Welcome to "More People Like Us", a [something something] sort of travel blog.
For those interested in the past (who is? *cough *dust) I used to blog as the Jabberlope, but now you can find me here most days..
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(It only hurts the first time...)
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“““The first thing I thought when I saw you, Paramilitary Amazon, was that you deserved your own theme song.
Stumbling around that corner, high on whatever it is kicks your fancy, I looked into those dazed green eyes and I saw a glimpse of your crazy-hideous universe.
You’ve seen things, PA, that I don’t necessarily envy you for, and yet the way you looked at me as our eyes made contact said you were thinking the same thing about me. And were you also thinking it’d be nice to have a boy to sleep next to who you didn’t have to worry would rob you as you slumbered? Or were you thinking just of what an awful night it’d been and how I had no clue and was lucky that I never would?
Not that you are defined by the full camouflage battle gear and deep circles under your 9am eyes as we meet at the intersection frequented often by the lonely and addicted, me on my bike, you on foot. It’s just our tendency to generalize. But here I saw into you and you into me; and in spite of whether what we took away was truthful or not, I have your face etched into my subconscious now, unlike all the rest I passed today which passed away in kind, into the fog.
And if I had to pick your tune, it’d more than likely be Sabbath/ Fairies Wear Boots or something like that. But what do I know? Perhaps back in the memory of wherever you’re from you liked Motorhead or Van Halen or Queen. Perhaps you liked Mozart…””
I’m enjoying the balance that doing both writing and web code production is giving me. Surely, I’m not writing as much as I used to, but my engine, after a long labor of running down to a near standstill in the flat wheat plain of a back corner of my mind, is, finally, starting to chug again, however slowly, across nice scenery and I am starting to move out of that zone wherein everything is pointless and towards something more valuable than even perhaps what I had at any point other than early on in the process of pursuing writing as a career; and that is perspective. A value for my own, an appreciation of it in others, and a sanguine attitude for the many dark passages in between the two.
Web code is 1’s and 0’s, it is the finite, the exact answer. A misplaced comma will ruin an entire application.
Writing, on the other hand, is imprecise, it’s infinite, it’s done by touch and mood and method and there’s no real answer to what, exactly, is Right VS. Wrong.
To maintain sobriety, sanity and a cohesion of the two without losing that perspective of which I spoke about above, I think I need a little bit of both in my life.
Perhaps this is not the recipe for everyone. And, indeed, it’s more than likely that I’ve just come to grips with one of those mid-30’s truths that can’t be reached before trying and failing and giving up and then harnessing oneself up by the virtual, ornamental or practical bootstraps and starting over despite that bland taste of dust in my mouth that feels hot and dry.
I think about that engine, and how it lay dormant for too long while I wandered outside amongst the silent plains, looking for an answer that was altogether just the blueprints of my own path to satisfaction…
The man was standing on the promontory point overlooking the Major Tourist Attraction.
The family had been staying in town. They had visited the shopping districts, and the park, and today it was time to see the Major Tourist Attraction.
The man was standing there, and now that you mention it, it was a bit nearer to the edge than you might have thought safe. He stood there and was whistling some Irish sounding sad hymn through his teeth, his hands in his pockets, his gait swaying to and fro.
As the family approached the two children broke off from their parents and raced forward, running in circles round the small cul-de-sac at the end of the walkway while mom and dad approached more cautiously.
Mom, whose name was Lois, said to Dad, whose name was Henry, “It is quite a nice view.”
The man, whose name was Paul, smiled down as the children ringed round him.
Lois: “Children, you leave that nice man alone.” She said it so matter-of-fact you could tell it was almost a reflex, but one that didn’t fire like regular this time because they were on their Goddamned Vacation.
Lois chuckled and squeezed Henry a bit tighter around the waist. Things were actually going well. She felt warm when she thought like that. She felt blessed.
Paul waited for the children to move out of his way before he climbed up onto the balustrade and stood up stock tall like an Olympic Diver.
Henry drew his breath.
Lois, faster, cried to her children.
Paul was unflappable. Silence in the wind.
“Son, you don’t have to do this,” Henry stated.
“I also don’t not have to do it, too.”
“Are you playing with me?”
“Oh my god.” Lois has the children. She’s backing them away. Her face reads confused. She remembers to cover up their eyes. Remembers that that’s all she can do for them now.
