Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eight year old short story, found, along with the crinkled origami of her digits in an empty Doc Marten shoe box....circa 1998

--It will come when it comes, she tells me, not a modicum before the moment is due.

It is intermission. The patter of palms taper off into golf claps as bustling men and women alight from rumpled seat cushions, elbowing toward the lobby. A serpentine line forms outside of the ladies room while men respectively smile and nod and stretch, popping knee-caps, loosening the knotted pentagon of their ties, grousing about the heat. Backstage you once again feel like a novice. You feel inept. You feel like no one in the house full understands what you were trying to say. There are the obligatory compliments and salutary sniggers from the company and cast who would swear on the Gideon bible that you are good. They say you are really good. They use the word verisimilitude in your review. They use the word superlative. They pat you on the back when you pass them by. They keep the ticket stubs from your performances thumbtacked on a bulletin board at home. People like you. Really, they do.

Backstage there is always warm Pepsi in Styrofoam cups and volunteers who look
like Keebler elves squeaking into the dressing rooms, holding up a splayed palm to indicate the dwindle of minutes, the lapse of time, the foil of your furlough. All around you the heads and necks of cast members hurtle in and out of costumes. Girls in bra's quibble over eyeliner and mascara. Males mired in a ring of collar sweat falter to put on their own makeup, unless, of course, they are gay which Dougie Shriner-the actor who portrays your best friend David Hale-obviously is. Every other Thurs day night at one am Doug doffs his boxers and dons his kleenex-chocked D-size brassiere and Lycra jumper to become Vanity, the Virgin Queen. Vanity rubs her taut ass and slouched surrogate tits in front of oglers— a bespectacled bevy of middle-age queers who fawn and foam at the mouth every time she lip's syncs anything by Macy Gray. Vanity once got arrested for peeing standing up in the girls bathroom stall at Perkins, an event which Dougie Shriner somehow regards as a personal violation on behalf of his own womanhood.

In the dressing room everything smells like hairspray, you think, as Vannie Hallmark,your on-stage romantic lead, swaggers past you trying hard to be noticed; arching her shoulders and curving her back like she an underwear model. Vannie Hallmark is very intelligent and very beautiful. She is a spume of blonde tresses and an oracle of intrigue. Her lips look like a Clinique hyphen and her angular features are origami delicate. Off stage she tells those who tip their hats and query that yes, it really was her on page twenty-two of the September Victoria Secret catalogue modeling the petite bra's that unbuckle from the front and are such a bitch for most males to get undone. Vannie's pallid countenance is highly reminiscent of a diminutive espresso shot-glass. Her nose is configured like a light-switch, beseeching Vannie with an eternal aura of unbidden arrogance and uppity pride.

In Act one, scene seven, your first tete-a-tete with Vannie, whose stage name is just V.,as in the Pynchon novel. The scene takes place in a rather lethargic looking college classroom at a private college located somewhere in the Midwest burrowed like a mole in a middle-sized town which houses minor league franchises and smells like pee. Both of you are falling madly-kicking-and-screaming-clicking your heals together-in love, which is rather unfortunate because the two of you study English at a school built for budding Engineer students and rich kids from Chicago who drive $20,000 cars, have short haircuts and wear Greek emblems on their chest.

You first descry her rapturous beauty in a writing class. She was Midas with a
ballpoint pen, turning ink into golden paragraphs strewn with bucolic beauty, ushering forth stories of her rustic upbringing and the perpetual loss of being both, alas, miserably beautiful and miserably gifted at the same time.

On stage you tell her that her prose is so beautiful that reading it gave your heart an erection. Off stage you endeavor to cozen a kiss, but she just sighs audibly as if expected, turns the other cheek and truckles to the vagaries of the director, whom you revile. On stage the Professor, who in this production is from India with a pearly smile, laughs at your erection witticism, commenting that it was duly-appropriate for his class session that her incendiary prose only made your heart erect and nothing else. The heads in the class room hop forward in laughter like kernels in an air popper. The audience is on the floor.

The first onstage kiss is performed in front of the backdrop known as the Silver
Vagina. The Silver Vagina is a ubiquitous stage backdrop since it towers directly in front of the C.D.library. Somewhere in his cliff notes on the origin of your script, the director has written that once a year, preferably between the months of November through February, a gaudy frat boy with short hair and sideburns ends up getting his tongue stuck to the metallic contours of the monument. The library staff always snaps a Polaroid before calling the fire trucks.

