sh@pes ... & such
... a bag of doorknobs and the distain to match.
the ways that things happen always leave me confused. the fabric of life seems to unravel on the floor without any rhyme or reason. it escapes me at almost every turn. like the coyote chasing the road runner i am always left with a bill from ACME and nothing to show for it.
when will i understand? when will the warm light shine upon my dark brow? when will i emerge from the dark cave of worldly ignorance like some albino shrimp?
well, i dont know. my situational autism is matched only by my social tourette's. something tells me that i will dwell in my foolishness for quite some time to come. so i ask of all of you. come join me in the dark and live the life of a deep sea cuddle fish and chase the glowing green plankton of living enlightenment.
'the sleeper must awaken.' - paul usul muad'Dib atreides
... in through the front door comes a frighteningly sober creature from the middle of nowhere.
on vanentine's day eve on a chilly february night you have few different types. you have the love birds fluttering around entranced in each others gaze. you also have the folks for whom work doesnt stop and you also have steve and me. two guys with a nasty deadline and more than a few beers in them.
'dude, do you wanna stop?'
'do you wanna quit?'
'are you ready to stop working?'
'take out your plugs!' and points at his ears.
'oh sorry... '
'you wanna call it for the day?'
'does the pope shit in the woods?'
the grinding stopped and the sparks lay dormant in the torch. a few beers are cracked and two guys quickly decompress. too quickly actually. we got the bends. the beer flowed and the nitrogen bubbles in our blood expanded as we began to have a good time while the devo was cranked up and the jokes were cracked wide and raunchy.
from the corner of my eye i see a lil blue light off by the door. quickly jittering and turning on and off. there i see a young girl with a sweet face a pink shirt with hearts on it. she was around 19 and had straight disheveled hair about shoulder length. her eyes were wide and glassy. her uber-cheery attitude and the dark circles under her eyes told us more than she did.
'make me a car. make it the fastest car in the world so i can drive to the moon!'
'we dont make cars. we make art'
'i need a car. my name is heavenly angel and i am here on a natural high. completely drug free and feeling fine! the best that i have felt in days. do you like the doors? cause i do.'
steve and i looked at her and then at eachother. 'was this for real?' had the pink elephants from the cartoons fallen upon us like the victims of a candid camera skit? whatever... the worst of the day was over and the world was in love and we now had our own lil angel do dance around with her lil blue flashlight and make freedom seem a lil better than the walls of medication and the expectations of our families, our peers, and society as a whole.
the doors played on, the sparks flew a bit and we grooved to the sounds rock and roll. the slightly mental girl twirled in the middle of our cement dance floor to her dead idols while she hid from sanity in the company of strangers.
the night eventually moved on and became more normal. the girl trotted off and found another place to sprinkle pixie dust and illuminate with her blue light. steve and i drifted back to a heated discussion on the integrity of the line work in a new piece. from time to time we would talk of heavenly angel and wonder if she ever got that really fast car and drove to the moon to fall in love.
wet & dangerous
... like a jedi-dog i can feel a disturbance in the force.
the hunter is dead
... and so is a piece of me. i'm filling up my kit bag, calling my attorney, and getting ready to stomp terra. the red eye out of town will be filled with fear and loathing tonight. r.i.p. you beautiful bastard.
ch1aroscuro & all th@t jazz.
... chiaroscuro & all th@t jazz.
out of the darkness and into the light. this is the journey of all learning and all life. each of us will make this journey and become a more enlightened person. like john the baptist in the paintings of caravagio we must find and ask redemption from the light and move out of the darkness of our own ignorance.
the photo above is the new studio i am working in. it is a dark hole in the side of the arts district in downtown long beach. it smells like burning metal and the desire to kick some major ass. the floor is dirty and the windows have a few holes in them. this is the perfect darkness to emerge from and bask in the afternoon sun.
... paper lake
... cabrillo fishing pier
... the bell
som3th1ng just h@pp3n3d...
