I write from Albuquerque with tired eyes

The other night I was reading this book. It wasn’t anything special. I can’t even tell you who wrote it. It was a book inside a book is what it was. Maybe you’ve read one like it. There’s a major plot, a major character, and then there are subplots, or other characters. But the main character is telling a story. I guess it’s what you would call post modern. It’s not a story about this character but a story about the character telling another story. Like I said it’s not anything special. There are books like it nowadays. And, like I said, I can’t even remember the name of the author. Alessan Something, or Something Alessan…don’t know. Not important. What happened, though, after I turned off my reading light, when my eyes were too heavy to grasp the meaning of the next paragraph, I began saying sentences in my head. My mind continued reading after the book was closed. After the light was out, after my eyes were closed, sentences formed from god-knows where. The novel commenced. The paragraph next started to make sense. I was back in the book, or writing my own.

I was startled by this so much that I woke up from the sleep I was trying to seek. I was tired before I started reading but started reading because I wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep on my own. I’m awake after my mind began to work on its own, creating literature without me in front of a keyboard. I was being flooded with so much inspiration, so close to sleep, but at the same point, I thought, if I woke up and turned on the reading light it would wash away all I had thought of. That thought opened my eyes. Simultaneously, my computer, my Dell Inspiron 2500 started to hum. Did I forget to turn it off, and now, after an hour so of idle time was it turning itself into sleep mode-- hibernation? I didn’t know. I waited awake in the dark listening.

There’s a tiny fan in the Dell Inspiron 2500. It spins, oh does it spin. Little green lights blink as the computer thinks. I’m trying to think about the sentences, the paragraph, the part of the story that I thought up after I turned off the light, after I put the book down. What happened happened just then, but I can’t recall what I was just thinking about, what my mind was thinking about on its own, without me in front of my keyboard, as mentioned, to type it down.

And now, now my laptop’s open (Keyboard right there!), my Dell Inspiron 2500 is up to something, but what? What is different than what I wanted to happen. I want to connect my computer to my conscious, my subconscious. I want those thoughts that I just lost recorded, on a word document saved so to be on the screen when I wake up. I want the Dell Inspiron 2500 to go into my sleep mode as I go into sleep mode, and instead of our minds being both on idle, I want vindication that these intense thoughts that I have while not fully awake mean something. I want us to sleep together. For a story, a memory, I want my dream to be there when I wake up. There for me to shape, make poetic.

Before going to sleep for the night the Dell Inspiron 2500 makes quite a racket. The fan, mentioned already, hums. The laptop LCD screen lights up to say to who’s not looking hibernation is occurring. That it’s about to go black. And that’s it. Out cold. Silence. And sleep. But not for me. I’m awake wondering if the next time I sit in front of the Inspiron 2500 there will be inspiration instead of mind chasing thoughts that are hidden in the crevasses of my cranium, memory me lifting and digging, searching for anything that seems.

My distraction are lonely people

Today's adventures have me encounter two homeless men. Not uncommon in Portland to meet up with people on the streets who call it their home, I just happen to stop and talk to two of them today.

The first I'll call Red Beard. I guess his beard was blondish. Kind of like mine when I grow it out, but mine comes in darker. He had a green hood covering his head as most hood's do, but it was an undergarmet to his coat. His pants were slightly stained and his Nike's looked in pretty good shape. He was pushing a bike. I knew he was a street person because we were in Powell Park, the park voted mostly likely to have an empty bottle of gin in the grass. It was morning, before ten I think but don't know for sure because I had left my timepiece (cell phone) at home, but I think it was because I had to walk my dog and get some school work done early in the day. I had snoozed for about an hour longer than I should have, and needed to complete the part of a group project that I had put off far too long (until the last possible hour). I think I work better under pressure, but at the same time have a hard time determining what I can fit into to that time continum that can get done and can get done well, which is so much fucking better. Bill Gates is in my head reminding me of the one thing he learned at Harvard, "Don't procrastinate." I'm not listening. But I'm trying to listen to this bum. I know he's a bum, despite his clothing -- being sort of clean and all -- because, as mentioned, it's before ten and he's got a brown bag, which wraps around a forty oounce bottle of what I imagine being a malt beverage. He extends his arm my direction and asks me if I'd like a pull, which I refuse and then consider myself rude for doing. Is it rude to refuse an offer in the park, a place a man might call his home? I don't know. But it's early, and I have school work to do. Still, I'm not rude in that I don't leave him there -- at least not right then. I stand and listen to his diatribe. I hear what's bringing him down.

Red Beard, Green Hoodie tells me that he doesn't steal. He collects bottles and that at least that's honest. He's not stealing, which he's witnessed, which he's seen has gotten people into trouble. He says that he's not drinking as much as he was, which I believe to be true because he's up so early, but at the same time I find hard to believe because it is early and he does have a 40 in his hand, which I've mentioned but still feel the need to remind myself. I tell him I think he looks okay because homeless people need especially need the encouragment, and though I can't do much for this man -- I'm walking my dog in the park with empty pockets -- I think that I can afford a few minutes and an ear -- all he wants to do this morning is talk to someone. He goes off about how he's started projects, given them to others only to see them drop the ball, fail. He picks the projects back up, for some reason or another, sets it all back up, and, again for another vague reason, leaves them to it -- whatever it may be.

Red Beard, Green Hoodie says there are some people that don't drink and don't smoke dope. He doesn't understand them. He says that if it wasn't for a beer now and then, if it wasn't for smoking some herb now and then, his feet wouldn't be on the ground. He says these people who don't do these things feet aren't on the ground, and I try to picture these people -- they must be doing something, they must be at work at this hour making a living, working to pay bills. Red Beard, Green Hoodie says he just wants to have a beer. Collect some bottles and cans and watch the world go by. He makes gestures with his mouth and I'm wondering how many teeth he's got in there, not many, I suppose. I continue to listen but find it hard. He's not making much sense. He asks me if I have my pipe on me and I tell him I do not. Then, he tells me a story how the other day he was going through some trash and came across a bag of soil. He says in the bag of soil there was a stem, connected to the stem some leaves. I trust him that he knows the leaves were from a plant that he could smoke, and he assures me that after drying this plant out for the last few days that all he needs to do is find a pipe and he can smoke it, that he can get high and watch the world go by. In the meantime, he feels his pockets and when he gets to his breast pockets he smiles. I knew I had some tobacco, he says, and pulls out the yellow package of Top tobacco. He begins to roll. I want to tell him of my friend that rolls spliffs, a combination of tobacco and marijuana, but I hold my tongue.

I watch him light up the cigarette that he's just rolled. I listen a little more, again because this is all I can give. He asks me if I have any bottles or can, corrects himself, I mean not on you, he says, but still he wonders if I can point him in any direction. I think to yesterday, when I deposited all the bottles and cans from a party we had. How there were some that the machine didn't take, how he could have those and still get money for them, but I don't say anything. I save my breath and shake my head no. By now I want to leave and my dog too. She jumps on this man and gets mud on his pants that seem sort of clean, but he doesn't seem to mind the paw print she's left. He gets joy out of this and says the obvious, what a happy dog you have. I tell him good luck, take care, and goodbye, and I leave the way I came, with him in the park, by the bleechers of a field not played.

Later in the day, after spending money on coffee and eggs, after spending money on a color copy and then on more coffee and a cookie, I'm approached by a man on the sidewalk. Can I get a quarter is all he asked. I'm prepared this time, not to talk but with a quarter in my pocket. I fish for change, the remainder of a bill I broke. I pull out two and begin to hand it to him. He's making an excuse for why he's begging, how he's not from here, how he needs help. I help him, giving him 50 cents. I know it's for booze, that he doesn't deserve this. That I have more than I need. That I don't deserve it either. He's grateful, though, for what I give him. I give him more, a piece of trite advice. I tell him to take care of himself. He should spend the money on food. I know he won't but I don't want to get into it. I want to catch my bus, fill my own stomach. Make myself feel better. Take better care.

There's a voicemail in my inbox that I ignore. I don't know what to say, so I say nothing. I'm sore in the stomach, I ache in the head. I'm tired and at the end of the quarter. I hate excuses and don't know why I'm noticing these things. I don't want to. I want to be grateful. I'm not homeless. I'm not asking for cans or quarters. But I'm still not giving what I can.

Life's a trip, Son

The plan was to view the movie Bobby. Bobby? Bobby? What's that about, I ignorantly asked. Emilio Estevez was the answer. No, not about him. By him. His masterpiece. His painting on the wall. Oh, Robert F. Kennedy. I get it now. I have a book, not by him (he wrote three) but about him. One of his many son's put together a book of quotes: from speeches, from readings, from people that knew him, from his famous daybook. It's called "Make Gentle the Life of the World." It is his vision, and I recently had it sent to me by my mother and from my New Mexico library. I like it because it's inscribed by someone I used to know: Tim Evans, a newsbroadcaster that I worked with in a political office. His inscription, which he wrote the day he quit to go back to TV, says: "I hope this may offer you some wisdom & inspiration in you journeys, Tim." Thanks, Tim.

I go the the bookshelf (my Oregon library) and pull the book Tim gave me and I show it to the friend I'm going to see the movie Bobby with and I find something I thought was lost (At first I thought the book was lost, it's thin and hidden.) As you may recall my birthday was earlier this month (see Birthday Boy Celebrates His 27). You didn't thank me for the card, my mom said a week after the anniversary of me born by her. No, I didn't get it, I said to her. And I found out it was a special card, and that inside the card was a hundred-dollar credit/gift card you can get nowadays. What you've never had you've never lost, I think with saddness. A message came back the next day (or the day after) that the credit/gift card hadn't been used, was stopped, and would be reissued in the coming days, weeks or months -- I still don't have the new one.

And as it turns out a new one wasn't necessary. The reason was it wasn't used was because back behind my Robert F. Kennedy book was that card of mine, unopened, never seen. And how it got there -- I'll let you draw your own conclusions -- isn't important, but that it was is.

"Hope you enjoy the ride and you never forget the way home." Thanks, Mom.

Fort Clatsop

When the call came into the dispatcher the second time, Astoria area firemen responded to the burning Fort Clatsop replica. They didn't make it, and the building burned.

