“Walking through memories” is an ongoing project of taking a place in memory and turning in it… moving in it… forcing the brain to fill it while seeing holes next to deep details, a kind of reporting that comes out in poetic theoretic shards. The larger project is going to tie to a book of personal narrative but of lost islands inside and turns never taken as well as first person shooter spaces made of each memory with holes and crazy walls and all to be tied vaguely to online maps as both a memory layer and play on locative media. Each text is written in about 5 minutes with no edits.
Jeremy Hight is the author of two books with a third soon. His book “What Remains” (published by Free Dogma Press) is a short story collection composed by taking all tech and sci fi out of sci fi films and taking what remains into prose. His collaborative narrative work once edited live by earthquake data, “Carrizo Parkfield Diaries” is in the Whitney museum artport. He is currently working with Damon Loren Baker on prose that changes based on how it is read. He teaches Creative Writing and English Comp and lives with his soul mate Lisa and his amazing cat Samson.
February 24, 2017
Some night 1985
Her hair is a forever here.
She went from friend drawing poems backwards on my skin to first love this night, this island.
The Byrds on a turntable all night on repeat in a huge Granada Hills windstorm restless all around.
Boy me was sure he would live alone till his end, was sure of it in fact.
Her parents divorced and she moved to Texas. A billion miles then.
Here she is quiet beside me, an endless peninsula, comfort, love, warm.
Hours before was airport, traffic, nerves, squalls of doubt but here no words, no space , no time.
Later she will fall out of this love. I will find the wind to be cruel , full of dust and teeth cold.
But now, here, her hair is forever and silence bends only to breezes out a window.
February 19, 2017
Some day and month 1986/7
Mom’s face shimmers here in an internal sun.
She sits in a chair holding her cane with glasses on.
This afternoon holds cut clean with brilliant false summer afternoon in me now.
She is at peace. She even slightly grins as some now erased body dives into a pool.
She is a decade now passed to ashes. Her goodbye was a cloud for a second.
Her body soon after no longer let her come to pools, to open vaults of afternoon.
My youth died into lines on my skin. That afternoon died into past.
But I turn now in this memory and my mind races to paint in pale fetid fences, distant dullard false forgotten roofs, that sky
but she shimmers here.
February 12, 2017
Some summer month and day 1980-81
the water is infinite here…a pocket forever….splash and pool..
the friends now have long been shorn names but one…
their faces and haircuts shiver and alternate around the surface and in dives here
the joy is palpable….the heat of that afternoon is as well..even as time acts as moths
a loud splash now in the Hockney abstracted pool of some special occasion
it births a bloom in blue….it ignites in a past lit within
I turn now in this memory and sky is endless and then a cloud shimmers into view
the backyard breathes for a moment..inward…then exhales…
December 28, 2016
Some day and month December 2005
There is forever (till my eyes forever close..shut off memory’s internal sun and shore) a soup of faces, music colors , walls. I am at some holiday party. A beer is in my hands now again gone. My roomie (now my wife) is up visiting her parents. We love each other as best friends but have not yet fallen in love, soon soon. The walls here have been eaten away to errant false sky, some blue, some painted with light clouds, one black with a trillion glistening false stars ( of her….not of night or the cosmos). The crowd is of some party but now is just colors, lines, shadow forms with no names, the music is silent, this is a cloud of what once seemed important, an event once surely of some portent and measure. I was alone in that crowd, infinitely so. 700 miles away she felt the same in some other now worn clean crowd , held in the thin false arms of event and moment. I turn now in this memory and for a second feel that cold loneliness, it is needles, then away. My love is near, nearer than I knew.
December 19, 2016
Some day and month 2012
I am about to teach at U.C San Diego. I am a body of quakes in fog forever here. The fog above is tides now, shifting, easing , forever roaring forward and cowering away. The sound of distant jets is gone now in this memory, worn away to its synaptic grave then erasure.
The campus is a cement Jenga in recall these few years later, a Rubik’s maze of walkways and buildings. I was so excited and nervous, so swarming with uncertainty under my old coat. I turn now west in the memory and groves emerge, trees, birds breaking fictions, a sun then cloud then somehow both at once as though within some atmospheric treaty all became gold and grey. The bus rushes past of a hundred buses in that year, its wheels the turn of some ghost of metal and rubber, of the days of 3 quarters and their weeks bled down to this visage that turns north and curls away.
Somewhere ahead past this first day beginning are more squalls of nerves, a blur of lecture, the joy of meeting brilliant T.A’s and a conversation to unfurl after class for hours with an amazing group of students I am honored to now call friends. Here forever is that raw ore of beginnings, the blur and crisp detail before it all fills in. Gone is the broken hinged valise in my hand, replaced for a moment by a bird and now of more atoms in recall of open air, wide open space.
August 16, 2016
Some day and month 2000
They are human fog here. There once were faces. Late evening at the art openings in Chinatown. A scrap of fog turns to me here in this space in memory and silence drizzles where once was surely something about theory or news of a friend involved in something somewhere now also washed down to a smooth near nothing here. Another fog bank surely was a group of fellow Cal Arts alumni, it drifts now along a wall that shifts color and size that once was a gallery. I look upward now in this memory and the sky is infinite knit stars then rain then low clouds, a menagerie of stand ins, like the characters in an errant dream that surely once were some tangential acquaintance, tethered by names, locations, old stories soon to rot clean but hanging so tenuous. I turn again now and fog moves in all directions, one surely once calling me by name.
August 1, 2016
Some summer month and day 1995
The beach glows here. The menagerie of warm stones once were smiling faces with names, co-workers on a shared night and its stars and sand. The group home for disabled kids was grueling work but incredibly rewarding. One boy chased the moon with a pool skimmer sure it napped in shrubs during the day; he swore in his few words he would be gentle and feed it milk. Another boy carried toys in his clothes as a sort of protection against growing up and the hills of the world; we drew together and storyboarded films he saw in his mind.
The breeze is forever here on that beach some distance north of that house. The sky hangs low packed with stars near to touch now breathing in recall like the ribcage of the near infinite. We sit in the sand here laughing soundlessly at a joke about a moment in recall. A memory slice before we shared stories of how amazing these kids were and how it was an honor to help. The sand is lit impossible now in memory, warmed somehow by the emotional ballast light and deep still remaining. I turn now in this memory and hills appear and then shrug away in unison into that sky. A wave breaks on an impossible shore. The sky suddenly is illuminated by a great harvest moon, surely ready to nap later on into day for a boy to catch.
Some month and day 2000/2001
This memory is jagged teeth. This memory is mottled. This memory is being disintegrated by that hot false internal sun. There are deserts in recall, beyond maps, beyond miles. We threw ice cubes from a balcony now time rotted away along with the whole hotel. We had a conversation that was profound that now is eaten away by time like a thousand hungry mouths. I turn in this dying memory and the room is a great nothing, a carpet of patterned infinite empty, a ceiling thrown skyward to dull clouds , my friend is a reverberation in the cosmos here now as he once spoke, nothing more, nothing less.
July 26, 2016
Some summer night 1992
It is 5 a.m endless here. We ride silent as the city is so much geometry and light. The music was roaring in the warehouse that only secret maps led to. Now the universe fingertips touches the edges of his car, a Jetta. We are 3 in the lines and vectors and shine and shadow. The day will be a fog of sleep and is unborn here. There is no language here, no typography, no discourse, no leaking in of the world and its steady breath of war and fear. This is a slice in memory when nothing needed to be said and things were simple the spinning of wheels, the lines of road, the false suns of streetlights. I turn now in this memory and the car seems to expand to the night skies fogged then star pinned then seems to reach back like fabric along my skin. There is a sign that once sold some produce, announced some near future now long past. The window is pure math then shine and gloss then nothing at all.
We were co-piloting something wordless and glimmering pristine for these few moments and miles. We wore this silence and surely gently mourned when the sun burned it clean into day.
July 17, 2016
Some day and month in summer 1995
Her face evaporates here. Forever it is mist, vapor, mites, dust, soon to be nothing. This is the end of that goodbye. She is not the last hug, feeble and uncertain, skin to skin , universes breaking, spilling. She is not the last wave now falsely remembered as behind the icy glass of bus doors on Geary in San Francisco. That is something robbed from movies long ago watched. She said something sad and faint that in recall now is just the soft bloom of an opening mouth in the gauze of so much forgetting. Our love once seemed a fragile forever. She explained her self on that napkin with her blood as equations, her future as a doctor as a gift back to her relatives who were not able to, of her past, the roads of blood, the cities of another country. Her hair was meadows, dense in breezes but not here. She begins to break into some kind of smeary incompletion in this moment , atoms shot to mythology, details shot to nothing and the gaping black mouth of past. I turn now in this memory and the streets are impossible stores and homes, a San Francisco a touch away tangible and a billion mile impossible. She fades here as I surely began to fade to her.
July 4 1982/3/4
The fireworks tumble downward here, unblooms black as the night skinning the dying of day, ash falls, slow charcoal painting sky downward into the smoke of their once glowing lives. There is quiet and the distant murmur of families packing up blankets and garbage that just moments before were snacks and a temporary home as the sky was alight.
I see the synaptic dying photos of that boy in old photos. He had my name, my fingerprints, these eyes. He died like those fireworks into the boys after, the teens , the young adults, the iterations, dead now into this middle age. If a life was sky then this now (soon to be mottled past as well) is the impetus of a crowd of dying fireworks, of the glow and fall of pasts, of its places, its contexts, its situations, the crowd of strangers of memory.
I turn now in this memory and fell a pull and ballast of great loneliness, of a deep tide of feeling misunderstood, it is the boy of this memory, it is his pains and the darkening skies; it is so tangible now yet the park is blurring, shifting forms, breaking. I turn back now and mourn this memory and the broken dock of self, of how this boy died into my teen years never knowing more lights would come in another sky, that he would be loved someday. He breaks again from me now, the memory fades to a single image of a dying firework above a tree.
June 18, 2016
Some day and month 1983
The roof is an orchestra here. The storm came at the tail end of an el nino storm and was one thunderstorm in a pool of cold air that covered half the north pacific. I am in 5th period honors English here in this synaptic tide pool and its wavering architectures. Mom waits well at home outside this memory, her body not yet failing her or her words. Dad is at work. My brother is another school across the valley. I am in 8th grade and dreamed of being a ghost, flesh of fog, sinews of vapor. The storm anvil cloud filled the sky on the bus ride to school and so huge and lumbering it took most of a school day to come and darken the sky to wear the dull lights were fooled into assuming night and illumination against the skies. I turn now in this moldering memory and the south wall of the classroom is an absurd and impossible jellyfish of lockers and tiny windows, then peacock feather false eyes of glass where surely was just dull utilitarian paint and grammar tips. The storm is about to rage here. The tree out the north window will soon be stripped of leaves and some branches. The courtyard between dull school buildings will soon turn white with hail, an erasure of sorts. A tornado will skip our school and touch down blocks away. The roof now is bubbling upward in flawed recall, the teacher is an absence in a suit. My classmates are just hair and colors, a boy turns to ask me some long forgotten question now and his face is a cave, a hole, nothing with a flock of seagulls do above. There is ominous quiet before the first rain drops hit outside. Mom never saw the storm. Her mind never held it as passenger. She saw light rains. Her past moment was worlds away as though the storm was never born in the sea. It approaches in the auditorium of my synaptic recall forever as I age and mourn that boy in that day.
Some day and month 1977
All is water here. Sky is pool is glass is bottle is humidity. The era is now in recall a smear of earth tones, a thick carpet, more metal and smoked glass in the world, more shadow in places that served steak, disco dancing while cleaning the garage in a house so long cut umblicus from me and my days. This summer afternoon is swimming next door with the neighbours from Chile who were family to us and us to them. The youngest daughter I was close to and would stay up all night watching old badly fading horror films in Spanish to get up early for cartoons. We swore forevers until everyone moved away and that decade died into the next as they do. The world is water here, endless shimmer, sky mirroring the cut rectangle in backyard. I spin now in the water in recall and it breaks like the skin of polaroids, ruptures open and for a second there is a black and white photo of the alley behind our small houses. The sky to the west is unfinished, stitched blue. The roof is almost drawn in some anxious mental pencil and then again all now is shimmer, infinity blissfully as water.
