Monday, April 30, 2012

Five Things That Are Rad

1. TV SHOW: Boardwalk Empire
I, like many other kids raised on old movies, have a fondest for the 1920s. As a teenager, I found myself profoundly interested in everything from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Al Capone. Alcohol was a celebration and a secret, gangsters were ruthless and classy and the country went through its only decade of severe moral high ground, which of course led into low points and rock bottoms. But there was a reason they called it "The Roaring '20s." So, an entire television show about the whiskey trade at the base of Coney Island, that promise land of pinball machines and roller coasters, is like a homecoming for me. It hits every bit of me: the kid who wanted to see the sights, the teenager who discovered jazz and the adult who can't kick the habit. The actors are flawless, the writing is perfect and the story is mesmerizing. And it takes its sweet time to tell it, as if it's savoring the flavor and smiling at its taste.
2. BOOK: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
I've never read anything so culturally involved while still being so out of genre. The noir mystery unravels against the backdrop of a fake Jewish history out in the umbrella top of America. Let's say that Berlin was nuked at the end of World War II and Jewish refugees were given a territory in Alaska. But, now, 60 years later, the deal the U.S. government struck up with the world and the chosen race is up. Jewish residents are facing reversion and the territory will be up for grabs. One down-on-his-luck Jewish detective finds a dead man in his hotel and it turns the murdered Jew might have been the partial divine, a once in a generation miracle when the equivalent of Jesus's second cousin comes about. Something's wrong in Sitka and the cold landscape shakes as the trail of blood heats up. It's the best noir I've ever read and it's slung together with swear words and Jewish slang. It's a serious read, but Jewish writers always have a sly grin tucked away somewhere.
3. BAND: Matt And Kim
I can't imagine a duo that would be more fun to hang out with. They skateboard, mosh and put on free concerts in Brooklyn parks with a tiny keyboard and a drum kit made from cardboard boxes and random metals. Somewhere in the archives of this blog, there's a post called "I Wish It Was Matt & Kim & Jake," written some years ago when I first heard the song "Daylight." Well, a few weeks ago, I bought their latest release, Sidewalks, and it's just as fun as ever and it hasn't strayed far from my car stereo. It's straight up indie pop for twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings that want to ride bikes and hustle bars forever (and who have a fondness for peppy synth sounds poised against a modern interpretation of punk drums). There isn't any strange depths of lyrics or personal reproaches. They're the musical equivalent of meeting friends for lunch on a Saturday afternoon.
4. MOVIE: Singin' In The Rain
There are few films that continue to impress me. But Singin' In The Rain blows me away every time with its perfect grasp of joy. It handles love, friendship, work ethic and artistic integrity with as much silliness as it does earnestness. Nevermind the showmanship of tap dancers and sultry voices. This movie was made for every possible stunning glow a person can find radiating within themselves. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but, come on, this movie put me in the best mood as a kid (when all I wanted was anything and everything) and it still does as an adult (when I'm not ever truly sure what I want). I've watched this movie in all kinds of weather, including a tremendous Midwestern thunderstorm, and it's spectacular every single time, but it's perfect on a rainy night.
5. RANDOM: Heaven's Gate
Look how goddamn ominous this thing is. "Heaven's Gate" is the nickname given to the water-eroded cave with the highest elevation in the world. In 263, the massive cliff of China's Songliang Mountain (now Tianmen Mountain) broke open and gave the world what looked like a door to the heavens. And now it sits there...waiting.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"a brawler's summer grin"

"a brawler's summer grin"
written all out of sorts by jake kilroy.

i had a salad and painkillers for dinner,
shirtless with the window open,
in the deep gulfs of my bed,
where i swallowed the breeze whole.
my tongue clicked
and i gave the peach sky a smile so wide
i thought it'd fly away,
up through the trees like a dove,
glittering in sunlight,
awaiting the heavens.

my leg aches like a dying lord's final heartbeats,
as i swung my fists into the meat of men's guts last night
with a dozen other brawlers who came to have a conversation.
there was a little bit of bourbon left to drink,
but we used it for wounds;
sharp words cut our throats,
so thank goodness for medicine.

