Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Wilderness Years - Raskolnikov's Blues Pt. 5

It's been said that bad luck is better than no luck at all, and had i still been in class i'm sure i could have attempted to get my fellow professional students to debate the merits of such a statement except i had given up on even bothering to attend class anymore, it was a strange feeling, i had failed, at times i'd sit and wonder what the fuck i was thinking about when i hatched this plan but there was also a part of me that felt that shit was just about to get interesting, of course at the time those were fleeting hallucinations and harder to grasp hold of than water but sometimes as i slumped stoned and drunk and out of my mind on controlled substances it was like Robert Nesta Marley was across the room laughing and singing "eveyting's gonna be allll-right", then i'd walk over and run head first into the fucking wall but for a few seconds anyway, well maybe it was gonna be all right, the rest of the time i wanted to fight the moon and sky...

And again there was the kindness of women... now that i was an official drop-out i kept a low profile, i stopped going to the university library for fear of human contact with the future of academia i had attended class with, worse yet contact with the virus that was the Piled Higher and Deeper, it was time to hide in plain sight... or at least attempt to, i spent hours wandering and studying the patterns of the little worker ants known as students and figured out the least used and therefore best entrance for me to sneak relatively unseen into the cafeteria, it was a back door and the middle-aged woman who worked the register by the door took a shine to me, after i had paid in crumpled ones and change a few times she began to say good morning, i would mumble back but try not to say to much, at this point i needed the student price whether i was officially one or not, i wondered if she hadn't seen my type before, sheepishly creeping in at the off times and then using the back line and hiding away in the corner, slumped but facing out in case i needed to make a quick getaway, soon she would ask how i was doing, she would smile, and then one day she told me to just go ahead, she began letting me in for free, i began to talk a little more, i thanked her and she told me to wait around for when no one is at the entrance and then come in, stop and say hello, pretend as if i paid or hand her a small bit of change and then go on in, i never asked why, our conversations never lasted more than a minute, two minutes tops, did i remind her of a son or an old ex-boyfriend? i'll never know... i do know if not for her kindness i would have been a lot hungrier...

So a few times a week i would wander up and look for my Guardian Angel, she was usually always there and even told me when she would be taking off, on the days i did go i'd go around 10 am and get breakfast, i'd bring a backpack with books and my notebook, i'd sit and read and write, i'd stare out the window, i watched the days turn from snowy to breezy to wet to warm, i'd sit through the end of breakfast at 10:45 and then daydream my way into lunch, a typical day was a few hours all told, a couple of free meals, then a good walk through the backstreets of town, then it'd be either a few hours washing dishes or sitting at home and hustling, though i was with one of the girls at the house i still had my own room on the ground floor, it was right off the kitchen which meant people could come in the back door and right into my room, like most businesses it's about location but in this business and it helped to be in a non-descript high traffic area, i was in a row with a couple houses all occupied by students and always bustling, i was not about to get nabbed by small town cops, a bust of a few ounces would have these mall guards on the front page of the local weekly looking all serious with their shiny boots and boners, to these clowns it would be like nabbing El Chapo or some shit, still that was no excuse to get sloppy or stupid or lazy and so i kept a close watch and tried to keep traffic spaced and to a minimum... but of course nothing can ever be fucking easy...

It shouda coulda woulda been a iron tight grip on the fucking market, a quarter pound shoulda grown to a half woulda been an elbow if the gear had been decent, it should have been the snowball effect, an effect that would have caused more than a bit of paranoia in a town this size but it would have been a short run, a 3 month stint, a stop gap for the stoners and their hero but alas it was a disaster... In the beginning the Guido Frat Finance boy swore up and down that he always had good shit, usually a few different grades, in theory, there's that fucking word again, it should have been gravy, instead it was shit, if it was his connection really going south or him pawning off the shit no else wanted on me cuz i had no other choice i'm not sure, i'd take what i could get but i knew if one other sidewhow showed up anywhere in Podunk i was fucked, i'd sit on this garbage and be out $400 or so, and to me at that point $400 was more like 40K, even better Guido Frat boy began moaning about his costs rising which would have to be passed on down the line, the price went up 25 bucks eating into the margin even more, how the price of dogshit could rise i'm not sure but it did, it got so bad that even the biggest potheads were bitching, i remember one girl, a sexy brunette and textbook stoner telling me that the shit did nothing more than give you a 10 minute buzz and a headache, to call it crap would've been a compliment, still it was the only game in town, but the three bills was now more like a buck twenty-five, that's what the net was when it was said and done, crime fucking pays huh?

There were a few good weeks, time to put enough money away for a deposit at the beach, a deposit on a place that would be condemned a month or so after i arrived but i've been over that, meanwhile i slid deeper in the muck, i began chasing around a wealthy Indian princess, the kind of untouchable, unattainable, and doomed endeavour that only the Don Quixotes of the world will even fathom... and yet there was that glimmer, she had an interest, we'd sit at the bar and talk , she'd ask if i wanted to stop by her place and have a drink, it was slow but i could feel it, she'd sit on the couch next to me with her silky black hair falling around her shoulders and brushing up against me, her leg wrapped in expensive jeans rubbing up against mine, i'd sit trying to hide raging hard-ons, trying to calm down enough to make some definitive move and yet every time i thought the time had arrived it was like a Bollywood movie, we didn't get up and do a dance number but we might as well have, a roommate would show up or a phone call from home, she'd sit in a chair across from me speaking a foreign tongue and i'd be mesmerized by those beautiful white teeth, the hypnotic sound of her voice... but there was no luck or not enough lust and the protocols of a culture i knew nothing about and one fine day someone sat there and asked if i was the guy who sold gear and lived with 3 girls, i nodded as i watched the smile fade from her face, within 15 minutes i was politely yet icily told that something had come up, it was the last i'd ever sit on the couch or admire the smile... and yet i had a girl who claimed to love me waiting just blocks away, a girl who fed me and tried to look after me knowing full well it was a hopeless cause, when one makes up their mind to slide into cesspool you must go all the way in, i was staring up through the muddy water, deep and getting deeper, toss the gas around then flick the match on all of it, hear the crackle but feel no warmth, then slide out the back door and into the darkness...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Wilderness Years - Raskolnikov's Blues Pt. 4

