Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing in different styles

A writing assignment insisted I read pieces of 8 famous books and mimic their writing style. Here goes:

Motherless Brooklyn

The incessant jogging that tatters my mind keeps the ideas rolling. I guess that’s how I get creative. My feet shuffle along the boardwalk, glancing seawards every six seconds to affirm its existence. You never know when the sea might disappear. Still I walk, mind walking faster, and think to myself about the pretty blonde 10 feet ahead. How did she get her socks to match just so? Where did she come from, where was her first kiss? The sea is still there. I catch a whiff of some white castle and keep the engine of my head greased for some fresh ideas. Six burgers, six sets of 2, that’s 12, but a perfect multiple of six. Nonetheless I walk by, still dragging my left heel ever so slightly. It’s a complex of mine, I wear out the back side of each shoe long before a new pair is overdue. The blonde is gone and so is that tense smell of overproduced hamburgers. I feel at east if only for a second. The seagulls have gone amiss and the dim outline of my shadow has faded into streetlight puppetry. I feel the breeze and the squawk of a lonely seagull, I know its still there. I look anyway.

Fight Club

The waxy black table of the Barnes and Noble makes my elbows feel at ease. Their robust shape and color attract only the most humble of readers, those who have no business at a bookstore. Tables start out as a block of wood growing with its family in the safe ecosystem of an anonymous forest. Then an overweight, stained shirt-wearing lumberjack wages a war of man and machine against its trunk. Gasoline, cigarettes and somebody with a fat wallet who has a need for tables is all it takes to bring down a dream. Shipped off to a lumberyard, then to Sweden where Ikea makes it into a beautiful little piece of bullshit we all want and need to make our souls sing. I look at this table and smile. At least my life stood a chance. This one never had that luxury, now it’s my nothingness, a piece of furniture free to be forgotten. If only I were so free.


The lush rolling hills of greenery informed my senses that spring had indeed arrived. The light wind of the open car window brushed through her coarse hair and I knew then and there that I needed her. Her soft, pinkish lips and strong cheekbones carved out a treasure map to her love. I watched if only for a second too long, when she caught me in a daze of romance and lust. She smirked and acknowledged the chink in my Armour of indifference. I wasn’t indifferent at all. My heart collapsed in the bed of my chest as she blinked her deep brown eyes back to her rearview. She had a way of letting you believe, even if only for a second, she felt similar. I felt the blood from my feet sprint up my spine and fill my arms with a tingle unimaginable joy. My mind raced with boyish dreams and mature realities. She was older than I was, but somehow lacked the fear that experienced hearts know and live by. Her destiny was hers and hers alone and she wouldn’t let her mothers teachings deter her from pursing that which felt right. I longed to see her legs wrapped in the coils of sheets still tired from a sleepless night. My eyes ahead, I noticed her arm sweep towards mine. Her soft hand gripped hard on the gear stick. She released pressure from the clutch and gave me one more reassuring glance, before letting full-blown smile swallow her face.


Oi ye cunt! Jaysn screms as he wooks steady toowars me. Av a smoke wit ja ol friend? He ass in a stoopid tounge. I indoolge in a puff an umor tha bloake. He pools owt a cig n lites it wit tha crack of a mach. He brefs deep and rools back his foucked up eyes until he looks like hes asleep. He goes awn n awn boot is fockin bird whose gawn n left im for some cunt from Liverpool. I swar the shite makes me sick. Ere I am habin a smoke wit an ol friend who I ain’t seen in ears n aowl he can taulk boot is a fukin bird. Ow bout a fouckin’ how aw ye mate? Or a wats new in ye life? No instead I git some mownin n grownin boot some bird I ain’t eva erd of beef-or. Is grumbling makes me sick n I dside tha ell wit it. I put out me cigarette and clok jaysn in his jaw. Me bowns feel fit as I wawtch his beck it tha grownd. A fouckin bird.


