Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A certain sort of something, that feels like a fairytale.

On a morning of little consequence, a young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart was walking through the wind and the grass.

Some would say that he was hopelessly lost; but others might politely suggest that for one to be lost, they must surely know where they had been going in the first place. And so it was, with no destination, the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart strode on. And on. Alone through the twirling wind and the whipping grass, alone on a path that wasn’t much of a path at all.

But winds change, as winds are wont to do; and as the young man walked, the wind turned chill before beginning to howl like a young wolf on the night when it first discovered the moon. Even so, he strode on. And so it was that the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart came upon a proper path.

Well-tread, beaten through the tallest grass; it was formed of sandy brown gravel, circular stones that seemed far too perfect to have been formed in nature. But they were.

At the head of the path, a grizzled fellow with the face of a deflated toad sat alone, tossing bits of gravel into his mouth and listening to the nightmarish sounds they made against the mortar and pestle of his teeth. When he saw the young man, he spat out a feast of chewed-up stones and grinned.

“Howdy hello,” said the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart.


The young man had not been prepared. No man, no man could have been; for what came from the vocal chords of that speckled little creature that looked as if he’d been flaked off a taller man’s back, what emanated from the deepest depths of that squat-spud’s throat, was the purest, most melodic trill of a voice that one could ever hope to hear. It was a voice that could send a shiver up the spine of a morning. And so it was, that the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart fell to his knees and vomited tears.

“Er…” said the Toad-faced man.

Eventually, the young man managed to gather his composure amidst the wailing winds, and this time managed to brace himself when he saw the other about to speak.

“You seem a stout chap,” said Toad-face, with the raw power of a thousand arpeggios.

“Aye sir,” said the young man, as he kept his knees from buckling, “Aye sir! I sir, am indeed stout of person -- after all, I’m a young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart.”

The Toad-faced man’s head tilted, as if he were looking for the core of a puzzle box.

“That may be, that may very well be…” the squat-spud Toad-face said sympathetically, symphonically, “But this path ahead, this trodden-spot of sandy-stone…this path belongs to me, young lad. I have little to call my own, but I do, I do have music -- and it turn, I have the path. And in turn, you should turn away.”

Despite the strength of the path keeper’s voice, despite the range of its influence, something began then to rumble inside the young man. The warm air in his lungs began to turn and churn and yearn like a gale, and the firm valves on his heart began to shake and quake and ache like the gaskets of a steam engine. He was angry.
He really, truly was.

“What do you mean?” said the young man, with all the force he could muster.

“I mean nothing,” serenaded the Toad-face, “nothing which is meant as an offense.
“But the path ahead is not one for you, even if you’re boisterous, even if you’re blessed, even if you’re brave -- the path ahead is for those who have music. For those who have suffered to find their voices, who have suffered through the voice itself; for those who have taken the time to sing.”

As this opera came to a close, the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart suddenly found that he could not help himself. He was angry.
He really, truly was.

The warm air in his lungs grew hot enough to boil his blood, and the blood then surged through the firm valves on his heart, sending the young man forward as if he were an engine, a gnashing, burning, hellish engine that charged toward to the Toad-faced man with a singular sense of purpose. The young man grabbed a fistful of the immaculate gravel and rammed it down the squat-spud ugly fellow’s sonorous throat, which caused him to choke and sputter and fall to his warty knees; what remained of his beautiful tones were all but lost in the howling of the first-moon winds. And so it was, that the young man with warm air in his lungs and firm valves on his heart set forward on the path, finally having someplace to go. And so it was, that the young man found himself hopelessly lost.

For the path was long.

So, so long.

Long, and cold, and winding, and dark.

For even with the warm air in his lungs forcing back the frost during the endless nights, even with the firm valves on his heart keeping him always moving, always forward, charging down the countless turns on the sandy-brown path; even with all the efforts of his breath and blood, the young man still had no harmony.

He couldn’t sing his way through sorrow, couldn’t see his way with sound. The young man with warm air and firm valves had no music. And so it was, that the young man grew old.

The warm air in his lungs had long-since cooled.
The firm valves on his heart had worn themselves down.
Still on that path, with that wind howling ever louder,
Still on that path, with that grass growing ever taller.
Still on that, on that…that same sandy-brown gravel.
Still lost.

