right or wrong or good or bad

The subject matter of pictures that hang in museums is always random.

It’s not the predictability of life that makes it beautiful.

It’s more about the things that don’t make sense.

Thing’s that you can’t articulate.

It’s the moments when your brain tries to find an explanation for something that is incomprehensible.

That’s art.

The lines of motion and the dissonance between reality and representation.

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but it’s not

A girl that I fucked told me that I have a lot of moles and I should get them checked out.  It’s true, I have a few moles but I never thought about skin cancer and I have never had a skin exam.  So, I set an appointment to see a dermatologist, one who was accepting new patients and one who was covered under my insurance.

Naked under a gown, in a coldly lit room,I realized I made a mistake.  It took two minutes and $135 for the pretty middle aged doctor to tell me:

 

“you have a very high co-pay but everything is fine.”

It felt kind of like a strip club in that I was ashamed of how much money I spent when I was walking out.  $135 dollars! Fuck that’s a lot of money for two minutes, and for what? Peace of mind?  I wasn’t even thinking about skin cancer until last week.  $135 dollars?!  I could have taken that girl out to a nice dinner and probably fucked her again.  $135 dollars?!  That’s a new pair of shoes!  Oh well,  I guess I’m healthy, all my bills are paid.  I would’ve spent the money frivolously on something, anything.  What made me more upset was that the dermatologist’s office is on the top floor and when I left the elevator stopped at every floor on the way down to let someone on.  I guess we are all going down anyway.

anxiety

The train wasn’t at the platform at 7:57 AM like it should have been but I heard it lurking around the corner, lurching it’s head forward, looking for me.  I tapped my left foot, contained in a brown Italian leather shoe from Ermenegildo Zegna.  I clutched at my black Tumi attache which held a book written by Franz Kafka.  Today, I felt exceptionally handsome in a navy blue Valentino wool-blend suit with a two button closure and center vent.  The bottom part of the sleeve on my Giorgio Armani shirt was held together by Tiffany cuff links.  The only thing that bothered me was my haircut which was rather expensive considering the fact that I had to keep checking it every time I caught my own reflection in a passing window.  The cordless Apple headphones in my ears weren’t playing any music.  I stepped from the platform onto the train at 8:03 AM-six minutes late.

I sat down and reached into the Tumi attache for my book.  I thought about the dry cleaning I had to pick up later.  I thought about if I should work out chest or back at the gym that night.  I thought about my receptionist’s ass.  I thought about French existentialism and how French writers always have to bitch about how they aren’t feeling good.  I thought about my girlfriend’s parents.  I thought about if writing could ever stand on it’s own or if it was only good if it was tied to some socio-historical context.  I thought about homework I have to do later.  I thought about how I want a better job.  I thought about the new Adidas that just came out and how I would go about getting a pair.  I thought about how I should take myself more seriously.  I compared myself to others.  I opened my book.

The train stopped abruptly and the lights began to flash.  The train was empty.  I couldn’t remember if their were people in it when I got on.  I looked up and saw a big juicy rat sitting on the bench across from me.  It just sat there, aloof, kind of staring at me.  The lights flashed and the train began to creep forward again.  The Latino man standing next to me dropped his grocery bag-an apple rolled out of it and hit a woman’s foot.  She looked down and picked it up as if she wanted to take a bite.  I looked down at my book and saw the words:

‘Give it up! Give it up!’

 

Self perception

All the physical things and the way I act in front of other people is almost entirely for them.  I do seek affirmation and self-gratification in things but it isn’t my top priority.  I could never see myself how others see me and although I agree with a lot of the words that people use to describe me; I would almost feel narcissistic using them myself.  Even as I type this I feel like I’m lying but I truly wish I could remain oblivious in perceiving myself sometimes.  Vanity is something that I would like to be devoid of.  Unfortunately it seems like an impossible undertaking.  I think individuality is found in moments of purity when you don’t care about others perceptions or even your own perceptions.  In moments when you are remaining true to your core values.  In thinking about how I perceive myself I have two main views.  One of which is that I am not doing enough.  What I mean by that is that I look at what I am doing in terms of work, school, and personal health and I always think about how I could be doing better.  The times of negativity for me are when I know I should be doing something but instead I am off drinking or partying.  These are times when I judge myself the most.    The second way I perceive myself is actually through my own self awareness of these interconnecting perceptions of me.  How I view myself vs. how my family views me vs. how my friends view me.  It all seems to be this eternal, malleable, interconnecting relationship that is always changing.  Depending on who you meet and that kind of person you want to be.  I think I can honestly say that I don’t know who I am yet.  I have an idea of the person I want to be.  I am mostly aware of these ideas that I perpetuate about myself.  I guess I want people to see in me what I see deep down in myself.  It seems to be a never ending cycle of self gratification.  Circles can be brutal.  I just hope one day I can find myself.


