Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books read in 2014.

Maclean, Norman. A River Runs Through It. The University or Chicago Press: Chicago, 1976.
Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Book Shop. Mariner: Boston, 1978.
Clason, George S. The Richest Man in Babylon. Signet: New York, 1988.
Camus, Albert. A Happy Death. Vintage: New York, 1972.
Beckett, Samuel. Endgame. Grove Press: New York: 1958.
Mamet, David. Passover. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1995.
Burroughs, William S. Junky. Penguin: New York, 1977.
Forche, Carolyn. The Angel of History. HapperCollins: New York, 1994.
Dick, Philip K. The Minority Report and other stories. Citadel Press: New York, 1987.
Nin, Anais. Henry and June. Harcourt: New York, 1989.
Boleslavsky, Richard. Acting: the First Six Lessons. Routledge: New York, 2003.
Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire. Random House: New York, 2001.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt: New York, 2002.
Cunningham, Michael. The Hours. Picador: New York, 1998.
Williams, John. Stoner. New York Review Books: New York, 2003.
Capon, Brian. Botany for Gardeners. Timberline Press: Portland, OR, 2005.
Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages. Northfield Publishing: Chicago, 2010.
Cather, Willa. The Professor's House. Vintage: New York, 1990.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. Houghton Mifflin Company: New York, 2001.
McGuane, Thomas. To Skin a Cat. Vintage: New York, 1986.
Yates, Richard. Revolutionary Road. Vintage: New York, 1961.
Cotetzee, J.M. Foe. Dover: New York, 1986.
Ellis, Brett Easton. Less Than Zero. Vintage: New York, 1985.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. Vintage: New York, 1991.
Wells, H.G. The Time Machine  Kindle digital file.
Crace, Jim. Being Dead. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 2000.
Bridges, Dale. Justice Inc. Monkey Puzzle, 2014.
Ford, Richard. Rock Springs. Vintage Contemporaries: New York, 1987.
Ford, Madox Ford. The Good SoldierKindle digital file.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of OzKindle digital file.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Beautiful and the Damned. Kindle digital file.
Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness. Modern Library Paperback Edition: New York, 2005.
Maugham, W. Somerset. The Moon and Sixpence. Kindle digital file.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dead End

The hospital's maternity ward is at one end of the street. On the other end of the street the cemetery awaits us all. This street is not a through street. It's a dead end street and the analogy is pretty stupid and not well-conceived.

Along this short street there are the familiar landmarks: the elementary school, any favor of church or temple or mosque. These things are all the same thing on a short street with birth on one side and death at the other.

On this street, there are mailboxes and tenements and trashcans. There are fast food wrappers in the gutter and mumbling black marketeers. There are fancy commercial outlets and even a bookshop. The latter is quiet on this street since most people gawk at the wide windows of the electronics palace next door.

There are plenty of place to leave scars on a person on this short street. There are tattoo parlors and bedrooms. The biggest scars in life are often on the inside.

When it comes to love on the dead end street, you must ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. There is only one way to fall in love and despite the variety of circumstances, there is only one real way to fall out of love. When it's time to fall in love, where you find it is not important. It is not important if it's love between two races or one. It is not important if it's between two genders or one. Love is love is love is love is love is love. This is a short street and when traveling it, it is best to travel it with someone you really love.

There are dreams on a dead end street. If these dreams have that element of money or power, however it's manifested, please remember it is a short-short street. When your dreams are about the few still, low-lighted sunny days and soft words, the dead end at the end of the street moves a little farther toward the dead end street on the other side of whatever is on the other side.

Unlike love, dreams come in a couple of different flavors. The first flavor is the subconscious, we're all familiar with that one. In the morning (or the afternoon if you're a reasonable person) when you awake, there are the reminisce of your contact with your inner mind. The dreams of our sleeping hours are worth an examination, a reflection or at the very least, a giggle.

The second flavor of dreams is the one that happens in the quiet parts of the waking hours. These dreams are proof, absolute proof that the distance between our ears is too vast to measure. Whatever these dreams are, we have absolute control over them. Make these good.

There is seriousness within us on the dead end street. But as soon as you look behind and see the maternity ward and as soon as you look forward and see the cemetery, it's probably best to reconsider why seriousness is important.