Until another morning, still one of seemingly little consequence.
The old man had lungs with no air; the old man had a broken down heart.
And so it was, that he could go no further.

He fell. With the wind spinning around him, sending up clouds of dust from the unknown recesses of the tall grass, he fell to his knees. His hands hit the gravel; the stones were surprisingly warm between his fingers. The old man shuddered. Despite the wind, he could hear the sound of his bones. And then, as if it had nothing left, his body fell. Face first. Into the smooth, warm stones.

Which is when it happened, of course.

The last of his breath -- the last, tiniest, hidden puff of air was pushed out from the depths of his lungs. Alongside that, there occurred the last, the last, the last, shakiest, involuntary flutter of his heart. And so it was that the old man, in his last moment, whistled a pure, revelatory note.

The note sang above the scream of the wind; the note tore through the density of the grass. The note spun up, around, and down, forcing everything that stood to lie flat as if in deference, forcing all that were alive to weep as if in shame. It forced the sky to blanche.

The old man was dead. But even so…he might have heard his music.
It was far too far from being lost.
It was nothing but beautiful.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

A man adrift in a metaphorical sea; A Moon proves himself to be decent, while still being an asshole; A Triage.


Part The 1st:

Looking up, he sees an expanse akin to the face of revelation.
Bright and shining, cold and alive. He thinks that he might look down, look away; perhaps toward his own chest, so that he might watch as it bobs up and down beneath the surface of warm, salty water. If he were to look hard enough, he thinks, he might even see how fast his heart is beating; the way it sends a driving tremor up through the surface of his skin, making a tiny, precious ripple in the sea. But he won’t look. He can’t.
He knows it, too.

There are stars above his head. More than he had ever known with his dullard eyes, taking command of the world there-was-to-know by way of white fires in the sky and blurry doppelgängers in the reflective surface of the gently swaying water. The darkness is here, but the light is all around. He thinks it’s peaceful. It barely moves.
He thinks it’s frightening. It is lonely and devastating.
He thinks it’s quiet. It is.
Oh, it is.

He closes his eyes and tries to listen. There is little wind, right now, and the sounds of the waves are negligible at best. He wishes that they would come down hard, that they would crash around him as if he were the screaming heart of a gale -- he wishes that this was not this place. He wishes that there were motion, right here, right now. He wishes there were things to see. There are, of course. But he wishes nonetheless.

He opens his eyes once more, and looks around. Looking up, he considers those stars again, the way they have meaning in their meaningless fashion. He wishes he could be calm, he wishes many, many, many things. The man pushes his head beneath the surface, and listens to the echo of the sea.

Curtains fall across the scene.



(There is NOTHING here. Nothing at all. A man, a FELLOW is sitting there in the harsh spot of the single light. As he sits there, he looks up…he looks…he looks up. And then, as if it were natural -- because it is natural -- THE MOON descends from the sky and sits down next to him, glowing with luminous sadness. The fellow turns and gives the moon the slightest of non-committal nods.)

THE FELLOW: Well then.

THE MOON: I suppose so.

THE FELLOW: Is there anything that might be done?

THE MOON: I suppose so.

(He looks over in an irritated fashion, as it would appear that the moon is kind of an asshole. Naturally.)

THE FELLOW: You’re kind of an asshole.

THE MOON: Naturally.

(The moon pulls some beef jerky out of the depths of one of his moon-pockets, and begins to gnaw on it as if he were trying to chew on the cow while it was still wrapped in the hide.

He offers some to the fellow, who DECLINES. Naturally.
The moon shrugs, and throws the remainder of the jerky towards the audience, where it misses all who are seated, instead landing with an audibly wet PLOP in a warm sea. The sea may or may not be surrounded by an uncanny field of stars.)

THE MOON: This is foolishness, you realize.

THE FELLOW: That much I can work out, yes.

THE MOON: I could ask you why, but that would make me the fool as well.

THE FELLOW: You’re not wrong.

THE MOON: I never am.

THE FELLOW: How arrogant.

THE MOON: Naturally. Comes with the territory.


THE MOON: Such is the way of the boundless sky.



THE FELLOW: Is there anything to do?

