FIRST THING I'LL DO IS GROW MY HAIR FILTHY LONG TIL RAT-INFESTED DREADLOCKS CASCADE DOWN MY BACK AND ALL THE OTHER FUN THINGS I MISSED OUT ON WHILE I WAS A SLAVE TO CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN.
I keep ending up in stores.
All week I've been laying around, staring at my phone, waiting for it to be turned on so all my exciting new friends can call me. The phone company has a "backlog", but they promised it would be on today, Friday.
I gave them til 5 P.M. then I got out of bed and lifted the receiver and the line was still dead.
Might as well go to the store then, I need a stamp anyway. So I put on my wedding dress and went to H.E.B. the department store type market around here like CUB or KROGERS and managed by the same six white men who manage everything else in this life. They don't sell single stamps you know, only FIVE DOLLAR BOOKS because most of their customers have lots of friends to write letters to. So I went next door to WALGREENS but I couldn't stand there humbled now, and ask for one lonely stamp. I purchased eight stamps for the sake of pride. Then I didn't know what to do. So I messed around at the Cosmetics Counter for a while. Then I went to the bakery and got three dozen cookies. Then I backtracked to WALGREENS and sampled L'OREALS new line of anti-aging products. They didn't work. This is all I can think of to do in Austin. My higher self wants to go swimming but the lake is 20 miles away, too far to ride to on my bike. Maybe I'll do it anyway maybe I'll just walk there just to court sunstroke. I need to be in Nature in the woods close to water but I keep going to the store instead. Jeff mentioned it before he left and now I'm noticing it. Everything's a ritual.
I hate stores and I have no money so I don't know from fuck-all. Stores-food-nourishment-mommy — there might be something to that but it doesn't hold my interest.
Wandering the aisles staring at Austin people in that precarious state between aggression and apology.
I made the deli-man slice me one piece from all the various cheese logs he was horrified it took up half his day I just pretended I was deaf. A handy strategy because there's a big deaf community nearby. I'm not very good at pretending I'm deaf, I start to snigger idiotically, much to the bemusement of my opponent. It's hard to sustain, alienation feels cold I don't like it have to change.
The stores are filled with people I need to be around people but it's too soon to make friends.
Others have to come to me and they must have their eyes wide open. Before I will be friends with someone they have to prove themselves to me and they have to want to. I expect to be pampered with unconditional support and approval. I want undivided attention. They must come into my world and they must be in thrall. They have to understand I can be coldblooded, cruel and exploitive at times. I ask for nothing and am never satisfied. I'm stingy with trust. I suspect motives. I set traps and lay guilt trips. I probe underlying character. I stand in judgment of every action. Love is a hurtin thing. Every word that comes out of my mouth is employed to make me sound special or to drum up sympathy for myself, right. Everyone owes me a living. This is as good as it gets. Have you ever known someone like this? Do you think they'd be my friend?
HA! I dare you.
Until then I will read books and ride my bike and drink myself to death.
I'll get a job and paint it black. I'll make minimum wage, I'll play Coltrane, I'll lose my ambition and banish all thoughts of radio
I'll study my Tarot, develop the mystique, be someone. I'll take vitamins, I'll get started on YOGA, I'll be healthy and bereft in nightclubs, libraries and grocery stores.
I'll figure out how to get to the lake and make everything as difficult as I possibly can.
I'll take self-sufficiency to pathological extremes and then you'll all be sorry.
Mostly I will eat whatever I want--pudding, maypo, tapioca, mashed potatos, mallomars, marshmallow bars, cream of wheat. I'll wrap it all up in a burrito so I can FIT IN.
And I won't have to pay for any of it because of coupons. You can get fifty dollars worth of groceries for a quarter if you're clever about it.
And there are busses now.
I live on a busline, first time in ten years. Comes right to my door.
I can sit on the curb and time them whenever I want.
Make goddamn sure their arrival corresponds to the printed schedules. When the pamphlet says 2:14 P.M. and the bus arrives on time then I know I have something to count on, that god is in his heaven etc. Some people gaze at sunsets for this assurance. Joe Regular watches the six o'clock news.
Everything's a ritual.
Oh look, it's 2:04, time to go.
There's a bus leaving in ten minutes and I intend to be under it, ha. That's a family joke my mother would pull on me when she wanted me out of the house so she could have sex with demonic strangers. She's a hoot, my mother. Cracked me up at least. But I'm not talking about these things so much anymore. A pointless pastime, except for the guaranteed shock value
and that gets old too.
I have an ancient loneliness today that reduces people to calling the Operator just to hear a human voice. I have no reason to be complaining about backlogs---
He played ALL MY LOVING and then he left. We weren't on speaking terms.
Maybe saying goodbye is too much.
Picking fights is easy.
Maybe we are impaired.
Maybe he knew I was breaking the rules thinking about the S word maybe that's why he left so fast maybe he was too. Maybe that's why he said on the way home from the club. If we were doing the S thing everything would be different. I said nothing. Talking about the S word "upsets" me. I wore a black evening gown for three days on slept in it too
it was smelly and gross I didn't care. He called it my Mourning Dress because everything's a poem and he pays attention to details the way you like a man should. We were not being our usual selves not being pals we were stepping around each other hostile cagey and tense. Him leaning over the sink slurping beans from a plate like some GUNSMOKE character in a railroad undershirt. Me feeling like a black cat moan whatever that is all I know is I want to throw back my head and screech. I took these new feelings into the bedroom and did the S thing to myself. We bickered til midnight when I finally shut down and gave him the Silent Treatment. He played the Beatles and Undertones for seven unholy hours until I heard the door click shut nodding my head grimly. That will teach him to expect me to be the only one who carries the weight of this relationship. Stuff my feelings because we need to get along because he has the upper hand I have no terms because I just want to make everything cozy and sweet because I'm the spineless woman
fuck that shit. He left a note on the counter I snatched it up: SO LONG. And now I'm supposed to write
I got mixed up today.
I walked into a radio station; a Classic Rock station, the enemy.
I don't know what for. I just passed by it and the next thing
I know I'm at the front desk asking to see the Program Director.
No resume, no work samples, no appointment, nothing, cold. Dressed like a gypsy, telling myself I'll "wing it."
Every night I dream I am back on the air doing my show, happy. I'm happy in the dreams, on the radio where I belong.
Luckily he refused to see me.
I walked back outside getting mixed up I'm getting mixed up again I'm scared I don't want to be inappropriate where's Jeff if I had a father none of this would be happening one good thing is Austin is filled with beautiful big trees with purple flowers I found one to sit under, rubbed my knees to calm myself.
I cried for awhile and then I left.
WALKED PASSED A PROSTITUTE TODAY ON CONGRESS AVENUE, THE FAMED HOOKER ROW.
PETITE, YOUNG, ABOUT 22 SAME AGE AS MY SISTER WHEN SHE GOT STARTED.
RED PATENT LEATHER HIGH HEELS, MATCHING LIPSTICK, SHINY BLACK MICRO-MINI-DRESS PATTERNED WITH LUMINOUS WHITE STARS. WEARING THE NIGHT, COMMANDING RESPECT, ALL FLASH AND POISE, LIKE MY SISTER WHEN SHE GOT STARTED, A BILLION YEARS AGO. SHE SMILED AS I PASSED, IT MADE ME HESITATE WONDERING WHAT TO DO, IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD DO?
I DID THE PROPER THING, SMILED FALSELY AND RESUMED WALKING. SOMEDAY, I TOLD MYSELF HOTLY, I WILL BE DONE WITH PROPRIETY ONCE AND FOR ALL.
