Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Live Out of Focus (Pt. 3 'How a Resurrection Really Feels'.)

We lived our winter nights under blankets on your drive way. We counted the stars falling. Oh, and how they fell towards the Earth around us, like vultures searching for carrion. We watched clouds roll above us like waves from some beautiful, deep, black ocean we could never get tired of drowning in.

The ghosts of our pasts, those who'd come and gone and who's time with us was way too short swept through our streets. And we knew one day we'd march side by side with them: it was just a matter of how many more lives we had left.

And what was to never return again? How bittersweet it was to fall in love, and let love leave. The damned deception of dealing with the defeat of a battle scar that no one could see, but those around us could feel.

My father fought the good fight, and died with more honor and dignity than a martyr. Tangled in tubes and wires, machines giving an audible sound of a once fierce beat that forced anyone within a certain radius to dance to a tune that was the cacophony slowly faded away. But it's a song that gets stuck in your head for years. That kind of song that when it gets stuck in your head, you might never remember all the words, but the chorus keeps you going.

And we said goodbye.

But oh, we kept singing!

I cursed, I spat, I drank and never slept. Caught in the undertow I wished for your hand, but couldn't stand to bring you under with me.

Now I lose sleep thinking our best days are behind us. Reviewing photographs in an old shoe box, the color starts to fade. Funny though, I never remembered anything looking this bright before.

I see you through a lens no one else can view. I take pictures that are mortal, but epic. I regret that once those moments were over, I could never taste them again. Only bitter reminders that it's in the past. The future is skewed; we live out of focus.

How I wish for one more avalanche of your strawberry hair cascading me again.

We hit a patch of turbulence, and the girl in front of me lets go of the arm rest completely. She embraces the chaos. I guess you can't kick, scratch, bite, seethe and breathe horrible words aloud. But in the end, you have absolutely no say in your decay.

The lights flicker softly in the plane, and I thank a god I doubt exists for the chance to live in this time. No one can take that away from me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let down your hair (A different perspective, part two of How a Resurrection Really Feels.)

It was cold out tonight. Those nights you loved most, and it makes sense that you'd make your exit on this kind of note.

We met when we were kids, and I knew from the second I saw you that I was staring my destiny straight in the eye.

My dad loved you, my mom...she didn't care for you. She always knew you were trouble, and I think my dad saw that mischievous spark in your eyes and smile. But he understood, and knew you meant no harm.

You were so scared of him, which was funny. I remember the time he caught you sneaking into my room. You're right, they never talk about the noise aspect that comes with throwing pebbles at a daddy's only girl's bedroom window in the movies. Of course, the also used one pebble at a time, not a whole handful.

He still laughs about how fast you ran, especially considering that he got into his old suburban and beat you to your house. What, exactly, did you think was going to happen? Did you think it was like a game of hide and seek, and you could be safe going to home base?

I remember when we turned 18 and drove out to California just because we could. We stood on the shores of Mission Beach in San Diego. The sun was setting, and you kissed my cheek and said one day this would be all we knew.

That night in the hotel room, we smoked weed and watched Conan. In all the years I'd known you, you'd always been so closed off. So when you opened up that night, I knew I'd fallen in love for real, instead out of necessity because you were the only boy I didn't despise.

You got manic in that bed, and it was beautiful. I'd seen it a thousand times, and sometimes it scared me. But it was beautiful that night, when you told me your only fear in life besides losing me was waking up one day, and having fully lost your mind.

"I keep having this dream where one day I wake up and the lights are turned off. And I can hear myself, deep inside my head, screaming and trying to regain control. But nothing changes. It never stops, and I never feel like I'm going to wake up."

You were my first. I know I was yours, too. There's so much responsibility that comes along with that, and no one ever warns you about that aspect. This bond that can never be broken, no matter what.

This last summer has been among the best and worst of my life.

I knew what loomed on June 14th. You didn't, though. I didn't have the heart to tell you before hand.

Now it eats at me, it rips at me, it destroys me wholly.

Every time I close my eyes I see you rushing. So passionate about music, and literature. Captivating. I used to watch with a sort of perverse pride when we were at parties, and I watched you blossom into this new entity, the kind that could contain a room with his actions and what he was saying. You build people up, you rarely let them down, and when you did you didn't sleep until it was rectified. Despite being so damned depressed so often, you were so outwardly positive.

