Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Am Siamese If You Don't Please

Oh, god, reminiscence.  全然見逃しちゃ駄目.  This is, however, what the holidays are for, of course.  I do not turn to the heavens for a charting of my stars so that I may understand my place in the universe.  Nothing so gauche.  Rather, I, like my Viking ancestors, recount tales of times passed, from childhoods best forgotten.

I look to the fact that now I am the proud, somewhat lackadaisackal owner of a Siamese cat.  She is utterly infatuated with me, and refuses to withdraw her claws.  I do my best to spoil her, as city "friends" are wont to do with their charges -- she has catnip infused balls, the little mouse-at-the-end-of-the-rubber-string-tied-to-a-stick toy (which occupies five minutes every day), a cruel-looking wire brush she adores to the point of sexual frisson, Taste of the Wild (kibble and soft food), an ever-clean shithouse -- but I am hopeless.  She cannot bear to let me go every morning, but I find myself emotionally rather indifferent to her.  She's more like a dog on me than a cat.

Times were once different.  In Richmond, California, on the corner of 38th and Roosevelt, there stood a tiny, canary-yellow bungalow.  Behind that bungalow lay a square of patio.  In the corner of that patio, the one between the sliding glass door of the kitchen and the back garage door, I huddled frantic and panicked, screaming and in pain, all of three years old.  I was the prey of rapacious Bat-Cat, a fiend from hell with blue eyes, grey nose and paws and tail, and a raging jealousy of the attention lavished upon me by my mother.  Bat-Cat, who would regularly steal food from my father's plate and hang upside down on the screen outside while my dad fried chicken.  Bat-Cat, who once gave my mother a black eye she was too embarrassed to say wasn't given by my father.

You would think Bat-Cat would have secured me as highly phobic of felines.  Rather, I've had cordial and warm-hearted relationships with all the cats and dogs in my life, save for one or two meth-addict-owned Pomeranians.  To the point where, I am now the semi-reluctant ward of my own Siamese cat, an emotionally needy, abusive twat who can count Bat-Cat as her proud forbear.

Tell me again how this world is supposed to make sense.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some Thoughts on Torture

It might be consolation to a torture victim if his treatment displayed creativity or artistry.  The subject, though excruciated, can nevertheless cultivate an aesthetic appreciation of his travails.

How flattering, also, that so much attention and devotion are lavished on one.  One feels many things when tortured; neglect is rarely one of them.

That is the sweetest consummation of the ritualized, stylized yet visceral, relationship between torturer and tortured (when it's ideal):  not bloody, painful demise of the victim, but a window opened to truly knowing one's torturer on a personal level.  One keeps the memory of such a soul-touching encounter for the rest of one's life.  Torturers who think they maintain anonymity, detachment or distance do not know what they reveal of themselves when they deliberately cause pain to another who does not want it.  They'd be surprised to find what their subject has gleaned about their innermost selves from the work done.

One is never as intimate even with one's family, friends or lovers.

How To Be Evil: A Survival Guide

You're well-liked, love most everybody you meet, and have no enemies.  Animals and children adore you.  You haven't been in a fight since grade school.  Among your friends are those who would willingly take a bullet for you -- if you would allow them.  Doing the right thing has always been easiest, and you are hardest on yourself.

It's time to face facts:  you're a rare kind of person -- a good one.  People love having you around, but you and they are under no illusions:  this world is run by and populated with evil, shitty, scum-sucking louts.  It's a wonder you've lasted this long.  Your chances of reaching old age are small indeed.

The following is a brief list of tips on how to be evil.  Being evil can give you a real shot at longevity, and if you're lucky, wealth even:

  • Stop blaming yourself, start blaming the world.
  • Take pleasure in another's pain.
  • Lie your ass off.
  • Prejudice saves time.
  • Be the spoiled brat whose ass even non-confrontational you would have kicked in elementary school.
  • Show a sense of entitlement and learn to disrespect others.
  • Reward yourself for acting cruelly or angrily.
  • Hypocrisy is not the enemy.
  • Give avarice and jealousy a try.
  • Learn and appreciate how to hate.
  • Hurt someone's feelings.
  • Tell people what do do -- dominate and control.
  • Manipulate people using their basest instincts.
  • Treat people horribly and get them to do what you want.
  • Kindness is weakness, and weakness is contemptible.
  • Stop valuing anyone who lacks physical beauty, money, or power.
  • Transition from good conduct to superior attitude.
  • Be egotistical.
  • Strangle your conscience.
  • Be snide and mean.
  • Stupidity is the buttercream frosting on the cake that is evil.
  • Stop laughing at yourself -- laugh at someone else!
  • Cultivate boredom and dissatisfaction.
  • Seethe with resentment.
Be a monster!  Evil's never been so easy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Titles for Term Papers

- Civilized Cavemen:  The Gentle and Peacable Hunter Gatherer
- Consciously Directed Social Partitioning
- Metabeings:  Our Institutions and Subcultures and Their Life Cycles
- Externalizers Versus Internalizers
- Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Empaths:  The Game of Inverse Narcissism
- Woman King:  How Empresses Reign
- Celebrating Laziness: Reasons for Being a Lump on a Log
- Precipitous Action in Governance
- The Sexual Predicate of Tyranny
- The Sadist as Twisted Empath:  Arousing Pain

Feel free to steal and riff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Arbeit Macht Frei or "Get a Job, Ya Bum."

Work is a luxury.  Work is status.  Work is power.  Work is shelter and possessions.  But no one has the right to work.  To earn money by dint of labor or service is a privilege, not an entitlement.  Work is a luxury.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  I'm boarding my younger brother's car this afternoon, in expectation of reaching my parents' house by evening.  Goodbye, San Francisco, hello, Central Valley.

