11.03.2017

13% [chapter 27]


DEATHWALKING




The transition from living in a crowded flat to being alone in a 100 square foot house truck happened gradually. On the road all day, you slept and showered in motel rooms for the first 900 or so miles of the long drive going nowhere. The abrupt jump to hard core box truck off-grid overnights felt like it might be too much of a severing from the media soaked warm electrical comforts of the urban environment you'd grown so accustomed to. Small steps of post traumatic sleep happened in 20 minute increments anyway. Perhaps that also explains this next paragraph's engineering.


While in this heightened meditative state of constant traveling with a squeaky clean brain and oversensitive intuitive imaginings given a free rein, you fell open to seeing and feeling things that would usually go safely unnoticed on the other side of the veil. Some locations tolled of the truly sinister; where the blood soaked land was magnetically cursed, where you could sense the atrocities and bodies of abused children hurriedly buried in the dirt, where rape and murder were common occurances, where hurt begets hurt begets hurt begets hurt. Still other places glowed with tranquility; as if the groves of trees outlined ancient ancestral churches still resonating with healing energy, open to anyone willing to acknowledge them and pay tribute in the discreet sacred streams that lingered there, natural unpolluted and forgiving. Whether you liked it or not, you were now a fledgling psychopomp, with one foot here on earth and the other pushing the pedal toward realms unknown but somehow familiar and inert.


But before you, Gentle Reader, sigh "Oh geez", roll your eyes and click delete, please keep these brief points in mind:


Pre-Victorian era, there was no such word as "normal". People were simply seen for the eccentric or honest or greedy or ethical or deviant or uptight or kind or unscrupulous or generous mannerisms which they outwardly displayed. There was no bell curve for behavior. There was only acceptance and praise or blame and ostracization from society.


By the 1950's, it was believed that only schizophrenics dreamt in color. Normal dreamers saw everything in black and white.


Knowing what we know now of these false hypotheses in the burgeoning age of CERN and quantum theory, perhaps at some future point, parapsychological episodes or electrokinesis or telepathy or binaural healing might seem as normal as swiss cheese.


Of course, this could only occur after the human race evolves enough to accept that a woman, Einstein's first wife, Mileva, was largely responsible for the development of the Theory of Relativity before her name got whitewashed off the manuscript of this groundbreaking scientific discovery and left her divorced, penniless and dying alone in a tiny freezing cell of an asylum in the mountains of Bavaria.


Humans would also have to take a big arrogant step back at the realization that it has far less genes in its DNA makeup than do all the plants and trees.


We might be wrong about a lot of things.




IONE, CALIFORNIA

Abandoned but still occupied by squatters of some kind, the Sunset Inn was in no way inviting. Coated in a thick haze of sadness and desperation, you never even bothered getting out of the truck but instead stayed in the cab burning sage in the parking lot, trying to bring at least some short spark of relief to the party of ghosts trapped therein. Native tribes say that a breeze will come and tell you when your ritual is complete. And it did. Feeling watched by lots of weirded out uncomfortable eyes, you quickly drove away.


MISSOULA, MONTANA

At 1 AM, in need of a bath and some sleep, you checked in to room 201, but there was no rest or cleanliness coming. The door wouldn't even close properly, having been obviously kicked in at some point, according to the half crushed and splintered door jam. Under the polyester bedspread laid a rough blood stained mattress. The pink and brown tiled bathroom was rank and disturbing. A thick black shadow crouched in the bath tub crying. Dizzy, no part of you could avoid the sickly feeling that this room had no room for you as it was already filled with animosity bludgeoning and betrayal, so you checked out 15 minutes later, still tired and stinking.


EVANSTON, WYOMING

More of a cult compound than a hotel, the Little Tree's main lobby was stuck in the 70's. The place was crawling with left over energies. When you checked into your first assigned room, a heavy black mass assaulted you as soon as you went in. Even though the curtains were wide open no amount of light would lighten up this presence as it sat on your chest like emphasema, rage and unrest. Complaining at the front desk that there was no way you
could sleep in that room, the receptionist was not surprised as she hears this all the time, she said. The second room felt slightly better, so you took a quick shower but shaken and anxious, you couldn't sleep there either. Burning sage at the front of the hotel compound's entrance, you checked out. But that presence was still sitting on your lungs and did not let you breathe freely again for another mile and a half after driving it off with some severe blessings.




CLEVELAND, OHIO

With $2 left to your name, you arrived in Cleveland knowing no one and nothing. It was the first time you truly felt scared. Images of rape and murder accosted you as you pulled into a fast food parking lot on Loraine Road and purchased your last meal of coffee and ice cream. Crying over the styrofoam cup, huddled in the back of your box truck in the dark, you'd never felt this destitute in all your years of self-reliant abandonment. Randomly opening your tiny Tao book, the first words you read were "Truly, the sage prefers what is within to what is without." And you immediately calmed down and started breathing again.

Driving across the street you pulled into a grocery store parking lot where another motorhome was clearly parking long term. Turning off your engine, pulling down the roll up door, you went to bed and slept longer and harder than ever before. For 9 days you stayed in this spot. No money no food no nothing. Large pots of tea warmed over a discreet camp stove kept you going just long enough to go back to bed and sleep off some more recovering.

One morning, a Puerto Rican man driving a semi pulled up next to you and asked you what you were doing. "Making tea," you whimpered, expecting to be told you couldn't stay there and that you needed to go. But instead, he comforted you. A former drug addict and ex-convict, he compassionately said he knew the manager at the store and that it was ok for you to stay. Like your neighbor in the motorhome, she couldn't afford an apartment that would let her have dogs, so she'd been living in this parking lot and working part time at the grocery store for a couple years now. Later, the man's wife brought you some home cooked rice and vegetables and chicken which tasted so good, tears of gratitude pooled up on the edge of the paper plate as you hungrily wolfed it all down over a single candle's light. The next day, they gave you a $20 bill without any pretense or expectation, so you made your way toward A Separate Reality record store where you sold your huge coveted vinyl collection to a nice guy named Gus for enough money to buy food, fill up your gas tank and get moving again.

It was easy to stay clean as long as you were driving, but sitting still brought on the overanalysis and grief to a degree that soon enough you'd start getting itchy to kill the pain of thinking. Saying Thank You to the Puerto Rican couple a million times, you drove away sadly.Even in the midst of so much poverty and suffering, with boarded up copper-stripped foreclosed homes, empty meat packing plants and disused steel factories rotting not too far from provincial little pockets of rich white people in clean sleek bars consuming some new privileged investment and continually celebrating, Cleveland was a bleak place with a heart of gold, bleeding.





THE GREAT AMERICAN PIANO COMPANY

Your beloved piano was made by Fischer & Sons in New York City in 1897. Of the 5000 pianos the family skillfully crafted before their small company was bought out by the larger steamrolling corporation, The Great American Piano Company, your piano was #4996. Perhaps that would explain the keyboard's inherent sadness, that the bittersweet loss of love and life sang from it's solid brass sound board. Somehow the piano made it's way from
New York to San Francisco where you rescued it, so out of complete devotion to this object that showed you more unconditional love than any human being, you wanted to bring it back home.

Pulling off the Palisades Parkway into a strip mall to buy some groceries at 8 in the morning, you noticed a huge Going Out Of Business sign on one of the neighboring storefronts. It was The Great American Piano Company. No longer situated in The City, they'd been downsized into this one last little outlet near Hoboken. So you rolled up the house truck's door so that the spirits of the piano makers could see that their corporate conquerors had also met the same fate 119 years later. All was forgiven. Nothing lasts. Everything disappears. Then you and your happy piano drove away, unembittered with this subtle change of the great inevitable fate every one of us is always facing.



ROOSEVELT, NEW JERSEY

Growing up in this town from age 12 to 16, most of your formative bile-filled years were spent in this weird little hamlet. Founded by it's namesake president as part of the WPA to battle the Great Depression in the 1930's, the town planning construction guidelines got mixed up with a similar project elsewhere in the country, so all of the houses were built as single story, flat roofed cement block buildings, meant to be situated in the desert. Somewhere out in Arizona, there's a similar town made of A frame colonial homes, fending off the snows that never come.

This odd place and the colorful people there had become icons of your subconscious mind, hard wired into your way of thinking and feeling, so standing on this ground again physically was truly overwhelming. Not much had changed. Except for all the changes you'd seen in your dreams, they all had basis in reality. That road was finally paved. Those empty potato fields were now filled with new tract houses. The deli had a new name.

Walking through a path in the woods from your old school yard to where your best friend, Kelli lived, there was a spot that always scared you as a kid. And it still did. It rang of something horribly traumatic having happened there, like rape or torture. So for the first time in your life, you ventured into the woods to confront this forboding energy. Sitting on a log, you waited and listened. Soon you heard a name that sounded like "Jane Randall". Images of violent screaming rages beat you nearly unconscious and you were overcome with a seering debilitating sadness. Crumbling to the ground, draped in cobwebs dirt and moss, you wailed uncontrollably until finally wandering back onto the path in a daze an hour later. As soon as you were out of the woods, that feeling vanished as if nothing had happened.

A few miles out of town, you stopped by the tiny abandoned cemetary just off route 541. You used to hold your breath on the school bus or in your parent's car whenever you passed by this creepy dark graveyard. Long ago, there must have been a church there but now nothing was standing, only a handful of crooked tombstones in this forgotten place. As soon as you entered, you made a beeline to the first burial plot whose 200 year old headstone barely read "James Reynolds".