WHATEVER THE HELL THAT MEANS.
In town a couple weeks now and just took my first walk on Sixth Street. It made me feel good and wish Darius could see it to make up for the Memphis Fight we got into when we had to drive thirty miles roundtrip out of the way because I had to see Beale Street Home of the Blues and he knew it was going to be just awful but he drove thirty miles because he is good and sure enough it was awful. Fake polish and glitz clean and overpriced tourist trap. Nevermind I conducted Class War reminding Jeff that I grew up on RELIEF and need to figure cultural things out for myself since I don't have the benefit of a college education like some people I know. He said I am just so "romantic" about the blues which is just his way of taking the fun out of everything OK I understand but still I withdraw.
To salvage the moment he drove to Graceland it was three A.M. and the colored pots were on the lawn the mansion glowed and it was gaudy and wondrous and science fiction and spiritual just like the brochures. I ran my hand the length of the guardwall and felt the mighty king Elvis ricochet up my arm sensing cornpone bohemia and liking it. But then a group of security guards got in a huddle and stood eyeballing us. At three in the morning they seemed troubled so we left in a hurry.
Now I'm on historic Sixth Street in Austin wondering if Jeff would like it, if it's pure enough. Looks like this is the focal point for live music, nightlife, drunks, seedy minorities, tough kids and street folk, along with the fucked up college new wave clothing boutiques, his favorite. Broken down alkies lining the street, woman in her twenties looks sixty stringy hair jaundiced eyes postcard perfect. Drinking her bottle from a brown paper sack, pure.
I get into a yelling match with a poor mad beaten screwy old black man who is yelling at me about my pussy. The first time I let it go cause the nice therapist in me is touched.
But he keeps right on about what he'll do to my pussy for five dollars so I tell him to shut the fuck up and he says You better hope I never catch your pussy alone; as if I let it go out of the house unattended. Finally I whipped out my W.A.R. keychain which was made by Ohio's Women Against Rape and extremely lethal. I whipped it around my finger a couple times real casual like I knew what I was doing and that shut his trap once and for all so I didn't have to kill him.
Up ahead is the Cannibal Club where you get in free between the hours of eight and ten I make a note of that and move up the street finding the local Woman's Bookstore. It has pale pink walls and ceiling fans and posters and tee-shirts and rows of books in heavy wooden shelves and a cushioned chair that looks comfortable enough. I press my face against the window a moment and stretch it, feeling peaceful and sane. I want to work here sleep here I don't know what only that I'll be more than an occasional customer if I have to sell records for money I will. Next up is a bunch of no-count losers sitting manfully on the curb and strumming their guitars. I walk past and this Westerberg Wannabe goes Hey gorgeous, lend me seventyfive cents so I can buy a Lear Jet? I smile sarcastically as a quiver shoots into the pit of my belly and shimmies down the length of my knees making them yes momentarily weak. Certain boys talk to me this way and it works. Sixth Street is good. I'm looking forward to coming back some Saturday night when it's said to be insane with people like a carnival or New York two things I've never seen.
DOWNTOWN AUSTIN HAS SOME OF THE WORST ARCHITECTURE I'VE SEEN IN MY LIFE BUT AT LEAST THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF *BATS* FLYING AROUND
But I gotta learn how to handle this Congress Avenue. This prostitute row. It's the major blight in my neighborhood & I don't see how I can avoid it (or why I should have to) seeings it's the main street which is why the hookers claim it I guess. I'm used to being confronted & everything, in small doses that's OK keeps me GNARLY dude but the fucking Congress Avenue degradation is fucking RELENTLESS. I wear normal regular clothes & it doesn't make any difference.
First they honk a few times. Then they whip around in a fast food lot so I have to goddamn walk in front of their so very friendly automobiles. I shake my head, international symbol for NO but they don't take the hint. They try to talk me into it with what utter fucking nonsense talk me into it. So I set my jaw & quicken my pace. They hurl obscenities. I kick rocks.
The other day I hawked a terrific slimy gob of green tobacco phlegm & SPIT right into this guys car aiming for his *face*. No matter, he kept trailing alongside me saying conversationally "Let's go for a ride come on baby put down the bike come on hop in...."
Today I picked up a 32 oz empty beer bottle & toyed "menacingly" w/ it when the cars slowed but I mean do I look that FUCKABLE?! Well maybe I AM & maybe I'M NOT but one thing's for sure they'll never find out I mean I am so FED UP w/ not being able to COMPREHEND how they can IMAGINE I'd let them put their THING in me for a single SECOND for a single reason on heaven or earth!!!
And more than ever I realize I wouldn't have to put up w/ this shit if there was a man walking beside me which is like the most SICKENING logic & a totally UNACCEPTABLE set up. These predators have to see you w/ one of their own before they'll let you alone, it's fucking prehistoric.
Riding my bike has been hellish these past couple weeks til it struck me: Ride at night, fool, the streets are big and bare and clean and well lighted so I did and the air was cool, no heat, no cars, no Ohio farm dogs yapping at my wheels I can even take my hands off the steering bars on Congress Avenue it's three in the morning and for once I am pedaling my bicycle as fastasIcan for once I rule this town. This is a real city and I spotted a street person to remind me. He was sleeping on the sidewalk. I woke him up to make sure all was well. He was old and grizzled and lucid and dignified. I just wanted to make sure he was all right. Once we got that straight I didn't know what to say. I know this sounds awful but he reminded me of Woody Guthrie. It just seemed like I was bad and he was good and if I had been wearing anything other than a second hand slip I would have hated myself tenfold.
Last time I was in Cleveland visiting Randy we were in his car downtown at night and he told me to lock my door because you never know when someone will just reach in and pull you out and beat you to death. It amazes me how sensible urbanites must take these precautions as a matter of course. But Austin is a real city and I'm not much afraid here it feels like a small town. Of course I am getting harassed a million times more than some women but that's nothing new it doesn't stop me and neither is that. What's new is that some men DON'T stare at my tits, some people don't yell at me from passing cars, lots of women don't scream at me to put some fucking clothes on; the busdrivers, storeclerks and scenesters take it all in stride and let it pass. People give directions and are helpful and idle and even holler howdy while eating supper from their porches everyone is happy and nobody ever dies.
If anything, I am the one who starts something, no reason I guess just lonely and bored and fighting is how I learned to interact, dagnabbit. I have tried to start a couple fights out of nowhere and these incidents were strange and unfulfilling, my targets didn't get it they seemed "hurt" and I felt bad and stopped myself.
Like just now getting off my bike I saw a man eating a sandwich at the bustop and I said Out of my way you fucking pig and he walked over to me and I thought OK here it comes but instead he goes in a kind of mad but seductive way What did you call me? I stammered that I mistook him for someone else and he goes Oh, is that how you greet your friends? I don't have any friends I replied I thought I just thought you were someone else!!!
He looked me over in my raggedy slip and said smiling I guess we're all allowed to get things wrong now and then.
I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying OK just hit me I thought I had it coming because he was MEXICAN, totally mexican with the accent and everything and I thought he was going to ASSAULT me because he's a MALE and a MEXICAN but these things aren't happening to me in this town so far so maybe I'll have a chance to mellow out here and ponder these racist and sexist tendencies.
