Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poem - nevermind

carrying an
over under
cold to the touch

moisture beads
on the steel
as i look around

i thought
i was real but
there is nothing
in this moment
but here and this rain

falling soft rain
in a wide field
of just stubble
rising gently that way

soon i
shift the gun
walk on past a fence
walk on

From POETRY from the CITY of BRASS

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christy's Mom

When you were an infant, your mother decided she had to leave. It could have been even in mid-sentence, when she was talking to your father. She literally walked out of the house one day, with the clothes she happened to be wearing -- not a scrap of luggage, not even a toothbrush or a comb. She never came back. You told me your father was stoic about your mom going, he hardly ever talked about it. If you ever asked him about your mother, he said he wasn't sure why she left or where she was. At first you asked because your dad kept all of your mothers things, he never cleaned or cleared them away. It was like someone was on vacation, or away on business and they'd be coming back any day now. As you grew up, you saw over time how her perfume bottles and erring holders, coils of necklaces, small crystals on her side of the bureau got old and dusty. The jewelery tarnished. When you dad wasn't around, you looked at her dresses, and other clothes still in plastic dry-cleaning bags hung in the closet, with her shoes. Over time the articles of clothing got dead, and deader, which is impossible for inanimate things, but it was still true. Later, when you were 25 and had a little girl of your own and dropped out of college, your sister said mother was married again. Your mom was living in a big expensive house in Burlingame. One afternoon you drove to the house, and spied on her when she parked on the driveway. You watched her walk into the house. She wasn't smiling, she seemed very serious with frown lines on her cheeks, cold. You didn't feel like meeting mother after you saw her face, so you drove away. You never hated her, either, until then.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Me and Bobby

One evening out riding, I clipped a side-mirror on an expensive sedan. When I crashed, I bent the front wheel of my bicycle and smashed down on my shoulder, ribs, and hip. I remember laying for a few seconds in the street, a truck narrowly missing me. I jogged away, dragging the bicycle. I was more afraid at being caught by the angry owner, than if I was seriously hurt. Eventually I was home where I found one of my roommates, Bobby, cooking a late dinner. I examined the bicycle in the kitchen while he cooked a big meal. It was fucked. My ribs hurt. My roommate was happy & ate and there was nothing to do. I had to do something, anything to not be alone like this. I decided to walk to a little cafe, but when I sat down and had coffee, the cafe was closing. I picked up my cup and put it into a grey overflowing plastic bin on the way out. Alone again, I walked back to the small flat. My other roommates had come home. Silent disapproval was in the air. I had left the broken bike in the kitchen and Bobby, who hated the other roommates, was blitheringly drunk. I watched Bobby play a guitar, drink more beer, and howl songs about love, while the other set of roommates watched television in the back of the flat.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ten Ways to Cheat Playing Monopoly

10. Roll for other people. If they aren't attentive, under or over count the roll for your benefit

9. If you're playing with kids who can't count money quickly, short change them

8. Tell people Boardwalk and Park Place aren't worth buying

7. Swap out the game dice for fixed dice for important rolls

6. Ply your opponents with alcohol, help them make the right decisions

5. Throw away, or hide the game rules, and make up rules beneficial for yourself, when needed. For example: establish an informal rule that all monetary penalties from Community Chest and Chance not payed out directly to a player, get put into Free Parking.

4. With #5 in place, if you take a break and nobody is looking, skim money off of Free Parking

3. Hide Monopoly money from another game set all over your person for those must needed purchases -- do this also with an assortment of good Community Chest and Chance cards hidden to replace any bad ones you get

2. Be the Banker

1. If you are going to lose the game, right before you are bankrupt, kick the whole board over, Say, "Oops!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fucking the Man

My parents wanted me to learn about being responsible, and learn the value of positive work ethics, so that summer they were done with my ways and insisted that I work at a Real Job in the Real World. It was important that I get a dose of reality, rather than spending 6 weeks out of the summer being a camp counselor at a boy's summer camp far away in Leggit, California. So that summer I got a job packing in a mail order warehouse. The job was for a small catalog company. I was a good packer, the pay was okay -- far more than I earned working at the summer camp, and I broke down old cardboard boxes with my boots by kicking the boxes so hard they exploded. My co-workers were, for the most part, friendly, affable kids. They were also dishonest, lazy, and contemptible of the hard work they had us doing, day in and day out.

I discovered this was the only way to beat the system that we were collectively up against. What mattered more, above honesty and positive ethics, was the appearance that you were fully engaged with something and always willing to do any task. And while you did any work, you always should be on the lookout to take a secret break, have a beer, take a smoke, go somewhere you were not supposed to be, or amuse yourself in innumerable ways bored employees amuse themselves to run out the punch-clock. Occasionally, if it was safe, you could pilfer unimportant things that wouldn't be missed. It was important not to be fired, it was important to get paid for any kind of overtime, it was essential not to give in to the man. It was a mark of distinction to have a contempt for the Boss, a sly knowing contempt, to never be caught with the accusation or perception of having a "bad attitude". Being found contemptuous was not playing the game with the correct mindset. This showed a certain lack of skill.

