Friday, June 18, 2010

Royal Trux chapter 8

Chapter 8 hot and cold skulls in Spartanburg South Carolina

Oh I remember this gig. This was a classic. It was the last day of January, 2000. That means the Atlanta gig was around January 14 or so. This was the last night I saw of the “veterans of disorder” tour. I’m not gonna name the club but when I describe it you’ll know where I’m talking about. Like the Mary Celeste, Lenore the imaginary hooker of Baltimore and Judge Crater-this club still exists. I don’t want it to go away, I just wish that I didn’t have go there in the first place.

The club is a huge one story building shaped like an octagon on a parking lot filled with gravel that kick up when you accelerate. There’s plenty of different rooms for different size metal bands. It’s on an industrial stretch of back road far from the interstate. I had lost my bank card that day so I’m driving around this neighborhooded with like a half a yard on me. A cop followed me briefly and I pulled into a Piggly Wiggly. They knew where I was heading. Lost white people in that part of town could only be interested in either buying drugs or going to the metal club. And if you were buying drugs you wouldn’t need to ask for directions. I still wasn’t sure if I had the right place. The building looked very dark. As I was walking towards what I thought was the door three waterheads approached and asked if I had weed. My paranoia was not intact until I opened the door with a jerk and saw a bar.

Then I got to the bar and met a jerk. The promoter was surly. He told me that they haven’t called and this and that.

-Well they never show up before 10:30.

“Well the show starts at ten I hadda turn 20-30 people away cos I’m not gonna collect money from people if they’re not here yet.” I didn’t want to tell him that ten thirty is in the contract and yelling at me wasn’t gonna change anything. Where do they find these fucking people? He turned twenty to thirty people away on a cold Monday in Spartanburg, I didn’t know there were twenty to thirty people IN Spartanburg, South Carolina. South Carolina is where, as my friend Morgan likes to say, the earth starts to curve.

I asked for a beer and I talked to a history teacher drinking from a flask. A flask in a bar, jeezus, isn’t that a bad sign? The vibe there was helter stupid. I guess when you’re the only metal club for miles you can act like you’re doing me a favor by staying open. Gee thanks, thanks again. I saw the van with the Jughead balloon in a gravel storm. I greeted Jennifer and Dan at the door. When they saw my face they knew something was wrong and they debated playing the gig at all. Dan wanted to go back to the hotel.

-Well can I come? Jennifer laughed. Then I saw Neil with a long papyrus like scroll contract talking to the surly promoter. Jennifer dared me to carry my teddy bear to the bar to buy a drink. Of course I did. Neil leaned down to talk to my ear.

“I want you to count every single person in here.”

Once it was settled and they were gonna play things calmed down. Jennifer sat on a couch and we talked about the Primaries. Some cute chicks brought some Calvin Klein ads for Jennifer to sign. One of ‘em said that the model next to JJ looked like Jon Spenser. Neil was walking by at the same time and he chimed in perfectly.

“I won’t even go there.” I laughed outrageously. JJ motioned to me and in a sotto voice told me that in real life the model was an asshole.

I counted 36 people. The incense behind the drums kicked in and they played “shaker life”. “Waterpark” and then when it got to the slow song “stop” they skipped it. The vibe was too charged to slow things down. Neil said “it’s all rock” and they were going through the album in a hurry, it was rowdy. My notes suggest that Neil’s solo was mournful and Jennifer put her poncho hood up. “Where’s the heater?” It was cold in there. They did “witch’s tit” with a long intro and Chris playing the xylophone. “Hot on the side of the ocean.” A fucking ferocious “yo se!”. That is the song, the rhythms of that are so hypnotic. I heard “junkie nurse” which is a song I never cared for-they liked it so whatever. I think it’s like the first Royal Trux song anyone ever heard so they play it out of a sense of ‘at least they played junkie nurse’. I wish they woulda played “stevie”. You can blame that on the atmosphere.

There were two annoying photographers one with a flash in his left hand. Later someone sent me a full set of contact photos of this gig printed on small stickers. Why would someone print a show on tiny stamp sized stickers? Where do they find these people? Henry Owings says that Royal Trux fans are the most hoodwinked ever. I’m going through an eighteen inch Tupperware box, like the kind they count third world ballots in-this box is all the debris from the tour. Jeezus, there’s the new years card. I’m looking forward to those stupid stickers taken at this gig.

Jennifer says: “bradly will stay to the end.” But I don’t know what the fuck this note means. Chris was clanking on some stuff and it was a long drum intro to “deafer than blind” and Jennifer caught my eye and smiled. Neil was furious and if Neil is furious everyone else should at least be perturbed. They did the usual intense “morphic resident” with Neil kneeling during the drum soloing tuning-a kid in the audience yelled “air” and the crowd of 36 was enjoying it-they did one of my favorites: “hot & cold skulls”-later Ken Nasta had the beat while Pyle blew the flute and the final jam on “blue is the frequency” was fucking majestic. The drumming was so in time and Neil can really bend those notes when he wants to-not only that, somewhere he picked up a toy trombone and was blowing into THAT.

After the set everybody was spent and sprawling on these couches in the middle of the club. I told Neil that the show was harder and faster.

“That’s cos we’re cold and tired-another 100 miles!” and Neil mimed slamming his guitar to much laughter. A kid asked Neil if they were playing Columbia on Wednesday.

“Columbia? Columbia South Carolina? Do you think we’d ever play Columbia South Carolina? Nah we’re playing in Columbus Ohio on Wednesday.”

I made a confused face cos I had the itinerary and I saw ‘em in Columbus Ohio a few months past. I leaned over to Jennifer.

-I thought you were playing in Columbia on Wednesday?

“We are.” She leaned back in her red vinyl chair and continued in a hushed tone. “Neil doesn’t like people knowing where we are.” I let that sink in for months. A touring band that doesn’t want people to know where they are. Once Dan told me that Royal Trux was like lazy espionage. In the next breath he called Neil & Jennifer’s house “HQ”. My head was starting to spin after all the cigarettes and coffee.

I asked Neil if I could ask a favor. “Yeah if it doesn’t involve money I’m weird about that.” I told him I lost my visa card and I didn’t know if the squaliday inn would take cash this late. I asked if I could get on his tab if I gave him the cash immediate. Dan said they had LOTS of vacancies. He didn’t say yes or no. I followed the blue van to an all night take out place, a Miami subs and after they placed their orders Neil called out-doncha want any food?”