today, i swam and drank wine with cola,
something the spaniards take down,
and played music and drove fast cars,
only to come home and read politics
and wait for the golden locks of summer
to sweep me away into the hopeful beyond.

now, with a body heavy for rest,
i can taste bright colors on my lips
and feel gravity in the pits of my lungs;
like all good young men
that drink, fight, swim, and love,
my heart keeps as a big, comfortable bed,
unaware of who takes to sleeping in it,
so i strike up a grin every summer
and wait for night to never come again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Crisises I Can Help You With

I'm a pretty nice guy. It may not always seem like that because I'm disguised like a son of a bitch. That was an old-timey phrase. I'm not actually a son of a bitch. Want me to prove it? Here, I took five complaints of the modern world as if they were submitted to me and answered them for you. What a nice guy, right? Right. I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch. You better listen to me, baby. That was a line from my favorite Misfits song for those of you who didn't know. Anyway, enjoy.

"Every time I wash my car, it rains."
Holy shit. You're clearly some sort of supernatural being here in our pathetic and dismal dimension. Sorry we didn't make cupcakes for your arrival. Please wait for your well-deserved hand jobs from the concubines of yore. We here on Earth aren't used to beings from another realm. How are you controlling the weather? Every time you wash you car, you say? Fascinating. When I think it's going to rain, I usually read a few reports by men and women who studied it like an actual science until they tell me that it's not an actual science when they get it wrong, which, I have to say, is quite often. Some of us here, you know, the mere mortals, just look at the sky and say, "Oh, looks like it's going to rain." We say this shit to everybody. We don't care who's even standing near us. I'd say it a strange bum-hag, just as I'd say it to my grandfather, just as I'd say it to Dallas Raines, just as I'd say it to Olivia Wilde. Well, no, I guess I'd say more to Miss Wilde. I might ask to touch her face. I don't know. I haven't really thought it through yet. But she's seen rain. I've seen rain. Apparently, Dallas Raines hasn't seen rain because he always tells me to wear a jacket on days that I end up having to explain to everyone at work why I'm wearing a jacket. But then everyone else shows me their jacket and it turns out that we've all been swindled by that goddamn con artist, Dallas Raines. But back to what you said about it raining after every time you wash your car. NO, IT FUCKING DOESN'T.

"I farted in class."
Stand up, immediately tell your fellow students that it was someone else and then run away forever. Don't even bother going home. Everyone is dead to you for the time being. Change your name. If a woman, try out "Starla B. Koosakoff. If a man, start your new life as "Chuck E. Chuckerton." Let them call you "Chunkers" for short. The nickname for your fake name will really throw people from your old life off your trail. Maybe open up a candy shop and be friends with all the local kids. Make them love you. Now, start committing gruesome murders. Wait for a copycat to take over. Come back to your old life as whoever you once were and start things off with, "Nevermind where I've been! How about those murders a few counties over? Pretty gruesome, if you ask me. A candy shop owner no less! Just grotesque." FARTING CRISIS AVERTED.

"The barber gave me a bad haircut."
Wear a fucking beanie. JESUS.

"Ryan Gosling won't bang me."
I hear this one all the time. Who do you think are? Listen up, every lady in America, that dude only has so much time in his day. And guess what? I've heard interviews with him. Dude never starts sentences off with "hey girl." It's usually all about him. Sure, you've seen pictures of him saying, "hey girl, I really like your backstage" or "hey girl, that's some nice falafel you made, my dirty Persian princess," but, to be honest, it'd probably be more like, "Hey girl, how the fuck did you get in here? I'm calling security." Also, let's be honest, if you were that adored by women universally, there is no way that normal sex would satisfy. Just as a default, you would have to start getting weird. You would just be too powerful. Do you think Zeus was thrilled with missionary? Do you think Ra was all about beds? No. Gods want things like "backdoor brimstone" and "leather mania window throws." Oh, I'm sorry, did you think that Ryan Gosling planned to spend his time on Earth taking a bath with you in rose petals and telling you how good of a restaurant manager you are and how he felt sorry for all the side work you had to do? No, of course not, because he is here to ravage. Consider yourselves lucky, ladies, that he's with Eva Mendes. Because guys want her like a gorgeously sloppy and heated New Year's Eve kiss too. She grows more and more powerful with every passing semi-nude scene she does on film. You're straight up lucky she's with him. Let's look at this scientifically. Ryan Gosling is like the black smoke from Lost and Eva Mendes is like that forcefield that nobody understood. If Ryan Gosling was single, and every girl had her way, then every girl with a Facebook would be pregnant by his seed, overpopulation would become an imminent threat to the world and all that we all hold dear would ultimately be destroyed within a generation. Oh, and this was all because you wanted him to say, "hey girl, you don't need a calculator to do those quarterly reports, because you can push my buttons?" STOP THINKING OF YOURSELF FOR ONCE.

