Peripheral Highway Moon
The sun disperses the last of it’s supreme light over thousands of homes and highways a little beyond the dessert plains of old, places that no one goes to anymore for there is nothing there, when for the few; the reason for going would be just that. Lover, I love you not for what you are, but for what you are not, and I forever will, so long as your unspoilt eyes that have blossomed here, shine, in this beautiful place called Nowhere. A blind man holding a cattle prod stumbles through the pastures kicking up dust, while a young girl (that’s your mumma there son, wasn’t she beautiful) stands on the front porch of a suburban house, watching the man with tentative steps. She doesn’t have a southern drawl, she isn’t the daughter of a farmer, she doesn’t dream of the bright lights of Broadway’s distant call, for if she did- I’da had to asked her to kill me now, on that doorstep. Out yonder the last cowboy casts a lonely shadow beneath the dried branches of a poplar tree, as the opal moon’s begins to take its eternal place in the sky as the backdrop for the cowboy’s final destination in his lifelong journey to the centre of the night, and tomorrow morning with the daylight break there will be no ache, just the mourningful silence of the railroad earth in the cold air.
Ramshackle drives through the pines of Cherry Hill, and all the sweet times that never were.
Soft melodies of various songs carouse through the avenues and alleyways and little old lady’s you saw across the high street when you were a child later become old maidens within your dreams, and first loves become beacons in the nighttime, as you realise your hands were created to open old wounds and rekindle even older flames. Selves are shedded like stale skin kicked to the side of a ditch as you pause now and then to die a little death and stand as witness to the colossal NEVERNESS/EVERNESS of life and death entwined as one and the path opens two ways; the Cheshire Cat beckons you to the left, where you will dance through the sin soaked darkness of black space, ruminating multitudes and forever searching for the words. With a sly grin he weans you to the right also; where the words are simple, they are so simple in fact- that there are none. Your hands will submerge in the slow rhythms of time you will feel the water, the sun, and the evergreen pines that line the horizon. But your brother (the imposter) has already came and hurtled through the right and is already stealing your woman, tracing the letters of your own words into their snatches and hands grip tight and her mind is skyrocketed through the mountains of Nepal to the peak of Everest on the day the first man made its ascent, in less than a second she fully comprehends the loneliness of standing there alone, looking into the misty void with the death freeze gnawing and the whole world watching the first man on Mars, who spent thirty years alone in a spacecraft with only enough fuel to get there, and everything he thought about up in the galaxy.
Time passing // Strange new feelings (in the sin soaked black of deep space)
Dear Doris day, I promise that if I ever could stand in it again, the feeling of rain would take my breath away. Dear Ulruru, what makes a man a man in the raw form, forlorn now and growing older with searches for lost time in the weather beaten realm that points northward towards- my first sweetheart is she still somewhere, so far now, my hands press against my face at times and sometimes I can still hear the melody out here like I used to when I felt it carouse through June, my dying father’s last words through the intercom, ‘Moose! And …and Indians!’, so I thought of you and hoped that you are doing ok, Doris Day. Farewell MONTERRAY, the holy lonely Alice- don’t go, stay for a while, there is so much to tell you sweetness and I can’t think to hold it all in for a second more, shotgun tunes that I been makin’ for you that will make everything alright, the granite grey won’t grind your cartilage anymore, because the blue mountains are melting into the trees while all these people dance, after an absence of good news. Their luxuries are two bottles of brandy and Eyre, the Great, who welcomed the hero at the inn in the best of spirits, Kevin Arnold was there too, and he wasn’t growing OLDER, miming pine grass and wild-flowers and fresh water in its abundance, the sonofoabith never had to experience the horror of crossing that stony purple plain in a time of draught. Dear Graceland, we have reached the Cloncurry River where the trees are twisted like night horrors with a dense, dark foliage so he had to twist up some yarns that the inhabitants had left behind in good spirits to us (very good to eat roasted in the ashes of a campfire actually). Salinger is sick now, he makes me sick to my stomach and he keeps asking for chicken soup and saying that he’s suffering from delusions that the other people are going to attack soon…but Kant is pacing around and creating a force field around us, he weighed some 101.6kg when he joined the battalion but has dwindled to just nearly 50.8kg, the most gallant undertaking of his career was surely satisfaction in this mercenary type of work. GodDAMN that bump in the road sure was a bump in the road, it’s always better for Bank’s to be left to his flightiful fancy especially when he turns unreasonable at simple criticism of methodical questioning, but clearly he deserves the credit of naming this constellation which is the birthplace of my second son, that never was- he attempted with no land or profession, with good family, but the father caught them before they had travelled more than a few hundred miles, red handed, picking apples from the orchard is Ms. Mac’s lot, but I’ll get him…may god strike me if I don’t get him.
