Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Belated Celebration

In honor of the passing month. I would like to celebrate an anniversary (I won't tell you what kind it is) with this poem from the up-coming collection. I posted it up here a long time ago, and for those of you who remember it back then, you'll be surprised at how much its changed now.

This isn't Sex but

I'm Talking about Something like it

New electricity coursing through skin
hair, fingers, toes, muscle, sinew, bone – that order
the long ignored body nerves, dormant past the season for it
from the volts of jolts in unexpected legs
hips and lips that kiss with fury bordering on ecstasy
a lustful madness cloaked in nervous shifts or quiet seconds
passing like freight trains in the night –
rushing by ahead of a chance to hitch a ride and run
farther than sleep can catch before morning
comes to take this all away in hazy sun rays

But there's too much and my body
can't cope with the overpowering sense of
adriftness; like an old man at sea
calling out for departed wives and sons
only to hear the roar of a blue void
and then everything's mute but the wind

Leaving tingling remains of sensation crawling
like bees over a sticky honeycomb named confusion
trepidation, passion, or their stinger
punctures left in my skin to swell with something
more ambiguous than life or love

I feel like a child again
I am a child again
a woman's body is just too much
because a boy only needs a hug and kiss before
running far and wide to
see what there is to do
do what there is to see and
come home again to find
my room like I left it

When crawled into hiding under the covers, I won't see
this lust all tattered to pieces
because I'm just a fucking child – nothing more

The Newbies I Knew

Once upon a time I, Stephen Michael Tow, was a big fucking nerd.

They used to call me z3k. I was zek, zekky, zekalah, z3kzor, and lots of other things. One time I was shadow, and another I was black-n-white. Far into the dim reaches of teenaged memory I was also Rauko.

It all started for me with this game:

I was fourteen years old and played for hours at a time. My only friend at the time a 38 year old Austin policeman who's name I can't remember anymore. We played BGH (big game hunters) style matches. We also did footies, sometimes.

It was fun, and the friends from that game were my first in the whole online gaming experience that was to take over my life for a few years. Nowadays I don't know what they're up to.

After that game I went to:

No friends here. I was simply lost in a torrent of pubs (public games against random opponents). Playing game after game - some custom, some ladder, but all by myself. It was a lonely way to get my kicks, but at the time I was desperate.

My big time came with:

It was in this game that I got my nickname. Zek. It's a russian term for a soviet inmate who is a kind of prison-thief. At the time, I didn't know that's what it meant. I didn't find out until I'd had the nick for more than a year. Go figure.

All the friends I made here...good people everyone of them. Even the fucking bsing bastards started out as good people.

Daunt, Scourge, Curu, Shai, Kyndbuds, Insane, Trout, Talamotros, Ava, Mario, Valin, Tidal, Cele, Aeolis, and many others. There were so many others, and we became a tight-knit community, dedicated to playing one custom-made game above all: Ringwars.

There was a time when I could go into a pub and watch as the newbies and pubbers jockeyed for position to avoid being on the stacked side - which was whatever side I was on. We were all heavy-hitters at the game, not just me. And at the time, I felt a weird sort of pride to be feared in this area of competitive fantasy gaming.

The whole story of my time in RW is too long to go into in one blog, but as time wore on we broke away. People left for different games, school, girlfriends, parental pressure, growing up. Sooner or later real life happened to you and one day you'd be playing till three A.M. in a Euro server pub game, and the next you didn't show up for three months and everyone thought you died.

The deathknell of our time together came with the release of:

Everyone split up, playing different servers for whatever state/province they lived in. Some of us managed to stay together, but in the end it all fell away in the haze of MMORPG grinding.

Somedays I simply did not go to sleep. I skipped classes, dates, showers, food, even masturbation. My life got taken over in the need to progress further and further into the game. People started calling it warcrack after a while. The name says it all.

