Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 36 (sniff)...

With just under a poetic pinch of 100 hours left in his fast of enlightenment Lil’ David (once again) lovingly capitulated in his quest to adhere to healthy male living by giving up the vices he oh-so loves so much. The jejune details in his dietary surrender involve being snowed in at his menial place of employment, working a 24 hour shift, feeling physically encumbered and knee-tattering weak since he had intrinsically just been living off of water for the past seven days and finally, in a maddening Nietzschean Hyperborean fit of hunger, sifted through the dregs of a garbage can and consumed a half-slice of Avant’s pizza his co-workers had left overnight for him, and which he had initially thrown away.


This two weeks ago on Feb 17th and needless to posit that Lil’ Davey has been drinking beer and feasting on red eat meat incessantly since (although he got sick as an anal leper the first time he ingest dairy into his anatomy)…

Thanx for all who read and (in some cases) even participated in the fast with me.    SS2 will be finished over the next six weeks (much in the same fashion of its illegitimate sister) with longer entries concerning love, failure, addictions and what it means to be a viable human being in an decimated dot com purlieu where cryptic 180 character  tweets have been superseded the narrative texts of our time…


Thanx for reading again, In the immortal maxim of Augustine,..”quia plus loquitur inquisition quam invention…” which translates as sometimes the search proves more than the discovery…


Sometimes it  does indeed…

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 35: The final beer (w. Kyle devalk, Elvis Presely and Uncle Rick)....

It has been thirty-five days since I chugged my last beer. Thirty-five days since I last held the aluminum silo of a connoted adult beverage in my left hand, abruptly cracking it open with the curved trigger of my pointer finger, a gushing crackle echoing in guttural splurges as the beverage kicks open, flips backwards in tandem with tilting chin in an initial rush as it erupts past your lips, shotguns into your anatomy in an explosion of hop-riddled fizz and malty flavored froth.  

Thirty-five days. A whisked month of calendar squares plus a coda.  Three more days and I will have gone longer than my failed campaign at the initial Succulent Sobriety where I capitulated my quest at day 38.

 In early December I was imbibing a case and a half (plus) a day. I would come home from work, trudge through the dirty banks of snow abutting the salty avenues of West Peoria, finding myself at Walgreens on Western pick up a case of PBR and come home and write for a couple of hours, cracking open pilsner after pilsner before heading, usually around 11, to the liquor for a case of Sam Adams.  When my roommate fed me rent the accumulated sum would be routinely marched across the street aptly deposited at one at the glossy counter of one of our favorite West Peoria watering holes, where, forty-five minutes later, the rent in its totality would be exchanged for a bevy of empty pint glasses.

That was Thirty-five days ago. I have not had a beer in 35 days.

I wanted to make my last beer a memorable faretheewell beer. An envoy drop. I wanted to send my last beer out like Noah and a dove, patiently waiting on the floating planks of an Old Testament Zoo before the beer arrives at the sill of my window forty-days later, a freshly plucked olive leaf placed next to the six-pack anticipating the prepatory slurp.   

I wanted to say goodbye to my last beer at a 1940’s era train station, the jerky writer attired in a military uniform swallowed in a plume of exhaust as the beer waved a handkerchief goodbye at him, promising that the beer will faithfully wait for him, sitting next to the static of a mid-century radio, crocheting, waiting for the devout palate of the beers beloved to return from the self-inflicted trenches of sobriety.

More than anything else I wanted to have my last beer with my literary-goading roommate and fellow alcoholic enabler local poet Kyle Devalk, only it happen that way.

It didn’t happen that way at all.
KD at Citylights compliments of  ravishing Brianne...

The night before Succulent Sobriety Two was set to convene Kyle was in the hospital, coming down hard after a three month drinking binge. We had been drinking assiduously (by that meaning daily, hours of craft beer capitulation lost in tandem with the synchronous crack of an opening beer) since at least last September when I arrived home from driving down to MO. to buy cigarettes with a friend and somehow (thanks to not wanting to abandon the tortuous slope and lavender sunset abutting rt 6) ended up in South Dakota 18 hours later, camping out in Chris Mccandleless fashion next to the craggily visages of Mt Rushmore, lost in a scatter of mountain goats, the towering evergreens and feral bison the black hills avail.  Two days later I arrived home to find every light in my apartment turned on like illuminated calendar squares. Kyle (recently exiled by his girlfriend) had been living in the West Peoria bars for the last two days and sleeping on my back porch at night. The third night of crashing on my back porch he decided he needed to pee somewhere other than the trough at the Owl’s Nest and broke into my apartment.
It was a literary fete.

Two years ago Kyle crashed with me for four months and we were drunk all the time but we were also fucking writing our asses off.  I have a big oak writing desk in my library that looks like something the Lorax loving salvaged from a money-grubbing Thneeds and at the time Kyle wrote in my Picasso blue room, the intermittent purr of his Smith-Corona humming like a duet with the crunch of his keyboard. Kyle was a poet and I was novelist and we both wrote ten hours a day, stopping for three hours to tramp into a West Peoria bar or purchase a cube of PBR’s before biting into the narrative cream of the page once again.