-Naah. I just need a nap, man.

When we got there the chick said it wasn’t necessary, they’d take my cash. It was really nice of Neil to do that. I was touched by his caring if I got any food. It seemed to me like the Spartanburg gig was some sort of slugfest and I was tired. Neil told me that he was real superstitious about gigs and he didn’t want any diversions from the norm. I respect that cos I’m superstitious myself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

scrimshaw chapter 51

That’s how it started. I should have known better. Now I’m drunk and alone. I stayed up for days in Chelsea hotel writing “the door was opened and the wind appeared” for her. After I printed it and mailed it she left me. Three hours later. One is the loneliest number in a new car dealership in Ho Chi Minh City. Sammy Davis with an open container. Drinking is an emergency exit for a dismantling species.

My early success blew my brains out. It popped me into another abyss and another type face, a merry go round font smudged from breeding. I didn’t mature as a human in all directions. I was crazy. I remember exactly when I lost my mind. Chuck “JS” Mills and I had just dropped acid and we were in line at the Holland Tunnel.

“Y’know, Chuck, I decided that I’m just gonna go completely out of mind.” He started laughing as if it was the most hysterical thing he ever heard. He looked at me seriously and it was his turn to dead pan, to invoke, to threaten and cajole.

“Me? I feel like the blind nigger from Star Trek”. That was my old friend Chuck “JS” Mills. Once, on a snowy drive between West Virginia and NYC, he glued a votive candle to the dashboard of the huge beige Impala. After lighting the flame he surprised me by super-gluing a black matchbox car of a similar make right next to it. He spun his head like the ermine in the Da Vinci painting and nodded with the mirror shades glistening: “we need all the help we can get.”

The outsider with special powers pumped up on the screen to indicate universal reverence, the submission to the larger goal. But he’s still an outsider. He’s still marked with a sign that indicates he’s not part of the dominant paradigm.

I was raised Catholic, the most magical of the officially approved religious structures that sprung maggot like from the corpse of the Roman Empire. I was born in Margaret Hague hospital in Jersey City. At that time I was circumcised incorrectly. A half inch piece of skin was left and I have to clean it out periodically. Almost immediately I was scarred and mutated by the oppressive society. I wanted to go back to where I came from and my parents said I screamed everyday.

I don’t believe in karma because it implies an orderly universe. I prefer chaos, disorder and the possibility for absolutely anything to occur. A universe constantly unfolding, rolling and changing.

Perhaps I disbelieve in karma because the personal ramifications are too heavy to comprehend. It’s an easy write off.

But Lord Harry Krishna implied that once you leave this planet, well you just might be coming back. So if there is Santa Karma, I’d like to work it out on this plane, the plain of jars. I was on junk in the late nineties and I saw the marshes next to the NJ Turnpike turn into the plain of jars. Giant’s Stadium turned into a huge stone column. The field of vast funeral urns stretched from Alphabet City to Center City.

Why do I live in the past? Why am I making what happened before into the present? That is, why am I making a psychic hurt a full frontal assault on my senses? After snorting Oxy everyday for a year I can feel my brain starting pickled. I desperately need a friend.

The darkness on the edge of town is psychological. It refers to the places on the border of the personality that one goes to when the core is removed. When I’m drinking and strung out I’m a megalomaniacal prick that no one wants to be around. Twenty years ago I was accurately called “Kid Caligula”. The guy that called me that, the legendary West Virginia scenester Paul Bearer, is mad at me cos of an anti-Semitic rant I made to him twenty years ago. But wait, was that last weekend?

And he has every right to be. I’ve done so many things that I’m ashamed of now. “Shot gun shine, shame about it: so sad, goddamn- goddamn shame about it.” One night at an Inbred gig at the Underground Railroad, Paul told the crooner Bob: “Jim’s turning into Aleister Crowley right before our eyes!” I was on ET and I was wearing a feather boa.

ET is from the family of DMT. It’s an ecstasy like drug that lasts for five days. You were there right? That was the summer I made out with the Nazi Hunter in the cemetery. I remember walking down the tree lined street with her arm in mine. She just hung up on me. “Jim I’m not going back to that place.” It was shrill and heart felt. The cemetery in Morgantown was where the darkness on the edge of town became marked on maps.

I’m regrouping. I just got into town about an hour ago. Things were as I left them: in piles, in mounds, in strange gatherings suggesting a signal to aircraft. It meant that no matter how far I drove I was still behind or beneath the wheel. No matter how much coffee I guzzled, no matter how many cigarettes burned the nub of my knuckles I was the only one laughing at the jokes I once played on myself, against myself, towards myself for myself.

“You put yourself in these situations to give you something to write about-and it’s all just really nasty. You revel in your using, you glamorize it. You use your bi-polar illness as an excuse to et high. I don’t know, I’m just numb right now.”

I’m boxed in these days, trapped in a self-constructed cage. But I reflect that I’m at this stage for a reason, a good reason and if I was HERE I’d never be able t’get to who I am or who I’m supposed t’be without passing through these days, and we’re passing through these days all right...

I wake up with feelings of shame and repulsion as I drank most of my money up again. The old line “revisionist history will vindicate me” doesn’t work with bill collectors. It doesn’t work with my long suffering friends.

I went out to get some beer and I encountered about ten people dressed like Santa Claus. One of the Santa’s began shuffling backwards making choo-choo arm mills and contact with my eyes. I said hello and he continued the white menstrual show: “And he knows who has been naughty, and he knows who’s been nice- and I know you, you’ve been naughty this year.”

For once I was speechless. All I could make with my lips was a resigned, no kidding.

Who the fuck is this guy? Did I fuck his girlfriend? Did I take his last beer? Did I tell him his band sucked? Who the fuck is this Santa Karma Claus?

It was like he knew I was digesting a particularly cutting edge email I had received from a friend regarding some of my recent behavior. Which is characterized as antisocial according to the manual of psychoactive disorders. I’ve got to calm down. I’ve already lived a great deal longer than I thought I would, and the reckless abandon I’ve lived with has gotten me this far, and pretending to be the wickedest man in the world is starting to wear thin, even I can’t take myself anymore.