It was a stupendous night last night, as though at the launch of a Saturn V rocket boosting a capsule to the moon.  Thank you for letting me break all the rules, be hella stupid, make tons of mistakes, and have my own piddling little life the rest of you could afford to let me have.  Muchas gracias.

I may not be out of the woods yet, but I'm going like a bat out of hell.  I love each and every one of my readers to this blog, and one day we'll drop the secret on how famous I am...

P.S.  I'm very grateful for the opportunity to share this shit sandwich.  Sure you don't want some more?

P.P.S.  I may not know reality, but I can bring the muthahfuckin' REALNESS up in here...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Program Model Proposal

When I was a young guttersnipe, working full-time and homeless, I was briefly a resident of Guerrero House, a transitional living program for aged-out foster kids and homeless youth in San Francisco.  It provided housing, case management, access to psychiatric and counseling services, vocational training, a savings component, and structured activities that included assistance with learning much-needed life skills.  It was a highly successful program that resulted in a low recidivism rate and was a positive influence on the lives of many people.  One didn't have to be an out-and-out junky eligible for Walden House; Guerrero House (much like Larkin Street Youth Service's ATI) was for you if your problem was simply homelessness and a lack of material stability.

I suggest a proposal be made to the likes of Swords to Plowshares or the Veterans Administration.  I am the son of a Vietnam veteran and know first hand many returning soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen suffer from a whole host of physical and psychological problems that can often manifest as drug addiction, domestic violence, and unemployability or at least hard-to-resolve workplace issues.  It stands to reason that a transitional living program along the lines of Guerrero House, set in an urban area such as San Francisco, could prove beneficial to returning veterans.  Instead of ending up on the street, struggling to make their way, they could ease back into life "in the world," and learn how to readjust to civilian life and stabilize themselves with the assistance of the surrounding community.  Those who need continued physical rehabilitation would be able to maintain a consistent schedule instead of missing appointments because they're struggling to survive homelessness, for instance.  And imagine what a keen source of prospective employees the program would be for employers on the look-out for resourceful, disciplined self-starters?  I could spend all day extolling this concept...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Belief System

I believe that if a thing is beautiful and valuable, anyone who wants it should be able to have it.  I believe the default, basic amount of pain that automatically comes with being human is enough to earn what's worth having.  I believe in the inherent good of humanity.  I believe it is easier to be good than to be bad.  I believe in continuing to take people at face value and giving them the benefit of the doubt, no matter how many times or how awfully I've been screwed over.  I believe I should take only what's offered, and give when asked.  I believe I should criticize and celebrate what I am, and pride myself in what I've done.  I believe I owe it to my fellow humans to live as well and for as long as possible.  I believe the four ingredients I need for a happy life are good food, good music, sex, and family.  I believe kindness is not an obligation; it is an inclination.  I believe in original virtue, not just original sin.  I believe in science and magic.  I believe compassion is a mark of true genius, and gentleness, an indicator of true strength.  I believe all living beings are interconnected.  I believe we are our own worst enemies.  I believe in falling in love.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Both Sides Now


Rick hated them, loathed them.  He was not a hypocrite, you see, because though he liked to get fucked up, he still sat in a cubicle playing World of Warcraft all day so he could afford the roof over his head and the pills in his gullet.  No, he was nothing like those boys, those scheming, gold-digging urchins who charmed their way into established gentlemen's beds, all the while devoid of any sense of obligation or gratitude.  How they preyed upon their hosts, who were merely being kind and hospitable!  Rick was offended by them, the opportunistic addict trash.  And if the target of Rick's Archie Bunker, Jr. umbrage was defenseless and unpopular, so much the better.

What a contrast, then, was the attitude of my late friend John.  In his mid-60s he was on his way out due to renal failure.  As the months of agony wore on, John took a moment to lament his less than benevolent role in the lives of those some might consider disposable.  With tears in his eyes, John repented of his "baggy daddy" ways.  It was a source of regret that he had fed at the trough of youth and beauty these hapless, stupid, lost boys would possess for so short a time.  I accepted John's deathbed contrition with my trademark equanimity, at once gently forgiving and sphinx-like, which is so often my wont when others spill their souls to me.

Looking back, I wish Rick and John could have met.  I'm pretty sure one of them would have taught, and one would have learned.  Oh, well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tough Love? Alternative Pop Psychology?

A man once told me that it is morally obligatory to lie to "the addict" (a concept I have yet to hear properly defined...But I digress.)  Perhaps it's a base idea of "addicts lie, so get back at them."  Or perhaps there were pretensions to high-mindedness -- after all, the man advocating deception may have believed truth is too hard-won and therefore too valuable to be squandered on those he characterized as valuing falsehood.

Do I need to spell out the obvious in that case?  The nature of truth is its self-evidence.  It may be hidden only deliberately, or be imperceptible to those not seeking it.  It would seem hard-won only to the stupidest and most destructively delusional among us.  By the way, an addict often is one because of encounters with the truth so traumatic, some narcotic palliative seemed acceptable.  (To be fair, I will concede that in many cases, truths about oneself are the most traumatic.)

It's silly, really.  The man espousing the aforementioned philosphy was rather full of himself and had developed some twisted idea that he was superior to those around him.  His CV was a mile-long list of ERs around the country; doubtless he's a natural sadist with some sort of God complex.  He probably also feels, as a corollary, that free exchanges of truth among those who desire them are a threat to whatever power over others he craves.

Forget I brought it up.

