THE L.A. JOURNAL

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

 

Let me introduce you again to the very first post I put on this blogging website.  There are 74 more that follow and they can be found on my homepage in the archives, so enjoy…

I`m going outside, it`s beautiful…

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THE L.A. JOURNAL

 

The following text is the digitized version of my first little pocket notebook, the first of MANY, that I began carrying around everywhere with me sometime around the turn of the millennium, about 2000.  The dates are hazy in the first ones and the organization, haphazard at best, but they consist of pure, free flow writings from a strange man, me.  I have another ten or fifteen years worth of writings before these, but they were written in full-sized larger notebooks that are currently in Los Angeles in the possession of our good friend, William Case, and there they shall remain.

   I had lived in San Diego in Mission Beach from `89 to about `95.  Then I lived in New Jersey in Tom`s River on Barnegat Bay until early `99.  I had my first NYC adventures around this time.  Sometime around 2000, back in LA, it occurred to me that I had been taking way too many notes on scraps of paper and cocktail napkins and such.   My intent was to add them to my bigger notebooks later and I often did, if I didn`t lose them (the scraps) .  However, they often lost their original purity from my waiting to add them to the bigger notebooks.  I wanted something IN THE MOMENT, as it were.  As you probably know, I am a minimalist and an EXTREMELY light traveler.  I do not like carrying around bags and backpacks and such.  Just me and my skateboard and my camera and my legs, taking buses and trains and sometimes cars.  So one day, I began carrying small pocket notebooks, which started out as little cheap mini spirals and evolved into Moleskines and other fancy little books that I could get my hands on. These are an ongoing chronicle of MY strange and fascinating life (of which we all have our own versions.)  I just happened to record a lot of mine in these Street Journals.
  The notes are often brief and/or hallucinatory.  I was often high or buzzed (not always, mind you), but often enough.  Sometimes I was even scribbling WHILE rolling along on my skateboard, the ultimate in mobile thought….literally—THOUGHT IN MOTION. The notes are often fragmentary, a necessity when you are on the move for a thirty-five mile skateboard ride.  I intend to one day soon take these stories and expand more on the details.  There is much more behind every scribble. The Street Journals; these books are hard to classify.  They are not journals or diaries in a strict sense; they are random thoughts, philosophical meanderings, strange drawings and pictures that I taped inside (which I will be unable to render for you here).  They are anecdotes, truths, lies, exaggerations, obscenities, aphorisms, strange tales, poems, original writings, quotes from books and other writers whom I admire.  As a whole, they are really quite fascinating and amusing and I myself enjoy revisiting them here.  At times, they may be a little repetitive.  After 20 years of furious writing, it is hard to remember what is new and what has already been transcribed.  My mind is a tangled web of words and it is often hard to sort them out in an organized fashion.  The originals are much better, as something solid and real, a book in your hand, always is.  It is hard to feel the power of something that exists digitally in the matrix but it is better than nothing and it is good backup, just in case (god forbid), any of them were ever to get lost.  I actually have lost one or two (maybe more) of them, probably while drunk.  One of them was surely lost in the Runyon Canyon part of the Hollywood Hills near Errol Flynn`s old estate.  Dave Polston and I spent a good two or three hours up there one day drinking beer and smoking herb and searching around for it, but to no avail.  Mostly we were just drinking and smoking.  Whatever.  You get the idea.  This is my way of recording my life…erratic, fleeting, eccentric, and perhaps just plain crazy.  I have been having a great fucking time.  Join me, my friends.  We will travel around Los Angeles, Mexico, New York City and back to LA again.  We will move to Japan.  And all of this, with my words accompanied by quotes from great literature. Read them on your portable electronic devices while you are riding a train, taking a bus, waiting for something; whatever lights your fire.   The world is a mystery.  Let us see if this digital re-telling helps us shed any light on this strange existence we all lead.  Come, won`t you… enter my mind, my cave of illusions, my ocean of discontent.  Let us take a ride down the longest road into the sunset of memories….
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LA JOURNAL
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End of the Century
“Return of the Native”
Indian Summer
10/21/99                  (I believe this one was written right when I got back from New Jersey after my girlfriend of the time and I had broken up; this was my first journey upon my return to LA)  (Anything that is not in quotation marks is original writing by me…)
Up before dawn. Darkness still cloaks the land…slightest hint of light in the east.  I slip quietly outside—undercover—to glide silently through vacant streets,
past empty dark windows on bicycle wheels, I fly through the dawn and into the light.
Venice Beach, cobalt blue above, indigo west, oranges pinks purples…LIGHT in the east
My two wheeled zephyr takes me down MY road, thru alleys, across the empty beach, shadows on the mountains of Malibu and Topanga.
Coffee on Washington Blvd…….idyllic Venice Canals….
An egret, patiently waiting for a morsel…staring intently at the water….before him, there was a huge disturbance of fish, some kind of feeding frenzy or mating ritual.
The still waters churned into a froth by their insane frenzy beneath the surface…earthquake animal behavior, some might say.
Rolling past the bird sanctuary and the high rise condos of Marina del Rey
Admiralty Way at morning rush-hour…traffic increases, the first joggers and speed walkers appear.
Alone on the Culver River outlet, sun bursting above El Segundo hills, more egrets, cranes, pelicans, seagulls…
Tour de Idiot bicyclists in their tights as I roll on my beach cruiser…
morning vagabonds drooling, empty eyes staring, drained bottles like bled corpses clenched in their desperate hands, twisted in private nightmares.
Playa del Rey…planes, jets, flying above…away…somewhere…
Seagulls and crows cawing into the uncaring Santa Ana wind as the sun hits the vast desolate beach in patches of light and shadow….tractor workers cleaning the sand…
In the middle of the great Santa Monica Bay there are ships and oil tankers anchored on my right side….smokestacks on my left….
Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu behind me….and Equator dead ahead 4500 miles…
The temptation is to keep riding……SOUTH…
The ocean horizon is laced with a brown ribbon of smog that only an LA native could describe as beautiful….
browns, purples, grays, blues, even some hints of green, give the haze a surreal aspect that can only cause a sense of dreamlike abandon in a lone traveler…
I move swiftly, at a nice pace…into the heat of the day, sure to be a “City of Angels” pressure cooker,
the kind of day when it is better to be alone at the beach than stuck in traffic in the burning city at 2pm
where people on cell phones scream obscenities at each other out their car windows
while careening through uneven streets with death-defying skill and idiocy—-
I smoothly float like driftwood through Manhattan Beach, Hermosa, Redondo, as one with my hometown.
Like a spectre in the hot mist, Palos Verdes Peninsula, a monolith of $$$, hovers there, rising above it all.
Breakfast sandwich at Rinaldi`s; 2 24oz Budweisers at Party House and up up up
I ride into the hills of Palos Verdes to Malaga Cove.  I walk down to the empty beach, rocks, the tide pools, the lagoon,
all desolate and brown and sun-baked—empty like the landscape of the moon meeting a sea of tranquility…
the water is glassy and still, reflecting a blue sky above.
I meditate alone, a couple of beers, still cold enough, smoking some green herb, alone with my thoughts,
my moment, my euphoria, my sun, my sky, my rock, my ocean, my eternity, out here on the point at the end of the world…
out here the desolation puts us all in our place.
Later, I trudge up the hill, or rather, I shimmy and scramble up the crumbling cliffs like a monkey, a trained chimp, if you will, moreover,
when I got to the top, I immediately jumped on my bike and FLEW down the long hill at 40 mph.
Then I heard midday crickets creaking in the dry, brown grass at 12 noon, another sure sign of so-called “earthquake weather.”
Whatever.  I ride on to RAT beach (right after Torrance), lay around basking in the sun and swimming for an hour or so.
Then I continue riding on the wet sand back to Redondo to shower off and then I headed to Miguels for a delicious Mexican lunch
followed by a cold Mexican beer on the Redondo Pier.
I continue north, past the sexy ladies lounging on the beach in Hermosa, through Manhattan, past El Segundo industry,
again, the airplanes…stopped for awhile for another brew and a smoke in 99 Palms.  Saw dolphins and sea lions
as the sun falls lower in the sky, I realize this day has been spent outside, from dawn to dusk, or rather, it soon will be.
I find myself still in Playa del Rey at 4pm, no hurry, no worries, the way I try to spend all my days on this earth.
There is nothing anywhere like lying in Playa del Rey at twilight with the planes droning constantly overhead.
The beach is vast and empty and silent.
The only sound besides the jets is the pounding of waves on the oily shoreline and the random screams of birds.
This combination of sight and sound causes a dreamlike condition which can only be lived, not explained.
Personal experience, nothing less; a study, a meditation, a real dose of the true flavor of Southern California—
Los Angeles, the city we live in… a place where dreams are made and shattered like glass,
a reflection of the fragile mirror of reality and fantasy, a duality forever intertwined in an unstable and chaotic bond of contradiction,
opposing forces, complimentary opposites, the endless paradox; money, fame—poverty, desperation, this city on the edge of the western sea,
alone on an abyss, a fault line through the heart of it, making every moment precious and apocalyptic and hopelessly unpredictable.
To stumble forever thru the city of darkness and light, indigo dawn to purple twilight, the crescent moon to the intensity of the sun,
from the depths of the shadows in the alleys, to the pinnacle of the Hollywood sign,
from the Bonaventure Hotel to the Queen Mary, to Malibu, to the Watts Towers,
I chant my praises to this wondrous, insane place at the end of the world.
Los Angeles, a universe unto itself, an independent colony, a disaster and a victory always waiting to happen—
land of uncertainty, land of disenchantment, land of porn, the frontier gone crazy with gated communities and BMWs
and cell phones and America online and business business business and no real people left anywhere or maybe
hopefully somewhere, just a few who aren`t spending their whole lives e-mailing or in a chat room or getting on the satellite uplink or watching TV
or just plain lost souls or maybe we`re all there in our own way—it doesn`t matter anyway because BIG BROTHER is watching you
and everybody…forgive us, we know not what we do.
The world lies in jigsaw puzzle pieces torn asunder by the destruction of the masses, a juggernaut set in motion by IGNORANCE (you ignant, you ignant!)
I float here at twilight, the end, and consider it all…the answer comes, but for a millisecond on a whisper of wind and is gone before I can write it.
A 767 jet roars overhead and with it I send my complex tangle of thoughts, an astral projection to a distant white sand beach
with lush palms and jungle greenery, Fiji perhaps…
my mind finds a temporary Garden of Eden and for awhile I sleep in the jungle of dreams.
I get back to Venice for a fire-red sunset, a burst of brilliance before the day slowly dies into a purple-blue dusk and the cycle continues,
a new beginning as night falls over the land, the nocturnal creatures slither, crawl, stumble from their hiding places and out into the open,
undercover in the shadows, the night conceals many things,
I ride deeper, back to the city and into it….                                          (you can tell my early resistance to technology; at this time, I had no cell phone, no computer, and no e-mail address.  Times sure do change, don`t they?)
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Yes,
believe it or not
there are still some of us
who enjoy the simple things
in Life
the pure things
that which is raw living
to feel
rather than driving around
in a luxury car
in gridlocked traffic
all day long
with a fucking cell phone
glued to your misshapen ears
spewing nonsense about
finance
agents
stocks
producers
commodities
bullshit…
so I continue towards my fate
in my own way…
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“The superficial inducement, the exotic, the picturesque has an effect only on the foreigner.  To portray a city, a native must have other, deeper motives—
motives of one who travels into the past instead of into the distance.  A native`s book about his city will always be related to memoirs; the writer has
not spent his childhood there in vain.”
Walter Benjamin
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the following is revised and edited by me but it is quoted from the professor of Urban Theory, Mike Davis…
No metropolis has been more loved or more hated.  LA is a sunlit mortuary where you can rot without feeling it.  LA brings it all together.  Los Angeles is a city of contradiction, contrast, paradox…it is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua Trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert, where the rich have hired their own police to fend off street gangs as well armed as Beirut Militias.  It`s a city with a shadowy history and an ethereal economy, a place of sublime beauty and horrifying destruction.  LA is a metropolis of vast proportions, of extremes, of desperation and greed and of Kafkaesque conspiracies, a city in which we may glimpse our own future, mirrored with terrifying clarity.”
Mike Davis “City of Quartz”
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A guy just walked by my Cloverdale apartment singing U2`s “Where the Streets Have No Name” at FULL volume…now that`s an irony considering the writing on the previous pages & the book I`m reading is “City of Quartz.” (from the “Joshua Tree”.  Need I say more?)
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LA….”Junkyard of Dreams”
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“LA is everywhere, a city without boundaries, which eats up the desert, and cuts down the Joshua Trees, and dreams of becoming infinite.”
I suggest that anyone who likes to read, checks out “City of Quartz” and “Ecology of Fear” by Mike Davis
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“Setting aside an apocalyptic awakening of the neighboring San Andreas fault, it is all too easy to envision Los Angeles reproducing itself endlessly across the desert with the assistance of pilfered water, cheap immigrant labor, Asian capital and desperate homebuyers willing to trade lifetimes on the freeway in exchange for $500,000 `dream homes` in the middle of Death Valley.”     Davis
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The biggest problem with aging and the loss of youth, is not that you are getting inevitably older, but rather, that you never know when it will happen, and when the exact moment of crossover from youth to adulthood will come.  It sneaks up on you like a thief in the night.  It is but a brief flash, forgotten in the chaos and the maelstrom.  When it does happen, the next thing you know, you are forty-something with a family and a real job and you look in the mirror and wonder what the hell happened and where everybody went and when the party ended.  And why were you sleeping when the party did end?  Will it ever begin again or would you rather just take a nap?  These questions, and many others, will never be answered by you or me or anyone.
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“From Mount Hollywood, Los Angeles looks rather nice, enveloped in a haze of changing colors.  Actually, in spite of all the healthful sunshine and ocean breezes, it is a bad place—full of old, dying people, who were born old of tired pioneer parents, victims of America, full of curious wild and poisonous growths, decadent religious cults(SCIENTOLOGY) and fake science, and wildcat enterprises, which, with their aim for quick profit, are doomed to collapse and drag down multitudes of people…a jungle.”
Louis Adamic
1923
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“Here is an artificial city which has been pumped up under forced draught, inflated like a balloon, stuffed with rural humanity like a goose with corn…endeavoring to eat up this too rapid avalanche of anthropoids, the sunshine metropolis heaves and strains, sweats and becomes pop-eyed, like a young boa constrictor trying to swallow a goat.”
Morrow Mayo
1934
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“This brutal, golden shore, where the sun finally gives up and sinks into the black, black sea.”
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LA haze
electric air
charged with menace
skyscrapers lost in the smog
towering monoliths
of nothingness
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“…polymorphous landscapes and architecture…”
“LA has been given a comprehensible unity by the freeway grid in a metropolis that speaks the language of movement, not monument.”
Mike Davis
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So many fucking tickets!!  I`m gonna run a tab with the LAPD, bastards.
Send me a damn photo of me running a red light, will ya?!  I send you a photo of my fucking money!
(I have to admit, in the photo with me wearing black sunglasses in my Dodge Shadow convertible, I did look pretty shady and guilty.)
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“The point of no return, the point in the journey where it`s longer to go back to the beginning than to continue on to the end…”
“Overeducated, underskilled; I`m obsolete.  I`m not economically viable.”
“I`m the bad guy?!  How did that happen?”
“Falling Down” the movie
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“I realize with sometimes chilling luminosity, the underlying relations of repression, surveillance and exclusion that characterize the fragmented, paranoid spatiality towards which Los Angeles seems to aspire.”
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Los Angeles defies description…it is too massive, too polymorphous, too varied in its myriad of aspects that words simply cannot do it justice.  It is everchanging and endless and it moves too fast to be pinned down, categorized or understood with any degree of accuracy.  It is the Garden of Eden gone horribly awry and a world gone mad.  It is the devil`s playground.  It is a mystery and a paradox.  It is where we live….home.
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So much wildlife amidst the pollution, human and otherwise…
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Sometimes
in the light
of certain South,
I see myself there
gone from this place
gone from anywhere I`ve ever known
to a distant horizon
that cannot yet be named…
I see myself there
divorced from the familiar
the unknown awaiting me
like a virgin bride
greeting me with open arms…
I see myself there
with the twilight upon me
triggering the birth of new worlds
A galaxy of light and shadow;
I continue forward
with grim determination
into the vortex…
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A lot of words but not much too say…
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11/16/99
I took a trip downtown today.  Now, this area of Los Angeles has been trying for years to attract more tourists and to turn the downtown metropolitan area into some kind of “New York” style mecca.  And, I might add, it does have a myriad of fascinating landmarks, modern and antique.  These are the two simplified halves of downtown LA;
new and old, business and derelict, the wealthy and the scumbags.  Somewhere around Pershing Square I`d say, perhaps Olive Street, lies the invisible border between the business towers and old Broadway, which is more like a trip to Revolucion in Tijuana than America.  Broadway is riddled with old, classic buildings and Latino music blares out of every open storefront.  There is not one record nor bookstore devoted to English.  Skid Row is very close so there are many crazies with dead soulless eyes and the stink of cigarettes, alcohol, urine, and death is always nearby in this area.  Yet there is also a vibrant street life which lies hidden, yet so obvious if you are paying attention.  The streets are humming with energy, albeit predominately Latino energy, it is nonetheless an overwhelming and fascinating experience.  I felt comfortable there and I must learn more Spanish.  I went to two seedy bars, “The Escape Room” and “The Golden Gopher.” I found a room at the Hotel Bristol if I`m ever desperate.  I strolled down Broadway where the LAPD plays cowboy with their big “Hoss” hats, and it really is quite strange seeing them in cowboy hats on horses, like some kind of postmodern, surreal cybercops in a junkyard of antiquity with the pink and orange sky at the end of Flower Street.  I tried to go to the top of the Library Tower, but security stopped me so I settled for the Bonaventure.  I went to the downtown library.  I walked through dead underground shopping malls such as Arco Plaza, dead I say, because people are scared of downtown LA and only people who frequent these malls are businessmen on lunch hour or coffee breaks.  In retrospect, I realized that I got more strange looks from the suits and the security guards in the business district than I did from the Mexicans and Central Americans on Broadway.  The suits thought I was a crack fiend or a white terrorist looking to plant a bomb or a killer.  On Broadway, I was the only long blonde-haired dude on the damn street and no one gave a flying fuck.  Just another crazy gringo.  I even got a few flirtatious looks from the Guatemalan babes.  I`m sure many over there thought I was an undercover cop, or a punk buying drugs or a dumb lost tourist from Luxembourg.  So my adventure continued until dark and then I jumped in my Dodge Shadow hooptie and rolled off.  While I was driving my worked-over but still fresh sled west towards the Pacific, I realized my place in the world.  Between the security cameras and closed doors and the Latino music and cowboy cops in the last frontier, the last great western in the making, I am totally and utterly alone, straddled betwixt opposing worlds.  I don`t belong in the world of business and finance in a three-piece-suit any more than I belong on Skid Row with the freaks and junkies.  I belong right in the middle, in my own twilight world on the border between sanity and madness, between dreams and reality, the center line, the edge, alone, where I`ve always been.  So, appropriately, I continue driving my Shadow into the sunset and downtown LA disappears in the mist behind me, its skyscrapers lost in the clouds…
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“In the world of affairs we live in our own age;
In books, we live in all ages.”
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 If you`re not down with hip-hop culture and you don`t know Spanish,
you`re gonna be displaced and confused in 21st century Los Angeles.     (Of course, I wasn`t talking about Bel-Air)
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“You`ve survived New York, you made it through Miami, but this is LA, vato, and this
fucking city can kill anybody…!”
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LOCO GRINGO
      1302
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THE GIFT
 
