Power

It was 7 AM and I was driving north on the 101 freeway. It had been raining for a couple weeks, maybe more. We were feeling isolated. The steam and the mist glazed the green mountains. It reminded me of the hobbit books I never actually read, but saw a couple of the movies. If you listen to enough Led Zeppelin you don’t really need to read the books since they stole from Tolkien about as much as they stole from the Blues masters. I exited the 170 at Burbank. I downshifted and realized that Mad Max and I are probably the last people that drive stick shift. I thought about that ring, the ring that hobbit had. Does power truly corrupt? I’d like to give it a test. Where is  my precious?

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Who’s there?

There was a knock at the door, which was strange because so few people knew where I was living. I had this one-room apartment on a street lined with 30-foot pine trees. It was dead center in the town of Hollywood.

I had no cable/satellite, internet or computer in the apartment. Often, I sat for hours on end doing nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly. I searched the depths of my mind with no ulterior motive. I floated like a plastic bag on a windy street.

The times I wasn’t doing “nothing,” I read books, played guitar and taught the occasional yoga class. I had had a vision of this lifestyle when I was in India in 2006 doing exactly the same thing.

Oh yes, but I said there was a knock at the door. It was a friend who lived in the building. He was the kind of friend you knew you could definitely count on if you needed to dispose of a body. But he was also the kind of friend who would be most likely to ask you to help him dispose of a body.

He was standing in the doorway, holding a refrigerator door. I didn’t ask. I opened the door further so he could come in, with his refrigerator door under his right arm. He was very cautious not to hit it against any of my stuff, of which I had very little. He leaned it against the wall. I sat back down on the edge of my bed.

My friend says, “Hey man, I have this refrigerator door I’m going to use for an art installation I’m thinking about. But I’m out of room in my apartment. Can I store it here?”

I wanted to say no, but I didn’t. Even though I had only a one-room apartment, I had a lot of open space. I had brought a girl back to my place once and she said, “Jeez, there’s nothing here. Is this just some place you bring girls to?” I don’t remember my reply.

Anyway, he left the refrigerator door and said thanks and good-bye.

I sat for a long time looking at it leaning against the wall. I got up and moved it into the kitchen. I leaned it against the wall in there and stared at it a little longer. Then I started putting the bottled water I had on the floor on the shelves of the refrigerator door that now leaned against my kitchen wall.

I was startled by another knock at the door. It was my friend again. He had another refrigerator door. It was the top half that closed off the ice section.

“Can I store this here, too?”

“Sure,” I said, “put it in the kitchen.”

He saw what I had done with the first door and commented that he thought it looked very cool. He also said, “Don’t get attached to it because I’m going to want it back.” Then he left.

After he left, I turned off all the lights and lay in bed. It was only 8:00pm. There was another knock at the door. I didn’t answer it.

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Go!

Oliver Stone wrote Platoon in three weeks.

That means, if you start today, your dream project could be on it’s way to completion on January 2nd, 2016.

What do you want to do?

Start a band? Write a story? Stop the war? Save the whales? Feed the homeless? Teach children to read? Write a rock opera? Meditate everyday? Lose weight? Gain weight? Learn to speak another language? Clean your apartment?…Go!

grunt and groan

It’s not an option of practical or literal education.

It’s a collection of rare butterflies with the clear and easily distinguished marks of a creature raised on pop, media and sugar.

A dictionary of friendly words and phrases that can be arranged and rearranged into so-called new forms of entertainment, loosely disguised as a culture of self-brainwashing.

I’ve heard all this before. Just in a different order or sequence.

Where are the new thoughts that cannot be described with old words, only lived as an experience that makes us utter strange noises like a new/old music sung by the first man?

Emotional reflex, the grunt and the groan, calling out like the beat box on your telephone.

Rhythmic and broken.

Plugged in and plugged… out.

 

traffic jam

One day the traffic jams got to be too much and we all got out of our cars and walked off in all directions. We lived in the trees, worked the land and forever told stories about the elders who once drove metal machines and were not nearly as happy as we are today.

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Praying for rain

The locals went mad. They had never experienced humidity in this part of the world. They sat naked on their balconies with 3 day beards and two day hangovers praying for the drops of rain that cooled them like drinks with small umbrellas in them.

 

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A Salute to the Sun

The band was in Europe. I had been sick for a couple of days. It had been raining for 3 days. I spent most of my time off stage in a van or on a dirty dressing room couch. Then one day, the rain stopped. I stepped out of the van in some parking lot in Berlin and I could feel the sun on my face. I knew in that moment why people used to worship the sun… I just couldn’t figure out why they stopped.

Surya Namaskara.