... i had never seen a machete wound before. another dark post.
the third world as we call it, has alot lot going on. all of the right wing folks who always talk a bout 'keeping the american lifstyle our own' and 'screw the other countries' really need to get on a plane and find that third level of reallity that lies past our borders and out in the real world.
in search of insight about myself i decided to go south. so south that i would lose the man i call deryke and find the man that i really am. the 'maya route' was my chosen path. this is the long string of ancient maya temples and palaces that dot southern mexico and guatemala. the 3000 year old structures that pre-date jesus are standing monuments to the human spirit and the fear of the gods that many of us still have today.
the maya people both prospered and suffered for the life that they held so dear and that is the essence of what most of us dont do on a regular basis. we are the gaudy gilded hood ornament of the world while they were the blood and fear driven v8 power house that made it all possible.
the maya temples dot the southern lands in the sam way that the calfornia missions dot the california landscape. it was a spiritual highway that one's soul would speed along to meet the sun god for dinner and a drink.
while in quintana roo i hooked up with a fellow traveler who was from canada. his name was 'guy' or 'gee' as froggies the croak. he was a tree planter from montreal. his was fresh out the canadian army and a tour in bosnia. with all of his non-offensive french canadian slang he would tell me of the suffering of the Bosnia people at the hands of their overlords. in between the tales of horror and suffering we would toke spliffs and talk about our favorite bands and rock out to reggae while we dreamed of the next primus show.
i had a plan to go to a place called yaxchitlan. this place sat square at the zenith of an ox-bow bend in the 'rio ucimacinta' that bordered guatemala with no official crossing. it was only accessible by plane or boat and i didn't have a plane to spare. with the help of my crazy northern friend i felt that the plan was now a possibility. he was game, actually this crazy bastard was game for anything. i like people like that. we whent out and bought machetes and camping supplies for a dangerous trip in to the dense mexican jungle where no one can here you whine.
we needed to make it to a place called 'frontera corazol'. the heart of the border didn't exactly stand up to its name. it was a town that was littoral cut out of the jungle in the name of commerce. it wasn't even a town yet. it was just a tiny dirt grid cut in the jungle. the town was full of barefoot dirty kids, scared mestizo women, and drunks that lived in the rough even to rural southern mexico standards.
it was nightfall and two guys from the north were a huge target in a place like this because we were so deep in the bush that the people were no longer mexican they were maya. they had the same face that were carved in stone and immortality in grand effigies to the heavens. they were they subjugated descendants of kings and noblemen and they were not to be trifled with.
at the end of town we found a family that had a cabanita for us to stay in for the night before we bought a dug out canoe and jumped into the river to test our luck against the green serpent god that ruled the waters. the children were young an knew nothing of guys like us and never would they would live their live here in the shadows of giants and protect the stories of the land the kings from people just like us.
the morning gave us a 20 dollar dugout boat and a calm river to navigate safely. the howler monkeys in the trees on the river bank heckled us with reckless abandon while we slowly sucked in what would be a once in a lifetime discovery of the wild wild south. as we hit ground at the site we were greeted by some stunned on looker from the north and some equally unimpressed local caretaker that had already heard of us through the mayan internet. when the canoe hit ground and we jumped out it sank like a rock. we both looked at it in awe. the caretakers helped up drag it out of the river and paid us ten bucks for it. we took it and went up to see who was in charge. to our surprise it was under no control it was just the jungle and since we were just tourists we could stay as long as we wanted with no payment at all.
the campground was a strange mix of us, two twenty something goofs from nowhere, and some of the most brilliant minds in archaeology from boston college, UCLA, Penn, and the unversidad de mexico. they were there to visit the ancient burial caves uncovered at this newly discovered set of ruins in the middle of nowhere. me and gee spent the day chasing down giant inguanas, smoking mota while running wild in the yards, and eating tuna on chips. the caretaker said they would take us to the new sites that were just discoverd and show us the scope of the dig. it was so awesome it brought a tear to my eye. to this very day i may never feel so i awe of anything.
