What Is Real and Not-So-Real

I am trying to find a birthday present for a girl I am in love with, and I am having a difficult time. It is difficult for me to stay in any store for more than ten minutes, tops. And forget online shopping, the constant ads and unwanted videos have forced me to find refuge in some sylvan corner of my mind.

The girl I am in love with has many problems. Tammy only had one problem at first, and it was a problem I had too, but we would go on benders together, sometimes on the weekends, sometimes for several days. I have never met someone so easily reachable, the way she shed her skin and let me know everything inside of her. It was beautiful; she was beautiful. In a disastrous way. I now know the extent of her problems, and that she sells herself on Craigslist and Tinder to support those problems; that when she spends a week living in my apartment, it is because business is lagging.

And this is why I slowly back out of Target, because I wanted maybe a stuffed animal and chocolates or the yoga mat she talks about, but I walked into Target and the first sensation to hit me was the overwhelming, profuse scent of buttery, buttery warm popcorn. There is no reason for a grocery/clothing/miscellany store to sell popcorn as soon as you walk in.

But I can’t blame Target for getting their money’s worth, but I still can’t do it, because the warm popcorn gets me settled and comfortable and I want to browse without worry and I only think about Tammy and how she called my mother to wish her a happy birthday. Tammy was absolutely perfect until she stopped living in my apartment, sleeping at her own, calling me middle of the night sobbing needing me and I run over there and she won’t let me in. Is someone else here? No, it’s the TV, I think I’m going straight to bed to sleep this off, thanks for checking on me.

It’s even difficult to go grocery shopping because I’m told constantly told the entire grocery chain is somehow my community made up of my neighbors who share my concerns and know my name and my house and who my parents are, and I have no clue how the Albertson Corporation considers itself such a wonderful place for neighbors to congregate, but I always buy my food from their grocery stores, and when I finally get out finding myself ramming the grocery cart into the nicest car nearby.

Because I also don’t understand how a Prius can turn me into an adventurous pioneer of the American West when I absolutely have no time because of work to pay the lease on the stupid car that has difficulty getting over speedbumps. But I do understand why Tammy spent exactly 53 days living in my apartment and going out of her way to connect with me and make me happy and make love to me because I was the sort of man she’d been desperately searching for her entire 23 years of life….

I drive between stores and malls in silence with the radio off, because the moment a billion-dollar-profit, public university hospital tells me they’re dedicated to improving lives through advanced research and spectacular customer-service I want to plow my car into the store-front windows of a McDonald’s, aiming for the fucking Ronald clown and his crew of child-luring diabetic fuzzy-things.

And if I’m hurt or vulnerable or sad I know I can knock on Tammy’s door and she’ll let me in. She’ll hold me and stroke my hair, and tell me she loves me needs me It’s Okay, Sweety, and we’ll blow molly and she’ll let me make love to her, sad, pathetic, desperate, self-deceiving love. And then I’ll call her everyday for the next week but she’s always too busy to get lunch because she currently has a forty-year-old father of two who’s paying her rent this month.

I haven’t voted in the election because of Tammy. What am I supposed to do? What am I to make of President and VP photo-op jogging in solidarity with obesity? For Christ’s fucking sake, what am I to think of Bush reading to kindergartners the morning Manhattan went to billowing clouds of Trade Center rubble?

This is what Tammy has done to me, 53 days of painting herself with my dreams, opening every inch of herself to me, selflessly, seemingly, dedicating herself to my needs and fears a complete manipulation of my perceptions and opinions; furtive, psychological, emotional deception, manipulation of what I thought was real, honest, true and she does this to dozens of men, all the time, she is currently staying with me because she’s been evicted.

I give up and go to Walmart, just resignation, laughing to myself, and my laughing echoes out of me at the autistic woman making $8.50/hr to greet people at Walmart, the big plaque on the wall commemorating  Walmart’s on-going dedication to whatever they gave a million dollars to. I buy Tammy a baseball bat and seven livers from the meat department; I schedule her an appointment to see Walmart’s optometrist (she has 20/20); she’s going to love the fucking shit out of these Fourth of July lawn decorations and the pallet of Pepsi One that has only ONE CALORIE per can and absolutely nothing else. And I’m paying for all of this, even the three random Bridgestone tires and the cart of pool toys, all on my credit card, the one I have from JP Morgan Chase that says Freedom on the front in big, clear, satisfying letters.

 

Whatever Your Glass May Be

The feeling you get when your tongue is wet

just once or twice

not three times yet,

and the hollow in your chest

it begins to condense, around the point within.

A jittered sensation, anticipation,

in the chest a hollowness begun to expand

to rid of reason, logic, fear and doubt,

the sense of self and all that is man.

Bring fifth and sixth and seventh and tenth,

and into the brain it pushes a dent:

the pour-hole, the spigot, faucet of the soul

pouring itself into a vastness unknown.

Eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, twenty:

the emancipation of the chest’s confines,

the wholeness and freedom and innocence sublime,

of a swirling forever teetering laughing round,

only to find:

the virility electric

desperate to break forth,

dependent on a constant source,

is the soul’s real bind.

