Friday, January 21, 2022

Thinking about Pops on what would have been his 78th Birthday


 Four years... like a World Cup cycle, that's how long it has been since Pops died. He even left this place in a World Cup year so his futbol loving son could keep track easier. In fact his futbol loving son loved the footie so much that Pops had actually begun to start watching the game the last few years of his life and talked about how much he enjoyed it. I remember explaining the offside rule to him as he sat and listened in his usual intent way. The man was the smartest person i've ever known and that's saying something cuz i know some wicked smart people, The Kid and Gulfboot come to mind first and foremost, and better yet i was lottery lucky because he was my dad and i got to talk to him extensively. It's the one thing i miss most, our conversations. 

The boyos and i got to spend his last birthday with him. Along with my sis and her family Pops got to have a lunch with his grandsons and children. I remember watching him, the smile on his face as he looked around the table, he was a man who was happy and at peace, who understood what was coming and wasn't all that worried about it. This was before the The Longest Day, before we knew how final this birthday would be. At first this day used to sting, like a stiff left jab, now i've learned to duck that jab, to smile as it wizzes by my head, there is no sting anymore just a joy that i got to spend the time i did with him. I've written before how my father's illness and death has taught me extensively about living and also how to die... so to honor him i live, to the best of my ability, though i'm sure Pops would say that i was always pretty good at doing that. And so here we are four years later. 

Seeing, as like my father, i fully believe that western, organized religion is money making scam, bullshit for lack of a better word, some may find it strange that i often talk to my father during the course of the day. Sometimes it's when i make a red light while humping for the bourgeoisie, i'll glance up and whisper "thanks Pops", time being money in the old gig economy. So while i'm not a religious person in any sense of the word i am not devoid of what one may call spirituality, the two are not one and the same as my way is more the philosophical way, the Buddhist or Dudeist way, so to speak. A connection to the natural world and the fact we are in it and of it. So when i look to the sky it's not to Heaven in the western sense but to the moon and the stars, to the trees and rivers and dirt to which we are all from and to which we will all return... and when i do that i always seem to smile because i know my father is everywhere, not in the sense that i knew in his previous incarnation but he's there. Maybe it's my own version of the Jedi Mind Trick or maybe i've eaten enough mushrooms to understand... who's to decide? 

And so on this day i will celebrate Pops, i'll get a chocolate bar (non psychedelic), i'll eat a pastry, i'll get myself a cheeseburger, all things i know my father enjoyed. I'll look at his grandsons, the boyos, and know how thrilled he was with them, how much he loved those boyos. I'll remember what he said in those last months of his life, "don't worry about me, i'll be dead, take care of those boys and be nice to your mother." And i have been and i have done. So Happy Birthday Pops! wherever you or whatever you may be... 

love, your son 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Starman

 On any given night one could find me standing in the dark, positioned somewhere in the cul de sac, gazing upwards at the blue-black sky, trying to sort out the constellations, the glistening planets, pondering the immensity of the universe and understanding that i am nothing, a bag of stardust assembled for the time being with a couple of legs and arms, some fingers and toes, and mind that floats aimlessly in my skull, a pink blob that we know next to nothing about and which many of my fellow humans spend most of their lives wasting and ignoring and never really properly using... at least in my humble and ignorant opinion... i gaze at these stars and think and wonder and it reminds me that all of this ephemera around me is nothing more than window dressing for the rubbish of modern life... i watch how these stars move in the night... or more correctly how my tiny orb moves and thus moves them in my field of vision until slowly, one by one, they begin to disappear until the closest of those stars peaks it's orange and red head above the eastern sky... the squares would say i smoke too much dope and am a bit too fond of psychedelics, in particular those little bits of fungi which Terence once postulated may have been dropped here by some intelligent form of being passing through the cosmos... and since our lives are made of the myths we make i tend to like this myth for my life... 

And so this December i was struck one dark night at the three stars in a perfect diagonal line, what turned out to be three planets, going right to left and ascending from Venus, which was the lowest, followed by Saturn which was the faintest of the three, and then Jupiter glowing brilliantly at the top. I used the computer i keep in my pocket to look up what they might be, using that internet and a compass to figure out what they were. I've always been a half ass astronomer, hell i've always been a half ass everything, see painter, poet, lumpen-prole and what have you... but i was delighted at this discovery, so thrilled to see these planets that after picking Disaster up from a b-ball game i dragged him to the side of the house to show him. The youngest boyo was actually quite keen to see them even though he downplayed his interest in his father's new bit of knowledge but we began talking about the stars and how it was once how humans navigated the globe, planted their crops, harvested those same crops, and generally based their lives around the movements of these celestial bodies. Since Disaster seemed interested in the topic i told him he should ask for a telescope for Chrimbo... Disaster then did a few calculations in his head and decided he wasn't sure that would make his list and that was that... 

