The Secret Order of Things

It’s been two years since my last blog post. It’s been over a year since I had a laptop. It’s been longer than that since I felt I had anything to say. Before I get into the usual movie reviews, dissecting the current state of pro-wrestling, or discussing this nightmare election season we find ourselves in here in America; I’d like to give a recap of these last few years. Not so much because I think I owe anyone an explanation for my absence or anyone even cares for that matter, sometimes you have to look back and reflect before you can move on.

I’m sitting here writing this after just after my 39th birthday. For the last few years I have been through a few things. Nothing more than most people, the problem was I did not handle it well. I guess I have to go back to the beginning of the end of who I was. In 2012 I came back to Atlanta, Georgia from the West Coast. I felt defeated, broken, and worthless. I reacted the way I had always reacted to defeat since I was a teenager. I drank, drank, and drank some more. It’s been said that a winner is not judged by how they handle victory, but how they handle defeat. I curled up into a little ball and prayed for death. Death did not come for me though. Instead it took one of my best friends and man I considered a little brother. I did not handle this well either. Death was not done with just Matt.

A few months before his death I became involved with a woman. Part of what I was going through after my break-up/divorce, was I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything to anyone. I was selling weed and getting fired from my job for stealing chicken. I felt like a scumbag and I was going to be the biggest scum bag I could be. So one night while enjoying cocktails at my favorite local gentleman’s club a young lady caught my eye. She brought me home with her and well, didn’t take me home for a few days. It wasn’t that cut a dry though. She was a mother of three and for anyone who knows me I had always been against the idea of sleeping with breeders. I made light of it, but it was a real thing for me. I had always harbored deep resentment for men my mother dated when I was a young boy. I hated them all and felt they had no right to touch my mother or come into my life and tell me what to do. I was a horrible brat and caused my mother much pain. I was insufferable and did whatever I could to drive a wedge between her and whomever she happened to date until she reunited with my father in an attempt to give me some type of guidance. It did not go well. I resented my father even more than mothers’ suitors. We butted heads and eventually I left them to live with my grandmother. In doing so I left my poor mother with an asshole who beat her and mistreated her until she too had to return to my grandmothers. The guilt from that has plagued me and I dealt with it by refusing to sleep with anyone’s mother.

A weird way to process that, but it’s what I did. This woman however was also soon to become a grandmother. My saying was “I’m an asshole-not a motherfucker!”, I had been repeating that phrase for over a decade at this point. Yet here was a woman who wanted to sleep with me and I wanted to sleep with, so I formulated that her impeding grand-motherhood gave me an out. I even went as far as to text my roommate and verify this was an acceptable loophole. After she gave me the thumbs up I dove head long into a relationship that would reinforce my original viewpoint. Little did I know at the time what I was getting myself into. She was dealing with a series of events that left her in a rather dark place. Her young daughter becoming pregnant was just the tip of the iceberg. I learned all this rather quickly.

There were more than an ample amount of red flags warning me that this was a bad situation and I was only going to make it worse. I found a job shortly after we began our affair, but I wanted to continue to supplement my income with marijuana. I found the hours at my new gig too demanding to spend all my time sitting in a strip club at the bottom of an abandoned hotel slinging twenty dollar sacks of weed. She however felt she had all the time in the world to do that for me. I seized the opportunity and put her to work. This was just one of the many, many mistakes I was to make. She worked from home as some kind of computer consultant but was required to go into her office at least a few times a week. After a few months she was out of a job. Now to be fare I found out not long after we hooked up that she had a pretty bad cocaine habit and it was in fact way worse than I knew about at the time. Once she quit working the drugs came into play big time. It was around this time that I lost my little brother Matt. I had also moved onto another job and had more free time to spend, so distraught over the loss of my friend and reeling with guilt for not being there for him more when he needed me. I dove head long into drugs as well. Not cocaine mind you but she could through her constant hanging out in bars and strip clubs while I was at work, could procure all manner of intoxicants. I preferred mushrooms, ecstasy and any other kind of psychedelics.

Soon she was bringing me jars of pills and shrooms to keep me happy. I had lost interest in the physical aspect of relationship after I discovered just how bad her addictions were. I should have ended things then; I did make several half-ass attempts but my greed got the better of me. She was doing all the leg work for me when it came to my business and I was reaping all the benefits plus free drugs. I spent a few months in a haze, it wasn’t very long but it was too long. I was dying inside. I took a trip back out to the West Coast in hopes of seeing my ex and maybe feeling something again. It was a bust she was in Mexico during the time and I only saw her briefly. She offered no comfort and I left even more dejected than I arrived. Yet I knew things couldn’t go on with this woman, this grandmother to be! I felt like I was ruining her life. I wasn’t in love with her. I was scared of her and scared for her most of the time. She had sent two of her children away to live with their father and was planning on shipping the third away as soon as she gave birth. We were both spiraling out of control. Neither of us was going to get any better as long as we kept feeding into the others depression. And that’s all we were doing to sad people masking our sadness with drugs and alcohol and not dealing with anything. So after much deliberation I ended it after I returned from my dismal trip.