I AM TRYING TO CHANGE I DON'T WANT TO BE STRONG
FORMIDABLE AND INTIMIDATING
THIS IS NOT MY NATURE THIS IS HER NATURE
HOW SHE DRILLED IT INTO MY HEAD
RAMPAGING ALL OVER THE ROOM YELLING IN CLICHES
SHAKING HER FIST AT ME LIKE I WAS THE ENEMY:
NOBODY FUCKS WITH ELLA MAE
TAKE A LESSON FROM YOUR MOTHER LITTLE GIRL YOU GET STRONG NOW
YOU FIGHT BACK AND THEY WON'T TOUCH YOU
A PILLAR OF STRENGTH BUT YOU'LL FIND OUr SOON ENOUGH
SCARE THE PANTS OFF THE COCKSUCKERS
THEY THINK THEY GOT IT MADE BUT SOMEHOW ELLA HICKS
STAYS ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE SONSABITCHES
YOU LISTEN TO ME LITTLE GIRL
YOU WATCH YOUR MOMMA AND YOU BE A HANDFULL
I'LL TELL YOU A SECRET — IT AIN'T EASY
BUT I PROMISE YOU ONE THING — IT'S WORTH IT
and come home from school to find her all fucked up laying naked on the floor sour mansmell in the bedroom her head flopping around on her shoulders she had to be carried to bed whimpering i liked her better that way at least it was honest
DANCING ALONE is not what it should be. I am unable to go berserk so far maybe I'm just hesitant because these things take time in a new city. I am waiting to find a dancing partner who is brilliant & bananas & we can dress like HARLOTS & go to clubs & erase the people & dance all freestyle & burlesque & be sophisticated & decadent & wildly out of reach. I know I will meet kindred women because in the past but everything takes time & right now I am lonely.
Maybe I ought to find me a man. HA! But there's got to be someone in this town who will give me good love, good talk, good FUNK. I'll behave myself I'll treat him well I'll bathe his feet in WESSON OIL!! I have no idea how to about this manhunt & I don't read the personals I try to read faces.
The other night I saw a face, now I'm smitten I am so in love. He got onstage & sang a stupid Stones song in perfect abandon his entire body gyrating in a way that reminded me of SLOPPY SCHOOLKID SEX which, of course I am an EXPERT on now that I've got a VCR. HA! Watching him I feel my shoulders hunching I can't help it. Anthropol- ogists say this is a primitive female instinct that connotes submission & it pisses me off. Male anthropologists how they have an ex- planation for everything under the sun isn't THAT convenient! Shoulders hunching — submission — sounds sexy. I'll buy it. What idiots!! Anyway now I'm peeking around to see if I can spot this guy & there he is all big & soft & squishy & he's the only thing I see. I tell my- self One of these days I'll take my comfort from a man built just like that!! HAH!! He's sitting all messy on the stool, grinning blandly in my direction, one hand folded primly on top of the other looking for all the world like an alcoholic choirboy. I let his sweetkid smile wash all over me while we made the significant eye contact. It felt nice it felt DUMB so I leaned over & viciously laced up my tennis shoes absorbed & rigid & HISSING into my Reeboks "Look. I don't need this shit." Ha ha HA!! Then I stormed back home to Marlboro Country where all my MENFOLK are lovesexy in books & dreams & record sleeves.
On paper this little nugget looks pretty Vacant. For all I know I imagined the whole thing. WHO CARES Because it's been two weeks & I'm still not tired of replaying the good parts.
I want to be engaged so I sit in the library poring over the debris of a couple homicidal maniacs. James Cross the nice cleancut coed strangler from the summer 1964. His file bores me so I turn to nice cleancut Charles Whitman who, a couple years later shot his mom and stabbed his wife to death, filled his U.S. Marine Corps footlocker with Spam sandwiches, gasoline jugs, gallon of milk, spraycan of Mennon deodorant, a 6mm bolt action deer rifle with 4 power telescopic sight, sawed off .35, .30 cal. Ml carbine, 357 magnum, .25 cal. 9mm luger, machete, bowie knife, pocket blade and 600 rounds of ammunition.
Typed out a couple star-trip suicide notes, drove to the U.T. campus, seized the limestone tower and systematically picked off the riff-raff in a Reign of Terror that lasted ninety minutes due to a pecan sized brain tumor, amphetamine addiction and unresolved Oedipal conflicts.
Who would have guessed he was so cleancut and polite yes he was driven to excel, sure he hunted animals, beat his wife, obsessed with guns, a real man's man, it's true he "teased" people by throwing hunting knives at them and staging mock car wrecks, but he was a practical joker and everyone noticed his habit of chewing his fingernails down to the quick but this is nobody's business but his own, isn't it? Isn't it?
His file was thick and all messed up it took seven hours to go over the accounts in all the regional and national press. U.S. News and World reports, Time and Newsweek consulted experts the weekly magazine couldn't agree on the victim tally some said 44 some said 48. Psychologists and social scientists learned men talking smart but whose only real consensus was that shit happens and I already got that down and it's not the part that engages me anymore.
What's going on the Dixons aren't here yet & they're not on the marquee but the paper said today so something's screwed up. What's this smoothie nu-wave rockabilly band doing onstage? "It's Only Make Believe." Well I'll buy that because all day long for some reason I've been thinking randomly that today is a dream And mildly eccentric happenings throughout the day that don't "fit" but aren't intense enough to warrant waking up in a cold sweat have all but got me convinced that it's just a slightly off-kilter dream & any minute now I'll wake up but I haven't YET & now that Jeff is gone I have had nothing truly nothing to look forward to for days on end but the DIXONS & that's why I'm at the Continental Club where it was goddamn Advertised that the band itself would be playing tonight, Tuesday & instead we have these milquetoast Fabians on the platform murdering Conway Twitty because it's only make believe, dig? So I may as well go talk to the beautiful woman leaning against the wall. With her porcelain complexion & blackraven tresses she looks just like you-know-who from The Addams Family. Maybe I'll go mention that, chances are she's never heard it before ha ha.
The DIXONS are the first band I saw in Austin, the night we rolled into town after 2 days on the road w/ no air conditioning, & I pledged in my guts I pledged life- long devotion to this band. This is your cup of tea Darius said gravely This band PLAYS I screamed back gregariously.
I was sitting on the sidewalk when she stepped out of the car. The way she walked it made me dizzy. I've never seen a walk like that so languid & feline all fluid lassitude that slams you right upside your head Oh No I thought she walks like she's DOING IT & perfect sap that I am I snorted audibly. RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER it made me uneasy the way she walked so I made it a joke. She smiled wryly at my wealth of sophistication & proceeded inside without breaking stride. I just don't get how the DIXONS could have broken up when I paid my 3 dollar cover charge. Add that to the minimum intake of alcohol to combat these setbacks PARTICULARLY the one on stage as I write this & we're looking at 12, 15 bucks. I could do A LOT w/ 15 bucks if I'd just wake up. So I'm thinking about going over & saying Hello my name is Robin what's yours? I don't see why not. Nobody ever said making friends is easy but the alternative is suicide. Without friends I'll die, that's simple enough.
So I'm doing affirmations, psyching myself up for an introduction we're all just human beings after all nothing to be scared of she's LOOKING STRAIGHT AT ME NOW I wonder if she realizes I'm writing about her that's possible she looks mystical or oh no I hope I haven't been staring all this time I could use some social skills about now --
FUCK. I shoulda seen the LEROI BROS last night but NO I had to save everything for the DIXONS tonight. Bought new shoes & everything. All I can say is TWO HOOTS AND A HOLLER better be good or I'm gonna start acting like the way I was raised. I tried. I walked over to introduce myself but got sidetracked by the jukebox. I looked over the selections a couple dozen times & by then Two Hoots & A Holler had taken the stage so it was too late. This band roars so it looks like the night wasn't a total scrap. Strong trad roots w/ a modern flav they're not the DIXONS but they're OK.
