Work This Thing

“Listen to me Keppler…we’re moving on this thing right now. No time to look for another act. Why? Because Hootie and The Blowfish only crosses paths with The Gin Blossoms once on a tour in like a gazillion years. The hall size is right, the crowd will be there. The bowl is gonna be full of lettuce when the concert’s over, I’m telling you. Come on man…work this thing and get Darius up here.

What? No! Hell no! STP’s out. I’ve had enough of their drama; caught that SOB Weiland shooting Horse with my daughter. AGAIN. He’ll never sing in this town again if I have anything to say about it. Get me the Blowfish, you hear me? They’re clean. Chicks like `em. They don’t shoot Horse with my daughter. Just get them. Look, I’m stuck in traffic and this car phone is making my ear so hot that it needs A-1 Sauce.

Gotta go. I’m out.”

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He Just Wanted To Be Alone [1985]

Alone

1985 was an incredibly difficult year.

In fact, that time in the mid-1980s was awful. Things weren’t going well, and whatever dreams I had after high school for happiness or success were long gone. Relationships were sporadic, and usually filled with drama that I didn’t need. In the end, I was left with a trail of low-end jobs and a worn-out 1976 Chevy Vega to get me there.

One day that year is one I consider to be the lowest part of my life.

I awoke that morning with a bad mood that I couldn’t shake, and through the day the darkness never lifted. I even dressed in my finest clothes – a trick to feel better taught to me by my high school band teacher – but even nice threads didn’t make a difference. By the end of the day my head was a complete mess; for some reason I called my sister, and broke down by the second sentence in our conversation. She insisted that I come over, and that evening I just remember talking and talking. She listened and listened. It was the closest I ever got to the notion that ending it all was an option. Thankfully I didn’t do that; the next morning I felt different and uplifted; life seemed to improve from that day forward.

This poem – found in the archives recently – is evidence that 1985 was filled with trouble.

Not only did I write about my darkest feelings on relationships and depression, I even dated the work – October 17th. From what I recall the poem was written around the time of my lowest day, while the pain was fresh in my mind. It was never intended to have an audience – only me – so I let loose and wrote exactly what I felt. The message says, “You know what? I don’t care anymore. Just get it over with.” It’s a call from a man who felt trapped in whatever situation kept him down. While it is hard to read today, I’m glad I wrote it; the poem is like a life marker by which I can compare my current experience.

It’s definitely better now.

He Just Wanted to Be Alone

As the boiling point was achieved
Feelings exploded, and true meanings were obscured by jealousy
He was angry
Failure was not something he cared to deal with
Nor was it something that he was ready for
He wanted neither self-pity or compassion

He just wanted to be alone

Life bothered him, almost to an intolerable extent
People bothered him, the regularity of the human race knocked him off balance
The woman in his life was gone, shoulding some other guy’s feelings
He watched her walk out the door, and into someone else’s life
And he watched the sorrow turn to tears
He wanted to neither end his life, or start over fresh

He just wanted to be alone

Lately, life had been tackling him head-on
And, although fighting fairly, he was losing
He lit a cigarette and got back into the game
Only to be pushed back and crushed
He wanted neither a crisp, new view of life, or a biased look into the future.

He just wanted to be alone.

Poem Entry #5 – Ode To A Twinkie [1987]

4/3/87 Entry #5

I stared intently at the Twinkie held in my hand.

It was one more bite’s worth. The cream-filled middle oozed from its sponge-cake cave, calling “Kurt! Here I am! Calories, calories!”

I could smell rthe sponge cake, the whipped cream, the sugar. I could see the Twinkie’s plastic wrapper on the table where I had set it. The wrapper unraveled itself from the ball I had rolled it into and sent Twinkie shockwaves through the room.

Before I knew it, the remnants of my Twinkie were right in front of my mouth.

Mesmerized by the smell of my caloric nirvana, I hadn’t realized that my hand had moved the Twinkie closer to my face. The aroma attacked my nose, like gasoline dopes when I overfill my tank.

It was an obviously sweet odor, dripping with sugar and only a hint of nutrition.

My sight became a cream-filled haze, and my tastebuds began to water. I could taste it in my mind, feel it in my fingers, and regret it in my stomach. The Twinkie had become a legend in my hand.

Closer, closer my hand moved to my mouth. The remnants of the Twinkie were within an inch of my teeth. My jaw lowered itself, exposing my tongue and watering tastebuds.

With a flick of my index finger, I popped the Twinkie into my mouth and began chewing with satisfaction.

Under The Surface

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Sometimes reality is hidden, ever so faintly, under a veil of quiet solace.  Maybe that reality is good.  Maybe that reality is something which should remain hidden.  It might bring comfort. Or cause shame.  What’s below the skin is a compilation of mind, body, and past experience.

What’s your reality?

Photo: Canon Rebel G film SLR with 28-90mm lens – April 2012

Brothers (1985)

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1985

Brothers (1985)

Night stalks the city as a predator
Day comforts what is left of the torn spirit
And the two work, as single/simple entities, to make a situation appear.
The glory of daybreak – and the beauty of sunset
Both hiding things from each other like scared jealous brothers
Both losing the battle every time, as the other takes over at the end of a given stay.
The two have matching attributes
But are forever parted by their differences.

A couple years ago a batch of personal journals was unearthed from a box in my parents’ attic, and memories of that time came rushing back. The work above was transcribed from an 87-cent K-Mart ruled binder within the collection. In the mid 1980s I did a lot of free-form writing; not sure if it could be called poetry or even story, but I always had a binder with me. Thoughts were written down quickly with little regard for spelling or punctuation, basically nouns strung together with a few verbs. Because I think faster than I write, my goal was to pen it in before I could forget the thought. The resulting style was reminiscent of singer/poet Jim Morrison, which makes sense since I listened to a lot of music from The Doors.

As I read the journals now, it seems I often used one word to express multiple feelings or experiences.

The subject matter was often about emotional pain, and the word choices – sometimes unusual and on-the-fly – truly reflect what I felt at the time. I was hurting inside; in 1984-85 I lost several mostly-menial jobs in a row. A roller-coaster relationship had taken its toll for a few years. I was questioning my ability to fit into society at all. The mid-1980s was a very low time for me, and I hold onto the good memories tightly…because there weren’t many. My life stabilized in early 1986, and the confidence of my earlier days was finally restored.

Reading those pages is like experiencing time travel.

Thankfully I wrote a date on some of the entries, which places the collection between 1984 and 1987. They help me remember how it felt to be 20 years old – which in one 1985 journal entry I called “A meaningless age between sentences to life.”

“Brothers” was probably written at night, over coffee, and as I looked out the window at a Seattle Dennys on Aurora Avenue and N 155th Street.

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