November 5, 2010

I feel obligated to write something – anything – on here to explain how this blog went so suddenly from stories and observations about the world I was so excitedly exploring, to well… nothing. No posts except infrequently, and pretty poor-quality ones at that. It isn’t so much that I’ve given up on writing, but lately it has become difficult for me to write anything that I feel is worthy of being shown to other people.


I discovered in traveling that there are experiences which cannot be fully conveyed to anyone who did not experience them. One of my biggest problems is that while I can tell an entertaining story, or write an essay that provokes the reader to think, there simply isn’t a way to telegraph the feelings and raw emotions of some of the experiences I have had without going and doing the same things – even then, you’re likely to run into different people and do different things, and so your adventures will be different than my own. On some level it works, because most people don’t want to have the realizations that come with watching small kids huff glue to stay warm and knowing you could fix the problem except that you’d rather keep traveling and not adopt and raise a street kid, and even if you did, that’s still only one in a million. Trust me when I say that the self-discovery that comes out of walking away from someone else’s problem when you could actually fix it is one of the more unpleasant I’ve had. I’m hard on myself for details, for accuracy, and for trying not to preach, but when I try to write stories about my adventures of the past year and half, I run into an even bigger barricade; one which has prevented me from giving any serious effort to writing about my life of late.


I came home in mid-March of 2010, stumbled into my familial home, took some pictures, shared a few stories, and passed out. Between then and now, my life has been divided into work, looking for work, and taking every effort to keep my family from falling apart. What I hadn’t realized in my time on the road, and what they had been too kind to tell me, was that my younger brother George (what my 2-year-old self wanted to name him) had descended into the living hell of schizophrenia, and that this horrible disease had been eating my family from the inside ever since I left. By the time I returned he was holding full conversations with people none of the rest of us could see, drawing massive amounts of graffiti and nonsensical (to me) scribblings on every surface available to him, and had convinced himself that his destiny lay in becoming a professional skateboarder and rapper. He gave up on personal hygiene, developed phobias about sunlight, trimming his nails, or cutting his hair. He’d become nocturnal; sleeping until mid-afternoon and refusing contact with the rest of the family until my parents and youngest brother had gone to bed. At this point, he would emerge from his room, make a hell of a lot of noise, cook some strange meal (an entire pound of pasta with no sauce) and then go off to skateboard around the neighborhood until dawn, after which he’d go back to bed, and the cycle would repeat.


The burden of taking care of George fell to my mother, because my father was working 12-16 hour days at a location an hour away. This meant that for over a year, my father was more or less not present in his family’s life. My mother, in addition to her full-time job, had been attending support meanings, reading dozens of books on the subject of mental illness, and trying – largely in vain – to get my brother the assistance he so desperately needed. This left my youngest brother Randy to pretty much fend for himself at 15 years old. His grades crashed, his interest in school also, and he buried himself into video games as a coping mechanism for the terrible life he had been thrust into. Our extended family’s help and advice has been limited – one aunt and uncle offered George a job and a place to stay part of each week, but he couldn’t do the job and eventually cut ties with them as his paranoia led him to believe they too were trying to control him. (his biggest fear in life is that people are out to control him, and he will go to great, self-destructive lengths to avoid these perceived attacks on his sovereignty.) Yet incredibly, all these strange behaviors, screaming fights, and George’s descent into madness were kept largely from me, the exception being occasional tearful emails from my mother, casting herself as the over-reacting mother. From my end, George wasn’t doing great, but in our communications he was distant and sullen, not crazy. Like all of us, I simply didn’t want to believe that my brother the athlete, the architect, the wonder kid could possibly be mentally ill. We all deluded ourselves, internalized the problems, and the whole family sank silently. Coming home was such a shock, because having not seen the transition, George’s condition was intolerable. Here I was, my clearly not-sane brother before me, and I’d been off having the time of my life for a year.


The guilt that comes from this is indescribable. I should have been there. I could have helped. I would have made the difference. If not for my self-centered adventures, I could have stopped his slide. It’s all shit; in case you were wondering – my presence here would not have made the difference then any more than it has now, and I am confident that I would have done a far worse job than I have if not for the perspective and strength I gained in traveling. Had I stayed, I would have been in the same condition as my family at the time of my return – soul-bruised, vacant, and hopeless. It doesn’t matter where guilt is concerned – the knife still digs into my chest when I think of their suffering concurrent with my happiness, separated by a few thousand miles and a yearning gulf of uncaring bliss. When the pain and suffering breached my isolation, and brother, mother, and friend all asked me to return with a few days of each other, I did what any good son would, and came home to investigate for myself. By that I mean I flew to Colombia, got a paragliding license, flew to NYC, and hitched a ride cross-country with a now-great friend Matt. I took my time because even faced with the distress of those I loved, I misunderstood the urgency in their words – George was coherent in his communications with me, so how bad could it really be?


Life-shatteringly terrible, as it turned out.


My original plan in coming home had been to stay here only for a matter of weeks, a few months tops, to visit the family, say hi to old friends, aid George in whatever was ailing him, and then victoriously take off again – to overseas, to live with new friends, or to reunite the wonderful woman I met and fell in love with in Colombia. (I swear, Natalie, I will write our story soon enough!) That plan, like any, never survived first contact with the enemy. My family members did not even speak to each other in my first few days back in the country. They did not interact except at the most basic level of survival communication, and each seemed trapped in a world of isolated unhappiness. Seeing the dire straits of my family I could not help but to abandon my own interests and save the people I love.


I have been remarkably unsuccessful in this – good intentions cannot cure mental illness – and to this day George suffers delusions, heightened unpleasant senses, and cannot separate real from fantasy. He lives in a world all his own, surrounded and tormented by demons the rest of us cannot imagine. At times he shakes loose, and for an hour, a day, my brother is back with us – in certain situations, surrounded by lifelong friends and doing activities he has loved his entire life, he will appear almost as I remember him from all those years ago. Then something will shift; his entire body language will slump, his voice will change, and he will be another person altogether. He is gone again, and until another surprise reappearance, the person we must deal with is not the one we love. His other self, the one that we most often see, is angry at the world – we are all assholes, we are crazy, we are the enemy seeking to control and destroy him. If not for us, he would be able to live free, take charge of his own destiny, and fulfill his rap/skate dreams. We hate him, we are obsessed with him, we have nothing better to do with our lives than to destroy is, and that is our purpose in existence. All of these are things he has yelled at my mother and myself within the past 50 hours. He cannot make eye contact, he cannot face the people he is speaking with. His hair – ratty and matted to his head – hangs past his nose now, and he moves stiffly, robot-like, with everything coming from the shoulder and hip joints. When he is like this there is no point in talking to him – his denial of his own problems runs so deep that anything, the slightest comment, will drive him into fits of rage.


One of my greatest fears in life is that he will attack my mother or youngest brother, and I will not be there to fight him off. He has twice assaulted me – once in our home, and another time at a good friend’s wedding. I still have the scar from that second attack, my right eye does not open the same as it once did, and I suspect the injury is for life. On his bad days we all barricade our doors and let him rage, because he is an adult, and the rights of parents and family over the mentally ill in this country are non-existent. He has no control of his mind, and yet no one, not the police, our insurance, his school, nor his former doctors will grant anyone the ability to protect him from himself. In this manner, we are given the choice of throwing our own kin into the streets to survive as a crazy homeless man, or to keep him at home. There are no other options until he harms someone to the point of going to jail or a mental facility. We have no money – we have spent many thousands of dollars on medicines, doctors, mental care experts, and there is no cure forthcoming. For a while now he has been medicated, but one of the first things that comes from his medication is an overwhelming feeling that he doesn’t need the pills to control his life. Thus he hides them, refuses to take them for days, misses his dosing schedule, and the meds feed another part of roller-coaster emotions. While unmedicated he is a danger to everyone around him, but while he continues to take his medication on so erratic a schedule he risks permanent harm to himself, and amplifies the wild cycles of his mind. His manner is hostile, his behavior erratic, and his attacks on myself and others leave me little choice but to assume the worst – he will hurt someone one day if he is not stopped. As there are no authorities willing to deal with him, our choice as his family is to keep him close to home and both protect George from the uncaring world, and the world from the insane George.


There is no clear path left open to us now – those diagnosed schizophrenics who are caught early and take their medication consistently can oftentimes recover, but for those who persist for years in denial and rebellion against their own minds the hopeful prognoses fade to semi-invalid or death. A full quarter commit suicide – the same proportion which recovers completely. My brother’s condition was discovered when my father and I bailed him out of jail a year and 9 months ago. Talking with his roommates at the time, he had been bad off for many months before that as well. With the medical insurance games and exorbitant fees of private practice doctors, we did not have a diagnosis until some 5 months ago – likely too late. Certainly George has not responded well to the treatments or medication, and his current behavior, while less physically violent than before, is still volatile to the point of grave concern. He has driven away his friends, lost every job offered to him, is on the verge of being kicked out of the local community college, and has convinced himself that his own family is plotting to destroy his life. At this rate, I do not expect him to survive another year – indeed, my mother and I spoke just yesterday about our (previously separate and unspoken) fears that each day will be the one where we discover he has killed himself.


There is no way out of this without abandoning my family. My parents are close to divorce, Randy clings to me as a rock of stability in his shattered life, and everyone seems to need my love and advice on a constant basis. They all need me, and in my heart I can feel only hate. I hate San Diego. I hate living here, I hate the people here. I hate the way that this whole world has turned to ashes in my hands. I hate that I cannot help, cannot save, can do nothing more than comfort the people I love as we all spiral downward. We are trapped behind George’s lying brain’s filters – our outstretched arms are obscene gestures to him – our words are horrible to his lying ears. He is trapped in a hell of his own creation, and his powers of creation are so great that all who come in contact are sucked in as well. I find myself simultaneously dreading and hoping for his death – at least then he would not have to suffer so. At least then we could try to recover. I know there is no happiness here, that there may never be happiness again – for any of us. There is no one I can speak to about this – not without paying money I do not have for a counselor whose job is to listen. I don’t need a prostitute.


Just as there was once a gulf between myself out in the world and family here at home, so is there now a gulf between my former self and my present. I have never shown traveling photos to anyone, I have never told my story to a friend. I can feel myself putting all those happy times into a little mental box, locking it, and abandoning my dreams. I am being ground into powder my this life, and soon I will be nothing left.


Last night I dreamed the happiest thing I have felt in as long as I can remember. I was on the road, in the back of a truck, riding to I-know-not-where. Around me were friends, and we were riding off to some great adventure, laughing and singing into the wind. I took my phone from my pocket, threw it into the road, an explosion of plastic and glass and circuits. We all found his hilarious. Later, sitting around a campfire, I took my passport from my pocket, thumbed the pages, threw it into the hungry flames. Next my photos, of family, friends, a life I no longer wanted. Journals went in, my laptop too. My companions sat silently as I did this, and tears of joy flooded down my face. Afterward, I sat and faced the dimming fire with my wet face, finally free of myself.


Do you see what I am getting at here? Do you see where my mind goes? There can be no happiness for me when those I love are in such pain. Coming back here, I though the solution was to help them, to free the ones I love from their chains. Now I see that is impossible, and that I am chaining my body alongside theirs. My only hope lies in flight; in abandoning everyone I have ever loved and beginning anew in another life. I am not even the same man I was when I returned, and certainly that carefree, happy, traveler would hardly recognize me. The few people I still talk to honestly are unanimous in their assurances that what I am doing is noble and good, and will be worth it in the end, but I have lost any faith I once had. My brother is not my brother any more. My family is shattered, without hope, without help. Our friends have their own lives and worries, and as our problems deepen, they bow out one at a time. We are alone in a way I have never been – even being actually alone is less lonely than to be the problem family, the one who brings everyone down. I am sure that the only responses this gets will be good-natured, well-intended missives of help and support, but my own doubts are so deep that it all comes to naught.


So you see, writing a book about adventures, love stories, and happy times is quite impossible when the whole world is on fire, and there in no one there to help you put it out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put on a fake smile and pretend to be happy for the benefit of others – a man has to make a living somehow.




June 2, 2010

Every parent has such high hopes for their newborn child. I think they want to give birth to, raise, nurture a prodigy – the baby Einstein or Curie, Mozart’s second coming, maybe Jesus himself with bless the family with his triumphant return – all trumpets, skyfire, and angels. Look at her lying there, drooling and babbling softly… The child is brilliant, beautiful, perfect in every way, full of talent and promise – an embodiment of all that is good, hopeful, and possible in the world. What potential! And what a burden also, for that little bundle of flesh.

Woe to those who do not live to realize the dreams of their parents. Bad is failing in the attempt – being simply too dull, too plain, too mediocre to summit the lofty peaks of their imagination, stretching, failing, falling to lie in the dirt, never to climb higher. At least there is comfort there among the masses trying and failing at the same. Company, even in failure, makes loss more bearable. Worse than failing, far worse, is to give up – to abandon the dreams of the father, mother, family, and chase goals wholly one’s own – in this one commits the greatest sin, the harshest injustice against the family unit. To rip oneself from the whole, to set out alone and seek individual happiness, fulfillment on one’s private terms is to forever set self against family – the love may still be there, but the solidarity is fractured, belied by the precedence of the personal.

What makes this second choice so painful is not the confrontation, the arguing, the tears. The initial reactions cannot possibly hurt so badly as those of years later, when you aren’t a doctor and don’t live in a fancy mansion, when you don’t want to write for newspapers or whore yourself to pay the rent, but still want to be a part of your family. It’s the way mom can’t hide the disappointment flashing in her eyes as an old girlfriend marries someone richer, more handsome. It’s the catch in dad’s voice as you tell him how good it was to see your old friends – “those bums” he doesn’t say, but you can feel it just the slightest. When you could have been anything, perfect, the prodigal son and instead spend your life chasing happiness on your own terms, the rift is near bottomless if nigh invisible. Nobody speaks of it. Nobody dares mention how great you were in school, how everyone thought you’d be rich and successful, a power player in the groups that run the world. It’s all too painful, so we keep silent, keep living.

It’s that silence that hurts worst, eats us from within, divides, conquers each from behind the facade until we’re just shells wandering through the same spaces in different worlds. Perhaps that is at the heart of what drove my brother to the brink and then beyond – certainly he has fallen harder than I, harder than he deserves. Deserve… as if life truly was that just, simple, or fair. I think the dream of heaven is couched in the reality of life – utopia must be like life, but without the bad bits in it – a beautiful vision, but I can’t imagine the reality of it being anything except frightfully dull and devoid of purpose. What would be the point of existence without struggle? Why survive if not to raise a fist, throw a manic grin to the universe, and shout the words “I’m still here goddammit!” upon reaching another summit? I can’t imagine one, but then I’m not going to heaven anyhow. Neither are you, but this is getting muddy – I meant to talk about parents.