Paul is listening, “I think you should go.”
The family is walking. He’s taking his wife, Henry, of 620 Saratoga Street, St. Paul, MN, 55117; he’s putting his arms around Lois and the kids are crying and they’re scuttling away as fast as they can.
Paul waits for them to leave, and then he climbs down. Waits for the next group. Hopes that maybe soon he’ll get some more Japanese.
The cat stalked lazily into the sunny spot of one patch of backyard in one town by one river. It was a big tabby. Self assured and languid. It bled confidence and power contained guilefully beneath a slight paunch that could he have spoke he might have said was just a bit of winter buildup, soon spring would come, he’d get back on the treadmill, or in this case the leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
The cat was not expecting to see the old raccoon there in the sunny spot of its backyard. With teeth bared it asked this creature what, just what, it was doing in its spot. And the old coon, previously facing away from the cat’s line of sight, now took the opportunity to roll over, a smiling steel-toothed visage coming into view. Why, whatever do you mean, the coon asked, apparently not planning in the slightest to react to the cat’s frankly untoward (in the opinion of this narrator) advances of needless precaution.
The raccoon exuded a confidence as great as his seeming laziness and now the cat fell into despondence and somewhat gloomily began its stalking again, although this time in the shadows.
Round the raccoon, as it and it alone basked in the summer sun, the cat stalked, becoming more befuddled as it did so until finally it had to ask the raccoon just what its purpose was here and how long it would be staying.
I haven’t quite decided that, piped the raccoon. I was trying to decide if I liked you or not…
The cat flew forward, a blur of teeth and claws. And that, my friends, was the end of the cat.
And Jesus said unto his disciples, ‘I shall ride into your shitty little hamlet upon a raptor, and his teeth will gnash and he will more than likely eat not just your first born but anything else you’ve got in the house as well unless you greet me with copious bushels of my favorite smokable herb. —You know the one— For I, the mighty Jesus, shall also carry with me a basket of bread snacks meant to appease the beast. And lest the Holy King loseth that basket, whereupon everyone will be royally fucked, there will be much rejoicing…’
From the roofdeck this man looked like a cast-away, and could’ve been one of the many, rambling the streets, incoherent, a cast-away on the world’s most populated desert island, where hope is long coming in promise but short in actual cash deposit to the bank account of your choice; and you being homeless or illegal or just too crazy to make do, that bank is nowhere but your mattress. Oh yes, I’ve seen a few. But this one, maybe this one, he was just here for the view. Docked in from Phuket on a lark, going up the coast to see his llama buddies in Cannon Beach.
He gesticulated wildly, the stray passer-by side-stepping here and there, and me from my rooftop balcony, I watched it all without comment aloud as I ate my sandwich and then looked, however briefly, at the tug boats way out in the bay, pushing barges bound for China.
The birds, however trite, were simpler on occasions such as these, and their patterns far more inverted and magical.
I looked down, and the cast-away had disappeared, a group of conference attendees with matching lanyards awaited the signal to cross, a trolley rolled by on its whispering steel rails, and there were the boats there, bobbing, waiting for someone to return and come give them purpose once again.
That vague smell of cornmeal you get when you press certain office bathroom paper towels to your face…
…And though it in some ways has only gone from bad to worse, from frying pan to frying pan to frying pan to fire, today I’m in the liquor store waiting behind someone in their bathrobe, a tall can in my hand, and I hear the clerk’s ringtone go off and it’s the sound of his baby laughing, and this makes me smile…
I say to the girl that I’m not sure what I want. I notice how her dress matches the drapes at the back of the bar, and I consider that this is possibly enough for now. I tell her that I’m sort of dating someone already, and while it’s nice, and she’s amazing, I’m holding off on monogamy because I’m uncertain, and I think that it’s good to recognize that emotion inside me, and to live with it awhile, for a term, but not forever, until it’s run its course; like a virus or a semester long seminar at some far-away school where you’ve been stuck with a roommate you’re not entirely sure was the best possible to board with but you’ve decided, at this point, not to complain. Decided to stick with the non-commitment, that is. To hold on not-deciding and continue dating in hopes that you don’t just plunge into the next available thing headfirst. And here—
—She brushes her auburn hair with a sweep of her hand and I notice her long, elegant fingers. The fingers of a jewelry maker. Not that I came to that knowledge of my own accord. It was on her profile.
