I know I’m hard-selling this, but Chairman Mao needs your help and social networking doesn’t pack quite the punch that it used to on an individual level.
For every dollar donated to Monies for Mao on this gofundme I will personally volunteer one hour of my time (up to 2,000 hours) to an animal charity or wildlife rescue. It’s the best, most sensible, and most straight forward thing I can think of to pay-it-forward without some gimmick.
If you would like to match hours-for-dollars as well then comment here or contact me (I’m easy to find on facebook). I will have impressive Monies for Mao T-shirts made, Red China themed, for those that promise to match volunteer hours with me. You can pick how many hours you would like to match. I’d like to snowball this into helping both Mao and the other innumerable animals in need out there.
Just having a St. Pete morning
Got up at around 5:30AM to get some breakfast and smokes from the 7/11 over on MLK. Decided to not eat my sausage biscuits in my room, drove over by Vinoy to watch the sun get brighter over the water. So many cops were out I could barely make it near the water in my car. Streets were blocked off with cones and cops on motorcycles drive down the sidewalks. There’s a bunch of tents set up in the waterfront parks.It must be an event that I don’t care about or it’s a reenactment of the climax from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. And that’s only on my mind because out in the desert some documentarians are currently digging E.T. Atari cartridges out of a landfill.
I chuzzle* down my sausage and head back home. I pull up to my street parking and this middle aged guy comes out of his house and starts looking around but doesn’t look at my car at all. Which means he’s looking at me, really. And I know he’s got something absolutely bat-shit crazy to say to me. So I gather up my leftover sausage and cigarettes, get out of the car and he asks me “Are you here for Randy?”
I say no. He says two whites live in the house I’m parked in front of and they must be down to 70 lbs by now. Thought I was here to bring them some food. I’m still not sure that I should shake his hand, introduce myself, and tell him where I live in “our community.” Fantastical streams of crazy-talk are bound to start pouring out of his mouth.
And they do. He says “A woman of Hispanic ancestry” and he sets his big blue eyes on me. They’re electric and dotted in the middle with the blackest most obvious pupils. He tells me “She comes over here to feed them all manner of toxins and poisons.” I’m assuming crack. “Oh yeah,” I tell him “I figured, from the state of disrepair.” The house is fairly rotted. The screens are sliced, the windows are cracked, and green and black are seeping upwards and downwards on white paint that hasn’t been refreshed in a good decade or more. The home is molding.
“The Black ancestries and the Hispanic ancestries come over here and the black ancestry woman isn’t allowed here anymore. But the hispanics come and dump all of their trash in the parking lot across the street.” He seems to have stumbled upon A Guide to Political Correctness. “They come and bring all the toxins and whatnots.”
His voice slumps deeper into a thick Nantucket accent. Blue blood accent, like someone that wears an ascot and races yachts. He says “I bought this property here,” pointing at his house which is totally a rental “and that one over there.” The accent must have been to summon the successful real estate tycoon personality.
“Yes, I have learned that they have to pull themselves out of it themselves.” I guess he means the crack addiction. He’s pretty worried about them. I just want to get inside and start taking care of chores.
“20%” he says.
I have no idea, don’t ask.
“We’re picking up gold, platinum and silver coins off the ground.”
I still have no idea. I must be having a stroke or this is St. Petersburg in the morning.
“Taking them all to another universe, I would think, getting out of here and going to another dimension all together. That’s precisely what she wants to do.”
He starts breaking eye contact with me. I’m slow-scooting my feet towards my house.
I say yeah, I feel that.
“Waking all the white people up, you know.” He’s on a racial mission. “I’m just breathing the air and puffing out words, you know.”
“20%.” again, and I start walking off after my dead-pan delivery of have-a-nice-day-nice-to-meet-you.
And I’m just about to walk into my door when he comes walking at me but thank God he stops at the halfway mark. “Oh, the white alligators. You wouldn’t believe it they have all of these reservoirs around here sealed off now to protect the endangered ones and there’s thousands of them. You wouldn’t believe it when they take off running. Go see them.” I assure him, I’ll do that.
“I’m going to get concrete and make a couple of them.”
That’s a brilliant idea. I look forward to it.
Right now he’s three doors down from me, fidgeting around in a chair inside of his house, dreaming of alligators and fretting over the emissaries of toxins and poisons.
Dear internet, I can’t seem to move very far without lunatics surrounding me. I’m thinking this is like a Girl Interrupted version of the Truman Show. In the Truman Show the neighbors waved as they presented big toothy grins, “Hiya neighbor!” In my version of the world my neighbors still use leeches to get their demon spirits out. In my version of the world, last week as a matter of fact, I woke up to a barking. In my house. We don’t have a dog. It was a chihuahua thing in my roommate’s bathroom that seemed despondent.
