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Early afternoon

Country life in the afternoon blooms
With caw-ing and raking the dirt for bugs
My cool mug from morning, cooler
than early spring and largewave rays

Fingertips dipped in the unthawed workflow
As a calf flows on manure, spotting
Noon soon above
And life unthaws for fat
Women with fivefold fill of rotten cheese

Early fifties at noon and
Two twenty-some-odds
Complacent with the wind and thawing river
And you pecking at the wind with a rake

Young me pacing the world
swording our words with rakes
And words of an empty church

The winds lift and drop
the caw-ing rake of a young bird
swording fate over bugs’
harmonious caw-ing at the fluff'd farmhands
Half-standing in the river and wind

Pastel promises of escaping
our raking and pecking and fighting
While carving an empire on fertile manure
untitled

I think these things,
Like who will land on the trampoline;

The one that springs you to the mountain,
clean with air ripened by a world’s
healthy dreams.

Yet who will land on the pillowish grass?
The kind that bounds your pass (and hands)
from climbing the bounce machine.

The stuff that grips its shaky feet
To the wild, intangible hips
Wet with dog shit and heat.

And who decides where we drop,
From the moment we plop down and
Consider what all this means?

Our shopkeeper is out and all we need
Is another drink to dampen the spirits
From drowning in what will only forego pleas.

And those from the mountain pass see
Our young kings dropping to the grass
And into a comfortable seat;

(Floundering and withering),
Blessing the sky to be lying in the
windless shade of the trampoline.
The Mountain

For a while now, Frederick had the unshakeable feeling of being watched. Tucking himself behind trees and doorways of forest and a cottage, eyes seemed to loom just over the patio bushes, peer in from behind the side entrance at night, close their white lids as soon as he turned to confront them. Frederick’s ears pricked up at the crack of twigs or a gush of wind through the treetops. The world was loaded and dense; heavy. The ocean sky, which hung not fifty yards from where he kept himself balled up, was a weight against his back. The openness of nature, the remaining surviving thing to menace humankind, the bubble Frederick has for the past five years sought to regain a foot in, was disallowing him back in its clubhouse.

New York was a jagged cliff made of shoddily welded, corrugated metal. Just looking at it gave one the feeling of uneasiness. From a distance, its peaks were glorious and cut through clouds, and Frederick had thought of achievements, history, pushing forward. It took a dedication to progressing one’s willpower to begin to climb it. But at the close inspection of its constitution, once at the base of its steadiness, Frederick saw the edges were sharp and rusted, bent from the millions, billions, who’ve climbed before him, resting on its perches, picking the foundation like a scab. Cracks wheezed darkness and shadow from the world contained within its mostly hollow frame. The rough exterior grit leaking red-orange stains into palms.

Frederick approached the monolith and—still in awe of its distant beauty, of which he had marveled at since a boy—ran his soft hands down its steep sides. He pressed his face against the city and felt its distant temperature within, barely able to permeate enough to reach his skin. It felt wholly new and unknowable.
Wallpaper

                His bones were slick; he couldn't keep meat on them.
                "Do you think this is a pattern?" asked Will.
                Inside the subway car, around the ads and benches on the wall, were dots of mostly blues and some purples and a few other unnoticeable colors printed in some seemingly digital (but frenzied) manner. You didn't think of the walls, or look at them, so you’d look at the ads—proclamations from William, whose finger pressed into its surface like a wet noodle
                “Someone must have designed all this. Probably is a pattern. I doubt we have a computer putting random dots like this on a spreadsheet and sending it through the printer. Can you imagine? The cost and time? And the psychology of wallpaper…who knew it contained such insane depths!”
                He coughed a careless few laughs and repositioned himself against the seatback. Will silently lolled his eyes against the opposing wall’s contours.
“Think of the things we don’t notice. Things meant to be invisible. The real meaning of ads, secret societies. Those are the dangerous things. The part of the wall nobody will notice.”
                When the train stopped Will was holding his hand. They walked past the single standing apartment buildings along the street—a few kids were standing there, playing with a large dog on the summer resonant sidewalk—and Will was crying alone. He wiped his eyes. The dog was bigger than them and it looked fierce and wincingly at the passers on the sidewalk. The front of the buildings matched the color and oblivious texture of the sidewalk and the gutter of the street, which was sunken in trash and brown leaves.
                Inside their home they ate saltines and cheese and Will cooked some vegetables. Will turned around, but he was in the bathroom and the door was closed. He didn't come out for dinner.
                Will woke up the next morning and made some calls. He wasn’t alone. A few friends had come over early. Everyone was sort of happy and the outside light made the living room light and free.
                 Later, when they had gone, Will took out the papers and laid them out like fabrics on the table. He didn't even know what letters and numbers to fill in. So he left them spread and went for a walk and came back to the papers filled in and packaged them up in a bright envelope and thought about mailing them right away.
                 The next morning his parents came and Will met them for the first time. It wasn't that awkward.
They went out that night to a restaurant none of them had ever been to before. They spent well over what they needed to spend, but no one complained.
                 The next week was filled with more friends, some of the same ones. The papers were sent at some point. Wine was poured out each morning. They recycled the bottles at the end of the week.
 
