The death of a moon cowboy

I am a somewhat-youth with ideas and thoughts and too many dreams that sometimes overflow as these little dribblings from my fingertips. I guess you can try to collect and capture them.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Journal entry #1, of that should-cry emotion

There was a sliver of the thumbnail moon, shrouded amid the glow over the rolling lumpy hills that stretched and leapt past the growing little fancy town of El Dorado Hills. It was barely visible and looked much like a cloud wisp. Frilly parts of other clouds were illuminated in an odd gray-white by the not-yet-risen sun. The sky was amazingly clear, given the massive torrent of rainfall that had dropped over the past few days, weeks, months. I'm not looking forward to Saturday's 100% chance of precipitation. The rain is important to me; what some take as a burden I try to envision as just another necessary step in a cycle that involves me and the sad sky and the sprouting ground and oxygenated breaths and so on, which it is. So when it comes, I opt for a mood of joy, or at the very least, indifference. But sometimes, say when plans have been made and cannot be easily changed, and to weather the weather and its fickleness would require extended purchases and slower driving and more difficult, colder outdoor excursions to apply vehicle chains, then I find myself becoming less and less accommodating. 100% chance! And it's only Thursday morning.

We made great time from Placerville. I can't ever really force myself to be on time, to leave early or actually strive to feel that elusive awake-feeling that some strange individuals revel in, especially when I don't want it. Plus my stomach acts up in the early mornings; it needs to stumble awake at at least eight o'clock to feel well-rested, available and opportune. So we left at 6:24. 24 minutes late.

In the carpool lane we resided. I was completely out of gas. (I thought I had a 12-gallon tank, it turns out it's probably 14, because once I finally filled it up on my way to work it took 13.5 gallons, a new Sentra record.) But onward, without hesitation! There's something amazing (have I repeated myself yet?) about watching the sunrise. I definitely appreciate the sunset - I love it and could watch it every day and never tire - but it's so routine, so expected. The sunrise I scarcely ever watch, unless it happens to be on a terrifically long drive from Utah, the likes of which is starkly beautiful in a way that changes each color of the landscape into something new and completely different, a special effect of the tantalizing rays of the newly broken star I suppose. This morning's sunrise was quite similar, and as we breached the Folsom Hill, the cities were spread out at our feet, a welcome mat for the valley, the all-night lights still blazing, birds charming the daily commute's air, peak to peak with washboard trees, picturesque blue skies, all strewn about the clumped walls and brick substructures of sub-urban activity.

Because my eyes hung so drearily still, and my ears were sensitive as they should be during the 6 AM hour, I kept the radio low to endure conversation - casual but indicative of the lack of need for anything at all above casual. Traffic kept itself at bay, eluding even the most unhurried of travelers, another morning blessing. We arrived at the Greyhound station far more quickly than I had predeterminately anticipated, and with no available curbside in sight, I ignited a right-hand blinker and we paused. He gathered his things up, nearly forgetting the new smokehole-infested coconut piggy bank from the thrift store, and again we paused - there's never much to say when one's in a hurry and the bus in the traffic lane behind you is gaining ever so slightly and a ticket must be retrieved and gasoline must be purchased and moves must be made and work must be done. So with minimal goodbyes, he departed and I departed.

I felt like I should cry. That should-cry emotion. Sometimes there are those moments when this happens, you feel a strong emotion, which may or may not be tied to other goings-on but most definitely strikes you at that one particular moment. But I didn't cry. I just drove on, steadily, characteristically going the wrong way, passing through the emptiest Old Sacramento in my memory and taking the other way, eastward again. Past 65th Street where I logically should've gotten gas, past the new huge apartments-or-strip-mall complex off Mather Field where they're adamantly attempting to redefine Rancho Cordova as a new, hip, up-and-coming realm of desirability. Past the occasional walker, the construction workers, the barely-active gas stations, over the canal, to Costco for gas.

There the sun hadn't yet overtaken the horizon formed by the buildings off toward White Rock Road. So I sat and read with a green hat perched precariously atop my head so as to obstruct the blinding sunlight once it revealed itself. I could've slept possibly, but instead I read, for oh about 15 minutes. There was that should-cry emotion again - while listening to "Oh Comely" - but I know that it just keeps coming because of everything, and that soon - so soon, too soon - I'll be moving and on to not bigger, not better, but different things. In a land so completely foreign to me I find it straining to even tell others of it. And I've lived there before! It baffles me, I have no need to be 'from' this land or 'living in' this land, yet I'm going there regardless. To learn some things, no less, things that I may or may not come to own, to love, to feel.

In the halo of that should-cry emotion, I trekked to work, alone, like a dog retreating silently to the owner that so recently struck him, with my new backpack and my glasses on, uncombed hair, my brother dropped off for a melancholy journey on a Greyhound bus bound for Santa Cruz, California, with a full tank of gas, an empty pocketbook and a mile-high mound of debt, and the knowledge that in time all things come to adapt and find themselves comfortable - a comfort I wish to steer clear of, avoid, a bottomless chasm that leads straight for the molten heart of derelict pressures and the remote opportunity of habitual contentment. Somebody save me. There isn't anything left at all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A theist's lurching blasphemy

When I last spoke with God round a table of tea,
He berated unjustly the life that I lead.
"My son, you've forgotten, forsaken... you fraud!
How darest you betray the infinite God!
I've shown you the ways of the meek and the might,
so woe your seduction and traitorous slight!"
With a sip and wink I replied with a calm
way about my impressions and steadied of palm.
Then audacious as Caesar I commenced to tell
(with the lurching tides of abysm to quell).
"You're not Him," I derided, "You're packaged and sleek.
You've no sense of purpose, a crutch for the weak.
You're vengeful and shameless and not quite the same
as the people would will You. Their despondent shame
heaps the walls that contain You with rubbage and grief,
and off with their souls! - such a gluttonous thief!
Let the people be - can't You see that they're starved? -
for reason and purpose, not prisoner's bars!
So resign Yourself from this false masquerade
and remove Your facade that implements fate."
(Certainly concurrence alone could tell
of the lurching tides of abysm to quell.)
Then in guileless prose, the worst I bequeathed,
"Antithetically spoken, your place is Beneath!"
Set unabashed, I narrowed my eyes
and that blundering fool of a god lost his guise.
While there in his stead not a tatter remained,
for when left disenchanted - God's nature explained -
the denied unbeliever's cynical pose
is resumed, I assume - a violate rose.
Still the steady in mind and the valiant in deed
know more than's determined by dogma or creed,
and take what is given - tradition or no -
as fodder that feathers the quaint status quo.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

One from the road

The crazy roadtrip to UT

Amy drives
3 AM car makes bad sounds, things tinkle on roadway
I drive
dash lights on, check manual, belt dead, check to verify
drive aimlessly, talk to dad
get off middle nowhere, battle mtn.
check in super 8 (?) motel, 75 bucks at 4 in AM
sleep in car
temp. in teens, 18/19 degrees
freezing cold
6 AM go to McDonald's (why?)
go to Chevron
wait a bit, make calls, check greyhound prices (122 to provo, per person, roundtrip, 118 slc)
7 AM drive to shop (shop's name?)
they open 8 AM, they're there, make us wait in car
check in car, find prob., part has to be overnighted from SLC, next AM
get ride with Carolyn from shop to chevron
we reserve rental car in Elko, at Enterprise rent a car at airport, dodge stratus
short lady Jane at Chevron offers first daughter, then trucker husband George to drive us
George picks us up in Dodge Stratus, he's pro driver, perfect
talks religion, war, philosophy, school, living. he's lived in west point ut, all over NV, went to Iraq for war, combat training, won't finish school cause they're screwing him, believes in personal spirituality
sunny out
we get to airport, he wont take 20 bucks, takes 10, gives us all his #s in case we need help again
get rental, drive to provo
check out houses, dumps, find one we like, set up appt. w/landlord, get dep. $$, eat at Wendy's, sign papers, head to Glory's
sleep at Glory's, wake late at 8 AM, rental's due at 11 AM with grace time
we haul to Elko
get car on time, get ride from elko airport to crappy gas station doubling as greyhound station (station's name?)
wait 3 hours for 2:30 PM bus to battle mtn., 18$ per person, one way
watch bad reception TV, read, talk to no-toothed guy from Idaho: came with buddy to visit NV, car broke down, used all $ to get it out of shop (200$), breaks down 2 blocks away, shop won't fix it, he ditches buddy, calls mom (he must be early 30s or looks old), gets greyhound ticket $, waits til 3 AM for bus. name?
greyhound, dropped off battle mtn. around 4 PM at chevron
call Carolyn for ride to shop, she's off work but picks me up anyway, we talk poetry, writing, she's had a few poems published
I pick up car, pay (almost $200), drive back to pick up Amy
head home

Audio: Vheissu|Thrice
Video: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe [2005|Andrew Adamson]
Text: Brave New World|Alduous Huxley

My word of the day: surreptitious
[Why: Not sure really, just popped into my head and I like it.]

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The circus: Threshold [VII]

Often in the following weeks I occupied my time idly, walking, reading and full of thought, waging one-sided wars with Fas, working and finding my mind becoming further removed from Parsons as it shriveled into an indistinct speck of black hole memory, an automaton with no regard for the present. Fas, Abe and Kat had all started school again, and I opted to work longer hours. With each paycheck I contributed my portion to Mother for assistance in family necessity, the rest squandered endearingly in a round clay pot I'd fired in the 8th grade that bore the inscribed phrase "whistletoe feet" on it - obviously meaning something to me once, the nature of which evaded me now.

My family, preoccupied with usual routine and typically inane banter, was currently high-ridden and giddily awaiting the annual Erid Carnival and Bazaar, held in that town 35 miles to the northeast. Not to be confused with the Erid County Fair which was occurred in June, the carnival was highly anticipated and attracted more spectators and retail booths and attractions for a wild week of small county celebration that I figured must have rivaled that of Mardi gras. By day there was bartering and flea market stands with popcorn and Styrofoam lemonade cups freckling the grounds, while the nighttime aroused the lighted Ferris wheel and the shotgun bursts of game attendants shouting enticement at every smiling, wandering soul. Each year it seemed that all grotesque beings rose from their graven, forgotten dwellings just to visit. An unprecedented swarm of detestable proportion.

