Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"We aren't particularly talented, we try harder!"

(photo by Bob Gruen)

The doctor says that I'm going to survive, but it's going to require some time to do so. He says, "It's gonna be close," meaning recovery and death are just about tied at this point. It's neck and neck, you could say. He gave me some mild explosives which are designed to assist in the process. He believes my condition to be somehow related to angina pectoris, a sort of southern angina, an anti-ischemia of sorts. He gave me pamphlets to better understand my cursed affliction. I found them to be confusing and misleading and do not see how they apply to me. There is a drawing of a vagina in one of them, which looked pretty.

I thought it better to use my own explanation here, for the purpose of clarity.

When my old rocker friends are talking about the worst singers in rock history they all cite Bob Dylan, Neil Young (though quite wrongfully), Mick Jagger (also wrongfully... try doing what he does), Tom Petty, Lou Reed, et al. Nobody ever mentions Joe Strummer. I love him, but he was just terrible. He was capable of almost hitting 4 notes, that's it. On such a thin pedestal does a tremendous legend rest.

I played some of my favorite obscure Clash songs for Rachel last night, the hidden gems on Sandanista! and elsewhere... She was dazzled and awed, I think. It was too much for her, she went to bed. Overpowered By Funk, I guess...  Rebel Waltz, Kingston Advice, One More Time, Bankrobber, and others.

My daddy was a bankrobber
But he never hurt nobody, 
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your money

- Joe Strummer and Mick Jones

(Title quote presumably by Joe Strummer, so says the internet)


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ernie's Tin Bar

(Ernie's Tin Bar)

Yesterday, Rachel and I both called out from work. The time for it had come. We went other places and did nothing, spending enormous sums of money, for us. We did things that she and I do not regularly do. Never, in fact. We stopped at Ernie's Tin Bar on the drive home. It was a much needed day, having fun together, spending money as if we didn't care, as if it was ours already.

We bought a case of assorted wines, drinking one of the bottles last night with dinner. Well, I did. We barbecued chicken and steak on the grille. It was a pleasantry. 

Today, I go to the doctor. I have been in enormous, prohibitive pain. There will likely need to be an operation, if not an unpleasant procedure of some sort. Pain reduces all other aspects of life to it alone. All relief from it thus far has been very temporary, and incomplete. I'm hoping the doctor finds a more permanent escape from it.

I'm not sure what happened but beginning somewhere in my early 40's my body just started breaking down. The 20 years of life that preceded it, I guess. I was careless. Not any more.

Nature has a way of catching up with escapees. 


Monday, July 29, 2013

"... off of"

I use prepositions often, poorly, and when not needed. A close, dear friend had the great love for me to point this out. So, now I have that to contend with as well. It is a very bad habit, I'm told.

Through writing this site I had almost exhausted my self-consciousness. My mind had become like an empty white room. The place where actors will often chat with god. Now, I have tapped a whole new reservoir of shame. My anxieties have birthed a new center. It's like drowning in a hidden virgin spring, but only in a dream. How apropos that it involves a set of relational words, ones often denoting time and space.

We went to a baseball game last weekend and almost all of the pictures that I took are over-exposed. I was focused more on beer, I guess. I had forgotten and somehow left the ISO on "Auto." Because I was spot metering it tended to blow everything in the background out. I struggled with it all day but never figured out what the problem was.

So, there's that also. I am able to disappoint even when not writing or speaking.

Normally I wouldn't care, or, wouldn't care quite as much. But ever since I wrote about choosing to be a woman I think I've been suffering some pre-menstrual curse. Now, I have the pain of childbirth to consider and anticipate. If the Old Testament teaches us anything it is that the origins of the cosmos and mankind were a series of similar mistakes and subsequent hardships.

... once we had been cast out (of) the Olive Garden.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

You Must Remember This

Strange things arise from being accused of untrustworthiness. The impulse to suddenly disprove is doomed to failure. Trust can not be proved in an instant, it is maintained over time. It is an essence, not a moment; or at least not dependent upon a single moment. 

Few things will provoke resentment more than the accusation. It is similar to the negative side of sexual jealousy, but without the erotic fascination affixed to it. It is just a painful confusion from which there is no simple escape. You are forced to examine minutiae, looking for evidence to refute. The mind scrambles. You find yourself arguing with and for insignificant details, offering explanations to acts and incidents that require none. 

It is a quite devious interpersonal tactic. The accusation, or even the suggestion, forces the accused into a defensive space from which they are then expected to prove their worthiness, without ever having prepared. The people who prepare to prove their trustworthiness are those that generally do not deserve it. What sort of person contemplates such a thing? Perhaps only the schemers. So, once the indictment has been made the mind begins to suddenly construct. It is easily detected by all and tends to support the accusation.

Innocent people don't act that way, nor should they.

You find yourself searching the behavioral files and sounding like a politician accused of a heresy, or worse. 

The worst form of this accusation is when it is not openly made, it is only suggested, through behavior and alternate choices. It leaves no adequate way to respond. Any reaction appears self-consciously prepared. No loved person should be expected to act with emotional insistence, but that is the result. It is insidious, corrosive. 

That's my wisdom for the day: be wary of those that would make you feel less than deserving. 

The minute that you settle for less than you deserve then you'll get even less than you settled for. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

But, what if I'm not glamorous?

(Edouard Boubat)

There is nothing left. Evaporation took it all. Everything vanished.

I have been sitting here, staring at the screen for an hour. Well, not just staring. I was throwing away old, useless files. House cleaning. My drive is nearly full. It's like much else in my life: a collection of mostly useless things crowding a small handful that matter to me. Everybody's life becomes a confused collection to all others. There is no way to explain most of it. I feel like a bag-lady, pushing along an enormous shopping cart, useless articles tied and swinging from the sides; no forward visibility, a wonky wheel, the drive struggles. I risk losing it all but refuse to sort through it, to purge.

