"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

30 June 2012


"I think about my loves
I've had a few,
I'm sorry that I hurt them
did I hurt you too?"- Social Distortion

Sometimes, when working on our community garden plot, or doing yard work, I catch myself vaguely wishing I still maintained an acquaintance with the jewel-eyed girl. She was at one point, a horticulturist by trade, and her botanical advice could be invaluable. Quickly, though, I realize the peril of such a thought; the penance price would be she would know where I live, and the fact she knows I'm somewhere up in the mountains is quite enough. More than, actually, but that's another story.

There are those who say it's queer or even wrong to think about x-lovers in any context. I call bullshit on that, and up the ante with some who shot john. We all do it from time to time. Sometimes, when I catch myself musing a girl from my past, I can even remember the tender times, rather than those moments that drove us apart, when the very atmosphere between us was Hell and cobwebs and gravedust and serpents and tigers and razorblades and maggots.

Once, I had a conversation with someone who proclaimed they had no regrets whatsoever. I called them a filthy fucking liar. If there is someone in this world with no regrets, I've yet to make their acquaintance. Although, I suspect if such a person exists, they live-and I use that term rather loosely-in a sensory deprivation tank. Regret is one of those things that makes the monster, which stares back at you when you look in a mirror.

Whenever I meditate upon my regrets, any of them, I catch myself slip-sliding upon the light fantastic of quantum possibilities. Those parallel worlds and lives of what if and if only. An interesting mental exercise, which, at best, can sometimes become a solipsistic circle-jerk, or, at worst, lead to outright psychotic madness.

My regrets are legion. Things I wish I would've said or did say. That I could've done or did. The would've, could've, should'ves that make up part of my psyche.

The kicker is, my actions and reactions to the roll of the bones chaos inherent in the universe have gotten me where I am here and now. Just because I do not believe in fate does not mean I think I would've gotten here by any other set of actions and reactions to the roll of the bones chaos inherent in the universe. It renders the if onlys and would've, could've, should'ves irrelevant when placed in that context.

Do I regret? Almost daily. Would I change any of it? Given what I have, what I've yet to achieve, I cannot say it would be worth it. Would I do it all the same way again? It would seem, if I want to be where I am, I'd kind of have to.

I do what I do and go my own way; a Tao of bohemian scholarship and gutter-punk academia. Moments of technicolor identity crisis and periods of self-assured understanding of the riddle of the individual. There are regrets, and sometimes I think about them quite deeply. Still, I am contented with where I am in the here and now. Perhaps that renders my regrets irrelevant, and, if that's the case, then, quite hypocritically, I don't regret a thing.

27 June 2012

An Afternoon of Walking Ghosts


It was a cruel trick of the light that she looked so much like you. My heart leap and sank all within a beat. The brutality I wanted to inflict at her unintentional deception bordered upon sociopathic. The type of stuff that would make witch-hunters, Spanish inquisitors, Jack the Ripper, and Nazi death-doctors cross their legs and blush.

But it wasn't her fault. There are only so many ways a bipedal body can be put together. Similarities are bound to exist. Some hapless half-bald monkey cannot be blamed for bearing a passing resemblance to a dead woman. It would be wrong action to make her the focus of my ire over the fact you're gone.

For half a heartbeat, I was elated. A year and half can feel like forever in context of the dead, and, in may ways, it is. There would've been so much to tell you in playing ketchup. And, of course, the one question I've wanted so dearly for you to answer;

Why didn't you wear your fucking seatbelt?


Fucking indian,

I haven't seen or spoken to you in almost twenty-two years, not since back in North Carolina. But there was who-you-would-be-here-and-now from those phantasms of memory; the long black hair, the obligatory Kiss t-shirt, and that swagger, which some girls would throw themselves at you for and some boys wanted kill you for. I could even see the anger in the eyes; equal parts that abusive childhood of yours and growing up as one of what you called a conquered people.

