Thursday, October 28, 2010

Into The Desert




*


I'm gone for a week.


*


Time to go out to the desert and get some trigger time.



*



I might be more human upon my return.




*





I will be more deadly.





*



This trip is just me and my little brother. And by little brother I mean my cage-fighting, former-marine, patrol sergeant, every-deadly-art-instructing, no-pain-feeling, all-pain-dealing little brother.


The guy makes me feel like I walk around in high heels all day long. But he doesn't let on what a disappointment I am to him. He treats me like I might be a little bit tough, if it came down to it.


He's a hell of a nice guy.



*


So.



See you when I get back.



*




Namaste.





***

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sarah's New Dress





*


It's raining.



*


The dog and I have been out in it and found it to be a quiet, gentle kind of rain. Now we are inside. We wiped our feet.

A fire is burning in the fireplace and I have did some art. One that didn't work out and was deleted, and one that survived that you are looking at now.







The woman is out in the studio cutting cloth for a new jacket.














*


I have nothing of import to say, so I will be quiet now.


*




































































*




Namaste.



***

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just The Good Days



*


There's nothing wrong with me.


*


I went out over the hill this morning and shot the action pistol match with my old man and my little brother. Those two can shoot. All us boys can. We had us a good time.


*



Then I drove home. Walked the bulldog and gave her a bath and cleaned our little ship from stem to stern.



*



All better now.



*



I just wanted to say thank you to everyone here for your kindness. I can feel it, for sure.



*


I think I'm gonna cook the woman on the verge a big old plate of vegan goodness for dinner. She ought to get a prize, the way she puts up with my shit.







*



Namaste.



***

Friday, October 22, 2010

Self at Forty-Six



*


This picture is a lie.


But it gets at something about me, like all good lies should do.


*




Today I had the strangest visit from a guy I had not seen for twenty-six years. My old college roommate. He did some internet search for my house, then drove around my small town looking for people who knew me. Finding a cop in a small town takes, on average, about five minutes.

"Oh, he lives over there, behind the really tall hedge that runs across the whole property. Can you see all the skulls on pikes? That's him."


*



I love the guy, but I kept waiting for him to tell me he needed my kidney, or ten thousand dollars, or something.


You can't even get at how fucked up a human being I am.


There is not yet a language sufficient for it.



*



Last night I was mean and drunk.



I swear to god.



If I could take myself out back and kick my own ass, I would.



*


All of you gathered around the fire here, you should flee.


What is that Daniel Day Lewis said in his last movie?


Oh, yeah.



"There will be blood."




*






do not mistake me for a kind man. do not mistake me for a buddha or a sweet presbyterian preacher.



i am a miscreant.



I am a bowl of snakes and barbed wire.



*


Sometimes my heart of battery acid and bile burns the beejesus out of people I mean no ill will toward.




*



What good is this bliss-turned face? I am yet bad flawed and deadly in my meanness.


I would stand in a circle of fire and sweep my blade at all of you.


Weeping. Moaning with a godawful noise.


Mewling like the mortally injured, begging for the sweet release of death.


*



Well, I don't imagine right now I am fit for human companionship.



Which is how it is some times.


*



there are times I would snuff out the candle of the world.


*


*


But I am yet inclined toward goodness.

I yet love, with my bitter heart.


I forgive myself my sins as I forgive that motherfucker who yet rains down despair and misery upon the innocent and guilty alike.


*


We are all worthy and unworthy, just the same.


*



Namaste.



***

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me





*


Who gets a needlepoint of a Glock 17 for their birthday?



I fuckin' do.


*


Woot.



*



The Woman on The Verge knows her man, I'll tell you what.







***



Namaste.



***

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shotgun Up.



*


Today was all about the loud noise.



*


Eight hours of banging with the shotgun. Running double aught buck and 1 oz. slugs.


Motherfucker.


*


I do so much training and shooting with the handgun that when we bust out the big guns it comes as kind of a shock. The shotgun is a complex weapon system that requires a lot of hands on time to run efficiently- it is not a gun for the simple-minded.