Shame, too. Before it burned to the ground in a controversial fire, the historic site was a field-trip favorite.

The fire, ruled an accident after investigation, destroyed the community's symbol of two explorers, sent by their country to find the Pacific Ocean.

Meri Lewis and Bill Clark's met the Pacific by the Columbia River near present day Astoria in the county of Clatsop. Oregon, U.S.A.

This is our part of history. Or, our part to a part of part of some history. Partial ammounts of that part.

While Captain Clark blazed trail to the coast, he assigned his men to build a structure that he sketched on a notepad. That log cabin, put on pad with pencil, is where Corps Discovery spent an especially cold winter in 1805 without whiskey and without tobacco.

Recognized as a place of significance, but with little evidence of Lewis and Clark's orriginal fort plans, the Community of Clatsop County (CCC) constructed a replica in 1955.

Built and abandoned by our heros, the community rebuilt a replica of the Fort, and, for a short while, it became the center of our historical attention.

The disk is obsolete

A disk was dropped off at my door this evening. My housemate, who was playing X-box, answered when the doorbell rang. He was closest. Heidi was barking in the garage. I was in my room, on my computer like I am now. I stood, though, and peeked out the bedroom door and down the hall so I could see the doorway and who was there. I squint and the scene happens all at once and before I was in it. I'm behind the screen.

Short brown hair and glasses appear on a petite girl standing in the doorway, blocked by the housemate who answered the door.

"Can you give this to Carson?" she asks.
And my roommate says, "Yeah. But don'cha want to say anything to him?" She doesn't and leaves. I think that she saw me.

The door is closed. The girl is gone. Handed over to me a yellow disk, a 1.44 MB floppy that no one uses anymore but me, and I sort have stopped. It has my intials on it, marked by myself. On the plastic and not a label. This is a formatted disk that I gave to the girl now walking down my driveway and out of my life.

"You got diskt," I swear my housemate said.

I put the obsolete yellow square into my A drive thinking two things that end up both being wrong: she could have put a virus on the disk; and, she saved a document that told me why she was dropping this off, now, a year after I gave it to her. Why she doesn't want to speak to me.

Turns out that there is nothing more on that disk than a collection of short stories I wrote, saved and had given a girl I once knew.

On the bus ths morning

I recieve a call from my mom. She's home sick from work and wondering when I can come home. She just has a cold, she said. Allergies from bushes she'd been cutting back yesterday, Sunday, a day we normally speak but didn't. Her illness isn't the reason she wants to know when I'm coming home.

I'm finishing my second quarter at Portland State in three weeks. I'll be off for one month before I'm scheduled to return for the next. I've said I'd go home. I want to, and for as much of it as I can. I want to get out of Portland for an extended period of time for the first time since I moved here two years ago. For the past year plus I've been without a car. And unable to travel with my dog, Heidi. I can't think of a month without her. I want to bring Heidi to New Mexico but don't think to check the animal policiy on southwest.com, a website for cheap fares my mother suggested. I'm going home I tell the one next to me. I see a great deal and click, yes, purchase. Now I'm committed. Later I look where to find out about dogs on planes. Southwest.com informs me that other than service dogs, personal pets are not permitted. Heidi doesn't benifit from my transportation bargin. I look for other options, (A friend suggests a website for owners of pets who need them moved by people going a direction, a form of hitchhicking. Coordination and forty dollars, he says but he forgot the name of the website.) but don't find an answer. I need to be in a meeting and leave the computer.

After dinner with friends, I catch the No. 4 bus to the nearest main road, then walk through the cold, wet, dark side streets to my house. When I get inside my roommates meet me with whattups and nods. Heidi races to the door. She sits and wags and looks up to me for attention. I grab her by the scruff, rub her neck, say yeah yeah hello hi Heidi. I put my bag down and go to my room. My alone place. I sit on my bed and Heidi jumps to look me in the face. Yes, I tell Heidi. I'm going to work it out. I'll make this work. I can't imagine her not in my life. We've been through a lot.

Birthday Boy Celebrates His 27

For those who have yet to wish the birthday boy a happy 27th, don't. It's too late. And he won't accept. He thinks you've forgotten him. He's unsure you care. He'll probably forget yours--if he hasn't already---when your day comes.

Birthday's are just days. Today's one. We're living it. It's somebody's birthday today, and we're not wishing them well. We have hundreds of people in our lives. And 365 days in a year. How can you stamp a date on someone? How can that image be burned in your head? To be remembered when the time comes is asking a lot.

For now we celebrate with the ones around us. We get called by the close, the family, those who have been with us for birthdays past. We take their calls early-they get it out of the way. We say they're sweet to call. Not for remembering, but for fitting us in. And we try to do during the day, what we enjoy doing on a normal day: eating breakfast, reading a book, going to the park with your dog, eating another meal, drinking beers with friends.

We regret to inform people that we want to hear from but don't that today is a special day, but only for the one who was born on this day, a few years back.

Before it's too late, Happy Birthday...to me

Chasing Larry Bird (the dog)

Of the several things I did today two were most frustrating and in a similar way.

First, a friend of mine, who I need a vacation from, has a puppy named after basketball great Larry Bird. Larry, the dog, not the bird, was picked out of a box at a grocery store in the Northeast. Well, Larry was cut at first like all puppies are. But now Larry is growing up, spends too many hours inside and has a ton of energy. I went over to see my friend and I let Larry slip out the front door. Well, it became my responsiblity to catch Larry before he ran across the street and got hit by a car. Cornered, the little fucker in my friend's backyard, but still he wouldn't let me catch him. I'd ask him, Please? I'd sit on the ground. I'd pretend that I wasn't paying attention. And I chased. I chased Larry the dog around bushes, through the garden around jungles of trees--this backyard is too big.

"Try giving him some food," my friend suggested through the window.
"OK, yeah, hand me some." Through the window he passed me a handful of dog food pellets.
"Remember, he may be faster than you, but you're smarter."

I tried this. And Larry seemed interested. When my cell phone rang, however, I dropped the pellets. Lost in conversation, Larry ate the pellets and I couldn't catch him.

"Oh, he's trying to pay tag or something," a man working next door said over the fence.

For thirty minutes it was my mission to catch this dog. I would be a terrible cowboy. How do dog catchers do this? When finally I sacrificed my knee tackled the pup and grabbling him by his loose fitting scruff. Fuck, I hate that dog.

I'm not a very good phone friend, but I began talking to a Denver friend on the way home from the bus stop.

"How ya doing?"
"What you been up to?"
"I'm not good, but not bad. I'm fine, too."

Things like this. We chase around the many points. She's looking for love. I'm looking for myself. She doesn't want to be alone. I think I need to be alone. She wants to know what love is. I think I know what it's not. She mentions a name I don't want to hear. Wants to know what I hear from her. Says we were good together and I say, yeah but it's over; we don't talk anymore. Questions arise as to what happened, and I want to know to; it's complicated, I say.

This friend of mine figures she needs someone. That she doesn't like to be by herself. But she needs to be by herself; help herself before anyone else can help her. And I learn a little from this as it comes out of my mouth. And when she says, but I'm not happy unless I'm with someone, I'm back in the backyard of my friend's house watching Larry the dog run circles around me. And I can't get 'em.

Cake fight evite

I didn’t do so well with my first evite. An evite, for those unaware, is an online e-mail of which in the body is notification that someone has invited you somewhere. And to find out who and when and where all you need to do is click on a link which takes you the invitation.

I guess I lied when I said this was my first. A girl at school once sent out an evite to people in our work group about when she would be conducting a meeting. She was the host.

This host, this time (my second, I now admit), was another girl from school, one that I’m also working in a group with. A girl I just met. Her party was to be this afternoon and I clicked on the YES I’ll be there, and I was there, but not at the right time due to a number of errors that I’ll describe here for you.

This girl. Her name isn’t important to this story, but what you need to know is that she is good looking. When grouped with her, I thanked my teacher under my breath. She shared ideas and I love her dark, sometimes sarcastic humor. She's funny and when we made eye contact there seemed to be chemistry.

I’ve been wrong in chemistry before. My high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Meharg, gave me a C. One day in class I electrocuted myself in the back of the room. During one of his lectures I stuck a ball point pen into an open socket and was shocked. I think I've grown a lot since then. I’ve gotten better about realizing when a girl likes me, when I like her. When there is what in chemistry is called mutual attraction. I’m getting better.

Or so I thought. I got an evite to this girl's birthday party. I clicked on the link. Saw she was the host. Saw that deep in the northwest part of town, a neighborhood I used to live in, there would be a Birthday Cake Fight. RAIN OR SHINE, it said. This was how she wanted to spend her birthday. "Please bring a change of clothes (unless you want to get lick)," the evite said. "Following the fight, we will retire to my miniscule apartment to enjoy some fall-themed food while our cake-encrusted clothes go through the wash," I continue to quote the evite. "Gifts not necessary or expected. Cake for the fight will be provided, as will hot cider afterwards." Finally, an afterthought: "Please come, because my girlfriend is an easy target and she’s going to need some defense. ;)"

I read all this and clicked YES, hell yes I’ll be there. "I love cake," I write in the comment box, "and throwing stuff. I’ll do my best to be there."

Girlfriend can mean many things, I’ve come to terms with. Girlfriends: you can go shopping with them; they can help take care of your kids. Girlfriends are there for other girls to talk about boy problems. Go on walks and such. I’ve heard about girlfriends who are girls and friends. Then, I’ve also heard about girls who are more than friends—Gay until graduation. Now I’ve even heard about girls who lick frosting off one another following a cake fight.

I wanted to go. Damn, it sounded like fun. I was a little pissed that this girl had a girlfriend, but I put that disappointment aside when I pictured girls rubbing cake on one another. Fighting and fussing and flinging frosting on breasts, necks, and chests, I could already see it. I didn’t so much as want to fight myself (I'm a food lover), but I really wanted to try and make this. If they want to waste food, I can watch.

On normal circumstances my word is my bond. I didn’t want evite to be an exception. But errors were made.

