Sunday, February 14, 2010

Remind me again who I am.

No one is out but me and the cops and the stray cats. I want to walk until I've worn my shoes to the bone, out where there are no more flags or borders, just colors and smells on the sad summer breeze. I want to live in the arclite.

I don't know who I am. There's something in the refreshing pale green of Spring that I'm dying to see, to see the moss on limestone wet with Spring rain and to watch all of the little hopes push the mud aside and climb towards their absolution in the sun. Remind me, remind me again who I am.

I'll walk all the way home to you, when I know you, and I have a feeling that I won't even know to where I'm walking until I'm dead and gone, buried beneath the cedar tree behind your little yellow house. I've been rotten and I've been down, and I'd sell myself short for a last breath on white sand with the saltwater leaching up my socks, seagulls overhead and staring at the horizon that melts and melts into ocean and sky, knowing full well that I'll be exploding like a fusion reactor into that blue sunset as soon as I get the strength to close my eyes and accept what I already know to be true.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Return of the B-Boy.

Maybe I just want to watch the sun rise in Tennessee again.

Maybe the old skate shoes are sad because they're not getting as much wear as they're used to.

Maybe I never liked earbuds, and instead I want those big fat headphones that wrap around your ears, big silver headphones kissing with tongue, underneath stocking cap underneath parka hood.

Maybe I like looking so vulnerable on the sidewalk, pausing to fumble to light a cigarette with gloved hands while traffic roars past, 7 am in the morning.

Maybe the mushrooms have turned my heartbeat to a click track, and I'm walking down Memorial with my hand on my nutsack.

Maybe it's because Kerouac finally means something to me, you know he never did before.

Maybe I just couldn't bear sleeping alone, so I'm knocking on your door like Mama, your b-boy's home.

Transcending shit nightly

So what if I'm in the corner, slobbering and spitting hot tears about what could have been Jesus, except I never took Jesus for the prankster sort. The science fiction dreams have become so familiar in their fragility, and I can't tell you the heavy golden om on my eardrums when one robot turns to the other and says, "Well, we'll just ask him to do the same next time. He won't remember there ever was a time before".

I've only seen you alone spinning like an avatar out of the liquid metal of these factory

James Cameron - did I only say avatar and liquid metal because I was thinking about James fucking Cameron for Gawd know's what reason, just losing my shit and worrying about Jim fucking Cameron, the titan of blockbusting atom bombs and Aliens/Terminator 2 which leads to Alien Resurrection and also T3: Rise of the Machines. Negligible sequels, and I'm so anxious that someone may be reading over my shoulders this crazy shit, though I know it's stupid and that in the morning all I'll have is that same crushing feeling squirting in the back of my brain that there was a common link and that there is a common link, and the

sex sex and sex and sex

I'm going to brew some coffee and then drink it and maybe continue to sit in the dark and listen to M83 and only worry a little in my big Jewbrain that maybe I've lost it this time, but I'd rather revel in the lunatic glory and drink coffee.

That's the joke. Should I enjoy it and let go, or worry myself that all the pleasures therein are only distracting me from the immediacy and obviousness of whateveritisimlookingfor in androids and silver threads running through all those fucking Philip K Dick skyscraper factories, silver against silver Indiana, and the silver masonic tools are too heavy to drag all the way across state lines.

No, coffee now maybe and maybe later now and later coffee this computer's time clock is completely wrong and says it's 2:34 am and I'm out of my mind.

Transcending shit nightly.

I worry too much, and the keys on this keyboard tend to stick.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Heart is Pumping Saliva.

Weird to see our nation's capitol building for the first time, from the sixteenth floor of an apartment complex over across the Potomac and through a lens of rain and howling wind. Weird to be laying my head on a fresh pillow less than a block from the Pentagon.

