Archive | June, 2014

No Headphones

22 Jun

2014-06-07 21.08.22

Nothing compares to seeing a full moon along the NYC skyline
as fireworks fill the night.
You can feel the electricity from the ground up
even when you sleep.
This city is a big machine with cogs
wheels, and wires for veins
pulsing currents towards the mad mass of crowds.

I don’t want to miss any of it.
The gears the trucks the squeals
in my ears.

The people on the street
the music and the beats
the cars and the jeeps
the honks and the beeps
the planes, the cranes, the elevated trains
the old man in the subway behaving insane.

The pace. The race
the lack of personal space.
The culture and the humanity
all up in my face.

The rhythm of the city as it moves above me.
The rhythm of the city as it moves beneath me.
The rhythm of the city as it moves around me
The rhythm of the city as it moves within me.

~Edward Austin Robertson

A Fresh Start

22 Jun

Back at Aimee’s diner
he sat on the stool
gnawing on his country breakfast
drinking coffee.

Easy to ask why he didn’t move here to begin with
but that was being shortsighted.
As unfortunate as things were
most of it (all of it?) was his fault.

He needed this to happen
to get the horseshit
knocked out of him by life.

He paid his bill
walked around town–
trudging through ice
his socks wet and his
feet cold.

All the tea, coffee and warm layers
could not keep him warm enough.
He thought that four seasons
could actually be nice for a change,
and if this was as bad as the weather got,
then he may be able to handle living up here.

This was the next step.
Now was the time to go back and set things in motion.

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~Edward Austin Robertson

Poem for Little Eli

21 Jun


The minute you decide to start one
becomes the day you must emotionally prepare for a series of goodbyes.

The first day back to work,
their first day of daycare,
their first day of school,
their first day of sleep away camp,
to when they leave for college
and get married.

Parents to children who become parents to children, who become grandparents to grandchildren.

we hold onto, validate,
and appreciate the authentic moments that we share–
the laughter, smiles, and tears.

Curiosity leads us to wander
as our tribes spread out,
but love is why we always return.

~Edward Austin Robertson

East Coast Trippin’ Days 21-23 : The Denouement

16 Jun

In three short hours I will be leaving the city and essentially going off the grid. Vacation is officially over and my summer job in Maine begins. This trip has been eye opening to say the least. The things I’ve encountered and the people I’ve met along the way helped steer me towards possibilities that I was unaware were available to me.
I guess you could say that my reality has opened up a little bit.
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Tonight I was at a bar in Queens, drinking caffeinated beverages and watching the Spurs wrap up their fifth NBA championship. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and couldn’t get past the shit eating grin I had on my face. It was a good moment with myself. A Texas team had won the NBA title. I had managed to knock out my goal of traveling the east coast and see some states I have been wanting to see for at least ten years. It felt good.
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Last year at this time, I was nursing my wounds from my Austin failures, running towards this dream someone had sold me, and witnessing the Miami Heat rip the hearts out of Tim Duncan and company. This year was different though. Lebron James was sitting on the bench watching his team get carved up by an improved Spurs squad. I had just spent the weekend catching up and hanging out with old friends. Today was spent out in Long Island, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and leering behind my sunglasses at women’s bodies.
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New York City has been really good for me. I love this city. I was jogging this morning out in Queens when I realized that its no longer a matter of if, but when I’ll move here. Well not in the next 5 years. My five year plan is to make money and travel in that order. Everything else that happens in those five years is gravy. Who knows, maybe I’ll move here with a gal, get hitched and earn a tax break. Never say never right? As for the immediate future, I’m looking forward to no phone or internet for the next couple of months. I need to reset. I want to get fresh air and catch up on my reading. In order to execute these plans I’m hatching, I’m going to need some space to think. You’ll hear from me again in late August. Have a good summer.

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East Coast Trippin’ Days 19-20: And it rained all night

13 Jun

2014-06-12 16.30.12

Beautiful Burlington, Vermont has a nice little state university that has 10,000 students enrolled there. I would have liked to have seen more, but its been raining buckets since I have been here. I managed a quick stroll along the waterfront of Lake Champlain early Wednesday morning, but for all the beauty here, I have been stuck indoors.

So what does one do when they are stuck indoors? They go do five minute sets at stand up open mics, and then head to the bro-iest establishment possible (Manhatten’s Pizza–Burlington’s version of The Wheel in Lawrence) and sing badly played acoustic tunes to no one in particular (I was actually relieved that no one was listening–felt free to play whatever I wanted).