 Where I have some literary friends who when we go to a bar lose themselves in the weak iridescent glower of legalized video gaming, Kyle and I, when we get hammered, we talk about books and art and the human condition. Kyle gesticulates more and can be more stringent in his polemics. I’m pretty much always seeking an opportunity to crack open a flaccid witticism  (i.e, Faulkner wrote GO DOWN, MOSES after reading that pamphlet about the old testament prophet whose wife was sexually frustrated). Together we make for an affable outing, and (of course) after reading my dear friend Jeanette Kendall’s splendiferous piece on Rick Baker, when writers’ get together to drink there is simply no greater conversation ricocheting on the pulse of the planet.
So I wanted to have my last beer with my closest literary brother even though I realized that we were overdoing it again, adorning the globular vessels of our respective livers with tassel, mortarboard and gown. Even though I got into the habit sometime in November where I couldn’t take a shower much less chisel out a sentence without drowning a six pack first. Even though when Kyle fed me rent every two weeks we immediately absconded our literary abode and I fed the funds into the wooden lip of one of the bars within’ back porch urinating distance of our apartment. Even though we had some incendiary kick ass poetry readings at the Tartan Inn where, for some reason we started drinking  at the Get-a-way at noon and then passed out in my apartment at six, only to be roused by my friend Valena fifteen minutes before we were scheduled to rock the mic.  

Even though everything was crazy and a week before Christmas I realized that I had to go on an alcoholic furlough and  the only way I know how to do that is to start a blog and make a big deal and write about it via every day.


Whereas, due to an inexplicable Johnny Tremain accelerated reader fetish when I was in third grade I drink a shit-ton of Sam Adams. I was hoping I could split a Sampler of Sam Adams Spring thaw, alighting my final beer above my head
. About a week before Succulent Sobriety started I had a dream where my I end up drinking with Elvis and it turns out he is my grandfather and all he wants to drink is Schlitz Tall Boys all the time.

After that dream I knew that my final beer would be a Schlitz tall boy.
And I wanted to have my last beer with Kyle, only it didn’t happen that way.
It didn’t happen that was at all.


Kyle had been drinking every day for more or less the past two years. He upped his ante and bellied-up to the bar hardcore this past autumn. He surreptitiously drank at work, nursing a 40 in the back room between shifts.  He could be charming and accumulate a bar tab at the most ravaged watering holes where such a request would you get one a forehead tattoo stating that they were exiled for life. If head to choose between beer and food he would eat beer, as both would. Around Halloween he began purloining pumpkins from the neighborhood porches, not to smash them, but to eat them, claiming that when god gave you manna from all-hallows-eve heaven don’t bitch about being hungry.

In his beat chicanery he taught me how to go into a bar, slide them a debit card (note: it helps if the debit card is a VISA that doesn’t have your own name on it) that doesn’t have much left in terms of funds, drink off the vicarious tab, get a god meal and then inexplicably vanish, leaving the employees of the establishment to chip in on the bill.

A few weeks before Halloween we drove up to Wisconsin to attend my dear friend Roxy Reno’s wedding. Kyle went crazy and drank for almost three days Kerouacian-laced Benzedrine speed-fueled romp. He knocked over chairs while poetically pow-wowing at a bar. He hired a prostitute (when you hire a prostitute they request that you whip out your cock and flash them so they know you are not a cop). Something happen and the prostitute took the money and high-tailed without Kyle getting laid. We came back to P-town and continued to party and, along with Hollye, Daz and Tyler Sutherland give kick-ass readings at the Tartan. The last reading in December Kyle fucking nailed, it, reading his poems,  his breath harnessing and mounting each vowel as if wearing spurs on the orchestral tip of his tongue. He bit into each syllable of his poems, he gnawed and salivated, snorted each line as if it freshly cut capillaries of cocaine. At the finale of each poem he slapped each individual sheath of paper he had typed into the air and began reciting a different piece. The stationary paper from the previously read poem hovered in the air like a shot dove or a kicked-off pair of panties before slowly gravitationally shuffling into the floor of the bar.

Kyle cascaded north to Wisconsin for the holiday. What was tentatively scheduled to be a week long drinking fete was multiplied by three. When he came back from Milwaukee tattered and emotionally bruised. On New Years Eve he was robbed while going to a bar.  There was a lavender welt slit atop his forehead from where the assailant hit him with a  gun. When the greyhound in back to Peoria the bus driver wouldn’t allow him access because he reeked of booze.

He came back to P-town a week later

He continued to drink. Continued to write. Continued to brachiate from barstool to barstool. One night while I was at work the cops were called to my apartment (ahem, this means war Christina, every time you verbally abuse and thrash your progeny DCFS will receive a phone call). The next night he beat up a wanna-be poet who another lifetime ago I considered a brother who after I achieved a modicum success in my craft, completely went out of his way to lambaste my career. Kyle was still drinking every blinking hour but his loyalty was never in doubt. The next night he got into another altercation at a bar. Somehow via his innate poetic charm he continued to get into bars while not having much funds dapperly drinking off the aegis of others (that’s what happens when you are a famous writer…everyone goes out of their way to buy you drinks....ha ha ha).

