ALWAYS WISHING YOU WERE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
ALWAYS WISHING YOU WERE SOMEWHERE ELSE Presented by
FEEL BETTER COLLECTIVE
“A group of people who do things together and also separately.”
You toss two sleeping pills back even as youâ€™re already in the freefall tug of sleep, maybe high. Strange flashbacks to porcelain sinks and cool water. Sun warming our feet. Smoking on the front porch, passing back and forth philosophy but mostly just trying not to fuck right there in public. The thought that everywhere you go happiness will be temporary flickers on, flickers off.
White clouds in an evacuated house. Future senators in leadership roles, glowing bowls and throwing stones. The rest have left for the next thing, a new house and a new drink, while we kick it here, lay us down and laugh out loud. Making references for B-list movies, because it really was the best thing ever and I can’t believe you haven’t seen it. Fighting crowds in a shady house. Local vices with leadership goals, blowing glass on carpet thrones. I said the best is yet to come...Coughing loud but throbbing sounds drown out the view of our scene and town. “I need to get the fuck out of California.” Favorite colors and people to cook with, because I’m sorry we’re stuck here but I’m getting my eyes checked and cashing my next check.
The neighborhoods emptied out And we walked together close enough to brush fingers Close enough to establish contact, but with enough space to leave. It’s a miracle we didn’t hold hands. We learned we didn’t need air conditioning, letting the sweat come Fuck it, just open the windows, leave the door open. “Who cares, just get some goddamn air in here,” you said, back of your hand resting across your forehead. We learned we’d rather leave this city than not be hungry, so we grabbed our canteens and I wore shoes with holes in them and you requested that the song we listen to on the drive back act as the soundtrack to that very moment so I put on Cavalier Eternal and I don’t think you got the joke. We learned about each other and I learned you speak too loudly and you seemed so sure of the fact that one day you’d get me to quit smoking. I learned I’d rather get high for a month than have a tank of gasoline, so my shoes with the holes stopped getting dirty and your face seemed too ready to look disappointed and I think you may have taken this to heart.
*** notch on sawdust breathing handmade bedside. within the valley of the speaking trees and a single light with its palms pressed to the window watching its breath form the shapes of lungs on the glass. polished attic slanting/greeting cross legged resters doing somersaults E-rash-eN-uh-LEE! cuz sense left when we moved here, this angel in a see-thru-shirt and me in my woolen coat.
TOBACCO TUESDAY Park. Brake. Key. Deep breaths. Seatbelt and keys, step outside and freeze in the autumn air. I put my jacket on, the one I had to steal back from you earlier before I left. I’m sure you noticed, but I figured you wouldn’t speak up about it. This is the first time I’ve been to the corner store down the street from where I live, and to think it wouldn’t be until months after moving in and for reasons other than picking up beer or a bag of chips. I’m glad no one knows me in this neighborhood, so I can go in and out, back to my car, to my front porch, light a cigarette and no one will know the difference. Except you, because you’ll probably smell it on me later. Walk across the damp pavement, black and glossy from last nights rain, then open the door for a man my dad’s age, only he looks twice as old. Just put out what was probably his last Pall Mall, and judging by his beeline for the fridges in the back of the store and the Bud he’s carrying now, he’s here for the same reasons I am, only his have lasted twenty years and I’m hoping to be done with mine by this afternoon. Sometimes I wish we could ask people what happened, or what about an a.m. tall can is appealing before the week is even halfway done. “I’m not a smoker” and neither were you when you asked for a cigarette when you passed by last year, drunk but I didn’t know it, and we talked for a while under that street lamp before I made up an excuse about why I had to leave, or you did. I don’t remember. I know I was nervous, and flicked the ash to the ground too often and pulled on it too fast, coughing, but you didn’t notice and we kept talking, and I was deep in my head the whole time. I watched your lips move, the way you spoke and how the thin smoke leaked from your mouth when you smiled or laughed, and how I loved your red lipstick even though it’d rubbed off a little since you put it on. You stood with your hands loosely on your handlebars, as if you were about to ride away any second - I was afraid you would. And I kept shifting where I stood, the ground as glossy then as it is today and my scrappy shoes