Monday, September 28, 2009

More Than Ever

(Robin Baker's Workshop, Moloka'i, 2009)

The ocean was all around us, pushing us up from the right, and setting us back down on the left. Occasionally a shower of sea water would rain on us as we made our way to Moloka'i. The journey there seemed longer than just 40 minutes, and it all started the day my mother told me of the lepers of Moloka'i. *

*this story still sits within me, waiting to be written, and I want to give it the time to be realized to its fullest. Until then I'll hack away at a stone, crafting it into foundation I will use to speak of one of those profound moments in the summer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two Men Dancing (from across the way)

(Sum in his Garden, 2009)

Right now, there are two middle-aged men dancing with each other from across the street in the apartment facing mine. One is bald and shirtless, and drinking and smoking. Once in a while he sits down in front of what appears to be a computer and adds more intensity to the moment, and in my head I think the Bee Gees are playing loud and proud in that apartment. The music echoes down the narrow apartment and bleeds from crack of the front door into the hallway, where it appears faintly to other tenant's doors; if one were to be listening with their ear resting on their door, hearing word for word of what a disco inferno is.
The man with his shirt on is dancing, and even if his partner is stopped, with eyes scanning the computer screen for what next to add to this moment, he keeps on dancing and dancing, with no need for a partner to dissatisfy him. In his motion he seems to never want to stop, that the music of the Gibb brothers is too enduring, their voices in full wale too striking, as he enters into a trance of sweat-beading full body motion. Let this moment never end I imagine him thinking to him, maybe even yelling with the Bee Gees, and cries a little while he takes a drink of his beer. Maybe he was singer once, maybe he was a dancer at a time. And if he failed at one or if he failed at both, he was now, in this moment, very much a singer, and very much a dancer.
The light from the apartment below turns off, and a glow engulfs the room in a cobalt blue and in a fuzz of shadows I see a person set down to rest with the city filling his room with soft light. What moments could these people see of mine, with windows open and lights on; forming an aquarium for their eyes, as they watch in silence, observing me and my company, dancing, kissing, drunk, and passionate with all of our failures and all of our pride behind us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm Running Away With Your Wife

(Panoramic of Haleakala Crater, 2009)

Dear Mr. Shepard,

I have taken the liberty of packing your wife's things, along with my own, and have disrupted your family of four, and left it without a mother/wife component. The following is an apology without saying sorry, and I have carefully detailed what has happened since the last time you have seen your beautiful, young, and too crazy for the both of us, or any other man to hold down, wife.

Carla had been seeing me for a year and half before we ran together, and every patiently-waited Tuesday we'd meet during her work break, and stay with each other for two hours in my cheap hotel room, in the scent of mildew, fake flowers, and that lingering smell of morning air. I used to work down the hall from your wife, and before we met in person I had left her anonymous love letters. I grew obsessed with your wife, from her smile and laughter to how her eyes stared endlessly into mine, I hadn't experience that caliber of spirit and character your wife had, and I was endlessly devoted to her without even knowing her name.

After a series of love letters and with the last one, ending with this note, "I want to run away with you." She couldn't take the mystery anymore, and perhaps I was too slick for her, passing by without change of face or mood; I was a stone fox, with my romance novel devices. Finally, one day at work, after receiving my last anonymous letter, she simply got up from her chair, stood high enough so half her body was peering out from the top of her cubicle walls and said loudly and sternly, "YOU WILL STOP, AND SHOW YOUR FACE NOW!"

I looked down from the hall, and saw this crazy, beautiful, and impulsive woman in all her beautiful for the first time, I coughed, and when I caught her attention she looked over, and I smiled like all wolves do before they run in for the kill. She was mine now.

She was the first woman I made love to in a bathroom stall, and during the act I was there with her, hearing her voice, and the voice between her thighs, and wondered what had just happened. I was with the most incredible woman of my life, and had a hard time adjusting to the placement of desire and reality. I pulled the biggest catch of my life with one of the cheapest baits a fisherman has, and yet it was never about the bait, but how the fisherman pulled his line, ever so slowly; keeping the tension high, and the mystery unbearable.

