Tuesday, February 09, 2016

writer's block

Here is yet another excerpt from the Burroughs novel I am working on. Though it may be switched by time of publication, this is the opening to chapter three: It's Kind of a Glow focusing heavily on William's and Joan's current relationship, a mutual but somewhat unstable truce. William had just began his cure from dope and is beginning to drink heavily. This chapter also introduces The Bounty Bar with all the expat regulars. Once again, this is a first draft, so...


For the Cris sake do you actually think that laying a woman makes someone heterosexual? I have been laying women for the past 15 years and haven’t heard any complaints from the women either.* What does that prove except that I was hard up at that time? Laying a woman so far as I am concerned is O.K. if I can’t score for a boy. But laying one woman or a thousand merely emphasizes the fact that a woman is not what I want. Better than nothing, of course, like a tortilla is better than no food. But no matter how many tortillas I eat I still want a steak.**
   “You got a kick out of that, didn’t you, Joanie?” William asked with an almost imperceptible smirk. He sat typing at his desk. Joan lounged on the sagging couch grasping a glass of tequila in one hand and the letter to Ginsberg in the other.
   She chuckled from her editorial comments written with a pencil on the typed letter. By the first asterisk she scrawled: “Correct!” By the second: “Around the 20th of the month, things get a bit tight and he lives on tortillas.”
   “At least a bit of a laugh I think on Allen’s end.” She said.
   William loudly snorted, clearing his sinuses. “Joan, though tolerant of my personal sexual preferences, I realize you cannot remain unaffected by the irony of our mutual situation.”
   She gulped a shot of her tequila and pointed with yellow stained fingers at the letter in her free hand, taking a drag from a cigarette, she added, “What’s interesting about this is it reveals to dear Allen that you and I do have sex, at least sporadically. And that, apparently, is my only kick.”
   “Indeed.” William droned. He reached for the chilled martini next to his typewriter, sipped it. “Tortillas, I have found, are an acquired taste. Unsavory and somewhat tasteless to the palate but serves to sate ones hunger.” Before Joan could utter a retort, William loudly removed the paper from the machine’s roll carriage and quickly continued, “Here is my current dispatch to Jack. Tell me, what do you think?”
   He passed her the letter. She scanned it with crimson eyes. It read: Mexico is an oriental country that reflects 2000 years of disease and poverty and degradation and stupidity and slavery and brutality and psychic and physical terrorism. Mexico is sinister and gloomy and chaotic with the special chaos of a dream. I like it myself, but it isn’t everybody’s taste, and don’t expect to find anything like Lowell…No Mexican knows any other Mexican, and when a Mexican kills someone (Mexico DF has about the highest murder rate of any city in the world), it is usually his best friend. I guess they find a friend less frightening than a stranger.
   Joan handed the correspondence back, “This aggressive ambiguity you feel toward Mexico seems quite apparent. Tell me, how true was the sentence: “I like it myself, but it isn’t everybody’s taste”? Are you actually attempting to affirm your irrefutably underground identity? Evidently with Mexico being an underground country compared to stateside, isn’t it impetuous of you to write it off or reject it out of hand? The truth being, in my humble opinion of course, despite the sordidness and uncivilized behavior of Mexican society, Mexico still remains alluring to you, and again, it is simply my respectful observation, there exists a certain empathy between the two of you, a distant yet genuine communicating vessel. I believe you have found your time/space location.”
   William sat brooding at the typed letter, marked with corrections and additions in pencil on the yellowed onion paper. He emitted a resigned sigh. “To be honest, Joanie, I actually do not know how much longer I will be around Mexico City. As you are fully aware, the money from Texas is still pending. When I do receive it, we certainly will be taking off for points south.”
   She curled up with her feet onto the couch, propped herself on the arm, clutching a fresh glass of tequila. She coyly smirked, “I am thrilled you said we, Bill. We as in myself and the children or we as in whatever adolescent infatuation you have snared at that given moment?”
   He didn’t answer her. Instead, he retrieved a folded letter from a small pile next to the over-flowing ashtray. He glanced over it and commented in a dry monotone, “Did I mention to you the latest concerning Allen and Huncke’s current dramatic fiasco? As a result of allowing Huncke to flop in his apartment to stash stolen loot, and then getting busted, Allen, in lieu of a jail term, apparently landed himself in the Columbia Psychiatric Institute.”
   “Our wayward muse in the nuthouse once again? Whenever will he learn?” She gulped the tequila down, grabbed the bottle, refilled it.
   “On my end with this dire debacle, as I continue to write Junk, I am now dealing with Allen, Lucien being out of the picture as my agent, by the way. I have been forwarding revisions of the manuscript, uncluttering any theoretical references quoted by Wilhelm Reich. In his last letter, Allen arrogantly replied he is under the impression that the manuscript is simply a justification of my habit. I retorted in turn what in the name of God did he mean by saying the book is a “justification” for junk or myself taking junk? I don’t justify nothing to nobody. As a matter of fact, if I may say so myself, the book is the only accurate account I ever read of the real horror of junk. I never meant it as justification or deterrent or anything but an accurate account of what I experienced during the time I was on junk.”
   Joan took a long drag from her cigarette, blowing billowing gray plumes into the already dank room. “Will you be including any of your current escapades with Old Dave? I imagine it would constitute an interesting contrast of New York compared to Mexico City. Give it an intercontinental slant. And on that note, where is Old Dave? I haven’t smelled him of late.”
   “We…don’t talk.” William mumbled.
   He had purposefully kept away from Dave Tesorero. Old Dave owed William three hundred pesos lent to him so he could sell a share of dope and give back five hundred. Dave wasn’t seen for weeks after the deal. It didn’t matter. William knew he could kiss those pesos goodbye. He didn’t need Dave around, anyway. His cure was going as planned and certainly did not want Old Dave schlepping around having an adverse effect on him. Although he had stopped shooting heroin and reduced his alcohol intake to three martinis a day, William did smoked opium once a week, considering the narcotic harmless.
   Joan clumsily attempted to roll off the couch and to go relieve her bladder. She lost her balance and fell onto the floor. William apathetically glanced at her. He returned to his typing as if she was not in the room. Bumping the end table, she accidentally knocked off the tequila bottle. The clear liquid soaked into the already stained throw rug.
   “Oh, hell.” Joan muttered.
   With much effort, she tottered to her feet and smiled. “Well, Bill, it’s nearly five. You want to grab the kids and head down to The Bounty? Get out for a bit?”
   He stopped typing. Glanced at the near empty martini glass on the cluttered table. William’s lower back was sore from sitting at the desk all afternoon. He stood and grabbed the remainder of the martini, gulping it down. “I could use a break. Certainly. Round up the brats and I’ll wait for you down in the courtyard.”

