Tuesday, October 24, 2006

limping the volvo

...across the state yesterday, damn good thing we left when we did, what with a dead battery and a fauly alternator. a series of charges and jumps and we make Rob's by dusk with no headlights to speak of or shine. miss my girls something sweet. currently waiting for steph-o to swing by the bookshop with 'em in tow. the next few weeks will be spent primarily at the farm slogging through mountains of books, playing with toddlers and getting some semblance of a winter garden in place. this keyboard is sticky from too much beer so please forgive any typos.

good to see me ma and pa. been awhile since I was in Eastern Wash two weekends in a row. My lungs will be recovering for days [curse you dry dry dust!]. Patched things up with the madre, got a bit of work done in padre's dusty gold mine, sneezing in between marvelous literary discoveries, absconding to the brew pub for beer and games one and two of the world series, oh silly sport of my youth, on which so much used to depend.

first crack of sun through the morning clouds and then gone again, like so many days.
preparing for my wild and crazy crew to descend upon our fair city this week/end. what tales do we hold in store for each other? ashley will get to spend some time with the girls for the first time ay-ver [to quote some dirty hippy]. excited about that slice of the pie. will report back when she freaks out over their levels of adorableness.

an idle tuesday so far, but storms are brewing. soon the dash begins, to empire and all realms outwards.

Monday, October 23, 2006

up at four a.m. 'cause I'm a mostly-worthless drunk who shouldn't go to bed at a reasonable hour 'cause it screws everything up.

i think about how much i hate myself and my life sometimes while rocking rhythmically back and forth on my old wooden horse as Rob sets up the Brio train set of my abandoned youth. a nice lunch and serious talk with mi madre today, i hope things went as well as I thought they did but only time can tell that.

Attempt to watch the first two games of the World Series with Rob and Padre at the brew pub across from my pop's shop but I'm too scattered to stare at some screen and gift it my attention for too awful long. Stress and the bottled-up masks of internalized emotions ask me to take a shot of whiskey and I don't refuse. the nights get black if you stop thinking about sunshine, and I'm not very careful sometimes.

entertaining to say the least to dig through my father's back rooms, hunting treasure we don't know by sight, smell, dust or dream. a signed robert anton wilson over here in a box of junk books, my father's delta tau delta memorabilia box from whitman college, some old batiks, an enormous h.r. giger book, assorted records, a shotglass, twenty-seven pairs of sunglasses in a safeway bag, a little box of old silver dollars, weird sex books too strange to sell (at least here in Walla Walla). These are a few of my favorite things. But oh, the dust! Oh my aching lungs! Oh cigarettes and beer to ease this ache (at least temporarily).

I miss my girls and Steph is pissed off at our lack of co-parenting. I think everything's going great for the most part and actually prefer that we keep things short, sweet and simple, especially when dropping off the girls. Curious what other single parents, divorcees, used-to-be-nuclear parents, etc. have to say about these matters. Obviously we need to spend some time together to talk about details, work out kinks, be a family (however disfunctional) but I really don't think that more is necessarily better.

Oh brave new forgiveness, wrap me in your robes and let the people that I love love me back full and real and honest with no strings attached. Oh brave new heart and sick old lungs, drag yourselves out from behind the bar, from behind your masks, from behind your relentless egos and shape yourselves into some other lumps of clay that hold up a bit better to the storms of other folks' emotions. Stuck on my own established automatic monotonous patterns, my groove, rote, rut, approach, manner, method, madness, strat, style, tack, scheme, tradition, all of these and my policies need dusting. Do routines still increase skill if you loathe them?

Strange trip this time, spent almost entirely in either my father's bookstore or the brew pub across the street. no cabin, no mom's house (banned for a bit), no leaving the limited downtown arena. I have time for those hearts who make time for me and it drives me insane not being able to share my being to its utmost. I pick out books, add them to the pile of 25 boxes we will drag across the state later today, walk a few paces on this old tired track. Worry about my parents too much.

