Sunday, January 29, 2006

Unlocking the Brain Fart

A smell lifts into the morning air, a dispersal of particles, the most potent of which fight their way into the limited convolution of your gray matter. You breathe in deep. Sound waves bounce off someone’s voice traversing the rills of your hearing. The sunlight hits your eyes as a key swinging blithely seeking a doorway. Trip goes the trigger, the door swings open and you are in the desert but you can definitely smell your grandmother’s tortillas.

She’s flipping them on the comal. You hear the sounds of her rough fingers sliding against the hot iron as she flips the crisping flatbread alternating with the sound of the rolling pin as she prepares another for the tacos everyone is going to eat before David the Alone drinks all the milk from the fridge that stood guard the night Grandpa drunk himself stupid and blamed your cousins for the death of his firstborn son Manuel who drowned a year before you were born in the ocean you first learned to surf. South Padre is a curtain unfurled, releasing hot dogs and junkies and spring breakers and nights in Mexico where preppy college kids are talking to you in slowly improvised garbles, that could pass for Spanish if you were a retard, asking you to “por favor, watcha my caro?” and which bars are better so you point in the direction of another fight where Teri ripped off Mari’s shirt and all the guys wrestled for a view of the ruins of the Roman landscape on your 25th birthday candles you lit the fires down the alley you took for a shortcut every morning that you had the munchies so you ate Vela’s gross tacos because they were the only taqueria open 24 years until the sand leaves your system. It clogs up everything inside.

Another deep breath.

Fucking sand.

You ask your buddies if they smell that.

"I just farted" Steve confesses with a smirk.

Fucking asshole.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Karma Debt Collection and Receipt

There is a thinking among more and more doctors and scientists that depression is related to your ability to remember. The clearer and more distinct the memories filling the spaces behind your eyes and ears become, the harder to carry on with the rest of the memories sure to be made along the way.

“Let’s have another round of shots for that guy!”

“Dude! That was crazy! You’re so fucking crazy!”

“Bartender! Mas, por favor!”

That’s David and Stephen. We went to High School together and they and others constantly conjure days I’d like to lose.

It was Christmas and that meant the college brats were back in town. That meant all of those guys were back in town reminding me of what I had and had not done with my life.

Everything happened so fast. Shots and women made towers of pleasure in my mind and pants and before I knew it, I was throwing up blood, laughing at a man who clearly punched like a girl—like the girl he was pounding my skull about.

I couldn’t feel a thing.

With blood and bone, I was paying a karma debt collector for every punch that ever missed me, every one I ever knocked unconscious, every lie I ever got away with, every rank and sour deed I was ever responsible for in a town too small for sins that big.

FWAP! That struck for that time I slept with the bride on the night before her wedding.

FWOP! Another for promises that spun out empty.

PLAP-TAPF!! Two for taking best friends to the same bed.

PFT! And that’s for stealing my girl!

Bled some more for those ribs I broke, that nose I cracked, that scar I made, those wounds I reopened and there’s a scar of my own just for being born.

I was still laughing when he walked away exhausted. That punishment was payment but the collector never stops until he’s paid in full. Now there is a debt owed me.

I have the scar to prove it. I see it every time I look at my reflection. The memory stays alive that way. It keeps me going.

I am not depressed. I am alive.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lack of Retribution

The streets shook beneath a hail of body parts and the dust of toppled towers buried our nation beneath a new layer of fear. Since that day in September, our balding Eagle has suffered a partially self-inflicted tail spin from which it has yet, to fully recover.

Time and again, when not the victims of an actual terrorist attack, we are relentlessly bombarded by the word Terror.

Press release upon press release, our color-coded-scare-system works as though designed by that little boy with shark-toothed wolves on his brand new little brain.

Whatever happened to that little boy?

The next attack could be executed by anyone—a neighbor, a best friend or that lurking little sister—how well does one really know those people? The threat of emmiment danger hovers just out of eye and earshot.

Did you hear something?

Caught in the crossfire of a Ratings War between media Titans bilking the PR for the Almighty Bottom Line, we linger in distraction while habeas corpus hangs gutted by a PATRIOT Act.

With cameras penetrating our privacy and technology suiting up into thought-police uniform, no sideshow could eclipse the recent growth-spurt of Big Brother who looks like he’s got much growing left.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Jesus and His Napkins

My brother Sam is one of the funniest guys to be around.

He’s my antithesis.

Where I am the fucked up, impulsive, oscillating, bumps-in-any-road, always seeking out the most thoroughly damaged woman in the room I can non-commit to kind of guy, Sam kept the same girlfriend from eighth grade till after he graduated FROM COLLEGE. The fact that my brother got all the way through college whereas I chose world travel says a lot. I remember going through high school together, we’re only separated by a year, one month and three weeks, whenever the subject of my brother came up, I’d invariably hear the same things, “He’s such a sweet guy. He and Lisa are really great together. He’s your brother? But you’re such an asshole. Did you grow up in the same house? You guys must have different fathers-you look Asian and he doesn’t.”

