Category Archives: From the Past

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


But don’t just fuck anything. Wear yellow robot rings and go to church. When they ask you if they can say a prayer for you, tell them no. Then watch a motorcycle accident, but one where everybody is okay. Carry baseballs. Kiss girls you don’t care about and don’t call the ones you do. Nap in hammocks and find no home. Be who you thought you were to be and nothing of the above.

Henry Miller stopped editing. I wish he would edit me. What should I keep, Henry Miller, which of these words?

“None of them,” he would reply. “Rip them up and throw your manuscripts into the wind! Leave each sentence cast molded like Pompeii. Cast the city in an iconoclastic flow! Take no prisoners, and be stark raving mad in lunatic jubilation, a professional psychologist turned psycho-killer. Be yourself,” he’d say emphatically, like he knew shit from shit.

The levels of things that have happened and will occur are not for the weak of heart. Nick knows. We are not weak of heart. We are alive, gushing, like Aztecs or maybe Mayans, biting their tongues out of insatiable appetites, never afraid, eating the hearts of our enemies, feeling the twitch of fresh muscle tissue pulsate against our taste buds, clump clump, the hearts of the unforgiven. We feast like pilgrims. We gush like Aztecs.

We die like warriors.

“What is the Klingon word for loneliness?” Nick asks in a fit of madness, laughing hysterically to himself like he alone knows. There is a look in his eye that makes me want to attack him with the closest weapon, possibly this pizza tray, or maybe fists.

“There is none.”

We are alone, and in that we have each other. Nick is worried that there is a Klingon word for loneliness. He says he knows it. “Graaradack.” He’s worried he might be misquoted. I have no such qualms.

We are homeless. We live in New York City and we don’t know why. Nick wants to be here, and I want to know find Henry Miller, dead, somewhere unknown, a question for Wikipedia or someone with an English degree. I said Montreal, but all signs point to New Orleans. Are we French or just stuck in the Bastille? Where is my Robespierre? Off with their heads.

Nick talks to pretty girls, pretty girls that I point out to him. He is a miraculous conversationalist. The words that come out of his mouth blow my mind, they’re that good. He could talk to anyone, just like Mr. Ed. It is his downfall. There’s nothing worse than being charming. It’s nothing but a crutch. It is our downfall.

Worst of all, it’s sometimes effective. The operative sometimes is operative.

Nick has gone to purchase cocaine but I refuse to move. I have nowhere to go, and no reason to leave. Did you know I write pedantic, like a backwards clock that keeps ticking for no reason? My voice is deadpan and my sentiment scorches anyone in contact. My voice is incoherent, but I scream and I scream anyways, like a tree in a forest. I am not afraid, I am petrified.

I plug in my phone but there doesn’t seem to be a reason to do so—nobody is calling me.


The Most Punk Rock Shit I Ever Took

If you’re anything like me, I bet you’ve taken some pretty punk rock shits in your life. Maybe you were lucky enough to take a shit on the throne at CBGB’s, or maybe you’ve taken a shit on your ex-girlfriend’s porch. Maybe you shat on G.G. Allin. We call that revenge in the industry. Well, I remember the most punk rock shit of my life like I just got off the pot. Shit, I can almost smell it. 

It happened in Portland a few years back, at the bass player from Millions of Dead Cops’ house. My band had played a show at the Ash Street Saloon the night before, and if there’s one thing my band did well, it was getting as incredibly fucked up as possible. We had been forced to sit through a bunch of local bands cause we were touring and didn’t have to go to work the next day. That meant that most of their friends were gonna take off as soon as they saw the shitty band they came to watch, which we call typical bullshit in the industry. Sometimes people stay, like when there’s nowhere else to go or when the opening bands kick that much ass, but this was not one of those nights. We wanted to be dicks to everyone, but people were buying merch, and that was something at least. We hadn’t been paid for a couple states, and morale was low. Getting kicked out of Montana and spending a night in Spokane will do that to a band. Portland had welcomed us with open arms and frosty containers, and we really didn’t have too much reason to complain. In fact, we wanted to give whoever stuck around a good show.

“What do you think tonight, wanna do a danger tape show?”

That was a throwback reference to a show we’d played about a year prior, when we were going through a period of ‘growth’. We had called the phase “Total Mass Destruction” after some shitty song we stole from some shitty band, and the movement mostly involved breaking shit, getting wasted, and having as much fun as possible at everybody’s expense. We were good at it. The danger tape show had taken place at some shitty bar in Salt Lake City, where I had stripped naked and wrapped myself up with red tape that said “DANGER” all over it. The bar wasn’t too happy about our taste in aesthetics, but they weren’t planning on paying us anyway, so we didn’t give a fuck what they thought. I remember some girl had really, really liked that show. I figured she must have been suffering from head trauma.