Doris, I’m correlating one end of the tunnel to the other, as ever; am entrance, and an exit. A ride inbetween through darkness and passenger seat silence beneath artificial illumination. What lies on the other side of the ride, enough of that, more focus on what lies in the awake moment of current open eyes. To move to any point with swift and skilful footing, a gift of the divergent mind digging and erratically shooting around like electrical stars and points of light in the night. Where to stop, which moment to pause in and say there! as though flicking through a whole deck of cards and never quite knowing if you are going to get a lucky hand. So there, I stop the constant shuffling of mind and that is when I begin to write these letters from outer space, to you, but know that it could have gone any other way, a thought not unfamiliar to the mindfulness of wandering; if I walk down this road, who will I meet Doris(?) to potentially turn my life upside down for better or for worse, even a subtle notion of a face across the street that will lead my mind to begin thinking of ______ and then to ______ (constant and impossible scientific sum) that lead A to act on this whim, which affected B to the degree of wondering about C (enormous domino run through endless roads), sondering my time.
He (the space cowboy) awakes on a cold bathroom floor, naked, surrounded by an azure light reflected off the peeling walls. The girl, she’s still there with her radiant auburn hair (to warm you) and a moonlit gaze (silent) looking down at you with the softens of gazes that have melted the harsh winds and blue skies. Outside the sun sets a beautiful red across homes and highways and inmuerable goodbyes. The Homecoming Queen waited for you; her man, she knows that only a few harken to the awakening call so the West, who have hands that will put fire in the hearts of men, wisdom in the eyes of the sage, rhythm in the hearts of the dancers, enormity in the kingdom, and paint ballroom interval scenes when ageing hands press against a lonesome sense of becoming. Hands that alone will leave just one alone, her, and never let her grow another day older. She, the girl with the red hair smoulder, southern drawl and daughter of a farmer of the rolling pastures, who killed you on her doorstep, that June evening.
Her hands soak your weary bones in the bathtubs warm water, the soft rhythms of time, and listen to you speak of all the people that you came to be within your lifetimes, all the unremembered seasons in which you sowed your seed. From peasants that toiled through the daylight hours to Kings that sat atop thrones in castles beyond imagining, your thread ran through life’s entirety. She smiles throughout your telling, never forgetting the day day you junebugged on the skirting road of Cherry Hill. And after washing you, cleaning you of the weather beaten harsh wind you fought through, she lies down next to you on the cold floor of the bathroom and you both look up at the Opal Moon and indigo sky. Pressing those lips next to your face she whispers for one last thing before the day breaks and you have to leave once more- a dance, a slow dance.
When your body moves with hers the blue mountains begin to melt into the skyline’s ebb and flow, and you know you’ve never been so close to home. The last thing you see before you awake is the peripheral highway moon, from the mirror of the rear-view.
And then you open your eyes
To a perfect sunrise, in June.
• 5 December 2013
New work by Andrew Finch
Writer, skater and all round art guy Andrew Finch sent us some new work that he has been making while in Australia. We hope to have an exhibition of Andrews work in the new year at the B RAD Gallery - B RAD
My collages have been featured on the B-RAD Magazine site.
• 27 November 2013
Collages (1st set of three)
'Misty Morning Hotel Blues' / 'The Girl and the Dream' / 'Hello my name is: Jasmine'
I have been backpacking through Australia since summer 2013, and began making these collages while I was in Melbourne. So many days of rain being stuck in a hostel room thinking ‘what the hell am i doing here?’. I started picking up all kinds of things off the floor that the city discards on its streets; newspapers, business cards, packaging, and I also peeled graffiti stickers off walls and combined all these things with my own writing, as well of quotes that I have memorised over my life. I didn’t have any Sellotape when I began then, and I had no money whatsoever so I had to use surgical tape from my first aid kit to stick them all down in my journal.