In that moon-dome I think Dr. Obama sits in a great golden clockwork throne, pulling steam-punk levers and twisting dials and looking at me through a crystal telescope. And I'm walking Arlington streets in the rain, head down and soaking wet, and that mean little Persian sold me soggy chicken wings and a seven-year-old pack of non-filtered Pall Malls that I did not specifically ask for, but that I did not specifically not ask for. But I smoke them on cold wet Arlington streets where the rain moves in strange waves across fancy cobblestone like a bourgeois joke to my tired Vans sneakers and my damp thrift store jeans, faded to a cheap gray but now saturated and black like this weird DC skyline that is screaming at us through fourth-floor sliding glass doors.

Henry tells me that the proper way to smoke these filterless Pall Malls is by burning the end with the little stamp, thereby destroying the evidence of our allegiance before the Nazis find us out. And I'm afraid I just stepped in dog shit.

They fed us bucketloads of shitty beer tonight, and I berated the football fans through dirty prosaic choruses and hid in a tiny hut or silo of corrugated metal, glowering and chain-smoking and wishing I was wherever you are. My brain stumbles with its eyes to the sidewalk cracks, around gray corners down gray alleys that dead-end in gray brick walls that I've built long ago in a past life, gray like nervous systems, shivering pink on the edges, with my spit the mortar and my bones the sand. My heart is pumping saliva these days, nothing more. When did I become such a misanthrope?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter of Sludge.

Winter of Sludge has commenced. It's been oozing along for months, but it's time we acknowledged it. Let's take it slow and muddy. I'm going to consume nothing but meat and marijuana. I don't want to wake up until the sun is setting. Only Cronenberg and Lynch movies until Spring. I'm going to eat cigarette butt salad with fingernail croutons and cough syrup salad dressing. Just stuff stale white bread in my nose, to be absorbed through my mucus membrane. Plant seeds in your beard. Comb the ice crystals out of your hair and into my m'oats. Cycle the coffee two, three times. Psychotic adventures with sound waves and paint and green foam vomit. And the playlist for the Winter of Sludge: Black Flag (especially circa My War), the first three or four Black Sabbath records, Melvins, Weedeater, Big Black, Harvey Milk, Meat Puppets, Converge (they'll be in Nashville soon), maybe Beach House(cuz some sludge comes shiny), Lewd Acts, Twin Cats (Royal Osprey), Nirvana's Bleach, High on Fire, Baroness, Trapped Under Ice, Sleep, and Zuma Zuma Zuma. Cortez, Cortez!

Weird pages of dreams last night, very realistic and detailed, but with bent morals and obtuse endings. After dream-days of mundane commonplace, in conclusion I dreamed we had weed on our person, maybe, and were carrying a cursed purple pocketknife right into some sort of cop-trap for hapless musicians, and my father warning us that our fates were sealed; either we had our jaws broken between cell bars, or the little purple pocketknife gets drawn tight across the gristle of our throat. No ideas, it's late in the afternoon now and the dream makes less and less sense as my eyes forget the sensation of looking inward and backward, behind. It's all irrelevant, my gristle's intact. I'll march out the door into the real dream, the one that really gets to slice you up, the one that we spend all these long hours trying to sleepwalk away. Cold life, through perennial sunglasses and a thin parka coat, tastes like microwaved old coffee and cigarette butts. Good cold life. It's the Winter of Sludge?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wheat Whine.

I sat on the edge of a porch with a lit gun and a loaded cigarette, both aimed for my heart. I watched Charlottesville twinkle below me, out past the condos and stretching towards a dark Southern sky. A varmint creeped and crackled in the brush just past the fenceline, coming closer and pausing just at the edge of the shadows, so that he was all but obscured, just a fat fuzzy outline, pondering me as I pondered him. He sat, then moved a little closer, and I stood and hup'd and tsk'd at him. He slowly turned and disappeared into the darkness from which he came, unidentified and indifferent.

October seems so long ago. I may never get home again.

I drank whiskey and vodka until I was frantically delirious in Columbus. I threw up in our host's sink and spilled a can-a-coke down his stairwell. I cleaned it up with my sweatshirt and towel, and now both are moldering in my stuffsack. I woke up drunk and missing my socks the next afternoon.

