Friday, January 29, 2010

"Every Man For A Woman: A Limerick"

"Every Man For A Woman: A Limerick"
written with all things considered by jake kilroy.

She kept every word that he wrote,
somewhere near the tears in her throat;
then she goes about,
really thinking it out,
"Every man is a sinking boat."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Black Coffee: A Limerick"

"Black Coffee: A Limerick"
a poem for the darkest saint by jake kilroy.

Black coffee, you keep me tethered,
grinding me so worn and weathered;
you're the darkest dream
as I don't take cream,
and I feel so tarred and feathered.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fuck You, Carol

I just made a page for an adoption center called...Adoption Center. I feel like this sheer laziness in business namery will cause problems down the line.

"So what adoption center did you go through?"

"Adoption Center."

"No, I mean, which adoption center?"

"Adoption Center."

"Right. I know you went through an adoption center, but I was asking which one. I'm curious."

"Adoption Center."

"Fuck you, Carol."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Once Hot, Now Fat

There's a sick, but curious and extraordinary, mixture of euphoria and anguish when you find out that hot girls you used to go to school with, used to work with, etc got fat later. It's such a tragedy, but it's also a really, really good punchline.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All I Have Are Jelly Beans

I found out today that the creative division of my company is moving to another building 10 minutes away come Monday morning. I got an e-mail today that said I should start packing up my personal belongings and decorations at my desk. I looked around my desk.

And, honestly, all I have to pack up from my desk is a notepad and Hello Kitty jelly beans. I feel like this reflects upon my character in a certain way, but I'm not sure how exactly.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Wonderful Rainy Evening With No Rain

I sat at my desk all day. It was difficult, as I knew it was raining outside (because then all I want to do is crawl back in bed and listen). Then I went to lunch, when it turns out that it wasn't just raining. It was fucking pouring. I looked like a very traditional pathetic character when I returned, after having sprinted across the parking lot. My hair was soaked, my jacket was soaked, my briefcase was soaked. I sat at my desk for a few more hours, looking like a cartoon character of grief.

But, then I came home, and there was no rain. And, I have to tell you, even in my mid-twenties, there is rarely a better night for me than a quiet evening indoors while it is raining or pouring outside. I just it did without the most important ingredient (rain), and, with that, I've learned that all the other ingredients without the rain make up a pretty good evening too.

I cooked myself a grand meal, took a long hot shower, watched an old movie and read a good book by the fireplace with flames flickering against the family room. And then, as I've done with so very many rainy evenings my entire life, I'll read Australia: Land Of Contrast as I fall asleep.

I'll wake up tomorrow morning with my heart feeling like a fireplace. Oh, to feel the great depth of warmth on cold days...

Life Is Complicated...But Hilarious...And Some Other Adjective...

"My life's an enigma wrapped in a riddle that's being read to a guy that's way too high to know the difference between the two in the first place." - Keith Hernandez

"The Old Typewriter Blues"

"The Old Typewriter Blues"
written like a techno-fiend bad friend by jake kilroy.

You sit up high on a rafter,
perched to see
the magnificent laughter
of poor me
sitting blue at a computer,
with tired arms of a looter.
I try to write American,
sure, yes, but it's Bohemian,
[no marquee?]
with only the sound of the rain,
so pretty,
as I say what I can't explain,
so sadly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Greyhound Buses"

"Greyhound Buses"
a feverish poem in winter by jake kilroy.

As you sit in the balcony of an east coast theater,
you watch the dancer moving to a song you hear,
but you weren't listening too well then,
and you wouldn't for the entire weekend.

You'd sit on the greyhound bus,
keep your face to the window,
give up rhyme, give up reason,
and only ever hear that piano.

All structure would be lost and the lines would show in your face like cracks in an old book depository. Sure, there's knowledge in there somewhere, but it looks like ruins built by strong poets. You feel like a rambling mess. The sound of the piano plays your nerves like the keys you knew would pluck your heartstrings like an orchestra in another simile from your education as a youth. It was so long ago, those memories. Well, send them home. Oh God, send them home, you think. Don't let me listen to another song, see another dancer or write another poem as long as I live, you beg, as you struggle even to put your head in your hands. The sky is too blue, the trees are too green and the closer this all seems to a dream, the more impossible everything appears, which only makes you find it more real, which only shakes you more uncontrollably, which only makes you want to hear music, watch artists and write down every thought you've ever had. But this is not the time, nor the place. You need a bed to love, you need a desk to write, but you need a bus to give up or reinforce. Greyhound buses were designed for people like you. Greyhound buses were designed for long drives where you wonder about everything, from your childhood to your last birthday, from your first toy to your last job, from your first love to your last lover. Greyhound buses were designed so that you would always think that a movie camera was on you. Greyhound buses were designed to be a last resort. Greyhound buses were designed for wayward or romantic travelers. Greyhound buses were designed for you to wonder how you'd do it all if you could do it all over again. They were designed for hours and daydreams and you just have to sit back and let yourself fall apart beautifully.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Brother's Rules to Owning a Dog #2