we spend a couple of days there and got back to frontera corazol on the dime of the archaeologists that seemed to be enamored by the magnitude of out intrepid spirits. we were just hungry for adventure and a knowledge of the greatest places on earth.
when we got back to the cabin we were staying at we found an empty house with only a 9 year old in charge to let us in. this was puzzling and a lil freighting. who would leave such beautiful children alone to fend for themselves in a crazy place like this and why? the kids were told to give us the cabin for the night and give us food. they were mindful children and did just that.
after dinner the kids were especially alive and playful. they were playing keep away with a bunch of pictures. thier faces had the look of devilish mischief. finally i said that they needed to chill before someone got hurt (that was the adult in me talking) and they gave me the picture and then sat down on the ground around us as if to see our faces while we took a look. the pictures were of a man and a woman who had been partially decapitated and crudely wounded with a machete. both bodies laid face down in their own blood with huge chunks of meat laying beside their lifeless corpses. the pictures showed them from all angles an with all the descriptiveness of a legal document. the children explained that last night the mantally retarded adult son of a woman had been drinking and killed his mother and her lover out of a jealous and child-like rage. here in the jungle there are no police and the town must govern themselves. the mother and father of the children were in charge of documenting the crime scene and escorting them to the proper authorities. that was why the kids were there. it was either stay at home with us or on a 7 hour bus ride with a mentally challenged killer. i think they made the best choice.
me and gee were dumbfounded and amazed at the events and thought to ourselves that we were lucky to have the lives that we do. the jungle is no place for the faint of heart. i looked at the innocent faces of the children as they finished the story and ran off to get ready for bed and brush their teeth like little brown angles. they truly were made of the stuff of kings and this was their land and we were just visitors that were playing in the shadows of giants.
'tan cuidado tourista. tan cuidado' ... out of the mouths of babes.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATION: i drew this drawing 5 days before the story at a set of ruins named 'palenque'. the structure is called 'el palacio de los reys'. i was sitting on the 'templo del sol' to get the view.
1n th3 d@rk ligature marks and theft
... what was it like when your dreams began to come true?
my father died when i was only two and i was raised by my mother all my life. i have no brother or sister. my only family are my friends and they mean the world to me.
as long as can remember i have wanted to be an artist. maybe a painter or a cartoonist. is just did'nt matter. growing up the idea of college was never really on the table for me, but i'm not one of those people that listens to the truth or even lives in everybody else's reallity. until reallity bit me in the ass. really, really hard.
ring ring ring
'deryke you need to get to the hospital.' it was my best friend's girlfriend's sister.
'XXXX just tried to kill himself. we found him in his room this morning. there was a lot of blood and ... well... he... *sobbing*'
'i'll be right there' i dropped to my knees as if pushed by every molecule in the universe.
i drove over the bridges as fast as my car would take me. i dont remember alot about it. all i could feel was the pain in my chest and the hot deep burning of my eyes and soul. i couldnt believe the viscious ways of world or the sad depths of my friend's mind. i didnt even know if he was going to survive. i never asked. i just raced to the hospital like i was on fire. i think maybe i was.
the hospital had limited parking and the spot i got was behind the place and i wasnt sure where it was as i left it. the front desk was sterile smelling and the nurses all looked like zombies clad in white polyester. i was in turmoil and all they could do was smile at me like the undead hallmark cards that they are. my friend was dying and it was all i could do to not start punching people.
when i got to XXXX's room his family was there and so was his chick (the reason for all this BTW) and her sister. i almost collapsed. XXXX looked up at me and said ...
'hey' in a strained and garbled voice. his motion and voice were slow and labored.
he reached up to scratch his head and that was when i could see the terror in wich the whole thing had taken place. there were scabbed uneven stitches on his wrists. every blood vessel in his eyes was busted from the rope. ligature marks on his neck and the ruddy 'gin blossoms' on his face from the preassure of the confined blood under his skin. i began to cry. not loudly, just with my eyes. all i could think of was the day we met in junior high during an ill-fated paddle tennis game that we both won because we met each other. then i came back to the room in a quiet flash...