And ohmygod Henry is snoring so loud. I'd go find another room, but I'm a stranger in a strange house and have no idea where to begin to look. I was over-caffeinated earlier with Golden Monkey tea, sweaty and nail-chewing, and then switched to red wine and then to some weird Japanese melon drink with a glass marble rattling inside the bottle neck. Henry has a big bottle of expensive KC-exclusive beer next to him on the end table, and I think I'll finish it for him. It'll just spoil and stale otherwise, and besides there's no was I'm sleeping in a room with a snoring bear like this whilst sober.

Goddamn, it was confusion yesterday. I woke up so drunk and sick, and slept all the way to New Plymouth, where I regained consciousness on stomach-churning mountain roads and spilled into a gravel parking lot and met some llamas and stray cats and a dog named Elwood. I wandered incredulous, stomach empty and head pounding, but still finding the wherewithall to fall in love again with Southeastern Ohio. Did that really just happen? I blinked under the wet sun and dozed on a bench. And we played guitars for Ian and the bird and the dog sang along while the cafe's owner played harmonica. We ate venison with onions and gravy. Nelsonville? Was I there only this morning? Was I there only last night, getting in trouble for smoking cigarettes on a railroad bridge?

West Virgina today, still wild still wonderful, the mountain passes squeezed our sinuses and stole our breath and Townes Van Zandt and Otis Redding offered pillows and solace for sad tired eyes. Pop the fucker into neutral and fly down the grades like a maniac, 80 85 90 mph. Let's stop, boys, and check out every tunnel and factory town and red-coal Machu Pichu we come to, let's grow our beards and disappear into the Appalachian crevices and take eight wives (each) and stomp on eggs and eat rattlesnakes and raise the South again.

So now I'm drinking Henry's beer, a wheat wine that he's proudly lugged all the way from Kansas City and that he immediately and drunkenly spilled onto this hardwood floor as soon as he popped the fat cork. I'm laying on an ornate rug crawling with flowers and blooming scorpions in sick domestic psychedelica. I left Tristessa in the car, but Lermontov is in my satchel. But Lermontov is in my satchel, and he scares me. Pechorin threatens to invade my dreams and mold me in his image, though it may be too late, the selfish Russian motherfucking contemptuously honest romantic motherfucker. Someone's feet smell like shit, though it may just be my feather pillow after being dropped on the ground in six states in less than two weeks, and it rides piggyback on my stuffsack still full of clothes and towels moldering with old Coca-Cola and sweat rife with toxins.

This beer is perhaps the best I've ever had, and it's a shame Henry doesn't get to enjoy it, the wine-drunk snoring on the leather couch the color of tripe under framed picture of European landmarks and bright inset lightbulbs.

I want to write a song about Ohio, and a song about girls smiling from their boyfriends' arms, and about how I've become such a misanthrope and a recluse, a fiddleback.

Books in the Blue Whale bookstore, C'ville, VA: Piaf by Simone Berteaut, Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock Since 1967.

The beer is to be drank from "the proper glass", says so right on the bottle, but there's no reason at this point at 2:26 am (Eastern Time) to be proper or hide my flirtatiousness, so I press my lips to its mouth and kiss it right through its slender neck, all exploding in sex and tropical brown skin and wheat and fruit.

Lermontov, through Pechorin, is honesty. True romantic honesty, the kind that only ends with grief or a bullet through the chest, as it did with Lermontov himself. Find the beauty in the selfish futility, make every action a move towards the tenderest embrace or most staggeringly fatal kiss, knowing it all to be an arrogant and delusional farce.

"To be to somebody the cause of sufferings and joys, without having any positive right to it- is this not the sweetest possible nourishment for our pride?"

and, on the same page, in the same passage:

"Evil begets evil: the first ache gives us an idea of the pleasure of tormenting another. The idea of evil cannot enter a person's head without his wanting to apply it to reality: ideas are organic creations."

