Sunday, November 9, 2014

“I have seen the best minds of my generation destroy’d by madness --- etcetera.” Desolation Angels

Here below lies the uncaptured reveries, the careless spewings, the poolside viewings, the classless classifyings, the opportunistic offerings, and the smack-satiated subtleties of another world, stupid little world, essentially the toilings of my only talents, and yeah…. Wouldn't you?


THE RUN, THE SUN, MIDDLE NOVEMBER and eighty degree weather, only in Southern California, and only in this distinct location on the west coast, I think I’ve lacked fulfillment, all these years, it’s been routinely weird, running off on the same path, the internal wrath of knowing life is going nowhere, shuffling on a set that looks like somewhere, New Mexico any season USA, the desert weather, rock formations against cerulean blue sky, I can’t lie, I’ve been hypnotized, at least on occasion, running the path toward civilization, past the rattlesnake demon territory of lost glory, old cultivation machinery from 1980, probably 1880, height of industrial revolution infamy, how is it still a story or in existence, rusted and reticent, some leftover relic, abandoned by dumbass unrepentant litterers, on the sideway highway, the place I run past everyday on five mile glory. The days, months, years pass so fast when we try to catch up and follow tired routines, it’s boring, but still we cling, it’s better than nothing, I suppose it kind of grows on us, why make a fuss, when we are living and earning and learning, buzzing and showing, is it the best we can offer, proffer, something better than mediocre, tired dreams, obscene, how can we bring more to the table, the equation, it’s basic and yet unrealistic, I’ve tried this, now tired of this, how do we overcome our sick-ness, to get beyond this, feeling of absolute frenziness? I can’t adjust, still kind of sort of hoping to make it beyond this, beyond a place confined by stupid pride, and arrogance, and ideologists, to something possible, probable, acceptable, this is my careful lure, a charm I’ve never had to arm, but I accept all the wrong if it can lead me to something right, a great and honorable light at the end of the endless tunnel of my life, something akin to a miracle, I want to make it despite all the stupid and cunningly self-deprecating condescension, here we have a great big lesson, this stress and nowhereness could end us, and I’m so nowhere that I hardly care, I can’t feel despair, substances are all liars, they build me up just to watch me fall, I can’t handle it all, I just keep thinking about how we are all going to the soil someday, to rot, decompose, and decay, the thought of it makes me asphyxiate, unable to communicate, words important enough, worthy enough, to actually publish.

“It’s hard enough to live in a world where you grow old and die.” -- Desolation Angels, 222

IT WAS AT L. R. GREEN that I first realized that I would die someday and that it was a terrifying prospect, on all accounts, especially for a nine year old kid and especially for me personally, even at that age, as golden as it was somber, my favorite number, because I was already so extraordinarily unwilling to see myself as something mortal, someone who could one day submit to the godforsaken rot, decay, decomposition, the proposition, disposition, ah, it disgusted me thoroughly, made me trembly, my heart beating faster, thinking of the rot, skin hot, red, slimy, clammy, how could it happen to me, ME? And I was also so cavalier, arrogant, developing situational, appropriated emotional distance, and I couldn’t for the life of me, even at the tender age of nine, my childhood prime, I could not believe in any kind or any type of supernatural, superbeing, or deity, nothing, no Santa Clause and no Easter Bunny, they made no rational sense to me, so I couldn’t be comforted in my revelation, ah death will come for me, not me, yes me, like the other kiddies, the irrational, unthinking, sheepish unseeing ones, the ones who believed in heaven and hell because they were told to, compelled to, ask not the definition of faith, just have it! what a crock of shit, the biggest scam since DNA kits, they can tell you anything, everything, but the faith delusion has been around much longer than any of that nonsense, and I suppose it quiets some in the rows, the pews, the simple-minded, the unrelenting, unthinking sort, seeking penance for sins undone, unthought, will be thought, will be done, on the run, I guess it’s fun, and anyway I won’t be restrained, obtained, not in the fashion so constrained, I’ll do what I want, when I want, so American, part of a dying trend, we are the end, the ones who question every honorable mention for some kind of collaboration, cronyism, collusion, the delusion, such grandeur I aspire to, gone, gone, gone, and if only I had known it back in the days of green field runs, laborious tunnel tag in the sun, I used to brag about athleticism, now I shrug about intelluctalism, it’s all so abhorrent, days, weeks years tormented, but I knew back in grade school, death was imminent, any insincere sentiments, to the utmost contrary, a lost story, it was at L. R. Green that I first learned desultory and unprideful indignations, nothing will save us, in hundred years time, Earth will still be in its prime, but we will all be long dead and fed to the soil, the planet will have us, ah turmoil, I can’t stand this.

ALL MY FRIENDS HATE ME or would hate me if they knew what I truly was, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or rather merely the kind of kid that can’t really listen, nodding head in agreement, yet too hung up on other problems to give full attention, the deficit disorder, always looking for something new to impress me, the reason behind the madness that messes with me, that I nevertheless perpetrate, attention at a deficit, can’t sit still, always looking for some way to get ahead, make money in the way I want to, how can we be so illiterate, so illogical, so changed from where we were, back in the day, where words and thoughts mattered extensively, we argued about their integrity, where our lives weren’t spent on obsessing over other silly trivialities, like celebrities, politicians, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, irrelevant and unimportant people just striving and trying for our lacking attention, am I the only one who is done with all of them? I want to travel back to the good old days where novelists were society’s fortune tellers, the respected sellers, the ones who had talent enough to write words, not unravel it all courtesy of mindless politicians, presidents with selfish objectives looking for fame and lasting impression. My friends all hate me for being pretentious, though I’m often or at least sometimes good intentioned, and regardless of all my silly ramblings, interests that still mean nothing, I just want something better than ordinary, idealist in nature and I suppose nobody cares about revelry, not anymore, letting the future know what we were like, the struggles and logic of our times, the good old days, such an ambiguous phrase, why can’t today be the good old days, I guess it will be in the future when everything is grey and we wonder how everything went astray, embrace of communism disguised as “yes we can [change],” too bad no one realized the treachery in that phrase, and, oh yeah, that “we” was all a deceit, there’s no “I” in team, there’s no “we” in “I” and the “I” certainly doesn’t give a fuck about the “we” anyway, not that I blame the “I”, cause neither would I, if I were the “I” currently making all the important, long-lasting societal decisions for the “we”, causing a ruckus, trying to fuck with us, but I suppose I would also not endeavor for the fame, play it like a game, something that allows me to feel the same, as all the other “firsts” in the history of America, because my narcissism has a limit, I won’t cause a schism, between right and left, up and down, the barrage of scrutiny that will abound, coming from the coming years, the fears associated with the likely transition, a mission, the fateful conversion from freedom and liberty to utter, soul-crushing dystopia. Ah America, we had a nice run.