I have this new roommate. His name isn’t important for the telling of this tale, either. He moved in yesterday and today I personally invited him to the cake fight. The first error: who was I to invite him to a party? I specifically clicked that I would be solo in attendance. But I wanted a crutch, needed one, now that I thought about it: lesbians, a whole crew of them, and me. I'd be caked. So he said he was interested, YES, he said. He said he’d be back by 4:00 and that we’d leave then to be there at 4:30, the time the evite said the cake fight began.

My phone’s incoming calls lists my new roommate calling at 4:16. He said he was on his way. Truthfully, I was on my way out the door. The thing about people is they are flaky. And late. And their word is not always their bond. He showed up, though, and we started driving. I knew we’d be late, but still I wanted to go. We made some wrong turns, went down some one ways that weren’t the right way. We missed some exits. We nearly died.

When we arrived at the park, at what I thought was a reasonable hour, five, I was thinking, 'they’re waiting.' I said I would be there, so how could they start the cake fight without me? Well, as we pull up to the park I noticed that clean-up was underway. The fight was over and I didn’t see licking, so we didn’t get out. We didn’t make it.

I didn’t know the first thing about cake fights before this week. But the most important thing I learned about them is, like any evite, when you say you are going to be there, you should be there on time.

get out the vote

Up ahead is a man on the sidewalk with a flashlight. He’s checking bushes, I think at first. I approach with my dog on leash and at a close distance.

"Irish Setter," he says as if I’ve asked him to guess the breed of dog.

"Hardly," I say. "She’s a mutt."

I notice he was flashing a clipboard and he says he’s trying to get out the vote. Heidi, my five year old mutt, jumps on him. He says not to worry, "Dogs love me. All dogs."

"I was a mailman," the dark-haired man of in his mid-thirties says. "Until the accident."

He doesn’t go into it and I don’t want to know what kind of accident. I want him to get out the vote. "What are you campaigning for."

"Forty one. You do you think about?"

It’s late in the campaign season and I should know this one by now, but there are a lot of forty measures and I’m not sure which it is. Taxes. But what? I’m not sure. My friend Nate is working on this one.

"No on 41, right?"

The man mentions something about some guy from New York and screwing over Oregon. I’m not sure that he knows what it means either. "Tell the truth. I’m a little disoriented." I believe him. Clean-shaved and white pants, the man was a little too eager to talk to me. "I’m from Bismarck, North Dakota. When I delivered mail there you could see house numbers." He flashes the his little red flashlight as Heidi is eating weeds growing out a crack in the sidewalk. He points the light to the house we're standing in front of, the one I originally suspected was his and that he was picking berries from the bushes. The light hits the two front windows, which are big and beside the front door. "You see any numbers here?"

"No, I don’t, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s home anyway," I hope because I don’t want them coming out and catching me with this disoriented man from North Dakota.

"This is the strangest neighborhood I’ve ever been in," which happens to be the Southeast neighborhood that I live in. "I don’t know why they put me in this blue collar neighborhood. I don’t even have three day growth on my face. I don’t listen to Billy Joel or whatever."

I don’t either, well, listen to Billy Joel.

"Would you think I’d go up or down? These number jump up in interval."

It’s dark and my eyes aren’t very good, and so I don’t bother to look at his clipboard, but I try to explain that because of the short blocks in Portland, yeah addresses do climb and I told him to go south if he wanted higher numbers.

"I pretty much ruined my brain with the vodka," he says. "And feel lost out here."

"Alright, man, well good luck," I suggest. And I feel sorry for him and don’t want to be him. He points he flashlight towards his face like I used to do at summer camp. The flashlight is under his chin and the light creates shadow from his crooked nose and his indented eyes.

"Hey," he says. "Do I look like Jack?"

"Jack?" I want to know.

"O Lantern."

"Oh, yeah," I laugh, "Kinda. I mean, with that light in your face."

And instead of continuing down SE 14th on the west side of the street, I cross--with Heidi--over and head east, up Ivon towards my house and away from the man now singing some tune I don’t recognize that’s stuck in his head.

I can’t read so I’ll write.

There’s got to be something on my mind because I can’t concentrate on the book that I’m reading. It’s for class so I have to read it. I don’t really want to but have to. I want to. Enjoy it, really. I just don’t want to now.

Now, I’m hoping that she’ll come through the door. I’m hoping she’ll walk right in. I know she won’t, but that’s my deepest thought. And that’s what’s keeping me from concentrating on the book in my hand, lying on my bed glancing at my closed door that won’t open because there is no one else in my house, though, that’s all I want right now.

I just took a bath. It was the first bath I’ve taken it in a hell of a long time. It was spur-of-the-moment.

Like I said, I can’t read right now. I was in bed and I wanted to sleep but I looked over at the clock and it read 8:30, and that’s too early to sleep so I decided to take a bath. Baths are really depressing for me, if you want to know the truth. They remind me of suicide. Blood. I tried to make it relaxing though. I poured myself a glass of red wine. I had already been drinking but thought that I needed to relax some more.

A bath just wasn’t enough, so I played some music.

For some reason I wanted the most depressing music I could think of. Elliot Smith came to mind, his CD that I wanted to listen to I couldn't because I left in Albuquerque the last time I visited. Inside its case was a cloudy CD I didn’t recognize at first, but then recognized as the Mountain Goats, a real depressing title called Tennessee. I thought I’d lost Tennessee but had just misplaced it inside a CD case of which CD was misplaced in another place, that I’ll talk about later.

I played one of his others, though, Elliot Smith’s. I played Figure Eight. And that CD is depressing as all hell, but it invokes the wrong kind of memories that I was going for. So, I pushed eject and flung the disc across the room – fuck it. I took the cloudy CD out of the Tennessee case and put the whole player, CD and all, into the bathroom with me. If suicide was what I decided, this would be easy. I was kidding myself. I really just wanted to relax. My back hurt for what ever fucking reason. I hadn’t been doing anything and maybe that was the problem. I hurt my back lifting boxes in the warehouse of Borders months ago. I went to physical therapy. Was put on muscle relaxers, and was told by my doctor to take it easy. I could never. Didn’t, and pushed myself until I ended up quitting the job. I did what I did until I didn’t want to do it any longer. Not until I couldn’t do it any longer. So, my back is hurting like hell today, it started yesterday actually, but today I had the house to myself and wanted to take a bath. I just couldn’t relax and that may have had something to do with the back pain. It did earlier in the month.

Earlier in the month I had this tension in my upper back. I was just starting school, had quit my job at Borders, was working for a newspaper, and was trying to figure out, again, who I was. Over the summer I had been dating a girl. I met her at a party and talked to her, briefly, before I had to leave with some friends who were visiting me. I got her number before I left, not knowing anything but her first and last name, her area code and her phone number. I did some investigating and found out she was going to college at the end of summer, undergrad. After further review I found out she was going into her first year of undergrad and that made her 18. Shit, 18, I thought. That didn’t seem very old. And before I could think about how old I was at 18, and during which time I was thinking about the graduate program that I had applied to, we ended up going out on a date.

She didn’t seem like 18. She was catching on to things I was saying. Hell, I’m not all that smart or maybe she’s really smart. She did hide some of her ignorance in her silence. I did hide some of my maturity in jest. But besides the point, we were having a fun time, that first date, which carried into the night.

It's night now, and I'm alone. I feel more alone now than ever. It's not a lonely depressing thing, just one that I think of. It's empty though and in the emptiness I tend to think: fill up the glass. Or, fill up the air with music, or the tub with water.

By my house, we were at a party, when the 18-year old told me one thing I can’t ever forget. She said, I’ve never had sex before. I want to (with you) but not tonight because I’ve been drinking and want to remember it. Commendable I thought. Truly mature of her to say this to me. Or drunk of her to say this to me. I couldn’t decide. I did decide to take her home with me. To make sure she was safe. And in my bed we slept together, and not in the sexual sense like you are thinking, but in the physical, biological sense of which people actually rest during the night in preparation for the morning and next day. We woke, fully clothed and still smiling at one another and not knowing what to say. So we smiled, which seemed easy at the time. We ended up going to breakfast, laughing about this and that. It was harmless.

I think about her as my bath water is nearly to the level which is soakable. It’s high enough for me to rinse the tub, so I do. I let the water out and let it drain all the way to clear out whatever invisible particles might be gathering. I’ve put Tennessee on the CD player and am looking for a way to relax more. I take another drink of the red wine I’ve bought and remember Monkey Fist.

Monkey Fist is what I call the tension in my back. One of the reasons I’m taking the bath. I told a number of friends Monkey Fist and they looked at me weird. Called me weird, even. I further described the feeling that I was feeling as that of a monkey's fist. See, there’s a monkey sized fist inbetween my shoulder blades. He keeps it there all day, twisting and turning and punching and knuckling. I don’t know why the monkey has his fist there. For the most part it is impossible to tell why. But it’s there. Where the neck meets the spine, the monkey's fist meets my back. And lately, he’s gone away, but always he comes back. Today he's slept in, but again, the back pain from my lifting days has come back to haunt me, and I think the Monkey Fist has something to do with it but I can’t figure out what.

The water has filled up. I have fresh glass of wine. The music is playing. I’ve found some incense, which I’m not really into but have located in the empty bedroom of my house. It will create ora, I think, and will help me relax to the point that I’ll be able to enjoy this bath enough to clear my head and think of it as a relaxing venture of time and not one in which I associate with suicide.

It’s hot enough, I tell you. And if you ask any male who grew up taking bathes or takes them still he’ll tell you one thing: shield. You’ve got to shield if you know anything about testicles, hot water, and washcloths. They all relate and play an intrical part in the bath process, which happens so rarely with men these days but has and does to the extent that shielding is a culture and like I said, is common enough for you to ask the one you’re with if he knows anything about the practice. You should get some reaction and if you don’t you can’t blame me. For if he’s not all that familiar he should be and if you both want kids, or want to teach your kids anything about protecting his junk you should do so. I know my dad did.

So I shield and make sure my wine is within grasp. The Mountain Goats are singing about what it’s like to break up and I automatically think of her. But now know, not think, that she’d not walking in on me. It’s not like I want to think of her but I guess I do because I put myself here. Am in the depressing tub, am taking a depressant, put on the CD that will make me think of her, but still, am trying to relax. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t try to counter the feelings I was having.

