STREET JOURNAL 24

Standard

by Tom H. Brooks 3

“IF A GRAIL APPEARS, THE SOUL MUST FOLLOW”…………………..………………………………

________
INCOMMUNICADO
________
“ONE LOVE…”
________
2/3/04
Perhaps I`m taking the seething masses of my fellow humanity for granted,
but I must admit,
the less I hang around other people, the greater my feeling of freedom…
________
“Then he was told:
Remember what you have seen,
because everything forgotten
returns to the circling winds…”
a line from a Navajo Wind Chant
________
“The indivisible is not to be put into compartments.  Every fact is a logarithm; one added term
ramifies it until it is thoroughly transformed.  In the general aspect of things, the great lines of
creation take shape and arrange themselves into groups; beneath lies the unfathomable.
Which of our methods of measuring could we apply to this eddying mass that is the universe?
In the presence of the profundities our sole ability is to dream.  Our conception, quickly winded,
cannot follow creation, that vast breath.”
Victor Hugo
________
“Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe.  He
ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many
angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it.  He ought to imagine that he touches it
with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it.  He ought to
imagine the creatures there and all faintest motions of the wind.  He ought to recollect the glare
of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.”
N. Scott Momaday
“The Way to Rainy Mountain”
(1969)
________
“New earths, new themes, expect us.”
Henry David Thoreau
________
“The pupil opens to seize the object of vision.”
Jim Morrison
________
AMERICA:
Fast-nation nation
PLEASE DRIVE THRU…
________
Someday soon, I would like to skateboard across America.  U.S. Route 50 would be a good choice.  It starts in
Ocean City, Maryland and goes all the way across middle America and ends up at the Pacific Ocean at the
Embarcadero on San Francisco Bay.  It is more than 3000 miles of old, Main Street, America, through the
heart of the nation.  Walk and camp.  Write a book.  Route 66 would also be cool but that one ends in Chicago.
________
NOT ALL DREAMS COME TRUE
________
“Between that earth and that sky I felt erased, blotted out.”
Willa Cather
on the American prairie
________
“When the darkness is complete–before the moon blanches the valley–house lights will appear as campfires,
and the hills can again assume their ancient aspect.  Only the ponderous throb and roll of the Atchison, Topeka
and Santa Fe Railroad, approaching now as it does about every half hour, breaks the illusion, an illusion that
helps me see things here, to imagine how things have been.  I`ve come into this Chase County, Kansas from
that dreaming, and from it, finally, all my questions proceed, and, if things run true, I believe they will return to it.”
William Least Heat-Moon
“PrairyErth”
________
2/4/04  True Work Stories
I walked in and everyone looked fucking miserable.  Well, there`s no way they could have possibly been more
irritated than ME being at that stupid restaurant, so I changed the mood;
I said, CHRIST! IT`S LIKE A DARK BLANKET OF OPPRESSION WAS JUST PULLED OVER MY FACE!  IT
SMELLS LIKE DEATH AND BOREDOM IN HERE!  SOMEBODY, OPEN A DAMN WINDOW.  TURN ON THE
AIR.  I CAN`T BREATHE!
________
2/5/05    4:20AM
There is NOTHING in the world like skateboarding full speed before dawn on cool, windy, sleek, dark, LA streets.
The roads are empty, the day lies open before me, the wind is whipping through my ears with the shrieks of a
thousand banshees screaming to the lost desert that once existed here.  The desert will return one day…
6am, on the Gold Line train heading to Sierra Madre….there is a full moon setting in the west as the sun rises in the east…
Watching the sunrise over the endless mountains that taper away into the distance.  Birds are flying everywhere around
me as I stand on top of this parking structure at 7AM in Pasadena.  I can see mist in the valleys, urban sprawl and
the hills that loom around me on every side.
A big black raven harassing a lone falcon as he sits on top of a tall metal pole like an ornament, still and dignified in the morning light.
I can even see the top of Library tower in Downtown LA from up here.
The cars are a constant roar of screaming metal on the nearby expressway.
Later, as I stroll up a quiet street, there is a morning parrot party in a tree…..hundreds of big, green parrots in a white birch
tree on Sierra Madre Villa, all of them squawking at full volume.
Heading back DOWN the hill, I skate on Paloma Drive……the word, PALOMA, takes me back to El Trapiche, Mexico, and
the morning drink in the sugarcane fields with the rancheros….an early buzz, to be sure…
White rocks to sit on in the morning sunlight on a bluff in Sunnyslope Park.  Stillness, smoking herb in the sunbeams…
Almost walked right into Huntington Library Botanical Gardens on a beautiful free of admission Thursday morning….but,
some rent-a-cop stopped me.  Apparently, they open at 11am.  Well, I`M not waiting.  I`ll find a way in now, commando style.
