the [road] journey returns (part two)

the [road] journey returns – part two
through indiana and into ohio


where im from hoosier is a four-letter word
get through this place as efficiently and ticketless as possible. leave little reason for return. it’s good to have goals. i hate indiana. pavlovian hate of an entire state wearing a reputation worse than east st louis’ crime stats and the toll road’s not helping. the treadmill ride of rustbelt-whateverland where everything looks more or less like the backyard of a power plant

lemme just pull over for a photo of this absolutely nothing worth taking a photo of. tho it’s not indiana’s fault. the land got split up and some land is more attractive than other land. something was bound to be here, it just so happens to be indiana. and indiana sucks

indiana’s motto is “the crossroads of america” – “get through it” will be the advice-motto of my suicide hotline. just get through it and after listening to the caller’s problems the specialist on the receiving end will reply, at least you’re not indiana – we’ll save em all. it’s good to have goals at least until indiana calls, and we’ll have to give the whole something-was-bound-to-be-here spiel to the state about the state of the state. 1800metadeath

during university, dating girls from indiana was a red-flag for one’s own bad choice in partners and because i [sometimes] have bad choice in partners i went home for a weekend with one such girl. her vietnam-veteran-special-forces-sniper-father hate[ed] black people. “don’t know how you live in chicago with all the (n-bombs) doing what’s natural: returning to tribal warfare as gangs. the city should take their guns’n give em spears” and thennnn her mother gave me a tour of the house…

i could write for days on all the things there for me to dislike about a state i’m slightly less than completely ignorant of. yet, i made it through unscathed and ticketless so maybe another time: goals

into ohio
unscathed and ticketless; i make it into ohio and continue heading east on backroads- though the exact direction, like much of my own creative direction at the time, was more of a general idea – i turn forks with the flip of a coin or just pick the sunnier way – sometimes i go up, sometimes i go down but coin tosses and sunnier roads determine my path – literally not metaphorically
…metaphorically too

i rev and zip two-lane country roads: farm-to-market roads, county-line roads with the windows down and the sunroof open. ezra and susan’s farm is lit between the clouds on an unassuming pasture a couple hundred yards up off the county road.

leaving city-life, the two nestled out a piece of the family plot. leaving city-life for the country is exactly what i’m joining my friends from part one to do. maybe it’s what we all want to do: say fuck it to the bullshit and farm. it’s good to have goals. he’s wearing a buckeyes shirt. hers is dare. the five-leaf clover is real.

listening to tony allen & afrika 70’s progress (1977)

one year later (2016)
at that time in that moment, meeting the ezra and susan was outside my comfort zone. it takes a bit to get warmed up on the road and this was a perfect fluff for the days that lay ahead. last week i wrote them with updates and a few photos of the destination

fuck indiana

the [road] journey returns (part one)

the [road] journey returns – part one
west to the rockies and back

img_4419z greets “sup irving, we were just talking about you yesterday.” he calls me irving

i haven’t spoken to either of them hide nor hair in a couple years – they ask what’s going on and i gave them the brief: exercise. yoga. health. thought about relocating to chicago but now that i’m here it’s a no. got the car all packed and i’m off to find a farm in two days. they laugh… what’s so funny?

“bro, in a couple weeks we sign the deed on a farm in upstate new york; you should come” replies g

life, pathetically poetic
unsure if this is real, but with a couple weeks for adventure if it is, i dually prepare a plan b and head west by way of iowa then nebraska, to colorado: my first home from when i first left home – i avoid as much interstate as possible and opt for highway 6. once there, i stay with old friends from my days in the mountains, work construction in longmont (potion castle anyone?), connect with more recent friends, gather to cloudburst the full moon eclipse, and i visit my first favorite place in the world – the divide: before the snow, above the pines and the freshly golden aspen, where the water flows down one side to one ocean and the other to another – at the top without a sound to be heard

the word comes: the farm is on. i drive a thousand miles straight back to chicago: the starting point. an exhausting straight trip from the day through the night back into the day. there is no joy in this leg, only endurance – interstate endurance: the kind that allows a driver to travel from one side of the country to the other without interacting with anyone…

i make two stops along the way
one in bettendorf to ross’ restaurant (first opened in 1938) for a 4am meal. this is a popular stop on the campaign/tour-bus trail. their signature dish, ross’ magic mountain – texas toast, ground beef, fries, and cheese sauce – has been enjoyed by the good company of obama/biden, jimi hendrix, chuck berry, johnny cash, bill murray, the moody blues, and now me. it’s more food than any one man should ever eat but i did it to prove a point to the dishwasher and because i’ve won, i’ve lost. i drive into the sunrise ready to explode

