An OLD track, never released until 2015. Back when I played guitar, I guess.
In the sky between Tokyo and Manila, realizing that Philip K. Dick was deranged (in a creative way) from quite early on. Mid-1960s North Beach, placed in a proto-mutant future, is the locale realized most vividly in this very readable example of sci-fi pulp literature. Napkin art, the inevitable result.
As for my lost night in Roppongi, between legs of the flight? I'll put something into readable form in a few days. This next section of Cowachunga is a real doozy. I'm going to take another week for it, just to make sure I do not excrete something that completely breaks the contract with the reader.
Let's make it fab & phenomenal, if outside the box (again) that market savvy execs are looking for. Like Alex Chilton's Third, without the excessive drama.
I'm featuring audio recordings (part of the incipient Chasing the Sun project) on a new Audio Works page. The pieces feature my tribal flute (often in conjunction with other musicians) and conversations that I felt were revealing, poetic, humorous, semi-tragic. High fidelity listening this isn't.*
For the record, I really despise the Soundcloud experience. The platform is based on the idea of mixing random tracks by various artists. There is no way I have found of listening to a set of tracks by a specific artist straight through.
For the time being, the Chasing the Sun page is a nice touchstone. I'll figure out a way to put everything on iTunes as a coordinated offering in the not-so-distant future (in other words, within a year or two––I'm really the lazy auteur). Wish I had people to do the grunt work of presenting my output to the world. I guess this is a luxury that many artists dream of - create works and have someone else sort out the mess.
* Rather more uplifting than going through and archiving Kurt Cobain's 4,139 cassette tapes, I imagine.
Allow me to summarize my somewhat crazy, often inspired, existence with a few pictures. And introduce my vision as poet and human. Links on the photos highlight some writings, recordings. I am going to say that Chasing the Sun (audio) and Cowachunga (novel-in-progress) are most worth visiting.
Slow down, make it with
another human, erratic.
"Told you" she said in another voice,
dreams & wishes, warm light, soul.
I was into her so much,
her fragility, her strength,
I was into myself.
I am into myself.
Let it all crumble
let it all disintegrate, from inside,
the feeling that I am the
With age you can no longer
say it is so, you can only accept.
Thank you again.
Kyle and Dylan scanned the darkness as the Mustang slowed to inch-by-inch progress. The high beam petering out a few feet off the road, engulfed in night––a hint of moonrise over the ridge only accentuating the lack of artificial lights. There was a good chance they had already passed the turn-off. Kyle squinted hard as a hint of tracks veered off the road. “Shit, I think that was––” the car shot into reverse across center-ridged divider as Kyle flailed for something to hold onto. He lurched forward as the brakes screeched in assertion of control over an engine seeking alpha. Holding the sides of his seat tightly he readied himself for lift off––Dylan was clearly set on reasserting himself in the most reckless way possible. Instead, there was an awkward clearing of the throat. “Sorry, I’m not used to putting this thing into reverse."
Dylan eased the Mustang onto unmarked track with excruciating slowness, as if expecting the worst––the sort of disintegration that had occurred after Beatty. The car’s grip on the road holding surprisingly firm as they skirted the edges of the ridge. Dylan gradually accelerated, trusting that the road would allow steady progress. After a quarter mile there was a significant rise, larger rocks and areas of erosion causing constant jitter. A sense of anticipation building with each successive bend. It was not simply the idea of reconnection with herb under a star-brushed sky. There was also the prospect of friendship unearthed at its most primal foundation––the reestablishing of connections submerged over time in a staccato of jobs, girlfriends, self-inflicted deadlines.
“What are we looking for again?”
“A boulder, some rocks….”
“I reckon. I forget.”
“We must be getting near––”
After a couple miles of free association, the track widened. The boulder, as advertised, was large and round. It looked as if it had been there for aeons––was too solidly set in place to be otherwise. Cutting the lights, Dylan was the first out. Kyle stopped him from charging ahead, “Let’s gather a few things out of the trunk. Some water and a sweater. If this is anything like the outback, it gets bloody cold.” They rummaged around, putting together a backpack full of essentials. “And let’s take it slow––there is only one car and a big vast fucking desert.” Letting his eyes adjust and registering that his advice had been accepted without rebuttal, Kyle probed the first line of rocks. Half a minute in, keeping the shadow of the car within view, his eyes adjusted fully and he came across three rocks balanced on a boulder. “Here, I think I found––shine a light.” Dylan came huffing in his direction, pointing a light from iPhone. In the absence of connectivity, the device was relegated to a flashlight.
About 10 feet past the stacked rocks, elevation started in earnest––the rock face sheer and high. At first glance there was no way up. “Do another sweep, slowly.” Kyle walked along the rock face, his shadow lengthening as the light shifted behind him, scanning for sign of a break. Nothing. A lizard emerged from somewhere, skittering down a crack and out of the light. Continuing for four or five paces, Kyle caught himself. Where exactly had the lizard come from? Could be from a ledge, a fissure, could be… backpedalling, he took a close at that section of the rock face, running his hand across grainy rock. There, obscured from vision, an unexpected gap––a pathway cut at a sharply oblique angle. “Shine a light…” Then they were within narrow crease, in near total darkness, a thin band of stars guiding them. A growing sense of claustrophobia––there was no room to turn, no way of escape. Steep, rudimentary stairs. Hands groping ahead, gaining elevation, yearning toward an expanse of stars anchored by incipient moon. There could be only one reason for this tortuously constructed crease, Kyle thought––the way to Cowachunga was designed to be hidden. He navigated the final set of stairs through sandstone and emerged as if through spiral staircase winding to the turret of a lighthouse. And then they were out, following a wide path through broad wash to a plateau, set against another, gentler rise. Dylan reached the top first and stood motionless for a moment before turning to Kyle, “Mate, you gotta see this.
I took a look at the Arisugawa Park site after months of inactivity and it was embarrassing. Complete site redesign in order. In other news, two months after its inception, EnduranceWriter is getting more than 1,000 views a week. A silent audience swells––I am glad to be reaching people who are into quality prose, not fireworks. Here is the little blurb I wrote for the revamped site:
Arisugawa Park, the Japanese novel I began in 2005, is nothing like how I have been describing it. I see no antecedents for this novel. I pulled John LeCarre out of the hat because his The Honorable Schoolboy was one of the few thrillers I really enjoyed as literature (no disrespect Dick Francis, Dan Brown). I do not actually read much genre stuff, except when I get into a specific author (now reading a bit of Philip K. Dick, Dashiell Hammett) or exploring movies within certain period (a current phase, film noir).
John Steinbeck because I lived in the Central Coast area he wrote about for several years and enjoy works such as Cannery Row to my bone. (Having ingloriously slaved on a fishing boat in Alaska helps). Ernest Hemingway, if only for the humanity, rhythm, and memories evoked by A Clean Well-Lit Place et al. (At age 17-18, I roamed for several months throughout Europe and along the NoCal coast with a 1951 edition of Hemingway's Collected Stories and Shakespeare's Othello.) Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Roberto Bolano, Pablo Neruda, Borges––without them, where would I be? William Shakespeare. Pynchon, Dostoeyevsky, Tolstoy. Tintin... Late 1980s Batman. Crumb. Van Gogh, Gaugin. The Mona Lisa, Murakami. Miles Davis, Satie. The North Beach poets. Jack, Bob, Sarah, Gary, The Seated Scribe. Samsara - endless suffering of all writers.
What I am really saying is do not read this site. Arisugawa Park may never see the light (and I am okay with that). Proceed to the ongoing serial novel Cowachunga, which I am publishing as I go.