You crooked bastard. Is selfishness evil, and are either natural? If we can only but ask that we be allowed to act naturally, and we are naturally selfish, is this evil? There is no evil in nature, mind, but plenty selfishness. But a hungry wolf is not selfish to be evil, unless such a natural instinct as killing and eating to further one's self and species can be so condemned**. Red of tooth and claw, indeed. I've got blood under my fingernails, and I pick your hair from between my teeth.

"The passions are nothing else but ideas in their first phase of development; they are an attribute of the youth of the heart; and he is a fool who thinks we will be agitated by them all his life*. Many a calm river begins a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea. But that calm is often the sign of great, though concealed, strength; the plentitude and depth of feelings and thoughts does not tolerate frantic surgings; the soul, while experiencing pain or pleasure, gives itself a strict account of everything and becomes convinced that so it must be; it knows that without storms, a constantly torrid sun will wither it; it becomes penetrated with its own life, it fondles and punishes itself, as if it were a beloved child. Only in this supreme state of self-knowledge can a man evaluate divine justice."

Before transcribing this paragraph, I had some idea where it was going, and how I felt about it. By the end, now nearing 3 am, I am drunk and have forgotten and am lost. But *this is very strong sentiment, stubbornly self-assured for a man who wrote this at the age of 26, and died at 27, the result of a duel, surely not a strong case for controlling one's passions.

A girl in Dayton gave me a clove cigarette that immediately fell apart in the rain, and warned me of the solar storms of 2012. She said I have the proper bone structure to mature into old age as a folk singer.

**though the animals are blessedly uninhibited by consciousness of Self and Others, which of course is our greatest boon and burden, and thus this analogy is stoned and prosaically moot.

Here I Am: Springfield, MO.

Here I am on an off-night in Springfield. It hit me between the eyes with machine gun precision and staccato slugs of rapid-fire and irate frenzy. Here I am taking shots of garlic vodka until it came out my nose. Here I am being carried to the ceiling on the fat mineral shine of Golden Giant's volume. Here I am getting smacked in the nose in a Reacharounds mosh pit. Here I am dancing my drunken ass off with Shea and Matt and Lisa and Katie. Handfuls of flesh and beer poured from an arm's length above my upturned face. We built this city on rock and roll. Here I am at Danny's house, standing on chairs and grinding expensive beer into the carpet. Here I am like a lightning bolt across town, like a bottle rocket, like a pinball. Weed krispie treats and the Hold Steady exploding through melting vinyl siding and turning my eyes into windows against a wall of jelly. Here we are, impeccable warriors, smiling at the all-knowing pigs who insisted on coming into the girls' house, sniffing the weed air like crooked preachers, leaning against their squad cars, smug and salivating for an admission of guilt, for a Mitsubishi smashing through a stop sign, for a carton of narcotics stashed in a spare tire, for brains and hair matted on dashboard and reeking of cheap whiskey, for a chance to shoot a few young werewolves in the back. But they slunk back to their sty disappointed, their condemning eyes hungy and heavy with resentment. No match for Shea and his hand signals, his melding with the Mirage. And like that Mirage, in that Mirage, as a mirage, we drifted home confused and brainless, leaving a trail of skull fragments like breadcrumbs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shitty Poetry About Kansas, Pt. 1

Lonely mantoids, spinning spinning
Always working, never winning
Perched atop a lonely swale
And digging deep for molten shale

There's Something Special About Indiana.

It is 7:44 am and I should be asleep. Instead I'm translating transcendental telegrams to myself from myself. It's all very metaphysical, and requires that I sit cross-legged on the floor in my underwear, listen to Murfreesboro come to life outside the window, idly watch Hamster dig through his varmint mulch, and smoke cigarettes. And try not to wake Megan. And contemplate smoking a pipeful and drinking a can-a-coke, which I probably won't do unless I decide by the end of this that I won't sleep until tonight, which is likely.

