7 mar. 2009

Jason Flores-Williams

INÉDITO - CRÓNICA
Jason Flores-Williams

USA, 1969
From “Portrait of a man at the end of the world”


Jason Flores-Williams is an all-American outlaw and edgewalker in the tradition of Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, and Biggie Smalls” says David Gates, author of “Preston Falls”. Asked to define his literary genre, Flores-Williams spews out freely: “Resistance Lit or Sexual Chocolate or Deconstruction Junction or just make one up: Resistance Deconstruction”. Effectively so, his literature resists any genre, any label, any compromise and in apparent contradiction seeks to denounce all injustices in the midst of quasi masochistic hedonism. Here -with kind authorization from the author- an excerpt of his unpublished writings which deal with, as he himself describes, “how we're destroying ourselves through over consumption and death culture” and “how writing in the face of such a nightmare is meaningless.”



THE SPAIN NOTEBOOK

We are on the bottom floor of a nine story apartment building. Down the entire side of the building is a huge pipe. 100 feet long. This pipe is the digestive tract of the edifice. It is the repository of every toilet. Every flush goes down this pipe.

The pipe is totally straight until the bottom floor, our floor, our patio, where it throws a hard curve and disappears under the building. When we first moved in I used to think that somebody was dropping things outside. I would be sitting in the living room and hear Boom! Boom! Boom! I went out onto the patio, but nothing was there. Then I realized what the deal was: since the digestive tract is straight until it gets to our patio, our patio is where the shit hits. First, you hear the rush of water which is the toilet flushing, a kind of nice sound that sounds like rain. Then in the middle of the rain, the meteors come crashing down. It’s unreal. We are being constantly bombarded with the sound of falling shit.

The Spanish eat late, usually around eleven, so that they all make caca at around one or two a.m. - right when we’re trying to get to bed. Ruth and I are there lying next to each other. “Boom Splat!” I say, “That’s Jesus Maria on the eight floor.” And she gets all pissed off because she doesn’t want to picture it. Regardless, I tell you this: people produce a lot of shit. An apartment building is one constant bowel movement. Five minutes don’t go by without somebody taking a dump.


(DESCRIPTION OF SPANISH AD)Every day we get these flyers from the grocery store where they show a big picture of chicken on sale: it’s just been killed, you can still see the pimples from where it’s been plucked, the head is still on, crest fallen to one side, chicken feet still attached, etc. (…)


(THE DINNER STORY WITH THE COUPLE) I finished writing in the afternoon. I hadn’t had a break for ten days. I needed to step out. I asked Ruth if she wanted to go for a walk.

We rolled a doob and hit the streets. A couple nice puffs to go with the beautiful light at dusk. On the way down to the Barrio Carmen, before you get to the Torres de Quart, there’s a tiny botanical garden. We strolled it. Nice. Relaxing.

We stopped in for a glass of wine at an old tapas bar in the Carmen, then continued on our way to a cool cafe we had always wanted to check out. Had a couple glasses there, then in a good head wandered out into six o’ clock Valencia.

Everyone was out shopping, stopping for coffee or sherry, looking good making flirty eye contact and we got carried into the vibe. We stopped at another place for a glass of wine, sat outside and finished the doob. We were having a real good time talking, laughing and decided to go over to the Big Irish Pub in town for a whiskey. It’s a good place and you know how it is: wine is fine, but sometimes you need to sit your ass down and have a good stiff drink.

We hit Finnegans and it was hopping. I think it’s the only bar in Valencia where there are people most hours of the day. They show sports, especially the English Premiership. There’s no Americans there (besides us), but loads of English. We each ordered a good strong Jameson’s and started yacking with everybody. This one dude was really cool. He was from Dublin. We sat bullshitting with each other, laughing about life. Ruth asked him where to get e. He said “right here,” reached in his pocket and handed her a hit. No charge. He said he gets them for free because he lets a dealer keep shop at his bar on the other side of town.

