Saturday, June 30, 2012

The shaman sprawled happily against the wall, beer in one hand, laptop balanced on his knees, typing away, slurping away.

He sat in the hallway, patiently waiting for his teacher to arrive.

He probably shouldn't have been drinking beer, but the monkey had demanded it, and the can was in a brown paper bag. He'd justified it to himself with the thought, "If anyone asks, I'll tell them its an energy drink."

or

"Hurry and throw me more ammunition!" The frightened little brother yelled to his sister. "I'm almost out!"

or

The house stood empty, water turned off, back porch bare and sun bleached, and brittle in the winter noon.

or

"I'd like to be free again." He said glumly to his shoes. "More free than this, at least."

or

I am thirty two years old today --it is my birthday and I am happy. I have: A loving son, a loving wife, a loving boyfriend and a loving girlfriend. We all live together in a house that shouldn't be able to fit five people, but does.

Conversion mentality is how a lot of this works, frankly, and knowing the name of your savior has always been a good thing.

We're all queer here, except maybe my son, who doesn't really think in terms of gender or sexual identity these days.

We're all farmers, here, again except my son, because he's three and doesn't do so well with the coordination.

I'm a hub, it sounds, from that first paragraph. But the spokes are all connected too, friendships platonic and queer and that's delightful, all around delightful.

Maybe I sleep in the garage, because that's a livable space, now: Walls all insulated, a toilet installed, piping just fine, thank-you. There's a skylight, but the roof's a bit too drafty to stay up there long. Murals painted on blankets, stapled to wooden planks --like castles from the 900's or when ever Europe was more than a crater.

Not that Europe is a literal crater, now, just an economic and political one. It looks a lot like a cold, wet version of South Africa, frankly.

Even before the now, I could never picture a prosperous world. But I can always picture a happy one.

or

My wife and my girlfriend looked at me. "We've met." They said in unison. We all stared somberly at each other, like an emotional mexican standoff. Then, explosive laughter.

or

My wife and her boyfriend looked at me. Staring at him I said, "We've met." We all stared somberly at each other, like an emotional mexican standoff. Then, explosive laughter.

or

"You don't love me any more, do you?" She asked him.

Her boyfriend shrugged, brushed hair away from his eyes and said, "We haven't had sex in months. I'm not sure why I'm sticking around."

or

The vodka bottle exploded against the kitchen cupboard, the baby woke crying, but the couple burst out laughing. "It's your turn, asshole," she smiled at him through the guffaw-tears.


or


The car engine ran smoothly until the moment it exploded.


or 


The ceiling swirled and though he wanted to speak, the sounds refused to form, hid in fact in his lungs and tickled his bladder.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Moment of Meta-Decision

The people who are most successful tell other people, who are generally less successful, (Quote from Eliza Gauger via Warren Ellis, but Stephen K. Hayes said a similar thing once, to a friend of mine) "You either work 9-5 or 24/7."

And it's true. I have a few things I'd happily do 24/7, things that I think about doing 24/7. Things that give me a bigger endorphin rush than others.

But I don't know how you'd monetize dating, at my age.

I dreamed in blue and orange last night, about defending a house from invaders by hiding on the roof and throwing racquet ball racquets at them. Then, being in a quickly filling subterranean mall, and having a contact bashed out by a gigantic spider. Fortunately, I found a box of contacts floating in the water (tropical ocean, clean blue) and managed to put one in.

I wonder: if I'd woken up before getting the contact back in, would I be blind?

The other narrative I've been thinking about is an active god sort of thing. Somewhere between Morrison's Animal Man and Amis's  London Fields. Because a blog post inherently ties a date and a  time to things. . . my thought was, when I wasn't writing about the characters, they would just be frozen there, stuck however I left them in the narrative, but things beyond them would still be moving, shuffling about, grinding their teeth waiting for the sun to set so the shadows grew long enough to reach the people I'd been writing about.

A sort of negligent puppet master leaving his means of affordance out in the rain, as it were. I don't know if the characters would be initially aware of me/the narrator as their means of salvation or hope, but it'd give a more episodic feel to things, and add tension to spans where I can't put words down/out.

Like, they have an adventure in a forest and go to sleep in their tents, but instead of waking up the next day, I've, in this world, had a rough few days and so when I come back to the story, it's three days later, not 6 hours or whatever, and they're hungry, and probably shat themselves, and maybe a bear ate one because they weren't conscious enough to do anything.

