My Neck

ANOTHER POEM? WTF!

Yes, this is another poem. My head is chalk-full of these fucking poems. They’re all up in there like gray matter and fatty acids. So, here you go. See if you can figure out what kind of animal I am!

(You fucking hipsters. You’re hopeless…)

MY NECK

My neck, my neck!
Can you even believe
what’s happened to my neck?

MY NECK!

All for the sake fuck’s sake,
of reaching beyond the break,
curling my ambition to reach great
throws of fortunes locked and crate.

Before the apples fall
before the dew rises
before the coons chew
through orange and plum –

I spread my mind
across vast distances.

Come to me, Come to me!
Oh sweet nectars!
Come to me, Come to me!
So that I might once more bask
in the glory of your sucrose.

After the apples fell
After the dew rises
After the coons doth chewn
through orange and plum –

Get away, get away!
You miserable beasts of the night!
Get away, get away!
Before I [expletive]

If my name weren’t Spot,
and I wasn’t Spotty,
I’d swear my name was Harold,
Because I think I’m onto something.

Let’s get back to my neck
because I’m really quite the
narcisist.

My neck, my neck!
Can you even believe
what’s happened to my neck?

It’s grown oh so much
my God it’s grown
I don’t know what to do
about my motherfucking neck
It’s grown.

As if overnight.
Shit.
It WAS overnight.

Am I any worse for the wear?

Am I the song of all time,
for an infinity exists within the distance,
between my face and my spine?

My one hope,
beyond the inklings of desperation,
is that the light at the end of my neck
isn’t a train.

So I applied to this gig…

I recently applied to be a guest writer for the website Men Style Fashion. Guess what? They said yes. The following is the letter that I used to apply to the website. Perhaps this can be a source of inspiration to those of you out there feeling like you’re in the dumps.

Subject: Guest Writer

Message Body:
Salutations,

WHY I’M CONTACTING YOU: I’ve been following MEN STYLE FASHION for over a year. I love the amazing material that you’re able to come up with. I want to contribute to your website as a writer.

MY WRITING: I am an amazing writer. The only reason that I know that is that other people tell me that I have a way with words. I used to think that my writing was shit. But the masses seem to have amassed their eyeballs wriggling in their sockets like drug addicts upon my words. In my own way, I have also fallen victim to the narcotic that is my work. Not that I have fallen in love with my own work, neigh, I have fallen in love with the genuine joy that I am able to give others. I love seeing people’s faces light up with glee as I recite to them my short stories, my poems, my articles, my book chapters. I want to write for the rest of my life. I love writing. I’m in love with the processes of coming up with new material. I’m in love with the late nights, the cheap coffee, and the solid desk that – on the advise of Douglas Adams – doesn’t collapse when I beat my head against it looking for ideas.

My style: When I was in the eighth grade, I stole a copy of Playboy Magazine from my sister. It was one of the most important events of my development as a man. Not only did I experience the beauty and wonderment of seeing beautiful naked women for the first time in my life – but I was extremely surprised to discover that the majority of the magazine was a golden platter of extremely well written, timely and sophisticated relevant articles. One article in particular was about the decline of men’s sartorial excellence in the United States of America when compared to the rest of the world. Playboy offered 10 simple steps to step up any man’s wardrobe. Needless to say, Playboy Magazine was my entrance at an early age into the wide world of fashion. More than fashion, I gained a sense of style which I still maintain to this day. I gained a sense of purpose which absolutely is essential to any outfit.

I was raised in a household, however, that by all standards was far beneath the poverty level as defined by the stocky suits on Wall Street. I was – and still am – a poor. A single suit will set me back roughly an entire year’s salary. I make due by finding articles of clothing hanging on the racks at thrift stores and exchanges that relatively match those same items I have seen in GQ, Esquire, Twitter, and Pinterest. My income has given me a unique perspective on the fashion industry that many have failed to grasp. I know the difference between functionality and fashion. I know what it is like not to be able to wear dress shirts because of creases and wrinkles. I know what it’s like not to own a closet.

