This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
First Movement: The drive to differentiate from the herd will get a young man up in the morning. Got me up for a real long time. Kept me awake. Hard. The stormy, Moby Dick seas of the Will to Power: more than just a good cup of coffee. So who knew that something as powerful as will could be undermined? Intermezzo in Honour of Richard Wagner: Conversation with Satan: The Devil: I give you the following choice, J. The Kid: Break it down, Dev. The Devil: You can remain right now as you are: you will be unrecognized throughout your life. You will remain generally poor, finances will always be an issue. As you get older, like all human beings, you will get uglier. You see this graph here? (Points to an X-Y axis graph on cardboard.) The Kid: Yes. The Dev: That’s you having less and less sex over time. The Kid: I see. The Devil: Some of the more mediocre writers that you know will become famous and lead exciting sex-filled lives in Los Angeles. They will also be taken seriously as artists thus taking themselves seriously as individuals. There will indeed come a point where they will, viewing you as a loser, cease to correspond with you. The Kid: I thought deals with the devil were supposed to be fun. The Dev: Now here’s the upshot. Immediately following your death there will be a new found interest in your work. With fury and passion you will be recognized as one of the greatest literary minds in western history. They will build shrines to you. They will put plaques up in the hotels you stayed in. Grant you the Nobel Prize, posthumously. The Kid: Interesting.... The Dev: Now here’s the other side of the gig. A month from now you’re sitting in a cafe having a cup of coffee. At the table next to you, three students are shooting a stupid independent film about sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee, basically jerking themselves off as students will. You know how it is. The Kid: Yep.
The Dev: One of them is going to ask you to play a bit part. You agree and deliver the lines brilliantly. Three months later a major director in Paris sees it. The film is shit, but you jump out at him and he decides you’re perfect for the lead in his new movie. It’s going to a heavy work of art. A film that’s going to win Cannes, the Sundance Film Festival and all that other shit. You’re career is going to launch like a rocket so that by this time next year you’re one of the most famous men in the world. And it’s a cool, righteous fame, too. Along the lines of a Johnny Depp or Sean Penn. People think you’re intense. You buy houses in the South of France, LA and New York. You rent an apartment in Madrid. You live a fantastically cultured, beautiful life with tons of sex. The Kid: Interesting... The Devil: So, which is it? The Kid: Well, I guess I have a question. The Dev: Break it down. The Kid: In regard to the first scenario and having my work recognized posthumously, what kind of effects are we talking about here? Am I like a Bukowski, which is cool, but not much more than a celebrated literary figure? Or am I more like Christ or Mohammed with massive impact on human consciousness? The Dev: Are you asking me if your writing is going to save the world? The Kid: I guess that’s it. The Devil: Let’s take the former. Let’s say that after you die you’re going to be about as famous and revered as Dostoevsky. The Kid: But I still have a miserable life? The Dev: Pretty much. The Kid: I’ll be Johnny Depp. The Dev: I appreciate your honesty. Now let’s take the latter. Let’s say that your work has incredible impact. People read your books and are compelled to open their hearts and pull away from the Capitalist system. They protect and preserve the environment. They become less selfish. They put in safeguards against overpopulation. They let homeless move into the garage. Wars stop. Water is purified and allocated fairly. People have better sex. Drugs are legalized. The Steelers win the Super Bowl ten years in a row. The Kid: So my work saves the world? The Dev: Yeah.
The Messiah: That’s not too hard. I can take the hit. It wouldn’t even matter to me if I got credit for it. The Dev: You really love people don’t you? The Kid: I love the idea of humanity, but people themselves are petty and boring. You are a projection. I am a projection. Part of the projection is to perceive one’s self as separated out. To perceive one’s self as a thing unto itself. But there is no thing unto itself. There is no such thing as an identity without other people. My “individual will” was always based on everyone else. My reason to get up in the morning was based on “them”. They were fucked up. I was going to help them find the way. But drop them and what am I left with? Fight the system, be a part of the system. Cease to fight the system, be a part of the system. I remember those guys over there once that thing I don’t know it wasn’t. It’s fascinating, really. We never happened. We never turned the corner. We got addicted to the idea that someone was going to come down and do it for us. Now, we prefer to wait. We are, “The Waiting Race.” That’s what they’ll call us when they discover our wasted planet. We sat and waited to be saved, but no one ever came, so we rented movies. Oh, years ago this meant something. I’d go out for an mind-churning walk and think about all of this shit so hard and crucifying-like, then when the thought came I’d run back to the pad (like a poet) and type it out. But now even this feels silly. I have tons of thoughts in my head. Great awareness of things like the empty death of life as junk machine means substance if you’ve got the moxie. (Yeah right.) Different techniques at my disposal. But I don’t know. A nice thought is that we’re all just working on our gardens and that this is my garden and that I should take care because a garden is a reflection of self; but then a Goya monster comes out of the horizon and stamps it into a pile of mud. After a while you get the message. Journey in Search of Nondeath: I once left. In some ways I’m still gone. I was in San Francisco when failure - chronic and unmitigated - liberated me. I came to a point where it was either commit suicide or walk. I sat down in the basement with half a bottle of whiskey and four vicodin in me and a razor to my wrist. It was dark. A black night with zero light. Then I remembered a promise I once made to myself. If I ever got down to the bottom of it where I was gonna opt out, I would go. Walk. I would throw it out there and see if I could bring something back that would sustain
me in my life. I would explore the corners of the earth and if I died in the process it wouldn’t matter because I was gonna do it anyway. I put the razor down and walked out of the basement into the night. I left a lot behind. Things that most people would never let go. Interlude: Slice of The Absurd to Keep Spirits Up: Fame and Money Inspiring Jealousy and Displacement: “Plato wrote all of the stuff we think of as being Socrates?” Cubicle Longings Invalidated Worth: “Socrates never wrote a word. Every time you read about Socrates it’s the writings of Plato.” Imagery Causing Warped Concepts: “But Aristotle didn’t write all of Plato’s words?” Steve McMasters Drinking Beer in Tuscaloosa Outside of Green Plastic Cup: “First came Socrates who was written about by Plato. Plato also wrote a bunch of his own stuff like The Republic. Then there’s Aristotle who ran his own school and didn’t need no help from nobody. A Car: “Well who the hell’s talkin what?” Football Anesthesia: “Fartle gibble transcendental diabetic: What’s better than nachos and beer on a Sunday with the Redskins playin?” Three Cups of Coffee Just to Open My Eyes: “Categorical Imperative makes good machine for beef jerky.” Okay, imagine getting people to acknowledge that the current state of Christmas is evil. Impossible. Think about it. You, somehow, because you’re the greatest genius in history, get people to see that Christmas is evil. This means that you take a poll in America and 75 percent of the people say “Yes, Christmas as it stands in America is evil.” Ridiculous. Insane to even contemplate it. Thus making me want to contemplate it: say that you could open people’s eyes to Christmas being nothing but an Evil Freak Show of Consumer Capitalism. They see it all for what it is: an utterly contrived, manipulated, sickeningly indulgent and wasteful dance on the grave of humanity. (I don’t have the inclination to go off on the deep end on this thing, but think if someone really did a through-going analysis of Christmas in regard to socioeconomic class structure and the environment. Ugly. ) Do you think you could get anybody to do anything about it?
“Christmas? Well, heck, sure, I guess it’s evil and selfish and bad for the world. But what the hey, it’s tradition!” This is exactly it. The big kahuna of all gigs that at one time broke my heart but now makes me shrug my shoulders: People are so pacified that even when you get them to acknowledge injustice and hypocrisy, they still ain’t going to do anything about it. “My grandpa drove a Cadillac. My daddy drove a Cadillac. Now I’m gonna drive a fuckin Cadillac.” I would love more than anything to be sitting here in the warm glow of meaning. I would love to be writing a book that’s gonna bring people a meaningful experience and give me peace of mind. But I can’t maintain the illusion. “But you’re so smart,” says my Mom (obviously). “What’s the purpose of saying these things?” “It’s what I’m thinking.” “So then use what you’re thinking to find a way to change people,” she says. “Be a man who celebrates the human soul. There’s so much ugliness out there. So much hatred. So many people lost and drowning. Reach out with your heart. God is inside of you. All you have to do is listen.” I have no answer. I don’t know what to say. Where are you, you rotten mother fucker. Give me a sign. Tell me anything, show me anything and I will fight for you till they take my last breath. I will endure any amount of pain. I will walk a thousand miles on my knees to be with you. Speak through me. Give me the words to turn this around. Please tell me that it’s not over. That there’s something to be done. When I was a kid they took everything from us. You seen those movies about lost kids and how hard it is on the struggling, destitute single mother who falls on her knees and smacks her head against the corner of the table because she can’t take it anymore? About the little girl who doesn’t understand why her life is filled with fear. About the kid who walks the streets late at night because he doesn’t know if he should go home because home is pain and life is pain and his mother is waiting for him in pain and he walks by the front door and sees her sitting there crying on her boyfriend’s shoulder. It feels like a betrayal because he understands nothing. He has nothing but blind hatred in his heart because they raped him of his innocence. God, isn’t that cool when they rape them of their innocence! I love the character who’s hard-edged and “of the streets.”
