, he had been wrong. There were those who called this place home and made for themselves a life, albeit, one which moved at a different pace than the rest of the world. Here, the days seemed longer, the sun slower in it's arc across the sky. There was something he could not grasp about this place. It's lack of limits, the endless expanse of sky all around him. One could look east and west, north and south, and see the great bowl of the sky meeting the land as though there were nothing beyond those hills but the edge of the earth. He'd often looked off into the distance, trying to see where heaven and earth met and the void began.

He had learned slowly, over many years, that the void began and ended inside, not out. One only had to look into themselves to see where the void began. Perhaps, he was projecting what he saw in himself when he stared into the mirror, saw the intricate swirls of green in his eyes that made him think of far off galaxies and great distances the mind could only comprehend in cold, logical numbers. Somewhere between here and there. He took a quick look in his rear view mirror at his eyes, saw the familiar spark, then he lit a cigarette and stared ahead at the road.

05 July 2006

He sighs with the entire weight of his being and wonders whether the never-was-real place in his mind is really as far away as it seems, whether he might not still  be able to find it, touch it even as it fades away into nothing more than a lack of feeling, the absence of something he cannot describe. He sighs again and lights a cigarette. He exhales. He feels a heaviness in his body, something he has felt before and never wanted to again, but here it is, alive again. He wonders if it isn't despair he feels as he swims through the motions of extinguishing his cigarette in the ashtray, absently crushing the smoldering tip and watching the last few whisps of smoke twirl into the air and disappear. 

01 June 2006

The Great Morning

The great morning, alive and waking to the world. The mountain casts its silhouette over the city, hulking and mad, a smoking volcano waiting to erupt. Traffic goes back and forth with the frenetic speed of early risers waking late to run off to work and toil in meaningless symmetry with the dead-minded approach of gold and silver to cast their sarcophagi in ornate decoration, the only solace for a lifetime of slavery. I am alive in the morning, rising at seven before my usual hour of ten. I have slept off the night, dreamt strange dreams I no longer remember and am not sad they are gone, forgotten. I have the morning and the traffic and the old man walking by o the street trying to stay younger than death, but Death is old as time and waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs in the early hours of some evening, waiting like a patient, old friend at the bottom of the stairs for him to descend a little too quickly, missing the bottom step and plunging down and to his death. And Death stands there with a warm sardonic grin, saying, “Hello, old friend. I’ve been waiting for you a long time here at the bottom of the stairs.” And off they go, hand in hand towards the eternal dark awaiting us all. But today I am here and alive and watching the morning as though I were the Angel of Death come to take them all away; here I am waiting for the coffee to percolate, not waiting too long and taking my mug and replacing it under the thin spout of coffee shooting out of the machine to fill my mug and not spill too much. Here I am sipping piping hot coffee and smoking a cigarette like a raging volcano waiting to erupt. And that is what I am, a volcano waiting for the perfect moment to erupt my fury upon the unsuspecting crowd gathered below me to see why after centuries of quiet the thunder god should begin his rumblings all over again. The look on their faces as the lava rushes towards them is priceless, or rather worth the waiting and the toiling in mindless oblivion, working my arms and legs into a frenzied froth of sweat and blood for the sake of someone else. But now my arms and legs, my brain and my cock serve me and no one else—I am become the master of my own fate. And how poorly I manage it! How poorly I serve myself when for so long I have served faithfully and mindlessly for others. I must teach myself the honor and joy one finds in working for himself, must remember that I am no longer the slave of wages and hours, but the maker of my own system. I am become the volcano waiting for the right moment to erupt and spew myself over half the sky and all the world, choking the air black as night and thick as wolves. I am awake and alive, the very heart of the volcano come to life, waiting, waiting. And all the while, they come and go on the street in their shiny cars that define the color and contour of their souls traveling towards a destination they would rather not think about except in movies where the hero dies at the end of a long and grueling battle with the forces of evil, triumphant even in defeat. But they do not know that they are simply waiting for the chance to descend the stairs a little too quickly, waiting for the stairs to slip from under them on a quiet night with no pomp and certainly no circumstance. They are waiting for their death even though they rush too quickly into the arms of Death at an awkward hour and forgot to live while they toiled away the hours and spent their blood-stained gold on useless trinkets and fools’ paradises imagined by Mongoloid idiot recluses working hard to sell the world something it never needed and will never need. They rush too quickly into the arms of Death expecting Jesus or the Devil and finding only Death, calm and patient, a warm embrace compared to the cold certainty of oblivion. And I think of all the hours and all the days I spent in this mad rush towards something that did not exist, never existed but in dreams of dead men and fools who were promised something more than an empty grave for a bed and worms for neighbors. I am alive and sitting calmly watching the fools rush to and fro like ants. But ants have a more noble purpose, one they accept without the gold and certainty of religion men need in order to stave off the demons of doubt that descend upon them in the dead of night when the pastor is sleeping soundly like the fool he is in his bed, and the boss is toasting to the backs of his slaves who work for a pittance of what they are worth. It descends upon them from a dead sleep and they suddenly wake with a start and wonder what the loud noise was coming from the bottom of the stairs and so they jump out of bed and rush down to meet the intruder only to find Death lurking at the bottom of the stairs, his smile ever present on his face, a study in the virtue of patience. The great morning rises out of the clouds and warms my skin, blinding me, but I am alive and in love with the world even with all of its faults and fools, in love with the world and ready for the new day like a volcano that has begun to rumble and will soon erupt…

