Hey smiling strange


You are a source of words for me, caged and bittersweet.
I picture green hair long under bandannas, free range grass
and dirt on hairy hippie feet.

I thumb through my vinyl and I think of you.

and, through you, the summer of 95 calls to me
playing out like home movies full of grain and static.
Still frames of bright blue water over your summertime skin.

I see no wrinkles, only you
and dusty records in the attic

I see no wrinkles, only grooves
for me to play over with fingers
young and curious.



Last night I journeyed to what is arguably my new favorite space in Jacksonville, the CoRK Arts District,
and found myself in the middle of several different walls of noise.

Literally. Noise.

I had seen an event invite on Facebook and, recognizing none of the bands, decided I had to fill what was an already full weekend to the brim by heading down to Riverside on a Sunday night, bringing some friends along with me.

This would turn out to be an interesting idea. In the dark of the waiting studio there were bodies moving, wearing giant masks, focused on wheatpasting their art onto cardboard boxes, while a lone figure sat with them hunched over synthesizers and pedals flashing with light. A low reverbed hum throbbed around the room. 

Last night I had my brain shaken.

I was enthralled watching the artists work together, fluidly pasting the glue and paper prints in one seamless motion, and listening to what is called “noisebient” music. I absorbed the multicolored flashing lights into my bloodstream and felt my cells vibrate. Though I was admittedly skeptical of the “music” being played, this music with no immediately obvious rhyme or reason or melody, yet still handcrafted - I was also intrigued.

This feeling only magnified over the next two acts for which we stayed, the second immediately dividing our group’s sensibilities. While the aesthetic of the first noisebient offering was musically unintelligible, there had still been a somewhat pleasant atmosphere compared to this new act before us. There were no artists working, no lights, just two men inside of a wood frame structure, and a wall of sound. Sound like the distorted transmission of a message through the dark nethers of space.

Sound like what you might hear roaring the through the empty stretches of a silent tunnel at night.

I found myself lit up somehow by what I heard because it was a puzzle from every angle, something unique to be looked at and studied from all sides. It was not anything that would immediately be considered music to any outsider listening in, yet it was being presented as music. It was not anything that I could see myself listening to in any other scenario like at work or in the car, but it turned my brain inside out. I was simultaneously put off by the extended waves of discordance but also intrigued, and my thoughts raced to try to make sense of what I heard. I tried to make sense of the people around me and how they interpreted what we were hearing. The fact that we as a group were there together indulging the whims of these two musicians, the fact that these two people had come together and intentionally, deliberately, placed note upon note to form this soundscape.

I sat on the floor and closed my eyes, ignoring the text from my sister pleading, “can we go soon?”

No. I didn’t want to go yet. I wanted to wrap myself around this sound that was warping its way over me, making no sense. Trying to make sense. Objectively observing my visceral reactions to everything happening, thinking about the definition of music and if this could fit inside that definition, if music needs defining at all. If the questions “is this music” or “is this any good” were relevant at all.

We didn’t stay much longer as some in my group were growing restless, and on the way home it was clear that we, the six of us at the show together, were all over the place in regard to how we felt about what we had just seen. It was actually a pretty even split – two of us were really excited by what we had seen, perhaps irrationally so, two of us were on the fence or maybe didn’t even know what to think, and the remaining two were adamant about how terrible the “music” was and how absolutely unenthralled they had been… again, perhaps irrationally so.

And so we talked. I tried in vain to explain what excited me about what we had witnessed, about how I did in fact believe that it was irrelevant if the audience members thought it was music, or if anyone thought it was any good at all. The sole fact that we as an audience chose to stay and take part in something that made no inherent sense made this more of a psychological experiment than a concert. I’ll admit to being more open-minded when it comes to situations like this. Even if something is terribly unpleasant and discordant I am more than willing to give it a chance and try to derive some meaning, any meaning.

