full mind, full tank

I run with memories in mind. Like today for instance. After sending an e-mail or two at Kinko's (remember my internet is still down) I went east to 24th, north to Thurman, then west to the top of Thurman to an old logging road now closed to cars and used by runners, walkers and dogs. This road has become my training grounds for a race I'll probably never run.

I begin today like I have two other days this week with Heidi off the leash, which I've thrown over my left shoulder and buckled around my torso to my right hip. Fuck, I think, I've got my keys still but no pocket to put them in. I should have left them in my car like I have done with my wallet and phone. But I brought them even though my car is unlocked. After Heidi shits and I bag it, I spot at a rock, and, with a quick look, lift it up and put my only set of keys underneath. I look up and there's a runner behind. Has he seen? Does he care? I start running ahead of him.

I have a goal today which is unlike me. I want to run to the three mile mark without stopping. Yesterday, I made it there but walked a bit. I also made the mistake of stopping to catch my breath when I got to "3". It's so much harder to start running again after you've stopped for a while -- this day and in general. You get going alright once you do but you have to get started again. Yesterday, it took me a mile and a half to get going again. I started jogging again even though I was sore because it was faster to run and I was bored with walking. Today, I'm running and feel good. Heidi's with me and is one engine. Her leash, chain links bumping my chest, is mt second. I run and tell myself I can't stop. I run a mile in no time and tell myself I'm a third of the way. My mind moves to New Mexico and I think of a trip to Las Cruces. If I was driving, and was a third of the way from Albuquerque, I'd be in Socorro.

Before I moved to Portland I turned down a job at a newspaper in Socorro. El Defensor Chieftian is a small paper. I would have been a cub. But fucking Socorro was a shithole of a town and my clutch went out there.

I down shift. I'm going uphill on this one-time logging road. I just passed mile-mark "11/4". I jog on breathing the clean air of Forest Park. Keys-under-rock guy is behind me and I feel the need to make us both work. I feel him then a burn as i turn it up a notch. He comes up my left anyway, and I cruise. Heidi chases him for a second, then with a series of snaps returns close to me. The man, about my father's age of 58, runs on and I find it easier to look at him forward than feel him from behind. I follow and we get to "11/2". The road is now natural. Once paved it now narrows -- single lane and dirt and rock. The man ahead stays on the side and I learn why. It's softer there with moldy leaves and moist, rockless soil. I try it, and I find it comforting to my shins. Two women near mile two are sitting on the side. Heidi approaches as I knew she would and is greeted kindly by her new friends. They say she's cute and with two snaps she catches up to me, now approaching "2", or on my route to Cruces, Truth or Consequences.

Just north of T or C is San Antonio. I, along with four friends, were once told never to return there. I have since, and have gone unrecognized by the man at the gas station we tried to run from after filling up in high school. "2". I'm feeling good. Haven't stopped. Past the point where I stopped yesterday. I'm not done. I run to "21/4".

South of T or C is Las Palomas, Heidi's birth place. Where I found her. She doesn't catch on to this as we pass the marker. She does, however, drink out of the mud puddle until I snap my finger and tell her to "get out of there." We run on. As we get near "21/2" I feel my lungs, inside my ribcage, curl. I picture them. There's black mud underneath my feel. I don' stop, but imagine myself doing so, grabing a handfull of black mud and caking it over my white lungs, blocking the breathing pores that make it all possible. I try to spit. It's loud and not very successful. It's sticky and doesn't all come out. I spit again , trying to detach ths mess. I finally grab it and toss it to my right, wiping residue on my shirt's sleeve. The white wooden post reads: "23/4". I'm almost there. We're almost there: Heidi, the man and me.

The engines work and I'm confident as I approach "3". I think a couple of things: I don't want to stop; must keep going; and, Las Cruces -- my one-time-home-away-from-home. I spin around at the post as the man goes on. 'I tried,' I think, 'but you've been running longer. It's been fun, thanks.' I let Heidi know we'll be making our descent. Snap, snap. "C'mon." It hurts but I keep moving. Must.

