Monday, October 31, 2005

A caustic look at my own self. -OR- "Through the looking glass."

What is it that possesses a man to give up?

What is it that possesses a man to never push, and only pull?

What is it that possesses a man to look through the sparkling glass of the doors, looking in with an expression of exasperation locked upon his face? Why does he only look through, not bothering to look at the sign on the door that says “P U S H”?

I saw this man before me, from this spot that I find myself inside a warmly-tinted coffee shop. I saw him, reflected through the glass, pulling and pulling on the handle that would have easily yielded in the face of a gentle push. He never pushed. He only pulled, and from there he went on to sit outside, scowling and occasionally looking in. His gaze never caught mine, he never saw me watching. But I was watching.

He never pushed. This bothers me.

The man was sitting outside there, keeping himself in the vicinity of the place that he felt had denied him. He sat there and tried to light the cigarette that was precariously dangling on the very edge of his lips. He tried. And tried. And he failed. He failed for quite a while.

The cigarette was held in such a way that made it move around whenever he tried to touch it to flame, to the flame that seemed to scare him ever so slightly when he brought it near his face. But unlike with the door, he kept trying. He tried and failed, and tried and failed. He tried some more. And in the case of his vice, he actually succeeded.

Eventually, the cigarette was lit. Why? Why did this bother me? Why did it amuse me, amuse me in the way that brought forth a short, nervous guffaw? A telling laugh.

As I stared through the window at this man, I then caught a sight of my own face. Reflected in the window. Staring right back at me. And just like that, I knew why.

No. No. No. No. No. No. Say it aint so, say it aint so.

Sorry me, I think it’s so. Sitting within here, amidst these people, I am the very same as that stupid fucker out there. And I’ll be damned if I aint horrified.

As I watched the man fail to enter this place, a person sitting beside me turned to comment on what it was that we were both seeing. But for some reason, I couldn’t hear the words. His mouth moves, yes. Sound emerges, yes. But I cannot make them out. I cannot hear the words. Not three feet away, and still, I cannot hear the words.

I myself am looking through the glass, at the rest of the world.

I brought myself here, to this place of movement, this place of people, because I found myself stewing within my own loneliness. On this All Hallows Eve, I found myself here, I put myself here. Seemed like a good plan.

But instead of doing anything, instead of talking, instead of really thinking, I sat here, trying to read a copy of Sartre’s “The Words,” which didn’t belong to me. Sitting here, doing nothing but watching, passively letting the world go by, watching people live their lives. Watching through the glass, the glass that was both real and imaginary. Watching people live.

I saw people sitting and talking, their faces alight with the joy of the others company, their faces only a hairsbreadth apart, nothing separating them. I couldn’t hear them, but I knew they could understand each others every word.

I saw people outside walking by, their hands gripped together tightly as their fingers swung through the air.

I saw people eating, working, breathing, talking.

And here I still sit, watching it all go by.

I can recall one instance where I was on the train, that damned wonderful Los Angeles Subway that never really goes anywhere. It’s stupid, it really is. But I love it because I love the underground, I cannot help but loving it, when it gives me a taste of that stale, hot air.

I was on the train, staring into the glass. Watching people within that reflection, watching their faces as they had a conversation. A man named Orpheus, talking about politics towards whoever would listen. He was speaking, he was talking, he was, dare I say, connecting with other people. While I merely sat there, staring into the glass, watching the concrete rush by.

Why can I only pull? Why can’t I push, find that glorious forward motion?

As I sat in the coffee shop, someone came up to me with the hopes of clearing me out of my funk. She’s a friend of mine, someone who has become dear to me in only a short while, someone who knows me well enough to count the furrows in my brow.

She asked what was wrong. I told her that I had trapped myself into thinking of glass and metaphors.

She told me to find the door.

It was then that I couldn't tell her what I think that I already knew.

Find the door. If only it were that simple.

For you see, I know where the is door is. The problem is that I’m like that man, the man who was only a joke to me not-so-long ago. I can see the door. But I cannot remember how to open it.

Once, as I was driving home after a fine helping of bulgogi coupled with a generous amount of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, I found myself stopped at a crosswalk while an unsettling amount of club kids walked by.

It was cold that night, the wind rushing through the boulevards, but the people failed to warm themselves up, they just kept walking on, terrible beats grooving in their hearts, wearing skimpy clothing and letting goosebumps raise on their naked shoulders.

I found that I disliked these people. But it was then, in a shocking Murakami-moment, I found something else. A girl. A girl, carefully making her way across the street, passing directly in front of me. She wore casual gray sweatpants, her brown hair waving in a ponytail down her back. In her hands were a large quantity of books, which she took care to avoid dropping as she weaved her way throughout the crowd of those who failed to notice her. Staring at her through the glass of my windshield, I found that I had dubbed her “Studious Jane”. And in that instant, I found that I loved her.

