What You Become

you do something over and over enough,
whether you like it or not,
pretty soon, that is just what you do.

eventually, we all become the
quirks, ticks and eccentricities that we
develop over the years.

like a tree enveloped by vines
that eventually becomes a bush
we become our couch, we become our tools,
we become our spouse, we become our parents
and we become our jobs.

whether we like it or not.

we become our environment both literally and figuratively.

when we're driving on the freeway with the wind behind us
and the sun setting over the mountains
we become those mountains and we become that wind.

and that is why we feel so free when doing those things.

and then we die and we become
whatever box, canister or hole we're tossed into.

and then that's that.

so if you are trapped in a world that you don’t wish to become,
be sure to keep a flower in your window,
a song in your ear and a poem in your pocket.
for you may not be able to control your world
with your own desired precision...
but you can most certainly influence its direction,

with beauty and love and all the womderful things

you wish to become. 



 

 

 



 

How I Measure Time

i measure time with distant, winter memories

of freezing places and icy roads

and quiet nights alone in the snow.  

i measure time with the houses i’ve lived in

and the color of the carpets

in all the rooms i have slept.

i measure time by the friendships

that have passed

and the jackets that i’ve worn

and the songs i’ve stopped listening to 

and the drawers in the desk

that fill up so slowly

with unimportant things

that i can’t quite throw away.

i measure time through the faces i know

but haven’t seen in years  

or the calcium deposits on the drain

or the things that made me cry

but now barely move the gauge. 

i measure time with no consistency at all

without uniformity or precision

or any form of structure

or a strict, reliable system.

i measure time by the days without rain

and the rust on my guitar strings

and the missing hairs on my head.

i measure time with seasons and holidays and

violent storms and national disasters.

and with every day that passes, 

and every year that sinks or floats,

i increasingly place value on the smallest

units of measurement,

the dog in my lap,

the salt on the table,   

the drink in my glass,

and do my best to love the process of keeping

my eye on the world, 

while i still can.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

there it goes

the dishwasher needs to be loaded.
the oil needs to be changed.
the floor needs to be mopped.
the clothes need to be washed.
the dog needs to go out.
your teeth need to be cleaned.
the fridge needs to be fixed.
the mail needs to be sorted.
the mail needs to be tossed.
the weeds need to be pulled.
the bills need to be lost.
the eyes need to be dried.
the legs need to be moved.
the arms need to be raised.
the muscles need to be worked.
the people need to be contacted.
the job needs to be done.
the clock needs to be smashed.
the screen needs to be smashed.
the phone needs to be smashed.
the rules need to be broken.
the laws need to be bent.
the bottle needs to be opened.
the day needs to be
spent.

A Posted Sign on Every Inch

How terrible the price has been for
relentless expansion.
Fields don't have rules until someone builds
a fence around them.
It used to be that the best roads didn't have gates
and the horizon could stretch uninterrupted
for a lifetime.
Now fences serve one of three purposes:
Keep some of us out,
keep the rest of us in,
or prevent the chosen few
from taking
every
last
bit
for themselves.

I am both thankful and saddened to be among
the last generation of human beings on Earth
that still have a little Earth
left to discover.
 

how to be an artist

first, get a #2 pencil and a piece of paper.
draw a vertical line, straight down the
middle of the paper.
now fold the paper on the line.
now draw a large circle
in the middle of the paper.
fill in the circle with the pencil.
now wad up the paper and break the pencil
and curse your loss of creativity.
now dramatically stare out the window
and think about past lovers.
now avoid going to the dentist.
now spend all of your money on
stuffed animals, substance abuse and tools.
now scoff at a guy in a Ferrari.
now save all your bottle caps for a year and
then forget why you were doing that.
now clean out the front part of the fridge,
but leave the things in the back,
now shove a bunch of shit under the bed.

now buy another “journal”, fill up the first two pages and then put it on a shelf for 20 years so you will never be able to throw it away because you filled out those two precious pages.

wear clothes that are simultaneously
too young for your age and too old for your age.
and keep a dusty guitar somewhere.
now shout really loud in your car or in
the shower, just to make the voices stop.
then learn to weld, get your certification,
and then never weld anything, ever.
now find that wadded up piece of paper in the trash,
pull it out and hold it up to the light
and reminisce about
how creative and productive

you used to be.
 

