You have been tagged in this note.  Now you are obligated by the law of chain letters to respond. I was going to tell you about this guy in Peoria who didn't pass this on, but I won't tell you about his tragic misfortune.

Here are the Rules:  Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.  At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. You have to.  If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.  Really, I do.

  1. I was born in Inglewood, in the heart of the ghetto, but so many years ago, its ghetto future was still on the horizon as the last of the old white World War 2 generation was slowly creeping into their final years.  There was an apricot tree in our front yard in which I spent days at a time high in the branches.

  2. The rest of my time I spent reading.  I’ve had the same three favorite books -- past Conrad and Tolkien,  Salinger and Morrison, Bowles and Borges, Rushdie and Delillo, Orwell, Vonnegut, Faulkner  -- the same three books at the top of my list since they were introduced to me in 5th grade.

  3. Looking back, I am pretty sure that all my best friends from earliest grammar school onward have been gay.  But as a young sheltered lower-middle class white kid, I genuinely didn’t think gay was something ordinary people could be -- only a derisive name made up by kids. I was an overly-friendly mamma's boy with oddball social skills, and inevitably other kids incorrectly concluded I was gay too.

  4. I was gay.

  5. Well, not really.  Sort of.  Let me explain.  I liked some boys, but I mostly liked girls.  Even if I lost my virginity to a boy.  In church.  But they tell me that doesn't count -- everyone has their early experimentation -- this is not a score in the race to deflowering.

  6. I am an anarchist, which means I think I know better than governments, better than corporations, better than institutions, better than you, better than anyone what is best for my life.  I believe that our communities know best what’s good for them too.  On a practical level, I don't believe in police and jails and military force.  I don't believe in your laws and representatives and electoral politics.  I already cast my vote in the street.

  7. I got your back.

  8. I'm an anarchist, but not that kind of anarchist.  I am less bigoted than anybody I know.  This may be the result of early and extensive product testing of Sesame Street on my young mind.

  9. When I first heard Indonesian gamelan, it was like a musical orgasm.  I thought, “Oh, of course.  There it is.”  It immediately felt right, like the music of the spheres, or the sounds made by the turning of the gears of the Universe, divine, particulate and yet inseparable.  It was the music I’d always longed to hear, the music I heard hints of in every beautiful chord, in every inspired melody, in every inexplicable, untouchable rhythm all my life.

  10. When I was twelve, I used to tell my parents I was going to visit a friend, and then secretly ride my ten speed across LA to the ocean and spend the day bobbing in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. I have secret lives, thousands of secrets I’ve never told anyone.  I’m not sure how this is, since I feel like all I do is tell stories constantly.

  11. I tell stories constantly.  I believe in stories.  I believe human beings traffic in stories.  We ooze them out of our pores, exude them around us.  Let me tell you about my day, or my life, or something that happened to me once upon a time.

  12. I’ve been accosted numerous times by people who thought I was a long-lost friend.  Each time it leaves me off-balance and wondering if I am leading a secret life, part of a witness protection program that I’ve forced myself to forget.  One time a motorcycle repairman in Visalia named Marlon was sure I was his long-disappeared brother, and quizzed me skeptically about the details of my life.  This is not just a story.

  13. I often feel that there is something that. we're. just. not. reaching.  I want to touch that thing that moves just below the surface, just beneath our perspectives and symbols and abstractions and bullshit and hang-ups and distractions.  I want to get to that impossible, anything-but-comfortable, just-beyond-the-edges frightening place.  Where is that?  All my life, literature comes closest to touching it.

  14. Those three favorite books are the Phantom Tollbooth, Kon Tiki, and Never Cry Wolf.  The 5th grade librarian of Harbor City Elementary should be held responsible for disemboweling the brain of an eleven year old and filling it with adventure rage humor desire and whimsy. Thor Heyerdahl fucked with my life.  Someday I will spend months at sea, a blue dome of solitude from horizon to horizon, on a raft at the mercy of wind and sea.  I’ve longed deeply for this everyday of my life for the last thirty years..

  15. My only regret is that life is so short and there are so many things I’d like to devote my full attention to, that I will probably never be a midwife or a sailor or a writer or an outlaw or a terrorist or a full-time vagabond or a thousand other things.