I have something
to give the world
even if the world
doesn`t want it,
I have something
to say
even if no one
is listening…
I quietly offer my gift
to invisible hands
and empty heads
and lonely hearts
and am rewarded
with silence
desolation…
I present my gift
unnoticed
in the shadows,
I give it
to this uncaring universe…
My reward
is the knowledge
that when death
takes me,
I gave all that I could
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I cannot devote my life to the petty causes of the human race
because I have already committed myself to the spiritual world
and the mysteries which lie above and beyond our irrelevant
mortal problems.  I grasp at that which is intangible.
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pointless story»»»»»»»>
Dockweiler Beach
November blues
my private emptiness
the loss of nothing
the inward journey
the chaos of order
the meaninglessness of meaning
the day after the windstorms
crystal clear
not a blemish
as far as the eye can see, yet
distance
tells me nothing
so I speak empty stories
to the sea
and the sand buries me
with desolation
My singularity
gives me strength
and I realize that
this polluted empty beach
is mine
The last stretch
of Southern California coastline
that doesn`t have condos
The broad expanse
of Santa Monica Bay
north and south
is a panorama
for my tired eyes
All I ask now is
the money freedom time
to wander endlessly
thru the world
free from the shackles
of drudgery
stopping and going
on a whim
with nothing but
a bag of clothes and money…
Please
give me this opportunity
so I can tell
more stories
for no good reason
to nobody in particular…
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“Lo! Death has reared
             himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West…”
Edgar Allan Poe
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new plan 11/24/99
movie/music video extra work days
occasional audition days
waiting or bartending 2-3 nights
effective immediately
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the moments alone
indescribable beauty
this life
this futile battle
for something out of nothing
pointless little victories
and seconds of self-satisfaction
It all seems so stupid
I`d rather stand
on an empty pier
at dusk
in a purple sky
trying to capture the moment
with words
but failing
Trying to attain Nirvana
but for a moment
to commune with nature
and metropolis
in one defining moment
of ultimate understanding
and to know without a doubt
that each glowing
ripple on the ocean
right now
is forever mine alone…
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a 767 flying overhead suddenly disrupts my reverie…
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The day before Thanksgiving 1999, the most beautiful
sunset I`ve seen in recent memory; a moment of bliss.
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“It`s true that billboard silhouettes and power
Lines rebuke dusk`s fair and fragile fire
As those who go on living have to prowl
And watch for someone leaving down each aisle.
While this takes place, a tender moon dips toward
The peach and blood horizon, pale, ignored.
I try to memorize impermanence:
The strange, alarming beauty of the sky,
The white moon`s path, the twilight`s deep, blue eye.
I want to stay till everything makes sense.
But oily-footed pigeons flap and chase—
A red Camaro flushes them apart,
Pulling up and waiting for my space;
It glistens, mean and earthly, like a heart.”
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Death is always untimely.
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PERHAPS THESE ARE NOT POETIC TIMES AT ALL
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You`re so cute, baby—I just love the way you shake those martinis…
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Purple
silence
at 6pm
One man
stands
alone on an empty beach
Palms
silhouetted
against indigo sky
Seagulls
wind lazy circles
in the air
Distant
traffic hisses
like the ocean before him
Velvet
blackness
covers the land in night
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“There will be those who say that the end came, I mean THE END, with an avenging God and the whole thing…But I say there was a race of hardy laughers, mystics, crazies,
who knew their real homes, or who had been drawn to this gold coast for years, and they lived through the destroying light, and on, into Light ages.”
“Golden Days”
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So many street people outside every restaurant or liquor store, that it almost becomes like a toll charge for being out in public.
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URBAN EXPLORER
________________________________________
I don`t know why I went there.
It seems to me that there wasn`t any particular reason.
Then again, maybe I went there
because I just wanted to remember
the way things used to be…
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“The past paints the present
with lead;
The present paints the past
with gold.”
Henry Rollins
“Art to Choke Hearts”
________________________________________
“Have I gone too far to get home?”
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NO REST FOR THE WICKED
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“…it`s rather a privilege
amid the affluent traffic
to serve this unpopular art which cannot be turned into
background noise for study
or hung as a status trophy by rising executives,
cannot be `done` like Venice
or abridged like Tolstoy, but stubbornly insists upon
being read or ignored…”
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“My heart rouses
  thinking to bring you news
    of something
that concerns you
  and concerns many men.  Look at
     what passes for the news.
You will not find it there but in
  despised poems.
     It is difficult
to get the news from poems
  yet men die miserably every day
     for lack
of what is found there.”
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I heard the clock tower strike two o`clock the other day at Farmer`s Market and it took me back to another time and place.
The grandfather clock in our living room on Paseo de Gracia had the same melody.
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“Nothing matters
but flopping on a mattress
at 2pm
with cheap dreams and a beer…”
Charles Bukowski
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…to look up from the asphalt and be blinded by the sun…
________________________________________
DISAPPEAR HERE
_______________________________________
“Americans have dissipated their racial energy in an orgy of stone breaking.  In their few years they
have broken more stones than did centuries of Egyptians.  And they have done their work hysterically,
desperately, almost as if they knew the stones would some day break them.”
Nathanael West
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I didn`t ask you to suffer so much.  That was your own doing.
______________________________________
Strange disturbing winds in the city tonight…it howls through the urban canyons like a screaming banshee causing everyone to behave strangely, irritable, argumentative.
Leaves blow in whirlwinds around my car, shadows waving erratically across this page in the streetlight.  The leaves fall on the roof of the car and dance in meaningless
patterns across the cold pavement.  Palms blow in the gale as if to let go of their roots and fly off into the sky, the scratchy rattling hiss of leaves and the screeching wind
is everywhere, giving me chills, yet soothing somehow.  Its desolation embraces me.  My strange midnight vigil at Le Doux and Chalmers in the slums of Beverly Hills on
12-3-99 is rewarded only by the raging wind and the faraway drone of a siren…
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FANTASY BEGETS REALITY
_______________________________________
“Scattered among those Hollywood masquerades were people of a different type.  Their clothing was somber and badly cut, bought from mail order and thrift shops.
While the others moved rapidly, darting into stores and bars, they loitered on corners and stood with their backs to shop windows and stared at everyone who passed.
When their stare was returned, their eyes filled with hatred.  At this time, Tod knew very little about them except that they had come to California to die.”
Nathanael West
“The Day of the Locust”
_______________________________________
“…Mexican ranch houses, Samoan huts, Mediterranean villas, Egyptian and Japanese Temples, Swiss chalets, Tudor cottages, and every possible combination of these
styles lined the slopes of the canyon.  On the corner of La Huerta Road was a miniature Rhine castle with tarpaper turrets pierced for archers.  Next to it was a highly
colored shack with domes and minarets out of the Arabian Nights.  Again, he was charitable.  Both houses were comic, but he didn`t laugh.  Their desire to startle was
so eager and guileless.  It is hard to laugh at the need for beauty and romance, no matter how tasteless, even horrible, the results of that are.  But it is easy to sigh.
FEW THINGS ARE SADDER THAN THE TRULY MONSTROUS.”
Nathanael West
“The Day of the Locust”
_______________________________________
The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.  The themes of the 20th century have been exploitation, building, destroying, squeezing out every last drop of mystery
from the world, especially America, SQUEEZING like a juiced orange.  Put it all on television and video and hidden camera.  Give ourselves virtual lives devoid of real feeling
but rather, filled with pulp and simulation.  To look at reality mirrored through fantasy and to forget the difference if there ever was any.  End of the 20th century, end of an era,
beginning of something we cannot yet define or predict or categorize or put on a website (yet)—- so, I stand at the edge of this concrete pier in this plastic world and dream of
even better plastic worlds to come in a virtual universe.  The ocean splashes twilit spray all around me and the light dies into an indescribable silence.  Only the screeching of
gulls gives life back to my euphoric emptiness.  And the wind blows hollow melodies throughout the cavern of my skull.  My wandering soul takes flight with the wind and smog mist.
12/4/99
______________________________________
MAYBE YOU SHOULD BE AT THE MALL
______________________________________
The violet ocean ripples and flows towards me endlessly with her rolling swells and the peach-colored horizon unfolds like a heavenly curtain into royal blue overhead.  A sinking
sun, an island of fire, a sailboat silhouetted against the face of the sun as a seagull wheels lazily overhead and an airplane takes off low over the beach with a resounding roar.
All of this, simultaneously; it seems to be meant just for me since I am the only one here.  I stare at the darkening west, the sunset lingers on the horizon for perhaps just a moment
longer than it should for my personal enjoyment and then falls below the rim as our journey into night continues.  Some small sea birds screech and scatter and fly off over the purple rolling waves…
__________________________________________
Sundays are curiously still here at the end of the century, as if we are waiting for something to happen.  Cirrus clouds overhead, mist, a ring around the sun, leaves clattering
down empty avenues, uncharacteristically devoid of traffic.  A peaceful day, indeed, by any account, a city, half-empty of its denizens, or so it seems.  It gives a feeling of natural
life to these man-made streets.  My Sundays; I see nature breaking through as it always does in the end—taking back that which rightfully belongs to the soil—today, even if just
for a while, I cherish these moments of solitude and I listen to the crows screaming overhead, their velvet black silhouettes framed perfectly against the azure sky.
___________________________________________
IS THERE ENOUGH ABOUT SUNSETS IN HERE FOR YA?
OH, DON`T WORRY, THERE`LL BE MORE….
___________________________________________
What is the point of art?  I ask this to no one in particular.  Is it to capture a fleeting moment or to preserve beauty like an insect trapped in amber?  Is it for myself or others?  What is the reason
for this uncontrollable urge to paint, write, record, or photograph?  Is there an answer?  Or perhaps only more questions?  Is art immortal and sublime or is it as transitory as everything else?
Is it the essence of meaning and life or is it but a reflection of more important realities?  What is the point of art?  I ask again, and my query is answered only by the silent hiss of the wind.
___________________________________________
“He seemed to enjoy suffering.  But not all kinds, certainly not sickness.  Like many people, he only enjoyed the sort that was self-inflicted.”
Nathanael West
“The Day of the Locust”
___________________________________________
“Overstimulation…
Not enough!
I need more!
Nothing seems to satisfy..
I don`t want it
I just need it
to feel, to breathe, to know I`m alive…”
TOOL
__________________________________________
“He never had but the one home staring him in the eye.”
William Carlos Williams
LA
__________________________________________
“Later I would think of America as one vast city of night, stretching gaudily from Times Square to Hollywood Boulevard—jukebox winking, rock n roll moaning:  America at night fusing its dark cities into the
unmistakable shape of loneliness.  Remember Pershing Square and its apathetic palm trees.  Central Park and the frantic shadows.  Horror movie courtyards in the French Quarter.  Remember rock n roll
sex music blasting from stereos and jukes, leering obscenely, blinking—manycolored along the streets of America strung like a cheap necklace.  One night sex and cigarette smoke and rooms squashed
by loneliness…and I would remember lives lived out darkly in that vast city of night.”
John Rechy
“City of Night”
__________________________________________
“We destroy ourselves by expecting more than there is.”
Charles Bukowski
__________________________________________
Nobody ruins me—-I can do it myself, thank you very much…
__________________________________________
create from within
and the real world
takes on a twisted
surreal, chaotic meaning…
___________________________________________
AFTERWORD
 
