Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Unbelievable Day of Grant Brooks

"The Unbelievable Day of Grant Brooks"
a jovial take on the life of the surfer poet Grant,
if it was hastily written by Kurt Vonnegut.
by Jake Kilroy

Grant shifted his toes in the sand like drunk soldiers on sloppy patrol. In fact, Grant looked like a squadron leader with his mustache. A boastful brute napped above his lip. Grant could keep quiet for hours, and passers-by would listen to what his mustache had to say, if it came down to it.

It hadn't (not yet at least!), but that's the kind of respect Grant's mustache commanded. The ample forest above his smirk caught the wind that jogged up the coastline with its fat, heavy breaths. He sucked in the sweet air of the world and then he pushed it out. Grant was talented, but this was basic breathing. You, delightful reader, are too easily impressed.

The beach was quiet. It was the afternoon and only three were on the beach: Grant, his dog, and that trifling wind. The locals were asleep and the tourists weren't there yet. It was Heavenly. Or if you're the type to hate sand in your shoes, it was Hell.

Grant was the first type. The good type. He was a man with a plan, and that plan was to sit on a beach on a beautiful day. There's no better type, really.

That's why bad men are given prisons and good men are given beaches.

God made it this way so men would value the sun and the moon, so that it would become a universal understanding that to lose time is to lose life, and then where would a living man be? Up a creek! But still to this day, nobody's discovered the creek that gives everyone so much damn trouble.

Benson, the dashing rogue that was half dog and half dog, bonked his way through wave after wave. The sun poured over him like lemonade. He was also the good type.

The bad types of dogs are hard to spot. They aren't the ones that bark at the mailman. Those are also the good types, since they make it clear they don't trust government messengers. Actually, the bad types of dogs might just be cats. Cats are mercenaries. And then hamsters are hippies, ferrets are junkies, and so on. People aren't the only ones with society. That's their biggest problem—they think they are.

In a pile next to the lone star of the dune was enough Batmans to form the world's greatest army. It was grand. A pile of comic books is the closest thing a civilian can have to a harem.

Grant's shirt said Big Tits, Small Government, and he had more to say on top of that.


The dog bounded out of the ocean. He looked like the world's only furry sea creature, the way his tongue flapped around like a tentacle. Benson made it to the man he called dad in a language only canines have the determination to speak.

And then there came a rumbling.

It was the only thing to ever quiet the damn gulls.

Grant looked up. The sky was as bright as it was when he arrived, and then the sun disappeared. In its place was a spaceship. An unpolished junkyard piece. A bluish-gray disc that had either come from another dimension or from being kicked down the whole of an astroid field. Campbell's Soup could've sponsored its launch.

It floated down with the grace of a paper airplane filled with thumbtacks. It did everything post-WWII Americans expected it to: hummed, beeped, blooped, jabbered, the whole deep-space nine yards.

Grant, who had never seen a spaceship before, wasn't having any of it. It was dirty and noisy. He stood up and brushed himself off.

"Now what's this shit?"

Blue lights swirled. The ship coughed up a few measured exhales. The door dropped as slow as a half-hearted apology. In its frame stood two dark green aliens—one tall, one short. They waited for applause. Or maybe horderves. Neither came. It was only Grant, Earth's most respected and only host, and he still wasn't having it.

The two aliens scurried down. They moved like octopuses who dabbed all their puckers in some bad speed. They looked tired, but they forced confidence. It was the only time in history anyone had ever hoped for a nosey photographer.

"Now, listen," said Grant gently, "before you launch into some wild spiel about me taking you to our leader, it's my day off and I don't know the guy. He lives on the other side of this country, and I'm not even sure he follows me on Twitter. Besides, he's only got this country under his belt and maybe a good number under his shoe. The rest have their own leaders. I don't know them either. They live even farther, and I know they don't follow me on Twitter. Now...what can I do you for?"

"We're here for the dog," said the taller alien.

What a thing to say!

"This dog?" said Grant, pointing at Benson, who rolled around in the sand, taking just enough notice of the aliens to pass the final.

"Yes, that dog," said the shorter alien.