He walked quickly down three flights of stairs only to be met by a man clad in denim complete with a barking hound. They exchanged the briefest of glances before he proceeded to his car. Something was strange about that unleashed beast, he thought as he started his red SUV. Pulling out quickly and with purpose, he left the entrance of his building and sent blazing down Piedmont Boulevard. He dodged pedestrians and traffic police with the utmost care but still managed to reach the hospital in ample time. Jumping from his chariot, he left the car running and began to sprint into the emergency room. Florescent lights hummed overhead as he grabbed the first woman in scrubs he found. “Where is my wife? Where is Annabelle Jones!?” The nurse reviewed her clipboard and pointed him down the hall. He could hear screams of pain as he neared the door. He burst into a room filled with doctors and caught a glimpse of his laboring love. She was 9 months pregnant and had finally started to pop. Angry with how coarse the doctors tone was, he pushed them aside demanded respect be paid to his woman. Knowing he had overstepped his bounds as a concerned lover, he released his grip on the doctor’s arm and indicated his was sorry. The doctor nodded and returned to the swelling tubes of Annabelle. Three screams later a soaking baby boy now echoed the cries of his mother. She fell silent, as the baby grew louder. She had died, but the baby lived on.


I have this memory from my carefree days of summer when the shadows were long and the grass even longer. My dog, Max had fur as golden as the evening sun and a smile that screamed “I love you.” We were both young, and the advancing feeling of night was still an exciting prospect. We walked through a gigantic field ripe with grass and full of the symphony of insects. Max was too tired to chase the families’ deer feasting on the crust of the forest and he ignored their presence. It was around this time, every walk, that his erratic and excited sprint had dwindled to a content trot that seemed to brush one of my legs, almost to assure him I was still by his side. His tongue hung low and pink, and he drew deep breaths confirming my suspicion that he needed a drink. He had already walked triple what I had and took pity on him. We always rested on swing bench that sat beneath a mature oak perched up on a hill. Its steady wooden arms wrapped us in the cool dim silhouettes of its foliage. A calm and steady boulder balanced its roots and offered a table for the tree’s fallen fruits. Distant stonewalls outlined with ribbons of a fading daytime glow set the stage for the crickets that had already started tuning their legs. Max struggled with the persistent buzz of mosquitoes feasting on his defenseless backside. His breathing remained heavy. That relentless pant and the fresh breeze of night always reminded me of tomorrow. Soon the proud moon would rest overhead and we would be late for dinner. I could feel Max’s restless eyes on me when it was time to go. We rose together and I unhooked his leash. He knew he was free for the last mile home.

Less Than Zero

Fuck its hot. I roll into an ice cream shop complete with AC and Casey just sighs in disbelief. “Get a grip dude, its only like 80 degrees out.” I think about what she says for a second but convince myself that she’s an idiot who has no idea what she’s talking about. The guy behind the counter eyes us with suspicion and I just look back knowing I have to buy something if I want to remain in his oasis of refined air. I thumb my pockets for half a second before producing the smashed up dollar I got in change from convenience store 6 blocks ago. $13.50 for a pack of cigarettes, what’s the world coming to? I throw it on top of the display case and ask for the smallest scoop of chocolate he can muster. He looks at me and plainly says “$2.25.” The price of relaxation in an otherwise unforgiving city. I oblige and surrender a crisp 5 from my wallet. The pitiful dollar goes back into my pocket. Casey face is illuminated with the screen of her iPhone and I can tell buy her expression she isn’t doing anything meaningful. She’s probably still fucked up. I snatch my ice cream and let the guy know I’m not happy about having to pay for this bullshit. He doesn’t care, it isn’t his store. I can feel my blood pressure pushing at my veins and I take a deep breath. It doesn’t help. I’m still stuck with my shitty ice cream and a girl I am growing less and less fond of. I wish I had some sort of skill so I could escape this malignant maze of crap. Instead I look outward and watch the homeless man across the street suffer 3 rejections in less than 30 seconds. It takes balls to swallow your pride with such reckless abandon. I guess we all have our limits. Casey still sports a bluish glow, and I can feel my ice cream melting in the wax cup, and I push it aside. I can see the heat coming off the asphalt. Little waves of misery escaping the man made boulevard. “80 degrees my ass.”

