Posts Tagged ‘ Observations’

Sad Clowns and Disco Boys.

Posted on May 30, 2010

“Maybe they’ll call me tragic” he says hopefully. Wistfully.

He grins awkward and crooked for a moment and then his eyes glaze and he stares dreamily through me; his face fixed, bearing a mutant’s smirk.

“They won’t think of you at all,” I say before I can stop myself.

Immediately, I wish I could take my words back. I hate to be the bearer of such news and I know he won’t believe me yet anyway. He’ll need to do his time and come to this on his own.

The sage-like tones that accompany my assertions are hard-won and harder accepted. He’s still living the dream.

As for me, I think of death often. Mine. His. Other people’s.

I consider when and how and the affect of the thing on those we leave behind.

I contemplate the preventable and the unavoidable, the calamities and tragedies.

I examine the sociological synthesis between leading causes of death in a given year and the state of the economy and other socially driven forms of ease or dis-ease. I seek patterns and connections and tangible reason. I seek comprehension of that which is largely incomprehensible. I do this in spite of my best efforts not to…

It seems that the leading cause of thinking about death is trying not to think about death.

However, it is because of these unrelenting reflections that I truly grasp the verity of our utter inconsequence. And this can be oddly freeing…

I know that the best most of us can hope for is some shadow of influence. Perhaps some whittled down version of our tales will traverse time and space and meet the future thanks to a stranger’s rendering of them…maybe through music or paint.

Maybe someone will detail the events of this night in Japanese one day. Maybe they’ll depict our pain in a poem. A haiku, possibly. I imagine the carefully crafted, indiscernible characters floating across a page of recycled bamboo paper. I imagine this moment in a universal sense. I pray that someone will be more proactive about its documentation than I’ve been.

My reverie is interrupted as he abruptly stands and moves toward the window.

Instinctively I follow him; fearful that he has chosen now to try and prove me wrong about the masses and their posthumous recollections of his tragic nature.
Instead though, he pulls a cigarette from a pack that lives on the windowsill. It seems he is still opting for the deliberate, creeping route toward an inevitable end, which pacifies my immediate concern and I fall back to my perch on the arm of the couch.

He doesn’t notice my movements. He seems not to notice my presence at all, really.

The custom-made gauzy white curtains billow mightily toward the ceiling; a reaction to a strong and unexpected gust of wind. An ember from his cigarette gets caught in the melee and burns a hole through the delicate fabric before falling to the floor and smoldering until nothing remains.

I used to care so much for things like gauzy curtains and rogue ashes.

But now they barely register.

I am preoccupied by his shadowy image and the dreamy phantasmagoria playing out before me.

He sits on the ledge of a window with no screen; unwittingly becoming the living, breathing metaphor of his own mental state. He is transparent yet furiously sobbing and wracked with free-form shame. He exhales a gasp of carcinogen filled smoke and his gaunt face becomes marred and I imagine him old and sickly. He is barely recognizable, a man on the edge in every way…I fight the niggling thought that it was my actions that got him here.

I opt instead to focus on his zippy, hooded sweatshirt.

“Love Kills Slowly,” it reads in dramatic cursive stitching.

He’s been wearing this jacket everyday for more than a week, but on some level he’s known this truth since the day we met.
Acknowledgement is a necessary evil, I think.

He turns to me then, as though I’d just arrived, as if I were new to the scene; a neighbor popping in for a quick coffee or asking to borrow an egg or some other triviality…

“So how’ve you been?” he asks easily. “What have you been doing?”

I am surprised when I answer in tones as casual as his.

“Not much. Work. Life. Just feeling kind of…solitary” I say.

I am careful with my word choice. Solitary is fair, in spite of my near-constant state of accompaniment. ‘Alone,’ would’ve been a more exact truth, but assuredly he’d find cause to argue the adverb.

Best to stick with simple adjectives at this time of night.

A long beat envelops the space.
He stubs his cigarette out.
He lights another and inhales deeply before speaking.

“The key to happiness…to all good things, really,” he says, “is stupidity.”

I silently disagree. Stupidity and ignorance are wholly different, I mentally argue.
But I let it go. Close enough, I reason.
He’s drunk. I’m exhausted.

His eyes change suddenly; now emitting an intense flaming lucidity that is by turns radiant and evil. I try to look away but the searing beams of light latch into my corneas before I can even mount a defense.

A vein in my arm vehemently pulsates and then it bursts without warning. The blood gushes just beneath the outermost layer of my epidermis causing my skin to swell and then violently tear amidst the chaotic pressure.

I look to him in fear and devastation, but he notices only vaguely. He lights another cigarette, apparently unaware of the one still pressed between his lips.

Streams of my indigo blood run the length of the slanted floorboards and coagulate in viscous tide pools in the corners of the room where the walls and the parquet meet.

“It isn’t even real wood,” I mutter, dizzy and fading.

Silence now.

He stands and turns from me. He wades through the noxious mess and down the hall toward the bedroom. He closes the door gently and locks it behind him.
I know in that moment that love and hate are exactly the same.

The wind swells. The curtains flutter and twirl, insolently taunting me.

The couple next door is throwing things again.

Jabs, insults, coffee mugs and such…

It’s Tuesday.

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Compromise. (Caught in the crosshairs)

Posted on May 16, 2010

Life changer, game changer, reality chaser...

Life changer, game changer, reality chaser...

Thoughts of you in any regard have been banished. It is the only way. You were my madness, my guilt, my knowledge and my truth. You saw through me and consumed me wholly and now I am forced to deny you and your light because I became inextricably tied to the shadows that you cast.

Still, the grey flashes come and I feel my body tremble in acknowledgement.

They arrive unbidden; indiscriminate blips from a space deep within a murky chasm in my brain. They appear obscured and shaded at first and might easily be disregarded as meaningless white noise; but I recognize these images instantaneously. I know better.

I see our hands gripped together and pulsating with grave intensity.

