A Storm

Pine needles swirl around in the sky with the wind pulling them from their branches. They are dry and dead with the summer draught in them. Clouds broke last night and supplied the forest floor with rain, the vines with rain, the branches with heavy rain, and the broken wood, the broken trees piled up against the shed, along the path to the forest, in the Pacific Northwest temperate zone, the pine trees, a few madrona, cold to the touch, a great big ancient oak in the center, saved from the hungry jaws of the bulldozer.

Continue reading

now only night driving for fun

I let myself go. The last day of socially destructive night-work, I have developed a mantra of disappearance when there are awkward formalities of goodbyes to go through. True departures imply ambiguity, an uncertain future friendship. The same elements will never be formed in the same shape. There will not be these little pockets of passing hallway, stairway, freight elevator talk, jokes and all, about the squirrel in the living room, or the acupuncture gone wrong, or the crime novel section of the book store which I realized must’ve been a lead-in to the wrapped packages with a fiction trilogy with newsreel crime influences and two different sized bottles of whiskey to send me off into the oblivion of my own new machinations. They machinery of my life set into motion by a crankshaft of random opportunities leapt into at the speed of gerbils in their plastic running wheels.

I let it go. There it was, I peeled off my name from my cubby hole, where the sunflower seeds had been sitting for weeks untouched, the “advanced uncorrected proofs” of maybe-to-be released novels, some nonfiction, sit in transition between the bookshelves in the lounge and the general books office – to my apartment, my clutches, my shelves, my people. There are magazines without covers. Mostly poetry, some music and science. I stole entertainment out from under the noses of the daylight employees. I am there at night assessing their depressing cubicles with Jordan. I am there counting the greasy fingerprints on their computer screens (old dells). I count the neglected plants. The calendars stuck perpetually one month in the past. The plastic in the compost bin. Their plastic. The honor rule to drinking cups of coffee or tea that no one honors. The “salt-death” of the soup. The soup that David said would take “three years off my life.” I once had three of those little salty soup packets one after another in a feverish, bored, hunger. A hunger without the wallet to feed itself on the grocery store outlet world. A man comes up begging for a ride to safeway, a ten dollar bill, a hand-out of any kind, a buy back next friday, a woman and two children calling for dinner, an inability to decide a recourse other than denial and speeding off.

I have to let it go. I gave a man a scone out of the basket in the lounge at Tacoma. There are sometimes little candies or pastries left in there, probably for the morning crew with a pot of fresh coffee. I would eat them because my job was sad and lonely and sometimes a blueberry muffin glazed in poppyseed honey could help with the yawning windshield loneliness of driving three or four hours in the cold dark. The sadness of having to choose music that will keep you awake and from falling into the median with dreams of iridescent glass spheres. Inability to decide. Focus too hard on this song and I’m put in a trance. Focus too hard on that song and I’m put into a trance. Any song that has an ounce of “whimsy” in the lyrics cannot hold up to the tired, focused consciousness of my tunnel vision. The 10 months of driving never taught me more about how to do it better but probably just taught me how to completely tune out. I’ll have to think about it a bit more.

Phantasms – Creating Characters

30 minutes sept 26, 2014
5:41 pm-6:14pm

When I come home to write, I can imagine words shaping themselves into ellipses and spiraling out of the air into my mind, and I, transcribing wildly, might glean some truthful version of the events of the day, the mundane observation mixed with truth of unsettling detail. The soul of the situations all spread out onto the operating table.

(I wanted to keep my sanity and write with method and patience and adequate timing, etc. Earlier, I avoided my free-write and have been a cloud ever since. No solid ground on which to stand. A downed bridge in heavy fog and the drivers are suspended through the crisp air above the ravine before plummeting.)

Mind wanders too far and it doesn’t seem to know how to complete a thought to place in the head of a fictional character. Hear the muddled advice of a number of authors say, “Every character you create is yourself, an extension of your own fears, desires, joys. These exaggerations are not lies, and bending through your internal vocabulary is a psychological attempt to make sense of the harder-to-cope-with parts of your personality. Through exaggeration, that time you overreacted to the spilled cup of coffee can be taken apart and examined as a fossil found washed ashore on some rocky beach… then, with horror, you find it to match with exactitude your selfsame DNA. You are the author and you are your characters. You have the power to resolve conflicts within yourself through them.”

