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Entry date: 5-3-2024 – Short days and Long Hours – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


The concept of long and short, when it comes to time, is still on my mind. Right now, my life is a jumble of different currents of time. Some moments go by too fast and others last way too long.


Last night, for example, went by way too fast. It was so good to see our friends. We had a wonderful dinner with the family and then hit an art show where more people we dig were doing their thing. The three hours or so that I was able to see people I love went way too fast.


The rest of yesterday went way slower.


Luckily, I know I’m not alone in this because everyone of my fellow teachers can be seen shaking their heads with the same grim headshake. The “oh, god, these children are wild, crazy monsters,” headshake. Yesterday was a tough one.


Much of my angst was at the psychic claws of the Cocaine Baby who is taking great joy in doing whatever he can to tear little pieces of my soul away. I’m being punished for caring about him and I get it. It’s an uncomfortable feeling with him. People like me come into his life and then are gone. He is more comfortable destroying the relationship rather than losing it because of circumstances outside of his control. I’ve done the same thing a time or two.


A few of my other little angels are starting to jump on Cocaine Baby’s train, though, and are starting to needle away here and there, too. It will only be worse today. I’m trying to keep them busy with tasks that are challenging, and even fun, but the ones who have given up on school aren’t having it.


There just aren’t enough carrots to dangle anymore and none are dangling for me, either.


Looks like focusing on the good stuff, though, is the lesson of the day. I read this thing earlier about the power of not hanging onto the past. The gist of it was that when we hang on to the past, it stops us from embracing the inevitable changes that life bestows upon us on the regular.


I agree with this wholeheartedly. Even though I write about the past a lot, it’s been super freeing because once I write it down, it’s out there and a thing of its own now. It doesn’t belong to me anymore.


Sure, I may choose to revisit, edit, add more information, or turn it into something else, but it’s still free to whatever it will or won’t be. Right now, for example, I’m listening to this killer MC 900 Ft. Jesus song called ‘Killer Inside Me.” I have never heard it before and I fucking dig it. I embrace it.  It’s changing me and I’m going to let it.


Then move on. The day awaits.




I first read William S. Burroughs around 1988, I think. Could have been 1987, but I don’t think so. It might even have been after I saw either Twister (with Crispin Glover) or Drugstore Cowboy and both of those came out in 1989. I loved both of those films.


Either way, I was pretty interested in Burroughs for a number of years. I read as much of his stuff as I could get my hands on, particularly enjoying Junkie (1953), which was his first book. In 1993, Burroughs collaborated with a band I like a lot, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, on Spare-Ass Annie and Other Tales. Needless to say, I was in.


I’ll get to Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy another day, for sure, but I really enjoy Spare Ass Annie. It’s safe to say that the acid jazz/trip hop music was a huge influence on my budding interest in jazz at the time. When I listen to the record now, I can totally remember thinking the backing tracks were so great back in the day.


The marriage of Burroughs stories and the jazz-inspired backing tracks is pretty brilliant. Some of these pieces are from his more famous writings, but others are from things I’m not quite sure where they come from. There are lots of little interludes between the stories, too.


“Spare Ass Annie” is the first story about woman named Annie who had an “auxiliary asshole” in the middle of her forward. It goes on to talk about a group of people who had some type of extraordinary mutations. I’m guessing this story was inspiration, on some level, for the crazy film, Freaked by Alex Winter and Tom Stern.


The musical portion behind “The Last Words of Dutch Schultz” is way better than the words themselves, but there is a part where Burroughs says, “Well, this is insane” is a total ear worm. So is the part where they repeat, “But I am dying/No, you’re” in the outro.


“Mildred Pierce Reporting” and “Dr. Benway Operates” are pretty great. They flow into each other nicely. Then “Warning to Young Couples” comes on and it is instantly quotable. I think I have quoted it about 1000 times if I have quoted it once. It was an inspiration to the title of our Son of Crackpipe LP, The Benevolence of Dogs and Other Evolutionary Accidents.


“Did I Ever Tell You About the Man That Taught His Asshole to Talk?” is fantastic. The title says it all but it’s a great and sad story. Well, at least it is sad for the guy who taught his asshole to talk.


The last three substantial Burroughs works here, though, are my favorite. “A One God Universe” is a good starter, then the classic, “The Junky’s Christmas” which they made a cool stop-motion video of after the record came out, is just perfection. I have listened to it many times in my life.


Having never been a junky myself, I suppose I have a little healthy fascination with the subject matter. I feel very fortunate that I never let myself go down that path, but I dabbled with the idea of giving it a try more than once and played with opium enough to understand how it worked. Outside of that aspect of the story, though, is just the allure of Burrough’s way with words. I need to get another copy of Interzone. I enjoyed that collection of short stories a lot back in the early 90s.


The last track that I like a lot is called “Words of Advice for Young People.” At four minutes and some change, it fit nicely on mix tapes back in the day and I added to a lot of the ones I made for people (and myself) in the early 90s. “Never do business with a religious son of a bitch” has always stuck with me.


It would be good to revisit Burroughs’ work. I have to add it to my list.




See you tomorrow.

103rd and Broadway

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