Strength Through Joy

When I see the depth of greys overhead, it takes me. Takes me back to all of the times I have seen the grey. There is a dampening. Of time, of feeling. The coolness on my cheek. The melancholia touching down.

This weekend it was picturesque. Like a monochrome Van Gogh. The steely horizontal smear of the bay between Victorian buildings disappearing down the hill from this lifetime to all that went before. The passage of time. The grey overhead still. I touched down mentally at 17th Street and Alabama in San Francisco’s Mission District.

It was 1992. I was a lad. My bicycle was beautiful, and to some I supposed I was as well. The pavement so viciously abused it seemed more like hardened black mud with angry steel veins shooting through it. The tracks had been unused for a generation at least. The industry that was the cause of all of the steel railing, concrete loading docks, roll-up doors and amazing assortment of valves that made up the landscape in this wild strip in the middle of the city had long since departed. For whatever reason. My neighbor, a concrete plant. Everything dormant but the concrete plant. Its grey grit covering everything. Everywhere. Everything. The grinding, spinning, churning, dumping, screeching, loading, moving, chugging, clattering, hollering, honking, whistling, bellowing, and mostly, the grey grit…they were my company.

My bed laid on the cold concrete floor of what was rented as an office space with no water or heat. Raw space.

I had stolen a 12’X 24’ drop cloth from the beautiful art deco/Aztec palace that is 450 Sutter. Some painters had taken a break. I was on a delivery as a bike messenger. I saw it. I was a thief. Certain things, I simply could not pass up. This drop cloth spoke to me. The floor was intermittently busy with dental offices, and I had to have the cloth. I some how peeled it away from its taped-down borders to quickly fold it into a tight bundle that miraculously fit into my messenger bag. A gaping maw on my back that swallowed what I willed it to.

This drop cloth became my bedroom. I hung it in the space…and it created my bedroom. Oh such unlikely delights in such a non-descript space.

Grey mornings greeted my cold legs as I cast myself on to the city’s streets to scour my meager messenger’s livelihood.

I still own that drop cloth, I have sent it around the world…

People can’t understand when I ship my precious motorcycles to Japan, or Texas…or wherever, why I wrap them in this old cloth.

I still own that drop cloth.

I still look up into the depth of the greys overhead.

“I can’t believe that you’re knocking

Knocking on my door
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh
Fate has a way of showing I’m where you belong
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh

I can’t believe that you’re knocking
Knocking on my door
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh
Fate has a way of showing I’m where you belong
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh

The sound of my heart stopping is surprising some/so?
It’s been so long, been so long, oh
Time has a way of knowing
what we have in store
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh”

“Been so Long” by Vetiver

Black Coffee

Resistol retouch

Shit’s alright.

Looking around, counting the blessings…knowing God is still God, and we are breathing. Disasters coming, disasters going, losing loved ones, financial set-backs, problems in a daily fashion….but, Shit’s alright.

It’s so easy to lose sight of what is good in daily life…how far we have come, what the journey has cost us, what it means to us, and how lucky we truly are.

I was driving around last week with my girl…listening to of all things, Squeeze. Looking off into the passing treeline, I was remembering working the counter at a gourmet coffee shop in 1987. It was located in a mall in Austin, Texas. Things were pretty bleak. I had bailed from my girlfriend of over a year which was a good long time to a boy newly turned nineteen. All of my money was spent filling her larder in our apartment. I left her and the food, and was broke living in an unfinished garage with one bare light bulb and no heat or water.

In the winter.

Super sweet.

But, I’d go to work. The guys there would be listening to Squeeze, and other “new wave” stuff on cassette. Squeeze songs were relentlessly poppy…sometimes happy, often times reflective and usually about girls. Part of me wanted to break the stereo, and other facets of my little mind wanted so badly to have a girl worth singing over. To be able to talk about “black coffee in bed, pulling mussels from a shell”, or even “slapping and tickling”…but all I had was a “goodbye girl”. Food was an issue. Getting a shit off in private was a concern. But, the paycheck meant weed. Buying ounces was key. To save twenty dollars meant a good chunk of my week’s pay stayed mine. Yes, ounces were key.

