Tag Archives: magic

selections from Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

Our Eisner mustn’t die, she will not die, I won’t permit it. She is not dying now because she isn’t dying. Not now, no, she is not allowed to. My steps are firm. And now the earth trembles. When I move, a buffalo moves. When I rest, a mountain reposes. She wouldn’t dare! She mustn’t. She won’t. When I’m in Paris she will be alive. She must not die. Later, perhaps, when we allow it. Continue reading

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The Bartender and Her Wife

Once there was a bartender who lived with her wife in a shabby Tenderloin studio. Paying rent always proved difficult, so the bartender regularly worked long shifts at her bar down the street.

One particularly slow afternoon, a slovenly hobo waltzed into the bar. His eyes were bloodshot, spittle leaked out the edges of his mouth onto his dark, dirt-encrusted denim jacket, and he reeked as if he hadn’t showered in several years. This was an ordinary sight, unfortunately, so the bartender barely lifted her gaze when she said, “Sorry, sir, but you have to leave. Come back once you’ve cleaned yourself up.”

The hobo, however, quickly gathered his composure and replied with silver tongue: “Excuse my appearance, barkeep, but the truth is I’m an enchanted prince simply passing through your world. If you would be kind enough to serve me a single scotch, I’ll drink it speedily and be on my way.”

Taken aback by the hobo’s eloquence, the bartender finally looked up and relented. She poured two fingers of scotch and handed it to the hobo.

“Thank you, kind lady,” said the hobo, who instantly emptied the glass, bowed his head, and walked out the door, leaving drops of blood in his wake.

Later that night, the bartender returned home and related the encounter to her wife, who was incredulous: “You idiot!” she shouted. “You met an enchanted prince and didn’t make a wish?”

“Make a wish?” said the bartender. “The thought didn’t cross my mind.”

“You go back to that bar and ask the prince for a nice place to live in Pacific Heights,” said her wife.

“Pacific Heights? But why?” asked the bartender.

“This place is disgusting!” said her wife. “Every day we step over used needles just to reach the front door, there are always people convulsing and talking to themselves in the stairway, and our bed smells like a bathroom. Now do you understand?”

Though the bartender felt uneasy about the situation, the next day she returned to her bar, which she found to be mostly empty besides a few regulars in the corner. At length, she spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

Immediately, the hobo walked through the front door and said, “What do you want?”

“My wife wants to live in Pacific Heights,” replied the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already there.”

And so she was. Magically, all their belongings had been transported from the grungy Tenderloin studio to a newly remodeled, two-story Victorian in Pacific Heights. They had a full garage, more than enough bathrooms and bedrooms for any number of guests, a beautiful kitchen, and even a hot tub on the roof.

“This is grand!” said the bartender. “We’re set for life now.”

“It’s nice,” agreed the wife. But a week later, she found herself dissatisfied with all the space and decided she needed something to fill her time. So she went to the bartender and said, “Call up that hobo prince and ask him to make me CEO of a tech company.”

“But why do you need to be CEO of a tech company?” asked the bartender.

“Don’t question me!” said her wife. “Just do as I say.”

Reluctantly, the bartender returned to work the next day with the request weighing down on her mind. It was happy hour, so she saw the usual regulars plus some strangers who had dropped in from the street. When she found a free moment, she spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

The hobo walked in and said, “Again? What do you need?”

“My wife wants to be CEO of a tech company,” replied the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s CEO.”

After her shift, the bartender found a black car waiting for her outside. The vehicle whisked her away to a corporate office in SoMa, where she found her wife wrapping up a call. As soon as the wife hung up, she dove into a box of farm-to-table gourmet lunch that had been dropped off by a food delivery startup. Between mouthfuls, she shared her eagerness to see first quarter results.

“So you’re CEO,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“I’m very proud of you.”

“Thank you, but I’m not quite content. I think it’d be great to have a few billion dollars for investing. Can you ask that hobo to make me an angel investor?”

“Aren’t you happy being CEO?” asked the bartender.

“Not at all,” replied her wife.

The bartender, as usual, found it difficult to resist her wife’s demands. The next night, the bar was packed with college students and people from the suburbs ordering fancy vodka cocktails. It wasn’t until late when the bartender finally spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

In walked the hobo saying, “What is it now?”

“My wife wants to be a billionaire angel investor,” said the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already investing.”