You should have told the director from the outset that there was just no way in hell
that this rapport would work out, even though by act two, scene '3 Vannie and you are
biting into each other like twinkles, groping beneath restaurant tablecloths, and yes, even talking about rings and receptions. The audience loves this- salivating like a Pavlovian Chihuahua at even the notion that sex would be performed onstage, publicly, in front of an audience whose programs tell them the real names of the cast members and what their hobbies are.

As the elfkin-pygmy holds up a peace sign in front of you, you wonder, just for a
moment, if any or all of this is real.

Backstage you amble through the curtains of mangy costumes searching for a moment of solitude, seclusion, and possibly a few puffs on a cigarette before the actress who portrays your on- stage Mother clumps into your shadow and charmingly chides your vice with maternal detriment. Your stage Mom is built like a milkjug. You stamp out your smoke and surreptitiously slush warm Pepsi around the inside your lips, swallowing when the penisu1a shaped dungarees of the director eclipses your imminent view. His gruffness is apparent and he verbally berates that on stage you were opaque and that your whole body delved into an asphyxiated stutter whenever the spotlight landed on top of you.

“It was as if the spotlight end-capsualated you rather than emancipated you, Da-vid"
He reams, once again exhibiting his proclivity toward double-entendres when he
pronounces your first name. The directors last name should be Lambaste. He says that you fucked up again. That your knee's knocked together like abacus beads. That your voice was reticent. Your solo, sour. He asks you if you are coy? Are you fucking coy? Did you know what you are, he inquires. Do you even know what role YOU are suppose to be playing?

Do you boy?

As Vannie's right-triangular nose struts past you on her way to stage left the Director tilts his neck to check out her ass and then smiles to himself shaking his head left to right once and makes an 'ummmm' sound. The pending act out Herod's Harrod when it comes to tumult. In this act Vannie will leave you and then come back. Then you will leave Vannie and then come back. Then eventually both of you will leave and you will get in a car wreck and almost die.

You remember once getting broadsided by a cement truck. You had monopolized the
semester slathered in a rueful dither, working third shift. You were an exhaust pipe of enervation. Your tank was always on E your debilitated and stressed vision was the color of a stoplight from fatigue and scholastic duress. You felt blessed beyond a collegiate measure if you got four hours a sleep a night. Crashing at Four a.m. and car pooling back to campus with your Mom at seven thirty. You remember lying supine in the stretcher while the ambulance attendant said the word extricate into his shoulder 'radio over and over again. You remember feeling manacled and marred by images of yourself wanting not to be yourself anymore. You remember wanting to unstrap yourself and leave. Just to leave. Your eyes drape shut and then sprout open. Your brain feels like a slot machine
whose eyeballs keep reeling blurred images of fruits into the back of its head. You wish you were situated in an antipodal location. In fact, maybe you are.

* * * * * * * * *

"When it comes, if it ever comes, I want to feel real. Mostly I just feel like a bladder most of the time. That's why I did it. I had to prove to myself that I was more than just a urinary emission. More than just a faucet. I wanted all the pain and loneliness to be accounted for something. I wanted to watch it drip out of me. I didn't think prozac was an opportune plumber. And going to school counseling and adolescent therapy on Wednesday evenings during Lent sure as fuck did nothing to cloy or clog my vacuity. I was nothing but a bladder. A hot water bottle. That's all."

"So this is why you did it?" Her voice is inquisitive, straightforward and sounds like ahandbell Your shrink has this annoying proclivity of raising her vocal resonance at the end of every sentence. She is trying to sound professional. This is what they taught her to do in grad school. They taught her to sound professional They taught her to sound fake. As if it were really somehow a possibility for her to empathized with you. To commiserate with your trauma. To just understand where you are coming from. You think that true empathy is impossible.

"I wanted my depression to be accountable for something," You tell her, not looking
into her eyes, "I needed a receipt for my sack of sadness. I wanted to see just what it was I had purchased and why the product wasn't working. I wanted to lash into my own investigation. I needed to unplug my item and look for impediments. With each
welt I was probing myself for errors. I wanted to be like every other product. I wanted to have a function. To have a purpose. I didn't want to be saddled down in my own deluded dystopia."