THE MOON: Not that you could manage, no. After all, there is no actual situation -- no actual problem, no actual trouble. No actual earth-shattering revelation. You and I are sitting here on a pleasant evening, looking out over faces who will never be real, but will always be beautiful.

(The moon gestures outward, sending his own light out against the pressure of the spot-light shine. The light suddenly shorts and bursts, sending the lighting technician diving away, shielding his face from the sparks. The technician’s name is Allen, and you would think him a pleasant enough guy were you to meet him. But you won’t. He’s a lovely man, but this isn’t his. Even if it would be more interesting that way.

The only light is that which the moon provides. His glow is what remains.)

THE MOON: It’s nice, you know. And you’re tired.


THE MOON: You are.

THE FELLOW: Is there anything for it?

THE MOON: Sleep, you dullard.

THE FELLOW: Other than that.


THE FELLOW: It’s just…


THE FELLOW: It’s just that…


THE FELLOW: It’s just that I cannot find a way to abide this. This. This looking up and out and around. Constant vigilance is no way to manage living, especially if there is nothing out there that I might see. Looking towards the uncertainty, staring at it, hoping…hoping that it might collapse into a singularity, if only because that crushing nothing is at least a something.

THE MOON: A black hole is nothing luminous, chap.

THE FELLOW: Not remotely, no.

(He looks down, towards his chest.)

THE FELLOW: But it moves you. It gets you moving.

(The moon sighs, and the force of it is uncanny. Everyone in the audience finds themselves trembling at their very core, as if their nerves were suddenly twisting and writhing like the desperate, frenzied dance of a man set ablaze.

The moon does not reach out, does not try to pat the fellow atop his head.
But that’s alright.)

THE MOON: A body doesn’t stop moving. Not til the end, anyway.

THE FELLOW: But…where’s it going to go?

THE MOON: Somewhere, fellow. There’s nothing more than that.

(They sit there, together. Alone.)


Where I am right now, is a great many places. I’m in my old coffee shop once again, looking over at some unknown who is staring down The Pickwick Papers with an intensity that suggests it troubles him, as his hand grasps his coffee cup and occasionally trembles. There are new paintings on the inside, and out there you can see a fire truck funeral, lorded over by a man in full-Scottish regalia playing the bag’d pipes. It’s a day.

But there are other places, underneath the underneath. Places of wondering, places of question, places of past. Places of inquisition, places of stress, places of unknowing. Places of ticking clocks and pleasant eyes. The places we consider, again and again.
Past and Present and Yet To Come.

There’s a lot to say, you know. About these things, these places, these worries and considerations. About what it means to me, and to the lot of us. About what really constitutes a moment, and what is simply the ephemera that sparkles us towards giddiness without granting us any truth. About the differences. About what we know.
But then again…

There’s something to be said for letting them lie.
Here I am, I think. In the quibbling, maddening, silly places, the wondering bothering irritating place. One finds this place via caustic inertia, the kind that begins in neurotic nervousness, the kind that only ceases when all comes crumbling down. And that...that is no way to move, not towards a place of worth and mirth and gently endearing calls, not the world of hearts and heads and fluctuating voices. That's not how to live, jolly chaps. Constant vigilance is only going to make you weary. So. Hm.

So, yeah.

So stop.

Right now.


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

A meandering melancholy.

“You wake up in the morning feeling gloriously alive, with the firm conviction that the problems that’d disturbed you in the past would disappear, disappear, disappear into the midnight of your consciousness.”

Even though I cannot see it, I know that it’s nearby; I lower my skull underneath the intensity of the showerhead, and suddenly, sharply, vehemently, beautifully; I catch traces outside the opacity of the glass, like Hitchcock-flickers that cease to be faster than they ever actually existed.

Even though I cannot touch it, I know that I believe it’s here; I close my eyes and sweat in darkness, intensity doubled by the weight of the summer night, and think, and think, and wait, and think, and get somewhere, somewhere that’s gone the second I open my eyes, the second I move and let a trace of cool air stream-slip over my trembling person.

Even though I cannot know it, I…well. Well.
Even though I cannot feel it, I know -- I know.