And so we fast forward to Chrimbo morning, the boyos opening their gifts, a pile which the Breadwinner seems to take great pride in though sometimes it's just junk for them to open. Some strange tradition she started and let the oldest boyo fuel by insisting they have X amount every year. I, on the other hand, feel that there shouldn't be that many and maybe the ones that are there should be more, useful/meaningful? if that makes sense or possibly they should be things to do instead of get but we all know that i'm a bit odd when it comes to these "normal" type things that this culture and society foists on us. 

Things were rolling along as usual when the Breadwinner looked at Disaster and asked if he wanted to give me my gift. I as a bit surprised because we don't usually get gifts (we parental types that is), definitely not for each other but once the boyos were out of elementary school where each year there was a little store and they'd buy gifts for their parents, grandparents, what have you, gifts i always enjoyed because they displayed the thought process of the child, things like bouncy balls and excellent coffee mugs (which i still use almost daily), i was a bit baffled as to what it could be. Apparently Disaster was adamant about getting this thing and he would not settle for a cheap one either... i had no idea what it could be when he handed me a small box, the Breadwinner then stating that the actual gift hadn't arrived yet but that this was a picture of it and that it should be here soon... and so i opened the box, Disaster watching me intently, and what should i find inside? It was a picture of a telescope. I let out a little laugh and saw Disaster smiling at me. 

As the story was relayed back to me, Disaster had walked up to his mother and told her he wanted to get me a telescope for Chrimbo, he felt that i really wanted one which is why i suggested he get one but that i would use it more than he would. They then set about looking for one but Disaster insisted that it be a good one and so the Breadwinner, in a shocking move, shelled out a couple hundred bones on one at the insistence of her youngest son. Disaster actually picked it out and was quite pleased with his selection and was even more pleased with his old man's reaction as i was well stoked. A few days later it arrived and i'm now in the process of putting it together so that soon i'll be able to be even more the weird suburban eccentric who sits around in a dark cul de sac with his telescope pointed in various directions so that i can figure what is what and ponder the celestial bodies, pondering things being one of, if not my most favorite pastimes. 

If there is one thing i've tried to teach the boyos it's that you never stop learning, you're never to old to learn something new, to discover a new vein of knowledge and how that new vein can be incorporated with the other things you've learned. Their old man with his vast array of interests and useless info is always rambling on about things, mainly to himself but sometimes out loud or i'll stop and tell them these strange pieces of information or my whacked out theories on things and it's always interesting to see their reactions. Sometimes they could give a fuck and sometimes they start asking questions, sometimes it may be a day or two later when they mention something about what i had rambled on about before, no matter, it always brings a grin to my mug knowing that if nothing else i'm making them think about the universe which is the best gift i could give to them, much more valuable than any trinket... 

Soon i'll have my new telescope put together, i'm sure i'll annoy and intrigue the boyos with my discoveries, i'll bug them as i badger them to come out and look up at some new constellation i've just worked out, my strange fascination with useless pieces of info, to say it's one of the best gifts i've ever gotten would be an understatement, not for what it is but for the reasons behind it. And yes it's not an accident that this was posted today... because, well, you know... 




Monday, December 27, 2021

The Wilderness Years - Veronica - an Ending, an Epilogue pt. 2

 The term shit heel is not one i bandy about lightly but it can be used to describe my behavior on numerous occasions throughout my life. Of course shit heel differs from asshole or even raging asshole which are two more descriptions that could be aptly used to describe my actions at times. I am far from the bastion of ethical and moral righteousness and about the only redeeming part of this is the fact that i'm at least aware of the level of complete bastard that i am capable of being. Ah but karma has a funny way of evening the score and right about the time one thinks they might be winning there comes a resounding kick in the balls to bring one back to the terra firma. Which leads us to the last time i actually saw Veronica before she packed up her things and headed west. 

