Friday, September 30, 2011

A Dog That Looks Like Tim Allen

(Bad Girl Natasha, Hanging Out Beyond the Keep Out Sign, 2011)


Can you hear me?

Woof woof!

How about now, was that a bit clearer?

When I am alone I just curl up in a ball. I have no one to look cute for, nothing to wag my tail to, just me being me, the me that isn't so eager to please, that lives to be petted, and that is quiet, to himself, as he just sleeps curled up, occasionally looking out the window, and waits, waits not for my master but for something, I don't know what, but I wait. Some days I wait for so long that I forget I'm waiting. Some times I try to imagine what it is that I'm waiting for but I'm never quite sure, maybe a man with ice cream cone for flesh and a face of melting ice cream, little clusters of chocolate chips for eyes. I want to lick and eat him out of existence. Maybe it will be another dog, this thing I'm waiting for, another Pomeranian as well, and maybe it will be female, and just maybe after we're done smelling each other's butts she'll like me. Just maybe she is my type, she's cool, beautiful, and makes me laugh. At night I bark profusely, completely out of control, my master yells at me, telling me to shut it, but I don't, I can't, and so he starts padding me, hitting my nose, and finally I stop. I want this something so bad I can't control it, maybe it is just being out there, outside, and that I stare endlessly, day in and day out, looking forward to something I don't know what is, but it is there, right in front of me. Maybe I'm blind. I close my eyes and try to imagine being blind. The world disappears and is replaced by my memory, I picture a chair being placed in a certain place, beside the chair is a couch, and beneath and before that couch is a carpet, and at the edge of that carpet is a coffee table, I am given an empty room, darkness and give it life, light, and furniture. I imagine the circumstance of being blind, there wouldn't be a seeing eye dog for me, for blind dogs don't have such things. I'd just bump into things where I was new to. Running would be out of the question, and I'd avoid outside, and hard surfaces, thinking that they were road, and roads being where cars drive on, where drivers may not see me and hit me. I didn't want to think of being die, that I would never see or get to this thing I've been waiting for. I want to know real bad, I wage my tail in distress, it is the only thing I could do. I feel powerless. And so I start to bark some more. My master is out so there is no end to my barking. I bark and bark until I lose my voice. All barks become dry and drier until there is nothing left. The motions of barking remain. I imagine being a mute dog, having to watch strangers come near our house or even into it, without me to warn my master, or to scare them off. I'd be able to watch this stranger step up the stairs and enter my masters room with something sharp in his hands, I'd chase him, tug at his pant legs but he'd kick me off, I was a small dog after all, I'll probably be broken from that one kick. Then I'd be mute, broken, and maybe even my eyes would go blind too, with no seeing eye dog to help me through the world of infinite darkness.
I wake up, curled into a ball, I see my master stepping out of his truck, he's got a lady with him, he's wearing his best and has sunglasses on, the same ones he wears, and only wears when he takes me to the beach, not anymore. Of course I try barking but it doesn't work, I'm the only dog that has ever lost his voice as I scramble in a panic. I don't like this, I don't like this at all. She's going to enter your room with something sharp, I know it, I know it. When my master opens the door I rush to his feet. He almost trips on me, not noticing me by his side, trying to save him from this stranger. He calls my name in a stern voice, I feel helpless and point my nose down.
"NO, Lucifer, no..."
I feel like I am powerless, I walk away because there is nothing more I could do, I tried, I tell myself, I really did try. I find my spot by the window, I try to go back to sleep but I can hear her talk, she's annoying, her voice too high pitch, she's a cat, I hate cats. I try to distract myself, I look outside, I look at the mountain, cyan chill, a steep face, the sky overcast, it is quiet. I can still hear her in the background, her high heels clicking on the marble, her and my master head up to his room. And as I point my head towards the stairs I see my master with a bottle and the lady with something sharp, twisted, a spiraling pin. I imagined the pain it would cause to be stabbed by that twisty pin, I run over to her ankle and give it a good bite. In my fangs I say, NO, you will not get that far, NO, you will not do him harm. I don't remember the rest, I just wake up concussed, at the bottom of the stairs. I hear heavy breathing upstairs, and as I enter my master's room, I see a trail of blood. I reach him, his arm reaching over to the phone which was knocked over at some point. I'm not sure if he had dialed for help so I did it for him. 9-1-1 with my wet little nose. A voice appears on the other end, and I try to tell her the address, what's going on, but she can't understand me, I try again, but she just seems to grow impatient. My master's hand pets me, his eyes are fading behind his eyelids, and I wag my tail. This is my way of saying goodbye, I curl up next to him, and want to die there right beside him. But I don't. I wake up surrounded by something cold and the night has come. My master was no longer there, just his body, and as I walk down the stairs I see the door is open. The door is open I repeat to myself, it is open, it is open, it is open. One paw then another, step by step, come on rear legs, let's go.
I go, I dip my head outside, I venture to another world. And though I witnessed my master's death, his last breath, the soul that carried me to where I am now, fed me, and everything, there was nothing I could do for him, not now, not then. I took a few more paw steps forward and said, "I am no longer waiting, I am going, going, and gone, gone gone."

Angell 2011 - 2012

The lovely folks at Angell included me in their annual catalogue, and inside they wrote up a one-pager on me, and included some of my best work from The Barking Wall. It is a really beautiful publication, full of amazing artists that also show at the gallery, and who actually look really look in their bio pics (unless me, I'm a total dork). If you find yourself at Angell, pick up a copy, and check out the work there, where you can find some of this city's finest and cutting edge artists.

Toronto-based emerging artist Brendan George Ko won the Flash Forward Emerging Photographers award in 2011. Still quite young he has an impressively expanding exhibition history, and his work has already attracted attention for its stylistic maturity. The almost rococo beautification of his images borders on morbid obsession, and a tendency to characterize all subjects - whether living or inanimate - in much the same terms, somehow equating them materially, describes the initial gist of his photo-based works.

Ko's art is dark and moody from one angle, but light - both as a symbolic agent and pictorial aspect - is paradoxically the purveyor of the spookily mythical atmosphere we encounter here. From individuals shots as portraits or figures in dramatic contexts, to objects as still life, Ko manages to make them all seem like denizens of the same flash-lit, momentary world.

Ko fuses memories of game-playing and dreamlike fantasies and as a result, his images express a double-edged, troubling sort of insight. The trope of hiding in plain sight is important. Bringing our attention how masking and deceit can produce a clearer metaphoric representation of reality than a blood and guts, existential expression of angst or struggle, his glittery pictures seem to glow intensely. He assembles the incidents of a broken narrative, as in his haunting piece Doreen's Bible, often borrowing stories and incidents from his own life, but altering them so as to become discrete and synchronic objects as much as images in their own right.

Glimmering with the force of having excluded all other possibilities of being, a chandelier shot by Ko as much as a person's face obscured by a nimbus of dazzling light, is rendered as imminent, somehow on the verge of the supernatural.

The problem of belonging, to place or to story, of being and incarnating a vaguely uncanny hybridity are of great weight for Ko. His symbolic phantasmagoria thus engages a Poststructuralist theory in what might otherwise remain a photographic almost expressionist art practice. Double natures and binary realities, both inner and outer, fascinate Ko and provide his point of departure; and in this he doubles his doubling through dialectical action that relies on constant juxtapositions.

Brendan George Ko is still in flux - changing, improving, modifying - but already highly achieved in what he is trying to do, for himself and for us.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feature Shoot

The folks at Feature Shoot did a bitty on me. You can find it here. And while you're there do yourself a favor and check their fabulous website, full of some of the hottest in newschool art photographers. Here. Thanks again, Alison!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Mexico July 14th, 1997

(Animal Stage (Abandoned) #2, 2011)