Two Saturdays before the second Succulent Sobriety was set to convene I had beer in the house only it was hidden because I was anxiety-riddled that had I kept it in the fridge my roommate would indubitably imbibe the bulk of my faretheewell beverage. Three days before I forget and left the beer idling in the fridge. When I came home from work I noticed that Kyle was crashing more than usual. I noticed even more that the cube of Sam Adams Winter favorites had gone unscathed in the fridge. The next day I woke his ass up and asked him to join me for a beer since I had 16 hours left til I voluntarily sprinted into my 40 day moratorium. There was still beer in the fridge which astounded me. When I asked him if he would like to join me for a toast celebrating the secondary introit to me sobriety Kyle declined.

I’d never seem him forgo a beer gratis in my life.

He told me that he was in the hospital last night. I didn’t believe him. I then noticed the plastic band wreathed around the birch of his right wrist like a manacle. I asked him what happen. Kyle informed me in all candor that he didn’t exactly know. He said he was at work and the next thing he knew his entire body crunched up.  That he couldn’t move. That he was paralyzed. That he thought he was having a stroke. That his heart felt like a pregnant timpani about ready to thud into a percussion of exploding thumps. He left his work, traipsed across the street to the liquor store, picked up a 40 and chugged it in twin draughts.  He then went back to work. An hour later his body started pining for more beer. When it was denied it locked. He again felt heart palpitations. He again couldn’t move part of his face. He had a patron dial 9-1-1 and hold the phone up to his ear as he perfunctory explained to the paramedics what was going on.  He then found himself strapped down like a corpse with a pulse in the back of an ambulance that would later charge him 1250 dollars per hour for the 1300 meter scoot from where he works to the emergency doors of Methodist Medical center.  They would sedate him in a room and noodle plastic tubes throughout his slender anatomy and print something out claiming that it was alcohol related and charge him and additional 1000 dollars for his three hours convalesce, insisting that someone pick him up less the hospital be sued.

I wish I would have been there more for Kyle in his time of emotional tumult, only I was wasn’t. I was more concerned with getting fucked up myself. I was more concerned with having one final beer, quaffing one final sudsy soliloquy  before disembarking from the drunken port into the swan song of my own sobriety. I wish I could have been more of a soulful solace, a brother, a best friend.  I wish I wouldnhave told him that the last time I was in the hospital via drinking when everything was perspicuous I was the same exact age he is now, and refrained from telling him that the first thing I did when I arrived back home was take a shower and drown a forty before heading back to work.

I wish I would have told him all this, showed more solicitous concern when he alluded that, after an intense three month binge, after two years of drinking all the time since he was wearing the bracelet, after moving in and one-uping each other beer for beer on an hourly caliber.


Instead I nursed my final beer, a Schlitz tallboy, in my perennial reflective solitude out of a nondescript Styrofoam chalice in Jumer’s parking lot, the palatial penumbra’s of the once majestic castle forming Paleolithic drapes, sails of jigsaw tint splattered on the frozen leftover wedding cake winter of the earth below. I thought about Kyle (who it turns out, went the entire 35 days sans alcoholic beverages with me) and about Elvis and about the great Rick Baker,i.e., ‘Uncle Rick,’ wondering what his genius would chisel out in no-non shit working class hewed  journalistic paragraphs of  blue-collar bliss featuring the still-life status quo of the city I love so much. I can see him writing an opus about Aldi’s closing down the hill, and how a solid fifteen mile radius of lower-income P-town now has to straddle a germ-riddled bus and be escorted across a chilly river just to purchase produce. Or how he would attack the recent soap opera concerning the Stalinesque Super Intendant of District 150 ( whom he would moniker Elphaba a la Wicked, the green-w-envy Witch who Transmogrified the Tin Man so he could live w/out a heart) and my friend educator  extradonaire  John Wetterhauer, who was unjustly targeted in a school district that has always been a few French fires short of an academic happy meal (note: as an alum and proud protect of the South Side institution whose avg high school ACT score is a cumulative 13  don’t get me started) Mr. Wetterhauer who after producing an award winning school almost unparalleled in the last thirty years, Elphaba felt the untoward need to brandish her broomstick and go out of her way to make a man who has worn his heart on the tin of his Charter Oak sleeve before it was plucked by a whiny wanna-be academician (who chose to send her progeny to John’s award winning school) because the spotlight wasn’t on her.


I thought about a lot of things as I took intermittent swigs from the slurpy draught of what would be my final beer for a over month but I mostly thought about the vicissitudes of the body, the fluctuation and digestive tracks, the dated-Christmas bulbs of my kidneys. I wanted to find out what my body would endure. I wanted to delve into indented tufts of non-chemically induced  almost mundane Buddhaesque auras and find out what it felt like to, once again, simply feel.


Crack the sarcophagus of gender notarized flesh I find myself blinking and burrowed for the past 35 years.


Find out what the feels like to feel stranded on the continental cusp of the planet again and find out if I had anything simply left to say.


I was in Jumer's parking lot sifting the final nautical swirls from what was to be my last beer on what all central Illinoisians would concurs has  duly been the most acerbic and unforgiving winter in memory. I wanted to slough the thermal-cocoon of my winter coat. I wand to criss-cross my arms and form an X near my waist line and reel up my shirt. I wanted to unhinge the copper zipper of my jeans, step out of my jeans and undergarments like I was uncoiling a microcosmic fabric of DNA.

I wanted to stroke the fleshy baton, the anatomical cylindrical scroll of my anatomy, a needle to a compass leading nowhere.

