If you're going to be out in public, or in, say a comic book store, or a restaurant, SMOKE BETTER WEED. I support your form of relaxation, but I don't want to have to smell your form of relaxation. If I did, I'd hang out with the dealer who is clearly ripping you off.
It's 2017. For every loss of civil liberties, and every disappointing political situation, there are at least two strains of affordable weed that don't smell like you just pulled your rolling papers out of a nervous skunk's asshole.
Or buy edibles. Anything that prevents me from having to Febreeze the store for an hour.
Guys, I am really worried. As those closest to me know, I am fairly particular about what medications I allow in my body. Because I rarely take anything, something as minuscule as two ibuprofen or acetaminophen are actually very effective in helping me manage pain.
Today, I accidentally ingested FOUR BREATH MINTS at once. Spearmint ones. I know that I should probably seek out a desirologist, but can anyone on my friends list advise me on how long before it is safe to kiss someone with this high level of sugar-free sorbitol inside me?
Please don't lecture me on responsible mint use, this was an isolated incident and not reflective of my usually responsible breath regimen
I wasn't sure if this guy in the store was weirdly flirting with me or whether he was just really high.
Then he spent a couple of minutes talking about how much easier it would be to wander around the store if we flipped it upside down and let people walk on the ceiling.
I'm not saying I know for sure if he was high, I'm just saying that I no longer cared if he was flirting with me.
Random Idiot (not giving them credit even for being a loiterer): I wish you'd told me you wanted to buy comics when we were in JP. You shouldn't shop here.
Idiot's Friend: Why not? I shop here all the time.
RI: It's super corporate.
Me: I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt but this store is about as anti-corporate as you can get.
RI; No. It's owned by Wal-Mart.
IF laughs uproariously.
RI: It IS though.
Me: No. It's owned by a guy named Tony. He works in the store three days a week, you can meet him if you'd like. I assure you he does NOT work for Wal-Mart.
IF still laughing: Wal-Mart?
RI: One of my friends totally told me this was the Wal-mart of comics.
Me: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that's not us. I've heard some people say that about th place down the block because they're a chain. And they ARE a chain but they are totally not Wal-Mart. They are also owned by a pair of local guys. I don't think you can accurately call them corporate but I get why some people might accuse them. But us? We don't have uniforms, time clocks, a staff training manual. We're not corporate.
RI: But, like, are you sure you're not owned by Wal-Mart.
Me: I am SO certain that none of the comic book stores in Massachusetts are in any way associated with Wal-Mart.
IF still laughing: This is like that time you tried to convince me that The Garment District was run by Urban Outfitters. You need to stop smoking all that weed and listening to your idiot friends.
RI: Shut UP. They MIGHT be owned by Urban Outfitters. You don't know everything, Jason.
Me: I think you should listen to Jason.
They walk around for a bit, Jason occasionally laughing, RI scowling.
RI: OMG the new Lumberjanes! I'm going to buy it!
Me: Sorry, it doesn't come out until Wednesday. All the comics on that table are just out so I can count them and get them ready to put in subscribers' folders tomorrow.
RI: But you can sell it to me, right?
Me: Nope. Not until tomorrow. Sorry.
RI: But I want it. I'll just take it and leave three dollars on the counter, it won't be a thing.
Me: It will. It will be a stealing thing. Sorry, you can't get it until Tomorrow.
RI: This place sucks.
IF: Yea, totally. Want to wait for me at Peet's?
I resist mentioning that Peet's is TOTALLY a corporation and would probably be considered the Wal-Mart of coffeehouses if Starbuck's didn't exist.
IF: I am SO sorry. She's just really high right now.
Me: That's fine.
IF: For real, though, how much do I have to pay you to get that copy of Lumberjanes?
I woke up on Saturday to the same waist-high pile of snow that everyone else in Boston did. I threw on my hat and gloves, picked up my shovel, and began digging out. All around me, neighbors were digging. Mostly it was three or four people with shovels taking care of the spot in front of their house, and their driveway. I live in a corner house, and thus, had to dig out the front porch, the front walkway, the street in front of the house, the street to the left of the house, and the back porch. No big.
