Back in New York

My cat in a warm house.

My cat in a warm house.

I’m back in New York. I drove here, from Texas, in two days. The time alone with my kitten was exactly what we needed.

I’m excited to be back: I haven’t been to the Museum of Natural History in years, even though I was only gone for two months. Before I drove to Texas, that didn’t bother me—I was okay with not doing anything too crazy. Now that I’m back, though, it would be unforgivable to take advantage of my living situation again.

My kitten misses playing outside. A true wild child, she craves adventure. There was this one time, one of my neighbors was outside, playing with a remote control helicopter. She mauled it like a pro. The weather’s too cold for her here. Google calls it 29 degrees, and in Magnolia, it’s 39. I took her outside, yesterday, and in ten minutes, her furry little hide was shivering. I found her across the street in a neighbor’s yard, sipping water out of the cracks in his driveway.
I bought her a remote control car. I’m going to tie a string and a ball to its bumper, and see if she gives chase. Right now, though, the car still scares her. It may have something to do with the fact that the car’s as big as she is.

It’s so easy to be unhappy. It’s so easy to just not care that you live 45 minutes away from one of the most famous and interesting cities in the world, and then drive to Texas. Have you ever wanted to visit a city in a foreign country? I figure, why not do it in your hometown? Why not sightsee in your backyard? I think there’s this idea, the kind a lot of us have, that suggests we are happiest when we are far away from home.

Is that true?

The Buddhists have a saying: wherever you go, there you are.

New Orleans was nice. On my way back, I stopped in to visit an old friend. They’ve got these trees, there, these tremendous trees with looming, thick trunks and branches that look so heavy and exhausted from the thick Louisiana moisture that they just want to sort of sag there, draped on the palpable air, exhausted from just existing.



New Orleans Trees~Audubon Park

New Orleans Trees~Audubon Park

I bought a couple of pre-packaged long island ice teas and margaritas at the gas station. That was cool.

So, my inner compass is spinning, now, back and forth, not seeming to have any direction. That’s not true, of course…you’re always going somewhere; but I think it’s time to go and discover where I want this needle to be pointing. As soon as I get the chance, I’m gonna try and explore the city a bit…but I think I might need a little money for that.

They got five minute chess out there, blitz chess, and I lose every time.
I think I just need to get out there and wander around.

~Ezekiel S.


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2013-12-02 12.03.45
The Lone Star State can fuck itself.
Just kidding. But I am, as they say, over it.
I left the camp site this afternoon. It was a mellow afternoon. Shadows played on the earth, and it was nice to leave on a positive note.
What was really nice was when people started noticing that I was going. A small group of my friends congealed around me and my car. It was nice, giving hugs, being sent off well-wished. I’d spent the last three-or-so weeks in relative isolation, miserable and bitter in my tent, having assumed that I didn’t have any friends. Guess I was wrong.
Packing for travel’s fun, if you like Tetris—and I got a pretty good score on this one. I squished so much stuff into such a small amount of space.
I’m in New Orleans, right now, at a friend’s house.
It was pointed out to me, more than once, that New York could be a great place to visit, or to live. The city seems to be a point of fascination for those who haven’t been. I found it strange, at first: I grew up about a 45 minute drive from the city, and I haven’t visited myself in almost a decade. It took a slack-jawed dreamer kid to tell me his dream of seeing the Statue of Liberty just once, and this pretty girl who wanted to visit all the museums, and there was someone, too, who was fascinated with Central Park—Central Park? To me, it’s always been an anticlimactic patch of dirt and trees where yuppies take their poor undersized city dogs in Christmas sweaters to shit on the foliage while they gossip on their phones, using Bluetooth so they can utilize their pooper scooper with maximum efficiency. But, some people can find the good in everything.
I want that.
I want to observe, to be amazed by everything, to be at peace with, in acceptance of, everything.
When I get back home, I’m going to visit the city, starting with the Museum of Natural History. First, though, I’ll hang out in New Orleans for a day or three.
~Ezekiel S.