About disappointing parents.

About apologizing.

I’m not much for apologies, perhaps because I’m a self-centered, arrogant, and full of shit, or perhaps because I’m usually right enough in any apology-spawning stance I take that reconciliation would have to be mutual and the whole rest of the world is too self-centered, arrogant, and full of shit to realize the truth in that. Then again, I could just be overlooking the fact that the ease of any apology is inversely correlated with the passion and conviction that drove the fight. When I run into someone unexpectedly, elbow you in the side by sheer accident, don’t pay attention, to apologize is simple – a matter of course and culture. When I get into a screaming, lamp-throwing, passionate argument, to apologize then becomes a mountain of sand I must climb, force myself up until the end result is gasped – exhausted – from the mental peak.

It never comes out right.

I’m a product of my family and also of my world, but neither of those are particularly forgiving or submissive. We’re hardheaded, spirited fighters; play hard and fight dirty with equal zeal. We’re all right, unless someone beats wrong into us. When I feel I’m in the right, I’ll never apologize. I’ll try and console you , to find some satisfactory compromise perhaps, but the fact is this – if I’m right, that overrules your hurt feelings, and simply being angry doesn’t earn you an apology. When it comes to how I ought lead my life, I’m right – I know what is best for me, and what I’m willing to do to get there. You might have experience, education, opinion, a lifetime of learning to back you up, but the course of life comes in the end to only oneself. I know best when it comes to myself, about what I ought to be doing with my life just as you with yours. Not that they aren’t right in their own ways. I probably would have been a hell of a doctor. Will be – med school is another 8 or 10 or 14 years, and my alternate-universe self had better love obscenely long hours, bureaucracy, and school. I don’t, that’s why I’m not surrounding myself with those things!

We must make certain decisions for ourselves in life – at those key junctures, yes, but every day we make the choices that form our path. There have been so many opportunities to take myself another direction yet here I am in this place, going this way, and nothing explains my existence here more thoroughly than my own actions, thoughts, wants, choices. I choose to live as I do, not as my parents would have wanted – even as it hurts them and me both. “Hurts” is so damn relative. It makes them sad, makes them feel like failures and bad human beings. However, I like this life, have enjoyed some parts of it to the utmost, have struggled and fought, won my existence – that I still continue to act as I do speaks to my stubbornness perhaps, or my love of this lifestyle. Both, likely.

I disappointed my family when I grew up wild, impulsive, loving chaos over structure, desiring not stability but adventure. They will deny it of course, but there is that glimmer in the eyes, stutter in the voice – the telltales of any pride-hurt benefactor facing the fallen protégé – that hurts so much more than I can express. I crave the road and travel for this reason among many. I do not enjoy facing those whom I love, who love me in return, and knowing that my way of life causes them unhappiness. Weak as it seems, I would rather be a world away and know the same, just not deal with it, not face it day to day. I am glad to be here with them, but this place is not home any longer – it is but another stop in a journey without end. I cannot wait to leave here, but I must not without doing the things required of me. I will always love my family, for their imperfections and foibles more than in spite of them. I just find that I do my loving better from afar, as far as they are concerned.

All my parents ask of me now is that I don’t live so far away they won’t be able to see me.

All I want to do is travel far and wide, see the corners of the spinning sphere, and get lost in the glory of life.

I’m a disappointment to my family, and I don’t see that changing. It hurts. I can’t apologize for who I am.

The Fight

March 7, 2010

You look at me

as if I’m weak

because I run instead

of fight.

The truth is that

instead of hurt us both

I choose to take

the blame

the hit, the hurt,
Absorb it all, roll with

the punch.

Just wish you knew

how much I care

and die, so that you won’t.

A Lot of Bad Poetry

January 3, 2010

I found this old notebook from my other life tucked between some books in my bag – I’d thought it lost for good. The first half is from one of the worst parts of my life – uncertain, hopeless, questioning, searching in the dark. When I found it again almost a year later, I was a different person – happier, lighter, and more certain. Reading it now, front to back, is like charting my own development. I’m hoping that by laying out some selections, I can find something underneath the sorrow, hurt, growth, renewal, and rebirth – some nugget of truth, some message hidden, and if not that, then perhaps just an interesting read. The italics are (mostly) my present thoughts, interpretations, details, whatever.

This poem is the first – page 1 of a dark time, reflected, I think, in the themes I chose throughout.

August 9th, 2008
What do you do when your god is a whore?
I break down on my knees
as tears fall to the floor.

This isn’t lament, but reaction to truth,
A vision of beauty,
blocked out since my youth.

God as a man – what a cruel fucking joke!
The chicken never lived,
til it sprang from the yolk.

We deny ourselves god, in all of her names.
Drown soul in vice,
on others put blame.

We too much fear love, never leave ourselves bare.
Mask true smells in foul scents,
chemicals in our hair.

We hide from ourselves, but blame it on others –
Everyone sees through you,
especially mother.

Embrace our whore god, for she brought you alive.
Accept into your heart,
what you knew at age five.

It doesn’t matter – she cares not what you do.
Just give her your heart,
and she’ll always love you.

The following are from the days after my whole life disintegrated – a house full of friends disappeared overnight, I came home to find rooms empty, and everything quiet. Living alone in a 6-bedroom house, one that had once been so vibrant, so fun, and knowing that I’d soon leave so far away – It nearly broke me. I was to move to Bolivia in mere weeks, and the doubts and fears that come with such a change were overwhelming.

August 10th, 2008
They’ve taken it all –
all my things,
my whole home.
And now that they’ve left,
and I sit here alone.
Not sure how to

like an accident victim –
Eyes sting and ears ring
I can’t quite feel

Everything so empty,
when I live in this place
No deep thoughts in my head,
and I just burnt my face.
Boiled spoon,
metal on face,
I felt myself sizzle.

I deserved it,
I earned it,
I’ve been drinking so

My friend Jack keeps me warm,
As I sit in my hole,
curtains closed,
pen in hand,
and I draw on myself.

Just random symbols,
or notes to myself.
Things to remember,
a big call for

I’ve never been good,
at living sans purpose.
Waiting makes me edgy,
too much quite makes me nervous.
Excess then withdrawal,
that’s my self-prescription.
How I live now:
Solitary self-deception.

Keep it hidden,
bundled inside –
this isn’t a bad life.
I’ll hang on for the ride.

Lookie, I can be political too.

August 11th, 2008
Russians in Georgia,
shooting up kids.
The world’s pot boiling over,
spilling over the lid.

America moves –
ships blockade the Gulf.
Whole world picks up arms,
they circle like wolves.

Just one spark!
Strike a match,
watch the planet ignite.
Descent into madness

Who’s going to light it?
Burn six billion lives
I bet it’s our fault,
think further still –
The rest will all know it,
but no one here will.

We’ll blindly wave flags,
as our brothers all die –
as our families bleed
as the whole planet cries.

All the news channels play
the same patriot tunes.
The masses sing along
to the cadence of drumbeats,
each a heart slowly stopping
blood spills to dry earth,
and breath

Not one of us
or a thousand
but everyone together.
United we die,
while in life we all squabbled.

Bitch and moan
fight, argue,
shoot, stab, kill, poison, burn.
Choking on our own blood,
and I can taste bile,
feel the life ebb.
Know that this was our fault.

Hug your kids,
kiss your lover,
We all die in the end.

Cheerful, eh? I was immersed in global politics, obsessed with the teetering international situation, watching John McCain and Sarah Palin present their case for fascism, and unable to remain hopeful that Barack Obama was going to do anything substantially different. All I held out for was escape – another life in another place – a chance to cut a lifetime’s baggage away. Call it the “cut and run” approach to dealing with one’s problems. Interesting foreshadowing of the Peace Corps implosion in this one.

August 15th, 2008
What is about this time of year? It’s like the air’s alive with change – I fear the writing scribbled on my wall, it says “you life ends this fall.” I know that it’s true – just don’t want to believe. Don’t wanna think, can’t let myself, it just brings me down – but this is the end of my time here in town.

Say goodbyes while you can, I’ll leave without a sound. No whisper – disappearing act – you won’t see me around. My time has passed, now I must go, and that just brings me down.

I smoke myself to sleep these nights, alone in this big home. Torn between “can’t wait to leave,” and “I can’t wait to roam.” I’ll miss you all so bad, all the things we’ve done. All the drunk wild nights, memories I can’t recall – no matter where we do end up, I’ll always love you all.

So say your goodbyes while you can, cause I won’t stick around. I’ve so much left to do in life, my feet don’t touch the ground.

While I zig-zag cross this earth, and hopefully off it too, I’ll think back to the life I had, and regret none of it. To all my friends and drinking pals, I pour this one for you. I’ll keep you always in my heart, just please remember me too.

The Truth (undated, August?)
Like a hollowpoint bullet,
the truth rips through your head.
Blows out your mind,
leaves you for dead.
Didn’t expect it,
or maybe you did,
the truth feels the same –

The truth feels like shit.
The truth feels like life.
The truth feels like reuniting
with the love of your life.

And what is the truth
That rips through your brain?
Decoding nerve impulse
it says “we’re all the same.”

Four words, one sentence,
but it just can’t sink in.
Ten thousand years fighting,
still we never win.
So long as we divide
on color, race, creed,
we’ll never have peace,
never get what we need.

There’s no fucking difference!
I just want to scream.
For no other reason
To see who gets what I mean.
Turn your heads round people,
shake out the lies,
think for yourself,
Open your eyes!

Go meet your neighbors,
make friends who think differently,
smile at the world,
see the truth staring back at me.

Notice how all of this just sits on the same rhyme scheme? There’s not much variation in content or style, and I noticed it too. This is about that, I think.

August 19th, 2008
The creative well of the world has been running perilously low. The aquifer is depleted, and the product is getting harder and harder to pull out of the ground. We’re not doing anything new, haven’t for ages, and it’s wearing through the gilded lie of America. The shabby state of affairs is spreading even to me. I can’t think of anything new or different, and so now I’ll go back to staring at my empty home and bare walls.

I took another blow August 23rd – sitting in my back yard, patting myself on the back for having finally finished cleaning and repairing our rental house, selling most of my possessions, quitting my job, and putting the final touches on that clean break I wanted, when I got a call from the Peace Corps. My program had been canceled, the organization was pulling out of Bolivia, and I was in limbo again. “Don’t make any sudden lifestyle changes,” said the voice in my ear, but there wasn’t a life left to change. This might be best described as a pep talk to myself.

August 26th 2008
These past few days have been such an emotional drain on me – it can barely be described. I’ve been on the verge of tears, consumed by fears, tearing my hair out – the unknown looms over me, but losing independence is what really terrifies me. Living with the family is either going to kill me or turn me back into a stooge. Fuck. God Damn it! I love them – I love them more then anyone, but there is no common ground between their lives and mine. I’ve no strings left tying me down, I’m free to live wherever, whenever, however I so choose. Instead, I’m trapped at home, no ability to roam – mother FUCK!

At least I’ve got my creativity: must keep exercising my spirit or I’ll lose that too along with my wings, my things, and the puppet strings of college life. Never thought I’d miss it this badly, considering how much I hated it while I was there. Quite a scare – I’m not strong, I don’t want to be alone, yet I don’t dare walk my own path. Time to start daring and take back my own life – I’ve left it in the hands of others and blind fate, striving in vain, always arriving too late.

The bullshit stops here: I am the only one I can count on to live my life. Breathe, exhale, hold. Let the spots come, the pain in my lungs, discipline, strength, just stay calm. I won’t die. I won’t die. I can’t die. Too much left to see, to fuck, to be. Stop wasting my life, and just let me be me – let me see – I am free.

That last bit is a lot better on paper – watching the words get wavier, sloppier, more frantic – the whole last paragraph is nearly illegible, and I passed out facedown on my desk after “I am free.” Bit insane, come to think of it…

The other thing I struggled with was my ongoing clusterfuck of a bad relationship. I wish the following was true, but I wasn’t that strong – it took my running off to Central America to finally end our mutual self-destruction.

August 26th 2008
I told you I’d stop writing you letters, and I don’t intend to renege on that. Even though I love you, I have to face the reality of things – you don’t want me the same way I do you. We will always be close, but I can’t keep praying and hoping and crying and smoking that things will get better. You’re not worth this pain, this constant agony of never being the guy you want, but being close enough to see and know that I’m not that guy.

It’s slow, agonizing, evil torture, and I refuse to put myself through it any longer. I quit. I love you, and I could happily spend my life with you, but you don’t love me back, and I just have to face that. I’ll try not to cry over you any more, or at least not where you can see. I miss you already, and I hope you’ll be happy. Don’t come for me, I won’t be coming back anyhow. Thanks for helping me understand love and heartbreak. -k

If only I could have been that strong outside of a notebook. August 26th includes this near-illegible scrawling, written over a few joints on the tar-paper roof of my parents’ house.

Rooftop Thoughts
(1)I smoke alone on my roof as the world sleeps below. It’s like comedy, just less funny – the good bits fly off in a puff of smoke. Nobody knows! I’m hidden in plain view, the danger adds to the pleasure. Disobedience manifested in self-destruction. Pleasure in the poisoning, rebellion of the basest kind. I gain nothing from this crime, just ashen lungs and wasted time. Still I puff, and (warm inside) the smoke and flame bring me false pride. “I’m doing it!” the body cries, “I’m breaking rules! I’m being free!” Stupid way to make my point, but still I suck the small white joint
(2)Puff puff, french inhale – the smell is acrid, sweet, and stale. Hold my breath, ignore the pain, tortured lungs cry out in vain. Now let it out and close my eyes, feel wild magic rush inside. My body drinks the cool night air – the odor lingers in my hair. A breeze tugs wisps of illegal smoke, disguising all hint of my midnight toke.
(3)A law is broken, but no crime done – just controlling my own life, trying to have fun. I slip inside, throw off my clothes, stare down at black and filthy toes. Fuck it – I can’t care tonight. The bedsheets don’t put up a fight. So naked ass and dirty feet, sweat and tears, and fresh washed sheet, all twist in one sad tangled mess, and now you see me at my best.
(4)Back on my back – in my usual way – I long for sex or a new day. Tired of alone and desperate poor, missed opportunities piled outside my door. I’ll get a girl, that ought help some – but who wants to fuck a poor depressed bum? I feel pathetic, I don’t even try – inaction backfires, sticks in my eye. Lucky me, I’m out of pot, so perhaps tomorrow I’ll have my own thoughts. Goodnight world, please wake up sane, and mystery girl – I’ll dream your name.

Raw, isn’t it? I must confess, I don’t know how these are going to be received by anyone – too emotional, drawn out, dull. Still, I look at them proudly, because I see now how much better off I am. That’s something, right?