We're all cursed in the end. Some more than others. And that's the balance. Sometimes it's easier to imagine that we all lived lives before this one, and that the balance of life is not determined by the lives that we currently live but the lives we have lived and are living. It is easier to think that how wicked and twisted our lives are that we must have done something equally wicked and twisted in another life, sometimes going as far as thinking what if one was Hitler in another life, Jesus that would suck. But if that theory was true, I can imagine you'd be the world's most unfortunate soul if you had in another life been Hitler.
I remember once writing about that feeling of past lives, how life itself is so full of different phases and periods and divisions that the borders of one reality to the next, how one's mentality changes throughout a lifetime can sometimes feel as if one has lived previous lives. When I think back at my childhood in New Mexico it almost feels like another life, and even further back when I was living in Canada that life recesses so far back it is prehistoric. But to spite the time and the places in-between, I still don't imagine them as another life, no, but some memories that have been forgotten, that could be just as much dreams as lived experiences that are only conjured up by flashes of Deja Vu. There is a certain type of uncertainty that is associated with those memory flashes, this confused memory. Somewhere in all that mess of tangled memories, forgotten and distant is a childhood, are dreams, and are memories that one either wished to be forgotten or your mind simply shut them out, tragic kingdom forgotten.
I'm not the reincarnation of Jim Morrison but I did once witness a road accident in New Mexico as a child. And on that day I did once witness an Indian fellow die as our car passed by in slow motion. Looking out the backseat window, I saw people crying and a man covered in blood and dirt looked at me, but looked beyond me, endlessly, staring without a blink or a breath. He died looking in my direction, and like Morrison I wonder if his soul entered mine, through my eyes, the windows or THE DOORS to the soul. I have yet to forget about that day, just like a lot of the things that happened in the desert, I just find them less relevant with a life in the city, where there is nothing sacred nor haunted, to spite how historical a site may be, the hairs on the back of my neck have yet to be moved and the only goose pimples I get are from the cold heart of winter or stepping into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario.
Something occupies my soul, I was a child when that man on the side of the road died, and I was changing everyday, but something unnatural and perfectly natural in a supernatural way changed me from that particular point of my life. Just like how my boyish voice changed over night into a young adult voice. I swear it did, I had been at a punk concert the night before and was screaming and pushing and kicking, going crazy and wild, and the next day I had lost my voice and when it returned the following day I was a man. This thing that lies within me, that changed me that day in the summer of 97' has been the source of inspiration as well as spirituality within me. But I often wonder if it could have been a curse, a curse that isn't black and white with bad things being death and direct results but something like a slow working poison (it was far more twisted than that). The string of cause and effect was so complex and so extensive that it was impossible to trace other than going back to that particular day in the summer of 97' when it all started and recount each and every tragic and less-tragic event since. For years I believed I was cursed to remain to walk this earth alone, but then started to come across beautiful creatures that would walk along side me for some time, that never completely dissolved. Perhaps my curse isn't my curse per say, but the curse of the soul that is exists within mine, thatthat Indian is dead and yet living within me. I can name off 50+ dispositions I find myself in, that the word hybrid and in-between-ness is like breathing, I am neither inhaling nor exhaling nor holding my breath, I simply am in that brief pause between, in a temporary space that the likes of infinity hang out in. Nomadic, the mind is split between the right and the left, the borders of the soul and the body are undefined and obscure, the race I run is few and far between, I am the crack and the rumble, the moment after lightning the moment before thunder. The unspoken saying that exists between the glass half empty and the glass half full. And somehow I let this betwixt feeling invade everything else, that even the way I saw things were split, I lived and breathed a parallax view of the world. And perhaps I never had a choice, that what existed within me was me, a me that I had no control over, just like almost everything in my life, if not the entire shebang. I was born, given a name, put in a place, and grew up around certain people and all my primary establishment as a human was made without my choice, without my say-so, so how much of me remains original, of my own doing, that my choices haven't been preconditioned? The curse grew more complex, further I travelled along the belly of its length the darker it got. Something existential about the whole thing blew up, and at that point I decided to quit. Yes, to give up. What has been done is done, what is going to happen will only just happen, and if I were to die right now the world will still carry on, just as it was before and after me. The curse though will continue, I imagine that is was something far greater than me, my life, and even the people that were mixed up with it. That even before that dying man who sent the curse spiraling into my very soul, the same curse that had entered him, and it enter the thing that was the host before him, and so forth. No one could be blamed for cursing who and that, I just wondered which poor child or thing I'd curse myself. How the curse would resonate within them, change them, would they too lose their boy or girl voice over night, and will feel in-between just about everything. The crack would be back, and the crack was perfect word for it, the bottom side of humans once was an uninterrupted mount of flesh, such as the back until some point of history the curse introduced it's self to our species and split the two legs apart in two directions, and when early Man tried to sit he sat between two great divisions, where they met was a great blade, and the blade broke the even flat of the bottom of Man and produced a crack. We would never be the same, we started to wear underwear from that day on, though in those days it wasn't called underwear just a lion cloth then robe then something else then underwear. We decided to hide it, shameful of our disposition, our indecisiveness, and most of all, ashamed we were cursed.
The world is divided by two hemisphere, where as one half has winter the other has its summer and vice a versa. The toilet boil water flushes to the right in one hemisphere where as the other half it flushes to the left. I often wonder if people tend to walk differently in the southern hemisphere from whose of us who walk in the north. There is night and day. Tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. Lovers and haters. Birth and death. North Korean and South Korean. Going uphill and going downhill. Rockbottom and Rocking the top. Flying and falling. Sleeping and being awake. Being happy and being sad. Feeling full of hope and empty and hopeless. We live only in the present and yet we are divided by what just happened - what did happen, and what will happen. The present only last for that brief pause of time that is invisible to the eye, and as soon as we see it it is no longer the present but the past, if we try to anticipate it it is the future. And if we focus too much on both the past or the future we will miss out on what is right in front of us. There are a million Hallmark quotes and there is a million more, you can probably find the answer to life in all of that, but we choose not to taken by a cheesy little card written to a mass audience for times where we can not think of the right words to say ourselves.

I reach a point where I find myself as an adult, in a car, in New Mexico, but instead of being in the backseat I am driving, and we are slowed down, there is an accident ahead, we see flashing lights, and a broken parts and smashed up cars appear beside us. Through the window I swear I see the same old Indian fellow from years ago, he is even wearing the same things, looking the same after all these years, and I wonder to myself, has he been here all this time, or is this some sort of roadside attraction, something synthetically acted out day in and day out like the Waterworld show at Universal Studios. There he is, Kevin Costner, the man in the other vehicle is Dennis Hopper, and we watch the protagonist die, but this time his soul, his curse did not fly into my eyes and into my soul, not this time, something leaves me, and I feel light and lighter as something heavy and sticky leaves my body and enters his. His eyes roll back and an eagle above shoots up into the sun, eclipsing it for a moment before I realize I am staring at the sun. I turn to my passenger and grab her hand, I tell her everything is going to be ok, she looks back at me, confused, and doesn't say a thing, we ride pass the accident and soon forget it entirely.
We are at a crossroads. I slip the words beneath my tongue in a secret exchange I keep to myself.

(low whisper) "See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads."

The eagle flies on heading north to what appears to be an endless landscape.

"...So you won't be lonely."

The Light Shines Through Me

(Rachel Somewhere in the Woods, 2011)

When I think back at the time my father and I went over to Jorge's, the real Jorge's, house in Albuquerque, NM in 99', I remember being confused. No one ever sat me down to tell me what had happened formally, that he had disappeared and left all of this things behind. I was given bits and pieces of information, where I catch the chatter of the adults as I roamed the empty house. There was a strong sense of emptiness in there, and his things, the things I grew to know were his, had a life of their own, now were just things, belonging to no one. I never got to see the letter he left behind back then, I didn't even know it existed. Eventually I would have to ask about Jorge, what exactly did happen with him, over the phone with my mother, who still wasn't sure herself. He had left this world, but not world as in he died, he had vanished like a phantom. He could be amongst us right now, camouflaged as everyone else, and all we have is speculation. All I have is a feeling, and at the end of the day, that is the only thing that seems to remain true. He is far away, amongst strangers like he always has been. Seeing the world one last time, as Jorge continues to explore the world as well as himself. And perhaps he did die that day, leaving this world, in an Obi Wan Kenobi way, watching us as he is gives up his life only to guide us, to be that voice in the back of our mind when we most need guidance.
I have yet to hear a voice calling me from another universe, and perhaps I haven't been in need of anything that deep and immediate yet. Something in me changed that day, and I haven't been the same since. All I know is I feel less alone, that Jorge can be anywhere, but most of all, he is with us, inside of us, carried in our hearts and minds. I've never told anyone before but every once in a while I have this reoccurring dream that I am in the desert, sometimes alone sometimes with old friends, and the sand and all the plants are an ashy black. I could see storm clouds far off in the distance and the little blankets of rain fall beneath them. Two glowing eyes appear from far off, and come closer and closer, floating as if they were just two spheres of light. Then they disappear. A moment passes and I feel fur against my body, I look down and it is a black coyote, brushing up against me. I pet him on the head, then the heck, and he brushes up against me some more. The moon is out, and he howls, I turn into viper and cover the moon, the light shines through me, and the dream ends. It almost always happens exactly the same, with the same sequence of events and atmosphere, that coyote and the moon. To me it is Jorge inserting his presence in my mind, telling me he still roams, and that he is by my side, brushing up against me.
I wonder if I'll ever seen him again. I picture that being the climax of my life, during this huge shoot out, and I'm on the run or something, and when I am all alone against some army of thugs or cops or something, he appears, and is some badass god of destruction blowing them all away with a lifetime of experience of doing just that.
When the whole world is against me he'll be there, and perhaps he was always there. Right by my side, waiting for that moment to happen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something Worth Fighting For

(Animal Stage (Abandoned) #1, 2011)

We lost him in the fire.

