Sunday, December 8, 2002, awaiting the Greyhound bus to drop off my travel partner from Maine, so we can trek to New Orleans together, as young, homeless squatters...
Life is life. This is a demonstration of Logic's rule of identity. This is a grammatical error. This is obvious. This is complicated. All the breakdowns and analyzations through the foggy and dense mist of misinformation, by and by every person on our planet who has added their opinion, there is one thing that none have disputed. Life is life. And whether I will spend that time in a cage or in a field is up to me. I'm heading out again, and my motto still sticks: I would rather fail at my dreams, than succeed at my nightmares. Life is life, and I'm living it with the integrity I afford myself.
Still Friday, December 13, 2002, 6:00 P.M., homeless in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as my travel partner headed home to Maine...
Sadness pervades me as I realize the loneliness of life without my brother. And as the soothing, somewhat powerful, always deep, music melds with my soul, I realize one recurring fact. Life is life, and I will be dead someday, just like every other living organism. And these emotions of misery and delight, these feelings that I never let leave, these memories and thoughts, ideas and desires, all of me, as a person, will be dust. So our fate is the same. I will be the nutrients that feed the grass, as much as the man next to me. And one day, there will be nothing but our own death. And if I could make one blind person see, give one tired heart the comfort of love, sustain the angel of mercy longer by one minute, offer the reverence for my brothers and sisters a little longer, continue my respect for heroes long dead and past for another day, give one more piece of bread to the hungry and homeless, give one more obstacle to the clergy and ruling class, if these things may be done before I die, before we all die, then life and death are a dream, and we will never slip into the nightmare of dissension.
[Author's Note: The following entry has BARELY legible handwriting.]
Sunday, December 29th, 2003, 7:30 P.M., homeless in a New Orleans ghetto...
With the alcohol flowing through my veins with as much rage as the sun and as much still solemnness as the moon, I fear that maybe life is just life, and our existence is but all existence. Swallowed and swallowed again by the cherubs of hope, this fear dissolves into the swamp of strife, of history, of non-existence. Nothing but a bottle of Bacardi and my friends. The weed goes into my lungs and passes throughout my body. I understand my drunkenness as I write and as I think, as the faculties of my brain operate in cooperation with my inebriated state, and I think of life as a being, a thing, a goddess, a tyrant, a lover, this, that, everything. And I cannot see beyond the horizon of tomorrow.
Today was an intriguing venture, as was yesterday. Last night, I stole a bag of Pecans and some Gatorade from A&P, then I went around giving it to the homeless. Then I stole a Sprite from a tourist shop, some batteries from Virgin, and that's about it. While in Marie Laveau's, Stray said she was hungry for some carrots. It was rather random, but I disappeared, and returned with a whole bag from A&P. I visited her work like 3 or 4 times, bringing whatever she asked for last time. She got out of work at 2:00 A.M.. Then we walked to the square, after my night of ruthless theft. And it is this unnerved stealing of food to give the homeless, the destruction of corporations and the rise of the people, that makes me a revolutionary, more than an activist, more than a protestor. More and more alcohol pours into my blood, as I turn up the volume on Heaven 17's angelic, heart-stealing tune. Bacardi, called the stream of liberation to the few drunks, called the tickle of relaxation to every yuppy, but called just another good time to us squatters and gutter punks. [Author's Note: The legibility was ridiculous at this point. It resembled a five-year-old's handwriting.]
And sometimes, I wonder. I wonder about our existence in consideration to the historian who will live 1,000 years from now. And I will wonder why these people tried so hard to be tough, so cold without love. And I will wonder the extent of their cold shoulder to affection. But the wonders of their ignorance and sheer brutality, there will be no question. Give to me that lust, that unbridled desire of compassion, with all its facets of mercy and truth, of kindness and reverence, with all its hate of brutality and cruelty, only untouched and unmoved sympathy for those destined to relive their vicious nature through memory and humanity, and those with a nature to be exploited, manipulated, and abused.
Tuesday, December 31, 2002, New Years, 6:20 P.M., homeless in Metairie, a town west of New Orleans...
...But life is life, and I'm just living.
Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:08 P.M., homeless in New Orleans...