The stand up open mic was fun. I forgot how much I used to enjoy going on stage and making people laugh. I hit them with some old ones just to loosen up, then ventured out into some little used jokes that I been wanting to work out for a while. It didn’t feel like four years had passed since the last time I had done it, but believe me, my nerves used to get the best of me on stage when I was younger. Now I don’t give a fuck if I bomb or not, because I really don’t give a fuck about anything anymore. Life is too short. Ask anyone who lives in a country merged in a civil war. The stuff we get hung up on is totally absurd. If there is something you want to say, then say it. If there is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, then do it. If there is something in life that has always frightened you, then kick that fear in the balls. It doesn’t matter if you do it or if you don’t do it. The universe gives zero fucks. 2014-06-11 12.46.35

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I spent the afternoon yesterday in an Irish pub, drinking French-pressed coffee, watching the babes, eating wings, and joking with some locals as the Croatians got hosed in the first World Cup match of the tournament. Burlington has certainly lived up to the hype, and though its pretty expensive for a college town; its still a pretty rad place. It could arguably be the coolest college town on the entire east coast.

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Time to head back to New York City. When I originally made my itinerary, I had booked a bus to Amherst. But after the way NYC slapped me on my behind, I got’s to go back. This weekend I will be spending Father’s day with one of my best friends,his wife and son, and hopefully we’ll bust out some bubbly to celebrate the Spurs’ fifth NBA championship. Monday morning I have to head to Boston to report for assignment. Vacation is just about over.

East Coast Tripping Days 17-18: Nestled within the folds

11 Jun

Monday was the first legit fuck off day I’ve had since I been on vacation. I basically spent the whole day doing laundry and hangin’ with the homies. We went back out to Brooklyn to play pickup ball, with my boys from Austin and Portland. We got some good running in and managed to avoid getting any cramps in that stuffy gymnasium. It was nice to not have anything terribly important to do because yesterday was a travel day. Not only would I miss the most efficient first half played by any team in NBA Finals history, but I had to ride the Dattco bus instead of the Megabus.

The Dattco bus? No idea who owns it or where it came from, but let’s just say it was not ideal:

“No wif-fi. No outlets. No stops. No problem. Dattco. As in Dat company you never heard of. Coming to a city near you.”

The thing about these buses is that if you forget to pack water, you are fucked. This is where the whole express bus works against poor planners like myself. No stops means exactly that, no stops. I of course forgot to pack water and had to wait until the trip was nearly over, when we made a scheduled stop in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The bus ride still was not too unpleasant though. There happened to be tons of Vermont cuties along for the ride. I managed to score a seat next to a guy who looked familiar, but it would take me a half hour of conversation to figure out why he did. Turns out I’d seen him in a documentary about his uncle, a bass player in this 70’s punk band called Death. He himself plays bass in a band called Rough Francis.

He was a pretty cool cat who had basically lived his whole life in Burlington (except for a brief stint in the Bay Area that interestingly intersected with my own time out there). He gave me the lay of the land, told me what spots to hit up, and what restaurants to avoid. He was good conversation. We talked about music, women, and traveling–even traded some “Unforgivable” quotes to our neighboring passengers’ dismay.

Vermont itself is just as breathtaking as I imagined. I’d often heard that Vermont is basically the Oregon of the east coast, and the corollary seems pretty dead on. The same quiet reverence I felt the first time I visited Oregon washed upon me last night as we silently crept north. Replace the Douglas Firs of Oregon with Maple trees and you have Vermont. The state is packed with mountain ranges, tall trees, and the ocean not too far away. The more my boy Julian told me about Burlington, the more I liked what I heard. The town is only an hour and a half from Montreal, Quebec (wish I’d have planned better–would have loved to take a side trip up to Montreal again) and Marijuana is decriminalized here in Vermont. So did I not break the law last night when I got settled? You bet I didn’t.

my couchsurfing hosts last night were these two lovely gals from Boston–both just recently of drinking age– and so much fun. They took me to a couple of bars to watch a Grateful Dead cover band (Dead Set every Tuesday night at the Nectar–a spot made popular by Phish’s early days), and another spot where there was a sweet little honky-tonk band. When they played Gram Parsons’ “A Song For You” I knew they were the real deal. Burlington reminds me a lot of Eugene, Oregon–tons of happy white people, good music, ubiquitous buds, and a super chill vibe. I’m digging it.
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There are a couple of open mics tonight I’m going to hit up. Decided I’m gonna try some stand up comedy after four years of inactivity. Later there is one at the pizza place where I will break out the old acoustic. It should be fun. Of course, to complete the Oregon/Vermont parallel, it has been raining all day, which believe it or not, bodes well for me. If the girls in Vermont treat me anywhere as good as the Oregonian gals did, your boy is in for a good night. Wish me luck.

