Ah, that’s beautiful… We got a lot of little teenage blue eyed groupies who do anything we say…

Title from Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show“The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone'”

the_ryan_thrash_art_skull

I want to start a one man “band” making loud, angry, destructive heavy music. This is going to be quite a process:

1.))) Dust off my guitar and start jamming.
2.))) Dust off Stacy’s old keyboard, and our Grandpa’s fucking bad-ass electric organ, and relearn how to rock out on keys.
3.))) Procure a drum set and start banging on shit, freaking out like Animal and generally annoying everybody into submission.
4.))) Soundproof the basement (just kidding, sister…)
5.))) Record a shitty demo, transfer it to tape, and hang out in front of record stores in a crust punk jacket begging for donations.
6.))) Talk to anyone who will listen about all my plans when we get our big break, man. We’ll be on tour overseas with Sleep and you’ll still be stuck here baking your fuckin’ homemade gluten free scones, bro…

All this seems very involved, so I better start slow and just focus on settling on a band name for now. Uterine Betrayal and Death Stench Creeps are both already taken…

the_ryan_princess_sash_band_patches

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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So, you’re just gonna come back around here, show your face again like nothing happened?!

the_ryan_thrash_art_face

It’s been just under six months that I’ve been completely off any sort of psychiatric medication. The last set of meds I was on triggered strange and terrible bouts of manic insanity, and I wanted to get back to an unmedicated baseline to see what that felt like. At no time in the last six months have I felt any better or more stable than before, though I have had a fair share of days that were much worse: my experience with mental illness, much like my experiences as an active drug addict, is that just when you think you’ve reached your lowest point, life is about to show you just how much more fucked it can be.

For the most part, however, being completely off psychiatric medication for me does not feel all that much different from how I remember feeling while I was on psychiatric medication. Which, in my mind, confirms my suspicions that the meds I’ve been on in the past have done fuck all to address my symptoms. They seem to work for a short while, but then…

I have an appointment this week with a witch doctor or shaman of some sort to discuss the possibility of getting back on some type of psychiatric drug regimen. I will obviously be taking the doctor’s opinion and advice into consideration, but as it stands I am honestly torn about whether or not I want to start back on that shit again. The idea of finding some type of relief from some of these symptoms of insanity sounds rather fanfuckingtastic. However, with each past experience with psych drugs I grow increasingly doubtful of the effectiveness of medication at all.

Besides, I’ve grown rather fond of some of my imaginary friends. Some of them. The rest of you can fuck right off! 😉

the_ryan_thrash_art_skull

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Musings on a Wednesday: Randomness and Observations

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– There’s nothing like the smell of wet cow ass in the morning. It smells like…well, like wet cow ass.

– Must be a leak over my bunk when it rains heavy, because I slept in a wet spot that I am 98% sure I didn’t make. Okay….82% sure.

– Is it oxymoronic to despise someone you’ve just met and otherwise know nothing about, based solely on their apparent association with a hate group? I feel like it kind of is, but I also feel like I’m kind of okay with that.

I don’t have to know a KKK member to think they are a piece of shit.

— Lady Mary

– Getting paid to do a whole lot of nothing for eight hours and then being rained out for the last two make for an easy workday. But an easy workday is not necessarily a “good” workday. Because FUCKING BORING!

– Somebody should start a cell phone service marketed specifically to the oilfield and pipeline that gets decent service out in all these B.F.E. locations. Since it’s for the oilfield and pipeline, they could overcharge like crazy and motherfuckers will pay it. You could make MILLIONS.

– I often consider murder as a preferable alternative to finding ways to coexist with a deplorable person. Then I think, well, that isn’t very Buddhist of me. Then, I double check which direction the blade on my pocket knife unfolds, in case I need to open it quickly.

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– The worst thing about using a freshly-pumped portable shitter is having the chemical water splash back up from a “projectile” and coat your undercarriage with filth. Well…that’s maybe not the worst thing, but it’s up there…

– So many many things in this world piss me off. You may have noticed. But few things piss me off more than unsubstantiated arrogance and swagger. Perhaps it has something to do with the apparent “fact” that those who actually have something to be cocky about generally are conversely humble and gracious. The motherfuckers that strut and cackle usually don’t have shit to back it up. Usually.

