How quickly we are able to change our lives. One step in the wrong direction a mater of meters miscalculated or calculated and we could awake in a foreign bed covered in new plastics, white blankets, family members, tubes of various pitches and angles. One conversation with a coffee shop sitter and we are invited to a gala event of Hood slam proportions, gathering the wool of a new community and glinting our teeth cultures. In this sort of way I am amazed by the American boredom, one internet search misspelled leads us to a portal that inspires our whole day of beatle collections, Amazonian purchases and new delivered plastics. What muscle is this to excerize to keep the body and mind fresh for opportunity and adventure. What dormant organ is dimming out. What juice is needed to lubricate.
“Past the travel agency lit with neon signs for cheap tickets to Guadalajara. Past the 76 Gas station with a faux Western facade and silent glass panel sliding doors. Past the insurance offices with 14 different shades of off white bouncing and ringing against the fluorescent overheads. Past a million cars before I pass a million more. Pushing through aesthetic boundaries. Towards the rectilinear shelter. Towards a lgiht on inside the kitchen. Towards a establishment of egalitarian eateries. Towards a chimney-less stove. Towards Jack’s Box. Towards a sunny window seat with, indented and plastic formed, invitingly shallow and stable.”
Jack in the Box, my Cabala, squared away against the 403 highway, dug in, to the hillside with red cinder block retaining walls lining the drive through. If retrofitted with a glass roof, you could catch a few seconds of culinary mastery from the highway, chickens mashed and pressed into uniform shapes, robotic syrup tubes measuring teaspoons of minute maid concentrate, fruitless strawberry banana smoothies.
Hungry! Wedge my foot diagonally between the metal, push palms along the top of the fence, swing a leg over the dull iron Fleur De Lis spikes, down into the lemon tree surrounded by unwrapped presents of trash. Home Depot receipts, sticky mexican coke bottles and a sharp porcupine of lemon spurs, hustling holes into my descent.
Everyone has a dogyard. Whole dirt flats full of paw prints, chain link fences bulging in the middle as dog after dog slams face against the perimeter, cramming and pushing teeth and skin through the rounded square holes. Moving across the side walk from concrete tile to concrete tile is one long series of attacks. Dead grass runways. Juniper fox holes. Hedge bunkers. A suburban shark tube, full of action and cracked glass, fin bark and fur leaking from the suburban sea and littering the automated walk way with salt water and nervous energy. I want these dogs out of my ears and preemptively I wrap pointer fingers with T-Shirt cloth finding the holes in my head, wishing I could hover over the dog, clicking away with a Kid Pix eraser tool. I bark back and sometimes it works! Silenced by my widened eyes and stooped shuffle as I move broadside along the fence. Everything about a dog to me is private. It’s private relationship/kinship with it’s owner. It’s ruthless defense of private property. Dogs are a tool with the simple purpose of privatizing space.
His mother, at the frequent urging of her Irish relatives, declared that he would receive a proper religious education. As befell many of her sudden proclamations, a lack of follow-through, compounded by the family’s poverty, resulted in a less than perfect realization of this vision. Each Saturday, she deposited him in a decaying church basement where a third-rate actor, known primarily for his work in horror films, held forth on the finer points of Thomism. He would often draw on these memories, years after leaving LA for road, in the moments before he entered the ring.
—Please throw me into a a space where walls are collapsed with artistic vision, shop owners know my name and smile big when I walk through the door. Throw me into a place small enough to curate and wide enough to grow with me.—–
And as for bad Baloo, He’s no longer threatining our heads with steel toed boots, I hear a tid bit through the vines, when the fruit is ripe, Baloo sets his feet to mashin, crammin pounds of purple into caskets, Way to busy for skull smashing.
And as for Quick Montana, who bent blades around our necks, I hear he’s grown ups, two kids that throws ups all the veggies he’s been dicin, Carrots long sliced and Brocoli NO STEM, Hands grip full of juice boxes, no time to knife touch us
Ya and as for Skinny Gus, who walked like a fish wile he cussed, and talked about women while he pissed, and fussed with his dick while it cummed, He who used to leave stains in the pavement from his greasy sneakers, Ya I hear he’s a school teacher.
Did you catch the news on Subtle Susan?, Like, I heard she’s choosin to keep the baby, even though Doug the cougar flew the states, cooped up in a room with a belly full of babe, maybe make anyone crazy,and thats why she had to do it, Ya know go through with it, get the head body out her system, no kiddin.
Oh and about Mirror Bob, He hung himself on a wall, taught from a rafter like a log, with a pretense for pretending, Dad and mom watched and let the body swing, Rotting like a fish on the hook, after one look the cops booked the whole damn family, I guess thats what it took.
Remember Robert Fearless, who killed the coon with his teeth, ya he fuckin friecked on his girl for a quief that knocked him of her back, Iraq vet and all he had her burried in a sac of fist and kicks, ya he’s sittin stiff in prison probably liften weights to train for days distant, when he can squeeze the new man his girls a giftin.
Holy shit what happened to these people we once knew, ol grown up an new.
Notes: The silver mechanical worm eats air. Every fifteen minutes or so, hundreds of air men and woman hurry down the worms tunnels, carrying dark must smells and screaming as they run, tripping over each other like Spaniards running from bulls. Air fathers and mothers fling their squirming children off the tracks, away from the worm, away from danger, into a sea of impatient animals, before being crush boned and erased by the hunger of the mechanical worms scheduled assaults. Sometimes if you sit with a face towards the tracks you can feel the anguish, moan and confusion of air people rubbing against your cheek, slipping between your negative space and finding small concrete walls to cower against.