I wanted to aim into the forgotten girth of the South end and release myself in the direction of the shoe-box flavored high school where I was sexually molested. Where when I went for help it wasn’t given. I wanted to exonerate the plank of my gender into the steeple (visible from the far south side of Jumer’s parking lot) where I went to church and which served as the social hub of my families existence for the first twenty years and (thinking on tournament weekend about those basketball fucks who took  shit-stained jock strap, pummeled me down in a corner and crowned my head with it in coronation purported savior  bearing  thorns fashion).

I saw all this as I looked into the Styrofoam chalice, tilted my head back and empty the last suds from of the Schlitz tall boy.

I punched a hole in the Styrofoam receptacle.


I littered in Jumer’s parking lot.


Sometimes you have to get naked and lose everything to find out what the fuck is left inside of you.

To find out if you have anything left to say.


I went home. I had bound stalks of vegetables to juice.


I had forty days to figure all this shit out once again.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 34: He arrives to work an hour early to do stairs

He arrives to work an hour early to do stairs.

In another lifetime he could be John Henry, thick bones, six-foot six, eyes that look like caricatured cue-balls ferrying heavy sadness and loss. He arrives an hour early to do stairs. Quoting bible verses with decimals about shepherds and lights and a Kingdom that somehow is to come as he vertically clambers the chamber of slants at the stairwell where he works, launching the pedals of his anatomical girth into the layered rungs below him.

He arrives an hour early to do stairs.

 He can tell you all about Cabrini Green in the late 80’s, how he played center for Chicago King in the public league and how it was his ticket out and how he blew up because all he was was a gummy bear trapped inside this large body. How he couldn’t get to class on time. How the Vice Lords hooked him up with his first hit of crack, chalky, like grade school calcium, taking intermittent red-eyed hits before hitting the corner, drinking malt liquor out of a brown paper bag.

“Man, I could’ve been an NBA center or at least gone to college for free.” He extolls his own body, before talking about crack, which he calls rocks, speaking about it as if he minored in geology, talking about how it was ubiquitous, how it was more readily available then solid plumbing in the Chicago public housing in the early ‘80’s.   

He’s had years of abuse. Years of financial straggling. Years of failure. The caps of his knees are the size of twin softballs and one night, after a binge, he capitulated, he down on his knees, tears bleeding from wither his brow or his socket, acknowledging to something inscrutable that he felt was in the room with him at that moment that he just can’t do it on his own anymore.

And he arrives to work an hour early to do stairs.

One night after coming back from doing stairs his A chip fell out of his pocket, like he was making a wish in an empty well of promises called life. The chip had a pyramid and the first letter of the alphabet repeated twice in capital letters adorning one side. The chip had the mantra ‘One day a time,’ and a quote by Shakespeare on the converse about to thy own self being true.

His co-workers are twenty years younger. After work they go out and get hammered and fall down and buy alchemical shots of alcohol mingled with energy drinks and sleep with women they have naked pictures of in their phones, holding their phones out like highlighted passages in a Gideon bible, telling each other that they hit that shit last night. They laugh at the side of the coin. One makes a joke about tossing the coin up in the air and calling heads, tails or drunk. 

When the coin falls out he is carrying a bag of spinach and a bag of baby carrots because he has made a new year’s resolution to eat right.  He smiles at his co-workers’ banter. He ignores their taunts. On Saturday night he goes down to a building with a neon cross down on Adams with the Words JESUS SAVES forming an acrostic in the center of the plus sign He speaks with people are homeless. He tells them his story. He prays with them, closing his eyes, looking up at the ceiling with his eyes closed, looking up at the ceiling with his eyes crunched closed, his think fingers splayed atop stranger’s heads like a yamaka made out of thumbs, blessing the person, asking the inscrutable force he calls God to avails his bountiful grace.

He’ll be fifty next year and he will tell you himself that it took him half a century to feel this young and have this much promise in his life.

And he arrives to work an hour early to do stairs.


She worked in the library getting her master’s in education while her husband was off fighting a war no one they knew believed in. He never sent e-mails. He never wrote letters. When he did contact her it was usually about money. They both got married when they 25. She was bubbly. A big girl. She had big boobs. She always had a smile tattooed above her chin. She had blonde hair and dimples and a husband who proposed to her then went off to fight a war no one understands.

When her husband came back they were strangers. You would see them at the Chinese buffet shoveling heaps of bartered lard on their tray. He was always aloof. You could tell that he didn’t like when she talked to people of the opposite sex. He looked like them the way he was oriented to look at other species sharing this planet who wore a turban instead of a football helmet.

 He looked at them as the enemy.


They moved to California. She taught English in inner city schools. They went to marriage counseling.  He didn’t like working in that vector of town. Callled all her students niggers. Said he didn’t like her teaching them niggers. They were already on public aid. They were already sopping up enough of his taxes.

Finally after two years she left him. She left her body. Stepped out of her old self like stepping out of a Babushka doll or a sarcophagus. She started running. She started lifting pink weights while listening to motivational videos. She became a vegan. In two months she lost fifty pounds. She became a different person. When the writer whom she was friends with when  she worked at the library saw a picture of her on facebook he hardly recognized her. She kept her boobs. She blossomed into the body that was somehow always there.