Ruth popped it right into her mouth. I toasted her with another drink.

After a while I was feeling a bit hungry so we split. We came to this fancy restaurant tucked away in this cool plaza. Jazz was cranking and the bar looked cool. We checked the menu - too expensive to eat, but we decided to go in and get a drink.

We’re drinking wine having a good time. I’m yacking at the bartender, he’s tolerating me. It’s cool. The night is working out. An English couple comes in and sits next to us at the bar. Square-looking, but the girl is hot and I bum a smoke off her. Me and the guy get into a conversation about London. Ruth gets mad at me because I’m paying more attention to him than I am to her. I balance it out.

We build up some steam with these folks so that we’re sitting there for an hour. He keeps buying me drinks. He’s rich upper class from Petersborough. She’s dumb. I’m getting shitfaced. I start spewing heavy talk and for me at least it’s turning into an entertaining scene.

NB in extremis. All the time in my life whenever I’m writing I usually stay indoors completely isolated from everyone. In San Francisco I would write in the basement until dinner, work out, come back and write until I fell asleep. I’d see Ruth for maybe thirty minutes a day and that’d be all. It’s probably why the relationship has lasted so long.

But now I’m in Spain. This is once in a lifetime shit. I’ve got to get out. I don’t want to look back on this period and realize that all I did was sit in a room. I’ve got to ring this place for all its worth.

The problem, though, is that I should never socialize when I’m writing. I’m too raw. Too tapped into strange nonsocial instincts. I saw an interview with Clive Barker, the horror writer, where he said that one of the occupational hazards of being a weirdo writer is that the usually thick dividing wall between his subconscious and rational mind becomes, over time, a semi-permeable membrane. I know exactly what he means. I have a hard time monitoring myself when I’m writing because my whole being, as a writer, is dedicated to being unmonitored. When I’m not writing, I’m pretty much a normal person. When I’m writing, though, I have a very hard time separating thought from action.

Specially when I’ve been drinking.

This couple invited us upstairs to have dinner with them. The place was way too expensive for us but I told Ruth that we’d put it on the credit card and deal with it later. She normally would have protested, but she was on e, so going along with everything.

The couple turned out to be the worst disgusting yuppies ever. She ordered veal and he ordered ostrich, then started talking on his cell phone. I was already shitfaced and then I ordered a double Jamesons and swigged it like water. I started talking about anal sex and how I liked to fuck transvestites. They were getting really weirded out by it. So was Ruth. I didn’t care. I was having fun going crazy.

I stood up, pulled my pats down and showed my dick to our table. In the middle of this fancy restaurant.

They were shocked. Ruth freaked and left. They waiters escorted me out. I am in the dog house, to say the least.


(THE SUNDAY DULDRUMS) I have to admit it: it’s days like this that I really don’t like being over here.

I’m alone, don’t have any real friends, and it’s Sunday. That’s the real problem, that it’s Sunday. The whole week in Spain is designed around Sunday. Family day.

Everything is closed. The streets are dead quiet like a financial district on the weekend. Everyone in Spain woke up this morning, took their time getting dressed up nice, probably went to church and are now sitting around the dinner table with la familia. Every Sunday in Spain is like a mini-Thanksgiving. The smells, the warmth, the conversation. They show good movies at night on TV for the big family food coma. Nothing is expected. And if anything were, it doesn’t matter, because everything is closed anyway. Not even the grocery stores are open. Not even restaurants. Nothing.

