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WANDER

by
Todd Largo

This book is for those who love to write,


&
for the bittersweet love of my Family.

Intro

There was always a calming sensation in the early morning. You could hear the birds
before the sun even rose. The sky was always filled with beautiful colors of blues and the
horizon was always greeted with rich colors of reds and oranges. Everything was all happening
at once. People parked their cars to go grocery shopping in the early morning, the early joggers
ran laps around the block, and the congested heavy traffic rid any peace or silences with horns
and sirens. Then there was me, parked on the side of the street, in the big city. Laying in the most
uncomfortable position in the back seat of my little grey Mazda, with my legs bent and unshaken
for several hours a night while staring at the dead trees outside my window.
In fact, there was no space at all. The trunk of my car was full of clothes and a box of my
favorite books that I had collected over the years. Frost covered the windows and multiple
blankets covered me. However, I still found himself cold and shivering. Trying again and again
to reach a calm state, to have hope and faith. Yet reality seemed to always knock the door down
and shatter any possible fantasy of being somewhere different. When one begins to think too
much, it leads to a place one tries to avoid. I had no idea of where to go, as a recent graduate
from college, homeless and living in my car is not the thing you would want others to know,

especially your family. Lies, heartache, and careless nights drinking. What a way to spend your
college years.
Although it's not as dire as one may think. I had fun in college, however too much fun
can be overwhelming and lead to somewhere one doesn't want to be. Too much of one thing can
have a negative effect on a person. I'm not sure what the hell was wrong with me. I had gotten by
on a thin thread ready to rip apart.
My family traveled over a thousand miles to see me accept my degree. I stood on the
stage wearing my black cap and gown, the grid of lights above and the blood red tassel dangling
from my cap blinded me from seeing anyone in the audience. At the same time, my heart started
to beat faster and faster within my chest as the dean stood at the podium saying our full names,
and with each step getting closer and closer to accepting the paper that would say "you have
made it". My family sat within the crowd, all so proud. At the time a horde of thoughts clouded
my mind, although I was happy to reach this point, a part of me didn't feel so great.
I always imagined about completing my first novel of short stories. However
events in life usually don't happen the way you want it to. It seems our resistance gets the best of
us. I remember the nights I'd lay in my car parked on the side of the road, with my car turned off
and towels covering my windows. I'd be on my laptop staring at a blank page, not knowing what
to write. How could I? I didn't know where to start or where to end. Suddenly a reminder telling
me that my laptop only had 10% battery life, which usually kept me from writing what I truly
wanted to write. I closed my laptop. And that was that, I told himself I'd write the next day. I was
alone and lonely. I couldn't cry, I had no sense of direction in my life. I was broke. Although at
times I would write nonstop, it seemed that a burst of energy from the Gods or Universe would
strike me at an instant, and I couldn't help but keep writing.

A lot has happened within the past few years, at this moment I'm glad that the
events which had happened, happened. I say this book is for those who love to write because, if
you feel the need to write then write. Nothing is really stopping you, except for your own damn
self. I say this book is also for the bittersweet love of my family because, it's those that raised
you that make you who you are. And the amount of difficulties one endures can have a major
effect, either positive or completely negative. I think of my journey as enlightening. Overcoming
and facing defeat over and over again, and being bold to do what others only dream of. Not many
know my story, however that is neither here nor there. There is a lot more to be experienced. My
journey has been a difficult one indeed. Hopefully there is life within the stories I am telling. I
tell these stories simply because I can. Having the freedom to leave a piece of yourself behind is
the ultimate freedom.
Fuck all the bullshit. Go for what you believe is right. Embark on an adventure.
Don't stop living and don't stop Wandering.

1
Placate

In truth, there really wasn't much to me. Being out of shape, had a bad haircut, reeking of
dirty clothes and having the stench of dried semen, which I didn't seem to mind. Hygiene was out
the window. Usually I tended to be with himself, and always had a book at hand with adventure
stories of Jack London, Jack Kerouac, and Jon Krakauer. I was just a kid with aspirations and
dreams of stepping out my comfort zone and delving into the depths of the unknown. I was just a
20 something year old at the time. My name was Mark Frommer. Self-centered and never did
anything for others, in no way had a girlfriend, was still a virgin, was ungrateful, never traveled,
and constantly wanted to know firsthand about the visceral experience of being in the wild and
facing danger. Just as the authors wrote in the books I read. I figured it would teach me what I
had to know about life. Let me tell you a bit about whatever the hell it is you're supposed to
know.
I attended community college in Santa Fe, NM. Decided to study Econ and Business. I'd
roam the halls with a book in hand, attend lectures and got inspired, but never did the work. I
was C average in my class. Was only 3 semesters away from an AA in Econ. Why Econ?
Because that's what my father did. His name is Mark too. I am a Jr. Thus I studied what he did,
because it would make that old asshole happy. Never do that. To study environmental science,

travel, and do something more meaningful was what I truly wanted to do. My mother had almost
graduated with a BA in Literature and English, and then she met my dad.
Then they had me. She was a stay at home mother with an alcohol problem, she wrote
from time to time. It always made me happy to see her write, but most of the time she was too
busy drinking. Her name is Stacy. Their marriage was unethical. Always had I wished that shed
have the courage to leave. I didnt blame her or have any grudge against her. I hated seeing her
unhappy. Or anyone unhappy at that. It would be fine if she got out the house every so often, but
my father had her on a leash, and was over controlling. I found clarity in the books I read. I
figured, the teachings of those great adventurers, was the foundation of what it really meant to be
a "Man".
We lived on the north side of town, that's where all the upper middle class seem to live.
Here's a typical day for me coming home. I'd enter the house and my mom would be listening to
her Vinyl of Je Te Veux by Erik Satie, finishing a bottle of Sweet Red. She would hear the sound
of me opening the front door.
"Hi honey!" she'd slur from the living room.
I would barely hear her and she would have the record playing on full blast. I didn't really
acknowledge the sounds coming from the living room. I would just head straight to my room and
shut the door and jerk off. What an asshole I was. It was like this for 3 years, there was just so
much that I could handle before I became numb and stopped given a shit. I was sick and tired of
that damn song, my mother's addiction and unhappiness, my father's sociopathic and controlling
tendencies, and me not having a girlfriend, not getting laid, everything. I felt like a prepubescent
teen and I'm 20. I needed change. So I decided to sleep on it for a bit. The sound of the piano and
my mother crying would echo within the halls and seep its way in through my door. The clock

next to me blinks bright blood red, lighting the room every second. I stare blankly at my alarm
clock, 4:36 pm. I decided to go to sleep.
There was a knock on my door, I awoke. Line marks of the blanket and pillow imprinted
on my face. I look at the clock, 8:27 pm. 4 Hours of sleep. The door opened.
"Shit", I sigh.
That usually meant that around this time that my father had returned from whatever hell
pit he came from. It's not that I hated my father, it's just that the man's ego was too thick to even
begin with. Any idea or aspiration had to have his approval of what was right in the world.
Unfortunately he didn't know what was right.
"It's time for dinner, Mark Be down in 5 minutes. Your mother made a delicious
Goulash. She would hate for it to get cold."
"I'll be down" I say, while my face is pushed into the pillows.
"Okay", he says.
All that's heard is his footsteps walking to the kitchen.
As I walk into the kitchen, a beautiful array of delicious food is displayed on the table.
Everything seemed to have its place on the table. Neat, organized and routine. I wonder about
how much of the work that my mother puts into making food like this. That's one thing that I'm
grateful for. Always eating. I sit down, we all make our plates.
"So, honey how was your day?" my mother says.
"It's been fine", my father says.
"I was talking to Marky".

Oh she calls me Marky, just to not acknowledge my father. My father doesn't pay her
attention, he pretends that he didn't hear it and continues to eat his Goulash. I look at both of
them.
"It was nothing to special. Well. I went to the library, read a book. And I did some meth.
"How's your school going? You've been studying? You've only got 3 semesters to go. I
just don't understand why you didn't go to college sooner. You would've been working on you
BA by now." my father says, as he focuses more on his food than on the conversation he started.
"You know I've been meaning to tell you guys..."
My father continues to eat his food. My mother doesn't eat her food. But she pours
herself another glass of Red Wine.
"I don't want to be a Business and Econ major, anymore"
"Excuse me?" my father says.
"But honey, you're almost finished. That would have been a waste of time, and money".
"Your mother is right, for once. Do you know how your decision would impact this
family?"
"Well, I did give it some thought. It's not really what I want to be doing for the rest of my
life."
The sounds of generic silverware and porcelain dishes clanking together was what heard
at the dining table. Silence. They both stare at me in shock. I am a bit shocked himself. My father
seemed a bit angrier, than concerned. My mother really was unsure what to think, the calmness
of her expression made her seem relieved, but also worried.
"Do you know how useful this will be for your future? Do want to end up like those
fucking homeless people on the streets?"

"Mark." My mother says


"Excuse me." He says after, then wiping his mouth with his linen napkin.
"Like those homeless people?"
"No."
There was a moment of silence, dead air filled the kitchen.
"I'm not hungry anymore, may I be excused?"
My parents say nothing. My father continues to eat his food, while my mother looks at
my father in fury. Although her expression isn't one painted on the outside, but rather one that's
been slowly building since the day they met. They still say nothing. I get up and leave.
I begin to imagine the days when everything seemed normal. Ignorance really is bliss, but
it also teaches you nothing, except to enjoy the here and now. Wistful memories of being a child,
random images of enjoying the outdoors as my parents relish in each other's company. Laying in
my bed staring at the ceiling above, with the occasional passing of cars and their lights which
briefly illuminate my room through the window. My parents shouting at one another is heard
through the thin walls. Nothing really is what it seems. I've always had this grandiose image in
my head. What if I were to runaway? Then again would it even be considered running away? I
mean I'm fucking 20 years old. I shouldn't be in community college. Expecting different results
for repeating the same things, thinking the exact same thing. Exploring.
"Why the fuck is it always wine?" my father shouts.
The house stood silent for a bit.
"Am I that much of a fucked up husband?.. Why aren't you saying anything?" he follows
a bit more furiously. "Give me that fucking drink".

The sound of broken glass screeches through the halls, as it shatters into thousands of
small pieces.
"You're disgusting. Clean that shit up."
My mother says nothing.
"I'm going to bed." You could hear the footsteps of my father leaving the room. I could
picture my mother sitting on the couch staring at the shattered wine glass.
I'm not worried as much. This shit always seems to happen. My father would grab the
drink from my mother's hand and throw it against some hard surface, in an impulse of rage. I
mean who could blame the guy. You begin to see piercing images of what your parents are in
yourself. Rage, impulses, anger, selfishness. I really couldn't take it all.
Sitting in the darkness of my room, I continue to look out the window. The house was
silent. My mother grabbed the broom, you could hear her sweeping the glass.
"AAAAHHHHHHH" my mother screams.
In panic, I rush to the living room. My mother kneels in center of the room crying. Not
knowing how to comfort, I walk slowly towards her. The wooden floor creaks beneath me. I
kneel down and give her a hug. Her eyeliner drips from her eyes. She is depressed.
"Leave" she tells me.
I shock, I am not sure how to respond.
"Leave. I hate to be seen like this. Especially by my son."
"What are you talking about? No, I'm not going to leave." I say. She wipes the tears from
her eyes, mascara follows.
"You must. I've seen your room. The books you read." She says drunkenly.

I can't help but to think to himself, if this moment was even real. Then I begin to think if I
should if I shouldn't. My mother gets up and walks to the counter. She reaches for her dark red
purse pulling out around 500 dollars. She walks over to me.
"Here". Not accepting the money, I just look at it.
What do I do now? I begin to ask himself.
Where do I go now? I ask my mother.
Mascara drips down her face like black tears of distress. At that moment she doesnt
know either, but there must be a destination. All she can remember is now where but with whom.
A calming sensation appears on her face when she thinks of her sister.
Your aunt Melanies, she says.
In Utah?
Yes son, in Utah.
At this moment no words could be spoken. It was a strange cocktail of emotions that over
powered the room.

