Sunday, July 31, 2011

Norwegians make better Americans

(emergency portals)

I magically slept for 10 hours last night.  I awoke and there was no food in the house so I am having a beer instead. I also pissed on the toilet seat and left the cap off of the toothpaste.  The dishes are slowly piling up in the sink, the trash needs to be taken out.  Ah, Heaven....

No, none of that happened.  Though there is a cold beer in the refrigerator and no food.  So, who knows.  Give me time and the apartment will revert into a place that is livable by a lone man, a crazed single shooter, etc. I will send time-lapse pictures, a study in reversion. 

It is strange, to wake up in the apartment alone. Even when Rachel is not here Barkley usually is.  He can out-sleep me any day or night or evening or sunset or sunrise of the week.  He lives to sleep. So I usually find him at the foot of the bed, barely able to lift his head and begrudgingly acknowledge my wakefulness. 

I am re-reading "For Whom The Bell Tolls" so I will probably just lie around all day and do that.  Until the beer dulls my mind with fatigue and makes it impossible, renders me a useless reader.  It is the beginning of my weekend (I had to work yesterday) so who knows what I will do.  It is hot and humid outside so maybe I will stay inside all day.

Speaking of lone shooters and reversion.  I often sit at a local bar and chat with a friend there. He is a socialist.  Or I should say that he is the type New York liberal that can't understand why all of America does not more closely resemble Switzerland, and assumes that the only reasons for it are the ones that he has concluded.  He harbors a secret hatred for America and makes odd claims about universal ignorance here.  He says that there is no "dialogue" in this country, that it is the worst run 1st world, industrialized, nation in the world.  

My counter to his claim is always that it is the best run nation of 300 million people.  In fact no other nation with greater or similar populations are run even nearly as well as America.  He hates this. He keeps asking what my point is.  I respond that we are a large nation in many ways, and no other large nation is more well run, only China and India have larger populations, and very few would argue that they're more well governed.  Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Russia have similar populations, in that descending order.  Oddly, he never argues for theses nations, never uses them as comparisons from which we can gain a greater understanding of how difficult governing large populations over great areas might be.

We never speak of Rome in this regard either.

It is tiresome.  Too often I put myself on the opposing side just to prove a point to him but then it makes me sound as if I'm arguing for America's methods of governance, which I'm not.  I'm simply trying to establish a comparative basis, of which there is none, or very little, as it pertains to governing populated nations.  He is fond of citing Norway as a country of esteem and admiration. Norway has less that 1/60th the population of America and doesn't compare in any meaningful way whatsoever as it pertains to cultural and ethnic diversity.

I told him how relieved I was that the top 3 spree killings in history were not committed by Americans, and the number 1 spot now goes to a Norwegian...  A side debate that we also indulge in is that only America produces crazies. 

I think, after talking to him for many years, that his main complaint is just that... He believes that Americans should be less diverse, and governed as if they were all from the same religious, socio-econimic and ethnic backgrounds.   There exists in the American mind an idea of what an American is, or should be. It nearly always resembles the person speaking, but not too much, not so much as to be obvious.  It's as if all of these liberals love the idea of America's diversity they just wish the nation functioned more like Switzerland. 

Ultimately it is just that, he resists any assessment of America that does not support his barely veiled hatred of the place, of its enormity.

Ok, it's Sunday. I don't want to argue just for the one side of these things any more today. 

That is for the weekdays....


Friday, July 29, 2011

... produces monsters

(Artist unknown)

Woke up early, unable to go back to sleep. Again.

Yesterday Rachel and I finished off the NYC "bucket list" by going to Central Park, The Boathouse. It is the place that we decided many years ago that she would move to New York to live with me. Nothing very eventful. We stopped at the place and I had a single beer, which was warm. We moved on, through the heat and humidity. By the time we got home we were exhausted. Being in Central Park yesterday was similar to being at Disney World.  The heat and the humidity and the undecided travel trajectories of tourists made the experience almost maddening.  Almost.

There were sweaty kids eating ice cream everywhere we looked. Cameras of all shapes and sizes taking pictures that we must assume will somehow be treasured in years to come, irrespective of the subject matter's condition. 

I thought of something that I wanted to relay here, something from my childhood, but now it escapes me.  I knew I should have written it down.  In the early morning, pre-coffee haze, all is vague.  

