Sunday September 30 2012


Waking up at 11:35 a.m.

Strawberry Toaster Pastry. Orange Juice.

All day shift at China Wok.

Margot calls me wanting to put together the pieces from last night cause she barely remembers much of the details, like when she honked the horn and screamed like a banshee in the middle of Chanticleer. She just remembers being really upset and emotional.

Her: “I’m sorry about last night.”

The restaurant is busy with deliveries all afternoon. My car runs non-stop.

Goldfish Crackers. Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Raspberry Lemonade.

Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Tofu with Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Off work and back home.

Having a comforting chat with Aysena on Skype. She’s still in New York but only for one last night. Recounting our time together in New York she asks, “Did you write about Friday yet?”

Me: “No not yet.”

Embarrassed by it she says, “You shouldn’t write about it. The whole day was stressful.”

Me: “Yeah, I know it wasn’t a very good day.”

Downstairs, there’s a little crowd of people moseying about. Rachel’s here and upset about the downfall of her recent ex-boyfriend. Jessa’s blasting Roy Orbison on the TV. Anthony’s plucking Kevin’s violin. And Darren’s marching around with a glass of Rum and Coke.

Sleep around 4 a.m.

[i] Sergi Brosa.

Saturday September 29 2012


Waking up naturally at 10:56 a.m. before my alarm goes off.

Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice.

Back to the weekend grind. All day shift at China Wok.

Margot shows up at work demanding an explanation as to why I ignored her stream of phone calls while I was in New York. I don’t know what to say to her. I’m calm but she isn’t. It’s not a good meeting.

Eating a big order of French Fries from Five Guys with Raspberry Lemonade for lunch.

The day continues into the night. It’s fairly busy and the tips are generous.

Back home.

Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli and Rice.

Watching Freedom Writers (2007).

Fortune cookie says, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

Getting business done.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

And then the phone rings. I better not ignore Margot this time. I pick up and immediately hear bar sounds in the background. She’s been drinking. [Click] I don’t even acknowledge. But of course she calls back a few minutes later. I answer. Our conversation is just a bunch of bullshit, nothing productive, nothing enlightening, just nothing. She announces she’s coming over.

Me: “No, Margot. I don’t want you over here. I don’t want to see you tonight.”

Her: “I don’t care. I’m already here.”

She starts violently banging on the front door non-stop. The whole house is riled up and at attention. I’m still on the phone with her.

Her: “Let me in! NOW!”

She won’t stop. She’s unstoppable. I stay in my room trying to calm her down. I don’t know why I won’t just go out there and deal with it. Kevin intervenes and cool-headedly explains to Margot that the other roommate is going to call the police and it would be best for her to go home. Somehow this works. She listens to Kevin. Still on the phone with her I notice her flustered voice gets shakier and I hear the tears fall. She’s a wreck. I feel sympathy for her emotional state.


I decide to go out there and tend to her. She sits in her car.

Me: “C’mere. C’mon. Get up. C’mon. Get up.”

I pull her up out of her car and we hug.

Me: “’s okay. It’s gonna be okay.”

She weeps and weeps. I don’t know what to do. She rants on in a cryptic way. I study her pretty disgruntled bitter face hoping I can find the ultimate reason why she is the way she is. It bothers me that anyone could be such a psychological mess and especially one that I cared about for so long. Is she really that lonely? Are all the guys she’s been talking with really that subpar that she’s running back to me? It would be easy to fall back into place but my heart isn’t open to her anymore.

Me: “This is strange for me. You being here. I’m in a different place now.”

She rants on in a repetitive manner slurring her statements using cheeky words.

Me: “I thought you would’ve grown up by now.”

I start to walk away when I realize the situation is futile.

She yells out, “Robert! Don’t you walk away from me!! I will honk this horn until you come back!!!”

And that’s exactly what she does. I notice a few neighbors open up their windows and stare in astonishment. I can’t wait to get the notice from Chanticleer tomorrow morning that says: Ex-Girlfriend Noise Violation.

Her: “Robert! Get in this car now!”

I continue my path into the house and lock the door behind me. And that’s that. I can’t believe all of that just happened.

I retreat to my room to reflect and sleep at 4 a.m.

[i] The Land of Heart’s Desire.

Friday September 28 2012


☼ ○ ▬

Getting dragged under a surge of powerful waves. I feel it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come but I can’t tell of anything yet.

▬ ○ ☼

I open my eyes and hear the rain trickle and drip off the side of the building just outside our window. Aysena is still asleep. I just lie there breathing and awakening my mind. I feel a nudge at my arm. She’s up. Sweet moments. Then she has a sudden realization.

Her: “You’re leaving me!”

Me: “Yes I know.”

Her: “You can’t leave me!”

Me: “I’m still here.”


We arise out of bed and take a shower together. Packing and getting ready. We leave in search of the hostel she’ll be staying at for the next three days by herself. While carrying her suitcase down the steps of the apartment, which I attempt to help with, she drops her happiness right there on the ground. She locks up into a bad mood. We walk down the street a few blocks where the subway is. I try to decipher and inquire but her mouth is shut tight like a lid on a pot of boiling water; the water is definitely boiling inside her. I don’t know how to act or what to say. This is how she acts when something is wrong. She closes up. I should know she’s just depressed about me leaving. We take the L train to its last stop in south Brooklyn. We still have at least 13 blocks to walk and this neighborhood doesn’t feel safe. The load we carry is burdensome – dragging her suitcase and lugging the scooters we can’t ride for the time being.


