Interview with Noah Cicero: June 15 - July 27

Noah Cicero is a writer of points and the pointlessness between them. He makes stands often to refute them, or simply put them into a spin to see what can be excavated. In this way, he is much more an experiential writer, who looks at an emotional state as an entry point to filtering other questions. These barbaric yawps can bring a world into chaos or standstill. Regardless of the movement, it is a single intention, to see the ground in front of him that makes Noah such a gift as a writer. If we look hard enough, we just might see reality. Then we can shake our fists, make a choice, or ask why all over again.

Noah is the author of The Human War (Fugue State Press, 2003), The Condemned (Six Gallery Press, 2006), The Living and the Dead (Bear Parade), and Treatise (Noah Cicero, 2007). Recently, we were able to chat about The Human War , hell, and distant planets. I didn't expect to like hell so much. It's a pretty nice place. I might open a Denny's. People get hungry. They might even read Noah Cicero.

Pirooz Kalayeh: I like THE HUMAN WAR. I like the relationship with Kendra. I like Denny's too. I also like how the book reads like a poem. It reminds me of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. It also reminds me of Walt Whitman. The dialogue makes me think of Quentin Tarantino.

Noah Cicero: Your references to Walt Whitman and Ginsberg are accurate in this way: I was watching a show on Whitman and they talked about how he tried to imitate the sounds of an orchestra, and one day I was drunk and reading Leaves of Grass out loud to some girl and I noticed that as you read Whitman your voice kept getting louder and louder, faster and faster, it had crescendos and refrains and low and high points. And Whitman could control this through the strategic use of periods and commas and starting new lines.

That a writer could use commas, periods, and where new lines start to make the reader see the passage into music, and this music gives a higher level of meaning to the writing.

But I was not thinking about orchestra music when I wrote it. When I write the music, I usually try to imitate Jimi Hendrix's Machine Gun, Led Zeppelin's Achilles Last Stand, and Metallica's Orion, 10-minute rock songs that resemble orchestra music. All three start off slow, and eventually lead to total chaos, they aren't chaos, because the musicians know exactly what they are doing, and have planned and are carrying it out. But it gives the sensation of chaos, of a person going totally mad under the pressure of this world.

I want THE HUMAN WAR to pick up speed as it goes on, and gets going very fast until the reader starts feeling the chaos, starts feeling really confused, starts going a little mad themselves. Then it slows down, and it comes back, repeated several times.

Because on that night, a lot of us felt very confused, very chaotic inside, and well a lot of us feel this all the time.

Pirooz Kalayeh: Do you really care if people get this book or not? Is that important to you?

Noah Cicero: People get several things from the book, the people that don't like it call the characters adolescent: I wouldn't call the characters adolescent, the characters in the book are what Nietzsche called, The Last Men. They are people lying around doing nothing, living for no reason, going on, they don't truly believe or truly not believe in anything. Foer writes a book about a 9 year old because he is at the mental stage of a nine-year-old but isn't conscious of it. The difference is, when I write, I don't write about 9 year olds, I write about people in their twenties acting like nine year olds. But they aren't really acting like 9 year olds; they are acting like Nietzsche's version of The Last Man.

I would also classify the characters in Tao Lin's EEEE EEE EEEE as The Last Men.

To add a little to this: De Beauvoir says basically that the adolescent feeling is that of feeling worthless, of feeling worthless and powerless to the world - of not really caring about anything because they are conscious if they want to say it or not, that it is pointless to care about anything, because they are always faced with their needless place in the modern world. The Last Man feels needless and worthless also, but they don't cut themselves or listen to Good Charlotte. They go to work like zombies, lay around watching television, beat their kids and spouses, hate themselves, march to their death with their head down, tears falling our of their eyes, seducing themselves with painkillers, beer, drugs and silly bourgeois notions that life is worthwhile when everything they do is saying silently to the world, "I feel worthless."

The people who do get the book understand because they understand it themselves. That we are lost, confused, our minds are chaos, and we are faced against an absurd system of politics, media, and economics completely powerless to do anything about it. All I tried to do was write that feeling out, give language to that feeling.