And only with our fingers fully entwined; clenched and clinging and necessary, only then was the full weight of your intention allowed to descend, and suddenly my options were none, so I gave you free reign to chip away my carefully constructed façade.

Years of precise indemnification vanished in a moment, and we held my naked soul between us.

I was afraid then, but I innately knew this fear to be life affirming. It was the final manifestation of my own ignorance and I watched quietly (gratefully) as you reaped it that night.

You were pulling me from the vortex and I held tightly to your palms.

I considered holding onto your thumbs instead, but we’d already discussed that you are among the 24 percent of humans whose thumbs are hyperextenable. You’d mentioned that your freakish appendages were a splash at parties and even though I knew that you’d used the line before, I laughed in a dizzy, girlish way, meant to indicate that I was intrigued and delighted by your tale.

And so as I recalled your story, in the moments just after the reality had blurred and taken on that peculiar nauseating, gyrating inertia, I questioned whether the inherent flexibility of your splashy thumbs could handle the violent tug of a flailing girl trying desperately to avoid the eternal abyss.

Your palms felt safer. And so I placed what was left of me inside them.

I try now to focus on your smell…the way you smelled that night…

My God. I could have laid with you for a century or three.

And now I cannot recall it.

Fuck. I can’t even cull the adjectives that I’d assigned to your natural fragrance, though I am confident that I’d thunk of many…

I know that I rolled them through my brain and heart and guts over and over and over again until they made no sense at all. Perhaps I’d even allowed them to slip from my tongue a time or two; attempting to taste them and measure their strength outside of the bottle.

I had hoped that uttering them aloud would make you real and somehow transmute you from the two-dimensional character living in my brain to a four-dimensional life force existing and feasting in my realm, dancing and leaping and dropping benign snippets of truth throughout the menagerie of my life.

My plan did not work, however, and now I am alone again, pining for a part of speech.

I would give anything just to remember your goddamn adjectives.

And while your specifics have gone missing, your aftermath is alive and well. You impaled my existence. You obliterated life as I knew it. I’d cultivated this life believing it to be custom made for me. It had once been a perfect fit. But now it is swollen and distended, and the silken cloths I had draped over it are weary and awkwardly stretching and straining in vain attempt to fit around this updated and enhanced version of reality.

The band plays on.

I got your email today. You said you hoped I was doing well.

You typed this wish on a separate line and added a comma and my name after the thought.

And because it was you who wrote it, I assigned great meaning and weight to this otherwise mundane nicety. Because it was you who wrote it, I paused to consider the thing.

I am not doing so well, I decide. In spite of your sincerest desires for me…

Nope. Actually, I’m really fucked up. I haven’t slept in awhile and I’m spinning and while superficially this state is not so different than when you found me; it is, because now I have cut my lines and have no anchor. This is not ideal.

You warned me about this…

But I’d been cavalier and insisted that the hard part was over. You knew that I knew better, but you accepted my flippant tone and offhanded shrug without much objection. It was late by then, and the sun was starting to come up.

You didn’t actually email me ‘just because.’ You were replying to a notice about a concert that I sent to you because I know you like the group.

Still, you wrote three lines of original text and I went with only a subject line and a link to Ticketmaster’s website, which made me feel like I won that round.

You are unaware that we are at war. This is for the best.

I could not win even one battle against you if the fight were fair.

I am drinking cheap white wine straight from the bottle with the shades drawn, which doesn’t really matter. No one will know. According to my social networking profile, I am having the time of my life. The social networks always paint an accurate picture.

And so I sit in my darkened cave, drinking punishing amounts of alcohol and listening to the black box recordings of ill-fated aero-planes just before they crash. I am attempting to grasp the concept of true fear and regret.

On a whim, I open the shade a tiny bit but I close it quickly because the streaming sunlight hurts.

I consider taking an extreme action intended to filch the suck-age from the spiral which eclipses me at present.

I contemplate not speaking for some significant amount of time a la Maya Angelou.

Then I too might know why the caged bird sings.

I try to remember which glamorous old film star just shut herself up in her mansion after her longtime love died. “I want to be alone,” were her parting words.

Was it Ingrid Bergman? Lauren Bacall?

The moment passes then, and I shift in my seat, making myself comfortable.

I won’t do either of these things. I won’t really do anything at all, most probably.

Invocation. Provocation. Motivation. Unable to be undone.

Done.

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Dealer’s Choice (?)

Posted on May 2, 2010

Full House (?)

Full House (?)

I am sitting Indian-style on the floor of my living room digging through tattered shopping bags overflowing with books.

My roommate placed them in this spot sometime last year.

They are allegedly destined for a charity or a dumpster or something, but they haven’t made it yet.

The situation doesn’t look promising.


I have plucked several titles that feel relevant and interesting from the dusty abyss, and they are now strewn about the floor surrounding me.

My roommate enters from stage right.

I watch as he directs a perfunctory glance toward my picks and I study his face as he takes them in.



“A Glimpse of Heaven.” “Jesus.” “The Book of Enoch the Prophet.” “The Reformation.”


I am a duck. Sitting.


“Look, I can save you a bunch of time and just tell you all about the God racket. Trust me, you’ll have that holy-roller screaming “Hallelujah” in no time,” he says.


He says this with no verbal inflection at all. It’s hard to tell if he’s kidding.


I’ve long suspected that my roommate spies on me and the statement he’s just made does little to pacify my paranoia on the topic.

He just knows too much. Especially because I haven’t really divulged anything yet.

After all, we just met six weeks ago.


I laugh then because I think he wants me to and also because I am uncomfortable.

And then I pause attempting to foreshadow a vibe switch, which is imminent.

I am hoping to warn him that the forthcoming moment will be a sober one. A serious one.

He should try exceedingly hard not to say anything dumb or irritating.


And when I feel the moment settle, I quietly tell him that I believe that I actually may have felt something last night…standing there amongst all those believers, I mean…


This feeling, while not completely foreign, had felt excruciatingly distant and buried; and then it fled. It vanished as quickly as it had appeared, and now I know that I must find it again.