 

This may be reaching but I liked the last part about the circle and as I was reviewing the post I noticed it was 365 words.

Snake Pit

 

Lying on that couch with my leg elevated in a cast, my mind had felt like a dull knife.

Friday afternoon and my ankle had just started working again.  Business professionals were just beginning to vacate their desks; people who define themselves on the hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.  I sauntered to the closest bar I could find.

My beer began to sweat as soon as it hit the table, I drank it quickly.  The man at the table next to me was drinking a whiskey on the rocks.  He was playing with his daughter; she was drinking an orange juice.  Two big open windows let fading sunlight into the dive bar.  The smell of beer and spicy mustard was circulated by the cool summer air.  3rd grade level paintings of snakes looked like they were tossed up on the wall.  Two bartenders alternated between disdain and cordiality under a sign that read “Snake Pit”.  I slithered through another beer.  Derek walked in and asked “Where is your whiskey?”  Before I had a chance to decline he walked over to the table with two glasses of Jameson and his own perspiring beer.

The darkness that overtook the elongating shadows of the snake pit crept inside my head.  I said goodbye to Derek.  I stomped back home.  I sat on my couch.  Through the clustered black holes of my front gate I could hear the rats that infested the bamboo shoots in my neighbors yard.  I listened to them as they climbed and made the leaves rub against each other.  My mind tumbled in a wave of breaking anticipation.  I undulated between contentment and grief.


 

For some context this story is about an injury that I sustained recently.  It forced me to go on leave from work for a few weeks.  It left me with a decision when to go back.  I also had a prompt for my writing class that was to write a story about a character going somewhere and coming back.

the red brick wall

THIS IS FICTION


 

He maintained a small apartment among the clutter of downtown San Francisco.  The apartment was meager compared to the extravagance of his Friday nights.  There was one room and a bathroom.  There was no kitchen.  A sink and mirror sat in the corner in front of his bed and above that stood a small television set which was never on.  There was one window that contained nothing for him except light and fresh air.  The red brick wall of the next building was all you could see out of it.  The buildings downtown are built so close together, one would have to give his life for a room with a view.

The morning light and the fog rolled into his room together like they were playing in bed sheets.  He sat on the edge of his bed smoking a cigarette and stared at the endless brick wall.  He was complacent with his life.  He lacked purpose.  He didn’t have something that he was willing to die for.  He didn’t feel that he was a scale upon which a man could be measured

‘Brrrrrrrring’

His phone rang and he picked up quickly.

“Hello”

After a few moments of heavy silence the receiver clicked.  He grabbed his jacket and went out.  The  cigarette sat in the ash tray with fire still burning at the end of it.

His car sat inert in traffic as red brake lights shone bright on his face.  The Bay Bridge looked like a toy the fog plays with.

“How could she be pregnant?”

He thought to himself, the red brake lights still flashing in front of him.  Aside from the ambiguity of their relationship he was considering cutting off the drunk late night hook ups they shared.  That was all their relationship was predicated on.  Now he thought he would have to marry her without question.  He thought about how his life was going to change.  He thought about how he would have to get a second job and a bigger apartment.  He knew he wasn’t ready.  He knew he couldn’t even take care of himself let alone a wife and child, but he had a calm feeling.  A sense of fulfillment and reassurance.  He knew he would figure it out, he always did.  He thought about abortion for a quick second but then whispered,

“Fuck that”

under his breath.

He pulled up to a suburban neighborhood in Oakland and put the car in park.  He picked up his cell phone to dial out.

“I’m outside” He said.

“I’m sorry, I’m not there anymore” She said calmly.

“What the fuck do you mean you’re not here?” He replied with worried annoyance.

“Christina picked me up, were going to the walk in clinic,  I’m getting it taken care of” she said in a declarative and matter of fact tone.

“So we’re not even going to talk about this?”

“I’m sorry” She said “I didn’t have time to consider your feelings.”

He hung up as his heart fell deep inside him, somewhere not easily found.

The bridge was still gripped by the fog.  He drove back aimlessly but this time a hollow shell of his former self.  He was completely detached.  He felt as if he was watching himself drive from the back seat.  He was at a loss.  He knew he didn’t have a say in the affair.  Ultimately, the decision was always hers.