Old Man and the Sea

The dim cloud of smoke climbed from his heart and I could see in his eyes he was dead. The short breath and the small trickle of blood from his mouth dripped slowly onto the floor. So many questions I had, so many thoughts. Why had his life ended with guns when he had lived with his heart? Where will his wife get the warmth of a lover without his body? When will his children learn the rest of the Spanish baseball song? The shadows awoke and I felt more at ease. His soul had left us and traveled to the hearts of his family. The short but strong walk of his spirit now lived in his son’s memories. It was a comfortable thought. No man ever dies, just his body. I climbed back into my truck and put the keys in the ignition but did not turn. I let the desert breeze wrap my cheeks with the distant sun and inhaled its heat. I closed the window and chewed on my tongue. I was lost yet I knew the way home. I twisted my wrist ignoring its pain and felt the hum of the engine under my seat. I stared into the empty eyes of the corpse and remembered his face. Sand now filled his pockets.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Jazz just makes it all feel so comfortable inside. The cool tiskta taska from drums with a fluttering bassist ironed out by the mellow mixes of brass. The warm arms of its thick vibrations and incomprehensible rhythms. The beauty of jazz is that its players are all a part of the whole while being apart from the whole. Each man twisting his interpretation of mood and melody and letting his fingers do the dancin’. The hazy light of the dim club and the tapping of the toes from the bystanders. We bask in their glory and smile with their freedom. Their notes float like the smoke from their waiting cigarettes. Music is their blessing and their curse.

A trumpet or a sax or any brass can be a crying eye, a joyful gut, or an earnest friend. Their sometimes fat and sometimes brittle sounds depict the raw simplicity of our lives. Why we whistle, why we frown, why we laugh. I swear to god I can literally feel my blood cells relaxing in my veins. Slow down and rest along the highway to my soul. They kick up their tired feet and absorb the pulse of my surroundings. A deep breath for all.

Never has a wave felt so good. Better than a cool ocean tide on a day too hot for jeans, or the warm coziness of a coffee shop on a wet and gray afternoon. Reflections of a city tremble in the street side ponds and twinkle with each drizzle of addition. My jazz is best served sunny side up. I like it when you can hear the band sweat. It chills me out.

That’s a lie, I like my jazz in nights with chocolate skies. The ones that ached with heat during the sun’s shift and teem with doom as it clocks out. You know, just screaming for rain. Jazz is served up best on those nights. The anticipation, the wait, the glory of the uncontrollable, the untamed. I sit on a couch and watch the chaos open is chest and pour out its heart. Jazz takes it all in stride and dances with the beast. Never missing a step. Dancing with uncertainty, we do it everyday. Jazz is the only one who knows it.


The rat sniffs and shuffles through the wall. Dips and dodges wires dust and mold, his claws tick the hard wood. Pink panther insulation posters stretching out their unloving fingers to the far frame. The rat notices none of it. His nose leads the way to where the mess of the underground and forgotten spaces of home meets the 10,000 watt sun and sterile vacuumed carpet. He observes from the shadows. Two moon lusting eyes glow in admiration of tonight’s crumbs. He remembers where the child sits and thanks him for his clumsy and youthful hands. Food for his family fall from his fat grip.

When the time is right he shows his ugly naked fur to the bland light and makes sure to make a brief appearance. He scatters his legs and knows the carpet will catch his feet. Hugging the wall he hopes to go unnoticed by the emptiness of the kitchen. He breaks stride and ends up at a bouquet of bread. Eyes alive with gold his greed corrupts his once meticulous mind and he plants himself in heaven. Nibble nibble nibble he samples the spread. All focus on his belly he drifts into a state of numb sense and looses his anchor. Afloat in a bliss, he packs his cheeks and surrenders to the splendors of food. His fate approaches quietly and curious.