"One of my car speakers blew out, so now I can only hear music on one side."
You're in luck. I went through that once for a few years. It turns out all those times I thought, you know, Los Lobos should really put in a guitar solo here, well, they actually did put a guitar solo there. But, alas, I couldn't hear it through the important speaker. And they threw in some bongo drums too! Los Lobos knows what they're doing. Let's just agree on that right now and move on. Do you have tape? If you have tape, you might be lucky enough to tape the cassette eject button down so that, due to faulty wiring, the music comes out the busted side here and there. Maybe use some chewing gum. But don't drop the foil wrapper into the lighter socket, if your vehicle is an older model, as this will of course, due to faulty wiring, fry your dashboard. Don't worry. This will actually impress several chicks when you have to Fonzie the dashboard with a rap of your fist, but don't make a joke about that, as girls who are that easily impressed typically didn't grow up watching Happy Days. No, they were too busy smoking cigarettes and sneaking out at night. That's all well and good at a certain age, but sixth grade isn't the recommended time for your parents to start questioning your morals. Wait until your mom cries at back to school night and accusing you of being a pothead instead. You really have to choose those special moments with your parents. Pretty soon, those moments will be gone and all you'll be left with is your parents telling you to not get (somebody) knocked up until one day they just start demanding that you get (somebody) knocked up. The world's a funny place. HEY, FIX YOUR FUCKING SPEAKERS ALREADY.

You're welcome, America.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Steve Martin Gets It

"Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they
can have an excuse to drink alcohol." - Steve Martin

Monday, April 23, 2012

"three swimmers and a bottle of wine"

"three swimmers and a bottle of wine"
written after an evening of long, wet talk by jake kilroy.

three lone scruffy drinkers in a lake,
eating the sunset and spitting out the seeds,
calling them stars in between coughs.
the pills puked a dusty taste on their tongue
and painted the walls of their soft throats
to match their insides of blood and guts.

one builds, one writes, one plays music,
but all are in need of a boat to drift farther,
begging the shoreline to laugh as loud as them;
for all that is good in the world, there is more.
more smooth women, more salty drinks,
more beaches to comb and hair to shake,
more winds to swallow and more moderation.
and so comes the shiny smiles of young men,
there to tell a story without a sneak twist,
but instead growl up the heavens inside them
to remain transfixed on the forests and beds
that they've always wanted to call home.

so they talk of the summers they lost their heads
for women of south america and south asia,
all while shoveling pints into the broken churches
they call mouths, with spirits long torched.

here, now, with beads of sweat crawling like spiders,
they submerge their balloon heads and feel the nerves
of their waning landscape, a painting with no frame,
where surely the artist is on an indefinite smoke break.
and these are the days that count, they sing on high;
so forth the western days of spilt wine and cheese,
cultured in the full sun arc of eternal afternoon,
they conjure up voodoo that is beloved only to them
and realize the mess they've made of ritual and sacrifice -
as any good woman these fools have adored will tell you,
young men live only for yesterday and tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"riot gear and spark plugs"

"riot gear and spark plugs"
written next to a researching friend by jake kilroy.

