memoir

Moving Back To The Country - an old letter by D.M. Jerman

       I've never been as mixed up about anything as I have been about everything for about a year. I don't know why. I honestly don't. I've searched everywhere and every part of me, honestly and openly, and I don't know what is confusing me…

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Sometimes I get so confused that I wish that I was that same kid that had been dating that other kid while holding hands in church. That's how bad it gets. To think that ignorance and complete acceptance are what I want makes me feel like a fool. Like someone that should know better, but doesn't, and worst of all, is enjoying it. The more I question it seems like the less answers I get, which leads to uncertainty.  I read a review of Jack Kerouac recently, because some anniversary of his was recent.  It said that he made us question the roles that society thrusts upon us.  When it said that he makes us question… that was it. I question things that I didn't before and it's unsettling.  I thought of it recently as being "without joy."  Not that my life in any way is or was recently awful. I teach good kids at a good school and work with good people. I have the least excuse of anyone to complain. But I didn't find joy in things. Things I used to enjoy and really get excited for. I miss the feeling of "the first day of school" or right before a big game, or the moment before you get in a fight. I miss that pure joy of it after the fact is over.  For whatever reason joy has become a lost thing for me. I enjoy things, but I don't get the joy out of them that I used to. I miss that little kid feeling when you know that something great could happen very soon.  Like that movie with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the Smiths, that's what he says to her. You looked like Christmas morning. I want Christmas morning to come again, and more often. I've still been doing what I told you last time, but I think a little better.  I've been a better family member, all around, and I've been better professionally and personally. It's funny, because the more people at my school that realize I'm leaving, the more people come up to me and say they're going to miss me.  It's flattering, but I feel ashamed, because I think of what I could have been had I given 100%. I guess that feeling, ashamed, has also had to something to do with me recently.

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This isn't a life where dreams come easily. And the older you get the harder the dreams are to see, and to realize.  To be honest, I haven't had a clear future picture in mind since college, so it's not as if I'm disappointed. On the contrary, when I search myself right now I don't find disappointment at all. A bit of regret, but mostly a sense of looking forward and finishing strong. The feeling of being close to a finish line, but this is the hardest part of the race. I guess that I've come to realize that I am a person easily affected by my environment in almost all aspects. My roommates have been so great, putting up with me.  Not that I've been mean or a dick or a slacker in terms of my roommate responsibility, but that I haven't been myself.  Anyway, I find that my environment has a great deal to do with my activities and thoughts. I was home recently for my spring break, and I purposely stayed for about 8 days straight at my parents house.  It was different. I woke up and didn't feel a sense of boredom, or as if there were a million things I should be doing but wouldn't, or anything. I felt calm, and got a lot of things accomplished, some of which were overdue. That's another thing I've come to realize about myself: I get deep into procrastination. I'm looking forward to my grandfather's farm a lot, because I feel that it will do a great deal for me in terms of centering me.

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I honestly don't know where I would be if it weren't for you. You're probably the most amazing person I've ever met, bar none. Your ability to take life as it comes, for what it is, amazes me - and makes me jealous. You've been constant for me. Unwavering. If I was ever desperate or upset, or feeling helpless, I knew I could call you and talk, and that helped. The knowledge that someone was there that always seemed to be completely open, honest, and deep thinking. That makes a difference. I thought the other day, "what is the world without you like“ and it was odd. There were so many experiences that seemed like cornerstones to my past. It was hard to see. That in itself tells me how important you are to me. I would say about once a week you're in a dream of mine, often in no context whatsoever. Other times it's such an obvious connection it almost makes you laugh. Here's one that has actually occurred more than once, and you can read it as you want. You and I are together, alone. It isn't clear where. I'm going out of my mind, as usual, like my head's going to explode if I can't organize my thoughts and get control of them. For some reason the obvious solution to my problem is that you're there, and that if I can just have sex with you, I'll feel all better. I don't know how I convince you, it was never clear, but while we're having sex I suck on one of your nipples, and it's as if I were drawing something from you that made me feel all better and that I didn't need to worry any more. It never gets any farther than that, but in short, I don't know your role in my life. All I know is that I feel as if you're an integral, necessary part in the framework that is who I am. I don't ever want to lose you, in any regard, and I would love to spend a large amount of time with you soon.

