A fly was caught in a web that a spider had spun between my bookcase and record player. In between long intervals of silence, he would buzz maniacally, loud enough to be heard from across the room, in an apparent last-ditch effort to Say Something, Do Something, and not just die silently in gossamer. I folded a pad of notebook paper in half and swatted him. He is dead now, smashed silent against my bookcase.
Another thirteen hour day today. The night ended, as it always does, and as it always shall, and I thank God for that.
We got through the evening shift by drinking wine and listening to Ice Cube. I think it was a good day.
On the way home, I tried to carry a full beer in one hand and, in my mouth, a paper bag holding three containers of beef & barley soup. I immediately swerved and fell, my beer spilling across the filthy asphalt. So it goes. The soup made it home safely.
I had so many things to say, so many things to write. I dreamt of ripping the world apart, peeling back the skin and showing them what I've been saying all along. I can't remember a single sentence.
I am so sick of the "symbolic release of anger". We need to see more anger released towards symbols. There's nothing cathartic about punching a pillow. Beat the shit out of your alarm clock. Beat the shit out of your shift manager. Beat the shit out of your Toyota Camry. Break glasses, throw radios, burn blue jeans. Then we'll discuss catharsis.
I have had so many dreams of Panama City Beach. Of all places I've visited in my pathetic travels, why this little shithole? Why this mud puddle of capitalism and excess and filthy fucking scum-sucking horseshit? Who knows. I believe it's drawing me back. Mayhap I'll move there on a whim, as before, with little to no preparation. I'll sell my car, take only suitcase/Bike/guitar/records. I'll get a little cookie cutter house only a block or three from the Gulf, work a funny little shitjob, and dream of deserts beyond the clouds. Working a gas station, keeping an eye peeled for Missouri ID's, girls with punk rock t-shirts, and fellas who have a guitar pick or two in the handful of change they pull out of their lint-filled pockets to pay for a pack of orange Zig-Zags.
I moved to Florida when I was twenty. A skeleton of plans. I had about $150 saved up from cutting cedar trees for the Conservation Dept., and my mother lent me another $70 or so. Seve and I drove down there in one day, one straight shot, arriving at the Gulf of Mexico at 5 am. We snuck across the grounds of a beachfront resort and napped in the sand under the boardwalk until the sun was bright enough to justify our being conscious.
I spent a week in PCB before taking a midnight ride in a battered Toyota pickup to Orlando. We passed several toll booths and a high-speed pursuit. It was on this eight-hour drive that I wrote the opening lines of "Bones + Steam". . . .
My life has turned into a series of rest stops
Strung together on a ribbon highway
I lived in Orlando for a month. A month spent sleeping on floors, eating naught but potatoes, rice, and whatever leftovers I could table-dive at various restaurants. I hated Orlando. The only notable feature within bicycle distance was an all-girl high school and a Vietnamese market that sold fresh organic fruit. A few house parties yielded my first performances as a "folk artist", playing ramshackle Against Me! and Prince covers, as well as "Missouri Nights", my first completed song of any merit.
I immediately ran out of money. Caught a ride upstate, back to Panama City Beach. The next week was spent applying at every imaginable job within bicycling distance. Drinking too much, pouring Kahlua on breakfast cereal, spending my last bit of change on stupid jackets at shitty thrift stores.
At the end of the week, I flew back to Branson on a plane named November Juliet. Shea picked me up at my father's house and we drove to Louisiana.
I have grown lazy. The next few months were as follows: Work drink drink write sing read read read Zen drink drink work punk work drink read read write sing. Caught a Greyhound home in time for my little sister's high school graduation. The rest of the story is boring.
The only times in my life from which I feel I have returned a "changed man" are the following:
A. The story I just related; moving to Florida, working full-time, day-long bike rides, reading boooks about Eastern religion/music/philosophy for hours and hours on the sand dunes, drinking myself to sleep, buying My Guitar.
B. Drove to California with a girl I barely knew. Overheating in Arizona, culture shock in San Diego, getting tattooed on Venice Beach, running out of money and getting stranded just south of the Grand Canyon. Kissing the green, green grass of home.
It's all changed now. I have no more Crossroads upon which to sell my soul to the "Devil". I have no more surprises. I am a fucking joke to my friends. An oddity, a lesson in "what could've been, but you're better off without it". I've built these walls of normality around myself, and it's going to take a real goddamned hammer to bust out of 'em.
I am going to move back to Florida. And also to Bisbee, AZ. I need the wind and rain and bright fucking Blues! and Greens! of the Gulf. I need the stark, dead-to-the-nonbelievers Paradise of the desert, rife with self-discovery and wonder and awe that there are magnificent creations beyond ourselves. You selfish piece of shit. Don't tell me about the dust in your marrow. All I've got is steam in my veins.
I am mad at you, all of you, for not living life the way you had planned when you were seven years old.
Force me to write.
I will chew up an entire bottle of NO-DOZ. I will punch glass until it's embedded a half-inch into my knuckles. I will drink myself into a stupor. I will read Alan Watts. Anything to remember what it was like to wake up, every morning, surprised at the ferocity and verdancy of the world around me, and swelling with the great pride that I could take part in such tenacity.