Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Why not ask our son to just download it? He would say.
“It’s viiinnyllll, you know it’s different.” Her voice never seemed annoying, kind of flowery if anything. I could see it getting annoying after the first ten years of marriage.
I moved on to the dvd corner. I love the three dollar section. These movies were once in theaters. Agents pulled strings to get their talent on the marquee. The actor’s will tell stories of the Hollywood premiere party when so-and-so got so wasted off mimosa’s she puked orange on the subway on the way back to the apartment. But for now, they’re four for ten dollars
I could hear that the camo guy found the folk section. He pulled up a Dylan “Bringing it all Back Home” album and must have thought back to his at the Vietnam army base coffee shop revolutionary days.
“It’s hard for our son’s generation to see music and artists as an underground political movement. When you had guys like Bob protesting those fascists and singing ‘don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters’, we would listen and act. With world leaders today acting as crooked as ever, who is going to stand up and speak for the I-pod generation? Damn kids are too scared to”.
I was sorting through movies, but I wasn’t paying attention to the titles. For some reason, I had one band in the back of my mind. Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. I could never find his cd’s at any record store or garage sale, but the internet is a force to be reckoned with. The lead singer, Pat the Bunny, hops on trains with his acoustic and plays free shows wherever the tracks take him. He also takes donations, people gotta eat. He’s got the modern day Dylan thing going. He says every good punk is at least part hippy. One line in his song “Jesus Does the Dishes”, says
“And so you're asking me, who does the dishes after the revolution? Well, we do our own dishes now, we'll do our own dishes then. And it's always the ones who don't who ask that fucking question.”
This same guy called Jesus a dirty, homeless, hippy peace activist who said drop out and find God to anybody who would listen.
I wanted to burn that cd and find the camo jacket guy next week and let him know that all hope is not lost. Maybe, just maybe, he would appreciate it. Maybe he would burn it for his son. Maybe his son will stop listening to the radio and actually pay attention to the words. Maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll take the lyrics to heart and hop on the next freight train heading towards California. His parent’s would probably resent me for it. Maybe he’d realize how good he had it back home, so he’d phone his parents and they’d buy him a one way ticket home.
The door opens and a little bell rings, letting people know right away that there is an intruder. A 5’6, 49 year old woman starts coughing dramatically. She then complains about the cigarette smokers outside. The cashier shrugs his shoulders and continues to read his magazine. She asks to speak to the manager, so the cashier points outside to the group of smokers, while one man flicks his butt into the sewer and heads towards the door. I recognized the guy as the manager right away, so I had a front row seat to the show. The woman made a b-line to the back and started looking at the new releases, saving herself further embarrassment. I guess she figured it wasn’t really worth it. I kept flipping through the cd’s.
I dated this girl, she thought she was a poet. She hated my habit. I always had to hear things like “Those cigarettes are just as commercially produced and unoriginal as everything you stand against, yet you find comfort in every prolonged drag, as the smoke wraps around your tongue like the worlds most cancer-ridden security blanket. And don’t get me started on that weed.”
I would just tell her she looked hot when she said stuff like that, and she would roll her eyes. Hey, I wasn’t lying.
So I had a discount funk compilation in one hand and the new Death+Taxes magazine in the other. I headed to the listening section and took a seat. They always have those hair mannequins holding the head phones. Why is it always a woman. Why is the hair always shaved off. It’s not edgy. It’s not controversial.
I was sitting next to a girl in her 20’s. She had short blonde hair. I made a joke about the Madonna album on the wall and she noticed the Guy Ritchie movie next to it. I love a girl who knows her pop culture connections. She was listening to an old Flaming Lips record. I tried to hide what I was listening to. Her mom was next door at the hair salon and she was killing time. The subject of school came up and she found out I went to college. She’s taking time off from school and work and living at home. “It’s so liberating” she said. It sounds like the opposite to me. We talked about the role of teachers versus students. We agreed that most of the police in this town only exist to protect property and meet quotas. We talked about modern authors. Then, like a terrible prophecy, she started talking about holistic medicine, which then, oddly enough, shifted to the Dixie Chicks. She loves the Dixie Chicks. “They’re so brave”. I decided to sabotage this relationship from the get-go. I really don’t like the Dixie Chicks. It wouldn’t have worked out. She’ll want the wedding song to be “Fly”, and if we split up she’d just blast “Goodbye Earl” out of the windows of her Black Jetta, throwing flaming pieces of my mail onto our neighbors lawn.