For the past few weeks, I've been on this constant diet of stepping outside the boundaries
of comfort. Every day I grew more adventurous. I would release himself of any idea in which
would keep me in the same place. Courage, angst, failure are all in which would take place in
indulging himself in embracing new ideas and arbitrarily meeting new people. There really
wasn't any goal beforehand, but only the guilty pleasure of seeing what would happen, once
plunging oneself into the depths of the unknown. Sometimes, you'd meet new people, sometimes
you'd leave with them. But at the end of the day something had happen, something in which

you'd never forget. In doing so, I can recall numerous times that the feeling of hopelessness, guilt
and loneliness would begin to be in charge of what was happening in my body, as if I were trying
to find something outside himself to complete himself.
I'd lose whatever facet of innocence I'd have, it'd soon become tangible just like the night
and the people. The faces would seem to fade, as I'd over indulge my body with alcohol. That's
another thing all in itself, the fear of not having enough, this fear of not experiencing the things
other's around you would be experiencing. But then again, it is something to take in. It's a
visceral experience, stepping outside the calm state and luxury of your undertakings. Now a
whole new idea is digging its way throughout your body, and wanting to express its own voice, a
voice in which had been bent up since the day it was told to be quite. I suppose you'd have to
lose yourself, before you can find truly yourself.
The night seemed to be another night, just as the night before. Caught up in my head
about things that should not matter, ideas about where I should be, feeling incomplete for the
things I didn't have, and the places I haven't been, oh and the constant struggle of how others
perceived me, it was all toxic, these ideas. Every night, they'd seem to always come unwelcomed
into my head, as if it were some arrogant, obnoxious, and nagging person who only seems to
bring the worst out in you. That's exactly the entity, who was forcing its way in my head. It was
the collective mindset of everyone around me, or rather it was the amount of caring I seemed to
have about the ideas of how others perceived me and how I perceived himself. The time was
roughly 10 pm, as it said so on my car radio.
The numbers shined bright blue within the interior of my car. I couldn't help but just wait
to see the lights, which said 10:00, turn to 10:01. As if it had some sort of significance, rather
than seeing it as just time wasted. A calming vibe had set itself loose within my car. It was

something all too familiar, something that I'd known to well. At the blink of an eye, at the sudden
change of 10:00 to 10:01, a shift of awareness would begin to take hold. I didn't want this. I
didn't want to be alone any longer. Why am I in this state of constant struggle and loneliness?
"I'm fucking tired of this", I told himself. "But I'm scared", I seemed to reassure himself.
"What if something were to happen to me, what if I am to get hurt?" all these fucking questions
began to pile itself one onto another. "Aagghhhhh!" I get out my seat and slam the driver door.
And there I begin to walk, into the unknown. Not sure what would happen, what people I'd meet.
But rather, I'd embark on a new journey, outside himself and begin to take everything in and be
but only patient with himself, to find himself.
Such a strange time to step outside one's comfort zone, however I believe anytime is the
right time. It's just that it was a Monday evening.

2
Bad Habits

The curser brightly blinks on a bright blank screen in a dark room. Tom sits at the kitchen
table in front of the computer. His hair is disheveled; his face is covered with a five o'clock
shadow. Empty coffee cups scatter across the table, along with stained markings of coffee rings.
In a bit of frustration, his appearance is fixated on the screen. Not knowing what to write. Tom is
a struggling writer, the kind that wants to write, but doesn't really have the courage to express
how he really feels. The sound of a phone vibrating fills the empty room. Reaching into his right
pocket. An image of his friend Matt chugging a beer, fills the screen of his phone. He answers
the phone. Hey motherfucker, where are you?.
What are you talkk

As I sit on my couch trying to finish a book, one that I've been slacking off on for far too
long. Not quite sure who it is that's calling, and not really having the urge to know, I finally
decide to pull the phone from my pocket. Still ringing, I look at the caller I.D. It's my friend and
co-worker, with the picture showing him wearing a madhater costume.
"Fuck" I tell himself. I don't decide to answer. I put the phone to the side and continue to
look a half finished paragraph.

Trust. So you want a little bit more understanding on trust or the idea of giving someone
a bit of personal information and hoping that they'll keep it and not turn their backs on you. Well
that's not always the case, there are some people who are pure Samaritans and can keep
something you gave them, but it's usually because you mean the world to them, and usually they
don't have anyone in their lives like you. However the sad part about this is that you don't see it,
you don't see the impact you have on this person, and you don't see the things they go through.
Again and again I reach for the bottle. No one quiet understands what I'm going through,
yet the idea comes to mind, do I really understand what others are going through? The answer is
a mystery. I am too lost and confused at the moment. I reach for the bottle this time, because
sorrow and pain are taking a hold of my insides, they seem to be playing with me. Or at least
something seems to be doing so internally. I am sad for no reason, I watch the beauty of life play
out in front of me, I sit and watch as a player who never gets picked. Again I reach for the bottle
searching for something, asking for something, waiting for something to emerge. I wait for some
event to take place, to find a moment of clarity. These words are sad, I believe we may all have
these words within us we do not express, or at least we are to fearful to express.
Why make things difficult for ourselves? I see the women who is homeless with two kids,
struggle to provide for those kids. I see the father in another situation, as he's working and
getting yelled at by his boss. The father has made a decision to quit his job with no plan of action
in providing for his family. These decisions are selfish decisions. Selfishness is only good when
you're on your own, until you encounter someone who really cares and takes you in. That is
when you take off the mask. However if you have a family be as selfless as you can, show your

young ones the light. As the famous quote by Yogi Bhajan. He says, Travel light, live light,
spread the light, be the light.
Looking forward to a time or place that doesn't exist, only a feeling that reacts to the
projections of the mind. My mind half of the time is in a dark place, I imagine situations and
events that aren't necessarily true, and Im what you would call delusional. Sometimes I act out
as if that voice in my head were telling me lies that are true. For that I am sorry. I am sorry for
ever overreacting and treating anyone negatively, negative in the way I talk or the way I don't
talk. I am mostly sorry for me. I just hope that everyone I ever treated wrong will accept and
forgive not only in me, but themselves as well in the process.
That is the key to everything. That's what livings all about, yes? I think so. I don't believe
I was formed to be close to people, I don't think anyone ever was. Wars arose from this,
friendships deteriorated, people killed, kids chose the wrong path. I know you can't ask too much
from a person, and you have to let the other know if they are asking too much from you. Each
one of us has their faults, as well as their strengths. For me, I find the best in life through solitude
and being aware of the quietness in everything. I enjoy the sun blessing me with its rays, the
bee's working hard to find nectar, a childs first laugh, two people creating something from
nothing, a selfless flower receiving energy from the sun only to give its oxygen for us to breathe.
For we are all god's creatures, experiencing god simultaneously, as for everything is in his
image. Everything is god. God Bless. And if we can only trust in life, others, then can we truly
trust in ourselves.

3
Dull & Mad

What seems to keep us so intact? Where we have the tolerance to build cities filled with
people, build apartments for people to live in, in which they are so crammed together? Traffic of
cars on freeways, people who never knew they existed yell at each other from across the lanes.
We seem so distant, yet so close. There is some fundamental question here, which it seems to be
hidden in our subconscious. We yell at people who we don't know, we place our problems in
their hands. We make excuse and force the blame upon them, and yet they do the same to us. To
whoever gets the chance to read through what I have written recently or possible when I am long
gone from this earth. Understand this, the human condition is all that we know. We have
survived many plagues, deaths, wars, famine, hunger, thirst etc. But yet we have surpassed all
those horrid aspects of our past, a new breed of humans, the ones today, in the year 2013, can't
seem to understand that we are the cause of those problems. You can't be objective and say that
your point of view isn't relevant.
At this moment I am confused, I am not quite sure what to believe, who to believe at that.
I am scared out of my mind, I try to be tough, I know that greater things will come its way and
cross my path. It always does. At this moment I wish I had made better decisions, I wish I could

of said what I believed at a certain moment in time in my life. I wish I were happy right now, but
depression happens to everyone. Most get out and move on with their life, but do they still hold
on to what's so dark, deep down? While others can't seem to move on and are only left with their
thoughts, their minds, that aching gap in their heart, which they believe won't heal. They begin to
go crazy, they lose everything. I am in the middle, I want to go forward and live my life, but
there are just numerous aspects, thoughts, and people that keep me where I am. I try and I try to
forget .
Past people I adored, girls I wish I had started a relationships with, sympathetic words
that I could of told my loved ones. To the first girl I ever felt a connection with, I am sorry but I
know that our paths will not meet again in the same manner, and I can't get past this aspect, but I
don't know why, but I try to forget who you are. I try to think of you as an imaginary friend, a
stochastic person in a dream. But I can't forget! I see pictures of you, and unknowingly I tell
himself how beautiful you are, because it is true, you are very beautiful. I see how much youve
moved on with your life. That you will be expecting sometime soon. I am truly happy for you.
As we meet great people through life, some of them stick with you forever, and some that you try
to forget. I guess that this is only a phase in life. The world seems so cruel and heartless from
time to time.
I could tell you how I truly feel, I could tell you about my emotions, my thoughts, my
beliefs with all honesty, but what will it change? That moment has passed us by, it left when I
left. I was blinded to live life and believe that little voice in my head telling me to explore the
world. However, I have made a decision. And that decision will probably leave me confused and
alone from time to time, a decision I will regret. But it's like everything in life, it tends to happen
for something, and it would seem to only lead us backwards rather than forward.

I am simply speaking from a subjective point of view, these words describe how I really
feel at the moment. I am alone, some would say that it's a good thing, that it builds character, that
it creates a hard shell. That somewhere along the line's you're going to meet someone whenever
the moments right. But some never do, some die and wither up alone only left with their
thoughts. We can't seem to ever get what we want in life! We always want more than we need,
and whenever we do get what we want, were fucking unhappy. Why! I do not enjoy this feeling,
I do not enjoy feeling empty, and I do not enjoy being confused. Why do you do this to me! Why
have you always done this? But tonight is just a night, the sun will exist till it can no longer burn
bright. The waves of the ocean will always be crashing on the shore, until something
unimaginable happens to life on earth; until we don't know how to live, then we become
something long forgotten, yet to be rediscovered. Again.
I've got to say, as a sophomore college student, one that attends an art institute. The name
of the school definitely defines it. So dull and meaningless the name of the school. The more I
think about it. Why could it be something with more pizzazz?

4
Something I Already Have

It was a Thursday night on Venice Beach. Art sat in his car with the windows rolled
down. The sounds of seagulls and the ocean breeze filled the night air. He parked his small dark
grey car in the alley way waiting for a girl he had recently met, to give him a call. She wanted to
smoke pot and hangout. He figured, why not? She gave him the directions to her apartment, but
she needed a little time to get ready. Art wasn't a pot smoker; he had only smoked twice in his
life. It wasnt for him. He sat there, unsure of what the night would bring. She was a gorgeous
lady, she was older by 7 years. Yet she still kept her youth, and youth seemed to not want to give
her up.
Parked, in his car Orion by Metallica played in the background, barely making a sound.
Drawing his attention away from his phone, he gazes out his driver side window. There in the
distances a homeless lady pushes a cart with trash, clothes and aluminum cans with fancy cars
passing by, never wanting to stop. The beams of light from the headlights of passing cars
brightened the ladys appearance. Dirt from the beach and trash dumps stain her face. Art
couldn't help but to think of the struggles she seemed to encounter. Then a swarm of thoughts
filled Arts head, of all the obstacles one could endure, all the struggles, all the little moments in
one's life that would lead to a certain moment like this lady pushing a cart. What could it be, he

began to ask himself. The phone next to him suddenly rings. It was her. Her name was Naomi.
He answers the phone.
"Hey" she said. "Where you at?"
"I think I'm here"
"Okay, just park your car right in front. There should be a parking spot somewhere".
"Be there in a bit, Ill be outside looking for you.
Okay, Art says with a smirk.
Its a bright yellow apartment complex, you cant miss it, plus I got some really good
bud.
Alright, I think Im here.
Parking outside Naomis apartment. It was right next to Venice beach. You could see the
ocean from her view. He began to wonder how much she paid for this place. Then he thought to
himself how she ever paid for it. He really didnt know who this lady was, or what she did. It
was all a mystery, he seemed to not care, for he awed by her presence. He walks up the stairs to
her condo slowly and a little nervous.