Sure enough, the next time the bartender saw her wife, she had one cell phone glued to her ear and another one firing off email after email replete with investment decisions, startup valuations, and hearty acceptances of board director positions. In her free moments, she drafted exposés on technology, business, politics, and even philosophy.

“Looks like you’re an influential angel investor,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“Can’t imagine anything better.”

“That’s because you’re not very imaginative. You see, money brings power to a point, but I’m aiming beyond that point. Next time you see that old hobo, which I trust will be soon, tell him to make me the president.”

The bartender started to argue, but she was shot down with a glance.

The next night the bartender found herself at work, a momentous sporting event blared on TV, bringing out not just the regulars and bridge-and-tunnelers, but even the people who normally stayed at home. The place was loud, messy, and just nearly out of control.

In a brief moment of respite, the bartender again summoned the hobo:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

“What do you want?” said the hobo.

“My wife wants to be the president,” said the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already president.”

It took the bartender several hours to prove her identity in order to get past several tiers of Secret Service agents guarding her wife, now president of the most powerful country in the world. Sitting in the pristine Oval Office, the president busily ordered which countries were to be bombed and which were to be spared, which global leaders were to be treated as friends and which were enemies, which millions of people were to be considered human beings and which billions were to be slaves. At the end of hours of this, she reclined in a plush seat, puffing a full-flavored cigar while a masseuse worked her shoulders.

“You’re the president,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“Then there will be no more requests.”

“We’ll see about that.”

That night, the bartender’s wife could not sleep thanks to her unquenchable ambition. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, she watched the sun rise in the east and she realized what she wanted.

Though the bartender still lightly slept, the wife tapped her on the shoulder and said: “You must return to the hobo and ask him to make me a god.”

The bartender fell out of bed bewildered by the ludicrous wish. “You cannot be serious,” said the bartender.

But her wife did not smile.

When the bartender finally remembered to make the request, it was already 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. The bar was jam-packed with drunk and obnoxious patrons screaming loudly, singing 80s songs completely out of tune, and picking fights with one another. A thin girl swaying in heels had just puked in the corner.

Plugging her nose, the bartender again summoned the hobo:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

“Now what?” asked the hobo.

“My wife wants to be a god,” replied the bartender.

“So be it,” said the hobo. “She’s back in the Tenderloin studio.”

Indeed, when the bartender went home that night, that’s where she found her wife, and they lived there until the end of their days. Continue reading

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Danksagung Fodderstompf

we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved
we only wanted to be loved.

last night i hosted a vinyl listening party, and it was one of the very best. Adam and Natalie whipped up caramelized onions, polenta, ground beef, and salad for pretty much everybody at the party. good beer flowed, weak beer flowed, bourbon flowed, water flowed. we all got down to “Dreams” like a bunch of middle-aged adults, a man and woman twerked their behinds together with the help of hip hop, and, past midnight, a Brit just repeatedly blunted us all.

and the music… oh, the music. from CCR to PiL to RJD2, Kanye to Crimson to Kendrick, my friends’ collective taste in music never ceased to amaze me. i felt grateful to easily trust Nick, Mark, and Dan on the wheels of steel… keeping good beats flowing all night long.-

in fact, this was one of my favorite weekends in a long while, thanks to all the love i shared with family and friends.

things kicked off wednesday night with a hell of a drinking session at bermuda with Madison and then, later on, Steve. we kicked backed beers while spotify-djing, and watched Pharrell’s homies get down to our tracks on Chris’ big screen. it synced up perfectly! Madison crashed, we danced with the devil, then the world traded us Sophia for Steve. i grew listless as the night grew long, so i bounced on my bike and journeyed into the night.

on the one day a year where we’re supposed to give thanks, i awoke with an achy thankfulness for medicinal herbs. i just lay in bed breathing support for my temples while reading everything i could about Bitcoin. it’s truly fascinating. the economy, in general, is a topic that intrigues me endlessly. like breathing oxygen or drinking h-two-oh, we support and base our entire lives around the ability to trade green bills and digital credits for pleasant things like donuts and warm bedrooms. and yet, to a far greater degree than respiration and hydration, economics appears to work like magic. its mysteries evade my grasp.

perfect recipe for a high me to fall in love with this shiny new “cryptocurrency,” and to arbitrarily decide to convert $1000 of my own savings into BTC. i haven’t done it yet, but i’ve downloaded software. this might actually happen.