It works in blogs because they can be daily writing, so the story and the narrative rule isn't as dangerous to the characters as, say, a monthly (or even weekly) comic book.

A twist on the multiplicative time in a cube story, maybe.



Monday, June 25, 2012

"That was close," he said.

"I almost didn't make it here. The road was so screwed up. Construction, a bunch of detours. I almost drove right into what was more a tank trap than a pot hole.

You've got to be nostalgic about government funded roads if you live in Michigan, you know?

You've got to long for the days when pot holes wouldn't snap an axle in the dark. When the power was consistent and you didn't have to shoot people sneaking over your fence at least once a week.

You've got to be nostalgic for a time when shooting trespassers was something you joked about with your crazy republican coworkers.

And yet.

And yet.

And yet.

And there's rain, pitter patter (pitter pitter patter)ing down and thank goodness that last patch job and tarp worked. Thank the hard work and the sun burn and the delicious beer and the sun-stroke hangover the next day. Thank the hard work and not the workers --I'm missing an eye and he's dead, shot in the back of the head as he turned and waved, walking back to his house. It'd been such a slow week, and we hadn't seen any rovers in three days on top of that and Ella went inside, out off the roof, away from the binoculars for just that three minutes and

BAM

One dead friend and my winged face and blind (haha) luck that I caught one in the chest and the other in the leg and Ella, bless her, got them both in the head with her rifle a moment later; a moment (too) late.

One dead friend, and some bumpy roads.

Welcome to the bleed, I suppose."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I met a young woman today with crayon red hair, she wore glasses too, and had a toothy laugh, but what stuck out most was her hair.

It'd been a long day: a family wedding culminating, or tapering off --your choice!-- at a intentionally low key bar, with Karaoke, and micro brews with names like, "ypsi gypsy."

This young woman said, "I pass over video games because I already feel like I'm wasting so much of my life." She said this because she is cheerfully warring with cancer. At the moment, her war is a stalemate, but she doesn't always remember who she's firing shots at.

I'd forgotten I could dodge bullets until this evening. I suppose --all old dogs and their tricks, n'est pas?-- I'm proud of my deflections, and I hope she doesn't mind gunfight.

Enemies becoming friends and all that, if we're to be high school students about it all.

I'd prefer we just became friends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Six Months Later

It was snowing and we were walking back from a video rental store; I was talking about the latest post human book I'd finished when she took my hand, transgressively.

We were just friends at this point; my genial warts were mostly under control but she still smoked infinitely and whored.

The sun was long set; streetlights dulled by snow made the street murky.

She had red and black hair and I was shaved bald under my grey skull cap.

I still wore green cargo pants and polished my jump boots obsessively. Mainly, she wore long black, wool coats and toe shoes, when she wasn't in garters and six inch platforms.

Her palm was sweaty, or snow wet --cold against my fingertips as she slid her hand up my sleeve.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This is what I think Friendship Looks like (04/10)

Drive and get the old woman some vodka. Sit and drink and listen to her raunchy stories about Cold War Russia. Sleep in your car, drunk in her driveway, and wake up refreshed, and go to work.

Monday, June 11, 2012

This is What I Think Friendship Looks like (03/10)

The bass shook the stairs Sam stood on, the sudden strobe momentarily blinded her, rendered everyone frozen (like weeping angels ["Neeerd."]).

From across the tiny club, her friend spotted her and in the renewed red-blue spot lights she could see his smile. Then he looked at the crowd and made a sad, "Cant-get-to-you" face, so Sam plunged off the stairs into the throbbing throng, and twisted, and smiled, and spun, and ass-patted her way to the reserved (always reserved) booth her Matt friend was sitting in.

"No Andrea tonight?" Sam asked.

"Does she ever come out any more?"Came an accidentally more terse response than either were expecting.

"You really should drag her sometime. It'd be nice to hang out with the two of you."

"She doesn't leave the house, just stays in, knitting all the time, now." Matt took a exasperated swig of his whiskey sour before grouching, "Says she has projects to finish, and that she'd just get in the way."

Sam declared, "Well that's bullshit." And then, "I need a drink. Come with?"

"But of course."


