Tag Archives: hell

selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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selections from Turtle Island by Gary Snyder

Goal: Clean air, clean clear-running rivers, the presence of Pelican and Osprey and Gray Whale in our lives; salmon and trout in our streams; unmuddied language and good dreams. (94) Continue reading

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the Valley of Ladies

hot
dry, gusty air.
brush, skeletal, withering to dust—
devils spinning psychotically
in circles
in the distance
a circus
performed for the pleasure of the beaming king
in the sky, radiant and divine
splintering crowns of clouds
charring the earth
boiling brains.

and then
there is coolness, serene spaciousness
in slow-motion assembling constellations,
awakening, loving, being…
but being where?
here, nowhere, everywhere—constellations
awakening again
and again
and again
and again
as in a dance
until suddenly there is spinning,
a rhythmic repeating,
eternal becoming.

though wandering the desert sometimes stings like Hades,
other days you’re waltzing in the Valley of Ladies. Continue reading

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Rota Fortunae

FullSizeRender_v1 Continue reading

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selections from the second volume of Parerga and Paralipomena by Arthur Schopenhauer

SCHOPENHAUER. Essays and Aphorisms. Penguin Classics. Translated with an introduction by R. J. HOLLINGDALE. Continue reading

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Paris · Farningham · London · Amsterdam

~ 0 ~
horrible traffic
in n out
4-hour delay
“this is the worst airline ever”
chili’s out of salad and Mexican food
geographically challenged hostess
know your rights!
sleep? dreamy purple pinkish tint thereof
a moment in Oslo
Paris
nightmare on rue chaptal
Moulin Rouge

~ 1 ~
walk to espresso
Tour Eiffel
walk along the Seine
lunch in the Latin Quarter?
Notre Dame
espresso for the Louvre
kill in the garden
fancy ass French food
Arc de Triomphe
legs falling off
white wine and Lucky Strike

~ 2 ~
Père Lachaise
Indian at Chapelle
Musée d’Orsay
USA WINS 0-1
fancy ass fucking ave (dck sp + chkn brst)
farewell to the Seine
1-2-3!!! something something Algérie!!!

~ 3 ~
omelette complet at the Gare du Nord
Eurostar to Ebbsfleet
tea (twice) on the Tabsfield green
tomato basil, cheesy mushroom quiche, fresh strawberry creme brûlée, and a couple pints with the wedding party and co.
the cottage

~ 4 ~
fresh fruit, meat, a poached egg, and coffee
dressing for the wedding
Frost on the green
wedding at St Peter and St Paul’s Church
half Indian feast and dance (the Brits, the delicious Indian food, the champagne beer red and white wine, the light rain, and heavy dancing)
afterparty at the cottage

~ 5 ~
breakfast redux (hungover version)
football w Maya on the green
to London
appetizing Indian leftovers
The Tower
wandering in the rain
St. Paul’s
old fucking white egg-headed, perfectly circular black spectacle-wearing, pound-grubbing pieces of shit ushers guarding against pilgrims at the footsteps to the house of god
covent garden
pho
lazying and familying

~ 6 ~
waking up sans Natalie in a nasty mood
bacon on a roll
cold shower
Tate Modern
Eat.
The Globe
Parliament
Westminster
Evensong
Upminster then Whitechapel
ALG v GER

~ 7 ~
waking up w Natalie, happily
full English breakfast in Whitechapel
Natural History Museum
Kensington Gardens
fancy ass Indian food
£5 to the girl from Canada Macedonia CA
USA v BLG :(

~ 8 ~
scratched iris
mushroom omelette
nap to
Stonehenge
and nap from
Nando’s w David and Evelyn

~ 9 ~
to Amsterdam
grocery shopping
white wine
Concertgebouw
a spliff at Rookie’s
shoarma on the corner

~ 10 ~
homemade breakfast
double espresso
spliff on the diagonal green
Rijksmuseum
shopping, snacks in bed
Little Thai Prince
red light district
overpriced and pre-rolled
stoned wander home
ice cream

~ 11 ~
bacon breakfast
Blue Bird
Myrabelle, bartended by a more muscular and more feminine version of John Dwyer.
gluten-free crackers, goat cheese, smoked salmon, olives dripping in oil and basil, water, and wine
second Thai dinner
Vondelpark
Amstels all night at the cafe
NED v CRC

