If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chapter II.7

The Two Chapters that Have Never Been Written

I’ve wondered for years why nothing is important to me, why nothing seems to matter, why nothing interests me, and I haven’t had a clue.
In ’92 my life was thrown into turmoil and I ran from my mom, fearing for my life in an unexplainable kind of way. Everything in my life that I had believed in died and I found myself in a mental wasteland. It was here that I began to dig and search for what I was about, how I had gotten there, how to get out, and what to do after that.
For years I’ve felt like I had to protect my friends from something in me. For years I’ve felt different from everyone else.

In counseling that summer I realized that I didn’t know who I was. One night after a particularly terrifying dream, on the verge of full-blown, blind panic, I touched briefly the fact that my whole life had been a lie. I backed away from it at the time, it was too big to handle, too terrifying; to admit that would have been to destroy my whole life and for a little while there, it was the little things to hold onto that got me through. The idea was just too big to handle then, all at once. I felt that I was teetering on the edge of a bottomless chasm and if I didn’t pull back I’d fall in forever; that to fall in would be to go insane and I couldn’t lose that much of my sanity at once. I had to lose it a bit at a time, had to hold some back to look after me ‘cause there wasn’t anyone else who could/would.
I realized after reading a part of Women Who Run with Wolves that my soul had up and gone sometime when I was a kid. Mostly my parents beat it out of me and partly I sent it away to save it. That’s why I haven’t felt anything, believed in anything, seen somewhere for me in tomorrow.
A brief definition of soul is in order here I guess, or at least in my own words: Soul is that part of a person that is creative, knows instinctively, that gives meaning to life, that is the driving energy behind everything, the source of wisdom. That’s what I think soul is, the fire that energizes everything, action in stillness.
I guessed, and I still, believe that my mom stole my soul and replaced it with the “Beast”— that dark, cold, angry, mean, petty voice in my head that constantly belittles me, tells me what I can’t do, says I’m worthless, that my ideas are childless childish, wrong, and misguided, and generally saps my strength.
When I rolled out on my mom and my job and everything to go to Arizona I was running for my life, literally. My mom had already robbed me of my soul/spirit and if I’d of stayed there she would have robbed me of my life. Yeah, it sounds melodramatic but it’s true; it would have killed me to stay there.
And so I went to Arizona and I was terrified when I went and terrified when it was over. I was looking for something in Arizona; my soul’s a good guess, though I’m still not entirely sure what. Whatever it was, I didn’t find it and came back feeling like I’d missed something, missed everything.
The Bravest Thing I Ever Did
I went home after spring semester ’92 for the summer, though it felt more like, in the words of Morrissey, “…it's not my home, it's their home, and I'm welcome no more…” I was miserable, hopelessly lost, and drowning a day at a time.

One night I had a dream that I still mostly remember to this day. I was walking down our street with my family, back towards our house. A Cessna approached us from behind, flying low and slow. In it, on the left side, was me and I was coming to kill myself. I sprinted away from my family in a panic, back towards our house, and once inside ran downstairs while my sister ran upstairs I think. I was hoping to lure my father away from my sister to protect her…and then I was being smothered, lying on my stomach, by a cow. There was more but that is all I remember now. I woke up terrified and it was one of the few dreams that, at the time, I actually wrote down immediately, while still in bed.

Looking back on it now I’d say that it was what Joseph Campbell would call the hero’s call to his quest or Clarissa Pinkola Estes would say was a dark man dream; same difference. At the time, it was just one more thing in a long list of things that didn’t make any sense…and scared me.

I had been kicking around the idea for a while of driving out to Flagstaff, AZ, and seeing where I was born. I don’t know why I had the urge but suddenly it seemed to be terribly, terribly important. I was trying to get a buddy to go with me but no one would commit. I managed to lose my job by taking too much time off and suddenly found myself getting up in the morning and pretending to go to work to avoid answering questions from my mother that I didn’t have answers to. I was tired of being a hopeless fuck-up, couldn’t stand another day of being judged without mercy.

Who Cares
I might have been fired.
I might not have.
I think it would be possible to get my job back.
I don’t know if I want to.
I’ve thought about going to school and getting a loan.
I don’t know if I can.
I still want to go to Arizona
I don’t know if I will.
I should be scared shitless
and sometimes I am.
More often than naught though,
I feel like laughing
‘cause I’m holding four aces.

Finally, after three or four days of pretending that I still had a job, on a Thursday morning, I loaded up my cooler, little Weber Smokey Joe, some books, some clothes, my shotgun, a sleeping bag, and a frying pan into my 1982 Toyota Celica GT hatchback with 104,000 miles— the Anarchy-Mobile; left a note for my mom and took off for Arizona. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live at home when I came back; and honestly, I didn’t care. I was dead there, if not to my mom than to myself. I hoped that maybe I could get my old, old job back in Kalamazoo and was actually ready to camp out of the back of my car at the rest stop just west of town on I-94 if I had to.

I don’t remember too much of the drive west till I got out to New Mexico I think, New Mexico or Texas. I didn’t have a lot of cash and was paying for all my gas on my Amoco gas card. I was several hours into New Mexico when the realization sank in that there were no more Amoco’s. I had crossed some invisible east/west line and that was it. It was almost lunchtime and I pulled into a rest stop for lunch. The routine was to fire up the charcoal Weber, grill some hotdogs and then take a nap while the thing cooled off enough to throw back in the car.

I was a wreck as I ate, perched on the razor-edge of a knife. I didn’t have enough money to get to Flagstaff AND back out across this line where my Amoco card would work again. I didn’t know what I was going to do. If I turned back now, after coming so far and throwing so much away, with nothing to show for it…it would somehow, in a way that makes no logical sense whatsoever, be worse than death. I had to get to Flagstaff but now I didn’t know how I was going to be able to. It was like being stuck, unable to move while your soul is ripped apart. Just utter and abject failure. Everything my mom thought, or at least said about me would be true.

I cried myself to sleep, torn, not knowing what to do. The only other thing that I remember were the lyrics from Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry, one of the tapes I had with me, which I have always misheard as, “…my fear is my only courage so I’ve got to push on through…” When I woke up from my nap I put my grill in the car and kept on heading west. I don’t remember how I came to that decision but it was one of the bravest things that I have ever done.

I have no idea what I did in Flagstaff. Spent the night in the back of my car and headed east the next morning to see Meteor Crater, just west of Winslow. Picked up a kid hitchhiking as I was pulling onto I-40. Damned if I can remember his name though I’m sure I’ve got it written down somewhere. He’d been road-tripping around the country with his brother and cousin but they had been hitting all the tourista spots and it was making him nuts. He’d bought a Gray Hound ticket back to Ohio and had received a significant discount with a five-day advance purchase. He was taking those five days to see how far he could get before getting on a bus for home. He rode up with me to Meteor Crater and as we were sitting in the parking lot grilling hot dogs he asked me where I was headed next. I told him that I was planning on driving north, through Indian country (there are no roads on the map) till I hit Monument Valley. He asked if I minded if he tagged along and I said that I’d enjoy the company.

I remember driving along these dirt roads, taking left and rights at random, sometimes the road simply a washed out, sandy run-off wash, and thinking to myself that driving out here in this car, with this many miles on it, with some dude I’d picked up hitchhiking probably wasn’t the best idea in the world. And then Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks came on and then it all just seemed right in the world and I drove faster…with a big shit-eating grin on my face.