When your dad died, you shut off for a year. I don't think I heard from you once. You always understood when another guy held my hand. It killed you, but you understood.

I'm leaving for Dartmouth. I got accepted on a full ride scholarship. I want to live without regret, but I hate that my hearts torn between the allure of the great unknown, and the passion for what's known.

I don't expect you to wait.

We're at a crossroads, of where we've been and where we could be.

I know it'd be so selfish for me to ask you to walk away from the life you've worked so hard to build. My door is always open, but I know you hate the East Coast, and I don't think you'd do well with snow.

My door is always open. My phone line is never changing.

But I don't expect the world to stop spinning once my hearts inevitably starts breaking.

Please, come home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sometimes I just want to kick myself. (Part 1 of How A Resurrection Really Feels.)

A voice comes over the loudspeaker. It's so early in the morning, you can tell they're just taking care of their daily prep. Lucky for me, I'm the test sample.

"Hello, hello, hello..." mutters the voice lethargically. "god damn, I'm hung-over."

I look around, and no one else has batted an eye-lash.

It somehow grows darker outside. I'm asked to turn off my phone, and electrical devices until we're at a certain altitude. Everyone else just closes their eyes, and prepares to wake up fresh as a daisy in a new time zone. I look through my texts one more time, and think, "Sometimes I just want to kick myself."

"Sir, when the sign asking you to put on your seat-belt is on, that also means turn off your cell phone. When it goes off again, you can turn it back on." She doesn't mean it rudely. In fact, she says this with a perfectly legitimate smile on her face.

"Just...another minute, okay?"

She places her hand on top of mine, and continues to the back of the plane. Moments later she returns with some unidentified drink in a clear, plastic cup made to simulate class. However, worrying about class in coach, in a middle seat while Lindsay Lohan traipses across the screen in some wacky comedy. You see it in her hollowed-out eyes; she's trying to justify her addictions and proclivities for tabloid-rag front pages. "I still belong." And for a second I feel a connection to Lindsay Lohan. And in the next I feel a burning fire in my throat. Cheap whiskey on a cheap flight at some ungodly hour in the morning.

This is class done with class. This is style done with style, boy.

A story unfolds on the tiny screen in front of me. It's funny how something the size of a pocket planner can change every moment of your life.

I hold the "End" button with less and less certainty. What's in front of me is waiting for me the moment this plane lands. For now I can pretend. That every mile conquered in the sky is an accomplishment. That I'm doing something with my life, and that if my dad could see me now he'd be impressed and proud.

But at three in the morning, while the rest of the world is asleep, every thought is revolutionary.

Thoughts like driving down a dark highway alone, with the windows rolled down and the Pacific in the distance and the radio screaming the playing field in equal parts entertainment, and relativity. Where the sun never rises again.

The kind of relativity only the truly broken hearted, open eyed could ever actually relate to. The kind of relativity only a beating heart fueled by plasma, soul, rock and roll and love could relate to.

The kind of relativity that when that singer sings so passionately, that when they sing good-bye, you feel that strength, too.

See, for some of us, the worlds coming to an end. We're just waiting for the final rotation. We aren't nihilists, we just want that experience. We just want confirmation that that choking feeling in our chests was justified; that our intentions weren't vilified.

There's a last second straggler just like myself. She isn't haphazard, she's just frazzled and tired.

She sits near the front, and she's fidgeting nervously. She keeps going through her things, over and over. Like a record with a small skip, she continuously checks a small red bag.

Outside the sky is so dark, the lights on the tarmac seem futile. Beads of rain decorate the street in a sheen of clean, clean evanescence. This city is washing it's hands of me. Tomorrow it's going to wake up with a clean slate. The grass is going to be just a shade greener; the sky just a little bluer, the air just a little fresher.

The seat begins to pull me back, keeping in rhythm with the growing hum on the outside. Ears begin to clog with pressure.

And in seconds the ground below me twinkles less, and less brightly. I stare in awe that I was allowed to escape without the ground opening up and eating the plane whole.

I want to read. I want to listen to music. But what I want most is to live in this moment unmolested.