She’ll walk in, I think again. Will catch me here listening to this. Will sit on the toilet seat, pour her own glass of wine. I’ll be so relaxed I’ll be able to speak my mind and she her’s. We’ll work this out. I know we will. It’s hot but that’s okay. I feel the heat working on my back, making it feel more relaxed. My nuts don’t hurt. I’ve protected them, at least made them aware of the environment they’re submerged in. They’re fine, yes. The sound is seeping into my skin. The scent I smell is fine, and I associate it with relaxation. The wine tastes good, I’m dizzy. I cup my hand in the water and put the heat over my face. It feels good, a rebirth.

Water to me has always been that of rebirth. It’s cliché, but one that I’ve put in my pocket and kept for my own. Shower after shower a new day starts. Swim, submerge, hot springs replenish. It’s like I’ve been baptized every time, as I think of it.

Ahh, oooh, back in the womb.

Go to the coast, into the ocean. So cold. But submerge yourself in the salty water and feel alive again. Born.

And I’m back. My eyes open and it’s hot. Too hot. My body is relaxed but I’m no longer comfortable. I’m fine, though, just need to get out.

The CD is almost over, the incense is half way burned. I’m threw. That’s good. Thank you. And, whew.

I get out of the tub and should salve myself but don’t. Instead, I stagger to my bedroom, leaving on the rest of the CD, I put out the incense. I pull a towel from my closet and lay it over my bed as I lie down naked and wet and tired. I close my eyes and listen to the rest of the Mountain Goats CD. I want to dry out.

I turn on my reading light and want to read but can’t. I can’t concentrate on the letters that form words, that form sentences and main ideas. I’m lost in a story. Don’t know what’s going on. Can’t think. So I drink some more and then think that’s the problem as I pour some more.


And so I write and type because I can’t read, which doesn’t make sense because reading is what got me here. So did thinking, and, then when I think about it, tonight, so did drinking.

the year winter never came

There are droplets of water in the atmosphere. Families of them.

In this part of the atmosphere, where water droplets form, there was once one of the smallest bits water. And his name was Drip.

Drip’s dad, Drop, worked at a snowflake factory. Drop dried, however, before Drip got to meet him, but Drip heard about the snowflake factory and Drop and always wanted to work in the snowflake factory. Just like his dad.

Many of the droplets Drip went to school with didn’t want to work in the snowflake factory. They were happy falling from the sky. Fine with just being droplets. Drip was different. Drip wanted to be apart of something. Make something with his life.

So one day when he was a big enough droplet, Drip went to the snowflake factory to find out how he could make a snowflake. Everyone Drip asked said he needed to speak to Old Man Winter, the factory’s owner.

So Drip went to Old Man Winter’s office.

The first time Drip went to see Old Man Winter, Old Man Winter’s secretary said Old Man Winter was not available, and that Drip would have to make an appointment.

When Drip came back to Old Man Winter’s office in the snowflake factory, the secretary said Drip couldn’t see Old Man Winter. That the Old Man was unavailable, again.

“But I made an appointment,” Drip said. “I want a job. I want to make a snowflake.”

“I’m sorry,” the secretary said. “But Old Man Winter is out.”

So Drip left.

When Drip went to visit Old Man Winter the third time, and without an appointment, he was determined to get into the office and to see Old Man Winter. He wanted to work in the snowflake factory. Just like his dad.

So in walked Drip, and right past the secretary, and into Old Man Winter’s office.

“Old Man Winter, I’m Drip," Drip said, "and I’m going to work in the snowflake factory. And I’m going to make a snowflake." Drip explained that his dad was Drop, and that Drop worked for Old Man Winter, and "I’m going to work for you, too,” Drip said.

Old Man Winter was surprised. And Drip, in front of Old Man Winter, was surprised with himself, as well.

And for a full minute neither said word.

Finally, Old Man winter spoke. “I remember your dad. Drop made the best snowflake,” Old Man Winter said. “And I like you, Drip, but I’m sorry, son, there aren’t enough droplets in this atmosphere to make snowflakes.

"There won’t be snowflakes this season.” Old Man Winter said he was getting out of the snowflake business.

Drip remembered his droplet friends, the dropouts. How they didn’t want to work at the factory, how they just wanted to fall. Drip became sad.

"Without snowflakes there won't be snow," Drip said.

“I know, Drip,” Old Man Winter said. “And without snow, there isn’t winter.”

And that was the year winter never came.

notes in a spiral

Underneath it all, there is this spiral pad I once took notes in. It isfilled with plans and poems. Some done. Some not done.

I can't seem to make sense of all the jotted words (some are crossed out), but inside the notebook is a sketch that I drew. I remember doing it, now. It was when trying to picture this girl became too much for my mind to handle, that I put her on a page in a picture I made with a pen. It's not all that good. I'm no artist. But I have it there, in my spiral notebook.

At one point, I put a photograph I had of her next to it, just to see how they'd look beside one another. It's clear: the artist's representation is an abstract.

It's not my fault, though, that I thought of her, often. Things I saw reminded me. And, as soon as I was with someone else, she'd drop me a line (she thought of me, too). And, then she'd come back, her face in my head, replacing what was new.

But now I can't even imagine what she looks like. It's been some time since I've seen her last, and I'm sure she's changed. Her face in the mind of another. Her person with other people.

Some memories are mysterious. How they form pictures in my mind. It's like there's a box inside a box that's been opened. The contents come clean, and, when cradled and inspected, dreams occur. I'm taken to a place that isn't here. A time that isn't now. And am put in a room with people that exist in the past.

My doomed self unsure all overa gain of my future.

Fall term begins

I toss, I turn.
Who's that next to me?
Oh yeah,
She’s looking at me.

I reach for the ceiling, my arm is perpendicular to our bodies.
It’s like I’m asking God a question,
but He’s stopped calling on me.

I look at my arm, anyway.
It’s slender, two-toned and tattooed.

Ju(kiss)st me.
Looking at her makes me smile.

I'd like her to ask me if something's wrong, but I hate that question.
So we jus’ kiss. And, that feels good.

Her skin’s soft.
Really, another kiss?
Why thank you.

So, my feelings end up forgotten.

She loves me and I love that.
But, I'm having conflicting thoughts.

What's wrong with me that I'm like this?

It's Just)kiss) tha(ahhh)t the last woman that told me changed her mind.

So, I think: This could be my chance.
Then, I think: She deserves better.

I’m no good tonight.
Does she know this/me/why?
She’s pretty/smart.

I’m a mess right now, I say.
She doesn’t need to hear this.
Oh, she’s kissing me, good.

She can’t see my thoughts even
when I push our heads together.

Right now mine’s tired and drained,
emotionally and physically.
It’s mental obviously.

And she kisses me hard.
And again and is up against me -- we’re close.

There j(k)u(i)s(ss)t the past,
years (between us),
memories (of others),
moments missed (keep kissing),
(Oh, the mistakes I’ve made!)
and, me.

There’s you, I think, looking at my extended fingers,
here, and

Can I just hold onto you?
That’s what I want to do.

She hasn’t seen me in
forever and so she grabs me
(wants to have sex with me).

I’m blah, but maybe
I’ll be better later, when I get back.
But, you’ll be gone soon too,
so what then?

I don’t know, and so should be alone.
No, no one should be.
I’ll end up there. I’m no good at this.
We all will. Who is?

I’m a mess.
I said this and it makes me seem dense.

She bites my lip before I can think more.

These times are hard to define

My calendar shows the first day of autumn is the 23rd. Unofficially, the end of summer is Labor Day – no more white shoes (or belts, I suppose). These times are hard to define. It started to rain in Portland last week, which means to me the dry season (summer) is over, but still we get sun bursts that warm us. Those bring me back. There are more green leaves on trees than there are yellow ones on the Park Blocks, which will lead you to believe that it’s not fall, yet. Sweaters are out (no sign of scarves yet, though), which means summer is over, but some people are still wearing sandals, they don’t want it to be. It’s getting later earlier, I think Yogi Berea said, and that’s a sign that summer has descended. Bye-bye brightness; Portland’s favorite color is gray. It’s too cool to go to the Sandy River -- sorry, rats -- so that means less drowning – that’s good, I guess. Swimming is a summer sport. The NFL began its regular season, a sure sign that summer’s over – Sunday’s are here.

Usually when the semester starts we tend to think that summer is over – school’s in session, sucka. But for most schools that was a month ago – summer in my calendar. We’re on the quarter system at Portland State, and not that I’m complaining about my extended vacation, but it seems like a late start.

End of September: It’s not something you think of as a traditional school start. Portland State is seasonal, and there’s a quarter for every season. There’s a quarter for every state, four quarters for a buck. Where does that get us? Where was everyone this summer? Is the real question. Seemed quiet round these parts. Few students take the summer quarter – it’s shorter, so why do we have it? If Portland State truly wants to be a traditionally university, and the housing department, the rise in First Year Experience (up 60 percent), the push for attendance in athletics, the meal plans, will all lead you to believe it does, why not move to the semester system? So, we’d have a summer session. We’d start earlier, finish earlier. Less transfer fiascos. ( A cough covers my university studies slip-in.)

This summer I was stuck in a place that wasn’t quite bliss and wasn’t quite stress. I was happy to be out of school – summer and school were never two words I put together – but I wanted the school year to start, mainly I wanted my financial aid check so I could stop working. My daily dilemma: enjoy the sunny summer day, but I had no money to do so.

Okay, there are some things to do without a dollar during summer: take a dip in the Willamette; rebel ride the max; loiter the library; wander the sidewalks, window shopping; and, wonder why it’s the second week in September and you’re still not in school.


Thai Coup Haiku

I'm all for a coup
detat, martial law, ha ha
"rampant corruption"

(more) Qs for yous

Got a message in my inbox, said you are not haikuing -- God bless you. Well, I'm showing you all I am, and I still can. Here's what I just jotted. Scribbled these bits while I was taking a shit, I jest. But could have in the same amount of time. Enjoy

They say there’s one more
Day that I have to work here
Closing the Borders

I’m sore and tired
It’s hard for me to get up
I’m just twenty-six

Done this for too long
Wake up, work, return, and drink
Over and over

So, for now I’ll stop
Clocking in and clocking out
Working for the Man

Direct Deposit
There’s money in my account
Swore I worked harder

I’ve made some friends here
Strong enough to keep? I think
Time will tell, I dwell

People come and go
In and out like the time card
Life really like this?

