a new addition to the u-shaped universe

though i may not be the first to ever postulate a u-shaped universe, i just might be one of the first to do so with such limited understanding of basic math and physics. which is great!

i first wrote about it in the first month of 2012, and then again in the second. then i let it alone for a couple years until discussing it w my far brighter counterpart, Micah, on the dark and labyrinthine drive into Tasty Noodles Halloween 2014.

he latched onto the idea immediately, and with great candor encouraged me to pursue the idea whether in armchair philosophizing or, better yet, writing. so here we are with a new addition to my stoned theory of the u-shaped universe.

though i can’t precisely pin down who it was–i think either Adam or Rex–i had found myself discussing methods of meditation with a dear friend. the friend was someone who i loved and trusted because they saw the world through similar eyes–with love-colored lenses, peace purple prisms, exultations of joy in every eyelash-whipping blink. this person told me that when they meditate they aim to be thoughtful.

“but isn’t the point of meditating to reach a point of thoughtlessness?” i asked.

“Buddhists define ‘nirvana’ as the extinction of the ‘three fires,’” they replied, “passion, aversion, and ignorance. i don’t see any way of extinguishing those three natural human poisons without first being thoughtful.”

“that’s true. and yet, now that i think about it, if you do that you will have reached a point of thoughtlessness–not in the sense of thoughtlessly forgetting your sister’s birthday but rather in the sense of expressing care, acceptance and wisdom without thinking twice.”

“exactly. hence, thoughtfulness to the point of thoughtlessness.”

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favorite singles of 2014

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Rota Fortunae

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Ἄρτεμις Ἀγροτέρα

ice cold. i knew that look. her beautiful orbs of eyes now looked peaceful only when they were looking away. i couldn’t stand it. when i reached out to touch her hand, she didn’t recoil; why did i expect her to? i asked her what was wrong. i asked her what i could do. i asked her what i could change. still, she just stared into the distance, into another world. what had happened? down which hallways had our laughter been chased? over which wall had our joy been hurled? under which soil had our love been buried? up into which black hole had our peace been extinguished? my heart trembled and choked and cried, and i might’ve died.

but when i awoke, i found myself gazing into the bright white moonlit eyes of Artemis.

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honey, he’s a friend of mine

four Mexican beers down the hatch and not a single BART train left to catch.

on the long bus and walk home, stoned inspiration strikes my skull. it’s already 0300, but nothing can stop me. up and down the stairs, skulking through the hallways, dragging black monolith speakers, assembling the altar, feeding cables electricity, executing my addled genius silent as a mouse.

i jerk off and pass out.

in the morning, i check my phone in a bleary panic. 0900. i fall back asleep for a couple minutes and then check my phone again. 1100.

blended black tea dressed with a teaspoon of orange blossom honey and the slightest splash of half and half. that’s real fancy talk for a little drug called caffeine. my roommate partakes, and the music starts. breakfast consists of defrosted hash browns, fried eggs, and pork so good it must’ve come from the devil’s factory. Xanthe and i clink our mimosa flutes and chow down while watching Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise take turns playing Thalia and Melpomene.

Cameron arrives looking hungover or depressed or both. i think nothing of it. the music goes on, the champagne flows. Ted is dead.

i never met Ted. i hug Cameron. i hold him. i don’t know what to say. i never met Ted even though Cameron insisted a hundred times that it needed to happen. i don’t know what to say. i wait for Cameron to say something, but he is stunned. he is a cauldron of emotion. i turn the music down or let it stop or something. i don’t know what to do or say. there is nothing to do or say. we drink.

the music returns. Cameron requests a dirge, so i let Entrance sing them Grim Reaper Blues. but i’m left by myself, so i scream and jump and play air guitar oblivious to the fact and consequence of death. i am dust.

Shannon. Lizz. Nico. Neko? Niko? Nico. Chris. Mark. Natalie. old friends, newer friends, lovers, sometime-lovers, one-time-lovers, all-time-lovers, all family, all drunk fucks.

my cousin hops on the decks and starts slinging cocaine funk delivered straight from the Rick James estate. it is 1980something, the snares reverberate, and disillusion is making itself incredibly comfortable. you can hear it in their voices. you can hear JoJo and Cheri and Candi and Maxi and Prince Rogers and Trent and Dave and Martin and Joshua and Charles, they all sound so coked up and dead. death. there’s that grim reaper again. where the fuck is Cameron? sobbing on the edge of my bed, locked up in my bedroom. on and off the phone. who is he talking to? margarita. big beer. drinking, so much drinking.

let the Golden Age begin. bleego hops on the decks and sonically programs artificial intelligence. it’s weird. on tv, Ziggy Stardust says good night mere moments before a bunch of space cadet apes wake up in the middle of bone-dry Africa. ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space.

how many pop culture references can i make before my writing becomes as worthless as the tobacco in a swisher sweet?

as the sun sets, i continue force-feeding everyone pop muzik, and then suddenly turn the music down low on a couple of whacked out loops to ask nobody in particular how long i could leave the loops loopingly looping looping looping looping looping looping looping looping until we all went crazy. somebody said something. something drinking something. and so i blast Kylie Minogue for a swan song.

power everything off! with tons of friends still partying, i say a thousand goodbyes and then fly away. best way to end a house party.