And so Mother Midnight wrapped her deliciously sweet arms around me, nibbled on my ear lobe and then kneed me in the groin... and then she kneed me again... and again, i wanted to puke, i wanted to stick my fuzzy tongue in her throat but every time i reached out for her she wasn't there, and that was alright, the days had rolled away and one foggy morning i heard the door creak open and the voice of the girl, she released the cats from their cages and i walked out of my room in my wool socks and long johns and smiled...

Within a week the smile had faded, new classes had started, my attempt to manipulate the system, to get the money i needed failed, oh they still gave me the money but i was still the man without a state, so before i knew it most of it was gone, i paid the rent and began picking up hours at the coffee shop but soon i noticed a gap in the local market, seems that the town of Podunk U. had gone dry, and what was the future of the American service sector going to do without their weed? how would they study or hook-up randomly at parties if they didn't have an excuse, of course for some of us the weirdness just kept on rolling for while the weed was gone there was other stuff around, i had the choice of buying books for my new classes or eating and so i choose a bit of both, not buying all of them cuz in the back of my nappy head i knew i was bolting, i just had to make sure the lupine dominus of the banking world would not hunt me down before my time and demand the money or my blood, so i played along, i knew i was shit at the academics game, i'm sure my new profs knew it too, sure the faculty had talked about the wild man who didn't seem to take it all that seriously, of course my papers had barely made the grade, Dr. Rockstar gave me the highest grade and stated that had the grammar and punctuation been a bit cleaned up i would have aced it, stated that when cleaned up it was conference worthy material but at this point i didn't hear a word he said, i wanted to cackle in his face and state the obvious that i should have flunked out first semester but you Piled Higher and Deepers needed me like virus needs the host,  but i had checked out, but that's been covered, back to the new semester...

There was a market to be exploited, one just had to have the means and know-how to do so and with that knowledge i took my cue and began working on a way to get whatever i could to the little house near the corner of 4th Ave and Main St., first i had to find the product and then i had to procure a means of transportation... and for the what seemed like the first time in months i caught a break, they arrived in the form of the same guy, a friend of mine who's childhood buddy was a guido, frat boy who just happened to be in the game down at the big uni in the city, funny enough  was he had graduated and was trying to break into the financial sector but as we all know nothing can supplement or provide an income like contraband and so while he wore cheap suits and drove a half-assed sports car he stayed in the game, i got my first ride down and we met in a parking lot off a shit state route highway, the neon restaurant sign flashing behind us, it was $425 a quarter pound for shitty brown Mexican brick... the early 90's were a seller's fucking market, one just had to find a spot somewhere on the seller's line... and like most things the higher up that line the better the view, i was one step from the fucking bottom...

Now if we have studied our lounge, and i'm quite confident we have not, there was a post a while back entitled Cowboy Dan, see Cowboy Dan had the grass market at Podunk cornered for years, a one man monopoly and the way Cowboy did business was there was no break down, it was $25 a cut and 200 a zip, no if's no but's no motherfucking coconuts, so the drug using segment of the student body was quite accustomed to the shit end of the stick, i figured that after i took out the head stash there was at least 3 bills to be made off each one and in the beginning it worked out fine, it was fucking Mojave dry and the stoners just wanted what ever they could get their hands on, what it afforded me was some time to build up a little cash, of course when you've been flat fucking broke and scraping by a little dosh in the pocket automatically means getting ripped up at the bar, other extravagances like a large pizza piled with sausage and pepperoni and bacon, maybe a trip to the diner and a plate of hot roast beef and fries with gravy, it means scoring some gear as a back-up too in case the money dried up, any way you chopped out the gear a lot more money got spent then originally intended...

And the classes were slowly receding into the winter sun, i attended, i feigned an interest, i can't even remember what they were except for linguistics, Prof. Herb might have been the most boring motherfucker on the planet, he may have known his shit, one of those guys who is so smart and knowledgeable in his field yet has no hope of effectively communicating it to anyone other than those in his field, or maybe he was just a shit teacher, i have no idea cuz i couldn't make heads or fucking tails of it, Noam Chomsky i was fucking not... ah memory, there was a drama class? i remember something about reading plays with a tall goober with wispy brown hair in bowl cut, he fancied himself as the young heir apparent to Dr. Rockstar but that wasn't gonna fucking happen, this fucking geek didn't have the charisma or the intellect and to my 24 yr. old eye had zero chance at pulling a Brazilian Bombshell, maybe he could finagle one of the co-eds and even that would have been a stretch, he seemed to think that everyone in the class loved the theatre as much as he did, years later i would come to appreciate it but at the time Mamet and Beckett and the lot could kiss my dirty, hairy ass, of course having some budding play writes in the class didn't help, nor having the queen of fourth rate drama, (affect English accent now) Oh how they couldn't help but stay in character, cupatea? Wink wink, where art thou Coolio?, dare i say i almost bonded with a few individuals over just how annoying these twats could be and with Bowl Cut joining in at times it was a wonder i didn't bring a pint of cheap bourbon in a 7-11 cup, but the time for paper proposals was coming and by this time i had no intention of proposing anything other than another beer or toke or trip... in short, fuck academia.