We arrived in Monument Valley with no problems and spent the night there. The next day he suggested that we drive up further north into Utah and check out Canyonlands National Park; I’d never been and he had an entrance ticket that was still good for a couple more days. We got up there, stopping in Moab for some more supplies, and ended up at the Island in the Sky campground which looked out over the White Rim Trail. I made dinner, spaghetti, on the Weber, no mean feat, and we watched a near-full moon rise over the canyons, listening to music and drinking red wine. It was just amazing and I promised myself that someday I’d come back with a vehicle that could make the trip and would drive the White Rim Trail.

I spent most the next day up on top of some giant, domed rock, which was perched on the edge of this sheer fifteen-hundred foot cliff. I think I took my clothes off for a while, before the sun got too hot. I thought about jumping off the rock/cliff, wondering if the immediacy of the problem at hand would remind me of how to fly (just throw yourself at the ground and miss). I watched a raven flying about in the updrafts rising up the cliff face, looking for all the world like Jonathon Livingston Raven, much to the annoyance of several swallows who didn’t take kindly to the intrusion of the old, black bird. I tried to write about Colleen. I wanted an epiphany, a semblance of understanding, the bolt of lightning out of the sky that struck me dumb with an insight that I was lacking. I tried so hard the need oozed out of my pours, eyes squinting in the blinding sunlight, pen clenched tightly between burnt fingers. I wanted to cry, to laugh, to something, anything that bordered on cathartic. It never came. I gave up. I’d driven all this way and nothing, or so it seemed.

I remember swimming in the Green River just outside of Moab the next afternoon and that evening we rolled into Denver. To this day I’m still not sure where we were exactly but my best guess is that we were out on west Colfax, just off of I-70. We spent the night in a Kmart parking lot and the next morning we were off for Chicago. I made the trip from Denver to Kalamazoo in something like twenty-three straight hours; I was ready to be home. I dropped off my passenger at the Gray Hound station in downtown Chicago in the wee hours of the morning and rolled into my old apartment at about 0600. My buddies were still sleeping so I sat on the top of my car in my beach chair listening to Bob Marley and started drinking. The trip was over and somehow I’d survived, though I don’t know that I felt much the wiser for it.

On the Road to Damascus
In July or August of that same summer I flew out to California to see my dad; not even sure when the last time I had seen him was and I wouldn’t see him for a number of years after. On the way back I had a window seat and as the plane took off I remember feeling sad, like I imagined that Luke Skywalker had at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. I had been unable to save, redeem my father and the thought occurred to me for the first time that he would never be truly happy till the day he was dead.

My flight landed in Chicago sometime in the late evening and I started the drive back to Kalamazoo. Somewhere on I-94, before I hit the Indiana border, I heard a voice, crystal clear in my head, might as well have been right there in the car with me, “You are not who you are supposed to be.”

Holy shit! What was that all about? Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks at Forty or Last Mango in Paris was playing on the stereo and it felt like a ton of brick had fallen out of the sky into my head.

And looking back on it now, it strikes me that I didn’t brush it off, ignore it, or even question it. It was just ridiculous but I was shattered, it breaking my already-fragile world even further apart. The idea, the picture that I had was that somewhere in the past, something had happened, something went wrong and I, me, the guy sitting behind the wheel in the car, somehow got split off of whoever or whatever I was supposed to be. And whatever, whoever that was was the right thing while I was the wrong one.

I pulled over and called my Coast Guard buddy in Oakland who I had just seen, beside myself in despair. I don’t remember what he said and somehow I made the rest of the drive back to Kalamazoo that night.

I don’t know that I saw it at the time, but this incident showed that there were things going on for me that were not related to Colleen and Kim. I had really dealt with Colleen when I finally made the trip to her grave, but what had lingered on and been confused in with everything else were heretofore-unknown things that Colleen and Kim broke open within me. And it was to these that this event spoke.

For all the hopelessness and despair, this was at least a place to start. It would be very simple, all I had to do was go back, reexamine, remember and I find the place where things went wrong, where the split took place and then I could fix it, whatever it was, mend the rift.

And it is there that Twenty 2 The Hard Way started, as an attempt to tell a story, my story— I didn’t even know what it was at the time. If I could just pull together the different pieces and assemble them in the right order they would point to something, a wounding, a break, and I would be able to move intelligently and with direction from there to set right what had been set asunder.

For sixteen years I’ve carried this grouping of stories around with me, and they have been, if secretly, the best description of who I have really been, at my deepest and innermost. Yet, I have not been able to point to a why or anything beyond that. It has been, seemingly, incomplete.

That said, in going back and assembling Twenty 2 The Hard Way it has been hard to not change things, to not edit, add, delete, or try to explain in an effort to make it better, more ‘user-friendly’. I have left it alone though, out of honor and respect for the twenty-two year old kid that survived through those times and his voice in writing down the things he saw, thought and felt. Who the hell am I to come along and change or alter those things now, some sixteen years later?
And lastly,
Scotty shoots up
and the moon beams down
this time he’s going places.

AZ Road Trip Mix Tapes

One (Play it Again)
Bad Luck, Social Distortion
Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf), The Pixies
Cruel, Public Image Ltd.
Family Man, Nitzer Ebb
Stigmata, Ministry
Allison, The Pixies
Head On, The Jesus & Mary Chain
More, Sisters of Mercy
Kick out the Jams, Bad Brains w/Henry Rollins
Somebody Put Something in my Drink, Ramones
Let Beauty Loose, Nitzer Ebb
We Shall Cleanse the World, Revolting Cocks
Subliminal Fascism, Fishbone
Let Your Body Learn, Nitzer Ebb

Until the End of the World, U2
Why Can’t I Fall in Love, Ivan Neville
Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf), The Pixies
Girlfriend, Mathew Sweet
Making Believe, Social Distortion
Holding You, Naked Raygun
Acid Drops, Public Image Ltd.
Guns of Brixton, The Clash
Operating S, Front 242
Smear Body, Nitzer Ebb
99 to Life, Social Distortion
Born to Lose, Social Distortion

Two (Road Trip Vol. 1)
Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
Won’t Get Fooled Again, The Who
Mommy’s Little Helper, Rolling Stones
Aqualung, Jethro Tull
If the Levee Breaks, Led Zeppelin
Roadhouse Blues, The Doors
Dream On, Aerosmith
Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin
Hoochie Koochie Man, Jimi Hendrix
Bike, Pink Floyd

Lucy in the Sky with Diamond, Beatles
Locomotive Breath, Jethro Tull
Wind Cries Mary, Jimi Hendrix
Black, Rolling Stones
Going to California, Led Zeppelin
Too Old to Rock & Roll, Jethro Tull
Love Reign O’er Me, The Who
Are You Experienced?, Jimi Hendrix
You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones
Thick as a Brick, Jethro Tull
Hey Joe, Jimi Hendrix
With a Little Help from My Friends, Beatles
Radio One, Jimi Hendrix

All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
Gripped by Fear, Front 242
Heartbreak Beat, Psychedelic Furs
Fascination Street, Cure
Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
Ball and Chain, Social Distortion
Three Strange Days, School of Fish
Ziggy Stardust, Bauhaus
Tie Dye on the Highway, Robert Plant
Destination, The Church

Reptile, The Church
Red House, Jimi Hendrix
Nothing Shocking, Jane’s Addiction
All Love, Ziggy Marley
Pretty in Pink, The Psychedelic Furs
Exodus from the Underground Fortress, Geinoh Yamashirogumi
Break My Heart, Baby Animals
A New Machine— Part 2, Pink Floyd
Sorrow, Pink Floyd
Misty Morning, Albert Bridge, Pogues
High Wire Days, Psychedelic Furs
The Storm, Big Country