25 May 2006

The Name of My Novel is Novel

To say where it all begins is to lessen the fact that it happened. I had been living in an apartment with two of my closest friends and business partners, while running a small used bookstore. We got along quite well the three of us, Sky, Ben and myself. We were always of a mind to get a few bottles of wine, or whatever seemed appropriate for the evening, and drink the night away pounding on one or another typewriters that were always present and always in need of some maintenance. We would pass the machine back and forth across a small card table set up in the middle of the room, which always seemed to be covered in ashtrays and half full wine bottles, a stack of books one or the other of us had taken home from the store. It was a rather small studio apartment and all of us basically lived in a large room along with a psychotic cat and an indifferent, depressed iguana. There was a kitchen with a defective sink with a short basin that would clog up and overflow if you tried to wash dishes in it, as well as a small bathroom with concrete floors and a large, ominous claw-foot bathtub sitting against the wall. The apartment was on the third floor of one of those older buildings that at one time had been a hotel of ill-repute, and had large, open beamed ceilings on the first floor where any number of businesses have come and gone over the years. You find these buildings in all cities from the megalopolis to the small trading burg in the middle of nowhere. The men who built these buildings did so in order to make their cities grow, to make their wallets swell with money and for prestige to lay its’ wreathe upon their necks. In an attempt to make their personal empires grow, these men built their buildings and their cities on the edges of the continent, in port towns along both coasts, on the plains in the juncture of railroad lines, anywhere there was money to be made. The city of Olympia is no different, and is quite small. It is at the ass-end of the Puget Sound, on of the last ports before crossing into Oregon and California. A port town attracts the same type of men and women, the sailors and seamen of bygone days who lived, and still do, amongst the waves rather than on the land, and who would venture only as far on shore as to be able to have a clear view of the harbor and another boat to take them away to distant ports where they again became nameless and faceless, just another sailor with no history, but a long and adventurous, if slightly exaggerated, story trailing behind them where ever they went. Port cities, even Olympia, were inhabited by sailors worthy of Melville and whores not even the old western novels could convince you existed, but they were also inhabited by hard stock, sturdy folk from the upper reaches of the Hudson Valley, from Minnesota and the environs surrounding the bread basket of America, the Dutch and Irish immigrants who had at first, a generation before, stepped in the footsteps of their fathers and mothers, their grandparents, lived and suffered in the great cities of the East Coast, had been slaved into poverty in Boston and New York, broken in the humid heat of North and South Carolina, and finally wanted to escape from the drudgery of a still fresh, if decomposing New World. They sought after richer lands where farms still grew in abundance and life could be lived on a steadier pace without the reminders of the hustle and bustle of large cities that swallow your soul whole and leave you tired and broken at the end of it all. They sought this kind of freedom here on the West Coast, and they found it to a degree, but they also found that the rough edges of a city were as yet honed compared to the scarred coasts of Washington and Oregon and California, and here I think most specifically of Big Sur and its churning, blasted coast line that cuts into your mind and leaves you breathless before the magnificence of this unfinished landscape where God seems to have left off and not returned. And so it is Olympia where these forces and people met in direct opposition to each other, and where I found myself. The studio apartment housed the three of us, the cat and an iguana I had adopted from a close friend who could no longer take care of it, and was going to set it free in the desert. We were a motley bunch, drunks with passion and the sharp clear edge of our tongues to bite at the bit and the hand that fed us. Being young, we often ventured into the bars early in the evening and did not leave until the last call had been made and the bartenders had told us to leave. We would stumble out into the night and walk down the road the stone’s throw away we lived where we would open the last bottle of wine and turn the music up loud enough to hear it from the street down below. There was no end to what we threw out the window on nights like these, usually accompanied by a few friends eager to ingratiate themselves with the wine bottle while we were busy causing trouble.


