Of Big Dan, Little Ann, and my Granny….

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Dusty at Rest
The scent of hand lotion on bony time gnarled fingers running through my hair as the most beautiful voice in the world gently lofted my brother and I into another world where the Red Fern Grew..
The fingers were my Grandmother’s.
My Grandmother’s name was Emmy.
Emmy Estelle Gassiot. She was of French stock on her father’s side, but her mother, Judith’s features betrayed an East Texas Native American’s high cheek bones and proud nose with deep set dark eyes. No one talked about that. I thought it was terribly savage and wonderful…so noble and authentic. I was of the earth. I was something strong, beautiful and special, it was my secret.
Sure, I stood tall as a Whiteman in this world, as I was high born in my mind through my Grandfather’s English roots…Robert Payne Almond whom begat my Gramps, Robert Samuel Almond.
An Oak of a man.
The rings of time, of the ages all wound around a solid core built of the finest values and deepest love. He was a Mommy and Daddy’s boy. I never knew that. I knew he loved and revered them, but until my Mother, Carolyn Ann shared his letters with me, I didn’t realize he was a sporting young man who was passionate about BASKETBALL of all things! LOVED his Mommy and Daddy and was never shy in expressing it.
Wow.
I thought I was the emotional one in my family. Always so messy…the younger one, David Paul. No wonder he loved me so much. He KNEW. He knew the feelings I had, though he could never quite voice his true understanding, just some simple words of kind encouragement and a firmly generous guidance.
Everyone but my Grandparents would roll their eyes in true dread when my name came up. They never knew what wild words would roll out of me. So innocently issued, so impossible to take back.
In the quiet moments of the evening when Granny’s lamp cast it’s long rays up onto the canted ceiling of her master bedroom, my older brother, Robert Jon’s slight movements sent creaks from the core of the upholstered swiveling chair he plopped into for each evening’s reading of the bible and later some work of fiction as he lounged next to Granny’s aluminum paned picture window blacked-out by the sun’s retreat a couple of hours earlier. He wasn’t one to clamor onto our Granny’s wide bed and be “loved on” and whispered to.
I could never get enough.
I was a sponge, I loved my Grandmother so demonstratively and thoroughly that any time she had those work worn fingers free, I’d gladly make them busy. Stroking my hair, cutting fruit with her trusty white plastic handled paring knife on the drainboard, making me hot cakes, showing me how to plant seedlings of my favorite flowers, and weeding the monkey grass that bordered her front walk’s length as we swept the acorns away from the oak blackened concrete each morning.
“Daaaaaaaay-Vid!!” she would call.
That love.
That love that was never expressed anywhere else to me.
So pure, so perfect, so mine…my Granny made my tortured little mind seem like I could keep living for a little while longer. The rest of my life so miserable and self-defeating. My father had me convinced I wouldn’t make it to my teens with my loser ways, and my “shit for brains”. At Granny and Gramps’, I was someone. They had my picture taken with them and my own name listed along with theirs in the North Richland HIlls Baptist Church family directory each year.
I never sat for a family portrait except then.
I existed to them.
My words came from somewhere.
Big Dan and Little Ann met their fates where the Red Fern Grows…and I wept. Deeply. I know RJ did as well…though he’d never let on. The squeaks of the chair betrayed his hurt. We were frozen in grief, and in awe of the pain that the words coming from my oracle, from the woman I loved the best, from my moral compass, from my dear, sweet Granny could burn and burn so badly.
Oh why did they have to end like that?
It is why I snuggle so deeply with our little girl, our sweetest puppy, Miss Dusty. I want to take in every little puppy breath and hold her little heart next to mine. To take in the little Frito smell of her softest of soft ears as I rub them gently to sleep on her beautiful head…my time gnarled fingers, my work worn hands.
My Granny’s little boy’s hands.
Now I have a sweet demascus steel hand hewn paring knife I bought at my favorite family owned hardware store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo many years ago…and each time I take fruit in my busted-up fingers to slice a sweet bite, I do my Granny’s work.
I am proud of who I have become, and I doubly feel all hurts I have caused, and savor each sweet passing moment as I march steadily along to my own fate, as Big Dan, Little Ann, and my own sweet Granny did before me.
Look at your hands, count the scars, remember the pain, remember the gifts, and think of those that cherished your breath.

Claws of Time

There’s gonna be some new things happening here in 2014.

This past year has been pretty gnarly…really GOOD things…and some tough to accept realities. So, instead of being here, writing…I’ve been getting my life right and working on ideas internally. I have some goodies.

In the meantime, I’ll try to post some tunes, and see how it works…

Enjoy249942_10151170592310658_1830879047_n

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9elWNk4qn8k

 

Sometimes…

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Well, fuck…

It’s been some time since I’ve been able to be up on this and communicate. It’s been frustrating for folks, it’s been hard for me…because while this sucks to have my namesake site eat shit, and have a friendship in the balance behind it is a sad state of affairs…that’s the least of my worries.