My father told a story as if our dog was a fisherman, showing him throw out the reel and talk about how big the fish was that he caught.

"Dogs can't fish! He's just a stupid dog! He can't fish!" - my brother

"Will you please stop calling him stupid?" - my mother

"Oh, I'm sorry! That's right. I forgot that he was a genius. He's such a genius dog. He shits in the house, Mom!" - my brother

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Man At The Urinal vs. The Man In The Stall ("Hello? Is Anybody There?")

In an attempt to drink more water, I...drink more water at work now. So, with my stunning knowledge of science and biology, I step away from my desk for a few urinal stands throughout the day.

At work, those seconds of standing at the urinal seem like a really relaxing break when you're by yourself. So I feel an unrequited, mild rage when I see someone else at the other urinal. It's like we're two guys on separate breaks next to each other. Ugh. It's just a drag.

However, it's not as awkward as it is at a job where you know everyone, because then you think that you have to strike up conversation while both of you are holding your junk. No, instead, here at this job, I don't know anyone, so I'm allowed to urinate in silence, staring at the cold, white tiles in peace. But, it's reversed when it's a guy in the stall and a guy at the urinal, because then you can laugh about it later or maybe you feel more comfortable. I don't know, but because it seems that no one knows anybody here, it makes the guy at the urinal vs. the guy in the stall stand-off a little more awkward for the guy sitting down.

As I have always been the guy at the urinal here, I don't feel that awkward. But I have a very immediate image in my head when I walk into the bathroom to use the urinal and I hear the rustling of toilet paper from a closed stall. The guy will be coughing and moving his shoes until I come into use the urinal, and, suddenly, the man becomes so outrageously self-conscious (as do many men) that he stops moving, doesn't make a single sound and I wonder if he's stopped breathing as well. But, a lot of times, like most men, I like to think that this man has been looking for an escape out of fear and soon hears the footsteps in the distance, pushing him to look around his stall with wide eyes, asking, "Hello? Is anybody there?"

I've considered this scenario many times (just about every time it's just me at the urinal and a guy in the stall who becomes deathly silent upon my entering the bathroom). And I like the idea of him seeming hopeless, like he's been trapped in the stall for weeks, starved and sad. It's not sadistic, but it would make my bathroom breaks much more exciting.

I've thought about what my response would be (given that someone actually ever says, "Hello? Is anybody there?"). I have decided that a demon voice would be the obvious choice and wouldn't disappoint. Because for a man to ask, "Hello? Is anybody there?", is so out of fear that I would have to continue the charade. Or next time I should walk into the bathroom with chains, make a few shrieking sounds and then pitter-patter my feet out of there. And that'd probably make his bathroom break more exciting too! See, I'm a charitable guy.

I was once in a similar situation but with roles reverse. I was in a stall once some years ago and a boy came into the bathroom to use the urinal. I was enjoying the quiet sound and comforting glow of the mall bathroom before he came along and I just generally didn't care for this kid's random humming. So, clearly, since I have always been so very mature, I decided to make a horrific booming growl that I thought sounded like the balrog from Lord Of The Rings.

The boy was instantly silent. Finally, he asked, "Hello? Is anybody there?"

Hearing his voice travel as I could tell he was looking around, I lifted my legs so that it appeared that no one was in the bathroom (just in case he looked under the stalls). I had to bite my lips to keep from giggling (again, savagely mature, I was). Newly uncomfortable, the boy washed his hands and got the hell out of there. The bathroom returned to its wonderful, harmonious grace and I was happy once more.

