cartwheels in my brain

To progress I must digress off my own starry eyes.
This is not a music composite.
Neither it must be so objective, to suffocate and blind.
Neither it should be so subjective.
I just want to tell the truth.

June's eldest child, a short story (to be continued...)

That same old thought came to kiss my ear but I stood grounded, looking at my old black sneakers. They're an entertaining sight as they are falling apart at every seam, taped in grey. It was definitely a more entertaining view than staring at the same old faces: Jack's, Michael's, and Emma's. Always the three faces. Almost like a curse we have cast on ourselves. This quartet of doom so have you, this old story stemming right back from the blank age of seventeen. We have changed the venues and we have changed our music genre, but I am almost certain I am the only one who has bothered to change myself.

"I reckon we should head there," Jack pressed on, and the two others dragged on their cigarettes, almost identically, and Emma had a face of obvious discord. Neither of us were interested in prolonging the night, because if we did it would have been at Jack's expense, in a way: he leads the pack and does much of the talking. I could never blame him or hate him because he has taken us to great heights: if it hadn't been for him we wouldn't have gone to America; we wouldn't have met the great Rhodes boys, who have mixed about every single decent song we have managed to pit out. I respect Jack, and he knows this, but he has ridden off his success a trifle too much, as tonight (and basically every night before that) had come to show.

Freeman walked down the steps to meet the cold cool breeze that cocooned us. I was distracted favourably by my shoes, quietly contemplating the mass murder of half this town's musicians, when he tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hello, hello."
"Me myself."
"How are you, Frank Zappa?"

I am not Frank Zappa, by any means, but I told him how I was. Which was, in the very dishonest line that we often quote, fine. Just perfect, in fact. I was resolute in this bare conviction, because I have always been fine, since my epiphany in grade twelve. I am confident in my goods. I plate a goddamn good dish to people, when I'm inclined, and surrounding vigilantes know that. In all honesty, as false modesty is a drag, I consider myself somewhat artistically gifted: I could easily turn away and make a hatchback sale of my music equipment and my full-time life, and take up another one; preferably to do with drawing, or literature, if I wanted to. I'm good at those things. But I have worked myself to a point in which my certain song writing skills have been robbed of me; or rather, misappropriated. I'm signed. We are signed, rather. We are signed with Freeman's sister, the largest idea ovulater of music curiosity. But anyway, this is the reason why I made small chat, as Freeman worked on rolling some tobacco. I felt as though, for a half second, I ought to find out where the big chats were at, rather than these teeny ones; where I could find my second halves, and my third halves, even. I just thought confusedly to myself, finally: what the hell am I doing here still?

"Have you been happy with the band's direction lately?"
"Pardon me?"
"Are you happy with the band's direction, Mick?"
"I... What?" this was unusual of me, and him mostly. It had caught me so unbelievably unprepared; I didn't know where to start. Of course I wasn't fucking happy. But no one really cared about this shit, on a daily basis. We were all burnt out, exhausted emotionally. I think, this is what the constant co-living did. What happened behind closed doors: the Old Room, yes. If only it had been a place exclusive and sacred for our rehearsals, but it wasn't. That it wasn't. It was Jack's playground, rather: a place he worked his lyrics, his lays and his oftentimes abusive verbalistics.

"I'm sorry man. I don't mean to pry. You just don't seem like yourself lately." Nearly in cue with the end of this, Jack was leaning against the wall perpendicular to us, surrounded by grown men with grown tastes, his delighted ego ricocheting off the asphalt. He turned his half-shut eyes straight to Freeman, gave off an occupied grin, and half-shouted his name. Freeman looked at me as though I was the last standing martyr of a probably (and very likely) lost cause, like a sole modern-day Jesus, and then glanced over at the remaining two band members, before steering himself full-force towards Jack, the magnet item. I laughed all over my own insides; it was a scene to be had. Emma and Michael were suddenly busy with fans. I scooped a casual entry into this occurrence and prompted someone for a cigarette, something I shouldn't have, because delighted faces smiled all over me, and all of a sudden I had three cigarettes, and still only one mouth, and Carly, a good friend of ours, began a line of talk after a quiet little laugh.

"Tender is the night. Is anyone doing something worthy?"
"Highly unlikely," I replied with a voice that sounded croony, unpleasant, but that entertained the affable group. There were seven of us, quite quickly: Emma, myself, Michael, Carly and Carly's acquaintances, two good-looking girls, one with short choppy blonde bangs and the other a black-clad, red-lipped, demure little lady. I had seen them all over and around before, particularly the first. She was high-priority material in some venues. She was standing here; she had to be. The other two in the group - as priorities are listed first - were dudes. One was Poppy, Emma's oftentimes wingman, and the other was Bernie, whom we knew through whoever else I forgot to mention. The cobwebs go high up and extensively; it would be a waste of time to try and explain relations, as we are all caught in this sticky slime anyway. But Bernie I kind of enjoyed, because he was loud and dry like Carly - and because once during a gig he'd told Jack he was a wanker, to his face, to which I replied with a drum roll.

