Thursday, February 26, 2009

bummer post

i am broke. i am broken. i find myself involved in one of those secret crises that we tend to go through before a complete meltdown. the kind you don't speak of, that you try to ignore. it is a trial of the mind and spirit, known only to the host. it is the unspoken breakdown. the hidden entanglement. like muted emergency sirens on the way to a catastrophe. and that catastrophe is me.

i have no idea what I'm doing or where im going or why im going there. im grinding away aimlessly, poor, wanting, still wearing the residue of adolescence. ideas taking too long to come to fruition. sawing away with dull ambitions. a 33 year old man with crows feet blooming from his eyes and skin thats getting leathery from all the whiskey and cigarettes. a 33 year old man toiling about with a lot of heart and no real purpose.

and the economy. we all bear the burden of it. im not the only one with problems. my close friend is broke too. so broke it even hurts for her to moan about it anymore. so broke it is no longer a novelty to be celebrated. no longer a clever illusion that just further defines her as an artist. its not a confident actuality anymore, something to say while she smiles and swigs her bottomless glass of wine. it is the near terminal truth. a chilling fact of desperation that now blares out, obvious, no longer hidden beneath the tough skin of the city. it is an open sore, wet and infected and filled with shame and hurt. but like me, she keeps slaving along. what else are we to do? its almost as hard to sink as it is to stay afloat. getting ahead seems like a thing they only do on tv.

in all elements and in every battle, im finding myself at odds. i try to distract myself from it all. i sit at the computer and let myself get lost. on the internet in gossip sites and porno and other peoples blogs. by nicotine fixes and the thirst for a drink. i let my wandering eye distract me. i let the traffic outside distract me. i pet my cats and i wash the dishes. i write with pen in a journal instead of typing it out on a keyboard. i make the bed. i roll another cigarette. i chat with friends and other friends and some friends i hardly even know. i sit and stare into space and pretend for a second that i am someone else. that i am a better me. i beat myself up for beating myself up so much. i get distracted by another drink.

i do anything i can to escape from what it is i should be doing. because i dont know what im doing anymore. im writing a story and im reading a book and im dating a girl and im djing regularly and im getting good grades and im keeping my job and im downloading new music so i can stay close to the biz. but i no longer even know why im doing it. ive run out of clues. the bread trail went dry. all the warranties on my ideas have expired. i just dont know whats next.

i know this is a bummer post, but its all i have in me right now, and its all ive had in me for a while. it just seems like this funk wont fade. this cancerous mood, this growing unhappiness. the record industry is failing. my undergrad will get me nowhere. the bar is slow so i have no money. all i do is work and for little return. my emotions are a tangle and ive gotten so lost and disconnected that the comforting solace that grounds me has left my girlfriend isolated. and these are the decisions ive made. and these times are the consequences of them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

only kinda

ugh! blogging is so hard!

or at least i act like it is. it takes me forever to do it, and i know im busy, but i aint fucking that busy. so busy that i cant even sit down and type up some bullshit to publish in this stupid motherfucker. this god damn blog. im not like, falling over stacks of unread files and chugging coffee and loosening my sweaty tie as i rush to get yet another super important call or anything. its not that hectic around here. sure, im busy. but i aint THAT busy.

i got some down time. i do. its brief and i take more of it than i should. but still, its there.

in fact, this post, or this particular kind of post, is pretty redundant at this point. ive written it, or variations of it, countless times since i started this blog. years ago [with 2 readers and counting!]. in fact, i write so infrequently in this blog, that almost every tenth post is an entry of how i never write in this blog. its getting repetitive.

i should probably get over it.

anyhoo - is it anywho, or anyhoo? - ive gotten into the habit of reading this thing called 'the internet,' [its awesome, you should check it out!] and i see that there have been a few spats between celebrities. i wont name any names, out of respect for their privacy and all, but some of these so called "stars," need to learn some manners. just saying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

things on tap today

laundry. reading. writing. doing some research on promotional campaigns for an album we might be putting out. trying to remain ambitious, while not letting it overwhelm me. meeting with a label head for drinks and a meal. trying to focus. keeping focus. trying not to be more emotional than i need to be. thinking clearly. righting myself. etc.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

the other story

the whole story takes place in the span of four years. from when i moved into the apartment on oak street to when i left the apartment on oak street. i was between the ages of eight and twelve, and growing up too fast and too hard for my own good.

it was probably the best time i had with my mother. she was of somewhat sound mind then, not yet unhinged, at least for the first couple years. it was, most importantly, the time in which i got to know her best. she was herself, she had her own thoughts, her own, level-headed ideas. for a while she even worked, as a social worker at a homeless shelter. so there we were, living in a normal apartment, under reasonable circumstances, and she would leave every day to go to work and i would leave every day to go to school and we were typical and functional and all was right in the world.

it was right smack dab in the center of the 80s. we were all surrounded by drug wars and cola wars and star wars and hip hop and breakdancing and music videos and the threat of disease. in the bay area the night stalker prowled the streets and all us kids had to be in the house before dark.