I needed a good way to end the conversation. She was a partially intelligent waitress taking some “me time”. She worshiped Obama. She had a “Not My President” patch on her hemp backpack. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve found my scapegoat. I started talking about my increased involvement with the Republican Headquarters in Trenton and how I really don’t understand the reason behind the Confederate flag being racist.
You should have seen her face.
She started looking around for her things and the once comfortable atmosphere had completely disappeared. Nihilistic is a word often thrown around.
She had to go check on her mom, and I told her I had to get going because my TIVO was broken and there’s a new O’Reilly Factor on.
I was tempted to say Seig Heil and goose step towards the counter, but then I’d blow my cover. Plus, I couldn’t say that shit with a straight face. It cant be hateful if it’s ironic, right?
One thing she said, before the untimely destruction, has stuck with me for a while. Being a student of any kind should make you feel fortunate. Some of the luckiest people are the ones who are able to continually learn, well out of the classroom. They see the world as constantly changing, and work to help others realize their own potential. I appreciated what she was saying, but so many people say that at some point in your life you have to realize how to successfully balance all of your passions and ethics and go to school or get a job and live happily, but more important independently. When she left she hoped in her moms car.
I’m in line behind the camo and tie dye couple and she’s buying the Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds”. Its on cd though. I’m guessing her excuse is the bonus tracks. I really think she wants to secretly burn it onto her sons computer. Her husband’s choice surprised me. Joy Division’s “Substance” on vinyl. I would love to look at his record collection. Maybe he sells them all. He might actually make a living off of it. Hitting up all the local record stores and selling them at a flea market. My parent’s friend did that throughout college. Made enough money for coffee and cigarettes whenever the mood struck him. No log term goals, sure, but ask him back then if he’d be complaining. I had all these questions and I had to do something. The guy started walking away and the cashier wished him a good night. He stopped and turned to the cashier. He said
“Super perfundo on the early eve of your day”.
This guy was awesome.
“That’s from waking life” I said.
He shot me a smile that reminded me of the time I got a Sega Game Gear one year for Christmas. Like he was expecting someone to pick up on it. The cashier failed his little test. I passed with flying colors.
I threw my bounty on the counter. One Saul Williams cd, a “Funk You Very Much” compilation, and “Old School Soul Party” on VHS. I spent five bucks even. Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon. I threw them all in my backpack and went outside. I saw the couple smoking cigarettes by the trash can, peeling off stickers from their cd’s and whatnot. I introduced myself and we started talking about our collections. His name was George. This here was his wife, Ashley. He invited me over for a drink. It was only three in the afternoon. I told him I had a date down near Penn, but I would smoke one with him. I lit the cigarette and he just jumped right in to it and asked me what I did and what I want to do. I explained my situation to him and what I plan on doing in the next few months, but when it came to years I had no idea. He works for the post office. I asked him if it’s like how Bukowski described it, and he said there’s more alcoholism but not as much isolation. That’s not saying a lot. My cigarette was almost finished. When you hit the ink, you’ve only got a matter of seconds. I knew I had to make an impact on him, so I asked him if he had any advice for the kid working to pay off his school debts and living in the recessed Bush economy with warm Decembers and freak weather storms; and if it’s ok to resent the, as Jeff Rosenstock said it, “Edward Scissorhands village where privileged white kids date rape girls and taunt me in their SUV's”. What he dropped was a knowledge bomb. An egg of smarts right over my dome piece.
I would be expected to say something like “do what makes you happy”, or “look deep inside yourself and you will realize what you enjoy doing most”. But this is bullshit. Ask anyone if they are doing, everyday, what makes them happy. Most of the time, they aren’t. We’re brought up with the mentality or working to live and living to work. We all have debts, bills, and a need for continuous electricity flow. We all have obligations that are greater than our own personal happiness. We all fell incredibly crushed by our own daily obligations. We all have fears of the unknown, just try and explain religion without it. Something like 90% of the people in the world hate their job. Including me. Now ain’t that a shame?
I agreed and asked him if that’s why he seeks out these rare albums and pieces of history - to find an escape. He just nodded. Almost like he was saying “Riiiight, now you get it!” I said I’d probably see him around again and hoped on my bike. I had twenty blocks to go and new music for the ride. Things were looking up. The ride gave me time to think.
Without our need for creativity, or in George’s case his weekly record shop sweeps, we start to lose confidence in the human spirit. The fact that we can create and interact should make us excited! Kinda makes you feel all warm inside, right?