~ 12 ~
nightmare
check out
fresh fruit pancake across from Anne Frank
spliff on the green
Van Gogh Museum
rest in Vondelpark
walk
coffee
bus
plane
tube

~ 13 ~
tube
train
plane
Oslo
plane
Oakland
home? Continue reading

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selections from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo… Continue reading

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my favorite Metamorphoses

And now the measure of my song is done:
The work has reached its end; the book is mine,
None shall unwrite these words: nor angry Jave,
Nor war, nor fire, nor flood,
Nor venomous time that eats our lives away.
Then let that morning come, as come it will,
When this disguise I carry shall be no more,
And all the treacherous years of life undone,
And yet my name shall rise to heavenly music,
The deathless music of the circling stars.
As long as Rome is the Eternal City
These lines shall echo from the lips of men,
As long as poetry speaks truth on earth,
That immortality is mine to wear. Continue reading

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words and verses from C. Day Lewis’ translation of the Aeneid

The begetter of gods and men inclined towards her the smiling
Countenance which calms the sky and makes fair weather,
Gently kissed his daughter’s mouth, and began to speak:–
Fear no more, Cytherea. Take comfort, for your people’s
Destiny is unaltered; you shall behold the promised
City walls of Lavinium, and exalt great-hearted Aeneas
Even to the starry skies. I have not changed my mind.
I say it now–for I know these cares constantly gnaw you–
And show you further into the secret book of fate:
Aeneas, mightly warring in Italy, shall crush
Proud tribes, to establish city walls and a way of life,
Till a third summer has seen him reigning in Latium
And winter thrice passed over his camp in the conquered land.
His son Ascanius, whose surname is now Iulus–
Ilus it was, before the realm of Ilium fell–
Ascanius for his reign shall have full thirty years
With all their wheeling months; shall move the kingdom from
Lavinium and make Long Alba his sure stronghold.
Here for three hundred years shall rule the dynasty
Of Hector, until a priestess and queen of Trojan blood,
With child by Mars, shall presently give birth to twin sons.
Romulus, then, gay in the coat of the tawny she-wolf
Which suckled him, shall succeed to power and found the city
Of Mars and with his own name endow the Roman nation.
To these I set no bounds, either in space or time;
Unlimited power I give them. Even the spiteful Juno,
Who in her fear now troubles the earth, the sea and the sky,
Shall think better of this and join me in fostering
The cause of the Romans, the lords of creation, the togaed people.
Thus it is written. An age shall come, as the years glide by,
When the children of Troy shall enslave the children of Agamemnon,
Of Diomed and Achilles, and rule in conquered Argos.
From the fair seed of Troy there shall be born a Caesar–
Julius, his name derived from great Iulus–whose empire
Shall reach to the ocean’s limits, whose fame shall end in the stars.
He shall hold the East in fee; one day, cares ended, you shall
Receive him into heaven; him also will mortals pray to.
Then shall the age of violence be mellowing in peace:
Venerable Faith, and the Home, with Romulus and Remus,
Shall make the laws; the grim, steel-welded gates of War
Be locked; and within, on a heap of armaments, a hundred
Bronzen knots tying his hands behind him, shall sit
Growling and bloody-mouthed the godless spirit of Discord. (20-21) Continue reading

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with the birds i’ll share this lonely view

one of the first albums i ever bought on the Compact Disc format was Californication by Red Hot Chilip Peppers. i bought it at target on the same day that i bought Renegades by Rage Against the Machine. i loved all the Rs in their names. i loved how i had chosen such weird, crazy bands. i loved how they sounded pouring out of my can’t-be-beat portable Aiwa cd player.

i was probably over 10, but still far from 15. today, as i approach a quarter of a century of age (a month away if birthdates start at conception), i still adore both bands.

that’s “Scar Tissue.” most people know it. last night, riding across the Bay Bridge back into the city after a psychedelic experience of a show provided by Animal Collective, the radio station of my teenage years (Live 105) churned out this baby. picture me, stoned, and my favorite girl, Amanda, stoned, cruising in slow motion back to the City by the Bay, while RHCP enchants us w their meaningful, conscious, crazy cooing of bass, drum, electric, and vox.