Everyone in the neighborhood appeared to have woken up at the same time. adults were digging, children were fwomping in the snow piles, plows were clearing out parking lots, and across the street, the group of guys who smoke so much weed that when I open the windows, you can smell it in my living room, were sitting on their porch (which was still covered in snow), drinking, and watching everyone else dig.
Because the top foot and half or so of snow was the nice powdery kind, it only took me about an hour and a half to dig all the way from front door to the back. Adults were still shoveling, kids were still fwomping, and the guys across the street appeared to be laughing (I had headphones on). As I headed back around the house toward the front door, I saw them waving at me.
I walked across the street, pulling out my earbuds.
"Hey, man." said the most drunk/stoned looking one. "Can you dig out our car?"
I laughed because, of course, they’re kidding, and being high and neighborly.
"No, for real." said the one who walks out to the street at 2 AM to talk to people who drive by the house. I’m sure he’s just complimenting people on their rides and not selling them any of the copious amounts of weed that he burns…for warmth. "We’ll give you ten bucks."
I laughed again. ”A hundred.”
Two laughed. The one who offered me ten bucks did not. ”Ten bucks.”
I shook my head. ”I sold my car when I moved to Boston so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking or snow emergencies. And I don’t need ten dollars. Try one of the kids that lives” and, here, I had to look up and down the street because I had no idea where the kids in the neighborhood lived, “there.”
The dude stared at me. ”I asked you.”
"I said no." I laughed. "Good luck." And I put my headphones back in, and walked back toward my house. My headphones are the lovely, noise-canceling variety, so, while I could see he was still talking to me, I have no idea what he was saying. I’m guessing it wasn’t "Have a nice day."
As of this morning, his car was still completely covered in the, now wet and therefore impossible to shovel, snow.
Last night, on my way home from work, I was on the T, properly headphoned, when I noticed a person appeared to be talking in my direction. I removed my headphones, but the T was making the same noise peacocks make when they catch their wings in a paper shredder halfway through their Diamanda Galas medley, so I couldn’t hear him.
I moved closer to him, and he pulled a joint out from behind his ear and said “I just need to go somewhere and bang tonight.”
"Hang?" I asked.
"Bang." He smiled.
I then moved further away from him, and decided to get off a stop early and go grocery shopping. He did not follow.
Kid: Look, Dad, they’ve got a Wolverine #1.
Dad: *Sigh* Yea, I had the full set of Wolverine when I was in college, but I sold it for heroin and ramen noodles.
Dad: Don’t do drugs.
I must still look like a poet. Or a drug addict. The two aren't necessarily indistinguishable. But while I'm waiting for the train home from Sora's, a guy offers me some trees for some haze, and I don't think he's trying to solve global warming.
I have no trees. The only haze is in my mind, because I didn't sleep much last night. It was my turn to sleep on the floor, and my body clock is more of a blinking digital 12:00 VCR flash (which I suspect is the real reason DVDs were invented).
I get on the train and am surprised to see an old friend back from Africa who shares smacknothing talk with me between Providence and Boston, where I pack, and go to meet another bus. The beginning of my trek to Dallas.
I noted several years ago that Cerberus is actually a Greyhound. I think if Americans were serious about rehabilitating criminals, instead of sending them to jail, they'd put them on a bus for a week. This theory is shot to hell when I discover my first seatmate is fresh from jail and headed to rehab I said no, no, no. He entertains me with the level of lies I haven't heard since I deported Elvis almost a decade ago. And then I fall asleep. Wake up in New York. Grand Central Fuck Yourself Port Afuckenkillyourselfthority. The 9:15 bus I'm supposed to take doesn't exist. The next one is, of course, 11:45, and it will be pack packed. And, of course, the really obese woman in front of me clicks her seat back against my knees, and a woman and her toddler squeeze in next to me. And the baby rarely cries but she kicks and grabs my arm. And the mother's knee is in my hip, and it's like this all the way to fucken Richmond Virginia.
Richmond to Roanoake to everywhichwhere Caroliginiasee, the bus is a hive of crackheads and loud women and crying oh my god kids. And somewhere in Tennessee Nate gets on. Nate. Nnnnnnnnnnate.