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I'm going home this weekend with a load of stuff from my apartment/storage area. I want to get a start on it, and I feel like if I do it will feel more present and realistic. Next year I'm going to be living at my grandfather's farm. I don't know what I'll be doing for money yet. That bothers me a lot less than it used to, which is good. Either way I'll be taking classes at the local college and paying the bills somehow. Luckily I won't have many bills, and I'll get to enjoy space, country, and all that those things entail. I don't know where you are right now, or what your plans are, but you should consider staying at the farm with me sometime after July of this year. I'll be there permanently there after that, and welcoming your kind of visitor 24/7. I honestly don't know where you and I go, but it's somewhere.

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Short Work = acrostic + memoir + erotica by D.M. Jerman

FUCK/MARRY/KILL

For a total amount you talk

Unless violence swings on complete

Cock, we had better measure

Kiss with an element which exceeds

Morons deer games won piled

And cross over the wild and

Random expanses fresh or maybe

Rebellious yes rebelling while

Yardsticks are used to collect

Kef and major edges measured by

Individual drunken magnitudes

Lightheartedness while coating precious

Lists of everything blasphemed.

-

When I was working in Kentucky at a girl scout camp, toward mid-summer I went out with some other counselor ladies to TN.

We stayed at hotels in Memphis and Nashville and it was a long wild weekend, but toward the beginning one night in the middle of our drive we stopped at one of the counselors' parents houses.

It was a hot and beautiful night full of stars and mischief.

The counselors were younger than I and impressionable. Over the course of the drive, I had borrowed both of their cell-phones to make prank calls.

I even dialed a number close to my own and an exceedingly nasty woman answered. I called again and she was dumb enough to answer a second time.

While they were indoors, I sat on the curb outside dialed and dialed, leaving spastic patois and jive accents in my wake. Unrecognizable to the perturbed answerer.

One woman challenged me, tho'. As I stared up into the the southern spark-strewn black she talked and I talked and the lonely in her found a story in me. The exchange was warm and kind.

Fathomable and full of small truths, the kind a palm-reader tells you.

I stopped calling after her. I think I got what I wanted or needed, after that.

The next day the counselor's phones rang and rang with people calling back out of curiosity and confusion.

-

206 East Seventh Avenue. New York City, 1953.

Finally Billy Burroughs is topping Allen Ginsberg in his apartment living room somewhere between the roll-up couch and the orientally shagged floor and it's a moment the latter has been jerking it to for some time.

He is determined to be Bud's best lay (nobody calls Billy "Bud" but Allen, who gets away with the pet name probably because it's only used privately indoors), and maybe earn a scraped knee or two trying, cranking his soaking ass right up there to the hilt. Al's come twice but nothing much ever leaks out of his little brown jewcock and pecan balls anyway, so he keeps powering down until about twenty seconds from now when Bud busts and hunches fast over Al like he's captured kill.

Al has taken so many mental pictures as this "tea-n-tea'' real-life afternoon unfolds, his sweaty hair-pulled scalp is tingling in heady waves. Bud makes noises Al's never heard anyone else make ever while he nuts and he's stealing them also for potential later use. Al is only nervous about one thing and that's having more body hair than Bud, but Bud gives zilch for fucks about all that and knows Al was angling for his prick for awhile and Al doesn't really know that Bud is currently taking out his frustrations over someone else who is somewhere else out on him.

It's just sex and it's good. No one is falling in love here.

He pulls out. They arrange themselves and collapse. The room is musty with fornication and the muted chaos of it leaves Al grinning deliciously. Bud smells like stale cigarettes and the last glimmers of a once-bright aftershave wafting from the heat of him. Al watches Bud's thick dick soften and sink. He concentrates on this and mentally connects it with his asshole and the raw bliss of the worked-over feeling he's earned there.

After another moment, Al goes for the cigarettes. He'd been admiring Bud's breathing. Flat on his back, chest rising and falling with the small rouge nipples spread wide over the white barrel. Mouth open and near sleep in the 3pm light. Al fidgets anyway- a default setting from feeling so perpetually freaky-deakey all the time- but is afraid now Bud will catch him watching.

He does his best to be quiet and careful. Strikes the match and gets on with the next phase of afterglow.

(C)Lean Up After Yourself - Nine scenes in the film of life by D.M. Jerman

With the familiar young faces from my brownie troop, I went into my very first old-folks-home. Thru a maze of hallways, I walked into a room and placed the succulent I'd been given onto a long tray, and looked into the face of a woman I had no idea how to talk to. She was much older than even my own grandparents were at the time.