They will let you rot. They will spit on you. I know everything I need to know about the nature of humankind. This is a fact about you, America: You will step over a child dying on the street on the way to buy a shirt from the Gap. I accuse. That’s what I do. I accuse you of caring more about a t-shirt from the Gap than a human life. And what do you do when someone holds up the mirror? You call him an “angry young man.” But so romantic. Oh so cool. Get the newest clothes that all the kids dying in the streets are wearing these days. Rock out, crazy gal! Go for it, crazy guy! Things were bad when I was a kid. I was a problem. A Genet-like bad seed. But then of course not really because I know what the true bad guy is. The true bad guy doesn’t give a shit. For real. Not in an obvious way because the obvious way is the way of guys like me the ostensible bad guy who is more of PR department than truly hard. We broadcast our badness and I know for a fact that I won several fights without ever throwing a punch via an effective PR campaign. The truly hard motherfucker don’t give a shit about PR. He doesn’t give a shit about anything. But what does this mean? Something like when I say Fuck the Government they look at me and say, “Fuck you talking about, fuck the government?” Pain. Abuse. Hatred. That’s what’s in there. I’ve seen it and the fact that I’ve seen it, that I’m conscious of it, means that I’m outside of it. The truly hard mother fucker. Totally amoral. Someone burps five feet from him. Two minutes later the guy is getting his head smashed into the bumper of a Ford out in the parking lot. Andrew Grater lived across from my house when we were on welfare. Actually, his junky girlfriend lived there and that’s where he stay. Our paths crossed because he used to flit in and out of the punk rock scene. There was an overlap between Hell’s Angels and punk rockers. I think he was an Angel. I’m not sure. Once at a show some guys showed up with the band from Oxnard, California. It’s not like they were exactly being assholes, but they thought they were better than everyone else. That they were gonna come to our little hick town, fuck all the woman and do everybody’s drugs. Grater was there outside the show. He had a tight mohawk, about five ten, 220 pounds. Tyson-esque. His arms were covered in shitty prison tattoos. This was long before the craze hit and Caleb from Marin tattooed his ankle with barbed wire. I can see it so clearly. This little dirt patch outside this shitty warehouse on the edge of town. Grater standing there. The Oxnard
dudes walk by and they’re just too loud. Just too big and out there. One of em, big with a shaved head walks up to Grater and says real loud, “Got a light.” Hard and immediate: “No”. And now he fucks up. “Huh?” That “huh” is a tricky huh. It’s a lingering. It’s a checking out. An assertion of power. Grater doesn’t say anything. I could make up some bullshit like he lights his cigarette, but that would be Hollywood. The bottom line is that he doesn’t care. The guy could stand there for a year and it wouldn’t bother him. But I saw it all. Grater caved in the side of his face with one punch. Death crack. Downward violence into the unreal, the underlying truth of the human condition. You understand what it is to be an ape in times like this. That we are animals and everything else is a lie. Chemical reactions. Hormonal surges. The exhalation of animal pride. A dead eye staring up at a flickering streetlight. No irony or sarcasm. Interior damage to the witty part of the brain. “Let me ask you something, Grater?” “What.” “Is there any truth in the world?” “Yeah.” “Tell me.” “Everyone, including you, is full of shit.” “Oh, please expound on that.” “Everyone wants to fuck the hottest chick. But then not everyone gets to fuck the hottest chick. That’s it. That’s life. Everything else is bullshit.” “I don’t get it.” “Some guy thinks he’s bad ass, then one day he goes to a party and some dude wastes him. After that you can’t get him to shut up about how violence is the worst shit in the world. All of a sudden he’s a fuckin pacifist.” “I see.” “All the shit that people say they believe comes out of failure, weakness and fear. If I offered you a million bucks right now to write for some fucking TV show, you’d take it in a heartbeat. I wish I could, man. Because I would laugh my ass off hearing you spew about how TV is good for the people and how everything is gonna be okay.” Interlude: Time for an “aesthetic experience.”
The background of the painting is a mixture of yellow and gray. A sick hue in a shallow world. A slightly differentiated path emerges into the foreground. It is a slightly darker color. There are streaks of texture indicating activity, but the activity is barren. What can be thought of as the subject is on the left hand side. It is discordant with the rest of the picture. It is bathed in black. The entity itself is translucent red, like vomited wine. The subject is recognizable as a human form in the distended shape of a question mark. It possesses the quality of "reaching out". It is struggling to become discernible, identifiable, real. The current ideology holding us in lock step toward our doom is that humankind an economic thing. We are defined and understood in terms of sustenance and survival. In this view, then, we are nothing more than neural chords and stomachs. Our fundamental needs are the same as worms. This is derived from the English philosophers who dismissed everything that wasn’t available to the senses. Yet, man follows his self-interest and an “invisible hand” comes down and guides us. To deny that we have physiological needs that must be met is stupid. Yet, the Capitalist System, the ultimate expression of this economic definition of persons, is destroying the world. Moreover, I can’t help but possess a near violent hatred at being defined as a worm. But then that’s adolescent hate more than anything and I’m a big boy now. Forgive me. What I’m saying is that I think the “neural chord and stomach” definition is flawed on a real level. Take it from the side as an entry way, depending on the day I think that the greatest work of philosophy of all time, regardless of the fact that it was generated by a Nazi Dwarf, is Being and Time by Martin Heidegger. (Some days I’d go with The Geneology of Morals.). His definition of persons goes like this: Who is the “I” inside of you when you’re talking to yourself? Who am I talking to right now as I’m writing this? Like when I say “Oh yeah that’s a good line you wrote,” who is the guy who wrote that line besides me? Who asked the question? There you are on the Stairmaster, getting tired, saying, “Come on you can do it!” 1)Who’s saying: “Come on You can do it!” 2)Who are you talking to? This can go on forever, but why? Philosophers kill their ideas because in their head is this tribunal of colleagues just waiting to tear them apart because they’re wives are fat and they want tenure.
Get it. Make basic sense. Leave it. People will like your ideas not because you proved them irrefutably (usually impossible), but because they resonate. And it all deconstructs down into opinion anyway so who cares. The I’ness of a person is like an endless tunnel. (Descartes was wrong. The Cogito didn’t answer jack because who’s doing the thinking?) Trying to pin down the loci of identity is like grabbing sand as you plummet through a bottomless pit. But that’s almost too dark. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing. You can even look at it scientifically if this appeals more to the modern you. They are seeing more and more that the seat of consciousness doesn’t exist in a specific region in the brain so that you can take out six cells and transplant them in a rat and then that rat’s an accountant named Dwayne from Houston. But it’s a result of the entirety of brain interactivity functioning supershooters and mud slides a whole goddamned dynamic thing. It’s no stretch to call this array The Metaphysical Nature of Human Consciousness. Or, since human beings are their consciousness, The Metaphysical Nature of Humans. The best picture in the world and probably my favorite metaphor in all of philosophy and literature is that of human beings as “Walking Breathing Question Marks”. At the base of our being is baselessness. A question mark. An echoing tunnel of I’s. People aren’t as concrete as they like to think they are. You know, shit like: “Oh, that’s just Ron.” Ron? Who is Ron besides a program that’s been installed since the second he left the womb. Sure, I believe that people are different. That there are genetic biases that lead us into certain directions and interests, but the concept of “Ron” as some immovable destiny of an individual who couldn’t have been anything other than Ron is silly. Shitkicking Texas Ron could have easily been Gayboy Ronni from San Francisco or for that matter Harvard Ronald. This doesn’t say that Ron is a creep for being Ron. We’ve got to be something, after all. We might be walking breathing question marks, but we can’t act like it. The way human beings seek identity is through Utilization. People derive their sense and value of self through engaging in what they perceive as meaningful activities. For a human being a meaningful activity is one that delivers a sense of identity. I very much prefer to define people through their need to be Utilized, rather than their needs as stomachs and neural chords. The former, if met, will take care of the later and leave a lot more room for change and evolution. Nothing against worms, but I rather be an infinite potential. ( I think that this is pretty close to Aristotle)
I guess what I have is a different idea of what happiness is. I don’t view it as a passive sort of thing. In fact, I don’t actually think that happiness is happiness. I think that meaning is what’s important and that happiness comes later. There’s this great section in Nietzsche where he talks about the most meaningful times in our life being those times when we engaged in our most desperate struggles. I know that I’ve written and talked about this a million times, but if I were to express it a million times more it still wouldn’t be enough: The best times in our lives, the times we really remember, are the times when were maxed out up against the wall carrying the weight of the world on our backs trying to make it through the storm. It’s like when people travel. What stories do they tell when they come back? About the easy flight connection from Munich to Prague? No. They talk about being stuck out on the side of the road waiting for a bus in Bratislava that never came and then it started raining with lightning and they thought they were gonna die. That’s what they talk about. And in this way isn’t life a journey? A traveling odyssey where the greatest moments are derived from insecurity and struggle? Still, if human beings are walking breathing question marks then what makes one activity more meaningful than another? I don’t know. In fact, one activity might not be more meaningful than another. Bottom line is that there might not be a reason for humanity to exist at all. Is there? I don’t know. Shit, probably not. Why does anything exist? The only answer I can think of is the one mom would say: That we exist to be one with the spirit of God. Okay, well why does God exist? It can go on forever and ever. The thing to me is that WE ARE HERE. Like I got in this good drunk conversation with my buddy Ray at Murio’s bar in SF one night. He’s a smart dude but until recently never put much thought into socio-economics or whatnot. (Quasi-questioner going with the flow, like many.) He was saying something to the effect that he didn’t see enough evidence to say that the Capitalist System was oppressing people and destroying the planet as an all-consuming pukefest founded on the most base and banal aspects of our nature. But he also said that it was hard to figure out. Was the status quo good or bad? Are things improving or getting worse? My response was, “Look, man. Why not, if there’s any question or doubt at all, come down on the side of the oppressed, fucked over and used up?” And this is my philosophy concerning the definition of persons. Or, to be at least somewhat precise, my orientation toward humanity’s need to search out identification and thus be utilized. Look, there’s no way in hell that I’m going to be able to come up with concrete metaphysical justifications for why
it’s better to read Dostoevsky than watch Entertainment Tonight, except for the fact that if there is even a shadow of doubt, then why not explore that doubt? It’s obvious to most anyone with a brain that the institutions of authority and power have problems, so why not question the institutions of authority and power? But I’m not a philosopher. I could have been, but I don’t have the patience to outline everything and get it developed and organized the way it should be. Why? I mean Jesus Christ! The only thing less important than a book like this is a book of poetry and the only thing less important than a book of poetry is a book of philosophy. Nonetheless, I’m starting to see reasons. The act of writing something down should process one’s thinking. 1)Human beings don’t have intrinsic identity. 2)Life is a search for identity. 3)Identity for human beings is achieved through utilization. 4)Utilization is defined as engaging in meaningful activities. 5)The notion of meaningful activities is a subjective one so why not define “meaningful activities” in a way that speaks to our biases which are: a)using the brain (thinking) b)survival of species meaning maintenance of a sustainable habitat. Corollary to 5)Experience shows that meaningful activities aren’t those which make us most “happy” in the present. Challenge is meaningful. Perhaps even necessary. 6) Mass media as a function of consumer capitalism answers the inherent human question of identity much like cocaine speaks to the inherent desire to be “happy”. Both are damaging illusions. With cocaine you get a massive hangover, depression and addiction. With Mass Media functioning as the PR department of consumer capitalism you get destruction of the planet which means the destruction of the human race. Not bad. At the very least I’m making an effort to think clearly. No it doesn’t help me sleep better at night. When I was a kid I used to dream of how I was going to be President of the United States. Hell, I still dream about it. Sometimes when I’m writing I take a break, walk outside and do big speeches in my head. Meaningful stuff. Tons and tons of scenarios and fantasies. There’s this one speech that I call, “The Weak Link.” It’s about how we’re only as strong as the weakest part of our society and what matters is that we’re all in this together. I’m giving this speech in the South Bronx. There’s all these pissed off Puerto Ricans there because they
don’t trust the white man. They think I’m a creep but then I say how I’m moving out of the White House and into the South Bronx until we straighten things out and they start to believe. I wanted to be something that would give people hope. Whatever it was. It didn’t have to be President, but I’ve always thought that I could offer people something sacred that would mean something to their lives. My failing is that I didn’t sacrifice enough to remain in society. What I mean is that you can’t be a raging freak and still hang out with normal people. You gotta tone it down, but then in the process of toning it down you lose that part of yourself that could spark change. How many guys start off thinking they’re going to work for the good of the world, but by the time they get in a position to do so are so changed by the machinery of the system so that they can’t tell their head from their asshole? I wanted to be the guy who entered the system, then changed the system. The man was strong enough to remain intact. The man could see things clearly and in so doing be an inspiration to other people. My god, people can be exciting and fascinating. They can really impress you with their strength. Humanity is a gloriful thing! I cry for the beautiful creatures that we are. The walking miracle of us. And life! What could be more wildly beautiful than existence! There are days when I wake up and with every cell give thanks for being alive. It’s unbelievable to me how compelling things can be. And the things that we’ve created! The poetry, the arts! Music! My God, MUSIC! That we’ve created music is justification for a million years more of perpetual disappointment. That we’ve produced these things! These gloriful, beautiful things of solitude and despair that reach into the heart of darkness and make light. There are times when I love humanity so much that I want to collapse. I am living with a broken heart. I think there was hope up until only a few years ago. Then something died. I think the Internet is a major symbol. At first there was all this excitement about a new medium that was going to give people access to ideas and the chance to express themselves. Most importantly, it was going to crack the megacorporations stranglehold on information. Give people access. But then the corporations bought it and turned it into just another way to make money. Another TV, essentially. And if they can take something as large and grand as the Internet from us, then they can take anything. President of the U.S. What kid didn’t want to be President of the US? And who am I? I mean that. Who am I, really? Just a guy. That’s all. I’m just a fucking guy. Wow.
