am the only man to come to Las Vegas w/an ex-gf and not fuck her—arriving two nights early on my own to hike up in Red Rock Canyon for the day telling the interp person at the visiter center that I want to avoid people, give me difficulty, so she sort of did—old 2-track supposed to arrive at a trailhead leading up to a peak to look out on the valley but I miss the trailhead and hit snowline
from the winter storm coating the sierras the last two days forcing me to head south thru California and skirt the mountains + unpleasant memories of firefighting on the Mendocino Hotshots—even stay the night in Willows where I used to come for food and a movie totally different now almost thirty years later—Wal-Martized—city park where I spent a day on the grass reading a bad Stephen King novel about monsters who eat time after missing the greyhound the night before or rather it drove by me in the night but off to the west the Mendocino Mountains maybe Snow Mountain but they all have snow + rain + rather than dwell on that ex-gf + that disaster + that time of fire and cruel people + poison oak + my naiveté + willful ignorance I skirt down thru Barstow (btw wrote a novel about all that anyways which no one will ever read) + power thru to Vegas in the night which now looks like Tokyo—blinding on I-15 to a hotel next to throbbing bass of Fremont Street madness w/a ‘hotel tax’ doubling the room price.
the ex flies in from Hawai’i Vegas being the 9th island + cheapest place to meet tho the climax—the only one I/ll achieve—on thursday being to see Social Distortion play the House of Blues which can only be surreal since theyre older than I (I just turned 54 when I left Oregon) + can one still be punk at our age? in Vegas? in the American Empire? but she looks good—always did but has been clean for decades now surfs every day takes pole classes in fact one thing she wants to do is go to a strip club to see the working pole dancers which we wont end up doing b/c we/re old dont stay up late anymore but she tells me I/m a silver fox now which I/ll take + mostly people in Vegas seem like the Wal-Mart crowd in size + clothes even here at the Mandalay Bay which is at least blessedly quieter tho isolating—I never quite get my bearings really + smoking is allowed still? Moment of dark sadness remembering the largest mass murder in American Empire if you dont count the genocides + 900 military bases around the world but the whole story of the supposed single shooter muddled unclear unless thats just what a psychopaths mind is like but feels covered up —my ex pointing out that the 32nd and surrounding floors dont exist: we/re on the 28th and the elevator buttons are there but no numbers next to them tho no security b/c Vegas must stay open no matter what even thru the OMFGpanic of last 2 or 3 years—occasional masks still seen here around town—virtuous signaling but still wanting to have fun like us.
point being to have an anti-Vegas Vegas trip—no gambling or partying just explore the supposed arts district hyped by instagram influencers—showing the kind of people we are the Writer’s Block bookstore becomes our favorite place we go twice + I went once on my own w/nearby good restaurants VeggieNation + Seventh and Carson just south of Fremont Street which I have to say is the most interesting part as long as you dont have to sleep by it—Vegas a place for extroverts but outside w/a dome lighting up + people ziplining its length or wandering—at least people are walking w/bars + bars + dispensaries + bars we/re here during a supposed lull before xmas but still folks out + casinos + casinos + casinos all doing decent business w/the glazedface zombies staring at screens for hours tho oldschool slots gone—coins gone—my ex tries one game neither of us can even figure out how to play even tho watching the zombies seems all you do it touch one button over + over + over + who has that money to spend? this cant be good for the Wal-Mart crowd but on the east end another of my new favorite thing: the Flaming Mantis of Fremont Street huge metal bug w/burning antennae which occasional shoot oily flames right now to the rhythm of Feliz Navidad we go back to the hotel room to freshen up maybe for the strip club trip but both of us just end up lounging on our separate beds my ex practicing handstands in her underwear.
I can actually do handstands better than her from years of yoga tho still only against the wall which annoys her especially since she hates yoga + I suppose if I were a real man I would just walk over grab her hair kiss her smack her on the ass and throw her on the bed but what if I/m wrong? Its happened before + I dont want to spoil the trip nor the friendship even tho last time we saw each other back in Michigan ten years ago she painted my toenails purple while I jerked off + when I said I was about to come she squeezed my balls + watched but maybe thats why when I asked ahead of time she said no sex now so careful what you fantasize about [you cant control what you fantasize about].