“The dope fiend and the artist have lots in common.” --– Bull Gaines

TWENTY-SEVEN IS FOR ROCK STARS, bars, useless disregard, heroin is a rock star murder weapon, vicious as them all, the last lesson, things can feel good and be bad and vice versa, I’m not one to learn them, a maverick, a cavalier asshole, the charmer, disarmer, the one to desert them, I don’t care about dereliction, life is for the living, too many drugs lead to rock star demises, what comprises the better, best life, not strife, not useless disregard, it’s the wrong way, say I want to know the right way, the way that makes me proud, loud, willing to cry out, this is the age, the rage, that counts the most, this is where the madness matters, rattles the bones, shakes the souls, makes a difference, a mark, in a world where too many marks have already been made, enraged, why can’t my life matter while I’m alive, thriving, surviving, why must art matter only when I’m dead, no longer ahead, sleeping forever in a hard, wooden bed? I hate twenty-seven because it’s unreal, almost gone, totally wrong, out of the kid zone, into adulthood, and yet still such an unmistakable asshole, unfulfilled, sleeping awake in a godforsaken place just trying to make it, unable to fake it for a lifetime, the price you pay for living in modernity, lacking sincerity, they hate me too much to revere me. Twenty-seven is for rock star demises, it’s priceless, the things we do when we are young, mid twenties, save me, I can’t even fathom what it might be like to be thirty, unworthy, the last of a great legacy, put a pin in it, ignore it, disobserve it, I’m over it, let’s just get on to the next topic.

WE ZOOMED EAST ON THE 10 FROM EL PASO TO AUSTIN, THROUGH WASTELAND WEST TEXAS, it was July 3rd and ah summer was just beginning in the year, best year, best number 09, yes and only because I like the number so much and I was younger then and had lots of naïve thoughts in front of me, ideologies of winning, no one could stop me, it was the truth, ah youth, such crazy indignities early twenties, and I had yet to meet the guy who would fulfill bucket list items, but more of that later, and really though I should mention here that we were on our way to Austin by way of San Antonio, only because Tegan had to visit her boyfriend on the base first, and then shoot up to Austin to visit my high school friend who dug Texas since we were kids, cowboys, farmland, Republicanism, she dug it all, liked the dirt, the sand, bigskycountryland and since I had never been to that great southern state, I thought I should, even though I knew I’d be a misfit, outlaw, misunderstood. We were granted entrance into the base after a certain amount of hassle, them trying to decide if we were there to mess with someone, they checked our IDs, mine from Cali and Tegan’s from Arizony at that point, nevertheless, goddamn I digress, they let us in and it wasn’t the first time that day we were asked to show identification, at the last station, some kind of weigh station in the middle of wasteland West Texas that also I think may have doubled as a border checkpoint of some variety, they were clearly looking for illegal trafficking, and we were eventually let in, made to pass, such a strange act, out in the middle of nowhere they stood, somewhere on the 10 between El Paso and Austin, perhaps Fort Stockton, we didn’t pay enough attention, and we were off again. Also somewhere on that drive, we passed a place called Ozona, Texas, a place where I was transfixed, mostly because I could not imagine living somewhere so desolate, so unimpressive, population under two thousand, and the only place to eat was a Sonic, and not that I am particularly complaining, I happen to like Sonic dining, but Tegan and I were definitely not planning on sticking around longer than it took to order and eat a burrito, back on the road, east 10 freeway, on the way, to San Antonio.

So we stopped, waited for her man to come downstairs, sat at tables and watched smokers, smoke nicotine refuse and stub on wooden table tops, I’m digging the area but it’s too hot, beginning of July and not dry, not even close to desert atmosphere, humidity ruining it all, so we head back West 10, to Austin, actually I think it was East 35, arrive in San Marcos, makes me laugh, thinking about San Marcos, California, and then oh yeah, middle school crush used to live there years ago, and I make Tegan stop at a head shop, called Planet K, she says OK, and we check things out, and it’s all dark and weird in there, normal head shop demeanor, and I buy a pipe, a glass one that is disassembled, and immediately begin to wonder how will I get it back on the plane to California, and the guy at the register, a weird looking fella, G.H. type, is trying to get Tegan and me to buy this strange purple drink, something he claims will make us high, and I am of course interested, but I am also skeptical, this being a radical new thing I’ve never heard of, so we eventually decline and rush out of the store and all the way to Austin, meeting my good friend at her condo near Lake Travis, which is actually north of Austin, Texas, and still somewhat west as well but by now Tegan is driving and I’m not paying much attention, and I’m amazed by the vastness of Austin, such a crazy spread out city, already trying to mess with me, so far to the local grocery, it’s far too vast for me, but her place is really amazing, nice view and scenery. So we stay a few nights, Fourth of July in Austin, might be better than Boston, at least we get to throw our own fireworks, not corralled by the police force, of course them planning for another terrorist attack on Boston, doesn’t happen in Austin, too spread out to mess with, this is Texas, and really Boston didn’t offer much more than police force prejudice, and a long walk through Compton version of South Boston, the projects, while my friend noted, all the things we were missing, on the docks half mile away, fireworks were not late, so we missed the first half. That year in Austin, Texas we threw off our own fireworks and there was a mad scene, us believing in anything and everything, just going wild, Texas was made for nihilistic activities, a prophesy, what was never meant for me, football the next day, whoa Reggie, here we go, a running back show, and this was kind of before I had the opportunity to get big into football, but we got our fill, back lights, night life football, let’s go!

Then on to San Antonio, again, a show down there of blue and green lights, overnight, freeway underpass unnaturally bright, the blue, green, orange, red lights, show on the way back to motel in San Antonio, riverwalk enlightening talk, where I first figured out trajectory of the secret story of Tegan and her then boyfriend, on the mend, they made it past the outspoken, misbegotten trials and tribulations of early love, I wondered how they had gotten together in the first place, asked point blank, got the run around, story so old, it told enough from circumstance, I understood it all with looks and gestures, ugh. Let’s go, on the road, I had really wanted to see the hype of Southwestern United States, zoom up Texas West to Roswell, New Mexico, by way of Carlsbad, comment on the name, it’s the same as waterside San Diego, waterslide New Mexico shame of those who ride slippery slides in broad daylight in early summer Carlsbad, New Mexico, I’m ashamed for them, ashamed of them, and yet we zoom on, find Roswell by dark, find sad little motel near UFO Museum, think we’ll check it out, see what it’s all about, some kind of tourist attraction, the only action in this smaller than I imagined town of such notorious reputation, is this it for dedication, they seem so close to starvation, how did we land in this civilization, how did Roswell come to this desolation, there is only one main road for exploration. So ah! afterward, after alien unmentionable farce, we go on up to Taos, New Mexico, check out the Indian caves, all the crazy, mad art in their pitiful little small enclaves, the ladders and steep shattering rocks along the pockets of their very existence, they laid it all out for us, to make a life worthy of something, worthy of touting, they wanted to tout, they wanted something fierce, something prideful, just like the rest of us, mournful, soulful, this is our meaningful moment, we were meant for it, or something resembling it, and that feeling alone is what I’m thinking or thought as I scaled a ladder and rummaged around one of their secret little caves, maybe this clarity will someday save, maybe me maybe not, but I’m glad for the opportunity to check out the space, pace this, walking around this seemingly endless cavernous desert oasis, seeing deer without any fear near caves that belonged once to honorable tribes back in the day. What ever happened to them?