Cadenza in honor of Peaches, formerly of Peaches and Herb: The exterior keeps shifting. The interior is unknowable. I have too many memories. I have too much in my gut. I have that other life - the life of the kid who wanted to be the greatest President in the history of the United States, not for himself but for other people because he believed he could do good. Because he believed that he was good. Because he believed in people. I even thought about being a Priest for a while. Really. Look at it this way: if you’re serious about trying to help, then you’ve got to speak to the spiritual dimension in man. I sound like an asshole, but I like when people make me think. I’m never more in love with a person than when they challenge me. “Not everyone wants or needs to be challenged,” says my mom, Margaret Jimenez. “And this is good?” “No, it’s only what it is. It doesn’t make people bad. It’s just who they are.” “Doesn’t this make you depressed?” “Sometimes, but I have enough work of my own to do without worrying about other people.” “But, ma. This is taking us all down. That’s what you miss. You say we’re all the same and that we’re all part of God’s love, but certain maggots are costing us this entire gig. They’re costing us our lives!” “No one’s costing me my life, Jason.” “There’s no more time.” “No time for enchiladas?” “You made enchiladas?” “I seem to remember something being in the oven.” “I take it all back. There’s time. Mucho tiempo.” Enchiladas, man. Oooh, boy. The enchiladas of the apocalypse. These are things worth fighting for. I’ll wade through Century 21 to get at a plate of Margaret Jimenez’s enchiladas. Nothing can stop me. Where there’s enchiladas, there’s hope. Margaret Jimenez was born in El Paso to la famila de antigua escuela. The blood is Spanish and Arabic. There are good and beautiful things to the old school like kibbee, tabouli and enchiladas on the Christmas table, then there’s the ugly side of male-domination where the best a woman can do is be loyal and subservient to her man.
Margaret met my old man in El Paso. They knew each other from high school. They used to go down to Juarez and eat and drink like royalty for cheap. A story I like: Margaret was the only one with a dependable job. On pay day she’d come home and the old man and all his pals would be sitting there on the porch waiting for her to get down to Juarez for partytime. The old man and Ma moved into a small apartment. Soon thereafter comes YT whose crib was in their bedroom. It wasn’t long before the old man started expressing his natural ability to make money. We moved to Houston into a house on Villanova St where I have many good memories the best being how Margaret Jimenez and I would throw the football in the backyard while the old man was at work. The money continued to roll in and from that house we moved into a frickin mansion in a rich area outside of Houston where Margaret Jimenez wasn’t invited to join the all-white neighborhood women’s group because they perceived her as being the Chicana she absolutely is. Margaret Jimenez made us a home full of love and strength A fertile soil in which to grow. I say us not only in reference to the old man and me, but to the new best thing ever, my baby sis. “Hey Sarah.” “Hey J.” What son really knows his mother? I look back on those days and think of coming in from playing football in the front yard to a plate stacked five feet high with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think of cloves stuck in oranges and apples at Christmastime. I think of Margaret Jimenez and I sitting alone at the table with the old man gone on one of many business trips and Baby Sarah already asleep. Margaret Jimenez is teaching me chess. She’s cut out little bits of cardboard and written down what each piece does, then glued the cardboard to the piece. Little arrows on the bottom of the pieces pointing in all sorts of directions. And then it all was ripped apart. Things end. The ending of things that seem like they could never end is the point. Great. Anyway, I read in the paper that Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant have decided to call it a day after thirteen years. I think that most people will agree that they made a nice couple. I’ve always had a thing for Liz Hurley. Several years ago I saw some pictures of her in a magazine. They were from her teenage years and it turns out that she was kind of a punk rocker. I once masturbated to her thinking about meeting at a punk rock show on acid, then going outside in an alley and fucking. She had dyed-blonde matted hair.
Freedom’s just another word…So what is the foundation of a status quo whose foundation is Capitalism? Inarguably, work and consumption. But resources are obviously finite and there are very few people in the world who are either lucky or dumb enough to describe their work as truly meaningful. Thus, we exist in a status quo that is inherently flawed and only tolerable because everyone’s drugged out of their minds on mass media. Furthermore, and for the sake of being redundant, this ridiculously fucked up status quo that we’re upholding is responsible for the imminent annihilation of the human species. Should I do it? Why not? Okay. Logically then, YOU are responsible for the imminent annihilation of the human species. Important thought here for the gang: No one ever thinks that you’re talking to them when you’re criticizing the world. I’ve said this somewhere before or at least thought it - I can’t keep track: I could stand up at the American Book Awards (fat chance) and say that the publishing establishment has killed American literature and then a 60-year old career editor at Dumbshit Bestsellers Incorporated would stand up, clap and yell “Bravo!” No one ever thinks you’re talking to them. It’s always the other guy. It’s never you or me. Always them. Trio of wells...This puts me in the interesting and ill-advised position of saying exactly who I’m talking to. How complicated and dangerously specific! Let me make this exactly clear: I’m talking to YOU. Like the Uncle Sam poster. You the person reading this exactly as though I were sitting in your living room at three in the morning working on my fifteenth whiskey with a cig in my mouth and a pile of blow on the Molly Hatchet mirror I won at the fair. Either this text is going to sit with me for the rest of my life and be read by only a few friends or it’s going to make it out into the world and be read by several thousand people if not billions. If it’s only being read by my friends then you motherfuckers know exactly what I’m talking about and that I’m talking to you because this is the shit I talk about anyway which has, at times, been the foundation of much anger and resentment. In other words, all the times I’ve been pissed at you and you’ve been pissed at me this was somewhere in there the fact that we haven’t started a revolution and that I feel useless and depressed. On the other hand if this text makes it out into the world then I gotta picture the kind of guy or gal who would be reading this. You’re a fucking weirdo, that’s for damn sure. You’re probably also mired in irony and helplessness. The thought that life as it exists in this era is bullshit and that people disgust you and that this text is nothing really more than a
confirmation of that making you feel a little bit better in that you’re not alone in your thinking. And that’s about it...That’s what I’m picturing. Again, I’m not waiting for something to happen. Writers have always been waiting for something to happen. They wrote their books in the hope that some guy or gal would read them and be compelled into action and change the world. The writer, then, was like the coach, or worse, the fatfuck General sending the troops out to go die. Hey look, writerboy! You got a problem with the world then why don’t YOU go fix it. Look, I’m gonna cut through the bullshit here and really get to it: If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a decent person. I don’t have any illusions about this getting into the hands of the dead and dying. Chances are you’re probably not even that much a part of the problem. You’re probably smart, see the big bad picture and are the sort of guy or gal who gives a buck to the homeless on the subway. I don’t know what to tell you....It’s fucked up and this text ain’t gonna change nothing. So roll up a joint and if for some freakish fucking chance you and I ever run into each other. Fuck it. I ain’t shit and either are you. Just two people in a bad situation. Intermezzo in Honour of Rudolph Friml: On Momentum: Without a thought or any need for analysis or philosophical expurgation a sport’s announcer will say: “The momentum’s goin’ the other way!” Momentum? What the fuck is momentum? It’s a totally abstract concept but one every sports fan readily acknowledges. A team gains the momentum and there’s no just no stopping them. Basketball is the best example. One team grabs the mo and goes on an 11-0 run that decides the game. What’s going on there? How could they be sucking one second, then all of a sudden somebody pulls off a monster jam and they’re the best team in the history of the NBA? One guy on the team digs deep, makes something happen, then another guy digs deep and makes something happen, then another and another...Somewhere someplace somebody does or creates something that influences other people who influence more people and this informs the zeit geist. No big deal. People influence each other, influence comes in a lot of forms: ideas, emotions, energies, moods. Simply walk by somebody and feel what they’re feeling. No need to get hippie or new age about it, it is what it is, a fact of human life. You’re in a bar, hanging out enjoying yourself. A pissed off guy walks in, stands next to you, and the whole
feel of the place goes sour. You’re at kind of a dull party, a couple people come in laughing, the night comes alive. The collective mind is just a bunch of people hanging out in a room. What happens in the room influences other happenings in the room. Music is the best example. The right song at the right time can get everybody fired up and raging. The wrong song can cast a pall. We’re all made up of the same shit so it should be no surprise that that we’re affected by the same shit. Right now we’re all waiting for someone to throw down a monster jam. We feed off each other. We draw inspiration from one another’s actions, then boom! Humanity’s got the momentum. We’re going on an 11-0 run to take over the game. Funny, last night I got up around four in the morning and was standing there looking out the window thinking to myself that I could really turn this text into something special. That it could be one of those books that lives on numerous levels with resonance and implications. I was really believing it there for a moment.. Really thinking that this was gonna be it. That the tide could turn with this shit and that dream wasn’t dead. It’s now Sunday afternoon and I’m mired. I’ve probably got about thirty good years, then I’m out. Is this really what I want to be doing? Say even if I made it as a writer, got real fucking famous so that everyone knew my name like Camus or Kerouac. I can’t think of anything more ridiculous, disgusting or silly as me on some talkshow trying to convince the world that the combination of Capitalism and Mass Media is killing it, then cut to a Nike commercial. And then let’s pretend in the wildest of the wild that this book actually did make some headway into the collective consciousness and people looked to me to as a man with something real and profound to say. I wouldn’t be up to it. I’m not a man who can save the world. (Why I should feel compelled to say the utter obvious I have no idea.) I’m just a bozo. And no this ain’t a case of me saying that I’m not worthy so that I can be worthy because only a man who views himself as unworthy is worthy...I’m just straight up not worthy. Not up to the task. I mean like I will fail you. Journey in Search of Nondeath I took a bus from San Francisco to my sister’s apartment in Albuquerque to regroup. We went to the all u can eat at Pizza Hut three times. I went to down to UNM and played