We finally locate the hostel, which is basically just an apartment renovated into dorm rooms. The place is nice and well kept though. Settling in. Paying the owner. Ays goes to the bathroom and is in there for quite a while. I knock. No answer. She unlocks the door and I find her sitting on the floor in a fetal position sniffling and crying. I’m blindsided by her reaction. I didn’t think it would be this tough.

Me: “What’s wrong? I haven’t left yet.”

She just keeps shaking her head, “M-m.”

I try to touch her head but she turns away.

Her: “Just go.”

Me: “What do you mean? I’m not leaving.”

Her: “Just go. I will stay here.”

Me: “I’m not leaving you here.”

I’m upset. I didn’t want our last moments to be like this. It’s a strange unsettling moment. Eventually we migrate to the bunk bed and talk. I’m upset too. We could have planned this out better so she could come back to Virginia Beach with me for the next few days instead of being here in New York...alone. We can’t cancel our reservation and get a refund for the hostel. “Nothing works,” as she would say.


She manages to perk up, but with a stern face, and agree to go with me to the bus station. But her attitude is offensive. I’m crying too – heavy eyes – runny nose. Let’s just go. We hop on our scooters and get back on the L train. Sitting next to one another. She leans over and apologizes for the complications earlier. I smile back with watery eyes and say, “It’s okay.” She sticks her tongue out for a hot second like she always does when she’s in a good playful mood. I return the gesture.


In Manhattan. I discover one of those fancy foldout fans lying on the ground. I pick it up and nonchalantly give it to Aysena.

Me: “Here. For you.”

Her: “You’re always finding things!”


We’re starving and haven’t eaten anything but a Hard Boiled Egg earlier this morning. Finding a busy café to eat at.

Tuna Melt Panini, Chips, a Smoothie, and Vitamin Water.

Having to find my bank so I can withdraw money her mom wired to me to give to her. Unfortunately the line is too long and we don’t have time so I’m forced to pull out a limited amount from the ATM. This doesn’t sit well with her but I can’t be late for the bus. We move on.


At the China bus station. Nothing feels good. I’m upset. She’s upset.

Her: “Everything today went wrong.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I feel like I failed you.”

There’s just so much emotional distress. Everything is too hurried. The bus is leaving. I’m a wreck. I feel terrible. She reveals a hint of Siberian bitterness. I glance at the bystanders sitting in chairs behind the glass but they don’t seem to pay any mind to our dramatic scene. But there’s nothing unusual about it I suppose. The bus station, train stations, airports, and any place where people depart from and arrive at are places of loss, a place of ending and beginning, a place of goodbye and hello.

I can’t stop my body’s commands to allow these tears to pour out. My lips are shaking like Jell-O. I have no control over time in this moment. The forces of the city are far too powerful. I feel like I did in my dream, stuck underneath that turbulent wave fighting the pull of the undertow. I’m normally stronger than this but even the strongest man cannot contend with a heart of this nature.

I calm down a little bit.

“You’re complex,” I point out.

She nods.

“Do you still like me?” I ask.

She smiles a tiny smile, “Yes.”


The Chinese lady is collecting the last of the tickets. Time to go. We hug one last time.

Ays: “Okay. Good luck.”

Me: “You too.”

Then she turns and walks off down the street. And that’s that.

On the China bus. It’s stuck in tunnel traffic. I’m left to soak everything in. I feel like shit. It was a shame to end on such a disharmonious note. The last of my wisdom teeth protrude through my gums causing an extra discomfort. I’ve decided I don’t like New York, at least as a place to live. This city’s too heavy and compressed. I can’t compete.


Stop at a service station. I treat myself to a Cinnabon Cinnamon Bun with a Coffee. There’s a gross aftertaste but the caffeine perks me up quite a bit. In ten minutes the bus is back on the road. I quietly read The Bell Jar via the light from my iPod because the driver is without an ounce of compromise and insists he cannot allow the lights above our seats to be on.


While engrossed in the most depressing segment of the novel I take a break and glance two seats up. A young Chinese man scans through photos on his iPhone while simultaneously singing pop songs in Chinese. He’s unaware of me watching. He pauses on a few select pictures of a girl, very pretty, probably his girlfriend. The face almost resembles Aysena’s with her long shiny black hair and delicate squinty eyes. I miss her already. I know she misses me too; I can feel it. I’m certain we’ll meet again and continue talking online. It still amazes me how involved we got, how in it I became. I’m still in it. But I worry if time will damage anything, if we will grow apart and be recorded in the books as only a summer of love.


Somewhere in Delaware a back-to-back traffic jam begins. We’re stuck in it for at least two hours. They blocked off a section of 13 for whatever reason. Maybe an accident? Maybe construction? This sucks. I continue reading despite. I can still hear the Chinese guy singing without ceasing in an obnoxious out of tune voice. The other passengers start to take notice. The girl behind me protests, “Can we stop with the karaoke please?” Obviously he doesn’t hear her because he has headphones on. She gets the gumption to get up and tap him on the shoulder. Mission accomplished.


I did it. I finished Sylvia Plath’s only novel. But now I’m stuck with nothing to do and we seem to be driving for an eternity. Finally the bus crosses the Bay Bridge Tunnel after 2 a.m. Darren picks me up at the station and I’m home.

Settling down with a Coconut Water.

Sleep (in my bed) at 4 a.m.

[i] Robert Edward McGinnis.

Thursday September 27 2012


Unsettling dreams with scenarios where Aysena has to depart and leave me all alone.

