Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Three Dramatic Comedies About Personal Identity That Look Interesting

1. Your Sister's Sister
Written and directed by Lynn Shelton.
Like most American men, I love the hell out of Emily Blunt. And I think Mark Duplass is a pretty all-around talented guy. Also, I enjoyed Rosemarie DeWitt in Rachel Getting Married. Now they're all in a dramatic comedy together. And it takes place at a vacation home in the mountains next to a lake. There's late-night drinking. It's mostly conversation. There's a guy losing track of his life. A main theme is sex with friends' sisters. There's almost nothing I don't like about the plot. But it'll most likely take a more dramatic turn about 20 minutes into the movie, and Emily Blunt is going to cry a lot and it's probably going to be wildly charming.

2. Celeste And Jesse Forever
Written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Directed by Lee Toland Krieger.
Anyone who's tried to remain legitimately good friends with their ex immediately after breaking up knows what an insane, unsettling, downright bewildering experience that is. Now there's a movie about it with Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones, who actually co-wrote it. It's going to have a lot of moments of the ex-couple staring at each other and then not able to make eye contact for a while. Is it going to have a rad, moody soundtrack? Good chance. Is it going to make all viewers feel really awkward a whole lot? Probably. Is it a movie that was almost specifically made to be watched by couples drinking cheap red wine? Almost assuredly. Am I going to want to comfort the hell out of Rashida Jones? Fucking...definitely.

3. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Written and directed by Stephen Chbosky.
I read the book when I was 16 or 17, and you can't read a better book at that age. I figure it's sort of our generation's Catcher In The Rye. I haven't read it since high school, and, if I read it now, it would probably seem trivial and exhausting (because teenagers are trivial and exhausting). But that book understood teenagers in an almost unnerving way. It had the themes of being simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed, every moment counting, feeling like the world is beautifully endless, and the great shaking terror and hope in the future opening up to you for you to really do something. The movie looks like it'll get it pitch-perfect, seeing as how the book's author also wrote and directed the film. This movie's going to feel like time travel, and I'm probably going to get drunk and call Julia's old house to talk to my teenage self and his goofball, moody, philosophical friends to tell them that everything's going to turn out just fine, but since Julia's parents moved to Oregon, the new people are going to be SO pissed about me crying on the phone and giving them life advice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cerebral: Sambalero

This is an experiment in cerebral writing. Is that a thing, you ask? Maybe. Yes? Fuck, I don't know. I got the idea from Rex when he had me look at Pinterest pictures in a specialized order while listening to a Ryan Adams song when the singer/songwriter was all strung out on heroin. It was pretty awesome. So, I decided to do something sort of similar. This first outing is for women. Ladies, did you ever want to disappear to the South American forests of your untamed heart? Well, then find the song "Sambalero" by Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfá, and play it while reading this simultaneously.

"In The Forest Eternal"
a cerebral narrative to the song "sambalero" by jake kilroy.

It is early evening, and you are in a sundress. The sun has just set, it is beloved darkness that sails over you and whispers a sweet breeze into the pores of your skin. You blink madly, finally deceived by life, you think. There is a live band off to your left and a gorgeous dinner party spread with several tables. Your eyes are trying to seduce your brain. Your stomach aches with energy. Your heart slows to a cough, as if pulling on the final ashes of a bourbon-laced cigar. You are happy. You are more than happy. You have reached the precipice of joy, as it puts its fingers around your waist and breathe into your ear, only to let crystalized laughs float through your head like hot air balloons in spring time.

Your dress and your shoes are the color of a well-groomed lover's teeth, so you stand out in the forest where you cannot place the moon. It hangs above you like a chandelier. You look at the settling sky until your neck groans. You look down again. Somehow, you had not noticed the many people before you when you first snuck into wilderness. They are dancing, and they are happy. They are sick with happiness. It has riddled their bodies perfect. The band plays samba for them, and they move like waves against each other, crashing with salty air pluming from their small mouths like slender, dark engines.

A gentleman takes you by the hand. He has skin that looks like coffee with generous helpings of sugar added and stirred. His arms are strong, his jawline is straight, and his smile is soft. He leads you to the dance floor where the people are moving as if they are underwater. The black hair of the women twists and falls with grace like cliff divers at the end of summer, when there is no reason to go home. You sway with the locals and breathe in air that coats your lungs like coconut milk. You watch the band. They treat their instruments like first loves, and you can pick stars out of the glowing brass of their horns. All of their eyes are closed, as they too have disappeared into the great spell of the evening.