I used to go on dates by the dozen. Four separate women in four nights when I first split up with my girlfriend. I couldn’t get enough. Then the horse-race ran its course.
I don’t feel like I’ve selected her out of a lineup. I feel something electric. I share none of this.
I tell her, instead, that I’m looking for something electric. That that’s why I’m waiting with the other girl, though I like her and we get along, and there’s no challenge to the conversation: We just talk, I say.
And it’s a relief to hear those words.
She raises her glass and drinks it dry. The sweat on the empty surface catches my eye. She notices. Asks me. I tell her. She laughs. I do believe this girl will hurt me. We get another drink. I start to think about that, about the electricity that has since been becalmed, like through the precise actions of an engineer applying a resistor to the overloaded circuit. Would you like to have a cigarette? She asks, I comply. As we drag, I think cooly on the topic.
Maybe it is essential to be vulnerable to a long-term mate? Maybe the sign that I know she will hurt me is just the instinct that this will be good, that I won’t be withholding.
Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a first date. Making too much of the promise and not the real McCoy. It’s like Faye talking in “The Day of the Locust” about all the film roles she will pursue. It is easier, as divorcées, and un-commited’s, to contemplate that abyss again, just as we did as teen-agers. Like new guests to the lake, we dip our toes in: to commitment, with that knowledge of what lies beneath.
And so I take it safely, for once… Can never be sure. But I’m thinking I’m taking it right…
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Recently, I have realized that while I’ve lived for years in the ghetto, now I’m quite effectively living with the ghetto. Not a pretty sight, lemme tell ya… But here’s one thing I’m coming to understand.
THUGS drink when they’re flush, shower cash around themselves every 1st and 15th (when the check comes) and generally end up brooding and angry for the other three weeks. They drink to remember what they once were/thought they would be.
LUSHES, on the other hand, are happy and carefree once they make rent. They might get drunk eventually, but the point is not to go straight to the liquor store once the financial leak has been plugged. However, lushes drink more the closer they get back to the poverty line. They drink to forget where they are at the moment.
GENERALLY, too, Lushes are nicer than Thugs, and will buy you more drinks with less repercussions afterwards.
These are some of the things 6th Street is teaching me…
Placer County Summer Fairgrounds, 1984. She had chestnut hair and smelled of mint. There was a touch of honey in the air and occasionally grease and metal as we passed beneath the carny rides. I remember how the grass felt between my toes and how little it took to get me high. And now today I can drink twelve beers and still not feel a thing. After what I did to those sheep there wasn’t much by way of friendliness to come by in that little town I had grown up and spent nearly all my days therein. So I came here. Nameless place. Nameless intersection. A neon light and a dancer whose real name is something nice, and not the Candi or Charlene she goes by now. But maybe they do have a reason to feel lonesome and sick and can’t help getting addicted to everything everything that comes in on the night flight. Maybe abuse is long lasting and you never do recover. Maybe we’re now all meant for each other here in this back alley no-place. Maybe we can try to heal, or at least to get the things a person needs in life. A meal together. A hug. A cigarette. A fuck. And the real thing that matters is the thought that counts, the reward and the ones you share it with.
Do you love them?
Or are you terrified and lonely and just ashamed for fear of falling into being just as dumb as they are?
Well, Bub, what is it?…
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The unbelievable boatman, turned entrepreneur, turned tree house builder, turned renter in the mission and inventor of a skateboard, and then porn star!! Porn Star! And then Assistant Mgr? In training to be on your way to the airport. Nobody goes to the airport voluntarily. He’s either the most eccentric person I’ve ever known and he’s using it as some sort of strategy to pick up on women, or he’s a complete liar. And he has my $130. It’s been two weeks. He says he has my weed now, but I tell him I’m at work in Palo Alto until 7, and he says he’s in the East Bay and then Ocean Beach and I tell him cool, that’s cool, I know it’s burning a hole in your pocket but I’m the one who’s had to wait two weeks for something I was supposed to get that night and now you can wait the fuck up a bit. I don’t say that, but I think it. And then what does dude do, he calls me at 430 pm and I’m deep into work, trying to sort this shit out, and here my phone is ringing once I’ve come back from a quick walk and left it there. I don’t pick up. I mute the call. I go back to work. On the voicemail he says he’s in town and would like to drop this in an hour tops. It’s an hour back to the city, and not to mention it’s 430pm. (Oh, wait, I did mention that.)