I will not do what the tick tells me to…
… I will not do what the tick tells me to…
… I will not do what the tick tells me to…
…I will not…….

— The Ryan

– Some days, when a person or situation disrupts my delicate sensibilities to the extent that the Others take over before I can practice “letting go,” I end up in a downward spiraling snowball of scorn and loathing that grows to consume the entirety of my consciousness to the point that I can only see the destruction of all existence as a solution. I feel only hatred. I can no longer see through my own perspective and headspace to determine if this is simply a byproduct of my sickness, if my anger and sense of apocalyptic hatred is just and warranted, if anyone or anything even deserves to fucking live, to exist. I say lay waste to the wasted. Be done with it.

Fuck money, fuck friends, fuck family! Fuck pussy, fuck drugs, fuck sanity! I don’t give a shit! Why?! ‘Cuz ignorance is bliss! Right?!

— Flatbush ZOMBiES, “Bliss”

– Sometimes I like pie. But not apple pie. Unless it is green chile apple pie. Seriously, yo…that shit is bomb.

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– No matter who you are, no matter what it is…music fixes everything. At least until the song’s over. Then you might actually have to do something yourself to keep shit fixed. But, fuck that, right?! ;-D

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain…

— Bob Marley

– The moment I am writing something, it is the most brilliant and insightful thing ever committed to paper. The moment after I write something, I despise it with the fury of one thousand suns. I feel like I am not alone in this.

– I am stuck at the crossing of what is essentially a different version of the same fucking train I spent forty minutes trapped by a couple of weeks ago. I know this because of the graffiti. Or because I only dreamt this before, and now the shit is happening for real. And I have no data connection.

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

But You Can Make My Teeth Growl

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Spinning: The Melvins, “Night Goat”

I feel like my intellect is the only thing preventing me from diving headlong into insanity with utter abandon. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I am a fairly intelligent bag of meat and calcium, and my philosophical background ensures a certain level of logic and critical thinking. Thus I am able to identify and recognize much of this madness for what it is, a product of delusion and mental illness. So, on a logical level, I realize many of the things I think and feel are not “real,” in the sense that they are perpetuations of the sickness inside my mind. However, there is a very big difference between knowing something to be true on an intellectual level, and believing it to be true on an emotional, intrinsic level.

But then, another thought. Sure, I have certain manifestations of insanity that I can identify as such. But what of all the other things, the perhaps truly delusional things, that I don’t recognize for what they are, that I accept without question as “real” and “true” to my accepted understanding of “reality”?

WOAH.

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Installation by Katie Grinnan

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part IV)

Image by Daniela Huhurez

Image by Daniela Huhurez

What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and has been presented here in several parts over the past week or so.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I, click here for Part II, and navigate this way for Part III.  BEHOLD, the Finale, Part IV, below:

strawberry-field-sweet

One night, months later, as we lay together, entwined in one another, I look deeply into her entrancing, oceanic eyes, and I feel as if that moment will stretch on forever. I hope to myself that it does. I have something I’ve wanted to say to her since the moment we met, and the feeling of this moment tells me the time is right.

“I…love you,” I say softly, stroking her delicate cheek with the tips of my fingers. She smiles and kisses the tip of my nose, burying her head in the crook of my neck. But not before a flash of surprised, perplexed fear plays ever so briefly across her face. I say nothing, but I am disconcerted by this, a feeling that haunts the halls of my mind for weeks, festering and growing until I can focus on nothing else.