I have tried to begin a sentence four or five times now and erased every word of it. This is not a free write. This is a sabotage of the creativity because of how self analytic it is. Of course I need inspiration to create the characters through which I can work through my paralyzing guilts and paranoid prosecution anxiety, where the characters are fucking real but heroic and never crack under the pressure that washes over me like a placid little flower being drowned in a heavy rain. Regret does not exist in the created world. Only in the terrible, depraved world of the creator, who creates nothing focused enough to share. Nothing nothing nothing. No combination of words from the ether can be shared reasonably or published or even re-read by me!

Negativity die. Give yourself some astrological free will advice to warm up the cooling embers of your heart, the tight ropes wound round the lungs and the curve of the spine as it is swallowed up by the orange chair, the apples on the table, the digging I can do, the excavating of stories, the wonderful images and beginnings, the mountain erased by clouds, the packs of roving imbeciles on a campus that fuels me with a kind of sardonic fear of emulsion, yet the cynicism is louder and yells longer than their voices…so many, many, many. So terrible too. Their faults numerous in their acceptance of the status quo as a way to exist so happily in bliss and with god and the ministers of peace and justice are always self-proclaimed and never secretly gifting strangers the elected spirit of a positive mindset at random, with strings and syringes, in red brick public squares, illuminated by a cross breed mutt architecture and the green distances all, all, all directions.

You are amazing, fantastic, great at knowing how to live. Creativity pours out of your eyes like tears of zeus. or lightning bolts out of thunderstorms caused by volcano eruptions. Yes! There are problems in the machinery. Your depression nearly laid you flat before you took a bus downtown to climb a 40 story building and investigate the public library. You wanted to sleep and in a dark place, it is understandable. You wished for an out at that point. A pill to swallow to paste a collage of smiling advertising faces on your self. No, no. What helped this time was velocity. Getting on that god damn bus. Looking out the god damn window at quickly passing sights and lives. Then wandering aimless through the downtown cluster of shining, majestic buildings, newer and fresher than Amsterdam canal water. See the sea down the hills while walking along 5th or 3rd. Dream of pods of orca whales. Becoming one of them, or building one in the laboratory, and procreating to save the species. Helping them avoid quiet ferries among the loud motor boats.

Velocity always seems to help. Drinking in a dark room as photographs of newly inputted memories are suddenly blotted out by a carelessly, mechanically cleaning bartender.. “oops, were these yours? sorry about that. another double?” and then drinking it down and feeling the world pass by with ambition and purpose as your bar tab rises and your depression surrounds your body like a snake skin too heavy for the poor little snake to shake off no matter how much writhing and rustling in the overgrowth, the undergrowth of forested lanes.

This blockage is nothing! It truly is not a blockage! You’re borderline personality disorder. Anxiety is one voice. Contentedness is a student who never raises his hand. Creativity is drunk and boisterous, yet always in the mornings finds himself a false promiser. Ambition is a kid who wants to be an astronaut but doesn’t want to do math, just wants to look at the stars. Happiness is a white tiger in a darkening twilight snowdrift, bear in a cave, hibernating. Sadness is an atmosphere.

encounter with a falcon

I can’t get over a few happenings today. This morning I felt slight tunnel vision in Handwerk’s class and made a poor thought out comment about how irritating I think Robinson Crusoe is. I meant, the godtalk, the guilt narrative, not the construction of the book itself. But I set myself up to be used as a launch pad for greater depth commentary, and everyone is so damn shy and quiet in the class I want to speak up even if it is stupid, to fill the uncomfortable gaps, the gaps caused by a professor who knows so much, and who prods at us, and I felt dumb today there. Learned about Defoe’s writing a bit. Returned home for a feast because I forgot to go advising again. Wrote two tasteful parts for the second verse of a new song. Now the chorus is boring in comparison. Will have to spruce that up too. Other things occurred. I read poetry. Drank coffee. Printed poems. Responded to an acceptance letter I got from a small poetry publication who accepted my “Mariana” and I made some ridiculous comments revealing my ignorance to the actual location of the great oceanic rift, which I’ve thought for at least a year was somewhere in the Atlantic. Oceanography, what happened? Astronomy are you out there? What about mixology? My alcohol-themed radio show? And the other games we played and forgot. The parts of my brain that have been intoxicated out of normal worth. There are caverns plugged up with sandy saltwater. Crushed sea shells and the like. Rorschach Orca whales floating out to sea or to shore to dry up.