Being in the military has given me a sense of human mortality. Thus, I have gained an absolute affinity for all things beautiful. Before I realized how fragile existence itself was, I appreciated beautiful things but not as deeply as I do now. I did not understand the essential nature of beauty. Today, I understand that without beauty life is null. This is what propels me forward in my style. This is what defines my cut, as it were. This is why on some days I choose an inch wide lapel over a 2 inch.

The old adage is that fashion is senseless, but style is eternal. I have come up with my own pithy aphorism: lifestyle is half part style, half part life itself.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

-Guylaen O’Connor

Sunrise Birds

Welcome to the great new world of the internet. Where miserable idiots reading poetry get instant gratification by googling the word “poem” and clicking on the first thing that pops up.

If you want to experience poetry as it’s meant to be experienced, go to the fucking library. Or a bookstore. Or, better yet, go to a poetry slam.

Go to a place where poetry comes alive and stabs you in the jugular.

You won’t find that here, you miserable moron. This is a place for naught the art of what art is nigh. This is a place for the assholes. The idiots. The morons. The gits. The buffoons. The sods.

This is where you all shall find happiness. I love you. You’re like baby birds back in the nest, surviving off of the scraps of my regurgitation. And so fourth, I shall vomit this utterly useless poem into your mouth. Enjoy it my birdlings:

THE SUNRISE BIRDS

The sunrise birds are out, you say?
The sunrise birds are out, today.
Time to start a beautiful day!

Rattled from my bunk,
rattled from my slumber.
First Sergeant’s on the horn –
shouting of his hunger.

Hot chow isn’t on the menu.

The singing birds are out again.
This time, they sing of pain –
was this whole long day in vain?

I guess I’ll have to wait and see –
and die another day.

My Favorite Word

Certainly, within the confines of what it means to be a writer, one of the most common uncommon questions asked of me is: “What is your favorite word?”

What a loaded question.

Oh, how I do loathe those who ask this of me. Not because they are terrible human beings, I love them all. Not because this is an absurd question that one should never ask of an author – it is a perfectly legitimate question, and an author must know these things.

Neigh, I loathe those who ask this of me because of the simple fact that in so doing, they have made one awfully big assumption about my character. They have assumed, wrongly, that in my wanderings upon the surface of this Earth through space and time I have accumulated – anthropologically speaking – enough knowledge about the nature of humanity itself to have gained a particular affinity for what one would call a favorite word.

The answer to this question can vary extremely based upon a multitude of variables including how much coffee I’ve had on a particular day, what song I recently listened to, what sort of books that I’m reading at the present moment, whether or not I’ve made a mistake in the last forty hours, how the last conversation with my publisher went, the design of the hotel lobby that I most recently bought a coffee in,  and the sheer vastness, scale, and scope of the glacial mass that I most recently visited.

Today, and at the present moment, my most favorite word is Stalactites.

But a few hours from now, my most favorite word might possibly be Whig, Willow, Wasp, Wop, Womp, Wang, or Gilgamesh. I highly doubt it, however, because I’m still really thinking about Stalactites. I just recently heard a story on TED Radio Hour from NPR, and in this there was a man who spoke of his adventures voyaging into the depths of the Earth as a spelunker. Spelunking is also an amazing word.

Perhaps the reason that I do not have a favorite word is that I am generally insecure.

Whatever the reason, I choose not to have a favorite word, because there are just too many words.

On the nature of thoughts

People – the way that I word that statement makes it seem that those multitudes of people are vast in their number, however those people might be real or imagined, one can never tell these things – always ask me why I never post on a regular schedule.

As I have said before, this blog is a collection of my thoughts in word form. I can’t ask thoughts to stay in my head or else I’d have a massive implosion of information the size of an atomic bomb in the middle of one of this planet’s most populated cities. I also can’t rely on thoughts to come at me at normal intervals like, say, colors of the rainbow or drops from the end of an icicle. Thoughts just don’t do it.