There are a series of what seem to me endless nights, though they have ended and are long gone, like the memories we have of childhood which are ever-present yet altered by time and age; nights where we ingested one drug or another to stimulate further our deranged minds; nights filled with the swirling colors and melting walls of hallucinogenic mushrooms or LSD, or some powdered substance or another that would make our thoughts race along at dangerous speeds. There was always pot smoke mingling with cigarette smoke, and a cloud of electrons spinning madly through our altered minds. At times, the walls of our studio would seem to vanish, to become translucent, and suddenly we could see out onto the street, and still further beyond towards Seattle and down to Portland. The dimensions of Time and Space seemed brittle before these visions and you would find yourself roaming somewhere over the Pacific, or perhaps standing on the peak of an unnamed mountain on an uncharted continent still filled with magic and mystery mingling with the morning dew. Standing thus upon the edge of an undiscovered country at the end of the world, we failed to realize we stood on the very edges of our childhoods, on the verge of becoming adults. It seems so naïve looking back to not have seen what was coming, not to have heard the bell as it tolled for us, but there we stood looking down on all of creation and not realizing we were so close to the Fall, the final steps out of the Garden.
The night has grown long on me and now, from my vantage point, I see the drunks start to roam their drunken way up the hill and out of downtown, trying to thumb a ride as they have always done and will always do until Time deems it necessary to end and the world and everything we have known are gone and turned to dust. So much has changed and so much will always stay the same. I am still the last one to trail off to sleep at night, pounding away on my typewriter while my friends have moved along in other directions or been forced to by circumstance. It seems I have not changed, am still the person I was then, though a bit older, a bit more cynical. I wonder at times like these whether it is not my defect, rather than theirs, which has kept me in this place and in this way; whether I might not be the broken one who will never change, but become a traveler by necessity and a stranger to all those I have loved and left behind as I stand still. As it always does, spring has brought out in me a sense of desperation and futility that all life is but what you make of it, and I am doing a rather poor job of it. I have always felt I was on the edge of something, moments away from plunging off and out of sight, that something would happen to radically alter my being, but then nothing happens, or I am too dense to notice it until long after the fact. As the air warms and the flowers start to bloom, a seed, a simple thought begins to grow in my mind and I am overcome with a sense of sadness that beckons me into the past to stare at all the works of man and realize my small place amongst them, amidst the past and the future, which are no different, and realize there is no point to history or the universe; that the cosmos simply churns along, a blind gurgling river of truth and not-truth containing the seed to every action and the germ of every thought; that there is no other point to the simple sufferings we make ourselves endure other than the desire to feel something and tell ourselves that we are strong and the world is right; that Heaven and Hell are where they ought to be; that the heavens hold for men what they have always held for men: the possibility of something greater, more meaningful, more true than even the most vivid dream that is remembered long after you have woken, remembered long after you have slept and dreamt a thousand different dreams, becoming the quintessential, absolute state of dreaming ever afterwards.

09 May 2006

Thoughts on a Train...

Riding the train to California. I feel apprehension at seeing her again after so long. I wonder if this won't be good-bye and so long, whether this will only lead to more doubts of self and purpose, whether I won't give up everything for her and the promise of something with more flash and excitement. Part of me wants nothing more than to stay gone, never return to Olympia.

