30 December 2013

Two weeks ago I took my friend to the airport in his own car so that he could fly to Indianapolis for Christmas. As he was leaving he told me it was OK if I drove his car while he was gone.

I have driven that car a few times, mostly to listen to Afrirampo and Ningen Isu very loudly while zipping down black empty California highways after midnight.

Last night I went to my friend Delicious’ house in Dogtown and we celebrated Part 03 of our “Dudes Done Wrong” movie marathon. We watched Only God Forgives (★★★★ (out of four)) and felt tremendously weird and amazing afterwards—as if we’d been gently held at the hips and lead through a psychedelic hall of mirrors while the echo of many hundreds of heartbeats reverberated off the walls. It felt like looking into the face of something that could potentially unmake everything . . . stepping behind a wall of skyscrapers only to discover they’re made of cardboard two inches thick.

It was nearly 1 A.M. and I told Delicious that I was going to try to make it to the In-N-Out Burger by the airport before they closed. Just then I wanted a grilled cheese “animal style” and a side of fries more than I wanted anything else on earth. He lead me out and I darted across the street—no one in sight, very eerie—and hopped in the car. I put on some of that good music and ripped down the street like a screaming psychopath.

I got there just before closing and the line was long. The lady taking my order said, “How you doin’?” and I laughed. I said, “I’m all right, I think” and she said, “That’s good!” Then there was a moment where we just listened to the air and the little static-y hum of the intercom system, saying nothing. “Did you want some food? We got some food,” she said.

I told her what I wanted. It cost four dollars and nine cents. She told me to pull around to the first window. I pulled around to the first window.

At the first window I gave a kid a five-dollar bill and he handed me ninety-one cents in return. At the second window, the lady I had spoken to before gave me a bag of food. It was heavy. I could hardly believe it had cost so little money.

I drove home. I was blasting some heavy stuff and eyeing the faraway lights dotting the Berkeley Hills, way the hell over there. I thought, “God, California is great.” I thought about telling someone that and decided to keep it to myself.

When I got back into Oakland proper I realized I was having so much fun that it almost made me feel paranoid simply because no one was telling me not to have fun. I genuinely thought, this much fun can’t be allowed . . . someone is going to kill me or ruin this on purpose so I can’t have any more fun.

I ate my grilled cheese and fries while watching Minority Report. I had been watching it in short bursts. It had taken me all week and I’d finally gotten to the last thirty minutes.

Afterwards I did a bunch of push-ups and went to bed alone. I had the longest dream I’ve had in over two years. It was also the fourth dream I’ve had in two years. It wasn’t a good dream. In it, someone was mad at me. I don’t even remember who. It felt real. When I woke up I was sad. I didn’t want someone to be mad at me, even in my own dream.

Today a robot from my credit card company called me and said they were automatically removing an erroneous late fee from my balance, and that no further action was required on my part. The robot was very polite. I never even spoke to a human.

It is 1:30 in the afternoon and I have already drunk a half-gallon of tea. I have not yet seen the sun and probably won’t until it’s already setting over San Francisco.

29 December 2013

I went to Nashville

I have no idea why I went to Nashville

And maybe I’ve tried to write an essay about it three or four times

Tomorrow, I think, I will succeed

I’ve written some other stuff as well

Mostly in my brain

Tangentially related: why is everyone so terrible

08 December 2013

08 December 2013: R. Starsailor, having come from a bar in Berkeley, where he met with a young woman who was wonderful and solid and genuine and warm-blooded, and where people were friendly and nice to each other, making him think, “Well, maybe we’ll be all right after all”—witnessed, while on his bicycle, moving swiftly in subzero temperatures (strange for California), twenty (20) heavily-armed Oakland police officers patrolling the streets near 35th and Market while a search helicopter made passes overhead.

At home, in bed, nearly a half hour later, the helicopter could still be heard way the hell up there.

And his cat had curled up on his lap in the darkness, singing his rumbly cat song.

And everything, just then, wasn’t altogether terrible (for a number of humans on earth, maybe, except for the poor bastard being hunted like a dog several blocks away).

05 December 2013


My partner was pacing the hall while I did pull-ups in the bathroom doorframe. I was thinking about Satan and a girl I used to love. The subjects were unrelated. I flipped between them effortlessly: Satan here, the girl there. I felt bad for Satan. I hardly cared about the girl.

An hour earlier we had loaded our bodies with miserable chemicals and I knew that soon enough we would be twisted, slobbering freaks. Already the blue Christmas lights strung up on the ceiling were vibrating and swirling in my head. It wouldn’t be long until we were a couple of psychos with nothing to lose. And then things would get really ugly—and they were ugly already.

Satan, the poor bastard. He was all I could think about. Everything else dropped out of my mind. I eased my feet onto the hardwood floor and put on my purple cardigan. I took a mug from the cabinet and stood by the stove, waiting for the kettle to scream out like a toothless whore. I needed a hot beverage in me if I was going to make it through the night. For an instant I considered dumping it all over my balls. Probably would’ve felt better than anything else that’s happened to the damn things.

