RIP ornette coleman

he made the world a better place



i woke up with the husker du song “don’t want to know if you’re lonely” in my head even though i’m not a big husker du fan and also that particular song is one of my least favorite song in their “canon” but what are you gonna do? by the time i had fed the beast and started the coffee(had to use a paper towel for a filter even thought i had pointed out to myself yesterday IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that i had better get to fred meyer PRONTO and pick up a new box of coffee filters) i had forgotten the husker du song but then a funny thing happened. when i sat down i decided i’d write about being alone in the apartment for the last week and a half due to the fact that wooks and lenner have been in france(the south first and then gay paree) and was thinking of a song to start the post, something about loneliness, you know? the 1st thing that popped into my head was the lou reed song but then i remembered about the husker song and i wondered if i knew something in the back of my head upon waking which would’ve prompted me to have that song that i don’t like in my head. because i wasn’t planning on getting up at 4:30 and if i did i wasn’t planning on writing so how the fuck could i have pre-picked a song i dislike for a task that i wasn’t going to perform about a topic i hadn’t chosen? this is where cause and effect(affect? this one’s always tricky) become murky, kind of like the chicken and egg thing except involving aspects of presentiment and the interconnectedness of all things, large and small and literary and venal. i had to look up the definition of “venal” just now to see if it fits and it doesn’t really but i’ve decided to let it stand because i kind of like the word, it means “showing or motivated by susceptibility to bribery.” but don’t worry, dear reader, nobody’s paying me a goddam cent to share my thoughts, not even a penny. which i guess is a cent. not yet, anyways(the venality, that is).

so the thing that’s funny is that i lived alone for 10 years before moving in here with the 2 girls(there of course was guzzy, but you know what i mean) and never minded it and in fact was(or so i thought) a person who really needed his “space” and almost didn’t move in here because of it but the fact of the matter is that for all of my previous bluster and worry apparently now that i’ve experienced living with others( in a “family” environment, not sure why that’s in “quotes”) i’d rather not return to my previous ways. i mean after i drove them to the airport i came home and got to work on some pieces and felt pretty good about having all this time to get some work done but that only lasted about 3 days, after which i was pretty sick of myself and since i can’t really be working on art 24-7 i have been having to face that being alone is not all that i cracked it up to be for that solitary decade of which i spoke. and when i realize this i begin to wonder what the fuck i was doing not dating or anything all that time, just putting up with my own petty grievances and delusional “needs” while there were girls to meet and people besides myself to spend time with. but as we all know looking back and monday morning quarterbacking is at the very least problematic even if you happen to be tom brady with a sack full of deflated footballs and a machiavellian scheme so i’m gonna go ahead and leave that aside.

anyhow i didn’t use the husker du song, i used the lou reed song and i don’t even like it that much but it IS about being alone. i guess i could’ve stretched it and used this one

because it’s a much better song but it’s about william burroughs and i could never figure out what hell burroughs was doing when he started cutting sentences up like so much sausage and rearranging them and then calling it a book. actually a few books, a few books that i just couldn’t get through. in fact the only bill burroughs book i managed to get all the way through was “junky” which was a great book but just had regular sentences. like the type me and you might write if we were engaged in regular correspondence and neither of our names was bryon gysin.

anyways i still got a few more days to be all by myself(and although i briefly thought about it there’s just no WAY i was gonna use THAT song) and i’ve got 5 new pieces waiting for me to work on them and i guess i should hunker down(husker down?) and quit futzin’ and putzin’ around. the world goes on whether you’re alone or elsewise and there’s no use thinking too much about it although i just spent 871 words figuring that out. i guess i could’ve save us both the trouble but who knows what’s gonna happen when you foray into the wonderful world of words?