You sigh with relief, feeling the dazzling spectacle of music swallowing your insides, and you forget time. You forget places. You forget your name. You forget all that was before this moment, and you are without thought, even now. It is just sounds and sights, and the others agree without words. It is just a dance floor at a dinner party in the middle of a forest somewhere in the depths of summer.

The world is truly beautiful and glorious, and all that exists now is joy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Strange Beaches"

"Strange Beaches"
a spacey humdinger of a poem by jake kilroy.

The strange beaches of Los Angeles dreams,
curved with troubled water,
polluted with the seven deadly sins - 
it's all a beautiful wasteland,
beyond the hills,
past the skyline,
with a moon lit up like a paper lantern.

Here, we rekindle old flames
with nothing more than obituary clippings,
smooth stones we kept from foreign lands,
and a desire to lose our bathing suits in the ocean.

As friends, we dig pistol bullets into our ears like plugs
and then have a pillow fight after several drinks,
praying we don't actually hit the sides of our heads.

As lovers, we have midnight picnics
and lick the salt water from our wounds
to spit it out into our hands for a romantic suicide pact,
because we can never forget what it feels like to die.

As heroes, we wait for the natives and the locals,
and then we wait for the transplants and explorers,
and then we get out the guitars and lull the crowd to sleep.

We only drink to use the beer bottles as postcards.
We only smoke to snap our heads into balloons.
We only love because it's all our hearts can do with blood anymore.

Strange beaches -
syrupy sandcastles, blanket blue water, campfire nostalgia;
all for the grieving, all for the laughter, all forever.
"Olli-olli-oxen-free," cry the arrivals every time.

There is never a sunset, nor a sunrise, it is always night.
And that's how we want it -
blacked out
with teeth grinning like stars in a constellation
in the belly of the world
as a love affair
without need for time
without need for power
without need for hope
with everlasting endurance
to continue on
as a weight in the airy space of eternity
as a placeholder for another human being
as an adventure of the righteous soul
just an immaculate truth
that's filled to the brim with gorgeous nonsense.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Old Flames XIX: Truly, The Majestic

I once told a friend that I would rather spend an afternoon with the Devil than a night with God. When he asked why, I told him, "Because I can talk to a criminal. I don't know what to do with a nun."

He told that he wished Popsicles could be so realistic and so rotten and so unfathomably untrue.

"Come on, what good are churches?" I asked like a sadist.

"We all need a home away from home," he told me coolly.

"Isn't that what Hawaii's for?"

"Well, that's somebody's home too."

"Aren't churches a home too?"

"God doesn't live there. God's a nomad."

This ended the conversation.

And all parties went home.

I told this story in a bar once. The bartender had heard it before.

"It's a morality play, isn't it?"

"It's life," I answered with a sip, hold the grin.

"Yeah," he nodded. "Isn't life a morality play?"

This shut me up for two more drinks.

Then I wasted a cough on another tale.

"I was never in the army," I explained. "But I had my character assassinated. It was suicide."

"That a riddle?"

"No," I rolled. "It's a joke."

"It ain't good."

"Suicides never are."

"So you pulled the trigger?"

"Didn't have to be a gun. Could've been a tool, an instrument of death, a fork for the grim," I rattled with treachery. "You can assassinate somebody's character, but it's always a guaranteed way to kill yourself off slowly. What kind of a man wastes another man like that without the shrapnel kicking back?"

"A good marksman."

"The most accurate marksmen are those who commit suicide."

I laid this story out when I realized that suburbia wasn't a cage or a prison. It's a lair for all the monsters. The seven deadly sins aren't wishes. They're gods. Or they're devils. Either way, it's organized crime.

Why do husbands always fear telling their wives that they fear a demon showing up across the room, not even bothering to hide?

What's the greatest tragedy? I asked one dinner party.

"The greatest tragedy is that we're out of wine," someone joked. They all laughed. Except me. I said no and my eyes never left.

"The greatest tragedy is never being able to tell a good joke when you need it."

The awkward silence bounded, and everyone broke into hysterics.

