Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Imagination. . .


You've got to start simply. It has to be simple. That's where I come from, where we all come from: A brutal, effective place that splits and splits and reconstitutes and grows and becomes something amazing and interconnected and beautiful.

Life, yes sure, stories yes, yea ya yeh yae yay yaw. People. Even desert island stories aren't about vacuums. Robinson Crusoe.

I think it's the potential, all that wonderful unknown, that gets us most excited about desert island stories. Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Man From Outer Space. They're all clean slates of a sort, and the intrigue, the deliciousness, comes from watching the intertwining and the formation, the initial splits and choices the *potential* of taking the road less travelled.

The baking of a cookie, a cake, a meal.

I took drugs and stared at a ceiling that was, so it turned out, a doorway; and through that doorway came a rambunctious snake and a shy Ox. And the drugs wore off and they were gone.

or

I was sitting, listening to my favorite album, reading a book when there came a knock on my door. On opening it, there sat a very large snake. It smiled and winked at me, and nodded his (obviously it was a he) head behind him, to the frightened white buffalo. And then, since I live in an apartment building, my neighbor's door opened and the two animals sauntered in.

or

The snake, when I noticed it, was coiled around the chandelier. "Don't mind that great white buffalo." It hisssed at me.

I don't know why the talking animals didn't bother me --I suppose my life would be a far less boring narrative if I'd freaked out and a fight happened -- but it didn't.

or 

"You locked me in the bathroom for an hour! You're fucking right I'm furious!" He yelled and slapped the wall, which made Jen giggle.

"You had a book and a place to pee, what more did you need?" Jen quipped at her boyfriend.

"To not be locked in the effing bathroom!" 



. . . is a wooden block.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This is what I think friendship looks like 02/10

The two boys stared out Lonnie's kitchen window. "So, yeah. After Vegas, I never saw her again. We lost that huge chunk of cash and were okay until we got back to Gary [Indiana] and then we were just irrationally mad at each other." (this was) Mike said. He sipped tentatively at his coffee --still too hot, apparently-- a few times before adding, "Maybe it was just me."

"You should introduce me to Jane, then." Lonnie nodded, shuffled eggs and green peppers around in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

"Huh?"

"Yea, totally dude. Sometime before we die: introduce me to Jane."

"Okay, then."

"I really like this song," and so the subject changed.

(Jane told me that once. She said, your writing is like a story with no filler at all. It's just the most important moments." I think, now, or in (yet) another life as a literary agent (or critic) she'd tell me that my moments needed context, needed frivolous details, things I remember but don't want to include. Maybe she'd tell me My readers needed more colors and smells and throw away details to hold onto -- "Mike," she'd say, "One's dude's trash is another man's treasure, ya know?" Then she'd twirl her wooden beads necklace, or she'd flick cigarette ash into a cut up beer can of an ash tray or something and I'd nod and not  comment on her comment, other than maybe a "yah.")

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I think this is what friendship looks like. 01/10

I was going write about two people, sitting, talking about drawing each other. Like so many romantic scenes in movies (Titanic and Vanilla Sky(?) come to mind.)

It starts with:

We were sitting there, diner mugs steaming softly, pencils in hand,  and I was staring at Lana's canyon d├ęcolletage as she leaned across the table and she said,  "I like the green lines better, they're less defined even though there's more of them." 

"Huh?" Came my reply. "Why?"

"There's more potential." Came her easy response.

I'm not a girl, though . . . editing. The power of narrative. I'm not even what the porn industry would refer to as a "Ladyboy." Penis? Check, check.

So, we're sitting in a diner, it's maybe 8am somewhere in a warm spring rain, and we've both had two coffees and we've shared some eggs and hash browns and didn't notice the disproving stares of the waiter slash cook because we were too busy staring at my phone, drawing the freeze frame of a porn star's face.

("It looks like she's in pain," I said. Lana laughed.)

It's just her face, and the sound was muted while we scrolled around trying to find the shot, but we were still getting disproving stares. But, we didn't care. It's art, I told myself. I couldn't tell you what Lana was thinking.

Was I ever a girl? Nope, always been a guy. Always been straight? No, I'm queer. What's that mean? And I said, "I don't really know." And went back to trying to draw in tones, not lines, which is far harder IRL (In Real Life) than on a computer. But computer pictures don't sell for nearly as much as cardboard and white out.

So there we drew, for hours, green pencils in hand, blacks on the table and white-out ready for highlights on grease stained cardboard.

Are all friendships so easy? No. I know a lot that are far more volatile, or quiet, or less languid, or strife-ier, or


Monday, May 7, 2012


Can I talk  about Ellen Auch for a minute? She had thick ankles and I told her. I told her she’d think she really liked me and that I was good for her but that I wasn’t. I even told her that she’d rationalize my telling her this as proof that I was a good guy, but that I wasn’t, I wasn’t then.

I’m a better guy, now, I think. It’s been a few years, and I’m more red, and have a bigger belly, if nothing else. But there’s a lot else, isn’t there?

There is. But magic isn’t talkable.

Boring people have more interesting face book pages than interesting people, and anyone (Anyone!) who has an online profile is somewhat damaged. Somewhat maladaptive, if you’re from 1990. In 1990, through about 2000 online spaces were for nerds.

Now everyone’s here.

Tumblr displaced blogs in October 2012.

Micro-blogging killed actual regular blogging. People needed to communicate with their loose circles, which weren’t even a think normal people had, back in 1999.

Let’s talk about 1999. I was in high school. I had an email account, but didn’t really use it for anything. I had AOL instant messenger, which I  used a lot, and pretended to be everyone from a 40 year old man, to a 20 year old lesbian girl. I got two phone numbers, unsolicited, from my pretending.

So, was it pretending? Not to the people I talked to. I never broke character there, apart from the abrupt exits.

I’m half breaking character here. Reminiscing about a time before the breakdown of almost all institutions.

What institutions are left? Family. Religion. School, to an extent. Government, on a small scale. I suppose institutions exist because they won’t ever go away, one form or another. Still, it’s early days yet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I l left work early. I got some money from the bank, cash from a teller, not automatic. I smiled understandingly at her tripping over words when she noticed my tattoos.

The door . . . what door. I don’t remember where I was going with that?

This door. A car door, the door to the bank. There we go.

There was an old, cute, couple walking out of the bank branch as I was walking in. The gentleman complimented me on my tattoo, asked where I’d gotten it. Showed me his, told me about Spiral Tattoo on Packard. I told him I’d check it out some time and said my goodbyes.

It’s windier than usual today, which is awesome.

And the theatre is quiet, deserted but for me and the workers.

And then the curvy, black girl walks in. 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

With thanks to Stephania Byrd, whose story here I've fictionalized.


I was living in Hamtramck, a neighborhood in Detroit. I had been laid off, but the city of Detroit had money from the Comprehensive Training and Employment Act (CETA), and I was hired as a XYZ hunter. My job was to follow them and find out where they ate, follow their runs and track them back to their burrows. I was really good at it! When I found where they lived, the city sent out this man who had a license to poison. He was from Cape Rojo. The stuff they used to poison XYZ with was called Blue Squill, and it was absorbed through the skin and so was really dangerous. At first, I was depressed about the job, but then a friend told me, “What you are doing is a public service.” I like to think of it that way.