Never found out, crushed aviator sunglasses by accident, rushed off next to Albuquerque New Mexico, and there they had a nice little Mexican style restaurant, best food I can’t remember, dear simple back room table, and I, I ate some kind of staple, like rice and tortillas and perhaps some protein, and this was after Santa Fe, a city I dug by the way, because it seemed just so absolutely delightful, insightful, if I had my way, I might have stayed, ah Santa Fe, a true artist’s sanctuary, and I can’t even remember all the cool things it had to offer, but it was so pleasant, iridescent, and I could kind of picture myself as a resident, amazement, I bet there would be a bunch of inspiration.

After food in Albuquerque, digging the use of two ‘Qs’ in one word, we headed west, sped fast to make the Arizona border by breakfast, we made it earlier, 1 am, and I was driving really fast, trying to last, speeding impatient and insatiable, almost hit a wolf, standing in the fast lane of the highway, about to be maimed, but he lazily, unhurriedly, walked back, missing him by luck, the collision would have fucked up the white Jetta beyond recognition, I can’t even imagine, all the stuff that would have happened, if we hit that wolf/coyote/fox, it was dark, I really have no idea what it might have been, but it survived and so did we! On through the rock piles, piles of rock on either side of us, speeding past, going fast, memories of old desert movies, something so masterful it was crazy, just speeding west going eighty, trying to make it, the border and something more, planning to traverse Arizona at some point, but stopped in Winslow for the night, 2 am and afraid to go on, small two story no-tell motel in the middle of nowhere, night nowhere, pull into parking lot aware, it’s all ghastly and didn’t want to draw attention, did I mention, this is notown, Arizona off the beaten path, only the Eagles have written about this town, standin’ on the corner park, I stood there, no big deal, I’ve had better, and really it was just on the whim of my sister’s then boyfriend, to check out Winslow, Arizona and I allowed, wanted to sleep and rest anyhow, so we hit up a tourist shop after the mandatory shot of us all standing on the corner next to the spot that got all the publicity, notoriety, after the Eagles came out with some kind of song called ‘Take it Easy’ and I never even heard it play, I was never into the seventies, liked the nineties and only because grunge bands were heavy and their lyrics were magic and hit the vein, more than the seventies, Cobain and Rossdale, they knew how to share, the best lyrics and music of the era, fuck the early century, the nineties had it all, a shame Kurt took a fall, and all the other fucked up stuff that occurred before I even heard Nirvana or Bush, way after their birth, busy with worthless other endeavors, like breaking my pinky finger, in a game of one-on-one basketball in 8th grade gym class, right before a dance, didn’t have the chance to seek medical opinion. Oh where was I? Winslow, Arizona, and I couldn’t dig it properly, because I never listened to the Eagles and got hooked naturally, they never occurred to me, were never shown to me. On west, to Phoenix, where I might catch my plane back to Cali, the shallow wants and needs of a narcissist still in training, refraining, from being just a little stupid jerk, an ungrateful shit, waiting with eyes closed, I hit the pipe surreptitiously, unimpressively, digressively, just ah, waiting, waiting, waiting for the next thrill, maybe they will take me back to Phoenix via Sedona, nice hills, great rock formations, desert south of civilization, Flagstaff thunderstorms ignored Sedona ready to impress me fully.

And we hit Sedona by noon, I played their worst intentions against them, convinced them, oh this is a good idea, the best idea, let’s stop and have some kind of rest, it’s the best for us, driving straight through from Winslow, and now not terribly outside of Phoenix, down the seventeen toward Tonto National Springs, this is the thing we never considered wandering south, there’s more to the road than being showed all the stuff that makes a place great, discover it your own way, the rock patterns were sensational, irreproachable, this is the last record, of sometime July near 2009, down to Phoenix from above, right to make the move south, straight to the weird converted couch, of somewhere USA, next day, I caught a plane back to Californay, just kidding, only about the characterization of a state still so riddled with tension, it would probably want me to mention, this is the best place for residence, somewhere near Encinitas, the best place for us, coastal ambivalence, this is where they embrace us, satiate us, condone us, has pride for us, isn’t this then the place we need to exist?

I THINK OF ONE GUY SOMEHOW WHEN I GO OUT, when I meet other guys, comparisons are tired but true, I think of him not because he was perfect or even close to what I want, assuming of course I actually knew what I want, but because I have never met another guy that was so much like me in so many ways, so similar, and I kept thinking about that saying, maxim, axiom, ‘opposites attract’ and maybe it colored our budding relationship, I don’t know, he was just like me, apathy, indifference, we grew apart because neither one of us ever wanted to reach out, make an effort, married to our individual yet same tired routines, work, smoke, drink, drugs, wee, wee, wee, and he wrote too, just like me, but I’m not sure he used the substances like me, to write, insight, but he liked to play, feel good, who doesn’t, yay! Yet still makes for a fill, too many kicks to go out and meet up with someone new, even for sex, too lazy, the both of us, both wanting to be adored, picked up, brought to drinking, smoking, drugging location, then brought back again, to bed, sex, then separate ways, so similar it’s scary, our play, too many miles between us to make it ordinary, regular, so we separated, and yet I wonder about him, does he wonder about me? Probably not, too many other women to fill his mind, all his lines, tall, tall, tall and muscular, women drawn to his allure, but like me he runs, far away, his lines betray, he has a sense but he’ll stray, like me, no one to trust, in it for the lust, caring not about feelings, emotions, sincerities, ah me, he’s just like me, we need counterparts, opposite and engaging, caring and insinuating, genuine sincerity, love, rise above, counterparts who will accept, despite our defects, our inevitable standoffishness, our selfishness, our pride, our egos, our need for aloneness, we want the world, we want everything and nothing, a mate who doesn’t complain, but supports our indignation, our obsession with greatness, striving to be something, someone, and of course they must be hot, and accepting, doting and adoring, obviously fawning, but reliant enough on their own, amuse themselves, independent, separate life, and willing to look the other way on indiscretions, someone so captivated yet strong, there through thick and thin, a sense to belong, intelligent and diverse, gives the universe, the perfect compliant mate, who will wait, and love us for who we are. We need our opposites.

WE’RE UP IN LA AND I’M TWENTY-SIX and getting my law license, what a thrill, it’s chill, hit the connection earlier, get high in the car while my parents check out the campus, oohing and awing at UCLA and its structural, architectural marvels, it’s my rival school, it’s cool, we embarrass them every year, we own thiSCity, correct. They walk around and check things out, and all the while my dad wears his ‘USC’ shirt in UCLA-land, haha, and I catch up with them blurry-eyed, no eyedrops, oh well, just tripping and skipping and pointing out mad inconsistencies and denigrating this school for obvious purposes, thinking I’m hilarious once again, and only because I have fallen into the same routine that still doesn’t feel like a routine, but it will soon. And really we are just waiting around to hit up my old bosses in Westwood, where I used to work when I was twenty-two, and see how time has passed and shoot the shit for an afternoon before zooming down the 405 to get ordained, or inducted in hall of fame, state bar of California, wee, now everybody has to call me counselor, fuck you Debbie. My bosses are really cool men, super nice, super chill, just talking, talking, talking, good times, I introduce them to my parents because they never met and they argue about politics with my dad, good-natured, and he tries to pull his punches because he knows how to act with non-Republicans, and really my one boss agrees with everything he says and that starts a fight between the other two and I laugh recalling old times, when the two of them would use the speaker phones to shout back and forth between their offices about Bush and whether he was mostly good or mostly evil, and my dad of course was on his side, supporting Bush, president not band, aw, too bad, still my father Dan, lifelong RepubliCAN, haha oh man, and well ah, so then my mom is just nodding at them courteously and looking out the window mesmerizingly, just trying to see if she can see USC from Century City, and then she identifies downtown, The Met, where I used to live, and I confirm. Oh LA, you were once my playGround.