Back in the woods, you had assumed that the victim of all that violence must have been female. But every part of you now knew it was a little boy. Researching his name told the story of James Reynolds and his older brother John who were great heroes in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. As this country fought for independence, these 2 deathwishing teenage boys rode first out into the front lines, inspiring all of those grown men behind them with their sheer bravery. Clearly, the severe abuse they had suffered as children from their father figure at that spot in the woods where their small house once stood had driven them into thrillseeking, fearing nothing. But they went from being young war heroes to troubled impoverished adult horse thieves that ended up imprisoned for their incorrigable petty crimes. In Trenton's State Penitentiary, James' brother John died. During his remaining years, James turned to the church to feel some kind of peace but suicide took him in 1831. This was why his headstone was on the north side of the graveyard facing east not west like the rest of the cemetary's socially acceptable tenants. You did a releasing ritual for him and sadly left Roosevelt behind, knowing the root of this place would continue living solidly inside you.

You made sure to visit your old house, the public swimming pool and that one tree where you always ran to hide and cry and pray for a better life. Picking up all the fractured pieces that your soul had left behind. But you wouldn't let yourself go until you'd written an open letter and posted it on the Community Bulletin Board. It shouted aloud about the sexual abuse your brother, his friends and countless other boys had suffered in that town, 30 years prior, at the pious hands of the late Reverend John Gruel. There is no justice except in the painfully bright light of truth, no matter how long it takes to shine.





NEWPORT, NEW HAMPSHIRE

Driving up I-89 north over Mount Sunapee, images of women's mutilated bodies came at you from out of the clouds to rain down on your mind's eye incessantly. You had to pull off into a rest stop just to catch your breath cuz this weird ass shit was horrendous and unexplainably confusing.

Realizing you were almost out of fuel, you took the next exit into a town called Claremont in search of a pawn shop to sell something. But when you found the gold buyer's shop with every wall filled to the brim with ticking clocks, he took one look at your sorry collection of trinkets and shook his head no. Seeing the utter disappointment on your sinking face, he asked about your giant box truck with California plates parked in his small gravel driveway so you told him what you were up to. His elderly blue eyes lit up and he handed you ten bux, saying you might have more luck at the pawn shop in the next town over. Smiling, you shook his hand, whispering, "Thank You."

Arriving in Newport, you parked in a dirt lot across the street from the pawn shop but it was already closed. So you sat next to the little stream running under Main Street and began collecting firewood to make some tea and wait until morning. Apparently, the restaurant owner of this lot was not happy about you being there, so he called the cops. You'd become fairly used to this routine by now. You said all the things you always say. And as usual, the cops were more intrigued by the idea of your house truck than in arresting you. They seemed stunned by this anomaly -- a calm drug free white woman traveling alone across the country. You wondered if this was your newfound duty; to convince law enforcement officials to quit their jobs and go off-grid, one by one, city by city.

So you drove to the other side of town and stopped behind a derelict strip mall that only had one smoke shop left in operation. You pulled up to the edge of the lot next to a thick forest and began collecting firewood again. The younger cop had followed you there but didn't come to harrang you. He just wanted to talk about his many camping trips to Canada with his dad, and wondered aloud wistfully if he could ever do what you were doing. You assured him that he could.

It was getting dark, so you quickly got back to wood collecting. But someone else was watching you. Everytime you moved, a crunch like footstep would crack just behind your back and you'd turn around to find nothing. Pick up a stick. Crack. Turn around quick. Nothing. Again. And again. You could feel eyes boring into you from behind. Getting scared, you decided against making a fire and listened to your gut as it was now screaming, "RUN!" Pulling down your roll up door, you jumped in bed and waited for sleep to come.

Around midnight, a loud low bell sound jolted you awake. Every fibre in your body said, "Someone's in here!" And in a split second, all your alarming hairs stood on end. The air got hot and sticky as you glimpsed a grayish white mist forming and transforming into a sickly grinning bulging eyed face that held nothing human or caring in it's hungry gaze. Long wispy arms were unfolding toward you, so you shut your eyes tight, burying your head in a pillow. Knowing your only defense was to not feed this thing any fear, you concentrated on your heartbeat, quietly chanting in your head with each steady and controlled breath. It hovered above you, inspecting and sniffing. Malevolent. Demonic. Attached to this male entity sprawled a procession of dead women. Their tangled body parts were bound together as they wept in desperation, dragged about like slaves, helpless puppets on muddy inescapable chains.

Suddenly you could feel the thoughts of this nauseating presence; his coldness, his lack of empathy, his sterile self-interest, his clinical curiosity in the female anatomy. Look how the blood flows from this dug out artery, how this sinewy tendon detatches from that one, see how far I can push these different razor sharp implements into this muscled hole before hitting bone. No part of him felt concern for the women he was skinning alive. The shrieks that came with each excrutiating piercing tug meant absolutely nothing to him.

Keep chanting. Calmly. Breathe. After some time, you could sense the procession of women leaving as the presence lost interest in you and floated away with his victims, back out into the woods. Bolting out of bed, you ran to start up the engine and drove off as fast as you fucking could.

Pulling into a Dunkin Donuts at 1 AM, you sat hiding in the truck, hour after hour, nervously waiting for the grace of sunrise to make things seem alright again as panic broke over you in waves of what-the-fuck-just-happened??! It was clear morning was nearing when the girl who was stuck working at the drive-thru window increasingly repeated, "Welcome to Dunkin Donuts. How can I help you." Each time, her mood changed slightly through the loudspeaker, depending on how sweet or bitchy the previous customer had treated her. Focusing on her voice for those slow sleepless hours calmed you down until the sun finally came up and you could face the regular world like normal people do.

Then you went into the pawn shop with your various electronics and tools to hock. But far more beneficial was the reaction the staff had to you asking, "Have there been a bunch of women murdered in this town?" The owner's wife and mother both piped up, "Yes! Back in the 90's. There were like 20 young girls, nurses, they all went missing. And no one ever found out who did it." Hands on your hips, you were instantly angry and determined to correct this. "I'll be back in a little while," you said as you stormed out of the pawn shop.

Standing on the iron bridge that crosses over the stream on Main Street, you asked out loud, "Who did this?" And the dead women told you his name. Then a rapid river of information came flooding in: He was the grandson of a well-to-do doctor in town but due to mental illness, he could never finish medical school. He was an embarrassment and a failure to his family's reputation. That's why he targeted them, they were all nurses in training. Living in his mom's basement near Elm Street, he killed himself because of some flippant remark she'd made. Their body parts were scattered in the woods behind the old mall, along with the remains of his initial "practice" pre-killing spree victim, his 12 year old niece. They all needed restitution and peace. So, you went back to the woods, burned sage, rang bells and released the spirits of every one of those brutalized women, 22 in all. With each chime, you could feel a different smile, a different personality, a different life passing through you to go bask in the light. But the hardest part was releasing the sick fuck that did this to them with chime 23. Somehow  you had to find compassion even for mankind's worst specimen.

Writing all of the necessary information in a letter that may have sounded crazy, you dropped it in the mail slot of the police station next door to the pawn shop. Gladly selling your power drill for next to nothing, you got the hell out of Newport. Back on the highway north, passing again over Mt. Sunapee, you closed that small circled quicksanding valley where you'd just glanced an agonizing evil and a more blissful eternity.



BARRE, VERMONT

With a triple rainbow spanning the skies over Montpelier, everyone kept telling you where the circus was parked, thinking they'd lost one of their nomadic tribe members. You just smiled and asked about pawn shops. But they didn't do such low class establishments in this tinkerbell metropolis. So you headed south to Barre where things were dirty and poor, where you belonged.

The pawn shop owner kept giving you the runaround. Come back in an hour. Another hour. Around 3. Tomorrow maybe. So you found a place to park temporarily in a narrow alley alongside the town's little courthouse. People on the street were noticeably jittery and soon a cop was opening your door, demanding to know what you were smoking. He yanked the hand rolled cigarette from your fist and gave it a good sniff. Yup. Not weed. But something in you suggested not getting snarky with this scowling triggery pig. He was having a hard day, you figured.

The next day back at the pawn shop, waiting for the owner to show up again, you met a middle aged woman named Kim. She was friendly, a bit disheveled, with a cast on her arm. She said her nephews jumped her, hit her with a crowbar and stole a bunch of shit from her in order to get more dope.

Everyone in every American villiage you went through said the same thing. "This town was so different before heroin came flooding in. Now we're all scared and dying."

But Kim's most shocking story was what had just happened there a couple days before your arrival. A woman had her kids taken away by the state because her relatives turned her in for being a drug addicted unfit mother. She retaliated by going to their house armed to the teeth. Her relatives were found tied to their dining room chairs, shot multiple times, throats slit, tongues cut out and scattered upon the kitchen counter. Then she showed up at the courthouse. The Family Services lawyer and social worker that took her kids were filled with an untold number of bullets. On the steps, they bled out as the avenging mother was arrested.

This explained that freakazoid cop's reaction to you parking a mere 20 feet from the scene of the crime, why everyone was staring at you with darty eyes. You don't know what lead you to park at the very edge of that vacuum, where the black hole of violent death had so recently been, but it was definitely time to get out.

So you said goodbye to Kim, went back into the pawn shop and spoke to the owner's wife, saying you really needed that ten bux promised to you yesterday cuz waiting and sitting still makes you wanna get high again. Thankfully, she understood your desperation. Soon you were back on the highway going wherever else. God forbid.











(to be continued...)

*u can call me ph!*

10.10.2017

13% [chapter 26]

THUNDERBIRD


There was a dream in 2013 that repeatedly tried to make itself heard. But for months, it would break off before you became conscious of its words. Until the night you stood lucid in this other world. Details merged and became too real. You heard a voice say, "This isn't a dream. This actually occured."