But I know well enough there are demons wherever you go- especially when you carry them with you. I want to be free and wandering the back alleys of the world like Miller, although I know he wasn't free from doubt and fear...the same way Kerouac was never free, but hounded by his demons through novel after novel, ultimately drinking himself to death while watching the Galloping Gourmet on his mother's color television.

No, they weren't free from gravity or passions or the bodily urges to piss and shit and vomit their souls out; weren't separate from death and only achieved immortality through the repetion of empty words as invocations of lives and deaths and myths and metaphors and ellipses...

My thoughts trail off and I stare out the window as dirt roads trail off to someplace I wish I could follow. A small creek winds its way down past the railroad tracks, full with the spring's rain. It's gray outside my window, the light diffusing over the trees, casting my thoughts with melancholic hues. In less than a day I will be in San Francisco, home to a girl, rather a woman, I love and fear. I wonder how close we can be? How far apart we have become in these last two months; whether we can rekindle some thing that was in jeapardy of dying before she left.

06 May 2006

My Self

The truth of the self comes in the form of slights and faints, shadow glimpses caught in the flicker of light by the window, and in the blink of an eye. The self comes, as if out of nowhere, and disappears just as quickly. And how it seems to elude your attempts to study it. And still, it is all around you, at all times, making the motions you use to search and never find your self. I have searched in countless books and studied, if only poorly, hundreds of people, yet can see no comparison between them, as though they were completely different species of men. They come from different realities not unlike the one I inhabit, yet they are different as night and day.

I am coming to realize the fiction of man, that it is men and women who are the shallow, two-dimensional creations of a poor author. Those who inhabit the realm of books, bounded by the margins on the page, and locked away in dusty, unread volumes for years without hope of escaping the black and white contours of their existence, are more real to me than the man who asks me for a cigarette on the street as I walk by, more real than the woman who looks up from her book in the coffee shop to glance in my direction as I pass her table on my way down the street.

Even my own life comes to resemble the architecture of a novel. Set to the bland, often meaningless track of my thoughts, I realize it seems nothing like a good novel at all, and I the poor author who fails to breathe the gift of life into himself and his creations. I fall off the elusive moment into a litany of small sufferings that never end, never allow me a chance to find my balance before plunging off in another erratic direction. I feel the gyroscope of my self falling forwards and backwards and down so many times I imagine the inside of my thoughts to be black and blue; so bruised and bloodied and benumbed by aching spasms my thoughts are nothing more than a weak and unsatisfying wine distilled out of the blood and bones held loosely together by the carapace of my head.

Thus, the weary and encrusted pustule of my mind leaks like a sieve the thoughts I would save for the right moment to marry to words and paper. Even this elusive, narrative jargon of half-thoughts and lost images becomes a canvas of my self, a broken mosaical monstrosity of attempted and aborted undertakings caught for a split second in the blink of the eye; an image out of nowhere, gone again to the mysteries and meanings I neither remember, nor need. The drunken, mad wailings of my thoughts for the underlining structure of my self, the inquisitive eye turned inwards and out, are nothing more than minor quakes of the mind, the gasping for air while in the death throes and last rites long before the end, long before the tectonic shifting of my thoughts, the cataclysmic earth shaker devouring all and sundry.

It is the habit of people to believe themselves a part of a grand and unique (his)story rich in meaning and cause, while secretly fearing the worst; a horrible seed of doubt growing in the mind disclaiming any and all foolish ideas or beliefs, and they are all foolish. The temples and altars we have constructed over the centuries within our minds to reflect the elusive figure in the mirror will fall into dust and disappear beneath the earth, covered over by newer, more alien structures we cannot even imagine...

22 March 2006

"I do think many writers have what you might call a demonic nature. They are always in trouble, you know, and not only while they're writing or because they're writing, but in every aspect of their lives, with marriage, love, business, money, everything. It's all tied together, all part and parcel of the same thing. It's an aspect of the creative personality. Not all creative personalities are this way, but some are."

