"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

31 January 2012


Although the dimly-lit room was all but marinaded in a cologne of antiseptics, there was still something absolutely filthy about it. An initial impression of a truck stop water closet along the road to some far-flung jerkwater its own inhabitants had never even heard of. A room, which tried entirely too hard to be clean and sterile, yet unable to hide the grime that lurked just below the observable surface.

The shrouded lump on the cold slab added to a certain penny dreadful motif of the room. Every horror film and spook story and nightmare you'd ever encountered made manifest in this one dingy chamber. Although the environmentals were set at acceptable levels, it was still cold in there. Like a meat locker. I kept expecting to see clouds of breath despite the sweat beaded upon my brow.

Next to me, bedecked in stained powder-blue surgical scrubs, stood a doctor; clipboard in one hand and a fine ebony fountain pen in the other. The thick glass of spectacles reflected the light in such a way I found myself questioning whether or not he actually had eyes. He seemed both nervous and agitated, as though my presence was an imposition.

"It's all been taken care of," he said with notable impatience.

"She was supposed to be a donor," I said, a slight growl in my voice. In a past life, I argued with and interrogated more than one doctor, sometimes thoroughly enjoying it.

"Her eyes," he nodded. "Already seen to."


The door opened and the rest of the surgical team entered the room. In their possession were sharp things with icy shines, almost blinding in the dim light. The doctor, whose eyes seemed a dubious proposition, shot me a sidelong glance and a smirk as his masked henchcreatures pulled away the shroud. I did not wince at what I saw laying on the slab. Part of it was fortitude, but part of it was simple defiant spite.

"You don't need to see this," the doctor said.

"Bah!" I snorted. "I grew up on a farm, I have seen birth and death in many and varied forms many times over. I danced with the dead for money and heard tales of disease and brutality that could make Nazi death doctors cross their legs and blush. This ain't my first rodeo."

"This time is quite different," the doctor said. "And you know that."

"It should be cathartic," I growled. "An aspect of letting go."

"That's a lie," the doctor hissed. "You wouldn't be here if you were letting go."

There was the sound of a buzz-saw. My attention was drawn to it slicing into flesh and bone. There was blood and gore flying wild, and the stench of offal and disease crawled into my nose and took up residence. The henchcreatures were busy at work, parting out the lump on the slab like a whole chicken. I can part out a whole chicken in minutes.

"Doing this makes cremation easier," the doctor said coldly. "If the body's in smaller parts, it burns up quicker." He then reached out to take my arm, his grip was strangely warm. "Come along now."


And I shot up into the small hours shadows. It took a few heartbeats for my eyes to adjust to the ambient darkness, to realize where I was. Certainly, it could be argued what I'd just experienced was not real; a nocturnal hallucination. However, I could still smell that room, something, which half-made me regret no longer smoking, as to get another scent in my nose. 

"Fucking perfect," I growled to myself as I laid back down.

The images were still vividly burned into my mind's eye. I could still smell the filth and blood and offal and disease. There was still the sensation of feeling cold, despite the sweat. With a soft growl, I shut my eyes once more, figuring I'll not be eating meat for awhile.

28 January 2012


You really don't understand how solar-powered you are until you end up somewhere without sunlight. Or even direct sunlight. Those who live near the poles and in mountains can dig what I'm talking about easier than those at lower latitudes and in flat places. Once upon a time, I would've taken my opening statement as the rambling of the mad.

You really don't understand how solar-powered you are until you're away from artificial light sources. Camping is the easiest way to remedy that. Getting far and away from cities. And I do not mean hanging about in some public campground surrounded by RVs with all the comforts of that safe and cushy home back in whatever urban place you decided to get away from for a weekend.

No, I mean camping. That John Muir keeping-it-real, Into the Wild-sans the death part-going out into the rugged bush and getting down and dirty with your inner Cro-Magnon. When the only light you might have after the sun sets and stars are out is a fire. It doesn't matter how well-rested you feel beforehand, mark my words, it gets full dark, and you're sleepy. Dawn comes, and you're up, ready-set-go! with a spring in your step.

The first time you truly experience this, it's the queerest thing. Believe me, I know. Until then, it's easy to think such things only happen to crazy people who live in the in-between places, read too much National Geographic and are perpetually dressed like they're on a walkabout. Crazy talk.

In the deep winter, it can be twenty-eight quaint 'merican degrees on the fahrenheit scale with a slight breeze making it feel like it's maybe twenty, but, if the sun's out, that's somehow not so bad. Somehow, a sunny day, no matter how brisk, is so much nicer than a gray one with similar conditions. Just seeing the slivers of sun through snow clouds after a storm can invite a smile.

We are solar-powered beings, and the sooner you accept it, no matter your nocturnal facade, the better off you'll be... 