I do hope that you, the reader, have enjoyed this bizarre miniaturized volume.  I am aware that it is chock full of disturbing ramblings, multi-colored sunsets, apocalyptic quotes,
and repetitive visions.  For this, I am not sorry.  It only goes to show you that the only purpose of writing is to air out the soul and leave a record of something for somebody.
Perhaps, it is for you.
___________________________________________
12/31/99
EVE OF THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON     2000
(for further information, brochures, or complaints,
 please contact me at my website www.FUCKYOU.com)
HAPPY NEW YEAR MOFOS!!!
THB3

 

 

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TECHNICOLOR POLYCHROMATIC WASTELAND

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

a neon rainbow
swath of destruction
gouged
through
a valley of emptiness
more barren
than the desert
that once existed here…
We trudge
through each day
isolated in our
cars
buses
shells
trains
talking on cell phones
driving
down endless boulevards
that go nowhere…
the edge of the continent
the final frontier of the new world
the end of everything…
This city by the sea
she watches the
fiery orange twilight sun
drop from the sky
and sink into an endless ocean
leaving us
nothing
but darkness,
our only lights
the neon beacons
of advertising
always
flashing
their pointless messages…
THB3

2 GREAT QUOTES ABOUT POETRY…

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“ALL POEMS ARE OCCASIONAL, THE PRODUCTS OF CIRCUMSTANCE.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

________________________________

“EVERY POEM IS A RESPONSE TO AN EXTERIOR OR INTERIOR STIMULUS.  THE CIRCUMSTANCE IS THAT WHICH SURROUNDS US AND WHICH, WHETHER AS OBSTACLE OR SPUR, IS THE ORIGIN OF THE POEM, THE ACCIDENT THAT PROVOKES ITS APPEARANCE.  BUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NEITHER EXPLANATIONS NOR SUBSTITUTES FOR THE POEMS, THEY ARE AUTONOMOUS REALITIES.  POEMS ARE BORN FROM A CIRCUMSTANCE AND YET, AS SOON AS THEY ARE BORN, THEY FREE THEMSELVES AND TAKE ON A LIFE OF THEIR OWN.”

