Sunday, 25 July 2010

Crazy Heart

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

This ain't no place for the weary kind
This ain't no place to lose your mind
This ain't no place to fall behind

I rolled the dice comin' to this town. I felt like I had nothin' to lose. So I sold everything and climbed on the plane with anxiety, hope and apprehension racing through my veins. I left Austin with my heart on the loose, bankin' on New York City, chasin' love and adventure. I found them both, along with madness and an overwhelming grind. I'm filled with a constant nagging dread. This city fuckin' beats me down, man. My body and mind feel dead. Eight million people and I don't got a single friend, like Gil Scott Heron said. I feel an indefinable ache. I have no sanctuary in this twisted state. I found love, but somehow lost myself in this place.

The full moon loomed over the rooftops of Brooklyn as the psychic and I sat in the sweltering darkened stairway of her building near the entrance to the subway. A candle burned next to a deck of tarot cards on the small table that stood between us. She peered into me with soft green eyes surrounded by smooth brown skin. Sweat traced the black of her hairline. The gold cross around her neck glinted with the flickering light. "You like this place sometimes, but mostly you're confused," she said, smiling as a cop's radio squawked on the sidewalk outside the door amidst the people. She stopped to listen, then continued, "It's too much for you here. You get lost in the shuffle." The sweat dripped down the side of my face and beaded on my arms. "You need to leave. Part of you is dead here." A glass breaking sounded on the street. "You'll be more alive someplace else. You need to be somewhere calm. I see Seattle." Her eyes closed as though she was meditating, opened, then searched me again as drunken laughter sounded from Bedford Ave and the drinking drunken crowds. "Someplace like that suits you. You got off track coming here. You'll get back on it once you leave. I'd leave as soon as possible if I were you. I see you surrounded by green. You're life is waiting for you."

The days and the nights have run together. I tried to make it work here. But it just doesn't feel like home. Lost, searching, twisting, turning, sweatin' out the demons and the hate. I feel like I'm stuck in bad still frame, a snapshot of a person who I don't recognize anymore. Like a bad dream that I can't wake myself from. My center is out there, somewhere. It seems it's my destiny to roam. I'm not done lookin'. I'm not done with love.

This ain't no place to fall behind
Pickup crazy heart and give it one more try
This ain't no place for the weary kind


Friday, 23 July 2010

Devil's Advocate

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

"You know, that story you told me last night of that friend of yours who you thought was possessed reminds me of that movie, THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. You know, that one where Keanu Reeves starts seeing the demons in people's faces," a guy I work with said as we stood in the shadows of the darkened lobby of the hotel where we worked.
"Yeah, that guy was possessd. I have no doubt about it. He was speaking in a dead language, in tongues. They're all around us in this fuckin' place too. Look at em'. We're surrounded. I see em'. This place is a carnival of greed, lust, vanity. Jesus, it gives me the fuckin' creeps."

My buddy showed up the next day from Oklahoma. He appeared in the swarming sea of people in Penn Station.

"Shit it's hot down here," he said as we descended into steaming subway. A train ground to a halt in front of us. The doors opened and we piled in. "This place is the devil's town man," I said as we sat down in the somber lifeless train, "Look at everyone. They look they're on fuckin' train to hell." He looked at them, then at me as though trying to decide if I'd gone crazy.

"You're losing it buddy," he said as we ate lunch at a cafe around the corner from my apartment in Williamsburg, sweat beading on our skin. "Yeah, maybe. Or maybe I'm seein' the truth." "Maybe, buddy. Then I guess if there's a devil, then there's a God too. You think God's talkin' to ya?" "Exactly. I'm seein' the signs, man. But it only happens when I'm sober, if I'm payin' attention, seeking. See, when I first got up here I was drinkin'. I was occluded." "Did you just say occluded?" "Yeah. And now that I'm sober I feel like I'm seeing things for what they are again." "Yeah, you're losin' it." "No. I'm seein' the fuckin' truth, man." "Okay. So then, you're sayin' this city is hell." "Maybe. A type of hell, I guess. And that's why I can't drink anymore. Because it keeps me occluded, lost in the darkness, headed for hell man! Fuck that place. I had a glimpse of it the other day when I was in the dry sauna at the gym. It just flashed through my mind that that was what hell was like, eternally burning hot. Thirst without water. Jesus, I got outta there quick. It shook me up." "Alright then," he said laughing, "Maybe you needa get outta here then." "Yeah, I've thought about it. Marfa, Texas. If it presents itself. For now this is where I'm supposed to be for some reason." "Marfa is God's country huh?" "Maybe?"

