Friday, February 29, 2008

I didn't miss this place at all.

What should I be feeling? Accomplished? Regretful? Proud? Ashamed? Content? I feel awful. I feel torn to shreds. I feel abandoned. I feel naive. I saw it coming, both of them, but I avoided it. And look at how many bridges I had to burn to get here and now I've got no way back. I became hateful and spited everyone just to fuel my rage. Then i became perfect and caring and devoted. Both failed. If I'd just been myself, I would've fucked up. What's the point in dedication if it justs blows up in your face anyway? I fucking gave it my everything. I put my entire heart and soul and body into it and it failed me. Finally, I know what it's like to love someone so much that it hurts and to be so scared of what tomorrow brings because tomorrow might bring only more distance and with more distance comes less hope. What happens when the only thing keeping you alive doesn't want you around anymore?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Because I'm not a writer and I'm not a photographer. I can't draw and I can't paint and I can't write a song for the life of me.

1 You felt really bad for me. I could tell. It wasn't fake. You've been there too. You recognized it. I noticed.

2 She's a goddamn mess. I sometimes admire that.

3 They might as well of said the same things to me. Should have just punched me in the face, asked me to leave. Treated me like shit. I am exactly the same.

4 I could have easily hated her, but I chose not to.

5 "Staraflur" followed by "You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles)" as the ending? Sometimes I'm so fucking brilliant.

6 I had to leave tonight. I had to drive somewhere, anywhere, and by myself. I feel in control when I'm driving. I know I'm safe and I know where I'm going.

7 The orange lights from the juvenile correction center reflect off the clouds at night, making the sky look like some sort of sickly sunset. It's pretty dramatic looking. They are building a new county jail right next to it.

8 You can see right into my family's house from the road. My mom has those lights that are supposed to help with seasonal depression. All they really do is give the house a weird green glow from the windows. Looks like something from the X files.

9 I guess I'm delusional. I guess I shouldn't have so much faith in some things. I supose my certainty is fallible.

10 It's alright. You don't need me. You can take it from here.

11 I wonder when I lost my intensity. Every now and again someone will point it out to me and it is both heartbreaking and promising. If it can still be recognized, there must be some left.

12 February is the pits!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stoned Eyes.



Somewhere later --


What I need --


i really like looking at everything that all of you are making. it keeps me wanting to make things, but the more i look at it the more i just feel sad. this guy i know is always telling me its time to grow up. i try to avoid it with all i have, i guess. it is sad though you know? i just don't understand if its growing up i don't want to do.. or if its not wanting to be like him that i'm feeling.

i saw an old friend this weekend and she agreed with him. she feels like shes grown past all of this. she was just kind of dating into it though...

i mean, maybe i would have to stop coming to sites like these with pictures of all of you to, what they call, grow up, but i guess to me you guys don't seem childish. it freaks me out A LOT that i have a house and everything that my parents have. i still think about leaving it all and going for a week or two long drive. or a bike ride to california. there are two problems with that.

i don't know what to do. i just feel really sad all the time. i like building things. it makes me feel better, but theres a problem with that. i got excited about Move to Johnstown, and he told me it embodied all that he thought was wrong with all of you. i mean, what do you have to be responsible for besides rent..and some of you are having babies now?
if i had some friends i wouldn't post this on here, but is miof/the idea of johnstown irresponsible? for someone in my postion?
am i ok with that? most of the time. is he ever going to be ok with that? i'm going to say no. why couldn;t someone just say don't do it. i really wouldn't have listened i'm sure, but at least i could have said ah! you told me. yooouuuu told me.

he asked me what i want out of life last night. he said that he wants to have nice things. i told him "i don't know". i do know though. i mean, i know what i want at this age. i'm sure it'll change, but whats the point of telling someone about it...that wont get it.

In Good Hands.

In the garage, under a black vinyl hood, slept a red Camaro. The smell of the tarp reminded Joann of a raincoat. She had never bothered learning to drive a stick, and now, with Ken gone, she would have to ask a neighbor to back the juicy sports car out of the garage to make room for the folding tables. She lifted the heavy door and stepped barefoot into the violent sunlight. The driveway burned her feet and she danced around the grey Corolla into the cool grass of the front lawn. Shielding her eyes with her right hand, Joann crossed into the Vinton's yard and onto the porch and knocked on the screen door. As she stood on the green and black indoor-outdoor carpeting, she could see into the Vinton's hallway. Here was a basket of folded bath towels waiting to be carried upstairs; there a fish tank bustling with blue and yellow tropicals, and beside it a pile of junk mail. As Joann admired the old-timey plastic diver around which the fish swam, John Vinton came down the stairs and opened the door. He didn’t invite her in but joined her there on his porch.
“How ya doin’, Joann?” He shielded his eyes.
“Oh, alright,” she said and took a step to her right, casting a shadow over John’s face. He nodded his appreciation and clasped his hands behind his neck.
“What are you up to on such a beautiful day?”
“Well, she said,” I’m getting’ ready to have a garage sale, and I was hopin’ that you might be able to pull the Camaro around back. It’s a manual, and Ken never taught me to drive a stick.”
John half-laughed and said “I wouldn’t suppose he did. Hell, in all the time we’ve been neighbors, I probably only saw him drive it half a dozen times himself. ‘Course I’d be happy to help you out. Like we said at the funeral, Ali and I are glad to help out any way we can.”
“I truly appreciate that,” she said, handing him the keys. As they crossed into Joann’s yard, John admitted that he had been eager to get behind the wheel of the car since he and Ali had moved onto the cul-de-sac seven years ago; how he would watch from his screen door as Ken waxed the hood or tinkered underneath it. After parking the car on the patio behind the house, John asked if Joann wouldn’t like him to move the Corolla as well. “Oh, thanks, but that I can handle.”
“Well, okay. If there’s nothing else, I think I’ll go do my exercises. Let us know if you need anything else.” He jogged back through the yards and into his house, the screen door slamming behind him.
Joann stood, her thighs pressed against the driver’s side of the grey car, flicking the bent antenna with her pointer finger. She and Ken had shared the compact car while he was alive, her doing volunteer work at the hospital or hunting for antiques, him, every morning, taking it first to the corner deli where he sat with the owner and drank his only cup of coffee before heading to the high school where he taught art. He had bought the car during his summer vacation several years prior, when he discovered that someone had badly dented the passenger side door of the Camaro while he was in the hardware store. On his way home, he pulled up behind a grey sedan at a red light. On the back window hung a homemade “FOR SALE” sign with a phone number. He followed that car to the other end of town and cut the woman a check for $600 right there in her driveway. He and Joann returned the next day to pick it up.
The driveway burned her feet again, and Joann rushed back into the garage and was suddenly surprised by all the empty space, so she hurried to set up two long folding tables, the kind with the white plastic top and brown metal legs. Ken had gotten several of them when a nearby rental hall was throwing them out.
“Some kids rented out the place,” the owner had said when he found Ken taking them from the alley behind the hall. “Must’a sat on ‘em or something’. The legs is all bent up.” It took Ken two trips to get them home and about three hours for him and Joann to hammer them all back into shape. It was projects like this that Joann was going to miss the most following Ken’s death. How they had spent entire Saturdays and Sundays creating or fixing or sometimes destroying things. They had once built a doghouse together for Joann’s sister’s Doberman, devoting two consecutive weekends one October to the red edifice with its swinging door. On the first Saturday after their wedding, they spent the entire afternoon trying in vain to salvage the old washing machine Ken’s uncle had handed down to them. The next day, they took turns whacking drunkenly at it with a sledgehammer as they laughed and drank and fell into each other.
Joann spent the rest of the day clearing out the garage, simultaneously organizing those things worth keeping and setting aside items to sell. She finished after dark, closing the door and carrying a snow shovel with her to the cellar where she washed off her feet in the utility shower before lying down on the couch in the sun-room.
As she tried to fall asleep, her mind continued to pour over the items she had spent the day sorting. She saw inner-tubes and hydraulic pumps, jars full of nuts and bolts, caulking guns and stacks of National Geographic magazines, every one reminding her of Ken. When the snow shovel appeared, she pictured him in his puffy overalls as he shoveled out first their driveway and then the six others on the cul-de-sac street, even the Vinton’s, though he was older than both John and Ali by at least a decade. He would spend an entire snow day shoveling and salting the small neighborhood, even going around and knocking down any foreboding icicles from his neighbors’ houses. Most remarkably, in all the years that Joann had known Ken, never once had she seen him wearing gloves. Whether he was digging out an icy driveway or soldering jewelry in one of his classes, he preferred to do it bare-handed, “To really feel it,” he had said. “Like I’m a part of it.”
As Joanna finally drifted off to sleep, she felt pangs for her husband, still thinking of his strong hands; how she wished for them to be there, pushing and pulling at her like wet clay.
In the morning, she set water to boil in the tea kettle Ken had made her for their anniversary the previous year. She sat in the dining room, making signs for the garage sale, listing the date, time, and place, each sign different from the others. She admired her signs, but when the whistle of the tea pot blew, she burst into tears.
The kettle had been the original inspiration for the garage sale, its wail every morning sounding less like whistling and more like crying. There were other things, too, like the chime that hung by the front door. She had been coming and going through the garage just to avoid the metallic sound of tears Ken had crafted. The mantle in the living room was the worst, though. Since Ken’s aneurism, Joann had not even been able to finish a book or a crossword puzzle, distracted by the relics sitting on the mantle opposite her favorite chair. On it sat a dozen or so pieces of artwork made by Ken’s students. After thirty years at the high school, Ken had accumulated quite a collection of one of a kind sculptures, installations, paintings and the like. He had entire boxes full of them, and certain pieces were on display in nearly every room of their modest Cape Cod home. The mantle in the living room, however, was reserved for extremely special pieces. Some were notable for their quality, like a papier-mâché mask made by an eleventh-grader, which bore an identical likeness to First Lady at the time, Nancy Reagan, only with her ears sewn shut. Other items were kept for sentimental reasons, like a clay ballerina, which wasn’t much to look at, but which was made as a gift for a student’s mother who died and was instead given to Ken. It was these items that Kept Joann from focusing. She had even carried an old black and white television down from the attic, hoping that she might be able to lose herself in an old movie, but still the relics on the mantle demanded her attention.
Before coming up with the garage sale plan, she had considered looking up the students who had made the pieces and returning them, but she didn’t want to have to tell them about Ken’s death. Many of them surely had families and careers of their own by now.
On the morning of the garage sale, Joann set all of the artwork, Ken’s and his students’, on its own table. The household items, the inner-tubes and caulking guns, along with the black and white TV, she had priced the night before and stuffed what she could into milk crates on one of the folding tables. The artwork, though, she didn’t price. A teenage boy picked up the make of Nancy Reagan. “This is awesome,” he said. “Who is this?”
Joann didn’t answer the boy. She was imagining Ken in his classroom, hunched over the student, explaining the proportions of the human face, his classroom decorated not with laminated quotes from I.M. Pei, but instead with his own hand-painted motivational posters. “CAN’T,” it said, “is a 4 letter word!”, the paper curled from the watercolors.
“That’s Nancy Reagan,” the boy’s mother told him.
Joann pictured the student now, imagining her making masks for huge theater productions, owning her own company, and nodding gracefully as she is thanked again during an acceptance speech at the Tony awards.
“Excuse me, Joann,” the mother interrupted. “How much for the first lady?”
Joann, barefoot behind a card table loaded with refreshments, smiled and said, “Make an offer. It’s all yours.”