Octavio Paz

________________________________

Truer words have never been spoken…..THB3

 

AN EXPLANATION OF THE STREET JOURNALS…AND MYSELF

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

Digital Desolation is the title of the above work…..

__________________________________________________________________

Well, there you have it; fourteen years of insanity stuffed into one month for your reading pleasure.

By now, I have probably successfully offended everyone with insults, vulgarity, and blatant generalizations.  I`m sorry (but not THAT sorry).  If nothing else, these STREET JOURNALS are honest, and you can`t ask for much more than that.  They reflect the trials and tribulations, the highs and the lows, the endless variances of one man`s crazy life…MINE.  I have given you a piece of myself, but there is so much more that lies beneath the surface.

Hopefully, these STREET JOURNALS have, at times, also touched your heart and soul with their brute, in-your-face reality AND fantasy.  If you`re confused with what I`m speaking of here, or you started reading in the middle of the series, I suggest you go to my website blog homepage and start with the very first one in the archives, THE LA JOURNAL.  Start reading from the beginning and it will all start to make sense.

Last year, I realized once and for all that THE STREET JOURNALS are not likely to ever be published in any type of print.  They are too wild, random, and unpredictable.  It`s comparable to when a famous dead writer has his/her letters published – it`s only because he was ALREADY famous.  And I am NOT famous, nor am I published.  So I simply decided to put it out there myself for all who may be interested.  And now it`s yours to love or to hate.  That, of course, is your decision…

From here on out, we are in the present day for me.  I am going about my life in Japan.  Things are not as crazy as they used to be, but they are perhaps crazy in a new and refreshing way.

And here, I have to take a moment to say one thing.  All my irritation and complaints about this country where I now dwell; they are all starting to fade away.  I am starting to adjust….FINALLY.  This country has been good to me.  Japan has been nothing less than a fascinating experience that continues to surprise me in new ways everyday.  I have spent most of my time here writing, taking photos, and creating new things, in general.  I would have never found time for this in the chaos of my life back in America.  It has been the proverbial “blessing in disguise.”

I will soon follow up with my poems that I have been writing all throughout my life under many different conditions and in many different places.  I will continue to share my photographs with you.  And whenever a new STREET JOURNAL is completed, I will publish that as well.  I am in the midst of #75 as I write this.  I will continue to write until the day I die…because I HAVE TO.  It cannot be stopped.  And why would I want to stop anyway?!?

Thank you very much for reading along with me this far, those of you who have or continue to do so.  I hope I have given you something special, something different that you will NOT forget.  And to any new readers, welcome to my world.  Life goes on for all of us, my friends.  Let`s stand up and live it the best that we can.  Peace and love to all…

Tom Henry Brooks 3

Tokyo, Japan

March 9, 2014

 

 

NEW DOORWAYS…

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

I would like you to meet STREET JOURNAL 74…

Yes, it`s true……..

The thrill-ride STILL continues………………………………………………………………
Friday, December 13th, 2013
____________
Tokyo Winter
2013-2014
____________
12/14/13
Chiharu and I had an adventure day today.
We went to the spectacular Hama-Rikyu Gardens in Chuo-ku and the old fish market at Tsukijishijo.
Both places are old and have a lot of history and the gardens were SUBLIME.
After the quiet beauty of the gardens and the absolute CHAOS of the busiest fish market I`ve ever seen, we were both in need of some more peace time.  We went to another lovely park,
Kiba-koen, and then we went to the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art.  There were two special exhibitions aside from their excellent permanent collection.  We saw a showing of pieces from artists around the world called Bunny Smash, of all things.  Then we saw an amazing exhibit from a Japanese artist named Tokujin Yoshioka called Crystallize.  It was pretty damn unusual and consisted of all white and silver and clear arrangements with space and light.  He was using clear plastic straws, metals and clear plastic objects.  It gave an impression of snow and/or alien landscapes bathed in an unearthly glow.  Hard to describe and gorgeous to look at, I give this guy 120% for originality.  Fortunately, I took photos (of course!)
Favorite Artworks and Pieces from the day:
Water Block
and
Rainbow Church   by Tokujin Yoshioka  from the Crystallize exhibit.
…and from the Bunny Smash exhibit, namely from Labyrinth Garden Gently Inverted Worlds:
Lost Garden  (2009)   by Leandro Erlich
and
No Numbers  (2013)   by Richard Wilson
Instant World  (1987)
Coin Locker Hotel  (1984)
Howling at the Pig  (1980)
This is Affluence   (1975)     all by Tsunehisa Kimura
Stardust of One Hundred Million Light-years    by Yayoi Kusama
Girl With Hair Ribbon    by Roy Liechtenstein
Overcast 1     by Robert Rauschenberg
Circular Train A (Telescope Train)     (1968)   by Hiroshi Nakamura
{ Most of this stuff, you can find on Google images if you are curious.  The ones I managed to get sneaky photos of, you will find on my Flickr account at Nomad108; again, just Google Nomad108}
____________
I hate winter more than ANY living human being on this earth.  This is not a question of maybe – it`s a FACT.  I used to complain about Los Angeles winters, which are nothing.  I can`t wait for spring…
____________
“Day after day

alone on a hill

the man with the foolish grin
is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
they can see that he’s just a fool
and he never gives an answer
But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
and the eyes in his head
see the world spinning round…
Well on the way
head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
or the sound he appears to make
and he never seems to know just what –
But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
and the eyes in his head
see the world spinning round… “
Lennon/McCartney
The Beatles
_____________
“And the Days Are Not Full Enough
 
And the days are not full enough
and the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
not shaking the grass…”
Ezra Pound
Cantos
 
Bukowski never seemed to like this guy that much and after skimming through hundreds of pages of his poetry, now I think I know why.  It seems to be a lot of gibberish with just a few gem lines thrown in.  Now, I don`t want to shit on a dead man`s grave or wipe my ass with his immortality, but I just couldn`t seem to get much from it.  I had to REALLY search just to find this, and even this isn`t THAT great.  I mean, if you just ramble on and on and then call something poetry, is it really saying anything?  If you yell, `Movie!` in a crowded firehouse, is it wrong?  Does the Pope shit in the woods?  What comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Why do they call it a HAMburger when it`s made of beef?  And is it still a hamburger if it doesn`t have a bun or is it just ground-up meat on a plate?  Where was I going with this?  And if I give it a clever title, is it poetry?  NO.  And now, perhaps, you see my point and we understand each other… (or not…)
_____________
BUT…Ezra was right….the days are not full enough, nor the nights.  For more on this topic refer to MY `poem`, Never Satisfied…
_____________
A Poem That Explains Everything   by THB3
IT ALL MEANS NOTHING…
_____________
“How many will come after me
singing as well as I sing, none better;
Telling the heart of their truth
as I have taught them to tell it;
Fruit of my seed,
O my unnameable children.
Know then that I loved you from afore-time,
Clear speakers, naked in the sun, untrammeled…”
Ezra Pound
(alright, alright, he`s got a few good ones…)
_____________
12/25/13
Now, everybody knows that I DON’T GIVE A SHIT about the holidays, but I just have to say this anyway.  Ahhh, Xmas in Japan; the most magical time of year.  Soulless AND joyless, indeed.  I commuted to work on the packed cattle train just like any other day.  I spent the morning with a bunch of screaming little brats running around in circles while I managed to just barely hang onto my sanity, what’s left of it anyway.  I rode another nightmare train home with 10 million people and I had no energy left to do anything but stare at the walls.  And if I hear any more Christmas music I’m going to kill somebody.
Yes, a Japanese Festivus; about as interesting as a plastic Christmas tree in a bare, white room with cracked walls and sputtering electricity; about as sterile as an assembly line of robots – MAKING more robots; about as beautiful as a steaming dogturd in a filthy winter gutter; about as ridiculous as Santa firing all his elves and outsourcing – to China.  Joy to the world, motherfuckers…worst – Christmas – EVER!
________________
“Being a genius is SO goddamned EXHAUSTING…”
Xavier Yeats Zenith
________________
“…and the words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls…”
Paul Simon
The Sound of Silence
________________
“There is an important difference between the words “loser” and “outlaw.” One is passive and the other is active, and the main reasons the Angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the day-dreams of millions of losers who don’t wear any defiant insignia and who don’t know how to be outlaws. The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed — even for a day — into hairy, hard-fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and thunder out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker’s daughter.Even people who think the Angels should all be put to sleep find it easy to identify with them. They command a fascination, however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation.

The Angels don’t like being called losers, but they have learned to live with it. “Yeah, I guess I am,” said one. “But you’re looking at one loser who’s going to make a hell of a scene on the way out.

Hunter S. Thompson
“Hell’s Angels (A Strange and Terrible Saga)”
________________
Never make the mistake of thinking you’re so smart that you have nothing left to learn…
________________

“Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again.”