Soon we rush off, bidding farewells, zoom to the County of Orange where I, along with a certain percentage of my graduating class will take an oath and become attorneys, wee, ah me, that bar exam was really, truly just made for me! I’m such a cavalier fucking asshole, but say, I never play the grand delinquent with grandiose delusions of grandeur out loud, to people, real people, I keep it subtle, inside, a stride and of course I let it captivate my life but only insofar as the delusions can be believed, weaved into some kind of social outer shell when I’m around people who naturally, fluidly, sanctimoniously, view me as the loser, a loser, falling far from once proven stated potential, whatever, I’ve never been very bright at living right, it’s too mundane, maybe a shame, but I don’t see it that way quite yet.

And when we get down there to Orange County City of Orange, 405 exit called Torrance, no! called Fountain Valley, no! called, well it’s on the 5 actually and it’s called Orangewood, that’s right, leads past a jail and past Disneyland, what a world, and right to law school campus, and the lovely lampposts spoken of earlier, towering on every corner, now remembering 5 North to 55 East to Chapman Ave, I never had any clue how fast three years could fly by, and now coming back, it’s similar yet different, and the lampposts remind me of all that passing time, time I can’t negotiate, there’s no god to mediate, and even at twenty-six, I was transfixed, look at all the shit I’ll never experience, walking bored from class with buddy side to side along the street, beat, the lampposts once more, I recognize them and call them out, them signifying little protected community of law school California, and remembering me as student with friends getting drunk but not telling, memories of youthful dillydallying, flash, bang, and now I see acquaintances I knew from back in the day and they say things like ‘oh wow, you look different!’ and by this time I should mention actually that my hair is much shorter and people can hardly recognize me at first, but it works, mostly because I really like to live in anonymity anyway, it’s a play, I hate the way everyone wants to network, it’s absurd, friend me on LinkedIn, nah thanks, I’m good, not interested in being cool or hip or linked in, I’d rather be the one they wonder about, she’s not on Facebook, perhaps she’s dead, haha, that’s all well, fine and good.

So anyway, I digress, such chaos, I’ve never been one to wring in the tangents successfully, but anyway at this point in the story I lead my parents to the lobby where there are drinks, drinks, drinks, but they don’t care and I dig that about them, so we rush off after not much chit-chat, down the sidewalk and across the street to the undergraduate auditorium area where we had one lecture one time, I could barely find, and when I did I sat in the back corner and the professor narrowed his eyes at me as some kind of irreverent kid and I just sat there and eyed the hot guy two rows down and six seats over because we were fucking at the time on the down-low cause he had a serious girlfriend which of course to me made him more attractive because he wouldn’t be bothering me to hang out every goddamn day of the week, and ah again I digress but there is purpose because we were rushing off to the same auditorium, this time to hear some boring speeches and finally to get me ordained, pained, take the oath of the attorney. Just like goddamn graduation again, except for all that terribly unnerving shit with the stalker I had, more about that later, and at that time I had my buddies on either side, same order, unplanned, and we became attorneys one after the other, just like we studied, just like we bar examed, just like we made it.

So then that was done and we decided to go out and get food, ah celebration, attorneys in Californication, Zitos Pizza like we used to do back in the day, the day when things were easy, before the robbery, the theft of all my dollars by banks, the ranks, all them taking, the suits just thinking it’s not stealing, not from kids, 22, 18, wanting to go to college, graduate school, whatever, wanting the chance to be like everyone else, the way to make it, cutting their teeth, making their nut, the quintessential right road to adulthood, crossroads, college like some kind of coming of age obligatory right thing, almost a requirement, them happy to stick their hooks into our flesh, bleeding for innocence, raping our ignorance, perfect mix of unequal bargaining power, unconscionable, unsanctionable except when the courts, the judges are all butt-buddies with the banks, oh bankruptcy never sounded so sweet, too bad it’s only for the delinquents, true losers, biting off more than they can chew, not for us, not for students, our debts are exempt, and I’m off now on another rant.

Oh but anyway, that’s right, Pizza was good, my dad got along with my buddy’s boyfriend Buddy quite well, good times, I think there was football on the screen, something to lean on, we all love football, we are American, football is innate, inherent and I can’t say enough about how we cherish our teams, my Jets and my Trojans, and my fantasy teams, my Luxers (FitinShilohs) and my Silver Martens, two different leagues and yet the same fantasy, one conquest, the pennant, the first place score, but it’s a bore, some kind of cultural thing, and I’m unsure of so many things. We took off and this was something I thought thereafter, my mother and my father, they must just have been so thrilled that I wasn’t one of the leftovers with nothing to offer. I made it, at least to a certain extent, beyond the obligatory, cut your teeth, college coming of age experience; I ran three years beyond and hit the finish line and then a few days ago, perhaps yesterday I found out that I moved up in ranks, four of us total, and I zoomed up from the dumbest child (undisputed concession) to the smartest child (wee!), and this was pretty awesome because I’m also the tallest child, just hitting all the finish lines in stride, bang!

WE SKIPPED DOWN WASHINGTON STREET, or was it Province Street, Starbucks on the right, water and a vanilla latte, heading for where State meets Congress, the Old State House where they read the Declaration of Independence every year on the Fourth, read ahead, sharply at ten, read by some pothead, or some reinactor of history, what a misery, I knew it would be long, walking past all the dying lawns, on Washington or Province Street, beat already at 8:30 in the morning, only because of drinking the night before out on state route what was it 94, no 90! and having been driven there by a designated driver I couldn’t know, not with any clarity, and pity me, because I digress again, out of starbucks, ice coffee in hand, the 95 degree weather, I never imagined such heat at 8:30, ah humidity, why me, covered my head with a beanie, getting looks of perfect ambiguity, Bostonians always wonder why Californians wear such perfectly incomparable outer wear, well because, I want my hair to look presentable, and humidity has a terrible reputation for, being abhorrent when it comes to hair, therefore, ah well, it was absolutely requirable, and I’ll make no apologies for, my headwear, haha. And actually my companions were striding alongside, and they did not deride, not like the dumbass, massholes we came by, because they know me and my ways, and I’ll claim, it’s perfectly warranted. Coffee in hands, we took a spot near stairs and railings, back spot but still enough to see, no trees, wee! and there was mad police presence, due in fact to Boston Marathon-related tenseness, and supposedly, properly, there was some kind of police awareness that it had meant to be, really, July Fourth, Fourth of July, not marathon day, so my friend, ah, oh man, she, well she was on the lookout, for things about, terrorist fools trying to spoof Boston Police, please, they are well manned, undercover and cover, doesn’t stop my friend from trying to discover, any and all out of place, black backpack and scowl in place, then disappearing without a trace, we didn’t hear the end of it until lunch, rather brunch, drinking wine at 11:30, only in this city, and only on vacation. And now, sitting here writing, struggling for tired rhymes, makes me think of page 259, and how he predicted terrorism tricks sixty years before his time, before nine eleven, how did he manage, how was he so clever, I could never formulate true prophesies about the world, mankind, I’m not that intuitive, I’m too blind, too unobservant and uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, I’m the bad fish, just using substance to come up with nonsense I pass off as amazingness, to feel like I can have some kind of imagined greatness.