Yeah, daily shit. Things are GREAT, but I’m needing to be PRESENT, and ON my fucking GRIND. Back to the bustin’ ass reality. Working hard at my shop, Ace Tattoo here in Northern California, and truly feeling joy through my work in little glimpses. I’ve been working so hard for so long, and dealing with the street shop reality for the past twenty years, that finally stretching out, being challenged artistically is a whole ‘nuther reality. I’m LOVING IT. It’s HARD. I’m having to deal with being more under the scrutiny of my idols with all of this media coverage of our work. But, it’s feeling so good. I’m doing the pieces I want to do, not just the subject, but more about “How would I TRULY like to see this?”….not, “Well, dude paid for THIS…and I’m gonna bring it in on budget..” Like the above panther…sure it’s one of the OLDEST designs in tattooing. YES! I love them, but they need to be made new for the client… So, I’ve been going the extra mile, taking a lot of time to draw, and am enjoying the process a LOT. My lady has been super supportive, and that’s made all the difference.  The proof has been in the atmosphere. No more phone. If you know me, you know my work, you find me. All the scab vendors have taken all the shit work away.

Thank you scratchers!

The last couple of posts have been about “Hey, sorry…shit’s all sideways…”  This will be the last one. I just wanted to let everyone know, I’m back in business here on DavidRogerson.com and that my work and homelife are wonderful, and if anyone wants to reach out, I’m around and can always be contacted HERE, or at my shop 510 233 1979

Thanks for your patience, David R

“I killed a man ’cause he killed my goat
I put my hands around his throat
He tried to reason with the sky and the clouds
But it didn’t matter, ’cause they can’t hear a sound

It’s just the curl of the burl
It’s just the curl of the burl
That’s just the way of the world
It’s just the curl of the burl
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/mastodon-curl-of-the-burl-lyrics.html ]
Splinters in my skin
Just like needles and pins
I cut through pine
Love the feeling it gives
Been out here for days
Running through these trees
I’m using my hands
Cutting through the disease

It’s just the curl of the burl
It’s just the curl of the burl
That’s just the way of the world
It’s just the curl of the burl

I feel the powerless
Chew it up
Spit out the rest

I feel the powerless
Chew it up
Spit out the rest

It’s just the curl of the burl
It’s just the curl of the burl
That’s just the way of the world
It’s just the curl of the burl ”

MASTADON, “Curl of the Burl”

 

 

Someone’s Someboday

barry marg dap

I get scared.

Somehow that I am failing. That I am not much in the eyes of anyone who matters…and that is the failing. To hold myself up to another’s judgement, if even only in my own mind.

That is the failing.

Life is to be lived.by the individual. In my case…by David Rogerson. There has been a state of frozen stasis…I am awaiting an electrical charge that will enliven all of my thoughts, concepts and ideas into concrete, beautiful actions. And I die. As each of us die…each breath, drawing closer to our end. I feel the thousand cuts…daily. Right now, it’s a transition of my heart, of my life, work, and responsibility…mainly a financial one. Just learning to manage, and seeing that my feeling of being completely alone with my responsibilities is in fact the true situation. It’s so plain. I have felt it…knew it…and now, I am living it. One nice fuck-up, and I am done.

Done.

I have always been Jell-O over a truly beautiful, chiseled redhead. She’s been in my mind, heart, and soul since I was born….

There have been a few of these redheaded gifts of God that piqued my very being….I couldn’t have any of them. They were beyond me, out of my reach…leaving a burning.

Barry McGee has always been someone who was generous and sweet to me….he’s the man in the center of this photo. We met over painting a mutual friend’s VW bug. Barry with his spray can, and a shitpile of talent, and me with some random crap supplies…struggling. Just doodling away on her fender. I wound up doing a portrait of the woman with the VW later for a SF bike shop, the “Planetary Gear” that’s now a legend.

Twenty years will make what was special, personal, and kind…legendary. The mind burnishes the best…and forgets the rest.

The woman to the right in the picture above is now a legend…in death. She burned a hole in me….her name will always be Margaret Kilgallen. I had a lot of love for Barry, her husband, lover, and father of Margaret’s daughter…though I am sure I would barely rate a blip on his memory bank. I don’t yearn for much…especially another’s lady…but, I had met her independently, before they were married. We had a glowing afternoon on Potrero Hill in SF…grins that hurt. She gave me her number…it spelled “Oh-Putoh”.

Her number.

It was THEIR number. Her and Barry. Their number.

I was a kid…I didn’t know they were together. I was smashed.

Smashed.

Every success, every trip, every art exhibit, every great bit of news…I was so proud. She was an angel. She awakened, like I have been hoping to do all these years, and actualized her gift…leaving something worth remembering. It made me respect Barry even more…more for being the one who she came home to, the one who made her happy. The one who made her a mother….and ultimately…the one who suffered her loss.

Suffered.

Sometimes I get scared.

 

In San Francisco there is a retrospective exhibit of Margaret’s work that Barry has put together.