basketball for four hours. I sweat out the confusion and three days later was on a bus to Denver. Thanksgiving Day 1999. On the bus I sat next to a dude who got out of state prison at nine thirty that morning. The bus stopped for a piss break and I bought us four twinkies and a six of Pabst. That was our Thanksgiving Dinner and I’ll never forget it. I hit the Denver bus station around ten at night. I like to think of myself as a brave soldier ready for all this world has to dish, but the bottom dropped out and I felt the fear. There I was, thirty years old, in the Denver Bus station on Thanksgiving with not more than fifty bucks to my name and nowhere to live. I called my old pal and he picked me up and we went back to his house. I met his new wife. We all drank whiskey. I borrowed money and purchased an extremely cheap airline ticket to London over the internet. The farther out there, the better...I had to fly from Denver to Toronto, lay over for three hours, then hop a short flight to Ottawa where I would have to sleep in the airport as I didn’t have money for a hotel, then the next morning catch the plane to Heathrow. Fine. I didn’t care. It could have made a hundred stops and it wouldn’t have mattered. Five days previous there was a razor to my wrist. The customs dork held me in Toronto for two and half hours, but I made the flight to Ottawa. Nothing but weird Indians and old French men. I got on a bus and headed into town. It was freezing and looked like Europe. I remember walking around a beautiful fountain watching my breath crystallize. The city was deserted. For a moment I touched romance, but then the emptiness returned. My life had come to nothing. I was desolate. I went back to the airport and rode out the night in a plastic chair. In the morning I was hungry so bought a muffin which was stupid because I had no money. Yeah I know every college kid on the planet has gotten on a plane to Europe with less money then they should have, but this isn’t that. I’m talking about getting on a flight to London with a total of sixteen dollars in my pocket. It was brutal, made more so by the fact they treat you really well on international flights. Intensifying this treatment, was that there was hardly anyone else on the plane. I got all their attention. So there I was, effectively homeless, no cash, suicidal, being wined and dined and flirted with like a first class traveler. I felt like a man on death row. The plane now begins it’s initial descent into Heathrow. “Ole!”
The bull stands alone. An icon of blackness against a death red sky. He burns into consciousness. He asks for the blood of the world. He knows his slaughter is imminent. He is the thing they fear. The symbol of the interior. The part they can’t control. The crowd screams out for his death. Who is the crowd? An amoebic consciousness whose art is to appear as many when there is only one. A sea of relativity. Externally-defined. A contiguous membrane. The System of the Crowd: crowds don’t think. (See Goebbels.) They react. They wait for stimuli, then form a response based on the instincts of the One. The individual ceases to exist. There is no such thing as an individual response. Civilization is designed around society. Society is the crowd. Civilization is an illusion based on the reduction of animal instinct. Ironically, what’s more animal than a mob? I was in the process of thinking about how I was going to say some thing. There are things outside the membrane. No, not true. The bipolar nature of existence is a self-referential creation of existence. And then all of a sudden I think about how this boss I had as a waiter at the Grand Hotel used to humiliate me. The connection here is that I used to think about these things and that he used to humiliate me because he sensed me thinking about these things. He was one of those this-is-what-it-is guys the isness of what-it-is being money. He never for one minute knew that he was a reaction. But I am wrong. He wasn’t a reaction but an input into the amoebic unity which in turn is a reaction to itself. If I could really do some thinking I could put this thing together. I can sorta see it in my head. The end of the individual is the moment he sits down in the amphitheater in Heidelberg. He at once enters and forms into a new organism. “Honey, I think you need to go make some friends.” “I couldn’t agree with you more, Ma. I have big plans coming for big party time you just wait.” Not me at all. Always had friends. Always dug people. Always a rocker. Should have been an environmental lawyer with a loft studio space in Portland. That would have been the shit. Superficial enough to have constant fun, but deep enough to allay guilt. Totally innocuous on all counts. We breathe bad gas and call our flatulence thought. Some dipshit breaks wind and we think, because we don’t know what real air is, that he’s a fucking genius and finally we don’t have to wait anymore because there’s a movie star acting like a movie star look there’s a fancy businessman making life better for the rest of us reminds me you better go check your
emails and see if anything’s new cuz I ordered a reason not to kill myself but didn’t need it once I organized those things over there inside on top of no hope the heart of man tried to have conversations but only met with disappointment laughed at as the whore of words pretender occupying himself with the idea that he can deliver the goods to humanity but in truth there’s no such thing as a thing that can deliver the goods to humanity to think that humanity requires anything or is worth salvation or could achieve salvation is to inherently set one’s self apart nothing more than a lust to be glorified and prayed to just one more stupid worthless god. You can not lead men there is no such thing as a leader of men. It is all deceit for the moment men fall behind a leader they cease to be human. Lessened. There is only one word that could ever possibly be uttered with any dignity: “Never.” I was born in ‘69 so that I’m coming into teenagedom around ‘81 or ‘82. My first organized rebel identity was forged through Heavy Metal: Priest, Sabbath and AC/DC. It was a righteous vibe. You could really freak people out by being a sullen twelve-year old alone in his room all day cranking Black Sabbath. I AM IRONMAN. Then something happened for those of us with the idea that we were really hip weird rather than just loser weird: New Wave came around and offered up an alternative. Yeah, the bottom line was that a lot of people were listening to Heavy Metal and that by ‘82 or ‘83 it was the music of average joe. This isn’t to say that it was bad, just not the stuff for the advanced alternativo who didn’t want to hear the music he identified as weird being played in a jacked 4 x 4 on Mickey T’s at the red light. It was a cool moment when the former freakers (heavymetallers) cut their hair and traded in their Saxon albums for Bronski Beat. It caused a lot of hassles, put stress on friendships. One dude stayed the tried metal route while the other dude died his hair and smoked quaaludes to “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again” by Joy Division. Yeah, now that I reflect on it Heavy Metal got to be very status quo so that you would be hearing it at picnics and shit. The only option for the true society-hater was New Wave. But it was short-lived as the Brits like to say. Punk rock came along and blew everything out of the water. It offered up the one true FUCK THE WORLD that we’d all been waiting for. But that’s another story. A good story, but another story. It passes up where I’m at in this rememberance.... This is the New Wave days. I had short, swept back glazy orange peroxided hair dotted with strawberry spots. (No shit.) I always wore the same black button up shirt that I buttoned all the way to the top. I had white pants I’d tuck into the black socks that came out
of my black boots. That’s right, I would pull the socks up like leg warmers so the pants tucked right in. Totally cool, except I’m at Albuquerque High: Cholo Capital of the World. There were actually spaces in the parking lot reserved for lowriders. A trip. Johnny Tapia, who later became IBF Champion of the world in the bantamweights went to Albuquerque High and no shit kicked my ass. No matter whatever happens to me in my life I’ll always have that honor. Before I go on with this line I need to get this out because it just occurred and I’ll forget it if I don’t spew it now: There can’t be a leader. If someone really cared and wanted to compel people to consider the evils of the status quo and current condition, then his best move would be to commit one anonymous act that would get people to see the fabric, then pull away never to be seen again. (There, great. World saved.) Of the small clique of New Wave chicks at Albuquerque High, there was one that I always had my eye on. She wasn’t the hottest, but definitely strange, interesting and alienated. One of those existential princesses who comes along once every 15-years that you jack off to for the rest of your life. I walked up to her one day at lunch. It was Friday and I asked if she wanted to do something, like get high, after school. Her name was Nef, shortened from Jennifer. She said that I should come over to her house around eight and that we could do it there. I got so jacked that I had to skip class and go into the men’s bathroom to bust a nut in the stall. She lived only a few blocks away from me. Her mom answered the door. She was skinny with stringy black hair and messy clothes. Her pants were covered in paint. I went inside and the walls were covered with paintings. She had converted the whole place into a studio. It was the first artspace I had ever been in. I don’t know if the work was good, but for me at that time it was like stepping into Van Gogh’s place in Arles. Nef was sitting in an old recliner waiting for me. I’ll never forget what she was wearing: a black t-shirt, jeans and combat boots. To this day, whenever I see a woman wearing combat boots and a t-shirt, I get a sexualized shiver of art and innocence. Oh, man. I want to stop her right there on the street and ask if she wants to go home, look at art books, listen to music, screw the afternoon away then lie in bed and smoke cigarettes. Nef asked me if I wanted anything to drink and I said sure. She mixed me a screwdriver. I sat down with her in the recliner. She draped her legs over me. It was so
relaxed, so natural. We had great conversation and I felt important. Her mom went back into her room and brought out a bong. We smoked liked civilized stoners and listened to “Meat Is Murder” by the Smiths. It was the first time I had ever heard Morrisey. It was her mom’s record making everything all the more cool. After a couple of hours her mom said she was going to bed. She kissed me goodnight on both cheeks like a European. I felt sexy like an adult for the first time in my life. Nef and I cuddled up on the couch, made out, got hot and heavy, then went back into her room and made love as good as fifteen-year olds can. We lied there naked. She was sensual. A woman with that acknowledge of the world seemed born with rather than learned. The interior existential, sensual calm - something I have never had. No, really. It was at that moment that I was set on the path of being an artist. Nothing conscious, but looking back I know an internal switch clicked on. I didn’t want to be away from the energy of art. I wanted a life that felt like a studio. I wanted old recliners and romantic desperation. I wanted to fuck and be sad. I wanted darkness and confession, not sunlight and lies. But along with that desire, that change, came another, which has never seemed to me be as healthy and as natural as the drive to want to be a creative person. It was not only that I would be an artist, but that I would be transcendental. If I was going to be an artist, then I was going to be a GREAT artist. I would have impact. Be an historical figure. Why at that pregnant moment of awareness couldn’t I have been happy with being an artist like her mother? Why was my desire to be the savior superglued to my drive to be an artist? Why couldn’t I have been happily limited to being a writer living in Albuquerque with a nice small house, interesting friends, cheap rent and a cafe to go to every Saturday morning? Why couldn’t I have been satisfied with a quiet creative life? Why couldn’t I have been satisfied with my own little corner of the world, rather than trying to save the planet in its sick entirety? Why couldn’t I have been something real and solid, instead of another just Don Quixote? Her mother was good-looking and skinny meaning the same was going to happen for Nef. How much was the house to rent a month? Probably right now not more than 450 bucks. That’s only a part time job for each of us. Twenty hours a week. The rest of the time would be ours. I could make the basement into a writing studio. Work on books, play with paint, explore. Do things that wouldn’t necessarily add up to anything. If I felt ambitious I could self-publish. Maybe do a reading at the local hippy bookstore. Make a little name for myself.