Somewhere in the Future

a tiny, precision screw
that you removed from your watch
and then proceeded to drop,
is falling in slow motion,
turning and twisting in the air.
it strikes the hardwood floor,
and then bounces
with a TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK
and then  v a n i s h e s  into the air.

it is GONE.

that screw does not adhere to any established thread standard,
and therefore is an irreplaceable part for which its
absence renders your watch completely useless.

you'll look for it under the table
(because that's where you saw it fall)
but it will not be there.
it should be there.
it should be right there under the fucking table.
(because that's where you saw it fall)
and you'll say,
"why is it not there?"
"WHY IS IT NOT THERE???"
and you'll frantically begin sweeping the perimeter
and you'll examine every dot, scratch or potato chip crumb
or every speck of glitter, twinkle or notch in the floor
and eventually you'll exhaust all of your options and
turn to ridiculous places,
like looking inside the tongue of your shoe or the lip of your sleeve,
or under the stack of mail, in the dog bowl
and under chairs halfway across the room...

but it will not be there.

it will not be anywhere.

that screw simply does not exist anymore.

it was absorbed by the world
and is now deep inside the center of the earth,
melting into magma and churning under pressure,
waiting to be blown from an island mountain
halfway across the world,
thousands of years from now.

somewhere in the future
is the moment you drop that irreplaceable screw,
hurling towards you like a spear
and there's simply nothing you can do about it,
but live your life as if it isn't going to happen,
while at the same time,
keeping a spare set of screws
to lose.

music that represents the downfall of civilization

sometimes i am reminded of 4'33",
the 3 movement composition by John Cage
where musicians are instructed
to refrain from playing their instruments
during the entire duration of
each movement,
creating nothing but silence.

and then other times
i am reminded of the hip-hop artist Sisqo
and his famous, chart-topping hit from 1999,
"Thong Song" where he reminds us all that,
"She had dumps like a truck truck truck.
Thighs like what what what.
Baby move your butt butt butt
Let me see that thong."

and when i listen
to these two pieces in succession of each other,
in the order as they are written here,
i can't help but pine for the silence of the former
throughout the noise of the latter
which eventually directs me to another song,
the 1933 piece "Gloomy Sunday" by Rezso Seress
also known as
"The Hungarian Suicide Song"
which i am forced to play on a loop
for as long as it takes
to eradicate the The Thong Song
from active memory.

 

 


 

drought

and once again, the hills of Southern California
go back to brown
and the dry brush piles up in the corner

this place is arid most of the time
and any vagaries in the weather
feel like a broken promise
or a delusion
like a man with $3 left to his name
ordering a brandy and a steak dinner in a brasserie.
with every savory bite he is transported away from his reality
until the strike of the bill
unseats his
fantasy.


i am like the green grass on these dry hills.

i do not belong here
in this desert.


 

weightgloss

someday i'll be gone and some poor soul
will have to deal with all the crap i leave behind
and they'll have to go through a
ton of boxes and drawers
and they'll hold up some dingus and
say, "what the hell is this thing,"
or, "why did he have this," or, 
"does it even turn on anymore?"
and then some of my stuff will go to Goodwill
and some will be sold
and some stuff will get tossed
and my email acccount will just sit there
and this blog will disappear
and all the letters in all the words i've ever written
will be recycled and used somewhere else like
in contracts or on checks or in
some strange lady's terrible
romantic letter to a French jet ski model
who doesn't care about anyone but himself
and just breaks hearts left and right.
this whole death and affairs thing will be
a damned shame
and a real HASSLE for everyone involved
because everything i've ever said, done,
been, made or ruined,
will have to be recycled, destroyed, buried,
dispersed and sold
and it is precisely for that reason that
i'm just going to sit down
right here on this spot
and drink this here delicious root beer
and not give a shit about how many calories are in it
or what happens next when it's done
or where i'm supposed to go later or
what i'm supposed to do today.

hung by the bed

though it is as familiar as my autumn coat,
like a sandbag on a weakened hook,
pulling screws out of the wall,
hung by the bed or by the door
ignored but always breathing there
in the coldest corner of the room
like a burned out bulb I never changed
cupping dirt and moths and old confetti
from a new year's party years ago
i know it better than my hands
or the frozen photos in my phone
deceptive comfort lying there
forced to cede another day
and take the space where clothes should lay
if misery is not a coat
nor a scarf or winter sleigh
why do I hang it on this rack
and leave it there to stay?

recipe for apathy

the quest for stability, consistency and security
often results in an attained level of comfort
that chips away at ambitions and dreams
until there is nothing left
but apathy and
fatigue.

where once stood solid brick,
now lies mortar crumbs.
where once stood wooden beams,
now lies sawdust and splinters.

what can I do anymore,
but pile up these crumbs
and light this dust
and watch
this
tiny
hill
burn. 





 

Chex Mix

Sit down for a second, and let me tell you something real quick...