Out a lifetime spent surrounded by and studying all types of music, I’ve observed a large element of predictability in most musical types. A majority of songs will end one of a few ways, will have one of a few cadences, will have one of a few chord progressions. It’s why I find it easy to sing along to a song I’ve never heard before. But… there was nothing to be predicted about the music presented that night. There were none of the usual landmarks of a song, be it lyrics or a hook or a bass line dropping. None of it. It was a completely new listening experience for me, and it turned my brain on in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I felt buzzed, like I had closed my fingers around an electric fence, finding myself accidentally trapped. 

I felt, and I feel this now, the call of pure creation crying out for me. If two people my age can stand before a crowd and hurl dark frequencies around in the pitch black studio at a probably obscene decibel level…. then what in the hell is stopping me from pursuing any of my creative interests? If they can do it then I sure as hell can. Who cares if what I create is any good? Who cares if anything is ever any good?

Let me repeat that, for emphasis, for my own future reference: Who cares if what I create is any good?

It seems so simple in this moment of clarity. It is not the creation that matters so much as the act of creation. I know that I am not alone in my open desire to see what other people are creating in all of the wild and varied ways that thought manifests into tangible reality. I know it. I know that there are people who want to see what I am up to as much as I want to see what others are doing, and the only thing stopping me from reaching these people is a lily-livered lack of courage.

A waning lack of courage, might I add.

That is what touched me more than anything else that night sitting in the darkness with ambient static sound surrounding me – the implied courage it takes to stand before a crowd of people and play something completely unconventional. The balls to plug in your amps and guitars and say here goes nothing (everything). Here, this, is what I have been working on.

Christ, I’m so thankful for people with guts.


Mostly manufactured

Behind the Morocco Shrine Temple

I worry that each measured step of painstakingly learned efficiency that drags me away from the terrifyingly free days of my early twenties is one step closer to the calculating coldness of the perfect Adult©. Every time I perfect one of the tiny tasks that has always for some reason eluded me, from oil changes to learning that keeping track of important paperwork now will save time later, I get this image of Carolyn Burnham, the mom from American Beauty, and I fret.

The war wages on and I feel split apart, pulled to pieces, 
tendon from ligament from slippery sinew.

How is it possible to hold on to anything good 
when the illusions dissipate and run from you?
Everything we want is nothing like it initially seems and the happiness dims as soon as we grasp for it, ruining everything beautiful like grubby little child hands smearing the life dust from diaphanous butterfly wings.

But is that just the way it is?

The faint rumble of rebellion rolls around my guts like faraway thunder and I can’t help but feel the urge to exclaim “Tis I can buck the system!” because it’s difficult for me to give up in resignation, with Failure dancing around menacingly and laughing in my face- and yet it’s difficult for me to shut the dreaming factory down. My dreams roll all over the place in winding circles of contradiction as almost every dream I have rules out the possibility of any other dream.

I have no choice but to give in and endure the wonderfully painful lashes of each branch of future lives raining down upon my flesh, giving myself over to a masochism I’ve really mostly manufactured

and I wonder if anyone else can see these scars of futures forsaken



Building new facades: University and Old St. Augustine - Jacksonville, FL

On my mind: How marriages don’t always end in happiness, and how we (oh. duh.) only hurt the ones we love.

How the happiest of people can only sustain for so long. How, like the needling tingles of a mild withdrawal, even the sensations that are supposed to be pleasurable start to slow into annoyance. Get away from me, don’t touch me, but don’t worry I’ll be back in the morning.

Until one day it takes an extra day to get back to normal, to regain perspective and remember that you love this person occupying your bed.. until the moment you pause and consider that the action of remembering implies the action of forgetting. Implying the terrifying realization that sometimes, however infrequently, you forget to be in love with this person standing next to you.