The ground growing blacker and blacker, the air getting cooler and cooler.

The girl up front, she's slipping on a light pink hoodie. And if I hand't seen it with my very own eyes, I would have never believed it.

She pulled out a flask. I don't even know where you get a flask these days. Much less the brazen fortitude it takes to sneak one onto an air-plane, especially when it's made out of metal. Somehow, her exploiting an obvious hole in our Homelands Security makes me comfortable, and happy. The warming effect of my own drink helps, too. And despite it all, I'm smiling.

Sometimes it is those little things. Those small victories we achieve when absolutely no one is watching. When all the right people turn left, and we get the chance to sneak right and live in a different chapter of a better book. A book not everyone gets to read, because to read this book means your a lifer, whether you like it or not. You don't sample the fruit, you feed openly.

But one thing...there is absolutely no turning back.

She drinks without concern for regulations on flight safety. She drinks without regard for silly things like sobriety, livers, or taste.

I find myself drinking with her pace, and having a great time trying to keep up.

The lights are dim in the cabin, everyone else is sleeping. Dreams of flying, dreams that mean nothing, dreams that can, and will be forgotten. What a waste of what little imagination we have left.

I keep getting sympathy drinks from the flight attendant.

I keep racing a stranger that doesn't even know they are in the middle of a heated competition.

There is mild turbulence, and while some of the slightly conscious grip their seats with half-awake white-knuckle fear, I relax and sink deeper into my seat.

It was 1997, and we were just kids. We'd heard the adults constantly say how we were joined at the hip. I smile with half my face. The other half knows what the other is trying to ignore. I'm a friendly-fire casualty caught in the middle of a war I once fought in, and that's fine by me.

But we were just kids. I guess in a sense we still kind of are, too. We took a trip with that church group out to California because it was summer and we hated the heat we knew. It's not that we believed in Santa in the Sky. It's that we believed in getting away from our parents, and exploring each other in sleepy churches next to the beach.

We rode the Superman ride at Six Flags. The line was forever, and you knew I hated to wait. You always thought it was odd, throughout all our time spent that I'd hated waiting so much because usually I was so patient with everything.

It was hot, and I felt sticky. You smiled, and held my hand. I think you always assumed that I was kind of scared of the ride.

You assumed right.

But I was excited, too. We got to be among the first to ride that ride.

My hands gripped tight on the restraints, and I never got a chance to open my eyes; it was over before I had a chance to see it in full. It's one of my biggest regrets.

I closed my eyes with you, and gripped tight. When I opened my eyes you were gone, and my hands were stiff and sore, like it was bone on bone for so many years.

Now I can't help but lay back and let the chaos work it's wonders. See, I believe the world is coming to an end. So, if this is the rabbit hole, then I want to see how far down it goes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How a Resurrection Really Feels (An intro of sorts).

For the next couple of posts, I'm gonna switch it up. I'll be presenting the short story in it's entirety, for free here. It's called How a Resurrection Really Feels as the title of this blog would suggest.

I've not written in this kind of capacity for quite some time, so I apologize for how shaky and rough this thing is gonna be. Truth be told, I have the premise in mind, but unlike real writers, this will pretty much be written here. Meaning I haven't worked it out in advance. Just a couple of cans of Hurricane, inspirational music, and trees.

And a big dash of real life.

Yesterday when I went to my job between jobs, I discovered this pile of papers at what's effectively my desk. What this means is that whoever sat there previously doesn't work there anymore.

I was looking for some information, when I came across this long letter. The author of the letter was a girl, the handwriting is kind of hard to read.

But the letter broke my heart.

It reads out like part suicide note, part revival, part desperation.

Whoever wrote it has a strong addiction to heroin.

So in the next few posts will be a short story. We'll see where it goes.

Stay safe

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh, I'm kind of like a sailor back in 1942. Yeah, I'm gonna fight the good fight but god damn I am gonna miss you.

Life moves.

I've always had a fascination with airports and planes. I realize this puts me solely in the minority of people who have an opinion regarding planes and airports. But truth be told, all those planes going all those different directions make me pine to be on any one of them, going in whatever direction, with absolutely no idea as to what I'm going to do when I land.