It was early doors as they say, in the poisoned union that El Kono somehow willingly joined. How do we know this? Well without giving it away i was still wearing the ring the i had slipped on a few weeks before and which i would take off a few weeks later never to be put back on. To say i don't believe in archaic institutions all while subjecting myself to archaic institutions sums up the conundrum that is my existence, an existence filled with such conundrums which makes me much like everyone else walking the streets. And so when it came to my attention that the date was set and Veronica would be leaving the city i made my way to the place she was bartending at the time. It was a Mexican restaurant located on the second floor above a some designer boutiques in the swanky section of the city. Oddly enough it was the same neighborhood i'd lived in during our London expedition. In fact i had only recently left that hood for one less swanky but with a flat three times the size of my old place. A proper flat with a sunroom for the cats, a couple bedrooms, one of those long, old city cribs where one could be in the front of the place and be completely separate from what was going on in the back. 

It was early in the week as i walked up the steps to the Mexican restaurant, my boy tagging along to hang and shoot the shit once i had paid my visit. On entering the place it was virtually empty, well not virtually empty it was empty except for Veronica, the kitchen staff and a lonely and bored waiter who sat in the corner twiddling his thumbs. There was a look of surprise on her face followed by a wry smile, the reception wasn't exactly cold but it was far from warm and she very professionally asked, what would you gentleman like to drink? I ordered a Dos Equis for myself, a High Life for my friend and sat back and watched her move elegantly and easily behind the bar. In the couple of years since we had met she'd come a long way and now she was an excellent bartender and i for one love and excellent bartender. It's an underappreciated skill and though she was only grabbing and opening beers one could tell she was at ease behind the wood. Having watched her before she was charming and witty and her smile could disarm gangster and cop alike. 

She set the beers down and leaned against the back bar, arms folded, shelves filled with expensive tequila and high end liquor. So, she said, what's new with you? the sarcasm fairly dripping from each word. I could tell this was not going to go the way i thought... and how did i think it was going to go? Of course being the kingpin i was used to everyone basically kissing my ass, not that i expected her to but as i said what did i expect? Some sort of congratulations on my (disastrous) nuptials? Did i think she was going to haul me back to the bathroom, lock the door and fuck me? I was a fucking idiot. There was me and my wants and needs and then there was the rest of the world and i was still not that interested in what the rest of the world fucking wanted or needed. And so i put on my best grin and said, Oh not too much, you know the usual. She quickly shot back, oh yeah just the usual huh? I shrugged. She turned and tapped a cigarette out of her pack, lit it and somewhat glared at me. 

We sat there for a minute, eyes locked on each other as if we were kids in a stare down, she looked away, i gazed into my beer as if somewhere in the bottle there were answers. So i heard you got married, she spat out, her eyes drilling into me. Yeah, i said, i did. Well then congratulations she said, each word a knife being thrown in my direction. Good for you, her eyes boring into me. Of course i wasn't smart enough to just accept the fact this news, me being here, hurt this woman. I had to be the fucking prick and so i went on the offensive. Yeah it was a great fucking time, bartenders said they'd never seen such a pack of maniacs, practically drank them out of booze, said they'd never made so much in tips. Wanna see the ring? Not really, she said. Too bad i shot back and put my hand on the bar so she could see it. Her eyes were welling as she looked at me and then she turned around and made herself busy behind the bar. There was silence. The only noise the low hum of the Mexican music being played in the background. She locked the register and slipped away towards the bathroom. 

When she came back out she was her composed self again. Would you gentleman like another round? I looked at my friend who had been stuck suffering through this whole scene. I guess? he mumbled. Yeah, two more i said and laid down a $50. She grabbed the beer and set them on the bar along with my change. She walked to the other end of the bar where there was a stool at the end for the bartenders on slow nights, she sat down, lit a cigarette and started scanning the weekly free paper, the fact it was already a week old told me all i needed to know. I believe i had bumped my rating from shit heel to asshole... because i was one. Can i sit here and say i loved this girl? I don't know. Can i sit here and say i did not? No i can't. In those wee hours i spent staring at the ceiling i knew that i did but i was too wrapped up in the game. Now the game was over but i was not the grand master at this game of chess i thought i was as i now had myself boxed in. In order to be with her would be to upset so many apple carts the floor would be applesauce in a matter of minutes. Unbeknown to me i was most likely the most fucked man in the city... and i deserved to be. 