Yup, even by appearance, we are hard to reconcile—he’s tall, I’m short, he’s a wide eyed curly haired thin man who can’t gain muscle no matter how hard he works at it. I’m the one who Vietnamese try speaking to in native dialect, in supermarkets, with an innate ability to gain muscles just by lifting groceries. If you put me in front of a weight set after years of lazy-couch-meal-inactivity, I’m carved from wood in days.

You get the idea.

No matter how different we are, everything we’ve experienced growing up in the same house is so thoroughly twisted into our neural fibers that we know each other even when we’re far apart. We like the same music, movies and humor. I could listen to him laugh all day long. We’ve never been in a major disagreement but if we ever did, I’m sure it would be my fault.

The same bible stories and scriptures drilled into my head as a child, reside also in the brain of this blasphemous birthday boy. Just ask him if he knows what the Breastplate of Righteousness and the Helmet of Salvation are and he could tell you the same stories I remember. You will laugh so hard you may see Jesus and he may ask you if you need a napkin.

He’s the reason I want a pair of kids and not a solitary, sisterless or brotherless child. I don’t know what the world would be like if I didn’t have Sam’s laughter echoing in my head when I’ve done something clever or stupid.

In the private audience I keep locked up in the grand theatre of my mind, he’s got a front row seat.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brain Asthma

If you step outside of the boundary, the dogs will get you. The dogs roam the wire, wild and hungry waiting for you to step outside.

If you flick into the film strip of your memory, there is a frog, pretending he’s a lion, waiting with a gun filled with his own self loathing, for you to cross him. He calls himself Frogger and he went to get a gun because Albert can’t help but laugh. Albert would laugh if spooks were threatening to chop off his thumb, he’d laugh even—especially if his life depended on it.

Where was Ugly David with his lopsided head when we needed him?

Slide back into the belly of the whale where you belong. It’s warm in here and all the friends you had, way back when, are there tap tap tapping at memory precursors, a bundle of neurons you made to evoke this episode. A small meter of blips in twos and threes, awkward silence, adrenalin butterflying throughout your belly, or pictures of reptiles having sex, they’re picking through the tumblers of your braindrum.

The first notes transfix the particular axon and then . . . do you hear music?
"Here come dee Hotsteppa! Word-a-rah! I’m a lyrical Gangsta! Word-a-rah!" Where did that come from? Buried with the sins of your collective, are treasures of stupendous uselessness next to that time your teacher let you look down her shirt, leaning against scorpions you caught in New Mexico while a preacher commands you, “Leviticus Ch. 24, verse 20, SAY IT” and you fucking spit it out into a jar of Friday night football games played by every one you’ve ever slept with, dancing on a tapestry depicting Mild Mingo dancing for pussy that whispers sweetly, “You will be Great. You will do Great Things. God told me and I Believe it”. If she hadn’t said that, where would you be right now?

Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spit out 3 days later. What does a Mariner trapped in a whale do to find the blowhole? No candles in the whale.

If you step out of the boundary, the dogs will thrash you to bits. Chase the dogs to the border. There are packs of wild dogs roaming the desert waiting for me to stumble out of the gates—I spit them out through my blowhole.

I do this string-of-thought thing when I get a cramp of writer's block. Consider me unblocked.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ambrosia, AKA Stripper Logic

It probably happens to a lot of people. Sitting at the coffee table in whatever Starbucks or Applebee’s you and your friends happen to trip into, you start to catch up on old and current friends. Things take their natural course of thought, strung together on the last bead of information just released, “. . . OH! Speaking of heroin, did you hear that Allison’s a stripper now?” or, “. . . yeah, I hate when I wake up in a back alley gutter with my pants around my ankles, too. The blood’s always a bitch to get out. So speaking of first times, did you hear about Allison stripping at La Kolita now?” Everyone has that someone who either used to be a stripper or tried to do it once, they can bring into the conversation.

Women can be very cruel when it comes to this subject. When someone the group barely knows ventures into the fringes of unforgivable sin, women can be rabid but when it’s one of their very own, well, the silence is akin to that which precedes desolation.

I’ve never been much for strip clubs even though I’ve known and probably slept with quite a few lappers. I’ve even paid for a dance or three or ten but to leave the club empty handed was always a revelation. There’s an air of desperation to both sides of the equation known to fit under Stripper Logic. Men and some women, paying for the right to look at a woman who feels compelled to expose herself in order to feel power has always struck me as wasted effort and slightly desperate. I’m not judging here, far from it. I believe anyone can do with their life what they feel, especially if the only person they may hurt is themselves. My penis, weighing in on the matter, is all for women who can dance and get naked all at once and my business mind is definitely down for the entrepreneurial spirit behind making easy money off of jerks who could definitely get it for free if they only applied themselves in the proper manner—albeit some peoples are just born unluckily fugly and need a place like La Kolita to exist.

