Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everything is Breaking Everything

I have to friend who each time he sees me likes to quote me and ask, before giving me a pat on the back or a hug

"Is everything breaking everything?"

I never know what to say. I don't even remember why I ever said that in the first place. I think it was on an occasion when I was really stressed over something and loudly proclaimed in frustration.

"Everything is breaking everything!"

That sounds right. Something I could've easily done. Fits.

But today or these days in general I really feel like they are.

Everything really is breaking everything. All the most important things in my life are crumbling. The things I hold dearest to me. It seems like a chain reaction, one leading to the next. Sequential. Like a tsunami creating a path of destruction. Or maybe it's not that orderly. More like an earthquake. Everything just comes crashing down..........

Oakland - Today I got in an argument with my friend and founder of CRP, he might not let me paint anymore, demote me to a buffer. Rollers only, no spray cans for a year.

Haiti - The non-profit, I was really looking forward to starting after I got back from Haiti, is still going to happen but mostly likely without me.

Work - I've forgotten what I'm doing here in Oakland. I've lost the passion and love for the people and the city. My fire may be out or flickering, teasing like it will at any moment.

Art - I've not completed any of the art projects I've planned on doing. Or kept with the schedule I've given myself.

Relationship - I haven't heard back from a really important friend of mine.

The most difficult part about all of this is; it makes me wonder

What's wrong with me?

Because the only common denominator is ......well; me.

So don't ask me how I'm doing. Unless you want to sit there for an hour and hear the details of all the things I'm losing in my life. But even then you may not get the entire story. I may tell you "it's complicated." Or I might just say

"everything is breaking everything!" and leave it at that.

It sucks but I'm not depressed. And I have yet to descend into the pit of despair.

And as best I can I always try to remember that

It's all part of the journey.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bus Ride

I met a man one time, he was sleeping on our back porch, I had to wake him and tell him to clean up his feces before leaving. But we talked for a while and he told us his entire story, all of it - starting from his grandparents, then he went into the plight of the poor and the black man, how everywhere you went you can't escape what's out there, you're surrounded by reality. He said many profound things but one thing struck, he talked about riding the bus and how on the bus you encounter the grit of life here in Oakland.

I was on the 1R today riding back from Berkeley to my place. Behind me was a young black man, he got up all of sudden and yelled something through the shut window.

"Did you hear about Ferg?"

He saw an acquaintance outside, waved him down and wanted to tell him.

"About Ferg? Did you hear? They killed him!"

"Ferg! Ferguson!"

Then he pulled down the window.

"They got Ferg this morning!"

The other guy nodded, he already knew.

And that was it, he got off the bus like nothing. Like 'did you hear the A's won today?' It's everyday, common. This is Oakland. It wasn't even shocking to me. I just kept on reading my book.

This morning I saw helicopters flying overhead making circles for a while. Maybe that was Ferg.

Erin McCarley - Gotta Figure this Out

I've gotta figure it out
I need a story to tell
Where's the feeling I long for
I've gotta figure it out
Before I lose you love

The Last Time

A few days later we decided to get lunch before she caught her train back to Baltimore. It was a Sunday, a hot day, we spent the entire day together. We went to church together in the morning then headed down the street with a friend of hers to get Japanese noodles. Afterwards we got dessert.  I wanted to talk to her but the presence of her friend made having intimate conversation difficult. So it was all small talk up to that point. Then as the three of us were walking towards Grand Central Station, we got far enough away to start to have private dialogue. I still didn’t understand completely or maybe I did. I had a few days to think about the last time. It’s not that I didn’t care, I couldn’t. I couldn’t get out the words. I missed her so much, I loved her, I’d do anything to make it work but my brain didn’t know what my heart was thinking. I had disconnected my heart from my head. The pain would have been too much to bear otherwise. I was numb. I didn’t know my thoughts. She was standing there, pleading with her sad eyes for me to say something. She said some things, but I didn’t hear. I was distracted, trying, wanting so bad to evoke emotion, to reconnect but I couldn’t. I had no response

“I’m going to go soon, this is your last chance, don't you have anything to say?” 

I wanted so bad to say something, to answer her petition but - nothing. I could only repeat over and over 

“I don’t know. I don’t know.” 

Her friend faded away unnoticed. A man came to solicit comedy show tickets 

“Can’t you see we’re having an argument here” I said to him angrily. 

He retreated apologetically. 

She pulled off my sunglasses, and looked deep into my eyes. Searching. There were tears but nothing else. Her own tears burst in to weeping then she turned and ran down the long set of stairs into the station below. I watched her go, unable to move. After a few moments I broke free from the paralysis and ran down after her but it was too late, she was gone, lost in the labyrinth of the cavernous station. I watched a train pull out and leave; I pretended that she was on that one, hoping it would give me some semblance of closure....

That was the last time I ever saw her. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Danse Russe

If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,--
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
again the yellow drawn shades,--
Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

 -William Carlos Williams

Monday, October 18, 2010


My aunt is a social worker, she threatened to report me to Child Protective Services. I was like "What? What are you talking about I'll throw this kid at you!!"

