Aliens Prefer Americano

06JUN2010 – Hot as fuck outside, and I’m not in the mood to sit on my floor, pace my floor, sweep my floor, or get into a mental wrasslin’ match with my inner accountant about my lack of groceries as I wait for the Big Fat Paycheck that isn’t due until the first of next month.

Instead, I told myself that, historically and artistically speaking, it’s all the rage to be poor and hungry in New York.  I think I bought it, so I decided to step out for a stout.  Presently holding court at the Barcade, brushing up on my Galaga patterns, and penning nonsense in my ubiquitous journal, as follows:

What do the following have in common?

– Any liquor store

– An aisle of a bookstore devoted to bibles

– The cereal section of your local grocer

– Gun shops

Give up?  Variations on a theme.  How many different bottles of booze can one person possibly crawl into?  Why are there so many versions of the Bible?  How much Muesli do we really need?  Isn’t one gun enough when you catch your wife making magic monkeys with your best friend?

“Well, people need choices.” No, we fucking don’t.  We don’t need leopard print cell phone cases.  We don’t need peanut butter AND jelly in the same jar, and we sure as fuck have no business sipping anything from a can marked JOOSE.  Call me crazy, but sometimes I think free will is a loaded firearm: something best kept under lock and key, especially when there are children in the house.

P.S. Crocs were conceived as a dare.  Ha, ha!  Fooled you!

Common courtesy is a disease we could all stand to catch.  Don’t get the sniffles, or a weekend bug.  Catch a fucking plague of it.  Lose your leg, if need be.


08JUN2010 – MEMORY OF EARTH: 8th Ave subway stop, hot summer night, drunk on tequila and red wine.  Across the platform, a beautiful young black girl with Cappuccino skin plucks wandering melodies from her acoustic guitar, the notes lost among the cocktail din of the other commuters waiting for the Brooklyn-bound L.

09JUN2010 – Tired from walking, stopped into Cho’s for an iced coffee.  It’s just around the corner from my place.  Don’t want to go home, but I’ve been wandering for a few hours now.  No money, no friendly faces.

You: “Oh, but there’s so many free things to do in New Yor–.”

Me: Shut up.  I know.  None of them include eating.

Planet WillBurg is kinda weirding me out, anthropologically speaking.  I’ve been dressing like a power nerd since Christ was a messcook: thick black glasses, courier bag, tattoos, camo shorts.  It’s been my thing for years, and I’m great with it.  Imagine my reaction — nay, my chagrin! — when I roll off the train to find these irony-based motherfuckers dropping out of the trees, and all of them look like me.  There’s probably fifty-million dollars worth of India ink walking down Metropolitan Avenue at any given point in time!  So much for being different. Not sure how I feel about it. Safety in anonymity?

I tried to strike up a conversation with the barista.  It went like this:

[brief introductory chatter here, blah, blah]

Her: “So, what do you do?”

Me: (pausing, not wanting to mention government because it always gets a weird response; not quite ready to say, “I’m a writer” because my book isn’t published yet; not wanting to say something coy and asinine like, “Oh, this and that,” because that’s a fucking retard movie dickhead answer; and definitely not wanting to throw down my entire goat-choking title: crisis communications, risk management and media relations specialist…) “Uh, I’m a photographer…”

Her: (dismissively) “Oh, just like everyone else.  That’ll be three-fifty.”

That’s right.  I look like everyone else, and I’m here to open a gallery, just like everyone else.  My mom’s paying for this coffee.  I’ll be over there taking MySpace photos of myself and trying to look poor.

Guess I should go home.  And do what?  (Image of an action figure in blister packaging, sitting erect on the edge of a perfectly-made bed in an inspection-ready apartment.  Towels folded to crisp precision, fridge gleaming – albeit empty.  Glasses and plates washed, dressed to the edge of the cupboard.  Floor swept, files organized by color, trash empty.  Room suffocatingly silent, except for the air conditioner.  Cursor blinking, awaiting further instruction.)

Part of me is thrilled to the gills at not having a social life.  No distractions.  Nothing to do but learn my job, aspire to greatness and write my ass off.  That part of me knows I can survive for extended periods of time on nothing more than beans, rice, tuna, coffee, Sharpies, music, and social media.  But there’s another part of me that knows that first part is a lying motherfucker.  “Friends are a form of wealth, as is knowledge.  Likewise, health.”  I don’t know who said that, probably me.  Plants need food, sunlight, water.  Human beings need their Maslow’s met.

