Dé Céadaoin, Iúil 29, 2009

The Black Juggalo of The Red Line

ICP tattooed in bubble font across his right fingers, that "guy with meat cleaver" symbol on his left arm. Yup, there he is, a Black Juggalo. I thought the black guys listening to "Freebird" in the computer lab was strange, the black guy in the Hank Williams Jr. T-shirt with three Confederate flags on it? Thrift shop maybe, take what you can get. But an honest-to-God black Juggalo. Wow. Wow.

Dé Luain, Iúil 27, 2009

Odds And Ends.

I make love every time I enter the State. Street subway on the inbound redline. Every time I come back out I am born again. My most fervent wish right now is to be insane so that I can see demons screaming at me on the subway walls. I should have joined the Marines, gone to Iraq, and acidentially killed a pregnant teenager when I had the chance.

In North Platte there was this share-a-bike program. People would donate their old bikes to the program and they would be left in various racks around time. I used them a couple of times, terrible bikes mostly. The idea was based on similar programs in Boulder, Portaland, some Bay Area suburbs, etc. There were of course cases of permenent borrowing in these places and it was expected that the same would happen in North Platte. Well, you can say whatever you want to say about Boulder and Portland; they don't have the meth problem that North Platte does. There were never more than two bikes availible at any of the ten or so program racks set up around town. Share-a-bike lasted three weeks. Mind that these were the most bent-spoked, rusted-powder blue, brakeless recumbent tandem pieces of shit imaginible that people were stealing. The smooth talking ones got two eight balls.

"The Man who Stole from Tom Osborne."

I met Lynn Finney. He tried his "car broken down on the way to Columbus" hustle on me, told me he had been a Husker and all that. Added some flavors to it, like how he had walked to campus from Shoemaker's. He asked me for seventy five dollars as cooly as one asks a stranger for the time. Twice, once in December of 06 and again around October of 07. A couple months after that he tried to hit me up while I was in a moving car, my own, accelerating for the green light at 16th and R. Whether he even vaguely recognized my face I don't know. Dying of cancer and still can't quit the rock? Horribly pathetic. I really did like that guy.

Déardaoin, Iúil 23, 2009

Odds & Ends

Papa Manic is currently in jail for possession of two bags of weed within a thousand feet of a park, which is to say in a park, not that it makes any difference. In a city of this density one won't find many spots that aren't a thousand feet from a school or a park. The law seems designed specifically to allow for gang bangers on south Harlem to leisure their afternoons in vacant lots. They figure two weeks for Papa. Keep the children clean. How hard would the cops have come down on my blue eyed pretty white ass? The Latina cop who popped me for taking a leak under the el. She said she was surprised to hear that I was twenty eight, that I still look young. Bless her.

Mama Rainy, the wife, the black mama, is lonely. Last night she again asked why I was so quiet and I again told her that it was just the way I am. She asked me if I was sexually frustrated. I answered that I've been worse as far as that goes, and in fact was growing a bit weary from company, but if she needed any help. Why not? She's done me favors, looked out for me, and she looks good for fifty one, whatever that means. She's not untouchibly ugly by any means, and the difference in race would prevent the surrogate mother factor from getting too nasty. She said she would take a rain check.

Mama Dee, the white gay-spawn one, was robbed of twenty dollars and her prescription to adderal by a sixteen-year-old transgendered hooker named Tiffany. Dee took to smoking again until her son wired her the money to shop Walgreen's so maybe she'll stop now. Tiffany was the victor in one of several scrapes between the working drag queens who gather at Belmont and Clark across from the twenty four hour Starbucks. She wondered in there fillthy and covered with a few spots of blood hear and there, railing to Mama Rainy about the same incoherent nonsense about "respect" that usually comes with these things. Rainy futilely tried to speak sense to her while Dee glowered. Dee and Tiffany don't get along of course. But Mama Rainy is Mama and refuses to let the girl fall to the fate she has chosen for herself, refuses to allow Dee to knock her teeth out and give her a hospital bed to get clean in for a few days. So now this situation keeps festering among people who sleep in three hour snatches once every two or three days. Barbecue Friday night.