I didn’t have much, but at work we had coffee, always black, because we were hip, and knew our shit.

The dust of frost on the curled browning leaves underfoot reminded me my shoes were thin and so very cheap. A grey dome encompassed the ashen lightning of inverted roots reaching out in frozen fingerplay toward a heaven unproven. The cold just bit me and bit me, making my eyes burn, spilling tears on to my distant, numb cheeks as I walked to work. I had gotten my bicycle stolen.

Careless.

It was a “Cycle-Pro” and I think I held the name against the bike. My Grandparents had bought me my first one…Cycle-Pros were really “affordable”. My Grandparents had the best intentions, they loved me more than I could ever deserve. I was in the sixth or so grade, and at that age nothing is right. The wheels weren’t anodized, they were coated with this weird candy-like film that came off too easily, resulting in a fucked-up look. I had to gut the coaster brake to make a ghetto freewheel, and I bought a hand brake for eleven dollars. I had to fit in, and a coaster brake wasn’t cutting it. By the time I saved the eleven dollars everyone hated me. Well, of course the rear rim peeled because it wasn’t designed to have a brake applied to that fucked-up finish. So, I rolled with gold finish on the black bike, and a glaring silver rear wheel. I was too dumb or stubborn to peel the rest of the gold off the other parts for a uniform look. I got in a lot of fights defending my cheap little bike’s honor. Bike rack throwdowns. Then, finally, my older brother beat the bike with a hoe during an argument, and creased the frame’s tubes so viciously I couldn’t look at it ever again.

I guess I never got over it, so that winter of ‘87, I had let my second Cycle-Pro get stolen. Oh wait, no I didn’t…my mean girlfriend wouldn’t let me bring it in the apartment, and I couldn’t afford a lock. That’s right, just now I remember. But, hey…she had all of my savings converted to groceries in her cabinets in the warm apartment her mother paid for…and I was with running nose in a dark, cold garage sleeping on frigid concrete.

And my bicycle wasn’t any less gone.

So, I’d walk, crunch leaves and shatter the ice over dry puddles in the uneven pavement as I made my way to hear this music that spoke of a life I’d never tasted next to my co-workers with haircuts that imparted a look from a place of care and an outlook beyond mine. Adidas Samba soccer shoes, thoughtful sweaters, properly cut jeans of black cotton from mothers that were proud of their boys. It was a cold contrast to my wet spray-painted shoes and hap hazard assemblage of whatever I scrounged worn under ragged locks of no particular arrangement.

The music played on. The cash register sang. The boys smiled. The girls proffered deep thoughts to keep me busy. Thoughts I still ponder.

I have come a long way, though I have never left.

I bought some spiffy Sambas that are now offered in what was only then a dream color, purple stripes over black in the company of the girl of my dreams recently, and drove home snug and warm this winter with strains of Squeeze playing from the iPod. I pumped her hand and happily smiled a sad little smile that came from those lonely winter afternoons of wet shoes and black coffee.

 

“There’s a stain on my notebook
Where your coffee cup was
And there’s ash in the pages
Now I’ve got myself lost
I was writing to tell you
That my feelings tonight
Are a stain on my notebook
That rings your goodbye

Now she’s gone
And I’m back on the beat
A stain on my notebook
Says nothing to me
Now she’s gone
And I’m out with a friend
With lips full of passion
and coffee in bed

With the way that you left me
I can hardly contain
The hurt and the anger
And the joy of the pain
Now knowing I am single
There’ll be fire in my eyes
And a stain on my notebook
For a new love tonight

Now she’s gone
And I’m back on the beat
A stain on my notebook
Says nothing to me
Now she’s gone
And I’m out with a friend
With lips full of passion
And coffee in bed

Now she’s gone
And I’m out with a friend
With lips full of passion
And coffee in bed