Wednesday driving into Real World Las Vegas where the normal folk live to shop for things not available in Hawai’i: art supplies stripper boots back to VeggieNation for lunch and Writer’s Block for coffee + more books + peoplewatching—literary oddballs of Vegas which has doubled in size since I was last here—walltowall condos + apartments now up to Red Rock Canyon border—last time twentyfive or thirty years ago w/my LA friends which had been my Jackson Michigan friends for New Year’s most of them got blackout drunk while I tried to pick up an older married woman w/her husband sitting next to her + she at least talked to me but instead of a hotel it’d been my idea to camp out in Red Rocks outside of town which we did for free which was possible tho also two summers I worked for Zion NP would drive down here two hours from Cedar City Utah to go to Borders Bookstore.
I even see a semisecret government plane fly off the airport on its way to Area 51 to drop off workers working on military aircraft w/a few working on the dozen or so alien ships—the plane distinguishable by its red tail no logo or flight numbers—whole semisecret airline run by the feds but I/m not gungho enough to drive out Wednesday night to some high spot in the desert to watch the tests of the alien ships—supposedly the best night b/c the lowest civilian traffic on highways + I dont want to get harassed or detained by military police + yeah I believe weird things like the CIA killed Kennedy + made Charles Manson an asset + the American Empire funds nazis (literal nazis) in Ukraine + the OMFGvirus a huge psyop so dont listen to me—I cant even get laid in Vegas nor want to b/c doing so requires actually talking to women tho I am talking to my ex we/re having a good time sometimes light convo sometimes serious about how to live—most I/ve talked w/anyone in a long while—she/s a fellow Jackson Michigan refugee (there are many) making it on her own terms even tho I know we couldnt ever get back together its tempting not least b/c of her lounging around the hotel room in blacklace thong panties but she likes being around someone all the time when this week will be enough for me + sex complicates everything even tho supposedly youngsters these days are all about hookup culture I dont believe that it just turns into drama.
I buy Bukowski David Markson Kerouac + essays by someone who seems to be giving an anarchist critique of literature but is instead just antifa liberal wokeist tho my faith in anarchists these days is not strong—many supported OMFGvirus closures + masks + support arming ukrainian nazis just like mainstream liberals tho I know there are some of us who didnt fall for the ruler bullshit we just arent organized + even anarchist academic journals pro-ukraine its sinister—American Empire being one big psyop now so where do I stand politically? w/whom? all I can do is maintain anarchy of the mind be skeptical about everything/everybody which sounds lonely but I cant fuck a woman who believes all said bullshit of the last three years or two decades or....anything after WWII + atomic bomb better to escape to mountain deserts which you actually can here in Vegas so bizarrely I could actually envision living here more than most places if I could just avoid the Strip tho Vegas feels like you could never escape the underlying sleaze of Mafia + feds controlling the city in evil harmony—people in Vegas used to watch atomic test explosions for fun sending radioactive clouds over Utah giving mormon women breast cancer blinding wild horses decimating desert tortoises tho I love the desert—what am I doing back in the Willamette Valley of Oregon breathing moldspores renting a room in someones house.
Nothing to be done but go to a punk rock concert which turns out to be the best + maybe only reaction—good to be in a packed bar elbowtoelbow w/aging punks tho my ex + I are neither the oldest nor the youngest but to be in a room of people again after these last three years—here perhaps is a gathering of folks who thought fuck you the whole time in any case unafraid to breathe each others air + wear black t-shirts even tho is this only nostalgia for what once was? I dont know—some of these guys look like fantasy football fathers at least fortunately making me feel skinny (or skinnier) w/my buddhabelly—certainly drinking going on tho theyre not cheap either + when the band hits the stage they do look like dads which they probably are (grandfathers even) but Mike Ness the lead singer/guitarist/bandleader still has it—more lean + ripped now than when he was w/tattoos everywhere including his face + his voice sounds skeptical like a tone of I-dont-believe-you-fuck-you which is or was to me punk tho most beautiful part of the night being their cover of Chris Isaak/s Wicked Game which because of the heavy drums + distorted guitars changes the meaning somehow—No I dont wanna fall in love...w/you becoming No I dont wanna fall in love...fuck you (to me, Ness didnt change the lyrics)—thats all I want what I need right now to feel a collective fuck you to everything out in the real world for this one night we have each other here led by punk elders even tho I/m really an old metalhead + punk is generally major chords.
