Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"to love in abundance"

"to love in abundance"
a short spring poem, set to cackling, by jake kilroy.

you can love and love and love until it makes you sick,
until you wanna throw up your insides,
but if there ain't somebody holdin' that bucket,
baby, you're alone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Irish Pancakes

If anybody had seen me in my neighborhood, they would've seen me being pathetically dragged by my dog with my shirt undone, singing the "I didn't know" melody from Blind Pilot's "Oviedo" (courtest of Grant). I had whiskey and ice cream on my breath, and there were more than a dozen Irish Pancakes in my stomach. I wandered through the condos where my friend Bart lived in elemetnary school. All I could think about was the mine cart level of the Disneyland Nintendo game that we had a hard time with in third grade and just how out of control this weekend got. If you want to make an Irish Pancake, get a shot glass and pour one part Jameson, one part butterscotch snapps and one part orange juice. Drink as many as you can until you've lost all sense of reality. Woo!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"drinking silver"

"drinking silver"
after heavy irish by jake kilroy.

pint after pint,
grin after grin,
comes the soft taste of silver.
your heart becomes a statue
for your other organs to worship,
as your stomach becomes a graveyard
and your liver becomes a foamy ocean.
the silver comes through your body like a storm,
loud and beautiful;
like something you saw on a porch in texas,
when you were shirtless and cackling,
bareboned in words and quiet in speech.
the lightning came at the trees,
the thunder came at your bedroom,
and everything felt like loud music.
you were naked then,
and you're naked now,
but there's something different about the glow.
the silver drains the color of your insides,
and swirls it around to grow;
so that the pigments of your skin
are like christmas lights.
and the silver tastes like magic.
it tastes like card tricks and top hats.
it tastes like first loves and lovers' firsts.
it tastes like goddamn memories.
so it tastes like silver,
like the stale taste of gold.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"broken wrist"

"broken wrist"
something only mildly true that became something else entirely by jake kilroy.

i broke my wrist once,
so that it hurt when i wrote.
for once, the words just laid there.
as the fire was in the skin,
but not the paper.
i became bored with myself.
i became bored with writing.
i could only think of my wrist
and all it couldn't do.
so i read.
but didn't write.
i could put on pants,
but slowly.
i was like a caveman,
figuring out the world,
getting ready for work;
minute - minute by minute.
my words made no sense.
wordplay became wordwork,
and i was tired.
so i read.
until i fell asleep in my work clothes.
and then i found something you wrote.
and i wondered why i wasn't writing.
for once, i have pain.
it's physical, yes, but men need anything
to be men.
to be careless.
to be bold.
to be one long act with rave reviews.
so i read.
and i laughed.
and i read what you wrote.
and then i read what i wrote.
and i liked yours better.
so i read.
i could hold books with my left.
but do nothing with the right,
except for button my work shirts,
with stark pain i exaggerated,
to feel brave in my dress clothes.
which became my pajamas.
which became my costume.
which became my wardrobe.
which became my funeral suit.
which became my one joke in this poem.
but then i thought of you
and how you came at the world
much better than i did.
and i didn't feel lonely.
warm sounds swallowed me.
i felt like i was watching your parade,
swinging from a light pole
with a baseball cap and freckles.
and, suddenly, i was at my guitar,
holding it but not playing it.
i still can't play.
so i work.
so i read.
and i thought of everything as nothing,
and it made me smile to know i could.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"skipped a beat, kept the rhythm"

"skipped a beat, kept the rhythm"
an early morning poem by jake kilroy.

my hands wandered you like nomads,
like i told so many deserts before.
the wastelands. the badlands.
the canyon rim of heaven's barren plains.

some rely on the smoke,
some heavy on the drink.
me, i'm as down for the count
as a boxer on his last stand,
sipping wildly at cough syrup.

painting scars as rock art.
writing songs 'bout songwriters.
i'm sick to death of blondes,
but i'm still riding the wolves
to all the wrong bars in town.

i slept through a long winter
and it felt like a summer's nap.
i was sick with sweat when i woke.
but i managed a squeaky laugh.

too many books on my shelves,
not enough numbers in my coat.
got just the right amount of gold.
and it passes right through me,
like the last raft on the river home,
which is any place i can find shelter.

i skim bibles and i store threats,
making the best of a gambling debt,
hoping god's the nicest bookie in town.
but my empty jeans say more about me
than my poker face could ever tell.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Magic of Self-Indulgent Saturdays

I woke up Saturday feeling like I needed a win. I think it had to do with the culmination of watching The Grapes of Wrath, reading The Book Thief and listening to The Replacements' song "Androgynous" on repeat lately. It put me in a weird place. So I decided to pamper the absolute shit out of myself (ironically following my Friday realization that I should start saving money better).

