THE FRIENDLY NIHILIST: STREET JOURNAL 91 by Tom Henry Brooks 3

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It’s quite often that I’m racked with that special kind of FUCK THE WORLD feeling, but I’ll still take you out to lunch for a nice, friendly conversation…

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“MOSAIC

a series of notes, prose-poems,

stories, bits of play & dialog

Aphorisms, epigrams, essays

Poems? Sure”

“I think the interview is the new art form. I think the self-interview is the essence of creativity.  Asking yourself questions and trying to find answers. The writer is just answering a series of unuttered questions.”

“If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”

Jim Morrison

“WILDERNESS”

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“ The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s just to keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.”

“What’s great about Los Angeles is nobody cares where you’re from or who you are. It’s a superficial town where you can worry about stupid shit like keeping your pool clean and what kind of artisanal nuts to put on your fucking salad.”

BOJACK HORSEMAN

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“Actually, there ARE two kinds of people in this world: those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”

Tom Robbins

“Still Life With Woodpecker”

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My new social & antisocial media accounts & emails will be under the name HAMBONE FAKENAMINGTON

….also, sometimes it’s just plain fun to see the expression on someone’s face when you call them HAMBONE for no good reason…

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“What matters is the idea,

not the camera.”

Man Ray

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“Take the red pill & you stay in Wonderland, and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

“The Matrix”

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SoCal Soul 1/23 to 1/30, 2018

(Homecoming)

If somebody is telling you a long and rambling story and you want to get them to put a cork in it, try this out and see if it works for you too…

Interrupt them rudely and say,

“ I’m sorry but does this story involve crack? Because if it doesn’t begin AND end with crack, i’m not interested. I mean this story’s going nowhere, man…”

It really works, my friends.  All the people concerned usually get a good laugh out of it. And it’s truly amusing to see how easily some people are offended…

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The green chronic herb is legal now in California! Always remember…KUSHASHIMA.

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Dave and I talked about the acquisition of riches, and how you need to focus and be singleminded in purpose,

and Polston says,

“Ehhh, I quit halfway through Monopoly…”

That just about sums it up…

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“ We live in an era when rich people are skinny and poor people are fat.”

Joe Rogan

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Tom “ you know when you start getting older and feeling all those pains you just got to fight through it and take the pain.”

Dave “ that’s all we can do Chuck Wagon.”

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“You know how people say ‘you’re all right in my book.’ Well, I actually have a book and everyone I meet goes in it…”

Quentin Tarantino

“Death Proof”

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Venice Beach – saw Pink, Anthony Kiedis and a woodpecker getting chased by a falcon….

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Venice Beach at sunset saw a fucking drone…

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It’s my next to last sunset on Venice Beach and I notice that Venice Beach has both the very best and the very worst the world has to offer …. so many people getting along ,dancing , laughing  …AND so many scumbags spun out  of their heads on drugs …it’s truly mind-boggling…

Aside from this paradox it truly is an amazing place at sunset and I suspect it will be for many years to come…. i’m going to miss it…

Sunday and Monday , the last two days of my homecoming to Los Angeles… it is fire season! offshore Santa Ana winds…. it is hot!

Skateboards only….A Sign you’ll see only in California…

I let this random woman in the back gate here at the Oakwood. I was hanging around there only because I was doing laundry. Then she stands there staring at me with this nervous confused look on her face. I thought I had a crazy one on my hands and I couldn’t figure out what to do and then it occurred to me… I said, “ you’re meeting somebody aren’t you ? you think I’m somebody else…”

She thought I was messing with her or I didn’t want to date her but I told her she had the wrong guy. That’s what happens when you go on Internet dates and you don’t even have any idea what the person looks like. I finally shook her off when the other guy came outside… almost a full moon, I see…

The biggest thing I notice when I come back to California after a long absence is the way everybody of all races and religions and colors comes together at the beach chasing that golden dream, the one of family and friends and sunshine and palm trees and screaming blue sky and wide open vast ocean. Don’t get me wrong because in Japan they chase the dream too but Californians are just so damn good at it…

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As I sit here in the wind up bird alley having a beer and a smoke before my last LA sunset, for now anyway, I am reminded of the amazing diversity of bird life in the LA basin…magic…

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My whole week in California I did not have one single fall on my skateboard. This board and I have been a long way together from long journeys in Tokyo to riding around Venice & Santa Monica relentlessly all week… I say this as I am cleaning the wheels and packing the skateboard back into my suitcase for my trip home tomorrow…

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Last few hours… last few moments of deep memories and nostalgia. As the sun falls below the horizon & the sky turns a deep violet and indigo blue, I sit here filled with love and happiness, truly overwhelmed by my beautiful hometown which I’ve missed much more than I realized, until tonight…

Goodbye Los Angeles… I hope next time I see you I can still skateboard…

THB3

1/29/18

Oakwood, Marina del Rey/Venice, Los Angeles, California

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February 11, 2018

Oyazawa Village, Koumi,

Nagano Prefecture

10:44 A.M.