This is when things really got bad. She became obsessed with ruining me. She cut off my ability to sell weed at the usual spot. She railed against me to anyone who would listen making me a pariah in a place where I once felt most at home. Though to me she would send endless text begging me to come back to her while alternately damning my very existence. To make matters worse in the midst of all this I was arrested which effectively ended my extracurricular activities. This was actually fine by me. Not the getting arrested but I was tired of being a petty drug dealer. It was consuming too much of my time for not nearly enough loot. I also used this as an opportunity to withdraw from our little strip club community. I got a second job, I stopped going out. Partially because I had no time with two gigs, but partially because I didn’t want to deal with her or the mess that I had help make. I walled myself up in my room and focused solely on Grand Theft Auto V. It became my world. I wanted nothing to do with anything else. Inside the game I was free and I was happy. There was no drama that pulling out an Uzi sub machine gun or dropping a tank out of the sky couldn’t solve.

My ex used to say that I would never amount to anything because I had too many distractions. I had everything I needed and therefore felt unmotivated. GTA was just another distraction, another way to hide from reality and mask my pain. I was beating myself up inside over all the mistakes I had made. Over the loss of my friend, the loss of my relationship out West. My grandfather died during all of this too. All though we weren’t very close it saddened me that I never got to see him during his final years and the last time we spoke was my grandmother’s funeral where I was not very kind to him. I had a lot of things I needed to process and I thought long and hard about them as I ran through a fictional computer generated version of LA laying waste to pre-teen narcissist online. It was a grim time and I thought one I would stay in forever.

Of course I kept all of this inside and simply threw myself into more drinking and fawning over my new romantic interest. As we grew closer I kept this shame to myself, in hindsight I should have opened up more, explained the shit I was feeling inside, but I didn’t I just let it fester inside. Around this time, I had begun more earnest communication with my ex out in California. No talks of rekindling our love, just talking as two people who used to be friends at one point. Though in the back of my mind I still held a candle of hope. A candle that would not eventually burn out so much and be thrown on the floor to light the whole house on fire.

Before we get to that part I want to touch on those six months I spent alone in my room, sitting in the dark lost in an imaginary world. I spent that time thinking. A lot. I thought about the mistakes I had made, not just in California but throughout my life. I thought about all the decisions that had led me to that point. I thought about all the times I chose to run rather than stay and fight. All the times I should have went left and I went right. I thought about all the times I should have zagged when I zigged. I was beating myself up because I felt like a failure. I had felt like a failure since I returned. Now it was compounded, I was 36 and busted with weed like a teenager. I had done nothing in over a year and now I thought I was under the belief that I was going to be on probation and stuck here unable to anything else. I was feeling trapped and I was trapping myself. Building up a wall, brick by brick, higher and higher each day. I worked 7, 8, sometimes 16 days in a row. I would go 3, 4, days without showering or brushing my teeth. It was then I upped my self-medication to two gallons of whiskey a week at home, not counting whatever I could consume at my two jobs. I was not well. I looked like a grizzled old street urchin. I wanted my outside to match how I felt inside. I felt like a worthless bum, so I wanted to look like one. I grew a patchwork beard more white than gray. The bags formed under my eyes because despite my grueling work schedule I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t forgive myself for not being there when Lil Matt needed me. I couldn’t forgive myself for ruining my relationship and being sent back to the South.

I wasn’t some blubbering mess though. I knew my problems weren’t as big as some peoples. I know many more people all around me were dealing with much worse things feeling regret for the first time in their lives. When I did go out I was still my usual gregarious/obnoxious self. I was still loud and rude and an asshole at work. When I did go out I tried my best to smile and be fun, but I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling like myself. I was in a dark place and I wasn’t happy with myself. At the time I don’t even think I was aware of how depressed I was. I was paralyzed by fear, guilt and regret, and it was eating me alive. It wasn’t the loneliness, that I could handle. I spent enough time alone in the dark. During my first stint behind bars I spent 45 days in and 34 of those days were in solitary confinement. When I went to prison I spent 3 of my eight months in the hole. When my mother died I held up in my grandmother’s basement for three months. I was better than okay with being by myself I was great at it. I wasn’t looking for someone new to love, I didn’t think I was even worthy of someone new to love.

At first it was the perfect set up. Someone that didn’t have to see me every day. Someone who wouldn’t get annoyed by my presence, or grow bored with my company. Someone who would miss me. We talked through text and on the phone for months. I went back for Christmas and we held up in a cheap motel for days. She came to visit a few months later, and the love grew. A real romance blossomed, but in the back of my mind the fear, guilt and regret were still eating at me. The demons in my head said that I couldn’t be happy, and I believed them. I felt the need to keep her at a distance was for the best. After all the last person who cared about me wound up dead. The person before that didn’t even want to live on the same side of the country as me. I was still awaiting my day in court for a petty driving without a license and simple possession charge. Even though I worked two jobs I had no money saved up. I couldn’t drive. My two front teeth were chipped, and my belly was way too big. I didn’t have anything to offer. I still felt worthless. I still felt like I wasn’t enough. There were cracks in my wall but it was still standing tall enough I couldn’t see out. I was still buried under my depression and I couldn’t see a way out. She wanted me to return to the place that gave birth to me, but I couldn’t do it. I kept thinking about how if I returned now I would return the same way I did to Atlanta-as a failure. I would see my nieces and my sisters and they would know that I went out into the world and accomplished nothing. I made it all the way to California and didn’t do a goddamn thing.

