Sunday, November 25, 2007


With hopes I'll be able to write about my stay in Thailand on here. My assumption is that I'll be by myself which will mean a highter output of letters and I'll finally get around to finishing up letters to regular correspondents.

Philly Crunk was written on my sisters' couch in the suburbs of philadelphia. James and I were bored and so we started to write together.

Fragments was a writing excercise that my friend Leona was talking about. You make a sentence or two depiction. Its a way to try to make your writing more aesthetic.

The story "I'd like a place I could call my own" which is a line from a depeche mode song will probably be left unfinished. After the couple had sex the man was going to tell the woman a tale. I got the idea from a Murakami short story.

"Reach Out and Touch Faith," again titled after a depeche mode song is a cathartic piece about an affair. Sometimes I wish I was one of my characters.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Philly crunk

"James is always trying to write. When we were younger he would steal the crayons from my hands and write all over my placemat. As our family was broke all the time this would usually happen on our extravagant nights out on the town... at chuck e cheese. Whenever I'd look at the big stuffed mouse singing the latest beach boys cover he'd snatched my crayons from me. I was a little more concerned with eating them then with using them for creative purposes so I didn't mind that he had them in his possession. What irked me was his act of stealing. Little shit bag. No one steals from me!"

James: "First and foremost, I'd like to mention that during one of our rendevous with the electronic muppets of Chuckie Cheese, Matt and I, in a great collobrative effort, beat the arcade X-Men game: Sentinel Attack. It cost over twenty dollars in quarters, stolen from our parents over the course of six months. I was Wolverine. Matt was a lame ass chick-maybe Storm or Jean Grey, neither of who could fight well, they just bitched slap the robots unlike Wolverine who DESTROYED his opponents. Other than the obvious bullshit in Matt's story, the rest of his lies are true."

Matt: "As a natural leader I've always carved the path for the two of us. James has always lagged behind in my shadow, his nose drowning in the sweat puddles that I've left behind. I can understand his feelings, his therapist says that he has an inferiority complex. Well she said that its a complex, but its also justified because he is inferior."

James: "The pyschologist bills Matt."

To see more of James' crap writing click here

Friday, November 16, 2007


I crumbled up the piece of paper and threw it on the windowsill. I wish that the window had opened, that the writing would escape my world falling out into the open air.

The beer bottles sat on the desk empty, their effects were lingering in my dulled brain.

The book's spine pointed to the ceiling, the pages open spread out like wings.

The box was slightly open, crammed with letters from the past.

The dance floor had just two or three couples moving to the salsa music. The band was on its last number, the dancers were moving more sluggishly; taken over by the late night, the alcohol, and their lust.

I still can't remember what she looks like and it was only yesterday that I saw her last, that's why I keep a picture of her close to my person.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

pt. 3

We laid on my bed. We stripped the clothes off each other. I put a condom on and guided myself into her. Her breathing was slow and relaxed. My breath eventually matched hers. The feeling between us was one of quiet, not hurried, or loud, but not dispassionate either. It seemed like such a familiar feeling. Afterwards I threw away the condom and got some water from the kitchen. When I arrived back in the room she was ruffling through my books by my bedside.

"Will you read to me," she asked.
"Do you want some water," I replied.
She took a glass of water from my hand and looked over the novels once more.
"No one's read to me in such a long time."
"Are you sleepy?"
"Not really, Murakami is good, but you only have 'Norweigan Wood.' There's this short story in Blind Woman Sleeping Willow. The main characters abandon their busy lives in Tokoyo to have an extended affair in Greece. Everyday the man would read to the woman. That's what she wanted. When I was in college I used to have a boyfriend who would read to me. He was into bizarre stuff, he'd always be reading passages from Lautremont, or Artaud. Still his voice was somewhat soothing. There's something about being spoken to that I like. That's why I sat next to you tonight, I thought you'd have a nice voice."
She sighed softly and patted the bed next to her. I set my water glass down on the bed side and got into bed next to her. She was still warm from the sex. Her face was slightly flushed. A light blanket lay over her legs. I moved the blanket over my lower torso slightly embarrassed by my nakedness.
"Read to me," she asked.
"What do you want me to read?"
"I don't know. To tell you the truth I don't really like any of these books that you have here. Well, Norweigan Wood is good but I don't think it will be very enthralling to have read to me. If you tell me a good enough tale I'll make it worth your while. Sort of like the woman in the Arabian nights." She sat up a little straighter and poked me in the ribs.