This bit, under the stupid accents idea, is about the weight of one’s past. I’ve since learned differently – there is no reason, no ability for your past to control your present beyond your own choice do allow it.

August 28th 2008
I should just pretend to have an accent. Be foreign everywhere I go, forever an outsider, but only in my dreams. Really, I belong to the world, and I’m forever tied to the experiences I’ve had. Still, girls dig it, so perhaps…

There’s a big gap here – 2 weeks, where the only writing is a miscarried wreck of a sketch comedy series. If you ask me, it’s not that it was a bad project, but it turns out that severely depressed people choose subject matter that most people are uncomfortable with – a man dropping out of his life to hitchhike, panhandle, steal, and refuse to work is so far outside the comfort zone of most people, especially when everyone else, the “normal,” working members of society are portrayed to terribly. A pity. I found out that someone had already done it just a few months ago – the book is called “Evasion” and you can get it free online. Fascinating read.

It just struck me that only in the simple 4 bar abcb scheme, at that point in my life, was I able to write candidly about myself, and my feelings. Such, it sucks, the rhyming is repetitive and annoys me, but for whatever reason there is much better clarity in it then my other scribblings. I’d forgotten that.

September 13th 2008
I’ve been breaking my promise to write out my life – to pour out my high points, my lows, and the strife. I want it as chronicle, so someone can know. It’d be such a pity to let it all go, to do all the work with nothing to show. I guess it doesn’t matter. I won’t amount to much – too hung up on missing you, too far out of touch. Can’t relate to anyone, I feel so far removed – I don’t know why I try so so hard; I’ve nothing to prove. So fuck this melodramatic shit – I’m done trying to pretend! – I guess I’m going to keep writing my thoughts. Hope it comes out right in the end.

September 14th 2008
Depressed again. She’s back in town, and I want to see her. Probably shouldn’t, but I miss the hell out of her, and I’m weak. Also – sex.

Yeah, gave in to that – here’s the result. It has my favorite Kerouac metaphor too – I think I’ve used it a few other times.

September 15th 2008
Then we turned at twelve paces, for love is a duel, and the feeling washed over me, merciless but true. “This is the end for us,” said me to myself – I bottled foul truth, left to rot on the shelf. We couldn’t bear face it, but both stood there still, both our heads full of poems, but our mouths standing still. Slowly turned on a heel, we both walked away, left everything unsaid, bricked up feelings in the catacombs of the head. You walked back inside, and I choked back the pain – the flame flickered and died, and I begged for rain.

Of course, like any mutually destructive relationship, that was a lie – it certainly didn’t end there. This next part though: scarily true.

I hide depression so well that nobody suspects me. I’m an undercover agent of misery – outwardly cheerful, killing myself softly. I don’t want to spread it, or hurt anyone else, so I self-mutilate inside, where no one can see.

Another Peace Corps delay. I had been holding off on making friends, doing anything while living at home, because I was sure that the leaving process would begin again soon, with all the attendant pain and misery. When I learned I definitely would not leave in 2008, I went reeling off into another circle of my personal hell.

September 19th 2008
I lap up their stories, hungry to feel that fullness which comes with being alive again. My own (illegible) is dry, for I am between chapters. Bookmarked, on an end table gathering dust. Bored with being boring, and desperate for some attachment. The flotsam of life becomes my obsession – dull gossip and never-ending arguments. I justify it as a time-filler, before my adventures begin anew, but the deadline pushes back again, and I know I ought to find a real life here. I just don’t want to admit defeat – so close to running away, only to have it all fall to ashes. C’est la vie, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

We all want to be in love, but those of us who aren’t will settle for any attention we can scrounge up. We may all be inherently alone, but that forces us to reconcile some terrible truths, and so we all try to find someone to lean on – just to make living more tolerable.

Hey, at least I called the financial bailout pretty well – perk of having no life: you can do some pretty spot-on, albeit cynical analysis.

September 21st 2008
It’s funny to see someone like Henry Paulson talk about how giving $700,000,000,000 to investment firms and banks to pay off their gambling debts is helpful to the average American. The gall it takes to go on TV and say “No, the payments won’t be limited to debt, yes, the executives of these companies will get massive payouts, and no, there will be no direct benefit to taxpayers for their TRILLION dollar investment.” What bullshit!

Let me get this straight – These same fatcat fucks, with their 7 years of record gains, must now be given our tax money to pay off their losses? What happened to the American people when their mortgages went to hell, when their jobs disappeared? “Tough luck,” we were told, “They should have seen it coming.” They gambled – they lost – that’s how the market works. (but only if you’re poor, as this new move shows.)

So now we see it happen, unfolding in fast-motion – the rich stand to lose money, so they yank the leashes of their lapdog congressional leaders, and call in their debts. And what debts they are! Groupthink and short-sighted profitmongering have driven all the big players to invest in the same markets, and now those markets are crashing.

The question now is whether the American people will stand for this transparent money-grab by the rich crooks on wall street. My guess is that sadly, they won’t care enough to speak up. The money-changers and printers, the real leaders of America, will line their pockets again and go right on spending our country into poverty for their benefit. By the time Americans are mad enough to act – to throw bottles and bricks instead of standing in free-speech zones waving cardboard signs – there won’t be anything left to fight over.

It breaks my heart that getting drunk and puking on the floor was literally the highlight of my month. God, what a life…

October 10th 2008 – Sweet October
A new month, and I return to my notebook. I have no new news to report, save that I’ll be out of debt by mid-November. There is something to be said for living at home and working all the time, even if it’s boring as fuck

Speaking of things that aren’t boring as fuck – I spent this past weekend in LA drinking my face off. Here’s how it goes down: Friday night I drive with Kel, we hit LA around 10pm. Commence drinking. Chad and entourage show up, we hide-and-seek in the apartment, Kel kicks ass. More drinking, lots of fun, whiskey shots, and we’re out. Oh, and Garrett and I scream politics while the smokers kill themselves slowly.

Next day, Kel, Chad, and I are up early, breakfast at Denny’s, hit the liquor store and refuel. I accidentally stiff the Denny’s guy but don’t realize until later. Pocket change buys us drinks, and then off to the pool. Commence horseplay and drunk. The Santa Barbarians show up, it feels like home. Beer pong until the wee hours, I get ripped and pass out in front of the back door. A good time is had by all. (I think!)

Next morning, 4am: I’m up, clean, shower, finding shoes takes a while. Get Kel up by 5, we’re on the road by 5:30. Hungover. The road swims in the fog, my head far cloudier. Home by 6:45, in bed an hour, off to work by 8:30. Terrible day, but I thrive on this life. Wouldn’t trade it for the world: I can’t believe that I’m going to be giving it all up by February (or so they say…)

I’m glad of very few things like I am glad that I “gave this up for the world.” Drinking myself to sleep versus climbing mountains and exploring Maya ruins, chasing women, hitchhiking… wow! It’s been a pretty formative year. More political crap, so skip this next one if you’re uninterested. This one is particularly relevant with Obama.

People hate to admit that their leaders are corrupt and dishonest. They won’t accept it, will go to great lengths – lie to themselves! – in order to stave off this reality. WHY? I think I finally know the answer. People must make another decision if they accept that their leaders are fucking them. Namely, one must decide whether she will act, or whether she will roll over and pretend that none of this concerns her. People like to assume that they are good and true, but the live by one’s morality is infinitely easier if one just buries her head and ignores the problem entirely. When faced with a problem, an opportunity to be a fighter, they shirk their duty. What will you do?

What I did, and will continue to do, is run off, leave that whole mess behind, and not spend another second of my life on the “duty,” “obligation,” or “honor,” of fighting for my country. Let’s face it – your politics are boring as fuck, because they’re not relevant to my life – I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t recognize nations as having legitimacy in the first place, don’t live by their laws, don’t grant them they authority to rule over me. I can’t fix the system without being a part of it, but I can refuse to participate, can live my life, by my rules, and find so much more joy – why would I bother taking part in their games when I can make up my own?

October 3rd 2008
Loved her for ages,
was too shy to ask.
Too little, too late,
now our ship’s passed.
Clinging to threads,
of what we once were –
now I love our memories
more then I love her.

I wrote about religion a few times, so here’s that:

October 8th 2008 – Religion is the Problem:
I’m seriously disturbed that there are so many uneducated, racist, bigoted, violent, hateful morons in this country. Watching them on TV, burning effigies, marching around with guns, calling for the assassination of a presidential candidate on Fox because they don’t agree with his views – I’m truly afraid for democratic institutions in this sort of environment. What causes people to attach themselves blindly to a team, a cause, an ideology, and relentlessly attack anything that contradicts their view?

What I think it comes down to is the basic Christian/Jewish/Islamic/Evangelical/Fanatic/Religious worldview – they all believe that they have the <<*TRUTH*>> the ultimate, complete, and total answer to everything! Honestly, it is that basic premise, that each faith claims to hold the eternal word of supreme, omnipotent, omnipresent GOD, that leads them to hate.

They are incompatible, not only with each other, but with reality, with science, with the basic workings of the universe – but it doesn’t matter to the faithful! Each being indoctrinated in their separate worldview, taught to believe and never think, they are forced to choose between their “truth” and the compromises of coexistence with those who do not share that faith.

Consider – each group’s view is uncompromising. They have the word of GOD after all – how can one compromise the infallible world of the almighty? These groups cannot peacefully coexist, and without peaceful coexistence, the human race is doomed to perpetual conflict and bloodshed – for what? So that ancient books of superstitious fables can be revered as false idols? So another generation of children can be lied to, have their minds warped, become indoctrinated to hate, so that their brains can be forever shut to the beauty and truths in the world around them?

Enough! Enough! Religion, like racism, bigotry, prejudices of all sorts, the hatred of the other, all the primitive tribalist remnants of ancient man, must be stamped out before humanity can evolve past this earth. If we do not lose our false faith and the hatred that must come with it, we will be a plague released upon the universe.

October 9th 2009 – Regarding Religion:
People claim that they need belief, or perhaps that others do, but have you ever considered that people “need” what they have been brought up, taught to need? Would they still think, “God lives” if they hadn’t been told since birth that every aspect of their lives was set in motion by this all-seeing, all-knowing, unimaginable bogeyman? I propose an experiment – raise a child to worship an unimaginably great flying space asshole, one which violently shit out our universe last week sometime. What do you imagine will happen? What if we did that a few billion times, over many centuries, and tortured, raped, murdered, and killed everyone who disagreed and dared say so. Wouldn’t that view become mainstream, accepted, another respectable religion in the grab bag?

We all mock the outliers, but when a group grows large enough to influence society with their beliefs, they are legitimized. All it takes is time and tenacity – Scientology will be a respectable faith one day, unless we start calling people out on their irrational and false assertions. The older the faith, the less scrutiny we put it through, but the fact is, we don’t accept ANYTHING thousands of years old without scrutiny, unless it is contained in one of a few “sacred” texts. A scientist clinging to the work of Aristotle as absolute truth would be mocked mercilessly, and rightly so, but a priest who preaches literal interpretations of books of fairy tales is lauded for clinging to his beliefs. They are gospel, these old rags, their errors ignored – they are untouchable, and you’re traitor or intolerant if you point out the gaping flaws. Let me put it here – fuck your god, fuck your book, fuck your inability to think, fuck your religion. There is nothing controlling you except the limitations you place upon yourself, so just wake up and think for yourself.

Not too shabby, considering how doubtful and uncertain I was in my personal life. As evidence, here’s the only autobiographical entry I’ve found in a while.

October 18th 2008
Today was all work, but I didn’t earn much pay. Worse – I know my ideal life, but I know not the way.

I have such vivid memories, but when I write them down it’s so hard to get the feel across. It all comes out 2-dimensional and monotone: Life on Valium, filled with wooden dolls and blurry-edged. Too many metaphors are worse then none at all.

It’s been too long since I wrote a diary, but I want to start again. How to begin – I’m stuck in SM, the purgatory, and I must pass through on the path to my third-world heaven. I teach swimming lessons to little kids, which is rewarding but pays shit, and I work at a swim store as well, which isn’t rewarding, and pays even shitter. Really, it’s a whole lot of busy work, a holding pattern keeping me constantly off of the places I want to land. Likewise, I’m still living with my family, which pushes me ever closer to the brink of insanity, in the form of a new womb.

So, with that as my base, where have I gone? I have no new friends, but a lot of acquaintances. I’ve no girl, but flirt like a champ. I dance Friday nights, and I’ve gotten quite good. Still, I feel so alone, so pent-up, so afraid. Like I’m wasting my life in this brackish backwater, friendless yet needy, impoverished and greedy. I can’t sleep for the nightmarish dreams, and I’m writing in prose to conceal what I mean. I’ll put it here plainly, for no one to see – I’m miserable, hate my life, and the grief’s killing me.

This was scribbled in a margin:
I love love, crave feeling, like the touch of another.
Someone to kiss me, one to call lover.
I’ve actually found one – of course I must go.
My heart tells me I could marry her, but I’ll never know.

I really ought to title this whole thing “portrait of a miserable guy” and paint in in grey. I’m a little embarrassed I ever felt this low, except that I still remember how it felt. The thing is, I face a lot more pain, disappointment, fear, and failure now then I ever did then – I didn’t do anything at all! – but I’ve just learned to never let it stop me. I push through the wreckage and keep moving, and in doing so, find the beauty hidden behind the hurt.

November 2nd 2008
A rhyme without verse is a curious thing. Like a quote out of context, or a song you can’t sing. People who read it are often confused – the lone rhyming couplet is ne’er seriously used. It’s a powerful line, a lyrical jolt, heart to pen straight to soul, a hit without pads when you’re caught unaware. The effect is, I think, magnified all the more when rhyme comes uncouched by the dressings of prose – the full brunt of the words connect, pretense being a luxury unafforded by unguarded rhyme. The ugly, naked, whole lies before you, and you must accept it as-is or reject the notion. There is no halfway with these rhymes – they are either loved or hated. They are the most direct link to the mind of another that I have yet found myself capable of creating.

“If the night be dark or bleak, or grating on the soul, then look only to the one you love, and she will make you whole.”

I can’t believe I actually used “ne’er” – still, I’m not really disagreeing with this, but I will say I’m rubbish at putting it into practice.

November 4th 2008
“I like your Christ. I dislike your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

November 12th 2008
I’m finally starting to accept this new chapter in my life.

November 13th 2008
Never put the words “I’m finally starting to accept this new chapter in my life” into print, for the universe punishes arrogance. Today blew donkey nuts. I want pot, ‘shrooms, adventure, a drinking partner, or sex. Not choosy.