From lips without passion
To the lips with a kiss
There’s nothing of your love
That I’ll ever miss
The stain on my notebook
Remains all that’s left
Of the memory of late nights
and coffee in bed
Of the memory of late nights
And coffee in bed

Now she’s gone
And I’m back on the beat
A stain on my notebook
Says nothing to me
Now she’s gone
And I’m out with a friend
With lips full of passion
And coffee in bed”

“Black Coffee in Bed” by Squeeze

Brutal Out Deh

itals album

Spring I guess it was. Fuck, I think so…maybe 1991. The humidity makes it all kind of stick together, but I was on my way out. Out of my life as I had known it….broke and fucked-off after having a nice run for a couple of years. I had it pretty rough when I moved to Austin in ’86. Floating around, and finally being rescued by my Grandfather, and doled the princely sum of $25 per week to live on.

I was rolling. For a while. $25 per week kept me in peanut butter, jelly and Ovaltine. It was humble, but honest.

Then, I got all wise, and started doing pretty well I figured, selling Mexican brick weed and quit Jr. College to roll around on my BMX bike full-time and slang sacks. It was great for a time. Nice apartment to myself, sleeping a lot, amassing a sweet BMX collection, and sifting through some of Austin’s fine underground female talent. Real sage moves.

I had been out of a place, and on the couches of friends, and so the independence of dealing, and the success and apartment I had was really a big swell to the ego. I felt great. I had a really good network of buddies. We traveled, rode, and had a really fine time together. Then the weed dried-up. I was screwed.

Tried working, wound up crashing where I could, and relied on the kindness of friends. It was a great blow.

So, yeah…I guess it was spring of ’91, I would up in North Austin. I somehow found a roommate referral to this older cat…hell he must have been in his THIRTIES! He was one of those Texans with the old fashioned names, I think it was Odell. Fucking Odell. Who the shit names their son fucking Odell? He had Coke bottle glasses, no chin and thin mousey brown hair in a shitbox ponytail. He was a pasty, dumpy hippie with a middlen size set of moobs. He would have been an early round draft pick for a typical eugenics program. Just roasted from the get-go. His weak-ass East Texas drawl emanated from his inverted grey krill filter-like teeth. Inverted teeth make the wearer appear rat-like and untrustworthy.

Ew…rat teeth.

I had been building my reggae vinyl collection with the help of Alejandro Escovedo over the course of a couple of years. He had worked at the Warehouse, and later at Waterloo Records…and he would set aside the choicest pieces, knowing I would roll through and pick up fat stacks of what he had culled for me. He knew my collection, and was a really helpful friend in making my dream of having a respectful reggae collection happen. He would make sure I scored the killer James Brown reissues on People that were fetching triple digits he had in shrink for face value.

One of the killer pieces he laid up for me was the Itals LP, “Brutal out Deh”.originally released in ’81. The original pressing had issues, and there were tracks that skipped when you played them. It was frustrating because the album was head and antlers above what was being released at that time. Sure, the Congos were killing it, and Black Uhuru were great…but, there was something so rootsy about the Itals that their authenticity made them feel the most REAL. I had this unwieldy, large, heavy collection of records that needed to be kept in a cool, dry environment…and I was homeless in a hot, humid town without a pot to piss in.

BRUTAL OUT DEH.

Shit was brutal…I was hurting. It was so hot one day, I was scratching myself in my bedroom at Odell’s. The granny rug in my room’s stripes seemed to oscillate, the air was so musty and thick, I just couldn’t understand what the fuck was happening to me. I was smoking grass as I always found myself doing, but I ITCHED. I’d scratch, and it didn’t abate. I just itched. I kept scratching, and looked down finally at my arm where I was scratching…

I couldn’t get my mind around what I saw. Why is this crabby thing on my arm? What the fuck is it? Wait…there’s something ON me?

Shit.

Yeah…I had the fucking crabs. And no money. I just picked ‘em off of me by the hundreds.

