Saturday, March 22, 2003

Strange rhythms on an early spring night. After a large, filling dinner, I decided to go for a walk around eight. I love going for walks. Going alone at night is something I've only recently started and I tend to be slightly pensive for the duration, but I get my exercise just the same. Tonight I got to the end of the street and was overwhelmed with a wave of grizzly dread like it was a horrible idea to continue to walk on this particular night. I turned back.
When I got back, I locked myself in my room and read Shaw while playing the classical station to drown out any outside noises. It served to ground me a bit. It's not often that I get these feelings, but when I do they're too strong to ignore. I don't know. It might have been all of the acid or the Benedryl turning me into a prophet madman. I'd like to go to a doctor and find out what the long term effects really are. I know that there are different answers depending on which doctor I go to. Plus I have no insurance to see one. So I'm on my own dealing with the inside of my head. I'm not locked up and I am making money, so I can't be all crazy, I suppose. Just neurosis like the majority of the world.

There was a strange thing yesterday that I feel I should comment on. Nissa and I walked around Golden West College for no reason besides never having done that before. We saw a giant possum, which I chased after singing Phish's "Possum" (that's Phish the band, not Phish the friend.) The chase ended when he ran across the road just as I was singing, "Your end is the road!"
I've written a long story in which possums are harbingers of great evil and violence about to happen. I despise possums, so much that I don't spell them with the proper "O." I'm an animal lover, I move spiders outside, I don't spray ants, but something about a possum gives me the flying wilendas. Chasing the bastard and singing at it was me standing up to the dread and fear that's been pressing against the backs of my eyes this past week. Joy beats darkness.
But that's not the strange part of the story yet. We went across the street to the Toys R Us. They had a prominent display of G.I. Joe toys. That isn't the strange part. In fact, that shouldn't surprise anybody right now. What was strange was that there was this wall of war toys in front of me. They had modern and historically accurate tanks, anti-aircraft guns, uniforms, and such. In the middle of all of this was a G.I. Joe doll fighting a yeti. The yeti looked a lot like the one from the old, stop-motion, made for tv "Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I liked what that does to one's sense of reality. It was a highly absurdist moment. I wonder if there isn't somebody at the toy company laughing or if they really thought that a soldier fighting a yeti was patriotic.
Actually, they were probably just trying to make money and didn't really consider how strange a concept twas.

Today, Nissa and I went to the used video store in Santa Ana. It's scaling down and moving more towards DVDs (which I knew was coming.) Today was their big clearance day. Serendipity lead us to it. I got Fritz Lang's "M" in which Peter Lorre plays a child murderer in a 1931 German film that was WAY beyond its time. It's a subject that's still too sensitive for Hollywood. Also, "The Big Kahuna" was a suggestion from Rob and it was about the same price as renting it. "Roger & Me" is one I've wanted to own since I first saw it about eleven years ago. "Altered States" has eluded my collection purely by accident until now. "Apt Pupil" is one that I've caught a few moments of on cable and thought that I had to see some day. Most people know I have a huge thing for Sir Ian. Finally, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." I'm a very recent Kevin Smith fan. I've only seen "Clerks" and the thing where he goes around and speaks at colleges that just came out. I know I need to see "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma," probably before I see the one I got today. But they didn't have those.
Nissa got a bunch of Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and Teddy Ruxpin cartoons along with some spanish, anti-marijuana videos and one that seems to be a religious film against masturbation. She went more down the "films to laugh AT" road than I did.

I can't afford any of this. I mean, all of this was less than 20 bucks (such is the clearance.) Nissa bought the most expensive of the ones I'd picked out and gave it to me as a gift. That was very kind. I dunno. The books are selling and the business is sustaining its self. I still don't have any money though. But that's okay. Screw money. I'll live on joy!




Nissa and I are going to decend on Charles and Phish's place to watch the Oscars tomorrow. We don't care if they like it or not. We want to see Michael Moore's acceptance speech or rant if he doesn't win. If he doesn't win, the academy will have gone against the rest of the world in saying that "Bowling for Columbine" is possibly the greatest documentary ever made. I happen to agree.
Of course, Charleton Heston and Dick Clark are probably voting members of the academy that throw around a lot of weight. I think it'd be a beautiful bit of accidental satire if they went against the rest of the world on this subject in light of the national policy of late. But I'd prefer to see Moore take the microphone tomorrow.

I saw a story on the security measures for the Oscars. The national guard has a secret detection chamber that will be monitoring the air for chemical or biological weapon discharges.
I wish I was rich enough to buy that kind of security, don't you? Wish I were that important.