The structure falls down
No: mandatory hours
Schedule is broken

Cleaned out my locker
Today, gave away my things
Hope you enjoyed me

Ender's Game: a book report

This here, this is my first science-fiction book report.

My teachers (there are many out there) tell me to have an introductory paragraph, a body of some sort (three paragraphs), and a conclusion. This, the five-paragraph (page) essay. My thoughts don’t organize like that though, so I wrote this my way. And in Carsonation, you can’t edit me (Ha!).

Ender Wiggin: He’s got game. That’s what the title of the book implies anyway. Ender’s Game. I want to say it to you like I think it. It's intimidating.

"G-A-M-E, sinced it's been started I've been in it."

I was asked(?) to read Ender's Game. It was recommended to me, and I take book recomedations serious. I normally don’t read Sci-Fi. Have been told it’s anti-game. You know, chick retractor. But a special lady friend of mine gave it to me, and so I put away the 300-plus page paperback this past week as sort of a tribute to her. By the time I got through with it I found a connection with the book, the girl, this genre. Let me try(?) to explain.

I’m into coming-of-age novels. Like everyone, I’ve read Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Great voice, good narrative, a classic. Bank’s Rule of the Bone: another fantastic, first-person story of which main character I could relate to. Ender’s Game, by best-selling author Orson Scott Card, and winner of the Hugo Award, is the story of a pre-teen boy-genius, who’s special powers include: strategic planning, imagination, quick learning, operating on a low-calorie diet and limited sleep, computer-hacking abilities, and boyish athleticism. (Okay, maybe I can relate.) Ender Wiggin, which seems is recognized as having the ability to rule the universe in the womb, and seen -- with a monitor, mind you -- as the answer to all of Earth’s prayers as a military cosmonaut. Ender is the solution to a problem faced in the year 3030(?) against, you’d never believe it, Buggers.

Growing up, I was taught that picking buggers was a bad habit. I’ve come to realize that everybody gets them. They are a collection of debris that we breathe in. They can sometimes roll down the back of the throat, congregate as phlegm, and be spit out as something I’ll refer to as lugees. Buggers: bad? Or a natural, biological phenomena? Part of our daily lives, for sure. Prescription: Kleenex. Card parially portrays Buggers as the ultimate evil. The universal threat to man’s existence in this fantasy world. I’ll appreciate this creativity. I didn’t think of it, so I’ll read about it, contemplate its possibility(?). Yeah, okay. I’ll picture them (and you should too) as those animated gremlins from that one foot-fungus commercial.

Carefully crafted in the 1970s, (cough, and, Cold. War.), Card, a Mormon/Fascist/Racist/Sexist, attempts in Ender’s Game to incorporate political satire(?). I question this (notice the parenthetical punctuation) because satire – funny and thought provoking – it isn’t. The major flaw in this made-for-mass-market paperback novel is its failure to captivate a literate, politically insightful audience. I’m not about to write here that I’m an expert when it comes to satire, politics, the Russian Red, the political position of this time, or the fantasy world. I do, however, having read a book or two in my day, have the ability to acknowledge when an author has dreamt a story so far out of his own mind’s reach that he can't write his way out of it. In this case the universe is the setting, and Card cannot grasp that far. We can't blame him there. The political spectrum isn’t intergalactic, though, and Card writes his characters (pre-teens!) with worldly, John Locke-like insight. But it's clear he does not have it. For Mr. Card can’t describe political positions what his characters supposedly have. He tells but doesn't show.

As mentioned, I haven’t attempted the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre before – and don’t see myself doing so in the near future, even though I’ve recently acquired other such strippable paperbacks. I’ve heard from others that, with the stars as the setting, authors can and have grasped fantasy bigger imaginations. (I’ll take their word for it.)

There’s an Earth setting in this (no I won’t; yes I have to) novel, and it is Greensboro, North Carolina(!). Why in God’s name does Card make this the relatable setting to us Earthlings? I have no God’s-forsaken idea. It makes sense, however, if you read the forward. This is where he lives. Sheesh, is this the only place he’s lived? Greensboro, somewhere(?) in North Carolina, is out in the middle of nowhere. Okay, my opinion, but there’s woods, and some sort of town-like setting. There’s like a dozen universities there, is what I've read (elsewhere).

There’s one school there that I care about. One the average reader probably hasn’t even heard of. It’s a Quaker and private, liberal arts(?) college. It’s called Guilford, and it’s where this special lady friend of mine, who recommended the book is attending. Now, if you have a map in front of you, or have ever seen an image of the Continental United States you’re thinking: Dang, that’s about as far as two people (I'm in Portland, Ore.) could possibly be.

Clearly you haven’t read Ender’s Game.

the Enemy

The enemy woke me Saturday morning by throwing a paddleball birthday gift from my brother at my door as hard as he could. Woooop, crash, rubber-band reverb, and the bounce of the ball. Once. Then again. Then a third time. I put on my shorts to see what was the matter, though I knew who it was, I wondered why / how it had come to this.

I opened my bedroom door and saw the Enemy with his shorts low and with his shirt off. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. Maybe startled himself by his display of stupidity, the apparently stoned enemy stood and shaking he came up with his intended comments. ‘I don’t have respect for you,’ the Enemy said.

And I stared.

He went on, calling me such names as 'bitch' and an 'un-inspirable bitch'. I stood and stared and looked at the gashes in my door, created by the enemy. His weapon of choice: my own for-fun toy. He says it was a plastic bottle. There was no bottle.

He fragmented sentences together as to the reason for this middle-of-the night awaking; he pulled them from the belly of his consciousness. I tried to fall asleep at eleven, was awakened just after two, had to be up and ready for a ride to work, arriving at five. My body was tired, but my mind was now wide-awake. I stood, letting the Enemy get out whatever he thought he needed to say about me/ to me, at this point of our relationship/ living arangment, at this point of the evening, actually morning.

‘You should live by yourself,’ the Enemy told me. ‘You don’t like people. It’s just you and your dog. And you spend all your time in your room. Why don’t you live by yourself?’ The enemy wanted asked but did not want to find out.

This one-sided conversation had become the major problem I’ve had with the Enemy. He doesn’t listen, doesn’t want to hear reason. Doesn’t get it. Leaving me stuck and fighting an enemy in a battle that cannot be won.

I’m not interested in fighting with anyone, physically. I’ve thought about it. I’ve pictured myself doing it. I’ve punched inanimate objects. I recently hurt my right middle knuckle doing so, and I now have to picture myself punching with my left, weaker hand. I’ve said I was a pacifist, and these descriptions might make this statement seem untrue, but I wouldn’t want to be in a brawl. Am fully aware that physical violence doesn’t solve anything. I hope in the future that I am able to express myself verbally, in ways that give meaningful understanding to my enemies. Still, my Enemy calls me passive-aggressive. A term someone planted inside him. I’m passive at times, sure. Aggressive other times, yes. But, even little-ole me knows, It’s when you’re passive-aggressive that your words weaken.

I don’t hate the Enemy. I get made and frustrated and sometimes wish I could break bones. I would never, however, and upon contemplation I find myself sad at the state of my being, and at the attitudes of others.

At the end of our battle the Enemy tells me he likes me. I tell him I want him to be happy. That we have to part ways and cannot live as one, but both have to live without afflicting physical pain on one another. I’m kept awake thinking that I could have done better in selecting enemies. But, that we can’t choose them. And that: The Enemy is within.

Rebel rider

Cops. Fuck, is what I said when I got to the MAX station. I'm not running from the law. I haven't mo-murdered any fools. I'm no thief. It's just that, well, I don't exactly pay to sit on the train that is going to move with or without me and my bike. I'm a rebel rider. And I've never been caught. Wait. There was this time when I bought a two-zone ticket. I gave it to the cop because he asked me for my ticket. And on that day I actually bought one. The problem: I was in zone three. Well, I walked from there. Was close enough. Didn't have my bike rolling. Now that I ride, I hang it from the rack at 4:53 a.m. downtown, when I catch the first Blue of the morning. And back, usually around 2:43 p.m., the Red or the Blue. I only ride for three stops. One of the stops shouldn't even count. It's like a 1,000 feet underground. In the middle of nowhere. So, it's two stops really that I need to ride. And, as stated earlier, the MAX is going with or without me. If anything they should pay me to ride. I'm pretty much the only sane and (sometimes) showered one on the thing. OK, so cops are at the station that I need to catch my train today on the way back from work. They're hassling everyone getting on and off. And there's no way they'd let me get on. And here's the problem: I've got no money. I do. Some. In the bank. (I should have more, but the fucking jerk I kicked out of my house hasn't paid the money he owes me for the bills.) So, I'm thinking I'll use my debit card at the machine and buy an all-zone ticket to ride the three stops so that I don't get hassled by these cops. The problem is the ticket machine won't take the card I normally use at the ATM(achine). (Ticket) Machine says, Can't contact bank. I say, What in the shit is this noise? Now, I've got to go to Trader Joe's and buy something so that I can get cash back because there's no ATM(achine) anywhere in sight. I get a sushi roll and a juice of some sort, and five singles back. I scarf it (the sushi) down and head back to the tracks, where the cops have wrapped up their trap. Have called it quits. Are done for. I think about not buying a ticket, think better, buy one, and then head off to my final physical therapy appointment, paid for by worker's comp. Good thing too. Yesterday I put in my two-week notice. No more health care. No more MAX worries. At least not at 4:53 a.m. At least not without a ticket.

Take good care. And remember, tip your caregivers with kindness.

Maybe you've heard this one

"Did you hear the one about the girl who was deaf in one ear, but then brought hearing back with yoga?" I asked the girl who was leaning up against my car -- when I had a car -- that was parked in the garage.

"Nah uh," she said, but looked completely interested.

And so I told her.