Monday, October 22, 2012

As "Beauty Is a Destroyer"

Love is not a comfort.  Love is a killer and tormentor.  Love murders (albeit in most cases, swiftly.)  It is heedless of justice or many accepted moralities.  Love may join hearts, but it is just as capable of sundering them.  Still, this is not a complaint; merely an observation.  Love -- its messes, obligations, weight -- is a gift.  Its pain is to be treasured and exploited.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Such an odd perspective, to see humanity as this vast roiling ocean of information exchange, its currents and littorals and deepest trenches rushing with phonemes, engrams and colorful, animated fragments, at once choate and protean.  Emotions run a scale not unlike a thermometer:  warm lust in the Bahamas, shiveringly cool triumph in San Francisco Bay.  Ideas calved off the Antarctic might disagree with those born of the temperate freshwater/seawater mix burbling where river finally ends its run.  Of course, the metaphor breaks down as all metaphors ought to:  what are coral reefs in this paradigm?  Or those saltwater deserts teeming with discarded plastic bags and petrochemicals?  What significance the orca?  What is learned by the krill drifting in invisible clouds out of a sunken ship's porthole?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Bird of Paradise...

...alights on the hand that does not grasp." - John Berry

He was dressed in gray jeans, a pink button-down shirt, and a black driver's cap.  Book in hand, he walked up Sixth Street, deftly sidestepping and weaving around dealers, milk crate-sitting OGs, tweaker prostitutes in bright red lipstick (their legs all beat up), art fags, et alia.  It was as though everyone were engaged in an intricately choreographed sidewalk dance set to the beat of many thousands of hearts.  He passed the green-fronted pawn shop glaring in the reddening sun, and the cool Pacific breeze wafted to him from within the numbing aroma of crack smoke.  Look:  the golden gleam off the corner, where the yellow, red and green tiles of Cancun Taqueria meet Market Street -- there you will see an angel's hands pressed together for a moment.  Listen, listen, listen to the 80s Top 40 hits, the patter of Skid Row patois, the crunch of the car wheels turning behind you.  These are the prayers of a city continuously spoken past the ear of the King of the World.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Deadly Delusion -- A Lifetime Original Movie

Have you ever heard the rather self-aggrandizing criticism one person might level against another that the other can't cope with reality, or misperceives it (to the point, it is to laugh, that more than just the object of criticism suffers)?  As fault-finding goes, I've always found that one a waste of time.  For one thing, I wager most people are like me:  if they even contemplate the nature of reality, they assume it's whatever they can't help but experience moment by moment, squared against their memories of a life lived in the only world they've ever known.  Sure, the world will surprise you as long as you are alive, but reality is more or less constant. 

Were one to correct another's perception of reality, what frame of reference does one even begin with?  Who actually has the temerity to propose that they've got the most comprehensively mapped, paramaterized reality?  Since I already know my senses are occasionally suspect, subject to deception, error, misinterpretation, even full-blown hallucination, I'm just not going to presume, and then read about Buddhist monks pulling the ground out from under one another...

Words like delusion, psychosis and insane, among others, get bandied about far too often, and almost never in any helpful way.  I had an ex who more or less characterized my thinking as somewhere between that of Blanche DuBois and that of Jason Vorhees -- but it would go without saying I'm not the only variable in that equation.  If I'm guilty of wrongthink, I'm sure I'll pay out the nose.  And don't doubt for a second that when I end up in Room 101, I'll blame only myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Imaginary Frienemies

Palimpsest.  Secretly famous.  Too beloved.  Loser.  Ice queen for the sadist.  Addict in a box.  Local boy dismembered by carpetbaggers.  Recipient of charity.  Hollow man.  Supremely evil.  Too good for this world.  Cries for those better off.  On the list.  Workman's comp case waiting to happen.  Flake.  Reliably dead.  Resident evil.  Ancient angel.  "You look like fucking Jesus Christ when they do this shit to you."  Taste his mind.  Beautiful music.  Delusional.  Hallucinatory.  Psychedelic motherfucker.  Capital punishment.  Camera or firing squad, or both?  Deep shit.  Psychic and psychotic.  Sugarcoat the truth.  Hormonal reactions indicate divorce from sensation.  Reality?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tenderloin Justice

Hate to sound heard-hearted, but I had my first hard-boiled moment in a long time.  I've rarely seen violence in the Tenderloin, and it's usually nothing more than a couple of drunks taking swings at each other, or two OGs going at it with sharps.  This was a coordinated and managed jumping, with 5-0 watch hanging to the side.  I feel bad for the guy, but he walks away with his life and a bit of education, his most grievous injuries being bruises to his pride, his face, and his wallet.  He should count his lucky stars.  By contrast, anyone who would target the likes of me would be a killer of a far more nightmarish sort.  What I saw was a tool of street-level business; the only violence I need fear is the stray bullet meant for another or what would come from nothing less than a total perversion of humanity itself.

I'm not insulted if you think it's cowardice that stayed me from attempting to intervene in what was none of my concern.  For one thing, it was black-on-black, and only once in my life in the TL did poverty drive me to the very edge of violating code -- and I got away with what I did only because white people can be trusted to act senselessly crazy enough to scare many a black person.  For another, there's shit I just don't mix in.  I don't press my luck, and I keep my nose clean.  Three years ago, I did scare the shit out of some punk blood who was fast enough to snatch some sad old man's welfare money and get away with it (I called him out later as he was boarding the 19 -- you should have seen the look on his face.)  Today, I merely rubbernecked long enough to almost immediately grok the situation, and moved on with a rather callous "them's the breaks."

Surprise, I'm only human.