It always came the final full week of September - welcomed openly - and in my recollection we'd never missed a year, not after Father died, not when Abel was white with deathbed pneumonia, not once.

It was Thursday night when I found Kat monopolizing the bathroom. Only thirteen and already determined to fancy herself up for prepubescent pseudoromance. It was an age that defied much of my memory, and somehow its importance to her was beyond my ordinary comprehension.

"So, who is it tonight? Jordan, Nate? Who are you trying to impress? I bet it's that new kid who moved in on the other side of the park..." I braced myself in the doorframe, trying to look as intimidating as possible, one hand slung up by the hinges, feet crossed.

"Get out Clay!" Kat shouted, slamming the door as she kicked at my shins and nearly severing two of my fingers.

"I'll be watching you!" I yelled back, laughing and leaping around the corner.

At seven we all piled into the family station wagon, each of us into our respective space - it was fascinating that the thing still ran after all these years - and with a growl it started and we drifted off and up the highway like blood cells through an artery, trailing our grey translucent exhaust in the haze of waning daylight. I was to inherit the car once Mother had saved enough to purchase something else, but that had been the promise since I turned sixteen. Occasionally I drove it on an errand, but only when utterly necessary, as we'd sold Father's truck three years ago and only had this to rely upon.

The hills sauntered by in dull blurry streaks of sagebrush and forestry and earth; Fas was telling Kat about his run-in the week prior with a sheriff whose idea of recreation differed drastically from Fas' own. I chose to adhere to familiar silence, envisioning the boredom that would envelop my evening, and the carnival that marked the occasion of another year's passing, another steady lapse of significance in my simple young life, another frivolous event to occupy the recurring leisure of the unoccupied.

Ah, the fancy town of Erid - visualize Parsons, only add a few thousand more people, fairgrounds, and some additional shopping attractions. Centered in the fencing of the fairgrounds, steel gates protruded skyward and its two thick dark doors were flung open, catapulted in opposite directions.

We left the car seemingly miles away and approached on foot, Near those dark wooden doors, Mother took me by the shoulders and stared the matriarchal stare that attempts to anchor the soul.

"Clay," she whispered over the dawning sounds audible past the entranceway, her green eyes warming me as they always did but equally nurturing a sensation of impending catastrophe, a feeling that made me jerk myself backward from her grip - a movement that provoked a sigh and downward look.

"Just enjoy yourself," she concluded, once more sighing, obviously withholding most of any intended discussion.

"We're all going to be back here at eleven o'clock!" she hollered at the batch of us. "Keep track of the fairgrounds clock's chime - it's loud enough for you all to hear, so be sure to be on time!"

Oh, Mother. What a laugh. She treated us as if we were still small, incapable children. Luckily it seemed that the pressures of single parenthood hadn't exacted much on her, its toll mainly apparent through extreme watchfulness and careful paranoia.

We muttered goodbyes in near unison, with Abe's "See you then!" perceptible as we broke group and went our separate ways.

Hidden deep in my left pocket was a weathered leather pouch I'd found by the haystacks some time ago while scavenging the farm fields. In it I'd placed ten dollars and some change for the night's activities. A silly maneuver, as I wasn't much of a spender, especially at this sort of gathering. There were, however, a few things that could intrude upon my fickle desires.

Rows of booths stretched past the entrance as the far as wandering eyes could perceive, looping about and circling the grounds until almost connecting again. Hours could be spent just observing their varying peculiarities and contents.

A confectionery stand offered varieties of licorice, and I purchased an exquisitely packaged bundle, touted as Australian and authentic. I didn't know any better, but I fancied it all the same.

Enrapturing as this entire event might have been, the night was both suffocating and saccharine, drawing out slowly, a snake encompassing its prey. Acquaintances both recent and historic sought me out, with each minute of our revealing, phony appreciation for each other as awkward as it would sound.

Sure, fine; I laughed, I smiled. But persuasive and convincing this attraction would never be.

Fair little fair in the breadth of nothingwhere, your wiles and tomfoolery cannot sow complacency in me! No, oh no no. No, because I've been reading. I've been dreaming. I've been biding my bides and timing my times, and eventually you will not remember me, little fair, little town, my footprints and I will have vanished and we'll be beyond you and your inconsequential mockery. Mark these words. You'll not see me again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It was in the 84th story

They staged the accident to look as if someone else had done it, the truck over the body and such.

In our escape, we made our way to the large manufacturing building, with its enigmatic energy and mysterious purposes. We watched in hiding as the claw operator out front opened the three massive steel drawers at the top of the entranceway. The uppermost was special, as the claw had to maneuver inside the drawer and grasp a second handle, thus opening the passage into the building within.

We somehow made out way inside, and found ourselves at a dead end, in a small room that pulsed periodically with electromagnetic charges, a veritable death chamber. It was only by luck and honest backtracking that we were able to escape it unharmed. As we fled, small malleable balls of a clay-like substance flooded the floors and coalesced into one larger ball. We stood stupified, unable to comprehend exactly the meaning of what was going on.

Contemplating our fate, I discovered a hidden ladderway behind us, that led upward, a double-layered ladder, into the seemingly unknown. What choice did we have but to take it... We all knew the building was 84 stories tall, that was no secret to us. It was to be a long climb.

At once exhausted yet still exhilirated, we finally were ousted into a lit room, strange and filled with stacked maroon chairs. It seemed to be a side room left from a church; it had burlap walls and was filled with a smoky haze created by the sunlight interacting with meandering dust. The meaning was beyond us. As we scrambled down, we kept together and walked slowly. A dark room off to one wall held laundry machines and dryers, one of which was in use. Throbbing reddish light spontaneously burst into luminescence and then faded away. The laundry machine in use sputtered and turned and clanked. It meant nothing to me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Jarom's date - W
Autism scare, dr. appt. - Tu
James/Steph's - M
Parade, dinner at Smiths - Su
Shopping, nada - Sa
Santa Cruz, day off - F

Mall, shopping
Rain, rain
Santa Parade in Sac, new cell phones
Lowell's bday, McD's
Rubicon, leaving
Thanksgiving, race, 2 dinners, Walk the Line
Jarom's bday party, bouncehouse
Harry Potter midnite


My word of the day:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Colony 945

I lived in one of the round white Roman Towers, with the others. Ben was with me. He still had his plane, fashioned from the old gutted body of his 1992 Toyota truck. It was something I had always been jealous of--the fact that he could fly, and with a contraption made so simply from everyday parts.

And it was time to join him at the Ball.

Little did I know that a secret project, known only as "Colony 945", had somehow partially been discovered and was being erased from those who knew. I was unwittingly one of them, and was currently escaping detection. I had two folders filled with papers and notes, complete duplicates of each other as far as I was concerned. They had been borrowed from me temporarily by an Instructor, and were being kept by him in a roomful of Students from the Towers who also knew of the secret. They were of all varying ethnicities, dressed in white, smiling.

The Ball was going on downstairs, and sensing danger, I brought took my makeshift aluminumese gun with me, kept securely in my left suit pocket. When I finally reached the Ball at the bottom of the spiraling stairs, I saw a Guard scanning people with a handheld detector. I rushed back upstairs with intention to leave my gun, as it would be of no use tonite anyway. On my way back to my room, I decided to drop by the Students' room--unaware of its purpose--and noticed that the Instructor was absent. I saw the folders that I had provided him sitting unprotected in his seat, and realized that he had combined all of the content into one of them, thus revealing some scratched notes scrawled on the inner-rear of one of the folders. As I stared, the Instructor returned quietly through a side door, and I read only the words "Colony 945" written in cursive. The others were a blur to me. The Instructor looked surprised at my presence, and as I spun around and vacated the Students' room through an opposite side door, he began to give chase.

I rushed down those stairs and saw that an Assassin had been appointed and now hovered mere seconds behind me. I leapt entire stairwells, planting my feet horizontally against the walling before leaping sideways again down the next entire well. He followed suit. Eventually he caught me midair and wrapped his ankles around my neck in a scissored grip, ready to snap. But I was able to withstand his Death Embrace.

There was something about me. Something meant to know of this secret. Something that would not die.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cold is a state of mine

The train rushed over the tracks while the sun broke rhythmically through sparse clouds, paralyzed like cottonweed in the frigid hours of a mid-December afternoon. On my table sat a cup of hot tea and some warmed bread, serving to relax me as I sat upright with the back of my head pressed against leather. My favored coach, #49, appeared virtually empty. My compartment was built to accommodate four; I was a solitary traveler in an empty booth.

The fluid countryside streamed by the window and a coat of snow, freshly fallen from the midmorning storm, still covered those stretches of field that remained in shadow. The bare treetops glittered and the sun exposed the colors of caramel and wheat where it touched down upon the earth. My window was warm; I pressed my left cheek against it and closed my eyes.

The two-hour journey by train was familiar to me, as I traveled often between my villa in the farmlands of Sheridan and the low-lying office building in Canterville. My intentions were to take a week off for relaxation, to keep my feet elevated and candles lit, to bask in the glory of a new winter landscape away from the paperwork and calendar precision that defined my daily life.

I smiled at the conductor as he approached and clipped the end of my ticket. He wore a shortly groomed beard and had warm black eyes that drank me in like cocoa.

"Thank you," he said with a slow brush of his fingers against the brim of his hat, saluting. "I'll ring for some more tea for you."

"That'd be nice, thanks."

My eyes darted back and forth, surveying the coach, and then I fixed my gaze again out the window to consider intently the varying speeds at which the landscape passed. I dabbed a drip of spilt tea from my sweater with a fine maroon napkin—embroidered with a golden "49"—and was startled to hear a commotion coming from the rear of the coach. The muffled growls of an obviously dissatisfied man were unmistakable, as were the timid and more hushed tones of a woman's voice in return. Straining my neck in an unnatural contortion I attempted to see whence this fuss had originated, but was obstructed by the partial dividing walls that protruded from either side of the coach's center, leaving its posterior a curtained enigma.