November 19th 2008
I wish the world worked as if people mattered. Like individuals were more then numbers, and money wasn’t king. Where happiness came from doing good, and not from buying things. In this crazy topsy-turvy world, there would be no blood for oil. No kids would starve in Africa, so rich men could grow richer. Those who had would give freely to the ones who need it most. Decency wouldn’t be synonymous with Christian dogma, nor equality mean “commie,” and no poor baby girl would ever have to die because a rich white man killed her mommy.

It’s too bad this world isn’t like my dream, because it easily could be. Without the rich and their hired thugs, what a beautiful world it could be. So if money is what you lust after, if Capitalism is your belief, then be forewarned – we’re coming after you, and all the world’s money can’t stop us. You cause the world grief, strangle the very planet, and until you and your filthy -isms are dead and buried, the world will never be as beautiful as I wish it to become.

The further I get from home, the poorer (monetarily) I become, the happier, freer, more joyous I find myself. I didn’t know it as I wrote this – though I certainly suspected it – but this world I wish for is absolutely possible – one must work hard, harder then ever before, to live without their rules and control, but what reward could be greater then the freedom to live as you please?

November 19th 2008
There’s a certain small beauty in being alone, but it’s lost on those who spend their lives in solitude. To do what you want, when you life, with whoever you choose is a wonderful way to live, but the freedom pales when it runs on forever. We all need to be wanted, we all want to feel love; by a boy or a girl, or creator above. And really – who blames us? We’re all social creatures. Dive headfirst into love, “give ourselves up to preachers. The ironic part comes when we’re finally together, and we realize we don’t want to live like this forever. Once we’re claimed we feel chained, like a picture now framed. The feeling, the moment, is captured and saved, but the luster grows softer, and the mind feels enslaved. Once the passion is gone, we long to be freed, forget our once-lonely selves, with those solitary needs. What’s my point? There’s none really – I’m just poking fun. Whichever path we choose in life, we long for the other one.

Robert Frost put it better.

November 25th 2008 – One Song Ride Home
The ride from your house
takes me only one song.
A few minutes of music stretch
last all night long.
Acutely aware our affairs are so brief
with Ted Leo in my ears
the wind in my teeth.
Too soon over and done with,
just as we’re soon to be –
a one song ride home
separates you from me.

The final bars fade,
pull up to my door.
Sneaking upstairs to bed
I feel like a whore.
Climb the stairway in darkness
my feet choose their course.
Sit, stare out the window,
smoke myself blind, hoarse.
Stretch a song a few miles
it feels neverending
but as for this poem,
right now it’s just ending.

The song I forget, but the band was Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. They’re not great, but the one track meant something to me once. I don’t remember because like all the other music that reminded me of her, I refuse to listen to it any longer – the past is easier to forget when you don’t dwell on the reminders.

December 3rd 2008
My love affair with driving draws to a close. I’ll miss Sally.

Sally is the car. She was good to me.

December 15th 2008
For an instant I saw a little Flower-man running around on my lawn. I blinked in surprise and he vanished, replaced by a flower swaying in the wind and rain. I liked the flower-man better.

Unlike the waking hallucinations I started getting months later from my anti-malarial pills, I’m reasonably sure that this one was just a figment of my imagination. I’m still a big fan of the idea though – little floral societies hiding in the bushes, playing macheteball and never forgetting to smell the roses.

You know that “day late and a dollar short” saying? I was always a step behind in my realizations – I did manage to capture that here though:

December 20th 2008
It’s difficult even describing these past 48 hours, so let me start at now and work back a bit from there.

I’m sitting barefoot and shirtless on South Ponto beach in Carlsbad killing time and braincells before I have to be at work in two hours. It’s rather cold, by southern California standards, but SLO didn’t get this warm the entire time I was there. You see, I just got back from a whirlwind of craziness, a road trip to San Luis Obispo where my living-in-sin lover lives (3x fast, go!)

630 miles, 8 hours in a car, all to see her for a day. Worth it. So worth it. That girl does something wonderful to me – whenever I’m near her I feel like I belong. It’s a totally foreign feeling to me. I just wish I had realized how important she is before I signed up for 2 years in the Peace Corps!

Anyway, I’m going to S a J full of W and watch the waves clean my mind out. I need a vacation from this emotional landslide. Oh, and for the record, I suck at sex – out of practice.

This is one of my favorites of the “bad poetry” category:

December 30, 2008
I don’t want to see one nation,
standing free.
Nor a hundred smaller ones,
branching off the human tree.
I want to see them fall,
The governments of the world.
So people might act out of love,
not fear
of those above.

This ones makes me smile – I mean, yeah, it’s juvenile, but there is such a manic joy to the way we partied – complete shameless debauchery. I only hope that we’ll still be getting together and doing it when I’m 60 – if I’m 60.

January 1st 2009
This ought to be a time for self-reflection. Fuck that! In 2 months I’ll be stuck on my own with all sorts of time for that. For now, I’m exactly where I want to be in my life: surrounded by friends, between binges, healthy, alive, not alone. I am with my best friends, my family, my fellow souls. Jake on guitar, Street Fighter alternates with football, bong rips, and swimming. We’re unabashedly degenerate – living to glorious excess, reliving our best times, creating new ones. All the people who make me happy are around, save L, and the place doesn’t matter really – we could be in any shithole apartment in IV and we’d act exactly as we do now. Real People are the ones I belong with, honest, open, themselves without fear. In a society so bent around hiding ourselves, it cannot be understated how good this feels, to be myself. I miss them all terribly already – all that remains is for me to leave all this behind, and hope blindly that it will still be here when I get back.

Oh, and for the second time in my life, one of Kel’s girlfriends tried to have sex with me. Well, technically she only offered to “suck me dry,” but it was just one of those “seriously, what. The. FUCK!” moments.

I resolved to have a fling before I leave the US, but this wasn’t what I had in mind…

Topless beer pong was fun, but this girl pretty much started propositioning every guy in the room – was more then slightly awkward. Kel took it well though, just told us no pictures allowed.

After leaving the -ad’s house, I went north to SLO again, hoping to clear my head. I kind of went the other direction with it though – as evidenced:

January 3rd 2009
Days like today are the ones I can’t stand. Everything worked: went according to plan. Fixing the problems seems what I do best, but when there are none I want only to rest. I got what I wanted, right? I came to see you. But that wasn’t it – I wanted love too. So you gave me your love, and we had a fun time – all the right touching and chills up the spine – yet none of matters! We can’t change what comes. I might as well like here, or sit on my thumb. The fact is, I’m leaving, and you’re staying here. The future immutable, the ending quite clear. We work – that’s for certain – for whatever that matters. Stick a fork in us, we’re done, relationship on a platter. Yet I still can’t regret all the things that we’ve done – all the long sleepless nights, our possible son. I always will love you babe, though I may not stay true: know I settled for her, because first I loved you.

The writing gets less frequent from here – preparations for the Peace Corps, emotional turmoil, a general resignation to my life ending soon all conspire to rob me of creative juices. Reading these pages, it’s just a mess of stale thoughts, looped together in new orders, but there isn’t any growth or development. I wrote it like this at the time:

January 10th 2009
Really, I just want to go already. I’ve been stagnant for too long, treading water in this shallow end of the pool. I long ago put my feet on the bottom, and now I want only the signal to move on to something more challenging – deep-water spinals, ocean rescues, a storm would break the monotony. As is, the waves slowly crash, lulling me to sleep as my skills deteriorate for lack of use. Someone drown already! I need the practice.

Also wrote this later that day:

The problem I have with this life of mine is too little sex, too much alone time. Nobody’s hanging out, we’re just hanging in – it’s so meaningless! My soul is wearing thin.

The gradual withdrawal, from one life to another, is at this point a 14 month process – longer if I include the Peace Corps application process – and I’m just useless. The rest of January is bitching, except for one great road trip. (Which got its own posts, 2 of them) There’s also this, if you’re not sick of radical politics yet, this was a marvelous foreshadowing of Barack Obama’s desecration of our rule of law in America. Never did I imagine Obama to be the man who finally destroyed our legal system, but I knew it was possible – thus, this piece:

January 17th 2009
War crimes are state crimes. They must be, as war is always the action of states, though fought by individuals. In war the dispute, the causes of violence, and the prize at stake is always a matter of state (elite) interest. The poor bastards shooting each other do not have a personal dispute, but have been conditioned to internalize the interests of societal elites. What does a poor man, lured into the army by signing bonuses and a lack of other options, really have against a middle-eastern farmer, himself snared into fighting by the promise of eternal paradise? Without incentives from those with a vested interest in conflict, the individuals of the world don’t have any reason to fight for the causes of another – this has been true of all wars since civilization developed enough of a surplus population to support having them.

Therefore, the perpetrators of war crimes are the states themselves, or more specifically, the elites within those states. Without their selfish power struggle, disguised behind lofty causes and noble goals, there would be no war, and thus no war crimes.

This is not meant to excuse the actions of the individual perpetrators of horrific acts against their fellow humans, but to raise the point that their actions were, are, and always will be, motivated by elites and leaders within society – themselves too frightened to actually fight the conflict, they send the poor and desperate to die in their stead. The elites must thus share in the punishment meted in response to these despicable acts, for without their having caused the war, there would not be the environment in which to commit war crimes.

And should these crimes be persecuted? Of course they ought! For a crime purposely unpunished is no longer a crime at all, and a state crime left unpunished today becomes the state policy of tomorrow.

Imagine it thusly: a man grows to despise his wife, and conspires to kill her. He is caught after the deed, clearly guilty, and in his defense pleads with the judge to “let bygones be bygones” and to “look to the future instead of wallowing in the past,” for the punishment of his crime will surely bring up unpleasant memories in the community, and make it more difficult for everyone to do the very important work they need to do to keep life running smoothly.

Any rational observer, knowledgeable of the purpose of law, will reject this defense as both ludicrous and counter-productive. To pardon the clearly guilty for their crimes is to both give tacit consent to their actions, and to encourage them to act similarly in the future. The law exists to deter actions – without equal punishment to members at all levels of society, there is no motive to obey the law.

Yet this absurd defense is the same course proposed by our political and social elites in regard to their heinous crimes, offensive wars, torture, wiretapping, and destruction of civil and legal protections for the citizens of the world. Given their positions of arbiters of justice and protectors of the nebulous “public good,” these elites are in the unique position of being able to subvert the justice system and avoid punishment – a murderer cannot declare his act a state secret and change the law to place his punishment off limits, but a lawmaking body can, if the court system and president are willing accomplices. Without mass public pressure to hold these criminals responsible for their crimes, they and their successors will have learned only one lesson from their wholesale rape of the rule of law, namely that these acts are permittable and without consequence – so go for it! Today the third world, tomorrow the American people. (Edit: and now, with proper legal precedent, they don’t even have to hide it. Like Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, the message is clear – you are above the law, do whatever you want.)

Any obvious crime left unpunished sends the message that the action is no longer criminal. We cannot allow crimes of the magnitude committed – aggressive war, torture, indefinite secret imprisonment without trial, domestic spying and wiretapping, propaganda programs subverting national media, police action against non-violent protesters, the unraveling of the rule of law – to be swept aside, left to fester, and infect the rest of society.

An illness of this magnitude will destroy any nation, especially one beset by the troubles facing the USA. Please, together, for the sake of humanity, at the risk of plunging the entire Earth into a terrible lawlessness, let us persecute these criminals and scrub their foul taint from this ailing nation! The people of the world deserve no less then for the richest and most powerful to be held to the same standards as the lowest criminal.

Since I  wrote this, the Obama administration has taken a deliberate course against this sort of persecution – by upholding the dubious legal arguments of the previous administration, by continuing to wage wars illegally in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen, by maintaining a torture program and secret prisons worldwide, by creating a tiered legal system that allows the president to indefinitely imprison anyone, for as long as he cares to, by continuing the domestic spying, immunizing elites against any retribution, he has done everything necessary to end the rule of law in America. I do not mean to be overdramatic – basic reading (I recommend Glenn Greenwald to start) into any one of these topics will yield the same conclusion I reached – that the law does not apply to members at the top tiers of American hierarchy.

From this I take the only logical steps that I can find – if all human beings are equal and free by virtue of their very humanity, then they are certainly equal before the law. If the laws do not apply to the rich and powerful, then they cannot possibly apply to me, and I therefore reject them. I doubt it will stand up before a judge anywhere, but that is the point – the judges are a weapon of the elites, and their purpose is to maintain the present striations of society. If I don’t recognize their laws (and certainly, I have never had any input into the laws that affect me, so they are not my laws) then I, by my virtue as a free human being, have every right not to follow them. In a society where the elites can have me imprisoned indefinitely, tortured, and executed in secret courts without ever having to prove my guilt or even give me a show trial, what does it matter if I follow every law or not? We are all vulnerable in a system ruled by men instead of law, and it is the business of all just men to to oppose injust laws.

Consider this my warning shot – I will not follow your laws, I will never restrain my actions based on threat of punishment, and will act as I see correct. I will not, cannot, follow an unequal system, for I have no betters, nor do you. To submit before a legal system based only on the fancies of the strongest powers around is folly – you place yourself their mercy. I may fare no better, but at least I will act for the right reasons, with the proper motives – mine.

Switching gears, 5th straight down to reverse at 80mph, and as my engine rips itself straight through the hood and skips across the highway, here’s something completely different:

January 19th 2008
Sitting in San Jose, Jake’s apartment. He has this fantastic window – overlooks the “main street” of town. Sitting in his living room, I overlook the whole world going about its business: moms with strollers, bums, old couples still in love, shoppers, eaters, friends, lovers commingle and pass through each others lives. Unbeknownst to them, I’m sitting a story above their heads, studying their movements. I try in earnest to expand our brief time together into a coherent view of the whole person – to know someone I’ll never meet or interact with – no small order. It’s silly, pointless, but it keeps me entertained. Maybe I’ll learn how to deal with people if I can see how they deal with each other.

Who is that girl? Mid-20s, dressed in black, with a tired face and a giant purse. She’s hurrying somewhere, eyes forward, face never turning to see the world she’s rushing through. I hope she’s happy – I pity her, perhaps underservedly – for missing life.

The man in the white Taurus needs to replace his brake pads – a lot of these drivers do – but his are especially terrible. I hear bare metal on rotor, and his brakes will rip themselves apart soon. How can he not hear that?

The girl with crutches exerts herself to keep up with her friends who walk too fast, heads together, animated. They don’t seem to notice her struggling. She’s frustrated at them, I can see it in her body language, but holds her tongue. A good friend, or just unwilling to speak out?

Parents with five kids – too busy to give any of them the time they need – I could never do that my children, or the next generation, or the planet for that matter.

