I want to tell you a story of a man I once knew,
Sometimes he kind of reminds me of you,
He had a plan that didn’t work out,
So he left it lying broken and all down and out,
This man was a traveler and soon he was gone
To find a new plan, to find a new dawn,
A funny thing happened with the new plan he found.
The storms gathered quickly without making a sound
So there he was thinking, wait this cannot be
The new plan is the same as the old one you see.
The luck that has followed is the same as it was,
I’m thinking I must have done something wrong just because.
I couldn’t have known this would happen again
But alas it did and I’m where I began.
The lesson is simple, the lesson is old
When you have something you care about you cannot let go
You have to fail and get up again and again
You have to let the world work and let the earth spin
If you need the secret to make it all last,
When you are at your darkest you must learn to hold fast.
If something is worth doing and makes your heart soar,
You must learn to pick your ass up off of the floor.
So when you are broken and down to your last
Grip tight on your dream and yell loudly, HOLD FAST.
Guide for Contacting Alien Life Forms
- Don’t expect them to be dangerous.
- Don’t expect them to be safe.
- In most places in the universe at under 40 yards, a shotgun is very effective.
- You are safest without violence.
- All beings have a creator.
- No other creature in the universe thinks like you (including Earth).
- A low frontal snap kick is all ways effective.
- Every creature in the universe needs a vacation.
- Going in peace won’t guarantee your safety.
- Making war always hurts the maker.
- Making peace always contacts spirit.
- Spirit is everywhere.
- All beings can be made to laugh.
- Not all beings can be made to cry.
- You will have something in common with all creatures.
- A life form will not necessarily resemble anything you think it is supposed to.
- If they won’t look at you it is probably because to them you are very ugly.
- Brush your teeth, good grooming counts for a lot, use your best manners, please and thank you mean the same thing in any dimension of time or space.
- Never assume they know what is best for your body.
- Try not to talk politics at a first meeting especially if they have superior weaponry.
Shibomy Was Late
Shibomy was late. The sun was low and the shadow-lurkers started to take over the town, and Shibomy was nowhere to be found. Maybe the skinners are around I thought. Maybe the skinners are around and skull-fucked Shibomy after they drilled a hole in Shimmy’s big head. The skinners get you when you move around too much, when you’re not careful. I figured that out a long time ago. If you had to get somewhere to be safe, you got careless. I don’t have anywhere to get to that’s why I’m called Sleepwalker. I walk, and when I feel safe, I sleep. I don’t have nowhere to get to so I don’t get distracted bout nuthin. I walk, and I sleep, and when I see skinners I kill em or I hide. That’s how I get by, but not Shibomy. Shibomy has a system, and it involves a lot of old think. You know like percentages and mortgages and calories and shit. I never understood how some old think could stop a bunch a skinners tyin you down, drillin a hole in your head, then taken turns fucking it til they all came in one of those skull-fucking parties they’re into. Fucking skinners. I hated em, I mean all of em, even the little ones, and I’d kill every one if I got the chance. That’s another problem with Shibomy. Shimmy won’t just kill anyone. Shibomy only kills what Shibomy calls the right one. What I mean is Shibomy thinks it’s the right skinner to kill. I don’t have that problem. I kill any skinner I can, and I don’t think two shits about it when I done the killin. I sleep just fine cause I know what the skinners would do to me if they caught me. The truth of it was that no matter how much I tried to think of other things all I could think about was that Shibomy was late and Shibomy was never late. I mean never. I don’t get scared much not since I was little and my watchers got killt by some skinners, but now I was scaret cause Shibomy was late. It was late, leaf-drop time and the wind had the bite it gets around the time of the shaky trees, the kind of cold wind that lets you know its time to find some good boots. The air gets thin then and noise seems to carry longer in the cold. I heard something I don’t want to hear no time, but I knowed I heard it. I heard a scream and I knew some skinners was doin some killin. I heard something else, and even though my think muscle won’t want me to hear it, I got up and started runnin at the scream I heard. My head thoughts didn’t want me to think what was goin on, but my feet knew the truth and I started to run as hard as Sleepwalker could run. I got tired and my air pumpers hurt bad, but I just ran harder at the screamin cause even though I didn’t want to think what I was thinkin, I knew the what the drop was. The skinners was doin some killin up at the high place before they threw