What I wanted to create with each collage was a scene- or a moment, that was alive on the paper. When you’re travelling everything is such a mess, you are dirty and your life seems to be falling apart as you try to break all commitments and ties so you surrender completely to the movement of travel. These collages seemed like the only thing I had any control over.
• 18 November 2013
Why I Write
Words in the writer form are silent
You are alone when you read them
And if your mind is not flowing and free, you will not move with them
Words come like a steady current that take you away from all that you are
They take your through the soft rhythms of time
And can either accelerate the internal tumult
Or steady them to a harmony
Either way, they will take you to the quiet places
Away from the noise of modern life
The who what whey where of why am I here.
Like the written words, thoughts are silent too
You are completely alone with them
Although engulfing and empowering at times
They come in fair light like the winged melody
The world does not allow free thought
Fraught with impertitives and the empty persuit of nothingness
So many people in fear of the path less travelled.
Written words are winged thoughts translated
And the great ache of the writer is knowing
That write what you will to convey the internal universe
The love and loss and life and delicate ripples of the ocean
Some part will always remain within, lost in translation.
The writer is like the naked self, alone
On a cold porcelain bathroom floor
And must lay down both sword and shield
To get to the place where the light punctuates the darkness
He must dedicate himself not to seeing life
Or hearing life
Or even being life, embodied
But to feeling life
To be aware without resentment of the cold and the ache
Exploring new paths within himself and kingdoms
Built out of sandcastle in the sky.
To myself, everything is secondary to this
The holy citadel within the distant horizon
Walking on tired legs on a pilgrimage to the faraway place
Your entire life, dedicated to reaching the promised land
Lovers and saints and sinners and bandits on the journey
Sometimes stopping for a while to gain a little breath
To eat a little bread and die a little death
Skin shed and kicked to the side of a ditch
Meanwhile the world plays on as it has always done
The billboards and advertisements blur into one
Passing suburban evergreen lawns
White verandas seen on blue mountain ranges
Your focus still never changes.
And when you get to the promised land
Up to the valley and down to the mountain
I will stand there and see that it was always in the journey
The destination is always just another place
You cannot walk to the Opal Moon
But you can write your way to it.
• 18 November 2013
My name is-
Peripheral highway moon as seen from the rear view
The centre of the heart of the Monday morning
An imposter, the wolf in wolves clothing
Curblicker, the IV
William Greyson the cleric in white
Outback sky in afternoon delight
The red eyed midnight ghost
Suburban girl on evergreen lawn
Blue mountain / white veranda
Loose shackled chains in the cave
Sinead O Conner’s Venus mound
Brown potato mash and pot belly stew
The holy mountain topplin’ Fool
Cherry blossom in Kyoto
Walt Disneys heir loom
Smoke in the air and grit in the teeth
Piss in the wind at the
focal point of Shit Creek.
• 18 November 2013
THREE by Andrew Finch
My old art teacher used to say to me that he wanted three things in life; the first was the he wanted to fly aeroplanes (to move and flow and exceed what is capable of the physical capacities of man, Icarus and a little boy’s big dream), the second was that he wanted unconditional love (and just when the notion of what makes a man a man- it being a woman- begins to come to mind) he tells me that he didn’t care if that love came from a donkey, it would be a love that would exceed all tradition and romantic limits. So honest that it aches, so unromantic and raw, if you can see the forest for the trees. The third and final thing that he wanted was to create, and once told me that on the day that he dies, he won’t be thinking about death and suffering the endless thanotophobia that put great modern world is kept awake to, he will be thinking holy shit! what to create next, what noise to make, what words to write, what paint to put to this wonderful canvas on this day which I am blessed with to be living in, and to die with a paintbrush in his hand will be the biggest and most beautiful adventure of all.