With each arrival, animals drag possessions, transportation aids, numerous garments, pounds of cloth, electronic communication devices, musical recordings, writing. They form orderly lines that start at black strips near the edge of the tracks where the worm is automatically programmed to stop. Most are quiet. Feeding their ears music or staring blankly at posters on the wall that highlight the positive attributes of other possible possessions.
Here comes the worm. A light breeze of the young and fast, slightly cool with confident hearts that easily escape the worms mouth. Then the hum of feet, and the shrill pitch of screams come barreling across each animals windswept face. As the worm juts past it starts to slow it’s march, stops and opens rectangular doors, allowing the humans to sit within it’s carpeted stomach. As the worm pauses, navigating my way in and around lost air children stunned by a stationary glimpse of their childhood horror, I sit. Deeply cradled in plastics and wonder how long Bart will take to get underneath the Bay today.
For one month, Chase bought Bananas by the crate. He must have spent $300 dollars on bananas. A plywood pantry in the basement of 318 Dale St., served as his library carrousel. Five bananas for breakfast, three bananas between peanut butter for lunch, fried bananas, banana bread. BANANA. He slept on the peels, drawing sharpee faces on the cylindrical yellow tubesocks for company. The bananas quickly became Chase’s primary company.
Notes: Let me start by explaining what I do. I am an illusionist. I work with stories. I build stories that melt seamlessly into people’s lives. A client will contact me wanting to something magical for her spouse. He’s a successful CPA. He walks everyday to work along the same rigid sidewalk, underneath the same overpass, past the same Starbucks until he reaches the security of his office and work. She wants to do something special for him. Something out of the ordinary. Something that could fundamentally change how he moves through the world.
We start by discussing his dreams, habits, hobbies… Any piece of information is useful. Then I… I craft a story. For instance, one of my clients who I can’t name, oh let’s call her Mary, her grandfather asked me to write her a story. I started by sending her a map. A letter without a return address with postage dated 30 years ago. Inside were three strings of equal distance. It was a map of Golden Gate Park. I drew an intricate set of directions on the back to a space I had chosen to bury a treasure. Her first task was to find a buried treasure using the strings. Do you know what kind of affect this can have on a 52 year old woman, Chase?”
Notes:The boy has degenerated into a heap of white tee shirt and black skin. Finger extended above his head he traces the BART map making hissing explosive sounds at each turn and stop. Twisting his fingers like he’s turning some oversized knob. He’s the only one playing on the Train. He’s the only one making noise. The only one actively exploring his surroundings. The only one searching for food. The only one asking for help. For a minute he seems like the only living thing on the bart. With a brain frying like an egg, operating from an animal brain stem, focussing on the bare necessities: Shelter, Food and Human interaction.
I ran into the back yard and crawled under the porch. I felt around under the couch cushions. I emptied the pockets of my backpack and pulled out the drawers of my desk. I fanned the pages of every book on my shelves. I went to the kitchen and looked inside the fridge. I opened the tops on all the jars, even the ones that we should have thrown out weeks ago. I rifled through the clothing in my closet. I dug up the time capsule that my fourth grade class buried for the year 2050. I went to the bank and asked for the key to my safety deposit box. I bought a shovel from home depot and spent the last four hours digging. But no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find a rave.
Notes: He had already started writing. Pushing verbs and nouns and subjects together, connecting them with little bits of mud and honey and straw. Building a small wall of words on which he could paint a bright picture of his soul. His antennas looked around the room, pulling in random material, images from national geographic magazines, Pablo Neruda quotes, Gi Joe tins, the arc of a protractor. Ideas whizzing through his head like flys that he could swat and arrange dead or dying on the computer screen
Notes: For the first couple days, I use my suitcase like a dresser. The clothes are clean enough for my purposes, and I’m in no rush to let anyone know I’m back. The bed beckons and offers reprieve from everything that needs to be done. In San Francisco they sleep in apartments bursting at the seams. Hundreds of people share a floor. They carve out a space on the couch or, if they’re lucky, convince a girl to share the closet she’s artfully transformed into a bedroom. They wake up with the first person who needs to leave for work and brush their teeth while the laughter and high-pitched squeals of small children in the park next door float in through the bathroom window.
New Orleans collects the dirt for my dirt bathes. Here I find it easy to flex my back dipping over like a rhino in the mud. The dirt comes down from the houses, some fixed up in rows, some with holes in the sides spilling splinters and dust. Some houses trip over themselves facing down creating huge piles of dirt. The dirt is from the fires and and the floods and the old cypress boards. It’s from the tourists who buy it in gallons and spit and piss it in cobble stone street gutters, it luffs from loose dreadlocks, it collects along the levees and brought down from the north to New Orleans. It’s in the soybeans and oil oozing up the mississippi and boards from the swamps to nail a window frame in. This is no San Francisco or New York, this is different, pushed and pulled and tackled to the ground. A sullied jewel: broken like a ripe cantaloupe in the dirt - everyone staring, dancing and drinking around the juicy mess.
I wash my teeth with a bristle comb brush made of plastic each night before tucking myself into mound of feathers and cloth. The computer opens itself without my aid, it types familiar urls without my fingers and I find myself staring at the bodies of others, surrounded on all sides by a brightly lit darkness. I can’t eat milk. If I do I will certainly violate every other commitment in my life. It’s the keystone of my commitments. I used to eat cereal with milk poured all over it. Wait 15 minutes or so with the bowl on some forgettable shelf for the rice chex to swell into a soggy paste. Brown Sugar and Honey saturate and brown the milk and the last slurp with swollen rice chex splinters, crystalized jewels of hard brown sugar and a saccharine broth of 2% milk would carry me through the night.