Yellow Life Jacket

I don’t remember how to write, like saying, “I don’t remember how to think.”

And it’s a funny state of mind — the emptiness of nostalgia countered by the weight of its recognition, a bandage that does nothing for the break.

I write, “This summer I am visited by the apparition of my own uselessness; I am consumed by the exorcism of it.”

In the pool beside me, a bee writhes and stings at the water, all its vehemence misdirected, until it succumbs.

Scenes of Rapture Along Yosemite’s Half Dome Trail

The rain expands everything, gets into every corner, soaks every fiber: our bags, our clothes, our hearts. And there is water in the tent. A puddle has formed in the indentation over our heads; my friend rumbles beside me, punches at it and suddenly I am wet, awake.

* * *

Memory is an abiding boulder. The details fuzz and the spaces fill with trivial green things. Still, in these nights, I am haunted by that monolithic image, the one of hikers rounding up a steep stone staircase in the dead of dark, headlamped and flashlit. A hundred human fireflies twinkling into the thorn crowned forest.

There are ways to worship. There are ways to worship: the roar of waterfalls, omnipotent and omnipresent.

* * *

It is possible, as all things are possible.

* * *

Years from now, can you say, in this dream we were not afraid. Only angels along the way as we climbed, hand over hand, up the line that led us to heaven. Oh but I am godless. Oh but I am without fear. Oh but tomorrow resurrects itself, day after day after day.

Love is a Mix Tape

Dear S-,

This is a mix tape. I’ve come to the conclusion that finding the perfect song is akin to spotting a satellite. You aren’t certain what it is when you first see it; you think, it might just be another star. Astonishment, then, when you realize it is man-made, that it came from the Earth, that you can point up at it and someone a hundred or more miles away could be pointing too and thinking, golly… golly, gee whiz. And, in its own deliberate pace, the satellite crosses over to another sky, maybe beeps a course out of the solar system. But the echoes that bind us never stop. For a moment, we are enclosed by the same musical sphere.

In his memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield tells us there’s always a reason to make a mix tape, however great or mundane. For washing dishes. Maybe a road trip, or a party tape to declare your good sensibilities. Perhaps to tell someone you love them. Wave a final farewell. Or, if you are that satellite, an electronic buzz for those lonely ballets along the farthest rings of Saturn. I’ve never made a proper mix tape before, where the order matters as much as the selection. When you receive this, please write back and let me know what you think.

* * *

M83 – Don’t Save Us From The Flames

Metronomy – Heartbreaker

Sugarcubes – I’m Hungry

* * *

If songs are satellites, then what is a playlist. S-, I wonder how you are faring. I have been thinking about you lately and am curious as to how the sum of our sporadic encounters will add up. If we have ascertained even a mere fraction of possibility. There’s a passage by Sheffield: I was young, idealistic, and reluctant to learn any of the ways of the world, even when it would have been to my advantage to do so. He says this just before meeting his wife. I suppose we are all afflicted by youth and idealism, as if it were something to be grown out of. The past couple years have been difficult; I’ve closed myself off to many things, little doorways and tightly bound closets. Just recently, I have been opening them up. In one corner, I discovered an affinity for you.

* * *

Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

Catatonia – Dazed, Beautiful, and Bruised

My Cousin I Bid You Farewell – Style and Grace (live)

* * *

This is a mix tape. It is a quantum flickering in and out of existence in the moldering heart of a woebegone galaxy. I have put it together, dismantled it, revised it, and devised a final form. It is a salvation of sorts. Perhaps it is the extension of a hand that reached across one loud night beneath a disco ball sky and dragged me back from the edge of a metaphorical ledge. Metaphorical because like youth, I hope sadness is something to be grown out of too. I don’t know. When I am beside you, my nonexistence becomes real. Does that make sense? For all the things I’ve lacked the courage to say, this tape can declare. It delineates borders. On the outskirts of these borders, black holes implode with much aplomb, inverted fireworks darkening the night. We are safe within our sphere, it is brighter here. And here, I exist only to collide with your phantom spark. Look! The evening sets. Our bodies twist to shadows, stretched by an indeterminate vortex. I barely know you.