Come to Walla Walla to work for my father but there's not much to do in so little time other than just haul a bunch of shit out of his way. What a gold mine this old store is. I dig and dig and dig and never make a dent. I remember coming here over the years with all the different crews, women, drunks, poets, students, dragging them all back to see the place of my birth, the cabin, the books, the insides of my mind. What does any of it mean to them I wonder? Do they still smile and count their blessings when they think of me or have I shuffled off that mental coil, should I give it more pause?

Five twenty now and fuck all but I want a cup of coffee and a new identity in South America and several hand guns. Goddamn Walla Walla. I hate Beatrix Potter right now. This pencil needs sharpening. I am a bitter, jaded, cynical human being who should mostly just be left alone to stew in his own juices and try not to hurt the people he pretends to love. I don't want to drive across the stupid state today. Maybe I'll make Rob drive since he actually evidently knows how to sleep. Wish I was better at talking to the people who matter. Too many feet in this old mouth to make room for words. Alas, lackadaisical existence, tense heart-strings, impersonal audience with whom I share personal secrets and stories on this stage of our own making. What say you to my shifting sands? Am I still desert? Am I not dry? Would not a rain of tears quench this thirst?

Friday, October 20, 2006

always plenty of criticism, never enough support...

...from friends, family, lovers, painters, dreamers, drinkers, thinkers. kind intentions often reveal themselves in rancid robes. how many times are we gifted the partner of our dreams only to have those idealized dreams dashed on some insignificant rock of detail? when we need words we get worry, when we need silence we get sound, when we need love we get sex, when we need sex we find friends and then forsake them.

half the time i dismally fail to utilize my free time, choosing instead to wallow in some sort of psuedo-self-pity/philosophical coccoon, banking on the chance it will grow me wings I know how to wear.

spoiled. thoughts and heart given too much time to ferment, foment, fester into some sweating knot of sick love thirsty for a fix it doesn't need, just yearns for hopelessly, helplessly. hindered by indecision i blunder and wonder 'round blind alleyways and deaf avenues, listening for that perfect blend of silence and sound to wrap my eardrums around. but what percussive paradise could lure this sour lust?

tomorrow's pictures flirt with today's temperament, eventually and ultimately seduced by yesterday's proud insolence and rash hips. lips locked around the word, seeking a she to share it with in secrecy, in silence, in solitude, together.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

bartered away the dregs of my dreams for some new ones...

...not nearly as threadbare, quite the haul at barter faire: a corn fritter, turkish coffee, 3 bells, 2 rocks, 2 blankets, a pipe, some books, salsa, pickled beans, hot and spicy pickled veggies, pumpkin seeds, a slug of kids clothes, a nice basket, some old hand tools, a sharp hand-scythe, two pairs of gloves, a scarf, a hat, an awesome knit ball for the girls, a sweater from India, absinthe and some other unmentionables, strawberry mead, a fir tree, 2 coat racks, ten bags of herbs, twelve tinctures, a barrell, e bars of soap, some salve and some lip balm. Oh, and $600 from hawking Loompanics books! Yeah Undergrtound Economy!

we arrive friday at 6:30ish, cruise the barter guts after the obligatory nightmare of parking the truck crammed full of books with tricycle strapped atop. food, a beer after the long hot road, unpack, pitch camp with friends. make new friends every half hour or so, too many connections to possibly keep track of. I apologize ahead of time for my absentmindedness, joke about being away from my desk/brain, talk fast and true, handing out pirate papa and business cards, pushing myself hard. the smoky din of the faire, i had forgotten how dusty and smoky it gets there. sleep in the dust and straw wrapped in my sleeping bag with no zipper under my left-in-shelton-tent. hardballin' it, eastern washington style. i love it. i belong to this landscape.