Of course, I have succeeded in my commando mission.  I am trespassing.  I am hidden in the trees of the gardens by 8:45am
just minutes after I was rudely dismissed by that dickhead telling me I “had to wait until the crowds showed up.”  To hell with
that!  I just found a back path in by the Mexican gardeners sheds and I know they don`t give a shit.  I have made myself
disappear in a tropical oasis backwoods corner of this vast property.  It looks like I`m in some primeval jungle with weird flowers
and plants and birds in the morning stillness.  I am waiting for a velociraptor to show up.
Now, it`s time to sneak around the park until more people arrive, which I`m NOT looking forward to.  Have to stay in the shadows
of shrubs and trees, stay alert, avoid the guards.  At this time of morning, I am quite conspicuous in my wife-beater with my
skateboard.
First, I smoke a fat nugget of chronic green herb to commemorate a morning well-spent and to spite the guards…
Just over these mountains in the foreground, I can see an even taller peak in the background glinting white in the sunlight with snow…
Tropical jungle smoke, a stroll through the Australian outback and into the Japanese gardens for a moment of bliss and out through
the side exit near the rose garden, all BEFORE the crowds arrived.  Safely OFF the property, a total PRIVATE tour, all to myself,
the only way to travel……TRESPASSING…..HA!
When you`re in the hot zone, you`ve got to be a lone wolf, sneaky-like, a pathfinder, a navigator.  You can`t travel in packs.  You
need a compass in your blood, iron nerves, wanderlust and a bit of the daredevil (or perhaps, A LOT).  Spontaneous, silent,
move like a jungle cat through trees and like a zephyr through the streets, blending with the shadows, surprising like a thief,
vicious if provoked….an urban guerrilla.
Downtown LA again….flying down Arcadia street…took a flying and spectacular tumble on a crack at the bottom by Main running
into Olvera.  10 people nearby looked alarmed but I jumped up, a little bloody, and said, “No problem, a perfect fall, tuck and roll…”
I scraped the plastic library cover of the book I`m reading, PrairyErth, `cause I used it like a sled to save my hands on the fall….
Survival of the fittest, baby…..
YOU SEE, I START MY DAY BEFORE YOU AND I END IT AFTER YOU.
NO REST FOR THE WICKED
_________
Synergy…joint action of combined agents so their sum effect is GREATER
ME+MYSELF+I= …….well, something good, anyway……
_________
Work notes  2/6/04
Sometimes, I wonder why the fuck I get up in the morning and then I remember…..I HAVE TO….
_________
“But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own
mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
Umberto Eco
“Focault`s Pendulum”
_________
DON`T GIVE ME HARD LOOKS, GOMER!  YOUR PRISON INK DOESN`T SCARE ME, PECKERWOOD.
IT ONLY MEANS THAT YOU`RE STUPID ENOUGH TO GET CAUGHT.
_________
“The journey is the reward.”
Lao Tzu
________
2/6/04
Walking along some railroad tracks down by the harbor in San Pedro.  I hear Santana`s “Oye Como Va” blasting from a
nearby car.  Perhaps I`m stretching it to be finding beauty in abandoned industrial junk.  Perhaps I am reaching too far
by trying to illustrate the aesthetically pleasing aspects of the visual and forlorn wastelands of LA harbor, for trying to
explain the subtle beauty of rusting railroad spikes.  Well, call me crazy but I think there is something to be said for
the myriad of rusty brown colors of abandoned and forgotten enterprises of yesteryear…
________
At sunset, my elongated shadow stretches ahead of me on those old train tracks and I wander freely into the night…
________
I rode the old, resurrected Red Car from the Cruise Ship Terminal to Ports O`Call, a distance I could easily have
skateboarded, just because I wanted to see the inside of the old railcar.  I tell ya, man, they just don`t build `em
this way anymore.  It is a real piece of work.
________
Riding this old rail car next to a giant blue container ship named Galaxy Leader at sunset….life is good…
________
In some seemingly ancient sunset-worship ritual, the seagulls climb higher and higher with the setting sun, its redness
setting their white bellies on fire, until the sun is finally gone below the horizon and the darkness approaches.  With that,
the seagulls turn and veer westward abruptly to the sea to float in their seagull dreams on the vast night ocean…
A little later, there is some kind of dusk vicious-bird life and death struggle in the thick, stout date palm above me.  They
squawk, chirp, click and scream, flapping and pecking savagely.  They are singing death songs.  Ravens wheel about
high above.  Night has come….