Moments later the disturbance had subsided. I sat myself upright, picked up the book I'd been avoiding and resumed an apathetic daze studying its pages, until something altogether different drew my attention. A hustling form stormed daintily down the center walkway in a whirlwind of swirling skirt and a look of apparent frustration. Her form demanded the swift removal of my eyes from their bookside position and I stared her down wondrously as she passed. She had blonde unraveled curls that swept just over her neck and shoulders into petite, tufted ends of upturned exactitude. Her white skirt—envy of winter!—was slightly, elegantly puffed at the waist, and she strode so stormily in shoes fragile enough to disintegrate with a step. Her face was positioned away from me, obscured. I was immediately intrigued to know more of her, and I shut my book hastily so that I might observe her hurried destination.

She sought the end of the cabin that faced me, where she took seat with an older woman who'd been sitting alone; a conversation immediately began between them. Both women spoke and gestured about frantically, not quite audible over the clockwork clacking of the train. After several minutes of discussion the two women embraced briefly, and the girl who'd caught my attention sat back looking defeated.

With this, my passage had become momentously more entertaining, for I now had a subject with which to pursue the fancies of my supplanted boredom. Smiling, I leaned crooked against the window and folded my arms, keeping watch over the cabin. A female attendant arrived with a fresh cup of tea. I thanked her and she moved on without unpursing her inexpressive lips.

It was about this time that my girl stood again and began walking back, retracing the steps of her original flight. As her gait increased and the space between us closed, I was able to make out her face.

I was smitten the moment I saw her: the glow that clouded her movements, the way her lips pouted in ostensible disdain, chin tipped barely upward, an air of disregard billowing about her like fine ash from a chimney, neat blonde hair still flowing in those delicately curled piles as I had seen them only moments before.

In a rather brash, and rare, display of confidence, I put my leg partially into the aisle, as a blockade—looking as if I meant a schoolboy trick and planned to knock her down—but it was merely a gesture to necessitate her attention. This maneuver was impossible for me to prevent, as the faculties of my mind had ceased to function properly and were then operating solely upon the instinctual forces of impulse and the hope of creating a fate that barred premeditation.

And work it did. At least, it garnered her attention, as well it should have. She stopped, turning her notice toward me with silent acknowledgement. The look upon her face alone told me that, although intended innocently, this behavior would most likely not be tolerated.

"I couldn't help but notice…" I began, stuttering foolishly and pausing to try and regain a sliver of composure, "…that you seemed to be going through some amount of difficulty, and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind joining me for a cup of this deliciously complimentary tea to talk it over?"

It ended up coming out more like a statement than a question, and I'm not quite sure she even knew a proper response.

Indeed, she must not have known, for she simply continued on without a reply, in a sort of completely artificial ignorance as to my existence.

What shock! Marked by my own congeniality! Made fool by my own sensitivity! Or perhaps it was the candid and intrusive nature of my inquiry that merited such a terse response. Whichever, she had had quite enough of something, and was glad to be traipsing back once again to the rear of the coach. I sighed. Ah, fate. In so brief a time I had let my imagination run rampant, savoring wildly the face of a beautiful creature, only to then immediately encounter a crushing blow to deflate my puffed heart.

Letting out a long, anxious sigh that blew the rushing adrenaline back into its stores for later use, I again lounged in my seat and checked my watch. It was 2:45 – hour and a half until arrival. I could make use of that excess time by resting, or by dwelling on the fact that I needed a more tactful display of intelligent conversation to use in informal settings. Thoughts wandering, my eyes fluttered shut.

... ...

A gentle nudge against my right hip straightened me from the depths of near-slumber. As I jolted alert, I was surprised to realize I was no longer sitting alone. The young girl had apparently sat exactly beside me while I was drifting off, and was now staring at her clasped hands atop the table.

"I'm sorry for my rudeness earlier. I'm quite flustered to say the least." Her sweet voice came out quickly and entered like a firestorm into my eardrums, bouncing across bone and tissue, unraveling hair-like structures until they stopped prematurely at some indeterminate crossroads in my brain and there remained, synapses stranded, calls unanswered.

I stared vacantly.

"I'm Genevieve." She held out her hand. I took it.

"Hello. Genevieve." I stated, hesitantly. "You can call me Finn." I cleared my throat. My eyes were stuck, unable to look directly at her.

"I can call you Finn?" She smiled casually. I thought I may have caught the glimmer of a wink, but it may well have been a creation all my own. "You see," she began, "it's just that my parents don't get along at all. At all! They bicker and fight like schoolchildren, they won't even sit anywhere near each other whenever we're out. So when I'm along, I end up commuting between them, back and forth, up and down—their personal messenger—while they take their frustration with each other out on me! It's ridiculous!"

Her voice peaked in intensity before she broke off, preventing her emotions from betraying her. She cradled her forehead with one arm, propped on the table.

"I should be quieter; I would rather that neither of them hears me complaining. My father is especially cantankerous today."

I forced my vocal cords to loosen. "I assume that he," I motioned to the rear, "is your father, and she," reversing the direction of my arm, "is your mother?"

"Correct. What incredible intuition!"

"Ah, yes. Well, I'm quite sorry to hear of all this. Sadly, both of my parents have already passed. And they got along rather amicably I'm afraid, so at this moment I'm suffering from a terrible bout of being unable to relate."

"Is that so? Well in that case I'll just be on my way." She made as if to get up into the aisle.

I panicked a bit and shifted myself toward her as she rose. My fingertips touched her upper arm. "I was only joking."

She looked back at me with a grin. "That I knew! I was only curious to see if it made any difference to you." Her smile!

"Well if that's the case, it does. Please, sit back down. "

She did. "Which is your stop?" she asked.

"Sheridan, the 4:15. I'm heading home after a week that's left me about as empty as an overturned bottle on a Saturday evening. Which is yours?"

"Marcus. We're visiting my aunt and uncle who we've not seen in the last decade. On my mother's side—of course, that's partially what's gotten my father into his current mood. They've spoken hardly a word to him in all their years of acquaintance. Due to a number of factors," she began counting them off on her fingers, "the grand distances separating us, my father's stubbornness and gruff demeanor—which he is not afraid to show others, and the fact that this particular aunt and uncle are obnoxiously wealthy and my father believes that it's held over his head anytime he's not around."

I paid little attention to the family relationships. "So Marcus is the 3:30."


"Oh, so soon! And we've barely just met! Well then, tell it all to me, fill me up with your angst and worries, I've plenty of time to spare."

"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not actually. At least not more than I've already admitted. Sometimes it’s just nice to shift the subject, you know, to free the space in the mind that's been preoccupied with wasted thoughts for far too long. Why don't you tell me about Sheridan, or we can just enjoy the passing scenery, something along those lines? Either way, I'm already glad to have met you, Finn."

This was said with sincere kindness, and the affection that I perceived in her face was more than enough to thaw out the rest of my frozen heart, relating to my toes that sensation of sitting too close to the wood stove after a long day spent slogging through snow in half-eaten boots that leave one waterlogged and frostbitten.

"Alright then, let's have a look," I agreed, and we both turned our faces in unison to watch the beauty blooming beyond the railway.

In this manner we enjoyed each other's company for some time, occasionally contributing a remark of wit or some interesting minor aspect of our lives. I figured that as long as we continued to reside in our affable good nature, there'd be plenty of time to later exchange points of contact, thus ensuring further communication.

After fifteen minutes or so of that casualness, I determined to endear the fair Genevieve with my always-outstanding personality, and entered into doing so with blundering conversation.

"If I remember correctly, the town of Marcus has seen a slight downfall in population over the course of the last few years, if that's any consolation for your problematic aunt and uncle…" I started before sputtering out with the memory of her insistence on leaving the matter alone.

But I picked right back up. "Never mind that then! Say, did we ever ring for tea for the two of us? Wasn't that the grounds for my original invitation?" I purposefully perked my voice.

"Why we haven't!" She said. "Let's make sure to pull the conductor aside at his next passage."

Now, the utter oddity and horror in what followed still affects me to this day and serves as a constant testament to the complete lack of valor that I possess.

"Genevieve! I'd like to see you at once!" The muffled voice of her father rose up and over our heads, swirling about in its black magicked waywardness as it weaved a spell that must have surprised even fate itself. He somehow managed to sound both calming and unnerving at the same time, and Genevieve looked at me haggardly as she stood.

"I'd better see what he needs."

I took her hand in my weak, nervous grip. "Isn't there something you can do? Stand up to him? Ignore him?"

This statement was apparently uncalled for. "He's my father," she retorted. "What else is there to do? But please, don't go anywhere. I'll return shortly," she said as she turned and headed back to appease the old goat.

And those were the last words we ever exchanged.

I watched as her father took her hand in a gentle motion while he opened the center door that led into #50, the adjoining coach, and stole her off into oblivion.

This obviously startled me, and I hastened around to see what had become of Genevieve's mother. Her seat was likewise deserted. What had happened? Had she too switched coaches? Had she somehow drifted past me to accompany her despised husband and lovely daughter, while I was none the wiser? Was this due to Genevieve's social interactions with a complete stranger? My day had quickly decomposed into a heap of confusion.

I resolved to wait it out; after all, she had vowed to return and would live by that pledge! Besides, I had not yet asked her for her address, purposefully intending to do so once we had spent a few more moments together. It seemed there had been plenty of time before she was to leave the train. My watch showed 3:20. Time had proceeded at a lively pace just to spite me, and her stop would arrive in ten minutes.

In that same lonely compartment I remained and observed in misery as Marcus unraveled before me. After the train rolled to a halt, I pushed up against the window and watched as the heart of winter itself, the glorious daughter of a ridiculous, bitter couple of foolish old animals, disembarked from the train and was arm in arm with her red-faced father, while her mother converged upon them from two coaches' distance down, nose held high enough to suffocate the fog.