Neither do words, to see more in formation on THAT topic, see my previous post @blogpost.

Thoughts can come at me anywhere, anytime. They can come at me on the train. They can come at me on the toilet. They can come at me in the middle of a swamp in the middle of a jungle in the middle of a country that you can’t quite seem to remember the name of but it doesn’t matter because I’m only there to incite a revolution and I’m leaving that shithole of a country in four hours.

Thoughts can come at me in any sort of interval that they like; galloping, galavanting, glooping, gloping. They can hit you much like what Emininem akined the nature of fame itself: a ton of bricks. They can hit me like the cascading torrents of a waterfall atop a lonely swimmer in the furthest reaches of the Amazon. They can hit me like a sudden and random urge to urinate five times in a single night and absolutely none the night next.

I can’t put a stopper on creativity, or thoughts, or words.

More often, thoughts might not come to me at all. I sit patiently in my mind shelf, waiting for files to get sorted and put onto the shelf like they normally do, but nothing happens. Which is a really crappy feeling but I don’t drown myself in a pool of my own tears – writer’s block is a normal part of the author’s struggle for identity.

Why do I not post regularly? Well, my dear fellow, my thoughts are definitely not regular.

My Rifle and my Trumpet

Alright then. Here’s another one for all of you miserable sods who content yourself with the idea that reading poetry to yourself aloud, within the confines of your own room after a few swigs of white wine straight from the bottle is slightly better than, say, spending the entirety of a night on the town in the back of some random nightclub and drowning your vodka in a pool of your own sorrows and smudging your tears with the soulless substance that was your mascara.

Yes, this is one for all of you would-be poets out there, who would definitely… probably… could be poets if you weren’t too busy running around in circles and shouting about this and that and the end of the universe as we know it. This goes out to all of you who tried to write poetry one night, but discovered that you got laced with a super-high dose of adderol and proceeded to spend the next sixteen hours contemplating the fabric of the universe itself contained within that one dirty sock that always manages to find itself in the corner of your room.

Enjoy it you miserable gits:

MY RIFLE AND MY TRUMPET

My trumpet howls in pain
To the desolate moon

My rifle sings to the sheet music of three
Conductors
Yet constantly contradictory.

24 Hours in SEATAC Airport

NOTE: These events are the prequel to my most recent post.

The discarded baggage of society’s unsettled wanderlust sits on a carousel in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a rainy January afternoon, circumnavigating an abyss of modernity and subdued excitement. Crumpled leaflets litter the splotched patterned basement floor, where hundreds of men and women have gathered to collect their checked luggage. The diversity of humanity here is as evident in the throng of human beings, as it is in the items which they have left behind.

A soldier on the plane comes home to his family. He hopes for the last time.

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A professional looking young brunette woman in a slim-cut gray pinstripe business suit grabs a red polka-dotted suitcase. The side pocket is not completely closed, and out falls a black lace thong. The woman walks away, without realizing her loss.

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A young Arabian man with a smile that can reach the heavens reaches out for his brown duffel. The bright red Emirates ID tag gets stuck in between the slats of the carousel and snaps its cord. The man shrugs his shoulders, throws the bag over his arm and walks away while humming the theme to Star Wars.

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When we travel – to or from – as human beings, these little things that we have managed to gather together are the things that we leave behind.

So much life. And this is just the basement.

I am in SEATAC Airport, waiting for my flight on Monday evening, watching all of these events occur with awe and wonder. I have been in the airport for a total of ten hours, in vapid anticipation of my departure to Honolulu.

Humanity is truly amazing.

If any of these people are excited to be here, I can’t tell. Even the babes in their mothers’ firm grasps are crying out to leave this dreadful place.

That hits me square in the jaw. Sure, the weather sucks right now. But Seattle is my favorite city in the world. SeaTac airport is an airport. I am fascinated by airports.

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The first time I ever came to this airport – I was very little – my father taught me how escalators worked. I had never seen so many in one place before.