I was having a fucking meltdown.

Odell’s buddies came by about that time. I fucking couldn’t stand them. They were know it alls who wouldn’t shut up. A lame weak dude, and an ugly girl who ran around in denim overalls at all times. She was slender, with you guessed it, thin mousey brown hair in a shitbox ponytail. Pasty with saggy tits….just a fucking nightmare. I had the Itals playing on my turntable.

I was dying.

What the hell did this mean? Did I have a disease? What was happening? Why am I itching so badly? Why are my eyes all fucked-up? HOLY SHIT…the fucking crabs are in my eyes? How the fuck is that possible? Are they gonna fuck up my vision? What?!!

“HOLY SHIT!! That’s the fucking ITALS!!! Oh my GOD!! Is that the reissue without the SKIP?!!!” Ugly Girl squealed at maximum volume as she charged into my room beyond the closed door into my personal lowpoint as a human.

“Uh…yeah….how about you get the fuck out of my room?” I queried cooly.

She thought I was gonna actually let her fly with my precious Itals vinyl. In my darkest hour. I looked at the shitty press board fake paneling on the manky walls of my room…trying to escape her frantic whining…

“Just fucking go.”

“Away.”

I turned to stone and just vegged-out until she actually tried to take the record off of my turntable. Odell freaked-out when I screamed at her. Like I owed his friends the use of my personal, delicate things? Hickoid East Texan hippie scum in denim overalls? Oh fuck that shit. For the remainder of my stay there…I was persona non-grata, and treated disdainfully. I had somehow failed the communist share the wealth one for all test with my personal property and more offensive protection of it. Oh, it was foul that I owned the record. So foul she had to have it…

I fucking hate hippies. They want everything for free until it’s their turn to share. Could that broad have picked some nits? Talked me off my mental ledge? Something? Performed some “freak-out tent” heroics on my behalf? Perhaps earned the right to ask for such a favor?

Nope.

But, I was beyond trust after that moment. Simply trash. I would NOT be featured on their cable access cooking show…SURELY!

They had a cooking show? I didn’t have a TV so…hey, wait. HIPPIES who want shit for free have a TELEVISION SHOW? What the fuck? Media savvy, self-promoting hicks trying to cash in on god knows what? What the fuck was next?

Yep, again…you guessed it. Odell moved-out stiffing everyone on rent with his freelove bullshit, stealing my answering machine in the process…the one I bought with my honest dope dealing money.

Cause, you know…hippies need to stay in touch.

Grey Fades to Grey

Chenni's locks focal point

When I see the depth of greys overhead, it takes me. Takes me back to all of the times I have seen the grey. There is a dampening. Of time, of feeling. The coolness on my cheek. The melancholia touching down.

This weekend it was picturesque. Like a monochrome Van Gogh. The steely horizontal smear of the bay between Victorian buildings disappearing down the hill from this lifetime to all that went before. The passage of time. The grey overhead still. I touched down mentally at 17th Street and Alabama in San Francisco’s Mission District.

It was 1992. I was a lad. My bicycle was beautiful, and to some I supposed I was as well. The pavement so viciously abused it seemed more like hardened black mud with angry steel veins shooting through it. The tracks had been unused for a generation at least. The industry that was the cause of all of the steel railing, concrete loading docks, roll-up doors and amazing assortment of valves that made up the landscape in this wild strip in the middle of the city had long since departed. For whatever reason. My neighbor, a concrete plant. Everything dormant but the concrete plant. Its grey grit covering everything. Everywhere. Everything. The grinding, spinning, churning, dumping, screeching, loading, moving, chugging, clattering, hollering, honking, whistling, bellowing, and mostly, the grey grit…they were my company.

My bed laid on the cold concrete floor of what was rented as an office space with no water or heat. Raw space.