She gets home and I ask her “So there’s a dog?” and she tells me one of the neighbors is in a psychiatric ward, she got Baker Acted, because she took a bunch of pills in a supposed attempt to snuff her own life out. The dog was pretty chill, dealt with the cats very well, it must be accustomed to a high stress environment is what I think. That was my morning a week or so ago.
Oh and the last guy, in that same apartment next to us, he told me he was going to leave everything behind, use his school money to buy a gun, and go shoot himself underneath an overpass. That was a morning a few months ago. I don’t like mornings. I can’t tell anymore if my life consists of what I focus on or how the world happens to focus in on me: like a magnifying glass beneath a shimmering sun of craziness and malaise.
But I’m not a depressed person. Not really.
* Note: Chuzzle is a word I’ve developed to signify a combination of chewing and guzzling. “The hippopotamus monstrosity chuzzled down a handful of strawberries that were probably on their way out, damn near trash worthy.” Please use this word so it ends up in dictionaries.
Uncle Bob’s Self Storage
Uncle Bob’s Self Storage
Working in a storage facility I learned about throwing away pictures that don’t matter anymore. Everything that doesn’t matter anymore.
It didn’t take working at the storage facility to make me do that,
I was already in the habit of disposing of pictures from my childhood.
Every year that passes me by I take another three or another dozen
and I put them in the garbage. I’ve made it through to twenty-five years of age
and that’s about when the hard-copy photos weren’t exactly a thing anymore.
Now all I have to do is click on a command.
I still have moments when I stop
and I think about what I’m doing.
I’m performing a Black Mass against family and keepsakes.
I’m doing that whenever I put a Hallmark Gift Card into a bag of cigarette butts and candy wrappers
to get wet with trash water
and turn into paper soup.
It took working at the storage facility to make me not feel guilt.
I’ve thrown entire family histories into a dumpster because the renters didn’t pay their bills
and they never showed up
to collect what the scavengers didn’t want.
X-rays from car crashes
Black & White
artfully bordered photography of hero soldiers
that charred human flesh to get back home
and make a future delinquent customer
at Uncle Bob’s.
I own the private library of the first child in a family to ever graduate college.
Her father swore
he would be back. He just wanted her college books because he’s so very proud of her.
He didn’t even need to pay the tab
because no one wants gym pants and books
at an auction.
I thought I was doing something real charitable.
I put him in touch with the guy who had bought out his unit for the washer and dryer inside of it.
Instead I ended up calling lady friends asking if they had a use for various purses, what size shoe they were, before I started hauling it to the dumpster.
I guess I should say thanks for the Kurt Vonnegut books
and the red gym bag that looks vintage but isn’t.
People are very proud of you
or something else.
I’ve sat down to lunch with three generations of cremated human remains.
The totality of human lives
tucked into plastic bags and
placed into white cardboard boxes.
Three boxes sitting on my desk in the Manager’s Office.
These people were African Americans
auctioned off in a storage unit
and I didn’t fail to see the irony in that.
I ate my Cup of Noodle while reading the death bed letter of the grandmother
saying what a sorry bitch she had been.
Keep clean, stay in school, hold your head up high
and keep your faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,
Even though we have this poison
that runs deep
“and I see it in your face when you get angry.”
My co-worker took all of those ashes home
after a while
once nobody would notice
to play with them.
Eventually nobody loves you.
Somebody looks at your dandruff
and thinks “That’s a shame”
before scooping it into fire
or the debris pile.
Smart, attractive, and compassionate people mutate down the stream into the vulgar, desperate, and mean, and you are no longer loved.
You’re just the click-clack in DNA
they won’t even understand.
The pounds of photography that people used to make
aren’t any sort of treasure.
They’re more a burden than any kind of relevant history.
If it doesn’t tell something hard then it goes in the trash
just like family wealth is traded off
for cash and travel.
And it’s perfectly OK,
because people should remember the Zoo with their noses
not their cell phones.
Not the collection of crystal alligator figurines
or custom framed digital prints.
I just don’t wait anymore. I don’t feel the guilt anymore.
I don’t need 40 pictures of myself at age five.
I need one grainy old photograph
developed in discontinued chemical
that can at least say
this is where your cheek bones come from.
I don’t need the letters of stories I already know and don’t want to tell.
I don’t want the work of shaky hands covered in birthing fluid.
Though I wish my mom had known the difference between this and all of those antique Christmas ornaments
when she stopped celebrating
and the holiday.
