Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Novel Work

Finally sending my novel out. Let's see how onboard literary agents are with a 140,000+ word debut. I figure, best case scenario: "This is brilliant." Worst-case scenario: "I hate this so much that I say we put a price on his head and remove this uneducated dickhead from the world." See ya'll on the front page or in the grave.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"end of summer"

"end of summer"
written at the end of summer by jake kilroy.

monument curves of heat waves aglow
broke open my chest cavity
and the sunshine blinded us all
in the sparkling light of a picture show
sometime before the locked doors
of an aching heart shook down
all the walls that were painted
in springtime between the sun and moon,
under a rainforest of clouds,
swollen with angels.

i had rags for clothes and tricks for days,
as the yellow sky screamed until it was blue in the face.
this station played christian, this station played punk,
and i just drawled words i saw on the silver screen
in some french floozy flick i caught
on my broken strut to mexico for good.

this was a tattooed curse from the start,
out in the desert shine of a summertime meltdown,
with the big city we all saw in childhood dreams
rolling out the red carpet tongue to lick wounds
that are still filled to the salt-encrusted brim
with confetti and ticker tape from the parade.

where were you when we all set fire to our skulls?
when did you beat out your coat and watch the money fly?
how were we supposed to know better when we were just learning?

let's just rev the engine and crack the window,
tie spurs to our heels and kick out a tickle
of the american flag to get one more laugh from uncle sam
and his hired gun goons that skulk the wasteland like shadows
before we swing from the mountaintops of this wide-open country.

we just want our last meal to go down as smooth as blood-wine,
taking it all down like smart-ass demons cooling off in a saloon,
tossing back shots of guilt and wreckage to beat the heat,
but we can't ever quit the day job because we like the work.

so this jack-knife smile that's been cutting up other mouths
since i was old enough to see the world shake in its boots
and cry out like a doorman letting in any and all burden
has got the best of me this time,
for it's too far to the promised land,
but maybe all i ever wanted,
aside from the spins and the jokes,
was an eternity that only ever smelled of
lit matches, spilled booze, and burned rubber.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Morning Basketball

Every Sunday morning, a group of friends plays basketball together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Long Day"

"Long Day"
written after the clouds rolled in by jake kilroy.

I buried death in the backyard
and drank lemonade for the afternoon.

I pulled misery out of its sports car
and beat him into submission.

I saw desperation at a bar
and dragged him to the curb.

I took heartache for someone else
and tied him up in his own house.

I saw that rage wasn't home
and burned his house to the ground.

It was a long day.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Suburban Home

Suburban Home
by jake kilroy.

First off, I got rid of the first several hundred words of this essay because it made too much sense. Let's be clear about that. It was straight up Raiders Of The Lost Ark shit. This....well, this is more like the ending to The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

Secondly, this all started because I learned of a very radical marriage falling apart last night with some all-time suburban fear circumstances, and, honestly, it rattled me. Or maybe it didn't rattle me. It just bummed me out in a real wicked way.

Naturally, this essay was to cover:
  • How epic love is and can be.
  • How easy it is to be a good spouse.
  • How difficult it is to be a great one.
  • How simultaneously problematic and promising suburban life can be.
  • How sweet Point Break is.
I don't know how I was going to work that last one in, but I thought it was definitely worth mentioning.

Anyway, I put the serious and thoughtful considerations of love and suburban life somewhere else. From here on out, it's pretty much nonsense.

I've been an advocate of great love my whole life. I blame my parents' happy marriage and being raised on old films. Somewhere in my own personal history, I found love to be grand in some goofy, startling mash-up of teenage girl belief and lazy stoner satisfaction. Even as a man in his late twenties, with a penchant for whiskey and swear words, I find myself thrilled about the existence of love (for anyone), just as long as it's not "love" as this smoldering patriotic bumper sticker gimmick. When I say love, I don't mean celebrating a five-year anniversary at the Olive Garden and quietly discussing the breadsticks (which I think we can all agree have severely decreased in quality over the years, by the way, but I guess that's another story). What I'm referring to is the love that means going to concerts together, seeing the world together, and conquering madness together. I'm talking about the love from Still Life With Woodpecker, the love that wrote letters during the war, the love that brought about Helen of Troy as a tyrant of the heart.

Yes, give me the love that made my friend take a bus across Costa Rica to see a girl, the love that sent F. Scott into the heart attack, the love that continually stops the world from stabbing itself to death.