I must admit, through all of this I learned quite a bit about the Real World, working my Real Job. I also understood what we were up against, I sympathized with the other packers. I was also surprised the one afternoon when Rick was fired, Rick being about 25 and the King of the warehouse. He was at the top of the packing hierarchy because, for starters, Rick was the only person qualified & mature enough to drive the electric fork-lift and pull palettes down from the huge shelves. We all understood how impressive and dangerous this skill was. I was surprised, because Rick was the best of all of us at Fucking the Man. The managers never seemed to catch on when Rick Fucked the Man. But I guess one day he pushed it a bit too far, but I am not sure how. As the King, it wasn't for Rick to screw up, he had it set up too good to throw it all away.

Discharged, I remember him walking out with a placid expression, escorted by the top manager. Though the manager was furious, Rick's face was calm, even blank, as if he was looking at a serene scene a thousand miles away. His final check in hand, he got into his spit shined red Trans-Am, the kind of a Trans-Am that was all souped up & cherry, meticulously taken care of with a bit of faded paint. As we kept working, he drove out of the parking lot.

Here is another short story.

Here is another short story. But I will call it a vignette, because it is hard and true, even though it ridicules. Because in the last moments of your life, what will you be thinking? For instance, I am sitting on the edge of this hard cold bed, minutes to dawn, with part of a Brady Bunch rerun stuck in my skull. My mind has been co-opted. It is the episode where one of the Brady boys has his voice changing, so when they sing the song he makes a funny sound when they get to "'s time for a change." The scene was supposed to be ironic and cute and funny, but it is corny now and stupid. Now it is inane to be stuck with this, I wanted to have a dignified death, a kind of a martyrs death with the right thoughts, not puerile disturbed mental flotsam. The cute stupid singing part of the episode is lodged firmly in my minds eye, an idiotic mantra. The mantra reveals my vanity for a "heroic end" -- not just the result of a bunch of commonplace, run-of-the-mill series of trivialities.

Now I see it is dawn and I hear the squad turning out in the yard with their rifles. They are pissed off that they couldn't sleep in, some of them are hung over. One blows his nose repeatedly, loudly without a handkerchief. I hear them talking: Why can't the fucking officer just shoot me in the head with a pistol? Can't we get this over with as quickly as possible? Then when they settle down, because Pleše arrived, a kid shows up with a slip of paper. Is it a reprieve? And for a second I am free of the stupid skit. But then when Pleše sends the kid away and he orders the men to unsling their rifles, but one last overriding question interrupts all other thoughts in my head. And I don't care anymore about the whole thing, just get the answer now as the cell door opens. One last question must be answered. I look at a drunk cold frowsy soldier with a cow-lick, his belt loose, cigarette stuffed in between his lips. What the hell was that Brady kids name? Peter Brady. A smirking, sniggling Peter Brady. Time to put the pen down. Goodbye.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

beware of dog

in alleys
the sign it says
but most times
there is no dog
dog long long gone

but every once
and awhile
admiring in solitude
the yellow trees
when i'd want no dog

then there is a dog
snarling bouncing
tail waging
with no BEWARE sign at all

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happily Ever After - Award Winning Film Short

Super news! I just found out two friends of mine (Gary Cohen from Adobe, San Diego and Lidia Sheinen from St. Petersburg, Russia) just got first place in the experimental film category at the Rhode Island International Film Festival for their film short "Happily Ever After". It was their first attempt at film. Here is a link to an interview of Gary and Lidia, at the film festival.

Click on the "Play in Popup" link under "Lidia Sheinin and Gary Cohen - Happily Ever After [29:00m]" link to hear the interview -- and here is a tip -- at about 20 minutes into the interview you get to hear who created the logo for Scared Mouse Productions.

Click here to see the award winning short they made. Here is their blog.

Book Read - Treasure Island

I just finished Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". It took me about 3 days, I took my time. I never managed to read the story cover-to-cover before, but I always liked the map*, plus other assorted illustrations. With memorable characters & action, and many clever twists in the plot, Stevenson penned a first rate adventure story, while also defining a whole genre of how Piracy and Pirates are portrayed with this small book. For a start, the majority of historical pirates didn't bury treasure -- mercantile in nature, most pirates would have found that plainly insane. Crews wanted their spoils as soon as possible, shared out amongst the crew. Pirates didn't talk the way Stevenson's pirates talked, or use the expressions they use so vividly in the book. The Jolly Roger, parrots, maps with "X marks the spot", and one legged Long John Silvers were props from Stevenson's own fertile literary imagination. An interesting note is the person & personality of Long John Silver is modeled after a friend of Stevenson's, William Henley, writer and editor. The only thing that tripped me up (or made me read more carefully) is the language usage can be arcane -- but the lexicon has not shifted as far as, say Shakespeare. For the influence this book has had on our images of swash buckling men-of-fortune, a heroic mythic mien still very much with us, it is a worthy and enjoyable read. To think this tale all started out with a simple hand drawn watercolored map -- drawn on a rainy afternoon by Stevenson's stepson Lloyd Osbourne, plainly marked with "Skeleton Island" and "Spyglass Hill".

* Note, there are many versions of this famous map. Most of lesser detail or quality. This is the best example I have been able to locate.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Poem - nancy you shot

nancy you shot
the .22 from the porch
the light was right
we could see sunshine
on the bullet
as it flew from the barrel
to the fence-post 60 yards away
like an electric bee
or the fastest fly that ever was
autumn afternoon
time for wine and a cigarette
it is funny the things you remember
we don't know what we forget