Weekly Pig-Trough

I went on vacation, mental GreyHound to the inward Death Valley. I hadn’t intended on it, I have never intended on it, but all intentions piled and it keeps happening – peaks and troughs, strikes and gutters, ups and downs.

I spent the week feverish, sleepless, constant state of Go!

And by Thursday I couldn’t write: typed a couple of pages at night, then went idle-minded. So I drank wine and read a book. And then I had trouble writing on Friday night, so I finished the wine, waited for my wife to come home (after midnight) from work with a six-pack, stayed up to drink with wife. Hung-over on Saturday: lump of shit. Drank another wine bottle Saturday evening. Hung-over on Sunday: lump of shit.

I’ll concede I still got some work done this weekend.

I haven’t been depressed, I simply hit a wall. I spent all week working all day, home to toddler, get toddler in bed, write 2 hours, read, sleep. If wife’s not working that day, I come home from a 10 hour shift, write write write, shower, eat, say hello to wife, and if things are right the Hello goes on a few hours, and then it’s midnight and I have to be up at four.

Go go go, put everything out, and by the weekend there’s nothing left in me. So, what do I do? I consume, consume, consume, and don’t move a god damn muscle.

Will-power is a battery – if you’re going to exert it, you’re going to recharge it.

But I can’t keep doing this, and it’s been going on for a while now. I’m 27; I have a wife and a toddler: I can’t keep doing this shit.

I can’t hit the wall and turn to drunk indolence and junk food and TV. I don’t have the time, I don’t want that behavior to be a part of my life because it disgusts me, and is wildly hypocritical, and not the behavior I want my kid to grow around.

I’m going to fix this. I can change the pattern, damn all for if it’s been undulating for years, I’m going to go up, and not come down. The battery will recharge some way other.

All I need to do is to Push Through. I’m going to get to the rough edge towards the end of next week, but I’m going to Push Through. If I’m tired, I’ll sleep. Then I’ll write, and if writing isn’t going well take a god damn walk and leave the booze to be.

I’m going to want to crash, and crawl on the couch, or back in bed, but I’m going to Push Through.

It needs to happen.

Fuck relaxing.

Soul Sludge And Disgust For Comfort

I don’t get Writer’s Block, I get soul-sludge. I’ve written best during the week after getting home from work, getting The Baby fed and to bed – run around the whole day, and get two hours in at night.

Why? Because I that’s when I feel alive, when I don’t have a moment to think, the whole day a blur of Getting Things Done. I don’t want my life to be comfortable, ever. It used to be, in high school and in college, and I resented it. I dropped out of college because I had Soul Sludge. And the next few months were a rapid blur of drug-use and frantic writing.

Except then I had nothing to do. I wrote, I worked part-time, I imbibed intoxicants. Writing was half-decent, but I was feeling stagnant, and it was eating at me. So I went hitchhiking, back and forth across the country.

Hitchhiking was amazing. Every day a new town, new state, new city, new people, new experiences I’d never thought I’d experience. I’d never felt so full of motion, so god damn full of life.

I have a wife and a child now, a full-time job. During the week I don’t stop moving, frenetic and dashing from work to baby to writing and then finally crashing into bed. In school I could never fall asleep – heart gnawing unfulfilled days.

But on the weekends I hardly leave the house – I’m on baby duty. And while the kid gives me plenty to do, once the baby’s in bed it’s just me, and an empty, silent townhouse. There isn’t a gnawing, but my head stays fogged, as though I’ve been staring at the TV for 72 hours. Spending hours outside helps, sort of.

And once I finally get to the typewriter, Saturday and Sunday nights… but my head’s stagnant, and I can’t get the neurons out of the fog of inactivity. I feel dead: stare at blank paper, crumble shitty sentences into the waste-basket, check the blog, masturbate, there’s no beer and I’m upset about this, I hate TV, I’ll eat pancakes out of Syrup Lake, hating myself, Soul-Sludge, can’t sleep because I’m not tired, the wall hurts my forehead, I can’t focus, focus, focus, it’s not happening, god damnit, I wish I could just sleep. And there’s no beer.

Christmas Week was a blast. We visited family in NJ (All of our family is in NJ, 500 miles away). We didn’t stop moving, dashing to see people, running around buying shit for people we know little about. The entire week was a blur of activity. I didn’t get to sleep – I crashed when I could. The entire week talking, talking, talking to everyone I love and haven’t seen all year. I didn’t write the entire week because there was Absolutely No Time. And it was the best week I’ve had in months, and the whole week was in Family Gear. And drinking with Great Friends.

This is what I want out of life, not material gain and success and happiness, but just fulfillment, days of constant motion, weeks passing in cartoon speed-blurs. It’s the only way I feel alive. I need something to keep me moving, and after watching Child all day, the distant dream of writing for a living is too intangible to excite my blood.

I want Neal Cassady energy. I have it, I can tap it, I can focus it into work, work, work – but I need to be moving. Move all day, sit and write for five hours and crash. I’ll love it, when I get it. Till then, digging out of the Soul Sludge.