A shoot out between some mobsters and cops, a car chase, everything going wrong, everyone for themselves. Somewhere in all that chaos a bullet pierced his chest, he didn't notice until his chest goes wet with blood, and when he looked down at his chest he crashed the car, his passenger took off, to each their own. To each their own, amigo. Adios! The car sped up and made some distance only to get stuck underneath a trailer. The fuel tank is ruptured and the metal against metal friction ignited the fumes and the car was set to flame. It was time for him to leave. His badass character, heartless and mighty, something of worthiness long time passed, the true grit, pulled his pistol and fit it beneath his chin.


A shot fires and the car explodes instantly after. The explosion echoes down to the cops shooting mobsters and the mobsters shooting cops. They all suddenly stop what they're doing, realizing their actions are meaningless. All of them share a thought, what am I doing. Forgiveness is shared equally upon them. Everyone started laughing and looking to their neighbor, shaking their hand, "What was it all for!". Some go as far as giving each other hugs, and we leave this scene with a mobster hugging a cop, they even kiss, on the lips, and say, "We are nothing more than fools".

The scene grows quiet, and off in the background a pair of shifty eyes creeps in the shadows. No one sees this, but they all hear an evil laughter echoing from all around. Joy shifts to fear, and something like a tidal wave coming in from all directions and swallows them whole. The fiery car that exploded moments before is now put out, and sinking under the waves. Mobsters and cops alike all drown, and the evil laughter grows louder and louder until it appears to be coming from a giant omnipresent monster. No one is there to hear it as some still struggle to breath underneath the waves, others just float like buoys. Disappointed, the source of this evil laughter stops laughing and begins to work. One by one he gathers up the body. The few who remain on the borders of their lives are put out of their misery with one glimpse of his face, what a horrible sight and then gone, eyes rolling back, the light in them fade to blank, blank, gone. He grabs them and pulls them on to his boat, some ancient gondola in all black with skulls carved into the wood crafted from some haunted evil looking tree from Ferngully. And though he shares similar duties as Death, he isn't, no, but he is a cousin to Death, and for now we'll call him, Sleep. Those men he is pulling from the blood filled water are not asleep though, and he looks on like he is tired. Eventually all the dead are on boat, the gondola surprisingly fitting them all on there, including the one who shot himself beneath the chin moments before exploding. Sleep paddles away, and as he leaves and disappears from the scene the water does too, leaving behind no trace of water ever filling the space. We don't leave this scene, the story pretty much ends here, as we look upon a landscape filled with a violent history, that didn't happen years ago, but moments prior there is a static in the air. This landscape is haunted with the spirit of thought within us all.

Lightning strikes in the darkness of night, the clouds all dark and heavy hover over an old mansion. The place looks long abandoned, the paint all dark and bruised with decay. We approach closer and closer, floating across the equally dark and decayed lawn, and we fly up the pouch and just before we hit the front door, a door which hasn't been opened for a long long time it opens. There is a crackling sound as the scab that has formed in the gap between door and molding surrounding the door is relieved and we enter the house. It is a scene out of Casper, ancient furniture cloudy with dust and cobweb mixed with the faint light showering detail to the darkness. We find our way to a small hidden passageway and head down a stairway. The steps are stone, and spiral down with each step growing warmer and warmer in a yellowish glow. Something is alive downstairs, has been living here for a long time, and hasn't left in an equally long time. The basement is another world, it is dark while being lit with amber glow, and there are bottles of odd mysteries and one lone coffin. We approach this coffin, still floating, and we look at it, knowing that something wicked is going to come popping up. We ready ourselves for disappointment. AHHHHHH! Twisting its head, the corpse tries hard to scare us, it sticks its long dead tongue out, screams, and has its hair whip back and forth like a dead super model. Nothing phases us we say with our dead pan stares. It grows quiet, and gives up. It is our friend, Sleep, and he was doing exactly that before we came flying into his house.
Sleep puts on a robe and pours water into the kettle and disappears into what appears to be the kitchen. Just as the water boils he reappears with cookies, and to spite everything looking old and dead the cookies aren't, in fact, they're delicious! He pours the boiling water into separate cups, each with their own teabag, and smiles as he hands them out to us.

"How are the cookies?" he says with his wicked voice, a wickedness that he struggles to fight against but it is with him for afterlife.

"Yummy!" we say unanimously.

"Good, they aren't poisoned, in fact, I made them myself, only an hour or so before you arrived."

"Did you anticipate us?" Thinking he might just well know everything, before and after it happens.

"No, I just felt like it."

A silence takes over where words once filled a space and we start sipping our tea, which is also very delicious. Sleep puts on a record, one of us remarks, "Mussorgsky?".

"Night on Bald Mountain", Sleep replies.

"Fitting", one of us says.

Silence again.

The wind picks up, the windows start shaking, and the house creaks like all is wants is to die. We wait for something to happen but it doesn't. Off somewhere far away a rock is falling to earth and is going to land in a field on some farmer's land. Off even farther that someone is having laser eye surgeon done to both their eyes and will no longer need glasses nor contact lenses. They will be temporary blindfolded for a few days, something that seems almost necessary even if it wasn't required, to go from having glasses to not is sort of a miracle, Jesus-like, and to have a buffer of blindness in-between only sweetens the miracle. Without the struggle, without taking something away, when it comes back you will never realize how much you needed it, how much you missed it. Take it away and you'll cherish it alone, milking off the memories you had with it, longing for it, seeing it from all angles in your mind, in your heart. But there are somethings you don't need to have removed to realize how much you need it nor how much you'll miss it, that you immediately and always cherish it, when it is happening, realizing that each and every moment is worth all the fighting, struggle, laser-eye surgery and the blindfolding for days, for.

Sleep comes to wake us all up, we had fallen asleep out of boredom sometime in the night, and it was morning. Sleep made us sausages, vegan ones for the vegans, and eggs, of course tofu eggs for the vegans, and we ate them down with orange juice and freshly grounded and pressed coffee. He took us out on a ride on his gondola, we sailed across the sea that he made just moments before. We held hands and looked up as the stars above disappeared.

"Children," he said.

"This was all worth fighting for."

Silence as something profound stirs from within. A face appears in my memory, it sets me in a mood that is both full of excitement and wonder for the future. How long must I wait I tell myself, how long until, I ask myself, before, before I repeat, I find that peace.

I fall out of the boat and exhale all the air out of my lungs as I sink to the bottom of the sea. The bubbles that float to the surface each contain some of my last thoughts, and when they reach the air above they fizz out a whisper. An ear pressed up close to them struggles to comprehend my words. It is a lost cause. I turn into a fish and swim away. I transform into a mermaid and swim away. I transform into a shark and swim away. A whale. Swim away. A dolphin. A zebra. A tiger and an eagle. Fly away.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpers Vs. Tumblers

(Time We Disappear, 2011)

I'm going to put all my heart into it. I'm going to sweat until my face appears to be melting. And when they take me away, hands locked together, I want you, yes, you as I point to you with my big red finger, you, to remember what I did today.
Years later you come back to that same site, you look at that beach, the volley ball nets dipping from the rain that only moments before came down on this place. The ocean's dark, with harsh waves crashing down as they approach the shore. You look upon the landscape and to spite the rain you can't help but see the past unfold.

His heart was beating so hard from his chest, it was ripping through his rims and then flesh like an alien being born from the stomach, over and over, ripping from his rims and then returning back into his body. Those shorts were shorts, and his face was so excited to show me, and whoever was around at the beach that day. He carried on like it was the only thing he knew and wanted to share it with the world. He was sharing it to us all, and though it was broad casted to all to see deep down inside of me I feel like each pump, each swing of his arm, and the loop that he formed with his empty shirt sleeve was for me. I'm not a selfish person, I just FEEL like it was for me, and now that I think about that day, perhaps everyone there, that stood and watched felt the same, that it was all for them, individually. That didn't take away from magic of the moment, not the intimacy, we were all there, experiencing it, with different paths that brought us there, to this moment, with each different eyes, and different hearts. Going pump. pump. pump.

Something happened on that beach and you made your journey out to that beach each and every year, a journey that spans from coast to coast, you were met by a disappointment each time.
He's not here, there will be no pumping.