Sure, I knew the function of an escalator was to take people quickly on an inclined plain from one floor to another. But I never knew what they were really for. My father showed me that day.

“Follow me,” he said. I did so. Up one escalator. Down another. Up the same one that I had just gone up. Down. Up. Eventually it became a game of cat-and-mouse.

He did things that I did not know were possible to do on escalators – like walk while riding one to move faster, and go up an escalator that was meant to take people down.

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Life was so innocent then. Breaking conventions was an amazing feat of accomplishment for me. Non-conformity was something that my father had been engraining within me from the time of my birth. That is probably the single most attributable lesson that can be applied to my father’s legacy.

Of course, that was all before 9-11. So many things about this airport have changed since then.

Mainly, the extreme lack of enthusiasm around me. Fear has gripped this nation.

People these days are so damned scared when they come to airports. I can see the fear in all of their faces, I can smell the stench of it wafting behind them like a putrid perfume as they walk in front of me.

They are scared of the TSA primarily. They are also scared of Al Quaeda, they are scared of the IRA, they are scared of the TEA party, and abortion bombers.

The difference between I and them – they, the conglomerate of faceless figures in every airport across this once-great nation – is that I choose not to be afraid of my eternal travel companion that is my own shadow.
I choose to turn my fears toward the rational: tuberculosis, snakes, spiders, and heartbreak.

MONDAY –
“The train will be arriving shortly. Please stand clear of the doors.”

The same sentence is repeated in Chinese.

The train arrives.

I grab onto a pole and stand fast.

The train arrives at the S Gates with an anti-climactic termination. The doors hiss open, as if sarcastically mocking those certain travelers who seem to think that they are performing some great function in the cycle of life by simply performing their duties with the least amount of resistance and the maximum amount of reward.

A song by Cold Play plays overhead as I rise through the ranks of dull imaginations and into the departure terminal, where playful souls can once again be found running wild and free.

Standing at the bottom of the escalator is surreal. The yellow and sliver platforms of this carnival ride are illuminated underfoot by tiny LED lights in uniform sequence spaced apart approximately 12 inches from each other. The lights are reflected on space-age, almost mirror-like aluminum side panels. The whole atmosphere makes me feel more like I am ascending onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise rather than into the main platform of the S Gate satellite terminal building. The monotone mechanical drone of the escalator’s operation completes the scene. The whole ride soothes my soul in a sort of cold, metallic hug.

It makes me feel like everything is going to be fine, but without any variation in its lifeless demeanor.

As I finally summit the escalator, I am brought out into a world of exactly the same.

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Directly in front of me as I step onto the platform is a duty free shop that sells designer accessories for outrageously steep prices. Everything in this airport has been marked up.

The only thing I want to purchase in this airport is a pair of earplugs so that I may focus on writing.
I put in the earplugs. They don’t work. I’m sure they’re great for the intrepid hypochondriac whilst riding an airplane, offering them some sort of placebo effect to soothe their restless souls. Sure, they reduce ambient noises a little, but the only thing they seem to do for the mechanical noises around me is magnify them like two cheap hearing aides. If I couldn’t think before, I most definitely can’t think while wearing them.

Damn. This bacon cheeseburger is AMAZING. The whole time I was in the desert, not once did a day go by when I did not crave an American meal. I felt guilty about it, though, because I knew that some of the people I was paling around with would never ever see a cheeseburger. Now I have one nestling in the bottom of my belly – it certainly hits the spot. I’m chuffed.

As I look out at the terminal where my plane will be arriving at in a few hours, the sudden realization of what I am doing hits me dead in the face: I am going to Hawaii. I am going to Hawaii. Wait, what? When did this happen?

A friend of mine that I met recently told me that if I had not been assaulted with so many terrible things recently – in other words, if I had been absolutely content with my life – then I would not have decided to see the world and leave the wretched confines of my house. So all of those bad, horrible things that have come down on top of me all at once – they must surely be a blessing in disguise. I hope so. I hope that I find what I’m looking for in Hawaii.

