Shots Ring out in the Brooklyn Sky

Two weeks ago at about 4am I heard gunshots outside my street level window.  I’ve been toying with the idea of moving  ad this shreds any doubt of it.  Hearing gunshots is traumatic. It’s not like the movies.  Every apartment I’ve had since I’ve been here except my first in Bay Ridge I’ve heard bullets fly at least once. Here, though, outside my window. Plus I have a shower, not a bathtub and I realize how I miss decompressing in a bath with my special bath albums.  I am a diva and have my needs.  I am either going somewhere else in Brooklyn or California.  We’ll see, though I’m enamored with a house, a full house in historic Long Beach, CA for the same price as a ‘sun-drenched charming lovely studio in the heart or at least spleen area of Park Slope with full kitchenette.’  In New York craigslist, they post pics that are twisted and warped to distort dimensions and look like it’s built on the inside of an Apollo space capsule.     We’ll see what the gods done bring to the table.

I am starting an acting class tomorrow and one exercise we had was to describe ourselves in three words and then get five people to describe us in three words.  I’ll share here:
my own:  noble powerful love-gasm

my other five:
-smart charming eloquent
-discerning, ardent, singular
-nerdy, quirky, funny
-Mercurial, alchemical wizard.
-subtle, sans-serif, sardonic

All are true to me and if I pruned myself like fine interstellar shrubbery, would possibly be left with just these descriptions.   I have a new practice of attempting to step outside my own body and look down at myself like another person to see what’s there, to build self compassion and make sure there are no untended pockets, so to speak. I thank my friends for their honesty and creativity.

I think I’m going to start two blogs within each blog, outer dialogue and inner rogue dimensional movements because sometimes I can’t fully articulate what’s going on with me in space time words, and when I can, I have to do it in third person to keep the mirror bent at an angle to keep from freaking out at the straight reflection.

Using Dick Cavett’s Brainwaves as Modern Mental Floss

I’m  a nostalgic; I love to watch old TV shows, old commercials, old movies, old Communist scare public service announcements, etc.  one show I enjoy is Dick Cavett’s old interview show. The guests would be there would be there for at least half hour, possibly to plug a project but mostly just engaging in good thick conversation with Mr. Cavett who had a way, in my view, of making people feel grounded, engaged and free to be themselves.  Compared to today when stars are rolled out for five minute interviews, show clips of whatever they’re doing and then shushed off for the next guest, it’s shag orange carpet magic for me.  Everyone’s grounded.  Mature, adult, developed.   Now we’re a little ADD and caffeinated in twenty directions.   Football was even calmer in the 70’s.   I don’t believe in going back to the way things were but there are times when I feel like we’ve lost a bit of something graceful and can bring that back with all of the extra-higher order DNA activating juicy fruit in the air now.  Sometimes it feels technology is outpacing us by a few lengths.

For me, I’m not a Facebook fab. I update my status about once every two months and have an account to stay in touch with friends who use it. I just have trouble with sharing certain parts of my day to day with people who may or may not be my friends. What also happens is that when i’m in one of my several hundred moods, I notice how happy everyone is.  It’s a marvel and when I feel lower than a blues scale I see someone posting ‘on the moon right now auditioning for MacBeth with aliens and winning the Oscar while giving birth to my beautiful twins’ I get more upset at my own life.  It’s been my experience that life is pretty inconsistent and challenging. Path to greatness is littered with invisible jagged boulders ready to tumble;if you catch one, you can turn into something beautiful. It’s hard.  But in a certain mood Facebook makes me feel like shit because it seems that everyone is happy all the time except me. It’s wild.   Then I begin to think that I must be responsible for all major global conflicts and school shootings and I need to apologize to all the heads of state who are probably checking out Michelle Obama’s Twitter account and don’t time for me.