That's the old me, though. Not the woman in the picture, but the habits I describe.

A friend asked me if I had "caught much flack" from yesterday's post.

Nobody bothers the bag-lady.

When I said that I would speak as a woman, well, I never said which one.


Friday, July 26, 2013

... the scent as a woman


Sin can not be both optional and unavoidable.

That is the extent of my thoughts on Christianity this morning. It is utter nonsense.

Speaking of options... (I have nothing to write about this morning, so I'll respond to the writing of others) Selavy writes about Weiner's sexting this morning, and he makes a salient point. Why the fuck should we judge Weiner, or Abedin? I mean, sure... Weiner invited us to examine his personal life at several points in the past, citing his marriage to Abedin and their having a child as good reasons to vote for him, that his day "starts here every morning" (with a shot of them in their home together, making nice). 

But now, his personal life is none of our business, we're reminded. We decide if we are going to "forgive" politicians, as if they have wronged us.

I do find it hilarious that people act as if they were obligated to be in the public eye, whether as celebrities or politicians, or both, whether notorious or infamous, or either. This life decision they made was unavoidable, not optional, you see. They are servants in and of the public eye. But the Christian mind, attuned to such constant nonsense, never even notices. Americans accept redemption and the plea for forgiveness, and why not? I do too, truly, though for very different reasons. I simply don't want the entertainment to cease, and don't believe they've done anything wrong. Not to me, anyway.

There are, of course, the vast assumptions of social-media, questioning her impulses to stay with her husband, and child. Because other people's divorces are particularly easy when witnessed from a distance. Some claim naked ambition, as if that's a sin on its own. It is rewarded and applauded by nearly all, until it is revealed. The true sin and shame of ambition is having any and getting caught with it. It is esteemed in most as a private value, like intellect. It is deeply suspect when detected in others. Though everybody modestly surmises they possess private reservoirs of the stuff. Deep unspoiled springs that are yet unknown and unfound, invisible to the eye and ear and mind of others. Undetectable to all.

... and this might very well be true. How would we ever know? There is as much evidence for it as against. None.

Any comment upon Abedin, made by a man, is at once presumptuous and dismissible. A man could never understand staying with a partner who had cheated, who had violated the sanctity of their marriage, perhaps even befouled their home, had brought that filth into their own bedroom on a phone, maybe even sexting from home, with that person. 

A man could never fathom such a thing and has no right to comment. 

It is amazing what we are told, and what we choose to believe. 

Once, long ago, I took a class on "Women in Film." The teacher made a point of first showing that there are not strict lines defining what is a woman and what is a man, and gave many examples to prove this, scientific studies were cited. Gender is as much a social approximation as anything else and we have the right to choose. It is no sin, not any more, not in these enlightened times. That was the accepted and agreed upon claim.

So, anytime after that in which I angered a clutch of feminists in the class I would simply claim that I was speaking "as a woman," and have every right to do so. Who are they to tell me that I'm not a woman. So, I would make outrageous claims about my celestial powers and intuition regarding the films we were watching. One of my favorite things to say was, "Of course I would never quite understand the way that you do, I'm just a woman trapped in a man's mind."

I was a hit, a smash success. You could see my thoughts exploding in their eyes. That moment of clarity, etc.

At the end of the class I decided to speak as a man, as is my choice. I asked why the worst films we saw were made by women while the best ones were made by men, about women. I was partially kidding (and it was only partially true), but felt justified enough in saying it. I had abandoned intuition for the time being.

It was an honest question, and I did not shy from it. We are taught to ask honest questions, even when they are painful. 

Their love for my wisdom was manifest. 

So, that's my lesson today... Always change genders when saying something you believe. Speak as a man, not for them. I've always wondered why the people who desired same sex marriages allowed the state to tell them what gender they are. There's a legal fight to be had there, as there is no clear consensus on where that dividing line is. What court has the power to tell you what you are, and how easily fought would such a thing be. Just claim you are something other than what they have told you that you are.

Why not?

Well, Thank God it's not Thursday.... TGINT!!!!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Lady of the Flowers

(Jean Genet)

I finished reading Genet's first book last night, had planned on saying much about it this morning, but my mind is blank. I slept too much. This is often the case when I take a Xanax. It is why I take Xanax. They do not recommend it as a sleep aid, at all. One has a more difficult time reaching the important stages, "deep" and R.E.M. But if sleep-anxiety is the reason that you can't... well, it does help to reduce that, famously so.

Like many great books it does not adhere strictly to conventions. Or rather, it defies enough of them to remain intelligible, while showing that the author knows how to obey a custom and when to break from it. 

He employs a strange and powerful use of metaphor. They seem to obey a strict inner need. It is as if the gravitational pull of any comparison must immediately submit to the force of the one who created it. There are these strange and wonderful transformations that float past. Angels haunt the work. Traditional values are upended, and that is to say nothing of the explicit prostitution and homosexuality; shocking subject matter for the time. 1942.

I almost couldn't read the book. Sartre's introduction had scared me away. It was dense and nearly incomprehensible, like so much of his writing. I went back and read the introduction again when I was 2/3rds of the way through and then it made perfect sense, every word of it. That is what I mean, I guess. The book is so singular that it is difficult to describe or address. This flimsy assessment here is presumptuous and terrifically incomplete, at best. The book can be felt and understood, even while it remains foreign, yet never impersonal. 

One nearly forgets that they are reading a "narrative" until the last 50 pages or so. Something very peculiar and magical happens - all the time spent in vague and meandering expository, flights of imagination... suddenly, the story stands up and goes to trial. As if several marionettes have unexpectedly had their strings lifted, and the drama begins to unfold even as it is unravelling, disappearing, even decomposing. He puts the characters in place somehow behind your back. 

