Saturday, July 30, 2011


untitled by Mel Ruiz Morena

it's times like these i watch movies. one , two a night.

i can't think - i don't have a thought in me.

can't read. am not happy or sad or anything very much one way or another.

and usually , i have very little to say.


- a single man
- harry potter and the deathly hallows pt 2
- an education
- easy a
- friends with benefits
- genius within: the inner life of glenn gould
- get low
- captain america
- monsters
- bad teacher
- morning glory
- paranormal activity 2
- the troll hunter
- sucker punch
- wonder boya
- unforgiven
- the wrestler
- uncle boonmee who can recall his past lives

and now.
i'm going to watch another.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Europe, it's time we had a chat...

glam canyon

it occurs to me, i'm going to be in europe for some months. soon. this is exciting, i've been wanting an opportunity to live in europe for ages.

most responsible people would start to prepare for their european adventures by saving. this is important because the Hague (den Haag if you want to be culturally snobby) is a notoriously expensive place to live. accommodation is expensive, food is expensive, life is expensive. ___i decided it made more sense to begin preparing for europe by purchasing a kick-ass psuedo-briefcase from a little known leather maker because it was awesome and if there's one thing i need more of in my life it's exactly that: awesome. (i'm not going to say anymore about the briefcase because i don't want to steal too much more of Ash's thunder - but if you need to appropriate someone's style, it really out to be Ashley's). (i will say:



(1) not riding bikes, g'dammit i hate bikes

(2) feeling short

(3) growing one of those amazing uber-kool beards but with an even more kool Hezbollah twist cause i've got those middle east genes that make everything look totally war-on-terror

(4) meeting strange new people and raiding their itunes for strange new music made by people i've never heard of while arguing about John Locke over coffee and thrift-store shopping that turns into impromptu flower picking kissing showering before falling asleep in a different city that's only 20 minutes away by train

(5) rolling my pants up even higher

(6) refashioning myself into a newer betterer q

(7) sitting alone in a darkened room listening to contemplative music and drinking tea to celebrate my birthday

(8) kissing every girl with a beautiful accent. not really. GF would kill me. so: thinking about kissing every girl with a beautiful accent

(9) dancing around in my underwear in my little overpriced living space listening to Beirut on my headphones fantasizing about never going back (ever) (ever) (ever) (EVER)

(10) writing

(11) buying more cool stuff than i can afford (i'm looking at you Filippa K)

(12) getting depressed for reasons i don't understand but i manage it everywhere i go so i've stopped demanding reasons

(13) hopefully ending up naked in natural salt water boiling baths in towns i can't spell or pronounce the names of with people i met the day before when i caught the wrong bus and got lost

(14) frequently straddling the : i'm disappointed in you vs i'm liberating myself divide

(15) walking in snow and listening to the crunch it makes underfoot ; delighting with each step the way you do when you crush autumn leaves

(16) probably none of the above because i'll be working 17 hours a day to put genocidists behind bars and that's kinda important to me. and by 'kinda' i mean it's worth it to me enough to work 17 hours a day for

what is this

untitled by helen korpak

what?___what is this?
i'm thankful when no one answers ,
when no one comes.

i wake at 5 it's still dark. i think it's raining but soon understand the neighbour's left his garden fountain on through the night.
a few hours later i wake again , find myself half on the couch in grey socks and black midway briefs , a grey tshirt and a
long cardigan still draped around me.
i leave a note but don't leave. i fold the blanket i borrowed and sit back on the couch staring at myself in the television. ___listen to the fountain.


sometimes, when Ashtree drives past Santa Monica and Pontius she sends me photos of the dusty starbucks on the corner.
___there's a hidden world on that corner it's important i don't forget , she sees to it i don't.
__you need your friends to remind you of magic and shooting stars and first kisses.

when i get to the corner i'm a little sweaty and the roads are so busy and noisy i step inside without considering it sentimentally ;
so it hits me hard.