. . . Drinks got, acquaintances hello'd, they hit the dance floor, smiles wide, Sam's cleavage high and bobbling, just like Matt's drink (ice cubes on the dance floor, some poor girl in too high to dance heels careening into an Asian dance circle and everyone laughed. . . ) and the vibe rolled into them, onto them and around them like an adoring cat --people came, pulled into their gravity and danced and laughed and flirted and fell away, orbits and other gravities doing what they do to club goers and always those too, Sam and Matt in the thick of it, drunk far more on each other than the booze, more stoned-high too, than anything they could actually imbibe.

All the way 'til the lights came up and they grinned and wiped the sweat from each other's brows and shared swigs from a bottle of water one of their satellites gave up as it spun away.

"I'll talk to you soon," He whispered and squeezed the small of Sam's back, "My Driver's leaving, talk to you soon!"

And she smiled at his behind.

Friday, June 8, 2012

(One of Many) Letters to Dead People

Dear Helen,
I saw you riding the bus the other day.

I was dreaming, but there you were.

I dreamed I was stood on a rain wet corner, it was pouring down, and I was wearing glasses and everything was water streaked, but I still saw you, your vibrant purple hair and red red lips through the streaks. You smiled at me and I felt it (all the way) at the bottom of my kidneys.

I flashed through dinners we won't ever have: Bright Sundays at my grandfather's house that smelled like cooking meat long after our cups of tea had been drunk. Our tea drank in plush, gold colored chairs; chatting and watching BBC4 on a sun washed television, the volume very low indeed.

I longed for our missing, damp Sunday afternoons in Stoke Poges. Walking in bright wellies and mottled blue hooded sweaters through muddy and verdant fields, down a foggy horse trail with our dogs loose and barking after rabbits but us not worrying about what they caught.

The thrill on your face as a young fox eyed us from under a hedge.

England.

A missed connection, like on craigslist.org for whatever city dreams are tied to these days.

I hope you're well.

Love of All Kinds,
Ernest


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Where are you going?" Helen asked.

Her husband replied, "The world just ended, but we're still here. I'm going to my car and getting my shotgun." He winked at her and smiled, then he stepped onto their dark driveway.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My imagination, continued. (with a splash of what friendship looks like)

Sure, but this wooden block. I've been staring at it for the past decade and a half. Fingering it's edges, pulling splinters from under my nails.

I've thrown it at walls (doesn't stick) tried to drown it (wood floats) and set it on fire --too close to the drowning, apparently: no fire.

Those initial connections, they're great, they're not the work. I know what work looks like, and occasionally I'll even do some. It looks satisfying because it is. Digging a hole with a shovel. Getting in the hole, hand scooping out the loosest of the dirt and getting that dirt ground (grinded) under your nails.

(What a weird image to have recur)

When I was sixteen and half done digging the new tree holes, my mother said to me, "You're an actual worker now." She smiled down at me, sweat pooling on her bosom. The afternoon sun made everything waver and I smiled through the sweat sting in my eyes, and I turned and kept digging.

Half the trees died over the winter and the next spring, I dug them up and returned them to the store (this was when trees could be purchased, and insurance taken out on them.) and dug the holes deeper, added more pete and fertilizer and planted new trees, which survived.

Seeds are one thing. Whole trees that have made it a few years are something else entirely. Transplanting them to a different kind of ground, does that work? If you have to auger the holes, will the roots make it through the clay walls, or are you suffocating them?

The answer is (and I know this because my mother showed me) that the weak ones die, and the strongest break through their red coffins and find the sustenance they need to thrive.

I used to think writing was like shoveling snow, but it doesn't always snow, and snow is seasonal. Digging though, digging is always an option, and there are more and less purposeful reasons to dig. When I was a child my parents took me to Florida and my dad and I dug a hole so big and so deep we touched the water table, and the was the some of the most fun I had that trip. If I'd've been smart I would've learned a lesson from this anecdote, too, but I didn't see the lesson until I was much older, and even now, some twenty-eight years later, I just now realized what I was being shown that day on the spiral staircase.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A mouth

What? Me? I'm happy today. Couldn't be better, honestly. My smile? It's tentative because it's new to me, this smile I've got. I'm not wearing it, I've got it --it's mine.

It's more a piercing than a tattoo, but it's mine, and it's here for a while --I like the way it highlights my lips, my nose. Don't you think?

I realize there's always gonna be troubles, but this new set of troubles is new --nothing feels like trouble yet.

I think this grin, it'll do okay.