I told that story at a card game when I won something more than money. I won pride. I won a god in a card game. But I couldn't fit him in my glovebox, so I left him at the party. He's probably way ahead by now.

I got so mad once that I told a story to kill time.

You either get it or you don't.

Is it a riddle? Is it a joke?

Well, isn't the better question always, hey, who cares?


But the problem is that God and the Devil both care. One's just a better businessman, and the other's running a charity.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Magician's Veil: Part Two

The Magician's Veil: Part Two
by Jake Kilroy

The Magician's Veil: Part One can be read here. This is Part Two.

Squile stepped lightly in the darkness. The wooden planks creaked like broken songbirds. All he could see in the endless black was the sparkle of the magician's teeth when he would look back at the boy and grin a mouthful of ivory lanterns.

"So," he hissed gleefully, "you are to be a magician?"

"Yes, sir," Squile answered with full lungs and a prideful chest.

"Then it's all downhill from here," the magician told him.

Squile felt his bones creak like the floorboards.

But then they came to a spiraling stone stairwell with torches glowing angrily. Tapestries of rich historical scenes that Squile had not learned about in school adorned the descending rock hallway. Squile understood the downhill joke now, and it made him even more uneasy, as the magician giggled like a puppeteer.

"Watch your step," cooed the magician. "I'd hate for you to break your legs and be left down here with the beasts."

Squile's throat closed like a trap door, catching his breath off-guard.

Then the stairs lead into an underground hall of sparse light. It was one room, but it had high ceilings and a sense of grandness to it. At the entrance stood two statues of intriguing beasts that Squile didn't recognize. He got the second joke, and the magician again stifled his sneaky laugh.

With a sweeping motion, the magician undid his cape and threw it up onto a hook. It caught perfectly. Next, he tilted his head backward so that his top hat fell, and the magician kicked it with his heel. It too landed perfectly on a hook. Without breaking his stride, the magician finally whirled a single match out of his breast pocket, struck it against his shoe and threw it in front of him, where it ignited a torch. Once near it, he slapped the base of it, so a few of the flames leapt out and caught another torch, which then spun and threw flames to another torch, and so on. Within the catching of a breath, the room was aglow, and it stunned Squile to his very core. The room was beautiful, unlike anything the boy had seen in his short life. There was no dull quality to it. Stained glass separated working areas of science, old books piled upon older books of the many shelves, and a tucked away corner of the breathtaking hall looked like a medical station. Paintings covered the walls, and, beyond the many trinkets and prizes, a bedroom had been fashioned with little privacy.

Once his eyes unglued themselves from the magnificence of the hall, they came to settle on a throne decorated with beads and hats atop and the magician sitting with an his head resting on his knuckles.

"So," the magician bellowed with gleaming eyes, "you want to be a magician."

Squile was helpless with words for a moment, but then caught his tongue and shot it out.

"Yes, sir," the boy announced, "and I know you to be a man of magic."

"Me?" the magician jokingly gasped and then stood. "What if I were to tell you that I wasn't a magician and these wonderful decorations were all that I've lifted from the many magicians I've murdered?"

Squile had not considered this. Not even slightly. He locked eyes with the magician's yellow wolf eyes. He had thought them to be a different color. Even now, they looked like blood drops were dotting the gold.

"You have built yourself a reputation to be an honorable man. Whether by the grace of a god or by the possession of a demon, you have announced yourself before as a great magician," the boy explained heartily.

The magician paced the room and considered this. Squile had not realized how long of a man the magician was. He looked like a marionette, strung together desperately and plagued by splinters. His legs crept across the floor.

"And who, my new young fascinating accomplice, has told you off my honor?" the magician asked, almost philosophically.

"The great magician Travio. When drunk on wine, he would talk in his sleep. He would talk of you."

The magician's eyes fluttered like birds in mid-flight. His ears twitched.

"Travio," repeated the magician. "I have not caught his name in my empty nest of a head for quite some time. How do you know him?"

"He was my uncle."

"Was?" the magician purred sadly, leaning over his long legs.

Squile sighed grudgingly and breathed a few panic attacks.

"He was murdered last week," he finally answered.

The magician's eyes dropped, weighing the news. He looked at his coal black shoes, which he lifted up, as he rolled on his feet, taking in the death.