In a minute I see someone else to follow. A girl in red shorts. She's running at about the same pace, but must have turned around at "21/2". I'll trail her for a while until she pulls off to another, smaller path. I think she became annoyed by my noises. I was breathing audibly by this pont and spit too. Not to worry. Her out of the picture, I pick up the pace. I'm going to run six miles, today. Down to Las Cruces and back to Albuquerque, non-stop.

The two women are still on the side by "2". Heidi reminds them who she is and they enourage her, "keep it up, soldier," they say. I think about me looking like a soldier with the leash like a sash of bullets over my chest. I run, thinking many memories: I put half-and-half in my coffee this morning. New Mexico State Basketball Coach Lou Henson used to put hal-and-half in his cereal. He's ill. Hunter S. thompson, near Lou's age, just shot himself in his kitchen while his wife was at the gym. He's dead. I am well.

I'm alive and running, and really not in that much pain. The natural road will turn paved and I'll find the brown rock with chocolate swirls that is covering my keys. I'll run to the end and stop. I'll be surprised, sweating, and red in the face. I feel fine, though. My soul is inside hugging itself for finishing, for starting, for being here, for being alive. For having memories and remembering memories and for Heidi, my running partner, who finished the run like she could have done more.

I'm back in Albuquerque, where I once ran.



I made it to the library. Now what? Haven't checked e-mail in days. Don't like what I see. A lot of spam. I delete without opening. What's next? Must find shelter. Craigslist for house search. Find some. Some only have e-mails. I don't know when I'll return here. Could be a while. I jot down phone numbers, number of bedrooms, locations. I check my blog. I hope folks haven't given up. Some have. Others never will. I must communicate. Must tell a story. So I sit. And I think. And I...must write something -- anything. Put it down. Let them know you're back. You'll be back again soon, not to give up -- I'm alive. And I can't think of anything else. So I look out the window. It looks gray, but that could be the tint. It's getting dark out. I've done what I could. I didn't do shit. I'll try harder next time. It's Friday and I'm awake but barely.


Blog Taking a Break

List of Reasons my Blog is on Hold

My computer got infected.
Tabitha is taking her desk back.
I starting reading more; writing less.
I am looking for a place to live.
I work too much.
I'm not spending enough time with my dog Heidi.
Can't afford internet access.
Still don't have confidence in my voice.
Not getting enough comments.
I've been making people angry.
I've confused the masses.
Readership is down.
Advertisers bailed.
I'm full of shit anyway.

I need to re-evaluate my priorites.

I'll blog again so help me God.

My biggest fan,

cup-a'la-Q's for yous, and a week's Fe-mail

cup-a'la-Q's for yous

We check our voicemail,
Hey, call me; it's primary
e-mail, and friend-mail.

Made it up Marshall,
from Burnside, MLK, and
Hawthorne and 18th

Heidi's life is mine,
I'm her's too, and have a life.
Say double-feature.

I'll give you a bone
can pick it for what you will
I've taken my turn

I'm a boy, really.
Sure as hell ain't the father.
Are you serious?

Water's fine for me.
No, I'm good on whiskey, thanks.
Merlot was enough.

a week's Fe-mail

AUG: I'm whoring myself online still going after a new job.

utmrb: Very excited to say that I am now an employed member of society; Wish you were here to drive me home from celebrating-he he."

AUG: Carson, you are a gem. You are a gem ... against my better judgment to drunk e-mail.

utmrb: I believe he invited himself toPortland...room for two? Let's talk soon-tootaloo

TMB: subject: friendsters no more...

Kari Chisholm, Progressive Happy Hour: Come... bring friends... pass this e-mail along... and remember politicos that drink together stay together!

SusanKeil1: I'm wishing you were here, of course....

SusanKeil1: I don't usually forward messages, but after I wiped my tears, I thought I'd send this along ... It was good to talk with you last night. I hope it is a good week for you.

I Love you all, and good night.

a haircut buzzed

I got a haircut today and came away buzzed.

I walked into Bishop's on 21st and Flanders because I needed a haircut. I have probably needed one for sometime, haven't had one since I left Albuquerque in November, so I was getting a little shaggy. I have been Skywalker before. I almost went that far. But now it's gone.

