Though it's still months away from completion, I began drawing up ideas for the cover.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
“There are only two types of people in the world,” he said without looking up from his glass. “People who go to bars alone and people who don’t.”
I wouldn’t had known he was talking to me if it weren’t for the fact there was no one else around. Maybe he wasn’t talking to me, maybe he was thinking out loud. Nonetheless I was lonely and he was handsome and it was just me and him and the sad half-empty bottles of liquor lining the wall in front of us, so I said, “There are two types of people in the world, people who drink before noon and people who don’t.”
He smiled, turning to look at me and then tilting his head towards the window, where diamond-like drops from the drizzle were sliding down the pane.
“There are two types of people in the world. People who like to walk in the rain, and people who don’t.”
This morning I had wandered the damp streets for an hour, with no sense of purpose or direction, eventually winding up here. I wondered if he could smell the rain rising from my skin.
“People who drive to get somewhere, and people who drive to find somewhere.”
He nodded in approval, took a sip of his drink. I wondered what it was. Gin, perhaps.
“People who want to go everywhere, and people who want to stay in one place.”
“The settlers and the restless.”
“The lovers and the losers.”
“The left and the leaving.”
“People who kiss strangers…” He leaned across the space between us and pressed his lips to mine. It was vodka he was drinking.
He slipped away, settling back on his barstool. I saw his sad eyes and his alcoholic lips with a smile like a riptide in the ocean, like a crack in a frozen-over lake. Outside, the rain became a deluge.
“There are two types of people,” I said. “People who understand, and people who don’t.”
Sunday, May 22, 2016
On my first night in the hospital I was given a brief, rushed tour, culminating in the “patio” which more resembled a human bird cage than the relaxing outdoor resort/recreational space they seemed to be striving for. Suspended four stories in air, surrounded on each side by seemingly ancient brick, stood this terrifying structure, made shakily with fencing more suited for lawns, connected at all sides and a ceiling to boot. I eventually made my way out onto the patio by the week’s end, able to briefly enjoy the summers approaching breeze and almost forgetting that the shade provided from above was in fact put in place so we never tested our abilities of flight.
To think, all I am and all I feel distilled into woven metals wrapped loosely with plastic.
This, however, was reality. Every meal, every meeting, every moment spent in that room operated beneath the shadow of this cage, a constant reminder of my predicament - no matter how freely I moved and careful I spoke, there was simply no escape. I am not sure if I ever wanted to escape, or even if I could have, but nonetheless my brain acted as though this were some monumental challenge, some schoolyard dare - I invented scenarios, prepared my route, timed my nurses and knew their routines. I was going to undo this decision and run away from help, happy and desperate, clutching my hospital gown at its ends like some cartoon housewife afraid of a mouse as I darted across the black parking lot and into the town below. Here I would swagger like some drunk Frankenstein monster, young and alone and desperate to be loved.
There he would descend, the monster gaining speed, bashing in bar doors and raising all sorts of hell. Spinning tales of his story to justify the garb, getting loans from strangers and starting some new life in the craters of the old, just beneath the warm radar of friends and family who would mourn his loss so long as he pulled it off just right. It would be profitable, at first, but he would get pinched and simply run away, catching the closest train by its iron railings and stowing away until friendlier lands crested over the horizon and cleared into view.
And then, as quickly as I managed to enter these fictitious bars, I would find myself behind them again - ripped and slammed into my bed, bed two, room 467, Holy Name Hospital, where I belonged. If I were a fiction writer I would have made my escape by now, probably met a mentor of sorts on my way, began plotting my next move under the watchful eye of some well constructed and exotic boy, smelling faintly of Axe Body Spray and resembling the face of every guy I’ve ever loved.
I am not.
I am penning a flowery memoir at best - a product of my youth, desperate to make each sentence some new sensation.
They are not.
I could not sleep on my final night in the ward. The prospect of re-admittance into our carnivalesque existence repulsed me, the notion that I would forever reflect on it scared me, the bed I had slept in was simply all wrong. Too hot, too stiff, too thin, too foreign, still, after nearly a week. Nothing is comfortable about these nights - solitude may be bliss, but like all experiences moderation is key. The sheer totality of this solitude became sickening, choking all desire at its locked door and fenced wall - remember, you decided to be here.
There is no clock in my room, there are only my thoughts, loud and awake, pushed to their limit. Thoughts between the ears of a man who had not spoken in days, who had not seen loved ones or even smoked a cigarette, blissful till its end all filter and ash. My dreams and my reality began to blur, as I gave in one final time to the mystery of these walls, the completeness of my dreams, the fruitlessness of my “escape.”
I was on a city street clutching a carton of records, preparing to lay out my treasures and sell them to strangers streaming by. I was hungry, I was frantic, they seemed to keep falling out my hands and shattering on the floor. People stared in disappointment, it became a spectacle of sorts, an opportunity for these strangers to unleash some vitriol, spewing obscenities and laughing at my incapabilities. I bent over to pick up a record and sliced my fingers on its shattered edge, but the blood was black and began to pool on the ground like heated tar, absorbing the records with its steam, an appetite unmatched, eventually swallowing my feet, somehow bare, creeping steadily towards my knees, black and absolute. I looked up and was standing not on the city streets but back in my room, watching myself sleep, a body nearly consumed by the tar as it crept above the sheets, choking my breath and staining my sheets, approaching and blocking the lone window’s light. Soon the room is full, and yet I can see myself asleep, in peace, suffocated and pristine, intestines flooding with tar and eyes glazed over in something feigning acceptance but revealing some childish fear it was still juggling upon life’s completion.
I stood in the room, breathing the tar, staring at myself until my door was opened, and the new day had begun. Awake and alone, sweat pouring from my body, the final morning had begun and a nurse was taking my vitals. The dream had ended. Or so I hope. For even as I write this I am not fully sure. Some piece of me died in that room, in that night, and I watched it conclude, in peace, consumed before the chance for struggle - choked before the chance to speak - dead before time to think.
I belonged, in some way, to that world, and am still not fully convinced of this one’s appeal.