Ok, I admit, that last one was a bit much.

Still, love is extraordinary.

But it's also the most fucked up bastardizing craziest most mutilating horrifying thing on the planet.

Except for E.T.

If that motherfucker comes to my planet again, I'm going to throw him off a cliff, and I'm almost certain nobody would be able to talk me out of it.

Also, it's pretty lazy that his name was E.T. I mean, hell, even the alien from Alien got the nickname "Xenomorph."

Despite my faith in love (as well as an appreciation for people just being generally decent to each other in some Sandlot-like innocent capacity), it hasn't made for a history of flawless interaction with women on my end. No, by several accounts, I've pulled some of the most bogus shit with chicks. As a young man set on destroying the world, I once lied about a funeral to get off the phone with a girl. I've got a dirty laundry list of times I've been a less-than-stellar dude, but I've learned from my mistakes, coming to the great realizations that, hey, talking things out is way cooler than fighting or fleeing, and, hey, being patient, understanding, encouraging and generally at ease makes things way better for everyone. I've evolved in my twenties, or at least I like to think so. 

These days, I'd say, it's supremely easy to be a good significant other or spouse, but it's difficult to be a great one.

To be a good spouse, to me, includes listening, talking, cleaning, laughing, and being faithful. To be a great spouse, to me, means flowers on random days and foot massages on random nights. Nobody's perfect, but it's pretty gumshoe to be a decent person in the very least.

That's part of the evolution, right? Isn't admitting the problem the first step to recovery?

There are minute things I can attribute to maturity. Going from a closet of hoodies to a closet of blazers and nice jackets. Moving from stress to optimism. Learning, hey, I guess it's not that hard to just do awesome things for a significant other because they're the best thing out there in a landscape that might just look like a Salvador Dali nightmare.

A person has to try their hardest to not take good things for granted.

From there, the Candyland road of commitment after the Apples to Apples game of "Hey, what the hell are we, and why won't you meet my friends?" ultimately, or supposedly, leads to marriage. Or at least that's what Bridget Jones was trying to tell everyone. I don't quite remember. I recall the diary and the accent, but, beyond that, I'm pretty sure it was just Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in a charming competition with cheeky smiles and saucy head rolls.

Were they in a scene together in Love, Actually?

They weren't, right?


The point is, when you settle into suburbia, you better be ready for it. You better be ready for a life without being fawned over at the clubs or, as my dad calls them, the discotheques. You better be ready for family dinners and movie nights. You better be ready for responsibilities. You better be ready for sack lunches without being hungover. You better be ready for dedication and loyalty. You better be goddamn sure about your decisions, because, I agree, it's a long fucking life for someone whose heart isn't it. I mean, come on, didn't anyone read Revolutionary Road or The Corrections? It's a botched lifestyle from the get-go if you're not looking forward to board games and hand-me-downs.



If you're ready for the suburban life, is there really anything better? It's like winning day after day if you're down for it. Guess what? I fucking love board games and hand-me-downs. Oh, go to bed night after night with someone who tolerates my love for Fleetwood Mac's classic "Gypsy?" Score. Build tree houses in the backyard with trap doors? Score. Take up hobbies such as chess and yoga? Score. Shop at Bed, Bath and Beyond all the time? Are you kidding me? Major score.

And why would I give up my current hobbies? Why would I marry someone who doesn't support me writing in my free time or maybe making music when I can? I expect my wife to have dope hobbies. What, I'm supposed to love someone whose only hobby is seeing me? That's straight serial killer status.

No, I want my wife to have a whole goddamn smorgasbord of hobbies. It could be pottery and photography. It could be writing and music too. It could be gardening and rock climbing. It could be running a small business out of the home. I don't care, just as long as she has hobbies. Hell, if she wants to hunt for anthropological finds somewhere in the Gobi Desert in her free time, good for her. I'll just make the kids the same shitty sandwich for eight months. No. Big. Deal.

I mean, I know me. In fact, I'm willing to wager that I know me better than anyone. Sometimes, I just want to eat mac 'n cheese and watch My Boys. But, sometimes, I'll want to surprise the hell out of my wife with a fancy dinner somewhere wild, like on top of a helicopter. Maybe I'll tell her to meet me at this restaurant, but it's not a restaurant. It's just some space I've rented out with one table and a live band that only plays Brazilian jazz. Can you imagine? I wouldn't have to come home before midnight for, like, a year. What's up, doing drugs all the time and my wife being cool with it?