It is a cold, dreary wet night in Dayton. There's no cheer on the wind, though we were met with attentive and gracious faces. I'm restless and lonely, lounging on a flowered couch at Jenn's house. Drinking wine and smoking cigarettes indoors should brighten my mood, but some moods are best left alone. I try to read, but nothing holds my attention. So I'm left with my own thoughts and this ink blood to tattoo the paper in vain.

There's something special hidden in Indiana, but I haven't quite found it yet. The Silver Thread is buried beneath Interstates 94 and 65, stained a dull gray and sopping with marsh water.

and a perfect smoke ring drifts towards the sleeping ceiling

The giant windmills dwarf our tiny white automobile, spinning into outer space with all the greasy hope of a nation of wasteful apes, all with blood on our hands.

But there's something special about Indiana. Maybe someday I'll load a trunk with botanicals and medicines and tools and wander for an Indiana winter month, analyzing and quantifying all of these stainless-steel ghosts and sand-chewing refineries whose thick-tongued mouths fumble and rumble all of the things I've been dying to articulate.

No rest for the wicked. Shalom.

Tonight's playlist.

For posterity.

Jawbreaker - Etc.
NASA - Spirit of Apollo
Slowdive - Souvlaki

Atmosphere - "Shoulda Known"
the Big Pink - "Crystal Visions"
the Big Pink - "Dominos"
the Big Pink - "Velvet"
the Cure - "A Night Like This"
the Cure - "Close to Me"
the Cure - "Friday I'm in Love"
the Cure - "Pictures of You"
Grateful Dead - "Casey Jones"
Grateful Dead - "Friend of the Devil"
Grateful Dead - "Sugar Magnolia"
Grateful Dead - "Turn On Your Love Light"
the Hold Steady - "Cattle and the Creeping Things"
the Hold Steady - "Chillout Tent"
the Hold Steady - "How a Resurrection Really Feels"
the Hold Steady - "Positive Jam"
the Hold Steady - "Southtown Girls"
the Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
Hüsker Dü - "Eight Miles High"
Jay-Z - "'03 Bonnie & Clyde"
Jay-Z - "99 Problems"
Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind"
Jay-Z - "H to the Izzo"
Jay-Z - "Run This Town"
Lil Wayne - "Mr. Carter"
Lil Wayne - "Phone Home"
Nirvana - "About a Girl"
Nirvana - "Drain You"
Nirvana - "Negative Creep"
Nirvana - "On a Plain"
Nirvana - "Something in the Way"
Nirvana - "Territorial Pissings"
Ozzy Osbourne - "Mama, I'm Coming Home"
Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here"
the Psychedelic Furs - "Into You Like a Train"
the Psychedelic Furs - "Love My Way"
the Psychedelic Furs - "President Gas"
the Psychedelic Furs - "Pretty in Pink"
the Psychedelic Furs - "The Ghost in You"
Sonic Youth - "Eric's Trip"
Sonic Youth - "Hey Joni"
Sonic Youth - "Silver Rocket"
Sonic Youth - "Teen Age Riot"
Sonic Youth - "Total Trash"
Spandeau Ballet - "True"
U2 - "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
U2 - "Where the Streets Have No Name"
U2 - "With or Without You"
Uncle Tupelo - "Sauget Wind"
the Vaselines - "Dying for It"
the Vaselines - "Dying for It (Blues)"
Tom Waits - "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six"
Tom Waits - "Anywhere I Lay My Head"
Tom Waits - "Down, Down, Down"
Tom Waits - "Earth Died Screaming"
Tom Waits - "Gunstreet Girl"
Kanye West - "Family Business"
Kanye West - "The Good Life"

One-Line Country Songs.

"If you're old enough to buy liquor, you're old enough to drink it by yourself."

"Happy hour never makes me happy, and brown eyes always seem to make me blue."

It improves as it progresses, Ma.