Waking up on the couch. Ays says to me, “It’s fifteen till ten! Wake up!” I feel more rested compared to yesterday. She hops next to me on the couch offering sweet affections – tickling my face with her long flowing black hair – nuzzling my neck. “So sweet,” she mutters. Ten minutes go by. “I can’t stop,” she declares. She can’t stop tending to me. I hold onto her tightly. The rest of the apartment is empty, all the roommates gone. Just her and I. It seems appropriate to instigate a lovemaking session right here on this couch. Mmm...oh wonderful blessed union of souls.

Banana. Orange Juice.

We start out again on another adventure in New York. At some point after we got off the train I navigate us in the wrong direction causing us to ride around on our scooters longer than we should have. Semi-stressful moments. Eventually we locate Brooklyn Mac and enjoy specialty Mac N Cheese dishes. Then, around the corner to Peter Pan for Coffee and Donuts. It’s become our favorite place. Sitting down at the bar stools. I drop my head for a moment and stare off into space. She notices my brooding. Part of it has to do with the fact that Margot has been calling and texting me non-stop. I refused to respond because she’s acting crazy. Ays knows that she is my ex-girlfriend. She thinks I’m thinking about her in this moment and really it’s just a combination of things, the changes happening before my eyes.

Ays: “Do you trust me?”

We start talking about real stuff, the grit and grime of the fact that she will be in Moscow and I will be in Virginia Beach. There seems to be a mutual understanding of flow, and an understanding that this is a unique relationship and should be treated as such.

At the Buffalo Exchange on Driggs Avenue perusing through clothes and shoes. Playing dress-up is fun. We both walk out with exceptional finds.

We traverse to Manhattan and find the big field in Central Park. I join in on Frisbee with strangers while she fiddles on her iPad. We play together and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. The inevitable doom of our separation is coming...I’m leaving her tomorrow to go back to Virginia Beach and she’ll stay until Monday. She mentions her concern through sad faces and cute remarks.

Ays: “I’m gonna be drinking coffee in café talking with somebody else, I had love and it changed my life.”

It turns dark. At Times Square. Standing in the middle of a pop culture mecca. With the light coming from all the advertisements you’d think the sun was up. Observing all the awestruck tourists, just like us.

Picking up a few Pizza slices from a joint in Little Italy.

Grand Central Station.

Continuing on our scooters, my feet heavy and sore. Ays loses one of her contacts and needs to borrow my glasses periodically to see.

Back in Brooklyn. I discover a small park down by the river where we’re offered a panoramic view of the city lights in Manhattan, the Williamsburg Bridge just five blocks away.

Down the street we meet up with Nathan and Ryan at Death By Audio to catch a show. It’s a medium sized warehouse space packed to the brim with Brooklyn hipsters. The bands, to which I’ve never heard of before, provide a trippy dancy hypnotizing sound and beat – a small group modestly dancing. Sipping on PBR’s and smoking a clove. Ays and I sit in the lounge room during the transition of bands. She points out the narcissistic fashion trend and how “everybody here thinks about themself.” 

The show is finished. After playing a humorous game of guessing a stranger’s name we walk out towards Bedford Avenue. I glance down at the ground and discover a wet $20 bill plastered to the curb. All of us are amazed. Waiting in the subway station to take the L train but there’s a delay of about 25 minutes.

Back at the apartment. An old musician friend of Nathan and Ryan’s is here.

Snacking on Salt n Vinegar Chips.

Nathan kindly offers his bed to Aysena and me. We accept and call it an early night at around 2 a.m.

[i] All images by Aysena or me.

Wednesday September 26 2012


In and out of a harsh sleep for 3 or 4 hours – sitting up – having to reposition myself multiple times. The bus arrives in the middle of Manhattan bright and early in the morning. It’s 6:30 a.m. Not my happy hour. While waiting in the subway I scrounge down two Hard-Boiled Eggs that I packed along with a water bottle full of Orange Juice. Taking the L train to this guy Nathan’s place in Queens; I know him through Anthony and his band played a show at my house.

Walking up to the corner of Norman and Seneca I hear a familiar hey from the other side of the street. There she is, my little Russian doll. Adorned in some black and white Western style shawl with black and white patterned tights. A beautiful portrait. We lock arms immediately in a much-anticipated embrace.

I smile big and comment, “Look at you...I missed you.”

Inside Nathan’s railroad style apartment. Alicia, a former couch surfer I hosted maybe a year ago, settles us in. Ays and I cuddle on the couch just relaxing for a little bit before we venture out into the city. She gazes at me adoringly and says to me, “The sweetest thing in the world...when I’m with you everything works.” I love the way she explains things, even with her limited knowledge of English.

Out on the streets with Ays, each with our on scooter. Checking out the spots I know. First, that insanely overpriced Junk thrift store on Driggs. Then, to Peter Pan Donuts. It’s a packed little café with stocky young Slovenian girls behind the counter taking everyone’s orders. We sit down on bar stools enjoying our donuts: Old Fashioned Glazed and Cinnamon with Milk.


Ays recites an excerpt she memorized while reading James and the Giant Peach in San Francisco, for educational purposes but also she found it had poetic relevance to the situation when she lost so many important things and friends on the west coast.

We may see a Creature with forty-nine heads
Who lives in the desolate snow,
And whenever he catches a cold (which he dreads)
He has forty-nine noses to blow.