motorcycle junkies dripping sweat as ecoterrorists,
pulling politics from the north and selling 'em south,
dressed to nines to make it to ten p.m. on a tuesday,
when all they want to do is burn down the capitol
to save the forests with rights that even the left forgot,
and they're sure as shit not taking anybody's word
until they see papers about protecting the trees,
so call it lumber support and take it up with the nine hippies
and one indian who showed up looking like a human being,
just so everyone could get arrested at the courthouse
to protest the arrests of everything that went to hell,
went to shit, when it hit the fans, who weren't fans of taking it;
they probably just wanted to listen to dylan ramble truth,
but brought their guitars to play song after song over songs,
no new anthems, but poetry of chords for salty vocal chords,
barely catching a glimpse of the distance they had to go,
so forlorn as a nation of nothing but riot gear and spark plugs;
give it up, they'll chant around ironic campfires here and then,
mixing up words instead of drinks to bless their body of work
and call out churches for not having enough team spirit;
let them just wail until somebody asks if they have enough hammers
and starts dismantling all that the settlers built over graves,
wailing away with tears in their eyes, so bloodshot and bloody,
killing themselves to live on the irony that nobody fed them,
but they'll starve out in the plains where corporate complexes lay,
all for the gods that were built by man to do absolutely nothing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"scumbag cowboy"

"scumbag cowboy"
written after years of hearing the same joke by jake kilroy.

the scumbag cowboy,
out of the salty wound of america,
a nomad in god's biggest fuck-up,
where the wheels fell off the traveling circus
of holy men that built stick churches
in the promise land of too many women.

but, here, out in the furthest west before the sea,
rides the scumbag cowboy, looking for history,
and finding nothing but grit in his perfect teeth,
looking to shoot down the last few priests
that wouldn't make him a saint this eternity.

what gaiety the broken-hearted can have
with rhyme books mistaken for more!
oh, but he'd rather a gun end the saloon talk
instead of just letting the piano player work,
so he can ramble and gamble with the best
who'd take a noose over a card game with him.

bestow us this glorious heaven!
so bellows the wicked and the wrecked,
a bleak shroud of white in the distant heat.
in the empty sunlight,
here comes the lone rider,
slinking his lanky frame into the picture,
a mesmerizing glow to his noble enemy count,
which belongs to all who have heard his stories,
year after year, as he boasts and slumps through,
shooting the dead and wasting away the living.

the shrug of ends,
or is it the other way around?
truly, the best monks of dirt and damage wonder,
as they build and mend the fences of homesteads
they asked the desert springs to bless with water
and love and all that belongs in the body true.

but the scumbag cowboy,
too pathetic to be a criminal,
too bored to be an outlaw,
too wretched to be anything else,
though old enough to be sheriff,
sure, a smart bag of tricks -
he pins petty theft to his solitude and ritual,
hoping for one good streak of swagger,
but all he ever gets is a roll of the eyes
and the click of a tongue faster than his.

oh, the slick sharpshooter hasn't hit a tin can
since he was a boy out in the badder lands,
when he carried weight as a child,
and then stretched height as a teen,
he works the heavy crack of his jaw
to keep it from falling to rust and dust -
the poor son of rich, god-fearing farmers
that'd rather be hanged than left out to dry.

his horse is a mute and his posse dwindles,
over time, over land, over campfire tales;
still, he crawls the dead coughed-up red earth
with two snickering brothers that aren't his -
three men waiting for a grand, beautiful death,
hoping the grim reaper hates the prosperous,
unaware that the pale rider is richest at dusk.

and then comes night!
what then, what then, patriot of the bitter joke?
how will the riverbeds taste when filled with your blood?
it's bound to happen,
the fiery threat of God,
maybe the only man the scumbag cowboy fears or respects,
but Who will surely bury him in a shallow grave,
because even the Almighty doesn't have time to waste.
and so it goes,
the tragic end of nothing tragic.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seven Things That Need Reviving

I had one hell of a summer-in-spring day yesterday. The weather was perfect, I spent the day well and it got me thinking about the coming string of hot days and warm nights. Even though I'm a working man, I still get all stoked on summer.

Sure, there's no big change in my schedule come summertime, but my weekends and weeknights get a whole lot cooler. All of a sudden, I'm hanging out in everyone's backyard and sleeping in my bathing suit. And, unlike last summer, I won't be stuck doing busy work in a cubicle. Instead, I'll be wearing shorts to work in our refurnished warehouse-office with the huge doors up and a basketball court in the parking lot. I'm amped. But, last night, I realized that I used to have a better hold on cool shit before I became a careerist instead of just a dude with a job.