OK guess what? ESP that's what! The blackhaired woman came over & sat at my table like NO BIG DEAL ALL CASUAL SHE JUST SWAYS OVER & SITS HERSELF DOWN. crosses her legs lights a cigarette and languid slow motions cocks an eyebrow up at me -- UP because I'm standing one leg bent back against the wall perfect Lou Reed imitation & I don't know if I should seat my- self across from her or smile disarmingly or extend my hand or even acknowledge her or if I'm still in the dream or what?
But she was cool so I stopped trying so hard & we stayed like that for a couple of songs til she raised up & drawled at me "Is this band going to do one set or two?" NO INTRODUCTIONS — NOTHING. "I don't know" I replied "I'm from the midwest" as if that explained everything. She nodded solemnly & we returned our heads to the stage. I kept sneaking looks down at her there was something so adult & tender there. I felt sentimental like I was going to start crying. All pretense escaped me & I stared openly for a minute fighting the urge to stroke her hair so on top of everything else might as well just turn into a LEZZIE! SO I HIT THE FLOOR NOW. I'm no Lezzie goddammit & danced the whole night out of my system. When I got home I took out the GUN CLUB LAS VEGAS STORY album to check out the picture of Patricia Morrison on the back because you never know. Wouldn't it be great if she was in a band?! But no I studied the photo that's not her they are two completely different people entirely. Having established that much I put the album on anyway wondering if we'll be friends I bet we could be BEST friends and then I made some coffee wondering if she drinks coffee and then
like some resurrected Gothic Femme Fatale
I undulated across the floor
mimicking her ways.
There is something exquisitely snobbish in being screwed up
Walking around in your own little world
Impervious to all in your noble isolation, virtuous.
Like going to a party and sitting in a corner by yourself
Injecting weird commentary and snickering
Searching the room surreptitiously for the one person
Who "gets it".
No one does and you leave in a snit thinking
What a bunch of fucking losers and feeling --
Oh I don't know Deliciously set apart, impenetrable.
I do this A LOT
Until it begins to feel like a waste
And then I'm all set to try another approach.
But being screwed up will always be my social skill of choice
If you take my meaning
And I think you do.
I found a bakery today on First and Stassney that makes the best Russian Tea cookies I've ever had. Three varieties a box of twelve for a dollar-fifty. I can eat a dozen and walk them off in two hours flat.
Let's see — I have tea cookies, gourmet coffee, china cups, sterling server, lace doilies, candlesticks, a box of wine, rows of books, fifteen hundred records, a window fan to cool the room and big comfortable throw pillows strewn about the floor. Everything is organized. Now all I have to do is find a man.
And this time I'll be looking for laughter and silliness. Come one come all with deviant whimsy, make the aging princess sparkle. I don't care how much money he has or how ugly he is if he can keep me in stitches like Half Japanese that will be enough, that will be everything.
I guess this means I'm looking for a nerd but I like macho dudes too. Maybe I'll get one of each. HA! And throw in a saxophone player!!!
I'll say one thing goddamn son-of-a-bitch
I'm ready to start laughing.
But you won't catch me laying around like Snow White waiting for Doctor Feelgood to give me life. First I'm going to get some happiness all by myself just to see if I can. There's Saturday morning cartoons, sitcoms, Animation Festivals, Matt Groening, poetry readings (always good for a laugh), Archie comics, Lynda Barry's new novel, toys, playgrounds, MAYPO ... lots of Regressive Aid to sink your teeth into once you know where to look. No wonder I've been so sick, laughter is MEDICINE I'm laughing more all the time I'm laughing my head off every day now I must be getting well ha --
Allright where am I? Wherever I am I'm wallowing in it. Antones right. Big Blues Fest today. I've been here two hours it cost 6 bucks & so far the big blues fest blows big chunks & it's going to last all day oh the mortification But it's for a good cause & I am happy & privileged to be here at least I'll finally get to see the Leroi Bros. I will admit I'm SICK of this transitional depressive phase & still sick to my stomach from last night where I saw 3 bands at the Cannibal Club & finally outdrank my mom & maybe Papa Hemingway for that matter.
Sat in the corner reading a psychological thriller by the glare of my hotpink Disposalite like the godforsaken ubiquitous headcase I must be under any circumstances. But you can do this in Austin. I like being in a city where the overall tone is of friendly tolerance, where you can sit at a table & be a woman by yourself & write or color & people don't automatically hold it against you.
Occasionally a stranger ambles over & asks me what I'm writing. "Outbursts" I mutter & they go "WELL! BLESS your heart!" — And casually move on as I smile to myself & hug this town. Al's band Buick MacKane was great I saw them for the first time last night they did "I'm Loose" but they'd be great even if they didn't & there aren't many bands you can say that for, just think about it. I have such a JONES ON for this cool rock lifestyle so I'm busy going to clubs every day & staying drunk all the time like Marianne Faithful did when she was my age.
Nothing quite compares to waking up still wobbly from the night before with your muted reactions slowed at halfspeed to postpone your composure from spilling like a puddle of vomit on the bathroom floor, that's what I always say.
I wish YOGA was so appealing I wish I wasn't running away from something but it's not & I am. Something happened last night. I'm sick & tired of this Congress Avenue business. I don't know if I can cope w/ it. I was inebriated last night & that's not a good time for anyone to be fucked with, true?
How goddamn ignorant can these stupidass drivers be, tailgaiting me for 10 BLOCKS & then pulling over, now that they got me all "hot" & "terrified" — "Wanna smoke a joint? Wanna party? Hey I'm TALKING to you BABE, I got money, come on, money babe ..."
What am I supposed to do w/ my bike answer me THAT, babe! I mean how stupid can they be?! They can see I'm on a bicycle for Chrissake. Sure, why not, I'll just drop it in the MIDDLE of the street, hell, it's not like I'm RIDING it or anything, might as well just throw it AWAY & go contract an incurable disease for twenty bucks which wouldn't even cover the cost of one tire.
And then, I don't know and then I found myself raving at the Pleasure Shoppe I mean this place ALWAYS has cars parked in front if it day or night the streets are empty but there's YE OLDE PLEASURE SHOPPE w/ four, five cars in the lot so I'm chasing this misogynist into the place yelling about how FORTUNATE he is to "have these 24 hour video parlors at your disposal so you can whack away to celluloid images since we both know that's as close as you'll ever get to a REAL woman" I mean RUNNING AFTER this guy scaring the begism out of him I'm scared too something's wrong what's happening waiting for the thunderbolt to stop me to say
THIS IS NOT "HELLRAISING" THIS IS INSANITY MOM INSANITY
IT'S NOT FUN I'M NOT LIKE HER I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS
I'M NOT MEANT TO ACT THIS WAY.