But then I think if they had Facebook for dogs, who are the happiest creatures on Earth, their status updates would read “Happy poop.” “Food eat love belly rub!” “Make  sleep poop ball!!!!! (Smiley face)”.  But even on Facebook for dogs there would be the occasional “My owner poops and I don’t” general upsettedness.  When I read Facebook happy statuses, I get the sense the human species is a happier one than dogs and yet when I look at world conditions, Plus, I know one or two people via friends who I know are miserable people and when I look at their Facebook accounts,  it seems like Buddha’s calling them for advice on joy jumping.  So I’ve come to a conclusion that most people are full of shit.   It’s not a bad thing.   It’s liberating.  I’d say a good 80% of what I see is bullshit. It’s fantastic.  What’s Real anyway is usually invisible and something you scrape your ass or head on for a few moments the way the world’s constructed at the moment.   I have a rule. When I feel tender in the heart region, a little down, or violently artistically pre-explosive, I don’t view social media.  Too full of French Fry expressives and I feel like I’m another species; I thought I was human, as I feel rage,love, hate, despair, envy, a touch of paradise, ecstatic joy, the need to hold a baby, thoughts of killing myself and then flying to Russia afterwards, performing Hamlet, sitting quietly listening to extinct birds, fighting to stay awake, keep the dreams of a 1977 Pontiac Bonneville hubcap alive. I know I’m a little more extremist than most but you know, not really.

I’ve said this before but I prefer Myspace where I could invent mood words (I feel Floisty, that’s my favorite) and invent personae from moment to moment.   I’m going to invent a new social platform called rantwave.com or something;  be yourself and no baby pictures allowed or quotes by Gandhi.  Rant, squeeze, express.

When you reach the end of your wits, the wits will try anything to save themselves.

 

Ode to Gladys

I love Gladys.  She is a Scorpio.  I met her in San Francisco.  Off and on we’ve made noise together that skims what I believe is more than possible.  I have not always been the most reliable partner.  I promise I will assert myself to become a willing and open partner.  Gladys is my acoustic guitar.  She waits and waits for me. Like any great love affair, there is fear and doubt and sometimes a good case of the the shakes just to touch each other.

I signed up for piano lessons too.  We’ll find out if the sounds in my head are worth sharing but I have to give them a chance.

Tonight I checked out another open mike, looking for an energetic home where I can free-flow.  This was by far one of the worst open mikes on the planet Earth or if they swing open mikes on Mars, include that planet too. At least there you get a hell of a view. If anyone’s been to comedy open mikes they can be quite brutal on the anima, a polite way of saying a good deal of penis jokes.  This particular one was in a bar, I was tenth, it was mostly empty in the performance area and the bar next to the stage was brimming with chatter noise.  I should have walked out when the MC said he would give two free hot dogs to the person who ‘showed their junk.’ (that’s the name of the mike).   I think he meant it.  Not for me. It’s also self loathing that was quietly rampant in some spots and more obvious in others.  Pain can so easily slip into bitterness and cynical swirls and it’s an easy virus to catch.  I’ve spent years trying to grow into a deeper self acceptance. Most of my material is about that merging of all of these …selves…with a planet that’s also merging selves and making decent sense of it in this world.  My penis is a big part of that but so is my penis’s little internal vagina.  She needs to breathe, she must have her roaming ground on stage; subtleties are like the magic that makes material renovate a room. And It’s tough to get up on stage so I try to give every performer my utmost attention.  All I know is I came home and apologized to my material and the paper it was written on. It’s a certain type of energy and I don’t want my material bent into a certain shape to fit a paradigm.   I need a bathtub to wash energy away.  What’s disappointing is that the space itself is new and very nice.  Not for me, clearly.  The MC called me Lee Bartón so I pretended I was a French comedian for three minutes, made it up as I went along.  Saved about two minutes of material from self doubt swirls. If I ever went back I’m going to do a new character based entirely on my schlong and only talk to other people’s schlongs in the audience, even women’s schlongs.  We’ll see.  This was a venting, a classier version of what spat out an hour ago.