                                           -Henry Miller

15 March 2006

He Tells Me The Thing To Worry About Isn't Your Thirtieth Birthday

He tells me the thing to worry about “…isn’t your thirtieth birthday, but the thirty-fifth one.” You’re all the way to forty practically and there isn’t much left but the downward slope. You can feel the anguish in his words; sense the weight behind his thoughts. Listen, I say, look at it this way: you’re at the pinnacle of your life. You can live another thirty-five years and this is only the half-way point. Everything after this is easy sailing. What’s the problem with that, I ask.

Nothing doing. He isn’t really listening to me, and, for my part, I’m not supposed to be answering him. Something about a twenty-six year old man-child telling a grown man, almost thirty-five, what to do. Besides, it’s a rhetorical question that has no answer. But for some reason they come to me, all of them, former lovers, friends, family. They all come to me wanting to know what they should do with their lives; their fears palpable, knowing there is no answer that will satisfy them.

My mother, nearly fifty-five and still dreaming for a simple, rich life where worries evaporate and money, while not growing on trees, springs up from a well in the ground, wants to know what to do with her life, why she isn’t happy. They all want the same thing. They want the contentment of our culture to sweep them away and off their feet. They want to know what they are supposed to do next, what steps to take, where to go on vacation.

But I suppose it isn’t that simple. They simply want to know what they’re doing with their lives, what they are going to do with their lives. And so far, no one has told them, no one they trusted. There were adults no one listened to when they were young: “Find something you love is full of shit. The thing to do is find something that will make you rich and then you won’t have to worry about anything for the rest of your life,” they’d say between their third or fifth scotch and water. But there it is, the aw ful, glaring truth of our culture: We believe, in our heart of hearts, money solves everything.

And so here this man is, this close friend of mine who feels the anxious accumulation of years behind him, a gaping hole into which the future falls before him. The prospect of no job, no career, no money are his only comforts. He wants to be able to not worry, not have to think about money or food or sex or any of the thousand little things we distract ourselves from the act of living by abusing. He wasn’t ready for this; this isn’t how it’s supposed to be; it isn’t fair. He doesn’t say these things but they’re there, at the root of what he’s saying.

And how do I comfort him? How do I assuage the fear in his heart? If he hasn’t figured it out by now, the most it seems, I can hope for him is a quick and painless death, no more suffering. But even this he is too afraid to attempt. Oh, he may say he’s thought about it quite a bit; felt the knife on his skin, the cold blade against his warm flesh, but he hasn’t really thought about it. The same way you or I haven’t really thought about it. We joke in our conversations it will be our end, would be preferred over the long, slow crawl towards cancerous vegetism, but even these thoughts are follies we share to alleviate the situation.

“If I could just not worry about what I am going to be doing, whether I’ll be sleeping in a dumpster or under a bridge somewhere in the next three months, if I could just know that it’s all right, then I feel like I could get a hold of my life and do something,” he says. I ask him what it is he doesn’t have that make him so miserable, what is he that he has to change? He can’t tell me these things, just like I can’t describe what it is in my thoughts that recedes when I brush against it, that lurks in the shadows of my dreams and eludes my attempts to lure it out in the open. Perhaps, it’s the Self, hiding because it knows what the stakes are, what would happen were it to come out into the light.

There are no easy solutions, no truthful answers. The future holds for us what it has always held for us: uncertainty. That is the flaw, I think, in my friend and in myself. We are looking for a certain future, one that differs from all the others, one that leads out of the trap of Time and History. We are looking for a future that is endless, that doesn’t include death or pain, or the humiliation of the failures of our past, or the terrible, terrible realization that life isn’t worth it, not this life anyway. We are looking for fame and fortune, while abhorring what we have to become in order to achieve our dreams.

10 March 2006

Nine days

It's been nine days. Nine days. My mind will not wrap itself around such a simple concept. Its been nine days since I've had a cigarette and while I remember each and every moment crawling slowly by, I suddenly cannot fathom such a period of time passing without realizing it. But there it was, staring me in the face when I woke up, following me down stairs into the kitchen, holding the door for me when I went to work. Nine days.

The news has just come over the opera house TV, its been nine days of trying. Nine days of dying. I let Bowie out the back door near the base of the skull, just behind the left ear. I here the screen door slam...I drift off into late, summer autumnal memories living in the middle of nowhere, where the opposums hide under the sink at night and the cicadas sing so loudly you forget there's such a thing as silence. But silence comes, at three in the morning as the house settles into itself and all the doors to other rooms slowly leak the dreams of their occupants.