If I had to pick one ingredient, I'd say my favorite part of the Chex Mix is the Rice Chex. I really don't like pretzels in my Chex Mix, but I tolerate them. Because without the occasional pretzel I don't think the toasted Rice Chex would be as exciting. My favorite part of Gardetto's Snack Mix are the little rye chips. Due to their popularity, eventually Gardetto's came out with a bag of nothing but rye chips. Sure enough, after about 3 bites I started to grow really tired of rye chips. They just didn't taste as good. It was too much rye. I missed the other stuff, even the stuff I didn't like. A couple years ago I bought a bag of pistachios without the shells. Yeah, I got tired of those really quick, too. There's something satisfying about the minute amount of labor involved with every crack of a pistachio shell. Having the pistachios handed to me on a silver platter, well... frankly... it sucked. They just weren't as good. So remember to be thankful for all the pretzels and the pistachio shells, and all the things that give us gauges for which to measure the good stuff.  A world full of nothing but RYE is as boring as it sounds, monochromatic, monoaromatic and monosyllabic.

the rules

the rules say:
DON'T RUN WITH SCISSORS.
but what about really sharp, pointy sticks? like chopsticks?

it seems like they never updated the rule book.
i think it's the same book they've
been using since scissors were first invented and
sharp things simply didn't exist until then.

the rules also say:
DON'T USE A HAIR DRYER IN THE BATHTUB.
even with no water in the tub?

DON'T RUN NEXT TO THE POOL.
what if i'm being chased by a murderer?

DON'T STICK ANYTHING INTO THE MOUTH OF
SOMEONE HAVING A SEIZURE.
it never occured to me to do this and
now i'm super curious.


DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED MILK.
what if the milk killed my brother?

ALWAYS LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE.
what if they're sleeping on your arm and
cutting off the circulation?







 

what could it be

it could be low testosterone.
it could be depression.
it could be allergies.
it could be heart disease.
it could be cancer.
it could be a lack of _______.
it could be too much _______.
it could be the humidity.
it could be anxiety.
it could be money.
it could be love... or the lack thereof.
it could be dehydration.
it could be dry skin.
it could be withdrawal.
it could be anger.
it could be loneliness.
it could be regret.
it could be the guilt.
it could be the food.
it could be the spiders.
it could be the bones.
it could be the muscles.
it could be the neighbors.

or it could just be regular fucking life.

ugh.

squinting as a child

there is soft, white, particulate matter
hanging in the air,
like snow without gravity.
sometimes it feels as if i've surrounded myself
with so much of it, I am trapped in a
perpetual cloud of chalk dust.
it's as if I've clapped some erasers together
and the world just froze in that moment.
dry clouds in my eyes that leave me swinging my arms
and grasping for the handrails.
the world a stinging fog.

i sometimes think about Christmas time as a child,
in my parent's old house with the brown shag carpet,
and the really big windows that made me feel so small.
i remember sitting in the living room alone,
squinting my eyes at the Christmas tree,
forcing the lights to bloom and streak within my vision.
i remember when i first realized that i could do this,
that i could make lights smear by squinting my eyes.
that i could change the entire world by something
as simple as pushing my eyelids together.

but now, here i am as an adult, sitting in all this dust,
wondering how i make the world shift again,
with the simplicity and ease that i once did as a child.

when you're an adult, you harden your thinking
to the experiences and environments you've
been exposed to. 
the world doesn't change when you
squint your eyes,
you do not make the world blur,
it is you that change.
it is your eyes that are different. 

although there are exceptions to the rules,
it is my position that the inability to believe
your own fairy tales
and follow your own inner dialogue to
strange and unsual places,
beyond the realms of explanation,
marks the death of
your imagination.

so go make your own fog
and blur the world
with anything but
your own logic and reason. 

 

dinner in the yard with old friends

an ashy, rickety, wooden table
sitting on the crest of a mound of silt.
an admiral, velvet window curtain
thrown over the tabletop and
seasoned with grape tomatoes,
wine, bread, and pesto.

a frail breeze to push the music.
the sky's veneer, a net of frosted light,
and then the entire city, in the pinch of a finger,
just sitting there as if we had
something to do with its placement.

a quiet night with old soldiers
gathered around the table.
good friends that have been fighting
the same war for decades,
each through their own glasses,
feeling the world push itself upon them
one at a time,
with an unaplogetic force that
whittles lines near the eyes.

a deep breath into the evening.
into this one quiet night.
it is the way I imagined every night would be
when I was older.
candlelit with friends, wine, music.
simple joy.

and then suddenly I was older.
and mosts night were just nights.
much like how most mail is just mail.
because handwritten letters are rare.
as is this night.

just enough wine to be
glossy and bloom the stars.
just enough breeze to
quiet the neighborhood.
and just enough union to be content
with each other's silence.

simple and quiet.
love and respect,
as subtle as it can be.