Right now, I am finally going to Hawaii. I am going to the beach. I am going to be in a place where happiness abounds, and the surf rolls in off the great Pacific Ocean. The most remote island chain in the world. I am hoping that this trip provides me with a cure to my insanity. A place of reflection, contemplation, solitude, and rejuvenation. A place to cast off my PTSD, my fears, my desires, my financial woes, my girl troubles, my bad dreams, my insomnia, the fogginess of my mind and of my geolocation, my bad health, my bad grades, my troubled soul. I place where I can learn the difference between the creations of my mind and the reality of my surroundings.

I guess it would be appropriate to say “Aloha.” I’ll be in the spirit soon enough, I hope.

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A way with words

NOTE: I wrote this in a remote mountain village in north Africa. It was sunrise.

Someone recently told me that I have a way with words.

A way with words.

I can not readily compose a more inaccurate statement as to my way with words. I think, more accurately stated, that words often times have their way with me. I am merely a vessel of things unknown; words finding solace in their new existences as formulated building blocks of emotive expression.

Each word anew.

As the dawn sets over a new desert sky, I am afraid of which ancient words will find their way through me today.

Life. Joy. Pain. Comfort. Anguish. Happiness. Terror.

It is these self-serving words that I am cursed with the ability to interpret accurately. It is with these words that I am often times doomed.

If I were truly a master of words, than there would be no reason for me to fear the words that come forth from within me. I could speak without the fear of repercussion. I could write unabashed and with stalwart determination. The stentorian chill of my thoughts could be magnified a thousand times with a few key strokes of my pen on paper.

But I have not mastered the use of words. Onions are odd creatures. Words have mastered me.

They have manipulated me. Made me to be their plaything, wriggling and writhing as I am in protestation. Pasteurization. Prostate. Probiotics.

The only thing that I can do is try to regulate which words ultimately find the light of day, and which words should remain in a state of unuttered degenerative cryostasis, buried deep within the confines of my mind: nestled uncomfortably in the dungeon that is my dorsal cortex. All that I am is a thermostat. A word-traffic customs agent assigned to catch drug-smuggling words before they are spoken.

Alas, I do not succeed all the time.

If I were the master of words, than regret would most assuredly not be in my dictionary. Neither would be the name of my enemies, or the overbearing presences of greed or corruption. The leaders of the world would take their hints from my everyday.

A perfect world is a world of perfect words.

I have no doubt that a utopian existence is not too far removed from the world that I am confined to in my mortal body. A few smudges in the wording of a script read on a teleprompter might be all that this world needs to become a better place.

In a world of perfect words, anything is possible. All warfare could cease entirely through precisely crafted and lucid dialogue. Lasting friendships could be formed through the simple utterance of a simple introductory colloquialism, without the necessity of proof. [Rice.] Religions would dominate the human imagination for all of the right reasons, instead of being propelled through the centuries by the human desire for self-loathing and self pity. Trust would be much more commonplace, as people would find little need to lie.

But words are themselves life.

As words are themselves alive, they choose when to appear and when not to. I have no control over which words truly want to be spoken. I do my best, but sometimes I just can’t catch them all before they come tumbling out. Diapers. Guitar.

This is an apology. An apology for all of those ugly words that I have once said, and will continue to say in the future due to my own lack of vigilance.

Eating spaghettios reminds me of…

Damnit. See what I mean? The words… they just come out wherever they want to and do their own thing. My words are impavid.

I meant to say that I’m about to have some breakfast. Yes, breakfast.

The old lady’s probably got something cooking. She’s always got something cooking. Her food is delicious. There’s a woman who knows how to cook a good meal.