(Edited to add:  Yes, a black and white did pass by right as that shit went down, and yes, the officer in question was either totally clueless or apathetic.  Damn tough, here in the 'sco.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


So near as I can tell, Obama's taken the bait, and is sending in Marines.  On the news, the idea is heavily hyped that of course our old, Saturday-morning-cartoon supervillains, al Qaeda, are behind the deaths of the diplomats.  It's as though they're less a paramilitaristic terrorist organization than a campaign tool for Mitt Romney.  The way I see it, American interests have all been in good hands since hostilities in Syria began; the intelligence community and covert military should have had all their bases covered -- I can see no excuse for the deaths of diplomatic personnel.  It gets me to wondering what twisted chess games go on between old-school CIA and Homeland Security, and what domestic political motives are behind this apparently unintentional security slippage.  What does seem clear is that any substantial, publically acknowledged military commitment is a net gain for Republicans, or so they may think:  they're sure any belligerent reaction by the Obama Administration would be an affront to his base, and experience tells many neocons that the fog of war can make America retarded enough to give their side an edge in an election.  Whatever.  Power struggle here means more sand niggers and infidels die over there.  Usual stuff, I guess.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Say for the sake of argument I exist under constant scrutiny -- not hard to believe considering that the poor would be watched the closest as they tend to be the source of any unrest. As such, I worry for myself, as I seem to possess very dangerous qualities:  intelligence, a reverence for life, for freedom and for truth, skepticism, religious conviction, artistic leanings, no criminal record, am not materialistic or avaricious, and am kind and honest.  What saves me are my aversion to conflict and complacency -- I am near impossible to anger, meaning I am not some potential rebel or frustrated young revolutionary.  Then again, perhaps my even temper and emotional maturity are most threatening of all, for they leave few options for those looking to manipulate my behavior.  The best bet short of simply killing me (a stupid idea to kill someone so much as minutely accomplished in the arts and letters) is to manipulate my perception of reality.

My most dangerous attribute is that I can never help but ask the obvious.  The biggest risk I take is maintaining an antagonistic relationship to power.  My best defense and greatest vulnerability is my poverty.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Medical Ethics

I once had an argument with an ancient ex about the Hippocratic Oath, which includes, "Do no harm to anyone." He believed the Physician's Oath of 1948 supercedes it and is superior, which leaves behind the humble, simple ancient Greek wisdom to allow wide latitude to the physician in question's personal feelings, morals, ideology, and political beliefs. It allows him to, for example, prescribe something harmful like pain if he thinks it's healthy. Such a perfect shelter for the closet sadist, IMHO. It's like medicine becomes his little psychosexual playpen, hidden among nice-sounding platitudes that assuage the consciences of any possible onlookers. What do you think? I stick to my guns, and prefer the more restrictive Hippocrates.  After all, I found it very telling that the physician, upon observing his patient, just might not trust self-inflicted pain.  But of course, it wouldn't be about him or her...
It's ironic, really:  the 1948 Physician's Oath was written with Nazi atrocities in mind, yet nothing in its wording precludes their being repeated.  What was his point, I wonder?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I May Have Made A Mistake

I thought I'd be healthier and more balanced, a little more proper by standards I delusionally believe exist, if I stuck to a single sexual partner, which is what I'd been doing for the last several months.  Perhaps that's not right for me, though.

Last night, I returned to my roots:  I got back in touch with my inner slut.  I had a raunchy hook-up with somebodies new, and it was like old times again.  It felt kind of right for me.  And I think I know why.

Yes, the sex is awesome.  I'm pretty vanilla in the sack -- no bells or whistles -- but I'm mind-blowingly filthy, especially with frank, baggage-free, equally adventurous partners.  But what's truly grand is after:  when you strike up the conversation that introduces you to a real person, one with passions and stories and quirks of his own.  Yesterday, I met a man who will remain unnamed.  But in our conversation, a detailed portrait of a noteworthy human being emerged:  handsome, artistic, articulate, former smoker, one-time denizen of Boston, then New York.  Not as far as I could tell an animal person, perhaps not a foodie, and unsure as of this printing how much of a music lover, but deeply resonant with other people and a celebrant of the visual arts.  Generous.  Gracious.  Observant.  Who else knows this person exists?

When I was an indigent bed-hopper (as well as a entry-level job-holding, roommate having bed-hopper), I found that so many times my sexual partners found me the kind of person to whom they could open up without reservation.  Physical sex is a snap, doable with many a warm body, but momentary friendship of this sort takes a lot of courage with anyone else.  Apparently I make it very easy and non-threatening.  Once the guy has ascertained I'm not a typical objectify-your-ass and project my id-born fantasies onto the blank canvas you represent-type gay man, he would open up like a secret flower, revealing all sorts of idiosyncracies and traits.  And a history.  People love to talk to me, especially after we've fucked.  I think it's because I come across as genuinely interested, a true listener.  These men have so much power and confidence in themselves when they're around me, and I in turn am heartened and enriched for their autonomy and individuality.  I don't demand concessions; I demand that they get their own way.  I get the sense that this is rare, and my partners find it refreshing and liberating.

So many men throughout the years...  And some of the tales are harrowing indeed.  There's the adorkable flag dancer, the collector of outre toys, the British immigrant with an underwear fixation, the gardner, for sure.  But there have also been a couple of possible killers.  I've blown cops, I've coupled with convicted bank robbers.  Such a wealth of humanity represented in my sexual history (yes, which would make C. Everett Koop blanch and scramble for his batphone to the CDC.)