Sometimes it’s just too soon. Sometimes it punches me in the throat and I’m left standing there like, yeah, I know it’s dreadful, but don’t you see me choking?
The tree angel from the 1950s I had restored since the time I could do more than hold a crayon and misspell my name on the wall. Gone.
That angel taught my something real. It taught me the joy of taking things all but destroyed and bringing to a place more beautiful than if they were new, with their stitches and spots of glue. That angel was a fortune telling device and now it’s “gone.”
The pewter snowflake, hung on a tassel of gold strings, that held a picture of me hanging around by a fake fire place at a mall. Gone.
The old wooden Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer delicately hand painted and touched with small spots of felt. Gone.
And my guilt is gone.
I bet someday the guilt will come back.
I’ll look for a moment to run my fingers across something that tells me how small I used to be
and I won’t find it.
No more Yak-Back child’s recording device I kept inside of an old lunch box. Every two years I would record short messages to my future self on it. That battery never failed, was never replaced.
Somewhere in a landfill a piece of table
or a rusty wrench
will fall over onto the playback button
and it’ll just keep repeating
“December, 2007, you’re in love.”
I’ll have been an awkward giant
A browbeaten king of bullshit forever.
But it could be that I can hold them in my static
and keep myself to one suitcase.
I could keep them out of the mud
and embalm them in my mind
until in a flash
so anticipated and long awaited
brighter than an atomic bomb
they all disperse.
16 Things You Need To Know About St. Petersburg Before Moving There
1. Cool Kids Don’t Call It “The Burg”
Unless you’re a recidivist that wears a baseball cap with “727” on it, hologram sticker still in place on the oversized brim, then you really have no business calling this place The Burg (which is pronounced “Da Berg”). St. Pete is what the locals tend to call Saint Petersburg. They don’t use a demonym like “Burger” or “St. Petersburgian” because no one actively does that except for New Yorkers and Texans. However, there is a solid initiative to rename the city to Petrograd or Leningrad as per our Russian sister city. Locals are fond of the Soviet Russian era and oftentimes pine for the establishment of a USSR theme park. Despite the removal of our beloved Stalin statue from Downtown St. Pete (Petrograd) the dream lives on.
2. St. Petersburg Is Sunny. Though hurricane season is the best time of year.
This is a miserable fact of life that you’ll have to become accustomed to. Autumn will become a far flung memory of childhood wonder and joy. Winter is a cool breeze that drifts through the city like a tease only to immediately throw you back into muggy suffering for the rest of the year. At some points throughout the year your car windows will fog up endlessly due to the humidity. You’ll have your windshield wipers and defrosters on like there’s a torrential downpour during a snap freeze.
The best time of year in Petrograd is hurricane season. You can witness locals boarding up their windows while wearing white visor hats and crocs. During the season we have keggers where we all anticipate death and have open relationships with the neighborhood women. The rain, much needed cloud coverage, and atmosphere of moral ambivalence are what make hurricane season in Petrograd a blessing.
I remember fondly one hurricane where I went to a pier area in Saint Petersburg called The Point, latched myself to a park bench on a cement platform, and enjoyed the high velocity wind and rain. All the while the sea water rose and fell around me in an uncanny way I never knew before, having not been a sailor of any sort.
3. Make sure you get your food, booze and fun early if you don’t plan on going to dive bars.
Most restaurants close at around 9pm and booze is no longer sold in stores past midnight. Unlike other developed cities, St. Petersburg ordinances are a heinous blight upon the night owl. Don’t even think about hanging out near the water at night because mall-cops patrol around in security fans to shoo you away or ticket your car for at least $30. We have a slight tinge of a nanny state going on here to protect the paranoid condo owners and retirees. Florida is, after all, where White Flight goes to die.
While bars stay open to 3AM there is virtually nowhere to shop except for franchises that may themselves be closed (McDonalds, Walmart, Walgreen’s) after midnight. The walgreen’s across the street from me closes early for its own safety because the massive homeless population becomes crazier as the hour grows later. They’re fed like stray cats and warmed by the endless Petrograd sun. So don’t live near Saint Anthony’s Hospital if you’re sketched out by the crazy-homeless.
If you are itching for your own private bottle of booze past midnight you can always drive to Tampa and pick something up. They keep sales going until the proper 3AM, though let’s cut the bullshit and admit to ourselves that vice should be a twenty-four hour affair. It’s not that bad of a drive to Tampa during the evenings and, frankly, if you’re drinking at home that late you should probably get out of the house and do that.
4. Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays are going to ruin your traffic and steal your parking.