another year where i didn’t die

if you’re like me then birthdays aren’t just days where you might wanna think about your life, they’re also days where you’re inclined to wonder “how the fuck am i not dead?”. and it’s not just ME that’s somewhat amazed that i’ve somehow made it this far but just about everyone that knows me. as far as i am aware the fact of my resiliency doesn’t bum anyone out, but who knows? i can see how it might bum some people out, me bucking the odds and whatnot. because by most accounts i shouldn’t be turning 46 today, i should be 6 feet under.

a heavy focus on poisoning oneself for the vast majority of one’s life creates a disconnect for sure. not just from reality, or at least parts OF reality, but also from an understanding of the life/death cycle itself. over the years i’ve had many people predict my untimely demise, which wouldn’t have been untimely at all. in fact it would have been about as TIMELY as you can get. shortly before my first stint in rehab, when i was reduced to lying on the floor while intermittently drinking hungrily(thirstily?) from the ever-present bottle in order to keep the dt’s from my throat my friend ross came into my room to say “hey” but upon seeing my state of affairs simply said “you’re gonna die”. just like that. then left.

the drug dealers i saw semi-regularly could never figure out where all the dope WENT. i’ve generally been together enough and seemingly sober a majority of the time so that they couldn’t jibe my semi-sane appearance with the quantities of substances i was purchasing/consuming. and when i saw most of the other customers i could see where the confusion arose, because generally a druggie’s drugginess is at least apparent if not worn prominently on his sleeve. as far as i could tell none of them worked or carried on relationships with the non-druggie community but instead lived within a pretty tight circle. i LIKED all of them, for the most part, but just couldn’t picture them outside of their drug-induced confines. the people that i knew and spent time with that WEREN’T druggies were really NOT druggies. and they had no idea that i was basically on one substance or another 90% of the time.

which wasn’t true with alcohol. everyone that knew me saw me with a beer in my hand pretty much 100% of the time. it didn’t seem to faze too many people but the people it really pissed off were the few doctors i went and saw at the end of my 20 year bender, who literally could not BELIEVE that not only was i unapologetically devoted to my drinking career but had also skated on any apparent physical price that i should have, by all accounts, been in the throes of paying.  one of them was a naturopath who had me get some blood work done and told my i probably had cirrhosis and seemed genuinely pissed off that not only was my liver clean but my pancreas and everything else was too. i mean there was the one time during my first visit to a detox facility(there were several) that the blood draw showed elevated liver numbers(whatever those are) but the docs there then made the mistake of telling me that liver cells regenerate themselves quickly and that if i stopped drinking for 9 weeks my liver would repair itself. when i left, with the outtake interviewer telling me that i needed to go into residential treatment because “you’ll never make it”, i celebrated with a twelve-pack and then turned around and then abruptly abstained for 9 weeks. how i did it i don’t remember but at the end of  the 2 months and change i figured i was good to go. thus began the next 7-year phase of my alcoholism which culminated with me FINALLY taking a nose-dive both physical and mental. it happened suddenly(or SEEMINGLY suddenly, the previous 20 years not being taken into account) and knocked me so far down the ladder that it sent me back into detox twice, one visit closely following the other, and when that sort of treatment came up short it was off to 3 months in rehab which, apart from one short relapse, eventually did the trick.

in fact i just celebrated 6 years sober on cinco de mayo and there are no signs of me returning to my self-destructive former self. i really think the relapse did it, there was no avoiding at least one more attempt to recapture the alcoholic flame and when that drove me right back into the ground it finally sank in that i really was done. there simply wasn’t any other alternative except to simply die. and i guess i wasn’t quite ready.

so i’m still here and now i have wookie and leni and have also re-discovered my artistic groove and things couldn’t be that much better. turning 46 doesn’t freak me out and heading downhill toward 50 at this point does not fill me any sort of dread. i’d like to thank whoever helped to save my life(you know who you are) and hope that i can make up any debt that i owe them by not totally fucking everything up. happy birthday to me.

happy birthday, bob dylan

“It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fools gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proved to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you’d just be
One more person crying.

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to you ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their marks
Made everything from toy guns that sparks
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You loose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand without nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despite their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platforms ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God Bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.

Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me ?

And if my thought-dreams could been seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.

5 days that shook my world

may 22-may 26, 5 days that shook my world. 1st, on the 22nd(in 1914) sun ra arrived on this planet from saturn via birmingham, alabama. he went on to create one of the more expansive(artistically and quantitatively) libraries in the annals of music, a body of work that weasled its way into my soul and stayed there. the world has looked like a very different place ever since. on may 24(1941) bob dylan came howling out of the ether and landed in hibbing, minnesota via duluth. eventually he made his way to new york city and made AT LEAST 5 records(freewheelin’, bringing it all back home, highway 61 revisited, blonde on blonde, desire, and blood on the tracks) that kind of blew open(wide) any doors that might have otherwise been closed in the “field” of rock and roll music. on may 26(1969) it was my turn, and i entered through a portal in the pomona valley hospital in southern california’s infamous “inland empire” and spent most of my youth waiting to get away from the horridness of life in “the O.C.”, orange county california. i haven’t really done a whole lot to catapult myself into the realms of my 2 gemini masters but i CAN say that without me there would nobody to tell this story, so OK.

although to call this a story might be jumping the gun, at least if you take “story” to mean some sort of purposeful creation of a comprehensible narrative. i mean you just never know what’s going to happen when you start writing, and if you end up typing up a shopping list or directions to a few rainy-day garage sales then “story” is definitely the wrong word to use. then again you might just offhandedly  dash off a piece of fiction(or non for that matter) that somehow crystallizes all of the nebulous and/or confused data that’s hovering right in front of everyone and in doing so goes some way toward helping to elucidate the dilemmas faced by modern humans(and non for that matter) and maybe even proposes some non-worthless solutions to the problems presented by our crumbling, desperate planet. i would like to stress the word “might”.

this morning i’m sitting in an apartment that has been vacated of 2 of its 4 constituent parts, at least for the next 2 weeks. this is because wookers and len-len were presented w/the outlandish opportunity to enjoy an almost entirely paid for trip to france, a week in the south and a week in paris. the plane tickets were bought for them(and wookie’s mom and brother too) by an aunt of apparently some not-insubstantial means, and the lodging in the south of france is also covered. meaning they get a 2 week trip to france for the cost a few baguettes and 5 nights board. this is kind of what i would call a “once-in-a-lifetime” type opportunity and as a result i’m sitting here with guzzy while the 2 other tenants are most likely still hovering somewhere over europe(they flew from portland to amsterdam and got a connecting flight from there and although it’s been 18 hours already that is a long fucking trek). after spending most of my adult life(and i’ll be 46 here in a couple of days) as a live-alone bachelor/hermit i today find myself in a (usually)full house and this is my 1st substantial stretch of solitude in 6 months. it’s been less than a day but so far it doesn’t feel too unfamiliar, i think my muscle memory is kicking in and loneliness is thus far in check. the weird thing is that after 6 solid months of thinking in terms of “us” instead of “me” there IS some befuddlement regarding what the fuck to DO with all of this time. usually the day is broken up according to len’s school and wookie’s work and my shopping and cleaning and all that stuff while trying to get art together for either a show or my own basic sanity and there just isn’t a whole lot of time to wallow in my “infamous” indecisiveness, generally speaking. there are simply fewer options, and often only ONE option. and when there’s only one option, it’s not exactly an “option” per se, is it? i didn’t think so. anyways here’s a new piece of art:


those seams aren’t as obvious in the real world but you get the picture.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE: 5-7 AM, art and coffee; 7-9, trying to write a “story”; 9-10, don’t know. probably art. 10-?, there’s 2 yard sales to go to and also i have to go to the stereo store on 102nd ave because i broke the fucking needle on my turntable like a jackass and now i have to shell out $20-30 on a replacement. from noon on my schedule really starts to fall apart with the only sure thing being that i will most certainly be watching game 3 of the warriors-rockets series(go warriors!) via some shitty livestream online because we don’t have cable. that game starts at 6 and by the end i’ll probably be ready to read or something. being alone ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it’s not cracked up to be much.