Love.  Something positive last said tonight. Love. And irreverence. Especially in film.  So many writing classes I’ve taken over the years tend to cut and slice away those ‘unnecessary’ scenes but The Big Lebowski would be less of itself without Jesus (John Turturro) dancing and licking his bowling ball.  Brilliant. Irreverence and tangents, we need more in American film and stage. Much much more.  Feed a script after midnight and dump it in some water and watch them multiply.  

 

 

 

 

Memento

Today is my second birthday, the date I was adopted and brought home by my parents from wherever I was being stored in the meantime.   I am grateful, it is like being born again  before you’re old enough to even know what it really means. I was placed in a stable family and given the best chance of functioning in the world without overextending my more extremist tendencies. It takes a few years to start to realize this.  There’s a backside to it in that some of the more latent gifts of my life, some of the colors and sounds and fabrics swimming around infant eyes got stored away in the slight risk of being reopened years later.  That’s what it’s been, my life, a long time coming. And after finding my birth parents a couple of years ago, when that deep sacred wound throbs with the language of a baby, I guess that I might not have lasted to forty. It’s a guess.   I’ll go into more of what happened later but suffice to say it seems my birth mother hasn’t come to deal withe that monster floating around inside of her, base don her tone of the letter I got from her.  Same with my birth father.  My guess is she didn’t really love him so she turned down his marriage proposal after finding out I was the Cinnabon in the oven.  Maybe she did love him and it frightened her. What I do know is that there’s a lifetime channel open in me for them and while I may never speak to them, I have to keep it pried open because without them and their willingness on some level to endure that pain and mess and slop of losing a child to the world I wouldn’t be here.  See what a mess this is? But life is slop.  And now I have a chance to make it glorious slop, currents and countercurrents whirling together with pieces of the past and future making a soup of the day.  But finding them, I had to walk through that. So I could love more deeply, unify myself, take trapped sediment, drill down into it, set it free and not walk around with one eye squinting inward while this beast of rage and pain swirled around my guts. Cause that’s what is, rage and pain swirling around the guts. Anyone who’s lost anyone especially near birth knows the slick dark road I’m mentioning here.  And after what happened two years ago, it was two years I gave to the process, two years where I walked through it and now, after reaching the end of that road and seeing a casket with my old body and soul in it, I can be born yet again, and live my new life.   There are heartaches and moving little calliopes of drama and trapped love to ride, convert, set free, but now I can feel a little more balanced and grateful to both sets of ‘parents’ who through their actions, have made me what I am.  For me it’s easy to slip into what’s wrong so today I have to say it’s all right.  We bring in selves before we’re even born. That’s no one’s fault, not society’s or parents or George W Bush’s.  It’s a delicate balance between facing that Sacred Darkness without letting it swallow you. And it’s more fun when you have someone with you, especially someone that looks great in lingerie.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Internet and CIA monitoring Internet.

The deepest rung where you are wrapped

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, when Commander Bowman returns to Discovery in one of the space pods after retrieving the dead body of Commander Poole, HAL refuses to open the pod bay doors, plum drowned in madness and conflict.  Commander Bowman takes a risk and goes through the emergency airlock, which is not pressurized and without a helmet, has few precious seconds to last the few feet to the entrance of Discovery. He manages to do it in a taut few seconds.

When I have spells in my life where it feels like I’m between lives, or pressed up against the  new life by the old and have reached a stalemate, I think of that part of the film.   Or when I have to walk through a patch of hurt I think of it because it’s dive in, hold your breath and get through it and the air will return no matter what chaos that’s supposed to be order won’t let you back in the conventional way.