Thursday, March 20, 2003

At the Orange library bookstore, the elderly lady at the counter and I had a conversation about how much we hope the war ends as soon as possible. We had an emotional connection. It's sad how it takes a great tragedy to make strangers act like human beings to one another.
I went to talk with Bonnie in the theater office at Chapman. She was overwhelmed by the war, the departmental problems and the upcoming show that she's spotlighting and her husband is directing (The Rock and Roll Show, which is this and next weekend. Come on out to Chapman University in Orange for it. It should be something fun for a change.)
Today, Dr. Shrinker should have paid me. I prefer that there are sessions like this though. Two people conversing. She's been having a rough time with the war too.
Niss made me a huge dinner of baked potato, boiled spinach, rice w/ tofu and soy sauce. I gorged myself. Then she took me to the Chapman library and let me pick out two films for myself (the silent horror film "The Golem" and the non-silent sleeper "LA Confidential.") That was nice.
I went to visit Charles, Phish and Sean. They were all in better spirits that I'd expected and we had a good time chatting about the war and looking at pictures from last week's Instagon at the Liquid Den (Sean played guitar.)
I just got off the phone with Nissa.
I hope it stops metaphorically pouring rain on everybody very soon. That's my war prayer for the evening.



spirits
RPM Books now has 1000 books available online. I'm over the first major peak. The last three months of my life have been focused on this singular goal and it's complete. Now, of course, I have to keep moving with getting and putting out inventory. But the first major hurdle has been successfully hurdled. And with four days to spare on the one month deadline!

By the way, I was just joking about the hitting people in the windpipe thing. I never advocate violence in any form.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Sometimes I have in my mind, as a paranoid, what I think to be the worst case scenerio. Then I sit back and watch it play out exactly as I feared. It almost feels like a weight lifts when it finally does.

Of course, I don't want to trivialize the fact that many many many human beings are going to be dying at each other's hands for a while. It's grotesque. Nissa has a cousin and a high school friend over there fighting against Iraq. I have a deep rooted religious belief that all war is against God and nature.

I don't know what I could add to the discussion right now. I hope that everybody comes home alive on both sides. I hope that both sides decide to disarm all weapons and dismantle their militaries.

Today we got a new drier. I planted a peach tree. Rob sent me a picture from a satellite of New York, Berkeley and Huntington Beach, the three places he's lived. I got a bunch of books worth quite a bit for my business and three movies from the library for my pleasure (Laurel and Hardy's "Saps at Sea," Kevin Smith's "Clerks," and some person's "The Red Violin.") We had a large dinner of salad, chicken, rice, root beer, and fresh asparagus. Nissa and I had a lively conversation about what's going on in the Chapman theater department (it's apparently gone apeshit.) Then we went to the nickel arcade and played a game where we were two jesters running around attacking trolls and what not.
In the middle of all of this was the information: WAR. It doesn't fit. There's so much life!

You know, yesterday a girl from the Chapman newspaper called me to ask about the bullied closing of Sweetwater, where I toiled and labored for the past year. She was doing a story about the government crackdowns on drug paraphenelia and she got my number because I'm a Chapman alumni and I spent the past year packing bongs for a living. Then the DEA was fixing to shut down Sweetwater, so our boss pulled the plug and told everyone not to come back rather than deal with feds seizing everything and threatening all of us. The fact that somebody might use a waterpipe for illegal substances is as much the fault of the people who sell it as it is the fault of car dealers when an accident happens. Or a liquor store when some drunk beats his children. Or as much as it was Ozzy's fault that that kid shot himself.

And I think about this when hawks talk about defending freedom.

Half of my friends lost their jobs when the waterpipe factory closed. An entire industry was run out of business by the government in a time of extreme economic turmoil because they didn't agree with it.

I'm not a violent man, but if anybody gets in my face about why I don't support my president, I'm going to punch them in the windpipe.




Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Let me start by saying that driving to pick up Nissa, the moon was the size of a half dollar peeking over the hills of Majeska canyon and burning yellow full with sun's reflected intesity shot back along with moon's cold wisdom. I felt the calm of the ages over me even though I almost slammed into a number of parked cars while looking at the thing.
It had been a long time since I'd cried. Yesterday was pressure upon pressure and I didn't allow myself a release valve. Once again, my mind knows I need to scream, yowlp, run naked down Beach Boulevard with blood tears spattering over my cheeks and the asphalt. But my body had been taught that when that moment of release is coming, hold back a sneeze, or focus on an itch or something like that.
I knew I had to let go and I laid with my back in her lap while she pressed on my stomach. I spoke of my father and the great frusterated love I feel for him. I stated my warfear. I told her about the pressure lever being rusted inside and I was desperate within, although frigid armour outside.
Then I told her about something that happened today. I was in the inventory trailer trying to alphabetize. The cats came in. Bugsy has a cubby hole that she always goes into when she gets in the trailer. She hides in there. It's her spot. Boingo came tearing in after her. He didn't follow her into the cubby, but he stayed at the mouth, hissing and spitting in one of his normal, brutish bullies. I lured him away with a t-shirt that I flapped in his face. He went after it like it was a ham t-shirt, cussing and clawing. Then I picked him up under his belly so he couldn't get at me with his claws. Oh, but he tried. I threw him out and shut the door.
As soon as I did, Bugsy came out of the cubby and went to the door to be let out. "That was all she wanted" I finished the story saying and started crying. Choked back with no breath at first like normal, but with some belly coaxing, the wails came out.
I started talking about an audition I had at Chapman where I was trying out for the role of God in a creation play. I didn't get the part, which I've always resented. The guy who got the part spoke like a Shakespearean actor, but had no emotional connection to the text. I still say screw that. The emotion is what carries a show. The director can teach text reading, but you can't teach honest emotional connection.
Anyway, during the audition, I was speaking to Noah, warning him that I was going to flood the earth. And I just opened up a dam because I realized the depravity of man. I felt the sorrow of eternity. I put all human imperfections into my heart.
The director had the guy who finally played God watch what I was doing, which made me feel a little like Mary Magdelene.
When I came to, back in the part of this narrative that takes place this evening, I spoke on my desire to bring all of this to the world and teach compassion and the ecstasy of existance to the world, without dogma or rules attached to ward off people. I said I felt like Rutheford the Brave, seeking the Helping Friendly Book to teach the doomed about the flow, but drowning from jumping in the water with all of my armour on.
Nissa asked me how I'd like to do this. I said concidering the gifts I've been given, I should probably try writing.