Heartbreak Beat, Psychedelic Furs
I Go Crazy, Flesh for Lulu
Metropolis, The Church
Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf), The Pixies
Somewhere Down the Crazy River, Robbie Robertson
Why Can’t I Fall in Love, Ivan Neville
Temptation, New Order
Anniversary, Robert Plant
Antenna, The Church
The Snake Pit, Cure
Long Breakdown, Oingo Boingo

Englishman in New York, Sting
Under the Milky Way, The Church
Fearless, Pink Floyd
Sleeping Dogs, Flesh for Lulu
Break My Heart, Baby Animals
Broken Arrow, Robbie Robertson
Monday Morning, The Church
Love My Way, Psychedelic Furs
Sister Moon, Sting
Reptile, The Church
Pretty in Pink, The Psychedelic Furs
Lost, The Church

A Toast
To the warrior fallen
To the warrior risen
To the foe vanquished
And the victory gained
To my blade
And to my friends
May it not be I
The last to die

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chapter II.6

Recovered Journal Fragments of Briarios Anfortas, Pt II

Disney Land is for the Dead

The four of us sat there on the porch that night. It was the last weekend in August and the sun fell flaming desperately red into the plains as Amy passed around the joint. We were listening to Led Zeppelin for no good reason and the low murmur of voices and the “chink” of pool balls bouncing off each other drifted outside on the hot, humid breeze. A fan whirred steadily in the window and off in the distance a dog barked as kids yelled.

“So what are your plans for the semester Sandor?” Amy asked with a smile.

Sandor finished inhaling and paused, passing the joint to Janice. Slowly exhaling, he leaned back against the railing and said,

“Well, I’m living with three women— I know, you think I’m a stud…and I’m taking some classes, other than that, I don’t have much planned.

Amy nodded appreciatively and Janice giggled, passing the jay to me. I held it, fat, between my fingers, smelling its pungent fragrance and then raised it to my lips. I thought about Colleen killing herself and Kim killing me.

“What classes are you taking?” Amy replied. She looked hilariously sinister in her cat-eye glasses and I took another hit since she wasn’t paying attention.

“Uhm…interpersonal communication, Latin, creative writing, and economics…again.”

My head was starting to hum, I could feel it, the murmuring inside was starting to throb with the fan, and I could feel what Sandor was thinking, “Colleen killed herself for no good reason. Kim killed you because she could.”

I grimaced, thinking to Sandor, “Lighten up.” Amy took the joint from my outstretched hand and puffed on it experimentally. Janice still hadn’t said anything and just smiled at the street.

“…and what are you doing this semester?” Sandor asked Amy.

“Goddamn,” I thought, “how does he manage to sound so sincere and interested? Must be the weed.” Amy’s voice drifted into the background as I imagined I was a fish swimming in the Dead Sea trying to find my way to Disney Land. Every time I tried to get in, Colleen dressed as Mickey Mouse would stop me and say,

Disney Land is only for the Dead. Disney Land is only for the End.”

I was out of my element, flopping about and gasping for breath when Janice poked me in the arm and held out the roach with her other hand, smiling knowingly. Instantly, I felt saved, warm, and smiled back.

Tim walked out as I passed the roach on to Amy, white wooded screen door slamming shut behind him.

“How’s it going kids, everyone feeling OK?” He looked at Sandor and said, “You’re stoned.” Everybody laughed. Tim sat down beside me, back against the wall and Sandor nodded. “Good, good, good,” Tim said.

“Would you like some?” Amy asked, holding out the roach.

“No thanks. I think I’ve had enough Old Crow to last me a while.”

Sandor started talking to Amy and Janice about bisexuals and Tim said aside to me,”

“How ya doing?”

“Strange but okay, like a shower on a long, lazy summer night.”

Tim nodded.

“It’s good, like this moment will last forever, like we can sit here reading each other’s thoughts and the sun will never make to the horizon.”

Tim nodded again.

“I’ve been thinking about Kim though,” I added unconsciously.


“Yeah. I dreamed about her the other night. I was in Monument Valley, up on a plateau, nothing around for hundreds of miles except for red desert and more plateaus. I had my one iron with me and was trying to drive onto this one plateau that looked like a cathedral, but every time a ball landed, Kim would pick it up and throw it off. I woke up pissed and frustrated.”

Tim smiled, adjusting his Social Distortion hat, “It’s been that kind of summer hasn’t it?”

The fan whirred as Amy lit another joint. The dog had stopped barking as the first stars came out, a twinkling blue against an inky blackness. The disc changed and Jim Morrison started singing The End. Tim closed his eyes, Amy leaned back, sighing, Sandor played with the sole of his shoe, Janice quietly rocked back and forth, and I smiled; my head was humming and it was good.

Indian Summer

I remember standing in Kim’s bathroom,
looking west, out this little round window.
Cooler days
Blue skies;
so blue it’d make you
want to cry—
and puffy, white, snow-cone clouds
stretching to the horizon.
I just wanted to stand there
and look forever.
It did something to my soul
made it all queasy inside
like I wanted to die
because it was too much for one person.
And, if I did die
I’d be free
to fly around with the clouds
and be the blue sky until I cried.
It’s the way fall makes me feel,
or the Psychedelic Furs—
just rows and rows of clouds
and all the sky you could ever want
all in one little round window.


Driving South on 131
going to work.
Trees stand naked
against the gray-clouded sky
shivering in the snow-flurried air.
The streets of Kalamazoo
are empty,
yellow dotted lines
leading no one nowhere.
It is Thanksgiving
and I am as empty
as the streets,
as barren
as the trees,
as cold
as the snow,
as lonely
as a cemetery,
vacant as an empty lot;
no one
with nowhere to go.
The radio babbles fuzzily- incoherent,
someone else’s voice

haunting me
as snowflakes throw themselves
against the windshield
in a frenzy of white.
I wish I were in Chicago
with my family.
Thanksgiving is a lonely time
to spend alone.
But my family
really isn’t a family,
at least not in the traditional sense.
And so I’m sitting at the airport
watching the clock;
someone else’s voice
haunting my head
on this long, lonely
Thanksgiving evening.

When Home Came Christmas

I pulled into the Indian Head subdivision around nine, the stars were crystal clear. How long had it been since I was here last, six months, eight? Something like that. Somehow it seemed longer.

Christmas lights were everywhere; trees, shrubs, houses, windows, eves, and doors; greens, blues, whites, and oranges. It all seemed so commercialized, I half expected to see Snoopy and his doghouse with an aluminum Christmas tree in front. I felt like throwing up.

I pulled in front of Kirah’s place, at least half a dozen cars were already there; Joe, Tammy, Anita, Kevin, Bob, Jason, and I forget the rest. I wonder if Kirah will be mad at me after this summer. I don’t think so or she wouldn’t have invited me. But still, I haven’t seen her since June when I rather unexpectedly threw everything I owned into my car, the Anarchy-Mobile, and left for Arizona, running at top speed west from the demons let loose in my head, or maybe it was really towards them.

Can I explain any of it, make her understand; do I really want to explain, and for that matter, do I even understand it myself? I turn off the car, the engine dies and the one working headlight winks out; I’m left in silence. I sit for a moment staring at the speedometer,

“What the hell…,” I mutter and climb out the window.

Ringing the doorbell, I turn around and look at the Anarchy-Mobile, blue and beaten, my best friend. I like to have my back to the door and then turn around when it opens. It makes me feel…I don’t know…like I have better things to be doing. Maybe I am a pompous ass after all.