but let there be a mosh pit—I dont participate—I never did back in the day—I always was at the edge watching like I do because of that women always seemed to stand near me b/c I was safe + protected them but anyways maybe the mosh pit is nostalgic or maybe any band w/distorted guitars would serve here but tonight feels like an exorcism and/or a trance dance and/or fun—American Empire hasnt been fun for a while—what empire could be? I guess the romans if you were rich—none of Seneca Ovid Cicero or even Catullus seemed to question whether having an empire of colonies was a good idea but dissidents rarely survive winners writing history but what strikes me now is how much Social Distortion is rock more than punk while maybe they always were when rock otherwise was killed by big record companies in the 80s + again Ness/s voice being too sneering for most people tho gravelly as Springsteen who sold out to centrist liberals—this isnt even the wildest crowd or the best show the band have ever had despite said mosh pit—stage diving would have elevated the fuck you but there are security goons in front probably UNLV linebackers w/no fights at all + I am weary can no longer stand for four hours w/feet + lower back aching my ex too she bails + misses the encore set culminating in the punk cover of Johnny Cash/s (June Carter/s!) Ring of Fire.
one last look out the hotel room window from the 18th floor the constellations spread across the desert valley—wasnt even a river here this place should not exist all the water comes piped in from the Colorado River w/‘Lake’ Mead an hour or two away really a reservoir at historic lows such that dead bodies are being unearthed—old Mafia hits or more recent cartel insanity but I dont feel guilty about taking a couple of baths while here: we as individuals a speck of environmental woes we/re made to feel guilty for—that its our fault when corporations or especially American Empire military are the worst—we keep coming back to that: America is the bad guys + Las Vegas is the asshole of the American Empire which is maybe not fair to assholes—some beautiful women have beautiful ones so goodbye to my ex-gf—I had a good time she did too I think I hope—some good psychological talks about why/how we both have had bad relationships + how to live our lives which is to follow our interests + pleasures b/c we could die soon tho both of us also worried about getting older while still poor but refusing to live lifedraining lives of american mediocrity neither of us now w/many friends or good friends so glad to count her as one—back in the day she was just a fuckedup punk girl whose madness was attractive + I wish it/d been otherewise w/us back then back in our youth of good sex + good music.
Escape From Vegas! Heading north on 95 towards Oregon stopping off in Death Valley for a few days of solitude—sunny cool dry air w/snow on the high peaks + white salt flats heading for semi-secret Desolation Canyon for my desolate soul—few cars at the trailhead but like most park visitors they only go in a 1/4 mile if that so I can slip along thru rockwall narrows in shorts + sandals crunching over gravel washes up dry waterfalls slight right at end of canyon up onto a ridgeline climbing out into space above the valley on a dirt knob—put on a coat nibble on cashews + dates drink water + still-warm green tea still w/occasional car noise below but mostly wind—even crows ignore me out here—not that I/m pure of heart—I jacked off three times last night in my cheap motel room (not thinking about my ex-gf or...not too much) + I walked away from a teaching job in Colorado b/c of asshole admins when maybe I could have stayed given them fuck you punk hell back in their faces but stress was hurting me literally inside somehow so now I’m back to being a fire lookout + have some money saved up but basically houseless but free—again maybe thats why I/m not a real man + I/ll confess I was hurt that the ex didnt want to fuck tho she did seem to enjoy my looking at her in her undies but she needs + maybe has someone else.
I dont know geology of Death Valley nor anywhere —some sage mesquite down on valley floors at edges of salt below sea level—from my dirt knob watching vehicles drive thru—some parks are like that more drive-thru than get-out areas—probably eight months out of the year too hot—amazing it ended up a national park not more military land but I feel good—anytime I can scribble words down is a good time especially two miles upcanyon w/no one around—moving—mostly healthy: I dont feel 54 tho dont feel thirtysomething either—life is good or at least interesting if I/m not happy especially w/the world + American Empire/s place in it I am content. For now. For a while. Anti-Vegas trip successful if perhaps more pricey than I thought. Clouds moving in from the southwest—cirrus but perhaps some rain? maybe just in the mountains? tea gone, still plenty of water + nibbles tho looking forward to a hot meal tonight somewhere in the small town of Beatty where I/m staying where I/ll look up videos of both world events + women in pantyhose + read Markson + take a long hot bath + hopefully sleep well + keep heading up 95 in the morning. Not sure where I/ll end up at the end of the day—probably Reno.