When we finished our beers i looked at my buddy and motioned that we should get out of here. As i looked down the bar at Veronica as she sat there reading the paper, lost in her thoughts, most likely wishing i would leave. That thought stung more than i'd ever let on. We stood up from our stools and she looked up. Finished? she asked. Yes, i said. She walked over and tossed the bottles into the bin and began wiping the bar. I stopped and watched her. My friend said he'd be outside and walked down the steps to the street. We stood looking at each other, the bar like an ocean in between us. I fidgeted a bit, i guess this is it then, huh. Yeah, she said, i guess it is. We both stood looking for the words. Finally i said, i hope California is everything you hoped for... i hope to see you on some movie poster someday so i can smile and say "i took that girl to England". For a second a smile flitted across her beautiful face. Good luck i said... and take care of yourself... the world can be a big bad place you know, i grinned, but i think you'll be able to handle it. She looked at me with those doe eyes and said, take care of yourself too. Goodbye Kono she said. Goodbye Veronica, my hushed voice giving away my feelings. 

I turned and walked towards the steps as she pretended to busy herself behind the bar. At the top of the stairwell i turned and watched her. She was fucking gorgeous, moving gracefully, an otherworldly elegance about her, i soaked her in, she didn't realize i was watching when she stopped, put her hands on the back bar and let out a deep sigh, as she turned she wiped at her eyes when she realized i was still there. We didn't say anything, i smiled at her, a smile filled with sadness, she smiled back... i blew her a kiss and drank her in like a man who knew he'd never find water again... then i went down the steps... she never saw me wipe at my own eyes... to be cont.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Wilderness Years - Veronica -- an Ending, an Epilogue pt.1

 The story of the King of North Oakland has many threads and sometimes it is necessary to tie it all together even if it means skipping ahead a bit... and so it goes that we come to wrap up the tale of Veronica. 

After the Night of Broken Plans, that infamous night where instead of going back to Veronica's i ended up on the other side of town in the bed of a different dancer at the club, Veronica and i did our best to somewhat avoid each other but the facts were we would occasionally cross paths, we ran in overlapping circles, we frequented common dive bars, we lived in the same neighborhood and there was never any shortage of people wanting to pass me info on what she was up to and i'm sure she was afforded the same when it came to my endeavors. We gave each other space... we had to... because when we ended up in the same room or bar or wherever there was a palpable hurt that would creep in, the thoughts of what could have and should have been and the reality of what was. We were both adept at keeping our poker faces firmly in place but there were those fleeting moments when the real feelings would flicker across our faces. There were times after the demise of our relationship where i'd see her from across the bar and her eyes would devastate me. 

There were a few occasions when we ended up at that little corner bar that i worked out of and i almost wonder if she didn't wander in on those Tuesday nights, alone, some time after 10 usually, knowing i'd be sitting there winding down from another night of business, the bar empty except for a few stray drinkers, a population of drunks you could count on one hand, including the bartender. She'd slip in the door and immediately smile at me, i'd smile back and motion for her to sit down on the stool next to me or we'd move to the end of the bar where we could talk. There were always a lot of ears around and being a ranking hood the less information out there about what i was up to or who i was seeing the better. Veronica knew i was still seeing Red (but that's a story for a different post) and of course i still lived with the Waitress. Nothing much had changed in my world except i had expanded even more, safe houses to stash weed and cash because i didn't want it all at my own. 

On these few nights we'd sit and talk like ex-lovers do, ex-lovers who never got a proper ending, who never got to see what could have been but both who had ideas in our heads, ideas both beautiful and  melancholy at the fact they faded more and more each passing day, week, month. And still it was all because my true mistress was the game, was hustling. There was a rush every time i pulled another successful run, walking up the steps with duffle bags packed with pounds of grass. There was a rush on those busy days/nights when i'd count the money, making bundles of $1000 and tossing them into the safe, it was a junkie's fix and probably just as dangerous, maybe even more so. 

We were sitting at the Little Corner Bar one Tuesday, near the door, it was darker there and there were colored lights strung above us. She told me that she was saving money, that she was getting ready to move to L.A. as soon as she had saved enough because she wanted to be an actress. I think she could see the concern on my face because though i had no firsthand knowledge of what the scene was out there from everything i had gleaned it was a meat grinder that made the strip club look like a kindergarten class. I didn't say it but my first thought was that she was going to end up in porn films, another wannabe actress who tried to make it but after a myriad of failed auditions finally takes a job to make some cash and then it's a quick descent. I was worried. I was worried because i cared and i did my best to somewhat gently talk her out of it and then she said something that about knocked me off my stool. 

