"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 May 2013


“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome-there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment. Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling them from up above, in the cold back outback of interstellar space.”
-Edward Abbey


“I think everybody has a landscape they’re designed for, and if you’re lucky, you find it…”-Bill McKibben


"What drew you up here?" A traveler asked me once. The sun was setting. Anyone playing along at home knows I'm a sucker for sunsets, although I might just suck.

"A juxtaposition of geography and Tibetan prayer flags," I said finally, and with a soft sort of reverence in my tone that one might think was more fitting for whatever deity one chooses to worship or ignore, and, from someone like me, might be missed if my tone wasn't listened to close enough. It wasn't a lie.

"Do you ever get tired of it?" I was asked. You'd think he'd just confessed to raping ten year olds, with a cactus, for the look I gave him. But, at least, I didn't...accidentally...eviscerate him. That might have been awkward to explain.

...Well, Constable, it's a funny story, really; see, he asked me an addle-brained question, and I had my knife opened, and, well, it would seem his entrails suddenly just fell out. It wasn't my fault. Really. You believe me, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?...

"No," I said with an accent of a feral growl. "Never. I'd want to be shot in the face, twice, if I even considered it."

It wasn't too long ago it was the anniversary of when we came up here on a lark. Ain't that always the way? The day I decided this was where I needed to be and Sabina decided we needed to figure a way up. This time of year, as summer rears its warm and gentle head, I catch myself thinking about that day, and that summer, when we ran for the hills at every opportunity, working up the escape velocity to get home.

I was seventeen and omnipotent when Cap'in Toke told us about the road to Kashmir. Perhaps it's a funny twist of fate-if there really is such a thing-that I took his stoned rant so dear to heart. There was that girl in the mask who spoke of us all having our own Africas. A similar concept. That one place in the whole of existence where you feel you belong. The one place, which is truly home.

Over the years and lifetimes, in the course of telling stories, I have invented more than one place. Some more fantastical than others. Growing up, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, hearing the siren's song of places that never were or would never be. An escape, perhaps; the world of bullies and mundanities not being for me.

These days, I don't read a lot of fictions. I've caught myself being sucker by travel writers, what for the tales of their treks. Maybe it's because I've been close to more than one gypsy soul. There's been but one fiction that's been keeping my attention as of late, but I perhaps it's because I perceive it as a spider's web to unravel.

The demonic inference probably helps too...

I found myself wondering if when you live somewhere that's fucking magic that the need for the escape to other realms becomes irrelevant. All the magic you'll ever need happens before your eyes every heartbeat. That the mythical concept of a heaven ceases to be a goal to be achieved, because you're already there. It's where you live and love and work and play. Hell is all the places your Kashmir isn't. For me, it's where the land ain't all pointed-like.

Perhaps I am being melodramatic. My own confirmation bias. Or, perhaps, as absurd as it seems, this stretch of geography pulls at the soul I don't even know for sure I have in ways language fails to explain.

Summer is coming to my mountains. Leaves have finally popped, nay, exploded, upon the deciduous trees. Shorts, sandals, grilling, bonfires, and camping under a big sky with cool scent of warm-awakened evergreen as the incense. I sport the most wicked grin of joy as I think of the mantra of our neighbor, a former county dog-catcher-"animal-control officer, get it fucking right!"-in that gruff misanthropic Brooklyn Jewish accent of his;

"I'm livin' the dream!"

The man's my one of my latest heroes...

26 May 2013


I think I'd already written him off when I drafted that letter. A story told within the walls of my skull before it actually coalesced. I would go to the show with my daughter, Sabina, and our friend from the winery, my eyes scanning the crowds for a familiar face whilst I tried not lash out like a cornered rat at the crush of humanity around me. Years in the mountains has made me more misanthropic than before. The show would end, and with a mei fei tsu into the darkness, I would walk away, silently mourning what was lost.

I am not a creature of blind faith. Perhaps I am cynical. Maybe I'm realistic. it could be it doesn't matter, given my reaction when my phone buzzed with a digital message in a bottle;

Hey, man, it's possible I'll be there...