* * *

Cassettes Won’t Listen – Freeze and Explode

Ladyhawke – Magic

Van She – Kelly

Janelle Monae – Many Moons

* * *

You tell me you are leaving. Soon, in a few short months, you will be crossing an ocean. If the job is permanent, you will stay there. If not, well, who knows where I will be. The future is haphazard and impetuous. We can spend years working towards a goal, only to be upturned by happiness down a side (and oftentimes, unforeseeable) path. I said I would miss you. I hope that didn’t come across as facetious because maybe you might consider it improbable for someone to miss another after so tenuous of a night, if we can even call ourselves friends over the scattered moments we’ve known each other. But it’s just as Los Campesinos shouted: absence makes the heart grow fonder, fondness makes the absence longer. And somehow, I feel like I’m being undercut.

* * *

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines

Faded Paper Figures – North By North

US Royalty – Every Summer

Los Campesinos – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

* * *

This is it. The mix tape begs for a reply, even satellites with a chest of messages still get unraveled by the looping deck; because, out in space, there’s only the nebulae to keep you company. There’s only stars. I don’t think I can send you this letter anymore because I am frightened by my hand, that with a pen the stroke of a sum can add to a holier union, that it is possible to alter the tide from its natural course to crash on a dearer shore. Some people live to affect. Others live to be an effect. This crush is crushing for an outcome.

Outside, the night air is warm, early for the season. The strange scent of flowers have crept in through the window screen. You found me on a cold day, I am finding you on a warmer one. Wherever you are, I hope you are well, and when you go, remember that life can take more than you are willing to give, even if you are prepared to be swept away. Should you return sooner than later, don’t be a stranger. S-, before I end this letter, I need to tell you: I do not know how to or if I love you, only that I am here, drawn as bees are, to trace the outline of your scent.

* * *

Audrey Sessions – Relentless

Union of Knives – Evil Has Never

Raine Maida – Yellow Brick Road

* * *


* * *

*Note: Lollerblades! This is me channeling sappiness! Also, actual mix is slightly different but that is because youtube does not have all of the songs. Should I give her this letter?!

Countdown Up

Along came New Years 2009 of which much fun and revelry apparated in the upper west basin of Los Angeles @ Arsenal Bar as we shouted raucous congenialities and embraced perfect strangers. It can also be said that my throat is still lined by keening lamps along miles of muck and pitch such that a traveler might take an extra year to arrive at his destination just as it might take an extra minute for my voice to reach coherence. Weathered a week of sickness yet remain weathered all the same.

Thanks For Giving

My ma sets aside a plate of fat trimmed from the turkey.

I sez, “Look! A mountain of deliciousness!” And the fat thus quivered gelatinously.

My ma sez, “Don’t do it.”

I sez, “Alarck! Where did it all go? The plate is empty quite suddenly!”

My ma sez, “…”

My brother sez, “Charlie… that is so disgusting.”

And the fat thus quivered within me.

* * *

My goddamn heart hurts.


A little more desolate, a little more lonely, I arrived at a motel on the border of Massachusetts and New York. It is a city where one could lose his mind in, stumbling in on a dirty night like this and never finding his way back out, or in passing, the remains of this burnt out nub might become permanently etched onto his heart so that its ashes would be littered everywhere he goes; he will see the same spots on each gray building, the same flat streets wrung by soot and concrete: a specter of dead-ends rattling the bitter chains of failure.

Like home almost, or at least the parts that withered out of neglect. And it is cold here, already, akin to a Californian winter so that we smell the sad and wailing sense of Christmas in the air, those dark eves shivering for a clause, like the week spent on campus during winter break years ago, the world gone beneath your feet, there’s nobody in sight. Is it strange to be comforted by the familiarity of its despair; why, because it evokes a spectacular longing for escape? I want to get out, I need to get out. Tomorrow then, and tomorrow goes.

Weekend in Brief 38

JUN 19 – 22 Vegas. LAX, Cathouse, Seamless, Tao, Puff Lounge. Little bit of everything and not a bit of sleep.

JUN 25 Curry House. Legends Bar.

JUN 26 Hot Pot. Album Leaf @ Belly Up Tavern.

JUN 27 David’s House Party. Legends Bar.

JUN 28 Rock climb. Legends Bar. Drunk Rock Band.

JUN 29 Grandma’s Birthday. BBQ.

* * *

Wish I had something to say but there’s too much life going on. It is a good / bad thing. I need to get away, and get away, and get away.