"David, what would you say championed your march into masochism?" she says
again, gesticulating with her arms, trying-to sound like she is on an afternoon talk show. You decide it best to humor her, after all she graduated from a prestigious University and dates a man who has one of those simple, forgettable one-syllable names and who flippantly peruses through every section of the paper except the Sports: and the funnies.

She knows every drug you have ever done and the name of every girl you have ever
written poetry for. She knows all about you. About your dyslexia. She knows how words
swim on the page and scatter like guppies in a fish tank when you try to :make sense out of them. She knows how, for you, reading is a quote 'motherfucker' -yet reading and writing is the one predilection you love above all else. How every word you encounter you bleed over, in one sense or another. She knows how books are your best friends. She knows that when you were sixteen you used to trundle beneath the glowering street globes which align Moss Avenue nursing a cigar and quoting 'The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock' by heart. She knows that in highschool you did more 'shrooms than a Mario Brother. She recalls the warmth in which you told her that, in high school every Saturday afternoon you would make it a point to lay on your bed and listen to the Texaco Opera live broadcasts from the Met. She remembers you telling her how you would fall asleep with the radio on and wake up harboring wet dreams of Cecilia Bartoli's succuelnt soporano-thinking that she may be the closest Dante-inflamed vision of the Beatrice you could ever experience. She knows that you lost your virginity on Bloomsday, 1997,on a rest stop off of 1-74 to a girl whose name was ironically Molly. She remembers the way you described. Molly to her. Molly was a bluestocking bandanna granola cruncher who wore ankle-length khaki skirts, sandals and studied philosophy in Urbana. She knew all about Derrida and Levinas and kissed with her entire face entering yours. She remembers the way you tersely recounted loosing your virginity. Not the act in itself, but what followed: How Molly closed her eyes and untucked her bottom lip and wailed O MYGOD O MYGOD O MY GOD three times in a row without a comma—her eyelids opening and closing the way a garage door opens and then closes. And how afterwards you held each other like how lovers in Rodin statues clasp each other ad infinitum. Then, chain smoking a clove cigarette, Molly told David that out of every human mating, every time a ovum is germinated by a sperm and fertilization occurs, that there were 53,000,000,000,000succinctly diverse possible fetus ramifications and that all of us are one out of 53 trillion (that night she drew the twelve zero's on his naked chest) different possible ferrotypes of what is possible.

All this the shrink knows and still she does not know much.

"When I was 16 I carved the word POET into my chest with the severed glass neck of
the Jack Daniels bottle I had recently smashed., like a captain christening a ship's maiden
voyage, on the lip of the porcelain sink in the bathroom. "

She says the word yes three times in a row and then asks me how it felt at the time.

"Actually, it felt good. It felt like I was letting something out of me that I had kept
cached in me for so long. It was not mawkish or maudlin-like how in high school I would
attire myself in black raiments, telling my teachers that I wore black on the outside because black was how I felt within. No, itwas more like-here, try this analogy. The mother in labor who suffers exorbitantly to deliver. She frees hersel£ in other words, so that her child, intrinsically part of her-will be severed yet nursed. Kept inside it will kill them both.

The silence in the room impels your lips to continue.

"I had felt like a thing for so long. Not a person but a thing. There's a difference. I
didn't know how a human being was suppose to feel. I knew how loneliness felt. Loneliness was being all the same and yet not. I knew what it felt like to feel-all alone. I remember in fourth grade cowering in the back of my closet hoping I would find my Cair Paraval But it was all the same. Like Narnia before Aslan. It was always winter and never Christmas.

"So I ripped into my own flesh with Prufrock Claws. I wanted to verify my validity as
a human being. I cut deep to assuage the loneliness-to assuage the fuckin' ennui. I cut to prove to my own self that my loneliness was different than the loneliness promulgated by producers and brought to you by yearly automotives and household provisions. I needed to unplug, rewire, and then plug myself back in with so much electrical force and frisson that there wouldn't be a doubt left in my mind about who I was or what I was. Just that I was. It's pretty profound if you stop and think about it."

“What else?” She interrogates.

She wants to know. Everybody wants to know. David, will you tell her? Will you be a big boy for once? Do you have the fucking balls?

Your chest is now a helium balloon that has lifted far from its stratosphere and is about ready to….

"When I was either six or eight, old enough to toddle down to the 7-11by myself and watch older boys play pac-man, I was sexually abused. His name was Frank. He was friends with Dad. Dad wanted us to call him Uncle Frank All of us did. Uncle Frank shaved big head every other day so it was bowling ball smooth. He had an earring and talked like he was black. Mom used to say he looked like Mr. Clean. Mister he was, Clean was debatable."