Anyway, the point is...well, I guess didn't have one, but I just want that guy in the stall to say, "Hello? Is anybody there?" SO. FUCKING. BADLY.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Drink Bourbon, Smoke Cigarillos, Play Roulette & Never Go Home

I went to Las Vegas for the weekend and it was the first time I was ever a reckless man in the city. It was finally the trip of high school friends wild on the strip, or at least it was in some watered-down form (we all have sense, no matter how much we hype senselessness).

But the stunning realizations came in curious waves. I've always known a few things about personal development as a twenty-something, even before I was one. You can grow older without getting wiser. You can evolve without maturing. You can even get married, buy a house or have a kid without ever being responsible.

However, sometimes, you can actually do it all without ever really putting yourself through the ringer. And, without really seeing your old friends for years, you can somehow catch up and never let it be awkward. It could've been a year or a week since you saw them. Things have changed, as everyone has been through new homes, new jobs, new relationships, new travels or new programs, but it's a sensational throbbing of your body to know that you can always fall right back into friendships like a falling cartoon man who lands perfectly in clothes or pajamas that are hanging out to dry.

After not seeing old friends for years, it's heart-piercingly spectacular to know that you can drink bourbon, smoke cigarillos and play roulette from midnight to sunrise, all while laughing so hard you think that you'll never go home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Marriage At This Merry Age?

I realized my surprising stance on marriage last night. Well, not in general, but more as in...well, I don't know.

My friend Keith visited his hometown in Texas over the holidays. I asked him how it was and he told me, "It's kind of weird. It seems like everyone's married or in the army."

"Jesus, which side do you join in that war?" I remarked.

Then I thought about it and realized that my response seemed awkward even to me.

When I was younger, I was generally excited to get married in my mid-twenties like my parents did. I thought all this when I was a know, at the time when I thought that everyone moved out of their parents house by 21 and should be millionaires by 30.

In my teens, I corrected this philosophy when I realized just how stupid it is to plan out your life. I remember sitting in high school classrooms and my peers telling me their play-by-play lives. Having goals is one thing but talking about 10 years down the line as facts and not aspirations was very much...a tool thing to do. I recall one particular awkward conversation when a girl couldn't believe that I didn't have ages set for goals.

"I want to be married by 26, have my first kid at 28 and own my own veterinary hospital by 30," she told me.

"Yeah? Well, enjoy disappointment," I replied.

Another girl stepped in to defend her.

"Well, what's your plan, Jake?" the girl said, mildly annoyed and bitter with my cynicism.

"I want to move out of my parents house, travel a bunch and graduate college in my twenties. I'd like to write a book at some point. But I really just kind of see my twenties as another decade of fucking up."

"Those aren't good goals," the girl told me.

"Yeah, but watch me actually achieve them," I said.

So far, I have succeeded.

I think after living in a house with man-children for years, and hearing marriage referred to as the "M-word" like a bad word, my head probably went through a stunning change. Even in my early twenties, I had a very traditional American ideal system. I didn't plan on doing anything at a certain age, as I thought that would lead to stress and silliness, but I think that I may have just assumed things would turn out that way (I fall in love, get engaged, buy a house, get married, have kids, drink heavily and quietly). I thought things would somehow kind of just end up happening how I assumed they would happen as a kid. I wasn't betting on it or counting on it, but just thinking that things just might fall into place when I least expected it.

Now, I can't even fathom getting married. Well, not right now, I can't. Not anytime soon. I feel like I still have a lot of wild adventures in me before I settle down (not just to a person, but to a place or a career). I'd like to get married one day, definitely, as I very much enjoy the idea of the institution of marriage. I like the idea of Sunday brunches, kids sports and, well, the obvious whole building a life with someone.

But, for right now, I feel like it's asking an elementary school student if he's excited to graduate high school one day. I feel like I would just stare blankly and say, "Well, yeah, one day and it'll be really cool when I do, but it's so far away."

Where the opinion ends and the jokes begins, I'm not sure. Maybe everything always seems five years away to me. When I was 20, I thought, "Yeah, I might be engaged or married by 25." Now, this year, I'll be turning 25 and I think, "Yeah, I might be engaged or married by 30."

And, now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I can't even understand young marriages. When I find out that two people in their late teens or early twenties are getting married, it hits my head like the most complex math problem. I stutter, "What...but...they...huh?" I think about how I could barely function as a human being then and being able to drink legally didn't help. It's a balance of "Why would they do that?" and "How are they so responsible?" It's a battle of confusion vs. respect.