When the writer sends her a message, tells her that being involved in literary fiction we are always  looking to invest in a protagonist whom you can register a palpable change on a neurological level and boy, does she fit the caliber of a person vaulting over tumult enacting positive change in one’s life. She sends me back a poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca:

"...I continually find myself in the ruins
of new beginnings,
uncoiling the rope of my life
to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses,
tying my heart into a knot
round a tree or boulder,
to insure I have something that will hold me,
that will not let me fall."..

A year later she gets married again to a stud. Her wedding is at Yosemite park.

She asks me if I could send her a poem on love they could read in the ceremony.

I address her as sister.

I tell her sister, it would be an honor.
After the inopportune death of her husband she found herself all alone in the world with two kids and a house full of Disney movie toys, she’ll joke later, that the reason she never thought her son was gay because he chose, ‘Buzzlight year over Woody.’ She worked menial jobs. She babysat the kids across the street. She volunteered as a girl scout leader. The house was always full of kids bearing summer Kool-aid moustaches.
When the kids are at school she unwinds by going on long aimless drives, chain-smoking across the dun-flavored chess board of the Midwest after harvest through a stubble of corn husks, a ploughed field enveloping into the tingling peach of the eastern horizon.
When her writer friend resuscitated the blog where he writes about going without she decided to join him even though he never asked her to. The first time since she was 13 she goes a month without a cigarette. She goes cold-turkey on caffeine. She sacrifices up dairy, no more spicy bricks of habanero cheese or farm fresh eggs for six weeks.  She starts cooking vegan. She’s never purchased a pack of Tofu in her life. It turns out she can do things with Tofu that should be illicit. When the writer decides to delve into Indian philosophy, chatting about chakras and water-fasts she discreetly joins him, going five days as well. She lost weight, notably. She looks good. Her parents who are in their 70’s and lost everything they own to the Tornado tells her that they are proud of her.
Later she will tell her writer friend that she is down to pre-pregnancy weight. That the last time her body registered these digits on the bathroom scale was 23 years ago.
The writer smiles. He misses coffee. He misses cold beer. He thinks about his co-worker pushing his body up the slats of stairs ushering a sweat. He thinks about his friend in California who became a completely different person after she left her husband, He thinks about going on a long drive this country road and cracking open a beer in the passenger seat, chasing the sunset, never knowing when to stop, wanting to fall into the overhead ribbons of a winter sunset, the winter that never seems to end, snow melting in charcoal gobs like lead from melted pencils forming gravy puddles on the side of the road.
It spring, baby, we still have so much more yet to say.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 33: Ajna…the day I foundered on day six Paryushana, beatifically bartering my water-fast in lieu of slurping a half-cup of 50 calorie soup and scoop of peanut butter...

“In a millennium or two, a seeming paradox of our civilization will be best understood by those men versed in the methods of counter-archaeology. They will study us not by digging into the earth  but by climbing vast dunes of industrial rubble and mutilated steel, seeking to reach the tops of our buildings. Here they’ll chirp lovingly at our spires, mansards, turrets, parapets, belfries, water tanks, flower pots, pigeons lofts and chimneys...” 

                                                                       Don Dellio, Great Jones Street

On day six I failed. The drape of reality completely disintegrating  around me, my stomach felt
like an arid dried-out chamois. I entered a state where I was tranced out all the time. I entered a very fuckable, falling on the caps of my knees as if proposing to the void of equilibrium on Valentine ’s Day state. I grew to loathe the liquid form of oxygen with a double-shot of hydrogen. I grew to detest water. I grew to abhor the substance that my skin is concealing like a Russian Babushka doll; the substance the bulk of my planet is composed of—the substance I’ve been meditating over, astutely focusing on ameliorating higher calibers of consciousness, sloughing myself of the emotional fetters that have pinned me to a grade school cheaply cut Valentine’s Day bulletin board of paralysis the last ten years, hoping to channel kindness and giving and love into the plastic silo of liquid before chugging, monopolizing he majority of the day pacing around my apartment feeling like a perambulating water cooler,  finding myself splayed leg in the bathroom, a  yellow beam shooting out from the faucet below my torso every fifteen minutes as if all I am is a windmill, a corporeal sieve.
It was six days of Paryushana, of intense mediating, of digesting nothing but water, of feeling like I gorged out in glutton-pining fashion at the local Chinese buffet only the buffet looked just like free swim and the community pool and I still decided to open my lips and seemingly gnaw away.
In 2003 street magician David Blaine ensconced himself in a diminutive Plexiglas cage above the River Thames in London and, reenacting the rudiments of Franz Kafka’s THE HUNGER ARTIST, fasting for 44 days, living off of 4.5 liters of water per day. Blaine completed the fast successfully shedding 54 pounds, 25 percent of his body weight. During the time he spent the days meditating, looking out the carnivalesque atmosphere stirring b’low, being relentlessly taunted by passerby’s who hurled food, beer cans, laughed, ridiculed, females hoisting up their tops and flashing him, all the while David Blaine maintained his focus, maintained his linearity, continued to go without vital nourishments needed to maintain continuity on the life of this planet  while the outside world engulfed him like pebbles to a sea.    
The sixth chakra notched on our lotus ladder to enlightenment in known as Ajna. It is located at the third eye, the frontal, lobe, the area of the brain where choices are mediated and actuated. The awakening of the frontal lobe has mystified the scope of our species for centuries. Something happens when our thinking is shifted towards the periphery of neurological consciousness. It altars our ability to intuit the world in a different perspective—it heightens are awareness to ontologically capture the scope of this planet in a new way.
Whether it’s the heralding a chunk of middle-eastern stone pelting the forehead of David’ Goliath, ushering an era of Old testament Kings,  the sight of Indian maiden adorning the center of her eyebrows with an unblinking bindi or even Harry Potter coming to the realization that he’s some sort of unbidden wizard via the serrated lightening slash located in the center of his brow, astute concentration on the frontal lobe significantly connotes the  harbinger of change often presaging epiphanic waves of enlightenment.
When the frontal lobe starts to jism, something monumental is about ready to come.
It was Valentines day 1997. I was a freshman at ICC, monopolizing the interim between  classes wading in the circuitous parabolic russet  mandala of the campus (those of you familiar with the architectural semblance of ICC are well familiar that the main East Peoria campus is configured like the shaved bulb of a brick question mark—all the classes are arrayed on an arched slant). Four months earlier (decades when you are all of nineteen) I was poet and I left, spent the thousand dollars I had accumulated from a lifetime of working menial jobs plus a 500 dollar literary scholarship and flew to be with the woman of dreams. This was October 96 and it didn’t workout. I returned home, and, like David Blaine, locked myself in a room for two weeks and wrote, slicing up sheaths of pages I had scribed poems of longing, welding them via staccato taps into the pregnant monitor of my father’s 94 apple computer, saving the literary manna on a floppy that looked like a flattened tampon, printing out the poems (40 or so) as if watching my new born enter the planet through the fumbling slit of the printer before taking the manuscript and stowing it in a Doc Marten shoebox in the back of my post-teenage bedroom closet.   