So I jumped on my bike, fell off, got back on & sped home, scene flashing through my mind. She tried to run a pedestrian off the road I musta been about fourteen it was a 75 Le Mans she drove it right up to the sidewalk 90 miles an hour it was green & the heater never worked Later she tried to justify it by saying he was a NIGGER & therefore a bad influence on her children She was drunk & I don't know what all just that my eyes felt like they were about to pop out of their sockets I WAS SO SCARED man I haven't thought of this in years & suddenly it's in my head like a movie & the tape loop hisses leavemealoneleavemealoneleaveme aloneleavemealone & I don't even know who I'm thinking that to. Acting like her I slammed down my bike & raced up the stairs all shaking & sobbing & locked myself inside pacing & babbling & plain fucking nuts walking walking around the apartment trying to make coffee it took forever cause I kept doing things out of sequence until I announced crisp orderly instructions into the air. "Now I am going to fill the basket w/ coffee. Oh. Wait. First I need a filter. Filter, filter, where are the filters? On top of the fridge, right. OK you've got it now, you're doing it girl, making coffee is HARD some- times but you're a good soldier & you're in control. Once this is finished I can put Lou Rawls on the record player then we'll have some Snackin' Cake & mull things over."
Mothering myself. OK THINK. Think about what you're doing. OK. I'm broke, career in the toilet, all alone in a new city, Troy's bugging me, can't get along, no job, dog's dead everything up in the air, Darius gone, car repoed, miss my friends, drinking all right I want my mother, I can't help it.
That's when I start acting like her. I should know better & I do but I don't know sometimes it just happens. When I think of MOTHER I think of HER that's what she was the model the mother & sometimes she was wonderful & I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. But she WENT WRONG & normally I can hold onto that & resist the urge to emulate her (which isn't exactly a fully conscious tendency) so yes sometimes I blow it in spades, when I'm not thinking enough.
Fine, fine, all that listens perfectly fine so now what? OK one more incident & I swear I'll seek professional help. I'm not afraid of therapeutic intervention just real tired of it.
Only 3 hours to go til the Leroi Bros have the stage. I'm tired I'm hungry I don't like any of these bands so far it all sounds like old people's music.
I don't want to see a therapist. No one can help me. Do you think I'm crazy? I don't fuckin CARE what you think cause I know I'm NOT. Talk to people, that's what Marcia would say, clucking peevishly at what she considers "false pride" & "rugged individualism." "Talk to anyone. It gets easier w/ practice you'll see. Do me a FAVOR Robin & just start talking."
She's bossy like that but I usually obey her cause she's (--> usually) my best friend. OK Marcia, there's a guy at the table next to me. Maybe I'll go talk to him. He looks like a business major. I'll ask him how much MONEY he expects to be making 5 years from now. I'll ask him if he buys ALL his clothes from Montgomery Wards & if he's aware that the shirt he's wearing is comprised of the same 3 colors that make up the ATLANTIC record label, orange green & white. I'll ask if he's making a STATEMENT wearing that shirt in honor of the record label known for signing such great "rock" bands as INXS & ALPHAVILLE. I'll ask him how many of their albums he has & if I can go home w/ him & listen to them. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do — talk to people, make "friends." I just don't know how so it's all a big practiced joke. It's just a lot easier to be a deadpan asshole & make fun of things than to admit I'm afraid to seek attention because I'm afraid I want more than I have coming to me. The Leroi Bros are taking a LONG TIME & I'm ready to
Dancing beats the shit out of making friends anyday.
Fuckin words Fuckin middle class fuckin social niceties
ALL THAT'S FOR LOSERS FUCKING RADIO LOSERS
I DON'T NEED PRECIOUS EMPTY SCINTILLATING CONVERSATION.
I DON'T NEED FUCKING ANYTHING EXCEPT
MORE CONTEMPT PLEASE OK I NEED FULFILLMENT New Age FULFILLMENT
A FULL POCKETBOOK
A FULL STOMACH
A FULL BODY MASSAGE!!
MAYBE I'LL FIND WHAT I NEED
WHEN I LOOK INTO A PAIR OF EYES
THAT SAY I NEED
UNTIL THEN, RIOT.
Well lookit this. Fucking Leroi Bros never showed up
]NEEDLESS to say. It's 2am BARS CLOSED &
THEYRE NOT HERE, ZIP. DONT ASK ME. EVERYONE'S
SO IRRESPONSIBLE. OUT OF TOUCH WITH THEIR CENTER...
YOU CANT DEPEND ON FUCKIN ANYTHING.
THEYRE PROBABLY NOT EVEN RELATED TO EACH OTHER.
I've been here all day & I'm not leaving til I'm done. My hand feels like it's going to FALL OFF I KNEW I SHOULDA SAVED MY $ FOR THE TONE LOC. I BET THEY SHOWED UP TONIGHT. WASTING MY TIME WRITING A STORY THIS STORY REEKS I KNOW EVERYONE AROUND HERE IS GONNA HATE ME. PROBABLY PLOTTING AGAINST ME ALREADY. Who does she think she is? I think I'm SPECIAL that's what! Throwing my life RIGHT down the crapper. No future. Can't even afford a SELFHELP book & even those are against me now. Better start saving my $ and learn some discipline. Maybe I JUST HAVENT BEEN BEATEN ENOUGH. Fuckin MOTHERLESS CHILD. I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY. ABORTION SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR CERTAIN WOMEN WITHOUT SOCIAL SKILLS. ALIENATION? Fuck off pal I'm a CARRIER. Fucking Congress Avenue. LEVEL IT, YOU WANT MY ADVICE. THINGS TO DO: Find my father forgive my mama erase big brothers help my sister KIDNAP my niece make up with Jeff Be the tit of the Universe. TAKE EVERYTHING AND DROP IT INTO THE ACID VAT. We can start with Classic Fucking Rock. Radio is standing tall again bang a gong. Kids these days. BAD MOOD RISING. WRITE IT DOWN SHOW THE WORLD YOU GODDAMN RIGHT I WILL SICK SICK OF MY FEELINGS. Or "FEELINGS" AS HE WOULD SAY. I AM JUST SO "ROMANTIC" ABOUT THE BLUES. SURE " DARIUS" ANYTHING YOU SAY "DARIUS" UNCONVINCING PORTRAYALS OF A "WRETCHED" INNER LIFE" "TRYING" TO "CONVINCE" US SHE'S "DRUNK" "AGAIN" Note the proliferating quotations marks. Trying to prove she's given to "excess." Here comes the "hacking" cough. Trying to convince us she's another Jean Rhys. Now she had the right idea. Turn this whole lousy town into RED ANTS.
TO TELL THE TRUTH THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAVE REACHED OUT A BIT AND SEEM LIKE THEY COULD BE MY FRIENDS. BUT I'M JUST FUCKED UP AND ALOOF. I AM MAD AT EVERYONE IN THIS CITY FOR NOT BEING MY FRIENDS FROM OHIO. IT WILL WORK ITSELF OUT. BUT FOR NOW I AM BUSY MISSING MY LOVED ONES ...
("NOT NOW I'M BUSY")
Today I am missing the tough kids I used to sit on benches with. I'm missing fifteen year old girls in black tights, mini-skirts and raccoon eyeliner Boys on painted skateboards in tattered RAPEMAN tee-shirts.
People half my age are my friends of choice because with them you can be open and affectionate and wide-eyed and misfit and expressive and questing and loud and stupid and snotty and authentic and achingly self-conscious Because the IMAGE hasn't yet got them by the throat And best of all you don't need to fill up the lovely empty spaces with empty frightened chatter.
I've been losing all track of time I woke up today and my clock said 5:00 and I didn't know if that meant A.M or P.M and I like that. Not knowing what day of, The week it is and not caring and not feeling there's a gun to my head every time I open my damn microphone.