Unless you truly enjoy the boring, overrated sport of Baseball that hasn’t been cool since kids used “spoon!” as urban slang, you’ll come to despise Tropicana Field. Unregistered migrant hordes from the whole Tampa Bay area pour into the city. They flood our already complicated myriad of one-way streets with their tacky SUVs and trucks-with-boats-attached. Beyond this, becoming a resident of St. Petersburg means spending your tax dollars to subsidize grown men playing a child’s game.
By the way, people are lackadaisical here. It must be the beach culture. During busy nights in the city you’ll be sure to have some dumb ass in a polo shirt walk right out in front of your car, all la-de-dah, thinking that anywhere his feet land is a cross walk. Be careful, they’re stupid and don’t have the self-aware aggression of people from more northerly metro areas. Try not to kill them even though it’s eugenically sound to do such a thing.
5. You’ll Learn To Devalue Funky Local Art. On the same hand, you’ll learn that real artists are weirder than you ever thought possible.
You can go into your local dive bar and see a minimalist piece of art-school painting that would set you back $200 if you wanted to purchase it. If you’re not brave of heart then you won’t dare go see the real art in this community. So chances are you’ll end up looking at galleries full of fish paintings or tourist styled novelty art. The true arts scene in Petrograd is incredible and worth coming for, however. From the champions at the Venture Compound (hosting noise, music, and art events) to Dysfunctional Grace (which sells art made of animal corpses), if you’re willing to go off the beaten path then you’re going to have some great experiences with art.
That we’re the home of the Salvador Dali Museum is only an added bonus. There’s not just art there, either. You can watch movies and do yoga. It’s a very nice thing to have, we all agree. But don’t let some Moving Agent or condo developer convince you that The Dali is a selling point on our art scene. Salvador Dali was born, rasied, and died a Spaniard. In no shape, form or fashion does its existence define our arts culture.
7. The food is amazing but good luck if you come from a city with amazing BBQ.
Off the cuff, I would advise any meat eater to check out Crowley’s, The Burg (a burger place), or Jimbo’s Joint (it’s chicken sausage). These are only some of my favorite places to eat. There are scores of places. We have far more local establishments than we have franchises in the Downtown St. Pete area. In fact, you’d have to drive a bit out of downtown to find a McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Recently the establishment of “URBAN BREW AND BBQ” has brought a much needed dose of decent BBQ to this former Memphis native. Though it still doesn’t compare to the dry rubbed ribs of my decaying homeland.
It’s no exaggeration to say that St. Petersburg has five star food at one star prices. Good food is everywhere though, oddly, I find the small amount of decent seafood restaurants bizarre given our location. Don’t become a lardo here, and it’s likely that you might if you have a restaurant budget, because it’s Florida and that’s frowned on even more here than elsewhere.
Due to our proximity to Cuba, Cuban cuisine is endemic to the Tampa Bay area. But don’t be sold on Saint Petersburg if you’re one of those trendy urban socialites that thinks ethic-food-is-what-makes-you-cultured. We have more pizza and beer than we have Latin food, end of story.
If you’re a fan of Mexican you’ll notice a strange fusion with Cuba at many restaurants. Be careful when ordering tamales, you may end up with the Cuban style and you might not like them. To me they’re a soggy and disgusting abomination that deserves to be expunged from the world of food.
But just so you know, Cuban sandwiches are fundamentally delicious. It’s one of the few things that Cuban culture has ever gotten right aside from their Jazz music but, let’s face it, Coltrane wasn’t Cuban.
8. Bars and lots of them
Toughs vs. Toffs!
We have more bars than we damn well ought to. No matter who you are there’s a bar for you in this city. Chances are your bar of choice will be happening even at 10pm on a Tuesday night around these parts. Especially on Central Avenue. The drinks are strong, reasonably priced, and you’re going to schmooze with some of the best scumfuckers you’ve ever met. Most of the bars still allow smoking unless you want to drink at a trendy Craft Beer establishment. We have breweries sprouting up all over the place and my favorite is the locally brewed Maduro by Cigar City.
There is in fact a cultural barrier separating the 600 Block of Central Avenue from the rest of the avenue. The 600 Block houses the seedy dive bars where you’re likely to get picked up on by someone with tattoos and a substance abuse problem. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t some of the most gorgeous people you’ll ever see drunk and downtrodden. Ok, so maybe it’s not all that bad as far as the substance abuse problems go. But watch out for our local cocaine and pill issues. They’re real and more prolific than we let on.