Dé Céadaoin, Iúil 22, 2009

I Want You So Bad

The woman being refereed to in "She's so Heavy"?

Yes, that's right, Ayn Rand, subject of no fewer than seven out of ten love songs in all of popular music. If there was ever a true doubt in your mind, than you are a moral slave worthy only to wax my Lamborghini.

By the way, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is about the joys of using lethal force to defend one's inanimate property. What did you think he was talking about anyway?

Dé Máirt, Iúil 21, 2009

A Man Asked Me for A cigarette Here Last Week

I told him I was smoking my last one. He asked me if he could have half of it and got violently mad when I said no. It is impossible to smoke in public without getting hit up anywhere in this city. I myself have gone without food for twelve hours instead of aking strangers for help. I'm not putting myself on a cross that's just how it is. There are neighborhoods where I try to explain that my parents don't have a swimming pool and brand new Escalade waiting for me back home and I know that I'm wasting my time.

Dé hAoine, Iúil 17, 2009

Elton John and Billy Joel from Waveland Avenue.

I have some metal friends who may still be unable to admit to themselves that Elton John kicks ass, and that's a shame. The way the man puts his warm, empathetic voice to use really is magical, to the point that even Bernie Taupin's most absurd lyrics come out sounding like a healing lullaby to the tragedies of human life. Yes Elton, space is a terrible place to raise a kid. Won't the parents ever stop climbing the corporate ladder and think about what they're doing to Junior?

But then again it is no secret that John is an absolute whore, so for the past few years he's been touring with 'the human gin & tonic hangover', Billy Joel. With the exception of 'Piano Man' and 'Pressure', Joel is known for the sort of hack work that Elton avoided until he hit middle age. He is also yet another father figure in my life that I scorn to the point of hating my own masculinity, but more on that later. John and Joel came to Chicago last night, and of course they played at Wriggly field, home of the entire white population of Cook County.

The concert was scheduled to start at seven. I met Liz at the Addison El station about twenty after six and we had dinner at Taco Bell. (Yeah that's right. What?) It was a great atmosphere, the streets were full of pseudo-tanned suburbanites drinking champagne in the parking lots and hustlers trading bibles for cigarettes. When we made eventually made our way around to Waveland (Where the rooftop stands our) it really was postcard romantic. All the beautiful young people grilling, drinking beer, enjoying the hard work their parents did for their pristine real estate. The night was as soft and mild as a woman who believed your story about working for Vanity Fair. "This, darling, I will remember." "Oh yeah. Fucking Billy Joel man!" There was a flourish at about 7:20 and the show began with, what? Elton John is the opener?

John and Joel "dualed pianos" for awhile. Elton opened with "You're Song" as per tradition and Joel followed with "Just the Way You Are" the classic love song for his long-divorced wife. John countered with "Levon" one of his weaker old-school jams before Joel came back with the dishwater "My Life."

Elton had the stage to himself for the next hour and change and kept it seventies. "Yellow Brick road" (Should have stayed on the Farm, should of listened to my mom.) "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and, oddly, the eleven minute, Kubrick invoking "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding." It's an epic tune and all, but popular mainly with Elton fans and not really known to the general public anymore. I don't know whether to be thrilled or disappointed that EJ whored out to the baby boomers this hard. It's not if he doesn't he hasn't had any hits in the past twenty years. "Songs From the West Coast" has several good songs on it. Why not play "This Train Don't Stop..."? Or something from the Lion King, Fuck it.

Then again, I was off to the porta-potties as soon as he played something that I didn't recognize. The bastard started playing "Tiny Dancer" just as I was stepping out and I had to run back the length of a block to rejoin the crowd and find Liz. I eventually saw her with only three or four other people between us, and she waved at me to go to her, but Elton was already halfway through the second verse and I didn't have the time to jostle anymore, so I waved back and finished singing the song with perfect strangers. You're a big girl darling.

After that it was "Philadelphia Freedom" (meh.) a couple other tunes and than "Crocodile Rock" for the pseudo-finish. (Sing along! Yay!)