The trouble comes into play when someone, who may be part of a group which may not be as open-minded or non-judgmental as they profess or hope to be, endeavors into the land of The Pole. There’s no telling why some women chose this lifestyle even when they are the ones spilling their reasons to you. People lie, so deeply, even to themselves.

The usual clich├ęs come to mind: she’s paying for her addiction, she’s seeking the attention Daddy never gave, she’s writing a book about being bad, she’s always been fucking nuts and the ever-classic, she’s paying for college. There’s always going to be the outcast no matter how hard we aim toward the contrary. Some people, even with a load of friends they’ve had for years just feel like the odd outsider. Allison may have felt like the oddball of the clique every time she made an inappropriately dirty joke or did something crazy that made every one of her friends scoff loud enough to elicit her “Sorry” as if she was apologizing not just for her own behavior but for being herself.

Then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar . . .
the shortest distance between two points is a straight line . . .
the simplest explanation is usually the correct one . . . and ho’s will be ho’s.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Grounds for feeding the beast

Wake up and eat sand. You hack and cough and struggle against the inevitable, still you swallow. It’s pouring down your gullet. You feel it inside you. There is something sinister about this sand and now it’s inside you. Your mouth is grainy and your voice is gravel. There is going to be a severe comeuppance later down the line and you know it. This is the reason your kids will suffer some agonizing soul atrophy affecting everyone around them with thought radiation.
Mortars make waves in the dusty morning air causing your nutsack to tickle. Nothing to worry about, just practice rounds, you tell yourself. Practice rounds, out here, sound like real rounds coz they are real rounds.
Rattle go your sleeping quarters coz it’s made of paper. Shit, shower and shine and it’s time to start another day. On your way to breakfast, kicking up clouds of dust, you notice a dragonfly stationed on a paper wall. You’re a snake and you catch the dragon with hammers for hands. Its iridescent wings mesmerize by reflecting many colors of dawn. Royal purple, rusty reds, electric blues and the clarity of beauty flick slowly in the dragonfly wings as you pull one, two, three off her thorax. You put the one-wing dragon in your pocket and hold the leftovers in your hand up to your face entertaining yourself with colors. You’ll feed the dragon to the scorpion later. Waffles loves dragonflies. She’s such a greedy little devil. Let the wings go into a cloud of dust.

The Teeth of Another Day

Army teeth are some of the dirtiest, butter-looking teeth I’ve ever seen.
Just so you get the idea, I originally joined the Navy thinking how fucking great it would be to travel the world and meet different people and cultures. I thought it would be coochie-peachy to find myself in the middle of an endless ocean screaming “Batten down the hatches! Hoist the yardarm! She’s blowing something fierce” in the middle of some sea storm that I’d never walk away the same from. The last statement was the only one I’ve ever been able to use.

I thought about joining the other services and they all let me down in one fashion or another. To prove my manliness, I sought out the Marines. I did the regular “thanks, I’ll think about it” routine that you give to anyone who’s overselling something and met an overwhelming force of machismo before I could vacate the premises. I was talked to by my recruiter’s superior and then his superior and then the highest ranking official sat down—I mean over me and asked me what made me a man. He asked if I had balls. All I could muster was "of course, I have balls". To which he made a cupping motion with his hand while gnashing his teeth as my brain processed his actual words apart from his body language, "THEN REACH DOWN LIKE YOU GOT A PAIR AND MAKE A DECISION LIKE A REAL MAN". I told him in the nicest possible manner, a marine could understand, that he could go fuck himself if he wanted to start insinuating I was any less of a man than he, due to the fact that I stubbornly insisted on shopping around.

The Air Force wanted to make me a cook or a mechanic even though I scored higher than 91% of the population on their aptitude and intel tests. Fuck you very much for aiming high but no.

I never even considered the Army—sleeping in tents, eating shit meals, filling sandbags and digging trenches was and is not my forte.

The Navy was perfect for me. The Big Blue offered me a great job, 3 hot meals daily, a roof over my head and the world travel, of which, I was in great need. So now, in my fourth year gone Navy, I find myself not on any great hunk of floating steel but on a hot patch of dried out desert surrounded by nothing but Army. I’ve done a lot of tent living and many shit-meal eating and learned all about what I missed by not joining the Army.

Why am I wasting your time with this meandering account of woe? I just felt like posting something but had nothing vaguely interesting to post and the Army has been frustrating the fuck out of my feeble brain. I’ve met many strange Army folk with many a strange Army way. If you know anyone in the Army, don’t ask them why they do it, as I feel like doing daily, instead, shake their hand or buy them a pint of good beer and let that be your thanks coz these guys go through a heavy dose of shit for the right to go off to some hairy patch of dried out earth to possible death. They’re dying out here and if they’re not dying, they’re returning home maimed beyond repair. That’s what I think about every time I meet a less than intelligent soldier who’s memorized all the stats of his favorite football/baseball team and stories of NASCAR heavyweights—this kid could be dead next week and I dare to sit here wondering “when was the last time he brushed his teeth”.