“John, I’m only dancing”

There's this nagging fear raising every hair on the back of my neck as I start typing into a new blankspaced notepad-- like, every time, alright?-- a primal fear scaring me witless that it's supposed to be just blogging, reassuringly so, but that I might end up sounding like the goddamn Unabomber or something, like the Norwegian shooter? You know? Like preaching some manifesto? This is a journal, this is a collection of missives for someone (you!) whom will probably never read it as so, also as in, this is ESOL practice. What would, I don't know, David Bowie for instance, say about that?
"John, I'm only dancing."

Then as if half-secretly trying to discredit myself I go for a random posting from years back and this is what I find----

“Maybe I do regret not kissing her by the swimming pool back in that sunny Saturday in '94, but that’s all.”

----and it makes me smile and it’s such an honest smile because all of a sudden I realize it’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever written and that I’m such a screwball for ever doubting my own writing.


In dreams

Martha tells us her dreams from across the table, she’s sitting close to Dennis and there’s the cigarettebutt of a candle in a drinking glass casting ghostly shadows up on her face, they flicker idly making a dancing pantomime out of her white blouse. She is telling us of the pie, of a clonazepam-plus-wine-induced dream she’d had of a pie that she should cut into 16 equal slices and even though she did have one of those 8-blade pie cutters using it twice did not amount to her reaching the correct proportions. And what do you dream about?, she asks me.

I seldom dream of sex or of comic books, I answer her flat-out as if trying to prove a point and it’s the absolute truth because I all-too-often dream of regular idiotic mundane situations like a conversation at work or something even though the night before I’d had this dream in which I was in bed with Cybill and Lucy Liu in a threesome and it was pretty cool even though I’m not really a big fan of Lucy Liu movies nor had I watched any lately. Cybill, sitting by my side says she rarely remembers her own dreams, but says she did remember the one from a few weeks ago, in which Dennis was dating someone she’d never met. Now Dennis himself from the other side of the table doesn’t say much, of course— sort of says we’re sissies for taking sleeping tablets, something like that, then of course sips once more from his champagne glass and orders in a second bottle.


(Some of) the ones that got away

I have no excuse for stop posting, really. For the oddest of reasons, whatever it is, I simply cannot stop writing.

For instance— I was kind of rummaging for nothing special on a pen drive I’d found earlier this morning and that pen drive alone has a folder named To do, which pretty much contains aborted posts for this blog. There are tens of files, some of them barely a handful of words long, some of them that go on for pages.

There are poems in there, haikus, unfinished scripts for movies, comic books and cartoons, half a dozen aborted, barely not even started novellas and short tales, you name it. I wish I could tell you each of them would get me a Pulitzer but that is not the case.

Either way here’s my excerpting from some of them, loosely ranging from 2007 to 2009:

I. From file ‘fellatio.doc’:
On fellatio (the word if not the act)

We were walking across the mall, M**** and I, going back to the office after lunch the other day, and I told him: “You know, if you really think about it, not too many people know what fellatio really means.”
“What does it mean?” he asked me.
I told him.
“Oh,” he said. “That.”

That brief conversation dawned upon me a brand-new theory:
You can actually say “fellatio” aloud anywhere, and no one will bother you.
With M**** as a witness I tried at the Shopping Center, then in the elevator, at the office, including when talking to the Management. It was something like, “….so you sir, when you’re actually comparing the- fellatio- ratio between those two points on the chart…”

What I really think is that, in reality, everyone knows what fellatio means, but everyone who knows thinks the next guy doesn’t: Like, here I am saying fellatio to M****, who says he doesn’t know the word.

II. From file ‘gnothi_seauton.doc’:
Gnothi seauton, pt. I

So fast-forward to say a month or two afterwards and there I am, on a Friday night at home in the future, scotch-taping some funny-looking scribbles to the inside of my door. Then I’m sitting on the couch, morosely, barely moving, slouching, contemplating.
Enjoying the silence.

“Know thyself” it says in Greek; it’s supposed to have been written over the entryway to this temple of Apollo at wherever, really. Philosophers employ the expression to symbolize man’s need for self-awareness and self-cognizance: understanding oneself as the first step to understand those around you and all the crap.
I wouldn’t know any of that, though. I totally ripped it off some Batman comic book I’d been reading.

III. From file ‘spit.doc’:
Pondering some of life’s greatest questions

I’m in the bathroom at the office, okay? And all of a sudden I get this nagging feeling I must spit.

Should I spit at the sink, the toilet, or the urinal?
Is there a proper spitting place at the bathroom?

IV. From file ‘several_haikus.txt’:
Tonight at the park,
windblown petals on the ground
-- my damp evening blues.

A few years ago,
asking, How to eat oysters?
-- Rev it up and go.

A phonecall away,
Yeah, she says but never comes:
College in Summer.

Earlymorning dark,
the book of poems unread.
Hey Jack Keroauc...

Two brunettes in heels
borrow fifty for a cab
Then say Good morning.