It's like being a little kid again. Getting drunk before noon walking down the street singing songs to myself collecting quarters in a jug for "food money" when the last twelve years I've been so serious and A responsible program director of two radio stations and the last five years a cult following that grew too loyal and obstreperous for the general manager to abide so he fired me and now I'm in Austin Texas shedding my precious fucking career aspirations and it's heady and fun like breaking out of a cocoon not knowing if you can fly --
Thinking these happy thoughts on the way home from the store, even said "hello" to my next door neighbor things are looking up and when I enter my "abode" I see there is a message flashing on my answering machine. It's Jeff. The message is so sweet I hit the "save" button so I can play it back next time I start thinking I've had it with him once and for all.
I called him back he has a cold our talk was vague and tentative our talk was good he got a job running a porno shop and I asked what makes you want to work in a place like that and he got all embarrassed and finally said that it's somehow related to his desire to work in a slaughterhouse. The shop is managed by a woman and he makes five-fifty an hour.
After we said our good-byes I spent a long minute staring at the blank wall over the kitchen sink as if it could tell me what my life would be like without Jeff in it.
i saw memories today tumbling speeded up like when you shuffle a deck of cards it was like fifty images no sequence just flashes it lasts about three minutes and then it stops til the next time when it's a new deck I'm in all the pictures i can see everything in exact detail but i still don't have any feelings about any of it lucky me i feel bad for wanting to write about it i am ashamed for just thinking about it why can't i let sleeping dogs lie i have been walking around in shame even though none of it was my fault i don't think if being a writer means opening up these channels then maybe i should be doing something else as if i could
kneeling between ricks legs him slapping my face back and forth back and forth mom pulling my head up from under the faucet slamming my head now against the bathroom wall screaming no running water after ten o'clock me naked standing over ricks face spreading my labia as he beats off babbling "cunt pussy whore stink" etc seven years old lots of hiding under tables and beds cutting myself it seemed like the thing to do shredded draperies fourhundred dollar brand new drapes hanging in jagged strips because someone broke into the house someone was always breaking into the house and doing that stuff she never called the police because SHE was doing it me throwing a kitten against the window screen age twelve wanting to hurt it not knowing why gunbullets flying through the picture window mom yelling hit the floor and we crawl around like that until they stop speeding cars heroin sessions hospitals pacing someone in the room always pacing back and forth sometimes me but usually rick mom kneeling in front of me with a butcher knife begging me to kill myself like I was killing her fucking our german shepherd rickrickrick i saw that age nine letting my hair grow into a massive tangled knot age sixteen i refused to cut it she fixed that me and mom at the emergency room trying to convince the doctor i fell, mom shows no remorse but babbles to herself all the way home mindtricks witchcraft black magic deprivation training because "pain makes you strong little girl" rituals constant mindfucking rituals afterwards ild have to tell her what i learned from them she'd come home after two in the morning wake me up and we'd count the towels together she'd beat me with a broomstick because there were never enough coming home from school and seeing UNFIT MOTHER chalked on the sidewalk in big white letters so we'd throw garbage in all the neighbors yards the boys would light fires rick would light himself on fire sometimes cops breaking into the house at all hours beating my brothers we fought back it made us closer in car with bestdad he pulls onto shoulder moves next to me and wordlessly pops the whiteheads on my arms and legs then resumes driving rick always in the hospital in restraints rick in prison for life sexparties sexshows sexsexsexsex even the gooddads coming after me mom jealous not protective jealous accusing me age eight age nine age ten etc sexsexsex mom not protective not safe not good but sometimes with her index finger she'd trace idle invisible circles on the back of my hand over and over we'd look into each others eyes and i knew i could tell that she KNEW in that odd moment drawing concentric circles on my hand it gave me lots to think about like why doesn't she stop maybe she C A N T S T O P in other words i'm fucked no no i'll make her stop i'll be good
RECORDS THAT ARE HELPING IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY: The Restless Stranger Engine CALIFORNIA
All three are by THE AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB
PLEASE BUY THEM ALL SO THE BAND NEVER BREAKS UP.
I hate to be a grouch but the misogyny in my neighborhood is wrecking everything. Wearing slips doesn't help, it makes things worse. Imagine that.
I've worn slips to biker bars and hillbilly hangouts and it was rarely an issue. The men would give me a wide berth when they'd see me coming like they thought something was wrong which was fine with me.
But it's not the same here it's scary. Last week a cab driver followed me home, yelling all the way. I wouldn't answer him he was getting angry I was getting scared. Like my appearance is some sort of invitation, like it would never enter his head that he was being mocked.
Am I CAUSING all this? Is that the point? When did that start? And so what if it IS, it's still no excuse for their behavior. But I'm fucked up. I need to talk to a woman who is real smart and can see this better than me. Not some New York extremist, but a down to earth midwestern girl like my friend Elana she is angry and wise and vulnerable and wears slips all the time but now she moved to Boston I wonder how she's faring there.
Popular wisdom says if you have a certain thought process about an event you cause it to happen, like if you think you'll never have enough money then you never will. "Like attracts like" and all that New Age dreck.
Still, it gives me pause I don't know maybe I'll hang up the slips for good I hate to give in to these fuckers but they're turning it into something I want no part of. Besides it's getting colder around here. If I keep wearing the slips that would be stupid, I'm not going to play into anybody's hands.
Talk about stupid-following-insisting-cajoling-bribing-pleading-insulting it does not do my heart good to see men reduce themselves to this. They have an obsession with women and it's not nice or pretty. It's evil and insane and totally out of control.
Somehow I have become obsessed with making this visible. Typical woman, reacting to their contortions by contorting myself. Well fuck maybe I should become a performance artist like Karen Finley and people can pay money to see me shove sweet potatos up my ass and that will solve everything.
All I know is it didn't start out this way. Five years ago I began wearing slips because they were cheap and sexy and comfortable and attractive. They give me an hourglass figure. All the boys I knew were nice about it.
Now it's turned into something else.
Now I'm getting nothing but shit.
It makes me want to wear them more.
I just woke up to the Texas sun shining on my face the weather is great here larger than life & when it rains palm trees bend in the wind like Gilligan's Island. Been in Austin one month today everythings fine no complaints but for sexism & the radio but that's bad everywhere & I still haven't made any friends but at least nobody's jumped me or anything. It sounds dopey but I can feel my meanstreak shrivelling up already. Old & tired it wants to take a break the sun will burn it up I'm going to be SOFT like I was meant to be I'm going to be a GIRL I can feel it happening I am just bubbling over w/ sparkling effervescence I am so proud & ladylike — Now I'm off to Zilker Park where Bonnie Raitt is putting on a free concert.
I just got back from Zilker Park where Bonnie Raitt put on a free concert. The FIRST thing there is a uniformed officer running his hands up & down your body checking for guns. When it's my turn I hit him w/ my purse & kicked him in the knee. I don't care! He was GRINNING smarmy good ole boy getting his jollies I didn't like his attitude I didn't like the way he TOUCHED ME & I wasn't going to pretend otherwise. Goddamfuck I HATE being touched like that it's GROSS & CONTEMPTUOUS. I don't care if I seem crazy or extreme it's time for me to be whatever the hell I am No more tears on my pillow bullshit it's time to start ENFORCING a few RULES around here & the FIRST thing I mean to get straight between me & the world if I have to BUST ASS to do so is NO ONE GODDAMN LAYS A HAND ON ME WITHOUT MY EXPRESSION FUCKING PERMISSION. NO EXCEPTIONS.