I know it’s been about this place for something resembling an age. It has to have been, right up to right now, sweating once again, but with open eyes and willing ears that are picking up the traces of the neighbors that I don’t really care to know, while still paying more attention to the light cast from this busted behemoth that sits on my lap, as it plays songs that endear themselves to me by the strength of their trills on the harmonica. These days, this thing runs pretty hot. It’s a wonder that it hasn’t run itself down. That it stays alive, throughout everything. But then again…we were focusing on something else. But it’s hard to stay with, I think.

I want to remember the quiet times.

When it was morning, when I could look out the window and see the mostly-empty parking lot, no signs of life beyond my own breath on the glass; when I could look about with a grin that might be described as impish, and run, run full-tilt boogie down and around the narrow hallways and open corridors, hearing nothing beyond the roar of caged air turning to wind; being overwhelmed by the way it found freedom around my ears. When I would listen to that, and stop, and think about how it sounded like the inside of a seashell. But all around. Like it was everything. Like it was the sound of my own blood.

That doesn’t change anything. But it seems like something I should note.

I’ve been someplace. For a while. The kind of while that seems almost unheard of, given the state of averages in regards to the business that I’m in. People in my line float about, like dandelions blown off the stalk by a pudge-faced six year old boy, only to get snuffed up by a passing adult in a business suit. It’s not a fool-proof system, and it doesn’t take long for such things to run their course.


Hard to trace, something like that. Hard to trace, and harder still to remember. Because something like this, something that lays deep and quivers like a creature in a the solitude of a burrow; such a thing stays there, cold and alive, away from the injustice of open eyes. Unseen, but still living. Still there.

I’m losing the trail. Of the thing that’s been there. Of these words.
You know how it is. Out there, you…you. You know what it is, to be looking at yourself, looking down at a path that you’ve carved in the depth of your chest, so that you might twist your legs up and around, bending your body into something unheard of; ghastly contortions that make use of all the pain brought on by the collision of the calcium pale and the viscera glow, using the clarity of active senses to make it happen as you know that it should, driving your mind on, keeping everything focused, moving forward upon this inwardownward sort-of sorta journey. You know. What it’s like. There.

You know what it’s like to look at yourself.
To know that everything, everything is fine. The rigors of an uncaring world notwithstanding -- because those are things that you’ve long ago made peace with, those are things that you smile at with the wide teeth of a smug bastard, those are things that make you feel as perfect and wonderful as only the purity of a void can -- you know that for you, despite the domineering forces of linking trails and possible options…you know that things have turned out pretty good.

It’s going well, your life. It really is. After all, what is it that people have, beyond the realm of the world and its influence? Hearts, heads, and fluctuating voices.

Things that exist to be clear.

They’re all right there, and right now, they’re all here. There is a heart that is unlabored, a head that cannot form a coherent sentence but still seems to steam ahead, and a voice that sings along even when it’s advised against doing so. But then…there it is. Right there. Can you see it? Out of the corner of your eye, something that trembles at the base of the light that being made manifest by your screen. There it is, right there. Here and gone, but always here. Something that isn’t as brackish as fear, and isn’t as sickening as depression.
Something that you notice, living in the stillness.

A shadow that floats like vapor, obscuring the clarity of certain moments.
This very afternoon, I found myself sitting next to a girl. As a side effect of the books that we each were reading, we ended up discussing both the specifics of narrative savagery, as well as the various initialisms related to the Irish Republican army. Before she left, she asked my name. She had a British accent and eyes that were Illyria-blue.

And there it was. The whole time, there it was.

Years ago, when I was laying back on a borrowed mattress, I remember getting a phone call through the haze of a Sunday morning. It was received, and there was something about it that made me feel, oh, so, special. But now, I can look back.

And there it was. The whole time, there it was.

Recently, during the stagnant depths of this stillness, I had thought something went well. Nothing that had earned a name, nothing real, nothing tangible. Nothing yet special.
Still -- for a bit, I had thought the something was going well. And now, here today…it would appear less so.

And here it is. Right now, here it is.

In my depths, but on my skin. Despite the strength of my many desires, there’s been nothing like a drift towards a place of fury and wonder.
There’s just this.
This stillness.

In the summer heat, I still feel the tremor of a chill.
Here I am, in the Way of the World. Right?