Grant's eyes wobbled. He clicked his tongue and crooked his neck and put his hands on his hips and then he said this: "Well, you can't have him."

And that was that.

The aliens were confused. "But we've come from so far, and we aren't even invading," said the taller one.

"Listen, I don't care if you came from Timbuktu or Mars," said Grant.

"It wasn't Mars," said the shorter one.

"And it sure as hell wasn't Timbuktu! Let me finish, little man."

"We aren't men," said the shorter one.

"Dude. On your planet, is it customary to interrupt another human being?" asked Grant.

"We don't have human beings on our planet," answered the shorter alien.

This made Grant laugh. His laughter was the good kind. It sounded like a flute that could dance. They don't have those kinds of flutes on Earth. They might not even have them where the aliens came from. His laugh was unique. It tickled the air, and it could make a girl go weak in the knees. Hell, it could make a skeleton go from wallflower to prom king too.

"Alright, well, you got me there," said Grant. "But you still can't have Benson."

So the aliens' shoulders sagged. It was a sad day for them. They'd have to slump into their spaceship (a lonely deal, no matter what species you are) and get in trouble at their jobs back on their planet, once called Smeenok, now known as Hyperbase. They changed the name because it was flashier. No matter where you travel, someone has something to sell.

"But do you not wonder why we want this dog and—"

"No, I don't wonder why you want Benson. Of course you want him. He's Benson! He's been with me through four houses and a dozen couches. I finally taught him how to play NBA2k, and Bridget's got him on Pinterest now. He's perfect."

"But he's destined for—"

"Destiny's the universe's way making it look like it has 20/20 vision. I'm not buying that philosophy, and I sure as shit ain't selling this dog."


"Look, you seem like nice enough dudes, can't always get what you want. I mean, come on...right?"

Grant and the aliens shook hands (were they hands?). He wanted them to be happy. He also didn't want to start a galactic war on account of bad manners.

"Good luck though."

The aliens nodded. Their shoulders sagged (were they shoulders?). Disappointment is a universal language because math is a universal language. It's just always a ratio of 0 for 1.

The spaceship drifted into the wild west of stars, sluggish in its exit. Grant understood. Who would want to leave Earth? It has dogs, Dylan, hip hop, and slow-motion videos of cheetahs running.

Oh. And breakfast burritos.

Grant picked up his belongings and turned to Benson. "You earned a burrito for once. Thanks for not leaving the planet."

They walked toward the parking lot. Benson nuzzled his face into Grant as he trotted.

"But don't forget," said Grant. "I could always decide to eat you one day."

And so the story ends here. Or at least this particular one. Master-commander and destined dog have other adventures, don't worry. But we don't have time. This is just the one about the beach and the aliens. Have a good day. How could you not? You're on Earth!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10 Books That Made/Make Me Want To Be A Writer

My friend Valerie tagged me in a social media chain that drew up my immediate interest: 10 books that have stayed with you (in some way). Don't have to be favorites or classics. Just gotta be books that dove into ya and swam around each summer since. Shouldn't take much thought.

So here now, in order of my age reading them, are the ten books I remember finishing and thinking, "Dear god, be a writer."
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
*Most Honorable Mention*
The book Australia: Land Of Contrast by Lesley Van de Velde was the first book to really blow up my imagination. It's just a gorgeous photo collection of Australia, but it's stayed with me in a powerful sense since I was in grade school. It made me want to travel and tell stories.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Craiglist Ad for Scott's Piano

The Piano That Can AND WILL Save Rock 'n Roll is Now for Sale
by Jake Kilroy

When I was unjustly kicked out of the greatest Ray Manzarek cover band to ever come out of Cincinnati, I promised myself three things:

1. Get tested.
2. Find love.
3. Never betray rock 'n roll.

The first promise was originally in regards to paternity (the kid wasn't mine, but the dog and No Fear shirts were). Since then, I've made it my life's duty to always get myself tested. Even in my pre-date pep talks, I always make sure to ask, "Are you ready to rock?" And guess what? The answer's always yes.