Meditations at the Nearby Burgertown

There's a hoard bottlenecking at the porn hole. A male urban youth, one of my own, spotted at the scene, destroying everything. The internet addicts attacking like dragons the flies swatted by salted hands onto anything, it all. Make music—1, 2, 3, the happiest me, humbly studying story structure and whatever else is happening, looking at broader be-safes and well-beings &c., &c., like look, there's a leader in the field, down there in Brane Haven, like he's looking up, at you, here next to me, it's you. Yeahjam man, it's too much for us today, tomorrow perhaps. This is nothing, and if none, enter nothing. But don't not got as a manner of speaking as a matter of fact amongst the empirical impossstacles and jump-offs we got none, so enter zero. I'm no better than the old man looking down at the girl in tight corduroys walking by the café counter for a pastry or cappuccino with almond milk, I think she was Indian, maybe a goose.

Story

Damien, at the outset, knew of one thing.

Travel. He had been committing the act since 1978, when he was 19. First Panama, then Sweden, then Uganda. He never seemed to stop.

Happening one day, overnight almost, he became a foreign correspondent for the NY Times. He'd chime in on art activity of the southern sphere. Who was what, doing who. They all read it, and they loved and invited him further inward.

Damien, one day, found himself with an email:

Damien,

What does Mazatlan look like today compared to the days of Kerouac?

For instance. Something like that.

In the course of weeks, Damien found himself in paid-for hotels and suites garnished with brandy and sparkling wine. To make himself susceptible to the wanderlust of the unfortunate, he'd sneak into late-night theaters and bars, flirting with strippers and backgammon players, feeling his way along the wall toward the bathroom where he'd puke the tequila and beer onto the wall.

Damien tried to hit a low but couldn't; wouldn't, even. His money was held at a low of twenty-eight thousand dollars, including hookers and fireworks and rounds for the bar.

On an evening like tonight, as the sun is hitting the horizon like a silver star on the fridge, magnified by the purple-heated phosphorescent tube of the kitchen centrality, the family buzzing around it like bees, hornets even, and that made my math badge brilliant with light. I promise.

This evening happened so that Damien was presented with a group of two, friends, from LA. Friends of friends. Gómez Rubio and Dr. Barraza, friends of friends, felt their way around the fluorescent fish tank entryway, rubbing rolling hips to ass cheeks against diners along the way. They sat after shaking, nodding, smiling. They spoke in Spanish and then English. My tongue wasn't warmed to the land yet.

After we fucked, I saw them to the hotel exit, my hand firm against eithers under-the-hip. Outside we kissed and hugged, and I had an erection that nipped the pant leg of my fellows. I waved them goodbye.

Damien had been to many places, but his drug problem had never been the problem it had become in Mazatlan. He did heroin, coke. He drank till sleep. He woke to the muffled sounds of a woman next to him in bed, sleeping in and off the fucking and drugs they did. His writing fell into the cracks. What would the paper think. He thought of his wife and kids and grandkids, all shaking their heads at his funeral where he wouldn't show his face because his face had too may needle holes from doing heroin in his face.

That was really when he woke up.

He said boy, I really shouldn't be doing this stuff. For my kids and grandkids.

He straightened up and once in a while he would call home and thank his family for being strong while he was away. It had been two weeks since he left LA, and though the paper hadn't even noticed he'd left, his family had thrown many parties. Specifically pizza parties where his own parents showed up and threw in Terminator to the chagrin of Mom, that bitch.