Dear... (everyone,)
love can twist & turn, fumble, falter, surpass amazement, build bridges, stand the test of time, and completely blind the eyes & heart combined. so much of the experience is held in what is never said, but only felt. although, there are those moments in time where we find ourselves head in hand, pen to paper...trying to place words to describe exactly what love is like.

this is merely an attempt at gathering a collection of love letters...thoughts, drawings, or a glimpse at a moment never shared but felt from afar. there are no boundaries...these are letters you may have received, sent, or never managed to get out at all. they may be addressed to whom you love (/lost) or not placed name to page at all.

please mail these thoughts in any way your heart pulls you.

If by mail...

Honest Engine
153 26th St. 6B
NY, NY 10011


Monday, February 25, 2008

To Absent Strangers --


Dearest the Beagle Club,

Please redirect your attention to the secret site. There, every demo for every song for the new album is available for your downloading, listening, and learning pleasure. Good work, y'all. Suggestions are still welcome for little things here and there. It ain't done til we're all sure it is.

riddle me this, batman

there are not enough hours in a day!
(and other cliches)

i have this list of "things to do"--
at any given moment there are like
eleven people in johnstown alone

writing "bread" on a grocery list.
the bills start to roll in around now.

winter is getting stale! i'm all cooped
up here! i wanna say "get your guitar
and get over here" or "dude, grab your

trupet" or "i'll be over in 5 with
the bangolele, baby" but there's list,
and it's cold, and there is stuff

all over the floor. this isn't an excuse.
this is a reflection not even a complaint

and what i want to say is i'm building a fire
and i'm gonna light it up when march says

Spring! and i want you all there with strings
and bells and whistles already all ready.
sleep my peeps sleep and tackle me in that sleep.



It is obvious that anything standing on stilts of novelty will soon start to lean, creak, and then collapse. MIoF seems to have slowed to an amble. But I think--well, I hope--that everyone is just focusing on projects that require more time, more investigation and inspection. Not ambling. Sauntering, fucking strutting. Moving--maybe slowly--with a purpose. What we all do is not a joke.

Instant gratification is awesome. Instant gratification is also very limited by its nature. Think about when you learn a new song, or learn an old song, or when you keep rerereading a poem, or story, or novel, or you write a 30 page paper on a single image. You can crawl inside the mechanism. See how it works. See how it doesn't work, and take it apart. Fix it or ruin it.

Sometimes it feels like you have ruined this little thing that you loved, that you had a special moment with when you first encountered it. Really, you have familiarized yourself with it. Unmasked it. From that demystification comes a slower, more long term love. Constant gratification. It's like drunken makeouts versus goin' steady. There are amazing parts to both.

Heck, I love instant gratification. But it's starting to impede me. I smoked dope last night, went to get coffee, and came back with a dozen donuts for the house. What the fuck, right? I mean, it wasn't even that out of the ordinary. Don't let the treats* become habit-forming.

Sorry if this is a totally inane, banal rant. I just needed to kick myself in the ass.

*I still plan on eating a lot of food, often.

my idea of fun.

Remember disposable cameras?


Sunday, February 24, 2008

i know why women love shoes... because feet don't gain weight. a good shoe looks fantastic no matter how the rest of your body looks. tops, dresses, even jeans all depend on your body looking good to look good. not a shoe, though. they always look the same.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Regurgitated Idea

Step back and take a look.

It's not nearly as heavy as we think. It's about as light as can be.

"Unbearably" so.


castaneyeball: now you're just confusing me.
brandonlocher: -- that is sucking on a cold strawberry.
brandonlocher: I'm sorry. I am just thinking.
brandonlocher: Please, go inside.
castaneyeball: i feel like i should be stoned to follow what exactly you're trying to say
brandonlocher: Well, think of a lot of information / the Mass of Correspondence. You now can take the information and place it into 1,000,000 different directions. So, you take a little bit of information -- the information you told me and now I, you, and everyone else can take it in 1,000,000 different possible directions. Then when it's "understood" you can (if you have the creativity + logic needed to construct) execute that idea by the use of 1,000 different mediums. Then all the information that is placed in 1,000,000 different directions, sucked into black hole after black hole is then placed inside the maze to the mother lode and you start sucking the fucking straw when you feel the blowing of hot cum across your face? Like that! -- Do you follow?
castaneyeball: i'm too tired
castaneyeball: bye