It was one of the least expected and effective changes that I've ever encountered in any telling of events, imaginary or otherwise. I couldn't believe my eyes, or mind, the thing that was happening on the pages in front of me. I couldn't wait to read the book again, even before I was finished with it.

I read pages aloud to Rachel, following her around the house.

I see that his influence was massive, particularly among the writers that I read when I was younger: Artaud, Brecht, Bukowski, the beatniks. More recently, Salter.

I wish now that I would have read Genet instead of wasting so much of my time with Henry Miller. If "Tropic of Cancer" was truly "the cause" for what we now take for granted, free speech in literature, then Genet's book could perhaps be credited for something far more important: free thought. There is an existential liberty within the work that seems nearly perfect, complete, heroic even. Beautiful, that it is offered so freely.

A small coincidence: that it was written the same year as Camus' "The Stranger" though written entirely from within a prison cell, one that Camus only describes and places his character in.

A guard found the manuscript in Genet's cell and set it on fire in front of him, reducing it to cinders. He had written it on stolen scraps of brown paper bag. It is difficult to even imagine what this caused within Genet.

Little matter, he just wrote it again.

I had hoped to say more but have run out of time. I spent the morning playing a newly borrowed accordion, for the boy. He was enthralled by it. Every time I tried to put it down he would speak the word and make the hand motion for "more."  

If I ignored him then he would command in clear and insistent terms, "I said, play it again, Monkey-Boy..." 

So, a little dance I would do, pirouetting from gypsy key to gypsy key, collecting coins as we went.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weiner Bait


We live in hilarious times. That a candidate in the NYC mayoral race has a (seemingly) uncontrollable need to send semi-naked pictures of himself to young women that he doesn't know has NOTHING at all to do with his ability to lead this city out of its troubles and back to democratic prosperity. With he and Spitzer steering this great city to recovery, well, what could possibly go wrong, friends. 

He's our guy.

The age of social media will eventually force us to a realization that will be dispiriting for some: everybody is fucked, and others don't care. I want ol' Tony D. Weiner to win. I mean, when the history of these times are finally written would you want to be found in the anti-Weiner camp?

He was just trying to really connect with young voters.

He and his wife have assured everybody that it's all over now, and even though the previous scandal is not quite when it actually stopped - when he was forced to step down from Congress - he has since gotten help. I can't emphasize this enough: This has nothing at all to do with his ability to lead.... 

I mean, come on... this is another Clinton dynasty in the making. These people have what it takes. Why would we deprive ourselves of such a thing?

I mean it. Politics is a total travesty. I think it's hilarious. Do not let my tone deceive you. I want these people in public office, almost need them there. A sex scandal should be a rite of passage. We pay our taxes, give us what we wish for.

Some might not remember that before the previous sex scandal broke (the one before this one) Weiner was known as a complete control freak that often abused his staffers. He's 6 foot 5", so he would physically intimidate and mistreat those who were most dedicated to helping him. He would insist that they were all always available to him. The Times pretty regularly wrote articles about him, questioning his misplaced intensities. He had a higher turnover rate than McDonald's. 

"I'm not screaming...!!! This is how I was raised... I'm the victim here...!!!"

Man, I miss New York.... If you can claim it there, then it'll sell in Delaware.

Weiner-Spitzer 2016


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I dream of eating oysters

(BBQ Oysters, Lagunitas Tap Room)

I dreamed of being awoken by an alarm. A few weeks ago I wrote of what a horror that must daily be. It is what the mind does to itself, I guess. It manufactures horror where there is none. I had to check my phone, just to verify. The dreamed danger seemed as real as the other. I had read some Kafka last night before going to sleep, portions of "The Trial."

I tried to go back to sleep after writing the above paragraph. No alarm, real or imaginary, woke me again, but neither did I sleep. Just my inner voice terrorizing me to wakefulness. Many would be alarmed, I'm certain, if they could hear my inner monologue. To know the true shape of such a thing. It must be that way for many. When you spend enough time with others - particularly if you're in love with them - you can begin to hear their inner voice, to occasional dismay, the fretting of it.

Selavy asks a good question this morning: "What do you look forward to?" (approx.) I was lying in the darkness of my bed asking what my answer would be. Rachel and Rhys occupied every thought. I suppose that some of the criticisms that people have for why others get married and have children might be true. It gives one something to do, takes the mind off of self, somewhat. It relieves one burden by the acceptance of others.

I think about Rhys growing up, becoming the person that he will become. There are little hints piling up inside of him now, arranging themselves to a common order, though each also in their own way. I look forward to witnessing that, participating, etc. 

My whole life I have heard quips and quotes and aphorisms about the value of living for others. I have always been far too selfish to give myself over to such a thing, and am suspicious of those who insist upon it. 

Then, there is the boy, and I find myself living for another over and over, each time noticing and navigating it less. It is becoming more natural for me, even easy at times, though mostly as I compare my current self to my past self. Still, sometimes I feel a reluctance to, even a fear of, losing any more of my self.

The word looks like serf when italicized. The more emphasis, the more distortion.

I struggle to find time to write here each day, to go to the gym. But what of me is left if I do not? Balance becomes harder to strike, but also more important. It forces your life into a shape, though not always one of your choosing.

What of me, alone? Certainly there must be an independent forward that I can look to. Or no, perhaps we do not talk of such things. We are told that is also selfishness, to consider oneself as detached in any way from the primary thing. It is dangerous to fantasize of being self-determining when one is not. One must maintain a collective idea of the future if one ever plans on arriving there. It is a practice that Rachel and I often entertain, to generate a shared fantasy about the future. Italy, etc. It is how we arrive, when all is working. 

Nobody looks forward to getting into debt, nobody dreams of that day, and only the strange and curious dream of saving. Not "having savings" (in the form of wealth), but actually doing the saving, month by month. So little seems possible without one or the other, or both. What dullness is daily suffered to create lines of sight.