It was all the magician said, and it was the first word spoken by him that didn't contain a sugary coat.


"By whom?"

Squile labored a breath.

"That is why I'm here."

The magician's head rose like a balloon with eyes that looked almost blue now.

"Have you come here to find the great hands of a murderer?"


"Am I to be sought vengeance upon?"

"No," said the boy.

"Ah," nodded the magician. "So you have not icy blades in your heart or pockets intended for me?"

Squile saw the confusion now.

"Not even a dull branch with the threat of splinters. My uncle, in his drunken slumber, always spoke highly of you, even when it was nonsense."

The magician smiled a truly radiant grin.

"So you are here for answers?"

"I am here for help."

The magician lifted his chin suspiciously.

"And training," added the boy.

"Before you are taught anything, I want a question answered by your young lips," growled the magician. "Do you know what revenge tastes like?"

"I imagine it is a sweet taste."

That is what priests and politicians want you to think, but they are no cooks."

"Then what is the the taste of revenge?"

"It is a foul, sour taste," explained the magician. "But it is an acquired one. Maybe even a delicacy for those who have so little."

Squile gulped.

My First Work Mixtape

Column Five has started doing up weekly playlists, and I scored the rad job of being in charge of them. They were also nice enough to let me go first. Dig it: The C5 Mixtape, Volume 1: I Got Five On It.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beloved Twitches: A Poem In Three Parts

"Beloved Twitches: A Poem In Three Parts"
written honorably this time by jake kilroy.
Part I
(The Overture of Gold Eyes, White Hearts & Immaculate Mischief):
A skyline of heavens against the horizon,
ablaze with bottle rockets and visions of the future,
sure-fire in its crayon colors, melted in the sun,
all above the world below, so righteous and bright;
a ferris wheel with a home attached, spinning,
for insomnia doesn't seem so grim and bastardly
as the pores stretched over cheekbones fill with sugar.

Of breathing patterns -
eyes white as snow, marked with footprints in ovals,
and a stomach empty with picnic blankets for wallpaper,
for past lives are now being considered and reconsidered,
for what is the carnival prize that lasts and lacks spoil?

"You're beautiful" - all that clunks out,
like a jalopy on a backroad, just missing the plains and swamps,
with a radio tower in the distance, playing the right songs.

What a waste a tongue is in conversation now.
How important it is at night.
But good is a mouth without confidence?

Strike up the band!
One smile may just kill us all.

Part II
(The Legendary Tale of Endless, Endless Stars):
"Darling, let me make you breakfast," he croaked,
perfumed in a caffeine buzz from lovemaking.
Smeared sweat and a newspaper grin
cover his face in origami starry eyes.

This is love.
This is the majestic circus,
the lucid therapy,
the machine of perpetual motion.
This is where it all gets better.

"Everything I do that's not in this bed with you
is like waiting in line at the Post Office," he tells her
one summer evening where they swallow fireworks
and choke on balloons until words escape them,
so they have to sleep with the window open
for a breeze that kneads their skin like sacred clay.

But this heart is a prisoner of suburbia,
drunk on lemonade hopes and pretzel dreams,
waiting out church for brunch
and mowing the grass to sleep.

What lust? What anarchy? What effort?
This is the divine giggle of the endless;
prayer cakes eaten in a fit of nostalgia.

These are our hands wet from memory,
our brains like sandy beaches aglow,
our wardrobe never less than royal.

How am I not boundless?
They both wonder.

     "I had a dream you were engaged."
     "And you weren't the lucky guy?"
     "Nope. I just happened to be in the supermarket."
     "What'd you buy?"
     "Does it matter?"
     "I mean, were you shopping for one or two?"
     "I hadn't thought of that."
     "Maybe you were already married."
     "I don't think so, because I could taste the jealous when I woke up."
     "So? That never goes away."

Part III
(The Timely Narrative of a Fairy Tale Drinking Problem):
Who still curates this museum?
Who still consider this place holy?
Who still waits at the door when all we serve our nods and shakes?

On a couch less familiar now:
     "Remember when I washed your feet?"
     "That was the night I knew I loved you."
     "Because I bathed you while you watched television?"
     "Because you wanted my toes to touch water like I was at the beach."
     "If only we had sand."
     "If only."