Our friends could come over on Friday night, smoke weed and what the hell, mix it up a little bit on the sexual tip? But no. I had to be Mr. Apocalypse. And for what? A world that’s going to destroy itself in just a few years anyway? It comes down to those fuckers Richard Gere and the Dali Lama. Allow me to explain. The Dalai Lama is a joke. I’ve seen him on TV. Those monks stand in line for days to touch his hand same as Catholics waiting to kiss the Bishop’s ring. When they meet him they all fall down crying screaming same as Born Again Christians It’s ugly and pathetic and no different than anything else. But the Dalai Lama is cool! He stays with Richard Gere! Richard Gere is a Buddhist he believes in stuff! Do you know how fucking stupid and hypocritical Richard Gere is? He does commercials for cologne. He does commercials for cologne while people starve to death. He promotes an unnecessary item that turns a profit for a massive corporation while people in the world are dying and being savagely oppressed by the same forces he represents. He spends days on the beach doing a film shoot for a bottle of scented water that not more than .00001 percent of the world’s population can afford. Everything he does, every movie he makes, glorifies the sickpig materiality of Capitalism: designer clothes, beautiful apartments, hot chicks, urban chic and fancy cars. And he has the utter temerity to promote himself as the poster boy for simplicity, humility and empathy. My God. And then this great holy man - the Dali Lama - stays with him when he goes to LA. The Dalai Lama loves hanging out in LA with Richard Gere. What does this say about the Dalai Lama other than that he’s a walking sold-out mediocrity who’s no better than the English Royalty sponging off the back of the working class except he’s worse because he claims to know the meaning of life. So there it is. I could never be happy as a quiet little artist in a world where Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama are though to be wise, important men. No cafe on Saturday morning for me, I guess. I am intellectually off the grid. Every morning I get up, sit at the edge of my bed, stare at the floor and fight off the day’s first wave of depression. How is it that I’ve come to be one of those guys who wakes up in the morning and sits at the edge of his bed and fights off the first wave of depression? My farts smell so bad that I gas myself out.
In some strange way this is always what I wanted to be. Pure Hollywood Mickey Rourke as Henry Chinaski in Barfly. An illusion. Still, at the very least I can say that I achieved my goal of being a loser writer. I really know what it is to be this, ya know. And now that I know the inside of this, I can say that it stinks with putrid innocence. But then so does most everything else considering that we’re destroying the world while getting off on the new Richard Gere flick. I guess at this point it’s a case of engaging in lesser evils and not wanting to throw away what amounts to a lifetime of pain and work. To quit now would be to lose the effort. Time now to introduce Ruth - the muse girlfriend of six years, the one who hears it all. It’s a good time to do it as I could use a subject to focus on other than my own failings and consequential awareness of loss. Ruth was born to East Coast Jews trying to be assimilated making them the archetypal American Jewish family in the archetypal American Jewish neighborhood living the archetypal American Jewish existence thus alienated and miserable. The older sister freaked out, the younger sister tried to create the idyll, and Ruth, bless her rebel heart, dreamed of a better world. It’s a neat story that I like to hear over and over again, but before I continue should make it clear that Ruth and I’ve been together through thick and thin. She is, in fact, down the hallway drinking wine reading Lorca. Ruth at age thirteen went to one of those funny 70's experimental schools in Vermont where they walk around and talk about pinecones in the fashion of Aristotelian Pedagogia. Word is Vermont gets pretty damn cold in Winter. They had a woodstove in the middle of the schoolhouse where they’d all cuddle up for warmth and sleep. She never made out with any guys it wasn’t allowed (or something). She gets to be fifteen and one of her friends from the experimental school in Vermont says that she’s going down to Tennessee to be in a commune called The Farm. Summertown, TN is what I think it was and Adventurous Ruth hops in the car and goes. It’s a commune all right. A vegetarian community where they have weekly meditations and their own jam band. Everybody has tasks and chores, takes things seriously and believes spiritually in what’s going on. One of my favorite sayings from The Farm that Ruth told me is: “Into the Juice”, meaning you’re being selfish or acting like a creep and zapping the rest of the commune’s energy. It’s hard really to know what to think about communes. On one hand it’s a group of people trying to live in a different, possibly more evolved way. On the other hand they often
set up life in a way that ends up being more oppressive than the society they’re trying to escape. I saw this interview with Peter Coyote where he illustrated it perfectly. Somebody comes along and decides that having doors to the bathroom is bourgeoise so takes the doors off. But what if you’re not ready for that? A girl with good sentiments from New England who wants to live a better way isn’t ready to take craps in front of people. It’s wrong to coerce people no matter what the cause. (Is it?) Moreover, there’s always the high probability that the guy who took the doors off the bathroom isn’t coming from a higher revolutionary place but just likes to watch women pee. This is why, generally, Ruth split The Farm after about a year. (Not creepy, but too restrictive.) She went with a group of folks to start up a cafe in Marin County. The cafe did exceedingly well she always tell me how Marty Balen from Jeff Airplane used to eat there with different girlfriends every day. I think that this was a happy time for Ruth. She was free and if she could have stayed the course and held out for a little longer without getting sucked into the various traps set expressly the 19-year old heart, then she might have done okay. This isn’t to say that she hasn’t done okay, but mistakes were made. She met a dude who impressed her with his urban ways. He was an exotic thing compared to the PC hippies she’d been hanging out with. This guy had the streetwalking Mojo. My kind of guy in theory but in reality a sad desperate character more silly and false than anything else. They screwed and she got pregnant. Much talk between us in stoned late night sessions reflecting on this in our gabby nihilistic way. She says that one of the main reasons she did it was because hippie chicks back then had kids so as to experience the naturalness of motherhood and all that. I don’t really buy it. People think they want to have kids when what they’re really looking for is direction; a reason to live; a limiting of options so that they’ll be forced onto a path more straight and narrow. After about a year, Ruth took her baby and left the city dude. He was never the same after. I met him a couple times. Pathetic. He got taken down with sadheart and never had the strength to get back up. Crawled into a bottle and just said forget it. Better to be a caricature than a living thing that feels. Ruth moved down to San Diego to get family support so that she could go to nursing school and oh man! What a nurse she made! Top of her class, super smart, exciting, caring. She got a job in San Diego and this is one of those periods where you feel like change is almost there but you’re still stuck in that crappy rut feeling like life isn’t working out and you
push and pull and beg and hope and finally the right way shows itself and she gets a job at UCSF in San Francisco. It’s a new start. She’s forged a cool beginning. The kid is in school old enough to stay at home by himself once he goes to sleep. Ruth looks amazingly young. Always has, is 42 now but people think she’s thirty. Six years ago when I first met her she could have passed for twenty-five. Big black eyes and tall. If you want to see what she looks like, go to the American Holocaust Museum and look for pictures of attractive Polish Jewish women being sent to the gas chamber Party time with new funcrazy friends at wild bars where the martinis are on the house and the boys are cute. Those were good days in San Francisco. It was like the early 90's. The Sillicon Valley salesmen hadn’t moved in yet. SF was still the hipass liberal city by the Bay that made hearts swoon. The city of Kerouac. And it’s here that that Ruth and I met and our storyline becomes the same. Damn, we used to go up to North Beach on Monday afternoons, drink Jamesons and watch the fog roll in at Vesuvios bar. One day you’re drinking whiskey with your girlfriend in San Francisco, then six years later you’re on a flight to Albuquerque fighting off savage suicide impulses wondering if you ever even lived there. Ma, If you’re reading this then we’re not in good shape. And I guess the first thing I should say is that I’m sorry. Not sorry for myself, but sorry because I know this is hurting you. Maybe, somehow, I’m hoping this letter will help. I’ve been down for a long time. Way down. I wake up in the morning sad, then in the afternoon am overwhelmed with fear about how I was going to make it through the rest of the day. I had some good times and saw some good things, but they were temporary at best. The emptiness was always there. I don’t know how to put this other than just to write it: I think once I started asking questions I could never stop and that ultimately it all caught up with me. At first I was just curious. I wanted to know about the human condition. About MY condition. I played around with being dark and heavy until one day I woke up dark and heavy. Two plus two did not equal four. Now I can hear you saying, “Then you should have fought for justice and meaning!” I did, Mom. I begged God to use me as an instrument of his will. Every cell in my being cried
out to be engaged. Every muscle in my body begged to be tested. All I ever wanted was to be utilized in the cause of goodness and truth. I kept getting up, fighting. But then one day - and this is when it all came to a head - I realized that even when I was up, it didn’t matter. I was standing there, alone, inconsequential. I began to question why I was fighting. Why suffer for a lost cause? Mom, there was nothing else I could do. I’m better off this way. I’ve lived a hell of a life. More in thirty-one years than most people do in a hundred. And now I just want out. I view the world as pathetic and stupid and am burnt out on fools. I’ve been a good son and have done my time. Do this when you’re sad: turn on the TV and watch the news. I’m not part of that anymore. I don’t think that commentators are overtly controlled. I do think that a certain type of person, however, is awarded the job of disseminating valuable political information and that this in itself is a form of filtration and censorship. Take, for example, a Harvard Lawyer who’s buddies with all the politicians and put him - as they do - in the job of being chief critic and analyst. You’re gonna get some sniping, but he’s not going to fuck up his gig. Is this to say that he censors information? Not really. But his interests are directly in line with the world-destroying status quo. To make this point more clearly, think if you made Malcolm X the chief political analyst for a major network for an entire political season. hings would be very different. A whole new array of questions and issues would be brought to the fore. The reply to this is that Malcolm X doesn’t represent the population. Well, I would say that Malcolm is at the very least as representative of the population as is a wealthy Harvard Law Grad who spent six years as chief press Secretary at the White House. This is not to say that the real story isn’t out there and accessible, but what does this information matter, if we are so disenfranchised and apathetic as to be unable to use it? There’s also a synergy here that’s worth mentioning. People are so tired and worn down that they barely have time to talk to their kids let alone do the work necessary to keeping up with American political system. They flick on the news, space out about the shit they have to do tomorrow, then toss and turn until they hear the alarm clock. It’s a complex that serves itself in its circularity. Work TV Eat Sleep Work TV Eat Sleep. No need to get conspiratorial: this is what a System does. If you look back at the Catholic Church, Communism, Feudalism, or any ISM, you will see that there’s an inner-consistency and logic