Of course the psychedelics helped expedite the process, in particular acid and MDMA, the kind the kids couldn't really get way back in the early 90's unless you lucked out or knew someone who made it, i never bothered to ask which it was but it was all the rage with a select few back then, oh how i hated it, i mean i kept taking it just to be a bit more social, i'd take it and then spend the night talking to people who when sober would fucking annoy the piss out of me, i called it the Asshole's Best Friend, just happy and smiley and fuck if the next day i wouldn't wake up and want to punch myself in the face thinking about what a friendly fucking wanker i had been to everyone all night, you could have banged my mom, my dog and every girlfriend i'd ever had and i'd have still been your best friend while i was on it... the acid on the other hand kept me steady and insane, a symbiotic relationship of light and dark with the dark slowly pushing harder and harder, don't get me wrong now they weren't bad experiences, i'd call them something akin to a cleansing, it was making me come to terms with the mistake i had made and it also made me wander and in a small town like Podunk wandering inevitably led to bumping into people and Profs i didn't want to see... hell after avoiding Dr. Rockstar on a number of occasions, either mumbling greetings and quickly exiting or just completely about facing i just said to him one night outside the coffee shop that he just always seemed catch me when i was on acid, he just smiled and said something in Portuguese to his bride and wished me luck... it was the last time i ever saw him...

16 weeks, that's all that was left when it started, of course when you feel like you've been caged, when it feels that time is being stolen and fucked away it will make you mad, it will have you talking non-sense to yourself, cuz you're young and self important, cuz there is a need to be in the action and because the classroom you're looking for is not anywhere near a library or science lab, it's out there, it's just not here now and like young Skywalker i had not the patience nor the discipline to go rationally about my business... the wheels keep spinning... the stomach rumbles... the days crawl...






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Wilderness Years - Raskolnikov's Blues Pt. 3

Small towns can drive you mad, they can turn you into a raving lunatic with their boredom and sleepy streets, one begins to understand how old women get murdered and their trunks plundered for trinkets and gold and anything that might be hocked for a hot meal... the walls had closed in and i was fucked, being destitute is never as romantic as they make it out to be in those dusty old novels, of course put a couple of decades between the hunger pains and the memory and it's a  most beautiful thing, like one of those lovely ancient paintings that hang in the cold and sterile halls of some foreign museum, just the thought of it can keep you warm but at the time there was nothing but a drafty old house and the approaching winter, the mind spinning and slipping, the days dragging by, when just a year before all i had to do was step out my door and i could get mugged, shot, drunk, fucked, score any number of drugs, fall into any sort of caper, hang at the bar with the brothers and the hoods and listen to Motown as Mustache Mary would dance and slur her way around the bar after seven to many whiskey sours... but now i was trapped, not the money or means to get out and with my education slowly taking the form it always had, of me studying my own curriculum, not those of the masters of higher ed, not one supplied by the Doctors of Philosophy, one supplied by myself in order to make sense of this nightmare, of knowing full well i was going to quit, of trying to stay above the rising tide just enough to pay a few more months rent and get what was left of the next check, the second semester loan, enough to keep a roof over my head for the time being, but knowing i'd drop out when the time came... but even as i stared down my wit's end i needed to keep my wits about me, there was no net to catch my fall, only the concrete and it's gray indifference...

If there was one constant at this time it was the kindness of women and their enabling myself to get by, at the time i lived with three, one who would make many an appearance in my life over the years, a couple other who were bat shit crazy, one dating a semi-homeless man who lived in a tent and the other convinced that someday she would look into my eyes and we would fall head over heels in love and live happily ever after, she actually stated this one day, i laughed hysterically and went to the bar... of course i was a young and petulant sort, as faithful and loyal as a stray dog... i was not what you'd want your daughter to bring home and yet somehow many daughters wanted to bring me home, it never seemed to be a problem, it seemed my motherless ways made any number of women want to mother me, as if i gave off a scent of being a lost boy... that girl i lived with worked at a coffee house, the first one to come to the town of Podunk U., it was only a decade or so after they started popping up in all the hip city hoods but Podunk finally had it's own, she went to school during the day and worked the nights and when i'd walk home from class she would motion me in if the boss had left, which was usually the case, she'd feed me chili and cornbread and i'd drink coffee, she'd slip me $10 so i could go to the bar, my hangout was dirt cheap and served strong drinks, sometimes after wandering around, sitting in one apartment or the other, drinking and smoking dope, i'd wander in like that stray dog and there would be a pizza on the table...

It was through this girl that i began to pick up the stray shifts washing dishes at the coffee house to make an extra 20-30 bucks here and there, i'd smoke my one hitter and listen to a lot of Miles or 'Trane or Bird, i'd drink the wine the owner kept in the walk-in for when she came in, she was old money and had spent years partying and now needed a semi-respectable gig so she opened this place, it was shady and quite possibly a front, seemed to be a preponderance of powder available to the employees in the know, never for sale of course, just there... the owner wanted me to pick out some music for the place, she said she liked my taste, she asked who it was and i sheepishly told her, i didn't like her vibe and she made me nervous for some reason, there was a time when the wealthy had that effect on me, being broke i needed whatever scraps i could pick up, she told me she didn't want to hire me cuz she didn't feel like doing the paperwork, she handed me money and got me a ride to the mall, i picked out what i could find at a national record chain in a shit mall, basically best of CD's, the town of Podunk U. was what one might politely call a cultural backwater, she told me to keep the change and still paid me at the end of the night, some shifts i'd barely wash a dish, it was an old building with those intricate tin ceilings, old hardwood floors, a back porch with two big white pillars that faced an alley where i'd smoke a stray cigarette, every now and then the Barney Fife would roll by thinking they were slick, as soon as they were out of sight they'd get the finger, it was a few bucks in my pocket, sometimes it'd be gone by the next morning, sometimes i'd stretch it for days, the only downside was that it gave me even more time to think...