I put my sunglasses on as we exited the cafe into the sun. The top of an ad painted on the side of a six story building ahead read, 'Hell is waiting.' The rest of the ad was obscured by another building. "You see," I said pointing up the sign? "That's the kind of shit I'm talking about!" We stopped on the corner. People passed oblivious to us. He looked up at the ad and laughed. "Don't you think that's a little strange," I asked? "Yeah, sort of." "To me, that means Hell is waiting if I keep drinking and stay in the darkness." "That's up for interpretation." "Sure, but the point is that's how I feel that sign just spoke tome to let me know that what I was just talking about with you was real. Faith's a personal thing, man." "Alright. I'll give ya that. So you're not drinkin'." The sun beat down on us. "You've heard that saying, that the true believer's will see the signs," I asked? "Yeah." "Well I believe, and I'm seein' the signs." "It's an ad!" He said laughing. "Yeah, but it's also a sign!" He laughed again. "You know I think that's how God communicates. I mean, if He just appeared when you asked for a sign, it'd be too easy to believe. There'd be no faith involved." "Okay. Makes sense." "So, I think that's how He reveals Himself to believers if they're consciously seeking, is through the signs that are all around us. Most of the time signs are simply background noise and nothing more. But if you're seeking, asking to be shown the way, then you look up and a sign is speaking to whatever you're struggling with, then I think that's God revealing Himself. I mean, what better way! We're inundated with the fucking things. You see?" "I guess. I think this city might've cracked you though too."

The next day I took him to see the hotel where I work. "That place is creepy," he said afterward on the stained sidewalk in the balmy heat walking toward the subway, "It reminds me of that movie THE DEVILS ADVOCATE."


That's like the coolest fuckin' thing I've ever read in my life

Monday, 12 July 2010

Life Is Beautiful

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Marie bought bamboo blinds for the windows yesterday in Chinatown. The apartment felt cooler today, secure and secluded even though it was hot and glaring outside.

I sat at the computer having coffee reading an article about ayahuasca ( I'm supposed to be writing my own article about the stuff, but I haven't gotten it together. I just want to take the potion now and cast out the demons like the woman in the article did. The article got me thinking about my own experiences with demons, darkness, the devil, God and the light. It's happening, the battle for my soul, whether I'm paying attention or not. I'm going to start paying more attention. Focus on the light, like an Indian shaman in Austin once told me, not feed the negative thoughts - the Fear. It only has as much power as I give it. I forget this. It's nice to be reminded. The shamans in the article said the same thing. After reading it I felt a weight lift. Still, I want to go through the purification ritual. I've been searching for something like this for a while.

Riding through the bowels of the city on the subway I was reading THE ADDERAL DIARIES on my way to my therapy appointment. Stephen Elliot notes how we're the most medicated civilization in the history of the world yet our literature doesn't quite reflect this, rather it seems to tie things up in cute little palatable bows that never really happen in life. We're deluding ourselves, not looking in the mirror.

As the train rattled and lurched I thought about the book I'm working on and how I want it to be true to the untidy ending that I've found life to perpetually be.

At my therapy appointment I tried to explain all this - the dark and the light and the ayahuasca and my impatience with my search for meaning, and that meaning was what I was somehow trying to give my life by writing my book, and how this fucking city plays into it all,if I'm on the right path or I'm completely out off course, and that by drinking this jungle juice I might be able to finally kill these fucking demons off and see the truth about myself and write it - to my therapist who I often amuse with my ramblings. I used to just do this with friends in Austin at coffee shops. Now I pay someone. I think I felt better in Austin. But not much. Somewhere in the midst of trying to explain all this I realized that I've got to make the decision daily to make my life livable. That it's a choice. "Yes, it's your choice," she chimed in. I do all the fucking work in there. Now I sound like an after school special. But whatever, it happened.