It is too much for my heart to see…

“what are you doing withering away
yes i’ve heard you’ve lost the will to play
whatever happened to those fluid movements
you were so proud of in the intimate moments

what about the girl you left at the altar
now now now she is planning your funeral
didn’t you learn anything at the protest rally
when you and yours were flooding the capital

what about your days of glory
when your life was anything but boring
now you’re making these morbid phone calls
and your friends they gather to cuss and console

what were you doing in that awful decade
after the news broke and those murderous policies were made
what were you doing running around
when i was here for you well away from that crowd”

“Withering” by Vic Chestnutt

Just Do It

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I turn and see frustration. I keep turning, and I keep seeing the anger of being misunderstood, and the frustration of not communicating coming out as rage and violence.

It’s pretty simple…try to remember your Grandparents, if they weren’t speed-smoking child molesters. It was a rougher way to raise kids in their time, and some of them failed, resulting in the fucked-up parents that always have something to say, and hear so very little. The entitlement and self righteousness of the generation born in the 40s was bucked by some..but, not by enough of them. So, my generation, the ones born in the 60s-70s have no guide posts to raise our young by without skipping back to our Grandparents.

I was lucky on certain accounts…I was reared with manners, and a sense of propriety. I chafed at the discipline, and split at an early age…but, between my folks misguided, well intentioned home life and the wisdom of my Grandparents I some how made pretty decent choices. Now, this isn’t a rant about what a good guy I am, and how y’all need to be more like me…it’s just an observation, and hopefully a TINY key to unlock a HUGE bundle of problems.

The key?

Think of the other guy.

Think of the other guy as yourself.

How do you want to be approached as an adult? Do you want someone muttering at you mid-thought, having no time to ascertain what this person wants from you, as you were immersed in your own life…your own issues?

I truly think that most conflicts and misunderstandings that lead sometimes to the most extreme outcomes can be derailed peacefully with a simple introduction…and some eye contact.

Grandparent shit.

“Look the person you are speaking with in the eye, introduce yourself, wait for their counter-introduction…take a breath, and calmly present the situation to your new acquaintance.” I guarantee once you look a stranger in the eyes, and calmly shake their hand as you let them know who you are, and they return the courtesy…it’s pretty hard not to see them as a human being who deserves a measure of respect, and consideration.

“Hey, how are you doing? My name is FRED, and your name? Aaaaah, Antonio…nice one. Well, Antonio, the reason I am knocking on your door is that it appears it is your car alarm that has been keeping the entire neighborhood awake this summer, and now into fall. Is there a way we can discuss how you are going to remedy the situation, Antonio?”

Or, perhaps YOU are the transgressor.

It sure helps when someone treats you with respect, though you met under less than ideal circumstances….especially when you are the offending party.

“Hi, my name is Erin, and you are? Nicole? Oh, my sister’s name is Nicole…nice. So, Nicole…do you know why I am tapping on your car window? You think it might be the music you have been bumping for the past 45 minutes under my window? That’s right, Nicole…I am here about the loud music. My baby is trying to sleep, and while I see it’s a public street you are parked on…I hope you also see that it’s 7:25 AM on a Sunday morning…and understand that if it was me in the car, and you with the sick baby in the house, you might not appreciate my ‘Pimp Trick Gangsta Click” beats throbbing through your nursery.”

Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes.

Sure, don’t do stupid shit, like be an inconsiderate Nicole, but also…don’t be a huffy dick when things aren’t going your way. Maybe Nicole just got thrown out of the house, and is coming down from a bad crystal-meth bender after breaking up with her boyfriend who cheated with her sister, and she has a loaded handgun in her car along with her “Pimp Trick Gangsta Click” CD. Who knows?

There is a reason our Grandparents grew to reach a ripe old age….social conventions SAVE LIVES. Kinda hard to shoot your new acquaintance when they are being so cool to you.

Take a breath.

We all have our problems, we all act-out at times, and not being humiliated or insulted goes a long way in helping find terra firma to put our social feet back under ourselves and get back to “acting right”. Society is literally a team effort, and if everyone is constantly at odds, we can’t get anything accomplished. It seems this is how the banks, politicians, and scumbags have stolen our future, sold our industries, and raped our society…by keeping everyone distracted with how “different” we as people are….and ripping us off when we were busy fighting one another.

BULLSHIT.

It’s all the same…we want the same shit. Security, through a safe home environment, a healthy family, and the prospect of success…that’s all ANYONE wants.

So, show some class. Treat your “adversaries” as you would like to be treated.

Not saying you should be a pussy, or not defend yourself if situations devolve into violence, or mindlessness. A .45 in the pocket makes negotiating much safer…but it doesn’t always end well.

Just remember, that breathing room of social convention is the lubricant that keeps us from fraying…and it allows us all the time to compose ourselves, and act appropriately.

Look the person you are addressing in the eyes, and introduce yourself.

It’s simple.

It’s Grandparent shit.

It’s Good Advice.