"I have nothing to read," I said slowly. I was embarrassed by my voice. My lower jaw jutted out slightly causing an under bite. My cro magnon facial features created a lisp that I'd had my entire life. My parents, particularly my mother had wanted it fixed when I was younger but we'd never had the money to do so. Instead I was put through speech therapy. Endlessly I'd pronounce the 'th' sound, the 'sh' sound and 's.' Every time would be the same soft slight slur. I hated hearing my voice recorded and never sang. I sat there staring at the ceiling for a while trying to figure out some form of respectable escape.

"Well why don't you just make up a story," she said.
"Make one up?"
"Yeah, how about; 'Once about a time in Cleveland,' or maybe 'On the edges of a small rural town, there was a farm, and there lived a boy on that farm...' I've got you started already."
"Your imagination works much quicker than mine."
"I think its more about getting the ball rolling. Once you start the story will take you along wherever it wants to go."
"You think so?"
"Sure, and what do you have to lose? I've already seen the worst of you." She giggled and pulled up the sheets. She grabbed my cock giving it a squeeze. She laughed again then kissed my cheek.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Lesson from Life's Military School

"You should put on a sweater Tong," I said as we waited for the announcer to say my name. Tong had fought fifteen minutes before and was still wearing his shorts. Fresno is warm but there was a slight fall breeze in the air. I could feel it brush against my skin.

"Focus on your fight," Mike Regnier, my trainer said. I looked forward. The announcer, with a rolling voice, belted out Norman's name; Norman "The Storm" Valencerina. My calling card came next and my feet followed Coke's. We walked out into the small baseball stadium in Chukchanski park, home of the Grizzlies. The ring was set up close to first base. General admission tickets gave you a seat in the stands while a slightly pricier ticket gave you a seat in a folding seat near the ring. We walked to the red corner.

"Don't step on the first step," Coke, my fearless trainer, said to me.

I followed his movements. He held down the rope for me and I went to my corner. I knocked the post three times and followed the rope around the ring. By the time I'd reached the second post the ram muay music had begun. I knocked each post corner three times, circled the center of the ring three times and then bowed down to begin the ram muay. My body was tense, its been hard for me to relax my body. In the locker room I'd been trying to fine tune my positioning. Alex from Cheetah's Muay Thai in Oakland gave me some friendly advice, and a laotian trainer had said in regards to ram muay "It looks easy, but really its not." I couldn't agree more. My eyes saw Fuller Espiritu my last opponent in the folding chairs by the ring. We'd fought just three weeks before. He nodded his head encouragingly. I wanted to smile but thought it wouldn't be so good for my tough guy image. My ram muay was conducted with as much grace and care as I could muster.

The referee brought us to the center of the ring. Norman stood an inch or two taller than me and two pounds lighter. I'm tall for fighting at 140 lbs, and at 5'9" he's extremely tall. Prior to the fight I'd imagined him teeping me, using his reach against me. In my mind I parried his push kicks to the side and landed heavy right crosses against his face. The bell rang and the third man in the ring told us to begin to fight. We touched gloves, paused respectfully and then the fight began. The entire fight was action packed. There was little resting, feinting, or down time. He caught one of my right leg kicks and in a terrible move I turned over falling. I got up right away and we started to engage again. We clinched for at least two thirds of the fight. He had excellent technique and his knees slammed into me with precision. I could finally understand why my opponents got gassed so quickly when I kneed them. I body kicked him a few times and leg kicked him from too close. During the second round I thought to myself "This is a close fight." We were both throwing as much as we could into each other. Norman had an aggressive technical style that relied on more hands and knees while I relied more on a persistent will that drove my kicks and knees. During the second round a feeling of deja vu came over me. It was if the punches Norman threw had landed before, in some mirror world. Everything was happening once again.

When the bell rang Mike told me to use my hands more as the california judges are boxing judges. They look for hands. Coke told me to use more power in my knees. "Hidt Hawd!" Coke said. I looked at Norman and he was gassed. The third round was much like the previous two, a blur. Sometimes two minutes is so long, sometimes its just not long enough. We were both time bound, time was both an adversary and ally. I wished for nothing more every time that Norman's knee struck my ribs that time would quicken, that my pain would end. Yet during the third round as he began to tire I wished for nothing more than for time to elongate so that I could strike more, strike harder, strike with all my heart. When the bell rung I was both tired, and glad. The pain, the physical pain was over. I had no idea who would win. I thought maybe, just maybe I would win, yet also I knew that he had done his damage as well. My body felt his six minutes of effort. My lungs felt like they were going to burst. My ribs were sore, my heart was fading. I thought that I was going to cough up blood.

