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The Pat Zelenka Project / Blog

Things To Come - Poem - 05/11/10

I walked through gardens, She walked through hallways, Golden tapestries, Hanging on the wall.

I felt the pain of a thousand lifetimes, She felt the joy, Unspeakable happiness, Unfettered by shame.

We talked of old times, Talked of things to come, Laughed about old memories, Cried in shame for some.

I was of the house of strange, She was of the house of plain, Though strange seemed exciting, Oh the longing for a little plain.

The young boy grows and speaks, The young girl learn to reach, The young boy takes to task, The young girl knows to ask.

We talked of old times, Talked of things to come, Laughed about old memories, Cried in shame for some.

It was a poor dye job/I drank from the can - 02/19/10

It was a poor dye job/I drank from the can.

The walk from the car to the front entrance of the bar was a cold brisk trek. Super cold out, and the parking lot being full, we'd parked far away. Stepping out from the warm car, and pulling my jacket tight around me, I hurried as fast as I could to make the entrance............

It was a corner club/bar on a busy city corner. The parking lot took up almost all of the lot, and the bar seemed like an afterthought in the back corner of the parking lot. A dim, crowded smoky place. Old. Full of public high school drop outs. Dreamers. Forgotten people. Women searching for men, men searching for women. All floating in the dreary, oppressive, smoke filled haze of the air that filled the bar.

Most people here looked very sickly, the entire place had the feel and atmosphere of a third rate strip club where truckers stop by looking for just a glimpse, just a glimpse.........and that anxious, desperate feeling was ominous here also.

I had come to see and hear the band for the night, a strange collection of individuals who didn't seem to belong together, I imagine that they would never photograph well together either. Kind of like the cast of Tod Browning's "Freaks", but without the photogenic qualities of the Human Torso and the Legless Man.

Drinks, that being Diet Coke, were served. To shove the feel of the old strip club even further, we were given little glasses with long thin straws, smoke drenched ice at the bottom. A separate cold can of soda contained our requested beverage. I drank from the can..........

The band began, disjointedly. The singer was already pretty lit, the guitar player only knew one tone, that being bright, the drummer, looking a lot like Patton Oswald, made quite an effort and show of bashing about behind his drum kit, and the bassist, a small wisp of a woman, looked to be terrified of her instrument, and plucked at it accordingly, in tentative little strokes.

Up front, with a poor red dye job, stood a woman. She was wearing an impossibly ill fitting pair of low cut jeans, with a torn t-shirt. Her hair was a tossed mess of long, waist length, broom thick hair, which she pinned in all manner of fashion to keep it out of her face. To my horror, the realization slowly dawned on me that she was the lead singer of the band.

They launched into numbers like "Man In The Box", a few numbers by Pink, and some classic rock.................all done with a forced, manic, intensity that made all the material play out with the subtlety of a dry heave.

The creme de la creme of the night was "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes. It was during this number, during this hellish number, that sonic waves would hit my sinuses and make my brain vibrate. It happened every time the lead singer and the bassist tried to sing the high falsettos as harmonies together.

They made such a valiant effort of it too, especially with the completely blitzed state that the lead singer was in. They noticed immediately that it wasn't working, so instead of one person dropping out to help with the problem, they both would force it out that much harder at every chorus.

This was so painful to watch. This was so laughable to watch. This was so sad to watch. I stood up, walked out, and took in the fresh air of the night....................

It was a poor dye job/I drank from the can.

The Green Topped Cadillac Convertible & Me - 02/12/10

I awoke, groggy and fuzzy, and looked at the clock. It showed me a time of 9:30, and so I rose for the day. Brushing of teeth, a shower and such. Picking a shirt to match my mood. Marvin Gaye or the local blues society? Either would do.

I watched the bland TV fare, morning talk, old men with young, too thin blondes, all smiling away as they speak of bulimia, death, and homelessness. So happy to discuss the celebs they adore, while all the while being very much a bore.

I ate slowly, knowing that soon, I would have to open the front door, and enter out into the world. A cruel cold place, with no sympathy.

Grimly, I checked to make sure cell phone and car keys were in their place in my jacket, and walked on out my aluminum portal into the hellish landscape.