I called Marie afterward and asked her if she wanted to go out. Cliche dinner and movie thing, but it didn't feel cliche. It felt like we hadn't done something nice and unplanned out together in a while. It felt like a nice idea. I love her and wanted to show her somehow, simple and as true as that...

As I rode across the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the J train, reading, the sun faded in the far off distance gleaming over the water and I had the fleeting feeling that I actually liked New York. It felt like home...

We met in Union Square. A large crowd was gathered around a band with their shirts off playing sonic moody distortion without lyrics. A couple of them had mohawks. They were doing their thing for everyone to see. It was reassuring somehow. I don't know why. The sky had clouded overhead. The city felt how it's supposed to feel - gritty, littered, concrete calloused and steel. It felt natural. The trees in the background were just an afterthought. It is what it is and I felt like I finally accepted it, instead of wishing it were something else. I spotted Marie searching for me through the diverse and eclectic clusterfuck crowd of skateboarders, foreigners, high schoolers, chess players, craft sellers, businessmen and women, tourists, hipsters, drug dealers, panhandlers, cross dressers, gays and hippies. She looked more fragile, rare and beautiful amidst all the strange faces. I was surprised at how taken I was by her and called out her name. She turned startled as she didn't recognize me at first, seemingly having a similar experience with me, her blue eyes went wide in recognition and she smiled.

We took a cab to the hotel where I work and had dinner at the adjoining, 'in the now', restaurant. The place piped in loud hip rock music over the roar of the people talking and eating. It was so loud at times that I thought my head would explode. Oh well, I thought, New York's just like that, fucking loud. A constant dissonant and layered clanging clatter. They comped us a salad and desert, the gesture making me feel appreciated. I felt glad to have a job. I felt real. Like I sort of had a life. On the way out through the lobby I saw my favorite guest who's currently staying at the hotel, an older gentleman who looks like he just stepped out of a Guy Ritchie movie. He's pure London gangster classy all the way. Outside I introduced him to Marie who had stepped outside to have a smoke. He kissed her on both cheeks and said, "Ee luvs you to bits doll, you know that?" And she smiled...

We took a cab downtown to the Landmark Sunshine Theater to see Exit Through the Gift ShopExit Through the Gift Shop. Afterward we walked the sidewalk talking about the movie and the themes of art and propaganda, self invention and perception. We talked so long we never caught a cab, just kept on walking across the Williamsburg bridge as the sky dripped lazy drops of rain into the warm night as the trains and cars rushed past, a tanker sounded its horn in the dark waters below, as the city lights receded behind us. It's not so much that the city never sleeps because it's having such a good time, it's more that it just never stops going in a mad frantic rush, seemingly to nowhere. And it was nice to slowly walk, take it all in, and let the city rush by without giving a shit where it went, like the first time I came to visit Marie, nearly two years ago...

A relative peaceful quiet settled in around us as we came down the ramp of the bridge into Brooklyn, then crossed under the overpass where we came upon a piece by Space Invader from the movie we'd just seen, a pink tile mosaic of an asteroids creature on the top corner of two story brick building covered in graffiti, seemingly a cosmic sign for me to open my fucking eyes to the crazy beautiful life around me...


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Fourth Of July

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Marie and I spent the weekend in the Hamptons. She was cooking. I was doing dishes for people with names that only the very rich or the very poor can have. Whimsical names unconcerned with future employment.

The house was once owned by American royalty, surrounded by a garden with a lush array of greens and paisley pastels. Each day the sky was a wet blue streaked with wisps of clouds. The sunsets spilled rose'. All was surreal and peaceful, like living inside of a Manet painting.

A famous movie director lived across the street.

A writer for the New Yorker next door.

A rap mogul cruised by one afternoon under the sun in a lime green drop top Volkswagon Beatle.

People lightly gossiped while sunning by the pool.