But, sure, down the road I was, in fact, tested again and diagnosed with "the alphabet soup of hepatitis" by a doctor I'd like to diagnose with poor beside manners. I simply had too many dreams. Though, yeah, okay, one of those dreams was to have unprotected sex with 1,000 Denny's waitresses.

As for the second promise, I did find love. Her name was Dinah, and she worked at a Denny's. The right girl is always where you least expect it, I guess. Months later, she was gone though. Tragically diagnosed with a cheater's heart. And, later, assumedly some hepatitis, courtesy of yours truly. I mean, I'm no saint. Hell, I'm barely even a hardware store assistant manager or a Bob Seger fan!

Now, we come to the last promise. I owe rock 'n roll my life. Literally. I was born to a dice inspector father and a riverboat pickpocket mother, but in actuality, it was the ghost of Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones using my daddy's dong to pork Janis Joplin in my mama's body in that county fair detainment center. I mean, come on, that's basic science. Just because Neil deGrasse Tyson didn't narrate that cosmo-spiritual avatar sex, which I have to assume was extremely raunchy and somewhat bewildering with two adults handcuffed and drunk off "loonshine" (one part whiskey, one part gasoline from a stolen car), doesn't mean it didn't happen just like that.

Yet, decades later, thanks to Obama, I'm all of a sudden hard up for cash. I need to pay rent or my landlord will evict me. I think. His accent's pretty thick. Might be from Boston. Maybe Laos. I don't know. Geography's pretty dumb, and I did not finish high school (you just need life experience for a resume anyway).

So, after generously donating most of my belongings to local creditors, I am selling my treasured 1983 Yamaha P22.

This is a hard day. This piano got me chicks in every dive bar from Cincinnati to Covington. When I was diddling the keys, those leathered up babes thought I was playing them. And I would. Later. After I'd get too loaded to finish the set.

For the record, though, that's not why they kicked me out of the band. Let me be clear. They kicked me out because their friend Reggie owned a keyboard, and they said it made more sense to have a keyboard than a piano, and I said it made more sense to shred with real musicians instead of band geeks. And that was the last time I saw them. Well, as a member anyway. I saw them a few years ago at a BBQ. They were alright.

But back to the archangel of rock piano! Did you know, according to a survey of Ohio's greatest rock pianist, the Yamaha P22's birth was the raddest thing about 1983?

It beat out the release of the totally awesome and kick-ass Return of the Jedi, the debut of the friggin' Chicken McNugget, and the long-awaited break-up of those asshats, The Carpenters, finally quitting after they single-handedly tried to kill music like the tone-deaf children of the corn. Why Alice Cooper never ate their fingers is beyond me.

Anyway, speaking of fingers, this superbabe-magnet, once nicknamed "88 Keys for 88 Beans" by a guy who looked like Lemmy from Motörhead himself, could be yours for just $3,000.

That's right, only $3,000! And you seem like just the right kind of cool dude or dudette I'm looking for. I can only trust you or any friends or family you may know that want to save rock music and/or have a few grand. Tell them about me and this fierce wooden dragon of rad. Please. At $3,000, this blessed masterpiece is practically a gift, and rumor has it the wood is from all the stakes used in the many attempts to find out once and for all if Prince is a vampire.

This piano is like a jet ski that can magically play the intro to Meatloaf's "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" by heart. In fact, this piano may legally be classified as an aphrodisiac. Bet you won't find that section of Guitar Center! Shoot, this may even be the same kind of piano Billy Joel nailed his "uptown girl" on. This piano is borderline a secret that I'm only telling you about (or, again, any friends or family, maybe some well-to-do co-worker you sometimes get lunch with). Tell yourself and everyone you know that this piano could potentially make you the next Mozart (high-flyin' '80s version). Like me, you could become the class act you always promised your older brother Ted you'd be one day.

I'm telling you, here and now, this is the single greatest deal I've heard of since my French landlord told me I could keep half my security deposit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Brief Life with Amanda

1990 - 2014

Last Halloween, toward the end of a costume party, my friend Joe flagged me down as I loosey-goosily weaved my way through a crowd toward the booze. He introduced me to his friend and co-worker Amanda, who he declared was a serious reader like me. He also told her I wrote. This intrigued her.