A creak in the floorboard alarms the rat and he turns to face a giant. A clumsy 2 foot tall four-legged beast with a face as fat as his own and a grin ignorance. He can recognize a pair of eyes and stares into an inexperienced soul. Silence so quiet he can hear the beast’s breathe. A stillness so frozen his legs shiver and his spine tighten. Holding crumbs that were once the giant’s he drops his fare out of respect. Still they stand locked in a world of misunderstanding. The rat fears for his life, the child sees a small puppy. A squeal of joy spurts from its mouth and the rat knows he’s free. He retraces his steps around the dazed and joyful animal and snakes back into the wall. He lives again.

A girl

New places New faces. The plain off white wall paint seems to lull the entire experience to sleep. A whole new city breathes outside and the cheerful laughter of Friday night kids is the only indication that I am once again in the citizen salad of a metropolitan area. The occasional honk from a distressed worker, the stench of asphalt and the roll of tires against their never ending waves. The light breeze and the click of traffic lights accompanied by blue cigarette smoke and sweat remind me of my new atmosphere. I guess I’m growing up.

She sits slouched and indifferent. Her legs not crossed as society tells her they should but rather spread for comfort and to accommodate the beer that warms between the meat of her inner thighs. Her hairs a mess and she couldn’t give a damn. Make up to calm make the masses but her bones make her foundation. Lives by her sleeves, and cries only when it hurts. A drunk by design and a hippie in the head, she waggles to the music and tastes like Shirley temple. Bra for comfort, not speed, her insecurities would never dissolve in fabric. Her skin smells like her day and her hair of the sun. She blinks without knowing breathes through her mouth. She even spits. She wants kids, but only by accident and thinks love is a fad that appeals to the lonely (she still believes). Her eyes do her talking and she hasn’t watched the news since Christmas. She believes parking tickets are blasphemous and daytime TV is a sin. She hates chardonnay. Gossip intrigues her but will never infect her lips. Her grandmother prays for her and her mother doesn’t understand, she takes comfort in the struggles of misconceptions. Beauty makes her wet, soul makes her cum, and poetry lights her cigarette of afterglow. She likes free jazz and plays the wind. She laughs with her nose and can’t cook for shit. Shed be barefoot by choice but is afraid of the glass. She only has good memories and has burned the bad. She now draws an outline with the charcoal and fill it with the future. She has never owned 100 dollar jeans and gives great hugs. Loyal, compassionate, and free. She dreams in neon and has nightmares for the stories. Her hands are never really clean. Sunrise eyes and sunset gaze, she blows time a kiss as it goes whizzing by. A beautiful, simple, girl.


Loans and money borrowing. Dodging the short morning shadows of electric green spruce trees he takes a deep breath and pushed the doors into the climate controlled floor of his bank. Parking lot turns from pavement to carpet and fresh paper fills his nose. Tellers count behind thick glass and a collage of discarded deposit slips lay scattered across miscellaneous glass tables. He finds a suit.

Shuffling his feet, he collects static before sitting where he’s told. The suit smiles and brings out paperwork sporting promotional happy faces typical of those “normal” families in financial need. Loans and lending reads the header and he gulps the innate interest rates. Money now, stress later, we always back pain into a corner until its instincts for survival tell it to fight back. It bites hard when its life is on the line. Creeps into your throat and chomps on eyes. Tears for a man don’t come easy, but sometimes they squeeze the nectar of joy from your soul and drip down your face. Right where you can see it. Right where you’ll never forget it.