Naked, blond and tanned children giggled and ran through people's legs while holding red popsicles.

Lunch was served under the pagoda in the garden.

Dinner on the patio by candlelight.

We had the day off.

It was sweltering out.

Bentleys and Beamers parked near the water. The sand was crisp and warm.
The water was chill. The air was quiet and reserved. People on the beach wore designer everything, huddled in small groups, stared at my body covered in ink, wondering how in the hell I had found my way into their wealthy sanctuary.

I paid them no mind.

My back hurt and Marie's legs were tired, from work.

We laid our towels down, kissed then fell asleep under the burning sun.

It was the Fourth of July with the rich and famous.


Friday, 2 July 2010

You're Insane

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

I watched her from the kitchen as she sat on the couch staring at the ring that I'd gotten her while she was gone. The apartment was dark. She seemed far away. I could see it in her eyes.
"Can I tell you something?" she asked as I sat back down next to her.
"Yes. Of course," I said, my gut tightening, bracing myself. Shit. I've heard this shit before.
"He gave me a massage today before I left."
I tried to act nonchalant. Fuck. I stood up moving to the chair across from her.
"Fuck," I said, my voice rising, blood flushing my face. I put my hands through my hair, "Fuck. Don't you think that's fucking strange?-"
"It doesn't seem strange to you? I mean, I know I lost my fucking shit on the phone last night. I'm not denying that. I won't deny that to anyone. But don't you think it's the least bit fucking strange that I had these fucking visions of this guy massaging you? And I had this nervous racing fucking anxiety plaguing me through the last two days, and I didn't know why, and I couldn't eat, and I couldn't get a hold of you, and I couldn't fucking sleep, and it was like sauna in this fucking apartment, and I was spitting up blood in the street in the heat, and I'm picturing this fucking guy massaging you, and I'm think I'm going fucking crazy, and when you finally call you start talking to him in the background putting me on hold, and I fucking lose it and I tell you - out of the goddamned blue - to tell that fucking guy that if he fucking lays his hands on you I'll fucking come up there and fucking kill him? And you come home with a cold sore on your lip-
"My sister and I used to get them when we were young!-"
"I'm just sayin, and now you're telling me that he gave you a fucking massage-"
"He's a massage therapist! He traded me for food-"
"But that's not what he's up there to do. I didn't even know this about the guy-"
"Well he is-"
"Ok. Whatever. I'm just fucking saying- I just wanna figure this out! I mean I know I went completely off the jealous fucking boyfriend deep end last night on the phone. But still. It just seems fucking weird! Don't you think? That I, for no fucking sane reason, tell you that if that guy fucking touches you I'll kill him, and he ends up fucking touching you all over, just like I'd fucking seen in my goddamned head without knowing that this new age fuck is a massage therapist. I mean-"
"No! I don't think it's weird! I think it's weird because you made it weird!-"
"I just wanna figure this out. I'm mean, shit. I just wanna know if I was having fucking ESP, some sort of sixth sense intuitive vibe about some guy wanting to fuck my girlfriend, or if I'm completely fucking crazy!-"
"You're fucking crazy Corey! It was nothing! And after I got off the phone with you last night it became a thing. I hadn't even thought of it before that-"
"Look. Just because you hadn't thought of it, doesn't mean that he hadn't. And maybe that's what I picked up on-"
"Whatever. You made it this thing. And all day today I thought maybe I should tell him something, and I felt weird, and I almost didn't get the massage. And I felt weird the whole time I got it. And afterward I felt so much better. And you know, I told him that I felt like a better person-"
"Oh, come on. Jesus! Fuck! I'm glad you two fucking bonded! Are you fucking serious? Come on. I'm gonna fucking kill this guy. This is fucking crazy. I FUCKING SAW THIS SHIT IN MY FUCKING HEAD-"
"Because you're FUCKING crazy!-"
"I don't need this fucking shit!-"
"I don't either! I didn't do anything! What did I do!" Tears filling her eyes.
"This is fucking crazy-"
"I don't deserve this!"
"Neither do I. I don't want this. This is fucked up. This is insane-"
"You're insane!"