Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So I am going to get to more substantive posts soon. However, in the meantime, I just want to provide some more signs of life that I, and this blog that lives off of me, are both alive. So I am going to link you to a website of a man(boy? kid?) named Christoffer Delsinger who comes through Kittens Ablaze, one of the bands who played the Brooklyn Invitational. Mr. Delsinger took some fine photos of the event and you can see them at HIS WEBSITE. Rich Lee and I both thank Chris for taking these photos and perhaps we will even meet this legendary person someday.

In the meantime, the NBA Draft comes up this Friday. The Wilco album is released next Tuesday, June 30 and then we have the Fourth of July weekend. Summer has definitely kicked in. Stay tuned for the Acoustic Rooftop Barbeque and the End of Summer Ice Cream Social, which will be coming your way from the two guys who drove to Washington D.C. and back in ten hours to pick up art for this man and who brought you the Brooklyn Invitational.

Shill, shill, shill.

Now, the next installment of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt."


I feel a little drunk but I’ve been drunker. Taaake and eaat. I wonder if Liza can smell the church on me. She asked me if I was like dad and I said no. I think that is the right answer. No, it definitely is. I’m nothing like dad. If she was asking me if I was a drunk then the answer is, “No, I’m not a drunk.” But then again, dad wasn’t a drunk either. He was and then he wasn’t. Now he was again. Rather he is again. What does that make him? What would he be? I think that is a question we’ve all tried to get at.

“Have you been packing?” Liza asks me as we release our embrace. She smells like lavender, or what I imagine lavender to be. Flowery, soft, like rainwater maybe because she’s been soaking and marinating in the scent standing outside so strangely. I feel good in this warm wet afternoon. I stretch my arms out again and Liza looks at me strangely. My pants are damp.

“No, not really. I guess I should before James yells at me.”

Liza smiles at me.

“Sorry, Jimmy-boy,” I try to say like a gangster but I feel a little foolish. I don’t make the jokes. Dad does or James will sometimes or Maggie skewers us with her sarcasm and wit. That is the formula, that’s how it works very simply.

“Do you think it’s a good idea to let dad go ahead with leaving the house behind?”

Its not a good idea and I know that. I mean you can’t just give up a place like this. It’s more of an investment than a house. The finely done stonework here around the pool, the little waterfall that falls from the hot tub into the main pool itself. Also the landscaping around the front walk and the stone patio in the front. I watched those Mexicans do it. They weren’t really Mexican. I talked to them and gave them beers. Dad told me to do that. They were from Guatemala some of them, others from Ecuador. No one is really a Mexican; you have to find out the truth, the real story about where someone is from. I think that’s something dad always cared about. Maybe he cared about it too much when he was younger.

You look around this backyard and at the big white shape of the house itself with the black shutters. They’re really navy, though, I think. It is an investment. That’s what people do when they get older, they make nests, nest eggs, they put their money in something. Mom believed in that, putting your money into real estate, your real estate, something extremely personal and I bet they did make a lot of money from when they first moved in here years ago. Things only get more expensive as time goes on. I think its because people forget about how things originated and keep guessing at what everything costs until they become lost in values. That’s not true. Its all based on markets, demands, supplies, loans, mortgage rates and freezes. I’m just thinking the way mom would. I look over at Liza and mess my hair up at bit with my hand.

“No, it’s not a good idea. But I think its what dad wants.”

“I know that, but I mean if he’s going to lose money on it or mess up the plans mom had then maybe we should stop him.”

I look past the pool to the corner of the house where the blackberry bushes are. I could go for a handful.

“Let’s pick some blackberries.”


“Blackberries.” I nod my head in their direction and slide my hands into my khaki pockets feeling debonair. Feeling like George Clooney feels.

In the darkness of my eyes I see the flashing of the train in the sun. I see Christ on the cross and the priest in white and black with his purple Lent sash. The train is silver and it streaks blue. The wire and antennae above strike for a moment and sparks leap out and rain down around me. Just a chance encounter or are things planned like that like tracks everyday? The train is moving down the line and its night I watch the red lights on behind. The gap between the platforms is a gaping hole that wants me to step down into it one way or another. Where am I? Who will save me?

“No, I want you to tell me what you think.”


“I think that even though it’s wrong, its what dad wants and he’s entitled to it after all of this time. After spending most of mom’s life with her, loving her and doing exactly what she wanted of him.”