But it throws so much destruction downrange that I can't imagine ever choosing something else if you knew it was time to get your killing on. There are a million guns out there that are easier to shoot. This bitch punishes you every time you torch off a round.

It seems a good trade-off.


*


Use your cover. Use your safety. Shoot one, load one. Diagnose your malfunctions and get your gun running. Shoot prone. Shoot kneeling. Shoot off-hand. Shoot around barricades. Shoot the hostage taker, not the hostage. Run this way and shoot. Run that way and shoot.

On and on.





*


When the FBI got in their big shoot out with Platt and Matix, they were seriously fucked up by two guys who knew how to bang. Platt and Matix got the fuck shot out of them, mortal wounds early on in the fight, and they kept going and brought the fight to the FBI. They murdered Agent Jerry Dove and Agent Ben Grogan, and one of their rounds tore through Agent Ed Mireles' forearm, disabling it.

He figured out how to rack his shotgun with one good arm, and he got up off his shot ass and fucked those two motherfuckers up.


That was a real teaching moment for the whole L.E. community.

It was after Newhall that we started focusing on how training mistakes carried over into real world shooting incidents, when CHP officers were picking up their spent brass and putting in their pockets during a firefight, which kept the range clean but cost these guys their lives when the shit was pouring down on them. Ed Mireles and the FBI shootout taught us that we needed to teach our people how to keep fighting when one of their arms was blown off.

So now we practice everything with our good side and our support side. In case we get our shit shot in the opening salvos.

*



I could go on and on about this shit.


It is the most interesting kind of chess there is.


Imagine if you will, integrating knives, empty hand defense, positional considerations, disparity of force, etc.


It is a very interesting game.



*


It is my passion. I seek out the best and most difficult training I can find. I try to adapt what I learn and pass it on to everyone else. Three times a year at least I spend my own money and use my own time to get in front of a serious trainer and get my ass handed to me. Knife fighting. Empty hand. BJJ. Crazy Monkey. Low-light handgunning. Last year I went to a four day pistol class and shot with my other fucking hand the whole time.

I outshot most everyone at the class, too.





But not everyone drinks the kool-aid.


*




It can be a struggle.




*

You just never know what's going to come at you. Who is out there, sharpening their knives for you.








****



Namaste.





***

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Are Glory & We Are Damned




*


From childhood, we seek approval from the people around us. Clean our plates, eat our veggies, go to church, tie our shoes, don't hit the cat like that, etc. It is a habit that is difficult to quit. At least it is for me. I do what my boss asks of me as well as I possibly can. I follow the rules, I clean my plate.

So when we are visited by tragedy, or folly, of the consequences of stupidity, and our 'normal' lives get turned upside down, it is natural to try to hide it from the world, from the others around us, who we fear will judge us tainted, or failures, or bad people.

But I have found that by being open about the failures and difficulties unfolding in my life, in my family, I really encounter the opposite of what I feared.

I'm supported. Encouraged. People I might never have had a real conversation with approach me and tell me their own stories.


*


That's pretty cool.


*


The struggles we are going through with the Wild Woman of Borneo are horrific. I wouldn't wish them on anyone, ever.

These struggles destroyed the structure of hopes and dreams that I once had for my child, for our family and our beautiful, soft-focus, tree-lined, music-filled happinessville future. Burned them to the ground, left a smoking hole at the center of my life.





Which freed me.




Freed me to see who she was. Not any of the pictures I held in my head of her, but as close to exactly who she was as I could see.


Freed me to love that person.


To love the life I actually inhabit, not some wished-for phantom.


To welcome brokenness and deformity and all the rest of it, to make a place for it at my table, and feed it the best I had to offer.


*


My life is not what it was before.


It is not happier.


But it is a deeper thing.





*


Thanks to Ms. Moon for the inspiration for this piece.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nestor's Pond, Dec. 1937




*












It takes a killing heart to get done what needs doing in this world.











*




That's no secret.



*





My wife is a clean-eating vegan.


I am yet an omnivore.