"Jack is wanting to drag the lot to the Old Room," I continued after a drag, in which the girls' expressions lit up quietly, but Emma corrected me quickly, "Around the vicinity of the Room..."

"Yeah, right, around the vicinity..." I continued and dug out from my repertoire of expressions some sharp knife-like eyes right at her, raising my eyebrows, "but I'd rather not. What's your name again?"

The girl in black looked at me amidst initial confusion from every part. I particularly don't pay much attention to anyone but my own kind; let alone girls. Girls in black, even! Blank cardboard boxes with pretty dentist smiles. And I know in pretty much straight instance that the ones that roam around musicians usually roam around for far too long past the expiry date. But she was pretty in an unconventional way, plus something else, and I felt like stirring a little joy into this set. Most of all, I felt like stirring and shifting the invisible positions and ladders. The group was suddenly rich with warmth, and people started talking amongst themselves. I smiled at her. "Yeah, I'm Mick. What's your name?"

"I'm Olivia. Hi."

She didn't justify herself; no "I'm friends with the suches" - no, instead she just seemed to beam with some confident flattery. Her friend, the blonde one, racked up a little story about how they had barely been able to get in, and the difficulty of being so thin amongst a pack of sweaty guys in the audience of our set, but I was dismissive as a spoilt Madame's dog, and initiated a quiet line with Michael about the location of his friend, who was meant to bring us drugs. Bernie and Poppy joined in the secrecy. A short few minutes later, we were all lightning something up in the corner of the street. Me, the designated first-dragger, by default.

Deliberately, I slid along next to Olivia. It was nice to have something new to look at. A fresh painted face. She was soothing my overall bile a little. (The smoke helped, too.) All of a sudden I was chatty. And the Old Room being discussed openly and plainly. I heard myself flaunting and talking about my personal success. This was kind of a thing of the old days, and even Carly seemed to take this in with remote shock from where I was standing. The group was calibrated to a new level again, like a fireplace outstanding. I was laughing with Emma and she and Michael had that spark in their eyes. Oh yes, I forgot. The important detail: Emma and Michael have been platonically dating since the band formed. There have been several nuances to this, and as far as knowledge goes they have never been open or sincere to anyone about it, since other factors like Jack and myself get in the way; but mainly Jack, possessive as the years have made him of Emma. It's possibly a little more complicated than I permit myself to explain, because I have witnessed something I shouldn't have, and I care not to discuss because it makes me sick to think about it, and reminds me why I have felt like this for some time. But either way, here we were unprepared: Olivia, some new thing, a potent drag of pot, or several; a good blend of Carly, Bernie and Poppy at their prime entertaining, and me (I suspect this was the main shapeshifter), causing some fun-fed tumult or whatever. I was engrossed to such degree I saw none of what surrounded us anymore, but apparently (as Emma was to tell me later, with quiet notice) Freeman was staring at the whole nine yards incredulously, from a distance. I wonder if he felt shocked, or a trifle hurt. But Emma said that the sidewalk could hardly accommodate at this point, and that the group was much more extensive than the seven of us, and that I had been the one to make the move, hail cabs, call out for people, and apparently spin Olivia around in a public stunt of affection in front of a camera or two. Ridiculous, really. I don't believe her one bit; I've never seen these photos, gratefully. Whatever the go is, my next proper recollection is less jolly: the backseat of a cab. Inside it: Olivia, myself, Freeman in the front seat, and Jack - right against me.

I was roaring with the stimulus of a cocktail of things Carly had taken out of her purse at the last secret minute. We were all going to the Old Room. Our room: our space. My things. A place I refused to bring guests; a decision that was 95 per cent of the times overridden by either Jack or one of his. But I stupidly, embalmed in the moment, seemed not to care. Instead I was staring at Olivia every now and again as we chatted and doing my best impression of a rockstar. But Jack, letting go of Freeman's talks at intervals, was determined to tick me off.

TO BE CONTINUED...              

minty ride

Someone smelt like mint on the bus, kindly.
Then he passed me a pamphlet which I refused.
And these trains we take into the city, well, I really hope they're temporary.


very existencial, possibly

"Hi, it's Birdie. I'm calling to see if you were still coming around... I don't know why I'm leaving a voicemail message."


"You fag!" I said strenuously, pacing myself all too quickly, in which he galloped behind me, replying self-deprecatingly: "I'm a total faggot. Now kiss me."