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up
The forecast hadn’t lied. It was going to be a beautiful day. That was all Glenn Swick could think about as the brightened rays of the sun shined in through his suburban window and onto the still arousing curves of his wife Dora’s body. She was lying on her stomach, pretending to sleep, letting all the stressful thoughts of that particular Sunday’s events pass her by as she simply wondered how much longer she had, to remain dazed. Could five minutes eventually turn into ten, or was the harsh bleep of the alarm going to force both of them to start the inevitable preparations.
It wasn’t just another normal spring day. There was an event planned, printouts of invitations sent to various corners of the county, a barrage of unlikely RSVP’s returning in quick succession. Yet the annual Swick Barbecue wasn’t on either of their minds that morning, but rather the all too reassuring thought that their eight-year-old son Julian wasn’t home, bundled his Spider-man sheets, and rising faster than the both of them to mindlessly flip through the channels, past the regularly scheduled albeit far too tame cartoons, and to the much more elaborate onsets of edited-for-cable violence.
He would brag to his friends about what he had seen in homeroom the following Monday, all of them trying to somewhat top each other’s stories of childhood grossness. At that age, sight was everything. Children like Julian could only really view the world on fuzzy screens, from the comfortable distance of the family La-Z-Boy. Glenn and Dora both thought his new best friend, Ronald Vincent, was a bad influence, but couldn’t help but feel that the occasional sleep-over across the street would provide them with the most luxurious of opportunities to indulge in overly simplistic means of escape.
Glenn let his hand drift over Dora’s back slowly moving down to her buttocks. Dora opened her eyes slightly, groaning and clearing her flem-filled throat.
“Can’t we just sleep in the extra ten minutes?” She said in a muffled pillow voice.
“I’m already awake and Julian’s across the street, remember?”
“So you wanna go there, right now?”
“We have a long day ahead of us. If we go there I think maybe it won’t be so stressful.”
She paused for what could have been an eternity, letting the thought of her husband, who she still loved more than any other temporary fantasy, bounce around in her mind like a pinball machine. She knew it wouldn’t be great sex, but rather merely another Sunday morning snore, quick and lacking some passion. Then again, it had been awhile, the stress of the office and the thought that both her parents would be at the house in a matter of hours, arriving in separate cars, only made Glenn’s less than persuasive argument for intercourse all the more convincing.
“Fine, but we’re gonna have to be quick.”
“I’m well aware hon.” Glenn pulled his boxers down past he legs and rolled over onto his wife as she stared up at the ceiling. She was right. It was fast, and did lack a substantial amount of passion. They hadn’t quite hit their slump yet, and as both got off in quick succession, it made it all the easier for each satisfied party to remember why they were together. It made sense, clicked, and didn’t ever become more trivial then their lush albeit highly normal suburban lives.
There had been inclinations of faltering, though. Glenn had been out with friends from work on several rainy nights, starring across the bar, and occasionally even starting conversations with young vixens waiting for the time of day. However, these less than frequent encounters never stretched past the confines of the neon-lit barroom. He knew he loved his wife and wouldn’t ever have to think of it as anything more than that.
Dora was far too busy for any kind of an affair. There was a lot of food on her plate. Meetings with business associates, stacks of paperwork, the occasional parent-teacher conference and something edible for dinner every Monday and Wednesday when she got off work early. On the other days, Glenn would cook, most of his misguided creations either satisfying the Swick family dynamic or ending up tossed in the garbage can after a week of lonely deterioration in the stainless steel refrigerator.
He showered before his wife, who took her birth control pill a few seconds before the alarm sounded. She was quickly downstairs, making eggs and defrosting a barrage of appetizers from the freezer. Glenn walked into the kitchen with wet hair and a more than content look on his face. They ate breakfast together, discussing the plan: what they needed and who would have to get what. Dora made a grocery list for him, it was longer than he expected and as “The Boxer” played over the sound system, Glenn found himself getting inevitably lost in the chorus, having to eventually return to previously explored aisles and search for the items he had forgotten to grab.
Dora began tidying up what she could, stacking magazines and newspapers in piles and later placing them in the basement. She called the Vincent’s to see how Julian was doing. Connie answers the phone, smoking a cigarette, and reiterating that the boys were fine, despite the fact that they had stayed up all night, watching various scary movie marathons. Dora cut conversation short; stating for what must have been the hundredth time that she had more than enough random tasks to complete before the two o’clock barbecue. Connie asked if she needed any help, a sentiment to which both women knew wouldn’t go any farther than the phone receiver. Dora was far too independent to accept her neighbor’s kindness, and Connie was simply saying it out of habit.
Glenn returned from the store carrying multiple blue plastic bags in his hands, setting everything down on the cleared kitchen table, and exhaling before walking back outside for the next load. He left the four jumbo-sized bags of ice on the front porch next to the two red and blue coolers. Dora looked through each grocery bag, unpacking what she needed at that very moment, and looking for any slight falter of her husband’s shopping skills. He was flawless once again, a fact that put the smallest of satisfied smirks on her face, more so than the sex had earlier that morning.
They then fled to their separate corners. Glenn started setting up what he could in the backyard. First a few long plastic tables, some wooden chairs, the grill and charcoal, and finally the two coolers, now stocked to the brim with imported beer. The canopy would have to wait for Glenn’s best friend Louis’ arrival. A two man job that would eventually have them screaming at one another to shift their weight one way or make sure the stakes were secure enough in the ground. It was inevitable that they would screw it up in one sense or another, as the travesty of the white canopy became as much of a yearly tradition as the Swick barbecue itself.
Dora started chopping vegetables for the various platters, setting up bowls of chips and pretzels, and making her neighborhood-famous taco dip. She set it down quietly next to the mini chicken salad sandwiches purchased at the local deli. Julian rolled into the house not much later after that; dark circles under his eyes and a head full of messed up hair. He looked like he had been out drinking all night, and yet the familiarity of the phrase “Boys will be boys” still somehow rang true in Dora’s head as she hugged her only son, kissing him gently on the forehead before turning into the more strict mother type, yelling for him to get cleaned up and ready for guests. People would be at the house sooner than both of them knew it.
Louis arrived mere seconds before Dora’s mother, Josephine, a fact that made Glenn all the more upbeat as the canopy travesty would give him just enough time to ignore his mother-in-law. Julian heard his grandmother’s familiar shrill from upstairs, choosing to play video games alone in his room for awhile, just until Ronald walked across the street.
Unfortunately Dora had no readily available modes of escape and was left with the uncompromisingly difficult task of first watching her mother rearrange all the various dishes on the kitchen table, and later listening to her tear apart every fixture of Dora’s life. Her daughter was getting too fat; her husband’s ass crack was showing as he bent over to stick the stakes in the ground. Julian seemed a bit weird for his age, not participating in any sports and always hanging out with that social defect Ronald. She took each sentence with a grain of salt, reiterating to herself over and over again that it was just one day.
It became slightly worse as her father Dean arrived with his new live-in girlfriend Wanda. She was about five years older than Dora, but managed to somehow fit in her teenage daughter Beth’s clothing. Unfortunately, Beth couldn’t make it to the barbecue. She was having boyfriend problems mixed with an affinity to indulge incessantly on whatever bottles were left open in Dean’s medicine and liquor cabinets.
Dora remained in the kitchen for roughly ten minutes, before venturing outside and checking up on Glenn and Louis’ canopy progress. It was a gradual affair to which both seemed less than concerned about. They had already managed to finish two beers in-between the loose-lipped profanity spouted off under their breaths in-between each step in the directions. Dora kissed her husband again, for the sake of her own longevity, before returning to the kitchen and the beyond uncomfortable silences from both her parents.
Guests arrived faster than expected as every new conversation allowed each member of the Swick family to avoid one another and those they were less than thrilled to see again. Glenn began to grill hotdogs and burgers for the cousins and their children. Dora gave a few quick tours of the house to new friends she had just made that year. She caught Glenn starring at Sandra Stevens’ cleavage briefly, before he turned back to the gray smoke of the grill. Julian and Ronald mostly avoided the other kids their age, choosing to play video games for awhile in-between bites of burnt fried chicken and rigatoni off of Styrofoam plates.
Glenn and Louis only briefly talked business with some of Dora’s first cousins, before deciding that they might need more ice. Louis drove his brown ford down the road, opening up the glove compartment, and lighting the dilapidated joint he rolled the previous night alone in his square apartment. Dora didn’t notice the scent and could barely focus on Glenn’s pupils long enough to realize that they were in fact bloodshot.
She avoided her Josephine’s vindictive tendencies long enough to smoke a cigarette alone in the upstairs bathroom, turning the fan on and opening the window, hoping that Glenn wouldn’t notice. The second she stepped back out into the hallway, she found Wanda perusing older family photographs and looking for a place to relieve herself as well. Dora led her downstairs to the pink-tiled bathroom and the line of children and adults waiting. She almost felt bad about such an action if she didn’t fear the inclination of Wanda letting her father know about the still somewhat prevalent nicotine addiction his daughter had maintained since middle school.
The day finally drifted to the afternoon as everyone’s full stomachs began to settle. Some people ducked out early, while others stayed for seconds. It was a moderate success, but didn’t quite live up to the expectations Glenn and Dora had for it in previous years. As time would pass, each would contemplate throwing the barbecue the next year. Julian would grow older and start sneaking beers with friends or possibly bail out all together, hiding in a potential girlfriend’s basement amongst records and tacked posters of false idols.
However, the one slightly unsettling concept that struck all of the family and regulars that day was the absence of Dora’s older sister, Susan, and her sixteen-year-old son, Harold. They didn’t quite understand why the two of them hadn’t shown up even after being one of the first to RSVP. Perhaps their car had broken down, or something strange and unexpected had happened. As Dora called her sister’s cellphone at around five, hoping for some familiar excuse or explanation, she received no answer or anything other than the machine asking if she wished to leave a message. Dora hung up the phone, and returned to the party, thinking nothing of it until the subsequent Monday morning when all the phone calls went out in quick succession.
It hadn’t been an accident. People his age just don’t accidentally decide to put a song on repeat and tie the noose tighter. Susan didn’t notice until she was almost out the door, waiting for her son to decide if he was attending the barbecue or not. She instantly became too devastated to fill any of her family in that Sunday afternoon and after numerous conversations with police officers, and finally the coroner, Susan was far too exhausted to let them know right away.
It was a closed casket ceremony. Dean paying for the majority of it, Harold’s father, Charlie showing up late and drunk, with no readily available explanation for how he was feeling at that very moment. The family came to a consensus that it would be easier if most of the younger children didn’t attend the funeral. They placed them in the church’s daycare room, Julian and his cousins being forced to watch Disney movies and stare at bins of Tonka trucks with faded paint jobs.
It wouldn’t be until years later when Glenn and Dora’s son finally found out the truth about his cousin’s death. It wasn’t an act of cinematic violence like he had become more than accustomed to, but rather simply a sad tale of forgotten numb feelings. Harold had become used to the hurt, the anguish, the betrayal and ultimately the sense that his life didn’t really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The faceless girl that didn’t attend the funeral would continue on with her life, trying desperately not to think about it. Harold’s former friends would do the same. It wasn’t like they had any other choice. It was so much easier to simply forget and try not to remember, rather than letting it all consume them late at night.
The barbecue would be slightly altered the next spring, both Glenn and Dora deciding to pass on the miniature chicken salad sandwich platter. After all, they were his favorite.
teach for america didn't want me.

fuck. okay. next idea......ummmm......hmmmmmm.....narrow it down again.

i got nothin'.