For obvious reasons, we brought the tape roll on tour with us, and for just as obvious reasons, we hadn’t used it. It was a statement we didn’t always feel like making, especially in places where we were likely to get our asses kicked by a bunch of fucking rednecks. But up in Portland, we had been billed as a punk rock band for punk rockers, and we didn’t feel like disappointing. All options were on the table.

The crowd thinned as we got ready for the show. The plan was a quick sound check followed by an even quicker wardrobe change. It goes without saying that we were wasted. I walked on stage, set up my amplifier, picked up my guitar, and somehow, though I’m still not sure how exactly, I hoisted my guitar directly into my mouth and knocked my front tooth out onto the floor.

“My tooth,” I screamed at Brian, our bass player with the novelty mustache, “I think I lost my tooth!”

Brian was way more wasted than I was, which says a lot, and he was taking tuning far too seriously for my likes. “An E,” he kept repeating, “gimme an E!” Then he would smile with a dangerous look on his face, baring his teeth like an uncontrollable madman. “An E, an E!” Fucking asshole. He didn’t realize what had happened until the next day, when he showed up out of the blue with some girls and a bag filled with American Apparel t-shirts. Brian was of no use to me, this much was clear. I gave up and turned to our drummer, Dick Snott.

“My tooth! Holy fucking shit! I knocked out my tooth!”

“You knocked out your tooth?” he asked with a serious look on his face, “lemme see.”

I grinned broadly for him.

“Yeah, you definitely did alright. You look good, I like it. Are you gonna get in the danger tape or what?”

I was less than thrilled by his response. “Are you fucking serious? No fucking way man, I just knocked out my tooth! Fuck this shit, let’s just play the fucking show and get the fuck out of here. I can’t believe I fucking knocked out my own fucking tooth. Fuck!”

Then, for whatever reason, I changed my mind. I embraced breaking the tooth, and chose to celebrate it by getting naked and wrapping red tape around my dick. I prefer not to wonder why I make decisions like this. Fuck everybody. Dick Snott wore an apron with a picture of a headless body builder on the front, but otherwise went naked as well. Brian wore his G-Stars like always.

The show was a smashing success, by which I mean we succeeded at smashing a whole shit load of things. Somebody tried to tell me Portland would never be the same, but I didn’t believe them—Portland would always be the same.

Then, blank. Somehow I made it back to MDC’s couch, though I couldn’t tell you how. All I can say is I woke up in the morning confused and disoriented, thanking a god I didn’t believe if for ensuring I still had my pants. I labored to my feet and decided to walk to the closest gas station in a blind effort to find something edible for my utterly destroyed body. On the way I called my mother and asked her if she’d be willing to buy me a new tooth for both my birthday and Christmas present. She said maybe. I got to the gas station and for reasons that I cannot fully explain, purchased two vitamin waters (pomegranate), a stick of beef jerky, string cheese, and a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I devoured my meal like a stray dog, instantly feeling much, much worse. Not sure what else I should do, I went back to the house and tried to let the food settle. I talked to MDC’s bassist about the show for a bit, leading him to tell me he wished he’d stuck around to watch it. Apparently he really hated the promoter and would have loved to see her deal with our shitty antics. Whatever.

And then, suddenly, I felt a strange uncomfortable sensation emanating up from my bowels. I excused myself in a hurry and leaped like a panicked gazelle into the bathroom. I barely had time to sit on the lid before my ass started spewing everywhere. It was like my asshole had become the mouth of a fire breather who took performing seriously. The diarrhea was wet, hot, and unfathomably disturbing. I knew I was in for a religious experience. I clutched the sides of the toilet with both hands and a foot, hanging on for dear life as rocket fuel funneling out my hellhole tried to blast me through the ceiling. Unquestionable lethal fumes filled the room, making it hard to breathe through the nauseous stench. Stars started floating before my eyes and all indications made it clear I was close to passing out. I tried to focus my mind on wondering what colors were being projected, but that clearly wasn’t going to work. The only thing keeping me conscious was the sonic booms that thundered out my ass and reverberated throughout the neighborhood, shaking plaster off the walls with each concussive blast. This was as punk rock a shit as anyone could have. It was loud, trashy, and distorted. It had too much personality. The shit simply did not give a fuck.

The movement lasted way longer than I ever assumed a shit could, and after awhile, I began to wonder if it would ever actually come to an end. Maybe I’d go on punk rock shitting for the rest of my life. But then just as suddenly as it began, the shit fired to a screeching halt. Not sure what had just happened, I sat there for and tried to gather my senses in vain. After a few minutes, I got off the pot and decided to take a look at my fresh creation. It was a work of art. I half expected representatives from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame to walk in and ask if they could preserve my shit for all the ages. Undigested gas station food layered on top of stale PBR and Canadian whiskey coated the inner bowl. Small bits of beef jerky floated aimlessly through the liquid like a garbage patch in a sea of toxic sludge. A volcanic archipelago of filth rose up through the cesspool, a mixed multicolored mass of foulness. Most distinctly, I remember the bright red glow of mashed up cheetos. It lit up the room like Hiroshima gone supernova. My ass was surely covered in radiation burns. It took half a roll of toilet paper to wipe the shit off my sopping rear end, further plugging an already plugged shitter. Never before, and never since, have I taken such a revoltingly obnoxious shit.

