Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The taste of chlorine

Everything I do in my 40's makes me feel as if I stayed in the pool too long. I'm tired and sunburned, out of breath, shivering in the shade, cautious of the diving board, bored of diving, occasionally shrieked with joy, wrinkled, racing the perimeter, near dead and drowned from grasping death; in fear of submersion; with a waning, lost, audience; searing; a single shriveled scroti, peeing in the pool. Life, barely a breath.

It should be said: the water really is cold, as am I. I hate the one weak testicle. Its soft, fruitless ways.

Everything once felt like summer now; hearing the winter, being often far from home most of all; I close the openings down, there are chills along the night and days, biting along the window; an aging man's body howling, a ghost attic, a whore's loft - a blind man's clearing of an empty house. 

With this direction steering, I'd make an okay artist, or a last blind's date.

Something dark and soft and ripe, and late.

The satisfaction of faith

(photo by Rachel Cusick)

Fuck, this virus has moved through most of the systems of my body. Last night it finally reached my tear ducts. Enormous amounts of crusty nonsense is making its way out of my eyeballs. When I awoke I could hardly open my eyes, they had been sealed shut with the remains. I noticed this happening to Rhys also but had assumed that it was just from him being young, a strange by-product of a miniature body and the sickness having nowhere else to go. But no, the eyelash scabs have attacked. 

The dreaded invaders have not entirely retreated from my lungs yet, either.

I am so sick of being sick. It has been almost a week now, with little sign of relief. Vitamin C is useless against it. Their viral grip is unpersuaded by its chewable orange healing reach.

It must be fascinating to read about.

I went to the grocery store yesterday. Barkley and I could no longer survive on crusted bread scraps alone. I don't really have a system when shopping for groceries. I just roam and accumulate until I start to feel guilty, or just after. I spent over a hundred dollars and walked away with almost two meal's worth of food. A few bananas and oranges, some lunch meat, a couple cans a soup and bottles of wine, a steak, a pre-cooked chicken.

I have stuck to my diet pretty well, though I am "in the hole" again with my two drink a day limit. I'm floating around -5, which is inconvenient considering that there's wine in the house now. Perhaps it is easier to just stop drinking for a week every now and then (about every other week), rather than trying to hold myself to a two drink daily limit. As long as I maintain a deep and abiding love for the truth then I should have no problems....

What, me worry? 

Just consider old Monte Petersen from above. He could have chosen to smoke pot, but it's just not as satisfying as his "relationship with God." Though god makes no demands that he choose, none that I know of, anyway. I know several that will swear that god's voice was completely lost to them until they started smoking pot, and dmt. Now they can see his handiwork everywhere they look, in nature and elsewhere. 

I've never heard it, myself. It was always me that was talking in my head.

I've been told that the claim of atheism is an arrogant one, that to put your faith in reason is no different than having faith in god. But I've never claimed that the mathematics that describe the universe have ever asked me personally to stop smoking pot, or that they have ever indicated that they are even vaguely aware of my existence. Now that would seem to me to be an enormously arrogant claim. 

No amount of reason ever had to die for my sins. It's been wounded here and there maybe, clipped on a wing from time to time, through neglect. The voice of reason never whispered its aversion to pot.

Not to me, anyway.


Monday, April 29, 2013


The infirmity lingers. Today I return to work, which is just there in the next room over, the dining room. The weekend passed far too quickly. I couldn't find an adequate adventure to share with the puppy, so we just bumbled around together, being buddies. He longs for his mommy. Did I mention that they're gone? Colorado and then Florida and then Colorado, sort of.

I slept like a fat vampire last night, under sleep's spell while there was still generous light out. It must be because I am slowly recovering from my malady. I still took an adult dosage of the NyQuil solution, and then filled the little cup with water to get the remainder, just to be sure. I think I might have had a Xanax also. The tincture does a very different thing when you don't really need it. Its sedative properties are astounding. Not only did sleep offer no argument but it seemed to demand and keep my immediate company. We were likewise buddies for the night, without any bickering, cursing, or promises that we couldn't keep.

I long for my camera to arrive.

The house is so quiet without Rachel and Rhys here in the mornings. I can hardly think to write. I've gotten used to the noise and the needs, somehow, now the silences haunt.

Isn't it fun to coax a woman into saying "cock"?


Sunday, April 28, 2013



I have fallen in love with the version of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" from yesterday. Here it is again. I want that young woman to have a successful life singing songs, to travel widely, but to still say snarky things about Edie Brickell in the press whenever given the chance, maybe get in a fist fight with Suzanne Vega, who knows, have a threesome with Rickie Lee Jones' daughter, or son, if she has either. 

Something, anything.

That's just what I want, other things might happen. It's the hat and haircut that provoke this feeling within me. 

Well, I really like the way she sings the song, anyway. It's done quite spritely. 

And so I wait; to recover from lingering illness; for Rachel and Rhys to return; for my new camera to arrive; for what else, I do not know. I'm committed to having an adventure of some sort today. I have been bed-ridden, or at least house-ridden, for days now. I want to take a drive, maybe a hike, read a book on a hilltop, fall in love with the sky, sing songs out loud to the hills, serenade the puppy.

I put on an all acoustic Rickie Lee Jones album after the indiscretion above. I don't even know if Rickie Lee Jones has any children. Her parents were vaudevillians, a word I have always liked, though one that is challenging to use often. When I was a child the word evoked many things for me. Burlesque eventually replaced it.

I'll admit it, the only reason I listened to Rickie Lee Jones was because she had dated Tom Waits, but she's good, very good, even great at times. 

What's a Burlesquevillain. I want to meet one of those. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's alright

(Lisa Murray)

(The link to listen to this morning is right here)

Don't think twice, It's all right

Well, it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now
And it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It'll never do, somehow

When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'll be traveling on
But don't think twice, it's all right.

And it ain't no use in turning on your light, babe
The light I never knowed
And it ain't no use in turning on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road
But I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talking anyway
So don't think twice, it's all right.