I have been getting shots of steroids, and getting pills.  Cortisone and Prednisone. All my bodily pain magically disappears, even the imagined stuff.  My neurologist has told me that I am in need of an operation, there is a pinched nerve in my spine, two herniated discs. He said that I can expect to be out of work for about 3 weeks.  He surmised that I must be in considerable pain.  I hadn't thought that I was until the pain suddenly was no longer there, then I realized...  Now I suspect that I will realize even more.  I've never been much of a fan of pain killers, except when I am in considerable pain.  Most of them have given me a feeling similar to seasickness.

"Pain killers" is a funny phrase.  Its implicit message impossible to misunderstand. The pain always returns so the word "killers" is a bit of overstatement, especially at the level that most of these things are prescribed for home usage.  800 mg of Ibuprofen usually seems about as effective as anything a doctor has ever given me to use at home.

Wait, this isn't a story about my childhood. Where did I go wrong here?

Ok, here is a different story about my Floridian childhood....

We lived on a dirt road when we moved to Altamonte Springs from Casselberry, in the summer of 1975, I believe. At the end of the block there was the entrance to a large area of patchy wilderness where I used to go and play. Incredibly stupid stuff now that I think about it.  We would dig a massive hole in the ground, put a piece of plywood over it, install a 2" by 4" supporting beam towards the center and then cover the entire death-trap in sand. This would be our center of operations and all of the kids from the area would crawl in and await what should have been the worst headlines to hit Altamonte Springs in its entirely useless history.  But the headlines never came.

I think somebody's father discovered the doomsday device and demanded that it be disassembled, on the spot. A substantial hole remained in the ground and each time that I would pass it I would get a childish glimpse into mortality.   I fantasized about the meaning of death, the meaning of dying stupidly in such a place. I was, perhaps, a morbid child.  But the effect remained. Over time I became more aware of the stupidity of some of the things that I was doing, though that is what also drew me onwards into them as well.

As I got older the shock that I really hadn't thought about how dangerous it was until a dad from the neighborhood discovered it and demanded its partial return to nature dawned on me in glimpses of shame.  How stupid I would have felt dying there.  I've had similar feelings at after-parties in Los Angeles and Mexico City.  That same fear gripping me with a vision of the future perceptions of others.

Eventually they built  condos on the land and they built a wall that surrounded the entire community, somewhat curbing our fledgling guerilla instincts.  I would sometimes sneak out of my house by the bedroom window in the middle of the night. Bored, restless, unable to sleep. Not entirely different from the feeling that I have now in this early dawn.

I would sneak out after my parents had gone to sleep and I would pretend to invade the walled neighborhood as if it was a government complex... and I a trained agent, an assassin, a reconnaissance man.  I would walk the entire circumference of the compound balancing on the wall, hoping for a glimpse of a woman showering, not knowing what that would look like, but knowing that it was to be sought. There was the occasional spot where I had to jump down from the wall and then climb back up again. A spot where some pre-existing neighbor had argued successfully for the retention of one of his trees, promising to keep it trimmed and then refusing to do so, resentful that this monstrosity in capitalist housing sprang up in what used to be an adolescent killing field.

There was a man-made lake in the center of the property that had an exercise path along it with various exercises to be performed along the way, metal outdoor gym-like contraptions. These were perfect structures for my counter-intelligence invasions. I would sneak up on the guard's office and spy on them there, imagining that at just the right moment I would unleash a volley of machine gun fire through the glass in glorious wartime killing motion, ending them definitively with the deafening burst from a grenade, lobbed from the clip on my belt.  Decisively turning the tides of conflict towards the struggle for resistance.


There was a series of cement drainage tubes leading to the man-made lake from many different angles. When the condos were first built they had no protective grating on them and I would crawl into them and find my way to intersections distant, my brother having taught me this particular bit of espionage in the daytime.  Eventually they put up steel grates that kept me alive for a few more summers. I blamed the same father who had destroyed our desert operations center, but I never had enough proof to execute him.  In fact I don't even remember who he was. He is now, as he was then, a benign male parent figure, not dissimilar from any adult from the Peanuts cartoons.  It was as if he could speak no discernible words.  But we all implicitly understood the message: No More Fun.

He's probably still out there, saving children from certain demise and lasting injury, an infamous local boor, loved by none.

Well, I must try to go back to sleep. Rachel leaves today and I must work later.  Some more sleep would be ideal.  Perhaps if I construct some sheets over the bed, in military tent fashion, strung from wall to dresser and window, crafting secret passageways from room to room, insisting that all who enter know the password, then maybe then I would sleep like a child.  Not my child self, but some other.  One that was far less restless and inviting of constant danger, escape.  One that would never dream of sneaking out a window.  One that slept tenderly in the loving arms of Jesus, not one that was doomed for the sleep of reason...