Nor am I likely to leave off eating my fellow creatures. I understand the objections to it, I really do. They make a kind of sense, and there is no doubt the intention behind that decision is a good one, a truly enlightened attempt to keep some of the suffering at bay.


*


I guess that I just don't think keeping the suffering at bay is my path. I don't want to indulge in it, or bring about more than is necessary, but for me I feel I have to engage in it. Wade into it. Lean into it.


We are inextricably bound to flesh, and death is what flesh is made of.



*


We are so deeply flawed. Our consciousness is so spanking new, from an evolutionary standpoint, that it is still in its infancy. Our understanding is provisional, our provisions but few.


It gives me a sense of the futility of any good act. I spend my professional life wading hip deep into the fast moving waters of human stupidity and vileness, but I'm under no illusions that what I do matters in the big scheme of things. I have some small, intimate moments of grace, but they are, even on my tiny scale, easily and regularly overwhelmed by failure, despair, and rottenness. It doesn't excuse me from the need to keep doing what I can, but it is important, I believe, to keep that knowledge close at hand.

Maybe in a thousand years we'll have grown up a little.


But I doubt it.


My guess is that we are pretty much the same as we were two or three hundred thousand years ago, and not much different from how we were two or three million years ago. Screaming, hitting each other with stones and pointed sticks, stealing meat from our friends when no one was looking, fucking anyone we could hold down long enough to complete the act, lying our asses off, blaming others, running away.

And, yes, grooming each other, picking off ticks and fleas, tending wounds, giving water, bouncing babies on our knees, throwing ourselves in the path of onrushing Mastodons to save our crippled brothers.


*


So, I cook dead animals over a fire and eat them.


*



The taste delicious, and I am grateful to them for what I have taken from them. I know they mind. I know they are not going to slaughter with glad hearts.


I eat them anyway.



*




If there is a way to get through this life without blood on my hands I lost it long ago.



*





Namaste.



***

Friday, October 15, 2010

Emily's New Hat



*


It's my Friday.



*



All week in crazy meetings with attorneys.


There is a huge difference between cops and lawyers. We might as well be different species. And I'm talking prosecutors, not defense folks. (They really are a different species.)

Cops are mostly linear thinkers, and big proponents of, and adherents to, Occam's Razor. We like to come onto a scene, size it up quickly, figure out who's who in the zoo, and then dispense ass-whippings to the bad men and take statements from the victims, let the amberlamps take away the injured and we haul someone off to jail. No matter how freaky, crazy, blood-and-smoke-in-the-air a goatfuck it is, pretty quick we've got it all handled and we're off to the next show.

Even as detectives, that same philosophical stance holds. After all, we all came up the same way. By the time we got into dicks, we'd gotten really good at it, which was why we were in dicks in the first place. So we roll up on a murder, and, yeah, it's a LOT slower and more methodical, but still, it's pull on a thread, and pull on it again, and keep pulling it until you get to the bad guy at the end of it. You don't go running down every blind alley you come across, you just can't. You'll get bad lost and you'll fuck up your case and your bad guy will spend the rest of your life laughing at you.


But a lawyer is a different bird altogether. They work it backwards. Take the simplest set of facts, and then see how fucked up you can make them. The defense is going to try to introduce doubts and questions, so lets beat them to it. Lets see how many possible permutations have been left unexplored by the cops so far. What if he was wearing a blue shirt? What if he had a green hat on? What if the video is wrong? What if the DNA results don't mean what we think they mean? What if they do mean what we think they mean, but no one believes us? What if this, what if that.

So all week I've been sitting in meetings watching attorneys clamber all over footballs, trying like mad to fuck them.

It makes me want to pick them up by the scruff of their necks and shake them real hard and then set them back down.



"Now play nice, goddamn it."




*



But it is in their nature. God bless them.



*


And I know what we look like to them. A bunch of ham-fisted, slow-witted deviants going off half-cocked all the time.


Which we kind of are.


*



So, that was my week.



*

My beautiful and amazing wife is down for the count with a bad cold. And I have not been taking care of her like I should have been. She's been on her own.

