Sunday, February 26, 2012

Old Flames XV: A City Without Sidewalks (For The Streets)

Oh captain, my captain, what ever did happen? We were at the bottom of the sea of a beer bottle symphony. Oh dreaded, how dreaded, getting drunk in Davy Jones's locker. My goddess, you goddess, this was the last meal I cooked my last day for. This grave, this grave, oh, what can I save?

This fire, what fire? Oh, spray-paint the mire! It's tragic, so tragic, what's left of our word. Our bond, our bond, our brass knuckle bond, what did they say about our knucklehead band? Miss City, my city, please show me your pity. We have subway cars to catch, so we can die in a rut. Merry, ha - marry, I be the anarchist whim, that never did swim well through a bar that served gin.

A joke, what joke? I gave 'em hell and it's me that must tell the world's longest joke that never truly ends. So give me the dagger and wager your swagger, so we can drag the lake for fingerprint clues. A mess me, why mess me, this be the only mess we see. Tragic, this relic, born of the old world that never got sick. So us now, go now, we have to stay here to bury our dead. Bury your head. What flood has fled?

This drum, this war, this christ, this danger, this laughter, this gun, this future, this past, this present of a dying god - may this be the only peace. Kill the lights. Most wolves are abound. But thank goodness we've got the only grins in town.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Game-Winning Double: A Story/Rant

The Game-Winning Double
A Story/Rant About Childhood
by Jake Kilroy

Last night, I made a game-winning three pointer in a close game of basketball and I was pretty proud of it. That never happens. I'm terrible at three pointers. Everyone else makes game-winning three pointers and I've also played basketball almost every Wednesday night for two years now, so, let's be honest here, it's really not a big deal at all.

But it's a good segue.

So it got me thinking about my greatest moment in basketball, and, seriously, the biggest deal I can remember was straight up tackling a dude on Villa Park's team my sophomore year when he was going for what he thought would be a very easy fast break layup. I fouled the shit out of him. And then Villa Park's crowd booed the shit out of me. Orange's crowd, however, cheered like lunatics. They thought it was goddamn hilarious. We were down by, like, 20 points and I decided on a whim to do the most flagrant foul imaginable. It would've been less of a scene if I had just straight up pushed him.

Anyway, that lead me to thinking about my greatest moment in all of organized sports. So here now is the story/rant about...