But I’m here and I can’t even understand the movies they show on television because they’re all dubbed in Spanish. I’ve read all my books. The only newspaper stand in Valencia that sells English newspapers is closed and all they sell is USA Today, piece of shit. Ruth and I aren’t getting along. When you’re living in another country the down times are brutal. (…)


(INGROWN HAIR.)I’ve got an ingrown hair in my cheek. Chronic. I go in once every three days and pull it. I am now scarred. I am becoming uglier. I have pimples on my forehead. It is one thing to be bald, but a whole other nightmare to be bald with pimples. You think that one, being derived from age, would preclude the other. A rule of life: nothing bad precludes other bad things from happening. This is heavy. People operate under the assumption that things happen according to scale. Meaning a bad thing happens, then a good things happens to balance it out. It’s not true. Bad things can compound as good things can compound. One man may live a life of all bad things. One man may live a life of all good things. Even this is out of balance. Half of the population doesn’t live bad and the half the population doesn’t live good. At any given time more bad can be happening than good. It could continue this way, or not. (…)


(CNT)Think of what an eighty-year old Spaniard has seen! It’s nearly indescribable. They have witnessed the transformation of the world. When they were kids people went around in horses. They came of age during the strangest most beautiful incredible conflict in human history: The Spanish Civil War. It’s with a thrill that I walk by an older gentlemen and imagine that he fought with the Republicans during that struggle. Perhaps he was in Barcelona, a member of the CNT? There’s a CNT headquarters right down the street. (The CNT is the Anarcho Syndicalist Union that lead the fight against Franco.) Think of what he knows of life! Think of what it means to have fought the good fight and then lost to the forces of evil. To have actually, first hand, experienced the triumph of evil?


(THE RIO TURIA)Last night at around ten o’ clock I went for a walk. One of the great amenities of Valencia is the park where the river used to be. Yep, there used to be a river there, the Rio Turia, but then a few years ago they diverted it. It’s now a winding, snaking park that goes under ancient bridges and through the city. There’s a jogging trail, basketball courts, dirt soccer fields, a cafe or two and tons tuff for kids to play on. I go down there for my walks at night. Besides a few junkies there’s no one around. If you look up at the walls. you can still see the watermark. I like to imagine myself strolling under water. (…)


(SLEEP MOTIF)...I don’t think that human beings were meant to sleep in the same bed together. I’ll amend that. If you’ve got a king size bed, then there’s no problem because it’s not even like you’re in the same room. But a queen or, god forbid what we have, a double? There’s just not enough room. Every night in the middle of the night either Ruth or I get up and move to the couch. It’s nothing personal. You become aware of yourself making noise. You start to get frustrated and burny-eyed. Right when you’re about to finally fall asleep the other person rolls over and makes a bunch of noise. The bed is really creaky. It sags slightly in the middle. The bed came with the place. It’s a beautiful bed, but it’s not meant for a 190-pound American and his five-nine girlfriend. It’s meant for an old Spanish couple.

So last night after rolling around and grinding my teeth for an hour I went out on the couch. I watched TV for a bit but still couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about how everything is a waste of time, but that I still get sucked into it and then the familiar thoughts about how I can’t wait to be dead.

I was thinking yesterday when I was walking to the mall to get Ruth a Valentine’s Day present that people can’t live long at this kind of burn. I’ve got to find a way to turn down the heat, jettison off some this weight and baggage. Chill.

(…)


(WEIRD WORDS AND SELF-REFLECTION) That’s it. There’s nothing more. Now I’m forced to face myself. No more external shit to keep me distracted. What the fuck....I’m a monkey. Burpppp.....Monkey monkey monkey.

“Hi, what do you do?”

“I work for Snickers. They fly me all around the world. It’s dangerous, but I’m paid well.”

Doodee brain. Mr. Jigsaw Puzzle Face. Captain Butt Boy. Larynxial Confuscation. Macedonia.

Dianetics. I am Head of the Tom Cruise Fan Club. We love you, Tom. (…)


(OUTSIDE) I’m on the patio smoking a cig looking up at the building. It’s pretty to look at but falling apart. Infra structure bad. Clothes hanging out to dry but instead are getting soggy and becoming misshapen. I don’t even know if that’s a word: misshapen. It looks more like mishap. “His world was a mishap. One wrong turn after the other. In the end, when he looked back on it, it still didn’t make any sense.”