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last night on 12th St.

(Female creature, soon to be in transit)

Well, everything we own is packed up and in pods heading west.  The apartment is empty, sort of.  No matter how much stuff we move out there still seems to be more of it left over. Spontaneous generation, etc. There is a set of Encyclopedia Britannica that did not make the cut.  They have been on the closet shelf for 2 years, on the record shelf for 8-9 years before that.  I bought them on ebay, cheap.  I convinced myself that I could just do the same again when I get to Sonoma. We'll see...

Tonight is the last night that Rachel and I will spend in the apartment together.  There will not be any silly all-night sex, or many empty bottles of red wine to throw out in the morning, or cigarette butts to clean up. It will be a night of watching movies off of the computer and eating ice cream.  The days of crazed drug benders and nocturnal music sessions are over.  She is 17 weeks pregnant, which has curbed our craziness considerably. Hers it has ceased altogether.  Well, that type of craziness anyway.

She possesses a new sense of craziness now, a more boundless brand of lunacy.  It is difficult to explain, impossible to predict.  No simple words can breach it.  I try and try but nothing, it seems, can be done about it. Most of all I have noticed that the simple words that we used to use to communicate no longer have any effect whatsoever.  

I often hear women talk of the sacrifice and pain of pregnancy.  It is not as often that you hear about what the man endures.  I now look at any man with children and know that he has silently suffered all manner of confusion and duress. He has lived through accelerated and unpredictable times. 

This is not to say that a woman's sacrifice is not substantial. Some would say that it is perhaps even greater.  I have watched my wife's body change forms suddenly, growing and morphing into this other, strange new character.  Soon she will separate into two creatures, I'm told.  Only in science-fiction movies and nature does something this bizarre actually happen.  It's been said many times that it is magical and like nothing else that I will ever experience.  The idea of an animal changing forms suddenly and then splitting into two beasts sounds monstrous to me, but what do I know... my last experience with it was many, many years ago, well beyond memory.  

I was told that I arrived into the world screeching.  So I must assume that the experience is not all just pleasantries and magic. 

Ok, I promised my wife that I would wrap this up with something beautiful... 

(...something beautiful)


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

i haiku, for you

everything now 
gets loaded onto the trucks
boxes, and the bags

men arrive to take,
all day long the truck awaits,
then it pulls away

the trash floats from here
it means nothing, it just is...
i needed a verse

by evening we
will sit together, alone
in the emptiness


Monday, July 25, 2011

Kylie, NYC

(Rebecca, Helena, Kylie, Karla) 

A longtime friend and ardent supporter of this site leaves New York today, Kylie.  She came by my workplace yesterday to say goodbye. I have known her for many years, all of the years that I have lived in NYC now.  It was sad, afterwards, to have seen her so quickly, only to say goodbye one last time.  This feeling was, of course, heightened by our impending leave of New York.

There is nothing that can be said about it, really.  Everything is changing for us and Kylie's leaving brings it all to light.  That and the fact that our apartment is filled with boxes, mostly still empty.  The day after tomorrow the apartment itself will be empty. By Friday Rachel will be gone and I will be sleeping alone in an even emptier apartment.  No wife, no dog, no furniture.

It is fitting that I should leave the apartment this way, the way that I came in. Or perhaps I am just lazy and want to go back to sleep.  Maybe I am still just wallowing in the bittersweet melancholy of Army Whorehouse's death.

I'm not sure what it was that I thought I would become when I moved to New York but I would be lying if I now claimed that I was satisfied with the totality of the results from the last 12 years.  I had thought that I would somehow be more. Though I am not disappointed at all with the things that I've done.  I guess it is just that: that my experiences, though rich, did not build one upon the other.  Instead they tended to repeat.

I have a friend that can only talk about himself.  He also reads this blog occasionally.  He must sometimes giggle at my inability to talk about much else other than myself.  I know I would...

My wife wants to leave behind in NYC every single domestic thing that I have ever bought, been gifted, or was ever left behind for me.  I suppose that is the way of things, the witchcraft of love. 

Even though our apartment is the size of a shower in a reasonably nice Mexican hotel we must leave most of it behind.  It makes no sense to bring.  Of what use will an aging toaster oven be? Or a broken unpainted corner table that I've had for years, bought from Ikea.  Old shelves, new shelves, mattresses that we've intended to replace, shower curtains, bent spoons, rusty razors, broken lightbulbs, bbq sauce, bacon, butter, and old butter knives....

