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.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I ate an orange

The stovetop glared an angry red and
smoke rose from burnt eggs
left under the burner last Saturday.
And the water growled low through bubbles
boiling upward until I filled my
Peet's mug.

I ate an orange, tore my
fingernails under its porous skin
and they smelled like citrus--
California citrus, grown ripe and shipped off
to us in the desert, so we too can
taste that summer.

Through the first
real December snow the night hazed
its yellow twilight, reflecting porchlights
and glowing streets across the settling
dust like shivering prison bars.
I took a sliver from the pale globe in my hand--
separated in chunks, stripped into orange-white triangles;
and its world fell apart--

but it was three a.m. and my feet were cold, even
in the black church socks I hated,
wore only for warmth, fearing cold. Fearing acts of
procrastination. That sour tang on my fingers.

And I pictured the black of tires six inches deep,
spinning small white whirlpools in the covered street,
wading through those drifts in the sleepless morning,
so quiet and calm--
California on my mind and in my mouth.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I do not like malls. We went yesterday to get Jarom some post-fourth birthday pictures (he needs them!). Turns out that on a Saturday in Provo--three before Christmas--everyone else has the same idea. The stupid place is overcrowded with mostly faux-punks or -gangsters and moms doing Christmas shopping and (surprise) getting pictures done. Now I'm all for the punks, but hanging out at the mall? Come on, get a better idea. The mall is the least rebellious or inspiring place in the world. It's commercialized. It's fake; they exist everywhere, in the same form. The world can't get more disgusting than a mall.

Luckily there was no open appointment until 7 p.m., so we left.

Then later we went to Salt Lake to meet Bonny and Russ who came out. We stopped in Temple Square to see the Christmas light and that was a disaster. Sure, they're pretty. But there was the hugest crowd of people. You couldn't walk. You waited in line to walk. Again, something to be despised.

Now don't get me wrong--I don't hate the people. There is just something so unrealistic in doing these over-traditional and falsely-cultural routines that happen to gather round the holidays. All the lights--do we really care? Is that really beautiful? Maybe. But to wait in line for? And the shopping; all the shopping. And how people do the same thing year after year. Tradition is great. But are these traditions great? Are they even tradition or just following what you see others do and what you see on TV, and getting the newest holiday ads and hittin the sales, taking pictures on Santa Claus's lap, Santa Claus himself for god's sake.

But guess what--there's also something sweet about it all, about valuing your family and giving (and receiving), making people happy, wondering in lights and beauty--at least some sort of beauty--and so on. It's not all bad. It just doesn't strike me as something I always want or need.

Sorry about that--to myself and to anyone who might read. For whatever reason.

And now I'm home alone and it's raining and I'm boiling hot water to make chai so I can sit back on the couch and do more homework and listen to music that I love. And I'm happy.

Audio: Threes | Sparta
Video: Monster House
Text: Where Angels Fear to Tread | E.M. Forster


Those hills weren't so beautiful.
They know the truth.

Just tall tan grasses making waves with the wind,
sprawling over the round stepped foothills.
The land was too barren, too dead, too far.
Too unsculpted--these promised land hills.

Spring rains once made them green--shining green
like holly leaves--and in groups the cattle grazed.
But this is not farmland.
This is no orchard.

One-hundred feet from freeway,
stifling, choking emptiness--
Think of the need! Imagine the people, the roads,
the homes: so artfully built!

Perfect square monuments made with concrete and tar,
unsplintering faux-wood and petroleum-carpetry.
Now we have porchside overlooks, views of
the vast expanses of other porches.

Row upon row of dual garages,
eighth-acre backyards and two-inch lawns;
lined up with their patterned paint and streetlight aisles,
cul-de-sacs stained near the curb with drips of oil.

The crown of the city, they call it.
Because you breach the top of the highway, and
you see them: the homes--jewels in a crown--
alive and aparkling and further than those hills once were.

They are colorful;
they are not so brown;
they will never turn green.
The cows are gone.

This is beauty among the hills.
They know the truth.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Fountain

When I was back in Placerville for Thanksgiving break, I saw The Fountain. The movie was awesome. It was thought-provoking, had a nice theme, great visuals--amazing special effects, really, considering the budget (35M I think)--and terrific acting. I highly recommend. However, don't expect this sci-fi major blockbuster like it seems to be billed as. There's a bit of sci-fi. But to me there was more about the immortality of love, and a bit of how the psyche deals with loss and love, etc. And it's fun to tear it apart to see how it works and doesn't, and what it really means to the audience. Kudos, Danny Aronofsky.

I'll see it again. I hope it comes to the dollar movies here, because it's way worth it.

If I had written this about two days after I saw it, it would be twenty times longer. But since I'm writing this now, finally (delayed because life is crazy and busy right now, and I don't always allow myself time to write when I should--it comes more in blocks), it's very short.