I had stolen a 12’X 24’ drop cloth from the beautiful art deco/Aztec palace that is 450 Sutter. Some painters had taken a break. I was on a delivery as a bike messenger. I saw it. I was a thief. Certain things, I simply could not pass up. This drop cloth spoke to me. The floor was intermittently busy with dental offices, and I had to have the cloth. I some how peeled it away from its taped-down borders to quickly fold it into a tight bundle that miraculously fit into my messenger bag. A gaping maw on my back that swallowed what I willed it to.

This drop cloth became my bedroom. I hung it in the space…and it created my bedroom. Oh such unlikely delights in such a non-descript space.

Grey mornings greeted my cold legs as I cast myself on to the city’s streets to scour my meager messenger’s livelihood.

I still own that drop cloth, I have sent it around the world…

People can’t understand when I ship my precious motorcycles to Japan, or Texas…or wherever, why I wrap them in this old cloth.

I still own that drop cloth.

I still look up into the depth of the greys overhead.

“I can’t believe that you’re knocking
Knocking on my door
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh
Fate has a way of showing I’m where you belong
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh

I can’t believe that you’re knocking
Knocking on my door
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh
Fate has a way of showing I’m where you belong
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh

The sound of my heart stopping is surprising some/so?
It’s been so long, been so long, oh
Time has a way of knowing
what we have in store
Oh it’s been so long, been so long, oh”

“Been so Long” by Vetiver

A Flea on Mother Earth’s Back

Butthole_Surfers_-_Double_LiveGod keeps me riding like a flea on Mother Earth’s back for some reason. I keep hoping what good I am to be used for will be revealed in a more open picture, I know I am taking this all in for a reason but it’s yet a complete concept I can appreciate. For now, it’s just little snatches…that sometimes I catch. But, generally…I am too wrapped up in life to really appreciate them or discern their meanings.

It was the summer of 1988. I was living in Austin, Texas…it was a vastly different town. It could be in California now for the way it is. There was still a real small town there. The heat, the poverty, the moral bankruptcy I was wading through was crippling, but somehow I remember it very fondly.

I love the memory.

I was in a Ryder truck…this is how much of a different time it was…I was in a Ryder truck, the exact variety Timothy McVey used to blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City not much later, my scraggly ass sitting for a couple of hours directly in front of the airport terminal on the curb. It was a tiny affair. A paved oval surrounding the small parking lot on a flat plot with a squat, one storey building plopped on one side. Big yellow box, just sitting there like a dadbleen magpie on a fence. The security guard, an unarmed black man in his late twenties never acknowledged me beyond a nod. I sat. I waited. I sat. I sweated. I itched…I sweated some more as I sat…and waited.

In the back was dizzying array of electronic gear. Straight terror tools.

I was on my way from Austin to Dallas. Or Houston…entrusted with the Butthole Surfers full touring gear. Solo. High, twenty-one.

I don’t think I had a driver’s license.

“Goddamn…”

I was making money. Something ridiculously grand….maybe fifty, perhaps even seventy-five bucks a day. Just incredible sums!

I had a Panasonic jam box back at the pad with the Beastie Boys only full length cassette, “License to Ill” in full auto-reverse mode.

Livin’ high.

Up she bounded. Short and round. Effervescent. Bald. Wait…is that a tattoo? On her face? Hmmmm…never seen a woman outside of a National Geographic with a delineation on her chin for any reason. Just a fat black line running from her lower lip to just below her jawline.

How could a swipe of a Sharpie be so goddamned radical? Just a huge separation. That small line cleaved society’s values quite simply, quite economically. Genius.

Kathleen.

Seriously, her name wasn’t “Ashtray Babyhead” or “Liz Ard”, nothing clever, acidic, biting, or achingly hip….it was Kathleen.

Kathleen was the band’s iconic, world famous dancer.

Kathleen.

She was talking a little, so it was ’88. She had done a tour with the Buttholes previously where she didn’t speak for at least six months as I recall. And collected trash. She was sweet, and musky with deep, wild eyes and a wide grin that bespoke a freedom and madness I could only pretend to understand. She was from New York. This was again, a different world…motherfuckers just didn’t go to New York. I never saw anyone after they left for New York…ever again. It was all a big Lou Reed urinal flume ride to hell down endless iron fire escapes in cacophonous pathos.