It will necessitate thorough examination and honest appraisal.


I think I want to read these books, I tell him. For me.


I allow my words to trail off and he turns and walks away as if I hadn’t spoken. As he retreats, he mutters aloud about a time when he was 19 and had almost joined the priesthood.

My roommate used to be a banker but he got laid off, and now he runs an online porn business from his bedroom while collecting unemployment.

The man knows how to work his way around a lemon.



My phone rings.

Do I have a moment for a brief survey?

There’s a real-live human on the phone. This isn’t one of those automated surveys. I find it hard to hang up on another human. Especially one with a really shitty job.


He’s not selling anything, he is saying. Please, can he just ask me two quick questions?

I’m feeling benevolent. I’m also feeling sad that he is doing a job that could be done far more efficiently by an automated system. I agree to answer his two quick questions. He is grateful. He prefaces the first question by stating that I was selected for this survey because I live in the greater Los Angeles area and have a car… I interrupt him. I’m in New York. I don’t know how to drive. I’ve had my cell number for many years now.

Oh, wow, I love New York, he is saying.

I tell him there are t-shirts for people like him.

He misses the joke.

I should be careful. I should be aware over there, he is saying. It is important to stay safe.

God bless you, he says.


And then he is gone. The line goes dead and I sit for a long moment staring as the screen of my phone fades to black. I am trying to remember the last time someone blessed me just for the hell of it.


I know that Hugo thinks I’m a whore.

Hugo is the overnight concierge in my building.

I don’t blame him for thinking his thoughts; no matter how flattering or offensive I may or may not find them… I mean, it’s actually a very logical conclusion.

I’ve lived in this complex for nearly two years and I’ve only seen Hugo a handful of times; usually when he is covering a day shift.

But recently Hugo has become a featured player in my world. A constant…


He provides the necessary punctuation when my nights and days blend and the world feels senseless as I amble through his office bleary-eyed and wanton, but trying very hard to appear normal.

Hugo probably thinks I’m on drugs the way I carry on.

The asinine hours I’ve been keeping do nothing to dispel this notion. Besides, whores and drugs go together. It makes sense.


Hugo is wrong though. I’m not on drugs. And I’m not having sex with even one person, let alone the multitudes of people that real whores are required to muck about with.

Still. Hugo has no way of knowing that the people keeping me up all night are good, solid Christians.

They don’t do drugs.

They don’t arbitrarily fornicate to satiate the demands of the feral beast within.

They fight temptation.

They hope they will be rewarded with deliverance from evil.

Maybe I should divulge these details to Hugo. He’s Spanish. The Spaniards dig Jesus.

Maybe he’ll understand me.

Maybe we’ll bond and bless one another for no particular reason.


I consider this only briefly before I decide to let Hugo think what he wants to. I don’t actually care.

Besides, I somewhat enjoy the cloak of shadowy mystery that has been cast upon me thanks to Hugo’s visions of me turning tricks while hopped up on crank.


Further, I know that Hugo spends the majority of his shift sleeping in his chair, all sloppy and slumped over and drooling on the front desk and shit.

He should be eagle eyed and alert, vigilantly guarding the entry gate and protecting the residents from ill-intended interlopers. I also know that Hugo is far more intimately acquainted with Dolores, the Dominican cleaning lady with the sunny-disposition, than a man who is married to a woman who is not Dolores, should be.


I may be riff-raff but I have sources too.


And any secret worth keeping is also, for someone, worth telling.

Hugo is lucky that I’m not that someone. For me, his secret isn’t worth telling.

Besides, I only come out at night these days, and anyone who might care about Hugo and Dolores is definitely asleep then.


If I bothered to form an opinion on Hugo, I would not speak of it. I would take care and hold my tongue, thus ensuring that defamatory untruths should never tumble from my lips.

I doubt that Hugo is equally prudent.

He swathes his conjecture-laden opinions of me in fabric that bears a striking resemblance to the fabric donned by men who uttereth facts. Things become convoluted. And then, with reality and fiction inextricably intertwined, Hugo is free to disseminate his open-ended fairytales to the masses.

I imagine that he speaks in haughty tones while perched on a make-shift podium spreading his falsified notions of me and my whore-ish nature while they listen eagerly and blindly accept his gospel without question.


Which is sad because, like I’ve said, Hugo’s version of me is mostly completely inaccurate


I wonder what the other residents of my condo complex think of me. The complex has three hundred and sixty some-odd apartments in it. They are spread out among three buildings.

It’s reasonable to think that the other residents may not think anything of me at all…

Perhaps they’ve never noticed me…

I allow the idea to tumble around the soft tissue of my brain. It grazes through billions of neurons. It plays tag with my synapses. It chats with the axons and then expresses a few frustrated feelings to the suprachiasmatic nucleus before it is suddenly washed away altogether by a flash flood of endorphins.

I should like to believe that I have gone unnoticed in these parts…

But I know better…


At one time this complex was a tin-can factory.

During the war, the factory stopped producing tin and it produced arms for the military instead.

I don’t really know which war all that happened during, but I assume it was sometime after The Civil and before Operation Desert Storm.

During the 90’s, the factory was converted into pricey condos with 25 ft. ceilings and lofts.

The location of the factory is far more suitable for fancy housing than mass production of tin anyway. The buildings are perched on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River which provides a very unique and exclusive vista of the entire New York City skyline. You could even see The World Trade Center. Back before it was destroyed by the evildoers, obviously….

This is the sort of place that people aspire to live in.

This is the sort of place that pits the condo owners who still reside here against the condo owners who bought cheap back in the day, and now charge vagrants like me astronomical sums of money to rent their units, so they can chill and drink white wine spritzers from the safety of the veranda in their Long Island McMansions.

Don’t get me wrong; the people who live here are nice. I mean that.

And I’m not being snide just because I consider “nice” to be the most useless adjective around.