Friday, May 20, 2016
I’ve championed this notion, for as long as I can recall, that between all of our skin and bones lie some latent cancer of brilliance. Never fully rearing its ugly head and consuming us with its dread, it gives me comfort nonetheless, and sometimes is able to spill out if I leave my mouth running for too long. Spring a leak in my consciousness and out seeps this goo, these thoughts, wordless yet pursing: I am something beyond myself, I am here to create something beautiful.
There is something that happens when you are alone, when your most basic comforts are sacrificed and the world outside is just that - outside. You become lost in well-earned dreams. Hours of sweating, tossing and turning, awake and frustrated, lost in the blackness of night and simply awaiting the dawn you give in to dreams that best life in every since. Dreams so real and moving you catch yourself trying to speak, waking up with words already spilling out of your dirty mouth - speaking to nobody in particular and in response to the blind brilliance of the world beyond my consciousness.
These places are secret. They are holy. They are grand and intricate, foolish and gaudy, ruling a realm invisible to even the greatest of microscopes and keenest of eyes. Dreams of my mother, offended and spitting. Dreams of my lover, captured and beat. In a world of darkness the brain has no responsibility to keep you entertained, and so in this space alone was I free to move and seek and feel.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
You will find me in the shadows of a worn-down café where a crackly speaker plays old school jazz music. Lazily my eyes follow the words on the paperback in front of me but soon enough they stray to the table underneath. It’s an anthology of stories in itself, with decades of vaguely reflective statements and declarations of youthful love carved into its wood. Saxophones and caramel voices fill my ears while my fingers trace the etched echoes of people who were here before me in another moment, in another time.
You will find me by the shore, gazing out into the ocean. The sparkling waves are magnetic but my feet remain anchored in the sand. Blue stretches on for miles and I ponder how something can be so terrifying yet so fascinating. Fear and wonder must go hand in hand, I think. I will never be unafraid of open waters, but that’s okay. It means I will always be spellbound by the sea.
You will find me by his side, trying desperately to silence the pounding of my traitor heart like tremors tearing apart the iron cage I’ve built inside me. His grin can start a storm, his kind eyes a hurricane. With clumsy hands, I attempt to strengthen my defenses, but he smiles at me and I come undone once again.
You will find me on a busy street, the noise of the city like a symphony to my ears. There is beauty in everything, even this glass and concrete world. I find constellations in the checker board windows of towering skyscrapers and dusty apartment buildings and listen to the untold stories in the sea of faces rushing by. My voice is just one drop in this moving, breathing ocean, my footsteps just one echo of a hundred others. The thought should overwhelm me but it is strangely comforting. Here, in this urban jungle, is where I belong. Here is where I am home.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I was almost 18, but not quite, the first time I sucked a dick. I understood the politics of having straight sex, but I couldn’t imagine how to get a guy to let me suck him off. I wasn’t bold enough to ask someone face-to-face, so I lied about my age on a singles ad.
A few guys replied. The first few were too old for a not-quite-18-year-old, but one guy was really nice, even though he was in his mid-30s. He refused to send any pictures, but we talked on the phone. He was married, had a few kids, and wanted to help me explore my sexuality, he said.
So the next day I met him behind a restaurant near my dorm. He was in a beat-up SUV, and he was handsome in a daddish way. I got in the passenger seat, and we drove around looking for a place. While we drove, he told me about his wife, and his son, and his son’s girlfriend. He told me about his neighbor and how they’d fool around when they were home in the afternoons.
We parked in some tall grass near a park and got in the backseat. He pulled his sweats down and took out his cock, already heard, a drop of precum oozing out.
I don’t know why I thought it would be hard for me. Seeing him there, lying back on the bench seat with his dick stiff and leaking, my mouth knew exactly what to do. And after he flooded my mouth with his cum, he pushed me back and fished my dick out of my jeans. As he swallowed it to the base, moaning around the width of my cock, I realized: sex with men was a whole different animal.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Side effects of being numb due to mental illness:
- not crying for weeks and weeks on end until one day, you’re breaking down over something that isn’t actually worth getting upset about.
- not being able to tell if your feelings for people are platonic or romantic or if you’re just lonely.
- instead of caring too much, you don’t care at all about anything.
- not being able to process anything going on in your life and when you try, your brain stalls out.
- losing your train of thought every five seconds, so when you try to have a conversation, you have to pause and remember what you were trying to say.
- word vomiting.
- mind “static”.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
I recently overcame my writer's block and began writing the chapter in which Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr visit Joan Volmer during William Burrough's hiatus down in the Amazon. This is an experpt and unedited, of course. So, please refrain from any judgement. I like this chapter, because in lieu of research, it will be bitter-sweet and funny opposed to the dire depression of the previous chapter. A well deserved holiday for our intrepid and well inhebriated characters. Enjoy.
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
an unedited exert from Blew the Shot
While William and Marker roamed around South America and explored the lush jungles of the Amazon basin for yagé, Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr, accompanied with Lucien’s dog, Pasky, made a surprise visit to Mexico City in a beat-up old Chevrolet to visit Joan.
In apartment 8 at 210 Orizaba, Joan lay in the gloom on the sagging couch. Her body, though numb from the excessive alcohol intake, still throbbed from a discomfort overtly visceral; mostly from boredom and loneliness. Joan glanced over toward the dusty writing desk cluttered with unanswered correspondence. Billy Jr., who had just turned four, sat on the foul carpet in soiled underpants rolling a toy car back and forth. The front right wheel long missing. Frail Julie slumped in the adjacent chair listening quietly to her stomach growl. It was early morning and Joan was gathering strength to prepare a simple breakfast for herself and children when a series of loud knocks issued from the front door. Joan remained immobile, staring up at the stained ceiling, taking a long drag from her cigarette. The pounding repeated itself.
“Mommy, someone’s at the door.” Julie faintly stated.
“I hear that, sweetie.” Joan croaked.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Aren’t you going to see who it is?” Julie asked. “It could be daddy.”
Joan took another puff and sighed. “Your daddy wouldn’t knock.”
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Well.” She looked at Julie and smirked, “I assume it must be important.”