A few nights prior, Art roamed the streets of Santa Monica, enjoying the nightlife and
getting lost, just to see what would happen. People would be enjoying their spirits, laughing and
living life, all having a good time. This place was catching with that lifestyle. It was a whole
different vibe. Art didnt seem to mind much. He lived in the moment.
Where am I? I know where I am physically, but my mind seems to drift to a place that
doesnt even exist. It feels as if I am lost. Many great writers, artist and great people in general,

who have left a bit of themselves through their work, would say that we are alone on this earth,
only left to experience this world, either terrified or abundantly.
Do we make it terrible, by expressing negative internal emotions and thoughts through
the exterior?
Ive never been good with human relationships; they always seem to take a part of my
soul with every encounter. I am happy to experience a connection, but sometimes they seem to
always go wrong somewhere, we let our mind think for us, we make excuses, we say things we
dont mean or rather say things we dont quite understand.
Maybe that is the whole scheme of evolving, do we experience these things just to grow?
And for what reason or cause do we grow? So we can accept death? Or to just get sick of this
world and wait for death?
If you ask me, death" is a beautiful occurrence, which leaves you heartbroken and sad,
but deep down you're a little at peace. Yet I dont wait for it or want it, not now, but on a happy
or sad day itll come knocking at the door with roses at hand. We are not sure what's on the other
side, when our eyes close. Our souls may drift and enter the golden gates of heaven, or we may
get sucked into an ugly creatures body, or we may be reborn in human form, or we might end up
in an empty black room and we may simply exist, no longer. For why do we need to experience
these things in this physical reality?
Do all these questions have answers of virtue? Or are they just meaningless? I never
found a liking in human relationships, for that is what I may experience the rest of my life. Who
knows? But for those who are quite fond of interacting and socializing, it is the animal nature in
you, you want to show everyone that you are on the top of the food chain, that you are the most
beautiful and interesting animal to have ever existed, at least in your time and in your pack, you

want people to look at you, you want people to want to be you. Then suddenly you realize
something and you take a step back, you realize that people are disgusting, they are hypocrites,
disguised in a mechanical meat suit walking around with this idea of always trying to be #1 and
they lie through their teeth to get what they want.
Then you take another step back and notice that you have become that very thing you
hate or the person you set out to fight. You have let hate infect your body, your mind, and even
your soul, that is if you believe you may still have a soul. Then reality takes a hold, and you
believe you are flying, but you are falling from a cliff because you have taken your last step.
However you can both accept it and see the beautiful sky above for the first and last time, or you
can deny it and fall face first to the rocks below.
It is our very being to evolve that is why we are here. Reptiles wanted to fly, so they grew
wings and filled the sky and became birds. Subhuman primates wanted to take things without
frustration, so they made words. Flowers wanted to keep their beauty and sweet nectar, so they
decided to one day eat and digest insects. We may not know the questions to our future, to
ourselves, to people. We walk this earth confused, horrified, and scared that we may never find
the right things or people to make us happy and whole.
Human relationships leave me alone, distraught, sad and incomplete rather than together
and at one. It is quite interesting and entertaining when you get to know someone, and
understand who they are, but after a day, a week, a year, ten years, we get lost, and abandoned,
and angry, not at the other person but at ourselves. We are angry because weve let ourselves
become angry. Relationships in Humans is something that I don't understand, not today, nor
tomorrow, it has saddened my very being. I am confused. But hopefully one day I will have an
understanding, and hopefully then it won't be too late.

For I want to discover this earth, my home, my mother from which I was born, through
my own eyes. I want to climb the highest hill and cry at the pure beauty of the view. To see the
bluest of seas, the greenest of lakes, the flowing of fish off a waterfall. To swim with the
jellyfish. Watch a herd of spooked deer run gracefully and freely. Ride a caged bull in an empty
field, for it is his last ride before he is set free. Get lost in the woods and make a cabin, then write
a book and leave a treasure map for people to find it. Go to a poor country and overpay for
clothing made by poor people. To not find out the meaning of life and just live.

I am simply a lost soul searching for something I already have.

5
Peeling Paint

The ceiling above, with dried white paint, peels. As it uncovers a yellow interior. I lay
here wondering why it's painted yellow. Why did the people before me paint it yellow? Maybe
it's because when they painted it, shortly after their landlord got pissed and forced them to move
out. Or they probably had kids. I don't know. I'll just stop thinking about it. I'll just admire it for
what it is. That is, paint fucking peeling from the ceiling. Now I'm just staring at it for no reason.
Maybe it's sheer boredom, laziness, or maybe this is what I was meant to live for. Maybe I
should just get out of bed, but even moving a centimeter of my body is a struggle. I don't want to
release himself from this comfort. It's the only thing, feeling, that keeps me living. But the paint
just waits to be peeled. It's a slow process and I feel I am just as slow. Not serving a purpose. But
only to shed. Just like this paint.
Yet as I lay here, a thousand things rush through my head, shoving useless ideas and
emotions into my skull, fucking up every memory and sensory that I'm experiencing at this
moment. It always does this, and when it's gone and I've continued with my day, it always leaves
me broken and confused. Why does my mind do this? I tell himself every morning, as I look at
this fucking ceiling. To make it worse my neighbors always fuck before the sun has even risen. I

just lay there and listen, because I'm too cold get out of bed, and I can't even sleep after that. I
just lay there and hear my neighbors wife or girlfriend moaning and screaming; sometimes it gets
on my nerves, sometimes I lay there and think that it's me in that room, doing my neighbors wife
a good deed and fucking her brains out, and most of the time I just want to yell at the top of my
lungs,
"Shut the fuck up, I'm trying to sleep!"
But I don't. I'm too passive to do such things. Fuck, I've never yelled at anyone like that
in my life. I'll just focus my attention to the ceiling with peeling paint, and continue to listen to
my fat sweaty neighbor fuck his wife or his girlfriend. Who the fuck cares. All I know is that my
day has started out bad.
Things like this annoy me. You hear it all the time in books and movies and great works
of art, the artist is always annoyed by something. Whether it'd be from his or her political
grounding, to human intelligence, themselves sometimes, or the love of their life. Most of the
time someone else's. Either way, that person is annoyed. I find himself the same way. When I
think of people, I seem to only look living their lives, and then I look at the next person and see
the same thing. Fuck I look at pigeons and dogs in the park and see that they're doing the same
thing. They're all living their lives. Maybe I'm too caught up in my own head to realize that I'm
not even living mine, and that's what fucking annoys me. I can't help it, it just happens. I'm a
chronic thinker. I always thought when my teachers said,
"You must think a lot."
I always took it as a compliment. But that's not the case when you get older. You then
realize that you're just a bullshitter. When you're young, you don't understand half of the things

anyone says. You just think for yourself. That was me. I'd always thank the teacher or be too shy
to say anything.
"Thanks teach, yeah I do think a lot."
The teacher would just smirk and believe he knew the answers to the fucking universe.
I'd just stand there and smile and went on thinking even more after that. School, those where the
days. Now I'm in my 20's. I got bills, rent, a job, and responsibilities. I haven't fucked in like 3
months. Man, I wish I could just meet some girl, like how it is in the movies. I would be the
protagonist. Then one day I'd be so mesmerized by the sheer beauty of some girl that just
completely stands out from all the others. Then I'd have the balls to go up to her and ask her out.
Then I'd have more balls to tell her everything, and not be so scared of her turning her back on
me. That's another thing too. Relationships scare the hell out of me. I mean, you meet someone
special, you spend a lot of time together, and you get to know each other. You figure out what
the other person's story is, and then they figure out yours. Suddenly they know who you are, you
notice the same thing, and then you're both looking straight through each other. Judging. Or at
least that's how I see it. Maybe that's why my relationships always end up in a horrible
downward spiral.
There was this girl, her name was Sam. She was cute, she was a little taller than
me, she was always wearing bright colors, she had a slanted smile, which gave her more
character, and I guess it was unique. Because when she was younger I remember her getting
Bell's palsy or something like that. Half of her face was paralyzed and she was gone a whole
week from school, till she was normal again. Anyways, that was the cause of her always having a
crooked smile. But I thought it was cute, she was always filled with life and I was taken by
everything she said. She was smart. It was during my senior year, I was getting ready to graduate

and she was a sophomore. I'd always have a thing for her. We'd sit on the bus and talk about the
weirdest things. We'd have conversations about life, the universe, how horrible teachers were.
Sometimes we'd make fun of the bus driver. We'd sometimes just sit in silence, and I'd draw in
her notebook of whatever she told me to draw. She had beautiful eyes. I'd sit there next to her
trying to pay attention to what she would say sometimes, and just stare into her eyes. I'd get so
lost into them, that I'd forget what she was talking about. I'd then come back into reality, because
she'd get a little upset and hit me. She'd say,
"Are you even listening?"
I'd lie. I'd sit there for a moment in silence and stop breathing, because I usually couldn't
find the right words to say. I'd say something like,
"Yeah, sorry no, I got lost".
But the thing that sucked is I never really told her how I felt. I think she'd always take me
as a friend that never listened to her. I can admit that I was t6hat friend, but I had good reasons to
why I wasn't listening. Like getting lost in eyes, her crooked smile, her bright colors. Anyways,
there I was sitting with her. This would be our last bus ride together before I took off to another
city. I really wish I would have said something to her when I'd had the chance. That was the last
of our High School experience. These are things I think, which all force its way back into my
skull, when I stare at this ceiling. Watching as the white paint peels slowly. I need to get the
fuck out of bed.

6
The Angels Are Gone

The morning started out with a haze, dark clouds filled the sky. I awoke to rain droplets
on the window. I didn't want to release himself from the ground on which I was sleeping. I had
only gotten a good three hours of sleep, that amount of sleep could save a life. It was cold; I
started to shiver; for this would be the last time I'd experience this room, this apartment. Today is
the day I'd move out or as I'd like to think, the day I'd take another step into the unknown, and
out of my comfort zone. There were so many great experiences and times that had happened in
that apartment. So many laughs, and yet so many tears, heartache, mistrust and regret. I started
living there out of fear of what to do next, and no idea of where to go next.
My great friend invited me in, I'm not sure if she knew what she was getting herself into
when she'd agree to me moving in. It's a strange feeling living with someone you barley know
especially when you're quite some distance from family. You begin to realize so much more, you
become more aware of the people, things around you. And I believe that the most important part
of this process is beginning to understand a bit more about yourself. The good, the bad, and the
ugly. Today I set out for a journey to find himself, where ever the hell I am. I do understand that
I've made a lot of mistakes, I guess whatever I'm experiencing is just part of the process for me

to become a more evolved version of himself. Heartaches a bitch sometimes, you sometimes set
yourself up for failure. But I guess its all fine, we just have to keep living I suppose, move on to
bigger and better things.
We all want to experience that part of us that's not us, what I mean by this is that voice in
our head which only knows greatness. It's the place inside, which holds our dreams, positive
thoughts, ideas, it is us, but not us. We all strive to reach that state of mind, but somehow we lose
ourselves along the way. We do something out of premature gratification, unconscious regret,
blinded by instant happiness. And once that something has happened, it's a snowball effect, a
simple action can tumble down toward a more fucked up outcome. Once we're there, with
nothing to give, beaten down, and looked down upon. Something clicks, at that instant, you hear
a distant whisper of "what if". I've seem to come to this lonely isolated state from time to time.
Especially when I have done something out of selfish reasoning and the guilt of hurting those
around me, those who care. All because I wasn't content of what was going through my mind,
my body, I wanted the easy road to instant happiness, I'd be so blinded by this concept it mars all
relationships.
When one finds himself unable to return his previous state, he is left there only to ponder
about why he is in that state, he sits alone left with his thoughts. Left there to analyze what is
happening in his body, fully experiencing the aches and pains, the clouded and foggy
information one can't see in his head, the slight breathing, everything he notices. His body is
slowly shutting down. However, something clicks again, he understands why, he starts to breathe
again, oxygen rushes into his blood stream, his blood flow regulates, and light shines through his
head clearing away all the clutter. He is now enlightened, he has a greater understanding to why

he was depressed. And after everything that happens in ones experience, good or bad, light and
dark, expressing and depressing, he leaves with one thought. It's all part of the process.