There is one sure outcome to all it. This street is a dead end street because all streets are dead end streets. If this is difficult to think about, remove one of these three words: DEAD, END or STREET.

I like to remove STREET. When it comes down to these days, to this life, DEAD and END are not such bad words to have. If there wasn't an end to it, whatever it is, there is probably no beginning and no middle. As far as I can tell, no one can remember the beginning, so I hope you're enjoying the middle.

The middle of the dead end street starts at the first breath and it ends with the last. That said, please reconsider your dreams. When your dreams are about the few still, low-lighted sunny days and soft words, the dead end at the end of the street moves a little farther toward the dead end street on the other side of whatever is on the other side.

In the middle, remember the length of this dead end street and what exists on either end of it. Find love. Love is love is love is love is love is love. This is a short street and when traveling it, it is best to travel it with someone you really love.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lost at Sea

Our day off from work found us drifting along the sails and rails and avenues and streets from one quadrant to the next to the next to the next. There was no real direction. Adrift. Adrift on a day off from work. Lost at sea.

Why not? A day binge is one thing. A daily binge is something else. We stood on the pavement outside the neighborhood bar and smoked cigarettes. Liz worked a hotel restaurant. Jamie worked the lighting at the theater. Jerry worked the bar, his girlfriend too. Sarah wandered up the sidewalk from Burnside tamping a box of smokes. She worked the library. As for me, yeah, I worked a restaurant too. It's what we did, it's all we could do. Some people think Ronald Reagan started it when he said we live in a service culture.

All I knew, another spring day, longer light and just as much overcast. I also knew that I would not be polishing wineglasses on this day.

There is something to be said about work. Now, it doesn't much matter if it's your life's calling, or if it's meaningful or menial. Work is work, right? What it really is is a warm dry place where you can't do much damage to yourself or others. It's a place where you go and perform a set list of tasks, hopefully small, easily attainable tasks, for a set amount of time for a set amount of pay. And the longer the amount of hours you spend at work are the less hours you spend on the streets in front of your neighborhood bar, midday, smoking cigarettes with your friends.

Sarah held her cigarette up to her lips. “Sometimes,” she said. “I feel like things gotta change.” I lighted her cigarette. I got close enough to her to smell that first rush of tobacco. I smelled her hair. She exhaled. She started to tell us a story that I was unsure if it had happened to her, someone she knew or something that she had read. It was a racy story that involved a small bet, the removal of panties and fucking in a car. “Yeah, right in front of the Hotel Moderna.”

I had a few more moments outside to listen to her. Liz had already moved back into the bar. I was thinking about leaving the place, the whole neighborhood and walking to the distance out north to meet up with Toby. We were not having to work today, and he was always up for it. We could, in one night, walk from North Portland to Southwest, drink up fifty dollars, see a rock show, go dance at a nightclub, hide a body, go to an art show—and you never know what you'll get with those freaky artists, especially when you still have fresh grave dirty under your nails. If you talk fast, you can probably get one of those types of artists who have a fancy day job to take you home. And if you can talk fast enough, you can get her to to take you home and bring her blonde friend along.

I wanted to say something meaningful to Sarah. There was nothing doing. I could have told her that I have been both the victim of the smooth talk backseat fuck and I have been the smooth talker. It happens like this. And sometimes, some nights, after work, you just find adventure. It's best that the adventure is sex in the backseat and not digging shallow holes in Forest Park.

Then there's always tomorrow. They always say there's tomorrow. Who says this? I don't know, they. What's tomorrow? Who cares? If you're lucky you have a job that pays your way. Hopefully, your work doesn't take too much out of you. Hopefully, your job pays you what you're worth. Hopefully, your job is just that trivial: polishing wineglasses, stuffing envelopes, changing out spent light bulbs. Someone'll have a great idea, eventually.

If you're even luckier, you'll have tomorrow off, you and all your friends. You can stand around and smoke cigarettes. You can drink cheap beer and cheap whiskey. You can fuck in cars. You can do what you want. Perhaps, there will be sunlight. Perhaps they'll be sunlight on flowers, or cactus spines or palm leaves. If you're even luckier tomorrow, it'll be some other stiff doing your job and you'll be free.