K to the Castro, two double illy espressos, and my love and i are back in the game. first up: dinner and drinks for her sister’s 21st birthday. Abigail rolls in wearing a sash like she’s in a beauty pageant and a face guaranteed to win it. radiant beauty of a birthday girl, she flutters around her long table of friends chatting about nothing and deflecting as many fireballs as she can.

sushi sake sushi sake sushi sake sushi sake sushi. that’s five sushi for every letter in the word “sushi” and four sake for every letter in the word “sake.” words words words words words.

the several hundred dollar bill settled, the crew bubbles around Kim “Abi” Kardashian as we make our way up Market toward extensive tracts of heavily eroded, uncultivable land with little vegetation. just kidding, we went to badlands. i withdrew $60 only to spend $50 instantly at the club on three entries (Abi, Natalie, me), three drinks (adios motherfucker for Abi and whiskey for Natalie and me), and then three more drinks (long island ice teas for the three of us). obviously we had not been drinking enough yet.

goodbye Castro, hello Cameron. he wanted love. Ted is dead. to Oakland then. goodbye Natalie. she storms off in a drunk, silent fit. i shrug.

down down Market.

stumbling drunk ass fuck into It’s Tops Coffee Shop, completely deserted except for the token pretty white girl waitress in her stupid 50s pink waitress dress. i drunkenly foam at the mouth some incoherence that amounts to “may i please just have a cup of coffee?” to which she responds by swinging ’round the counter and pouring out dregs of mud from both pitchers—the caffeinated and non caffeinated. in between drunken swallows, i murmur some philosophical question at her, but she’s tired and wants to go home, and that’s exactly how she answers. i understand, down the rest of the mud, and fly out the door.

down down Market.

i convince a cabbie to drive me to Civic Center so i can catch the last train east. so aware, so alive, i bolt out the doors onto 12th St. in Oakland, drunkenly rushing up the escalator and eating shit, scraping my stomach and foot (i discover later). i look around to see how embarrassed i should feel, but the lady behind me wears a face that says, “i’m just tired and want to go home,” so i shrug, pick myself up, and bolt anew. i race the two and whatever miles to Cameron’s house with cool Miles jazz billowing from the phone in my front pocket; i’m like a man on the run in a black & white French New Wave film from the 60s.

at the house, hugs and laughter and death and comfort and… guess what? more drinking! because, i must repeat myself, again, obviously: we had not been drinking enough. fernet and coke and tequila and non-vegetarian Chinese food and Courtney on guitar and sleep.

in the drunken haze of morning, i squeeze Courtney’s boob and immediately pull my hand back while apologizing. she laugh. i don’t feel too good about it. but then i wash a household of dishes and sweep the floor while Cameron details the stove. and when i fail to find a dustpan, i simply crouch down, scoop the pile of dust and kitchen debris with my hands, and throw it away. Cameron laughs, calling it the most humble thing he’s seen in years. i feel good about it.

a few moments later, we’re suspended like the helicopter string quartet between peace, humility, suffering, and passion.

“this is the worst one,” he says, “the worst death. i like nothing about this one.”

he wants to cry so badly but has already sobbed so much and the sobbing had solved nothing. i fight back laughter because the minute leading before we’d been saying some really silly, funny things and just roaring laughing. the giggles honor not even death.

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the high ceilings

i

under the red tinsel arches
under the Christmas tree
under the dark black boxes
in digital Yule log light

waiting for the new year to appear
at its appointed hour,
minute, second, moment, flicker
flame flash of time

one man pitch black and baritone
one woman legless and beautiful
one woman hostess so wonderful
one man rainbow-bordered bountiful
one woman, the lady chanterelle
one man as you hear him
and all the rest
shaken well
sipped

and though the year dies
there is no understanding like death.

ii

when the lady chanterelle awoke, she found herself alone on the couch in the middle of a party. she, a beautiful little light brown butterflower, immediately summoned her lover and demanded a birthday poem.

instead of fulfilling her request, he asked, “what’s your favorite part of this room?”

the lady narrowed and then widened her bright eyes as she gazed around, meandering through media, tinsel, melancholy people. the lover was sure she would land on some solstice decoration, but instead, she said, “the high ceilings.”