"She was under a lot of stress in middle school, like we are. Just going through changes and lost hearing in her left ear. There was no medical reasoning for this. It just kind of happened. Still, she loved music. Listened, sang, experienced it. She fell in love, lost love. She loved life. Experienced it. She loved herself. She knew what she was good at. And, although she could only hear out of one hear, her thoughts were coming in loud and clear. Her head, as she said, was a fun place to be.

“If you’ve heard this one then you know. You know what happened when she started practicing yoga. Her happy mind took her places that explaining to you couldn’t even come close to describing, picturing. If you haven’t heard it then you don’t get to hear it from me. You’ll have to find her; I think she’s still in the Denver area. She’ll explain to you what I can’t -- I have hearing in both ears. How she transfixed her mind to manipulate her hearing sense, giving her balance. She’ll take you there if you let her. If you find her and get to know her -- it’s not hard -- she’ll most likely invite you back to her place to smoke a bowl. You should let her bring it up, though, the hearing thing. The story will come out naturally. If she doesn’t, don’t worry, don’t persist, don’t question her about it, but spend time with her and be patient. This is a story you want to hear from her if you haven’t heard it already.

"If you think you already heard this, chill, this could be a new version, there's more. So, she’s teaching this course at the State University. It’s a communication class – I know ironic, right? Cause she’s deaf in one ear. She’s an amazing teacher, though, and has amazing verbal communication skills. I guess she can write too, though I don’t know for sure because I haven’t read much of what she’s written, some, but not a lot. If she writes anywhere near as good as the way she tells some stories, you know, makes sense of situations and such, I’d bet she’s a damn good writer is all. She’s teaching this class, well she’s more like the lab instructor is what she is -- she doesn’t do the lectures is what I’m trying to say. Dr. Lindsay does those. Her name isn’t Dr. Lindsay. Lindsay must be her first name, but that’s what everybody knows her as and calls her, so that’s how I’ll refer to her, now. The lab instructor, though, the partially deaf one, is teaching the lab one semester and this boy is taking the lecture and the lab and has her.

“Well, he’s kind of unique in his own way, in how he communicates, too. He’ll say stuff that’s on his mind. Things pop into his head really fast and come out of his mouth almost as fast and be funny. Sometimes. They’ll be sort of thought provoking, too. Like you’ll hear him say something sort of literal and literary and link it up with something like the breakfast food that you had this morning or about a news piece you read recently. He’ll be kind of quick and humorous, but it’s the kind of humor that you don’t always laugh at at first but if you think about it, later you’ll smile and maybe even laugh out-loud at yourself at a time when nobody will understand why or even who you are.

“He’s not sure how he got this way but it could have had something to do with the amount of marijuana he was smoking that freshman year. Also, he credits his intuitiveness from his darkened vision in one eye. But his smoking was like her practiced yoga. He didn’t always do it with others, but sort of developed a mono method. His breathing was therapeutic; we know this to be similar. Seen it in others’ cases; it improves clarity, makes members limber. He says he smokes to forgive. And to forget. He’s been wronged once or twice. Has had terrible luck with some things. And this therapy, his self-prescribed regimen that he does, helps him cope. Puts the files in their proper drawers, he’ll tell you.

“Smoke a bowl with him and he’ll tell you that when he was little, like seven or eight, he was at summer camp, and that he was blasted in the head with a muddy stick that was thrown by another camper in a classic game known as throw mud and rocks and sticks, and sometimes muddy, rocky sticks at each other for fun. If this was a game, and it seemed to be, according to his story, he was the loser. See, he caught this one muddy stick in the eye and went down hard. When he came to, boys were over him, and he was in pain. He tried to open both eyes but couldn’t, could only open one. And if you can picture this 8-year boy, who's on the ground being helped up and has a swollen over eye, well I just wish I could describe it better. But he’s our only witness, so what I’ll describe, because I’ve heard it from him, is what I picture. Hear it from him, and this is what you get: There's a handful of boy campers hovering over him – very Lord of the Flies – wondering who to call for help, wondering how to undo what can’t be undone, wondering who threw the fateful stick, and him: helpless and asking for his mother, and blood flowing from his left eye ball.

“His vision is limited, and well…

“There’s a scar, of course. He doesn’t notice it always, it’s not like he is totally blind to this day, but there was damage done. He was wronged, struck with bad luck. When both eyes are open he can hardly tell. His right eye is real good and maybe over-compensates, is what I think. He can read. Reads a bunch. Likes to wear glasses because it helps, but doesn’t always because it’s not like glasses take away the dark spot that remains centered in his left eye’s vision field.”

"When we smoke we think. We close our right eyes to get the perception of who we have become. Sometimes, it’s a dark reality We tend to forgive the boy who threw that stick at my eye because what happened happens, and, really he didn’t mean it. We were just playing this game. There’s no vengeance. We forgive but we don’t forget.

"Evidently, nonsensically, these two, the girl with no hearing in her left ear, and this boy with limited vision in his left eye, met. In the class. She was his lab instructor. He, her student. She smiled at him – at everyone. That’s communication. They laughed a lot, and that’s communication, too. They began talking for real. Became friends, first. Then they split ways to experience parts of life. They were re-united once, then again, then again. When they got together, he’d talk to her in her good ear. When they shared a bed, she looked into his good eye, as he was on his left side. Their relationship changed as they got closer, but remained apart. Life was happening all around them, to them, without them. Birthdays kept occurring. And plans changed.

“'I fell for her,' he’ll say if you ask him, 'then she fell for me,' he thinks was the order. Either way, it happened. And, although he loved her for what she was to him, he says he’s happy that she was able to find another, even to couple without him.

“We tend to be experienced when we meet. Damaged, maybe even some. If it’s our hearing, our sight, our looks, you could be scarred emotionally as well as physically from life forces. I mean, accidents happen. People have bad luck in life,” is what I said to the girl, my captivated car leaner.

It’s our senses that create the memories of our lives.

a polished poem

It’s because she’s leaving
and that I just met her
that I’ll have to make my own Mitra
from these not-forgotten parts

I’ll start with the mouth
so we can say stuff
eat meatless breakfasts

She has a great smile
and that’s how it began

Her nose I’ve felt with mine
it will re-form, I think as I inhale

To get the ears just right, I trace hers with my fingertips
they are small, intricate in design

I lose my hands in her hair:
it’s soft, straight this day, and everywhere

I see her shape, get a feel for the face
that I’ll remake from my memories

My hands are found and function
they kneed her shoulders like dough

I stop, for now, to study, to steal a kiss
If I must remake I have to taste her

We cold-water kiss cheeks
and necks
and mouths
with eyes open, with eyes closed

I squeeze her bones to my body
we roll round so I can get an imprint

Her fingernails, I notice, are nice,
in good shape
white tips of equal length come out
to her fingers’ ends

Connected, of course, too
to darling digits

I hold and shake her hands many ways:
the Soul;
the Secret;
the two-handed and solid;
the boyfriend / girlfriend

Skins slide by, and
held hands pose as images are recorded

I turn myself upside down to look at her from this other angle

Touching her toes, I feel her feet
This woman walks

I cradle her calves with my hands
to the touch they’re smooth and cool

It’s these legs
that I have to duplicate at a later date

Sitting and standing and lying down
my make-believe Mitra, here with me

Her intense eyes seep into mine
that smile, that Great Smile
laughs at something silly just said

Her body next to mine
Under cover and in an unmade bed

My mental-image Mitra looks at me

She smiles, does not cry
for she’s happy for what she’s had
seen and felt

Not sad for what she’s lost
can touch no longer

Soon PIRG free

I guess you COULD get confused by this: "I'm going to have you move out." You COULD take it, "I'm going to have to move out." Say it to your self. Are you confused?

If you are, were, than I wouldn't want to live with you anyway -- you just don't get it. So, days pass after I've served walking papers to our little brother. I told him he had to move out. I told him briefly why and by when and then I told him if he wanted to talk about it to call me. No hard feelings. Just get out by the end of the month. We need a change around here and it isn't going to be me because this is a house that I found and it is I that has the relationship with the landlord. My name that all the bills are in. So, why is it that he thought that I would be moving out? And if he seriously thought that, then why wouldn't he think to ask what the deal was because THAT scenario certainly doesn't sound right?

Flip mode? Was that the argumentative tactic? This isn't an argument, I had to tell our little brother. I've made the decision. Dems da conditions. You are moving out. Clear enough for you, I hope.

It took some time, but I think our little brother understands. He'll be mad at me, but it's for he best. I felt good after making this decision, so I know it was right. PIRG free we will be come September.

a week's worth

This story’s kind of long, but it took me longer to write than it will for you to read, so you should just read it.

And this is just an intro:

My what a busy week, is what the weekly paper reads. Last Friday: A week ago. That’s when Brian came into town. That’s also when I got a surprise phone call. Grace. I knew Brian was coming in. I looked forward to Brian. He’d warned me well in advance. His brother's here. They have a house on the beach, which is near the coast, in case you didn’t know. On it, actually. So, the plan was: he was coming in late Friday, staying with his brother on Friday night, Saturday we’d meet up, see some things, go to a party that night, and then go to the coast on Sunday, which was forecasted to be a sunny day. But on Friday I got this call. I lied when I said it took me by complete surprise. Heidi was given a myspace warning from Ma-ree that said this: i got a message from monica from las cruses, you might not remember, but carson will, and she need someone to stay with in portland. can she stay with you and carson? i gave her geherke's .. but i lost my phone so i don't have carson's. give me carson's number, and let me know if i should tell this monica girl she can stay with you… Monica? Hmmm... Monica Something. Monica Sometime? Was she the one who?... No, I think that was Sa..mmm...one else. I remember Monica, sure, but I don’t remember the last time... She was the one with the car and the border crossing and the...dogs. OK, Monica. I wasn’t sure why she was coming in. But when she called last Friday I sort of found out...something. Something to do with the hospital school here. Not-all-that clear, but, I said, Of course you can stay with me. Coming in late on Saturday? Not a problem in my book. It’s just that my friend will be... Monica? Do you remember me? Yeah, yeah, she insists, Freshman year. And that’s all she needs to say to bring up a bunch of things. Her freshman year was my second year in school. We were in the dorms, and if you haven’t heard this one look away because the scene is ugly: I took a tumble off a second-story catwalk at the dorms we lived in, and, unlike an agile cat that lands on its feet, I landed on my backside, then the back of my head, then into a hospital bed. Of course she remembers that. People remember that kind of thing about you. She’d later reveal that she remembered a story I wrote the next year that appeared in the paper, about riding the bus. So, she’s got a good memory. That's admirable.