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Dust, Thoughts, Dusty Thoughts

                There’s dust, here in Texas.

                It’s unfortunate, that I often miss the beauty in dust, that I can station behind the wheel of my Honda and see the world, and the whole time, never see anything at all.

                It’s amazing how I can trek an entire day without remembering a single detail.

Does responsibility do this to me? Responsibility: the ticking of a clock, the need to put gas in my car, or make educated purchases, or hoard enough weekly quarters for laundry? Maybe…I don’t like being forced to do things, and when I’m unhappy, or in a rush, I drop out of the world. The tug of duty, it’s heavy, and can tether me to ‘the grind.’ But that’s not the answer; how many couch potatoes do you know who are actually content? What if sat and did nothing each day? At the end of my life, would I have even lived at all?

                My thinking: the happier I am, the more I can pay attention. The mind tends to reject the unpalatable. And, rejection: if you reject an event, did it truly happen? Did you experience that event, or did you experience yourself wishing that the event was over already? It’s the tree, too, falling down in the forest with no one to hear it.

                It was freezing this morning in my tent. The zipper broke a couple of days ago, and I bought a big yin-yang drape to cover the empty space. And I sleep on the floor, to boot: I have an air mattress, but I just never want to sit there and blow the damn thing up by mouth. I always have more important things to do—like indulging in my favorite video games, for example, or picking my nose. But I’m veering off topic.

                It’s freezing, and even though I’m on the floor, my open sleeping bag (the zipper of which is also broken) is under me, a second blanket is wrapped around my feet, and a thick one is on top of me. I’m wearing my fluffy bathrobe and Long Johns, and it’s really warm as long as I stay under the covers.

                My kitten is in there with me, and my laptop is at my side, so we watch some Japanese Anime— but, eventually, I have to break the cocoon—which is when my toes go cold and numb. So, miserable but determined, I decide to exercise, stretch, and go for a run.

                Halfway through the run, the heavy metal rumbling into my ears and propelling my legs, I’m hot enough to drop the jacket. The rolling up of sleeves follows. I’m breathing, and the breath feels good. Oxygen, I love me some oxygen. It’s how I stopped smoking cigarettes. Air tastes so much better. It’s like drinking Fiji water versus drinking mud. I get into a rhythm, in and out, left foot right foot; I notice a little hop I have on my left side. Have I been sleeping funny, or is my body a little unbalanced? Is my energy funny this week? I can feel my toes, and the sun is warm, now, too, and I’m happy.

                Then I start getting texts.  

                It happens slowly.

                This phone, this machine in my hand, the thing I’m using for music, the thing I’m using to move my blood and experience the world, it’s taking my happiness, my world from me. It would be easy to say ‘don’t respond, it’s that simple;’ it’s hard, though, to use moderation, when the thing I want and the thing I don’t want are both a part of the same device. I like the people who are texting me…what is it, then?

I don’t know how to be alone, I think. I’m always connected—and, is it a real connection, or is it a pseudo kind of understanding, a sharing of ideas and words and thoughts, without any actual human interaction?

                I’d rather look you in the face and tell you something. I’d rather watch your reaction and see the color of your eyes, or notice that disgusting pimple under your left nostril, the one that’s ready to pop, and tell you so, and probably make fun of you a little. Texting is okay, I guess. But tell me: what happens when someone relies too heavily on a crutch? What happens when someone buys a Rascal, say, or a Scooter and then they use it so much that they stop exercising and, in the end, getting up just to go to the kitchen?

                Why walk when you can be carried?

                Actually, I’m writing this in a restaurant, right now, and the janitor is talking to me, mopping. What am I doing with this keyboard when I could be connecting with a human being? It’s killing me, right now, as I write this. He took a look at my computer and told me he can’t use ‘one of those things’…wants to, but doesn’t know how. Can’t read, matter of fact, he shares, his left eye twinkling, the sun hitting it at just the right angle from its low place through the window in the parking lot. His eyes are blue.