Images of other men begin creeping into my mind more and more often, no longer restraining themselves to times when we’re apart, and I take to visiting her perhaps too often at her job, sometimes lingering outside the entrance watching, waiting, minutes, hours, before even going in. I try to mask my suspicion and jealousy, but this becomes increasingly difficult. Too often I come upon her talking to some handsome, masculine guy, and I wonder at what’s behind her warm smile with him, the proximity of their bodies, the generosity with which she shows him to various sections of the bookstore. Sometimes I hang back and watch during these encounters, but most often I rush up, putting a possessive arm around her shoulders, maybe kissing her cheek or neck, as I shoot the bastard a contemptuous glare in warning. Usually I am a decidedly non-confrontational person – I generally just don’t care enough – but this is different. This girl is mine.

We are eating dinner at Vincilli’s one evening, our favorite spot for those rare occasions in which we dine out in style, when the already awkward conversation between us takes a turn for the worst.

“I need to talk to you,” she tells me, putting down her fork and pushing away a half-eaten plate of chicken alfredo. Her eyes are surprisingly cold, her face tight and emotionless.

“What is it, babe,” I say, trying to mask my fear and unease with overt sweetness.

“I think we need to cool it off for a while.” Her words are a kick in my chest, a vice-grip on my heart. That familiar, sickly, sinking feeling creeps into my gut. I clench my jaw to stifle the nausea.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she continues. “It’s been great being with you…” She pauses, my mouth hanging open in shock and loss. “Well…it was great, at first, but…but lately, things have gotten sort of…suffocating.” My head falls with this last word. I want to bring it down with a bang onto the table, to cry out, to do something, anything to release this vicious, pulsating tension building up in my skull and chest, climbing its way on sharpened claws down my spine. That’s the same thing Kate said, years ago, the last time I had dared to open myself to another person.

“I just think, y’know, if we saw other people for a while, maybe…maybe we’d remember why we got together in the first place.” Disconnected thoughts run fleetingly through my mind, countless things I want to say, but I can’t grasp any of them long enough to form them into coherence. I feel my brow wrinkle, beads of sweat gathering as my eyes dart wildly across the cluttered surface of the table, unable to focus on any one thing. I certainly can’t bring myself to look up at her.

“Aren’t you going to say anything? Are you just going to sit there, pretending like you didn’t hear me?” I close my eyes, take a deep breath, try to collect myself, desperately grasping for anything that might make her stay.

“You…you’re breaking up with me?” The disbelief in my voice is obvious. “I thought we were going to spend our lives together…I thought we were…made for each other.”

“I thought so too, but…I just think if we could spend some time apart…see how we both feel about…about giving some other people a try…”

“But, I don’t want anyone else. All I want is you. I…I love you.” She smirks at those last words, condescending.

“I’m sure you think you do. But, how can you be so sure? I mean, you’ve only really been with one other person. I’ve only ever been with you, so…so how can we know something like that?” She waits for me to respond, but I have nothing left to say. I can’t focus on the moment long enough to react to it. I feel myself begin to grow cold inside, my heart withering, a brief surge of pain shooting through my body before it goes numb…again. And when she finally gets up to leave, I can’t make myself go after her.

Image by Dambreaker

Image by Dambreaker

Months later, I’m on the phone with her again. Supplicate. Pleading with her to allow me a place in her life.

“It’s too late for that,” she retorts, her voice thick with aggravation. “You fucked that up. I told you I wanted some space, but you couldn’t give it to me. I’ve seen you outside my work, outside my home, every day for the last month. I feel like you’re stalking me, and now you want me to let you back into my life? Forget it, you fucking psycho, there’s no way.” I try to break in, to tell her I’m different, I’ve changed, I’ll give her space if that’s what she wants, if only she’ll remain.

“Get a life,” she snaps before slamming down the phone.

After this, eternity. I find myself in a sick state of self-loathing, plunged down into the blackest pit of misery and dejection, a hole which the light of nothing can pierce. Even that splintering speck of pleasure and superiority I once felt at focusing on the pathetic weakness in others is now gone, and I feel nothing but scornful contempt at the world around me. There is nothing, a perpetual emptiness, in everything I see.

I try to call. Her number is disconnected. I go by the bookstore, pretending to search for something in the Fiction Anthology section as I scan the store for her face. She is nowhere. Nowhere to be found, regardless of how often I return, how long I stay. Gone.