I loath surprises. Sabina-quite baselessly, I might add-says that, despite my embrace of chaos, I am a closet control freak, when, in fact, I neither like to be ignorant of something or caught off guard. It's my funny little way. Be that as it may, I could not help up smirk, and, perhaps even, yelp excitedly at this unexpected turn of events.

There was a response here, a reply there. Correspondences to the ether, either, and or. Sabina was quite insistent I tell my daughter who might be at the show. She asked me if I was excited.

"If I see him, I see him," I said and I don't think anyone believed me, despite my reptilian tone.

Before the show, we sat at one of my old monkey watching spots along Sixteenth Street. It took me back. Sabina and my daughter made it a point to get closer to the stage, so they could slobber over Roger Clyne, as some girls are wont to do. I chose to hung back, our friend joining me, closer to the adjoining sidewalk, closer to an escape route from the growing crowds, that lynch mob in the making, I was considering murdering one by one, entraining thoughts of razorblades and maggots. My eyes scanned for a familiar face.

It was during Banditos my phone got my attention;

We're here! Over west of the stage...

Being an aberration, of whom, were my spine straight, I'd stand a little over seven feet tall, instead of the almost six and half I am, it could be stated with a fair amount of accuracy that I am indeed head and shoulders above quite a few and people tend to look up to me. Be that as it may, I began to lean up on tip-toes for a very vantage. Seeing someone with tattoos and ballcap was a dime a dozen, but then I saw particular set of tattoos and that certain swagger.

I threw the horns-how punk rock-and he waved back with a beaming grin that more than one girl has lost their inhibitions to...

"There's the the tall lanky bastard!" Lee exclaimed as I came up and we embraced.

I'm sure the rest of the show was fantastic, and I do remember knowing all the songs that were played. However, I was busy. After two years, we needed to play ketchup; he is betrothed and living and tattooing up in Boulder, I'm the father of a recent high school graduate. It was lovely. Brief, but lovely.

We ended how we started, hugs, good-to-see-yous and love-you-brother[s]. So it goes. I promised to swing by his shoppe in the near future, if, for no other reason, a promise to my daughter to get her nose pierced.

"I hope that someday this fence can be mended," someone said to me recently when I more than three-quarters wondered if my friendship with Lee had drifted into that entropy where old friendships go to die.

As I watched him disappear into the city crowds once more I caught myself smirking hopefully. I am not a creature of blind faith, but I caught myself wondering in this context. Perhaps the fence was on its way to being mended, but maybe it was never really broken in the first place.

24 May 2013

The Dance

Twenty-two years ago, I did the pomp and circumstance dance. A girl I knew once said Send in the Clowns would be a better song to play at such occasions. I couldn't agree more.

I was up at very early in the morning to stand in a wind-blown stadium and see the true love of my life do that same dance I did twenty-two years before. For all the dog and pony show, I stood in awe. My girl, the one who was once the length of my forearm, was standing getting the piece of paper, which, according to the social construct of reality, says she's ready to step into the real world.

Girl, you're to be a woman soon...

Pride might be a sin, but today, I felt especially sinful, and you can't convince me to feel bad about it...

21 May 2013

100 Words; Runoff

The world becomes filled with sound of rushing water. Little gulches, dry, frozen, silent, during other times of the year become talkative streams. Hot weather has not truly come yet. Once that arrives, in the afternoons and evenings, the river will not only sing, it will roar.

We saw river rafters the other day. Miguel Loco's down the Grand Canyon, vacation before summer season gets underway and catharsis from a divorce. On walkabout, I think of three trails I want to do directly, all of which have Gulch in their names. The siren's song of running water fills my ears.

19 May 2013

Letters to the Void

When I realize it's been a little over two years since we've seen, let alone spoken, to one another, I catch myself shocked by the elasticity and abstractness of time, and saddened by the fact it's been so long. I'm sorry, how about you?

