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....