BRB Juliet

It just occurred to me, I need to be a little bit more objective. This airy-fairy panache way to go about my writing is starting to piss the shit out of me. Short stories. Short stories, yes I have them - scattering onto the floor, by the dozens - but they are all so Jimmy Hawthrone, that I just want a fresh topic. A fresh scalp to pick, even.

And where the hell have you gone?

Just because I'm a bookworming recluse it gives you, oh! But it gives you no statuary right to forget about me. Boy! I'm not chasing you down. Come back. Come back to me! At once! Oh, but! At once, you must. All of you. But especially, most importantly: you. I refuse to let you believe all those little lies you put in your head, for you to deviate at will. There should be no deviating; just come back.

You are so perfect in your exquisitely weird t-shirts, that you bunch in your hand before putting on. You are so adorable with those lips that don't belong to your face at all, but that do. You: that murmur you used to use on me, when you pressed me against your chest.

Where? North? South? Astray? The long way? Cut your hair? Found another despaired princess? I refer to you mostly, but also you, the wallflower, yes you, the one standing with that empty smirk, staring. The tall one. The short one. You know. What's going on? What steered your air? Let me tell you, it was all in your goddamn imagination. I only had eyes for you. And that screening of love... the small screen, within here: that screen was for you.


i bought these fantastic titles for some cut & paste poetry

and on saturday morning i woke up and saw pidgeons murder the sky

I must find out his name. The third-year drawing teacher from QCA. I have got to find out who he is, and buy his book, and speak to him breathlessly, because I don't think you know, but sometimes some people go under the limelight line, undiscovered, quietly lurching in their own astounding genius. I saw this guy's book, he does splashes of paint but they are not so much that; they are also spray paint techniques, or can be fabric dying techniques. I'm not too sure; I was convulsing in awe, shocked at the sight of such beautiful extraterrestrial sightings, the landmarks and the conic stains of blue, and oceans - or skies, I am not too sure. It was like a modern Sistine chapel, I think: the close-up of his blotches made the figure of a tiny angel in a soft pastel cloud. And I slipped into silence while the two boys stared at me with intrigue. They seemed surprised at my eye, shocked at the fact I could ever be so moved by something as measly as modern art.

In all respect, I can see now how Jack and Ryan have been inspired by this mysterious teacher of theirs, and how come they are both true artists in the make, and it makes me feel a bit scared. Scared to see true talent up so close. It scares the fucking shit out of me, because it is kind of magic, kind of regal, and kind of supernatural, and possessed. I left Sam's house in a state of non-speaking. Like you had seen something truly beautiful for the first time, and had no fucking idea where to place it amongst all the old furniture. And then later on I saw more refreshing talent; perhaps not as grand but quite partially stare-gaze worthy. It's something about the place, I reckon: the atmosphere. But I feel like such a hypocrite talking about atmosphere, and mood, that I might as well forget this sentence all together. It was the Christmas lights and Whitney's wool jacket and the square-framed glasses of the singer. It was a whole collective, and I think they were all quite present in the stage, in a way, being taken seriously by people that were willing to take them seriously, and not just the usual bunch of followers of this inflamed and degraded music scene. But they played and they were alive. They played, soundlessly. I was stunned. Slightly stoned, too, but that is factual, and of little guilt value.

And next were some guys adored by some, despised by most. And these categories we put ourselves into, they are so ridiculous! At times. But they are, they are. To categorize a band with a preppy backing, a slick electro-boy feel to them: rather, a jock-in-a-band kind of context; yes, to categorize their background as a bad influence on their sound - isn't that a quick judgement to make? Isn't that tearing the pod before it has a chance to show its shit out? British India look like a bunch of preppy idiots too, but they sound bloody amazing. Yes, we've seen it all before, and honestly speaking, she was right: there was a common thread to their sound; something slightly ordinary about the fuzzy synth and the pop-drenched choruses - but in many ways, they were such a blend of personas, it made me interested. Moreover, he held my interest. He held my head. Literally.

What strikes me is that no one is willing to recognize beauty. No one bothers to even point it out, because it's such a subjective thing. Unless, of course, there is an already established following behind it; if there are fans to be held, already. But if it's a loose happening or a singular girl, dressed in colour, then suddenly everything is so thrown to chance, and opinion. But last night - that painting book, the talent of his students, my friend's band, the yelps - I saw so much more beauty than anyone was willing to recognize, to validate, that it makes me doubt my character. But no: I saw what I saw, and it's true, and I'll believe it. Even if no one else will.

And I gathered up a silly theory in my mind's backbone. I thought, that in order to inspire, it's better to just not waste time. It's for the interest of the commonwealth of the self that you pick someone that really makes you ohhh and ahhh, and follow them. And most importantly: it's important that you feel as though you must impress them, as only that will bring out the true (if any) creative genius within. And to aim this high, all the time, is a good thing. To think poorly of oneself because the expectations of the master are high - that's an awfully humbling feeling, and it shouldn't be an idea abandoned. The trick is choosing the right master.