I realize that I’m breathing sort of heavy. Liza seems satisfied with that answer. She looks over to the blackberries too and nods. Rain drips off the gutter and a breeze picks up a strand of her hair on the side of her head, lifts it, drops it.

“You are a little drunk aren’t you?” She asks me.

I laugh. I can’t help it. “Maybe.”

“Let’s pick some.”

We walk alongside the pool. There are leaves and silver reflections of the trees and the grey sky on the surface. We pass the back windows and I can the light of the den on and dad’s shape seated in the recliner. It’s so hard to read him. I think we connected sitting at the table. I can’t know what he’s feeling. Is trying to wrong?

We step down the little hill by the deep end of the pool and walk to the gate. Liza lifts the latch, we pass through, and it clanks. So many times that little piece of metal hit the other pole of metal and made a noise. Time passes and it becomes memory, routine and music. But it’s just a sound. Is it special because I have pictures in my mind to go along with it? Because I see a slideshow of us growing up. I see Liza tiny in a neon pink one-piece bathing suit her hair whitish blonde like it used to be. Now she slides along the wet grass next to me.

“What are you doing here?” I ask her.

“You’re so strange, Tom.”

“You should be at school, you don’t need this.”

“I do need this. I have to be home for this. What are you talking about?”

I shake my head. She shouldn’t go through with this. She should be away, be having fun. It’s the beginning of school. Things never get more beautiful or more optimistic than at the beginning of a school year of any school year. You dread going back, but once you are there the first month is like no other feeling, no mixture of emotion anytime else. At least that’s how I always felt. But then, I never went to college.

We walk up to the berry bushes. There are many dead and rotten ones on the dirt below the bushes. There are some confused one’s that still aren’t ripe and others that look just ripe. I reach out and pick a few. I look at them in the palm of my hand – five. All of their little circular pockets of juice. It’s my favorite fruit. Liza pushes her palm up to her mouth and chews the berries. She shows her hand, its purple black like a scab or more like that sweater mom got me for Christmas when I was thirteen.

“Still taste good. A little sour.”

I look down at the berries.

“It’s something simple.”

Liza nods and reaches her hand to pick more. She grabs one that is full. It looks ripe, delicious and perfect. It even shines a little bit like cartoon fruit. She holds it between her forefinger and her thumb regarding its shape, twisting it, trying to see it from all possible angles. She extends her hand to me and I look at it.

“I’d eat it in a second.”

She looks down at and spreads her fingers out. She flicks her palm and the berry pops up. She catches it in her mouth like a child. Like we all used to do. Chewing, she spits a bit of purple on the ground.

“A little sour.”


She swallows the rest.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me about dad’s accident, Tom?”

“Because mom wanted to spare you the knowledge.”

I have a tendency to spit back immediately when I am offguard. I couldn’t help it. She wanted to know.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Brooklyn Invitational

Well once again it has been awhile between posts and I have let down whatever fair readers that I may have. Quite a bit has gone down in the past two weeks if you haven't noticed and believe me it has. Let's touch on a few: The Lakers win the Finals giving Kobe his 4th ring and putting him into another level on the all-time player list, the Penguins win the Stanley Cup giving hockey a great boost going in to next season, Nadal loses at the French and Federer ties Sampras for the majors record - not sure if this is a good thing, Conan begins hosting the Tonight Show and unleashing the comic mastery that is the Twitter Tracker and the Dana Carvey Show came out on DVD after 13 years of long waiting.

The biggest item to go on for me in the past two weeks was The Brooklyn Invitational, an event I put on with my friend down in DUMBO. This event featured six bands and several artists showcasing their work at a great space down in DUMBO. There is not a lot going on there as far as nightlife, but there are a lot of gallerys and spaces that can be used to put on some great events, especially large-scale music shows and festivals. There will be more photos up from the event and we will be planning to do another one later on this summer and I will be posting information here or on a parallel blog that you will most likely be able to find.

Now, upcoming: post on Kobe, post on upcoming Mad Men season, post on some album or band that I feel especially compelled about (Grizzly Bear?). But now, here is the next entry in "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt."