So many passersby, cars, buses, traffic! The world is alive, dripping activity, energy abounds. Yet it is so compartmentalized, so isolated. Each acts as part of the whole, yet seems ignorant of her neighbors. And who am I to judge, hiding up here in a window? Seriously, hypocrite much? I ought to just -whoa

Angry bitch just came close to ramming a woman parking her car. “Stupid cunt!” she screams out the passenger window as she swerves unnecessarily and lays on her horn. So ignorant, so unaware of her surroundings or her own idiocy – there isn’t much hope for her in life – she’s dead already. Oops, “she” turns out to be an effeminate man with a ponytail and a shrill voice. Maybe he’s just bitter at the world?

A young boy, five perhaps, looks up at me from the car’s back seat. We share a smile – he’s the first to see me. People don’t grow up, just grow more closed, less creative, less tolerant, meaner. Most people die long before their final breath – I must remember to resist this process with my every atom – to never be a responsible, respectable adult. If I ever reach that point, it’ll be all over, and I’ll be another walking corpse.

This is life – freeform, creative, disorganized beyond the immediate moment. Each ought seek to do best in the instant, leave future to the dreamers, to be found out as it occurs, and past to historians, to be organized and studied until the meaning crawls behind the desk and out the back door to be lost forever. As one who thrives on chaos, it is intoxicating, but terribly sad. Life is meant to end, both on the individual and macro levels – We don’t look ahead to avoid disaster but to obsess on possibilities, don’t focus on the moment and miss life, dwell on immutable past. We plunge headlong into disaster, repeating the same mistakes, not daring to act as we desire. What an awful way to live – I must try my best to avoid it.

Beautiful girl in a brand new car, parking across the street. She’s digging through the piles of garbage on her passenger seat for what? A bag? No, a card – she seems like the less-than-organized sort. Disappearing into Starbucks along with my interest in her.

Bicycles everywhere. Another kid notices me. Time to hit the road, get out of this spectator role and live.

Full disclosure: I rewrote a hell of a lot of that piece – it was disorganized, scribbled, stream-of-crap, and I think it’s better this way. Couldn’t help but to change the mood of it though – much stronger, or ruined forever? Doesn’t matter, it’s done.

Here’s another entry that evolved into it’s own story:

February 1st 2009
Dad and I are driving to SLO to get Kenny out of jail. I guess he attacked his roommate, wrecked up their house, threatened people with a knife, and ran from the cops. What a shitshow. More details to come, but this isn’t exactly a surprise.

I still don’t have all the details – only he does, and he’s not talking.

A Love Letter to Dick Cheney:
FUCK YOU Dick! Go get waterboarded you sick torture-loving hypocritical rendition-masturbating fuckhead shitforbrains liar! May you die of rectal cancer while paralyzed and without painkillers, while an endless stream of your innocent victims spit, piss, shit, and vomit on you! May your name forever be synonymous with pathological lying and pure evil. “Dick Cheney” the idiot manipulator whose crimes against humanity leave him beyond redemption forevermore.

Curse you Dick – fuck you, dental-floss style – in the mouth and out the ass – with rusty barbed wire. How many children have you murdered today? And how much did Halliburton’s stock rise for it? Die slowly, burning, just so we can save you moments before death, painfully rehabilitate you, then feed you feet-first through a wood chipper! Fuck yourself just like you fucked over the human race!

I’ve made my point – now go die alone and unloved. You’re a traitor to your species.

I stand by it.

Toward the end, acceptance started to set in, mercifully.

February 5th 2009
I’m really happy where I am in my life today, which is funny because my life couldn’t be more shattered and falling apart. I just hope it calms down before I go into my darkness.

Plus, I had a distraction – someone I care deeply about was in worse straits then me, and my attention turned to helping him rather then myself.

February 12th 2008 no 2009
That’s the first time I’ve written the wrong year in ’09, probably because I’m nervous and my mind is elsewhere. I’m in the waiting room of Kenny’s shrink, waiting to be called in to talk with the both of them.

What worries me most is his reaction to what I’m about to tell her – how he’s not sleeping except during the day, playing too much video poker, not living, just barely surviving. His running away, threats of self-violence, short temper and shorter attention span. His claims that we “don’t understand” and that he doesn’t care about anything – how he can’t. If he only knew! I can’t save him, but maybe I can show him he’s not alone…

I’m going to show her the video of him from the night he was arrested – if anything will convince her he needs help this will be it. More later, I’m being called in – here goes nothing!

There went nothing – she wouldn’t view the video, refused to, and just put him on drugs. He and I never got to the level necessary for him to trust me, to believe that I did feel the same, and in the end I left with the situation unresolved. It still pulls on me – if I go back to the states anytime, this will be the reason more then anything else.

That’s the end of my writing before Honduras – I was too busy, too frantic, too scattered, and too wild to add anything else. Once I got in country I used a brand-new notebook (which I no longer have) to record my thoughts, and wrote out the Peace Corps Diary series of stories on my website. If you’re interested in those, just start with February 2008 and go from there.

In the meanwhile, my life got a whole lot better – I was happy, busy, had purpose. Occasionally I had pangs of longing, and in those moments I wrote, but by-and-large I found myself unable to do anything with poetry, with music, with anything truly creative. It was as if my sadness lifted at the price of my art, and for a while I despaired about ever finding it again – if sorry was my muse, did I even want to be an artist? Here’s one of the few exceptions from my early months in the Peace Corps:

February 27th 2009
Hey babe, don’t you cry.
Take a breath and dry your eyes
Things are sure to turn out right some-day
Feelings come and feelings go
melt away like fallen snow,
the world spins on and winter turns to spring.
Looking back you’re gonna laugh,
don’t take your toaster in the bath,
Bad memories will fade away with time.
Remember that we were in love,
forget the bad times just because,
There’s nothing you can do about them now.
So go outside – hold your head high,
Today’s the day that you might die,
Don’t be sad on your last day alive.
There’s nothing left for us to say,
I still love you, to this day,
And if you feel the same we’ll meet again.

I find it only mildly hilarious that the day I wrote this, we had a presentation with Trudy Jaycox, the country director of Peace Corps Honduras. The topic? Discipline and rule violations. Yeah – wrote a love poem while the lady who kicked me out of the program was lecturing us on how she kept a tight ship, and rulebreakers would not be tolerated. You know, I think one of us had the wrong priorities!

From here, the entries are scattered, irregular. Here’s the next:

April 6th 2009
Holy shit – has it really been a month and a half since I’ve written anything in here? Scary and sad both. My angsty self is slumbering, but with him seems to have gone my ability to write poems or songs. Also, I think I’m out of love with L – I still love her, but the distance and outright rejection has killed my desire to write about that subject.

Still, I have my blog, huge group emails, and a ton of journal entries. I guess that’ll have to tide me over for now.

“And we sat there, your head on my shoulder, talked, cried, and together got over each other. By the time we climbed out of my car, one last longing kiss was all that remained of the years of passion, love, betrayal, and heartbreak. As I sat and watched you drive away, I knew what it felt like to fall out of love.”

If I wrote a book about her and I, those would be the final lines.

I like this one too:

June 15th 2009
It’s crazy – I just read through this whole journal, and what really strikes me is how well it captures who I was in the intermission between college and Peace Corps – I can’t even write this way any longer, because I’m so different now, in worldview somewhat, but in happiness especially. I’m too happy to write poetry like this, and I have an interesting life, so now the politics, religion, and whatnot are further from my focus. I wish I could have it back without feeling so low, but what would I write about? It is a mystery.

What I will do though is put some of these up on the blog – worth seeing if anyone likes them, I guess.

Hey, I got around to it! Only 6 ½ months late…

After that, there’s a gap in this journal for months – the entire Casa Kiwi fiasco, hitchhiking Central America with Sjoerd, Chasing Veronique, and my epiphany of discovering my own happiness pass by completely unnoticed, because all of my writing from that period is in another one, the “Peace Corps Diary” volume. Man, I can’t believe I’m giving away all of the working titles – where’s the surprise going to be once I actually get around to finishing these stories? Nowhere, that’s where. A pity, but I guess it’s your loss anyway – I already know what happened!

Anyway, here’s some self-reflection, or what passes for it in this crazy life. Chronologically, it’s a few days after I wrote my “Ode to Sonati” and “I’m happy” blog posts and just before my “Beautiful Dream” – a day on the road, especially one right after some amazing experiences, will often drive me to write dozens of pages, poems, stories, and this was no exception. I mean, you try and cross 3 countries by public bus and hitch without music or a friend – aside staring out the window or making friends, what else can I do?

I love writing on buses, if only because I can’t help but to connect with my fellow humans on them – hitching you can avoid it, but on buses humanity tides over you, the sounds, smells, uncomfortable seats, yelling food vendors, curious staring children, and 100 or more people slammed into a ramshackle US school bus, painted wild colors and hooked up with a bumpin’ sound system – just don’t take those fucking directos, or you’ll miss the whole experience. How could bad 80’s movies or barely functional AC make up for the lack of 3-people-to-a-seat, traveling evangelists, and reggaeton? It can’t, that’s the honest truth of it!

October 23rd 2009
Here’s the scene – It’s Friday afternoon, 3pm or so, and I’m sitting on a bus headed to Guatemala City, off to start a new job in a new city, a new state too. (State as in nation-state, since this place is pretty tiny.) I don’t even really know what I’ll be doing there, except that it will have something to do with guiding or working for a guide company or just anything, so long as I can get paid and eating I’m happy. I just finished writing my whole other journal front-to-back, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing in this one – rather leave it pristine, a monument to the lonely heartbroken lost soul I was. The new, centered, happy me doesn’t belong. Still, I might as well writing in here, being as it is full of paper and I have no other.

Anyway, I was – fuck that pen, I write in blue now – anyway I was reading the previous entries and found it quite curious that in the last one – 6/15, the day before the Casa Kiwi disaster, that I mentioned how I could no longer write poetry, songs, that I was happy and thus had no subject matter. “I wish I could have it back without feeling so down,” I wrote – well, a glance at my other notebook, especially the newer stuff, should show that I’ve accomplished that goal. I’ve my poetry back, songs play out in my head, and I’m neither morose nor melancholy. In the past months I’ve touched upon my inner muse – not L for once! – and I’m learning how to – holy shit, lady across from me has a pair to cause whiplash – I’m learning how to channel emotion – to use it without being consumed. Does this mean I’m developing as an artist? I can only hope so.

I just looked at myself, and I serious resemble a homeless person – shit (cow) all over my pants, tears and holes everywhere, hand-me-down boots, paint covered and speckled with mud, blood, and something as yet unknown. I washed my hair for the week yesterday, shaved for the first time in days. I think this is day 5 or 6 in the same clothes, and they’ve just gotten dirty enough to be comfortable again. Bracelets adorn my wrists – no watch to be seen – cuts and bruises, a cracked fingernail, a wicked slice out of my left pointer, innumerable cuts and bruises – the evidence of a life well-lived. Oh, and the matching bright yellow handkerchief and shoe laces to round out the picture – I look like I feel – a ramblin’ man, well-traveled, a patchwork of places, styles, ideas – a work in progress, yet constantly here – Each instant can be frozen, taken alone, judged, graded, conclusions may be drawn – yet the whole is in flux – the me of today won’t be here tomorrow, tomorrow’s me will pop into being as he is needed.

Chance, adaptation, evolution – these things I feel occurring on a constant basis – I am improving as I learn what works, adapt, experiment. There is no failure, only different conclusions then those desired, and these we learn most from. Today I learned not to cross the Guate-Hondu border at Aguas Calientes on a Friday afternoon if you don’t want to pay a $10 cab fare. Yesterday I learned that exposure to insanely loud marimba at close range leads to audio-visual hallucinations, nausea, cold sweats, and a day-long headache. Some lessons are more useful then others. Another look at that woman – they’re just exploding out of her shirt, it’s not even fair…

There’s this too:

¡Oy gringo! ¡Hey chele! ¡Amigo! ¡Senor!
Se vende helotes, naranjas, gaseosas mi amor.
¡Comprela, barrato, rapido, aqui!
Tengo lo que necesitas – ¡precios mejores!
Up and down the bus aisles,
pushing in through the windows
Ey gringo, Ey chele, regalame un peso.
Tengo hambre, estas rico –
¿Por qué no me ayudas?
Dios te mira – en frente El sos.
The madness of begging, the old women selling –
products shoved in my face, down my throat.
How can I tell them –
and make them believe –
I’d give them all something
if only I had it?
“I’m not rich!” the mind screams –
No soy tonto gringo, ni rico estoy.
Mis bolsas vacios, como siempre, como suyas.
I bite my tongue, smile,
“No gracias,” my mantra.
The sad truth, la verdad,
mi situación no comparable a sus
and even if it was I’m still white
and white people must be rich
We’ve fucked this whole world –
where’s the dough?

Áéíóú ñ¿¡ – This was one attempt to make sense of the strange world inside buses – Sjoerd once said it was like the whole supermarket comes through during a long enough ride, and there’s something to that – the long lines of salespeople, the suave man selling miracle crème, vitamin injections, or toothbrushes, the preachers, the beggars. I remember one guy, who had what I thought was the best sales pitch of all – he just blew godawful racket from his harmonica as he moved from row to row, hand outstretched, and absolutely refused to move on until you handed him something – I think he got money out of damn-near 100% of the bus, but I gave him a book of matches.

In addition, it’s another step in my path toward writing in another language, which is, I think a whole hell of a lot more difficult then speaking in it. The sad truth is that I would write a whole hell of a lot more in Spanish if the accent-work wasn’t so damn tedious – alt-key combinations that change in every program, copy-pasting punctuation marks, and sometimes I just can’t bring myself to care – the Christmas letter for example, tells everyone to have a happy new anus, just because I couldn’t be bothered to make Gmail work for me. My bad.

I lose a lot of work just because of the timing – the perfect rhyme comes to me as I’m washing my ass, but by the time I’m dry enough to write it down, the whole thing has collapsed into the garbage pit, and I’m stuck wondering at how it could stink so badly.

October 27th 2009
I had a great poem in my head yesterday in the shower, but I wiped it clean out of my mind as I toweled off. It happens often enough that I want to scream – Fucking Remember! – but truth is, art is ephemeral, exists only for long as it is valid, as long as it ought. At times this makes it private, slipping away before it can be shared. Try as I might to hold on to the words, they break free and scatter, out the back door, under the bed – I scrambled after them, to no avail – I’m left holding the empty bag of my once beautiful thoughts and wondering what could have been . Afterwards, I beat myself up – what did it mean? What was I trying to say? And what – of all things – could have come out of my brain? I’ve thought too much, wracked my brain without avail, but today I went a different way. What if these aborted ideas exist to show me my potential, too urge me onward to greater things? I’ll treat them as such, even if it isn’t correct.

