Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tighter than you could possibly imagine.


A very large star in distant space.
As the star grows in size over the eons
it becomes harder and harder
for its rays of light to leave
the increasing pull of it's own

The arches of light beams get tighter
and tighter.
Eventually gravity is so strong,
that all light becomes trapped
in around its atmosphere.
Think of it as an aura of light
around the entire sun,
but it couldn't be seen from any outside observer.
For none of it is able to leave the sun's grip.

Then gravity will cross that point
where all light starts to be sucked back
into the star.
The star is now SO heavy
that its own gravity is
pulling all of it's matter in upon

All compacted in and crushed,
Stuffed down by forces beyond
the reversal of any creator.
ALL of it,
crammed down to what scientist call
a singularity.

A singularity.
The mathematical representation
of a black hole.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Put this on the Corporate tab

With the past week being nothing but a pollen barrage on my respiratory system, I didn’t wake up that Saturday morning with any ambitious plans on the top of my list. No. I only found myself waking up and feeling as if I was some 65 year old vagrant who swallowed his Swisher Sweet after passing out on a park bench. After numerous bouts of flailing, twisting, turning and other bed acrobatics, I finally submitted to the fact that I was not going to fall back asleep. Not with this pounding headache, stuffed sinus, and constricted bronchial.
I stumbled from room to room, and pill to pill, until I was sure there was nothing else that could be done but to turn into the “piece of shit” that I now felt like: Just another Saturday, pissed away until about 1pm to 5pm, until my sum-bitch of a conscious gives me a swift kick in the ass with guilt. Guilt that doesn’t get very far when you have no plans laid out in the first place. So, I sat there for a moment in the kitchen waiting for some spark of inspiration to cut through the fog.
Instead, everything was cut by the jingle of my phone. After bearing the burden of an unbalanced trip back to my room, I managed to catch Cindy’s call (Cindy is just a pseudonym to protect innocent bystanders from any collateral damage my actions may bring about).
“You ready for the SoCo Music Experience?”
I’ve had enough experiences in the 30 minutes I’ve been up! I couldn’t help but thinking. “Oh shit Cindy, I forgot! Listen, I’m feeling like crap right now. My allergies are killing me! No, I tried the local honey, it only made me long for graham crackers. Okay. Yeah. Get outta town. Yadda, Yadda! Well I’ll call you a little later and let you know if I feel any better. Later!”
Fast-forward the tape to 5:30-6pm.
Adjust tracking. Recording quality may not be reliable.
After the aid of many chemical compounds pumping through my blood stream, I found myself following Cindy and her friends on a reckless bike ride to the Allient Energy Center. After hastily securing our metal steeds to the chain link fence, we followed the masses towards the entrance. Cindy’s friend Linda found herself pressured by the weight of corporate information gathering, and was held up while they scanned her drivers license to; “Take your First and Last name.” Mitch and I both harangued her about giving up her information to “the Man”, and we both agreed that “the Man” already had enough on the both of us.
There was a flood of Déjà vu on all senses. This feels just like the Grant County Fair, minus the rides of course. Over priced food. Long beer lines. Weirdos comfortable in they own natural mannerisms. Hell, they even went right down to the wood chips on the ground. But once I saw the huge group playing bean bags, the fear crept in.
They’re stealing my culture!
Being 100% German, so far as I know, I often felt as though I have no cultural roots with my German ancestors; other than a taste for hard liquor and beer. But many cultures have the taste for libations. I always wished we gave out steins for Christmas, or maybe my grandmother would pass down her secret recipe for bratwurst. Nope, none of that when I was growing up. However, recently I’ve started to realize that I do have a culture, and while much of it I reviled after leaving my little rural town for the pearly gates of Madison, I’m starting to accept the fact that there is much of it I really like!
I like spinning doughnuts in my pickup. I like sitting around a fire pit, swilling (insert cheap beer brand here), and looking up to a sky with no light pollution. I liked pretending I was Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, and fishing out of Grandpa’s bottom land by the Grant River, using only worms, hooks, fishing line, and tree branches.