In 2011 I spent two months in LA hanging around an old friend from North Carolina. Her husband and all her friends are comedians. After I left I watched as they became more and more well known to the point they had their own show on television. People I met starred in movies, to shows, commercials. While I sat in the dark jerking off and feeling sorry for myself. I should have been motivated, but instead I withdrew even further. I saw my looks, my youth slipping away. All the answers I thought I had turned out to be wrong. Anyone who tried to follow in my footsteps did not end well. I had dug this whole for myself, I had no one to blame, no outside forces to scapegoat. I had the time, I had means (at one point), but instead I chose to squander it and fall deeper and deeper into darkness. How could someone love me. How could I be worthy of care or compassion. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. So I made excuses, I made obstacles that made things worse. I went out west to visit my ex when I should have gone home.

I spent a week in the desert with my former lover and her current one. A decision that I will regret for some time. As a result of my fool’s errand I learned the devastating truth as to why I was cast aside in 2012. The woman who had preoccupied my thoughts for the previous two years, who’s love I felt unworthy of, the woman who I had spent a great deal of time preoccupied with wondering where I went wrong, had in fact been unfaithful to me. She had betrayed my trust. And worse than that had allowed me to sit in darkness blaming myself for two years. I lost it even more to say the least. I allowed this new knowledge to push me even further down the wrong path. Everything I had felt for the last several years seemed like a lie. I had blamed my own shortcomings and it wasn’t just me who had failed. I had my suspicions but now that it was confirmed I was devastated. In the meantime, I was damaging any chances that my new romance could be salvaged. What was worse that I was cast aside because I wasn’t good enough or because I wasn’t just enough. I was losing my mind that I had already lost. “How do you lose something that’s lost?”, you say. This is the secret order of things, how one little lie can spiral a life out of control and send a person down a dark road with no end in sight.

It didn’t take me very long to rationalize it all. To accept the fact that I had cheated on nearly every woman I had ever been with and who had ever cared about me. I knew I was no better. In fact, I was worse. I felt I deserved it. Even though I had spent my entire life believing that nobody deserved anything. I always believed you got what you got. That’s why playing cards always made so much sense to me and I took to it so quickly. You play the hand your dealt and try to make the best of it. If you get delta a bum hand you wait until the next round and hope for better cards. The problem I was having was I was too preoccupied about my last hand that I missed the good cards I was just dealt. This can be a problem when your heads not in the game. You lose one round and you keep losing until you’re out. This is what I was dealing with. My mind couldn’t focus on what was in front of me, all I could see was the past. I felt like the years I once looked back upon fondly were nothing but lies, a fiction I created in my head. Now with this new information I was looking back and seeing all the signs. So when I did stop and turn around I saw nothing but new signs that said I shouldn’t go that way. Whether or not they were there or not was up for debate. I couldn’t see straight for the life of me. Nothing was true anymore and nothing was permitted. Paralyzed again. How was I going to get out of this? How was I going to escape this trap that I made mostly myself? it wasn’t my ex’s fault? I had time to let go and I didn’t I stayed with this thing until it ate me up and then once I was almost free I poked the bear with a stick again and paid for it. I know I’m confusing my metaphors again. The whiskey is getting to me and the sun is coming up. How this all ends I may never no. there are no happy endings in real life, there are simply endings.

After a few months of wallowing, I realized I would have to let all of this go. I would have to let everything go. I was hurting people because I was hurting, and until I was able to get over all of this and move forward I was no good for anybody. I want to run away, I want to run to a beach and live in anonymity, I want to be free of all this. But, you know the old saying about wishing in one had! These past few years have been difficult but they haven’t been all bad. I’ve had some good times with all three of these women, plus a few more. I’ve had some good times with friends, seen some incredible bands, been back and forth to the West Coast a few times and seen some things I will never forget. I have a lot of work left to do on myself, I still have things I would like to accomplish. The goal is to not completely give up and abandon all hope. I’ve come dangerously close over the last few years. The state of the world has not helped, but more on that later. 2017 is right around the corner, we’re moving forward regardless. I ended up dealing with my 2013 arrest by getting my license for the first time in my life at age 38. I’ve went down to one job and the lightened work load has given me more peace of mine. I was burning the candle at both ends for too long. I’m slowly trying to crawl out of this pit. I didn’t get here over night so I don’t think I’ll be getting out that soon either. It took years to shake the things prison did to my mind and some of that still lingers. Now that I’m able to share my writing and my thoughts again I can release some of the things I’ve been keeping inside. I truly missed this feeling. Typing all this out has been cathartic, let’s hope it’s not two years before my next post!

Posted in Life, life, love, drugs, monkey's, writing, stories, creative, life, writers block | Leave a comment

My love Affair with The Mountain Goats!