It is my belief, my philosophy that the writer's job is to translate the feelings we all have into words, so the reader can better understand their own situation in life. The readers of the world are plumbers, truck drivers, doctors, engineers, schoolteachers, servers, etc. They have a job to do, they don't have the time to go off by themselves and dwell on the personal hell of mankind. They don't have the time to sit and study Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Sartre. That is the writer's job. The writer's job is to collect information, study reality under a microscope, and then write it out. Then the reader hopefully can read it and understand their own reality better.

Pirooz Kalayeh: Imagine I am from the planet, Gliese 876 b. I am about 15 light years away. You have just told me about THE HUMAN WAR. You have mentioned THE LAST MEN and Tao Lin's EEEEE EEE EEEE. I am curious about mankind's personal hell. I am unclear about the concept of hell. What is it? Why do people need to think about it? How can people identify it? Is it just like Gliese 876 c or d?

Noah Cicero: Mankind is condemned to several things:

1. Everyone is born with The Will to Power. Now this power can take many forms. One person might choose to exert power by creating art, by writing, painting, making television shows, cooking, playing sports, singing, having an awesome myspace page, breast implants etc. Other might people might manifest this need for power by becoming head managers of restaurants and terrorizing the staff, becoming a politician, a 4th grade teacher, etc.

A lot of people choose to have children and exert power over them. This can take many forms, one parent can be a teacher to a child, another parent might want to ruin the child like they have been ruined.

Which leads to the next thing.

2. Humans are born into what can be called Solitary Confinement with two Gods. This solitary confinement is commonly called, "Childhood." A human baby is born nothing, a blank nothing, then the world forces it to believe it is something, that it is a certain race, certain religion, from a certain country, that it IS something, when really it is nothing.

The nothing baby has no choice in the matter. The baby is defenseless because of its size against the world. The child learns that those who have more physical force control them. That those with authority must be obeyed. This is not true, but through regular beatings, being stuck in the corner and constant yelling at the child they succumb to this rational.

It can be called Solitary Confinement because a child can go nowhere, learn nothing, do anything, unless the Gods called parents allow it to happen.

3. The brain of a human is simple but complex. A human enters a situation and the stimulants cause behaviors that occurred in previous situations that they have done or seen shoot up into their head and they choose one to deal with the situation. How they deal with the situation is called, "Behavior." One would think and many have thought this could be easy to analyze and make great humans with: But it isn't because everyone living human has had a different life, with different situations, so everyone enters every certain situation with a slightly to largely different perception on it.

One human might get kicked in the face and cry and call the police, one human might get kicked in the face, go get a gun and shoot the attacker, one person might get kicked in the face and feel some kind of sexual excitement from it.

4. Humans are condemned to choose. A lot of humans do not like choosing. So they adopt very strict identities. There are many identities among humans, but they can be existentially put on a scale. It is obvious the more fearful one is of choice, the more strict identity they try to have. The less fearful one is of choosing, the less they care about having a strict identity.

5. Mankind generally is terrified of their nothingness. To admit they are nothing and can totally choose their actions terrifies them. They feel safe hiding behind race, gender, nationality, political party, favorite bands and authors, behind clothes, how expensive the things they own are, what car they drive, where they live, who is beneath and who is above, they hide behind false pretenses make-believing that their lives mean something more than they are, they do not like to admit that they are just bodies of meat walking the earth one day to die like the plants and animals that surround them.

6. The human is a terrified creature. A human lives on a planet adrift on the cosmos, a cosmos much larger than Hollywood and even Britney Spears new haircut. They are condemned to live on this rock with no reason for the rock even being there. Let alone them being there. They are forced to know everyday that when they die they will be replaced, that they are needless. The universe shows each human their needlessness without remorse.

There are more things that cause hell, but they concern one's era and geographical location. These inescapable six things have always been with mankind and it doesn't seem like at any point in my lifetime one of these six will be able to be erased from humanity.

PK: Let me see if I hear you right. Mankind is condemned to exert power over other people; solitary confinement, otherwise known as childhood, where they have no choice in keeping their nothingness, because power is being exerted over them; different complex, behaviors; choice; nothingness; and that they will die needlessly, because there is no point in them being on this rock, known as Earth, because there is no point for this rock's existence either.

How do you know for sure? Is it possible you don't know with absolute certainty whether there is no point in being on this rock? And if we eradicate either possibility, regardless of certainty or otherwise, aren't we left with not knowing? What if we didn't know at all? What would you say from this space of not knowing about hell? Is hell even hell anymore? What is it if it's not hell?