Summer is the best possible time to bring out the best, right? So why not revive seven cool things that I don't do anymore?

1. Revive travel.
I haven't been on a plane since New York City last June and that's of tremendous bogusdom. I've done traveling since then, but it's all been by way of motor vehicle, which, in truth, is cool(er). However, my last real trip (even by car) was Mexico for New Year's. That was nearly four months ago. I was regularly doing at least two trips a month last year. I've missed out on a few trips lately because of work, but I miss my "hey I seriously need to skip town as soon as possible." Maybe I'm happier just staying local. Maybe I've gotten boring. Maybe I have a disease. I used to have gunning-for destinations and I think I may need that again. My parents visited Paris a few years ago (my father's second time and my mother's first) and they love talking about going back, and it's even got me excited about revisiting Paris (though it'd be hard to top my last trip there). I need to put together an adventure soon that's not somewhere I've been before (Internationally: Italy; Domestically: Hawaii). Let's revive travel.

2. Revive mixes.
I used to make mixtapes all the time. In 2006, I tried out Cameron Crowe's ongoing project/hobby of recording what he listened to over the years. He has a wall at home with cassette tapes, reading things like "1979, May-August" and "1992, Spring." My attempt lasted all of six months. But it made sense to do, since I drove cars with tape players throughout college. I recorded and decorated mixtapes for myself and anyone else that wanted one. They're cooler than mix CDs, as they carry the old school and have more room for artistic endeavors. Still, even if I don't return to the glory days of mixtapes, I should at least get back to making mix CDs all the time. We used to do Music Club at Entrepreneur, and I scored a ton of radical new music from that. I used to make mixes for every stupid occasion I possibly could. Let's revive mixes.

3. Revive letters.
I've only had three real pen pals in my life (with handwritten letters of frequency by way of the United States Postal Service): in second grade, my grandfather, who only lived in Villa Park and saw me all the time; in third grade, when my friend Julio moved to Lake Elsinore, which I thought of as the other side of the world; and The Jen, when she lived in New York City and both of us were profoundly interested in everything. As I suppose The Jen counts as my only adult pen pal, and "pen pal" seems like a peculiar term for those letters (as they were semi-poetic musings on the world-at-large), I'm interested in engaging by way of the written word once again. Everything's prettier to read, more heartfelt and, altogether, just dangerously more altrustic. It doesn't even have to be romantic. Have you ever read a handwritten letter from your friend? It's rad. It's also not bills. Do you know how cool it is to get something in the mail that isn't a bill? It's kind of the best. Let's revive letters.

4. Revive bike rides.
When I was 20, I bought a beach cruiser that I named the Kilroy Avenger. What was it avenging? Who knows? Probably everything. It was dark green with white army stars and "Kilroy" tagged on it. I rode it every afternoon I could (usually listening to the Stars album Set Yourself On Fire). Somehow, I've left it to disrepair in my parents' garage, which, I agree, is supremely bogus. Also, I have a new neighborhood to explore that, thus far, seems incredible for bike rides. Let's revive bike rides.

5. Revive making music.
After I gave on loops and The Bloodlit Stars, I learned one or two strumming patterns on guitar. I wrote some songs on guitar and it thrilled the hell out of me. Sometime later, I recorded an EP called Great Western Skies and was wildly proud of it, despite only being an indefinite beginner at guitar. However, a week or two ago, I recorded a song in the basement and it brought back that feeling of wanting to high-five everything. I'm also more than halfway done with another EP. Hey, I may not be good, but I have a lot of fun. Let's revive making music.

6. Revive evening runs.
I used to go on evening runs with my family dog, but I haven't done an evening run since I moved out, which was six months ago. It's not like Charlie was a motivator. He can't even talk. He's a fucking dog, people. Recently, I took up evening walks (something I picked up from my parents). It's relaxing and I've discovered that my extended neighborhood has some impressive lighting and landscaping. But walking doesn't do the same radicalness that running offers. Let's revive evening runs.