I have dreams where I can fly, or move objects with my mind.  And in these dreams, I can feel the part of my mind that knows how to do these things.  I understand the weight of the object on some deep level.  I feel it rising up, moving toward me, coming to rest in my hand.  But on awakening, that part of my brain reads as 404 FILE NOT FOUND.  It feels like something in me has died.

I wonder what will become of these journals.  Used as tinder, perhaps?

All my travels and
years set free in the tears of
slowly rising flames.

Maybe they’ll put stretch marks on the bottom of a trash bag.  Guess it doesn’t matter, brevity of life, Pale Blue Dot, blah, blah.

Relax, people.  I’m not looking to conquer anything but myself.

26JUN2010 – I’ve fallen into the Pit of Quiet.  I go for days without saying much.  Don’t feel like speaking.  Took everything I had to dress myself and wander into the sunlight this morning.  New York might be safer, doesn’t make it any friendlier.  Found a series of coaxial adapters approximately three inches long on the sidewalk near my apartment.  Walked along twirling this tiny technological sword of state in my fingers, hefting it, feeling the weight of the thing.  Remain silent, stay hidden, Ghost Dog my way through my environment, wait for the map of familiarity to reveal itself.  Muscle memory takes time to form.  Someday I will think to myself, “Remember when this was all brand new?”

Sometimes a woman is a beautiful painting.  She doesn’t need your consent, she doesn’t want your admiration, she doesn’t care for your conversation, she doesn’t require your loyalty, your chivalry or your complication.  Sometimes she just wants to walk down a sunlit street in a pretty dress, wearing her favorite sunglasses and the sandals that took her forever to find.  Sometimes she just wants to be pretty.  Let her.

I’m still afraid of ending up broken and homeless; filthy and terrified, hungry and wasting, begging for the change you got from your latte and have nothing better to do with, but still won’t give it away.  All my clever will be for naught, my stories will fall upon deaf ears, and that will be that.  We leave this world the same way we came in.

The music is this place is god-awful, unless you’re a raging fan of Christmas 1985 Casio keyboards and tone-deaf, two-chord sorcerers wringing every nuance from a simplified rhyme structure, where every line begins with “I feel”.  Makes me want to punch a goat.

Fascinating to consider that people make a conscious decision to dress as they do.  Observe the wild-haired man passing by the window: “I WILL leave the house today dressed in camouflage trousers, a red tank top, worn leather sandals and a healthy stack of ‘rock guy’ bracelets on each wrist.”  There must be an anthropological study on why people dress as they do.  We’re like pirate radio stations, walking the street, broadcasting our likes and dislikes, wearing our hearts on our record sleeves, staying awake on strong coffee and cigarettes, exhaling into the microphone and wondering if anyone is still  listening.

A song is like a piece of software, or a tool.  Someone has to dream it up, write it, assemble it from the tools they have on hand (and hopefully have a working knowledge of).  Then they send it out into the world.  Their user/audience learns of this product, using his/her own personal network to acquire it, and is forced to make an ethical decision:  “Hey, my favorite (programmer) has a new (meme/abstract analogy/external emotion experience/brain virus) available! I will (or will not) engage in the exchange of valued currency to obtain it.”  For some, these programs are just background clutter, and they interact with the program on a very basic level.

For others, the program becomes something like a theme for their computer; it changes the color of their background, selects a complimentary font, or has some other effect on their overall system.

And for still others, the effect is all-consuming: it becomes a photograph, an envelope, a time capsule, a shorthand statement, a bookmark, a reminder of the state of their perception and senses during a moment in time.  “Yes,” we imagine them saying.  “Song X reminds me of time period Y when I was in a relationships A, B, and C with the following objects, systems, or people: [DESCRIBE FURTHER]”




2 thoughts on “Aliens Prefer Americano

  1. Without coming off as “that’s nice,” simply awesome. Dense in word and thought and description. I dig it anyway. And “tone-deaf, two-chord sorcerers” ought to fit the truth in labeling bill for have of what is out there. Keep on, kind sir, keeping on.

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