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winter solstice party

in the evening, we stood amidst the bright kitchen and living room lights, sipping on brandy-spiked punch and catching up on all the unchanged pasts behind us and unpredictable futures that lay ahead. experiencing slight hunger pangs, many of us slathered fancy spreads on crackers, wrapped up cheeses in smoked salmon, and scarfed down open-face salami sandwiches smeared w dijon mustard. ’twas a veritable banquet!

the middle-aged and beyond were out in full force, making polite conversation and liking each others’ pages on facebook and roping me in to make sure they’d done so correctly. yeah yeah looks fine, i said, not very politely.

as midnight approached, the old people got sleepy and began to slip out.

midnight past, Adam, Cameron, and i stripped down to nothing and hopped in the hot tub. suddenly everything felt more real. Cameron let flee a shriek, and then immediately apologized to Adam for disrupting the suburban peace. it was okay.

over the next hour or two, the three of us bobbed like choice cutlets in the soup, sipping on our brandy punch, puffing on Cameron’s gift of a spliff, and waxing poetic about life, the evolution of humanity, and the universe. past and future worlds swirled through our minds, whirled and twirled through our half-articulate gestures. Cameron’s clouds of Venus encapsulated my interstellar agriculture to the point where Adam’s hands grew thick with the soil of the probability of intelligent life forming out of the nothingness that Cameron considered himself when he thought about how he’d lost his job even though i was going to do the exact same thing except intentionally and maybe we should shut up and learn or thing or two about intention from Adam who had unknowingly convinced Morgan to return to school to learn graphic design at the ripe old age of, what are we, 26? golden.

with the night getting late, Cameron and i cruised down the freeway without a care in the world. the only thing he cared about was making his 0600 flight and, quite frankly, it didn’t look like sleep was part of that plan. so at the last minute i veered toward 280 instead of 101, opting for the slower, scenic route. little did i know about the fog’s return. the fog, my old and familiar friend, slunk its heavy wet body across the entire width and length of 280, putting a quiet damper on my desire to be a speed demon. but that was fine; as i said, we were in no rush.

thinking along those same lines, i turned and asked Cameron if he’d like to go to the beach. affirmative.

so once again, at the last moment, i veered toward Skyline Blvd. the speed limit dropped 15 MPH, but the fog grew thicker. thick, thick, thicker still. every mile we advanced, the blank white sheet pulled closer to the windshield… until i couldn’t see more than a few feet of line dividers in front of the car. rain had threatened and teased and attempted, until finally it teamed up with the fog to make the worst possible driving conditions. it was definitely one of those moments where you’re too scared to keep driving but too scared to stop so you just slow down a bit because that feels like a happy medium.

eventually, we arrived at Fort Funston. i quickly confessed to Cameron that it had been my makeout spot since high school. just needed to get that out of the way. also, i needed an excuse to make homoerotic jokes. obviously.

the rain had stopped for the time being, so we only strolled through heavy fog as we mounted the Fort. at the top, unfortunately, we discovered Battery Davis completely flooded. damn shame, because right behind the flood was the entry to my favorite spot in the universe, a precarious little shelf of sand right on the precipitous of the cliff, overlooking the vast and beautiful Pacific Ocean. no matter. we ventured south, briefly encountering some “mizzle,” or what Cameron was calling mist and drizzle and orgasming all over about. the crashes of the sea grew louder and louder until, at last, we gazed at its infinite body. in the mizzle, it truly looked infinite: its waves whitening into sandy banks while its southern, western, and northern extremities faded into black fog, grey night. and yet, we perceived through our peripheral vision tiny dots of light poking through the hazy sheet. as the fog gradually lightened, we became increasingly aware that the bright light to the south was a lighthouse, while the line of lights to the west and north were a highway of shipping vessels separated by inconceivable distances on the vast sea’s surface. it was truly sublime.

we breathed in deep many, many times in silence, staring.

when it was time to go, we went. back the way we came, back to the car, the short ride back to my place, up the stairs, kettle on. i cooked up some buttery popcorn and served us a couple honey-dipped black teas. cozy. before the sun could threaten to rise, i drove Cameron to the airport, tried (and failed) to wake up Natalie for early morning snuggles, and returned to my own bed to pass… the fuck… out.

bless the solstice.

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possible reasons i got an ocular migraine today

hair in tight bun too long
staring at computer screen all day
Ritz crackers
pint of Will’s beer
dehydrated? (not really though)
walked 3.3 miles from work
two chocolate macadamia cookies
banana
mango + salt
salad (mixed greens, beets, avocado, mushrooms, etc.)
apple + peanut butter
walked 1.5 miles to work

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morning BART poetry

the universe slithers in slow motion through pseudo-suburban city soil, attempting to deliver it’s payload of penny-hungry people praying for deliverance of a pretty different sort. but they are denied, and so they go on tapping their fingers and smacking their lips and shaking hands and executing business in a bid for some kind of satisfaction. every once in awhile, however, two high priestesses among them instead opt for a basic but burgundy direction, surviving on dry food, wet water, and a few miles to walk every day, their meager divine collection from the infinite donation of space and time.

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white dudes on the left, black dudes on the right

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