Thursday, December 25, 2008
location st. louis
statistics 1 (jesu who would like to try harder next year)
1 (semi-serious poem that could go either way)
St. Louis, Christmas 2008
All my friends
by now I thought they'd be sell-outs
but instead they are desperate.
On the verge of 30-years-old.
Barely any of us married.
One child among my great circle.
For what do we wait?
Or have we decided to end the race?
A generation that just said no
to future generations.
The one true piece of advice
I ever remember my dad giving me
was, "Don't ever go bald."
As a boy I used to say
"My dad's hair" flooop! "flew out the window."
All my friends
only care in bursts
late nights, last calls, post-love.
Without marriage and family
we need a new destination.
We haven't figured that part out yet.
I remember a second piece of advice from dad:
"If you think you're going to get into a fight,
Twice a day I wear a plastic glove and put on the
chemicals. And I keep my hair.
Is this what he meant?
I will text my friends this Christmas.
I will say a prayer for my dad.
Almost 30, country is rivers of
dollars on fire, alone, lonely us all
beautiful brave only with words, alone
I say to us all, Rejoice!
We are our families.
We are raising
brothers + sisters + mothers + sons by concurrently being alive
(and that enough proof of our relations).
Knees and palms and foreheads
pressed to rugs
in infinity prayers
Thursday, December 18, 2008
location Christmas time
stats 26 (disadvantaged kids you could make happier with one small gift than you could make anyone you know happy with a big one)
pictures are of on the right is the house. on the left is a pic of the townships, where the majority of South Africans live.
Christmas shopping is the worst, right? You can get somebody what they want, but does your chubby Aunt Sadie really need any more Kit Kats? (I think not.) Or, you can get somebody what they need. But I'm not sure buying Aunt Sadie extra-support panty hose is exactly in the Christmas spirit either.
Oh Christmas miracle! Your buddy Jesse has the answer to your Christmas shopping dilemma!
So... I'm heading back to South Africa this February to do more volunteering at Beth Uriel, a home for boys and young men from the streets and townships of Cape Town. These boys come from a place of poverty unfathomable to most of us. Even in our toughest economic times we know that we will, at least, never know true hunger. We know that someone will always take us in. For these boys, being at a place like Beth Uriel, where they are fed and can sleep in peace, it is like Christmas every day. To a man they say that Beth Uriel is the best thing that ever happened to them; in fact, many will tell you it saved their life.
Just as an idea, I'd like to suggest getting your Aunt Sadie (and anyone else) a gift for the boys of Beth Uriel for Christmas. Don't you think this would make Aunt Sadie feel good, maybe even better than that after-Kit Kat-high? Unlike a lot of charities, where the bulk of your donation goes to administrators and other 'costs,' the money you donate will go straight to the boys. There is no middle man. Just your old pal Jesse.
There's two ways of doing this:
1) Donate (tax deductible) directly to Beth Uriel.
2) You can send me a check and I will make purchases for you. (Every penny.) If you make specific purchases for the boys I will make sure to send you a picture of the boy with his gift, and to also write you (and/or Aunt Sadie) a little scene about how the gift affected the individual.
Here is my address:
9 Bon Price Ter
St. Louis, MO 63132
(Just make the check out to me (sorry, simplest way).)
Here are how much some things cost. I'm more than happy to buy exactly what you want me to.
School uniform $30
Trip to KFC (you get bet they Love KFC if I'm giving you this figure) for entire house $60
Trip to KFC for one $4
Button down shirt for job interviews $10
Soccer boots (their favorite sport) $35
School supplies for one family member $25
Baseball hat $5
Dinner for two at a restaurant (there's no way they can afford a date on their own) $8
And, of course, if you were planning on getting me a Christmas gift, this is what I want the most.
We. Are. All Blessed.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sooooo... I was sending an email to Oprah (WHICH IS MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT) when I noticed this important message at the bottom of the web form. Before you read that, hear me now: If you have a medical emergency and your instinct is to go to oprah.com and send her a message, well, I don't mind you dying. Submit away, sucker! Anyway, how little fucking respect does this woman have for her readers if she has to put this. Or-more likely-what kind of idiots are some of them.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: If you are seeking immediate assistance on a matter involving urgent health care, personal safety, the safety of others or any other issue requiring immediate attention, please do not use this e-mail or website. Instead, IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING OR HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF AN EMERGENCY INVOLVING IMMEDIATE DANGER OR PHYSICAL HARM TO YOU OR TO ANOTHER, PLEASE CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES. If you are experiencing any other type of emergency situation with which you need assistance, please click here.. Please note that we cannot reply to all e-mails sent to us or guarantee that your e-mail will be or will be immediately read. We cannot always review every e-mail that we receive.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So this morning I walk into the bathroom to find my step-dad putting on just a touch of eye shadow. His hair was already carefully coiffed, and he was wearing my mom's red "Saturday night satin" blouse.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
"I'm gonna be famous!" he told me.
"Internet, stupid," he said, and added just a touch of rouge.
When I asked him what website he sent me to this link. Apparently he is dreaming big:
After I checked the site I went back to the bathroom, where I found him puckering his lips and taking picture after (ugh!) picture of himself with his digital camera. So I was all, "Dude, if you want to be famous you should just be in an episode of House."
Monday, December 15, 2008
I was all, "I haven't even heard that song in years!"
And he was all, "I know!"
But in the end, seriously, all I wanted to do was watch a little House.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
stats blah blah blah
Soo... I've been working hard on my story about organic farming and self-sustenance, specifically in Ireland. I'm calling it All That Will Remain We Will Tear From The Ground With Our Fists. I am hopeful that a draft I feel okay sharing will be done in a couple weeks.
I've also been working on the proposal and manuscript for the book of advice for new teachers Alistair and I are writing. The newest look for the concept is The 86 Essential Questions New Teachers Should Be Asking.
And everyday I consider quitting it all to become a Buddhist priest of some sort. In any case, I've been saving my words for these two book projects, and thus no blog. But, for those of you who need shit to do all day other than the even shittier stuff you're paid to do, here is a list of the websites I like best. I realize that many of you are nothing more than different versions of me, so many of these will be familiar. But for all you ultra-religious Republican hunting Hummer drivers out who read my blog, there might be some sweet cherries to pick from this list.