My fascination with Douglas Adams

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My first introduction into the fantastical world that is the ingenious and cynical mind of the late author Douglas Adams, was in the viewing of the movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” upon its release in the year of our lord two thousand and five. I was an intrepid and benburb sort of teen, and I was quite overjoyed to have discovered such a wonderful new world into which I could launch my boundless curiosity. The portrayal of Arthur by Martin Freeman is one of the best renditions of a boringly dull man-turned-awesome hero that I have ever seen on film, perhaps bested only by Simon Pegg as Shaun, in “Shaun of the Dead.” The supreme cast of actors in Hitchhiker’s Guide is what brings the devious intellect of Adams alive, even whilst viewing it during a hideously long flight over the Atlantic Ocean on a military aircraft.

Wait a minute, how in the blazing hell did I get on a military aircraft, and why in the world am I flying over the Atlantic Ocean? How many times have I seen this movie, anyways? Oh, whatever, I’m just gonna roll with it. What was I saying? Oh, yes, I remember.

As for the parallel legitimacy of the movie to its counterpart in novel form – as with all movies, things went a little bit differently the first time around. The first time around. Notice, that I did not say that things went a little bit differently in the book, or whathaveyou, anything related to the book versus movie phenomenon. What I said was that things went a little bit differently before. Things went a little bit differently in the past. Back then. Last year. Last month. A few nights ago. The other night.

Things are about to go very differently the next time around.

Whereupon the brisbane makes its due, the intrepid young traveler is now introduced to the concept of time and space in literature. In the works of Douglas Adams, no alternate eventuality is indicative of the Hollywood scenario, where a book is taken and torn apart page from page and concocted in a wholly new and ugly shape. An alternate reality is simply that. As Adams might have put it: the movie version of Arthur probably got, for lack of a better word, fucked a lot sooner than the book version. Good for him.

Although I was a wee strapping lad when I first came upon the movie, my introduction to the written works of Douglas Adams came much later in my life.

——

It was at a time of great distress when I happened upon the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie for the second time in my life. It seemed as if the whole world was caving in upon me, and everyone in it was out to kill me. I’d say that this is not as much of an exaggeration as you might think. At least, not the part about the people trying to kill me. I imagine, that in my time in the jungles, I have gathered at least a few enemies who wish to end my life in some glorious and horrible way. At a certain low point, my own soul felt trapped in its mortal body and begged for release. In a way, that is what Douglas Adams was for me: a psychological release from reality.

It was indeed when I was deep in the jungles, when I came upon an abused and maimed copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for a few cents in an old dinky bookshop that smelled of raw meat and spices. Probably because it was right next to an open-air meat market. I had a few nights to kill before I was to leave the village, so I thought to myself ‘what the hell, it might cheer me up.’ I bought the book and went back to my room to read a little before I racked out for the night.

I finished the book in roughly six hours. I was completely and utterly disappeared from the world around me for those six hours. Nothing could have taken me away from that book. Not a cruise missile, a bunker buster, or a well-armed killteam of FARC rebels could have made me look up from those pages. I probably would have absent-mindedly loaded and shot my M-4 with my right hand and kept turning the pages with my left. That’s how good this book was to me.

It put things into a whole new perspective for me. The entire world, I summarized, could end in an instant. Not just my life, but the lives of every living creature on this planet. A few minutes is all it would take for an asteroid large enough, a few hours for nuclear apocalypse. What was I doing with my life? Was it worth it? I dedicated myself to making sure that any single moment I breathed air into my lungs would never be wasted.

When I got home, I read every other book in the series. Then I read the Salmon of Doubt. Now, I’m onto his Dick Gently series. I can not stop this fetish of mine. A book by Douglas Adams is quite the rush. It’s a narcotic of the literary form. It’s like taking a hit of ecstasy, and following it up with liquid chocolate while riding a wild rhinoceros on the African Savannah. It’s like hooking up with the most beautiful woman in the world and proceeding to rip off all of your clothes and eat an entire tub of vanilla ice cream, while watching Iron Man with her on a giant screen at the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps.

There is, in my mind, nothing that compares to the genius that was Douglas Adams.

