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.

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]

Friday, October 07, 2005

I breathe incense smoke

Yeah, so it goes without saying that I write less when times become busier. It just seems that lately, what with moving and school and work and all that business, I have allowed myself to sink deeply into the mindset of "I have no time". Not that it's necessarily the truth...

Saturday we cleaned nearly all day long and finished moving the rest of our things to our new house. My CDs were the largest portion, but they fit well into the boxes we had and now they sit unattended in an unlocked double-garage door facade. I miss them so. But I just found out yesterday that all our incessant cleaning was well worth it as we'll be getting all of our possible deposit back (700.00-ish? - not sure yet).

Sunday was a tad insane with dinner at Dad's and Heather came and our two sweet-appearing but ferocious children ravaged the birdcage and made their presence undoubtedly known.

But Joey came into town late late Monday nite as I was hacking away at my hair for more than hour; Martin and Joey arrived in a fairly literal whirlwind. After my beautiful haircut, I was awake and charged until about 2:30, when I fell asleep to the glow of an Energizer flashlite while reading.

Tuesday was attempt #3 for our group to present to the Communications class. With minimal preparation on my part, I went into it warily but we performed quite well and received a B+. That nite, Mom made the most massive batch of delectable pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, with a helping of applesauce to appease the health-conscience, and I've been feasting on them ever since. There are still plenty left. I also sampled some of my favorite fudge, pumpkin pie, and divinity from the Fudge Factory, which Heather and Joey so thankfully brought home in extra portions.

Wednesday we all met up around, oh say 6:00 or so, at Target and then Chipotle, to have a farewell meal with Joey and Martin and the favored corporately-owned Mexican-style restaurant, of which there are none in the immediate Santa Cruz vicinity. After destroying the outer patio area with our remains (thanks in part to again, the lovely dynamic duo of Jarom and Bella - whom I love wholeheartedly and deeply and would never even imagine changing), the few of us went over to Dimple. I got a great cd on Joey's (and others') recommendation: Iron and Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days. His voice is whispered, his music is toned down and simple yet intricate, mostly acoustic. It is great, it's the kind of thing that would appeal to Amy and Mom and myself, to many atmospheres of peace and serenity and driving and so on. I also got the new Jimmy Eat World EP (average) and a wonderful alphabet cd by the quirky indie stalwarts They Might Be Giants, who I adore for being able to put out children-themed music yet also music that is not necessarily targeting any specific demographic.

And Thursday I had the nite of late nite schooling, a perhaps decent rough draft of an essay addressing a distrust of sexes, and... that's about it.

Next week I get to prepare for an informative speech on a country. What shall I pick (I've been thinking this over)... Serbia and Montenegro? Ivory Coast? Saudi Arabia? I can't decide, though I will soon.

Days of change are a-comin', and I don't much feel like a-movin'
Though I've made my way before, my mind's now disapprovin'
But with shoulders back, head high, smilin'
I'll just keep goin' about what I'm doin'
And I'll be hopin' the sun keeps a-shinin'
And the winds keeps a-howlin' and breezin'
For tonite I'll watch the sky with my eyes closed
And I'll ne'er find a prettier Friday evenin'

Audio: Our Endless Numbered Days|Iron and Wine
Video: Madagascar [2005|Eric Darnell/Tom McGrath]
Text: The Great Gatsby|F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, October 03, 2005

It comes around

I am birth.
I am that which blesses hips and lives,
sending souls into the arms of mothers,
with hematite eyes and newborn cries.

I am the light.
I give color to the fruit,
turning skin and hair and smile,
forming memories in electromagnetics.

I am the soil.
I harbor nutrition and water,
yielding it up to the reaching roots
that explore the depths of my kingdom.

I am a clock.
I change everything, yet I control no one.
Without beginning or end, indifferent,
I wither the eldest of trees.

I am a pathogen.
I am not evil, my intentions are to thrive,
replenishing myself and my children
as a fortress grown strong and impenetrable.

I am medicine.
I am homeopathic and pure,
rushing along in the endocrine
to mingle with blood and adrenaline.

I am the surgeon.
I perform modern miracles on the willing,
grafting body and bone alike,
breathing a delicate balance of life.

I am a river
I stretch my arms wide and run deep,
the visage of eternity, evolving,
facilitating the cycle of water.

I am death.
I am hated by all, but my heart weeps while I walk,
for I did not choose this profession;
I am not without emotion.
I am doomed and I wander alone.
When my job is done, who will come for me?

[Originally posted on The Reluctant Conquistador.]

I'm not nothin' special

I had a frightening dream last nite. Jarom had become blind. I can't remember the circumstances behind the accident, but I was in despair, heartbroken over being unable to read him his stories anymore, unable to point out the stars and the beautiful things we love to look at together, unable to satisfy his incessant curiosities for the world around him, afraid at the difficulties that would come to him throughout the rest of his life, but all the while happy that I still had him with me.

Dreams are so cunning, they convince you that you are living an alternate reality, a quantum universe of different choices and experiences. My dreams are mostly bizarre, rarely happy, often dark and intimidating. Waking up is both refreshing and relieving. Dreams are quite amazing.

I wonder what I'm afraid of?

Audio: The Weight is a Gift|Nada Surf
Video: The Age of Innocence [1993|Martin Scorsese]
Text: new issue of Alternative Press