You’re going to want to make the bar-crawl from Octave, to Fubar, to The Emerald. If by then you aren’t satisfied you’ll want to go on over to 1st Avenue and check out The Bends. When you’re at The Bends you’ll realize “These people are not drunk enough for me” and “They all come from a Hipster Catalog, apparently.” Then you’ll head back on over to Octave. By the end of the evening, at around 2:40AM, you’ll want to purchase package-liquor from The Emerald to bring home so you thoroughly regret your night.
More innocuously and less self-destructive, the 600 Block is where you’re more likely to hear Punk than you are to hear some mainstream rap song on the jukebox. The rest of Central Avenue is where you go if you’re old, boring, in rehab, or have the most terrible taste in music imaginable for someone in this day and age.
10. We Hate Ourselves and Want To Die.
A high number of people here are both alcoholics and prescribed anti-psychotic medicine. This is what makes it so charming. Men’s Health magazine listed it as the Saddest City in the country. They calculated suicide and depression rates to come up with this ranking. I don’t know how much validity to ascribe to the findings of a news stand magazine for men. But I guess if we’re that blue it’s why we have so many incredible bars and so much loose sex in dear old Petrograd: we all want to kill ourselves but we’re trying to keep our spirits up. Go Tampa Bay Rays! Go Buccaneers!
11. You can get both your feet and your dick wet
The Tampa Bay area is home to more sexual perversion than you’re probably accustomed to. Even the relatively calm city of Saint Petersburg has its disproportionate share of swingers clubs, strip clubs and hidden BDSM venues. But wait, there’s more. We have full scale sex resorts and are in close proximity to nudist colonies. Going even further, Tampa Bay is legendary on a national level for its Glory Hole culture. It’s the promised land for deviants, gay and straight alike. I don’t need to list where these things happen, use your Google.
In my own experience people are sexually loose here and open-relationships are commonplace. Chances are you’re not going to meet many people over the age of 21 in this city that have a sex-partner count under the number of 21. To that end, make sure you stop by one of our glorious Health Departments for a copious amount of free condoms. We don’t need you bringing your out-of-state communicable diseases to muck up all of our fun. We don’t like your New Yorker HIV ‘round these parts. We got our own strains and we’re proud of ‘em.
Dating without the intention of swinging is weird if you’re not into beachy things but you like everything else about St. Pete. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a thing I’ve observed in my own life and in the lives of others.
Outside of relationships, the atmosphere of Saint Petersburg has the tendency to give people an unrealistic view of the rest of the world and of life. Though I still find plenty of people with their feet firmly planted on the ground.
12. The beaches, parks, and events.
The above image has nothing to do with Petrograd. That’s a neighboring city. We’re more like this:
Of course no Moving Guide related to Florida would be complete without its very pleasant description of sun, surf, and sand. We have beaches that exist by the water and they contain sand. They’re nice.
I won’t be that flippant. If you’re coming to the area then I’d suggest hanging out in Vinoy Park and around The Pier in general. The waterfront has Dolphins and lovely people but bare in mind that Saint Petersburg proper does not, itself, have the sprawling white sand beaches that many tour guides talk about. St. Pete Beach is its own city so let’s be real about what we actually have within our city limits. The St. Petersburg Pier is actually situated in the waters of Tampa Bay, which depending on your aesthetics may not be as pretty as the beaches in St. Pete Beach.
The waters of St. Petersburg proper tend to stink in that marine-life kind of way because they’re not as refreshed as the waters in the Gulf of Mexico its self. I wouldn’t get in the waters of Tampa Bay but that’s my own preference. But fear not, commuting from Saint Petersburg proper means a short drive to a variety of natural wonders. Ft. Desoto, for instance, is a gorgeous beach front that has cannons from the Spanish American War. Along the way to Ft. Desoto you’ll have the chance to cross the lovely Skyway Bridge that will give you a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course, your breath will come back to you. You’ll grow cynical and used to seeing the water all of the time. What can you do with it, really, when you just don’t want to be in the water? Eventually you’ll yearn for deserts and mountains because St. Petersburg is flat, wet, and doesn’t have much for a canopy of trees to keep you from getting skin cancer. Plan a budget for wanting to treat other states, not Florida, as vacation states after you move to Florida.
Our parks system is, for the most part, immaculate. I would highly suggest going on a stroll through Strawgrass Park which has an elaborate and relatively massive wooden walkway through a swampy ecosystem. I would, on the other hand, highly suggest not hanging out in Williams Park where the bus system has managed to place a high concentration of drug addicts.
No matter where you go you’ll eventually be panhandled if you stay there long enough. Some places it takes seconds and happens constantly. Other places it’s more by the hour than by the five minute interval of begging. As I’ve indicated several times by now, our warm climate and relatively liberal atmosphere has a tendency to attract transients, vagrants, and psychopaths. I’ve heard but haven’t verified that Florida, as a state, has more axe murderers, sex offenders, and people into midget pornography than any other state.