I used to have Saturdays pamperings in high school, where I would just do anything and everything I wanted. Back then, I had a smaller imagination when it came to money. I was paying for less too. Also, if I got away with buying cigarettes back then, that was some kind of huge win for me and it was only a couple of bucks.

In fact, my Saturday pamperings in high school were mostly just cigarettes, chocolate and Cuban food in the Orange Circle with a crossword puzzle.

There were a lot of Cs on my best Saturdays in high school, I'm now realizing.

But it was never because I felt lowdown back then. It was usually because I had a lot of time, money and I was really into self-indulgence. When you're 17, treating yourself to any kind of self-indulgence is like getting extra credit in a class that you already have an A in.

So, anyway, this Saturday, it was a strange mixture of feeling bad for no reason (which I was well-aware). Or maybe I have to feed myself propaganda feelings to justify such joyous cash-dropping.

It started with my my parents, sister and I visiting my brother at his coffee shop. Then I ran errands, which included reading outside while my oil was being changed at Jiffy Lube and wandering the mall aimlessly for the first time in probably ten years while my watch was being fixed. All I could find in the mall that interested me enough to buy was boxers (woo!).

I went to Bookman and bought used copies of:
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
- A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (in old school paperback)
- The Lord Of The Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkein (in old school paperback)

At Borders, I scored discounts on:
- Play The Piano Drunk Like A Percussion Instrument Until The Fingers Begin To Bleed A Bit by Charles Bukowski
- Wild Ducks Flying Backwards by Tom Robbins
- Rumblefish by S.E. Hinton
- Steve Martin's Let's Get Small
- Steve Martin's Comedy Is Not Pretty

Then I treated myself to Pho America. I ordered spring rolls and, while there, as I was waiting, I called and ordered a pizza and cheese bread at Valentino's (which was a first for me; ordering from a different restaurant in a restaurant I'm ordering at). So, I came home and ate like a fat stoned king.

The rest of the day, I read on the couch and worked on sending out book ideas out. When the sun went down, I cleaned my room until I went over to someone's house to sit around a jacuzzi and drink whiskey into late hours of the evening.

Sunday morning, I woke up and felt so goddamn deliriously good. It looks like self-indulgence still works wonders.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The High And Dry Rye Whiskey Blues

The High And Dry Rye Whiskey Blues
a quick piece of flash fiction by jake kilroy.

"This ain't no peasant stop," he slurred. The words made it pitifully through gears of his mouth. His machine tongue was misfiring and his teeth pressed against each other like the factory of his face was in flames. He would've been sweating bullets if he had anything to load his gun with.

Instead, he just sat slumped in the driver's seat holding a bottle of rye. He looked like a pile of dress clothes the morning after. The top of the car was down and he tried whistling a tune that Tom Waits wouldn't have even understood.

"There's a place I know," he yelled with a melody that sounded like broken glass. He continued, "Folks won't pass me by."

The girl in the passenger's seat watched him with fascination and disgust. Behind the both of them lay the ocean. The car was parked on a patch of grass overlooking a cliff. The moon was high and white, the lone spotlight of the west.

"Dallas, Texas, that's the town. I cry, oh hear me cry," he croaked like a nightclub singer with a slit throat.

He took another sip from the bottle and finished the tune. "And I'm going back," he yelled again with the dynamite sound of rubble, "going back to stay there 'til I die, until I die."

The last words rolled out of him like he was talking in his sleep. He pushed rank air out of his mouth and his lips fluttered like an old car barely starting on a dirty backroad. Just the sound of his own failed engine struck a chord within his suicidal orchestra's heartstrings and he burbled out a laughter that was as raspy and poisonous as a leaky gas pipe.

"You like that song?" he said, twisted his neck and swiveling his head towards the lady next to him.

"I haven't liked any song I've heard tonight," she replied promptly.

"Yeah," he said, wiping his sweaty face, "I don't like music either."

