Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just enough weight to sigh under the settling of.

-- Atlanta, GA / 11:45pm. --

If you could distrust clouds and lay blame on rain, wouldn't you? But you can't ruin something you never built to begin with, even though you'll try. And we'll settle on the surface of the edge of the lake and look into each others' eyes and not see a thing.

Oh your lovely smile.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ice packed neatly into a pillow case.

-- Nashville, TN / 9:37pm. --


The past week has been a rather noisome blur, but welcome just as well. So far I don't think I've seen a patch of sleep before 7am on any given morning. And we usually have to be out and on the road from between noon to 2pm to get to the next city. It seems like most of the time we're late. Which is what happens when nobody goes to bed until the sun starts crawling up into the sky. Not counting Denton, Texas, that is, which was a blistering firestorm that lasted practically all the way until noon. Out of all the tours I've done this has perhaps been the most enlightening and the most interesting. Nothing has stopped, even for a second. When I get somewhere early and have a couple of hours on my hands it feels nearly like a blessing.

Insofar I would have to say that Texas and Oklahoma have been some of the most bewildering moments of my life, and both some of the saddest and the happiest. I'm very thankful that Johnathon has such faith in me that he takes me out and just sets me loose. It'll be a dismal day next week when I have to fly back home to Oregon. While I do miss my lovely house and while I'm trying my damndest to finish my new book To Make This Easier by the end of summer, I still just don't want to go home.

Having my camera always with me and the constant shifting of terrain and the cities and the cities, is always something that makes me happy. A lot of my present traveling as well as past travels will actually be photographically present in the artwork for an upcoming record by Unwed Sailor, which will be a new studio full length and re-written retrospective of selections from their ten year history. Probably there'll be a lot of dozens of photographs I've shot over the years, so it should be awful nice to have them all funneled and corralled into one place.

The whiskey is strong tonight that I'm pretty sure I have to sign off. Angela is beautiful and when I see that little pad of paper come out when we're drinking after the shows . . . I feel better about things.

Cheers to the ghosts.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Aged matchbook in my pocket.

-- Denton, TX / 11:32pm. --

It's strange that things can still be suprising. Every here and there it can happen and when it does it's with the urgent force of a car accident, and I find that sometimes there is some kind resilience in my mind that I never knew I had. It feels like the rarest thing in my life, too. As a habitual defeatist, it was odd and wonderful to find something to fight for or something to have faith in. And I didn't even have time to find that out, so probably I didn't have time to give up either. I'll give my best to the city of Austin for handing me a hailstorm and letting me find my own way out without easy answers handed to me or -- what I really mean to say is -- an easy route by which to give up too early. I would extend my love and respect to two people last night, by name, but they know who they are, and it's nice to find that it doesn't feel so empty in the world after all.

But I guess let's wait for tomorrow.

(really) yours,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What hold has the Devil over such a lovely person?

-- Houston, TX / 9:10pm. --

Perhaps the party last night was in McAllen, Texas. I think that's where it was. There was a lot of noise haunting the house and the sounds of beer cans hitting the table empty and then the refrigerator being opened for more beer, and music from the speakers and furniture being thrown about from some kind of fight in the second floor bedroom that I was a little too drunk to recall the specifics of (this morning there were spatters of blood carpeting the carpeted stairs, though -- I did notice that). I was taught a little bit of Mexican as we toasted shots of tequila, and somewhere along maybe 4am I did my first poolside reading of 'Please Don't Leave Me'. A crowd of perhaps twenty individuals gathered around and either sat along the edge of the pool or waded out on rafts of plastic and rubber.

When the yard became quiet and everyone was sitting still, from the other side of the pool I read two stories from the book; 'Dear Shipwreck' and 'Fall Down, Anatomy.' I even dressed up and wore a tie, although halfway through the first story it was made apparent I'd forgotten to put my shoes back on. So my dark green Emily Driscoll socks got a little fucked up and torn from the patio, and as they were a gift to me from my friend Jimmy Galvis ten years ago outside of a bar in Ft. Lauderdale, I think that might have been a little shitty of me. The next morning I tried running the fucking torn things through the washer, but there are holes in them I'm afraid laundry detergent will not remake. It was a sharp patio, I think, the kind people generally walk barefoot on rather than using good socks.

The first story won some good-hearted cheers, but I believe the second selection might have been a little dark for a drunken 4am poolside reading, where half the crowd were understandably winding down off drink and drugs while others continued and became still more distanced. But the second story seemed to become a sobering agent, unwittingly. After reading 'Fall Down, Anatomy' I heard a few sighs and some of the people looked like I'd just completely bummed them out.

Taking that as a compliment, I promptly closed the book and set it down on the patio beside two empty cans of beer. And then, not to my greatest surprise, I nearly toppled into the pool on my way off the shoddy makeshift stage we'd made out of sheet metal and some coffin wood. I was glad to regain my footing, because I do prefer a gentlemanly exit after reading.

And too, it definitely afforded me a chance to sober up just a little, in preparation for a large glass of water before bed. We were due back out on the road by noon, so somewhere along the line we would have to attain a little composure. I'm entirely thankful that Johnathon won't let me drive ever.

The past few days have been dominated by sprawling desert landscapes on harsh, heated drives through Arizona and New Mexico and finally, here, Houston, where my replacement camera was waiting for me. It was packaged dearly and I was happy to see it.