Four months later, close to Valentines Day, I thought about the creature I had given it all up for months before and the poems she had given me. I was 19, I wouldn’t be able to drink legally for another year and half. Somehow I had gotten ahold of two 24 oz. bottles of beer. One was the emerald esophageal neck of Rolling Rock, the other was Dundee Honey Brown. I have no recollection I procured these two relics, only I go then sometime in early December and that sat, burrowed in the back of my closet, next to my manuscript for almost two months, when I drank then while watching the original Before Sunrise thinking about her.  
I was 19 and much in the similar manner in which I have been fumbling around my house because of lack of food, fumbled around the house of my childhood. I never would have fathomed that ten years later I would have been drinking the equivalent of ten (plus) times the amount of beer per day than I imbibed that night while watching Before Sunrise, trying somehow to heal the welts of loss that still stung with hurt inside my chest using alcohol as my gauze to sop up all the pain.

I thought about that Valentine’s Day 19 years ago  as I stumbled around the kitchen and, after almost six days, bartered my Bodhi quest for enlightenment for a 50 calorie bowl of soup and a scoop of peanut. At first my body didn’t seem to know what to do with the nutrients. I remember when David Blaine finished his fast it was stated that the ‘re-feeding’ process was just as lethal as the fasting process since his body might not know what to do with the food and have to learn how to break down and digest nutrients all over again.

While slurping the sound and then dishing out peanut butter like barreled ice cream I was astounded that I didn’t feel any blood branch and stream across the lower whittled paunch of my stomach. The moment I sipped the 50 calorie bowl of Vegan friendly tomato and squash soup all the blood seemed to sprint, up into the pyramidal bowling-pin pinnacle of my body, up to my frontal lobe, up to the area of  chakra consciousness I was too busy to straggling around the house to meditate over today. It seemed like my third eye was serving as a sort of lighthouse, informing the rest of my body what to do with the tithe it had received after being forsaken for so long.   

Early Valentine’s day morning my mom was taking me back to my apartment in West Peoria. There is always Christian radio blaring in my mom’s house and in her vehicle. A pastor was talking about ‘idolatry’ and mom asked me if I thought alcohol might be mine, the thing in this life I chose to venerate and worship.

I thought about idolatry. Thought about the quote from Don Delillo’s Great Jones Street ( a novel the writer has disowned but which deserves to be read more) about how in a ten thousand years after sifting through the dregs of a nuclear detritus what passes for our homo-sapien ancestors will discover our civilization and be nonplussed by the items they find once they scale our abodes.

“They’ll go into every house and think that television is our God.” I tell my mom and propounded my theory, “And that we had Gods with names like Sony and Zenith and that we communicated with them via a flat rectangular plate adorning the center of our domicile. They will think we worshiped that God as an idol. That we spent all day fasting in front of it, praying, hoping it will ass meaning to our short period we find ourselves abiding in this time and place called now.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 32: Vishuddha... Paryshana water fast of enlightenment day 5