Noah Cicero: This is really a question of "points." The sun will engulf the earth someday and then this will not matter, to people on a planet 700 billion light years away. If there is a God or astral plane or whatever, It doesn't obviously mess with our world. But there are points in the world, a lot of points. We have our own points, each individual pointing their bodies in certain directions to achieve goals, if it is to be a lawyer or carpenter to pay the bills or to get some oxies, all points. There are even more points. The point of the American to the Iraqi insurgent is that the American has killed their families and blown up their houses and therefore their point is to kill them. The Hutu's point is to kill Tusi, and at the same time to the Hutu the Tusi's point is to kill them. And the same to the Tusi.

The point of the telephone is make calls on it. But telephones have several times been used to murder people, so for some people, the point of the phone was to kill people. A computer has several points, to communicate with people, to learn things, to watch music videos, and to get sexual enjoyment. The point of cigarettes to me is to relieve stress, to another the point of cigarettes is the thing that murdered grandpa.

I would not say living on earth is pointless. There are a million points in reality. To try to live by a philosophy of meaninglessness is absurd, if a person truly thought everything had no point, then they couldn't even operate a computer or use a telephone. The fact that they do, gives reality Meaning. But at the same time the stars, ancient ruins, rock formations made millions of years ago, the ocean notify mankind of their needlessness. But on a small microcosmic scale man has meaning if he wants it or not. Because even if you are a hermit, the point of your genitals, is to shit piss and fuck.

Concerning if we know, we can know everything. Someone said, I can't remember who, "The world is true." Wittgenstein said, "The world is all that is the case." If it happened in the universe we can figure it out. That is one of the main things that causes these conservativisms today. Before science, mankind did not know a lot of things. Now as each day passes we know more and more. Mankind likes mysticism, mysticism has hierarchy, it allows for racism, for snobbery, for one man to be born rich and another to be poor, it makes religion and nationality true, it makes women below man, black below white, etc. Mankind must accept and many have, that everything can be found out, that there is truth behind everything, But the truth is mostly horrible, it tells the talentless lazy man that he is talentless and lazy and that there is no race below them and they have no right to oppress women. It tells the person that gets their self-worth from nationality that nationality is an accident, mere chance and means nothing. It tells the poor person that wants there to be a God to send them to heaven and punish their oppressors, that at the end there will be no heaven and no punishment for their oppressors. It tells the Middle-Class Christian Republican that they are murderers and not People of God.

But they already know these things, because you can't lie to yourself about something if you don't already know what you are lying about.

PK: Yes, there are a lot of points in the world. Some people make their points into swords, machine guns, or a billboard campaign on 95 South. Some go to Denny's, a strip club, or Crapiokie. Some even write books, post on a blog, or conduct an interview. I hear you.

The characters in Human War live with many different points. Kendra has the potential to be anything, but prefers working at Pizza Hut. Jimmy is outraged at the Iraq War, but can't change that reality, so he placates himself with a boner. Marc wages between outrage, resistance, and brief moments of acceptance in what is happening around him.

The writing of novels is also an act of resistance. We set up lies to counter other lies, when we know the truth, or are in the process of finding it by writing amidst our own. In the end, reality is the final truth. We have to shit, piss, and fuck. We are living in our respective lives. We continue to see more lies. People make points to counter these, and we keep living until we don't.

I find life to be a constant check of when I am lying to myself about reality. When I accept the truth, I can actually see the choices in front of me. If I'm really clear about reality, the choices don't seem like choices. They just are what they are. My boss says, "Work harder!" I work harder. My mother says, "You need to get married." I ask, "Is that true? What's reality?" "No," I realize. "I don't have too. I could. Who knows?" Then I laugh. Things aren't that serious anymore. It's just another person with a story. It's not necessarily mine and I don't have to live it.

Politics are just another story. I can make many choices to help the world. In the United States, I can join rallies. I can speak at engagements. I can vote for candidates. I can give money to organizations. I can also help other artists. I can create my own art. Whatever it is. There are lots of possibilities.

What makes you laugh these days?

Noah Cicero: A lot of things make me laugh. I think you asked that, because maybe I seem from my writing that I wouldn't laugh. That I'm really depressed all the time. But that isn't true. When I write I'm alone, and I only write when the mood comes. My writing is like a violent outburst, or when someone finally tells someone or some people what they truly think about them. That's why my books aren't very long, because they are really just little outbursts of emotion. Like pent up shit, and suddenly it floods out.