We may see the venomous Pink-Spotted Scrunch
Who can chew up a man with one bite.
It likes to eat five of them roasted for lunch
And eighteen for its supper at night

We may see a Dragon, and nobody knows
That we won't see a Unicorn there.
We may see a terrible Monster with toes
Growing out of the tufts of his hair.

We may see the sweet little Biddy-Bright Hen
So playful, so kind and well-bred;
And such beautiful eggs! You just boil them and then
They explode and they blow off your head.

A Gnu and a Gnocerous surely you'll see
And that gnormous and gnorrible Gnat
Whose sting when it stings you goes in at the knee
And comes out through the top of your hat.

We may even get lost and be frozen by frost.
We may die in an earthquake or tremor.
Or nastier still, we may even be tossed
On the horns of a furious Dilemma.

But who cares! Let us go from this horrible hill!
Let us roll! Let us bowl! Let us plunge!
Let's go rolling and bowling and spinning until
We’re away from old Spiker and Sponge!

We take the train into Manhattan. While riding up a compact elevator to transfer to another train we experience a strange moment. A burly black man is speaking to himself, “Homeboy is one hundred percent right...” while a tiny timid retarded man keeps his head turned in the opposite direction as if embarrassed by him.

At random unannounced times she’ll softly demand, “Kiss me.” I cherish these little cute moments.

We make our way to the Guggenheim museum. It seems to be a very popular place today. While waiting we notice the price of one adult ticket costs $80. We both recognize how ridiculous it is and how all these people, mostly couples and families, are willing to fork out that much money to see the art here. Fortunately for us we don’t have to pay. Alicia happens to work here and offered to put our names on the list. We climb the stairs and peruse all the exhibits including Rineke Dijkstra’s portraiture from the 90’s and a few paintings by Kandinsky.


In the projection room we watch videos of individual teenagers dancing in front of a camera.


Without a private place to make love we get inspired to make use of the unisex restrooms. Locking ourselves into the tight space and going at it for a few minutes. Surprisingly we aren’t disturbed by any knocks on the door. An exhilarating feeling shoots down my spine and releases down below.

Me: “Sex in a museum. How many people do you think have done this here?”


Sitting on a circular couch looking out the window on the fourth floor I notice an older woman across the street in a loft apartment changing clothes by an open window. She pays no mind to me or the passersby who take advantage of the voyeuristic photo op.  

We settle down at a small table by a fountain in Madison Park sharing Falafels we bought from a food truck. People watching – learning about the strangers by their body gestures and mannerisms.

Finding a Buffalo Exchange but it’s overcrowded. We don’t stay long.

Ays takes notice to my increased stress and uncomfortable mood from being surrounded by people constantly. The hustle and bustle of a city I can deal with especially with my experience delivery driving but the Big City is a different animal than I’m used to. She doesn’t like it when I get “nervous” she says.

Back at the railroad apartment. We relax on the couch from all the walking around. Feeling drowsy – drifting off to sleep for a little bit. Nathan and his roommates, Ryan and Ben, are here hanging out along with their friend Haley. They cook up a meal in the kitchen, some kind of Vegetable Soup. We all partake.

Getting into collaborative discussions about the music community here (or anywhere) and finding a home. We play a bunch of card games including Durak and Bullshit. Hours of entertainment and fun.


Things die down and people go to bed. Ays and I lie under a thick blue sleeping bag on the couch and have secret quiet sex. Ryan sleeps nearby and has a quilted blanket for a door so we have to be ultra stealth. In the background we’re privileged to listen to funk Motown jams thumping from his stereo, which becomes our soundtrack.

Sleep shortly after 2 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Tuesday September 25 2012


☼ ○ ▬

Talking with a friend about a legend that supposedly happened not too long ago where a man was digging a hole in the ground and didn’t stop digging until he reached the ocean nearby; he lost oxygen while living so deep underground and started to become delirious, believing he could shoot out into the ocean in a star-like explosion and transcend himself into another dimension. He ended up dying, but the people still wonder if he actually achieved what he believed.  

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up around 12:30 p.m.

Orange Juice. Pear.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Tears of the Sun (2003).

Getting lost on the internet.


Learning Russian.

Solo basketball time at the Mill Dam courts.

Salmon with Peppers, Onions, Kale, Carrots, and Pasta.

Watching Freedom Writers (2007).

I find myself emotionally engaged in the films I’ve been watching today, more than usual. I’m tense. Certain moments grip me with intensity; I am my mother’s son. She taught me to be sensitive to matters of the heart.

Packed and ready to go. I get Darren to hitch me a ride to the China Bus by Town Center. On the way there he and I talk about our recent thoughts on past times during other stages in life. He uses the term deep like it’s going out of style but sometimes that’s as descriptive as it can go.


Sitting on the bus now waiting to take off – the travelers piling on board. The anticipation is high to join up with Aysena. She’ll be in New York until Monday. I can’t wait to see her pleasant and adoring face for the next few days.


I listen to the scattered bits of Chinese near the front, a language I’m familiar hearing from working at China Wok; it always sounds so cryptic in it’s delivery but I’m sure the topics are mundane, at least that’s how it seems. I’m lulled to sleep by it’s soft monotony.

[i] Viva 'Crystal' Directed By Ash Bolland.

Monday September 24 2012


Waking up at 11:10 a.m.

A big mug of Coffee will suffice for breakfast.

All day shift at China Wok.

Only two orders in the past three hours and both were stiffs.

Prepping things at the restaurant.

It’s slow enough at work that I’m allotted a generous amount of time to stop by the house for lunch.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Potato Chip Trio. Honey Green Tea.