Cold coffee with honey, icy rain in Indiana, bouncing and napping. Reading all of the bathroom stall hate mantras. Besides all the typical unimaginative "Fuck niggers" bullshit, there're some that defy explanation; "Fags are proof that Indians fucked buffalo". And the occasional glimmer of truck stop hope, a sad little cross with "All men are created equal". Amen, I'm buying a hot dog to eat while I flip through Gibran's The Prophet and look for tattoo ideas. An eyed hand, a blessed palm, with a halo of wings.

There was no toilet paper in the bar bathroom last night, so I was forced to improvise with a receipt from my wallet. I fear I may have blocked up the toilet, and I fear I may have left inverse ink statements on my asshole, which is a disgusting thought and even more foul on paper.

Last night was as a dream as they tend to be, sleepwalking lost to the car, tunnel visioned with my big parka hood and floating on frozen shoes. Henry was speechlessly drunk, but miraculously managed to lead us back to where we had parked. After returning to Tucker's tiny apartment, we stretched out with cookbooks and records and ate spicy mustard pasta with mushrooms and peas. I finally rolled myself into the blankets as day broke chilly through the window, slept a prince and woke a pauper.

Lake Michigan appeared as a mirage, a hologram, a hallucination of the winter Brahman-Atman, great frosty waves rolling and frozen in time, rippling into the horizon and into outer space, a fathomless mountain range of blue-green-white, and I'm not sure I saw it at all. On the other side of us, Chicago's shimmering mirror canyons stood in contrast to the wonderful curve of the earth beneath it, and I thought of Moloch, and I thought of stainless-steel teeth and dentist's offices, but it was all beautiful and so I couldn't really hold the fear and contempt long in my heart. The love I feel for the titanic majesty of the megaurban jungle, for the glowing Gary refineries, for the rowhouses beneath the Skyway, for the stacked train cars in miles and miles; this love is not admiration, but fear. But love is love, in all colors and tastes, and of all things I fear it's love I fear the most. You lose control, spin with your eyes closed and let go, catapulted end over end into a completely selfless beautiful violence where we are as much in control of ourselves as is a terrified leaf on the lusty wind of a brunette summer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

More Tales of Dirty Snow.

Sitting at a bar in Chicago, listening to tinny punk rock from speakers mounted over the Budweiser mirror, nursing an Old Milwaukee. Dirty snow on the ground as I walk the street like a bundled twerp comet, trailing my tail of cigarette smoke and half-hearted whispers of promises best left broken, trying to make every pretty girl I pass smile back at me.

The drive from Saint Louis was fast and quiet, long lonely snow flat against the earth, swimming through the fog like over-caffeinated sharks, all of our senses primed for fresh blood. Factories lit up like Philip K Dick Christmas trees belched plumes of steam and smoke high into the sky, looking like the pillars that prevent Heaven from crashing down upon us, splintering our bones and squeezing us into a homogeneous pulp with our trusted Toyota Corolla (though the worrisomely ambiguous and esoteric "check engine" light paid us an unwelcome visit) until the angels won't know where skin and meat end and upholstery and rubber and fiberglass and engine block begin.

Giant windmills, like terraforming complexes, stand gaunt, sentries in the mist and disappearing like skeletons into the foggy horizon. It's all so quiet, five hours of lonely rolling church service, satisfied finally with Illinois and her endless highways.

Where was I... Here I am in Murfreesboro, not yet a week prior. A welcome drive through Kentucky always softens my bristles. Eating fried chicken and catfish and pork chops and pondering the imponderable.

And the next morning, no sleep, head cloudy with green smoke and feeling like a velociraptor with black coffee blood, we left for Springfield. Descended like a circus troupe, bearing pocketknives and old guitars. Blurry hallucinations of a long night, too much drink and smoke, until I buried my face in torn red cushions and prayed for a quick death. A good night, spirits high and imbibed, trying in vain to suppress every worthless emotion that we've been doomed to bear.