Why don't you come with me? she said. I looked at her stunned and smiled. I'm not kidding, she continued, i've been thinking about it and i think you should. Get away from this, get away from dealing, come away with me. You'd love it out there, you could make connections and write, you could write scripts, we could get a place. To say i was fucking gobsmacked would be an understatement. I sat and listened in stunned silence until finally i sputtered, what about Franco? She was looking me dead in the eyes... Honestly? she said, he's never been more than a friend really, he's a boy nothing more, you're a man and i want my man, she smiled at me, to move to Los Angeles with me. I know you'd have a lot to take care of but at least think about it. 

I didn't realize it but throughout her whole pitch she was holding my hand. When she let go i took a long pull from my beer and lit a cigarette, the swanky Dunhills i was so fond of, i needed it. She took my pack off the bar and took one out, i leaned in lit it for her. Another drink? i asked. Yes darling she smiled. So there we sat, i let her talk and she told me all about her plans. She was tired of this little city and wanted to see more. This girl from a dying oil town in northwest Pennsyltucky was now setting her sights on the big time. It wasn't going to happen overnight and she explained she was shooting to move within the next year if it all went according to plan. Somehow i thought it would probably not go according to plan but i kept my mouth shut. Instead i sat back and basked her glow as she dreamed her way to La-la-land, her name in lights, she was a different person than the girl i had first seen step on stage like a newborn fawn somewhat awkwardly dancing for dollar bills. There was a confidence and self-assurance that had always been there but now was in full bloom. Nothing was going to stop her... and she wanted me to be there with her... to be cont. 



Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Mushroom Diaries - Vol. 15-18

 There is a new rage these days in Mushroomland, it seems some enterprising band of wastoids have figured out a way to extract the psilocybin from the boomer and infuse it into chocolates. It really is a wonder of human ingenuity and these little chocolates come in swanky psychedelic packages, 3.5 grams each and in what looks like six pie slices with each slice containing .58 grams of psilo-goodness which makes it really quite easy to monitor the dose. Of course i could monitor the dose of the regular boomers if i had a slightly better scale but i don't and so i while i have a good idea i'm never exactly sure how much i've taken until it's too late... relatively speaking as i can honestly say i've never taken to many boomers at one time, if anything i undershoot but hey man it all works out in the end right? 

So while these chocolates are quite fun and cut down on the shit taste of the mushrooms a good deal i still seem to get a slight hint of the taste compounded with the fact the chocolate isn't exactly the most delicious in the world and tends to veer towards the dark chocolate side and i am most definitely a milk chocolate kind of guy. Fret not though as i can make exceptions especially when it involves my psychedelic wanderings that tend to take place in my one little room. And while i enjoy these chocolates and their ability to gage the dose one might call me a purist as i still love the the good old fashioned fungi. I take some sort of perverse pleasure in choking down my shrooms covered in peanut butter or ground up and swallowed down with water, the whole time stifling the sensation to gag or toss them all back up and into the toilet. The truth is though these little chocolates make it really easy to dose and hence my backlog of missives on my inner journeys... hell this week alone i ate them twice... Wednesday and Saturday... yes Major Tom i've really made the grade and i think my spaceship knows which way to go... i think...

These days my adventures have been a little different though somewhat the same. I realized i was in a strange pattern of tripping on the couch and watching/listening to the same music videos over and over so i made a decision to vary the routine. I still start off by watching and listening to the music by i've begun turning the telly off much earlier and going full dark room, maybe a little music on my phone at times but for the most part just the relative silence of the world, relative because is the world ever really silent? I call it organic noise. Doing this has led me to a number of revelations, epiphanies, old and forgotten memories, that come bubbling up from the mire of a place we know little about but exists somewhere between the inner workings of my grey matter and the universe at large... or to put it more bluntly, i have no fucking idea where it comes from but it is there and it is my existence or the remnants thereof. 

It really is amazing what happens in the darkness, when one shuts out all the external static of the telly, the internet, of the electronic bombardment that is constantly upon us, to disconnect and listen to nothing but the sound drifting in from outside, the inhale and exhale of my own lungs, to hear the faint rhythm of my heart, to hear the cats walk gently by, to listen to what amounts to a roar from the furnace followed by the quiet calm. It's fucking lovely. Sometimes i'll wander to the front door and gaze out at the stars, my hands against the coolness of the window, my feet gliding along the tiled floor. While there are many thoughts of the boyos and Pops that drift in and out there are also thoughts of the women i've known, the brilliant ones, the brief dalliances, some i haven't thought about in years but then there they are, smiling and drifting through a mental landscape, the places and times so vivid it's stunning and other times the images flicker like an old black and white television, there are times when there is a collective WOW! of the mind and what one recalls, the memories of what seem like past lives but are really the same one i've been living. 