: )


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reality TV

Reality TV

I was fucked up, trying to remember a time when it all felt normal, when all the people I was regularly surrounded by actually meant something to me, but it had all changed, and I suppose faster than I expected. Six months away from it all, stranded in hotel rooms, frequenting bars with neon lights, fingering the trashy blondes in the taxicabs before eventually ending up back in the room. I was getting good at swiping the cards to unlock the door. It was one quick motion, something I’m sure got them off before I even started to do it myself.
They wouldn’t talk much and luckily our barroom conversations were always abruptly cut short by text messages they would receive or the blaring speaker system. I remember a time where I used to care to listen. I would ask her about her day, what had happened, all the minor incidents snowballing to an eventual place of pure bliss. I enjoyed her bullshit, which seemed strange even for me. It was different now, though. It was a whole new world. It’s like how they say you can’t go back.
I mean, once you’re out and away from it all, stories build around the others without you. It’s kind of like a soap opera, but with less of a moral code, and who’s the star? Who manages to take all the attention away from the other low-budget spectacles? Who’s the person the housewives like to watch and later fantasize about while reading their cheap dime novelty fiction in the comfort of their draped bedrooms?
I guess it would have to be Dennis. The big deal from my lifeless hometown, a former friend later followed by a drifting acquaintance and then finally the bane of my existence, the person I wanted to shoot in the head every time he came around. I never really thought I was prone to violence, though. I mean, I consider myself somewhat of an artist, a craftsman of the written word. In short, a pretty big pussy up to a point, but none the less, someone with some kind of spark, ya know? And oh what a spark it once was. I could compare it to the candles in the window on the night of the ride of Paul Revere. Faint and yet all so important.
She never saw me that way, though. No, it wasn’t her cup of tea to look for those who managed to be somewhat real, for those who had a better sense of self, those that knew where it was all going. Maria instead enjoyed being oblivious, wallowing in her bedroom, stoned, wondering why somebody like Dennis claimed to love her over the phone or possibly in messages sent on the Internet. But then when we were all being social, shooting the shit, wondering where our lives were inevitably going, why somebody like Dennis, who was so sweet and funny, cool and dangerous, recklessly falling apart, tearing away at the seams like fireworks going off on the fourth of July… Why somebody like him would simply ignore how he supposedly really felt, why he would only claim that he was leaving Gale on the first of the month, once the paycheck came in, and instead just be the perfect example of a social boyfriend, playfully embarrassing and far too drunk to comprehend or fully grasp all the hearts he was breaking in the room.
In short, Maria simply didn’t understand the person that he was. Dennis needed to be promiscuous, to plant seeds, and sure, say the right things from time to time, fake like he was opening his chest up, laying his heart on the table, promising a perfect life away from it all. Taking pictures of dry faces in New York, or possibly getting the advance to go to Europe. It would be a chance to fall in love all over again. They would go gallivanting around the historical sidewalks, drunk on cheap wine, wishing they remembered the last time they looked up at the sky and realized how beautiful it all was.
Of course, the reality of Dennis’ hushed promises and whispers behind bedroom doors was the fact that after the drunkenness, and the moonlight came the inevitable puking in the gutter, and just as he looked up, wiping his mouth, regaining his dilapidated sense of self, another skirt would walk by. She would pretend like she didn’t understand English, that his stories were charming and his small-town accent and sensibilities were undeniably sexy. Dennis would magnetically stick to this bleached blonde heroine. He would make up an excuse and never meet Maria back at the hotel room, because it just felt like an extremely strenuous task to be so settled and numb, in Paris of all places.
Nothing was like that, though. In fact, as I looked around at the people I still knew all too well, despite the fact that I had missed about a full season of dramatic episodes, I realized that nothing had really changed. I was a different person, though, no longer the fully fleshed example of sympathy. They didn’t feel bad for me anymore. No instead, they all just felt bad for themselves. They hadn’t seen anything new, and each night after starring at a similar cracked ceiling all of them quietly wondered to themselves where I was, what I was doing, who I was with, and why they had dumped on me for so fucking long, they would realize that it was going to be harder to sleep alone tonight or any other night. In fact, it was going to be a pure adrenaline rush of familiarity to sleep at all once they figured all that out.
Friends got invited places. Friends would keep in touch. Friends wouldn’t just poke their heads out of the sand every six months or so when they have to return home for their cousin Brian’s wedding. I was sort of looking forward to the next day’s events. The ceremony would be a bore, but I could pick out the ones who looked like they were worth fucking. Bridesmaids would swoon over my drunken tuxedoed self, and I had stories to tell them this time. Illustrious tales of big city living, jumping around from couch to airplane. I fucked a cocktail waitress on the men’s restroom floor one night in Austin only to later find out that she was married with kids. I considered writing a short story about her sad life, our passion-filled tiled escape being the backdrop for it, but I figured that it wouldn’t really appeal to any kind of a mass audience. They didn’t like to hear about how sad it all really was.
No, instead they liked to see profound life change, or possibly view the world from a different angle. Cocktail waitresses got fucked, though. That was their thing. It was like a part of their lives, a part of the job. In any case, I tipped big after my last drink before taking the cab back to the five-star hotel and ordering room service as I smoked a joint alone. I remember she gave me a cute smirk before walking off to the back of the restaurant. It reminded me of Maria’s, but was a little more full of life. The waitress knew what she had to go home to, she had accepted it, and yet as I starred across the familiar apartment and noticed Maria’s eye fixated in Dennis’ general direction, Gale and himself still pretending like they were the happy newlyweds who hadn’t gotten married yet, I realized that she would never completely understand how much of a lost cause it all was.
Me, on the other hand, I would’ve been worth it then. Not now, though. No, now I’m just sort of oblivious to girls like Maria. Girls that pretend like they’re artists. Girls that make believe like it’s all normal. The pain and anguish is a part of them, and as they stare up at the faces they don’t really know all that well, huffing and puffing over them, buying them flowers and puppy dogs, they still don’t quite buy into the idea that maybe it’s not going to work out with the star.
The writers know, though. We kind of take it all in. A picture’s bullshit. It doesn’t say anything. It’s just kind of there to look at, turning your head slightly to side and saying, “Wow, that must have been a really beautiful moment,” but it doesn’t say it like this. I could have taken a thousand pictures of Maria’s face that night, and a thousand more at all the parties and incidents before my own self exile, and none of it could have explained it nearly as well as I’m trying to explain it right now at this very moment. It was justifiably perfect. Somber and melancholy, the hurt stretching past any normal confines of everyday life. It was a whimsical reiteration that there is such a thing as being too naïve.
It was why I decided to call Henry that night. I knew they all wouldn’t be doing much of anything, getting drunk in the same small space, talking about their days and weeks like they were playing cards held on their drunken foreheads. Dennis’ three queens used to always beat my two pair before that night. Before that night I was the one walking out with a losing hand, with the emptied pockets and the coat ripped from my back, and yet the less than familiar feeling of complete victory swept over me like a dust storm. I could barely see or comprehend any of it, but it was all still there, still making it hard to breathe, still making some of us put our hands to our mouths to cough up memories of our former selves. It reminded me that there was such a thing as justice. Some call it karma; others just drown out whatever it is they’re thinking about calling it, choosing to simply ignore the graceful descent of life sometimes.
I used to be one of those people. I was happy to be in love with Maria once, to let it fade like all our temporary achievements. Her looks from across the room, the things we didn’t say to each other, and all of the bullshit we allowed to consume us. I was a firm supporter of it. The guy that just wanted her to be happy. Of course, even now as I think about that night, I can’t really imagine her being the least bit content as one of the many mistresses. I could run my fingers through the pages of our town’s phonebook, randomly stopping on last names, the majority of which having some sort of connection to one of them.
There was Joyce. A friend from high school still dating bald scapegoats and occasionally getting just the right amount of drunken attention from Dennis to maintain that warm fuzzy feeling of self-loathing. He would tell me about how wet she would get when he moved his tongue in a counter-clockwise movement, on our drives home from weekends spent tying up loose ends. He fucked Joyce’s sophomore-year roommate, Andrea, after the band played a show on campus, although I don’t really recall any of the oral details at this very moment.
Lisa hadn’t gone there in awhile, but still sort of wanted to, I think. It was like revenge for her or something. Fucking Dennis got her off in ways that couldn’t necessarily be explained in modern scientific terms. She wanted to live life like a bad actress before eventually settling with Peter. They were engaged, the wedding in the fall, and yet even if I were in the kind of position to have an address to mail an invitation, I don’t see myself going. It would just be too much like all the other nights. I mean, it’s different with family. There’s that underlying concept that you’re being forced to get drunk and make a fool out of yourself.
With friends it should be different, ya know? It shouldn’t be a barrage of looks circling around the church, wondering if anyone’s going to object to such a union. That’s why Dennis hadn’t popped the question to Gale yet. He knew he would have to invite all the other women he was fucking on the side, and in which case it would prove rather complicated to continue to do so once the kids started popping out. All of them would slowly start to wonder why they had so many aunts that weren’t related to them, and furthermore barely any uncles.
I remember George mentioned another one while we were smoking on the roof. She was some girl he met when he was sixteen at band camp or something. All of a sudden she was back in town, and Dennis needed more excuses, more busy work to lie about. It was really pathetic the more and more I thought about it. I mean, there really is no point in forming relationships and furthermore having more than one. It’s different for me being on the road. The blondes in bars like to hear stories about my life as a literary mistake. They like to be dazzled, to pretend like they’ve read something I’ve written before, and all for the sake of making the one-night-stand that much more magical. They can tell their friends about it the next day at work, but eventually it’ll just be common practice to not give a shit about what they’re saying.
We all don’t care, ya know? She could be fucking Justin Timberlake or something and it wouldn’t make any kind of a difference. Drunk one-night-stand fucking is like paying to play pool at a bar when you have a table all to yourself at home. It’s sort of strange, but everybody does it from time to time, and even if the person you’re fucking is sort of a big deal, it doesn’t change the fact that it went nowhere after that.
See that’s why it was weird with that waitress, though. I didn’t really want her to hold me in such high esteem. Our dirty little secret was probably one of many, and I didn’t really understand it. It was personal with her, ya know? Kind of like Lisa and the revenge thing, but also kind of different. It meant something to be that reckless and still on the clock. She set out to get away almost, but instead it didn’t happen. We didn’t even go back to the hotel. She wiped the dirt off of her black dress, as she stood up, relieved and strangely satisfied. I threw the rubber in the metal garbage can and we unlocked the door. Nobody was waiting to use the facility, and yet there were people waiting for her to get home, to hear about how her day was. I couldn’t stop thinking about it in the cab. It was odd for people to be that way, ya know?
Anyway, I don’t know why Maria didn’t listen to me. As I looked at her face past all the polished bodies, that was all I could think about. I tried to tell her so many times that it wasn’t going to work out, and yet I suppose I never really fully came out and said it. I would try to be subtle. I couldn’t just hold the page in front of her face and say “read this.” Our relationship didn’t work like that.
Fuck, it’s so weird that I just called it a relationship, but I mean, calling it a friendship would make me have to completely redefine that word, and I’m not one to do that. Words have their definitions for a reason. She said, “just friends” like it’s an okay thing, like it’s something we can both live with, ya know? Yet it’s not like she can fucking live with Dennis’ fragmented definition of “just fuck buddies” or “just part-time lovers,” “just supposedly intellectual and creative equals.” Instead, she should really see it for how it is. “Just another girl he talks to and occasionally fools around with.”
I wasn’t the one to tell her, though, at least not outright. Even after six beers, several bowl hits and a few quick lines in the green and white tiled bathroom, I still didn’t really feel like I had any say in what she was doing with her life, or really, when push comes to shove, not doing in her life. She wasn’t really venturing out and away from the common infatuation, but rather sort of waiting for somebody else to fall in love with her.
I guess she was still sort of working the Chad card, and rather elegantly I must admit. Her flirting almost seemed sincere. Her envious laughter echoed in the filled room, and yet despite how fucked up I and everybody else was, we all kind of knew that anything Chad said wasn’t really going to be funny.
I talked to some random acquaintances for awhile, filling them in on what it’s all like, how it’s different. I pretended like I missed occasions like that one, that it was all sort of scattered and dull, that every town was kind of the same, kind of like ours. None of it was true, though. I guess I didn’t really have the heart to tell them what they needed to hear. That’s the weird thing about it, though. My heart had to be broken first before I could tell Maria, and by that time it was just like pretending to drown in the deep end, for attention or maybe a false sense of accomplishment when you realize that you’re somebody worth saving. I had to do it for me, not her. I had to let her know that everything could have been different. Everything could have been about us.
I pissed for what seemed like an hour before saying a few shallow good-byes, reiterating that I was catching a plane that Sunday after the wedding hangover wore off. They waved like it wasn’t the last time we would see each other. They had some sense that I would be back, for a funeral or maybe around Christmas time to share similar feelings of distaste with them and my parents. I closed the door behind me, magically keeping my balance as I headed for the stairs. I heard it open again, in quick succession, and yet didn’t allow myself the comfort of turning around and looking like an old bad habit.
“You didn’t even say hi tonight,” she said standing in the doorway like we were past due for a heart-to-heart. I started walking down the stairs reminding myself that it was kind of hard to have any kind of soul-bearing conversation when you’ve already sold it for an unfamiliar bed to sleep in every night, and an equally unrecognizable body lying next to you. The hangover, on the other hand, it was like my favorite movie. I couldn’t just flip past it. I had to see some part of it before venturing off to another channel.
“It was good to see you tonight Maria. I almost forgot how similar we used to be.” I took the two flights down to the sidewalk, unlocked my car and started driving without thinking much about how everything was kind of spinning. I knew where all the cops would be stationed, where all the kids would get caught and where she would sleep that night. Passed out on the red sectional, wondering where her life was going. I remember how quickly I was back home, sleeping in my old bedroom, once again pretending like it was all a matter of a personal opinion, personal choice, personal whatever. I couldn’t be anything but a special guest star now, and one that chose to remain unaccredited. I couldn’t stand for people to see me as a regular there anymore. The show had already jumped the shark.