It ain't no use in calling out my name, gal
Like you never done before
It ain't no use in calling out my name, gal
I can't hear any more
I'm a-thinking and a-wond'rin' walking down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
Don't think twice, it's all right.

So long honey, babe 
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
Goodbye's too good a word, babe 
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right.

-Bob Dylan

And, of course, this one too...

Friday, April 26, 2013


Fuck. I called out again. There is no joy in it. I am just sick. Too sick to work. 

I went to the doctor yesterday, only to make an appointment for a physical. It's that time. But since I was sick they cleared room for me right away in the doctor's schedule. 

I sat on the table. 

He came in and said, "There's really nothing we can do for a viral infection, just time and rest, do you need anything else?" 

"You're kidding, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"I didn't even want this appointment. Your front desk convinced me to take it because there was an opening and I wasn't feeling well. I came in to make an appointment for a physical. I can never reach anybody on the phone here when I call, so I stopped by. I have the day off today. I'm sick, ya know?"

"Well, I see you do need a prescription refill."

"Sure, but that could have waited. If you want to rape my insurance company I can help you, but not like this, please."

"Well, I'll call in your prescription and we'll see you next week for your physical."

$20.00 copay for office visit

$10.00 for 60 Xanax 

I still win, but I feel like I should be getting a little more out of all of this. 

Am I publicly proposing insurance fraud right now? We'll have to fix all of this in editing.

The best way to rob a bank is to work very closely with them. 

After yesterday's post a nearly anonymous sexist went on and on about how whiny men are, on MY Facebook page. As if..... She must be new to reading this site. That is all that I do, and not just when I'm sick. It is meant to mask those times when I am actually filled with self-pity; to always exude sickness and a need for nurturing. It is a strategy I employ to occasional success and fluctuating disaster. 

An old friend of mine had a girlfriend who was never well. If you ever made the mistake of asking her how she was then she would always unroll a litany of various aches and pains and ailments. It was as if she wheeled her deathbed around with her, wanting you to climb in. There were never any takers. Her whole family was the same. I met all of them. It was incredible. 

I have a legion of devils inside of me and I would provoke them, feigning greater and greater interest in each imaginary infirmity, asking to see various locations on the body from whence the pain emanates. This would drive my girlfriend crazy. She thought that they would detect that I was goading and mocking them. They never did. They loved me. I would offer homespun solutions to their various maladies, confirming that it was wisdom that had come down from my grandparents. The backwater sophistication of the ages could not be held in higher esteem among this crowd (I never knew any of my grandparents, etc.). 

It was quite a rush. I would just make stuff up and throw in plausible sounding ingredients every now and then, along with the word Borax when it felt right. 20 mule team!, I would occasionally exclaim, lightly slapping somebody's ailing knee. Flirtation is the best medicine. 

It was like I was cooking up imaginary crystal meth, and I just a method actor improvising. Every now and then I would show them the speed-blisters that had broken out on my head and neck, hideously gangrenous pustules, and ask them solemnly what they thought I should do. They would nurse me back into the past, a simpler time, before the pharmaceutical companies had taken over with all of their untested science and trickery....

When only my girlfriend could hear me I would claim that I was just "Spreading the Old Wives Tales"...

She thought this was hilarious, at first.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Flu, fever, or worse

Mother-fucker! I got sick. The last few times that Rachel and Rhys have been sick I've been able to slip by without incident, even with Rhys' fascination of putting his hands in my mouth and wanting me to eat his half slobbered upon crackers. 

Not this time.

Midday yesterday I started feeling weak, with slight chills. I had thought that maybe it actually was a little crisp but then I stepped outside and it was a nice day, the sunshine felt good. Uh-oh, I thought. Later, twice, when I went to stand up my knee sort of let me know that it was prepared to mutiny. Just sudden, unexpected threats, nothing serious. 

Finally, just after lunch I called out from work (I work from home). Best thing I ever did. Isn't it a glorious feeling? The combination sensation that should not be separated, mild guilt and total freedom. 

Calling out of work is a fetishistic act for me. The phone becomes charged with a uniquely sexual energy, magical power, inhabited by sensual ghosts, etc. I worship the feeling. Sick days are glorious, particularly when you're not sick.

I had stayed home for lunch, tried to nap, hoping that a little rest was all I needed. But after I called out I decided I needed some Gatorade. When I stepped outside I realized that it was actually a very nice day out, somewhere in the mid-70's. The chill was all mine. I got in the car and it was hot, like puppy-brain-melting hot. I sat there for a few minutes with the windows up, it felt that good. I wanted to take a nap. It was the best I had felt all morning.

The grocery store was a misery. I forgot to get a basket and then tried to negotiate three Gatorade bottles, a turkey sandwich, and a bottle of NyQuil with just my feverish hands. By the time I got home I had liquid-nitrogen effervescing up and down my spine and into my legs. I could hardly stand, my balls were sore and each step was painful. I had to keep moving to prevent myself from collapsing in icy, crushed defeat. I crawled into bed and started pacing out mini-NyQuil doses, augmented with quadruple hits of Advil. This seemed to help.

Ah, sweet tincture. 

I spent the rest of the day napping off and on, trying to read, squinting and shivering. The mixture of chills, sweats and NyQuil brain bubbles running across me for the remainder of the day put me in a strange mood. I had to double-dose on the stuff for it to take any effect last night. Don't fuck around with anything other than the full strength cherry-flavored version of this magic elixir. I might have slept, nobody knows. I could have been sleep-walking in Cairo for all I cared. 

The good news: I've lost 10 pounds. I went to the gym yesterday morning, before the dreaded virus had gripped me. The scale indicated clear and unconditional surrender: 10.5 lbs. So, there's that. 

Hopefully, by the end of this illness it'll be an even 20. Then there will only be another 20 to go.... I'm sitting here sweating as I'm writing this.

Jesus, what depressing numbers. It's like He was using me to feed the multitudes. This is my body, eat this, and here's this other guy's, enjoy... be careful of his blood...

Do this in remembrance of blah, blah, blah... That's just the brain bubbles talking again.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Taxes first, death next.