 

“When you greet a stranger look at his shoes
Keep your money in your shoes, put your troubles behind
When you greet a stranger look at her hands
Keep your money in your hands, put your troubles behind
Who are you going to call for help, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head
Home is a long way away
At the end of the day, I’ll forget your name
I’d like it here if I could leave and see you from a long way away

When you greet a stranger, look at her shoes
Keep you memories in your shoes, put your troubles behind
Who are you going to call for, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head
Home is a long way away
At the end of the day, when there are no friends
When there are no lovers, who are you going to call for help
What do you have to change

A familiar face a foreign place I forget your name
I’d like it here if I could leave and see you from a long way away
Who are you going to call for help, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head
Home is a long way away”

“Good Advices” by REM

Kingdom of Days

D 98 sepia drivewayDread…. In the form of feeling the cold coming through my ragged Levi’s cut-offs from the frigid dark granite of the curved wall at the corner of Sansome and Sutter streets in San Francisco’s financial district. The misery gnawed at me constantly as I am sure it did most of the other lifestyle convicts known as bicycle messengers lined up on the stone megalith, named so creatively…”the wall”. Reverberations of bus exhaust pulses realigned the mucus on the offended cilia as resin infused clouds were forced downward. Knowledge that our Mothers were rightfully disappointed with us one and all.

Deeply disappointed.

Ants.

Just ants scrambling from hole to hole hauling treats for our relative queens with antennae aquiver and mandibles gnashing…all for the promise of a piece of a corner of something that was once a crumb somewhere.

Seeing anything that lead to the idea of permanence made my heart race. A garage. Some sign that there might be a tomorrow. A tomorrow that I could occupy. Any corner out of the rain, without hands reaching in and taking what I hoped could be mine. The way a toilet is perched on carefully laid tile that is kept immaculate, a sweet smell in the air, a stack of split firewood…these are things that tell me my life is working. Signs of care. These things come after a full belly, and warmth. Hearing the rain come down hard on my roof, knowing I can sleep through the night unmolested, and listen to the birds squabbling in the wetness.

Lifetimes have passed. Reflections of who I once was, stranded on ice floes calling out words. Words of anger, words of fear, words of encouragement. I cannot go back. I wonder what will or what has become of that driven, fearful, castaway. Only his voice rings around the back of my skull when my veneer burns away revealing the burl of my heart. Knowing the grain is so hopelessly petty and straight is a disappointment that’s hard to return from. People looking to me for answers, and knowing they can count on me for sound judgement. How can I simultaneously beat in those disparate hearts? How can that self serving child be the man that opens his soul, offers his hands, and loves those that would be cast aside? Were nuggets of God sprinkled through my strata by my Grandparents when I was young? Did my Grandmother’s fingers impart patience and love when she ran them through my hair? I was unable to return the favor on her deathbed, the way I did for my Grandfather, and my former wife’s grandparents as they laid dying, knowing how much they loved her. I was working on a project that was important to me at the time for an ungrateful subject…as she laid dying. When I break his mouth open and lay his teeth on the ground, he won’t even know why. Or how good it feels for me to punch them out one by one.

Emotional content.

Breath was passed from God to man. Now breath is passed from each to the next in the continuum of life. Sacred love even in the deepest of squalor. The inner warmth that keeps the heart beating against that cold misery the world dishes out. The warmth that pumps from the heart to keep the cold from taking the will to live.

I scratch myself, and think these thoughts in an instant as I see into the eyes of Otis, an old friend from those days who has come to visit me. We have our white Ford trucks. Our women who love us, our dogs…the rain dances outside. We are alive, and wiser for the pain. To remember those I love. Those I loved. To remember those that had jealous eyes and mocking tongues, and know they are still mired in filth makes our path seem somehow justified in another sense. It’s not that those of the depths were in any way judges of the righteous…but an interesting contrast between those that were cast down, and those that were down cast. It is that way now. Being careful, not because of bankruptcy morally or financially, but because of treacherous times. Exhibitions of care, treading lightly, not sliding into fearful avalanches of the weak. Road of the righteous in a geography of turpitude. Those that paddle across the toilet bowl of life as opposed to the turds that make their home there, never to know any other life.

Care.

Care to use my hands for good, to leave more than I take, to create beauty, and pass it on. To feed hope, foster thought, ease the soul, and build love. All the while being hard enough to defend myself and my family from the darkness that can take our lives. Those that thrive in wickedness and the filth of the world. Those that would take our lives.

The lives of the righteous.

Oh it’s been such a long, long day…a succession of hard days leading from tough weeks of ragged months and blurred pain of years in a pile that adds up to something that is truly good. Not now, not today, not tomorrow, and only in glimmers. The road of the righteous is long, it is a path of commitment and sacrifice. I am suffering, but for a better day. I was hurt for so long, and love is here. Now. I have other’s hands in my pockets, and I fight each day to keep the food on the table, though the rats grow fat stealing from my table, taking nourishment off the labor of my two hands and the sweat of my brow. Only to kill me. Kill me with each stolen morsel.