After all of these years I realize that I still basically only own books, records, and clothes.

Once I remove a shelf in the living room, with records stacked on it, then I will see something I have not seen in over 10 years: a brick wall that was once a fireplace, when those things were still allowed here, when they were still needed here.

Once the apartment is empty and Rachel is gone I will be tempted to open a yoga studio here and teach my unique life-vision of love and centeredness...

Of the picture above, I have but a minor correction: Helena's right hand is not really as big as it seems in that picture.  I mean... it IS very, very big, and unusually hairy, but not THAT big.  The picture misleads,  it must be faulty optics, etc.  I airbrushed out the many layers of dark arm, hand, and thumb hair that she has had since early childhood but was unable to adequately correct for the size of her index finger and thumb.  She's my buddy though and it is my job to protect her.  So please overlook this physical aberration of hers.  It would mean the world to me if you did.  

If you notice her left hand it appears to be perfectly normal.  Try to focus on that one.

Ok, Jesus, I have to go. Rachel is telling me not to post any of this and she wants me to box up my entire life and entrust some convicts with it as they make their way across this wide nation of voters... heading west, to the last frontier, towards our most famous prison...  

To live astride the San Andreas fault, we go.


Sunday, July 24, 2011


Yes, troubled women that the world wants to save, needs to save, but always unable to do so.  

Nothing quite excites the public mind like the death of young woman.  Drugs and misadventure.  The excitement masks itself as collective regret or remorse, inability.  It's always just such a shame...

Some people, it is true, can not be helped.  Self-willed yet in hurried distress, in control and at all times in need.  The standard is set young that they will be a woman who must be saved to be loved; but they will always be just beyond that saving.  No love can safely grasp or hold the thing they desperately clutch and keep apart, they make sure of it.  No love ever able to assuage, to quiet, or to calm.  

Defined not by their triumphs but eventually only by their troubles. 

To concede the wild imaginary self would be to lose that endangered fragility, the last stronghold of spirit, the center of what brings them attention, surrounded by their addictions, seemingly protected there.

The siren both calls and announces, then mourns. 


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Heat Index

It was 100 degrees yesterday in New York.  Some estimates had it as high as 106, or even higher, with the "heat index."  I had thought that temperature was a heat index, but what do I know...  I'm told by those that read wikipedia there are other factors involved.  At this temperature even noise will perceptibly make life hotter and much less pleasant.   Once it gets towards 100 degrees life becomes very disagreeable here.  It's like taking all of the ugly qualities of New York and blending them together in a microwave; a sort of radioactive soup of deformed repugnance.  

I am trying desperately to keep myself together but the heat melts away all attempts at sanity, one sweats out all sensibility. 

I'm going back to sleep. I hope that helps.  Perhaps when I wake up it will be autumn, or lithium, or valium.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


I pity people that never lust for, and have never felt, the itch of captivity. The complete and simple joy of having no responsibilities whatsoever.  The wish to just be chained, belted, trapped, seated.  It's like being on a wonderful international flight for the rest of the night: just watching clouds, or baseball, or nothing at all... just a tiny private seat near a little window on the wall of a tube, a portal from which to view the rolling earth, curved below, and so near.   A miniature pillow for one eye, and ear.

Otherwise you might not even be flying, dear.

Freedom might feel quite fine for a moment, sure. But there's not much real estate there to roam around in; or far too much, depending on how it's granted, or won... Other concerns, over the years, begin to steal and creep away with bits and pieces.  First bits, then pieces.  The tickle of liberty gets under the saddle and both horse and rider get jumpy; an awful way to ride, a terrible way to travel, very 19th century.

When do we begin to decompose... or are we all just like plastic now, with insincernet powers.

The seats are designed to hold a person of just so much weight and height, though the seats keep getting smaller, the seats are slowly and always running out... though the stadium is at all times growing, in all directions.  Soon one finds oneself standing, near the stairs with others, alone, or not at the game at all.  Only watching the neighbor's television, through the windows, from the reflection on their pool, without sound... just the magic dancing of what used to be called lights.

Entirely unaware of the sport, the pastime, the gentle ease.