To be honest I think I am happier than 99 percent of the population. Even though I'm a dishwasher and I don't have much, I think I get a lot more enjoyment out of life than most people with a lot more. I've been told many times that I was the happiest person people have ever met.

But the word isn't "happy", it is enjoyment. One isn't "happy" or in a "state of happiness." There is nothing happy about paying bills or washing the clothes, it really depends on how you get enjoyment out of the little events of life

I'm not sure, it seems like a lot of people don't get much enjoyment out of life. And enjoyment is subjective, and beyond language, so I'll stop there.

PK: You said it, brother. It's the little things. A nice night of lovemaking, the way I dance at a club in Itaehwon, Christina Aguilera singing "Beautiful", reading The Human War while some Korean vendor shouts in the streets below me, having the opportunity to talk to you and possibly kick it in the city. Man, that's what life's all about - the little things.

So what's the latest in Ohio? You going to stick with this dishwasher gig, or are you going to hit up something else? Any moves for the future? Books in the works? Music projects?

Noah Cicero: I'm probably going to stick with the dishwasher gig. It doesn't remotely tax my mind. And I would rather think about writing than any stupid job I might get. I like to dish wash and cook and work in kitchens. It is fun and easy. I like how there are different people there everyday. A lot of jobs have the same assholes there everyday. Restaurants have like 80 workers and only thirty are needed a day, so like different people are there and if you hate some people you work with, ALL the people you hate aren't there all at once. Cause I hate like five people I work with, but only like two are ever there at once, which I find good.

I like where I work too, because there are high schoolers, kids in votecs, kids in college to become lawyers, 50 year ex crack heads, people who go to jail all the time etc. Restaurants are strange, they are one of the few jobs that can have so many different kinds of people working and having to deal with each other in a small confined environment. You work at a factory, you have all the same kinds of blue-collar people, you work in an office, you have all white-collar office workers, you have janitors but you don't have to deal with them. But a restaurant is like a little microcosm of America as a whole. I don't know, it inspires me in a way; I've always done my best work while working at restaurants.

I just completed a book called The Insurgent. Hopefully someone will publish it and I'm planning on submitting Burning Babies again.

No music plans besides listening to Party Like A Rock Star over and over and over again.
Noah Cicero is the author of The Human War (Fugue State Press, 2003), The Condemned (Six Gallery Press, 2006), The Living and the Dead (Bear Parade), and Treatise (Noah Cicero, 2007). His blog is The Outsider.

Tao Promo Shots in Korea

Tao was kind enough to send some gifts in the post. I thought it would be nice to share these stickers with the rest of Korea.

Take that NYC Transit!

No babies were harmed in the making of this shot. This young girl is 3 months old, and already reading Tao's new books.

On a lamp post in Dobong-Gu.

Growing from the natural world.

At first, I thought this was a badmitton raquet to be used during night play. It was only after I attached a sticker to the device, that I discovered it was a fly swatter. Apparently, the light attracts mosquitos.

I have no idea what it will do to the sticker. Probably, kill it.

My Hollywood charm came in handy for this shot. I had to pay off a clerk, and then sweet talk a couple girls to fire bee bee's at the sticker. I dig this shot.

Which one do you think will help Tao's books sell at your local bookstore?

(These photos are part of the public domain. Please feel free to copy and distribute those you find nutritious.)

Poems at No Tell Motel

I am the featured poet at No Tell Motel this week. They are mostly poems about dinosaurs facing extinction because of consumers like Coca Cola. It might be just what the doctor ordered.

Ain't Nothing (cont.) iv

Ki Eun lifted the champagne bottle to her mouth. She whispered to the American. She told him about her love for Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. She said she liked his voice. The American nodded. He was close to falling. She let him touch her thigh. She enjoyed her power over him. She liked to drink champagne.

"I like champagne," she told him.

"Good," he said. "How much?"

"For what?"

The American pointed to the bulge in his pants.

"100,000," she smiled. "100."

"Too much," the American scoffed.

"Okay," she said. "Can you buy me another drink?"

"Another drink? You've had 3 already? I'm already a hundred in the hole! Why don't you make good?"


The American grabbed Ki Eun's hand and pulled her close to him. She let him slobber over her neck. She liked him. He was a sweet man. He just drank too much. "Goodbye, Mister," she said, and shoved hard against his shoulders. The American dangled on his heels for a moment before falling to the floor; his head banged twice and very hard.