She nods her head like a hand puppet and gestures you to continue.

"He and Dad worked during the week at a factory North of town putting together
tractor parts and smoking dope in the break room. On weekends, when my sister Beverly
would relentlessly chase me around the house with naked Barbie dolls, Dad and Uncle
Frank would hunker in front of the RCA in their undershirts yelling at us to shut the fuck up, adjusting the Y-shaped antenna and guzzling case after case of Strolls Lager which they called ‘Regal Shorts' always snorting out a wheeze as if astounded by their sozzled ingenuity. Oh, and by the way, my parents still don't have a fucking clue about what spawn my lachrymose. So don't tell.

'Frank and I and Dad were all buddies. We were all pals. We were the guys. Men. We
would all watch football games together. We would an say the words' Aw shit' in unison when the quarter back was sac'd. Some days we would wrestle on the front lawn and on other days Frank would place me on his shoulders augmenting my height, enabling me to toss the ball over the brim of the hoop. Frank and I would arm wrestle on the coffee table and Frank would always let me win. Clutching his wrist in feigned pain as t discarded my
shirt, distended my biceps like Hulk Hogan and asked everybody in the house "What's ya
Gonna do?" doing my damndest to emulate Hulk's throaty inflection. I remember Frank
trying not to laugh when Dad called Mom a Pussy and said she had a Watermelon for an
Ass. Mom was attired in her mauve leotard and strawberry legwarmers counting to four and doing jumping jacks in front of Jane Fonda. Dad said that Mom looked like she was treading water when she exercised and Mom after Dad had passed out, went outside and emptied the air out of Dad's tires, blaming it on the Vice Lords down the street."

Good stories too often have no beginning and no endings….

“One Autumn afternoon-and I succinctly recall it being Autumn -Dad had long since
succumbed to his inebriated snore and Mom was showing Bev and Emily Zubar down the
street pictures of her homecoming dress and her high school sweet heart, who looked like
Ted Koeppel—I can't recall the year exactly but soda pop still came in the glass bottles with long translucent necks and Resees Pieces were the posh juvenile sugar rush . It was around the time my Uncle Larry got his arm caught in the elevator door at Sears. Around the time I overheard my Aunt Vera, who had a moustache and a birds nest perm, tell my Mom that she wouldn't mind giving Reverend Kopenski a blowjob during the epistle reading on Sunday. It was somewhere around the time Dad and Uncle Frank stopped drinking Strohs and started gulping Budweiser—giving me the moniker Bud Light Around this time, the year my Dad couldn't afford to get me an Atari for Christmas even though Santa said I would—the year Mom taught Bev to keep her legs crossed when she sat with Aunt Vera in church this was the year Uncle Frank would invite me into the bathroom to watch him pee."


'It was what men who were Buddies did together. he said. I remember the way he
held his out in front of me. I remember not knowing what to think. He made a sordid and sick analogy about Gepatto and Pinocchio, which I'llomit here because even now, close to a decade later, I am still haunted by his advances. Can still vividly recall how his fingers felt like icicles beneath the button of my pants. How he would snap the elastic band on my underwear leaving rosemary patches on my skin. How he would smile a sandpaper smile when he did this. I can still remember him asking me sick questions about it. I remember wondering why his had a moustache and mine didn’t. I remember him asking me to pet his like Donna Lapis invited me to pet her hamster, Alfonso, who bit me. I remembered feeling scared after the first time this happened. I remember feeling dirty about out secret. I remember wanting to tell mom and dad but instead I hid in the closet with Bev’s naked Barbie clinging to it like a rosary. I remember crying. I remember feeling like it was somehow all my fault.”

She pushes out a breath and inquires how long it lasted.

“Years,” You say. “It lasted for years.”

The day my best friend lil’ Robbie Coover from west Moreland got hit by a Schwann’s truck while trying to cross the street on his pogo ball, Frank took me out for ice cream and then touched me. The day I set the school record for most accelerated reader points in the month of March, Frank stuck my finger so far up my ass that I bled. The day mommy and Dad came home from the bible retreat with shorter haircuts, cleaning out their liqueur cabinets in the name of Christ, Uncle Frank picked me up from Boy Scouts and took the long way home.