7
Zen Sort of

It was 10:30 on a Saturday morning. It seems like all the good times have passed. Tony
wasn't tired, but he wanted to spend the rest of the day in bed with a numb feeling, while the
sensation of emptiness was overshadowing him. All he could think about was the happiness he
once felt. For him, it's seemed like it was forever ago. Covered within the thick blankets of his
bed and consumed by unwanted thoughts that pierced through his skull at every second.
Everything seemed over analytical, and bullshit. Memories of a girl he once loved. At a time
where everything seemed alright. Remembering her light brown hair, green eyes, and her smile.
She always wore shades when the sun was out and bright.
Looking above at an empty white ceiling, all he could think about was the drive they took
up the Pacific Coast Highway. Passing Santa Monica, Malibu, as they kept going north, not
wanting to stop. Still lying in bed, he was wishing for the smell of the endless ocean, imagining
the beautiful reds that merged with blues in the evening sky. One could live an eternity there, just
by the sheer beauty. She sat in the passenger seat, with the wind blowing through her hair. He
couldn't help but to always look over and see her smile back at me, if there was anything to be
addicted to, it was this. It was a time where life wasn't so miserable. Tony needed something, a

miracle perhaps. Why didn't I appreciate the time I had with her? Now I'm left with only the
memory, he thinks to himself.
The black phone next to him rings. It rings and it rings. Not wanting to answer it, he lets
it ring a few more times. Finally he picks it up not saying anything.
"Hey honey. How you doing, it's your mother?"
With the phone in his hand, he stays silent.
" Listen, I want you come to dinner tonight. Your sisters coming back into town, she's
on break from school. And I would like for the whole family to be together." his mother says.
She always had this sadness to her, you could hear it in the way she spoke, and it was
always a bit uneasy and concerning. That something within her time had changed her
perspective on how she viewed everything. But she always tried to make the best of everything.
"Oh that's great. Okay. I'll be there"
"Great! Be here around 5" she says.
"Okay", says Tony.
"I love you dear... Get out. Get some sun."
" Love you too. See you at 5".
He hangs up the phone.
Tony pulls a green bottle of Jameson from the cupboard and a rocks glass, and then pour
whatever's left. It fills half the cup. He leans back against the counter staring out at the street
from the window in the middle of the kitchen. Not much was happening, usually you could hear
kids scream and yell at each other in the apartment above or cars that never seemed to stop
passing by. However there was a cold silence throughout the apartment, it seemed empty. You
could only hear the sounds of sirens pass in the distance. Taking the time to drink the whiskey,

with her still on his mind. The whiskey and the thought of her, seemed to both burn slowly and
take a hold of his insides. It was still was a bit early in the day. His body was sore and aching
from a night of drinking. Another round of Jameson would numb the pain. The bottle was empty.
He brushes his teeth, looking into the mirror, searching for something. He couldn't find anything.
He finally releases himself of any comfort to buy another bottle at the nearest grocery store.
The emptiness of the liquor isle was a bit soothing. Rarely would you get another drinker
this early. It was just me and all the booze. I see the green bottle of Jameson. For some odd
reason this brings me happiness. The green bottle stands from all the others. At the cash register
a young lady in her early 30's awaits to cash me out. She's always there in the morning, and for
some reason I'm always buying alcohol when she's there. However at this moment, the feeling to
care is far from what I feel.
"Getting the day started I see." she says.
I smile, "Yeah. I guess I am".
She wasn't bad looking. Matter of fact, she had this distinct feature that only a special few
could see. A girl like her was rare, a bright smile and dark brown eyes, it seemed she always
enjoyed the moment. She was gorgeous. I just never had the courage to ask her out.
She scans the bottle. "Alright, it's going to be 30.62."
"You don't need to see my I.D?"
"Ha. I think I remember you" she said sarcastically.
We both laugh for a moment. I hand her my debit card shortly after. She scans it, it's
approved. She gives me a receipt. I wonder what her life's like. What she does outside of work,
her hobbies, the things that make her sad, and the places where she finds happiness. I was
interested.

"Okay, have a good day. Drink responsibly" she says as she stares into my eyes and find
himself doing the same. She puts the bottle in a brown paper bag and then hands it to me. For
some reason my shyness overcomes me. I look away not saying anything. I grab the bag.
"Thanks. See ya."
She still continues to smile. The people behind her seem to be in a rush, buying their
breakfast. Eggs, bacon, grapefruits, and 2% milk. I stop for a moment as I pass the exit of the
store and begin to think about the shitty feeling I seem to be in. Everything rushes into my head
all at once, overcrowding and forcing its way into thoughts, making me curious if I were to just
turn around and ask her out. Soon the numbness is starting to fade, because I find himself
running from what I want. At that moment, I wanted to drop everything, the sorrow of my past
relationship, alcohol, all the fucking depression, and ask this gorgeous lady out.
The people buying their groceries laugh at something one said to another as they pass me
at the exit. It's now or never. "Shit." I whisper. The decision has been made, I turn and head
back to the register. It's just her. No customers. My heart begins to beat faster and faster, soon I
begin to feel it out of my chest.
"Back again, I see." she says.
"Hey listen,

It's a shame sometimes, to think about what you don't have. It seems to get the best of
people. They slowly repress themselves from everything that's happening in their life, as if
appreciation becomes some sort of material good that you can buy at your local market. And
they stand there holding appreciation, but they're not appreciating it. It's not an object, it's a
feeling.

The night was cold and cloudy. My seat could only recline so far before the laundry
basket in the backseat stopped me from going any further. I sat there for a moment, and told
himself, "another night sleeping in my car". Now that's another shame.
Finally I awoke fully, I got out of my car and stretched, and tried to figure out what
events where going to take hold for the day I had. But can one ever really know what's going to
happen to them? What people they'll encounter, and the infinite number of conversations that
could be experienced. There are just so many things to learn. Clearly that was not what I was
thinking of at the time. All I could think about was what next? There really was no plan, hell I'm
just going get some coffee. Pretty sure something's bound to happen.
I arrive at the coffee shop. I drive my car around for a bit, all the parking spaces have
been filled. I begin to feel a little unease about the situation, my muscles began to contract and
stiffen, but I try to not let this happen. So I drive around a bit more, 7 minutes later, a shiny car
thats been washed recently, pulls out. I wait for a moment and look in my rear view mirror.
There I see a line of several other cars waiting for the same thing I'm waiting for. A parking spot.
But as the person who's now leaving, and parking spot I'm about to park my car for a bit,
strangely I enter some realm of Zen and only think about how the others behind me are
experiencing this moment right now. I am not too worried about himself anymore, but rather my
focus has aimed itself toward that of others. Maybe one person may be mad at the situation,
angered and frustrated at it, just because he could not get what he wanted at that specific
moment. I guess the same goes for everything, I lose track of what ever clutter that was forcing
its way into my head and sending signals of distress throughout my body. I sit there still, silently
in my car waiting for the lady to pull out, and thinking about how the others were reacting to

waiting. The person has pulled out, I now enter. This feeling of stepping outside my head comes
and goes, as if its playing some sort of game, however it comes at the greatest of times.
Now that I got my coffee, I sit for awhile looking out, cars are passing, people are coming
and going. Sometimes you see angry people honking their horns at others, because those people
are not properly following traffic regulations, or vice-versa. As I sit there, I am still unsure of
how I'll spend my day. There is really nothing I have planned, there is no set agenda, no
itinerary. Right now at this possible moment I could literally do anything I want, or I could
pursue and thing that I would want to. But now, I just want to enjoy the moment. I guess you
could say that I'm appreciating the moment. Then all of a sudden judgment fills my head again, I
begin to think about all the things I don't want to think about.
I need some sort of goal, to make things interesting. I begin to think about s
It sometimes blows my mind, and when I'm not thinking about holding appreciation in
my hands, great things begin to happen.

8
Confessions of a Manimal

It's an insane thought, to think that my body has the same intelligence as my brain, and
that sometimes I think of the brain as some sort of dictator and is responsible for everything I
experience. But it's not really that, I believe. I mean, my body is just made of particles that have
been in existence for billions of years. At one moment, a star, light years away, decided it was
going to implode it's guts upon the galaxy, and through that it would form clumps of molten
rock, which would eventually begin to cool. Soon organisms would come into existence as some
sort of glitch within our system, some sort of miracle. Through time and space, it would then
multiple and expand itself throughout the cooled molten rock. Soon it would gather enough of
itself to form something else, duplicated itself and duplicating itself, then it would do so over and
over, until it was something the universe had never seen. It would take on new shapes, expand
itself and continue to grow and in some way this would be its way of expression, which was
concealed since the moment it was created. It would create as well.
It then would become conscious, then see everything in a new perspective. Somehow it
would eventually detach itself from the world, the universe, everything else that was created
from that spec, which miraculously appeared millions of years before it. Somehow this creature

would evolve, and then it would outgrow and outsmart those who existed before it, and so would
the generations after it. It would begin to understand more of its surroundings, it would start to
have an intelligence of its own. Soon it would grow legs, then arms, then fingers, and eventually
these species would become lost within itself, thinking that it was somehow the center of
everything, and that it was not part of anything.
It would put labels on everything that it saw, and it would begin to have a hunger.
Curiosity of this hunger grew, and it began to ingest substances near itself. Its awareness would
become sharper, it would begin to recognize what was digestible and what wasn't. By doing so, it
would begin to understand what was violent and what wasn't, and somehow it would avoid those
which were too dangerous. It would then, separate those around it, it would chose its enemies
from its companions. A disease had spread from this, and eventually millions would suffer the
consequence, it would turn on itself, due to false ideals and perceptions. Depression, sadness,
loneliness, isolation, it would spread like wild fire. Man would see himself superior to even his
own species, to the world, to the gods, to the universe, to the very thing in which he was created
from. He would not listen to calming collective, which is balance within the universe. Man
would not be happy with living.
Now that I have written enough about being unhappy, something took place today that
has changed my perspective on how I see himself, the world, and how everything is somehow
simultaneously happening moment to moment. I am wanting to take practice in being as polite as
I can to people, and get out of my head, the place in which thousands have fallen victim to. I
want to experience kindness, gratitude, love, and possibly something beyond that. I guess you
could say that I am embarking upon a quest, one of spirituality and humility, and one that impact
my perspective, but hopefully will have a greater impact on those around me. It is an experience,

one I don't know the words too, but it's been an experience to see few people overcome and
flourish. However most seem to entrap themselves into their thoughts, and believe that the clutter
going on in their minds is somehow a vessel for their emotional state. Sometimes the victims are
the ones closest to you, sometimes it's your parents, your siblings, and even worse yourself.
There was a time, not long ago when I wasn't so trapped in my head. Childhood for
example, children always seem to be in this blissful mood, they're characterized by random
moments, and random acts. They enjoy the moment more, they do not perceive the world to be
the cause to their problems, for them, there is no problem. They just enjoy living. But somewhere
along the way, they seem to attach themselves to an idea, that they constantly are need of
something. This neediness is somehow interpreted to bad behavior, greediness, neediness, and
somehow the parent thinks something's wrong with their child.
The child whom is now watching and learning through the actions of those who raise
them, absorbs every reaction and every non-reaction, like a sponge which is placed under a sink
then suddenly left in the scorching hot sun, whose rays absorb every last drop of moisture, and
repeating this process until it is nothing more but a used sponge . A child doesn't just all of a
sudden become this person, no. This child is a reflection of those that surround him, language,
body language, fears, emotions, everything that is bestowed upon this adolescent, is the doing of
people in which surround the child. We are all guilty of this, some accept it, and most do not,
because we are all a product of this. Until we realize we are not our actions, then a shift begins to
take hold. We are becoming more aware, we begin to realize that we are not our body, we are not
our mind, we are part of the grand system or intelligence. That's all we are, is consciousness
within itself. Now how we decide to live this earth, in this body and mind, it's our own choice.