(… which means pretty much everybody nowadays…)
________________
“Please, Sister Morphine,
Turn my nightmare into dreams…”
The Rolling Stones
________________
“I offer her that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow— the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams, and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.”
Jorge Luis Borges
___________________
“I would venture to say that the baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources. The baroque is intellectual, and Bernard Shaw has said that all intellectual labor is inherently humorous.”
Borges
______________________
My life has become so goddamned exciting that all I can think about is getting through the day at fucking work so I can get home and watch “Justified.”  That’s right, a TV show is the highlight of my day.  Ain’t life grand?!?
______________________
Since I’ve been in Japan, I’ve written and said a lot of things that may have seemed insensitive, perhaps even rude or vulgar.  I have judged people without hesitation and I have made many racial generalizations.  I would just like to say that I am NOT sorry for any of this because up until now, I have been right about everything.  I’m just waiting for the day when some interesting, artistic person comes along and shocks me with their originality and their soul.  When and if that moment ever comes I will finally be proved wrong, at least partially wrong.  At this moment, however, my descriptions of the soulless Japanese robot are entirely 100% accurate.  Please, I invite you – ANYONE in Japan…prove me wrong.  I’m dying over here.  Being an expatriate is overrated.  At least I have plenty of time to get my creative groove on.  When I’m not doing that, I just wander aimlessly around the city and drink beer or I watch television until my eyes bleed.  Konnichiwa, BITCHES!!!!!
_____________________
Toei Death Line, Friday night: Some pathetic suicidal fuckface had to go and take a header onto the tracks in front of the train…AGAIN!  What a loser!  I don’t even feel bad for saying this, it pisses me off so much.  What a selfish, weeping, asshole BITCH to go and off yourself on a busy Friday night at rush hour.  Most of the rest of us HAVE lives, at least some kind of lives.  We have beers to drink, women to bang, TVs to watch, dinners to get home to.  You self-absorbed loser.  How could you?!?  Couldn’t you have at least killed yourself on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 PM when there’s REALLY nobody who gives a fuck?!?  See you in hell where I look forward to punching you in the face and breaking your fingers off like spindly wooden chopsticks….
_______________
1-27-14. Tsurumi,  Kanagawa Prefecture,
Kawasaki City:
Walking through what seems to be an abandoned Edo Period village.  I boldly entered an old house where I found the door unlocked .  Amazing.  Like a goddamned time warp.  Trespassing is absolutely essential to my photographic art.
It is my signature, my stamp,  MY identity…
(see above photo…)
________________
“It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books—setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary.”
Borges
__________________
“Historical truth, for Menard, is not “what happened”; it is what we believe happened.
There is no intellectual exercise that is not ultimately pointless. A philosophical doctrine is, at first, a plausible description of the universe; the years go by, and it is a mere chapter—if not a paragraph or proper noun—in the history of philosophy. In literature, that “falling by the wayside,” that loss of “relevance,” is even better known. “
Borges
____________________
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who will guard the guards?”
Juvenal
“Satires”
____________________
“I`m not sure you understand my position…”
“But I do, counselor.  Actions create consequences which produce new worlds and they are all different.  Where the bodies are buried in the desert – that is a certain world.  Where the bodies are simply left to be found – that is another.  And all these worlds, heretofore unknown to us – they must have always been there, have they not?
I would urge you to see the truth of the situation you are in.  That is my advice.  It is not for me to tell you what you should have done or not done.  The world in which you seek to undo the mistakes that you make is different from the world where the mistakes were made.  You are now at the crossing, and you want to choose, but there is no choosing.  There is only accepting.  The choosing was done a long time ago.  I don`t mean to offend you, but reflective men often find themselves at a place far removed from the realities of life.  In any case, we should all prepare a place where we can accommodate all the tragedies that sooner or later will come to our lives, but this is an economy few people get to practice.
You continue to deny the reality of the world you are in.
Yes, you are at a crossing, but it should be with the understanding that life is NOT going to take you back.  You are the world you have created, and when you cease to exist, the world that you have created will also cease to exist.  But for those with the understanding that they are living in the last days of the world, death acquires a different meaning.  The extinction of all reality is a concept no resignation can encompass.  And then…all the grand designs and all the grand plans will be finally exposed and revealed for what they are…”
Cormac McCarthy
Script for the film The Counselor
______________________

“The Circular Ruins

And if he left off dreaming about you … ?Through the Looking-Glass, VI

No one saw him slip from the boat in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe as it sank into the sacred mud, and yet within days there was no one who did not know that the taciturn man had come there from the South, and that his homeland was one of those infinite villages that lie up-river, on the violent flank of the mountain, where the language of the Zend is uncontaminated by Greek and where leprosy is uncommon. But in fact the gray man had kissed the mud, scrambled up the steep bank (without pushing back, probably without even feeling, the sharp-leaved bulrushes that slashed his flesh), and dragged himself, faint and bloody, to the circular enclosure, crowned by the stone figure of a horse or tiger, which had once been the color of fire but was now the color of ashes. That ring was a temple devoured by an ancient holocaust;

now, the malarial jungle had profaned it and its god went unhonored by mankind. The foreigner lay down at the foot of the pedestal.

He was awakened by the sun high in the sky. He examined his wounds and saw, without astonishment, that they had healed; he closed his pale eyes and slept, not out of any weakness of the flesh but out of willed determination. He knew that this temple was the place that his unconquerable plan called for; he knew that the unrelenting trees had not succeeded in strangling the ruins of another promising temple downriver—like this one, a temple to dead, incinerated gods; he knew that his immediate obligation was to sleep. Aboutmidnight he was awakened by the inconsolable cry of a bird. Prints of unshod feet, a few figs, and a jug of water told him that the men of the region had respectfully spied upon his sleep and that they sought his favor, or feared his magic. He felt the coldness of fear, and he sought out a tomblike niche in the crumbling wall, where he covered himself with unknown leaves.

The goal that led him on was not impossible,

though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man. He wanted to dream him completely, in painstaking detail, and impose him upon reality. This magical objective had come to fill his entire soul; if someone had asked him his own name, or inquired into any feature of his life till then, he would not have been able to answer. The uninhabited and crumbling temple suited him, for it was a minimum of visible world; so did the proximity of the woodcutters, for they saw to his frugal needs. The rice and fruit of their tribute were nourishment enough for his body, which was consecrated to the sole task of sleeping and dreaming.

At first, his dreams were chaotic; a little later, they became dialectical. The foreigner dreamed that he was in the center of a circular amphitheater, which was somehow the ruined temple; clouds of taciturn students completely filled the terraces of seats. The faces of those farthest away hung at many centuries’ distance and at a cosmic height, yet they were absolutely clear. The man lectured on anatomy,

cosmography, magic; the faces listened earnestly, intently, and attempted to respond with understanding—as though they sensed the importance of that education that would redeem one of them from his state of hollow appearance and insert him into the real world. The man, both in sleep and when awake, pondered his phantasms’ answers; he did not allow himself to be taken in by impostors, and he sensed in certain perplexities a growing intelligence. He was seeking a soul worthy of taking its place in the universe.

On the ninth or tenth night, he realized (with some bitterness) that nothing could be expected from those students who passively accepted his teachings, but only from those who might occasionally, in a reasonable way, venture an objection. The first—the accepting—though worthy of affection and a degree of sympathy, would never emerge as individuals; the latter— those who sometimes questioned—had a bit more préexistence. One afternoon (afternoons now paid their tribute to sleep as well; now the man was awake no more than two or three

hours around daybreak) he dismissed the vast illusory classroom once and for all and retained but a single pupil—a taciturn, sallow-skinned young man, at times intractable, with sharp features that echoed those of the man that dreamed him. The pupil was not disconcerted for long by the elimination of his classmates; after only a few of the private classes, his progress amazed his teacher. Yet disaster would not be forestalled. One day the man emerged from sleep as though from a viscous desert, looked up at the hollow light of the evening (which for a moment he confused with the light of dawn), and realized that he had not dreamed. All that night and the next day, the unbearable lucidity of insomnia harried him, like a hawk. He went off to explore the jungle, hoping to tire himself; among the hemlocks he managed no more than a few intervals of feeble sleep, fleetingly veined with the most rudimentary of visions—useless to him. He reconvened his class, but no sooner had he spoken a few brief words of exhortation than the faces blurred, twisted, and faded away.

In his almost perpetual state of wakefulness, tears of anger burned the man’s old eyes.

He understood that the task of molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake, even if he fathom all the enigmas of the higher and lower spheres— much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting coins of the faceless wind. He understood that initial failure was inevitable. He swore to put behind him the vast hallucination that at first had drawn him off the track, and he sought another way to approach his task. Before he began, he devoted a month to recovering the strength his delirium had squandered. He abandoned all premeditation of dreaming, and almost instantly managed to sleep for a fair portion of the day. The few times he did dream during this period, he did not focus on his dreams; he would wait to take up his task again until the disk of the moon was whole. Then, that evening, he purified himself in the waters of the river, bowed down to the planetary gods, uttered those syllables of a powerful name that

it is lawful to pronounce, and laid himself down to sleep. Almost immediately he dreamed a beating heart.

He dreamed the heart warm, active, secret— about the size of a closed fist, a garnet-colored thing inside the dimness of a human body that was still faceless and sexless; he dreamed it, with painstaking love, for fourteen brilliant nights. Each night he perceived it with greater clarity, greater certainty. He did not touch it; he only witnessed it, observed it, corrected it, perhaps, with his eyes. He perceived it, he lived it, from many angles, many distances. On the fourteenth night, he stroked the pulmonary artery with his forefinger, and then the entire heart, inside and out. And his inspection made him proud. He deliberately did not sleep the next night; then he took up the heart again, invoked the name of a planet, and set about dreaming another of the major organs. Before the year was out he had reached the skeleton, the eyelids.

The countless hairs of the body were perhaps the most difficult task. The man had dreamed a

fully fleshed man—a stripling—but this youth did not stand up or speak, nor could it open its eyes. Night after night, the man dreamed the youth asleep.

In the cosmogonies of the Gnostics, the demiurges knead up a red Adam who cannot manage to stand; as rude and inept and elementary as that Adam of dust was the Adam of dream wrought from the sorcerer’s nights. One afternoon, the man almost destroyed his creation, but he could not bring himself to do it. (He’d have been better off if he had.) After making vows to all the deities of the earth and the river, he threw himself at the feet of the idol that was perhaps a tiger or perhaps a colt, and he begged for its untried aid. That evening, at sunset, the statue filled his dreams. In the dream it was alive, and trembling—yet it was not the dread-inspiring hybrid form of horse and tiger it had been. It was, instead, those two vehement creatures plus bull, and rose, and tempest, too—and all that, simultaneously. The manifold god revealed to the man that its earthly name was Fire, and that in that circular

temple (and others like it) men had made sacrifices and worshiped it, and that it would magically bring to life the phantasm the man had dreamed—so fully bring him to life that every creature, save Fire itself and the man who dreamed him, would take him for a man of flesh and blood. Fire ordered the dreamer to send the youth, once instructed in the rites, to that other ruined temple whose pyramids still stood downriver, so that a voice might glorify the god in that deserted place. In the dreaming man’s dream, the dreamed man awoke.