The beauty of being a writer is the ability to break back into silence when the time comes.

The next night I bought a six pack and a pint to remind myself that other writers started this way and just fuck it, the post office is getting to me.

I was cranking the Blind Willie Johnson and Luther Blissett, the conceptual artist with a cornucopia full of tricks screeched into the driveway. He was carrying a six pack and he shook his head at the morbid twilight soundtrack. “Jesus Christ, Jim, this feeling sorry for your self and drinking all day is just stupid. And this fucking music-jeezus” He cracked open and frosty and threw in a CD-R.

He was right of course. Suddenly Iggy was singing “I am the passenger”, which is a song I’ve gravitated towards cos I identify with the idea of just being a spectator. Just passing through and observing or just hearing about what I’ve done, did, said or fucked, or fucked up.

“What the fuck’s up with you? I’ve heard more than usual shit. I mean really, are you like, okay? You’re not going back into the psych ward are you?”

-What do you mean you’ve heard shit? Like what?

He drew a smoke and squinted. “Mumbler told me that you called your girlfriend a cunt at his house the other night.”

I was on the defensive but I knew it was true. I wasn’t very proud of that moment, my old lady is a beautiful girl and an incredible friend, but that night I was being a prick and I had to pretend to play cool. When confronted with unpleasant reality I always slip into persona.

-Well you can blame that on Capricorn Records.

“What!?!? Christ Jim! You’re worse than I thought, so now it’s Capricorn Records’ fault! What does that mean?!?! Capricorn Records! Your fuckin’ nuts, can’t ya just admit it? You push everyone away that loves you. I swear, Capricorn Records!”

We drank in silence and listened to a bootleg of the Blues Explosion playing “Son of Sam”. Which segued into Royal Trux’s beautiful “Back to School”, the last song I ever saw them play. (Of Montreal recently covered it). The tape started playing ‘don’t go back to Rockville’. I broke the stale cigarette twilight and my girlfriend’s white husky Koda raised an eyebrow as I spoke.

-Yeah you’re right, I’ve treated here terribly. I feel horrible about it, I really do. There’s not much I can say. She’s my old lady though, I love her, y’know that.

“Well why don’t you show it some time? This wickedest man in the world act is just stupid, but that’s right, that’s right: you’re not being an asshole: it’s all homage to Crowley.”

-Well it is!

Blissett batted his hand down at me incredulously, “Oh just stop it. Just stop it. And turn this REM shit off, okay, it’s depressing.” He was right, they sounded worse than Air Supply and I stood up. The radio started “truckin” and it seemed appropriate, we looked at each other and sang out: “what a long strange trip it’s been!” and it broke the ice between us. I spoke first.

-Y’know the last time I saw Mumbler (who hates REM personally) I asked for a cigarette and he sorta threw it at me and I couldn’t understand why. He musta been pissed about how I treated my girlfriend, shit, he’s a good guy.

“Well that’s my point: you’re alienating everyone. Especially people that already love you and you can’t afford to that, I mean who wants no friends.” He it let it drop and he let it hang. Then he asked, “And where’s your incredible Royal Trux book? Where’s the masterpiece?”

I pointed to the pile of paper near the hard drive and he smirked.

Great, it’s bad enough I get email from friends describing what a prick I’ve been but now I got friends coming over and telling me. I’m smoking one more cigarette before I crash. When I see my psychiatrist on Thursday I’ll get some type of write up, some type of piece of paper to cover my still employed ass. Eleven errors at the top of the season, when teams have quantitatively modified their defense. And a west coast friend said she just got the text from Saturday and wanted to know if I was okay. And I half wonder what it was I said. Another woman I’m in love with (and have been for years) said “Jesus Jim, you okay?” It was probably angry and most likely it was insane. A peek inside what’s left of my mind. A three fingered peak, all the words, all the pages, it has to start somewhere.

I’m trying to figure it all out; it all means I’m not living up to my obligations. I have obligations to write, to describe and to document. When I was on junk in NYC, I dreamt I was going from walk up hotel to hotel to score. Finally I entered a room and there was Mr. Mojo-Risin’ himself with a full beard and a beer in his hand, he pointed to a long necked Bud on the wooden table and gestured for me to sit down. “You’re not livin’ up to your obligations.”

She was painting before some windows overlooking Marietta Square and I was telling her that I live my books. That if people were going to say I was crazy I was going to be crazy. My writing exists as a magickal record. My visual work was an example of the text. I feel that physical representations of my writing makes the sentences come alive. In my larger visuals blood, semen, spit and hair are introduced as a way to make myself one with the piece before the final lamination. Certainly there’s a magickal intent with the pieces, with all aspects of the work from the recording textually. The words prove that at this junction I am alive and this is what I did said when, where.

There’s never been any separation between my life and my creativity. All are intrinsically linked. When people read my writing it is important to me that they merely read it, not whether they think its literature or the like. The same with my visual work.

Scrimshaw chapter when, now, then, later. Time is a large map. This week is a turning point in my life. Right now I decide whether I am going to manifest my destiny or allow fate to happen. What exactly is remorse? What is regret? I could pretend to have both but it would be false. Or I could pretend to have one and fake the other.

I just want a place to write. Things have gotten so bad that I do not know where to begin. There’s no need to describe it, I’ve been here before. I owe a dealer $480 and my first and only option fell through. That means I’ll be paying it off in weekly increments. That means I can’t go and cop and get anymore on credit. I have to quit snorting Oxycontin everyday.

1 am, one clock or something. The connection just weaved and sputtered out of my driveway. He was robbed at gun point at a casino in Biloxi. They got a yard and $800 worth of downtown.

Agoraphobia means fear of the marketplace as directly translated from the Greek. But in shorthand in means afraid to go outside and afraid to be around people. If this is the case then my home should/would/could be spotless. The focus of my next art piece, my continually unfolding pre-sent art piece should be about the need to do something.

I didn’t think you were your lecturing me. I thought you were expressing your fears that I’m on the freeway to death. You were saying that at one time you felt close to me and now you feel far away and helpless. I have to remember that the character I play and jim are two distinct entities. My friends and I are tired of watching me die. That’s why I feel so alone; I’ve pushed everyone away. Since I decided that I was going to live it has made things easier. I have to change everything about me. I have to be the real Jim for perhaps the first time in my life. You hit the road square on the pavement when you mentioned “performance piece”. Yes, a great deal of my life is about me setting up scenes and watching what happens in order to give me something to write about. Being a writer is all I ever wanted to be. No I can’t do it without creating an image of the suffering artist. Yes I can do it without substances.