the killt one off down into the bone yard. My heart started to hurt so bad and I started cryin cause I knew it was Shibomy the one they got. I didn’t care bout nothin no more and I saw more hide spots that you will ever see in your life runnin to the scream, but I didn’t stop not once. That’s what I want to be knowed. I didn’t stop once since my feet started runnin. I mean that’s the thing I want the guardians to know the most, that I didn’t stop once, and I didn’t slow down neither. I ran out onto the heights and while I was runnin toward the bunch of skinners that had Shibomy, I pulled my knife out and shoved it into the eyehole of the first skinner I passed. I passed three more and they all got their knives into me before I got to Shibomy. I kicked one skinner in the head with my hard boots and broke another one’s arm that was tryin to drill a hole in Shibomy’s head, then I picked Shibomy up and jumped off the heights down in to bone yard with Shibomy in my arms. When we hit, some old bones got shoved right up through my chest and I started to bleed out bad, but I didn’t let Shibomy see. The skinners had cut a lot of Shibomy’s skin off, and losing all the blood and the fall, you could tell Shibomy was close to sleep. I want this to be knowed for time and all time. I held Shibomy’s face and never let Shibomy see the blood. I held Shibomy’s face and kissed it and told Shibomy just to think about Shibomy’s ghost that was going to be free of this place soon. I told Shibomy to wait when Shibomy turned into a ghost and my ghost would be there soon. I held Shibomy’s face and we both cried, then Shibomy took two breaths and the light went out in Shibomy’s eyes. I heard the skinners comin down the hill and I started to get sleepy. I was done walkin for one life. I was done hiding and killin. I just wanted my ghost to be with Shibomy. I closed my eyes and the last thing I remember seein in this hard place was Shibomy’s face and my name, Sleepwalker, we tattooed on Shibomy’s cheek. That was the last thing I saw. I felt the skinners get to my body, but it was too late for them. My ghost started to float up, way up, past the shaky trees and into the cold sun.
This is one of my friend’s, Lisa Garner’s, favorite stories. She died a very weird death not too long ago and it really pisses me off. She shouldn’t have gone so soon. She always told me I should record this story for radio. I never did. But, I was once at an open mike night at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in NYC and was going to read some cheese-dick poem I wrote about how the fuck-wads were taking over the country, shredding the constitution, being shills for corporate industrialists. The right-wing Jesus crazies were going to turn us all into good little Nazis or put us into camps, and the vanity of the left wing didn’t care about anything except their own selfish agenda. The poem ended by screaming something like Jefferson and Franklin were anarchists and anarchy was probably the only lasting solution and the only real patriotic way. As I walked up on stage I changed my mind and told this story instead. Maybe I didn’t change the world that night but I did get some laughs. This is for you Lisa. Cool Runnin’s …
It was the summer of 1963 and we were still living in President Kennedy’s new frontier. The darkness and madness hadn’t descended on America yet and we still lived with hope. We believed that we could actually make planet Earth a better place back then and not just for us but for everyone. When people ask about that time I always say that before JFK was shot all the push-button walk signs on street poles worked flawlessly and people waited for kids to get across the street. The day after he was assassinated nothing worked ever again and a bunch of kids were rundown with a vengeance in crosswalks.
There was a half-generation that is really the original Generation X that I am a part of. It had something to do with a lot of very young people going to war. I won’t quibble about the dates of Gen X except to say that Billy Idol, the front man of the original band Generation X, is the same age as me and he got the name from Jane Diversion’s 1965 book. I’m not sure when Gen X started, but it didn’t start with the yuppie pukes that is for sure. I’m not a boomer; I never made the cut off date nor got the good GI Bill. When I tried to go to college on my post Vietnam GI Bill it gave me $51 a month if I took a full course load. Along with the worthless VEAP GI Bill, I got the new math and to this day can’t do fractions, so the boomer label just does not apply.
If I ever do record this piece, the background music will be the anthem for my generation from the Band GenX ‘s Kiss Me Deadly. Yeah, I was a punk before you, and by the way nobody could have made the follow-up shot that Alek J. Hidell or O.H. Lee or Lee Harvey Oswald or whoever the fuck he was made with a cheap mail-order Italian 6.5x52mm Carcano rifle. At one time I held Expert Marksman ribbons for both pistol and rifle and I have been on teams.