our house was godless, my mother had no religion. she choose instead to explore various philosophies on spirituality. she choose instead to read the stars. she choose instead to read the cards. she would drop coins in front of me and tell me what they meant in the grand scheme of my fate. id get i-ching readings and tarot readings and astrology readings but there were never any rules to follow and never any god to beg for mercy. i was fine with all this. at a very early age i had given up on god and religion. it seemed less like a path to enlightenment than a long, tedious road towards death. the ritual of it bored me. the fear that fueled it annoyed me. it was just a series of punishments, and never any real reward. my mother, i guess, felt the same way. she was unsatisfied with the idea of god, and she had passed that feeling down to me.

i had two sets of friends. one were the friends from my neighborhood, particularly my best friend Dion, who lived downstairs from me in the apartment building. the other were a set of friends i had from school.

there was an innocence in me and dions criminal mischief. we used the city as our jungle gym, prowling the downtown streets, the desperate areas where we would go unnoticed. we surrounded ourselves with bums and drug dealers and addicts and whores and porno stores and liquor stores and all that which was too unsavory to judge us. we hid among the thieves and watched them take their victims. we rarely interacted but were always watching and observing as the city worked in front of us. we were silently involved, fascinated by the corrupt and moribund in front of us. we spent hours down there, meandering along with our petty crimes. our pure adolescent curiosity meaning no harm. we just wanted to see what was out there.

as i got older and my home began to break apart, i spent more time with my school friends, as they were much further away and provided that much more escape. dion was too close to the doom of things and they distracted me from the shame. i started tagging and our lawlessness got more serious. gangster rap had gripped us all. we wanted to be convicts and felons. our small tagging crew became a gang. we patrolled the streets searching for trouble. we let violence into our lives and we bled and spilled blood. i wasnt even in my teens yet and i was watching as we became a grotesque group of men lonely for our mothers and advice and some structure to make things bearable.

as life at home broke down and i grew more independent and frustrated and her mind crumbled and dismantled, i began to realize i had to do something to change it all. so i called social services and put myself in a foster home. she didnt try to stop me, even through the haze of her dementia, she understood it was best. i grabbed a bag of clothes and one morning a ride came and picked me up. it was probably the most important decision i ever made in my life. ive never wondered what would have happened had i not left. there was no other thing for me to do.

it was in the suburbs where i was living in a group home a few months later, that she called and told me. the apartment on oak street burned down. we lost everything. everything from my childhood. all the pictures and all the documents and everything. it was gone and i had to start over. of course, i already had, but the fact i could no longer revisit the apartment. that i could no longer look back and be reminded of maybe the times that were good, is what has haunted me since.

the story will ultimately be about my mother. about the person she was and how she raised me and maybe it will lend insight to the reasons i did the things i did and do the things i do. im not sure. but i really need to start writing it. ive got deadlines looming over head.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

forced entry #3

"first the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man."

i read that somewhere, i think its an old saying, possibly chinese, but im not sure. its true though. i know. i, myself, have been taken many times.

a friend arrived from out of nowhere. he was visiting from san francisco. another old ghost from the past. he stopped by the bar on superbowl sunday and had a bowl of pasta and a thousand pints of beer. he met the bar crowd and got along easy with everyone. speaking in his slow virginia drawl and laughing along with the mayhem. we all raised our glasses over and over in the spirit of sport and celebration. there werent many of us, but enough so that not one person was burdened with all the rounds.

my girlfriend was there and we eyed each other from afar and in those eyes and behind those stares was the heartache of loneliness and change. we are going through another rough patch, its not uncommon, but in this patch the seeds of our disfunction are sprouted and now what blooms we cant ignore. the distance between us and the emptiness we share. she said to me she felt lonely, even when i was there. i told her i was sorry she felt this way. i said i wish things were different. that the cold outside would go away and the clock would stop just for a moment so we could be still enough to consider our mess. as it is were always moving, racing and chasing on two separate tracks.

ive never been a saint. ive never pretended to be. and i know that my own selfishness and greed, my own unfortunate curiosities, have always stolen me away, leaving me in my own private womb of isolation. i wallow in my own matters, even though shes always next to me. i find solace inside. i let myself grow unaware.

i admit, ive tried to throw myself into writing these days, and have allowed my patterns to change a bit. on the way home from class i stop in a bar and have a manhattan and sit alone and think of things. i think of the story i need to start writing. i think of the words that will begin it and wonder about the words that will be its end. i explore my memory and order another manhattan. i think of the book i need to read. i think of the test i need to take and the quizzes i need to study for. i think of the bar and how thin it can get and how we are all so weary and barely scraping by. i order another manhattan and think of her and the challenge of heartbreak. i think of the decisions ive made and the decisions i will make and how these decisions never seem to measure up to the consequences that befall them. i think of how things always seem to change and how we never get used to it. i wonder if i can ever untangle this into words.

at home i sit at my computer, taken, and try to write. she says hi three times and she sounds far away and in the distance. we watch tv and eat dinner in a WASPy silence. its embarrassing and we dont want to address it. later we get close and its easy and her softness familiar but it doesnt last long. it never does.

after the game was settled and the bar closed my friend and i went to another bar and had a few more pints and a few more shots of whiskey. in his voice my ills are cured. in our conversation my woes all but forgotten. we soaked ourselves in the early morning then stumbled home. she had gone another way, with another set of friends, to a club, and the house was empty. he eventually left and i sat home alone and listened to the traffic outside. i missed him already. when i woke up the next morning she told me she had come home late and drunk and we had spoken for a bit but i dont remember.
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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at