I dream of eating oysters.


Monday, July 22, 2013

We lost.....

I have learned my lesson. Beer, in that quantity, is not healthy. 

My body is depleted. My mind aches. I'm going back to bed.

Beer - 1 
Sean - 0


Sunday, July 21, 2013

SF Giants vs. The AZ Diamondbacks

(a game seen through beer eyes)

Today we take a bus trip into the city, to see a ball game. It is biblical, or perhaps Roman, in nature: a coliseum battle between powerful mythical giants and fearsome serpentes virperidae. Who thinks of these things? It is brilliant, and few even bother to notice. 

The Gigantes vs. Crotalus Atrox 

Some friends are in town from LA. 

Yesterday, we drank so much beer at the Lagunitas Brewery Tap Room and then Ernie's Tin Bar afterwards that in the middle of the night I was canceling the bus trip in my mind, for me anyway, telling myself that it is just not possible. Now, in the morning, I have reconsidered. It would perhaps be inappropriate to pull out now. Much money has been spent on the project already. We will drink even more beer, besting all previous records. It has been paid for in advance, along with the tickets to the game, and the bus ride. There are certain expectations.

It is written in beer suds.

The drinking will start soon. It is the way of things. I do not wish to insult these people's customs with my reluctance and reticence. I honestly don't know how I'm going to survive another day of it. I feel as if I had my ligaments stretched by succubi all night. My entire body is experiencing a mild form of atonia.

A beer should loosen me up further, put a little spring noodle back into my faltering step. 

I'm slur of it.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

revelers, ravers, flappers, and belles....

(a reveler)

I had meant to write about a Dixieland / Bluegrass festival that we went to last week, here in Sonoma. But I have let the time slip past. Now, the memories are beginning to lose their focus. We do not remember events, we remember our memory of them. It was really something. I was the most ethnic person there. Well, there was one attractive, sharply featured Asian girl - though we agreed that she must have been working. 

The thing that seemed unusual, and even rare, to me was how happy all these people seemed. These were not the nay-sayers of life. They were just dancing, or sitting and tapping, and enjoying the music. There were even older couples approximating the Charleston. It was really something. It was like a rave for retirees. 

There were bands that did nothing but Sophie Tucker covers, Clarence Williams covers, and there were other bands that covered many other artists... The Black Diamond Blue Five, The Devil Mountain Jazz Band, the Golden Gate Rhythm Machine. We heard tunes from Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Earl Hines... "Maple Leaf Rag", "Black Bottom Stomp" , "Dreaming the Hours Away"... all of it, all day.

We were just lying in the grass, watching the sky. Great black birds with fantastic wingspans swept above us.

One of my favorite cassette tapes, one that I have not been able to replace, was by The Black Eagle Jazz Band back in the mid-80's. I used to drive around in my pickup truck and blast it all day long, doing the "Jelly Roll Blues." My friends thought I was kidding, or crazy, or worse. Very little music that I've known since has been as unburdened by time. 

At the festival, there was a particular bawdy performance of "Was I?" by Chick Endor and Charlie Ferrell (sung fantastically by the raver pictured below). 

Here is an approximation that I'll leave you with this morning.

Was I?

Sweet young thing of sixteen
Thought I'd step out one night
I longed to get the thrilling life I've missed
I met a youth 
A bit uncouth
Although he seemed alright
I knew him by the moment when we kissed

Then I got home, next day with a swollen head
My girlfriend asked if i'd had fun I said,
"was I drunk?
was he handsome?
Did momma give me hell?
Did I get a thrill?
Am I full of quiver?
Was he rough?
Did I care?
Am I glad I fell?
Every time I think of him do I shiver?
Was he hot?
And was I?
And would he stand for maybe?
He would not?
Did I lie?
Does he still think I'm a baby?
If I was, am I still?
Do I care?
Don't be silly
Was I drunk?
Was he handsome?
And did momma give me hell?

Was I drunk?
Was he handsome?
Did momma give me hell?
With his hands loose as no refusin'
Did he fight?
Was I blue?
Almost shamed to tell
And I don't know yet the system he was usin'

Well I said, stop, please, behave!
Well what's the use of breathin'?
He said, give
So I gave
After all, what was I savin'?
Am I glad?
Holy gee, 
Have I had fun, you're askin' me?
Was I drunk?
Was he handsome?
And did momma give me hell?"

(a raver)


Friday, July 19, 2013

It is risen...

If I had not requested Monday off late, and been granted it only a day ago, then I would call out sick today. It is my promise to you... my dear, dwindling readership. If I had, then I would write you a long and thoughtful post. A verbal opus, with lots of nounals too.

Last night, Rachel and I had a relationship breakthrough. Just a simple conversation that, I believe, allowed us both to see things in a different way, if only for a moment. A glance through the eyes of another. They are quite important, these moments. They appear almost in the way that humor does, unexpectedly. When both people have let their usual guard down just enough so that previously un-glimpsed insight is possible. Epiphanic, but without the baby boy Jesus pooping his diaper for three strangers. Now, in the morning, the understanding seems to have already ascended elsewhere.

It is not the same to be clever when you are alone, to know that somebody would giggle.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

UC Ghraib

(An image that helps me fall asleep)

Again, then again and again, nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Too little sleep. Long periods in the middle of the night when there is none. Rachel questioned me lightly last night as I said that I was going to bed, it was 8pm. One can never be too careful. If there are about 9 or 10 hours of time through the night in which to sleep then I want to be available for as many of them as possible. Why fight it? It has become somewhat predictable that I will not be able to rest for long stretches across the darkness. I awake, and immediately I know, there is no sudden returning. All that I can do is try to bore myself dimward.

It is hell. Anybody that has ever suffered it will tell you. I don't mean someone that was worried about something and couldn't sleep for one night. I mean the other kind, the kind that won't talk to you about it, ever.