This could quite possibly be the dullest day at China Wok.

Reading The Bell Jar and winning at poker on my phone.

Sucking on Dum Dums.

While driving around I find myself in tune with days of yore...drowning my thoughts in a nostalgic river – thinking about my traveling adventures in romance and in friendships. I focus in on specific bars in my timeline over the past five years. Particular memories tug on my heartstrings.

It’s after 9 p.m. Still at work. I decide to chow down on dinner here.

Tofu with Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

I arrive home. There’s social commotion in the house. Hooting and hollering. Anthony played a Chicho’s show earlier with Mike Gombas and invited people over.


Kevin’s bedroom door comes unhinged from rough housing.


A three-man talk between Mike Gombas, Darren, and I.

Darren: “I just don’t know what to do.”

He’s in a romantic debacle...some strange form of an existential crisis (nothing unusual), but for some reason it seems exceptionally overbearing for him tonight.

Like yesterday, I read aloud a Sylvia Plath quote (it seems relevant somewhat), “I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.

I add, “I think you just need a good cry, Darren.”

Darren: “That shit’s strange! I mean just think about it overcomes you.” 


He stands there in the hallway with fiery red eyes (from drinking) and an unsmoked cigarette in hand venting about his life’s problems to Mike Gombas and I. It’s easy to laugh off his exaggerated personality but I know deep inside he really does have issues that he deals with on a regular basis. And underneath all the casual camaraderie lies a tormented soul. Darren Warrington.

The house simmers down. I clean up here and there.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Watching Tears of the Sun (2003).

Sleep at 3:30 a.m.

[i] Diamond rock. Source unknown.

Sunday September 23 2012


☼ ○ ▬

At a football game with friends. Enlivening spirits. Good times. We run through the waiting line. I spot Raven out of the corner of my eye hanging out with her own friends. Even as plain looking as she appears (which is unusual), I know for sure it is her. I avoid my head turning in her direction. She probably notices me. I make an effort to not notice her. I look at Anthony that knows all the history between her and I. He knows what’s going on. The scene changes into an amusement park train ride.

▬ ○ ☼ ○ ▬

A basketball dream.

▬ ○ ☼

Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice.

All day shift at China Wok.

There’s a shift in the weather. Even though the sun still shines with all its rage trying to convince you its still summer, I feel the fall breeze whoosh over giving me a reality check. I can’t wait.

Hard-Boiled Egg. Five Guys French Fries. Honey Green Tea.

The day continues steadily.

Playing poker on my phone and reading The Bell Jar on the down time.

Darren comes in for the dinner shift. I read aloud to him a few Sylvia Plath quotes to instigate a reaction...

I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallower’s sword and made me feel powerful and god-like.

He responds just the way I predicted.

Darren: “You’re a weird dude.”


Cecily, our boss, is in a snippy mood tonight. Nothing unusual. I observe Ling attempt to mop a spot directly where she’s standing; she’s on the phone taking an order. He lightly taps on her shoulder to get her to move but she turns around and starts kicking the mop stick in defiance. Wow. What a woman. Ling, Darren, and I all share smiles of wonderment.


Darren’s about to go home.

Darren: “I’m in a weird mood.”

Me: “Why?”

Darren: “I don’t know what I want to eat.”

When he walks out the door I shout out to him, “Good luck with your life’s problems!”

He looks back in gratefulness as if I just told him exactly what he needed to hear but not really. “Thank you!”

Off work.

Broccoli and Snow Peas with Crushed Almonds and Rice.

Watching Shooter (2007).

Fortune cookie says, “Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?”

Learning Russian.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Missy S.

Saturday September 22 2012


Getting out of bed around 11:10 a.m.

Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice.

All day shift at China Wok.

Two Hard-Boiled Eggs. Five Guys French Fries. Honey Green Tea.

It’s fairly slow at work.

Last night Margot was insistent she show me her new haircut. I declined and stayed in, with good reason. I don’t mind having a casual interaction with her, as long as it’s casual. But the problem here, and which time has shown countless times despite our separation, is that things between her and I will never be casual. So here I am at work. She stops by to visit...

She walks in while I’m snapping the snow peas, making some offhanded comment about my hair looking weird. She’s never really liked my usual shaved side and back look. This time I kept small patches of sideburns for kicks.

Me: “Becca cut it. My bosses think I’m Jewish so I’m going to embrace the look.”

At first the conversation is casual (I had high hopes), but quickly turns into an investigation on what Margot likes to call, “the sluts you’ve slept with.” Her definition of the word “slut” is any female that isn’t her. Negative energy. That’s all I feel. And no matter how hard I try to brush it off with a carefree attitude, her bad attitude takes over.

Margot: “Why can’t you just tell me?”

Me: “Because...I don’t feel all. You don’t make me feel comfortable to open up to you. You’re acting like a detective, not an ex-girlfriend or friend.” (But I guess that’s exactly what ex-girlfriends are supposed to act like.)

It’s completely immature this act she’s giving me. Why can’t she just be casual with me? We have no obligations to each other. I accept the fact that she’s seen other men and she should accept the same, that I've seen other women that is. But Margot is not a reasonable person. She kind of storms off out of the restaurant and texts me almost immediately, “I hate you. Fuck all the sluts you want to. Have a good life.”

I think to myself, and say out loud, “Some things never change.” I add, in my head, I don’t want any of this.

Coconut Water.

The day turns into night.

Off work and back home.

Vegetable Lo Mein. Hoegaarden.

Watching Shooter (2007).