the second, two hours from the city. i pass a dilapidated motel – something tells me says to slow down and look: i see the most interesting man walking around. i pull in and spend time with him – all of the footage for a project to come – holy smokes. maybe the little voice needs a name. it’s magnetic – call it mags? whatever. what’s in a name… ooohh call it what? today’s the second anniversary of my quitting smoking – boom [boom]

in chicago
i stay for the night – tomorrow, i’ll continue this trip east through indiana not because i want to but because i have too. i hate indiana

listening to john fogerty’s keep on chooglin – live

don’t need a weatherman…

IMG_4230my apartment was put together one thing at a time – slowly making it mine: a free-spirit so used to living wherever, nesting a home. but when it’s time to go – none of it matters – no attachment, it’s just stuff. from the vintage green shag rug i worked so hard to get clean, to the wallpaper of two hundred and fifty-year-old book pages: just stuff

the buyers of stuff have come on time and everyone’s paid the requested prices. everything sold-off except the mattress -can’t get rid of it. i’ve tried posting several different ads on craigslist: for free, for $50, for $300 each with different pictures but everyone interested’s flaked. no-showed, ghosted, wasted time. it’s become a shackle. decent-person protip: when spiriting, it’s important to try leaving the path behind sewn together with a neat little bow.

i regrouped for two years in st. louis. got whole, or whole(r). i’d daydream being on a farm. being away from all the noise. tending the land; keeping it simple. but after a few trips to chicago, doing what i was doing in st. louis, in chicago – near friends – felt like a bright idea. and when it was finally time to make the move, all the pieces fell into place

sunday morning was my intended go-day and i was still stuck with this mattress, in a now empty apartment. this fucking mattress. no idea what to do with it. i woke up to the soft sound of my next-door neighbor’s door opening. i ran downstairs, “hey! weird question: you need a mattress?”

my neighbor looked at me puzzled. pausing with a slight tilt in his head. then he lit up, “yes! this is so weird! yes i do need a mattress! getting one is on the top of my list of things to do this week.”

mattress situation: solved. mise-en-place
if this isn’t a sign of making the right move, i don’t know what is.

in truth, the twenty-fifteen chicago-experiment only lasts a few weeks – i did want to find a farm, after all – these are photos of late summer 2015


listening to jefferson starship’s miracles (1975)

all the way to the sole

with this stint i’d walk the lou for hours and wear a few pair of shoes to the sole. oh the people you’ll meet: freshly proven innocent, sons of the city. taggers, skaters, transients, users. nosh with the chef of a gala at the gala. and go where the cops won’t and hang with those they “can’t find”. scale walls. climb fences. lay the land. touch sole

wrong move you're dead - that girl is...   IMG_5083

listening to föllakzoid’s iii (2015)

the phoenix thing

the phoenix thingthis was difficult to write about, especially at the time
it’s backdated with the gift of hindsight. thanks hindsight

one foot in front of the other. i start with 10 minutes of exercise. im out of shape and constantly checking my pulse. i got fat. not super-fat but fat enough – fat enough that in my ultramarathon of over-thinking my beating heart means “heart attack”. i haven’t moved like this in years, outside of a dance floor anyway. i stick with it and grow with it. a daily routine. my blood flows; i exit stasis

i need more and find meditation impossible with the whole over-thinking ultramarathon thing, i start my yoga practice. my first classes suck: the misery of being lost in a matted sea of others with no idea where we’re at or what we’re doing and i can’t stop thinking: how much longer is this class. this person next to me… wtf. wtf. wahhh my ego. then class is over and i feel satisfaction in its completion. the next day i show back up for the same fight. and the next day and the next and the next and the next. i start understanding the physical: the flows. the poses. the  breath. i stretch a little further than before and for brief moments it’s as if time stops and i think of nothing – which is everything

the second month of my practice my studio holds a month-long challenge: do yoga everyday. i stop counting classes after sixty – i’ve become intermediate. im feeling the connection of the mind and the body; what yoga’s really about. my mood lifts and life is becoming better / more magical: serendpidous, synchronicitous, peaceful

before the first footing i was an ultramarathon of over-thinking. depressed. near the bottom – in the darkness. some time ago i soared the skies of possibility. i was up: a psychedlic glimpse of love, purpose, spirit but now nothing. it was a year since up and my ego was refusing to surrender; the only part of me staying in the fight: a useless war only prolonging what needs to happen. over time and after making tough choices: i let go. the walls, which were keeping me from starting over, crumble. at last in pieces. i build again. first one foot