The door opens and light and music flood out like water over a damn. I turn around with an uninterested smile on my face and almost choke.

“Anfortas!” Before I can pull back her arms are wrapped around me as she pulls me close and kisses me on the cheek. She steps back just as quickly and silently looks me over, pushing aside a strand of brown hair, green eyes sparkling. Looking very serious I think she’s angry and is going to hit me but then she breaks into a smile and says,

“You’re looking pretty good, especially for someone who took off for parts unknown and never came back.” I wince inwardly and try to smile.

“Jesus Lori, this is a surprise indeed, I think. I thought you were still in Colorado. I had no idea; Kirah never mentioned…uh, you’re looking pretty good yourself.”

“Thanks,” she takes my hand and pulls, “C’mon silly, everyone’s already here.” The door slams shut behind me.

Jesus, my mind is whirling a thousand miles per hour. Lori DD., the Lori D. Why? Why now? She’s dumber than nine chickens for christ-sake, at least nine and maybe ten.

Kirah’s happy to see me and gives me a hug, chiding me for not calling earlier. I mumble some poor excuse, even for me, and everything’s okay. Kirah’s good that way, somehow we’ve managed to be good friends and not get mucked up in each others lives; which is probably why she can put up with me.

Kirah disappears for another beer and I wander around saying hi to people I haven’t seen in at least a year and really don’t care if I ever see them again. Maybe that sounds cold but there are some people you really care about and those you don’t. It’s not that you hate them; it’s just that you don’t care.

Tammy, Joe, Anita, and Kevin are playing pool downstairs. I wonder if Joe and Tammy are dating again, it looks like it; Joe must have cleaned up his act.

I wander back upstairs and look for Kirah; there’s some stuff I’ve written that I’d like her to read. Sometimes it’s easier to explain with a pen than with your mouth and I have a lot of explaining to do. Not even so much to Kirah as to myself. So much…so much about this last year I still don’t understand.

I find Kirah in the kitchen with Lori, making margaritas. I fake a drunken stagger over to the counter and Kirah smiles. If this had been the old days I’d have shown up with a half-empty fifth of something and a Slurpee. Everybody else always drank beer, I never did, couldn’t stand the stuff. Tonight I just stopped at some tavern and threw back three gin and tonics; now I’m wishing I’d had a couple more. The blender stops whirring and Kirah offers Lori and I a cup.

“To us…,” she holds up her cup and so do Lori and I, the plastic cups making a clunking sound as we toast.

“To us…”

“What’s up?” a standard Kirah line. Somehow she always manages to sound cheerful, up beat, and sincere when she says it; makes me jealous.

“Not a whole lot,” I decide not to beat around the bush, “I brought a couple of things I’d like you to read though, if you don’t mind.” My eye catches hers and I decide that she has picked up on the undertones.

“Great, I’d love to. Can you hang on a sec though; I have to talk to Tammy first.”

“I’d like to read them, if that’s okay,” good god, no, not Lori.

A long time ago, when Lori and I were still friends, still had common ground to stand on, I’d ask her to read the stories I’d write; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. But now? We were friends then, and now, somehow she has become my antithesis. Oh what the hell, this was some brutally honest writing and if it shocked her it would be worth the laugh.

“Sure. Go ahead, here,” I pulled four typed pages out of my inside pocket and handed them to her, following her to sit in the living room.

I mindlessly watch the muted TV, keeping half an eye on Lori, watching her expressions. The margarita is going to my head, helping along the gin and tonics; I lean back and closed my eyes.

“Let’s go for a ride.” I look up, trying to read Lori’s expression. It is either carefully guarded or she doesn’t understand the deeper meaning hidden behind the words. I guess the latter.

“Okay,” I follow her as she gets her brown leather jacked and step out to her Honda.

She doesn’t say anything and I decide not to be the one to break the silence. Instead, I rummage around, looking at her tapes till I find something to listen to, Duran Duran Rio. I pop it into the cassette deck and stare out my window, watching the passing Christmas lights. Suddenly it was six years ago and a million miles away and I shiver as the now familiar tingle of panic runs up and down my spine.

“I wanted to get away from there before I said anything about what you wrote,” she paused, “I know that somehow along the way we kinda went our ways. I was a ditz and hated you because you’d never let me forget it. You were dark, a lone wolf and you hated me because I’d never be serious enough for you to talk to. We were kids, I hope you don’t hold it against me, I’ve changed a lot in the last year and a half since you saw me last, I’ve grown up.” She looked at me, eyes pleading. Duran Duran sang,

“…last chance on the stairway…last chance on the stairway…last chance on the stairway…”

Lori looked back at the road.

I didn’t know what to think so I said nothing and stared at the city— Chicago— rising up before us; a colossal man-made hard on, bulging into space, a symbol of man’s lust to conquer and rape anything he could get his hands on.

“You were different from the rest of us, even then. But none of us saw it. You were fighting the demons that we all eventually come into contact with long before any of us even knew that there were demons. You were the only one, you and Chris. You were alike that way.”

“Jesus Lor, I don’t know what to think. This is a big change for you. I’m used to listening to how bad you got it; being on the other side is a little strange. You used to be…”


“Well yeah, you said it though.”

“And you thought it, hell, everyone did. I told you though; I’ve changed, grown up, am growing up. Somewhere along the way I began to see things a little differently. It’s not easy having your whole world and everything you believe in turned on its head.” Her hands clenched the steering wheel and she stared hard at the road. “Why was it that you like me when I hated you and you hated me when I liked you?” she looked at me trying to smile. I felt like an ass for letting her read my writings, for dogging her. I hated her for understanding. My world was no longer exclusively mine. I didn’t know if I could keep her out, didn’t know if I wanted to.

“I don’t know Lor, I think Scott S. had something to do with it. You know what a little weasel he was.” I smiled and she laughed. “It all seems like only yesterday don’t it, and yet those people are all gone and you’re a complete stranger to me. I know you better six years ago than I do now. You’re a ghost, I’m a ghost, from the past, haunting each other’s now…”

The lights from the oncoming traffic lit her face and then painted it back into the shadows, I could still see her eyes though, green, like a cats. I looked back out the window, the reflection of my own eyes staring back at me, haunted. In the back seat Duran Duran sang,

“Are you lonely in your nightmare…let me in…lonely in your nightmare…”

The silence was heavy again and I just wanted to run away. We pulled up to a stoplight and Lori downshifted into neutral. The tingle down my spine turned into a fist. Lori put her hand on my chin and pulled it around, her eyes locking onto mine.

“You’re still out there aren’t you? You haven’t found a way to defeat your demons…and you can’t even remember how to get back.” She understood, understood perfectly. I tore my gaze away. Christmas was only three days away, only three days. “Damn it, I’m here to say I’m sorry for all those years you were out there, here to help, if you’ll let me. What is it you’re so afraid of? The light turned green but we didn’t move.

“Goddamn it Lori, don’t you see? It’s not that easy. Where I’m at, it’s insane, it’ll kill you. I don’t know how I’ve managed to make it this far. All those damn papers were supposed to be was a window, an explanation. I can’t let anyone in here! How can I if I don’t even know if I’ll make it out alive myself?” I punched the dashboard, “Would you fucking go!” Behind us cars were honking and some were starting to go around.