May 30, 2016
Some month and day 1997
We fly kites here. This day and its memory is a ruin, a near clean erasure, decay as sky, forgetting as skin and fields.
I live in the on campus apartments at cal arts here. It is my first year of the writing MFA. I also pass a kite to a now faceless husk in an ever shifting shirt and pants who once seemed friend and shared these days in the same space. He is a cave with hair as he sends it skyward. Somebody says something…some smudge of a figure rotten flat in recall runs down the almost bled to nothing grass below the windows.
I turn around now in this memory and Cal Arts is floating in endless pale sky.
An old emotion rises up now, a gassy jet within. A joy mixed with anxiety , a bubble of that now near dead day. Beginnings lie behind and far after this day distilled, ends as well.
We fly kites here.
May 29, 2016
Mass and measure
Some month and day 1993
I want to disappear forever here, become fog, dust, smoke curled along the far off hills, ashes on the wood of the stairs somewhere, mathematically broken down to tiny filaments, motes, atoms as eyes then away.
San Francisco. San Francisco State university. I am a new student in this cheese slice of memory in decay moth eaten by days and miles from this once “here” and seeming “everywhere”. It is a lost night here and I walk slow behind my dorm, the sky a wet skin against mine, sagging, heavy, almost breathing in the cold ocean breath of the west city.
I ride passenger in the mind of that stranger in the few photos of this time, I recall pale flacid ghosts of what his eyes once saw, the road is wrong, it must be, the cars in recall are the same station wagon eating fog with high beams as yellowed teeth repeatedly as I move in mottled memory. Impossible.
I turn now in this soft worn memory (old passenger in some synapse) and the dorm is windows and walls as cement pale ephemeral, the road is snake bite loud rocks where surely was simply asphalt, the fog is gone now, cold dead into open sky and the ashen face of silent observing moon.
I wanted to die here, be erased, be gone, relieve the world of this suburban boy, the mass and measure surely of a nagging burden as body and name. He failed and here are these words.
May 8, 2016
Some winter day and month 1978
This memory is a smear: metal, sky, rain, road spray, lane dividers submerged, dashboard, wipers rubbing on glass, some destination, some path, some task worn opaque by decades.
This is my last memory of mom able to drive before Multiple Sclerosis took her body to her bed like an island and its shore. She holds the brown wheel with confident grace forever (till my end) here. Her hair is long and she is tuning the radio, the great big knobs between her fingers, spinning like the wheels and time.
I am a little boy in the back seat here, submerged by window glass, high seats and all that rain. It is an aquarium in reverse. This memory, this lightning in the meat inside my skull paralleling the bolts in that storm long dead to vapor and rain again, cities and states away then to die another death in atmosphere, it holds her in that car long crushed to a cube, her grace and kindness beyond her body later to lose voice then be a brief cloud of scattered ash. It rains here. She smiles as I turn in this memory and the road is paper then water then holes then just road and fade. I turn forward again now and near smell her perfume, touch her shoulder, tell her of my love and gratitude as her son. The rain drives on.
March 19, 2016
One night 1985
Her arms are forever here, her hair celestial, her voice the wind outside through the canyons, up the hills, along the deserts. My stereo plays The Byrds and early R.E.M here/there/this island within. She says something and the words now are worn stones in water, a warmth where once was sound, something of atoms and past.
I turn now in this memory and my old room is missing a wall, stars pour across closet to great nothing and everything of cosmos and memory at once. A comet alights now where surely once was a shirt on a hanger, a distant point of light glimmers where surely was a jacket for the rains. This moment is a first love distilled down to touch and that warm shelter harbor of youth now held within.
Some summer day 1990
Mom sits near the pool here, this once, this forever till my end. She sits in her wheelchair in this vault of once afternoon, this airless sky mottled and raw with passing of time, by the waters now impossible hues of blue, synaptic confetti splashes along an edge. She has big sunglasses on in the sun now held in a few photographs and this memory. The cars out front are all sold or crushed away in the earth, the conversation has long belched skyward and away. The boy I was here is a stranger to me now, a lifetime away, tethered by shared cells, shared eyes, I miss him now in these odd times, I mourn him at times in this middle age.
She sits by the pool forever here, alive, vibrant, a slight grin despite her advancing Multiple Sclerosis that years later will take such and moments and then her away. We will scatter her ashes on a hilltop some here far off and unborn day. Here she sits by the pool.
January 30, 2016
Oct/Nov 1993 San Francisco
The sky is devoid of math here, free of wind and cloud and physics (until I pass on), is unemcumbered by atoms and molecules and logic of living days; this is a space open robin’s egg blue infinite. I am 22 here. An English major at San Francisco State. The world ahead of blank pages, sketch lines, guesses, blooms dark to bright as yet even in view. I have long dead epiphany in this moment now in a kind of mental amber, something or words and water. This other me furiously scribbles in smeary pen here while walking in impossible sky to earth, infinite trumping finite for a moment. I turn now in this memory and buildings hurry to form, to fill in the non essential of such a moment, epiphany young is not of stores or the smoke behind that bus needed to later get home. Here is sky open all.
January 6, 2016
All is water
1977 some month and day
All is water. Sky, land, breath, movement, street, lawn, doorway..all are rain and flood from grey to opaque to thin oatmeal mud brown. Walls and lines and faces all fade into shades, shadow, gradations and ghosts. The storm came in the morning with high thin clouds and wind then lightning veins across the flesh of sky, a skin of portent and impending flood to break the bonds of cloud and air.
I am a small boy forever here. Hair a blonde bowl cut. I surely to others was another shadow in the sheets of falling water. I would many years later learn it was an El Nino year and storm, a breath hot from atmosphere and ocean, of something breaking, of water drifting east below boats, birds or nobody at all. The school was geometry in the waterfalls, was a ghost brick to metal all around, an opaque obtuse sense of space as the clouds gutted themselves above to torrent and death against the eastern hills.
I turn now in this memory and holes appear, a street with houses surely from some television show. All is water and the boy that died into my later years.
December 6, 2015
1976 some summer day
We are children forever here. This high cloud speckled sky is endless. A summer afternoon is cooling into evening as we run yard to yard playing tag. I turn east in this aging memory and house and sky and fence and grass splinter into spectrum, doors and windows almost unsuturing out of what was alley and next street. This is running, running, giddy, dinner soon hunger tempered innocent joys, of north to south across a street. I see now the face of a boy once a neighbor and dear friend and it is a cloud, a cumulus of past running alongside me here/there. All is lawns and open spaces and a joy we thought was forever. I turn now and can almost see my mother waving in the window , her smile, her long hair, her strong hands waving to come in for dinner, her loving warm eyes dots in this past, suns in the room of past. She has long left this earth and that house is a distant stranger broken into the pale geometry of a hundred old photos but we run and she waves here.
October 13, 2015
1997, some month
The world is an invisible collapse, some odd dark internal ballast, a perpetual floor sure to fall cavern away, roof sure to blast limp and pale into the night and to nothing. This is a party at Cal Arts. A Thursday night. A blur of voices, hot stale air, beer, music and my sure unmooring from Earth to a gnat swarm of atoms , a dull erasure from inside out.
I turn now in this withering hall flicker of memory and the walls undulate, bend and curl. The front doors seem to rush in like teeth of a hungry mouth. The ceiling has tiles, now an impossible skylight to beautiful stars pinned paper on deep space, now a hole molded over, now nothing, now as it likely was, dull in precise detail. I am a broken satellite here/there/now/past just as this memory is adrift amongst the past and the thin tether in my aging brain.
The insecurities rage in gales here. The self doubts are waterfalls, dam collapses, hills sliding down in rain; surely the rest of the crowd is just dancing.
1989 some summer month and day
Grandma becomes fog here. Compton. Her stairs. A conversation now wiped to quiet and an open mouth. She has plants beside her still. They are tomatoes now, vines, flowers. She is fog, a kind of time as sun evaporation. In this place in memory she is near mist, dots of her curls of hair, warm eyes, pantsuit, standing on the stone steps surely long torn down.
This memory is between others between others between others…the sinew between muscles past bones of past to present. She is fog here. Her kitchen forever (until my end) holds half finished sandwiches, patterned tiles, a faucet still dripping broken from time. I hold this fog close, as long as it remains, it undulates now with something of her, of that past she was still alive.
September 15, 2015
1992/3 some day and month
The world is wind here..endless gusts and sand. This windy night a deep low passes to the north of San Francisco and my dorm room mate takes us for a drive to explore. The night in this memory is total, an erasure, a darkness of eons and vaults of nothing, an impossible erasure of stars, racing clouds, cars, shore, distant homes and all else as though unborn. He turns and says something to me then/now but his mouth is a bloom of nothing, a cave of silence, his face a faint glow in a generic hooded sweatshirt as sand surely was flying at us full ballast almost to spark like tiny collision lightning in the air. I turn now west in this eroding island of warm memory and the sea is gone, ocean and waves to flat black fused to that nothing sky. All is his smile and the bond of friendship emerging from the math of forms sending not at all what I expected to live a year with me in a tiny room on the shoulder of a sprawling campus. He is a glow moving north here as I turn back now, a gentle moon light cloud of face amongst it all then flickering into the nothing of past.
1976 some day and month
My mom sits staring out the front window forever here (“here”). Her eyes are calm and peaceful orbs staring at some point in this space as she sits by a potted plant and half read book that now has no cover image or name. Her mouth is Mona Lisa content as whatever internal thought and its little synaptic film is now the thing inside the insect gracefully held in so much amber. She is relaxed and a fan turns a wind now near 40 years vintage beside her in her earth tone blouse and pants. It is an honor almost to visit here now and a wonder outside space and time to see her at such peace. May this memory last forever…the forever at least that exists until I too leave this earth and this life.
August 18, 2015
Some now falsely lit summer day 1984
Dad is coming soon in a fake wood paneled station wagon, the secret back seat a turret by spare tire and at times aging fast food wrappers and an odd kind of swamp water brackish and from who knows where and when. This is a backyard. A party. There is music here but is now rotted out to near silence in memory. There is a false gauzy light in recall now, surely an alien intrusion from old 70’s photos and something of the melancholy and possibility trapped in synaptic amber here. Two chances at a first kiss. Both missed by colossal shyness, the collapsing internal of self at this age, this far off ugly island of youth. I was sure I was better off invisible this whole day, sure that a human fog would be a richer presence. I wanted at times to shoot into a billion pieces, break the bonds of body, place and even gravity just to not be sure of being a walking sunken ship, wreckage in a shirt and pants. I turn now in this memory and the sky rattles clouds and storm then sun then a hundred impossible trees, a happy obscuring, a beneficial something else. Dad will come soon and honk loud that horn. I will leave and tell myself for many years it was a disappointment, the chance to be good, to be able to tell stories of promise and hope, of moving forward in this awkward time in life; the truth is they surely were never to kiss that boy I was, it was a joke or would have been left stillborn in the trees as my shyness again turned inward and pushed life “safely” away.
I turn again now in this space in memory and trees, trees, they eat the view.
August 2, 2015
She sits up
Some day and month 2004 2005
She sits up here. My aunt. Hospice. The last 2 days she was eyes closed muttering to her mother, my long dead grandmother and others, as though she had 2 toes at least already over to the other side. She was speaking to ghosts like a Christmas party/reunion beyond the pale while we all sat like distant islands in the small room.
She tells stories, sips water, laughs at the jello portion, is my aunt I knew as a child, artist, firebrand, well of humor. The room is gasping and breathing somehow in incompletion and memory here, a kind of throat as floor and walls and machines, mouth an impossible door wall sized now, surely something specific eaten by the moths, ants and rats of time.
I turn in this memory space now and look east to windows changing shapes like a menagerie of eyes blinking away bright then fade; a bathroom emerges in great detail now but it is from my mother’s room before she was taken from this life. I turn upward in this memory now and for a second see birds, flocks, gangly, awkward across a storm lashed sky, then just ceiling.
She sits up here forever,vibrant. A day later she will be dead.