And then there was one night. I didn't even actually notice at first but there were tears rolling down my face as i stared at the ceiling and mused on the mess of this domestic disaster. At one point had it not been somewhere after 2AM i contemplated walking up the steps and apologizing to the Breadwinner, for the sheer catastrophe of this so called union, for not having the guts or balls or strength to break it off before it got to the point where it involved other lives, lives of the two people i love most, to explain that i wasn't trying to be a cold and aloof prick but that it was more a defense mechanism, a way to cope with the shit show this relationship had turned into, basically to acknowledge my very large part in the way this had turned out. Some day the Wilderness Years will get into the early stages of the official portion of this union and the fact that instead of getting married we should have been splitting up. That is the cold hard truth which the facts will bare out. In the end my mind slowly walked off into somewhere else though the thoughts stuck with me. 

There was also many instances of the beautiful nothingness that i've come to relish on these little excursions, these moments when i drift in and out of consciousness, where i'm there and i'm not, where i feel/realize i'm just another wave of energy among all the waves of energy that are floating about the universe, where i've come to feel that this is what leaving the physical part feels like, this utterly gorgeous and beautiful wave that rises and falls and how there is really nothing more to do but enjoy it, to ride it and not worry about what comes next... because there is nothing to worry about... the plants and fungi of the world could save this human shit show if only the humans were smart enough to listen... but these days humanity is not one to listen, it likes to yell... at anything and everything but mostly to hear it's own voice... 




 



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Raskolnikov's Blues '21

 On many days i wake up to a dark house, flip on the coffeemaker which i have prepared the night before, then slip off into a quiet room and read a few pages of one Eduardo Galeano, more than a cup of coffee Eduardo is an excellent catalyst to kickstart the brain, to get me thinking early in the morning so that i do not spend the rest of my lumpen-prole work day like a mindless drone thinking about nothing more than consuming, instead i wander the world of the gig economy pondering just how fucked we are as a species and even more so as a culture and society here in the land of milk and honey. 

Over the last few years my reading in certain subject areas has become more intense and while i was always one to question the hegemony now one could say i'm openly defiant (in truth i've problably always have been). Not of course when it comes to things like science, i'm not a fucking idiot, and while i understand that mankind has used science for some rather nefarious purposes over the years it's also used science to advance and save as many people as possible. Hence why i laugh at the ones bamboozled by certain dis-information outlets who prey on the stupid and weak-minded, those to lazy or apathetic to read and research on their own. If one stands back and looks at the number of things people do that are in direct opposition to their own well-being, in direct opposition to their own interests, then one might choose to opine to their chosen deity for that giant space rock to come flying in and do the business like it did to the dinosaurs we now pump frantically out of the ground. The fact that more people put their trust and faith in ghosts and myths than in the science is fucking frightening. It seems theses same fools only seem to trust science when it appears that said illness has given them a grade A chance to meet that chosen deity up close and personal. You'd think that with all the prattling on these muppets do they'd be more than happy to not clog up the ERs and ICUs of the world while skipping happily into oblivion which they believe means playing lutes on fluffy clouds. 

I'll be the first one to admit that sometimes i am overwhelmed by the pointlessness and inanity of modern existence. All this knowledge and ability to create, to invent, to solve problems yet most of humanity is too busy just trying to survive, to busy scraping and clawing for food and shelter while a miniscule percentage hoard money and build rocket ships, when i sit back and think of all the brilliance that has been wasted because our culture doesn't cultivate or encourage it, it doesn't want citizens critically thinking and asking difficult questions, it doesn't want a populace to be actively engaged, it wants one to be engaged when told to be, it wants proper serfs who do what they're told when they're told. The Masters like to dangle carrots, they want you running around in the few spare "free" hours you have off work searching for a PS5 and not dwelling on the fact a bunch of "elected" officials act like children and believe their wealth and power is some divine right and that we should just go about our business as they line their pockets and those of their uber-wealthy masters while fucking the lumpen-proles squarely in the ass. The Masters use chaos to sow division in order to keep the minions distracted. If i have to suffer through one more news clip of a Karen or Carlson bleating on about freedom because someone asked them (or their children) to put a mask on my fucking head's going to explode. They wouldn't understand the responsibility of a free populace if it was a gigantic fucking cheeseburger that fell out of the sky and clocked them in the head. Their idea of freedom is they get to do whatever they want when they want and fuck you if you don't like it. They confuse freedom with being a selfish asshole. 