Julie giggled and with a weary groan and a bit of effort, Joan wobbled to her feet. Clutching her cane, she awkwardly ambled toward the door. Cracking it, all anxieties and depression dissolved as she screamed in glee when she flung the door open to reveal her old friends Allen and Lucien standing on the landing.
“Oh, my Lord!” She squealed as she leapt onto each man with a tight embrace.
“Joanie!” Lucien said. The force of her actions nearly knocked the dangling cigarette from his lips.
“Didn’t you receive my letter?” Allen asked. “I never heard anything back.”
She smiled a toothless smile, coyly brushing down the wrinkles of her rumpled skirt. “And I do wish to apologize for that, Allen. I never got around to mailing my answer. You said you were coming down with Jack, though.” She glanced quickly past him expecting her friend to be lurking in the shadows. “Where is Kerouac?”
Lucien dropped his duffle bag next to his dusty shoes. “Oh, that kook dropped out at the last minute. Some ordeal concerning his mother. I’m here because I was invited to attend the wedding of a friend from UPI who is staying down here. So, not wanting to go alone, I simply drove around to where Allen was living and said, ‘Al, it’s time to take a couple of weeks off and go to Mexico.’ He drolly agreed, ‘Fine, I’ll have to pick up a sweater.’”
She smiled at her old roommate. His hair was thinning a bit and he sported a black beard. Yet, the same passionate fire broadcasted past those thick horn-rimmed glasses. “Same old Allen.”
“It was a nice sweater.” Allen sniffed. He said to Joan, “You gave it to me, remember? Anyway, as you well recall, I don’t drive, so it was down to Lucien, fueled by alcohol, to get us there.”
She took Allen’s hand, pressed the delicate fingers with her own. “How was the trip? It must had been long and painful for you, dearest Allen.”
“Allen is no stranger to things long and painful.” Lucien interjected, dropping his cigarette butt onto the floor, squishing it with the toe of his shoe.
Allen ignored the jib and stated feyly with eyes closed, “Entirely uneventful. We only stopped to sleep in the car and grab quick meals. The solitary calamity being the top of the Chevrolet’s thermometer blew off as we drove through a dreadful Texas heat wave. Other than that, it was pleasant. Well worth the trip to come and see you and Bill.”
“Where are my manners…please, do come in.” Joan said.
Allen forlornly examined Joan as she gauchely turned to usher the two in. After several years of not seeing his old roommate, he noticed she had deteriorated strikingly, akin to a withered potted flower uncared for and left to rot on a windowsill.
Allen and Lucien entered the dank apartment, glanced around the unkempt room. Allen immediately noticed little Julie sitting on the overstuffed chair. She looked like a dirty doll gazing at him with oversized eyes.
“Is that Julie?” Allen smiled warmly at the child.
“Indeed, she is.” Joan croaked. “Julie, you remember Allen, don’t you? He visited us when we lived in Texas?”
The child remained silent and actually seemed as if she was attempting to sink farther back into the cushions.
“She’ll be giving you competition soon,” Allen told Joan upon noticing the girl’s blossoming beauty.
“Oh, I assure you, Allen, I’m out of the running,” responded Joan, glancing out the corner of her eye at the unopened bottle of tequila that stood on the table.
“Billy? Is that you?” Allen boomed at the small boy. Billy Jr. shot a startled glance up toward Allen and then scampered quickly into the bedroom, slamming the door after him.
“They’ll warm up to you.” Joan sighed apologetically. “They’re just hungry. I was about to prepare breakfast. Care to join us?”
“I could eat.” Lucien smirked, rubbing his stomach.
Allen frowned at the shut bedroom door, “Lucien brought his dog. He’s still in the car. Perhaps after breakfast I can bring Pasky up and the kids can play with him. Would you like that, Julie?”
Julie simply shrugged.
Joan made her way into the kitchen and as she noisily began pulling pots out from the cupboards, she called, “Well, sit and make yourselves at home, fellahs. To commemorate your arrival in Mexico City, I’ll whip up a time honored breakfast of huevos rancheros. Lucien, grab some glasses and pour us a shot of that tequila there, then you can astound and amuse me with your tales of high adventure and romance.”
Lucien found three tumbler glasses, wiped them with the front of his dusty shirt and began pouring the shots, “Speaking of adventure and romance, I heard Bill went to South America. Is he back, yet?”
Allen flinched as he heard a skillet loudly being slammed onto the stoves range.
“I regret to inform you he has not.” Joan casually responded. “You know Bill, his addiction to junk is only surpassed by his addiction to the boys.”
Allen took the glass offered by Lucien and sipped the contents, wincing. “Well, that’s a fucking bummer. I really wanted to see him. Lucien and I have about a week to waste, you think he’ll return by then?”
“Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not even the angels of heaven. Lucien, you mentioned something about being down here for a wedding?”
Lucien handed a glass to Allen, strode into the kitchen and handed one to Joan. “Shit. Bill’s not here? What a fag. He knew at least Allen was coming down. He should be here.”
Joan cracked two eggs into a greased skillet and said, “So, what about that wedding?”
“As I stated, a coworker from the newspaper lives down here and is tying the knot. He invited me. I invited Allen.” Lucien handed the glass to Joan. “And now, I am inviting you.”
Automatically, Joan gulped the shot and held the empty glass to Lucien. “Oh, I don’t know. I have to tend to the kids. Bill is due back any day, I am certain…”
Lucien returned to the living room to refill the glass. He swallowed his own and replenished Joan and his glass, “Screw Bill. He left you here to rot in boredom.” He returned to the kitchen holding out the glass to Joan. “You need a little diversion. I’ll pay for someone to mind the kids. I insist you go, Joanie.” He smiled, “There’ll be unlimited booze.”
“Unlimited booze?” She repeated flopping tortillas onto the open range to heat them. She turned and took the tequila from Lucien, instantly throwing it back.
“Unlimited.” He stated coyly, tossing his own shot down. He took the glass from Joan and went to refill them both. “Plus, it would be good for you to get out and meet some new people. I insist.” He walked back into the kitchen slightly wavering. Tequila dripped off his hand onto the grimy tiled floor. “I am certain you will wow those squares with your vast intellect and razor sharp, witty repartee, just like you did back home.”