I washed up, walked back into the front room, and told everyone what had happened. Nobody seemed to feel comfortable looking me in the eye, but one kid did congratulate me. Hell, I felt like I had accomplished something special. It’s good to know where the bar is set, if only to have something to measure other things by.

Nowadays I take regular, boring shits, and you know what, I’m okay with that. But I’ll never forget that moment, that singular life-altering event—I’ll never forget the most punk rock shit of my life.

Something About Charlie

This is some dumb thing I wrote awhile back that’s a fictional conversation about a true story. To the best of my knowledge, everything in it is exactly how it might have gone. I remember watching the video of it back in high school, trying to insert blurs over the obscene for the school TV station, and really just laughing my ass off thanks to the ridiculousness of it all. Let me set the mood: two guys are sitting in a dingy diner…

“You remember Charlie, right?”

“Charlie? Um… I don’t think so…”

“Really? I swear to god you’ve met him. I used to live with him back in that house on 8th east. He’s the big guy, the actor.”

“Hmm… I’m not sure. What does he look like?”

“He’s big. Like 6’7” or something. He’s a big big too—he would have made a fantastic linebacker. He kind of looks like Brendan Frasier from…um…”

“Encino Man?”

“Totally! Only more Cro-Magnum.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met him.”

“Weird. Well, either way, he used to work at a zoo, back when we were 16 or 17. I can’t remember exactly what his job was, but whatever it was, he used to have to go into the primate exhibit all the time.”


“So, there was this one chimp named Chip who had this crazy crush on Charlie, right?”


“Well every time Chip saw Charlie, he’d stare at him, like Charlie was the most attractive chimpanzee he’d ever seen or something. The monkey would just sit there and stare, slowly swinging his arm back and forth, swinging faster and faster with building intensity. Next thing you know, he’d pop a boner and start masturbating furiously with his foot. He couldn’t help it—the monkey was simply that turned on. He was bizarrely automatic.”


“Come on! I couldn’t make this shit up. He couldn’t help it. He’d just start jerking off uncontrollably, shrieking at the top of his lungs, staring intently, deep into Charlie’s eyes.”

“He’d do this every time he saw Charlie?”

“Every fucking time. I’m talking auto-fucking-matic. Seriously, Charlie could get the monkey to masturbate on command. It was like he was a Shamu trainer or something. Charlie would always get him to do it when there were a bunch of kids on fieldtrips in the room. They’d crowd the glass while Charlie stood behind them, staring at Chip, who’d suddenly see Charlie and start whacking off in a fantastic fury. It was classic.”

“No way…”

“No, seriously! He’d stand there on one leg, masturbating like a slobbering mad man with his foot, just totally going for it. Then he’d hit this point where he couldn’t take it anymore. He’d end up throwing himself across the pit and totally nailing the window, hard. Usually he’d end up sliding 25 feet to the ground, but every now and again he’d manage to catch the ledge. When that happened, he’d just hang there, totally erect, licking his lips and staring at Charlie. The kids loved it.”

“I bet. Is he still there?”

“Oh no, Charlie moved to L.A. a long time ago. He’s out there doing his acting thing.”

“No, I mean the chimp.”

“Ooooh, well, funny you should ask. So Chip had to get checked out by a vet, right? And he was in this room with another chimp, Happy. So they’re sitting there getting their shots or whatever when suddenly Happy went berserker. He grabbed the vet’s arms at his elbows and ripped all the flesh off up to his hands. Apparently they call it ‘gettin’ cuffed’ in the industry.”

“No shit?”

“No shit.”

“And that was Happy?”

“Totally ridiculous.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well, while Happy was attacking the vet, Chip just stood there on a table, clapping his hands and screaming. Then a zoo guard stormed into the room and blew both their brains out. That’s the end of the story. It’s sad, cause Chip wasn’t doing anything—he was just excited. I guess they had to kill them both though, just because you can’t be too safe. Zoos are fucked up places.”


“I know… Charlie used to tell me about how Happy had been castrated as an infant and didn’t have any balls, and that Chip had giant balls and it made Happy sad. But I don’t know about all that.”


“I know, it’s weird… still… I kind of feel bad for him.”

“For getting shot?”

“No, for Charlie… I mean, well, still to this day, I don’t think anyone’s ever loved him as much as that chimp.”

“That sucks…”

The waitress walked back up to the table, just as detached as before.

“Here’s your eggs, hun.”