Blinking my eyes, I shake myself free of this fantasy turned dark. I look up, searching for my girl. She has crossed the bustling mall food court, making her way slowly toward the glass door exit. A guy walks next to her; they’re embraced hand-in-hand. When did he appear? Her head rests delicately on his shoulder, his black beanie matching the style and hue of her wooly black sweater. Quickly, I rise. Make way across the sea of tables, following her. Following them. She has changed me, in this moment. She has taken grasp of pieces of my tender soul, my innermost being, and I must pursue her to make them complete. I must possess her.

She will be mine.

Grey Matter by Amy Goodwin

Grey Matter by Amy Goodwin


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part III)

From Kurt Vonnegut: Drawings

From Kurt Vonnegut: Drawings


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I, and here for Part II.  BEHOLD, the ecstatic majesty of Part III, below:

strawberry-field-sweet

“Oh my god, I love David Lynch!” I exclaim. “I can’t wait until they put the rest of Twin Peaks on DVD, which they better do…otherwise…” She grins at me, her expression one of admiration or perhaps growing attraction.

“Yeah, Twin Peaks was pretty cool, but my personal favorite is Mulholland Drive. I have no idea what the hell is going on most of the time, but it’s a great movie anyways. I’m not a lesbo or anything, but Naomi Watts is sooo hot!” My mind shifts briefly to the sex scene in the film before returning to the conversation.

“Well, maybe we could watch it together sometime, and I could explain what I got out of it. I think I have most of it figured out, except I’m still struggling with the blue box and the monster behind Winky’s.” Her eyes glow as her smile grows even bigger, and I think I notice her cheeks redden ever so slightly.

“I’d like that. Aren’t you going to drink your coffee?”

Eventually the conversation turns to body modifications when I mention the silver stud piercing the middle of her tongue.

“Do you have any other piercings or tattoos?” She answers by pulling down the top hem of her jeans, which fit her form nicely, revealing a colorful tattoo of a faerie sitting atop a magical mushroom. It is on the part of her left hip just underneath the curve of her belly, inward from the subtle, sexy protrusion of her hip bone, a spot I confess to her is extremely sensitive and ticklish on my own body. I also catch a glimpse of a silver, crescent-shaped stud, the ball on the end glimmering like a diamond, poking out from her navel before she smoothes her top back down.

“I like your belly-button ring,” I tell her, a hint of anxious seduction escaping with my voice. “I think that’s a really sexy piercing for a girl to have.”

“What about you, what kind of body art do you have?” I respond by turning in my chair and pulling up the back of my shirt, displaying the grinning, demonic painted faces that adorn my shoulder blades.

“Ooh, scary! I must confess, I have a sick fascination with jesters and trickster figures, as well. They’re so creepy, but in an oh-so-appealing way.”

“I have my nipples pierced, too, twice in each one,” I tell her, lifting up my shirt again to show them off. She pretends to wince in pain, but I can tell she is fascinated.

After finishing our coffee we decide to go for a drive, chatting and flirting over the trip-hop sounds of Tricky pulsing rhythmically from my speakers. The music grooves perfectly with the coming twilight as the sun begins to descend in a magnificent pool of brilliant reds, yellows, oranges, and purples, the texture of the billowy clouds designing the sky made all the more pronounced by the sun’s rays. I tell her I feel as though I’ve known her since before forever, and she confesses to feeling the same. I spot a Baskin Robbins near the next intersection, and we pull in to share a cup of Daiquiri Ice.

We end up at my place, and I apologize for the mess as I hold the door to my apartment open for her. She smiles mischievously, pulling me inside and pressing her lips to mine.   She is wearing lip gloss, or was, most of it worn off by now, but the faint taste of strawberries still lingers. We stumble over furniture I had forgotten was there as we make out way toward my room at the back of the apartment, grabbing and pulling feverishly at one another’s clothes while kissing deeply, passionately, lovingly.

