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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

July 21, 2006

no apologies for what I’ve written, only an apology for not choosing a tense and sticking with it.

This city is trying to kill me. LA, the city itself, wants me dead. It tries to kill me with the decadence, the good times, the hot weather. The people…sex…it’s after my heart…

“This city is trying to kill me,” I told Dave, who is shorter than me, (most people are), and has the confident voice that trains larger men to follow his lead. I like his stories and seek out his advice. We work together at a bar.

He said, “You can’t go back to New Hampshire. The future is an alien to the past. You’re livin’ in LA baby. You’re not a farmboy anymore. Those people will try to kill you if you go back.”

He was right. I was an alien. I know how things work now. Hollywood. Advertising. Things that New Hampshire receives days, months, years later, after they had discharged from LA bars and offices and floated across our country, dripping slowly down into minds so that ideas became trends and to the high schoolers Back East it just seemed like magic came from the tv set. Like alien technology. I was drinking with placenta on my hands…witness to births of cool…not having to wonder where these personalities exploded from, as if from nowhere. Here’s the guy who designed the t-shirt everyone is wearing. This girl writes The Onion. It wouldn’t seem possible when you attend a high school on the edge of an upstate marsh and don’t have a record store to shop at or a movie theatre that plays something other than what Wal*Mart will sell…upstate with cowfields and apple trees that will not teach you anything about dissent. Kids who grow up on dirt roads look at skateboards like they come from Mars. Alien technology.

Did I want to go back “home” for a week and hear people laughing at me in the grocery store? My haircut…my shoes…? Someplaces I could pass as non-alien – until we got drinking and telling stories…I’d sound like a liar…party in Hollywood Hills, Paris Hilton…

But the city was killing me. Decadence. Drugs didn’t mean anything to me anymore, none of them had a forbidden appeal. My veins had residue of continents I’d never set foot on. And pussy. I was older now, and realized how much women liked that. They stepped to me, offered it up in the indirect way of rides, drinks, massages, or just laid it right out… “My boyfriends on the road for a few months and I’m lonely.” Too many bands in LA. Monogomy doesn’t have a hope. There are no prayers.

I had lived long enough to see Pepsi cans change style three or four times. I had seen Coke chase different target audiences. I saw the scam clearly now, how they spoke to us like a good cop coaxing a confession, telling us what we want to hear so we’d whisper, “I love you” like we were lovers not consumers.

But these things weren’t obvious to my parents. My father didn’t believe that Congress was crooked. He swore big business/monopoly was the result of freedom of choice and shouldn’t be regulated. Coke was #1 because it was the best, the best tasting. The best for children. The best for the working poor. The best for America. The people voted. Informed honest elections…
no manipulation…facts are facts when the proof is in the pudding.

I lie in bed till noon…I work at a bar, back on a college-break schedule. I wake up and lie there. I hate my refrigerator. I live alone and can only blame myself for the food in there. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to cook. I can’t go “back home”. That’s what they mean. I get it now. They never said why, but now I know. I’m an alien to the past. I look dangerous. I’m an ugly threat. New ideas, possibly homosexual or something. Ultra liberal feminist stuff…don’t like it.

I’m the threat. What I’ve seen. If Adam had noticed the change and clubbed Eve to death, that’s what I would expect if I went home. Sin is knowledge. I’m dripping in sin. Here in LA sin is a living wage, we make our money on it, slinging mojitos and cosmo’s, some trendy drink…I don’t know what it will be next year…but I’ll find out before my graduating class back home…

My job? Sell an 8 ball of coke to a starlet with semen on her breath from the audition, make an extra buck, everything is ten times larger here, and sin is a glamorous cocktail that we laugh over while in New Hampshire they don’t sell liquor at the jr. market or the grocery store. It is locked up with the state by the highway on the outskirts of town. State Liquor Store, exit #3.

I lie in bed and wonder what dream I’m chasing today? Fame? Is it my guitar or my pen that is going to do it today, going to make me feel better about myself for not being able to hold down a job, not being able to learn something, like math, and do it well, just get up in the morning and go somewhere and do my job…bank teller? auto parts cashier? …I have to do it my way.