On the eve of my 20th birthday, my father told me that my life would be changing soon and he mentioned it because he was excited for me and thought I would be excited. He said, "Who knows? In ten years, you may have a career. In five years, you may have a wife." I didn't fear marriage or finding a career at the time, but I had a general fear of adulthood. So, naturally, I laid on my bedroom floor and listened to records for the rest of the night, calming myself down.

Thankfully, among my friends, the married couples are still definitely and totally the minority. They seem happy and I love being around them, but I'm just thankful I'm not yet attending weddings where someone asks me why I'm not wearing a ring. At some point, if movies and television shows have taught me anything, it's that going to weddings as a single person because awkward at some point. Right now, it's a lot of fun and I'm excited for them and their happiness.

But I say all this as a sharpshooter from the back of the church.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Quarter Black Coffee: A Haiku"

"Quarter Black Coffee: A Haiku"
by Jake Kilroy

Quarter black coffee.
Drink enough to find hard work.
Or aneurysm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009: Maturity (And Other Things I Thought Were Total Bullshit)

In 2009, I matured. Finally.

Well, more importantly, I think I made the final personal development into adulthood. I hope/imagine that I will obviously continue to evolve, as do most things, if not all things (I don’t really know, as I did piss-poor in both high school and college science courses – quantum physics can also go fuck itself, by the way). What I mean is that, at least in my book (there’s no book – it’s just a literary device), 2009 will be remembered as the year that I officially…grew up.


It sounds so awful to say/write or hear/read. Or it did, once. But not anymore. I don’t know. I’m still getting used to it. Admitting you’re an adult is like buying a killer new pair of jeans. They fit, and though it’s a little snug and constricting at first, you can already tell that they look good and, when they’re finally broken in, it’s going to feel really good too. You know, life is a lot like blue jeans when you think about it.

So, at some point, I think I became more mature, though I have some serious difficulty placing when. That’s probably not all that weird, I suppose. I don’t recall most exact moments of sophisticated development. Did the Pokemons ever remember their first power-up? Is that analogy dated? Do I care? Am I asking too many questions?

Of course I’m asking too many questions. It’s all part of maturity. That’s why you wonder everything as a kid, doubt everything as a teenager and second-guess everything as an adult.

It’s all science or something.

Anyway, I don’t remember the fierce moments of change in me during the winding course of my life. I don’t remember the first time I noticed a girl and felt butterflies tickling the walls of my dinky, little torso. I don’t remember the first time I had $100 or $1,000 in my bank account (or ever getting a bank account in the first place). I don’t even remember when I got hair in places that were not the top of my head.

Maybe I remember versions of those moments though. I remember my first kiss (fifth grade), I remember the first time I saved my money ($30 roller blades) and I remember masturbating for the first time on the bathroom floor and thinking that I was surely going to become a sex addict by high school.

At least I can ballpark the season or stretch of months that I came out the other side of tunnel vision as someone more mature. You see, I spent the summer up in Seattle and I noticed how patient, reasonable and understanding I was by autumn. However, these simple yet profound traits were, and still are, well-disguised in me, I suppose. They’re hidden somewhere behind a mouth that explodes with swear words like fireworks, a brain that is constantly devising scheme ploys and revenge plots and a heart that is always yearning, though it would be careless to admit it outright.

Imagine three young, healthy swimmers taking a nap on a small island with one large weeping willow tree engulfing the tiny piece of land. The leafy swaying of the tree’s branches, sweeping the water like brooms, never let any passing car or boat know that there are three sleepers beyond the veil of green tickling blue.

This, I suppose, is maturity. And I’ve experienced it in so many oddball variations. In elementary school, I thought maturity was listening to adults. In junior high, I thought maturity was being away from adults. In high school, I thought maturity was questioning adults. In college, I thought maturity was being an adult. Now, as an adult, I realize that maturity is just calming the fuck down and enjoying your life.

In the beginning of the year, I (a man-child) was living in a party house with three other man-children in their early twenties. Somehow, I believe this stunted my growth and development as a person, as it gave me a glimpse, or chance even, to perpetually try out an indefinite livelihood of being 19. When I was 19, I went to parties nearly every weekend and ate fast food throughout the week. This, if I remember correctly, which I probably don’t, was the first year I had the chance to do that. I lived at home still, but a sudden relief had surged in my decision-making process when I realized that I was no longer in high school and was able to really just fuck up everything in a pretty cool way. But I always wondered what it would’ve been like to be that liquored-up-biting-wit-mouthing-off-arrogant-dietery-hopeless-self-indulgent-careless young bastard if I had my own place. So, when I finally moved out in the beginning of 2007, I succumbed to that insufferable disease known as immaturity. And I was plagued with it until May of 2009.