“I don’t usually do this,” she breathes into my ear as I nibble at her neck.

“Me neither,” I gasp, but can’t help wondering, Why would she do this now, here, with me?

I notice right away that she’s not turned on by the same things as Kate was. I try to recall some of the articles I’ve skimmed in waiting rooms or while browsing magazine racks, giving advice on how to become the perfect lover. As we explore one another, she makes the appropriate muffled moans and occasional ecstatic cries, signifying that she’s having a good time, but she seems distant, disconnected somehow. Each time our eyes meet, she closes hers, or looks away. I wonder to myself how many times she’s done this, with how many different people, and as if she’s reading my mind, she answers.”

“This is my first time,” she moans between frantic breaths. “You feel so good.” I smile and relax, burying myself in the moment and letting my fear and paranoia wash away in a sea of pleasure.

“This is my favorite part,” I whisper as we lie spooning afterward. She coos in agreement, snuggling closer and pressing her face into my chest. I kiss the top of her head lightly, and suddenly it is morning, the warm dawn sun streaming in broken rays through the shade covering my window and painting fragmented orange designs on the floor below.

                “Oh my god, I have to be to work in ten minutes,” she exclaims, jumping up, her eyes frantic as she searches the floor for her clothes. “Quick, get up! I need a ride!”

Image by John Sloan

Image by John Sloan

To be continued…


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part II)

Image by Bill Vernon

Image by Bill Vernon


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I.  BEHOLD, Part II, below: 

strawberry-field-sweet

I’m sitting in my bedroom a few days later, staring at the blank wall and trying not to think, when the phone rings. It takes me a minute to retrieve myself from the mountains and valleys of cracked paint before I can answer it. I’m delighted to hear her delicate voice on the other end.

“Hey, it’s me! Listen, this new piece I’m working on is driving me absolutely mad, and I really could use some normal human time. What do you say we get that cup of coffee? I know a great place. They have this cinnamon and cherry mix, you wouldn’t think it would be good, but just wait until you try it!” I wrinkle my nose at the thought of cherries, but accept her invitation anyway. Maybe it won’t be so bad.

The directions to her place are simple and I have no trouble finding it, but I circle around the block a few times anyways to kill time, not wanting to appear too eager. Finally I feel that it’s been long enough, and pull up to her apartment, a duplex with a small, yellowing lawn nearly overrun by ragweed and dandelions. As I walk towards the caged front door, I notice a dead sparrow lying at the edge of the walkway, its eye sockets seeming to stare at me regardless of their hollowness. There are bite marks around the head and wings, and I hope the cat belongs to the neighbors.

“Hey there, pretty lady,” I say with a hint of absurdity when she opens to door. She smiles, apparently satisfied with my meager attempt at humor, and grabs a woven green handbag before stepping out and shutting the door behind her.

“So, how have you been?” I ask, bringing up my hand to fiddle with a loose button on the western-style black shirt she is wearing over a deep purple tank top. I’m dismayed to find what appears to be a clump of shed cat hair clinging to the shirt, and brush it away, wiping my hand on my faded denim jeans and trying not to appear too disgusted. I think she’s saying something about the painting she’s been struggling with, but I’m too preoccupied with the thought of the cat to pay attention. We begin down the walkway, and I move my hand to the small of her back, letting it rest there lightly.

“Better now, though,” she replies, crossing her arms and leaning into me. “I’m going crazy spending all my time in that cramped apartment breathing paint fumes. It’s good to have someone to take a break with.” I ever-so-slightly tighten my grip around her and lead her to my truck, a beat-up brown Toyota that I can’t help but apologize for.

“Don’t be silly,” she says, jabbing me playfully in the ribs with her elbow. “I’m not the kind of girl who cares about nice cars and money.” I smile down at her, catching the scent of strawberries and cream as my nose brushes past her hair.