July 12, 2015
The Grass is Green
Some day and month 1987
High school. Senior year. I am detritus here. Adrift. A fog of flesh. A vapor with zits. The memory is smeared and worn and near gutted. The buildings cut in and out of nothing as does a generic robin blue sky with clouds generic as to flicker away. I hated myself here. Marveled that a single soul would talk to me.
It is the walk to 4th period across the grass. The lawn here in this gutless flab of memory, this pathetic shard of past is impossibly vibrant amongst almost total erasure. I wanted to die every day here, every step, every tick of time when this place was an enforced enclosure of days 5 days a week. There is the sound of a tardy bell slithering around the ruins here, snaking through a barely there bit of that building like it moves through broken teeth. I turn now in this memory and building shudder and shiver in and out being, odd stand ins , fast food places, a church, a bit of Harvard as only seen on You Tube; my mind is struggling to spine in logic where the younger me tried to kill this place in recall, bleed it away, this wound and scab of a dead self of 16. I turn forward again now, walking the stops of that teen me who was convinced he was Nosferatu in a Flock of Seagulls haircut, a leper without colony, a human stain, a pit of failure. The grass is green. All else is dying here.
June 15, 2015
She Tells me Stories
Some day and hour 1977
She whispers me stories here. Her voice is now the gelatinous clear shapes cuneiform…the letters she shuttled from her hospital bed to mine. The chemo ward is dark forever, a menagerie of hall lights appear and vanish on the periphery, their glow carved away by time. She whispers to me here. I had that mystery condition, was at Stanford for tests, mom simply picked me up for ice cream, 24 hours and tests and nothing but soup and bread. There were no more beds. The chemo ward had friends , sweet kids my age but she once held my hand. Her hair smelled like ice cream. Her eyes was gentle. The rows of metal edged hospital beds in this place in memory are almost bird cages now, then lines above checkered floor, then nothing. She a few years later passed away, the letter sent with stamps postmarked with a city I can no longer recall, again time carves away.
She tells me stories here.
The City is a Fire
Some day and late hour 1993
My legs become iron here, my feet become stone. The loft for a second has stone walls then bricks then exploded view out across the geometry of lights of a night in San Francisco here. This memory is of that first art party and of things falling apart. I taught myself in middle school to walk again, to minimize that limp that got bullies a gift to hurl back in hurricanes of insults for so long. That cadence fails here, nerves turning feet to brick like that imagined wall, legs to cement. There is someone I want to talk to somewhere here, their body is now a million black bird wings, a shuddering shadow by an impossible punch bowl and beer kegs. The window bows out again now across the city; it is veined with street lights and sky and tail lights, fires impossible in view. The music has dried away to a crust of detuned guitar here in this hall of memory, now silence as the crowd open and close silent mouths. I am paralyzed by insecurity literally as I was that night as the city is a fire of distant ends far from “here”.
April 6, 2015
1988 some summer day
We walk in forests here. The trees arc and bend with the fade of memory into an odd sort of living tunnel as impossible as it shot by the ink of recall and synapse fade. The light “here” is that insect held in amber, a fossil in the goop of some past. She turns to me at this point and says something that at the time seemed impossibly poignant, a kind of forever, a dried husk of an internal thought chalk dust appears now…something of holding onto this moment and her words….it is a tunnel of another kind slowly dying here in this memory. She turns to me and my other friend at the time is no longer behind. He is now a human shadow in time, that swarm of insects that has no name. Time has no mercy. I turn in this memory back and he is a flurry of movement and he is nothing. Surely I am now the same to him all these years since we last spoke if even an atom of recall at all. I turn forward again now in this fading former now. The trees seem fainter ahead.
February 22, 2015
2003-2004..some day Mom becomes a cloud here. This day in memory is full of dull dark clouds, surely not there then, a manifestation of loss, something almost tangible in the synapses of mourning. My brother hurls her ashes and for an instant they hold like a swarm of bees, like a hand waving goodbye. Then it breaks. The cliff in this memory shifts color and height, such things matter little here. She fought Multiple Sclerosis for so many years. She spoke when she lost her voice by pointing at letters. She went from cane, to metal cane, to three prong walker, to wheelchair to bed. She became paralyzed on one side. She still was that tough gentle genius that drove that station wagon. Then it won. The machines gurgled and then one day stopped. But for one moment after she became a cloud, a goodbye, a last embrace in ash in the air on the edge of a hill.
January 17, 2015
1998 some month and day measure
I am in a room at Cal Arts here. Watching a film. The room now has only walls and a few faces have been wiped clean by the years. One former friend shines like marble in baggy clothes here, hairless, faceless, near gone. I am nearing graduation in this odd swamp of erasure and geometry. It was like being a plane lifting away from ground but as a body, seeing forms not comfort, familiarity breaking like ice cubes away. It was a wave of random terror that holds some ballast and tether amongst the mundanity and day to day so long washed away here, it was a rogue wave and realizing this soon will be memory, ghost flesh of such.
A faceless former friend turns now in this memory and asks a question of which now there is no sound.
January 17, 2015
1985/6/ christmas morning
Mom is sitting watching us open presents forever here. She sits on the couch long now methane by the glass doors long only dream flesh, her hair changing lengths above her sweet loving eyes. The presents are impossibly wrapped in shifting colors and patterns and little bows born of a bored synapse, little glimmering intruders in this island of past.
She sits by her cane that would have been from a few years before, the carved wood some elegant metaphor of her now, thus it remains. I turn in this memory and its confluence of trajectories, its odd menageries of molecules , minutea and the tides of times and their toll on the abstract shore of past makes a window briefly glisten with honey flooding sun then move it across a wall and close. She sits here, her content face is at peace here, her very cheek the true island among storm and tide and time.
December 8, 2014
I Want to Swim
Some summer afternoon 1983-4-5
My mother sits in a chair here. In this past. She has her wooden cane comfortably beside her. The sky is a jar of honey warm sun here. Her sisters also long now passed away chat comfortably with paper plates full of cheese and crackers and pasta salad almost visceral even now. The grave is a distant thought to many at this backyard gathering. It will soon enough pluck some in the edges of this memory like a cruel bird in such sun and sky of this past, this film of recall, other plates to be full of similar snacks after ceremonies and dark processions. But this all will come in unseen futures from “here” and “Now”. My mother smiles now in this memory as I turn back and the sky tries to form trees, houses, a fence that may have been wood to splinter or never born in this world at all. The warm sun pours over all here like water. This place in memory brings some kind of sanctuary. May I not forget it until that as yet unborn day and its molecules and sky and salads as I pass away; I want to swim heartily in this memory, watch my mom here with that smile in the old photographs.
1992 some month and day
I am going to get a snack now in my memory. 22 years ago now, the same bundle of years as the me here/there in the S.f State dorm now a broken satellite of memory and past. The near pencil sketch is a year’s composite of my roomie from Houston Texas. Here he is a vague form under a pile of impossible blankets with patterns shifting as I write and try to recall. His vcr is almost shaped like an anthill now, worn away, smoothed by so much life and forgetting. My desk in this memory just moved across the tiny room. The door is a cave opening, an open mouth to nothing, now a wood grain and door knob to a hall. I am moving to open the door in this place that stranger of me in the past called home. I turn and look to the window and there are storms flying past at great speed, rain against nothing where once was glass. The hall again is nothing, a few stones and soil, broken teeth of cement where the carpet was in this eroding past. Someday this will be a building torn down, someday I will become so much past tucked into the soil, soon this period of my life will be memories drained of all color like some kind of light turned off. I turn back to the door now and the walls have exploded out in all directions to shadow and sleepers in impossible walless rooms and beds. Time has teeth. The past bears the marks here in recall.
October, 18, 2014
1986 some summer day designation
My dad rides around with my uncle here forever until these eyes close, until this synapse theater cave
closes and rides into soil. They drive around Morro bay here, shirts changing infinite patterns.colors and geometry on white fabric of some kind while their nostalgia puts in tapes of bands of their teens and twenties , the ghost of a young me is a swarm of beach sand and atoms somewhere in the backseat which in recall now is but a blank space ever color shifting, a black hole, the whole memory untethered, as though at any second to blow apart into some exploded view or into a moment of past blown into forms held by unseen tiny strings, some odd barely functioning musculature of fading recall. I did not understand nostalgia then. I,the locust swarm of molecules here was a boy. I now peer into this nearly self immolating moment with music playing of those days seeping into this place, imposter, intruder, I am all of these things as is this present now peering in some interior telescape to another’s past almost, their nostalgia ride, a near ruin now of my periphery of this, as surely they have such a torn bio-chemical filmstrip dying slowly in them as well at this moment. Theirs being of looking back, mine of the edge of misunderstanding, both of that boy here not knowing yet of past unmooring away, and of this middle age losing that boy piece by piece, ever farther away, maybe someday to blow like a peacock wing display away into a thousand bits then nothing as I age.
I turn now in this memory and there is no rear window, it is sutured shut to black blank sky nothing, but one bit of a setting sun seeps in impossible yet golden bright.
October, 11, 2014
May There be Windows
1983 some summer month and day
We are on vacation here, forever, at least until the hall of synapses, the rocks memory is hurled against in a thousand shards , until these hands rest folded in the grave, until these eyes of some middle age shut , suture and away, vacation at the ocean, of so much froth, of snacks, coolers, sleep and boxed cereal and the novelty of portable radio, so much light, so much ballast, here/there it is.
Mom sleeps next to dad here, her hair long like the branches of trees back by the railroad tracks my brother and I as little boys would explore in quiet sun warmed afternoon hours. I am up in the upper bunk next to my brother (the space now surely would not fit one of us, the space surely is long to rust or crushed to the final architecture of a metal square or ripped and gutted to parts, hopefully maybe a door knob or window still of some vacation somewhere ).
I turn now in this memory and there is a window, light on waves flickering of night and day, of sand, then rocks, of the ocean as a mouth then a bright moon lit cloud (there was no window). Memory and time have carved metal, born glass. Mom sleeps here, years from the world taking her away. Dad sleeps by the tiny stove, knobs now shifted a hundred colors. We are on vacation here, may this memory hold as I age before I am wiped from this earth, may there be windows, real or imagined. I turn again and mom is at peace, impossible waves reflect the time unhinged moon on their glistening backs , so much music on a shore.
1994 some summer night
A party in San Francisco. A swirl now of light and vague synth sounds, a cacophony of scents and shapes, walls undulating slightly out of missing data and this being a memory dull as unsweetened oatmeal. A once close friend is surely amongst the shapes here/there, it was her party, she said she wanted to stay 24 forever. She has no face here, no one does, nor bodies even, time has near worn this room in memory clean. A window now appears, morosely lit by candles , it is impossibly ornate, some odd congealed blob of all the high cielings of 4 years living in that/this city. It is a stranger now, the city, this apartment, these people now devoid of bodies down to so much fabric in air as time passes ever onward. I turn in this hollowed memory and see her bracelet, it gleams briefly then it too is lost in the murk.
September 13, 2014
He Had a Card
1997 some day in fall
There is an invisible split in the sky here, a fissure, deep and gaping and nothing at all. First year of graduate school at Cal Arts and empty cathedrals of air out a window in a messy room, placement in something so deeply tangible from the campus wide to the very wood of the door but atoms could grow fly wings here, molecules betraying into valley, chasm. There is confusion tangled in the dirty laundry in the corner of the floor still here after all these years. That stranger once of these eyes, these hands , he moldered here, he rotted a bit in the quiet times between classes and no one knew. He contemplated black dark things here of future , self and all the rest. He felt sure to at any moment un-moor, gravity to let go, him to blow apart into a billion filaments then nothing, away. He at the same time felt some tether toward something to just maybe come beyond all this, maybe, maybe. I turn now in this aging memory and room and the closet flickers and flashes wood grain, hangers and books, nothing, then a range of impossible colors , the ceiling is white then grey, then something like a lid of a pill jar, then an open gaping mouth to a low hanging rain burdened sky, upside down black turrets and cold blasts of air , some sort of ghost breath here, then nothing and a pregnant tense calm. The desk seems to almost have teeth as the details fade but that fear and hope hangs in this cavern of past thick, confused, but holding the walls up as the years turn ever away. That young boy died over the following years, he had a card with my name.
