“I wake up — and just the neuroses and all the weird shit and the memories of awful things and the stuff that I shoulda done but I never did just fuckin’ crams itself in there. and then the buzzmill of literary and movie and music references starts churning out, ‘hey what if Death Cab For Cutie wrote Tender Was The Night, it’d be Tender Was The Cutie’ and I’m like ‘no, I hate Death Cab, it’s shitty music for chicks who don’t know better, what the fuck’. that’s how my brain works.”— interview
the cannonballs punctured the Noble Endeavour in a dozen places, a flurry of damage tearing the sandship to pieces.
the Captain stared, contemplating the mission. his binding. three pirate clippers, surfing dunes, shoved themselves under the hot desert sun closer, unleashing barrage after barrage. the Noble Endeavour, once the pride of the armada, unblistering in the heat — now doomed by three tiny ships? the Captain was tempted to laugh. surrounding, a blizzard of splinters and entrails as iron chopped away at his pride. how do these things happen, he mused to himself. how does one man fight destiny? how does a man fight death? I only wanted to live here — on the sand, in the dark west, with my honor. sunrise to sunset.
the triumphant shouting of the pirates came to him then, a noise unlike any other. the Captain stared as the enemy cannons were replaced by the heavy guns, belts feeding in an endless ammunition. his men, decimated in the dozens and falling.
duty, honor, the voice of the sand. blackened into death’s grip by longhairs and brigands.
it was time. the Captain removed his hat, and reached into his pocket. the book of matches. underneath him, a hole in the deck, widened by enemy firepower. beneath it, enough powder to glass the sand for miles. the Captain thought of his mission. to take this new weapon to the land-edge, to give the armada the savvy weapon over any pirate, any rival. with it, an empire of potential stretched out for centuries. the Noble Endeavour, so aptly named.
around him, gunfire unmade the ship.
nothing is lost forever, thought the Captain. only buried.
one jack and coke, one unopened guinness, one bottle of bailey’s — half drunk. a jar of butterscotch, near empty. three pairs of glasses. a fork, two ties, and a flask. a letter from financial aid. a plate of rice next to another jack and coke. three pens, six quarters, and a mug full of tepid water. a stale smelling book next to a magnum. three books, two photographs, a phone charger, a sharpie, and a dry pen. a post-it note from Mr. Parkes and a lamp. my desk. a jack and coke, please.
since arriving back home, the acid trip becomes a community. Dominick has found his own pavilion to lute and lord. Mike, always a mystery to me, has his own story. maybe it’s a great american novel, maybe it’s a note in a foxhole. the high which Chad and I incubated luxuriates in the nature of their high — transfiguring, lancing into a new creature lurching over us, marrionetting our jokes. we laugh. the high, abstract, laughing above us, walks in merry legs into many rooms, blaring music with playlist whims and hauling us from room to room.
we wander in this house we inhabit, not lurking, merely visiting a labyrinth. rock songs and patriots watched needlessly by applications and geopolitical entities unfathomable. all we want is a roof and a high place to go, and from mountains man must drag himself down a god to serve. we are satellites followed by bored and cursed agents, demi-gods in neatly pressed company suits. maybe there’s no church where there’s government, because you don’t need to believe what you see. seeing is believing. amen.
l'érotisme, or perhaps a less stupid and french word
if forced to seek through a rampage of dictionaries to describe Victoria I would be forced to go with sensual — not for her body, a languid luxurywork of framed fatalities in bombshell designs that seem far too bedazzling for such a strikingly petite figure — but in rather that casual attitude in which her actual sexuality approaches her surface. in mannerism she calls herself just another bro, but the raw truth of sex and lies and smiles is that men and women will always have a different side of the table. but, to herself, more to her comfort with the actual sexual knowledge of herself, and her accidental vitality — in which an energy shines through in things she doesn’t know she does, a furnace of damagingly erotic moments linked together in chain-wrought memory — she is sensual, an actual strong woman. not just that fine ass that packages a classy dress or those tits which seem to distract like a wandering carnival of light — but in her embrace of her own vivid, lurid, and entirely incidental sexual prowess. for some women they are beautiful when they are mad, or beautiful when they are sad, or heart-stoppingly arousing when they are broken, but in Victoria I’d have to say she’s the most beautiful when she just stops thinking and enjoys herself.