“On and off for five or six years, I would come home from Uncle Frank’s house with cum-stains the size of Kennedy-halves on my corduroys. I would cry. The world didn’t make sense. I didn’t want to have his phallic in my face. I didn’t want to have my squeezed like it was some kind of stress relief putty. I didn’t want to ask if I could take off my clothes while frank flashed shots at me. I didn’t want to be myself anymore. Eventually, I didn’t even want to be and after a while I simply wasn’t.

Somewhere else a Keebler elf flips you the bird without being vindictive in anyway, shape or form.

You ask her if she mind if you cry in front of her, just for a moment.

“It’s not that I’m weak, just tender,” you amend….

When I was 17 I got a job tutoring phonics at Common Place to little black boys with very white eyes who sang songs about black Jesus and wore one hundred dollar Jordans.
One day at lunch I went for a walk. The wooden telephone polls seemed to be a continuous stream of cyper-optical crucifixes. I saw him shadowed beneath the hung head of a hollow street lamp. He was withered and wore make-up. He was sitting on a bug stop whose placard was the color of a finger nail and flouted Dukakis and Benson in '88. He was drinking what I could only imagine to be a 40 of either Strohs or Budweiser wrapped in a brown paper bag. He looked off in one direction at nothing in particular. His limbs looked like a dead tree in Autumn. His eggshell eyebal1s blinked into the vacant avenues of the South Side. A GLAD trash bag stuffed with prodigal aluminum sat next to him. He looked exactly like how I felt for so many years. He looked all alone.

It will comes when it comes, she said to me. It will come when it comes.

And as I walked up next to him and sat down on the bench ( he didn't seem to recognize me-it had been nearly six year since the Union strike and Dad's Christianity) I wanted to tell him that I too was a Christian. As I put my arm around him. my palm on the shoulder of big tattered jacket, I wanted to tell him that all of big come-stains had been washed clean in blood of the Lamb. I wanted to tell him that what he did to me didn't matter because sin blinds everyone from the truth. As I marshaled my right arm around big waist reeling him now into my chest. I wanted to tell him that I had forgiven big icy gropes, forgiven the way he touched and tangled my formative body. Wanted to tell him that it was over. That it was all in the past. That I had grown out of it like the underwear I grew out of whose elastic he snapped.

As my arms now fully extended big cane-like semblance, I wanted to tell him that all
was right in the world and that I even loved him.

If only that was what I told him.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

....and never brought to mind: a tear smudged induced fugue of joy reflecting the puddle of a year gone lapse

It is the morning pink eye-lidded yawn of 2008, the green g-mail chat bullet of the planet still galatcically tethered and cosmically buoyed around a winking bulb of the nearest day star socketed inside the inscrutable fabric of the universe itself. The genesis of a new slate of January snow melting in tandem following the platter of stale new years eve confetti and exclamatory countdowns en masse that would make even the stoic collective chins of NASA salute in anticipation over the toppling descent of integers pregnant with the pocked sound of champagne hiccupping free from its emerald esophagus followed by a ricochet of corks followed by dry kisses and embraces and a round of old acquaintances being forgotten followed by the (interior writhing) realization of age and the encroachment of death, the cathartic gut-dripping insight that the allotted dash of seconds granted to us as a gift to thrive and create and love and give all on the fallow scalp of this planet--this viable arboretum of intelligence and life--and that you are here optically indulging in the phonetics of this experiment of pulse and breath--that you are here, wading knee-high through this experience of existence, this time, this place, the joy, the sorrow---somehow you are (for however tersely) a part of this global collective waltz--that you are part of this tear drop trickling down the cheekbones of the planet called humanity and that your voice, your persona, your song, indeed, carries with it the most fragrant chorus sprinkled with significance and wonder.

A ritual that my family has devoutly enacted since I was about the size of an errant good year tire was that, on New Years eve, after church we would host a new years eve gala where my aunts and uncles and cousins and friends would congregate around the oak mahogany of our childhood living room; week old needles on our Christmas tree still clad in a stuttering holiday phosphorescent glow. My family would configure into a circle of elbows and limbs, not unlike those found in creative writing classes in the upper echelons of liberal education while my mother would distribute candles to each inhabitant circled in the island of bodies. One by one, each member would light his or her respective candle and talk about how God had blessed them in the last year and what their hopes and individual ambitions were for the following year. With the house still garnished in a bright holiday hue festooned with cranberry ribbons, the pine heavy scent of emerald orchards nasally associated with the last week of the year glazed with icicles, tufts of froth, darkness sputtering across the horizontal windshield of the west, caking the planet with a dazed mid-afternoon tint--in our house on new years eve there were candles, each individual very simply espousing their gratitude for yet another year of life on this planet holding the white stem of the candle chin-high as if it were some sort of microphone. After each narrative the person would swivel clock-right alighting the wick of the person next to them until the room was aglow in a halo of candle light and spilled stories--the ritual often ending with a prayer of peace, a hymn for tomorrow, a wished-for song for the world to come.