The announcer called out a split decision. "29-28 for Norman Valencerina, 30-27 for Matt Lucas 29-28 for the winner Norman 'The Storm' Valencerina." I went over to Norman and said a quick word. I think; "That was close," or "that was a good fight." I stepped out of the ring and made my way to the dressing room. The adrenaline was still pumping through me so I didn't feel the pain. It wasn't until later in the evening that the physical pain would set in. It wasn't until later that the emotional pain would set in.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

pt. 2

My apartment was furnished minimally. A small brown circular table sat just outside of the kitchen area. Two mismatched chairs were tucked under the table. Behind the table was a map of Las Vegas, next to the general map of the region was a map of Last Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) and some of the surrounding area. I'd looked for topographical maps of the area, but never seemed to find any. The living room had a black futon that had seen better days. A friend's uncle had given it to me, he hadn't wanted it and told me to keep it for "storage." In front of the futon was my entertainment system. A Television sat on top of a crate stolen from the local 7-11. On top of the television the dvd/vcr player. A few tapes and dvds lay next to the crate: "The Croupier," "Resident Evil 3," "Casino," "The Set Up," "Somebody Up There Must Like Me..." were visible in the pile.

"Nice place. I like the fengshui," she said to me. "You could use a houseplant. A cactus would spruce things up and require little effort."
I grunt as a reply.

"Would you like something to drink? I have Kahlua, vodka, and soy milk if you want a vegan white Russian, I have some beer, and a bottle of trader joe's Merlot. The drunk from the Merlot is nice, heady, but will leave you with a nasty hang over tomorrow."
"A vegan white Russian? You're vegan?"
"Yeah, for four years now. I watched some PETA movie and became vegan. The pathetic plight and slavery of animals was too disgusting. Animals shouldn't be used so. I can't stand the sight of it. Its visually repulsive."
"You don't care about them?"
"Not really. You can only care about animals so fucking much. Its hard enough to care about oneself."
"You pay your bills though right? And you're not living with your parents."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence. Now what would you like to drink?"
"I'll just have a beer."

I open a beer for both of us. We sit on the futon in silence for a while, slowly nursing our beers. These moments are always awkward for me. There's the expectation of kissing, but one of us has to move. Always the fear of rejection creeps up with this paralysis.

"Oh do you want to watch a movie?" I asked.
"Sure, what do you have?"
"You can look at the pile over there." She set down her beer and began to rummage through the small pile of tapes and dvds.
"Before Sunrise?" Is this the one you watch when girls come over?"
"What? Celine is reading "The Story of the Eye" by George Bataille. Do you understand the eroticism of that? Its like flashing your erection everywhere you go."
"Don't be crass. Listen why don't we just save ourselves some time. I have to work in the morning." She said to me. She turned around and faced me. She moved close to me and as her face drew closer to mine I tilted my head. My lips brushed hers. We began to kiss, softly at first then with more passion.
"Let's go into my bedroom," I said.
She nodded slowly and followed me her hand in mine.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'd like a place I can call my own

I met her at a bar. It was a hipster dive off of Charleston st. in Las Vegas. The bar, called the Noble, used to swarm with old men alcoholics. One of the bartenders who was young and with it started to have rockabilly shows. The music was tolerable. Most of the bands sounded like Tiger Army, or the Stray Cats.

The night we met the Bad Boys of Blue were playing. They were a spoof band mocking the blue man group. The band dressed in blue coveralls and painted their faces blue. Their music was messy, discordant. They played for ten minutes before the bartender cut them off. I was sitting next to a window when she came up to talk to me.

"Hey," she said.
"Hey," I replied.
"What are you doing?"
"Can I join you?"

We had a few cheap beers together, mainly in silence. When she wasn't looking in my direction I'd glance at her. I wondered why she'd sat down next to me. She was wearing blue jeans, white and black converse and a white shirt. Her hair was long and blonde. Her name was Jennifer. When we did talk, we chatted about our jobs. She worked as a waitress at a Irish pub in the downtown area of Vegas. Like all towns Vegas is divided spatially by class. The strip with its glamorous spectacles draws the middle to upper class while the downtown area with its cheap tinsel and budget prices brings in a lower class crowd. She talked about how the tourist clientele were awful tippers. Bad tippers are a constant topic amongst waiters around the world. It got later and at about twelve thirty I mustered up the courage to aske her back to my place.

"What are you doing tonight? You interested in watching a movie? I live a few blocks away from here." I said to her.
"Yeah that might be nice. Why don't we drive? I don't want to leave my car here."