Monday, March 17, 2003

Fear Globally, Rage Locally

Tonight my land reminds me of a boy whose father never showed him love.
The nation that doesn't get strong parents but is screwed inside by self appointed guardians who have their own things to do,
like the child is life's condiment,
like the male elementary kid whose house I first stayed overnight,
who talked about slasher film his parents showed him where men and girls wiggle on one another then pay for their sins in screaming dismemberment,
Then, desperately fumbling for a gear switch, I notice very large teddy bear in his corner and comment and he unzips and pisses on it.
Tonight the nation's abusive guardian gave us forty-eight hours notice to war, so we know when death arrives.
I was teleported to kraken depths of the sea where all body was pressed and my blood struggled hot/cold to escape.
I yelled at my father, thinking that's how my voice could possibly carry the distance between us,
my anger at him is the anger of my future boy at my emotions not living in our home.
My anger is at being angry.
I had to get out of my skin and walk on the dark barrio border.
Much root beer made me have to release when I turned the corner a mile out and passed the elementary school that urine boy and I went to.
Soon I see ahead a man marionette march like I used to into the heavy night shade behind a fence, full of the spirit of the night where we celebrate a vague concept of a saint who drove the snakes out of a country I've never been to.
I walk jay to the high side of the road for a few blocks if for no other reason than I got fat from a three-year drunk.
After her and I almost drew blood in a break up, I drank for a thousand and one nights to keep what's inside inside and what's out far out.
I shivered out of a bottle into a lick of sugar, a line of orange-white powder, a bowl of plant.
Now the snakes run all over within me quickly warm after hibernation because my body is pure and my emotions are moving again from the sixteen year old point.
The last block is the first one that I haven't seen anybody else walking on. I'm alone and the wind cleans the air of smog.
Nobody ever taught me to be a man. The edge of the envelope kept getting away from me. Forgot everything is ecstasy. Caught in my body, my father's empty house. I don't know if I'll cry later or ever. The dude who draws the line never draws it where I expect him to.
This self-deprecation is a silly mind game. I've never really had a self.
I need to stop trying to strangle my father and grow into being my own America.


Speaking of William Burroughs, I just had something mindblowing land on my porch. I'd won an auction of a true first edition of Naked Lunch, about a month ago, for an obscenely low price.

When William Burroughs was writing Naked Lunch, he was abroad because he'd accidently shot his wife in the head and killed her while playing a drunken game of William Tell. That sort of thing can get a person to flee the country.
Of course, America in 1959 wouldn't touch the book. It's one of the most psychotic pieces of literature I've ever read, and I'm a connoisseur. When it finally was published in America, it spawned one of the last great public literature censorship trials. Now they know better. Now they just use economics to censor.
Anyway, sitting pretty on a filthy manuscript in Tangiers, Burroughs had it published by our good friends The French! Don't call them cowards! The Olympia press published a paperback travellers edition in english, gray-green covered with only the title and author's name on the front. They published five thousand or so in the first run.
One of those five thousand is what landed on my porch a while ago. It is worn and old, but the spine is still holding it together. With my cute, little, white, rare book handling gloves, I gingered off the bubble wrap and held the gorgeous, plain tome in my hands.

The sucky thing about this business is that I'm going to put it out for sale again when my heart wants to buy a glass safe and put it on display. But America wants its student loan money back, so I must push the books like a junk peddler. America is taking the money from Naked Lunch after all. At least I know I'm going to shuffle a piece of history to somebody out there.



Sunday, March 16, 2003

I found this text from an interview with William Burroughs. David Cronenberg was there too. It was probably around the time the Naked Lunch film came out.
I thought the exchange spoke to our current state anyway.



I ask them by which weapon they would choose to die. ``I don't think about dying by a weapon,'' Burroughs says as we walk back to the house. ``I think about killing someone else with a weapon!''

``I guess that's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist,'' says Cronenberg with a giggle.