I'm sorry, I'm still locked away, and would love fan mail if I wasn't such an obscure phenomenon that only ten or so people had witnessed before the cops came and took me away. I wish I could continue to pump for you, honest. In my cell, I recall my life over and over, looking over each and every detail. I am able to see a past I had almost entirely forgotten, a lot of my childhood is coming back to me day by day. I have so much time on my hands I reminisce and read books all day. At night, when the guards go to their stations I pump, I pump alone and know very well I am not being watched. I feel guilty, I am not sharing this gift with others, but I'm afraid I cannot do that anymore, I am not allowed. My soul grows tired. I write letters to each one of those faces that had seen me at that beach that day, my last day as a free man, and though I don't know their names, I write, I keep up the conversation for the both of us as I write both for myself and for those who watched me. There's one who tells me it gave her hope, another that tells me he wants to do more with his life, kids going to college and they're looking for a new thing to focus on, all I explain what pumping means to me.

It's been years since my performance when you are finally able to locate me, and when you do you write me a letter, a real letter that is written by you as you, and not you as in me, and when that arrives at my cell at first I think it is mine. I had written so many letters to myself as other people that I'm not sure what's real anymore, but I realize that your hand writing is none of the hand writings I've been using for those silent fans I made up.

Dear X,
it has been four years to the day, I cannot stop thinking about your actions that day. I have tried my best to live my life to the fullest, and to disregard the fact something is missing, it is missing real hard. I think of your face, how you were the happiest person alive during that moment you pumped, you gave it your all. I don't think anyone who wasn't there would ever realize how spectacular it was, and so I have grown tired, alone, and full of something I can't quite express. Something in me was born that day, we had a child, you penetrated me with your hidden fist from within your over sized sweater as your imaginary heart pulsated from half-arm's length. You were yards away, but I was touched in a way that birth something in me. I will never forget that day. You changed me. You were inside of me. Are still inside of me. And when I think of you, I am warm, but I am also reminded I am without you, pumping away, forever, seeping into eternity.

I receive more letters over the months, I write back each time. I am eager to learn more, I am touched to know what my actions have done for another soul, and that I wasn't writing any more fake fan mail to myself because I had real ones coming in. We would go on letter dates, she'd describe the events, and slip into something erotic. I'd continue, giving great detail to where my hands were, what they were doing, how they were doing it. I'd receive another letter a week later and we'd go passed foreplay, and I'd describe certain parts of my body doing certain things, and they went on and on. She started seeing someone else, the letter hit me hard, and I didn't receive a letter from her in a long time. I had gotten very much used to receiving those letters that they were all I looked forward to. There wasn't much else, I was in jail after all, I had books, words written for everyone or certain people that I wasn't, and old letters from you and from myself, self-addressed to myself. Nothing could make up for the new, the still-living, still-changing, there was an unpredictability I had fallen for, and now I couldn't do without. I needed it. You were like a growing an addiction that I couldn't deny.

Out of the blue I received one last letter, it would never be opened, my heart swelled with sadness, it was the end. I wrote myself a letter with your name, as you, and in it I wrote what I thought you wrote in the real letter from you. Inside it was how you met a Tumbler, that he was fresh, new, and didn't get arrested when he tumbled. He was sexy, those short-shorts even shorter than mine, it was like a dream, and he still pumped, but without the baggy shirt, take it off baby and put on this sleek and tight shirt, in black. I was old fashioned in comparison, the thing that once did your fancy but was replaced and now looking obsolete. My pumping was just something flimsy trying hard to impress you and it was only trying, never doing it for you. I cried myself to sleep and thought of pumping, how it was meaningless, how I am rotting in a jail cell because of something so lame. I looked at your letter one more time.
In the morning I grabbed the guard who usually greeted me with a smile, and saw me as not a threat, and threw him against the bars, punching him over and over, and grabbing his tongue with both my hands. I did it until I felt the animal inside of him switch over to survival mode, I then let go. I let him slip out of my grab, and I fell back in slow motion. His punches hit my face over and over, until I heard a crack from deep within my face, still falling back, still in slow motion. Repeated blows, I was growing number and number. I lost vision in my right eye and then saw his fist hover over my left eye and said goodbye to the world. The rest I cannot remember. I felt my soul leave that body, and parts of me remember seeing the guard stop punching me, crouched over me crying as other guards rush over to him to try to stop him only to realize he had stopped. They take him away and when he leaves I catch a final glimpse of my body, face completely gone covered in dark red blood. I look closer and I see a smile.
I'm wondering what I'll do now, I've been roaming ever seen I got here. I want to read that letter but my hands pass through it each time I try to grab it. Later that night the janitor comes by to clean the cell up, he looks to the letter as I hover over his shoulder, eager, and motions to open the letter but then stops himself, why, I don't know he was almost there, he was curious, and then throws it into the waste bin with all paper towels covered in my blood. I watched as my blood stained the surface of the letter. I pictured it being sealed inside that garbage bag, the garbage bag being tossed into a shoot, where it travels down to central collecting pin, a garbage truck comes by bi-weekly and loads up with the garbage bag containing your letter, still unopened, and it leaves the prison. It travels for a few miles to the landfill and dumps its load into a pit. Bulldozers push the new pile of garbage over, and a week later steamroller compresses the trash down. Years pass by and the land fill is covered in sand, and pipes are installed that gather heat from deep with the hills of buried trash. The letter is broken down by the moist that gathers around it, and with the heat of the earth around it it starts to break down. Letter by letter they all disappear. Somewhere thousands of miles, the only person that knows exactly what is on that letter has completely forgotten what was written on it. She or he has grown older, and is married, has kids, and one day she or he decides to teach their kids what pumping is.

Come gather my children, I have something special and dear to show you. Now pull your left arm into your sweater, and with your right arm grab the empty shirt sleeve. With your left hand pump outwards like a mighty heart beating within your chest, as you push out your left hand bring your right arm down, repeat this for as long as you could. Never forget this. Keep on doing it.

You start to cry and remember something left incomplete, you wonder, but soon feel regret and a sharp pain you had trained your heart to forget.

Don't stop, get it get it. Forever.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Carl and Carol

(Son, One Day This Will All Be Yours, Said the Large Hill to the Small Hill, 2011)

When I looked up in the sky in the morning the stars really did disappear, they were gone without a trace and I felt my thoughts move me along, ushering me to forget they were ever there. That was the impossible, they would always be there, years down the road, an entire lifetime between, I'd still look up and see them not with my eyes but with my mind. When I came to this great city, they did exactly that, vanished to the glowing city below. I imagined an aspect of human evolution, how it grew so large and so advance it was able to build a light that outshine the heaven's above. Orbiting above, like Satellites, we could see a sea of lights, the cosmos contained in a gigantic black sphere, a droplet of the stars. Each one of those stars is a life of someone, that the streetlight is being watched by someone who must attend to it if it goes out, the light from that building where people live, the lonely radio tower that broadcasts conversations between one person to another and music in-between. All those things somehow reflects the nature of the universe, that the natural spiral happens from the Golden Rule applies here, in us, as humans, as animals, a pattern that exists everywhere.
I never grew tired of looking up, perhaps it was something that was passed on through me from my parents, they always had a natural affinity for the stars, they were stargazers, and over their lives they trained their neck muscles and the bones of their spine to allow them to look skywards. It must have been painful at first, but soon realizing they had no choice, that they were captivated by the sky above, the one thing in this life that makes sense no matter what happens on earth, from this war to that, were the things that were never effected by life on Earth, the cosmos. And for a while there we used to be able to say, no matter what happens here, it can never touch this (as I point to the stars and imagine myself touching a burning rock in space).
In their flicker I imagined the stars talking to me, when I was lonely I saw them, speaking in ancient language to which I did not understand, but it was comforting. Later I'd learn those flickers were the result of passing of planets in a star's orbit that would eclipse star's radiance for a moment that has long passed. Something that I cannot describe, this feeling of something that eclipses us as things in this universe, renders us useless in comparison, the things that are so massive and powerful and old and old beyond any concept we can muster exist, are there, floating in space, effecting the space around them in a size of effect that is also beyond our understanding. I close my eyes and try to imagine what the sight of a red giant going supernova, it the silence of space would have on me, the brilliance of such an event would shake my very soul, would perhaps rip it into pieces, that something so absolutely beautiful and menacing in destruction can exist. It makes human life seem so irrelevant, that perhaps it is why we built those lights that could outshine the stars, that we could not take being so small and meaningless, and that we had to isolate ourselves to see the relevance of our lives in relation to the rest of life on Earth. Nothing more. And maybe that is why we both in fear and curious towards alien life. To know we are not alone, and that something from the darkness of space lives, has evolved in conditions we are just starting to discover exist, and that they want to make contact with us, traveling light years to do so, and for what reason?
Years down the road some kid with his mother and father will be traveling the southern New Mexican desert in a white home-made RV, and they will come to visit Very Large Array in Socorro. The boy in wonder, the mother happy to see her son's curiosities find a new level of fulfillment. Where the father is we have no idea, he was the one doing all the driving, making the dinner once they arrived at their campsite, and will be photographed by his wife wearing his CNN hat against the backdrop of the Midwestern United States, a small canyon there, a sunset here, it is quite the Kodak moment. And even more time later that kid will be an adult, visiting home, and finding that photograph of his father as he looks through a window, an un-patched hole in the fabric of time, and will project his thoughts to what his father might have been thinking of in that contemplative pose. In the end, the boy who is now an adult will never know, and will never ask his father as he approaches with the photograph in hand wondering his father was thinking about? In the closet that coat the father was wearing is still there, the boy now man tries it on, and for the first time in his life it fits. Somewhere deep down in this man child he fills like he was become his father, not the distant and strange man he knows as his father but that he is a man like the man his father is, or was, when his father used to wear that coat. There are bleach stains on the right shoulder, and the color of red the coat has isn't really in these days, still the coat is a coat, and a symbol of something becoming. The adult boy dons it with a vague sense of pride, it isn't just a coat, it is something much more, he tells himself he is close to his dad.
Up above stars shine, they are almost selfish how they can shine on even after the worst has happened on Earth to humans, and also the animals and dinosaurs, but they aren't because the truth is they have no idea what is going on down there, once their light leaves them it will travel for years before some animal's eye catches glimpse of it and it realizes that that little white dot is the same as that giant sometimes red sometimes yellow, sometimes white, and sometimes orange sun taking floating above like a balloon feet away are the same thing, one being closer than the other, and one being bigger than the other (most likely the one farther away).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Greatest Pick-Up Line of All Time pt.1