He sat on the same bed staring at the same red brick wall.  He was chain smoking like he just came home from a funeral.  He thought about his father.  His father was a man.  His father raised him to be a man but he wasn’t.  He was a pathetic hollow little organism with no direction except down.  He decided to write a letter to his little one.

‘Dear my child,

When I was young I would sit by the window and wait for my father to get home from work.  When he would arrive he would always sneak around the back of the house so I would have to go looking for him.

Life is tough my love but you would have made it worth living.  I would have shown you the value of life.  It would have been difficult but at least we would be together.  I’m sorry, your mother is playing by societies rules.  Don’t blame her, it’s my fault I didn’t stop her.

I’m trying to be indifferent but guilt is gripping me the same way you would have gripped my thumb after you were born.  Who am I to say you can’t live your life?  It’s yours not mine.  It’s your heart that doesn’t get to feel love.  It’s your hands that don’t get to touch.  It’s your eyes that don’t get to see.  Now it’s your soul that sits heavy on my conscious….’

He grabbed the letter, crumpled it up and threw it violently but it just hit the wall and landed softly beside him.  His apartment was very small.  He put his face in the palm of his hands and tears streamed down his arms like little waterfalls.  He didn’t understand why he cared so much.  He was free, he could go on living his life.  Then the sun broke through the fog and shone bright on the red brick wall that sat outside his window.


 

I got the inspiration for this story during a recent trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and the book I read there which was The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre.

 

maps

I found her with her back turned towards me.  The red lights of the stage made her skin glow like a lava lamp in a dark room.  When I came around a second time she was outside sitting on a black satin couch with her right leg crossed over her left.  She looked at me with her lips pursed like her drink was too sweet.  When she spoke, the words came out like a phonograph, soft yet firm and with character.  “I’m a cartographer” she said to me with a tone like I didn’t know what that was.  “I don’t like your latitude” I tried to joke but she didn’t laugh.  There are some nights in Hollywood where you can find a place with live music that resembles something with a soul.  We moved over the black and white keys of the piano and tapped our feet with the percussion.  She had long black curls that bounced when she moved.  Her glasses looked like they were relics from high school, but they still worked, so she kept them.  The black dress she wore told me she had work tomorrow.  She wasn’t beautiful in the traditional sense of the word.  She had situational beauty.  The minute hand raced around my watch and as she departed I reached my hand out only to grasp hot air and a few notes from the band.

 

Notes:

This is fiction but I did actually meet a girl one time who told me she was a cartographer.

8-27-15

To preface this piece I have to say what a strange thing writing can do for you.  I wrote this 5 minutes ago on the precipice of falling into a deep sleep.  I’ll spare you the details but I’ve had a long day and many before it.  But I had the urge to write and with it came a creative exuberance.  I couldn’t fall asleep now if I tried.  I needed to write.  Maybe I am loopy, maybe I needed to get something off my chest.  I have been thinking about this for a little while.

8-27-15

I walked down Melrose as the sun beat down on me from above.  It was the kind of heat that makes you look down but simultaneously radiates off the sidewalk so you can’t avoid it.  The only escape is a small sliver of shade created by the traffic light that hangs in the intersection.  Green, I walk.  Beads of sweat drip down my overpriced iced coffee.  This particular intersection has buildings with low profiles, so I’m able to see the rolling Hollywood Hills with their gaudy mansions against a clear blue backdrop.  It’s Thursday and I’m walking into work.

I have a recurring fantasy on different occasions.  Sometimes it happens on the hot mornings as I walk into work.  It happens when I speed through a yellow light.  The moments are vague at times.  The fantasy I am referring to has to do with alternative realities.  This morning for instance I had a strange sensation as I walked into work.  I felt like I was dreaming.  Normally, (at least in my case) dreams have a specific tunnel vision aspect to them.  In that I am only able to focus on what is right in front of me.  Conversely this morning, the dream felt more comprehensive.  It felt like I was living in a dream for a brief moment.  For the smallest amount of time it felt like my whole life leading up to that moment was also a dream.  It felt real, it felt possible.  Like I was off imitating sleeping beauty somewhere dreaming up a grand old mediocre life.  Eventually the feeling subsided.  But the thought is still there.

There is another reality I think about.  This happens sometimes with a sudden jerk when you’re heart drops down into your stomach.  But I mostly think about this when I am speeding through a yellow light.  After the light turns red and I cruise down the street I wonder.  Did I really make it through that yellow light just now?  Did the oncoming truck just hit me head on causing instant death?  Is my life now a subsequent heaven that let’s me experience things that I might have missed.