I want to tell you about John Darnielle, and The Mountain goats and what he/the band means to me! I first heard The Mountain Goats (heretofore referred to as TMG), in 2001. I had recently been released from a Federal Prison on the side of a mountain in Ohio. After a brief stay in my home state of North Carolina I fled to Atlanta, GA. While there I began listening to the local college radio station. As a teenager growing up in the 1990s this was the best way to get acclimated to current and local music. It was as we said then “the hip thing to do”. Not really but it’s what I did. It was listening to one of my “favorite” shows at the time that I heard “The Best Ever Death Metal Band out of Denton”. The song was in a style I was not so much a fan of at the time, having grown up deeply entrenched in hardcore punk rock. But over time I had become more excepting of softer more melodic music. I was a little high on marijuana, I’ll admit. Yet the lyrics spoke to me. It wasn’t just the rousing “Hail Satan” chant at the end, but the sentiment in the song. I missed the DJ announcing the artist so for weeks I would listen hoping they would play the song again so I could find out who sang the song that I could not forget. After a few weeks they played it again and finally I had my new favorite group.

There was a lot of upheaval in my life which is sort of the norm. I moved to New York City almost immediately after I discovered the name of the group. Once in New York and settled into a position where I could afford to buy music, which is something people in my generation used to do. I searched all over (well I went to one record store in the East Village) for this Mountain Goats band. These very unfriendly record store employees (that’s who can thank for shitty album sales artist) directed me to two possible bands one called Mountain Goats and one called The Mountain Goats. A few years later I would learn they were in fact the same band. Neither at the time had the song I was looking for the song that could not escape my head. After just over a year in NYC I returned to Atlanta. This time I was bound and determined to find this band and own that song. I was greeted with much more friendly record store employees who not only knew the band but were fans themselves and proceeded to turn me on to an immense back catalog that would only swell in time.

This was 2003, over the next two years I would collect every scrap of music created by this band that I could; Including live recordings, and one off appearances on various compilations. I would over the next ten years see them live at the very least twice a year. After 2005 I began recording each live show that I went to posting them on to share with other fans. On a few occasions I had the privilege of talking to my hero and shaking his hand. I even was able to pass off a Heaven 17 record I had found in honor of one of his most iconic songs. In 2010 I was able to see him in three different states and in 2011 traveled all the way from San Francisco to Portland on a whim with no tickets and had one of the most miraculous and spiritual journeys of my life. No matter where I have lived (and I’ve lived a lot of places) and no matter what has happened to me (a lot) I have kept this man and his music with me.

Why? Why has he meant so much to me, why has his music stayed with me longer than nearly any other band or style of music? Is it the wanderlust spirit evoked in the “Going To” songs? Is it the desperation and hopeless drunkenness displayed by the Alpha series? Is it the fact that his roots lie in both California and North Carolina and that we have both criss-crossed this country looking for a sense of belonging? John often says that much of his work is fictiSAMSUNGonal. It wasn’t until the album Sunset Tree that he began to write autobiographical material. Although that can be debated and he even admits that some of the prior work had vague elements of his life added in. All of that is irrelevant really. Whether he lived it or made it up, it spoke to me profoundly. It touched on so many elements of my life. Every album that came out seemed to be speaking directly to the situation I was in at the time. Some more strongly than other, but the connection was always there. I could relate on multiple levels. On the song Two Thousand Seasons, John sings; “How have we come to be mere mirrors to inhalation?” At the time I heard that I was at the tail end of long and winding relationship, I was working and drinking myself to death in order to destroy me and everything around me. Years later when he sang “I’m gonna make through this year if it kills me!” I was pulling myself from the wreckage of that time. As I moved across this country, falling in and out of love, having countless adventures TMG always seemed to be right there with me. I made a point to see them everywhere I went. Between 2008 an 2011 I saw them in five different states.


As time went on and we all grew older, I watched the band go from just John (I was there in Atlanta when he got his first guitar strap), to John and Peter, to when they picked up the drummer from Super-chunk, to now when there are five people on stage (with the occasional string or horn section). There are some bands that grow and change and loose something along the way. Rarely do bands that start out as basically a singer/song writer outfit, become a full band, and retain the same pull that they originally had. The strength of course lies not just in the powerful lyrics that stay with you long after the music fades. Last year John published his first full fiction novel called Wolf in a White Van. When reading it at times you can hear gentle melodies. It reads quickly like a concept album almost. But it’s not the same as TMG. John is a powerful writer, probably the best of our generation, but the combination of the music and the words is what changes lives. It changed mine and continues to right to this day. The new album that just arrived in the mail a few days ago is called Beat the Champ. It involves perhaps my favorite thing (next to TMG) in the world: Wrestling! Professional Wrestling, of course, the squared circle, something that has been in my life since I was eight years old.