Done 2

9:54 - 12:26

- second upload, resizing, etc.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


4:54 - 9:36

- the time it took to upload "the daily camera 2007"

so, i'm sorry

I would like to apologize to a lady at work. I scooted my chair in so she could get by, even though there was nothing behind me.

Gravel Is A Nightmare

Blacktop rubs me raw,
leaving a red badge
like a cluster of stars,
a swirl of scabs
waiting and pleading to be picked.

Carpet's worse
in that it's designed to comfort us.
In the morning, we do everything we can
to keep our feet on its warm pile,
the tile of the bathroom damning us.
It fools us in this way,
tricking us into trusting it
until we dive behind the couch to catch an orange birthday balloon
or roll with a girlfriend's dog
and are left with a burn
named specifically after this two-timer.

With wood, there's always a chance for infection,
or so we're told by our mothers
(if they haven't been replaced by terriers)
as they fetch the tweezers
that are never in the right drawer.

But gravel is a nightmare.
Gravel feels like a curse.
it's name sounds like shrapnel,
which would be just as fitting.
Whose idea was it to cover all the best hills
with their dips and curves
and no traffic
in gravel?
These are not the questions we ask, though,
when the stones dig into our skin.
Too big to be classified as pebbles,
though we'd beg for pebbles,
smoothed by wind or water or
what? We don't know.
The only questions we can ask
before we even pick up our bikes,
knowing we might not ride them again for a week,
either out of pain or spite,
is "where is my mom?"
or "where is my dog?"

Your Toothbrush Is Your Anchor

Your toothbrush is your anchor.
Keeping your ship,
proud and clean even in unknown waters,
like this apartment you hate
for its fickle temperature
on the narrow street
where I can never park.

Or maybe it's a flag.
Standing tall in a cartoon character cup,
marking this sink as your own.
displayed proudly before mine,
itself a visitor with hopes
of one day making this sink its home.