I wake at impossible hours, the approximate time that I used to leave to go out for the night. It makes no sense, but what are the alternatives?

Yesterday's late-written post was titled as a joke. I had meant, "Sonoma, Love it or Leave it!" but I'm not sure how many people got the joke. A few clicked "Like" on Facebook without reading it at all, I'm certain of it. People who have never indicated in any way that they've ever read my site before. Those who insist upon their version of patriotism as being primary, exclusive, and hopefully one day singular.  

Perhaps the slogan means something different to them than it does to me. 

Oh well. Some of you might not remember the bumper stickers. I always found them odd. As if being angry about the Vietnam war and wanting America to live up to its promise is somehow a good reason that you should leave, right away. Not just a reason, practically a commandment. It sounds like one of the enshrined articles of a national 12-step program. The aging slogan seems somehow more apt now, for many, than it did when I was a child. Though that could have everything to do with my age rather than the age of the sentiment, of course. 

"Love it or Leave It" was a catch-phrase designed as a response to the anti-war protesters, a sort of anti-anti-message. Its basic idea is obvious: if you don't like America being involved in Vietnam then get the fuck out. It is very pro-war, yet it somehow seems to misunderstand that those leaving for Vietnam might come home loving America even less, and nobody has to leave because they want things to be better. It is a message to all those who might not want to be drafted and fight in the war.

The hidden jingle within it, "Love it, then Leave it..." or "Love it, Or else!!!"

"America, Death or Flight...."

There are plenty that feel the same way now, that the country has been overrun by those who don't and can't possibly grasp its core concepts, those who never loved her blue oceans and white mountains, those who never teared up fighting Reds on Veterans Day, immigrants, etc. That any of those who would even question the traditional American way of life don't deserve to be here and should be shipped off to fight our wars for us along with most of our southerners. You know the ones, those that have never paid their fair share. The ones that have no investment here. The darkies and their ilk. 

As if, somehow, questioning is not just the opposite of patriotic, but that its true purpose might actually be discourse, if not worse: social programs.

Ah well, what can be done? I'm not even really in the mood for politics or patriotism this morning. 

But one last thing, with much uncomfortable effort some Republicans finally seem ready to reach out to Latinos, miraculously just now realizing that without them they've lost the national vote. I find it incredible that the only message they have had for the direct descendants of slaves, or even actual slaves, is that they need to invest in America if they expect to take anything out. Now they want to reach out to Latinos. 

What improved lesson can they possibly have for them, "Hey, fence-hoppers, look over here...We're not as old as we used to be...!!!"

The reasoning would be cynical and craven if it wasn't so pathetic. It is beyond me, but most things usually are.

That's all of the politics and cultural criticism I have for today.

"America is like an insurance company with an army." (often credited to Paul Krugman, though he denies being the originator)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"America, Love It or Leave It!"

(A loose, wandering cock)

"Because what happens to anybody who gets into any kind of forced/regular writing is that he's bound to make a useless fool of himself now & then . . . and it's hard to set a price on that kind of reality." - Hunter S. Thompson

This will be the new lede to this site (is that the right term?), to each page and every post. It is meant as an umbrella argument: the overarching foolishness and hopeful protection of daily confession. Repeat it to yourselves whenever you read anything here that sounds fantastical, unbelievable, horrific or true. 

There is precious little tolerance for unexpected eccentricity in a small town, and even less patience for mania. They would deny this fact, of course, and point to a few regional oddities that are self-described artists or district personalities. But those few have been institutionalized, having lived here their whole lives if not longer, and their eccentrics are of modest familiarity, a sort of indifferent garden-variety excess. The local concept of deviation boils down to a few people who wear bright clothes, or lightly dance when they walk through the grocery store, humming an inner-symphony to themselves, etc. Nice enough people, I'm sure, but...

Acceptance of eccentricity requires much more mettle, and occasional steel. You have to accept it when you least expect it, when it jumps out from behind a tree in the dark: armed, naked and covered in body-paint, needing to interact, with a sort of pyrotechnic energy.

Embracing the abnormal means always being ready. Semper Fidelis, etc.

To partially wit: I was driving through paradise the other day, listening to an interview with Robert Redford. The announcer came on just before the interview began and gave a brief station "warning" that some listeners might find that the interview contained "objectionable content and language"...

Robert Redford, I thought? How?

I listened to the entire interview, very carefully. When it was over I couldn't find a single thing that might have been objectionable. I don't mean that I heard something and dismissed it as silly or inconsequential. I mean that I couldn't discern what language or content could have possibly been "objectionable" to anybody. I was completely blind and deaf to the claim itself.

I dismissed the experience as being perhaps a warning that they put in front of all interviews to shield themselves against complaint. But, I made sure to keep the station on. The next interview that was broadcast contained no such warning. I thought, Is it possible that Robert Redford himself is so offensive, as a liberal, that they put a warning before any interview with him, to just repress any chance conservative dissent? 

That was the only explanation that made any sense. If you can somehow call that making sense.

In small towns people often reserve the right to offense where none exists - reserve such rights, I mean, not offense. Offense is self-generated and once you start pandering to it there is no end.

This place might just might be quaint to the point of being suffocating. I might have made the mistake of believing that I would grow-up in a place like this. But the question remains as to what one wishes to become. I had hoped to be a farmer, I guess. They not only embrace a proscribed set of limitations here, they insist upon them.

(Editorial note: I do not confuse any actual behavioral problems I may or may not possess with my occasional foibles. I could detect more than just a few bullshit-detectors going off in that last paragraph.)

It's not that these same people don't exist elsewhere, in bigger cities. They move in from small towns everywhere and seek to convert the mentality, to impose their concepts of smallness wherever they go. But they are usually broken by a bigger city. This reason alone is why some never venture. The city is a horror to them, a sea of mixed impulses and lost control. Not a relinquishing of control, but a loss of it. They are people that are only frustrated by the need for malleability in a city.

Here, it is the precise opposite. Any hint of independent action is seen as a threat, particularly from the outside. If they enjoy any excesses at all then they must be of the rather private sort.