(Blacklight Test Image, 2011)

Close your eyes.
Take yourself away from reality.
Right now.

When you wake you can hear screaming in the street below, then the honking of car horns, you look down on the street from your third floor window and you see something out a Holocaust movie. People lined up, slowly marching down the street, cars beside them, stuck in traffic, everyone trying to get out of there, but it's not easy, there's everyone trying it at the same time and the paths to escape are narrow. Why aren't you there you wonder to yourself, why wasn't I aware that it was time to vacate, to blow Popsicle stand? Were you asleep for a long time, did you miss out on the news reports on TV or the headlines on the paper, small talk about everyone needing to leave the city to where, you don't know where, but this is all happening, with or without you, and you're not sure if you should stay and or leave, and try to find a place in that endless line, walking somewhere you're not sure of where it is. Confused you just sit there, finding your favorite spot to normally admire the world but today, you're not really sure what to think, it's for a lack of a better word, surreal, probably one of the most surreal things you have ever seen. You know you are clearly awake but you question if this is a dream. The idea is floating a few feet above you, it looks almost like a horrifying hallucination but it isn't, is this the apocalypse?, you ask yourself. Is it, I don't know, I'm not sure if I should reveal that or not, for now I want us all to be on the same boat, being as confused as you are. We are confused, what is happening, please tell us, you.
You decide to go check it out, you grab a coat, a few things that you'd like to have on you in case you never return, and fill your backpack with necessaries for survival. You enter the street and the light looks different from the ground then when you were above, you had seen this difference hundreds of time, but the street before you is now another reality from which you came from. People all look stressed, tired, confused, and some even lifeless, moving aimlessly forward, unsure of where they are going. You stop and try to ask what's going on, what is going on, but no one seems to give you much mind, if anything, they just stare off to the distance moving forward. One by one, no one responds to your questions, even a little boy that look like a momma's boy gives you no time, no words, no attention, you do not exist, even to the sweetest level of humans. You give up and pull a sigh out from your throat, mumbling something like, this is useless. Someone looks at you, and you sharpen and give a what the fuck you looking at look at him at the same time as a hey wait I didn't mean that you're not one of them, I can tell, talk to me, please, tell me the heck is going on? The moment your eyes catch his he turns forward, acting like nothing happened, as if he was aimlessly staring like the rest, but it was too late, his sweat beaming down his forehead says it all, he was fucked you knew his secret. You gun for him, the crowd of slow moving zombie-like people barely move out of your way, having to push them, some to the ground, to get where you're going, and that lad that gave you the stare is trying hard to escape your approach but isn't as strong and as determined as you. Still he holds up a fight, scared that his secret is revealed, and when you catch up to him, he eventually stops, looks you in the eyes, and says, "ya got me, I'm not one of them".
Later you escape the crowd with him, no words are exchanged during the swim against the current, and you two walk for a bit where all signs of human life are gone, besides from the man-made structures that surround you, as well as support you (e.i. the concrete your feet rest on, the bench your butt rest on). He tells you his name is Willis, and the only thing that comes to your mind is Bruce, you tell him your name is Cynthia. He tells you that it is a pretty name, smiling then looking serious for a moment in your eyes, you cut his stare down with a you're not allow to look that deep into them yet look and he backs away with an awkward laugh. Ha. ha. haaaah...
"What is going on?", you ask him.
"Everyone's leaving, going somewhere neither I or nor them know, we're, err, they're just going."
"Why are they going?"
"Something happened, something real bad, and now people have something bad in them, and they're leaving."
"You're being vague."
"Listen, I'm not sure myself..."
"You're avoiding something, you're a bad liar."
"I'm not sure if you want to hear it, but I know by me telling you that it only makes your curiosity that much stronger, that much more unwilling to cease."
"Are you going to tell me or what."
"Fine, but I didn't want to. Everyone is dying. I know, we're all dying, no, I mean everyone is diseased, and has been for a long time, without ever knowing it, they just found out a few days ago, and some men in grey suits started announcing it on the streets, coming into offices, Starbucks, and wherever people are, they told us, with a serious look about them in their serious getup that we were all going to have to leave, that something bad has happened but the worst is over, and that there is no need to panic because it was already too late for that. Probably not the best choice of words, but surprisingly, not a lot of people panicked as if everyone just accepted whatever was coming for them, their fates sealed."
"Is that why everyone was so cold and distant?"
"Yeah, that was probably why."
"And what about you, why aren't you with them, why did you look me in the eye, and why did you give me a moment of your time?"
"Because...", he pauses, searching for the words inside himself. "Well, this is going to sound ridiculous but you were different, I had been seeing people that had no hope, no dreams, no will to live and yet they just carried on, mindlessly for days, I got sick of it, I didn't want to go, I wanted to stay, but we couldn't, I didn't want to be a part of that, "we", I was me, alone, like the day I was born. And then I saw you, I didn't feel alone anymore, you were not hopeless, you had dreams, you had a will to live, and so I assumed, and finally I decided about a minute ago that this is all true. Am I crazy, am I completely nuts or is this just me using the line, 'if the world is going to end in the next couple of days, rather then tip-toeing around surviving on our own, let's just stick to each other'. I don't know, all I do know is that I'm not alone. You aren't either."
You think about the boy's strange words for a while, he looks at you in fear without looking nervous, just unsure if he had said the right words or if it was the right moment, I mean, you just met him, who says things like that without spending at least a day with someone. But there was a strange truth to his words, that as odd as they were, and how they were said, it did make sense. And somewhere in all that wondering you realize that you didn't feel alone around him either. In the crowd, surrounded by people, they say you feel most alone, pick the right company and you'll never feel alone with them.
"Ok, you win, let's, 'stick to each other'." (with an implied, whynot in your tone)
"Thanks. Finally, I'm not alone anymore."
"Shut up."
He heads in a direction and you decide to stick with him, who knows what will happen. The two of you carry on in the opposite direction the crowds of people were heading in, you sense you are heading towards trouble, you ponder if you should trust this lad, but you have a feeling it is ok, that he is fine, and perhaps even harmless as he looked. I could kill him if I really wanted to you told yourself, it was true, you could totally kill him if you wanted to. Over the next few days things get crazy, I'm not sure if you were ready for this, but it happens either way.

To be continued...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time We Disappear

(Untitled Image, 2011)

Is It Live or Is It. Is it live, or is it? A man sitting at his couch, at least I believe it is his and that he is in his home listening to some music and is being blown away by a force which we, the viewer, do not see. What is this force, is it music, what kind of music, is this force violent, in the next frame are we going to see this man being blown away ripped in half with blood and bits flying in the air in this brilliant timeless moment or is he smiling or trying to smile as his lips and entire mouth are blown open by the winds of something greater than him, or you, or me, or anybody? Is it live, or is it? Are we alive or is it? Are you being blown away, by what, I'm not quite sure myself, all I know is that something trembles, something deep down inside of me, and perhaps even you, I'm not sure if it does in you only because I don't want to assume it does but for now I would like to imagine it does, it does tremble like it does for me in you, and it is very deep deep inside, something is awakening the sleeping giant, it opens its eyes, they glow in devilish red and they are hungry, someone woke the baby and he is now crying.