Genevieve looked back not once, but three times toward my window, while her father kept her arm snugly in his and nudged her slowly forward, and I—fool of fools!—prepared a vacant, soulless stare. All I could manage was to lay my fumbling palm on the window's surface and breathe hot gasps of breath where condensation should have circled. My feet were rooted in the train's underbelly; no avalanche could have moved me. The clanking beneath started up again as the train fired and started. My sallow cheeks halted the movement of my eyelids, leaving me presumably looking as lifeless as I felt.

A faint whistle screeched and cried somewhere off in that luscious countryside. My palm on the window—a place where the fading sun's warmth was welcome not even an hour prior—became pained with the chill of the frozen earth surrounding me, in that same dry ice that wakes the windswept mountain peaks. But this was all routine for me: the cold, the abandonment, the feelings of impotence and self-pity. It's been a state of mine for as long as I can remember. Cold has always been a state of mine.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm cold

It gets cold this time of year, when the sun goes down and the days are short. And I find myself wishing for warmer days, those days that will come with the dawning of the next Summer. And that Summer will be the Summer of 26 - 26 going on 27 - and while there are no two Summer-times in one age, each takes with it a little of our youth and tacks on a bit of our aging self. So I'll sit here and stay up late, wishing and groaning for some sunned chlorine to bathe in, while I chatter my teeth until they grate down to nubs, and I'll rub my arms and hands rapidly for comfort.

I want to shower and smell that stark bleach on my skin, the stench of summerly love and newly created memories, the flowering sunlight that nurtures us like milk from our mothers. I want to wade in oceans and watch my skin darken in shade from pale to burgundy in one afternoon. I think it best to swim, be it in water or humidity, and to hope for just one day, longer than the last.

But the seasons belong. As does the rain and all it brings in its cycle of water and life. For these reasons do I love the water and its reservoirs: the salted seas, the swimming pools, the rain and the snow, the lakes, the baths, the tributaries, and the river - of course the river. I will fashion my love for Autumn as it transitions all too quickly into Winter. I'll bask in the snow like a fallen angel awaiting my true love. And this I'll do as I know...

That glare belongs in my eyes.

Friday, November 18, 2005


This desert is Mojave,
all swelter and heat
and swishes and huts.
Its ruts and roads hold
the wooden weeds and cauldron clay, huddled near
the skeletal anthills and
the rescinding sidewinder.
That tireless howl. It prays
a monastery ritual, begs for rain.

This forest is California,
it peaks and timbers
and pales and twilights.
Its heights dwell above
the bungalow buildings and city cinders, shuttered in
the saline valleys and
the settling fogs.
That sobbing breeze. It fans
a bellows gust, cries for justice.

This life is origami,
all creases and folds
and cracks and fades.
It wades deeper than
the floating fortresses and stranded schooners, gliding above
the shingle nests and
the naked ocean.
That sea-borne wind. It moans
a sailor lament, pleads for mercy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The peasant

You. You are a craven
in a monarch's prison.
You reek of requiem;
your self-sufficient song
lays roses of guilt
on the casket throng.

You. You are no king.
You seem to think,
but we see no such thing.
We watch a wounded conceit,
and a slithering tongue
beguiling deceit.

You. You seek to use.
We have paid our dues.
We do not welcome you
with any fleck of honesty
or fervor or integrity.
We see through transparency.

You. Your gaveling hand
espouses no command.
No, not from us. Across the land
we've tilled, you've taken
from the weak. But now
our defiance has awakened.

You. Your crumbling walls
of rotted castle fall.
The sun's midday shawl
is spread; we shall fight,
and our foolish bodies will mark
the season of changing might.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The monarch

Approach on knee, and bend, and swoon
toward ha'penny feet, or his of doubloon.
Then stand, so soon - to throne and moon!
Oh, crown of gems with lustered kiss,
against the gnarl of knuckled fist.
His will should bear the marks of this,
the hand of servile labored sin.
His lineage stands as next of kin.
For a king's command the reign begins
with a feast fit for an unruly crowd.
While peasants starve and farm the ground,
he merely wishes more had bowed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Darin turned 28 on Friday. We attended a little celebration in his honor (though we found later that we missed the actual celebration, it occurred beginning around midnite and stretching on until who knows when). It was nice, we lounged around Heather and Darin's countryside bungalow home and chatted a bit with Zack and Rebecca and (of course) Darin and Heather. Jarom, Bella and Sylvan were the babes of the party and made ruckus wherever they saw fit. Darin painted a marvelous work of prestige with Jarom. We arrived home late, but hey, it was Friday nite.

Saturday Amy and I helped Adie finish moving up to Nevada City. I got to drive a clunker of a truck, one extremely similar to my old friend of years gone by, the 85 Toyota who was more reliable than a faithful steed. The vehicle was rickety (to say the least), but I had a memorable time driving a manual and listening to my music through very minute headphones. At one point a little boy who reminded me of a young version of Adam Partain saw me and pointed in horror and mocking surprise.

I had never been to or through Grass Valley or Nevada City. They are out of the way towns, hidden in some remote distance that only calls to a certain type of individual, where the city folk stay away and cause their unique brand of problem elsewhere, and the enchanted soulful wander in the woods that border the thin fences in their own backyards. Adie has a bottom-floor flat out on a curving road, past the mandolin, with a gate and excited dogs and homemade meditation rooms.

We had a better time than I expected, I suppose. The drive made Amy sick, as it was all on Highway 49 without a strait stretch in sight, but we stayed a while and even slunk through the small downtown streets. I took the kids out for some air while Amy rested, and we stopped in a candy shop and a small bookstore. I've made a new mark on my heart.

On Sunday we drove to Coloma, to revisit the beauty we hurriedly drove aside the day before, and attempted to take some planned family portraits, with Bonny the photographer. As always they were difficult, we came up with a few prospectives, but none in quite the same way the vision had presented itself in the mind. It can't be denied how pretty it was, though. I've always had love for Coloma - how couldn't I? But this autumn festivity was something new to me. I guess I just hadn't ever driven through before at this time of year, with my eyes tuned to see things that really don't last as long as we always like to think. They happen each year, right?! These earthen leafy tones falling like snow from treetop peaks, the brisk weather and green grass with half-overclouded skies. Yes, yes, but each year ticks by, and pretty soon 'each year' becomes 'last year', and we're full of regrets and redrawn visions of the past that we never afforded before. I don't want that kind of memory. I want a sickly full mind, brimming to overflow with love and appreciation and passion, excitement for each and every thing that could possibly make its way into my life.

That same nite I helped Heather with installing her stereo. It was quite the fiasco. I have installed numerous car stereos before, I'll give myself that credit, but never before had I had such difficulty (right?). I attempted removing the dash trim that was bolted in from the rear, obviously not the correct method. Dad came over and helped me to figure out the easiest way to continue, and Monday after work I went to Best Buy to get the proper pieces and mostly finished the job.

So around 12:30 Monday nite, it was complete, though it cost Heather 40 dollars for parts and she insisted on giving me another 30 for my labor. I felt like she got the short end of the bargain. But she was quite glad to have a working CD-playing car stereo, and I was glad to be done (though we'll have to touch up the rough edges later).

I do feel bad, however, because Sunday nite when Dad and I were working on the car, Jarom would come out thrilled as ever, and in my frustration I became angry and shushed him aside, even bringing him into the house at some points to remove him from the scene. Self control!, evening of the emotions!...

Audio: Our Endless Numbered Days|Iron and Wine
Video: Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: segue
[Why: I used to always think this was spelled "segueway" or "segway". Little did I know; I was shocked to find its true spelling.]

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall away from this estate

We paused some in that torrid weather, finding solace within a cavity in the hillside where pure water trickled and we were able to drink heavily and go for a swim. Strength slightly renewed, we continued on.

We reached the large abandoned mansion after hiking up that snake of a mountain trail. The journey was long and strange, none of us were sure of our aspirations or of what to do next. Inside, it stretched high, past numerous stories and grandiose furnishings; it looked as if it were still lived in. The centerpiece of the building was fashioned around an old dumbwaiter that consisted of a large, thick wicker basket and some hooks with which to fasten it. It was large enough to be used as (and it sometimes was) an elevator.

Little did we know that the house was haunted. Our apparition was constantly creating mischief, and we feared her greatly, without knowledge of her method nor madness. We knew when she was approaching as the dumbwaiter would fire up and begin moving without any of us having a hand in it. The basket would be open, hooks glistening. The fired torches that lit the walls behind it would flicker and pant as if a subtle breeze continually ate away at them. The lighting in the house would jump about, and spectral chimes could be heard with the cranking of the old engine that turned somewhere in the shadows below.

This ghost was strange. I actually saw her face to face before I left that place. I had figured her to be an aged spirit, withered and horrifying, but she took on the form of a younger woman, complete with flesh and eyes and hair - nowhere did she display any characteristic that would give away her true nature. She acted as if she had similar tastes as I, though this seems ridiculous at best - it was simple phantom trickery, I'm sure, and she was toying with my mind in a ploy to achieve her utmost ambitions. I remember she claimed to like some candy I had brought - Goetze's caramel creams, my favorite.

I think the flash of red in her eyes always gave away her intentions, but her image is forever burned into the recesses of my memory.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A doused wick (or the real Dia De Los Muertos)

I just went out, and it's an amazing overcast, cloud-darkened but still visible and not-terribly-frozen day. I love it. This weather approaches perfect, to match my mood. Tolerable, knowing of better things, but dwelling on the less joyous. The breezes rubbed my ears, the trees shook my hand, and the pavement massaged my feet. It's rather nice.

I went to AM/PM and a jolly, Santa Clause-esque gangster of a cashier was quite friendly and welcoming. Come to think of it, I've met his kind before. The kind where on a worse day my mind may have unkind words or instant stereotypes to vomit, without parsing out the ramifications or considering the destruction of their nature. He was jovial and made me pause; why don't we all always hold the door for each other? Why don't we all always have a smile instead of a glare, or give the benefit of the situation instead of turning to road rage? Why don't we all always love the less-fortunate, donate charitably, compliment generously, give up our position in line, live for today but build for our grandchildren's futures? Why are we always so hurried? Why can't we see past our own noses? Why?