squeaking and splashing gently in the tiny wells and cracks in the pavement. The worst part about smoking cigarettes now, nauseating myself with nicotine because it’s supposed to help with whatever stress there is, is the feeling a little past halfway through, when just an extra drag or two pulls the ember close enough to the filter that I’ll still count it as a whole cigarette. ￼ I’m not sure if it’s mostly guilt, or if it’s the tightness in my chest or the black hole in my intestines or how it feels like molasses is going to start seeping from behind my eyes. Maybe it’s the feeling that my feet are too far away and that I walk a little bit slower. I’ll take larger steps as if to show I’m still headed somewhere, as if anyone will notice, but I’m still lifted enough that my gait slows to barely above a stroll, hands stuffed in my pockets for the cold, pulling one out only to throw open the front door harder than I meant to, then walking through too slowly. I’ll carry myself carefully, throat feeling warm, a pressure inside halfway between hunger pangs and like I had one too many cups of coffee. It’s strange that I feel any of this at all considering how many people I see with their own smokey stress relievers. Maybe everyone feels sick. Maybe people like feeling sick. It wasn’t like this when we met, before we quit together and I didn’t actually quit and before I moved across town where I didn’t know anyone but the rent was cheaper so tried to make the most of it. I could smoke one after the other then, and you’d stop after one or you’d get a headache, or the next one you’d share with me. It’s different now, and some of the things that once made me happy (or that I thought didn’t affect me at all) make me sick, while other things make me happier than I knew I could be.
ALWAYS ON THE ROAD
I went to New York I don’t know I’ll send a letter She said something I don’t remember I’ll let you know when I get home
David Vincent Kelling
DEATHS OF FAMILY FRIENDS
Last Monday I stared emptily at my computer screen at work Eyes ready to bleed So I thought, goddammit I better have some coffee. And I drank coffee until I lifted off the floor and Floated down the hallway in a caffeinated stupor, Face buzzing lightly. That night, feeling pretty shitty, I drove to your place, Music screaming about better things and me thinking about awful things And you got in my car so we could go pick up an escape. You were already drunk and giggling like soda water I couldn’t help but smile. Yeah, it’s Monday, but fuck it. We wound up making a list of all the ways we could stop hating life And I remember the way you smiled and your eyes lit up It felt like it was all possible and suddenly we’d never be sad again and everything would be everything. Maybe it was the beer. I drove to work the next morning, painfully hung over And through the steamed glass of morning windshields Things looked alright.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 3:23AM, THE STANDARD HOTEL, LOS ANGELES
God, it’s lonely to not sleep and be stuck in my head. And feel alone, in that sort of way that no one is there in my head. Which is ostensibly a good thing, and the only thing worse is if someone were in my head, because that would make me even more miserable. I spent most of last weekend in Vegas coked out til dawn, staring blankly at the Bellagio’s fountain, and it reminded me of kerouac’s “mad ones” quote (which gets way too much airplay, but what the hell, right?). And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those mad ones, those ones who never do or say a commonplace thing, but burn burn burn like fabulous roman candles, spidering across the sky are burning themselves up in the process. And so, what I guess I’m saying is, we mad ones, we merry few who rage rage rage against the dying of the light are all a little more Icarus than we’d probably like to admit, and the price of spidering across the sky is burning out too soon. Candles cheerfully smolder at dinner tables for eons. Roman candles remain evanescent. And God, I wish I could sleep right now, and pretend for a moment that what Kate and I have here in this bed is real — not even like, that what we have will LAST. But that we both FEEL it... Deeply. Viscerally. Like, that we’re not just fucking because we can’t fuck someone we’d rather fuck. And maybe it’s not true for her, but I suspect it is, as it is for me. And once we cross that Rubicon, I’m not sure we can ever really know if we’re fucking the only one we want to be fucking from here forward. Or maybe that’s all a myth. But myths hold truths I want to believe. Or believe IN, if not believe outright. Ye olde “childlike faith.” And so we’re left here in the powder keg, wondering when our fuse will light on this daisy chain and send us up up up up spidering across the sky. And I still keep saying those “commonplace things” I so despise.