Today is the day my Japanese father, Kaoru Nagashima, is finally laid in his final resting place. His ashes & bone fragments are interred beneath a gorgeous ebony-black marble gravestone with silver-inlaid Kanji and cherry blossoms.  We stand, Chiharu & I and the family, on a sunny hilltop at 3300 feet (1033 meters).

There is snow in some of the fields and a bamboo grove rustling nearby in a gentle morning breeze.  A Buddhist monk in his saffron robes chants softly with his prayer beads & sticks and bells. The air smells of mountain fresh air & incense. It feels close to some kind of heaven. Snow slides off nearby roofs in clumps in the morning sunlight. The soft wind hisses through the bamboo, birds chirping, the chanting, the dry croak of a crow, white puffy clouds pass across an endless blue sky, silence of nature, silence of the heart…

I am apart from the others, lost in my own thoughts. I can’t help thinking that in a hundred years, every single one of us at this funeral  ceremony, including the monk, will be long gone. And a hundred years after that, everyone that remembered or knew us will be gone as well. It will almost be as if we’d never existed at all…but we DID exist. We were here, and we lived the best that we could…

Goodbye & farewell, Kaoru-San; I will remember you as long as I am able…

THB3

2/11/18

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2-14-18

In the face of the massive nuclear threat posed by North Korea and the United States and their maniacal and stupid presidents, the Doomsday Clock just ticked closer to midnight. We are nearer to self-annihilation than ever before. The question is, why do we even have a Doomsday Clock? Why does it even exist at all? Are we truly so sure and confident in our own mutually assured destruction? The answer is…yes, we are. It just goes to show you how stupid we are as humans, capable of so much more, yet the powers that be still plot and plan war and death to us all. It makes no sense, yet, it is what it is. It’s out of our hands now; we watch and we wait and we wonder when the bright flash of light will blind and extinguish all that we are & have been, and will leave behind nothing but smoking ruins and death and endless sorrow and a nuclear wind blowing across a desolate landscape of despair. I really hope I’m wrong, I really hope we find a way to work through this, but my hopeful optimism sinks lower day by day and I lose all faith in the intelligence of humans…Happy Valentine’s Day, motherfuckers…love & peace to one and all….ya goddamned idiots…

THB3

Footnote:

2 months later…

Well, we’re still here. Maybe I was wrong about all that. Maybe I was in a black mood that day. Maybe it was all media hype and disinformation. Or maybe a cruise missile is on a trajectory for Tokyo as I write this. It’s such a ridiculous world, I just don’t know anymore. Whatever, at least I’m enjoying the ride…

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“The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Albert Einstein

________

“…the mantra,

I AM LOVING AWARENESS…

make friends with change…”

Ram Dass

“Going Home”

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“We take pictures to stop time, to commit moments to eternity…”

Kodachrome (movie)

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There’s a Zen koan where a teacher holds a stick. He says to his student, “If you tell me this stick is real, I will beat you with it. If you tell me it is not real, I will beat you with it. If you say nothing, I will beat you with it.”

And so, the student reaches out, grabs the stick, and breaks it.

If a situation is untenable, you break that fucking stick.

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“Be present. Make love. Make tea. Avoid small talk. Embrace conversation. Buy a plant, water it. Make your bed. Make someone else’s bed. Have a smart mouth, and quick wit. Run. Make art. Create. Swim in the ocean. Swim in the rain. Take chances. Ask questions. Make mistakes. Learn. Know your worth. Love fiercely. Forgive quickly. Let go of what doesn’t make you happy. Grow.”

Paulo Coelho

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“He not busy being born

is busy dying…”

Bob Dylan

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“There has to be some pleasure in this job, and that’s it. To go around in disguise. To act a character. To pass oneself off as what one is not. To pretend. The sly and cunning masquerade.”

Philip Roth

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6/9/18

The one month anniversary of my fucking 49th Birthday. A blistering hot summer day, screaming blue sky and a chance of afternoon thundershowers. Still a maniac after all these years- on one of my epic Tokyo bike rides. Apparently, I’m in Arakawa Ward,  and it’s all new turf to me, but in reality, I don’t even care where I am right now…

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“Let me tell you something-happiness is bullshit. No art worth a damn was ever created out of happiness, I can tell you that much.