Fixing up the PC-to-TV converter downstairs. Anthony and Darren test it out.

Sweet Rolls with Nutella and Milk.

I research hostels in New York for when I visit Aysena next week. I chat with her off and on every day. We both anticipate our meeting.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Purple hair. Image source unknown.

Friday September 21 2012


☼ ○ ▬

Exploring a complex obstacle course with an intricate system of hallways and corridors – other players on the move. There is no ceiling and no roofing, just a black dreary sky above. Finding abstract representations of mental thought compartments.

▬ ○ ☼ ○ ▬

A fish has caught the tail end of my boogie board strap. The submersed boogie board keeps moving across the lake in an uncontrollable manner. I hop into the water and yank the board out discovering a catfish was causing all these antics. He just lies there on the ground breathing...but not moving. I take into account that we could save this for dinner. Nearby a blowfish has appeared on the ground as well. He’s very bright and strange looking, bearing tropical colors. I take hold of him adoringly sometimes squeezing his tiny little body in hopes he will inflate. He talks to me. I take into account to place him back in the water rather than save him for food. For some reason I decided he was worth freeing.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 2 p.m.

Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice.

Cleaning – doing chores – minor maintenance.

Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Raspberry Lemonade.

Watching Citizen Gangster (2011).

Anthony and Kelley are roaming about the house researching a new camera that just came into the thrift store. Anthony enters my room and takes notice to my mini-fridge, the door wide open, “Oh. What’s going on here?”

Me: “Defrosting my fridge.”

Anthony: “Defrosting the mind.”

Sweet Roll with Coffee.

Learning Russian.

Fried Tofu in Miso Soup with Mixed Vegetables and Garlic Bread. Budweiser Can.

Finishing Citizen Gangster (2011).

A few night errands that include buying a new mini-fridge and storage unit stuff.

Kevin, Richie, and Anthony are watching the ninja turtles movie on the TV tower.

A small bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Hair Protection. Crazy Japanese Inventions.

Thursday September 20 2012


Waking up just before 2 p.m.

Banana. Orange Juice.

Official Business Mode.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Potato Chip Trio. Honey Oolong Tea.

Learning Russian.

Relearning bass lines for Musicplayer songs.

Tilapia with Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms, and Quinoa.

It’s poker night, at Art’s apartment this time. Players: Becca, Will, James, Darren, Art, and myself. The stakes are higher this time. $5 buy-ins rather than $2 buy-ins.
I brought a Chocolate Yellow Cake to share.


James: “It’s a good queen game.”

Will: “Metaphorically and physically.”

Out of left field Darren spouts out, “Your mom’s a queen game metaphorically.”

Sarcastically Will replies, “Your jokes are so sick.”


Me: “They really are!”

Will: “I need some ointment for the sick burn you just layed on me.”


Art jokingly remarks to James, “You lost all your blacks?”

Darren: “Now you know how the south feels.”

Art: “He got all the Latinos.”

Darren: “Daaaaamn! Art coming in with the casual racism.”


The game goes on for at least two hours but it’s expected. Darren’s boisterous outbursts and constant heckling creates a stressful environment but this is also expected. His intention is all fun and a jester of our court. But sometimes he gets to me. I play it off with sarcasm but deep inside I just can’t connect with his meaningless banter. Of course this mostly comes out in group settings. When it’s one-on-one we’re able to dig through life’s inconsistencies together in a civil way.


It dwindles down to Will and I. We stop there because the game might continue for another hour. I have more chips so he settles on second place and I on first.

Back home.

Cleaning out the big freezer.

Sleep 4:30 a.m.

[i] Jing Zhang.

Wednesday September 19 2012


☼ ○ ▬

On the phone with Margot to which it’s understood we’re acting in a movie and we’re supposed to be together. Earlier in the day I had to deal with some stressful situations with my job but she doesn’t exactly know what I do. So I decide to tell her.

Me: “Okay I need to tell you something but you have to promise not to freak out.”

I take a deep breath.

Me: “I already talked to my coworkers and bosses and supervisors and they think it’s okay for me to tell you. I think it will be good for you to know so you can understand what I do. Alright. Here it goes. I’m a part of a secret service agency.”

She’s shocked but happy to finally know what it is that I do.

▬ ○ ☼

1:30 p.m. wake up.

Banana. Orange Juice.


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Oolong Tea.

Watching The Peacemaker (1997).

Learning Russian.

It’s basketball night on The Friend’s School courts with Anthony, Tim, Riggs, and Skippy. At some point towards the end of the fourth game Skippy and Anthony get into a semi-serious squabble. Anthony tends to get a little fierce on the courts, borderline fouling, hip-to-hip charging and whatnot. Skippy just wasn’t in agreeance with any of his antics, and Anthony won’t give in to fault. Things get smoothed over eventually back at the house.


It’s haircut night with Becca. She’s here cutting everyone’s hair, mine, Art’s, Darren’s, and Josiah’s.

Chic Peas and Black Beans with Broccoli, Mushrooms, Carrots, and Garlic Bread.

Darren persistently gets on my back about my vegetarian-style meals, “So what’s it like eating side dishes?”

Me: “Shut up, Darren!”

I pull out a bottle of Hoegaarden.

Darren: “Now it feels like a dinner.”


While Becca continues lowering the boy’s ears we get into a lengthy comical discussion on sexual activity preferences. Oh, it’s a fun conversation.


Me: “Darren, I think you’d make a good lawyer.”

Darren: “Why? I’ve never studied law.”