I had fun though seeing Bonnie Raitt is a major thrilltime ever since I was a kid she's been the reigning rock goddess so nothing could spoil this day. When I was in 10th grade I walked 3 miles to the newsstand in a Minnesota blizzard because the deejay said Oh look, Bonnie Raitt is on the cover of this week's Rolling Stone. When I got back home I made Cappuccino & played her albums while committing the interview
Before today I saw B. R. perform once at the Caboose in Minneapolis. She was about 24 years old & tender & uncertain, her voice very pretty & high & so was she. Today she is straight, you can tell she's been through things her voice low & rough. She was much hardened & commanding well into her Bad-ass-guitar-mama-who-brooks-no-backtalk- from-the-boys-in-the-band-but-underneath-it-all-I'm-just-a-mother-hen persona & you have to respect that at least I do. Thankfully she's not calling herself a "SURVIVOR" like Cher or Jane Fonda. And you know she's got more reason to, but she's too cool for that hyperbolic bullshit.
I liked how she kept breaking into Chuck Berry riffs between songs as if she wanted to play her guitar but abruptly stopped herself in the ah, Nick of Time & everything was kept nice & smooth & pretty not one hair out of place. That's how it was. I kept telling myself today's Bonnie Raitt isn't "bad" just "different" which I find myself saying all the time when I see teen idols like Iggy & now Bonnie. I was glad when it ended & I reckon I'll see her play again someday when I've matured a bit myself.
As for my fair share of abuse of course I got it I'm a magnet for redneck shitkicking around here like they've never seen a woman in a princess gown dark glasses & tennis shoes before hey if they want to act like they grew up on a Kentucky hog farm that's not my problem dude.
But I was highly pleased w/ myself for incurring no injuries while riding my bicycle DECKED OUT in a GET UP such as this. Of course every mean person has to make it their business because they can't COPE they plainly can't DEAL WITH seeing a grown female who is STUCK ON HERSELF & LIKES IT — "Why are you dressed like that are you getting married aren't you hot where's your husband?"
This other grown female walks over & GRABS a handful of material demanding to know if I'm "uncomfortable." She keeps on, totally in my face "come on, you must be HOT." She's waiting. I don't know what she wants from me or how to reply I'm feeling defenseless & stubborn so I shrug & smile trying to be gracious. "YOU'VE GOT TO BE BURNING UP IT'S OVER A HUNDRED DEGREES!" Finally I say "I feel fine." Her jaw drops undisguised mean-ness on her face now looking at me like I'm some newly discovered bacteria & I turn back to Bonnie feeling like a FREAK starting to cry godfuckdamnfruckit feeling ASHAMED to call myself an American, land of the kinder, gentler people. Nervous nosey uncouth women & all men have a "potency" problem. Fucking assholes. I want my meanstreak back. Overfamiliar, probing, fucked up facial expressions, uninvited HANDS marauding what doesn't belong to them & never fucking will. If Americans must be so hellbent on "relating" if we're all just plain folks then why not live & let live? Smile first, use some restraint? Because Americans are about as friendly as a fucking wolfpack & you, the happy go lucky eccentric are the favorite meal. Nonconformists are automatically marked for public consumption. You better be strong.
She wasn't about to let me be special in this wondrous "melting pot" sashaying around like a princess under the hot Texas sun not if she had anything to say about it which of course she presumed she did. And I'm looking at her over my shoulder this nasty woman — I have to understand. She's dressed kind of wacky herself, long hair loose, wearing sunglasses w/ mirrored shades dancing. Oh I get it, a PARTY ANIMAL.
She looks like an aging band slut so I figure seeing me makes her mad automatically maybe I'm going all the way w/ what she could be doing. People are like this. At the least it has possibilities. What does it matter? Isn't it telling though how the people who are the ugliest toward non-coms are themselves non-conformists? Well I don't want that role. I'm no freelance psychological informant I don't want to be anybody's conscience. Do I look like Ayn Rand? Fuck. I just want to be myself & get along in peace. Yeah I'm whining now bitching & moaning & LYING too. Cause I do the same DAMN thing myself when I come across a woman my age who looks tired and worndown. I think That's What Marriage Does To Them frowning with grim satisfaction.
We always have to
make the grade
curry daddys favor
It's all patriarchal nuclear family bullshit
ruthless homogenous inelegance
& we're all STUCK in it. pleased to meetcha.
MESSAGE TO THE YOUTH OF AMERICA
KIDS THESE DAYS. It eludes me how they can tamely swallow whatever rubbish is being shoved down their throats. Classic Rock has got everyone so screwed up we don't know what relevance means anymore.
In the olden days we'd spit it right back in their faces. It was called Youth Culture and it was a real thing because it lived inside you. Turn off your radio plug in your guitar and turn up the spite. D.I.Y. Those were the days radio pretends never existed and now the kids have to start from scratch as usual. You start by paying closer attention to the world around you. If you're a kid who doesn't feel good ask a question. This engages your critical faculties which leads to thinking which leads to forming opinions. Most of them will be WRONG at first but say them anyway and learn by interacting. You'll be riddled with contradictions but you already ARE so put them on the table.
When every sentence seems to contradict the one that came before it you can rest assured you're on the road to wisdom, you're doing fine, you have to go through all this crap before you get there, the main thing is to stay awake.
You don't have to know everything and you never will. So come clean and be Curious. Resent the fuck out of anyone who talks down to you in a pitiful attempt to convince themselves of something they assuredly know nothing about. Tell them Robin said so. People do that as an outgrowth of their politics. Study politics, they're all over the place.
If you do only ONE thing for the purpose of development I suggest you pay close attention to the opposite sex. Pretend you ARE the other sex A LOT and see if that doesn't make you more complete.
Listen to your feelings, they always know when something's not right. If you want to be alive it means you're going to have to give voice to so-called "negative" feelings. You can't have just happy nice positive emotions — if you do you're just another pallid zombie stuck on automatic.
People are afraid of disenchantment because they're afraid it leads to mayhem. Where do you think we ever got this idea? Disenchantment is what caused Abolition, the Civil Rights movement, the Women's revolution, Workers Unions, Rock &Roll ... And still we all have this inbred fear about getting angry. I worry about it ALL THE TIME! I'm so afraid of blowing somebody's brains out that I'm counting on fear to keep me in line. That's not to say I don't have impulses and a lot of straightening out to do. But venting the spleen is a human need. What are you going to do with your frustration? I'll say one thing, a little disclosure goes a long way. People who sit on their frustrations tend to run amok. Come now, it's always the nice well adjusted camp counselor that blows away the shopping mall. This Jekyl and Hyde phenomenon is a result of living in a society that forces a division between the public and private sectors, which is something you can learn all about if you'd read more fortune cookies. Might as well, I mean it's fucking EVERYWHERE.
It feels good to get mad. Anger is what happens the moment you realize it's not your fault. Anger is already THERE, but if you're like most of us it comes out all screwy and confused and most-likely against yourself and the people you love best. Anger is good for you; misdirecting it isn't. You know all this. You may not realize it, feelings don't use words, you can't articulate them or anything neat. This is no reason to mistrust them, your feelings know what's going on a hell of a lot more than your ideas do.
You don't need words. Your feelings are above all that, they make themselves known. It takes some discipline. You need a little peace and quiet. You need an attention span. You need to see the Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra. Honestly, the world is filled with things that will help you feel. You'll find a way.
And then you can find out who's wrecking you and then you can spit in His face, and save your positive regard for the people and things that matter in your life. I am afraid of people who aren't angry. I think they're lying and it makes me nervous when people lie all the time. Anger is a given, look at babies. They're always enraged about this or that until it's beaten out of them.
But it doesn't go away. It just smolders underground until we grow big and it's our time to take out on others what has been done to us.