The Price

"No matter how much you change you still have to pay the price for what you've done. I got a long road ahead of me."
-Doug MacRay, Ben Afflecks character from the movie The Town

This quote at the end of the movie struck me. Only because it's true; we make these choices in life and even if we don't get caught it does come back to haunt you. And I'm not talking massive revenge or karma, I talking the way that experiences mold you and affect how you make choices and respond or even react to things. That, I feel like, is worse than revenge because it doesn't end with one event it moves with you, it becomes a part of you. Inescapeable. It made me think of my own life and of the people I've hurt along the way. Even though they may have moved on I sit here remembering them and know that some of my entire thought processes have shifted because of those experiences. See and that's the thing, they've probably forgotten and moved on to brighter places in life and so it might not matter much for them anymore but it continues in my life. And I'm not saying I sit here and cry over the past, that's not it, it's more subtle - like baggage. The stuff you carry with you and really don't even know what's in them. The bags are just heavy and for some reason you know they're important to keep.

In the movie because he's on the run Afflecks character will never get to be with the woman he loves. That's one of the prices he's had to pay but the experiences through his life: abandoned by his mother, imprisoned father, drugs, violence, death of all his closest friends, murder..all the ways he was hurt and the ways he hurt others will mold his character for the rest of his life. The "long road" he talks about is just him and the memories of things he gone through. He says this as he's standing on his porch in the middle of nowhere, with no one else around for as far as the eye can see. Just him and his memories.

The other thing that struck me was that love when it's real is compelling. Even if it's from a violent criminal who once lied to you.

The heart is soft.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Greatest Radio Station that Ever Lived!

It's been confirmed once again. KOST 103.5 is hands down the greatest radio station ever! KOIT doesn't even come close. This is affirmed each time I get back of the best things about L.A. in my opinion. I don't even know why I question the dominance. I'll hop in the car and drive just so I could listen to the radio and then when I get to my pretend destination I'll sit there in the car getting my fix of Love Songs on the KOST.....and you get the weather too. "It's 74 degrees along(pause)the KOST."

I grew up on this stuff. My "heart music" I think is what it's called. Some of the songs are my story as if I wrote them myself. I can relate to these guys, and they to me. They have been with me through the good times and the bad; they cried with me in times of heartbreak, kept me company in hours of traffic, guided me through puberty, brought excitement to long roadtrips, helped ease the pain of moving...they've journeyed with me through much of my life. They're like family.

Here's a little taste. Be forewarned you might not be able to take it all in in one sitting. It's powerful stuff:

This right here is quality music. Classics.
Could be a dope mix tape....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mind Your Own Damn Business Campaign

Let me tell you a little story. So this past weekend I was on my way down to a wedding and I was running late. I needed to get there early so I could set up the sound equipment for the ceremony portion. Now I encountered near standstill traffic at 3 different points along the way. Being from L.A. I was once very accustomed to traffic. You develop ways to cope; learn words to lots of songs so you can sing along to them out loud, plan ahead by at least an hour and just plain understand that built into L.A. is a need for 3 rush hours: one for the morning, the afternoon and then for lunch but you can't forget the 2 bonus traffic sessions that are thrown just for the hell of it. Anyways I digress, so the reason traffic pisses me off so much is that there is no reason for it. For example at the first point, the accident was on the opposite end of the freeway all the way on the other side of the center divider, why does it need to slow down the flow of the cars going the opposite direction? People slow down to see what happened. Curiousity causes traffic. It was the same for the 2 other points. The path was completely cleared yet there was traffic because people have to press the brakes to catch a glimpse. The thing is no one likes traffic and they all know what causes it because it's the same thing everytime. Curiousity. Knowing this every driver has the opportunity to counter this culture of traffic as they approach the now cleared accident site, to look straight ahead and continue at ther current speed, yet every single person fails miserably. Why? Come on! There is no need for traffic. It simply shouldn't exist. Please, focus, don't look at the sidelined scene as you pass even though you're slowed by the curious fellow in front of you. It'll be on the news when you get home an hour earlier because you didn't look now. Do your part. If everyone does their part we can eliminate this pest. Think of all the hours we'd add to our lives if we just minded our own damned business. So please help me combat the cancerous effects of traffic by joining in the Mind Your Own Damned Business Campaign.

Curiosity killed the cat because the driver was so damned busy looking at the sidelined accident scene instead of the road ahead that he ran over it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Decoder Ring - Serac

What's not dope about this? I needed this nice dose of "how things work" today.

Music by Decoder Ring
Video Camera invented by John Logie Baird
Wonders of Life created by God

Friday, October 8, 2010

At 93

I got the message today....
Yeah david your grandma passed away today at 4:20 this afternoon on Friday okay so we may have some kind of funeral service early next week okay you call daddy or mom when you have time. okay bye
...from my dad, about his mother.