"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

27 May 2012


The last time I saw you, we were burying a mutual friend by virtue of metaphor. You had apparently walked out of a closing shoppe with a borrowed jacket so hopped up on pain pills from a previous night's motorcycle accident that you didn't notice until later. I was torn between being elated to see you and disappointed in your theft, no matter how unintentional.

You were the one who feared for my sanity, what with my anti-social tendencies. You tried to change me outwardly time and again. I fought back. A thousand tiny victories. A thousand tiny defeats. There were things I did just to shut you up. I wear marks of your passing upon my flesh, making no effort to hide them.

As time drifts by, I question whether our orbits will transect ever again. I'd like to think we've both made our efforts. It is said the road goes both ways.

The band played one of those songs that gets me to think of you. You know the one; you'd see to it we had tequila at the time. Hearing it, the memories come back. I wonder how you are. If you're even still alive. I miss you. When the band played the song, I held up my bottle and smiled ever so bittersweetly, thinking of you.

"And if your bottle's empty
then help yourself to mine,
Thank you for your time
and here's to life..."

25 May 2012


My grandmother used to tell me that with the severity of my learning disability, had I been born but a generation or two earlier, I would've been thrown in an institution, because the ubiquitous they wouldn't have known how to deal with me. They barely did in my generation I was born into. My mother would tell me I was possessed of dazzling and brutal intelligence, and that I could do anything if I just set my mind to it. That blessing and curse of being told one has potential. Both matriarchs would say I was special.

I knew someone who would say when one was special it meant you could read to them slow...

And that's how some of the teachers and the si lai nan jen treated me. Of course, being too tall, too skinny, with eyes too big for rest of my face and that overbite I had until I was sixteen did nothing to help. My father told me the story of a teacher who told my parents how I all but autistic. How I would never graduate high school, never be able to drive, and never be able to hold down any sort of employment. My father went on to state if there was one time he ever really wanted to hit a woman, it was during that meeting.

He told me of that meeting on the day of my high school graduation, and he went on to mention he'd sent an invitation for said graduation to said teacher. When my name was called, I strutted toward the platform with all the eighteen year old heavy-metal/punk-rock swagger I could muster. Upon receiving the effigy of my diploma, I looked out into the audience, my left hand shot out, middle finger pointing towards the heavens, defying those who called me retarded and stupid through all those years and lifetimes, defying gods I may or may not have believed in once upon a time.


How I managed to get my diploma after that little display was probably luck, or the powers-that-be being too gobsmacked at my gall to do much else...

Back when I was dancing with the dead for money, Madam Lung was a nurse with high-risk children. She would mention to some of these whelps and their parents, even and especially those with learning disabilities of any kind, about her quirky friend who was once told he would amount to nothing and how he not only published a book, but also helped save and enhance human lives by working in organ and tissue transplant. When she first told me that, I felt awkward, being placed in the spotlight by proxy. In the end, I did thank her for thinking so highly of me to mention that saga to children she performed checkups on.

My experience with my learning disability is what I thank and blame for a particular sense of relentlessness I possess, which is spiced with spite and angst. My brother, who has the same disability, just not as severe, was done with the special-ed classes by the time he was in high school, whereas I was in those classes until my graduation, thus showing how far education had evolved in that period. Then again, I was in the lab-rat generation. My brother does not understand my sense of tenacity, because he's not had to spit and fight like I did. Sometimes, I envy his ignorance, but other times I mourn it.

It was tenacity that got me to the monoliths of downtown. That got me published. Jezebel once remarked I had a nasty tendency to get what I wanted, and only someone who was either daft or insane-or perhaps a little of both-would get in my way of going after what I wanted. I remember questioning my best friend's analogy during those periods of devil deals that constituted the acquisition of the House of Owls and Bats. Someone else I knew spoke in tongues of comfort regarding my sense of relentlessness;

"The only time you don't get what you want is when you decide you no longer want it."

And I dug in. I let the fangs drop and talons extend. The demon that sometimes hides behind my eyes, hiding like an ambush predator in some nameless African river came a little closer to the surface.