“..The artist now submitted completely; his head lolled on his breast as if it had landed there by chance; his body was hollowed out; his legs in a spasm of self preservation clung close to each other at the knees, yet scraped on the ground, as if it were not really solid ground, as if they were only trying to find solid ground; as if the whole weight of his body, a featherweight after all, relapsed…”
                                                                --Franz Kafka, Hunger Artist
Day five I feel clean. It’s like a quantum custodial staff kicked a sudsy janitorial bucket and mopped the interior terminal of my forearms. I’m not tingling. I’m not pooping anything that resembles soup kitchen dregs. I’m still dizzy, the recalcitrant marrow has abandoned the caps of my knees supplanting them with globular gobs of licorice. The room is tilting. It’s as if I’m crucified to the flimsy petal of a pinwheel leftover from childhood, still, the concourse and avenues of my arteries feel clean—as if sprayed with streaks of windex before being doused with a bucket of bleach. I don’t feel like I’m ambling around the overturned ice-cube tray that is West Peoria in the meanest winter we have had in three years. I feel clean, and the catharsis is this: with the exception of a gaveling pulse and a Pandora chastity box fraught with thudding literary dreams there is nothing inside of me at all.
We don’t realize the machinery of our bodies is  operating, anatomical molecules adorned in hardhats marshaling the assurance of our bodily organs, the drapey fungus of the liver, filtering out unwarranted debris, the bulbous kidney beakers distilling nutrients, the serpentine Hot wheels kiddie race track of my large and small intestines ushering white-trash cooler NASCAR events below the serrated lid of my umbilicus, all happening, 24-7 as if operated by scaffolded Doozers a la Fraggle Rock, my body, an infinite orgy of activity I ferry around with me at all times, oblivious to the to the blue-collar operating every egg-timing quantum pinch of both my waking and sleeping existence, finally after 36.5 years (shit) getting a long overdue smoke break.
How can the anatomical cigar-chomping boss one consciousness be so fucking pernicious to the employees operating the machinery inside of him…
 Still tilting. Still seeing blooming Fraggles and winking dots everywhere I look…  
Mediation: the fifth chakra is located the level of the larynx and is called Vishuddha. It means purified, or purging out the animalistic system, so, in the immortal maxim of Ramakrishna, “When the Kundalini reaches this plane the devotee longs to talk and to hear only of God.”
The lotus has sixteen petals, each bearing the engraftment of one of sixteen Sanskrit vowels. The lotus petals are of the same pending lavender thunder-cloud hue of Chakra 3, manipura, as Joseph Campbell orchestrates in his exquisite lecture, “ The energy formally projected out into conquering others is project in into conquering self.”
Meditation has been arduous since my attention span is zippo I can feel my stomach beginning to roar only a muted ripple avails itself.
This being valentine’s day eve, I meditated on chakra five on the most beautiful poem I know. There’s a lot of love poems I recite in my poetry readings (ie, the 4th stanza of Whitman’s I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC, Shakespeare’s sonnet 116, Sharon Old’s Topography) but if I had to choose one lotus-chakra opening poem to recite to the human beings whose limbs and lips correlate with every metaphysical pulse  of my being, it would be this one by Rumi b’low:

This Valentine’s Day  may the hunger for spiritual growth, universal kindness and streams of joy unbutton the charka of love inside of us all.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 31: Anahata… Paryushana water fast day 4…. Christ was crucified because he said I and the Father are one…

It was exactly 12 years ago earlier this month when the pulsating physical attire of my father left us. He died suddenly. He had just turned 54. He was teaching fourth graders at Hollis Grade school and performed as the protagonist in THE LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE at first Baptist church in Pekin just six weeks earlier. At the time none of us, in the wildest scattering hopscotch of our imagination could possibly fathom that he would be diagnosed with cancer before inexplicably being taken from us six weeks later.

In their performance dad played (well) the dad, and the daughter (whose real name was Destiny) found out a secret pertaining to Christmas’ past.

After the performance I went to find dad. He was all alone, in the back room, holding a cup of coffee looking distinguished, wearing a derby cap, he was standing all by himself, in his solitude. After Christmas he started subtly complaining about stomach. I don’t know if Dad realized something was internally wrong, if cancer was adorning the organs like bulbs of the ubiquitous holiday trees. I don’t know if he realized it would be his last Christmas.

If he did, in that moment, standing all alone in the basement room at a Baptist church in Pekin, Illinois, he looked dapper, he looked humble and quiet, his kindness and benevolence exuding from the glisten of his forehead like a halo.

In that moment when he was standing all by himself, I saw my father’s grace. 

The man I was privileged to have known as my father.




Day four of the Paryushana water fast is completely nerve-enervating. I’ve been flopping. My gait is rattled. The room keeps tilting sideways like I’m back in third grade and it is recess and I’ve just surmounted the center of the teeter-totter trying to gain a pinch of equilibrium only the level plane I’ve victoriously surmounted keeps vacillating in its wooden linearity.

I can drink beer and party for three days straight and still not crash, still recite Shakespearean sonnets backwards, still be, (well, as we all know) perspicuous and yet feasting on nothing but oxygen and a double shot of hydrogen and air is neurologically disconcerting. I don’t feel acute when it comes to language. I lack the same incendiary snap at the keyboard. I long for a cup of coffee to keep the floor from oscillating.

I’m grouchy.

I’m more petulant than pedantic

 I nod off when meditating. Even crazier I haven’t taken a dump in four days (liquid comes out at both ends, when it trickles out of my ass it looks like a bowl of lipton soup, which I know is way too much information but hey if you want a writer who is all frilly in her narrative faux pas’ read something by that bitch who wrote EAT PRAY LOVE and failed to scribe an original sentence in her life ).

  After showering yesterday my entire skin was a tad blue, as if I’d been sipping codfish oil out of a cannery row tin. My forearms and inner thighs looked like damp cigarette paper. I had been living off of water for three days and my whole entire anatomy felt like the glass contours to an aquarium, my stomach still intermittently purring,I swear, there was something sloshing around my lower intestines bearing fins.