The Go To
nytimes.com (make sure to check out the Magazine, which you have to find on the menu to the left)
News Stories the Populace Likes the Most and I Sometimes Like:
Smart Daily Political/Social Commentary
Smart Longer Form Journalism
Finding Knicks Games Online:
Feeling Sentimental About Ex-Girlfriends
Inspiration From the Everyday Schmucks of the World
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
statistics 1 (baby jesu's leaving here first thing in the morning)
3 (lines of note cards on the wall)
0 (how it feels to get no yes, no no, no nothing from an editor or agent after i query them)
tops (how it feels when they say yes)
For those of you curious what it's like to be a writer trying to make it in the big bad world, here's how I get by:
So... in my room I've devoted a little wall to my ideas. There are four sections: Ideas, In Progress, Ready to Pitch, and Published (just to remind myself I'm not a total schlub). In any case, as I prepare to pack and take down the wall, here's where a semester here at writing school has gotten me. Any thoughts on which Ideas you'd most like to read? Any suggestions on how to tweak them? Any thoughts on where I can pitch the done ones? Any and all words are welcome welcome welcome.
- What children of abusive marriages can do to break the cycle
- It can't just be because they're selfish... What's the real difference between Democrats and Republicans?
- Palin as Eliza Doolittle (obviously out-dated now)
- The culture of complaint
- Recruitment of the PETA army
- How I lived before I was rich and famous
- How to save the newspaper
- Book written for 9th graders explaining, in a fun, entertaining way, why a high school education is essential to happiness and success in life
- Why is there no US Oil?
- Europe on $0 a day
- Origin of the sin tax, and what else should apply
- How to save the marriage: marriage certificates expire every five years
- Profile of a local Hindu monk (who has been declared insane by the government)
- Re-thinking "Rushmore" as a play
- "We Own The Streets," a graphic novel about activist bike riders
- "Citizen," a non-fiction book about how to catalyze American's sense of citizenship, a meditation on what happened to the collective American spirit, and a search for real citizen groups among us
- Re-living and re-writing "Travels With Charley"
- How teachers can get their pay increased
- If I were president (good things we all should do like couch surf, only get dogs from the shelter, eating breakfast in cars is made illegal)
- How to be a citizen journalist (with all these newspaper lay-offs, good citizen journalists will become essentially to a thriving democracy)
- A dreamy, ironic, first person account from a girl, uhm, having group sex with a bunch of men (satire)
- Why is it so easy for politicians to lie?
- Craig of Craigslist: The Man Who Killed The Newspaper
- Who needs music education in schools when we have rock band?
- Why sex without condoms is so dope
- Humerous poem about my dad's funeral
- Poem on my thoughts on pregnant women
- The things I've stolen
- Tales of Suburban Deviancy (book with the Masturbation thing, roommate list, poems, etc.)
- Script about Internet dating
- Script about two crack addicts on a road trip
- Organic farming in Ireland
- Please don't sex the crocodiles (and other lessons from a South African home for boys)
- Sailing/mourning in Holland
- "Hey Dumbass, You've Got Chalk On Your Pants; The Stuff They Don't Teach You In Teacher School" (book of advice for new teachers)
- "How The iPhone Will End Cheating"
- "The Basket Pass" (memoir/essay on how my dad assauged his guilt through donating money at church... or faking it when he felt like he was good enough)
- "Learning to 3-step in Louisiana"
- "15 Rules for Happy Hitchhiking"
- Other stuff from this blog such as the poems, Roommate list
- "How To Talk To A Parent Who Is A Heart Attack Risk"
- "Travelling: South Africa" (a travel article)
Mercedes-Benz Travel Guide
- "Is American Free Speech Worth South African Blood? The Affect Of 50 Cent On The Townships of Cape Town"
The Peace Corps Magazine
- "Local Resident Celebrates Birthday Hollywood Style" (profile on local mentally disadvangated woman)
- "Ghent Tailor With A Fine Hand, Big Heart, Will Be Missed" (story on the passing of an Italian immigrant/location institution)
Monday, November 3, 2008
(this is from the book of advice for new teachers i'm working on with my buddy All-Star.)
Dear Student That I Failed,
This is Mr. Scaccia. You probably don’t remember me. I was your English teacher a few years back. I was the one who dealt with your outbursts in class by docking you one point off your final grade each time. Even though you have A-level intelligence, you ended up with a low-level C in my class.
I want to say that I’m sorry. I failed you. My teaching was mediocre at best, so I failed you in that sense. But that isn’t why I am apologizing. I was a new teacher and I was trying my best. Teaching is a craft that takes years to master, so I don’t blame myself for bad pedagogy.
I failed you in a much worse way than that. Clearly, there was something going on in your life beyond your control. That’s why you would shout in class. It is why you would not turn in assignments and act like you didn’t care. It is why you would tease the slow students. But rather than get to the root of your problems, I addressed the symptoms with my juvenile point system. I chose to deal with the surface of the problem- discipline- and ignore the deeper issues inside you.
I apologize for not calling your parents. I apologize for never setting up an appointment with the guidance counselor. I apologize for never keeping you after class to ask, Hey buddy, what’s up?
I apologize for being afraid of the pain that lay just below the surface of your outbursts. I am sorry that I was too much of a coward to learn if you weren’t getting enough attention at home, or if one of your parents was an alcoholic, or had cancer, or if you were being abused.
The worst part for me, Student That I Failed, is that I went into teaching to help, maybe even save, kids like you. Sure, I believe that teaching my subject matter is important, but I became a teacher to be the one adult who did ask you what the real issues are. To be the one who did bother to intervene. To be the one that changed your life forever.
I could give you a laundry list of excuses, Student That I Failed. I was overwhelmed. You intimidated me. I wasn’t sure what the appropriate boundaries were. Was I allowed into your life? Did you even want me there? Might I have been making things worse by meddling?
Now I know better, Student That I Failed, and I apologize. People talk about the system failing students. But there is no ‘system.’ There is an inter-connected web of people like me- parents, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches- and we make the combined choice to save or fail a student. And sometimes, maybe with you, we all choose to fail.