To step back, there was the transcendence above the physical, the transcendence above the innate human capabilities and last but not least, the sweet endless joy of creation that one are blessed with, and others are not. Everything else in life is secondary and falls upon life’s path in random(?) succession. We play out life like its one big drama, a huge show of grand proportion that plays when we look out of our eyes, and truly when I sit down to write its only then I see it as so ridiculous and so comic that it makes everything seem like nothing- which is everything. I don’t know why else I do it, why does anyone; to woo women, to leave their mark on the world, self-defintion, compulsion, to make money, to seek answers, to express emotions, to share? Art is selfish, and anyone that tells you that they do it for anyone but themselves is a goddamn liar, and probably in it for money, they are politicians.
If I could just organise my thoughts for one minute maybe there would be cohesiveness, but then there might be adjectives and adverbs and Jean might coldly look at John from the dinner table and the grand symphony of chaos would be reduced to the rubble that is the endless pages of literature dedicated to bullshit and nothingness, enough to out to the dessert and wait for black night to pass over my eyes. Each day I thank the sky that there was Balzac to digest ground coffee on his empty stomach and Jean Genet to masterbate in his prison cell scribbling wild orgasm notes at the moment of infinity of high and Hunter the Fool who dared to be wild and big old fat Jack to drive through America’s bleak dawn and Dostoevsky to bear the burdens of life and document the beautiful and the damned and everyone who journeyed into the centre of the night, few dare to do it, life is terrifying at times and paradise is a place for those who wait and do nothing…
It’s like an old woman with broken teeth has pulled me close and with a foul breath that reeks of wine and cigarettes and has said you are only dancing the same old song, but as you walk new paths you must sing. There will be girls with arched highway thighs (and there was and yet will be) so kiss them as they pass but do not let them hold your tongue with their teeth. The great plain ahead is quiet as it is loud, a place that is sometimes bathed in silver moonlight of an opal moon high above evergreen valleys and suburban lawns perpetually basked in a phosphorent glow, high topped mountains in plain view. Remember boy, they cannot ever build their buildings of death upon the sky.
Everything is so much, often better for those to follow the crowd and dress up in their costumes and dance their little dance to life’s constant and monotonous hum. So much the better, fuel for the fire.
The ass chases the carrot that hangs in front of his face from a piece of string, while a man tries stands in front of a mirror trying to catch out his shadow in movement. Cos haven’t you heard that the world is flat and if you walk too far out yonder you will fall off the edge into the abyss, haven’t you been told about the beasts at lurk in every corner and crevice waiting to gobble you up and then use your bones as toothpicks after they gnaw the flesh from them? When you waltz while everyone else is slow dancing, the entire ensemble of order seems to stop and turn to you with thousands of pairs of hard eyes and ask; who are you to dare interfere with our harmonious mediocritic hum, enough to drown out the best of us and the flame is extinguished, the spark is gone. So god bless the she males and god bless the man who eats his shoe and god bless the cat lady.
You can walk to the edge and peer over and come back to tell what you have seen, so few people dare to do it, others go stir crazy or die. I imagine if all the wanderers that have walked the line, if halfway on their journey with home in the distance and all things that were left in leaving, all the sweetness exchanged for mounting desires and comforts become too much to take and they simple turned onto the other side of the road, turned around with a poised thumb, caught a ride home. Then back at home small town voices would ask what places did you see what thoughts did you think where the buffalo once roamed? Well, replies the antagonist, my eyes never saw too far ahead because of all the dust that blew into them and I never spoke many words because of the grit that collected in my teeth, I only saw my mother my father my home, I saw everything that was already known. The holy citadel in the distance was there, somewhere, but I was too afraid of walking off the edge of the world and anyway my stomach was rumbling.
But we actually live in a damn exciting time and I’ll be fucked if anyone says otherwise. Things are changing and people are becoming aware, which opens the gates for all else to follow and floods out ignorance. And yes it is complicated and yes it’s so damn hard at times, I know it, but look, let’s go and stand up on the hill for a moment and take a look at the view from it all, technology and modern strife aside. Look at everything that is eternal and unchanging in the chaos; there’s family life right there, there’s the penny on the floor that someone will pick up, there’s the smell of rain, there’s childhood and growing up, theres the sky, there’s the one that got away, there’s the eccentric and preacher of God, there’s the springtime and the winter, there’s laughter, there’s moroseness (that too), there’s friendship, there’s foot fetishes, there’s the nighttime, there’s labouring toil, there’s water, there’s love, there’s travel, there’s life.