Mom Flickers Again
1983 some month and day
We are in ruins here. My brother disappears in this moment of past in great piles of wood and rocks brought up by the great storm. The el nino birthed a beast of vapor near hawaii the slices in time before this morning or was it early afternoon. My mom is still alive here,she wavers and flickers in the car up the road. Dad is a jumble of lines and air straight through out with his voice saying “Damon , hurry up” …time is moths and has eaten away so much detail as it does. The pile is clear though, some odd island of my childhood attention left undamaged from time’s greater storm. My brother soon will emerge with a blue bellied lizard in his hand, my dad scared of possible poison, the breeze to pick up from the ocean and its angry waves and oatmeal post storm sky. For now all is a pile of driftwood and what I would later learn were bits of houses decapitated by the same ocean now impotent post rage and gale. Mom flickers again and vanishes.
August 8, 2014
Never Came to Bloom
Some day and time 1997 It is mud here. Rocks. A few plants inserted by the years. I am in grad school at Cal Arts. My room mates are a kind of family. All seems forever here/there, this now mottled aging “now”. The huge rains are a kind of comfort,the clouds hanging low , making this place on the edge of campus part of a sort of terrarium of art school. I look up now in this derelict satellite and the sky is paper, cardboard, holes, then rain, an odd heavy rain not reaching the ground now in memory. I walk a bit now and the campus flashes and flitters almost uneasily, a sort of twitch. I felt at this moment the comfort of being tucked in as a baby, all was in progress, in place it seemed. The clouds now are absurd calligraphy swirls, victorian somehow. I turn in this static memory now and look east and for a second there is only void, a black to grey gradation then a faint ghost of the valley and distant hills. The family soon split apart. Most of us now are strangers again as though this period never formed , never came to bloom out of so much mathematics, miles and trajectories. I look up now and the heavy rain hangs from Dr Suess like clouds to just above my head in this moment slowly eroding away in time like so much nameless hillside.
July 27, 2014
The Driver is an Absence
1988 1989 some day long dead and away The desert is dust, choked white blue sky, distant thunderstorms, joshua trees and this road, this now never, forever, everything nothing road here. The car shudders blue to red to green, it is metal and glass ghost, inconsequential, engineless phantom with that guy I once remembered at the wheel. His front passenger said we would be friends forever, she is eyeless here. Her name I barely recall after so many years, it remains etched somewhere in that yearbook with that now obtuse seeming artifact page long, phone number and all. I roll down the window here and the passing cactus and Joshua Trees change from academic like the dull drawings in old text books to these living things some ten feet out of reach so vivid in this reverberation, this synapse dry river droplet of recall. She turns to me now to tell me that thing that once was a shared memory…silence now as her eyeless mouthless face, a stone of flesh has black hair flapping around in some inserted by failed detail breeze, an intruder in this wreck, this ruin. The radio plays that song we said would be forever now. All I hear is one note of a keyboard then the window rolling up, those Joshua trees dying away from once immediacy to behind the windowglass. The driver is an absence, nothing at all at the wheel.
May 26, 2014
The Story Lingers
1995 some day and month
There is a beach here. There is no beach here. This thin peninsula of sand and stars is the one night that we all went out after work. “We” …sand in water….dissolved now to erasures, some complete….a crowd of that job, that place, that other time, that other me exploded like stars into this one. We worked at a group home with autistic kids. This was the glue, that situational bond so real that snaps when the time comes. I look up “here” and the stars are impossible shimmers, legion, a trillion eyes of light looking downward at the waves and shore. One autistic boy tried to catch the moon in bushes during the day; matt catch moon! he would shout with both confidence and hope. He carried a little net from a fish tank, swore he would be its friend, feed it milk, said it slept during the day in bushes to rest up for night. We share this story here lit by a fire that likely never was, a shared joy of the 12 hour Saturday work day now a fading jar of stories, free floating details and the distance time holds in its belly, longer than miles. I turn and look back and there are faces in that false fires, one I still remember and who remembers me. The rest are ghosts. The billion eyes above blink, a wave crashes to nothing. The story lingers in the air here forever of that sweet boy and the lives we briefly intersected. The beach shivers in a wave as though it knows its fate in future years to wipe ever further away along with that moon.
April 20, 2014
1997 some month and day designation
I walk across Cal Arts here. There is the roar of a party in the distance the way of flames.
The odd 70’s stone waffle forms pass above still, now mottled, rotten like teeth in places, in slow motion blur impossibly in distant recall.
The bird swarm flurry of doctors by the still faces of many now long passed relatives, paintings here long and silent with wash of activity before their odd gallery. This menagerie is a few houses of memory before… the crowd grows louder… in this night long past noise will make me forget…. now in age and its line, death stands quaint in that roar.
March 22, 2014
I am Still Here
Crowd is a wash of forms and colors and those plastic chairs. I am still here, atoms holding steady.
Some day 1977
We run forever in semi dark hallways here; our feet almost lift above the tiles. This place is of those off hours with us past the open windows and shade trees dropping leaves, past the carts with half eaten lunches, past the rooms and halls now long mental moth eaten clear away. He runs ahead of me with a smile now so essential here, so omnipresent as to almost shine perfect teeth looking back at me with a face a thin small circular balloon. Sometimes we stopped at the room with basic video games hidden away for some experiment or to trawl out when things got really dicy for some kid. I treasure this space in time and memory most of all as he was the brother of my first almost love. Second grade. Too young to know what any really means here/there but she was kind, sweet, would have had blonde hair if not for the chemo. All the kids had no hair like her, in recall the room of them numbers ten, 20, a thousand a crowd of kids sadly I have washed clean in memory around her.
They did the tests on me in this place: shock with the big dial and wires all over me like a spider full of lightning strikes, the needle that took the waters out of my spine, the numbers drawn on me as I first heard my body and life and that mystery in me at birth that sent me “here”, my I.Q part of the odd bag of numbers that made me, this ghost of a boy in second grade.
She later died. Her brother years later fell out of a truck a letter read.
We run here, her brother and I, a wind of two…a joyous breeze of feet on ugly tile patterns. Forever.
February 16, 2014
But That Odd Sky
2003 some month and day designation
An old mattress was given to me 3 years before, 60’s vintage, poverty led me to accept the kind gift. It opened up a tag while I slept and old bacteria near 40 years in growing led me here. I am near death here, the universe a hospital bed and its metal peninsula edge. My heart is swollen against my ribs here like some angry crustacean jailed in the once me. The fever broke and then pains came; raging, angry ever tightening within like the body wanted revenge for some wrong. The nurses are nervous 50 feet from here, they don’t want a young corpse on their shift. Time and past is so fog dense and yet glass opaque at times, there is both solace and wicked cruelty in this. I turn around in this odd composite memory and the walls are blankets with data scrawled on them trembling, almost shuddering and breathing weakly all around. The ceiling is black sky and stars, an impossibilty, the whole building in memory falling away to the black permanence of night and those distant lights. The monitors dug into my arm are absent here. Their immediacy, the math of self, life and death, they have rotten away in a decade, away. But that odd sky, that hope of things beyond blinking like a million eyes, that dark shadow of one’s end, it lingers, permeates all in those hall of memory even as my body has long fully recovered. Memory holds both the shadow and the ember beyond the chiseled architecture of time and temperatures and days.
Weight and Motors
The motor turns inside the painting here that is a video I shot in the desert and a forever broken prose poem of the boy, tractor and impotent clouds and sky. I have slept 3 hours total in 2 days here, this day I find out if I have graduated Cal Arts or not, this blurry sleep edge encrusted place of a wall by a staircase, of the two years to this moment, the nightmares of falling down hillside made of the books of dead semioticians and art catalogs, of swimming joyously in warm rains with it all behind. The edges of the main gallery at Cal Arts are a smeared sort of peanut butter of time and space now, the way dull white holds all the colors of the spectrum of prism, the way of layers moving at once in some sort of soup within these once walls here, “here” a tiny island in all contexts, a flash of color in the once hall, the exhaustion still palpable, my body a weight, my mind a drunk near asleep, the two profs debating the color black, one seeing the burnt dystopic apocalypse of some grim future, the other seeing aesthetic choice and frame as the motor runs. The future is born on the simple spin of the ball in that last shot in a tie game, here it is of their words and the empty halls 360 in all directions blank to fill somehow from this once physical here.
January 20, 2014
I am graduating here. It is finally happening after 7 years and two schools and two cities. The image is an impossible bee’s eye view of a sea of caps and gowns, of the campus, of my grandma from Compton sitting in a floppy hat in a bit of shade; it is the bee’s eye view from bad old movies, composite, multiples. There is a stage here surely from the crumbs and brain toe jam of a dozen college films from my youth up till now; it is blue, now grey, now red. The heat is real though in this unreality shot from synapses, this confetti of a long dead afternoon and its dermis of incomplete detail. It is hot, summer hot from L.A up here in San Francisco (here being of course an adrift island of the city long shed , peeled away by days and hours), a sweaty wet heat, a swamp alive in the petri dish of otherwise dry recall.
I see my grandmother with such grace in her polyester suit, such gentle poems in that flower in her pocket here, it changes now through a catalog of possible blooms, but the general space remains alive in this place. She will pass away a few years from here, that fall in that tiled bathroom, that end of her days, but here she sits in a folding chair in a corner of it all, a gentle bloom herself despite the lost specificity of that damn flower. My mom is home, unable to make it, but she is here..everywhere…forever….in each chair, blade of impossible grass and vague sky. She too will pass in a few years but a few architectures in space and time from here I bought her the SFSU mom sweatshirt, saw here wear it beaming wordless in the island of her bed and medicines. That is a sun here from afar.
Today I am graduating. Today is forever here. The sea of caps and gowns shivers in unison in the heat now like a thousand bats, like a crowd of black birds. Soon I will cross that stage.
1994 ..some day and month pinned to this
I am sitting here by a small stream in a park. A friend is sitting next to me in red lipstick and doc martens. She and I are doing homework sprawled out on the grass of this corner of Golden Gate park in this day with the sky painted bright sun and a thin single line of cloud. She years later will go away to school in Arizona while I move back to Los Angeles to Cal Arts. She will date boys, I will have a few tempests of chaos of almost girlfriends from here, invisible lines drawn in atoms from this spot of grass, so much cold measure of moments and things shot from this spot like some mutant powers of ten outward. She will always marry that tall boy in Arizona, I will fall for the tragic future doctor with a blue streak in her hair. She will later fall into a deep depression as will I. She and I will age years and miles from here, stumble along oddly parallel planes for a time as well. She later will become my room mate , now my soul mate and wife. She at this moment is reading a book like that afternoon transposed here from that afternoon. Another line. For now in this memory I sit and read beside this interesting new classmate and friend in that forever sun. I turn in the memory and its park by that water and fluttering bird wing movements are the crowd of others once sharing this afternoon now all of her. My love.
January 12, 2014
A holiday 2012
My grandmother rolls in her wheelchair with a grace beyond words or time here. Her bracelets rattle a gentle chime as she listens amidst the din, that audio storm that is a crowd. This was some holiday, that glue, that odd cartography of conversations, of the spaces for a few hours interlaced of words and breath, of some space in time before it all again splits apart. She sits here forever grinning, listening, waiting to tell a story of a book she is reading. She has since been tucked like a seed into the soil , has since become a cloud and then lifted beyond the bonds of sky and earth. She forever here is music, a grin and listening amongst the din , 98 and a vessel of wisdom and grace. I turn and all the walls point as stairs outward and up then flash to wallpaper.