I’ve only loved two women in my life deeply enough to say I really know what love is. For that I am fortunate; for the circumstances around each I am extremely unfortunate.  The first love, a dark and disastrous affair, I was discussing with a friend and she said it seems that I have a large capacity to love given what happened.  It was a good thing to hear because it reminds me of what I call the Inner Sanctum Heart, that secret roaming ground that words can’t hold and usually lays sleeping.  The second woman, in a seemingly difficult marital and health situation, I realized this week still sits in that Inner Sanctum heart.    Sometimes when too much time happens by with dark side of the moon silence, I worry something may have happened health wise. Today I poked around on the Internet and through one of her relatives, found her husband’s Facebook account and a picture of he and she in a Christmas Card photo.  That’s when the Inner Sanctum heart opened house and dropped a mile wide of heartache all over the place. I feel a bit the sucker but it’s no one’s fault.  In fact, it set off a whole buffet of looking back and wading through all of the opportunities I’ve had over the years with women; one’s I’ve passed up and usually I do this when I feel lonely. But I don’t feel lonely, I just feel like I need to hold my breath and walk through the vacuum hole without my head exploding.  I must be clearing the catacombs for something new.  Or at least clearing the catacombs.  The rest I can’t put into words, except that Love explodes from the inside where you sit, hang, linger, powder, and flip a coin of pain and joy a thousand times until I lose your face on either side.

 

Launch

I thank those who came to my show in sub arctic armpit cold weather last week and those who flitted by in spirit, including Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. Edith Grovella, who died in a 1 BR on the lower east side in the late 1950’s.  Sorry I didn’t get to your bit Abe.  Will do next time.  Good show with a small but might crowd.

Video is up on my Youtube channel.   Now what?   Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, gentle cycle, tumble dry low,  that’s the order of things this month with my material. It’s good to crack the egg salad open on stage; now I give all I can to it for the next 3 months and nothing else. At least this month, February, the moth of frolic and fury. A lot can change in a month.

When I was a teenager in Indiana I had a run of subpar Februaries; I became convinced February was a cursed month for me.   It was nothing extravagant but for me small things were painful, like depth perception shifts and other intangible psychic elements that dotted  my landscape. Part of it was probably the weather, living off Lake Michigan it got cold.  I can’t recall any event per se that got me into that belief but I held to it.  Parts of me were not happy and parts of me were fine, I guess the usual combustible mixture for a pubescent kid.  But with a real rushing undertow of rapids of latent living left untouched. I had some trouble with authority and yet ended up Class President in 7th and 8th grade, a bizarre mix that made me realize if I want something in life it seems I’d be best to answer to my own boss to do it.

However, this February I want to be the greatest month in my life.  If I were a jet, I would have crashed by now after running out of fuel for being in a holding pattern so long.  After the show, I had trouble sleeping because I hit some power grid in my soul and I know I can’t go back.   It’s a healthy fever, and one I want to break only after I run amok for a while. I’m due for a crazy stunt.  We’ll see what Rev66 Peachnuts (the name for my higher self) dials down over the next few days.  Could involve nudity. We’ll see.

My prediction for Puppy Bowl:  Golden Retriever puppy 7 kissies, Shitzu puppy 1 chew toy gnarled. I hope they have the Hamster Cam. I have big money on this game.

 

 

 

 

Nights of Harlem Granite

Sometimes characters I create feel more like me than I do.  Pure distilled parts of myself that don’t get ovations in the day to day world filled with the dents of my mind.   One of my favorites is Charley Who Horse, the trumpet player from Harlem in my play Whorapy, sort of the bartender of the speakeasy and when I need advice on something, sometimes I go back and read what he says. It sounds a bit vain, but sometimes when I get muddled by the maelstroms of the boiling blood in my veins, I go back to something I wrote to put my feet back on Earth or at least under my knees.  Sometime at the beginning of Act II he tells Madeline, the madame
“Don’t know. Colors and music’s all I see!
Don’t know much ‘bout no strategies!
I’m here but I ain’t, here but I ain’t,
that’s how I gotta be in this world.”