“No I won’t you jack-ass. God you are so self-centered! A fucking window? What kind of bullshit is that? Do you think that your friends are just going to stand around and watch you waste away through a window? Well fuck you! Some of your friends happen to give a shit about what happens to you. And you’re lucky you haven’t managed to drag them all into your insane little nightmare world, because they would come after you, even if they didn’t think they’d make it back themselves. Screw you!”

Lori slammed the car into first and we took off through a red light. I looked up at the ceiling and tried to blink back the tears but it wasn’t working, and to make matter worse, it felt like I had just stuffed my fist down my throat and left it there. The tears wouldn’t go away and I just wanted to curl up in my seat sobbing. I was so tired, so lonely.

Lori pulled off into a gas station, shutting off the engine. She pulled me into her arms and rocked me back and forth.

“It’s okay, it’s okay kiddo. You’ll be alright. You’re a survivor. You’ll make it through this one; I just want you to know that you’re not alone.

Michigan City

Watching the trees sliding by
reflected in the wet asphalt;
can you see the devil,
the devil in my eyes?
The radio crackles warmly
fuzzy in the two speakers
as rain splatters on the windshield.
Shawn and Brandon are asleep
in the back
Tim at the wheel
and it’s 2:45 in California
but that doesn’t matter much.
My wrist hurts
where I slashed it last night
as candles flickered
in the breeze of the warm central air.
I was drunk.
But I feel safe now
in the darkness
in the rain
heading home with my friends.

A Belated Christmas

It seems now that my years in grade school were measured in Christmas’s. Inevitably, each December would roll around and the better half of the month would be spend in intense preparation of that years hand-made Christmas presents for the lucky parents.

In contrast, my years in college have been easy compared to the endless heartbreaking hours spent agonizing over candles made out of Pringles cans and tacky seventies wallpaper, Styrofoam and wrapping ribbon Christmas trees, snowmen made from Hi-C cans and felt, and door wreathes cut out of paper plates and red and green hand tracings. Each year the ranks of the “hand-made-Christmas-ornaments” would swell by one, or two actually, since my kid sister would bring home something equally as ugly as well.

It seems funny to me now, that, almost sixteen years after this tradition had begun and several after the hand-mades had been traded in for more convenient “bought” gifts, the old ones are as faithfully and carefully unwrapped and displayed each Christmas as on the first.

And now I’m in college, three hundred and twenty miles away. Once again Christmas has rolled around and I sit here listening to reggae and watching the wind drift the snow up against the empty and dark apartment on this cold Christmas Eve, waiting for the coals to heat up so I can BBQ. I won’t be going home this year.

A gulf a thousand times wider than any miles has gradually grown between my mother and I, and we both pace our sides, unsure how to bridge the distance. I feel helpless; I have no gift to bring home; no candles or snowmen, no diplomas, no great job, grades, or even a direction in life. It seems all I have are questions where there should be answers, doubts instead of resolve, confusion for understanding, disappointment for pride. And even my stories and poems that have come out of the blood, sweat, dirt, tears, pain and death of the this last year don’t seem enough a gift to bridge the gap, to let me see the baby Jesus; the last wise man turned away at the door in shame.

They’re playing Christmas songs on the radio and the burgers smell delicious as I flip them. The music reminds me of years past and I find myself wiping away a tear with the back of my hand.

“It’s only the smoke,” I tell myself as I put the lid back on the grill and walk inside, spatula clenched in one hand.

The stars are bright through the picture window, cold and sharp in their distance. They remind me of another night in another place and it makes me shiver. I almost didn’t walk away from there, almost left my brains on the wall. And suddenly I feel warm. Maybe I’m not home for Christmas but I’m still here, still alive, and what better gift could be given anyone?

Last Dance in Dumb Town

The door slammed shit behind Nick as he walked out into the courtyard. There was a full moon out and his breath made little clouds over his head as he walked to the end of ‘C’ building and took a right. A lone car slowly drove by, looking for a parking space. Nick kicked on the door of E-102 and waited, hands in his pockets, shoulders scrunched down. He wished the knot in his stomach would go away. The door opened and Brandon stood there with a hockey stick in his hands.

“What’s up?”

“Wanna shoot some pool? I got a couple bucks…”

Brandon looked at the clock on the VCR, eleven thirty, “Sure. Where at?”

“It doesn’t matter, anywhere’s fine.”

“Let me grab my coat.”

It was still cold outside as Brandon scraped the frost off his windshield.

“Did I ever tell you my theory on hallucinogenics?”

Brandon shook his head, “I don’t think so.”

“Well you see, it’s like we only use ten percent of our brains right? So that means there’s ninety percent that we don’t use. And, the percentage we use today is higher then it was say, two hundred years ago, or a hundred years ago, or even fifty. We are learning to use more of our minds, evolving.”


Now, everything that goes on in your brain is either chemical, electrical, or both. Your senses are constantly sending the brain chemical/electrical messages about what’s going on around you, see, but your brain has a threshold limit which has to be crossed before your consciousness pays attention to the information; so if a signal isn’t big enough, your brain doesn’t pay any attention to it. LSD, ‘shrooms, peyote, and marijuana all lower the threshold limit so that more information gets through to you , you’re consciously paying attention to more of your reality. You’ve expanded your consciousness and are using a higher percentage of your brain. And the reason the trip seems so weird is because you have ninety percent of your mind to expand. A hundred years from now there may be only thirty percent to expand due to evolution and technology and the trips will be far less strange because you have a lesser percentage to expand, instead of increasing your consciousness by up to nine hundred percent it might only be an increase of thirty-three percent. The trip of today will be the norm tomorrow.”

Brandon climbed into the car and flipped on the windshield wipers, “Interesting. But they’ll never legalize the stuff.”


“I mean, who has the most to lose if there were a cheaper, better buzz on the market?” He paused as he shifted into reverse, “I can’t see, am I clear?”

“Yeah, you got it.”

“Who’s got the most to lose? The alcohol and tobacco industries. They’ll lobby against it forever, and they got the bucks to do it.”

“Yep, the government has a lot to lose too if people actually started using more of their minds and started thinking a little.”

They drove out of the parking lot onto Lafayette; neither of them speaking, lost in their own worlds. The streetlights rolled over the black Cavalier as they took a right onto West Michigan. The Tavern was crowded for a Wednesday night and they drove through the packed parking lot before heading back out onto the road. At Howard they took a left and headed down towards the underpass to Stadium Dr. Nick thought about the first time he’d been there, Toyota packed to overflowing, his mother and Bud behind him in the Jeep with the rest of his stuff. He’d be leaving soon, in the same Toyota, but by himself. Funny, how no matter what, you always had to leave by yourself. The knot in Nick’s stomach tightened.

Brandon pulled into the parking lot of the Wayside and found a parking space close to the building.

“I hate this place,” Nick said.

“Yeah, but they’ve got okay pool tables.”

“I know.” Nick held the door and they walked inside. Smoke, bar-talk, and Steve Miller rolled over them like a wave as they stepped inside. There was no one at the door checking IDs so thy put wallets back in their pockets and walked downstairs. Nick went to get quarters and Brandon took off his coat and started looking for a straight stick. Nick came back and put a handful of quarters on the edge of the table.

“It doesn’t look like Ruth is here tonight, didn’t see her. You remember her don’t you?”


“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway,” he stood three quarters up in the slot and pushed the whole thing in. The balls rolled down with a small roar and Brandon began racking them.

“How do you rack ‘em” Nick asked, sighting down a cue and then rolling it on the table. “I never picked it up?”

“Well, I alternate them like this; solid, stripe, solid, stripe; and, just my own thing, I don’t put balls the same color together, my own idiosyncrasy.”