He said once in an interview with the American Atheist that he didn’t have any devout Christian friends who had ever tried to “save” him. To that, I am very much saddened that he had to perish from this earth when he did. For, if he were still alive when my first book goes to press, then he would indeed have had one hell of a christian contemporary. I’d “save” his ass all day. Sometimes, I imagine that he’s still alive, and I wonder what sort of conversations we would have.

Would he ridicule me for being Catholic? Would he compliment me on my writing style? Would he say that I were too naive for my own good?

Often, the presence of an absence of anything lets me know exactly how he would respond: with an air of genuine volume.

The most interesting thing that I have ever seen at the bottom of a tall urinal

I’ve had an epiphany. It’s interesting how it always seems to be the things that you have heard so many times in your life that are the most profound statements ever made. But only after you have made the mistake of not listening to them and living through the most unfortunate events that have caused you to come to the same conclusion. This is not the epiphany that I came upon whilst in the comforting embrace – of which those less artistically intoned might refer to as the terrifying grip – of the audible melodrama that is Beethoven’s Symphony number 5, which is probably one of the most interesting devices ever composed. Never mind the cliché of that song, it just has an epiphanic quality to it.

I heard this music while I was in an upscale art gallery in downtown Langley, which might have gone to compliment the phenomenon in the visual realm with an amazing piece of art – if only my eyes had been open. Which, of course, they were not.

If my eyes had been open, this is what they would have seen:

The Walker
The Walker, by Jeff Day. Photo by Guylaen O’Connor.

My eyes were closed at that moment because that is what they like to do whenever they hear a piece of music so inexorably linked to the meaning of life, that even my ears have a hard time staying open. Since it is that my ears had the situation well under control, my eyes decided, nobody would miss them if they just shut themselves for a few incredibly tense minutes. It was either that, they aptly reckoned with experience, or remain open, agape, and awestruck as if seeing the nude feminine form for the very first time.

It could be argued that my eyes made the right decision to just shut themselves.

Anyways, there I was in the posh art gallery, listening to this amazing song, when I had an amazing epiphany. The proverbial and almost biblical statement that went through my mind at that moment was something that so many people had tried to get me to wrap my head around so many times before: art is something that should never be forced.

Art is something that comes from within the very soul of the artist himself. That is not to say that the individual will ever be talented enough to tap into his artistic potential. That is to say that someone who is meant to be a painter might never learn how to paint, or a sculptor to sculpt. Or even, in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, where mathematics is thought of as an art form – like it is here, hence the planet earth being on the edge of the galaxy – a man who would be a beautiful mathematician might never even learn the art of math. Or maths. The thing is, that if these untalented individuals were to learn how to create in their proper medium, then they would make the world around them so much more beautiful.

When it was, in my life, that I tended to refer to myself as a photographer – I was wrong. I was wrong to call myself a photographer because I was merely using photography as a means to an end, and never as a profession of the very inner being of my soul. This is why nobody ever looked at a piece of my art and said “that is beautiful.” Because it wasn’t. It was a horrid representation of how my life had been manipulated by a commercialized society that told me from birth exactly what it was that I should expect from life, which is lots of money. Since it was that I never really was a photographer to begin with, I am now cursed with the eternal abject disdain of the people who are now starting to call my work beautiful. The Peanut Gallery, God’s bemusing exhibit in this posh art gallery makes me laugh every time I see it.

Anyways, there I was. I had just had an epiphany. You can’t force art. I was never a photographer. I have never been, will never be, am not, will not be able to be, do not want to be, have not wanted to be, hitherto am most assuredly NOT a photographer. I am no more a photographer than a sheep dog is an actual sheep. To be able to say this relieves me to no end, and it almost makes me want to learn how to be a real photographer, because I am quite sure that I would like it. The most amazing piece of art that I had ever created had been a few pathetic stick figures on a piece of paper that I had used as fire starter months ago. The piece was something that I doodled in a notebook in class one day to cope with some flashbacks I had had about my time in the jungle.