As the scene unfolded, you shrank down to the size you once were at the age of 4 and 3/4. Playing with your brother in a motel's swimming pool while your parents attended an Amway rally, all the other kids were slowly gathered up by their guardians as dinner time crept closer. Your brother said, "C'mon, let's go!" But you wanted to swim some more. So he went back to the motel room while you continued to pretend you were a dolphin or a guppy or a mermaid or a rock, totally submerged.


Finally climbing out of the pool, no one else was there, just you. Then you noticed an old man that looked like Santa Claus coming through the pool gate. He smiled and urged you to follow him into the changing room. You behaved. He lifted up your little body and placed you on a sink, slipping his fingers inbetween your skin and your wet bathing suit.


Pleased with what he saw he smiled some more. Turning you around, he whispered excitedly, "This won't hurt." He spread open your butt cheeks and stuck something inside your private parts that felt warm and squishy. But it did hurt. A lot.


You screamed and cried for him to stop, but he just covered your mouth with his rough hand and kept cramming it in and out.


Delighted with himself, he soon let your body go and it slid down off the sink onto the cold tiled floor. Trickles of blood were wiped away like inconvenient stains. As he calmly walked out the door, you scampered to your feet, ran outside and sat on the hot asphalt of the parking lot, screaming your fucking head off. Rubbing your ass against the blistering concrete, you wanted the heat to peel off all the skin from this place that now felt so gross and mangled and strange.


People walked by, looked down at you curiously but said nothing. You screamed and screamed ,"Mommy! Mommy!! Mommy!!!!" but no one came. A droning voice from somewhere unseen declared in a low monotonous tone, thundering, "Cry all you want, no one is ever gonna come save you."


Hoarse and silent, you sat staring up at the wind blowing through the trees as the sunset sank behind low generic buildings. Stood up eventually, you limped back to room 146 where the rest of your family was waiting.


Opening the door, your mother shrieked, "Where the bloody hell were you?!" and slapped your little reddened face. Numbness set in at that moment. And there it stayed.


Upon waking from this lucid dream, of course you did a fair amount of crying, but more importantly, a question that had always remained unanswered was no longer vague: Why was it that the first time your father sat you in his lap and began grinding against your 6 year old ass did you think, "oh no, not this again"? Your first rape stayed unretrievable behind a thick gray wall of fog, so you never knew how you already knew what sex was.


Clearly this memory had been repressed. Hidden from you so that in the coming years of further abuse, you would somehow not crumble under such tremendous born-to-be-deadened stress. Yes, if this had been known all those years ago, you definitely would not still be alive. And some weird level of gratitude was felt toward your minor saviour brain that it held this secret from you for as long as it did. And that it felt you were old enough now to deal with the truth.


It felt good to be complete, integrated, and happily unhinged. Free from the skepticism that all this shit happened because you deserved it. Nope. It was just a side effect of the disease of living, more or less.



*u can call me ph!*

10.06.2017

13% [chapter 25]

UP AGAINST THE WALL


It is said that the average American has about12 different jobs during the course of their career. Having worked since you were 13 years old, most often at 2 jobs simultaneously, you've had no less than 48. Clearly you're still unsure as to what constitutes a so-called career. But there was one job that was unlike all the rest -- a part time position as an archivist at a sculptor's studio in Oakland.


The paid internship began in 1996 while you were in art school. For 10 hours a week, as the artist assembled steel sculptures, you were left alone in the office to catalogue slides, transparencies and photographs, organize press clippings and prepare checklists of pieces for exhibition under the guidance of his wife's publicity campaigns. This soon led to assisting in the shipping and receiving of artworks to and from museums and galleries and later, upon the advent of the digital age, creating a database of the sculptor's 50+ year portfolio.


You also began taking photographs of his newest works upon completion. Each year, the images got imported into bigger fancier mac computers and his works mutated in medium and scale, swelling from 24 inch lacquered constructions to 14 foot towers of shining stainless steel. Your hours, pay and responsibilities also increased to include designing book layouts and shooting videos of the artist at work to be shown at his exhibitions.


At lunchtime, the two of you would discuss art or current events and laugh about some of the crazy stunts he'd pulled in his youth with the other stalwart figures of 1960's London from which he'd hailed. Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Stanley Kubrick -- these were not icons,  they were his friends. In fact, that black monolith in the beginning of the film, "2001: A Space Odyssey" was one of the sculptor's inventions.


While he was teaching at Ealing College in London, an impromptu raucous debate on rock music lacking opera's gravitas of the human condition planted the seeds of both "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Tommy" into the minds of his young impressionable students, Freddie Mercury and Pete Townshend -- whose habit of destroying guitars wasn't just to have a wank; it was performance art, a symbollic act of deconstructing the establishment.


You felt genuine love for the sculptor. He was not only your mentor but the supportive father figure you'd never had. You could tell him things most other people would never understand. A kid during WWII's bombing blitz, he'd been through his own battles with addictive habits, abusive relationships and good thoughts gone wrong. He'd been further than that, done more than that. You actually trusted this man. And for many many years, you were happy as an uncorrupted clam.


Every spring and fall, the sculptor and his millionaire heiress wife would take vacations to their second home in the south of France, leaving you to man the phones at the studio, pick up the mail and pay the bills during their month long absence.


In September of 2014, while completing the video editing for the sculptor's latest documentary film, you decided to take advantage of this quiet time at the studio to record something that would augment the soundtrack. Pressing record on your android phone, with your face pushed up against hollow stainless steel columns, you sang random vocal tones. Fairly obsessed with this natural reverb effect, you recorded 3 short takes.


By now, deep in the throes of PTSD, you'd become completely isolated from all other people. Daily, you were held in the grips of your eclipsing drug addiction. And with an increasing dependence on this one last remaining job, this one last remaining person that still spoke and listened to you, the rawness of all that had fallen away flattened your entire past into this one glimmering instant.


Humming alone under the studio's large arching skylights, the late afternoon's soft dying light shimmered against vibrating steel plates. An irreversible sense of loyalty to the sculptor engulfed you. He was the only person, in all these 20 years of living in San Francisco, who had not abandoned you. So those notes sang an elegy of torrential gratitude.


Tears dried, you arbitrarily pasted the 3 takes together into a single wav file. But the random tracks fell into a seemingly preordained sync. Too strange. Pushing Save, you stuck it on the soundtrack immediately, not giving yourself the chance to screw up something so weirdly self-contained.








Sadly, after that culminating autumn, everything changed.


Gradually, pecks on the cheek and a "see you next week," mutated into a giggling hand sliding up your thigh or shifting down the back of your pants. Frozen, your dissociating reaction was physical absence. Then came his confessions, "I love you." "I really do love you." "I'd love to fuck you, you know that?"


Maybe since turning 80, he felt this was his last chance to shag a younger cunt. But that did not soften this insult's impact. Nor did it prepare you for the final collapse.


On the drives back to the BART station after work, the sculptor shared with you the wet dreams he'd been having. As if you should be psyched about that. He had no idea that he sounded just like your dad.


You said nothing. Just turned you head and stared out the window at the blaring sun as it bled dry this droughted land, cadmium plated colorless and bland. All the same repetitive torturous dooms from 4 to 45. Come home to roost. Damned. This one man you thought you could trust,who perhaps had some platonic respect for you being a fellow artist, who supposedly cared about you, nah...he just wanted to fuck you too. Just like all the rest. Sinking found you back down in the oubliette.


Heartbroken with unveiled eyes, you could now clearly see all the ways in which merits were being withheld from you. How horribly exploited was your true usefullness. Of the literally hundreds of photos you took at his studio, not a single one was credited to you. Others in your position would make triple what you were paid. But a simple pat on the back and some verbal approval was all they needed to give poor sorry stupid you. An invoice from another employee proved this inequality: the $150 hourly rate was happily paid in full plus another few thousand in "creative fees", whatever the fuck that means.


The gallery that represented the sculptor said your book designs were too amateurish, so a mound of money was spent on professional designers who then published a book that looked identical to yours. He then admitted out loud, while you sat slackjawed in the room, "Why should I pay a designer thousands of dollars for good work when I can get HER to do it for me for free?!" He considered $20/hr "free", apparently.


Ultimately though, it was your own fault for not knowing your own worth, squirt. Or for thinking that The Art World would somehow be better than The Corporate World or The Music World or Any Other World. They're all bollocks. People like us don't belong for long in it.


But the money didn't really matter, you could get over that. It was the sexual harrassment you could no longer put up with. So you told the sculptor one day as he squeezed your knee, "Please stop. This makes me uncomfortable." He excused himself, stammering something about how he was raised. Then he stopped taking you to lunch or updating you on what tasks needed to be done that day. Communication simply ceased. Now his wife was your new boss, telecommuting.


The recovering junkie in him always assumed you were doing shady shit behind his back, but in your blind loyalty, you never did. Whenever he misplaced something, he'd go on a rant about it being stolen until you'd find it laying in the place where he'd left it. Every one of those tantrums compounded this upcoming fracture after so many faithful years of working unstiff. His flexibility and easy going attitude suddenly vanished. Now he was threatening to fire you when you showed up hollow-faced and 15 minutes late, wearing extra layers, tucked in, buttoned up to the nape.


Many more insulting insights floated down the pike in the following months. In response, hints were constantly being dropped that you wanted to move away, that your meth infested house was killing you, that California had worn out your deluded gullible ass, that you just couldn't take it anymore. He said, "No, you have to stay here for the rest of my life and carry on of my legacy." Meanwhile, his wife told you to train the woman they'd hired for a large living wage to take over your soon disappearing position.
Not even gone, but already replaced.