The silence is deafening except for a lone pick-up travelling through from nowhere to nowhere, head lights carving out of the darkness something short-lived and lonely, before disappearing behind a curtain in the night. As the engine fades, a single cricket begins to serenade the night with its song. I drift back from the memory into my room, into my body waiting patiently for my return. It's been nine days.

21 February 2006

Written on coasters, drunk at the bar...

The following was discovered written on coasters scattered on the floor amid a pile of broken bottles and dirty socks:

He was constricted to writing on coasters. He'd forgotten his journal, but at least he had his pen and his wits about him. So he wrote while sitting in the bar sipping his whiskey, afraid he would discover himself written down, captured in ink, unable, or unwilling to fight himself free. He could not escape the fetal stirrings of the Novel growing: an abort, fail, retry repeating itself in his head. The Novel would not limit itself to free-verse thought expressions. It went with him wherever he went. As long as he had his trusty writing instrument, which was stolen, and perhaps, beside the point, the finest pen he had ever owned, he wouldn't be able to escape.

And so the Novel continued in vaporous circles, churning in his brain as the smoke from his cigarette commingled with the air, dancing in tandem with laws of physics he could not fathom. His thoughts resembled certain books written in sand and purchased in dreams he desperately desired to own. He saw It swirling into fantastic hedonisms, Grendhalian gardens filled with sin and his greed, along with the Words, floated half-formed, as yet unborn in the sterile hollows of his mind. So, he sat and waited in the dark confines of the bar for a character to walk onto the stage, not needing to create them, but draw them up in the bucket of his pen. He waited. He watched. He listened. He drank.

"Oh, my God!" exclaimed a one-line, bit actor. He realized he could make of their comment what he wanted, choosing whether to foreshadow their declaration, lend it an air of prophetic import. Instead, he let it slide into the general background noise of the bar. Waited for something else. Drank.

It had been here where he had felt the pull of flesh and pen, mixed with alcohol, so many lives expounding the utter emptiness of their being. Here, where Life became nothing more than fetid desires and putrid purchases of souls traded for fleeting, empty rituals; here, he had felt most alive. Yet, it was here also he felt, and beared witness to the secret fear of mediocrity, the drab illusions draping his mind that he could not escape from.

And so, it was here, amid the scattered laughter and drunken conversations of two-dimensional non-entities on the periphery of his consciousness that he felt at home, anonymous. And it was here he returned day after day to witness the same tired visage from which he gazed upon the world. Here, he turned the mirrored eye back upon itself and let it look, for once, on something other than the self.

Another hack actor in his life proclaimed in proud insolence: "I've sucked dick for J├Ągermeister!" Good for him. I guess it gives meaning to his emptiness, but my own? What gives meaning to the emptiness inside me? How do you translate the utter despair, the nihilism, the wretched horror of the world into words? Your own and no one else's? Not some apt quote from some drunken fool now dead and famous; caught in the glare of envious, empty minds incapable of original thought. Not that.

Suddenly, he realized he was between worlds, between sobriety and the breaking point. He was at the point where the mind, no longer capable of holding itself and the liquor together, became stranded on an island of drunkenness and despair. He felt his mind giving up the ghost. He came to the point where the mind stops expounding the fabulous fictions we make of our lives. He decided he would not fabricate dialogue, never name characters after fruit, or turn the people he knew into truths. He would make of this life, and the next one, a play, a staging ground for his seasonal migration to hell.

He suddenly realized he didn't care any more. The cadence of his thoughts slurred and became a cross-eyed hackneyed drawl. He saw the words pouring out of his pen, knew they digressed from the words in his heart, but had no control over their existence. They existed, as Plato's forms had, in some supra reality, divorced from the truth, which had slowly become fiction.

...

He found himself, after many lost thoughts and actions, after the blurred moments of drunken stumbling, here, wide-eyed and wondering just how it was he had come to this place. Had he..? he wondered momentarily, before asking another question he had no answer for. What had happened? Where had he been? What had he done? sped through his impaired mind like wildfire, catching up snippets and fragments of thoughts and conversations. He couldn't remember whether he had simply thought those things, or quite possibly, done them. What had he done, he asked himself again; knowing, and fearing the answers.