i actually get nervous.___ start staring around wildly swimming across the channel between us
my hand shakes a little but i order easily enough.
___sit outside and think about the days i would arrive here at 4am and open the doors and turn on the lights. _with Carla. _she had a little son she did the morning shift and still had time to take care of him throughout the day. she went to community college in her spare time. she joked with me before the sun came up , i admired her immeasurably as that breed of woman that amazes you with its strength and joy and the immensity of its power. ___(in broken man-glish i once attempted to tell her.


by 5pm i've had a moderate size panic attack regarding just about every thing that's worth having a panic attack about.

employment. relationship. family. finances. friends. health. prestige. impending galactic obliteration. ___failure.


i watch an education and resolve to devote my life to chamber music concerts and framed 19th century maps and leather interiored sports cars and young, witty girls with delicious shoulders i must kiss incessantly as they lean into me trying to find my lips.

it's one hundred thousand degrees in the valley. it's always dusty so your sweat is sticky. hordes of poor men and women walk around for no apparent reason or stand on corners trying to sell bags of toilet paper (which tumble out of the battered van that's positioned next to the picnic chair the stone saleswoman sits on)

i resolve to lie on wet grass till my clothes are ruined and smuggle home my GF some sunflowers in my suitcase and have slow sex on couches listening to Louis Armstrong and wear pocket-squares and real leather shows like a grown up.


i like listening to glass vaults tonight.
it sounds like wind not music.
even music is too much for tonight.
wind is right.
some rain wouldn't go astray.

in 2 months i'll be in europe.
it will snow , i will put out my tongue for it to fall on and each will be a delicious kiss i deserve.

i will slow dance on cobble-stoned streets with 40 year old women who have escaped their lives humming the tune into their ear and inhaling the scent of their hair and neck and then read poetry with 13 year old boys who embody it while sprawled on park benches wearing beanies and gloves and wearing tailored two-button Hugo Boss suits (which i must remember to pick up tomorrow) and pocket-squares will listen to Mahler in Berlin and Mozart in Prague and will eat barbecued meat on the side of the road with gypsies in Bucharest.

i will slow



my roomates will hate me because my couch will be occupied with a stream of friends who stop by for days and weeks, and when it's too full we'll shower together and huddle in beds and i promise to kiss - man or woman - your forehead goodnight , and if woman: your ankles and knees and belly and clavicles before leaving you alone to retire to my room to read Tolstoy and practice french and masturbate until i can fall asleep.


leave me my fantasies , today was a bastard of a day.


Saturday, July 23, 2011


the first news of you i've had in years: i hear she's sad.

i hear the words the way you hear a foreign language.

after some thinking i still can't make it out. - it's hard to think of you as something that exists somewhere.__ i didn't know if you'd made it out of the wreck.
(i knew one of us had to be a ghost i just hadn't thought it might be me)

what do i know?, there are no words for the distance between us.
even the closeness, when it was there, i had trouble describing.

it feels like someone's returned a goodbye to me , __maybe my bones knew it all along,
but i feel heavier with it now ,

maybe they're telling you the same thing about me: the sun will be up in an hour i live off pills and distraction- maybe i don't know i'm sad anymore than i know you are.

all the fantasies we indulged , and sold each other out for , something about your sadness bothers me.
but i lose hold of that string too, like all those others -

time, memory, _motions in the dark.

you have of me an ocean's worth of silence , you took it along with my well wishes
and you still have both.
and all the sad dictionaries i filled

before i got so lost it became home.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

thoughts (fragments)

in the silence of the park
and every darkened cinema
___Election Night by Bic Runga

physics by meyrem

'sometimes, some trips, i feel so welcome. so at home. i feel like this is where i belong and i never wanna leave.'
' ... '
' ... '
'_____and. __and othertimes, i feel distance. all these people, i feel like they're from another planet. i can't understand how they think. i feel like a foreigner and i can't wait to leave. it's not even like a holiday where you enjoy the feeling of difference. it's worse. i feel like it's wrong for me to be here. i'm an intruder, stepping on all these people's lives with my misunderstandings.'
' ... '
' ... '
'i think it's just you. what you're afraid of at any given moment.'
' ... '
' [shrug] '
'so what are you scared of now?'
' [notices another 10 out of 10 blonde walk by] i feel like LA is only for the successful and the rich and the beautiful. New York too. all these places. these are places where you hear about so-and-so and how (s)he made it.'
'you're doing alright.'
'it's coming along. it's not a competition i know.'
'it's not.'
'but i have Gatsby-syndrome.'
'you have a Daisy?'
'no. i wanna disappear and reappear years later all of sudden like the Wuthering Heights/Gatsby Knight in Mysterious Armor who made it.'
'you're weird.'