The day we left hadn't been planned for more than a day, and was devised by your passionate wife at work one afternoon. She called me up the day before our departure, telling me to meet her there tomorrow at that time, 3:30pm, sharp and ready with everything I owned that mattered. I had been previously fired for reasons I could imagine, and often wondered why your wife hadn't received at least a warning; perhaps her charm was her greatest defense. I had received the call while I was working a forklift at the warehouse I worked at, and I almost hit my best friend, Philip, backing up, who was also tired since we usually worked the night shifts and was completely nocturnal at this point. I remember jumping down to Philip and yelling, "I'M FUCKING LEAVING!", and I smiled and hugged Philip hard and took off into the blinding light of an open giant garage door. Philip called me on my cellphone two minutes later and said we still had four more hours and he wasn't covering my ass again. I said I quit, and he was a little pissed off but took in a deep breath and said, "Go get her, bitch." I felt my ass being phantom-slapped as I kicked off into mid-day sun in my brown and gray El Camino.
On the road I called Phil back for my last night here drinks, and I knew I was going to have to get really hammered since it was going to be hard to sleep that night. Philip got off work at 6pm, had to run home to have dinner with his girlfriend and son, and then he'd meet me at 8pm for our ceremony. I had a few hours to kill so I drove upcountry to the shooting range, and just listened to the firing rifles and handguns echo across the land and up the mountains just before they're resonance stopped. I smoked a few cigarettes with the locals and ran into Carlos, who I hadn't seen since Gabriella left me years earlier. He felt something profound in seeing me again, and cried like men do when it has been a while since you've seen a good friend, and we hugged like men who had lost a connection to our past in our present. He invited me to have dinner at his place with his wife, Sofie, but I had told him I was going for drinks with Phil, and that it was my last night in town. Carlos pulled out a sack of weed and rolled up the largest joint I've ever seen and then made another one equally as fat, and said, "Take this for the road, and we'll smoke this one now".
Carlos told me of how Sofie was, how they had their second child a few months ago, and he showed me a picture he held a deep sense of pride on, out from his breast pocket was his second and beautiful son, Theo. I wanted Carlos to come out with Philip and I, but knew he would and he had a family waiting for him at home. Carlos was a hardworking and loving man, and our time as wild coyotes was now and has been over for years, he did the growing up for the both of us. The joint was burning our fingertips and we looked down to the ground beneath us, and said, “Well”, at the same time as each other and turned to see the landscape weeping before us. I felt a chill run through my back and in my hands at the sight of those cold and still mountains. I thought it would be poetic to just walk off towards them, waving my hand behind me to say goodbye to Carlos and our time in Helena but Carlos got up, and said, “You’ll be back, man. And when you do return we'll spend some proper time together, and you’ll have to tell me of my time away.” I said deal, and hugged him one last time. "Until we meet again, amigo", said Carlos.
As I was pulling out from the parking lot, I looked to Carlos' truck, and stopped. I left my car idle and ran up to the big red F-150, and opened the passenger side door, and left the joint Carlos gave me earlier on the seat with the words written on it, "Until we meet again, amigo".
I was twenty minutes early when I arrived at the bar, and decided to started drinking before Phil. Everything felt different. The journey hadn't begun, I was still in the same spot, and yet I was on the road with the love of my life, I have changed to someone of risk and adventure; I am a traveler with love in his heart, I was a bandit stealing your wife.
Philip arrived five minutes late, and I wouldn't have noticed if I had been watching the clock tick down the time before tomorrow at 3:30pm. Philip and I ordered pints of the finest Mexican beer the bar had, and down them one after another recalling our many adventures in hunting, and the women we had loved, or just slept with during our friendship. Between us there were eight or so dead rabbits, two raccoons, and one deer. There was Sally, Rebecca, Kim, Mary, Lindsay, Georgia, Kelly, each with a sudden feeling felt by the sound of their names being presented before our Dos Equis', and each had their own pint this night as we drank to forget, and we drank to remember our best of times, in drunken laughter, in sick jokes, and wild animal sounds and domesticated dog barks.
The night was rolling to end when Philip stole a kiss from our too-friendly bartender and she told us both to fuck-off, as we threw bills around where we were sitting and stumpled out the door into the cold Montana night. Philip said in a drunk and stupid voice that he loved me, that he really did love me, and then acted like he was going to kiss me too, and then all of a sudden he sobered up for a moment and cleared his voice, and said, "I really am going to miss you dude, seriously". At that moment Philip looked like the most together person I have ever drank with. He hugged me, and then got in his car, and left. I was too drunk to drive home that night, so I just slept in my car.
I woke up that morning to tapping at my window. An older man who said he was the owner of the bar was there and said I should leave now. I heard her voice say her first words of the day, “Who was that?” I looked over as if I had found life in a cup of coffee, and there was the bartender, using my coat for a blanket. I asked her what happened last night, and she said that her boyfriend was too drunk to pick her up and asked me if she could stay in my car until he sobered up to come get her. She then told me he would be here any moment now and fell asleep again. I panicked, and then told her I'm driving her home. She got up and gave me back my coat, and opened the passenger door and gave me a kiss on the cheek before she closed the door behind her. "Thanks", she said through the frosted window as I started the car.
For a moment I left like pulling up beside her and asking her if she wanted to come with me, and when she asked where I'd said anywhere but here. I realized it may be a while before I am free to the vast world of women, with each a different shade of me will resonate, and be lived, and we'll learn the hard way to live with each other; failure. I was running away with your wife now, and she was mine, as I was hers, and it scared me. I had never been married before, and though each relationship I had I was loyal for the most part, I felt for the first time in my life that she was the one.
I looked at the bartender from my rear view mirror, fading to the distance as I drove to nowhere to kill the six hours I had left. I thought of the people I would like to see, and many places to just sit and admire the landscape but was overwhelmed by a city that has known me for too long, each place had a certain significance with a certain person. I watched my memories of Helena pass me by as I drove on, and when I arrived back at my hotel I thought of the first time I made love to your wife, how it was still so hot rich in forbidden pleasure and secrecy. Inside that cold place I realized I couldn't have lived here another day without Carla; that this place was depressing without her warmth, and that in more ways then I knew at that time, we had built a home being lost in each other's company as one world ended and another started.