I like shooting. I like shooting a lot. It’s a hard lust to describe to my more liberal peers. There are few words that can describe the feeling of sending a 12 gauge slug ripping through your old “piece of shit” Lexmark printer that was recently replaced by a much better Epson: Shattered plastic and twisted metal fly in all directions, while your brothers hoot and holler behind you. Yes, that cursed printer represents all the petty/stupid little problems in your life that can’t be cured with a pill or a different shitty job. The only easily accessible reference I can give to most is the scene from “Office Space” where they smash the fax machine with a baseball bat in slow motion, while “Die MotherFucker” by the Geto Boys plays in the background. Yeah, that about sums it up.
But Bean Bags! That’s a game I take some pride in knowing the full set of rules for. Shit, someone was doing their homework here. I found it hard to believe the people pulling the strings for SoCo could pull this off in any other city. The Brown-Forman Corporation (headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and the purveyor of many other overhyped brands such as; Jack Daniel's, Canadian Mist and Early Times Kentucky Whisky) must have sent their weasels into my state long ago. They’ve studied our habits and took many notes.
I ran into many familiar faces, and carried many nonsensical conversations. Most of which were spit into the SquaWkBox. They have yet to be transcribed from the raw audio, so I’m writing this in the warm mist of the “day after recollection”. At this point I can only comment on the experience as a whole.
The Black Keys and The Roots were great, and they were really the only bands I was interested in seeing. I’m not a music critic, and I can’t conjure up any obscure references that would make me feel superior to my four weekly readers. So take my word for it, if you were in my shoes and my skewed frame of mind, the show was Fuckin’ Great!
So I find myself, this quiet Sunday morning pondering how I’m supposed to reflect upon the event.
My piss-ant high school punk rock ethos would instruct me to spit bile all over the fact that some big corporation (whose name had to be looked up on Wikipedia) was orchestrating this well oiled marketing machine. It seemed like some sorry low-rent Woodstock meets the county fair with a bloated marketing budget. Yes, part of me was raised and molded by some great (and some not so great) bands that would have poured gasoline and set the fucker ablaze by now.
No, no, you idealistic moron, don’t you realize how much fun you were having? Yes, I had a blast. I sang and danced and my heart was full of joy! If only Nickelback had headlined, it would be so much easier to cut this event down to something the masses could digest. But these cash-cows sent out there weasel henchmen to infiltrate my culture and musical taste. Then, to top it off, they toss the whole event “free of charge”; which means you can buy three or four of their overpriced drinks and still come out feeling like a winner.
Okay, okay, I admit it … they put on a pretty great little carnival, even if it is on a corporate bankroll. AND, because I had such a great time, which stirred up the conflicting thoughts presented before you, and then prompted me to waste the day on this keyboard; will I always think of Southern Comfort when I recall that show? I mean, hell, I can’t change the name. It’s the “SoCo Music Experience”! That’s true, but I guess I don’t feel any urge to run down to Star Liquor and buy a liter at the moment. I have enough Citadel as it is.
Maybe I’ll just make another drink and sit on the back porch. Softly chuckling to myself over what a good time I had for only one $6 beer the night before. Yeah … I only did buy one of their drinks … suckers!

Monday, September 1, 2008

So, This is the End of Summer?

Ah Labor Day, a fine day indeed. Summer is coming to a close and soon we’ll have to hunker down as Old Bastard Winter comes slinking in behind the colorful foliage of Fall. I sit here on the back porch, Tootsie my fantastically obese cat screaming in my ear from the window screen. Looking back at the summer of 2008, it seems rather atypical to the summers before it. I missed every “Concert on the Square”. Not once did I venture out with that giant Jolly Roger and a gaggle of cohorts to claim our own stake of grass for heavy drinking and a gluttonous feast from a recent pillaging of Trader Joe’s.