Maybe it’s enough, for now, that I’ve managed to put this down, as chaotic as it might be; and maybe it’s good that soon I’ll find myself enjoying my vocation once more. Maybe it’s true that sometimes, sometimes, sometimes…sitting there at night with nothing but text and layers of stacked memory to keep me warm, it’ll find me and take a moment to blur the clarity of my world.

And maybe, it’s enough to know that I’d miss it, if it were gone.

Because somehow -- somehow, it makes me feel like me.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

A time, just another time.

I’m going to listen to myself, right now. But I don’t think I can hear anything. Just whistling, just echoes, just the sound of this empty room, groaning and grinding and existing around me. That’s to be expected, I suppose. After all: There’s no one else here.

Just me.

I’ve been busy as of late; compound conundrums composed of certain cads who couldn’t command their compunction for catastrophe in any fashion that could be deemed “reasonably competent”. Needless to say, it became a little bit stressful. Needless to say, it brought the fellow who is listening to the ambience of this empty room to a place where thoughts and words and wisdom and stupidity couldn’t quite be accessed, as if Mimir’s Well had been covered by a lid of the heaviest iron, and jovial Bragi had decided to go on holiday. It wasn’t best of times. Nor the worst.

Just another time.

Which is where we are now, I suppose. Just another time, just one time in the place of the other, the other being the last. The previous. The last. Whatever. A year began, the same as any other; my dear sister’s birthday came upon us, and just a day later, a new man came into an office. People were happy, people were proud, people waved flags, people had things to say. Good things. Such things. Things are bad, but everyone takes a day to start singing for the prospect of the good. Things are good, while everyone else’s things go the way of the bad. True, Life, Love. Good, Bad, Weird. Way of the World. Right?

Just a new year.

Right you are. Right here, beside me, as is everyone else, even though they’re nowhere. But the times they are a changin’, as the day to day keeps up appearances, and most people are waiting for something new to happen, perhaps because of this cool new cat who is sitting in that chair made for men to be big, or perhaps because they know that as history repeats itself, and as years tumble forward one into t’other, that things are going to be made new, things are going to be different, things will tumble and burn and fall and crash and rise and gain and grow and smile and then fall down one more time. It’s what happens, it’s what will happen, it’s probably what’s happening. Because that’s what happens. And as surely as I’m sitting here, looking forward to the next episode of United States of How I Met 24 House Lights, I know that this is how civilization goes.

Just a time, like all the others.

I was busy, before. Busy doing very, very specific things, writing down so many numbers that were importantly separated by semicolons as opposed to colons, making sure that all fell into place, digits and fades and colors and chyrons and mattes, all exact, all to the frame. I did those things, made them exact; and then, and then, someone else screwed it up. Part of the business, the stressful part. The part belonging to those certain cads, falling into their aforementioned compunctions. The part that makes me so, so tired. Tired enough to step forward, I suppose. To try something just a little bit different, even though it puts me into quite a different position: The position where I might tumble. And burn. And fall. And rise. And gain. And grow. Just because I can.

Just because that’s what happens.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A minor sequence of maybes.

Weather has come to our city again.

Out of our bleary smoke-choked California sky, droplets are forming, water is falling, landing, splashing on the ground. The earth underfoot is turning dark and thick, as earthworms writhe outward in an attempt to breathe. They’re drowning, they are.
They need the air to keep them going.

Part of me wonders if that means something, even if I know that it really doesn’t. Simulacra and Simulation; “Unless you want it to.”
Maybe it’s a want, more than a wonder.

Maybe I don’t care, and I just want my fingers to be moving.

Maybe I should shut up, and listen to the way the rain falls.

Maybe I should do more than listen.

Maybe I should try something, something more.

Maybe I should try to know it.

Maybe I should slip on my jeans, tug on my socks, jam on my shoes, and walk outward, out into that. Bare-backed and Rain-slicked, all in some attempt to breathe.

Maybe I should get wet.

Maybe I should close my eyes, and get to sleep.

Maybe I should take that time to stop worrying about what is going to happen on the day after the day that is now today.

Maybe I should worry more, instead.

Maybe I should spend tomorrow (which is today) thinking of an explanation. Something solid, something fierce. Something quiet, but not, not, not something cold.

Maybe I should pretend that it won’t come up.

Maybe I should get away from the unpleasant moments of the future, and focus on the sounds of this place, right now.