that supports the structure. And, obviously, there are those who benefit from it more than others, i.e. those in power. It don’t take a genius to know that those in power like to stay in power and that the system keeps them in power through maintenance of the status quo. That’s why Malcolm X wasn’t a political commentator and why Johnny Boy from Harvard - status quo factory - is. Now let’s switch over to another example of filtration much closer to home insofar as The Kid is concerned.... Some lady with cash opens up an art gallery. She has her tastes, what she considers to be good art. At first she probably shows the works what she thinks are best. But a year later, after she’s lost seventy-five grand, she shows the stuff that people want to buy. She exhibits work that will sell. Art can only affect the culture if it’s experienced. (A unread manuscript or unseen painting means nothing to society.) Galleries and museums are where new art is experienced by the public; where the new art is brought into existence. Thus the unity of the capitalist system and the gallery owner determine what is art to the world. The system controls the one thing that should be criticizing it. Relatedly moving on to obfuscation as form of cultural filtration. Not the best transition, but I’m on a mission. So listen. (An artifical segue, but actual headway.) An example of interiority, within this text, a majority. There are such things as complex concepts and thoughts. The duty of the trained mind is to take these concepts and break them down into a language that everybody, with a little intellectual elbow grease, can understand. To frame it in a way that makes it compelling and comprehensible to the person who has not been afforded the luxury of spending his life in study. The best example here is Post-Modernism. I don’t think there’s ever been a school of thought with so much wasted potential. Basically, all it says is that mass media and capitalism are putting distance between people and authentic experience. And that this is causing a kind of collective delusion. Why? Because instead of spending time in the substance of our own lives, we engage in the illusion of mass media (watching TV). This gives us a reality based in consumerism than in the actuality of what is.You’re gonna feel fucked up. Intermezzo in Honour of Georges Dandelot: Taking the Piss Out of the PM Gang:
The new-old stadium is a temporal-spatial connexion between past capitalism and presentfuture consumeristic contexts (late-future, mid-systemic), which the imagery is synthetic past malstructed toward an historiographic (dis)unity. Centralized locales (zones of nonoutsideness) inflecting financial centers generate connectivity with a destructive, postsystemic future-past. The enfranchised attend “the event” as the dislocated foundationalize the proceedings - further contextualizing the nostalgia of non-system (see Jenkins: The Balloon of Space-time, Post-Capitalized Nonfunction,. Pg. 17.) Antithetical to the reduction of non-defined, historical linkages is the “new”stadium residing in sub-consumer, near-past essentiality. The systemical-historically derived future annihilation of the present as negative past. [Paralleled indices (in contrapuntal accordance) provide evidential hypercontexts.]
They take over a concept because they view it as their gravy train to academic fame and fortune. They’re gonna make a name off this shit. The best way to do that is to make the subject matter appear so dense and complicated that it’s beyond everyone’s comprehension. They turn something important into their own private little game with its own form of rules and language. It becomes impenetrable so that they’re the only people “qualified” to talk about it. All of a sudden there are people in the world who call themselves “Post Modernists”. They have their own journals, their own conventions. They have lunch together. They use it to get laid. They have their own stars and receive accolades and tenure because they’re special geniuses, the only ones capable of understanding whatever it is the hell they’re talking about, which is total bullshit. This extends to every aspect of culture. A few people take these valuable, comprehensible concepts and fuck them up beyond repair. Modern art? What the fuck is that? Literary criticism? Isn’t that just like three people in an office somewhere? Classical Music? Don’t you have to be white and drive am Infinity to listen it? Philosophy, poetry, critical theory, semiotics, linguistics – are these whiffs of rose farts? The sad part is that there is edifying worth in all of these things. Yet, the average person feels so estranged from something like modern art that he doesn’t know where to begin. Football, on the other hand, is right there every day. Not because football is stupid or less complicated than art. What’s more complicated - running the West Coast offense or being a painter? They’re both, when done well, damn complicated. But the average guy won’t touch modern art with a ten foot pole.
Combine all these things and what you’ve got is a total lock out. What you’ve done, at the worst possible moment, is stigmatize art and thought. You’ve made it the castle of the rich. The bastion of weenie-armed nerds. And why should we be surprised - that’s what the people who run this shit are. But it always, and I mean always, takes two to tango. At some point people got lazy and let it go. They stopped thinking because it was easier to let a small group of people do it for them. We went from being hunters to spoon fed children. Our minds and bodies soft from inactivity and instant gratification. We want pleasure, not thought. I work hard, goddamnit. I want to enjoy my life. The last thing I want to do after I get off work is work more. Life, liberty and the pursuit of televised happiness. I vote Democrat, what the fuck more do you want. Now, get me a beer the games coming on in five. Intermezzoburger: Typical Ruth/Jason Conversation Exemplifying My Evil: Ruth: “You just get worse and worse, meaner and meaner.” Jason: “Who are you to judge whether I’m getting meaner and meaner. Maybe I’m getting nicer and nicer and you’re the one who’s fucked up.” “I’m the judge of how I’m treated!” “Says who?” “Me.” “Well who the fuck are you?” Directly across the street from this displace is a convent founded in 1197 by the Saint of Virginal Equity and Stock. She was martyred by the authorities in a controversial edict to get a new stadium built. The convent is in full effect, packed to the brim with nuns hiding away from the world in the name of the lord our god. In fact, why not throw down a prayer for all the nuns in the house? Hail Mary Full of Grace The Lord is With Thee Blessed Are Thou Amongst Women and Blessed Is The Fruit Of Thy Tomb, Steve. Holy Mary Mother Of God Fart For us Sinners Now and At The Hour of Our Death, Amen. I would be less inclined toward blasphemy if Holy Mary or Her Son the Messiah or even Her Husband - that being God himself, not Joseph (yeah right) - would consider making an appearance once in a while. Nothing big, just a few acts to put a limit on unnecessary
suffering – like Sudanese genocide and kid rape. That’s all. Everything else, hey, I understand. Life is hard and that it’s a road to hoe and all of that, but when I’m fucking fifteen years old and my family’s on welfare and we don’t have any food and every day is a struggle - is it really necessary for my mom to slip and smash her head on the sidewalk in front of me when she’s on her way to her waitress job at the Ramada Inn? I watched this nun come out of the convent one day and she wasn’t bad looking. Young, probably around 25, tall and lean with nice boobs under that bad habit. There’s got to be more where that came from, so I cased the place. The only male who gets in at night is the gas man. He delivers tanks through the front door where the Mother Superior meets him. The place sucks down gas. People freezing to death on the sidewalk and they’re inside, warm and toasty. You don’t descend into hell on a regular basis without picking up a few pointers. Fuck em. I want to burn the village, take prisoners, execute, clog the streams with dead babies, diddle the kids, pick the strongest of the children and raise them up in my image. I get four grams of coke, six hits of X, and two bottles of Mescal. I sit there naked all day staring out the window at the convent. I’m stroking myself. It’s around seven now because like a bitch it takes me an hour to get dressed into my Satan costume. I come out of the bathroom screaming stepping over Ruth’s dead body (where’d that one come from) and who gives a shit anyway the whole world gets freaked out about shit when it’s safe and far away but what would you do if you saw Ruth starving on the fucking street you’d step over here to buy a shirt at the Gap is what you’d do so don’t give me anything about it. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I have ten crystal clear super fine crack rocks and a beautiful crack pipe handmade by indigenous population with fifty percent of the profits going to build a new sex club in Tegucigalpa so it’s good for the worldenvironment I load up a huge crack hit and crackle it down and just thinking about a perfect crystallized crack hit makes me want to drop everything and oh man my system is speeding up I’m chomping at the bit the sights the sounds people whizzing by jackal eye focus on it’s prey sitting there staring outside my window at the convent now pacing back and forth oh fuck god I’m gonna give it to him I’m gonna work it out on their ass. Finally the fucking dildo gas guy gets there and I run out into the street naked in my devil outfit and sure someone would usually call the cops but it just so happens that everybody is in their house shooting heroin beating their kids so no one sees me hiding behind the truck. He knocks at the door and the mother superior opens it and they bullshit
around for a while about how great and generous Jesus is while kids are dying a woman getting raped down the street they go in and I dash into the convent. There’s a long hallway like something you’d come across in dungeons and dragons. The chapel is to the left while the dorms or whatever the fuck they call them are on the right. I turn left and barely get out of the way as two nuns pass by. I hear television. I can hear them all laughing with the program. It’s cute, great. Essentially what they’ve done is make themselves a nice little resort where they don’t have to deal with anything but the gas and cable guys. I bust open the main dormitory door and it’s a bunch of nuns talking about whether Mary Magdalene had long or short hair and that Saint Jerome said that they shouldn’t look at themselves while bathing so how best to do so? I lower my head and go home. Journey in Search of Nondeath: When the plane landed at Heathrow airport I had sixteen dollars in my pocket. The jet lag was just starting to hit me. The gray of England. What was I doing? Where was this journey in search of nondeath taking me? Was there something that would make me feel whole and real? Something worth fighting for? I took my little army bag out of the overhead cabin and walked out into the England drizzle. It was four o’ clock in the afternoon. They loaded us onto a bus to the terminal. I went through customs. The perceived me to be another American tourist with a suitcase full of traveler’s checks. . I had no other bag to pick up. My instincts told me to follow the signs that said Underground. I had no real plan but figured I was better off in the center of the city. And anyway I always wanted to see London. At the Thomas Cook I went from 16 American dollars to 8 pound 50 p. I went to buy my ticket to the city center and it cost me four pounds. I now had 4 pounds 50 p to my name and was entering the most expensive city in the world. I stepped onto the London Underground dead in the middle of the five o’ clock exodus from work. People were on their way to the warmth of their established lives. They wore stylish suits. Laughed. Flirted with one another and read their newspapers. Their faces were filled with purpose.