When I was a kid, I used to want to be a pilot.

But it seems that any time I go to get ready to travel some place, it's always for the wrong reasons. I'm always one step ahead, or one step behind.

Because of my wayfaring ways, I often wonder if people actually come in contact with as many strangers as I do.

See, the downside of friendship is, that no matter how long you've been friends with someone, most of the conversations always start with a "hey, what's up?" and the thing is...that's more of a greeting. People rarely answer that question, honestly.

And I want to know.

Those who've been unfortunate enough to be along with me when I've been out and about, I don't know if they've ever noticed how I can make an instant connection with a stranger. I can't count how many times a friend has asked after I've finished a conversation with a stranger how I knew that person. And it always surprises me, the look on their face, when I explain, "Um, about ten minutes."

Sometimes it happens over the internet, too. I can't tell you how many of people I consider close, close friends I've met simply through this blog, or older ones I used to do. And I'm finding that this is something of a rarity...but why does it happen so constantly?

I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I have since January. I've spent most of my life here, so I'm far from a stranger to these lands.

I've grown to increasingly despise the surroundings. Not necessarily because of the heat. Though that in itself can get very close to unbearable, part of me likes that humanity could never replicate in a close way, real sun light. The way it warms your body, naturally.

But the people here...

It's been a wide subject of debate, SB 1070. I won't get into my personal feelings about the bill. Truthfully, they've pissed off both sides of opposition/support of the bill at rallies.

But the hatred that's imbued in so many people here.

It's been kind of a funny, sometimes scary thing. The actual race that I am. There was a situation in San Clemente, California where I was illegally detained by some racist cops. I wasn't asked for ID, asked for my name, or even simply explained too why it is John Q. Law was slamming me against a door, cuffing me and then shutting a door on my injury prone knee.

People often assume I'm of Eatern/Arabic decent. I realize its because I grow beards. It was a lot worse before I grew my hair out, because when it my hair was shorter than my beard is when I found the policia upset with me existing.

Often times at work, or other places people who see me daily will finally come up, and it never fails, say this (nearly verbatim): "Now...are you Arab? I can never figure it out."

My origins, if they are honestly at all important, are half Irish, half Hispanic.

But the other day, the worst its been in a long time happened. I was on the way to the bus stop to go pick up my check, when a woman in a walker who was sitting down at the bus stop walked away. I didn't think anything about it.

I was listening to some music, when about 15 minutes later she re-approached the bus stop bench. I could see from my periphery that she was talking, so I moved aside my headphones and asked her to repeat herself.

"You stupid fucking spic. Why can't you go back to your own fucking country? You have such an ugly language, you people talk just as loud as the niggers."

That's a lot to take in. Mostly because...anyone who knows me know I'm actually very soft spoken.

Oh, and the racism thing bugged me a lot, too. Though I did wonder why Eva Braun could identify my race, and people who I shared a common ancestry with couldn't.

And so I go back to the idea of travelling. It's no secret that I'm planning on leaving this place. I just don't know to where yet. And this shriveled woman was somehow embodying every grievance I'd had about this place.

Worst of all, it made me never want to talk to another stranger again.

Yesterday I went to the market to buy my groceries and pay a bill. My card worked for the bill, but when it came time to pay for the groceries, it wouldn't accept it.

Now, your first inkling might be to say, "out of money." except I wasn't. The card is somewhat damaged, and it does this from time to time. It's frustrating. As it was in line at the store. I started to sweat because a line was forming, and I really hate holding people up.

Realizing that it was 110 outside, and that the buses only run every half hour, I started to walk away from the groceries. I'd been in the heat all day, I just wanted to get home and die in peace and (cold, air conditioned) climate.

When a guy behind me swiped his card through the terminal.

"What are you doing?!"

That was my audible reaction.

What are you doing? You don't have to do this, dude.

"I can tell you have the money, but everyone deserves a boost once in a while."

I still don't know what to say about that. $17.45 was the total bill.

It's just weird to me how something that I've actually done before surprised me that much. Not saying that everyone should go around paying for other peoples groceries, but why shouldn't something so kind and generous be so much of a rarity. Why does it take tragedy to remind us that we're all breathing the same air, and life is hard no matter who you are. No matter the amount of money in your pocket, no matter the hours spent wondering where life went as you wait for the 5pm mercy kill from work, so you can go home and be to tired to create, or do something you're passionate for. We're all in tight places.