Get give garnish glimmer. Am I supposed to feel guilty that I sold my cd collection for drugs? Six years of clean living gave me a few shelves of cultural artifacts. I was dope sick and I needed money. It was means to an end. I even got to the untouchable stack of cds. My need was greater than holding onto these things. My books have no resale value in this neck of the woods. This is a good thing because my library is actually moderately valuable. What is remorse? What is regret? I could pretend to have both but it would be false. Does my character have a picture? do the photos of me that survive reveal anything?

I have to have a writing project going on. I’m interested in making my new manuscript totally theoretical. Meta-journalism: totally about writing and promoting neo-neoism. “Scrimshaw”. I want to make sure that it’s correct. I want to get back into criticism as poetry. I think the most intriguing part of criticism today is non-documentation. The idea of site-specific pieces disappearing. Removing date stamps from everything. I might start attributing authorship to an anonymous collective: the neo-neoist alliance. Scrimshaw is a document describing what I’ve done that day for my art career. Just a plain document. Just names, no dates, no hyperlinks, a mailing list to avoid repetition.

I always do things halfway now. too stoned to finish, too broke to mail. Pathetic. If I don’t change anything, the same patterns continue. Scrimshaw: the only symbol of this poem is to be itself. Poetry is a creative act that involves the transference of some type of glyph that inspires. It’s not necessarily words on a page but a life activity. A life activity that captivates and inspires. Self documentation is an anti-activity. If something created is so ‘important’ and so ‘interesting’ won’t someone else want to write about it? Poetry not disguised as art theory but as theory itself. Poetry means letting things follow their own design. Letting ideas and shapes assume their own logic. Scrimshaw is about writing on the bones of the white whale. It’s about the large carcass that is art history being chopped up and placed in museums. Each bone is precisely weighed, minutely measured, completely photographed and infinitely studied.

Scrimshaw is a painstaking etching on ivory or bone and it is one of only a few indigenous American crafts. It was practiced for centuries by the Inuit and other native groups along the Northwest Coast. In the early 19th century it was adopted by the Yankee whale men during two to five year long voyages. To use the time during the journey they started carving on the filtering device in the mouth of the whale that looks like a comb: baleen. And of course they used the teeth and jawbones, which littered the decks of the ships. In fact the teeth were a commodity; they were part of the pay, and often traded to shopkeepers in port for goods or services. The origin of the word is obscure; the most interesting etymology is Dutch, translating: "to waste one's time".

If I use the idea that my life is a journey in search of the white whale and I’m writing an auto-hagiography called ‘scrimshaw’ it seems obvious. My writing extends out, my brain weaves waves that radiate then beg into sentences, into evidence that I’ve embraced chaos and madness. But this time the electro-stimulation, the micro-currents reveal that the radio is broken. Not so much cries for help but examples of a nervous system pushed to the limit. Modern, no, post-industrial communications have made my current insanity an electric lattice that presses against my soul like a huge dill pickle like a delicacy under glass.

If I look at myself dispassionately, if I step backwards and I evaluate my actions I have to conclude that I am insane. Fortunately it’s not a permanent condition. The fulcrum of my present disorder is my underlying opiate addiction coupled with my nascent alcoholism. When these things are under the straight up, when I’m hiding under my soap box, I have motive and opportunity. Instead of focusing on my idea for this file I’m just going to display it. Scrimshaw is a book about writing other books and trying to achieve some success as a writer in the constant now of the 21th century. It’s about being a writer in early 2010 where the market place is simultaneously saturated but entirely accessible. The literary marketplace is in fact so accessible that even the roads are crowded with goods. The goods have a one click retail value. An ad drifts along the side of a page.

Words exist to foster motion. Moving images that we shape one frame at a time. Does it give you discipline to listen to a song called discipline? Do you acquire it by osmosis or creative reinforcement?

Did the separation between life and art finally dissolve? Everybody seems to be creative now-everyone has a blog-the Yankees in the World Series turns into a 12,000 photo mono-blog. Another excuse for an art piece. More art for an excuse piece.

The book I’m writing now is called “scrimshaw”. I can’t believe I’ve done anything this afternoon. I thought a great deal. I realized the miraculous appearance of a stack of money to pay the dealer was truly miraculous. When asked about his belief system, Dylan said “I am a true believer.”

I’m excited about “scrimshaw” because I’m going to make it without any plot but with plenty of characters, I’m going to make it flat. Instead of the tedious “how did I get clean on my vacation?” “Scrimshaw” is about writing and publishing but it’s really about writing. It’s really about mapping activity and leaving it at that. It’s really a secret manuscript that will remain an internal document.

“So it’s all about you man. It’s all about you.” Creativity looks like a personal ad in an age of digital reproduction. Creativity looks like a blurb on a social not-working site. I wrote an internal document about an external project and how with so many changes going on it’s necessary to use a new name. The first name I wanted to use for the new piece I deleted from blog spot so that means it’s gone forever. And I why did I delete the blog forever. that’s top secret. But it turns out that if I switch some of the words around it sounds better. More mysterious-more a sense of “play” or more a commercial, attention getting ploy. The sense that the word: assembly starts with A so it’s at the front of your Akashic phone book of clicks drags and mosquito newspaper clippings pasted to the shells of centipedes. “So it’s all about you man. It’s all about you.”

Joe Gould’s masterpiece, “the oral history of the world” did not exist. But Joseph Mitchell’s “Joe Gould’s Secret” did. That piece is a beautiful story about how a man and a project defined each other. Joe Gould was the most famous unpublished writer in the Village in the thirties forties fifties and sixties. He claimed to have written a much rejected compendium of all the conversations he heard in his entire life. Anyone that wanted to look at it was put off by the same handwritten notebooks that told the same stories over and over. Joseph Mitchell found out that Mr. Gould’s lifeblood-the reason for his remaining alive was the legend of these books. But what if he did write the oral history of world? what would it have looked like?