The ice was thinning. Cracking had come at last, turning your harrassed rosey-eyed hurts into downright obliterated justice-hunting rage.


So while they vacationed in France the next May, you secretly planned your big escape. Adding an extra zero onto your final measly paycheck, you left a note that this was your "creative fee". You deleted all records of your labors, wiped harddrives free of your presence, shredded every scrap of paper that once held traces of mutual respect or artistic kinship or well-crafted catalogued crap.


Soon after they returned from France, with the employee gas card in your wrathful hand, you charged every gallon of diesel fuel from the Bay Area until Chevron stations no longer populated this ever-widening cross country scam. Just beyond the Rockies, the paper trail of your helpless fury and well guaged betrayal fell off the map.


Now all of those shady assumptions could satisfy themselves to their heart's content cuz you no longer gave a creatively collated fuck. And there could be no question in his mind, when he received his credit card bill the following month, that you were never coming back.


Art was dead.


Your big career. Fork stuck. Done.


Maybe now the sculptor sees you as more than just a pair of fresh tits typing out his commands. Maybe now he has some kind of twisted bitch respect for your vengeful third act. Maybe now he understands the pain of being a whole human being that refuses to get shafted down into their lowly station, regarded as nothing more than a usefully cheap snatch.


Yet, in all of my foolish wisdom, I somehow doubt that.



*u can call me ph!*

7.25.2017

13% [chapter 24]

ENTROPY INCREASING


In January of 2013, when all the electricity had blown out and everyone else living at Bleakhaus dealt with this lack of power by running away to their boyfriend's or girlfriend's houses, you were the only resident left cuz you
had nowhere else to go. So you sat frozen in your room with a bike light strapped to your head, watching wisps float off from your cold quickening breaths. For 3 months this continued and it was during this darkened quiet time that a new/old idea came back to you. On March 1st, you woke up and bolted out of bed reciting the words, "BOX TRUCK!"


After a lifetime of paying rent to live in a house where heat hot water and electricity were frequently out, where your only trustworthy companion was in the form of a little brown mouse, it was not a far stretch to visualize living alone with the exact same creature comforts of null and void for a lot lot less. Maybe in that solitary space, you could be at your best -- or at least, just fucking be.


No one else would be in yer face, judging your every move, telling you how to live your life or denigrating all exasperating attempts to uplift this stagnating environment. So you started saving every penny. Pennies that came from unemployment checks, from working under the table, from pumping up the volume of ebay sales, from committing the occassional act of corporate embezzelment without a single post-financial-collapse-but-banks-get-bailed-out moral regret. SCAM presidents.


Isolation and entropy increasing, after nearly 10 good years of loving your home, Bleakhaus became just a coffin filled with clinging memories of happier, more musical times. Only a quiet empty room crowded with the past now greeted you. A comparatively cruel skeletal outline in your current curb kicked loveless state of mind.


Spring, 2015, you knew the time to leave was approaching.The flickering lights in your bedroom said so. After a while,you no longer bothered turning the switch on at all due to the constant twitches and fissures going off above you. Annoying. You didn't want to read too much into it, but it was a bit weird. Then the flies swarmed in like never before, and you knew that this really was The End.


Scouring craigslist for a viable vehicle to live in, everything was too expensive for your lowlife savings. You test drove a mini schoolbus with your friend Erich, but it didn't feel good for the long haul. Dejected on your bike ride home from the 5lowershop warehouse where Erich lived, you rode by a white Isuzu FRR box truck parked on Bayshore Boulevard with a For Sale sign in the window. Exactly what you were looking for, but you couldn't afford it. Still frustrated the following week, Kismet tipped you off as you passed by the same truck again, parked on 24th Street. But for the greatly reduced price of $5000.


As soon as the previous owner turned the ignition key, her engine's rumble sang of freedom and you fell in love instantly, clamouring "YES, I'll take it!" Gladly handing the man the biggest stack of money you've ever had in your hand, there was no turning back.


The piano moved in first, then internal construction on Haustruk began. Everything takes longer than you think it should, but life was already looking brighter from the back of your 7.1 litre turbo diesel's viewpoint. High all day and night with this higher purpose; to work like mad and get the truck homeworthy before you had the chance to sabotage yourself with some lame ass mindfucking shite.


While parked in front of Bleakhaus overnight on Mission Street, there'd be a friendly wave from Albert the garbage man at dawn. And instead of a $65 ticket, a gentle headsup from the traffic wardens to move on at 4 a.m. cuz the street cleaner would be coming soon. After the bars closed, drunken college girls in heels would come clik-clak-stumbling down the street on their weekend quests for male validation. Then they'd see what you were doing and ask themselves, "Wha..? Is this allowed? Really...?" At all hours, every prostitute working Capp Street wholeheartedly approved.


During those 13 weeks of laboring on conversion, you wouldn't allow yourself to do any drugs inside Haustruk. Though the kid who rapidly tagged "SOBER" onto one side of the box climbed into the back with you one night and smoked himself icey while another kid, a clean cut upper middle class student at SFAI slowly tagged the other side with "HOLDIN'". Oh, the hilarious irony. But you didn't want to foul up this spiritually free space with your own acts of drug abuse. So you let your habit happen only in your echoing old room, thinking maybe you'd leave this thing behind, too.




Be like the wind, you said repetitively, as you sobbed onto a decade's worth of belongings getting slotted into boxes.Packing unpacking and repacking. Don't make a big fuss. Cry as much as you like. Just keep packing. And leave when the breeze feels right.


Otherwise it would hurt too much ~ the overwhelming fear of choosing this narrow path. Choosing to leave your big cheap flat, this tinderbox of doom, filled to the brim with triggers, eviction threats and other muddled irritating drug addicts. Choosing to effectively become homeless and live off-grid in a box truck with the only thing that still mattered to you, that beloved red piano. Yeah, scary. Choosing to quit work quit sex quit drinking quit drugs quit everything; after 30 years of running at full speed around every different type of dependency with blind ego-eyes and a tiny desperate heart that was now numb as fuck, all used up.


This mountain of fear might've paralyzed whatever faith you had left that you weren't done living yet. Sincere attempts to have going away parties with old friends were met with a complete lack of attendance anyway, so it was best to let go by slipping away silently, in little pieces, day by day.


At 4:30 a.m on the summer solstice, you were headed over to pick up your regular refill of PTSD meds/meth when that particular breeze came through your newly converted house truck's window and said, "Go. Now." So you stopped at a traffic light and took a left off Townsend onto the freeway heading east.


Chanting loudly helped calm that panic stricken shriek from entering these unknown territories at a rate both so long planned and so suddenly. Eventually, the beauty and stillness of constant change crept back into the driver's seat and nothing mattered except moving another foot forward and breathing.


Coming down, there was no crash landing. It was more like swimming out to sea.


No matter where you were from now on, you'd always be at home. Trying to understand, without grasping too tightly, some momentary smaller sense of peace. Even in the face of each newly discovered gutwrenching difficulty.


Now there was a sweet fragile tenderness to life that was previously hidden beneath society's senseless demands and your mind's own violent self-berating. Now you noticed things outside like how the leaves on trees curve upward when it's about to rain.


Thanks to practicing binaural meditation daily for the last few years, right before doing some more drugs, one ritual would gradually replace the other, and something in you had changed.


I hear it's called bodhichitta ~ the love that never dies. It lives in all of us, down in the most digusting part of ourselves, somewhere gross inside. When all else gets stripped away, you might be bleeding and skinless and invisible to the naked eye, but, hey - don't worry, you too will find it.


*u can call me ph!*

13% [chapter 23]

THE HUNGRY GHOSTS OF BLEAKHAUS


Built by Irish immigrants in 1853, two identical triple story victorian houses were situated at 2429 and next door at 2419 Mission Street near the corner of 20th. A treelined courtyard connected them with a series of smaller rowhouses set behind. A sign above the courtyard's iron gates proclaimed that this was "Catherine's Court".


Archived historical maps of San Francisco denoted the lot at 2429 Mission as "Anna's House" and 2419 as "Catherine's House", the twin O'Conner sisters and original inhabitants. Deeds of ownership never involved the exchange of money. Instead the properties remained gifted within the family, passed down from generation to generation.


The twin houses sat fairly weathered, having survived every natural and manmade disaster over the last 160 years. Constructed of low grade wood lathes and molded plaster, they had a distinctive 16" lean in toward one another. During each earthquake the walls would just wiggle and sway, their weakness being their greatest strength.


Far below modern housing codes, there was no heating, deep layers of paint were peeling, the plumbing was regularly unreliable and old cloth wiring sometimes arced inside the walls. Doorbells had long ago been disconnected. Roofs leaked. Pigeons pooed. Raccoons scuffled. Mice squeaked. Remnants of gaslighting poked out through holes in the walls that went uncapped. Curious ornate iron levers that no longer opened or closed anything rotated with uselessly intricate squeals. Innovative sliding pocket doors stood rusted shut. Hand wrought chandeliers dangled elegantly in disuse, only half lit. But when the late afternoon light shone through her sagging windows, she was still a beautiful beautiful slum.


A beautiful slum to you and to countless other tenants, some of whom had their lives briefly captured on census reports. Such as Theodore Reilly, a watchmaker in 1880 whose hand painted gold entrance sign was still barely visible on the stone front step. And Kate O'Leary, a divorced 43 year old woman who employed herself as a dressmaker in 1890 to some degree of self sufficient success. And the Hanley family who ran a curios and candle shop downstairs in 1900. And maybe even the police officer Thomas Kane who, in 1910, was often shitfaced drunk and terrorizing his wife Sarah and their epileptic teenage son, Thomas Jr. while their temporary lodger, Charles Graves, an unemployed tanner, tried not to get involved.