after it happened i was dizzy for a few years. when i woke up i stumbled around not knowing what to do with myself. you were sad about your divorce and my latest therapist had just broken up with me so we drank rum out of plastic children's cups and i ended up starfish on your white carpet laughing and writing in my notebook i am so sad as tears rolled from my eyes and yours were red with anger but we laughed anyway.


___i asked her what she was doing and she messaged me saying i undressed after work but forgot to take my heels off. i'm alone with champagne and my imagination. what are you doing? i ignored it because you were free for coffee and your lips would send men to Troy.


someone plays the trumpet while the others dance besides the pyramid. _when that dream ends your skin's soft as ash and i refuse to touch you ,
_on a cloudy night a quiet guy walks into a party

arriving home it is soo quiet, i would sit in the car for as long as i could with the engine running to avoid it
___black slinky dress, and the mild protuberances of your ankles and wrists
_the angles your body makes with itself,

i fell asleep in the park once , it was sunset , i was waiting for my sister.
i dreamt of distance without words

she was cooking he kissed the back of her neck and she smiled
i can't sleep when you can't sleep ,
if i unwind this road where will it end or have started?

when we relive this we'll do it better

she takes my hand to lead me out. stops besides a girl i've never seen and asks for keys. i realise what's going on and panic.

(when was i last asleep?
_when you wake i'm still at my desk. i think i've worked it out i say.)

anything with a start or an end i resign from.

we turn off the freeway, we used to live here. Hey, let's count all the different places we had arguments , after 8 she's heard enough , but i keep counting all the way towards the beach

you inject your medicine , i take two more pills and wait for my hands to grow cold and my mouth to go dry. quite the pair she says.

anything with a start or an end ,


i can't write. this isn't working, i can't say what i mean.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


But come said the boy,
let's go down to the sand

__Come Said the Boy, Mondo Rock

Fireworks by bunny jennyy

it's a compulsion i feel very strongly now. a sense that a great distance must be covered, and very quickly; and that i must do it. i must create some danger, manufacture it in a lab somewhere and drink it in a vial and next think you know i've signed things i shouldn't have signed and said things i shouldn't have said and packed all the wrong stuff and find myself living on the floor of an apartment in a foreign city somewhere. if life has decided it's time to strip me of my youth then i'm just going to have to work harder at making mistakes, being in situations where i don't know - can't know because they are completely new.


down bottles of pills with cold tea and dance with empty wheelchairs and sing with my sister while playing cards shouting out the words to Paul Simon songs neither of us knows the lyrics to.


i'm eating a lot less now. skipping anything sugary. anything that doesn't need to be eaten. my body's running better. i'm thinner too, which i like the look of.


i don't want to be in america right now. i don't like the way my voice sounds here. i don't want to be in australia either.


maybe fall in love with something new. something strange and under-appreciated. something mine and no one will know about it - a secret. a secret window that gets amazing light. a barber shop. an iphone app. a person with small feet. that's what i need to do, i've grown dispassionate. i'm not scared. i think in circles that have no end. don't listen when people are speaking. distracted during sex.

i'm sitting on a perch waiting to be seduced. the world's philosophers, harlots and ngo fundraisers are licking their lips and swinging their hips walking towards me.


i need new friends. guys who throw popcorn at me in the cinema and get drunk and scream quotes from Hegel and southpark and collapse on couches crying about things their mothers said to them on their 9th birthdays; girls that draw with sticks of charcoal on restaurant napkins and give me lap-dances without provocation and waive at children in the street and scold me from time to time for things i shouldn't have said. and together we'll do handstands in living rooms and ask 11 year olds in the park to let us play soccer with them and throw girls into the water at the beach and makeout in showers with our clothes on and sit on kitchen counters drinking tea and crying about Thursdays and sit quietly with espressos we don't remember ordering thinking about how old we've gotten and talk about how old we still have time to get. that's what i need.