What intrigued me was that she was dressed like a lady version of Alex from A Clockwork Orange.

A group of us did shots. As she drank her chaser, her eyes didn't leave mine. I smiled, she smiled. I asked what she was about, and in just a few minutes I was intrigued by a woman who graduated college at 19 and had read all of Dickens. She turned 23 the week before, and she was working as a data analyst, making more money than I probably ever will.

She came home with me that night, two wildly drunken messes rambling about books, by way of a generous ride of a friend. Once everyone left my apartment, she reviewed my bookshelves, and we discussed Kundera. I learned she had tattoos, and her next one was going to be text from the mind-altering masterpiece, and favorite of mine, House of Leaves.

For whatever stupid reason, I didn't follow up for a month. It's a more complicated story than that, but that's the best I can do right now. So on December 1st, I texted her.
  • J: Amanda! This is Jake, that mouthy idiot you whimsically decided to spend Halloween with, texting you a month later for...well, no good reason. Random? Sure. But just wanted to say if you're interested in goofing off, talking books and getting drunk, I do alright in those departments. Sending timely text messages...not so much.
  • A: Use of the word "whimsically" is just endearing enough to compensate for the lateness. I'll look forward to drunken bookish shenanigans.
On the first actual sorta-date, we ended up at Goat Hill Tavern, part of a joke. She was young and sassy, and both came out when I told her I wear earplugs to concerts.
  • A: "But the music is what's eating away at your hearing. You'll never hear certain pitches because of the music you've loved. You don't think that's beautiful?"
  • J: "No, not at all. I think that's dumb. And that might honestly be the youngest thing you've said all night."
She slugged me playfully, and we once again discussed books. She had not only read all of Dickens, but what seemed to be every dead French and Russian author under the black sun, a surprising detail of someone who major in mathematics.

Books recommended by Amanda:
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
  • In Search of Lost Time (specifically Swann's Way) by Marcel Proust
  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
  • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Inferno by Dante Alighieri
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
I actually bought Ethan Frome weeks later and then texted her.
  • A: That book might make you depressed instead of classy...however, I'll be sure to sport a monocle and raised pinkies around you henceforth.
  • J: Oh...shoot. I think I was always under the impression it was a satire of sorts. Regardless, I need to level up in society!
  • A: Nope...I remember it as an exploration of the many ways love can fuck up your life. It's worth a read, though Age of Innocence is my favorite Wharton and might get you closer to satire.
  • J: Wow. I misjudged this entirely. Thank god it's short. It sounds like it's going to kick me in the dick until I'm done with it. I do want to read Age of Innocence though. Also, I think The Bell Jar will be up next, so I can just feel bad indefinitely.
  • A: Yep, make sure you have a bowl nearby for your tears. The Bell Jar is one of my all-time favorites: I wrote my senior thesis on it in high school.
  • J: Damn. I feel like every other high school had senior thesis except for mine. I've always meant to read The Bell Jar, though I think I was pretty sassy when it came to girls reading excerpts from it to m back then.
  • A: Why would a girl read The Bell Jar to you? I can't imagine that book being used as anything but a repellant against most boys.
  • J: Well, it did seem weird, but I think it was the first intellectual text my female friends grasped and appreciated. Hemingway or Fitzgerald might've been the first for boys? It was during that era of youth where everyone first started having forced philosophical opinions on fucking EVERYTHING. 
We spoke briefly about our oddball relationship going somewhere, but both agreed it would likely not work between us. In the best interests of ourselves, we decided to keep up the romantic outings without putting it to the test of longevity. It was a good mix, and, hot damn, there was fun to be had.

She took me to bar trivia, because she knew it was a feverish guilty pleasure of mine. I took her to see Swan Lake at Segerstrom, because she was a former dancer who never saw it. The last morning we spent together, I played guitar, making up songs, while she laid up on her couch petting her cat. That was it. That was the last time I saw Amanda.