Once more, the sun has peaked over the ridge line, giving the house the benefit of direct sunlight. As with every year, this is cause for excitement. It may be deep winter, but, suddenly, it's not so horrible. I can step out my front door and catch the sun on my face. Suddenly, the world seems just that much brighter.

23 January 2012

100 Words; Going Back

The party was a rare case of going back. It seems, the ghosts I encounter with most frequency are those of memory. There, they were legion; vampires, punks, and try-too-hard-hipsters. I was invited. Baited, albeit unintentionally, for a trap.

Things change. Things stay stagnantly the same. Perhaps I am just too critical.

Someone said seeing me in an urban enviroment, so many years on, was the money shot. Legend. Apocrypha.

It was a fluke and invite; going back. Accidental time travel. See, as much fun as it could be to fuck with the quantum, the only constructive way is forward.

21 January 2012


The three muses decided to pop by my place the other night. They've slept off benders in my parlor. I set one of them up on a blind date with Mara once, though she's not bitter.

To be fair, one met me at the train station and walked me home amongst the snow and queer comfortable temperature of an after storm evening. Her hair was the color of spun and polished copper. Her eyes were like that of hardened amber. She had frozen suspended spiders for pupils.

As we walked, she listened to me meditate and rant in the High Speech of demons, not trusting myself to speak in the clumsy tongues of the half-bald monkeys that call themselves Man. Like my a sage, some years before, she made comment that the things I come up with when sober can be far more impressive, if not frightening than what coalesces in my skull when under the influence of an intoxicant, thus proving not all great works are done by drunks and drug addicts. She said I saw things and that it sometimes rattled the gods.

Her two sisters were waiting at the door. They wanted cocktails, but I was only offering tea. I was none too keen on sharing the bottle of wine I planned on having a glass with come dinner, there was sake for an occasion I had yet to designate, and touch my whiskey without my consent could result in pulling back a bloody stump if I was feeling gentle. Needless to say, the other two muses, ink black and ice white hair, ruby and sapphire eyes, were disappointed. Perhaps even a little bored.

I had my dinner with a glass of wine. Read comic books and listened to music whilst having tea. The muses watched. Two of them wanting to seek there pleasures elsewhere, because I was not in the mood for their reindeer games. The other one, the one who walked me home, was watching me intently. Were I an arrogant man, I'd say she might have been nursing a bit of a crush. After all, I did catch the whiff of pheromones.

Finally, they left. Mister Excitement, who lived three doors down, with a first name of either Juan or Etzer, was throwing a party. Exciting, of course. Far more entertaining than the creature reading comic books and sipping tea to the soothing stylings of Alice in Chains and Andrew Bird. The bored sisters left without a backward glance, the one who walked me home lingered for just a moment longer.

"You walk between worlds and through dreams," she whispered to me.

"I've heard that line before," I said. "A lot of things have been said about me. Both true and false, good and bad, from both gods and men. It's always been this way."

"You see and know things," she said. "And the gods find you most terrifying when you have a moment of clarity that you whisper into the dark."

"Ain't that the way?" I pointed to the door. "Go now. See to your sisters. Someone more worthy than me can benefit from ya'll's mojo."

"Someone can," she agreed. "But that's because you don't need us."

With that, I walked her to the door. I was raised with manners. She blew a kiss to the spot where the third eye is located and I bowed respectfully. No further words passed between us. I watched her walk three doors down to go hang out with Mister Excitement.

17 January 2012

Smoke and Mirrors

A poetic attempt from a few years back I recently came across and felt the need to inflict;

Gazing into the smoke filled shadows
marionettes on severed strings,
A reflecting pool
of liquid mercury,
While away the phantasm moments
for a single glance,
A puppy dog
looking for a bone

Whispers in the snow
warm thoughts on cold nights,
Hopes and dreams
written in invisible ink on bare skin,
In a single moment
the whole of eternity is beheld
All it is
is a series of moments,
Time is smoke and mirrors
glitter and glass,
Grasp too hard
and it will slip past

Hide and wait
hope and prey,
That's the deal
that's the way...-17, January 2007

15 January 2012

Miguel Loco

When I talk about Miguel Loco I will say he knows things about the Backcountry I do not, which is legion. After all, he is the master,  I am the humble student. It is from him I have acquired most of my gear and learned of a great many of the secret places within the borders of our Sahel.

We lament the decided lack of snow this season. He chides Sabina and I for not at least going on an overnight last summer. Over a map he speaks of places with names straight out of High Country mythology; Hell's Hole and Bobcat Creek. I promise to speak with him on the subject with more sincerity come spring. 

"When you're ready, come see me, and we'll find the perfect place for you to go," He says. There is a glint of whimsical madness in his eyes and a big cheshire cat's grin on his face. "You won't regret it."

