My Mom and Kandinsky

My mom is beautiful. Last night she creeps into my room. I say creep, because she doesn't like to disturb me. She watches me for a while.

I am looking at Kandinskys on the web. I don't even know why. I can't stop looking. I can't do anything else.

"Pirooz," she says. "What are you doing?"

"Looking at paintings."

She comes and stands next to me.

"Are these your painting?" she asks.

"No," I say. "Kandinsky."

"They're beautiful."

"The most beautiful in the world."

She stands as I scroll through some images. She loves the "Circles" painting. She says how beautiful they are. We look at the paintings for a good while. Then she stops as if an idea has just come to her. She tells me to come sit with her.

"Come, Pirooz," she says. "I want to talk."

We go into the living room. She tells me her worries. She cries a bit. Then the launching starts. Story after story. She talks about a trip to New York City. A forgotten plane ticket. My dad's business trips. How crazy the men in this family are. How crazy I am.

"I save your life, Pirooz. You were so crazy."

I laugh.

"Don't you remember?"


"Come on, boy. You remember. You are blocking it. Don't you remember when you were break from Lynn, and your band is not going together anymore, I tell you to come be with me. I say, 'Pirooz, come stay with me.' But you get so angry. You are like, "NO! I am not going anywhere.' Then one day, you call me and say, 'Mom, I want to come live with you. Come bring the truck.' And I say, 'Thank God,' and I say, 'Pirooz, I do not have truck. I will bring car and we make two trip.' Then I come and we get everything from Lynn's place, and you come home. And, oh my God, Pirooz, you stay in your room day and night. I come in and see you, and you are just looking at the ceiling. Sometime for 10 hours. I say to myself, 'God please save my son.' Then one day you come home and say you want to go to New York. You say mom can I have 50 dollars. And I say, 'Pirooz, I'm sorry honey. I do not have any money.' And you get so crazy. You pick up Panauh's Walkman and you crash it on the ground. Then you take my pot, and it has Shivit Baghali inside, and you just throw it everywhere. I still have this pot. The handle break, but I keep it. And then you crash everything. You go and grab this dish that I keep the candy, this nice crystal, and you take it outside and just crash it."

"Oh, Pirooz, I was so scared. I think my son is really crazy. I run to the bank. I say to you, 'Wait, Pirooz! I am going. I get you the money. I got to the bank like this (shakes her hands), and I get the money. And when I come home I see you have dustbuster and broom, and you are cleaning everything, and I say, 'Here, Pirooz. Here is the money.' "

"Then you say to me, 'Mom am I crazy?' And I say, 'No, honey you are not crazy. You are just depress. Maybe you want to go see psychologist.' And then you say, 'Yes, mom. I want to go to see psychologist, but it has to be a woman, and they have to be this thing, psychiatrist, or psychologist,' you say. I say, 'Thank God,' and for two days I am on the phone to find psychologist, but no one has appointment. Then I go to supermarket, and I see Carla, and she is talking about her son, and say that he is not doing good, and that he see a psychologist who save his life. And I think, 'Oh, thank God, maybe this man save my son life.' But I don't say anything. I just say, 'Is good to have good doctor. Can you give me his number.' And she give it to me. And I call this doctor and I say, 'Please help my son. Do not worry about bill. I pay whatever you need. Please just help my son. Please save his life.' And the doctor say he help."

"Then you go see this doctor, and I see little by little you get better. I call the doctor and I ask, because I do not know if you even go, 'Is he coming?' And he say, 'Oh, yes. He is coming. He is a beautiful boy. Very smart. Very bright.' But he doesn't say anything else. And I think, 'Thank, God.'

"Then one day you come and say you are going to go back to school. And then you go write the letter and you go, and then you move in with Sonny, and then you come to me one day and say, 'I meet this girl Mom. I meet her 6 years ago She is very nice. What do I do?' "

"Because sometime you are still with Lynn. And I say, 'Isn't Lynn with other boy sometime.' And you say, 'Yes." And I say, "Well, then it doen't hurt to go and see.' And you say, 'Okay, mom I go see.'"

"And then you go with Nicole, and everything is nice. And you go to school. And now you are separate, and you are handling so well. You are here. You are so calm. I am so proud of you, son."

"Thanks, mom."

"Yes, all of you are so crazy. I remember one time Paiman come home from school, and he come inside, and I see one second later someone knock the door. I open the door and this woman is here--the one who live with the Indian man--and she is screaming, 'You're F-son! He F this.' And I say, 'What is going on? What happen?' I look at Paiman. I say, 'What did you do?' And he say, 'I didn't do anything.'"

"And this woman is so mad, Pirooz. She is screaming. She say he come and she use the word ---- take his thing, and he just peep right on her tree. 'He take his thing and do it right by my window,' she say."

"And I say, 'I am so sorry.' I look at Paiman, I say, 'Why you do this?' And he say, 'Mom, I try to hold it. I couldn't do it. I was going to explode. You don't know how it is. You are woman. I have to go. This was the best spot.'"

"Oh, it was so funny, Pirooz."

"What happened with the lady?"

"Oh, she was so mad. She say, 'Never again! Do not come near my house. Walk by the road. Don't come to my house again!' She was so mad."

We all laugh. The well has been unleashed though. My mom continues.

"And Panauh, Oh my gosh. He box everyone. One day I see he come home, and then one second later, I hear the ring. These people come who are parents of--what is his name Ben, Brian--"

"Ben ****," my brother says.