So a few idiotic things. Finally, and before I get to the middle section, as I walked down the hill from work, some sorority girls were yelling at people passing by to come in and donate for a rootbeer float for some charity drive of some kind, I was ambling down the hill when one started to call out to me, a heavy set blonde girl, the others skinny brunettes in shorts on this cold night, the heavyset girl says “no not him, he scares me” and I had no reply to this! I didn’t scream or frighten. I just bashfully walked on like a true psychopath. At least some wit at the dismissal. No thank you I’m lactose intolerant. Or, no thank you, to be honest you are frightening me. Or just ask, scare you? I just got off work, what is frightening about me not to invite me to your ice cream social? I obviously could not be a part of the festivities if one of the sisters had “an ominous feeling” about my stride, my walking, my red cap, my black coat, my hands thrust into my pockets, my old white headphones dangling around my neck, somewhat of a mustache surrounded by stubble, hard eyes, black jeans, black shoes, black back pack, barely making eye contact when I talked and never stopped walking, and u-turn and no how could I if your overweight friend is afraid of me? Of my presence coming down the hill? And the dumbo 18 year old gall to say that I am frightful to the other girls while I am in earshot.

Why this affected me. I could have at least put some personality into my response. I put nothing. I did not try.

Earlier regret from night shift driving. A man was kneeled down taking pictures of the roof of the Convention Center down town. I wanted to yell at him “How conventional!” and drive off.

Then the episode with the Burke Gillman falcon. I heard a peeping from above, wondering what in hell it was, and realizing I passed it, looked up to see a beautiful amber hued bird of prey sitting on a branch with angry yellow eyes, piercing eyes, a hooked beak, and suddenly it swoops down over me toward the powerlines and a small green belt near the 45th street viaduct. I notice there is a mouse or a shrew in the great bird’s talons, peeping pathetic little peeps for help that will not come. Elsewhere a female falcon is brought a bouquet.

Heavy Eyelids & Columbia River Ale

Lost more time. It goes whoosh into paper cups. 12 of them for 40 cents a piece. Time left us with a small rack beer pong official length tournament table. Markings all cross hatched it like a multi use carpeted gym in an elementary school. Is it a basketball court today because of the always present grey-blue rain forest cloud cover? Can we use velcro tape to box off “jail” sections for capture the flag? How do we help them through our own horrors of adolescence? The Puget Sound all swathed in the same grey as the clouds and reflecting each other like a foggy mirror in the reflection of a foggy mirror with whales swimming orca-fin-out within.

Weekend goes away like barnacled humpbacks. Disappear into the unstructured depths of dark ales and submersible thoughts of sober intent all warped communication with the surface, some rational part of scientific mind in me was registering a blip on a radar, a blip of warning, a little red dot in a rippling pool of light laser beam green expanding circles, with the counterclockwise motion of the directional propeller, the compass of my desire, buried in the evergreen tap draft, drunk off the cerulean pure water of the local rivers, the confluence, the islands, the names of old, an unexpected sandy beach, an unexpected amount of skin revealed in the hot sun. Hear the groans of tension as we sink to crush depth. Then the implosion in the dark. A can of orange soda run over by a bus.