It got to the point where I had to choose between being a gamer, or being a person. Doesn't sound like a difficult choice, right? It was. I had been playing games all or nothing for nearly six years at that point. I didn't want to stop, and nobody really seemed to understand how much I needed to play.

But I gave it up. I wanted to write, play music, meet girls, sleep a little (and a lot). I just stopped, cold turkey, and since then I haven't scratched that itch running along the underside of my mind. It's always there though.

The whole point of this blog is to remember what it was like to be a pale, near-emaciated boy without a social life, hygiene, eating hot-pockets and coca-cola whenever I remembered to eat.

How far I've come since then. But I'm still the same person, always was a gamer inside, and I'll always have itchy fingers for it. The only thing that's changed is what I put ahead of that. Important things. Important people, too.

Still, I wish I could go back and relive it, just one more time. One more private with all the ringwars crowd, and me playing my favorite nation. I guess the past ain't really dead for me, but it's still past.

So it goes.

Don't clean up a person, clean up your personality

Today was a day of little bits of wisdom permeating. I was in the Humanities building a lot today, for class, and all over the men's bathroom stalls you'll find some interesting stuff written down. I remember one line was, "make out to peace out!" Another was, "this isn't ain't mine." I even saw, "tell Sheryl in ENG 214 she's a dirty whore. fucked my best friend, used me for money, got my roommates to kick me out, but i was still in love with her till she stole my favorite hoody. Bitch."

It was pretty intense and after looking at them for a while I started going to all the men's bathrooms on every floor of the building. Each one had some crazy phrases, quotes, bits of advice, and warnings written inside. Well, maybe it's just the state I'm in, but I was in need of whatever I could get for what I've got going on with me right now.

Here's the whole line: "You can't clean up a person. They gotta be their own way. Clean up your personality and stop hating." Not exactly something awe-inspiring, but at the time it really hit me. It still does.

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Nativist Memorabilia

this isn't your cognition. this is experience
my county has been distorted and all the fantastic omitted

there's hidden here a myriad – as a native I know the story
those times looked back on legendary
those places, someones and adventures all make up
a hidden county that never boasted but was always there
not suburbia's underbelly, or the closeted minority, but an unmasked face

usually guised in sun-bleached hair and over-topped plastic surgery
Fox or Billabong shirts, beat-shit Rainbows
concrete city blocks like islands and asphalt roads like oceans
platinum SUV's too big for already inflated parking space
a constant background of cell-phone chatter
– the menagerie of superficial wealth & beauty in perpetual summer –
it wasn't all strip malls or car dealers or
evenly spaced street lamps that blocked sky-sights with illumination
(stars used to be seen instead of imagined
now we've brought the constellations down towards the ground
shaped like dim freeway lights and bright house bulbs rarely turned off, like
year-long Christmas decorations at Trinity's church-palace)

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It's always on nights like this...

...when I discover something unexpected and moving. I've listened to this song, called "Nelly Gray" almost a couple hundred times, and yet, I haven't really paid any attention to what it was about at all.

Tonight, in the midst of another slog of editing, I decided to take a break and put on some good ole New Orleans traditional jazz. Up comes this song and for the first time I really listened to what the lyrics were about. I got so sad I could hardly stand it.

What's the song about, you might ask? For those of you not as eclectic in their musical tastes as I, and haven't heard this song, let me give you the rundown:

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The Thankless Job of Working for Myself

I’ve been editing my own poetry nonstop for this past week. I think I only really finished four poems to my satisfaction (and one of them is too long to tell yet). The good part is that they’re nifty as fuck-all. When the book comes out this summer - Geebus P Cryst, willing - you’ll see how much work was put into them and what kinda results that gets.

Still, the work is lonesome, boring, and mostly difficult. I mean, have you got any idea how hard it is to remove yourself from your own writing so that you can edit it objectively? Not to mention I’ve been half-living in a thesaurus. Doing line-editing is the best way for me to work, but takes the longest possible time. I average five-to-ten minutes...a line.