No matter.  I'm now reclaiming my sluthood, because in being a slut I half-unwittingly became the repository for some very precious characters and their stories, which no one else has heard, and should they go to Hell, I promise to keep my sins slight enough that I might still bear their intimate treasures up to Heaven to share with all the more boring people.  Just to make the latter jealous, and to make them regret that they shunned so many interesting and wonderful fellow humans in life.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thank You, Everybody

For all the love.  Maybe I bitch too much, or toot my own horn, or do something indecent once in a while.  Maybe I'm too venemous, or a little stupid.  But for whatever reason, you saw fit to keep me around a little longer.  Thanks!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What I Heard

At first blush sounded sadistic yet squeamish.  Textbook evil:  sexual hang-ups, purity fixation, avarice, hunger for power, vanity, smugness, conceit, hypocrisy.  I wasn't allowed to notice the kiss-up/kick-down mentality, but I'm sure it went on.  Total domination:  totally gay, dude.  Anyway, I'm beginning to realize what I really heard:  frustration, need, pain.  What do I say?  This world has been rough on me, but I reacted differently.  I have a different disposition.  Yes, my life has purpose, direction, and all the buttercream frosting I could ask for.  It has all that because I didn't ask for it or expect it.  What words really need to be said?  I mourn the suffering of others, but I can't go overboard tossing a flailing fellow a life preserver, can I?  What can I do other than sympathize and offer love?  I'm a good person if the kind of people who aren't afraid to make eye contact are to be believed, and deserve the best life has to offer.  I wish I could do better at taking it to heart.  How does it follow that I inspire jealousy and resentment?  And how can I alleviate the suffering of others?  Or should I wish to?

Rant over.

EDITED TO ADD:  No, actually, I did in fact catch the compliments and well-wishing that occasionally came through, and I treasure it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Life of Oharu

I've become a fallen old woman, pining away in a Buddhist temple, clawing at salvation:  some cheap, used-up whore.  What's become of the finery, the music, the handsome and generous gentlemen who would fall at my feet?  All is vanity -- my pride is a withered brown leaf skittering along the base of a stone lantern.  If only I'd replaced my beauty with wisdom as I lost the former!  Then again, wise and stupid alike, we are dust in the end.  What would it matter?

Woe is me.  A childhood truncated, parents shamed, no friends, no money, no respect or power.  I am fit for white cloth and a lonely end in a wooden cage.

The minutes tick on.  Oh why won't they finish?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Got Something To Say...

Ha ha.  Jerri Blank aside, I kind of do.  Several years ago, there were some things going on that I thought were kind of fucked up.  People were attacking their fellow humans in the most disgusting way.  The least powerful had foisted upon them the blame for society's ills.  I listened to some prep school brat on the bus boast about assaulting a woman who's sin as he saw it was a weakness as I did.  I saw the irate, ingrown toenail-looking man so umbraged at that bitch who would hit the pipe rather than face him sober, but who himself could not even look in the mirror.  I saw extralegal sweeps of an impoverished neighborhood that mirrored the Times Square sweeps that left so many denizens stranded in the boroughs.  And when it was my turn to say something, when a woman I met advocated "trimming the fat," I replied, in so many words, fuck that.  A wind was blowing in 2009, and it flouted everything I've known to be human since we painted caves and hunted mammoths, and I, in my own small way, in a moment in time, took my own stand.

I've heard tell:  it's a war out there, we've seen wives beaten and babies neglected, murder, thievery, jankiness.  I've heard the tripe about self-indulgence, about the bitch who just doesn't get it, and being less than dignified answered it with a sarcastic, "Ay, papi.  I thought it was just candy.  I didn't know any better."

When I was homeless and close to death, and didn't have a person I could turn to, they were the ones who helped me out.  That's right:  drug-addled losers, addicts, hookers, homeless people, et alia, saved my life.  No matter how twisted and fucked up some of them were, they showed more compassion and understanding than nurses and doctors and cops who gave me shit for not being who they wanted to be -- though they themselves constantly fail.

To this day, I've got a lot wrong with me.  Then again, I didn't start out perfect, either.  I've got a smart mouth and grew up a little too fast.  I've got chronic health problems and have yet to beat my own issues with addiction.  But I've been shown a lot of love and support, and though that may not see me through, I've gotten it every step of the way, and am deeply grateful.  Every day it is ever present in my mind that my next moment may be my last.  For right now, I'm six feet above, not behind bars, and loved.  I never want that to end.

I guess I just wanted to put this out there, because I don't have a therapist, and I am only now for the first time telling anyone, in my own words, how some of that shit affected me.  Everybody else pisses and moans, whereas I've always tried to be like Smilla Jasperson, who likened complaining to a virus.  But I've got to be honest:  in many ways, I'm a broken man in the wake of all the drama.  But I'm still a man, and no man alive wants to take me on eye to eye.  I've got too much love, too much behind me, and too much to live for.  I cry all the time for how hard I know it is for so many out there, especially for people who never ever got a fair shot.  I cry too, for any self-described enemies, for their failure and hollowness and sheer self-loathing.  Maybe one day I'll cry for myself -- I have in the past.  I just thought I'd mention this stuff.  I know I'm nobody, started that way and will end that way, but once I got to do a thing that I knew was right, a little thing, but it made a big difference for a lot of people.

I want everyone to know I think I've got the gist of a lot of what you said over the years.  Thank you and you're welcome.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recent Failure

My biggest is that in the last several weeks I've laughed at myself only twice.  At least I've cried several times for all the kindness and love bestowed upon me.  As for anger, I've caught myself getting a little sarcastic or snarky here or there.  Everybody thinks I'm so sweet.  Little do they know...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Few Clues

A favorite past-time of mine is exploring possible reasons why I still exist.  There are many reasons why I shouldn't -- circumstances similar to those I've experienced have put others in boxes punitive or, more often, sepulchral.  What explains the matrix of decisions made by homo sapiens sapiens, unwittingly and otherwise, that has resulted in my drawing breath and being nominally aware of my surroundings at this very moment?  This is as masturbatory as any other blog, and let's always bear in mind the comedic possibilities of the blow to my vanity instant death would deliver upon my clicking "Publish."  But I digress...