such good things i’ve been immersing myself in. Animal Collective last night at the Fox was four trips and a half. their stage setup had giant, inflated, illuminated teeth and behind the teeth were giant spikes of fangs and behind the fangs was a screen to oblivion and in front of oblivion was the band belting out their dark disco jams and arhythmic rhymes.

the day before… just nearly twelve hours of drinking, dancing, and disco w coworkers. and by disco i mean soul like “you just call on your brother, when you need a hand… we all need somebody to lean on…” and i mean sass like “i know he used to do nice things for you, but what has he done for you lately…?” and i mean a big bright shining sun like a 9-2 victory over the rockies. the Giants are going to the World Series. take my word for it.

the day before… RHCP live. i would have been happy seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers play anywhere—in my bedroom, at the Fillmore, surrounded by hippies, surrounded by thousands of sales, business, and tech stars? okay, maybe that last one isn’t ideal, but i took it. and you know what, no matter how many notches of cool you lose for playing a mega massive tech conference, you earn them all right back for using 3D projection mapping on city hall:

Amanda and i made a spectacle of ourselves by drinking all the free beer, smoking a few fat bowls very openly, and then headbanging in an uncontrolled fury to all the best, like “Higher Ground, “Scar Tissue,” “By the Way,” and “Give It Way.” good god we gave it away to the higher ground.

the day before… sure, a long day of tech conference. but conferences are awesome! you get to go to some place new, listen to people pontificate about the future of social business, do stuff on your computer while they pontificate (multitasking is fun), eat free lunches, talk to friends, talk to long lost friends, avoid long lost friends, and then, at the end of it all, free beer and food and dancing w the one and only Amanda! yeah, i snuck her in (even though “snuck” is technically not a word) and we, again, made a spectacle of ourselves by having too much fun. god i love her.

the day before… was hell.

about three weeks ago, the above mural went up on the building across the street from mine. for most of my time living here, nothing had popped up on the wall except random flyers and shitty tags that Alex would blotch out the very best he could. then a little over a month ago, someone put up these giant hilarious dogs wearing Giants cap. it was random and cute and appreciated… but they didn’t last long. sadman up there soon came, shuddering and scared, tripping out in the center of the city about god knows what. you see girls sitting on curbs crying, you see grown bearded men screaming and cursing, you see strange sadman shuddering on the falls of the Franklin River, and you think nothing of it. it’s the city, and cities are designed to kill people. you walk on and think nothing of it.

then the fences went up. not all at once, of course… that would be too obvious. first, it was a small square of fences around an entrance underground, right next to the building. looked like some routine check, some benign maintenance. but it wasn’t. the fences proliferated so fast that, before anyone could take a second from their busy lives to see, the entire building was surrounded. and still, no one, especially me, thought anything of it.

until last friday. i was dead in the center of a fantastic and trippy night with my girl Ayelet, wandering from Pretty Lights at Civic Center to Public Works in the Mission, and we passed the mural on the way. but the mural was now surrounded by fences. and, in my inspired, loving, drugged out state, it hit me. the sadman was not shuddering because of the death in the family. he was not shuddering for too many bad drugs. he was not shuddering for attention. he was shuddering because he was going down. him and the entire building. the fences were more than an omen, they were walls to shield us from the blast of future ballistas, set to destroy the ancient structure.

my girl said no, you can’t just assume. but i already knew with 99.9% certainty.

the following monday, the day of hell, i left my little lover in my bedroom after a morning of warlike drilling outside our apartment and in my mind. the drilling hurt a thousand times more because the girl wasn’t returning the comfort i craved. it’s not her fault; i was being needy, so she responded (like a woman) in kind. i biked away from bermuda but stopped for one last shot as the Franklin River busily, uncaringly whizzed on…

biking back after work, i returned to a graveyard.