A friend of mine is on a morphine drip at a downtown Atlanta hospital. He doesn’t need the Oxycontin pills they’ve been feeding him. I drove down and when the nurse was out of the room we made the exchange. I got a five milligram capsule and a forty milligram pill. I swallowed the capsule and snorted the pill. Now I’m pretty high.

then I think about my hateful text messages last Saturday. to people who do not want to talk to me. anyway, by these long strangulated cries for help. a friend said that I surround myself with delusions but I look at it like a ritual, like a performance. the village shaman takes on the pain of the community. My insanity for lack of a better word. My behavior becomes defined as ritualistic-in fact it becomes ritualistic because I say it is. When necessary I factor in the factor of my chemical imbalance just another excuse. Pulling a manhole cover over my life. Trying to live differently and trying to stretch things out. Trying to reach different parts of myself.

Using my life as source material, retelling the whole story like a long unfolding well read carpet. I pretend to be a paparazzi foto-graphing myself on the blood red carpet-starring myself, directing myself.

I have a commitment to write this book, I shudder cos I wonder if THOTH is pissed and then I know that he is. Ke-rrist, the century is beginning and I’m a colossal fuck up with no one to blame but myself...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Number 51 your time is up

I opened the original unedited manuscript of Thee Royal Trux Text (TRTXTXT) and I cut out 16,000 words. These were all about me (surprise) and they’re going into my auto-hagiography “Scrimshaw”. Of the 30,000 words of TRTXTXT that are left I reconfigured them in a linear fashion. There are 12,000 words about the actual gigs and 18,000 about rock criticism. Luckily, or perhaps obsessively, I still have all the notebooks and plenty of unused material. There was an appendix about the “pound for pound” tour called: “a gay in NY is just a fag in Atlanta” that’s gonna be included. It doesn’t exist on any discs so I have to retype it. This is a good thing because I need positive things to do to keep me occupied right now. My house is trashed. My personal relationships are all in shambles. I really did it this time. This time. As I re-read parts of the manuscript I’m not surprised to see me acting exactly the same 10 years ago. My cyclical flip out contains: the paranoia, the grandiosity, my dismissive postures, my purple anger and rage. Dangermouse & Sparklehorse really pegged it when they had Wayne Coyne sing: “the more I try to hurt you, the more it hurts me.” I write publicly about my breakdowns but only the date’s change. Everyone else seems to have moved along in their lives and I remain a skipping record. I’m so enamored of tape loops that I’ve finally become one. I was convinced that writing was an emotional emetic and the documentation of these bleak days would help inoculate me from future outbreaks. Instead I let the tapes play on, over and over, as I prepared an essay about the necessity of repetition and minimalism in post-industrial western society. My drug use became a post-fluxus, neo-neoistic gesture instead of just a waste. My allusion to magick, creativity and love under will become just that: illusion. Like most writers I talk a good game. Like most losers I’m able to analyze my failures precisely and specifically-as long as my part of the equation is negated. It’s easy for me to make pretentious references to electric mysticism and the need to disconnect from rational thought. Then I remind myself that the village shaman was often scorned. He was scorned because his so called alternative states of consciousness were just a cover for being an asshole. The village was simply too busy living their lives to deal with his “messages”, no matter how ornately he carved them into the bones and teeth of whales. The gift shop was crowded. The mood stabilizers have really gotten on top of me. I’m on a low dose too. I wrote in long hand for hours last night. I’m working on Chapter 51 of ‘Scrimshaw’ which is a collage of material from the first draft of the Royal Trux book (1999), my novel “Your Love is the Beauty of Death” (1995) and last weekend (2010). It amazes me that the material segues together so well. According to Crowley, 51 is the number of pain, sadness and loss. No coincidence that in the Zeppelin movie the money was stolen from box number 51. Nor is it a coincidence that a woman I thought I was in love with used to have post office box number 51. Remember that version of “careful with that axe Eugene” titled “come in number 51 your time is up”? Burroughs called these coincidences and parallel universes “the place of dead roads” because they lead absolutely no where. About an hour after I finished reading that book I met my first wife in Pittsburgh. True story. I gotta get some coffee. I gotta take a shower. I gotta start typing up the notes from yesterday. I was just editing the chapter about seeing RTX in Athens Ohio. Those of you concerned about my well-being, the Latin word Perdurabo means: “I’ll endure to the end.” I ain’t worried.

Monday, April 12, 2010

saw Willie heath neal the other night.

saw Willie heath neal the other night. he plays loud acoustic guitar, his guitar player has white hair and he really knows how to pick, t-bone is the drummer-he said McCracken’s in Marietta square is their favorite place top play-the bassist was quiet-it’s good time old fashioned shoot em up country rock and roll-the original songs blend in fine-I found a seat at the front table, Willie said I couldn’t sit there but I wanted to be close as I ate fish and chips. another man in a chair asks: where are you from? the guitarist his hair white rests his jacket near me, he starts out and it’s pounding: why don’t you leave me alone! I clap vociferously-Willie heath neal and the damned ole opry sound like a dream. an old time radio show beamed from another planet. T-Bone solos, the guitar solo-Willie goes off and I got thrown out of the bar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