eventually, after pulling myself from bed, i made the drive down to Daly City. i almost had a hissy fit because all the boys had decided they’d rather listen to football and an hour of commercials then hear music. the compromise was supposed to be music over the muted game, but the compromise became music over the non-muted game. oh, but i repeatedly begged for and was sometimes granted muted ads in between. how complicated.

in any case, my family was fun, my mom’s food was fantastic, and my Adam was a joy to have again.

oh, Adam. guest of guests. he reminds me of Cameron in that he explodes what it is to be a guest. you can’t feel burdened by a best friend. we made music, we went on walks, we fed on feasts, we stared at skies and evening stars, and we made music. he did, perhaps, make my Tina puke from too much fancy feast and also, perhaps, fuck up my bass guitar to the point where it’s now out of commission for 1-2 weeks and $75… but maybe those things would’ve happened anyway. and even if not, it was all worth it anyway.

i mean, Christ, on friday afternoon, Adam on drums, Chris on electric, and myself on bass… the house shook. we rocked and rocked and rocked as knickknacks rolled off tables and everything vibrated on edge. an empty champagne glass tipped over and ricocheted across a chair, shattering against the carpet. thinking i heard something, i looked over and laughed, “fuck!,” making sure Chris knew not to step there. we were mid-song and couldn’t stop. we wouldn’t stop.

in the evening, after a walk to Glen Park and picnic overlooking the canyon, Adam started drifting asleep to the warm tape recording of Caroline Rose. so i went downtown alone. three gin tonics for Steve’s birthday, one hot dog and two gin tonics for Tania’s. Alan, Chris, Chaz, Sophia, Zoe, Matt, Elise, Luca, Billy, Danny, Abe, Erika, Nina, Mared… hella people. and Natalie!

oh.. if i could say the fun Natalie and i have. maybe i should have a private blog. maybe i should write “cryptopoetry” that bares all behind a veil.

space is limited in heaven, but once
you arrive you learn how the walls
always sweat hot, wet “yes.” at sunset,
trace a line across the big december
sky, then dip your molten star behind her
perfect earth, sigh an eight minute bliss,
and love.

yes, she’s lying next to me right now. yes, she’s clicking around aimlessly on her computer. yes, her skin is the same perfect brown i love to kiss. yes, her flowery pajama pants sag to display her little plumber’s butt. no, i can’t do anything about how much she means.

so fortunate for my stunning, loving sweetheart. so fortunate for the man, Adam, my old best friend. so fortunate for my family–healthy, happy, wealthy in life and love. so fortunate for my friends, disciples of the world.

moondaze tomorrow? let’s do this. Continue reading

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on futility and fire

i’m not afraid of creating things of inferior quality. just look at my “Burning Man” blog post.

sometimes it’s hard to express experiences through language. lots of people are really good at it, like this guy. i admire people who can write really well. i really admire people who can write well about the topic of how hard it is to write. same reason Federico Fellini is one of my favorite filmmakers.

one thing i love about Black Rock City, besides the fact that it is truly a city, is how it trains you to focus on basic survival needs. even before camping in the desert for a week, i loved bandannas. i carry one everywhere i go, just in case i forget to grab a napkin while eating greasy, messy hot dogs… or in case the bathroom only has those useless air dryers… or in case i’m sweating bullets in the club. in Black Rock City, when clouds of white dust would encircle me and my friends at a moment’s notice… those big pretty handkerchiefs let me breathe.

i almost feel like i wouldn’t be completely useless if our cities went Arab Spring.

i have reached a point in my life where i think that one of the greatest powers a human being can possess is the power of shining bright light from the forehead. rings and other jewelry do imbue magical abilities, but you will never understand those abilities in full.

why do i still write about Black Rock City? don’t i owe you Aristotle, Longinus, and Demetrius? why do i still dream about Black Rock City? do i really miss the red light glow of feces-infested portapotties? Continue reading

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once i saw her, she was mine. but i didn’t know that. from Hayes Valley to Excelsior to Ingleside i had journeyed with my fellow music makers, Cameron and Dorothy, only to find myself locked out of the bright pumpkin … Continue reading

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Arrival at Elmira

in which the Hero goes to Oregon! 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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God tea, guitar beats, and girls’ tits

i just picked up a booklet at the store: the store is the Sonlight Surf Shop in Pacifica and i just dropped by as they were closing to inquire about all the things i need to know as a beginning … Continue reading

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favorites from the Devil’s Dictionary

DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.