The idea at first, seemed to filter itself through what knowledge I had at the time, as some
sort of random bursts of numbers and characters, as if it were a foreign language that I had no
desire of understanding. Instead I did the exact opposite, and seemed to elude himself away from
this idea. "Thinking" and having a false sense of belief that through this irrational arrogance I
said to those who provided some sort of information as, "Yeah, I know".
I can't recall the moment, when I saw himself for who I was. I can't say that I truly know
who I am, but I know what I am. Now, as I'm conscious and aware of everything that is
happening at this moment, I am now wandering why now, why am I writing this? We all go
through some crisis, one way or another. Some have to deal with it a lot worse. I guess at the
moment, sudden realization takes hold that I am entrapped within my own thoughts. I am in a bit
of shock, it seems that as if I'm peeling off another layer, from whatever state of being I found
himself in prior. As I'm going deeper into something else, the transition to something more. A
slow crawl happens, back to the beginning, to whatever state that everything and anything we
understand began from.
The moment is a bit saddening, yet there's something to learn from this. There always is.
Now all I can think about is everything I've experienced, all the happy moments, sad moments,
and grieving moments, liveliness, confused, enlightened. All the people I've met, the people I've
grown up with, those who've had an impact on me, and those I've had an impact on. There's just
so much to being alive, and conscious. It takes its toll on people and people take its toll on it.
There was a young boy, amazed at everything that was placed in front of him. He was
always the great times with those who enjoyed his company. Shyness was only an implication of
first interactions. And what came after that, is a whole other world in itself. He seemed to always
have a common ground with everyone he met. Although the circumstances in which his parents

dealt with, weren't always under the best. He seemed to make the most of what he had, it seemed
like. Sometimes, it would be too much for him to bear, and at times he'd seem fully content. His
parents were divorced, his siblings and himself included, where always placed under the
possession of their parents. As if they were some object of theirs, which they weren't seen as the
product of themselves. At least that's how this boy saw it. He was looked upon as the reasonable
one of the family, the one who everyone looked up too. What a burden to place on such a young
child. All he seemed to want was to be an example for others, to believe that they were the
creators of their own reality, as he thought he was for his own.
Although those around him, went out and ventured into the unknown. He was always the
one observing, the one too afraid to step out of the comfort zone he always found himself in. He
believed that if he didn't take risks, there wouldn't be a problem, there would be no
consequences. So he looked out unto others for his mistakes, or lessons to be learned. However
he knew what was right from wrong, in his perspective. He didn't really want, or rather he never
understood what a true and deep relationships was, especially with people. He always looked at
the wronging of others, before he made his choices. His parents were separated, and he saw that
as a sign or love. He was blinded by his own arrogance and ignorance, his ego masked the way
he truly felt. This boy would have friends, he loved his parents and siblings deeply, but somehow
his good friends always seemed to fade, because he was too afraid that he would be hurt, by
trusting others, by trusting himself. He never wanted to make a mistake like those he looked up
to as a kid.
The chances that he took, where ones that would be measured. He thought of great things,
he was always quiet, and too busy thinking and observing. He enjoyed the company of books, he
would tend to lose himself in the great adventure novels he'd read. His siblings would always

criticize him for doing so, however he didn't mind. As a child he would be very close to his
brother, since he himself couldn't venture out on his own, because the fear of getting in trouble
was far too great a threat, he always depended on his brother to take him places, places in which
would make him see everything in a new perspective. He grew attached the more he went out,
but it seemed the more he became of himself, he was put down. Put down by his brothers, his
parents, and his family. He seemed to always be intrigued by the idea of experiencing and
traveling to new places, embracing new ideas, and meeting new people. But there came a time
when everything he seemed to want or rather need, begin to blur and slowly fade into a
collection of miasma. The problems of others seemed to get the best of him; what was such a
good heart began to be mechanized by the brain and all the neurons which sparked signals of
distress throughout his body. He started to think and think more, the more he thought the more
was slowly being programmed by the thoughts of others. It was a plague that had begun, it was a
disease of how those around him pointed their fingers at him, telling him he wasn't good enough,
he wasn't worthy of his own destiny. He was indulged by the bleak gratification of guilty and
short lived pleasures, he inhaled his first addiction that would take years and years to overcome
the false idea of "this is cool", to truly understand that it was that which was slowly killing him,
was perceived as "this is what will make others like me, and enjoy my company". "This is the
way to live" he told himself, over and over, until he was judged more. So he decided to take
progress the ideas of this philosophy. Next would be something, no child should ever be
pressured into doing, he would swallow the strong and bitter taste of alcohol. In his first taste, he
would sacrifice everything that was so pure in him, he would follow the path of those who have
failed before him. Indulging in the sins of his parents, and his siblings.

It's sad to say, for this kid he would be lost in his head, doing the things others asked of
him, the good things and the bad things, things he knew would get him into deeper nuisance.
Yet, with the idea of probity, morality, logic, and rationality at the back of his head, he was
always persuaded by what was outside. All he wanted was for others to like him, he wanted to be
accepted, he wanted to be close to his family and do what they enjoyed. Such a burden to place
upon a child. I'm not saying that this is a complete adversity, however a learning experience that
would take time to develop for someone who hasn't yet come to understanding and realization of
progress one's own being. This sudden realization would happen at the blink of an eye, with the
gut feeling of doing something, and following it through later within his life. Everything the
child had experienced, was misfortune, however fortune in itself. Just like all things, there is
duality. You cannot have the bad without the good and vice-versa. Days, months, years would
pass, this child would grow with concepts and ideas, which would keep someone in the same
position they've always been, mentally, spiritually, however not physically. The more one
believes that he is what he thinks, that the thinker within his head tells him how bad everything
is; that the world is the cause of his problems, that nothing would soon be better. He started to
listen without acknowledging what was his gut was telling him to avoid. He was persuaded by
the falseness of premature gratification. Depression would take hold and hed find himself lost
and confused about everything that had happened prior, he'd always be stuck in his head. His
thoughts would be as some sort of maleficent tyrant controlling his every thought. He'd become
distressed for some reason, about everything he's done, and for everything he hasn't. He'd be
remorseful for the actions of others, his parent, his siblings, family, friends, and everything that
everyone was doing what he considered erroneous, would be too much for him to handle, for

everything new was taken into a more somber darker perspective, which was caused from his
thoughts that rooted from those around him.
These concepts of self-pity, guilt, inner resistance to express oneself fully and
completely, releasing his own image upon the world the way he wanted, couldn't have been but
the most difficult challenge he could possibly imagine. Yet in time he would learn, to decide for
himself. For that is all he ever needed, and the experiences, people, judgments, would soon fade
into memories he had fully accepted and respected. Which would eventually make him a better
version of himself.
This idea of leaving behind what he thought he was, for something new, was quite
frightening to him as a child, and from time to time in his later years, the old nostalgic feeling
would arise. Only briefly however. He would become the person he thought he was, he became
and experienced the part of him, he saw as lively, that little flame which was built up and
congested by all his fears, his envy, and himself, all in which he held as close as a child. It
seemed to be as a burden, one in which he carried on his shoulders, one in which his parents
didn't know how to handle. He'd meet new people along his journey, who would teach him and
lead him on the right path. He'd travel to places only those who he knew from home, would only
speak of, rather than take a chance and step unto the unknown. He saw the world only as
frightening as one made it, he didn't see fear as something outside oneself. He saw fear as a
barrier between not living the life in which you and wanted, from one you lived but was
determined by the choices of others, rather from one you had to experience, one you had to get
right. This idea was the most terrifying for him. This is what led him to lose himself, to
eventually find himself.

9
Wonder

What was she searching for? What seemed to be missing? Possibly love, respect,
empathy? But why did she need to search for those things. They were things, right? And once
she did obtain them, was she complete? For what reason did she need these things to complete
her? It wasnt a subject that was worth the fight. It was a subject worth getting drunk and writing
about. There she sat at the empty bar with a pen and notebook, slowly drinking her third glass of
wine, which was near finish. She believed that at that moment she was opened, and that the
words which escaped from her fingers unto the blank page were not only words of truth and
honesty, but something she found in herself, and that had been caged for some time. The words
were only words which needed to be set free from deep within, words that have kept her in the
dark. She took a deep breath and whispered, Okay. She began to write, Let the wild animal
free, and let's hope he is at peace.
It was a Monday and near midnight. The bars stayed open till 2 am. It was a classy bar in
Santa Monica, dimly lit with colors or red over powering. 9For that I don't know much about the
feeling or emotion. I have seen a glimpse perhaps. I have been blinded by the attractions of
females, I have kissed and laid with them. But is that another type of love? For let's say the love I

have for my family? I do love my family, unconditionally. Perhaps I am curious about love from
a stranger. The love that happens at the strike of a moment, like when my parents first gazed
upon each other. They were at one time two complete strangers that happened to meet at a single
moment within their lives. Did they know the path in life they were going to take? The pain they
are going to endure? The decisions they'd make? The anger they'd have no idea they'd cause each
other? Only to realize that they weren't meant for each other, and to find out they wanted
something different? That these two people, at one time, never knew they one ever existed before
they met. Is it that love that everyone seems to crave? Which the couple holds hands, then begins
to argue, then recedes to making up, which leads to a possible downward spiral of wasted time?
But yet, out of such darkness, there are moments where there is light. Perhaps the moment when
you teach your first child right from wrong, or when you're fully engaged when they're at play?
You regain that innocence or at least a part of it. You think to yourself, "I wonder what you will
see within your life, what decisions you'll make, what people you will meet, and what you'll
make of yourself". You will also have the courage to wish him the best in life, and to be there for
them when anything got bad for him, for him to have a sense of security, to teach him the right
ways to live.
That is what I am afraid of in love. Just the product. But as he grows, I'm sure one will
discover for himself almost everything has some sort of falseness to it. I guess that's just human
nature. If this is love, then I do not know much of it.
My parents divorced a week before my birthday. I think that is an event I will hold onto
for the rest of my life. I think it is something that will take me sometime to accept, to understand,
and to overcome the fear. Fear of starting a relationship. The thing that holds me back is that I
never quite understood relationships. Here is why; my father growing up, lived a thousand miles

away, he worked as welder for a solar energy company in California. At the time, I lived with
my mother and 5 siblings in New Mexico. The living conditions weren't under the best of
circumstances, we lived in a double wide trailer that wasn't fully paid off, with no electricity, and
water that was on then off because bills weren't paid on time. We were miles from any town or
city. My mother made her ends meet working at a clinic, while she waited for my fathers. He
would send money every two weeks or so, I don't quite remember. This was the living condition.
We were like a floating planet left alone in space with hardly any sunlight.
Three times a year I would see my father. Such joy I remember as a child to be in his
arms during those times he returned home. No love like the love of a child they say. It is tough to
experience this gap of not seeing a parent, especially as a child. I am grateful for this. My mother
on the other hand, was happy on the outside, but there seemed to be a sadness within that wasn't
fully expressed when he returned home. For their relationship I had no understanding at the time.
I had no understanding in the arguments, the physical, emotional, and mental abuse, the alcohol,
the miss-communication, the making up. It was all a huge question. I was always curious of
these things, it's not healthy for a child to question these things. I remember one night I lay in
bed with my mother because I was too frightened to sleep in my own room alone. I was afraid
some monster, some demon, would show itself as it would come out of my closet or caress my
feet with its hands that come from under my bed.
I remember one night specifically when I was 6 or 7. I hoped into my mother's covers, as
she slept alone. Next to her bed, on the right side her window is open. I turn to look outside, the
moon is full and brightens the desert landscape, as stars shimmer and sparkle across the desert
sky, as we are in the middle of nowhere, the sounds of crickets chirp outside. I pull the covers
over my shoulder, and as I look out the window I ask my mother.