"There," my friend told me the other day, "they serve beer at that place when you get your hair cut." We hadn't seen each other in a month and she had just mentioned that I had a fro going.

Getting your hair cut is a big decision. For some it's hard to know when it's the right time. I knew for sometime but wasn't sure where to go in Portland. I haven't lived here long. And I think you need a connection to a place or a person before you commit. I won't let just anyone that close to me.

As of late I have been shaving my head fairly short. Doing it myself, or letting a friend or family member clip it. How can you fuck up a buzz cut? This was mainly to save money, but I also did it because it's hot in the desert. When I had money, and when I had let my hair grow long enough for a worthwhile haircut in Albuquerque, I would got to Eldorado Barber Shop in Eldorado Square. It's a man's barber shop and always a good cut-- using clippers, of course. I started going back there -- went there for flat tops when I was ten or so -- after my neighborhood barber, Mr. Polaco, died. His son, Vince, had always been at his side and tried to keep it going, but it was never the same after the old man died. There was nothing like getting a haircut from Mr. Polaco. He would always ask about your non-existent redheaded girlfriend. And always go for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich under your shirt with the vacuum. He was part of the neighborhood and a childhood icon.

This day, however, I wasn't in Albuquerque. Even if he was alive I couldn't visit Mr. Polaco. I couldn't see Des or the guys at Eldorado. But I had a haircut on my mind, so I went where they serve beer and where they cut hair, Bishop's Barber Shop.

I was a little worried at first that the barbers would be drinking. That would be kind of fun, but it wouldn't be a good haircut. Luckily, I worry about a lot of things that turn out to be fictitious. When I saw the Miller light in the window I knew I was at the right place. I read the sign out front: buzz cut, $10, style, $20. I didn't want a buzz -- I could do that. I didn't think I was going to a beer-selling barber for a style either. So I went in and didn't mention either of these key words hoping for the best. I sit. I turn and read the sign: sign in. I stand and sign in. I put my name down and am asked if I'd like a drink.

"...What do you have?" I respond.

"Beer or water."


And since I'm in Oregon, "I.D."

No options. Just beer. That's fine. I love the High Life. I wait around the counter for a second wondering if I was supposed to pay. I'm ignored and take that as a sign that it's either free or on my tab.

Pssshhh ... Ahhhhh.

I hate waiting for a haircut. Get it over with, right? But, if you have to wait, and it sucks when you do, do it with a beer, my friend. I can wait anywhere with a cold beer. I'm flipping through some magazines: Tikkun, a bi-monthly, that featured an article on Phish's last show, not very good; and, I looked at Esquire, in it: George Clooney tells us what he's learned. My name was called, loudly over the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. I was a few glugs through my beer and was feeling good about my barber. She was attractive and led me to her chair. I sat and took a drink.

"What are you going for?" she asked.

"Uhh...," I knew this was coming, and this was my best answer.

"How much do you want cut off?"

"Use your discretion."

Funny look.

"I guess I'm trying to keep some length, but would like to clean it up." That's the best answer I could give any barber.

She plays with the hair over my ears. I was going for Peter Fonda in Easy Rider but wasn't there. "Off of the ears?" she aked.

"Yes." Do men get haircuts and leave with hair still over their ears? That doesn't sound worth it.
"I'll cut it and give it some texture."

Texture? It's hair. "That sounds good." I didn't know what that sounded like.

I took off my glasses and this woman -- I didn't catch her name -- started cutting, and I wanted to marry her. She used scissors. No clippers. This was going to be, as a barber in Beacon Hill, Boston once told me, a scalp carving. She knew what she was doing and I felt relaxed. Maybe it was the beer buzz, buut I was feeling good about this one. She snipped. I sat. When she took a break, I sipped. I got comfortable and spoke up.

"You know you're my first," I said. "I mean, this is my first Portland haircut." As if this meant anything to her.

"Where are you from?"

"New Mexico."

"Why did you come here."

"For a haircut," kidding. "Ahhh, change, I guess."