I still wish I didn’t forget so many ideas – the waste is staggering! Any time I’m not close to pen and paper, that I can’t drop everything and jot down something, I can do little except watch as the prose and rhymes and stories float through my mind and leap gleefully out of it, doing little backflips off the high-dive, and are lost into the great pool of nothingness. I think I’ll put a whiteboard in the shower, at least.

October 27th 2009
The body breaks down as it dies – cells slowly dissolve, systems stutter, choke, the engine grinds to a halt on accumulated debris, and the cleaners are too tired to care. In the end it isn’t violent, sudden death that sweeps over the majority of us, but a gradual weakening and decay – in short, a lack of maintenance of the aging machinery.

The body is a system of systems – complex in the utmost, composed of trillions of individuals, each aware only of what it needs to know to perform its small role. The similarities between the living individual and the living society are striking, and the two break down in much the same ways. As a society ages, the maintenance piles, the debts mount, inertia sets in. Some portions of society harden like arteries, impede passage of fresh blood, defy needed change. Without the ability to see beyond one’s individual needs – and don’t fool yourself – no one, no president, no prime minister, congress, parliament, king, has the whole picture or can act in the good of all – we protect us and ours. All societies, all individuals, must die unless they can replace worn parts, revitalize, renew needed resources. Death is not bad but simply necessary – the flip side of the coin of life – inseparable and necessarily so. Just as a society of immortals must run into severe problems of resource overuse, population overflow and extreme crowding – all necessitating totalitarian control individual freedom, so does a permanently stable society tend toward centralization, stagnation, striation, and the crushing of all that is different or new. Stability blocks development at least as much as it protects us.

Societies must die, like great rainforest trees, so that fledgling societies and cultures may spring from the undergrowth and add their own contributions to the web of life. We ought not mourn their passing, but celebrate their greatest contributions – which, one might note, often come early in their histories, before they have solidified under cultural or political pressure. In order to preserve liberty and further human and social evolution, the existing order must be fall – torn down if need be. That which follows will be better or worse, but we may be assured that at least in the beginning it will be different, chaotic, and from it will spring new ideas, inventions, poems, art, dreams, new people, new realities. Nothing in the universe is permanent, nor ought it be. Change is life is change.

And stagnation is death. I guess I’d better get moving.

This next one is for Tina’s dog Coyote, who died of some injury sustained while I was away – a friend passing though Antigua gave me the news, and since this dog was so sweet, so loving, I just had to write a bad poem about it.

November 5th 2009
Coyote is dying,
or dead perhaps –
I just heard the news
and wish I could do
except sit
and write
how much I wish
I could do
to help.

Losing a dog
like losing a friend
sometimes worse –
you always imagine
as a child
a best friend who listens
and loves
but never judges
and is always around.
That’s a dog,
and Coyote was one of the best.

Not exactly sure what
but something bad happened
to a big lover dog
and now I can’t sleep at night.

November 6th 2009
If the drunken stumble was an Olympic event, I’d medal for sure. Had a couple in a row lately, and I’m starting to realize every street is identical when you’re here in the middle of the night.

Yet another group of people compared me to the guy from Into the Wild but they’ve pegged me wrong – I’m a different beast. I don’t reject society, I reject your society. The western world, capitalism, consumers braindead and programmed, the stale odor in the gasping maw as it slowly chokes out and dies. I welcome its death, I work toward it actively. My gift to the world will not be the story of a life lived fully in line with nature. No, instead my story, my gift, will be to throw myself so hard at life that others will be unable to do anything except join me. I refuse to be an example – I won’t show you how to be happy or how to live – that you must find on your own – if you wish to join me however, I’ll gladly share.

The 6th was a writing day – I forget why – but there are pages and pages, political, angry, questioning, fierce. Some in Spanish, some in English, but I’m worried that this massive post is going toward the irrevocably dull. I highly encourage skipping sections you’re not interested in, taking what you want, discarding what you do not, and adding to all of it what is uniquely your own.

It’s impossible not to participate in their system here in Antigua. Just as impossible as at home, sadly, but the means are different. First, it’s impossible to buy anything, not in the smallest shop, that hasn’t been labeled, packaged, juiced with corn chemicals, and then examined, primped, pinched, tucked by the soulless shitsuckers in marketing until there is no resemblance between food and whatever the hell We’re eating. It all screams corporate domestication to me, whispers softly on the peace, love, understanding, happiness, sex appeal I can purchase at the low low price of – well, I don’t know, because I’m not buying.

There isn’t the money anyhow, but I’m not buying as much as I can get away with. Still – I’m buying because I have to. I’m st- fuck, I just got up because I’ve been craving something, anything, a cigarette, and bought a pack of gum made by an American multinational corporation – one of those immortals. Sure, it helps me quit smoking, but I feel like – Am! – a twat to have it. I should have just stolen it – at least that’s still pure. Still, I’ve almost cut consumption aside from the most basic of things, and still I consume too much! Food or cheap substitutes, water, coffee, tea, alcohol, marijuana, the occasional cigarette I bum, condoms, gum, Canada Dry snuck from the bar, soap, shaving cream, razors, detergent, electricity, Austrian vagina – that’s about all I consume these days. Oh wait – Ink, paper, plastic, metals are in my writing supplies, the packaging, chemicals, the list goes on forever. Point is it’s impossible not to consume their products and live here, because they own everything, make everything, and short of stealing it, I can’t get what I need to survive without buying.

Granted, I’ve cut down a lot – don’t even want new things, give away those I do carry, but try as I like I’m still stuck in their world, and getting out isn’t any more likely here then there. If I want to escape their fucked up system, the one that necessitates poverty, begging, makes no one happy, and consumes us all and our planet too, I’m going to have to blow a fat motherfucker of a hole in the walled garden, or we’ll never taste free air. Now I just look for how, and who, and where. The what and why I’ve got. -k

Last note for the moment – why is it that I’ve had better luck with women since I started to drop out and go my own way? Am I more attractive somehow, or am I just fulfilling their mysterious bad boy fantasies? How can I be sure to find a similar soul?

There’s a problem with words – with communication in general – that makes it all but impossible to pass feelings and thoughts from one to another. Words are so imprecise, have such subjective meanings, and signify different things to us all. Take “Love” for example: it can be used to express so many things, to pass so many thoughts into the world – “I love that new hat!” “Like oh my gawd, didn’t you just loooove the new Twilight movie?!” “I love it when you do that trick with your tongue.” “I love you.” “We’re in love.” and on and on it goes. How can I possibly communicate my meanings using these words? How can I communicate at all without them?

I wrote briefly before about how touch communicates so much better then voice, how the shiver under your lover’s fingertips tells her so much more then a mailbag of poetry and sonnets, how the smell of another person tells a life story, how the taste of a kiss beats a lifetime of writing love stories. Writing, speaking, words have no chance to express the same level of truth. Still I try, with imperfect words, because there isn’t a way to kiss the whole world, because there are plenty of people who I can’t tell how much I love them with my hands (and really, think of the lawsuits!). For people far removed, writing is perhaps the purest medium to share thoughts – more measured, accurate, then speaking – it takes a lot of work to write, and with more effort comes better, truer communication.

Sometimes I write in Spanish just for the difficulty of it – when I can’t find the right word, when I don’t even know how to say what I want, the struggle makes the product all the purer. Here’s the same sort of anarchist, anti-globalist sentiment as above, but in a language that still trips me up quite a bit.

Los colores son tan brillantes como los que son adentro tu corazon. Los exudes cuando haces las cosas que autenticamente reflexionan tu amor por la vida. Si no tienes este amor, o no trabajas para tu felicidad como la meta mas importante del universo, los colores se irán y con esos irá la punta vivir. Siempre haga que necesitas estar feliz, pero pienses siempre en si tus acciones, valores y piensas son de acuerdo.

Si no, cambie algo, porque sea mejor vivir un dia con paz internal que vivir 100 años en desacuerdo con tu espiritu. Recuerdes siempre – la vida es de tiempo limitado. Cada segunda peciosa, cada momento un regalo. No la bota en frente del televisor, ni trabajos que odias – la poder cambiar tu vida y tu mundo nunca esta más lejos que la distancia entre tus manos y tu corazon. Nadie conoce, nadie, cuales son las cosas mejor para ti mejor que tu. No politico, ni profesor, padre, puta, or pariente sabe como hacerte feliz – descubrir ese es concerte al mismo.

I wanted to write character pieces about each of the members of Cafe Te Quiero, but ran out of time when I was run out of my house. The only one I even started was Makanaki, our Rasta chef. Here’s that:

Makanaki the cook is my favorite character in this wild business venture of ours. A Belizean Rastafarian, a devout vegetarian, with a history of crack addiction, homelessness, and the teeth to prove it. From his leathery black hands to his eclectic wardrobe all the way up to the magenta-red-purple knit cap he eternally wears over long black dreads, Makanaki is one of the more fascinating individuals I’ve ever met. He’s a genius in the kitchen, no movements wasted, total concentration and focus. There’s a rhythm to his every motion, and the songs he plays in our cramped kitchen never fail to be delicious. He doesn’t speak it, but reads his French cookbook and pulls off some incredible creations, and on top of that, he knows where to find or buy anything in the town market.

Yet despite this encyclopedic knowledge of the city and command of the culinary arts, the overwhelming impression one gets from Makanaki is one of complete chaos. The guy jabbers on about anything under the sun in English, Spanish, Creole, Patwah, and it feels like our conversations work better when I start reacting based on his emotions rather then wording. Put another way, it’s like listening to a conversation already finished, and then just finding your part in it, because when he asks a question, you’d better give him the response he wants, or he’ll just repeat the last 30 seconds’ conversation over again until you do. He talks himself through every action, step by step instructions to life. We play the same album – Bob Marley’ Bob Marley – every day until six, when Tops turns on the main stereo and plays Bob Marley and Groundation songs until some customer wrestles control away. Makanaki preaches me the faith of reggae, love, Jah, and ganja – Jah’s gift to man, proof that he loves us.

“Its tru mon, padnah, dis is holy mon,” he pauses to puff, “You smoke – oh, so good! – jis a liddle mon, jus a liddle, poquito, a liddle. Too much joo go crazy, loco! Tops man, he crazy that loco, sitting ova der, wooo, wow loco! HAHAHAHAHAHAhahaha…” And then, suddenly pensive, he’ll turn back to the stove, and check bubbling dishes, stir one, and then “You know, Bob Marley, the musica?”
“Yeah man, of course.” I respond the same every time.
“You know das about Jah, right? About givin’ tanks tah Jah, you know?”
“Ya mon,” I say.
“So good, so good.”
“So good padnah.”
We make a good team.

One of my favorite things about Makanaki is his guitar – it is in some way a metaphor for the man. He found it in a dumpster, salvaged what he could, built his own parts out of scrap plywood, metal, and part of what I think is the surface from an old linoleum countertop. He’s loved her to death and it shows – parts of the body and fretboard are worn white from countless passes of finger and hand, while others are stained black with sweat, dirt, tears, and cigarette smoke. The strings, of which there are five, are constantly out of tune, and the effect of all this excess love is an instrument that might collapse if you looked at it too hard.

When Makanaki plays, it’s almost an affront to music – like hitting convention in the face with his dick, he does everything his own way, twanging and strumming, playing all over the place, no melody just plain feeling. Over this sound riot he sings reggae lyrics of his own devise, praising Jah, Jesus, “Oh Jesus Jesus, thank you lawd, o dank you Jesus Christ mah brutha lawd!” and praying for universal brotherhood. He’s chaos through and through, but I like listening to him play. It’s not a popular position. Maybe I’m just crazy enough myself to appreciate his work? That seems possible.

Anyway, the mystery of Makanaki, the reason I need to stick around and study the man lies in his ability to know – well – all of the hot young alternative girls. The man has some crazy Rasta magic that makes him well-loved by all and if I’m going to be stuck in 40 square feet with him for so long, I might as well learn a bit.

Looking back at it, I think his “secret” was just to be completely authentic – in every fiber of his body, Makanaki is truthfully and honestly himself. The sort of power that comes from that inner peace can be turned to whatever means you want, and if you’re into befriending young impressionable tourists, well, that can work out quite nicely. Makanaki – I miss you padnah – I hope we cross paths again. Also:

It’s amazing the way the threads of our lives connect. I’m drawn repeatedly back to new/boys’ house from here in my cramped Antigua kitchen, the dimensions and shape, the chaos and willful disrepair – it’s so weird to feel these small tugs when you least expect it.

I felt like a black and white movie stereotype one day:

November 11th 2009
I slept right through the celebratory minute of Armistice Day, which I think is the best way I could honor the end of pointless war – by getting a good night’s sleep.

Now I sit here at a small, smoky comedor, a just-killed plate of pollo asado off my right elbow, an empty glass coke bottle in front of me, and a standoff between two feelings – satisfaction and resentment – in the pit of my stomach. Really, I feel a bit like a character at this point leather jacket and shades sitting under 1950’s ceiling fans spinning gamely, soft static Spanish on the radio, looking out into the cobblestone and red tile of Antigua as two old women cook chicken and steak on a charcoal burner in the doorway and dry dishes with old rags. “Just rolled into town,” my character would drawl, “might stick around a while, might take off tomorrow. Only God and the Devil know, and I’m not even sure about them.” Then he’d relax, lean back in his chair, and flash a grin at the sheer insanity of it all. Sadly, the real me would have to translate that, and besides losing a lot of the impact, I think the God-Devil-I-don’t-know bit might not go over so well in Catholictopia. Anyway, the women are chatting in low quick Spanish, and the only other customer is deep into his own plate. I don’t blame him – it was delicious. Point being – the main difference between myself and the protagonist in a novel is that I don’t have the luck or skill to make every witticism stick when needed. Interesting idea though.

Back to that coke, now cleared from my table – it still bothers me, and I’d like to work out why. I know why I don’t like it – no mystery there. Big corporation with a history of worker, human abuse, murder, exploitation, greed, destructive behavior of all sorts, just to push a sugary bottle of sweet and health problems – no Sherlock Holmes needed to see why they’re on my shit list. Worse, they’re so fucking good at it! Everywhere I go, Coca-Cola has already been, “civilizing” the unwashed masses through diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay – the tip of the iceberg. Worse still, they’re omni-present in Central America, having displaced any local companies that might dare to compete – if there is a town of 50 people, and one of them runs a store out of her house, dollars to dogshit it’ll have a case of Coke.