DOWNTOWN LA HAS CHANGED ME, changed my character, and in five years I no longer recognize its exterior, such a foreign place, unforgiving space, my old haunts all gone, or transformed into something wrong, what a loss, these old rundown, dive bar places, these condemned, dilapidated spaces, all hyped now, redone, worked over, charging cover and serving watered down drinks, swill, I can’t believe it, all the places I haunted in my young young youth, drinking, smoking, carrying on, all gone, the beat rundown, old bars under dilapidated apartment buildings, used to have character, used to have charm, all forever gone, places we lost, undergone gentrification, hipsterification, all of the gross, disgusting results of increased population, and so I’ve grown to hate them, on a visceral level because there are too many people infesting the area, unlike before, before when it was more of a neighborhood, you might have gotten stabbed and/or robbed in the great night street Skid Row so close, but at least you didn’t have dressed up rich transsexual pre-surgeries asking you to donate to their cause, clipboard in hand, making demands, eyebrows perfectly plucked, fingernails manicured, hair expertly mussed, no, you didn’t have those folks, not back then, they were too scared to come into big bad downtown at night, it was just right, the place I called home, back then when it had character and a backbone, the only people approaching you wanting money, drugs and booze, wise to their ruse, less of a burden than now.

I used to dream of Orpheum theater, the strange old relic from neon days, my dream world conjuring up the inside extravagant because I’ve never been inside, not once, after years of living so close, the sign bright yellow and engaging, running, thrilling out my bedroom window, orange, yellow, orange, yellow, fifteen stories up, more clever, more alluring than the ‘Jesus Saves’ sign nearby, an ignorant eyesore, a bore, doesn’t anyone think anymore? Orpheum is there and Jesus is gone, relegated to the past where he belongs, with George Washington and Constantine, historical figures lived and died, not mythological at all, Orpheum, that theater at Broadway and 7th with the neon sign calling out to me, here I am, do you know what I am? I once saw some rats running across the alleyway nearby, oh Orpheum, you elude me, you mesmerize me, you intrigue me, you were never about me, but I liked you anyway.

DRAMA UNFOLDS OUTSIDE IN THE COLD, COLD BLUE WATER WHILE DAD WATCHES WOLF SHOWS IN THE GARAGE, strange little tales about black wolves in outback Siberia, talking about asshole punks who kill wolves in the snow out there, when just yesterday or the day before he was talking about how he would love to kill all the coyotes around here with a shotgun he doesn’t have, all the coyotes that feed in the area, ayoo, making bones of soft, tuxedo toned cats, his favorite cat, named Murphy, ah no, named Roscoe, he wants to kill coyotes but wolf killers are punkish assholes with no regard, how is that so, how can that be so? The line is cowardice apparently, and coyotes have it while wolves do not, go figure, that’s a thin tiny line if you ask me, they both look like wild dogs in the light of day, and the dark, I don’t get along and wouldn’t get along with either one if accosted in middle alleyway or dark throughway, or dirt track off the beaten path, and it makes no difference anyway because I hate to view death, in any capacity and for any reason, just hate to see it, so it matters not if it’s a deaf rodent or a magnanimous lion, death should be preserved for natural causes, when bodies give out, not before, not in the prime of time, by wolves, coyotes, or clandestine rapists, I hate hearing of it, speaking of it, reading of it, seeing it, all of it. The light gives way to dark slowly, this a few days later, Labor Day, light giving away, over beers and fears and tales of big bear, of broken tail lights, delusions of grandeur, only mine or at least partly mine, reminiscing, discussing stories of the past, we all look back, we can’t help to recount, all the tales we feel make us grand, make us storytellers, write it down, make it sound, the self-important, grandiose tales of our mediocre lives, made great by our retellings, by our boastful dignities, by something definable, tangible, rather indefinable and intangible, my curse, the worst possible thing, such a way with words and dreading the action that forms the stories for the words, without being heard, ah me, I live to write, I write to live, I eat to live, I do not live to eat, these are the things that make us great, the things I must do, go out and be part of the world so grand, to transform average stories into passionate discourses, follow the forces, the instincts, blink and the words are forgotten because in the course of this living, I forgot somehow to write them all down.