1994 some month and day
I see caverns here. They are in the wooden chairs, in the banister, in the drying spilled beer of the campus pub, they are in the air somehow now. Little broken doors and chasms in the very dust mote stink vacuum where oxygen once was that invisible lake around things. This is the underground part of the student union at San Francisco State. This is also nothing at all. This is the undevelop polaroid skin and the heap of bits of the times spent here (then all long gone, seeped from the cavern inside this skull). A blur passes flashes a range of colors like a ravaged color wheel beaten into near opacity; it may be a friend once meeting me for lunch here some day then, it may be a dozen such things, it may be the people I was too shy to get to know, it may be a glitch in recall or nothing at all. I turn here and the walls flash posters surely from coffee shops across the city, then wood panels from some film I cannot name, then blank walls. The downstairs is almost gutted like a carcass here in this “now” (already moldering into yet another “then”). A fluttering sickly geometry is all that remains of the 2 staircases, it is dying here. The ceiling seems to sink, slump, almost reek with the deep sadness of nearing graduation, of the new city now old, of that odd turn becoming a narrative slumping toward its inevitable end. Someone asks me my major, their face a fluttering bird wing of a hundred eyes, mouths, noses, then a shallow cave in a sweater and away. Nostalgia has no key here. This is a slice in time of ends, not beginnings, of the space in the building not the windows once flashing sunlight so bare and new.
This crumb of memory is afterthoughts and incompletion, of the space before ends, the gasp of the cavern’s mouth and little more.
December 29, 2013
The Rush and Hurry
There is food everywhere here. Boxes of it. Bags of it. Holiday wrapping paper covered squares and rectangles of it. It is a holiday celebration. The people are multi-colored fogs here. They pass the static meats, cheeses , sweets and wrapped long digested things in the boxes here. There is a faint buzz of sound in this derelict satellite of memory: rustlings, foot steps, things opened, the washed away voices of these colored fogs, this crowd of vanishings, the collected weight of what is lost in time and traces. A flash of red briefly blooms almost into solid, this surely is the sweater of my aunt who later died here. She first carved a kind of sad hieroglyphics on that wooden seed as it lowered into the soil; she pulled out that hidden knife and carved I love you forever on his casket as it fell away after that service but these things are architectures of time and past away from here.
This is the rush and hurry of holidays, of a meal that came ticks ahead in time and recall from here, of the shared trajectories and telemetry of all the lives now gone or since moved from this place in the future days here as yet unborn. Another flash. It is an embrace and greeting seen now only as colors alight like some kind of fuzzy lightning. Another flurry of color surely was the bloom of a conversation, words born from the caves of mouths into intersections of sound and detail.
I turn in this memory and the walls are shimmering white , impossibly so beside all the as yet uneaten food.
This Is Zero
1998 some month and day designation
This flawed sullen palace of memory is a thousand windows and nothing. This is the afternoon at the landfill with the absurd name that included “sunshine” (as though filaments of sun also came here to molder and rot) but oh what a bright name of that scratched up wooden sign by the burning putrid gas.
This is the moment before we unload a truck full of what had been the things of my teens and childhood, here so much math, lumber, broken electronics and wires, so much mass and weight and nothing more. The stench , that sugar death stink of city dumps is gone now in memory, ripped clean like a plane’s wing in the moment of a crash, decapitated by the grave cold measure of both things and mental recall. Grad school at Cal Arts is architectures in time away from this place in time by a week or so. This is moving back home for a time, the temporary return that would soon bring red map points of spider bites from neglected storage in a closet like some incomplete map. This is the null set, this is zero, this is intertia backwards, the days as human vapor and shadow, the graduate lost yet the world surely an open maw somewhere, unpaved roads as time and space sometimes provide but this is miles in memory from here. There is an old stereo , an old map, piles of what had been meals fresh on tables in the distance, this is the moment that the truck dumps all the artifacts of adolescence now derelict, soon to smash to cold geometry left to some future methane. I turn in this memory and the sky is as though sketched in drippy blue pen, gaps naked and pale by some paper like sun.
December 8, 2013
She Again Blurs
1985/86 some day
I shoot baskets here as my long deceased dog runs circles around me with her sweet eyes and golden retriever fur long gone. I shoot hoops here in this space in memory while my mother sleeps (away from the permanent sleep to come years later in another place and place in time). My dog is alive here even as this semi transparent film shot from behind my eyes from the uncaring cluttered garage of human memory. I turn and look at the basket and it is impossibly high and then low (space is not of memory it appears nor is measure beyond markers). I want to pet my dog, tell her I love her here now all these years away from here but it is pale as the false sky. I want to run in and hug my mom here, tell her I love her but she is lego pieces away here, another room of the architecture of memory and recall,not this back yard made like a glitching video game from some fleshy ports inside. I take a shot and the ball changes colors in flight, the sweet orange blur now passing of that amazing dog that sat next to me so many times in my youth when I wanted to make myself disappear. The blob arcs into a yellow blue haze and disappears as the house seems to almost shiver and slump as if by some great weight, earthquake or the tangible sense of once deep as tides here of both presence and absence, of death to later take these two souls from this earth. I take another shot and can almost see a sweet smile on my dog’s face as she again blurs past.
A Stranger of These Hands
1977-78-79- That young boy shot into a million pieces into later years; his bowl cut in photos an artifact, a relic, a forgotten language seen by these tired shared eyes. If he could he would send letters; if I could I would email him of his imminent death into that procession of then impossible strangers, of that procession, ending in me at this finite moment in space and time to hopefully be some crumb artifact for a stranger far ahead of these hands, these eyes, this pale fetal hour amongst it all.
November 12, 2013
This Pale Corpse
1995 some day of fog and sun in some measure and recall
She and I held hands moments before this place. We paddled a little red boat slow across the water a few empty houses of time and memory from here, that sad bastard, the linearity of what seems to be time, the phantom of clocks, the ghost of wheels and gears not sun and shade. It makes neighborhoods left to die of recall of events in the long view.
It may have been a blue boat, it may have been no boat at all, the sun held in that other moment, the architecture of maybe an hour from this “here” is no insect in amber, no sun shards in a bottle, it is an avatar shimmering by some desire for there to some beauty still in this pale corpse in both mind and time’s measure. This place of memory is of the bus ride after when it all broke and began to fall away. I tell her I got into graduate school here, she walks away here. The bus is thin is envelopes now, the driver a spastic colony of lines and blur in a blue uniform surely pulled from some old television show here to cover another little death.
She runs forever here. Here, not of phantom boats, not of the crystalline false sun shot from a trillion shards from the piece of meat in my skull, the cruel landlord spam ball typing these words with a sadness rolling up from a million other things now and then. That false sun is a few abandonded houses of past back from this place, the decay surely pitted and of rot in each one. No, here she runs away, the bus full of stand ins of some general cliché of strangers passed , maybe one or two from another actual memory spit out here as though ghosts in a collapsed house sure to burn in some fire or just fall away unbuckled into false atoms and away. Time may do this later on. Now she just runs.
Nov. 10, 2013
Where Once Were Gales
1996 some month and day
It rains warm here, big drops far between along pavement. The former hurricane is dying above here, the unfurling of a once deadly symmetry into a cloud skinned ghost, an echo of what rained away over the sea and touched no shore. The ruin stripped of name and any designation came to Los Angeles to die. The last drops were from a slate gentle grey, sweaters where once were gales, sprinkles where some fish somewhere saw would be flood. I am a scared lost new Cal Artian here until these eyes close forever and this vessel goes the way of that former storm. I am in line for classes here as that light corpse rain forever falls; I am lost, a swarm of bees in my stomach of nerves and self doubt. There is a desk outside those doors that never was, but it is here. It is some unborn metaphor perhaps, some untethered bit of another memory perhaps, but it is light brown in the colorless place of recall as a few more drops fall.
Riding a bus here forever in this eroding crumb and its broken internal map. I see from the imprint of those awkward eyes a battered, eroded precipice of recall once a school bus bench seat. This is a place of the awkward boy shot into these fingers, into this age, dissipated into these fingers, killed into this version of his arms, shoulders, eyes. There are vague storm clouds floating like bad old video game graphics where the bus windows should be here. This memory is just rows of seats, a bad hair cut, vague unease and that black sadness he carried each day to school, locust, pitch, the opposite of gravity.
I turn back in this ruin of memory and my mind fills in vague generic other kids, a wall appears and disappears and then is the back of this bus, the driver surely now long retired, hurled as a brief cloud of ash or tucked like a seed into the soil, the other kids erased here, some dead, some married, all gone. The cloud comes again here, the almost visceral icy finger of that deep depression, the thoughts of docks sinking in storms as self, the sure thesis that this boy I once was, the dead boy shot into the graves of synapses, of the tomb of the weary cynicism of age that he was frankenstein in a bowl cut.
The cartoon cut out storm clouds birth a bit of absurd lighting now, a flaccid impotent stand In for a storm that rained itself out across this lost landscape of the stranger who once bore this same name, his memory now riddled with holes like a shot down plane rusting away. The wheels spin on silently in this forever/nowhere as its shore crumbles further away.
Oct. 26, 2013
Into These Fingers
1985 some night
The wind blows hard forever here. She is over. My fingers flow through her hair to records spinning on a turntable long hurled into that open mouth of soil a few miles from this place. The thing has surely degraded to bits and methane by now at the dump with the name “sunshine canyon”. I run my fingers through her hair here, “here”, “her” these things now such derelict ghost ships of some past, phantoms, so much ghost flesh, the precise measure of what has long fallen off this earth in space and time. The wind blows hard in gusts in the incomplete walls here, bending the window at times into almost the curve of her neck I once drew lines on with my lips, ran maps with fingertips across. We made plans, words exhaled into this now lost air of marriage, of growing old together, of trips spent holding hands while now her hand here is a lump of soil, a ghastly incompletion, a place holder for things long unmoored, her lips a shipwreck, eyes of atlantis at best, hair thick in a phantom sensation in memory like a twitch, like a jerking up awake from sleep. The wind blows forever here, against the shores of this lost love.
Math Above Us
1977/78 new years eve
My brother and I bang pots and pans with grandma in this tiny island of past. It is midnight endless here with us in spider and super man underoo pajamas (at least in memory). We bang her pots and pans under the massive undulating roar of a hundred guns going off, semi automatic and pistol and shotgun percussion invisible in the skies and streets around her big wooden porch in Compton. She is smiling holding the door for us in this place shot from the confetti of memory, her hair shifts through a menu of the styles of her years with us before she passed from that heart attack, it almost dances, her silver grey tufts above those sweet eyes. The deafening roar is terrifying and an odd rush still here, not till years did it sink in of those bullets like dead fireworks forming math above us and her, arcs not lines, down as well as up. This place is forever sounds, the rush of staying up so late, the million suns that can never capture the love of a grandmother even in this splinter of recall. I turn now in this memory and there are plants, an old chair, a gaping maw where a window should be and then her sweet smile.
Oct. 3, 2013
The Crowds Are Hollows Here
1983 A menagerie of faces, not faces but the inverse, the hollow of their absence from things within to the skin; this is the crowd of nothing, the mass of what has rotted away. There are great crowds like this here, and thus there is nothing at all. The exact weight , mass of measure of the rush of air, the stench of age, the curl of the eraser, the arc of the falling away. This is the first day of school for that me now so much conjecture, a narrative bread crumb to toss out in conversation and nothing more. The bowl cut, the ugly shirt that fit that much too tight, the ghastly green corduroy pants, none of that is here now, they are only words to tell it is now clear. I turn around in some thin ugly representative hallway and there is asphalt, there are bungalows, there is some slapdash sky and cloud, haphazard and unreal. The crowds are hollows here. There are no faces, just pale limp lightning flashes of forms, of cadences, of colors and clothing patterns. It all sputters. This was/is a quietly brutal day here; the first day of middle school, the opening of many such days. A flickering gale of forms pass me now , the precise absences of 3 odd strangers , one briefly flashes into semblance of being . A sweater. Combed hair. A grimace, then again nothing. That was a bully that later brought storms here. He again quiets now, the hall is portent, it is silent , it is coiled, it is nothing at all.
It Is Almost a Portal Here
1987 some day late summer The ashes hit the car hood forever here. My brother and I so bored that we drove during the raging santa ana winds to chase the orange glow that passed our house that late night. All is aflame, fire tornadoes curl and spin while some music long forgotten plays on the cavern here in the dash where once was a cassette player. I hit a dark abstract cloud here that never had physical form. This intruder is some whiff of the sad angst of a doomed relationship that no one yet knew of. She lives on in other places in memory. That lost first love. It is almost a portal here, a dark crushing force snuck inside like some wicked dark paramecium festering over fetid years and the must of this long dead adolescence. The ashes dance across the hood here. But this darkness snuffs all. I turn to my left in this festering half memory and my brother is a beacon , then he disappears.
