Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Late last night, a block from home at the end of a short walk with Chacho, I heard what at first sounded like cats fighting. Focusing on the sound, it became apparent that it was not a cat brawl, but two sounds that changed as I moved toward them. Chacho picked up on the sound and began racing toward it.

The pitch and timbre of the first sound was like a cat's cry but sporadic like the clucking of a chicken. The second sound was repetitive, like the same note repeating itself for different lengths, the pitch raising or lowering at the start and end of the note. The timbre of the second sound moved between a human scream and an analog synthesizer. It really sounded like a shriek one moment, music the next, and then back to a shriek.

When Chacho and I were close to the source, I scooped him up and waited. At this point, it was quite loud; I couldn't believe nobody in the neighborhood was out and wondering what the fuck was going on. Then I remembered it was after 2am.

Across the street from where I thought the sound was coming from, I stepped into the light of a street lamp and the sound stopped. Chacho and I headed back to the house, the sound did not start again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


In the midst of taking a leak at the Lager House, a fellow patted me on the back to get my attention. "That was ART. It's awesome to see someone put their ART out there. It was spoken word art, kind of goth -- well, '80s goth, then it was a hardcore thing, then it was a punk thing. But it was art and it was so cool to see it out there. I love it when people put their art out there." And then he shook my hand, which I had not yet washed. It was hilarious & sweet. Here's the piece I read during the Skate Laws set:
A hot dog stand burning in a parking lot and you never felt such heat in your life. "My tits are burning," you thought and they were hot. And your thighs felt very hot. Your face was tanned. Eventually the car stopped smelling like burnt beef but the clothes from that night had been thrown out after a single washing.

When it became too hot, you walked back to your car and slowly, very slowly, edged around the fire and headed home. You thought you heard an explosion but later convinced yourself that you imagined that part.

The paper never ran a story on the fire. Someone did not want that hot dog stand there.

Friday, June 12, 2009


You enter the shallow ravine and he follows. Along the floor of the ravine, the leaves of small plants are visibly wet. Urine, you think, as it is not raining and you have to urinate. You realize you should be watching the floor of the ravine as he is barefoot. You see no glass but much garbage, mostly plastic, and much detritus.

You would sit for a moment but there is no stool or chair to speak of. Since you were last there, all objects serving as seats have been removed. He is not interested in sitting and would become anxious.

Looking back to the top of the shallow ravine, you spot the lithe, slender frame of a black cat as it moves through tall grass. You leave the ravine but there is no black cat.

Searching the surrounding brush, you come to the conclusion that what you saw was an illusion. You strain to remember the last time you saw one so perfect and you remember. It was years ago; the circumstances and illusion are completely different.

He follows you out of the ravine and you both sit. He is not anxious but you are unsettled and, for the duration of one minute, your stomach feels ill. The minute feels very long and you wait for the nausea to pass and it does.

You are back inside, still unsettled. He moves to the floor behind the couch and lies down, placing as much of his body as close to the wood as possible. It is cool, you think, the floor must be cooler than the room.

You put on some music and begin to write about the illusion but the mood is wrong. The records ends and now she is here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Here at Charles Atlas By The Fire Pit, entries of fiction should outnumber the day-to-day journal-y shit but since it's more "work," it's easier to crap out on. When it felt like I was falling behind in my creative duties, May successfully became the month of "lies" (save for that amazing gospel video). It's a super-busy time 'round these parts and I haven't devoted the time to writing that I'd like. Things are amazing -- organizing Hott Lava with Erin is extremely fulfilling and fun -- but I would change that one thing.

And as easy as whipping off this-is-what-I'm-up-to entries might be, in some ways I'm still slightly haunted by the snarky comments a former roommate anonymously posted to an old journal. He pretty clearly thought I was an asshole but couldn't have been more of a pussy about it. How does this shit get under my skin?

At any rate, James Murphy of DFA/LCD Soundsystem, an occasional asshole in his own right, ripped :
"When you're a kid, you have this impression that things like respected literary novels are going to be like Merchant-Ivory movies, full of precious subtle things. But when you actually read books, you realize that shit's really fucked-up and dark and much more complex than your childish notion of what art is going to be like."
Yeah, man, let's get back to darkness. I'm about to throw on a Burzum record. Motel money murder madness -- let's change the mood from glad to sadness.

Friday, June 05, 2009


by Steven Jesse Bernstein

Forecast in chrome and plastic, tyrants breathing out oil, slavery, planet hunger versions of Jackie-O. Sherry, Sherry baby, won't you come out tonight.

And the stars whisper like old blood at the edges of the body of night. She stood with one hand on the phone for four hours, poised as only a few seconds had passed. I watched her through the crack between the shade and the sill. She waited for a forecast in human trembling, together with other important women.

Come, come, come out tonight.

The world suffers for her. The clock hurries like a terrified animal and stops, dribbling saliva. She is eating chicken pie and bubble gum. For a month the Luftewaffe lived on raisins, same with the French after the war. Jackie-O received fresh oranges from John Kennedy. Silly girl!

She cannot put down the telephone reciever. She is waiting to receive my body of work. She wants to take it into her ear. A modeled flush builds under her cheeks. She eats Christmas candy while she waits. The telephone rings and rings. I am not at home. I am with Jackie-O. We are eating oranges from the President.

We are alone on the roof of a Park Avenue penthouse. Picture of Marilyn Monroe in my back pocket, molded by heat and sweat to the shape of my buttocks. You are gripping the phone, smiling, eating candy, crying, "I am with the important women now." I am secretly an
important man.

Hang up the phone, I can't dance with you anymore. Go to your freezer and get a popsicle. Go to your TV. Turn on your TV. You will see me and Jackie-O. She will be taking it in the ear, my body of work.

In the planetarium, you will receive a forecast: "I will always be more important than you. You will never be important enough. You will never be on the repent end of slavery, never be the one to wield hunger against humanity. Heaven will never be an extension of your body. Your body will always belong to someone else."

The picture of Marilyn Monroe flutters across the roof, steaming, shaped like me, shaped like my ass. The sky is filled with oranges during the war. We eat them. The President is alone in a room. He is unimportant. As we eat his oranges the sky grows blacker. The moon ripens and turns red. It rots and is swallowed by the darkness. You are still by the phone. It is ringing and ringing, dead.

Sherry, Sherry baby, won't you come out tonight.

It is completely dark. The earth freezes. You put down the receiver and go to the window.

Come, come, come out tonight.