The Game-Winning Double
In North Sunrise Little League, there was a fence that divided the younger kids' fields from the older kids' fields. It was T-Ball, T-Ball II and AA fields on one side, and Minors and Majors on the other. In fourth grade, I played in the Minors, which, I agree, sounds ridiculous. I was the spazzy kid who played right field that year. It was pretty obvious to the coach that I didn't give a shit if we won or loss. I just liked playing baseball. I liked running around. I liked being on a team with uniforms and sunflower seeds. I liked that some mom would give me fruit snacks for no reason. I liked being cheered on by my family. I liked thinking it was more than it was, you know, being on the Blue Jays in the Minors. But nobody thought it was more than it was than...everyone else on the team. They wanted to win and they would stress about it. And, in fourth grade, nothing should stress you out. All you're doing is watching morning cartoons and learning about the rainforest at school. Your biggest fear at that age is if the girl that you just hit in the face with a dirt clod noticed you or not. It took me years to realize of fucking course she did. It's a goddamn dirt clod. Who doesn't notice a dirt clod hitting you in the face when all you're trying to do is play hopscotch? Jesus, kids are stupid. Anyway, it was towards the end of the season and I was having less fun with each passing week. Every kid thought he was a coach, which, at that age, is irresponsible of parents to let their kids be that arrogant. If you're just as stupid as I am, you shouldn't be allowed to tell me how to do things. Hell, man, if I own more Bugle Boy shirts than you, I should be telling you how to do things. Now, I should point out that these kids wanted to win and they were just intense about sports. Whatever. They weren't like some of the kids on my first AA team. Those kids were assholes. Some fuckin' kid with a dopey-ass sorta-mullet gave me shit for a whole practice because I was wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks and not baseball socks. In my whole life, I swear, that moment haunts me. It's up there in the top ten. I was so bummed on that kid and I didn't even say anything about how poor he was. Man, if I had a time machine...anyway, I went home and almost fucking burned those socks like some lucid sacrifice to the gods of hip. "Please, fair gods, please let that plumber's kid think I'm cool so he'll leave me alone," I probably begged. But guess what? That kid was going to grow up to be his dad. And I saw his dad. In fact, that fuckin' guy was a dick too! And he was the assistant coach! All he did was smoke cigarettes, drink Diet Coke and tell me to be more like his incest mardi gras of a son. Dude's probably dead now and I shouldn't say shit about him. But back to his kid. What an asshole, right? I mean, shit, man, I just wanted to play baseball. Who was he trying to impress? The fucking duck on his shirt that said, "I'm The Boss?" Ugh. I'm not saying I hope he has lung cancer now,, anyway, back to my time on the Blue Jays in the Minors. It's bottom of the ninth, a dude's on base and we just need one run to win. I step up to the plate. Did I understand the pressure? No. Like I said, I was an idiot and losing interest in baseball. Plus, what, I wanted to do everything I could to make these straight-faced yokels even more stoked on winning? Well, maybe part of me did. Part of me wanted to impress the hell out of them. But not because I wanted to hang out with them all the time. Well, ok, maybe some part of me really did want them to invite me over to play Mortal Kombat, since my mom wouldn't allow it in the house. But there was also a good portion of me, standing there at the plate, that just wanted to say, "Look, you can care about other things! Have you even seen It's A Wonderful Life? You need to prioritize what you want from life!" For me, it was my family being proud of me and candy. That's all I really wanted. Shit, at that time, X-Men and going to school were pretty high on that list too. But all I had to do at the end of this game was give it my best and my family would be proud of me. And then I'd go to school the next day. And then I'd get candy for doing well in school. And then I'd watch X-Men on Saturday. I didn't need a day planner back then, because every day was fucking awesome. A day planner would've just been a book of exclamation marks and smiley faces. If I was more of a sticker guy, I would've used stickers, but I'm not, so I didn't. Anyway, instead of just shrugging off the moment, I looked at my teammates and, if I recall correctly, which it's very likely that I'm teammates believed in me. They didn't look at me up to bat and think, "Oh great, the kid who invented mitt-face out in right field, lord of the grass piles, is up to bat and we're going to lose because this chump bitch is going to see a butterfly." No, they actually looked like they were thinking, "Do it. Hit a home run and win the game." Well, I hit the ball, but it wasn't a home run. It was a double and it was just enough to get the runner home to win the game. My teammates lost their shit. They were out of their minds. If I had seen a butterfly in that moment, holy hell, that would've been something. They probably would've let me chase it until the field lights turned off. But they encircled me and rubbed my head and cheered. They had never been prouder of me than that moment, which makes sense, since I probably didn't do anything else that was impressive the whole season. They didn't even laugh at mitt-face. What the hell did they know? But, honestly, that's my greatest moment in playing sports. It was like out of a movie for me. Bottom of the ninth and the kid who literally danced in the batter's box won the game. Well, I learned my lesson right then and there: baseball is boring. Even at this incredible high point, I thought, this is it? This is baseball? This isn't enough for me. I quit after that season and focused on basketball. And that's why I never made it to the Majors. Also, if I could be honest here, I kind of do wish that one kid has lung cancer now, because fuck him.

Ah, baseball...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Three Movie Trailers

Here are three trailers for movies I've never seen, yet make me wish I were a better screenwriter:

Written and directed by Mike Mills.

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach.

Friends With Kids
Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Value Of Valentine's Day

The Value Of Valentine's Day
by Jake Kilroy

I understand why people hate Valentine's Day. I get it. It's an entire holiday devoted to love that's hyped up by the media, promoted on social media sites and talked about non-stop by friends and family.

But that's why I love it.

I love the shit out of Valentine's Day.

I've had every variation of the holiday:
  • One year, my girlfriend and I rented a room at a fancy hotel and ate white pizza and chocolate. I made three gifts that year: a short film, a song and a poetry book.
  • One year, after breaking things off with a girl, I spent the night out in Joshua Tree with two dude friends and a random couple we met at the next campsite.
  • One year, with my girlfriend out of town, I saw a rom-com in theaters with friends.
  • One year, I watched Sleepless In Seattle with my brother.
  • One year, a lady friend and I got drunk on good wine and watched Casablanca.
  • One year, I ate dinner with my family and played a board game.
  • One year, I went to Island's for burgers and fries with local single friends.
  • One year, a lady friend and I drank wine in a jacuzzi before I made her what could be considered the greatest grilled cheese sandwich ever made.
  • One year, I watched Down With Love by myself after picking up Chinese take-out and an entire chocolate silk pie.
And I've been stoked every time.

Love isn't for the faint of heart. Neither is the absence of it. Love, the terrifyingly perfect sensation of finding that somebody is...remarkable. It's fucking flooring actually. But you don't/can't have that every year. That's greedy in the very least and quite possibly insane at most. If you're expecting to be cherished every year, since the age you first understood that the whole "love" thing existed, you've probably been let down.

Now, I'm not at all saying you can't find a long-lasting love that will cherish the hell out of you for the rest of your life. That fucking exists, people. But, come on, you've been emotionally and sexually invested/interested in men, women and the go-betweens since, what, you were barely breaking out the gate of teenagedom? It's maybe the rarest thing on this planet to have someone special every single year on February 14th since you were 15 or whatever.