She had a small four door car. She talked about it the entire three block drive to my house. I zoned the conversation out. I'd never been interested in cars. I had a small motorcycle that I used for transportation. The only times it became inconvenient was when it rained, or when I was drunk. Like most other Vegas residents I'd already had one DUI strike against me in the last two years.

My apartment was in a housing complex. It was indescribable from the outside. The only way to recognize it from all the others was to know the building number and letter on the apartment door. I lived alone in the one bedroom apartment. The rent was reasonable, five hundred dollars a month. It was a bit far from the grocery store but I usually ate at work anyways. I'd moved into this small apartment to focus on my writing. I'd been living in San Francisco for a while, happily, until I broke up with my girlfriend. It was her apartment so I had no place to go when the relationship ended. My decision to move out here was influenced by John O'Brien's "Leaving Las Vegas." The novel follows an alcoholic who loses his job. He takes his severance pay to Vegas and drinks himself to death. While in his stupor he meets a whore. They fall in love. I didn't expect of find love when I moved, but the image of decay grabbed me.

I thought that maybe the decadent ambiance would seep into my stories. Secretly I longed to be the next Bret Easton Ellis, Hubert Selby Jr. or Jean Genet. I had a bad case of writer's block by the time that I'd actually gotten settled enough to start writing regularly. Half of my stories were bad romantic love tales. They were fantastical visions of my time spent with my ex girlfriend, Amy. The other half of my stories were bad break up stories again about Amy. I decided that I wouldn't write one more story until my feelings for Amy were gone. Whenever I sat down at my desk to write images of Amy came to my mind. I'd sit and stare at the computer screen for a while. Eventually I'd get up and leave to the bar having little else to do.

Its a no man's land

At two o'clock when all the customers were gone both Jared and Kurt lit up cigarettes. Jared sat at the bar counter counting his drawer while Kurt stood behind the bar. Kurt took the remaining glasses and put them in the dishwasher. I put on latex gloves and started to pull the bar mats. Every night the bar mats are taken outside to be washed by the cleaning crew. The aisle long bar is washed down as well. The night's booze and broken glass cleaned away.

"Jared can I have a cigarette?" Tania asked. She was waiting for Jared to leave. They'd been dating for four or five months and had met at the restaraunt. She started to light her cigarette.

"I'm outta here before this place becomes a cloud of smoke." I said. I took my bike and walked out the door. The ride home was chilly but short. My house is only ten blocks away from the restaurant so it only takes me seven minutes to arrive to work. That small amount of time doesn't prevent me from being five minutes late to work consistently though.

I brushed and flossed my teeth took off my clothes and went to bed. Sleep came quickly to me due to my exhaustion. I'd worked out earlier in the day and would go to the gym at eleven in the morning to help out with the kids class. My sleep was dreamless.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


My hands slapped on the pavement absorbing some of the shock from the one story fall. My body rolled forward into a wheel barrel roll. My legs pushed me off the ground and into a lunge down the dark alleyway. The street was numbed by the night. The stars no longer shined in the sky, they had been replaced a long time ago by a polluted smog. The sounds of the city was replaced by the mania in my heart. Getting caught once more would be the end. My wallet wasn't lined enough to hire a competent lawyer, my youth no longer protected me from being tried as an adult, and my record already had two strikes. The pace of my running was based on fear, a fear of capture. I tried to maintain deep long regular breaths.

"Breathe in, run, run, breathe out, run, run, run," I thought to myself. I tried to focus on my route rather than be bogged down with images of police officers entrapping me. At the end of the alleyway was a small brick wall. It was about eight feet tall. As I neared it my body exploded. I leaped up towards the ledge using my left foot to push downward on the wall at an angle. The effect of my foot gave me the little boost I needed to gain a hold on the ledge. My right foot kicked out behind me as my upper body pulled me up. As my waist rose above the ledge my legs swung to my left side and over the small ledge. I turned my upper body to where I'd come from. My eyes saw nothing but darkness. I sighed and then let myself fall off the wall.

I looked around to see where I was. I'd familiarized myself with a general lay out of the city a long time ago. The major streets and their physical geography was mapped in my mind. These small streets though were tiny scratches that never made it on the paper. I walked forward. The police would probably spend a few minutes at the site. They would call for back up or would need to do some sort of bureaucratic activity then would begin a slow casual sweep for me. Escaping immediate danger was always much easier than surviving the long boredom of self-protection. The police don't often catch people who commit premeditated crimes like mine, rather they rely on informants. The law is more a manager of information than a cat catching a mouse. The law induced people to rat on each other or for the criminals to let their guards down and blab on themselves.