And how I, in all of my obsessive self analyzation, can catch these damaging thoughts in their tracks, can reason my way out of this terror, introducing the idea that my partner has melded into me and obviously will bear the brunt of my self loathing from time to time. That there are days where I hate myself, with toxic little hate droplets oozing out onto whatever is closest to me, as if not only I am to blame for this unrest but you are too and it’s all our fault and I hate everything but of course that feeling diminishes. Because it has to, right? Because I can look that feeling in the face and tell it to shove off, and then next thing I know you’re saying something cute and my funk bubbles away and I know that I was just being silly so let’s go listen to music and be silly together.

But right now it is the opposite scenario that hangs heavy on my shoulders.

The one where he forgot that the ooze is impermanent and let it spill over everything, watching with Hamlet’s eyes as the black poured a seamless cover onto all of the things he used to love, hiding the light that used to gleam back and forth. A thousand tiny mistakes lead to ruin and a thousand tiny bubbles of seething resentment turn into the kind of slow irrational hatred that becomes impossible to outrun.

Done. With a capital D.


Semantic Satiation


I want
to bring you here
to play chess

We’ve played so many games
the moves are all rehearsed
I can see your next three
projected on your chest

The jest is on both of us
determined not to let good day
blending into good day


the best
of us

Bold Bean Coffee - April 7th


Dungeons and Dragons

To add to my ever increasing list of random hobbies, I recently accepted an invitation to play a biweekly game of Dungeons and Dragons with some friends of mine that just moved back to town. 
This is the brief back story that I wrote for my character, Bienefeldt Orianen.

Bienefeldt – Eladrin Wizard

Bienefeldt Orianen is calm and ageless, carrying secrets by the handful. Bienefeldt lives alone in a city on the edge of fey and human growing ever frustrated by the feeling that he is incomplete. Truth be told, there is a girl. There was a girl – but isn’t there always? A girl that slipped away, enchanted by the pull of normalcy and domesticity.

In earlier years, Bienefeldt was drawn by the curious odors of adventure and left his home to traverse the mountains on the horizon, getting sucked into a great fight against the Drow, the dark elves. He did not know then (but he knows now – oh how he knows now) that the shimmering-haired girl – Irina – in his hometown, that he had always taken note of in the markets and town gatherings, had taken note of him too… yet tragically he never gathered up the nerve to say anything to her until the night before he left town. He expressed his love and she reciprocated the emotions silently, her eyes glistening with tears and adoration, knowing that they could never be – something that Bienefeldt would soon come to understand. She did not want adventure, she wanted the sounds of laughing babies and the smell of baking bread – and a husband that came home every night. Bienefeldt left the next morning, feeling both relieved to have told his love the truth but also a simmering anger at the universe for arranging the cards in such a tantalizingly frustrating manner. He made a pact with himself to make sure that Irina was always safe and taken care of, though he was determined not to disrupt the life she had created for herself. An act of true love, he told himself as he left his home behind.

In the fight against the Drow, Bienefeldt met up with Traevaran Silvermane [a groupmate’s character], a relative of Irina’s, and the aftermath of carnage and destruction led to Bienefeldt’s family taking Traevaran in. The two became fast friends, even studying together under the same Master of Magic, though their different styles of magical ability led to yet another parting of ways. Traevaren felt the magic more intuitively through his emotions and passions, while Bienefeldt connected more to the magic of nature - he also studied much more by the book as opposed to Silvermane’s instinctive sorcery. After they split Bienefeldt realized that he missed Traevaren more than he let on, as over time he had grown attached to the qualities in Traevaren that reminded Bienefeldt so strongly of that girl with the dancing eyes – though of course Bienefeldt would never admit as much out loud.

After years of living alone, though content in his comfortably cluttered cottage in the woods, Bienefeldt began to wonder if perhaps there was more adventure yet to be had. Danger awaited, for sure, but it was distraction that Bienefeldt sought, for even after all this time he loved Irina with the hazy gaze of one who stares into a nostalgic past more often than the present. He set out, lying to himself in attempts to find excuses for his excursion, not wanting to admit to himself that he hoped to check in on the lovely Irina and the family that should have been his.