Friday, February 05, 2016

past midnight

My cell phone rings.
“Hey,” he greets me. I hear the distinct sound of rocks crunching beneath his feet, so I realize he’s walking. Probably returning to his house from one of those neurotic midnight pacings he does.
“Hey,” I reply, suppressing my protective instinct and swallowing the lecture I was going to give him about wandering around outside by his self. Let him make his own mistakes, I think as I sink into an antique armchair by the window. Dark outside. So dark.
“Remember a few months ago?” he asks. I mumble something similar to Mmhm, though I literally have no idea what he wants me to remember. A whole lot of shit - just a whole hell of a lot - occurred a few months ago. I let him talk and assume I’ll catch up eventually.
“Remember when I said I was over it?” Oh, no… please, not this again…  “Well, I’m not.” Big surprise there. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I just can’t. I can’t let it go. Remember when I said that I wouldn’t do anything?”
At this point I sit up in my chair. My breathe is short. My chest is tingling. In the still of the night, I can hear my heart rapidly beating.
There is a very specific way one has to deal with this young man. I haven’t known him long enough to figure out all of it, but still, I know more than anyone else. He’s tested my patience and occasionally my sanity with his constant questions and irrational way of thinking, yet I’ve proven myself capable to handle everything he hurls my way. Until tonight.
Because right now, every alarm and flashing red light in my mind is going off. On the line, I hear one door shut and a second open, muffled metallic clinks, and the sound of several heavy objects being dumped on a table.
I am now on my feet.
“Ok, listen, you’re not -” I begin, stalling for time while I stumble around in the darkness of my own house with the phone in one hand and a dying flashlight in the other, attempting to find where I’d flung my coat in a fire-hazard maze of moving boxes.
“Remember when I called off my plan for revenge?” he says, coolly, casually, cutting me off. One by one, I hear him loading them and wonder no more about the clinking sounds. I stop searching for the coat. Suddenly, I don’t have any spit left in my mouth.
Fuck it, I think, heading toward the door and preparing myself to enter a bone-chilling winter night at 2:53am. I curse the moonless sky. Could’ve sworn he had a prescription for sleeping pills.
I mutter and stutter, struggling to come up with a reply in between breaths as I run. If I can get there in time, I can stop him. On the line again, there are the sounds of his own front door opening and the careful setting of his rifle case to rest in the floor.
“Yeah, well, forget what I said before,” he continues, ignoring me. “It’s back on.”

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


I’ve lost every concept of time there is and I literally do not feel anytime passing. My anxiety’s getting worse and there’s not a day that goes by without that familiar pulsation or a panic attack. I’ve lost a grip on everything and I’ve spun out of control. I can’t keep gripping onto everything anymore and I want to let go but I know that I can’t. No one really cares, no one’s dependent on me. Not kai, not you, not anyone. I don’t have a purpose anymore apart from telling myself I’m better when I’ve never felt more insignificant in my life. I want to restart everything. I want to live a new life and make better choices, because where I’m going at the moment is not where I want to end up.
I don’t know why I’m here anymore. No one really cares about me and no one matters to me much anymore. I’m so fucking weird and everyone sees it. I hate the way I act, I hate the way I am, I hate the way I look. To put it shortly, I hate myself, and in a way I never thought I’d feel.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

your eyes go dark


There are some days when I can’t breathe.
There are some days when I wake up to find that my lungs have turned to lead, weighing me to the bed, drowning under blankets. They shine gold as the sun leaks through my window, blinding me, making me see only darkness when I know it is day.
There are some days when I turn to you and tell you I don’t love you, rather than I don’t want you to love me. I heard that we only truly love others after loving ourselves, so maybe I’m not lying. You love yourself, and you love me, but I’ve heard we only have so much love to go around.
There are some days I worry you’re pouring it all into me, trying to complete me when there is nothing there to complete.
Some days I worry I will be the reason your eyes go dark.
Some days it does not cross my mind.
Some days I wake up. I get dressed. I see you and I smile. I don’t question if I deserve you.
Some days I can feel more than hatred for myself, I can live without looking inwards, without seeing a black hole where my heart used to be.
Some days, I forget that I have a trash bin under my desk filled with suicide notes, and a word document saved, encrypted with directions on how to tell my friends it wasn’t their fault.
Some days I want to die, and other days, I decide, cancel those out.
Some days, I don’t count pills until night, until it’s dark and everyone is asleep.
1, 2, 11, 24, 33.
Some days, I wake up, and I realize I didn’t do it.
Some days I regret it.
Some days I don’t.
Some days are better than others.
Some days, are better than none.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

empty chair at the table

It was perhaps 60, 70 minutes before I moved from the spot. I did not even pretend to be busy, anyone watching in the crowd would know what the interaction between us was concerning. I imagine I caused those folks with the laptops angry. Sorry guys.
Describing this as somewhere I should not be might be accurate, rather, on the dot. Still an unmistakable yearning persists and I am unable to identify the cause. Possibly the idea of a later pursuit across the country is stuck in my head. Sadly, chasing for that kind of good in my life seems a lost cause.
I have never done any of this in an extremely long time. There are a multitude of things I can say that to, but this one matters. And perchance writing this down will…
The man at the table beside me asks for the empty chair across from me, your chair.  And that interruption, which is what this was for us. This, something quiet and warm, interrupted by flux of the world around us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

progress


Knocking out the section of when William Burroughs first encounters Dave Tesorero and they embark on one of Burroughs' worst addictions on heroin. I do love writing dialog. With that said, a quick reminder, this is still the first draft before editing and revisions, so any excerpts I post, please shut your whore mouth until it is done.