I'm just saying, love is rad and suburbia can be rad. I honestly have no idea how I'll do as a husband or a father. And maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just buy a big city loft and date models forever. Who knows?

Actually, how bad would that even be? It'd just be romantic getaways and hot-ass hook-ups.

Ok, I'm realizing that I'm, for the most part, just comparing Nicolas Cage's two different lives in The Family Man. I imagine the real problem here is sustainability. You probably need someone to love you when you're old and delirious, and, trust me, when my mind goes, I'm letting it fly. I'm going to be wilder and crazier than you've ever seen me. I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to get weird.

But where will the hot skanks be then? See, this is why rich dudes need an escape plan, because they always end up in mental wards.

Let's say I give up this current life of carelessness and recklessness (and don't end up outrageously wealthy and addicted to coke/skanks). Let's say I manage to settle down and become a husband and a father when I'm ready, and not somehow tricked into marriage by black magic or into fatherhood by bad decisions. I'll be stoked. In fact, I'll be really stoked. I watch my dad move through his life at home with excitement and glee. He loves being a husband and a father. He can't get enough of it. Sometimes, during dinner, he randomly says, "It's great to have all the young people here." Then he looks at us three doofuses and smiles, and then he smiles at my mom. If I told him he could retire tomorrow and spend the rest of his days barbecuing, writing poetry and just being a husband and father, my dad would lose his fucking mind. He'd throw a party that would make Gatsby look like some dork trying to impress the high school cheerleader.

Which is kind of what that whole book was a metaphor for.


Anyway! Even the idea of wearing my old college sweater and cleaning out the garage sounds pretty cool. I just hope I have a son who's not a piece of shit, because it would really make things go a lot faster if he wasn't some goth asshole who thinks refusing heavy lifting is some sort of act of rebellion. Listen, you idiot, stop talking about Bauhaus like I've never heard of them. Your mother and I went to school with goth kids, so you're not doing anything new. Like I said, you're being an asshole.

That's what I'll tell him.

But then he'll tell me I don't understand him. And then I'll have to do my absolute hardest not to tell him he sucks. Ugh. I just want my kids to grow up to be "strong, healthy, confident adults," which is exactly what my father has said to the three of us our entire lives. That's all he wanted from us. He just wanted us to have the strength to endure, to stay mentally, emotionally and physically healthy enough to grasp happiness, and be confident enough to inspire others to do the same. He didn't even tell me to stay away from creative writing because I would die of starvation, which I thought was just swell of him. Or I don't know. Some days, when I can't afford to buy a sandwich at Which Wich, I wonder why my parents didn't tell me to go to law school like I mentioned off-hand one night five years ago.

I suppose it's reassuring to have parents that haven't let the fire go out. They love the hell out of life and each other. They appreciate the little things and get thrilled about the big things. They savor Christmas shopping as much as they hold onto fancy recipes they've read about in Bon Appetit. On my parents' 25th Anniversary, I asked my dad what the secret was to a happy marriage. He answered, "Communication." When I asked him again on his 30th Anniversary, he answered, "A sense of humor."

Communication and a sense of humor aren't everything, but they're the most important things, at least for my parents. It takes a billion more little pieces to assemble a good life, like hard work, dedication, patience and love for that special person as well as life as a whole collective festival that celebrates all your favorite stuff. My parents have that. My dad still makes jokes, and my mom still laughs at them. They're extraordinary people with extraordinary love, and, after learning about that crumbling marriage last night, I was so thankful that I grew up in a household that toasted the very thought of "love" - loving your significant other, loving your family, loving your friends, loving food, loving drink, loving parties, loving travel, loving art, loving books, loving movies, loving laughter, loving hope, loving pride, loving what the world has to offer in its brilliant spinning nature.

I mean...right?


Ok, fuck this. I'm making mac 'n cheese and watching My Boys. I don't give a shit what my future wife thinks. Love! Ain't it grand?