The vagaries of the body.

 In 28 days I have lost 21 pounds. Still nine pounds from the rockstar weight (means I could wear my tattered rock star jeans) that I was at the punctuation of the initial Succulent Sobriety, day 38.1, when I foundered, when I just couldn’t deal with the duress of paying student loans without having a beer in paw.

I’m also Aye-dee-deeing out of control. It’s hard to sew together a few sentences without focus dithering, spinning like a classroom globe.

Reset your watch after reading Emille Rosseau cause I Kant concentrate worth shit, Immanuel.




“Now all three of these lower chakras are of the modes of man’s living in the world in his naïve state, outward turned: the modes of the lovers, the fighters, the builders, the accomplishers. Joys and sorrows on these levels are functions of achievements of the world, ‘out there’ what people think of one, what has been gained, what lost. And throughout the history of our species, people functioning only on these levels, (who of course have been in the majority) have had to be tamed and brought to heel through the inculcation of a controlling sense of social duty and shared social values, enforced not only by secular authority but also by all those grandiose myths of an unchallengeable divine authority to which every social order—each in its own way—has had to lay claim….and now so we ascend to chakra four, at the level of the heart, what Dante called La Vita Nuova, ‘The New Life,’ begins. And the name of this center is Anahata ‘Not Struck’ for it is a place where the sound is heard, “that is not made by any two things striking together.”  

                                                                       --Joseph Campbell, the Mythic Image






The fourth Charka is Anahata and as Campbell writes so eloquently, “is the sound Aum not made by any two things striking together and floating as if it were in a setting of silence, is the seed sound of creation, heard when the rising Kundalini reaches the level of the heart. For there, as they say, the Great Self abides and portals open to the void.” It is an opening of the heart, a realization that you and the other are one, or, as my boy Dante avows the moment he first espied the aria (sic)-espial scent of his eternal Beatrice:

“At that moment I say truly, the spirit of life, which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart began to tremble with such violence that it appeared fearfully in the least pulses, and, trembling, said these words, ‘Behold a god stronger than I, who coming shall rule over me.”

At that instant the spirits of the soul, which dwells in the high chamber to which all the spirits of the senses carry their perceptions began to marvel greatly and speaking especially to the spirit of the sight, said these words: ‘Now has appeared your bless.”

The chakra can be seen as a transcendent wound, the welt inflicted by the arrowhead of Eros inadvertently plucking himself, falling dastardly, uncontrollably, in love."





Yesterday the sexy red-headed mermaid and I went for drive. We left at about 5:30 and she took an epic snapshot of the balring winter sunrise outside the small rural hamlet of Fiatt, Il. We have christened Mason County as our own. We’ll stop at Willet’s winery in Manito can pick up a few bottles of Cranberry Frost before camping out at Sand Ridge, drinking wine, holding each other lost under the yawping penumbra of the stars.  When the sexy-red-headed girl was in sixth grade she ironically had my father as her teacher. She would stay after and help him out. She went outside and clapped the erasers together, an applause of chalk rise in bulbs outside the sixth grade classroom at Beverly Manor school. Sometimes they would play chess. When I met her she stated that he was her favorite teacher and that she always felt special when he paid attention to her and that she was emotionally distraught when she heard of his untimely passing.

Since I (literally) can’t walk in straight line I ha the sexy red head drop me off to my mom’s house to dry out, even though the only thing I’m abstaining from is chewing.

At my mom’s house I wrote the Anahata on my water bottle for the day. Instead of meditating I found myself standing in front of a picture of my father. In almost a traditional linear narrative ‘sun-shining-through-the clouds-ricocheting-into the café-window-protagonist duly-having-middle-aged-epiphany-that-he-has-never-lived-a single-day-in-his life’ catharsis I realized that I had now lived one/third of my life without the demure presence the overhead shadow I have referred to as my daddy.  


I was looking at my father’s picture chanting the greatest Holy name sipping the Anahata H20 when I could feel his presence, a golden cloak seem to caped over me, and I could palpably feel his presence next to me, could feel his gruff whiskers and his peppermint breath, subtle finger-tip callous of his Sunday school guitar strumming fingernails holding me close, lifting me up, dandling my shoulders as if I were a new born once again.    

Eternity is much closer than we think.

When I was eight years old I used go jogging with my father around Moss Avnue. We had a Pirate house on the corner where Moss and barker form a penissula and we would turn at the pirate house and head home. Dad always wore socks on his head instead of gloves. We would sprint down Moss avenue near the finish line at Jumers before walking home to our resident on Sherman.

One thing father would tell me over and over again after we had turned at the half-way mark Pirate’s house is that, “every step you take now takes you closer to home.”

I think like Holden Caulfied if you really want to hear about it when I’ve been eating water for four days that  perhaps our bodies our only avatars finger puppets with genital door knobs being simultaneously oriented by our eternal self, watching yourself as if from a snow globe or video game screen, laughing at our peccadillos trying to walk horizontal due to our propensity of our innate foibles.

I think about what my father once told me about every step taking you closer to home and how, even during a self-imposed water-fast,horizonatlly flapping from one imprisoned calendar square to the next it feels like we are scratching in poetic pecks of longing dutifully awaiting the moment we will finally hatch free and fly….


Love ya daddy….