One thing is for certain no matter what happens in life from this point on and I have no idea what the hell that will be, but that’s a quote I live by. I trust my writing as more of a topography of my soul and the world and others in my life than what my brain tells me sometimes.  It’s honoring the Real. And on night like this, where every emotional condition seems to have a megaphone strapped to its lips, the night asks that I show up alone.  Last week I had a screaming session with the Universe, to express some what I feel are glaring deficiencies in the cosmic pruning of my life. It’s been a hard three years. Starting on an air mattress in Fall 2009 and ending a few days ago.  I feel slowly drilled into and I guess it’s necessary to enhance and unify my life and soul. Some nights you’re tied to the bumper and some you’re behind the wheel/Some nights the Guardians of the Mist tell you how to feel/The wicked servants burning from the shadows of the train/passing through the station to light that crooked path again…life’s a spinning circle.

My show is next Thursday. And that’s the beginning. After that, I eat and sleep and shave performance and acting.

 

Briefly now, on the waning heels of a second wind

Happy 2013 and suck on it Mayans. Or really what I mean is congratulations to all of those who cashed in on writing books about the apocalypse.  I missed that boat.  I’m going to check in on some Aborigine tribes in Australia, see if they have any ancient relics that could land me a literary agent.

I have another show coming up on the 24th and I must edit. It’s hard to parse material into 35 minutes, at least for me and what I realized in looking at all of my pieces is that I did write a good deal last year. As solitary as it was, I did produce.  Right now, I’ve been recovering from a cold as I seem to bring one back with me every time I go back to Pittsburgh to see my family.  So I’ve been watching old movies and more so reading about the stars from the  “day” and what fascinates me is how strongly one would feel towards another artist or their work or an entire way of expressing.  Robert Mitchum and Cary Grant both were not fond of method acting.    Marilyn Monroe solicited opinions from across the spectrum, from deep empathy (Marlon Brando) to light scorn from more than one person.

It fascinates me how artists can peck at each other, despise each other but somehow maintain respect for each other’s work and yet sometimes have completely different opinions on one person or piece of art.  I guess there are people out there who think Hamlet is a shitty play, or overrated.  I wouldn’t want to be paired with them in a hospital room for a week, but it begs what’s relative vs absolute, even in art.  I’m going to quit before I start drifting into a Russian novel.

May everyone have a high end magic ham radio that grants a dream or two for you through the airwaves this 2013.

 

 

 

This special news report on gun violence brought to you by Assassin’s Creed IX

I don’t know a lick from a spit when it comes to video games made after 1990 so pardon me if I’m off slightly with my video game reference.  I’ve talked about my feeling on guns before so I won’t rerun it too much but what’s sad is that I have occasion to do it twice within a few months.

I know the battle rages between gun advocates and gun control supporters.  All I know is that the more guns you have per capita per square mile, the more likely someone’s getting shot.  If you’ve ever been in Brooklyn on a 90 degree July day all it takes is a few pieces of words to set off a few pieces of fighting and if everyone had a gun, emergency room business would revive the economy. Maybe that’s the plan, to boost production of prosthetics by constant shootings.

There’s two things that make me wretch: peer pressure and what I call macho swirls.  There’s overlap there and when that crap drifts into arguments for gun control I start to wonder if it’s because someone really is dying inside and they can’t figure out how to push it out except through bullets.  All I know is that getting shot hurts like hell.  As I tell friends, I’ve never heard of someone getting shot and saying’ goddamn! That felt great! Put one in my kneecap!” unless it comes from movies.

I guess I’m old school. If it comes to blows, use your fists or sword fight or kung fu and then get it out of your system and have a beer afterwards and move on with your business. Or have nasty lamp busting sex.  Depending on the setting.  You don’t want someone’s blood on your hands. It sets your soul back a millennia or two.