“Please, Joanie?” Allen pleaded as he began clearing dirty dishes off the dining table and placing them in the already over-filled sink. “It won’t be cool if you stood us up, too.”
Joan took the glass from Lucien and glanced at them both, smiling. “Because I missed both of you and because you are both so sweet to me, how could I refuse such a temptation? And as you both realize, I can resist anything but.”
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
I will write about myself as a ghost until I die because I have constantly existed in another dimension, here and somewhere else, gone and present, invisible and begging to be touched even though your fingers will pass right through me and my sister and I still haunt these abandoned trailer parks.
The earth is a silent killer, a patient assassin. Waiting until they leave before reclaiming herself or simply poisoning them with the fruits of her beauty. We sleep in a rusted train car, watching as the vines wrap themselves around our home, squeezing the past out of it, melting down the artificial and digesting the sins of technology. Of what we called progress.
How poetic to be thriving in this mess. Because I can feel the phantoms of these dead dreams, the lost thoughts of what people once believed they could be. We gorge on them, feel them pass through our insides, kissing our lonely intestines. This is what feels like home. Rot is not such a sad thing after all.
Here the lillies make their presence known atop the corpse of a playground. Time slows, twists upon itself until it forgets to tick, and here I can sit in silence and the grass seems to rise fast and tall as trees, reaching to rub cheeks with the sun, basking in the victory of growth. These sunburns are not so bad, except for the part when they peel, and then I itch with the urgency to reveal a new me. Again and again. Again...
My profanity, my vulgar existence, dirty hopes, these are forgotten. Left to die between the half devoured teddy bears, the faded lawn chairs, the rancid mattresses. They thought nature would swallow me too, that their consciences would be wiped clean in my absence. But the earth is a lover of lost boys.
Sunday, May 08, 2016
While William and Marker were roaming around South America and exploring the lush jungles of the Amazon basin for yagé, Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr, accompanied with Lucien’s dog, Pasky, made a surprise visit to Mexico City.
I have been staring at this sentence for over a week. I have come to a complete and tragic stop. Perhaps I need a vacation. Anyway, this is the begining of the chapter Fire and Brimstone of when Allen and Lucien visit Joan while William was away. At least I achieved setting the tone for that!
Quite personally, I have a lot on my mind and not a lot of time to make my decision. I wish to return to Tijuana. I also wish to relocate to Cambodia. Both are pleasing to me, but I told myself I wouldn't make up my mind until the first draft of this book was finished and that deadline is September.
For myself, I have come to the dire realization that Tucson is not my time/space location. If anything, every attempt to settle here has fallen flat or mired in bitter discontent towards the fat and ignorant locals. It is seriously time for me to begin to locate other avenues of inspiration....
Friday, April 29, 2016
Hector traps the cylinder between his pout. Gently gripping the filter the way you would hold a lover’s earlobe between your teeth, applying just enough pressure to communicate your desire. The flame of the lighter teases the end of the cigarette to life, like the tip of a quivering tongue, tracing the lines of a lover’s lips to stimulate a hungry response. He inhales sharply, with a sexy little hiss. Smoke fills his lungs, like tiny whimpers of pleasure echoing into the sensual cavern of his wicked mouth. He arches his back slightly and tilts his head to one side, exposing the muscular curve of his vulnerable throat; exhale...he smokes slowly. Each time he tilts my head back to exhale, his mouth remains parted in a small O shape, like he’s frozen in a moment of orgasmic passion.
My hands tighten to fists. I gnash my teeth and dig my nails into the flesh of my palms. It’s all I can do to stop myself from pouncing on him… and licking the residue of nicotine from his lips and fingertips.
Equal to the carcinogens slowly swirling through the room, my passing days with him are both intoxicating and delightful. He becomes my habit.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
He holds the pool cue gingerly between his knees as he chalks it up. There is something profoundly stupid about how he does it that makes me question even his sanity. Behind him on a shelf the bar’s cat naps. It is midnight and we are the only ones left - he refuses to leave until he wins. The barkeep is a friend, he brings me beer and the burger I ordered.
“Come on, guys, it’s almost…” he pauses, “what’s that part after night?”
“I’d call it day.”
He laughs sarcastically, observing intently as I peel the rind off my bacon. I have an aversion and he likes to chew the fat.
“Nah, I mean the bit between.”
“Twilight,” he corrects me as she takes the first shot.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Here is another section from the new novel on William Burroughs and Joan Volmer I am currently working on. I have just completed the chapter on Burroughs and Marker's trip to Central America (no longer titled Queer, I have came up with a new chapter title and am quite pleased. I told you I would) Again, this is an unedited first draft. So, please excuse any discrepancies.
excerpt from BLEW THE SHOT
Before William made his departure for South America with Marker, and in lieu of the numerous complaints from their fed up neighbors for raucous behavior, the family relocated to apartment 8 at 210 Calle Orizaba; on a residential lane in the Roma district.
Uninhabited marshlands by the end of the nineteenth century, the area was renovated with French-style mansions during the Porfirio Díaz regime. Nonetheless, the openly elite disposition of the Roma district began to dwindle by the 1920s. The area further degenerated in the thirties and forties with the rapid construction of lower-middle-class apartment complexes and a multitude of small businesses, removing any chic or progressive charm that remained.
Not only middle-class Mexicans moved in, but Jews, Arabs, and German émigrés resided in the district during the 1940s. Various celebrities also lived in the neighborhood during the first half of the twentieth century, most of whom William had never even heard of and much less cared. The Café de Nadie, a den of the Stridentist movement which stood on Avenida Álvaro Obregón in the 1920s, hosted the Mexican version of Dadaism, where Manuel Maples Arce, Arqueles Vela, and Germán List Arzubide, among others, denounced against the good behavior and hygiene of Mexican culture. William remained unaware of all that, also.