It was 2:00 A.M.. I tried sleeping in the bed of a pickup truck. I buttoned up every piece of clothing I had, and for a few minutes, as the temperature dipped into the 20's, I looked to the stars in the midnight sky.... and I listened to my CD player on dying batteries, hearing... "When you sleep, no one is homeless. When you sleep, you can't feel the hunger. When you sleep, no one is lonely, in a dream..." It got colder, so I eventually went to the bench seats in the front. I moved around a little, and got at most 2 hours of sleep, until I figured I'd get no more. It was 7:00 P.M. when I got up and out of the truck, and started a new day.
Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 5:20 A.M., homeless in New Orleans...
It's early. Too early to see the sun. It's like a different city now. Fewer cops. No people. Everything is closed. It's almost unbelievable when compared to other times.
It was freezing weather at the squat and I had one shitty blanket. I would touch my skin and feel how cold it was. Also, I was resting on hardwood. At most, I had 2 hours sleep. It was tough... I woke up, opened my eyes, and tried to tighten my blanket around me... and as I did, I felt my cold stomach flesh. It was ice cube cold. I woke up cold. I had done it once before in that miserable city of Boston.
Saturday, August 2, 2003, 12:15 A.M., homeless in Santa Monica, under the influence of Methamphetamine...
Santa Monica seemed so great. Every few moments in our travel, whether it was dumpstering a subway cup to get free refills, or getting around town, meeting all the cool gutters [gutter punks], shit, it was done under a beautiful sky, on a gorgeous beach, with the most blessing breeze, feeling fine, feeling good. I realized then that the trip was not in vain and between every fucking thing we did, I would kiss, hug, touch, nuzzle or love physically Liz. And I can remember how good it felt to be here. Alas, these skies belong to me, and these trees, they are mine, I promise this. I am not defilice ... [scribbling]
Still Saturday, August 2, 2003, 9:15 A.M., homeless in Santa Monica, sober...
I sit here, on Santa Monica State Beach, feet away from the currents. I look into the vast Pacific Ocean and see those faded memories of liberty, those failed dreams of perfection... The gulls search for breakfast, but as the next wave slowly washes toward them, they quickly run away, almost like small children, intrigued by the beauty, the unique nature of the ocean, but cautious and fearful. Very human that we are, our animal nature can never be escaped. As I am surrounded by yuppies carrying water bottles and CEO's "enjoying a weekend at the ol' weekend house," I find myself sitting here, crying... "These are the days we will never forget," so Justin Sane sings on my CD player, as I use my Che hoody as a beach towel. I walked into the waves, as the 2 inch high current slightly glossed my boots. And it was then that I felt free.
When I first got here, Liz said she liked my chain, so I put it on her. She said, "Aw, thanks." I said, "Now ya' have to have sex with me!" She laughed, and Pockets said, "See! Didn't I say he would ask in less than 30 minutes?" And so it was.
Finally, Rachel and I were getting tired and sleepy. Meanwhile Pockets wanted to do Meth and stay up all night. "Fuck that, man, I need sleep," I sez. So, Rachel and I went back to the squat, while Liz said she would come back soon, in 10 minutes. Pockets said the same. It was 10:30, and I started making a bed out of cardboard with my knife, for Liz and I. Pockets finally came back. He started arguing with his girlfriend about relationship shit. I just counted minutes waiting for Liz. Finally... Finally... I got tired of sitting up in anticipation for every person who walked past, those long footsteps reverberating through the 12:00 night. And she came, Liz, Graham, and two others. "Dude, we don't have enough room for four," Pockets said. To this Graham said, "Fine, fuck you, asshole," and he left. I just realized, then, looking through the bars, that Liz was among them. And she left not saying anything. "Why?" I asked, "Why?" I put my socks on, and my boots on, not lacing even one hole. "Was Liz there?" Pockets asked. I nodded. "I'm sorry," he said, not for shooing them away, but because how I was done. I climbed that fucking chain link fence, and I fucking ran 3 straight blocks. No pain, no fear. Everyone stared at the crazy methhead, as I ran for her... but I couldn't... I couldn't find her. I checked Promenade and the park, but I couldn't find her. So, I wandered around, aimlessly, maybe I would find her. And I imagined, at this 1:00 A.M. time, what I would say to an inquiring cop. "I'm looking for someone... I can't find her." And I cried. My first crystal experience, and tears. And I thought... "Why am I looking for her? Why isn't she looking for me?" I ran into an older gutter punk (JR), and he said, "What happened? She run off on you?" I nodded. "I'll tell her you're looking for her." He could tell.