One of the largest Barter Faires ever, I believe. We awake on saturday morning to 3,500 folks camped at the front gate waiting to be let in. Owen and Paul and Alex and I rock the vendor scene for two days with the oyster mushroom grow kits and "crazy books" enticing all the wierdoes at once. We holler out Loompanics titles to lure in our prey, guilt tripping the folks who won't stop walking. "Books for people with long hair and red hats." "Mushroom grow-kits, a bomb waiting to happen." "Revolution between the covers!" "We've got crazy ideas over here, crazy ideas, come and get them." Imagine an anarchist used-car salesman jacked up on psychedelics and life in his vision of heaven's huge parking lot. More bent on the sheer process and art of the deal than on capitalism and profit. There to get a smile, a handshake, to get spat on, to inflame, to cause to blush by wit or wine. Effectively cornering the book market at Barter Faire has its benefits, we were immediately a landmark for navigation purposes and attracted a lot of strange stories from our passersby (also thanks to Loompanics).

Our tent bursts with life and light and laughter and strange ranging talk. Apples, water, mushrooms and books. Paul's and my prophecy from six years ago comes true, our dreams become the life-lines we weave around us, reckless visions turned valid ventures. Now we're living yesterday's dreams and actively crafting tomorrow's. I notice a definite shift in my logical patterns and processing, my cerebral self expanding to look back in on where I/it used to be. I develop the ability to move my own thoughts around like one would rearrange a desk.

Around the lopez island fire on saturday night I learn to dance again without self-consciousness to a fantastic marimba band. it had been a long, long time and felt extraordinary to let loose around an absolutely enormous bonfire surrounded by friendly, familiar, whole & total strangers. We have a prayer circle, offer cedar blessings, I get up, bless Lyli and Scarleht, silently promising to bring them next year, bless all the young parents and the old and wish everyone luck walking their waking dreams. Up on the hill Owen and I watch the steady stream of headlights, absorb the myriad noises emanating from the sea of tents below us. Movement is evident everywhere, a restless, flowing tidal hive.

Overall a wonderful time, dreams of next year already fermenting. This place inspires the poet, the father, the businessman, all parts of me entwine here, culminating in a sharp-edged honesty of character and a lens through which I can verily see the future. Sunday night we abscond with our loot to Owen's cabin, a lovely handbuilt home at 3,500 feet above sea level in the Okanogan highlands. Gravity-fed well and solar power. All the comforts of a place well loved. We shoot rifles, celebrate, take a sauna and walk around in the crisp night air, whiskey and beer and woodstoves and smoke and residual effects of the uber-social faire whispering in our ears. I remember my roots and where I want to plant them. I recall the taste of clean air and water. My head opens up and heaven peers in, gifting me this lucid light like day inside the confines of my cluttered consciousness, a spotlight I shine on my insecurities and ambitions to try to clip the wings of wishes that might fly away without themselves.

A casually idle tuesday morning with Owen as we clean the cabin and prepare to depart for more westerly destinations. drop in to say goodbye to his folks in okanogan and then down the road. Stop for burgers at Easy's. I receive the tiniest ketchup bottle I have ever seen and pause to ponder the meaning of life in this grain of sand. We whip back to Oly and I deal with car trouble, eventually bumming a ride back home for myself and the girls after realizing my headlights aren't really very bright and my taillights are nonexistent. Eamon rescues the car the next morning and we spend an easy day at home, Becca joining us off sick from work and Eamon's friend Leslie coming to stay for a few days. We lounge and play with the girls. I sporadically do housework in little doeses. Deal with the enormous pile of laundry from Barter Faire (wash everything so the goddamn scabies don't attack!).

Back on the home front Lyli and Scarleht are saying new things left and right, combining old ideas with new words in fresh sentences. Blowing my mind daily. Lyli dubs her nipples "nopels", which I find remarkably appropriate. Life is good, halbeit somewhat quick-paced. This weekend I will make up with my mother, talk about all sorts of crazy shit with my father and work my little ass off with Rob at my pops' bookstore in Walla Walla. Then back across the state for next week's parenting and the arrival of my debaucherous group of friends from all points out. As my schedule grows increasingly complex I may start posting less but more, if you wanna make any sense out of that. Regularity goes down, quality and quantity go up, yes? yes.

heave to and prepare to be boarded! the pirate papa ship sails for your shores soon. in the back of my mind I assemble the next pieces of my book empire, waiting for that simple day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

yoka da doke on a tipe-a-yoyo

that's okey dokey on a typewriter to the lay-parent.

instead of marvelling at the things we have, we dream about and worry about the things we don't.

i'm full of ambiguous aphorisms, hot wind, vile temper, wit, pith, pathos and vinegar.