We end up picking some true deadbeats as father figures. We end up thinking that they have some form of figurative silver spade. It happens. And when the armour falls off during a night of battle, it can be a real shock - or a real laugh. Or both. But, in all reality, I think getting disappointed with someone that impresses us is another great feeling. It puts us in a righteous space; a space of advantage that is truly ours, ever so conquered. And then, all there is to be done at such a strange stage is to move on to someone better. Someone shinier. Hang another painting up to admire, so to speak. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's called self-improvement. It's called personal growth, I think.

But lastly, and not least of all, there are other things that happened, and that got me thinking. Things that the large professor predicted, as per usual. Things he cursed into me. As per example, hypocrisy. And lack of loyalty, but not a lack of the good kind, the friendly type: rather, lack (or loss) of the essential kind. But this is only factual too, and although of large guilt value, I will give it none, because it will remain unspoken till the end of time, if not through a song. In which case it will be trapped forever in it's verses, much like a good photograph, with a lot of large words surrounding the simple truth.


beach towels

I'm finding more and more these busy bees and scotch-drinkers are needing to affirm themselves, seek social proofing, make sure their spaces aren't taken. Mate, just take a step back and relax, no one is going to sit on your beach towel. We (and by 'we' I mean 'I') would only sit on it if we found you of extreme inocular value, in which case, you would have not been trying or perhaps, trying too hard at all. I reccomend finding your voice again; rather, acquiring some sort of self-assurance inside that something inside - the brain, most likely. The poets and the cliché-stricken call it the heart.

But either way, here comes the topic again. If everyone I knew had the sort of red-hot confidence in their (oftentimes yet undiscovered) talents, this place would be:

a) 40% cockier
b) 10% more laid-back
c) 90% more productive

Percentages are approximates. And you know, as a good friend of mine once put it, there's nothing wrong with being a bit cocky sometimes. It keeps the unecessary shit behind the heavy silver gates. We can tell. We can all tell the unecessary mannerisms. I can tell. There's no need to find anything in anybody else, or seek someone's special pat on the back unless you feel like you need this tick of affirmation. Why would I care to be seen with the large professor? Why would it matter that my name sits alongside someone else's at a networking cable site? I thought it had always been about the 'I don't give a shit', since the birth of time.

And most importantly, why is everyone afraid to talk about this? Social politics, social analysis, the politics of relationships, image building, whatever is the planted name. Look, there's far too many people hiding in corners biting their tongues. Look, I've settled for it too; many times. All I wish for - but this is impossible in so many tangents - is that people would be in the same page as me. But it seems I'm skipping to the end of the book, and the students are still reading the Intro. (Hasn't anyone told you, that at this very day and age, reading Prefaces is a sin? Potential book murdering, even?)

But alas, alas, alas. I have a friend that hates the word 'alas'. But alas! It is what it is. Life roundabouts put you down, more and more: the more you notice them, really. All those good spirits turning bland and cold. In fact, your month-ago wish may have suddenly turned into your worst nightmare. Or rather, an anticipated occurence could have been met with strange apathy on your part. Oh, us, the kids! - (cue an unapologetic tragic face) - Eternally spoilt for choice. The grand theatres. The balls. The big ovations we expect; the culmination points, the sugar peaks of pretty much just that - icing sugar.

But your voice, your little thing: your doings, if you can find them, will leave you with some sort of satisfaction - gratifications of your own, with no need for secondary parts to please you. I'm not trying to be just like the large professor, may I point out - and by 'large professor' I don't mean God, or anything of the like. My expectations are clear: to repeat this to myself until the end of my ticking heart. Because if I do, I know I won't be sitting at home, age 35, wearing - God forbid! - a Sportscraft tracksuit, and watching cable TV with a largely complacent boy (read: husband #2) sitting next to me. (No: he will be an artist of some sort, and we will have loud arguments and scream at each other at the top of our lungs and break plates when we're angry. And we will be feverish in our love in every respect; because essentially, that is my nature.)

What I'm trying to say is - and I wish I wasn't trying to say a thing; I don't think I am, at the end of the day; but at least I've stretched out these dorment satirical muscles - what I'm trying to say is, boy oh boy, let go of other people. Do it for yourself, mate. Don't expect instant gratification, don't glorify your talents, don't sell yourself short either. Also: if there's nothing worthy to be said, it might be high time to learn how to swallow the silence. That in itself is a feat of the mind, and something I learnt with a rather young apprentice-professor. Maybe it's for our own good, anyway, that from time to time we quieten down and hatch back inside our caves. It's where we brew the most, like any good beer. It's where something kind of mysterious happens: a re-capturing of self. I think, anyway.