RONALD, adj. The qualia suiting deeply aesthetic personal resonance; attitude that serves as an immediate cofactor in progression toward existential bliss, a result of ballerhood.

“I was being all RONALD last night and then BAM, it hit me, I …AM the ape man.” Continue reading

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Logging / Hunting / Burning [archive]

starting at a few minutes before 1003012147, i found out that 100301 was the 200th anniversary of Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin. since that moment, i have listened to nothing but piano: waltzes, nocturnes, etudes, concertos, boleros, polonaises, ballades, preludes, impromptus, mazurkas, sonatas, fantasies, berceuses, and barcarolles. would that the very man would appear in my room for just long enough to let me kiss him 88 times.

instead i had to settle for kissing glass grass and chickadee.


Ballade for piano No. 3
Etude No. 1 in C major
Etude No. 4 in C sharp minor
Etude No. 5 in G flat major
Prelude No. 10 in C sharp minor
Prelude No. 15 in D flat major
Prelude No. 23 in F major
Waltz for piano No. 5 in A flat major
Waltz for piano No. 6 in D flat major
Waltz for piano No. 7 in C sharp minor

but, to be honest, i really doubt a bad Chopin composition exists.

my hair is dreading. this always happens periodically because i never brush or comb my hair (except with my fingers) but there’s usually a girl around–mom, girlfriend, girl friend–willing to tackle the beast with me. this time i’m all alone and, it’s not that i’m retarded (though i may be), i’m just too lazy to take any action. but the dreads are really coming through so i might be forced to do something about it soon enough.

my thesis is due in exactly one month. April 2. i’ve written maybe half of it. i need 75-100 pages. i’m starting to worry. i’m starting to think i probably shouldn’t go anywhere for spring break except the library. usually i don’t think but i’m thinking this thinking is probably exactly what i should be thinking. what do you think?

we’re still reading beat shit in California Poetry, thank god. the latest, Gary Snyder, is my kind of guy: he can’t tell the difference between a dozer and a Cat.

As poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the upper Paleolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. [In “Myths & Texts”] I tried to make my life as a hobo and worker, the questions of history and philosophy in my head, and the glimpses of the roots of religion I’d seen through meditation, peyote, and ‘secret frantic rituals’ into one whole thing.

may i read you a few pieces?


Headed home, hitch-hiking
leaving mountains behind
where all Friday in sunlight
fighting flies fixed phone line
high on the lake trail,
dreaming of home
by night to my girl and late bath.
she came in naked to the tub
her breasts hung glistening
and she scrubbed my back.
we made love night-long.
she was unhappy alone.
all Sunday softly talked,
I left, two hundred miles
hitching back to work.


Now I’ll also tell you what food
we lived on then:

Mescal, yucca fruit, pinyon, acorns,
prickly pear, sumac berry, cactus,
spurge, dropseed, lip fern, corn,
mountain plants, wild potatoes, mesquite,
stems of yucca, tree-yucca flowers, chokecherries,
pitahaya cactus, honey of the ground-bee,
honey, honey of the bumblebee,
mulberries, angle-pod, salt, berries,
berries of the one-seeded juniper,
berries of the alligator-bark juniper,
wild cattle, mule deer, antelopes,
white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, doves, quail,
squirrels, robins, slate-colored juncoes,
song sparrows, wood rats, prairie dogs,
rabbits, peccaries, burros, mules, horses,
buffaloes, mountain sheep, and turtles.


John Muir on Mt. Ritter:

After scanning its face again and again,
I began to scale it, picking my holds
With intense caution. About half-way
To the top, I was suddenly brought to
A dead stop, with arms outspread
Clinging close to the face of the rock
Unable to move hand or foot
Either up or down. My doom
Appeared fixed. I MUST fall.
There would be a moment of
Bewilderment, and then,
A lifeless rumble down the cliff
To the glacier below.
My mind seemed to fill with a
Stifling smoke. This terrible eclipse
Lasted only a moment, when life blazed
Forth again with preternatural clearness.
I seemed suddenly to become possessed
Of a new sense. My trembling muscles
Became firm again, every rift and flaw in
The rock was seen as through a microscope,
My limbs moved with a positiveness and precision
With which I seemed to have
Nothing at all to do.

ah.. i’m going to go play FFI on my phone until table manners. Continue reading

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