And so i read Galeano... i read James Baldwin and Henry Miller... i read Fromm and Watts and Arendt... i read Huxley and Wilson and McKenna ... i read Chris Hedges and Timothy Snyder... and i read Vonnegut and Carson McCullers and Steinbeck. I read to try and understand, i read to remember humanity is capable of brilliant and beautiful things that don't involve the accumulation of wealth. I read because i'm ultimately interested in the stories we tell and the things we feel in a society and culture which increasingly devalues those very things while trying to sell you those very things... i mean why actually feel and think organically when you can buy a facsimile of the same thing and it's much easier? It's like liposuction for the soul, feel good without all the hard work and thinking, will that be cash or charge? 

As i skip towards the void i realize i know less now than i ever did... i understand i have to navigate the world with an artist's eyes and as Mr. Baldwin says the artist is in perpetual exile and nowhere more than in good old America...  and like Buk once eloquently stated i have a bluebird in my soul and i keep him there to remind me of the beauty, i don't let people know because we all must wear protective armor in the land of milk and honey, a cultivated facade of toughness to ward off the barbaric hoards of idiocy and indifference to knowledge and the natural world. I'll eat my mushrooms and lay in the dark. I'll imbibe the cannabis plant in various ways in order to ponder the meaning of things. I'll watch the grass grow and listen to the leaves twist in the breeze, i'll gaze on the night stars as they sparkle and understand just how vast the universe is and how insignificant i am in the grander scheme of things... i'll do my best to love the boyos and those i know unconditionally and to the best of my ability knowing that that's all there really is to this existence thing, the rest is a dog and pony show financed by the the masters of war, the chemical and industrial complex, those who value power and greed more than beauty and love. 

There are times when i feel this weight of an incredible sadness... and then one of the boyos will walk by and hug me or sit down and talk and i understand that what matters is an attempt to live a decent and compassionate existence and hopefully instill that into the boyos. The sadness is always lingering because deep down i know as a species we're fucked. We won't solve the important problems (like saving the planet we live on) because that would cut into profits and profits are more important to the masters than anything else. If you kick the can down the road far enough sooner or later you kick it right off a cliff and then we are proper fucked... we may be there already. Most of us will be gone by the time the shit really comes down but it will be a sad state to say that one species on a planet of millions of species put itself ahead of all others and did a fine job of destroying everything in it's wake. Any advancement or knowledge will be lost but then again no intelligent life would ever look at this place as a blueprint for success. I mean what type of animal willfully drives itself towards it's own extinction? 

In the end all these little words will disintegrate like everything else in the universe... they will collapse in on themselves and be washed into the void along with me and everyone i know and love. It's as it should be. These words are nothing more than a way to get through a day or month or year, they are a history of a common and unremarkable man trying to make sense of things and will be lost to eternity as soon as the power grid fails... and why shouldn't they be? In the meantime i'll continue puttering away in my little corner of the interweb universe... for whatever it may be worth... which is most likely nothing... which is just how it should be. 



Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Wilderness Years - Ascending the Throne

Looking back through the lens of memory and time if there was ever a point where the soul had been corrupted absolutely it was probably right about here. This was hood famous rock star shit at this point with strippers bickering over who gets first crack at the ranking hood. I stood in the morning light of my apartment and gazed out at the cold street, drinking coffee and laughing at my dumb luck, high on the adrenaline rush of the night before. The King of North Oakland was a cad. In my mind i was ruminating, justifying my actions, and yes there were these pangs of hurt when i thought of Veronica but in the next second i was thinking, "fuck her", she could have stayed the course and we could have kept on until i had sorted something out. Granted i most likely wasn't going to sort fuck all out but that didn't matter to me, i was the entitled Kono, a prick for lack of a better term, i let the girl i was in love with walk right out the door and never raised a finger to stop her. Instead i went home her with her co-worker and fucked. There were my wants and whims and then there was the rest of the world and i wasn't all that fucking concerned with the rest of the world. If i trampled feelings or upset the delicate sensibilities of the minions i didn't fucking care, i was The Man goddamit! and The Man gets what The Man wants. 

