Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Goodbye and Hello Part 2

Here's a direct link that should work too, if your browser is clear. If not, clear that thing!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Goodbye and Hello


If you're reading this, you are at my old website. Maybe you are used to getting here from your browser or if you type in the first few letters of awalkingcarnival.com, this is what pops up, which means you need to clear your browser or reset it. If you don't know how to do that, go to this link: https://kb.iu.edu/data/ahic.html and it'll show you how to do it. Then try typing awalkingcarnival.com again. Hopefully that will work! Come on, there's a huge party going on and you're missing it!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reading Signs

Sometimes I try to pretend I'm a visitor in a weird place, which is odd because I already sort of am.
But I'm used to my routes and routines, and mostly I jog the treadmill without looking up. I imagine if I was in Kaslakistan or the Piazza de la Paletana that everything would be noticeable, even the toothpaste tubes and milk cartons. Obviously I can't do this for too long without feeling delusional, but it's a fun exercise to force myself to pay attention. Maybe if I think of having a quandary like being in a particular place I've never visited, it won't seem so overwhelming and difficult and defining; it'll just be a small and unusual town to pass through.

Check out this beautiful video my brother Beau made with some friends:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Semper Fi -The Brothers (opening)

 Pete runs through the woods batting away the branches and leaves with his arms.  Everything is a blur: skin, green, brown, gray; and his breath seems a separate part of him. He moves too fast to look over his shoulder so he surges forward to the clearing before letting out a scream. “Out”, he yells, laughing, panting and turning in one motion. He puts his hands on his knees and hangs his head. He almost catches his breath when he feels something hit with the force of a bullet. He screams and grabs his side. .
 “Dick! You can’t do that! I was in the clear”.

“I threw it when you were still in,” Thom’s smile is huge and crazed.

“Fucking retard!”

“I did! You were still in”.

“Idiot,” Pete lifts his shirt, exposing a red welt on his ribs. He feels something whip past his ear. “Come on! Quit it,” he looks up and sees Jimmy step out from behind another tree. Jimmy styles his next throw like a big league pitcher. It is fast and high.

The rock, about three inches in diameter, soars over his head and down the hill over the bar of the overpass. They all watch it moving through the air in slow motion, and then they hear a screeching sound: breaks ripping, metal against metal. The boys run to the bridge and look over the bar, their faces frightened and completely void of guilt. A car below has missed the old oak tree by inches but there is smoke in the air from the burning tires and the front windshield had a huge spider-web crack from one side to the other.

“Whoa,” Pete says. All three of them stand with their heads down and their mouths partly opened. They are all breathing heavily. They duck down, a quick reflex, when the driver-side door and then the passenger’s creak open. Two men hop out, “What the fuck?” “What the hell was it?” They look under and around the car, confused and jittery, adrenaline practically bubbling audibly.

“Look at the fuckin windshield”.

“Shit”. They look up in unison and spot the boys immediately.

“You little mother fuckers,” the smaller of the two launches up the hill towards them.

The boys are gone in a blink, birds at the sound of a rifle, each one in a different direction. They are-well experienced at being chased. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Semper Fi- Bradford Bridge

On the way back from the beach we used to stop at the Bradford Bridge so all the boys could jump off it. We were like clowns in a circus car getting out of the VW.  “Ow”, someone said. “Quit it”. All the boys got out: Miles and Geoffrey, Pete and Eric, while the rest of us stayed in the back seat, sunburned and sandy, our hair tangled stiff from the salt water. We shared coloring books and drew with melted crayons that we had peeled from the pack. My aunt Nancy sat sideways in the front seat smoking a joint and dancing with her shoulders and head.
What's for dinner?
Poop Sandwiches.
Poop Sandwiches with relish and corn on the cob.
When Miles yelled we all turned our heads together to look out the back. Nancy jumped out and walked towards them, her towel still wrapped around her waist. What is it?
Oh! we pointed. Someone gasped.
Pete was in between Geoff and Miles, an arm over each shoulder, hopping on one foot. Blood was pouring out in streams above his ankle. 
He hit a rock on the way in, Miles said. He seemed more upset than Pete who wanted to sit and examine it. 
We all got out of the car and circled around him. I remember Erin, the littlest of us, rubbed his back.
Do you need stitches?
Nancy pulled her towel off and set it under his foot. No I think it's ok.
Is it broken?
I don't want a cast.
Casts are cool.
But then he can't swim.
Can you move it?
Pete flexed his foot this way and that.
I think it's good.
Nancy wrapped her towel around it. Now it looks like you have a head growing out of your foot, she said.
Can I go in one more time? This from Geoff.
Ok, but hurry.
We all shuffled back to the car and piled in. Three of us squeezed in the front seat. Pete was wincing a little. It's ok, he said. Nance beeped the horn for Geoff to hurry. We all turned to watch him standing on the bridge. Lifting one knee high, he jumped, and with a slow graceful turn, he raised his hand to salute us on the way down.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Love

Dear Batman,

Je t'aime.
I feel I have to say it that way. It feels more serious, though it sounds less certain, like maybe I don't know what I am saying. But the truth is it pains me that I love you so much, how thoughtful you are, how quiet, how kind, how much sadness you carry, even when you are battling bad guys. You don't like to be vulnerable, but you are, and you make me feel the same.