13 February 2006

Brautigans and Beers...

Sometimes,

When I can't bear the weight of my own thoughts I return to the classics. No, not Heminway or Fitzgerald; no Flaubert or Maupassant for these tired times. I mean the classics of pubescent, adle-brained, fourteen bean genes growing staulks out of tres pesos and un pocito lolita meat grinder machines.

Bukowski and Brautigan and even sir Jack, that rat-bastard, immature adult-child bleeding his dharma guts out into mama mia's toilet bowl, while young fool-philosophers sped their way his way to find some inner peace and instead received a fuck off and go to hell from some fat, bloated drunk who couldn't take it any more and just wanted death and drink and got both. Howl for him all you want to; he's dead and immortal now.

No, I come back to Brautigan these days and listen as he mocks reality with such reverence, turning even the mundane into mundane sublimity. Is it sad to think he wasted away like they all do? Like we will? Have we got the right stuff to shoot ourselves to the moon and come back down again? Will we ever find the eternal, golden bliss of a single moment? Who knows. Who cares? We all make it by hook or by crook down the pipes.

In the mean time, as the mean season grows stiff and the sun returns from sunnier climes, listen to these recordings of another immortal, dead to this earthly plane, but flying high anyways.

Wine and wishes.

06 February 2006

Fat Corpulent American Day Hangover

I have now experienced the truly American way. Super Bowl made me do it. It was nothing new for me, though the people and the game made the experience all the better. Its only when you wake up at six in the morning, drunk and shivering that you realize what has happpened. Poor gods of football! The Seahawks blew it, but they made it to the game; that's what's important.

And here I am waiting for the hangover to start. Dear God! Of all the things to do, I get drunk to celebrate Fat Corpulent American Day. What else?

There are pen marks on my fingers,
emptiness leaking out of my soul
and a strong desire to say...

I AM A FAT, CORPULENT AMERICAN AND...
and, and,

stilll drunk, loving it (fuck McDonald's).

26 January 2006

While We Have Little In Common...

Dear Sir,

While we have little in common I must salute you for your bravery. Only a complete idiot, or a rather brave fool would dare to insult me in the ways you have. Nevertheless, I salute you. You have made a mockery and a mimicry of me constantly for many years now, yet I have refused to raise a hand or utter a curse.

All this will change soon. I will no longer tolerate your behavior. Nor will I sit idly by and watch you pantomime my suffering. Your days are numbered. Consider yourself met and well received. The game is on and I will track you down and send you on into the clearing.

And yet you ask, "What have I ever done to offend you, sir?" I will tell you, your list of infamies is long.

You have repeatedly mocked my existence, denied my intelligence, squandered my goodwill, made a fool of me in the dribble you call "writing." You have offered burnt toast to me, though you knew me to be thirsty, given me spoiled milk to ease my stomach ache, pissed in my shoes, rolled and smoked my goddamn pot, layed siege to my sand castles and imitated Godzilla in destroying them, which I might add has also landed you on the big green's shit list. Be warned, he has horrible whisky breath.

You have drank from my well without asking, smoked my cigarettes, eaten my food, slept in my bed, stolen every girl I have ever loved, spent all my money, dogeared my books, and walked off without so much as a "thank you" or "sorry about that, old chap."

Nothing, nothing you do or say will cause me to relent in my quest for vengeance. You are met, sir. You are met. Would that I were not you when next we meet in the mirror.

Sincerely,

Me

23 January 2006

Half Moon Bay

They'd driven down through the winding hills, zipping along the road's trajectory past La Honda and hidden houses. The sun lit up the trees with fading, golden embers, while the ground swelled in anticipation of the coming dark. They still had hours and minutes and days together, though they knew it would end quickly, and sooner than either expected. Their words were hushed and rushed in fear of silent moments when one or the other's thoughts would turn again to the impending end of their shared journeys. They never meant to hurt each other, though each had in their own, careless way. They made an odd couple, dysfunctional and difficult, yet both had made many conciliations and retreats in order to arrive at this moment.