And think i did, i was sliding down, it wasn't depression or anxiety, more a darkness, a general madness, i was coming to terms with a beautiful meaninglessness, what did it matter, these fucking knobs all writing papers and prancing and preening, like fucking show ponies, and for what? a job? a chance to sit in the same halls and classrooms that they studied in but this time they get the ruler? they get to hand down the verdicts? maybe it was a defense mechanism, maybe i needed to lie to myself because i couldn't cut it... or could i? it didn't matter anymore, now there was nothing but time and the wait, to make it until my sentence was up, to get back to the water and sand and pull myself up out of this hole i had dug, dug willingly and smilingly in the beginning, and the shorter the days became the more the madness increased, consciously or not i looked for ways to destroy the things around me, i began to hide, to play the invisible man, walking backstreets and avoiding daylight, hiding for hours in the dim corners of the library, scribbling notes and threats and pictures for no one, day in day out, each sunrise another struggle to eat and get fucked up...

Somehow, somewhere along the way, i managed to finish all my papers, over 50 fucking pages in a little over a week, it was a fucking joke and a nightmare, banged out on a word processor, i had picked the topics eight weeks earlier, gathered some information and never gave it another thought, i heard my classmates making plans for study groups while i talked to myself in the corner, i heard them reading and critiquing papers, they were fretting and sweating, they looked at me with curious disdain and a bit of envy, why didn't i fucking care? their guess was as good as mine, maybe i should tell them that Dr. Rockstar told me i didn't need this shit, maybe i should pick up that desk and toss it across the room as i envisioned, pull out my cock and balls and shout they'd never have a set like these, for 7 weeks they met and talked, one or two may have even fucked but i didn't care, when it was time i locked myself in my room and went to work, roughly 2 and a half days a paper for three papers, from early morning until the wee hours, sometimes the madness can work for you, you have to make it work for you, so make it work i did, i didn't know if the papers were any good, i thought they were shit to be quite honest, i gave them exactly what I wanted, original thinking, i gave them references because i had too...

And with a roaring whimper it was over, the dorms and the shit apartments all emptied out, the snow came in cocaine white and shimmering strange rainbows in the winter sun, i could hear the hum of the electric sign above the laundromat on the corner, there would be 20 some odd days spent walking small town lonely streets, to the bar, to the coffee shop to pick up the hours of the students gone on break, the ones unlike myself who had somewhere to go, to the Golden Dawn Supermarket where i would survive off beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and the occasional shoplifted steak, alone in a creaky, old house... even the cats had somewhere to go, sometimes i'd sit in the living room in complete silence, a second hand ticking endlessly on and the rare sound of a car rumbling down Main St., i jerked off twice maybe three times a day, i talked to shadows, i paced my room, i had 20 some odd days on my own to dwell on this wreck, the lone light being i had passed all my classes, barely passed them but passed nonetheless, it was a fucking joke, this place was a racket not a university, the madcap laughed and laughed...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Wilderness Years - Raskolnikov's Blues Pt. 2

One studies a lot of theory in grad school... and you know in theory this all sounded like a brilliant idea as i sat in my tiny apartment in North Oakland, oh yeah i had it all sussed out, fucking genius that i was, i'd breeze through this shit on my brilliance and big balls... but those fucking theories man, seems that one needs to actually test them out and testing this one out i was slowly finding myself in a steaming pile of shit, it started at about my ankles but was now slowly creeping closer to my waist, the money thing was gonna be a fucking nightmare and so i set upon a plan to get more, not much of a plan but something, there were no jobs at Podunk U., the town was a sleepy little hamlet set on a dirty river in the middle of a forest, there was a glass plant, a university and fuck all, a Main St. with a bunch of mom and pop joints that only took kind to student money not the students themselves, if my mood had begun turning from sky blue at the outset of the semester to slightly cloudy once i experienced the classes then it was now gray and getting darker, there wasn't much to smile about...

Class became a bit of an afterthought, i was still going and the Victorians were still boring me senseless but the other two were brilliant, i enjoyed writing theory and battling my classmates and my other class was Cultural Theory and taught by the department superstar, a guy in his late 40's who was married to a twenty-something Brazilian bombshell, i laughed at the rumors of how he only worked with good looking female grad students, you don't trade the superstar for a fourth stringer and if any of the lovelies in my classes thought he was making a play for them they were shitting themselves, in fact he did take a shine to one student in the department though, see this was the class that John had gotten to do his paper on William Burroughs, he had borrowed a bunch of my stuff and the was showing it to Dr. Rockstar, he inquired to where John had gotten a few items because he had a friend out west getting his PHD and his dissertation was on one William S., seems he had mentioned some of these things to his friend and the guy had never heard of some of it, now how you do a dissertation on the guy and not know about this stuff was a bit mind blowing to myself, it wasn't like the shit was some ultra-rare bootlegged tape or prized mimeo from back in the day, it was out there, but alas the soon to be crowned Doc was in the dark, so when Dr. Rockstar asked John just smiled and said, Kono, the dreadlocked guy in class, (because i really did wonder if Dr. Rockstar bothered to learn anyones name) and John told me he shook his head and let out a "ah, i shoulda known"...

Now what's surprising about all this is that said class sometimes broke down into conversations between Dr. Rockstar and myself, he often seemed quite amused and intrigued by my fucked-up worldview and it was the one class where i truly did dust the competition and so one day he asked me to stop by his office, he told me the lights wouldn't be on and he'd be hiding so he wouldn't have to deal with students but he said he needed to talk about my paper and some other things and so i said sure and on the appointed day and time i ambled through the department and wound my way deep into a web of halls, seemed Dr. Rockstar wanted to make his office as inaccessible as possible and so hid up and down stairs and around corners and didn't bother with things like his name on the door, i knocked softly and said my name and i heard some rustling of papers and a slight cough and then the door unlocked and he welcomed me in...