"I like music," she informed him sternly. "But your entire songbook is lifted from degenerates and you're still singing them wrong."

"What do you know about degenerates?"

"I know I'm sitting in a car with one."

He let out a cackle that could've been accidental.

"Just so you know," he said, letting his finger wave in the air like a flag, "Dallas Blues wasn't written by a degenerate."

She raised an eyebrow. It was the first thing he had defended all evening.

"And," he said with the gathering steam of a rusting locomotive, "it may have been the first blues song ever recorded!"

The sentence exhausted him. He let his head hang backwards suddenly and hit the seat with a muffled thump.

"Then it's responsible for generations of drunks like you thinking they've got problems when they don't," she said with a calm air of enthusiasm.

"Lady," he hiccuped, "you don't get the blues."

"I understand the blues," she said. A sly smile slipped out from underneath her small nose.

"No, that's not what I'm saying, honey," he growled lovingly. "I'm saying, you don't get the blues. The blues get you."

His eyes sparkled like blood diamonds, sparing an alluring glow with a cold history behind it.

"Anyway," he said with an enthusiasm that had long been missing from his disheveled grin, "I should probably get out of your hair."

"What?" she asked. Her eyes furrowing. "You're just going to leave me here?"

"No, darling, I'm giving you the keys."

"You're giving me the keys to your car," she repeated flatly, making each word a different parody of his sentence.

"Well, I can't drive," he said, mirthfully exiting his own vehicle.

"You're serious," she said with a squint and a scoot.

"Sometimes," he shrugged. "Just leave the car wherever and I'll find it."

"And what if you can't find it?" she asked from behind the wheel.

"Then it's just one more reason to sing the blues," he said, leaning back with wild laughter that sounded like a bubbling oil geyser.

He swung a deep swig from the whiskey, draining the color from the bottle's face, with his other hand swaying purposelessly behind him. His body looked like rubber stretched beyond its means.

She watched him, shook her head disbelievingly, started up the car and left the man to start a long merry walk alone. As she sped up the coastal road, she heard the disintegrating sound of the blues and allowed herself a soft smirk.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jake & The Bookseller

I was at Borders with my buddy Cameron last night, purchasing The Book Thief (a 552-page book I need to start and finish in 10 days for a book club at work) and two Batman graphic novels (because justice never sleeps).

BOOKSELLER: Ok, that'll be $49.87. Would you like to donate a children's book to orphans today?

JAKE: Yeah, for sure.

CAMERON: Really?

JAKE: Yeah, dude. If I don't make these kids read, who will?

BOOKSELLER: Which one would you like?

CAMERON: Give them one of those.

JAKE: Whoa. Catcher In The Rye? Their little heads would probably explode.

BOOKSELLER: Oh, sorry. Not these ones. These ones over here.

JAKE: Oh, I'll take Where The Sidewalk Ends.

BOOKSELLER: Ok, that one is...$18.99.

CAMERON: Fuck...that.

JAKE: Ah...that is kind of a lot.

CAMERON: What about that one?

JAKE: Cloud With A Chance Of Meatballs? It's not the same thing as the movie. Did you ever see that?

CAMERON: No, was it good?

JAKE: Yeah, it was actually pretty awesome.

CAMERON: Get them Snow.

JAKE: I've never read it.

CAMERON: You don't have to read it. You just have to donate it.

JAKE: Yeah, but I want to give them something I've read and loved. Oh, wait. I can give them Are You My Mother? I'll take that one!

BOOKSELLER: Where do you see that?

CAMERON: Right there. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman.

BOOKSELLER: Ok, I need to put this back on the shelf. This one isn't for donation.

CAMERON: It isn't?

BOOKSELLER: I don't know how that ended up there, but we'd prefer that one not be donated, since, you know, they're...orphans.

JAKE: Oh shit, I wasn't even thinking. Well, I feel like shit now, so I'll just take Shel Silverstein.

CAMERON: Really? But it's the most expensive one.

JAKE: Yeah, but I insulted the orphans. Actually, I forgot they were orphans. I thought they were homeless for some reason. Plus, it's Shel Silverstein

CAMERON: Never read him.

JAKE: You should. He's awesome.

CAMERON: I've only read one book and it was the one you bought me.

BOOKSELLER: What book was it?

CAMERON: Uh...what was the name of it?

JAKE: Breakfast of Champions.

CAMERON: That's right!