Here's what I have to go on:  there is a distinct wash of the feminine to my personal history.  Yes, I suffered the typical slings and arrows with which childhood pelts even the debs and jocks, but I was bullied far, far less than you would expect an egghead faggot to be.  I was generally well-liked.  My school counselor in high school in so many words described me as a bit of social lubrication or the diplomat who kept circumstances from devolving into Lord of the Flies during home room.  I was a peer counselor, for fuck's sake.  I was zeroed in on by anyone who needed a non-judgmental ear.  My peers had no reservations -- whoever said something to me knew they were safe to say anything, no matter how ridiculous, poorly worded, or insane.  Losers weren't losers around me, weirdos were cool, and the popular were somewhat self-conscious and sensitive to my opinion.  I was physically capable of embarrassing bullies to where I needed to do so only a couple of times early on -- the swirlie and the wedgie were known to me only second hand, and from media depictions.  Other boys instinctively refrained from rough-housing with me.  Mostly, though, I was spared fighting for myself.  When Terence made a homophobic crack that probably didn't even have anything to do with me, loutish brute Kevin kicked his ass as though being chivalrous on my behalf.  The only scary enemies I had were the boys who creeped everyone out:  Joey, who had all the makings of a serial rapist, and contemptuously misogynistic monster Frank; we had brief, enlightening run-ins that warned me about them and marked me in their eyes as one valued by the people they loathed.  My hydrochloric acid-dipped scalpel tongue was a secret weapon reserved for adults who abused their authority...and in any ensuing arbitration, the decision was made in my favor.  There's my home life:  I was the lightning rod for violence, drawing it away from my mother and brother.  Ana and I both ran away around the same time in our adolescence, for the same reasons; I was treated by my father in a way that would make sense to any Latina who had a controlling, somewhat abusive, sheltering dad.

It's not a lot to go on, but I'm getting the sense that I'm a bit of a freak of nature, and that I'd not be wracked with such a crisis of understanding had I been a biological female.

Today I find myself as an either tolerated, an unnoticed, or a valued member of a community I don't actively seek to figure out mainly out of respect for the privacy of the individuals who constitute it.  I can be terribly perceptive -- a risky quality in a world ruled mainly by brute stupidity and peppered with elements desirous of power other overs though they are unqualified to wield it.  I'm guessing I've ended up as the naive smart-ass whose circumstances as apparent to unbiased, sharp, independent observers let those observers know what to look out for to so they might optimally care for themselves.  Best I've got.  There's also the possibility that I'm a human shield covering for a lot of people who've earned some punishment or another.  Really, it's all so vague...

It's funny.  This ruminative rambling post today was inspired by a thought:  all across this country there are people who've been laid off and foreclosed upon, and now all of the sudden they're being confronted quite concretely with the demand to justify their very existence.  Pink slips and rapacious banks have told them they and the mouths they have to feed are worthless, and the only option open to them is to Occupy [insert location.]  I felt terrible:  here I am, a formerly homeless mental patient with a debilitatingly high intelligence quotient, severe emotional imbalances, who works part-time as a caregiver and creates art appreciated by some people who are really quite fascinating in their own right.  In other words, I'm somewhat less worthwhile than Kim Kardashian.  I want so desperately to shout at those who're being left to die by the systems designed to serve them that they are not to blame -- no factotum, no young turk has any fucking right to demand they justify their existence.  I think of the t-shirt-and-jeans dude so used to a life in a tract home he lost not long after his job was downsized, and I want to find him and tell him he can crash on my floor as long as he needs.  I want to share my food with the mom who has nowhere to go, despite there being hundreds of empty houses for every homeless person in this land of the free and the brave.  Boys who never really had a chance to properly grow an adult beard have sacrificed their lives in far away countries so I could do any goddamn fucking thing I wanted with my life, and I want to do more than kick up my heels -- I want to share.  I could grandstand under the tenderizing ministrations of a cop's baton at a protest, but that's just another kind of self-indulgence.

I kind of get that I have a place, or at least have been designated as not worth eliminating.  But how do I do more than just occupy it?  How do I really put it to use in a way that serves more than just me?

Yes, I'm blegging for wisdom.  Help?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This month I turn 35.  It occurs to me that I should effect some significant changes in my life.  For one thing, I could be more hard-nosed and hard-hearted.  For another, I should cultivate optimism to the point where I'm deluded enough to believe in the wisdom of planning for the future.  You wouldn't know it from looking at my life -- a roof over my head, food on my plate, no arrest record, no kids, a healthy social life, less debt than your average 35 year-old American -- but I've never really been one to act like I'm expecting a future.  I didn't think much about college in high school, and spent most of my adult life simply placing one foot in front of the other, expecting nothing and hoping for the best.  I'm unambitious, and congenitally incapable of scheming and strategizing -- particularly in those ways that pit me against any one else's interests.  I've had low expectations since childhood, struggle more with not wanting than with a world that won't give me what I am told to think I want, and am keenly aware that, although from others' perspectives I seem to have had it rough, I have it really good.  At my worst, I excel at making it look like I don't have a care in the world.