Buy Nothing Day

So this year--day after Thanksgiving--I didn't buy a single thing. It was my way of associating with Buy Nothing Day< (sponsored by Adbusters, and good people everywhere). I don't like the whole post-Thanksgiving sale/shopping thing. It's a stupid phenomenon created solely for and buy the media, and it doesn't benefit the consumer--like we like to think, because we get hey! sweet TVs for only 184.00 at Walmart if you're first in line!--it definitely benefits the corporations. They don't throw a 'shopping holiday' like that to just hook up the people.

So buy things on your own time. Don't subscribe to everything you're fed.

A lesson in procrastination

Stayed up all night Tuesday night. I finished my 51-page folklore project. I hope it's decent. I don't think that my analysis was all that good. It was nearly seven pages, but I think I could've analyzed a whole lot better if I weren't so strapped for time.

I think I have 19 collection items. And five total informants. Anyway, not bad. And Deirdre is going to have a look at it and give me feedback next if there's anything I need to change before submitting the final-final version (although before yesterday, I though it was the final-final version). It would be cool if I could win the award (a $500 award given to the best folklore project from all BYU classes this semester), but I'm not planning on it. I just wanted to make sure that my project was as good as it could get, at least, so I didn't botch my chances. Only problem with that is that I will probably have to more on it now (after I get it back), and I don't want to. I really want to finish all my projects and classes and get this semester over with. It will be great, at least for a couple weeks.

Now if only work wasn't so busy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Icy concrete and the smokering circle

Invitation to four-twenty north:
to huddle together on the steps and breathe in
the same clear cold, to talk hot and
strong in a smokering circle
and fall asleep on a soiled Persian rug
(the mudstained one where we wiped the early-autumn storm
from our boots),
wrapped in prickly dirt-brown hospital blankets
that smell like dish rags and detergent.

But no--
I excused myself, stole away
to instead stand on my own porch, where
the lights are strung up as always, like Christmas
(but it's hardly November).
And the trees south of me are dark;
they are deserted and empty with capillary limbs, and
I shut my burning pink sticky eyes
and dream of them, those long naked arms--
how they miss their fallen leaves,
rotting in heaps on the ground underneath,
eating calico patterns of wet soil through the lawn and
turning the air mossy-sweet and pungent all the same.

I sit cross-legged
to will words and worlds into creation;
to spin storms, whirling winds through my mind.
I am the conjurer--
but there is strength in my disillusion,
my futile stabs at inspiration.
Because it is a blind, frightened voice
that enchants me and I am powerless--
a siren calls to me from out of doors,
a chanty emanates from some midnight ship,
some crosstown train--
and because of my inertia
I am subject to it all.

I should reconsider, go in search of
icy concrete and the smokering circle,
twenty-five degree night.
I should smile and sleep shivering atop that navy green
woolen throw-rug with the tassels, next to
the muddy Persian.
Their doors are still unlocked;
there is room yet for me,
I am reticent.
I am that leafless tree.

Monday, December 04, 2006

From the steps at the one-room schoolhouse

Lambs graze the garden-green hillside;
they bleat and call and share warmth with their woolen necks,
and the bells around them clack--hollow, harmonically.
The forest smells of wet newfallen needles,
clumped in little mounds under the pines;
a late-afternoon cold soaks in with the shadows.

The preacher's lips touch gently the microphone.
He is pleased but dutiful; he speaks quietly,
hints of how to defy time with powers more sincere.
Celebratory music guides single-file walks.
There are pledges of union and love,
a prolonged kiss, arms in the air, leaps from the stage.

But with their backs to me, crouched behind it all I sit,
admire the life that lifts its eyes skyward
from the damp earth--like persistent wildflowers,
that when hewn down, push up again
from roots sown in hidden pockets underground--
where some source of love resides.

Because pronouncements and circles and titles
are just symbols, outward appearance;
they are ceremony, ritual, leaps from a stage.
And the provenance of it all
rests in those souls--thriving under skin, pulsing of blood,
inexplicably coursing chemicals through synapses:

the things that can't be recorded,
the sound of bells, barely ringing in the winter,
round the necks of hillside sheep.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Breakings and a Christmas tree

I've had a rough week. Yesterday, my bike chain fell off and then broke on the way to school at 7 a.m. Then I lost one of the earbuds for my headphones. The day before, the eraser and metal-brace-thing fell off my pencil for the THIRD time in a week! So all my replacements are gone, and I had to go buy more today. I only got a 33 out of 40 on my resume package assignment. And my backpack's chest strap latch broke too (but I just found the piece, so maybe I can glue it).

Today: crazy Christmas tree shopping day. We bought an Italian Stone Pine, a little 2-foot tall silver-needled potted tree. We like the potted tree--me especially--I feel a lot better about the whole 'Christmas tree' concept when I'm not just chopping this tree down to display in my house for a month and let dry out and get brown and then throw out. Call me green, environmentalist, stupid, whatever. It's just me. And me feels good!