There I was, walking down the park sidewalk, tears here and there, boots not laced up, the Pacific breeze coming in and turning my outer flesh to cold -- my T shirt not helping when I wear it, my sweatshirt not helping because it's at the squat. I left my watch, my knife, my drugs, everything... at the squat. I know Pockets will watch it, though. He is my brother. My sixth time up and down the park, and I felt like crying to the city, "TAKE ME!" Whatever that means, "TAKE ME, SANTA MONICA!" And I was on my way back to the squat, despite considering staying out all night with other meth-heads. Then, someone passes me in their car, and yells out, "GUTTER PUNK!!!" Like, fucking really... What the fuck? Was that necessary? The most derogatory term you could call a homeless kid. But then again, the question of whether the homeless are human is still up to debate. And we shouldn't assume what we don't know.
Still Saturday, August 2, 2003, 11:35 P.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
Ah, but a glorious day, when the substances in my blood stream flow with the purity which produces endorphins, with the justice that creates dopamine, with the love that creates serotonin!
Monday, August 4th, 2003, 7:30 P.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
As the sun sets, a new kind of world unfolds. Venice Beach turns from a gathering to gang territory, the park from a place to walk to meth head turf. Oh, those changes incited by the astrological entities...
Tuesday, August 5, 2003, 10:00 P.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
Wandering around this god-awful city, seeing these god-awful people, listening to "to only need to keep working, to pay rent," on headphones where the left speaker is dead, blanketed by a sky of stars, dreams of dust, just wanting to go back home... Back home? I've never known anywhere that I could call my own home. These streets are awash with drugs and I'm trying to keep my head up above the drug-dealers-having-their-addicts-kill-people violence, just praying that I can hold on to someone, to something. And never let them go. Never let them turn their head that their eyes cease to shine at you. Because I am human, and I am forced by my conditions to live the way I do.
Just today, a cop brought his son to the Spider Tree and whipped out his baton, saying, "I'm one crazy motherfucker and I will beat you the fuck up!" We made out of it alive. Just violence, right? We then went around, got some weed, and sold it. Just drugs, right? Maybe for you, but a living for us. A girl walks by this creepy gutter punk on the sidewalk, writing in his journal and listening to beat up headphones. He looks up, she smiles. And she may wonder how she made his day. Because 8 hours of starvation, and asking an old lady if she could spare her Styrofoam boxed leftovers, to hear, "No! I have nothing for you!" might make you think less of yourself. And it did matter that you smell, it did matter that you look like trash, and it did matter to her that I am who I am. I found a flower on the ground made of thick paper. I used two safety pins to put it on my hoody so that everyone could see the beauty I found. It goes well with the spiked studded leash around my boot. Because I'm about peace, but they already think I'm about war. Because.... Seeing the same guy ask for money for surgery, spending that money on meth, is far from the worst part of your day. Because, there is not one night that you can sleep, without alcohol, and no matter what I have to do for it, I will do it. Because.... this is who I am, and this how I live. The world might not like it, but how can I refuse to accept it? This pavement is my bed, this air is my fucking blanket. I look through garbage cans for food and watch the beautiful California sunsets. I smoke weed with my friends and keep a journal of all the things I think. I just asked a girl for a fuck, and I love a female who could be anywhere in this world now.
It gets cold. The cops get suspicious. I can't see a fucking single star. And I can't stop hoping.
Where is Liz? She said, "I'll be right back," in tears, but never came. I tried to follow her, but she told me not to. So I climbed the nearest statue, and watched her walk away. I looked crazy, I looked drugged, but it is humanity, shining bright. And I had to watch her walk away.
Wednesday, August 6, 2003, 11:10 A.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
Again.... One of those happy-not-to-be-dead-not-happy-to-be-alive days. One of those it's-too-cold days. One of those watch-the-sunrise-and-cry mornings. Because as I drank with Thomas and Josh, looking at the stars away from the Promenade, I said, "Look at the stars and enjoy, because tomorrow, it will be illegal to look up." One of those I-slept-with-no-blanket-on-concrete nights. One of those this-dirt-has-been-on-my-hands-forever times FUCKING one of those if-I-could-fuck-all-this-bullshit-and-spend-every-lasting-moment-with-Liz-in-her-arms-I-might-not-say-no days. Because the alcohol is running thin, and it's not enough any more to make me happy. Because I had to spend my last two quarters trying to call her, and all there was an answering machine.