But I want to trust the sense possessed by achievers; maybe they're on to something.  I should maybe start giving some thought to planning my life in advance, learn to assume I have a future.  Come up with an objective to be achieved within five years and work towards it.  Give myself goals to reach.  Be self-disciplined, rather than self-sabotaging.  Challenge myself.  Of course, once that's done I'll end up a hood ornament or recipient of a stray bullet or something...I may be naive of many facets of reality, but irony is well known to me.

Anyway, I should also take to heart what friends have said:  that I'm entitled, and should start acting like it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Beware of Artists

"They mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous." -- McCarthy-era poster.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Promise Deferred

Let's get over the reality that the Democratic party is centrist and corporatist, and that no president arising therefrom will forward a truly progressive agenda. I've heard from several people that they so loathe Obama they will abstain this election. They are disappointed, disillusioned, and disgusted.

I don't know why these otherwise very grown-up people held close to their breasts such fantastical expectations. Can't we maintain a healthy and warranted sense of cynicism and still make an effort? Although Obama is probably guaranteed re-election, I exhort the abovementioned to lump their broken-heartedness and go through the motions of voting for him again. Let's make this win stick.

People are still mourning Mr. Change's apparently unfulfilled campaign promises and are excoriating his concessions and failures. I myself am rather impressed at how he's kept it together. I think Bush's eyeblink disappearance down the collective memory hole glossed over the tremendous damage that idiot's administration (to use the word kindly) did to America. My assessment is that Obama has earned a passing grade in putting out a myriad fires, staving off disintegration, and preventing tragedy and drama. Yes, there's so much more he could have done, but he, as I expected, failed to overcome the mindset that demands cowering in the face of Republicans' fatuous potshots and childish asides. Democrats, I'm afraid, will always give the opposition too much credit -- they will never stop assuming the other side possesses legitimacy, cogency and relevancy, despite conservatives' wholesale unwillingness to touch base with the real world at all. The result: our infrastructure languishes, Social Security remains imperiled, the economy continues to teeter, and America is only momentarily secure against its own self-destructive excesses. But that's no reason to get passive aggressive and hand the reins over to people whose biggest issues are darker fellow humans and Planned Parenthood.

If I may make a re-election campaign promise on behalf of a president with whom I've been pretty much okay: Expect Obama as a lame duck to throw caution to the wind and truly implement a constellation of policies we can count on to preserve America for at least a couple more decades -- a pretty bold goal when one considers the context of modern human existence as a whole. When I look at the current White House from arm's length I see conservation of energy, an executive that has preserved much of its mandate since 2008 in anticipation of a second term during which it will do its damnedest to revitalize our economy, conserve our resources, take some possibly successful stabs at preventing collapse, and preserving the few civil liberties we haven't lost. Our way of life as Americans is ultimately doomed, but I still see hope in retaining some of it for longer than we have a right to.

I'm not optomistic about humanity's future, but I think the wonkish will be pleasantly surprised during the next four years, and I implore my fellow citizens to hold their noses and go through the motions with me at the polls this year. I'm not saying it will get better, but this is our best shot at preventing it from getting horribly worse very soon.

Gimlet eyes: did we ever think we were doing more than forestalling the inevitable and sticking fingers in dikes? Let's not throw our hands up in surrender prematurely.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Counting My Blessings

"If everyone else were jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you too?" -- My Mother.

There is no way around it: I am the product of a superlative mother. She was demonstrative during my childhood, mainly in how she worked her ass off to provide for our family. She started out stressing early literacy and potty training, and was pretty hands-off beyond that. She is the antithesis of overbearing. Rather, she cultivated in me independence and inner strength when I was very young. My brother and I were not born to validate her or act as foils in her personal psychodrama. She seriously devoted herself unselfishly to our best interests. I was almost never coddled, the exception being when I had the mumps. Then, she cradled my agony-ridden frame in her lap all night long, before leaving for work after having worked all day the day before. No more than two or three times did she find it necessary to resort to physical punishment. For the most part, she incentivized responsible behavior with candy and cash, and would on occasion play the guilt card.

Although highly communicative (I was her duty-bound listener for most of my childhood), she eschewed maudlin displays. My father would say he loved me. My mother would demonstrate it. My father would say how proud he was. My mother, on the other hand, was content to act as though she knew I was capable and intelligent -- she took my wit as a matter of course.

I can't imagine what it would be like to live as that woman on Dr. Phil who hated -- hated! -- her mother. I think of my friend "K," whose relationship with his mother to hear him describe it resembles nothing so much as that which exists between two alligators. And one twisted mess in particular, a man who briefly played my nemesis, exemplified spoiled son syndrome. The man had spent all his life under a mother who cleaned up after him, lied for him, and indulged him in every single way. The result was less a man than an unconscionable monster whom no one seems to be able to stand.

When I'm told by someone they think I'm a good person, I know precisely who to credit.

Of course, I have let my mother down. Though touched by artistic and musical talent herself, she completely lacks the artistic temperament, and despairs when she sees it in me. My flightiness, my space cadet moments, no doubt vex her sensible, level head to no end. And I'm pretty sure she's given up on teaching me the value of a dollar. Still, she taught me to value my mind. She is a highly intelligent woman who I'm glad to say is not disappointed in her eldest son's capacity for thought.

My mother and I don't bandy terms of endearment. Our bond is divinely animal. Words are for the mere quotidian. Without her saying it, or my having to ask, I know for a fact she would sacrifice her life to save mine. She wouldn't even wring her hands or debate self-interestedly. It would be a given.