Bartend at the coke joint with no management, a bar manager who rides a bicycle in circles and smokes speed leaving the alcoholics and anger management cases in charge. I work 18 hours a week, just enough to pay the rent on my industrial carpeted studio. Right now there are 21 dusty boxes of different sizes in my studio apartment filled with Pyrex beakers, flasks, test tubes and burettes that I’m trying to sell. Pulled from a dumpster with the help of the bar manager. Two grown men in dumpsters. Trying to hustle.

I am a hustler now, I understand what it means. Not a glamorous hip hop crack slanger, just a guy trying to sell someone something they don’t need. Trying to find the guy that needs what I have. Either way, I can’t swing my front door wide open because the cardboard cased stack of glass is in the way. Hustler. Unable to hold a real job. I got fired trying to paint a wall. One of the easiest things, and I can’t keep my mouth shut or show up on time. That’s what they want. Employers.

How do you employ a maniac? I look at the bums under umbrellas in the park, that’s how I’d be without my hustle. I’ve got a few places already picked out. A dry spot with shade. I’d be one of the smart ones. I’d last a long time. I wouldn’t go back east, that’s for sure, to die in the winter next to a heat vent that shut off. Can’t go home…

I’m not looking for a woman to cure the loneliness, either. Tried that. I can’t even enjoy masturbation any more. My dick hurts when I pick it up, and I don’t know where to send my brain. Tired of porn, I try to imagine something new. I’ve tried everything, even little girls, little boys. My parents. I don’t have any imagination left. It all feels so stupid anyway. I feel like demons inside me, and I picture Jesus. I picture him killing demons. Jesus strangling bad men called devils, men like me, with his hands…Jesus has such big violent eyes when he has fingers laced around my throat but I want to thank him for getting rid of the demons.

Once, television was real to me. I knew they were stories, but they came from ideas I’d never had. They were set in locations I’d never seen. Landscapes of sun. Why weren’t we there? Mom, Dad, Sis? Why are we in New Hampshire?

I’m not making it big time either. Just another immigrant story. Most of the time the white guys have it easier. I’m a cream cheese dilettante. A degree, an easy job. The struggle? I make it myself. Cuz I got the language down. I’m tall. That helps. Try being six five someday, you’ll see. The short guys talk tough and punch quick. I just have to hold back, let things sort themselves out.

I’m not even worried about being a drunk anymore. I drink a few, and when the time is right, I drink a few more. No more agonizing, no more all-or-nothing spiritual battles, no more shots poured hoping they kill me. I follow this band or that one, go to the openings, learn a few architect’s names.

I can get by down here in LA, no problem. Won’t get discovered. Gave that acting thing my shot. It’s like the worst 9-5 with a bad boss you can imagine. I’d never get through the breaking in. I’d last longer on a painting crew. But I’m in LA, talking with the writers. They are holy men down here. Hiding in wings or calling themselves ghosts as they write for someone else who has money and ideas.

“Why don’t I know people?” I used to ask myself, riding a ten speed around San Francisco, as was the trend at the time, fuck the hills, you figure out ways around them.

I had good friends, but good friends don’t get your stories published. They don’t offer you the back page of their magazine, because they don’t publish one, they steam clean carpets or screen liver transplant applicants. Real jobs. You have a desire that sends you in search of people who can help you fulfill it. You leave home, then you leave your next home, that’s what I did. My friends played guitars. That didn’t help me at all. Oh, yeah, it was one dream. But not the real dream.

So here I am LA. I’ve met the writers I’ve read about. I’ve seen the people who do what I want to do, sitting across from me in a bar playing obscure music on a Friday night in a place without a cabaret license, so people shoot pool and sit under a dim red bulb to drink and talk. We aren’t here to dance. This is a story tellers bar. People are writing for a living all around me, for the first time in my life. It still feels impossible for me, and I want to go home.

Where was that, again?

New Hampshire?

No way.

1 Comment

  1. take a minute to read what you have written and you’ll possibly find what you are looking for. the animal you don;t want to be just may be the one you are.

    a good hustler knows that you have to trust the people you are the most afraid of being found out by. they already know.

    Comment by takeabath — August 2, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

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