SAINT CLAIRE’S INFLUENCE IN RUINING A GOOD THING
You walk on campus when there’s even the slightest dribble of sunlight and suddenly there’s gangs of white girls from wealthy white families on every patch of lawn like it’s a fucking beach, clad in bikinis and enormous sunglasses manufactured by companies that help them believe they’re bohemian and non-materialistic, living out the essence of love and peace that formed the heart of the sixties through ownership of a brand named Free People even though the top alone cost $120. These are the girls who take any attempt at conversation, any friendly gesture, to mean that you are aggressively hitting on them and they react with a level of offense that might make you think you just whipped your dick out and waved it around like a New Year’s Eve noisemaker rather than smiling in a grocery store. And god forbid you intrude on the private event of sunbathing next to a high-traffic university walkway because wherever they go they own everything because that’s what they’ve always done and how dare you ask otherwise of them.
i moved to chicago to catch a stray, thanks
i placed a call down south, your own hand on you where i could hear it and here kept walking down clark downtown til crossing wacker where the river was i quit the call, then with my hand i sent a message as i kept walking that said ‘damn, now i kinda wish i hadn’t hung up’ and next i called you when the train had dropped me and i’d gone home til i was in my bedroom with my hand on me where you could hear, maybe, my breaths get heavier into the phone along 18th street so the river that was our love could quit the call but neither bank of it did you called me nothing but just kept asking how’s the weather there until the second you could hear i was impaired and then the rain stopped when i asked you something wanting to say just ‘cats and dogs’ so you might know how i thought the state our love was in this year this year we got tattoos that only matched in that they said we’re ‘sorry’ one night i’d slept for two hours and then was late for work again just before i’d gotten salsa limon as you called summer to say ‘come thru’ and later swung me by the gas station cause i still love cigarettes more than time
THE APOLOGY, PARTS 1 AND 2 Part 1 I look down at your hands, your veins, you sitting across from me and gripping your glass with the heels of your palms pressed together and the tips of your fingers touching on the other side of its frosty surface. The condensation drips and pools on the table, reflecting the colored lights like the heavily waxed floor and the rings left from our beers. With your elbows tucked in this way, you look cold, and sadder than usual. Three swigs in the hole and another on deck, our words mix into the buzzing and flushed faces swirling around the room, disconnected laughter filling the void where something used to sit comfortably, before “bitter” or “jaded” were things we could call ourselves. It’s that kind of talking when it’s too loud to speak without yelling, and everyone only hears parts of what you’re saying. So we keep it short. Simple. And we’re careful that whatever we say, if unheard, it won’t change the meaning of the conversation. So it’s shallow, and leads us nowhere. “She’s the best thing that’s happened to me.” It even makes tone difficult to hear. Sarcastic. Dry. Annoyed. Unenthusiastic. Fill in whatever tone might be heard when yelling like this, at the side of your head, brow furrowed, coughing occasionally, sipping beer to soothe our dry, hoarse throats. You look at your glass, then out the window, the reflection of the room, I can’t tell which, but anywhere is better than at this conversation - the past few years. Hearing me talk about being happy. “I’m sorry- I know you probably don’t want to hear it. I hate telling people about good things sometimes...” I’ve never had this beer before; it’s good - has a good bite to it. I hope you like it, too. I remember now that you once told me you don’t care much for heavy beer; you shouldn’t have let me order for you. “No one ever talks about the good things. I don’t know if we feel like it’s bragging, or if it’s just not worth talking about. Maybe we all need someone else’s bad news to feel better.” This conversation is stale. My glass is near empty. What’s left in both is flat and luke-warm. You look up at me over your glass - I hadn’t even noticed you drank any, but I guess you must like it, or can at least tolerate it. I remember now that you once told me you don’t care much for heavy conversation. “I’m sorry I killed the mood. How’s your beer?” “It’s good,” you said, but I can always tell when you say something just to have a response, just to fill space with the least confrontational thing you can think of. At least I know you’ve heard everything I’ve said. “Your parents?” I’ve gotten used to backpedaling around you, recognizing when I need to. Like pulling teeth - or worse, trying to push them back in - we continue talking. Work, school and its expected yet for some reason abrupt end. We steer clear of family and future, treading only where we each know it’s safe and the eggshells have already been swept up. Friends are safe, but not relationships. Music, shows, beer. There’s always beer, its anecdotes, until there isn’t either because the beer ran out or because it’s become too regular to yield interesting stories.