And it gets so hard, when you wake up in a place swarmed with flies.
And it gets so difficult, when you sell drugs to your best friend, who says, "As long as this money supports the revolution," and then to hear him with the drugs, "It's my mission to destroy my mind and body in this fucking world. I'm not a circus freak, so the yuppies shouldn't stare at me."
And life is life again.
I'm tired of selling drugs. The revolution needs money, yes, but there may very well be other sources. It's not even good money, and the main distributors of weed and meth ARE homeless. Then there is the paranoia of undercover cops, and Pockets asking everyone, "Where's your badge?" I was getting drunk with everyone last night, and someone handed me a cola chaser.
Alas, alcohol fuels the mind with ammunitions for conflict. I can deal now. Sobriety, my mortal enemy, awaits at every morning, at every meal. We must fight long and hard, that there is not one minute sober.
[Note: The handwriting became absurdly horrid.]
Watching people eat while you starve. Fill your fucking Abercrombie-covered bellies to the fucking point they explode. Do it so I can smile at your bloody body and cry at the loss of another soul. Crying... For tomorrow. Because, we don't have any "Fuck you up now" drama.
Threatened again by life. I'm sorry for it all. Just pray with me that not every day is a waste of blood. I'll love you for it.
Saturday, August 9, 2003, 9:45 A.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
"Santa Monica Police! Wake up!" This is what I heard to wake me this morning. A police officer at our squat, fully armed. It's not just here, though. It is happening everywhere. I imagine that right now, there is one police officer screaming, "LAPD! Get the fuck up!" and another yelling, "Chicago police! Fucking get up and put your hands on your head!" It's fear, these words. They unlock pain in our heart. We never wanted to be criminals. They simply criminalized our lifestyle. Ask any squatter, "When it was made illegal to sleep on the grass, did they ask for your vote? Did they care about your opinion?" Not one was asked, but that is typical of any tyrannical government.
Because it seems like, most of what I do will be forgotten in some months, let alone some years, or decades. Most likely, I'll be a corpse in some alley, and when the cops think it's homicide, they'll question, "Why would someone place a body so it is facing the stars?"
Saturday, August 9, 2003, 8:10 P.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
I am methed out and high on weed. My friend Dave and I, both high, walk through a McDonald's, asking for spare change to buy a bite to eat. We ask a Hispanic family for spare change for food. The father shakes his head. One son, 4 years old, holds up a penny to us. He was bright eyed and beautiful. He glanced at his father, and his father shook his head. His son sat back, putting the penny back, looking sad. "Oh, it's okay, you can keep that," Dave says with a big smile to the young fellow. He walks away, and I feel like I'm about to cry.
Thursday, August 14, 2003, 1:30 P.M., homeless in Santa Monica...
Sitting on a city bench, waiting for the goddamn Greyhound bus to take me away from this god-forsaken American city. Hoping to be whisked away from these pimple-infested, gross bodies, whom I've learned to love, whom I've grown to call family. Take me... away from here. I am ready to leave these steamy streets, the asphalt mixed with fast food resin smell, that sand in my boots grinding at my every step in my wounds, those cold nights but colder winds -- those 3:00 A.M. wake-up freezing so you can see your lover sleeping and feel like a king on earth. But fuck America, fuck the world, and sure as hell fuck Santa Monica. Bomb the goddamn mall, raid the office buildings, take over the fucking Pentagon. I'm ready to leave those eyes, starring at me, as I'm part of the circus. I'm ready to leave the McVeggie burgers (twice the cost of meat burgers) and the McDonald's playing techno. Take me away from this land where we are arrested for sleeping in parks, stared at by yuppies and surrounded by a society that has decided to define ugly with our group picture. Take me away, because I never want to see a California sunset again, or a homeless Californian girl trying to make the best of what she has.