That leaves a few/lot of Valentine's Days made up of single nights in, group nights out, hook-ups, one-night stands and that weird gray area that has no name when you get hammered on some gin in a cabinet you didn't know you had early on in the evening and call that flirty friend you find attractive for fun but aren't even sure how to define or categorize the whole ordeal that follows.

But it's a whole day celebrating love, and that's fucking rad. I watch my parents every year, I watch my friends every year, I watch the world every year. And guess what? People in love are incredible to behold. Who gives a shit if you feel you have to do something special? Hallmark's greeting card machines didn't invent this holiday. People did. And all of this arguing that it's only here so chocolate and candy companies could make money? Who gives a flying fuck about that? So what? So you're going to protest a day of love by not celebrating love? What kind of goddamn nonsense is that, if you actually have someone?

"Well, why not treat every day like Valentine's Day?" some ask.

"Because you'd go fucking broke, stupid," I say.

Listen, you don't have the time, money or energy to treat every day like it's a gigantic celebration of love. If you're not bringing home chocolates and cooking fancy dinners every single night, then, no, asshole, you most definitely are not celebrating every day like it's Valentine's Day. Oh, did you mean that you're good to be around most of the time? Cool. That's not the same thing. Can you randomly surprise your significant other with radical gifts and kick-ass love? Absolutely, and that's awesome. But to turn it down on the one day everybody's doing it is so lame. That doesn't make you special. Treating Valentine's Day like Valentine's Day as well as other random days throughout the year as Valentine's Day is the way to do it. And that's if you're in a strong, committed relationship.

If you're in some weird are-we-or-aren't-we dance of romance, as in some Sam and Diane bullshit, then, hey, there's someone halfway in your life! I've been there. Are you spending your lunch break pacing the parking lot deciding if you should invite them over? Yeah, I bet. But I have no idea if you should. They call that shit a gray area because it's the shot in the dark of all shots in the dark. You could invite them over and you two could fall asleep next to the fire, naked and laughing. But, then again, you could invite them over and find out that their significant other is going to smash in all the windows of your car. Who knows? The world's a mysterious place.

And you single folk...well, you're obviously the hardest sell on a holiday of love. Lord Tennyson*, once tanked on very cheap rum found in his backseat after an evening of sitting outside his ex's house, said, "It is better to have love and lost than to have ever loved at all." And then somebody put that shit all over Twitter and now everybody says that line to cheer up that one sad friend that can't stop listening to fuckin' Joy Division's short-ass discography or Morrissey's greatest hits of having a hard-on for loneliness. It's insane, but it's true. I don't care what anybody says. You get hurt less without love, but you get less without it too. Things would be a lot different if the poet had mumbled, "It's better to have lusted and left than to have never lusted at all." Everyone would be buying condoms without the flowers and we'd all be orgying it up until we were kicked out of the mansion spreads for getting "too intimate." These are trying times!

But why the fuck would you want to sit around and feel sorry for yourself? Because your friends are happy and you're not? Come on, there's no way you're going to spend your collective single days like this. What happens tomorrow? What happens the next day? What happens when you get invited to weddings? Are you going to be that person who drinks all of the sangria and then pulls me aside to tell me about some person I've never met and how they burned you so many years ago? Give me a goddamn break. I want none of this shit today. It's about love. It's about celebrating love and how awesome it is. You're telling me you want a world without Valentine's Day? It's the middle of February, it's cold out and your best bet against it is to abolish the one day that genuinely and secularly throws up a festival of humanity's warmth? No way! This day is about celebrating people being decent to other people. If you're single, celebrate how much you love yourself! I'm talking fat fucking chocolate baskets and dank take-out from that place where you know the menu better than that new cook who keeps looking at you all crooked. Do it the fuck up, ladies and gents. You're awesome. What you do is awesome. How you exist is awesome. You live in America, so there's about fifty choices of what you can do tonight to really fill your brain with excitement. Sit in a jacuzzi with other single friends while eating crispy rolls and drinking whiskey! Watch your favorite movie by yourself while downing a whole bucket of licorice! Buy a bunch of books and shop for shoes! Get drunk and call that one person who thinks you might be the unstoppable force in this goofy world of charades and parades! Who knows? Who cares? Why not? It's not the end of the world! It's fucking Valentine's Day! Woo!