How many people in this world are as fortunate as I am?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Sobriety Police

Just had a thought-provoking discussion with a friend about the medical community's attitude towards pain medication. Too many physicians and nurses want to play sobriety police -- always on the lookout for drug-seeking behavior. Can't have you feeling good, must make sure you're stopping at not-too-excruciating. Frankly, I'm a little sick of doctors and other health care professionals using their jobs as bully pulpits from which to trumpet their opinions on addiction. Wanting to feel good, pharmaceutically or otherwise, is nobody's business but the person who is doing the feeling. An ex of mine, a physician, once observed that he didn't believe I had suffered enough physical pain in my life. Apart from being inaccurate and impertinent, it's highly presumptuous of a mere M.D. (you're not a physicist; essentially your greatest intellectual accomplishment is memorizing Grey's Anatomy) to think it's within his bailiwick to prescribe agony as some sort of lesson to be learned from. Anyway, if you're an adult, you're entitled to get fucked up when you feel like it -- particularly if you're not causing trouble for anyone else. And if you're poor and miserable, who could blame you? I would never begrudge any down-and-out denizen of 6th Street his or her crack rock and Steel Reserve.

Chances are, the friend with whom I was speaking wouldn't have suffered his paralysis had St. Mary's not been so damn obsessed with checking what they perceived was his desire to get high on pain meds. They actually thought he was lying about his chronic pain and immobility in order to score happy pills. And all of this applies only to the poor, not the wealthy, of course. If you're low on the socioeconomic totem pole, you're obligated to be a teetotaler... But if your husband manages hedge funds, it's expected that your stash rival Hunter S. Thompson's.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Have Spent

The previous two days disgusted with myself for not being the person the standards to which I adhere require I should be. It has been a long, rough road these last couple of years: from abject homelessness, living out of two bags and rotting from the inside out, to maintaining my own home since July 2010, and successfully caring for a plant and a cat while keeping up my volunteer commitments and part-time work. But I haven't accomplished everything I'd like, and I always feel I come up short. The high road is steep, and I stumble sometimes while taking the righteous path.

Let's hope the last couple days of crazy give way to better times.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Soul Was Publicly Recognized

I personally don't know how to hate anyone. And yesterday I received such an unconditional love from people I'd never met. I felt like the most cared-for man in the world. I don't know how to express the boundless gratitude that burned like a conflagration through my insignificant, weeping frame as I pondered it afterward in my darkened box.

Once, a hollow man came for me and spoke through many masks, through thousands of voices. I spurned all his advances, knowing what he wanted. His dearest, oldest mask was that of a cherubic two year-old who once ran towards a man to see him bleed from multiple gunshot wounds in public, as though the walking corpse were full of candy. The hollow man is currently recuperating in the hospital from a two-story fall. May he never claim his prize. It is mine, with the people's imprimatur.

I know I am loved. And I burn with love for every soul I meet in this world, with a special regard given the people who can look me in the eye and call me on my shit. Yesterday I became a man in a way. My whole life had been leading up to that point, beginning with my walking like a solid meat vendor through the streets of the Tenderloin to the beat of an improvisational jazz poem spoken by passersby (a gang fight among the elderly followed in my wake, perhaps begetting a civil war in our nation's future), ending in a schoolyard rhyme recited by a generation after me, about me. In my 20s, I thought I would die by 30. I am 34, and God willing, I will know 35. Yesterday was the greatest gift I have ever known, given me by a world I was convinced didn't know I existed at all.

And wherever you are, if you are lying in the dark, naked and in pain and doubt and fear, know that I am thinking of you. I will hold your hand, and you will know you are loved until the end.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

People Have Answers

Wise people have questions.


Empathy is at once an emotional predisposition, an exercise in faith, and an accomplishment of abstract reasoning. True empathy may be a monstrous thing, but so is humanity.

A Riff On Lysenkoism

I realize this is from 2009 (a weird year for yours truly, as well as for many others, I hear tell.) And it's enough to make even me paranoid (would I already have readers were I a center of attention?) Anyway, I wonder how these programs have appeared domestically...

In the latest outgrowth of the debate over military sponsorship of social science, members of the American Anthropological Association have voted to strengthen language in their code of ethics against research conducted in secret.

Among other things, the new amendments declare that clandestine fieldwork constitutes “a clear violation of research ethics” and that anthropologists “should not withhold research results from research participants when those results are shared with others."

Have you been the subject of field research?


I'm firmly convinced that violent crime goes under -reported in San Francisco. I think there's a shadow agreement among journalists and our rulers that accurate news might dissuade tourists, and not even the Examiner, with it's lurid and scintillating crime blotter, tells the whole story. It's silly, really, because most violent crimes are committed by people who aren't usually criminals -- your average murder victim is done in by someone in their social circle in the heat of passion, I'm pretty sure. Most career criminals and ne'er-do-wells of San Francisco are in business, and violence serves business very rarely. The complaints Tenderloin residents make are about violence being brought in from the Bayview and Oakland (with a nod to neighborly gossip overheard about so-and-so sticking her man or that tweaker who got run up on.) I mean, look at Miami: do they hurt for money? And everyone knows that city is rife with murderous monkeyshines.

Then again, I could be proven wrong by statistics compiled by the federal government, if I cared to do the research. But I prefer to be lazy and assert that said statistics would be gathered from the locals, anyway...

Moving From Facebook

1. Decided on The Hollow Man, but I do like The Patchwork Man. We'll see (or not.)

2. A day of beginnings is a pessimistic day.

3. The concept of a Quaker doing hardened, salty seadog drag, complete with a wooden leg replacing one lost in to his line of work, is hilarious when you think about it.

4. File under "frightening," cross-indexed with "farcical": gentrification of the Tenderloin, mid-Market and the 6th Street corridor is a consciously directed and planned act by control freaks with access to too much money. Such an ungainly process...

5. Keeps this list from stopping at a number frequently associated with death in Japanese culture.