“Are you depressed?” said Detective Sunset, still pacing. He didn’t look at me. “You seem a little depressed is all.”

“Terribly,” I said.

“About the duck?”

“The duck’s got me down.”

“Yeah.” Sunset took a cigarette from his pocket and placed it between his lips. I thought about those lips for a half-second. God, when was the last time some unsuspecting woman had touched those things with hers? Years, I reckoned. Dark years. Darker than the Grim Reaper’s dick, even. The thoughts turned to vapor and Sunset started mumbling in Latin.

“You really gotta get off that stuff. The cigarettes, I mean. Our insides are rotten enough, man. No need to light them on fire.”

“I need this. It’s all I’ve got.”

I wasn’t going to argue with him there. If this creep wanted to smoke himself stupid, then who was I to stand in the way? Jesus. I imagined someone threatening to take away my little iota of happiness. Happiness . . . the word made my skeleton rattle. What the fuck was happiness? Maybe I had none of it. No, I definitely didn’t. It had eluded me for years. And now it was my enemy. Fuck happiness. It was just a nice thing that the squares liked to pretend actually existed. It was that faraway dream—that hidden box in the attic. Open it up and you get a bucket of vampire turds. Happiness. For god’s sake, what a miserable joke that stuff was.

I cleared my throat. I went on: “What are we going to do about this duck?”

“Where’s the body?” He was looking at his shoes. Maybe the stuff was ramping up big time now. Maybe those shoes looked pretty fucking crazy to him. A joke came to mind and I almost said it aloud: Lemme get some of whatever he’s having. But I had had what he was having. Shit, I’d had twice as much—and I’m not just talking about the lysergic cocktail we’d swallowed down. Three times as much. Yes, I’ve had three times as much. Years of bad spookiness. Years of unanswered prayers. This kid probably still felt things.

Opening my mouth and smoothing out the cobwebs, I said, “They burned the body this morning.”

Sunset spun his head around and laser-focused on my skull so intensely I thought he might burn a hole through my god damn forehead. His hair was wild and behind the cigarette I could see his yellow teeth grinding together. “They burned it?”

“Burned it till there was nothing left.” I was watching the kettle and absentmindedly groping my own testicles. God, they felt fantastic.

[ Continued ]

03 December 2013

If you have sex with more than four women in one night, does that make you a rock star, the President of the United States, or the CEO of Kraft Foods

01 December 2013

My cat is depressed.

I took him to see a vet up by Grand Lake a few weeks ago because he was acting strangely . . . sleeping in places he wouldn’t normally sleep, acting lethargic, not coming when I called his name. He didn’t even care when I tried to give him food.

Yes, and I held him while the nurse stuck a thermometer up his ass, him looking up at me with eyes that said, “I can’t take it anymore, man. Any of it.” And I said aloud, “I know.”

When the vet came in she said Dante was perfectly healthy and that he just seemed bummed as hell. She told me to spend time with him and make sure he wasn’t lonely. On the car ride home I told Dante that, of the two of us, I was relying on him to keep his head above these terrible storms and to this he closed his eyes and rested his head on his folded paws.

For the last week or so I have been sleeping on the couch with him in the living room. It reminds me of the month before my parents separated for the last time, when I would sleep in the living room with my father out of solidarity. Nothing on this earth says “I’m with you, dude” like sharing an uncomfortable sleeping arrangement with a friend who needs your presence to remind them that someone still gives a damn.

There is a message on my phone from my grandmother that I have not yet listened to. She called me on Thanksgiving while I was drinking alone on someone else’s porch. She told me recently that there is little reason for her to be alive any longer, and that she doesn’t like being here anymore.

I haven’t really talked to my mother in months. She visited me in California a month or so ago and I barely saw her while she was here. We ate at Golden Lotus and I told her I didn’t want anything and that I was in the “endless self-perpetuating black hole” phase of whatever this is and said there was no coming back from it. The next day we walked around Berkeley and I complained about the people there and then I went home.

And where is my father? Or my sister? Or my brother? I haven’t seen my brother in over two years. God, maybe it’s been three. The guy has a wife and two little girls and I’ve never met any of them. An old X-ray of his chest showing a broken collar bone is taped to my bathroom window and I see it lit up every afternoon when the sun shines through it.

There is no one back home to write to. I have no friends there anymore. Either they don’t like me anymore or they’re dead.

I will just stay here on the couch with Dante until something better happens to us.

30 November 2013

“There are more bad people than there are good people
If you’re good you live forever
If you’re bad when you die, you die”

30 November 2013

The longer I am here, the sadder and angrier I get about all of this . . . and I realize more and more that what we have figured out over the last couple thousand years is pathetic and laughable