I know this apology cannot undo what I have done. All I can do is try to do better with the next student who cries out for help.
I promise you, Student That I Failed, I will do all in my power to never have to write one of these letters again.
Jesse “Mr.” Scaccia
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
location middle america
statistics 3 (forms of government that are, in reality, pretty different)
1 (states I live in which Obama is going to, against all odds, actually win)
1 (really odd pictures of Yao Ming I found and couldn't resist posting)
I had an Irish friend ask why Americans are so afraid of the word socialism. Here was my answer:
Why Americans Hate Socialism
I would say that America's aversion to socialism is four-fold: one, we don't get it. Too complex a concept for a born-capitalist mind to digest. That is the simplest reason.
Second, we supposedly fear big government, which is unavoidable under a socialist government.
Third, in our schools and in our zeitgeist, fascism, totalitarianism, and socialism are often implicitly linked, and these are systems that have been actively stomped on through government propaganda since at least World War I. So when we hear 'socialism,' some part of our brains thinks of Mao, Hitler, and poor Russians waiting in bread lines.
But the most complex reason is ingrained in the American dream. Immigrants (today and my grandparents) come to America hoping for, in many cases, riches, or at least a bright economic future. In a true socialist system, from what I understand, one can be wealthy but not extremely, wildly rich. So when the average America cheers when McCain derides 'redistribution of wealth,' they are really impassioned by the prospect of the protection of their own future (and thus imaginary) wealth.
Or maybe we're just selfish assholes.
In other news, I just got a call from Danny Glover asking me to vote for Obama. As long as we've got Roger Murtaugh on our side, we're going to be okay!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Who is teaching all the little boys to masturbate? Because for me, it was not intuitive. Someone needed to “alert” me to the process. I am sure I’m not alone, so this means that there are hordes of people running around out there teaching little boys how to masturbate. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with this knowledge. I think CNN (or someone) should have an interactive map that shows all the masturbation teachers in my area- little red blinking dots or something- so that we can all keep tabs on their movement. Imagine the horrible revelation of such a map! The masturbation teachers swarm our communities undetected by the naked eye, like bed mites on a sleeping body.
I didn’t masturbate until 8th grade. For the first ten years or so of my life it never occurred to me. I asked a friend today how he came up with the idea, and he wrote back: bathtub. Another friend blamed a hot tub. So showering had something to do with it, apparently. Then from about 11 to 13 I didn’t masturbate because Phil Rannieri convinced me that you get a year in purgatory each time you did it. He said he did it anyway, and one day he felt so guilty about it I watched as he stepped on his right-hand fingers and then tried to break them by lifting up his hand real fast. Can you believe this! You should have seen it. Nuts.
But then I moved away from Phil and his masturbation lovefear, and out of his semi-psychotic influence I found new clarity. It was in 8th grade and I was talking to a friend we’ll call ‘Smeff’ on the phone. Apropos of nothing he asked, ‘You know that hand motion people make when they think something is lame?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Try it on your dick.’ It was that simple. I guess before that I’d never considered the logistics. I hung up, locked the door, and got down to business.
You know what? That rascal Smeff was right. It felt good… real good. Until the end when a horrible thing happened that I couldn’t stop. It was like when you’re balancing a couple plates of food as you walk to the living room, then something happens and you have that moment when you know they’re going to fall but there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s how it felt. ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop the bus!’ Except the bus has already passed your stop and is now in the middle of the intersection. Pointless.
But the army of Smeffs out there… how many are there? In 2005 there were about 6.5 million 10 to 12-year-olds in America. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that all boys learn to masturbate within this age range. If only, say, 15% are ‘teachers ,’ that means that at any given moment there are nearly a million red dots scampering about, for some godless reason encouraging their friends to whack off. Why would they do this? What do they gain, honestly? If you found out your son was a teacher, do you spank him? Praise him? Force him to keep frozen peas in his underpants while around his friends? I have no idea the proper response to this.
And what do these conversations sounds like? I asked my South African friend Giles. He said, and I quote, ‘My friend said you must rub your cock real hard until you get tbe feeling, and you can best believe I shot into my bedroom like a bullet (to try it).’
See, I wish I never asked Giles. I don’t like that little boys talk like this. What happened to trading baseball cards? Sheesh! I asked my childhoodfriend Mike who told him about masturbating and he said- get this- Smeff.
‘He brought a porn to my house. “Fashion Passion.” I’ll never forget it.’
Come to think of it, Smeff made me steal a porn from my dad. It was called “The Raw Raw Girls.” It was about cheerleaders who were apparently fairly misguided about appropriate means of encouraging the quarterback. But that’s not the point. The point is, Smeff taught me how to masturbate, and then he convinced me to time it while watching “The Raw Raw Girls.” Isn’t that crazy and weird? What else is a mind that deviant capable of? Isn’t the oddness of that enough that I’ve convinced you that CNN should have a webpage devoted to those little deviants? I’d put that widget on my iPhone in real time. I hope that in the future we are all sort of like Terminator creatures, where we can see a room and it turns into a 3-dimenional grid and all the aliens turn a different color. If/when society reaches that point, you can rest assure I will be sending a scientist an email making a much more useful suggestion that aliens.
Because, no matter what you think of aliens, surely they will not come to teach our little boys to masturbate. At least.