So, with lighter and candle stalk in paw, allow me to illuminate the unsinged tassel of the wick and spill out the overturned jigsaw narrative of my heart reminiscing over just what the fuck happened these last twelve months:

It was the year in which my rattled third shift eyesight would optically snap out a poloroid of my Uncle Larry escorting my youngest sister Jenn down the slim carpeted arteries of the aisle. The year in which the integer of the trinity now heralds the numerical parking meter of my existence. The year in which I stenciled the number of pages composed everyday with a different colored marker into the white Gregorian decimal cube of the calendar above my desk at work.

The year I tell everyone that my heart is occluded in metaphorical tupperware as if awaiting a transplant from the broken cogs inside my chest to the inky footprints of a page seeded in pasture of emotional exposition such is the nature of my craft.

A year when I added nearly four hundred single space pages to a novel that is simply long enough.

The year of partying every Friday night with my dear friend Scarlet. Being snowbound the weekend of Valentines day and posting a thirty foot self-engendered mural entitled "INVOCATION TO THE MUSE" on the east side of my apartment wall. The mural consisting of app. sixty playboy centerfolds, flitted together like semi-glossy pornographic Lego's. Over the discourse of a snow-occluding weekend I would scribe the name of a different ex-girlfriend or transient lovers across the sheen of the paper. Watching the name of the woman I once proposed to, the proverbial one who got away; the high school sweetheart who now has a mortgage and an SUV and three progeny; the woman who broke my heart before I found myself nearly dead in an automobile accident the next day; the ravishing song of my spiritual companion, the pulse and color and fragrant hieroglyphs of her name, now collated in a glossy fresco--a thirty foot quilt bannered on the far side of my wall during the week of Valentines day.

By the end of the week long project I was lounging in my apartment, smoking an ONYX cigar when I witnessed my mural topple like maladroit stage curtains falling down at the end of a highschool thespian production of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.

It was the year of watching Devin Hester sprint and dance into the endzone in the opening return drive of a sodden Miami superbowl, calling up my friend minutes later and bating him to perform his signature disgustingly divine heterosexual male oriented Ric Flair WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The year of hearing the radiant verbal chimes of Greta Enzer--a Unitarian, a healer, writer, actress, teacher of theatre and beauty to LA's inner-city wayward teenage age souls; a fellow wayfarer who (fuck) 14 years earlier I sat across from at a dinner-dance in Stratford-upon-Avon, the town of Shakespeare and listened acutely as she told me about her sister, who later, I would learn, would die in a car accident--the chorus of souls spilling out their every story in streams of wished for slants of winter sun.

Greta showing me her brilliant script about a woman who fucks her boyfriend while she is one her period before slathering the blood of her own body on her lovers face in post-coital feminist delight.

The year of Harold and Maud.

The year of 11 percent IPA's. Samuel Adams Brewmasters collection, Dogfishhead, JW Dundee craftpack, Hobgoblin, Deleirum, North West Microbrews, extreme beers catered from a Scottish Dean of alcohol at Rhodells, bitter, hoppy, stouty, eternal, lathering the box seats of my palette in a liquid coat of joy.

It was the year of WHEELS OF LIGHT and VIEW FROM THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE and Juice diets. Kabbalah. Hard core meditation with emphasis on the frontal lobe. Dream symbiosis. Deepak Chopera. Yoga. Getting off from work at three in the morning and running my fucking ass off across the arteries of the west bluff. The psychology of Carl Jung. The year of dalliances in shamanism and devotions in quantum physics--watching the metaphysical realization manifest itself in the appellation of her name perching like a half-open window sill or whimsical wardrobe in front of me, every stitch of her handwriting splashing into the shore of my poetic desire, her name, little waves, foaming and cresting across the sand barge deep within the swells of my soul.