A smile is all I have.

The smile must survive.

 

“With you I don’t hear the minutes ticking by
I don’t feel the hours as they fly
I don’t see the summer as it wanes
Just a subtle change of light upon your face

Walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away
This is our kingdom of days

I watched the sun as it rises and sets
I watched the moon trace its arc with no regret
My jacket ’round your shoulders, the falling leaves
The wet grass on our backs as the autumn breeze drifts through the trees

Walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away
This is our kingdom of days

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I do
You whispered “then prove it, then prove it, then prove it, to me baby blue”

When I count my blessings and you’re mine for always
We laughed beneath the covers
and count the wrinkles and the grays

Sing away, sing away, sing away, sing away
Sing away, sing away, my darling, we’ll sing away
This is our kingdom of days”

“Kingdom of Days” by Bruce Springsteen

Sixty-100

61 Caddy fade job

I find myself in “gas stations” now, which are really sugary-snack depots that sell lotto tickets and happen to have petroleum products on tap as well. This is where I often times see them. The injured. The walking wounded…those that shuffle along this life with hurts unknown, but plain as day to me. I see them more now than I had. Now that I am one of them.

“HEY MAN, what the FUCK is wrong you?!!” isn’t what’s bubbling up to my lips these days. I don’t want to know. I don’t have a bible thick enough to enumerate the hell they have suffered. Not my business, and I have a load of hurt I am haulin’ my damn-self.

Not choking each other out seems the greatest kindness we can do one another. “Motherfucker, get your mega-millions ticket, your fucking king size fucking Reeses pieces, and keep on keepin’ on, cause the pain on your face would make looking into your eyes a cryin’ experience for me rhat naw, and I ain’t got tear-one to spare….Go with God, you sumbatch.”

A truce.

I speak of my corner Chevron “Extra Mile” store in El Cerrito where between tattoos, I shop for drug drinks, chewing gum, and even lottery tickets sometimes, but every time, looking to get the fuck out of there with great immediacy.

My pasts collide, and it’s not to reason, it’s simply something to be with. Those that were, are no longer, that which was, is no more.

Like the “gas station”, times have changed, the object of focus has shifted, old goals are patinaed wrecks in the calverts on the highway of the heart.

A gas station proper was a watering hole of the desert community I was reared in. Men and men-children gathered to mend tires, talk about life, dispense fuel, wisdom, and whatever else seeped out between squeegee jobs and the dinging of bells as cars came and left. We men-children attended to our bicycles and were taught the spiritual value of a laying on of tools. Being a man meant something. There was a certain care and craft that came with it. Being a man meant helping when help was needed, squinting into the white hot sun and striking a strong silhouette against the world half brushed an astonishing blue.

From the beltine up.

My pops was always making the rounds being a man, dropping trannies, sluggin’ down Rocky Mountain Kool-Aids, spittin’ out gear ratios, gappin’ plugs, and callin’ “bull-fucking-shit!!” on the whoppers sent downstream.

And I made mine…Lee Marvin shit.

Easin’ down the driveway past my Mom’s ’61 Caddy on the envy of the neighborhood, my ’71 Stingray in a stunning candy apple red. Arms thrown skyward clasping the red sparkle grips against the half brushed part of the world.

The blue.

My 501s popping against spindly legs as I came alive, spinning the five spoke chain ring into a fine blur. Across the sage strewn open areas, pumping each rut in the road with zest, knowing each one more than I would know anything else in life. Popping out of the sage, I could see who might be at the Chevron on Inyokern road. “Padgett’s” they called it.

I reckon that’s why all those salty fuckers named “Padgett” were always around.

“You headed to Padgett’s? You tell ‘em ‘Darryl’s F-100’s got a busted u-joint, and I’ll be down later.”

“Let me guess, you’re Darryl…”

Hahahahaaaaaa….I always wanted to say that, that last bit, but would have got every last one of my teeth punched out of my smart mouth if I had. Even if I HAD never met “Darryl”, and truly didn’t give a fuck about him, his F-100, or knew what the hell his u-joint had to do with anygoddamnedthing. But, having been identified as one of the residents that posted up under the awning of Padgett’s meant I existed. I was known. Known as a man(child) about his business in the most important bastillion of manliness known to any sumbatch in the Indian Fucking Wells Valley. That crusty fucking Chevron station.

Shit, I might have moved one more step up to warming the padded tops of the stools inside Smokey’s NAPA Auto Parts store a tick across the dirt patch towards the Argus mountain range in the east sooner that I had dreamed.

Goddamn.

Goddamn!

Now I have my own shop full of tools measured in yards and tens of thousands of dollars, and there are no men-children hovering, listening, mimicking, or cussing in the driveway. There are no lone-bikers on their 20” bicycles out looking for wisdom or a 9/16ths and a swig of grape soda. They all get hauled from each event of life behind the sterile glass, prim little adults, never rolling roughshod over the neighborhood designing fates of stray cats, and righting the wrongs dealt the hero Evel Knievel that wicked day at Snake River. No, their idiotic patter never left unattended for long enough to ferment into something side splittingly funny to their chums. Or dirty. Or poopy enough in reference. Never left to the wilds of the gas station, its pecking order, rhythm of humor and concentric hazing washing away the secular filth of the unbaptised.