Darkness falls and I imagine myself in different fatherly roles, a father in some East-coast urban ghetto, a father on the Serenghetti, in feudal europe, paleolithic northern Siberia, modern-day Palestine, barrio Mexico, a military father, a homosexual father, the stereotypical outsider father - an anachronism spread thin across cultures and eras, always forgotten, persecuted, barely documented, an anomoly no one expects but everyone silently appreciates.

Off tomorrow at daybreak for the Okanogan/Tanasket Barter Faire, a little mind-expanding literary woodsy socialism to whet unknown appetites and gather winter clothes for little ones to keep warm. Riding the only shotgun with good old friend Owen to a series of blankets, tables, bonfires and beautiful people dancing even though it's fucking cold. I will be incommunicado for the next several days, but feel free to leave a message. I shall return.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

go be patient somewhere else

An unduly distressful completely unproductive lazy morning leading up to hours at Kinkos and the Post Office, lines, toddlers, tiny wars over stickers, spinach feta turnovers disentigrated over corporate rugs. Moving on to the hardware store, a parking ticket, a dead battery, running out of baby wipes, a trashed house, two weekends worth of business/pleasure/road trips and home neglect on the horizon. I get home and burn a bowl of pasta while splitting wood outside. I give my girls leftovers and "cookies" [read: no fat fig newmans] and exhaustedly put them to bed after Becca and I fly them all over the downstairs. They're hyper so Lyli gets up 3 times before sleep. I overload, therefore I energize. I store up energy, only to let it all flood out. Sometimes my myriad projects pile up to overflowing... I feel an accck! worthy of Bill the Cat, or Cathy.

Musing on the oddities emanating from my own mouth these days:

"kitty doesn't go in the oven"

"go be patient somewhere else"

"you can have more food the next time you eat sweety"

"run with scissors after you clean your room"

"did you just say 'coochie time time'?"

"please abstain from hugging papa's leg until you have successfully removed all the applesauce from your person." [yeah, I really talk to my kids this way]

[insert bizarre parental trick of the tongue-mind here]

Some friends appear when providence calls upon them to perform, sometimes these angels are devils temporarily gifted wings and a mission, sometimes these momentary angels take the form of total strangers, new lovers, a man from out of town, a new customer, a fresh face at the drive-through bank window.

Their presence reminds us that our actions and emotions are worthwhile and admirable. Their touch reassures us that we are human, manifold, sexual, real.
Their wings beating against the windowpane makes us dream in staggered instances, little polaroids of yesterdays and tomorrows, dream-smells more real than their very impetus.

I sweat beside my woodstove, currently cooking at slightly over 700 degrees farenheit, my visions of the future bleeding out my awkward grins that should be tears as I sit alone in a house I call a home.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

time for the heart versus time for the head

it makes me feel inordinately selfish but my time needs to be my time. i can't really "hang out" anymore, just get restless and bored even if I love the people present. attention span is shot to shit from 2.5 years of parenting. i'm not used to saying no to beautiful people when queried concerning friendships, relationships, investing time together. but with a schedule that barely leaves time for self I have to be ruthless with my free time, and it's not free, it's very valuable (at least to me). sometimes I feel like I have too many friends for how small i am, stretched much too thin to go around. i parcel myself out in little increments, the secret to success. it is good to be social again after so long in the metaphorical/literal woods but I forgot how exhausting and unrewarding it can be at times.

feels good to get my bookstore legs back a bit. spent several hours (incrementally of course) shelving books yesterday, more again today. little minute conversations with customers while the visa machine prints, talk a big story 'cause my story's big. too many names and faces, a blur behind the waterfall. my life a deluge of stimuli and me with not enough hands to sort it all.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Lyli says: "People and friends tell me I have blue eyes."

