Monday, May 18, 2015

"an ojai kiss"

"an ojai kiss"
after a nerve crawl at a wedding by jake kilroy.

out in the empty beauty of ojai,
i farmed my heart at a wedding
where half the guests were guitars.

storm clouds rolled in worse than the drunks
and i felt youth leave me that night,
somehow feeling heavier under a brittle moon.
maybe i was finally noticing the new burdens
that come with shaky hands and a shakier future.

i thought my nerves would be steel by the time
i was asked by the world to do something,
to be something, to give a damn
about what my mirror thought of me.

but in the barn, on the dance floor,
swinging my seventh glass of wine,
much like the mistress i should've brought,
the one i left back home,
because i didn't want to kiss her too right
after sneaking into the olive trees
because i had seen too many movies growing up.
so i wondered about the moonlight
and how it didn't hang right.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

100 Good Memories

I turned 30 today.

And while I treat all my birthdays as days of great, serious reflection, this one especially has sent my mind spinning. So I decided to actually put down what I've done in my 30 years on this planet with this life.

Now, I've had A LOT of good moments in my life with A LOT of good people. This list was just the first 100 that came to mind and I left out any time that wasn't specific enough.

I mean, I've been blessed with recurring episodes of wild laughter at truly terrific hangout venues (Shirley's house, Julia's house, Wall's house, the Mira Mesa house, Chris's apartment, et cetera), and they all sort of blur together as several fantastic parties.

And there's also been A LOT of repeat goodness: barreling through the Sarvas Christmas party, playing "Cliche Guevara" in the garage, cruising in Jeff's old Bel-Air, setting the Christmas tree on fire in Mexico, goofing off atop the parking garage with the Rasta crew, watching Keith turn his order at Jalapeno's into a game show, derber-daying it up with croquet in the Romelle backyard, living through what seemed like every single night at The Madison—the list goes on forever.

This compilation was an attempt to pinpoint certain moments in my life that I look back on and think, "Not many people get the chance to live this good of a life."

So below is 100 good memories.

Also, I've left out all the very good memories of romance, lust, and illegal activities, just so it's not strange for anyone to read. There are a lot of those moments that count for a great deal of space in my head and my heart, but putting it down here in the public lineup seemed too oddball.

I loved doing this and will likely attempt "Another 100 Good Memories."'s my existence!

100 Good Memories
a 30-year project
by Jake Kilroy

1. Coming up for summer night air in Eileen's pool in Arizona during a lightning storm that wouldn't quit with the southwest downpour, only 20 minutes after Rex and I arrived, just shy of midnight.

2. Starting the dance party to "Party in the U.S.A." at the Shattuck House's Halloween party, all of us dressed as the Village People.

3. Watching Paris light up from our boat on the Seine River. The sky was a dying bright orange, and I was with friends and barely 18. The world seemed gigantic and gorgeous.

4. Taking a long bubble bath in a fancy Sydney hotel room upon arrival with the skyline out in the window frame, realizing I had finally made it to Australia. One of the surrealist moments I've had.

5. Giving my speech at graduation. I had spoken in public many times before then, but that was a lot of people listening to what I had to say about the world and I did my best to deliver.

6. Watching my mom sleep on the family room floor with our new tiny pup Charlie on her chest because he wouldn't stop howling otherwise.

7. Leading a parade of excited drunks in Vancouver when our hostel's bar closed down and we needed to find a new bar that would have us.

8. Spending an afternoon lawn bowling at an exclusive social club in Vancouver because an old lady found me, Chase, Jeff, and Ryan so charming and sweet.

9. Dancing in full rave gear to LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" with the Seattle crew at the Anderson family vacation home on the lonely coast of Oregon.

10. Strutting around the World War II karaoke club in Northampton with Ryan, as we barged fake Boston accents without ever letting up.

11. Finding the ancestral home in Ireland with the family after a rainy day of scouring the countryside with only two clues: "it's at the end of a road" and "it overlooks the lake."

12. Playing Grand Theft Auto III for the first time at Shirley's house, and it was like nothing I had ever seen.

13. Winning a game of foosball because my teammate Rex couldn't stop yelling a girl's name and I had never seen him more awe-inspiringly powerful.

14. Sitting around the Romelle living room one birthday with a huge gang of goofs singing Name Taken while Blake played guitar.