Team Spirit

I played sports during my first year of junior high. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was stoned and thought it would bring me balance in a school system that was clearly divided: people who got stoned on one side and people who played sports on the other.

I joined the cross-country track team and the wrestling team. Actually I was approached by the wrestling coach about joining the team after rumors spread of me giving Steve D a bloody nose in gym class. They thought I had natural ability. What they didn’t know was I was just scared. I didn’t like being held down or wrestled. It freaked me out, so I was good at breaking free, which apparently wins you points in wrestling, and occasionally gives your opponent a bloody nose.

I didn’t understand team spirit. The older team members took much joy in torturing the younger. They would go to the locker room first and shower so when the underclassmen came in (me), they would flush all the toilets so the cold water would get used up and we would all get scalded by the hot.

One night we were rolling the giant wrestling mat out to cover the entire gym floor. Apparently, the upperclassmen decided I wasn’t moving fast enough so they ran me over with the giant mat. Team spirit.

I didn’t know how to quit the team. I was the only guy in my weight class and I was good at this stupid sport. Every time I brought it up, the coach talked me out of it. So I started acting out.

I began barking during my matches. I could see it freaked my opponents out and the referee kept telling me to settle down. I barked at him. The coach seemed very embarrassed and asked me to stop, but it was too late. My other team members — unoriginal jerk-offs that whipped each other’s bare asses with wet towels in the shower — began barking during their matches, too.

We were winning a lot, but the coach was more and more embarrassed. He had a big meeting and told the team there was to be no more barking.  After the meeting, I went to the coach’s office and told him I would have to leave the team because I was having some kind of allergic reaction to the smell of the locker room. My mother had told me I could always tell people I was allergic to marijuana if I ever felt pressured to try it. So I figured I could use that same excuse here. The coach didn’t know what to say. He seemed pissed. But he let me go.

Later, I would see the coach in the halls of school. He would yell out when he saw me, “There he is, the quitter!” He was also my science teacher, so I started to arrive early to his class and pour water around his fish tank. He would come in and say, “The fish tank is leaking again,” and have to buy a new one. His son was a grade higher than me and played on all the teams. He had great team spirit. He eventually became addicted to cocaine. His father (my science teacher and ex-wrestling coach) owned a candy store near my home. One day his son and a few of his team mates — with team spirit — on a coke binge decided to rob the candy store. His father’s candy store. They didn’t do a good job and were caught.

After the robbery went public, my ex-coach stopped yelling out my name in the hall and telling everyone I was a quitter and I stopped pouring water around the base of his fish tank. Somehow the karmic forces of our relationship seemed… balanced.IMG_0277

Puppet Boy

Before I was born I was a puppet. My parents wanted my sister to think she had an older brother so my father got a boy puppet and learned ventriloquism. Eventually my parents took the puppet to a local witch and she turned me into a little boy. I wanted to play guitar to impress my mother, an avid Elvis fan, but my puppet fingers were too small and wood-like.

My sister never liked me much so I was turned back into a puppet. But it wasn’t the same. My father, a craftsman, turned me into a table with tools he kept in the basement. Eventually they had another child, a little brother for my sister. He fell off the couch and hit his head on “the table”. There was a lot of blood. The  babysitter screamed and screamed.  She didn’t know what to do. Eventually she turned to a life of drugs.

My parents decided they had to sell or give away “the table”. I was moved to a neighbor’s house and they put me in the living room. There was a very attractive girl that lived there and she would sit on “the table” from time to time. I enjoyed that.


Stories from the Street

The homeless are rearranging the furniture on my street today. The furniture of the more recent homeless. The corporate wolves are hungry. The locals talk of morality and myth, like modern shamans corrupted by the franchise state.

Someone called the police… I guess they thought it was their duty.

“Can’t have a couch in the middle of the street.” ” Something must be done.” Said a man with a fauxhawk in an Affliction t-shirt.

The LAPD (I once heard someone call them “the army of the rich”) came wearing blue rubber gloves. They took the homeless…”somewhere else.” That seemed to satisfy the mob. It upsets and frightens them to see the people of the streets. Like it might be contagious.

There once was a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where we would align famous people or ourselves to Kevin Bacon’s fame. (Just for the record, I am 2 degrees from Kevin Bacon.) We may want to consider Six Degrees of the Homeless.

It’s really easy to pretend that the homeless are not connected to us in any way. Like they couldn’t possibly be our mother, brother, sister, etc.. We fear the homeless and we call them lazy or crazy (I’ve heard that about myself, by the way). But what we really fear is that we will become one of them, and everyone will shun us and call the police on us, like we do to them. Maybe if we took better care of each other, we wouldn’t be so afraid of ending up at the bottom, and maybe spend less time clawing our way to the top. Maybe, with a little compassion, the bottom could be as nice as the top.

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