It begins to erupt in crazy ways like kicking the dog or smacking the wife. If you're too gentle for this you may hit yourself in the head by becoming an alcoholic and all kinds of clever things.
All this seems bad and bitter and worthless so we don't talk about it. We don't fancy for our neighbors to know what we are capable of. As if it didn't show. Not talking about problems is the main reason we have them. One very good reason we don't talk about stuff is because at bottom we're ridiculously suggestible and can adapt to just about anything so we erect barriers to keep others out Keep the stinking garbage out I'm all for that but we don't need to be fanatics about it.
I walked around in chaos for years I never talked to anyone about anything. It was rough. I'll never break out of it to my satisfaction. Social skills? Never had 'em, never will. It didn't have to be this way. Midtwenties things got better when I discovered punk rock. If it would have been around when I was fourteen I'd have done a lot of things a lot differently. So find your music where anger is out in the open where being bored and disenchanted is acceptable you're not the only one you're normal.
Radio is a big fat unconscionable corporate disaster run by fake hipster bearded suburbanite shrewd cynical neo-Nazi weasels who are perfectly aware of how powerful music can be. They play dead music to keep you dead they do it on purpose because they like you that way. Where was I? I'm drunk. That's alright this is my Manifesto HA! Men with MUSTACHES. Don't get me started. But this punk rock thing, now that was just the tool I needed to make me embrace my rage so I could finally begin to HARNESS it. This is not gobbledygook. This is paradox. Most true things are not what they seem. The parts of yourself that you try to ignore will absolutely rule you until they have their say. Don't ask me why people are put together this way but I'm fairly certain we are.
Almost all decent people crush their anger to be nice and civilized and AFFABLE, not comprehending that if you repress one feeling you kill them ALL,, and there are so few people who will make this clear to us. Of course women tend to know this instinctively but who the hell ever listens to what a woman has to say. Better to take your lessons from a moo-cow than to get caught listening to a woman.
KILL THEM ALL! I'm talking emotions not women you ass-hole. Kill them all if you kill anger there goes your passion and joy and L O V E, nothing left but a loss of ability to feel anything and a yearning to know what it means to feel. So I ask you how do you feel this minute? If you feel overwhelmed or restless then skip ahead you don't have to read this you can stop punishing yourself any time you want. Are you annoyed by my lecturing tone? GOOD! You deserve it. The whole world deserves my scorn. I'm not about to snuff it for you or anyone else! I'm not trying to be facetious. I'm trying to show off. By now you should be thinking I'm brilliant and adorable but if you don't IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM! HA!! There are PLENTY of people to go around. One of them is bound to like me.
But be careful now. When you begin to let your feelings matter you will feel more pain and sorrow and resentment in your life. A lot of things will bug you. Things that already bug you, that you are trying to block out. Let it come, a little pain won't kill you. It will probably make you all the more interesting to be around. Pain is an inescapable fact of your existence, once you permit that you can stop pretending and let yourself be human. Pain doesn't have to rule, it's just another piece in the tapestry. When you're in pain there's a reason for it. The pain is telling you you're not getting what you need. So change, or make some demands, try something else or smash a few plates. Don't ignore your pain or anger or depression dadblastit. These so-called "negative" feelings are the very source of change and growth. These feelings ROCK THE BOAT which is one reason they're discredited. People who are able to get angry aren't likely to operate from a Slave Mentality. I'm not saying you have to Change The World, I'm saying you don't have to take it lying down. Be careful now, no kidding. When you begin to get angry you'll walk around in it with no relief in sight. You are mad about everything all the time you are now the dreaded psycho. It will pass. Emptying the reservoir, that's all you're doing. Remember this poison has been stuck inside for so long that when it starts to force itself out (AS IT WILL EVENTUALLY, IN SOME FORM), it can be like unleashing a hurricane. Look it in the eye, know you're angry, know why, and you be in charge. You need to realize that you already are.
People who storm around in a perpetual snit and never get beyond it can be a ROYAL PAIN IN THE BUTT. Try to remember they always have their reasons. When it gets this bad they are probably addicted and probably ought to see a counselor and do some physical exercise.
Meanwhile you could be kind, could be BRAVE even and ask them what's going on. Don't expect a straight answer there's too much on their mind to make sense. That's ok, you'll learn a lot anyway by letTing them talk it out. Do this for yourself, not to be Florence Nightengale, but for YOU so you can learn something about how the world affects people and because when you give comfort to someone you are automatically comforted too. At the very least never call them crazy and try not to shun them or their behavior will worsen. Trust me on this one.
Now what are you waiting for?
You think this is a dress rehearsal?
What are you saving yourself for? It's your life doggone it, how does it feel? Everything fine, hunky dory? No questions here? Have you turned on the radio lately? What do you make of this Classic Rock business? Can I borrow your Seals and Crofts albums, mine are all worn out! Why do you accept this? The airwaves BELONG to you. What do the fucking DOOBIE Bros have to do with your life? "Doobie" -- do you know what that signifies? Reeferjane. What the hell does the worst era in rock-n-roll have to offer a sixteen year old in 1989?
If there has to be Classic Rock the least they could do is throw in a little Tim Buckley Sly Stone Emmylou Harris Tom Waits; I grew up on 70s radio and this is what it was like, freeform and not half bad. And why not represent those other 70s classics: Patti Smith Velvet Underground Ramones Iggy Pop ... Oh I forgot no one's ever heard of those bands. Radio can't fucking get it right because there's no reason to get it right. Radio programmers are rewriting history and they're getting away with it.
And this "modern rock" atrocity. Skip it. Absolutely beneath your contempt. College radio? Wimps.
Public radio? Yuppies of the worst order pretentious poetry hours thoroughly appalling bohemian types in designer threads.
If you're a kid you've got good reason to get mad. Set an example for the old farts. Be a teenager, be a punk, be a bitch, be a kid goddammit, undefeated, pissed off. Find out what's important and relevant and stick to it. Know when the wool is being pulled over your eyes and why. Ask questions but fuck the answer fuck Bono remember it's all paradox there is an equal and opposing argument for every stance because there are billions of words and words are not the thing. Don't look to anyone for the truth the best anyone can manage is a small chunk on a good day. None of us knows what the fuck we're talking about EVER It's all paradox!!! And that's one too!!! HA HA HA!!!!!!!! The only thing you can be sure of is that your mind is a HOTBED of illusion. THIS IS NOT MY DIARY AND I AM NOT DEEP! You are DELUDED! Who isn't? So ... why not be kind to yourself and make your illusions deliberate and F U N? Pretend you're a MERMAID for a day, instead of pretending "IF I SUFFER ENOUGH I'LL PLEASE THE LORD AND GO TO HEAVEN"? Or worse: Now I've got everything all figured out.
You still think life is supposed to make sense?! I'm truly sorry.
Are you in love? You DOPE! Your psycho-spiritual-sensual-celestial-twinflame-romance of the century is based on the pure cold economics of the marketplace, how do you like them apples!!!??! At least feminists are honest about it god bless em. Honest, but as misguided as the rest of us. EQUALITY. Fuckin weirdos. You want equality? Get yourself a full length mirror. So, pray, what's the answer? YOU FIGURE IT OUT! Remember there are NO heroes, NO goddesses, NO gurus, NO rescuers, NO paradigms of adjustment!!! So what does that leave us? We don't seem to have much we can count on. Maybe two things:
a militant self-respect.
Write "Ellavon" at email@example.com.
Released: July 20, 1998