Some things, never change.
In a painting by my favourite artist, Chris Johansen, is a little man stood in the middle of the picture. Shadowing over him is a black scrawled mess; the doubts, the darkness, the grey matter. Below the man and the mess are the simple words that read ‘I see it two ways’. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that ‘if the stars came out but one night in the year, how men would marvel at them’. In in a scene from Manhatten, everyone’s favourite malt-milkshake loving Jew is lying across the coach recording into voice recorder the things that make his life worth living. Bukowski wrote for himself that there is light somewhere, there may not not be much, but it beats the darkness. In 1973 a German film director dragged a fucking ship across a mountain in the Amazon jungle because he was an artist, with a vision, and a need to create something that he wasn’t seeing from what was around him.
You can see things how you want to see them at the best of times, so many things that in the end will stand out, the remarkable things and the sublime, the things that make life worth living and cast light over the darkness, there are no limits to what is waiting to be created.
It’s sort of reassuring to know that no one actually knows anything. That each discovery of science or theory of religion or piece of art is simply someone trying to make sense of life, an attempt to find a reason for living. The more you know, the more the world becomes such a tangled web of complexity. The original outlaw had it spot on when he said ‘all I know is that I know nothing’. That right there is awareness, that is knowledge, that is terrifying, and that is like the honesty of asking a stranger for nothing more than a glass of water.
to love and be loved
that is all.
• 7 November 2013
Stream of Consciousness (written upon leaving a city)
The sun disperses its supreme light down upon the Great Ocean Road and dust plains of old, that no one goes to because there is nothing there, perhaps the grand reason for going there lies within just that. Lover, I love you not for what you are but for what you are not, a quiet farm girl unspoilt by the influence of a city, the flower that has never been suffocated in dust and gasoline fumes, (I don’t even know if they exist anymore). No one goes there because there is nothing there, not the pandemonium chaos of swarming bees and the ease of getting what you want when you want, at any hour, and what’s more what I do got isn’t enough anyway. To sit on the dessert plain under the sun, under the sky, under divine heaven, and just to journey within through the multitudes, eternal night, grit in the teeth and dust in the eyes, later returning to the city with sunstroke and wild glimmer within the eye that looks left right and centre,
I saw the moonlit colossal wave crash into the shore, I thought of questions to answers and answers to questions and for once in my life felt blessed for asking and answering these strange calls within, that seem to come with the
• 20 October 2013
(Piece for TAINT Magazine’s first issue on ‘Gender’, coming Winter 2013****collage also by me)
Graceland Moon by Andrew Finch
Leave the beautiful women to the men with no imagination’
- Marcel Proust
During the 1960’s two academically acclaimed Harvard psychologists were experimenting with LSD as a means to explore the depth of consciousness and as a way to expand it. One of the men went on to be named ‘the most dangerous man in America’ by then-president, Richard Nixon. The other went on to spiritual enlightenment through the teachings of Eastern philosophy, travelling India to find his guru and then living out the rest of his life founding charities and giving talks around the world. On a 1985 New York evening, the latter man gave a talk, he explained one of the profound realisations that struck him while high on psychedelic drugs, which is this; people seek to define themselves through social categorisation, and therefore introduce themselves and live by the titles which they hold to their name. It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope and each time you click the button, another layer of social categorisation falls away; first your name, then your academic or career status, then your gender, until eventually all that you become is a sense of awareness, utterly naked, swimming though the vast expanse of non special, non temporal ocean. Everyone has a need to categorise themselves in a multitude of ways so that they don’t find themselves on the lonely island of nowhere, which is exactly where these two men ended up, in Graceland.
Many years ago on a clear morning, a father and his boy walked from a parked pickup truck out to the edge of a vast canyon that overlooked the blue sea, which perfectly melted into the sky out in the azure yonder. Far below, the waves gently crashed into the bank of the shore and then rolled back into the huge immensity of its depths. Highway dancers and cocaine stars were on the prairie of the coming day. The father’s whiskey eyes are teary in the morning air, his heart possesses a sense of coming pride for the rite of passage that is about to unfold. He tells his son that he must jump, goddammit boy you will thank me one day, you have to do this to become the man that you were destined to be, because my hands, they don’t grip so firmly anymore. The boy strips to his underwear and shivers in the chill of the morning air- he knows that if he doesn’t do what his father asks he is walking home, without dinner. His father is weeping now, tears falling onto the canyon rock into moistened orbs of dust. Everything becomes quiet, the skinny boy throws himself off the canyon edge and into the water below.