He loved her, though he felt trapped at times, unable to concentrate long enough on what else he loved. Words would always be his other mistress, and he would never leave her. At times, mostly drunken these days, he felt her warmth and sensed her willingness to give herself to him. But he could not, or would not pull himself away from his other love, the girl who now drove them on into the foothills and finally the wind-swept shores. He looked at her from the corner of his eye and saw again the beautiful, troubled girl who now owned his heart, at least a piece of it.

She really was beautiful, not only in physical terms. She had a light within her that shined out through her eyes and in her smile every time he looked at her. He saw it in the dead of night as they lay together in their bed, while she fluttered about on her broken wings tasting every color of life. She frightened him in her startling beauty, blinding him to all her faults. He could only wonder what light, if any, she saw in him to forgive him his drinking and his silences. What could she possibly love about him?

And like others, he could not see the light he radiated just as surely as she could not see the light she cast. Together, blinded by each other, they rode on in the moment's feared silence. Just before the silence became an oppression, they came upon the place she had wanted to show him. She parked the car and they walked a ways towards the shore before finding a place to climb down over the rustic fence adorning the edges of the park.

As they descended the sloping dunes, he looked back at the moon glistening through the clouds and thought thoughts of passed lives and lost chances. He did not want to repeat himself, but felt the inevitability of fate crashing down upon him as surely as he heard the waves crashing on the surf some hundred yards away. The silver light of the moon cast the world in somber expressions, lacing the edges of reality with magic. They walked along towards the distant lights across the bay holding hands.

After a while they stopped along a steep, sloping dune and lay down together. For a while they simply lay there listening to the wind and the waves. The wind pushed them closer together and sighed as it so often does when two lovers become one. They made love there on the beach while the ocean sang her song and the clouds danced in front of the moon. Sand trickled between their toes as she gently rocked back and forth against him, bringing herself and him to orgasm.

She shuddered and fell breathing hard against him as he stared up at the stars twinkling through the vast darkness. How like stars people are, he thought to himself feeling her warmth still embracing him. How like stars, he thought, burning in the darkness as if trying to attract each other with a flash and a twinkle, a smile and a laugh.

They lay there feeling each other close, knowing the hours and the minutes and the days were counting down against them. They knew this would be one of the last times they would have to bask in each other's naked glory, assuage the aching emptinesses inside of the other and take comfort, for once, in the silence presiding over them.

RRR 2:04 AM

The wily words of Wilbur the wasted wambat.

The years, the days, the hours,
the minutes, the seconds, the milliseconds,
the...the...all the wasted moments
of life spent dreaming someone
else's dreams-

only to wake up and find there are no hearthfires
burning, no soft sounds
of breakfast cooking.

Waking up to find loneliness greeting you,
wanting a minute, or an hour
of your time.

Were it we could find solace
after the flood,
but Noah cooked the pigeon
and Moses drank the wine.

------

Moses is a historical fiction written by Alexander Graham Bell upon his coronation to the throne of Mediacrity. No, no my boy, we didn't spell that one wrong, we only just now created the word. But as we were saying, the need arises when the time of day must be dispelled. Call a priest; I think I have a second trapped in the bathroom and she's hungry.

Back to Moses. Now, I suppose some of you will find it offensive if I tell lies about the great Moses, but I will. I am. Moses was born in the third year of the first period of the last age of Men-before-the-modern-era (they didn't have internet) and lived to be 991 years of age. At that time, he could still circumcise a small male child and bless the honey wine at the same time.

The only reason he gave up the ghost was an increasing sense of ennui waiting for the chosen One to appear and take over for him. Little did he know as he was descending the seven deadly ladders of utter death, his replacement was coming along quite nicely. Alas, there are no happy endings in the Old Testament. This one ends the same way: hellfire and damnation, the end of the world, flooding, booze, etc.

But back to the replacement. He was coming along nicely, but was still something of a vague notion in the author's (not god's mind you) head that he had not quite materialized on the page yet. Be patient, dear reader. The end is nigh. With the end so far away and the beginning so near, let us give thanks to all new beginnings and a jolly cheer to all endings. The end.

------

Wait a minute! Is that it? Is that the end of the fucking story?! Tell me about the fucking golf shoes!!!

RRR