The sorcerer carried out Fire’s instructions. He consecrated a period of time (which in the end encompassed two full years) to revealing to the youth the arcana of the universe and the secrets of the cult of Fire. Deep inside, it grieved the man to separate himself from his creation. Under the pretext of pedagogical necessity, he drew out the hours of sleep more every day. He also redid the right shoulder (which was perhaps defective). From time to time, he was disturbed by a sense that all this had happened before——-His days were, in general, happy;

when he closed his eyes, he would thinkNow I will be with my son. Or, less frequently, The son I have engendered is waiting for me, and he will not exist if I do not go to him.

Gradually, the man accustomed the youth to reality. Once he ordered him to set a flag on a distant mountaintop. The next day, the flag crackled on the summit. He attempted other, similar experiments—each more daring than the last. He saw with some bitterness that his son was ready— perhaps even impatient—to be born. That night he kissed him for the first time, then sent him off, through many leagues of impenetrable jungle, many leagues of swamp, to that other temple whose ruins bleached in the sun downstream. But first (so that the son would never know that he was a phantasm, so that he would believe himself to be a man like other men) the man infused in him a total lack of memory of his years of education.

The man’s victory, and his peace, were dulled by the wearisome sameness of his days. In the twilight hours of dusk and dawn, he would prostrate himself before the stone figure,

imagining perhaps that his unreal son performed identical rituals in other circular ruins, downstream. At night he did not dream, or dreamed the dreams that all men dream. His perceptions of the universe’s sounds and shapes were somewhat pale: the absent son was nourished by those diminutions of his soul. His life’s goal had been accomplished; the man lived on now in a sort of ecstasy. After a period of time (which some tellers of the story choose to compute in years, others in decades), two rowers woke the man at midnight. He could not see their faces, but they told him of a magical man in a temple in the North, a man who could walk on fire and not be burned.

The sorcerer suddenly remembered the god’s words. He remembered that of all the creatures on the earth, Fire was the only one who knew that his son was a phantasm. That recollection, comforting at first, soon came to torment him. He feared that his son would meditate upon his unnatural privilege and somehow discover that he was a mere simulacrum. To be not a man, but the projection of another man’s dream—

what incomparable humiliation, what vertigo! Every parent feels concern for the children he has procreated (or allowed to be procreated) in happiness or in mere confusion; it was only natural that the sorcerer should fear for the future of the son he had conceived organ by organ, feature by feature, through a thousand and one secret nights.

The end of his meditations came suddenly, but it had been foretold by certain signs: first (after a long drought), a distant cloud, as light as a bird, upon a mountaintop; then, toward the South, the sky the pinkish color of a leopard’s gums; then the clouds of smoke that rusted the iron of the nights; then, at last, the panicked flight of the animals—for that which had occurred hundreds of years ago was being repeated now. The ruins of the sanctuary of the god of Fire were destroyed by fire. In the birdless dawn, the sorcerer watched the concentric holocaust close in upon the walls. For a moment he thought of taking refuge in the water, but then he realized that death would be a crown upon his age and absolve him from his

labors. He walked into the tatters of flame, but they did not bite his flesh—they caressed him, bathed him without heat and without combustion. With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he realized that he, too, was but appearance, that another man was dreaming him.”

Jorge Luis Borges

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“I, myself, alone, have more memories than all mankind since the world began,” he said to me. And also: “My dreams are like other people’s waking hours.” And again, toward dawn: “My memory, sir, is like a garbage heap.”

Borges

_____________________

THE PASSENGER

I am the anonymous mask

that rides the train of the damned.
My eyes are black holes
of empty nothingness
and I do not REALLY see
anything that lies before me.
I live a life of servitude
that serves no purpose
but to make others richer.
Free thinking is unknown to me
and beyond my comprehension.
My head is as empty as an
ancient dried-up riverbed
in the Sahara Desert.
I am Sisyphus endlessly pushing
a giant boulder up a mountain.
I am a grain of sand
on an endless shore
on a sea of blood.
There is no moon.
There are no stars.
The sun is blotted out
by black clouds of despair.
I have given up all hope
for anything better.
A pig that is destined to become bacon
serves more purpose than I.
Many others without hopes or dreams,
without willpower,
surround me with their uselessness.
We shoot through the tunnels
of the vast metropolis
and get off at our assigned prisons.
We emerge from steaming holes in the ground
like a plague of rats from hell.
We perform our assigned tasks
and then go home to watch
other drones live their lives in television fantasies.
The show goes on.
The nightmare continues.
Will I ever wake up?
Will any of these robots beside me
awaken from their sluggish torpor?
Unlikely.
Quite unlikely, indeed…
We continue our journey to nowhere
in perfect ignorance.
I am the passenger
on the train of the damned…
THB3
9:55am on the Toei Shinjuku Death Line
Monday 2-3-14
Tokyo, Japan
Not very poetic, but VERY true and honest…
I wrote this while observing all the robots on the way to work on a packed Tokyo train.
Faces glum and expressionless, just staring hopelessly into space or reading Manga
comic books, texting, or playing video games on cell phones.  Just plain sad, a true
picture of quiet despair.  I wonder how my face looked…?  At least I know I was thinking…
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2-3-14
Superbowl MONDAY in Japan….AGAIN!
And nobody cares.
To hell with it….
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“As the end approaches, there are no longer any images from memory— there are only words. It is not strange that time may have confused those that once portrayed me with those that were symbols of the fate of the person that accompanied me for so many centuries. I have been Homer; soon, like Ulysses, I shall be Nobody; soon, I shall be all men—I shall be dead.”
Borges
The Immortals
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And so…we come to the end of yet another Street Journal.  Once again, it has been filled with my words and the words of others, words inspired by the mystery of life – words from the heart.   It has been another fascinating experiment in a new form of writing, what I like to call…
FRAGMENTATIONISM.  I do this because I must.
The Tokyo winter is winding down.  The days are windy and crisp.  The nights are long and cold.  An orange crescent moon sets in the west as I send you this dispatch from the Far East.  Spring is near and life goes on…for all of us…
So it goes…
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THERE WILL BE MORE STREET JOURNALS….stay tuned…
_____
THB3
2-5-14
Tokyo, Japan

FROM THE FURTHEST EDGES OF THE UNIVERSE TO YOU…

Standard

By Tom H. Brooks 3

And this is STREET JOURNAL 73

The above is my digital artwork named

The Mechanics of Abstraction

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super-ultraminimalism
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This might be able to hold your attention for 20 minutes or so….
If not, call my secretary – we`ll do lunch…
or….you can send me a `tweet` or a `twit` or whatever the fuck those things are called later…
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MAVERICK
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“Flow, my tears, fall from your springs…
Exiled forever, let me mourn;
Where night`s blackbird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.
Down vain lights, shine you no more…
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their lost fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.
Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.
From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my desserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.
Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to condemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world`s despite.”
John Dowland (1596)  Musical Lyrics or Poetry (both, really…)
Lachrimae Pavan or Seaven Teares
(See my latest YouTube video, THE SEEKER, to hear this amazing music…)
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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall…..the first book I ever felt like taking the time and effort to type the whole damn thing so I could keep it forever on my Google Drive.  I don`t know why, but I had this overpowering urge to type all 400 pages of it and I had a very strong feeling that doing this would open some new doorways for me into a world of my own writing, my own novels.  So I plod onward a page at a time, typing out this conceptual masterpiece, word by word, toward an unknown result……..come what may……
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R.I.P. Lou Reed…Sunday, 10-27-13……Now, you`re taking a Walk on the Other Side…c u there…
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“It`s very difficult to logically explain the illogical.”
“`It`s a distance that can`t be measured.`
`Like the distance from one person`s heart to another`s.`”
“Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss.  Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp,  one after another,  like a comb losing teeth.  And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations.  Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away.
Some announce their departure before they leave, while others disappear all of a sudden without warning one day.  And once you lose them you can never get them back.  Your search for replacements never goes well.  It’s all very painful – as painful as actually being cut with a knife.”
Haruki Murakami
“1Q84”
Reading this thoroughly unusual book for me at this VERY strange time in my life is simply perfect.  It creates an atmosphere of hallucinatory otherworldliness.  At times, I feel as if I am the only person in the world amongst the birds and the wind in the trees.  I sit here by the river now.  An autumn wind rattles the tree branches and a crow squawks his enigmatic call.  I am one with it.
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“…the place where he is meant to be lost…”
Murakami
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“No one knows for certain what it means to die until they actually do it”
“Time Now For Ghosts”
Murakami