Billy Joel opened his stand-alone set with "Angry Young Man" and "Moving Out" (manmanmanamn. Oh Bill, you're so saucy.) After pathetically trying to keep it real with the supposedly impoverished Great Lakes audience, (It's not true that New Yorkers view everything to the west as monotonous desert. They can tell the difference between Chicago and LA just fine. They just don't know the difference between Chicago and Akron.) his band busted out into "Allentown", the absolute worst excuse of an ode to white blue-collar poverty ever written.

After this it was a few more pieces of trilling trite nonsense until the moment I had been dreading finally came. When I was ten years old I was riding in the car with my mother when "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me" came on the radio. I said that it sucked and this made my Mom start giggling and saying I should have more respect for it. I asked her what she meant. She grinned and sneered and snorted and, eventually, she told me that I had been, I had been conceived, to this song, to Billy Joel. I exist because my mother, she was seduced, by Billy Joel. I stood in the crowd last night, doing all I could to hold back the Taco Bell vomit and the tears, I turned to see my girlfriend dancing ecstatically to this song,this fleshly prayer of my blasphemous physical being, and the girlfriend, she likes it too. She probably has it on the her ipod somewhere, blissfully unaware of how many times I've wished myself dead to deny Billy Joel the satisfaction. I hope you were really drunk mom.

After this came "We Didn't Start The Fire" a song that is both Joel's most shameless piece of work and the ultimate demonstration of Baby Boomers' historically ignorant sense of self-importance. The crowd loved it of course. Liz loved it of course. Bouncing up and down and exhorting me to join her. I should have broken up with her right then. Or maybe it would be better if I killed her tonight. Joel closed with the mercifully tolerable "Only the good Die Young" and it was on to the encores.

Elton started things with "I guess that's why They Call it the Blues" and Joel followed with "You May Be Right." "After this came "The Bitch is Back" and, at last "Bennie and the Jets" from EJ. Liz once again wanted to cuddle while we sang along together, and didn't have the slightest clue why I was being cold and unsubtly angry towards her. She took to grinding against the "Billy Cub" mascot who had joined the crowd for the climax of the show shilling for tips and rocking a glow stick. I think it was a humorous attempt to make me jealous. Give yourself to the rats for all I care you filthy evil Joel-whore.

Still, "Bennie and the Jets" is a beautiful experience when played in front of a hundred thousand receptive ears, and would have made the perfect closer to Slton John's night. But he decided to show his famous sanctimonious side and close with "Candle in the Wind" instead. Which is fine I guess. One could easily make the case that it's his best song. It shows how the sisterly love that gay men feel for dead female celebrities is perfectly sincere and often quite moving. Still it's a rather grim song to end the night on. I mean it is summer and all and we would like to have some fun.

Finally of course there was Joel's "Piano Man", which is far more transcendent then it has any right to be but never mind. I was at piece again after half an hour of agony. Liz came up behind me to wrap her arms around my waist and I accepted her and we sang along. "They're sharing a drink we call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone!!" She asked me if I was going home with her and I said no. She asked why and I said I'd explain to her some other time. "Piano Man" is great but not great enough to forgive Billy or Liz or mom or any woman.

Dé Luain, Iúil 13, 2009

And They All Believe in Jesus

The women at the welfare office, the twenty-six year-old, Sonya if I remember right, the one from one of the rougher ends of uptown who managed to get an associate's degree and a job as a dental assistant, never needed a dime of government aid until the recession hit. She was assured that the suffering was all a test, and that the suffering was the point, to see if she's worthy to go home, and that the test never ends. The white and the rich go to church to learn why Jesus loves them better than other people. The brown and poor go to church to learn the the test never ends, and that this is how it should be, so stay calm. The neighbors who have been on food stamps their whole lives ask Sonya why she doesn't have children yet.

Papa Manic believes in Jesus. He says that he fought the war "fifteen years ago I was in that war you know." This would have been Iraq I, in which Bush the elder freed Christian Kuwait from the Moorish hordes. Manic was just past thirty then, so maybe or maybe not. He's not conciously lying at any rate. The passion of a believer tells him he was in the Gulf War. "You gotta fucking kill evil, if you ain't willing to kill evil when God tells you it's time than get the fuck out!! I'm for real on that shit. I assured him that I was for real on that shit, and that I wasn't just camping out with the black homeless for amusement.