Me: “You don’t have to. You can argue anything.”

Darren: “I can argue anything.”


I continue cutting out old magazine clippings for collages. Josiah puts on the 1920’s radio station.

Darren has a sudden realization about me, “You’re weird, Robert.”


Becca: “He’s just now noticing this. He’s not doing anything different than he has been.”

Me: “The thing about Darren is he thinks I’m creepy and weird all the time ever since he’s met me. He never stops reminding me.”

Josiah: “You are sometimes.”

Darren: “You are creepy.”

Me: “So what? I WAS AN ONLY CHILD!”

Darren: “I can fucking tell. If there’s any one quality about you that I know for sure is you are an only child.”

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep at some late hour.

[i] Untitled. Virginia Echeverria Whipple.

Tuesday September 18 2012


Actually getting up at 1:47 p.m.

Anthony and I both had deep-layered dreams. He thinks it was from all the social stimuli from last night.

Nutella Shortbread. Peach. Orange Juice.

Analytical talks with Anthony and Darren in the dining room on the powerful feelings of jealousy, the idea of non-monogamous relationships, and basic talks of the future.

Off and on I hear from Margot via text message. She hits me up today needing a ride to her car. Over the past two weeks she’s been eager to meet up with me, for whatever reason. I’ve been presenting a vague blasé attitude towards her, in attempt to avoid so much communication. I have no intention nor do I want to start including her in my life in any way except for a passing cordial what’s up. Either way I give her a ride. It’s five minutes of foreign yet familiar feelings, a recalling of a relationship that once was and is no longer. That’s it.

At Wheeler’s house on Lake Drive with Stephanie. I’m offered a cup of Blackberry Sage Tea that relaxes me in powerful way. The house is beautiful and cozy – a naturally vibrant aura that inspires me to meditate. The three of us discuss fertility and herbs that alleviate depression. Then, a yoga session.

Back home.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Potato Chip Trio and Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Oolong Tea.

Finishing The Grey (2012).

Catching up on writing.

Learning Russian.

I accepted an invitation to meet up with Margot at Rick’s Café. I show up a little early before she arrives and to my surprise find Anthony and Kelley just finishing up a meal.

Me: “You won’t believe who I’m meeting here.”

Without hesitation Anthony says, “Margot?”

Me: “Yup.”

Anthony: “Woooo! Oh we’re staying.”

Me: “Yeah it’s one of those catch-up dinners.”

Margot’s here now. We haven’t officially sat down and caught up in a while besides the occasional run-ins. But here we are. The introduction is small talk pleasantries but over the course of thirty minutes it turns just a tad bit sour after she inquires once again about my romantic encounters. Her bad attitude doesn’t encourage me to even want to answer these questions. I don’t feel comfortable opening up about my love life or my sexual experiences. It feels inappropriate.

Me: “If I felt comfortable enough to talk to you about it I would. I just don’t cause you’re so mean. You’re not even acting like a friend.”

The food arrives but we continue our discussion.

Fried Flounder. Mashed Potatoes. Hush Puppies. Broccoli.

Me: “I’m just wondering why you’ve been hitting me up lately.”

Her: “Cause I don’t have anyone else.”

Me: “So now that you don’t have anyone else you think it’s appropriate to just hit me up.”

Her: “It’s not like I’m booty calling you.”

Me: “I know.”

Eventually our conversation changes into something more positive and friendly.


Outside she praises this new workout program she’s been doing and invites me over to try it.

Her: “Don’t worry. I’m not gonna try anything.”

I chuckle in response, “Okay.”

I meet over at her condo. Smoking a clove out on the patio for a minute. In the middle of listening to her tell me some story about a pair of shoes she really wanted I zone out and drift into a thought space...having the shocking realization that she’s had sex with other people besides me and I the same have had sex with other girls besides her. It’s a thought that’s crossed my mind before more so when I was seeing her romantically. But just the idea of a tainted vagina disgusts me, not specifically in regards to Margot but in general. The erosion of purity is depressing.

[Snap out of it]

We migrate to her bedroom and she puts on the Insanity workout DVD. I attempt to follow the motions and movement.

Me: “Man, I can see why you’ve grown those calves.”

Taking a breather and sipping on some water. She puts on these new bright orange colored pajamas. I get ready to leave. We give each other a warm fully realized embrace.

Me: “Alright. Sweet dreams – good night.”

I return home. Anthony fumbles down the stairs with a big grin on his face.

Anthony: “So did you go back to her place after?”

Me: “Yeah...”

He jumps to the conclusion, “Oh you had sex with Margot!”

Me: “No I didn’t. I would tell you. I promise. We just had a catch-up dinner.”

Darren pipes in comically, “You guys just had ketchup for dinner?”

Me: “Ha. Ha.”


Me: “But really. Nothing happened. My heart’s still with Ays right now.”

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep around 4 a.m.

[i] Glitch Art.

Monday September 17 2012


☼ ○ ▬

Dead bodies in the backseat. Casualties of a failed mission. A friend, and accomplice in this knowledge, bears this burden with me. We leave the car behind and join up with a group of hip street urchins in an alley – all of us smoking rolled cigarettes and cracking light humor. All the while the graphic image of the dead bodies haunts me the whole time.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 12:30 p.m.

Nutella Shortbread. Coffee.

Making decoration repairs around the house.

Double Egg Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Oolong Tea.

Watching The Grey (2012).