One day in the autumn of 1994, not long after moving into the front room at 2429, you came home from school resoundingly depressed. Opening your bedroom door with your head hung low, you were assualted by the thought, "i should just hang myself." But this struck you as odd since all of your usual suicidal impulses would shy away from that particular mode of death -- guns, jumping, pills, drowning, bleeding out: yes. Choking or burning: no.


Lifting your gaze you caught a glimpse of a man in haggard 1920s clothing hanging by his neck, the rope taught and swinging from the ceiling. He glared at you with a thick ragged mustache and a disgusted scowl, a dirty black bowler hat plastered to his unwashed disheveled head. In the shock of that moment, he disappeared. But his image would come to haunt you over the years, systematically hijacking every episode of depression with that same thought, "you should just hang yourself."


But you were not alone. Other people from every walk of life and every varying degree of verve would move in, soon become depressed and find themselves fashioning a noose . Mr. Burkhalter, the master tenant, later informed you that over the course of the next 15 years, he had cut down at least 7 of his former roommates to stop them from killing themselves. Their reasoning was always peppered with bouts of amnesia and complaints of an oppressive negative energy from which they could not escape. Until they moved out of that house.


Sadly, after much melodramatic art school agony and hosting many happily chaotic parties in which then unknown bands like the Dandy Warhols played shows in their underwear in your living room, you moved out of 2429 in the spring of 1998.


You went from your huge $260 rent controlled room to living alone in a $600 studio in the Tenderloin that felt too nice for you. Soon, you were living in a non live-in $165 basement cubicle on 16th and Mission. Then you moved into a warehouse around the corner filled with musicians and artists called Pubis Noir.


Litigation meant that you could all live rent-free for a couple years at least. In exchange, you had to walk around the huge hole in the common space where the couch had fallen through the rotting floorboards, ignore the black mold mushrooms sprouting up next to the bathtub, avoid the river of debri and fleas flooding the basement (a.k.a. Mission Creek) and prepare for the dead junkie's body that would be blocking the front door, the only feasible exit.


Every day, soapy bath water would rain down from the residential hotel above. Plastic garbage bags, pvc pipes and buckets would snake around the warehouse making the space look like a scene from the Terry Gilliam film, "Brazil". But life was bearable, marked by fabulously anarchic Noise & Pancakes shows every Sunday afternoon. And for 6 months at a time, a friend would collect your unemployment checks from your first big lay-off and send you these meager funds while you lived low in London, Berlin and Belgium. Good times.


Then eviction came. Another $400 warehouse room sprang up but it soon wilted and died too. So with all the ambitious pride of any aggro 33 year old artist, you moved to New York City and stayed in a room on 139th Street that was a third the size but triple the price.


Still not sure why, but call it what you will ~ destiny, fate, synchronicity, random coincidence, total bollocks ~ but 7 years after leaving 2429 Mission Street, having moved 11 times and going a distance of 32,000 miles, you ended up 6 feet from where you started. Catherine's Court had called you back.


In the spring of 2005, immediately after moving into your new $323 room at 2419 Mission Street, you started having intense lucid dreams. Unlike most lucid dreams that happen within an imaginary landscape, these Bleakhaus dreams always began and ended in exactly the spot where your physical body was sleeping. In them, you'd instantly know you were dreaming, get up out of bed and walk to your bedroom door. But it opened up to a portal that was not entirely pleasant, so turning the doorknob meant swallowing some trepidation and dread. The hallway was a swirling black mass of sadness and timeless resentment, flowing from east to west. It felt like walking under water.


And in the black water you could see so many people from the past whose traumatized emotions held them there, stuck in the riptide.


1984, a frustrated and berated housewife who longed to be with the women she loved overdosed in the kitchen. 1979, a tall blond man in a cowboy hat with a fatal gun shot wound stood in the bathroom. 1877, a starving 10 year old boy by the stairwell begged for some bread. 1816, before the house was built, a group of 6 native Muwekma Ohlone women escaped slavery and ran for their lives but were tracked down by members of their own tribe. Captured and forced to return to the mission, they fought back but were massacred on this hill. In black and white, like an old scratchy film loop, the scene repeated itself endlessly with the lost cries of an unspeakably unjust crime.


In waking life, every late April, the annual arrival of a dark foreboding presence would stalk the hallway, making it nearly impassible to anyone perceptive. You'd stay in your room and pee in a can rather than confront this huge looming shadow until it went away in early May. But in April of 2010 that dark presence became bolder and ventured into your room one day.


Focused on some domestic duty while sitting on your bed, you heard your door swing open and sensed someone skulking around the bend. The air got thick and sticky with ionized threat, then the ghost announced itself with a loud crumbling BOOM. The stereo which was not turned on suddenly sprang to life and began blaring that cd skipping sound. All the lights in the room instantly dimmed, and you heard a man's voice clearly say, "After what's coming, all of this will seem like such a luxury."


Scenes of screaming devastation and infernal fires flashed through your mind. You felt his helplessness as he watched everyone he loved die. And he blamed himself. If he hadn't gone to work that day, he might have been there to save them. It was his fault that his sister, his young wife and his wee child were dead. Towering above you but facing away, his hunched over frame wore dirty work overalls and was burdened by a huge canvas backpack, filled with all the heaviness of his guilt remorse and shame. Another loud BOOM and he was gone. Everything returned to normal.


It didn't take long to piece together that San Francisco's biggest natural disaster happened on April 18th, 1906 and that this man's spirit was still a victim to it.


Events like these prompted a continuous stream of roommates to move in, then quickly leave. Especially if they were sensitive types who could clearly see the ghosts surrounding them. You contacted one of these former roommates named Lucia and relayed this recent appearance to her. She validated that these details were identical to what she had witnessed the previous April.


Reaching out, you needed to find someone who could teach you how to help this greiving man leave the hallway because now you had felt his pain and that overrided any fear. A woman named Crystal Cobra came over one day and showed you the ropes of crossing spirits over.


In preparation for this ritual, you made sure this man knew that you wanted to help him. "It's not your fault. Forgive yourself and let go. Put down that bag and get ready to leave here because your family's waiting for you to join them." Then you played music to calm everything down and serenaded him on his way out.


There was no way to prove that this worked without waiting until the following spring. So you waited. In April of 2011, nothing weird happened. And it felt good, helping someone move on. You trusted this euphoric spiritual gratitude much moreso than the feelings that were conjured up by the unappreciative agendas of the undead.


Keep in mind that these events all occured at times when you were straight, not high, but they did sound crazy enough to drive you back into the arms of drugs where you could be safely numb. Until the next time. But now you had an Open For Business sign above your third eye, so empathy only increased -- regardless of your drug fueled attempts to feel nothing.


Knowing very well what it's like to be overlooked or ignored or belittled, a communal defeat draped over you. Ghosts are people, too. With all the same emotional needs that haunted their living days. Walking around the mission alone in the dark, you could sense the overwhelming pain of everyone in this city who had ever ended their own life. And that was a collective cry you could never hope to repair on that precariously fragile night.


But how would YOU like to be stuck for eternity with no body, screaming out for help? Then whenever anyone hears or sees you, they just run and hide? Or worse yet, use you for amusement to profit in a freak show that's regularly broadcast to self-agrandizing narrow minds?


So you decided to perform one giant Releasing Ritual for every spirit still trapped at Catherine's Court. Months in preparation, it went off quickly and without a hitch. Everyone filed on excitedly to the big caravan in the sky.


Except for those who stayed behind.


The 6 native women were still caught looping in their last tragic moments of struggling to survive. You felt lacking in your ability or rights to move them on from this land, so you sent all relevant information to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council. Perhaps their souls would find peace in hearing prayers spoken in their own language by their own decendants of their own (still unrecognized by the federal government) tribe.


And the hanging man. He resolutely refused to leave. Angry and densely black as ever, his shadow paced up and down your hallway for ages after that. He had some specific need that had not been met yet. But you didn't know what it was. And now, you were tired.


During the last few noise shows at Bleakhaus, other people saw his ghost wandering around and yelped, "Did you see that!?! The shadow of a man just walked across your room!" You non-chalantly replied, "Yeah...he's waiting to be crossed over but...i tried...i dunno what he wants me to do..." People looked at you funny, changed the subject and quickly left the room.


Sinking deeper into depression during the next 2 years, you yelled at his ghost in desperation. "What the fuck do you want from me asshole?!" And after a while, you spent more time getting high and less time caring. Until you got to the point where you started looking up at your painted red glass chandelier, wondering if it would hold your dead body's weight.


"Wait. Hanging? What the Fuck! I'm not actually depressed at all, am I? This is that ghost fucking with me again, isn't it?" To which a chorus of disembodied voices sang out triumphantly, "YES!!!" And your anger at his impetuous invasion of your personal space gave you just enough impetus to get back to work on researching this unknown dickhead's demise.


Online, you found an archive of San Francisco obituaries that dated from the 1870's until the 1950's. Concentrating on the 1920's because of his dated clothing, you began reading through the thousands of entries posted. It was a daunting task. Emotionally taxed after reading the first 700 obituaries, you had to stop and try again tomorrow. It all seemed so pointless, randomly searching for a nameless man but something told you to just keep looking. Somehow, you'd KNOW when you dug up his obit. 3 days and 1200 listings laster, all your hairs stood up on end when you read about the suicide of a 26 year old Mission district resident, John Sinclair.


Deeply in love with his next door neighbor Maggie, she convinced John to murder her husband George so that she and John could be together. She claimed that George was abusive so John stabbed this innocent man to death. Maggie then turned John in. He was found guilty of murder and convicted. Maggie soon remarried someone else and left the city. Abandoned and betrayed, John hung himself in prison.