Anyone who knows me, has worked with me, or met me for 10 seconds can attest to my undying love of pro-wrestling. I’m watching it right now as I write this. I spend every Monday night plopped down in front of the television absorbing every kinetic motion, cataloging it in my brain. I can talk for hours on end about it, and often do whenever I get the chance. This was not the first time I had known about John’s childhood love of wrestling. He’s written songs about it before (Ox Baker Triumphant a particular favorite of mine); he’s told the stories in between songs on stage for years. Yet to do an entire album where the theme is wrestling was like a dream come true for me. Especially since these days it’s pretty much all I have left in my life. I don’t go out much anymore; my adventure days are pretty much done. I work two jobs at grueling schedules. I have very little time for anything other than obsessing over wrestling. The WWE started their own network last year which allows me to take it anywhere with me on my phone (which is also a dream come true for me). The combination of two of my greatest loves only drove home how much this band has meant to me over the last 12 years. Almost nothing has ever lasted this long with me.

I was into punk rock for what five/six years? I still listen to it but I stopped wearing the uniform a long time ago. I couldn’t name a single new punk band. I don’t know the last time I picked up zine or even went to a show that wasn’t for a band that I like as a teenager! Favorite TV shows come and go and most I look back on now and they aren’t as good as I remember them. Even in life people, friends, lovers, come and go. I hear from my family once or twice a year usually around the holidays. Yet TMG stays, endures the test of time and continues to not only speak to me but for me, with me. It’s hard to explain, to truly put into words. So I’ll just end this with what is (so far), my favorite track off the new record. It’s called Heel Turn #2!

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For my homie!

I have been trying to write something for a very long time. It‘s been nearly a year since I was blogging regularly. This is no one’s fault but my own. I had the time and the means, but I felt I had nothing to say. I had things I wanted to say, I tried to write them down both on paper and on the keyboard. I have notebooks filled with notes and have started essay’s on whatever was happening in the news at the time. None of it feels like it means anything. The internet has become so filled with people voicing their opinion about everything that it felt pointless to add to the cacophony. This past year for me has been so filled with varied emotions and realizations that I could not possibly try to recap them all. With each passing day that I remained silent to the world at large, the more what I felt a few months ago seemed irrelevant. When last I hit the publish button on one of my many blogs I was in the midst of a terrible (for me) break-up and wallowing so deep in self pity and hopelessness that I thought I would drown before I ever reached a safe shore. Once I washed up on beach in Atlanta it took me a while to dry out before I dive head first back into the ocean. I drank most of the last year away. On top of that I compiled a number of drugs and tied myself to a world I had already left behind even more than I was when I escaped the third time.

There comes a point after you end a relationship with someone where you realize the person you were once so hopelessly in love with is no longer there. You realize that they have changed. And you can blame them and be angry with them for changing or you can ask yourself why you haven’t changed, or more importantly if you have changed that they were the one was false. It was. It is based on a lie. The lie that there is someone out there for everyone and that there is a twin human soul we are all per-destined to be with. There is no such thing because destiny is a lie. It is a control technique meant to keep one from exceeding ones potential and binds one to servitude of some mythical higher power. There is no power higher than that of the human imagination. It is bound only by the wielder. The collective unconsciousness of man has driven us this far. When you cease to believe that you can accomplish anything you want is when you lose.

I hate when people talk about winning and losing in life though. As if life is some game to be won or lost. I mean seriously what are the prizes. If you believe in an afterlife how that is a greater consolation than the life you have. Perhaps you should strive to make the life you are living more suitable to you so you aren’t stressed out to reach the great beyond, and you aren’t stressing me out with your nonsensical belief system. Not that I am denying the afterlife I simply do not feel there is enough evidence to support a blind faith in something that is plausibly intangible or definable. There is no grand unify consensus on what said after life is going to be like even by those who believe in it. This is not Atheism mind you but an astute skepticism. God and Heaven could very well be more real than me, but I have no proof, not enough and substantiating enough to bring me to that conclusion. It is my experience and my first hand knowledge that when you are dead you are dead.

Death has swirled around my head for the better part of a year. T100MEDIA_IMAG0235oday is the one year anniversary of the passing of one of my closest friends. If you look back to my last post his is the second comment. His name was Matthew Guin and he was like a brother-no he was my brother. We lived together during 2006, before I moved away to St. Louis. We had been friends for a few years before and had more adventures than you’d believe, but that year we tested everything we knew about each other. Living with someone is sometimes the greatest test of a friendship. That’s double-y true if both of you are alcoholic monsters tearing through your youth with no regard for tomorrow. For the first time in years I became the responsible one, I became the voice of reason when things got way out of hand. Things got way out of hand a lot. We fought, physically and verbally quite a bit. Yet we came out of it with a bond and brother hood that was stronger than before.

The first time I was introduced to Lil’ Matt, I was living in New York with my cousin. I had gone up chasing the memory of a girl that wasn’t there when I got there. A mutual friend and former lover in Atlanta had met him and decided that he was (in attitude) the spitting image of me when I was 17. He was 17 and from the middle of nowhere, loud, crazy and out of control. She put us on the phone together and I instantly knew she was right. We talked for about an hour and when my time in New York was through and I came to Atlanta to be with her, I finally met the kid who was me if I were white and born in Georgia. We became joined at the hip for little while, but after I became better acquainted with the city I stated going to places he wasn’t old enough to get in, and he started doing things I would never do. We still partied together when we could but bars have a special place in my heart. I work in them, I drink in them, and I live in them. The thing he was doing was also having a bad effect on him. And it was driving a wedge between us. It came to a head one night when he overdosed in my bathroom after he was supposed to be cleaning up his act. I broke down my bathroom door and gave him CPR. At his wake his parents thanked me for giving them ten more years with their son, but I always wished I could have done more.