I left. I was pushed back in. I don't remember what we talked about from there. Only the blue light on her face from the single window, and afterward, the feeling as if something had just transpired for which yet I had no understanding.

 

Mother enters my room. I hear her coming up the steps to reprimand me for something. It's always something. I stand and wait for it. Incense is burning. She thinks I'm smoking pot. She tells my father this so they can gang up on me. Again.

 

Doing homework when my friends come to the door on a night when I didn't expect them. I grabbed my guitar and we headed for the tracks. We went deep into the pitch black tunnels and followed our echoes back out to the brisk air at the town limits. Kicking at gravel and beer cans and singing songs we'd just made up, and would never sing again.

 

It was getting late. We were teenagers. We got back to his parents house before they did.

We were on the couch. The only light came from the hallway. In the fever of the night I was desperate to take off my shirt. Desperate to feel his skin against mine. I did. We did.

 

We stood in the parking garage's open lot a story up along the highway. The rush of cars against the tall buildings and all their lights. For a moment it was just the cold, and our city, and us.

 

He left. We were friends for a while in college. Just pals. We'd chat over cigarettes and TV. But when, at the end of the semester, I watched him walk down the dorm hallway and out of the south doors I knew I'd never see him again. And I didn't.

 

Then, deep into my twentieth summer and far away from home, I crept down to the lakefront. Naked, under the sleepaway camp stars, I got into a boat, and paddled silently to the middle of the water, where I stopped to watch the grasp of the arm of the galaxy.

 

One day, a long time after all this, I got on the train in the city, and suddenly as I looked around me, everyone seemed like a real-life rock star. I'm telling you. Hendrix and PJ Harvey. Nina Simone and some crusty Mick Jagger-type cat. I guess I wondered then who I was supposed to be.

Dear Gus- by D.M. Jerman

Hard to believe its been 3 years since I visited you in Sao Paolo. So much has happened...

I rediscovered my diary from that time and enjoyed noticing a few things I didn't tell you about before:

 - -

All is well here. It's hot. Hottest summer in Sao Paolo ever. since they started measuring around 1950. Every time I get too warm I think about how I have to go back eventually to a frozen urban wasteland. The clouds gather in fluffy hard shapes over the afternoon. It will most likely rain a little every day. I camp the sun in one of the smoking sections of GRU (airport). This air and climate has thinned my blood. But making love in the cold when I return will thicken it up again appropriately. I still haven't checked the weather. A little longer to go with out being online. I walk down the far side of Augusta, past Consolacao, ducking into the shade and trying to connect to wifi with my stubborn telephone. To enjoy the sun, por favor!

Cucharachas the size of my stubby pinky finger amble drunkenly along sideways until they get crushed. They are big and few enough to deserve names, if I cared to name them. From the smallest to the most massive: Banyan-like trees with complex root structures and trunks sprout ridiculous and arching and beautiful. Along my walk I recall again the upcoming anniversary: Sao Paulo will be 460 anos this week. Any cause for celebration- Paulistanos are enjoying the full swing of summer. As I watch the news (JN and SP on Globo- gshow.com.br) this place becomes more and more interesting to me. From the 'ooo' and 'uh-oh' deep lip-puckered sounds of portuguese, to the fact that there is a whole lot that's about to happen here- Carnivale in a month. The world cup this summer and 2016 games in Rio. There is a buzz in the air. I think randomly of the foreign language instructors I had in college. 2 were decent and the others sucked horribly (Spanish and Italian.) But none of them every really tell you that to best learn a language, you must fly, nee flee, to the place that beckons you bend your tongue. For one thing, they seem to pronounce certain 'd's like 'j' and 't's like 'g's. I start reading "Tropic of Capricorn" and catch "nausea." I know I will be thinking about this place and missing it for a long time after I return home. Home- the cold, hard-as-rock working place. A place of no street vendors and strict rules of jackets and drama and too much drinking. I sigh. Something in me has cracked open and see it for the sad place it is- my own sad place in it.

