Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ain’t Easy Bein Kesey

"I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie"

Kerouac traveled far, but I went FURTHER.

Somewhere along the way I tripped on a school bus

and was sent tumbling merrily across America.

Hysteria.

Just let the Kool-Aid carry ya.

 

Jerry and I ran some tests,

and even the Angels turned on

tuned in

dropped out:

We got help from the man with the guru grin

who was “on the outside looking in”

and coined that magick mantra.

 

Chief Broom opened my Demon Box

and I flew over the cuckoo clocks

all the way to Oregon

where Leland Stamper told me to

WATCH OUT!

WATCH OUT!

WATCH OUT!

 

Maybe I should have taken Leland’s advice.

Does blotter burn the brain??

 

A lysergic chisel and a mind made of wood

has fashioned me more inspired/less understood.

 

From where I once stood, has it been too high of a climb?

I’m not too sure

“I been away a long time.”

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Landscape with the Haul of Icarus

Driving from work

Toward more daily chores

The lights from the pigs

Shook my head from the boar bore.

 

They blocked off the road:

 

Swindled by these swine

My car fell in line.

Further time from Caroline,

I wait in the car-o-line.

 

And the line thought –

“Come on, come on;

Stop moving so slow.

Let’s move this along;

I got places to go.”

 

Up ahead I could see,

Where the car hit the tree.

they loaded him onto a stretcher

and hauled him into the back of an ambulance

(a little red adorned his white wrappings (wax wings?))

 

“Come on, come on;

Stop moving so slow.

Let’s move this along;

I got places to go.”

 

Glass, metal, blood sunk

Into bark splintered tree trunk.

 

“Come on, Come on;

Stop moving so slow.

Let’s move this along;

I got places to go.”

 

The cops leaked us by,

I did the gas-pedal-lean,

Past another who couldn’t fly,

But wasn’t noth’en I ain’t seen.

High Up in His Ivory Tower

 

High up in his ivory tower

Blake read books by the wise.

He lived by “Knowledge is power”;

An axiom for demise.

 

He overthrew and built anew

The science of his thought.

Although one can alter what is true

Can does not imply ought.

 

The more Blake learned and read his books

The less he could relate

To those who’s shallow resting hooks

Were cast without their bait.

 

Conversation could not be held

While Blake was in his head.

Talk washed over well-built welds

From blowtorch books he read.

 

As Blake prided his education

The judgments they did come.

And he developed a fixation

With others’ mental slums.

 

He thought of himself as far better

Because he’d learned so much.

Yet knowledge was his greatest debtor:

He used it as his crutch.

Planned Obsolescence

The Mart hung in the distance like an obsolete super-computer

Overcompensating for its faulty wiring,

While nervously waiting for the next big thing.

In a field, I stood in the epicenter, across from this epiccenter,

On an uneven ground of weeds, dirt, gnats, puddles, trash.

 

In the limits of vision, I saw the par-king lot

Balancing its inputs with its outputs

Into the super-computer.

-> In went bleak, gray, hungry bits of code

Out came obnoxious, colorful, fat bits of code <-.

 

I – usually bleak, gray, hungry – approached the Mart,

Pulled from the dirt-tangled field

By the electromagnetism of the straight angles ahead.

 

As I closed closer,

There emerged a binary to these bits.

And the Mart proclaimed, “Let this be man and woman,

And let their sacrificial computations be predictable, timely, and manipulateable,

And above all, let the 1 of woman and the 2 of man serve separate functions

To my Consumption Processing Unit.”

The Mart looked over all that it had made, and behold, it was very good…

 

My heel hit the hard of pavement and rolled up to my toe;

And as this became a recurring action,

My feet dealt distance with subtraction,

And the bits of code, post-transaction,

Grabbed my eyes with curious attraction.

 

These ostentatious outputs carried colorful cases,

Walked with manufactured importance,

Slapped smaller outputs and told them, “When I say stop, that means stop!”

Sputtered and spat at the ground,

Rolled toward their steel boxes like medicine balls in the wind,

Held the reins of their belt-buckle stallions, bucking for a fight,

Or yanking their buckles over their bulbous bellies,

With crooked smiles, crooked laughs,

Crooked plans, but straight paths.

 

The par-king lot carried the code

The best that pavement could.

Should cement lament it would.

 

I tried to think up a better system:

-Maybe a cloud based application (?)-

But my thoughts were sparse,

So, instead, I joined the cement sojourners,

Rolling toward my own steel box,

And together we awaited the next big thing.

“Reality is the Original Rorschach”*

If perception is organized relatively

and one’s perception presupposes their reality,

then it’s safe to say, to a certain degree,

that we’re locked in cages yet still remain free.

It’s thoughts like these, quintessentially, that

make me feel like Schrödinger’s cat;

a placebo of paradox to dissolve all your facts

leaves you starved by semantics yet philosophically fat.