"Is he dead?" Ji Hyun asked.

"Feel his stomach."

Ji Hyun knelt next to the American. She put her hand on his stomach. It moved ever so slightly. "He's alive."

"Yes," Ki Eun frowned. "Luckily."

Ki Eun let the others nurse him back to a sitting position. She was done for the night.

"Only for this," she reminded herself, and felt for the won in her purse. "Only for you."

Korean Monsoon

Ain't Nothing (cont.)

Ki Eun met Fadhel on a blind date in Dobong-Gu. He was dressed in blue slacks and a striped short sleeve shirt. He talked a lot about Bob Dylan. "I listen to him on most flights. Highway 61 relaxes my nerves." Ki Eun didn't pay attention. She was looking at his shoulders. They were broad. "Nul bun u gae," she thought to herself in Korean. "Safe."

Fadhel had no interest in being anything for anyone. He was passing time before his next flight to Hong Kong. Fun was the key word on his agenda. "So what's there to do around here?"

"There's lots. What do you want to do?" Ki Eun smiled.

"A place a little more exciting than this would be a start," Fadhel gestured to the walls of Joe's Sandwich and Coffee Shop.

"Have you heard of poktanjoo?"


"Bomb alcohol?"

"What's that?"

"It depends, but, basically it's beer mixed with soju, but uh...if you have more money than it can be beer mixed with whisky. So either way, it can give you a lot of sickness."


"The next day it gives you bad hangover."

"Well, what else could we drink? What would you drink?"

"Baeksaejoo. Joo means alcohol in Korea."

"Okay. Where do we go?"

"Any samgyeopsal place is good. But when you drink beaksaejoo or soju, it goes well with samgyeopsal. You know, three layers of fat - barbecue."

"Sounds healthy," Fadhel laughed.

"You don't want to go?"

"No, I'll try it."


Ain't Nothing (cont.)

Ki Eun turns down the stereo. She walks to the fridge, gets a bottle of so ju from the freezer, and brings it into the dining room. Fadhel is sitting with his back to the kitchen. His eye is on the front door. Ki Eun puts the bottle next to his neck. Fadhel flinches slightly. Then she puts it against his neck.

"Mmmm," he says. "Cold."

"Yes," she says.

Fadhel takes the bottle from Ki Eun's hands and puts it on the dining room table. Then he puts his hand on Ki Eun's thigh. He traces up her skirt. She giggles.

"You want me?" she asks.

"Yes," he says.

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing

This was not the first time Barry Manilow was played on the stereo. He had been used to lighten the mood and alleviate stress in the Alouadi's home in 7 situations in the past.

1. Ki Eun returns from a memorial service for those lost in the Gwang Ju protests.
2. Fadhel gets grounded from flight status at Korea Air because of a kidney stone.
3. Fadhel and Ki Eun argue about finances for their summer trip to the East Sea.
4. Ki Eun's mother passes away from Cancer.
5. Fadhel and his brothers dance in the Alouadi home after local police force them to vacate a street corner in Kang Nam for singing the Canadian National Anthem at 3AM on Bastille Day.
6. Ki Eun, fresh from a color procedure at a foreign hair salon in Hong Da, is obstructed by several men, as they make catcalls about her new brunette status.
7. Fadhel and Ki Eun are to meet a third party for an undisclosed procedure.

Jim Goar's "Past Simple 3"

Jim Goar is a writer. He is also the editor of Past Simple. If you are in need of good cheer, exploding stars, or architecture for healthier living, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

Can you say great action pic? I dare you.

Reb Livingston Is a Poetry Goddess

The film I made with Reb is now up and ready for view at The Continental Review. Pay a visit if you like. According to Reb, all the celebrity poets will now be begging me to direct their poem videos. "Time to raise your rates," her email joked. She is funny and sweet. Her poem is gorgeous as well. Definitely, listen and enjoy.

Tomorrow: Comics R Us!

Birthday Festivities

I am now 31. I am still alive. As of today, I am on a diet of taking it easy. Tomorrow I go to see a chiropractor and am due for an Indonesian massage. Aside from this treat of luxury, I have a pair of black, machinist combat boots arriving from America, so I can say I am thoroughly pleased. Tomorrow I may even get a pair of New Balance sneakers to help with my running regiment.