Though don’t let my cynicism startle you too much. You’re going to find more decent people than not, because people are genuinely happier here if not for anything other than the amount of prescriptions they’re on. But our outward appearance of bliss may have something to do with the sheer amount of things we have to do here in St. Petersburg. It’s hard to be bored here if you’re not boring. Do yourself a favor and review our full event listings for the previous year. You won’t find a single day of the week where something cool isn’t happening.
13. The commuting
St. Petersburg is a somewhat large city, of course. There are bars, restaurants and destinations that are simply out of my area of the city. Beyond St. Pete, the way our peninsula is set up you can drive for miles and miles while never feeling like you’ve left the city of Saint Petersburg. Out near the City of Pasadena you have the surf styled bars. Up in the City of Dunedin you have breweries that have interesting but light-hearted folks. In the City of Tampa you have Ybor City which is like a miniaturized New Orleans. Ybor its self houses a goth club called The Castle that is a former Catholic church. None of these places are much more than 30 minutes outside of Glorious Petrograd’s city limits.
14. The Cost
If you’re not some schmuck that thinks they have to live in an ultra-modern condo then the cost of living is excellent here. I come from the run-down shit-fest known as Memphis, TN, and I’ve yet to suffer the “sticker shock” (price tag inflation) that people moving to Californian cities have reported. I’ve lived it up in this city and, with a roommate, it’s feasible to do it with a few dollars above minimum wage.
15. “What are those explosions?”
It’s a question you might ask yourself during a random month, not July or December, when you hear explosions booming in the distance at 8PM or so. Saint Petersburg uses more fireworks than any other city I’ve lived in. That might have something to do with our Party or Die attitude. Outside of Independence Day and New Years you’re likely to witness pyrotechnic displays in one part of the city or another. Especially downtown, fireworks are routinely shot off around The Pier area and often accompanied by full orchestras. If you like explosions in the night sky then this is the city for you.
16. Youth, vigor, and weirdness.
Not an image from Glorious Petrograd, but reflective of our spirit.
Beyond all else, Saint Petersburg is a city of youth, vigor and weirdness. Don’t let the retirement mythos of Florida fool you. You’ll find yourself in no short supply of friends that are up for something interesting. You’ll find a wide array of political, philosophical, artistic, and sexual outsiders that will challenge your perceptions without the high price tag of living in NYC, LA, Boston, or San Francisco. You can have it without the frigid cold of living in a place like Seattle or Portland. It is a city that’s growing, always improving (despite tearing down historic sites for condos), enables a strong measure of upward mobility, and is always diversifying. Outside of the cities I’ve listed in this document I can’t see any reason to live anywhere else except for the Tampa Bay area.
I have strolled down the street in drag without so much as a sneer in this city. I have learned to dance and to love. I have drank with Vietnam War journalists at Jazz clubs and sang in German with mohawked chicks in dive bars. I’ve had dolphins swim underneath my feet and eagles fly above my head in a place with more natural and human beauty than I ever thought possible in one place. People here get numb, they get cynical, but they’d suffer without the beauty of this place.
Despite the sometimes hippie-dippy vibe that permeates a pleasant place like Saint Petersburg, where everyone is a creative or talented even when they’re damn well not, I’ve found support for truly talented arts and thinking here. Real support. Not half-hearted support, but concrete support. This city is an open paradise to anyone with the gumption and talent to insert themselves into the thick of things.
Filing DMCA complaints is a pain in the ass.
I saw a woman smiling gleefully in the backseat of this convertible mustang. Just hanging out alone there for a good long while. The back of her head was shaved but I saw no sign of surgery. I think it was just an air patch. Like the back of her head was a convertible also, letting that sunlight in. Go Buccaneers!
I have a habit of letting my babies go like dirty orphans only to chase after them. I can admit when I’m wrong.
A Greasy Wind (REDUX). Time for more honesty and less certainty.
A GREASY WIND
I’ve been thinking about the depths of Arizona. I have some friends out there that want to see me for a while. Seems like it might be the right choice. Nothing where I’m at seems to be as desperate as I am. I’ve been getting really bitter about it. I’m developing a theory that the more inhospitable a place is, in the natural way, the less room there is for lying. Carelessness becomes more obvious. Do people fuck around less when there’s a chance they could fry like a cracked egg on the sand? There’s a chance that out there my heart wouldn’t feel like how a cock feels
going limp inside a lubricated condom
after a disappointing fuck. Wouldn’t be stepping outside into a K-Y Jelly factor in the air. Not so greasy, like Florida. Greasy on the skin, greasy on the soul.