If I wasn't stupidly Sorafied (he is not stupid, I am not stupid, I am using it as in wicked, as in hella, as in completely), I'd have noticed sooner how unnervingly sexy he is. Not beautiful like Sora. Not hot like...hot people. He looks like what would happen if Gary Sinese got Tobey Maguire pregnant. And he's of course Irish, and is reading The Hitchhiker's Guide, and I am reading The World According To Garp, which makes us best buddies because obviously we're both nerds who are Irish who listen to The Dropkick Murphys and The Pogues. And everything is a racist joke to him, except the religious ones. And hours pass. He is showing me pictures of his fiancee, asking if I approve. And she's obviously also Irish, and pretty, and, sure I approve of why not her?
"It's just..." and he stares at me, "I've always had a thing for redheads..." And the stare keeps lingering there, like someone sprayed Axe bodyspray in a microwave.
"O...k. I don't really have a type, in that way. But. Good for you."
And he is a kicked puppy that I keep feeding and at my god every stop he wants to know what I'm buying and oh man I'm tired but the conversation and the sleep can't coincide and he has so much to say and instead of a knee in my hip, it's a tongue in my ear, and not in the cool way that Sora does it.
"And I'm a soldier." He says. "So when I say Fuck Bush, I know what I'm talking about and" yip yip bubbledy bloo. And he keeps touching my leg, which is not his beautiful fiancee. And all I want to do is sleep, and I don't think I've eaten anything since my God Boston.
When he switches buses in Texarcana, he takes down all my info so that we can keep in touch. I can't imagine what I'll say if he ever actually calls or writes.
And blissful then sleep until Dallllllllldallllllldalllas. Where poets and old friends and a camera await me.
While the national poetry slam starts in Austin on Tuesday, there is a pre-nationals invitational tournament in Dallas on Sunday night. So I left Boston a little oh god too early. And the rest of my team doesn't arrive until Monday, so instead of competing, I volunteer to record the event. Put down poetry book, pick up tripod and video and lay down on weird angle floor. And so many people I've not maybe purposefully maybe not seen for a while. I am called by hot_rod_poet's name no less than a dozen times (mostly by the same person). This is because all white people from Boston look alike. Even though, according to my last show in Boston, I am actually a 6'2 black man named Wiz.
After the show and some requisite drinks and food, I hang out with my not teammates (another team from Boston comprised of people I have previously been on teams with), and then there is...then there is drunkoolery. And beer? "I want a beer." Someone drunk drunk tipsily tells me.
"I" of course "don't have any beer." I look around for support. There is drunk boy, drunk boy's nearly as drunk friend, Asterisk, and Insaferubenmode, a friend of mine who (obviously) has nearly the same name.
Drunk Boy invites all to get beer with him at the gas station across the street. When Asterisk, Insaferubenmode, and I decline, he says "Anyone who doesn't get beer with me is gay."
He is, in fact, two thirds correct. But Asterisk looks mock horrified and Drunk Boy says, "Oh, you know I'm kidding. I'm as bisexual as they come."
And his friend says "On your face."
And Asterisk and I are of course obliged along with Insaferubenmode to begin BeerQuest. Which fails. But I do get to see Drunk Boy climb a pole and run super speedy across the street and then Asterisk says "I couldn't fuck him. When he gets drunk his eyes go crazy, and I can't tell if he's looking for me or looking at me." And there is much laughter, and you know, I hardly ever spend time with just Asterisk, and we amuse ourselves muchly.
Then Asterisk goes to sleep, and I grab my bathing suit and head to the pool where Drunk Boy, Drunk Boy's friend, pageloads of LJ friend/poets and some sort of family reunion that has nothing to do with poetry but who have decided to record some video of performing poets who are swimming and making, according to the management, too much noise, since the pool is supposed to have been closed for three hours so be quiet anyway.
And it's not that I was looking to see Drunk Boy naked, it just sort of happened, and good for him and good for whichever sex and whichever person he ends up with because well, yea, good for him and everyone involved. And I am involved, but not with him, with Sora and. And. Well, you know. He's no but who is Sora.