The office was filled with books stacked here and there and file folders with student papers sticking out, on the window ledge behind him were bins that looked to hold whatever article or book he was working on at the time, he was wearing a sweater that zipped over his shirt, a sweater that looked very similar to the one i had on except i scored mine at the thrift store and his looked to be a tad more expensive, i sat down and he looked around and for a moment there was a strange silence, you could tell he didn't do this much or just didn't like people, in a way i could relate, i didn't much like them either these days and so he finally looked at me and asked about the Burroughs stuff, i explained to him how i had found it and he asked if it would be alright to make some copies to send to his friend and i said sure why not, we both began to loosen up a bit and he asked what i read, of course at the time i was a young and angry existential/nihilist and started ticking off the names, Sartre-Camus-Genet, Henry Miller and Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, Burroughs and Algren and Celine, Dostoevsky and Lermontov and Tolstoy, he eased back in his chair and laughed asking what i read for fun and i replied that is what i read for fun, it was also the first time i would hear the name Thomas Pynchon, it was the first time i'd discuss indie-rock with a prof as we gushed about the band Morphine and their brilliance, soon we were sitting there bullshitting like a couple of old friends, he asked me what i wrote and i told him poetry and short stories, to which he replied that he could care less about the poesy but wouldn't mind seeing the stories, i told him i'd see what i could do, told him about my friend's collage project that he was doing using porno ads and he said he wouldn't mind seeing them, then we got down to business...

Dr. Rockstar carried himself with an aloofness and arrogance that one might describe as abrasively charming, he reminded me a bit of Donald Sutherland for some reason, possibly because he physically resembled him in a way but also it was as if he was a combination of certain characters Sutherland had played, a mash-up of Animal House, MASH and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, we began discussing my paper, me casually tossing out doing it on Bukowski and him politely telling me no, that he expected something more from me for some reason, he then asked why i wrote? i grinned at him and replied seriously? of course he said, why? and i leaned in a bit and conspiratorially growled, and i quote, "for the pussy man, for the pussy..." Now if Dr. Rockstar was expecting me to a lay out some intellectual pontification upon the reasons and motivations for my scrivening i will never know because he let out such a laugh i could do nothing but sit there and grin, i mean the man was married to a woman at least 20 years his junior so though he may never had admitted it out loud he knew what the fuck i was talking about, in fact he kept laughing to the point he needed to wipe tears from his eyes and when he finally composed himself he looked at me and said you don't need this, don't take it the wrong way, in fact take it as a compliment, which is something i rarely give out and i don't really care what you do one way or the other but the other students need this, you don't, i've been waiting for 20 years for a student like you to walk through those doors and i can tell you now get out, go write and do whatever you're going to do, he was shaking his head and giggling, for the pussy he said, the man was used to the kids kissing his ass and saying what they thought he wanted to hear, it may have been the first time in 20 years he got an honest answer to a question...

And that paper? Well i settled on the commodification of punk rock, basically predicting Hot Topic before it existed and pointing an accusing finger at one Perry Farrell and his festival and how that was the beginning of then end for alternative culture, that the once dark and dangerous sub-culture would be homogenized and sanitized and spiffed up for suburban consumption, slowly to be made acceptable and absorbed into the festering and moldy loaf of Wonder Bread that was Merkin mass culture... my favorite part was that most of my original thinking references came Maximum Rock'n Roll, good old Lester Bangs never had it so good cozying up with Foucault and Derrida, it was nothing more than the art of spinning bullshit...

Of course none of this helped me eat and eating and drinking and drugging were an essential part of my existence, it was more than just a bank balance that hung, well, in the balance, my sanity or lack thereof, my bright and brilliant future, my masterplan, all of it was cracking up, like standing in the middle of an ice-covered lake, every move bringing more creaks and groans, knowing full well that if you take off you're fucked and if you don't move you're fucked, the only certainty is the taste of that icy cold water and the burning of lung and limbs, standing and watching the breath shoot from the nose and mouth and the surrealness of that winter sun and it's lack of warmth, and still there were no jobs, in a shit town the competition for shit jobs was intense and so like a taller Josef K. i diverted my energy for the time being to finding the exit to the labyrinth known as the student loan/ banking industry, to find a cure for what had ailed me, a loophole in the air tight walls of the bureaucracy, hours spent reading forms and making calls and wandering in and out of administrative offices where the qualities of humanity and compassion were akin to myth, i was trying to sell snake oil to the master snake oil salesman, it wasn't going to happen, it was dawning on me that the options were slowly turning to nil... and that once bright blue sky had now almost gone completely black...



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Wilderness Years - Raskolnikov's Blues Pt. 1

I had never seen a more wretched hive of fucking sycophants in my life, it was a well groomed and well fed and well cared for collection of bootlickers and asslickers, this was the future of second-rate academia at it's finest, half-wit and talent-less buffoons in boat shoes with an overweight play write and slutty actress thrown in for good measure, call it a well rounded class, hell i wish i was making it up, i wish i hadn't actually spent money to be trapped in a room with these asshats, apparently my adman-journo degree didn't count for shit with the high and mighty doling out the grants of this esteemed state university English dept., i had wagered as much but looking at these studious bores was like a slap in one nut, not devastating but more that sick feeling where one testicle ascends into you pelvis bringing a strange and nauseous ache, so here i sat paying for it and suddenly all that bright-eyed stoned optimism that took place the previous year at the White Trash Pleasuredome was evaporating faster than cocaine at a strip club...