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10/31/13  4:30pm  Tokyo, Japan,  Halloween
“Winding Lives
Fate and Straying”
I just saw this perfect example of Japanese bad English on a girl`s shirt as she walked by.  I stand here in Shinjuku after another seemingly fruitless job interview.  Somehow though, the shirt seemed perfectly appropriate to the moment.
  I am about to board a Chuo Line train to Koenji, one of the main locations in Haruki Murakami`s masterful book, 1Q84.  I don`t know why, but I am irresistibly drawn to this place he speaks of with such familiarity.  It`s a cool autumn evening.  Come what may…
*   *   *
Koenji turned out to be a nice, quiet neighborhood, in turn both hip and funky in some parts and somewhat mystical in others.  I met a nice artist girl named Asuka Ishii by visiting her gallery.  Koenji was totally worth the trip and I will definitely visit again.  Now, to Shinjuku for Halloween party time viewing…
*   *   *
Halloween in Japan is absolutely NOT as drunken-crazy as in America – BUT – it still defies description.  I`ll leave it at that and just let you wonder.  You have to see it for yourself…
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Tsukijishijo station off the Oedo line for a taste of OLD Tokyo…
Fish market & old buildings…
Hama Rikyu Gardens
Also, hit up the beach in Odaiba and the incredible haunted island with the gun battlements from 1853…
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Dias de los Muertos…….(My slideshow is on YouTube at tomhbrooks3)
My incredibly ridiculous bike ride of epic proportions from 11/1/13.  I went southwest along route 357 until I reached Odaiba and then I cut up to an amazing park, went over Rainbow Bridge, went north through Chuo-ku and passed throughout the old buildings of the fish market and continued curving to the east again until I hit route 50 and made my way home.  It was one of the best rides I`ve had yet in Tokyo.  This city is endless and I will never tire of exploring it…..
In retrospect, I don`t think this ride was any longer than any of my epic Los Angeles or New York City rides, probably shorter, in fact, BUT…..this city is so incredibly DENSE.  It seems as if I`ve passed through at least 111 different worlds today.  That is definitely what distinguishes the Tokyo city adventure from the American city adventure.  Actually, it could be comparable to my trips from Staten Island to Coney Island through Brooklyn – different neighborhoods every few blocks.  LA trips along the ocean are more or less the same general scenery, but THIS was a whole new ballgame, and I won the game, baby, let me tell ya…..
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Check out the art work of Yayoi Kusama
and the architectural masterpieces of Ando Tadao
(Google images and Wikipedia will give an overview…)
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Go to Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture
and also travel to Kagawa and Tokushima in Shikoku Prefecture…
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I was watching a promo video on YouTube for Lucha VaVoom in downtown Los Angeles at the Mayan Theatre.  It`s like Mexican wrestling and burlesque dancers and drinking tequila….
absolutely ridiculous and, at the same time, spectacular.  I always wanted to go see that show and I never got a chance.  You snooze, you lose…..that cliche holds true…
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The best Mexican food website EVER….
just looking at it makes me hungry…
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Visit the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art in KIBA…
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“The good aren`t always right; and the bad don`t always have it wrong…”
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SHOW ME A SANE MAN AND I WILL CURE HIM FOR YOU.
This has been today`s psychology lesson, brought to you by the great
CARL JUNG
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This has best represented our existence since the beginning of time and philosophical thought:
                                    ?
Exactly.
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11/12/13  I`m working in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo (Hakusan Station near Korakuen and Tokyo Dome)
{this is just so I remember these crazy names and this excellent date}
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“Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume you are.”
Nolan Bushnell
Founder of Atari
and mentor to Steve Jobs
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“Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.”
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Reading the biography of Steve Jobs on my iPhone seems to me a strange and beautiful irony.
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“TAXI SMASH FACE”
Tim Hudock
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Music: There are songs that stay with you throughout your entire life…
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Well, I`ve started my new job at the company called *** and it makes the last one look like being on acid on the 666th level of the ABYSS.  This new one is a thousand times better.  But fuck the babbling work talk.  Tonight, I want to write about a 9-year-old boy named Aoi.  Today was very likely the last time I will ever see him.  You see, I`m just TRAINING at this particular school – just passing through in other words.  Next week, I`ll be somewhere else, only to be moved still again to another location somewhere in the vast Tokyo metropolis.  In any case, this kid was a first-class little character that touched my heart in some strange way.  Perhaps he was a young kindred spirit; we had a kind of instant connection that just doesn`t happen very often in life….with ANYONE.  It was the first and last night to meet young Aoi.  This is a name that can be for Japanese boys or girls; more commonly in the latter.  It can mean `BLUE`, but I didn`t see how it was written in Kanji (not that I`d be able to read it.)  He was a good-looking, smart young fellow – smart as a whip, really.  He was strange and eccentric, but not in a lunatic kind of way – just odd, different.  He had intelligent eyes and a curious mind.  He`s participating in a spelling bee this Sunday and if he wins, he gets 10,000 yen towards a trip to Hawaii.  His mom, his dad, his grandma, his mom`s sister – all of them – are doctors.  He comes from a real medical family tree.  An admirable profession, to be sure, but I think, perhaps, not exactly HIS goal or disposition.  He seemed to me a little bit of a dreamer, creative, artistic and quirky.  Right when we started talking, we clicked like we`d known each other for years.  It was like talking to a miniature adult.  He was enthusiastic and humorous and talked in a somewhat manic, but intelligent manner (does this sound at all familiar?)  He lived in America for a long long time (most of his first 9 years), so his English was flawless and without accent.  In fact, he seemed more American than Japanese.  His dad was like a big shot surgeon somewhere in Pittsburgh.  We immediately starting talking without pause about Pittsburgh and a myriad of other places he`s been in the USA…San Antonio, Los Angeles and New York City, to mention a few big ones.  I asked him if he missed America or if he was happier in Japan.  Without missing a beat, he said, “I miss America.”  He said people in Tokyo were boring and Americans were more interesting and fun and different.  I mentioned Tokyo robots and he said, “Yes, robots!  Exactly!”  He likes making things, arts and crafts, reading, growing things in gardens and cooking.  He also had an amazing knowledge about animals.  This kid had `ARTIST` written all over him.  However, I KNOW that coming from a rich and prominent family of Japanese doctors, the chances are about 92% that he will be railroaded into being a doctor whether he wants it or not.  I told him that maybe he could be a veterinarian specializing in animal surgery and maybe his parents would accept that AND he could be an animal doctor that is an excellent master chef.  I told him to never lose his dream and to be true to himself.  There is so much more I talked to this amazing kid about that listing it all would probably bore you.  Let it suffice to say that I taught him more AND learned more from him than most people probably communicate to each other in 2 weeks.  Before he left, he gave me a little lizard-like dinosaur paper origami cutout that he made for me.  He just wordlessly handed it to me in a friendly and casual manner and then said goodbye.  Why do I take all this space to write about one kid?  He touched my heart somehow in a melancholy way.  Maybe I saw in him something of myself and we all know how crazy my life has been.  He was really a one-of-a-kind character and I wish him all the best.  He`s only at the school one night a week, so it`s entirely likely that I won`t see him again, but I WILL remember him.  I can`t really explain why.  When I was walking home through the dark, cold night streets on the edge of town, I found myself thinking of that kid and hoping for him to have a good life.  And I`m keeping that paper animal cutout.  I hope he finds his dream.  I hope I find mine too.  It`s never too late to keep trying…
“A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone…”
                                                                          William Wordsworth
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“THE SPIRIT NOW WILLS HIS OWN WILL, AND HE WHO HAS
BEEN LOST TO THE WORLD NOW CONQUERS THE WORLD.”
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
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“God is in the details.”
A maxim embraced by the Bauhaus aesthetic (Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, especially)
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“It is better to be good than to be original.”
Mies van der Rohe
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KAROUSHI… death by overwork (the Japanese salaryman)
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If you feel that you may be lacking the imagination to believe in `impossible` things, read this quote….
“Why, sometimes I`ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass
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SEA OF THE DEAD    by THB3
A multitude of nameless silences
The errant cries of small birds
The squawk of a raven…
Angular shadows stretch across
the soil into geometric patterns of death
A forest of gray stones
in marble and granite
Monuments for those lost to this world
I hear your muted voices
speaking to me through
the open window of timelessness
The wind rattles and hisses
through the cool green shade
of the ancient bamboo grove –
– it has stood here wordlessly
for countless and untold years
while the vast city grew up around it
Time has forgotten this place
but some of us are still listening
to your cryptic whispers in this sea of the dead
Although you had no choice,
I pay my quiet respects to these brave souls
who have crossed over to the other world
With no regard for past, present or future,
your silence says so much –
much more than mere words ever could
As your ashes disperse into the soil of this earth,
you become one with the dust from whence we came
Speak to me;
I am listening…
THB3
(Written at a graveyard/shrine in Chitose Karasuyama in western Tokyo on 11/22/13
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It seems that I have a fascination with death and the world (worlds?) beyond….
I have always loved hanging around graveyards, the quietest parks in town.  I think, perhaps, I identify more with the dead than with the living…
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Friday night, 11/22/13
Although I`m enjoying myself as I always do when I`m alone, I truly feel as if I don`t really belong anywhere, no matter where I go or what I do in Tokyo.  It is an ocean of anonymity…
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I only know my way around this crazy city of Tokyo on foot, skateboard or bike (and even all that is sketchy and random).  When I`m underground in a train station, however (and I HATE to admit it), I`m just fucking LOST…
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I`m sure everyone has heard of golf-pro shops.  Well, get this; I just saw an “S&M-pro shop”….
SPEC-FUCKING-TACULAR……
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“The truth is what those in power wish it to be.”
“The exile does not choose his Babylon.”
`Dr. Narcisse`
Boardwalk Empire
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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Lee Clow & Steve Jobs
Apple “Think Different” Campaign
1997
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This fucking train line (Toei Shinjuku Line) I’ve been taking to work every goddamned day has like one of the highest suicide rates in the world.  It travels through a huge swath of western Tokyo where there are no safety rails whatsoever & these little bastards are throwing themselves onto the tracks like lemmings.  Henceforth, I shall call this line the ‘Toei Suicidal Death Line.’
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One thing I`ve learned in life; somebody, somewhere, is ALWAYS complaining about something
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11/30/13
RIP Paul Walker; After 5 or 6 Fast and Furious movies, you were killed with cruel irony in a fiery car crash.  At least we know that you weren`t driving.  Good luck in that eternal street race on the other side….
“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time…”
“What`d you put in that sandwich?”
____
“So which car do you want?”
“ALL OF THEM.”
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“Nature loves simplicity and unity.”
Johannes Kepler
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The Pedestrian
 
A man walks endlessly through the vast sprawling city.  He is continuously alone and anonymous.  He moves along aimlessly, wandering its boulevards, thoroughfares, side streets, empty lots, parks, structures and back alleys.  He meanders both above and underground.  He is constantly amazed and wide-eyed at everything that catches his eye from the most obvious to the most inconspicuous details.  He soaks it all up like a sponge.  He takes in every little observation with a shutter click of his mind`s eye.  Nothing escapes his notice.  He strolls from the fringes to the center and back again.  He goes from the furthest edges of industrial wastelands and forgotten ruins to the very heart of the city, the beating throbbing heart of its economy, the engine that drives it ever-forward.  He has no destination in mind.  The journey itself IS the destination.  His only goal is to SEE, to learn, to explore.  In this roundabout and haphazard way, he comes to know the heart of it, its soul, so to speak.  He becomes one with the city.  It is like taking a walk inside himself, through the labyrinth of his own complex mindscape.  There are no accurate maps for this uncharted terrain.  Where his mind and the landscape come together is the nexus, if you will.  There is no name for this location and if you are lucky enough to find it, it is the place where one finds epiphanies…revelations.
There is no end to this, nor would he want there to be.  There is an old saying; “The longest journey begins with but a single step.”  He has taken that first step and many, many more since.  And, his journey has just begun.  Where it leads….?  Well, only time will tell….
THB3
Wednesday 12/4/13  1:00pm
Kyodo, Western Tokyo
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Where I am right now – this is MY WORLD – other people just happen to live in it…
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An old Shinto shrine, in the middle of what has become the city streets; they just built around it.  A strange sight, indeed…
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12/10/13
I had an excellent conversation this morning by the train station at Sakurajosui.  I talked to an old Japanese man who called himself Henry, of all names.  He was a first-class character, indeed….
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“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”
Steven Weinberg
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12/11/13
You know, it turns out ravens like BBQ Cheetos.  I fed a whole flock of `em during lunch at the lake in Sakurajosui today…
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“If I mean to save my life, then I have to come within an inch of destroying it.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions
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I NEVER INTENDED FOR THINGS TO TURN OUT THIS WAY.
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“…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.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions
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“And it seems no less evident that the various sensations or ideas imprinted on the sense, however blended or combined together, cannot exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving them.  Secondly, it will be objected that there is a great difference betwixt real fire and the idea of fire,  between dreaming or imagining oneself burnt, and actually being so.”
George Berkeley
The Principles of Human Knowledge
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“I am a ridiculous man.
 God has played many jokes on me.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions

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THB3

 

SUPER-ULTRA MINIMALISM (IT`S THE NEW THING, DON`T YA KNOW?)