Practicing for a little bit at the storage unit. Then straight to Chicho’s on 29th Street. I’ve got a gig there with Mike Gombas. Kevin, Richie, and Anthony play a mix-up set of Pinball Locomotive and Playground Run Around songs. The whole gang is here: Tristan, James, Lauren, Josh, Aj, Carmen, Ken, Will, and Becca.


Becca recounts her experience at Chicho’s:

I pull into Chicho’s just in time to hear Robert play. I head straight to the bathroom first, cause after driving 5 hours from Blacksburg, VA I need to brush my teeth. A little girl tries to come in the bathroom and I can hear an older female tell her “you have to wait nicely…” over and over in a sweet voice.. it makes me feel like I have to rush even though I know they are waiting nicely outside the door..
I walk to the outside seating and see James first then Carmen… Robert startles me from the stage with a “Becca! hey…” then he laughs at my awkward surprise but happy to be here look. I sit and enjoy the environment, we are like cans of soda and we shake each other up… Explained to Carmen then James that I’m moving in 2 weeks. I look at Robert and look around and feel happy to enjoy life in the moment, and sad cause I realize that I haven’t been living my life truly. Now that I know I’m moving, I feel like a doctor has told me that I have 2 weeks to live. I want to live truly in the new season of my life. Robert’s singing is like giving sugar to kids, and the energy is contagious… its partly due to Anthony’s scheming. James is being ridiculous and saying absurd things. Robert finishes and asks me to split a pizza.


Sharing a whole Pizza with Becca.


Afterwards. Everyone’s invited to the house. It’s a loud, boisterous, and obnoxious playground for us kids who refuse to grow old the times that will always be as long as you choose to live in it. All of us migrate into Kevin’s room to see how many people we can cram in his bed.

Somehow this gathering transforms into a water balloon battle in the hallway creating a soaked carpet and dripping waterfalls from the ceiling. The staircase rumbles with footsteps stomping up and down at an endless pace.


Darren went off alone to the bar. Later he requests that I come pick him up because apparently he thinks he’s too messed up to drive back home. I grab Becca and Will to tag along. At Kelly’s Tavern we locate Darren yapping away with two dudes he just met. He’s just going on and on in such a dominating way about the absurdity of his life and the people he lives with (us).

Darren: “When you walk into my house you realize society is a lie!”

I can’t stop laughing behind Becca’s back.

We safely return home and the social lingering continues... 

Snacking on Muscadine Grapes, Broccoli, and Carrots.


Somebody puts on Clueless (1995). I stick around on the infamous red couch while Becca drifts off to sleep; Anthony and Kelley snuggle on the other couch.

To the bed. Sleep at some late hour.

[i] All images by me.

Sunday September 16 2012


Waking up at 11:35 a.m.

Figs. Peach.

All day shift at China Wok.

The Air Show is currently going on in the afternoon and I’m privileged enough to catch fighter jets zoom by in formation creating a loud crack in the sky. I close my ears to avoid turning deaf.

Five Guys French Fries. Honey Oolong Tea.

These past two weekend days have been busy with the combination of the football games and air show happenings.

The last hour is phone calls. I sit here at the pink marbled table soaking in my on-going reading of The Bell Jar, which I’m eager to finish. Plath has such a wild way of wording anything and everything.

Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli, Snow Peas, and Rice.

Practicing songs at the storage unit.

Skype chat with Aysena. She’s currently in Vegas experiencing the bright lights of downtown. She’s been in quite a shamble these past few days after leaving her backpack (containing her passport) on the China Bus in New York, her phone getting stolen at the airport, and now today she lost her wallet, holding all her identification cards.

Ays: “I’m really glad I have you.”

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Watching The Grey (2012).

Sleep sometimes around 4 a.m.

[i] Screenshot by me.

Saturday September 15 2012


☼ ○ ▬

A strange relationship with vibrating memorabilia from a movie understood to be Sleepy Hollow, but when envisioning the opening scenes in my head are completely different; it involves a beautiful young woman wearing a long flowing dress walking seductively through the forest capturing the eyes of a wanting young man. They’re both mutually in love with each other and content in their love. The man gets lost in a nightmarish daydream of her face transforming into a ghoulish and frightening creature. He snaps out of it and so sets the precedent for the film.

▬ ○ ☼

Getting up out of bed at 11:07 a.m.

Figs. Peach.

All day shift at China Wok.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Fresh Guacamole. Honey Oolong Tea.

Snapping the peas on the down time.

A fairly busy day for deliveries.

Banana and Scuppernong Grapes.

While driving around on some slightly far away orders Becca reaches out to me for some cheering up. She’s been in Blacksburg to get a taste of a possible new life there. We haven’t met up in a while, not since my last haircut. She’s feeling low and uninspired, needing to psychoanalyze things with a friend.

Becca: “I’ve been reconnecting with people that are changing.”


Me: “Well I think that’s what happens when you get older, in general, no mater where you’re gonna be around jaded people when you hang out with people that are your age but when you hang out with younger people, speaking from my experience, you stay reminded of the brighter things in life.”

During the dinner shift I get a delivery to Waterfront Dr, a neighborhood I frequent any where between 5 to 10 times a day.  I walk up the steps to the third floor and find another Chinese delivery guy (actually Chinese might I add) standing there knocking at apt. #302. I stand beside him and knock on apt. #301. Both neighbors open up their doors at the same time.

“You’re not gonna believe this,” I warn my customers.

All involved join in the laughter and disbelief at the coincidence of this happening.

Off work and back home.

Tofu with Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Watching Capote (2005).

At the storage unit practicing some songs.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Monica Bellucci.