I have been meditating deeply on my Elvis experience the other day. Other than me being a bit eccentric and describing the meaning of a 50 year old song with such abjectly offensive language as fucking, I can't really figure out what I did that was that wrong. Perhaps my apologies weren't sincere enough. I have been accused of increasing my problems through insincere, feigned regret.

What am I supposed to do, rehearse it, or actually be sorry for something like that?

I mean it, I didn't do anything that was that wrong. What am I saying? I didn't do anything that was wrong at all. It is a bar, they do serve alcohol in the place, they must expect that every now and again one of their more colorful patrons is going to confuse the place for a crowded karaoke bar.

I'm the victim here.

I should have accused them, on the spot, of having snuck extra alcohol into my beer.

I'm not sure what I expected. Well, that's a lie. I knew what to expect. I just told myself otherwise, as an eccentric often does, and will. Only one thing is certain now: I'll be the one that's expected to change. Who knows, maybe I will... though hopefully not without a fight. I only wish this time for there to be somebody else involved.


These thoughts are only a scrawl. They seem almost organized when typed out, even to a fault. Perhaps I should scribble them on paper first and then post a picture. The dairy of a madame... 

I wasn't able to write this morning. Maybe I should start waiting until after work to write. I'm too kind and gentle in the mornings, like a napping kitten in the lap of nuns.

But after a full sinister day at work my ire is afire.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Hip vs. Hip

Rhys is sick. It is torturous to witness. We only get occasional glimpses into what his world might be like, of course, but clearly he's not having as much fun as he once was. Rachel took him to the doctor, he has an ear infection which then turned into a sinus cold. His eyes keep filling with crust and he seems less satisfied with the world. His wails in the night are plaintive and desperate, filled with the misery of snot. I can not get to him fast enough and once there nothing I can do. He wants his mommy, nothing else will satisfy.

This is the first time that he has ever taken antibiotics. Amoxicillin. Now, time must pass, healing must happen. 

Rachel woke up and she is sick this morning. Rhys has recovered ever so slightly. I'm next.

Yesterday, I finally ordered the camera. It is a thing of beauty, a genuine marvel of the technical age. The thing does nothing more than accumulate information. Soon, you'll see the results here. I might not be collecting any more information, but I will be collecting it differently. That's the idea, anyway. It is an article of hipster heaven. 

I wrote a friend about James Salter's new book. She did not care for it, calling it "self-conscious and precious... too stylistic." Qualities that I might enjoy in certain kinds of writing, though I would describe them rather differently. I found myself feeling defensive. A developed style in writing is a basis for criticism among whom, those who do not wish to be bothered with it?


Salter is from another time. A different friend once described his writing, and lack of critical attention, as being the result of his approach being a form of high modernism. 

He has had the unlucky circumstance to be writing at a time when his manner is out of favor. Style is not always fashionable.

I tell myself that we live in a world in which fewer and fewer will find things of value from its own past, but I am often found wrong. The entire hipster phenomenon can be understood as a form of historical and cultural mining, made possible (or at least made easier), in this vast information age. Though I have yet to find the hipster that has read Tristram Shandy.

In truth, I haven't really been looking.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

She's mean, and she's evil....

(The power compels me)

Yesterday, at the local pub, I was having a conversation with a fellow about music. Eventually the conversation veered towards Elvis. We became stuck in his gravitational pull. This guy maintained that all of his music is "depressing," that it all is the product of a depressed mind. I requested that the bartender turn up the jukebox, reminding him that I have a hearing disability associated with age, and to not turn it up qualifies as discrimination. Then, I played "Little Sister"...

The place was lit afire with the raw sexual energy of E.

I sang it word for word along with Elvis, even besting him at spots. The crowd seemed to love this. In one of the musical interludes a woman at the bar said something about the song and I responded, "Yeah, it's about him fucking the little sister."

They turned - almost all of them, almost immediately - against me. I tried to explain that I didn't write the song. This seemed to have no effect. Then the woman said, "You were doing great up until that."

"Elvis did this to us!", I pleaded.

After more than 50 years that reprobate still has the dynamic energy to come back and haunt society in this way. I denounced it as the devil's music, offered to burn all his records, prayed for him, called upon the healing power of the holy spirit... nothing worked. They had turned and there was no winning them back. Even my buddy, the bartender, showed obvious signs of disfavor, growing increasingly agitated with each passing moment. 

It made no sense. Certainly these people must have understood that I am not Elvis, that I am not to blame for the sin of his carnality. 

There was no reasoning with them. Now I know how the big E.P. must have felt. 

The truth is a lonely business. 

Here is what caused all the ruckus:

Well, I dated your big sister
And took her to a show
I went for some candy
Along came Jim Dandy
And they snuck right out the door

Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you kiss me once or twice
Then say it's very nice
And then you run

Little sister, don't you
Do what your big sister done

Every time I see your sister
Well she's got somebody new
She's mean and she's evil
Like that old boll weevil
Guess I'll try my luck with you

Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you kiss me once or twice
Then say it's very nice
And then you run

Little sister, don't you
Do what your big sister done

Well, I used to pull your pigtails
And pinch your turned-up nose
But you been a growin'
And baby, it's been showin'
From your head down to your toes

Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you
Little sister, don't you kiss me once or twice
Then say it's very nice
And then you run

Little sister, don't you
Do what your big sister done

Written by: Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, 1961


Saturday, April 20, 2013

"naked amid unnaked things,"

The Mind Is Its Own Beautiful Prisoner

the mind is its own beautiful prisoner.
Mind looked long at the sticky moon
opening in dusk her new wings

then decently hanged himself, one afternoon.

The last thing he saw was you
naked amid unnaked things,

your flesh, a succinct wandlike animal,
a little strolling with the futile purr
of blood; your sex squeaked like a billiard-cue
chalking itself, as not to make an error,
with twists spontaneously methodical.
He suddenly tasted worms windows and roses

he laughed, and closed his eyes as a girl closes
her left hand upon a mirror.