“Can I ask you a personal question?”
“I thought we already covered the fag joke.”
“No. No, something else.”
“This should be entertaining. What's the question?”
“You do junk?”
William paused then stated slowly as if in confessional, riddled with solomn guilt, “I've carried that monkey on my back on occasions, yes.”
Tesorero flipped back his coat lapel and revealed the spike stuck on the underside. It was grimy and speckled with green verdigris. “I’ve been on junk for twenty-eight years,” he told William. “Do you want to score?”

- exerpt from BLEW THE SHOT, current novel, first draft

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

don't worry 'bout a thing

We made ourselves survive it, whatever it was. When we were drowning, we taught ourselves to be fish and swim instead, we smiled with our new gills and told no one of it. When the monsters came for us with their teeth that sing of terrible things, we ran for safe places even when our lungs were savage for it. We survived. We showed up with bruises or cuts or bony shoulders for it, we swallowed pills or liquor or both, we held ourselves together with iron or twine or just thin silver hope. We lived it. We still live it, but we are stronger now, and know the name of the things that hunt us in the woods of our minds. We are excellent archers now, we have arrows we have honed from the strongest bits of ourselves, from the loyalty to our friends and our humor and our kindness. We did not come out of it unscarred. We are not even out of it all. But we are alive. And we are strong. We did the impossible.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

chiding myself


The sleet and the snow outside merged into an icy, shellac gray. When stepping into the sloppy mess it went invisible for a moment, then slid away into the next pedestrian’s shoe or boot, with a squish, and a slush, and a grimace of acceptance. The air was intensely cold and I knew as the wind picked up, slicing over the great desert, no amount of salt or chemical upon the sidewalks would keep the sloshy, miserable mess from freezing and turning treacherous.
I stomped upon the already sodden matt at the door, chiding myself for agreeing to come out on this freezing cold day. The smell of coffee in the agreed upon coffee shop helped, who wouldn’t put their head down and seek warmth?
I walked up to the coffee house counter and a young man came forward. I gave a glance around, the place looked clean and the young man across the counter looked healthy.
“I’ll just have a cup of your house and that scone over there — do you make them here?”
“No, we purchase all of our baked goods from a specialized baker here in Tucson.” He spoke to me as he poured my coffee and warmed my scone, telling me by route the baker used only non GMO flour and fresh ingredients, he even handed me a flyer about the place. I took it but never read it.
I sat down as far away from the door as I could possibly negotiate and waited. He said he would arrive at around 6:15 or 6:30, depending how transportation went. I understood. The MTS was usually good — but the weather was a factor. I looked down at my coffee and scone. I was hungry but not for what was before me. I understood our first meeting really couldn’t be for dinner, a coffee shop would make a better excuse for both of us if we took an immediate dislike to one another, he could even glance in and keep walking.
I took a bite of the chalky white scone and thought, now would be a good time for him to walk through the door as I fought the dry pastry in my mouth. I grabbed the coffee hoping that would help me dissolve the mess and felt the inevitable scald on my tongue. I swallowed hard, sat back and attempted to blink the tears out of my eyes, thinking any moment he would walk through the door.
He didn’t.
Actually I was able to finish the scone, get my free refill and lose myself in the novel I was reading on my smart phone.
When I looked up I was the only one left in the coffee shop and the night was dark. I got up pulled my bag up to my shoulder and placed my coffee cup and plate into a plastic tub near the counter.
It was 9:15.
The young man behind the counter gave me a small sympathetic smile, as if to say — “he stood you up.”
I smiled down at my now dry shoes, then walked to the door and opened it to the cold and icy sidewalk…  

Monday, January 11, 2016

valoo of venus



When I set out to write a novel, it is standard issue to brainstorm the general plot. That being said, here is the first of six parts of the science fiction novel I plan to finish after I am through with the Burroughs book. Please keep in mind, it is written primarily as a blueprint and is subject to change drastically once I begin. But, this is the general idea. A far cry from my previous works. I simply wanted to go in a new direction and try something "fun".

Valoo of Venus
By
Luis Blasini

PART ONE:

The story opens on a television broadcast of a news woman interviewing Edgar Rodriguez, heir to a Texan Oil Tycoon, Jorge Rodriguez. Edgar is twenty-eight: tall, athletic, handsome, and has a witty personality. He graduated in astro-physics at MIT and has spent billions of his inheritance in building the first non-government, commercial rocketship to travel to Mars. He is being interviewed on the landing platform with the rocket behind him out in the New Mexican desert. He states that he is proud to be an American and believes that it is time for our country to lift themselves out of the stagnation of the early 21st century and bring back the spirit of adventurers, inventors, and risk takers of the early past century.

Hours before take-off on this historic event, we find out that Edgar is homosexual as he states his tearful goodbyes to his partner, Kyle Jameson of three years. Make a note to put standard anti-gay situations in the motif of the US military assisting on the base. In addition to Edgar’s father’s dismay on his son’s homosexuality.

Blast off! Edgar soars up into the stratosphere and into outer space. (Reference real accounts from astronauts (Buzz Aldrin, Lance Armstrong) in describing space travel and the orbit of Earth. It must be described with scientific accuracy and heavily use NASA jargon.) Keeping in contact with his base below, Edgar swings around the moon utilizing the catapult effect and begins his long six month journey to Mars. The event is televised live worldwide.

Once out of the moon’s orbit, there is an unexpected meteoroid shower which pummels his ship. Navigation is destroyed, radio arrays are smashed making it impossible to contact Earth and half his oxygen supply is punctured, leaking into space. Glancing out the port hole, he notices he has been knocked off course, the nose of his rocket is pointing directly toward the sun and he is hurtling at it thousands of miles per hour! Unable to alter course, Edgar accepts his fate of burning up in the sun and hunkers down to the long journey toward eventual death.