War Elephants

The river is still orange
The night still hushed
Save for the shouting
Save the shouting
Launched from the rooftops:
We have come back
From out on the lam

We lay hushed for so long

The land had been trampled
The grass had grown over
Taking it back and
Knocking the crust off and
Singing the songs and
Kissing each other

one more.

So, are we all afraid of 500 or something?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Principles of Modern Music (Rough)

I. Harmony
II. Structure (ABABC etc. or verse chorus bridge blah blah blah)..also including development which is one of the most important ideas in the construction of classical music...when a main theme is torn apart and changed, distorted (as in manipulated, not like the guitar-effect)...often, the main melody is used in a fugue or canon during this section...which often leads to new melodies that can be further disfigured...then that usually culminates in some sort of return to the original idea, a recapitulation.
rock music has barely touched the surface in this area...and jazz only does during improvisation solos...because most rock and jazz are primarily song-based, but classical can be song or it can be a larger piece
III. Sound Texture - not guitar sound or a collective in the texture of Loveless by MBV or Siamese Dream by SP or Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2...or Night Ripper by Girl Talk or The Avalanches record...these recordings all have very distinct textural elements that make them unique compared with other sound textures...Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is another good example..I also think that records need to be more diverse in sound texture...why can't there be a single song that goes through the texture of Loveless to a 4-track elliott smith's first two records-type texture, to something almost electronic, like 1999 or dirty-mind era prince...
IV. Dynamics - soft, normal, loud...most rock music and electronic music is very mono-dynamic...jazz is somewhere in the middle, "classical" is the most completely dynamic
V. Articulation - How a note is played...a strong accent, rock and electronic music, most notable when in reference to a vocalist...but rock music doesn't have the detail in articulation that jazz and classical do (not yet)
VI. - Arrangement - Instrumentation and Effects (distortion, phaser, etc.) - Effects achieve the same thing that, for instance, a mute in a trumpet would achieve, but more intensely.
VII. Shape - Melodic a melody is created and manipulated...or counter melody...or in counterpoint...shape, along with rhythm, is extremely important in the concept of development
VIII. Rhythm - Rhythm
IX. Space - How sounds are arranged in a recording...panning plays a part in this, and microphone placement...

Four Parts Misguided Part 3: Junior Year

Part 3: Junior Year
New possibilities were still somewhat similar to old infatuations, in which case there was no real point in steering away from such a valiant and highly moronic effort. I was too used to everything at that point. Each feeling of hurt became somewhat more so a part of me. I was addicted to my heartbreak as if it was the same as all the other drugs. I thought that possibly it was all a test. It was just a way for me to wait until the big Hollywood ending, and yet I couldn’t write a movie cataloguing all the moments that led to my eventual decision that year. She was a mistake of an undeniably high caliber, and yet it still felt much simpler to lay the blame elsewhere. It was bad timing or possibly the world spinning in a counter-clockwise direction, making all my slow steps forward seem as if they were taking me back to familiar places full of less than marketable memories of loss and overly-glorified depression.
I don’t know why it took me so long that year either. Maybe it was the shell I was comfortable living in, painting my walls with hieroglyphics of possibilities, stones left unturned. In short, I suppose I was waiting for her to grow up like I thought I had. I figured that eventually she would simply wake up and realize one day that life isn’t about what isn’t happening somewhere. It’s about what’s happening specifically somewhere. She found other places to waste her time, cataloguing photographs of less than familiar faces. People she thought knew her, and yet they were all somewhat fickle.
The ones that would survive the test of time would only be worn down by the people around them, much in the same way that I had grown more than accustomed to those who were constantly encircling me. They were there to listen to all of my bullshit about her, my minor complaints eventually snowballing into full-fledged annoyances. I was stuck with the satisfyingly dull pull of venting whenever I felt like it, whenever the moment was right. I think everyone just grew accustomed to it. They saw me as that guy, and when she was around they saw the worst parts of me as that guy slowly resurfacing every few minutes or so.
I slowly started to hate myself. It was inevitable that somebody like her would do that to me. They would tear away at my insides until there was nothing left. I hated those around her, though. They were exactly like her, and as I saw it all as something bigger, something that I knew would happen, but wasn’t necessarily sure I was ready to buy into such an extremely easy-to-grasp concept, I eventually decided that it wasn’t right, that it would never be right. I decided to try and exile myself from her. Our paths wouldn’t cross. I would avoid wondering about what was going on, what was happening in her life. She could do whatever she wanted, and I was less than thrilled to hear about it.
Maybe all of it did hit me sooner than I thought. There were tons of moments where I found myself more than a little bored with the concept of listening to her debauched tales of life, her escapades in hardwood floored apartments dancing around diminishing possibilities and settling on those that she would never truly know. Maybe I never truly knew her. Perhaps there was a time earlier, in the years before, where at one particular moment I saw her as something bigger than all of it, as someone who at the very least could serve as a muse for some grand manifestation of pixels, but it didn’t work like that.
In fact, I couldn’t even think to dwell on such previous feelings of juvenile heartbreak, attempting to spawn them into something beautiful. Instead, they were just there to linger, and eventually die out. I don’t love her anymore. How could I? We’re different. We’re possibilities lodged together out of fate or possibly diminishing will power. In any case, this year, this junior year was a turning point of divine caliber. It was a chance for me to see her out of her element and the same was true for me. While she would attempt to tear me down to size, bringing up past moments of embarrassing clumsiness, I would slowly realize that it was the only way she could save face. We were in different worlds, different times, and all of our previous moments were now awkwardly shoved in a blender. They would spin and turn; occasionally being brought up at parties or in passing living room conversation, but none of it mattered. We were torn apart, and even the last ditch effort didn’t do anything other than send me spinning in another direction.
This direction wasn’t necessarily a new one, and yet I didn’t fully realize how incredibly soul sucking the whole process would be. Favors turning into possibilities of friendship, eventually slowing down and formulating into something more so familiar. It wasn’t like loving her this time, though. No, this time it was a completely different. A more gradual and highly confusing process that I still haven’t even begun to reflect on yet. It’s impossible to do so, it keeps spinning round like any carnival, and I can’t simply avoid it.
I can’t look at the ad in the paper and choose not to go, or move to another town, hoping for some much-needed peace and quiet. The wheels will eventually start heading in my general direction, not allowing me the time or energy to get over any of it, and it’s not her fault, this new one. It’s never been her fault. It’s mine, because I am more or less so used to the pattern by now that irregardless of how things supposedly change, or what they change into, it’s still somehow the exact same. I’m still that guy at the end of this year, and probably at the beginning of all the next ones.
My headphones are my solace, songs scattered over different formats, all the old ones that used to remind me of the earlier years now remind me of the years to come, the hurt, the anguish, all the bullshit happening periodically and over and over again. It’s not like I’m complaining, though. In fact, maybe all of this is good for me, and that’s exactly how I felt at first. At the new beginning I couldn’t see any of it sputtering off in the wrong direction and even now I don’t see it that way. It’s not like I’m the problem, although sometimes it feels like I am. It’s everything else. It’s the way they all are, those that I came to know and those that are faded photographs. It’s all of them, and they’re all an intricate part of this elaborate and highly coincidental mess.
Of course, I didn’t hate any of them at the end of this long and winding turnstile. No, at the point where her story comes to an end and another one starts, I was happy to simply be feeling some of the same feelings for a different person. It was reassuring, and yet all the more complicated. Whereas before it was a lot simpler, none of the others were quite like me, now and even when it started it felt somewhat unsettling. All of the others this time were like me, or at least trying to be somewhat different, maybe a little cooler, a little more sure of themselves. They weren’t in love, though. No, they were just going through all the familiar motions that they were used to. They were pretending to be different, they were trying, passively attempting to leave an imprint, and some of them have been more than a little successful at it.
Not this year, though. This year was about the end and the beginning, about the movie that I don’t want to see again. It was about all of that, about both of them and no one at all, and it ended with the possibility actually seeming like something it was. A possibility that wasn’t just pretending. Maybe I’m rambling here, but I guess I just wish somebody else would get it for once, and not just say they get it to reassure me of my all-too familiar way. I want them to actually get it. To understand that maybe, for once, and only once, I was happy pretending like I wasn’t when everyone kind of knew that I was.

Air shows

Dear Bryan,

Do you remember the air show where it was so loud and rumbly that all the fluid in your ears leaked out? You had tubes in your ears for years, but that air show did the trick! You never had any problems after that!

Dear Dad,

Do you remember running with the crowd to our car because of the thunderstorm at the air show? That was the first time I saw real panic. That huge antenna got struck by lightning and people were shocked! Or were they smashed? I can't remember -- did anyone die?
Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I went through a tunnel, big square light boxes lining each side. Shimmering off of the dirty white tile. It never ended.