The paper started to notice and they thought to call up the guy and ask how the project was going that they sent him on, and he said yeah, its fine, i'm drunk all the time. And they didn't care because he was a writer, they fucking ran the game in writers these days, so who knows… But he said he needed help on finishing the project and they asked if they could be of some assistance, being his boss and all, plus it was beneficial to them to complete the story.

He awoke the next afternoon to the pounding of his neighbors having anal intercourse, and it sounded so fucking brutal.

The following day he slept in and didn't know how someone could sleep till noon with the sound of anal penetration happening on just the other side of a two inch wall of fiberboard in this cheap fucking hotel on the main drag of Mazatlan.

They had snuck in some sleeping pills into his last night's cocktail, those bastards. And wasn't it convenient that I didn't remember having that cocktail, last night on the patio overlooking the bay, the one that I had every night, with that man from the elevator doing pushups on my bathroom floor.

Poem

"Notable Movies from 2013"


Her

Gravity

Philomena

Captain Phillips

Saving Mr Banks

August: Osage County

Blue is the Warmest Color

The Wolf of Wall Street

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years a Slave

Blue Jasmine

Nebraska

Omar

Story

Meditations at the Other Burgertown

kid at a grindcore show in small town & old friend who has 13-month-old in arms catches up & back at his house they eat vegan food, she has kids, three, same dad, he lives in washington & he asks to try her breast milk, definitely, she says & he sucks straight from the nipple & she says, I thought you were vegan & the kid is watching from the trampoline, dancing, they all dance, but she laughs & throws up but it's fine & at the front door she says, I'll be in the area for a few days.

Addressed to GF

I saw this apartment yesterday, had drinks with the roommate, Nick, who was a really nice guy and a designer/film producer. The place is really beautiful, and he said it's mine if I want it. He liked me a lot. We talked about a bunch of crazy shit at his house until like 11pm after grabbing dinner at a BBQ joint nearby.

Pilsen is weird. Or rather, it's different than I thought it would be. Heavy Mexican atmosphere, with murals on every wall and Mexican markets on every block. I asked if he felt safe in that neighborhood and he said he felt safer there than most other neighborhoods in the city. That the city will always have its random burglaries and muggings, "what can you do?" he said. I don't know if I like that sentiment. Bed-Stuy never felt very safe, but I never heard of anyone getting mugged at night there. It probably happened, but I never knew anybody. Everyone here has a friend or they themselves have been mugged at some point, and they say you just move on, don't be afraid, what can you do.

Anyway, that just goes to say Pilsen is no less safe than anywhere in the entire city, where random muggings can happen at any moment, if infrequently. On top of that, it "feels more safe" than places like Logan Square, which one gentlemen put it as "pretty sketch," or the more northerly neighborhoods, or Hyde Park I'm assuming, it being the most dangerous statistically. But Pilsen feels a little dirty, quiet, working class, etc., maybe not unlike Bed-Stuy, or maybe even more closely aligned with Bushwick, out towards the Halsey stop if you've ever made it out that far. Which brings up some weird emotional response walking around out there. The time when I was living with Jessica, or had just left Jessica, and you and I packed up some boxes of things, and Nicos was complaining about his nervousness with the neighborhood, and Ian offering to help move that fucking couch upstairs that was so heavy, actually the same one I then had moved back down, after a month with that fucking puppy dog that shat in my room so passionately, to Amanda's apartment and then after that to Hirsh's/Koivu's/Larsen's living room.

This goes to say I was a little irksome walking through the neighborhood. I saw three apartments within close proximity to one another and the first two were fairly awful, but could be made cool, I guess, anything can with the right attitude. The last one, Nick's, from the link above, was so polished, and pretty, and thoughtfully arranged/furnished. The bedroom is a good size, can easily fit a queen, has a queen in there now but I believe the current tenant is taking it away with him. Nice closet size, some storage room above the closet, two very tall windows looking over 18th St, exposed brick in the living room, which Nick said "you can't find that anywhere" which I'll take his word for, but I bet somewhere else has some brick, but I'm happy enough to take his word for it.