When's dad coming home?


My mother turning to her side, then looks at the back of my head. She then gently runs
her fingers through my hair.
Soon... He's working, son, she yawns after.
Oh, is he coming back soon?
Yes son, real soon.
I still look out the window. I start to cry.
I miss him, how many miles is it from California?
In my mind I thought it was the same distance to the moon. That his journey would take
many months just to see me, to see my mother, to see my family. This moment I remember, how
much I missed my father.
My mother silent, she begins to cry. She pulls the covers more over my shoulder.
Goodnight she says.
We both fall asleep.
That is all I remember of that night.
But here I sit in bed, writing this. I am 21 and a bit intoxicated from wine. I am confused
about this relationship thingy that seems to be so special. For I am young, but as every young
person experiences a lack of empathy. He longs for someone or something to make him feel
better. But I'm still trying to wrap my head around this idea of love.
My parents are now divorced. My mother lives in a town 20 minutes north of Denver CO,
my father lives 20 minutes south of Phoenix AZ, and here I am west living in Los Angeles CA. I
get one parent who enjoys the cold, then I got another who lives in the heat. Opposites are an
amazing factor to living, we can't live with it, nor can we live without it.

But for my parents, I find it amazing that they have found other people to complete them.
How could such a disaster of a relationship, make two people realize so much. My family is
something, some would call us dysfunctional, others typical, and even some normal. To me my
family is everything that is behind me and everything that is in front of me. I say this because,
I've taken everything that I've seen and everything that Ive experienced growing up with my
family; all the negative aspects of yelling, abusing, abandonment, loving, caring, moving, which
all make me more cautious in the decision I make. The decisions in which I make for my future,
are to better himself and to hopefully make my family see more clearly. I guess you could say I
learned a lot of lessons.
Now, I have somewhat of an understanding, now that I have written a little about my
perspective on love. So here it is. Love, is the under lining fulfillment each one of us tends to
experience, love in your partner, love in your child, in your nephew and niece, your food that is
in front of you, the job that enables you to obtain the food that is in front you, your parents, your
bed, the roof over your head, your clothes, the air you breathe, every aspect of your being. If you
are still alive appreciate the things that enable you to still live. Love and appreciate the things
that you have at this moment, but most of all love in yourself. Realize that the things in your life
are mirror images of what you think. When you're angry at someone, you project this image in
your mind of a situation that isn't even occurring at that moment. You are persuaded by the
darkness within you; this darkness is the thing that is holding you back, it is the thing that doesn't
make us fully aware of our decisions.
Think about it like this, when someone asks you for something, be it a question or a
favor. When they ask you when you are in an angry state, we react in that angry state. This leads
to an event that plays out horribly. The relationships you have with people who care about you,

with the people who believed in you, or with the person who is intrigued by you, begins to
deteriorate in some form, and the relationship's not the same. They sometimes end this way. Just
because you didn't see the whole picture of why you were angry in the first place; you were
weak, so you made weak decisions. Anger is a bitch. We may apologize from time to time, when
we really have a moment of clarity. But before we apologize to the person we may have hurt,
look at yourself and apologize to yourself, forgive yourself. Because if you're not clear on why
you are sorry, you're headed down on a downward spiral.
But if we are in a upbeat joyous feeling, we react as that. Common sense. Yes? So why
don't we all do this, why don't we all realize this? I guess it all depends on what you want in life,
and how aware you are when you react to the events that lead you to what you want. I guess that
is all I have to say about love. For now.

10
Hotbox

Rob awoke again in a hotbox, or at least it seemed, towels covered his car windows, the
backseat was small and compact and a night of comfortable sleep was far from it. It was roughly
10 am, the windows were all slightly open to let the warm heat from outside seep in and out. The
sun was high above and burning bright, giving as much rays as it possibly could. At this moment,
the rays from the sun leached through a tiny crack and Robs eyes opened. Instantly forgetting
what he dreamt. It's been so long since he could remember a dream, and when he did, it was all a
blur. It must have been all the stress he had been dealing with. He didnt move, and just laid
there for minutes staring at roof of his car, although the heat was too much to bear.
He didnt want to release himself from the comfort and sweat he had established. It was
disgusting to think about, but then again it was an experience he had never thought to find
himself in. Hot, sweaty, and sleeping in his car. Rob gets up and takes the black towels down, the
light from the outside comes rushing in, instantly embracing all its grace, blinding him. Sitting
there for a moment Rob takes a deep breath. He gets up and stretches from whatever tense
position he endured during his sleep.
What was he going to do with himself today? Nothing. He couldn't think of a fucking
thing to do. What was he doing with himself, his life, what seemed to happen to the goals in

which he held onto so tightly? They all seemed to disappear and hide, from a place within him
that burned for adventure and excitement. He felt like a failure and it seemed to take its toll on
his lifestyle, there was no purpose. His phone rings and rings, it was his friend. Missed call.
Moments later a text notice appears. Saying, "are you ready?". How could he forget? Today he
remembered a few weeks before agreeing to take a trip to the mountains with my friends for a
documentary on "Surviving in the Wild".
Later that day, Rob decided to release himself from whatever shitty street he found
himself parked on, to actually do something. So, as I sit at a table at Starbucks, I try to figure out
what to do with my life, by some miracle there was a purpose. I suppose it was my fault that
things in my life weren't as miraculous as it could be, because my memory was in shambles. All
that filled my mind, my thoughts at that moment, was something that I've been craving for, for
some time, was that I'd have the opportunity to embark on an adventure to the mountains and try
to have a deeper understanding of whatever I had experienced in my life. Today is the day I
leave behind all the sorrow and self-pity, and find something more meaningful.
With only a few hundred dollars in my bank account, I had dedicated himself, my being
to the mission of surviving in the wild. And I would spend whatever amount of what I had, to
pursue that mission. The idea of man vs. nature has always been with me as something profound,
something that has always struck me as fascinating and something one must do to grow as a
human being, or rather to actually become something humane. To stretch one's belief system and
come face to face with your fears of actually being alone, leaving everything one cares about
behind and only being in tuned with what's in front of them, with whatever they might have.
Nature is the cure to healing mans spirit.

There is a certain vibrancy one goes through when becoming one with nature, it seems to
take over one's body, and there is a visceral stimulation that occurs. One that the city cannot
offer. You begin to enter this realm of the timeless, there is only day and night, it seems as if
man's idea of 'time', slips away and dissolves with everything that you've left behind. One can
only imagine that there is just a constant rotation of the earth and the orbit it endures to the forces
of the sun. There is no other sense of priority or need of success, the only success that comes
with nature is the success of surviving, the success of being grateful of living. It is just you and
it, you seem to become it, there is an ancient spirit that seems to grasp you and teach whatever
life is meant to be.
There I was sitting at a Starbucks table, only moments before I seemed to be in the most
melancholy of feeling of not having nothing or no one; at the instant of a text message from
someone I didn't even consider at that moment, it would have the most profound effect on how I
saw things and how grateful for the people I had the privilege to meet within my life. However,
this was only the beginning.
The text wrote the destination and what time of departure for the escapade. The time of
exodus was 3 am, and the destination was the Sequoia Mountains of California, which was only
several hours away from Los Angeles, where I stayed. Now all I could think of was what was
needed for this trip, how could one possibly survive in the wilderness and how could one do so?
And with what equipment? And the most valuable question was, how would it change a person?
Like the slacker I seem to be, I hurried and researched within the hours I had before the trip on
what was needed, and what tips I had to learn to make such a commitment for several days. My
heart seemed to increase in circulation, I become nervous and anxious at the very thought of
departing the city. However, I was more excited than anxious for the journey. The city has it's

pro's as well as its con's, it teaches the value of modern day humanity. The idea of success is
what's displayed on billboards, and the appearance one must look like to become "normal" in this
day and age. Magazines fill the sidelines of groceries store cashier lines, which exhibit the lives
of those who are "successful" and present their faults, and the worst part is we may never even
get to meet those people.
There is humility, in a sense, that I mean by, there is community. There's are a vast
number of people as well as possibilities that can happen within the city. You can be in a certain
part of town and be a part of a certain culture, and if you travel but only a few blocks you can
experience another. You could meet a random person who has the same interests, values and
morals as you do, and begin to connect and bond. However, you can meet someone who is the
complete opposite of what your belief system is and only learn from them. After each sunset,
there is always room to contemplate what lessons have been learned throughout ones day.
The city for me has been a cluster of learning from what's wrong and what's right.
However those ideas are only left up to that person, we experience many things. We tend to
judge each moment, on what we like and ones we don't. However each one of us is an adventure
and we set out to have fulfillment, those are the lessons we should be completely grateful for.
We may depart and be hundreds of miles from home only to find ourselves and come across
many ideas and meet countless people, yet to only take a little piece of everything, which will
become you. There I sat in the wooden seat at Starbucks, with a smile on my face. I text my
friend back, "can't wait". We meet later that day, to set out for an adventure to an adventure
store, which would be forty minutes from our part of town. It would be my great friend Frank,
who seems to be on his own personal journey to find greater things in life, and Anthony, the one
who planned this trip, for it would be his first time in the wilderness.

We get in the car and set out to the Adventure store. I sit in the backseat, excited,
anxious, and I can't help but think of this as a dream come true. These moments only happen on a
rare occasion, it seems certain can only experience this specific feeling. It's takes a lot for a
person to accept the challenges ahead of him, however not to look at it as something more
terrifying than an adventure. I suppose it's the fear that can get to most people, which they are
only left with that thought of 'what if'. I can't help but think of this as I sit in the back seat. Now
we have started driving. I sit in the backseat shaking my right leg, there seems to be some sort
energy within me that I cannot control. I have never looked at the passing cars, the wide
collection of trees, and the people roaming the streets and waiting at bus stops, and even the odd
shapes of the buildings quite the same, before they were just things. Now as I look at everything
that is passing through the window, there's a sort of authenticity, there is a moment of clarity, the
trees weren't just trees anymore, and there was a connection between me and them. The people
weren't just people, they had their own stories, dreams, fears, and desires, I never in my life
would have a connection to so many people that I've never met. The cars, buildings weren't just
objects, they seemed to have a spirit in themselves, they were once thoughts that had been kept
in someone's head, until they were brave enough to put theory to application. It was everything
all happening at once, it was everything being their own separate thing, but at the same time the
same thing, a part of the same journey.
We arrive at the Adventure Store, large crates and boxes sit atop pallets in the parking lot.
We exit the car wondering why there isn't any other cars in the parking lot, except for large
trucks. Once we reach the main entrance, a man comes from the opened garage.
"I'm sorry guys, were close today."

"Ah, really", we all say. "Why?" we ask the guy. "It's labor day" he says. In
disappointment and futility we all look at each other and see it as a wasted trip. However, this is
far from it. I suppose that without this little adventure, I wouldn't have come across the most
important lesson in that one short car ride. We all decide to go to a sporting goods store. It's a
funny thing getting what we need at the last minute. It's moments like these that I am extremely
grateful for.
Now as we enter Big 5, boxes are stacked all across the store. It seems as though they've
been overstocked on their goods and are not getting as much customers as they need to be. Or
perhaps it's a bad month for people to go on the Adventures they'd like to go on, or at worse,
people are just loosing interesting in having an adventure. I am not sure at all, I just need to get
the basic essentials, sleeping bag, rope, socks, fishing gear, a cantina, and a compass. We gather
all the things we need, now we seem to be a bit more prepared for the trip ahead of us.