I should have stopped the car. I knew this. I should have turned the corner, double-parked, and ran down the street, feeling the blood course through my ears as I looked for her. She would think I was daft, of this I have no doubt. But it was still what I should have done.

She kept walking. I kept driving.

I saw that door. I knew where it led. And yet I just kept pulling, failing to get the damn thing open.

Why can’t I push?

I can only sit here, succeeding only at my truest vices, at my watching and my writing. Instead of doing what should be done, I sit and I stare.

Watching people hold hands in a picture frame world, while I only tap away at the glass, leaving my fingerprints all over it. But not getting in.


Here I am.

This bothers me.

And so it is that I leave you, giving you nothing more than the words that the immortal Frank Zappa spoke after a touching rendition of The Muffin Man:

Good night Austin Texas, wherever you are.”

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A selection.

I wrote something.
It begins thus:
"The morning was foggier than usual, when I found that I had been sold."

And ends thus:
"I simply pressed my face against the window, and let the coolness sink into my cheek."

And here, is an excerpt. If you have the time, give it a read.

"It had to have been at least a year after I had met her, that she first showed the oddness of her nature to me. It was one of those clear autumn days, one where the air is as clean and crisp as the cold glass of cider that you held within your willing hands. Not foggy, not dark. But a day that is just slightly off the worn path, where the weather wisps about you, and you feel a single shiver inching up your back. One of those. She had known it, too. That was what had interested me about her in the very first instance, you could tell that she was a person who felt how I felt about these things. But yes, not until that day did I realize how far beyond me she truly was.

We had been sipping upon the aforementioned cold cider, sitting on the balcony of my casually furnished apartment, watching the sun move itself across the sky. We watched the thing move with a sense of purpose that neither of us could fully comprehend at that point in our lives. These days, I might say that we were jealous. In any case, it was when we were sitting there that an expression came across her face, leaping upon it with a sudden ferocity akin to a wild beast. Even as my face watched the sky above, the corner of my eye could feel the force of the movement to my side, and I knew that I had to pry my vision away from the sight above me, I had to see what was occurring just to my left. And what I saw was a woman that I had never seen before.

She had the same dress as the woman that I had known, some floral-printed number that she had asked my opinion on when she had said she was coming over the night before. The same slim fingers that I had gazed at time and time again, the ones that I always admired as they tapped a tune out on my old bronze coffee table. The same figure that I had caressed, kissed, nuzzled and sucked on a multitude of nights. No, it was the face that was different. The basic features were there, yes, that much I can say without a shadow of a doubt. But the expression upon it, it was one that could only have been carved within the creases with some new kind of emotion, a dark facet of desperation that no one person that I ever had met could possibly hope to describe. The expression was something for the deepest of nightmares, the purest of dreams. And as soon as the face had appeared, it vanished, sinking deep within the pores, giving way for the face that I had grown to love.

There it was, that face, with that sweet slow smile that could tell anyone who bothered to really look that something was going on inside. Her right hand carefully put down the glass that it had been gripping, and reached across the short distance to reach out for my hand. I got there before she could even finish the journey, and it was then that she squeezed with a force that seemed inappropriate for most romantic gestures. There was an uneasiness too it, and perhaps even a hint of that desperation, the desperation that had adorned the other face. The face had left something behind, something inside of her that didn’t want to let go. So she squeezed. And I let her. I let her grip my hand for as long as those artists fingers could manage to hold on, and even beyond that, I let them rest in my palm for as long as she felt the need. It was 8 hours before she felt that she could go home.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A love song. To all of you.


Sometimes, sometimes…I miss skin.

I miss everything that I have ever remembered about it. I miss the feel of its warm softness pressing against my cheek, and the lasting impression that its smell left upon my nasal passages. I miss the salty sweetness that it left awash in my saliva. And sometimes, sometimes…I miss the carefree glow that it has in the warmth of a beautiful morning. Sometimes I miss that the most of all.

But it isn’t just that. That’s just the thing that rests on the tip of my straining mind, the thing that has been struggling all day, searching for any semblance of rational thought. Skin is beautiful, skin is lovely, skin is something that I love. But that isn’t what I’ve put myself down here, in my favorite darkness, in my not so favorite chair.
I’d say that it’s time to get a little broader.

Ladies and gentlemen, here, there and everywhere. I have something to tell you.

I love you.

I love you if you’re a crazy person walking down the street, singing a song of madness to yourself without a care in the goddamn world. I love you if you’re a woman who is bumping about, not letting anything else get in your way, because you’ve got a goal and you’re going to seek it out. I love you if you’re beautiful. I love you if you’re ugly. I love you if you’re brilliant, and I love you if you’re simple. I might even love you if I hate you, hate you with any burning capacity that my body can muster.

I love people. Sometimes, all times.