either that or to listen to more tori amos.


i think i might have an affair with a married woman. in her 40s. like Mrs Robinson, but i wouldn't have made such a mess of it. she would smoke and i'd stare at her breasts move as she breathed in and out, and she'd tell me about life in a quiet, satisfied voice and i'd stare out of a secret window with great light and listen to her like she were the Faure requiem.

later i'd watch her as she dressed. when she put her heels on i'd tell myself memorize this memorize this memorize and she'd look up and see me and know what i was thinking. we'd both feel sad. exhilarated and sad and lonely in two different ways. we'd smell of sex and smoke and our hair would be damp and our faces wouldn't be able to settle on an expression.

eventually she'd stop returning my text messages and i'd stop sending them.


where can i find a volcano?


my sister tells me she's never seen a real dinosaur before. i tell her jurassic park is located in and around her kitchen. she asks what that is but i can't hear her because my grandmother is assaulting me about why i haven't had breakfast yet and the phone is ringing and there are 2 televisions on.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


even with the lights off there must be people awake .

there's not a thing i can do about it, i must leave _(

but i'm not interested in photos of all that , why do you insist on showing me again ?


so we sat in silence for a while, and this settled me.

in my perfect world where i live when i fold my skin up and run away into late-night-lonelinesses every kisses are first kisses ;

and when something's gone wrong you can start again

and old men dream of daisies too.

__(of everyone you have my youth , you alone ;
__hidden away somewhere with your other scraps and papers.

__while the rest of us make do with the old man )

_____(who dreams of daisies too , but what of it , it was redder then)

i console my sister by telling her how long it takes to grow roots into a place ,

i'm distracted by distance(s)

me to you i once knew as a physical constant

spiritual certainty

_. . . _one hour's certainty is another's (__?_)

i wished i could cry into your chest

one day i'll feel better about walking into packed rooms wearing just myself

i ask my sister who will die first and she says she still doesn't know , but she's working on it

maybe you're the only person who's seen me be young in years _( you'd agree with that you'd probably like it)

but even you know it's dimming. __your eyes are sweeter to compensate

thinking of no one in particular i think: we'll dance one day my dear

delicate as lace and tender as memory , barely touching

of all my misunderstandings how i miss this one most.

there was once a time i could grasp things firmly

but when somethings go they take more than you expect with them

so now i'm colourblind

dance only when my back's against the wall .

when you next leave me i'll be ancient.

__( i'm sorry i missed my chance to be a sailor )

i tell my dad a story and he asks me to forgive him , i wrap the memory up and forget it for him

no young man can do that.

it's too hot to drive let's swim instead i suggest.

you stole three of my books but gave me three first kisses i still can't decide if we're even.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

los angeles mon frere

untitled by littlegirlblue

i am finding this visit to be difficult. my first reaction was an immense fright - that of having returned to a howl of a year i fought so hard to escape. and i have escaped. but i find everywhere in this city echoes of the weeks upon weeks i spent in a hazed, confused, displaced-ness. one that everyone who met me was forced to hand-hold and hug me through. if ever i wrote a story about LA i think i might called the displaced persons camp. of course it wasn't quite like that. it was more like a breather-space. in hindsight it's obvious i needed a big long breather from being 'me', and i need to just go be someone else for a while until i found my way again. it brings me no solace to know that 'finding my way' was not in any way an act of my doing but something of a benevolent stroke of circumstantial luck (otherwise known as: faith) that kicked me along to where i found more than my fair share of happiness. alas.

alas, LA scares me. it reminds me of too many sleepless nights trying to answer a question people incessantly asked of me in those days: so what are you gonna do? (or it's more devious permutation: so what are you gonna do now?)