And I've come up with the answer! "Why should we?"

Audio: De-loused in the Comatorium|The Mars Volta
Video: does -wanting- to watch something count?
Text: my Communications textbook

My word of the day: civvy (pl.: civvies or civies)
[Why: It's used in a Decemberists song in a memorable way, and I was interested.]

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cemetery symmetry

Lie, they lay in spotted plots, intricately spaced,
where quarried stones bear the epigraphs of
the lives they confess. Stretching miles past flower
and tree, enclosed within the white picket wood of the
departed American dream - that which existed only
while asleep, when waking life was a misconstrued blur.

And fancy, they're treated courageously while blocked
and choreographed into exquisite oak, casually intended to
nurture the soil - that same soil which in turn only
welcomes more of their discarded kin, used for
nothing more than coins on eyes, formaldehyde.

Eight by six they stay, perfectly placed, as loved ones' tears
sodden the earth where weedy clover sprouts. These green
unwanted blossoms - the last remnant of a body misplaced, on
an occupied slat of decay; a desolate companion for earth's great
pockmarked face, all arranged in orderly fashion.

On the hallowed evening

Friday nite the 29th of October we put the kids to bed a bit early and ventured down to Lincoln to go to Stephanie and Ben Clark's annual Halloween party. Amy and Bonny dressed as faeries, while I dressed as a caveman-type. We arrived too late to participate in the limbo contest, much to my dismay, but there was plenty of food and music and mostly fun to be had. And in fact, after people had started to leave, Jake and I had a limbo-off of our own, and this year - I was victor. I was quite proud, my nimble but stout body performed rather well. Good job. And that was that.

For the weekend, we decided to brave the battle zone of Apple Hill. Amy had already been a couple of times this year, but for me it was a 2005 first. We briefly stopped at High Hill Ranch to gather the rather famous kettle corn - a six dollar bag that we halfway polished off within an hour, letting about three pounds of its contents sit somewhat unpleasantly in our bellies - and then continued on our merry way. The kids took intermittent naps, so we took that excess time as a privileged moment in which we drove around Apple Hill proper, something we've never done before. We made our way out past small orchards and farms, on Camino backroads that lengthened on and on. We are so lucky, with all this beauty in our literal backyard, and this only the first time we'd even attempted to trek out so far. We stopped at El Dorado Orchards after Jarom woke up, and all four of us went on a small train ride around two very small duck-occupied ponds. The weather was perfectual and it couldn't have been more inviting. Jarom nabbed a pear for a quarter and then we took our trail to Abel's Acres, taking the usual babyfaced pumpkin photos, feeding the dwarf horses with clover, and watching the kids ride toy John Deere tractor-bikes and hop about the bouncehouse.

So then the festive day arrived. Halloween! Again, the hairy hoodmask made its way onto my head, and I arrived in town just as the sun split and downtown Placerville's Main Street turned into a blockaded festival of children and costumed madness. Lines stretched behind each shop's door, and we pushed Bella in her stroller while chasing Jarom to each new doorway of candied ecstasy. He proclaimed "trick or treat!" with a vigor I could only previously imagine. I don't recall Halloween being as personally fulfilling and satisfactory as Jarom experienced it. Having such excitable and spirited children really changes the way I see new things, and even the way I remember older things. After we filled those little orange pumpkin cauldrons with priceless bounty, it was time to leave and head to the trunk or treat at Camp Nauvoo.

The Pleasant Valley ward had a mini Family Home Evening prepared in which chili and cornbread were provided potluck-style, and this presented me with the maddening half hour wait before the true trunk or treating began. Children flew in all directions and it was apparent that mayhem would overtake the evening. We bobbed for doughnuts in the air, and then made a few trunk or treat rounds to expand upon our already growing inventory of sweets.

At this stage, the day-long festivities were starting to wear on the impressionable young wildren, and we headed home to feast and get them ready for bed. They ended the night with screams and shouts, fittingly, and slept like angels after a long flight home.

It's interesting to remain close to home, where I grew up and went to high school, the only place where I can run into old friends and pseudo-friends and see what the future held for them in their highly distinct lives of an alternate dimension. We see where people end up, and who they end up with. The only difference here is that I have some slight vested interest in their bouts, whereas another town will only hold strangers and newcomers and everything they've done will be foreign to me at the start. I saw Bryan Brazelton and his wife Megan (formerly) Todd - as Mario and Luigi - and their daughter Lillian. I saw Stephanie Fairchild at Camp Nauvoo, -hardly- recognizing her but feeling a moment of fleeting time joining me and her in the vicissitudes of time. A few days prior we saw Ty Blankenship waitering at Lil' Johnny Di Carlo's; he had married Lacy Reid and had two children, he mentioned that Shane House had married Katie Millen.

Time is a cruel prankster, and yet at the same time a melancholy gentleman with a white cane and calloused knuckles.

Tuesday night I met the family after school and we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Sunrise Theater's cheap showing. The kids liked it.

Audio: Figure 8|Elliott Smith
Video: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [2005|Tim Burton]
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: dovetail
[Why: It was used in an interview with Mike Strayer, and he didn't know its meaning for the context it was used in. I rarely, if ever, hear it used in any conversation or writing. It is definitely a more obscure, odd use. The funny thing is, the very next day, my English professor used the same word!]

Monday, October 31, 2005

Southern-bound trickery: I think I'll pass on the elevator, this time

The phone rang, an explosive burst of sound to my tired ears. Drunkenly stupored, I fumbled the receiver and it banged and clanked across the nightstand.

"Oh, phone... come here!" I barked.

"Artie, is that you?" The dead electronic voice in the phone was obviously still attentive.

"No. I am still asleep. I'm distraught, torn, devastated, dead. Leave me be."


With a guttural growl, I slid out of the sheets - limp and ophidian - and took hold of the cold blue phone with my left hand. Propped that way, head against floor, feet elevated and bedridden, I spoke.


"Come downstairs right away, there's something you should see."

"No. It's," I glanced at the alarm, "two in the morning. I'm dead. I'm asleep. No."

"Just coooome!" With minimal pleading she'd convinced me. I was half-dressed but didn't care. In my shorts and shirt I drifted emptily down the hall. My feet shuffled like clothes against washboard, only more slowly and with less vigor. My tousled hair was thick with sleep and unwashed. I considered taking the elevator, but a small curiosity inside me told me to take the stairs instead. That'd get my blood racing. Maybe Lara had something important to show me after all. But I had just left her two hours ago - what could have transpired in that time that warranted such urgency?

I took the stairs carefully, studying them, wishing they were cushioned with down or made from razorwire, anything other than the dull rubber-edged finish that lacked inspiration. Step, shuffle, step, shuffle. It seemed that the sun rose and arced and set again in the time that it took me to ferry down those stairs. I'd left Lara earlier in anger, planning to ignore her voice and phone calls and to erase her image from all the furthest reaches of my memory. She hadn't known I was upset, of course, and I had no plans to tell her. But that's the way it seemed to be in my life. The least bit of information was all that I could expose, while the rest remained clouded in my own self-schizophrenia, stagnant just long enough for me to feed upon it and let it ruin my relationships and personality.

I entered the fifth floor from the stairwell door with about the pomp and circumstance befitting a slug. Some giggling sounds of gaiety bounced around the hallways and broke the silence mandate that usually gripped 2:00 AM. Lara's door was number 515, four ahead and to the left. I approached a bit apprehensively, to be honest, suddenly intimidated by the nature of her request. But my mind began to wander, like I'd shifted into neutral and was coasting down a rounded hillside road that stretched indefinitely into a sea of sunset. In blurry, numbed motion I pictured my knuckles at her door and it immediately opening, she standing there in pink, eyes twinkling with adoration, her arms outstretched to me for an embrace. She'd whisper into my ear and thank me for coming and oh how she missed me, couldn't we do this more often? Oh yes, thank you - what was it you wanted to show me? Oh that was just an excuse to see me? How interesting. Oh and now a kiss, yes I'll reciprocate, why thank you again very much. Would you like something to drink? Please. Stay a while.

I knocked.

Some feet rustled about and miniature earthquaking thumps moved from one end to another across the apartment's interior. "Hold on!"

She creaked the door ajar and stood smiling a giddy grin of restraint.

"What did you want?" I spoke first.

"You have to see this. Come here."

The door swallowed me and her too-lit apartment drew spinning circles on my eyelids even as I closed them.

"See, as I was walking home after you left me, I decided to get the newspaper. And right here on the front page - take a look at this picture!"

I looked. It was a photograph of the four car accident that occurred yesterday morning while we were out at the Calvary Cafe. We'd been innocuously eating bagels and sipping drinks outside, under the shade of a stilted table umbrella, when from nowhere a nondescript sedan ran a stoplight to our right and careened around the corner while making a left hand turn. I could still hear the screech of its tires; their treadmarks remained burnt into the asphalt at the intersection, little devilish trails of fire. This recklessness caused the collision, resulting in one death and various other injuries. It was a quite tragic situation, but not particularly uncommon for our city. Lara, Tim, Richard and I had started immediately from our sidewalk outpost toward the scene with the intention to help, but other witnesses had taken control and beckoned the rest of us to stand aside.

Lara's fingertip motioned to the top right of the photo, where a group of bystanders stood clustered with grim stares and hands in pockets.

"There we are!"

I was infuriated, aghast. "This was what you wanted to show me?" I asked, trying to put up a facade of calm. Come on, Arthur, you can keep it together.

"But Artie, we're in the paper! See, right there, all four of us."

A hesitation on my part. "Lara, this is ridiculous!" Ah, to hell with it, I was wild with anger now. "Who cares! We didn't do anything special! This isn't worthy of scrapbooking, or showing to posterity, or clipping and posting to the corkboard in the lobby! Utter rubbish. Disposable. Morbid to say the least! You called me out of my dire necessity of sleep to show me this?! It couldn't wait until morning, or next year, or next decade?! Are you even serious?"

She looked surprised, even pained. "I just thought you'd like it."

"Well I... I don't, and I'm tired. And thanks but I'm going back to bed."