A thousand years prior, on the very same day as the aforementioned event, another young boy walked out of his home in the early hours of the morning like a somnambulist. The smell of rain and pine emanated from the earthy ground and the surrounding wilderness, but the boy couldn’t smell anything, for its the only smell he has ever known. Walking further and further, through unmade paths on the road less travelled that will later become hard concrete highways and roads, the air is filled with a faint morning mist that hangs in the air. In the distance, in the pines, is a blue lagoon. The young boy approaches with tentative steps and wide eyes, ducking beneath low hanging branches until he can see the gentle ripples of the water’s calm surface. A figure sits on the bank, also naked, also silent. As he gets nearer he see’s a blonde haired girl with her legs submerged in the water. She looks up at him as he approaches, this dream girl with a heavenly look that reveals the whole world within her gaze, takes his hand as he gets nearer, and they lie down together on the bank.
Strange new feelings.
Both events were experiences that should have heralded the great rite of passage for a man. Winning the pride of a young man’s father and then the first time he experiences sexual intercouse with a woman. The colossal figure of David holding the severed head of Goliath as his trophy, serving as a figure for strength, a voice that slurs and curdles the morning milk implementing his dominance over a household, an expensive three-piece suit and a wall street face that marks a man of success. What makes a man, a man?
Surely when God made the world he first said; let there be death to define life, so that those who wander will run a little faster towards what they are searching for (although they may not know what those things are) , and like the blossoming of the cherry tree’s in Kyoto- we knew the fragility of life. When daylight was created, did God not create the night, for those who are sleepless should have a place to go. When God said let there be laughter and joy and sweet cherubim pork-pie angels swooping down from the heavens, did he not also say let there be sorrow and heartbreak, for those lucky enough to be imbued with sensitivity would fail to ever grow if their eyes didn’t do some raining, if they couldn’t feel the full entirety of existence and all its troubled aches and pains. And most of all when God created Man, who’s hands were to hunt and build many cities, and meander through the soft rhythms of time, did he not also say let there be Women, so that Man would walk through may solitary nights in search of Her, feel the heartache of needing Her, as a reason for living; for the one that got away.
But there is something on the periphery coming into focus, the spanner thrown into the works that threatens to disrupt everything. Dare I need to say what it is? The queers lurking around the public toilets, the old fruits on park benches eyeing up the ball boys in the tennis courts, the she-males (truly the only punks left in the world). In the pines, there is another son, who is lying down with the sunsets of dawn and the flowers of summertime. He looks like me and talks like me, and the Father may call him an imposter, but he is real. His blues are the same as mine, and he has seen many seasons pass through the world, but he is thinking of Him. What of those that don’t seek the love of a women, in a man’s heart, but instead are able to find all worth searching for in those with a more careful touch, a man and a man together, making their own melody. And then something begins to fall away- the butterfly emerges from its hard cocoon and takes its flight in a colourful flutter of beauty, heading towards the opal moon.
And like the man tending to his field in the great painting, fawaway Icarus plops into the distant sea, those two acid head psychologists are in their canoe rowing through the great expanse of consciousness where everything is contained within everything. They are there in the distance when the first boy jumps into the sea from the canyon, and they are there in the blue lagoon when the second boy lies down with the beautiful girl, paddling with wild hair and wild eyes, naked Timothy Leory and Ram Dass, frantically searching for the Emerald City, looks like we’re not in Harvard anymore.
But like all things, you choose to see what you want to see, I used to see the ocean as a symbol for the blues itself, and be transported to a crossroads where a hard-eyed, hard-knuckle southern barroom brawler is deep within his gaze, and think that I’d be damned if he ain’t thinking of a lady. But even if he was, I bet it is the quiet moments with her he is thinking of, and where does gender come into that? It’s not about a man having a sheath to place his sword into after battle, but a resting place for his wearisome heart, for her too, and it doesn’t matter where that is, in a person, in a special place only you know, the kingdom.