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

Say hello to STREET JOURNAL 72…

The above is one of my digital artworks named

Mondrian`s White Blood Cells

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f r a g m e n t a t i o n i s m
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…because no one has time for anything but Twitter anymore…
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Faceless in a Facebook world…
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Here`s a link to my profile…
000GFY000CU>HELL.COM
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Welcome back……!  May I help you?
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Started on 10/1/13  in Tokyo, Japan…
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Not that this is of any concern to anyone but myself, however, I write it in my book just for me.  After all, it directly concerns ME.  Now coming from Los Angeles, a world city with ALL types of food from anywhere on the planet, it can be quite hard to find certain things you want to eat in Japan, even in Tokyo.  Some things are next to impossible to find here at all.  You tend to get tired of rice and fucking noodles all the time, especially after three years.  Well today, (10-1-13)
I ate an absolutely spectacular falafel sandwich in Azabu, made by a Japanese woman, if you can believe it.  Apparently, she lived in Israel for awhile and she has got it down perfect.  Fresh and delicious it was, with all the makings of a good falafel sandwich; fresh pita bread, hummus, tahini sauce, black olives, onions, spicy sauce (I forget the name) and warm, just-made falafels.  The place is called Falafel King and it`s the best I`ve eaten since that place at Farmer`s Market in LA. It really brought joy to my heart, I tell you.  It`s the LITTLE THINGS, people, it`s the little things.
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There are times in life when you get so used to being miserable and stressed out that it just seems to be the normal state of things…
….And then, it doesn`t even bother you anymore, so you just drink beer and laugh your ass off.
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“I tell you, we are here on this earth to fart around, so don`t let anybody try to tell you different.”
Kurt Vonnegut
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Whether or not you`re a religious type, the Bible is FULL of great quotes, like this one, for example…
“WHEN HE HATH TRIED ME,
I SHALL COME FORTH AS GOLD.”
The Book of Job
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“To give an idea of the maturity of my illustrations for this book, here is my picture of an asshole:
     
I think I am trying to clear my head of all the junk in there – the assholes, the flags, the underpants.  I`m throwing out characters from my other books, too.  I`m not going to put on any more puppet shows.  I think I am trying to make my head as empty as it was when I was born onto this damaged planet fifty years ago.  I suspect that this is something most people should do.  The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.  I have no culture, no humane harmony in my brains.  I can`t live without a culture anymore.  So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel back in time…”
Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions
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****** International “School”
“ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO`S NEST”
THAT`S what it`s like working at this fucking place, but much, MUCH worse….
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“What the hell am I?
Thousand eyes, a fly
Lucky then I`d be
In one day deceased
Sickman, sickman, sickman…..
I can feel the wheel, but I can`t steer
When my thoughts become my biggest fear
Ah, what`s the difference, I`ll die
In this sick world of mine…”
Alice in Chains
“Sickman”  (An old classic…)
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“What a deplorable existence I lead in this absurd climate and under what frightful conditions!  How boring!  How stupid life is!  What am I doing here?”
Arthur Rimbaud
Aden, 1884
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“When a man has learned – and not on paper – how to remain alone with his suffering, how to overcome his longing to flee, the illusion that others may share, then he has little left to learn.”
Albert Camus
Notebooks, 1942-1951
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…as I told you, writing is very cathartic for me.  It`s how I voice my frustrations and spit out the poison.  BUT….I`m still laughing, believe it.  I will always win.  We just can`t let the scumbags bring us down.
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“…the famous artist with his meaningless pictures had entered into a conspiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid.”
“He won all those medals in the Second World War for killing Japanese, who were yellow robots.
They were fueled by rice.”
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(Apparently, I`m not the only one who`s thought of this “yellow robot” concept…)
“Honest to God, the way things are going, all I can think of is that I`m a character in a book by somebody who wants to write about somebody who suffers all the time.”
“This was the reason Americans shot and killed each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books.  Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues?  Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales.
And so on.
Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling.  I would write about life.  Every person would be exactly as important as any other.  All facts would be given equal weightiness.
Nothing would be left out.  Let others bring order to chaos.  I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done.”
 
“OUR AWARENESS IS ALL THAT IS ALIVE AND MAYBE SACRED IN ANY OF US.  EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT US IS JUST DEAD MACHINERY.”
Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions
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Now, it`s a fact that money doesn`t buy happiness……BUT…it might buy a LITTLE bit…
For example, I could have a nice office and a comfortable chair to sit on while I write and work on my endless photographic projects.  Instead, I sit on the floor Buddha style on a tatami mat in a broom closet-sized apartment.  After working for hours sometimes, I am crippled – legs twisted up like pretzels and with my back feeling like a lump of dead meat with a butcher hacking into it with a sharp cleaver.  I could get that beautiful art studio loft with the high ceiling I`ve always wanted, so I could work on those HUGE paintings I`ve always wanted to do instead of tiny digital sketches – you know – what I REALLY want to do.  I could………………….
no; I`ll refrain from taking this any further.  I could probably go on for hours about all the stuff I COULD do if I had a lot of money.  Maybe it DOES buy happiness; or maybe we mistake convenience for happiness.  I still get almost everything I want to do finished one way or another, even if I`m in excruciating pain afterwards…..whatever………there`s always whiskey….
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“We want world peace!”
“Yeah, and I want a golden unicorn that shits money – it`s NEVER gonna happen….”
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Creation Monster
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10/9/13
Went to Arashio Sumo Beya in Chuo-ku near Hamacho Park.  It may not have been the main place in Ryogoku, but nonetheless, it was fascinating.  I managed to get a couple of videos, so I can always remember this clash of the titans (fatties in dirty diapers…)
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10/9/13 9pm
Goodbye ****** International “School”…..
and go fuck yourselves…
I have never in my life been happier to be unemployed.  It’s like a GIANT weight has been lifted off my shoulders and my soul feels lighter than a feather on a typhoon wind.
That dump was a poisoned swamp of despair, a quagmire of hopelessness, but NO MORE!  I would rather allow arcane symbols to be carved into my flesh with a rusty butter
knife than spend another day in that waking
nightmare.  I have been liberated!  THIS is cause for CELEBRATION.  My heart is filled
with joy…
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Ahhhh, yes….& one more thing; I won’t have to waste any more of my precious time giving that punk boss any more humiliating verbal beat downs.
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10/12/13, Saturday….
Chiharu and I for an “I`m unemployed” celebration in Shibuya and Harajuku.  We had dinner at Fonda de la Madrugada.  The spectacular Mexican mariachi band did an excellent rendition of Santana`s “Oye Como Va.”  A great day all around……
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10/14/13
That’s the greatest thing about Tokyo; there are a million strange places to go and hang out.  I can just play “dumb gaijin” & go wherever I feel like, and if I’m not supposed to be there, someone will tell me in Japanese and I can pretend not to understand or I can leave if it no longer interests me.  Any way you look at it, I win…
I’m speaking of strange industrial districts,  anywhere beyond gates with signs that I cannot read, gardens inside apartment building complexes, and numerous other places.  It just never ends.
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“People`s memories might be the fuel they burn to stay alive…”
Haruki Murakami
After Dark
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Okay, I was THIS CLOSE to getting a teaching job here in Tokyo at an ALL-GIRLS SCHOOL, aged 15 to 18 years.  Well, THAT would have been a recipe for disaster!  I would have been like a fox in a henhouse, being around all those sexy little vixens in their short plaid miniskirts and thigh-high stockings….torture, indeed…..
It would have been a sure formula for me to end up divorced, in jail, or BOTH…..
I guess it`s a good thing that I didn`t get it….
(…but I kind of wish that I had….)
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Steven Hall, the author of the spectacularly inventive novel, The Raw Shark Texts, has publicly stated that the title is a play on words for Rohrschach Test,the inkblot psychological test that can be different to everyone.  And that is exactly what he says he set out to do with this book; to write a book that would mean something different to everyone, a crossover between many genres meant to mutate into some kind of hybrid book that knows no category or classification.  If you have read it, or you intend to, you will see that he has done quite a good job at achieving this objective, and any way you look at this novel, if nothing else, it is VERY original, borrowing ideas from MANY sources, but somehow coming out totally unique in its own right….
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When you try to manipulate a society by denying them marijuana, in turn, you create a society of rampant alcoholism…I only know what I see.  And if you’re wondering, I’m both an alcoholic AND a pothead and I don’t deny it, so piss off…
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“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky  (as quoted by Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame…)
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I crawl to where the beer is going to be, not where I broke the last bottles…
Tom Brooks
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“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world
 are the ones who do…”
Steve Jobs
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“The role of the story was, in the broadest terms, to transpose a single problem into another form.  Depending on the nature and the direction of the problem, a solution could be suggested in the narrative.  He would return to the real world with that suggestion in hand.  It was like a piece of paper bearing the indecipherable text of a magic spell.  At times it lacked coherence and served no immediate practical purpose.  But itwould contain a possibility.  Someday he might be able to decipher the spell.  That possibility would gently warm his heart from within.
Haruki Murakami
1Q84
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Everyone is Gone Now…
 
Everyone is gone now
and I am left alone with my thoughts,
which are myriad.
It is as if the world I`d once known
is collapsing inward upon itself-
a universe imploding,
quarks rushing together into nothingness…
EXCEPT…
for one tiny light in the midst
of an endless void,
the tiny pinprick of light
that is called self…
That lives on in its own unmoored
nomadic existence
like a comet drifting along the
edges of a galaxy,
but never coming back to the sun.
The past is like a collection
of ghosts in a black and white
slideshow, playing on ancient projector
inside my skull,
sound fading away,
like a distant radio playing an old song…
Everyone is gone now, yes,
or perhaps it`s me who is gone…
No matter; this is the way things are.
The world moves on without you,
things change, you are left behind,
and then twilight falls forever
You can`t go back.
All of us know this
and perhaps some even fear it.
But it must be accepted for
it is just the way things work.
It is an irrevocable fact of life in this world
and in this universe.
We are,
each and every one,
a quiet whisper,
a flickering candle,
a breath of soft wind,
a grain of sand on a cosmic beach…
and then……
we are gone…
Tom Brooks
Tokyo, Japan
October 22, 2013
5:24pm
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How can I be in a city of millions and write THAT?!?
Dreams are a strange thing…
Good Night….
10/22/13
THB3