Just who is this guy? The ultimate grifter? The ultimate flake? Just another walking talking human like yourself?
»Mental note to work this out with M if the thing goes South. He’ll have old world tactics to deal with this bullshit.
Pinioned #prose #flashfiction #BeginningsWithNoEnds (Taken with Instagram at Natoma St.)
Notes on what might be a good journalism piece, were I journalist. I guess I could get off my hump. Go to Frezno. Track the story down. But that’s another story…
What I was wondering, just now, sitting on the steps of a church at 24th and Valenica and eating a fruit that was not a tangerine nor an orange, but a South of The Border Citrus of Unknown Variety purchased at some Mission Street Produce Store.
Actually, I do know the name. Or, at least, I did. I’m just forgetting it now. Something, “Maaaa—nnnnnnn—”, but by now we’re into Malkovich territory.
Sitting on these steps and wondering to myself at the variety of this foreign fruit, which was neither tange nor orange, and thinking to myself that it was perhaps also worth accounting for the fact that this was more than likely not the pinnacle example of this fruit, it being sort of pulpy, sort of fibrous, I got to thinking then about the California Orange; or, at least, that particular variety of orange which I’m speaking about now, what I refer to as the California Big Bad Orange, or BBO for short.
I’d never encountered the BBO before coming to California, but I’m fully cogniscent of the many things that have changed in my daily routine from, say, what it used to be in the Midwest or even overseas. Having lived one year abroad, and the rest in Ohio, I can say with near supreme confidence that the BBO is by far a strictly California thing; and, by that, I don’t necessarily mean regional, either, I just mean as recent for me as my move out here.
So, by California, I’m actually saying any orange produced since 2001, though the phenomenon does seem to manifest itself most frequently in California. Having encountered one solid BBO in Ohio, on a visit back to see the folks, I am completely open to striking the territorial designation from the name altogether, and just sticking with something temporal like the Post-Millenial BBO, or the New Aesthetic BBO, or even the George W. BBBO. Its moniker is of little importance, however; what’s so offensive about the BBO is its complete and utter failure as a fruit.
You’ve probably experienced it yourself… You’re at your local Mexican grocery store, or at the farmer’s market, and it’s 2002 and you’re browsing in the citrus section and you notice somehow, inexplicably, that the oranges are bigger, and they’re cheaper too, and you’re thinking to yourself on your wise little budget that, ‘well, here we go now that’s progress’, but little do you know as you carry that weight home with you and put it on the shelf and wait for the perfect snack time to ripen, that you will peel that orange, and the first thing you will notice is that the skin is extra thick, and you will feel a bit cheated because you didn’t really get that great of a deal on the actual fruit itself, and then you will bite into the thing and that’s when the real great disappointment will begin, because it’s tasteless, worthless, sort of like eating the paper cups from leftover parties that served that orange drink from McDonald’s.
Why is this happening? What has changed? Is it Big Agra-business? Is it fertilizer? Is it that we’ve bred the biggest with the biggest and now we’re left with a bunch of dumb, tasteless linebacker sized fruits that can’t give us anything?
Well, that’s my question? Am I the only one who’s noticed this? Was it because my mom shopped at Kroger’s? Were we sheltered? Were we lucky?
Yes and Yes, but I don’t think that’s what’s really afoot here. There’s a story here. Giant, tasteless fruit. As if the growth gene had been switched off and the organism started cannibalizing the tastiest bits of itself to build more skin.
That thick thick skin.
Is it the weather? Climate change?
Is it the polar bears?
No, it’s probably not the polar bears. More than likely, we can be sure they have nothing to do with this.
The rocker creaked by on the aging cruiser, clad in black leather, with a full head of metal hair hanging and bunching at odd backwater angles. In the front basket of his Dutch bicycle, a brown paper sack with his 22oz special from the local market and a transistor radio bleating out some deep, anonymous hip-hop. Something about the confluence of cultures merging towards us occurred to me then, and I can’t quite put it into words that mean much more than a feeling but let’s just say it felt alright to see that. He made an impression without stopping, without trying, just pedaling past, this modern cultural Frankenstein.
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