The first day of graduate level lit class i must have looked like a slack-jawed junkie, sitting in our circle like the good kindergartners we were, waiting for the arrival of our master, i had a head full of nappy dreads and a beat up pair of Vans on, cut off shorts, i could tell that if any of these fucking squares was hip enough to watch Fast Times behind their parents backs on cable back in 8th grade that they'd be clocking me for a certain Mr. J. Spicouli... and that's not to say they would have been entirely wrong except for the accent of course, mine involved a bit more midwestern skateboard slang, fresh off a year of slinging bagels and smoke and another summer on the migrant service worker tourism circuit i had walked back into the hallowed halls of higher education with hope and aspirations, what can i say i was young and though i was of the firm belief that humanity was a gigantic shit-pile i guess one could say i still had this youthful idealism that i thought i could make things better? fuck if i know? like i said i was young, something akin to an optimistic nihilist... but back to the classroom...

The door of the classroom swings open, a bit of stumbling and bumbling and in walks a rather fey, butch lesbian... from the outset one can tell she's not the most confident of sorts but also not cocky or pretentious like some of the profs, she had a PHD in Russian Literature and i'm almost giddy with excitement cuz at the time i was all about the Rooskies and the Frogs, she smiles and welcomes us to grad school and makes a joke about us being real people now (which i will come to find is less of a joke and more of a factual statement among the faculty) and proceeds to pass out the syllabus and state that this semester we would be studying Victorian literature... now you might have heard the yougottabefuckingkiddingme escape from my mouth if not for the shrieks of glee among my fellow classmates who like a gaggle of ADHD kids at Chuck E. Cheese begin chirping and chattering about their love of all things Victorian, in fact when we start circle time and begin introducing ourselves i'm stifling laughter as one after the next, the future of second-rate academia, a group which by my very presence here means i'm contemplating joining, fall all over themselves professing their love, a love they've been cultivating since the time they were in diapers, of Victorian literature...

In a perfect world i would've stood up right at that moment and launched my desk at the window or better yet announced to the class that they were all fucking assholes and that i was leaving for fear of becoming a fucking asshole like them, alas my friend it is not a perfect world and so i stayed in my seat and feigned interest as the time for me to speak crept closer... and when it finally got there, when i finally became the center of circle time, it just sort of came blurting out, i hate Victorian lit, this class is gonna be a nightmare, with all the eras to choose from, with the Russians and French writing things so much more compelling and pertinent and thought provoking... and then i trailed off as i stared into a dozen or so open mouths, my gobsmacked classmates (except for a guy named John) who couldn't believe i could be so blasphemous as to disparage the single greatest era of the written word in their eyes... and hell i know that some scathing social commentary was hidden in the language, still, reading Dickens and Austen and Hardy? it makes me eyes bleed, it's physically painful and i know among the literati i'm in the minority but what can i do? i'd rather eat the book than read it...

And so my career as a professional student was off and running... straight into a wall head first, by the time the leaves were brown and crispy i was losing my mind, i decided to drop acid one day at break just to see if i could make Victorian Lit more interesting, it was my Thursday night class and last of the week, my weekend would be off to a flying start and since i lived and hung out with undergrads it would be a well and good drinking night... of course i had to get through the rest of the class but i figured it would take a bit to kick in and i'd only have half hour tops of winding my way down the rabbit hole, ah those best laid plans, the gear was strong and came on quick and as shit went haywire i attempted to sit and focus just in case i was asked a question, inside my head was like an amusement park and i felt that if called upon i would start spouting gibberish or talking in ye olde English thus tipping my fellow pro-students off to the most definite fact that i was not on the up and up with this advanced degree bullshit.. and of course that night class went five minutes longer cuz what do these fucking squares have to do tonight? go to the library? study group? make some dinner, read, watch a dvd and fret about their paper? i needed a fucking a drink and a bong hit, some female companionship, some good tunes and the damp, cold apartments of my Podunk U. friends...

And yet i had to give it a shot, i'm pig-headed and stubborn and maybe i wanted to show all these well fed and well washed faces that even us derelicts crawling up from the underbelly had some fucking sense and so i put my head down and got on with it, dare i say even excelled in certain areas, there was a writing theory teacher who loved me for my out there approach to teaching and grading and railing against the rest of the class, at one point she even stopped and defended my position one night saying that it was a "highly progressive method but one that had gained approval in certain academic circles", exactly how i would've put it, score another point for the fearless freak, yet i was glad we didn't have to work in groups often cuz when we did you could see the kiddies all trying to get it figured out before they were forced to be with the weirdo, hell a couple of the guys i wanted to just plain throttle, the only one who talked to me at all was a guy named John, now and then we'd meet at the bar and discuss shit, we got to talking books one day and discussing William Burroughs, seemed John had been given the green light on his paper for the semester on Bill, i had all kinds of tapes and articles and books by William S. so i invited him over to look at some things, he asked if you could make some copies and i said sure and we bullshitted some more and he gazed at the book shelf and smiled...

So the days grew shorter and the old house i lived in grew a bit colder, the brilliant color of a Pennsyltucky fall came and went and it was then that i found out that the bankers and gatekeepers and whatever other shadow organization was involved in these types of decisions had not granted me in-state status meaning i was not only a man without a state but a fucking broke man without a state, suddenly that loan i took out slipped like smoke from my account and into Podunk U.'s coffers, my choice being to try and get more money or figure out a way to generate some in order to survive, it felt a bit like strike two, first the naive optimism dissipating as i realized the i was the square peg theory and the fact that they wanted original thinking with references and the last thing i saw coming out of this place was anything close to original fucking thinking... and now second the money was fucked, was it my fault? probably, i'm sure i didn't read the rules close enough but either way i was pissing in the wind and i wasn't about to put myself in any more hock to the man than i already was, i needed a plan...