________
Every single experience I have had in my many lives
is vital and relevant to the big picture.
________
mariachi musicians at the fish market…festive….I drink a beer by the black night water and am as relaxed as a man can be….
while the music plays, there is an incredible orange full moonrise over Terminal Island…it is truly unbelievable.
Thank you for MY time.
________
Broadway, Downtown later….The old theaters are lit up with neon, the Palace, the Orpheum, the Los Angeles Theatre….
Quite beautiful really, but the funny thing is that even in the warm glow of the lights, the LA downtown streets are still
desolate and empty………going home to Hollywood…….
________
Skateboarded to work and hit all green lights……A FLAWLESS AND PERFECT RUN….
________
I wonder sometimes if other people, other faces I see in my daily travels, observe my eccentric routines as much as I see theirs.
Do they even recognize me?  Am I invisible?  Am I just full of hyper alertness or are they just wrapped up in their little tunnel-vision
worlds?  A good example of this would be the little old white-bearded guy in the frayed brown sports jacket and Nikes.  Almost
every time I step into Del Taco at a certain time of day, he is there, reading his newspaper, cutting out articles and coupons with
scissors, drinking coffee and eating a burrito with his own personal bottle of Grey Poupon mustard sitting on the table.  Quiet, odd,
yet dignified in his peculiar routine, I just have to wonder, does he notice anything around him?
________
What do you say about HYPOCRISY in a nation who goes to war over OIL on the pretense of `fighting terrorists`?   What do you
say about a nation that allows corporate juggernaut companies to make a fortune off selling sexy t-shirts and panties to pre-teen
and underage girls that say Extra Dirty and Juicy, yet we make a media circus out of seeing Janet Jackson`s tit pop out of her top
for 1/8th of a second at Super Bowl halftime.  I mean, REALLY!  Need I say more?  ( I could, you know, but I`m a minimalist…)
________
HA!  I still have my OLD, black long-sleeved Liquid Foundation surf shop shirt from Mission Beach, San Diego.  The good old days,
baby, as they say.  It is soft, faded and I`ve had it for like …fifteen years or something.  How many crazy parties, days and adventures
has THIS classic old shirt seen?  Countless, surely….
________
DROP DOWN TURN AROUND PICK A BALE O` COTTON….
________
I`ll put the leeches on ya…
________
Ich bin ein dummkopf….
________
Nein
________
2/09/04   the #4 bus to the Beverly Hilton Pool….
Goddamn!  If this funny wagon isn`t a fucking rolling lunatic asylum!?!
________
Just wandered into an Academy Awards luncheon at the Hilton, howzaboutthat?  My timing is impeccable.
________
Later, off Rodeo Drive; this is the CLEANEST alley I have ever seen!
________
Artistic graffiti in Hollywood…on Cosmo Street…
“Visual space has essentially no owner.”
________
“I bought a lot of stock in security systems before society crumbled…”
________
“your WHAT hurts???”
________
Pocket rocket
________
” `No one can live without other people.  It`s just not possible.`
`Maybe not.  But no one`s ever been me before.  Maybe I`m the first one.` “
Paul Auster
“The Book of Illusions”
________
The changing forms of my life are always intermingled with one another.  My youth entering into
my old age, the gravity of my later years tingeing and saddening the years of my innocence, the 
rays of my sun crossing and blending together from the moment of its rising to the moment of its
setting, have produced in my stories a kind of confusion–or, if you will, a kind of mysterious unity.
My cradle recalls something of my tomb, my tomb something of my cradle; my sufferings become
pleasures, my pleasures sufferings; and now that I have completed the perusal of these MEMOIRS,
I am no longer certain if they are the product of a youthful mind or a head gray with age.  I cannot
know if this mixture will be pleasing or displeasing to the reader.  There is nothing I can do to 
remedy it.  It is the result of my changing fortunes, the inconsistency of my lot.  Its storms have 
often left me with no table to write on but the rock on which I have been shipwrecked.  I have been
urged to allow some portions of these MEMOIRS to appear in my lifetime, but I prefer to speak from
the depths of my tomb.  My narrative will thus be accompanied by those voices which have something
sacred about them because they come from the sepulchre.  If I have suffered enough in this world to
be turned into a happy shadow in the next, a ray from the Elysian Fields will throw a protective light
on these last pictures of mine.  Life sits heavily on me; perhaps death will suit me better.”