But just below the surface, these are people who possess an innate distrust of the vagabonds who camp here for short while.  They rest with one eye up.

They aspired to live here and now they do, and as such, they will protect their quality of life by any means necessary.

It’s hard to find fault in that.

As such, they keep careful track of we ‘transients.’ I’m sure they have files on each of us. After all, they have a community to keep safe.

My roommate probably helps them. After all, he owns his condo…but he also rents his space.

He is a double agent… the problem and the solution.

No wonder he knows so much about me.


I ponder the facts in my file…

These people know that when I moved here in August of 2008, “I” was half of a “we”. “We” lived in the C building. They know that the other half of my former “we,” is a musician. They know that we sublet our place to some strange characters last year and we moved to Maui for a while. They know that we keep odd hours. They know that we used to fight sometimes. They know that, on occasion, we would fight loudly. They know that we smoke. They know that a month ago I moved to the A building. They know that I smoke far less now. They know that I spent the week prior to the move painting my new room a snazzy shade of green. They think that it’s strange that “we” are still friends and that I only moved across the corridor. We know what they think.

We don’t care.


But now, thanks to Hugo and probably my roommate, they know that I gallivant like a hooligan far into the wee hours of the night or the morning or whatever, doing God knows what, with God knows whom, as I flagrantly shun all that is righteous and holy.

If only they knew, I think.

But they know only what they know, and they know only what Hugo hath told them.

And Hugo only knows half of the story, obviously.

No harm, no foul, I guess.


While I do wish that we might avert our collective gaze, and somehow implicitly agree that no one saw or heard anything; I can’t say that I blame poor Hugo for his part in this.

He is merely honoring the other agreement that he’s made: he will barter vital intel about the drifters and the gypsies and the ruffians such as myself, in exchange for absolution and faux-ignorance of the fact that he sleeps when he is being paid to work and fucks his girlfriend while she is being paid to clean.


Means. End. Justification. Survival. Understanding.

I get it.


We all have our thing.


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Forward. March.

Posted on April 21, 2010

TRUTH

TRUTH

Move:

v. moved, mov·ing, moves

v.intr.

1. To change in position from one point to another

2. To progress in sequence; go forward

3. To progress toward a particular state or condition

Moving in. Moving up. Moving over. To remain in motion.

To perpetuate movement.

Life is nothing if not a series of movements. We each travel a path.

Some feel this path is predetermined, and where it leads, they will follow.

They do not ask any questions, least of all, “Why?”

Some feel the path is being created on the fly. We are both the strategists plotting the route and the captain of the vessel traveling it. There is only us and the wind and the moment.

Plans are made and changed according to unanticipated roadblocks or sea squalls or fanciful whim, but are never definitive.

The only constant, the only promise, is movement.

And now here we are (where “here” is; still undetermined,) looking at this nonsensical sequence of events that comprise our existence and wondering how it all happened.

“Who is in charge of this chaos?”

“I want to speak to your supervisor!”

“I want answers!!!”

(“Please hold…”)

And now the Earth is shaking and exploding and vomiting the thousands of years of toxicity we have foisted upon it…

It is trying to purge the problem (we are the problem,) in order to create a solution.

To begin again. To move forward. With or without us.

But the masses are suddenly angry and frightened and engaged in a fight to the death. They arbitrarily hurl money and prayer and blame and platitudes at that which they do not understand, in order to regain control and create a sense of security surrounding the epic calamity that is life. They prefer a falsified sense of comprehension to an unverifiable truth.

They ignore the obvious to propagate their ignorance. It’s simpler.

The Girl is not implying that she is not guilty of this (she is) or that she is not fighting alongside her fellow men, but she does see a few key strategic differences with regard to the battle plan itself, which prevent her from offering alliance…

Where an overarching fear of melting into oblivion dictates that the masses “Keep Calm, and Carry On,” as they methodically create PowerPoint presentations and graphs and charts and statistics, The Girl observes from the sidelines.

“That doesn’t look fun,” she thinks.

And then she turns around. She faces away from them. She stares at nothing. She shuts her eyes and opens them quickly, repeating this pattern until she tires of it. She clicks her heels three times, but finds it trite, and so she clicks some more. She spins in her chair. She points her toes. She wonders what all of the hubbub is about. Life is pretty simple from where she sits.

She thinks about inviting the masses to join her. She wants them to peer through her lens, if only for short while. But then she ponders the noise and the inevitable protest and the overcrowding. She loathes overcrowding. She considers what might happen when she wants them to leave so that she can once again be alone in her spin-ny chair…she worries about the ones who won’t want to leave. The stragglers. There are always stragglers. She really loathes stragglers.

She knows she is selfish in certain regards, and now she embraces it and leaves them to their own devices.

The Girl considers her tactical defenses and is momentarily disquieted. She has few defenses, she realizes.  And then her anxiety is pacified. After all, “The best defense is a good offense.”

She says this aloud…as a mantra, of sorts. She considers herself acutely offensive.

She subtly smiles. She spins in her chair.

The Earth bubbles around The Girl, but she is unafraid. She is curious. Eager for Part Two.

“Sequels don’t always suck,” she reasons.

Still she wonders…

(She blames this wonderment on her innate humanity, which not for lack of trying, she has been unable to banish completely)

Still, she wonders… why The Earth must always be so boisterous in its upheavals and coup’s.

“Why must so many enemies be made in the name of progress?”

Maybe it is The Earth that needs a peek through her lens. A little perspective shift…

While she empathizes wholly with The Earth’s desire for advancement beyond its current situation and the innate need to discard that which troubles it, The Girl questions the validity of complete decimation as the ultimate solution.

She thinks on her own experience. She does this often.

She spins in her chair and then leans back far (so far, in fact, that she experiences a brief sizzle of excitement during a fleeting moment when the chair teeters perilously on its hind wheels and she fears that the thing might tip over completely and spill her out unto the floor with a loud Thud!)

But then the moment passes and she returns to vertical, considering the process of recovering or righting that which we perceive to be wrong in our lives.