Brothers and sisters that was a team event on December 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm central time in Dealey Plaza, in the city of Dallas, in the great state of Texas. And as for state’s evidence number CE399, the mysterious bullet that matched A. Hidell’s crappy rifle that was found on JFK’s gurney, the thing had never been fired at anything harder that Jello. It was perfect, not deformed in anyway, except for the rifle barrel matches of Oswald’s punk-ass gun.
Anyway I wasn’t five yet and the times were more hopeful than perhaps any other time in the history of the world. At least it was for us young American kids. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a ride into space on April 12, 1961 and our boy Alan Shepard took a hell ride on a God almighty mother of a Mercury-Redstone rocket on May 5th the same year. We all wanted to be spacemen. What balls it must have taken to strap yourself into a big bullet filled with high explosives and light the son of a gun off. I’ll bet you a brand new Gibson Les Paul custom guitar that there wasn’t a silver spacesuit that flew in the Mercury program that didn’t have yellow stains in it.
My dad Roy and my mom Joan had a two-tone red body with a white top 1959 Ford Thunderbird that my mom still has today. She won’t let me touch it. When I was 14 I used to take it out and go for drives when she wasn’t home. One day pulling it back into the garage I misjudged and bumped its whale shark-like snout on the back of our garage wall and dented the crap out of it. It was her pride and joy and she never let me drive it again. Sorry Mom, but I had already put about a 150 miles on the thing that you never knew about. She is going to kick my ass now. She is a very feisty white-haired feminist that back in the day was a very stylish 60s chick with cat-eye sunglasses. She wore them all through our trip out to California from Ohio where we pick up the story on our merry band of travelers.
My dad Roy always seemed to have a wet cigar stub that he chewed on and never lit. It had something to with him being a 16-year-old (he lied about his age) Airborne Pathfinder from the 82nd Airborne in WWII. If you lit the thing then the enemy could see you, so you just chewed on it. So there we were heading across the great American southwest on the old Route 66 going to California to see my grandma on an old-school road trip like nobody’s business. JFK was in the White House and we lived in the land of the free, home of the brave, and didn’t even really know what a car with air conditioning was back then. We didn’t have cell phones, we still had vacations, and gas was about 35 cents a gallon. Somewhere between Oklahoma and Texas a man told my father that he better get some lister bags to hold water in before we got to the desert or we might not make it out alive.
I’m not kidding you the country was still that big and wild and my dad believed him. He bought the lister bags off of the man and mounted them strategically on the front fenders of the big two-door T-Bird. I bet the doors alone from the T-Bird weigh as much as a 2010 Toyota Prius. A lister bag is a big olive drab canvas bladder used for holding water in World War II. The idea is that if you put water in them the canvas gets wet and the fibers swell up and the bag becomes leak proof. This may work if you have them on a boy scout tripod set up in camp where they don’t bump into anything but when the are on the fender of a speeding red T-Bird bouncing over the potholes of old Route 66 in the Texas panhandle, they hold water about as well as a spaghetti colander. My dad would make frequent stops for both gas and water as the water ran out of the bags at just about the same rate that the gas would run through the T-Bird’s big block 430-cubic-inch, gas-sucking V-8 monster of an engine.
Now sorry to bury the lead but the point of the story is this, I wanted a cowboy hat. The only thing as cool as an astronaut back in the day was a cowboy and we were smack dab right in the middle of Marlboro Country, and I wanted a cowboy hat. TV was a wonder back then and it was filled with heroes that all wore cowboy hats and since we weren’t going to Cape Canaveral, but were in the land of John Wayne (sorry Iowa), I wanted a cowboy hat.
My dad loves the movies and he grew up with his cowboy heroes like guitar-totin singing cowboys Tom Mix and Roy Rogers. Every Saturday he and I would go to the movies — and they weren’t making space operas back then — just the good old shoot ‘em up Westerns. I think I reached some kind of fever pitch in Arizona when we saw the Grand Canyon. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the big ditch, but I could not get my eyes off the cowboy that was taking a nap under a tree with his big smelly sweat-stained cowboy hat and his trusty horse tied behind him in the shade.