I'm serious about this! I still haven’t convinced you? Two last rhetorical points:
1. Enjoy purgatory.
2. So Smeff timed himself too. You want to know who won? Him. I didn’t and still don’t know what ‘winning’ meant. He just declared himself the winner and that was that. The madness of it all!!! So just on that point alone, I rest my case. And if you’ll excuse me, per the advice of another friend, I will now go jack off into a sock.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
statistics 150,000,000 (clean dollars donated)
1 (inspiration, seen at left)
a lot (of fire left in my belly that I didn't know was there
For Fall 2008, Onward
The man who has claimed hope parades
streets of blue states, bleeding red
with a newsprint catastrophe
a calamity bestowed upon us like swirling lollipops
to children weeping weeping weeping
On the Joint Resolution (H.J.Res. 114 )
vote is 77 Yeas (what are they cheering for?)
the Senators jump into tiny laps and are coddled by the weeping children
and I weep too
back of hand brushes morning stubble
the man who will save America with parades
"We are the change that we seek"
magnifying glasses, oblong rectangles, size of Constitution Avenue
November, when the instasweat weatheranger internlovebreed of Spring
forgotten, the condoms weep, Republican babies born in Diet Coke cans
wait for the cherry blossoms
Cherry Blossom Coke, weeping of hope
Ty Ziegel sits weeping, too,
will he bother to vote?
germane?: voting machines make no sound of recognition
when you left your ears in Iraq
The Candidates Vie For Pieces of Changing Map
the blackbird, go, whisper same to mountains
the weeping rivers we create
the nothing from our eyes
binary tears, currents of 0-1-1-1-0-0-1, feet wet with numbers
Mac mainframes are born and die every breath
my heart can't officially break
until Oprah agrees to televise it
Oh the holiness in the complete lack of holiness!
the snake dips its tail in Botox, insert in mouth
the weeping rivers are parades of hope
that lead, a New America, Soul Alive, ah, oh, my, It's easy.
October 18, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
A List of Things I Have To, For Ethical or Practical Purposes,
Inform A Roommate of Before I Move In With Them
By Jesse Scaccia
1. I am a vegetarian, but I'm not all preachy about it.
2. I don’t smoke, but I am “420 friendly.”
3. I’m straight but have some gay friends, so if you’re not cool with that I’m not cool with you.
4. I might from time to time ask you for certain favors, like water my plants while I’m away, drop this envelope at the post office if you’re going there anyway, or put me in your mouth.
5. I like to listen to opera, usually in the evenings, bound to a chair with my eyes taped open, while time lapse photography of rotting corpses is projected on a bed sheet nailed to the wall.
6. For all practical purposes your feet are my feet (but not vice versa, of course).
7. You won’t want to sit on that chair, at least not in your white chinos, or if a new, frisky strain of venereal disease is something that “bothers” you.
8. My skin tends to get dry and flaky in the winter, moldy in the summer, and stigmatas in the ‘tween seasons.
9. When I’m feeling moody I might nag you about things like how you fold the towels in the bathroom, or I may threaten to have you sent to the Tower of London, where your head will be cut off.
10. I moonwalk in my sleep.
11. My favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday is opening all the windows up wide, putting on old Elton John records, applying a full face of make-up (the way Delta Burke used to wear it on Designing Women), weeping for invented memories of the antebellum South, then calmly taking the make-up off, and playing a spirited game of Ping-pong.
12. The documentary about birds Winged Migration is my “jam,” and if we are roommates it will be requested that you get your damn hands up while it’s onscreen.
13. I recommend that you back-up everything on your computer. No big deal, but if I happen to kill someone during the course of the lease, the Feds totally legally have the right to take your Dell.
14. I’m not myself until I have my coffee in the morning.
15. Even though I know that technically the Underground Railroad isn’t necessary anymore, and probably no longer exists, I respectfully request that we spend Tuesdays chanting Negro spirituals, just to keep up on the latest clap codes, and what not.
16. It’s sort of a family tradition of mine that on the 14th day of each month we should take some blood and place it on our doorposts and on the beam above the door of our condo. But I mention this more in passing, a conversation starter of sorts, because I can’t imagine you having a problem with this.
17. I shit everywhere.
18. Like, everywhere.
19. That bobcat you will see roaming around the kitchen is my pet, my love, my inspiration, my soul mate, my partner in becoming conversationally fluent in French, and one day it might eat me, so I should probably give you my mother’s phone number and you should keep it in a safe place, far away from the bobcat.
20. What’s mine is yours as far as groceries go. Just leave me the last beer, a glass of milk for my Special K, and enough Teddy Grahams to fit between all my fingers and toes in case it’s just “one of those days.”
21. As far as the bathroom goes, it’s all yours. I don’t want it, I don’t need it, and the God-honest truth is I have no idea what it’s there for.
22. You might find me in your bed when you wake up, but that’s only on opposite days, and what are you doing there, anyway? It’s opposite day, buddy!
Note to Readers from me, Jesse:
As much as it kills me to leave a disclaimer, I feel I need to with this one. This is a satirical poem I wrote in grad school. It's purpose is to challenge and deflect certain Northern prejudices against the South.
It also exists to lovingly mock a certain genre of poems that aims to shock with its brutal honesty about societal norms, expectations, and personal bias.
In other words, it's fun. Chill out. Y'all know I love Norfolk.
statistics1 (poems that should be read all serious and ornery like Maya Angelou)
NORFOLKI am from
that I am
and that places like
bring forth images
of used condoms on lawns
and ignorant whites
and unrefined blacks
on their porches
drinking moonshine in 40 bottles
and sliding condoms off their
giant Southern black dicks, only to fling them
on the lawns
of their homes.
I also picture
jade green fields of swaying, bursting white cotton buds
but such a beautiful image
goes against my theme
so I will
I also think of iced tea.
Which is sort of neutral
because sometimes iced tea is great
and sometimes not
so I'll leave that out
In any case.
I moved to Norfolk
expecting a bunch of boring, ignorant, artless,
couthless, physically deformed,
possibly with one leg shorter than the
other, many fat, many who have sex
on the perilous leather curves
of tractor seats
and then also some black people
condomed and otherwise,
but on my first night in Norfolk I met Malcolm
a black poet
a brilliant guy
who actually has
one leg shorter than the other
so shows what I know.
I stood on the hood of a car and yelled
(because don't Southerners do such things?)
'But where are the gays?!'
and who should appear but Marco,
not only gay but Mexican,
and not only gay and Mexican
but some sort of pharmacist,
three things that don't fit well in my
forcing me to later masturbate into a book at the public library
like a confused middle school
If all this
to sell me on this place,
(did you really get it?)
(I'm trying to fool you)
(with senseless line breaks)
Like I was saying
on top of all this
I met a cool Filipino girl
who could actually read
which is hilarious
when you think about it
are better known
Finally my roommate
a buxom Virginia native
told me she used to be a madam
for Super Sexy Strippers
and Norfolk was okay by me
because even though I didn't feel safe
or warm enough
or well fed
now at least I found a place
where there's a buffer between me and the hookers
because too easy access is dangerous
when you're a lonely Northerner like me
and now I fling my condoms
out the window
and watch them fall
like jelly fish throbbing, breathing through the atmosphere
onto my lawn
and I am
Monday, September 29, 2008
Funeral today for my roommate's dad. Pray for us sinners, now. (At the hours of our deaths save it for somebody who could really use an Amen.)