If you ever thought you knew what betrayal felt like, it was miniscule compared to his story. "I'm sorry... I am so sorry..." was all you said to the ghost of John Sinclair. And then he was gone.


A wave of gratitude, amazement and bewilderment came crashing over you. If emotions are strong enough to bend space and time so that this kind of communication could happen 100 years apart, then all of our emotions deserve respect. Even the dark ones need acknowledgement, just like the rest of us.


Bleakhaus was finally clear. Your job was done.


But it didn't take long for it to start collecting spirits again. 18 months later, your schizophrenic roommate went off his meds and quickly lost his shit. He stopped bathing,
had to urinate constantly and spent every waking moment alone in his little room smoking himself silly until his hallucinations and headbanging and screaming ramblings left everyone else tattered and witless. Kidneys failing, 2 days later, his twin brother went in to check on him, wondering why he was so quiet. He discovered his brother's dead body sitting upright. A rigor mortised fist still clutching his bong. Soft webs of discharge veiled his half open eyes.


3 days later, your dead roommate's face appeared within a whirlwind of confusion and stood hovering in your doorway in the middle of the afternoon. Good ideas and bad smells whipped around him like black sparrows and gray finches. You yelled, "You're dead! Go find your mother!" But the thought of his recently deceased mom just made him sad and lonely. He chose to stay with his living brother who was busy tossing all of his grief and loss and increasing drug binges back into the downward spiral. Carelessly unhinging with every month of nonpaid rent building, the living twin left all other non-lease holding tenants on tenderhooks and wincing.


In the pit of your gut, you knew that if you didn't leave this house, you'd be next. But with nowhere to go and no money to get there, you felt trapped and weak. Eclipses kept coming. And strange things continued happening.





*u can call me ph!*

11.19.2016

13% [chapter 22]

STARES TO NOWHERE


On the flip side of your handsewn musical memory's buttflap stretched a snake skinned seamline whose name is Lydia Lunch.


At The Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey, just after turning 15, you spent the money you received from your crappy job running a hot dog stand in the lobby of a pre-Walmart department store called Jamesway on the first vinyl record in your collection: '13.13'. You had no idea who Lydia Lunch was, but the cover was all black with red text and you instantly adherred to the song titles printed on the back: 'Afraid Of Your Company', 'Lock Your Door', 'Suicide Ocean', 'Snakepit Breakdown', 'Dance of the Dead Children'.


13's always been your favorite number. You felt sympathetic for it having received such a bad rep when it did nothing wrong except be unique and meaningfully prime to pre-Christian calendars and Mother Earth-centric festivities celebrated by potent thick-ribbed women before they were all branded as whores and condemned to death; untold millions drowned, hung, boiled or burned alive for knowing the healing medicinal properties of plants we now commonly call weeds. Masculine consorts seized the holy stations where women stood defenseless because there was no such thing as weapons or fences or war for over a thousand years. Then the conquerors dressed themselves up in flowing robes, grew their hair long, wore fake padded boobs and ritually pretended to menstruate monthly. Instated, they took the daughters of those women burned at the stake and forced them to dance around the pole 100 times, barefoot in the smoldering red hot coals of their mother's scorched remains so as to ingrain in them what would happen if they disobeyed the new laws of the male god. All in terrific disdain for the philosophies they could not control and the life-giving abilities they could not contain. Penis envy is a Freudian phrase that's about a hundred years old, but womb envy's been going strong for 5000 or so.


The moment the needle dropped, you felt relief. These songs made it ok to be this angry. To seek some poetic retreat from the worries that rained down amidst cold war threats of nuclear destruction, to the things that were being done to your young numb feminine body, to the fucked up foot binding rules society was expecting you to follow without question. This record let you know it was your duty to voice dissent. Even if no one ever heard your hollow holler, it was better than ending up like your mother; whittled down into submission, cleaning up in service to an unappreciative master, doing the best she can, passive aggressively getting her way by naggingly not taking a stand.


After becomming engaged with your new tattoo machine, you spent ages designing and drawing and inking Lydia's image from that album cover. 13 snakes portraying Medusa hair wrapped ouroborous-like around your forearm, along with the words "cvm patentia" (with patience). A reminder that whenever you felt suicidal, the best thing you could do is just wait. So many times, a few days after crying yourself down into a gluten-induced tarpit, you'd feel fine and realize that life was actually ok. Then some pleasantly gentle thing would happen and while smiling, you'd tell yourself, "Gee, sure am glad i didn't off myself last week." Approximately 40,000 times, this has been the case.


Synchronicity explains how then, after seeing the tattoo you were working on, a friend told you that Lydia Lunch was coming to play in San Francisco that weekend. A special set of the songs from '13.13'. Another friend gave you a free ticket at the door. And you spent that entire night not believing this wasn't a dream, a mere 28 years in the making.


Upstairs, just after the gig, you stood 3 feet away from her but couldn't bring the awkward teen inside you to say anything susinct. You were just grateful being there, hearing all those songs again, as if the universe was pouring forth rays of serendipity all over you and all you could do in your starstruck state was stare into the headlights. Death was coming like a speeding train to crush you down into nothingness again, but for now, that was totally ok. At that moment you felt you were standing in exactly the best fated time and space.


Less than a month later you were invited to play an opening set on stage in LA where she was headlining for the Extreme Futurist Festival on December 22, 2012. The first day after the End of the World. Just being invited was a miracle in itself. Something that never happened. You'd become accustomed to organizing events on your own because it was the only way you could ever play shows, by putting yourself in the mix instead of waiting around forever for someone else to book you a gig. Even if just across the Bay Bridge. So being invited to play such a huge festival in LA was absolutely monolithic.


A further surprise was that this invite came from someone to whom you were an outright bitch. Rachel had been flown to SF to play at a Throbbing Gristle tribute festival called Destroy the Universe a few years earlier. But while helping set up the stage for her soundcheck, you found her demands arrogantly shortsighted and rude. Completely stressed out and overtired you told her, loud enough so that all the other bands could hear, "Ya know, being a dick to the person who's running your sound is a really bad idea. No one deserves to be treated like shit!" She quickly recognized the sense in this. Pleasantries were exchanged afterward and you stopped scowling eventually.


By now, it was like you'd become the proxy mom while staging shows, telling young rock stars and divas to remember to say please and thank you and to clean up after themselves. It's called having consideration for others. And it disgusted you that these things had to sometimes be said out loud.


Being doormatty and pleasing other people laid flat in contrast to this sad outstanding fact that the only people who seemed to have any respect for what you were doing were the ones you stood up to. And you're resoundingly grateful that Rachel even remembered such a smalltimer like you. Other folks just walked all over you. Because you let them, stupid. Because you thought that's how you make friends, by being kind and useful. But those people weren't friends, they were just opportunists using you. Shoulda figured that out by middle school. When you get good grades everyone hates you. So you learned how to dim your light, hide your potential, not speak your mind, fail on purpose so that you could have a social life. And look where it got you.


Putting all that behind you, you got too psyched about the prospect of playing on the same stage as the woman who had initially inspired you to make music in the first place. And your shits quickly turned into cement bricks. Looking to social media for proof that this was real, you excitedly posted the flyer for the upcoming festival with your band name proudly emblazened on the amazing lineup below Lydia Lunch, Survival Research Laboratories and NegativLand. But no one responded or commented or liked this wonderful thing you'd been invited to do. In shocking astonishment, you reposted the news a few days later to the same non-responsive silence. And again. With spiralling eyes. Still, nothing. After years spent congratulating other people's record deals and massive tour bookings and escalading accolades of success and achievement, finally here was your Yay Hooray. But no one was happy for you. Not one person.


Devastated, you were beyond hurt. You'd taken for granted how much it meant to feel that someone else out there was rooting for you. This was something even your own mother would never do and that magnified this perceived damage. How hard was it to click a stupid fucking little button? Confused as to what you must have done to all 400 of the super friends in this community for them to collectively consider you such an undeserving asshole, you waffled and flailed and stewed, alone on a computer in your room. Clinging to these unravelling strings of disbelief, you sent messages to 3 or 4 other musicians, inviting them to come play this stellar show with you, willingly splitting up the 45 minute set to share the ample stagetime with others you felt close to. To share the joy. But they all said no, too.


More than just a slap in the face, or a punch in the gut, this total absence of support completely threw you for an endless looping mindfuck; its degrading mental tail spin dragged you further down the dark self-doubting trail than you can, even now, relive without feeling a bit sick. Abandonment via social media made you go from shitting bricks to being just a piece of shit that shits shit bricks. Virtual poo with poo in it.


Then, a week before the festival, Kat, whom you'd been playing with in an improv noise trio replied and said ok. She'd go with you. Exhaling exasperated gasps of relief, you set about making a papier mache mask of a huge dead bird skull that would disguise your scared shitless face while standing on stage. In sloppy speed driven agonized haste over too many sticky twitchy nights and long drawn out days, you decided you'd rent the truck, do all the driving and reserve the hotel room where you'd both stay. Kat was from LA, so all she had to do was give you directions to the venue.You'd use all your rent money to pay for everything and bring a bunch of merch to sell, hopefully making up the difference. This was a risk you were willing to take because, hey, This Was Your One Big Break.


The night before leaving for LA while obsessively repacking all your gear, a cold breeze wafted through your room at 3 in the morning whispering, "Leave now. On your own. Just Go."


"No, i can't do that. Kat'll be upset if i leave without her..."


For a moment though, you did consider the freedom of doing just that after being so torn through and deboned by that searing high-pitched lack of anyone having your actual back.