Maybe I should close my eyes.

Maybe I should listen harder, letting the sound of the traffic bleed through. Let it mingle, maybe.

Maybe I should sing to myself, just a little.

Maybe I should stop singing so much.

Maybe I should be worried about the eyes that look.

Maybe I should sit here.

Maybe I should rest here.

Maybe I should figure something out.

Maybe I shouldn’t.

I mean…yeah.

It’s like that, out there. The clouds are rolling, making no noise that I can hear; yet I can hear them nonetheless. This is good, I say. The rain has come out of dirty skies. The fires are in the ground, in our hearts, not in our air. It’s a moment to listen, not to speak.

So -- for now -- that’s what I shall do.


Monday, October 27, 2008

A dream and a dream and a concert and a fall.

Earlier this week, I had a dream.
It happens, I guess, and it wasn’t much to write home about: Just a simply-structured situation where I found myself at my old grade-school, suffering my nervous ticks through a one page test on transitive verbs in my 8th grade math class, all with my current boss playing the role of teacher. Not much happened.

But still. I remembered it.
That’d be the odd thing. For me, at least. Because it’s not something that’s done. It’s not something that I really do, as if my conscious thoughts were trying to create a buffer zone, a dense wall built of spittle and tar and chunks of dried-out bread, building it high to keep my subconscious and my open eyes in a place where they can cohabitate, but not coexist. It’s rare, truly rare that I remember my dreams.

Earlier this week, I had a dream.
Another one. A second one. And…and I remembered it.
It was stranger, this one. Longer, and stranger, and far more dangerous. Still, in the end, after all of it -- after the sudden screeching halt of my cars tires, and the sudden dive behind the barricade on the suspended bridge; after the excessive debris came crashing towards damnation upon the Earth, and the entering without breaking but still without asking; after the garbage can full of hot urine, and the solemn summation outside of a screen door where I sat next to a mustachioed police officer while being calmed by the gentle lapping sounds of the sea -- not much happened. There were some wacky circumstances, but I got out alright. Except afterwards, I remembered.

Again. I remembered again. And as I said, this time, it felt far more dangerous.
I expressed this sentiment to someone, the very next day. Not just the explanation of the events -- because again, while amusing, it wasn’t exactly a holy terror riding roughshod across my mindscape, laying waste to all thoughts that I could ever hope to have. It was the way that I felt afterward, in the new light of day. It was the memory that did it, the memory remember-ed. When I felt my temples that morning, they seemed dense and malignant, as if a tooth were rotting inside. So I told someone. I told someone about my nervousness, about this transparent ghost from my subconscious, the one that found itself transubstantiating into a solid thought under the glow of fluorescent work-approved bulbs, the one that used its new weight to lay heavily upon my blade of nerves, not caring as it began to cut deeper. My friend, she told me to wonder, “Why?”

Why feel that way?
Why worry about dreams made solid, even if they rarely choose to make themselves known? Why care about newsreels cut and color-timed by random happenstance in the depths of the subconscious, burdens let loose in a dark room for the sole purpose of a safety-net for sanity, helping me and you and I along a guide rail so that we might fare better in our waking hours?

That’s…that’s a damn fine question, I tell you what.
So damn fine, that as is our custom, the answer is hard to find.

I know that for a long time, I’ve found myself wary of dreams. Both kinds: The thoughts of the resting night, and the aspirations of the driving day. One because they represented thoughts that could never really be realized, ideas that existed only in chaotic realms, sometimes to be harnessed by other ideals, but never really there as a solid benefit, never helping nor harming in the way that me and you and I have grown to appreciate, in a world of consistently better things. They’re just…there. And for a man that hates sleeping, it always feels better if the act doesn’t leave things behind.

As for the other?
Because of what I’ve seen them do. Human beings wearing themselves down past flesh and into bone due to the misjudged, sometimes misguided desire to consider themselves as human doings. People should keep trying, of that I’ve no doubt, but still… “Dreams shouldn’t control you. You should control them.
Sometimes, it’s alright to be content. Maybe.