The rain has let up and I’m standing outside wearing my raincoat hood over my head. The afternoon is cool and it still smells like summer. The water in the pool has risen high, almost to the top of the rock ledges. I had to come outside to think. I suppose I could’ve just gone to my room and not given myself away by walking past Tom and dad like I did. But I did keep my calm in front of Eve when she told me about the secret I didn’t know. Why did it have to come from her? I love her but she’s not in my family. She is, but she really isn’t. She isn’t the same as all of us.

How is that your vision of your family changes? So many things are always supposed to change, friends, seasons, opinions, favorite ice cream, and even sex. The way you see your family isn’t. It does, though. First you know your mother and father because you need them. Then you know the number of people in your family because you know your brothers and sister. That stays for a while through car rides and fights and sharing bathrooms and dinner and getting rides places. Then everyone gets older – the secrets start coming out. You find out that your father is a good man but he has a past that is deeply flawed, and that’s OK because you find out that everyone does. And being the youngest you get to hear it all, hear all of the problems and the stories of your brothers and sister, the problems and bad things they’ve done. There is nothing of the original picture of family left. What keeps all of that together in a shape? How are you supposed to see it all when you get older?

“Liza, what are you doing in the rain?” Tom’s voice says.

I turn around and see him walking out the door.

“Oh, it isn’t raining anymore,” he says.


He shuffles out and stretches his arms. I think he always liked weather like this. It would make sense because it sort of fits his demeanor. He is all kinds of rain and grey but he is also warm. He walks up to me by the pool with his hands in his pockets. His hair is wet and a bit blackish rather than reddish brown. Is he drunk?

“Well what are you doing out here anyway?”

“Just thinking.”

Tom spreads his legs apart and looks down at his shoes. They’re a nice pair of brown loafers; they seem comfortable. He was the neatest of us for sure. He and James were both neat, although James was always bounding around to a practice or running out with his friends could leave messes and things on the floor. Mom never came down so hard on him. Maybe it was because he took on so much. Tom’s shoes look comfortable but he looks messier than usual.

“There’s a lot to think about, huh?” He puts his hand on my jacket shoulder.

I pull my hood off my head and shake my hair. I look up at his face. He is looking forward, but he senses me and so his eyes drift down to me.

“Tom,” I ask. “What are you doing always riding the trains?”

He takes his hand off my shoulder and puts it back in his right pocket. He scuffs his shoes on the wet stones.

“There’s something about it. Something about that moment of travel, even though I’ll always bounce back from the city out here, when the train is moving I feel good. Having a beer and riding a train. Its very simple in a way.”

I nod my head. He’s very stern now thinking about it. I decide to put my hand up on his shoulder. “You could’ve asked me to come to mass.”

He turns down at me. “Don’t you ever think about anything simple?”

I don’t know what he means by that. He seems really curious, though. He wants to know. There are a lot of simple things in the world I guess. I mean don’t they say that you can break down the whole earth and the universe into different math formulas? Those formulas might be tough to understand but numbers are a lot simpler than stars and atmospheres and endless space. I don’t think I’m supposed to find joy in riding a train and drinking a beer. That doesn’t make sense to me. I want to jump into the excitement of the night at school. But then isn’t simple staying with mom, not leaving her alone. Not killing her.

“Are you drunk, Tom?”

He raises an eyebrow. “No.”

“You’re not like dad are you?”

“Don’t you love dad despite this? Don’t you understand?”

“Yeah I do.”

“No, I’m not like dad.”

He hugs me and I can smell beer. His clothes are wet too but he smells like church and faint cologne. The type that most boys smell like. Musk is what it’s called. Maybe this is what happens to family. We fall apart and bring it back together again. But we aren’t so bad. This is just what we’re changing into.

“I love you,” I say to Tom.

“Thank you.”

I open my eyes and over his shoulder, I can see dad standing in the doorway looking out at us and cradling his bottle to his stomach.

In the rain, I walk over to dad and his motorcycle. He put his glass down on the sopping sod and mud.

“Want to ride?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

He regards the motorcycle for a moment. The rainwater is streaming down his nose and over his lips.

“You were so close with your mother. You know she’d never let you ride.”

“But why didn’t anyone tell me?”

He looks past me. I turn around and look at the open hole in the ground where the mourners are standing stiff like cardboard. I don’t even recognize any of them. The hole is filling with water. I hope mom won’t drown. She’s not a fish.

“It wasn’t up to us.”