your phone’s off the hook

i dropped my phone in the toilet, there was some pee in there but in went my hand in full salvage mode, groping blindly as the phone inched further and further away from me(i have big hands). frantically i yelled for wookie who came rushing in expecting who-knows-what(she sensed the edge in my voice) and bravely used her smaller paws to dig the old samsung galaxy out of the slightly befouled water. what a trooper! we got the battery out and dried everything off the best we could and when i put the battery back in the phone seemed to be working until i dropped it on the living room floor. it still worked but couldn’t read the sim card which i didn’t remove(wasn’t aware of it anyways) so i sat down and googled cell phones and holy shit are they expensive to replace. hoping for a miracle i went to the verizon store and told the young lady there what had happened, except i told her it was the sink and not the toilet that had done the damage. she opened the phone from the wrong end(twice) where there was already a crack and screwed it up even more then put a replacement sim card in there. no phone service. so i left but because of the wrong end thing i decided to double check and the sim card was fucking upside-down. i flipped it and thought i was in business but there was no dice there either. outside of the shop a dude who i had seen in the store was vaping his break away so i approached him and asked him about the sim card and he said that it was the right one but had been put in upside-down. the phone and the battery are now sitting in a sealed container full of rice, which is apparently(according to pretty much EVERYONE) the way to go in terms of removing all remnants of moisture. so maybe later it’ll work but i’m not optimistic. and truth be told, sometimes i want to go back to the stone age and resume my previous, anti-technology caveman-ism so i don’t have to worry about wasting time on the computer or busted smart phones. i’ve been roped in, goddammit, and i feel like a sucker.

i’m not going to reveal any plans to resume my semi-daily blog posts like i always seem to do after a substantial break and that’s because i don’t have any plans. it’s starting to look like is now officially a less pressing concern than other shit that has to get done. like doing art or watching the nba playoffs. i have a big show coming up in may and the place is cavernous and it’s gonna take a lot of pieces to fill it which is fine because i have a lot of pieces but getting it all together is going to something of a project. so it goes.

i’m trying to follow the events in baltimore but you really have to completely avoid any mainstream press if you’re looking for a non-racist and at least semi-coherent narrative. as usual all of the scribes and politicians want everyone to focus on the violence and rioting and get all indignant and self-righteous and throw around terms like “thugs” or “animals” or “outside agitators” without even blinking. the 1st 2 terms are totally racist and the 3rd is an old anti-communist canard from the fucking mccarthy era. the lack of understanding of privileged white folk on  just about any topic is indeed astounding and when it comes to race relations and the stark realities that people of color have to deal with every fucking day the staus quo viewpoint lacks any depth, empathy, or understanding at all. what passes for analysis in modern day america is pretty much ALWAYS self serving and also super fucking pathetic, and what that says about the pervasive mentality in this country is distressing to say the least. we had to hear all of this garbage during the L.A. riots in ’92, shit like “they should have pursued means other than violence” or “why are they destroying their own neighborhoods?” when any idiot who has managed to hang on to a few of their grey cells could come to the obvious conclusions about poverty, institutional racism, unemployment, lack of education, and/or the parasitic nature of modern day industrial capitalism. and all of that stuff is still with us today and if it doesn’t get addressed then this is going to keep happening. personally i support the protests and hope and pray that they will prove to be effective. systemic change is the only hope.

wookie’s under the weather and the weather goes back and forth, sunny and 80 and then raining and 50. i kind of like it. summer is definitely coming in fast and it’s probably my least favorite season because when the weather’s nice you no longer have an excuse to stay inside and i like to stay inside but without an excuse i can often feel somewhat guilty and lame too.  i’m like a mole with decent eyesight and a computer. and i gotta run.

from the hippo’s mouth


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