September 29, 2013
1993/1994 some summer night.
Something broke away when she finally held my hand, something like docks slipping under waves, something akin to the eroded hillside tumbling, away. The stars flickered little illuminated wounds in black above (it of course seemed glimmering and all of something massive, of ages and beauty then..), cuts in the skin of some aged suburban night rattling with beer bottles, stinking of the flowers in that back yard. She was a universe merging with mine to me in that moment, all her years and mine, all her questions and mine, all the missed moments before , all plunging into one in this gesture as we rocked in a dirty hammock among some old jagged fruit trees. This place is so much bad stage design now, the moon itself now just a toss off sliver , may as well be paper, held by a single nail to that sky. I can still smell her hair here/there all these years later; it blends in with some faint last dying belch of her perfume while the ground is now erased to mere pencil lines and a chasm of lost detail. I can see through her hair to those stars now, her smile so near invisible in the dark now a valley glimmering with those lit gashes in a now impossible sky.
The Rest Are Intruders
1996/97 A paper bag. My grandmother has fallen by a sudden heart attack onto that tiled floor in that little Compton bathroom a few nights before into my aunt’s arm as she left this world. My aunt soon would too. Between those places in other cities and years, in that now impotent naming and measure I was a first year grad student at Cal Arts. All of my roommates were asleep when dad came by and gave me those things on that piano where I never in my life heard my grandmother play. I hug him here and as he leaves a metal clip breaks off and out pours 3 photos, a little magazine and a pressed flower. The poem 21 year old me had written about mortality, about death, about these things at the time mere close calls, satellites, the length of distance not the rush of immediacy. I had written her a note. I knew nothing. She poured out in a paper bag. This was/is death. Not poems, not the imagined, not the words. The wind blows a cruel hot santa ana here in this hall of memory where there was none then. Even the mind and memory need some stupid flourish it seems, some melodrama so in the way. Her death was into my aunt’s arms a few cities away. The one photo of her smiling with that pressed flower, her at some lunch with strangers to me, this is/was here, was volumes, libraries, the poems of her sweet smile and kindness, the curls of her grey hair. The rest are intruders all. I turn in this memory and the walls blow out in that unreal wind, something of how the quiet brutality of death is beyond all this, so the stand ins arrive. The flower never turns black here.
September 8, 2013
And What Remains
I wanted to erase myself here. This is a flash of red, the faint tiny physical memory of pressing the pedal way too hard, too far. This evening is abstract fields and panes of red metal, odd almost geometry of that car exploded into a thousand pieces here/there. This space in memory seeps and leaks bleak dark morasses of something like night but the string theory and weight and measure of infinite nothing that one feels when they want to end their tiny line amongst it all of hours and days pinned to some given name. There is motion here, speed, some blown out futurist vomit of speed, metal , death and time; it is still so raw that for some reason these moments are wreckage and some horrid intertia. I am 17 here, skipped a year as a kid then pissed it away with bad grades adrift, angst clichés rotting deep into bleak roots, into something that almost wiped the sun clean away like a smear on a windshield, like I almost became forever here: silence, ruin, that intertia to loss of control, to some kind of spin, to grave. A hundred things were weights in the slices in time before this night. I am dressed up to read some writing here, nice jacket on a bit too tight as I fly by the older acquaintance who shakes her head grimly with a cruel blankness and even anger in those eyes now long erased. She saw the blur here and it was a car; here it is my view, blurs, shapes, great weight and weightlessness, the unspooling and unhinging just before trying to disappear the vessel, the car of body, to simply go away. A few moments away from here comes the shrieking brakes, the shuddering stop, only that now vanished angry eyed person has ever known of this corroded rotten place in space and time. I turn to look back in this ugly little game space of broken graphics of fallen memory and see my own body floating in the air, impossible , incomplete, illogical, deeply sad crumb of the death that did come to these hands, eyes and that turbine inside that spins on with all these strangers and imposters tucked somewhere inside, errant flawed architectures but I am still alive. This place is speed and what remains forever stillborn , abstract shapes where once was almost my end.
Writing As Implosion
I am forever at the edge of a pool by a huge bowl of potato salad here. This is a frail space in the halls of memory that almost feels at any moment to be ready to fall away like tissue paper, to shoot like errant molecules as odd rockets into space , to fall into the details like writing as implosion, like memory as sinkhole growing. I have just graduated from Cal Arts here. MFA paper someday to come in the mail months from this delicate flowerless bloom in time and recall. It is that midpoint , that not even existential crisis, but more of the person you walked to this place as is now deleted, no longer that student that even was identity cloaked over everything until that surreal handshake an hour before. Up next here is a canyon that is forever infinite for all that entails, there is almost no gravity here, as though even aunt and uncle so and so might lift away mid conversation like leaves or dust, like the pool might reach up like a hand, but yet like there was nothing filled in, all open, as scary as that still feels here in some tiny way. The yard is blurred and the sky a sketch almost in pencil lines. I turn to look back and it keeps spasming, shifting , changing , fluttering like air as a million wings. Now it is a gate again.
September 2, 2013
This is the colliding of small oceans. This place is forever joy and doom at once, hope and the first stair built to later collapse here unborn by atom or intent. She kisses me here. I kiss her here. All the clichés of that first one hum here like birds, like locust wings, like the tremolo of earthquake also. Her parents are divorcing, she is moving to Texas, a million miles to this youth and the candy and salt of the insecure flurries within this boy that once was me and I once by some sad miracle was him. In an empty living room we sat/sit on the floor next to the last boxes already slightly bent even before being sent away off this seeming flat earth edge she is speaking of forever here with those sadness engorged brown eyes. The kiss comes as a surprise forever here, soft, warm, something of the lightning of a thousand storms within , of words drying to husks , feeble and impotent as she strokes my hair and I hold her close. I turn now in this ancient palace of memory shot from synapses like old telephone messages and there are no walls, the sky is impossible stars in mid afternoon. I turn back to her kiss and her face is the movement of a million bees then nothing, a cave where this love once was. Breaking, falling away, that is the architecture and mortar here , the shiny enamel surface and dream flesh of that love has long worn away.
August 22, 2013
One Red Hat
1990/1991 “We will remember this spot forever” he said. Now in memory there is only a faint pencil sketch of rocks, the front of a truck, some sand and a single sad wave beating itself to death on this tiny shore. There is no sky here, only a single flaccid impotent shred of fog. His face has been eaten by time as though by insects but a hat remains, red, baseball cap the only bit of color here (“here”). He says it with such conviction here, these things that apparently once meant something, had some ballast in the world that has since spun far away. Something of youth, something of age, something against it all, the words were/are said here from the now toothless cartoon slit of a mouth. The drive to the ocean in the bread slices of space and time that led to this eroding spot are other narratives, other spaces, equally pale and now shot far out of the original impetus, angst, collision of youth dying into adulthood. I am turning now in this drawing with one red hat of memory, an almost flat space amongst the million failing palaces of memory around this spot in the synapses and their lightning and embers of recall. There is nothing. A fence appears on a tiny bit of rocks at 180 degree turn now, this once surely was an immersive beauty, glimmers in late summer sun away from the day we drove out of to this spot amongst the sea and shore.
We Only Share This
1972/1973 This is my earliest memory, this odd obtuse seeming place. There is the cliff my leg dangles from here, the odd birds slowly lifting away in a box before me. I am nearly immobile here, limbs flopping , a feeling that an odd puffy straightjacket is on my near my waist. There are no words here, only sounds, colors, things, a few I have begun to place to meanings and questions I will later ask when those tools better grow and congeal inside. I am thirsty here as the odd birds fill with people and lift away. I gaze to the edges of the box in this far past now and see a flickering rectangle with the soft things and nice smells outside of it. There is the odd shiny thing that I will later trip over that mom uses to fix things. I will many years later recall this place that now hangs on ever so slightly in the musty warehouse of things in a life in recall. I will later learn that the birds are helicopters lifting people to safety during the Vietnam war. This place however is only the objects and senses of me in diapers on the couch. I wish I knew this boy to send him kind words but he would not understand anyway. I see him in old photos of faded color. He seems happy enough amongst it all in his time with these eyes and his thoughts. We only share this memory, this place, but this is more than enough.
July 26, 2013
This Crumb of Past
1978/79 She thinks I am faking it. New School. New physical therapist. This moment is a wart in the dermis of new things forever. I run laps for hours here, infinitely amongst ugly wooden chairs and shadow until this place and the miles and maps shooting lightning inside ceases and this whole world of places past and incomplete dies with the hands writing these words in this present to be past. The scars then and now run up that leg where they did the 26 operations in the first 2 weeks after some tiny me was born into this world (those are other places though, other slices in time and shadow and error). She thought surely the tall boy was not possibly telling the truth even with that calf muscle that still looks (and will in the grave) like a deflated balloon . I look up in this mold of a memory and the ceiling is from movies, music videos, glimmering not in reflection but in ever changing form. I never looked up when she made me run. The whole room may be from other memories, cobbled out of some internal collaborative pity. The professional was convinced that it was a lie even as the pain burned like forest fires in this boy’s misshapen leg. The shadows in the memory may as well have teeth, fanged beasts at the ready, this is a place of the world seeming to fail, fall, break, a place that is remembered as being born of being excused from class, but then this unreality born from failures, from that simple piece of paper. I am forever running in this filthy crumb of past, the room changes shape now, almost like the very walls are ashamed and wish to shoot in a thousand pieces to fall away.
The Soup Will Be Delicious
1985/86 Christmas My grandfather is telling us that the special soup is ready, an amazing recipe he read in a magazine. He is the king of a country never born here in this hall of memory, 6 foot 6 and graceful as breezes. The soup will be delicious, we will gather in the kitchen and chat, gather by the tree to share presents, all that was a constant for so many years that many details just oatmeal blur. He is in a white shirt here. His loving wife is beside him, my grandmother’s bracelets clattering music with her hand on his shoulder in the house now gutted and sold. He left this earth going on ten years ago, but here he is forever grinning and announcing soup from a recipe from a magazine. She passed a year ago but forever is ready to Charleston at any minute, her hand on her soul mate’s shoulder while the holiday holds us all in its arms. There are others here that are no longer of this world, they laugh and chatter in all directions , a din of voices and words as joyous crashing waves infinite. I turn around in this memory and even with a few missing spaces where walls should have details, this place and moment now snuffed out by the passing of time is ornately accurate, a wonder of detail of what was a simple humble moment within a million others. I will linger here, can almost taste the soup and smell my grandmother’s perfume across the halls of memory and years.
And There Are Stars
New Year’s eve 1999/2000 Shotguns go off in the night sky here. Somewhere in that black that people once believed was a dark gas that literally fell (“night fell” comes from this) guns are firing , so impotent against the stars. The cabin is now long degraded in memory to bare walls, a table with drinks, that friendly couple and my now wife then friend, encased in amber here platonic where the walls are now banks of stars and night. The news spoke of computers failing, of missiles flying, of 010101 errors and time. This place now is instead a tiny absurd island. The clock hits midnight forever here. The cabin may have since burned in a fire, may have been eaten by misuse or at this moment hosting some group celebrating under this time’s unease. It wants to invade here, the uncertain world of this moment trying to crash onto the impossible shore of the past. I look up in this absurd mental video game space with its star filled blown out walls ,the faces of that couple now worn down like old stones and there are stars, blinking like a hundred distant eyes, beautifully false, so distant yet seeming so close.