Rabbit, ruse.
Rabbit, squeezed.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

oh, good

adjectivea good productfinesuperiorqualityexcellentsuperboutstandingmagnificentexceptionalmarvelouswonderfulfirst-ratefirst-classsterlingsatisfactoryacceptable,not badall rightinformal greatOKA1jakehunky-doryaceterrificfantasticfabulousfabtop-notchblue-chipblue-ribbonbang-upkillerclassawesomewicked;smashingbrilliant. ANTONYMS bad.good personvirtuousrighteousuprightupstandingmoralethicalhigh-mindedprincipledexemplarylaw-abidingirreproachableblamelessguiltless,unimpeachablehonorablescrupulousreputabledecentrespectablenobletrustworthymeritoriouspraiseworthyadmirablewhiter than whitesaintlysaintlike,angelicinformal squeaky clean. ANTONYMS wicked.the children are good at schoolwell-behavedobedientdutifulpolitecourteousrespectfuldeferentialcompliant. ANTONYMS naughty.a good thing to dorightcorrectproperdecorousseemlyappropriatefittingaptsuitableconvenientexpedientfavorableopportunefelicitoustimelyarchaic meet.a good drivercapableableproficientadeptadroitaccomplishedskillfulskilledtalentedmasterlyvirtuosoexpertinformal greatmeanwickedniftyacecrackerjack.ANTONYMS inept.a good friendcloseintimatedearbosomspecialbestfirmvaluedtreasuredlovingdevotedloyalfaithfulconstantreliabledependabletrustworthytrustytrue,unfailingstaunch.the dogs are in good conditionhealthyfinesoundtip-tophale and heartyfitrobuststurdystrongvigorous. ANTONYMS poorill.a good time was had by allenjoyablepleasantagreeablepleasurabledelightfulgreatnicelovelyamusingdivertingjollymerrylivelyinformal superfantasticfabulous,fabterrificgrandbrilliantkillerpeachyducky. ANTONYMS was good of you to comekindkindheartedgood-heartedthoughtfulgenerouscharitablemagnanimousgraciousaltruisticunselfishselfless. ANTONYMS unkind,thoughtless.10 a good time to callconvenientsuitableappropriatefittingfitopportunetimelyfavorableadvantageousexpedientfelicitoushappyprovidential. ANTONYMSinconvenient.11 bananas are good for youwholesomehealthyhealthfulnourishingnutritiousnutritionalbeneficialsalubrious. ANTONYMS badunhealthy.12 are these eggs good? ediblesafe to eatfit for human consumptionfreshwholesomeconsumableformal comestible. ANTONYMS badinedible.13 good fooddelicioustastymouthwateringappetizingflavorfuldelectabletoothsomepalatablesucculentlusciousinformal scrumptiousdelishyummylip-smacking,finger-lickingnummymelt-in-your-mouth.14 a good reasonvalidgenuineauthenticlegitimatesoundbona fideconvincingpersuasivetellingpotentcogentcompelling. ANTONYMS unconvincing.15 we waited a good hourwholefullentirecompletesolid.16 a good number of themconsiderablesizablesubstantialappreciablesignificantgoodlyfairreasonableplentifulabundantgreatlargegenerousinformal tidy.ANTONYMS small.17 wear your good clothesbestfinestnicestspecialpartySundayformaldressysmartsmartest. ANTONYMS casualeveryday.18 good weatherfinefairdrybrightclearsunnycloudlesscalmwindlesswarmmildbalmyclementpleasantnice. ANTONYMS badinclement.nounissues of good and evilvirtuerighteousnessgoodnessmoralityintegrityrectitudehonestytruthhonorprobityproprietyworthinessmeritblamelessnesspurity.ANTONYMS's all for your goodbenefitadvantageprofitgaininterestwelfarewell-beingenjoymentcomforteaseconveniencehelpaidassistanceservicebehalf. ANTONYMSdisadvantage.exclamationgood, that's settledfinevery wellall rightrightall right thenyesagreedinformal okayOKokey-dokey.PHRASESfor good those days are gone for goodforeverpermanentlyfor alwaysevermoreforevermorefor ever and everfor eternitynever to returnforevermoreinformal for keeps,until the cows come homeuntil hell freezes overarchaic for aye.make good if I don't get away from my family, I'll never make goodsucceedbe successfulbe a successdo wellget aheadreach the topprosperflourishthriveinformal make itmake the grademake a name for oneselfmake one's markget somewherearrive. 2 he promised to make good any damagerepairmendfixput rightsee torestoreremedy,rectify. 3 they made good their escapeeffectconductperformimplementexecutecarry outachieveaccomplishsucceed inrealizeattainengineerbring aboutbring off. 4he will make good his promisefulfillcarry outimplementdischargehonorredeemkeepobserveabide bycomply withstick toheedfollowbe bound bylive up tostand byadhere to.