7. Revive the James Bond Project.
Around the summer of 2008, I found myself binge-watching James Bond flicks. After catching myself in Wikipedia traps, one after another, I suggested to the Superfriends (James, Keith, Zuhair and myself) that we should be more like the British super-agent. They agreed and thus began the James Bond Project (or Project: Class, or a dozen other names, because we really like naming things). The plan was simple: we get classier. At the time, I was showing up with whiskey breath in dirty jeans that were routinely stained with hot sauce. We were slobs, men of high potential and low caliber! So, we collected articles about what men should know, how men should dress, when men should order something edgy at the bar. I began buying one nice clothing item with each paycheck, I researched fine scotches and I read up on history. Obviously, the project was doomed to fail eventually. But we all got somewhat classier on our own. Still, there's more class to be had. Let's revive the James Bond Project.


Now, you may be wondering, why did he make this post sound like Mega Man with phrases such as "let's revive fire power?" Because summer is a big game where everybody wins. Yesterday felt like summer, and I've got a big backyard for playing croquet and a basement for drinking lemonade now. Who's not stoked on going barefoot during the day and sitting in a jacuzzi at night? Come on, let's keep the windows open and travel, mix, write, ride, shred, run and get fuckin' classy. Summer's almost upon us! Woo!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"what the lovers wanted"

"what the lovers wanted"
while looking out a window by jake kilroy.

they draped themselves over each other in bed,
with the afternoon breeze
lulling them in and out,
sweetly and richly,
watching the palm trees sway
from his bedroom window.
in between giggles,
she told him how she wanted
sunsets, roses, ballets,
picnics, museums, showers,
operas, galleries, beaches,
fires, porches, concerts,
parks, cafes, mountains,
tents, pools, observatories,
movies, songs and getaways.
he coughed up a grin.
all he wanted was a season of sundresses
and cigarettes that wouldn't kill him,
but he had all the time in the world.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Old Flames XVI: To The Birth Of Rock 'N Roll

I remember someone telling me that, if they could time travel anywhere, they'd be there for the birth of rock 'n roll in the '50s. They'd miss the war, they'd miss America being handed off, they'd just be there for right between the nervous breakdowns of 20th Century Americana.

And who would he be sipping syrup with? Chuck Berry? Elvis? All the poodle skirt babes and their yokel boyfriends in the cardigans? Goddamnit, he had a point. Rock 'N Roll is one hell of a show, but, back then, it started in high school cafeterias at night. It started in brick buildings with ivy. It didn't start in some cool, hip spot. It may have landed there, but it stared in concrete buildings with no hope on the outside. It started on basketball courts where the jocks weren't allowed. It started in a band room with the cats that smoked. It came from the beating hearts of American teenagers, and somebody had to make a living that wasn't in "his daddy's shop."

This was the America that men have been searching for even before they sought women. But once they sought women, it became a hunt real fast. It's just one generation after another now of the sly and the wicked looking for a dive to maybe slip in. The backyard parties weren't enough and we needed something with ice, they'll say. You ever been to New York City, darling? They'll coo it until their sunglasses melt from the heat. That's what it'll be.

Get there before the doo-wop, get there before the glam, get there before they show you how they wreck the piano. Get there for the birth of rock 'n roll, son, or don't bother getting there at all.

And if you do...well, bring a guitar, my man. We've got a nation to shred.

"when i was young and drunk on good wine in a forest"

"when i was young and drunk on good wine in a forest"
inspired by music and memories by jake kilroy.

i was in northern california when i finally got "it,"
and "it" was several empty wine bottles
and a buzz that felt like lovemaking.
sleeping by a river that poured its heart out
into the foggy bays of california's top hat,
i drank the finest wine stirred by romantics
that never gave into the poetry of heartache.
the french still can't climb out of a bed
without remembering every bed they've ever abandoned
in the middle of the night, under moonlight,
jumping from one balcony to another,
praying for a god that cheats.
but the winemakers of northern california
put their lovers' whispers and secrets
in the grape stew and it tasted like angel's blood,
sweet and perfect, enough to knock me out
for years of dreams and eons of happiness.
what a time to be alive and drunk on wine,
i thought, as i went into the darkness of the woods
and asked the wild beyond for nothing,
because i had everything i ever wanted.
so i went back to my tent and read
until even the words on the page slurred,
and i listened to the bongo drums of the water
and the chimes of traffic in the distance
that glowed across the massive bridge
that brought me here to this gully.
by sunday morning,
my heart was even full of wine
and it was pulpy and lovely
and it carried yearning
and satisfied aching
in the same beats
that dripped the wine and blood
onto my bones, which stained
with beautiful purples and reds
and i would've given anything to see my insides
look like a carnival with horns and dancing,
but, instead, i watched the mist take the trees home
and give the moon a chance to catch its breath
and sigh until i heard nothing else
but the croaks of frogs and the hum of bugs.
i couldn't stop smiling.
god, i was sick with glory then.
oh, to be young and drunk on good wine
in a forest of overgrowth and mist again,
wondering where home will be,
if it could be so far away,
but beneath your feet somehow,
just a prayer of and for earth
waiting for you to dig your fingers into the dirt
and take wood for use other than fire and paper
and build something that won't ever go to waste.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Darling" - A New Song