*Malaclypse the Younger

Stereophonic Chronic

I would like to announce the introduction of a new menu on this blog. It’s that one up there that says “Stereophonic Chronic.”

It is a collection of musical recordings and experiments in sound I have done over the years. Most of them were recorded while I was in highschool, five or so years ago, but I plan to add more – maybe more mature – recordings soon, once I get my software up and running.

Here’s some of the instruments I’ve used: electric and acoustic guitar, electric bass, banjo, mandolin, fruity loops software, keyboards, synthesizers, various pedals, pots & pans, my voice, harmonica, turntables and some others.

The songs are in no particular order and come from an array of influences (Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Aphex Twin, John Zorn, Dmitri Shostakovich, Jurassic 5 and other related artists), some being a little on the strange side. I hope to add some recent acoustic pieces soon. Anyway, the menu will always be up there on the blog, so take a look… or listen.

Open Letter to God

Dear God,

Could you please eradicate all the poverty and starvation in the world? I’m sick being guilted into donating to the food bank at the grocery store checkout.  While you’re at it, would you mind protecting the rainforest, saving the endangered animals, and abolishing war?  You see… I’m very busy with my own petty problems and can’t seem to find the time for such things.  I have to manage school and a job, pay bills, take care of my living, and still find time for fun.  Although, I guess if I stopped having fun I might be able to find time to help with one of these things.  Unfortunately God, the bigger problem is that I’m very lazy.  It’s not my fault.  This is how you made me – it’s your fault!

I’m sorry God, sometimes my human gets to me.  You understand.

Do I understand?  God, if you helped the poor, starving people, who will make my clothes, and where will American corporations outsource labor to cut costs and save their CEOs more money?  If you protect the forests, where would I build my house; and what about the houses of generations to come?  You and I both know the human population is expanding, and we need tropical resorts to escape to from our meaningless jobs as general contractors, or whatever we do.

God, why did you make the earth so small; or us so big?

God, this is serious stuff! Are you listening?  Are you even there?

On second thought… maybe I am God.  I’m talking to myself again.  Do I actually want these problems fixed, or am I just repeating the generic altruism of others around me?  Now I’m confused.  If I fixed these problems, wouldn’t it only create problems for myself and others in my rich, affluent society?  I guess this is the price we would have to pay.

But I’m comfortable where I’m at in the world.  Why don’t people just take care of their own problems instead of sitting on their asses all day collecting welfare checks?  COMMUNISTS!  Sucking at the government’s tits… raising my taxes… just for a free ride.  After all it’s them with the problem, not me, God damn it!

I really shouldn’t blasphemy myself like that.  After all, maybe I’m being too hard on the rest of the world.  It’s not their fault.  Whose fault is it?  Mine?  Is it anyone’s fault at all?

This is all quite unsettling.  If I want to solve the world’s vexing problems, I must create some problems of my own.  Or, I can bask in my comfort, and acknowledge that I don’t care enough about these injustices to do anything about them.  So far I’m not satisfied with either option.

 

Sincerely,

God

 

Perfume

The Harper's magazine index for March says that there are three parking spaces for every car in United States.

Perfume

Yesterday I was at the mall.  I’m usually not very cynical, but the mall always seems to transform me into a hater of everything within its walls.  Everything is made of fake, worthless, plastic and everyone’s a crook trying to con me out of money.  I guess this generalization would include me, because I’m at the mall, but I’m there to purchase something necessary; just like everyone else (?).

I’m sitting at a table by the food court, enjoying a slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of coffee (no room for cream. thanks), when these two women behind me beat up a conversation.  And they REALLY beat it up.  I sat through the violence trying not to wince.  Verbal carnage involving something about a performance and cake and some program and clothing and a new car.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I got up and walked.

Passing a small kiosk in the center of the walkway, two guys tried to sell me perfume.  They were both sporting greasy spiked hair and popped collars.

“You want to impress your woman and get her some perfume?” asked the taller one.

“You want to impress me?” I asked as seriously as I could.

“Um…  Sure.” he said, a little nervous crack in his voice.

I held eye contact with him and didn’t blink.  He gave me a blank expression, signaling that he had no idea what to say to me anymore.  My inverted questioning broke his character and left him speechless.  I let out a loud belch.  The corners of his mouth rose into a smile and then immediately dropped when he realized that the corners of mine didn’t budge.

“Is something funny?” I asked him.

“No.  Sorry.  I just thought I heard you…”

“Burp?” I finished for him.

I held eye contact and kept a straight face.  The smaller guy jumped in front, cutting off my stare, and said something about perfume again.

I changed my persona, “Oh, perfume you say? In that case I’ll take three bottles of your finest.”

The taller one got excited and began blurring his words into a mesh of automated salesmanship, “Well-all-of-these-are-equally-fine-and-we-have-quite-an-excellent-collection-and…”

“Than I’ll take three of your most expensive.” I cut in, saving him breath.