Brian comes to Clinton Street: Fair fun

After work on Saturday, Brian, who rented an economy car that was up-graded to a sporty number free of charge, drove to my neighborhood to meet me. I told him to come to the Clinton Corner and we would sit. His brother was right when he said no one in this neighborhood has air conditioning. There’s the Division/Clinton Fair going on, which means kids everywhere. We wouldn’t get service at my café, but we would discuss our lives (our livers), what was missing, what we wanted, what we were going to do. I told him of the surprise houseguest and that I needed to remain levelheaded until she at least landed. And when is that? he asked. She said 10:30, and that she’d call when she got here. It was 2 then or there bouts. Tick...talk... tic...Brian and I have fun, I’m not saying we don’t, I think he’s cool as hell. We laugh a lot. He’s one of my bestest buds. But one thing we like to do is sip on cool brew. And for me to put an eight-hour freeze on our fun was, well, kind of a blow. But we talked of some things to do and we headed out – he did rent a car, and I ain’t got one of them. We’d do the rose garden, where apparently Brian’s grandmother has a flower named after her – a Rhode. We drove first to his brother’s house, where the air cooler but no one was home. We went to the Rose Garden, where we couldn’t find the famed flower. There, we got some calls. Mine: Carson, this is Marcus, I’m bored, let’s drink. Can’t now, Marcus, call you later. Brian’s: Brian, it’s your brother, tell Carson you're supposed to be having fun. Mine: Carson, this is Sean, come to a Pirate /Cowboy Party. Sorry, Sean, I’m going to a Drag Party. But let’s talk later. Brian’s: Verizon has just updated your phone service. Mine: Carson, this is Monica, I caught an earlier flight and will be there at 7 or so, flight blah-di-blah, something-something Airways. Me (again): Cah-sun, it’s Ma-Cus, I’m boooooored, let’s drink beeeeer. Brian and I, we crossed Suicide Bridge and agreed it’s not the time. We met Marcus, who’d been bored since noon and so was drunk as hell, and Alice Cooper, who’d been back from Australia for months, but I hadn’t seen her, except that time at New Seasons which I didn’t mention. We socialized until seven or so, when I was estimating a certain flight from Phoenix was due in. Marcus said he’d see us at the Drag Party, which I doubted immediately. He tried to bump fists with me as his eyes said he was going first down, then out.

Monica: the massage therapist

Monica totally wasn’t expected me (us) to pick her up at the airport. She said she’d take the MAX downtown, would meet there. I had no idea she’d been to PDX pre this. I had no idea why she was here. I tell Brian, She said OHSU, so we want to know (a) patient or student? (b) contagious or terminal? (c) boyfriend or lesbian? We met here at the gate, or as close to the gate as you can meet someone these days, which is a nice way to meet someone in a foreign city if you ask me – but few ask. And she was thrilled, and happy, and like I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph not expecting it. Dinner then? Yes. Thai on Belmont. Across the street, I pointed out, is the scene of the party not-yet started. We ate, which is good thing to do cause you need a base. I caught up with Monica. She answered our questions (a) student (b) N/A (c) boyfriend of four years, but they were breaking up. Brian tried to follow the many names of now-mothers from my alumni. The who’s kids are named what and why, and, which cracker is a crackhead, which I guess is sad and amusing no matter who you are, except if you are their kid. And I remembered none, maybe some of them, but was glad of one thing: THAT I GOT THE FUCK OUT. "Have you guys ever had a Thai massage," Monica asked Brian and me. Of course not, was the best answer given.

Class in the morning, and, What a drag

We witnessed one of my roommates cross-dressing himself with the help of some inconsiderate girl who parked in my driveway. We knew they were going to the party, not just dressing for fun, but still, they said they couldn’t give us a ride, that it was against the rules. Faaah-cue. We sipped for sometime, and then called a cab -- Brian wasn’t going to drive; it’d take us to long to walk. We had a nice driver: friendly, fun, she knew where we were going and didn’t seem to mind my gym bag full of beer. We got there, and had her pull into the Thai parking lot. And this party, it was the tits. I was in a good mood, clearly brought my A-game. I had some friends there, and some that I brought. Everyone was having a gay ole time, even the lesbians. There was cold beer, a DJ, laughs, and this girl with a great smile. I’d seen Great Smile before. Was it at my own house? Yes, it was. She came to a party we had, and if you were there, you’d remember me talking to everyone but her, but sneaking glimpses of her, always, almost always, she was smiling. I like a good smile. OK, so... this girl, who on this night was dressed like a cowboy, even though this was not the Pirate/Cowboy Party – maybe she was confused, or maybe this was hre in drag, it was, of course it was – and I tip the hat that I’m not wearing to her – Ma’am – and she to me. And we smiled but still didn’t speak. It’s a party and there’s dancing. I’m dancing with these two black girls from Paris, no really. The conversation goes like this.

“What’s your name?”
“Like the movie?”
“Yes, exactly.” Heard that one before. “Yours?”
“Carson, like Gar-son.” Fuck, I’m dumb.
“Oh, right, right.”
“How come you girls arn't dancing?” I ask cause there's room to behind them.
“I been here three months. Am from Paris.”
I nod my head, yes. “Let’s dance.”
“Yes. Dance.”

Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen me dance, or would want to, or can even picture it. But I don’t really dance, I kind of make-fun dance. I do try and get dance parties started, though, I like to step back and watch others after doing so, but no one was really dancing at this time, so it was like, I’m getting these two Black Parisians to dance with me, hells yes I am. And it was hot. We danced and they got hotter. I fanned them and they thought that was funny. We danced for some time, and when I turned around I noticed Great Smile was next to me drinking out of a Scrabble mug. I get the gall to approach with my line: You’ve got a sexy mug. Great Smile smiled. I told her she should dance and she said she had to find her friend. I danced with the Black Parisians some more. We had more fun, the three of us. Then, looking for the friends I brought, I noticed we were the ones not dressed like the opposite sex. I guess I just don’t like the way I look in a dress, I confessed. You’d look better I’d say to the girls who questioned me, and, I wouldn’t look as good as you, I’d say to my friends who were braver than I. And, I see Great Smile again. She’s talking to the Garage Dweller. I walk by and outside. I’m looking for Marcus, who’s no where to be found, but I do see his 18, maybe 19-year old girlfriend. I don’t say anything, but it’s obvious that Marcus started drinking too early. I see some other friends. Have some laughs (this is a great party), hear some guitar playing, which happens at parties like these. It turns out, too, there’s a wedding party next door. There’s a quick warning to our party that the couple is coming out to their car, which is parked in front of our party’s house. Our party: it’s spilled in the front yard (it’s hot as shit (98 degrees, at least), and into the street (we’re all boozed)). The warning was issued and we’re partying, but those of us sober enough are waiting to see how this will all go down. We start singing songs to the couple -- good ones like Happy Birthday -- when they come out, and they enjoy our company. It wasn’t going to be us that ruins their wedding night, despite the concern from the Father (?) of the Bride. We see them off, and I sort of get inspired. I bump into Great Smile again and we begin again. We start talking. I tell her she’s been to my house. I get her real name. I say it’s pretty, which it is, and I’ll keep to myself, and I say she’s got a great smile. She smiles and my point is made. We talk about some other stuff, but by then Monica -- you remember Monica? – says she needs to leave, says she’s got this massage therapy class in the morning, says it’s late and she’s an hour ahead of us. And I say, Monica who? No, not really. Really, I tell Great Smile, who’s name I now have etched in my memory, that I’d like to see her again, that I’d like her number, that I’d like to know how to spell her last name, too. She gives all of the above a strong consideration before doing so. We hug and I depart to a cab I’ve called for me and my New Mexico Friends. And, IT’S THE SAME DRIVER we had on the way over.

P.S. on this part

Remember back when you were reading about Sean and the Pirate/ Cowboy party. Well, it was ending, or they were leaving as we were returning, and I told Sean and his now-19-year-old girlfriend to stop by – I wasn’t going to class (or work) in the morning. They came over and we had some laughs out front, and I told the two to sleep on my bed, that it would be more comfortable. They slept and departed just after Monica went to her class that morning. I’d find out later that Great Smile had something in common with Sean’s Austrian girlfriend, and with Marcus’s left-alone friend, and it wasn’t that she’s from Austria -- Great Smile is Iranian-American – or that she’s sad on this night. No, it’s that she’s too is young. Maybe too young.

Ah, the beach

If you know anything about the coast you know it’s always the better place to be. Brian drove us there. I sat and played DJ. I played: So This Is Portland: the Good Life, Helio Sequence, Built to Spill, Spoon, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Dismemberment Plan, the Rapture, Yo La Tengo, the Ponys, the Mars Volta, DC4C, the Faint; plus: Smog, eels, the Life Aquatic soundtrack, others. We took in nature, the greens (Does this remind you of New Mexico? I sarcastically spit out.). When they’re there, the big trees are on our sides and overhead. They shade us from the sun, protect us from the outside world. When they’re not, we see slash and burn, cut and run, slice and dice (“I’m pro timber, B. says. If we didn’t cut trees down, they’d just burn.”), the scars left on the hillsides beside. But in Oregon there’s more trees than not trees. It’s true because even on the license plates of cars we pass, there’s a tree. If only gas was green and didn’t cost all our green, or our air, our lives, I’d propose we drive to the coast more. Can’t get into this now, though, there’s Cascade Head to climb, waves to contemplate, the best scenes to be seen. Brian and I, we’d chase all over Lincoln City, on foot, in the upgrade, searching for hoof that wasn’t there. We’d hoot and holler and we’d have a ball, leaving few casualties. Now, I mentioned to Monica that I wasn’t going to be around the next day. I told her that, but I forgot to bring my phone to the beach, to call her and remind her that I wouldn’t see her that day at all or wouldn’t be there when she woke up the next. There was Communication Breakdown. But at the bar, the last one we’d go to, I’ll call it Chinook Winds Casino cause that’s the end of the road for so many, I picked up Brian’s phone, called mine to check the messages, got her number – she had called me – and I called her. I don’t know what time it was – 12:30 I’d find out later – when I spoke with Monica, but I told her I was sorry, and she told me I said that too much. And then not to. I said we should hang out when I got back – she was staying for four more days -- and that was really about it. I probably woke her up, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it, at least I called.