                “It’s gonna be cold tonight,” he says, “and I gotta come back to work on my bike.” I tell him about my tent, about my blankets, and get to thinking it’s funny how life takes care of you and gives you what you need—like a conversation with a janitor that completely sums up what you’ve been writing about for the last page and a half—and, I come to a conclusion—it helps to be in the world to hear it.  


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The Road, The Quiet


For those of you who may not know, I’ve been on the road since late September. I’m in Texas, now, with their Renaissance Festival. I figure this is a good a time as any to start blogging about my experiences. I wrote this content early this morning.


It’s Monday morning, and, behind the scenes of the Renaissance Faire, our Monday is your Sunday, in that most of us are off the clock.

It’s quiet. The birds are distant, their chirping sweet. There’s a series of bells blooming somewhere, the sound of beautiful metal playing soft, probably not too far away. They are hitting different notes, and it’s stringing into a song. It’s a little out of the ordinary, and in an ordinary town, I’d wonder. But this isn’t an ordinary town—this is the street where the Renaissance Faire community lives.

A gentle breeze lifts a nearby hammock, fluffing it. It makes a soft sound as it inflates, then sighs.  I’m sitting on a white plastic chair in my neighbor’s yard. As the breeze dies down, and the hammock is left, rocking so slowly, hypnotically, between a tree and their trailer.

She’s boiled herself a coffee, my neighbor, on her propane stove, and a cup of tea for me. The tea’s my own invention. The main ingredients are cinnamon sticks and orange peels. It’s bitter, tangy, delicious.

Must’ve rained last night. Little beads of water dot the empty chairs in her yard. It’s fortunate that my kitten doesn’t seem to mind the moisture. She’s happy as a clam, content to prowl around the drowsy yard among the recently fallen leaves.

Word around the sewing circle is, she saw a cat fight down by the dumpster last week, and that’s why she’s been imitating a move she saw the other cats use. It’s sort of a prowl, the kind where the she is all caution, creeping sideways, back arched, toes full of stealth.

Now she’s started jumping around, like a little spring toy.

A zipper opens, which means someone has woken up, is leaving his tent. I can hear the trees’ remaining leaves in the wind. They pick up, for a moment, and the rain’s hanging leftovers slide off, drop down, and touch the earth.

An upside-down, dangling rose, it’s next to a pirate flag, and they’re breeze-bobbing under a red NO TRESPASSING rectangle, which is next to Christmas lights,  which is just under their trailer’s window, which underlooks the gray sky. Gray, indeed. The gray was on the ground, too, this morning, was ubiquitous, was monochrome, but then the fog lifted early.

There’s an empty bottle of Mead on the ground. It’s next to a blue ice cooler, and surrounded by fire ant hills. Beyond this is a rusted crowbar, matted in a thick cake of dirt. It’s hard to tell the dirt from the rust from the indents in the metal. A long piece of dusty rope is tied to the end of the crowbar.

It’s a beautiful day off, here. Tomorrow, I’m destined for Oklahoma for a couple of days, where a new and interesting job awaits me. It’s funny how having nothing but loose ends can lead to the formation and tying of knots.

Anyone want to take care of my kitten for a couple of days?

~Ezekiel Strawberry



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She Remembered Her Name

    A Very Short Story For You

      Once upon a time, there was a ghost. The ghost did not think that she was a ghost. After all, how could that be? She felt warm when Aden kissed her. She felt sad when he neglected her. She laughed when he called her a ghost.

     She loved Aden very much and one day she followed him to work even though he was being mean. When Aden saw her, he was on lunch break. He was very upset and he  told her that she only existed because of him, and that she was a nobody. After that day, the girl was sad for many years.

     But stories are never that simple, and one day, she remembered that she was not really a ghost, and that Aden was the one who was lost. Then, she remembered her name.




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This is in response to Aaron Yavelberg’s article, found here:

“if I do make a mistake, that just gives me a new experience to learn from and to use to teach others.”