Friday, September 26, 2008
what i don't get is, shouldn't that hand signal be a sign of support? (because who doesn't like masturbating.)
it should be peace sign, thumbs up, and the jack-off gesture. three options when you're A-OK with something, walking down the street, just being cool with everything.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The previous post appeared on Sunday in the paper here, the Virginian-Pilot. When searching for it online, I did a Google: "Jesse Scaccia" Norfolk. What should come up? Porn sites. But of course.
In any case, that story was about my new friend Hollywood. It's 'straight' but still a decent read. Mangia.
statistics 25 (friends)
1 (not-necessarily-welcome baseball hats)
1 (and only, Hollywood)
"MAYOR OF GHENT" CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY, HOLLYWOOD STYLE
Linder Lue Lawrence has been blessed with many inter-personal gifts, but reacting with equal enthusiasm to all presents at her birthday party is not one of them.
Upon receiving a baseball hat, she looked at it quizzically and put it back down without so much as a grin. But the next present, a Dale Earnhardt Jr. t-shirt, that she liked.
"Dale Junior, Dale Junior!" she screamed, turning every head (and smile) in the room. "I love NASCAR. I'm gonna be famous."
But then again, what would Lawrence, better known as Hollywood, do with a baseball hat? She already has one with her name written in all capital letters on the inside of the up-turned bill, and when she's not wearing that there's always the wig of long, flowing blond hair to fall back on.
Hollywood, 52, has a cognitive disability, but this party was not held at a group home or organized by social workers. Like many Norfolk residents, she gathered with friends at a local restaurant. She ordered cold beer. She danced and, oh man, did she sing.
"Hollywood is my best friend," said Diana Ray, organizer of the party and a barista at Elliot's Fairgrounds in Ghent, Hollywood's favorite hang-out. "She's the most emotionally salient of all my friends. My mom invited me to Thanksgiving in Louisiana this year but I told her no, I have plans with Hollywood."
Hollywood lives on her own in an apartment on Spotswood Avenue, near Elliott's. She is looked after by Hope House, an organization that provides supported living services for about 125 adults with developmental disabilities in the Hampton Roads area. Hope House's goal is to assist cognitively disabled people become integrated in their community and to make real, natural connections. Hollywood has been involved with Hope House for 30 years.
"Hollywood spearheads making connections and initiating relationships. She is our poster child," said Debbie Knowles, a team leader at Hope House who works closely with Hollywood. "She's the mayor of Ghent."
Hollywood's birthday party, which has been an annual tradition for years, is a symbol of Hollywood's success. One friend drove her, while another organized a red carpet from the street to the doors of Tortilla West. No less than a dozen digital flashbulbs popped as Hollywood made her spinning, hip-shaking entrance, in front of some twenty-five of her friends. At one point she fell from all the hair flips and Marilyn Monroe poses she was doing for the cameras.
On the ground, she just laughed and shouted her own personal catch phrase. "To the moon!"
"Put this on youtube!" she said. "Put me in the New York Times. I'm gonna be on Entertainment Tonight."
One place where Hollywood is undeniably famous is Fairgrounds, where she spends many of her days.
"She's sort of the social centrifuge of Fairgrounds," said Brian Parris, 28, a research scientist and regular at the coffee shop. "She's so likable and approachable that if you meet her and you're not somewhat charmed, it's like 'What's wrong with you?'"
Hollywood greets everyone she knows with a hello and a broad smile. She always orders the same thing- cold tea with liquor- before busting out with a laugh and saying, "Just kidding. That's crazy." Hollywood loves NASCAR, painting, and has a hot and cold relationship with Maury Povich. If she thinks a man is handsome, she tells him he looks like a race car driver. To Hollywood a beautiful woman is- what else could they be?- a movie star.
"Hollywood is always happy," said Corey Castelow, 17, who Hollywood calls Big Bird. "After you see her your tummy hurts from laughing so hard. She's my legal drug."
For Ray, who considers herself a certified member of Hollywood's entourage, their relationship is deeply meaningful.
"She has made me a lot less shy, a lot more open to meeting people," Ray said. "Hollywood can't read or write, so television and movies are something she can understand. I think she wants to be famous so that more people can know someone like her."
Hollywood, who was born in Virginia Beach and suffered a childhood of abuse and group homes, is no longer in communication with any of her blood relatives. But she does have her "soul sisters," as she calls them, her friends from the coffee shop. Her date to the party was her friend Rosa, a cognitively disabled friend from Hope House.
Someone asked Hollywood what she would do with all that money if she ever did become rich and famous, like she wishes.
"I'm gonna buy Rosa things," Hollywood said without hesitation, grabbing her soul sister's hand. "I'm gonna take her to Hollywood."
For more information on Hope House visit www.hope-house.org. Hollywood's art work will be on display at Hope House's Stockley Gardens Arts Festival held on Oct 18 and 19.
Monday, September 8, 2008
this is my first try at serious poetry in a long time, so take it easy on me. it's a theme i've dealt with before as well.
Naked Goat Farmer
Possibly never in history
has there been a human so adroit
at bringing the conversation
boomerang-whip back to
hanging out naked.
It was a Yahoo! messenger
conversation with a farmer
I was meant to work for
in West Cork.
I'd ask for dates.
He'd ask if I knew about naturalism.
I'd ask for daily responsibilities on the farm.
He'd say that there's a well-secluded sauna.
Thinking myself clever, I asked
if he played chess.
No, but I'll play you
and the loser has to-
(wait for it)-
milk the goats in the buff.
I was writing about the organic movement
and since nothing is more organic
than a grown man's dirty balls,
On the agreed upon day he picked me up
His pants fit funny and were hiked too high,
but why bother trying on pant after pant
if you're just going to throw them off.
His shirt was tucked too tight,
but then again, tight things are
easier to full-fistedly rip
off one's back.