I don't think about you as much as I used to. The stories I tell don't feature you as often as they once did. Perhaps that is unfortunate. Maybe that's what nearly twenty-two years without a glance or word will eventually do. I'm not sure I care enough to find out the difference.

I always swore if I saw you again I'd punch you, though I struggle to remember exactly why anymore. The motivation for malice at seventeen seems trivial at the precipice of forty. The effigy I saw swaggering across my field of vision would not have appreciated my fist in his throat.

Besides, punching anything hurts! I could never understand how you did it without the slightest wince, but you were always cooler than I. Or at least that's what I believed all those years ago.

What I saw took me back to those last days in North Carolina. Me and you were born in the same state, and, after three and half years of misery, my father saw fit to move us back. Part of me wonders if you resented me for my escape from that stifling wasteland of white supremacists and kudzu. There are a lot of things I wonder about you when you arrive within the mathematics of my thoughts. But after nearly twenty-two years, neither those questions, or the answers you'd perhaps give, really matter.

26 June 2012


We had just reached the eastern ledge of the cemetery when the sky went dark. I unshouldered my pack to retrieve my t-shirt and Whistler's leash for the last leg of our trek home through town. The cloud cover gave us a pleasant respite from the building heat of the day as we had been out on walkabout.

Something wet touched my arm, but I dismissed it was sweat. The dark clouds sure looked ominous, but I was cynical. It had been so hot and dry that even when the dark clouds appeared, any moisture carried therein evaporated long before it touched the ground. Even this high up.

Then there was the roar. Wardrums echoed through the valley, causing Whistler to start. Another peal of thunder and more sensations of wet. The sky opened up.

We walked home in a downpour, the rain soaking clothing, fur, and packs. The thirsty earth, all but drying even as it got wet, opened wide to drink heartily. A sound like that of bacon frying upon a skillet.

The clouds broke as we turned the last corner of the last stretch to home. Sunlight once more bathed the mountainsides. The rain moved on, thunder echoing further down the valley. Once more, the ground and roadways dried out as though the downpour was nothing more than a phantasm. The drink the world had been given equating to about a sip.

I let Whistler off the leash as we approached the House of Owls and Bats. A rainbow arched overhead in an almost cathedral-like fashion and warmth returned, but the rainsoak made it feel quite pleasant. I couldn't help but smile, reaching down to scritch behind Whistler's ears.

"Remember," I said, "These are the best of times."

22 June 2012

Heat; A Meditation

Eighty-five quaint 'merican degrees on the fahrenheit scale at ninety-one sixty. I heard this apocryphally happened once, long ago during the dark ages between the halcyon antiquity of the mining days and the here and now. A climatic fluke. Being eighty or a little bit above has seemed to happen with a bit more frequency. I find it easier to accept the idea of the epoch of the anthropocene and its repercussions than when I first heard the term. Something about naming a geological epoch after a species of half-bald primates seemed rather arrogant, but then I remembered human and arrogant are kissing cousins. Be that as it may, I also try to be mindful when I'm observing the climatological omens I don't get suckered by what is called the Confirmation Bias

It has been a comedy of errors, savage amusement, and near homicide when trying to explain the fact there's a fire ban in effect. It's been in effect since shortly after the vernal equinox. Still, some travelers cannot comprehend it. Once, I got a little indignant.

"Tell you what; I'm not going to burn down your house," I said.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Return the courtesy," I growled. Sempi and I might have had a discussion about that had I not reminded him about his reaction to a WWII vet asking him if he'd ever done military penance on the day Don't Ask/Don't Tell was repealed. I've never claimed to be a nice man.

Fireworks are canceled within the borders of our Sahel this year. Something that has not happened in recent memory, perhaps ever, though I've yet to find the old-timer to confirm or deny that. The heat and the dry and the way it feels like half of the state, not to mention the southwestern quadrant of the 'merican Maghreb, is on fire act as the reason and rational.