After several ups and downs and struggles to break free of his demons he fought his way back and when I needed a roommate in 2006 he took me up and the adventure truly began. We both had our demons then but it was a common one that came in a bottle you could buy at the store. We drank so much we decided to forgo heat rather than booze that winter. I could tell stories of that time for the rest of my life and probably will, but I won’t publish them here in case his parents see this. Through it all though we were always there for each other, no matter what I did what I could for him when I could, getting him work and making sure he had smokes and money. But together we were just too out of control. When I saw an opportunity to escape with my life I took it. I went away and toned down my drinking a little. I look back on that year as the last great hoo-rah before I crossed over into my 30s and I credit him with helping me grow up a little. When you hold a mirror image of yourself up to yourself like that it makes you realize a thing or two about your own actions. After I left he stumbled a bit had a few accidents and joined the Army. The Anarchist in me wept, I felt I failed him worse than ever, but he needed discipline in his life and he wasn’t going to find it on his own like I did. He needed guidance I couldn’t give him half way across the country.

After a few years I found my way back to Atlanta and he had found himself in Tennessee. He had reached out to me when I was in California in 2011. He wanted to come with me to L.A. where I was going to spend the summer. I had already booked a room in apartment with these kids I never met before and I didn’t have the money to support us both. I wasn’t even supporting myself after a few weeks. I couldn’t help him and that haunts me to this day. In the end though it seemed to have worked out, he had found a girl with two kids and started to become a father to them. He was working steady and even got a great gig at a Nissan plant. Things seemed to be turning around for the kid, although he stumbled occasionally, he held it together for the most part. In the end though it wasn’t his demons that finally caught up with him, it was a freak accident. He had left work not feeling well, and no one knows what happened but his car careened off the side of a mountain and in the wee hours of May 2nd 2013 he left us. I couldn’t think straight for months afterwards. I threw myself in to drugs and alcohol and the arms of a horrible woman who was spiraling out on her own pain. The summer was a mess and I looked like hell through all of it. As the summer ended I tried to break free, but I just changed one bad decision for another. I ended the year with an arrest and a whole set of headaches. By the New Year I had begun to piece things back together but I wasn’t ready yet to sit down and write about the loss of my little brother. Even as I type this I can’t stop crying.


I have dealt with loss before. My mother died when I was 14, my grandmother who raised me passed away when I was 22. I lost an aunt to breast cancer when I was twelve and a cousin to a lunatic when I was just six. I have lost friends to suicide, murder, and a fascist police state. I am no stranger to death. The girl, who lived in the room I stay in right now, blew her brains out in front of another one of my friends just a month before Matt passed. As you get older you realize the price of aging is that you have to bear witness to others who weren’t so lucky. It’s heartbreaking and difficult and sometimes it feels like you can’t move on, like you shouldn’t move on. Why do I get to stay here while others who aren’t nearly half as evil as me get taken away? Taken away from their friends and families and loved ones. Leaving behind a giant hole where their heart should be. I’ve driven myself insane over the last year with these thoughts. I smile on the outside and try to have a good time. I know my lil’ homie wouldn’t want it that way. I know he’d say I need to buck up and rock out in celebration of the life that he had. I also know that if I was gone and he was here he’d probably go a little crazier himself.

I’m trying man, but it’s hard to think about the ways I could have done more to save this kid who was so like me. Yet I couldn’t save myself. There are things I wanted to do with my life and I haven’t really done them. I’ve found excuses as to why but never a reason. I failed myself long before I failed him and I know my life isn’t over but, sometimes it feels as though it is. I’m closing in on 40 now. I was 24 when I first talked to him on the phone in New York. That’s a lot of time wasted not doing what I want. That’s a lot of years spent tossing back bottles and tripping through nights and days rather than working to have something more than just a few good stories that no one can tell.

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Happy New Year (nine days late)

Well, it’s 2013! I know this is a much belated Happy New Years post. I have tried three times to write a post celebrating the New Year. I couldn’t bring myself to post any of them, they all just came out as more of the sad, pathetic, woe-is-me, post that I have been making throughout 2012. I can no longer do that. Personal post aren’t bad, they just aren’t what I started this blog out to be. Opinions, news, a log of my travels and adventures-yes! Whining, bitching, moaning,-no! It’s time to get up and quit belly-aching. move on with my life and do something with what ever years I have left on this Earth.