My dad never seemed to stop for more than 10 minutes anywhere — I think he was afraid the water would run out of the lister bags or something. Anyway, he and my mother would fight over this every time we stopped, as the ride in the T-Bird was brutal. To be fair to my dad and my mom, it was so damn hot in that un-air-conditioned car that you would travel with the windows rolled up in the desert in broad daylight in 115-degree heat because if you rolled the windows down the air outside seemed hotter.
I think we were all a little loopy, but somewhere between the Grand Canyon and the California border I saw my chance. We stopped at a Texaco gas station and I was in the men’s bathroom taking a pee in a stall when I heard my dad start shouting outside the door that it was time to saddle up. It had been less than 10 minutes and as I turned to go I saw a large metal machine attached to the wall with a slot for a quarter and big chrome handle and a picture of a cowboy with a Texas ten-gallon on and a sign that read “TEXAS TEN- GALLON FOR NOVELTY USE ONLY 25 CENTS”. A Texas ten-gallon was a kind of cowboy hat that if you’re not familiar with the TV show Ponderosa and the character Hoss Cartwright that wore one, then maybe you know the man in the yellow hat’s character from Curious George. Both men wore Texas ten-gallons and I wanted one.
Now remember for those of you that think this might be a little far-fetched, we were living in the land of the new frontier and anything was still possible. We were going to the moon and if you could put a man on the moon then you could put a Texas ten-gallon cowboy hat in a vending machine in a Texaco bathroom in the middle of the dessert and only charge a quarter for it. To a pre-5-year-old in 1963 that was perfectly possible. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a few rocks, a rubber band, some pocket lint, and a brand new shiny quarter. I put it in the machine and turned the big chrome knob and out popped a 4-inch-by-4-inch square cellophane wrapped box that was about as thick as a piece of corrugated cardboard. I remember thinking, “How did they get a cowboy hat in this little box?” just as I heard my dad start yelling to saddle up as he approached the restroom. I quick put the box in my back pocket and pushed the door open just as my dad came in and said, Come on, David, before the water leaks out. As I walked out into the heat and headed back to the car, I thought maybe it was a space-age hat that was designed by Alan Shepard or John Glenn.
There was much confusion as my mom was none to happy about getting back in the car so fast, so I got in and let them figure it out. She finally settled down and we got back on the old Route 66 and started heading west with the windows shut tight. I remembered my Texas ten-gallon and pulled it out of my pocket. I don’t think there even were seatbelts in the back. I took the cellophane off of the box, opened it, and pulled out the biggest latex condom that you have ever seen in your life. Being almost five and never having seen a latex condom that you could put a medium-sized fire extinguisher in, I had no idea what it was. In my little feverish mind I thought maybe it was self-inflating and all you had to do was put it on your head and it would blow up into a big rubber cowboy hat. As I pulled the condom over my head, I kept thinking when is this darn thing going to inflate. My mother had calmed down and she was talking to my dad up front.
There we were, a WWII vet with Raybans and a wet cigar in his mouth; a pre-feminist with a French bob and a cat-eye sunglasses; a 1959 red T-Bird with leaking lister bags; and me, a five-year-old cowboy wannabe with a big rubber on his head traveling down a ribbon of American highway somewhere in the high dessert. It truly was the new frontier. My mom was talking to my dad about something that she thought was very important when she turned around and looked at me, she turned back to my dad and in mid-sentence did the most amazing double take you could imagine just before she started screaming. She reflexively grabbed the condom on my head and tried to pull it off all the while screaming for my dad to stop the car. The good ole ten-gallon prophylactic would not budge. With all the sweat I think it had stuck hard to my head and gotten tangled in my hair. She pulled and pulled as my dad started yelling looking in the rearview mirror and saying, “What the hell, what the hell!”
We pulled over and all got outside the car with my rubber still on. After they grilled me and found out what I was up to, I got the never-touch-anything-in-a-restroom lecture for a good 15 minutes. Now, I might have been young but I knew we were running out of desert. I told my mom and my dad that the reason I bought the Texas ten-gallon was because we would be in California soon and I didn’t think that they had any real cowboys there and I wanted a real cowboy hat. At the very next gas station/trinket store we stopped and they finally got me a very cool dark blue U.S. Cavalry hat with gold crossed swords and I wore that hat for years.