11
Discount Adventure

These past few weeks have been the most profound and yet the most weighty times. I
am beginning to realize much more than I have within my 20 something years on earth. I have
been awed by the presence of others as well as annoyed, but all in all, these past few weeks have
taught me the greatest lesson of all. It happened one early morning, I awoke with a massive
hangover and a bladder that even at the thought of water, would have major consequences. I
didn't realize that I had only two days until my graduation. I had received the whole cap and
gown, which comes with the tassel and the gold emblem of what year you had completed your
studies of schooling.
However, I wasn't too proud of my accomplishments, I suppose it was the thought of the
current situation I found himself in, that being 1000 miles away from my family, I awoke that
way having no idea of what to do with my day, homeless, alone, in my car, sweaty, and with a
hangover. The first thought that came to mind was that I really needed to relieve himself from
whatever my bladder was making me feel, and that was a major fucking morning piss. To make
it worse, my family had planned to visit me for my graduation. There is a deeper and darker side

to how my family operates, I suppose it's that same deep and dark side that has placed me in this
current position.
I walk in to the 99 cent store, there at the entrance, the automatic doors seemed to accept
my presence of being there, as it opens its doors wide open, so it does with every person that
walks in. There I walk fast amongst the store trying to locate the restroom, I walk around with
the unquestionable agitation to urinate. I pick up the pace to my walking, I decide not to stop for
a second and ask the associates for directions, and have only the restroom be my goal, and I
would do everything within my power to find that damn restroom. I look amongst the people and
only see faces that I would not remember, only in dreams that I would soon forget, because my
friend told one evening on a bus ride home from school, that we somehow subconsciously
remember faces and that they are placed in our dreams.
Finally, in the corner of the store, the part that seems, at first glance, not to be a part of
the store. There is a certain element to the corner of this store, where even the employees would
dare not to enter, there a sign that says 'restrooms'. I rush over. That is how I start the day. As I
am relieving himself from the thing that woke me, from last night's dream, a dream that I now
have forgotten. I stand there and look upon the tile wall, and only see scratch marks of names I
cannot make out. Oh, the time it took to mark on the wall I wonder, then some sort of
philosophical question comes to mind. That is, "am I trying to do the same?" Then I begin to
think deeper into it, as the relief lets go from my bladder, "Aren't these markings only inscribe to
leave some sort of message", I think to himself. I've been in school for two years now to follow
this phenomena they call "Passion", as it is some sort of occurrence only one could experience
when one is in tuned with his true self, or something along those lines. I begin to think for a
moment, did these people possibly feel the same phenomena, only to let other people know that,

hey, this is who I am, this is me, and I want you to experience me? Probably not. Now I just
stand there at the urinal like a fucking idiot looking at a tagging on the wall. I wash up, and leave
the restroom.

12
Zephyr

Last night was a blur. Only wish it was a faded dream one experiences during a good
night sleep, and left to be forgotten the next day. What a fucking night it was, good time with
friends, great drinks, the ocean air, the fire that seemed to comfort us all on Labor Day. The night
started out as a celebration. And it was so, till the end of the night. I can't really recall what I
said, for to the people around me, it was a part of me that wasn't me. The alcohol brought only
truth out, a drunken man's words are those of his truest desires. Logic and reasoning have no
place in a man's actions when ones intoxicated. This unconscious truth tends to peak its way in
and out whenever it wants. It's as if this impulse is the very animal at our core, in which that
releases its self from its cage and it's slumber when we least expect it.
Labor Day, the day most who work celebrate it, when they don't work, and those who
don't work decide to celebrate it otherwise. It's rather a day to embrace one's own gratification
for being employed, and enjoying the company around them with all their accomplishments and
work ethics. Whether it's been labored over blood, sweat, and beers, or just beer and, beer sweat.
This one seemed to have a stagnant stench in the air, only that I could smell. What a beautiful
place to meet with friends, and our friends friend, the cool ocean breeze from the pacific graced

us with its gently zephyr. The crackling of pre-ignited chopped wood one buys from 7-2-11.
There everyone gathered around the fire, smiling and having a great time. I decided to bring my
guitar, dressed as late 90's grunge kid who looked as if he hadn't taken a shower in a week. My
concern for dressing appropriately for the occasion, was out of the window. It seems I didn't plan
it well enough, I just wanted to lose himself in the bosoms of lady alcohol and forget the rest of
what the night. It was not that.

13
40% Green Bottle

There was always a choice, most of the time, the wrong ones would be my mistake. For
some reason I always needed some sort of thrill. As exciting as sitting alone in my living room
was. All that was going on was what was happening outside, which would be the sounds of
passing cars, kids screaming and people yelling. I had to have some sort of enjoyment. And
lately, I wish it was something more positive, more constructive, but one has to stumble a few
times before learning how to walk. I wanted to drink, I wanted to drink a lot and stumble.
The night was boring and dull. It was a few days away from Halloween, and I recently
moved to the city of Los Angeles about a month ago or so. I didn't know that many people, only
those from work. I worked part time at a restaurant, serving tables and occasionally bussing
whenever money was scarce. I moved to the city to follow my passion, to write short stories and
novels. I had a dream. A dream to get published. But lately, striving to do anything was too
difficult and tedious. The city and its rules have that effect on people. I didn't really live in the
best neighborhood either. How could one really know where he is when it's his first time there?
For some reason there was always this bizarre stench in the night air of Mid-city. It was
unbearable and perilous. Homelessness, trash, sewage, burnt rubber, puke, smoke, and smog it

was too much to breath and at the same time the toxic air would already be flowing through the
body. But rent was cheap. People walked with grocery carts filled with laundry, trash, and
aluminum cans. There were also the cracked out people standing at the street corners yelling at
the top of their lungs, sometimes they'd be one in the same. I don't want to get too much into why
this place was a shit hole. Yes, it does seem to have its moments, but most of them are appalling
when the sun has set.
A decision had to be made, for once. I could just sit here and listen to the terrible noise
that leached its way in through my thin glassed windows. Or, I could get the hell out of my little
box of comfort and roll the dice, and see what would happen. I still needed a drink, I got up and
walked to the fridge. Only condiments, water, and molded cheese. No beer. I've made my choice.
I close the fridge. I look at clock, 10:26 pm.
"Shit." I sigh at the clock.
In a alarming area like this, it's almost impossible to find a liquor store open passed 11.
The streets of La Brea seemed to never die out, no matter how late it was. There were always
mad drivers on the road, honking their horns whenever they got the chance. Like an impatient
little kid being told to stand still by their parents, they were always upset and angry. I was
wandering the night away, lost, disorderly and wild. There really was no goal, only to find the
nearest store that sold cheap booze. And trust me, when you're in a place like this, it's a lot
tougher than you may think. Gang bangers, sketchy and degenerate people roam the streets, so
the stores tend to not stay open as late as others.
I was a bit frightened, but more so curious. "Shit happens" they say, sometimes we have
control, and other times we unknowingly lose our grasp on that control, especially when we try
to have too much of it. A strange paradox, but thats all it seems to be sometimes, everything has

a contradiction in itself. Yin and Yang. We lose bits and pieces of reality, slowly but surely we
stray from the path of morality and righteousness, as it if it were someone else's fault rather than
our own. I suppose that's the story one must tell, to go beyond themselves, travel uncharted land,
stepping outside the comforts of one's life, taking chance's, going through hell, only to return,
either changed for the better or the worse.
Walking the street of La Brea, oh the desolate view of it all. I couldn't help but feel just as
lost as the people who had to live in the streets.
"What the fuck am doing?" I begin to start a chatter in my head.
"And what do I want to drink?", I tell himself shortly after.
I arrive at the bus stop on the corner of La Brea and Rodeo, I didn't want to walk the extra
mile through hell, but waiting at the bus stop in itself was hell, even riding the bus was hell. Plus
the store would be closed by the time I walked there, might as well take the bus. At the bus stop
there was only one homeless lady layered in jackets with a filthy blanket covering her, while she
held the bible. She was looking at the smog infested night sky that showed no stars, talking to
herself or someone else.
"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
she says looking up.
I'm not quite sure what to believe or think at this moment, everything was so surreal, it
seemed you'd only see the dismal, gloomy side of people in movies and magazines, but it was
real. Then again what did I know? It was all a movie playing right in front of me, a visceral
experience, you seemed to lose yourself in it, not really knowing what the hell other people were
going through, it was a sickness. Yet again, the same thing was leisurely happening to me.

I moved to the city to get away from everything that bothered me. Family, disloyal
people who displayed themselves as friends, even the money, there wasn't enough of it. It was
simply letting go of everything I found comfort in. Maybe the city wasn't the smartest choice, I
was eluded by the fame and fortune displayed in movies and magazines. It wasn't that. Usually
the rich and famous were assholes, especially when you were nice. Family is where the heart is,
truly. But sometimes the heart can only handle so much. Heartache, lies, failure, uncertainty, all
these feelings lead me here, alone, waiting for the bus with someone who may have lost their
mind, or maybe followed similar aspirations.
"Why did I choose here, this city?" I asked himself at the bus stop, as I sat next to a lady
talking to herself as she was repeating scriptures of the holy book.
The things I seem to be running away from were all catching up to me faster and faster.
Observing this lady, gave me a clearer picture of what could happen. The bus arrives, I get on
and pay my fair, the lady at the bus stop stays seated and continues to talk to herself or God.
What did I know? The bus driver wearing the dark grey metro uniform seems not to care, for his
shift is only a few hours away till he can go home and sleep, he yawned every minute during that
bus ride. The bus only ran only a few more rounds on this street when it was this late. I get on the
desolate bus with a one way trip to hell. I look around and try to find a place to sit. Everyone on
that bus looks tired and miserable. I don't want to pay too much attention to them. I decide to sit
in the front near the door, so I could reach the exit faster.
I sit and look straight ahead. There in plain sight a young lady. I found my place, and
tonight seems to be alright. All I'm thinking about now as I sat across a girl, who had dark brown
hair and deep blue eyes, was the beauty she seemed to encompass. She seemed to be the kind of
gal that destroyed hearts and had a liking to it. She knew she was beautiful. It only takes one

look from a beautiful girl, if she glances at you for a seconds and smiles, it feels like luck. Now
I'm glad I got out of the house. She looked to be the same age as me, early 20's. She wore a grey
sweater, with large red letters spelling USC. I just hoped that, while on this shitty bus ride, if
there was by some chance, a miracle, of at least having whatever time I had on the bus with
someone who appeared normal. To talk about basically anything rather than the dreadfulness of
one's life.
She's the only bright thing about the night. We make brief eye contact, feeling a bit on
edge and mercurial, I quickly look away, as did she. With a slight smile I looked back again,
trying to be discreet, she does the same. Making eye contact for a little longer, the night doesn't
seem too dire. All I want now is to spark a conversation. Suddenly an arm reaches over her
shoulders, not knowing that someone was sitting next to her the entire time, maybe because I
didn't care or I unintentionally blocked out any peripheral imagery. Like the flame of a candle in
a dark room, she was gently blown out. Now back to reality. The guy and I now make eye
contact. He gives me a cold stare. One a prowler would give its innocent prey.
"Aye, what you staring at?"
I look at him, then at her, now both as a whole. She stares at me now with a slight grin.
For some reason, I begin to chuckle. I kind of feel bad at the moment. I wouldn't want to be in
that guys position. It was truly beauty and the animal. I say nothing.
"Yeah. That's what I fucking thought" he says smugly.
I just sat there quietly, as much as I was scared, I was more so angry. I just want a drink. I
look out the window and slightly smile. The couple looks at each other with puppy eyes.
"Now arriving at La Brea and Adams" the bus tracker says slowly.