The year of BORAT and RAMTHA and wondering what it would be like if they were both stalled downriver in a canoe.

It was the year I was humbly asked to be a visiting writer at the University I still owe thirty-thousand dollars to. The University I graduated Cum Laude from and have never opened up the manila envelope in which my diploma arrived. The university I know work third shift for--the university that (unbeknownst to them, but love the distorted irony) called up the house five hours after my fathers death and innocuously inquired for a Financial donation to augment their sordid trust fund.

A failed campaign.

My cousin Larry, the rock star, the brilliant beer-addled fellow black sheep of the wayward Bozec bloodline. Larry who was living out of his SUV and battling substance abuse. Larry who ran off over 2000 flyers to in early April protesting the (now intact) Illinois smoking ban: THIS IS NOT AFGHANISTAN:SAY NO TO THE SMOKING BAN!!!

Waking up in an aluminum nest of beer cans and cigarette butts in the peach-lining light of an early spring, sitting on my back porch with his guitar singing songs from ten years ago, breaking into a chorus of Jonny Cash tunes:

"Well I woke up Sunday morning with no place
to hold my head that didn't hurt
...And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad
So I had one more for dessert"

The year I was supposed to see Michelle again, at a wine tasting in Des Moines, but we failed to somehow find each other in the field of SUV's and license plates.

The year of chronicling dreams. The dream where I endured in the guest room of my mothers abode where I am watching my father die and asking Abdul'baha to save him, to which he stoically refused. The dream where I am attacked by a dog-like creature
in a county house by my girlfriends very Harry Potter Mrs. Weasleyesque matriarch--the country house I later was invited to move into with my brother Hale six months later.

The year in which I found myself wading inside the torso of a woman I blogged about two years earlier, a woman who is a breast cancer survivor, making love in the under a pocketed sprinkle of July stars, the pilsner moon and slashes of heat lighting accompanying us as if in applause.

There's no sort of sex like sex with a woman who inspires you and who has grappled death by the labels and told him to fuck off for a few more decades.

And trust me, nothing is fucking sexier than a woman who has trounced her fears and now cannot stop smiling and laughing at everything around her.

The same woman who pretended she didn't know me the night of her sisters bachelorette party. The woman who now wants nothing to do with me at all.

The out of body mediation where I find myself in reverence in a throne room telling an escort of God that I cannot bow before him alone if the person I feel one with at all times is not saddled next to me, bowing, worshiping, smiling in spiritual deference as well.

The year where my cool sister and Brother-in-law hosted a thirtieth birthday party and almost every relative showed up with a different microbrew or imported six pack in paw. My Uncle Larry giving me two glass steins and a 12 pack of sumptuous SPATEN, which I jested to his chagrin that he probably purchased at Aldis.

The dream where I go into the earth and find my father alive and crying and tears and where we embrace--the gruff scent of his chin and cheekbones pressing against the right side of my tear saturated face and simply hold him.

The year of opening day at Comiskey, casting incantations of peremnial impotency all season long as the White Sox bullpen continue to act like a Bengali whore on an american military base and "blow another one." Watching Peoria-blood and all American class act Jim Thome belt his 500th homer in indelible fashion before circling the slants of the south side diamond, fist clutched, arm alighted, circling in spumes of cheer.

My dearest Esme--the eyelashes that launched more poems than Helen did ships to Troy over a two week period in the early haze of summer, the lavender dusk of a June evening over the eye-liner of the west replete with (seasonal) seventeen year cicadas chirping out own anthropodal oratorios in the background. Esmeralda who met me at the bus station in Joliet with her hair pinned back and a kick ass green dress that slid over her cinnamon skin-limbs of her petite poetic frame like quarter notes skimming across a the lithe rungs of classical sheet music. The rich chestnut tint of her eyes blinking in unflinching curiosity, as if trying to sop up every quark of her experience on this vessel deemed earth one astonishing blink at a time.

Esme who knew more about me than I did her when she arrived suitcase clasped in the slender tips of her fingers on the steps of my apartment early last June, her last night in P-town, en route to demolish the social hierarchal configuration of the planet in South Africa. Esmeralda who told me she has a surprise for me, mandating that I idle in the marijuana-incensed hallways of Motel six while she took a minute to "get ready," and as I waited before I entered the hotel room with thirty candles and the B'52's blaring out of a laptop--the spilled hiccup of her smile wishing me a happy birthday. Still I remember sitting in the bathtub with our clothes on (our Garden State moment), resting with her head in the center of my chest, the arteries of my heart catching dreams as they nocturnally dripped from her forehead like metaphysical ambrosia.