By the time he and the family relocated to Zona Roma, it was a lower middleclass neighborhood swiftly succumbing to commercial development and nowhere near exclusive or baring any artistic merits; a tranquil, gray zone of simple architecture and mediocre aesthetics—which didn’t seem to matter much to Bill and Joan.
In the crumbling patio which led to the white-washed apartments, little Billy sat nursing a sore foot encased in over-sized and used shoes. With tiny, dirty fingers, he scooped beans from a can and shoved them into his mouth. Across from him, in poncho and sunlight was his little Mexican friend, Micco, who sat quietly playing with his pet rabbit named Chili. Earlier that day, Chili had bit Billy Jr. on one of his brown toes and the child screamed so long and loud that Joan had comforted him with not only his first set of footwear, but with a fresh can of beans.
“How the fuck do you expect me to feed these kids? I can’t believe you are simply leaving us to lay a boy?!”
Billy tilted his head upward toward the open third floor window. He listened without understanding why his mother was yelling at his father.
In the kitchen, Joan stood at the open window above the dirty sink, fuming. She propped her bent frame in one hand with her cane as with the other she sloppily filled a grimy eight ball glass with tequila, sloshing much of the contents onto the littered counter. She threw back the tequila in one gulp as she heard William from the bedroom.
“I explained this to you before, Joanie. I am simply surveying new prospects for the benefit of this family. I will locate land, we can settle in and farm and not have to worry about any altercation from the government.”
William hurriedly dashed from one side of the room to another, grabbing clothes from the closet and tossing them into a leather suitcase opened on the sagging, unkempt bed. He continued, “I will only be gone for a month or so. I will wire funds for rent and food. No need to worry, I will take care of you.”
Joan filled another glass, threw that back and sighed. She stared out into the sunny vista of brick and adobe terraces. Clothe lines and television antennae as far as the eye could see. A maudlin Mexican ballad wailed from the distance. She slurred over her shoulder, “We wouldn’t be in this predicament if you took a fraction of interest in our well-being as you did this Marker.”
“Now, Joanie, he is simply along for the ride.” Was the muffled response.
The warmth of the tequila fought with the dire need to vomit as she evaluated with an intoxicated mind the thought of their lust filled expedition. “Ride is right. How much of our funds did you fork over just to get down his pants?”
William retrieved his drug paraphernalia stashed behind the end table. The syringe and burnt spoon was wrapped in a soiled handkerchief. He buried the works deep into the suitcase. He stated, “No need to be vulgar, Joanie.”
“Vulgar?” The anger mounted, her voice rose to a frustrated howl, “I’m not the faggot here. How can you do this? How can you be so unthoughtfully callous?”
William exited the bedroom. He stood in the archway between the kitchen and living room looking grim and holding the packed suitcase. He stated without anger, “Joanie, I will send for you and the brats once I locate a hospitable country.”
“Stop referring to them as that!” She spat. “They are children. Our children.”
He tipped his fedora clad head mockingly, “I will send for you and the children.”
Joan filled another glass, throwing it back. She grasped the rim of the sink and with dramatic effect, said calmly as she glared at the pile of dirty dishes, “Allen and Jack wrote. They said they will be down here next month. They are coming to see us. They are coming to see you!”
William placed the suitcase onto the soiled carpet and glided up behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders, “I will be back by then. With my land money I will take us all out. We’ll have a ball. I promise.”
Joan did not turn to look at him. She said dreamily, “Why am I here, Bill? Give me one good reason why I should be here when you come back?”
“Because you find me irresistible. As I do you.”
She turned, smirking, “Irresistible as a scorpion.”
William gently massaged her shoulders, looking down into her moist eyes, he said, “Who knows not where a scorpion does wear his sting? In his tail.”
Joan sighed. Her hatred and anger dissolving. She grinned and looked away. “In his tongue.”
William took her free hand and held it to his chest, “Whose tongue?”
“Yours,” She looked up at him, smiling. “If you talk of tales, and so farewell.”
“What, with my tongue in your tail?” He said with a raised eyebrow.
She began laughing and pushed him away. “Okay, you big goof, go on your expedition. I’ll be here. Waiting.”
William walked over to the suitcase and picked it up. As he made his way to the front door, he turned and said, “Joanie, you have my word. Upon my return I will fulfill your innermost desires. I promise.”
Closing the door behind him, Joan stood listening as William clomped down the spiral staircase to the street. She turned to her bottle, filling a glass. Gulping its contents, she stared back out into the bright sunny vista, whispering, “That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man, if with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I took in the night sky above, letting the cool breeze envelope me as my eyes darted out towards the city lights - the lights growing blurrier by the second. As I stood on the edge of the building, giddiness washed over me. How many times I held myself to blame for my failings; for the people I had lost? How many times had I wished for people to truly understand? If only. Yet things are never as simple as black and white.
I took another look out into the vastness of the city, fifty stories from above ground. No, think again. Hold it together once more.
Just once more.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Here is yet another excerpt from my new Burroughs novel Blew the Shot. It is the first draft and I completely understand it is in dire need of editing. This particular entry relates when Burroughs first meets Lewis Marker. What I am finding difficult, especially with this chapter is attempting to stay true to the source and not simply copy Burroughs' prose from his novel Queer. When I set out to write this book, I never intended it to be a straight biography, but a 'fucked up' love story about Burroughs and Joan. Though I am basing it on factual events culled from relentless research, a large part of it is dramatical. Especially the chapter Queer, balancing the meticulously detailed account written by Old Bill himself and then rewriting it in my own style. (I previously stated that "Queer" is simply the working title for this chapter and certainly will change by time of publication.) I hope you enjoy it. Or not. I really don't care.
excerpt from Blew the Shot, Chapter Five, Queer
On a bright and clear day in early April, William walked into the Bounty. His habit, in which everyone who frequented the bar was well aware of, was to arrive punctually at five in the afternoon. He briefly faltered in the entrance when he noticed Lewis Marker slouched on a stool at the counter with Arnold Copland, that loud-mouthed alcoholic and one of the most ignorant, foulest bastards he had encountered south of the border. On the other hand, when not inebriated, Copland acted nice enough that William could endure his intelligent, albeit simple, conversations. Apparently, he was sober now.