Some weeks later, after I had canceled on us visiting the Huntington Art Walk (due to a cold), I hit her up, and it was unfortunately the end of the wild.
  • J: Darling Lady Amanda! What say you to glorious delirium next Friday evening, whether it be cultured or bonkers? We can finally see that cowboy documentary I know you're so invested in, or we can attend that exhibit opening of popsicle stick structures I know you had your heart set on. Maybe even burn effigies for...well, fuck, I don't even know where I'm going with this.
  • A: Heyyy. I have a boyfriend now...but if you'd be interested in hanging out without the hooking up part, I really have been dying to see some popsicle stick art.
  • J: It was only a matter of time. You're too rad not to get swept up by some scholarly wisecracker. And, yeah, I'm still down to hang! Let's do it up on a week night then, instead of a Friday evening, so it's easier for me to not get hammered and forgetful. I need more classy art and book talk in my world.
  • A: Sounds good! Hit me up next week when you're free :)
And that was the last time I spoke to Amanda.

I got busy and figured I probably needed a break anyway to shift gears in our hangouts, from young hot bloods to platonic intellectual friends. I sincerely hoped that dude of hers was treating her right, because she was rad. Even if she and I weren't meant to be, I thought extremely well of her.

On Saturday night, Joe texted me. Someone at work informed him that Amanda had passed away, and it appears to be suicide. It's so fucking awful. So infuriatingly deliriously horrifyingly terrible. I don't have the words to describe it. It's just my nerves on alert and my senses all scrambled. I've asked myself every question they say you will. I'm so sad. So confused. So fucking angry. So mad at myself, so mad at the world, so blindly mad at that piece of shit boyfriend she had.

She was an exceptionally gifted person, and she could rock hell like nobody's business. She didn't take much shit from anyone, and the idea that someone somehow made her feel low enough to pass on a future she would've destroyed is fucking gut-wrenching. Fuck that. Fuck all of this. Fuck the whole idea of that girl not being around somewhere in the land of the living. Just knowing there's absolutely no chance I could ever hear her laugh again is fucking worth the fury.

I've left her last name out of this, because I don't want this post to pop up in the search results when people like me harass Google with every possible mix of words to find her obituary. I even had a slight suspicion that she faked her death. Finally, I broke, and on Sunday night, I texted her, "Please tell me the rumors aren't true." No response, and I can't see why there ever would be.

Last night, I bought Blonde Redhead's 23, the album she played the first night I stayed over, and I listened to it as I ran at the gym until the security guard told me to leave. I had to write this, because there's no need for some vague, cryptic "only the good die young" one-sentence bullshit on social media, and I wasn't going to let her leave this world (albeit, on her own terms) without me saying something that acknowledged her very great presence and her very tragic absence. I had to tell the internet somehow that a glorious person that was once here is no longer among us, and it was way, way too fucking early.

I was a recent force in her life, and I can't imagine how her family and dear friends are feeling. It's got to be off-the-charts grief, and, holy fuck, I wish this wasn't what the world was right now. I feel sick to my stomach for them, to have had her for that long and to lose her just as suddenly.

God-fucking-damnit. I wish I had more to go off of here. Even now, this is the only picture I have of us, a Snapchat my friend sent me (with a since-removed dirty caption):

The world is a difficult place, and it's hard to argue the breaking point for each individual. I just hope, next time, she's reincarnated as something close to who she was in this life, because that'd be her best-case scenario.

You're very much missed, Amanda.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"a night in the canyon"

"a night in the canyon"
without slumber or sense by jake kilroy.

clank boots stuffed into my ears,
as the wood rattled below me,
the burial ground of incorrigible poets
that i inhaled with hot breath to speak
this bombarding mess of words
roaming, conquering, and devouring.

twas hot light in morning memories,
tis forever a white bed in daydreams,
and now it's all friends in good suits
waiting for a funeral march
that wouldn't demand
much work.

my head in the bed of an el camino,
i slept under the stars
with more fools,
here for a spell,
without magic,
finally come to terms
with imagination
only a close second to reality;
but still the background regardless.

went wanting into my heart,
dug up in the summer dirt,
blown clean and whispered truth,
set back into the wilderness
to eat what it could find.

so out here in the canyon,
what good is the sun and the moon
beyond telling time?

all of our energy lost to age,
we swung at each other
with fists that felt like gavels,
come down to the earth,
noiselessly calling our bluffs.

and when the creek lit up,
chatting up this ol' storm,
all that we wanted to hear,
as we stood there in a row,
was that we could take back our youth for once.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tim Duncan's Pump-Up Mix

A list of the songs Tim Duncan (assumedly) listens to all day to get pumped up for the NBA Finals, with takes from Tony and Carlos.