I'm somewhat disappointed to report that
he remained remarkably clothed
for the entire duration
of the ride home.
I digress to remember a scene
in the classic movie Airplane!,
when the pilot asks the little boy,
'Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?'
Joey, not only have I been to
that brink, I've gone beyond.
My naked man had hips
like a woman,
a slightly concave chest,
and the bush of a wildman.
That night I tried to appease him
by splitting a Bailey's
in my underwear,
while he, naked, crossed
his legs tightly,
possibly against the laws of
physics, I could see for myself.
At bed time I locked the door.
Then I checked it.
And then I did that thing where
you open the door, and then lock it,
and then check from the other side
to make sure it's really locked.
And then I was locked out
Slightly drunk on Irish liqueur
I went outside to climb through my window
but the window was locked
and trying the front door...
now I was double locked out.
Leaving me feeling
And it was kind of cold out
and even though naturalism
isn't about "size," well,
you always want to put on a
Worse than the nudity
or my 'I was in the pool!' moment
was feeling horrible
about waking up my new host,
because sometimes when you
wake someone up
they have a hard-on like
the flag pole at the White House
and maybe he also had to get up early
the next morning
to go to the market
With the innate humility
of a mid-transition transsexual
I rang the door bell.
A light goes on in the back of the house.
The moonlight casts the shadow
of a man
behind the shades.
A rusty key turns.
The slow shifting of lock gears.
And the door flies open!
As if taken by the wind!
There stands the Naked Goat Man
a plush (is that goose down?) bathrobe and,
you won't believe me but it's true,
even a night cap.
'It's bloody freezing out,'
he admonished me.
'Get some damn clothes on.'
Thursday, August 21, 2008
location frankfurt, hamburg, koln
statistics 1 (little german boy who is funnier than the next)
1 (smiles created by each smile, even in germany)
5-10,000 (times i was looked at like a common criminal)
FIRST OF ALL, if these kids above here don't just kill you then, well, you ought to take a lap around your house and start fresh. Because they're hilarious. (I highly suggest clicking on them for a closer view.)
What the kid on the left is thinking: "Well hello there, mouse."
What the kid on the right is thinking: "My name is Bjorn. How you like it so far?"
After two months in Ireland I spent about nine days in Germany, which is like moving from your crazy cousin Steven's apartment, (where he thinks the cat pooping in the fern is 'a riot' and cigarette ash fills the air in an eternal indoor fog), and being forced to go live with the principal.
And the principal probably shaves his sideburns so high that he takes away some of the normal side of the head hair everyone is supposed to have. Which is COMPLETELY gross. Who knows why that is so gross. It's just one of those small nasty things.
Ireland to Germany is going from a land of unicorn sightings to a place where polygamy was once supported to grow more boy soldiers. Let's just say it is a hell of a culture shock considering how close the two countries are.
ANYWAY. I flew into an airport called Frankfurt Hahn. Would anyone like to guess how far an airport with the word Frankfurt in it actually is from the city with the word Frankfurt in it? No... Another guess. Shit. You got it. 2 hours. That wasn't very fun. Moving on, I tried to hitch hike to the city, but I got the old 'criminal swerve,' where the driver serves into the oncoming lane to avoid even a whiff of a scent of Dirty Hitcher through their air conditioning system. Obviously things wouldn't be as easy here as they were in Ireland, where picking up hitchers felt almost like a national obligation.
I walked back to the airport and caught the damn bus. I got to my buddy's train station and as I waited for him I watched more grown adults in business attire run than I'd ever seen collectively in my collective life. They mostly ran from the T-esque local train to the major commuter rail, but they also ran into the parking lot, to idling cars, etc. Man, what a sight. High heels clopping. Briefcases swinging in hands like bloated leather batons. Ties all over the shoulder, Dilbert style. I must be some sort of anti-rushing elitist, because I feel like running should be reserved for athletic events and maybe to the toaster, because even a jihadist hates a burnt bagel.
[writer's note: apparently my looming move tomorrow to writing school in Virginia has left me scattered and manic. A thousand pardons.]
Normally I would brush off this flock of running men and women as an aberration of timeliness, or even an apparition after my long day of travel, but I have a second example of Germany's commitment to being on time. Two days later I used one of the 'official' 'hitching' websites to get a ride to Hamburg. 6 of us in the car, meet at 9. I arrived at 8:55, last of the bunch and I was, judging by the glares I received, somehow quite late.
Only in Germany.
Once the people relaxed they ended up being quite warm and friendly, as I've found all Germans to be once their hard (chocolate) shell has been cracked. Another difference between IRE and D:
Irish people you fall in love with; the Germans you learn to love.
For those of you who have never spent time with an actual German, they are, in general, intelligent, worldly, embarrassed of their country's history but proud of it's present. The men are moderate but consistent drinkers. The women still look like they are being bred for farming, as the last line of defense in wars, and for being fucked very hard from behind.
In Hamburg I stayed with my young gay friend. He essentially put me through the gay Olympics. We went to the gay section of town where he got some fruity drink at the gay cafe, we watched Brokeback Mountain (seriously), I helped him write some DOPE emails on mandar.com (think that's what it was), and then I went with him to get the results of his HIV test. (I won silver medal).
From Hamburg I went to Koln. Stayed with the perfect German family. The son a brilliant little soprano at the cathedral. I came to think of him as Das Gentleman. His tiny little sister with that German blond blonde hair. Etc. The mother told me why the boy was so sweet: "He always smiled as a baby, so everyone smiles back. It creates a circle."
Sounds like one German momma might have figured out how to save the world.
I walked back to the Autobahn singing along to Beck. I passed these crazy regional German flags, one with referee stripes, another like the quilt of a hundred unlike-minded mothers all sewing hand over wrinkled hand at once. 'Give the finger to the rock and roll singer as he dances upon your paycheck.' I forced myself, come hell or moral high ground Germans, to hitch back to Frankfurt. No Germans picked me up (of course), but I made it to F with the help of a Syrian, a Turk, and a Mongolian woman who made me sit in the back with the car seat.
I thought, alone in the German rain, with all that happened in the past six months about to come to an end:
It is seldom these days that I feel like I'm spinning out of control, but those times, they are glorious.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
anything you have in mind."