Jesus! Two hornets, in what must have been some sort of domestic dispute, just feel from the sky and landed like a stone on the keyboard. This is supposed to be a day of rest and relaxation. I didn’t come out here on the back porch to me menaced my Mother Nature! I waved my hand in one fell swoop and brushed them aside. I was always taught as a child to avoid panic when provoked by any javelin wielding insect. This must have explained how once as a very small child playing in the sand-box, I left my Dum-Dum sucker outside by the box’s edge. Growing up “technically” lower-class, I was also taught, “Waste not. Want not.” So, I ventured out to recover my sugary treat on a stick. None of this is visibly retrievable in the brain, even for how traumatic it sounds. Upon returning to my sucker, I was confronted by a swarm of honey bees that were swooping down like tiny turkey vultures after my sticky sucker. Like I said earlier, I have no recollection of this event, but as my mother would tell it; I came into the house, minus the Dum-Dum, balling my eyes out. She said she counted 14 stingers in my neck. A guaranteed death sentence to any poor bastard with a severe allergy!

I came out here to read, drink and write a little. I look up to find a hole in the awning of the roof. That must be the gates to the hive? Maybe I should grab the can of spray Shellac. Stand real tall on the folding chair and blast the buggers with a long dousing of sealant, forever entombing them in a sticky translucent barrier. That way they can watch me write, and only pray other colonies don’t cross me in the future. This manic notion quickly passed as I considered the fact that the whole gang may come tearing out before the sealant has the two minutes it needs to fully set. Besides, Shellac isn’t cheap, and I need to be out in the sun today. I feel like I’m lacking in vitamin D.

What was I pondering? Yes! This summer has been different. I also have not once made it to Devils Lake. A staple of the last three summers. I now feel that I can’t bother trying to go in the next four weeks. That would just come off as some hastily arranged last ditch effort to feel normal again. Who am I kidding? Normal is purely subjective. For the last two months my body has been heavily medicated with numerous chemicals. Some prescribed and others not; all a part of this bloody odyssey whose end still seems out of sight.

As soon as my financial stability was put into jeopardy, I realized something was a foul, or maybe had been for longer than I would like to admit. I’ve chained myself to the modern American ethos of debt and years of repayment. I can’t just run off to Guatemala, I’ve only had two years of high school Spanish! No. It is time to face the music. This song has been playing on and off in the elevator of your life for too long to ignore. Now I have to start listening.

I could go into mass details and over embellished explanations, but the sun is creeping around the house at and increasing rate. A summer spent hunkered down inside one’s own mind guarantees a serious burn, come the time you finally step out into the sun. So, to make a long story enjoyable to the masses; I admitted myself into psychotherapy in an effort to avoid an Amy Winehouse fiasco that the national tabloids will want no part of. Lots of talking, tissues and pills have pushed me to where I am today.

I know that I’ve come a long way in a rather short amount of time, but there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe there isn’t… maybe I’m just getting comfortable with the dark. That sounds kind of ominous. I’ve hated emo kids for as long as I can remember, and maybe that’s only because I was afraid to acknowledge my own negative emotions. However, I still feel that romanticizing depression is not a cure in and of itself. No, a path like that will find you with a shitty haircut that cost too much, and will be laughed at by your children someday.

I’m not sure why I’m compelled to share this with others. Maybe I feel an obligation to all those who wonder what happened to me. An active social life has pretty much been a Band-Aid on an oozing sore. I’m not casting it off as some charade that I’ve pulled over everyone for the last five years. I still dance. I still dance a lot. There is just some heavy work that needs to be done, and no Pirate Potluck, or dance party will make effective progress.

If I plan on keeping “Dance Machine” as a valid pseudonym, I’m going to have to make public appearances now and then. Be patient friends. I have not forgotten about you, and please try not to forget about me. I will come around in my own time.