But then I feel like I could cry. I'm crying. Leaving these god-fucked streets, these "praise god!" evangelists, these "don't ever forget" street panhandlers. Because it has been a year so far, from Boston to New Orleans to Santa Monica. Drugs and lovers, crime and prison. Fuck the law. I never did anything I thought was wrong in my heart and the blue-uniformed fuck who thought so is the one who sodomized your 4-year-old son. So fuck this life, I've eaten pavement and drunk concrete. Afraid again... that doing what my heart leads me to do might end up in some happiness, some misery, and eternal memories. Not sure again... that I'm doing the right thing, or just what I have to do to survive. Scared I might wake up tomorrow morning to see the sunrise and want to be back over that hill again, with an herb pipe, a few tall cans of beer, and a line of meth or two. But always with family. Because weed turns to ash, meth to water, and alcohol to urine. But the flesh of a lover forever leaves a mark on you. And you have to travel with it, wherever you go. So one day, you might see something beautiful, think of her, and cry, just so the next Mexican immigrant can pass you and ask, "You all right, man?" and you can nod, "No." Unable to understand, if these are tears or sweat. Knowing that I only have 27 pages left in this goddamned fucking journal, betting it won't be enough to write everything I learned.
I'm a goddamn gutter punk. But don't call me that, or I'll smash your face on the ground and make you give me the rest of your cigarettes -- because I don't even smoke.
I'm a goddamn squatter. But don't tell me about squatter rights or I'll tell you stories of armed thugs in blue threatening to kill me -- because I have no rights.
Afraid again.... That just maybe doing all I can as my heart asked of me, just might not be enough, for me to find happiness.
Sunday, August 17, 2003, 1:50 P.M., Greyhound bus in Massachusetts, heading to Boston...
I am only 2 hours away from Boston, but it feels like I may as well still be in Santa Monica, or walking down Decatur in New Orleans. I feel that, no matter where I journey, I will find my friends and family. Massachusetts or California? There's no real difference. Perhaps it's just my apathy, after the ordeal of Greyhound travel -- of 72 hours on a bus.
So, maybe this shall be my last damned journal entry in this goddamned book. Fuck. It's nearly full anyhow. I love Liz, but I don't think I could survive living with, close to, or next to her. The sort of bitter love, that when I'm 25, alone in my apartment with a fifth of vodka and Requiem for a Dream playing, I'll make a list of everyone who's ever loved me. It'll read erroneously, "Samantha from Cali, Amanda from Georgia, Pockets from Seattle, Crystal from New York, Sirkuit from Florida," and on that note, I'll think.... "Oh, yeah! Liz! What fuckin' state was she from? She pretty much went around." Then I'll add her name to the list without the state she's from, telling myself, "I know what I mean..." Then I'll look around my apartment suspiciously, and add to the list "vodka" and laugh. I just can't be with someone when they conceal the truth from me. So fuck it.
Then I'll wake up one day and I'll be 32. I'll be sleeping in the gutter, mumbling to myself in a drunken stupor, "hardcore gutter punk! 30 years old!" And I'll miss all that I had, all these comrades and brothers. I hope I never turn 32 in a gutter. I want to be among the people who make me feel at home -- the people who are my family. Specifically, who that is, may very well pass with the tides of time, as the years unfold and our experience grows. For the sake of brevity, I shall say this. I may be seeking out "home" for the rest of my life, never satisfied. I hope this is not the case. I hope a time will come, where the conditions are favorable, that we write. And I can shake the hand of every family member of mine without leaving the same room. I hope that we can change the world together as revolutionaries. I hope that to live among family is the way my dreams have described it: without ever a sad day.
Sunday, October 26, 2003, non-homeless, somewhere on the East Coast...
Because whenever I think of the beauty that nature has given us, the unique glory of a midnight sky or the perfect gorgeousness of a sunset, these things which are worth more than anything else but are free -- I am reminded then of my hopes and my dreams, that one day I believe I will have found a way out of here. A way out of this god-forsaken city, this American town, whichever one it is, they are all god-forsaken. And I will be able to scream to the night sky, "I made it!" All my friends and family will be there, and once I had finished howling to an inanimate sky, one of my friends will nudge me, "Okay... Let's go." Thus begins the long march home. And every time the cops take another life, every time another friend starves to death, every prison sentence delivered down like a blow with a billy club, I get afraid that maybe we will all die before we finish this journey home. But then I look up, and think again of those lovers nested away in alleyway corners, of those friends drinking together in private driveways, and I think just maybe, just maybe... Life is life, and we are all just living.