'what do you think?'
'so, no surfing tomorrow?'
'no, i dont think so.'
'i love you man'
i was afraid to touch him. he looked so delicate with all the tubes and the bruising. i had never seen him like that. i stayed for a while longer and heard what had happened. since this is not a horror story i will not go into detail but it was violent, disturbing, and sad. i still dont exactly know how or why but those are not my questions to ask. i was just there for my best buddy.
the girl who called me walked me to my car. when we got there i realized that my car had been broken into and vandalized behind the hospital. they had taken my guitar, my stereo, and trampled all my new paintings that i had used to apply to college the week before. the ignition switch was broken out and the car was undriveable. there was even a broken window to add insult to injury. my friend could see the look on my face. i was losing it. i wept like the muslim women on the news weep. with the weight of all that is sad and unforgiven. for all the worlds horrors and all the worlds pain. i was a big black lightning rod shooting wet loud sparks from my broken heart. i was surprised that she didnt lose it with me. i still admire her for being strong for my sake. usually girls that beautiful aren't that understanding.
she decided i couldnt drive (she was right) so she asked if she could take me home and we'd just just call someone to go get my car. i asked if we could stop by my mother's to see if i had any mail or messages since i was in town. no one was home so i grabbed the mail and got back into the car.
'you get anything?'
'yeah i couple of things. but who cares?'
i looked down and it was from the school i had applied to. it read:
'Deryke Cardenaz, we are happy to let you know that you have been accepted to the blah blah blah... and so on.'
i know i should have been happy but i just couldnt be, in fact i didnt even feel the opposite like in the movies. i just looked over at my friend and i kisssed her. i kissed her hard so hard it was frightening. she came back with the same intensity and we began to sadly and angrily be together right there in the car, right there on my street. we did'nt care who saw and we didnt care what happened next. it was the strangest thing that i have ever done and we still dont talk about it to this very day.
the only explanation that i can can come up with was that we were hurt. hurt as caring human beings and as people who used to look at the world with rose colored galsses in the prime of our youth. with all the time in the world to be innocent and eveything to gain and discover. the events of that day shatterd those dreams and let us both know that all we have is now and each other and that was the way things were going to be from now on and for the rest of our lives.
... in to the darkness i run.
b7ogg1ng buk0wsk1 @ pr3face
... on the precipice of a really bad idea.
when i was 19 i got my first job as a 'charles in charge' in san pedro (my first pedro experience.) for those of you who are not familiar to shitty american TV, this is the position of a male nanny that watches over not so young youngsters. anyways... that year we lost the poet laureate of the modern american west. charles bukowski. i am sure all of you know who he is. he was a favorite of my father's and mine. mind you, this is a town of sailors, bikers, and mike watt. i was sad and we all lost a bit of ourselves. this town never seemed so silent.
the point i am trying to make is that nobody needs to live like that man, just write like him (this goes out to YOU tish! go back to college you moron!) i am by no means a loser and neither is BUK. what i am getting at is that self degradation is in no means a part of the creative process and that job one of the artist is to not to be a wasteful asshole, but to make alert desicions about the world around him and its message. maybe that is why i am still the way i am. as fast as i write that down i am about to put forth some dark and self desturctive tales of my not-so past follies. PLEASE do not judge me as a reckless artist or the romantic definition of the westerm male art fag. just look at them as descriptions of a man with nothing to lose and the whole world to find.
ALSO, new pictures will be absent for the next few weeks. instead you will get a progress photo of a painting that i am working on. hopefully it will show soon at a st. patty's day show i am putting on in long beach. so bear with me and the darknes that i am about to shart all over you.
well kiddies, let's get busy and please comment all over my lame ass. l8r blog buddies.