Healy smirked when he noticed him, however the real attention grab came from the brief glance of recognition he received from Marker. William was wearing scratched, two peso sunglasses and a yellow scarf. He casually ambled up to the bar next to the youth, removed the glasses and scarf, placed them on the counter, and miffed in theatrical tones toward Healy, “A hard day at the studio. A rum and coke, por favor.”
“You betcha, Bill.”
Healy continued his conversation with Marker as he retrieved William’s order, “She asks me why I drink. What can I tell her? I don’t know why.” He flashed a knowing glance at William. “Why do you have the monkey on your back? Do you know why? There isn’t any why, but try to explain that to someone like Jerri. Try to explain that to any woman.”
William nodded sympathetically. “Joan’s continuously saying to me, why don’t you sleep more and eat better? I can’t explain it. Nobody can.”
Healy placed William’s drink in front of him, Marker sulkily watched out of his peripheral vision. Healy said, pointing to William, “Hey, Marker, here is another student from the MCC. You know him?”
“No. Not as such. I’ve seen him around, though.” Marker said a bit put off.
“Bill, this is Lewis Marker. He’s down from Florida. Bill’s taking anthropology classes or something. Arrived from south Texas. Used to own a farm or oil field or some kinda bullshit.”
William extended his hand, Marker unenthusiastically shook it.
“I always wanted to be an oilman, bet I could make some real money.” Copeland interjected.
Lee looked him over and shook his head. “I’m afraid not. You see, it isn’t everybody qualifies. You must have the calling.” As if dictated from ethereal dimensions, William droned in his monotonous drawl a long and originally humorous routine concerning the oilmen trade of South Texas. His audience chuckled, albeit nervously, as he regaled them with outrageously cartoonish characters like Old Man Scranton, Clem Farris, and Roy Spigot. His impromptu tale, laced in dark humor and homosexual innuendo entertained and amused his captive audience, especially Marker. As the alcohol continued, as did William’s monolog, he gauged the young man’s reaction. Appalled and confused at first, the ice eventually was broken when the boy began laughing heartily at the absurd tale.
John Dumé walked over toward William from the back of the cantina. Dumé, a tall, thin, well-dressed man, associated with a small clique of queers who haunted a beer joint over on Campeche called The Green Lantern. Dumé wasn’t obviously homosexual, but the screaming queens at the Green Lantern certainly would not be welcome at the Bounty.
Dumé stopped and slurred somewhat intoxicated to William, indicating Marker with a wave of his beer bottle. He states in a jesting tone, a smile wide on his face, “How ya like this little shit, Bill? He comes to me and has the downright audacity to ask, ‘You one of the Green Lantern boys?’ So I says to him, ‘I am.’ He wants me to take him around to some of the gay places here.”
Marker glanced over his shoulder, turned and said, “Hey, John.”
“How are you, my young man?” Dumé smiled back, coyly.
William knew Dumé held a reputation of keeping his gossipy fingers elbow deep in the gay expat trough. There was nothing he did not know and nothing he did not divulge.
I hope Dumé told Marker about me, William thought. He loathed the dramatic “something-I-have-to-tell-you” routines put down by so many other desperate fags, the difficulties of the casual come-on: “I'm queer, you know, by the way.” More than likely, they pretend to not hear. Or the tired double entendre: “If you were as queer as I am, dearie.” The other aloofly changes subject and you’re left with whether he understood or not.
“Will you push off, you fucking fag.” Copland growled.
“Fag?” Dumé smiled.
“Yeah. Fag.” Copland snapped. “You’re a fucking queer.”
Dumé glanced over to Marker, “You need to upgrade your associates, young man. Refine yourself. See you later, kid.”
William watched Dumé return to his booth in the back of the bar where a young Mexican man waited. “Dumé’s not a bad character.” He flatly stated.
Copland retorted, “He’s a queer and you aren’t, Bill. You just go around pretending you’re queer to get in on the act.”
“Who the fuck wants to get in on your tired old act?” William said.
“To hell with this faggoty shit. I have better things to do.” Copland snarled. He gulped the remainder of his beer and stormed out of the bar.
In the passing and somewhat awkward silence, William noticed Marker was slightly drunk. The youth’s eyes were tinted a hazy crimson. He ordered himself and the boy another rum and coke. Then another. William knew the game. As time passed and Marker allowed his defenses down, he began relating a story of his experience with the Counter-intelligence Corps in Germany, articulating in a very fast, high voice of a young child. As he gesticulated enthusiastically about an informant who had been giving the department false information, William sat sincerely attentive as Marker continued, displaying inhuman gaiety and innocence.
“What about the accuracy of information?” William asked. “How did you not know ninety percent of what was told by these rats wasn’t fabricated?”
“To put it frankly, we didn’t. Not a clue. Misinformation occurred more often than I care to remember. We did cross-check all information with other informants and, we did of course have our own agents in the field, but this particular character made all of it up. He had our agents running around looking for an entire fictitious network of Russian spies. So, when the report comes back from Frankfurt—it’s all a bunch of fabricated shit. Instead of clearing out of town before the information could be checked, the dumb fuck returned with more. At this point we’d had enough of his lying bullshit.”
“What did you do?”
“We locked the asshole in the cellar. The room was completely bare and freezing cold, but that was all we could do. We were under orders to handle prisoners carefully after the war. In lieu of all we did, he kept typing out these confessions; enormous, elaborate things.”
This story delighted Marker, who kept giggling as he went on. William sat utterly captivated by his combination of intelligence and childlike demeanor. Marker was friendly now, without reserve or defense, like a child who has never been hurt. He switched the subject and began telling another story.
As Marker spoke, William scrutinized the boy’s delicate hands, the exquisite eyes, the ruddiness of exhilaration on the boy’s animated face. William felt the throbbing agony of desire in his chest with each rasping breath. Imaginary fingers caressed Marker’s ear, phantom thumbs smoothing the young man’s eyebrows, pushing the hair back from his face. As Marker continued his story, William’s imaginary hand intimately brushed down over the lean ribs, the flat stomach. William’s mouth was open a little, revealing yellowed teeth in a half-snarl of a bewildered animal. His white tongue licked thin, chapped lips. He honestly loathed this sexual frustration. He saw the constraints of his homosexual desires as bars of an abhorrent cage. He had learned as an animal learns, always peering out through the invisible bars, watchful, alert, patiently awaiting the keeper to forget the door, the loosened bar…constantly waiting, eternally suffering in despair and without consent.