It was then that it occurred to me that I had severely miscalculated. That I had banked on the idiotic notion that I was going to be welcomed into London with open arms. That the city would stop, recognize my valiant plight, and take me in as an honored guest. My knees buckled. The only thing that kept me from face planting was that I was the straphook. I never felt so alone in all my life. Utterly desolate. Factoid in Honour of the Man Himself: No one could kill Meriwether Lewis, but Meriwether Lewis. I go back up to our apartment where Ruth is sitting at the dinner table eating a salad. She’s not dead anymore. “I’m hurting,” I say. “What else are you going to do?” she says. “Be more simple or something.” “I don’t think anybody’s stopping you from doing that?” “I guess they aren’t, are they?” “It’s your decision.” “No, there are facts about the world….” “Listen, J, if the whole world was going to end in five years I would still listen to the Velvet Underground and still read Tropic of Cancer. Those things bring meaning into my life and make me happy.” “Do you feel happy?” “I’m okay.” “I’m not.” “Well then you should do something about it.” Some day Ruth and I are both going to be dead. Will the world have known that we had these conversations? Will it have felt the implications of these strange moments? Very strange and even ironic: just a moment ago I heard sobbing and weeping. It was coming through the walls, echoing all around. I thought it was one of the people next door, but then I realized that it was coming from much closer. I got up out of my chair and went into the living room. There was Ruth, head in her hands, tears running down her forearms.
It’s Christmas Eve Day. One o’ clock in the afternoon. Ruth should be getting home around five. Hopefully, I’ll be long gone by then with a note on the floor saying where I am, but not to come until at least nine o’ clock because the next time I see you I intend to be piss drunk. Goddamnit, I can taste it! A glass of Jameson’s neat and a thickly-rolled Drum! There I am as soon as I finish this, telling lies to the bartender. “I could have been someone....Well so could anyone!” Pogues. It ain’t right to always be sad. A book that contains nothing but sadness is a lie. Any man worth his salt has felt the joy of being alive. Any man who proclaims himself to be a man has walked with joy in his soul - has sat down at the bar to sip his whiskey, heard a good song come over the juke, and for the briefest yet most eternal of all moments felt that life was worth living. That all the pain suffering and sadness was nothing more than a bump on the road to good times. I think that deep down I’m proud of myself. I think I’ve done my best. I think that I’ve come to a lot of different crossroads and in deciding which path always chose the most challenging and meaningful. I feel like I’ve done all I can to make and live my own life. I feel like my thoughts are my own and that my emotions are genuine. Yet, I also think that I’ve romanticized and overrated this sort of thing. The world isn’t about being genuine, it’s about adaptation and control. Bills and leases, not art and conversation. I’ve put too much emphasis on things that don’t mean enough in the real world. Throw a party where everybody gets stoned and discusses philosophy and watch me shine; but ask me for money for that party and hear endless excuses. There are times when I feel parasitic. There are times when I feel like I’m playing a child’s game. There are times when I feel like I should just shut up, stop moaning, get a job and get to work. Still, when I’m sitting here alone, I sense deep down that my warped idealism is more right than wrong. Especially when I consider the state of things. Especially, especially, when I look out at people and see the misery on faces. I’m now done writing for this Christmas Eve Day. I’ve got on a dark sweater, a thick brown coat, black slacks and boots. I’ve even caught a shave so as to be able to flirt and act cool before Ruth comes down and puts a clamp on my bullshit. Just kidding - I’ll be the happiest guy in the place when she comes through the door.
It is Christmas Eve. Year 2000. If somewhere someplace down the line you’re reading this, then you’re probably a lot like me. There’s one thing I want to say to you before I split: don’t beat yourself up for feeling happy. Allow yourself to have a little fun. We’re doing the best we can. And in the end, regardless of what happens, we’re all in this together. Merry Christmas. Interrmezzo Iin Honour of Johann Gottfried Walther: The first squirt hits and it's pure alcohol. I can smell it. Unprocessed whiskey, vodka and whatever the fuck else I drank. Next come little spews and chunks of food. I'm not really shitting, but puking out of my ass. A massive fart: a ripper that squirts more freaky substances. I take a peek down between my legs and the pot looks like it's filled with gnarled old lady's toes: bunyons, corns, half-eaten toenails...I think of the answer to the question: Who is the person you would most hate to follow into the bathroom? is ME. I'm the pig, the nasty guy who leaves shit streaks all over the pot and a smell that would knock out an elephant. I think of the residential hotels I've stayed in....I was the guy who jizzed in the bed, bled in the sink, left razor blades in the closest and put a pair of shitstreaked underwear in the waste basket. And all the while I was thought that I was too good to be staying there. That the freaks, pukes and fucks down the hall were disgusting losers. Or, if not losers, then romantic poets and artists suffering for the cause. The truth is they were neither and I was both. I was the subhuman poet. They were people just trying to get by. Margaret opens up the bottle of wine and pours Madonna a glass. She cuts a nice little piece of enchilada and puts it on a plate. “I made these enchiladas tonight from scratch,” says Margaret, “It’s my son’s favorite dish. I always make it for him when he comes home to see me.” “I don’t eat cheese,” says Madonna. “Oh, I see,” says Margaret Jimenez. “Will you have a glass of wine?” Madonna reluctantly agrees and takes the glass. She sips the wine and contorts her face to indicate that she thinks it’s shit. Margaret Jimenez smiles. Enough. Time to get to it. “There are some things we need to talk about.” “What is it?” says Madonna the businesswoman.
“I don’t think that I should be made to feel small in my own backyard,” Margaret says. “Your backyard is my backyard,” Madonna says. “I can do whatever I want.” “You don’t own my backyard,” says Margaret. “That’s what you think,” says Madonna. Margaret Jimenez shakes her head. “You never thought it, did you?” “Thought what?” “That some people just don’t care about you that much. That some people barely even know that you exist,” Margaret Jimenez sips her wine and enjoys it very much. “That some people don’t think of you as very interesting.” Okay...I figure if you’ve made it this far in the text, then you’ve worked hard and deserve a little something to keep you going. A gift from me to you: MARGARET JIMENEZ’S ENCHILADAS (As written by Margaret Herself) There are many ways to make enchiladas, all correct because it is after all a folk dish. It seems to me that the careful gathering of ingredients, and the heart of the person making them is really what’s important. In a village, one of many that surrounds Lake Atitlan in Guatemala like the beads of a rosary, the women gather at a particular home, wherein resides a shrine to Grandmother Moon. Now this image, which I immidiately recognized as a Colonial-era statue of hte Blessed Mother, resides in a copal filled antechamber of the main home and is visited on a regular basis by young mothers with sick or chronically unhappy children. The children rock in a cradle in the middle of the room as the village women pray for intercession on the child’s behalf. Baby girls are taken out under the first full moon following their birth, and with the help of their parents, their tiny hands pat-a-cake left and right in a circular motion. In this way, with Grandmother Moon’s intercession, the babies learn to make perfectly round tortillas, the basis of the Guatemalan diet. The ritual establishes from birth the place of women in that society as food givers and preparers in an important task, a life-giving task, so not to be confused with menial labor in any way. It is said that women from that village produce the best tortillas in the world. And I am sure that this is so.
If it is possible to procure a dozen or so of these torillas to make enchiladas, do so. The resulting enchiladas will bot delight and satisfy. For the rest: To a cup of bleached flour add 8-12 tablespoons of the best red chile powder from Chimayo, a high mountain village in Northern New Mexico. This will form the rue for the sauce. In a skillet melt a half-stick (4oz) of butter or margarine. Brown a clove of garlic in the butter and remove when brown. Add the flour/chile mix to the butter slowly, stirring constantly, and then cook the rue for about two minutes to achieve a ‘toasted’ chile flavor. Add very slowly two cups of chicken or vegetable broth, stirring or whisking constantly for a silken consistency. Add cumin (cumino) to taste. Lower heat immediately as soon as it comes to a boil, then stir and simmer until it reaches the consistency of melted chocolate. Grate about two cups of Monterry Jack of Cheddar Cheese. Set aside about a half-cup of diced onion. Prepare about fourtortillas at a time by dipping them into a skillet of hot oil, just enough to soften, then dip them into the sauce quickly so that they don’t break apart. Place filling of cheese and onion in the center of the tortilla and roll and place side-by-side in a baking dish. Pour sauce over the layer of rolled enchiladas, add the remaining cheese, and bake for a few minutes until the cheese has a chance to melt. Late at night, after I finish writing, I always fall into in a vicious, skull-breaking depression. Really out and down, dead empty. For the longest time I wondered why, but now I think that it’s because when I write I feel so utilized, so focused and directed, that when I quit for the day there’s a come down like coming off of coke. I go from clean focused certainty to the sewage of doubt in a span of fifteen minutes. This book is self-entertainment, the music of Nero’s fiddle. It isn’t supposed to matter...but then of course after enough time and sweat and weird moments, well, it’s only human. I read about how after people get their leg amputated they can still feel it.