 
Francois Rene de Chateaubriand 
“Memoiries d`Outre Tombe”
(“Memoirs of a Dead Man”)
________
I saw another young guy on the bus writing.  He had a skateboard too, and for some amusing and nonsensical
reason, this irked me a bit.  I was SURE that I was the only crazy skateboarding guy writing on buses.  I hope
I never see him at the LA River or I will be REALLY irritated.  Oh well, no big whoop.  Anyhoo, a big fat guy
sat next to him and with no more elbow room, his writing time was over, whereas, MINE has just begun….
And it will go on and on and on because if I get crowded, I`ll always just get OFF the damn bus and ride 30
miles with plenty of TIME and SPACE to write….
________
“I refuse to believe that everyone refuses to believe the truth…”
________
“That gun didn`t so much strike fear in me as fascination.  I understood that the bullets in the gun contained
a thought that had never occurred to me before.  The world was full of holes, tiny apertures of meaninglessness,
microscopic rifts that the mind could walk through, and once you were on the other side of one of those holes,
you were free of yourself, free of your life, free of your death, free of everything that belonged to you.  I was
perfectly calm and perfectly insane, perfectly prepared to accept what the moment had offered.  Indifference of
that magnitude is rare, and because it can be achieved only by someone ready to let go of who he is, it demands
respect.  It inspires awe in those who gaze upon it.”
Paul Auster
“The Book of Illusions”
________
Who said anything about killing?
I just wanted to carve you a little second asshole in your forehead….
________
Look at all the silly monkeys in the packed, safe, cozy confines of the sports gym under the pretty fluorescent lights.
Look at them walk on the treadmills and ride the stationary bikes with their headphones while texting on their portable
devices.  Look at them going nowhere.  Why actually go outside under a beautiful blue sky when you can stay inside
and smell the stink of everyone`s sweat while playing with your phone and going nowhere at all?  Great fucking plan.
As for me, I must be the crazy one.  I think I`ll go skateboard 35 miles along the ocean…
________
Friday the 13th….
2 other red buses on the road at the same time, both packed.  I think I`m smart `cause I`m the only passenger on mine.
But then he gets on the FREEWAY.  Wait! I yell.  He lets me off at the top of the ramp.  I`m done with buses for now.
I continue riding down Wilshire to Santa Monica.  I have already seen a lot of cops today and its still very early.  When
I get to the top of my parking structure by the beach, the asshole cops that were up there said I couldn`t stand there
and watch the sunrise (is THAT illegal?!?)  I wanted to argue but I DIDN`T want to get searched.  I started to skate away
but then they tell me no skateboarding in the structure.  So I had to walk, at least until I was out of their sight.  About the
5th floor, I jumped on and went for it.  Later, in Marina del Rey, I saw a Sheriff`s Van.  I thought it said SEARCH AND
DESTROY but it actually said SEARCH AND RESCUE: pheeeewww…..
THEN…….the day got a little better; I was at Fisherman`s Village in Marina del Rey when I ride by a gaggle of like 20
Japanese tourist girls.  They are simply ECSTATIC over my skateboarding, WHAT A NOVELTY!  I took photos with all
of them and they thanked me profusely with their cute little bowing and all.  Yes, that was a nice diversion….I fell in love
for just a moment with the sexiest one with the blue fingernails embedded with rhinestones on her dainty little hands….
Aaaahhhhhhhhh memories….THIS COULD ONLY HAPPEN TO ME…
NO WORDS COULD DESCRIBE THE JOY IN MY HEART AT MOMENTS LIKE THIS RIDING ALONG THE DEL REY
ISTHMUS  (THIS WAS WRITTEN ON A MOVING SKATEBOARD……………….>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>)
Then I ride by the UCLA girls rowing team (ALL OF THEM) and get sincere lusty looks from another couple hot babes….
A strange February Santa Ana type wind is blowing.  There are hazy yellow-brown smog clouds across the pale blue sky.
The sun glares brightly through 77 trillion particles of airborne filth.  A jet crawls across the sky at 24,000 feet and a
Coast Guard copter flys low here by the airport at Dockweiler Beach.  As I pass the DWP Hyperion Treatment Plant,
the offshore wind blows the overwhelming and DISGUSTING stench of 13 million nasty shits in MY direction.  I choke,
gag, and almost throw up.  NEVER pass here again in an offshore breeze!  IT AIN`T PRETTY, SUH…….
I love it when I see those spandex-tights-wearing turbo people on their 50-speed bikes and their high-tech roller blades.
They always look at me funny, like they think they OWN the boardwalk or something.  HA!  I OWN IT!!  Little do they
know, I am GOING JUST AS FAR AS THEY ARE IF NOT FARTHER……I`m just not wearing tights…..