At the Easter celebration at my parents' house last night, my father's mix was putting out one good song after another. It was The Ramones, then it was Elvis Costello, then it was Bobby Darin. But then there was a good block of doo-wop tunes and oldies, and it was just one sentamental guy after another promising a girl "the good life."

Well, once I got home, I went immediately to the basement and started playing guitar. I can't really play guitar, but I can manage the most basic possible strumming patterns most of the time. By midnight, I had written half a song (with lyrics from prior poems I've penned, which I've realized I do more often than I should). Then Grant came home and he wrote a poem while I played music. So, naturally, we got drunk on bourbon and mixed the two, and then I finished the song sometime around 3 a.m.

The song's called "Darling" for now. It's unpolished (and I can't sing like a real person), sure, but, hey, it's a song put together from start to finish in just a few hours. That's pretty neat, right?

by Jake Kilroy, featuring Grant Brooks

It was the week I couldn't sleep.
You were out of town and the dog kept me company.
I slurred my words as I cooked with wine.
Sometimes, I can't stand this heart of mine.

Darling, I built a fire for you
with hands that do shadow puppets too
as well as hold candles, cup water, fix cars,
stir pasta, wash windows and point out shooting stars.

Let me whisk you away
to the same fields that you grew battled up on.
Let me build us a house
from the trees that cracked during your favorite lightning storm.
Let me burn those bridges
of friends that forget your birthday every single year.
Let me mouth off to the men
who said you'd look good as someone else.

From the steeple I built in my room,
I prayed to myself for the answers to unasked questions.
I wrote about my hands shaking before,
and I wrote about my heart breaking as a kid.

But my eyes have grown weary of the lines in the road.
I'm having such a hard time finding way my home,
not that I ever had an idea of where that was.
I never raked the same yard twice.

I kissed girls on nights I should've stayed in,
and I shared glass bottles with friends
that were out looking for the same sea-lost ship.

I spent those early days like a heavyweight
spends the hours leading up to a fight,
sleepless and wistful.

Give me the wood pirates. Give me the flower boats.
Give me the Holy Grail, filled with the blood of youth.
Smear it across my mouth like a clown grin.
Put me in a tux and tell me where the party is.

Let me whisk you away
to the same fields that you grew battled up on.
Let me build us a house
from the trees that cracked during your favorite lightning storm.
Let me burn those bridges
of friends that forget your birthday every single year.
Let me mouth off to the men
who said you'd look good as someone else.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Friends And I Filmed A Ransom Video

Our friend Blake loves the movie Drive. I mean, he loves the hell out of it. He also has the most impressive Blu-Ray collection I've ever seen. And he and I do some fun, goofy shit-talking on the basketball court on Sunday mornings. So, naturally, when he invited us all over for a party at his house, my first thought was, "I should steal his copy of Drive."

After informing Rex of my plan after basketball one Wednesday evening, the idea evolved. Rex suggested that we replace the movie with a Twilight Blu-Ray (which remains the only Blu-Ray that Rex owns for some reason). Later, this came to involve Scott and Lil' Chase, and it became a big, hilarious project. I showed up late to the party with Grant, and the movie had already been lifted and replaced by the time I even arrived.

So, the next day, on a wonderfully sunny afternoon, Scott, Rex, Grant and myself gathered at Lil' Chase's house to partake in drinking some whiskey and filming a ransom video.