He takes hold of the ordinary pen and scribbles out his personals. Everything the government says you are. Numbers, letters and the blank spaces between. The suit punches the keys of his black computer and waits. Blank and empty smiles pass the time, fate swings in the balance sheets. Brows furrow, more frantic fingers tap the keys. Click, click, tap, tap. More hollow grins acknowledging nothing. He examines the wood of the desk and the lines of its past life. Meaningless details, but those that stick with you. Looks up, smile and a handshake. He asks for the only detail that’s yours. Still grasping the plastic pen he signs. Dollars today, stress takes another step back.

Fear = failure. A weak mans vice.

Flip Flops

Flip-flops make you fly. Simple tires for our toes, their rubber works hard to keep the earth from our touch. They always fail. Built for the heat, their no stranger to sun and sweat. They smell asphalt first. They get left behind, they loose their partners, they get worn out, but still they’re down for a journey. They don’t have a choice. I bet they sleep hard and dream big.

Black, green, blue and wet they taste it all. The dogshit, the gum, the cigarette butts, the street. The sand, the mud, the ocean, the mountain, the breeze. They know each place better than our memories could ever recall. They pass the bums, the vendors, and the gypsies but they are all too shy to offer up any change. They stay the same and roll on by, never, ever, looking back. Humble, comfortable and generous, they offer the skin of our feet the better view. They just don’t know any better.

But in the scheme of it all they aren’t human. They are our possessions. They are our sailboats and birds. We feed them nothing, and leave them on the floor. If they breakdown we exchange them for younger models with prettier tags. No “thank yous” no “goodbyes” no handshake. They go in the garbage with our souls stained on their back. Ours and ours forever, they’ll never fit anywhere the same.

The best never cost more than $5. The dividends are insane and the stories, they’ll never see the garbage. I remember each pair.

First full day in ATL

First full day in ATL.

The bustling metropolis of travelers hums with the distinct tone of the usual. Multi colored linoleum disguised as marble make intricate circular patterns of maroon and black that go largely unnoticed by passengers searching for their gates to anywhere. The air is filled with cinn-a-bun breezes and wiffs of passing phone conversations dying with the morning light. Click-clak goes the woman in business attire and heels.

The airport, however, gives birth to a rare yet constant breed of individual, those who wait and watch. Well ahead of schedule and lacking direction these people blink with indifference and observe with a dull scrutiny. Their eyes chase beautiful women, plentiful plates, and loudspeaker announcements. Promotions and signs scream at their clam faces, but still they sit. Humble and deep in thought, they have no use for their phones and meaningless chat. They have a minute to themselves. Dressed in your everyday, cross legged and cross armed, they watch me watch them. We share the same fate of nothingness. At least for now.

Soon a boarding announcement, next a seat, before long a destination, maybe a hug or a handshake, lastly the deep breath of arrival. But while we wait we hold our lungs and our thoughts of the professional and bask in the personal. The bright and neglected thoughts of what comprises our hearts and souls. Fuck our non existent iPods or our lack of music taste altogether, we have ourselves and that is surely enough to pass the time. Thumbs twiddle, toes tap, the clock clicks, the airport bustles along and we see it all. Broadway on the runway minus the theatrics. MMM cinn-a-buns.

Just got my blogging visa

Never blogged, never cared, but I made a promise I intend to keep.

I spent the last year meandering the better part of southern Asia, and during my tenure in the orient, I sent numerous e-mails home to my friends and family.  "The best yar of my life" I somehow kept saying.  I swear to god I have never been so free in my life.  Pure uninhibitied youth and joy flowed from my smile and into my handshakes and words.  I thought my e-mails were rambles of what I couldn't explain.

When I returned home to the U.S. my father almost cried when he told me how proud he was of me.  My heart was already full with the memories and bonds I had made overseas, but he somehow managed to make it overflow.  He said my e-mails were the biggest window into my life he has ever known and begged me for more.  He made me promise to write everday (or pretty close to it) and to nuture the "gift." (*his words not mine).  So I started a blog.

I'm not going to attempt in a direction.  I will not aim to please.  I am writing because I gave my father my word.  Now here are mine...