I'll try to make up for that this weekend and send her to pamperville. Not to be confused with Pampersville, a different place entirely.


*

Tonight I made a frittata with veggies and shrimp and chipotle sausage and goat cheese, served with a loaf of crusty french bread.


It were good.


*


I bet I missed a hundred opportunities to do something nice for someone this week.


Won't be the first time.


*


Namaste.



***

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Naturalist




*


Well, she's home safe.



*


Like rain on a parched land.



*



It may be quiet around here for a while.



*


Namaste.




***

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ed and Helga In The Garden, with Wolf Watching From The Shadows



*


Bright, sunny, breezy day. Today was the bedding. Sheets and pillowcases and blanket and comforter cover washed. Pillows and mattress cover washed and dried. Mattress rotated. Everything hung out in the sun to get blasted by the sun and put back on the bed where it awaits the arrival of herself.

(While I was doing all that laundry I got out the chrome polish and polished the washer and dryer and microwave and then I waxed them with Turtle Waxâ„¢and buffed them out with a towel. Mental Illness sneaks up on some people, but on me you could see it coming from outer space.)

I'm making Pho again. Today I'm doing the broth, simmering chicken stock with charred onions and ginger and star anise and cloves and peppercorns in the big le cruset pot the woman got us at the thrift store in the Mission for six bucks. I've got the fresh basil and green onions and mint and cilantro; the pork (only for mine, the woman gets the veggie version) is marinating in agave and lime and garlic.

It's a four hour drive back from the airport, so when we get home I can just heat up the broth and do the rice noodles and chop up the veggies and by the time she gets out of the shower I'll have a big old spread set out.

We can eat ourselves into a coma and talk story and look into each others eyes for the first time in two weeks.


*


I will spend the next twenty two hours on pins and needles. I am a nervous little poodle.


*


I'm listening to Lucinda Williams. She's so damn corny, but I got it bad for her. Her daddy was a poet so it's no wonder she's all fucked up. You know how poets are.


*


I'd like to say thank you to everyone that's been coming by and saying such nice things.


"Thank you."



*


In no particular order:

The films of Wes Anderson.
The films of Terrence Malick, especially Badlands and Days of Heaven.
The flims of Werner Herzog, especially Fitzcarraldo and Little Deiter Needs to Fly.

Everything Joseph Campbell said, wrote, or lectured on.

Mark Bittman for no-nonsense, reliable, trustworthy recipes in "How To Cook Everything" and his blog on the NYT.

The New Yorker.

Cormac McCarthy
Jack Gilbert
Kathy Bates
Elvis Costello
Daniel Johnson
Betty Butterfield

Photoshop
Smart phones
The intertubes
GPS

The sea.
Sexual Intercourse.
Fighting.

Longing.
Grief.
Rain.

*


Last night I was half hung over and sick to my stomach and having a hot flash and I got up at about two and laid out on the back deck in my altogether and the cold of the deck against my burning flesh, and the cold air in my lungs and wafting invisibly over my cooked skin and high above me in the silent vault of heaven a riot of stars shot through with blinking satellites and meteorites and I thought that was just about the best thing that had ever happened. Lying out there in the cold dark of night like a wounded animal.

After an hour I was shivering and clear headed and wrung out and I went back to bed and slept like a saint bernard.


*


Jane's Addiction.



***


Namaste.


***

Saturday, October 09, 2010

pickpocket





*



She'll be home soon.



Jist a few more days now.




*




I'm sitting by the door.



*



Cleaning the house again to distract myself. Did the fridge this morning. It amazes me how often I can clean that thing and every time I go at it, it seems like it hasn't been cleaned in five years. I guess I'm rough on it. Lots of sauces and pickles and condiments and a relentless tide of leftovers. Crisper drawer jammed with leafy greens and peppers and onions and scallions and ginger and celery and lemon halves and and and. Meats and nuts and cheeses and hot sauces and kimchi  and eggs and loaves of bread.


We ask a lot of that thing.



Now it's all leaned out and cleaned out, spanking clean. Time to vacuum and dust and mop and do the laundry and then I'm going to Joe's for some resupply.