“Mmm, you smell delicious,” I say, and she smiles, cuddling underneath my arm. For a fleeting moment I can’t believe how easy this has been, and a slight twinge of anxiety begins to creep up inside of me, one of those “too-good-to-be” sensations. I also can’t help but think about other guys she might have been with – is she so trusting and open with every jerk-off who approaches her? The feeling of anxiety begins to turn into resentment, but I quickly push it down, suffocating it.

At the coffee shop I let her order for me, forgoing my usual bitter, black coffee in favor of the cherry-cinnamon concoction she so highly recommends. She asks for them grandé with a double shot of espresso, and once served we sit at a tiny table for two in the corner near a bookshelf, under a large print of Dali’s La Persistenza della Memoria. She catches me studying the minute details of the painting, and asks what I think of it. This reveals that we hold a shared fascination for his work, and I discover that she owns a print of my favorite Dali painting, Idylle Atomique et Uranique Melancolique. We are oblivious to the endless stream of self-important art neuveux intellectuals entering and leaving the café as we sit together in our own little world.

Dali_Idylle_Atomique_et_Uranique_Melancolique

To be continued…


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part I)

Image by kanryuzonas104

Image by kanryuzonas104

What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Behold, Part I:

Image ripped from Isabella

Despite its glorious capacity for mindless consumerism, the mall for me holds next to no value save for one redeeming quality – it is an ideal place to watch people. For the most part I have no use for the human virus plaguing this otherwise richly beautiful planet, but I enjoy watching them now and again, to remind myself of my superiority. The pleasure I receive from witnessing them ignorantly going about their meaningless lives exceeds most any other joy in my life.

I’m sitting in the bustling food court, during the late lunchtime rush, eating the grilled chicken and avocado sandwich I brought from home, and am delighted to find that the chaos at this hour is, as always, magnificent. This place is a churning pit composed of various antagonistic compounds that have no business existing within the same sphere. They assemble here at or around the sociologically predetermined time, bouncing and weaving feverishly amongst one another, to stuff themselves stupid with globs of congealed grease disguised as chicken and pork, bleeding slabs of meat purported to be 100% beef accompanied by sides of fried dripping wet with vegetable oil, and an endless array of processed cheese products.

The doomed offspring of this middle-class ocean of dead dreams and extinguished possibilities gather salivating at the technicolored candy shop near Pacific Sunwear, their noses pressed to the glass, their grubby little hands smearing it with greasy fingerprints that the pocked-faced teenager behind the counter comes to wipe off every hour or so. On the other side of the court, hear Burger King, a table-full of guffawing frat boys have gathered for a break on their weekly scout-out for vulnerable and impressionable high school girls. In the corner across from me sit a couple with matching lip piercings deep in conversation, the face of the guy reading a mixture of frustration and concern while the expression of his partner is showing of distance and irritability. Next to me I notice three elderly women sporting puffy crowns of bluish-white hair gossiping about someone named Lois, who is apparently not present to defend herself. I scratch the back of my head, smooth down my shaggy, dirt-blonde hair, and roll my eyes at this sea of meaningless drivel.

All of this bustling action and delightfully absurd entertainment, and yet the only thing I can really focus my full attention on is the girl casually walking the edge of the mess, her long, chalky fingers trailing along the wall near to where my table sits. She is a dark angel, a succubus, a materialization of all my longing. Her jet-black hair falls lightly around her face, the tips of her long bangs curving ever so slightly under her delicate chin. Her aqua-blue eyes shine brilliantly in contrast to the soft, porcelain skin that surrounds them, her slender neck leading down to smooth, milky-white shoulders that barely peek out from under a wooly black sweater. Every so often her eyes shift around the court uncomfortably, but for the most part she gazes at nothing, her thoughts lost in some other world far away from this one. I look at her and my stomach tightens at the thought that she’s in the same space with me. She is the only individual, the only thing real in this faceless crowd of forgotten identity, and I curse them for overlooking her. I watch her tracing lines in between the tiles of the wall as she walks, back and forth, back and forth, and my heart aches with longing to hold her, to touch my lips softly to her temple, to let her make me feel at home.