- ee cummings


Friday, April 19, 2013

The continuing Panasonic saga

When Rachel got home yesterday I relayed the bad news about the camera getting stolen, explaining that I was going to have to smack a crackhead in the face with a shovel now, and that we don't even own a shovel, we'll have to borrow one, that it's all getting too complicated. 

She said that the camera has been in her car since Monday, she moved it to the glovebox so it would be safe. I ran out to the car as if it was Christmas morning and I a newly awoken child of 5. Sure enough, one of them had snuck out of the city, broken into our car, probably took a nap there, but then planted the camera in the glovebox for me to find. Magical.....

I checked the pictures, they were all there. There were none of anybody breaking into our house and sticking our toothbrushes up their butts, or brushing their ball hairs with them. There's that to be thankful for. I hear it's a real problem. 

So, the mystery was solved before I had even written up the full report. We can close the case on that one.

No crackheads will die today.

I was going to write about the Sigur Ros show I went to see on Wednesday night but I don't have it in me this morning.

Rachel and I must plan a trip soon. The summer will get away from us otherwise. One of the main reasons we moved to the West coast was all that is offered here in that regard, the beauty of it. The East coast is a great place to put up billboards. The landscape looks almost identical going south from D.C. all the way to Miami, except for the palm trees. North of the capitol it is identical, except for the occasional skyline to break up the industrial waste, at least as it is near the highway.

I was also going to post a picture of a crackhead with this post, thinking that it might be funny, like David Chapelle, but it wasn't. I mean, it really wasn't. The images are just too sad to laugh about.

Do a search, you'll see... not for crack, but for pictures of those who do.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stolen: Innocence

Fuck! I got my little camera stolen yesterday. I was wandering around 6th and Market, up to 8th after work, with it in my bag, with only a piece of velcro protecting it. I had been warned. The security team at work took the time to tell us that there are professional thieves wandering up and down Market in that area of SF. That's all they do: look for bags that they can sneak their hands in. 

I'm going to beat the hell out of a random crack-head, for vengeance, maybe a few of 'em. How illegal is it to run them over with your car?

I'm gutted. I feel like a hillbilly that wandered into town. It's not even like I got all of my money taken at the game where you have to guess which cup the fuzzy red or yellow ball is under. That, at least, might have provided some entertainment. All I'll get out of this is the shame of my naivety. 

I loved that little camera. I took it everywhere with us.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck...!!!!

I want to smack a thief in the face with a shovel.
I want that very badly, to smack a thief in the face, with a shovel.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sigur Ros

Tonight, after work, I will go to a concert. I'm not sure if it's considered "rock" or not. It's Icelandic, so it's difficult to say with any certainty. Bjork has taught us not to assume too much.

I listened to  a few pieces on the drive in to work today. I say "a few" because it is an accurate description. Each track is about 40 minutes long. I expect the concert to last a few days, perhaps a week.

No, I kid.

I haven't heard their new album, perhaps it's chock full of scorchers.

I have brought an emergency vial of thorazine in the event that I get too excited.

Okay, I'm already at work and have no time to write.

The internet needs me.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


We live much of our lives in darkness and confusion, never understanding why we do what we do, or what has happened once it does. 

Love is tougher for some than others, often those that need it the most. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

The California poppy

The Eschscholzia Californica have bloomed again.

Okay, sometimes I get a little too carried away with my atheism. I have listened to people spout nonsense about their religion all of my life, myself included, and sometimes I just lose my mind at it. 

Then, something will happen and I am quieted, if not humbled:

Yesterday, after posting my screed, making up a few things freely as I went along, just as the writers of the old and new testaments must have been doing, I found myself browsing the internet. A friend had posted a picture of a young boy that I didn't recognize. It would have been his birthday, and she his mother. He passed away a few years ago. I wanted to write something, as many already had. But what can be said, really? What possible contribution can I make in the face of such a thing? It is impossible to imagine, and difficult to stop trying. It forces the mind into a place from which there is no escape, no resolution and no ready-made rationale to assuage the enormous feeling of it, the endless emptiness. There is only the painful mystery of death. It is unfathomable in the truest sense. 

I thought of it all day yesterday, this morning when I awoke. I can not shake it.

I made the mistake of telling Rachel yesterday. Almost immediately came the tears, demanding that I stop, which I did. Later on in the day she would say something that I would think was about the boy, or his mother, and I would continue. She would correct me, Please, no, no... I wasn't talking about that.

Who could possibly deny Christianity for the mother of that boy, if she so chose? If that is how she opted to try and make some sense of it, to answer the mystery with a personal promise clutched from the cosmos with the premise of a loving god, and the defeat of death.

Not me, and I do not mean this in a condescending way, at all. I really mean it. I would argue against religion to most. Of what use is atheism there, of what harm Christianity?

I know what my atheist friends will say to me... If you can justify Christianity here then why not also in your own death. I can't answer that. I know that it makes no sense, but the argument feels suddenly foolish.

There is nothing to attach to it, nothing to justify. There is only nothing, and then more nothing; as far as the mind can stretch and the heart can reach, emptiness.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, but it also happens for all time.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

"And the sabbath rang slowly..."

No more installments of the possibly doomed love affair this morning. I had bored of writing about half forgotten dreams, coffee, and the weather. Perhaps I'll pick up the serialized romance again later this week. Yesterday's post was written months ago, but it fit, so... I stole it. 

It's just practice, though for what I do not know. Being a better storyteller, I guess. A father should be a good storyteller, though not necessarily a fabulist.  My father tried to imbue a morality lesson in all of his stories, usually involving the value of hard work. I could see through it and I hated him. I thought that he was a fool.

Did I ever relay the story here of how he made me throw most of my books away. He claimed that they were a fire hazard. He had forced me to put many of them out in the garage, where they were ruined by the Florida humidity. They all just started falling apart in my hands. The glue could not keep the bindings together any longer. Then, because he wanted more space, he claimed that they were in danger of causing a fire. I tried to reason with him: explaining that books, while flammable, did not automatically burst into flame and consume houses. If this were the case then nobody would allow their children to visit libraries. They all got chucked out anyway, sent to the incinerators. 