All my things were useless to me now; a collection of used books I had no interest in reading again, a half-broken stereo, some dirty clothes I had washed in a couple of months, and my old drawings I only kept because Carla liked them, telling me they were each special to a particular moment. And so that was the only thing I kept, everything was thrown away, and I wanted to start all over with your wife.
I fell asleep on the floor looking at a collection of Polaroids I had of Carla, and woke up with only two hours remaining. Everything felt vital and instrumental in the moments before our departure, as I looked from the blinds to view a cold and overcast sky and the city sitting idly beneath it all; I didn't need closure, I was finished with this place.
With the time remaining I drove around, and even passed by your house to see that forbidden fortress you had Carla all to yourself in, with your children from your previous marriage, and I felt the sadness of that place. I wondered if it was why Carla wanted to run away, to be in mixing it up again, and being on the edge. Perhaps she was never meant to be tied down, and I saw a future of misfortune coming my way the day I get tired of the secrecy of our love, and being on the road; without a place to call home. Will I fail Carla like you have, and will I lose her the same way.
Towards the end of your street I forgot all about you until today. It has been a couple of months since Carla and I have been on the road. On some days I am too tired to keep going, and it seems to disappoint Carla but she says ok, and we rest, and each day I see how much I can take. On others days I feel like I can do anything with her, my love is endless. She still makes me smile, and I love her more and more each day to spite my tiring spirit. She is doing well, I think this was for the best.
Eventually my time in Helena was over, having been filled up by the landscape and memories that may have been relived for the last time, I appeared in the parking lot of your wife's work, and waited for twenty minutes before she appeared. She hadn't brought everything, and I worried she'd want to run back home and grab a few things. I had forgotten about her car, and she had opened the trunk and looked at me, waiting for me to wake from my thoughts before I got out and helped her. “What about your car?” I asked, and she said a friend had paid her already for it, it was going for cheap, and she had left the check at home for you to cash. I thought it was an unfit way to say goodbye to your husband of five years, but then thought running away out of the blue was also just as bad, at least she didn't burned the house or something worse.
So there we were, in an El Camino with a full tank, and an endless road before us. I had no regrets, and I could say neither did Carla. We were and are living our lives the way it should've and always been; without borders and boundaries, without ties and routine. Some people weren't meant to be put in the system of everyday; that they're bodies and minds are too free to be confined to a cage, or house of cards. And as I finish this letter, I cannot ask for the end of bad feelings, for you not to hunt my very existence down with thoughts of violence and even worse, I just wanted you to know, how I felt, what has happened, and to give you a reason to feel the way you do, now knowing the truth. I included no return address for reasons you and I need not explain, and Carla and I would rather not be seeing you anytime soon. We hope to be forgotten not forgiven.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sadbastard Monologues pt. I

(Denn and Sum on the Cliff, 2009)

Come here, I want to tell you a story; a story of growing up, and growing strong, but not without falling down a few times, and learning who you are each time.