P.S. ~ i also apologize to GIRLGREY who gave me the best compliment i have ever gotten. srrry sweetie the beauty may be absent for a while, but it will be back soon enough (it was my favorite too !)
listening to ))) marvin gaye - sexual healing
g0 south y0ung m@n
... ever driven to the 32nd parallel and puked on it?
in baja california there are a couple of ways to do things. your way or the mexico way. remember mexico doesnt need you , you need it... badly. 10 hours on the road and guerrero negro is in front of me. the jeep is newly tricked out and the tires are hot with mexican dust. i'm rollin with my dad. the boojum trees are poking out of the hot desert like horny teenagers. then it happens...
'are you o.k.?'
'no. hold the wheel.'
i'm haulin ass across the mexican desert blowing projectile chunks out the side of the car but, mostly on it. i heaved so hard i think i shit my pants. my dad is trying to hold back the laughter while he attempts to hold the car on the road. i gotta pull over. wiping the puke off my lips was not my main concern. the real issue was stopping that car before the event repeated itself from the rear.
the mexican desert is full of death and you gotta respect that. we pull over to the side near one of the many roadside shrines to lost loved ones who have died on the highway. i blow a couple more chunks as my homage to the dead and the death that i am feeling inside me. my head is spinning and i think i am feeling the spirits and they dont feel nice.
the land south of the parallel 32 is a magical and unforgiving place. the sun, the wind, and the sky owe you nothing. at any monent the grand god of the sun quetzalcuatel himself could fly down from his home in the sky and swallow me whole with one firey bite.
'you got something on your face there buddy'
'funny guy. funny guy.'
'do you still have that gatorade from TJ?'
'sure buddy here ya go' ... manly hugs all around.
80 miles to the 'bahia de concepcion' where for thousands of years the most immense and gentle creatures on the planet go to have thier babies and sing to the sky and moon. the whales always pass my house and spout a fine hello as they do but, i never see where they go. now it is time. being here with my dad is just as important as watching the whales make whales.
'i feel like shit man'
'you look like shit' we laugh and joke in the afternoon sun.
i dont remember what happened next. the problem was that i passed out in the sand and woke up covered in reused gatorade from TJ. it was official i didnt have the respect i owed the land and it paid me back with its vengeful hand. sun poisoning. big Q was having his way with me and his way was the hard way.
needless to say we missed the whales but not the point. the 'bahia de concepcion' means 'bay of birth'. thats is still true. that day a story was born and nourished under golden rays of the sun god. there aint nothing like vomiting blazing a hot trail across the deadly sands of southern baja california with your dad and a hot jeep.
...el di@blo ventoso
... what are you lookin at?
2:00 a.m. in the morning and i am on top of jet studios in downtown long beach wearing bright green blast cans over my ears, welding goggles, and my ever-so-sweet unibomber style hoodie holding a nine iron while golfing beer bottles to the heavens. all the while i am smoking a copious amounts of blunty greens and yelling at traffic. how did i get here?
'tan cuidado mi hijo. el diablo estan aqui esta noche. en la calle. en el viento mi hijo. el viento del diablo.'
thats what abuelita said. she said it when it got hot and windy. she died years ago but the wind remains as a reminder of the old stories and the old ways. the devil winds are back in town and making my blood run hot and coarse.
8:00 a.m. sleeping
10:00 a.m. dreaming
10:30 a.m. pissing and feelin' fine
this morning i dreampt of playing halo and 'whack a mole' simultaniously. all that aside. today i feel funny like there is burning fire inside of me.
11:00 a.m. puking out the fire inside me, wich was just too much coffee.
12:00 noon off to go make some art for JB.
i decided to drive to the bell today instead of walk. i dont like the whole walking around with art supplies vibe. people ask to many questions. everybody loves art and they always want to ask me about it. today in particular i feel like i'll just say something poinant yet horrible. best to avoid it all together.
1:00 p.m. hit with a kite
1:23 p.m. hit with some kind of la Crosse ball. i dont know (not a jock.)
2:07 p.m. kicked off my spot by a christian tv show talking about the love of self and what-not. it is hosted by the skankiest chick i have ever seen but, that is sooo christian it makes perfect sense.
3-7:30 p.m. random computer shite.