Fast forward two weeks.

Last night, coming home from an evening out, Blake just wanted to watch Drive (oh, how he loves that movie)...only to discover the Twilight Blu-ray inside the Drive case instead. Needless to say, he was livid. Today is his day off and he still just wants to watch Drive. After sending us all a threatening Facebook message (as he somehow guessed it was us immediately), someone named "Blake" (same name, same birthday, same profile picture) asked to be his friend on Facebook. Blake accepted the friend request and then "Blake" posted the ransom video at the top.

This morning, I received this message from Blake: "I'm literally going to kill you. Enjoy your last 48 hours on earth."

So I shall.

What's that? Oh, yes, we're all in our mid-to-late 20s. But, hey, why ever stop having fun?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"they needed more colors"

"they needed more colors"
written on a break with a good sunset behind by jake kilroy.

the stars boomed over the sailboats
and the coast cheered,
but the red, white and blue weren't enough
for the young lovers and dreamers.
they needed more colors.

and so came the green of asian jungles,
so came the gold of african plains,
so came the blue of south american mountains,
so came the orange of the australian outback,
so came the swirls of european flower fields.

they drank champagne on boats,
but summer's only three months long.
so they wrote poetry in the winter
and danced across autumn
and laid in bed through spring.

in between the cracks of seasons,
they counted pennies,
ate crackers,
and wanted to paint their skin.
but they couldn't decide
if they should paint themselves
the colors of the world
or the colors of their lovers.
and then they couldn't afford
the paint or time or luxury,
so they bathed
and got jobs
and settled
and found themselves full
of everything.

"when i saw my bones in the woods"

"when i saw my bones in the woods"
written on a memory by jake kilroy.

i saw my bones once,
in a hallucination
in a campsite bathroom
in my youth.
and all i could think was,
isn't that what aging is?

doesn't age sneak up like that,
like a thief in the night,
taking your precious youth
and leaving you with the remains?
you're fat, then muscle,
then bones, then dust.
but if i were a skeleton,
a lucky one with a top hat,
my tux would always be fitted
and i'd spend my night in closets
sharing secrets with demons.
how bad is too bad?

at the time i saw my bones in the woods,
i wanted to be an actor.
but i knew i wouldn't ever leave the characters.
i'd store them within myself until they broke out.
it was a close call -
i was nearly an abandoned storage container
of bittersweet dreamers and cowardly rogues.
i was too young to have guts,
so i used my imagination
until i grew into my sharp tongue
and found a grand laugh
that resided in me like a hermit,
living on a cliff,
living on whatever he could.

when i left the bathroom,
i told my father what i saw.
he told me, sometimes mirrors do that.
i asked him what mirrors did.
he said, sometimes they show you what you don't want to see.
and he gave me a smile
so i gave him a nod.
and then i lost my eyes in the fire
and roasted my marshmallow,
and never spoke of it again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"a prayer for laughing"

"a prayer for laughing"
after another inspiring weekend by jake kilroy.

oh, the west coast waves,
with lithium on our tongues
and songs in our hearts,
came from the boomboxes
in showrooms and beaches
as we all swam to glory,
through freedom,
swallowing our pride,
gulping down the hardships
we claimed built these islands
of our insides that we let
ourselves be beached upon.

yes, surely, this was the diamond crust
of our upper lip when we whistled
the many thanks of pilgrims and pioneers.

please, truly, allow me this one burial
that looks like a bed, out in the jungle
of community pools and backyard lots,
where i can get dizzy with wine and friends.

merry me - oh, marry me,
she said after an afternoon lounge,
with skin as brown and white
as the cinnamon swirls we had at brunch,
with cigarette smoke spinning in us
like tornados of prayers lost to bad winds.

crucify this sunday that we called the american pastime
and give us baseball and portraits of beautiful meadows
so that we may take in these days like the undeniable
faith that is owed to us by way of broken knees,
scraped and cut and bruised and forsaken
from nights on the wooden floors of bedrooms
we can't stand to return to now.

give us all that we can stand,
so that when we say it's enough,
you may know our limits
and believe we really mean it
when we tell you, the gods, the sky,
the politicians, the holy men,
the artists and the damned
that we can't stop laughing.