I often go downstairs to suffer. There is an extra bedroom. All night last I could hear the dog kicking and scratching on the floor above me. I like the little guy but it is a struggle sometimes not to also hate. It is easy to displace one's suffering onto others, to apply blame where none belongs.

I have a friend whose current claimed misery is a direct result of Barack Obama. He is convinced that everything was fiscally peach up until the moment that B.O. was inaugurated. I am certain that his suffering will only begin to relent once he is out of office, gradually - more so if the new president speaks of returning America back to its core values. 

Restoring the Republic, etc. (see above and below)

He likely believes himself to be a whistleblower, my friend. Instead of speaking in prophecy and secrets he speaks in amendments, articles, sections, etc. He hasn't said a single thing in the last two years that was not directly taken from the Constitution. It's hilarious but so few others see the humor in it, I think.

Not me.

I blame him for my insomnia, my friend. It is humorous. We spoke last night and its effect on me was lasting. When Bush was in office he blamed Congress for all of our financial troubles, they "hold the purse strings," he would often say. Apparently not so with O in office.

He once told me that the first people that need to be apologized to after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal were not the Iraqi people, or even the prisoners that had been subjected to abuse, but instead the current and retired members of the U.S. Military needed a swift apology. I had written a scathing assessment of Bush at the time. That was his response, let's apologize to the military for this awful scandal.

We're approaching the 10 year anniversary. Perhaps some of the stars of that shining event are ready to be apologized to now, like ol' Lynndie above. I'm sure there are those who privately assure her that he that she did absolutely nothing wrong; a neighborhood barbecue where she is patted on the back and reminded of the pride that they all have in her. 

Think of Abu Ghraib now... wow, weren't those simpler times?

And hasn't digital photography really improved with those times...

(UC Davis is Rhys' "safety" college pick)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

(9+9) / 9... AM

I don't know what I've done to my computer. I don't care if I figure it out, either. I can't "comment" on any of my posts any more, or anybody else's, anywhere. It is probably a firewall setting, or a blocked network port. I engage in all sorts of strange witchcraft here and must keep my potions brewing. Otherwise, the world becomes a dangerous place. I must keep the garlic hung.

So, as an alternative, I use my work computer. Last night the words "hermaphrodite" and "penises" ended up in one of my comments.

I had almost forgotten what the inside of an HR office looks like.

Sometimes it is not that I can not sleep, it is that I do not. I awake in the middle of the night and gain a vague interest in something. That is what happened last night. I am ashamed to admit what "interests" me in the darkness, when no one is looking. It would bore most of you witless, and it does me as well. I will often play very familiar episodes from animated sitcoms. They derail my own train of thought, the absurd discourse of others. These shows will sometimes put me to sleep, just by having distracted me - even with all the bombast of their theme songs and unexpected jumps in volume. I have somehow gotten used to it, from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of viewings. Once my train of thought is no more, sleep arrives without my knowing. 

If I pursue the other, then the nights stretch out into something that mostly only an insomniac can feel. It is the sensation of a very specific dread, the unwelcome coming of morning, the constant checking, the lost chances. I imagine it to be similar to the time spent alone for a gambling addict, after a great loss. It involves losing a bet with yourself, and the great belief in a fantasy that often never arrives.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The middle of the sphinx


Nobody seemed to much like my post from this morning

There are limits, I guess, to what some can stand. Once a man starts discussing the effect of poetry, well... eyes glaze, if not all other senses.

The book, Rimbaud, has had a strange affect (or, is it effect, or both) on my life. I was reading it at the age of 16, shortly after dropping out of high-school, when I met ol' Carnivore S. Levy (don't worry, dear loving mothers here, I went on... graduating with 'honors' from high-school, then college).

Have I told that story?

He walked by me, being a teacher at the adult high-school that I was attending. (Note: considering current criminal laws, don't all high schools now qualify as adult ?)

Never mind that.  

But he asked me, "I heard you're reading 'Rambo'?"

Now, he claims to be a hillbilly, but oh my lord.... you'll never know. Because I will hide it more completely than him, or try to (hint, hint). I'll at least deny it, when asked. Some of you may have noticed, etc. But, he is more honest about such things, he claims. 

We trade honesties when it comes to certain subjects, and then other objects. 

Semi-immediately I snapped, "Um, no...," thinking that he was asking about the action-film hero, "Rambo"... Sylvester Stallone's Vietnamese disaster.

But I had the book in my hand, with my other books, and he pointed right to it. 

Then, and only then, did I realize that it was not pronounced Rimbod, the term I been wowing my friends with.

A careful reader will recognize the rhyme. 

For all the others: clod.
... and then facade.

Next semester, I took one of his classes: science. He let me teach, once.

So, fast forward ~30 years.... We're still friends - it is only intermittently easy, for either of us, horror for most others involved. Old friends, etc.

But, that's how it goes, say the Egyptites. 

I have a riddle for you: What crawls upwards through air in the morning, strides across clouds in the middle of the day, then sleeps in the dancing sands for the remainder of night?

I'll give you a hint: memory. 


A Season in Hell

(Arthur Rimbaud)

I hadn't read it in many years. Last night I pulled it off the shelf and started flipping through, reading other scattered poems. Once I made it in a few pages, I couldn't stop. "Once, if my memory serves me well..." Phrases came back to me, passages arrived at mind in advance of the page. I marvel at such a thing. How could an 18 year old boy write such a work of genius. I could barely read it at that age. After 19, he never wrote another poem. The self-published book stayed unknown in a cellar for 28 years, during his years in Africa, and then his return to France, the mistaken amputation of a leg, and then death at 37.

"Pray for him" reads his grave.

I recognized a few new thieves roaming the pages last night. Patti Smith. Some of the more clumsy burglars have been easy to spot there for years: Jim Morrison. It's mildly troubling, now. To have such a great book of poetry remind me of the mediocre music that brought me to it, rather than the other way; the lies I would later tell.