Still, the reason why I’m really angry right now isn’t even for all of that. No, I’m pissed off at myself, because I took a bottle of this bullshit out of a freezer 30 minutes ago, opened it, drank it, and you know what? I fucking LIKED it! What the fuck! How can that even be? How can I, knowing all that I do, feeling as I feel about this world-destroying conglomerate nightmare? How can my I react as I do, with all those chemicals, corn products, and artificial preservatives, flavorants, caramel color?! How can my body enjoy this swill? How can I be so weak as to let my body make those choices for me? And what sort of weak-hearted, dull-minded bastard am I? An anarchist, a freedom-lover shouldn’t be this much of a hypocrite, so I guess it’s pretty obvious I have a long way to go. I’m so pissed at myself for this self-destructive behavior. Be it pot, cigarettes, booze, women, Coca-fucking-Cola, the internet, or video games, WHY do I waste my time on distractions when I have so much more to offer the world, and it me?

I don’t like having to ask that, but truly, it needs asking. I don’t have the answers to anything, but I know the method to find out, and I owe it to all of us to spread what little I can. Instead, I’m pursuing the long slow death, which isn’t a cause worth spitting on. I’m cutting as much of this shit as I can, starting now. I won’t be the slave of any man, and I sure as hell won’t let myself be controlled by my own base instincts either. To change the world, looks like I’ll be changing myself first.

So far, so good. It’s still a long road though – desires are strong, and we all need an outlet – I guess I’ll just channel mine toward the things I like best, the travel, women, adventuring side, and drop the booze and cigarettes and mindless entertainment. Drugs – the good ones – I’ll keep, on the once-in-a-while side of things, or maybe drop them too after I can get past drinking and smoking. Those are the tough ones, really. What social situation have you been in lately where people are sober? Not a whole lot where I am.

This poem I wrote lying awake in bed, more or less as it played out.

November 12th 2009 – Past and Future
I’ve a joy in my misgivings
and misgivings to my joy.
The life I live’s worth living,
but life is not a toy.
What’s the point to my existence?
Am I only out to play?
Is there a better route to happiness
then the one I’m on today?

As I lie awake here wondering
Why, and What, I think of you –
our midnight talks,
hopes dreams and fears
you always helped me through.
I’ve never had that since
you know – that honest, or that raw.
Too intense you called me then,
I was and forever am.
In secret, I think that’s what you liked.
Doesn’t matter – Earth turns –
we revolve past horizons and sight.
The memories fade with the distance,
and that brings me back to tonight.

Once in my life I could call you,
we just don’t work like that
any longer.
Any longer.
Any longer and I’ll lose my mind –
I’m reaching for the phone.
But wait! A body stirs next to mine,
pulls me back –
from old longings to the present moment.
Her soft warm hand
takes mine, pulls close
and I’m torn –
caught between a love that I’ve felt
most my life,
and the chance
of the one I’m now discovering.

I’ll lie awake a while still.

I don’t care what anyone else says, that’s among the truest things I’ve ever written. General rule – if it hurts to read, brings the moment back into sharp relief, burrows right into my core, then I’ve done a good job, and this one does all of that.

I found my notes from being on LSD – they’re sufficiently insane to post here unedited, so all the spelling and whatnot is probably intentional, and if not, how the hell would you know the difference?

November 12th 2009
I’m on LSD, and just this morning I made a drug-free pledge – “the whole weekend,” I said, “I won’t touch a drop, or a puff, or a toke,” and here I am, a tab of acid into what might be one hell of a night. So far, I don’t know how to describe the feeling – It’s sort of like my body is vibrating, and I can feel every string of the whole glorious orchestra flowing through my veins, rolling out in waves of shimmering energy from my mouth and eyes. I bite my lip and feel a joy so deep, electric I can only sigh at the sheer ecstasy of it. It’s a subtle drug, but pervades every nook, every small recess of my brain and body – it’s easy to function normally but impossible to feel normal. My mouth is full of cotton, my words come out on cushions, and all through I vibrate bounce along the strings of existence and very reality, spiraling downward through the drainpipes of the universe, clattering merrily along to the rhythms of a whole underground orchestra, one I neither heard before nor even knew existed until just.this.moment as I put pen to page. It burst forth into reality, flaming wings and noises of — fuck it, don’t know where that was going.

It’s as if the LSD itself is in control of the pen and all I can do is watch the words appear and try to remember to breathe. And bite my lip – that seems significant right now, more then a lot of other things. Clearly I miss L – that’s been bubbling up through my consciousness all day, but perhaps now, with this strange rush flowing through me I’ll get to the bottom of it. ½ hit left, and we’ve hours of fun to go ahead. I’m quivering – all nervous energy and who knows what else – raw potential! – we’ll see how it goes.

A few hours later –
This has got to be the worst rolled joint I’ve ever smoked. Except the last one. Except the next one. And yet, I see an angel in the smoke, twirling, dancing skyward before me, disappearing toward smoky ceiling. Except for the last one. What’s the difference? It’s all one big smokestorm. Breeding inhalation mixes the cloud, swishes it like fine wine, spits back into the air as if to say “I’m through with you.” It mingles back, smoke to smoke, ashes to improbably long dangly ashes, dust to well – dust. Fuck that analogy anyhow – never liked it. Put that down in the record, then strike it from it forever. Smoke angels, that was my point. I see them dance away, but stretching after them is no use – they disintegrate and fall away before your outstretched hands, smoke and angels both – intangible, ephemeral – like dreams – like everything worth dreaming about.

Later again –
I can see why this was such a revelation when it first came about, because I can see the sublime in every living thing. God – to be first, to have been there, here, everywhere! To feel this for the first time, to fly – it’s all I can do to keep myself grounded now. I need to go find my laptop charger, some drinks, and to hide all the valuables. This is going to be one fuck of a night!

And still later –
“Ok guys, victory cigarettes then we’re out.”
“Yeah man, sorry we can’t stay with you longer, but you know, real life.”
“Love you guys too.”
“Goodnight buddy.”
“I’m out!”
Just like that – hang up the phone, click off the skype video chat, and we’re a million miles, a lifetime apart, and I miss them more then I did before we started.

Yeesh – I can see a few good thoughts, or partial good thoughts, in that mess, but it was just a stream-of-consciousness nightmare – still describes the whole experience pretty well, all music and vibration and a sense of universal oneness – the poor man’s religious experience. I can certainly see the appeal in it, but I could never shake the fakeness of it all – the chemical shows through the whole charade – it tastes, feels, is man-made, though unless you’d had some experience with natural hallucinogens that might not be so obvious. Still worth having done, but I doubt I’ll do it again soon – there are just too many better things to do with my life then to spend my time on false, empty enlightenment.

Here’s a few random notes, scribbles, and a half-assed attempt at explaining my moniker, since someone asked:

November 17th 2009
The Peo-ple of Te Qui-er-o

I want to be a citizen of the universe, and so I will. I disdain nations for the same reason that I don’t divide species based on race, creed, belief, or any other group characteristic – because no individual can possibly be reduced to any of them. We fatally weaken ourselves by dividing like this – only through uniting all our individual threads into a great human tapestry can we hope to join the enlightened species of the universe. I am only one thread – I represent no other, and none can stand for me, yet I am of the same cloth as all others. That is why I am a citizen of this world – that is why I am Citizen K.

November 22nd 2009 – Recap
Last night in Antigua, and I’m sitting, thinking, smoking, and just trying to reflect on the past month of craziness – and what a crazy fucking month it has been! I’ve found an enjoyable life, house, a job I actually liked, friends, an honest to god home, and it all just fell into my lap. I even met a girl I liked, pursued a semi-normal relationship, pushed some sexual boundaries, had a blast. Then we had the live music, crazy characters, wild parties, too much pot and booze, a bit of LSD, and made a very gratifying and developmental time of it all. To bring it to a climax, Vish from Sonati shows up and puts a Columbian adventure into my head. Then collapse – the police evict us at riflepoint, and now I’m leaving to El Salvador and beyond with $0. Why can’t I live a calm, normal life? Because I choose not to!

It wasn’t my last day in Antigua – not by a long shot. I didn’t write it, but that night I managed to convince a whole group of tourists that there was no real difference between prostitution and the western concept of “dinner-and-a-movie” dating except that one was honest (and thus better) then the other. “Girls, have you ever gone on a date with someone you didn’t like because of the promise of free food and something paying attention to you for a while? Boys – have you ever taken a girl out less because you wanted her then because you heard that she was ‘easy’ and would sleep with you? Aren’t those both exchanges based around trading something for sex, attention, and human contact? What is prostitution except for a more honest version of the same?” Seriously – what is the difference, except that one supports a whole lot more industries, and thus creates demand for my products, then the other? I don’t particularly dislike prostitution anyhow, so it’s a moot point for me, but if you’re going to argue for the immorality of people selling their bodies, I’ll be right there to contest that they sell nothing more then any laborer, then any wage-slave. Just doing my part for chaos and shaking the box.

The next bunch of pages are drawings – unfortunately not something I can easily reproduce here. In lieu of the actual works, I’ll just say that they’re magical – life changing – and liable to bring any hardened art critic sobbing to her knees. The scribbles, the smudged ink, the uninspiring subject matter and artistic errors – just incredible. I’ve got a bright future scribbling pen and ink drawings on bus rides.

I was stuck in Antigua for a long time, so there’s a lot more short musings, arguments with myself, and then a burst of poetry that sprung up in the next few days.

November 28th 2009
Simple living and high thinking – do only what you need in life, understand every action taken, and constantly analyze and refine yourself and life. Keep your head in the clouds, but only so far as your feet can be placed on solid ground when need be.

En Español – La mujer estaba bajando los pasos cuando yo estaba subiendolos. Me muevo al lado permitirse pasar, pero paró directamente en frente yo. “Estás mal chico,” ella dijó, interrupcionando mis pensamientos, “¿Como?” contesté, confusado y inseguro que yo se habia escuchado correctamente. “Estás mal chico.” “¿Por qué?” “Porque haces malas cosas.” Miré en sus ojos y realizé que no fue una broma. “Pues, a veces hago cosas malas, pero las hago para razones buenas.” Torné y sigé subiendo.

In English – The woman was coming down the stairs as I was going up. I moved to one side to let her pass, but she stopped directly in front of me. “You’re a bad guy.” She said, interrupting my thoughts. “What?” I responded, confused and unsure I’d heard her correctly. “You’re a bad guy.” “Why?” “Because you do bad things.” I looked in her eyes and realized that it wasn’t a joke. “Well, at times I do bad things, but I do them for good reasons.” I turned and kept going up the stairs.

That actually happened – to this day I’m not sure why – the woman was one of the housekeepers, and I can only assume she was referring to my habit of smoking on the third story terrace at night. Still, sneaking cigarettes on a balcony doesn’t quite add up to a “bad person” in my book, so maybe she had me confused with someone else? Perhaps I wronged her in a past life – regardless, I think my answer was just about perfect.

We’re almost done – hold on tight – the emotional roller coaster takes a bit of a dip again.

November 28th 2009
There’s something I should have told you,
that last night;
before we kissed.
I wanted to tell you
I love you
and today you don’t even exist.

We stood on your steps –
our last moments together
flames to lips, huddled close
in the cold.
I knew what I wanted
to say to you then,
but my words found no voice –
I was scared.

All that we shared to that point
was so beautiful, true,
a charmed we had
without issue.
We knew from the onset,
that we would soon part,
ignored it but a part always knew.

When together we came
to that dreaded last call,
with our hands intertwined
I tried, failed, to push the words out.
The storybook ending
sometimes turns out a lie –
all things fall apart in due time.

December 3rd 2009
I sit here at sunset, on this empty beach, and all I can think of is you. I don’t even know you, not sure who you are, but can’t stop myself thinking – it’s true. We met for a moment, were just crossing paths – it makes me miss you all the more. I’ve been alone now, for such a long time – I’m not even sure what is real. All that I now is this: You’re in my head, and I can’t shake the feelings inside.

If I could just have a second, I’d pull you in close, our lips would say what we both know – there’s something between us (I can’t call it love!) Connection is there all the same. But each day I sit here, you’re further away, and our time together grows dim.

As the sun’s light does fade, on this fast-spinning planet, you go places that I can’t chase. How can I catch you? Our lives aren’t the same! Perhaps it’s best just to let go. Crumple this note – throw it into the sea, and then I’ll have only my dreams.

December 4th 2009
The leap into the unknown is better than sex.

A stray dog, ankle deep in the warm Pacific, puts his nose down to the water for a closer sniff at the flame-orange tinted sea breeze rolling over me. A little boy, no more than six, walking down the beach swings a shoe over his head on a length of rope. The dog sees, startles into flight, water flicking from his paws glints in the reflected sun rays, blood red on purple orange, blue pastels. The waves, dark green, crash on steadily, the boy is called in by a mother or aunt to do some chore, and still the sun slides down down down, ever round, ever steady, ever narcotic – like the voices of audiobook readers.

Everything so crisp, clear, so like the Platonic ideal of a sunset – idea and reality both, the essence of all that is sunset. It’s idyllic, the fishermen bring in their boats, two small bobbing friends on their surfboards – you don’t have to make this stuff up for sappy romance novels. Just go out, find it, and do it. And write in a way true to yourself, not your reader. If she understands it, so much the better.

December 5th 2009
Another day, another gorgeous sunset, but this time we’re in a bus with terrible suspension on a shit road in beautiful rural El Salvador.

There’s a gap in here, during which I crossed Guatemala to do a wild, 150km hike through the gorgeous Peten jungle. It was drop-dead gorgeous, stunning in every sense of the world – one of the best experiences of this whole great adventure. That said, it deserves a whole story of its own, and I’ve gotten too deep into too many other writing projects to do it justice. All I can say is hold on tight – I’ll post it, along with about 25 other stories, once I get settled down in Columbia. In the meanwhile, here are the last bits of writing in this journal -that’s right, we’re actually reaching the end!

December 18th 2009
What happens to a people when their art has died? Expression of self and of culture buried beneath crass commercialism, branded McImages designed to sell sell sell shit that nobody needs. I see “artisan” markets stuffed to the rafters with cheap mass-produced knockoffs of a people, a society long strangled to death by the same money-ideologists who now produce these tourist-seeking manure missiles. It’s all fake, even if it is made by the descendants of now-crushed native peoples. Call it authentic faux-Maya, replica original Central America, it doesn’t change the cynical fakeness of it all. This Frankenstein’s art just fills a niche, offers rich tourists a way to bring some trinkets back home, prove that they were there, that they went and took pictures of the charade.

Clinging to a dead past isn’t the same as having your own art. Just look at the billboards clogging the sky, catching the eye, buy buy buy – I want to cry. Fences and houses, painted the same corporate hues, signs plastered on every bus, every bridge – this poor community was given a bridge by the same corporate raiders who make sure the residents will never earn a living wage. They draw the eye upward, keep the bus-riding gringos from seeing the reality, the shanty-towns tucked away, the barbed wire, the kids sniffing glue, the starving victims. After the Capitalist beast has devoured all that is saleable, ugly truth must be painted over with comfortable advertisements, so the tourists won’t get a bad taste in their mouths, won’t see that this is OUR art, won’t realize that this all the culture we can have if money is the highest value, the ultimate virtue.