Man, I hated him.

Well, I suppose I should learn to let all that stuff go. I wasn't exactly a childhood Locke, or a Rousseau.

How charming and wonderful, a little rhyme...

And perhaps you thought that I was going to write more about the unholy act of penetration this morning. No, you see, it's the Lord's day...

Speaking of Sodom: God did not destroy the city for their love of anal sex. Oh no, it was for insolence, their obsession with wealth, and their refusal to help the poor.

Many do not know that oral sex also qualifies as sodomy. It is an umbrella term that encompasses any form of sex that dose not include a righteous penis going into a supposedly virginal vagina, sanctioned by the almighty in marriage. Some women do not care for any type of sodomy. The devil hates them most of all, because his evil has no way in. 

Masturbation is not included in the sin of sodomy, though I have tried and tried to elevate the act for possible consideration, if for no other reason than to provoke the mighty wrath of Khan.
That is my sunday school lesson today. The importance of understanding god's beautiful will for you. 

Do not make love in your anus or mouth, particularly in that order. It is an abomination, one that showering does not erase. Your shame is amplified through all the cosmos when the devil hovers over you this way. It's not pleasure that you feel, it's just the beating of his wings above you.

Between every good Christian woman's legs there are also sleeping angels. So, be careful.

You see, God loves you from a mighty distance, like a celestial stalker. He knows the count of hairs on your pubic region, but he will always be separated from you, because of your sin. Eating from the tree of knowledge was like having a universal restraining order issued, and he is understandably angry about it, but desperately loves you and wants you to stop what you're doing right away. Behold, he's crying in a van outside your house.

Now remember, he loves us in an unlimited way, though always from afar. He simply can not be near sin (re: Sodom and Gomorrah actually means "Cease and Desist" in some translations). It is his nature and will.

When you look back and only see one set of footprints on the beach, those were the times when he was about 60-80 yards behind you.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

... they both stop moving

(Ira Bordo)

The key slides into the lock and is turned. Its mechanical release echoes into the hallway. They both enter quickly, her then him. He turns to lock the door from the inside, she walks into the room, flipping the switch, bathing them in soft light. They set their bags down. He asks softly if she wants champagne. 

“The cheap stuff is fine.”

He prepares two glasses from the small bottle in the fridge while she opens the blinds. The night outside is complete. They are above the skyline, facing south. The room’s view is of only sky and distance. He studies her outline against the window, her figure from behind, facing outwards, reaching, drawing the light blinds open. It somehow seems to make the room larger but darker.

She comes to him, they kiss. They each drink. They kiss again, then drink again slowly.

She heads off towards the bathroom, taking her glass with her. He crouches at the stereo and puts on some music. It’s music that the hotel has left in the player, a collection of songs that are meant to be heard. It begins, innocuous as possible, a modest defense against silence. He can hear the water running in the sink. He sits on the edge of the bed and considers their evening. 

She asks for her bag, her voice muffled slightly by the water and the music. He obeys. He brings the smaller of the two bags, knowing. At the door to the bathroom he notices that she has already taken off her shoes and belt, they lie tossed aside and coiled together on the floor. He approaches her from behind and holds her, looking at her in the mirror. She leans forward and laughs, putting her hands face down on the counter, turning her head to look back at him.  

She holds her head in profile for a moment, her mouth open as if she is about to say something for him to consider. She stands up, placing herself against him. He wraps his hands around her and buries his face in her neck, in the hair around her neck. His hands slide to her waist. He steps back and out of the room.

She emerges seconds later, as she was. They each abandon a few more pieces. She playfully leans onto the bed as he drops his belt next to his shoes. Her hair has been let down from the mystery that held it. Each motion she makes leaps forward in time. Their abbreviation of restraint dissolves in front of them.

She moves towards him. Time stops. There is a flurry of motion, then they are united.

They undress quickly, standing closely together, as if they are traveling together through airport security. All the while they are staring at each other, face to face, rushed hands offering to help one another. They move together, naked enough, towards the bed. His hand slips behind her and then moves lower, pulling her into him. They fall onto the space beneath them. Time passes and begins again, though slowly.

Together, underneath the covers, the soft light soaks them in tandem, in shared fever. Beneath this sheath there is just the pungent smell of sweat, of them. He raises up, the light floods in from both sides. In that light a secret between them escapes. The fresh air reminds them. More. He lowers himself towards her, into their shared shadow. A drop of sweat lands on her chest, her neck, and then her chin. She closes her eyes again. Their lips meet over and over.  He moves onto his his elbows. From just above he admires her, relieved to be able stare.  

As they move together again there is a look of determined concentration on her face, almost childlike in its soft intensity. Her jaw tightens.  Sighs burst forth, exasperations in breath. She turns her head towards the bed, her profile to him, the twist of her neck. Her mind constricts around its hidden idea of pleasure, her body follows. He pulls back, adjusting, he holds her legs in the corner of his arms, then leaning far forward in to hang closely above her face, breathing into her. Her eyes open mid-pulse, in fever.

There’s a sound in the hallway, they both stop moving, as if they were just caught stealing.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Just call her Ms.

Then came lunches, preceded by the exchange of phone numbers, meeting twice for coffee. There were meandering phone calls into the evening, anticipation, suggestions, even whispers; giggling, the unexpected leaping to life. Discussions veered into and away from subjects, to confirm possibility. Dinner, inevitable, then dinners. Better wine than usual.

"Have you ever been married?"

"Once, long ago. I had a little starter marriage. It hardly qualifies."

There were the questions that need asks, the steps to make it seem necessary, the less than formal interviews, answers. Confirmation of where to shop, and why, a casual mentioning of garments still cloaked in mystery. Courtesies piled upon one another, almost crowding conversation. The initial jokes already passing into legend, the badinage giving way to something more serious, though somehow more deeply playful. Before score but somehow still game, hunt, chase, and hide, and find.

"What was her name?"