Purvis too; gay, alcoholic, crack-addled, estranged from his elderly mother, firmly believes. His sisters have assured him that they'll let him know when his mother goes home to the Lord, assuming that she gets there first, before his eyes get any yellower.

Sarah, the one who stood in the middle of the bike path at Lincoln Park while begging me for a cigarette, telling the bikers who nearly bit the dust avoiding her to eat her ass. Sarah rode the bus from a South side shelter to Lakeview looking for work. She was being paid for 'giving some company' to an Iraq II veteran who came back with a missing arm and a mental twitch, likes to torment her with a knife apparently. When she asked me if I believed in Jesus I said I was a skeptic. She spent ten minutes asking me how I couldn't be afraid of hell and I told her I was afraid of death gin general sure. "How do you know there ain't no hell? How do you know, how do you know?" "I don't know. That's what a skeptic is. One who doesn't know what he doesn't know." Finally she asked me if I came from a Christian family and I said I was Catholic. She took this as a no and went into the old Calvinist spiel of how "the Bible is a guidebook that comes straight from God and the Catholic church and the Baptist church and all of these churches are fucking up the roadmap right, think of it as a roadmap. now imagine you're lost right, and you need a map; now are you going to trust the person who wrote the map or are you going to call some motherfucker who's just guessing? You know most people think you go to heaven for being good but not one of us is good we are all sinners and we have all fucked up........" She left me with a God bless and a Chick tract, the one where Satan dresses up like the Great Pumpkin and goes Freddy Kruger on some town.

Walter wanted to know if I had a problem with black people. I said no, I just didn't talk very much. This assumption by those who enjoy conversation for its own sake is universal and that those who don't partake with them simply must be stuck up is my greatest pet pieve. I remember my parents chiding me for growing noticibly anxious during extended family talks over dogs and priests that had been dead for twenty years. My natural introversion became militant and I came to distrust the smiling and effervescent, so here I am. But I listen as well as a wiretap. What could I possibly add to your passion to kill for Jesus anyway?

But there was no convincing Walter that silence wasn't tantamount to derision. He exhorted me to go to the Washington library and look at all the records of how many white people had secret white blood and vice-versa. "Adam and Eve were black." "Jesus looked like us." "I believe in the Bible. Some people are athiest and I believe in God, that's just my preference." "Races have always been mixing. The history of Italy, Italy is real close to Africa, the Moors." "Who is the purest race anyway?" "Caucasion, or Caucoid." "white people believe in this fallacy about race. You know what a fallacy is right? I said fallacy." "Thomas Jefferson." Barack Obama." "I have the same intellect as you. I just want to make sure that you fucking know that."

Liz was raised Muslic and has no religious preferences. "But I believe in god with all my heart and I know he's wqatching after you and I know he gives me the strength to stay clean." She gives me a God bless every night, either in person or via text. I do sleep better for it, so who cares if it does any real good or not? She sleeps better when I tell her I'm keeping safe. Mom sleeps better when I tell her I'm safe.

Déardaoin, Iúil 09, 2009

Grant Park Fireworks Show Quotes

"Quite a show fucking ay?"- Sgt. Gonzales, CPD.

"Hey!! Get your fuckin asses on the sidewaullk!!"- Some other CPD officer, blonde, female, maybe about 5'2.

"The whole world is watching!"-Me

"Josh, it's cute that you know your history and all, but this is the CPD honey and they don't play. Just be quite and keep walking baby."-Liz.