The year I nearly (remorsefully riddled now in retrospect) gave a copy of IRON JOHN to a bum at a bus station who was drinking water out of a dirty 2 litre bottle of Mellow Yellow, clad in an old tattered military coat, living all hours at the greyhound depot, hoping that he would look up into the gaseous wing of the bus as it hushes open to espy the limbs of a woman who mysteriously echoed into the night two years prior. Every night, he shows up at the Bus Station, waiitng for her to perhaps return.

The year of multifarious can't-enough-optical-fucking-viewings of WHAT THE BLEEP:DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. Two copies arriving as if from disparate quantum realms on my door matt (even though I only ordered one)--the author intuiting these dual metaphysical tablets as gifts, giving them to the two wayfarer he feels most would most benefit from their insight and glow.

The year when my best friend from first grade was found murdered in his SUV, a bullet
planted in his abdomen, his eyes stalled in unblinking trance.

The year of God bless the eternal soul Danny Dalquist!!! Watching the casket containing his earthly coat sail through the mouth of St. Marks cathedral, a wooden vessel levitating on the bony pillars of fellow pallbearers. The crimson clad shirts of the soccer team lined up in a plank of lower-chinned bodies as if playing zone defense against the inevitability of an ill-timed death--the sorrow of pain of the loss of a fellow brother. The six-figured university president doing her best ersatz Jackie O. imitation. The sight of my brother Drew wreathing the thick athletic slant of his arm around a teammates neck in a dire time of sober need and loss.

The year where a former student of mine was shot and killed, probably because of his sexual orientation.

The year where I was more or less drunk all the fucking time. A weekend past naught
where I failed to ferry a 12-pack cube of liquid scepters on the blades of my shoulders (sometimes two or three), as if the alcoholic Pharaoh of my psyche were instructing me to erect a great pyramid of hedonism while my life organs whittled and hardened into sand.

"If eternity is understood by endless temporal duration

The year of youtube: staying after work and watching lectures by Joseph campbell and Richard Feynman. Laughing my ass off to vintage all in the family. Dancing around my cubicle to the popped-syncopation of late-80 bowed out power ballads.

"But by timelessness."

The year where Doctor Wynn said that the results from my MRI came make negative and that I was a healthy young man and if there was something I was hanging on to from my past that was coercing me to spend all day worshiping Bacchus by pouring insidious amounts alcoholic libations through the hatch of my lips then I should really think seriously about seeking a psychological crutch.

The year of my brothers.

The brothers who always got my back. Year in year out, what a blessing to have healthy male creative coevals, semi-hedonists and fellow virile sports saturated lovers of life. Helping my brother John move to a posh Naperville apartment one late spring afternoon and endless male-oriented discourse over the wayward pursuit of sports in the city of Chicago. Throwing back amber gauntlets of PBR with Nick the writer, brother in the pursuit of all things literary and truthful in the swelter of early august. The year of dapper David Thompson, hearing his insight and pursuit of the aesthetic, the bacchanalian, the beautiful, the culinary, the eternal.

The year of Dave Hale always having my back. Picking me up when the skinned-knee of my spirits are low.

The year of fuck the chicago cubs going to the playoffs!!!

Through the tides of light combing into the shoreline of the planet in waves--the sight of a heavy sun in winter stranded in a sea of moonlit serenity.

All this and I still don't know what a fucking kiln looks like, Sarah.

"If you wanna sing out, sing...."

Though the highlight of December was watching your eyes close as I kissed
the light snow of your winter cheek and then wished you a Merry Christmas.

"then he who lives in the moment.."

"there's a million places to go just know who you..."

"Lives eternally."

This is my torch from the eclipsed 12 months passed to you dear reader. I extend the pangs and perils, my sin and my savior, to your outstreched wick. My request for your new year is simply: Make the life you are currently leading the life you feel compelled as fuck to live. Give it all and ask for no return. Pour everything of yourself out in an effort to strecth the lips of a perfect stranger out in a meadow of smiles. Dance as if there is no tomorrow.

And if you find yourself holding her in your arms. Never fucking let go.

Happy new year, my faithful readers. Make your life joyful and unique. Cause there's a million ways to go.

You know that there are.