Just what the fuck is George Michael talking about? Yes, the George Michael pictured stage left, who, by any reasonable guess, appears to be smelling himself on the cover of the album which this song can be found.
Let's break this down just a little: so the first half of the sentence is an offer of mentoring, while the second half is thick with pervish innuendo. Was this George Michael's way of posting for a sexual intern, like they used to have in the olden days? Was he hoping to find an orphan to teach everything he knows about arm pits, namely his arm pit? Who knows. Oldest mystery ever told. Moving on to the real posting...
statistics: 2:1 (ratio)
2 (completely superfluous references to screwing in this chapter from a book of advice for new teachers)
about 15 (chapters left to write)
Soooo me and my friend All-Star, who I've been close with since we worked and lived together in Yosemite National Park some ten years ago, are working on a book of practical advice for new teachers. We're calling it 'So You Wanna Be An F'in Teacher?' (As you might have guessed, All-Star is also a teacher, him in rough and tumbling Oakland).
The nexus of the project was a conversation we had with our buddy Mose (also a Yosemite alum, by the way), who was on the eve of his first year teaching. Over pints we told him all the things they should have taught him in teacher school. I was taking notes on napkins, and by the end of 3 rounds I had a list of about 75 chapters. It was one of the most satisfying and organic artistic/writing moments of my life.
As the title of the collection suggests, the advice leans toward the raw, the stuff no professor with dignity would say out loud. Completed chapters include 'Teach Hungover,' 'Don't Be Afraid to Threaten to Knock a Student Out,' and 'Quit and Go to Law School, You Jerk.' So we're not exactly playing by the rules. And that's a good thing.
Anyway, I just wrote a new chapter. It's not the best one by a long shot, just the most recent. Thought I'd share with the group.
When you make a 'call home,' and the parent realizes you called for no other reason than to praise their child.
The noise is like a mix between a dove's coo, a kitten's prrr, and the audio to this month's top rated youporn.com clip (the one with the Asian kid and the ladyboy).
In a word, it is inspiring.
On the night when I do my parent calls I make sure to keep a 2:1 positive to negative call ratio. The benefits of a call home are generally self-evident, but a few anyhow:
- Works toward getting both the parents and the students on your side.
- Shows that you care.
- Wins redeemable points with the students. (i.e., 'Billy, remember that nice call I made to your dad, the one that got him to forget about your crystal meth addiction for an hour? Yeah. Now shut up and do your work.')
- Opens a channel of communication should you need to make a critical call later in the term.
- These conversatioins tend to turn into a gush-fest of sorts. You praise the child, the parent praises you, and we're all in love again. Quite simply, these conversations are rays of light. I've had positive calls home that practically ended with the teenagers-in-love tango of 'You hang up...' 'No, you hang up...' 'We'll do it together...' 'You didn't hang up!' 'Neither did you!'
So use that parent contact list you made on the first day of school for good rather than the typical evil. The self-esteem of your students, their parents, and yourself will be better for it.
Monday, July 21, 2008
‘It’s time, Jesse,’ he says, and I know just what he means.
Wellingtons. Blue bucket red bucket bottles. The metal contraption that holds four bottles at once because lord knows we can’t very well ask the goats to form an orderly line. The Lassie dogs look up with hope, see the equipment, and bow their heads. We climb the hill. The herd charges the gates.
The oldest one’s tats hang heavy, one shorter than the other, the nub done in by a case of gangrene that nearly killed her last year. The five kids, all white as clouds, nuzzle together by the latch. They learn quickly, these. The one spotted like a brown cow watches us with one eye. The farmer swears- no, he thinks- that the brown one can watch the hill with the one eye and us with the other.
‘They get mad when we’re late,’ he grumbles at me.
Over coffee at the restaurant in the hippy town on the way to the farm I told him that I like goats. ‘They’re ornery, have a real mind of their own, and I like that,’ I said.
‘We’ll get along just fine then,’ he returned, earnestly.
We do the high knee dance through the gates to keep the girls from barging through to the two boys next door. 'What will happen if we let them through?'
'They'll fuck, and it's not time for that.' It's not season and plus, they haven't consumed enough of the apple cider vinegar the farmer has been mixing into their feed to produce more (profitable) female offspring. Apparently, the Y sperm hate acid, they shudder from the taste of it.
But now: it's time. The farmer drags the old one into the barn by the ears. They hate having their ears pulled. The young ones don’t like it when you mess with the pubescent pile of bones spilling out between their eyes.
‘What’s a rookie mistake?’ I ask as the farmer settles down for the evening milking.
The goat’s neck is strapped with a leather dog collar to the post. The farmer squeezes and I’m shocked by the force with which the milk shoots out. Tsssssss! It is foamy and warm. Thick grey cobwebs that look as strong as uneven bars hang between the rafters. I dip the plastic cup I snuck out from the kitchen into the blue bucket. It tastes good. Goat milk is the healthiest for babies, country doctors say. Both to get babies to grow and to get them to sleep. Milk just like this: unpasteurized, unfiltered, not from an animal to a tank to a truck to a refrigerator to a back seat to a smaller refrigerator to a bottle.
Like this: Tsssssssss! From pink flesh to pink lips.
Parker and I feed the kids first. They bully and fight. We keep the bottles waist high to emulate their mothers’ tats. I swear that Number 26 looks at me with genuine longing as I feed him.
Later. It’s so dark I can’t see the road and for reasons uncrystallized, ungraspable at the moment I want to cry.
I am running and something of the darkness overtakes me. Thoughts spill out ungoverned. Most pass. One sticks: eternal sunshine of my spotty mind.
My lungs beat their desperate cadence against my ribs. Still here, motherfucker. We’re not going to let you die, motherfucker.
I still dream about my dad every night and I want to cry.
I had to leave my boys in Cape Town before I was ready. Days after my best friend told me he was Positive and I promised I would be there for him but my sister, when I told her I was going to miss the funeral she wouldn’t stop crying, she could barely get the words out:
‘Dad needs you,’ she said. Even though dad was dead she said it again in the thin space between heaves.
‘Dad needs you.’