Roast chicken on sidewalk,
past stores that have since closed down
--Ode to my hometown.

Long line at restaurant,
families waiting for tables,
come Election Day.


The god of doorways

On Saturday November 8th, 2009 I was well into my second-day plunge into the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan and I was adamantly decided on learning everything. I could, as I’d intended to back in ’91, age 11, to see and hear and read everything, go everywhere. Back in ’91 my mother stood Sphinxlike at the end of the sarcophagi and told me it was time to go back to the hotel— a change of millennium duly leaped and some loss of hair later, and such time stopped being the issue—

——— there was ——— there was, well, everything, of course ——— but there was also my going out of this exhibit of rare Japanese Katana samurai blades just flown in from Japan, and wandering just a tad from aimlessly across content-rich aisles, isles ——— and stumbling upon Robert Frank’s The Americans lining up wall upon wall in an exhibition of its own ——— the black and white-ness of it, the gelatin prints of people and places and a time and a zeitgeist all its own, now relegated to the haunting of in-between the covers of oversized hardcovers, etc. And the intro bit from Jack Kerouac, of course.

I wish it could go on forever, I remember thinking. I thought I was thinking of the exhibit per se but then later on I had this weird, weird notion that maybe— just maybe, for a split-second— I was echoing the prayers of an entire generation, this mythical idea that a country had of itself once upon a time, now long since fading-out, to black.

(Then later on I went to see Springsteen play MSG, for the second night in a row, the very endpoint of my sliding across time)

The day before I’d gone to the Guggenheim for this amazing exhibition of Kandinsky’s works: The pieces started out at the bottom of the ramp and evolved chronologically as you climbed upwards: Association to music, Bauhaus, the war, etc— the old country, see, directly the opposite of the whole thing at first glance but no, not really, we’re still talking of time passing and perceptions shifting— and it’d given me this real crazy notion, an idea, that if I walked up the ramp very slowly and paid attention to everything, let all content sink in, absorb, learn everything, cramming everything I could in my head just like when you’re 15 and you’re attempting to memorize the entire Chemistry textbook before the midterms because you’d pretty much slouched the months before— and when I reached the end of the exhibit at the top of the ramp I’d dash back to ground level real fast and just take potshot glances at the paintings and try to remember it all just as everything I’d just learned about the artist started to sublimate off my head— exactly like it would happen when you started taking the Chemistry test back in High School, all the whitening out where before a few minutes there was fertile, colors blending, abundant content, all the palettes fading to white—

First there’s black and white and then there’s a burst of colors and forms and shapes and then there’s only blank and you realize time’s up, you’ve reached a wall, time to go back, time to white out, no time at all but some things do stay with you forever— Bruuuuuce!— case in point.

There’s always the road back and there’s the road ahead and there’s always the road not taken: But always the road, always there, just about to take you somewhere—

Consider that the only permanent element in your life is the medium in-between states.

Winter, 2011 (a haiku)

Heard it through windows,
Winter's rasping and lisping--
The comforter's warmth.


Alphabet soup

I’m thinking if I were to spin everything I’ve ever read into a web, like a literary mandala of sorts, Jack Kerouac would fall pat-on in the middle of it but not sitting like a Buddha but more like piercing like an axle through it all: Yggdrasil as opposed to the Bodhi tree, right? Get the metaphor?

Of course there’s the Jack Kirby annex to the web as well, in permanent expansion, and that’s probably where I get all that nuttier stuff: You’d think I’d spend glorious Summer afternoons indoors back when I was a kid wolfing the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, isn’t that so? Not really. They were probably all Marvel comics anyhow.


Time passes

Time passes and Cybill and I are driving home one Saturday evening, back from the cinema, from the new Woody Allen movie. She is telling me about this kid who went to College with her and majored in Armenian or something like that, while most of her friends, herself included, majored in English, maybe French.
Armenian names usually end in -ian, she is saying, followed with a list of what she tells me are common surnames. They all end in -ian, as promised.
Once she’s done I add one last name to her list. “Kardashian,” I say. She looks at me in a queerly funny, what-the-fuck-kind-of way.
“Video killed the radio star,” I smile.

So time’s passed and it passes still, and if I look back to the months before I’ll see many things like my abortive job hunting, fallen short, busted kneed running at the park for the umpteenth time and gaining weight because I stopped working out altogether, also stopped writing for no real reason and it ought to be such a crime, and I get stuck halfway through a Virginia Woolf novel, then Cybill making such good friends with the boys, our repeatedly going out with Bryce and Dennis, hitting bars, restaurants, emptying bottle after bottle of champagne, wine, vodka. “I’m getting fat,” I bitch and moan around to everyone. “You’re not fat, you’re happy,” Dennis says before ordering the next round.

Maybe it was not supposed to be like this but maybe it was. The most incredible thing about it all is that we’re not really wondering, not really thinking about it: Time passes and we glide along, unstuck, uprooted, changed, first lost then later found.