I RAN LIKE HELL UP A HILL to catch a careening, beaming, slowly ascending convertible automobile driven by a friend of mine at the time, a crazy, wild, depressed girl, Mormon by religion, uncertain with everything, not buying into anything, bad Mormon girl who watched rated R movies, drank Smirnoff ice, shot caffeine, sliced veins, weird, entertaining, sad, troubled girl, friend of mine in high school, grade nine, this was in 2002 or 2004, I’m not sure anymore, but she was looking for a fill, trying to rebel, and I, being somewhat of an admitted bad influence in those days, played into that drive selfishly, to have my fun, to get some kicks, being an atheist in a world of Christian paranoid nutcases, but what about hell, they wanted to know, fuck them all, life is for living, so me with my adamant stance, conniving and convincing my friend to steal cars, break alarms, do harm, this was all part of my charm, way back when, then, when I was fifteen or sixteen, with parents who would let me, do anything I wanted on most nights, as long as grades were in the nineties, easy, high school thirty year old teachers with crushes on me, or actually on her really, friend of mine, Mormon by religion, crushes that she excited in him, made him wonder what if, apparently teasing was enough, he allowed us to really get away with some awful shit, ditching class, being crass, me more than her because I knew how to pass. Ah high school days, high school daze, high school craze, what a maze, expected to bite on, fight on, stupid little pitiful cheese, please, we were smarter than the ones poised to teach. Nevertheless, trucked along, mucked abound, fucked around, at least for awhile, pulling stupid little PG pranks, not robbing banks, toilet paper and egging mostly, boy friends playing dungeons and dragons pitifully in Loma Serenas communities, them being none the wiser while we crept up slowly, painting the garden white, the trees white, the house white, the grass yellow, made so by an inopportune squatting piss from another Mormon priss, this one sanctimonious, and really just unkind, kind of blind, good friend of mine but I recognized her faults, the one who really bought into religion without thought, rebelling so minorly, it could barely be thought of as such, what unluck, to be born in a broken Mormon home, ah it must have sucked! The events leading up to the decision are hidden, can’t remember them, but I think crazy, sad, Mormon girl, my good friend, the one who rebelled with legitimate prowess, unremarkable by name but only in so much as I haven’t ever heard it before, she decided to steal a car, her sister’s car, but it was a mile away and up a hill, so another friend of mine, one that remains to this day a friend, imagine that, a great friend in fact, she ran along with the sad Mormon girl looking for thrills, up the hill, they ran that mile, while we stayed back, smoked some alcohol, drank some bud, waited with bated breaths, to see if they could make it, they did, picked us up, oh man, must have been seven or eight of us, all crammed into tiny, white convertible automobile, driving along Bear Valley, the main road, high school rivalry, past freeway, to tucked away stupid, little community, Lomas Serenas, or something to that affect, what a mess, first left, parked up the hill for easy escape, but left me for bait, once finished with the rape, the house completely trashed, once toilet paper was flung and flied, once urine was laid and dried, on fresh green grass, once it came time to leave, one of us had to ring the doorbell, alert the boys inside, to what had been done, apparently that was me, I was designated, I remember it was fine, I waited by the line, for the rest of them to jump in the car, then I snuck up to the doorbell, about to ring when, oh fuck, they walked up, opened the door and greeted me, me with my too long hair in my face, I had to race, me with out any shoes, sandals left in the car, me without any recourse, running made it worse, but nevertheless I turned, ran, bolted, feet pounding pavement, down the driveway, up the street, shouting, GO, GO, GO, as they chased, gave pursuit, I heard someone yell, “their still here!” and me, running for my life, strife, ignored the incorrect usage of the three-pronged word, it should be ‘they’re,’ a contraction, but more than grammar correction, I just wanted to make my extraction, the jump into the backseat contraption, where sad, rebellious little Mormon girl was driving, striving, pounding the gas, up the hill, while I ran after, laughter, saying, “C’Mon Lux, Make It!” Finally I did, ran, jumped, zoomed, yes, into the back seat, neat, feet beat, shins scraped, relief setting in, boys running after, the laughter, out of breath, she turned left, up the hill, big circle, and back to Bear Valley, which was now Via Rancho Parkway, safe. Ah, good old days, high school blaze, driving, driving, driving around, trying to beat the daze, inspired by lazy, uninspired learning, churning for excitement, enlightenment, anything we could set our sights on, those days so reminiscent, magnificent, decade ago and still terrific, we wanted to make something of our time, always knew the right things to say and do, to prove, show how we would get along, weren’t wrong, couldn’t be, we got along, free and clear, maybe not her, maybe not all of them, at least some of them, at least me, attorney, now I’m free. Wee!

JUSTIN STOOD ON THE STEPS OF THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF UNIVERSITY, pretending to be, or really being nonchalant, hands in pockets, wearing striped, horizontal shirt, pulling it off, the kind of guy I would equivocate with an early crush of mine, the type of guy who skates and surfs, so California it hurts, the type of good-looking guy who just wants to fuck and fly, the kind of guy who just digs, observes the things around him, saying nothing, hands in his pockets, looking around, thinking this place is only alright, the night, glamorous and unparalleled, at least for border towns, but he has no interest because he doesn’t roll anymore, not drinking or drugs, can’t take the chance, too much to lose, like Tommy, just playing it safe and knowing all of the strife, I can’t for the life of me give up the best of me, the substances that could, potentially, in a skewed, shifted world of my making, make me great, a corraller of the madness, the greatness, the amazement, to emblaze a new path toward tempered, anxious enlightenment, the frenzied wild path that leads to reverie and astonishment, I can’t give it all up. Of course I have different, adamant words of retort, at 3 in the morning when I have awoken short of the day, daybreak, sun far from rising, sunbeams long from shining, down upon me and giving me that feeling of utter capability, of promise, of some kind of feeling that I might casually qualify or quantify as hope, the rope far from set around my neck, a noose still somewhat loose, still waiting to see what the day brings, will the birds sing, smell of coffee, humid lack of breeze, ah me, will I ever capture morning just right? Justin has the right idea, so does Alyssa, and Ron, the ones who carry on, fit the paradigm, embrace the race, society’s calling, falling, I have no idea why I am stalling, except to say, I really don’t want any of that; I would so much rather, embrace the chaos, shatter, paradigms unimpressive, to find something better, at least better suited to me, for me, to be free, not restricted, constricted by things I’ve been told to want, things to trap me in a box, an ordinary, regular, normal box, entrapment in the most devastating sense of the word, I won’t be lured, can’t be lured, into some kind of devastating, bitter insistence, resistance, this is why we are in this, to finish this, to make it, to be more than we were meant for, break paradigms, throw out thoughtless rhymes, all the while we drink, drink, drink, shoot, shoot, shoot, snort, snort, snort, smoke, smoke, smoke, anything that will have us, the ambiguous place in space, in society, that still hasn’t figured out how to capture us, the rooks, on the outer edge, me and all my bitterness, them and all their resentfulness, bracing for another kind of nominal victory in a world unmeant for me, unmeant for us, lost generation getting left behind, I’m the nowhere kid who this month digs rhymes.

USC WINS AGAIN, TWO YEARS IN A ROW, this is how legacies are made, they are won, two years straight, wait, how could others relate to the adrenaline, pure excitement, wow, mad rushes around, slapping hands, this is how we band together, over teams, universities, yay diversities, and our defense today was so impressive, so unrelenting and aggressive, saved our offense, our head coach, a joke, fighting with zebras on the sidelines, give me a break, how much does it take to realize futility in fighting, biting, berating, sheep in zebra clothing, knowing they can throw the game, will throw the game, enough of the same, we won anyway, yay! Truth of the matter, it was sadder to see how bad the Cardinal played, giving up opportunities to get paid, score points, anoint, get in with the in crowd, north PAC-12, disregard, I hate Oregon but Stanford more, they bore, academics aren’t sexy, alumni are messy, unkempt, unimpressive, and here’s to the rest of the year, and them sucking. In the style of Jack praising Cody I will say that I was super impressed with Leonard, Pullard, and Craven, they were the highlights of our defense, stepped up, made something, had a terrific game despite the lacking, scholarships gone until next June, no problem if we keep in tune, keep it up, our great, stand-up defense, the hero, beat the Trees, on their streets, to become two and zero, yes here’s to the defense! Fight on!

THE BLUE GREEN ORANGE BLACK never looked so dark, it’s going to attack, so angry and resilient it seems, signaling the hopelessness I never wanted to see, perceive, another degree, a day, shifting away, turning so swift, time moving on, eternity, something I will never see, the endlessness of day after day, and somehow I think I would be content, to live forever in mesmerizement, at least twenty-six, the golden age, when rage meant more, when emotions were torn, when I felt like a real person, not worn out by struggle, trying to make it in a world that just wants to kill me, thrill me, I can’t remember simplicity, not anymore, back when I was young and dumb, when hanging out was fun, having people over to swim, on a whim, best song to fuck to, these are the things I relate to, I guess I should say, I’m sorry that I’m this way, but I have no interest in feigning, berating, straining, the blue green and orange turns to black, the stars are back, so bright and so brilliant, almost resilient, and yet, when white turns to black I know, soon, the world will shift, twitch, and the sun will rise and itch, a new day will dawn, sun beams on the lawn, and it will feel hopeful again, a new blend of hopefulness and progeny, before it will lodge against me, a new slew of complaints, the morning sun twitching to late noon, too soon, so late, and I will feel forgotten, misbegotten, the perfect prodigy of an empty legacy, unfulfilled once again, because no one cares about the pen, the ability to write, there’s no regard for sight, ability to fight convention, did I mention, I’m an attorney without an interest in aggression, this might be dissension. I lost the ability to write tonight even though I came out here with light, it’s gone away, the sun has long set, beer has long gone, and I’m carrying on for practically no reason, the pitiful tiny solar lights unseasoned, the atmosphere dry and unrelenting, bugs still trying, sucking all the light, computer screen teasing, blank white page bleeding, words, words, words strange and pleading, and me still dreading the next day where I wake up and feel hope, the kind that dissipates as the clock winds, is this my life, how come I can barely see the water glide across the waxing moonlight, what a sight! This is the tonight, the ninth, my favorite number.