Maybe I was thinking about that, while at a show last night. About those ghosts of the subconscious sticking like spurs underneath my ribs, striking me more with the sudden metallic cold than the scent of my blood in the air. About those fateful aspirations, the kind that lay waste to men that sometimes might be construed as Good. John Darnielle was playing, as he is wont to do. And as I was watching him, Miss Kaki King was watching that mans back. Eyes riveted to that space, fingers moving in the dim light, as if she were seeing the future unfold on that dark patch of cloth. Who knew what her aspirations held, and who knew what her subconscious wanted her to think; who knew that the force of that room bursting with energy and love and sensation and thoughtless, fruitless, thankless desire were enough to strike someone down where they stood?

Someone was struck down.

A woman, a girl fell in front of me, her body going limp in a flash of time that couldn’t even be considered a second, sending her falling, crashing, dropping down onto the surface of my knees. I caught her; a reflex action. A cradling action, bringing her down to the floor, trying to figure out what was going on without losing hold of the sudden weight that had been brought upon me. This happened to me, once before. A girl got drunk and fell on my head, as I was squatting down to give the lengths of my legs a rest. On that previous night, she laughed, and I silently rolled my eyes and went the way that I knew was mine. I thought that this happened to me, once before. This night…not quite. I was wrong. Looking at her face, I knew I was wrong. Hearing her boyfriend’s voice, I knew I was wrong. Her eyes weren’t moving. They just stared straight ahead, as if they were made of glass. I snapped my fingers, dropped my sweater upon the ground as I tried to get a better grip, moved my knee underneath her to support her weight, all while the lad she knew was calling into her face, trying desperately to get a reaction, to get some sort of action, to see some indication that sparks were still flying in the engine of her heart. As I held her, I felt something wet expanding on my knee, and without any clarity of vision connecting the thoughts, I found myself in a moment where she was dead. Whether it was true or not, I couldn’t really say, but to me… Her skin was so pale.

Like rice paper wrapped tight around a spring roll, showing the immobile pink and blue underneath. Her eyes still didn’t move, even as colored lights still rained down upon us, the various hues giving her skin an illusion of a life song that made clarity all but impossible in the situation that we were presented with. In my arms, was a ghost. No Conscious, no Subconscious, no nothing left to worry about. As I glanced up to see that the person who had accompanied me for an evening of musical revelry was dialing the appropriate numbers, the girl’s friend who was a boy and I set to work cradling her within the womb of our arms, trying to carry her back towards life. Pallbearers, working in reverse, drawing her back from her supposed grave as best as we could.

Around the edge of the crowd, they cleared the way; they parted easily without a word. The music played on.

We stumbled outside, propped the limp form up in a chair, shouted with clear, directed voices, waved an LA Weekly in her face, trying to force air toward her as it is done in the moving pictures, brought out cold water, rubbed it around her eyes, felt the bass pumping through the wall of the club, waiting for the siren to begin making its way down the boulevard, hoping to see a lucid spark, trying to figure out a new motion, one that would serve the right purpose, bringing this situation to a place that we could manage. A place where there were no ghosts, and no subconscious. Just open minds, and thoughts singing aloud, clear as bells of brass.

She came back to us. Frankly, suddenly, immediately. As if someone had flipped a switch, her voice came to her mouth, and she wondered aloud just what the hell had happened, her eyes moving freely while surrounded by skin that was still so, so pale. As the siren began to reach our ears, I looked down and saw the dark patch of dampness on my knee that was growing chill in the night air. It was what had supported her, her lower extremities, back when it was bad back in there. She had urinated on me.

In her more lucid state, she thanked my friend and I. She shook my hand, and asked my name, which I happily gave. I’ve forgotten hers. I’ll never see her, and I’ll never remember her name. Just how my mind works. She got questioned by the FDLA about her health as well as food/alcohol consumption, while my friend and I stood off to the side. Eventually, she signed herself off, and her lad and she wandered off to a place where they would eventually discover that his car had been towed. But before that was revealed, it was just my friend and I, left alone out there in the night. When all was said, and all was done, I noticed my coat resting in a bundle on the edge of a sign by the door. I still don’t know how it got there.

So then. All that we’re told inside our heads, all of the horrors that erupt in the spaces of our dreams, all of the wishes that tear us apart like screws driving into meat; well, they are important. Like so many things that I know that scare me, that I know I don’t desire, sleep and wishes and the sun on my face…I know that I need them, sometimes. I hate those ghosts, fading in and out. But even with that said, I think that I know something else. In my lucid mind, in the thoughts that I make for myself, formed with the clarity of cold air and buzzing light.