Besides the heat the thing that makes this a real paradise for me, and easy on the eyes, is all the race mixing and the true melting-pot confluence of color. The guide book says it better than I can. I am happy to have the metric (converting F to C) practice, and one more week of summer- bought and paid for. The longer I stay in this place, the more comfortably surreal it becomes. A kid who looks like Jim Morrisson passes wearing a Jim Morrisson t-shirt. The air is powdered with the occasional delightful waft of pot smoke, and I meander in a grocery store, buying snacks and gifts and simply enjoying the foreignness of everything. Little adventures yield big results. Especially as hours are long and this place, despite its size, is highly walkable. I see some dudes holding hands here. And some fine dykey ladieez. It's all good. Everybody seems to get tatted up for any reason imaginable. So many kids with tattoos. I feel as if I almost fit in a little better since I have two mid-size visible ones. 'Leger & Franco & Leavitt & Gosling.' A girl walks by wearing this slogan on a cutoff T. The handsome faces pop into my mind- does she know? Or is she another of those increasing many who have Ramones t-shirts stuffed somewhere in their drawers?

I meet another photographer with whom I got in touch before arriving: Carol. I'm sorry you two didn't get to meet one another, but you both still have profiles on the same photography site. She is a gem and Chicago would love her. She'll be in the states by March for awhile, and maybe she'll never leave! I laughed when one of the first things out of her mouth was 'I hate Brasil'. She was so hot, flushed in the cheeks, from the midday walk to my hotel, bless her heart. She's dressed in PJs, two different tops and bottoms that clash, and has dorky glasses frames and one stretched earlobe and clearly doesnt give a fuk, and yet gives many fux about the right things. Her english is much better than she gives herself credit for, and our chat about music is refreshing. Turns out she's a huuuuuge Elvis fan!

I pull a ground score on a pack of Marlboros. I think I will have one now, and read some poetry. Flattered, even by a street solicitor, to be mistaken for a resident. I'm just an open person to talk to, really. "Night Power"- the stacks of an energy drink with an intense name in a convenience shop make me laugh. This along with a few storefronts leave me in stitches. Namely 'Thuty Shoes' and 'Qualy Copy.' Almost got lost coming off of Praca de Se, down into Liberdad this afternoon. But with a little hearty map reading I managed to make it past the ghetto while walking along a patch of highway only to run smack into lower Augusta again. Whew. In Praca Agua Branca, I drink from a coconut and listen to all the ruckus the cocks are making- calling forth and back thru the lattice and trellis. PEEP! PEEEEP! Bitchy Sparrows in Ibirapuera Park bicker a welcome on a Sunday. Naturally, the place is packed and I pop a squat in the shade and hydrate and take it all in for a moment. The music, the sculpture, the lagoon fountain with its angular dances. On the way here there are street performers at stoplights on Aveneda Brasil. Also, a man selling flowers. Brazilians are just trying to improve their station like everyone else in the world. They try hard and smile while doing it. And they love American music. "Knocking on heaven's door" sung at top volume with 2 saxophonists and one classical guitarist outside of my hotel lobby. Yet another lovely Sunday morning rendition around 4am by drunken youth as Rua Augusta stays hopping until the faintest blue, selling single cans of beer and thrashing the streets. Some choosing to pick a fight until the subway opens. And remarkably, for how much litter was present, the streets at Sunday noon are remarkably free of debris.

Fruit Shake Uva- a grape soft serve smoothie to balance me out. I was shaking from low blood sugar. Back in Parque Trinanon to cool off for a moment in the minor jungle. When I go in after the park (both art museums there are closed, as well as the Japanese pavillion- not however a total loss) I find the roof in the hotel lobby is leaking. Dripping blatantly onto a wide rug- darkening it. The next day the rug is gone and a bucket is out. I keep discarding magazines on the coffee table and there they sit- as dutiful an entertainment as Brazilian TV. The one channel I get is chock full of news and soap operas.