We never spoke about the Texas ten-gallon again and things changed that December in America forever. My parents got divorced eventually, and kids don’t care about cowboys or astronauts anymore. We learned that cowboys lie and astronauts die in spaceships. We also learned that punk rock — real punk rock — can save a kid’s life. I have my own kid now. She is young, but I’ll bet you a lister bag and a ride in a 59 T-Bird that if she tells me she wants a hat, I will be listening.
Oh kiss me, deadly
Oh kiss me, deadly
Oh kiss me deadly, tonight.
How Gay Porn Saved My Life
It was Christmas Eve and raining as I drove west on Santa Monica Boulevard back to a flop house I was living in near El Segundo. I had been home less recently living out of my car by the beach. I was also just divorced and my ex had taken me to the cleaners even having her lawyer put a lien against some scripts that I was hoping to sell. A producer who was a close friend of mine that had me booked on a TV show for 9 months had let me know in a short voice mail that day, that I was fired after I had just given up a steady gig to freelance for him again. I really was not in a very good place and was thinking very bad things when out of the gloom appeared a movie marquee promoting a film at a gay theater in West Hollywood. The movie that was showing, that was there in big black letters on the dirty garishly lit sign in the gloomy night was “DAWSON’S CRACK”. Within half a block I had to pull over as I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t see. I went from fits of laughing to crying and back to laughing and I just could not stop. After about a full 40 minutes I got back on the road cleansed of all my past bad thoughts still snickering as I found a good old working class Irish bar down by the LA Harbor and toasted Christmas in the rain. So who knows if you’ll ever be that far down as I was that night, but if you find yourself wondering what the hell it all means, remember this story. Remember to look for the things that will get you to the next way station of life, and always look up. Just in case you pass a Marquee.
10 Things About Me
10 things you may not know about me.
- I was born in a dirt-floored log cabin whose mortar was made of boiled grasshopper thoraxs, or maybe thoraxi.
- I come from a long line of gypsy carnival freaks whose main attraction was our incredibly large genitalia.
- The first time I cheated at poker I was eight years old and carried a hidden derringer.
- My mother raised pet squirrels that she would surreptitiously put into casserole.
- On my first date I was so awkward that I mentioned the word erection 53 times.
- The only way I can remember street directions is to equate each intersection with different battles during the Ming dynasty wars.
- I think women should be worshiped in pagan rituals.
- I have a deep-seated fear of my fingers ripping through the toilet paper while wiping myself.
- I like to pee in sinks.
- I often feel I am being watched by inanimate objects.
On Being a Father
The world is a pack of hungry dogs, there is nothing I can do about that. What I can do is make sure the shoes get tied, the buckles get buckled. I can make sure all the books get read, the armor gets polished, the heart is made strong, the mind is taught to be quick. I can teach that there are many wrong ways and very few ways to make it right. I can teach what honor means and how hard a sacrifice may become. I can teach that there is not much time to see how beautiful it all really is, and how much music there needs to be danced to beneath a waxing moon. I can show that money is not evil and that the people that are can be spotted easy enough. There is an expression the old people who danced around fires used and it goes something like this, if you see a job in the world that needs doing it is yours to do. My job is to be a Father and I am so very grateful for the challenge. Amen.
The Tale of the Starfish Thrower
A big spring tide came in and washed a million starfish up on the beach. As a man came down the beach to see this phenomenon he saw one lonely person picking up starfish and throwing them as fast as he could back into the surf. It seemed silly to the man that the crazy thrower would even attempt to throw any of the starfish back in light of the overwhelming catastrophe. As the man approached the thrower he became mad at the thrower, for his feeble attempts only reminded the man of how sad and unfair the world is. When he got abeam of the thrower he justifiable yelled over the roar of the surf as his anger bubbled out of him. “What are you doing,” yelled the man “You can’t get them all back in, YOU CAN”T CHANGE THE WORLD!” “The thrower stopped for a moment and caught his breath. He looked at the man and grinned an idiot’s grin. He said in a voice that was barely audible above the crash and moaning of the surf. “I’m not trying to change the world,” said the thrower “I’m just not going to let the world change me.” With that he picked up two starfish and handed one to the man.