I don't doubt him for a second...

Sabina's eyes track toward the high peaks, which mark the outback of our Sahel. The woodsmoke scent on the wind carries the taste of campfires, wilderness, and stars miles away from anything else that walks upon two legs. Spring is sooner than we think, but perhaps later than we hope. Neither one of us can hardly wait.

13 January 2012

100 Words; Past Lives

In your past life; you were a principal across the world. Places in Africa and Asia. I 've heard your stories over beers and tequila. You say the women of Ethiopia the prettiest, in Thailand, the skankiest. Tales I listen to with rapt attention.

You hold public orifice, but won't run for reelection for the brain damage. You aren't in charge at his place of employment, but you'll tell anyone-including your overseer-what to do.

I am in awe of your past life. Be that as it may, what you're doing now is a little more important, by virtue of now...

11 January 2012

Diamond Drought

On a moonlit night, the snow across the mountainsides glitters in the manner of diamonds. On the last full moon, we had just received a fresh dusting, which caused the landscape to glow in supernatural ways. Had the wind not started to pick up and it had not already been down in the single digits, a moonlight walkabout may have very well been in order, although something like that may still happen this season.

"Where's all the snow?" Has been a popular inquiry amongst travelers, and it's not to be flippant. There's not a lot of it about.

I've been on one snowshoe this year, and could've gotten away with just my boots. My daughter and I had to go off-trail to justify the wearing of our snowshoes and pants. On walkabouts up the Bull's Head, Butler's Gulch and the 730, I've worn my gators almost as more of an aside than out of necessity.

Depending upon the ski resort, the powder level is not quite two feet to just shy of three. In deep winter. From what I've observed, those totals are more the norm early on, not midway through the season. I do not ski or ride, finding no thrill in going down a mountain very fast with a board, or boards, strapped to my feet, but I do know the winter tourists have been a little more than disappointed. My sister, an armchair snowbum when she's not mothering my nephew, has certainly grumbled over the decided lack of white gold. I'm willing to bet the powers that be at the resorts are willing to sacrifice a virgin for more snow, though it would require finding one.

Down below, which normally depends upon the snowfall in the mountains to fill its reservoirs and water its farmland has received more snow this year by virtue of upslopes, which have been too weak to reach the Roof of the World or beyond. It's been amusing to visit the greater metroplex and see bigger drifts there than around my own house. I've taken to saying around our little Sahel that it's more like March, sans the mud, which comes with the first thaw.

When the trained meteorologists call for snow I find myself becoming increasingly cynical. Well, for one, those city oracles get a little too melodramatic about a dusting, which keeps any tourists from traveling through and visiting, and when you live in communities that rely heavily on such traffic, such an over-embellishment just will not do. Even when the snow does fall, it snarls up the Road for a few hours, or a day, at the most, and then everything goes back to being khaki and crusty.

I fear drought and tinderbox and river rafting companies starving come summer. Even if skiing and riding holds no appeal for me, I am concerned for the resorts. The cats there have their own bills to pay and families to feed, after all.

On a recent walkabout, gazing up into the turquoises blue sky, I caught myself wondering if there would be a truly righteous blizzard this season. One of those storms that closes roadways for a day or more and leaves us digging out for just as long. The type of snow, which is the stuff of great works of literature and crappy 1970's era pop songs. As much of a pain in the ass as it would be to dig out from a storm of that magnitude, I can certainly see where that much snow might be appreciated to say the very least.

Of course, it is only deep winter. The two snowiest months for the state of Colorado are still a few months off. Trying to predict the weather in this part of the world, even and especially in the mountains, is as much of an art of of fortune telling as it is chaos math. It could be before it's all said and done and summer's here that the snow will glitter in great mounds of white gold abating any potential drought before it starts.   

09 January 2012

100 Words; Wake Up Call

They were together again; same house and life. False smiles and civilities. The relationship couldn't have been more about convenience if there was a soda fountain and jerky rack in the bedroom.

I jarred her awake to say farewell. Obligations. She threw her arms around me, almost terrified to let me go.

"Thank you. You woke me up."

We'll have known each other ten years come high summer and have been more to each other a little more than half of that come spring. This isn't the first time she's thanked me for waking her. That bit of gratitude's mulilayered.

07 January 2012

Maelstrom Noir

I found a friend of mine in the midst of a maelstrom. Twisted up, tangled, tired, frightened, angry, confused. He was looking for shelter. For answers. For the eye, so he might just catch his breath.

Please, just one breath...

I was there, noting the time of transition. The obvious observation that he would survive it. How, the end result, what would come, I had no answer for. Even the wise cannot foresee all outcomes. Besides, prophets don't know everything, and oracles can be wrong.

Perhaps the words I offered were those of lobotomized sangha. Maybe I told my friend everything. It could be I told him nothing. Yet, are those not one and the same?