"You do it."
"No, you do it."
"Well, it was kinda your idea."
"Yeah, but you agreed to do it."
"I agreed to do it if you did it with me."
"I'm with you, now do it."
"I can't go first."
"Well then put it there, and I'll do the same."
"Count down from ten."
"No, that's too long, I hate waiting, let's just count down from three."
"Wait, I'm not ready yet."
"Ahhh, come on!"

A slick and thin piece of sharpen steel runs its course through soft pale flesh, it meets very little resistance. A pause as the flesh is gaped, white inside. The two await, looking at each other's self-inflicted wounds, no blood yet. As soon as the word, blood, leaves the mind there it is, rushing, creating an instant pool of it within the cut and as it fills it spills over in thick and sticky lines racing down towards earth. There is a tingling sensation, and the two start to feel a fiery burn where blood is leaving their bodies. Trickle down. Drop by drop. Pools form, and a daze of lightheadedness becomes them. Falling on to each other they form one, holding each other, whispering something like, "no regrets", I can't be sure I can't quite hear well especially faint voices from few feet away. They look into each other's eyes, watching the blackness of the retina swallow the soul alive. Eventually they will die, their clothes were drenched in blood when I decided to call 911. I never left a name for myself, how else would I explain passively watching two kids attempt to kill themselves together, why I was an adult and silently observed the act. I would struggle to convey what an interesting and once-in-a-life time moment to bare witness to, plus they never even saw me, I was a ghost living invisibly outside of their world, their little sphere of an infinite moment, I could neither interact as just as they could not interact with me, I could only watch them, and eventually call 911. When the ambulance arranged I hid inside the walls, I wasn't done watching all of this unfold, a pair of paramedics came in, gloves already on, lifted the girl first on to the gurney then the boy, and wheeled them off into the ambulance waiting outside. I listened to the siren cry out down the street, echoing on forever until it disappeared. I left the comforts of the wall and stood over the pools of blood left behind. I knew they'd live, but surprisingly there was a lot of blood there, perfectly sitting there. Alone sitting in the floor of an abandoned house, it looked beautiful in this moment, like some surreal painting that gives no sign of time and place, just this moment that has escape the reality of the universe, existing right then and there for a moment just long enough to be captured in the human imagination. And like that the blood disappeared. Perhaps it found its way back to its owners, bringing them back to life. I didn't know what to expect anymore, all I know is that after they left I knew they'll never be returning here again.
The house grew silent, I grew lonely, and wondered the hallways by myself, again. I had grown used to having visitors come and go, never staying for too long, but some stayed for long enough for me to grow comfort for them, as they became a part of me, and then they left. I'd become alone again, and this was normal. When I first started doing this I felt something be shivered, something forcibly pulled out of me like someone had given me teeth, let me use them without any indication of how long I can continue to use them, and after many days, weeks, and even years of being used to having and using these teeth, out of the blue they pay me a visit like the mob collecting mob tax and they pull tooth one by one until there is nothing left, sometimes mistaking what I had already had for their own. After it happens, I was going to feel empty and alone either way, I become used to it, and so when everything was taken away, I grew a profound sense of oneness. All I had was one. One being the lonely number you ever knew.
I watched the birds fly outside, I watched the seasons change, and sometimes I'd be reminded of the times before this house was abandoned. In all vagueness I remember moments of laughter, of good times, of a family or even families living here, having moments together, as they grew, the kids growing up and the parents becoming old and older before they realized they were fairly older then and that their kids were leaving them. They moved out, with plans to move somewhere warm, this house does get quite cold in the winter, I'm surprised I manage to survive each and every year, and to spite my constant survival, in the coldness of it all I still think I'm going to die, be frozen to death, and that this is the most depressing way to go.
Somebody eventually comes, two men dressed like painters wearing masks come to clean the dry blood, they complete the job within an hour, leaving the room with brown stain, a mark of history (I have many of those), and vanish never to return and perhaps they'll soon forget the incidence altogether (I can only imagine they do this quite often by the way the present themselves and how they handle their business).
Time goes on endlessly in this house, where the Monday seamlessly bends into Tuesday, and so forth into eternity. During times like that I blend into the walls, hide when there's nothing to hide from, and become part of the house because I can no longer stand this monochromatic display of everyday. Occasional a beam of light shoots across the floor and on to the wall, glowing gold with sunlight. I can't help but feel something good, see a face or two, and be taken away from this overly-ordinary tomb. Where I go is somewhere far but near, bright and dark, full of light and shadow, and the feelings are all mixed, disjointed from their original host as a vision is presented before me. I was once alive, living in the reality those two young adults were living in, just as foolish, just as fearless. I walked with style, barked like the howl, smoked the air around me. I was cool back then, and I had this thing, yes, thing, this girl, she was wild, I swear we robbed banks at some point if my memory hasn't receded so far back over the generations I have lived in this house. This damn house. In the vision I saw her bathed in that golden beam of light, in fact, she was that light, that warmth, she danced around in it, naked, soft flesh kissed and blessed by the light, it existed for her and her alone, she danced in such a way for me, and for me alone as I looked back briefly to see if there was anyone watching, no, it was just us, right then and there, alone, wild as can be, naked, yes, I was too, and dancing alongside her.
A flash when off in my mind, I was still in the vision, but then the present came into being, I remembered the couple that had attempted to kill themselves, I saw us in there, the sunbathed gold girl and me, I forgotten but now reminded that we once had the same pact, to die, in that same house. For some reason I knew she was alive, so that assured me we hadn't killed ourselves. I remember pledging to end it all to spend one last moment together, that death would seal us forever, as we dug ourselves into a well and gave the thumbs up to the construction men above, ok to pour the concrete down, just be fast with it I don't like the fact of drowning in concrete anymore than you do. But our fates were not sealed then, in this vision, this moment that did happen but had happened in another life, well beyond this one, no, we decided not to. I remember the words, "never, let us do this", the look on her face she gave me, I had never seen her more serious before. And after that moment everything, for years to come had this feeling, this atmosphere, hovering over it all and giving even the most mundane moments something worth fighting for, it was that each moment came so close to never happening, that all of this just may as well be a fantasy, a dream, but it wasn't, it was happening, that was the point after all. The closer you are to death the closer you are to life as some wise person once said. We lived each moment one by one, with new eyes, and new hearts to appreciate it.
The vision ended, the room grew dark again, pale and simple sat around looking bored. I sat beside them and sighed.
"About time I disappear", I said to the walls.
I took one step towards the wall, checked myself, took a breath and entered into the physically solid wall now melting away to the force of my body. Air rushed by, my ears were whipped by my uncut hair swirling around, and my clothes rustled against the wind. Another step taken, this one for not mankind but for me, me alone. My lips blew open and my mouth hallowed out with the rush of air, I struggled with each step but I kept moving, going forward. Step by step, my clothes being ripped off. I could hear the noise of different items in the house be thrown against the walls, somethings more fragile smashing, somethings more bulky producing loud dry slams. By the time I reached the other side my flesh was tore up, my clothes all gone, and my hair with it. I hadn't felt this fresh since the day I was born (not that I could remember it). When I got where I was going I remember a vague thought, something worth enough attention to commit to memory if I hadn't just woken up and replaced a dream reality with a reality reality.
The house was empty when I woke up, I was naked, but still had hair and my skin wasn't torn up. There was light everywhere like beams of light jetting out of a giant diamond. I sat listening to the tunes playing from my radio alarm clock, by the time I realized I was awake I was already running down the hallways. In my mouth was yelling at the top of my lungs. Naked, alone, yelling, running, happy, and never going to let this morning determine if today was going to be good or bad before it ever started it. No, I will not let that happen, not while I am alive.

Or is it?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


(Noch Again, 2011)

You fall. I tried to catch you, but you spill out of my fingertips. You're on the ground. I'm half-way between standing and crouching, but I am heading towards you on the ground. You're spread out on the sidewalk. I'm sitting myself down beside you. You're shaking from your cuts, you are bleeding. I place my butt down, find a flatness that agrees with me and rest the rest of my body on that point where I sit. You know you're going to have a million bruises, bruises that are already forming. I bring my feet closer to the rest of my body and start taking off my shoes, starting with the left foot then the right. Your legs that you tried so hard to keep clean of marks and bruises are now camouflaged with blood gathering darkly, you look around you and feel embarrassed, you look at me and see that I'm the only one who saw you fall, you still feel embarrassed. It's been a long day I tell you, that you're tired, I'm tired, and we both needed a rest, so here we are, resting, our bodies forced us to rest, so let us do that. You take off your shoes too, your socks have snails and slugs drawings on them, I've never seen them before. It isn't just the bruises or the embarrassment of having someone see you fumble down and cut yourself, it is something universal, grander in portion and meaning, that this fall is a representative of your eternal struggle.