I opened and shut the door the door in one powerful, graceful motion. The laughter in the hallway had dissipated completely. I felt barbaric. Walking over to the elevator, I disgustedly depressed the up button and held it down until the light lit and the bell chimed. No way would I take the stairs now. As the metallic doors shifted apart, they revealed a solemn old man standing against the wall in the corner of the otherwise-barren elevator cavity. He was eastern-looking, and welcomed me with a slight bow.

"Hi," I said. Entrances are not my forte.

"Another night. Another fight." He winked at me. Such a curiously and bizarrely odd encounter to contribute to my already extenuated day.

I got out at my floor and slogged sluggishly to my door, visions of pillaging Viking furs ready to infuse my dreams. With a sneer I fell back into my unmade bed and left the covers where they were. It was plenty warm out, and I sank to sleep instantly with the dusty impact of mattress and shoulder.

Friday, October 28, 2005

You be the judge

I slept very little last nite. I finally decided to try and sleep around 2:30. The clock chimed 3:00. The clock chimed 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 and then I was awake. I fell back asleep at 8:00 only to hear the clock chime 9:00.

And my janitorial friend Ron also uses Festival - Sea Breeze scent, much to my continued delight.

Audio: Let Go|Nada Surf
Video: n/a
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: innoculous

Thursday, October 27, 2005

In the cave, observing my own shadows and calling them reality

So my kind janitor at work decided to do away with his old cleaning detergent and start fresh with something new. To my great pleasure, he picked a cleanser with a scent that is quite full of memories and nostalgia and wonder, at least to me. Through detective work I found the name of this new, strange detergent: it is called Festival - Lavender scent. This smell is beautiful to me because it smells extremely similar to the detergent smell I noticed throughout all three port towns we went to in Mexico on our cruise. Now, I do realize that these were just port towns, rationed for tourism, and that our six or eight hours there do no justice to the nation of Mexico or the true sights, sounds, beauty, and culture that are there to be had and experienced. But partially because of this, the smell means something to me. It's a scintillating, fresh, youthful, invigorating smell, and I love it. It reminds me particularly of the streets of Mazatlan and the chunky sidewalks with the open breezeways and children paying close attention to a teacher through a window, while laundry was to be done and bikes to be ridden and hardly a taqueria was to be found.

I went to the city park with Jarom and Bella, Zack and Sylan on Sunday. Jarom requested that I bring bubbles. Once we got them out and started blowing, they were a hit. About four other little girls gathered around with Jarom and asked for big ones to pop. I blew bubbles for about a half hour. Two sets of parents/guardians asked if I were a teacher or a nanny. They said I was good with children. That made me feel good, and it prompted a new wave of thought deep in the stirrings of my soul. I do love children. I love to relate to them, to play with them, to teach them and watch them understand. Perhaps it is a portion of my opportunity, or calling, in life, to teach or otherwise work with children. I would love it.

Ahhh. So Amy turned 24 on Monday, the same day that she returned from Dana Point. We missed her, and we're all glad she's back. It sounds as if she had an interesting, talk-filled time. I wish that I had something more elaborate planned for her birthday. What I did was make a card with a family photo (modified to include hearts in place of lips of everyone but her, of course), and within the card was a pouch that held the lyrics to a somewhat bland and repetitive a capella song I've been creating, and three expected gift certificates: a dinner out, boots and an outfit, and a photo developing session. We took care of the photo session last nite, and they should be done tomorrow. Tonite we went out to Lil' Johnny Di Carlo's (the name being changed from Lil' Mama Di Carlo's bothers me for some reason), the meal was fairly good and Dad got a chance to do some babysitting. Our waiter was one Ty Blankenship, a fellow that I knew from Spanish in high school and Amy knew through his brother and Glory. So we had a nice time.

Now I am up at 2 in the morning, mind racing, indecisive on just about everything possible: should I add music to my iPod, should I write more of my story, or my short story, or perhaps start a new thing entirely, should I balance the checkbook - I did just get paid today, should I go to bed, should I continue to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy considering I have a 2000 word paper due, hmmm say a week from tomorrow? Should I just go to bed? Should I? Sounds like the proper choice, but, I am afraid to say, I shall instead end this and find something else to occupy my mind with. None of the above?

Audio: Worship and Tribute|Glassjaw
Video: nothing! Haven't been seeing many movies these moving days
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: draconian

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Downtrodden leaf pathways

We drove off to the far cliffy ends of the foothills, somewhere out in Utah or some foreign land completely unbeknownst to humankind. We observed a few smoky chimneys from the steeped foundation houses, right below the red picket-taped line that stood on perfectly spaced poles and marked the barrier between housing sprawl and the uppermost third of the mountain tips. Getting out of the car, there appeared to be snowboard tracks that came from nowhere, either leading directly off of the cliff's face or coming directly onto it. They carved edges over piles of downtrodden leaves, autumn-colored, and made their way back towards those same chimney stacks.

Jarom enjoyed the view, but wished he were snowboarding and making those fresh tracks over the pure powdery snow that lay thickly blanketed in even heaps next to the warm stone furnaces that kept the rich asleep.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Compass to the north

Few things twinkle greater than the stars.
But I know some. Yeah I know some.
And in frequent spells I stop and stare
at their excellence. It's excessive and yet
it's unfair

to those who are without.
There's precious little they know about this town,
or the eyes of the girl in that velvet nightgown.

Hold tight to keep the shivering down.
I'm knocking knees and locking teeth.
Avoid the downcast looks and doubt
from the pessimists, all the narcissists.
But it's okay,

those others are without.
Lost alone in the fringes of the crowd
with empty stares not worth guessing about.

The years drift by, the view keeps getting better,
like the tide rushing sand or magnets toward each other.
Like a compass to the north or a lighthouse for a sailboat--
saltwater at my hull, she keeps this sailor afloat

for now, at least. It's victory.
There're deserts to cross and seas to see.
We'll burn our fears and hitch a ride
past the summit peaks and the changing sky.
And that's fine,

not much defies the sun,
or the way its light scatters horizon
and the twilight lingers just before it's gone.

But I know some. Yeah I know some.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The circus: The logs at the tracks [VI]

We rode up and down a few streets and weaved back and forth around obstacles, as if slalom skis were attached to our tires. After a few blocks, I decided I didn't feel much like the farm fields or forest anymore, and I convinced Kat to follow me to the abandoned train tracks at the back end of town, past the turnoff we used to take to the river, and Barnhouse Row where the empty disintegrating barns slept back to back for miles. My body pulsed with the deep exhilaration of late summer and sweat as I inhaled large chunks of thick air to fuel my legs.

The tracks hadn't seen a train in decades. Brush grew up and over, swallowing them in green and spitting them out in a faded mix of silver and hazy red. A clearing of dirt and dust sat nestled next to the road, a place where I'd spent many hours building bonfires, attacking splintered wooden crates in mock battle, and running through the head-tall foliage engrossed in juvenile games of tag or hide and seek.

Kat and I skidded to a stop in the old clearing. It had been some time since we were last here together. We dismounted and walked to the line of upright log chairs that faced south. Every time winter approached, there were mountainous stacks of chainsaw-hewn wood all around town, waiting to be sold and loaded up onto truck beds. Sometimes a thick circular cut would be stolen by a town youth and brought out here to be used as furniture. I know at least one was placed here by Fas. We sat side by side in two of the large coveted chairs, as king and queen of the August nothingness, and remained silent for a few minutes, absorbing the heat and watching the flutter of dragonflies and grasshoppers. I picked up a smooth flat rock next to my shoe.

"Are you glad to go back to school Kat? Things will be starting up again here soon," I spoke indifferently, eyeing the smooth outline of my rock and the fashionable slope on one of its sides that made it a near-heart in shape.

"Yep," she answered, neck cocked back and face held openly skyward, basking in the sunlight with closed eyes. "I love school."

"I'm glad to be done with it. I'm ready for… something." I jerked alive and looked across at her. She must have sensed my gaze for she slipped her eyes open into cracks and looked back at me. "But Kat, don't you ever think about doing something different? I know you're still pretty young, but don't you ever get sick of Parsons? Me – I'm starting to feel so claustrophobic; I've been here so long and I just want to leave, rid myself of that stupid river and these worthless train tracks and our old fake streets. I don't know. Don't you ever feel like that?"

I threw my rock sidearm towards the tracks, as if I were skipping it across the smooth surface of open lake water. It hit a crosstie and shot off angled into the weeds.

"I've never even seen the ocean," I muttered, fingering a second rock and then throwing it again at the same spot, harder this time. Kat sat looking a little bewildered. She put her finger to her chin in a contemplative pose, pointed her face skyward again for a moment and then faced me and stared me down with her beautiful shining eyes.

"Well I haven't seen the ocean either." She seemed so naive, but oh how I loved that kid. "And I like it here. This place is wonderful. My friends are here and my family's here. You're here, too. What's wrong Clay, what do you mean?"

"Oh, don't bother." It wasn't worth explaining. I just paused there in the sun's shadow, my thoughts dwelling on Sven and Officer Mooney and Mrs. Follick the librarian with her deep-set eyes and crooked nose, Dan Arbuck the yard man who rounded the neighborhoods each Saturday morning offering to mow your grass and tend to your garden, Gabey the redheaded kid who sang the national anthem at baseball games up in Erid - a little small-town celebrity in his own right with his v-necked sweater vests and button-up shirts, Shauna Dawson who was only a few years older than me and had left town for Hollywood three years ago, only to come back after only 18 months to work in the newsstand at the corner of Main and Alley. I started to feel queasy and turned my head to the left so Kat couldn't see my disgust. I breathed in deep.

"Sorry Kat, never mind. Look, I've got to get to work soon, so let's start heading back."

"Aw what're you doing, you don't want to leave us do you Clay? You love it here, I just know it! How couldn't you?"

She wouldn't convince me so easily. I smirked.

"Don't worry Kat, I won't leave you."


"Yeah sure I promise. Now let's go."