Then: "Papa's stuff is happy." - she gestures around our ransacked book-laden living room.

I am reminded of what an amazing task is set before me and I wonder what it must be like to only see my children a few hours or minutes a day. Do most fathers continue to marvel at what I have grown accustomed to? What a terrible fate, when repetition and time conspire to make the marvelous mundane.

This morning I run errands: post office, diapers, gas, some frozen food (shop for the fresh before I come home from the weekend's work). At home Eamon watches the girls for s spell while I pick apples, split wood, breakdown cardboard boxes, clean a portion of the barn, empty the ash from the woodstove. At nap time I have a beer, read a comic, fold some clothes, smoke a cigarette. It's so hard sometimes to pick a single task when confronted with such a multitude of duties.

My peeling-fresh tattoo reminds me to treat my life like my art. I study a small patch where the skin, dyed red, has flaked away, more red beneath the blistered layers like fleshy onion. My thoughts squander themselves on permanence, her rigid philosophies rarely barely welcomed in my realm. Parts of me draw further in despite whatever last week's pledges may have entailed. Sharing small slivers of life with other parents swells my self-confidence but makes me shy about my own stories... if sense decides to grace that with her presence, so be it.

Overloaded as usual. When I have time to work and focus all I do is waste and relax. Slept almost 11 hours last night. Hadn't done that for more than two years, at least. Felt strange but good, I was wide awake this morning and my neck and shins didn't hurt as much as they have recently. A wet day in the woods. I revel in it, rain washing sins and bits of bullshit down some emo-dimensional drain to somewhere other than here, which is fine by me. Outside the mists blur the lines between real and ether. I trace fairytales along the tree-line, flirting with this grey horizon, seduced by this most silver sky.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

sagacious solipsism

sleep a restless pain-in-the-neck five hours and awake at two a.m. hurting and not tired. watch a twistedly entertaining movie: Naked, would expect nightmares if I remembered any of my dreams, so I'll just walk around horrified by sparrows and fall's final dandelions all day tomorrow, a shambling socializing somnambulist who stubbornly refuses to recall emotions. yet i remember a time i lived on trail mix and wine for what seemed like eons. I must be this ego of which I keep getting accused, harboring grudges against itself for previous transgressions.

for the sake of my own lonliness, I assume other single parents feel as useless and alone and unproductive as I do. fully realizing the futility, pig-headedness and untruth of these ideas I keep on truckin', nose ground down on a rough wheel. I smoke another cigarette, recalling more chemically dependent days than these and thanking myself and several gods I made it this far. i meditatively mutter oath sworn mantras about tomorrow and laugh at my own ridiculous optimism.

i boast a proclivity for extremes while it slowly tears me apart. i suppose eventually i too, like my own conclusive theories, will have to find some middle ground. in the meantime i weather the storm of my own bottled emotions, the tiny ship inside heaving to and fro with the ebb and flow of tears, the gravity of this situation moon, my heart a sattelite incinerated by the atmosphere of this very room.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I tire of the monotony of routine details

my current boundaries of brain unable to wrap themselves around these rhythms
at worst I gradually get done what needs to get done
which i suppose isn't all that bad, i'm just overly-judgemental of myself

my tortise-pace drives the rabbit in me wild
and likewise the hare torments the turtle

a terrible blend of domestic and self-employed duties rolled into a ferocious ball of social-sexual energy with not enough down time, an addictive personality and a mind on fire. often i end up wasting what precious time I have just sitting, spacing out, not even reading orwriting, barely thinking, broadcasting on an entirely different plane it feels. my habits are too old and my neck hurts too much for my age. i go through waves of being very clean and very messy/completely apathetic and our home reflects my temperament perfectly.