It doesn't bother me much. The idea of celebrating white man's independence from tyranny with the detonation of low-grade explosives has often struck me as being a bit stupid. An excuse to be drunk and belligerent chanting Usa! in a show of fair-weather fandom. That probably makes me a horrible patriot, and, were I given to self-indulgence, I might say there's a file about me somewhere because of that perception.

Well, that and the fact I have three copies of the Qur'an in my possession...

The dry is disturbing. Every time the haze from another fire cloaks our sky, a breath of collective fear is drawn. When seeing someone smoking, it is homicidally hoped they put out their butt throughly and in the proper receptacle. Fire ban are the first words mentioned when someone wants the location of a campground, and it's repeated like a mantra, depending on who's asking.

Yet, despite this Lovecraftian macabre, there is serenity and optimism. It is summer, after all. Flatlanders come to our elevation in locust-like swarms to escape temperatures that make our eighty and above heatwave seem trivial. Once the sun sets, as in the deserts and the badlands of eastern Colorado, it becomes cool. Sometimes, pleasantly so, whilst others, rather chilly.

The heat can make my bicycle rides home interesting studies in feeling the burn. I keep waiting for one day, hotter than the others, when I can make my spicy shrimp recipe with a bottle-or two...three?-of cheap white wine and sit out back in the fading daylight. I play musics with that hot summertime resonance. There are walkabouts up tundra and wildflowers in bloom. The trill of hummingbirds and the lazy amble of a far below average river.

Things of beauty and terror, or optimism and worry; those sides of a cosmic coin. Here is this anthropocene summer in the mountains; the heat and the dry, the hummingbirds and cocktails taken out back in the warm sunlight. Take it as it comes, riding the snake's tale for all its worth. It is perhaps the only sane course of action. 

18 June 2012

100 Words; Twilight Tigers

I pulled someone outside to behold the spectacle of the twilight tiger clouds in the fading sunlight. And they spoke of triviality. Stupid things. That, which could be repaired.

And I hissed in the tongues of feral cobras and meditative demons;

"What does it matter? Look at this most beautiful portrait. Enjoy the moment, because it will never come again, no matter how you try."

My lesson was learned or lost. Black or white. Profound truth or a waste of oxygen. It doesn't matter. I watched the twilight tigers fade to shades of Grey, ever so grateful for the moment.

14 June 2012

Extraordinary Mundanity

The other day, whilst doing yard work, I happened to look up into the clear turquoise sky. There, along the southwest flank of Mount Pendelton,  just above the valley's rim, sat a half-lidded eye of the moon, showing phantasmal. I drew a deep breath, finding this spectacle tragically interesting; in the imagery and tongues of science fiction, where everything is rocket-fueled and laser-powered, the sight of another heavenly body, another world, is awe-inspiring. Exotic. Yet, here, on this pale blue dot, such a thing is lucky if noted with a passing glance. It's only the moon. Here, it is a mundanity.

As of late, my culinary tastes have been turned in the directions of  Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. I find this to be a bit of a natural progression; I've mastered pan-Asian cuisine and I've got a bit of reputation amongst some who know me for my grasp of food from the Indian sub-continent. Some have waxed poetic about my taste and heat in their mouths.

And apparently my curries don't suck neither...

A few years back was when I started traveling to Africa on a gastronomic level. North African-Morocco, specifically-and Ethiopia host some of my favorite dishes, though I do like piri-piri out of Mozambique. That savory heat factor. It has been suggested that my taste for spicy is one of those things that helps me in rarely taking ill.

Then, it was up along the Mediterranean regions and the middle east. I especially dig Spanish. Probably because it's in spitting distance of Morocco, but also because the recipes, along with the wines, are nothing short of fantastic.

Sabina was not surprised in the least when she caught me rooting through my cookbooks. I usually have our meals schemed out a week in advance, which makes going to the souk a quick and painless process. When I told her about my jones for Mesoamerica and Caribbean food, she merely smiled.