Ambition, narcissism, sex, rage…those are the engines that drive every great artist, every great man…a hole that can’t be filled.”

Kodachrome (movie)

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“Context is everything. Dress me up and see. I’m a carnival barker, an auctioneer, a downtown performance artist, a speaker in tongues, a senator drunk on filibuster.  My mouth won’t quit, though mostly I whisper or subvocalize like I’m reading aloud, my Adam’s apple bobbing, jaw muscle beating like a miniature heart under my cheek, the noise suppressed, the words escaping silently, mere ghosts of themselves, husks empty of breath and tone.  In this diminished form the words rush out of the cornucopia of my brain to course over the surface of the world, tickling reality like fingers on piano keys. Caressing, nudging.  They’re an invisible army on a peacekeeping mission, a peaceable horde. They mean no harm. They placate, interpret, massage. Everywhere they’re smoothing down imperfections, putting hairs in place, putting ducks in a row, replacing divots. Counting and polishing the silver. Patting old ladies gently on the behind, eliciting a giggle. Only-here’s the rub-when they find too much perfection, when the surface is already buffed smooth, the ducks already orderly, the old ladies complacent, then my little army rebels, breaks into the stores. Reality needs a prick here and there, the carpet needs a flaw. My words begin plucking at threads nervously, seeking purchase, a weak point, a vulnerable ear.  That’s

when it comes, the urge to shout in the church, the nursery, the crowded movie house. It’s an itch at first. Inconsequential. But that itch is soon a torrent behind a straining dam. Noah’s flood. That itch is my whole life. Here it comes now. Cover your ears. Build an ark. I’ve got Tourette’s.

‘Eat me!’ I scream.”

Jonathan Lethem

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“To be alive at all is to have scars.”

John Steinbeck

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JUST SOUTH OF 50 AND WAY SOUTH OF HEAVEN

fuck

Where oh where does the time go?

Sometimes my life feels like

an express bullet train

headed for a single destination only-

meaningless oblivion

This is not a poem

this is a series of complaints

when we were young

in Southern California

it was sunshine and surf

and a screaming blue sky above

It was the definition of hedonism

living for the sole pleasure

of enjoyment and good times

But those days of wine and roses

are long gone now

This is not a poem

this is a lament

To age

to grow older

to have responsibilities

to understand your place

in the world

to feel the pressure

weighing down on you

like a thousand tons of bricks

This is the cold hard reality

of our daily lives

This is not a poem

this a tidal wave of memories

In my twenties

I continued to shirk my duties

to live free and reckless and wild

Even into my thirties

I just didn’t care

It all seemed so stupid

so pointless

so futile to fight

the madness of this ridiculous world

Like a fox in a henhouse

I took what I wanted with

no apologies

This is not a poem

this is a sad song

In my late forties now

How did I get here?

How did I survive the chaos?

I can scarcely answer that question

even when talking to myself

I’ve been many men over the years

I’ve lived a myriad of different lives

yet in all of them I feel I’ve been

an outsider

a rebel

a renegade

an outlaw

a maniac

a whirlwind

a man apart

For this I am glad

smug and self-satisfied

I’ve lived by my own rules

my own ever-changing principles

This is not a poem

it is a waking dream

Over the years

good times ebbed and flowed

women came and went

My heart has been filled

with boundless joy

inexhaustible enthusiasm

and an infinite sadness

The world continually

beats me down

but somehow I get right back up

and keep moving

This is not a poem

it is the wind in the trees

It really sucks getting older

watching yourself

sagging

wrinkles appearing

more gray hairs

fighting fat and laziness

To wake up feeling like

a walking corpse

bones and muscles aching

mind still in a dreamworld

To feel yourself falling apart

piece by piece

bit by bit

disintegrating into the dust

from whence we came

This is not a poem

it’s an elegy

a requiem

Despite all these things

conspiring to bring me down

I trudge through the whirlwind

with a grim smile etched

on my leathery old face

I’m an old warhorse

and I will not fall without a fight

I go through my days

in the best spirits I can

trying to find the humor

in everything

I squeeze the oranges into juice

the lemons into lemonade

I stomp upon the grapes

and make wine

I continue to LIVE the best I can

It’s a long hard road I walk

but I continue onward & upward

looking for satisfaction

for love

for happiness

for redemption

for meaning

that’s right

goddamnit

I keep going forward

almost 50

surely more than a midpoint in life

I keep walking into the sun

almost 50, it’s true

but still

way south of heaven

THB3

Tom Henry Brooks 3

Tokyo, Japan

June 21st, 2018

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