"That butch cop was hot wasn't she?"-Me

"Shut up baby."-Liz

Dé Domhnaigh, Iúil 05, 2009

Mama & Papa

This is where the spoiled north side homeless sleep. 'Mama' Patty with her portable grill and her husband 'Papa' who calls himself Manic and insists that this is the legal name his mother gave him. Other pillars of this community are Purvis, a gay blond black man in his fifties, struggling with cocaine and attention whoring, and Mama Dee, divorcee and formally abused wife in Muscatine Iowa; half of her eight children our gay and she has been elevated to a saint in the Halstead bars. The recession dried up her maid business and forced her onto the street. She owns an ipod that one of her children bought her two Christmesses ago, and also a $2500 laptop that she keeps hidden at the bottom of her basket. She's fifty one, same age as my mother, told me that she has a son named Josh in New York, tall blue eyed and long blond; she trusted me with the secret of the Dell almost as soon as I met her. She told me Purvis likes blond white boys, don't give an inch and he won't take a mile.

Mama and Papa regularly get their hands on grillible meat, charrities and such, so it's usually barbeque chicken for the ones who can't afford gas station pizza or can't stay sober long enough to get portable food from a pantry. The couple has been uptown for a long time and will often attract the housed to their barbeques as well. Last night a group of about ten of us, homeless and otherwise, Liz and I among them, martched with Mama and Papa to a spot along the lake in Lincoln Park.

I'm spending my days with Liz at her recovery home in Cicero, ran out of rent money for my hotel room. Hers is a reletively liberal place that lets significant others stay nights over the holidays. Tonight is not a holiday. I must find my own way tonight. Last night I could have stayed but I told her it was the fourth and we must go out. She said she would have to be back by ten, no weekend passes on the holidays, temptations to great. Come with me until than darling, I'll see you in the morning. Mama and Papa had a stereo with Patti LaBelle and Aretha, and we danced until she had to ride back to the suburbs with a friend.

Mama kept giving me chicken three or four times after I refused the next piece, until I stopped looking at the chicken on the grill. The fireworks from downtown were powerful enough to be seen from around the meandering shoreline. There was a party a few feet away from us who was getting reckless with their explosives. One shell went off barely six feet in the air covering us in a black cloud. The girl named Briona would grab me whenever a boom went off. I gave her my jacket when she complained of being cold. (Freakishely cold for the fourth, rained nearly until dark)She has a boyfriend and I have a girlfriend. We winked at each other is all, strictly "Lost in Translation" and innocent. I said it was cute how she was afrsid of fireworks and she said she loved to fuck white men. I told her she smelled nice and she asked me what makes pussy good to me anyway?

And that is a damned fine question. It disturbs and amazes me how much I lack self-reflection in these matters. What does make pussy good to me, besides willingness? Can't honestly say, it's a question I should be able to answer without this sort of trouble. Why do fish need to swim? No. No. Why am I so much more attractive here than I was in Nebraska with stable housing and a reletively stable income? They keep mentioning the eyes and the curl of my hair; maybe you could add my slow hinterland accent and relative bashfulness regarding sex to that. There seems to be something of a Tom Petty fetish among some women here and it will do by me. I can work on my 'evenin mams' and drawl out my diction even more and have a fine old time for as long as the eyes stay blue. Briona came from the Carabian when she was seven. She has a Jamaican accent that she'll stratigicaly drop in with her standard Midwestern black. As I walked her home she was talking to her kid sister in Creole over the phone and could see me smiling and leering.

I couple hours later Mama Dee bought me a Starbucks and showed me where I could charge my phone anytime as long as I had the money for coffee.

Dé Céadaoin, Iúil 01, 2009

Could Stand for A Drink

I told her about New Orleans and and she asked where WE were going to live there. She seems perfectly confident. If she talked even half as much it would be better. If she stopped sending me the sort of chain texts that you could just as easily find on a bumper sticker or a shot glass it would be a lot better. If I gave her a copy of "Gravity's Rainbow" and made it an eighth of the way through I would be much heartened. Dad after all still hasn't touched "The Stranger" since I bought it for him for Christmas.

Or maybe she could just keep telling me how pretty my eyes are and that will do. When leaving the airport I asked a nice Scottish girl for a cigarette, wondered my way to the el station, called her, and told her to tell me how handsome I was. Just a man after all.

I walked Addison from the Kennedy all the way to Halstead yesterday. A solid three miles, never once felt tired. Maybe I could hoof it from my place to the loop or back at least one way.