We get caught in the pattern of living for other people. Look at the supposed record shop liberal who darts at the sound of anything controversial. The destruction of our own spirit is only successful in making the shallow people stronger. Simply put: The masses are asses. Don’t read what everyone else tells you to read, or listen to what everyone else is listening to. Don’t speak the same language or have the same outlook. It’s okay to be indifferent. I mean, that‘s how this country was founded, right? But that’s just opening up a whole new can of worms.
I dodged a taxi that was making an illegal left and got my tires stuck in the trolley tracks. The bike stopped, but my body continued moving forward. I landed a few feet away. I was laying on my back looking up, and all I heard was fresh tunes in my headphones. Vitals were good.
It was when two people came running out from their row homes to check me out that I realized my mantra. Faith in human kindness is not only genuine, but sensible. Hey, it’s not drastic. It’s not earth-shattering. Wonderful in every sense of the word. Not nice, but hopeful.
The answer lies without.
The whole while i spent inside myself,
looking for more
i never knew
Thant even my freckled, flawed surface holds more truth
than i can grasp
Than the revelation that
the true beauty of this world
Is heard in the divine thunk!
Of random bodies floating through this world
when all at once they clunk! together
And the cacophonic symphony is more than divine
The ocean meets the sky;
Everything is intrinsically united
But someone else found it.
In the folds of my skin
i stood searching for days and days
Into the depths i plunged
And into the valley i disappeared
Some people never saw me for lightyears
Did you turn away first or did i?
These accusations do not matter now
in the face of the joy of knowing that
We are gifts to each other.
The immeasureable compassion
Of one hand
Pulling me up to breathe
prostitutes: business cards with the smell of licorice,
call me! in crimson & a lipstick kiss.
Here, day does not depart,
but dies ostentatiously
clutching it's chest in a casino buffet line,
in jeweled cape pretending to be Elvis,
in a alley behind a strip club
beaten to death in a dumpster.
Here, the moon is a coin
thumbed into the evening slot machine.
When the lever is pulled
it is the gesturing arm of a giant Indian,
the tomahawk celebration of a man,
tux (un)done, in sour sweat-stained frills
and everything coming up desert stars
after champagne uh-huhs.
Here, if the silver he cups in both hands
were splashed on his face
the words he speaks
would be neon.
Phosphorescent holy verse,
a wicked scripture hung next to
on a billboard,
the Shiva of Las Vegas
genuflection in fresh eyes of
to wherever the ghosts have gone,
we shall be fragments then, just as now
we cannot feel psychosis
in our fingers,
fists, and yet the moon is insane again
tonight, and hangs like a tired
climax in a torrid frozen sky,
in a life dark as the waters
nightmare under ships clutching the brutal
black Baltic, like a body they rape
again. we plow through a tired night
thought like we are tired
or frightened by time
and darkness and
at first what is next?
You tell me
never catch a man naked
Nothing closes like fingers
Nothing stretches out as far
as the muscle in your arm
Is that him?
Here he comes
I don't want to be free
But in my head
the door is slamming
and the wolf is undressing
to ask for mother's blessing
finally half to a whole
We smoked and laughed and circled streets
Withdrew down the platform
No picturesque train scene here
Just grime and hope and hurry
The train tacks sing out a staccato melody
While the fluorescent light show flickers by
You fell asleep in my arms
Like the empty shell
Of a shedding insect
I turn towards what I see
Old traintracks buried in
Pavement still stick up
Like speed bumps
I turn towards what I see
When we are old what do we miss more than skin?
Sun damaged routine
All the songs just for me
You have been, and will sing again
But the moon is new
The moon shines in with pride
In its inconsistency
I see the sun everyday
The moon turns me away
constant explosion.....possible human combustion ready to happen...
on the edge....ready to jump off....like a tossed pin-less hand grenade...
ears bleed from the sound.......as the fire surrounds.....
adrenaline is fed unleaded fuel........a billion gallons.....
the internal humidity puts you to sleep........
oxygen is replaced with clouds of black smoke.....
blood is replaced with ash......
tears turn into blood.......skin starts to bubble.....
hair starts to ignite.......you're in between supernatural strength
or supernatural weakness.....
depends on the fuel....is it pain?......is it anger?.......is it love?.....
the fire is furious & outragous.....out of control......
nothing can stop the growth....except time......
when the fire is in it's prime...