At the fifth month, tired, bored, and depressed (he bided his time exercising, reading, contemplating suicide - use comical vignettes), Edgar glances out his port hole and notices the amber crescent disc of Venus slowing passing into view. He bursts out in half-crazed laughter as he realizes he won’t be burning up in the sun after all, but in the hot, sulfuric acid infused atmosphere of Venus!

Donning a survival suit and mask, Edgar prepares himself for his decent onto Venus. The rocket buckles and shakes as it plummets through the tumultuous yellow clouds of sulfuric acid. Edgar screams in horror, realizing that this is the end. Suddenly, steam and howling winds surround the rocket as it shoots downward out of the torment of acid clouds and into a dark navy layer below comprised of water. Water!? Edgar finds his rocket screaming down through what seems to be an atmosphere of earthly hurricane-like conditions – dark grey and hellish – raindrops streaking the pitted port hole. The rocket stops buckling violently as Edgar peers out the portal and is now diving rapidly through monumental yet calm and billowing clouds!

Quickly, Edgar pulls a lever which emits a series of parachutes designed to slow the rocketship in its previously intended decent into the Martian atmosphere. The torpedo-like ship rattles violently but slows as Edgar straps on a backpack and decides to parachute toward the surface. Throwing open the outer hatch, Edgar leaps out of the cockpit – he briefly glances the rocket streaking away into an enormous cloud bank. Edgar falls…and falls…and falls…through various layers of clouds, each with highly different pressures. He breaks through the bottom of one and notices a vast, tranquil sea of mist below stretching out into every direction. He yanks the rip cord and drifts down into the foreboding fog.

He falls through the murky darkness for some time when suddenly he is yanked to a violent halt! Through the gloom, he notices that the wires of his chute are tangled in the branches of a gargantuan tree jutting up through an even thicker layer of mist! There is obviously vegetation on Venus! With much effort, he swings to an opposite branch. Cutting the wires loose and removing the pack, he begins to make his climb down to the surface.

Edgar stops to rest on a giant tree branch. Amazed and fatigued, glancing at his watch, he has been descending the same tree for three hours and still has not reached the surface! He looks about at his surroundings. His eyes have adjusted to the murky fog and also noticed that dim yellow light is emitted from the upper third layer of the atmosphere basking everything in an eerie orange, post-dawn glow. He can now see he is in the midst of a massive jungle of colossal trees and foliage jutting up from a seemingly bottomless pit of grey fog.

Suddenly, a bit away, he hears something moving. A beast the size of a Shetland pony but resembling a palpitating, white grub worm on six crab legs and sporting a nasty scorpion-like stinger drops onto the branch stalking him. Behind the thing, two more of the same beasts creep into view. They emit a piercing shriek as they lurk forward to attack. Without any weapons, Edgar turns to run when the first thing springs through the air and lands onto his back. He can feel the hot saliva from the thing dripping on the back of his neck as he is pinned down by powerful claws. Suddenly, he senses intense heat and then smells burning flesh as the thing falls off him. Glancing back, he witnesses the second monster leaping into the air at him, but in mid-air, an almost invisible ray of white light fires from out of the fog and kills the beasts. The last monster screams and charges only to be torched by a second burst of the mysterious heat ray.

Gathering his wits, Edgar rolls onto his back just in time to notice a troop of nineteen men approaching. One is holding a ray gun. He holsters his weapon, but doing so, the others draw swords dangling from their hips. Edgar attempts to communicate with them – thanking them for saving his life. They look on in consternation then babble solemnly to themselves as they check out his odd apparel. Edgar realizes they cannot understand one another. The obvious leader of the troop informs Edgar with hand motions that they will be descending the tree and at the points of their swords, he comes to the conclusion he is going with!

For two days the troop scales down the sides of the tree and then swing from massive branch to massive branch deeper into the jungle. Overnight, they spike hammocks against the trunk of a tree and eat and sleep. Edgar learns the name of the leader of the troop is Thufir, other than that, he knows not where he is being taken.

Eventually, they reach a vast walkway meandering through the branches. It leads toward a massive tree at least five thousand feet in diameter encircled with walkways and balconies. Edgar is amazed at the size and ornate design of the "city". What is more amazing is that the city is populated by thousands of handsome men, he sees no women what so ever. How do they repopulate, he muses as he is led through immense ornate doors and down a great vaulted hall. Down more hallways, Edgar notices no elderly or young children – all men from the ages of late teens to early thirties. The men are dark skinned with black hair carrying facial features of south pacific natives. Their clothing is a kind of retro-futuristic military garb.

Edgar is escorted into a colossal hall and presented to their ruler. On a dias, a young man seemingly in his late teens sits on a massive throne carved from a single jade. His face is hidden behind a jeweled and ornate mask of gold and his body is swathed in colorful robes. On either side of the throne stands a guard of twelve warrior women. Thufir bows and explains to the ruler how Edgar was found. A Major Domo of the ruler approaches Edgar and begins examining his clothes, face, hair, teeth – as if he was cattle for sale…or a slave. The Major Domo babbles to the ruler. Thufir and the ruler chatter a lengthy debate and Edgar is ushered out.

Edgar is escorted to a large room with a small balcony looking out into the jungle. The room is obviously his chambers. Regal and lavishly furnished, Edgar realizes it is a prison none the less...

END OF PART ONE

Saturday, January 09, 2016

excerpt from current novel


Here is an excerpt from the second chapter - Mexico City Blues - of the Burroughs novel. It is the first draft, so I apologize for any sloppiness or errors. My motis operandi is to write the entire manuscript and then edit out the excess and indiscrepancies, as any sane writer should. I vary rarely edit while I am writing the first draft. The second chapter is to introduce all the supporting characters of the novel, here it focuses on Kells Elvins.