She wonders whether we are actually evolving during these times, and learning lessons to take with us into future experiences or if we just crushing some piece of ourselves?

Is moving on always moving forward? Or is the whole process just a more acceptable method of building walls and layering fresh scar tissue upon our souls in the name of “preservation”?

When we dogmatically try to forget someone or something, we will.

Eventually, anyway.

But forgetting is dicey because then it’s all just gone…

Though we have cleansed our wounds and may no longer be susceptible to infection by a given assailant, is it not reasonable to assume that we’ve also succeeded in killing a great many good bacteria in the process?

“Penicillin,” she mutters.

One would be hard-pressed to find a more ardent advocate of passionate devastation than The Girl. Of this fact, she is well aware. And while she openly admits that at first blush the whole thing sounds very self-destructive and maddeningly cyclical; she believes that it also keeps her aflame.

Unlike the fighting masses and the belligerent Earth, The Girl is acutely conscious that without both awareness of and active participation in “The Spiral,” in some regards, one is avoiding life altogether.

“Balance,” she whispers, as places her hands on the uneven floorboards and kicks her legs mightily, resulting in a full inversion of her body. Her heels easily find the wall, which is behind her now, and she relaxes into the handstand as the blood rushes to her head. Her arms begin to shake at one point, but it is here that she remains. Because she knows that when she does right herself again, all will not be forgotten. She will be as she was, perhaps a bit flush and dizzy, possessing a slightly revised perspective on the events that led her to this space; but herself nonetheless.

And this pleases her. It is her way.

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“Sitting On a Park Bench…”

Posted on March 5, 2010

Hey Aqualung

Hey Aqualung

Sitting. Silent. Amongst the chaos.

Lying.

To yourself and others.

Numb.

Take another. Hoping to invoke. Evoke. Provoke…

Need. Desire. And the need for desire.

You are seeking that which has already been sought and supposedly found.

The Observer sits across from you. Drawing. Writing. Listening.

(seeking?)

You’ve removed your wedding band and engagement ring.

You wonder if he noticed. You’ve placed them in your sunglass case.

(your sunglasses are on your face.)

You wonder what he is thinking. Writing.

(feeling?)

You wonder if you might live vicariously through him.

You wish to view it all from his perspective.

The Asian next to you smokes and mutters to himself.

He is your age (ish.)

He appears normal otherwise. Other than the abnormal muttering that is.

You cough. You wonder if The Observer looked up. If he noticed.

It was a phlegmy cough…noteworthy enough, you think…

Then again, you notate many things that others do not.

For example, you notate that it was your ego that conjured this superiority-infused thought, not necessarily you.

The Asian is muttering again.

You have an attachment to him.

Not the Asian now… The Observer in the hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses and fingerless gloves, sitting on the bench across from you.

You don’t want him to leave. Your attachment is obviously inappropriate.

Besides, he shows no sign of moving to leave.

Still, your worry surrounding the inevitable persists. It is your way.

The Asian leaves, muttering as he goes.

A crazy homeless man enters from stage left, yelling, which is why you assumed him crazy in the first place.

“Kill ‘em all!” he yells. “Let God sort ‘em out!”

A well-dressed Negro, also crazy and far more frightening, due to his mundane appearance and how easily he’d been able to blend with the normal folk like you, stands and bellows a deep and guttural sound. He smiles wide and high-fives the Belligerent Homeless Man. They stand too close to you now. They smell like soup.

“We should put em’ on a boat,” the Homeless one continues.

“Yeah, a slow boat to China,” the Negro proudly retorts.

They both laugh wildly as they amble off together in one direction or another.

It’s cold on this bench. But they’ll never find you here and so here you shall stay.

You are avoiding life and everyone and everything in it. Your phone goes unanswered. Your emails remain unread. This is in their best interest, you reason. You’ve no interest in spreading your dis-ease.

The Observer is digging through an oversized black backpack.

The Belligerent Homeless Man and The Negro drift by again and you overhear The Homeless one lamenting the fact that the bank is closed.

That’s because you’re crazy, you think.

You don’t think this man could possibly maintain an account at a real bank. Perhaps he refers to a fictitious bank, though…

Such an establishment could be quite useful to these harlequins. They probably have phony bankcards and easy to memorize passwords such as “Junk,” instead of complicated PIN numbers. Everything probably moves extra fast at this fictional bank and the fictitious tellers are all probably real happy and shit.

Then again, on the off chance that The Homeless one was referring to a real-life banking institution, you realize that there’s a legitimate possibility that he owns the whole goddamn place. Crazies always seem to hold power positions.

Fucked up.

The Observer is leaving now. You are sad. As you knew you would be. He floats past you without even a nod in your direction. You watch him as he disappears. He does not look back. He hadn’t noticed you. Not even a little.

Dumb, you think.

He’s dumb. You’re dumb. The pills are dumb. The world is dumb.

(You are numb.)

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Cleaning the Slay

Posted on November 14, 2009

Unmistakable November Energy

Unmistakable November Energy

Dear November,

At once friend and foe, it seems you have returned…

While there is little surprise herein, your particular brand of obscenity is always newly vexing.

Still, you have become gracefully nimble over time…

Where once you boorishly obliterated, now you quietly creep.

It is very nearly convincing, this act.

But unlike your façade, the battles you bring forth are not hushed.

They are brutal and bloody and bathed in disgraceful supposition.

Your sad aggression programs the minions for acceptance of their crushing fate.

Yet still we linger as lambs awaiting slaughter.

Neither do we flee and scream, nor idly surrender; instead we view you as spectators might. We gaze through telescopically-wide eyes, as you shamelessly defile life as it had been.

October feels like a time very far gone now.

I should like you better, sweet November, if at least you had the decency to be honest.

If you are vile, be very vile. If you are passionate, be it at it’s least restrained.

If you should like to be heard, please speak up.

Your riddles are complex.