"Of course you do," she said. "It's exotic! You're drawn to things you find exotic. You have to be different. Contrary." Then she got a wicked gleam in her eye. "Go ahead, deny it! Argue about being different and contrary."

"Nobody likes you," I said with a glare, and she threw her arms around my neck.

"You don't like me!" She chuckled. "You love me!"

Fucking woman. And the other day, somebody had the audacity to ask me why I drink. Imagine.

I know a pair of distinguished gentlemen who proudly proclaim they're Francophiles. That's fine, I suppose, though I wonder how Frank feels about it. Of course, it seems when phile comes into context, you're on some sort of registry and people look at you with disdain. Personally, I'd rather not be marked, filed, briefed, or debriefed at all. My life is my own.

Sabina, Jezebel, and my daughter would all say I'm an exotophile. As long as it's not American, too far north of the equator, or from the present age, I'm all kinds of Holmes-like interested. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I find those above listed things to be a mundanity, and there might be tragedy in that.

After all, someone in Tibet might find those ancient Buddhist monasteries as everyday as the Presbyterian church down the way, but think Coldplay or Nickelback just might be edgy. The exotic is merely a point of view. So it goes.

Once, a girl, quoting an indie-film told me anything less than extraordinary was a waste of time. She said this unto me when some of acquaintances of mine were fading into the slow death of suburbia and television lobotomies. Celluloid though the line was, I hearkened, and, was made glad, by receiving what I would take as gospel.

I've never done well with boredom, though I've sometimes described myself as a boring little man. Certainly, those who have, or still do, lead the rock and/or roll lifestyle might find what I find entertaining downright dull. Of course, I did my penance around the rock and/or roll lifestyle, and it can get trite after awhile, believe it or don't.

I search for the extraordinary in the little things, taking pleasure in it. There are adventures to be had in the magical moments between heartbeats if one knows how to look. Perhaps it's just a stubborn refusal to grow up and settle down, but I've mentioned before, I fucking hate grown-ups.

The moon was extraordinary that warm mountain late morning. As was the chorizo and potato tinga I made for supper. The rhythms and rhymes of the cosmos is the most fantastic of backbeats. I try not to allow myself to be suckered by mundanities, but, then again, these days, I try not to let anything be mundane.     

11 June 2012


Once, long ago, I told a Pagan hoodoo of my acquaintance the way the dubious phantasm of reality can sometime shift, fracture, warp, break, and come together once more that I shed my metaphysical skin more than a snake. She did not see a snake or any other form of reptile when it came to me. Instead, she said she saw the owl. It's those unnaturally large eyes of mine, see? I was young and impressionable, and took it somewhat to heart, remembering others, like the fucking indian, who would say owls and I were kinfolk, but that's another story.

Back when I lived down below, aside from footwalkers, of which I was one of that ilk, I knew a fair amount of cats who, whilst owning a mechanized vehicle, rarely drove. Perhaps only when requiring longer-distance trips, certain errands, or particularly inclement weather. Otherwise, these cats rode bicycles everywhere throughout the greater metroplex. Even and especially around the historical district, where I used to live, up Capitol Hill, and within the monoliths of downtown.

With it being summer, and my riding my bicycle more, I have found myself opting to pretty well park my vehicle for the season. There are, of course, exceptions to this resolution, but, by and large, I have never minded not driving. The details observed when moving at people speed are often missed when driving.

I have never considered myself athletic in any sense of the word. Being an aberration, my movements can be awkward, if not just outright queer. The si lai nan jen who so got their rocks off by bullying and brutalizing me growing up were most often of the jocks, thus fueling a hatred toward that social caste. Yet, both Sabina and sempi have in recent memory referred to me as athletic by virtue of my constantly going on walkabouts and the riding of my bicycle with almost child-like glee. I am not sure how to approach the subject. Those feelings I have toward the concept of labels, after all.