"Punch me", I tell you.
"Punch you? Why?"
"Just do it, right here." (I point to my calf on my right leg, pulling back my pants to reveal my unbruised flesh)
"I don't think I can right now"
"If not now, then when, this is the perfect time."

You punch me.


You punch me harder.

"Punch the hardest you can, put it all in there." (pointing to my calf again)

You punch me really hard. But stop, I'm laughing, not at punch, it hurts, but it's just ridiculous, you punched me as hard as you can.

"Don't stop." I muster from all the laughter.

You keep punching me, each time I try to look away, there's something scary about seeing a fist in an arm readying itself up two and half feet in the air and seeing it come flying towards your flesh only to stop dead-on in a slam.

I start to cry, from laughter, you start to laugh too.

"Don't stop, baby."

I almost pee myself when I can't bear anymore, I'll either lose all feeling in my leg or wet myself, I think you must stop.

"Ok, ok, that's enough for now".

You stop, but then steal one more punch. Slam. Knuckles. My calf.

We'll have to wait to see if there's any bruises, usually the next day. And the next morning we wake up and examine my leg like its Christmas. No bruises. Disappointed we decide to stay on the sidewalk for the rest of the day, walking people pass by, looking at us. I wonder to myself, I hope it's been long enough time since Radiohead's music video for "Just", and that they don't confuse us lying on the sidewalk as a reference to that award-winning 90s music video. I want the moment to be pure, that we are both here because you fell and I wanted to fall to, though I just sat down gently beside you. A few hours pass, we rest with our bags as pillows, and I thought of a way to get me to bruise.

"Kick me." I tell you.

"What, really, that's going to really hurt".

"That's fine, I can deal with pain, physical pain is easy."

You ready up your leg and pause in mid-swing.

"Wait, where do you want me to kick you?"

"Anywhere, really, just not in the face...or stomach, or balls, please not the crotch."

You kick me in my right calf, and continue to kick, and with each kick you increase the force. After a while I stop laughing and you start stumping down on it like it was some dance move. My meat is getting tender, and before you realize it I'm passed out. It is the first time I passed out in my life, from what, you wonder, I'm not quite sure myself why I am passed out. You stop stumping my leg, and left your foot up from my calf, there is blood, dirt, and white ripped flesh. The sight disturbs you, you're in stock at how far you took it without realize you were going anywhere. I'm not conscious to tell you it is ok, that it was my idea in the first place, and that I am glad that you went as far as you did, you just have to help me get up and walk. You start to cry, and wonder if you killed me, you didn't and it is impossible, but I look dead, especially with that bloody calf.

"Open your eyes, please." You say in a frantic voice.

(no response)

"Talk to me, please, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

You get down on the ground, and you find a place for your butt that agrees with it, and you rest your entire body on that point, you then curl up beside me and grab me. You put me in your arms, and hold me there. I am still out cold, but somewhere in that unconscious state I feel safe, secure, warm, and no longer afraid of the darkness that surrounds me. Night falls, and we spend anyone evening on the sidewalk. Eventually an overwhelming urge takes over me, my eyes open for the first time in hours, you're asleep, and without thinking I say,

"I'm hungry".

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nothing Does It Better

(Sum Fishing in Kaua'i, 2011)

The tide rolled in, white water foaming into white splatter rolling off of my feet. A tan-line marks the straps of my slippers that are now occasionally gone, removed, and perhaps I am too, removed, from it all, something about that white sea foam resembles me, or at least, what I have become, or becoming. The sand beneath my feet cave in, slowly but surely swallowing me whole one centimeter at a time. My ankles are now gone, and where the sand has taken my body I can no longer feel. I know it is there for I am still standing, but it just doesn't exist in my sensory, in a blank field of nothing. Nothing. Void. My knees were next, the sea rolling in, then that foam, it was me, my movement, it rolled back into the ocean, and it too was being swallowed alive. Waist deep, I no longer could shake this off if I had any will to move in the first place. Everything below started to grow cold as it lost feeling, and somewhere in all that lack of pain I felt relieved, like something was taking away all my burdens, my body was the biggest burden of them all. Chest deep, I struggled to breath at first but soon realized my lungs met no resistance, no solid wall of sand, I no longer had lungs they existed in status, an infinity, the blackness of a void. My neck, my chin, I let out a few last breathes and watched my vision fade grain by grain. My hands moved around on their own, floating as I felt my hands removed from their body for the first time, they were free. Fingertips, then nothing. Absolutely nothing. Overhead, looking down the beach where I once stood is now just an ordinary beach scene, without any trace of a human, just a mystic landscape, crashing and rolling, foaming all on its own.

Looking out from the cliff, headlights shooting off the edge and disappearing before a couple as they sip whiskey from the bottle, bums warm from the engine cooling below us. She doesn't give a face when she hits the bottle, he's impressed, taking another hit and letting the liquor warm him up. His eyes stare off, the city below glows, it makes them feel cold being so high and isolated and yet able to view it all. Down there it wasn't as beautiful, it was fast moving, buildings towering over them, the rush of traffic, the heat melting the concrete. In comparison, high above they were all chilled out, he pulled off his leather coat and wrap her body in it. She moved closer and let her body fall upon his, he put his arm around her and kept her there, ensuring her he knows how beautiful this lazy city is, the lights shimmering just for them, it's true the entire city decided to leave their lights on tonight because they knew they were coming, and they wanted to make sure they had something beautiful to see, to make it that much more remember able. He thanked them silently like a person praying to his or her self, careful not to be caught, one hail Mary like a scratch on shoulder, then the other shoulder then bottom of the chest and below the chin, another scratch it was itchy. Eyes glowing, they melted in place, he remembered a time in high school, this sort of place, these sorts of sight that spell romance like H.O.L.L.Y.W.O.O.D spell out Beverly Hills. There was something there, a feeling that landscapes like this create, the person you're with, what you both had on your minds, something boiled below that rough exterior, something raw, sweet, and maybe pure. It oozed down the mountain that night, the pureness, the lover's sap, it came slowly down, in a creep, in a silence, it took trees 20-30ft high in one gulp, then cars, and then houses, people screamed and ran with their hands in the air. One by one the floating stars of the valley disappeared. They saw it in our minds, their eyes closed, breath, breathing, hot jets, reservoirs forming, a rush, a flood, one by one they all fell down. The lights carried on, burning into the night, and no one could see, they were swallowed up in their mess, disappearing in the ooze, their fingertips as their last struggle to be, gone. The sound of the door slapping behind them, the breath that seemed to come from deep down inside, hot and sticky, wild, eyes in a daze, the walls of their reality had faded, replaced by something that is neither real or of dreams, but something lost in a surge of hormones and youth. It continued to ooze down, it fell into the sewers and popped manhole covers as it made its way to the center of the city. The stars were disappearing like the coming of daylight, they were still there but blanketed by a nothingness. Sounds in a car are loud, nothing to allow air to flow as it vibrated back to its source, it just bounced back into your ear and reminded you it is small in here, the only thing that exists was them.

The final light to disappear was a glowing clock of a clock tower, it read 11:11 the moment it disappeared. No one saw this, so no wishes were made, therefore no more wishes could be left undone. Time stopped for everything but the interior of that car, it was protected by something that neither existed in dreams or reality, it simply just did, exist that is. Two became one, a singularity floated in space, surrounding by nothing, absolute nothing, not even light could enter this dimension. The windows of car frosted up from the coldness of space, somehow there was a heat source within the backseat of the car that kept the car from turning to stone.

The ooze would eventually stop flowing, many years would pass and what was once flowing liquid would be rendered into a solid, this solid would eventually crack and part amongst itself over and over until fine grains of sand would form. What moisture that ooze once had been dissolved into atmosphere, waiting to return back into it's former form. The Earth rained for a week solid, where valleys had formed from dry seas now filled with water again, ponds turning into lakes, lakes turning into oceans with rivers and such in-between. The car that once stood in free-floating space met water and floated just above the surface. A thick layer of ice had formed around the surface of the car, and from within one can see a light flicker in a pulse.

Pump-pump went the heart. Pump-pump. Slower. Pummmmp. Pummmmp. . . Pummmmmm-ump. Pummmmmm-ump.