Rock poets. I used to believe in such phrases, am sometimes ashamed that part of me still does.

The book surprised me last night. I thought that I might have outgrown it, or something even worse. But how does one outgrow a confessor's manual. It's all that I now do. You can leave the years of mystical visions but rarely do you escape the memory of having had them. It is not just the posture of revolt, nor the pretense of the "rebel," but the transformation of stated uncertainty into total uncertainty, an embracing of the complete unknown, while somehow also accomplishing its exact opposite. He allowed prose to speak as only poetry had before. 

The work invites many readings, mine barely qualifies. I am painfully reminded of what a thief I have also always been. What I saw in it as a young man is no longer there for me, but my many imitations are sorely recalled. It's not that I can now see where and how I misunderstood the book. It is that the old understanding is barely visible to me; a ghost reciting a forgotten prayer, like the faint memory of a youthful religious conversion. Almost all that I can perceive are the parts that I vainly tried to steal - they jump out at me - leaving many of the best passages behind, hoping perhaps that no one would notice. It's as if I was flipping through old yellowed pages, found in an attic box, transcribed poorly by the dumbest of angels, the scribbled words of my childhood prayers, lifted.

(by Verlaine)


Monday, July 15, 2013

I Knew a Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in a chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
I nibbled meekly from her proferred hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant notes to sieze;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).

- Theodore Roethke


Sunday, July 14, 2013

They'll always have O.J.

(Love Hertz)

Well, when it comes to white people always seeming to get away with killing black people... 

The lesson to be learned here: get a gun, follow people, when they turn: kill them. Ooops, I left out an important step: feel threatened. It doesn't matter when or where. It can even be long after the fact. But you'll want to emphasize that part to the investigators as having been just before you were forced to act. 

You had to shoot, you felt threatened. Try to exclusively shoot those with darker skin than you - though in a pinch they can just be poorer - especially one's wearing hoodies. You shouldn't have too many problems after that. Nothing indicates guilt more than wearing a hoodie in the rain. Just as Skittles will be synonymous with tragically lost youth and innocence for a time to come.

I'm sure there are white people everywhere now asking themselves in befuddlement how it's even possible to get high from Skittles. Why would they manufacture such a thing, and what do bath salts even have to do with candy. They'll eye the colorful packages suspiciously at the store, hissing at any kids they might happen upon devouring the dreaded evil. Those poor little addicts.

I think the "stand your ground" laws should apply to groups also. The next time you find yourself feeling culturally uncomfortable then just open fire. I think the batman spree killer kid should claim that he felt threatened by society. Fuck, he practically had to do what he did. He was surrounded. 

I've never liked opera much. The people there make me feel a little self-conscious, and the story is too dumbed down. For that matter, cops are often intimidating. Why doesn't the "stand your ground" law apply to them? If only the Branch Davidians had known how righteous and popular their stance was at the time. 

I knew that Zimmerman would be acquitted  I might not have mentioned that here but I made my feelings clear on the chat threads that I was involved in. There just wasn't a standout piece of evidence, or witness, against him. There were too many vague tellings, not enough physical evidence. Some of my friends get angry when I mention this. But courts don't work quite like popular opinion. At their best they are supposed to work in an almost opposite way, with the presumption of innocence rather than the other.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Zimmerman was innocent. I think he caused this kid's death. The inevitable civil trial will make that more clear, to some. But what I think and feel mean nothing. A reasonable doubt is all that's needed, and even with all of the demands for justice, even from across a great media distance, I had my doubts. The smoking gun had not smoked enough. It will require two shots through the chest next time, and one must stumble a bit when they get to the part about feeling threatened. 

A bright young detective will say, "Hey, wait just a minute... did you just pause?" 

Then, you'll stutter in your response. 

One cop head will turn slowly to another cop head as he leans in a bit. 

"Sarge, I think this guy might not have felt as threatened as he first claimed."

Sarge says, "Well, we better wait and see what NBC thinks of all this." 

Top notch detective work, that's all there is to it.

The state attorney's office kept evidence from the defense team, then fired the guy that said so, warning him to never step foot in their office again, he's "unsafe" to have around. They really needed a conviction, you see. They weren't about the let justice play too big of a part in the proceedings, if they could help it. 

Some have made a pretty big deal about this evidence. Though nothing I read indicated that the pictures or texts found in his phone involved him buying a gun, or him holding a gun, that doesn't seem to matter much.... there were dangerous pictures and texts concealed in there, some that had even been deleted. That's suspicious.

Apparently, by those accounts, Trayvon Martin was also armed pretty heavily, with the intention of untold future crimes. I mean, fuck... he had a text message about a gun in his phone. Just think of all the damage he could have unleashed on Zimmerman with that, if only he had been the one that felt threatened that night.


Saturday, July 13, 2013


I was engaged in an interesting conversation yesterday online, as online conversations always are. Myself and another guy were discussing various aspects of the Zimmerman trial. Because who else's opinions are truly needed here but the experts? Depending on what you want to believe, in terms of innocence or guilt, there are enough gaps in the facts to believe whatever you wish.

One thing that occurred to me though is that nobody has much mentioned Martin's right to defend himself. They keep focusing on Zimmerman's right to do so - understandably, he's on trial for murder and that is his defense. But we know that Zimmerman had followed him in a car, pursued him on foot, and complained to the police dispatcher about "these punks... always get away." 

Zimmerman never once claimed that he had seen Martin commit a crime, until he claims that the kid attacked him, at which point he had to kill him, he had run out of options, you see.