 Pioneer on! It’s the job of an oldest sibling, too. Or, anything. Say, technology. Think about the first irrigation systems on the Euphrates: canals lined with limestone. When I think of how many times they must have dug those canals before they thought to line them…how many times did they dig those canals in between flooding seasons, just to watch them melt into the desert?

But they did it, and now we have micro USB and Candy Crush.

Everything’s moving and changing and evolving and that kind of makes me think there’s hope for humanity.

New generations I’ve been in and witnessed, and the old ones that were new at the time, they’ve evolved with the times. American culture evolved every ten years or so in the 20th century.

Look at America’s evolution. Just for a minute. See us as we were at the turn of the century, as relatively isolated. See how we weren’t as able to learn from others, because we were so far from the world, physically and otherwise, for a long time. We’d just spend our first 100 years of existence in fear and war, expanding the country coast to coast, and fighting everyone along the way.

The 1920s, rebellion, crime. Hollywood’s glory. In France, they were painting naked ladies. Here, no. We were much too Christian for that. Which was part of why rebellion was so damn cool.

The 1930s were like a national hangover. Sure, there were still the screwball comedies to cheer people up, but only when they weren’t having their money taken by the bank.

You get the idea. Just see how paranoid and strange we were, how we evolved, how we did drugs as a nation and the drugs got stronger as a nation and how we tossed our oddball music out the window again and replaced it with relaxing alternative rock, and how the chaos of internet rage and trolling seems to be calming down.

Just because the hippies were sabotaged by war and Charlie Manson and things that were beyond the scope of their drug-addled peace-minds, that doesn’t mean that the world won’t eventually get that peace that they wanted.

This whole article is a mess, but I wanted to touch on the fact that I think evolution seems to have a will of its own. I think this is the case because no matter what the situation is, adaptation happens, if for no other reason than because those who do not or will not adapt will not survive.

So humanity is making decisions about what’s right and wrong, and we’re all learning from each other, and eventually everyone will just have a pretty decent life.

It just sucks we still got a ways to go.



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The Midnight Clowns

They say the freaks come out at night.

I adore the night.

Take the corner deli. As an institution, I freaking love them. It’s a comfort, knowing I can buy energy drinks, malt liquor, cigarettes, cheese doodles, lottery tickets, condoms and male enhancement products , all within the same four walls. No-Doz pills, twinkies, Penthouse magazines; lighters, ice cream, debauchery.

It’s trash of the soul and I love it.

Of that list, I’ve only bought energy drinks and cheese the last year, anyway. But you see them: the 40 oz Old English and the oversized 99 cent cans of Pepsi and the people who buy them. I’m genuine, I mean it, it’s a comfort, even just to see the shelves.

It’s like a counter-culture.

A roadside Gulf station, that’s fun at midnight or three or four. I prefer to people-watch at these sorts of places, at these oddball hours of the night.

7-11, that was fun for awhile. I’d order a hot dog and fill it to the point of overflowing with the chili and cheese dispensers, which are meant for the nachos, really. The cheese is funny, too. It’s like soft-serve ice cream, only bright yellow.

7-11 has got some decent fucking coffee.

My favorite of this type is actually a distant cousin: the diner. The American diner. Love it. Waffle fries, eggs at 3:30 am, coffee and a ragged turkey-necked gimp of a waitress who has inevitably mistaken your name for “honey,” and you know this because that’s what she keeps calling you in between coughs and rubbing her mascara into her left eye, smudging it. Dios mio, I love the diner. They’re all the same. Every diner is the same. Go to a diner in Ohio, and then go to a diner in New Jersey: they’re the same. If that’s not comforting, well, I don’t know what is.

I figure interstate truck-drivers experience comfort and a kind of Twilight Zone bizarre feeling. Each time must be new and strange, all at once. And, it’s the middle of the night. Strange thoughts happen when you could be dreaming, but instead, you’re not.

…which is why I’m going to try to get some sleep, tonight.

Thanks for reading.


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