And it occurs to me I should have been sleeping hours ago. But the pool. And the computer. And Dallas. And LJ poet friends. And the maniac from Albuquerque (not a slam poet) who is in town for American Idol with his band, a novel he's working on, his website, a team of flying reindeer, the blueprints to Fort Knox, and a whole other wagon full of bullshit if anyone believes the first few piles he shovels at you. And, you know, naked on your face.
And in a few couple maybe less than one hours I'm off to Austin and don't ask me how but you know it will happen and more poetry and dizzy and blur and more naked would be great and I wish Sora were here (though he needn't be but I wouldn't mind naked), but rumor has it Ben is coming in how did this happen stead.
This is meanfunny I guess but I don't know where Ben is planning on staying. But I have an idea. I brought some masking tape. I'm thinking of taping off a section of the hotel room I'm sharing with Wiz, fifteen inches by four feet, and labeling it "Van Seat" in honor of the "bed" I slept on in his house.
It was more comfortable than Sora's floor (but that's not my usual place when I stay over), and didn't smell as badly as the Greyhound seats, but it was still you know a too small van seat for my long legs, and really I just always need an excuse for something to do.
Yes, I'm vanishing. Yes, life is more complicated than explaining calculus to someone who doesn't speak the same language as you. Yes, Asscat scratched the blood out of my hand last night. Yes, taking three hits of acid on your first time is an incredibly stupid idea. Yes, I'm fine now, thanks for not asking. When Ben asked me to feed Rufus while he went back to New York, he said "And this time, I promise the power won't go out."
Celeste, who I called to keep me company while Lissabelle torments Ben, smiles at me through thirty-seven coats of lipgloss. "The whole arrangement is just decidedly weird." Ben and Lissabelle are in his apartment, packing, unpacking, repacking for their return trip. The acid was so good, Ben's going back to buy one hundred hits. Celeste and I are in the hallway, passing one of Ben's Gauloises between us.
I inhale and then try to flick the cigarette, but the filter catches under my nail. "How so?" Twitchingly.
"Well...." And I hate the way that word hangs between us, as though I'm going to tell you something you already know, but don't really want to hear right now is sandwiched between the e and the first l. And I know what she's trying to say, it's weird how I met and fell in love with Ben so quickly, and then unceremoniously moved into his apartment, even though he doesn't really love me. And it's weird how Ben, who doesn't love me, and who hasn't even known me for very long would let me move in with him. "You know, the whole, uh...living situation."
In the reflection of Celeste's lip gloss, I see Ben open the door. "Hey, hun, you're gonna want to get your shit off my bed, because everything that's on my bed in three minutes, gets put in my bag and taken to New York."
I head into the apartment, collect the notebooks Celeste and I have been writing in, place them on the piano, and then lay across his bed.
"No. I'm not taking you. Nice try." He pushes me off the bed, and begins throwing things from the bed into his bag. "Oh, check these out." He picks up a pair of argyle knee socks.
"Hot." I say, because they are.
"You are sooooo gay." Lissabelle says. And I'm not sure whether she's talking to me or Ben. Sure, Ben is the one who has pink hair, eyeliner, and knee socks, but I'm the one who's attracted to him.
"He didn't used to be gay." Celeste says. So they're talking about me. "You know, apart from the whole sleeping with men thing."
I should be saying something clever and catty, but I have been abusing my brain and body for the past week or so, and they are both decidedly unhappy with me.
"Fascinating as your socks are," Lissabelle says, "we are way late right now, so you need to pack so we can get out of here."
"Bitch, we're only late because you forgot to pack." Ben says, fluffing his hair. "So, no more from you. Shhhh. Shhhh."
And then they are packed and gone. And it is Celeste and I alone in Ben's apartment. She is standing in front of the mirror, "Adam, do my lips look puffy?"
"No." They look varnished like the hardwood floor in a sports arena, but they don't look puffy.
"Ok." But she continues to look at her face in the mirror. This is Ben's apartment. There are mirrors everywhere. "We should go out for a walk. Moving would be really good."
Yes, yes it would. "Where should we go?"
So we head out to the streets of Allston, where the colors are vivid and the wind is a word I can't come up with. We don't go anywhere exciting. An ATM and the ice cream shop. Then we are back in the apartment, and it is time for Celeste to go home. "Bye, Adam. See you later." And she smiles, again. I can see myself in her lips, alone in Ben's apartment, looking at the calendar, trying to figure out how long it will be before Ben comes home.