1. "Jump, Jive an' Wail" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
2. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" - Wang Chung
3. “Hey, Soul Sister” - Train
4. "Wild Wild West" - Will Smith
5. "Mambo No. 5" - Lou Bega
6. "Uptown Girl" - Billy Joel
7. "Macarena" - Los Del Rio
8. "Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey
9. "We Built This City" - Jefferson Starship
10. "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" - Bryan Adams
11. "Iris" - Goo Goo Dolls
12. "Amish Paradise" - Weird Al
13. "Love is a Battlefield" - Pat Benatar
14. “Hotel California” - Eagles
15. "Come With Me" - Puff Daddy
16. "Livin' la Vida Loca" - Ricky Martin
17. "You Oughta Know" - Alanis Morissette
18. "Born In The U.S.A." - Bruce Springsteen
19. "One Of Us" - Joan Osborne
20. "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" - Green Day
21. "Closing Time" - Semisonic

Friday, May 23, 2014

"without shutters"

"without shutters"
all things considered by jake kilroy.

we couldn't bury the shadows.
we dug and discovered.
we glowed and burned.
we went hungry and mad.
but we couldn't pull out the blood.
the curses spoke for us,
leaving our tongues black.
we went to the churches,
but even man can't save spirit.
we stayed indoors and let the ghosts drift,
out there in the wilderness of the city.
good or bad, we weren't sure,
but no holy men were on parade,
and we were mere workers and artists.
the lanterns beat their final breaths.
the beds were as warm as they were cold.
hot showers felt like a new limbo.
with no decisions to be made that bare.
we valued our fingers for their tempest nature,
and we hurt like hell but we felt like heaven.
it was the longest year we had in us.
we were only a stone's throw from the bottom
and just one chance leap from the top.
we were all things considered.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4 Things I Feel Like You Can Stop Saying on Social Media

This is in jest, and I wasn't thinking of anyone in particular when I wrote it. It's just recurring phrases I've seen across the breadth of social media, and I think they're fascinatingly ludicrous.

1. "I can't even handle this."
By this point, you've probably experienced the rampaging adrenaline-fueled sweep of flames and madness that is love, and you've just as likely done that dry-stare harvest of heartache, but, sure, this eight-second video of a baby penguin tripping into the water has finally broken your brain. If it's limited to just "I can't," then it's nothing short of a miracle that you made it out of kindergarden with your debilitating sense of wonder. You must've shat yourself for days and begged some sort of god for the apocalypse upon witnessing the first 10 minutes of Avatar.

2. "This is seriously the most amazing thing I've ever seen."
Oh, not a majestic sunset after an already good day? Not the first time seeing a person naked? Not anything you've seen on any trip you've ever taken? This old picture of your friend with slightly longer hair is the most unbelievable sight you've ever had the absolute privilege to behold? We already did this to the word "best," and I don't know if we can afford to lose "amazing" to such totally concentrated and controlled hyperbole as well, because it may just be the single thing that will with take down American society and, in turn, western—nay!—all of civilization do you see how this fucks up the scale and makes everything crazy.

3. "Sorry not sorry."
Next time Fugazi is blasting of our your car speakers when your Camaro jumps the curb and sends your arch-nemisis to an early grave after you strike him on only two wheels, you should yell this. Next time you post a picture of a slightly messy burrito, maybe tone down the sass with your hashtags. Leave this to people who worship the Kardashians like goat-gods and blaze up their controversy level by dropping truth-bombs like, "I don't care what anyone says, I love spring."