It was back when we put the bruja in ground. Did we, by unintended inaction, bury our friendship as well? It is a question I ask myself sometimes, late at night, when the demons come for tea. The answer illudes me.

My daughter graduates high school in a few short days hence. Yeh, daddy's little girl has gone and gotten all grown up behind our backs, but right before our eyes. As a celebration of this circumstance, there is the matter of a free show being put on by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, which we mean to attend.

I send you correspondences, using the ways and means to reach you I have on hand. Due diligence. The likelihood of those ways and means being valid? Perhaps I should rather go and get myself good and drunk, go out back, and shoot rubber bands at the stars, because I might actually hit one.

Even through the dismissal that you'll not respond, that I'll not see you, I hold out a modicum of hope. Perhaps you'll prove me wrong. You've done it before and we can get back up and we can do it all over again. Maybe I'll run into you at the show, and I'd even help you up. We could share then a tequila to Mekong as we always used to.

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

15 May 2013

A-Cycling I Shall Go

The first time I did that six-hundred vertical, my legs, like my lungs, burned.  By the time I wheeled into home, I was torn and tired and murdered. It was as though I'd run up my personal Kilimanjaro twice.

It was queer. After all, I'd been up here more than a few years. I go on walkabouts at any opportunity. Then the reasoning kicked in; like snowshoeing, riding a bicycle calls upon the use of other muscles, and, in the case of the first time, muscles in places you didn't even know you own.

A few weeks later, that route was old hat, just something I was doing that summer...

It was the first time this season and I anticipated the burn and exhaustion. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. Maybe easy isn't the right adjective, but to compare it to what I'd experienced the year before would've been an outright lie.

The zen of zipping down-valley at the speed of inertia and push back up. Having wheels at people speed. Like trills of hummingbirds through the valley and the slow-greening of the High Country, I move in time to a waltz of warmer weather.

Spring is here and summer isn't that far off..

13 May 2013

The Realization of Vision

I still remember the dream as though I just had it; we were in a house out on the badlands of eastern Colorado. The place bore a striking resemblance to my parents' farmstead out on Road Twenty-One, the one my father said could house myself, my brother, sister, daughter, mother, grandmother, and him and we'd never be tripping over one another. Despite its location in such a flat expanse of khaki, craft fairs, ranchers, and tractor pulls I always kind of dug that house if for no other reason than that kitchen.

You were standing in the great room, looking out a window, dressed in a simple black skirt, boots, and your Mansfields t-shirt. I did not have to announce my presence, you turned as I walked up. There was thin smile on your lips and a sparkle in your big doe eyes, which shine like abalone shells.

"You want to go out tonight?" I asked, meaning one of the juke joints we would frequent back in those down below past lives. "Reckon the whole Hee-Haw Gang will be there."

"I don't know," you replied. "Let me think about it."

"Okay," I said. "I'll go make dinner. Vindaloo?"

"Sounds lovely," you said, giving me a kiss on the cheek.

The day of that dream, I'd come across a loft in the historical district, where I lived in the greater metroplex, that was for sale. You and your x were looking for a weekend place, closer to the monoliths of downtown, to crash when out gallivanting. Funny. Back then I figured a weekend place was away from the borders of a city, but I was younger and impetuous.

You were over in Grand Junction, helping your parents pack up to make the transition to full-time Arizona residents. I was thanked for my armature efforts at reality and told of a photograph of you in a sombrero. When I saw it later, I almost laughed myself sick. On your way home that night, you swung by my place to give me a paper wasp's nest because you said it made you think of me.

I never told you, but that was one of the sweetest gifts I ever got from a girl. I didn't mention the dream I'd had with you. At the time, it would've been awkward, at best, and wrong action, at worst.

Although, I did eventually tell you about that dream. It was that night you got me drunk. Yes, you. I wanted to drink lemonade and read the bible. I wanted to walk with the lord. You weren't having that, oh no. You kept pouring wine down my throat, and what was I supposed to do? There are children-children!-who go to bed sober in India. I had to think of the children.