Make no mistake, I do not judge you, November, for I, too am afflicted.

I seem also to be saddled with an inability to express my meaning. And so we are the same in that regard. You have my deepest empathy… for as you know, there is little worse than possessing great truths too weighty for utterance.

And so, “riddle me this…”

(It continues.)

In remarkable wonder and indelible knowledge that I am yours,

Girl

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Flu Shots, PC’s, Anti-Virus, and Unintentional Threats

Posted on September 16, 2009

Opportunity. Cost?

Opportunity. Cost?

Girl walks into a bar and orders food ‘to-go.’
Bartender takes order and opportunity to strike up conversation.
Bartender offers Girl a drink. Girl asks for Diet Pepsi.

Bartender raises eyebrow and asks Girl if she’d care for something stronger. He adds that her drink is ‘on the house.’
Girl sticks with cola and Bartender sticks with conversation.
Until…

(We now join Bartender and Girl mid-conversation)

B- “So, you live on (Names Street)? We must be neighbors. I live on (Names Street).”
G- “Oh yeah, I live right on that corner.”
B- “In (Names Condo Complex)?”

(Girl nods)

B- “Wow, that building is nice! You live there all alone?”

Girl notes usage of term ”all alone” and vocal intonation with which it is delivered.
Girl cannot tell if Bartender pities her in manner of sickly, runt puppy left unpurchased at seedy, shopping mall pet store, or if he is implicitly inviting himself over, in attempt to save Girl from all-encompassing “loneliness.”

G- “No…I live in that building with Spouse.”

In the name of propriety, the recounting of this somewhat mundane, seemingly simplistic conversation betwixt strangers in a mostly empty, wholly un-busy bar, should continue…
It should go on to cover the beginning of football season, the lovely Fall weather, or Kanye West’s ridiculous outburst at the VMA’s…
But it does not.
Because Bartender walks away. Wordlessly. As in, ‘without further words.’
Almost as if Girl had asked Bartender if he’d ever made out with a goat or if he had a ‘thing’ for underage boys.
Alas, Girl had asked none of those things, nor anything remotely similar.
Girl had merely given an above-board answer to an apparently not-so-above-board question.

Stop. Story.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Girl walks into a drug store.
Rather, Girl walks into two separate drug stores, on two separate days, and witnesses two separate humans being inoculated with some form of anti-flu super venom.
Girl has brief thought of ponying up $24.99, in hopes of protecting self from heinous influenza and the fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t breathe, ‘knock yo ass out,’ ugliness which the infection tends to bestow upon its victims.
Girl finds self walking away from the pharmacy counter, sans immunization.
Girl knows this is un-smart.
And Girl considers self intelligent.
But Girl also considers self a risk-taker.
Girl takes risk.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Girl likes Mac.
Apparently, Girl would rather have virus in self than in laptop, so though she does not invest in flu shots, she does invest in virus-free computers.
This is reasonable to Girl.
Girl also enjoys taking her virus-free electronics with her wherever she may roam.
Girl really likes to roam.
Girl begins to feel concern that continuing her nomadic journeys with her precious, snow-white Mac may eventually cause critical injury.
(To Mac, not Girl)
Girl investigates options. Girl also really likes options.
Girl discovers existence of 10-inch, uber-portable Netbook.
Girl is disheartened to learn that these Netbooks are PC’s.
Girl believes that PC is to Cain as Mac is to Able.
Still, Girl has soft spot for mobility and feels pull of temptation by innocuous Netbook. Girl is a long-time sucker for troublesome people and objects, in spite of or perhaps because of, their proclivity for finding themselves erring towards the dark side.
Internal debate ensues.
Spouse ends debate when he bestows a very compact, very powerful, and very alluring, jet-black PC upon Girl, in honour of her very recent birthday.
Girl is now free to gallivant with Cain the Evil PC, in tow.

Epilogue
In bid to protect health and vitality of Cain the Evil, Girl has several top-notch anti-virus systems installed in tiny, new companion.
Cain is now protected in manner similar to Fort Knox.
Girl cannot help but consider the psychology behind protecting electronics and not self.
Girl reconsiders flu shot.
Girl un-reconsiders flu shot after rationalizing that PC is weak when faced with threats of infiltration by malevolent forces and thus necessitates strength, in form of advanced fortification, while Girl is strong.
Girl prefers to battle mano-a-mano.
Girl really, really enjoys challenge.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(We re-join Girl waiting for food, just as Bartender places to-go order atop bar)

G- “Are you religious?”
B- “Well, I believe in God, but I’m a bad Christian.”
G- “Me too.”
B- “That was random.”
G- “No more random than you abruptly ending our conversation, immediately after my Spousal revelation…”

Bartender shows momentary sign of dismay, but recovers and quickly retorts:
B- “Well, I didn’t want to seem threatening. Even unintentionally.”

Girl internally scoffs but fights to remain composed.

G- “So, you were concerned that your flagrant male-ness might be construed as an unintentional threat on the heels of my matrimonial divulgation?”
B- “Well, you know…I have a girlfriend too.”

Girl suddenly feels as though she has entered insane, Twilight Zone-esque abyss.

G- “Right. So, regarding my religious query, I guess I just thought that perhaps you were the charter member of some religion wherein it is considered a sin to continue casually speaking to someone post-establishment of their marital status.”

Bartender smiles.
For his sake, Girl is glad that he is pretty.

Girl takes food, and last sip of “on-the-house” carbonated beverage and exits bar.
She does not feel threatened.
Intentionally or otherwise…

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Vanity, Insanity and the Plight of Being Uncomfortably Numb…

Posted on April 14, 2009

Natural State of Things...

Natural State of Things...

The Girl hates pain (careful, or this could get metaphorical…)
The Girl has been known to employ extreme measures in order to bury, dull, anesthetize or otherwise conceal any offending hurt, be it the mental or physical sort.