How does self-defense become an acceptable claim when you are pursuing a kid this way? What does the law have to say in terms of how close you can legally stand to somebody, or to walk in close proximity. I'd like to walk for blocks within 12-18 inches of a black kid in NYC, or anywhere for that matter. No matter where they went I would follow, never touching them, never responding to their requests for me to stop it, or to get the fuck away from them. I could call 911 with my cell phone in my left hand, letting them know that somebody was acting suspiciously and seemed like they might even soon get violent, and that I didn't want them to get away, they always do... Once they finally pushed me, or took a swing, could I then unholster my hand-cannon and shoot them in the heart, or face? When do I get to kill kids, in self-defense. 

I had to... did you see how crazy that fucker got?

At what point does it become less than innocent to pursue people without the knowledge of a crime. Why do suspicion and stalking in this way receive such special consideration. Everyone keeps talking about Zimmerman's "Constitutional Right" to get out of the car and pursue the kid, while armed. But where and when do those freedoms break down. They must at some point, right? How can stalking laws even be in place when one considers our many guaranteed freedoms. Or, do they only really apply to people who are carrying loaded guns. I've heard people claim that the 2nd amendment is there to "protect their freedoms," but I don't think I've ever realized how accurate that claim is, though not quite in that way. 

If Zimmerman had strangled Martin to death and then claimed self-defense what would we have to say about his freedoms. 

I mean, he had to... the little thug had attacked him. That wild bastard had to be put down.

Jury, you should have seen his eyes once I started choking him. He was demonically crazed. What choice did I have? 

I'm going to start bringing a hypodermic needle everywhere with me, one filled with strychnine, for self-defense, just in case.... you never know when you might need to put somebody to rest.

Ah well, I am probably boring the few of you who still read here with my opining on this subject. 

My readers have been staying away in droves.

Tomorrow I'm going to discuss Zimmerman's weight gain. It'll be fucking riveting.


Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm partially impartial

Well, it's done... I have squandered my morning writing a public verdict in the Zimmerman trial, a thing that hardly even interests me, but justice must be served. Since everybody is tossing in their two cents I figured I would as well. Why not, right? One thing that does not surprise me at all is some people's willingness to trot out their race-rationale. They don't come right out and say it but there seems to be a feeling that, maybe more young black kids probably should have been getting shot all along. If there had been then maybe we wouldn't have all the problems that we do...

The only threatened group in Florida seem to be the gun owners. I don't know why the "stand your ground" laws aren't even more aggressive. Why do you even need to be threatened to kill, why not base all gun laws on the assumption of future criminality. I mean... why shouldn't you be allowed to shoot anybody that's not already retreating. What could be more suspicious, and indicative of serious wrong-doing. When you have a gun the world should bow to your magical killing powers. 

I think there should be "Pirouetting Gatling Gun" laws. 

"If you see something, then shoot, dumbass!" You can always worry about "saying something" later.  You'll think of something. I mean, the kid was black, certainly that fact alone is threatening enough. I wonder how many black defendants have been able to use the "stand your ground" law as justification for shooting an unarmed 17 year old to death. 

I mean this, I really do wonder... 

It's nuts. Whatever you wish to believe, it is all there in the press. There is no longer any need for experts. Intellect does not fare well in a democracy. There are mainly witches, fire, and the mob to choose from. Every vote counts.

I want to take the day off from work. It seems like everybody else is doing it, so why not me, democracy? But, I probably won't. I am a model employee lately. I don't mean that I make models. I mean that I have been owning it at work: stellar performance, astonishing numbers, all with wit and charm.... I'm told. 

I am breaking all previously held company records. They are preparing my corner office. They're writing stories in the news.

I must be fascinating. 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elmo, what you gonna' do?

You get so used to things as they are that the old way of doing things ceases to seem fair. I will drive into SF to work from the office today. It seems so far away, and my bed so close. I may as well be participating in a moon launch, approaching Aqaba from the desert, anything... You would think I was being tortured. If hell is for eternity then each lost hour resembles it.

I exaggerate. Has anybody here noticed that? People go to work every day, why not me every now and then?

It would be nice if every morning there was a trophy waiting for me on my desk. Perhaps one with a chrome bowler on the top. A trophy that refused to lie on its side, sort of an awkward shape, with a really heavy base and pedestal. The novelty would wear off in a day or two but I'd have to keep them. They would all have an engraved inscription: If found please return to Sean Cusick, $500 reward, then my phone number and address.

After only one year I would have to dedicate an entire room to them. In five years I'd have to buy another house. The guy at the storage unit would always eye me suspiciously each month when I would arrive with the rental truck, inquiring about yet another unit to rent.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"... someone else, someone good"

I woke up this morning and felt like taking the day off from work. 

It was this that did it:

"Ah, liberty, liberty, the sweetest of things: freedom to possess one's body and soul, to be master of one's own days. Not many souls are fit for freedom. Most get bored, or nervous, or foolish. Let them have jobs, let such have their time allotted to them. But for the free soul liberty is essential, and a job is a thing to be contemplated with horror and hatred." - D.H. Lawrence, Mr. Noon

I don't know where I would go, though. My dreams consist mostly of lying on the couch and reading. 

That would be a perfect day.

Just a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was 
someone else, someone good.

-Lou Reed


Tuesday, July 9, 2013


There is never enough time in a day. It doesn't matter what time I wake up or go to sleep. The gym opens in minutes and I am just sitting here, staring at these words.

Yesterday ended in confusion, the misery of minor distinctions. All my fault, I've been reminded, of course. Some things never change. I suppose I should learn to accept. It is what we are taught by life to do, but still.... the reminders arrive, sometimes daily.

But it's true, the lesson is there. Nothing matters that much. So, why pretend that it does.

There is no point in writing about a thing in such a way. Since I am not going to tell the story I should leave it alone.

It is on my mind.


Monday, July 8, 2013

If you're too tired to be you, then sleep

(pic by Cato)

When Rachel and Rhys are not here I leave the sliding glass doors open all night, with just the screen between me and nature. When I awake it is cold inside the house, as low as 50 degrees, sometimes even lower. For some reason I sleep much better in the cold. I am curled up in the blankets with the puppy lying near me to try to keep warm. He is still in bed now, refusing to abandon the warmth of the comforter.

