Friday, February 20, 2009

I woke up with a head cold. I used this contraption that resembles a baby bottle: its nipple has a spout that shoots hot water through a nostril and the water shoots out the other nostril. I filled the bottle with sea salt before plunging my nose with the hot water. The snot drained out of my nose and washed into the bathroom drain. Then my head was full of water, so I blew the rest of the water from my nose and unclogged my ears. The congestion cleared for a few hours.

I visited a shrink after three years. A lot had changed since then. He had since moved his practice into his own home. I felt odd, walking to the front door knowing that he both lived and shrunk heads there. His office was in a guest room next to the front door. The secretary left us alone in the room. It'd been three years since we last met, and so he stared back at me and I'd nothing to say. A lot of ground to cover but nowhere to start. Then a brown and black cat leapt onto a chair and stared at me. Now I had to two things staring at me.

"I want to start seeing you again."

"How come?"

"Because the other shrink is bad."

"What's so bad about him?"

"He called me an ostrich that buries his head in the sand."

"And you didn't like that?"

"I pay him good money. I was hoping for something deeper."

"Hold that thought," he said, and he stood up and left the office. He'd been gone for five to seven minutes and walked back in like he'd just taken a shit. I forgot what I was saying, so I started over. The shrink was old. He started nodding off as I was talking about my taxes. The cat was licking his paws.

After the visit, I drove to the nearest coffee shop where I could sit and write. Because of too much chit-chat inside, I sat at a table outside. Sitting outside is fine, except for the glare on the monitor. I'd write five pages, refill the coffee cup, light a cigarette and continue. This is what I want to do for the time I have left. No mortgage. No kids. No Cancun. Just simple. Sit at a table, smoke, drink and write. I stayed for four hours, until some applicant at Starbucks started asking me what I was writing. I had to find someplace else.

I drove back home, lay in bed and read a book. The quiet air outside depressed me. What was left in life to enjoy? The TV was across the room, but it was only good for filling the dead air. People mistake distractions for entertainment. I could've run the vacuum or the lawnmower in the room; anything to drown out the real atmosphere.

I couldn't even finish a page before falling fast asleep. A phone call woke me up. The right people never call anymore. Here was some leach telling me that I could make $2,000 a day at home and for doing nothing; I told him that I was already doing it but still waiting for my money. I hung up before he could explain. People only bother when they can take money from you. Otherwise they leave you alone. Except for the criminally insane. At least they see something of more value in you.

After I couldn't fall back asleep, I visited my mailbox. Another issue of the writer's magazine had come. I wanted to sit on the toilet and read the articles. It was more of the same. These magazines contain 100 pages of articles that discourage you from submitting work for publication. Either they interview agents and editors who say they don't have time for you or some grad student with a fellowship who'd just released a new novel. These successful writers of today look nothing like the writers of old. Plain and simple, they're nerds, and not even the engaging tortured outcast nerds; but the overachieving rich nerds whose work is something uptight and unappealing. The men always have an intense look with uneven facial hair, looking either too underweight or overweight; while the women are overeducated bombshells hiding behind thick-rimmed glasses. And that type would be fine if they weren't the only ones. Exactly what happened to the writers to empathize with? Why emphasize with an author from a prestigious college who landed a book deal right after graduation? Who can relate to that? Bring back the dead beats or the deranged lunatics who can only write in fragments.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Types of People I Hate Pt. 1

I hate many types of people.  But the one that has surfaced is the guy who says "at the end of the day..."  Yes.  What?  At the end of the day, I sleep and am too tired for sex.  That's about it. No daily summaries to go by.  Usually, they follow it with some defeated independent clause that leaves the recipient feeling hopeless:  "you still got a roof over your head, eh?"  "what does it all matter?"  "what're you gonna do?"
Although I'm not sure if they get along, these types are akin to Mr. Whatitallboilsdownto and Mr. Wereallgoingtodieanyway:  males in the 40+ age range.   While waiting for coffee, they rest their sunglasses on their ballcaps and slide their fingers below their belt loops, smiling a shit-eating grin.  Waiting awhile bothers them in the least, because nothing matters anyway: they have all the time in the world and they're going to die anyway. 
Other than their dog and their TV, they have no passion in life.   These are the middle-class types who drive big trucks and who have a vast knowledge of tools. They'll talk to anybody, and say the cleverest thing there is.  In a crowded elevator, he'll be the one who says "had I known it'd be this crowded in here..."  
But, these types cross all economic boundaries, both rich and poor.  Professionals.  Watch a postgame interview with an NFL coach.  "What it all boils down to..." he says. Yes, everything has its fundamentals.  "At the end of the day..."  Yes, as each day ends, nothing changes and it all goes back to the way it was.  Thanks, coach.  
Whatever we concluded before, had since, eluded our minds.  At the end of the day, we walk home, holding a whole lot of nothing, and take our pants off one leg at a time.  "It is what it is". What's the use in striving for anything important?   The day will end.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving.