Curse the “man” that doesn’t clasp until death the 3/8” ratchet of his father.

I returned to this community of my birth, bordered by Death Valley, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the El Pasos…to Ridgecrest. So much gone, so much has become the same. The same as anywhere.

The ’61 Caddy my Mother trundled my older brother and I to so many firsts in our lives came up in conversation. I had returned from a junket to the local feed store/antique pit in Inyokern with my lady on her first visit. I came home with a piece of local history, a porcelain wall thermometer from “Auto-Kool”, an automotive dynasty in Ridgecrest. Conversation drifted from my score of the thermometer to whom it represented to my Pops.

“Oh man, Ernie…he never came back from that last beating the cops gave him…”

“What?! The dude from Auto-Kool got a ‘highsticking?’ just randomly?”

“Oh HELL NO, David…he was fighting the goddamned cop, he used to box every goddamned time that cop pulled him over, and the cop just had enough one day and walloped the shit out of Ernie….never the same. Just didn’t come back.”

“Auto-Kool Ernie, eh? That’s what happened?”

That’s when the old man tells me the ’61 is out front of some damn old garage out on Ridgecrest boulevard, right next to the old Auto-Kool building.

I just had to see it. So much had changed, I had to touch it again to realize all that had transpired since the last time I saw that Caddy in 1974.

There it sat, burnt to a perfect desert patina, it’s down off the highway on my baby’s first visit and my last.

My lady has had her ’61 Buick for 16 years, and I have had my ’61 VW 20 years this year. They are collectively 100 years old.

My hand rested on my lady’s thigh as I ushered us on towards the Sierras, west on Inyokern road, away from Ridgecrest, away from her first visit, away from my last.

I knew better than to let my eyes drift to the left as I didn’t want to see the dark shadow under the awning that covered the entrance of the long closed Pagett’s Chevron.

 

“I wish i could eat the salt off your last faded lips
We can cap the old times make playing only logical harm
We can top the old lines clay-making that nothing else will change.
But she can read, she can read, she can read, she can read, she’s bad
Oh, she’s bad

It’s different now that I’m poor and aging, I’ll never see this face again
You go stabbing yourself in the neck
It’s different now that I’m poor and aging, and I’ll never see this place again
And you go stabbing yourself in the neck

We can find new ways of living make playing only logical harm
And we can top the old times, clay-making that nothing else will change.
But she can read, she can read, she can read, she can read, she’s bad
Oh, she’s bad

It’s in the way that she posed,
It’s in the things that she puts in my head
Her stories are boring and stuff.
She’s always calling my bluff.
She puts the weights into my little heart,
And she gets in my room and she takes it apart.
She puts the weights into my little heart,
I said she puts the weights into my little heart.

She packs it away

It’s in the way that she walks
Her heaven is never enough
She puts the weights in my heart
She puts, oh she puts the weights into my little heart.”

 

“Obstacle 1” by Interpol

Of Neck Tattoos and Random Stupidity

cassettee dangler

To let go.

One of our greatest challenges as living creatures with a very powerful intellect is to acknowledge our temporary status here on Earth. Life wouldn’t be so sweet, defeat wouldn’t be so bitter if there wasn’t a clock ticking away the moments. If there wasn’t an end, there would be no story. Like any great story, no one wants to know how it ends until we reach the last page.

We build things up in our minds to be great. To be permanent. To be FOREVER. We want our achievements, our technology…our fingerprints to live on. For a time, if we have created something special they may be remembered, or utilized. Often times however, our love and hard work sift through our mortal fingers before our very eyes. The more we struggle, the more we try to clutch the sands of life, the faster they disappear.

This doesn’t make life pointless. This doesn’t make the efforts of man vain. It merely illustrates the flexibility, humility, and humor we should apply to all things great or small. We need to enjoy and “celebrate the moments of our lives”. Much like the crappy powdered coffee drink advertisements of the 1970s advised us to do…it’s the little daily things that need to be appreciated on the way to the great things…and ultimately our ends. The story always has an ending.

Our lives have an ending.

All that is great will fade. All that is sacred will disappear. All that is loved will die.

Everything Dies.

…And that’s alright. This is as it is supposed to be. Death is not the opposite of life. Death is the opposite of birth. All that is born is living to die.

Take your breath, make it count. Eye your goals…meet them with determination, patience, and fury at once. We are chefs in the kitchen of life. Each course of life’s ultimate feast take different times to gestate, as well as specific and different methods of preparation. All must be managed simultaneously, and with aplomb. There are no breaks, there are no short cuts. Those are for the trash on the road of life. We see them, we cannot help them. They lay rumpled, in the way, a hazard to avoid. Emotional IEDs if you will.