Don't look at me like that...

That was the night I tried to warn you about me. Oh, sure, we were fine friends, but anything else could be a bad scene. I am, at best, misanthropic, and you've always been far too extroverted for that. There are those who would say-quite baselessly, I might add-that I'm paradoxical. A girl of your regal bearing didn't need to be getting beyond platonic with a quirky bastard such as I.

Not that you listened, oh no. Instead, you took advantage of me. Yes, you. I tried to end the evening with me discreetly going to bed. To sleepYou were there, naked, jabbing your tongue down my throat, and what was I supposed to do?

I said don't look at me like that...

There have been times when I've questioned the sanctity of my dreams. That one about me and you in that badlands house. There were those dreams I had during my roaring twenties with the Buddhist motif, which I postulated to a street preacher were not unlike what the apostle formerly known as Saul, who changed his name to Paul, went through on the road to Damascus. I would dream of nowhere never-nevers with interesting geographies that operated in a wholly different manner than what some might call the real world. There are thousands of little omens over the years and lifetimes I've never mentioned to anyone.

Although, I should've known with you that night I saw you in the gin joint in the cowboy hat, but that's another story. Then again, I've never claimed to be psychic. The cats I've encountered who say that they are most assuredly are not.

And perhaps it's that; the questioning. It is not within my nature to take things without question and on blind faith. Remember, heretic. I get curious, I dissect. When it comes to finding the satisfactory answer, I can be relentless.

I wonder if those dreams and omens are nothing more than my own confirmation bias. Looking for patterns within the Tao of Chaos. False facts to fit my perception of reality.

Then I wonder how much it really matters. We are where we are now. That's not a dream. It is so spit-shiny real sometimes it borders upon surreal.

It has been quite some years since I had dream and you gave me the paper wasp's nest because it made you think of me. That house, which was based on one my parents lived in, is long gone. The badlands of eastern Colorado all but ceased to exist for me when my father moved from the Rub 'al Khali after my mother died. Much like North Carolina got buried with my father's mother. Other than memory and stories, neither of those places are truly real anymore. Dreams to be forgotten upon waking.

The house we live in is in a place you jump off the end of the world to reach-and here, there be dragons. I still make us dinner because that's what I do. I don't bother to ask you about going to those juke joints, instead about roadtrips and walkabouts.

It has nothing to do with visions, but I already know your answer...   

07 May 2013


The beginning of May is always at one point, inevitably, craptastic. It doesn't matter how warm it is before or after, there's a point of cold and snow in which the month flips a cosmic coin between murky and warming toward late spring into summer. This year, it was on the very first day. The Road was closed for four hours whilst snowflakes the consistency of paper mache covered the world. As an upshot, it got the snowpack for our drainage to one-hundred percent of average.

This is the time of year that things seem to be suspended in amber and tar, yet accelerating to lightspeed all at once. It is the tail-end of mud, and what a muddy mud it's been. Merchants go on their vacations and restaurants will close their doors for days at a go to get all gussied up for the summer season. In our Sahel the narrow-gauge railroad has started again and the first of the tour buses filled with visiting Chinese, seniors, or Russians looking for pointyland adventure have started to arrive. Flower buds get ready to bloom and we prepare to mix up hummingbird food.

It's the time of year when it's still cool enough to warrant fires and keeping the windows shut. There's a certain stuffiness about the house, which Sabina blames on the hounds, and not without reason, but I catch it from also the cats, ferrets, even the two of us. The scent of being closed up all winter and mud. I itch to throw open the windows, crack the doors, light some incense, and allow the perfumes of the outdoors permeate the premises.

There are ticks and butterflies. A kaleidoscope of  shifting aviary characters at the bird feeder. Looking at the mountainsides, one can see a strata based upon elevation; dirty diamonds, faded khaki, and the encroaching of the most brilliant of emeralds. All of this, suspended in an indefinable moment as the cyclic wheel holds its breath before starting to spin once more. These are the rhythms of limbo.