15. Jumping off river cliffs with Uncle Fred somewhere in the middle of California.

16. Getting the news that I won the book-writing contest in second grade when I called the school from a hotel room in San Francisco, there for Erik and Stacey's wedding.

17. Losing an entire day because of World Cup 2010 with Chase, Dave, Ventura Grant, and Grant's friend Randy. We started drinking at 8 a.m., were tanked by 11, and blacked out by 1. Became such good friends with the bartender in that time that she drove us to her twin sister's bar when her shift ended. The Jen picked me up close to midnight and by then, I'm sure I looked like the destroyed puzzle of a person.

18. Sitting on an empty beach in Big Sur around midnight with Greg and Scott, sharing a bottle of whiskey, trying to figure out if we could make fire.

19. Sitting on a beach on Vancouver Island with Jeff, Chase, and Ryan. They played Radiohead, and it looked like we were at the edge of the world.

20. Tagging Jay's driveway in chalk with the Rasta crew and then cruising through when the cops showed.

21. Giving Mandy Moore a Del Taco gift card during a school assembly in my communist shirt.

22. Marrying Blake and Adriana.

23. Speeding around the Handy Park parking lot one night in the Deathmobile with Duran riding shotgun, as we faux demolition derby'd the other cars of Nicky and Dennis in one of the great pirate vs. ninja night battles.

24. Playing a drinking game in a cupcake tin at Wall's house as everything around the dining room table spiraled into total madness with people running around half or full naked.

25. Seeing The Replacements live.

26. Seeing Against Me! at Chain Reaction in March 2004. Big crew went and the whole place threw arms around each other and knew every word. The band was shirtless and sweaty by the end and the stage was crowded with fans. It felt like a basement show of a friend's band. Still the best show I've ever been to.

27. The friendly fight tournament at the Mira Mesa House that saw Hendrickson put Chase into a wall, Rex kick a guy's earring out of his head, and Chris repeat yell, "Fight that dog!"

28. Drinking a beer at Cafe Tutu Tango after the first New Kissing Techniques show. All our friends came to see Chris, Bret, and me perform, and they went crazy, even though it was only a two-song set at a restaurant, which I agree doesn't make sense. It was very good of them.

29. Seeing the Seattle skyline come up like a beautiful beast in the road after driving up the coast with Chris.

30. Swimming with a beer in hand, wearing my life vest like a chair, and dodging swaying boats on my first day of Seafair. The whole day was perfect.

31. Playing dice game with Tony and Rex while wearing Christmas sweaters and listening to Christmas music one rainy afternoon in October.

32. Playing Super Nintendo for the first time with my dad in lawn chairs in the family room.

33. Watching Uncle Tim nearly blow off his fingers when he lit up fireworks in our backyard. There was a whole presentation and show with the family sitting around in chairs cackling.

34. Sitting at the bottom of the under-construction pool at Orange High one Fourth of July with John (A), eating chips and queso while drinking root beer and listening to the world wail.

35. Sitting at Spoon's writing the script for Sass with John (G) and laughing so hard I'm sure it looked like we were being tickled.

36. Sitting on the dock at Liz and Colby's wedding reception, watching the moon hang wild over the lake.

37. Seeing fireflies for the first time while putting up a tent with Grant in Missouri, before leaving to buy Boones Farm at a gas station for dinner.

38. Cheering as pizza arrived to the Column Five Christmas party with all of us drunk as hell, cozied up in blankets on three-story rooftop, with the twinkling lights of Newport in every direction.

39. Going on a late-night bike ride with Grant, Matthew, and Devon, exploring the long mysterious path by the Romelle house.

40. Copyrighting the pilot for Gents with Scott. I've written many things in my life, but I never had the motivation to put a copyright on anything.

41. Showing up to what we believed was a huge party at the Mira Mesa house with Rex, only to discover that was 100% not true. Entered the house to a very surprised Brian and Brad, both drinking cough syrup, the former because he was sick and the latter because he was bored. Spent the night in the garage playing music and drinking jugs of wine and whiskey.

42. Playing beer bong in Cameron's backyard with nearly everyone from the college paper. Andrew and Jason were kind enough to drive me home in what turned out to be one of the absolute slurriest attempts at directions.