Joan slammed the oven door shut to drown out the raucous laughter issuing from the dining room, irritably recalling that morning when William burst into the apartment overly ecstatic, relaying news that Kells Elvins had returned to Mexico City with his wife, Marianne.
   Apparently, the newlyweds rented a new apartment on boulevard Ávila Camacho out on the road toward Guadalajara near the remodeled golf course. William related that a few years prior Elvins spent time in Cuernavaca studying with Erich Fromm; he learned some Spanish and now wished to continue his studies. He enrolled in Fromm’s psychology course at the medical school of UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. William then informed Joan, and without much notice of preparation, he had invited Kells and his wife over for dinner that evening.
   “As I was saying, I served as a marine during the war where I lost hearing in one ear thanks to a fucking Jap shell bursting right by my head.” Kells sat at the head of the table, dressed impeccably in a pressed white shirt, black slacks, and a pearl-buttoned black and grey sweater vest, nursing his martini. He swung the glass about in a well-manicured hand to accentuate a point in his story. A tall man who possessed classic, well-defined features, he was immensely attractive to women, with deep black eyes, curly, wiry brown hair. William believed he was the most charming man he ever met; well built, athletic, and described on occasion as “a playboy.” Charismatic, cultured, and well-read in many fields, Kells attained an excellent vocabulary and as he spoke, held everyone captivated with every word and gesture.
   Kells took another sip of his martini, “At the time, my radio code name was Big Picture and my colonel was one Shifty Schaeffer. I had just hit the beach with Major Ash, whose radio name was Clinker, and as our unit rushed in there was a hail of machine-gun fire. I immediately dropped onto the sand and tugged at Ash’s trouser leg, urging him to get his ass down. At that point machine-gun fire sheared off the top of Major Ash’s head raining his blood and brains down all over me. Colonel Schaeffer called on the radio and asked, ‘Howya Elvins. Put Major Ash on the phone.’ Momentarily stunned, I simply radioed in, ‘Big Picture calling Shifty, Clinker is dead.’”
   “Big Picture calling Shifty, Clinker is dead.” Repeated William. “What poetry.”
   “How was the farming business in Texas with Kells, Bill? I understand you both made quite a profit from your collaboration.” Across from William sat a very pregnant Marianne Woofe, Kells’ second wife. A well-bread and attractive woman, she attempted to put on the air of enjoying the evening. The fact was, she actually wished to leave. She recalled, during a stay in an Acapulco resort, she noticed a scorpion skittering across the tile floor of their bungalow and discerned immediately it was a malicious creature. She felt the same way about William. Her eyes scanned the man who sat across from her - cadaverous looking with yellow fingers, thin lips, bad teeth, and eyes resembling those of dead fish. The prospect of spending the entire evening in the company of this distasteful character was becoming intolerable.
   William lit a cigarette, tossed the match into a large marble ashtray next to him overflowing with smoldering cigarette butts, “Well, my dear, I wouldn’t say it was bad. It did offer its perks. There were the weekend trips to the coast, Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, and during the week long evenings drinking and smoking on Kells’s porch or at my own digs. Priorities, my dear, priorities.”
   With nimble fingers, Kells fished the olive in his martini, plucked it into his mouth and chewed, “However, it turned out that 1950 witnessed the worst freeze in the Valley for fifty years, decimating the citrus groves and nearly putting us out of business. That’s when I decided it was time to fold. I explained to Bill, ‘I want to make a lot of money. I think selling is a good solid clean thing to do.’ Eventually, I sold my land and, using tips given to me by Clint Murchison, invested wisely in oil enough to provide myself with an income of a thousand dollars a month. And with that, here I am.”
   “Clint Murchison?” Marianne asked.
   “Old friend. Texas oilman. I would sit around with his cronies and ask, ‘Hey Clint, when are you gonna get yourself cured?’ You see, “cured” meant get rich, properly rich, not the two or three million Clint already had. He always offered to help me if I asked, so I was understandably well disposed toward him.”
   “Oh.” She said.
   “Marianne, do you realize Bill and Joan share a certain psychic ability?” Kells asked. He noticed his new wife was becoming bored with this patter and decided to change the subject.
   She glanced at the scarecrow figure in a worn fedora shrouded in cigarette smoke under the harsh yellow light of the ceiling lamp. “Psycho, did you say?”
   “Now, now, Marianne. Don’t be a square. I for one respect the “second sight” Bill and his wife possess.”
   “Really?” She smirked.
   Burroughs swirled his sherry in his dirty glass. He detected her contempt, however for his respect of Kells, decided to keep his demeanor cordial. Not looking at her, his focused his attention on the sherry. “Indeed. Back in Pharr, Kells would ask me, ‘Tell me about the man, Burroughs, tell me about his hands.’ Eyes closed, I would concentrate on Murchison. ‘I see his hands are twisted, he has terrible arthritis. His hands are twisted. Being down there with all that shale.’ And Kells would say, ‘Yes, the man’s got arthritis, that’s right, Burroughs.’ ”
   “Really?” She sighed. This time she wasn’t holding back her disdain.
   “And don’t forget our excursions over to Reynosa.” Kells smiled. “By the way, Bill, did you hear about Gene Terry?”
   “Ah, yes. Tiger Terry.” William took a sip of his sherry, swirled the contents in his mouth, swallowed. “He would haphazardly drive around in a ’38 Ford Pickup he called The Black Death. Excitable kid. Once, he entertained me by performing an impromptu tightrope balancing act on the top strand of a barbed wire fence. Whatever happened to him?”
   “Well, Gene got drunk and went into the lion’s cage at Joe’s bar,” He glanced at Marianne, “That’s in Reynosa, Mexico.” He focused back to William. “One of the lions leapt up and clawed his back, leaving some nasty scars. José and the waiters always warned Gene to stay away from the lions, but he wouldn’t listen.”
   “How horrible.” Marianne interjected.
   Ignoring her, Kells continued to William, “One night, Gene boasted to two friends how he would pet the lions, but they didn’t believe him, never having been to Joe’s. The three drove across the border, went to a few bars, finished up at Joe’s around 1:30 a.m., where Gene showed them the lion cage. The waiters warned him to stay away. Gene snuck in when they weren’t looking. He lifted the large wooden bar across the door and dragged his terrified friends inside. His flashlight startled the lioness and she attacked him. His friends ran to safety outside the pen, but the door slammed behind them. As Gene was about to open it, the lioness slashed open a main artery in his leg, then dragged him down by his neck. His gruesome screams brought the staff running. They pushed the door open and several of them went in, chucking bottles and glasses at the lioness. She dropped Gene and Roberto Perez, the lions’ trainer, held her back with a chair as he leveled his .45 and fired, hitting her in the chest, killing her.”