It was.

Ain’t Dead

iPhone 291

 

You ever just can’t breathe? You know…just some fear. That metallic taste in your mouth. The clenching, tightness at the jaws, the band around the temple…

“Fuuuuck!” is all you can think.

Forget talking.

Not gonna happen.

Life is okay overall, but you gotta fixate on the thing that is making you crazy, and scaring the shit out of you for whatever reason.

What is it for you? The job? The family? Some issue at home?

How are you going to loosen the knot? Get the breath back? Is rubbing one out gonna help? Packing a bowl? Getting in the garage?

Garage?

That’s what it took for me earlier. I had to do something. I punched the guide marks and scribed the outline for the templates on the intermediary plates on my new roller skates. I just had to do something.

Things are really good overall in my life, but I got some news that was a true set-back personally…and it was really rough. OVERALL? Shit, no worries, it will all work out, but like a lot of people right now, my personal stress level was just a bit to high to have such news laid on me.

So, I grabbed my favorite hammer, and a fucking gorgeous punch that had been my Stepfather’s. I held it. I remembered him,I held it, and I set my marks and laid my hammer in and did my work and I thought about how good it is to not be dead. Not so much that being alive is making me super happy right now…but, just the contrast of not being dead seemed to be a good state to find myself in.

That was the break.

“I ain’t fucking dead….that’s a start.”

I am still dragging a little ass…but, you know?

I ain’t fucking dead.

That’s a start.

“Oh how long…

It seems I’ve waited
I’ve walked a 1,000
To see you to heaven
To see you with heaven’s glow
I know not to fight
To bringing in the light
Playing in the height of the sky
With hope, with sweet hope

And playing the pools of broken lines
With you above me
You take me on your shoulder
Sahara Mahala
And I know I want to be with you all of my days
On hallowed ground
But honey, every time we go to jail
The seeds of doubt
Come creeping
Just keep moving
On hallowed ground

Got a feeling
It seems I’ve waited
The sea, the moment of completeness
Sahara Mahala

And I’ll get in you deep inside
In these visions, visions
In the feeling you can’t kill
These visions, visions”

“Sahara Mahala” The Jezebels

Damn it Feels Good

Good Buck Owens

The desert is a motherfucker. Some say it plays with your mind…I think it leaves you alone with your mind. That’s why some people can’t hang in the glare, and open space. It’s just you.

Then, there are the gangstas of the world.

So much good country music has come out of Bakersfield, I feel because the kind of men and women who made it from the Maddoxes, Lefty Frizzell, Merle, Roy Nichols, Don Rich…to our hero, Buck were the type who needed the solitude to allow their thoughts to crystallize properly. Most can’t face their thoughts, face themselves…the solitude allows their minds to do themselves in. The hard minded just buckle down, and start to create. Their minds are beautiful and full of great understanding.

This is how we get high art. This is how the best of recorded country music is ours to treasure.

Real men locked down with their thoughts.

They developed their talents to be the best the world had ever known, and will continue to be the best it’s ever seen.

Gangsta.

“Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
A real gangsta-ass nigga plays his cards right
A real gangsta-ass nigga never runs his fuckin mouth
’cause real gangsta-ass niggas don’t start fights
And niggas always gotta high cap
Showin’ all his boys how he shot em
But real gangsta-ass niggas don’t flex nuts
’cause real gangsta-ass niggas know they got em
And everythings cool in the mind of a gangsta
’cause gangsta-ass niggas think deep
Up three-sixty-five a year 24/7
’cause real gangsta ass niggas don’t sleep
And all I gotta say to you
Wannabe, gonnabe, cocksuckin’, pussy-eatin’ prankstas
’cause when the fry dies down what the fuck you gonna do
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Feedin’ the poor and hepin out wit they bills
Although I was born in jamaica
Now I’m in the us makin’ deals
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
I mean one that you don’t really know
Ridin’ around town in a drop-top benz
Hittin’ switches in my black six-fo’
Now gangsta-ass niggas come in all shapes and colors
Some got killed in the past
But this gangtsa here is a smart one
Started living for the lord and I’ll last
Now all I gotta say to you
Wannabe, gonnabe, pussy-eatin’ cocksuckin’ prankstas
When the shit jumps off what the fuck you gonna do
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
A real gangta-ass nigga knows the play
Real gangsta-ass niggas get the flyest of the bitches
Ask that gangsta-ass nigga little jake
Now bitches look at gangsta-ass niggas like a stop sign
And play the role of little miss sweet
But catch the bitch all alone get the digit take her out
And then dump-hittin’ the ass with the meat
’cause gangsta-ass niggas be the gang playas
And everythings quiet in the clique
A gangsta-ass nigga pulls the trigger
And his partners in the posse ain’t tellin’ off shit
Real gangsta-ass niggas don’t talk much
All ya hear is the black from the gun blast
And real gangsta-ass niggas don’t run for shit
’cause real gangsta-ass niggas can’t run fast
Now when you in the free world talkin’ shit do the shit
Hit the pen and let the mothafuckas shank ya
But niggas like myself kick back and peep game
’cause damn it feels good to be a gangsta
And now, a word from the president!
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Gettin voted into the white house
Everything lookin good to the people of the world
But the mafia family is my boss
So every now and then I owe a favor gettin’ down
Like lettin’ a big drug shipment through
And send ‘em to the poor community
So we can bust you know who
So voters of the world keep supportin’ me
And I promise to take you very far
Other leaders better not upset me
Or I’ll send a million troops to die at war
To all you republicans, that helped me win
I sincerely like to thank you
’cause now I got the world swingin’ from my nuts
And damn it feels good to be a gangsta”

“Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta” By the Geto Boys

Much Less

386579_10152391086735599_284274950_n

Yeah…so there he was.

He wasn’t much. Much more than a boy…and barely that. He had been beaten badly the week before. A dozen had fed him shoe leather. All busted the hell up. Them that did it weren’t but boys. He was high and it was just a blur. Only snatches remained in his mind. Blood. Flashes of blinding light. Blood. Lots of it. His shirt black with his own blood.

In the street.

Left for dead, and treated worse.

There them boys was…two of ‘em, anyway.

It was the Theatre Gallery in Deep Ellum. 1986. Dallas. A shitbox venue owned by a mealy mouthed hippie. Three or five dollars got them into the club with kegs of PBR free for unlimited refreshment. He had been over served with the blare of the band in the background which was all there was. Background. Screaming Blue Messiahs. Who the fuck ever. Broken face, swollen mind.

He began with a tap on the shoulder. Like them boys done the week before. Just a nod to the classics, he reckoned. As the boy turned, he grabbed him by the ears and went in for the headbutt. Drunken headbutt. Headbutt in black red rage. Facebutt pummel…oh well. The shock of a broken nose to the boy made him glad. He smiled through the blood and his own newly re-broken nose, like a dog in a fight he wants badly. Twisting the grip of the boy’s ears ever tighter, he wheeled him around twisting their bloody faces together like lovers in a longing kiss, flattening their noses, forcing each one’s blood into the other. His right hand released the boy’s ear to ball itself into a hammer further splattering the boy’s features. He dropped the boy like a wet rag. The movement and spray of warm blood turned the boy’s companion toward him. The sight of the enraged figure with smashed countenance pouring blood as he had in the street the week before made something snap in the other boy.

The taste of his and the boy’s blood’s iron made him feel alive.