43. Playing basketball with my dad and uncles in my grandparents' backyard because I was finally old enough.

44. Inventing and playing the game William Tell Frisbee at Swaylocks.

45. Attending a house party in San Francisco with Nevada, who I'd only known a few weeks, and ultimately co-hosting the whole thing in the craziest way before sprinting desperately across town so we could make it back to Isabella's apartment before she locked up.

46. Sitting on James's patio in the early morning with San Francisco in the distance, laughing hysterically and drinking separate bottles of Jameson like forties.

47. Waiting in line for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight with what seemed like half the city of Orange. You could roam other lines and just keep finding friends. It was like a huge outdoor party.

48. Coming home to the Madison, seeing the cars of many friends, only to wander a dead-quiet household, finding my friends all spread out in the interior and backyard reading the seventh Harry Potter book.

49. Arriving with Sam at the Madison, completely done up as a fake restaurant with friends all working it in full character: Chris as waiter, John as host, Greg as owner, Randy as busboy, Rich as cook, and Rex as the live entertainment playing our song.

50. Performing "Build Me Up Buttercup" as a slam poem with Lawrence before launching into one of the most obnoxious renditions of that song ever for our high school talent show, ultimately winning us the comedy award.

51. Spending the afternoon of my birthday in La Recoleta Cemetery with Ryan, totally and absolutely enthralled by the Buenos Aires city of the dead.

52. Winning our only game in junior varsity basketball. We went 1-21 and only beat a Catholic school. I can tell you this with total confidence though: If whoever had the most fun actually won, we would've gone undefeated and probably have taken state.

53. Reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with my butt on the dock and my feet in the river, breathing in the Indian summer of Austin.

54. Reading Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves by the Romelle fire alone one winter night when no one was home but Benson the dog.

55. Discovering jazz when I checked out a Chet Baker CD from the local library.

56. Hitting a game-winning double in little league.

57. Seeing the rereleased Star Wars on the big screen with my family.

58. Seeing Gone With The Wind on the big screen with Lindsay. Only movie I've ever been to that had an actual intermission.

59. Playing the first game of croquet in the Romelle backyard for the first time, with all of us realizing we had a new beloved hobby.

60. Seeing Green Day for the first time in Santa Barbara with Jeff.

61. Organizing and rallying the local crowd for an eating contest at our club rush booth for Scrabble Society, a club I co-founded with David and John A.

62. Catching my only wave in Mexico one summer after Brook had the patience to teach me.

63. Getting drunk on Nyquil with Scott while watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit and playing ping-pong on our dining room table.

64. Hiking the Narrows in Zion.

65. Floating down the Merced River in Yosemite with my family. I wrapped my toes in the raft's rope and I just let it drag me in a life vest. On one side was forest and the other side was a waterfall blasting out of the mountain.

66. Learning to drive with my dad in empty business parking lots in Irvine.

67. Finding old cassette recordings of my great-grandmother telling old stories from Ireland as a kid. I sat there in front of our family stereo and listened in intrigued silence.

68. Performing "Illkast Endyear" as The Bloodlit Stars at Greg's New Year's party. Jeff took the time to learn it, and it was the only live performance of that fake band to ever happen.

69. Smoking a cigarette on Kristen's fire escape when I made it to New York City for the first time. I watched and listened to the city in close detail. It was like a dream. I had always seen myself doing that my whole life, and I didn't want to forget a thing.

70. Laying beneath the gigantic blue whale in the American Museum of Natural History with James, chatting life and philosophy.

71. Sprinting from the jacuzzi to the house in Big Bear after we got kicked out. Coldest I've ever been.

72. Recording Jenelle's manic birthday music with Jeff in Farrell's garage.

73. Taking a break during band practice and lounging about the lawn with Jeff, Chase, and Rex when my mom bought us ice cream.

74. Listening to Nick get pulverized by fruit at Justin's birthday party in 7th grade. The backstory here is that Justin lived next to a fruit grove and we had split up into teams. The game's objective was simple: peg the other team with fruit. If you were hit, you were out and had to hop the fence back to Justin's backyard. My whole team was out except for Nick. You could hear him get cornered by the other team's remaining three. All of us in the backyard hear Nick drop his fruit and repeat that he's obviously out, so the game's done. But then Justin said something and the firing squad let loose. Periodic sounds from Nick lingered. I'll never forget that sound as long as I live. It was hilarious and terrifying.