   At that, Joan hobbled out of the kitchen and plopped the metal basin holding the roast onto the table with a resounding thud.
   “Dinner, folks.” Joan croaked.
   “Ah, wonderful! I am famished!” William exclaimed extinguishing his cigarette.
   Before his two guests could utter their approval, with a large cutting knife, he attacked the roast like a savage animal, rending off huge hunks of meat which he threw onto their plates. Disgusted, Marianne gawked when she noticed the roast was nearly raw, the majority glistening in pinks to deep red. She sat silently as then William proceeded to snatch up from his plate a great slab of dripping, greasy meat in both hands and gnaw at it voraciously.
   Not touching her dinner, Marianne asked with a placating smile, “Do you plan to return to the states, Mr. Burroughs?”
   Between noisy chomps, William stated, “Still under indictment in New Orleans for possession of narcotics. Having jumped my bail, my first move is to locate a competent lawyer to block any possibility of being extradited.”
   “Oh.” She sat in silence the remainder of the meal.
   After dinner, the friends sat in the living room having drinks. Joan, though polite and made it her duty to keep her guests glasses full, remained silent. She gazed with crimson eyes at the stately woman who sat in the corner chair, not holding a beverage and obviously looking down her nose at the proceedings.
   Guess I could warm up to the uppity cunt, Joan thought.
   “Can I offer you a drink, Mrs. Elvins?” Joan asked.
   Marianne averted her cold gaze from Kells. She thought Joan as a frumpy, amorphous woman, with a doughy face and large eyes belonging in antique dolls, made of blue glass and vacant, reflecting everything and seeing nothing. To Marianne, she seemed placid and shy, or a well-meaning mental patient let out for the afternoon.
   “You can call me Marianne.” She smiled.
   “Can I offer you a drink, Marianne?”
   “Do you have any milk?”
   “Milk?”
   “Yes. Milk, please. I don’t wish to imbibe while I am with child.”
   “Pfft.”
   Joan placed her glass of tequila onto an end table, as she stood, her pocketbook fell onto the floor and popped open. Pills of every shape and color cascaded out and rolled across the dirty rug. Gracelessly, Joan got down on her hands and knees and picked them up by the handful, shoveling the pills back into her purse, smiling and murmuring to herself. As Marianne silently looked on this pathetic creature, neither Kells nor Burroughs gave her the slightest attention.
   The alcohol taking effect, Kells slurred, “Remember, Bill, in between my drinking and farm management, I was attempting to write the Great American Novel, but alas never devoted enough time or attention to it.”
   William recalled, “Yes. You never did write all that much. Always encouraged me, though.” His attention flitted over to Marianne. “Kells felt, in a way, that without my influence he would never have realized anything, I do believe turned him on to possibilities beyond he would not had realized unless he had known me: a less conventional life, less conventional ways of thinking, and his basic interest in writing came from the work that we had done together.”
   “Oh, you two collaborated on a book?” She asked her husband. “You never mentioned that, Kells.”
   “A short story, actually.” He said down his glass. “A rather hilarious incident taking place aboard a sinking ship. Based it on the Titanic…”
   “Sounds morbid.” She chuckled. “I like romances, myself.”
   “Well, my dear, nothing came of it.” William sniffed.
   “I must admit, Marianne, I consider Bill the most fantastic writers I had ever seen. I did keep all of letters and reread them often. The man has talent.”
   “That is very kind of you to say, Kells.” William said. He turned to Marianne, “I necessitated someone to tell me I had talent and could do it. On occasion, Kells suggested I simply set down, in a straightforward, reportorial manner, my adventures as a junky, which I proceeded to do.”
   “You’re writing it?” Kells asked.
   “Wrote it. I call it Junk. A month prior, I employed a young woman named Alice Hartman, who was enrolled in the Writing Center at MCC, to type the manuscript. The entire manuscript being written in long hand. The woman was a proficient typist, but we were at odds when she insisted on making editorial changes. Every time I wrote “junk”, the broad would change it to “opiates,” and I constantly reprimanded her for that, ‘But I want to use the word ‘junk,’ I don’t want to call it ‘opiates.’’ I sacked the ignorant bitch and typed it myself that by this last January, I sent the completed manuscript to my friend Lucien and asked him to attempt to sell it to a New York publisher for a $1,000 advance. Very likely it won’t sell at all. But you never know.”
   “How exciting.” Marianne stated. “I wish you success, Mr. Burroughs.
   “A thousand dollars is an admiral chunk, Bill.” Kells said. “I seriously believe you could make a vocation out of your writing.”
   William chuckled at the thought. His laughter sounded like an unoiled machine. His usual monotone held a tinge of aspiration. “Indeed, the advance would come in handy. I wrote Junk largely for money. Of course, being responsible not only for myself, but also for Joan and the children, I have an absolute duty to place their welfare high on the priority list.”
   Gathering her pills, Joan stood. “He also has to pay for his junk and cocaine.” Joan grunted, “A book called Junk. How apt.”
   “The milk, Joan.” William stated, sipping his martini.
   “Yes, my liege.” She did a slight curtsy and wobbled into the kitchen, clomped out, and handed the half full bottle of milk to Marianne. She didn’t offer a glass. “How did you and Kells meet? Or did you get married on account he knocked you up?”
   “I beg your pardon?” Marianne said, taken back.
   “Well, it is a rather amusing story.” Kells smiled.
   Marianne’s faced was flushed crimson in rage. “If you tell that story I’m going to throw this bottle of milk right at your head.”
   Ignoring the threat, Kells continued, “I was entertaining some friends at a nightclub when I saw this beautiful, but well intoxicated, woman staring at me from the bar. I made my way over, we struck up a conversation. I never knew a woman so passionate when drunk. Immediately, she invited me up to her room and…”
   With an infuriated ‘oh!’, Marianne threw the milk, hitting Kells across the temple. A look of such fury crossed his face that William was certain that he was going to leap up and bust her across the chops, but then he collected himself and said calmly, “If you’re going to do a job you might as well do it right.”
   He picked up the bottle from the floor next to him and casually poured the remainder of the milk over his own head.
   Marianne shot up from her seat, strode to the door and collected her coat and purse hanging on pegs attached to the wall. She turned and shot, “Mr. Kells Elvins, you are, by far, the most graceful man I had ever met. You are also alcoholic, volatile, and sadistic,” She glanced at William and Joan, “and, in my humble opinion, overly tolerant of the hangers-on who provided you with an audience.”
   She flung the door open, stormed out, slamming it behind her. The three sat in silence, listening to Marianne clomp down the stairs and out across the patio.
   Joan casually fished into her purse, popped a Benzedrine tube and stated, “Bill was right, Kells, with the ladies, you sure can pick them.”