Get in the ring, mutherfucker...

And we all know how that story's turned out...


With the coming of warmer weather, I've pulled out my bicycle once more. In the name of saving some fuel and bringing into shape a different set of muscles, I've resolved to ride to my obligation at least once a week. Sempi has harassed me about it, being all hippie-health-nut like.

By the Road and the flight of birds, it's only two miles down valley from home. I do more than that on an average walkabout. The kicker is a five hundred ninety-nine vertical-foot change in elevation. That sudden change in altitude is why the narrow-gauge coils over and over itself from one depot to the next.

The ride down is dictated by sheer gravity. I peddle but a few times. It's going back up where I find myself getting to work; the gear where the legs go so fast but the movement is methodical in its pace. My lungs, though a long time clear from having smoked, still carry a hint of adolescent asthma-although quick sheer climbs can wind even the most in shape. I plod on, reciting a dysfunctional mantra Sabina and I have uttered on more than one walkabout; just a little further.

Then I get to that point where I see a sign denoting one of the train depots. The roof-lines of some of the houses come into view. I know it'll level out soon, and I can switch back to regular gears. It's then I dig in.  I let the fangs drop and talons extend. The demon that sometimes hides behind my eyes, hiding like an ambush predator in some nameless African river comes a little closer to the surface. I get tenacious.

Fuck you. I will not let this beat me. 

I used to say there has yet to be a force in the universe that can break me. A now departed friend, angelic in his broken-winged countenance, would warn me against such an assertion, saying one day the universe would send that force my way. I have reached a point where I cannot readily anthropomorphize the universe to think it even cares about little old me. Still, sometimes when staring out into the entirety of the cosmos, I catch myself  awaiting that challenge, feeling the tenacious sensation to dig in.

Get in the ring, mutherfucker...   

22 May 2012

The Scent of Anticipation

We stand upon the precipice of what is so often called the unofficial start of summer. This moniker has never ceased to amuse me. The abstractness of time, the dubiousness of the start and stop of seasons, and the placement of equinoxes and solstices not withstanding, there have been times when the oncoming holiday weekend has felt rather far from summer. Cool, murky, rainy. Of course, this high up, it's snowed before. It can potentially snow anytime of the year and that's just the way of it. Those snows delight the late-season snowbums, searching for the last Backcountry bowls, but devastate those who hoped to ride the narrow-gauge in shorts and their newly-acquired tourist-trap Colorado! t-shirt.

The scent in the air is that of anticipation. The unofficial start of summer is the official start of tourist season, although I get nervous laughs when I've asked if this means we can shoot them...legally. Once more the museums are open and the narrow-gauge runs. This is the good time around here. The boom time. If luck holds, the coffers can be filled enough to feed one during the leanest months of deep winter. Sempi has been ramping up like general preparing for an offensive, or to defend from one, repelling the hordes of travelers whom he anticipates coming to ask us for directions and history lessons. Sometimes, this has been amusing.

Thoughts drift to outdoor festivals, warm sun, and cool breezes. Hiking, bonfire parties, and barbeque's. The trill of the hummingbirds provide a backbeat when sitting out back. Our gardening starts are effectively hardened, and we look to putting them in our plot in the next few days. At any opportunity, Sabina brings up wanting to go camping, like that's all she ever thinks about. In some ways, it seems absurd; given where we live, we live camping, but I do suppose there's something to be said for heading out into the bush to get your John Muir on. On walkabout, we stood in the borderlands of treeline, seeing the first wildflowers blooming, and I caught a sense of excitement at the thought of once more going wandering in the summer tundra.

Within the borders of our Sahel, these days building up to the upcoming weekend is held breath. Anticipation of the coming tourists. Collectively, we sit like children awaiting Christmas Day.

Sure, some entitled-like treat our townships like fucking Disneyland, they can ask some rather daft questions, and I still would like to shoot at least one, because I'd like to be able to hang a human skull out on the folly, but they're the ones who keep us going. One cannot have the good without the bad and even good deeds have their consequences. It's a matter of balance; all things for a price, that is the nature of the deal. Only the cheap things get paid for with jingling coins and folding paper. If summer is the boom time for us, than the occasional annoyance of the tourist is the price to paid. To my mind, there are worse penances to be exacted.