I know what I want to do, I just have to figure out how to do it. I want to be a writer. I know I’m 35, with no training or experience, only a high school diploma and 20 years worth of stories. There is a lot of stuff going on in this world and much more important things happening than my broken heart and disillusionment. Number one thing on my list of things to do for 2013 is to finish a story. I looked back on my writing and realized I can’t write an ending to save my life.Well I am going to have to if I want to save my life. 2013 is the year where I have to get published, be it self publishing on Amazon, or, or by any other means, I must get my work out there. Get over my fear of being judged, my fear of not being as good as I am in my head. I have to but my old life behind me. If I want to live in California by the sea I will have to do it on my own. The way I have lived for the last 20 years is over. It was an unsustainable short-term vision. I never thought I would make it this long, but I have, and if I died tomorrow I would like to leave behind a body of work that was readable.

So that’s it that’s my New Year’s resolution. Write, write,write, and publish! Thee Monkee Armada Word is closing in on 100,000 page views. That’s not enough for a blog that has been around as long as this one has. I want to change that. I want more eyes on my words. I don’t have anything lined up right now, but I will soon, and things are going to change!

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Ghost of Christmas Past/ Coming out of my cocoon

The night was wrapped up in music, all the old hits from the 1990s; from a time long ago when the world was still new and exciting to us. We were young and not yet beaten down and worn out. It was everywhere we went that night. Faith No More plays followed by Weezer, then Eminem. No Doubt belts out and into Beastie Boys, sprinkle in some Fugazi, and Sunny Day Real Estate. The whole catalogue of hits we once thought of as alternative but a soundtrack to a whole generation. There was even a little Cure thrown in. Everyone was smiling, dancing, drunk. I wasn’t but the mushrooms I had eaten would have canceled out anything I drank. I kept a beer in my hand to maintain appearances, and I watched her. I remembered the old days when we were new and still smiled at each other. It was years before New York or any of the other bad stuff. We’re not too far from Lyndhurst, our old house. We didn’t live there long, about six months, I wouldn’t let us. I was spiraling out of control then. I’m spiraling out of control now, but in a different direction. Back then I was struggling with the death of my grandmother and a looming prison sentence. A lot of other things were happening as well, mistakes were made, and monsters came out of shadows. It’s hard to explain without giving all the details away and some stories aren’t just mine to tell.

She had given me the mushrooms earlier, when I ran into her downtown. I hadn’t run into her by accident, I had heard rumors, I was expecting her. We talked a little at first, caught up on what we had been up to in the years since we had last seen each other (when I was last spiraling). Funny how that shit works out. I still tear up a little when I first see her but I fight back the tears and squeeze out a chuckle or two. She ask what I’m doing here I answer “being a ghost”. It’s how I felt, a bizarre apparition from the past. Ghost of Christmas past come back to haunt everyone’s dreams for a weekend. I really came for my little sister’s college graduation. I had spent all day with my family, more time than I had spent around blood relatives in close to six years. It had only been three since I was last home, but that was just a brief pop in for Christmas dinner then back on the road. I spent most of that time outside smoking and drinking than inside with my sisters. I avoid holidays like the plague; too many ghosts for me to deal with. Now I had become the ghost. I could see it on all their faces when they saw me. Most people walked by first and then once my facial features registered in their brain there was shock, then disbelief. Of course I egged it on keeping my hood pulled over my head and my brow down. Funny thing about being a ghost is that some people are happy to see you, while others not so much.

The night before I had wandered around the old stomping grounds, and ran into a few old faces that were more than happy to see me, greeting me with open arms and wide smiles. Other’s treat me with a cold “oh it’s you”, look. I even had someone tell me that I while I may have known them I don’t know them anymore. It didn’t bother me, it was true, but there were definite lines being drawn. Maybe it was the mood I was in but this night felt different. I was I already in a weird other head space before the mushrooms. I had gotten stoned a couple of my cousins at another club downtown. A brightly lit place that played that thumping music kids in Jersey pump their fist to. I was too in my own head for that. I needed good old rock and or roll, and the solace of shadows to comfort me. It was more than just the feeling of having been away for so long, or the glaring fact all weekend that I had truly gotten old. No this was more. I was coming to the end of this, the end of the person that I have been for the last twenty years. I have been trapped in a cocoon of time. The hour for me to emerge from chrysalis had come. I have been feeling that way for awhile. Like, I needed to change more than my address and my underwear. I can’t keep living in the past glory of my youth. Was it even that glorious? Things work out the way they do for a reason, after 24 hours of dealing with family that I hadn’t seen in forever, best friends I hardly talk to any more and old lovers who didn’t love me anymore. I found myself tripping surrounded by 90s alternative jams in a house full of people who passed through my life just as I was becoming this monster I grew into. Much like the 1990s themselves the irony wasn’t lost on me.