But what of the pain that one cannot hide?
What of the dis-ease which callously arranges itself all over the face?
That most impudent and cruel brand of malady, which defies even the cleverest tactical obfuscations…
This is exactly the impertinent variety of pain ailing The Girl, at present.

The dentist and her drill have turned my previously soft and impressionable face into a distorted, engorged, and distended shadow of itself.

The prescription painkillers have effectively assuaged a reasonable amount of the physical ache, but seem to be doing little to relieve my visual and mental discomfort.
I study myself in the looking glass, and imagine my misshapen face as though it were a chaotic, dream-like representation depicted by Salvador Dali’. By turns revered and reviled, Dali’s overstated flamboyance has always intoxicated me personally, and I have an inking that he might be equally as intoxicated by my current oddity.
This thought makes me smile in spite of myself, but the expression that stares back at me is virtually unrecognizable.
My trademark ‘subtlely amused’ smirk looks ghoulish and macabre.
Perhaps I should photograph this smirk-turned-grimace and post it on the inter-web, in hopes that I might become the muse for some undiscovered and currently uninspired Surrealist painter.
We would travel the globe and he could paint portraits of my gruesome image in front of landmarks and town halls and all seven of the World’s Wonders.

Time magazine will put us on the cover of their December 2011 issue under the headline,“The Face of the Apocalypse and the Man who made it so…”
Gypsies and circus freaks will send me fan mail and praise me as their idol.
People magazine will dedicate a side bar in their annual ’50 Most Beautiful’ issue to me and my “Least Perfect Golden Ratio” which, even before the issue hits stands, is sure to be the newest trend in cosmetic surgery. Women will flock to their local plastic surgeons begging for their natural proportions to be mathematically warped, until they are satisfactorily maimed and disfigured.

I forcibly shake myself from this reverie, lest I get too excited about the possibilities of living life as the new-age archetype of post-modern anti-perfection.

I resign myself to pretending that I am recovering on “The Swan” (arguably the most obnoxious ‘reality’ show EVER.) I once read that all glossy or potentially reflective surfaces (including utensils, shiny plastic, or laminate of any sort) were banned from the recovery house, so that the contestants had no idea what they looked like until the big reveal in the finale. Perhaps I might do well to apply that tactic to my own convalescence.

I lie on my bed as my brain sifts aimlessly through the dossier of nascent thoughts I’d haphazardly filed away for ‘further ponderance at a later time,’ until it happens upon one of interest.
A friend recently solicited my opinion on the value of propelling the plot of a story forward at all costs, regardless of how many characters are destroyed en route.
Her initial inquiry was broached with respect to a television show we are mutually obsessed with, but I found it challenging to answer her solely within that context; a fact which I made clear in my reply, but later lamented when I did consider the thing as the thing, sans extenuating circumstances.
My (partial) initial and fully loaded response is below:

“I find it hard to address your ‘plot at all cost and destroying characters to get there’ query objectively. But, since this is really an opinion and I know you aren’t seeking hard and fast answers, I shall give you mine. Here goes:
I think it’s necessary. I tend to correlate everything on the show to life, and in life, sometimes we must go against ourselves and others (or Others) to move the story along. To get to the next space…
We make choices that we know are ‘wrong,’ or we stick with an ideal that we’ve ceased believing is ‘proper’, simply because we refuse to acknowledge that what we thought we knew, was ill-conceived. And often, we’d rather accept the consequence of these familiar choices, than give over to a new way of thinking. Little by little this destroys bits of our innate being and innocence. We affect our personal plot lines shift our storylines with every decision we make. We introduce new characters and ‘destroy’ others. I don’t always like it but I don’t know if there’s any other way.”

In retrospect, while I maintain my afore stated stance with regard to certain aspects of life, I cannot help but wonder if plot turns, puzzles and mysteries aren’t less interesting when the protagonists who drive them have become contrived, pseudo-versions of their former selves…
When does one draw the line on principles (eff you, principles!) and man-up to nature?
Why do we numb our pain and make decisions based on our deadened perceptions rather than truly feel our despair and allow it to create the story?
Why kill our innate good OR evil in favour of utter dispassion?
Since when is a fruit that is grown like a grape and tastes like a grape, called an apple just because it looks like an apple? The preceding question was brought to you by Rx painkillers
Still, in defense of the passion and the pain and apple and the grape, this numbing, this wholly un-sensational murder of sensation, is appalling.
It is the physical version of inducing ignorance.
And though ignorance may be a reason; it is never an excuse.
So what then, is my excuse?
How might I justify introducing this faux-tranquility to that which riles me so?
Why must I blunt the force of my ugliness, just because it threatens me?
Why does Vanity provide reason towards the unreasonable?
Today, when I called upon her to dissuade my internal anarchist from rearing its swollen, disjointed face; I learned that Vanity was out sick.
And with no positive imagery being mirrored back to sway my thoughts on the matter, I acknowledge that I’ve the same degree of internal disorder whether my externals appear orderly or otherwise.
And suddenly, I feel an odd zing, a fast flash, a quick sizzle, if you will, surrounding the possibilities that await once the effects of this numbing agent subside.
I shall explore. I shall spelunk through my ugliness in hopes of finding my innate cave-dwelling crystals.

I shall…hope that I do not heed the call of my ‘pain’ and pop another of those tablets before I get to the caves in the first place; an option which grows more and more appealing as the seconds pass.
It’s getting late. And my swelling appears to have abated a bit…

“I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.” W. C. Fields

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Spotlights and the Presence of Phantom Spirits

Posted on March 5, 2009

What Mean You?

What Mean You?

Confession:
I totally believe in ghosts.
For a Girl who doubts everything and everybody in real life, an unquestioning belief in that which cannot truly be proven is uncharacteristic, indeed.
Yet somehow fitting…

Post move to the Boat, I puttered around for days (read: months) fixing that which was broken or needed tuning. I made notes and bought appropriate bulbs and replacement fixtures and watched as darkness became light and my vision was realized. Except for that stupid spotlight. The one that has four bulbs that can be aimed in separate directions depending on what one chooses to highlight.