"I've never been to New Mexico, but I think I'd rather be there than here."

I don't get it. "It's bright there," was all I had.

She snipped; I sipped.

She leans in front of me -- cleavage, quick peak -- "Close your eyes." Hair was brushed from my forhead with a gentle brisk.

Snip. Sip. And she was done. It looked good.

"It looks good," I told her.

She wasn't convinced. "I'm going to dry it and put some product in it."

"O.K." Whatever.

She starts blow drying my hair. I don't think I've ever had done that.

"Do you ever dry your hair."

"Not really."

"First time for everything."

I don't get it. She goes to get something.

"This is..." more cleavage at eye level ... and she says something else that I didn't catch.

She rubs what looks like Turtle Wax in my hair and gives me a faux hawk.

"I like doing this," she says with her hands in my hair "It makes the blonde shiny and brings out the texture."

Texture? I was starting to get it.

"Is it O.K. or do you want me to put it down? It'll probably come down anyway."

"Oh no .... It's O.K."

"You'll pay her," she says leading me. I polish off the High Life and put it somewhere.

"A short cut," she tells the woman who gave me the beer, and who is also running the computer register.

Short cut? That wasn't on the board.

"This is what I used (in your hair)," she tried to sell me. "You're not a hair product guy, are you?"

"No, not really," she walks to her station to sweep up my hair.

"Nineteen dollars."

Not a buzz, not a style. Both? I guess that deserves a tip. Three? Sure. I hand it to her, making eye contact and while avoiding the cleavage peak. "Thank you," we both say at the same time.

Groundhog Day

We sit.

We walk when we want. We look at those around, perhaps also walking. We share glances but don't talk. Our expressions say, 'hello,' and, 'nice to meet you.' The rest we must make up and do so in our heads. We find out about them, but we find out more about ourselves. They bring out good in us and we smile without being funny.

We wonder.

Our imagination puts us in different lives. And in different places to live. With different people, not yet met or that we'll never meet. We'll be someone else for a sec, but then we'll be us again. The warmth of our new, make-believe houses, new lives chills and we're outside again. Wind makes our vision tear to blur.

We blink.

We search and make eye contact with another. We'll do it all over, and then we'll come back and sit. Our hearts tell us to be with someone, anyone. And we try. We fail at that because they're not right. We hurt for ourselves and for them. We don't want to be alone but we can't be with anyone. We try again. We fail. So we stay alone for a while.

We sleep.

We awake to a new day. We do the same thing. We live Groundhog Day. We don't want to, but we do. We try not to but can't help it. We cry for change, hurt for a new life. We work at it like a third job. We become obsessed with not being us, with being someone better. We know what's wrong, know what's better. So we try that.

It works.

Oh, how it works. We change for the better and feel better. We make amends with our old selves and don't live in regret. We look forward to new, knowing what we've learned. We sit, then stand. We walk, then talk to someone, anyone. We walk a different way, then meet someone different. This is what we do. And we are who.

part of the problem

Maybe not everyone should have access to my thoughts, which lately are coming out in the form of blog -- sometimes blah. I mean, maybe somethings aren't blog worthy. And, then again, maybe everything is and should be.

A girl of my past, one I still talk to, e-mail, think about, wrote and said she might be coming to Portland for Spring Break. I was a finalist.

'Great,' I said, 'I'm for that. Stay with me, however, I might have moved by then -- see previous blog. What? You don't read my blog? Don't know carsonation? I'll send it to you. You can read what I've done since I've been here, since I left you in Albuquerque.'


'Wait ... fuck ... ah, shit ... maybe ... you shou-.' Damn. Too-fucking late. Message sent.

Two days pass. I write a haiku while sitting on the john:

We check our e-mail,
our voicemail and mailboxes;
we turn but don't talk.

She writes me again.

"Interesting...sounds like you're not only having apartment problems, but girl problems...that sucks. Anyways, had mentioned my spring breakpossibilities to a friend and I believe he invited himself to Portland...room for two? Let's talk soon-tootaloo."

He? Who's he?

What did I do? I don't know. That's part of my problem: I don't know.