As you began loading shit into the truck, you got a parking ticket. Then another. And another as you waited for Kat to arrive at 9 AM. A dread had sunken in by then that was so thick and biley, you felt certain something really fucking awful was going to happen. Like an accident. A car crash. Or some other kind of foreseen disaster. So you procrastinated. Hour after hour, you waited for this nauseous anxious feeling to go away, and got yet another parking ticket in your panicked state. At noon, realizing this trip had already cost you $180 without going anywhere, you and Kat finally drove onto the interstate.


Driving down the grapevine into Los Angeles at rush hour, you ran out of gas in the dense freeway's middle lane. A big strong blonde woman stopped traffic by parking her car across the fast lanes so that you could let the truck roll backward into the breakdown lane. With semis blustering by every few seconds, the stalled truck rocked and shook like a little toy capsized. Until the tow truck arrived, you both sat counting each second as if it would be your last, delicately impaled on a bed of nails, crooked and rusty. Kat yelled through the cocophany, "Is this life in the fast lane?" and you laughed hysterically. You were just glad no one was dead. But that expectant fatal threat hovered too close, waiting to pinch you from every next breath with the tiniest of misplaced steps.


Towed, refueled and running late, you quickly changed at the hotel and sped toward the show with $20 left to your name. Your phone rang every 15 minutes wondering where you were. Again and again, you cried that you were on your way. Kat kept turning her phone's google map this way and that, losing track of the north star. Repeatedly missing the exit and sleeplessly stressed out from hours of speeding around lost in the dark lead to you having seizures behind the wheel on the busy honking unforgiving highway.


Pulling over at a gas station, you bought a paper map of the entire city. With eyes so weary and crazed, the mass of unfolded tiny letters crammed up next to each other in a gray blurry fog of unreadable characters. Moving the map to and fro from your disintegrating face, you could not see a fucking thing. It reminded you of the time you were tripping on acid in London's subway and all the lettered signs morphed into unknown symbols like Chinese. Your cell phone kept going off, demanding to know where the hell you were. Lost in Burbank. After the lightning storm of seizures passed, you sat down under the pale green halo of a street light and just sank to the ground. Admitting total and complete defeat. Pummeled like a pylon. So close. Yet so far away. Needless to say, you never made it to that stage.


Dropping Kat off at her friend's house the next day, too upset to say anything, you drove home alone, $400 in the red. Several pitstops were made along the way, in between waves of crying so hard that you couldn't even see the lines on the road.


Relationships disappointing you was something you'd grown so used to that witnessing the death of your sex life the year before was no big deal compared to this. The dying of your creative life was like losing your only child, like losing something so innocent and sweet that had never harmed anyone or anything. It had only ever brought joy into your life. But it got killed because of your own inability to be there for yourself. It was a deeper self-inflicted wound that no part of your soul knew how to forgive. A slow droning sound with the cold stone glare of a hungry barred owl filled your head as you drove too fast, riding on fumes of self-hate because you had not cared enough for the one thing that tried so hard to save you from your destructive demonic self.


Afraid to succeed because you didn't know how to, failure was your self-imposed comfort zone. It's all you knew. It's all you deserved, you thought, because you'd amassed so much proof of this. The big miracle gig was supposed to even all that out. This one good thing was supposed to make up for all the bad things you'd already been through. You needed it to redeem you. But it didn't. You blew it. And the hard hitting smack of that fact was not something you wanted to survive.


If there is a lesson to be culled from all this, it certainly showed up even though you didn't: Trust Your Gut. It Will Never Lie To You.


At that moment in your room when the wind was whispering,"Go now. On your own," Kat was at home thinking she didn't really wanna go to LA with you. Just like everyone else. And if you would have just said Fuck It, wrote down the directions to the venue and then went and did this one awesome thing For Yourself, there may have been a river of redemptive successes that came from passing that test.


It showed you that intuitive feelings are not selfish reflections of wishful thinking. That clear voice KNEW not only what was best for you, but also what was good for others, too. And that blew your mind open a little wider in time. It meant that intuition is somehow attached to the collective mind that seeks to uphold a benign group health, it wants the best for everyone, for everyone to become their best selves. And now that it was crystal clear no one outwardly cared, you could quit trying so hard to please everyone else. This was the next best thing that could have happened to you.


Always mining for creative veins of gold, you began taking photographs at each unhurried pause on the long drive home. At several shifting spots you stood in psychic quicksand, donning the dead bird head you'd put so much effort into creating. It hung over you like a shroud in silent solace with death's ordinary unbiased approval.


Walking off into the woods beyond a town called Gorman, beneath heavy mossen bare oak trees, ankle deep in yellow leaves, the crow skull cawed for this lifelong loss in front of a clicking camera lens. A young doe stood curiously close, chewing grass and watching this display of creative desperation on that otherwise quiet afternoon.


At sunset, the bird head scanned no man's land across the brown acrid haze of Bakersfield, stung by the putrid winds of slaughter, dung and fodder.


In moonlit orchards of the central valley, near a small town called Tranquility, more love shone from the migrant workers tin huts, strung together with Christmas lights and songs of collective suffering than from the 2 car garaged tract homes of upstanding plastic surgeried families, comfortably alienated from each other and themselves.


There you found the blessing of knowing, sinking in the chilly mud, looking up at the ringed moon through a bird's eye sockets, that this tragic turn of events would be remembered indefinitely. Only you and I would know how oddly peaceful and liberating those painful static hours in motion became. And how they would naturally shape all future behaviors after that day, December 23, 2012. The second day after The End of the World.


On the third day, you posted these photos on facebook with the tale of your utter failure to achieve anything in LA. It got a bunch of Likes.


So you closed the lid and hammered in another spike with a clear-seeing half-smiling respite. Even if no one else ever would be, you were now and forevermore, on your own side.






*u can call me ph!*

11.03.2016

13% [chapter 21]

KID A-MINUS


Like a bright red thread stitched alongside your wayward militaristic drift, Oxford, England ran loosely in and out, connecting every embroiled rift.


As a kid, a consistent return was made here bi-annually to visit your mother's side of the family. At 4 Salisbury Crescent, up a wooden ladder on the 2nd floor, through a hobbit-sized door, lie the children's vaulted attic room with a window opening up onto the sky, forgiving all spry imaginings of the young. Holidays spent at this address had a particular scent. Like a lush fertile garden, a damp compost heap of tranquility. Sinking into the big soft bed, under an enormous fluffy feather douvet, this was the one place in the whole world where you always slept soundly. Protected by the presence of your stalwart grandparents in their separate bedrooms downstairs, steeped in constant cups of hot sweet milky tea, amidst their jovial nonstop bickering, bad things never happened here. It was like living inside a fairy tale with a Little Match Girl ending, where what would normally seem morose was actually serene. And you consistently hated having to leave.


Until the last holiday visit in January of '88. Hammered, your drunk dad clamoured up into the attic where you were quietly drawing. He stood you up and hugged you for way too long, blubbering something about how much he loved you. Your marble arms clung to your sides, preparing for the worst. Reaching his hand up your shirt like a fumbling adolescent, he tried to french kiss you while squeezing your teenage tits. WHATTHEFUCK?! Such an impetuous offense after testifying against him in court and going through all those years of state-appointed therapy. Yet, This Shit Was STILL Happening. There are no words for my contempt.


Sprinting down and out of the house, ripping on your coat, you snagged some cash from your mother's purse and just ran. It didn't matter where. Realizing later that the legal drinking age in England is 18, you slowed your pace after careening past Squitchy Lane and decided to go do the adult thing. Deal with this fresh contamination by getting shit faced at the nearest drinking establishment.


Happening upon a local pub called Jericho's Tavern, you went in and tried to order something fancy and punishing. Like a marguarita or a long island iced tea. The bartender was having none of that. He finally agreed to pour you a few stiff rum and cokes begrudgingly. "Schtupid yankee twat," you could hear him thinking. Though he warmed up to you after asking him to teach you how to hand roll cigarettes.


The pub was fairly empty for a while until a group of kids came in carrying a ton of music equipment. It took a while for them to set up their gear in front of the stained glass window at 4 in the afternoon, but they laboriously sturdied themselves to play what appeared to be their premiere gig. A few of their friends straggled in to offer support. Then they launched into a confusing barrage of something ska-ish but slower in tempo and with minor keyed melodies.


What really captured your inebriated attention was the painfully self-conscious tremor of the singer's voice and the vortex of his presence, there on the floor, no stage present. Too human. Too tender and uncongealed for your current state of mind. He shone with an agitated energetic flood-light that you were already drowning in on the dark side of the room; that angst-fueled youthful resentment for a world you're born into without your full consent, but given enough sensibility and fuck-it-ness to reckon with another Cerberus head. Feeling stripped skinless after a few songs in, you stumbled out of Jericho's and went trouncing back to the house, weeping half-heartedly as the setting winter sun glittered across the icy banks of the river Thames. Turns out, that singer was Thom Yorke performing one of his first live sets.


On another visit to England in 1997, your cousin John gave you a cassette tape of the new album a local band had just finished making at your aunt Shirley's recording studio in Chipping Norton. It was called 'OK Computer'. And you replayed that tape til it stretched out beyond capacity.


By 2003, you sent a bunch of your xeroxed comix and cds of some music you'd made to John and asked him to pass the extra copies onto that band. It was your way of saying thanks because it had been a long time since you'd fallen entranced into a widely shared soundtrack after the release of 'Amnesiac'. You were inspired to hear a group that kept evolving, housing different emotional chasms, not just repeating itself or petering out or starting to wholesomely suck within a decade. As it was with precious few other musicians whose work you loved, their music had become a coping mechanism. Like a plumb line to hold up against the internalized trials of life, and see that somehow, you are still doing alright. A sounding board, a psychic connection, a sonic imaginary friend.