"Well, it ended in mine, for a while. I forget her given. Everybody just called her Mrs."

The past ceremoniously resurrected, brought to imaginary existence, necessarily denounced. If not yet, then soon. The impulse to be traditional runs high, to send flowers to her office, to stake an unexpected claim amongst unknown rivals. The imagination forms and sometimes fixes on what must have been, might still be. Imagined jealousies spark desire, the unknown in private orgy; something as innocent as curiosity. There will be the requisite confessions, those moments that are as tender to share as they are to lose.

But first there is, of course, one more question.


Thursday, April 11, 2013


I think about getting a drink.

The doors at the end of the car open. I hear them behind me. Ms. has returned. She sits down in the empty seat without asking. I smile. She smiles back then stands up again, reaching over me to put her bag in the storage rack. She sits down again more hesitantly and stares into the seat in front of her. The train rattles forward, a wonder of industrial percussion.

I offer her the newspaper from the seat pocket in front of me.  

“I never read it. It’s always bad news. I want some good news.”

“There’s an arts section there, or style.”

She waits. “Practically the gospel.”

“I think I saw a Gideon’s in the bar car.”

She giggles, taking the paper from my hand.  The leisure section - she folds the rest of the paper and returns it to the pocket in front of me, leaning over and forward with unexpected familiarity.  I think of Penthouse Forum.  This is how it often starts, I tell myself. 

“Maybe my horoscope will tell me where I’m going, or that I should have been a nun.”

“They always do... tell you that you should have been a nun, that is.  Let me guess, you either need to be more assertive at work, or perhaps focus on yourself for a while and let old habits go. You are family-oriented. You like to be decisive but have a hard time making decisions. This is a positive time for romance. Be mindful of your financial situation because you’re going through some personal turmoil. Only make essential decisions.”

“That’s amazing. How did you do that?” 

“I’ve been told that I have an old soul. I’m practically a walking crystal ball, if a crystal ball had legs.”

“I’d have to agree. How much do I owe you for that?”

“Oh, don’t be too impressed.  I’d give you the same reading tomorrow.  They’re always free.”

“Are you sure about that?”


“That we’ll see each other tomorrow, or that the reading would be the same, and free?”

“Hmmm, let me peer in again... Both. I see it all now.  I’m rarely wrong.”

“I’m John, the baptist. You might have heard of me”  I hold out my hand for a handshake.

She looks at my hand for a moment then raises hers and takes it in her open palm. After shaking it she flips it over and draws her finger across my palm.  

“Your laugh line runs right through your fate line. I can hardly tell one from the other.”  She lets my hand go but keeps looking at me.

“I’m May.”

“Nice to meet you, May. How much do I owe you for the palmistry and witchcraft?”

“Oh, it’s free, this time.  We’ll call it an even trade.”

“Where are you going?”

“I thought you’d already know. What makes you think I’m going anywhere? Maybe I’m just fleeing the city. I got involved in some pretty bad dealings back there.  Got mixed up with the dangerous crowd and now I’ve just got to get back to where I stashed my take from the bank holdups we did when I ran with the old heist gang. Do you know anywhere that we can sink a van?”

“Dangerous character. I see. You think it’s a good idea to tell a cop about your stash, or your past?”

“You’re no cop.”

“A detective, I swear it.  How do you think I knew your fortune? It’s my job to predict the future by discerning the past.  It’s a form of profiling that only detectives, insurance adjusters, and garbagemen can perform, but we’re the ones that get to cuff people. They put me on special assignment on this train, to capture gypsies on the lam and try to sell them travel insurance, as if selling gypsies anything is ever easy.”

“I’m no gypsy.”

“All fugitives are gypsies. Tell it to the judge. I’ve got a job to do here.”

“Oh yeah?  Do all detectives capture their subjects just by leaving a seat open next to them on a train?”

“No, we look for the loners that arrive late and are looking to sit by themselves. You can practically smell the guilt on them.”

“I’d say about every third person on this train is a criminal then.”

“I’d say about half. It keeps us busy. We don’t really have to go searching for them, they come right to us. If I had my way I’d seal the doors to this train and arrest everybody.”

“I was just gonna go to the bar car. Would you like a cocktail?”

“I can’t let you do that.  I’ll go to the bar car, but I will have to handcuff you to the seat. Regulations, etc.”

“You’re allowed to drink while on duty?”

I started to get up and she turned her legs inwards, towards our window, so that I could squeeze by.  She began to get money out of her purse. I waved her away.  She held out a five dollar bill.  I looked down at it and smiled.

“Don’t be silly. Drinking’s practically a requirement for this detail. They have us all on expense accounts for it. What would you like?”

“I’ll have a bloody mary.”

“The obvious criminal choice... You gypsies are all alike, you know. A bloody mary is not sustenance. You can’t actually live off of celery, olives, tomato and vodka.”

“It’s worked so far.  If they actually put celery and olives in the bloody mary’s on this train then I’ll give it a try. I won’t have to eat for the rest of the day.”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right. They wouldn’t want to cut into their potato chip profits.”

“Check and see if they have a cheese appetizer too. No salami, please.”


“I don’t have to be a vegetarian to know that that’s not really salami. But yes, I am.”

“Oh good.  I was worried that they might not be able to accommodate your special diet in prison. They do quite well with vegetarians on the inside now. Times sure have changed.”

I walked into the car that seemed to be in the car behind us, as we moved forward. After three or four cars I stopped a porter and asked.  Other way, he said.  I turned around and walked back.  I stopped at our seats. Another smile.

“I’ve had to call in reinforcements, just in case you decide to go down hard instead of easy. It’s up to you, but backup is already on its way, so think twice before jumping. They’ll have the hounds on you in no time.”

“I’ll go easy, don’t worry. I get it, I’m busted. My time is up. Top notch detective work, that’s plain for everyone to see. I’m eager to pay my debt to society.  I won’t put up a fight. I promise. But I did request a final meal...”