William snapped back from his revelry as Marker continued. He was slouched over and slurring his words, “I went to the door and there the asshole was with a damn branch in his mouth.”
“A branch in his mouth,” he said, then added coyly; raising a fey eyebrow, “Was it a big branch?”
The overt pun flew right past Marker, “It was about two feet long. I told him to go fuck himself, then a few minutes later he appeared back at the window. I picked up a chair and chucked it at him. From the balcony, he leaped down into the yard. About eighteen feet. Very nimble. Almost inhuman. It was rather uncanny. That’s why I threw the damn chair. I was terrified. We all assumed he was faking it to get out of the Army.”
William took a puff from his cigarette, blew a billowing plume toward the ceiling, “What did he look like?”
“Look like? I don’t know, around eighteen. Like a clean-cut boy.”
“Really? Hmm.” William cooed. “Go on.”
“We tossed a bucket of cold water on him and left him on a cot downstairs. He began having convulsions, but he didn’t say anything. We decided it was an appropriate punishment. They took him to the hospital next day.”
“You think it was pneumonia?”
“Maybe. Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown water on him.”
Marker placed his hands onto the counter, steadied himself and exhaled, “Oof, I think I’d had enough. I’m going home.”
“I’ll accompany you.” William smiled.
“Okay.” The boy said sliding off the stool.
William walked Marker at the door of his building.
“You live here?” William asked.
William said good night and walked home. After that, he met Marker every day at five in the Bounty. Marker, who seemed accustomed to choose friends from people older than himself, looked forward to meeting William. William continued the absurd and elaborate conversational routines in ways Marker had never heard. He felt at times coerced, as though William’s seemingly constant presence shut off everything else. William’s infatuation became relentless.
Friday, April 15, 2016
“I’m going to disappoint you. But you already knew that,” I say, leaning over the sleeping tattooed boy on the bed, and kissing his black haired head. This knowledge is heartbreaking, to both of us, even if he can’t hear me say it right now. His heart has been broken so many times in ways I have not even experienced and will never experience, no matter how long I go on. What is my trivial heartbreak over the fair-haired man-child at the university who said he wanted someone else, in comparison to what this boy has known? The list of people he believes have failed him is long. Compared to the social workers and P.O’s who took him away every time, saying it was for his own benefit, even when he begged to stay?
An unsuitable home is still better than no home. He would tell me that in a heartbeat. He has told me that, in the moments of frustrated sobs that come when the feelings get too big, and he cannot say the things that scream at him from the inside. He has told me that, when he can see the flicker in my eyes that says he has struck a nerve again. He knows what real meanness is, but he uses his hurt like a weapon, a blockade to keep me out, to keep the feelings from growing even bigger and consuming him.
“It won’t always be this way,” I say to myself. I hope our disappointment is interspersed by moments of love and joy. High points of laughing cuddles on the couch while we watch Blazing Saddles one more time and sunny afternoons in the park. Celebrations of the little things. But just as I have learned not to hope for these, I have learned to temper my expectations of bliss. I will only disappoint myself.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
The story so far…
The only reason I had pulled up my stakes and left Tijuana last year was to acquire a minor operation on my left ankle. I had let these damn calcium spurs to fester and mutate over the past decade and it had become downright arrogant. So, in a fit of bitter cheapness and under the knowledge that my health care in Arizona was still valid, I high tailed it to Tucson to get the simple operation done free and gratis on the government tip.
That operation was scheduled for yesterday. It didn’t happen. After months of waiting, I was eventually informed I was under the care of a new doctor and the croaker wanted all new x-rays and a new evaluation done solely for his amusement. I state amusement because nothing had changed and I vehemently stated that the procedure was being drawn out in lieu of milking my heath care for money. Instead of removing said problem as stated four months prior, I was given the same analysis, awarded some type of squishy soles for my shoes and given another checkup two months from yesterday. Aldous Huxley what?
So, here I am, stuck in Tucson. I honestly cannot think of any reason to remain. At all. I passionately wish to return to Tijuana. Or go to Cambodia. But, I will bide my time and at least finish the first draft of this book. I have given myself until the end of August or beginning of September.
Why the fuck doncha just settle down in Tucson and stop all this moving around? Well, I know myself better than you and I know if I will retain a place here, fill it with furniture, eventually I will get out right bored and leave. There is really nothing to do here. I rather live than exist. I would think you have come to realize that by now. Damn. What are you? Retarded or something?
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Here is another unedited excerpt from my current novel based on William Burroughs and Joan Vollmer's stay in Mexico City. I just finished typing this out and I realize it is in dire need of editing. It is from the chapter titled Queer in which Burroughs meets Marker and they take the trip through Central America. I know...I know...Queer? I'll think of another title, don't fret. It is also obvious to the well read of such subject where I lifted sections from the source material. That will be re-written, also. I,and perhaps my readers, will enjoy to look back on these notes and see how long and arduous the writing road is from initial idea to finished work.
excerpt from chapter five of Blew the Shot:
Everything constructed in this shitty country falls apart, William morosely thought as he sat at an empty table in the Bounty nursing his third beer and casually examining the blade of a stainless-steel pocketknife he recently purchased. As if made of silver paper, the chrome plating was peeling off. Holding the knife up to his face, he slowly picked at it with dirty fingernails. Wouldn’t surprise me if I scored for a boy in the Alameda and his…
A beefy hand slammed a beer bottle down in front of him. William wearily glanced up and noticed a large, flabby man with a politician’s red Irish face dump several bundles of bagged goods into the opposite chair. Flopping into the empty chair next to William, he wiped the rim of the beer bottle with his sleeve and drank in a loud, singular gulp. He emitted a sigh afterwards. It was one of the American expats named Joe Guidry.