Author's Note: If you have a depressed single friend that needs cheering up, yes, you have my absolute permission to share this rant with him/her.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"heart-shaped pancakes"

"heart-shaped pancakes"
a stunningly short poem by jake kilroy.

bolstered by the promise of romance,
a man once made heart-shaped pancakes.
set aflame by the dream of lust,
he made too many.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"tin cans"

"tin cans"
a morning poem on a thoughtful friday by jake kilroy.

tin cans of pennies left in the rain,

making breakfast in the kitchen,

these songs can't last forever,
though the end ain't so bad,
just running, gunning, grinning.

looking like a marble statue,
fallen in a garden made of sheets,
stunning, stunning, stunning, honey.

well, why not break our bones?
isn't it better than our promises?
my twenties was one long decade of doing both.
and i've got a lifetime to make amends.
i hope.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Supa Bow

As I have dinner with my family nearly every Sunday, I'm usually unavailable to see old movies at The Bay Theatre in Seal Beach. But, since my family was just doing gourmet Super Bowl snacks all day, there was no dinner. With the free evening, I thought I'd bail a little early on the Super Bowl to go see a movie. In January, The Bay Theatre was killing it: Sunset Boulevard, The Godfather, Roman Holiday, etc. But, on Super Bowl Sunday, I suppose out of protest, they were playing The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. And I very immediately decided that I'd never be able to explain or live it down that I missed the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl because I went to go see some cult movie about drag queens in Australia. So, reinvigorated by the prospect of manliness, I bought some firewood, as well as two bars of very plainly wrapped soap, and read a scary book by the fire.

Also, I lost ten bucks to son of a bitch Chase. Goddamn Patriots.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Old Flames XIV: Under The Spell Of Poison

Under a desecrated moon, under the bone-bare trees, under the spell of poison, we howl and cackle. In the blues, in the yellows, the reds and oranges too, we can glow in the winter and sparkle in the summer. But, for now, we rest here, somewhere between a wink and a hallway. We left the churches, the military wards, the crazy old hospitals we called home. We're on the roads now, stepping the line every inch we get. Roll out a new highway. We all have new cars.

So what is the miracle of language? Is it not actually speaking? Is it knowing with hands and shoulders? How shall we communicate in the future, when all of everywhere is barren, laid to waste, burned against the sky like a cemetery tombstone?

That's where we come in. When the world is feeling lowly and wretched, we drink gin by the flames that burn our back with shadows. But we need to keep dancing and never stop singing, so that the world will feel loved again. We our heroes in and by our own rights. Merciful nights, we beg of you to break our hearts and rebuild, rebuild, rebuild. We are merry without control, jealous without hate and the personification of love without the broken parts. But, for this, we are damned. We are damned to a culture of never stopping. Tirelessly, slumping against each other, swinging our hands like tools, just moving like we think the tune and hum will be done soon. But we left all the holy men in a ditch we call the old world.

But this isn't the gold in our hands, the prayer without coughs, the legends without footnotes. This is the last era of honesty. This is the tremendous storm we saw coming. Well, shall we burn our fingers on tears or break our arms from carrying all the guilt? Surely, this isn't the last time we'll call God crying.

Hell no to Hellfire, we'll all cheer. But then we'll wonder how to get the heat and, before you know it, we'll be trapped between a fire and a sky again. We'll eat the stars and dip our hand in the further galaxies like ponds. How far can the moon be anyway? The North Star, how far north I say? I shall bathe in the Milky Way and watch all of my former lives die on the planet before me, one after another, always sipping the finest blackhole of champagne. Consider Heaven a bathroom floor, mesmerized by the startling chill of a tiled white endless.

So, then, what are dreams but last chances and resorts in a stunningly real school of thought? How about you Roman, Greek and Norse gods of dreams? Tell me, what have I gotten wrong here?

Nodding a head is the closest thing to an aneurysm and the slightest form of dancing. But, for now, I must say, it will have to do. I simply can't go back in there without my tuxedo.

Well, then, if this startles us all as the newest medium of memory, after a history of thought, I shall drink myself to death! It is the only way out! I cannot love again and I cannot go home again. This is a startling crash of myself. I thought I had more years, but I want none. If this is as good as it gets, then I consider myself a lucky man. I had years to figure it all out and I didn't. But, gosh darn it, I had a grand time. What, with the laughs and the trips and the parties? Here's to me never living again! I've got to tend to my rest if I'm to be a real player around here, a mover and shake, if you will. I've got a reputation to keep, or fix, or build. Who knows the rule of the western heaven prairie? Maybe it'll be tumbleweeds of clouds. Maybe the good people have all gone to bed. Maybe it just wasn't enough fun.

What a lark! Why can't we have everything? Why must we wait for it? Why shouldn't we choose death as a means and not an end? What say you, grim? Old friend reaper, I won't bother you again, or for a long while at least. We will just have to wait to find out. "Welcome to the new mystery; we have seats waiting," the banners will read. So play the music, angel drummers. Ready the gates, patron saints. Role out the red carpet, Jesus. I'm on my way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Steve Billion And His Wonderful Irony

I don't know when, I don't know what it'll be about, but, one day, I'll write a short story called "Steven Billion And His Wonderful Irony."