In the pictures I look at
Arizona is a time capsule
kept shut from the rest of the world since the 1970s.
That’s the way the sun works there. I want to make that vacation this year
But it seems like a kind of loneliness I’m not ready for. Not yet.
I don’t think the canyons and the astronomy will convince me that I don’t need the spare parts of the gentle, forgetful city
to rebuild again
when another dream breaks down.
Even I like it safer.
I read Jack London’s Call of the Wild
and feel ashamed for how dead I am
but I still want Romans and wine.
I want battles of lies
more than I want axes and guns.
Maybe it’s just what I know.
Aside from that, Arizona looks like what happens when everything I like about people is irradiated. Left to crumble in the sun. That’s OK for a little while
but I’m not sure if it’s for me. I just don’t know. I know that Florida is very pretty in a very comfortable way, and so it goes that it’s just going to lay there like it’s dying of malnutrition. I’m pretty sure of that.
What I need is New York City
without so many of the people.
I want Tokyo –
with all of its contrivances
made for high velocity grease.
I want those complexes
made for the overworked, dying businessmen
where they pause for fifteen or thirty minutes.
I want it all
without express purpose.
Find it like a pretty shell on the beach
and marvel at it,
Press my ear against it and hear it swoosh.
I need to sleep in a tube
for the sake of sleeping in a tube
for no cost
and no consequence.
A particular storm needs to end
and for the shape of the Earth to remain
for a long while.
Long enough for a thought to form
and to reach its self on the other end,
resplendent and full of pride.
Maybe I want
for one sound and for one look
to be refined into its most perfect form.
It would be nice if being alive were taken more serious.
The way things are it just can’t be.
The truth of the matter is I want the world to be much smaller
so I can be bigger. I was never meant to be this small.
Neither were you.
We need to stop the greasy emissions of the neighborhood
even though I enjoy walking through them.
I would never give up on the idea of one. I won’t be too much of an alien, right? Little people sitting on my knees telling me how much they love me. I’ve got some moments to relive in a mirror. Some moments to live at all.
I’ll never forget my stepfather, a pyrotechnician, exploding professional grade
fireworks above a residential area on our independence day
and me getting secretly drunk as a teen. Back when everyone still spoke with each other.
And I mean that in more ways than just my overly emotional broken home.
I always hoped for the rare misfire that would drop to ground
and explode around someone’s house in a shimmering cage of red, white and blue.
But we should shut them down, clear them out. Welfare benefits passed around
to people with vasectomies. Stop a generation in its tracks and
make one with enormity.
with their fakes stones
and their invasive grass
are little more than dreams of themselves
in a state of peace of peace and good repair.
Thirty year mortgages for an entertainment center below a roof
Unavailable to rapture
for a fear of darkness.
And the neighborhoods don’t ask why.
They claim that they’re not animal
but they’re as simple as foxes
nestled in the brush,
Wrapped up in their tails
after a day of scampering and eating.
But worse than foxes,
unable to scamper and chatter
with the utmost holy purity
beyond all Christ and Krishna.
Foxes in the bush hidden away
and left unscathed
by the devastating imperative for more
But unwilling or unable to summon it.
At the end there is no reason for the whole Earth to move
for the sake of T-shirts
and packing peanuts.
Best Korean development projects,
large scale resorts, empty political facades
acting as monuments to the cult of the state
But no people to fill them.
Maybe that’s the horror story version.
Maybe not the only version.
Not everyone starved to death to make way
for dear leaders. Scrawny people, a foot shorter than the racial average
going in with paintbrushes and mops to keep up appearances.
I hope for robots
in woolen jackets and crucifixes
to come around and keep the empty houses painted.
Keep the pictures inside clean
and historically maintained.
Archival quality ghost towns
kept together by robotics
so we can visit.
Robot Jesus being the only deity I really believe in,
a carpenter, a fisher, good with crops, good with sheep,
doing all the hard, moron work,
Robot Jesus mowing the lawn,
Making hip replacements and cheeseburgers out of lasers. Transforming into Lady Robots for the whims of creeps.
That would be nice.
But was Jack right?
If you’re not getting eaten by other animals
then maybe you’re just a corpse already.
I don’t know how to get out of the greasy wind.
I keep coming back to Arizona. Wilderness deep enough to get out of the oil plume. Maybe the dark green of Mississippi if it comes to that. I would very much like to build happy things on a couple of acres of nothing. I’d like to get married and own a consensual slave. Explore the costuming and role-play possibilities.
