Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Sur

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Isabelle, I should write this to you. Let this be my reply to your previous letter, since you are the only one who reads this thing and because I desperately want to jumpstart some words into the Universe. Remembering that summer day at your aunt's house in the Valley, it must have been 100+ degrees and I was lounging on the outdoor furniture like a lazy dog. You were making us a beet salad. Meanwhile my brain was wandering with a foreboding or maybe arriving at an answer from all the years of clutter and clamored experience gone by, those instances carving my formation while blowing past. We are not our histories. My friend once told me that on the phone. It was a dream of a day. You and I were in a jacuzzi. You were suspecting yourself of being a bad person in your relationships and I was disagreeing. You had been making such a human time of it in Los Angeles with those months, even after the first parts of your arrival began flat on the beach with every afternoon. Healing. The significance of feeling like sand, then heating to a solid creating a new window through which to see the world again. Those days at the beach, you were identifying with the contours and individualities of the sand to reform. All those friends you made in those meetings and beyond were, you, decorating a renewed whole, changed cells in all different colors and arrangements. The end of a romance humbles us in the most primal of ways but allows opportunity for a fantastic rebirth in spirit. At some point in water, under the sun, you said I seemed older than I was, but maybe you should've seen me without my beard, what's reflected now is an even stranger age. I remember the staggering temperature of our afternoon. It's no coincidence to note that to cast a sword, the blacksmith first melts iron into a mold then begins hammering it into shape.

I tried typing this via email but it's only working here. Hammering and being turned over, hammering, like in the movies. Thick metal on heat and artistry. I am enduring.

Then we lay down in a bedroom cool and calm. A topless friendship. Gentle and lazy. Sometimes when we talk, you occasionally suggest that perhaps it's better to follow my own lead and go with an abandon into the physical realm, but not always. Never black and white. In our case, you've been right. You were smart that day to keep us closer to innocent. I say that not to insult the sparks that may have lain down the other road but to compliment the enduring quality our friendship.

I went to the bank last night and ended up drinking alone at a nearby bar. The music was great. A DJ with a shirt that said "Venice" and a bunch of songs we've all heard before set to endlessly intoxicating arrangements of unique rhythm and beat. The Lakers were beating the Celtics. Each team is at the bottom of their divisions this year. The bartenders were all dancing and I was wondering where women all learn to dance like they do. And then I imagined a ballerina behind a bar, elegantly lifting and gracing herself in movements of purpose and pose and then a surf movie came onto the televisions and I watched the waves for awhile and drank beer until I'd had enough. I came home and took a pill that wasn't mine, to sleep longer and farther. With bleary eyes, off balance, I woke up and began again. Ate alone at the French Market Cafe while reading George Saunders. Checked my phone. Thanks for your Anais Nin quote. I read Henry and June years ago because Miller was/is one of my favorites. Those words were spot on, spot on, infused again in a bit of what I just wrote you. Oh, and that beer thing you wrote about was entirely yours. It had shades of things that I like, but it was all yours. We're all one sweeping influence. In that spirit, I want to type that quote from this morning and preserve it here because it's so especially true to the moment.

"Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them."

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I wonder how many bodies are buried in the Playa Del Rey Wetlands. I wander, my heart, we're a bunch of wandering hearts searching and scanning like security alarms. Earlier on the radio, that Puerto Rican kid on This American Life made an afternoon car ride with a woman I did not love, evident. He sang, danced, blushed for an undercover cop, while this stoic woman and I had nothing but a bedroom. She was nicer after sex, usually. She left to shower. I laid in bed naked, then put my underwear on. She sat down and agreed with my earlier overture to talk. Then those tears left her eyes and I was staring in the mirror, captivated by the veins running through my forearms, wild and active as she eradicated me from her time and future. I was interested. Putting one sock on at a time as she wanted something serious. A Converse sneaker falling apart, while she knew what her feelings should have been. That it wasn't me, despite the way her body would shake and thrash under mine, she couldn't let herself caress me with a genuine adoration. I had this point later on at dinner with friends; that the intensity of our physical attraction only highlighted the deficiencies in our interests of each other and thus perpetuated the absence of an emotional tenderness that neither of us was interested in giving.

I speak like an English professor when I get drunk.

I agreed. My heart was thin. Women my age were misaligned. We had nothing in common. She didn't want to be there for me, it was intentional she said. Her energy was heavy and Nordic. I was not nearly as captivated by data as I was a story. An L.A. guy stringing along unpromising sex for his own Ego, keep pleasuring her, drive home all that affection gentle and thunderous, all that affection you have nowhere else to go, because she'd come deeply over and over again onto you, soak under your touch and you'd hold onto her arms and head and neck while she jerked and contorted almost seizure-like, soaking wet, you bringing this to her and knowing it can't go on but taking in the temporary cure, while available. You, knowing with the end, that a two week fling before departure and a two week fling after an arrival, are two very different circumstances, even if they belonged to the same two people.

I walked across the street to my car. Wondered if any of the different drivers stopping at the light were perceiving me and if they cared. Because it felt like I was being watched, with fresh-shaven after-glow flushed cheeks and the calm certitude in my stride that sometimes a goodbye is the best answer to greeting a recognizeable freedom. Janis Joplin sang Bobby McGee in my ear. "Freedom's just another word for, nothing left to lose." She had been listening to Janis Joplin a few days ago, on the phone, wanting me to come over. But I was tired, tired of her, and the act and she said I could sense things like no one else she'd ever met, except herself.

Whiskey. Wine. Oily Almonds. Friends. Prawns. Ravioli with dripping egg yolk inside. Music. Laughter. Marijuana from a vaporizer. Fish. Conversation lively and flawed. Every human interaction has its imperfections and they are supposed to be this way. They have to be imperfect, so be gentle on the memory. I slept on their couch beneath their loft bedroom. They slept with the television on. I folded the blanket. Freshened up. Went outside, my blood on fire, no perception of the actual temperature. Started my car. Drove past those wetlands and numberless bodies buried beneath the swamp.

She never asked about my dad. I made sure to include that. I didn't want a shoulder to cry on, only noticed that she was cold. Then she cried more. Explained it was intentional. Why were those tears streaming like spilling buckets down her face like that? Relief from getting away? Already? I'd hardly known anyone less and my feelings weren't hurt. I was in agreement. I was fine. Why was she crying so hard? What did she want from me? Who was she trying to console? Was she weeping for fear of her own uncertain life to come? Why did she get in touch with me in the first place? Lips like hers could find a man anywhere. I was fine. Putting one article of clothing on at a time. Stepping out into a world of potential, with a cure.

Later, I had made the responsible choice of sleeping on that couch. Sleeping it off. Passing the wet burial grounds. Lincoln. Arriving home and having art installation dream photographs. A moon made of little tiles, rotating, composed of all these little tiles, equal urine yellow. And I was alive.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


"That's fine, because I don't want to have babies with you either." she said, before they made love again.