When you seek to express something through art (and what are you but art), it serves as an attempt to move a form from the inner world to the outer; a certain phrase, a song, in paint, however. If you get it right, your art will represent what it is you feel, as a translation. But in a translation of anything- something is lost. A perfect thought is formless, wordless, it cannot be fully represented and some part of it still remains inside. The best you can do is try to carry through one world to another. It then comes to be defined by the form you placed it into, through colour or words or however, but still the light is inside. The same way that when you try to define who you are, you use what social titles you can, but that’s not really who you are. If someone spends enough time with you, or if you spent hours staring at a painting, you will see the true self and the true thought shine a little. Everything else eventually falls away. Ageless, timeless, genderless, naked, you, in a little wooden canoe.
• 15 October 2013
This story is about Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski, a figurehead of pro skateboarding in the late 80’s, and guy whose name is dishonored in the skateboard world. He ended up raping and murdering Jessica Bergsten- his ex girlfriend’s best friend before burying her in the desert. He is now serving a 31-year prison sentence, and is eligible for parole in 2018.
Back in 1999 when I was five years old my dad was helping to fix a guy’s bike up in the garage of a neighbor who lived in a flat across from ours. Resting against the wall there was this ancient looking skateboard, an original Gator-Vision deck, and the first board I ever rode. I could barely stand up on it, I still can’t, but goddamn it if skateboarding doesn’t mean something to me, and if I can’t imagine a life without it.
• 9 October 2013
Bread and Circus
A downtown city scene in an Australian 7-11, (picture this); 11.pm. Two ragamuffins, (without the Dylanesque romantic notion). One of them about fifty years old with a big greying dollop of tangled hair on his head, two smaller patches on the sides, stomach gut full of bread spilling over his unbuckled belt, comes waddling down the confectionary aisle with hands filled with shopping bags of clothes, stench of urine. Colesores in each side of his mouth, a puffer fish face with eyes bulging. His partner in crime follows, a boy aged about sixteen in an oversized jumper with his white tongue lolling out of his mouth, hairy shadow above his top lip. Walking further down the aisle as though Tweedle Dee has pockets filled with lead that threaten to tip the buffoon over each time he takes a step led by his belly. Tweedle Dee shuffles complacently, both idiots quarraling like a couple of old women about where the thirty dollars they had that morning went to (the conclusion of which was that it went on tobacco). Two sets of yellow-brown teeth muttering at nothing in particular. (I’m the only one in the story really digging these two, others just sneering or passing contemptuous upanddown looks), then shove a couple of sausage rolls into their pockets, and slink away.
There was a great writer once, who used the miniscularity of life’s very small events to create and craft his world. They say that art exists either to add poetic significance to the world, or to show what otherwise cannot be seen, and sometimes it does both. The life of the writer was filled with poverty and filth, he spent a greater portion of it attempting to survive on just drinking black tea. His face was gaunt and bearded, set with those special and rare kind of eyes (but can still be seen on occasion within the world, especially in the cities- look on the periphery) that truly see the world, for what it is. The life of the world he lived was full of disparity and ill-fortune, in a time during great political and social upheaval and peasant life was the norm. Imagine a perpetual day of living in rags, with nothing to eat, no one to talk to, nothing to do, but with the double-edged blessing/curse of a great talent, the craftsmanship of words. Not a single cent to your name. A time where living is stripped back to its naked and often brutal core, when the freezing ice wind starts cracking your bones like ice cubes in a glass and your hands (the only real tool you own) wont function to undo your belt quick enough, so you urinate down yourself and sigh a silent sigh, and watch the steam from your vodka breath cloud in in the air,
The landlady with a hideous wart on her face is squawking for money, and her horrible little minion children are stamping on your feet with their heels. Your toes poking through the end of your scraps of leather bound to your feet, no matter what you do, you just can’t make ends meet. It’s so unromantic in every way, it’s like a grey grotto of misfortune. So back to the point, this writer, he recorded all these non-fictionalised little events, often linked through serendipity, which a live of simplicity allows you to see the thread that runs through everything in life. One long chain of events. His characters still live on today can’t you see? Pure timelessness.