I am Contrast. Do gooder nice guy does what told. Folds blankets for sleeping guests. Buys presents for friends and loves and loves and would do anything for and is supremely talkative. Give me a topic and yes, I'll listen too. Tell me a story. That's fabulous. I love you but don't you piss me off. I disappear. Give me a new haircut and I'll be silent forever. You can give away everything I don't own. I'm a packrat who doesn't care anymore. Take everything. We'll call it even but it's not balanced and certainly not fair. I'm a flying fish on land with a papercut tongue. Come kiss me.
It's morning and I wake up alone in a haunt of ghosts. I wronged that one and that one and that one and that one, but that one took off in the night with my discman and the last fleck of trust, that one strapped wings on my back, kicked me, and had the nerve to act pissed when I flew away, and that one is Princess Thundercloud and she wouldn't have been happy if I hadn't left her crying.
I part my ghosts with morning breath and mint leaves. Stand still. Let the room cross me. I want and am wanted and am wanted dead.
This is every morning before I go to sleep. I can't sleep for all the dreams and guilt I'm not having. Fuck you all, I'm sorry.
I can't even decide whether to use punctuation today. It's noon now and so dark outside I am snowblind.
Celeste is having a party. It's not her birthday or Halloween, but it is somewhere between and around both. I have forgotten we are supposed to dress up naked insecurity costumes. And when she reminds me, I have no clue what I will be but instinctively know it will be conflicted like my determination to be something but my resingedness as to what.
I spend my day laying on this bed that isn't mine running around town collecting ideas and ending up with nothing. I don't want to go to a party, I want to be alone with all these ghosts figuring out who is who and then blending them all into some forgettable mass and flinging them from the apartment. I want to be surrounded by people who love me and will tell me I'm imperfect and kiss me on the flaw and say fuck you don't leave me ever.
I am Contrast but this is a gray day. I don't know where my thoughts begin or end or rest comfortably in the middle drifting off and around but still tethered to my vagrant mind. This is a gray day and I want something immediately but I don't know what it is except not gray.
Color comes home. Rather, Color comes to his home and I am already here. "We'll go as ourselves" he says and the floor turns luminous wood wherever he stands. The mirror explodes. And this apartment is vibrant and alive and humming electric and I think the whole world must be reacting to him and everything beauty and everything colorful but outside is still gray and wet and we have three hours until the party.
Color says "Paint me." And I am Contrast. He is feeling creative so I am flat piece of wood without texture or design. I paint because he wants me to and the colors on his arm clash brilliantly like him and my perception of him and me and my perception of myself. His arm is bright green dark blue painful yellow soothing purple and then fleck red and spit orange and he is blissfully unhappy with the results. The party is two hours away and we start over. River of purple splotches of yellow red leaves footprints like a soccer player in a marshmallow field and there are other colors there I can't name but can paint and yes that's it entirely. Color is acid and giggly. I adore Color but stay gray until I look myself in the mirror. I am Contrast I see things in contrast. My face whitens with black lines sectioning things off the part of my hair I like turns black the rest white and my hands only comfortable when cracking knuckles paint themselves in contrast but not really color. Soon I'm wearing a coat and it appears that wings have sprouted from my back but more likely I pulled them off someone else and tied them around my body. My wings are black. Color's are white. So we are both contrasting, but we are not both colorful.
We are late to the party and giggly and depressed and frantically apathetic about being late. The outside gray has turned darker but still gray and it is of course raining and I envision all the color in his face and hair and arms swimming away from him and my contrast sludging into this gray day night. We make tepid jokes and Color says "I think I like you most because you're decidedly not crazy though everything in your life right now is."
I say "It's because I've grown to realize that I'm never going to be stable if I keep reacting to things around me so I just stopped reacting outwardly and now I seem serene though really what the fuck am I doing with my life?" As if to explicate this, a car passes too close splashes water all over me but it is raining anyway so what the fuck do I care if I get any wetter I just keep walking and spouting philosophy about how happy I am these days but really I'm so full of shit that I'm wasting away to nothing.