Sadly, our society rewards the victim, and penalizes the enterprising. We cannot change this in our time, and it is a waste to do more than note that fact. Rise to the occasion of your being…and do nothing more. Nothing less. Your life is priceless, treat it as such.

Rise up.

Rise up and be great for we must in the end let go of all that we hold precious. All that we work for is unimportant, it is the working that makes our lives what they are. It is in the loving that we are defined, and renewed before our departure. Love for today, love for the rest of your days…they are shorter than you think.

Carried to dust in this lifetime, less than a blink in time. Make your life count. Live a life to be proud of…in the ending of your story it is all you shall have.

 

“Four in the morning the sidewalk’s asleep
Dogs on the porch,
Spiders on the leaf
Shipwrecked by night sailing through days
Nobody noticed the slipping away
Connecting the dots with thorns in his side
Boarded up the Windows with pain and with pride
The music box broken that once was his soul
Its sad little song spinning out of control
Then came the storm that washed the roads out
Closed both his eyes and pointed straight south
Second line drums marched into the sea
While the clouds overhead cried “mutiny”
They parted for Cathy and her bitter news
As her words fail and the sky grew dim
Recalled how close to that exit l’ve been
Ours not to reply, ours not to reason why
The news about William
The lifeline retreats
Desire for release
The thorns in his side”

“The News about William” by Calexico

Bahn Bahn…Autobahn

Life is continually compared to the open road or twisted dark garbage strewn back alleys, mountain passes, arduous climbs, and deadly valleys and we have been beaten down with these clichés our whole lives. My personal relationship with the road elevated from a small, angry Honda 400cc motorcycle to an exotic German sports coupe floating in the wild Alpine mists of my teenage mind in 1986.

There it was in the Ft.Worth Star Telegram newspaper, a 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco 5spd for sale $2500 817 867 5309 The unwritten part of the ad was that it was on its last legs, waaay overpriced, needed tires, and it was for sale by the owners former employers as he was at the state prison in Huntsville for an extended stay because he murdered his girlfriend in the car.

I don’t generally believe in cursed objects. I don’t know that what I considered to be my lovely Callibre Green dream car was truly accursed but, I have considered the possibility in the more than 25 years that have passed since the car was brought into my life.

That was when I was eighteen, I lived with my Grandparents in Hurst, TX. My first long term girlfriend lived an hour or so away in Plano, and I needed to see her on the weekends. I had seen Sciroccos around for years, and I really wanted one. Two doors down from my childhood home, the Arnolds had a silver one covered in pine needles and in need of some sexy rims wrapped in sticky European rubber, not to mention the tuned exhaust it lacked. David Arnold, the neighbor a couple of years older than I gave me that knowing glance that once the gauntlet was passed, the car would be all it should be in an autobahn obsessed teenage boy’s maladjusted fantasy factory. Howling exhaust notes penetrating the screaming scirocco winds the car was named for above the shriek of the tortured Pirelli P-7 tires. BBS three piece alloy rims signaled to unwary wayfarers on Germany’s veins of speed that these young men from California’s High Desert region were not to be tangled withPorsches, MBZs, Beemers were in danger. Hip sunglasses over beautifully wrought grey woolen sweaters cued all cooing frauliens that these dashing rakes were men of serious consequence. David’s eyes narrowed as I walked up his pine cone ladened aggregate concrete drive way offset with railroad tie parking curbs…it was all acknowledged in that glance.

Yes, grey sweaters it would be.

With noble jaw lines set.

The fact that this picture was taken in the carport of my Grandparent’s suburban Texas home on a languidly humid summer afternoon by my septuagenarian Grandmother should not deter from the mental picture. I had not stretched to the heights of grey sweaters just yet. Perhaps next winters the grey. I had told myself as the shutter of the Canon AV-1 snapped this image the first SLR camera I ever shot. The one my Grandmother passed to me. The one that sits downstairs in my studio inoperable since it and I were beaten with a pipe on Oahu in 1995 by some locals after receiving a big tattoo by Mike Malone aka Rollo Banks boy was I fucked up on pills! I woke up nude, bloody and bruised in a high rise hotel room in Honolulu to paramedics and my tortured mother’s worried cries. Yes, that camera. Yes, that Grandmother. Yes, that mother. Yes.

The Scirocco needed some help. A fellow member of the wait staff at Bedford, Texas laughable “Baja Louie’s” Mexican themed restaurant’s boyfriend had suggested a comprehensive course of work that would make my vehicle not my dream cares but merely one that wouldn’t leave me stranded. Living with Granny and Gramps, I didn’t have much in the way of tools. Escaping my locally renowned mechanic Father’s weird tentacles meant leaving with technical skills roughly equal to that of the average drunken third grade girl. This young skateboarder didn’t have the $1200 required to do the basic work the stringy haired chain smoking off duty mechanic sensibly urged me to undertake in the concrete parking lot of his ubiquitous wooden 70s apartment complex.