I walked out of that gallery, and went up the street into the pizzeria, which was remodeled last year to make room for a whole new bar area, doubling the floor space and the capacity. There were more people in this place than I knew lived on this island. But that was fine, I hadn’t been in there for a year and a half. I met Ben Haggerty in this place, did you know that? Or, as the strapping gentleman calls himself now, Macklemore. I ordered two slices of pizza and a soft drink.

There I was again, in Village Pizzeria, starting out the window at all the Christmas decorations along First Street, thinking about my epiphany, and starting to write this blog post on a napkin that I got from the bar, when an amazing thought struck me: I still had to go pee.

I was in the restroom walking to the tall urinal. You know, one of those ones that goes all the way from the floor to your chest? I walked up to it, and prepared to commune with nature. Just as I was about to do so, however, I looked down. There it was – the most interesting thing that I have ever seen at the bottom of a tall urinal.

The extent of the strange things that I have seen at the bottom of tall urinals up to that point of time in my life had existed of things that had somehow originated from within the restroom itself. Those round things that the blind guy in Boondock Saints throws around while having a conversation with William Dafoe… yes I have seen many of those. I have seen paper towels, plastic things, beard hairs, other hairs, toilet paper, and even regurgitation in these types of urinals before. Lots of gross and unspeakable things as well. Items for sexual pleasure and protection. But never once had I ever seen a bucket of ice at the bottom of a tall urinal in a public restroom.

So, there I was, again. Rescuing myself from a tangent, again. Thinking about the ice in the bottom of the tall urinal as I relieved myself. Wondering what possible impact that this ice could have on my mental stability when suddenly it hit me. The ice must have been from a champagne bucket. Indicating that either the party was over for all the right reasons, or, more likely, all the wrong ones. The ice was a metaphor that just so happened to be at the bottom of a tall urinal: I am not in control of anything that happens around me.

I went to the sink, and stared into the eyes of the man in the mirror. Two epiphanies in one hour. That has got to be a world record, I thought.

The man in the mirror just stared right back at me. I saw the slight formation of wrinkles on his forehead. Were those gray hairs? Or were they just grey hairs on the head of some poor Fenian bastard whose lost his way? His face didn’t have any emotion to it, really. It was just a face, but those eyes. Those eyes were piercing. The things that they had seen made it hard for them not to pierce. They were made of death and mayhem, and they were born out of a rebirth in the jungles. The man who had gone into that jungle will never be the same, no matter how much I try to get back to whoever it is that I was before. I can never be the same.

As I turned on the sink, all of the long-held emotions that I had been holding back came flooding out of my pathetic eyeballs with the tap water. Actually, that’s not what happened. I wish it did, but it didn’t. I didn’t cry, I couldn’t. I have to be strong to honor the memories of all those fallen so that I could be here today.

So, my emotions came out another way, because they were going to come out no matter what I thought about it. After wiping down the toilet seat, wiping my mouth off, and washing my hands again, I stood up, and left the restroom.

I went back to my seat where there sat a meal made by God himself. Cold pizza and Dr. Pepper.

I was getting a little tired of having epiphanies. Too many epiphanies before dinner, I rationalized. There must be some sort of limit, I thought. I wonder if I could get pulled over for being under the influence of one too many epiphanies while driving? I wondered. My mind likes to wander, if you hadn’t noticed. I think my muse is a little crazy, to tell you the truth.

Just as I was about to put this amazing, Godly creation that was a slice of cold, delicious pepperoni pizza into my mouth to take the first bite, I felt another epiphany coming on. I set the pizza down and said to it: “NO! Wait until tomorrow. Or at least another few hours and let me eat this slice of pizza in peace!” I put the pizza into my mouth and savored it. For a moment, everything was bliss. Nothing existed but myself and this pizza. I was in my castle of bliss on Cloud nine. The epiphany knocked on the door. I ignored it.

And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks.

I opened my eyes. Fuck, I whispered to myself. I picked up my pen, and began writing on the napkin. The world needed to know about this.

And it was all because of that epiphany at the bottom of a tall urinal.