I don't know what to do. At first I thought Hyde Park would be a better option. Cheaper. Closer to campus. More options. But I haven't found anything worth even a walkthrough in my search, and those that are even somewhat affordable (~$800-$900/mo. for a basement studio...) haven't returned my inquiries at all. Maybe all signals point to Pilsen, maybe I shouldn't let this place slip through my fingers, like so many have before. I'd love your insight.

Oh, Nick, I forgot to mention, he gave the anecdote of having to approach his roommate a couple of months ago to give the whole "hey man, so, my girlfriend is moving in next month, I hope that's cool with you, i think it'll be good for us" and his roommate was cool with it, but then Nick and that girl he mentioned broke up because of some crazy traumatic event that happened and it wasn't necessary for her to move in, but then, which is now "now," his roommate got a sudden job in Wicker Park or something and is leaving, so the whole talk wouldn't have even been necessary even if his then-girlfriend and him had stayed together, which they didn't, so it was doubly unnecessary. Point being, there may be some precedent to having to have that same conversation with Nick a few months down the road, seeing as how he didn't think it was totally crazy to approach his roommate and have the same conversation, nor did he think having three people in the apartment was a crazy or bad idea.

Think about these things. Send me a response through voice, cause ain't no way I'm reading this amount of garbage in my spare time. Kisses.

Dream Journal

Hello, you. This is going to be a dream update, to, in a sense, confront and extinguish this built up anxiety I must be having. The dream is as follows:

Dragon from never-ending story is in a room across a road or courtyard making faces at me. He's in a building with really high ceilings, but it also seems to be an arcade with ski-ball that reaches up to the ceilings. I point him out to Hannah as she talks to me across a circular table, maybe we're eating, and he disappears when she looks over. He slowly moves his head over, pops out, with his eyes closed and a big smile, cartoonish. I stop Hannah mid-sentence and almost push her head to the side to show her and I think she sees him but I'm already out of my seat, trembling at his face, pointing rigidly walking toward the room. I begin to fly, because walking there seems dangerous. I've met this dragon before and he can be fast when he wants, suddenly. I fly high, and circle him from inside the building just under the ceiling. He's cowering a little, but not afraid, so maybe just watching me curiously from behind the main circular counter. There is also a teller or cashier who doesn't seem to notice the dragon behind his desk, nearly touching him. Not necessarily because he doesn't see him our know about him, but possibly because he is used to him being there. Maybe everyone is. I'm scared because nobody seems to mind this big dragon making faces at me or everyone. He has no rules, physical laws governing him. He can smile when he wants, fly fast or slow, creep behind windows, and disappear when other people look at him. It's not fair. Fair, it seems we're at a fair or carnival. Fairness plays a big part of my feeling toward this creature. I take out a gun while circling him from above, I too break the laws of gravity, and shoot at him. It's an automatic gun, but it doesn't pierce him or break anything. He doesn't flee. Just continues to watch as I move closer in. I can see his fat teeth, see the coarseness of their texture, like a commercial for toothpaste or cavities. If I were close enough to touch them,I feel they would be smooth but ridged, like a pumpkin made from perfect coated cement, or those impressions you have made when you get braces. His skin, covered in white fur, would probably be like petting a baby chicken, but clean, and his skin beneath it warm with blood and life and pleasure.

Circular, circular counter, pops out, smiles, fair, automatic, laws, move in, wriggle, eyes closed, slide - all words that were difficult to write. Investigate their meaning/ significance.


Here is the dialogue I have been trying to work through:

Falkor leads you to the nothing, or through the nothing, into fear, he knocks you out of comfort and hides in the games which are impossible. he smiles, he is laughing? taunting, or showing aloofness? good and evil, bringing these forces together. dragons guard treasure, inner treasures. get to know the dragon and you will find something out about yourself. so who/what is the dragon?

children's movie = fond memories, but mostly fearful
movie presented the first exploration of existentialism, nothingness, death, darkness, the hero is only successful after the whole universe has been taken away, and he must live in solitude with this one girl, without choice, without any THINGS. presented as heroic, overcoming the self, overcoming fear, but i found it unfair and tragic. the horse, his best friend, sinks into the mud alive, probably the most upsetting scene in any movie.

however, the dragon is also dog-like. he has a bobble-head quality, and a playfulness, naïveté, and regards himself as his own master. bullets do not hurt him, yet he can hurt me quickly. some puppy-like thing is guarding a secret to myself.