I opened my eyes, I'm sitting in a chair in a room filled with overwhelming white, like a flash of light, but I could see the form of the room, the corners form the end of one wall and start of another. I felt like I'm was in trouble, waiting in the hallway of the Principal's office, he was never going to come and tell me what I did wrong, I was all alone, my punishment was to wait, in this white-white-white room. A clock ticked on the wall like the pulse of the room, time was all I had. For all I knew beyond the room was nothing, absolute and pure. I waited and waited, for something to happen, for something to change, but no change was had happened. It felt like days, I hadn't slept or felt the need to sleep, my state never changed I just waited. For a long time, a month maybe, a few hours, something did happen, but the room itself remained the same, it all happened within me. Flashbacks of memories came to me in a vortex of colors and sensations, something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I was sucked up into this brilliant spectrum of color transforming into mathematically patterns until I saw myself in the shapes, and instead of seeing an image I was flashed by emotions. Everything inside of me was shook violently, I felt loss, an overwhelming emptiness that made my eyes tear up as if my soul was being pressed against my body, my eyes being the softness thing they bled tears as result. After that I felt my soul be torn apart, a violent shift in my everything was happening, and then the final flash was the oldest of the feelings it had no physical pain my mind felt disoriented as if I was being flipped upside down, everything I once knew and saw was shifted upside down with it. I looked down to my feet, I was still sitting, still in that overly white bright room, and yet I was on the ceiling, hanging upside down. The room soon disappeared, and my eyes opened.
The car battery was dead, it was early morning when they woke up. The world was back to normal, people working their jobs, delivery men delivering packages, nothing seemed effected from last night's blob invasion. The two walked down the mountain road, the girl still wearing his leather jacket, it was big on her. Somewhere in this universe some rock is floating, it is about to be hit by another rock much larger in size and it will push the other rock off it's course and send it slowly but surely towards earth. The rock is 40miles long and will take about a hundred and forty-four years to finally meet its end on the surface of Earth. By then the couple will be long gone, they will have many many more memories together and all that they will do in their life and everything they influenced will be erased from all memory. And perhaps it is something that has happened, that there is a history outside of the human memory, and traces and markings of evidence left behind that carries on, that something has happened, it scratches deeper than anything we are able to comprehend and that it marks into time itself. With a broken Earth and lava flowing over land, seas turning to vapor, the sky no longer blue but a fiery red, something hovers, something stays, forever, that it is impossible to destroy, that something has happened, and will always remain, not forgotten, and never to change, crystallized in the hardest and softest of all things, time, time itself.
The boy and the girl hitch a ride in the back of a truck, the sun sprinkles their faces as light passes through the trees. Wind is blowing the girl's hair, it dances and the boy looks off, inside of him he feels like this is going to be wonderful, everything, not knowing what the future is like, but sure of one thing for the first time in his life that everything is going to be not only just OK, they are going to be gggggggreat!

Off The Map

The wonderful folks at Off The Map did an interview on me and my work, where I explore topics such as atmosphere, mental landscapes, ghost stories, skinwalkers, memories, memories, and my rap career (former, but potentially returning...). You can read the interview here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Global Yodel

I was asked a little back to do a short photo/story about the place I currently reside in, here it is, Global Yodel is quite a wonderful project, taking stories from all over the world, and giving them an image and a face.

Shadow's Deep

(The Lookout, 2011)

Take a knife from the kitchen, put it in your backpack, come over now, bring a flashlight, a lighter as well, some rope would be great too. We'll hide out in the woods, we'll live there for a while. We'll disappear, we'll fall off the face of the earth. Together, yes, together. For. ever.

I called my mother, I told her I'd be going for a while, where she asked, I didn't know, just somewhere far. She tried to say more to me but I cut her off, and told her to just trust me. Trust me. I knew what I was doing. Did I? I did everything I was told, I had my backpack packed, brought a book too. I put my hiking boots on and I left. I looked at my bedroom, said goodbye. It was more of a farewell, I'll never see you again, and if I do, and I hope I do not, then that would be really disappointing, I was finished with you the day I closed my door on you, farewell.

In the night I roamed the streets, in search of her shadow, her shadow being exactly her, in all physically aspects, but something would be off, oh yes, her everything, her essence, her character, but I'd fool myself into thinking it was her. Yes, I would, and maybe I'd just hold the conversation for the both of us, me being me, and me being her at the same time. I pictured us running away, then when I got sick of her, her being the shadow, I'd find another shadow and I'd keep on piggy-backing from one shadow to another. It went in this endless cycle in my mind, and then I wondered if it would perhaps be easier just to have the real thing. For some reason I made up my mind, we cannot meet yet, there must be some time in-between, I wondered why I thought this way, I wanted to see her all the time, I wished I saw glimpses of her throughout my day, but nothing came close, everything falling short, sad, pathetic, not even reminders.

During those days women would float like phantoms through my life, all would stay for at least the night, we'd talk, and I tried to force their faces into her shape. In the back of cars, in a lot somewhere far away, with no one looking, their faces always came close, but fell short. And with each attempt I felt emptier, missing something vital to my survival. I always considered myself a very solitary creature, I knew in all my survival training that if everyone were to die of mass infection, or a nuclear explosion, that I could survive on my own, in the woods, hunting and gathering, my eyes getting duller by the day. I'd be looking into that fire, the same fire early humans made to keep themselves warm and to cook food, in that fire I would eventually see her face, somewhere in the flames, and when that happened I wouldn't be able to be alone anymore. I'd have to leave my hand-made shelter of branches and logs, leaves and stones, hidden against the background of forest, I'd have to go and seek, to leave my shelter and say farewell, but a farewell that says we are not complete, that I want to come back but I know I will die looking for her, farewell.

When I arrived at her house, I saw her face through the window in the kitchen, I looked from the bushes, I waited till she turned off the lights. I checked each window to see if they were open, none were. The backdoor was unlocked, almost inviting, in fact, it was totally welcoming, telling me to come in, particular-but-not-at-all open. I entered without a sound, it was dark, shadows and faint light from street lights covered the walls and the ground. In the living room appeared to be someone watching TV, the TV was off, and there was no one there, but in the shadow there she was, looking watching, she even smiled like her, waved her hand, and gave me a peace sign. As I approached the scene she disappeared. I passed on by, and entered the hallway. The photos on the walls were portraits, and of course they were all her, she gave out each and every one of her memorable expressions, the ones I grew to cherish, and as I approached them closer the reflection off the glass showed my face, each and every single of the photos did the same thing, my face, and when I saw my face it looked wild, I hadn't shaved in weeks, my eyes weighed down by a set of heavy bags, my glasses broken, I didn't see myself in them, just some stranger. I passed through the hallway to a room at the end. A warm light glowed in the gap below the door, and enchanted me, danced with my eyes, I felt warm, this was her bedroom, the one she grew up in, it was where she became a girl, and where that girl had started to become a woman. It was where it all started for her and I could touch the door knob, I can turn it too. Bring the knife. Why did she want me to bring a knife. I touched the door knob. Bring some rope too. Why did I need rope, to tie her down. I turned the knob. I pictured the knife in my hands, I'd have to let go of it as soon as possible, before some nightmare took over my hand then my arm then my mind and leave my sight so I can watch in horror. I wished I hadn't brought that knife, or the rope, the flashlight was useful, I used it earlier to find my way through the forest behind the house. I wanted one of those Bill & Ted moments where if you think of something, to remind your future self to not do it will be done, but this wasn't a movie, it was real, I was holding a knife, I was opening that door, I was letting my world be flooded by wicked, wonderful, and warm, warm, warm light. I was overwhelmed, I pictured heaven being so bright, I let go of my hands, they flew before me, I couldn't see anything but white, warm, yellowish, white, and there were figures, moving around, but they existed in my mind, the white light did as well. The room too, the knife stood in space, floating, my hand no longer holding it, it dripped, it fell forwards and hit the floor with a loud thump. I closed my eyes, I was sure it was a dream, I wanted nothing but a dream right about now, the chills of reality were running beads of sweat down the back of my neck. What have I done. Echoing like karaoke, this is the end, my friend. The shadows creep all around and gathered, each looked like her, but they all fell short, they were always missing the most important part.

In the forest, I returned, my shelter still there, I entered, and closed my eyes, I rocked myself over and over like my closed legs were a rocking chair. My eyes opened even though they were open to begin with, the world around me had disappeared and was replaced by a beach. All my clothes were gone, the sun was blinding, a dog started to bark at me, kids were there, they totally saw my junk, then their parents saw their kids, then me, then their kids in stock, and looked back at me, dog still barking away, spit flying out his mouth and on to my face. I picked myself up and ran, where, I wasn't sure, I just started to run, into the forest, on to the road, into the street, on pavement, on gravel, on earth, and over water, I kept running, running like it was what I was born to do, the only thing I could do, and I have yet to stop. My heart races on, my dreams are a mess, I'm not sure which world is real and which one isn't, and I don't know where all my clothes I have disappeared. I keep running, and the only thing I know is I'm running from shadows, I'm running towards the light that produces them.