We stood on our pedals and swerved around back towards the road. I winked at the tracks and they winked back with a flicker of sunlight reflection as our tires churned the dust and sent it swarming towards the bushes, speckling them with dirt like glistening morning dew.

After seeing Kat back home, I figured I might as well ride to work, considering I was already soaked in sweat and my heart was still fluttering. I lingered long on the roads, taking unnecessary shortcuts and backroads I'd never ventured on before, absorbing the spilling sun and the hint of a breeze that told of approaching fall. My reluctance at spending the rest of the day laboring with tools was proven in my procrastination.

I ended up arriving late at our current job site, the home of Doris Baker. She was the introverted widow with two kids – one of them a girl, my age – who you'd always overhear in supermarket lines, audibly complaining or otherwise grumbling. The curtains adorning her front window were held aside, a face pressed up against it watching me as I slowly and silently rolled onto the cracked driveway concrete and laid my bike to rest on its side. It was obviously Mrs. Baker studying me, disapproving at my lateness. I glanced again and the face was gone, a slight sway to the curtain the only evidence of that spy. The door opened to greet me and Dean Williams, the handyman and my boss, stood half-tilted in its frame, dressed in dingy coveralls and not particularly pleased.

"Hi Dean," I mumbled, hurriedly making my way through the door to the stash of tools and equipment neatly and orderly arranged in the room's center. "Sorry I'm late."

"That boy's not much like his father now, is he?" Doris Baker's haggish, shrill voice eked from around the corner, her words were nails thumping steadily at my temples one after the other. I pictured her an ancient Irish banshee with mouth agape, four fanged teeth reverberating the cackle of her otherworldly shriek.

"Hi Clay," Dean managed, ignoring Mrs. Baker's comment. "We're working on the ventilation system today." My tool belt hurtled across the room towards me from his outstretched hand. "Let's get started."


Speak and spell

My poor car squeals and knocks even on the freeway as I continue my elongated commute to work. What royalty I've become. Must get this checked. Amy left this morning, in a whirlwind at frozen 5 AM, to go to Dana Point in San Juan Capistrano for the weekend with her family. The annual retreat of the sisters. We'll miss her, as right now Adie and Heather are at home watching the babes, and I get them all to myself the whole weekend long. We will have loads of fatherly parental fun.

So last Saturday we (and I say we meaning mostly Amy) threw a Halloween costume party. Amy was highly concerned about whether or not it would turn out, and if many people would show. She is always so worried about making things perfect and pleasing others, she's very empathetic and that's a trait I'm quite proud she has, but I don't want her to overly stress or otherwise trouble herself with unnecessary concerns. Anyway, the party ended up a success. Many people came, 25 at least, and a few enjoyable games were played with costume judging and music and the like. Amy dressed as Emily the Corpse Bride, while I was her would-be lover, Victor Van Dort. A joyous time was to be held by all.

Sunday we awoke a bit late and I mulled about getting ready for a nice drive up towards Markleeville to see the sights of the fall-affected aspens. We piled in around noon finally and started the drive. Adie rode with Dad while Amy and I and the kids were in the Jeep. We took Mormon Emigrant Trail from 50 to 88, the time just flew by peacefully as we listened to Iron and Wine. It was a beautiful, calm, wonderful midday. Due to our October Birthdays dinner scheduled at 2:30 at the Smiths', we had to cut our leg of the journey short. We all stopped up at Kirkwood and ventured out to view the mountainside and the ski lifts. Jarom loved the sight of the 'gondolas' and scampered up the lift ladders like an employee. It was brisk and we hadn't especially dressed for the occasion, so our stop was short-lived. We took a few photos and admired the countryside, then packed up and parted ways - us back down the hill, Adie and Dad to continue their trip.

We took Omo Ranch road home. I thought it may be quicker, which it turns out it most likely was not, but it was a nice glorious diversion, and I always get a sense of foreign togetherness out there in the backroad seemingly nowhere villes, where I'm awestruck and touristy but also feel somehow intertwined and belonging. We spent the rest of the evening at the Smiths' with family, enjoying ourselves and eating, eating, eating.

Then the week began. Monday was Monday. Tuesday morning I was supposed to be at the Placerville courthouse at 9:30 AM for jury selection duty, but, not realizing I was supposed to call a jury duty hotline at a precise window of time the previous day, I missed my selection due to the fact it was moved to the Cameron Park courthouse an hour earlier. Wonderful. Now I'm rescheduled to go in on December 5th (Zack's birthday). Not particularly looking forward to it, I understand and appreciate the importance of jury duty, but the whole process has been so convoluted and confusing at each step of the way that I must say I'm somewhat disillusioned with the whole thing. I prepared a partial informative speech on Myanmar/Burma for school that evening, but luckily my name was not called as I put off until Thursday.

I was able to successfully return my iPod, and I'm looking forward to the iPod Video that's currently en route to me somewhere spawning from Shanghai. It's something to look forward to, okay?

Thursday I did my speech and did fairly well. A-. Not bad, I could've been better but the assignment has opened my eyes to Burma and its plight and I'm grateful simply for that fact alone. I received an A on my Karen Horney paper in English and again I rejoiced. It's that wonderful, really.

And now for Friday. I sit and think and ponder and wait and miss and enjoy and love and stall and engender and fascinate and study and read and dream and sing and rock and talk and write and tell and eat and eat and then I just let the life surround me and thickly hold me up, because without it I would fall to the ground like a body without skeleton.

Audio: Something to Write Home About|The Get Up Kids
Video: Monty Python and the Holy Grail [1975|Terry Gilliam/Terry Jones]
Text: The Giver|Lois Lowry

My word of the day: incredulous

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The shoe-shiner

The shoe-shiner awaits my weighted feet
as they slither atop the baited street
in moccasins made of glass
that pierce my flesh and shatter
with each step I'm pained and tattered

Through his mucked towel and simple eyes
he stares blinded against merchant buys
and dips petroleum tar
to polish the perishing skin
and bandage my wounds again

On the corner street he rests on his knees
his tired legs beg their calloused pleas
and cry for pillowed plush
while the make-suited patrons' collars
hide silken ties and gold dollars

As I plod on my path of cobblestone
his tired eyes shut on his cement throne
shedding them saltwater tears
leeched up straight from the shallows
in a hood he heads for the gallows

There he rests in a heap, grayed hair all askew
my feet wear the face of his final shoe
embraced by a leather hand
draped with wrinkled erosion and age
and the masterly touch of a sage

One more fate that has flown from the stills
one abandoned craftsman tucked 'neath the hill
dressed in a broken sheet
an apparition I'll surely appear
listening well with percussion ear

Pressed flush with the soil, the sound of the feet
march in funeral procession to number the street
casting blooms into the gutters
and littering sidewalks with the skin
of those who've grown old, the lost and forgotten


I entered an auditorium, a small brownish one reminiscent of the Placerville church building's, and there were many young people, most were friends of Joey. People were sitting all over the stage. Over the loudspeakers a song was playing, an acoustic song with soft vocals. A boy told me it was performed by Johnny Trudeau, but it was really his brother Matt's song. Matt was angry because Johnny had strayed with the song and added a simple acoustic interlude and what was referred to as the 'metal part'.

I went outside to check up on my cars, apparently I'd driven two of them to this gathering. And they had been moved. By force, to different parking spots. I started to become hysterical, wondering where my precious vehicles now lay, when a boy there noticed and pointed them out to me. One was left where I had originally double-parked it near the pillars and the garage. The other was further out, parked neatly in a white-painted parking spot, where those boys had pushed it so quietly.

[Partial dream before waking up at 7:58 AM]

Monday, October 17, 2005

Heavens do not die

Good evening, pretty, what say you this glorious day?
You and your majestic globe move rather slowly each night in the twilight.
Often I feel minor and afraid.
You serve to remind me of the levity of life, among other things.
And when I feel alone, it is but a guess at your solitude.
You seem so minute, like a drop of white drizzle on an otherwise static screen.
But you've the omniscient eyes.
You are formed of the same substance as I.
Though it is of no consequence, I'm sure.
You never doubt nor waver.
And your perception of myself is broader than I could imagine.
You must tell me, how is it that you are not alive?
For I sense greater life in you than in the dense thicket of this ocean orb.


My life follows the different course of the sky and it persists nonetheless.
You must tell me, how do you feel to be the living?
I speak with you and watch over you through the day and night.
You always sit and listen.
Though it is of no consequence, I'm sure.
You are formed of the same substance as I.
But your vision dies with time.
You seem so remote, like a fleck of black on a dizzy tumble of rock and liquid.
When I feel unloved, I simply observe all the upward eyes.
You serve to remind me of the brevity of life, as you flicker by.
I often feel large and lonely.
You and your little wandering feet move so quickly over so tender a place.
Good midnight, my small friend, are you still afraid?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Strain the snow

Amy and I had driven in my white Sentra out onto a vast, endless field of grass. It was nighttime and there was a tall lighted restroom building nearby helping to illuminate the scene. I got out of the car while Amy remained inside. It was bitterly cold. With a sudden droop of the sky, it began to snow heavily - which seemed strange for the time of year. I wasn't expecting it, but it was beautiful and serene and calm, the contrast of white on black made the whole world come alive. The snow came down in buckets; I watched it filter through the restroom's lights. The grass became slushy with it while it piled up.

Soon the cold and the snow stuck and coated everything in thickening layers of winter. I had run and stood beneath the restroom's overhang so I could watch without being too frozen or drenched. It was then that I decided to get back in the car with Amy, to try and get us someplace else. I hoped the car would start, what with its recent problems and all. The starter revved and cranked with the turn of the key, and it sounded as if it wouldn't start. I looked to Amy, devastated. Then it occurred to me that the engine had already turned over and the car was running. Well ho ho!

We slowly slid atop the icy, snowy grass, slipping this way and that. I imagined throwing the wheel hard to the right and having us slide through some harmless 360s. That's when I saw the slope ahead of us. A steep downward angle defined it, and it was covered in moguls of snow while cragged peaks of rock poked through the accumulated snow. Thin pillars of shadow crept across the slope eerily from some unnamed light source.

We were doomed, with no available route to escape the blizzard.