I pull the bus cable that lets the driver know where to stop. Now I'm not too worried
anymore about starting any conversation. Now it's just about getting to the liquor store. The bus
slows down at the corner. The couple across start to giggle. I get off the bus. That was that. I
walk a few blocks down Adams St., in the distance a large yellow sign labeled "Holiday's
Liquor" is all that's visible in the smog infested night of Mid City. A warm sensation runs
through my body, like a kid getting a birthday present or even better when whiskey has ran
streamed down to your stomach. As I entered the convenient store, I looked across and see the
fridge full of alcohol. It was paradise at that moment, so I decided to just pick up a 6 pack of the
cheapest beer. I figured why not, it'd do the job.
"That's going to be 7 even boss and I'm going to need to see some I.D." said the store
clerk.
I got asked that quite often, I think by the time I reach age 50 people will stop hollering
about my I.D. I was a young looking fellow, I was 23 and didn't even look 21. I pull out a 10
from my wallet as well as my I.D. He hands me my change.
"Alright, 1, 2 and 3" the clerk counts back.
"Appreciate it", I say.
"Stay safe out there" I hear the clerk say as I walked out the store. I say nothing.
Now all I have was 23 dollars to my name. I figured I'd walk home after just to save an
extra dollar. Again I figured why not, as long as I'd have a few drinks in my system. I start a
journey home at 10:55 pm in Los Angeles. Cars seem to never stop passing in the streets. I open
a bottle of beer and drink it like water. The night was as cold as it could get in Southern
California, 65 degrees. Another reason why anyone moves here. People go into a sort of hypnotic
trance from the perfect weather, it always seems to be summer here. Always a good time to wear

shorts and bright colors. But I walk the night in a dark grey hoodie and black jeans. Walking
tends to have a huge impact on people's thought process, it gives us time away from the norm,
experiencing a moment of clarity. To analyze our thoughts and emotions. But it's hard to do that
when you're catching a good buzz. It's just you and the moment. Even if it's in one of the shittiest
parts of LA, where bums, crack-heads, and drunks fill the streets, it seems to give you time away
from it all and to paint a clearer picture. Like reaching for some sort of enlightenment, and enter
a state of Zen.
I finish my first beer, so I decide to open up another one. Now I'm beginning to feel a bit
more adventurous. The alcohol has entered my bloodstream and like a puppet master and it's
puppet, my strings are now being controlled. Down the street there's a little bar where indiebands occasionally play. Luckily tonight is one of those nights. As I pass the bar, I can hear the
strumming of the guitar and beatings of the drum play out to some semi-rhythmic flow. So I
decide I'd have another beer and enjoy the night, even if it's in not so great of an area. Music and
melody have that effect on me.
The city has a strange modus operandi. There's always a popular location within a lousy
run down area. Anyways, this was one of those places. Who would have known, there'd be so
many fucking college kids here enjoying their night and the music that came along with it. Cool
kids litter the sidewalks outside the bar smoking American Spirits, I walk up and ask a kid who
knew how to dress. The hair, vest, tie, tie pin, and a leather belt, everything matched.
"Hey man, don't mean to be a bother. But do you think I could buy a stick off you?" I
said, as I walked up with a pack of beer in my hand. Ready to reach in my pocket and fetch
whatever chump change I had in my pockets.
"Buy? Nah man. How about I trade you for a beer?" he said.

Holding the beer in my hand, I felt generous and plus I really wanted a cigarette.
"Sure why not", I said as I pulled a bottle from my pack and then handed to him.
"Here man, here's three sticks" he said, as he too was feeling drunk and generous. "Ah
thanks " I said.
I pull a lighter from my pocket, light the cigarette. The noxious smoke enters my lungs
and it feels good.
"You guys enjoying the night?" I say.
"Yeah, made it out to support my bro's band. I think they might be coming on after these
guys." He says.
"Cool, well I might just check it out" I say.
But the thought of only having a few dollars to my name, was not a idea I thought would
be responsible.
"Thanks" I say to the guys.
I walk a little ways down from the bar and as I light my cigarette, I want something else
to happen tonight I tell himself. I want some sort of enjoyment, an experience other than the
norm, a moment I will always remember. I don't want to go home and drink by himself. But then
again I need that extra 20 bucks for food. I open another bottle and drink it all at that moment,
ignoring all the chatter going through my head. With only two beers remaining, I made my
decision. Stashing what beer I had left in the alley next to the bar, I finish my cigarette, getting
rid of any odor of alcohol from my breath and clothes. I walk up to the entrance of the bar.
"How's it going chief? Need to see your I.D" the bouncer at the front says, looking at me
kind of funny and suspicious.

I think he knew I already caught a good buzz. I didn't seem to mind much. I reached in
my back pocket to pull out my worn out and tattered leather wallet, with the threads almost
spent. I give it to the man and all I can think to himself in this semi euphoric state is,
"What next?".
The bouncer, looking at my I.D. looks back at me, then back at the I.D.
"Alright, you're good."
"Thanks." I say.
I drop my I.D. on the floor like some klutz, the bouncer doesn't take his eyes off me. I
don't care, and seem to not pay too much attention. I enter the bar, there the energy is too much
to handle, something begins to happen to my body. The loud music of the band, the movement of
the drunks on the dance floor. I walk up to the dimly lit bar, standing there for a moment the
bartender nods.
"What will it be my man?" He says.
"A shot of Jameson and ginger" I say.
"You got it".
He grabs the green bottle, and there's just enough in the bottle to fill the shot glass.
"Looks like there's just enough, huh boss?"
" It might be fate." I say.
He places it gently in front of me, alongside a glass of ginger ale. I can feel the butterflies
in my stomach as my eyes came in contact with the dark colored whiskey.
"Cheers" I say as I hold up the shot.

I quickly shoot it. The burning sensation rushes down into my stomach, now the
butterflies have released themselves making my stomach even warmer. I slam the shot glass
down.
"Whoo." I bellow, as the whiskey burns my insides.
"Good stuff huh?" said the bartender. "Another?" He said shortly after.
I think to himself for a moment, "I really shouldn't". A second later

"Fuck it. The

night is young, why not?", a quiet thought rushes its way into my head.
The Bartender grabs my shot glass.
"You're god damned right, another", I hiccup after.
He opens a fresh green bottle. He pours another drink. I look at the shot for a moment.
The music gets louder, the people get crazier. I hold my hands around the shot glass. For a
moment, it's just that. I shoot it down. Again the liquid fire rushes its way into my system.
Now the night starts

14
The Wood Box

It was pitch black in the living room of my grandparents house, all you could hear was
the wind gently blow outside on the thin glassed windows and the sound of the clock ticking
followed in some sort of rhythmic tune of the early morning. The sun had not risen, the fire was
not made, and the only thing that was awake were the embers in the fire pit that stayed lit to keep
us warm in the winter night of the desert while we slept in its comfort. Encased within the thick
quilt blankets laid out by my grandma, I seemed to not want to release himself from the nights
rest of vibrant dreams, which I don't remember. Shht shht shht, was the sound of my grandma's
slippers sliding across the cold concrete floor as she slowly walked from her room to the living
room. It always amazed me how they always woke before daylight, even in the winter. It was a
set routine as long as I can remember. Maybe that is just something that comes with age. They
always told me that whenever the sun rose, it would bring you the greatest of fortune, but you'd
have to wake during that time. I didn't seem to care, I just wanted sleep.
She idles to the cramped wood box and searches for the first piece of wood that would
burn into the morning blue horizon. As she does so, she starts to make fresh coffee for everyone
in the household. "How does she do it every morning" I ask himself while I lay half asleep on the
couch. Moments later my grandfather wakes from his slumber. You could hear him get dressed,

putting on layers of jackets to face the cold morning air outside. It felt good to be home. I moved
away four years ago, a lot can happen in that time, a lot has happened in that time. As I laid there
I couldn't help but to think of everything I've experienced in this house. That some things here
are nearly the same, although the position of the couch has changed, as well as the electrical
system in the house, which was not convenient at the time I lived with them. Usually to get
power, wed have to have hook a generator to the electrical system. That lasted, but the loud hum
from the generator would interrupt any type of peace within the house. . The early mornings and
nights were lit by oil lamps that left black ashes on the ceiling from burning. This was my home.

Annoyed at the moment as I look out the window of the backseat of the car. Crops of
corn, old houses with warn out paint, and birds that fly in unpredicted patterns. Far beyond that
on the horizon are the mountains of Colorado. Sometimes I fantasize about the life I use to have.
Late night with work colleagues and friends in a city where everyones quick to judge and call
you a friend. Always on guard watching my back. Yet at the same time, enjoying the smooth
burning sensation of dark whiskey. It begins to act on the body, allowing you to somehow pay
better attentions, feel happier, and more at ease with the people around you. In this state,
everyone seems to just enjoy the moment.
I come back to reality. Ive seem to have lost all of that. Lost. Wandering. Always
wandering. Searching for himself over and over again. Wanting and needing to be away from it
all. The people the fame, family, issues of the world. Being somewhere Ive never been, and to
live with the culture and the people. Thats what I fantasize. Anything I say at the moment gets
mocked and put in a drawer which eventually becomes smothered in gasoline and contracts
flames and ignites by those closes to me. Never to be brought up again. Selfishness can be the
last thing a person can do, before being consumed by its all-consuming grip.

Allured Dolor

What was she searching for? What was missing? Love, respect, empathy? Why did she
need to search for those things? If she obtained them, was she complete? What reason did she
need these things to complete her? It wasnt a subject that was worth the fight. It was a subject
worth getting drunk and writing about.

There she sat at the empty bar with a pen and notebook, slowly drinking her third glass of
wine, which was near finish. She always chose the beginning of week to go to bars. No one
bothered her, with cheesy pickup lines, and all the college kids where in their dorms. This was
time to herself, the only time she enjoyed. She believed that at this moment, she was opened.
That the words which escaped from her fingers unto the blank page were not only words of truth
and honesty, but something she found in herself, and words that had been caged for some time.
These words were only words that needed to be set free from deep within, words that have kept
her in the dark. She took a deep breath and whispered, Okay. She began to write, Let the wild
animal free, and let's hope she is at peace.

It was 30 minutes from midnight on a Monday. The bars usually stayed open till 2 am.
The cars seemed to never have stopped passing by in Santa Monica. However the music from
inside was calming enough.Slow blues and jazz always play at that bar. She decided to be a bit

adventures, with a lot on her mind. The bar was a bit classy. ight on Pico Blvd, it was dimly lit
with colors or red that over powered the essence of the bar.

There she sat alone at the bar top on a Friday night. What was she doing there? People in
the background laugh and cheer each other as the sounds of their glass clinking together. She
found herself lost and singular in a city where she knew no one. All she needed was time to
herself. A groggy, empty and hollow feeling slowly appeared from behind her. Grasping its long
pointy nebulous fingers around her neck, as it guided her to the dark unknown brick road ahead.
She began to write,

Left with thoughts that pierce through the happier memories, slicing with ease. She had
dreams and aspirations, however old habits do die hard. I turn to the bottle, seeking knowledge
and power. Its an illusion. The thick bold Xs resemble hieroglyphs of some foreign langue
spelling out beware. Ive never been a good decoder.
Minutes pass, my insides warm. Illusions again. Thats all it ever is. Is there no truth. I
miss you a gravelly deep voice whispers gently in my right ear. I turn, look around. No one
there, i look down on the counter top and see the golden dark liquid sit in a sort of calm state.
And at that moment, I cant really think of better times. Like seeing my mother and father and
my siblings gather on a windy day outside a house that now deteriorates. We had a cookout. As
I go to find a seat to eat, the wind comes gushing at that exact moment taking my food with it.
Maybe there is some lesson there. Maybe not. Or that moment when I built up enough courage to
ask a girl on the first date. And just know that she like me just as much as I liked her.
Suddenly (to be continued).