essential

I like developing black and white film. I learned when I was a kid. I thought life was essentially over just because my body grew up like a weed

Life as a little tyke
hiding in cabinets
essentially was over

Too much light can cause
overexposure. Then people
are killed with kindness

I killed spiders because they scared me for a long time. Then I came to enjoy their artwork in corners of doorways

Most of the moths and mosquitos that would put holes in my clothes and me, and you, never crossed that threshold

I came to believe in spiders.
My mind grew into my body.
I liked the orange darkness of the darkroom, and the whole damn ritual developing

The whole damn ritual
developing
film
artwork
    chemicals

Too much light is
unbearable

Kindness
kills

Life is essentially over
and then it begins
at the end

Life is
essential

I came to believe

in spiders
people
moths
mosquitos
you
me

pulse

i gotta stay on
my pulse
my heartbeat
my america

so i
feel so
alive

gotta be true
and do
what i love
to do

walking
lends
credence
   to thoughts

thoughts i channel
while dressed in flannel
the madras soaks into my skull

the pen weeps
the energy keeps
thanatos sleeps when

i play
milk maid
2 muse

until i retire
on a cloud making fire
  ima write like i got nothin
2 lose

GWB – ABNA 2014

Image

National Novel Writing Month Winner 2013

GIRL WITHOUT BORDERS 
 
Will is headed for the great American psychotic break, at the glorious dawn of the new millenium. The age of self-help or self-helplessness.  
 
He faces the world alone. The only ‘family’ he has are his friends.  
 
Will tries to escape the nihilism in his head through alcohol and women. This poor combination punches his ticket on a slow train through hell.  
 
Drama has a queen, and her name is Cass. She wraps herself around Will, and twists. He is captivated by her punk attitude and Borderline personality. Sometimes he runs away. But she always sends her snakes out to find him, charm and release. 
 
Relationships have Will spinning. His best friend offers the voice of reason, but he cannot hear. He is crushing on another young lady, hard. 
 
In an subculture running on hip-hop, alcohol and high fructose corn-syrup, how can a young man ever find himself? What can relieve his anger, depression and pain?  
 
Will becomes further entangled and lost. He paints himself into corners, then fights his way out. Non-violently, whenever possible.  
 
Life at the center of an unrequited love triangle is overwhelming. 
 
He retreats into his internal world where dreams are still possible. He often wishes he could turn back time and heal all the broken relationships. Deep down he thirsts for renewed faith, trust and love. 
 
Something has to give. Either this patterned madness of poorly chosen attachments, or what remains of his emotional stability. Even his ring-tailed cat, Raccoon, tires of the scene. She cuts him up with her claws, hoping to awaken him before something terrible happens. 
 
This coming-of-age, character-driven story places the reader in Will’s shoes, in Chicago, at an historic moment in time. Exploring the fragility of youth and identity, in the vortex of mental illness.

Book Review by K – Less Than Zero

‘Less Than Zero’ by Bret Easton Ellis.  4/5 STARS. 

Step into the shoes of a lovable loser, a young guy who clearly has talent and intelligence handed to him (economically, if not genetically) but no proper channel for it. He’s still got time, you think, he’s in college. 

I enjoyed seeing Los Angeles through the eyes of the protagonist. Because he is neither for nor against his world, he is more like a material witness to a cultural crime in progress. That crime being the assault upon all human goodness and innocence. Wow. And he keeps a sense of humor about it, until about two thirds of the way through, after which it became less of an ambulance chase intrigue. 

You begin to feel uneasy, as though it’s no longer culture that needs a shot of loving kind compassion in the arm, but you; you might be the one needing resuscitation. Because it certainly feels closer to nonfiction than fiction. And probably is a fusion of the two, put together by a master chef (Mr. Easton-Ellis) at an open kitchen with an array of knives at his disposal. Oh, and meat grinders. And the ambient sound of fucking, dying and other counterculture fare. Squirt some lemon in the heart for extra-sensory pain.

I love the cover of the old paperback copy I finally bought at a used bookstore here in Sacramento, with the proceeds of the single copy of my own novel I sold there…and some additional cash of course (I’m not a known entity, yet). It is a cream-color image of LA skyline fading out in the smog. And the photo on the back of the author has him in prepschool attire as a young man, probably not unlike his protagonist and perhaps the same? This is an unauthorized biographical query. And I saw the photo was taken by a one Miss Quintana Roo, who, for those who don’t now, was the only daughter of the great essayist Joan Didion (also from Sacramento). Sadly, the past tense refers not to mom but to daughter, for Quintana Roo passed away young after a brief illness. 

I mention all this to support my intuition that this novel is a bit nonfiction. Because we live in a world that is quite used to seeing stars rise and fall, and quite accustomed to scenes (in LA or otherwise) like Phil Hoffman at the peak of his career and head of a young and bright family, blue with a needle full of drug cocktail still stuck in his arm, 23 years afer he supposedly ‘got it’. Meaning recovery. This novel is the perfect example of how, recovered or not, we all are having to keep a close eye on ourselves in the context of a culture that could parade us out one day on theatrical accolades, and leave us stewing in our own celebrity nihilism the next, so forlorn and in such godless disbelief as to chance the end of everything so fine and hopeful. 

Rest in Peace to all. I have compassion for all of us. This book furthers my compassion for Los Angelans and US Americans and global citizens, to think that even in the refuge of the States (not a gutted-by-war kind of GPS, compared to Kiev or even parts of London) a city could engender such hatred and violence. Kids taking pictures of eachother in front of corpses, or gangbanging, or self-gangbanging. Brutal anarchy and madness in old Hollywood’s new money bling. 

I really hated the falling apart of it all toward the end, because the sense of humor dried up. I prefer to laugh like I was throughout the first hundred pages. Which is just another reason why I charge this book as a likely nonfiction masquerading as fiction. Because if it was fiction, it could have ended with a laugh, not a cry. 

And if it was nonfiction, it probably would never hit the shelves in Mr. Easton Ellis’ lifetime, so he wouldn’t be the chillaxed man of intrigue that he is today. He might look more like William Burroughs in Drugstore Cowboy. Read this book. It’s great. Then read mine, because it’s a parallel kinda process, taking place in Chicago. But mine is really FICTION!

(befriend Katya Mills on Goodreads.com for access to more book reviews by K)

NH. Lakes Region. ’84

Summer day
dirt road

skinned knees
hold skim milk
carton

suntanned
summer breeze

little boy
presses into
little girl

she feels his ribs
starts giggling

old boats idling
cars and rust and chrome
fish tackle
running across rocks
sediment
rust

he sees her tube socks
pulled high up her
skinny
unformed
calf

and laughs