scrimshaw chapter yesterday

scrimshaw chapter yesterday

aw mama can this really be the end? I was with the painter Doug Wolski last night. we went to Nick’s back porch which is around the corner from my place. I was never there before. It’s a dive but a cool one I guess. We discussed why drummers always have a bald spot and long, long hair. Doug says to me: “that whole head is poem, that whole skull cap is a book of poetry.” I agreed. Around sunset I walked over to D’s house. It was a really beautiful walk and I got some great shots of the National cemetery. It’s really spooky actually. The party was cool; there were some nice people there. D has Doug’s artwork on the wall-this long geometric pattern, these shapes chopped off and measured, this group of colors separated by the frames. It moved me before I knew that Doug did it which is a good sign. He was sleeping on a couch and he came out to the back porch. “I knew that was Jim’s voice.” He said he was looking for a graceful exit and I grabbed a beer and we cruised Marietta listening to the Fugees. I never heard them before and it fit right in. I wish I could say that we talked about art and creativity and the struggles of the avant garde underground. We watched the Bulls and talked about the cougars a few bar stools over.
I said the brunette would take it in the face and the blonde wasn’t bad. This gray haired four eyed faggot was making a play for the blonde. He was probably younger than me but he looked like fifteen years older. He was pulling out all the stops for this bitch. The band started playing which was better than the Whitesnake they were piping in. I started putting my fingers in a peace sign over the guys head. Crowley said that the victory sign was the magickal response to the swastika and I don’t know if that’s true but it sounds good. He spun around and told me that he was gonna kick my ass.
-Why are you grabbing my dick! I am not gay!
“Yeah, we’re not gay man! What’s your problem?” I liked how Doug backed me up instantly and I continued the script.
-Man we just came in here to watch the Bulls. I got fifty down on them. (My phone buzzed) that’s my bookie right now, jeezus. I can’t believe you grabbed my dick! I am not gay!
“Jim’s not gay man, what’s your problem?” Doug lowered his voice and said: “don’t get me thrown out of here.” The barkeep had curly blond hair and curvy figure that radiated movement. She was wearing a t-shirt with Biden’s quote: this is a big fucking deal all over it. (I got a big deal for ya baby). She asked how we were doing.
-Oh, everything was fine till this guy grabbed my dick!
Doug figured things were gonna get ugly so we exited via the back porch. He said something like these bushes were made for pissing. We got to headquarters and had some of the Newcastles left in the fridge. I showed Doug some of my visual work and he made an insightful comment that I’m attempting to replicate.
“Part of being an artist is putting your work out there. If all this great work is hidden...” He left it for me to put the frame around the piece. He started saying that my last girlfriend was hot, that she was the only one at the art gallery talk that had something to say. I told Doug that he could have her. When we were breaking up I asked if she minded if I wrote a book about our three week fling.
“You’re gonna do whatever you want to anyway! Oh that’s right; writers always have the last word-but not if no one gets a chance to read them!”
She was referring to my lack of self-promotion, to my reluctance to shill my wares on Ebay. She was right, every other artist promotes themselves but I’m way too interested in pretending to be cool to do it. I bit the bullet and put my book about Jucifer, “Jucifer Rising” up on Ebay. I actually sold one this week. That was magick. Naturally it’s a book dedicated to a female friend who won’t talk to me anymore. When I was hanging out with my close friend, the organic farmer she decided to undertake some subterfuge at my suggestion.
She texted Snoopy and asked if she’d seen me. Snoopy was like: I haven’t talked to Jim in a year. He was on thin ice with me and I am done with him. He’s tried to contact me a few times but I am done with him.
The organic farmer said that I was a mess and I was trying to kick. Snoopy was like: good luck. I dedicated the book to her cos she was my platonic best friend for years. She really carried me through some rough emotional times. I dedicated the book to her cos literally it wouldn’t have been finished if it wasn’t for her. I thought best friends forever meant forever. I understand I’m difficult to deal with when I’m using cos I really start to believe I’m Bukowski or Dash Snow or whatever other character I’m pretending to be.
Writers don’t really exist, they’re always outside of everything, taking it all in, organizing, cataloging. The past 25 years of my life have been one big manuscript. The beauty of it all is I get to control the past and I regurgitate it into a form I can deal with. Y’see, it says it right here. “Paste the sheets from right to left and from top to bottom: then behold!” (Liber Legis Chapter 3, Verse 73).
After Doug left I wrote out a bare bones chapter for “Scrimshaw” about the influence of various women on my life. There’s nothing more beautiful than spending time with a kindred soul. Some of the kindred souls I’ve met over the years have profoundly influenced me. All women excite me, few interest me. I told this cute lawyer last night that from now on my lovers are gonna have to have a favorite Dostoyevsky book.
“I guess that leaves me out.” I didn’t even go there. I sent a note to the Nazi Hunter, a woman I mistakenly thought I was in love with cos I confused love with obsession. I told her that her facebook photo looks looney and it would be nice if she’d just mellow out and be my friend. Why did I do that? I’d like some closure on things. At least I only sent her the message and didn’t post it for all to see. I need to get a breathalyzer on my email outbox. I think such an invention would be worth millions.
When Doug was here at headquarters and we doing things that can’t be revealed until the statue of lubrication expires I played him the song “Revenge”. This song by Dangermouse & Sparklehorse has been the soundtrack for “the Dash Snow Thing”. He snapped his fingers: “This ain’t Dangermouse. It’s, it’s,”
-The singer is Wayne Coyne.
“The Flaming Lips!!!” and our heads nodded.
Like Wayne Coyne sings: “you can’t hide what you intend-the more I try to hurt you, the more that it hurts me.”
Yeah. So that’s it for today. I think. My intellectual mentor Dave texted me the other day that Genesis P-Orridge was recording at WFMU where Dave is the major domo graphics artist in chief. I told Dave to say hello for me.
“I probably pissed them off when I told them ‘no you can’t have my parking space’. Definitely pissed them off when I started busting concrete and hammering nails outside the studio...with the door open.”
I wrote back: refusing my guru a parking space, classic!
This Easter morning my head is pounding. I’m dope sick but that’s a good thing. I’m listening to the famous June 3 77 Tampa gig. There are three sources for the gig. The second tape starts with a guy yelling “bring on the blimp!” Zeppelin played three songs and the rain started. They split and the crowd rioted. This bootleg has snippets from the news broadcasts. “About 4,000 people were involved in the melee, 52 were arrested.” My dear friend Frank Mullen was there. He told me that when Zeppelin left the stage he knew they weren’t coming back so he split. While he was in his car the riot started behind him. I downloaded the gig for him and then I remembered he was dead from cancer. Frank’s dead, Ana moved to London and my best friend Snoopy hates my guts. Fortunately, the woman I’m involved with today is amazing. She’s a painter with a huge heart, piercing blue eyes and a killer smile. I’d go on to say that she’s brilliant and physically gorgeous but you already knew that.
I’m winding down and moving forward. I’m really happy about “scrimshaw” though these days I’m not writing this book: it’s writing me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

sandarena arenasand internal external document

Sandarena essay about the work

Sandarena, arenasand is an obvious rip-off of Kurt Schwitters but different on one count. I needed to come up with a toponymical brand name to differentiate my personal space on the web from seven billion other users. Sa-As/As-Sa thus has a functional use. There is a specific function tied to the use of this name. To give myself an identity or at least to give an engine the ability to pick me apart from other cross reflective cross hairs of individual personal creative expression. The nose hairs of Democracy encourage poor taste.