And a seafood quesadilla at Pier 46.



*



Namaste.



***

Friday, October 08, 2010

Abandoned Car without Nude


Note: The image I had previously posted here has been removed at the request of the creator of the source material.


I try to contact the artist when I use some part of their artwork in my work, to let them know what I've done, to give them a chance to see it in the context I've put it in, and to give them a chance to say "no thank you" to what I've done.

In this case, the artist does not want me using their work, and I am removing it from this blog and destroying my file of the original piece to comply with the artists' desire.

This is an open offer to anyone who sees something that they believe is their image being used on this site without their permission. Notify me, I will take it down.

End of transmission.





*



It is a bright, sunny, breezy day. The wind chimes are banging around, making a klonky, beautiful sound that mixes with the mad, insistent birdsong that seems to be emanating from every hedge and shrub in both the front and back yards.


The whole fucking world is alive.



*


I think I might have to stop at Dick Blick's in the city when I pick up the Woman on the Verge and get me some more canvases.

I have to learn how to paint. I am not color-blind, exactly, but I'm color ignant. I don't know how to work it. It's like music for me. I can sure appreciate it when it's done right, but I can't make it happen myself.



But I can paint in monochrome. Until I learn.



*



Being off work and just doing art makes me greedy.




*




Also, I think I have ruined the bulldog.





*




*


Namaste.



****

All The El Caminos of the West






*


"Alison, I know this world is killing you...."






*




Settling into the solitude now that its almost gone. Spent all day yesterday painting. Really painting, on a canvas. Started at about six in the morning, set up in the kitchen of all places, and knocked off at four having missed coffee, breakfast, lunch, etc.

Then I cleaned up, put a frozen pizza in the oven, poured myself a drink, and watched television with the dog. Got up every five minutes to look at the painting.



Think I'll do the same today.


*


I have discovered that my real deep joy in cooking is really about cooking for my wife.


And my real deep joy in living is really about living with my wife.






God help me.









***



Namaste.



***

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Domestic Interior II






*


You don't get to know if what you did was the right thing or not.


You can spend the rest of your life eating your liver over it.


They spin the wheel, you put your money down.


*



This picture reminds me of my Mom, for some reason. It also reminds me of Eric Fischl.


"What I did on my summer vacation."




*




I am in a bitter, lost, restless frame of mind. I find myself to be poor company. But I'm getting a lot of art done.


That's worth something, at least to me.


I won't ever make money or garner fame from my work, but it feeds my soul and that is what it is supposed to be doing. I think it could feed some other souls, too. There's enough. But how cool that I don't have to have a gallery or a rep or even enough storage space for all this shit. I just make it, and put it up on my little space here, and there it is. Some other living people can see it, and if they like it they can copy it and look at it all they want. Or they could do like I do, and use it as a jumping off place themselves.

Anyway. I'm lucky that I found photoshop. I can't paint or draw worth a shit, but I think what I'm able to do with my images is real. It feels real to me. I get to see what I kind of see in my mind's eye when I'm starting the work. And it comes out pretty good, not hamstrung by my own inabilities.

I never tire of the play. I could do it twenty hours a day, seven days a week.


*


There is highs and lows and right now I am diving, diving, diving, reaching for the darkest bottom. Swimming through the depths, feeling the bone-chilling cold and the ear-squeezing pressure and the solitude and the loneliness and the soundlessness of the deep.


It could be that soon I will burst out into the sunlight, lungs heaving.


It could well be.


*


Namaste.



***

Domestic Interior





*


All this loss.




*



Practice.



*



Namaste.



***

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

eggs for the fox




*


Twisted up in the juncture between bliss and longing, fear and loathing, fully alive and ready to be torn to bits.


*


It is dark and a sweet rain is falling, soaking the parched ground and soothing my thirsty soul. I've got the doors and windows open so the damp breeze and the sound of the rain can fill this empty house.



I feel every bit as dark as this night.


*



Namaste.



***

wheat field with falling woman




*



This is the magical place of your dreams.