I haven’t been conflicted about making a change in my life. I am currently jobless, penniless, and hopeless in Atlanta. I have burned so many bridges in the last six months I might as well start building a canoe. No, my confliction comes in what exactly am I to become next. Who am I to become? I am not totally unhappy with myself, just more or less where I am in my life. Alone, dejected, scrounging around on rock bottom. I feel old and feeble, and when I look back at my life I see far more mistakes than successes. That is not a good feeling. It’s no longer just because my last relationship didn’t work out the way I planned, or my job didn’t pan out, it’s not because I can’t get laid, I don’t even want to anymore. No this is something else. I have no idea what I want to do with the next half of my life. I have no direction, no focus. I don’t feel particularly driven to do anything either and that is an even bigger problem. All weekend I heard from family members and friends alike that I should go to school. School would have been a good idea a few years ago, maybe ten twenty years ago. But now I was too old. It’s not that colleges all over the world aren’t filled with people older than me; I just don’t want to be that guy. Besides I can’t afford it and unlike other normal people I can’t get government loans. I never signed the piece of paper that say’s the government can draft me in to some bullshit war, so therefore I do not qualify for student loans from the government. I can’t get loans from banks because I’ve never owned anything-anything at all. I have never had a car, a house, or scarcely more than can fit into a suitcase for the last year. I’m a ghost on paper as well, invisible, insignificant.

There’s also my inability to take proper criticism from anyone I haven’t placed my penis inside of. I don’t like being judged, or graded, or told what to do. Sure that attitude hasn’t gotten me very far, but avoiding people like that is one thing, paying an exuberant amount of money for some snot nosed professor who would most likely be in my age group tell me anything. It wouldn’t be long before I found myself in prison again. And murder beefs mean state farms and I don’t like those. If I’m ever catching another charge it’s going to be a federal case so I can get the nice bath robes again. I don’t have a clue what I want out of this life, because everything I thought I wanted I had and it all slipped through my fingers, I was unable to grasp the brass ring. Failure is for some an inspiration to excel and try harder to do better, but I don’t fail very often and I never try to do anything. I simply do whatever I want and most times it’s worked out for me, but lately it seems the stars are not aligned in my favor. I never set any goals for myself, it eliminated the possibility of failure (or so I thought). I know it’s time for me to change; this way hasn’t been working for me for some time. Did it ever work? I was standing there on Trade Street (where I had stood so many times before), tripping staring into the eyes of loves gone past, and time not forgotten. I was scared I was terrified, what would become of me I asked. Still no answer came.

It was time for me to come out of the cocoon. I have been trapped by my past, by all the things I had done, not done, wanted to do, didn’t want to do. The shadow of loved ones living and dead loomed over me for so long. I am tired of the weight. How do I get from under it? Do I take off and go somewhere no one knows me? That seems like running to me and I’ve done enough of that. There’s no job or career I can have that would make me happy. I loathe work in itself, unless I can find someone to pay me for typing these words I don’t want to write what some editor tells me to write. I may not know what I want yet, but I know what I don’t want and that’s a start. The thing about being a little ghost is that you’re trapped between the land of the living and the land of the dead. I looked out into the street and for a minute I thought about stepping into traffic and joining the real ghost, but then I looked back at my brother who was sitting in front of the bar with his shoe of picking a blistered scab on his foot as if he wasn’t even in public. I decided against it.

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How can I write when I can’t live?

I have been writing a story about what turns a person into a killer. Not through some immediate and life altering event, but by tiny little forks in the road. I want to show how it happens slowly over time, a lifetime of missed chances, poor choices, and perceived slights (real or imaginary). I want to also show how the character (who has no name) is given opportunities at each turn to be a better person, or follow a different path. Yet it is the decisions he makes that lead him to becoming a monster. I don’t want to ignore the characters killings, I want to hint at them show them in news clips and headlines. This is not about the hero’s journey-this is the villain’s journey. There are no excuses for this man, there is no sympathy gained, in fact you should be by the end of it, convinced that had he chosen to do things different he could have but he chose to go down the road from shy pre-adolescent kid, to adulthood made decisions that led him to become a monster.



I also have a story of a man who has study mystic arts for centuries, through alchemy, science, and sorcery he has become an immortal being who can travel through dimensions of both time and space. He is what Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate have always wanted to be. He is a member of a group of mystics who seek through by means to travel between higher and higher dimensions. They hold the secrets to the universe. And while or main character was once one of them he is now an outcast for a past transgression that remains a mystery. He is persuaded through dimensions both higher and lower than our own, and sometimes our own by a group of fellow travelers. His only ally is a woman whom he gave the secret of immortality to. He encounters her through-out time and across worlds. At times he can trust her at other times he cannot. This leads him eventually to the highest dimension where he becomes something else entirely.

These are but two of dozens of stories that I have been writing. In my head of course, for some reason I have found it difficult to use my hands. I am getting too old for this; I have to force myself to write if I ever want anyone to pay me to do it. I can no longer continue to get up and work some shit job for no pay and neglect what it is I want to do in real life. I just feel like I have nothing new to say, and I feel lie I have no reason to say anything. I have utterly failed in this life. I have not accomplished anything other making an as out of myself. I can’t hold down a job, or maintain a relationship with another human being. I’ve made a mess out of everything I touch and wallowing in despair seems to be the only thing I’m good at. I want to tell stories but what right do have. I don’t want to entertain people or make them happy I just want a job that doesn’t require me to put on pants or leave the house. I haven’t left the house in two days other than to go around the corner and by some smokes as it is. How can I follow through with writing a great story when I can’t follow through with a mediocre life.

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