Starting my cold, unforgiving van, I forged ahead, full of caffeine, turkey and provolone wraps, and promise.

As I turned out from my neighborhood out onto the main road, all seemed normal. I say seemed, for what can normal truly be, but an illusion.

As one makes time passing cars driving 10 miles under the speed limit, cranking out the radio to guitars, string quartets, and local advertising, one gets the feeling of a modern day Dante’s Inferno. Grim, but satisfying.

Coming up to a light, I began to notice the strangest sight. A Cadillac, a green Cadillac, a convertible, with a bright green top. Defying all conventions of decency and taste, it came up the traffic light to stop, and I drove to pull up alongside.

The four occupants of the car were a strange lot, bizarre, greasy haired, twisted little people. They seemed fascinated to no end by everything that was going on outside the windows of their car, their eyes bugged out in horrified fascination……………..the median age of everyone in the car being about 35.

The driver gripped the wheel as if in a stranglehold to control a car that might fly out of control at any minute. The front seat passenger waved his hands around, and pointed at any object that caught his fancy, as if to say, “Look there! Look there! Look at all of it, a cornucopia for us, a freak show of color and what not! It‘s all for us, all for us!”

The backseat passenger behind the driver was short, horribly so, and their entire features were obscured by the cheap woven hat that they wore. Even the sex of this person was at question, due the many layers of dark clothing. A mystery to be sure……………….

But it was the other passenger in the back seat, this demented fourth person, who truly caught my eye……..

He had not a straight tooth in his head, every hair on his short balding pate of a head stood on end, like an unwashed potato. His upper lip was raised, exposing his shoddy handiwork of a mouth. His dirty hands were pressed against the window, as if he were looking into an aquarium, fascinated by the little “fishies” that floated by him.

He wore a heavy Navy peacoat, and his eyes were wide, open to the world, as he was trying to drink in all he saw, in as quick a manner as possible, lest he miss one little thing, and all be lost.

He fixed his gaze upon me, and began to stretch his eyeballs out as far as he could humanly make them stretch, wider and wider, every tooth exposed, until he looked like a cartoon, a caricature of humanity.

I began to feel like the main character in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”, an object of horrified fascination. I found myself beginning to laugh, snicker, and smile. This did not please the occupants of the “green abomination”, and word began to quickly spread throughout the car concerning my social/traffic faux pas.

The light turned as green as their car and I went on my way. The occupants of the “green machine” rolled on, right on out, they rolled on into the afternoon. I imagine them driving through neighborhoods and parking lots, staring, always staring……………driving straight on.

Meadows - 01/13/10

I turned the corner, Years ago, I turned the corner, Onward to go.

She looked into my eyes, So sweetly and smiled, "I can make you happy", she said, "I can make you free".

My happiness comes from walking the meadows, The meadows of my mind, Freedom can be found there, Time without time.

I was indifferent, I was involved, I was cruel, I was kind, I was above it all, I was down on the ground.

To rise above the static, To sit by the sea, To walk upon the clouds, Just to find time to be me.

She lay there before me, She made herself plain, I saw her and thought, I saw her and it began to rain.

My happiness comes from walking the meadows, The meadows of my mind, Freedom can be found there, Time without time.

Such Secrets As These - 2-24-99

Child-like flaxen hair, That floats in the breeze, Can you reveal, Such secrets as these?

I have searched for freedom, On all fronts, And found nothing.

Could such tiny vessels as these, Have brought us so far?

To rest upon this shore, Answer only a little, But no more.

I for one, Never believed, What was told, How their spirits were broken, And made to fold.

And I will not believe.

I will float, Above the clouds, Like Dionysus, Wrapped by wings of, Peace, And Love, And Confidence, And Joy.

Flamenco Sketches - 11-1-99

I puller my coat tightly around me, Due to the drizzle and the rain, And continued to walk aimlessly, To somehow pump out the pain.

The dampness felt good against my skin, My shoes felt warm to my toes, My coat felt think and warm against me, And soon was gone my woe.

In the day, It appeared as nothing, But in the night, In the night it was a sight to see.

Streets seemed to glow, With an unearthly fire, All seemed to pulse, With a life all it's own.