*




I fervently hope and pray that yours come true.




*




Namaste.



***

Monday, October 04, 2010

Skinned




*


I like it.


***


Namaste.



***

(source material from this isn't happiness from flash art by Stacey Martin of Dovetail Tattooing in Austin, TX.)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Sacred Heart of Guy Charles Bailey













*


Guy Bailey was drafted into the US navy in 1943, at the age of 17, and spent the next couple of years operating teletype apparatus, climbing masts to maintain shipboard antennae and, on bad days, hauling huge bags of classified messages to the incinerator, turning them into a slurry of ash and water and dumping the gloopy mix over the side of the boat. By the time he came home from the war, not yet 20, he had become a radioman, first class.

There wasn't much call for radiomen in New Castle, so he worked in construction for a few years before the navy recalled him and sent him off to Korea in 1950, where he would have passed his days doing pretty much what he'd done in world war 2.

Between his wars, he found time to marry a woman called Agnes Lynch, have a son with her and drunkenly crash his car into a parked car on Washington street, which resulted in him posing for this busted-lip mugshot on July 27, 1948, when he was 22.

After the Korean war, New Castle still hadn't come up with a use for Bailey's special radioman skills, so he went back to his construction job, where he worked until he died in 1975, at the age of 49, just two months after the death of his wife.



*


Text lifted from, and image inspired by Small Town Noir.



*




By way of saying we are all holy.




***



Namaste.



****

Disorderly

Minnie Lipke, May 1967

*

They tied her to a tree with a skinny millionaire.


*


The band is going home,
its raining hammers,
its raining nails.




*



Its quiet here. Tom Waits is singing to himself in the corner saloon, and the dog is snoring. The stove gleams like brand new teeth.


I have found a measure of stillness.



*

I was a melancholy child and have grown up to be not much removed from that stance. I love melancholy. To me it means that you are in love with what is passing away, moment by moment.


And I am in love with it.


I hate to see it go, and I always watch as it recedes.


*



Tomorrow I head down south to visit the Wild Woman of Borneo. She's in captivity, which is when it is safe to try to pat her on the head and feed her a hunk of raw meat.



She seems to be doing well, despite her unhappiness there.




*



I would hand her my beating heart if it would save her.





*



Last week some tweakers in our town beat a fifteen year old girl to death and dumped her on the side of the road and set her on fire.




I guess they were sick of her shit.






*



It makes my hands want to break something.



*



I love being alive.



You don't have to take it from me.



Not yet, anyways.



Not yet.



*



Namaste.



***

I Feel Real Pretty



*


I'm trying to make peace with my solitude, but I feel like I'm wasting it. More pacing, more cleaning. I did get out and walk the dog on the beach, which we both enjoyed. I don't know. I love vacuuming, folding towels, making the bed. Washing the floors. There is a frenetic, get-it-done way of cleaning, and there is this whole other thing, this slow, meditative, both attentive and unfocused thing, like a walking meditation. And it's concrete. Verifiable.

It's like removing obstructions, so that the inner light of things can shine through.


Everything glows.



*


I was listening to my house cleaning playlist and Tom Waits started singing "Take it with me when I go" and it stopped me in my tracks. I had to sit down and try not to cry. My heart got all swelled up, my throat, too.

It made me miss my wife in a sharp, fierce way.


I can't listen to it without I think of her, but usually I can hear it and just look up and see her face, and go to her.


So, that happened.



*


More stove madness. I know, I know. I lay awake for two hours last night imagining what I was going to do today. Which was chrome polish and car wax. Which was painting in the worn away markings on the oven dial with a toothpick and four drops of paint. Which was taking the back and sides off the great white beast and vacuuming all the inner nooks and crannies and wiping everything down and fitting it back snug and tightening all the loose screws (after I soaked them in degreaser and sprayed them with WD-40.)




I have done lost my tiny mind.



*


But I feel real pretty in my new dress.




*




Okay, so here's what she looks like now:



1952 O'Keefe & Merritt Model 600 with bulldog hand towel 


***




Namaste.



***