Nick put the stick back and selected another, “Which had do you brush your teeth with?”


“Never mind,” he sighted along the new stick and decided to keep it. “Good things their sticks aren’t straight or anything.”

“Yeah, good thing.” Brandon finished racking the balls and carefully removed the rack. “Go ahead and break.”

There were about five groups playing pool and four tables open. Most of the people were pseudo-redneck-metal-head college guys with their big-haired, mall-bitch girlfriends who snapped their gum like trout on amphetamines. A couple were feeding dollar bills into the CD jukebox and bass-heavy Metallica started playing, Wherever I May Roam.

Nick chalked his stick and centered the cue ball to the right, aiming for the spot between the number one ball and the second one in line. “Don’t hit the ball,” he thought to himself, “hit through it.” He pulled his right hand back and snapped it forward. The cue ball hit a little right of where he was aiming and nothing went in but it was a nice break anyway, a solid hit.

The cue ball had come back down the table and Brandon lined up the two-ball which was sitting in front of the far right corner pocket. It was an easy shot, Brandon wouldn’t miss.

Nick leaned back against the wall and watched the game next to him. Four guys were taking turns playing each other and the tall one in the Ren and Stimpy T-shirt leaned over and stretched out over his stick. His movements were slow and deliberate; it looked like he was making love to the table, caressing it with his stick.

“He’s got good style,” Nick thought to himself.

Brandon had knocked the two in but had botched his second shot.

“You’re up man.”

“You know Indians,” Nick said, surveying the table and reaching for the chalk, “when the boys become old enough to be men, the elders send them on a quest; and if they return, having completed the task, they’re accepted back into the tribe as braves, as men.” Nick paused as he lined up the nine-ball and the left side pocket. “But, there are really two kinds of braves: the ones who come back and the ones that don’t.” He missed the angle and the ball bounced wide left. “The ones that don’t come back are the real braves you see, because they figured out the truth, you know. They know that the quest they were sent on is the same quest that their fathers and grandfathers were sent on and that they will likely fail as their fathers and grandfathers did. But they go as far as they can, driven by the knowledge that they MAY be the one to succeed. And when they can go no further, they stop and start their own village, sending their own sons on further than they were able to go themselves. It’s like they’re all standing on each others shoulders, a physical link through time. Ultimately, a brave will complete the quest and all will share in the reward, but until then, there’s two kinds of braves, and the real ones can’t, don’t come home.”

Brandon nodded. He’d knocked two more balls in, the seven and the three, before missing. Nick bent over the table and banked the eleven-ball into the bottom right corner pocket. The stick felt sweaty in his hands. Bohemian Rhapsody started to play on the jukebox and Brandon smile glancing around.

“This is a good song to play at bars. You look around and see which chicks are singing and check them off your list.”

Nick laughed, “Damn straight.” He drew an imaginary line from the cue ball to the ten-ball and the far left corner pocket, cutting the ten in neatly. He left himself without a shot though, so he hit hard into a cluster of stripes, hoping for slop. Nothing went in, but the cue ball ended up between the bottom rail and the fifteen.

“Nice leave.”

“You’re welcome.” Nick leaned back up against the wall, closing his eyes. He felt the knot in his stomach with his mind; part nervousness, part fear, and part excitement. His body had known, known it was true from the first instant he’d thought it. There could be no other way. Still…he opened his eyes and looked around— three girls were setting up to play on the other side of them. One of them, in blue jeans and short black hair smiled at him. Nick smiled back but it didn’t feel very convincing.

“Come on boyo, hurry up and shoot already. She doesn’t like you anyway.”

Nick grimaced and promptly scratched. Sitting down he glanced back over at the girls for a moment.

“You know, this past month I’ve quit writing, more or less.”

“Yeah?” Brandon was moving around the table, sinking balls like a submarine captain.

“Yeah.” Nick stared hard at the lamps hanging over the table. “Yeah, I’ve quit.”

“So why don’t you start again?” Brandon asked as he dropped the eight-ball for the game.

Nick stood up and put three more quarters in the slots and then racked the balls.

“I can’t, I have nothing left to write about. This chapter is over.” He pressed the balls tight and carefully lifted the rack. Brandon broke but nothing went in.

“I don’t follow you,” Brandon said, looking up.

“I was in the Administration building today looking to see if my student aid check from last semester had come in yet, so I could pay my bill and register for new classes. But, they said it hadn’t so I went to Financial Aid because the checks usually go through there first.” Nick watched the thirteen-ball drop in the left side pocked and looked for his next shot. “They said it had come in but there was a hold on it, so I went next door to the Loan Office. They said it had been stopped because I had dropped all my classes before disbursement. All my student aid money is being sent back. Damn!” The cue ball ricocheted off the six and into the eight, knocking it into the far left corner pocket. “I can’t go back to school, they took my money and anyway, I have nothing left to write about, this chapter’s over.” Nick looked up, fishing some more quarters out of his pocket.

“Geez man…I’m sorry,” Brandon said slowly pulling the rack out, “that’s rough.”

“I’m glad though, school wasn’t working out. I mean I dropped all my classes this last semester for god’s sake. My heart just isn’t in it. It’s a relief actually, I can quit pretending now.”

“Yeah, you shouldn’t do anything your heart’s not in.” Brandon broke and scratched. “So what are you going to do?”

“Follow my heart…I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about enlisting. In any case, I’ll be out of this town inside of two months. This chapter’s over. It’s kind of a bummer though, leaving, these last three months have been pretty fantabulous.”

“Yeah, they have been haven’t they?”

“Yeah, but even if I did stay, you and Tim would be out of here in three months anyway, barring some sort of academic meltdown with you guys.” Brandon smiled. Nick dropped the twelve-ball and walked around the table, “It’s pointless to try and stop things from moving on, you only get left behind.” Nick leaned over and banked the fourteen into the right corner pocket, accidentally knocking in a solid as well. “The real braves don’t go home...,” he looked up, “for you and me, it’s last dance in Dumb Town.”

Broken Wing

Broken heart
and broken wings
broken neck
and broken things.
They took your life
they trapped your soul
No longer alive
and yet not dead
you couldn’t escape
the demons in your head
All alone
a warrior mime
no one cared
or had the time
You played the game
to well for your good
so no one saw
or understood
A crack in the mask
you could not find
and nothing leaked out
of your tortured mind
You stumbled through
a desert of death
a desert of lies
chasing the ghost
of the beast inside
The world died
and you didn’t know
didn’t see
the blood in the snow
from your bleeding wrists
and tortured soul
So falling you cried
a broken thing
with broken neck
and broken wing.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

I used to have a little 3 x 5 notebook in which I collected quotes that I ran across or occasionally came up with. I loaned it to one Tracy Carter, on her way to law school and to save the world, when I went on leave after boot camp and never saw my book or her again; though she was at least kind enough to send me several letters.

Steve Martin once said that a joke was complete and total understanding; it is often the same I think with a good quote. What follows are odds and ends that I have collected from the margins of journals, random scrap pieces of paper, the backs of business cards, bar coasters, and the random napkin. They don’t really fit anywhere on their own so have been given a home here and will be updated from time to time.


I have only two pieces of advice for you: Be, don’t do. Do, don’t be.

There was a time when you didn’t believe anything you do now…or anything for that matter. What changed?

The answer is… there is no answer; be the answer.

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can understand someone without knowing them. You cannot know someone without understanding them.

"Progress always involves risk. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." —Bob Proctor

"The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow." —Jim Hightower

“So long…and thanks for all the fish…and bread.” Words actually spoken to Jesus and mistakenly attributed to dolphins departing the Earth before its destruction for an intergalactic bypass.