Last night I dreamed of arguing with my father. I woke up and was disturbed by the memory of it. It reminded me of my turbulent teenage years, the many heated disagreements, the almost last minute attempt to somehow discipline me into being something he preferred, a surprise success, the realization for my parents that soon their "say" in things would matter no more. What an awful time it was for all of us. The sentences that every parent must occasionally use: "Not while you're living under my roof..."

That was an easy enough fix.

They must have suspected all the things that were already true. I was experimenting with drugs. The experiment developed into a proud recklessness, then grew from there.

Perhaps that's where the dream came from. Some unconscious trigger was flipped when I went into the city and stayed up all night on the boat party, and then afterwards.

Likely. Perhaps I should call my dad and tell him about it. Then let him know that I still made it to work on Friday, though somewhat reluctantly. He would perhaps be confused, then proud.

Does the sleeping mind ever outgrow feelings. It doesn't seem so. In that storied trance I can still experience emotions and fears from any age. Nightmares seem to be a return to the unsuccessful escape from the monsters of childhood, though occasionally with a few adult fears mixed in. I once read that most people's dreams are unpleasant, that pleasurable dreams are far more rare. Seems plausible.

There are those who dismiss dreams upon waking, then there are those that seem to worship them as prophecy. Lately I'm just trying to negotiate with mine, to see if they're interested in striking a deal of some sort. I'll let them go to Burning Man this year if they will just leave me alone...

One way to know that you are in love: they appear to you in that state between sleeping and wakefulness. When you awake, you know. For them, hopefully, it is the same.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bald Mountain

(Note the hideous accretion of blubber along the waistline)

Yesterday, two friends, James and Cato, came out from the city and we hiked a bottle of red wine up to the summit of Bald Mountain where we promptly drank the silly thing. The day was beautiful and the views were fantastic. The conversation was pleasant even though Cato insisted on bringing to battle qualities that can not be divided, such are his powers of imagination. I tried to be reasonable but was forced to focus my energies elsewhere: each upward step. 

The hike was difficult for me, as many things have lately become. But I made it, with having only to stop and rest a few times, whining most of the way like somebody's fat older sister. Honestly, I feel like an aging pack mule. I carry an extra 30 pounds with me everywhere I go. Each step a thunderous reminder. It is my fat biting back at me.

I exercise regularly but rarely exceed the 45 minute mark for cardio. The hike was approx. four hours from parking lot to summit and back. My chest was thumping and my lungs were a savannah grass fire, an uncontrolled burn. 

I let James borrow my Martin guitar when they left. It does me no good being here. It taunts me and my gimp left hand. The continuing damage of the nerves on that side are enough that the hand has started to curl up and turn red. It looks like the feet and stockings of the Wicked Witch of the East, and I the victim of a small house falling.

Nobody, I don't think, questions the severity and seriousness of a stroke, but this nerve damage has given me a little glimpse of insight into what that might be like. Steps must be taken to avoid such a thing. But when I go to get a physical the doctor keeps telling me that I need more pork and wine, and fish on Friday's. He's a good catholic, so what can one do?

To respond to a conversation from yesterday:

Cato asserts that there is a god, present in all things, though perhaps not omnipotent, nor omniscient. Omnipresent, is the term. 

This is the laziest version of faith of which I know.

So, let me attempt the response that I could not quite muster yesterday. 

It is a form of deism, the default position that order in the universe implies a certain mindfulness of a creator. It does not. The hypothesis is not needed, to paraphrase LaPlace's famous response to Napoleon. It is the optional position of those who are reluctant to make the step of reason: that there is no proof of God. It confuses the presence of order with the implication of god. It is a way of saying that physical rules are actually a mystery, and that within that mystery there still exists a possibility of a god, and then confusing the existence of a possibility for a favorable probability. That is known as "the leap of faith."

This leap is unnecessary. Gravity, or any other force, no more suggests that there is a god than anything else, which is not at all. The speed of light in a vacuum being a constant likewise does not confirm deities. A sunrise is beautiful but the face of god is there only for those who wish it to be. Because beauty exists it does not imply a god, nor do physical laws and the interaction of matter. This is the DMT argument: I smoked a drug and saw something strange and unifying there in my hallucination. Other people have also seen this. That must have been proof of god, right? What other explanation could there be?

The structure of the living experience has similarities. The explanation is that simple.

Well... I just took the dog for a walk. As we were returning home two crows were startled off of the power line and they made their famous croaking sounds as they took flight. This surely was the voice of god, right? What other possible explanation is there? All roads lead to god if that's where you want them to lead. Nothing will persuade someone who wishes to maintain a belief in something. Reason is useless against faith because they believe it to be so. There is a phrase for this phenomenon: willful ignorance. This un-winnable contest does not mean that imagination is the victor of the interaction, it only shows that reason is powerless against it, because mankind largely has a stronger need to believe their visions.

A contrary use of the imagination would be to simply imagine a universe without a god. It is very easily done. See how simple that is? 

It's a tie! 

All that it takes to defeat imagination is to counter-imagine.

Now, just try to do the same with rationale. It can be done, but not nearly as easily. When you remove the burden of proof gods will pop up everywhere, often demanding money or sacrifice. If there is no god then how did they make the Wizard of Oz? There is no imaginative limit to the hypotheses possible. This brings some people immense joy, even a sense of freedom, the ability to choose among so many possibilities without being burdened by evidence, or a lack thereof. 

To paraphrase an old friend: Freedom is the feeling one gets when they are not aware of what truly controls them.

Rationale, imagination, and ignorance are all somewhat optional. Choose wisely.

(Attempting to use my son to hide the fat)