[Partial dream before waking up at 8:11 AM]

We're all the same

I often feel
a strange sense of independence
as my vision soars high overhead
my body static as I stare at my scalp

My equilibrium flips
and I am aloft, held in a lapse
of proximity and time, awake in a quantum realm
rising high in a merge with color

The most fantastic
thing I notice while I am so wandering
is within the space situated between the bodies
and the blazen sky and myself

That empty air
is thick and large with appetite
and strings stretch from each tip of life
like yarn unraveling off endless spools

In threaded knots
the tendons tie and intertwine
where some are sparse and others knitted deep
in quilted tapestry patterns

And we shrug
our shawled shoulders and habit lives
disregarding the common stitchery makings
of our helpless and hapless world

About we go
in daily approval with distant smirks
an idle experiment of the dissonant type
casting dies to shape and define

In scissored grip
we snip inches off timeless relations
subsequently released of our connections
shot off as cannonballs loosed

This I see
in brief moments of a transitory state
before I am guided back down and into the tunnel
that straightens my runaway senses

I am aware
that we are all the same, and in this sewn fabric
of land, life and love, we've far more in common
than we would like to believe

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Roadside establishment

This morning I ate a luxurious breakfast of rice cake and ak-mak while sitting in my car aside Highway 50, near my old Shingle Springs, after my usually reliable car stopped responding to my foot. I haven't been in this situation in some time, so it feels a bit foreign. The sun is precariously set to my immediate upperleft, and it's not afraid to singe the hair at the back of my neck. Luckily we recently joined the Better World Club and they've sent a tow-truck savior on his way to lift me from my shoulder oppression. At least, he should arrive soon...

I've got my notebook and John, my new chum of an iPod, to occupy my thoughts and ears. Though I've got so much to do: my final draft of tonite's essay, edit a friend's essay, my Myanmar outline for an informative speech, Fay Force's computer woes, work, writing, meet Amy at noon to watch the kids while she sees the dentist (which may or may not happen now), and I'm sure my list of other tasks will skyrocket from the dank recesses of my memory in no time.

The hood of my car is upright. The engine should be cooling down. The good people at Julian's Automotive are my only hope. Just like Obi-Wan.

Audio: Blue Screen Life|Pinback
Video: still thinkin' 'bout Grave of the Fireflies
Text: the entire new issue of Rolling Stone, finished in one sitting late last nite

Monday, October 10, 2005


I am an October youth.

I was conceived of the new year while the wintry wind blew in gales across the land. The nearby southern California ocean lapped up at the shore, omnisciently smiling, knowing the virtue and vice and vainglory ensconced in the hearts of men. A small shack shook with the rumbling joy and laughter of two young girls, borne to a younger couple: one with curls that fell back into a crescent moon of hair about his head while he labored to outfit feet and know the intricate placements of ink upon paper, the other with the full belly of motherhood that kept me warm and comforted while she whispered songs of love into my guarded chamber and selflessly gave and gave and gave.

I was born to the sounds of coliseum cheers and the wooden crisp of leaves underfoot, into a season of autumn fit to occupy the short transition of the decades. The Librae stars of balance were gymnastically suspended high over the roof of my birthing room, meticulously calculating every aspect of my character. I breathed two months of the fading air of dance and color, science fiction and escapism, musical revolution and hedonism; the rest of my oxygen comes from an age of technology and fiber optics, music video and the digital awakening, global capitalism and cultural introversion.

I was reared in the haunts of San Diego county, where I ran amongst backyard fruit trees and dirt trails, digging holes to house figurines and swimming in the shallow depths of plastic patio pools. My family later migrated to the Sacramento valley nestled alongside Northern California's Sierra Nevada playground. Here I rambled with the city and explored the stepped foothills as my legs lengthened and my heartbeat slowed, and the pupal stage of adolescence stole my innocence, transforming my fragile boyhood into the hopelessness of man.

I was married in the lingering sunlight of early August. Her hair was kissed with the breath of eternity, the buds of unknowing flowers adorning a sensual garden in her eyes, her smile wide enough for the both of us to sleep in. Our dreams merged with the coming of each other's arms at night and the coming of the full cycle of maternity, which would soon realize itself upon us in a perpetual cradle of life and humanity.

I've met the radiance of the sun sinking behind the green resoluteness of Montecito's hillsides; I've torn across plates of fractured mountain shale while parting curtains of drifting snowflake near the saddle of Mount Timpanogos; I've maneuvered past blockades of police cars and spotlight-wielding helicopters while returning to a humble apartment in a developing city outskirt; I've attempted the twisted osmosis of language with the locals of a Mexican port town as we eyed and saluted each other with respect to our mutually obligated existences; I've sensed sadness in the drooped eyes of age that have been without companionship for far too long to remember (but where joviality and youthful insouciance have always overpowered their melancholy counterparts); I've logged thousands of miles in the annals of my memory, recording journalistically the off-ramps and highwayside landmarks that define the few languorously broad boundaries of our western United States.

I fell as fruit from the vine under a fall skyline. I fit squarely within the mold made from the tenth day of the tenth month. A bit of the Indian clay of October flows thickly through the blood in my arteries, past that heart that beats so steady and those fingers that so wish to be dragged sempiternally through sand, up to the mystical grey of my mind and the seemingly endless nature of an ephemeral existence.

I am a youth of October. And through that which has made me all that I am - October, you are mine now, if just for a day.

Another notch at my waist

It all just seems to pass me by without a thought or a whisper. I find the surrealness of birthdays sometimes unbearable. A year has passed, so here is a trivial day to use as recognition for your existence. I somewhat envy a friend of mine - who was raised partially in an orphanage and in foster homes - because his birthday was assigned to him. He doesn't know his true date of birth. Therefore, his currently established "birthday" is really meaningless, just some date situated as a best guess or a sure fit. His age is regarded the same way. He has to state his age as, "27, give or take." Which is what really comprises birthdays anyway. They serve no real purpose, just a traditional way of celebrating the passage of time and aging. Does it really matter?

Plus, age doesn't always necessarily agree with me. Now instead of thinking "I'll be turning 26", I think, "I'll be turning 27", never stopping to realize I'm still really only 26. Does that make sense? So I'm a year ahead, looking forward. And still, age is mostly insignificant really, it matters only as empirical data. Except of course, that in our vain society it seems to mean practically everything! And I have fallen partially into that trap, caring more about appearance, hairlines, perception of age and vitality, that sort of thing. But I mustn't.

I'll just let the guise of youth drift from me gracefully, a think cloak fluttering to the floor. And for all my worrisome daydreams, I'm still rather youthful. Mid-twenties. Not quite late. No longer a something-fiver but a something-sixer. That's just the way it is. I guess I'll decide to welcome it, with perhaps not-quite-open arms, but at least with an open heart.

Another year older! I've past the only year of 25 that I will ever have! Welcome, year of 26. Twenty and six. It is now time for me to play again. It is nigh time I rediscovered, or even just simply discovered, what it is to be me, to enjoy me. Let's do what the me wishes to do. Let's peel back the flesh and ask the beating, pulsating center of me what it desires. Let's not fake any more appeals, or nod yes incessantly like a ventriloquist's doll, shall we?

Audio: Everything! (on an iPod ?!)
Video: Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) [1988|Isao Takahata]
Text: The Giver|Lois Lowry

The thief and the killer

We had stopped to scour the gas station's convenient store in the midafternoon. I wore my bulky skateboard backpack, packed to bursting with unimaginables. The store was miniscule and extremely understocked, I looked and looked for a bottle of soda appealing to me, but even in the two tiny fridges, there were none. Jarom kept bringing me small bags of chips and candy, begging for a treat. I would decline him and put the food back, out of place. We eventually packed up and left with nothing.

I decided I would try again, alone this time. I returned still wearing my backpack, which I placed on the floor near the back. This time I spied a soda that I liked, but as I opened the refrigerator door to grab it, I found it distastefully warm, so I returned it. I readied to leave again, but the attendant called me over and told me I owed him around thirty dollars. I was appalled.

"How could I owe you any money, I haven't bought anything?!"

"That is what you owe me for what you stole."

Ah, so he thought I had pocketed and stolen all the items that Jarom had brought me earlier. I told him that he was mistaken, I had not stolen anything, my backpack was full prior to my entering the store, and all the food my son had brought me had been placed back on the shelves, albeit in an incorrect place. In arguing this, I went to retrieve my backpack to prove my innocence by showing its contents, but I found it missing. The attendant knew what had transpired.

"Brother must have stolen it. Did you leave your keys in the car?"

I looked outside and saw that my Jeep was missing also. Brother had grabbed my backpack and stolen my Jeep, most likely with the intention of selling my expansive cd collection to a used vendor in town.

I went around back and prepared to collect what was rightfully mine. As I did so, the world melted and transformed into a water realm with a large castle looming inflatable-like behind me. It was made of red brick, and its turrets housed soldiers with spears and archers. I rushed along the thick green grass to a small tree, attempting to take cover. They were here to make battle with me and I needed do my best to prevail. I ran quickly to the nearest foundation of the castle, where it sat in the shadow of the second floor's overhang. As I leaned against the wall and wondered where I could apprehend a weapon, a helmeted face leaned over the edge and stared at me upsidedown, with an unbelievably thin metal spear pointed my direction.

In a heap of panic and instinct, I grabbed the spear mid-upway on the shaft and bent it back towards its wielder. I poked it deep into the flesh of his neck, chest and upper arms, hoping to kill him, my enemy. His face was expressionless as I did this, he hardly made any attempt to pull away. After spearing him through and through, bloodlessly, numerous times, I grabbed hold of him at the neck. I wrestled him to the grass and hoped to strangle him, but even in my tightest of grips, his breath still wheezed forth from his nose and mouth. As I strengthened and intensified my grip, his neck stretched like taffy and molded itself long and thin, like licorice rope. I kept at it, grabbing in new places and position, but still that breath wheezed, "Hhhhhhhhhh."

My foe would not perish, no matter how I tried.

[Dreamt and remembered around 7:50 AM, October 10 2005]