I walked forward this time. I wondered how I looked, wondered if she had leaned to look, wanting to check. I made it to the end of the car, opened the door and went through. The very next car was the bar car. Brilliant. The queue was only about four deep. I lined up. Each person seemed to only begin to make their decision when it was time to order. They would stand there looking up at the very limited menu with amazement and confusion, ordering slowly, occasionally retracting their order, making sudden changes as if they were inexperienced gamblers, afraid to make a bad bet, as if the house was riding on it.  

When it was my turn I stepped to the counter and ordered two bloody mary’s and a cheese platter. Yes, that’s what it looked like, a cheese platter. Quite exquisite, wrapped in cellophane with a plastic knife. I was surprised to see that there was an olive with the bloody mary’s. Perhaps she was right, May. She would live to grift another day. I asked for two extra olives and the bartender looked at me as if I had asked her to pay for the drinks herself. I put two dollar bills in the tip jar and thought about changing my order. 

I walked back to our seats with even more difficulty, two drinks in my hands and a plastic cheese platter under my arm, sans salami.  


“They didn’t want to serve me two, they wanted to see your ID. I told them it wouldn’t do any good, that you probably had hundreds of them. I had to flash my detective badge. We’re not supposed to do that, normally, blow our cover. I hope those extra olives sustain you. I should have let you put all of this on one of your many stolen credit cards.”

“I’ll get the next ones.”

“Oh, don’t risk it. I’d hate to see anybody else arrest you. It’s my collar now, as they say in the cop biz.”

“You watch too much tv.”

“All cops do. Where do you think we learn how to act?”  

“I thought you all went to cop school. You know, some of you learn to play the good cop, others fall to the dark side.”

“We all fall to the dark side. It’s something nobody ever tells you. We’re the most well-funded crime syndicate in the world.”

“I’ve heard that you’ve had funding problems lately.”

“Well, it’s like anything else. They want to squeeze as much profit out of us as they can for as little as possible. It’s the way of things, simple economics, and corruption at the top.”


We held our plastic cups up for a mock toast.  May took an olive out of hers and ate half of it as she took her first drink.  We arranged the cheese appetizer on the pull-down tray in front of her.  We each took a piece. Predictable.

“It barely qualifies as cheese.”

“It makes a better salami.”

Cheese. The land had flattened out almost completely now. A few hills rising and falling gently in the distance. The trees flashed past, barely discernible, signs and roadways arriving and receding as perpetual surprises, then forgotten places of an unknown past. I thought of taking her hand again, but then thought better of it, though thinking more of it. Her hands were thin and delicate, rings on three fingers, the telling one absent of all evidence. She sliced off another piece, clumsily with the plastic knife, and married it with a cracker. As she brought it to her mouth she smiled, I returned.  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yet never converged

The station platform is crowded with travelers, commuters. The occasional student, two’s and three’s of them, small groups separated from other small groups by choice. The formation and disruption of naive allegiances, perceived betrayals. We each await the arrival, aligned loosely along the station platform. 

The train pulls into the station slowly, coming to a stop with a comforting exactness. The mighty string of machines releases their hydraulics, sending a whistling announcement of the completed task. The passengers de-board with uniform purpose, all turning towards the terminal, beginning their walk down the platform, then apart. A few stragglers grappling with overstuffed bags, broken wheels - accumulations and their fractured vessels.

The conductor lazily announces that boarding will resume shortly, time vanishes. The station clock spirals upon itself without descent or climb, only loss, seconds gone in an unending arc. Several minutes later the conductor’s bored promise is complete. We each gather our bags and quietly form several lines, two at each car, two in tandem where every car meets another.

Once on board there is much shuffling, some mild grumbling. Lovers agreeing on where to best seat their love, views considered then rejected, the exertion of nearly mutual wills, space. I pick an eastern seat, placing my newspaper next to me, hoping it will dissuade the lonely, and discourage crowding or conversation. I stare out the window at the emptying stage, the recently unused benches, the maps, the advertisements.

A woman enters the car, mid-thirties, tall, dressed in almost sharp lines. Her bag packed lightly and held across her shoulder.  Her ash blonde hair falling to both sides along the back, very loosely curled, pulled behind her ears, held in place away from her face by an unseen mystery.  She approaches, scanning for an open seat. 

I pick up my newspaper and pretend to read. The arts and entertainment section. She passes. I keep the paper up past half of my face, not covering my eyes, deciding against abject falseness yet barely pretending to read. I return the remainder of the paper to its position. I stare at the printed words in front of me, the images, unsure of the arts, certain of the entertainment.

The doors close, seconds pass. The train bumps forward with much metallic effort. Slowly, the platform begins to slide away, the empty benches recede from sight. We enter an unlit tunnel at a crawl. The lights stay down for several moments as we join a near complete darkness. The train’s lights flicker on and then off again. There is the pull of increased speed. What little can be seen passes in secret abbreviation, blurred by motion and darkness. The rattling increases, sending us all into the dimness.

As we approach the end of the tunnel each passing instance becomes less of a mystery. There is the growing of light. We emerge into daylight, objects distant become determined though not fixed in the mind. Articles settle into moving place, returning with secure positions, the need. The early morning sun illuminates the east. Once past the brush near the outer station the shadows of trees breaks the world into an almost cinematic shutter. The substantial morning backlight slicing the world into alternating portions of brilliance and shade.

April. Overcast days are coming to a close. Spring has committed to its opening. The sky stretches from horizon to horizon, unbroken by cloud. Only the hill line speaks of further distances, unseen efforts. The train rocks from side to side mildly, advancing with a mechanical gallop, its steady pull, the feeling of increase. Up close the world shuffles by in blurred, unexpected fragments, the distance shifts as a holographic postcard, held far past hand’s length. 

As we are pulled from the station the passengers settle in more fully. Seats barely recline, an insult to comfort. I opt for the new book in my bag, reaching in and retrieving it while stuffing the newspaper in the pocket of the seat in front of me. The page is held with a worn ticket. A broken paragraph at the top gives no memory as to where the story is in its telling. The previous page becomes vaguely more familiar. It is about a love cracking slowly, across several cities, then again at home. I remember it all now.