When they love me. And when they hate me.

People around the world, I bow to you.

And more than just love. Love is easy to give, it’s entire existence is something carefree and jubilant. It exists only to be given, to be accepted, and to be violently rejected. Easy, simple, sometimes, all times. Other things are harder.

Like faith.

Faith in God is easy, if you’re the kind that wants it. Omnipotent being, knows all, sees all, totally good, yadda yadda, fucking yadda.

Faith is harder if you believe in no god whatsoever. No religion, no truth in the black. Here we sit, and that’s where we are. That’s who we are.

Faith is hard when you choose to believe in people.
When you see what people do, every single day. When you see them spit, when you see them cry, when you see them kick, when you see them stab. When you see them piss, when you see them bleed, when you see them hate, when you see them fight, when you see them lose.

When you see them be people.
When that word is synonymous with terrible, terrible ignorance.

It’s hard.

But when was the last time something truly worthy of a persons time was anything but maddening?

I love people. I love their skin. I love their minds. I love their faces. I love their quirks, and I love their somewhat lopsided walks. And believe me, I love their deeds. I love it when they surprise us, even though I always say that I don’t like surprises.

I love it when they try, even if they end up failing.

And because of that, I believe in them. I believe in us, all of us. So the world is a little fucked up. We’re scared, we’re mad. We’re worried. But we’re going to be ok.

Because you know what, dearests?

We’re only human.

Which is all we’ll ever need.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A...thing. With stuff.

Why am I not writing?

It’s a strange question to ask, especially as the words that you’re reading are words that are being broadcast from the tip of my brainstem to the tips of my fingers as surely as I’m sitting here, awash in the creamy glow of my laptop screen. The action is occurring. Action, reaction, that’s the way it goes. My action is the motion, the reaction should be the words. That’s the way it goes. That’s the way it should be.


It’s just not the same damn thing.

Can I make sense here? Let us see. You’ll have to be the judge, just like all those other fateful moments, all those other beautiful days when I’ve called out to you, to you, whoever you may be. How ya doin? Glad you stopped by. Are you enjoying your beverage?


Action, reaction, that’s where I was, that’s the spot where I was trying to be. Writing seems to be more than that. Yes, you can easily commit some manner of words to paper, to stone, to flesh, to whatever. Yes, you can easily bash out a terrific volume of pages describing the technical intricacies of the latest electric toothbrush manufactured for the express purpose of being sold at the Sharper Image.

(Is that store still around? You don’t really see them anymore.)

Yes, you can prattle on and on about it, during it. And yes, most of the time, nothing will get done. Action, reaction, simple as a nekkid babe. Not anymore.

Not here, not now, not in this dark, not in this world. Abstractions occur, and they get in our way. And even though the words exist…they are simply meaningless. Simply.

Simply not simple at all.

Sometimes, it becomes so easy. Sometimes, sometimes, you start the action, and that goddamn magical reaction occurs. Newtonian mechanics, you are on my side, and from my head comes a bubbling froth of madness and delight that it placed upon whatever I come across, adorning all that I see with the letters that I love. See that cup? It runneth over. Action and reaction, ideas and truth.

I was trying to tell the truth. I was trying to see the truth. I was trying to find the truth. Even with fiction, that’s what one does. But that is hardly as simple as it might sound. Write what you know? No.
Write what you trust? Not quite.
Write what you love?

Yes. Yes, yes, yes indeed. Simple as it may seem…I think that might be all we have.

Ain’t that grand?

Truth, life, love. No matter how much I say, I always seem to come to the same point. No matter how many ones and zeroes this laptop churns into letters, my mind always uses its own magical roundabout way to find itself at that very same point. And the point is always that I cannot seem to find a point at all. This is discouraging.

But yet again, yet again, it gives me something to shoot for. Because yet again, yet again, I find myself plagued with writers standstill.

Ain’t that great?

Truth, life, love. Tear apart the seams of any truly great piece of writing and you will find them. The syntax might not be perfect, the images might not be sublime, but if that something is there, then the right people are going to feel it. And the right people are going to love it, just like you do.

This is about writing, for those who write, not for those who call themselves writers. Different things, different meanings, different areas. The people who are writers, the ones who make so much money writing standard crime fiction, standard romance fiction, standard horror fiction…those people don’t seem to write right. They do what they do, they make people read, they grab their paycheck and smile. Good for them. But is the love there? Not most of the time.

If the love isn’t at the core, then the rest of it loses meaning. The truth falls by the wayside, the life isn’t burning within the pages. The love isn’t there, the words aren’t pure. If the words aren’t pure…what are they?

They’re just another fucking Dan Brown novel.

Ain’t that nice?

Action, reaction.

I’m going to try to write something. Write here, write now. Write something that is my very own.

Truth, life, love. Write?

I certainly hope I do.