His name was Fyodor Dostoevsky. I look at his world and laugh, I look at it and cry. No billboard girls, no long highway drives, no drive-thru’s, honkytonks or diners, no climbing into girls bedrooms while their fathers sleep, this isn’t Kerouac, or anyone else for that matter. This is life, the grind, the dirt and grit. I used to think that when things seem to be falling in on themselves, old Dostoevsky was probably having it a lot worse. I think about it in a multitude of ways, there are many rivers that run into the ocean.
The world can be a hideous place, so full of scum and misfortune, heinous consequences made by poor decisions of those you once felt love and compassion towards. The three sisters of fate have a funny way of weaving their threads. And in the harshest of times there is nothing to do but laugh or cry. That’s it- laugh or cry. I remember dire situations of my own life, being in the deep end of the dog house with my parents, or being shouted at in the street by an ex girlfriend, where all I could do with laugh. It sounds malicious to say, and its not like you can ever explain this in the heat of the moment, but let this be a step back and a deep breath, let it all just wash over.
Julius Caesar once said, that if you feed the people bread and circus you can make them do what you want. Often when I sit down to write, I am faces with two things; the dreaded Great White, which is the vast expanse of the page itself where not a single word is able to ink it’s surface (and I tell you, it’s like not being able to get it up with the girl of your dreams, or not being able to find a light for the cigarette that’s been dangling between your cracked dry lips for over an hour) and then there is the Circus. Let me introduce you to it…When I begin to think about ________ and sing, my thoughts are clouded with the singsong and cheap melody and the whole goddamn calvary arrives, the bubblegum marching band with smiles on their faces and and and white horses that dazzle with long shimmering mains, led by blonde women with hands on their hips and sparkling sequin leotards that reveal skin, scales. No not scales but cellophane, the stage lights are lit and the magician begins sawing things in half, separating the light from the darkness, one of the two disappearing beneath the stage trap door, but he mixes them up so no human eye can see which one is gone and which is left but I know something is missing, I can’t do without either one.
These crooks begin popping silver pennies onto my eyes and pushing sugar up my nostrils. The dancers carouse and swing their legs into the arching air beneath a shower of glitter and the ring leader, there he is, the fat cat, beckons a cigar sized finger at me with a queer look on his face, you boy, youuuuuuuuuu.
'You don't need that anymore' he mouths, shaking his head with a faint grin on his face as if to say I'm not a fool to begin believing that I do, there were many others who thought that they did. Just look at your brothers and sisters he yells, motioning his hands to the entire parade of the greater part of the world who are dancing to the infectious sugar song, look at the games they play and the fun we have here, all night loooooooooong. In various ridiculous costumes that resemble the same taint of an individual dressmaker (although subject to stylistic change) they are striking poses in a sea of camera flashes, and its easy to tell who has only recently been inducted to the clan and who is a hard line veteran to the circus. All around the shadowed faces of the darkened crowd turn distorted with mad desire and delirious ecstasy when they see someone new who has been involuntary called forth, such a hullaboo of sickening colour of fakery and plastic fun that is at every corner I turn, every time I open my mouth sticks of blue and pink are shoved into it and I crack my teeth and bite my tongue, and the winged thought is gone.
Dostoevsky survived off bread while others grew fat off the circus. Very few people manage this, and its not to say that you have only the two to choose from, live off banana peel if you will, but god almighty don’t swallow that poison of the circus. Fame is empty, it comes to those in modern times who sell themselves for a quick buck and a shot at the big time. Nothing means anything anyway don’t you see, but we love the drama, give us more happy hour romance and cheap gossip and two star online fame, give us a masquerade of red that will never end. When you pay attention, you will see these little moments, not the profound ones, but the profoundly ordinary ones, that come when you can’t afford rent, that Dostoevsky articulated so well, to add poetic significance to the world and to show you what cannot be seen. Each time it occurs, when you can’t afford a good meal or cant get that little brown stain out of your jacket, and your eyes are open, that’s the old Russian inviting you for dinner, to share a little of his crust with you. In the words of bitter old drunk Hank, ‘your life is your life, know it while you have it’.
Do you see what I mean?
• 28 September 2013