the evening emerged from beneath an expectation like a child’s surreal grin. the roommate’s question of the quality vanished in the silver wave. I obtained the drugs the same way I obtain everything — I know someone, they have something, and the money makes the way. cobblestones furnished in blood and pence. the roommates began to question the quality immediately — do I feel high? am I high? is this the high? are we tripping yet? is this the good stuff?
finally, we indulge in the criminal masterplan of overdose. all the hits. the entire batch. nothing happens and Chad and I decide to watch chopped up television, the way of the future. controlled edits in locked, hilarious loops. a time machine of eighties classics, brutalized into magic. then in standing, in movement, the drugs arrive, speaking in their voice. a clarion. the stars shove themselves into their mystical alignment. howler monkeys speaking in horoscopes. the software updates and the night moves. one roommate distracts, distorts in directions unknown. another locks himself in a cave, devolving, a decomposition of thought. Chad and I strike out — I with cigarettes and colors in my room everchanging. dragons are stuck in the color frame, unfurling wild wings, so I close the door on the way out. let my computer download what it may — I have a phone I can shout into, spell with clumsy acid-lit fingers. Chad shows me his lighter with a blue rave light, and I discuss the improbability of a rave in a man’s pocket. I had been dancing to Man Man earlier — when time was less a fall down a ladder towards a broken neck, and more like a friend.
my phone does what I say. giant rabbits have begun to creep around my vision — from every angle, lagomorphs lurk. the dragon’s head rabbit doesn’t exist, it’s merely another spectator. decapitation is the best view for today’s audience. bread and circuses. finger puppets and twitching strings. relativity has evacuated, it’s time to walk off the street and into the night. the giant rabbits are bellhops and valets. red carpets made of endless sidewalk fly past, forever.
finally we arrive. my phone has been shouting at me, and I shouted back. Polk. waterfalls of color unrelenting, undiscovered by angry oceanographers. angry nymphs circumvent power ties in cylindrical teases. I head upstairs, to the lounge, the karaoke. Chad orders appetizers. Dominick’s texts recite reliability in schizophrenic catchphrases.
I watch the recycled thai pop and rock hits — a parody, lurching paradox. I ask Chad, is this America’s punishment? Is the expiation of our great sins to deal with the rest of the world becoming a monstrous parody of us? we are a western, gunslingers, walking across the swollen corpse of an evil we cannot understand. as some have said, and bones have seen, America knows the darkness like meat between the teeth. everything is extremity to other nations, watching our indulgence merely for cattle entertainment. we are haunted by the idea of a life in moderation, living in a graveyard of probability.
is this rock and roll anymore? I’m as patriot as the next selfish fuck gravitating towards the center — I care about coming and cumming, but little else. all the iron in my time has been smelted out. we are creatures of minutiae and habit now. walking into our own survillience. you used to have to have a camera to be a movie star. now we have the internet. now we don’t need the future.
somewhere in my tirades, of sex, success, torment and vision, we are at Bob’s Donuts. the best donuts in town. Chad speaks to the deliciousness. he speaks of a confectionary goddess spreading her honeysweet legs for him, a babylon of flavor unmidden, guttural pleasure on a level so base, so buried beyond the touch of a surgeon, he couldn’t anymore. a taste is an orgy, a testament a single line. I watch a kid who looks like the president freestyle as the homeless devour each other in festive barbeque. god damn, good eats, but stringy. they’re all lean men, made to wander. I guess we’re all wolves if we’re gnawed down to the bone.
on the walk back, Chad and I emerge along Van Ness, stuck in between two blizzards of confusing traffic in shouting headlights. we share this disgraced center of pedestrian activity with a beautiful, sad-eyed hooker and two angry tattoos who speak in accents and interrogations. we all live in the terror of our credit card being rejected. I guess that’s all the civilization between you and selling your sister on the street.
the colors stop exploding out of lights. supernovas aren’t in the present, demanding stage time. that’s how you know your hit is falling, the acid is wearing off, the come down, the winding down of the clocks, time. even the tramps sleep somewhere.
you wonder who regrets knowing you, and in that stretch home, you think — willingly, or not — is this the great going west? to california? the gold rush? the silver screen?