“Look God I know I fucked up but let me just finish my twenties”  I can picture myself at the gates.

Once again I think about it for a few minutes and then it subsides.  The morbidity of this isn’t as appealing as living a dream but I still enjoy the possibility.

When I use the term alternative reality, I am not using it as a synonym for parallel universe.  I am trying to speak about perception of reality.  There are plenty of examples of alternatative realities that I might have fed off of to create the idea of mine.  The cliche “brain in a vat” reality in which I am a brain floating in a vat in some laboratory.  Electric impulses make the neurons in my brain react to create experience and emotion just like a normal brain would.  It’s like a more mundane version of The Matrix.  There’s the Shutter Island reality or the 6th Sense reality.  Maybe I’m the fucking crazy one on the island or maybe my best friend is Bruce Willis.

My alternative realities stray closer to ambiguity.  The empirical evidence and my personal experience leads me to believe that I’m just sitting here typing on my laptop and I have work tomorrow.  But I will say how much fun it is to wonder about these things.

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”

-Nikos Kazantzakis

hi

I wrote this a while ago.  It used to be a lot longer.  At first I had written this whole thing about how i am scared of commitment.  About how I am constantly running away from women, and responsibilities.  I figured out I am afraid of stagnation.  But when I was typing it out it just sounded like I was bitching and you don’t need to hear all of that.  So I trimmed all the fat and left a little bit.  More existentialism for you.  I promise I will write a story or some shit soon.

I felt the moon pulling me in, just like the moon pulls the tide.  It awakened my soul just like it awakens inclement weather.  The moons energy pulled me in simultaneously as I drove south towards it, towards Los Angeles.  The light of it reflected off the crinkled up ocean and gleamed up at me in ribbons.  It all created an a imaginary phone call to me, asking me to write something for heavens sake.  So I used the opportunity to exercise my creativity or recollection if you will.  Considering I had all of these words in my head already, I just had to find them.

Why do humans run when there is no danger?  Science must be set aside when talking about love and fear and life.  Philosophical questions deserve philosophical answers.  In Philosophy there are no wrong answers and I seem to always have no answers.  Only questions.  Something that helps and hurts my perception simultaneously is our perpetual insignificance.  We are but a grain of sand on universe beach.  Smaller than that actually.  Yet when I look inside myself I find things that I never knew were there.  My mind seems to have an endless supply of creativity and imagination.  The problem is translating that to words or paper.  The universe and your soul are congruent facilities.  There are answers inside everybody.  I haven’t found any answers yet.

When Love comes into your life

The following excerpt is from an Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom The Bell Tolls.  In this paragraph the main character Robert Jordan has just made love with Maria.  A woman he met in a guerrilla camp which is helping him to blow a bridge.

“If this was how it was then this was how it was.  But there was no law that made him say he liked it.  I did not know that I could ever feel what I have felt, he thought.  Nor that this could happen to me.  I would like to have it for my whole life.  You will, the other part of him said.  You will.  You have it now and that is all your whole life is; now.  There is nothing else than now.  There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow.  How old must you be before you know that?  There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion.  This is how you live a life in two days.  And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life.  A good life is not measured by any biblical span.”

It is apparent to me that Hemingway is talking about love not  just love.  But the first love.  The kind that makes you want to live another day because you never want to lose the feeling.  The kind of love that makes your heart ache as much as it makes it flutter.  Interestingly enough Hemingway is known for his themes of war and death.  Something obviously has to offset the morbidity of his writing and he has found it in soft tones of love.  His characters seem to fall in love fast and hard.  This one in particular, Robert Jordan, comes into a camp of rebels with the hopes of blowing a strategic bridge held by fascists in order for an offensive to be made by the Republic.  The reason the bridge must be blown is that so no backup reinforcements can make there way to the battle.  Robert Jordan comes into the story with a tacticians mindset, cold and expecting some form of death.  As soon as his love Maria comes into the story his subjectivity changes.  He now laments death and wishes to have his love for his whole life.  In his head he fights with himself about having his love for the future and living with his love in the moment.  “There is nothing else than now.”  he thinks.  He knows death could be imminent.  So why squander a beautiful love, a beautiful moment.  Something that can’t be defined by physical description, something that can’t be bought or sold.  Love is something that comes from the deepest part of human consciousness and is just as hard to explain.  I enjoy how he transcends from “I want to have it for my whole life” to realizing that if he only lives for two days, then that is your whole life.  There is no way to predict the end.  So live your life in the moments that are guaranteed.  The only moment that is assured is now.  So if you love, then love.  Don’t think about it in the future.  Cherish it for what it is now.