Cops AGAIN, tailgating me in Manhattan Beach.
Manhattan Beach: SEXY, blonde bombshell, Barbie-Doll type walking with 10 fucking dogs pulling and pissing every which
way….she is talking on a cell phone while being burdened by multiple plastic bags full of dung……who`s walking who?  THAT`S
what I want to know….
LET THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN………HAPPEN.
Hermosa Beach, first sighting……Blonde lady, GIANT titties, and a face with lips all surgically enhanced like fucking Mick
Jagger.  She`s on roller blades, dressed like a runway model for a Dior fashion show in Milan wearing a ridiculous leopard-pattern
cowboy hat and smelling of enough perfume to supply a French whorehouse for 2 months….
After skateboarding nonstop all the way to Redondo Beach, I rewarded myself with a Miguel`s bean burrito.  Then I took the #232 bus
directly to Long Beach.  I changed my mind and got off in San Pedro `cause I love it.  I almost got hit by some GIANT SUV-driving
monkey crossing PCH.  His rap music was thumping and he`d turned to look at some fat-ass bitch in biker shorts.  My cell phone
was ringing.  If I`d answered it, I`d probably be dead.  And you KNOW he would have hit and run….  I jumped outta the way and
slid one one knee, grabbed my board and threw my book at his car.  He didn`t hear or see a thing.  He missed me by 2 feet….tops.
I am still alive….
Later, good old Ports O`Call.
you know where it goes from here……H O M E
(via LBC, Downtown etc……we don`t wanna be any more repetitive than necessary…..)
_____________________
“…one of those rare people in whom mind ultimately wins out over matter.  Age doesn`t diminish these people.
It makes them old, but it doesn`t alter who they are, and the longer they go on living, the more fully and implacably
they incarnate themselves.”
“I am a ridiculous man.  The gods have played many jokes on me.”
“The work was about making something in order to destroy it.  That WAS the work, and until all evidence of the work
had been destroyed, the work would not exist.  It would come into being only at the moment of its annihilation–and then,
just as the smoke rose up into the hot desert air, it would be gone.”
Paul Auster
“The Book of Illusions”
_________
It has occurred to me many times, the fragile and transitory nature of unknown art, such as my photos and crazy writings (`outsider art`).
I am in no inner circles or art cliques.  I don`t hang out with gallery owners.  I have no major shows or expeditions.  Will anyone ever
see any of it or for that matter, will anyone ever care?  All art and all literature is subject to a life journey very much like our own.  Will
it be via the main road or through the backwoods of nowhere?  Will it survive to make it into the light?  It must escape damage by water,
fire, or the direct hands of man.  If it makes the long and arduous journey intact, the Art is free to flower and grow and flourish.  There was
a school of Dadaists and Expressionists in the 1920s who were of the school of thought that the Art only existed to be destroyed, that
the precise moment of its destruction was the birth of its immortality, lost on the circling winds.  Ironically, the Surrealists disagreed.
If I were to burn all of my Art and writing intentionally, would it make the slightest difference?  No.  Someone needs to know it existed
first.  There must be witnesses.  I am a grain of sand on an endless beach.  Time eventually grinds us all into sand on the beach at
the end of the world.  Immortal?  Hmmm, only time will tell…….the wind hisses across the sands of time creating small whirlwinds
in its wake and the ocean laps gently on the shore beneath an indifferent sun….
_________
2/14/04
A big group of illiterate idiots with misspelled signs in front of Chinese Theater
MICHAEL JACKSON IS INNOSENT
HA!!
________
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God…”
Jesus H. Christ   Matthew 5:8
________
Creativity
“Be careful what you concentrate on, because THOUGHTS ARE THINGS.  Eventually they will manifest in your outer world if you
put enough energy into them.”
Stephen Walter Sterling
(referring to the Magician tarot card)
_________
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Marcus Aurelius
Well then, MINE is GREAT FUN!
_________
I`ll tell ya, the best thing on TV right now and always
is the EMPTY BLACK SCREEN.
_________
THE subconscious RULES EVERYTHING
________
I LIKE HASHISH
________
Oh no, I`m sorry….
if that scares you, I`ll take it back….
YOU are definitely in COMPLETE CONTROL OF EVERYTHING.
________
SERIOUSLY
________
WHAT IF EVERYTHING
YOU HAVE LEARNED
IN LIFE IS WRONG?
________
A day for dreaming,
for journeys of the mind,
the journeys
where I can always go furthest….
THB3

 

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