The small little coffee shop was open, And soon it's door I did grace, And the activity within, Brought a smile to my face.

And so sipping hot cinnamon tea, And feeling so at home and free, I enjoyed myself within it's walls, And was proud to be just me,

The couch was comfortable, And the music, Oh so fine.

The band slowly began to play, "Flamenco Sketches", Each person seemingly having played it, At least a thousand times before.

Their timing almost flawless, Their musicianship divine, The music they made soon found it's way, And floated through my mind.

I freely took what they offered, I really didn't see why not, And so I floated for a time, Not caring at all when it might end.

But soon time interrupted, With all it's brutish force, And so I returned to the shelter of my coat, And continued on my course.

Obsevations Of A Girl (circa 1995)

She lived about a block and a half away from the local community college. If you live in the city, then you're familiar with the neighborhoods that exist that close to campuses. Just as many of these places go, hers wasn't any different.

They were never neighborhoods that women were ever supposed to live in alone. Crack houses are frequent, and people who roam with nothing better to do are an all too common sight.

The house she lived in was an old two story with a stand up attic that was now converted into a three story apartment complex of sorts, with all the usual's, like bad parking and security poor doors, all intact.

She was, I believe, 24, and having lived this way for awhile, very little of her naive qualities were still intact. She lived in the first floor, in what was probably the living room at one time, and as in all of these type of apartments, you had to walk through he bedroom to get to her bathroom and kitchen.

But all of this was of little importance when you made yourself comfortable in the living room. Here, quiet reigned with an iron fist, the problems of the street quickly forgotten. Cat Stevens played on the stereo, wine was served, and good conversation was always present.

The person who created this beautiful atmosphere seemed to do it with only a nod of her head, or a smile, or a laugh. The perfect hostess, you were at once made to feel at home, there being no question at all that you belonged here, the conversation reminding you that you were in the presence of intelligence, there being no doubts about that.

She was a photographer by trade, and freelanced quite frequently. There was good money in this, and her work was of such a quality that she never wanted for any. Everything was tapestries and curtains, old pseudo-Victorian furniture and cats. All about you, the whole place screamed that someone creative lived there. And for someone like me, the whole atmosphere was so tranquil, that I always hated to leave.

She was physically beautiful, but it was her personality that made her that way, I think. Don't get me wrong, you'd notice her in a crowd, but had she not been a sweet and pure person, it would have been difficult to have remained a friend.

I am by nature a soft touch, a sensitive person, more so than most people realize. She always realized this, and for that I never expected anything more than she ever offered, her friendship was enough. When people are good to me, I never forget it.

Untitled (Late 90's)

She was old, (Or was she young?)

I reached out for her hand, But it withered, And I pushed it away.

Little flower petals, Lying on the floor, Chipped, neglected paint, Lonely on the door.

The string on the guitar had broken, It could not mend itself, "Fix it" I said, She said no, It can go up on the shelf.

She laid on my bed, Her emotions laid as bare to me, As her body, "I'm too tired to laugh" she said, And so I tried to make a joke.

The moon shines a ghostly white through the window.....................and I wait for morning.

Ocean Girl - 06/17/04

In her simple glow, She made gestures, Both broad and fine, And upon the love of life, And love, She made to dine.

She was complex, Yet easy to understand, I loved her mind, Her body, And her smile, As she made her plans.

Near the water she lay, Feeling the tides ebb and flow, Basking in the sunlight, Waiting for the evening, When the moon begins to show.

The moonlight upon her body, Through the window it shines, And by this light, I am reminded, That I love her, And she is mine.

Observations Of An Idiot - 09/20/2007

She was, for all intents and purposes, a complete negative.

Like a negative pole on a battery. She sat for hours every day, TV on, not watching it, but rather staring off into space as if the TV program was really a radio broadcast, and it was best left to the imagination where the visuals were concerned.

She was what I would refer to as "purposefully ignorant", which is to say she took pride in the fact that she had never been anywhere, done anything, or met anyone, and had apparently gone to great lengths to achieve that.

Same kind of pride a patriot feels for the cause their nation fights for. I always expected her to suddenly declare a national holiday for people such as herself, where millions of them could gather round and talk about the joys of self-induced imagination lobotomies. Oh the joy.