T-shirt: “Got kids?” What does that mean? Do I want to fuck? Yes, but not you.

The human spirit is the noblest of creatures, for when it finds something in the Universe that is true and right it grasps it and will forsake all other things for that idea and endure untold hardships and even suffer death for it. When the human spirit has found something to hold onto, it is indomitable.

A knight saves one. A king serves all.

Disbelief is the magnetism of the Universe.

“The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted and when to be obeyed.” –Nathanial Hawthorne

Constant movement can be a form of denial; in which case, learning to be still means facing all the things that you have suspected but avoided.

The things that scare you the most have the most to teach you.

“Anyone who is sensible and calm is insane.” — Rumi

I had no choice; God put you in my path.” Four Feathers

If we would just surrender to our wounds, we would be shown the opportunity to become something far beyond what we’ve ever imagined or dreamt of.

Buddha sat under the Bo tree for seven days and meditated; Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days and fasted, I spent two and a half years in Starbucks, writing.

I don’t want to please all women; I just want to please one.

Man is evolution become conscious of itself.” —Julian Huxley

When there’s lead in the air, there’s hope in the heart.”

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive, but attainable; a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” –John Buha?

What I’ve called “common sense” is mainly just the things, true or not, that my parents and society believed.

“Political science will tell you everything and teach you nothing.” — Mikey S.

Even if you hit a homerun, you still have to run the bases.

They speak of my drinking, yet no one mentions my thirst

The tearing of the curtain in the temple between the (w)holy and most (w)holy at Christ’s death was the destruction of the wall between the unconscious and conscious— which had to that point, largely kept mankind from realizing his divinity.

It’s not why we’re going to fail, it’s how we’re going to pass.

There are no transitions, this is it, right now.

“One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being.” — Mas Kodani

The monk who sold his monkey.

In the opening of our shadows we open to our selves.

Everyone is willing to admit that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but no one wants to admit that the Lord works in different ways.

The nose smells, an ass reeks.

When you’re right with yourself, the world comes to you; whey you’re not, you endlessly chase the world.

“With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” –W. Wordsworth

Denial creates desire.

Standing on a whale fishing for minnows.

— some culture I can’t remember

To stay open to the uncertainty, that is the key.

Dream a better dream.

It is the story (ego) which stands between the knower and the known, that creates the illusion of separation.

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.” —Thomas Paine


“It is completeness that Delores now dreams— of the two opposites of one that, in balance, enable it to both exist and live. A woman without her opposite, or a man without his, can exist but cannot live. Existence may be beautiful, but never whole,” –Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get the Blues

My guardian angel has dog breath.

“’Hubb’ is love, ‘ishq’ is love that entwines two people together, ‘shaghaf’is love that nests in the chambers of the heart, ‘hayam’ is love that wanders the earth, ‘teeh, is love in which you lose yourself, ‘walah’ is love that carries sorrow within it, ‘sababah’ is love that exudes from your pores, ‘hawa’ is love that shares its name with ‘air’ and with ‘falling’, ‘gharam’ is love that is willing to pay the price.” – Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love

One of these days I’m going to quit trying to find my way and just admit that I’m hopelessly lost. Actually, I can admit that right now. It’s the belief that there’s a way outta here other than where I am at right now that’s killing me.

To become conscious of things which were unconscious (repressed/disassociated) is in some way to live them again, this time consciously. It largely sucks.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” –Henry David Thoreau

People are furiously in pursuit of past happiness in the future, chasing yesterday in hopes that it will be tomorrow.

Faith takes you where confidence can’t.

To be conscious is to be thankful.

“Hell is even more relative than Einstein realized.” –J.R. “Bob” Dobbs

Rejoice when it is the darkest.

Stillness is not a lack of motion but motion in balance and harmony, probably best exemplified by the word “effortless”. When there is balance and harmony, effortlessness, motion and stillness become indistinguishable.

Authentically inauthentic

Sometimes, one person is bigger than the whole world.

We teach our kids delayed gratification but we don’t teach them delayed damnation.

“Any man who is attached to the senses and to the things of this world, is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes which represent his own passions.” –Black Elk

To fool some of the people some of the time is to be a politician; but to fool all the people all the time is to be a magician. There is no difference except success rate.

Writing is my vehicle and myth is my guide.

You don’t have to lose your parents to grow up an orphan.

If you want to write buy a pen, if you want to write a lot, buy two and drink bourbon.

Encourage paradox. Spend more time getting stuck.

To have is to have, to have not is to be.

“The various Oriental philosophers have at least one thing in common: They take the personal and try to make it universal. I hate that. I’m the opposite. I take the universal and make it personal. The only truly magical and poetic exchanges that occur in this life occur between two people. Sometimes it doesn’t get that far. Often the true glory of existence is confined to individual consciousness.” –Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get the Blues

“Be aware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.” –Bokonist saying, Cat’s Cradle.


The guys here are an unhappy mixture of Danny Terrio and Keanu Reeves— no wonder no one smiles.

Often the what we’re doing distracts us from the why. –Bernie

Who goes, in this instance, is less important than where who goes.

Justification is reality after the fact.

Cut yourself off from expectations, yours and theirs, and live your life free. Do you dare?

When the time comes, you will know the words.

Why is it that when I want to go home everyone wants to buy me a damn drink?

The scene: A man holding up his right hand, about chest level, and flapping the fingers against the palm— the sound of one hand clapping. He looks up at the Buddha and says loudly, “Can you hear me now?”

Trooping— (v) Military maneuvers on acid.

Brojob— (v) An Asian euphemism for an American colloquialism.

Agrape— (adj or adv) Being in silent and major awe of the shot of grape-derived liquor you just drank and wondering, not irreverently, “Why me lord?”

Therapist— the · rapist (n): One who eases your discomfort in one area by increasing it in another.

Insomniass— (n) An ass that won’t go to sleep.

Aperil— (v) danger from clothing.

Enblightenment (n)— a heightened state of consciousness and suffering.

Imperfaction— (n)— a flaw so glaringly obvious that it can’t be denied.

ehormoney.com— dating website for people who need to meet their date NOW.

Pregret—(v) knowing that I am going to regret something AND also knowing that I am

going to do it anyway

“Dolphins don’t talk,” she said, slapping the water angrily with her fist for emphasis.

“And humans don’t think,” the dolphin chattered gleefully in reply, leaping and splashing in the balmy moonlight.

Death only comes once in a lifetime and most people are so terrified that they miss the whole thing. Not me, I’m going to savor mine like a good drink.

“Peculiar traveling suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” –Bokonist saying, Cat’s Cradle.

I make my life much more complicated than it really is. Or…I make my life much more complicated than reality is.

One moment can’t contain me.

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful, living side by side can grow up if they succeed in loving the distance between them. Which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” –Rilke

I’m hard to meet, easy to know, and harder to understand.

Ozzy made me do it.

You know someone loves you when they steal your T-shirt.

What tastes the orange? Your taste buds do not have the inherent capability to analyze the taste itself, only report the info that they are being stimulated. Your brain cannot experience the actual sensation, taste, but interprets the signals from the tongue. So the one tasting doesn’t have an opinion and one with opinion can’t taste. So who tastes the fucking orange?

“This world ain’t for us…these fuckers are all fake.” –Mikey S.

The form exists, the story is becoming— all days are (as) one.

I gotta start drinking out of a smaller cup.