ON THE ROAD to Baltimore from Penn Station, West 34th, Big Apple, Manhattan! drinking wine out of a brown bag, wine that I got from the five and dime, no, the drugstore, no, bevmo? No, it was from a wine shop off Bowery, I forget, big long street that cuts down to the Lower East Side, the one place I never really went, or maybe I did in the middle of the night, drunk, drunk, drunk from East Village old, old, oldest bar in America, because somehow I recall we did end up in Williamsburg later that night although we must have taken the subway line closer to Stuyvesant only because it really felt like we were walking north and I only mention it now, as a tangent of course, because Bowery made me think of a different nighttime New York and my brain twitched and spiked, oh must talk of other time after drinking wine on bus to Baltimore! The sign in the bus said no alcohol, it was emphatic, large CAPSLOCK letters, and I, because I’m such an irreverent, incandescent scumbag of course ignored the sign and drank the wine so that I could write about things that were occurring while my companion slept snoring, it was raining and really I just wrote about boring, tedious, almost unbelievable, ridiculous things that I later deleted because they made no sense, wine-soaked nonsense, thinking maybe about transSiberian railroad crossing, what an adventure it would be, wasteland Russia, yay! And the people on the bus, they knew what I was up to, the brown bag a telltale sign, consumption of narcotics, intoxicants, giving me evil looks, narrowed eyes, prying, trying to be sanctimonious, but when I looked up from my keyboard and I wordlessly challenged them to say something, they refrained, said nothing of course, no one has guts, gusto anymore, all such a bore, sit there and take it, so I just shrugged and continued to fake it. This was on the road to Baltimore.

Months later, a different year but not the span of 365 days, I was back in NY, rushing around and seeing the sights, took a second ride down south, flying the east coast, another bus, this time to Jersey to see a friend of mine, residing in the Garden State, should be called the nuclear power plant state but I suppose that doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well, and anyway what a pity that would be having those words and connotations inscribed along a license plate, indicating one’s roots, and anyway, I with my forehead resting alongside the window, looking out toward the west, a different kind of wasteland, still with hasty rivers and lakes and mud, ah Jersey! and seeing the remnants of Sandy out my window, almost a year thereafter, wow, power lines down, buried in sand, what did you do to Jersey, Sandy? I was incredulous I believe, mostly because I couldn’t imagine the damage so extensive, that almost a year later it would be still present, sand covered utility poles, it really took a toll on the eastern coast, amazing what weather patterns can do, coming down from Greenland, the Jet Stream, mixing with a hurricane, what a shame, devastation of an ecosystem, no more Jersey shore. There isn’t much but dilapidated housing projects between New York City and Orange, I dug it all but there wasn’t much, I waited it out in order to check out suburban Orange, Seaton Hall, New Jersey, I had never been. Dang Sandy, what have you done?

HE TOLD ME THIS IS WHEN HIS DAD DIED, but he was wrong, his dad died in June and this is September, so I wondered what he meant, standing there in the elevator, warning me of things, and when I corrected him he acknowledged the mistake, then forced, yeah that’s right, June, so I guess a little while back, I crinkled my eyebrows in confusion, what is he alluding to, and now the elevator doors are closing and we’re going to be apart real soon, and I’m still wondering, what did he mean, and then he says, last thing to speak before they shut, well, this is the type of place where he died at least, a mall, this kind of mall for sure, and I didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe it, only because I never thought they had malls like this back then, so he must be wrong, or then wait, is he trying to tell me something else, is he baiting me, what is the meaning of this chicanery, I’m so confused. But then the doors slam shut and I raise my hands up, to my head, where was I led, how did I get here, what is the meaning of any of this? And now I turn around, realize again that Shea is gone, she leapt down the one-way stairs the wrong way, minutes ago, I tried to follow but I didn’t leap, couldn’t leap, the leap was too long and terrorizing, so I rushed around to the beginning to see if I could just run it, all of the stairs, down, down, down, instead of the half like she did, leaping, jumping, throwing caution to the wind, but I couldn’t, the stairs were moving too fast, they threw me back, goddammit, and at the railing I could see, Shea rushing off on the lower level looking for that store, how did she get so brave, just jumping off and wow, automatically saved, landing the right way the first time and then making her way down to the floor, I’d be sore, if I didn’t fall and then get dragged up with unceremonious ill will and hair pulling for sure. So I’m alone now and wandering around, thinking about how I’m going to get in trouble for losing Shea, today, they are going to say, you are so fucking irresponsible, how do you lose your little sister that way, and there will be no good words of mitigation, terrible sensation, losing a family member on a short vacation, ah me, how do these things keep occurring, I also lost my mother one time on a short run, lizard canyon, she went the wrong way, strayed, and I know my dad would say, “How could you lose her? You better go find her!” He thinks hide and seek and lost and found are stupid games, the worst to play, and I’ve never been very good at ruses, or excuses, so I just flutter and stutter and finally agree, ah me, I think I’m paranoid, this mall was where his dad apparently died. But I still don’t believe it. Nevertheless and meaning no offense, I just walk aimless, aimlessly, trying to figure out where to be, and how to see, a way to get out of here free and clear, not in any trouble.

WE CAME THROUGH ALL THE HASSLES AND HANGUPS AND FINALLY GOT THE JOB, the undercover assignment that we had been pining for, me and Tegan, Tegan and I, we were flying high to the Ukraine for a big, big, big assignment, career-defining, undercover type of thing, a sting, to discover treachery, I guess we were working for some kind of man, America, Europe or Greenland, and they wanted us to infiltrate the mob, two young boys coming up, we’d date them, learn their secrets, gain their confidence, no-nonsense, we were stoked. The flight I don’t remember but suddenly we were there, Kiev, with them, they liked us, pride in us, wanted us, so we hung out, went out, luxuries, pleasantries, subtleties, seduce us please, and, oh man, the truest part of this fucking thing, we ended up liking them back, off track, the assignment we coveted, thinking of shoving it up the asses of the man, these two guys are grand, nice, cute, smart, the whole fucking package, but Tegan, more determined than I, kept her eyes on the prize, the sting, she wanted it all, the full haul, all the acclaim, so she called it in, said “Are you ready?” And her boy said “Hell Yeah” but it was never meant to be, the police, they came rushing in to make their arrest, two guys in handcuffs, ah me, then afraid to look him in the eye, his middle finger extended, ‘fuck you’ he intended, and I merely shrug, helpless, careless, selfish, we got our prize through all kinds of lies, now here we are, heroes of the night. As they haul mine away, the cute Ukrainian guy, he gets offered nine years on a deal, NINE, what line, but he immediately shouts, “I’ll take it!” as if it’s a gift, and I think to myself, nine years and he’ll be forty, what a shame, this is lame, why do they have to take mine? He starts to walk off, shameful and scared, regretful and wearied, and I, in all my useless, unrelenting arrogant vanity, so cavalierly turn away, yet he shouts, loudly and fiercely, his violent finger now missing, shouts “It’s OK, I forgive you!” And I smile devilishly, though trying for a spark of sympathy, knowing I will never see this guy, not for the life of me, never again.