John soon replied, saying that he saw your comix strewn around the studio in between recording sessions and that they loved them. Thom listened to your cd but thought "it's quite dark." That still makes you smirk like a blushing self-promoting yet totally obscure jerk.


But it's called Feedback, yo.


Since the 192 bands you played with in your own neighborhood rarely gave you any, it was worth its weight in words. Otherwise, you might have continued to believe that you didn't actually exist. That everything you made was "not suicidal enough." That, after all that work, you were "lazy", and "striving to be ignored." That "the songs you wrote were too heavy -- we're just trying to sell records here not change the world." Beyond people exhibiting surprise (though you'd never understand why) that such "spooky" music was being composed by a woman, that was it for a decade's worth of feedback, yo.


For this reason, you remain indebted to Big City Orchestra, Lance Grabmiller, Skullcaster, Andy @ Last Gasp, Weasle Walter, Chicken John, DarphNader, Dave Ligon, OX, Zoey, Willow, Charlotte, Fred @ Thrillhouse and Trixy Grace, the righteously good-hearted ranks of LCM, 5lowershop, The Lab, Church of The Buzzard, SPAZ, MediaAlliance, MaximumRockNRoll and A.T.A., Twerk, Eve Tekromantik, China of Boyskout, Skott Cowgill, Headboggle, Margarita Lara, Neighborhood Bass Coalition, Joe Donohue, Motion, 12K, Leafcutter John, Matt Flynn, Brendan Seibel, Filthmilk, Doug Poore, Fatima, Prizehog, Chupa, Kat Genikov, Tony de Jesus, Alan Dubain, Paul Smith, Jonah Rust, Dark Muse, Heartworm, Aviatrix, Ethan Port, Tamara Glass, Angel Bethke, Despicable Alien, Rachel Haywire, nullspace, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Common Eider King Eider, SYMPLX, Lucia Patino, Brianne Hanshaw, Brice Frillici, Realicide, Cy, Leland Kirby, Dromez, Crebain, Bill Reeves, Thorsten Sideb0ard, Nature Abhors Normality, Zac, Billy Bragg, Mick Nasty, Sinda Koslinka, Fernanda Loaiza, Stuart Chisholm, Burmese, Mitch Levay, Torn By Teeth, small drone orchestra, Debbie Dingledong, Lob Instagon, Don Haugen, Horseflesh, Horn of Dagoth, Derek Kelly, Shane DeSilva, Josh @ The Guardian, Jeff Ray, Petey, Heidi Alexander, John Dwyer, Eric Bauer, Josh Pollock, Jef Templar, Henry Larsen, Cameron Gibson, Dylan Simon, Gorpy Endockle, Derek Pardue, HausArafna, Brent St. James,Noah of Cameltoe, Jeannine & Bill Thibodeau, Maz, Dale Lankford, Douglas Land, Erika Dillingham, Rob Gillespie, James Tracy, Casey Appeldorn, Healamonster & Tarsier, Eddie The Rat, Not Breathing, Ramsey Kanaan, Gerald Hawk, Beth Custer, Keith Curts, Joey Hurt, Colin Studybaker, Raub Roy, Vetivert, V.Vale, David James, Evil Moisture, Screamo Leemo, Bonfire Madigan, WendyOMatik, Legendary Pink Dots, XtraAction Marching Band, Rich Westmeyer, Phoebe Garofano, Mary, Dolce Maletesta, pirate radio Jake, Abra Jeffers, Sarah Lockhart, Diego Gonzalez, Nebbie Loon, Kelli Winslow, Luca Garino, Lik Neon, James Tracy, AC Way, 6ixes, Stubee, Swoondoll, Vyvian Looper, John Burkhalter, Brandi Obsolete, Demonsleeper, Chris&Cosey, Styrofoam Sanchez and Sharkiface for their encouragement and appreciated aid.


Plus the letter that arrived from Svetlana; a lone female employee working 12 hour shifts at a crowded light bulb factory in Croatia. She said your music helped her get through her unremitting hellish days. So you mailed her a big free box of everything you'd ever made. Following your own string is the only way to escape the Minotaur's maze.


At the tail end of 2011, the 2nd half of 'In Rainbows' haunted your last visit to England long after its initial release. All surviving family members were now scattered far and wide from 4 Salisbury Crescent. Riots in London had just ended a week previous to your arrival in Hackney. The police had altered their original "beeboo beeboo" siren sounds to the typical American cop car whine because, according to a local radical, too many U.S. crime shows had desensitized the population and those old siren sounds held no crowd controlling power anymore. But that healthy disrespect for authority is something you've always admired about the people living on the Isles.


Crossing the channel by overnight ferry, everything you once loved about Belgium's unconventionality had mutated as well. Buried in an amalgamated blue gray EU mush. Gentrification on a continental scale. It broke your heart to see Ghent become so expensive and overblown. Just like SF. All you could do was sit on the little bench beneath the 15th century cathedral spires and sigh. Europe was losing it's local hues to The Big Nothing of steamrolling globalization, trickling down its unelected debts. Doing no good for anyone except, of course, the 1%. But no one seemed to be all that upset. Because now their heads only stared down into their iphones, grasping onto some new form of virtual protest. Note: Belgium holds the record for being the longest running country with no official government. And your friends there were rightly proud of that accomplishment.


In the spring of 2013, just in time to stay inside and deal with the debilitating effects of post traumatic stress, the 'King of Limbs' arrived. The song 'Codex' encapsulated a mountain of inner turmoil and still raw regrets inside a 10 second segment: "No one gets hurt. You've done nothing wrong." Like driving over a speedbump or hitting the same huge pothole over and over, you could not hear those lyrics without sobbing uncontrollably. No matter what else you were focused on before that melody came up on the 8000 song shuffle. This phrase seemed to drop an emotionally devastating atom bomb every time it came on and blew all else away. Standing still. Separated and wailing. But slightly more fascinated by the mind's ability to catalog and contain such an irrational magnitude of gnawing desolation within one short and specific musical refrain. Then you'd pick up where you left off again. Patch the leak. Do more lines. Renumb the brain. Continue selling everything on ebay.


Nothing is easy. But dealing with shit would be impossible without music. It's where all of our true colors thrive. Despite the trend you noticed of anti-emo Californians trying to emulate cold calculating machines cuz they seemed to be so ashamed of being human beings. As if they couldn't spare the time. Or maybe they were just like you, only capable of temporarily relieving their grief when left alone with chemical substances in private. Subsiding on the inside, not out there in real life.


One thing was for sure, you were now surrounded by droves of bland khaki fucktards who were fond of using the phrases "win/win situation" and "get in on the ground floor" sans irony. Not while nonchalantly strolling down oh-so shabby chic Valencia Street, but just beyond your bathroom window. While taking a shit, you'd overhear your new cherry-faced neighbors upselling to their clients over the phone on the weekends. And no one else within a thousand feet of your room ever played or listened to music anymore.


During one of the last free noise & doom shows at bleakhaus, prior to being shut down amidst threats of eviction, you were alone naked and drunk in the bathroom, lights off, door closed. Soft warm tones echoed from down the hall where Black Thread was performing a bittersweet analogue tape looping set to an intimate crowd through the solid state PA in the front room. Crawling into the clawfoot tub, submerged in hot water, you quietly cried, knowing it would all be over soon. Knowing the time had come to leave the Mission. Forevermore. Just as you were finally figuring out how to appreciate the small glimmers of joy discovered there, after wasting so many years ignorantly overlooking them before.


Bukowski once said the most beautiful roses can only grow in the grossest of gutters, and there was nothing subversive or down to earth or close to the bone left in that town anymore. The fact that a bigger crowd showed up to burn trash cans and stop traffic in celebration of a baseball game rather than to protest the deadly police brutality occurrances in Oakland and Ferguson and Chicago and Baltimore every other day was proof enough of San Francisco's completely diluted whitewashed droll. The city's historically class-conscious backbone had collapsed under the weight of a massive bankrolled jellyfish. Now this town was all about priviledged fratboys spattering in your face, "YUH!! GIANTS!!" Unamused, you retorted, "DWARVES!!"


But the city's spirit did not go down without a fight, without sounding out a clarion howl of every civilization's repetitive cyclic self-importance destroying truth: Depression creates necessity creates creativity creates vitality creates media attention creates corporate ascension creates proprietary greed creates hyper speculation creates overpopulation creates migration moving out creates mutation blending in creates stagnation creates irrelevance creates apathy and sinking down and bleeding out until it again creates depression.


And so, in the summer of 2015, 'Truth Ray' spent a lot of time behind the wheel of Haustruk, driving with you those thousands of miles away. No specific gps coordinates to call home so that you'd never have to go through feeling raped again.


Oftentimes, 'A Moon Shaped Pool' will discreetly bathe with the cleaner simpler version of you that now lives with your beloved piano in 100 square feet of solitude. No electricity, air-conditioning, wifi or plumbing but thinly subsisting on the non-detrimental freedoms of Less. Tweeting more to the birds with a handful of seeds than to a Twitter feed. Making plans only as grand as the distance from your face to your hand. Singing to yourself in the trees while chem trails streak criss crossing clouds across the sky. Sitting by the fire. Reading books like they're going out of style. Listening to shows on the short airwaves. Drinking hot sweet milky tea. And however hungry you may get, nothing feels as fulfilling as being able to fall asleep to the sounds of crickets, wound up in a sheet like the peacefully resting dead. Leaving a smaller carbon footprint on anyone else's unsuspecting Radiohead.



*u can call me ph!*