 

This is labeled My Most Poorly Written Blog Post, because, Soul Sludge.

 

But to continue the Mind Spool, maybe there’s a novel out of this. I’m desperate to write a novel. I’m putting a self-published series of short stories in a few months – 5 Stories for $5. You’ll buy it, thanks in advance. I have a hitchhiking novella I’m desperate to write, a true story, and then I Need To Write A Novel. And I’ve been wracking to get the theme before I can find a plot.

Theme: Soul Sludge. It’s generational, a Decadent Ailment of the times. A catharsis of youthfulness repressed by college and consumerism, loans and useless expenditures and the full-time jobs we drain our vitality into just to pay for it all.

There was the Lost Generation, the Beats, Hippies, Punks. And now, nothing. Oh, sorry, are you “Alternative”? How’s your 9-5? Is your health insurance paid up? Of course it is. Because there isn’t anything but college debt and health insurance and smartphones, no matter how many tattoos you have, or what Indie concerts you attend. You went to Bonaroo? But then back to the office. Because for one week out of the year you pulled your feet from the Soul Sludge.

Soul Sludge – it’s ruined America’s youth.

It’s What Your Soul Feels Like

How Writing Became My Ego

A few years ago I hitchhiked from North Carolina to Los Angeles. I didn’t have much money or much of anything else, but I did wrap my little Acer laptop in bubble-wrap and brought it with me. There was a girl I knew from high school who was living in Venice Beach and whom offered me her couch. She didn’t let me live in her living room for very long.

And the LA coast was fantastic – hours trolling Electric Boulevard and the Venice boardwalk, getting lost in alleys and in conversations with vagabonds and old hippies and the beautifully destitute who can See Through People; prostitutes, beaten boxers, a man desirous to Destroy Everything In The Void. I didn’t know anyone in Los Angeles and had nowhere to go and I wasn’t about to turn around and hitchhike back East. Besides, it was November.

So I went Urban Camping, and I kept my blog going: where to pitch your tarp, how to graft food from tables before the bus-boys clean them, where to find showers. I was having a blast.

Along the Venice boardwalk are a handful of stores with doctors who prescribe pot – it’s LA, the Pot Docs are everywhere. I’d gotten my hopes up of finding pot on the sidewalk, and had taken the habit of watching the gutters, and I found half a joint.

I was sleeping behind bushes in Marina Del Rey, right on the marina. I was warned by several other Urban Campers not to camp in the marina because security was very strict, and I took this to mean there wouldn’t be drug-addled manic-depressives to contend with for a camp site.

On the marina is a massive, ritzy apartment building, a dozen stories tall and a hundred yards long. Lining the front is an impenetrable hedgerow, ten feet tall. I found a hole through the hedgerow and on the other side was four feet of soft dirt and then a concrete wall. This was where I camped. On the other side of the hedges was a brick-paved promenade right on the marina, where spandex men would jog in the  mornings and women would walk their manicured terriers.

I waited till it was after midnight before going back to my campsite. I had the half-joint and my Moleskine and a copy of the Beatnik Reader and I found a bench looking out on the marina. And then I got stoned.

Good drugs erase your sense of self. It’s the omniscient, tangible love of LSD; MDMA blowing you full into the Endless Moment; DMT replacing your consciousness with swirling crystal space-time; the paranoia of pot that takes out your sternum and exposes your soul to the inspections of others.

The docks on the marina had inset lights, sensuous glow-orbs on the hulls of clean yachts and sports boats; shimmering ritz of hotels and condos across the water; the promenade with antique lampposts disappearing into focal points on either side; the underwater echos of porpoises.

And I was alone. I didn’t know anybody in LA: the only person I knew in California had come to resent me. I owned nothing, had no food or money and was eating out of trash bins, sleeping in bushes. I had been doing well in school, I was going to have a good career as a journalist and I dropped out because I was impulsive and myopic and stupid. (I am an idiot and I have ruined my life.) And there was nothing but mercury in my stomach. The atmosphere thickened and the air was black, it was death, humid and thick and my skin was porous. I was sweating. My head was nauseated. I wanted to run into my mother’s arms. I’d abandoned everyone. I’d squandered the opportunities I’d been given and I’d never get out.

I took out my notebook and I began to describe the marina, the boats, the lights, the water. It wasn’t anything good or memorable, but it settled me, and I began to feel whole again. The pores in my skin closed and my heart focused on itself and I found control. The edges of the Void dissipated and I was here, alive and working, and in control.

Honest New Year Resolutions

I hereby resolve, in the year of 2016, to get a grip and to:

  1. Break fewer household items
  2. Drink less
  3. Spend less time trying to get laid (Yes, this continues into the married life)
  4. Nap less
  5. Go to bed when I’m tired
  6. Watch less TV
  7. Debate less on the internet

The goal is to control what’s inside of me and to focus myself. I already don’t watch much TV and it’s not difficult to avoid the news sites where I like to argue with strangers. What’s going to be difficult is tapering the drink and the intercourse-cravings, and keeping myself from breaking appliances when I’m angry.

Several probably-simple measures to keep myself focused on writing.