Friday, January 08, 2016

nobody wants to hear

Nobody wants to hear about my every­day life anymore. Nobody wants the truth I want to offer up, even though I listen courteously to your bullshit, mindless intellectual swill spewed over organic dinners with vegan options. My small talk’s not spicy like your authentic curry recipes. The setting for my anecdotes are smoky bars or seedy truck stops or a one bedroom flop for misguided and horny youth. The characters in my anecdotes aren’t five hundred pound, no good, mohawked boyfriends with shitty bands’ and shitty vans that I have to crawl under to unstick the gears. At least not anymore.
Nobody wants to hear about my new life. About writing and insomnia and bowel movements so black and hard they look like lumps of coal staining the bowl. About caring for cast iron, lovingly caressing the heavy black weight of a lightly rusting pan with two fingers, lubed up in lard. Nobody wants to hear about a man who’s slowly dying from depression and a burning mind of black nostalgia. A man who’s ready to die. Demented and dimmed by his age. Yet, sharp as a cliché tack. Nobody wants to hear…

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

It’s not really a secret I struggle with depression. I don’t really know how to apologize for the way I exist. I’m not always sure when I should. I’ve been trying to write about these things. It’s not easy. Writing about queer things is so simple because I’m comfortable with those things - these things are not comfortable, not easy, too close, too exhausting, too painful.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

write between the eyes

Sitting here in this coffee shop hopped up on high-octane caffeine pounding out a section about Kells Elvins for that Burroughs novel. As mentioned previously, I am flip-flopping between works, Valoo of Venus which is my escape and yearning to write something both fun and to clear all these childhood fantasies from my head. What is it about? Hmmm. Good question. I loathe comparing my writing to other works, but if I were pitching it in as a standard Hollywood spiel, I could safely say "If Alejandro Jodorowsky wrote his take on John Carter of Mars and it was directed by Bruce LaBruce"...I guess. When asked, I simply state, "It's about an astronaut stranded on Venus and has this swashbuckling Flash Gordon-like adventure. And it's gay themed."
I stayed up until 3am this morning finishing a chapter on Joan Vollmer. Poor Joan. The more I learn of her, the more tragic the tale becomes. I realize things were different back in the 1950's. The beats were real jerks to the women by 21st century standards. Even though I grew up idolizing Burroughs and his work and life influenced and paralleled my own, he was a bit of an asshole.
Well, as previously stated, my goal is to complete the first draft of this Kells Elvins section (google him) so enjoy the impromptu covers I designed for publication. I am certain they will be honed and/or changed by time the novels are finished, but they were fun to create, never the less.





*for Blew the Shot, here is the first draft back cover blurb...it, too, needs editing. Haven't written one for Valoo of Venus, yet.

RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES

It was the shot heard round the countercultural world – the Big Bang of the Beats, as it were.

At a party one night in Mexico City in 1951, writer William Burroughs drunkenly talked his wife Joan Vollmer into standing against the wall with a water glass on her head while he fired a gun at her.  His ostensible purpose was to imitate the daring marksmanship of William Tell, who could easily put a bulls-eye through an apple perched on someone’s head.  Alas, Burroughs, addled with heroin addiction and general drunkenness and lunacy, was no William Tell.  Joan was shot in the head and died shortly thereafter.

This excellent novel centers on this appalling incident, drifting back and forth in time as a sort of mystery, examining the reasons and underpinnings behind Burroughs murder of Vollmer (which, truthfully, it was).  The motivations and events, examined and tossed about like pigs in a blanket, craft a story that’s part biography, part horror tale, and part affecting psycho-drama.

The author Luis Blasini leaves lusciously ambiguous whether the shooting itself was murder, drug-fueled madness, or one of those great historical incidents that exceeds its reality to become a metaphor for art and destruction.

BLEW THE SHOT slides artfully along the razor’s edge suggesting his character might be either a genius or merely a debauched loon.  There’s the sense of a man who’s tormented by the demons of his lusts and appetites, and is often helpless before them, particularly when it turns out he sort of likes his drugs and his sexuality.

Monday, January 04, 2016

the dawning of a new era...probably.