And then I come across a comment a few weeks ago on this here blog, titled Over Fire (Joshua John). It was something, especially at that time, that I needed to hear. It took me days to try to figure out what, if anything I should say.

After some exploration, I found that the commenter has a blog of her own: Set Fire to the Catalyst. Come to find out she has very interesting thoughts, very good photography, and we seem to have some sort of bond. She's right, it feels like I should know her. You should, too. So make sure to click that link a few times, follow her, leave encouraging comments.

You know that quote, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers?" That quote bugs the shit out of me. Get your act together, and move forward and be a responsible adult.

However, I've always loved the comfort of strangers.

Stay safe.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Somebody's drinking our last ration of victory gin; I'm sober as sin.

Time waits for no man.

The world is a wide open place, and it's up to us to discover it in our own way. I know what it's like to give up completely, on anything and everything. But I also know what it's like to find that fight again. Buried deep in the recesses of my mind was the will to keep going on.I was nearly homeless. But due to the good graces of some people, I was able to get my footing.

It can be terrifying, too, at times. Because this time there is absolutely no
going back. The thing is...I know for a fact I don't want too.

I think about those I've lost contact with and the reasons for it and I kind of feel like...yeah, maybe it was for the best. For whatever reason we were negative spots in each others lives, and truth be told I don't think I've ever been happier.

Because life is new again. That wanton desire to explore, to see, to try new things again is there, and it beats harder in my chest than my heart.

So I sit here wondering where I'm going next. But I know I'm going to enjoy it more than ever,
because this time...fuck, it just really...really counts this time.

Inspiration in a time like this is absolutely crucial.

See, a while ago I began writing a book called Open Roads and Brick Walls. But for whatever reasons I could never seem to just end it. Later on in the book it just became, not necessarily a laborious and tedious process...just one I couldn't figure out exactly what tonality to leave off with.

But it's times like this good tunes and good visuals really inspire the desire to exist, live, breathe
and explore the depths and crevasses most people wouldn't dare.

It can end in only one way...

See it boils down to this: I don't want to wait for life to get better. And I hope no one else wants to wait for it to get better. If it sucks, go out and change it. Every one has a bunch of sad stories,
and I empathize with that. But why leave off on sorrow?

We can be a lot more.

So we work, we play...and what else that fills up the time between, well, that's there too.

Giving up on yourself is one of the most desolate feelings in the world.

I want to concur every great city in my own way. I want to work during the day, explore during the night and sleep when I'm d-e-a-d. And I plan on doing just that.

Stay safe, and until next time, make sure to check out some truly awesome and visually inspiring
pictures. They're gonna evoke a reaction out of you that's going to
make you want to go out and get a camera and get in touch with your inner shutter bug. And while you're at it, buy something.

P.S: Below I've included a few of my pictures as well.
See, this is gonna be the summer of photography....

Toltec, Arizona. Oh, the joys of urban exploration.

Southern California.

Every where I go, they have make a fuss...

Awesome skyline.

Outside of a homeless shelter.

See you on the other side of the shutter.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Suffocation, Modern Life in the Western World.

Happy Memorial Day, all who happen to read this!

It's sweet to have a few days off to spend with your families, drink beer, barbecue, river raft, a whole bunch of things. And man, those things are a lot of fun to do.

But the reason why we can do those things is because there was blood shed. Not to stop on a dime, and be one of those people. Truth be told, war should always be the last result. But there are times when not only the future of your somewhat infant country is in peril, but also the freedoms of other Nations as's truly amazing that people younger than I gambled their futures to maintain the way of life they had at that time.

I really often wonder what some Veterans might think of the advances in modern technology. If they, even for a millisecond in moments of cease fire, if it ever crossed their minds how far this country would go.

Just take a second and really appreciate what it is you have. If it weren't for the bravery of youth, we wouldn't be living the lives we live now. For better or worst, there is ALWAYS a chance to better our lives; the price of freedom was paid with the blood of those who came before us, people we can never possibly meet.