Those cats who would only drive when absolutely necessary and the historical district have entered a bit into the mathematics of my thoughts as of late. Perhaps because this little bit of Byzantium, hearkening back to halcyon days of the mining antiquity, along the far-western edge of our Sahel has a similar sense of funk to it, and you've got to have the funk. Well, at the very least, the history, which was part of what drew me here. Maybe it's the bicycle rides and walks down the dusty streets Sabina and I will take sometimes after dinner, the deepest blue of evening, when we catch bats and swallows dancing on the cool breezes in their search for prey.

I wonder if it's a dysfunction reconnect come full circle. Sort of like coming to the mountains was a sort of homecoming; having grown up in rural places on a farm. Even though I live within the borders of a municipality, within spitting distance of downtown, if it can even be called such anymore, we have an urban-wildlife interface down below community planners either masturbate themselves to or nightmare about, depending on one's philosophical bent when it comes to living in concert with the rest of nature.

The other day, after Sabina accused me of being athletic, and I almost told her that was as baseless as her calling me contrary, I remarked perhaps I am rebuilding myself in some way. Shedding my metaphysical skin, see? Just but a few months from what has been referred to by the hip and swinging as the new twenty, maybe such a thing is not only possible, but probable.

Then again, are we not always in a state of becoming? All things grow and change and further evolve in a dynamic environment. That's the way of things. After all, stagnation is a slow death, which leads to extinction,  and I have neither the time nor inclination to be party to an extinction event.        

03 June 2012

The Escape

The crumbling structure carried the scent of fetid water, desperation, bad ends, and broken dreams. Doors were locked and debris blocked passages. The fact there was electrical light, such as it was, was an incongruence. None of us thought much about that, though. Getting out was an all-consuming goal. Being trapped is never fun.

The rattle of an approaching train got our attention. Hopes of salvation. Fears of damnation. Someone noticed the cameras leering down on us, lecherous, in their mechanical observation. Suddenly, it all made sense; They had sent the Pit Bull Children to deal with us, and They were going to watch. It was going to be televised. Sandwiched between the latest pundit's fire and brimstone diatribe and feel-good sitcom. Not having owned a television in many years now, I'm no longer sure how these things work.

Not wanting to go down without a fight, if at all, the search for a way out became that much more tantamount. Some of us began to look for make-shift weapons. I found myself glad I had decided to carry my grandfather's shotgun with me, since it usually collected dust in a quite corner of the house next to a box of shells, which had never been opened. It seemed logical I would've brought at least a few shells with me, and began fishing through my pack and pockets for them. That was when I found the key.

"Hello, my pretty," I whispered.

It seemed logical to slip the key into the locked door in front of me. With an expectant moan, it opened before us. Smiles of small triumph formed upon our fearful faces. With a quick motion of the hand, I got the others to follow, closing and locking the door behind me. We moved quickly, some keeping an open eye for the Pit Bull Children with their Wild Hunt, others searching for doors to be unlocked. For every one of those, my key worked, and we would lock up behind us, sometimes further barricading the door with debris. The train had just pulled up when I opened the last door. We could hear the bark of dogs; Hellhounds on our trail. I locked the door and it grew silent.

Warm sunlight glittered down as we scattered across field and forest, putting as much distance between the crumbling structure and ourselves as we could. It stood behind us like a tattered gravestone in a forgotten cemetery. One by one, or in small groups, we all went our separate ways. The nightmare of the structure and the Pit Bull Children becoming phantasmal memory.

Walking through a willow bog, I cam across a legless man who bore a striking resemblance to Danny Devito. He was fly-fishing. We waved at one another, as is courtesy when out in the bush. He asked me where I was headed and I pointed to the snow-encrusted peaks just spitting distance away. I was within a mile of home.

"Do you ski?" He asked me.

"Snowshoe," I replied. "Hike, bike, and boulder."

"Be careful out there," he said. "That's how I lost my legs."

I thanked him with a an inclination of my head and salute of the barrel of my grandfather's shotgun. It was sound advice. I meant to ponder its profundity once I got home.