Dreams -- Dreams cannot tell you what you are.
And they can’t -- they can’t tell you what you’ll do.
As horrid as your mind might make you feel, in the real world, you might still do the right thing. You might not.

But hey…there’s a chance. Whether you dream it or not.


In the process of writing this, I found that I had fallen asleep. There I was, listening to live recordings made of .m4a formatted audio through individual Quicktime windows, when all of a sudden my eyes were open. Daylight was setting the room aglow through the diffusion field of my thick curtain, keeping it bright, but keeping it soft. Night/Day. One to the other, no time in between. When my head rose up, there was no fear, and no uncertainty. Although logic regarding sleep cycles state otherwise, as far as I could recall, there were no dreams.

It felt good, crossing that divide. Quick and clean, solemn and steady.
So perhaps that’s it…moreso than any deep seated contradictions, or fears that give way to the Right Thing in a pinch. It’s might just be a desire to step away from that yawning black pit, taking it as a fresh start every morn. Here are our thoughts. We’ve made it, me and you and I. Our eyes are open, and there are things to see and say.

I am refreshed, and I am ready, with no baggage of the night before weighing me down. Duty-free. This is how a day should begin.

And today, I'm glad it has.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A fucking fuck, you fuckers.


You…You madcap society of delightful fiends, who run across the countryside with wind blowing through your hair, trying to fight your way towards something sight unseen. Wonderful people, beautiful people, ebullient people; people all over the place, who I can’t manage to lay my eyes on outside of my window that fails to look over the Earth, giving me no sights, but plenty of sounds.

Originally, that paragraph was supposed to lead us somewhere else. It was going to talk about you, and I, and grand wonderful things. It was supposed to segue into a series of sentences that would essentially call David Foster Wallace a cock for subjecting himself to a short drop and a sudden stop, tearing himself free of this moral coil, and proving himself a coward. He had been a lion, but he became a coward.

That’s where this was, a short week ago.
And still…just like I felt when Hunter S. punched his own ticket, it seems that the grand and the great take themselves a notch or two down when they do this to themselves. How I felt, how I feel. But even so, even with that being the case, I just can’t seem to shout.
My eyelids are falling -- I’m becoming weary, with my feet up high and my head laid back. Too tired to scream out about this sort of thing, unlike the week before when I blasted songs about an Aeroplane over the Sea and drove through a sky devoid of stars. There was anger, then.

Not now, you lovely bunch. Not now.
Let us just sit here, you and I.

Let’s sit here, and think about the things that we like and the things that we love. Details and rain and soft loving smiles. Supposedly godly things, things that survive through devilish hues. Things that make the world run rivulets around our spines, like cherished sweat falling down all of our broad backs, making us feel as if a job has been done, has been done so well.

I’m tired, and I’m ill.
My eyes are welling up, and just last week a good friend who keeps getting better sent me salutations that eventually admitted that she wasn’t in a good place. Another friend got shit-canned for no good reason, and all I could do was bake her cookies and listen to her speak. My Dad’s dog died, and My Mom’s Mom has had attacks on her heart. A plane crashed, and a train crashed. High-profile people are making unintelligent pitbull jokes.

But the Mountain Goats are playing on. Cars are running by on the freeway, keeping life after life contained within them, bursting at the seams with sordid and spectacular stories while somehow keeping it all held in. Friends I know are working through the problems that they have, holding foreheads together in displays of meaningful intimacy, all because they want to fight for a world where love works out. People are working, flirting, dancing, moving, driving, making cookies and carrying on.

Somewhere that I can’t see, there is surely another tired person somehow getting by, and a host of sad, sad people still standing up with feet planted firm, looking out the window and learning to stride again in a manner that reminds the world itself of voices singing songs. Way of the World. Right?

Right here.
Right now.

There’s air in our lungs, good world of folks. There’s blood in our veins, surging from our hearts. There’s heat in our bodies, noises in our ears, churns in our bellies, and sensations on the surface of our skin. And I say for you, for us, that these things keep us going. They must. They have to.

They will.

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