I do know I truly got his attention when I quoted the sutra of a celluloid monk;

"'Are you going to freak out? Or are you going to eat an orange?'"

My friend was sent home. To a warm place. Encouraged to eat a sandwich and get some sleep. Whether any of the words were heard, or even remembered, hardly matters in the here and now. It could very well be years and lifetimes before the intricacies of all those lessons coalesce. Be that as it may, I know my friend will be alright.

And consider eating an orange. You can see, smell, taste, feel, hear, and understand the whole of creation if you pay attention. It might be the worse day of your life, but that might be the best orange you ever ate.

05 January 2012


Watching a young couple at the bar, I could tell they were on a date. She was relaxed, and vaguely open, yet at the same time, tentative. She dug her companion, but she's played these games before, and doesn't want her heart, or any other piece of anatomy for that matter, to be used as an appetizer.

He was slowly inching his way in. False smiles and pretty lies. All the things the girlies like to hear. He's in it to get his dick wet, and if she won't play, than he'll find some other split-tail who will.

Voyeuristic visual dissection and speculation on a scene of softness. A bottle of beer and mood music. Just a few of my favorite things. More fun than going to le cinema.

Perhaps, were I inclined to care, I would tell my monkey watching victims not to be offended at my half-starved ally-cat's gaze from dark corners. It's completely benign. Sure, I might whittle off a piece or two psyche of what I see for my stories; the ones I write out, and the ones I tell myself in my skull, but in some dysfunctional way, am I not making some anonymous simian immortal?

03 January 2012

A Mourning Ramble

We stood in my grandmother's old house. It was said she was either crazy or masochistic for staying there after my grandfather died. The house became a museum to her mourning, sometimes terribly cold, and you could get yelled at for touching things that had been left just as they were the day he left.

I was telling my mother how my father had to leave that house out in the Rub 'al Khali of the badlands of eastern Colorado. Without her there, the isolation and loneliness was all consuming. Had he stayed, he woud've acted out one of my worst fears; that, with her gone, he'd have crawled into a bottle and never come back out.

My mother nodded, understanding my father's need for dynamic over my grandmother's need of stasis. There was a look of sadness in her eyes, though; leaving all that land and the all the other creatures they shared that farmstead with. The quiet and the immense scope of the sky when you get out somewhere that flat. I felt for her, but it was all over now.

The sound of movement pulled me away. Two of the cats were running and playing through the house. Milarepa was making sounds indicating she wanted to join in the fun. Sabina made some half-awake sound, which warned me of grumpiness should she awaken right then. I was back in the mountains. My mother was gone. It was time to face the day.

I got up and threw some clothes on. Took care of the hounds and ushered the offending felines outside to continue their mayhem elsewhere. I put on Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain, because it's the album I listen to on this day at one point or another, and thus it has been for the last couple of years. I listen to Bunny Bergman's version of I Can't get Started on the anniversary of my grandmother's death. So it goes.

There was tea. Jasmine. Once upon a time, it was said hot jasmine tea cold fix anything, even that, which was not broken. The Bruja showed me what a bunch of who shot john that was. Back when she was going, I was all but mainlining tea, and I still had to help my city friends bury her. When my grandmother was walking on, I drank a fair amount whiskey. With Jibril getting sick I was quite fond of cheap beer. With my mother it was water and the occasional glass of wine. One thing this has taught me is the drinking of anything does not help, but it does very little to hinder as well.

Over the last two years my sense of belief has been in a state of flux. It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke; how do you get a heretical Tibetan Buddhist to question his dubious faith? Being glib, I could say the heretical adjective is a good start, and dubious helps explain a bit too. The more serious answer has to do with this recent double-whammy of mortality I've dealt with, because there is no statue of limitation on grief, and anyone who'd tell you different is daft or try to sell something. 

I believe there is magic, but it's nothing like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. There is divinity, but it's certainly not some anthropomorphic entity that keeps tally of the monkey-made concepts of naughty and nice like fucking Santa Clause. Realizing that in the face of universe filled with harsh and unforgiving beauty and tossed along by the winds of chaos often keeps me screaming. 

My mother has been gone two years to the day, and I am obviously still trying to figure out how to approach the subject. I sip my hot jasmine tea and listen to Miles Davis. Later, Whistler and I will go on walkabout to the Bull's Head. There I will leave a tattered string of Tibetan prayer flags, more out of habit than anything. I have never preyed, unless it's been in the context of the foodchain.

Her ashes are scattered in these mountains, not very far from my house, though up on the tundra. In that, I find a queer sort of comfort. It's as though she's close in more than memory. Perhaps, if I allow for the superstition, as I wander out into the bush to get holy on this somber day, I'll hear her voice on the mountain wind, singing to me.