75. Playing neighborhood-wide laser tag at the Madison. All the lights in the house off, all of us running around in laser tag gear. It was dark and the entire cul-de-sac was game.

76. Running through an entire street of heavy-duty illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July at the Romelle. It was like that scene in The Sandlot, just no Ray Charles.

77. Attending a 4/20 party of high schoolers on accident as fully grown adults who just wanted to sit in a damn jacuzzi.

78. Sitting on Sam's patio in Austin in my underwear, watching the craziest late-summer monsoon come and go.

79. Looking up at the night sky out in the woods with my arm around my grandmother, out along the Great Ocean Road in Australia, seeing more stars in the sky than I ever had before or have since. It was like a diamond quarry above us.

80. Writing the first page of my novel sitting on a cliff in Mexico while my friends all rock-climbed behind me, except for Greg, who I think was reading a Carl Sagan book beside me.

81. Crashing a wedding in Mexico with nearly 20 of us because the bartender invited us.

82. Opening my restaurant eEvita's in first grade. See, I had wanted to turn our home into a drive-thru restaurant, and my parents helped me get the closest I could. They invited my grandparents, aunts, and uncles for a one-night opening and closing. I drew up menus for the customers and recipes for the cooks. My brother and sister were host and hostess, and the relatives paid me actual money. I was the owner and only waiter. My parents made all the food. We all dressed fancy as a staff. I took it very seriously.

83. Outsmarting crafty Uncle Jim once in a high-low game of poker as a kid. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles went nuts.

84. Playing the game of Shark while night-swimming at my grandparents' pool while all of the Ohio family in town.

85. Dancing ballroom in a pool with The Jen as a wildcard teenager.

86. Kissing a girl for the first time (Sara) when walking her home as a kid on a bike.

87. Drinking and dancing until 6 a.m. with women we'd met in Vegas one mad night for Louis's bachelor party.

88. Playing Starcraft with in the Dufaults' garage with Nick, Greg, Rex, Dave, and Grant while an actual cool party happened inside the house.

89. Smoking a cigarette for the first time with Jeff in front of the pizza place Ray worked at. Julia's older neighbor lit my cigarette for me and I reacted like a nerd in the movie's, coughing like an idiot.

90. Falling out of Julia's treehouse as a kid because I was trying to impress Mallory.

91. Playing Jurassic Park at the Browns with Doug and Jeff.

92. Singing "My Girl" at winter formal with all the Rasta dudes.

93. Receiving a bicycle for Christmas as a kid. It was blue and had a banana seat, and I lost my mind.

94. Playing a wild game of truth or dare in the jacuzzi at Amber's house.

95. Running around the pit at a Tijuana Panthers show with Jeff and Chase, when we felt like the oldest guys at the show who could still run wild.

96. Getting lost on our way to the Transplants show at the Glass House with Jeff and Chase and parking in the dark to figure out where we were. A train whistle sounded and we freaked out. It turns out we parked next to the tracks, not on them. But, man, that was a scary second.

97. Eating Cassano's pizza with Rex, Brian, and Dave and sitting on the hill overlooking the San Clemente Beach one Labor Day. Watched a middle-aged couple somewhat discreetly pleasure each other. It was a fascinating experience for all of us.

98. Giving up meat at the tender age of 10.

99.  Typing the last line of my novel at my desk while the smell of charcoal came through the window along with the summer light.

100. Evaluating my life and realizing it wasn't that hard to come up with 100 good memories.

Monday, May 4, 2015

"the ode"

"the ode"
an attempt at honoring a lack of words and character by jake kilroy.

i gave up the art of sex
to give into bulldozing
warning signs
of an unhealthy lifestyle,
night after night,
what felt like
life after life,
barreling through the world,
unstoppable and sloppy,
heroic in force,
barbaric in truth,
taking everything,
remembering nothing,
destroying any way back,
lovely and defeated
only ever momentarily,
caught in the lunge,
stranded in the future,
a martyr for a cause
i couldn't put into words
except for a manifesto
that'd take final strength,
so i give up this,
a lazy nothing ode
to the weakness
of a depressed
human being
(or what's left of him)
and all that he wasn't.