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Wildnerness Years - Rental Cars

Looking back now if i was that guy's supervisor and he let me drive off the lot in a fat ass Crown Vic i would have fired him on the fucking spot... you see i had spent the previous few weeks sliding down an ever beautiful and treacherous slope of desperation, rampant boozing and copious drug use, in fact thinking back to the poor old man who drew the short straw and had to pick me up (because that's what their ad says they do) he must have been smirking at my wastedness or high on my fumes, i was oblivious to it all, i thought it was perfectly normal to be sitting shotgun in a minivan on my way to rent a car, the waves of booze emanating off of me like waves of heat shimmering off the sun, so potent you could actually see them and i just sat there and smiled and made a little small talk and tried to get my bearing and stop the world from spinning so much...

The office was in West Ocean City which is akin to left hind tit geographically speaking, hot and shitty and the wonderful ocean breeze nowhere to be fucking found, i sat in what felt like a small airplane hangar but was really one of those weird half-tubes of corrugated metal slapped on top of a few cinder blocks, i sat and watched the puke yellow and light blue walls move and breath and buck and bend, i smiled at the young man booking my auto, he stated there was a problem and i wondered whatever could it be? it couldn't be the gentleman if front of him with the long natty hair, pinned out eyes and reeking of Jagermeister could it? he said he needed to speak to someone and i smiled politely and asked if it would be alright if i stepped outside while he did? sure he said and gave a wink and i quickly made for the door where i immediately high-tailed it around the corner and began throwing up whatever i had been drinking the night before which judging by the smell, contents and color of the Pollock painting taking shape in the grass was Jager and beer and who knows what else, there was definitely no food involved and i'm quite sure my liver was none to happy and i realized i was still in the same clothes i had on from the night before and could feel the little, empty bag in my pocket containing the weak brown that had been my new favorite pal to hang with every few days, i spit and shook my head and nonchalantly as i could for a guy who just got done tossing his cookies, ambled towards and trash can and clandestinely tossed the bag in the garbage, after a quick inspection of course to make sure it was empty, then headed back inside...

It was at this point that the bright- eyed recent graduate of Salisbury State University came wandering back over beaming from ear to ear, it began to dawn on me that i looked like a skid row derelict and most likely smelled like one as well as the temp and humidity picked up and i began to sweat and realize that there was more than a hint of boozevomit in my aura, luckily this kid was undaunted and must have really wanted to rent this car and score a commission or some such shit cuz he looks at me and explains that they didn't have the mid-sized sedan that i was looking for but because they didn't have such a vehicle on site that he had given me a free upgrade and would a Crown Vic be alright, i almost burst out laughing but didn't want to risk puking in my lap, i felt the sweat dripping down my back and my ass crack and forming stains around my armpits and smiled, saying sure that would be just fine... it wasn't until we were out inspecting the car with his co-worker that my boy began to get the feeling something was amiss, i believe his co-worker, who was looking at me in what one would call a horrified manner, was whispering to him that the aroma coming from my direction was not after-shave and that he was about to let someone who still smelled legally drunk and most likely under the influence of narcotics drive off the lot in a rather new Crown Vic... another five minutes and i smiled as i took the keys from his hand, opened the door of the car, rolled the windows down and cranked the AC up and headed back over the Rt. 50 bridge...

So as our hero rolled back over the Rt. 50 Bridge and towards that cesspool of downtown OCMD we might ask ourselves as David Byrne once did, how did we get here? and the honest answer would be i don't fucking know but i did know, sometimes late in the summer exhausted and staring at the ceiling and listening to the gulls and the traffic and the random drunks screaming for their mothers it would come creeping in, this life was a fucking mess at the moment but that didn't seem to phase me, shit turns you know but at the moment? well it was a fucking mess, after dropping out of grad school and at one point being down to my last four bucks, finding out the building i was living in was condemned, having numb-nut neighbors attracting the attention of John Q. Law, which wasn't all that hard to attract with a bunch of over-zealous work study criminal justice majors all with painful hard-ons to kick ass and almost giddy to use their clubs-pepper spray-handcuffs-sucker punches on any summer local they could collar, a relationship falling apart, a cat getting lost (and then found after a 16 hour work day), one concussion, a cast of roommates doing their best to make sure i never spoke to them again, hell it was damn near the perfect plate of shit sandwiches, working like mad just to get my head above water, so even though the pad was paid up until Labor Day i jumped at the chance to move down to 2nd St. near the bay just for some fucking sanity, even if i had to pay rent again...

But let's not start the violins just yet, you see that move was brilliant and refreshing, it was a bit of a fresh start, i knew i wouldn't be there long but i had a room and it was quiet, i worked with the new roomie and he liked to get as fucked up as i did, i had spent most of the summer gobbling acid and drinking and smoking dope, i worked that way, of course one advantage was the Fry Hut damn near encouraged drinking, it being the closest thing to a factory job you could ever get on a boardwalk, surrounded by cookers and fryers and sweating out the booze every other hour and paid for the one in between which when it was the evening shift was spent at the bar drinking and playing foosball and during the day was spent reading or sleeping or at the bar drinking and playing foosball, it was a simple life and yet it seemed all the people around me were making it complicated, i obviously had nothing to do with it, i spent the few off hours i had typing out short stories on an old electric typewriter, somehow producing page after page of drivel and heartache and insanity, i typed out shitty poems, then i moved into this new room and set the typer on a chest and gazed out the window at the Big Assawoman and typed some more when i had the chance...