Back in December, I got into a conversation with my mother about what it's like to have kids. I asked her if she was afraid of losing her own life when she had me. She looked at me, shook her head and said: "When you have a child, you love that child so much your life becomes theirs. Just seeing them live is enough for you." She explained that watching something she made just grow and learn and fall and learn more is a reoccuring joy. It struck me as a pretty profound statement then, but it really hit me hard today when I talked to her on the phone and she asked, as always, if I needed anything.

Then I realized that the love she has for me and the love of being a mother in general is the kind of love I've always wanted to emulate. I'm still years away from it, 'cause Lord, sometimes I can't even take care of myself. But it's probably the most perfect and whole and pure love on Earth. And that's what love means to me: that genuine care for another person, obviously and regardless. So thanks, Mom, for, you know, loving me -- even when I'm a shithead. If I can love my own child half as much as you've loved me then I'll consider myself an OK human being.


I like when the snow is... stale. Does that make sense? When it's not close to melting, but it's not falling, and it's been around for a couple days. You know, when it's a bit crisp. I've been waiting to post these pictures on a stale snow day, but I don't see that happening this year.

New series...

The Ones We Love

Take a look around the whole site, too, when you have a chance.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So I’m standing in my kitchen. I’m standing there, back against the pantry, and I’m looking around the room. I’ve just moved into my new house in Pittsburgh, and everything is scattered this way and that. Everything is boxed, bagged, or just plain lost. Naturally in all of this mess, a lighter is nowhere to be found.
A cig hangs from my wind-chapped lips, unlit. I’m looking at all of the air surrounding me, the tremendous piles of cardboard boxes that are holding anything from a collection of multicolored ribbons to a box of silverware. In my life, there is no rational place for things to be, and so there is no rational place for things to be found either.
Directly across the room from me is the stove. I remember 6 or so houses ago, the one where I had painted my ceiling pink, when I would light my cigs on the gas stove. It seemed like an alright idea.
A minute later, I’m standing in front of the mirror puffing on the cigarette and wondering how long it takes for eyelashes and eyebrows to grow back. The bangs are easy to fix. I just knock off the burnt stuff and tuck them back into my head wrap. I’m looking in the mirror again, trying to reason with my new look. I do this for awhile, and then I decide that I want to start writing again.

for instance.

"i'm trying to fucking sleep, do you think you could turn down your music?"
i didn't say a word. there was no point, really. what is there to say? i dunno
i'm not perfect. i need to remember this. i know that my life is moving very
quickly now with blue birds and christmas lights and old windows letting in
too much cold air.
and i'm trying new things and wanting different things and experimenting
with myself and what i could handle/want/like/need/enjoy. and i think it's
a good time for it. just a good time to rely on myself again because....i
swear it's like a rule of life or something that attatchment is only good
for some of the time. i ask the question all the time: will i ever really
know anyone? or...will i ever be the lightworker i (think) was meant to be?
this day was part by part episode by episode different heartbeat rates.
i was walking down a hallway in the old building with the horseshoe front.
i was drinking water. he was wearing a gray cardigan, like the kind curt would
wear. and oh yeah, gray slacks. a little too short for him, and no socks? what?
in this weather? anyway....i was walking and it's this horrendous pull i feel,
so much so that i need to go in the bathroom and lock myself in a stahl and
nearly shout, "damn, cool your jets, girl," while laughing.
i tried, in class, to act like i wasn't stoned. he's a christian, afterall.
he's a christian.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Anything Goes, 02/09/08

Four Parts Misguided Part 2: Sophomore Year

Part 2: Sophomore Year
The slow swing of comfort. A lot of people retreated for the hills that first year. Others stuck around and turned into what they didn’t realize would eventually happen to all of us. We would become so amplified in our personalities, that by our sophomore year of college it was safe to say that we were on our way to becoming actual full-fledged human beings. Although, some people managed to fake it better than others as always.
I still felt as if I was somewhere slightly in-between that year. A lot of major nuances had fallen apart right in front of me, other imprinted fanatical ideas about people I hadn’t seen for over a year slowly started their long road trip to a place of kindred reminiscence. I would think of them more than often, dwelling on all those moments and memories that didn’t happen, writing elaborate scenes that only existed for the sake of my own sanity. I suppose on occasion everyone has to run around in the past, avoiding false claims of ownership and lingering suspicions that even though we are all slightly getting older, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re different people.
However, I did feel different. I was coming into my own in a sense, living my highly uneventful life in stride. There were some things I couldn’t see coming, and in that way it was good to later reflect back on them, taking the time to breathe and say to myself, “Wow, that was seriously fucked up right there.” Then there were nights when I all too obviously realized that nothing was going to happen. Any potential progress would be my own, and most likely turn into some sort of distant archival note to sit quietly on the dashboard representing the less than enthusiastic person that I was at that particular moment in my life.
The good parts slowed down. After the summer, it’s almost as if everybody has to coordinate plans for larger-than-life conquests into small-town obscurity. We need to find the little air-raid holes to crawl into with others so all of us can calmly decide that even though it’s not something huge, it’s still something. My main problem with this initial concept is that fact that she wasn’t this way at all. I was in love with somebody who in the clearest of lights, although I chose to blindly hide in the dark for so long, was always looking for something better than what was offered. I was there, with some seemingly boring albeit truly genuine ideas of where I wanted the night’s events to go, and she would be looking for the next shot, the next hit, the next mistake and the next excuse the next morning.
She was good at coming up with all of the excuses, the most common and I suppose gut wrenching of all of them being this: “It’s not like I ever have to see him again or anything.” This seems beyond stupid, doesn’t it? That such a truly shallow statement would somehow manage to get to me, to tear apart my insides and leave me all alone on most cold nights staring up at the ceiling and wondering why certain people are a certain way. Why certain people decide that there always has to be something better to do, something much cooler out there.
I was never this way. I thought that the things we were and weren’t doing were all somehow a truly beautiful manifestation of who we were as people. We knew each other when things were and weren’t happening, and we all dealt with the subsequent consequences following the slow spin of the alcohol the next morning. I didn’t used to indulge so much before that year, and yet as time passed and we all began to wonder why we didn’t know about this and that going on, myself more so than not simply wondering why this gigantic feeling that I had calmly kept bottled up for so long wasn’t fleshing out in quite the overly cinematic way I wanted it to, we soon realized that maybe it wasn’t the best of ideas to continually have nothing to do. I searched for other jagged possibilities and yet still ended up falling right back into my overly pathetic routine at the end of that school year.
It was strange, almost as if nothing had changed. I would look around at my friends, the ones that had been there since forever, a lot of them still waiting for their highly publicized fall from grace, and I wouldn’t see all the same things anymore. Some of them were growing up too fast, only later deciding to indulge in their childlike impulses when we they knew it would most likely be frowned upon. I was still me, though. I know that I was, and despite the occasional dazed obsolete feelings of heartbreak, I figured that there was still some sort of lingering bottom-of-the-barrel chance that eventually everybody will realize what they’re missing out on. After all, I was the same way once. I didn’t see it all as clear as day before, and yet even though I tried not to notice her gradual shift into pure unadulterated human irreverence, eventually it would get to me.
That time, though, that sophomore year full of cars passing us by, and moments hidden in familiar locations, us becoming regulars to our own self-indulgent and highly self-destructive ways, was beautiful. If anything else, I suppose I was happy to be in love and heartbroken about such a fact often, rather than hating myself for being stuck alone with nothing to do, listening to the voices of those who did ultimately decide to stick around. I had to get away and see what was and wasn’t happening, for the sake of myself, and yet I still don’t see how I could have been so fucking naïve to how it all was. I should have changed faster. I should have become as numb as possible earlier. If anything else, it would have most likely sped up the process. All my decisions were small and insignificant that year. There was no real reason for why they had to be any other way.

.efil fo trap a si tuo gnikaerf

I'm free to decide and

I'm not so suicidal afterall!

We do what we please

Our number one complaint about the rest of the world:
Everything everyone says has been marinating in far too much bullshit to really be worth anything.

And... I'm going to say this now because if I don't there's a chance that our words could be just as trite and meaningless. Things got awkward, didn't they? I laid claim on you, didn't I? And you didn't oppose, in fact, you apologized. You didn't want to hurt me. Then there were things unsaid and things edited and that's the last fucking thing I want.

So this is me letting go. I'm not going to do that to you or myself. Neither one of us owns anything and we shouldn't have to edit.


What am I burning to tell the world, a myriad of things. I hate people who type “this” like “dis”, it’s not cute. Dane Cook is the least funny person I have ever had the displeasure of hearing. Punxsutawney cafeteria food is awful. However, for the sake of your eyes, length of this paper, and not having something to complain about later, I’ll stick to a more serious subject. I don’t care if you’re white, black or anything in between, STOP saying nigger.