Such perversity! Wealth becomes synonymous with goodness, intelligence – people become worth their monetary wealth! Such a cruel joke – as if the best or worst parts of life could ever have a dollar value! In the distance I hear the devil’s mocking laugh as we wait, pray for a savior, and carry HIM in our pockets, covet him, treasure him more than our own families or experiences. An entire species, blind with greed, captive to its own creation, tumbling willfully to our common demise – we’re not unwarned, it is no surprise – the message has been written clearly for so long that only our willing indifference, our lust for cheap tricks and shoddy toys, keeps us from throwing off the self-imposed chains. We are slaves all. We have no art, no culture. There is only money left.

“But we do have art, music, videos, games exploding out of every corner of the world! Surely that counts, doesn’t it?”
“That depends on how you look at art. To me, art is creating something that you want but cannot find in the world. To create more of the same – the same beats, the same styles, copycat works with money as the focus – that is not art. That’s just a job, and a perverse one at that. She who can stomach selling her creative forces for worthless paper is the one I pity most.”
“So what can we do to make our own art, if everything has already been done, if there is no originality left?”
“Originality isn’t possible – everything has already been done, was done long before the ‘first’ person tried it. He probably heard about it from his grandmother as a young child, and brought about a masterpiece inspired by a good friend, a lover, a mentor, a passerby. No, it isn’t originality I’m after, it’s authenticity – truth, both to myself and to the world around me. I think that if you can write, draw, paint, sculpt, create something that truly speaks from your innermost parts, then you will find that you speak for many others as well. That is art, as far as I am concerned.”
“But how can you say that that isn’t what all the other artists are doing? Aren’t you being arrogant to even suggest that others you don’t even know are being inauthentic.”
“Perhaps, but I’ve been called arrogant before, and I reject the word on the grounds that it just seeks to perpetuate a useless and harmful hierarchy – he made money off of his work and you don’t, so therefore he has been validated. No, that is horseshit, to put it mildly. How many people relate to a McDonald’s billboard? How many people find some part of themselves in the latest beer commercial, the newest clothing ad or internet banner? People, talented but weak of spirit, are drawn to advertising and marketing, because that is where they can gain the most money – and thus the most validation – from their gift. If you create something to sell it, that isn’t authentic – you’re trying to guess what people want, what people will buy. You must create without any regard for your audience, market value, or success – only then can you truly create art.”
“You’re a pompous jackass, you use too many words, swear just to get a rise out of people, and further, you’re a fucking parasite on society.”
“That might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

Here’s a note I wrote to Karina the day before I last saw her – I never had the courage to give it to her, but perversely, I’m completely comfortable posting it for the entire universe to read.  Go figure.

November 22nd 2009
Karina – I don’t know what I can say or do that will ever be enough to show how much you mean to me. These past few weeks have been some of the most incredible of my life, and the reason for that comes right back to you. This town has become tied to you in my mind, because without you I don’t think it would have been half as enjoyable, or half as memorable either.

Te Quiero, our rooftop, slow dancing, long walks – it has been as good as I could ask for, if too fast for my liking. Have an amazing trip, do everything you like, and don’t be sad for a moment – keep the good times in mind, and live for today. I’ll always be glad we had Antigua together. ¡Te Quiero! -k

And that would make this the last bit – my attempt to bring end to beginning, outro to intro, to paint the circle, the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth that we must all undergo.

December 18th 2009 – Regression
I started this book painting god as a whore,
mankind finished the job for me
foot on throat,
pinned to floor.
Weak as she is,
from our species’ violation
the Earth cannot protest –
there is no retaliation.

But what is this now?
Her fever keeps rising –
with a body so ravaged
is that really surprising?
Mountains of waste,
the smoke darkens the sky,
rivers, oceans choked with garbage.
We all slowly die.

What a great cosmic irony,
universal cruel joke –
mankind now burns
in the fires we stoke.
We carry on pretending
to dominate nature –
seeming forget
how we can’t live without her.

We don’t value what matters,
deny our upbringing
ignore even now that
the pendulum is swinging.
Creation in one hand,
destruction in the other.
Dominance versus slavery
and in the middle lies mother.

It is she who sustains us,
but not for much longer –
our scales tip toward extinction,
but without us she’ll grow stronger.
A world without humans,
perhaps it ends thus –
not idea for our species,
but poetically just.

I’m really struggling with this – on the one hand in love with life, with the world I inhabit, on the other hand knowing that we are destroying this whole beautiful planet, and with it our very existence – the only we know to support complex lifeforms, the only “god” we’ve ever found, and we desecrate her body, rape her and leave her for dead. So then:

Back Cover:
Here then is the question I gamble with still – does man value more or the world that we kill? The first is a parasite, the other life’s fount, but our actions destroy the only home we’ve found out. For what do we do it? Rank money and fame. Lust for power beats existence in this insane human game.

When is it better to just let us go? Trade the one for the whole, and get on with the show. If humans persist, soon all life will die – the Earth left in ruins, with none left to cry. There must be a point, perhaps already passed, to put humans out to pasture, consign man to the past.

And if this is correct, what am I to do? Don’t fancy myself savior, can’t fit in those shoes. Perhaps just to wander, wonder, learn and teach is my fight – shake the box time to time, bring ugly truth to light. It’s a coward’s path maybe, but freedom is worth more then life – if they won’t change themselves, let them fall on that knife.

As for me I’ll keep learning, always do what I can, perhaps one day create something to redeem part of man.

Thank you for reading – if you made it this far, I applaud you – there’s a whole lot of crap between here and where we started, and the good bits aren’t exactly highlighted. For me, this was spiritual, the catharsis of laying myself bare, to be read, seen, judged, hated, loved, mocked, pitied. I don’t know what else to write, so I’ll leave you with a passage from Days of War, Nights of Love that struck me as particularly close to my own goal in life – so much so that I wrote it across the final page in my journal. So here’s that:

Days of War, Nights of Love
There’s no excuse to let even a fraction of our lives go by doing things we don’t love, or to let any of our talents and efforts serve to prop up a world order we oppose. Instead, let’s fight so hard, and live so hard that others inside the cages of mainstream life can see us and are inspired to join us in our complete rejection of the old world and all its bullshit. And let’s make our communities something greater then they are; let’s make them more open and more capable of offering life-support, so that others really will be able to join us.

The system we live under offers only losers’ games – so why play them? It’s up to us to create new games, more joyous and exciting than the old ones. Let’s not try to beat them at their games, but make them join in ours! You can’t change the system from the inside – the system is the problem.

If you want to come play, I’ll be out here waiting. I will say this – we have a whole hell of a lot more fun! Until the next time -k

A short letter to Seth

November 21, 2009

I wrote this to my friend Seth in response to an email he sent weeks and weeks ago – cleaning out the ole’ inbox, and that sort of jazz.  Anyway, what it comes down to is that there’s a bit in the middle that I think people ought read.  Sounds pretty arrogant, but hey, wouldn’t be me without it.

Hey dude!
Man oh man, it’s good to hear from you! I’ve been pretty friendless for a while now, since we all split ways.  Not completely – I spent a few weeks with Veronique, met some great people in Leon, but it’s just not the same as the amazing time I had living with you guys.  Having real, true friends is a precious thing.
I’ve had a terrific and terrible time lately – just got evicted 2 days ago at gunpoint, and things have been crazy.  I’ve gone from having my bar, house, cafe, theater to suddenly being homeless and drifting.  I think tomorrow we head north to Tikal, then to El Sal, then Nicaragua, then Panama, then Columbia to learn Paragliding.  I’ve no idea really.
Anyway, I think that politics and the system are unbeatable, but they are avoidable – you can figure out a way to have that whole world influence you as little as possible, and be perfectly happy living as such, but if you devote your life to fighting against the system instead of fighting for your own goals, then you will become an empty shell, as corrupt and poisonous as the very things you’ve been meaning to destroy.  The trick is to drop out – stop playing their games, stop selling your life, and find out how you need to live to be happy and whole on your own terms, in your own world.  We all create our own realities, and to focus your reality  around beating “them” won’t work because they don’t exist – we’re all victims of capitalism, from the guy at the top feeling empty and hopeless because his money doesn’t  buy happiness to the guy at the bottom starving in the streets.  We’re all victims, and to try to turn society against one portion of it is their means, their methods.  The ultimate act of rebellion is just to work together, to love everyone, to refuse to hate. If you can do that – and it will be difficult – then you will truly be free in this world.
I’d check out crime thinc dot com if I were you, but all together-like.  Miss you bud, and I love you, as you already know.  I’d love to do business things, but frankly, I can’t right now because I’m too transitory, too gaseous and ill-defined to be of any use – I’d be in the middle of setting up some deal and just jet off to Brazil or some shit like that.  I will of course have to work at that, have to work at something eventually, but for now I’d rather live as a drifter off what little I have, and just run – run – run as far as I can from American society.  I’m happier like this.
I really hope you and Beck are well – sounds like work and life aren’t too easy right now, but I know you guys, and you’ll make it work.  If you have to stay in the states it might be more difficult, but for now, I think you deserve to be near friends and family and loved ones.  Just remember – if you’re not happy with your life, you ought change it, because nothing is more precious then our short time here on earth, and to waste even a second of that is to insult and degrade yourself.  Burn it all up, every ounce of your life and self, so that when death and the Devil come to collect their due, there will be nothing left for them, and all your love and energy will be spread across the world, scattered to the winds.  That’s how I try to live, anyway.  Like I said, miss you, love you, and we’ll talk soon my friend.  -k

To Kenny

June 24, 2009

This has gone through my head so many times I can’t count:

“What’s the point,” you ask yourself a hundred times a day.  “It’s all fucked, we’re going down anyway, why should I care, why should I be happy?  There’s nothing I can do to make things better, so why try?  It’s easier to be depressed, to do nothing, to just not care anymore.”

“Fuck it all, I quit.”

“I don’t know how to be happy, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.  What’s the point?  Is there a point?  Is it a point worth caring about even?”

“Why the fuck can’t I be like the rest of them?  Look at them – they’re all happy,  they’re just living, working, moving in a slow empty circle toward death and oblivion.  I’m doing it too, but why can’t I accept it like they do?”

“What do I do when I see the world on a crash course straight into hell?  What ought I do?  What can I do?  Can I do anything?  Should I just keep my head down?  Should I stand up, try to act?  Or should I just run away,  save me and mine, and make due the best I can?”

“Why is my mind constantly seeing the bad, the decay, the fallen, the painful?  Why can’t I just block it out like everyone else, paste a stupid fucking grin on my face, and live?”

“What is wrong with me?”

These questions roll through my head still, like they have for years, ever since I started thinking for myself, questioning my world.  I don’t know the answers yet, and they still make me lose sleep sometimes, like right now.  I can’t figure out any of them, really, but I do know a few things that help me keep from taking my own life, or spending every day balled up in a corner or in bed all day.

What it comes down to is that I’m so damn lucky to just be alive – so many things had to happen, so much work done, so many coincidental events, chance encounters, freak accidents, acts of dog, whatever you want to call them – point is there’s a whole fucking chain of causality right back to the Big Bang that ties right into what I’m doing right now, and I’d better recognize that if nothing else, I’ve been given this splendid gift of life to use as I see fit. 

On top of that, life is amazingly short.  80 years? 100?  That’s a drop of piss on the toilet seat – it’s nothing!  The universe is so goddamn old, the planet so terribly aged, the world around me filled with plants, animals, rocks, whatever that will outlast me by bloody fucking ages.  I’ve no time to sit still, no time to lie around, and you don’t either.  We’re both in this for the short haul  a few laughs, some adventures, a lot of time sleeping and eating and shitting punctuated by brief momentary highs and lows.  We ought to be fucking grateful for the moments we do have to us, and realize that we’ve got to use our time to do what we need to in life – that which makes us happy, whatever we can do to better the world, to put our own little drops in the bucket.  Every second I spend sitting around feeling sorry for myself is another I’ll regret not having later on.

I know that I can’t always get what I want – I will have to settle sometimes for a choice I’d rather not make, a less-then-perfect situation.  Still, I ought to always try to get what is best, what I need, crave, lust after.  If I don’t, what the hell I am living for?  I know that I’ll regret the things I don’t do, never try for, give up on far more then my failures and hardships.  Those will be badges of honor once you’re far enough past them to have perspective. 

It comes down to this – even if it all falls down, even if we’re all fucked, there’s no way out, and the world as we know it is coming crashing down on our heads, that’s not a reason to give in, to give up, to lay back and die.  It’s a reason to get out there, to have the time of your life before you can’t anymore.  It might all be unavailable to you later, so you’d better get what you want now – better then spending your whole life regretting it. 

I’ll say no more – didn’t mean to preach anyway.  I’ve just had this all rattling around in my head for so long I couldn’t stand but to lay it out.  You ought to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable with yourself – to do otherwise is to go against your very nature.  Just know that in an insane world, sanity is not a healthy reaction – don’t try to be who you think you ought to, but be whomever it is that you really are.  You’ll find that life is a whole lot happier that way.


May 17, 2009

I have a problem with paying attention, especially in academic situations if the topic bores me.  When I get bored I either draw or write, and in this instance I wrote.  Not sure what inspired this, but I’ve been nostalgic for punk shows lately…

Perfection is only achieved on the point of collapse.

Punk shows

fighting in the pit

you run and you sing and you scream and you hit

slipping on beer, sweat, falling over other bodies

a knee to the temple, I see stars

you fall over me, we both hit the concrete floor

my nose starts to bleed, I can taste it

another guy, mohawk, no shirt

grabs you off me, pulls me up from the ground

wraps his arms around us both, and off we go

another circle, faster

knocking down other dancers

the sheer joy of it!

Pain and pleasure both blur together

I can’t stop laughing as the blood flows down my face

the joy is so much I hit a young kid in the head

he falls down so I grab him

and together we run



faster and harder

the song speeds up

the singer screams and spits

his loogie flies up and back, hits the guitarist

some kid jumps on the stage, and rocks the fuck out

jumps off before security can grab him

surfs across the crowd

I see someone steal his shoe and throw it at the band

the pit swirls grows larger harder faster

bodies and sweat and raw manic energy

this is the finale, this is the last song

we throw ourselves forward, spinning out of control

I’ve never felt such hate, such love

there isn’t anything except the moment

it’s perfect – right until collapse

The collapse.

We collapse.

It all falls down

the music stops

the feelings slip away

we can’t hold onto it

we can’t keep it going.

The feeling dies, the world turns back to shit

We slip out the back door and get drunk

but it never brings back the perfection of chaos.

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