But, in the long-standing war of immaturity versus everything, I had an unreasonable amount of fun.

And, even though I also had a big-boy job of sorts at the time, working at a national business magazine, I was still late to work, I ate fast food nearly every day (sometimes twice in a day) and I drank like a stupid fish (not like those smart fish that understand moderation, who swim and don’t drown). There were always parties, and if it wasn’t parties, then it was kick-backs or sit-arounds or hang-outs or I don’t know…this is all sounding really dated, even by the new millennium standards of man-childish practice.

Well, this year, I was laid off in March and we moved out of the house in May, and, suddenly, I was struck with a severe curiosity that I never before had the chance to entertain. I had a fuck-ton of [severance] money, a fuck-ton of free time and a fuck-ton of swear words that were ready to dazzle their way between laughter and loitering.

So, naturally, I fled to Seattle.

I had a friend moving up there and I thought, “Well, I’m not doing anything.” So I moved up with him for the summer. I won’t get into the politics of summer. However, I will say that it was the best summer I’ve had since I was 15 and the best summer since taking on legitimate responsibility and control of my life. Every day, I was writing, swimming or exploring. There was always adventure. I had nowhere to be, except exactly where I wanted and I had never had that before really. There was always school, work and social requirements. I have always been too busy for my own good. But, in Seattle, I couldn’t be busy. Everything felt so precise in my Northwestern life.

Instead of attending birthday or going-away parties, I was sitting by the window of our Seattle apartment and writing fiction on my new laptop, listening to the sporadic passing car in the night. Instead of sitting in a bleak office, I was jumping off of docks during the day. Everything had been replaced or strangely but wonderfully altered. I still went to parties, but they were with new friends. I still ate out, but at new cafes and restaurants. And, somehow, among all of this change, I found maturity.

I no longer ate at fast food chains, but instead at healthier restaurants or the grocery store. I stopped eating candy for the most part (which was like a preacher giving up his Bible – the larger picture is still there, but the main fix is not – I also stopped caring if analogies made sense). I wrote more (which I would put off), I showered regularly (which I would also put off) and I stopped collecting grudges like decorated war medals (which I would sincerely put on).

The list runs much longer, but the point is that by the time the leaves were changing, I had already changed (poetry!) and returned to California a suspiciously patient, reasonable and understanding individual. I was quieter and more mature. I was no longer anxious, senseless and ruthlessly argumentative. I mean, it’s not like I did some wild 180-degree turn, but I manage the small turns here and there.

Meanwhile, it’s not like Seattle has mystical healing powers. I had just never lived in any other city than Orange, California, before I ventured up to the Northwest. And, when I removed myself from practically everything I knew and was familiar with, the once loud, brash and reckless one-man parade I was became much more of a well-planned, polite and socially engaging dinner party…that has the possibility but not the tendency to be loud, brash and reckless.


Even the notion of removing yourself to change sounds like a cliché.

The thing is that I never thought, and have never once thought, that I had to run away to “find myself” or anything else that sounds so very awfully and terribly teenage-martyr-like…and stupid. No, it was more like, “Oh man, once I finally moved out of a party house and had time to actually think, maturity just kind-of-sort-of happened. Whoa. Gnar.” That’s about it: I just calmed the fuck down and started enjoying my life. Yep. No clichés. Well, actually, there are probably a lot of clichés dancing their way through this essay, but I figure clichés come with change and are delivered into existence because there has to be truth to them somewhere, whether they readily show it or not.

Fuck, that makes me a cliché, doesn’t it?

Wait, ending this essay like that is a cliché, isn’t it?

Well, fine. Whatever. I bet us mature adults love clichés. They’re/we’re probably the ones who made them clichés. And, really, what’s the problem with something happening time and time again? Isn’t that all clichés are? Aren’t they just soft-spoken off-hand remarks that are passed around like joints? Don’t we all just go through the same bullshit anyway? Who cares if we have a few sayings that jump from one person to another, like a kid who hops from rock to rock to make it across a river? Do you care? Do I care? Am I asking a lot of questions again?