Saturday, August 23, 2003

I got a call in the grocery store from Charles and Phish asking if I wanted to go with them to a poetry reading in Los Angeles today.
We rode up to Silverlake. It was one of those deals where somebody wanted there to be a reading at the street fair, so they got poets together to put it on. But then weight got thrown and geegaws got in the way and the poets ended up in a tiny space far from the actual street fair with no advertising. In spite of this it turned out to be a pretty awesome reading. Rachel Kann kicked ass as usual. Charles did a pretty mind blowing set. I read a dada piece assembled from strips of the cue card I used for the video project.
We came back to OC and ate at the Thai place I'm all goofy over. They loved it too. Then we had an interesting conversation about entertainment as escape. I'm of the camp who is against it not because I feel that people should have to suffer, but because the fact that so many spend so much time, money and energy on escapism suggests that the world is so terrible as to need a lot of work, care and fixing. And escaping is going to do the opposite of inspiring and focusing on that kind of work, care and fixing. Having said that, I indulge in a fair amount of escapism myself. I've never claimed perfection or even that I'm at the point of my ideals. I strive towards my ideals. I don't live in them yet. That having been said, I'm doing pretty good.
When we got back to my car, it wouldn't start. There was power, but no connection to igniting or turning over. So I went in to get Phish. She and I looked for jumper cables and couldn't find any. So we were going to go call AAA when I said, "Yeah, look at what it's doing." And successfully started my engine.

I got to talk to Nissa tonight. She's in Denver. She's doing well and getting a lot of compliments on her shaved head. It was great to speak with her. It was a pretty darned cool sabbath this week!

Friday, August 22, 2003

I didn't sleep well.

I also didn't cry.

I shaved Nissa's head. It was strange because it really didn't look that strange on her. It kind of made perfect sense when you looked at it. Dave, Josh and Michelle talked Niss out of shaving it all with a razor and shaving cream. But I still had my dream come true. I've always wanted to shave a girl's head.
We got to the train station just in time. She stuck her head out and blew me a kiss before it pulled away. I watched the train until I couldn't see it anymore and then went home.

I had a terrible dinner at a greasy diner that my father really likes. How that man is still alive is beyond me what with how he eats.
Then I went and got some tea and tighten up my poetry.

I wrote two poems with some spirituality recently. The latter one I wrote tonight, the former I tightened tonight. They go like this:

God, My Condolences

God, it must be horrible to have your memories.
With each new thing I learn that I didn't want.
God, my condolences for the knowledge you carry.

I live in a nation where war has become two mirrors
set facing each other.
Our emotions range from fear to anger, both lash.
The worst soap opera writers plot for the
killers we let mind our store.
God, my condolences for the knowledge you carry.

My brother's wife has a baby inside of her whose
poorly formed head has grown so large that birth
would be death to them both.
They're going to cut the baby out and let it die because they
think you'd be furious if they allowed a doctor
to cause its death.
His death.
Their first boy.
God, my condolences for the knowledge you carry.

When point reason falls thru the trap
I know that the only thing worse would be to know why.
God, my condolences for the knowledge you carry.


587 left at 2:50.
Her fresh shaved head peeked out second car's door and blew last kiss
after three years of kissing.
I stumbled my silent face back to the car.
The movie I was in was neither funny nor sad
at a moment that should have been both.
I blame the author.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Tomorrow I take Nissa to the train station. I'm trying not to dwell on that.

Today I rode my bike much later than usual, which was invigorating in a much different way. It was hotter.

Rob called and work shopped me with a few of my more recent poems. Great suggestions. Mainly he gave me a few suggestions on ways to play with what I've been writing, ways to tinker. He told me what sucked and what is so perfect that I should never touch again and everything in between. His opinions, of course and I disagreed with his suggestions on a few points. Old blood between Rob and I. One of my best friends.

Tonight I went and walked around downtown HB with Charles. I hadn't been down there in many years. But it was a nice evening, nice and cool what with the ocean breeze. And now that I'm older I don't feel like I'm going to be attacked all the time I'm down there. Maybe it's a self confidence thing. Maybe it's because they've got this glossy sheen over all of down town Huntington Beach now. Probably a little of both.

Yesterday I went to Disney's California Adventure thanks to Kelley. She got a group in for free. She rules. Thanks, Kelley.
I was able to go on the California Screamin' roller coaster. It's been probably nigh on eight years since I've been on a roller coaster. I used to love them, but then I stopped going to amusement parks. The one yesterday brought out that old adrenaline rush that makes one feel ill and then more alive and aware than normal. It's a high. I don't get enough of those anymore. But one must find different ways to get that rush because one can become just as accustomed to a roller coaster as one can to the same cubicle job day in and out. Our brains are wired for stimulation and variety. Our social system and forms of advertising lead us from this neophilia.