20 May 2012

Thin Air Seduction

"We dreamed our lives
and we lived our dreams..."-Fury in the Slaughterhouse

We had been seduced by the majesty of pointed geography. As the afternoon imperceptibly sloughed its skin into early evening, we took one last drive through ancient lanes before returning to the grater metroplex once more, beholding grand Victorians and quaint miner's cabins, which were sometimes one and the same. I watched a man walking from his house out to table to take in the mountain evening. In one hand was a book and in the other was tumbler of something brown that surmised was scotch. A pipe dangled from his mouth and a wisp of blue-gray smoke trailed behind him.

I wanted to be like him; getting ready to enjoy a cocktail and a book in a early mountain evening. Envy is not something I generally allow myself to get suckered by because nothing good comes of it. However, in that moment, I'm almost certain my skin turned green because of it.

That house is three doors down from sempi's posh Victorian. I live nearly six-hundred vertical feet up the hill in my own one-and-the-same miner's cabin Victorian. I've never seen that man I so momentarily admired. It's been three and a half years since I stopped smoking, and the last time I caught the scent of such an act upon someone, I found myself wanting to gag, which I found rather interesting; the last visages of junkie want perhaps having shed away. 

It seems so long ago now that it was another life when the kisses and caresses of the thiner air seduced us so. Whether it was fate or tenacity that got us up here is a matter of your bent of superstition, and even when I've been at my most superstitious, I've had a hard time believing in fate. Depending on which of my friends you asked, I either up and went mad-whether it was the type of madness spiced with whimsy or psychosis is conjecture-or was going after something I really wanted, chasing a snake's tail down a rabbit hole and going my own way, and that's just the way I am.

Maybe, here and now, such details cease to matter. Lifetimes have passed and plumage has molted since those days down below. We've made a new life and new memories within our little Sahel. We are no longer that couple that was dreaming and scheming of moving up here, nor are we the couple that pulled it off so quickly. These days, we're the couple that lives in the white and red house with Buddhist prayer flags. She volunteer DJs at the community radio station and I'm on the board of the historical society. Just another couple of tossers that live here, even if I insist I'm a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Although I've never seen that man again, I've had plenty of occasions to be like him. Only taller. Lately, as the days have moved toward anniversary of day we were so seduced, as I've sat out back with a drink and a book, only half-reading because drinking in the sights of pointed geography has not lost its luster, I've thought of him. On occasion, I subconsciously thank him. After all, he was my unintentional hero.

13 May 2012


In the parlor is a picture, probably thirty-eight or thirty-nine years old. Three women, matriarchs, gather about a sitting room comfy chair. In the lap of the eldest woman, sits a boy, six months to a year old, maybe. He has eyes that are very large that he'll one day be harassed for, and blond hair, which will be brown by the time he turns eight, eventually becoming dysfunctional calico, with shades of Grey. The women, great grandmother, grandmother, and mother are all gone now. Years have passed since any of them have drawn breath. The boy is the last man standing. More times than he'd like to admit, he finds this disturbing.

I looked up a the picture, solemnly raising my tea mug in a unspoken toast. Then I turned my attention to my phone, to send a message to my sister. At six years younger than me, she is the matriarch of the family now and respects need to be made, despite the fact I try not think of what day it is.

By a roll of the bones falling of days it is an anniversary for Sabina and I. We have so many it is joked we should commender a full month and have done with it. I give her a kiss and wish her a happy day before going about making breakfast.

Hummingbirds trill through the valley and the last visages of murky weather press on. On such a special day we look at hopping up over to get starts for our community garden plot. We're both excited for the adventure. Homemade pizza is on the menu for super. It could be said it's just another day, but, then again, when you live where others come to vacation, everyday is a holiday. 