To understand why this makes me so irate, I will provide you with a brief exposition of the word nigger. During the times when the slave trade was in effect, nigger was used as a derogatory term for the slaves of the dark skinned variety. Let’s move forward through time now. Abraham Lincoln frees the slaves, African Americans gain the right to vote, Civil Rights Movement etc. Now, in the year 2008, we black people have come a long way right? Unfortunately, some could argue, that it was a long way down as opposed to a long way up. I turn on the television or radio, and nigger( or nigga, which I will address soon), is being used profusely in every song an music video. In social settings, most of my black friends, who mean no disrespect, greet me with, “sup nigga”. All through the day I hear black people calling other black people this word, yet some of these people are the same ones who get angry when someone who isn’t black uses the word. I’m not trying to justify other people’s use of the word, nor am I claiming that blacks should be responsible for other people’s use of the word, but if we don’t want other people to say it, we should lead by example.

Arguments have been made that blacks can use the word and no one else because it was a tool of our oppression. I don’t buy that. If someone calls me an asshole, as an insult, why would I want to address my friends and family like that? Others say that it’s because the form of the word now is “nigga”. This change supposedly removes the hate that its predecessor carried. Even if I did believe that you’re telling me that out of all the words in the English language, we have to use this one to call one another? Dude, pal, buddy, buster are all names that can be used instead. There are so many words in the English language that weren’t created by racists as a form of disrespect that could be used.
I wouldn’t feel so strongly about had I not had my own personal experiences with the word. Quite recently, I was at a party in this area. It was a friend’s from school but a local who I will now refer to as Jack showed up as well. I was immediately apprehensive because I had heard about the low racial tolerance in the area, but I didn’t want to stereotype so I didn’t leave. As the party continued Jack put on some of his music, a band called Drop Kick Murpheys. I wouldn’t have mentioned the band, but as I’m going to use a direct quote that mentions them, and I don’t want to confuse. The host of the party switched the music after a while for rap. This pissed Jack off apparently. “Unbelievable”, he said. “You turned off the Murpheys for nigger music?” Awkward silence followed, though Jack seemed completely unaware. Offended, I asked him to elaborate about what he meant by nigger music. The story ends there because talking ended up not working.
Another story that shaped my opinion toward this word happened when I was very young. At this point, I believe another exposition is necessary. I was in foster care before I was even born. I never met my real parents, but the first parents I ever called mom and dad were white. I was in a foster home in Kittanning, a predominately white city. Knowing this, until I was around 5 I never really saw many black people besides myself, and didn’t notice I looked differently until it was very blatantly pointed out to me by a 4 year old girl. My parents (who are my godparents now) were shopping at Wal-Mart. As we passed another family, I heard the little girl say, “Look mommy, there’s a nigger!” I had no idea what that even meant, but my godparents did. They thought I didn’t hear it, so they didn’t say anything; but when I looked at their faces I could tell they were hurt, even though I wasn’t hurt myself. Not surprisingly, when they went to adopt me, they were told it wasn’t a good idea based on how extremely racist their area was. Up until I was 7 I completely forgot the incident until I heard the word again on the radio and asked my parents (who are my parents now, and also black) what it meant.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Four Parts Misguided Part 1: Freshman Year

Four Parts Misguided

Part 1: Freshman Year
I suppose I hated the majority of them from the start. I was different, and I knew that. I couldn’t fake whatever it was they were trying for. I was trying for me, to get a clean and clear message of who I was, across to all those sanctimonious confused and ill-informed faces, and yet they didn’t understand any of it. Maybe I was bad at attempting to fit in. I would occasionally be undeniably graphic or loud and boisterous for no reason other than to satisfy my own awkward position of trying to fit in with a group that, for the most part, didn’t ever have anything in common.
Sure, there were things we could learn from each other, forming hushed opinions in the back of our heads about what we really thought of them, but I suppose the truth of such a frazzled experience was that we were just waiting for something better to come along. We were all trying to get laid in our own right, and also thinking about the future of our lives as more than just statuesque bodies eventually all spinning around the same one-horse town. We could end up anywhere. We had potential, and even if we weren’t quite sure of what we wanted to do, there were other examples of people who maybe did know where their life was going. People who did actually have it figured out in some obsolete definition of the word. I would later realize that these same people were simply better at pretending than I was.
I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It just hit me one day, like some sort of divine purpose. A disease or some distant plague that had just crossed the border over to my particular neck of the woods. I wanted to be a writer, and they all saw me as that person, and yet didn’t ever take the time to wander about what I was writing, let alone read anything. It was one of those lopsided points of view where they would eventually realize that when I was in my own zone of lush phrasing and calm reflection on the day’s refrain, the people who weren’t necessarily around but still somehow inspiring me, and those that were two feet away slowly and gradually picking away at my skin like it was Velcroed to my organs, that I didn’t necessarily want to be bothered with campus news of public urination and the slow decent of liberal studies electives.
We were all taking them, and still taking them. “You can never be too well-rounded” is what they would tell us. Like some of us need knowledge of obscure philosophical passages or anthropological digs that really didn’t solve anyone’s bigger problems, the main one at that time having been how does one manage to get laid in college? They say it’s easy. That is to say if you have lowered standards of everybody you’ve ever met in your entire life. I can very easily take anybody through the elaborate motions of my thought process on this very subject, but in any case I sort of want to get back to my initial point.
From the start, I’ve always felt more than a little lost. I don’t belong here, and by here I mean pretty much everywhere I’ve been in my entire life. Maybe there’s a town for me somewhere, it doesn’t have to be huge just full of all the right and wrong possibilities. This town and general location I am living at right now isn’t where I should be. I’m slowly sinking into the ever-so proper and readily accepted way to act around everybody I know, all the people I met my freshman year no longer included. Their distant faces now, people I pass by with a subtle head nod as I try to wonder why we all just sat around together and pretended like the holes in the wall were television sets taking us to far off lands. The familiar stains on the floors and ceilings of our lives were there to make our stomachs slowly sink before we turned back on the anesthesia.
I don’t really wonder all that much about what they’re doing, how they’re living their lives. Once we’re all out of this place it’s just going to be another tangled face in the crowd. I’ll be one place for longer than expected before eventually deciding to slowly retreat to another. We never discussed the bigger things back then. In fact, even the things that seemed bigger were just temporary solutions for any and all of us to stroke our egos gently before rolling over on the creaky box-springs and silently reassuring ourselves that this is what everybody does. They all meet new people and form destructive opinions on them. They learn to hate them in ways they didn’t think possible. They learn to avoid and distract themselves from all that is and isn’t happening, and they do it because they don’t necessarily understand why such an intermediary period is necessary in life.
It was like trying to gets somebody to listen to a band that they would never have any interest in. They always write them off before they hear them play, because they’ve either heard things about them, be they good or bad, overly-hyped, or sensitively shaken. Their opinions are already formed regardless of the sound and in that case, it doesn’t matter how good they are, because it will always be the same outcome.
As we all moved out and away from our lackluster decision-making skills, that formulated when we were all stuck starring at cleavage and chalkboards, the drone of the more than a little indecisive person standing in front of us, calmly reiterating one simple adult statement “You actually have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life eventually,” and started to actually form real opinions on the way things are, we soon realized that it would eventually come crashing down on us. We would have to extradite ourselves from that which we knew and learned to live with.
In short, freshman year was full of less than optimistic feelings about the future. It was full of new faces we saw pass us by everyday and never wanted to get to know. It was a time for people to turn into what they always wanted to be. The person their parents wouldn’t let them be in high school was now, all of a sudden, a real life option. We wanted to be larger than ourselves. Our opinions were our crawl spaces. Sometimes we would have to hide inside of them all alone, trying not to let their awkward truths filter past the grating. Other times they were our downfall, as everybody didn’t necessarily feel the exact same way all the time.
In other cases, it was something that made us homesick or slowly come to such a untimely and callow realization that possibly there was something we all missed as we ran for the hills away from the familiar. I thought I was falling in love and it was before I could just blame it all on the drugs.
Just when you think the trip is over, you pull out the spare fuckin' tire. You just keep on cruisin' without missing a beat.
Shit really is that funny.
making a list of things I like today:

ukulele song for me
animal collective in paris

Saturday, February 9, 2008

1-11-08 Dad hugged me today.

? The only reason we have problems is because people think there are solutions.

1-24-08 Eyebrow piercing count: 1

1-25-08 "I found out about a new PA town every weekend" -fisher

1-29-08 The parts when we blink.-----We're linked together, but we forget it. That's why I didnt want to give you a ride today. I just wasnt thinking about it. It's why food is microwaved. Might be the reason why politicians talk the way they do.

1-30-08 Mom says I've got taste for shit.