I know what most of you may be thinking - why all the care and love for Pirooz? Well, I have been very aware of how different things have been affecting my body lately. I know when I am over exerting myself on the track. I know that too much work or thinking makes my neck ache. And I also know that spending too much time with people can often be tiresome if I am ready to spend it doing other things.

So, yes, I will be shifting the way I live in the next few months. I am not going to go out or chase girls. I am not even going to go out, besides the occasional dinner with students or friends. I have a bit of work ahead of me with writing and comic books, and I am so looking forward to my time off in August.

What else? Well, I got the good news from Ben Hamin (my former college roommate and band manager for Cecil's Water), that he has a brought a beautiful baby girl into the world. I saw the pics this morning, along with a nice note from this fantastic friend. It was good to see him in such good spirits. If you haven't wished him well, be sure you drop him a line.

As far as birthday fesitivities, I did manage to go out to get sushi last night with colleagues, and then bowl for an hour or so. It was nice to get a solid 131. It's not a terribly good bowling game, but it's also not a 54.

In other news, Nicholas Manning of The Continental Review has expressed an interest in putting up the poetry film I made with Reb a few months ago. It was nice to make a connection with him, and to view some of the visual poetics that the site has posted. I have long been an advocate for poetry being translated into the film medium, so I feel particularly keen on being part of this wonderful site, and the impressive roster of talent that is being exhibited. If you haven't visited, be sure you do. I will keep you posted on when the film Reb and I made will be available for view.

Clue: Did someone say a new book by Pirooz Kalayeh with "Whopper" in the title may be out for sale in the coming months?

Awakens from a Dream and Listens to Tom Waits and Nirvana

I woke up from a dream. I was living next to a mountain. Abdul Baha's house was next door. I looked over at the house. There were travellers from different countries. I looked at my feet. There was a small shit zoo. It was just a puppy. I picked it up. My brother complained about it needing to piss. He put a litlle dog sweater on it. I said it was cute. I took the dog out for a walk. I came back. I put the dog on the hardwood floor. It ran around. I woke up at 5 AM. I went straight to Youtube, and decided to find Tom Waits. I listened to different things until 8AM. Then I typed this.

Stressed and Overworked

I am very short on patience this week. I am suprising myself left and right with the amount of tension and anger I'm feeling. I am not sure if this is because I've reached my halfway point in Korea, or because I am working 3 jobs with very little downtime for myself. My guess is the latter. I have literally not done anything these last 2 weeks but teach class in my physical and online classrooms. It is quite ridiculous. I have been waking up at 4 in the morning and going until about 10 PM every night non-stop.

No one is to blame but myself. I could have refused the option to teach this night film course, and I could have postponed my new college work for a couple more weeks, but I guess I wanted to be busy. I work best creatively when I am busy. It forces me to the moment of conception faster.

At the same time, I may just be too busy at the moment. Ah, what can I say? There are still some good points to being this busy. There's always my love for being straight and to the point. "That's fine," I said to someone fairly rudely tonight. "You can go." It might have had something to do with watching THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA in my film course, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I am Meryl Streep's character at times. That might even be why I liked producing so damn much. I told people what to do and they did it. No questions asked. Everyone was real professional.

Of course, this doesn't really work in a country where you have a toddler's conception of the language. You're lucky if you get anything done for a class, and if you do, you better make sure you're championing the whole thing. At least, that is what I have learned for myself. It's a good lesson, and, at the same time, I can't help but recognize that I like myself better when I am relaxed and carefree.

Well, it's only a couple more days of this. Two, to be exact. Then I will have a bit more control of my schedule, and I can get back to my creative world that I love.

Can anyone say vacation, tequila, and massage at the same time?

CLUE: Handsome man is getting one year older.

My Favorite Scene from "Good Will Hunting"


Sean and Will sit in the bleachers at the mostly empty park.
They look out over a small pond, in which a group of
schoolchildren on a field trip ride the famous Swan Boats.

So what's with this place? You have a
swan fetish? Is this something you'd
like to talk about?

I was thinking about what you said to
me the other day, about my painting.
I stayed up half the night thinking
about it and then something occured
to me and I fell into a deep peaceful
sleep and haven't thought about you
since. You know what occurred to me?


You're just a boy. You don't have the
faintest idea what you're talking about.