I got another form of it today. Nissa and I were pulling out of her residential area and we saw a copy of the new Harry Potter book in the middle of the street. She lives in Assholvania, so that particular street is one that people drive very fast around that blind corner. But I ran out into the street to get the book just in time to see a truck barrelling down on me. I made it to the curb and commented on how winded I was. She said it was the rush, not the exhaustion. The book looks like it's been run over, but somebody will buy it because it's new and still readable.

Today was the last day spent together with Nissa for God only knows how long. She packed some. We went to dinner at Ruta's. We went to see Twelth Night at Chapman (a very good and energetic production that runs through Saturday. You should go.) I cried when she hugged me outside of the show. I've spent over three years with her. She's my best friend and I love her very much. This is going to be a rough transition.
Also found out today that my brother's wife will probably get her c-section in the first week of September. We're going to go up there. Pat says that there's tension up there between Andi's family and them. So, he warned us that the explosions are geyser like in their ferocity and their well measured timing.

Let's see. Is there something good to end on tonight? Nissa gave me a Crunchy bar that she found somewhere. Back in London, they sold Crunchy bars in the tube stations and I'd get one every time. They're kind of like a Violet Crumble, but there's toffee in the honeycomb and the chocolate is Cadbury's, so it's so much richer than VC. They're heavenly. I ate one and have another waiting for me in the fridge.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I often think about Franz Schubert. He's one of my favorite composers. I think he's one of the five greatest composers that ever lived (I won't name the others for the same reason I didn't want to name the greatest living poets. Also because one of the Big Three isn't in my top five. And his last name starts with the letter "M.")
But I think about Schubert because part of his biography illustrates a modern problem that seems to be especially troublesome to modern artists. Schubert had a crappy crappy life. His music was never performed by professional musicians but once and it happened to fall on the one day that Paganini performed in town. So nobody went to hear Schubert. The love of his life ran off with a baker before he could raise the money to marry her. He just had awful luck.
But he was a genius. In fact, he was a genius in two ways. He was a genius composer AND he was a genius at picking the worst librettos possible for his operas. He thought he shined brightest as an operatic composer. His operas suck, but everything else he composed turned to gold. He wrote the first piano and string quintet, the "Trout Quintet" which I find to be one of more underrated classical pieces in history. Dude was four years younger than me when he wrote it. He revolutionized music. But he didn't give a rat's ass about that. He felt that his serious work was his operas.

And that's what I'm afraid of every day. That I'm completely turned around and focusing on the wrong thing.

What can give us hope is that Schubert's music still thrives in spite of his operatic ambitions. It's like that line from The Godfather (the book anyway), "No man can escape his destiny."
Here's to destiny.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

I almost forgot that I wanted to post that triolet that I wrote yesterday. It goes like this.

Broke Down Triolet

The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
My steaming radiator empties onto the ground.
Weather near midday is murder.
The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
Sitting on the chapel steps by the city's border
Waiting for my engine to stop its hissing sound.
The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
My steaming radiator empties onto the ground.
I had a lot of anger come out during the day today. Nissa kept me waiting all the live long day because of ill communication. That coupled with a lot of things kept me in a bad head space that I failed to meditate myself out of (sometimes the part that wants to hold onto my anger wins.) I've got a lot inside that I haven't let out yet. I haven't cried about my brother's baby. I almost did the other day when I learned that they were going to donate all of the well formed organs, but I was outdoors and got all self conscious. I haven't cried about Nissa leaving. Heck, I only cried once when Nissa broke up with me and sucked it back in pretty quick. Last time I cried was at the end of 'Bob Roberts' the other week and I sucked that back in pretty quickly as well. Plus the heat. So, I've got all of this going on when she kind of stood me up but really just misinformed me about how late it would be before we'd be able to spend together.
But all of that went away once we saw each other. We went to a pot luck with some Chapman theater students. That was really cool. Mike Fountain was there and suggested that I read some Orson Scott Card. From what he said it's right up my alley although I've got two new Gaiman books, an Umberto Eco, and a children's book all on my "to read" pile right now. The food was great too. There was artichoke dip, three bean stew, pad thai (Nissa's) and some God brownies with M & M's in them. I was going to make some more of my "best chili in the state" but we're out of ground venison.

I met a girl named Suzanne at the Barnes and Noble who saw Tori Amos six times on this past tour. Met her too.

This week looks like it's going to fly. There's something going on each day. Anyway, I finally got the really old and rare books I bought from Billy Lewis into my inventory, so my work will be a little more malleable this week. Thank goodness.