“To the right. A smidge more…NO! A smidge! I really meant a smidge… If I’d meant a ‘bit’, I would have said that!”

The Spouse is on top of a 14-foot ladder looking decidedly aggravated as I attempt to instruct the bulb to the perfect angle from the safety of the floor below. He twists it again and it goes out. I suggest that he might twist it back from whence it came and make it work again, but he tells me he is sick of “Effing with electrical currents” and climbs down the ladder.

Whatever. I have no desire to see the effects of electricity that has been “effed with,” so I ask my OCD to take the night off and attempt to forget about the errant bulb.

Two days pass and my wayward bulb shows no signs of light. It is 2am and I sit on the couch lost in a book. The Spouse has long gone to sleep, and I am completely alone. Then the hairs on my neck literally stand up. Just like ‘they’ say they do. Body reacts.Tears spring to my eyes and I feel true fear. I am paralyzed. I cannot move. At. All. Then the light flashes…exactly three times. I am sure that I hear shuffling behind me and I call out to the Spouse. He does like to scare me. Yet… he’s been asleep for hours. I instinctively know that it isn’t him. I dare not turn around, so I opt into a “head test” that I developed as a young child.

I often found myself home alone and understandably wary of a wide range of undefinable “house sounds.”

I decided that if I could mentally cue something to happen then it was real enough to be afraid of (look, I was six and I watched a lot of TV).

I’ll demonstrate:

(Creaking from the third floor of the house… no one is home…)

Six year old mini-Girl’s internal VO: “If I should run, please make the stairs creak in 3, 2…1″
I guess I felt like God would be kind enough to creak the stairs as an early warning system, if there were truly something to be afraid of.

So there I am… 23 years later and the internal VO has automatically gone to “OK, If you are a ghost, please flick the lights in 3, 2…. 1″

They totally flash. Dear. God. Paralysis is majickally lifted and I scream. I sprint through an interminable 1200 square feet, to the opposite end of the Boat, where the Spouse sleeps. Not knowing. Unaware. But somewhat startled (to put it nicely,) that I’ve torn into the room and woken him up like, well… someone who has seen a ghost. I attempt to explain my wild breathing and even wilder eyes, but cannot string the words together.

In the end, it matters not at all whether anyone else actually understood the magnitude of this experience.

I knew.

I’ve been down this road before. That first Christmas Eve after He died. The scenario was different but the feeling was not. He was there to wish me tidings of good cheer and peace. He was forgiving me.

But this was not that. This is decidedly different.
This message is not nearly as innocuous, and I am meant to feel threatened.
I am meant to feel helpless and lonely.
But not the brand of loneliness that I have, at times, been known to embrace.
The other kind.
The “no one can help you now” kind. The “you are on your own” kind.
I consider myself warned or forewarned or whatever.
Yet, my responsibility within this episode has only just begun.
I am now forced to determine which phantom from my past hath sent this specter.
Though the incident involving the spotlight did happen many months ago, I have had the distinct impression that he has been nearby, since.
He likes it here.
Or perhaps, he is simply not confident that I have properly observed his warning.
He could be right. For, I am not sure I precisely understand his intent was.
It is a well-known fact that messages from the Beyond are a smidge difficult to decode.
And, yes, I meant a “smidge.” Not a “bit.”

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Reflections from the Shadows

Posted on January 30, 2009

In the frame...

In the frame...

I’m thinking about the framework. I’m considering the fringe. I’m feeling pedantic. I’m reeling on the inside and suppressing for the good of mankind. I’m radiating and reliving and moving through time. I’m preposterous and self-aggrandizing.  I am nothing you thought and everything you expected. Or the opposite.

I am realizing that for the first time in forever. I don’t want to be anyone but me, which doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be different.

I’m caught in a reverie that I wish would last.
I cannot understand how it got so late. I never understand how it gets this late. Still, I flourish here. This is when the darkness shrouds the world and my mind rests as much as it knows how. I ignore the niggling loneliness that comes with being awake while the rest sleep.
I deal in the theoretical. And the philosophical. But not much in the reality. The reality makes my brain bored and my insides hurt, so I do avoid that recurrently.
I don’t know the capital of Missouri (OK, I do now, for I looked it up) but I can quote Miller, Hawthorne and Emerson with equal dexterity, so does that make me a dumb American or a literary snob? Or does it make me average? Good with some things, not so good with others…average. That’s the most frightening thought of all.
I used to know all the state capitals.
But seeing as how I had known that Jefferson City is Missouri’s capital in the 3rd grade and have not had cause to draw upon this knowledge in the past 20 years, perhaps it could be considered wise that I hadn’t stolen valuable brain space from the “daily use” shit. Einstein didn’t know his phone number.

I’m thinking about the shabbily constructed facade and those who don’t bother to peer beyond it. I pity those who judge Others based on their own template of propriety.
I never allow myself to forget that the same people who ask me for favors now, believed themselves to be superior when I was bartending. It wasn’t that long ago.

I consider those surveys regarding the “happiest” places to live in the U.S.
I am obviously wary of the results. Who are they asking? Perhaps expectations have something to do with the outcome. If you ask a group of New Yorkers if they are happy, it is my great hope they would collectively deny such a strange possibility. This City was built on the battle. It lives and breathes the struggle. It will never be one of the happiest places to live. It will always be amongst the most satisfying.

I’m thinking of the “Assassination of Jesse James” and opining on why it moved me so.
Perhaps, it was the morality tale. I love a good morality tale. Especially those which affirm that the answer is that there is no answer. We should never be so presumptuous as to believe that we understand the actions of anOther. Or their reactions, for that matter.

Precocious. Preliminary. Disobedient. Bold. Insecure. Infinite. Provocative. Internal crusader. Veiled in the rabbit hole. Patriot. Detractor. Extremist. Heretic. Hopeless believer. Defiling definition. One tangent at a time…
“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”  ~James Joyce  “Ulysses”

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