i felt like crying. i needed a drink. it was just a stupid building but i had grown to love it. back in the apartment, i was drawn to the deck by a crowd of neighbors (including my cousin Chris) cheering and photographing and drinking. a lot of the old neighbors had remembered the building when it was an old, ghetto club whose dance parties inside would be followed by knife fight encores outside. so they were pleased… which somehow comforted me a little. it was just a stupid building but i had grown to love it. after all, i knew it as the Pastime building:

from our kitchen, from our roof, the Pastime wall was always visible. for over a year, i think. people would walk past it and stare, brides and grooms-to-be would go stand in front of it holding flowers and have their pictures taken, skater punks would zoom past it drooling w lust. it was one of my favorite pieces of urban art ever and, in less than a day’s work, it was demolished so that some lucky landowners could put up a five-story apartment building to house a couple scores of tech startuplandia hipsters. people with a relatively short history of SF appreciation. people with little to knowledge of the underground urban workings. people with money. people with interests. people with money. people with too little time to realize how much time they really have. people a lot like me.

if only this had happened in august or october. if only it happened two weeks ago or two weeks into the future. why did it have to happen on this very monday? why did it have to happen at the end of a fantasy i lived too hard? why do i fall in love so easily?

one of my favorite people in the world, Chris, came out w me to the Mission for a pitcher of beer as my clothes laundered. i smoked cigarettes and sipped the IPA, thinking about Pastime, thinking about sadman, and thinking about myself. thinking about Ayelet. why do i fall in love so easily?

i had just met her a week ago, and some change. it was at Andrew’s party in the Outer Mission. i was the first guest because i wanted to bring my vinyl over, and then go meet up w Rich. but the second i walked into the apartment i was greeted by her pretty Mediterranean face and a bottle of Flor de Caña. and i was floored. she poured me a stiff rum as i spun some disco for Andrew to soundcheck to. things were off to a great start.

several hours later, drunk and dancing w everyone—Rich, Chris, Amanda, Zoe, Naomi, Vivian, random dudes, random girls, Ayelet—i wasn’t thinking very much. that’s happiness, right? i was surrounded by awesome friends and beautiful, brilliant girls, and we were getting down, and it was sometimes sexy, and it was sometimes sloppy, but maybe the only thought that kept creeping into my head was, this is good. no strings, no pursuits, no worries, all happiness. all rhythm. dancing.

the night didn’t end incredibly positively except for one ray of light. outside on Mission St, Ayelet drunkenly tells me something in Hebrew. i ask her what it means and she says not to worry, that it’s just very respectful. okay. later, she wouldn’t even remember that she had something to me in Hebrew, so she couldn’t even remember what it was that she had said. no matter. the spell was cast.

i proceeded to spend the saturday and sunday of that weekend in the most magical of musical dazes, playing bass for several hours both days, seeing dOCs in Oakland the first night, and djing myself at dada on the second night. where she showed up. goodness gracious the gifts the universe presents you when you’re too busy looking in the wrong direction. i was on one, spinning my mama’s vinyl while she danced with my dad, rubbing up against the wall like a self-aware Jim Morrison to get photographed, and, of course, trying to flick Ayelet’s curls, trying to hold her waist, trying to lick her psyche. and so i did.

at the office, not even seven hours later, my entire body, mind, and soul were in complete disbelief that it could possibly be monday. to be fair, a girl had laid her dark long curls across my body both at midnight and in the morning. i was sinking, stupid, smitten. a sorry sad puddle of holy fuck and wow. heart of golds melding so fast the whole thing would fall apart, and i should have known. i claimed to have a hint. i pretended to be in control. i acted like i could handle it. how many more times? how many times can love teach me the same lesson? she never tires.

after a couple nights of acting like boyfriend and girlfriend, we started sharing a bedroom. she was a backpacker and i was a lover. she was bedless and mine was big. so she stayed through the weekend. we danced and danced and danced and danced and ate and danced and danced and danced and danced and whispered poetry and danced and danced and danced and danced and smoked and danced and danced and danced and danced and stared at the big beautiful pond of a Pacific and danced and danced and danced and danced and all the while i feared and knew and felt her slipping away and then we danced and danced and danced and danced and then i biked to work a week later almost on the brink of tears because sadman was getting torn down, the city had decreed it, and there was nothing nobody not even Allah could do about it.

just because you repeat something ad nauseam means not that you have internalized it. cities are designed to kill people. om shantih shantih shantih. Continue reading

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