Category Archives: Featured

This is me barfing all over your feed.

Hot steel is a steep contrast against the chilly spring sunset. Breaking speed laws helped me get out of the city in less than twenty minutes but it also overheated the capabilities of my 250cc engine. The dealership told me I wouldn’t hit a hundred so I’m always trying to prove them wrong. It’s a sore spot, I guess. People telling me I can’t do something. People or, whatever, myself I guess.

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I pull off the road and kill the engine. The trailhead is a mile up this stretch of desert but I’m not going to risk my tires on these jagged rocks. I lock my helmet under my seat, retrieve my girlfriend’s camera, and shoulder my backpack before heading out. (I spent about ten minutes considering that oxford comma).

A trip like this isn’t for the hike. It isn’t for the instagram filters or the soul searching. A trip like this is because your gut is in knots and you’ve got frustration burning the skin off the tips of your fingers. A trip like this is spent hunched over like Golum with a notepad and pencil in your hand consuming blank spaces like you’re getting paid for it.

But you’re not. Well, I don’t know if you are; I’m not. And fuck me for trying.

I don’t fit in here. Hikers pass me by in neon things. Shorts, jackets, shoes. Bright things. I wade between them like a fly among flowers. Buzzing along in a leather jacket and jeans and the kind of haircut that looks less like a haircut and more like a mistake.

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The terrain is dead. Twisted branches gnarled into arthritic fists clenched at the heavens for their fate. Is the desert a reflection of my insides or my insides a reflection of the desert?

Because I’m fucking lost. I’m the little monkey on your child’s mobile running in circles. What do I do – write? Writing like this and hoping it’s going to turn into something of a life? I can’t. What then? College? I should’ve gone. I should’ve bent at the knees and let societal standards fuck me in the ass for four years so I could get a piece of paper that could get me a better job. What job though? Every notch on this retail ladder I’ve climbed has only bored me more. Mechanic, maybe. Work on bikes only. I could do that. Grease stains and loud music. Just enough money to live but not enough to ever quit. But the words – the fucking words.

In my head. In my chest. In my fingers, throbbing, wringing, aching, stinging, breaking, bringing frustrating rhythms to my brain and spilling flame like gasoline’s in them, words filled to the brim with the will to just give in and type, or write till the pencil tip splits and resigns or till I’m reminded of my drive to survive, why I’m designed to comply to the lines in my mind every lie, every sigh, every moment in life that I’ve questioned these words they’ve come back twice as bright, twice as mighty but twice as likely to deny my plight, well I’m pleading tonight with my knees to my eyes will the need to write finally cease or realize that a life full of words is still meaningless… right?

Stop. Clear my mind. I’ve reached the peak of the trail and the sun’s dropping behind the mountains. Those ageless giants. Up here silence is so fruitful it becomes company.

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On my way back down a woman says something to me. I look up and see a group of people (I don’t remember how many – at least four) led by a blond woman with a bob-cut and wearing neon sneakers.

“What?” I ask her.

“There’s deer.” She’s pointing to a hill adjacent to the trail. She must’ve seen my camera and thought I cared.

“Oh,” I say. “Thank you.”

I guess I did care because I crossed over the desert and took a couple of pictures (I’m not going to post them here because in black and white deer just look like more rocks and dead plants) and when I left I didn’t mention the deer to anybody else I ran into. A silent cheer of victory. Senseless pride jacking off to the notion that I saw something other people wouldn’t. That miniscule rise of joy grown from independence and discovery that, ironically, I wouldn’t have discovered without someone else.

I want things but I don’t know what they are. Travel. Writing. Riding. Nail-biting adrenaline or hiding under tents and finding undiscovered lands with my girlfriend in the stands cheering me on or holding my hand. I just get stuck in the rhythms and the words are easy ways to navigate through them. I feel the empty space and I just want to fill it up with sentences and paragraphs. But I lose focus. I need that – focus. A place to pinpoint all this energy.

All I want to do is ride into new places with my laptop and a camera and make art. The fuck kind of abstract idea is that? I don’t know. I guess I’ll go write about it.

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Remembering the canyons

Clear winter afternoons remind me of my mother. We used to go for hikes in the canyons and she’d be bundled up under a red hat and a scarf and a jean jacket. The image is burned in my brain. You’ll never find a woman like my mother, the way she smiled. Her blue eyes judgeless and wrinkled at the edges because she’s been smiling her whole life. The kind of woman whose skin tells stories. Sun spots and scars. She conceived my brother under summer skies after hiking the Camino De Santiago for an entire day. She gave birth to me in her own apartment. Raised us both as a single mother and pioneered a theatre troupe while freelancing as a communication therapist. We used to travel to Bordeaux by the overnight train and took a ferry to Soulac-sur-Mer to visit my grandparents. The saltwater prickled in my nose while I stood against the metal railing overlooking the ocean. My grandparents had spare bikes for us in their garage and the clearest memory I’ll ever have is the smell of sand and ocean in that muggy storage chamber. Later they’d remodel it into a sunroom, but it doesn’t matter because the garage will always exist in my head. We always biked, my mother and brother and I. Always, everywhere. The three of us experienced a lot together. I love them both enough to make my throat feel like it’s closing in on itself.

We moved to America and we branched out. Language will change people. My brother moved out of state and my mother moved out of the country and I’m still here, sorting through fragmented experiences because the canyons crowd me with them. Towards the end I was with either one or the other, but we were always in the canyons. In a way, every red rock clasped to the soles of my shoes tied the three of us together. It’s going to be hard to leave this place.

photo credit: KOLCHphotography

Moving and accomplishing

My brother and I used to wake up at 5AM or something. Early as hell – before the sun’d risen. He’d come into my room and wake me up and tell me it’s time. I’d get dressed and he’d pack our backpacks. A water bottle each, granola bars or trail mix, and a gatorade. Yellow. Always yellow. He’d be smiling, even though the night before he’d been up since 2 doing homework. He’s never needed much sleep. Too busy moving and accomplishing. When I was ready we’d carry our bicycles down the steps of our apartment and set out. The clicking of gears adjusting and the chain ringing over the sprockets. The cool early morning air crisp against my cheeks. A few birds chirping. I’ll never forget that. We’d bike through the city, uphill, drifting between traffic and hopping up and down sidewalks. Couple of punk ass kids in jeans going harder than the cyclists in their spandex and aerodynamic helmets. We’d get to Red Rock by sunup, sit down and munch on our granola bars. Then we’d climb. Up and up and up. Sometimes we didn’t make it to the top, it didn’t matter. The journey – never the ending. But when we’d reach the top it felt good. Saw eagles and our tiny bicycles in the distance. Talking about our dad and our future. Laughter. Sometimes somber understanding. Sometimes just silence. The way back was bliss because it was all downhill and we’d stop by a mcdonalds or a pizza place and carb the fuck up. We’d get home and my legs would feel like jelly. Most of the time I could take a nap, but not my brother. He’d be leaving for work or to meet with his girl or doing more homework. Too busy moving and accomplishing.

Anything

If I was never anything,
I’d be the shiver on your skin
As you dipped your fingers in
This river of emotion
Moating circles in the depths
Of your decisions.

If I was never anything,
I’d be the ridges of your strings,
Tied to the edges of your pretty things,
Wrapped up together
Fated to be packed up
Forever.

If I was never anything,
I’d be the flat side of a kitchen blade
Slipped into your ribs to restrict the ache
That gripped your differences
As your lips spoke of distances
Dyed in blood colors and hate.

But I will always be
anything
You ever need.
And so the kitchen blade
is obsolete.