4. "All the feels."
This is straight up inaccurate. If you are, for some insane reason, experiencing every emotion that exists, then I have a hard time imagining what you're looking at beyond a potentially Lovecraftian scene of Cthulhu and his minions overwhelming your nervous system. If "all the feels" isn't proceeded by a feverish exclamation of "dear god," as you clutch your head, while it pulsates in the presence of a horrifying alien existence that causes your nerves to slam together, as your own mindful wires get crossed and cut up inside you, I kind of feel like you could just say, "This picture of an otter cuddling another otter is pretty cute."

Monday, March 31, 2014


written after revelations by jake kilroy.

19 years engulfed in flames,
barely a typewriter for a heart,
i swallowed the madness like a prince.

and then,
hellbent on irony, i let it swallow me back.

golden years poured out of me
when the time finally came to let go.
the great cosmos taught to me came undone,
churning my eyes, pinwheels aglow.
all that was left of me was breath in the wind.
and then i was present,
now, now, now;
a lifetime in oxygen,
a head without space,
a drooling idiot at the helm.

packaged for bedlam, i conquered the senses.
my broken ears radiated a hum as i tossed and turned.
magnificent earth below me, afternoon sky above;
the breeze was gentle here, away from the city for once.

my fingers slept like snakes, holed up in pockets
usually left for lucky coins and old keys,
now turning around themselves nervously,
waiting for the dreams to be penned with damage,
wringing the tendons and puncturing the bones.

the truest freedom is sanity.
it's what every man says when he looks back on history
and refuses to acknowledge the dead bodies and blood on his hands.

for every lover, there's a war.
and for every war, there's someone to come home for.
for every writer, there's a lie.
and for every lie, there's a bed to come back to.
but all of it, if it was indeed worth the trouble,
is the romantic jive of new age spiritualists,
finally coming from somebody who knows how to drink
and say goodbye at every turn, unafraid of death,
without faith in a god or hope for humanity,
happy with the way things were, are, and will be,
cutting the past, beating the present, and talking the future,
all along knowing how to build fire and light the way.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"the black and white"

"the black and white"
written on instinct and request by jake kilroy.

how many cities can a drunk goddess carve
out of the soul of a teenage boy
raised on cinema?

what are these addict gods doing to the young women,
the ones who treat their hearts like empty rolodexes?

scavenger types, from the above, below, and beyond,
roam and slump through the dance halls and the dive bars,
and here we are, two people who can't stand the noise
or believe the silence that comes in pounding waves.
here we are, blinking in black and white,
rolling our tongues, tasting the sweat,
believing in divine intervention,
as we come to rest,
backs broken
in a bedroom field
of harvested moonlight.

we were pulling dark yarn from the sky
and sewing together a patchwork quilt
of the past and hanging it out to dry,
thumbing our way up our own coasts,
the land that is soft and vulnerable
with shores that don't need lighthouses.

we are fruitful energy in the making,
starved sinful and hungry for the appetite,
waiting for our hearts to be dragged like lakes;
all we need now is more firepower forever.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"when the hunger bites back"

"when the hunger bites back"
written after months of jesterdom by jake kilroy.

my biggest mistake was seeing time as linear
and not a scrambled celestial body;
human faculties slammed bloody against the future,
memorizing mesmerizing accidents colliding
as if these hands we see as ships weren't wayward.

what's done can be undone and opened,
or ripped apart, closed, and broken.
these grains in our bones, this lust in our eyes,
all of our senses can be beaten to a pulp
and taken in a glass bowl to be sipped by a god
or a dream or a magnificent nothing
we built to be either
when we needed it.

but this is a sleepless pact,
made halfway between home and dawn;
drowsy slurs coughing up the hope,
the dreaded weapon we used in battle,
just as sharp as it's ever been,
without a set direction
or a clean throat to burn.

when i was young, i believed in the empires.
as i aged, i couldn't believe in anything else.
in that time, i learned noise and truth,
and i realized the difference isn't passion;
it's words.

it's what keeps a salesman fed.
it's what quenches any morning drought.
it's the magic that gets kicked in the gutter
to give a rat the future in a city of more rats.
it's buried in waste, where it belongs,
because any museum piece can be stolen,
and we want the pauper to be prince
instead of the royal veins that bleed just as bad.