Reminded me that I wasn’t alone in today but that I had been here with me today in every other day.

The infinite way of doing finite things.

I would much rather know than think.

“Life is a matter of passing time enjoyably. There may be other things to do in life, but I’ve been too busy passing my time enjoyably to think very deeply about them. –Peter Wolfe


“Love’s joy is in the savor of eternity; love’s pain, in the passage of time.” — Joseph Campbell

I am in love with what I destroyed.

“The greatest regret in life is to reach old age and never have found a love great enough to command fidelity.” — Dawn Powell

What the black man does not understand, nor the white man, is that now, we are all slaves.

“…and the next thing you know, the whole world’s wearing clocks.” — Flavor Flav

I have plenty of charming qualities, just none of them obvious

Charming is for people with no personality.

The truth pays me no mind.

Sign: “Gusty winds may exist” Who knew?

No, no…we’re way West of North.

The truth won’t set you free but your fears will.

“Politics is for people who have a passion for changing life but lack a passion for living it.” – Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get the Blues

If I don’t have one more rummy-coke, the terrorists win.

“In the desert there is all and there is nothing. God is there and man is not.” — Balzac

Something strong and beautiful survives every tragedy.

“Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles Shultz

Love is the affirmation of the pain of life.

The journal and the bottle take the brunt of my bad days.

Being unemployed don’t suck; it’s the job search that do.

Generals should never pray except to beg for mercy and forgiveness.

“If I should not see you in this lifetime, let me feel the lack…” – Thin Red Line

“You can’t help where you were born and you may not have much to day about where you die, but you can and you should try to pass the days in between as a good man.” – Gen. Sam Damon, Once An Eagle

“Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You can never do more than your duty; you should never wish to do less.” – Robert E. Lee

Mick Jagger once sang, “…you can’t always get what you want…but you just might get what you need.” Well, at Pete’s you always get what you need whether you want it or not!

“There ain’t a bar like this in America…”

“Yeah, and thank god I’m apart of it.” – Overheard at Pete’s

You can’t explain Pete’s, only experience it.

“When choosing between two evils, I try to choose the one I haven’t done before.” – Mae West

Don’t fuck with the tequila grape, I mean it.

I got a winno heart. Yeah, well I got rummy breath.

“It’s all over but the crying.” – Tony G.

Sleep with a Sailor Foundation.

Organized religion, as opposed to the unorganized variety, should be on ESPN, fighting them lions…or something.

True freedom lies within the space between action and reaction.

“Next time you’re crying in your pina colada that you can’t find a nice guy, remember that you met one and shoved him out the door.” – Mad About You

And sometimes the hardest part is just going on when every part of you screams to just quit.

I erroneously labeled something lesser as love.

Marketing is a religion of a million gods.

Trampled underfoot by the (polo) ponies of lust.

I can’t tie down why nor let who go.

I’ve been accused of premeditated conversation.

I’m the wrong part of all the right things.

Ceremonial friendship

I feel as eloquent as a turtle on skates.

Happiness is like a mariachi band— sometimes they show up, sometimes they show up but “no habla”, and sometimes they just don’t show.

Living in an information society— ambiguity has become a blight and mystery something to be avoided or overcome at all costs.

If feeling good is good than feeling better is gooder.

All lies lead to the truth.

“Love easily confuses us because it is always in flux between illusion and substance, between memory and wish, between contentment and need. Perhaps there are times when the contradictions of love are so intermingled that the only way to see the truth of love is to pit it against the irreducible reality of lust.” –Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get the Blues


The mind arrayed against itself is a terrible thing.

“Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks, cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you alive…” — Sid Vicious

Culture, in too large of doses, had been known to kill societies.

Don’t say who to what.

People are addicted to what they fear the most.

Telegraph, telephone, tell a woman.

It is often wise to make sure that what you are running to is better than what you are running from.

Richard Nixon’s real crime was in not having a better lawyer/spin manager.

It’s all a matter of mind, not of technology. Mind over mind is where we’re at.

The truth will not set you free. Whoever said that the truth will set you free has obviously never been told the truth.

Do not believe anything; the truth is known to nobody and cannot be agreed upon unanimously in groups larger than one.

More people can agree on what is not true than what is.

The only reason we think we’re free is because we’re told we are.

A purr like leather

We used to sell tangibles, now we sell the means to dreams, or that’s what they say they are. But isn’t it strange that those dreams are created on TV?

BM3 Li says I am an angel and that angels don’t have to bathe because they are creatures of God.

Shane’s brain went down the drain on the way to Spain, he was in no pain.

“Respect for routine is the mark of the second-rate man.” — Aleister Crowley

Yesterday existed only insomuch as I remember it today— a dream perchance?

Reality is interactive.

“Just know your lines and don’t bump the furniture.” – Spencer Tracy

As far as I’m concerned, I’m unconcerned.

I lost the word, and none other would do.

Emotions are just the colors. The picture remains the same regardless.

Think locally, drink Bob.

If you want to write, drink bourbon.

If you can’t be charming, you can at least be cute; which is half the work and a lot less dangerous.

If I knew what I was doing, I probably wouldn’t be doing it.

“The whole story of the Universe is directed unerringly to one single individual— namely you.” – Walt Whitman

I will not submit to urinalysis or anyone else’s!

Victim is a state of mind.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality will not destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

Follow bravely where your heart leads.

Don’t mistake strong opinion for intelligence or wisdom.

“They always see your left but never their own.” – AC3 Lewis

Great Names for Bands:

The Great Cthulhu and his Tricky Dick Arkestra

Lou Bi-do & the Screaming Apaches/Hopi Dope Fiends

The Jamaican Shower Posse

Jamaican flyin’ 100’s

Sexually Transmitted Democracy

He was a birth-defector, running from his fate.

“Jesus is our Bob, Bob is our Hope, Jesus is our Bob Hope.” –Bob “Dobb” Roberts

Only the form changes. Energy is not destroyed nor does it die.

Are you running away from yourself or after yourself?

Don’t get caught up in trying to go back to the past. I did last night and it wasn’t all that great.

Three fingers hold the pen, but you write with the whole body.

Without lies, there can be no truth.

You can’t hide from Bob, ‘cause he’s dumber than you.

I am insane and history is its manifestation.

The idea is to cut out the middleman, the mind-editor; to write so fast it goes straight to the paper, becoming a purely physical act and not a mental one.

“She can buttle.” –CTO3 Snowden

“I like eighteen holes over one.” –Chip

When you least expect it is when you least accept it.

There can be no greater courage than kissing first.

BATF: Register your guns and religion here.

Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from losing all hope is the knowledge that the species that invented the atom bomb also invented the surfboard.

Why are people afraid of silence? What are we hiding from behind a wall of noise?

“I like the Navy. You can be insane and nobody’ll say anything ‘cause you might kill ‘em or something.” – SR Greggory

“Thus magic is the art of life itself.”— Aleister Crowley

If I was a cat I’d be a dog.

1. Do not harbor sinister designs.

2. Diligently pursue the path of Two-Swords-as-One.

3. Cultivate a wide range of interests in the arts.

4. Be knowledgable in a variety of occupations.

5. Be discreet regarding one’s commercial dealings.

6. Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters.

7. Perceive that which can’t be seen with the eye.

8. Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters.

9. Do not engage in useless activity.

— Miyamoto Musashi

General Wolf Rules for Life

1. Eat

2. Rest

3. Rove in between

4. Render royalty

5. Love the children

6. Cavil in moonlight

7. Tune your ears

8. Attend to the bones

9. Make love

10. Howl often

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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