Why thank you.

You've never been out of Boston.


So if I asked you about art you could
give me the skinny on every art book
ever written...Michelangelo?
You know a lot about him I bet. Life's
work, criticisms, political aspirations.
But you couldn't tell me what it smells
like in the Sistine Chapel. You've
never stood there and looked up at
that beautiful ceiling. And if I asked
you about women I'm sure you could
give me a syllabus of your personal
favorites, and maybe you've been laid
a few times too. But you couldn't
tell me how it feels to wake up next
to a woman and be truly happy. If I
asked you about war you could refer me
to a bevy of fictional and non-fictional
material, but you've never been in
one. You've never held your best
friend's head in your lap and watched
him draw his last breath, looking to
you for help. And if I asked you about
love I'd get a sonnet, but you've never
looked at a woman and been truly
vulnerable. Known that someone could
kill you with a look. That someone
could rescue you from grief.
That God had put an angel on Earth
just for you. And you wouldn't know
how it felt to be her angel. To have
the love be there for her forever.
Through anything, through cancer. You
wouldn't know about sleeping sitting
up in a hospital room for two months
holding her hand and not leaving because
the doctors could see in your eyes
that the term "visiting hours" didn't
apply to you. And you wouldn't know
about real loss, because that only
occurs when you lose something you
love more than yourself, and you've
never dared to love anything that much.
I look at you and I don't see an
intelligent confident man, I don't see
a peer, and I don't see my equal. I
see a boy. Nobody could possibly
understand you, right Will? Yet you
presume to know so much about me because
of a painting you saw. You must know
everything about me. You're an orphan,

Will nods quietly.

SEAN (cont'd)
Do you think I would presume to know
the first thing about who you are
because I read "Oliver Twist?" And I
don't buy the argument that you don't
want to be here, because I think you
like all the attention you're getting.
Personally, I don't care. There's
nothing you can tell me that I can't
read somewhere else. Unless we talk
about your life. But you won't do
that. Maybe you're afraid of what
you might say.

Sean stands,

SEAN (cont'd)
It's up to you.

And walks away.

For full text see

Year of the Dragon

I am listening to the Music & Lyrics soundtrack. It's the bomb diggity. It makes me wiggle my hips and feel so 80's. I heart that. I also dig talking to Fitzy boy. I called him in Philly. We shot the shit about the upcoming audition with Atlantic.

"Atlantic is a good record company."

"I know."

"Just have fun."

"Yeah, who knows? I just want to make 30,000 a year with music. That's enough. I just want to get this shovel out of my hand. I don't mind doing concrete work, but I just want to know either way if I'm going to be doing it for good. I've been at this music thing for a while."

"You'll get an offer."

"I hope so."

"You remember us listening to your band outside the Disco House?"

"Which band?"

"Oh, the one you were with before you lived in L.A.?"

"Oh, yeah."

"It was fucking good. I was expecting it to suck, but I was like, 'This is good.' "

I laugh.

"I was like, 'Is that you singing?' And you were like, 'Yup.' "

"Yeah, good times."

"You know this Winter it's 3 years since you hung out with all of us in L.A."

"Oh yeah? That's cool."

"Yeah, that is cool."

I heart Fitzy boy. He is full of love. We stop talking. I go to the E-Mart. I get myself some chicken nuggets, a coffee maker, and some bagels. Then I head home. The cabbie wants to chat it up.

"Where you from?" he asks in Korean.

"L.A." I say.

"Oh, L.A.! Los Angeles!"

"Yeah," I shrug.

I could say more. I don't want to though. I get a call from a hot girl.

"What are you up to?" I ask.


"You want me to make you dinner?"

"I ate."

"So what you want to do?"

"You get the cd I left for you?"

"Ah, you want to do music."

She giggles.

"Alright. I'll be home in 10 minutes. We can rehearse the song."

Now the rehearsal is over. I wrote this poem about her. I sent it to her on email.

maybe, you melt me
maybe, you turn tricks
as easy cheetos
maybe, feet whip it
legs on legos
maybe, sex is heart
pushing daisies

She thinks I'm crazy. I think I'm cute, lovely, beautiful, Cover Boy.

Now I'm listening to the Music & Lyrics soundtrack. I dig it.