Somehow we get back, I can’t remember the track that led us to Southern California, but there we were, Tegan and I, with packs twenty pounds each on our backs, looking at each other and wondering how, how will we surmount the goliath of Mary Lane with our packs on our backs, how? Just then and perhaps fortuitously, we see one of the Winter twins backing a semi-truck out of a spot, leaving the Mormon church parking lot, and Tegan flags him down because she knew him from around, from high school, same graduating class, maybe even middle school too, so we do, we flag him down, and he picks us up, lets us in, packs and all, for the ride up the hill, and I am so grateful, mostly because Mary Lane is hateful, daunting, curvy and eccentric, etcetera.

In the back of the truck, we find his sister Kim, I think her name is Kim, I think of her as someone else and never really knew her last name was Winter, younger sister of the twins, but I never ask her to confirm her name is Kim, I decide it just is and we move on, and anyway, on a whim, I look over at what she is reading, some kind of book with a worn out binding, and I catch part of the name on the side, the cover, Jason something, and I wonder, is this the Jason I discovered, sophomore year of high school? Then I’m being a hateful asshole in my mind wondering how did he write a novel, or rather, how did he publish a novel during that time when I still can’t discover the best way to appeal to publishers? My animosity set aside for curiosity, I wonder what Jason wrote about at seventeen, when I was just discovering Benzedrine, and other drugs, he was writing a novel, a novel, how could I have not known, and the weirdest fucking thing that Kim tells me, what I can’t believe, is it focuses on the mad crush that Jason had on a girl from high school, and I see through the parentheses that she has written in a name, my name, is it me? I ask her about it and her answer is simple, “I assumed it was you.” I’m not impressed by her analysis and I tell her so, and then, as if a witness on the stand, she proceeds to give me all the reasons, and all the evidence as to why she has made this proclamation, this determination, the kind of things I could not imagine, things she has figured out apparently over the years, weird, and I’m almost scared by the analysis, randomness, because she has made connections that I’ve never even touched upon, and although it seems she might be right, it doesn’t sit right, how could it be me, ME? I’m perturbed, disturbed, and not just because I was the subject of allure and didn’t know it, but also because I now want to know what it says about me. And I find myself thinking, blinking, waiting for it to sink in, and Kim, sister of the Winter twins, says “oh well you can borrow it if you want to read it” and I accept the offer, then simple laughter, her probably thinking I’m vain, deranged, wanting to complain, but I’m really sane, just trying to reconcile, all the evidence piling up, the words adding up, how could he have written about me, and me not knowing anything, ignorant to the signs, tangents and cosigns, I was really oblivious back in those days, it was just a phase.

I rifle through the pages, attempting to mitigate this, it wasn’t me, couldn’t be me, just sounds like me, oh please, car sickness getting to me as one of the Winter twins weaves in and out between lines and lanes, up curves, swerving, twirling, he missed our turn off, but Tegan doesn’t seem alarmed, disarmed, fallen asleep between the turns, and I shake my head, thinking back to Brooklyn, spring, when we rode the line to Sunset Park, and Tegan fell asleep on the Bart, oh they call it subway in New York, fell asleep, almost missed our stop, but me being awake and yelling out, “this is our stop!” we made it back without hassles. Ah well, so irrelevant a tangent that I had to mention, here because of the run-on sentence, and also because I am, not thinking, blinking, writing what is sinking in. And anyway, we ride up past our street, down and then up discreet, I rub my eyes and think, we’ll have to walk just as far back to our street, but it matters not, only because now I’m all wrapped up in this book about me, someone composed a narrative singularly, and about me, and I was none the wiser for a serious decade.

We come to a stop and wait, traffic on the seventy-eight, hard to pull off so we suddenly jump off, on brink of thoroughfare and Summit Avenue, to trek back from here, less daunting somehow, to our street, maybe we’ll meet someone who could give us a ride. And this is really the part where it all falls off, trying to remember the memory, digging deeper and deeper into my psyche, everything I found out back then, when, we just so randomly bumped into high school friends, the chivalry of the twins, rescuing us from curvy uphill battle with Mormon lane, ah insane, no biker lane, we could have been slain, oh man, ok, well ah, I guess I’m done. ////

WE HAVE THE CHOICE TO MAKE LITTLE CORPSES, and some of us do! procreating then waiting, to nurse, nurture, mature another life into being, another life that will one day die, hence the corpses, making birth and death forever linked in time, oh my! we’re all made to die, we’re all going to die! sigh, am I writing this, like Kerouac, because we are all going to die? What makes any difference in time, what makes us better or worse than the ones who came before us, we’re all just cradling the grave, straddling and negotiating an untamed wave, a futile life to live and somehow brave, I’m supposed to brave a life of obstacles, struggles and impediments just cause, just cause I was born a little corpse, insignificant and irreverent but forced to depend on necessities, oxygen, amoxicillin, heroin? What the fuck, come on, don’t string me along, this is wrong, why have I been made to wait, elate, berate, just to amuse, this is the ultimate abuse, how have I been punished not to choose, just to lose, this is what I never wanted, forever haunted, a life with no measure of satisfaction! I’m a little corpse that was made twenty-seven years ago, made to suffer a death unspoken years or months from now, for no purpose other than frustration, exasperation, indication, subtle indemnification, finally petrification, putrefaction, there’s no purification, we were all made to die, little corpses made to writhe and wither, not thrive, and finally die, and somehow I suppose we are all supposed to be OK with that fate, just fine, not whine, they can create me to die, I shouldn’t sigh, put me through a lifetime of struggles, and I, I should still sit here and have pride, be wise, happy with the outcome, not shun or speak out against a faulty system, just be happy with the outcome, well my mind precludes such compromise, it doesn’t thrive, not without some kind of prize, a goal, something to work for, achieve, I want a reprieve, some kind of break that lets me wait, play, look around and delay, think up the next step, measure up, relax and step up, I want everything I can’t have, and the things I can, real experience while I’m grand, while I’m awake, for fuck’s sake, can’t any talent ever be praised? Long ago I lost the point of this tirade, it happens when I’ve been made to wait, my own projects belated, obscure and relegated to the back-burner, while I write nonsense for the scholastic learners, scholarship earners, the turning point, is this what I was meant for?

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