I quit blogging for awhile. Not that I hated blogging, but as a recluse I was too naive to realize that what I was doing wasn't unique. At one point I was writing a blog a day as a cathartic release, back when I figured that all other people were too busy copulating in orgies and driving drunk. I spent my Friday nights, drunk and alone, typing away my thoughts on a computer, totally oblivious that I was lost in the shuffle.
Everyone blogs. It's a fact of life. Celebrities. Celebrities wives. Celebrities girlfriends. Madonna blogs too, I read hers. What's worse is that they'll write only five lines about them walking their dogs, and then 86 people will comment about how entertaining the blog was. All because of who they are. Obama probably blogs too, and he's our president. He probably wrote about burning his French toast one morning. Whatever the reality is, I quit the worthless labor of blogging to pursue more commercial interests.
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I drove up to Bakersfield in the early morning on the eve of Thanksgiving. The fields of dry grass in the San Joaquin Valley looked like a burnt cheese pizza. I was free from the claustrophobic city for at least a few days.

When I made it to town, I drove through the streets and cut through the suburban neighborhoods. Somebody's father was already setting up the Christmas lights. He was standing on the roof of his two-story house like a tough guy. A paper snowman and wooden reindeers were sticking out of his front lawn. I looked him over once and kept driving. Something flashed at the corner of my right eye. I looked again and the same dad was hanging off the edge of the roof, kicking his feet in the air. Jesus Christ. As bad as life can be, it's never worse than death...it never will be. I used to think that death was a peaceful escape. But it can't be. Death is bad, really bad. It has to be. I could live in prison or lose a nose, but none of it matches death. I know what missing a nose would be like, not like death.
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On Thanksgiving Eve I helped my cousin bartend at a French restaurant where all the young people from out-of-town meet and try to get laid. The people who went there grew up with wealthy parents. So the place had an arrogant tone. They paid my cousin for the drinks and didn't tip her. I went to this same bar when I was younger, and it was the same type then. But since I was older and poorer I felt like an outsider, seeing them parade around all gay and important. I really thought they had it over on me, but I remembered that I was in Bakersfield and they came from generations of farmers in the central valley. I've seen those early dust bowl photographs and those people had the same noses, the same bone structures; so I pictured them in rags and farmer hats and felt better.
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The next day, we ate Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon. I resented my family's Thanksgiving habits of eating early because I was missing the football game. Besides, I was never much of a turkey lover. It tastes like stale chicken by itself. You have to eat the yams, the gravy and stuffing altogether with the turkey to give it any flavor. I wasn't eager about any of the other Thanksgiving food either. Cranberries. Pumpkin pie. Mashed Potatoes. The food just seems weird to me.
We ate and told jokes at the dining room table. Everything was alright until my father brought in his laptop and set it on the table. We held a video conference with our relatives from out-of-town. So, as I was stuffing my mouth with these odd foods, my aunts, uncles and cousins were asking me about my year through the computer. I felt pressured to say something.
I had to get away from family. That's where cigarettes come in handy. I sat in a chair in my mother's back patio, and lit up only my second one of the day.
I could only get a drag in when the patio door opened again. It was my Uncle Beau. He looked at me as if he knew my time alone ended prematurely because of him. He pulled his pack from his front shirt pocket, as I always remembered him doing, and took out half a cigarette. He relit it in the chair next to mine.
"You saved that from earlier?"
"It saves me money. All I need is two or three drags...then I get back to it later."
I valued Beau's advice. He'd been at it 40 years. We took drags together and stared into the house through the window of the back patio door. I felt obligated to speak.
"You still smoking the filterless?"
"I need to...all those plastic fumes from the filters...I'll cough for hours. The tobacco tastes like shit also."
"I've smoked filterless before, but they give me really bad chest pains."
"Well...you gotta take the good with the bad."
How could I argue with that?
We stopped talking. Talk was expensive. That was what I appreciated about my Uncle Beau.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I have a new love in my life.

She's a fast mover. She can get me places. When the time is right, she lets me sit on her and ride her for hours. Just the sight of her long and slender body makes my breath cut short and a school of electrical fish tingle through my head. Never before has something made me feel so special.






















I took Schwinny for a ride on Monday afternoon through the streets of Hollywood, beginning down Franklin, eastward toward Highland Avenue. Sticking out my right arm, I made a right turn onto Highland and glided down to Sunset in five minutes. Schwinny has moves. I rode by Hollywood High School and waved at the students just breaking out of class. They didn't seem too happy to see me.

Sunset was congested by many cars and pedestrians. We rode the sidewalk, because I don't want to be one of those douche bags who thinks he's a car and rides down the lanes and slows down traffic, but the sidewalks aren't much better. People like to travel in packs and block an entire sidewalk; and they walk so slow. I had to slow down many times because of the walkers; they didn't realize that I was behind them, as if they couldn't hear my Schwinny click. Once I'm close enough, they get the hint. By La Brea, I was stuck behind an old man in a motorized wheelchair. He wasn't going too fast. Even riding a bicycle has setbacks.