Our hero here was drifting into dangerous ground at this juncture. I was running the show at a money printing factory. From Stiv to the Billy Goat to Ginger Mike to the many nickel-dimers, i was the key, the lynchpin that held the thing together. I may have come across as down to Earth but as things went on i wielded my power a bit more. If you pissed and moaned you were cut off, it was that simple, especially if you weren't one of the Weight Crew. Of course the Billy Goat was a continuing pain in my ass, always short with the money and needing more product and forever showing up at my door with another lame-brained scheme designed to make him money. I wasn't all that concerned if he made jack shit as long as i was making mine but some of his schemes were so fucking ridiculous it was difficult to fathom his stupidity... but more on that later. 

Sitting there on that X-mas eve basking in the glow of another conquest i wondered what i should do? I was restless but that was just because of the events of the night before, yet it would be damn nice to not have to leave my apartment today, to maybe even shut off the phone. I knew there were a few bars open but with the my building pretty much empty except for me i could lay around on the couch all day eating pizza and smoking weed. At this point i didn't smoke that much any more due to the paranoia that would creep in when i did. When the realization that you i had a felony sitting in a trunk in a bedroom sunk in it tended to wear on the nerves. It's why i slept like shit on Tuesdays and Saturdays, i kept a close eye on the papers and knew which days the boys in blue liked to kick in doors and perform their raids... but like a well known poet-cop in my city once said... "we'll never see the good dealers because they're good, if we catch one it's pure luck, luckily for us there are a ton of bad ones to keep us busy." 

And so i sat in my apartment, the cats roaming around, nothing to do and nowhere to go, a day off for the busiest man in East End... except of course i knew that at some point there would be that little flurry of business and i thought about how to handle it. There was a bar within walking distance, one of my locals that looked out for me and i knew from X-mas past that it would be low-key, especially early, and that i could get a few things done, have a pint, then head home to relax. The day was sorted and now i sat back, flipped on the telly and lounged on my couch while the cats all made beds and crashed with me. When the rush finally wore off i drifted off to sleep between the purring of my feline friends and the hum of the television.

 It was somewhere around 3pm when the buzzing of the cell nudged me out of my slumber. I took a few calls from the nickel dimers, it was the kind of shit those in the know were amazed i even did any more. In total i'd move a couple ounces, what was once a few years ago considered a banner day was now almost not worth it. I had ascended the throne. The reality was i could sell nothing but weight, hell i could sell nothing but pounds of grass and still be making a few grand or more a week. Why did i still do this? maybe it was the action or maybe it was staying true to the roots as they say. A lot of my nickel dimers were OG customers and i felt a certain obligation especially since they had remained loyal to me through fat times and the lean. Granted i was quite good at the game and many still marveled at their luck of finding a responsible and courteous dealer guy but really all these little deals were nothing more than me adding to the risk. Fact was i could deal weed in my sleep, these little transactions were nothing and i could sit in certain bars and sling with impunity. It's good to be king. 

So on the birthday eve of the baby Jeebus i sat back and took stock. There comes a point when you realize you're at the top of the mountain. For a street level hood i was there, standing at the summit, my flag firmly planted in the terra firma of North Oakland. As the Fuzz types would tell you the slinging business is a lot more scattered and free agent than the nightly news likes to admit. I was a one man enterprise with gross revenues somewhere around 400K a fucking month... my net was roughly ten percent with the rest being dispersed on down the line. All run out of the bedroom of a second floor apartment. I was a fucking badass and i knew it. I had more money than i knew what to do with, i had women pursuing me, i had clout as the kids today say, i could walk into bars and was treated like royalty, and of course down at a certain club things were just starting to get interesting.. all i didn't have was Veronica and i was doing a good job of convincing myself i didn't need her. Sometimes it's necessary to lie to yourself. 

On the home front things just rolled along as they usually did. There was a routine for the Waitress and i, we'd hang on Wednesday, going out to dinner and what not, Saturday we'd do the same and walk down to the local pub around the corner from our place. Every other night i was usually out running the streets and the Waitress would often tell me that she was lonely. I didn't care... i was hood famous and partying like a rock star.  It was around this time when she asked me if i had to give up the business or her which would it be? I explained i didn't think she wanted me to answer that question. The answer was her. The truth was i was too caught up in my own little world to give a shit about anyone or anything else... and while i came across as a laid back and decent guy i was a fucking bastard, in my mind the sun blazed out of my dirty ass as i was the master of my own little imaginary kingdom. If anything the Waitress provided some stability, some sense of normalcy for someone who did his best to avoid the workaday and "normal" world of the squares. But at this point i was a monster, a big hairy beast trampling through the streets doing whatever came to mind. I was the wolf though i may not exactly been in sheep's clothing.