We don’t talk anymore, my sister and I, and I don’t know why.
I speak more to my dad, in my dreams, than I did the six months before he died. In my dreams I hold him every chance I get. I hold his hands, I rest my head on his shoulder. I tell him I’m sorry so many times and I grip him so hard that I wake myself up.
I’m on a ship on the lake that spills from the North Sea. I’m on a train past the sheep fields with my mouth wide open. I’m in Amsterdam on the floor of a hotel, tucked between the bed and the wall, stoned and shaking. I am nowhere. I am in bed with a Hungarian whose boyfriend is in Barcelona. I fall asleep next to a Swede and she snores against my neck and she must be lonely, she’s holding me so.
I am nowhere and he is everywhere.
I like the second one better and I believe the second one.
‘Where should I run?’ I asked the farmer.
‘Run the lights,’ he said.
So I do. Down the dark dirt road. Past the grocery store that has no blueberries and the bar next door and the bridge that is the end of the farmer’s world. I run until there are no more lights and it is no longer safe.
Finally- and if I said this before I was lying- but I am finally falling. The buried me is rising from eggshells and compost and fresh dirt and is meeting the me to whom the gift of gravity has been returned. The zombie me, the version you’ve known of me since February (or long before? since we met? since the beginning?) cannot fight both fronts. I am forced to love myself and I do.
While the farmer was still milking I dropped to my knees on the flakes of red sandstone. One-two-threefourfive the kids formed a semi-circle around me. I lifted my hood and I butted their heads. I could feel their back legs straining as they pressed. None of us moved- the balance of opposing forces- and I knew that, some day, I would be a goat man too.
Monday, July 14, 2008
location inis mor, aran island, ireland
statistics 2 (eyes, watching, judging)
Sooo, it turns out that my mother is now reading my blog. She asked if she could. I said yes, so technically it's my fault. But now there's no turning back. I either have to swallow hard and continue to write like myself, or I have to go all domesticated up in dis piece.
Let's see how long I can play it straight:
A DAY IN MY LIFE HERE AT THE HOSTEL
* Morning. *
This morning I bit into a tangerine and it tasted funny, dry. I looked down and there was a tiny greenish/pink worm emerging from the new crater in its home. It wiggled either its tushy or its head at me. Who knows which. I decided it was the worm's rightful home, put the fruit down, and then started drafting a list of the demands that I would later nail into the glass door of the Spar.
After breakfast I was supposed to be painting Room 12 'water lily,' which apparently is some shade of yellow. At first they told me the room would be pink. I got excited about painting the whole thing- walls, floor, ceiling- pink. Then I would add a sub-woofer that played a constant, dull heartbeat. I asked a girl I work with, Annie, if she had anything umbilical I could borrow, but she had nothing to offer. I took pride in maybe being the first person in history to ever use the word 'umbilical' as an adjective, so...
(Hold on. See, knowing my mom is reading this is fucking everything up. Above is a picture of my mom. (Still want to read, mom? Yah bahastahd?!?!))
Anyway. All this scheming to construct a womb themed dorm room got me thinking about how much I want a sleep pod like everyone uses in Jah-pan.
Which led me to watching The Last Samurai. I found two dvd options here at the hostel: The Last Samurai and Frasier. Yesterday I tore through Frasier like Geraldo entering Al Capone's hidden tomb. Except Frasier really paid off for me. In spades. I'm telling you. That dog should have won a Pulitzer or something. Moving on, it embarrasses me how inspiring I find The Last Samurai to be. CLEARLY it inspired me to great heights, including writing a blog that includes a joke about a (undoubtedly now dead) tv dog winning an award for writing.
There was still no paint so I checked out the communal fridge and ate a bunch of whipped cream from the can. I offered some to Annie, who declined. But she's home schooled so you can't blame her for being out of her fucking mind. Who doesn't like eating whipped cream from the can? Immigrants, faggots, and home schoolers. That's who.
Then I wrote emails and the like for far too long. I wrote this to my friend Lindsay:
"oh, and the next time i see you i'm going to take all my jewelry off, put it in a neat pile, and we're going to rumble.
and after i win the fight, i'm going to steal your neat pile of jewelry."
This is a reference to our friend Davide, who liked to tell this particular fight story, where he always made sure to emphasize the piles of jewelry with zero shreds of irony or self-awareness. This still makes me chuckle. How'd he know they even liked the same style of jewelry? And ring sizes, what of that? I do see where he's coming from, though. If I was in a street fight and my chandelier earrings got knotted with my adversary's ankle bracelet, man oh man, would I be embarrassed.
I also "chatted" with the girl I've only met once a year ago but none-the-less am spending multiple hundreds of dollars to fly to my sister's wedding in August in St. Louis. She has to be out of her mind too, this smart and lovely girl. Top 5 reasons she must be crazy:
1. Any rational person can plainly see that I must be crazy for buying her that ticket, so she is crazy by association.
2. She knows about my dad, and how I'm walking my sister down the aisle... talk about an intense first date. For crying out loud.
3. She's very tall. (And y'all KNOW how I feelz about tall bitches.)
4. Her name is Angela, and she was born at the peak of the Who's the Boss madness that swept the western hemisphere during the 80s. The only reason a father would do this is to be able to refer to his own child as 'Angeler,' like Tony did in the show. And, ahem, I think I've proven my point and I don't even need a 5.
I was caught eating cookie dough ice cream straight from the bin. And then I was ashamed.
I also emailed the nudist goat farmer who I'm staying with next week. God bless us nudist goat farmers, one and all.
And now I'm supposed to be writing about the organic farming movement in Ireland. Hence, this: stalling. I will leave you with what might be the first paragraph:
If the organic movement is to succeed in Ireland, it will need the help of naked goat milkers, modern day white slaves, mono-syllabic Ukrainian men who treat their young French co-workers like beaten-down wives, babies that don't cry and rotten little farm girls, a butterfly genocide, silk suit wearing lobbyists, sell-out vegetarians, brothers and sisters saying Rosaries as they're huddled in the corner of their thatched houses during storms, pig races, synthetic ewe vaginae, and, most importantly, the kind of widespread fear and panic not seen in this country since the Great Potato Famine of 1845.