When I was your age I used to run all over the place, from one person to another, and every love I had was different and exciting and came with its own complications and beautiful imperfections. I learned to walk on my hands, and smoked cigarettes once in a while without ever telling anyone. In fact, you're the first to know, can you keep secrets?

I was moving so fast through life that years would pass me by, and I had forgotten the names of the many faces I'd meet, seen, and left or left me, and it would only be on a sad Sunday afternoon I'd remember their names, and see their faces, and want to contact them that moment in hopes they were thinking the same thing as me; I wanted to be missed when I realized I missed someone in my life. And this would happen over and over, and I'll call her or him and wonder where they had been, and what they had done only to realize that time is unforgiving, some hadn't changed, or perhaps it was our situation hadn't changed; frozen at the bottom of a lake, preserved from the moment we last spoke. How many times do I have to say goodbye, only to say hello not knowing if they'll still be there.

The sun is setting, and the light is diminishing in golden rays and flares on my spectacles. I feel warm to be alone in this moment, and cold to be alone without someone to surprise me, in full mystery, in nakedness, and in endless love. I see a world of memory, and slowly as age catches me restless in a fever of youth I see my life before me now. I have lived and relived all my saddest memories to the point of an analysis that renders no further information, and I am desperately searching for relevance in my life, as an older man, as an aging tree; sloped, sloping, willow in the fall.
I forgot who once said that we tend to see the bad in things, we look for imperfections, and seek an escape to associate with failure. I have taken so much of my life and put it into cardboard boxes and had forgotten the room they were stored in. Along with all those sad memories are the greatest moments of my life, the ones that make me realized I was happy, and I should have never let that happiness escape me even though those I share memories with are no longer with me now, let that moment be relived, and that person who I once loved, once cared for is still alive in that frozen water slipping through the wrinkles of my hands.
The minor details escape me now, and my childhood is all but a few memories. My time as an young adult is vague, mistaken for yesterday's dreams. I once called to the wind asking it who I was, and though I never heard anything back, for years I would call and sometimes yell that same question until I forgot why I was asking it in the first place. I grew tired, and before I realized it, I was an old man, holding on to a cigar box of every love letter I had ever gotten. I sealed that box a long time ago, and I forgot the faces attached to each of those letters inside. I wondered if the scent of her and her were still on the pages of her heart. It wasn't until the last of my curiosity had me pull the nails from that cigar box apart, wall by wall, I destroy the format of my most precious memories.
All that remained was salty pages soaked with tobacco leaves and faded letters eaten by the sea. I searched for any and every sign of life on those memories and found nothing in my hands. I tried to remember her appearance, seeing a blinding glimmer too bright for my weak eyes. I looked at my fat, rough, and wrinkly hands and saw disgust. Nothing. Nothing at all.
The years passed by, and in dreams I had lost my connection to what was real and what was of my own fiction. I had lived my dreams like I lived my life, and as I dissolved I turned to salty white water; an estuary of my memories real and makebelieve. Which I keep and which I have left a long time ago escapes me, and I have learned to appreciate what is now before me, with its ability to grow, to fall, and to get back up. With each moment, with each voice, I hold a face to know each one for a moment; the moment we shared, when we were both fools, when we're both in love, and saw time as an endless thing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Bestfriend Got Eaten By A Shark

(The Road to the Sugar, 2009)

I met Marco in Oahu, when I started to studying art history there. We met at the first day, and his humor attracted me to start talking to him, and soon before I knew it we were buds.

Marco had grown up in Hawai’i, and spoke in animal sounds. I was the only who understood him, and so that might have led to our friendship, but I’d like to believe it was more than just that.
We had classes together, and often we’d escape, and just walk around, joking about everything, and life in general. We had only known each other for a week, and I already thought of him as my best friend, he was always good times, and he was the company you wanted in any condition, at any time.

When Carlos with his dumb Mohawk had provoked a shark at the dock, Marco and I thought it was funny to tease the great white by presenting our feet just before its giant jaws. I was holding my balance with my left foot in front of me and over the sea, I realized how stupid this was, and this moment of forgetfulness is usually how you end up doing something you’ll regret; only after it is too late. And like clockwork, Marco was laughing and took a misstep into the water.