This might not sound so bad. After all, it’s poetry, right? You can’t have written THAT much. I could, can - did. The main poem for this collection is going on five pages and will probably get longer since it’s the fourth one I’m not so sure about.

All you can look forward to is self-satisfcation in this game, my chums. If you don’t learn to love yourself with a passion, you’ll be one sad little wordsmith; I can promise you that. At the least, read better than you do anything else, for a start.

Here’s another nibble for any of you gnashing at the bit for my collection’s release. The main poem is called: Nativist Memorabilia, and will incorporate most of my purposes for this book. I’ve also decided to shorten the amount of poems by half, due to the extreme page length of my writing coupled with the funding at me and my partner’s disposal. Short version: doing less so I don’t go broke. Now you’ll (unfortunately) get just 25 poems, and even this could drop down if my stuff keeps getting longer. I swear, I write a poem and it’ll be longer than most books. You need to cut and edit my shit with a two-man saw, or something.

Anyhoo, that's about enough outta me. ZJE - out!

This is Me at School

boredboredboredboredboredboredboredbored - bored.

maybe not so much "bored" but more like "i could be doing something much more better". i could be building a birdhouse; or curing cancer; or inventing nonfat candy bars; or improving myself in a myriad of different ways. these things matter a little less than a little though, i guess.

***note*** this blog is entirely selfish. i have no intent of giving you anything interesting to read other than the ramblings of my fingers doing they’re oh-so fast tap dance on these shitty school computer keyboards.

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Alternative Education

Frank Zappa once said, "Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute." (liner notes for Freak Out).

Well, in tribute to this great man's highly esteemable advice, I have prepared a list of websites and places the true rennaisance (wo)man, a real erudite, will want to hit up in pursuit of auspicious education.

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Tunes to Confuse Your Friends

Ahem, I think I should share the next most important thing a chronic procrastinator needs when using their time in the best-worst way possible:

flipping good jams, my man! You need to max your relax, or cooliosis with these hip-kids who break it down faster than ten tons of lard all over your face...wait what?

1. James Booker

If you're looking for some good old New Orleans piano, stride, rag-time, jazz, blues, and most of all - badass - then you need to rip this guy off your iTunes, Kazaa, Napster, or local pirate radio because without the one-eyed Bayou Maharaja genius you just ain't listening to good music. You've heard Ray Charles, Professor Longhair, and even the immutable Thelonious Monk - now hear their crazy uncle after a few shots.

2. The Mar-Keys

Remember Booker T., Motown, Otis Redding? Well then come hear the guys who played in the band. And as every real musician knows: the good music comes on when the vocalist shuts the fuck up and lets the groove just sink in like fine wine...or a hard shot. These guys grooved back in the early days for Stax Records (originators of the Memphis Motown sound) with funky jams so cool, you couldn't help but listen to them, even without any singing - excuse me, especially without any singing. Saxophone lines with bass riffs up and down that fret board; these guys got what you need.

3. Grand Ole Party

C'mon Indie kids! Get on up and start dancing, like you never moved it before. This San Diego based band got its start playing at The Casbah, and now there's no telling who they'll run into next, whether its Rilo Kiley or maybe Karen O. ? The lead vocalist has power that totally belies her outer-skin, making the transformation from the quiet-shy girl you know who sits in the back to a diva power-house with drum-sticks to match.

4. The Seatbelts

I love the name on these guys, and you'll love their music after listening to it. Eclectic to the core and filled with more genres than you can shake a stick at, Yoko Kanno's band is more than just a soundtrack. Ranging from blues, to funk, jazz, to heavy metal, you better start off slow and take the music one song at a time - but don't remove that seatbelt, because each song is still an instrumental above and beyond all comers. Though they're hard to find outside of Japan, you can easily catch a clip at, or order a CD from Amazon.