East Coast Trippin’ Days 15-16: “Gotta Pay to Play”

9 Jun

2014-06-08 15.57.23

This has to be one of the best weekends in recent memory. Friday night of course was the Outkast show and it was awesome. I spent most of Saturday recovering, but by that night, I was ready to get back out there.

Brooklyn Museum is one of the more unique museums you’ll ever go to. The relationship between the museum and the community is like no other I’ve seen before. The DMA in Dallas is a fairly stuffy arrangement and their “Final Fridays” events I have often found to be lacking in joy, life, and color (no pun intended).

First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum felt like a singles nightclub. There were tons of people in their extravagant gabs and accessories. I was very happy I didn’t wear my “never nude” shorts as I originally planned.

Wow. New York women. It isn’t that the women of New York are prettier than any other major city in the world. There are just more of them. Why is this the most expensive city in the United States? Because there are so many dime pieces living here bruh! Every five minutes, I would see the most stunning woman I’d ever seen, until the next woman happened to stroll by.

If I moved to this city it would have to be with a gal already in tow. Too much to choose from. Anyone who has ever gone to dinner with me can attest that I’m notoriously indecisive. It takes me 10 minutes just to decide what kind of soda I want to drink. Not only that, but the city is huge. You meet someone and the chances are you’ll never see them again. It leads to a very informal, impersonal exchange between people. The chances of me landing a date without the use of an online service would be slightly better than getting struck by lightening. I think it would be the same situation for me if I happened to be a woman. It makes me miss the innocent days of college where I could just chat up a girl for a few minutes, listen to her talk for 2 hours, then bring her back to the crib for some casual sex.

Once my claustrophobia wore off (which may or may not have been due to the hyper aware state I was in), I peeped game on some of the exhibits #Activism. There were a lot of good pieces, but my favorites were the Ai Wei Wei, “According to What” exhibit, and Judy Chicago.

Some of her pieces were pretty trippy. There was this “Rejections series” that she did, where she would paint these electrifying and colorful labia-esque objects and write notes within the paintings. I only went to the first, fourth, and fifth floors, but each level had at least one mind blowing piece in every room. It was inspiring, stimulating, and thought provoking.

I got invited to go to the Comedy Cellar for a 10:30 show. The Comedy Cellar is kind of a grab bag kind of deal, you never know who is going to perform there. We saw Colin Quinn hanging out, someone said that Dave Atell was probably going to perform. I’m not a big fan of either comic so it was whatever. A couple of comedians who’d been on Letterman performed and it was funny. Not dying laughing funny, but it was good. Then the MC that night comes out and says “Well like we say, you never know who is going to be here…..ladies and gentleman…. Chris Rock.” My eyes lit up. My buddies and I just looked at each other in curious disbelief. Sure enough, the “Rock” appears on stage and commences to give us an hour and a half of un rehearsed jokes. It was incredible. It took my brain a few minutes just to process what I was seeing.

Chris Rock was one of the original reasons I got into comedy so much as kid. In high school I had all his comedy albums (on cassette tape) and I loved the Chris Rock show. There he was literally 10 feet away from me, MC Gusto, Pookie from “New Jack City”, and the narrator of Pootie Tang. It was bananas.

After seeing that badass exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, I thought there was no way my mind could be blown any further. Wrong! Wrong!

With that said, yesterday was pretty low key. Spent the day in Prospect Park with my buddy, and then we got some frozen yogurt. Then I spent the rest of the evening watching a travesty of a basketball game. Tomorrow I take off for Vermont in hopes of interviewing the “Spaceman” Bill Lee. I don’t even know if he even lives there. He is probably out playing in some baseball league somewhere exotic like Nova Scotia, or Halifax. Sigh. Why do all my heroes have to be weirdos?