BOOKSELLER: Oh, good choice.

CAMERON: Yeah, I told this guy that I don't really read, so he bought me that book. I liked it. It wasn't boring...unlike The Great Gatsby.

BOOKSELLER: I love that book.

CAMERON: Really?

BOOKSELLER: Maybe it's a girl thing.

JAKE: It's one of my favorites.


CAMERON: Of course it is, ya gay.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jake Kilroy for Publication in 2011!

Do you know how sick I am of not bathing in champagne? Well, I'll tell you, I'm pretty effin' sick of it. I take showers in water and all the while I think, "Hey, what the hell is this? Water?" It is water. And fuck that. Fuck that forever. No more, I say!

I am hereby announcing my candidacy for publication.

Yes, people, I wasn't sure we'd get here either, but today is a day for you to mark on your calendars with the words "finally" and "fuck yeah."

Now, publication is a long way off, but I have faith in us. Well, I mostly have faith in you. My faith in me is touch-and-go. But, when I'm on, I am on, people. Why, just today, I looked up literary agents. Sure, there are naysayers out there who say, "Jake, that's not enough. In fact, just looking them up isn't nearly the same thing as sending it to them." To those people, I say, "Who are you and why are you reading my blog?"

The road will not be easy, but I've been down this road before. When I was 20, I spent the summer drunk on rum in swimming trunks wearing a sombrero and sending out book proposals. I haven't sent out a book proposal since and I don't often wear sombreros these days. I think my head is too fat. But I march on!

About a year and a half ago, I started a novel. In three months, I wrote ten chapters that I really liked. Then it took me a year to write another ten chapters that I loved. I returned to that novel last Saturday and, let me tell you...I wrote like some idiot savant. I reread what I wrote as an unemployed shit-for-brains and it was at least eight times better than what I was writing Saturday. Can I tell you something? It didn't feel good. Actually, it made me furious. So, at the public library, with the mutants and the dorks, I put away the story I once loved like an honor roll student and played Tetris online instead.

I once wanted a bumper sticker that said, "I'm the proud creator of a Faulker Awarded novel at Haper Collins." And now? Well, now, I'm angry at that son of a bitch novel. I'm close to being done, but it needs work and editing, and rewriting 120,000 words (with three chapters left to go) seems like a lot to do.

And I want to be rich now. Not a year from now. Now ten years from now. NOW. I want to spit in somebody's face and then give them a hundred dollars just to mellow the fuck out TODAY. Well, maybe tomorrow. I have things to do today.

Shit, I don't even really have things to do today. But I would if I were wealthy, I bet.

In December, I realized that I had writer's block. Maybe I still have it. Either way, my novel was being kind of a dickhead to me and I didn't want to put up with that shit. So I moved on, at least for a little while. In January, I wrote a television pilot. In February, I wrote a children's novel. In March...who knows? Maybe I'll start freelancing suicide notes. I don't know! I'm not trying to win the future here. I can barely even tell you what I'll be doing in a month (though, again, hopefully, it will be bathing in champagne...maybe with a few famous actresses, I don't know!).

I'll try these new projects out while also working on my new main focus: a collection of essays, poems, stories, etc. For now, as I don't have a title, so let's call it...Working Title. Its contents are already written on this blog. So, honestly, all I have to do now is just send out query letters and finally get mail that isn't bills. I'm going see where this takes me (Hollywood or the moon, nobody really knows).

All I know is that I want money. I want to move out of my parents' house so I can stop telling hot chicks at bars, "Hey, let's go to your place. My mansion is still being renovated."

I want to eat at Pho America all the time and be on an airplane at least once a month. I want to upgrade to the two-disc Netflix account and I want to people to understand what I do for a living. In fact, I'd like to understand what I do for a living. I want to own more than one belt too. I also want to people to say, "That guy, Jake...he's going places. Right now...I think it's to Club Awesome" (hopefully, that's a place by then). I'm no longer interested in sending out an essay to east coast literary magazines and waiting eight months to hear that I'm "uneducated" or "mentally disfigured." I want to send out the collection of my 50 best/better/pretty good/decent pieces (aka Working Title) to a shit-ton of literary agents that will get back to me within two or three months. I think I may have a shot at this. And, if I don't, then all it cost me was the price of postage and my dignity.

And both of those are pretty goddamn cheap.

Jake Kilroy for Publication in 2011!