July 4, 2013 / 9:34am
Something of the Brain and Body
1980 /1981/1982 I am sitting here/”here” watching the light rain fall from the giant mass of cloud that rotated south from Alaska after the big storm. The rain drops are so small and feeble, gentle, of a mass not of a storm, of something of an architecture that is to never be remembered. People remember the great storms, it is like prisms breaking dull white to a color array, it cuts open memories, senses, otherwise rote and droning, activities in the shifted context of gales, downpours, even death. The window here shifts and bends as though it too is timid somehow after all these years, not just the fragility of the skin of memories. The wooden steps are lit by a light that moves and shifts here, no compass for such a secondary detail it seems. I turn east and there is a long wooden table, a decorative covering of dull whites and browns that never was, plates and remnant left overs of an odd sad meta meal of my years visiting here; of holidays, of family getaways, of the stagnating ends of childhood into early adolescence. I think one plate has turkey next to stale French fries. My aunt is here as is my cousin and my uncle. She later wore a gown of the same colors as she lay as frail as the clouds behind the storm, dying in a hospital bed. She was the artist that encouraged me in the teen years soon after this place that shifts and spits timid rains from an unwritten and unformed night sky. She was quiet for days as her body turned against her with that one day when she was herself as she was in the past; chatting and joking, something of the brain and body just before death they said. She sits in this memory palace forever smoking the same cigarette in pale blue pants and white shirt turning to make a now silent comment on the rain.
Like So Much Bread
1996/1997 I am sitting here at a Thursday night opening at Cal Arts. I can see a blurry visual oatmeal memory of that me, that 20 something terrified awkward former tenant of these hands, these eyes. He likes the parade of others, back to birth, died into some future other, some future past, some continuum of days to later be sliced into portions like so much bread. He is sitting amongst a now silent swirl of conversations , music and ambient noise, overwhelmed. I turn a 360 in this odd video game space of nothing but shards and a poor avatar of some long dead self and there are crowds and a distant exit door. I mourn him at times just as some future self will of me now.
June 10 2013 / 8:46am
Mom Promised Ice Cream
1979/1978 Mom promised ice cream. I am sitting on a table in a hospital gown here until this neural dot dies with me on some future day. I am cold here. The draft still remains abstracted now across the boy I once was. The numbers and data are flying fast. An older man now with a seemingly added impossible white dirty beard reads the stats that made me feel like a leaky bag of digits and integers. He later will instruct the med student at Stanford to spin the absurd game show dial tied to electrodes across me as high as it will go. That pain to nothing is a slice or two in time from here. “here”. Later I will cry at night in the chemo ward as there were not enough beds in pain after a spinal tap and walk across the street to ask to go home. I will fall in love in this chemo ward . I can no longer recall her name. Sweet eyes, kindness , these faint clouds of her remain. All the hours and no ice cream yet. The tests would never find exactly what it all was. The draft blows across the stranger somewhere deep within and as I turn here there are no walls, only faint lines, almost shivering and incomplete. A faceless fog of a man asks students gathered around the boy a question and more numbers pour out. This place haunts me in shards in sleep , something unfinished, something forever fading away here.
Her Absence Was Valleys
1985 ..July The fireworks fall slowly, inverted blooms, lights turning off into soot and ash and free fall. At least comets ride their tales of ice on long circuits high and away. I was supposed to wrapped warm in her arms in Texas watching another set bloom high while an electronic musician played and cast images on the downtown skyline. I am 15 here, the number as awkward as my giraffe neck watching the colored lights forever go out. The sky is charcoal in this memory now, the park a muted washed out pastiche of colors and hot dogs and families; vague, incomplete, but the fireworks dying from vivid enflamed and engorged color to hanging smoke and tiny ruin remain vivid here. I wrote letters of this to her. Her absence was valleys.
2:42am May 25
I Wanted to Disappear Here
1992 or 1993 The horizon forever seems to slide west toward a precipice here. The wine and tangerine hued high clouds are forever the ruins of a storm beaten to death again a great dome of high pressure. It is forever fall here. San Francisco of this era , ghost now like my presence here/there and the gauze and sinew of memory. I am walking behind the dorms late in some fall day long neatly clipped clean but for this nexus of pain and vagueness. The sky here is at times turning into lines and geometry, pulsing reds then fading like old 50’s photos of food in sickening hyper realness and color. I wanted to disappear here, vanish, erase myself with a thousand pencil ends, go away. This memory is an empty grave made of roads, cement and sky. I walk the path I took that late afternoon. The cars I secretly prayed would run me away are absent now as they never came. The sidewalk has no cracks in this hall of memory; it is being eaten by the digestive acids of loss and failure as well as the dull broom of time. The clouds almost seem to move now, alive again for a second in this place. I must not stare too long, I must move on. I turn now east in the memory and the dorms seem like obelisks with cut windows against a ghastly sky in the corpse of another decade’s day.
It Is a Ghost and Tether
1985 some day of the late end of the year. She holds me here in a great wind storm, her thick long hair against mine. The afrosheen in her hair 2 years before made a rainbow on a bus window pane. Two years before I found it to be beautiful, almost emanating from her amazing intelligence and awkward shyness. The kids had laughed and pointed in that distant 1983 day and I had defended her. She had written notes , stories and poems on my skin in English class in 1984, backwards so only home at my mirror could I see her thoughts and almost hear them in her voice (the voice now dimming, an old 78 record on a failing needle). She caresses my shoulders forever here. That Santa Ana has not erupted swirling fames in the distant hills yet here, no homes to burn away, no hillside to cycle bare. Not yet. It instead rattles the north facing window in this room I dream of every night to this day; it is a ghost and tether and there is something or things there I can’t decipher or lay warm in the dream flesh and its malleable narratives and architecture. 2 years later we will go our separate ways. She caresses my shoulders with no words needed here as the wind bends that window. This was the apex of that first love, that night when all felt possible and I wanted the hours to bend out to forever.
It Will Be a Man With my Last Name
1976 or 7 or 8 I am a tiny boy with a blonde bowl cut in a 7-11. I have to write a report here. 4th grade or 5th. The memory, this place, it is nearly bare now, vector chaos erasure; a game gutted. The moment has so long been a quirky anecdote that the place has been leeched away. This is before video games were in the stores. This is of the era of comic books on racks. There is no counter here, no walls, no ceiling, vague blocks for cars that at times flash into station wagons, pintos, pacers, clichés from some mediocre mental library almost like synaptic clip art on cue. The comic book was/is part of a series popular then of historical figures. I turn backwards in this memory game space near empty and my brain tries to conjure a clerk wandering around but he too is incomplete, no face, uniform probably from a simpsons episode. I will find that Abraham Lincoln has a man in a headlock in a page of this comic book here. It will be a man with my last name. I will months later ask my grandfather and he will confirm that he was my great great great uncle back in Salina, Kansas. This is the narrative, the tale I have shared, the feeble little insect floated past this place and leaving it void in recall. I had a slurpee in the story told all these years, here it is a vague block in a surrogate to the tale. It is fading and crumbling as space has no purpose in an anecdote, and the tangible is a thousand miles away from an aphorism, space and time have long uncoupled here.
May 1, 2013 / 11:17am
Her Touch is Almost Tangible
1987..some point when summer was soon to die into autumn This is an erasure, a town wiped clean, the precise mathematics and cold numbers of what is no more, this is the miles between places, the pauses, that thing you never said, this is nothing and oceans, a pile of words in a heap, and yet things grow from here. This is a place that ripped open holes, killed things, decimated the candy innocence in a boy forever. The letter is in the boy’s hands and the words are not what was expected after several years of a long distance and so deeply complicated first love. She once was flowing hair on his pillow, was tapes sent of her songs when her thoughts turned to him, more precious her voice shuttled from 3 states away. This boy is a corpse in me now, a rotten shrunken little mass clogging something now or shot like stars into tiny bits amongst a darkness thick and dense. She wrote poems on his skin just 3 years before in English class. The handwritten letter broke him in this place, split him on a hot summer afternoon now dotted with small high pathetic impotent clouds on an orange blue smoggy sky here. This place has steps to the house, the mailbox, the parcel package now worn down to a tan blur on hands now oddly aged in memory, old man hands on what was a 16 year old boy, tired, weary, lined and scarred here/there. She had just held him a week before at that prom. The surrounding houses on the street here are broken , jagged, ripped apart or erased completely, a circle of broken teeth and that cruel sky of clouds drifting forever in from dead storms from the previous day hundreds of miles away, their corpse thin lines beheaded from thunderstorms long wiped clean. Her touch is almost tangible here, her voice almost audible in the letter long thrown away after holding onto to the sad artifact way too long. She cheated, she lied, she already had moved on while promising teen versions of living together, traveling , marriage whatever that cloud of pop illusions and dust meant to this boy long dead into me now. May this place in memory forever mourn him , bury him in broken recollection like rocky soil. May years also bury this place, move it deeper away. I turn now in this memory to the west and the house is fluttering slightly as though wavering, almost to mirage on the hot pavement to vanish, sadly this is not to be. The boy is a ghost in pictures now, some odd phantom faintly recognizable, but curse it all , this place is filling in more even now, that pain almost again flooding anew , the dna of a breaking , of things that in this moment forever fell away.
Apr 8, 2013 / 7:57am
It Flashes Like Lightning
1998…sometime in late spring …Clutching the edges of a mattress as though this movement will release a thousand coils of pressure within. The room is messy here in this place as a new world is nearing its end after being the venom antidote of another just 12 months or so before. The window now holds a broken quarter finished image of some kind of greenery, a lawn at a steep angle, a bit of a tree, mostly nothing , an erasure. The day here is perpetually late afternoon, the light (forever false now within that black cave inside the skull, in that piece of meat ) soft a bit, muted in recall. The wrinkled thrift store clothes and weather magazines cluttering the floor just flashed a carpet of games and juice container caps; that is from a room when I was a child…perhaps this is a childhood to the cynical eyes and synapses now. Graduate school is nearing its end and no car no job no money looms near ; the calendar increasingly has become venom filled before this moment/place and a flat earth is ahead in a few weeks’ time. I turn now back to the closet and it flashes like lightning with white shirts I never wore, a dull tepid place holder for what is long landfill feed. Art school cliff edge apartment room is a loose tooth here, eroding, its geometry off and moving from the place it came from. The younger me clutches that mattress here in pure terror as that unwritten undrawn world races silently toward me from some beyond in time toward this formerly quiet little sloppy refuge.
Apr 6, 2013 / 3:54am
This Moment, This Crash
1986. Some day. Some month. Some hour. It is always a scattered geometry here. The crazy boards holding the rafters of the garage, the crashing sinking pier in a storm of emotions as I read that sentence and paragraph. Things break here. Things fall away near here. The evening was a typical boredom wrapped inertia of teen years and nothing going on. Three friends had come over to play pool and try to sculpt some amazing evening or at least a plan from the hanging sense of dread of a dead Friday at 16. This place in time would have been washed away in years by now if not for what happens when a box falls down from those shadowy, dust encrusted, black widow plush boards above. The garage door is detailed but of a metal likely from a television show of the era and the side walls glitter in shadow with tools and jars from ten years of this place and those other days where no great glimmer of adventure or wound in time came to be; they are legion and they are long gone in totality like time’s amnesia and cleaning to bone housekeeping . The notes from my parents to each other are/were tender and a glimpse into a world otherwise beyond reach at 16 (artifacts /youth). The drawings my father made as a lost teen were so strangely much like ours. It is warm here in some non-sensory way; a note was left in the record of this blot of brain chemistry/recall of this detail and it remains like those notes we found. The box reveals a small notebook at the bottom of the box. We almost left it alone, moved on to go eat fast food or call it a night (this would have murdered this night but also kept it from the bloody wound that will only scab over with my death). My mother’s notebook has diary entries for a class and the last ends with (roughly as the years surely here shift in and out the little words, the skeletal ones amongst the thoughts alive here so clear): “ I am losing my ability to move now, my limbs betraying me, soon I may lose my voice. My son who suffered so much with his leg braces and surgeries , I fear I am to fail him as my body fails me. I am sorry that… (next few words unreadable…handwriting no longer possible for her). This moment , this crash, this garage full of denoted warm air, this shred of 16, that boy dead in me, it is of reading her moment of language betraying her, of her hand unable to move the pen. It is before the next bit in time where I fell apart, where a weight unknown hit and sent that boy fetal for hours. I turn now in this little place in memory to the door to the house with an irrational desire deep as tides to run in to embrace her in this place where she is alive, new salt born all these decades later; the door is locked in the memory and is the wrong shape and color.