My attorney Kevin J. Aimes had apparently sent me a couple dozen texts about this over the past few days, as well as numerous texts and calls from my shapely manager Courtney Eck and even a few confused e-mails from my publishers asking me where the devil I was, but, my telephone had been shut off this past last half of the week due to non-payment. This morning somewhere in Texas I'd hooked Johnathon's computer up to a hidden outlet I found by tearing up a portion of carpet in a Wendy's restaurant, and proceeded to grudgingly pour hard-earned funds into the telephone company's account. It's good to have a camera again and it's good to re-discover the freedom of communication allowed a boy by simply having a working telephone. Especially since Aimes had some very keen news for me: through unknown channels and untold devices, he was able to attain some LONG SINCE expired but UNEXPOSED 35mm color film that was disregarded by police investigators in the home of Jeffrey Dahmer back in Milwaukie in the early Nineteen Nineties and subsequently has since rolled around lifelessly in the hands and arms of various private collectors. So I'm going to be realistic about this, you know: I think rather than keep it as any sort of display item for the Old House or as a keepsake of some past terrible tragedy, I will instead shoot with it.

I'm pretty excited about it.

Like I was excited about seeing desert sand dunes and wild cactus for the first time in my life, on this past trip through the Southwest United States. Today Johnathon did an Unwed Sailor interview with the Washington Post that, I believe, is set to come out the Thursday before their show in DC on this tour. I will be dropping off the tour before that date, however, to handle some business in North Carolina with my friend Amanda Boekhout, who is presently working through a chilling legal bind wherein, as I understand, there is involved a dead bear. Her attorneys are in need of a photographer to do portraitures of Amanda in court and for the local papers, so they've agreed to hire me without charging her extra for the service. I think that's fine.

I'm pretty unnerved about the whole thing with her having to deal with this. But this is how life progresses sometimes. Isn't that right? I'll be glad that I can at least lend a few helpful late-night/drunk encouraging words and, if all goes right, the portraits will look nice in print.

It's time to replenish my drink. Tomorrow night is Austin, and then Denton, and then the wonderful state of Oklahoma, and my first public reading of the tour, in Tulsa. Thanks, everybody. Have a nice sleep.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Break your hands one hundred times.

-- Phoenix, AZ / 9:54pm. --

A thousand years seems to pass by in a constant deconstructive blur a lot of the time, and then you find it's just been a faded, elongated couple of days. Or it's been a whole damned week so far. But then you realize that this vast feeling of passage is not just simply the past few days or the past few weeks but the past six months, and everything before that. And then you skip rocks across the pond that's drowned out your sense of chronology, and you tend to stop at the year mark. And you review the year, and figure out where you've gone, and a lot of people find that the past year's been a whirlwind of nothing and everything all in one. Some people get out of this one opretty good. I see it all the time. It's a little uncomfortable to keep wearing all the weight on your shoulders when faced with this, but it's okay, I guess. In the end.

It's funny when you come across a friend you haven't seen in a year. A year's not that long, but the number at the end of the date's different and automatically it just feels like an eternity. Remember how slowly a year went by when you were in the fourth grade?

Or how it trudged by the month you drank too much to still pay rent and so had to find a second job and make this kind of shit happen in the end? Always it has to finally work out in the end, because while it's happening it's most assuredly not.

A few moments ago at the corner market there was one of those chilled beer caves set gloriously apart from the regular convenient fare. Which meant the weather was nicer and I was surrounded by my best friends: Sparks, Sparks Lite (really good and rather the trouble-maker inside your body when sipped fast in mid-afternoon when you haven't consumed any food since the afternoon before) and beer. It always reminds me Jason Hamacher, out in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest, at come intersection convenience store or truck stop a million miles away from the nearest street lamp . . . pulling his shirt off inside of the beer cave right behind the glass door and screaming, "Beer cave! Spring break!" He scared the shit out of the old lady behind the counter. I love old lady fright.

More and more I view six-packs of beer as a luxury. My finances tend toward bills and camera supplies and my single meal per day and the couple cans or so of Sparks that I try to have before bed when I have the cash. In recent months, back home at my lovely house in Portland with my lovely housemates (not the German guy, though), I've been trying to manage always to have a twelve-pack of canned beer in the refrigerator for myself and my housemates, but even that seems to falter every here and there as it becomes gone in only one day and you're up for another $8.99 when you crawl out of bed at noon the next day. I love beer waiting in refrigerator in the morning. It's a new concept that i used to be used to until I used up my ability to afford it, and now that I'm not so used to it anymore I want to look at it like what it feels like looking into a lovely lady's eyes in the morning: sparkling, magical, integral, unforgettable, irreplaceable, mysterious and oddly accountable.

Today in early Arizona I met for the first time:

1. Border patrol.
2. Sand dunes.
3. A deep sun burn cooked into my face and arms in a record ten minutes.

Guns and soft clefts of sand and hot arms. Potential trouble and potential remarkable feats of nature and curious heat when you don't know you've just been sunburned because of being outside for only ten minutes. The night before we all packed into a room at the Sheraton somewhere in southern California and killed of all the whiskey and wine so we couldn't be tagged unfavorably should the border patrol frown upon such actions. But we weren't frisked or even bothered.

I stuffed a handful of frogs and some holy water into a plastic bag and hid them in the small tool compartment where the spare wheel is kept and I curled up into a ball by the edge of the door frame and seeped in and out of dreams that were filled with the heavens of skin and the damaging contents of worry and disaster and some kind of plague-like sense of dread that I always tell myself I'll outgrow even though I'm much too damned old for that to actually happen.

The air-conditioning was nice. Lord how I've missed some kind of little niche. It doesn't help when I don't have a camera. I really feel fucking lost. But these are things you can get over. These are things that Sparks frowns upon and says to a young boy, "Look at the bright side..."

...then trails off and doesn't finish the sentence at all. Welcome to the future.

Yours very truly,