The last night I saw both my friends was the just the other

I could (should) have stayed at the coast. I don’t like my job. But I need it. Because I get hungry. I also get drunk, still. Brian and I went back to Portland – I had to work the next day – and I convinced him to get some cold drinks, to stay at my house, and to get up early with me the next morning and take me to work, so I wouldn’t have to bike – there’d be no way I could do both myself, successfully. We started at Clinton Pub. Ah, the air condition. Hamm’s after Hamm’s after Hamm’s. We took a break, and took back a video I had rented the week before and was over due, Miller's Crossing. We arranged to meet Nate at Night Light, and that seemed alright (What else? I’m trying to put the rest of this together, wrap it up, rather.) There was a joke: Ohkay is a casino in New Mexico. I’d text this to someone who wouldn’t get it, but someone that would think I was trying to be funny, and think that was trying. To someone else, I’d call, or she called me, and said, or she said, we should meet-up. Monica, I’d see and introduce to my friends. I’d sort of ditch her again, though, just to walk this other girl home. When I got home she was asleep, Brian, on the opposite couch also asleep. My alarm: set for four. Faawk, it’s hot in here.

And the reason I’m a dick

The next day, I’d come home from work, go to the gym to sweat out my sorrows in the sauna, then return home to find a note from Monica:

Carson (Matt & Steven too)

THANK YOU SO much for your hospitality. I’m not leaving Portland yet, but I got a great invitation to the Marriott & it’s hard to pass up. Hope I’m not offending you. Would still love to do dinner and/or drinks so call me I’ll try you later again.

Tuesday 6:45 p.m.

Brian would be at the coast until Sunday, this. Monica would call, I’d miss it but would call her back, but she’d be to busy to return that one. Like I said, Communication Breakdown. So, I’ll be here working a job that’s got me exhausted, one that’s left me alone (I can’t blame it for everything, but I will), and with some phone calls that I should make, but probably won’t.

And if you’ve made it this far, you can say you’ve heard this one. That you checked in. And that you might return. Next week or so.

What the heat?

FAAAAWK! It's hot. What this shit is this, Africa? Jesus Christmas, I don't understand. One day I can walk around dry as dirt the next I'm forced to walk around naked as sweat slides off my skin. I "enjoyed" the nine hours or so at the workplace, shelving and sorting books and such, and then I stepped outside and it's like a sauna out there. "Oh you're used to this," some guy at work, who didn't know what he was talking about, said. Why, because I'm from New Mexico? I'm not Mexican. Or African. I'm human. Poor asito, I know, but the only useful thing to do with a brow full of sweat is fling it on your dog. And she doesn't like that all that much, and running after her you only get more sweaty. Oh, and it's hot too.

So what I'll do is this:

1. Take a piss.
2. Eat a popcicle.
3. Consider the alternatives: I could have never have left NM and it could be worse (Hotter than this?)
4. Wait for the moment where the ocean is in front of me, jump in and wait till I freeze.
5. Thaw out in the sun.
6. Turn into a tomato.
7. Come back and explain to people that your really want skin cancer and are trying to die.
8. Better yet, buy some sunscreen ("Yeah it's like three dollars.").
9. Grab a drink.
10. Savor the flavor.
11. Stop and think: when's summer over, when won't I have to worry about waking up at 4.
12. Close my eyes and think of the time yet to come that is cooler, calmer, and more promising.
13. Swallow it all down, open my eyes and make sure I've got my lost-and-found sunglasses.
14. Ahhhhh.

Ball sweat: sticking man's nuts to his legs since the end of the Ice Age.

Gah damn, what happened? Mus be summer or sum 'ting. Sheeet.

That's good enough.

Parts of me

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
-- George Harrison

Part of me likes who I am; part could change for the better.
Part of me likes it here; part of me never left.
Part of me wants to be alone; part of me wants someone to love.
Part wants to be loved; part doesn’t want to share my secrets.

Part of me is liberal; part is conservative.

Part of me is sober; part of me still drunk.
Part of me reads too much into things; part is surprised too often.
Part is hot; part not.
Part wishes it were all over; part is happy to begin a new day.

Part of me is grateful; part is bitter.

Part of me should forgive; part should forget.
Part of me is peaceful; part wages war.
Part of me knows where I am; part wishes I had a map.
Part wants more; part has had enough.

Part of me will remember; part of me should write more down.

Part of me is tired; part of me can’t sleep.
Part of me has read this somewhere before; part can’t remember where.
Part of me is creative; part steals others ideas.
Part likes my hair; part thinks I need a haircut.

Part of me can't leave; part knows nothing's tying me down.

Leave room for others

Have you ever been with someone, then maybe been with them again? You were attracted to them and so you called them, kissed them (licked them), slept in the same bed as them. Then, maybe it happened again (or maybe you wished it had). Not necessarily the next night, week, or month. So there's this confusion over what it means. To them, to you. You try to say something nice. And the compliment you've crafted is created differently in their head. It's now an insult. You say, yes, there's an attraction, however, and it's this however, the but, that is the insult, and whatever comes crawling out of your mouth after that will mean so little. And the words have hurt and there is nothing that you can say because you are being argued against, not logic or sense, by emotion. This person you were attracted to has this emotion. This time it's anger. There's some sadness to it, too. You've heard this person cry before ("Those real tears?"). You've heard this person laugh at your jokes, your mannerisms, themselves. You've seen this person depressed, sad as shit. You've seen them confident, soaring, passionately explaining something. With the understanding that this person is a great person because this person has a wide range of emotions, you still tell them that they are not the one for you. And that, sorry, you just know this (you know but don't say you think of someone else, are thinking of them right now). And that you are not telling them that they are attractive so that you can sleep with them, but because you are attracted to all of them (maybe you've already slept with them and so why would that matter anyway?). You've waited too long to compliment them. They say to you that it's not a compliment anyway, that it means piss. And you get sad and satisfied at the same time because there is nothing that you can do (you've done too much at this point and still not enough), you've said your piece. So you wish them well, and wish things in life would be better, you take with you the good times ("You call those good?"), knowing they'll never happen with this person again.

Have you been there?

You have (You're think you're the only one?).

Or it could be very well possible that you've at least been in this not-so similar, but time-sensitive situation.

Have you ever been attracted to a friend? You know this person is your friend because you care about this person. You've gotten to know them, have told them about yourself, know about them (even some embarrassing shit). You are friendly with them before anything physical happens -- it never happens even though you've dreamed about your first kiss, it's recurring. They are your friend, but you think about them far too often for it to seem like just a friend. The thing is you've never taken the plunge. You've never acted upon the recurring dream because in the back of you mind you don't want to let your friend down. Don't want to ruin the friendship. Are unsure if the feelings are the exact same (how could they possibly be?). You know deep down they're not. But, still, you want to risk proving that they could be. Are fascinated with the chance. Are certainly unsure of the outcome. But instead of acting upon it, you don't. You do nothing because it's safe and you are sure safety is solo. You haven't had to make your move. You've closed the door behind you with a whew. There's no movement, you're still. And you're still here thinking about this person. You're still friends with this person and that seems important enough. Because you have some things to work out on on your own, you don't ask anyone to come on in for some juice. And on and on. You're keys depress the board as the thoughts roll out your head, but nothing has been said to anyone specifically, therefore, no feelings have been hurt (tickled) because you've used hypotheticals (that are bullshitcicles) and pronouns masking fictional figures, trying to explain something that you once tried to explain to someone that didn't get it.

Worse than this is this: You have a roommate who leaves town (congrats on your internship, by the way) and replaces in his room someone that's not him but has the same name. You're scared shitless about this prospect because you've seen this person kiss your other roommate, who you've suspected to be (gay) bi. This roommate returns from a (gay) golf trip and is so happy -- not to see you -- to see this subleter. You suspect that they slept in the same (bed) room, when you woke up to turn off the garage light (that someone left on all fucking night), noticed their two bikes are present but only one bedroom door is open. And you freak, not that you have something wrong with this (just not in my house), but that you feel duped, deceived, and disgusted. And you want nothing more than to leave the house to get away from (them) your thoughts. And, ouch, you've got another month to put up with (what the hell is this?) this.

Ever been here? Someone's got some 'splaining to do.

Falling off the wagon

I fell. Fell hard. Off. It hurt. My feelings. Now, I can barely type a sentence without wanting to put a period in the middle, beginning. It's like I just want things to end before they're supposed to.

There's a last day. Then a soccer game. There was a party. Then another. Then a reason. Then an excuse. A cold beer. Then another. Then another. Then... I find myself back where I started. Unable to put an ex over the day on the calendar. All but two days in June covered in exes. Only one day in July gets an ex so far.

I'll practice better habits today. Be good. Be better to myself. Don't drink that, I'll say.

Some sentences start because you have to. Some start because you want to.

all sentences start with a capital letter and end with a period except this


It's not wedding season. Not for me. Weeding season? -- I've got some to pull. It's rose season, I saw a sign that said so. And there's a shit-ton of roses out there. By that sign today I saw: red roses, pink roses, peach roses, yellow ones, whites, maroon roses, even rose-colored roses. Just walking around Ladd's I saw bunches of these flowers. Guess that's why this the Rose City. But today, I also happen to catch a glimpse of geraniums, forget-me nots, irises, purple things, leafy ones, and other multi-colored plants. Now, I don't know flora all that much (obviously) but I do know what smells nice. Green. Cut grass. Blooming flowers. Pollen. Air. It's nice to be outside these days. I used to enjoy staying in, looking out. My favorite color is gray. The cold, wetness was my excuse to hole myself in and read and type, to be alone. There was something solo about it. It's better to get out -- there some friendly faces out there. I've come to appreciate crisp air, exercise, neighboring nods. No longer drab, no longer dull, I'm walking the dog nightly and figuring out what else it is I've been missing out on. Bloom-ya.