“Yes sir, as you wish,” the confidence returned to his voice.  It was obvious that he had just made his sales quota, and the corners of his mouth returned to the upright position along with his hair and collar.

“Box’um up fellas.  I’ll be right back.  Just need to hit an ATM.” I said.

“There’s one on the first floor of the Dillard’s, but we’re closing in five minutes, so be quick.” the shorter chimed in again.

“Thanks’.  Give me a minute, I’ll be right back.”  I said, fleeing the scene in the opposite way of the Dillard’s.

People are easy to mess with when they’re trying to sell something.  They laps into autopilot, and catching them off guard is a simple task.  As long as you act serious they will cater to your every whim.

Why am I at the mall again?  Oh yah, dress shoes for Thanksgiving.  I need to go to Dillard’s for that – Damn it!  I pretend to be interested in some advertisement on the wall in order to make my smooth transition into the opposite direction.  Can’t look like I don’t know where I’m going.  I pass the perfume stand again and give a polite smile and wave.

“Wrong way.” I say with a shrug, trying not to break from my character.

They smile back and hold up the package that I’m expected to buy: Reminding me that I promised to spend my money on their useless commodity; an act which will subsequently help secure a reason for their job’s existence.

I enter the Dillard’s, purposely avoiding walking under the flower laden arch they have set at the entrance.  Shit, more perfume.  Entire glass counters of it.  Women sit in director-style chairs while employees in blue aprons splash them in these liquid fragrances: Cover them in it: And then make them gargle before swallowing it.  I rush past, trying not to breathe-in any air, and walk down the escalator passing the ATM to where the shoes are.

“What can I help you with?” asks a short, pale balding woman.  She’s dressed in the official uniform of the Dillard’s militia.

“Nothing.  Just looking.  Thanks.” I say.

“Ok. Let me know when you need help.” She said.  The use of the word “when” made me uncomfortable.

All the shoes looked very stylish – something I’ve grown to hate in clothing.  Not only that, but many of them had big brand names and logos on the side.  KENNETH COLE – ROCKPORT – SPERRY.  Fashion companies make you pay them to become their walking billboards.  Most people don’t find a problem with this; which is why I find a problem with most people.

“Are you finding everything alright? Can I help you with what you’re looking for?”  It’s the short bald woman again.  The combination of bad lighting, monotonous labor, and the smell of leather had obviously affected her short term memory.

“Yah.  I’d like to try on this one, this one, this one, and this one in sizes 10 ½, 13 and 8.” I told her, “Shopping for the family.  You understand.”

She was busy just long enough for me to finally find the plainest, most bland shoe I could.  I grabbed a 10 ½; figuring it would fit.  When she came out carrying a stack of 12 boxes, her face getting cut off around the seventh, I told her thanks anyway for the help and I proceeded to the checkout.

Finally, I had what I came for: a pair of shoes for Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanksgiving is the time of year that we can all be thankful for what we have – and then flaunt it by eating and throwing away more food than we would on any other day.  This is good prep for Christmas.  If we weren’t thankful on Thanksgiving than we might have a lot of consumer’s guilt come Christmas.  Being thankful for what you have makes room for more stuff.  Corporations know this, exploit it, and have plenty of clever ways to make you think it’s not obsessively compulsive to mindlessly buy at certain times of the year – but I digress.

I made it safely through the checkout and left the store.  Outside I take a breath of fresh air as if my head was held under water for several minutes.  Walking to my car I spot an alley between two parts of the mall and remember that I have to piss.  I walk over and look around to make sure no one can see me, place down my bag, and I water the wall.  As I shake off and zip up I hear two voices behind me:

“Hey look. It’s the piece-a-shit from earlier”

“Yah.  Looks like he took his business elsewhere.”

“Well I ain’t stay’en half-hour past my shift for noth’en”

“I hear that. Best make this worth our wait”

I felt a blow to the head and dropped to the ground.  I tried to pick myself up, but a kick to the stomach put me on the pavement again.

“You think you were pretty funny with that burp gimmick, huh?”

Another kick sent my head into the wall and down into the piss.

“Yah. Think you’re funny?”

I felt another kick in the stomach; this one with less force.

“Next time you think you can take advantage of people do’en their job, next time you think you’re any better, you remember this.”

One last kick put me down into my own piss again.  I raised my head and regained focus just long enough to see two guys with spiked hair and popped collars walk away with a bag. My bag.

This is Just an Experiment

Sometimes,
I wish I could tell people
My oddity
Is the product of
Psychological
Or sociological
Experiments
That I am conducting,
And they, participating in.
That my actions are all
Calculated and with
Purpose.
That their reaction to my,
Say,
Inappropriate comment
Is intriguing,
To say the least,
But I will have to bring it under
Further analysis.
But in actuality,
I’m just strange,
Sometimes,
Without deeper intentions
Inspiring doings.
Thanks to the puter-upers
With the decency
to just shrug
And continue on
Their own
Peculiar path.