We make no effort to make eye contact and none to avoid it. We watch strangers and make up their stories in our heads. Stranger ones than what we’re used to, so we can maybe feel more normal, like shit ain’t so bad. Or that set us apart. These are all just people. Ordinary people with nothing better to do than be drinking beer at a bar when it’s raining. I think we both have places we’d rather be. But shit’s bad, for everyone, and everyone knows it. Some drink and carry on, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive and not everyone realizes that. “Another beer?” I hate forcing conversation, but if I didn’t we’d be sitting here next week, our glasses and table sticky with yellowed beer residue, still silent, and still unsure why we’re here. “Sure.”
Part 2 My knuckles are dry and cracked along my fingers, laced across and protecting my glass from the cold. There’s a small spot of dried, brown blood under my fingernail, from where I picked a hangnail off my thumb, around where my cuticles usually crack during winter. You’re still talking, never waiting for a response whenever I choose not to hear you, or when I pretend that your voice, low and humming, doesn’t walk beneath the rest, an octave where no one sits because the neon lights along the walls are too bright or dim in all the wrong places. Dollars of unfamiliar songs blare intrusively and nagging throughout the room, with the occasional quarter leaking under the chatter of every mixed up and disconnected frequency. Strange how a favorite song can still push through the noise even when you’re not listening. I guess some things are always somehow still discernible in the haze. Outside, the rain slaps the sidewalk in the face, an abused doormat stomped and scraped at the hands of wet, angry soles and galoshes They cry out, “Move!” but the sidewalk stays and takes it, despite its gradual chips and cracks, thinking only, “I can dry out in the morning.” I always liked the way bar lights light up a sidewalk at night, illuminating passers by in the reds, blues, and greens that collect in sidewalk puddles. I look back to this side of the window and make fleeting eye contact with people who should probably stop saying that the things that don’t kill you in life will only make you stronger. Pretend to check my phone, respond neutrally to a handful of your vague questions, and forego any opportunity to advance conversation. I look up at the people worshiping the glistening spirits hovering above the bar, and I expect everything you’re saying. The only things that surprise me are that you think you still know me, and that I’m still not used to the way you are, the way things turned out. I wipe the beer from my lip with a tiny corner of my wrinkled and dirty napkin, but my teeth are soaked in five years of foam and I’m sweating out the only things I’ve ever thought were worth saying, but sitting quietly is more comfortable anyway and as long as you’re buying, or at least suggesting, I’ll have another Arrogant Bastard.
SAVED VOICEMAILS FOR THE PURPOSE OF NOT FEELING LOW Message 1 – Tone: Goofy Parent “Herrrooo? Herro Adam. This is your Daddy. It’s about 8 o clock. Just wanted to say hi. We were thinking about ya. And we love ya. And we’ll talk to you soon. Okay. Call back if you feel like you want to, Mommy and I are probably gonna be going to bed kind of early tonight so, anyway, love you a bunch. Take care of yourself pal. Love you. Bye. Oh, did I say, I love you. Bye.” Message 2 – Tone: Drunk Boston Accent “Yo I wanna let you know how confused I was by your fucking voicemail because it’s in Spanish um hello you’re not in Spain anymore and I know you like to be cool...the ladies...make everyone think you’re a Spaniard, but you’re not, okay? Never will be. Never have been and never will... Fucking call me back. I’m drunk and I’ve been trying to call you. I’m at Leigh’s house but Leigh can’t speak right now because she’s painting a fucking mural on our wall right now. Long story short. Um. Call me back. Uuuuummm, and we will chat and okay that’s it. Have a great night, bye.” Message 3 – Tone: Playful/Flirtatious “Adam Reiss. You suck. So I tried text messages and phone calls. So. I’m leaving you this voicemail. Because you suck and you said you’d be there if I need somebody so I’m calling you and you’re not picking up your phone. So...you suck. Okay. Bye.” Message 4 – Tone: Laid Back Colorado Kid “Hey buddy, I’m just calling to see what’s going on. Wanted to hear more about this possibility