But I’ve been out there
way out there
and it’s still a greasy wind.
I planted vineyards in Tennessee
and dealt with doughy, tobacco chewing Loids of Mongol.
They played golf and used the same clubs to shatter the shells of turtles.
And they went to shooting at migrating birds for kicks
because them Nigger Faggots
in Washington DC
want to save the environment.
The environment is just a euphemism for a petri dish
where Nigger Vomit stem cells are grown into sophisticated communist lesbians.
But it doesn’t matter because Jesus Christ is coming back.
Greasiness transmitted through radio lines
and radiated out into the atmosphere.
Greasiness recited behind the pulpits
in the conniving licks of regional dialects.
Heel of history coming down in the form of the
Boot steps echoing tyranny.
I’ve been awash in grease.
I was at a water park replaced with pools of Human Smegma
Working the graveyard shift at the gas station in the segregated
colored side of the sticks.
Located on the highway
A front door to a housing project
Taking filthy coinage mixed in with nine millimeter bullets
as a Job Opportunity.
which were glass tubes for smoking crack.
and tainted sausage patties to the mighty squirrel
And I would sneak away at any moment I could
to write about how nice the mountains would be.
Because even then
nothing but greasy wind.
But a Turtle Killer
was the first to show me an arm of the Milky Way in a place with dark skies.
And so I munched on truck-stop food
typing into the extreme until my head shut down
And I closed in on two-hundred pages for a manifesto.
It was on how the sticks could become
the new Athenian civilization
Because of the time available to idle,
Inhospitable to distraction
and city status. Renal system clean of poison by numbers,
hands not crippled by tug-o-war.
Not so many brain-damaged things to try and become
to fit into the sticks
mainly just one.
And out there exists an abundance of real-estate for technical support
Instead of the onward march of Chinese Invasion
bringing noxious light and even greasier wind.
The REDNECK could be the intellectual messiah of humankind. It’s a fundamental truth.
And I hit delete.
Atmospheric conditions of grease
hardening as crud.
There’s so much crud on the hand rails that I don’t bother using them. Most of the stairs I’ll ever use are in places not worth looking up for. The machinations of my walking are still more interesting
even though I’ve learned how to do the confident stride.
They just don’t have the time, is the best that I can assume
for why nothing is magic.
That hand rail crud, grocery store conveyer belt crud, chewing gum pressed black on the sidewalk,
carried in the air, in little parts,
right into my pores.
There’s always pus in my face
somewhere beneath the surface, festering.
It’s a horribly
getting greasier all the time.
Becoming greasy with a Z.
Cologne wind, minty shit smelling,
septic mouth, perfume wind,
BODY SPRAY WIND
Spraying from bodies.
It’s the colorful mouthing of the word FUCK
And there’s no more proper and professional English than that right there
Except every other word.
There’s nothing that makes me happy about the number Seven Billion.
I can’t chuckle
While the healer stays calm
Announcing to the boarding party to not step on the man having a heart attack.
Sardine-ing into trains
– somehow still doing that –
making a big grease cloud
going down tracks
vacuumed underneath the city.
There must be some kind of way out of here.
But we can’t talk about it.
Can’t have a serious conversation about the Greasy Wind.
Best bet is it’s the Hitler Reason.
particulates in the air.
Can’t question the value of human life
not for eradication or what we oughta brutalize –
goose-stepping around with short-nosed extermination guns –
but for what we ought to have reign supreme
and be supremacist
until in shame it descends into the otherwise.
I adore the human fluid.
No desire whatsoever to become a primitive broken hermit
removed from all chance of foreign angels.
Though I’m drowning to the point of annoyance
with it just far enough up my nose
and just the wrong way in my eyes.
Drowning in greasy worthlessness, a gnat in the color changing
novelty cup of a giant child
most of the time when I go outside.
When I get home to my grease-free enclosure
I watch my science fiction that’s so pleasant and religious.
Sitting on my floor
so the apartment becomes a cathedral around me
instead of another waiting room
I see the mores of the grease cloud
seeping through my screen.
Absolute certainty that Techno-Christ and Robot Jesus
Will bring Peace on Earth.
The populace will declassify everything brilliant and Olympian for themselves
but the genetic augments, the eugenically enhanced, they’re oppressing the real geniuses with heart conditions.
Big bad evil voodoo, that’s what it is.
Because change is death
And evolution is an admission of your guilt.
The only question we’re allowed to have
is how can we fit every single person currently alive
and yet to be born
into the OIL PLUME?
How do we all join in on the Greasy Wind?
As though all of us
puking in our mouths
is somehow better
if we do it together
and all of us do it the same.