  16. As it is, I am a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.  But I once made a list, an inventory as it were, of all the things I could do competently.  It exceeded four pages small print, and included build a house, perform CPR, identify wild plants, program any computer language you can give me, complete a triathlon, hop trains, acquire almost anything for close to free, bake bread, build a homemade raft, make radio, make love, make wine, make a bomb, and weld.

  17. All my life I’ve considered myself a poor dancer.  Scared, shy, self-conscious, awkward, all things that do nothing to contribute to dancing well.  Years ago, a friend invited me to contra dance, something like squaredancing, where I discovered to my surprise that I am an excellent dancer.  A dance like the wind, me, my partner, turning like a top, with precision, with procession, faster and faster.  The middle-aged ladies vie for an opportunity to dance with me.

  18. I have to be honest with you.  I don’t really think of myself as gay.  But I believe sexuality is a spectrum.  I ask you.  Who is completely straight or completely bent?  Who doesn’t fall in the middle somewhere?  While shyly, I consider myself queer, I haven’t fallen in love with a boy in a long time.  Though I was thinking recently, why not?  The boys I know are unbelievably dreamy.  But I think in my boy-boy fumblings, that I’d be too scared to initiate one goddamn thing.

  19. I stole this, but its still true: I am a secret bottom, waiting for a worthy top.

  20. I don’t eat the critters.  Floating on the Missouri River on a raft made of trash, my fishing attempts were rewarded by two large catfish.  I realized in that instant that I had never killed and cleaned a fish.  Never killed an animal.  Not personally.  Not with my own hands.  Looking into the eyes of my captives, ending their life with a knife, and taking their energy for my own was an experience sublime.  From that moment, I didn’t want to eat anyone with whom I didn’t share that connection.  A conversion to vegetarianism that took me completely by surprise.  By that same token, I don’t hurt the peoples, who after all are just critters.

  21. However, I can see the necessity of a bullet in the head of the slavemaster.  Meant with all the love and compassion I can muster.  A recognition that every animal has a context and a nature and acts out that destiny according to its programming.  And perhaps my oppressor is only an animal trained to dominate.  But perhaps I am an animal that has learned to resist.  Nothing personal, you understand.  I will mourn your passing this world and, at the same time, celebrate the possibility this creates.

  22. I often hear poets claim words are a weapon.  But I don’t see words being used to stab, punch, pry, and destroy.  If you were wielding words like battle axes, you wouldn’t have to tell me.  I want to see Shiva in everything we create.  A frenzy of creation and destruction.  Tear down what we build, and build up what we tear down.  The inexorable need to stomp the sandcastle we painstakingly build.  And then build it anew.  Or better yet, just let the ocean take it back.

  23. I want art so dangerous that merely creating it may cut us.  I want art so dangerous it creates irrational, instinctive, intuitive panic in the hearts of authoritarians.  Art that doesn’t talk about revolution, but art that spawns revolutions.  Not merely challenges, but rips down the status quo.  I don’t want revolutionary artists, or artistic revolutionaries — I want to abolish both words, smudge the lines until they are one and the same.

  24. I’m no longer an apocalypse fetishist, a radical that hangs on to the idea of a post-rev paradise.  I see revolutionaries that remind me of the Seventh Day Adventists of my youth, with tracts of a similar flavor:  Awake!  Alert!  Alarm!  ATR wishes and plans and schemes.  Dreams of life that only begins in a post-collapse world where the lion will lay down with the lamb. But from what I see, the cataclysm means the rich get richer and the poor and the black an the brown and the crazy an the very old and the very young get fucked.  And too often the revolution is bloodier and more brutal than what it replaces.

  25. But still.  But still.  But still I crave disaster because it opens up possibilities.  The usual rules are off.  The established relationships no longer apply.  A chance to breath, a chance to stretch our arms and fly.  I want everyday to be a revolution.  I want to practice disaster in every moment.


1 Response to '25 Random Things About Me'

  1. ofthedesert'> March 26, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    p.s. You also like to read out loud.
    And to make and leave treasures for strangers in strange little boxes where the butterflies live. However, I get the feeling that you don't think a stranger will find those treasures, but rather someone out there like you. Someone who will hold those little beautiful things and smile at how it all fits in to the adventure that is their life. The adventure that is your life.
    Oh! And you'll jump in the cold cold ocean even if you're not in sunny southern california. You'll jump in even if you're in santa cruz, where the water is always cold. Because that is how you live your life. You jump in.


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