5. New Orleans Klezmer Allstars

And you thought klezmer wasn't cool! You have to shake a foot (or maybe a yarmulke?) when these guys hit the bandstand. Hard chops with fast beats and some of the zaniest harmonies you'll hear outside of the synagogue. Definitely hit up their second album, "Fresh Out The Past". When you hear that bass drum boom and the clarinet fall out like cheap manischewitz, you know you've found the right music. If nothing else, weird out your friends and make your babushka happy her little bubullah isn't gonna grow up to be a goy after all.

That's all I got on the music front for now, but you can be sure there's plenty good tunes coming your way...just as soon as I find the time to waste! Dance on your bed a little and hit me up later, kids.

Cats. Are. Hilarious.

I've decided how bored you all must be getting having to look at my blogs and just seeing a bunch of writing. All that work for five minutes enjoyment! You, my lovely peoples, deserve more instant gratification - and I'm here to give it to ya. (Not like that you saucy hipsters.)

We're starting off my blog-you-don't-stop idea with the bestest thing in the whole wide world for a person to go wasting their time on:


Here are some of my favorite cat pictures for ya'll to waste your day with:

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text blocks for carving out the ideas

fever dreams sleep need from repeating gestures unable that i try and try to make understood for you my love but all you seem to see is my silence and i didn't mean to make you angry for that or didn't mean to make you sad from it because the heat is making me crazy no sweats dripping pores locked up like prison cells and pages and pages of yellow paper with blue ink sand-n-sea i've drawn for playing castle buildings or pit digging but my tongue opens up in the hot and turns to grains dropping into hourglasses appearing out of nowhere, now here time always constantly appeared punctual like good mannered guest for dinner on my phlem pulled up from the bronchids shot out eighty-eight miles per hour to the past in a fever sweat breaking loose with dynamite dreams of hands moving to no sound, conductor to no music but something is being said in silence mimed over blackface bright red lips blue eyes why they speak quietly and no noise is too much sound ears seal themselves with mucus getting sicker to save the senses from sensing this last bit of the relationship you & I don't have but holding on to phantom-outline traced disappear-reappearing ink some lines are already there, the paper's already been squared longways sideways horizontal no where to go but up up in our heads coming down slow paper floats and horizontal lines seperate to weigh it down i've lost the words when it fell on the ground i need a dictionary to get new language to say what i said lost being gone being only remembered someone tell me the new vocabulary i wasn't at school today to learn about trapazoids and my pencil's run out of lead to write it all down so i'll type it on my brain like a computer is a computer putty silicon etched circuit boards firing pulse of electronic messages lost in translation of technobabble to common speech, "this isn't a regular female" new phrase jingo lingo pinged for one-liners at parties to impress over cocktails and cockteasing me and you and looking over there i see starry night but it's cloudy out and you don't own any paintings like so we go on forever covering up mistakes bedsheets flinging about over wine-stains i slipped too much so you can't clean up let the mess be because we're still talking stop cleaning! stop not looking see! this isn't a regular circle it's got bumps but rolls still downhill tonight we'll go rolling downhill like jack and jill and cheese packed tight to spring at the end why bother with any of it we can just lie here but the gutter smells and the smog i can't see the stars only street lights with moths dirt wings flicking dust in my nose i rub it and it comes off like potato head dolls replaced with something funnier i should have parts been born interchangeable accessories to design identity like the lined paper blue inked horizontal someone did it but they like straight narrow corridors on white, or yellow sheets holed cheese sea water pushing through a color inverted heart pump pumping sea ink fungi i need a drink don't let me get up i've had one too many you made me wait waste time's up

game over.

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Welcome. We'll come. Well, come in.


So, I'm starting up this blog because I need a place, a semi-public place, to post my discoveries, opinions, and most importantly, writings. Things to expect:

cat pictures
music advice/reviews
choice food
short fiction
gamer culture
awesome videos
hilarious people

basically, some fucking nifty shit.

This being the introductory post, let me just leave you with this tid-bitty