See the wasteland in book stores, coffee shops and car dealerships.
There's no pride in these fists.
Barely even a pen.

Nobody wants to see the disappearing act with the magician's records and shirts left on stage. Is he supposed to send his assistant for them?

For my next trick -
new clothes,
new music,
new friends.

Oh, how has time passed without my body aching?
Is the calendar that drunk on ink?

This was a lovely dinner party.
Now, let us burn the ingredients.
No one here will ever eat again.
At least for now.

What a promise to make in an idle season.
What a love that can taste like dirt.
What a grave for nothing.

What a beautiful hope mistaken for the wrong _________.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"The Patron Saint of Empty Gas Tanks"

"The Patron Saint of Empty Gas Tanks"
written with a mouthful of hot teeth by jake kilroy.

The desert opened up like a drunk poet at a party,
spilling its heated secrets and wasteland wishes;
a piece of sunburned gold, the color of flesh,
and as hard as the heartless and twice as cruel.

Give me the motor club mumbo jumbo.
Allow me to chant some oil spill voodoo.
Black magic in gear grinds and coughs,
I want the phoenix of and from engine steam.

I call upon you, Patron Saint of Empty Gas Tanks,
ride shotgun and don't change the song.
Just get me to Heaven a few miles over the speed limit,
channeling the lightest side the Devil ever had in him.

And then he appeared.
The rider of all riders,
the passenger of all passengers,
the navigator of all navigators.
I couldn't believe my luck.


I remained speechless, just a meandering idiot in the desert.

Thanks for the ride.

My eyes hurt from witnessing all.

And the snack.

The Spirit of Reckless Abandon snuffed through my bag of Frito's.

You don't talk much, do you?

No, I talk.

I had spoken the word of the bored.

I was kidding. I've seen you on this road before. You don't really shut up.

Yeah? At least I got nicer shoes on than someone from the High Plains of the Lord.

The Legacy of Joy Rides spit out his gum and laughed quietly to himself. It made me uneasy. But I was blessed! I was of the same metal and cushion as the Majestic Protector of the Hitch-Hiking Breed. I was chosen, even in my beloved and sacred mumblings. I had been given the chance to speak my peace.

Who said I was bound for glory?


He snickered. My eyes thinned.

God told me to just keep you from getting bored.

And after death?

Kid, after death's a long way off for you.

Ah! So I live a full life! 

I chattered like straight-C student. Meanwhile, the Guiding Light of Fast Cars just chuckled and drank holy water from a flask.

No, you still gotta jive through limbo, son.

My heart sank like a treasure chest.

What's the speed limit there?

He ran his glowing hands through his immaculate hair.

You don't wanna know.

And that's when he put on the Rolling Stones and kicked up his heels. He was in it for the long haul, maybe out of sympathy, maybe out of freedom, maybe truly out of boredom.

I wasn't sure why I was pacing the desert back and forth in four wheels, but this smug angel had his shit together.

Ever get sick of the job?

You ever get sick of breathing?

This conked me righteously.

It's like that?

It's like that.

I wiped my brow and coughed.

What's the pay like?


What's the deal with vacation days?


I furrowed my brow and adjusted my sunglasses.

Sounds like a good gig.

Sure is.

Then why don't you sound happier?

The roads are too short up there.


Monday, June 4, 2012

"break open this new year"

"break open this new year"
written after a saturday and a ride by jake kilroy.

break open this new year
like a spinal chord readjustment.
call it a novel from the back porch of america.
what wasted lands, these backyards.
all grace and no heart.
or maybe it's just a song.
maybe it's always just been a tune
we can't stop whistling,
even when our great romance
zooms by us so bewilderingly
like a fast car jumping curbs
and kissing accidents goodbye
beneath a sky hungry for more fireworks.

tell me that story of burned rubber and smoke.
give us all the grand chance to catch up and cough.
drag out the road underneath our only hopes,
so we can call our women from the last pay phone
in the deep empty western night of the world.

this is just what we needed,
a round of drinks and meals to box up our aching
and sell it to thrift stores and buck the lot at garage sales.
all i want to do is wind up in north carolina and then upstate new york
while driving until the wheels fall off,
somewhere the coasts don't know about.
it's just a secret inside a cage,
waiting for the key to rattle in a long hallway
we call the best intentions,
but all it ever counts as is the last resort.