I have another show in January.  Frankly, I’m tired of my station in life. So now I’m going to do something about it. It’s been a learning life and a reasonable one, one that might be a side character in a period piece novel for about six pages.  I have no interest in that anymore.  There’s something greater and I keep asking myself why I’ve turned down so many opportunities, creatively, romantically. I don’t know. When I’m in the doubt brumble, I think about it.  But I had a dream two nights ago that’s stuck with me emotionally since and reminds me of what waters lay below and ahead in life and how I want to stick a tap in it and distill the power.  I’ve been mourning those choices I didn’t make, mourning time I’ve lost to deep habits in my bones of delay and fear and lack of self-trust and self-knowledge.  So I mourn the time lost. I have to.  Otherwise it’s a lie to move ahead.  Then the boards are cleared.

So, just like The Mayans predicted the world must do after the 21st,  after my birthday on the 29th and then New Year’s, as far as I’m concerned, I’m zero years old.  Look ahead; there’s enough of the past lurking in the future to fill the quota.

Have a happy and safe holiday everyone.

Gulag

Even though Gulag represents Soviet concentration camps, I like the word and it popped in my head for a title.  I trust when seemingly random words pop in my head when I’m writing, even if it seems to have nothing to do with what’s happening they’re the fumes of a deeper psychic fire, so in this case maybe Gulag means there’s part of me feeling a little boxed in or viciously so but with my temperament that’s a constant tune in the background.

I’ve gotten another performance slot for January at the same place. Now, this time, I’m going to to  warm up elsewhere first and roll in with momentum.   I’ve spent the last week or so swinging out of those post-partem blues after finishing my novel.  Now, thundering ahead.

As some of you know, I dated five Lisas in a row. Actually, it might have been four Lisas, then a break of one person, then the fifth.  Still.  Lisas are my Hapsburgs.  This spanned from the age of 18 to 26, off and on.  Lisa I’s reign was longest, Lisa IV the most tumultuous, Lisa II the William Henry Harrison of the troupe (She lasted thirty days), Lisa V my only lesbian conversion. But the one I’ve been dreaming about and have done so consistently over the last few years and a couple of times within the last week is Lisa III;  the only natural blonde, I met her in grad school and like most of my life, it was bizarre.  Maybe I dream of her because we were together during grad school, a real face to the gravel two years I’d love to forget, incinerate and shoot into space to be reformed as some harmless comet in some other solar system.  Those two years split the rivers of what I felt and what I was doing so far I had a nervous breakdown two months later. So I dream of her and last night, others we went to school with.  See, I was very sexually inexperienced. Amish were porn stars next to my record.  It was bizarre in that over the year we were together, we never had good old regular official sex. I was still a virgin and too inexperienced and completely lacking confidence to even broach the topic, so it was a bunch of oral satisfaction. I thought the topic would come up in the first week but she didn’t bring it up and I sure as hell didn’t want to so week after week went by until you start realizing that if two adult/kids in their early twenties can’t discuss this, there’s more trouble inside this machine than just a low battery.

Eventually she cheated on me; she never told me but I knew; how could I blame her? All my self worth was locked up in anti-matter in some alternate universe and I was skidding into a meltdown of a lifetime.  Ah, romance.

I lost my virginity proper with Lisa IV a short time later, though it was through tears and the rugged terrain of a nervous breakdown.  An acting teacher once said in class that we attach the emotional experience with the first time we have sex with the act for the rest of our lives. Empirically I have found that to be a bunch, or a hectare if I may, of shit.

I know I’m a late bloomer, as Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski are two of my patron saints in this regard, unchiseled grimy genuises of grout and deep true chasmic living,late game spelunkers, but when I look back I have to say it’s been one bizarre parade of events, mostly unfulfilling as I grow into myself in my early forties, I can feel that deep sense of self worth that removes loneliness.  Scrubs it away, at least finishing this book has opened up that painful and joyfully releasing path. And yet I don’t know a damn thing I think I know.  Still, to drill further down until I hit a floorboard of a Chinese hut. It gets larger, louder and harder.

Taptaptap your eccentric arcs, see what falls out.  A gulag tonight.