No. No, it can’t end like this. Not yet. There is more to tell.
Back when I was hanging from an improvised noose in another botched attempt to release myself from this mortal coil, it dawned on me that I couldn't leave just yet, I need to finish that Burroughs book. So, along with the light hearted space opera, I have been working unrelentlessly on BLEW THE SHOT, a harrowing tale of William S. Burroughs account in Mexico City in the '50's resulting in the murder - yeah, that was what it was - of his wife Joan Vollmer. So far, I really like the outcome of the first two chapters...I even jumped the gun and designed a cover...which I am certain will be altered upon publication...a ver.
Indeed...well, I assume I owe you an explanation…
The story so far...
Two months ago, I left Tijuana in bitterment and contempt, jumped a jet, and flew to Tucson, Arizona. I had, over a period of ten years – damn old age – acquired a case of acute calcium spurs in my left foot which resulted in pain whenever I walked. My healthcare was still active from when I signed up for it back in Yuma. I mired a month in the Primavera Men’s Shelter before renting a room at the local transitional housing apartments. A comfortable, clean apartment wherein my rent was only thirty percent of my monthly income. Though inhabited by morons and whiny Americans (what is the deal with privileged Americans, no matter how far down on the social ladder they still find time to bitch when receiving free shit?), I used said Healthcare and made a date free and gratis to have this operation to correct my malady.
During this time, I began penning two new novels (I tell you, escaping death really sparks the creative juices) biding my time while I heal from the footwork.
So, Dear Reader, bear with me. My time in Tucson will not be permanent. I have already set in motion that before old age sinks it's talons in me and flung into some retirement home with my withering buttocks slung across a cold uncaring bench, I wish to circumnavigate the world, see it’s wonders and then perhaps afterwards settle down in retirement.
However, I will be using this blog in the meantime to hone my writing skills, vomiting out whatever prose passes through my careening mind.
Hope you enjoy the ride and, oh yeah…

Sunday, November 01, 2015

how do i deny that part of my soul?

How do I deny that part of my soul?
Desires to die, to be destroyed, do not grow old.
Do not grow tired, do not grow weary,
Just grow cold.
How do I deny that part of my soul?

Friday, October 30, 2015

long story short

We met, as most do, in a decrepit dive bar called Noa-Noa located on the scuzzy edges of Zona Norte. At the time I enjoyed the joint in lieu it was rarely, if ever, frequented by the homo-sexpat crowd swarming in over the border every weekend. Assholes.
Over beers, he said his name was Fernando. A pleasant personality and quite charming, he didn’t fit the mold of your garden variety rentboy, sulky and aloof. Later that evening, during the obligatory drag show, we drunkenly made out in the piss saturated mensroom against the gray, bare concrete wall. Fondling, groping, our tongues exploring one another’s mouth all the while a curious twink gawked from a urinal with hard on exposed and willing. No time for that pup as Fernando and I rushed over shattered concrete sidewalks to my murky apartment and committed crimes against nature until the next rising dawn.
I expected to never see him again as we shook hands on the sidewalk, hung over and in dulled agony from our all night pounding of each other, nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised when he appeared at my doorstep several days later all smiles and horny.
A friendship blossomed. In post coital reprieve, he confided his love for women and how he desired a wife and kids and I revealed my mad schemes of being a writer and he being delighted on how I was not your typical possessive American fag who usually haunts the bars of the Plaza. Assholes.
Years crawled as Fernando and I became close friends. The adventures we had! His girlfriends came and went as with his loathsome excursions in being snared in the web of various petty queens. Equally tolerating my rampant drug addiction, my liaisons with brief relationships…and yet, all through that, we remained steadfast friends.
As fate would have it, ultimately I left Tijuana to live the life of a hobosexual, documenting my lurid adventures and insane dreams. A decade passed and I found myself wrapped in my borrowed flesh flat on my ass back in Tijuana. I learned that Fernando was married to pleasant woman and supporting his wife and child by working the clown circuit at occasional birthday parties and pumping cash from various old rich queens around town. Through one loathsome character, I ascertained that Fernando was performing in front of the camera for a lecherous sexpat who attempted to corner the gay porn market as far as Tijuana rentboys were concerned. Luckily the venture flopped. Asshole.
video
Soon after, Fernando and I were re-acquainted at a local café and resumed our friend with benefits relation. I met his family, assisted him with various over-due bills, and even purchased some outlandish if over-priced clown shoes for his payaso act. My stay in Tijuana was cut short in lieu of my personal demons and I once again pulled up my stakes and jet with nary a goodbye to anyone.
Time jump to the present. I am ambling down the bustling street with the crushed personality of one who is dead inside when a cadaver literally pops out of a pile of garbage in an adjacent alley way. Covered in grit and soiled clothes, the emaciated and toothless thing new my name. It was Fernando. I had to do a double take. I looked him over and asked what the fuck happened? Apprehensively, he stated he was addicted to meth, a drug he indulged in heavily while being locked up the last few years on account of a smuggling incident gone wrong. My heart ached as I stood there listening to his tales of woe. His wife long gone, shunned by his daughter. He noticed my eyes were shrink wrapped in tears as I fought my anguish at seeing him in such a dire state. I’m guessing strictly from guilt and embarrassment, he quickly excused himself and disappeared down the sordid alley before I had a chance to offer any sort of assistance.
Two days ago at a café, a shriveled old queen confessed he heard that Fernando was found dead in Zona Rosa behind a bar, stabbed to death by an assailant. They never found his attacker. Asshole.

Rest in peace, old friend. I am so sorry.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

hardest hour


He rushed through the days like he was chasing the night. And, indeed, when the night fell into his grasp, he sighed skinny pre-rolled cigarettes into the darkness and slept the heavy, dreamless sleep of the conqueror.
Waking was his hardest hour. In the dawn, where the nights pleasures were washed away in nicotine nausea his heartbeat would begin the chase again before his feet touched tiled and dirty floors.
He deflected inquiries and requests. He was too busy for help, for after work drinks. He never responded to Facebook messages. He carried his phone in his pocket, but he never had time to charge it.
Twilight was my hardest hour. I’d return to an unfamiliar apartment, with shabby furniture and a strange smell – musty clothes and fried onions - a cordial greeting, and stifled silence.
Every time I rang, I’d hear the same pentametric response, “Juan no está aquí, por favor deje un mensaje” and then the measured sounds of his own breath as I forego the voicemail he would never hear.