The glare from the bar’s backmirror left a shape burned into his mind’s eye…

“It’s common knowledge there’s always one exception
Not quite a part of the crowd
He tries so hard, just to laugh in the right places
But he knows it’s just not funny
He has this feeling, he just knows it
They don’t like him ‘cos he’s different
He knew all about the no-go areas
But he went there just the same

He was washed up and left for dead
Nobody told him he was just not wanted
It got so cold after midnight
Oh yeah

Don’t want the money
He just wants the fame
There’s something driving him inside

His friends don’t like him
‘cos they think that he’s so stupid
So he just goes out on his own
He saw a movie that night and it moved him
It was just like his life story
But he got jumped by some thugs
On the way home
No-one came to his rescue

He was washed up and left for dead
Nobody told him he was just not wanted
It gets so cold after midnight
Oh yeah

Night after night he’s out biting the pavement
Hurt his hands clapping for the group
He can’t dance, but he can certainly cause trouble
Yeah, ah -ooh

He was washed up and left for dead
Nobody told him he was just not wanted
It gets so cold after midnight
Oh yeah”

“Washed up and left for Dead” The Selecter

….

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God breathes.

God breathes through us all.

God exists because we are the witnesses of God. Without a witness, nothing takes place. The proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one present….

There can be no fabric without each thread being woven. Together. Woven together. Losing one memory, one event, one person, one breath…it is all ruined. All the hate all of the pain, all of the love, all of the joy…it’s all a must.

I have friends that would literally murder one another if they met. I love them. They are the balance. The hate, the love…

I love the wise, the foolish, the beautiful, the wretched….

There are tweakers rambling true words of Revelations unknowingly. The speak of God. They, the trash. The trash. Who are we? Love. Hate. Wisdom. Hokum. Beauty. Filth. Taste of it.

Taste of it.

Taste of it all.

We are vessels of our enemies as much as we are of that which we profess to love. We witness, we carry what we see, we judge, we create thought, we discourse on what we have witnessed. We are vessels. Be careful what you witness. Take care in bearing witness. Your own eyes have seen. There is no unseeing. You carry everything you have seen.

Does it please you?

God breathes.

God breathes through us all.

Goodspeed Hellbound

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Life is a short, one-way journey. I love seeing how individuals choose to make it their own.

I love skateboarding, guns, Pitbulls, Harleys, bicycles, redheads…and am getting more into rollerskating all the time. It’s killer to see the hardest of hardcore in each of these worlds…the commitment. It makes me appreciate the hardcore of every scene when I come upon them.

This woman was SO hardcore…she lives on Kauai, HI…is a cowgirl…AND gets it on with her crazy flippin’ bling. Gucci sunglasses, huge “door knocker” earrings, crystals all over every available surface…custom bridles, and tack all over her fine steed. Super cool to see her just express herself. So up front, so INTO her life, and running hard with it. Really made me happy.

Sometimes when I am out in the world with my camera…wearing whatever it is I am wearing that day, with the longhair and tattoos hanging out…I get that quizzical look from my subjects…”WHY in the HELL do YOU want my picture?!!” as if perhaps I am mocking them, or don’t get what they are trying to convey as a person.

Fascination.

That’s what I am rolling with in my heart at all times.

I love life, I love those that love life, and meeting them affirms my love…

Thanks to all you “Godspeed-Hellbound” wild-assed individuals, no matter what bent you possess….

YOU RULE.

think applying this song to the woman above is somehow SO apropos to her wild disparate collection of identity…it makes me even more happy!

“Decisions that kill
And bullets that fly
Lords of inferno
That litter the sky

Schizophrenic poems of death
Machine ever after that never rests

As the world burns
Beneath the ground
Godspeed
Hellbound

The gears that grind
Shall never be still
The grudge that burns
Obsessed ’til it kills

 Shattered cries of the

Prayers never heard
War of the gods that
Drown out of words

Crashing burning all shall fade
Dead and dying here to stay

Against his maker
No regard for his fall
The winds of the west
Bow down to his call

Famine and murder
Beside from within
The vultures gather
Devouring sin”

“Godspeed Hellbound” Black Label Society….yeah, I have been rocking it HARD this week