It all changed at that moment, my world was warped, distorted, and flipped, and I felt disoriented for the shortest of moments, but long enough to feel the world was a scary place. I reached for Marco, and didn’t see the human-qualities he had anymore like the ability to walk upright and talk with a whale of sense of humor, instead I saw a killer whale in its environment, and for the first time it felt unnatural to see a whale in the sea. I pulled Marco up and he managed to kick off the shark, but I couldn’t lift him back on to the dock. He continued to splash and call in his whale tongue something I could no longer understand.

I pulled as hard as I could as a gathered crowd to watch all the excitement of the sea before them. I managed to get Marco on the dock again, and we were both breathing hard, and the fear hadn’t settle in both of our eyes and hearts. I knew I was losing a friend today, and in a way I feel like I had. I looked over to Marco, and saw nothing in his big black eyes, and that was when Jaws II came from the side of the dock, and grabbed Marco by the tail fin and took him back into the sea. I held on to Marco for as long as I could, and with all my strength I pulled, not wanting to lose my friend. The shark ripped away at Marco, and I felt my grip slowly fading, like a butterfly falling in the sky.
The sea turned red, and I was on the dock, alone, and I felt lost. I looked down at my hands, and they were still red from the previous struggle, he was gone. I lost my bestfriend today, and there was nothing I could do, he belonged to the sea, and I belonged to the land.

In a flash of memories before me I saw a montage of the best moments Marco and I had together. His sense of humor will live on I told myself as I got back up and looked at that useless crowd and said in the voice of Marco, “Oh Well”.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Each a Shade of Who You Are

(Taj in the mess of bush, 2009)

"...because life is like a giant game of throw-poop between monkeys, you sometimes dodge you sometimes get hit with shit, but you keep going, as the shit builds up, dries and falls away, leaving a smear and residue to remind you that you may be close to clean but you still have a past, and you have a future, with more poo and more dodging, and if you can make it to the end, there might be some bananas, or unicorns and sunsets."

(A Stranger On The Look-Out, 2009)

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm The Fastest Person I Know

(Misty Mountain Way, 2009)

I used to run for my middle school's track team. I ran the 200m dash, won, and haven't ran competitively since. I retired a winner.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Slow, Steady, Ready to Please

(Half-blind Horse from Bode's Land, 2009)

Yes, yes. Let's.
I told you, again and again as our hands arched in bends of our arms as we swirled away. Feet were moving in a constant inward motion which at first felt very unnatural, but soon became second nature, like bike-riding for the first time in a long time. Our faces were smiles, the biggest we've ever had, and drool from our perpetual motion ran the right side of our cheeks. I remember your eyes were pure joy and you had rosy cheeks. For a moment I corrected my eyes, seeing if I could wake from this moment into another state, and when you laughed at the confused look on my face, I knew every last second of this, and everything else that was happening before my eyes was very much true.

Do you remember when you were young, and you used to find those odd leaves on the ground that formed the shape of a hanger. It could easily be dissect into two genetically identical halves, and the only thing more amazing than their similarity was what they did when they fell to the ground when they were apart.

We were spinning around and around, and though to the runners in their matching track suits, and the young mothers with their strollers, and even the odd cyclist in one of those recumbent bikes, we must've looked nuts; we were dancing, laughing, drooling in pure delight. It was a dance that didn't require the skill tango had, nor break-dancing, but a skill that could not be learned, it was something that didn't fully existence within one person, and was rather half-full or half-empty in the singular. But once together, once two people, not just any combination of two people, but the perfect amount missing or had, was either taken or given, formed a perfect balance: these two people, we were these two people. Goldie Locks in our merry way, we were dancing like two crazy people dance, in the most perfect way, in a perfect moment, and other things that were perfect, perfect and perfect.

Those half-hanger leaves, once separated fall back to the Earth in a spin that seemed to echo all throughout life, and though your eyes saw it hit the ground, and end its helicopter decent, it hasn't stopped, that this part of you and a part of me that hasn't stopped falling down in this unusual plummet, it was happening within you, and together, it was our dance, as our legs ran circles, our arms melted into one and one, our feet felt less and less impact each step, and our bodies felt light their mass in feathers, and we were no longer kicking the ground by the air of a few inches from the solid earth. Slowly we went. Steadily we went. I was ready to please, to please, please, and you were ready to please, and you please, please. And without knowing at the time, we were falling; we were falling to the sky above, we were leaving and coming, and everything but staying.
In the perfect of perfect, in a perfect moment, with a perfect partner, in a perfect dance, and all the other perfects, we fell, and we danced some more. Again, slow, steady, and yes, you know.