“So, Joe, wattaya know?” William asked.
“Nothing new, Bill, except that some asshole ripped me off for my typewriter and I know exactly who it was. That Brazilian, or whatever the fuck he is, you know, that Maurice character.”
“That wrestler you had last week? The one you went on about?” William folded the pocket knife and placed it into his jacket pocket.
“No, not that one. You’re thinking of Louie, the gym instructor. Please try to keep up. This is another one. Louie decided sex with men is all of a sudden wrong and explains to me that I am going to burn in hell, but he is the one going to heaven.”
William took a sip of his beer. “Those fundamental types. Always want to drone on about God but are never in a hurry to meet him.”
“I heartily agree. Anyway, whether he likes it or not, Maurice is as queer as I am.” Joe belched loudly. “Excuse me. If not queerer, you understand. But the macho fuck won’t come to terms with it. I do believe lifting my typewriter was his way of demonstrating to me and himself and probably God that he is in it for all he can get. As a matter of fact, he’s such a mincing queen, can’t stand him. Who the fuck am I kidding? When I see the little shit again, instead of stomping the hell out of him, I most likely invite him back to my apartment for a mercy fuck.”
Bored of this dreary babble, William leaned his chair back against the wall and glanced about the bar. A man was composing a letter at the next table and if he overheard Joe’s rant, he gave no inclination of caring. Healy stood behind the bar silently reading the bullfight section of the paper, spread out on the counter in front of him. A silence peculiar to Mexico seeped into the room, a vibrating, soundless hum. Joe slugged down the remainder of his beer, wiped the back of his hand across his unappetizing mouth, and with crimson-tinted blue eyes gazed at the wall.
Though William was attempting to act nonchalant, he actually was straining to overhear a conversation by two young men who sat with an American girl with dyed red hair and carefully applied makeup in the corner of the bar. Amid various empty bottles and a chess game spread across the table top, sat a more frequent patron of the Bounty was a young American from Florida, twenty-one year old Lewis Marker.
William recognized the young man from the MCC. He never spoke to him before, but William was immediately infatuated with him. In William’s eyes, the boy had a slim youthful look, actually the sort of helpless look of a baby bird about him, this innocent slightly surprised look. His eyebrows were like pencil lines and black whereas his hair was almost blond. His eyes were almost brown, thin nose, small face. He was six feet tall and weighed about 125 pounds, but very healthy and surprisingly confident physically.
Marker was a gawky, lanky, graceless gringo whose motto in life was “Get rich, sleep till noon, and fuck ’em all.” He resided at 122 Monterrey, sharing the apartment with John Healy, Louis Carpio, and an American couple, Glenn and Betty Jones. After arriving in Mexico, Eddie Woods lived in the same flat with these four denizens of the Bounty, where he went quite often to drink rum and Cokes.
At age sixteen he’d enlisted in the army and spent three years in Germany collaborating with the gringo counterintelligence services (during that time J. D. Salinger was doing the same thing in France). Back in Florida and fed up with military discipline, Marker applied for the GI Bill and in 1950 went to study at Mexico City College. In August 1951, Eddie Woods, a childhood friend, with whom he’d played hooky, stolen cars, and disobeyed military orders, caught up with him. In mid-1951, while recovering from a flying accident, Woods, who had remained in the air force since his enlistment at age fifteen, decided to get together with his old friend.
William remained stoic as he listened to the inebriated Marker relate his tale to an attentive Betty Jones as Eddie Woods sat slumped in the booth opposite her. “…when Eddie and I were in Jacksonville and a barroom drunk started an argument with Woods and began getting aggressive. I pretended to drunkenly stumble against this man, who yelled, “Hey, get away from me, skinny!” I hooked my finger in the man’s belt, holding him down, and brought the heel of my hand up under his chin, dropping him to the floor. I then stepped on his face.”
The two friends laughed, lit cigarettes and settled into their beers.
The silence seeped into William’s body, and his face went slack and blank. From his vantage, William could see his reflection in the large mirror behind the counter. The sullen face was ravaged and vicious and old, but the clear, green eyes were dreamy and innocent. His light brown hair was extremely fine and would not stay combed. Generally it fell down across his forehead, and on occasion brushed the food he was eating or got in his drink. How to approach the boy? His main tactic was wordplay: the spiel, cooked up and served in small doses, of a thirty-six-year-old man aware of his scant sex appeal, sure of his intellectual superiority to the youth, practically a teenager of twenty-one.
William thought he had that innocent very American look, but something really cold and fishy behind it. Very cold person, a real agent type. He was receptive to a point, he was unshockable.
Joe emitted a sigh, rose, and grabbed the shopping bags from the chair. “I need to get going.” He nodded to William and flashing a fake smile soaked in resentment and walked out, his half-bald head silhouetted for a moment in the sunlight before vanishing from view.
William yawned and picked up a comic section from the next table. It was two days old. He put it down and yawned again. He glances over just as Eddie Woods got up and left. At that moment, William and Marker’s eyes met. William endeavored to pull off a greeting at once both friendly and casual, designed to show interest without pushing their passing acquaintance. William stood to bow in his dignified old-world greeting, instead there materialized a leer of naked lust, wrenched in the pain and hate of his deprived body and, in simultaneous double exposure, a sweet child's smile of liking and trust, shockingly out of place; mutilated…hopeless.
Marker was somewhat taken back. Perhaps he’s got some sort of tic?
He decided to remove himself from contact with William before the man did something even more distasteful. William looked at him helplessly for a moment, then turns back to his beer, defeated and shaken. William finishes his the drink. When he looked around again, Marker was playing chess with Betty.
“Why waste time here?” William bitterly thought. He pays and walked out. A young Mexican boy passes by William and looks at him. He motions to William and walks off. William follows.
Marker glanced up and watched William exit the bar. It was Marker’s move and Betty noticed Marker’s concerned look as he sat staring at the now vacant entrance to the bar.
“Who was that?” Betty asked.
As if shaking off an ominous shade, Marker shrugged and returned to the game, “I have no idea.”