only sparse harvests of apples, pears and blackberries this year due to traveling and working so much. i make silent oaths to double efforts next year then think to my self that there will actually be six hands instead of just my two... i smile for the fourth time today. think about eating a carrot. eat a carrot. my compost is definitely odiferous.

lyli and scarleht read/sign their book together on the couch. I listen in awe to their non-stop twin talk, in full swing these days and utterly incredible to witness. sometimes, when i can, i like to just sit and listen to them talk and play for several hours without doing anything else. it happens several times a week and i have only an inkling how lucky I am.

the viking hats come out and all the rules go out the window. we have a viking-hats-give-you-super-cleaning-powers talk and then clean up the toy&diaper whirlwind in the living room. which reminds of me of earlier when I pre-empted one of Lyli's fits with a very sassy "you're gonna throw a fit now huh?" and she quit whimpering and whining and just grinned big and giggled and stuck her tongue out at me for ten whole seconds. listen for the sounds of me melting and scheming all at the same time. there are so many little tricks that work perfectly once you figure them out.

i stuff my sorrows full of words and they stand up a bit better. i tell myself tomorrow is another sunrise, another stab at the world, and another day under heel.


not stressing, just incredibly full of life and friends and duties and details
calendar is booked virtually solid for the next month straight
invigoratingly oppresive
today i shirk my errands, enter some books online (my meditation)
enjoy a cup of wine in the afternoon sun and try to decompress a bit
sort through some of the fuddled little bits, collate, file, freak out a little

i purposefully don't try to clean the entire house in one day
i do the dishes, move some clothes around closer to where they're supposed to be
try not to worry that my desk looks like a war zone on drugs
life just got weird the other day

half my weeks are spent lounging on red square selling books and loosely monitoring twin girls... I'm a workaholic and am not used to sitting in the sun doing virtually nothing... strange what my "work" morphs into seasonally, I guess I had forgotten, or not had to incorporate these rhythms into my new lifestyle. Whenever a change takes place, however minute, expect unseen ripples.

would i trade this for a sterile, stanrardized, predictable life of conformity and "security"? absolutely not. there is order to chaos, even anarchy has its guidelines.

i snap at my warring daughters in the living room, feel like shit for a couple hours, take a short nap and rebound to my normal distant busy crazy self. outside the dregs of my first garden offer up their final bounty: a few green tomatoes, a couple sprigs of basil, a single pathetic green bean, carrots about as big around as my arteries (which I eat anyway, out of principle). Not a bad job for my first real garden, a decent bounty over the last 4 months for minimal effort expended.

lost my language notes for the girls the other day, pissed about that. hopefully they'll turn up. i'm kind of loosing steam at the most interesting part just because it's getting to hard to keep track of everything. i want to just mount voice activated recorders in every room of the house but that's a bit expensive.

too much work piled up around here and I have no more free days at home without the girls... working weekends at Last Word again for the next stretch. barter fair and a trip to walla walla coming up quickly. good times roll. sometimes i follow slightly behind, dragging my left foot and whimpering for them to slow down and wait for the gimp.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

for spirit because she asked so nicely...

stolen from Heather

funny how things
rise to the surface over
to be skimmed from the top
of my consciousness,
then saved in a glass bottle
to be examined later or
like so much
post-consumer waste or
organic matter.
decaying whether
in bottle
landfill or
i suppose another option is to
see what is arising on the surface of my mind
and allow it
to float
or sink
as it will,
to be used or not as
S/He wills.

at the surface today:

...how my clothes prepare me to face the day
ready for battle
ready to dance
for whatever i intuit.
sheer blouse/black bra
layers and lace
industrial fake leather
duct taped
and militant fuck off
or anarchy
soft or
hard as nails found in an alley & saved
for future hammering
pounding and
but really both
at the same

...how intellectual
is no indicator of

...how silly i was to think
i was through with

...how miles & geography have
to do with closeness...

...how numbers love telling

...how chivalry is not really
it is just being reborn
with breasts...

...how procrastination is perhaps the true
of invention...

...how different and beautiful and crazy and sexy and fun and wounded
we are...