No, I would roll Das Murderwagen five hours south to Austin and start my new life. I had my girlfriend from Plano to attend to, and things needed to be skated in that part of Texas, I was told. My dream car would rise above any sniff of accursedness. Yes, I would take the remains of the tiny settlement from the insurance company I recieved after being hit in an intersection. To be clear, this was not related to the rear ending of the other motorist as I exited the freeway at full speed to find a Texan driver doing a typically Texan driver’s act…randomly stopping in the roadway for no reason. Just stopping. Oh, maybe it’s the freeway off ramp and some would argue it is an inappropriate parking place yet, there the Texan may be, sitting like a magpie on a wire, doing whatever it is a starch ladened thick necked individual does in an ugly stock Chrysler with faux wood applied to the exterior does. Of course these had nothing to do with the 360 degree spin at 75 mph on the freeway to avoid the Texan stopped in the fast lane, or the slick corner that broke the weak, cheap, worn out tires and a tenuous grip on the hot summer’s asphalt leading to the 270 degree rotation at speed onto the citizen’s lawn, nor was it the cars mysterious surging reverse out of the Taco Bueno parking lot in Dallas that lead to two patrons finding the Sciroccos gracefully slanted hatch back window an alluring lounge spot, which similarly had nothing to do with the intentional mowing down of a skinhead in Dallas Deep Ellum neighborhood, or the time the car rolled into a ditch we were skateboarding in though it was in gear and the parking brake was engaged, or when the air conditioner compressor seized resulting in a deafening squall and hack inducing white smoke that required the belt to be severed with a kitchen knife from “Baja Louie’s” selection of fine Mexican cutlery, the very knife I would be arrested for after it was deemed a “deadly weapon”, though it resided long forgotten in the rails under the driver’s seat, nor the time I was arrested stealing tools to replace the water pump that took my last dollars to attempt to install, lest be forgotten the infamous railroad crossing stall should not be mentioned because it gets lost in the parking lot final chuff story resulting in the car never actually providing transportation ever again simply turning into a project that eventually was wisely traded for a 24″ Champion BMX bicycle of the same model year.

1980

I still have the Champion as I have since 1987.

The “final chuff┝ of the Scirocco happened in the parking lot of the massive Austin apartment complex “Mi Amigoâ” (aka Me Amoeba) that housed my girlfriend from Plano with whom I was to live with for a short time. She’s the one who got my Cycle Pro 26″ cruiser bicycle stolen, the one who fleeced me of my money, the one who drove me to abandon our apartment after less than three months on foot.

A couple of years after I traded the car off, I saw it in Austin, it was unmistakable there was the crack in the windshield I punched during an argument with my ex-girlfriend four years earlier the creased fender from the intersection collision that funded the Scirocco relocation to Austin.

I squinted in the summer sun, I couldn’t believe who was toodling down the stairs of the apartment the car was parked in front of with my ex-girlfriend. The newest owner of that Scirocco. I couldn’t bear to look back as I rode on astride my fine Champion bicycle, knowing was serious ill was to befall the recipient of not one curse, but two quite serious curses.

The grey never actually showed up and not in sweater form, anyway.

I Love the Life I Live

IMG_3151

There’s certain folks that just live the life. Things just fall into place. (Yeah, I know…it’s “There ARE”…but, “There’s” just fits my vernacular at this moment…okay?)

Thanks.

SO, anyhow..these folks just know what’s what, and how they need to be treated in this life. I don’t meet a whole lot of these folks, but you can see who they are often times simply by seeing what they touch. See, when I touch something on a regular basis…it’s MINE. It’s a reflection of who I am…because I care, and if I touch something a lot, I want it to be the GOOD shit.

It’s this way when I visit a premium boot shop. You can just see the owner, their history, who they are in the world, often times by touching their boots. Dig the lacing on the side seam of the tops and toe/counter….I am not going to overstate the obvious of the over-the-top material used to make the boot. But, the first person who can identify the maker and the materials will receive a Whataburger gift certificate for a large bag of onion rings.

That’s my way of introducing you to the art of “Living the Life”….

Sure, the owner of these boots loves a fine snifter of cognac and an exceptional Cuban cigar fireside in their limestone estate on those chilly nights…

But, until our boat comes in…it’s lizards, and Whataburger.

You saavy, Hoss?

 

” See you watching me like a hawk
I don’t mind the way you talk
But if you touch me somethin’s got to give
I life the life I love and I love the life I live

So if you see me and think I’m wrong
Don’t worry ’bout me just let me go
My sweet life ain’t nothing but a thrill
I life the life I love and I love the life I live

My diamond ring and my money too
Tomorrow night could belong to you
The girls move me at their will
I life the life I love and I love the life I live

I may bet a thousand on a bet this time
One minute later I can’t cover your dime
Tomorrow night I might be over the hill
I just want you to know baby the way I feel

You see me walkin’ as I pass you by
Don’t talk about me ’cause I could be high
Just forgive me if you will
I life the life I love and I love the life I live”

Muddy Waters