my second thought is a great surge of happiness. not exactly the happiness of 'victory', but the happiness of 'triumph'. of 'having overcome' <-- that happiness. the happiness - which is really a form of well-adjusted, well-deserved pride - is sourced in my having (one way or another) made it out of a pit. i found an answer to the question: so what are you gonna do? (or rather: it found me). but i found, i took it in my arms, it was my child and i reared it as such. i gave it every waking hour (and i was always awake) and nursed it until it was a thing that existed. what i mean is i took it from being an inchoate possibility, a fantasy of sorts, a dispassionate: yah whatever, let's try this one out to being my reality. who i am. what i'm doing. it's a vector now. a quantity that has not just magnitude but also direction. where it goes is immaterial. LA is/will be/might remain/never was/was what it was because there were no arrows. no directions. it was just a hollow space to sweat out all my filth. to remember who i am is so much more than my job, and at the same time, a future is not about a job, it should be about a direction. about an identity, and that's what needed to be revisited. identity.

and i suppose that's where i remember the taste ('ta'am' in farsi) of LA; since it's also a place i remember as being full of friends. the bestest of friends. which makes sense i suppose, if we believe (or at least hope) that our identity is shaped to some extent by the smiles and caresses of those we love. i like that thought. i am a man of my own making, but it doesn't take anything away from me to also be a man made of others' generous lovingness. so anyway, there's that too.

these things make LA difficult for me, a difficult place to be.

when i am hear i become hyper-self-conscious. i develop a terrible need to constantly prove to myself that i do actually have my own life now. that everyone's time and love and patience wasn't wasted and that i did sort myself out. i suppose it's the result of being out of my own environment. away from my bookshelves (yah, the library's grown) that prove that i've learnt a few new tricks, away from my routine and activities and evidences that i am in fact something new (or anew). when i am here i must rely again on... just me. identity ;

[yesterday in the food mart; it was full of persians and greeks and israelis and indians, everyone speaking some foreign language, smashing their shopping carts into each others' because that's what you do when you're ethnic and over 50; in the midst of all this, by the deli, a tall blonde girl, the figure of a model, and the face of one too. stood quietly amongst the shouting and smashing, waiting her turn with her legs crossed. long blonde hair like a smudged halo and half the room just stated at her thinking: what are you doing here? and in my head i could hear: so what are you gonna do? so what are you gonna do now? what do you want? what things? where to?]

there are other things too. i suppose now is not the time to get into them.

meanwhile, i'm struck by how wonderful it is for a place to have such a sense of... placefulness. for somewhere to exist as a real place. not just as a bunch of roads and a few photographs. but as a place, a real kingdom, with an identity and an entire mythology that has grown around it. LA. has long joined the list of Kingdoms that have their own mythology: Seattle. Haifa. Shanghai. Brisbane. Adelaide...

for some reason this makes me happy. the reason is it makes me feel alive, and i don't feel that way often enough.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


the Hague, Holland

it is probably abundantly clear by now that i don't do too well with protracted bouts of bad news. nevertheless, i haven't had any good news for a few months now so i'm going to go ahead and be hyper-psyched about the tentative offer i just got for an internship with the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at the Hague!! (insert "freaking psyched!!!!" right here). i shouldn't be too thrilled yet and i probably shouldn't be telling anyone either (so don't tell anyone) because it is subject to a bunch of security clearances and blah blah i didn't read that far into the email i kinda just scanned it looking for the word 'unfortunately' (which i didn't find) and then re-scanned only to find the word 'pleased' and i thought no.freaking.way. what was i saying? oh yeah, so, as far as i'm aware there are no outstanding INTERPOL warrants for my arrest in connection to war crimes or crimes against humanity in any jurisdiction and i haven't been involved in any underground activity constituting sedition or treason so... should be alright. and my facebook profile is pretty clean too.

how much work i might (tentatively) get to do is a bit worrisome because Hezbollah kinda told the Tribunal to go screw itself the other day when the indictments were released. if they don't hand the accused over the trials will be in absentia <-- which is epic uncool. i was kinda hoping for the spectacle of the Saddam/Milosovic trials were the accused called the judges dogs and threw their shoes at them. (a friend of mine is at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and they're getting a bit of fiestiness out of Mladic).

ok i promised i wouldn't tell anyone but then i was about to burst and i don't want to actually tell anyone and so then i got confused and i'm tired and my dad didn't respond to the text i sent him and so wha evs i'm telling you. there. i feel better now. (and now i can be less whiny on the blog for a lil while. unless if i'm not accepted, in which case brace yourselves for hell_on_earth_moping).