A phantom reaction to a dying world so that when I write I can for the briefest of moments convince myself that what I’m doing matters. That it’s important and if I could get it right it could make a difference. I could sit here and fill 200,000 pages with question marks. You can go around and around looking for a reason, but in the end there are no reasons. There is no answer to the question “Why does man exist?” Still, maybe this is old high school football crap, but it makes me proud to know that I’m not a quitter. Yes, our existence is absurd and the world is falling apart, but I’ve got my goals based on my choices and I’m going to meet them. I say I want to bench press 250 pounds, I bench press 250. I say I’m gonna write a novel, I write a fucking novel. Hey, the world might have thrown in the towel and I might very well be here to witness it, but what the fuck that has to do with me I have no idea. I sit here as my own man doing my thing for reasons of which I have no idea and could really care less. I also refuse to be paralyzed. In college I once had this talk with my favorite professor about how so much has been written and expressed that when you try and do your own work it can be, his word, “paralyzing”. There’s Kant Nietzsche Schopenhauer Joyce Goethe Hemingway Kerouac Aristotle Russell Wittgenstein The Bible Bhagvad Ghita Genet Cervantes Baudelaire Melville Shakespeare Bukowski Borges Miller Dostoevsky Twain Austen Cortazar Machado Zinn Dickens Baldwin Orwell Blake Exley Beckett Wilde Hawthorne Hegel Big Dave down at the gas station and thousands upon thousands of small time figures who filled in blanks and contributed insights through books film art and theater. Bottom line is what the hell are you gonna add to this? Add? Hey, from my point of view all these guys were nothing but a bunch of ineffectual losers. For all the effort they put into whatever they were doing, the world still went in the shitter. Nobody reads thinks or cares, so as far as I’m concerned they’re all failures. I’m at ground zero. Nothing has been said with any effect. They’ve all failed. I do what I want. You ever make lists? I did about two weeks ago sitting at the table at three in the morning. What else is there to do but smoke hash and make lists? You know, Nero’s fiddle, the burning of the human city and all that shit. Number 1 is Single Malts - two kinds - Highland and Lowland - they say that Highland Scotch is the one of the preferred gentleman but piss on the preferred gentlemen gimme a peaty smokey chewy Lowland anyday...Number 2 is That Thing with Jeff: I went to
a bar and got in this great conversation with this guy named Jeff, an architect, about spacial design and capitalism (spaciality promoting consumerism), but the next time I saw him he seemed kind of embarrassed like we were silly for discussing such a thing. It really bummed me out. One more let down. Journey in Search of Nondeath: I took the Underground from Heathrow to the center of London. Picadilly Circus. It was drizzling night. My language now different. The streets of London whirling in the mist. Lights hazing from the taxis and streetlamps. A blurred vision of one’s fate. I went into a store. I bought two cans of Tennant’s Ale. I’ll never forget that it was Tennant’s. I stepped outside and bummed a smoke from a man. It felt like winged victory, bumming that smoke. Everything down to the basics. I walked with the smoke dangling in my mouth and the cans of beer clinking in my pea coat The street signs read City of Westminster. The fixed gray buildings of British history. The forthright yellow face of Big Ben. It shone out. Time. Ancientness. The flowing of the Thames. I asked a woman where was Westminster Abbey? She laughed at the tourist and my heart lifted. I was innocent again. It was the most beautiful edifice I had ever seen. A majestic thing. The stern heart of a poetic island. I had made it there. This far. No one would ever be able to take it away. I opened a can of Tennant’s, bummed another cigarette, and sat down across from the Abbey. It was the cleanest, purest moment of my life. For two hours I sat soaking in the night rain drinking beer contemplating William Blake and Poet’s corner. That I was holy. That I would live for as long as I could and remain free for the rest of my life. That I would bleed everywhere. Pain would be my brother. Everything mattered and I knew that the spirit was with me. I stopped caring and fell in love with the world again. I walked down to the Thames. I sat along the river. I could see the shimmering darkness flowing under the Tower of London. I walked back to Westminster Abbey to have one last look before having to deal with physical reality. Again I thought of William Blake and told myself that if the greatest visionary in Western History could deal with a life of total rejection, then I could deal with whatever they had in store for me. I found a policeman and made up a story about how I was supposed to be staying with a friend but his mom got in a car accident so he had to fly back to America and forgot to
leave me the keys and I was flying back to America in the morning, didn’t have enough money for a hotel, etc. The cops in Europe are more human. He directed me to a church and suggested I get there in a hurry. It was a thirty minute walk. I got in line outside. After ten minutes they let us in, gave us tea, then lead us down to the basement where there were bunks. I got one of the last ones. I heard them upstairs turning people away. I wasn’t playing at being homeless, I was homeless. I went out like a light. Number 3 on my list is favorite food and I think my favorite food in the history of the world on the whole considering all things like eating it regularly has got to be.....drum roll....Italian. But Italian is followed in close second by New Mexican cuisine (posole) and then Mediterranean most specifically Lebanese...Number 4 is Political Speech and I think this was in reference to how political speeches could be so much more meaningful then they are but then look who gives them. Number 5 is friendship and the older you get the more you realize how much your close relationships define your life...Number 6 is Rocky my favorite movie and I love telling arty people that Rocky is my favorite movie and then seeing the uppity elitist prick look on their face when in actuality it was one of the first independent films made in America the dialogue pitch perfect a brilliant work of art...Number 7 is best weather which is the first day in Fall when the air is crisp and you have to put on a sweater for the first time in six months....Number 8 is the weird tripped out fascinating history of Spain but first a word about my fascinating tripped out ethnicity (ha ha, but true): I’m half Spanish half Lebanese seems so different yes but in the end it’s all Mediterranean and if I wanted to get really specific about it I would say half-Phoenician half-Iberian and this is where the history of Spain starts with cro-magnons in the peninsula building weird megalithic tombs then a serious bronze age don’t forget the Basques such a weird language dating back to that time but now ETA who kills bus drivers randomly still what a strange fucking language but back to the Iberians who adopted the Phoenician alphabet bringing me closer to myself the clock of time history starts it’s hard march forward the arrival of the Romans best corruption of a name in history is Zaragoza from Caesar Augusta Seneca was born at Cordoba what to say about an entire historical universe like the Romans except that they were good administrators in their own sad right for in the end all that’s left of a man a nation an empire or a god are a couple words of basic description then after the Romans were several Visigothic kings I have no idea what this means but you get the chance to use the word
“Visigothic” you take it, then the Moors the Moors the Moors and I had this conversation with Ma about how what they call the Reconquest was not the triumph of civilization over bestiality but quite the opposite as the Catholics were more barbaric then the Arabs with Averroes and the Alhambra and Algebra and Ajedrez but oh especially the Alhambra probably the most beautiful monument in the world, then comes “the marriage of the Century” between Fernie and Iz the country starts to come into shape as a thing like Spain though I still to this day don’t know what the hell people are talking about when they say Spain there’s Galicia, the Madrid region, Catlaunya, Communitat de Valencia, the South meaning Andalucia and the Basque lands and the north all these places very different and next is The Conquistadors from the Extramadura region who decimated the “New World” and then it gets boring for a while because I have little or no interest in European Kings be they Bourbon or any other spirit so I jump over the Carlos’s and past The War of Spanish Succession and whatever else happened in the 1800's to Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and the Falange which was bad I know but still kind of cool and then, most importantly, we come to the Spanish Civil War which I have one or two things to say about... I used to see the Spanish Civil War as a clear cut struggle of good vs. evil, the open mind vs. the closed but very few things in this life are as simple as that maybe no things at all. Catalunya and Madrid had been going at it for ages, the former never reconciled to being part of Espana, the latter always feeling dissed about it. Both have always been capable of being two separate nations with Madrid as one capital and Barcelona as the other. Thus, it was no coincidence that when the lines were drawn they more or less corresponded with the Catalan border. So it was an old struggle, not something necessarily new cooked up by an idealistic group of young anarcho-syndicalists sitting in a cafe along La Rambla.... YET!! And let this scream from my fingers let this fly from my mouth!! Despite the fact that the Soviets asserted their oppressive order, despite the fact that pathetic instances of barbarism occurred, despite the fact that all the evil lame things occurred that always occur because people are weak and the world is stupid - it is undeniable that men and women on the side of the Republicans sacrificed their lives for the glorious ideals of dignity, freedom and egalitarianism in a way which was never done before, or since. They stood their ground. They uplifted us all. It was a honorable and profound struggle.
A singularly unique, beautiful revolution – that resulted in the Dictator Franco’s reign, which is zero history as all dictatorships are. To close out the Spanish tip I’ll say that I think it’s pretty decent what Juan Carlos did in democratizing the nation. He was openminded enough to make the right move. Respectable. Number 9 is “style” meaning I need a new one because there is nothing more lymphfreezing than looking up at the bar television at 1:25 in the morning and realizing that you dress exactly like the “hard guy” in the Boy Band....Number 10 is “Birthday” and I have no idea what I was thinking except that some day I’d like to be in Stockholm for my birthday for a cocaine sex binge....Number 11 is astrophysical theories of which I’ve made up my own there are little men floating on chocolate bars farting out pea soup that coagulates into galaxies which are comprised of football playing Italian American stool pigeons who get beat up everyday for being rats and their blood makes gasses that makes planets and we’re the children of farts and stool pigeons. We’re doomed. Soonest. (It is indeed uncanny how much poor people suffer in comparison to the rich. I don’t mean starvation or crime or the other things that come with the territory. I mean bad luck: busses overturning. Storms. Drought. You want something bad to happen, assemble about five hundred poor people in a warehouse. Watch the roof cave in.) Number 12 is canker sores and how they’re so underrated as a source of withering pain and discomfort. Cracks and lesions in the mouth. What’s the purpose of the answer, nothing. The last on my list is Number 13. It reads: “Suffering, No Hope.” After all is said and the lists made the weirdo finally tires himself out masturbating he comes to the inescapable fact of his condition that extends out to the world: “Suffering, no hope.”
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.