of you moving to Boulder. That’s endlessly exciting. Um, just thought I’d say hey. Yeah...oh and I also have a question. What kind of phone are you using where right before I leave a voicemail it gives me the opportunity, er, the option to send a fax? ... Are you.. I just, I just don’t understand that. What kind of phone receives a fax? [long pause] Anyways.” Message 5 – Tone: Thinking of a joke that no one else knows “Hi this is Elise Littlefield calling to let you know that you have won two tickets to go see One Direction. And included are some VIP passes. Ah, so please call me back at 626-_______ to redeem them. Also was wondering what was going on tonight so call me back. Yeah. Alright. Bye.” Message 6 – Tone: Margaret “PICKUPYOURPHONE!” ￼ Message 7 – Tone: Smirking “Hi yes this message is for Adam Reiss? This is Megan Stein? Uh, the time is 7:12 pm. The day is July 8, 2012. It’s 76 degrees. Fahrenheit. I’m currently in Laguna Canyon. I’m passing... a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Umm. And I could’ve fucking sent you a fax, I don’t know how you would see that, but I can send a fax to your phone. Um yes, if you could return my call when you have a moment that would be greatly appreciated. And my number is 949- _______ did you get that I’ll repeat myself. Uh, my number is [slightly different inflection] 949- _______ it is now 7:14 pm thank you.”
Open the door to run through a choir of others, then-friends and then less till the silence of breath and the murmers they said leave us anxious and hating the way we’re stuck saving the places we’re longing to see and breathe in for the days when we’re older, when the shape of the coast has changed. And I’m finally done waiting for something worth staying for - worth giving up home, learning to be lonely and hoping my friends will always be saving a place at their tables, maybe two if we’re lucky but ain’t it just funny how missing the people who think that we’re missing leaves everyone wishing that things were a just little bit different?
CREDITS, ALPHABETICALLY Adam devotes most of his attention to love-hating California and everything in it. He is passionate about dogs, women, and fresh laundry. He also makes shirts via Coffee & Cigarettes Clothing Co. austin islam got his first tattoo in a double-wide on methamphetamine at 17 after a waffle house graveyard shift in fort worth. he left texas because he loved too much and headed for chicago where he edits the zine & screen press ‘slam dance xxxx’. he likes emo pop, xanax, ikura, chapbooks, and j. crew. he dislikes facebook the way a cat dislikes its litter box being moved, or something. hit him up : @austincharcoal David Vincent Kelling has been trying to stay alive now for 27 years. He takes photos and records songs, so he won’t forget. CULTURE ABUSE / BLEACH BOYS Day Devils is a listless roadtrip warrior. He left a hedge fund in middle-America to launch a vice enterprise, and now spends his time meandering up and down the Pacific coast reliving the so-called glory days of Kerouac, Bukowski, and Hunter S. Thompson. You’ll likely find him floating in a rooftop pool, trying to remember last night’s adventures, a bottle of Jack gently bobbing within arm’s reach. Deena Freel utilizes her college degree in design by drinking and drinking. Also butts. She collaborates frequently and if she thinks you’re a terrible fucking client, she won’t tell you to your face, so that’s nice. kevin patrick is the frontman of rin tin tiger, founder of sunroom recordz & salon, and also performs solo as field medic. Robert Maciel, or Rob, or Bobby depending on the context and the off chance that he finished his second beer, is an artist and musician living in Portland, Oregon. He makes sad music to listen to alone in the dark when it’s raining and will eventually release some of it. He also makes art that no one sees and sometimes writes stories and poems about times he was vitamin D deficient. Writing by Adam, Austin Islam, David Vincent Kelling, Day Devils, kevin patrick, and Robert Maciel Photography by David Kelling Layout and Cover Design by Deena Freel Thank you to everyone who made this and thank you to everyone who read this.
Zine 01 featuring writing by Adam, austin islam, David Vincent Kelling, Day Devils, kevin patrick, and Robert Maciel. All photography by Dav...
Published on Jan 5, 2015
Zine 01 featuring writing by Adam, austin islam, David Vincent Kelling, Day Devils, kevin patrick, and Robert Maciel. All photography by Dav...