At this point in my existence, I’m either halfway, two thirds of the way or at the beginning of the end or maybe I’m just here NOW. I feel the need to organize my work into its final categories an sa-as/as-sa is as good as anyplace to begin to codify. I’ve already (or perhaps) later I will discuss the multiple meanings suggesting by Sandarena...and how that piece ended on the full moon of December 2 2009.

Regardless the work will become codified under this marker because I am settling down-I am planting stakes, demarcating lines...from around 88 to 99 I used Grudgefuck as a name.

Grudgefuck represented my hurt and anger. Sandarena represented a mystical affront, a changing symbol: an incorporation and integration of my past into the present-map (Marietta Assembly Plant) doesn’t represent anything, instead it reflects the current obsession of assembling projects to generate income while infiltrating the post televised universe in a way that reverts back to the source in the form of sustenance.

Saying goodbye to Grudgefuck points out that I am different now. Instead of loudly proclaiming that I have a grudge and I intend to ‘fuck”-not in a sexual way but in a hateful, violent capacity. The loudness of the name was decisive.

Grudgefuck was too one sided. It shocked and reminded instead of allowing open flow. One either “grudgefucked” or got “grudgefucked”-beyond the initial titillation the idea went no where. Revenge is essentially a dead end structure.

Forgive me if I digress. Things are different now, how can they be otherwise? In the late 80’s I began to produce music under the name “Grudgefuck”, a moniker that described my feelings toward the recording industry as well as “cultural” society in general. After 20+ years I do not feel like Grudgefuck anymore. I do not feel the same sense of animosity or hatred towards society (or rather and most importantly) to myself.

The idea of Grudgefuck was to use entirely prefabricated pieces of music and then transform them according to its own limitations.

Furthermore, the name Grudgefuck was too close to my love for the extreme noise ensemble Whitehouse. It was/is too much of a rip off. But Sandarena/Arenasand is too pretentious. Perhaps I should just use “SA-AS” or “AS-SA” without further explaining. Or perhaps just the initials AS, or @$ or $@, (of pre-war fascism and I’m not interested in that). (the letters SA convey an image South Africa and I’m not interested in that.)

Sandarena/Arenasand is about information and communication. Sandarena/arenasand is a deliberate palindrome. Reaching into the past while extending into the future. If a memory can recall something that once happened then what happens tomorrow is just a future memory. Why can’t the future be accessed with the same thought process? The immediate answer is the actuality did not happen yet-but the yet is a future that soon will be relegated to the past. The present is only as long as it takes for the word to be said, to be uttered and expressed. Sand can be blown into glass. Sand can be tracked into the house. Sand can descend an hourglass. Sand can pass through the fingers or matt into clumps like a castle. An arena can be a physical place to attend performances or an idea of being “in the arena.”

Sandarena is a much more encompassing idea and illustration. It has the ability to contract and to expand to include a wide variety of expressions and activities.

How all the sand adds up into a shore on a beach. How all the grains can be examined as one (or two) how the tide takes from it and adds to it.
• sand (tiny grains that form a huge bank, together)
• arena (a place to watch events)
• (‘harena” was a Roman term for a space that gladiators fought inside,
the sand was used to soak up the blood.)
this is the symbol for sand or arena:

each granule of sand touches another grain. the arena is the forum in which the sand shifts.
a man praising the sky. The four elements plus sun, moon and spirit between them. Seven is the number of planets, seven is the number of days: as above/as below.
Sand arena is pretty arbitrary when it comes down to it. I needed a name that I had no previous connection to. A way of formulating a new identity (however transitory) while breaking with the past-a way to start all over again.
The past is completely dead now. The person that used to act in such ways is long gone, disappeared like old newspapers-like the form of the newspaper itself. Gone- a great relic of the age of railroads.
The artist creates a body of work and this body exists in tomes and images. Reflected upside down in the brains of an audience-the artist needs an audience to exist. A genetic fingerprint of a meme of an idea-but what’s an idea, what’s the idea? the idea, the concept is that through creativity a path to the heart can be formulated.

But I’m trying to close something. I’m trying to shut the door on my earlier work and move into the present. But perhaps sand arena/arena sand is not the answer. I was driving past the General Motors plant last night and I was captivated by the sign. I interpreted the words in my own reality as “Assembly Plant Marietta” and I thought that it had potential. Possibly I could become Assembly Plant Marietta in the near future. Just what the world needs another band.

While I certainly was Grudgefuck for awhile I later became Sandarena/Arenasand. A piece of sand in a vast arena. A small molecule touching others, moving with the wind. A piece of sand in the arena and an arena comprised of sand. The Grudgefuck particle has become integrated. My contempt and hatred has become modified. The notion of sand, as a part of the whole rather than the sum of the whole has also become integrated within my personality. Today I am interested in moving away from just being a granule.

The idea of ‘apm’ is three fold. Marietta indicates my home, assembly indicates that I am building my work and the plant signifies it as a living being. A piece of art designed to be integrated within and without.

Each granule of sand touches another grain. The arena is the forum in which the sand shifts. The sand arena is the idea of a medium sized half bowl theatre. Each creative project, every cultural gesture is represented as a grain of sand placed inside the bowl. The granules are visible in different parts of the auditorium. It isn’t until the arena is filled that patterns are discernable from the air.

Marietta assembly plant is an idea. It was an idea that I had then I deleted it. I just started another blog under the title “assembly plant Marietta”. (Oh great, another blog, sign me up, I’ll follow you if you follow me). I think I’m gonna put up my photos of Marietta there. Maybe I don’t know. Maybe I’ll make it the home for Enoch.
Enoch is the “label” I starting putting cassettes out under in 1988. Eventually I put out two or three tapes and a couple of CD’s. Assembly Plant Marietta
Has a better ring to it. I can just use APM.
I can use APM for everything. I want to have everything under one roof. Aesthetically, spiritually, conceptually. SA/AS wasn’t going anywhere. I just didn’t feel it and I don’t think I ever did. It was a transitory piece. I’ve undergone a lot of changes since I first started using the logo and name eight years ago. Manufacturing cultural work, growing if water and nurtured, the name of my home.
I imagine that I’m a fortune 500 company that has been lured to Marietta cos of the tax breaks. I agree to mention the city in my advertising to establish an identity. When you think of Marietta I want you to imagine all the great avant gherkin cutting edge art being made here. A change in the heart does not require new clothes but it can always use new vocabulary. After all: “it is the hour of the feast of Ra-Hoor Khuit.” An adopted home town always sings and signs on the bottom line.
The sandarena arenasand project resulted in the creation of ten booklets, all original xeroxes depicting assemblages of my graphics in editions of 10 or twenty. That was all right. Of course I created the blog. It was unfocused for a very long time. Today I have a much better understanding of what I want to do in cyberspace. I made a CD-R of an old distorted recording of heart’s “magick man” and I gave it away to about ten people. It was actually a Grudgefuck recording from Jersey City in the early nineties.
I had mail, bank, light, life, love, liberty.