The confluence of Willamette and the Columbia. Through a cherry-blossom lined industrial park, seemingly abandoned for other venture capitalism on cheap plots of land elsewhere. All businesses out of order. For sale signs dusty and desperate in the windows and no smells of food cooking. Out on the beach and over cathedral park, the st. john’s bridge in its lonely majesty. One of countless bridges over the Willamette yet I know of so little bridges dangling precarious in the winds over the Columbia aside from the I-5 highway bridge out of Vancouver (Oregon Welcomes You) (Washington Says Return Soon!) and the half afloat 4 mile long crazy Astoria bridge over the Columbia delta breeding into the Pacific Ocean with clambeds all asleep and cozied up and yachts and cargo ships puttering about in the huge bay sized river outlet, currents doing nothing against the advent of anchors, the belief in anchors, the water traveling through sunlight to get into the ocean, all sparkled with the lemonworld caustic comments of ambivalent gods in lecture over wine over glasses overfilled, the hall full of disembodied philosophical pretenses and the sour grapes getting into the lake sediment… the Imperial Red Ale pronounced “Nathan” had me set for a moment out in that brick laded river sweet smelling magnolia strip kind of lovely avenue.

I realized my life is nearing enormous tectonic shifts. I will be forced up against finding a new home. Skipping rocks over my schedule gaps and letting Josh take the wheel for a week while I take passenger seat in Brian’s 1970’s Cessna across the great American continent into a landing strip somewhere in Florida for a day or so spring break 2015 and the wildlife that is implied in this adventure, the inability to pass it up, the selling of clothes to make it happen, the cities to plan on landing in, the studying up of electronic touring artists, the dance lessons, the piano at a young age, the breast stroke, the angel fly, the high dive, the boogie board and the sandy surf, the ocean tasted like blue raspberry mint kombucha – out there on the beach. Wondering what life would be like fully suspended in the air. The hawks over the I-5 corridor. The bald eagles. The horrible eyelid-weighted exhaustion. The tension and release of an ankle popping over accelerator and brake pedal. The landlord who walks over the beheaded remains of a poor bird left to rot on the front lawn.

such small beer

Let me out, dark cellar on a blustery sunfull day, where hyacinth buds push up earth, premature bloom and freeze to death before spring, ambulance lights hang within misty air of our breaths after drinking coffee but who is us? I am guarded when I feel so aloof, causing a lonely siren to wail along the corridor, chute down into the purpleblack river, so I do not talk, I fear sudden movements, and desire them all the same. A smile from Oh, from Ma, from Vi, or Val and love the moment, my ruined stomach butterflies. I am dead of tongue, tone deaf, in ponderous pain, and wondering where I can go to find this tornado-root of feeling and confront my whirling self, my inability to adapt to a city of large, jagged by grey winds, feeling the sad isolation of crowds or classrooms, keeping my hand at my side, then forgetting my bike lock combo. Take a lap around th’ physics building, aimless, letting the steam out of my skull – the steam horn that signifies going to/getting off work in the old cartoons and write a list of numbers close to the combo, feeling a guilty thief of my own property, finally clicks — ride off wearing my emotions like a helmet.

Dipping again into the sad inkwell of a flirtation impossible.


{originally drafted February 10th 2014)

We constantly have to make a decision between reality and oblivion. For me, this is oblivion. I exit reality in order to assuage my artistic yearnings for the production of things. Writing is oblivion because it is a rambling explanation of reality rather than the present experience of it. Reality is out there, beyond the window of my computer screen and the windows of this house. Snowflakes dangle on ribbons on that window. That is reality out there because I saw a confused young buck with enormous, growing antlers eating the brambles near the old haunted path. My life memories are out there. I could walk out there presently and put this whole writing idea in the can, exiting oblivion.

Marijuana is often a portal for people. If I am afraid or unwilling to live in reality to a full extent, I might smoke myself into the rabbit hole, from which communication with reality becomes difficult. Even now, without the guiding influence of any drugs, I am absent from reality and therefore distant from connected ties with it. I am presently absent. Gloriously vacant and ignorant of the conversations I must have with real human beings, my friends, my old beloved friends desire to hear from me in my cave, but I might hibernate awhile longer, only if my oblivion is productive, you see.

I owe many talks to many people. I owe it to myself to create. I owe it to karma to straighten this all out and balance between the absent minded daylight (however brief today, my god!) and the definitive absence while in dreams.