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 12.25.33 PMeverything [this site, this journey] has led me to this point – i understand that what i was doing took me to this rebirth. i had a vision of what’s possible in up, but have to do the work to get there. infinite paths infinite times would still lead to this: life’s boot camp and it takes as long as it takes. yada yada yada im a phoenix

not everyone knows what it’s like to soar the sky. to travel. to be. to feel. heights so high there are no higher. to see all. to feel all. to be all. and thankfully not everyone knows how deep the depths can get. where light is blocked by the dungeon walls of the abyss. where the abyss becomes everything. where everything is nothing.

the highs make the depths ever deeper and the depths make the highs ever more sweeter especially when looking at light after so long in darkness. the short-term key is to stay self-aware and not travel from one extreme to the other too quickly, too swiftly – doing so will always lead to anxiety, paranoia, fear…one must find balance. the long-term goal is to keep soaring without looking down, growing ever higher with each lesson learned…until it’s real

IMG_4239this phoenix thing only works if one works to stay a phoenix. if not, it’s back to the ashes. back to the abyss…until that one foot. at the time of this writing, im a phoenix and im working hard to stay a phoenix, but this is life and one day in this life i may run the emotional saṃsāra again – but with a set of tools more powerful than any i’ve had before

Makin’ Lemonade in Michigan

who brakes for tropical storms? well, i do, or at least i did. the organic blossoming of a road trip into ozark country and crystal bridges museum of american art, a serendipitous year in the making, was canceled at last minute due to flooding and torrential rainfall from tropical storm bill. and so a journey north into michigan seemed a more serene and less-personally-traveled option for myself and this trip’s attorney. this is a simple reminder for how to make lemonade.

the ad campaigns and after party ramblings of the unparalleled beauty of michigan’s coast was always a bit forgettable. lots of places have beauty, how’smichigan any different? well, damn.

we traveled on whim and chatted with everyone- an ever growing game of happenstance all while avoiding the interstate: despite an early blowout and a mid-trip scrap with harmless’ angels

pure michigan.

listening to marika hackman’s before i sleep (2015)

Everyone Loves a Parade

in august police officer darren wilson shot black teen michael brown in a suburb of saint louis, missouri. this kicked off a movement of protests around the city and across the country. at this same time, i started working in the old-money part of town. i’d overhear conversations of the city’s elite making small talk of events happening only a few miles away. but those few miles are vast oceans of difference and divide. resentment is felt by all sides; some with cause, mostly with ignorance – all of it dirty. and in my own detachment: the latest episode in the spiral of my hometown.

some time later, in early october, my flat was abuzz from the vibration of helicopters overhead. it was probably happening for a while but slowly crept into presence. i checked the news: police officer jason flattery shot black teen vonderrit meyers jr right outside my neighborhood. the following night as the sun went down the helicopters returned. i listened to a broadcast of the police scanner and heard that the mourners and protesters from the shooting site were “on the move” and gathering up the street from my home.

my arrival was in the wake of “lite” vandalism. whomever did it, chased off by the community activists. this of course brought more police. the scene was maybe fifty protesters chanting and yelling at the hundred or so police in riot gear. their numbers matched by white hipsters from the neighborhood watching the events through their recording phones.

at an intersection the protestors moved from one corner to another and the police formed lines to split the group into factions who’d relocate and they’d do it all again. after several hours a lenco bearcat rode onto the scene. an officer in a gas mask rode the top, broadcasting an announcement to “disperse”. officers put on their gas masks… and things kinda stood still for a while. a swift arrest here and there but mostly a standoff. the protestors took refuge in a nearby coffee shop. then, rather abruptly, the mass of police left leaving behind the final few protesters and everyone went home.

as horrible as the shootings were; past the serious face of the fronts, this night felt like party – everyone getting something out of it – smiles. laughter on each side. i moved around behind the police lines, the protest lines, near the journalists. i witnessed a general excitement to be there: the protesters yelling freely at the face of their oppression. the police asserting authority over those who disrespect the order they represent. the cameramen and journalists with something fresh for the morning news. the neighborhood hipsters with something to do. there i was: slightly detached repeating a mental wtf wondering wouldn’t everything be easier if everyone agreed to stop acting like assholes but what do i know…