11 May 2012

Mountain Irony

Of course after a day when the mercury read a quaint seventy American degrees on the fahrenheit scale it would struggle to get near forty. Of course five days after the highest ski area in the state closed for the season due to the lack of it, we'd get snow. Of course it'd look like a borderline blizzard out when it's just enough above freezing to make the paste falling from the sky comfortable to be out standing in, licking the moisture from the sky like a wide-eyed whelp. Of course with all the omens of drought and a fire ban we all give thanks to whatever might be listening for this little drink, even if the bottle will be drained in a day or two. Of course it'll be warm shorts-weather in the matter of a very few risings and settings of the sun.

That's just the way of it...

I live in a land of juxtaposition and irony. Things only make sense when you wrinkle and squint and give the benefit of the doubt. The chaos and maniacal humor inherent in the universe seems that much more obvious. I love it. There are those I know, some of whom I care for who'd agree with an 'of course you do' and go and call me paradoxical. This is home and I could be nowhere else.

Here and now, I lift my glass to the snow, grateful for drink afforded to my tiny world...

08 May 2012

Dreamtime Contrasts

I was riding the bus, watching the ever-changing ballet of humanity every couple of blocks. The monoliths of downtown served as the background for this world stage. Bright sunlight danced and shimmered from the steel and glass, casting strange shadows upon the concrete. A bag covered a bomber of dark beer and I a had flask of whiskey hidden in my pocket. One must be surreptitious when having a roadie on public transportation. Perhaps I felt like getting drunk, I was riding a bus through the monoliths of downtown, after all.

I was awake. The air outside was cool as I let the hounds out. Jasmine tea was steeping on the stove. The monoliths I beheld were the eleven and twelve-thousand peaks, which wall this part of the valley, sometimes, I joke, like a fortress. Bright sunlight shimmered upon rocks and last remnants of snow up top, casting gentle shadows through the trees. The contrast between the dreamtime and awake got me to smirk slightly. Some say I'm all about dichotomy.

I calculated which trail I was going to go wandering. The idea of roadies, whilst entertaining, is best reserved for roadtrips, and that is not part of the day's scheme. There would most likely be wine with dinner, but that was later. There were other things to do first.

I'm going on walkabout...

03 May 2012

New Dawn

As I stood out back in the deepening blue of early evening, bedecked in one of my I-don't-feel-pretty-ragwool-sweaters to ward off the slight chill, I caught myself thinking it was a lovely early summer evening. I realized the queerness of the thought within the heartbeat it coalesced within the walls of my skull; the month wasn't even a few days old yet, and, usually, it wasn't out the question for at least one more accumulating snow. In the moment I was noticing how many deciduous had leafed out here at ninety-one sixty. My muse either stood as a testimony to the odd weather as of late or the abstractness of time, perhaps both. Take your pick.

It is still the limbo between skiers and summer tourists and the hummingbirds are still a few days to a week away from their first appearance. Yet, the town sewer project has started again and the river runs as though spring runoff has already passed. Sabina engaged in a mammoth clean/purge project in our back room and the children are still in school. Yet, the travelers that ask about local attractions give me a slightly concussed look when I say their seasonal opening are a few weeks off. See, it's already hot in those lower places they're traveling from.

Perhaps, since the empirical omens and portents point toward a warming, and, already warmer world, the starting gun of summer tourists will shift from Memorial Day to May Day. There's a possibility the I-don't-feel-pretty-sweaters won't be necessary to ward off a chill of an early summer's eve. It's conceivable our Sahel will be cooler than down below still, but not the paradise snow-birds so seek. Maybe seeing the deciduous leafing out as early as they have at ninety-one eighty won't be so shocking. It could be we are collectively looking upon a new dawn, but won't really, really notice it until midday.   

I'm sure there are those who would call me melodramatic at best and mad at worst, and I've stated before how hard it is for me to take a doomsayer seriously. Be that as it may, I can still recall one late season afternoon and the sight of a dandelion, which began a certain growing feeling that things have changed. That things are changing. It is a sensation between curiosity and trepidation. For better or worse is not something I really concerned myself with. Instead, I find myself wondering, with the new dawn, how we will survive the coming day.