peace outtie
(tentatively) happy pennyfortheoldguy

Thursday, July 7, 2011

why i am so wise*

* the title of this post is a self-joke. it is a reference to the Penguin Great Ideas series version of works by Nietzsche. the reason it is a 'joke' is because when i think Nietzsche i think a lot of things, but wise isn't one of them. brilliant, maybe. smart, sure. compelling, occasionally. wise? not quite. in fact, wisdom is so far from how i see Nietzsche that i find the title to be... well humorous (although i haven't read this particular collection, so i'm not certain whether the title was intended to be humorous or not).


- a sunday smile, beirut
- what a wonderful world, eva cassidy
- gravity, bic runga
- mr jones, counting crows
- i'll try anything once, julian casablancas
- roads, portishead
- jazzybelle, outkast
- my weakness, moby
- wild is the wind, nina simone
- bachelorette, bjork
- new slang, the shins
- brown eyed girl, van morrison
- in the air tonight, phil collins
- scarborough fair canticle, simon & garfinkle

i suppose it could go on forever.


the plane landed (late). i'm home for 4 days, then off again. none of this makes me feel particularly good. to be honest i'm not sure i feel any whichway about it. it just is. is what needs to happen now. i know better now than to fight the tide of the times; i've learnt that much over the last few years. sometimes you have to tumble along and wait till you land where you're supposed to land. it's not a process i'm ever going to be completely comfortable with. i'm probably too proactive and too regimented to leave my future up to circumstance. but, despite my best efforts all my victories/failures have been entirely circumstantial. sometimes i get letters in the mail. acknowledgments of my applications. some are rejections. i like it, as a token. as evidence that people are maybe actually reading my letters. flipping through my resume and thinking: who is this q-guy, do we like him? (meanwhile, my plan B is now firmly standing on its two feet and my position on the faculty has been confirmed, if i want it). (so there's that. smaller dream, but then, dreams shouldn't have any volume anyway).


i did finally watch the tree of life. i'm not sure what i think of it yet, i liked soo much of it but the ending really bugged me. if anyone has an opinion i'm keen to hear about your experiences with it.


if i dream nowadays it's about the zombie holocaust. it sounds amusing but it's not really.


life isn't often episodic, not the way hollywood films are. if anything, it's thematic - with the themes leaking into one another like held notes on a pipe organ. sometimes two themes can exist simultaneously for years. developing a little bit here, a little bit there. then finally, one disappears into the other. maybe colours is a better example than held-notes. like watercolours that slowly shift and merge into one another.

for years my theme was: home. then 'just like that' it seems to have subsided. i think i stopped feeling it. or wanting it. or understanding it. i made my peace with the fact that i don't know what it feels like anymore. my current theme is: age.

'did it make you sad?'
'all the babies.'
'they're all pregnant right?, that's what you said, they're all... pregnant or having babies.'
'yah, they are._____ but no. not sad._ not exactly.'
' ? '
'distant. it made me feel far away. and worse, it made me feel... far away and drifting farther away still, like there was some crossroads and if i... '
' ... '
'you know the rest. maybe.'
'i think i get it.'
'i just felt behind in life. whatever that means - since there's no objectivity to these things. who can compare the things they've been through versus the things i've dealt with - '
'right. but. __still.'

a g e . in other words: time when you start to see time as a distance. that's what age is. when you start to conceive and understand and feel and measure time in terms of distances to/from people, places, experience, ___that's age.
___also, it's a physical thing. a thing that happens in and to your body. my face is 'squishy'. my skin. there's something to it, it's weird i don't remember it being like this. my patterns of fatigue and the way my excitement feels is different. my thoughts have a way of drifting into nothing and coming back again, their pace is different. anyway it's something that happens in you because you grow to resemble your favourite tree. also, it happens to you, something you didn't want anything to do with and it falls on you like a blanket.



i'm exhausted but i refuse to sleep. i have a long day tomorrow too. still. ___this is the first alone moment i've had in over a week, i'll be sorry to see it go.


i'm tired.
i'm scared. i don't even know of what. just of something. something waiting.

a great note to sleep on.