The goal is not to get published at any cost. The goal is to abide by agreements made before sending an article to a publisher. Oh that’s right; it’s all about me (you). Of course it is. Why would I agree to a creative act void of self-interest? The delusion of crowds?

I did that ripoff/homage to On Kawara where I sent out two postcards everyday saying “today I listened to...” I did that for about nine months and I wrote a long essay about the project called: “the door was open and the wind appeared”. That piece worked out well, I kinda forgot about that. Maybe I should repost that with illustrations.
About the plane/plank working. On Halloween (2006) I designated the end of my second year in my house. It was the third plane where my reality, consensus reality and reality coincided. The idea was to make my world come alive with concentration. And it plainly worked because the plain plan had me out on a plank. The ‘k’ was added and in parentheses because it is the eleventh number of the alphabet. The restart of the sequence after ten and of course being the magick letter.
I illustrated this as a poem: plan(k)/plan(e)/(3) Y. The last letters of the poem when written vertically as ‘key’. That was the key. A plan that walked me out on a plank which lead to a different plane. I made a rubber stamp with these words and I included it on piles of correspondence. (I made another more explicit stamp that read: “plan: 3y, plank/plane, working”.)
And now a year later I have to concede that it worked. It opened up a new set of rules and new scope of the landscape. That was three years ago and now I’m conceding that it meant nothing. It gave me another mystical distraction in the midst of the sand arena, arena sand piece.
“the door was opened and the wind appeared”: invocation

“Jucifer Rising”: rebirth

“Psychotropic of Cancer”: propaganda

“Scrimshaw”: tactics

I’m going to a rock club tomorrow to meet with Jucifer. I’m going to bring a stack of copies of Jucifer Rising for the band to autograph. Which means that tonight I have to start rubberstamping and numbering copies for them to sell. But at least I’ll come back with some copies that are signed so I can autograph them. The reason why the book hasn’t been aggressively marketed is that I’ve it wasn’t finished. It was conceived as an art piece and it needed all the elements, ooh of course I could have done it differently. But the year of 2009 was one long nod.

I can’t say that sa/as was a failure or a success. It was the conception that I worked under from 2002 to 2009 and it served its purpose. The place I’m at right now is very promising. Though I have to cum clean round.
an elastic arena of sand shifts gently in about an hour to accommodate each circular spectator perfectly round

Monday, March 22, 2010

lady jaye chapter of scrimshaw

Chapter 53 If time is a tunnel then memories are stairwells that bring us to the surface. On the level ground we soak in the many rays of pleasant times and ultimate connections that serve to sustain as we continue our underground journey. Lady Jaye told me that she loved the PTV3 line up. “I could eat them without dressing.” I sent her some requested material that met her approval: “yes, berry good.” That’s the way she speaks: with taste and a delicate palate. “I like warm Dr. Pepper,” she told me. Confused over the voices I mistook her for Djinn. I said they had a shimmering quality when they spoke. “Shimmering,” she repeated. Her voice is a giant chain that helped pull me from a cave, the light shimmering from every link. I wrote that several months ago. I never met Lady Jaye in person. I knew her over the phone and though email. I’d call and she’d talk to me for like an hour. After one of my heroes, Hunter Thompson, blew his brains out we talked. She pointed out that using coke for that many years rewires the brain chemistry. Rewires the brain chemistry; that was a point I needed to hear because I hadn’t considered it. In one sentence she was able to clarify a point and make me understand exactly what had gone on and why. I suddenly saw her as a mirror of Djinn and how they both shined light in different places. They reflected each other but that reflection didn’t convince it enhanced. It showed the lines around each other’s body like a grid overlaying a map. They traced each other and said: ‘we can go here, or we can go there.’ ‘This is me, that is me.’ In my voluminous files I find a postcard of two marmots on a rock. Marmots are a species of ground squirrel that look really cute. On the back was a nice note from Lady Jaye saying that Mercury is in retrograde and it’s caused all manner of bullshit the past few weeks. She mentioned how NYC is a toxic oven in the summer but where to move? “It must be somewhere without pollution and with a tolerant consciousness so we don’t end up tarred and feathered.” It’s hard for me to imagine anyone tarring and feathering such a gentle spirit as Jaye but stranger things have happened. Her passing was a great shock and very strange indeed. The day before I was recalling her interest in warm dr. pepper and I thought when she comes next month I’ll be sure to leave a bottle in the back of my car so she can experience some warm southern dr. pepper. I was absolutely stunned when I got the email. I couldn’t even look straight. Who am I gonna talk to now? I got so used to Jaye picking up the phone and saying: “I’d recognize that drawl anywhere, how are you Jim?” We traded rock and roll gossip; we discussed the gangster Bush administration, we discussed being Cancers and she gave me an interesting tip. She didn’t celebrate her birthday on the actual day because so many strange things had happened in the past. Her last celebration was on Bastille Day which is my birthday. Most importantly we discussed the message of Breyer P-Orridge and how it is about showing the possibilities of change. About showing the inevitableness of change, about showing that the way you live can be creative all by itself. Move a fin and the world turns. Five or six times over the past year I’ve had such an urge to call her but then I remembered. Especially since I changed my anti-depressants and I knew she’d have some insight. “Rewiring the brain chemistry.” Rewiring what a person thinks is possible; reclaiming what a person thinks is applicable, redistributing the energy to accommodate the belief that nothing is true and everything is permitted. Lady Jaye showed and reflected a message of hope and love. She hoped that everyone she encountered could get a glimpse from the light she reflected. I certainly did. I miss her very much.