After a moment I work up the courage to approach her, running my hand across the stubble beginning to sprout up on my chin as I slowly, deliberately make my way towards where she dances absently with the wall. The noise and bustle of the food court has all but disappeared. I feel the eyes of everyone in the room following me, half-chewed strands of Cajun noodles dangling from their mouths as they pause to obsess over my every move. I take deep breaths, trying to calm my nerves, going over and over again in my mind what I’m going to say when I reach her. Hey there, pretty lady … Hello beautiful, how’s about I buy you a … Hi, my name’s Corey, what’s yours … So, I couldn’t help but notice you were … Um, nice shoes, wanna fuck?

“Um…hey. How’s it going? Are you…waiting for someone?” I curse myself for the tremor in my voice, the obvious hesitation, the pauses in between words. You’re going to fuck this up, my mind yells at itself. You’re going to lose her before you even have her! Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to notice. Time has grinded to all but a halt, and I see her hair flip in slow motion, like a wave, as she turns to face me. My stomach jumps into my throat, my heart nearing explosion, when her eyes look up to meet mine. I feel as though she is gazing into my soul, and I shift uncomfortably, averting my eyes, afraid of what she might see down in there.

“No one in particular,” she says to me, her voice bright, sweet, and delightfully feminine. I notice the neon lights flooding the food court glistening off her lips as she speaks, and I wonder if they’re naturally moist or if she’s wearing lip gloss, and if so, what flavor. I realized the moment that has passed in silence, and frantically search for something to say.

“So, do you…come here often?” This escapes my lips before I have a chance to realize how terribly cliché and predictable it is. Idiot! Loser! Is this how people start a conversation?! Her eyes widen amusedly as she notices my exasperation seeping through the look on my face, which I try hard to control, and she giggles, her lashes fluttering…is it seductively?

“I used to,” she replies. “I usually wouldn’t be caught dead in a mall…they’re so, I dunno, typical…but they have got the best baked ziti at that pizza stand over there! I can’t help it, I’m addicted.” I open my mouth and take a breath, preparing to tell her about the article I read in Mother Jones, a study of the conditions of fast food restaurants, but hesitate. My stomach curls at the thought of what goes into the food here, but I don’t want to gross her out, and so I keep it to myself. If things go well, I’ll have to remember to ask her to brush her teeth before I can kiss her.

“Anyways, I’ve been stuck in my tiny apartment painting for days,” she continues, “and I needed a break, so here I am!”

“Wow, so you’re an artist!  That’s really cool. I’ve always wished I could draw, but I’ve never been any good at it.” I’m surprised at the ease I’m starting to feel in her presence, and when I notice how comfortable she’s making me, I find myself drawn ever more strongly to her. I reach out to stroke the sleeve of her sweater, and am glad when she doesn’t pull away.

“Listen, what d’you say we get out of here,” I say, smiling to mask my fear at asking her out. “I know a great coffee shop.” This is a lie, and I search my mind, trying to think of the nearest non-corporate café around.

“Well, that sounds nice, but I sort of have to be somewhere. Maybe I can take a rain check?” I make no attempt to mask the disappointment I feel at this, but give her my phone number, glad that I might still have a chance.

Image by Flammietta

Image by Flammietta

To be continued!


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Disquiet, In Scorn and Solipsism

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Image by Jelena Mrkich

Jelena Mrkich, Art Therapist

“…and a deep and weary disdain for all those who work for mankind, for all those who fight for their realm and give their lives so that civilization may continue…

…a disdain full of disgust for those who don’t realize that the only reality is each man’s soul, and that everything else – the exterior world and other people – is but an unaesthetic nightmare, like the result, in dreams, of a mental indigestion.

My aversion to effort becomes an almost writhing horror before all forms of violent effort.  War, energetic and productive labour, helping others – all this strikes me as the product of an impertinence…..

Everything useful and external tastes frivolous and trivial in the light of my soul’s supreme reality and next to the pure sovereign splendour of my more original and frequent dreams.  These, for me, are more real.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

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Image by Gonzalo Bénard

The Awakening of the Self