Friday, September 7, 2012

"with love, san francisco"

"with love, san francisco"
written after a bay area weekend by jake kilroy.

ah, san francisco,
you did it again,
when i fell asleep in your gut,
and so it came;
waves of freedom and hope
coasting along the breeze,
waiting, waiting, waiting,
which is always the best and the worst.

one nap in delores park to cull the heat,
brought into the throat
to cough up a sly grin
that once belonged to a cowgirl
who was feeling like a teenager
and gave it away instead of her heart,
telling her loner lover, "you can have enough heart,
but nobody alive can have themselves enough grins."

so the world turned,
sipping at its oceans and tucking away its forests,
waiting for cities to wreck and ruin;
all beloved temples to humanity,
tremendously overgrown with rot.
but the clean spaces,
the most sacred of places,
were built for wayward merchants
selling their souls for a piece of paradise,
guessing at joy in between meals
and sifting through trinkets during drinks,
always remembering
the sound of the romantic getaway car,
and what it was like to undress on the beach
that doesn't really exist anywhere else
but in the shores of a wondering dreamer.

it was in an airport
i called a friend
to tell him i was coming home
for nothing and everything,
gunning for the girl like a bandit of the west
who could be easily distracted.
but that was years ago,
and i've been in a saloon ever since.
every once in a while,
slumming the planks for a bed,
creaking steps that rattle bones
like the metal frames nobody has anymore,
i feel the strangle of my own neck,
admiring the muscles in it,
the ones that can vibrate and shake,
the ones that can speak truth and lie,
the ones that separate my head and my heart,
as no southern boy with a good drawl
wants to admit the futility in his veins;
he just wants to talk about smokes
and the gods he demands to bring down,
so he can ask them just what they had in mind
when they gave him the girl
and then gave him the chance to lose her.

sure, this is the longest wind-up toy a man could ask for,
but how else are wordsmiths supposed to spend eternities?

so it's just one shoulder shrug
one nod, one click of the tongue,
before all outlaw spirituals notice
the dusty shelves of knick-knacks,
kicked up true and put on display
to hide the glorious holes of the wall;
waiting for the piano to play downstairs
so a grown man can dream like a boy.

so many metaphors, so many mistakes,
so many repeat words and overused phrases,
so little done with the empathy here.

i curved my hands around
the bottle, the cigarette, the girl,
and i told another yarn in a place that doesn't matter.
but this was the time i saw the world for what it was,
hoping to see sails in the harbor
with the freedom to abandon it.

but it was san francisco that gave me heat.
it was the city in full view that rumbled my heart.
all i could do was sing to myself and sleep,
and all of the pale rivers that coursed through me
painted a picture more honest than any words of mine.
so came the smoke, and so came the gods,
and all i was able to do was thank and beg,
for even a gunslinger makes his way to the church,
if only to bury his heart or dig up another.
so came the laugh, so came the hearty fire,
a fully loaded weapon of unholy mirth,
spent against the wind of a cackling sunset,
with more cliches and more words she wanted,
all while ale poured out of the bullet holes,
letting the land drink up the spilt blood of rye.
so came the love, and so came the escape,
whistling a tune unrecognized by most,
when the clouds part and nothing is asked,
and all of the world settles into itself for a nap.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Hallelujah" - Two Ways

My dear (awesome) friend Eyvette runs a radical blog called One Thing, Two Ways, and she recently asked me if I wanted to do a guest post about music. And I of course did. It's about Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," and you can read it if you want: Hallelujah - Two Ways

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I have a few favorite nights every year, including:
  • The night my family listens to old Christmas music and decorates the tree
  • The night of my family's End of the Summer Party
  • That night in spring where I can feel summer is on its way
But I only have two favorite annual weekends:
  • New Year's in Mexico
  • Swaylocks in Big Sur
And that second one is coming up in just a few weeks.

What is Swaylocks, you may ask? Well, it's when all of the Mexicrew piles into trucks and vans with all of their surfboards and camping gear and comes together for a few days at the Los Padres National Forest Campsite in Big Sur every year. Half the group surfs, half the group goofs. I, of course, am in the latter army. It's just lounging and laughing for four or five days in one of the prettiest spots in America. To give you a better idea of the scene, here's some pictures.

Grant's van.
Swaylocks 2010.
Swaylocks 2011.
The usual campsite.
William Tell Frisbee.
Beach gang.
Scott who doesn't surf.
Jake, Rex, Chase, Kyle.
Grant, Benson.
Brian, Benson, Logan, Bowie.
The beach.
Kaia, Brian, Logan, Bowie.
The coast.
The view.