he is next to ski-ball games that reach the top of a fifty foot open warehouse. in ski-ball you roll balls up a ramp. this requires skill, not as much luck as others. i enjoyed this game the most as a kid at the pizza place in Atascadero. Captain Kids was its name. i'm assuming this arcade also dealt tickets for prizes, something not economical, kind of a poor scheme to play on kids, i always thought i could just use the two dollars to get the tickets to buy better toys/prizes. fairness was a major theme of this dream as well.

it's not fair that this puppy-like passion/force/enigma/taunter can toy me around, like a chew toy. i am the object of some other force's whim, it comes when it pleases, and nothing can stop it, like the nothing. is this an emotion that overtakes me when i least expect it, when i am sitting with someone i love, does it strike? can i see it coming? in prior dreams i didn't know it was about to happen, yet now i seem aware of it in my proximity, but i cannot destroy it. it is far more powerful than i am. how do i adopt my life to its presence? it hides behind a man in a black shirt, a black man? the ticket guy, the government that takes my hard-earned tickets/money, conning me for worthless objects. the smile, emily has that similar smile. do i fear some kind of relationship? the object of my desire, the prizes you earn behind the counter, she is hiding back there, smiling at me, but i desire to destroy her/the desire?

the counter is a black man, working class, he works in a warehouse, he takes things from kids and tells them what they want by displaying it behind the counter. he is faceless, fat, unaware of the dragon, unaware of me. he is the guardian of the object of desire. you must get through him, you must play the unfair games, the seeming impossible task of getting enough tickets through luck or skill, though i have chosen to do it by skill. i must be fairly good at skiball to attempt this high of a hole, slope, bullseye.

am i trying to destroy my desire to work? or destroy the working class man who will work forever, and never become aware of the reality taunting children around him? is this my fear of moving into the unknown, dragons are a sign of unknown territory! on maps. work, fairness, ethics, economy, seeing the unassuming working class, is it me? will i be faceless and fat and working for kids? do i fear growing up and doing this?


I am unsure whether this dream has more to do with work, as it deals with economy in some way; ethics, because of the tickets and my powerless self against someone who does not obey the laws of physics; a career change, because of the dragon guarding the world of the unknown; forbidden love, because of the smile taunting me while I am with my girlfriend; starting a family, because of childhood memories/loss of innocense; or simply becoming an adult, because of said loss and unfairness of having to grow up and deal with relationships.

Let's break each down and count the clues.

WORK

  • the working man

  • We were almost not aware of each other

  • seems unimportant, normally a clue into importance

  • chicago world fair, i will be changing careers at the fair

  • interested in exploring idea of circular lives, developing a theory that explains our existence: falkor guides you through the nothingness, maybe in past dreams he was pulling me out of worthless activity, and now that i am on track, he does not attack, he is smiling like "I told you so." Never-ending, circular table, and automatic are key words.

FAMILY

  • skiball requires throwing a tiny ball in a tiny hole and it's difficult

  • my instant memory is of captain kids, captain of the kids, the father

  • childhood memories of falkor, of skiball, of fairs

  • wriggle was a key word, as was pops out and slide (giving birth)

ADULTHOOD

  • loss of innocense from movie

  • first fear of death (also: eyes closed is a key word, circular counter is double meaning for clock/time)

  • unfairness

  • acquiring possessions now does not seem to interest me, nor is the game itself interested in me, it is like background noise

  • unable to attack this emotion, it is a fact, ungoverned by laws

  • i am aware of this threat in the distance, the fear of death! the fear of dying as a faceless, working man.

UNCONTROLLABLE EMOTION

  • awareness, dragon as symbol of passion (fiery)

  • i react by trying to kill this emotion with an automatic weapon

  • automatic: it's my automatic reaction

  • better at keeping it in the distance now that i can see it approaching, but still cannot destroy it

  • if passion, emily's smile/teeth have similar quality to falkor's. teeth could mean death in this case, or anti-anxiety as they are the tickest, sturdiest teeth and not falling out (anxiety dream symbol), or captivating love?

I think this dream may be part of or all of or none of the above, but it's difficult to say. Many things struck home with me writing through this, specifically the dragon as guarding the unknown place (whether it be death, or the new city I'll be moving to, or the new career I'll be entering), seeing the parallel with emily's teeth/smile and falkor's, and skiball as a metaphor for impregnating.