Gus and I shoot some pics on the abandoned 11th floor (rooftop/solarium) lounge with 2 saunas and a gym area. This poor hotel. What it was in its heyday I'll never know, Tho' it was good to take advantage of the last overcast light, and provided it stays open, we'll go up there again. I recall Gus saying "I want to win the lottery." It made me laugh. He is like most who want to win but don't want to play. The next afternoon rain sets in- another good thunderstorm. We work on the roof for a second time and Gus uses some lights and leaves the shutter open for a surreal effect- this after breaking his external flash! Not irreparably, tho'. He'll take it to the shop tomorrow. He's off to night work after we stuff our faces at an indian place where I have a mango lassi for the 1x in a thousand years, and he may be up early enough to call before I take off from the hotel for my standard walking adventure. Reading Vanity Fair over breakfast and observing again how Hotel Pan Americano is straight out of the 70s and falling the fuck apart. Loose toilets, poor A/C, grimy walls, a biology experiment for a pool (open and closed in what seems to be a haphazard way but I make good use of it.), shitty telephone, and now the internet switch seems to be a genuine bust. It could be annoying, but mostly it's endearing. My walk down Augusta to Feria Lima and back keeps me out in a hint of greasy rain, and is only as productive as it takes me past a beautiful eastern orthodox cathedral and a minor sculpture park. I can find an excuse to take a walk to any corner of this place at any time. A ferocious thunderstorm seizes town just as I seek early dinner in the shopping mall 2 streets over, and I wander the awesome bookstore, watching the deluge pass from high windows. Sure enough later it's on the news: a bus overturned in the flooding. More traffic, more weather. It'll all happen again tomorrow. On a random afternoon later on, Gus discusses Fernando Haddad- the people's mayor, and the role of the media as he sees it, and news in general here in SP- as we explore the rooftop of the Copan- a truly phenomenal 360 view in a building comprised of only 32 floors and yet is the largest residential complex in Brasil.

Quarta-feira. Another day. The sun blasts above a block-away building and into my window at 7:30. I miss a meeting with Gus by waiting in the wrong park- but 'tis never a wash. I find another park and finally Parca del Luz beside the Luz station in all its glory. Full of fountains and fantastic sculpture and quiet places out of the heat and... teeming with that feeling… a hangout for prostitutes? Gus comes to mind again, as I walk down a portion of his street back toward the hotel and pass a few "American" bars. "Las Jegas" being one. There are bordellos or "big houses" tucked in here and there, it seems. I am thrilled in an insipid way to find my favorite clove cigarettes. Samporena A Milds. There are newsstands everywhere called Bancas that distribute literature and smokes. I have a debate with myself about how many packs I will try to take with me. I wonder if they are as good as I remember. Gus and I drink Ibiripava beer and macha and eat ponchu-quejiou (cheese rolls) and in the meantime I chew gum to nurse away my appetite. Traveling broke is a good way to diet. No open container laws means pleanty of fun on the streets. Joints close up around 1 or 2a anyhow. "Blue Night Show"- a neon sign shines over a patch of Augusta as I open wide my screenless 8th floor window to dream out into the cool breeze of a Monday evening. I think there was a heat wave just before I got into town, and now the air is smoother, and more rain no doubt on the way. This place is truly lovely, and makes me love and miss my own city all the more.

Randomly, I find bidets in private bathrooms to be another fun euro-esque feature. But kind of hate it when fixtures aren't white or off-white. I'm the kind of person who monitors the condition of my excreta. Flavio, my concierge, objects when I try to tip him after getting my requisite pizza injection last night, it will be the last time I see him tho'. After these long conversations we've had across the desk, he admits to being gay because he thinks my asking him out for a drink means I'm after him. We have permanent wanderlust in common and I do genuinely hope to run into him in the states. He is so proud of his travels. Fruit and pizza of course have been more the subsistence here. Ate just the greasiest little cheeze thingy outside of Parca Republica, and I splurge on the airport bus service- a charter- not very proletarian of me, but nor really is drinking at the airport, and since I can't take these beers, they gotta go. My microSD card is full from pictures. My last roll of film is almost cashed. Anyway, the bus lets me stretch out. It can take as long as it likes in traffic while it affords me a last elevated view of this extensive filthy city sweating all across itself. I've just got enough cash to take the train when I get back to Chicago. And to think! Gosh, how rediculous to be stranded at your own airport. Too, my sunglasses broke, so of course that means it's time to go home. I sure could think of reasons to stay, but the best one would be my own bilingual love. My concupiscence is, despite my generally infrequent masturbatory habits, getting the best of me. In short: I'm horny.

One of my first days in the city was a Tuesday. Hot, but not too humid. The MASP is gratis then, so I go and it's all Parisian 19th c. artists and Lucian Freud's etchings on display. WAY up-my-alley. I start to thinking about how blessed, absolutely and truly I am, to be a model, to be an artist. To know artists, and to have a love and reverence for this amazing history and work. And that perhaps I shall never really want for anything because these feelings are being so deeply forged into my heart, and they- along with a profound humble gratitude- cause me to fortify my real legacy of personhood and responsible eldership. I am an adult and my heart beats and I live! And for this and more I sit in front of Van Gogh's Evening Walk and weep. I cry and cry from the heart and my tears make my soul clean. My truest luck is the gift of this understanding.