What are you up to? Want to move with me to New York? Want to make some babies? Have sex at the Radisson? Fall in and out of love, while I tour around the country playing music? Want to get bored and watch America's New Top Model? Want to watch our parents die? Want to watch me die? Want to keep on living until you don't?

It isn't much of a pitch. I guess I'm not much of a salesman when it comes to love. I could be sweeter. Syrup, in fact. It just turns into truth in the end. I am what I am. You are what you are. If you want to have the world with me, then just fucking get on the train.

I heard someone say that about love once. I was in Itaewhon. I was drinking a tequila on the rocks. The waiter gave me a look when I ordered.

"He wants you," Jim said.

"All night," I said.

"Women are crazy."

"So crazy."

We head over to a hostess bar. A girl comes over. She chats me up. I tell her she's hot. She blushes.

"I quit smoking yesterday," she says. "It was my Birthday."

"Oh, Happy Birthday."

A woman walks up with flower bouquets. I slap a ten spot down, and hand hot mamma the bouquet.

"For your birthday," I say.

"Thanks," she says.

"Want a cigarette?" I ask.


We talk about the movie, Sideways. I tell her I met Rex Pickett in Hollywood.

"He was cool," I say.

"I'd imagine he'd be real sensitive like the character."

"Yeah, I guess," I say. "He might have been sensitive, but he wasn't as cute as me."

She giggles. I get a call from Jim. He's at a bar down the street.

"You leaving?" she asks.

"Nah," I say. "I'm going to talk to you for 10 more minutes. I like you."

"You like Santana?"

"Yeah, he's got a nice guitar tone," I say.

She holds her phone to my ear and plays an MP3 of Carlos.

"Nice," I say.

"I like him."

I drink another tequila.

"How old are you?" she asks.

"30," I say. "76."

"Oh, you're a Dragon," she says, and waves her arms above her head. "I'm a sheep."

"Mmmm," I say. "When were you born?"


"That's perfect," I say and mull it over. "Yeah, I dig you. You got a lot of fun in you. You like to dance?"

"Yeah," she smiles.

I look over at the other cat with me. I look at my phone.

"Alright, that's it for me. I gotta go."


"I'll come talk to you again."

"Okay," she says. "Don't drink too much."

I lay down a 100 spot, and head to meet Jim. He's heavy in a Guiness. I pinch his belly.

"Let's go eat!"

"Let's go!"

We eat burgers at a gourmet French restaurant. Then we bail. It's late.

"You heading home?"

"Yeah," I say.

"Alright," he says. "I'll call you tomorrow."

I walk the streets of Itaehwon. There are a lot of American soldiers rolling in and of clubs. I can't get a cab. It's raining. I go into a convenient store. I get some money out of the ATM and a pack of smokes. I walk down the block. Someone calls my name. They've got a cab. I get in. I hear a song in my head. It's an original. I store it in a back file of the mind.

clean whistle
rise the push
don't you ever turn
your back
on the
whistle clean
push the rise
back your turn ever
you don't

I'm listening to Music & Lyrics. Hugh Grant is my favorite singer of all time. I would like to hang out with him and Nicholas Cage. I would like to go with them to prom. I would bring hot mamma as my date. I would get them to play Santana. Someone would tell me that I needed to sing. I would get up. I would walk to the back of the dance floor. I would do a couple pelvic thrusts and then shout about New York. I would pitch you into a ball or sunrise to turn your mind into mine and be done with it.

"So what do you say, babe? Run away with me?"

"You're cute," she smiles. "I'm going to bed."

She stands. She looks at me. I stand.

"Walk me to the door," she says.

I walk. I hold her for a minute. I kiss her neck. She kisses mine.

"You like me this much or this much," I say and hold up my fingers an inch and two inches apart.

She holds her hands on either side of her hips and walks down the hallway. It' good to be alive, I think. I could just sit here in the monsoon of Korea for an hour. I could make it for an hour. Then I'll go inside. I'll lie on the floor. I'll pretend I'm waving my arms over my head. I'll re-live the moment you turned me on. I'll write a song about it. I'll put it on a record and then go running. I'll let your hands talk for your eyes. I'll listen to this soundtrack, smoke cigarettes, and wait for the rain to stop.

Reading: Horoscopes

Not too bad a year, in terms of health - especially if you were born in 1964. Dragons suffering from chronic illnesses can expect an unexpectedly swift recovery in their health. Youngsters should not indulge in too many wild and fun-seeking events.