Still, let's be honest, even reading it now i'm a little surprised i navigated my way through, you see it's at this new place i met a kindred spirit, a friend of the new roomie's, and he'd come down on weekends with his girl and we took to having long booze and ganja filled conversations about all kinds of shit, music and art and the like, i mentioned my appreciation of one William S. Burroughs and he mentioned he could score, i told him that would be swell and the next weekend i took a walk in the park but never actually left my room, just another bad habit to add to an ever growing list but this one actually made me adhere to a regimen, there were rules and no matter how much i wanted to break them i knew not to, i had the utmost respect for Mr. Brownstone and at one point i had to lecture my new friend on the dangers of every day use, which was funny coming from a guy who only sobered up every few days just to indulge in the same, until of course i figured out how to mix and match and get even more out of my head, a few weeks shy of 25 it's amazing how invincible one can believe they are... but there i was and the summer was winding down and things just kept on getting stranger...

I was vaguely aware that my career as a migrant tourism service worker was coming to it's end, it was my fourth season and it was cruel and punishing and yet it seemed at times as such a sweet, dirty and beautiful existence, hand to mouth, working months on end without a day off and yet still finding the time to write and drink and trip and fuck... and as i stared down the end of August and everything after (see old post of said title) i continued dropping quarters in the jukebox, one night being asked point blank "if i liked to eat pussy" and myself nodding and the woman standing there asking me if i'd like another drink cuz if i like to eat pussy she'd love to take me home but to not tell her friend who had some sort of school girl crush on me and what could i do but shrug and smile, there were the nights in my dimly lit apartment, pinned out and listening to the birds on the bay, music playing softly behind me, my bottle of water leaving wet rings on the floor, there was a visit from the letter writer and an injection of passion into an exhausted man-child to help him stumble towards the finish line, an all-nighter as the boys of the Fry Hut said their goodbyes, a night of powder and pills and grass and liquor, a night spent shooting the shit until the sun came up and some of us went straight to work and a few lucky ones slept away the heat of the day... and then the last night, the night they took Captain Cock to the psych ward while i sat doing bumps and drinking Jager and beer, i should have probably ended up in the hospital but instead i wandered the alleys toward my place, stopping occasionally to spit up, gazing up towards the lights and sounds of the boardwalk and then it all faded to black...

That morning i woke up in my room with my bags all packed and my trunk locked, there was a pounding at the door and a friendly old eastern shore geezer stood there asking if El Kono was here cuz he was here to pick him up, seems he had rented a car, i squinted and smiled and said i'd be out in a minute, in the bathroom i threw some water on my face and chuckled and then made my way down the wooden steps, past where i tried to woo the girl who threaded hair and reminded me of Audrey (see the post Marriage Proposal) and towards the mini-van which would take me across the Rt. 50 bridge heading west for the second to last time, just a day shy of my 25th birthday, how the world was my fucking oyster...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Interloodz

I've always loved quiet bars, a gray day and some time in the pub, preferably with a few windows to gaze out of and traffic to watch and a killer fucking jukebox if the need strikes... these days i love the fucking lounge cuz it's quite like my favorite dives, it's quiet and empty and allows me the room to think, no need to answer comments (there aren't any), no need to worry about an audience or offending, not that i ever did anyway, it's just funny when i stroll through the vast wasteland that is the blogosphere that i see the games that are played, i've seen places with so many comments (hundreds) and the author answering back that i'm amazed they have time to write anything at all, comments are for the ego, talent just sits and fucking does shit, fuck the reward, unless someone wants to give me some money of course, i can always use that, there's always a beer to be drunk or gear to be scored and i don't give a fuck, and what my imaginary friend are you smirking at? my claim of talent? well hell fucking yes, if i don't believe who's gonna but i make believers every now and then cuz i can spin a good yarn, a bit like this motherfucker, another Ohioan who talks shit and writes songs and plays guitar and fucking does his thing and isn't worried about being polite or politically correct and if you don't like it he don' give a fuck, me neither, these the fucking rules man, like fuck the MFA's and slam poetry is dogshit perpetrated by hacks who can't rap or write poesy and do i give a shit what you think or if you think or why you think? fuck no, as Hank said this ain't about entertaining you it's about entertaining me and while i'm at it fuck Hank too, he knew as much as i do that he was blowing smoke and perpetuating his own myth but then again ain't that what this writing gig is all about? i'm just here to document the shit, i'm here to leave a record that no one will find or read and if someone does than so be it, i hope they enjoy it, maybe they'll get a good laugh or break down and cry, maybe they'll be indifferent or think it's the worst fucking atrocity put upon mankind since the atomic bomb, what's the difference?, there is none son and so i'll just keep on with it, walking and talking and grinning with a quick and wicked right uppercut, truth and justice and talent and fame are all just words, words used to often by hacks like you and me and your mom and your aunt and the slam poets and the MFA's but in the end they don't mean shit, they are defined by white-haired old men in gray pinstripe suits and their language is not mine, their paradigm's are not mine, their society is not mine, their truth and justice and talent and fame and slam poets and MFAs are not mine, nothing is mine but this space and this time and i intend to use it whichever way i see fit, be it cock in hand or finger in the nose, smoke rising towards the ceiling and a garbage can full of false starts and empties... and now that the Guinness has settled sweetly into the glass i'm off, to stare at the traffic and the years, to think that i was in a bar when OJ drove down the highway, that i was in a bar when Princess Diana drove into a tunnel, that i was in a bar when my nephew was born a few months to early, that i was scoring on my birthday circa 2001, that i was fucking in the backseat of a Mercury the night my family dissolved, that i was drunk in the blizzard of '93, drunk when she unbuckled my belt and unzipped my fly and led me down to a stained and soiled mattress, that i was hungover the day my son was born, that they are all just days upon days upon days upon days and there is no use in counting only living it as hard and as fast and as long as i can pull it off... and now the Guinness has settled sweetly into the glass i'm off but you know cuz i've already said so, off to read more Gombrowicz and Knausgaard and Steinbeck and Mutis and Burroughs and Bolano, off to do nothing and everything but mainly off to enjoy this drink and this toke and not give a fuck about the rising tides or the setting suns...