8:00 p.m. a call to steve, my art/fabrication partner for the moment.
'hello' in a total feeble voice
'sup kid? hows tricks?'
'i'm not doing so good. i just caught my chick with another guy.'
'oh shit. need beer?'
'i dont kno....'
'be there in a while. 12er in hand'
'no sweat pants. late.' ...click
raging hard in the car flying across the huge steel dragon i call the vincent thomas bridge. it has new blue lights on it today. they make me nervous. the car shifts slightly to the right. that fuckin wind is trying to kill me. i fly the bird out the sun roof and it leaves me alone.
i get to the studio and we shoot the shit about how much the broads suck and how an itemized list of complaints about your chick can only lead to one place. therapy. more beers later we go get herbals a few blocks away. by this time he was in better sorts, in the same way as a man with nothing to lose gets. it shows itself in a strange smile. the same one i've had all day.
'i just learned how to e-brake. wanna see?'
after hitting a few trash cans and running the car up on to a couple traffic islands we get home and suck down a couple more tall boys and go ogle the neighbor's new fish tank and talk about how beautiful it is and how awesome smashing it would be. we leave and scheme about some upcoming money projects we have going on.
'stainless steel is like gold'
'i hope so i'm broke. let's go to a bar.'
just as we get there the bartender asks about his chick. OH SHIT. i just about killed myself trying to get this kid on the right track and now one false step by a curious but not so interested bartender fucks the whole thing up. it's time to destroy something. he leaves and steals the glasses we were drinking out of, before i go i plaster the bathroom with stickers and write my name on the ceiling.
1:56 a.m. back to the studio.
'lets go up on the roof'
'lets take the stereo! fuck its windy tonight.'
'wow, it is huh? HEY ... watch this!' *crash!*
the fraud, the fat boy, & me
... welcome to the morning during
'buuuzzzzzzzzzzzzz grrrrrrr buuuzzzzzzzzzzzzz'
the alarm is coming from my cell.
why feet are not cooperating and my head is on thier side. every bone in my body aches and tells me off. this is my first day on my own.
the tide has turned and is now flowing out to sea with me in tow. i cant fight it because i have not the strength. i cannot protest because my mouth is at fault. i cannot fathom it because my mind is too small. all the flailing in the world will not save me now.
the fraud is angry and the lil fat boy is crying in the corner of my room and there is nothing i can do. being sincere is off the table along with my dignity and self control. the day after christmas has never been so far from my expectations. my world is new and different and coffee is calling from the next room. the fraud and the fat boy follow me to the kitchen to see if we all can enjoy a moment without the deffening melancholy noise.
i pour all of us a cup of coffee. the fat boy takes sugar, of course, and the fraud lies and says he doesn't want any but i pour it anyways knowing it is a lie. we sit and take the first bitter sweet sip from old mugs from old times. our eyes meet over the steamy cups as we sit around the empty kitchen table. the fraud glares at me and begins to yell.
'what is your fucking problem?'
the fat boy keeps sobbing
'i dont know. i'm sorry'
that is all i can muster as my eyes fall back to my cup.
the fat boy keeps on weeping into his chubby lil hands and mutters 'why? why? why did you let this happen?'
i dont fully understand myself but the picture is becoming clearer and it's not going to be easy for quite sometime. i have to brush my teeth. i have to pick up the pieces. the fraud looks at me as i get up from the table.
'i hate you. i really hate you'
the fat boy stops crying and says 'i hate you too'
i cant even give them a straight answer because it is my fault. they stare at me intently as i walk to the bathroom and shut the door. the toothpaste pokes its head out of the tube and refuses to get on the toothbrush.'you too huh?' the sharp taste of the paste makes me gag a bit and then it happens. i look up at my red, puffy face in the mirror with my foaming mouth and all i can say is...
'i hate you too'
i can still hear the fat boy and the fraud in the kitchen but soon they will fade and leave me all alone again. after i finish brushing i sit down on the couch and begin to plan the rest of my life ... again.