February 25, 2013
She Turns Here
Her face is a smear, a stain, a wash of color and fade. 1987/88. The end of the day together at that amusement park by rust and stain and lights and candy and sweaty teens in odd animal costumes wandering about. The last light has crashed to the west a few hours before this place/moment. Her face is here forever turning away. The day had been a group of friends and this strange new person. She was a brilliant chola. Our words by the afternoon were colliding and fusing in some unseen place between us. By late afternoon we were sneaking off , holding hands, making out in shrubs on the edge of this place of rides and manufactured experience. I am a thin , awkward 17 forever here, this cold evening as that day is about to curdle , fold and die , killed by what she is about to say, what severs seconds from here. The sky here is a summer evening picked to just geometry and color. I had fallen in love with the girl who made a rainbow on a bus window. This was 4 years before here. Her afrosheen hair products had hit the glass as she slept. Kids full of ignorant cruelty laughed. I protected her. A year later (these islands in time I rarely visit..they are scorpion fanged ..) she wrote notes backwards on my skin for me to read in mirrors home from school. She broke my heart a few months before this amusement park now lit by a light made only of memory, some chemicals in the brain, sad streetlights and synapses. I turn to the south now and the parking lot is a cliché of a million movies and lost teen days at various places that hold no roots in adulthood , the oatmeal of past with no moment that sparked like lightning , so bright and molten or as here so a force of destruction and the dark palette of emotions. Her face is forever turning away here. The holding of hands almost feels warm still of that afternoon, that poor insect in amber, that plot of so many bad television shows. Her face is a squirming mess of incompletion now and forever on this little spot in memory’s odd pastiche map. She soon will open the car door of a friend of mine and shrug. She will casually tell me she is taken, that it was fun, that it all means nothing and the day to in seconds become fiction, farce, another blow to that 17 year old boy that once used these same eyes to watch his first love sleep and to read her letter that cut off years to an atlantis thrown off a flat earth. Here forever is the place of the pause of seconds before it happened again but of a seemingly hope filled, balm of a day, to him/me proof of some kind of doom soon as she casually drives away. She turns here. Forever. A light by another car flickers now but it too is surely false.
February 3, 2013
The Trees Are Gigantic Here
1974/5/6 I am a little boy. Running away from home. They will all be better off without me here; the family is a circuit and I am some odd obtuse odd shaped part. I have packed 3 sandwiches of bologna and bread and they shake in a plastic bag here in my tiny hand. I have collected 2 dollars in quarters and they rattle in my tiny corduroy pocket. I limp in this memory severely with my bad leg that was to have been forever in a wheelchair if not for the first of its kind surgery. My parents told them I might be an astronaut I would later find out; that kept it to only a few articles in now surely long thrown away medical journals of this odd boy. I look around now in this derelict satellite past and the light is the accumulated dirty orange flare of so many old photos. There are railroad tracks which may have never actually been as my little feet move forever west here. They do not need me. I will find a circus and clean, will shovel the filth behind those giant gentle elephants I saw as an even younger boy. This is a deeply sad place that floats still in a far back inner tide in this grown and tired man. The trees are gigantic here, as still seen in the eyes of a boy of 5, his short strides, his sad little blue eyes. I turn back and there is a black smear where my brother would have been, approaching, sent to catch the futile flight, the tiny journey. But it seemed/seems like a long time, an eternity of parting to never return. It had simply become clear that I was in their way, maybe brought into the world when I was never meant to be. I look down here and the bologna sandwiches are forever impossibly colored in that dirty sun.
21 January, 2013
The Rain Here Does Not Fall
1976-77-78 This parking lot seems to go on for miles in all directions. The drive took half a day to get here/there/infinity/nowhere. A huge storm, possibly the biggest ever to hit California will never come here, perpetually missing to a north lost in years, the sky a taunting mix of mid level clouds to impotent high cirrus. Many of the people that are faint near opaque blurs here have since passed away, the crowd when we forever pull up, the faceless cave of a man we are about to talk to by a staircase of wood or was it cement or was it at all….. The storm was a “pineapple express” , a storm from the equator to here born north of Hawaii, this one was the largest ever, a lone picture of it floats on an image search on the internet, a now vestigial broken organ cut from many things. My father is turning off the radio in a rental car from that place that long ago went out of business (another death….the great irony is that the only death that can ever truly resonate here will be mine…the great retina of memory closing, this place and many others never on maps to go too in that instant, a catastrophe of cities destroyed in seconds that will be seen by no one at all). The radio plays some song , a guitar and some voice rubbed clean away. The rain here does not fall from these incomplete clouds. I turn east In this central valley memory where some relatives were going to try to make some deal that failed and see parking lot meld with crops to an impossible horizon. This is a bubble and a city here, nothing and everything I someday will lose
January 5, 2013
A Snow Squall of Glass
1978/79/80…Some designation/marker in time and its related architectures. This is a sketch now. I am sitting in a Jeep that is filling with warm rain from a downpour from a low cloud now wiped clean to a paper white sky. The jeep keeps changing shape as doors grow smaller and larger, change colors as such detail is long left to guesswork and imposters. We got money after the man crashed into us on the way to buy my brother pants; the car came fast from a sidestreet then in some odd neurological fit of primal skill of some kind slowed to a frame by frame crawl..tick tick tick……car…..closer..man…beard…glasses….he has no idea…impact….my mother heading to steering wheel..tick tick tick…….brother to dash…me to seat…soon the 2 black eyes in the school photos sent home as though to place on top a piano..give to grandma with some sort of pride and duty..…tick tick tick….then a snow squall of glass bending in all directions. Oddly this other moment is clear as though recent while the vacation has succumbed to the moths of time and deemed irrelevance, trauma trumps joy here it seems. Back in the Jeep I turn back now and the island is not forest as it was, it is a pathetic sketch of lines, slight shading, a few sad trees drawn as though from wires bent into shapes… but the warm water…that heavy rain…it is visceral still.
The island is not the one this car is forever rotting away on, but this scab of memory, this eroding fragment and fraction. Later my father would almost get shot at a non tourist bar , a hurricane would suck lawnchairs, tables, drinks and even a kid’s toys back into the ocean’s guts as my pale young self sat in ill fitting short and a baby gut in horror as dad wanted us to go in, later my mother would have trouble with pains that decided to live within her, not of a car crash. The rain shower from a seemingly impotent feeble cloud falls hard onto an almost number line mid point in a time line that pulses and breathes around it as it falls away. That boy saw through these same eyes yet he is not even a pale ghost now nor is that storm; such is the cruelty of time.
December 25, 2012
Some Motion Like Film
1977 or 1978 or another year. This place is a desert, this place is mountains, this place is a single storm. This place is nowhere. The sky is an impossible curve here, like running under a lifted parachute as a child playing games, but this one is of cloud, of one spot that shoots thick lightning and rain, while the rest is simply undulating once vapor, not odd pencil lines swirling around as though drawn on a giant napkin. The beautiful birds that proved to be underwear flying from luggage flying off the station wagon has happened some measure of time earlier, the quicksand that will almost eat my mother alive before her illness begins to, this is a few slices away still in time. The thunder is silent now here, it was quiet then. The storm came out of nowhere, so very high were the clouds, yet it fills the sky here as it did then, a giant if it had been lower to the ground, perspective itself robbing it of this glory and right over the empty terrain veined only by the one highway and a few dreary motels. I look back in this memory and the fake wood paneled station wagon grants me a window, a view of road, a dotted line still as in photographs even as the road pretends to hold some motion like film bled from recall. Later we will stop in the mountains to find a place to stay and the odd storm and its tiny pocket of rain and lightning will amble across the dead miles to snow in August. The next morning from here it was/will forever be already gone. A train of cars caught instead in just another day and its details.
A Fog Of Error
1992…some month…. I am ballast here. So much weight, math, a young man me in a seat in a plane now torn for parts or rusting in a desert graveyard, the boy/man a mudslide away into the years that barely tether this crumb of time to the present (it too of course sliding back into past). I/he looks out the window and I see an abstract landscape with almost early vector computer graphic forms where towns were/are. An hour before, the new family of San Francisco college friends had become a phantasmic montage of waving hands shrinking to dots against a pane of glass at an airport terminal with some number and name. For months the streets, road signs and faces of home in Los Angeles had been slowly wiped partially away in the rush of this new place of away at school and time away. Now the plane itself is but synaptic dust….a fog of error and geometry, the sky this as well. I turn backward in this memory and there are empty seats glowing with gaudy colors surely of a postcard or some other lost thing; a man looks at me now in a suit and hat, his odd clarity disturbing, maybe he was a person passed on the way out or he is manifest completely to fill the logic of someone has to be there, there is other life in the transitory as well as transit. Soon will come the feeling of living no where, both cities seeming unrealities, a feeling that shook that 22 year old passenger both in that/this plane and in this body and pale soup of recall to his bones and beyond. Enlightened amnesia he/I would later write of it in a notebook during some class long forgotten, the page surely methane flame or mulch by some year past the moment that birthed it all. I turn forward now and can almost still feel that sense of belonging nowhere, of floating astronautic, a black mile from any existential pang or angst. This place is cooling with the cynicism of time and age, untethering, the opposite of lava, the opposite of youth longing for some place, the storm dying into ruin yet there is still drops of rain. This place is dying, someday a vestigial organ then away.
December 12, 2012
1989 at some month, week and day. I am drunk and not yet twenty here. An underachieving lost lunged time even now vintage in years. I so want to show everyone here that I matter, that I am smart, that I am not the human version of the bread wrapper stuck to the fence now changing colors that hit so hard in this place/still does in recall. The backyard party for my brother’s friend long out of touch and rumored to have lost touch with reality in some recent vintage of life’s souring. But here, this now/then/forever he is in his early twenties and I am a lost 19, a boy/man underachieving brain in a jar depressed drunk on the open bar and about to black out. This place is forever melancholy, a fun earlier place in time about to be poisoned by the fears of a life not yet defined and so wanting to become, to form some sense of place even as this forever bobbing self mannequin of past. The yard has dirt and people, now wiped clean of detail, simply moving in some conversations now soundless in this incompletely drawn place that cannot be self devoured, that piece of food stuck in the teeth but of memory, past and a pain still scorpion tailed of another tenant in this body. I now turn north in this memory palace of ballast and insecurity, this inner scab shot into synapses and some kind of chemistry and recall; the sky is red as though a fire is raging in the hills now cut down to minimal lines and shade, this never happened, this is an error, vivid as blood, bright as raw wound. I soon in this place will be that horrid doll driven while one is asleep, my body a car with no driver spewing nonsense , so wanting to show that there was some potential here/there, some damn sense of a clear becoming to align in later years. Soon will come the rambling, then the banging against a fence a mile away in the cold innards of night. The sleeping driver in this place is lurking, near, one more drink, one more conversation, I am to make something of this life. These all float broken as timbers here as the fire disappears and the basic geometry of the party lives on, fanged even in fade.
December 5, 2012
Details (Do Not Matter “Here”)
I am running late here. Forever. It is some time in 1987 or 8. I am forever late for that class here. The old red car still has the sprinkler head holding up the window that later swimming somewhere in time slices I will have that bad date where it rains out of nowhere and the sprinkler falls to the floor soaking that young woman now forever a carved absence in a seat in some errant past. I am late. Class is at ten a.m or was it 11 (details do not matter “here”… the sky looks like asphalt and has the finish of a rushed job by a kid…). The red car is now a crazed mélange of geometric planes and then form, an exploded game space of something once tangible and physical. I am late in this aging now and there should be that boy, the one who ran to class ahead of me, the one who was on time, 9:57 and fierce feet downhill to my 10:02 and kicked out of class by that mean sweaty man that hated all of us for being what he never could be, to have possibilities of some future doing something beyond this little world. I turn now and move forward in this memory place and the car is gone… the parking lot lurches incompletely… the northwest corner sheared clean off now… sky now stars, then clouds, then a dim blue of some time. I later will remember this place while riding past the dull nothing of the central valley, it will tie to non Euclidian geometry somehow even as I failed those courses, it will become ideas of time as geometric, here a future day now another island of past. For now I turn right to see the car as a red dot in an impossible recall. Soon I will be that forever tardy, a dull day among hundreds of this cheese slice in time and a life. I now look forward and there is that classmate, surely a stand in from a hundred strangers.