La Brea up to Hollywood Blvd. was an uphill trek. I switched Schwinny to her lowest gear. That gave me little to no resistance, but boy could I feel the burn in my legs. I always admired my legs anyway. They look nice in my grey bicycle shorts. Approaching Hollywood Blvd., I had to pedal through so many cars crossing my path, turning onto other side roads off La Brea, honking their horns too much. One car drove by, with its windows rolled down, and the passenger yelled: "Nice bicycle, faggot!" One of them threw a crushed Pepsi can in my direction; I had to swerve around it.

Coasting down Hollywood Blvd gave me time to relax, but I had to dodge the thick fog of tourists walking half a mile an hour. I really felt sorry for pedestrians, they struggled on their paths as I rolled past them: if only everyone could ride bicycles. Too bad for them.

Bicycling is a brotherhood. When I passed by some other cyclists we exchanged greetings; we shared an unspoken bond. My neighbor Brad noticed me pull up to the apartment building and was surprised that I rode a bike:

"We should ride together some time," he said.

"Sure. I'll see you later."

I kept it short, not because I had something against Brad or any other bicyclist, but because I would rather ride alone. To ride alone is therapeutic, unlike riding while someone is yapping in your ear for five miles.

I want to venture the world on Schwinny. The next thing I want to do is buy a bike rack for my car, so I can romance her through Mulholland Drive and Topanga Canyon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

ahem

Dulled growth since 2006.
data collected,
it's far from poetry.
jobs related to the creation
of american electronics,
tech products, computer science
or engineering,
the crash of the tech bubble,
move to a big city.

here's a hint for high school graduates:
indecision.
put down that guitar
or book engineering.
college students
still majoring in industry
are growing at a healthy clip,
in large cities.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

the doctor's orchard.

the doctor was a tall man.
his jaws were dripping.
a train of a strained eager quality seemed to be in him.
for two years, the sweetness
was turning behind his jaded white horse.

from virginity, she began to think written thoughts
to erect other pyramids and round hard balls;
one by one, the mind building up something frayed.

she saw suitors and tall dark apples that grew trees
in the orchards of people,
forming a truth that arose gigantic in attention
almost every evening.
beautiful, delicious, twisted little girl.

she wore a linen duster in the nursery,
and thought about the jeweler’s son with the big ears
for hours, for weeks.
the scraps of paper became courtship,
the tall dark girl filling pockets with them.
only the sweetness of rods on a hot day seemed to make her cry,
shaking with laughter.

a handful of paper balls the old doctor took from his orchards
were hard.
the twisted apples had scribbled on the stuffed scraps of paper.
the truth clouded the moment.
his passion faded away.

in the fall, after the dark girl could not get her lust in the morning,
her little thoughts of the jeweler's son ejaculated over the frosted ground.
the doctor began their courtship.
the little hard round balls of the forgotten old man worked ceaselessly in his hands,
closed with frost.

the apples and the beginning of her acquaintanceship with the doctor
had made the dry hands good company.
at night, she thought continually of her virginity,
and when he was going to be in the orchard again.

she went into his office one day, and said nothing at all.

some girl came to see the doctor.
her husband was an old man with a white beard.

as he talked, he was holding her and groaning.
they both screamed,
but they looked like clusters of camel spit after the tall dark girl came.

the man had gone,
the doctor smiled.
the darkness began.
the scraps of paper became hard.

the boy with large ears said nothing.
his teeth showed as he looked at her.
the two were alone.

blood ran down the woman’s white linen.
he had bitten into her.
the wife of the man who kept little holes
had appeared beneath his hands.

the tall dark man wondered why she married the doctor.

the tall dark man was covered in cobwebs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hospital letters and Writing Contests

I still owe the hospital $1500

for the operation,

even after the misdiagnosis

Appendicitis instead of constipation.

I told the head of

their billing department

that I could have used their equipment

myself

and made the same diagnosis,

or

I could have lay in the street

and waited to die—

safer and cheaper—

but before I could finish...

she hung up on me,

mysteriously.

She never called me back...

................................................

At work,

a co-worker told me to go fuck myself;

another one wanted

to drive to the office

and kick my ass.

The things I have to do to survive...

...............................................................

Standing outside of

my second floor office,

I watched a fight on the first level:

a Russian who owned the café downstairs

against a Chicano.

Chasing away the Chicano,

he smacked the cell phone from his hand

and leveled him across the face.

He smashed the phone into pieces

against the Chicano's back.

He strolled back into the café.

He had to close that night...

....................................................

I saw my doctor;

he’s not very good.

Stare at me...

all he does

I want another doctor,

but I don’t want to hurt his feelings....

..................................................................

I needed tranquility.

I drove to Santa Barbara

and confined myself inside a Motel 6.

$96, for one night.

I assumed

that the Motel 6

raised their rates

near the beach???

????????????????

I’m aiming for Modesto

next week................

..................................

Met an Asian woman at the beach.

reading “Mein Kampf”.

"Too preachy," she said...................

............................................................

Lately, I had been using

wireless internet

inside my apartment,

but my cell phone

wasn’t getting any reception.

So I took everything outside.

Great phone service,

but no wireless...

..................................................

I submitted my work to a contest.

The grand prize...

a list of writing courses.

Two months later,

they sent me the letter.

I won.