so whatever i gave to myself in church
is still whatever i give myself now,
and it's anything i can stomach.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reading is Everything

"Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss."
- Nora Ephron

Friday, January 3, 2014

Interactive Storytelling

For the first decade of the new century, journalists fumbled with new wave narrative like a nervous junior high kid does with a bra. It was all "this is what I think I'm supposed to be doing," and it reeked of doubt and desperation. Then, some came to really understand how to combine the best elements of print, broadcast, and web, and no mainstream periodical has done that better than The New York Times. Scope out their 2013 collection of interactive storytelling.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: A Survey of Existence

2013: A Survey of Existence
by Jake Kilroy

Where​ did you begin​ 2013?​​
Cackling on a beach in Mexico, using loved ones as human shields, as the fireworks went haywire and the Christmas tree went up in flames according to plan.

Have any life changes in 2013?​
Moved out of the Romelle House. Moved into the parents' house. Moved out of the parents' house. Moved into an apartment.

Where​ did you go on vacation?​
Snuck winter days in Mexico. Took on the cabin fever of Big Bear. Wound up in Seattle for a week. Kicked it in Big Sur for a short spell. Beyond that, all the adventures were local and just as silly.

What'​​​s the one thing​ you thought you would​ never​ do but did in 2013?
Actually ordain a wedding (and not fuck it up). Actually plan a high school reunion (and not fuck it up).

What was your favorite moment?
Brunch the day after my high school reunion. I couldn't believe it was over. I was beyond joyous. Planning my high school reunion was easily the most stressed out I've ever been.

What was your biggest accomplishment?
Aside from the wedding and the reunion, I co-wrote a screenplay that was strictly done for profit. Writing for money instead of creative fulfillment is way harder, I learned.

What was your favorite TV programs for the year?
Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Community, Sherlock, Bob's Burgers, Parks And Recreation, Archer.

What was the best book you read this year?
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen.

What was your favorite film of the year?
Gravity, by Alfonso Cuarón.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
Lumberjack without the heart and soul meets urban millennial figuring out privilege.

What song will always remind you of 2013?
"Shoorah! Shoorah!" by Betty Wright

What did you do on your birthday?
We had everyone over for all-day croquet, and then a dozen or two of my favorite people sat around our living room in the bare light of the evening and sang songs with Blake playing guitar.

What was your best month​?​​​
October. I really went for it.

What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
I should've sent out my novel. Or my movie. Or my poetry book. Or any of my projects, really.

What kept you sane this year?

What celebrity did you fancy the most?
Olivia Wilde continues to strike me as wonderful, dazzling, and glorious.

Drinking buddy of the year?
Scott, Tony, Chase, Rex, and Chase.

Smoking buddy of the year?
The rough-housin' locals.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
My entire behavior this year was celebration.

Whose behavior disappointed you?
Mine, especially. The government's, especially.

Any regular activities?
Annuals: Kilroy Family's End of the Summer Party, Swaylocks, Sarvas Christmas Party. Semi-regulars:  Sunday evening dinners, Wednesday evening basketball, movie nights in Norco.

Favorite night​ out?
We filmed a music video in the Romelle backyard in June, and I'm pretty sure that was it. Hell, it had everything.

Start​ a new hobby​?​
Home decor and minor improvement. I also started taking evening baths to relax, you know, like some sort of fallen demigod of masculinity.

Any slumps?
Honestly, I don't think this year had one. I barreled through the months like I was trying to get caught red-handed.

Been naughty or nice?​​
I was nicer last year. And, sure, I was naughty this year, but in a delusions of grandeur kind of way. Nothing ruinous or villainous (for the most part).

Any regrets?​​​
Not seeing family enough.

Do you have any New Year'​​​s resolutions?​
Write. Exercise. Travel. Embrace. Maintain.

Overall,​​​ how would​ you rate this year?​​​
Bonkers. Better than 2012, but still maybe not as good as 2014.

What do you want to change in 2014?​
I want to kill the worries.

What are you wishing for in 2014?