P.S. Read more about this photographer here. I must have had an intuition that he was French because I wrote this letter before finding out who took the photos.

PPS Here is a link to my new site. It should be up and running SOON, we just have a few more details, but I wanted you to see it because my friend Jules is a computer genius and designer and it looks amazing. More soon

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Union Street

I don't know where to start: with the 100 people-long line at the DMV, the little boy on the fence in the middle of an abandoned block, or the dead body in the street. I'll start with the line, the one that wrapped around the side of the building and down past the parking lot. How do people stand in lines? How do we do this? Especially when there's nothing great at the end of it. When we were kids we were incapable of waiting. We poked and pinched each other, made faces, stomped our feet, giggled, sang, threw our heads back and moaned openly. Now we wait all the time but the restlessness is interior, or else we've given up. It's a little of both for me. I am paying for a ticket for my boss, so technically I'm getting paid to stand in line, but that doesn't mean I can tolerate it. In my mind I do all of those things I did as a child, and then the adult versions of those things, which is to think debilitating and crippling thoughts, then filthy, then just plain wrong, mouthhandsfacestomachlegsgrocerylistpeebellybuttonmedicaltestdaughterscrying

Now serving 347. Number 347.

When I got to the front of the line I was told I needed to go to another DMV. She handed me a post-it size of paper with the address so she wouldn't have to explain it to me. Next!

I'm not going to go through the whole day. You get the idea. I know I've told a version of this story before. But by the time I was sent to a 4th building, I was barely human, I could still move, still see and hear but I was in shark mode, or rather sea bass, just a blank staring mindless creature in motion. I was driving in the ghetto, under the overpass, a place pretty much abandoned except for a few little crack houses and (evidently) the California Highway Patrol office. Everything was grey, even the few homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk. But then I turned (Siri, in her gentle, maddening voice said: Turn right on Union Street) and all of a sudden it was like I was in Oz. Every house was a different color: purple, orange, light blue, yellow, pink. The street was like an abandoned  movie set. Bouganvilleas hung over fences, little stores had hand-painted signs. I sat up, I looked, I noticed. There wasn't a single person around, but up ahead I saw a tiny little face peeking over the fence. He was staring right at me! He was about 5 or 6 and had black curly hair. I stared right back and then raised my eyebrows twice. He did the same. I made a face. He did the same. We both smiled at each other, lifted shoulders, crinkled eyes, and then his head disappeared in a flash and I saw a man in a white undershirt yelling at him in a tumbletwirl of Spanish. There was a pause and the boy slowly lifted his head up again and looked right at me and waved, still smiling big. Good Bye! Adios! I love you muchacho. I wanted to grab my phone so I could take a photo, but by the time I found it, he had disappeared again. Instead I took a photo of the little bakery across the street. I had to!

This all happened in less than a minute; but my day was changed. I felt energized, I felt hungry, I felt light. I still had to go through some more rigamarole with the Highway Patrol but whatev! no big! I was almost done. I had an exchange, a connection, I felt like a person again. Once I got there, I waited in the parking lot for my boss who had to come meet me. I opened the car door so I could feel the air and sun all at once. I answered some emails. I wrote some notes to myself. I thought about the person I wanted to think about. Josh arrived about 10 minutes later.

I just drove by a dead body.
Drove right next to it in the street. Look!

He pointed up in the sky and a helicopter was hovering right above us, the tail of it wagging slowly back and forth.

Over there on Union. A guy, face down in a white undershirt.
What? Union?
The one with the colorful buildings?
Yeah, right in front of the bakery.

I re-wound the video in my hand from ten minutes ago, littlefaceplayingmonkeysillylovefunmanabandonedstreetlookoutWWHHHAA?

"So where's the fuckin cop I gotta talk to?" Josh asked.

I pointed with my thumb to the station house, "I'll be in in a second", I said.

I don't know if I told this story right. I left out a lot of little details. I left out the list of things I want and don't have. Maybe I should have started with the dead body. Or how I wonder about death. When we say things can go from this to that in a second, that's what we are usually talking about. But really, life and the opposite of life are going on at the same time, it's just our focus that shifts. I wonder if I find this photo in a couple of years, which side of the street I will remember first.