"Yes, they are mad. But they are not like that lady. They just say, 'Your son come and box are son, and his nose is bleeding, and we have to go to hospital.' And I turn to Panauh, I say, "Panauh why you do this?" And he say, 'I didn't do anything.'"

"And then these parent confront him, and I say again, 'Why you do this?' And he say, 'He call me gay.'"

"Oh, Pirooz, how many boy he hit. So many. He box so many boy they have a meeting at school. I come and is seven people and one chair for me and I sit. They say, 'If one more time your son box someone, we going to send him to boot camp.' Then I come home and tell Panauh, and the guidance counselor he call Panauh. And then he understand this is real, because we go see a commercial on TV, on this boot camp, and he get scared, and then he doesn't box too much anymore."

My mom stops her storytelling. She looks at the clock. She is right on time.

"Come, Pirooz. Come let us go see this Barbara Walters. Tom cruise is coming."

I prop pillows on the bed, and she lies down. We watch the whole special together. I am moved by Kanye. Jamie Foxx seems to be doing good. My mom persk up when Tom Cruise comes on the screen.

"You love Tom Cruise," I say.

"No," she tells me. "I like him because he look just like you."

I smile. I turn back to the Kandinsky on the screen.

Shikow TV: "Buddha, the Explorer"

Episode One

Director: Vince Braun
Writer: P. M. Kalayeh
Buddha: Joe Robinson
Fitz: Larry Thomas Moore

To watch th
e film click image or here.

Television Wet Dream, Squid and the Whale, The Desert Rose, Ecstasy Proclamation

Last night, I had a dream I was writing an episode of Friends. It was a Thanksgiving episode. Joey and Chandler were doing their usual schtick. Then Joey says a line that sounds a bit off. It was way too smart for his character.

Chandler and him look at each other. They don't know where to go. It's a standstill. The whole show just stops.

This got me excited. It got me thinking too. I wondered what would happen if I inserted lines into every sitcom. They could be slightly off, but just barely. Just enough to make characters aware of their patterns. That would be fun. Woody from Cheers could turn to Norm and say, "Sometimes when I'm alone I read Kafka in the dark."

Frasier looks at Rebecca Howl and says, "Talk dirty to me."

Vin Diesel is a physicist.

John Malkovich stars in Harry Potter. He recites Shakespeare. He does snippets from Chekhov.

Yeah, that would be fun.

Not as good as Squid and the Whale though. That was my first movie in a long time. I saw it with Paiman and John. We were all pretty blown away. It also got the gears turning. I don't like seeing bad movies. I am done with the usual blockbusters. I have no interest in Friends or television. I've decided. I'm going to watch indie films from now on. I am going to write more books. I got to have a better way to entertain myself.

I don't want to see things dressed down. I don't want to be bored. It's got to be good. It's got to move me. It's got to be life and death.

Allison has got it right. It's time to raise the stakes. It's time to give all you got. It's time to start a fire. It's high time for a duel.

You and me, Mr. President. You and me, Mr. Corporation. You and me, Mr. World. I got some scissors. I am going to cut.

Here is the window.

I am making Joey smarter. I am standing on Harry Potter's shoulders. I am handing out awards. I am the new Indiana Jones. I am the new Oscar. Here you go, Christian. You make Abraham Lincoln proud. Here you go, Dacheaux way to 'little bit, little bit, boom!' It's all changing. Don't sweat it, Paiman. Don't sweat it Hooshmand. Don't sweat it Panauh. Don't sweat it Letisha. Don't sweat it anybody. I am turning everything upside down. I am conjuring magic. I am Houdini. I am the rabbit. I am going to celebrate. It's time to celebrate! This is reality. This is so much more real than television. This is the world today. This is my window.

Here are some scissors. Cut yourself a piece. Pass it on. I'll meet you in Study Hall. I'll draw you a picture. It's one of Degas's ballerinas. It's a Kandinsky original. It's Keith Haring on the N uptown. It's Picasso's Guernica. It's me looking at you. It's you looking at me. It's the end of all things. It's the beginning of your life. It's Enlightenment in a Box. It's Whopper Strategies. It's the Blood Red Skies of Shikow. It's Burt Kristbaum. It's Tanto. It's Mmmm. It's Zen. It's world. It's me.

Here you go, Ed Sanders. Here you go, Ann. Here you go Bobbie. Here you go Stegners. Here you go Moksha. Here you go shamans. Here you go Sufis. Here you go Christian. Here you go Lincoln. Cut a piece. Open this window. What do you see?

What are you going to do?

Los Angeles Calling: Bring Our Troops Home!

Dear Mr. President,

Tonight I watch kids bum rush out of the club. Girls are screaming down the street. Chili shouts for me to get inside.

"It's getting hot," he says.

I stick out a bit longer. I watch people jumping out the windows of the club. A hundred people or so running down the block. Then it starts. Pops. Screams. People are running faster now. I look at one of the door guys.

He grabs me by the collar: "Get your ass inside!"

I watch them pull in the potted plants, the velvet rope, even the mat outside the door.

My heart leaps out of my chest. It runs down the block. It screams like a cannon. A thunderous great thump. Loud enough to numb the pain. Loud enough to calm the dead.

Dear Mr. President,

Last week a kid got carjacked outside my apartment.

"You're probably not used to this," my neighbor tells me. "This is all probably new to you."

"Yeah," I say. "I'm just glad they didn't pull a shotgun on me."

"Gang wars," he shrugs. "It's a lot better now."

Atomic bomb. A thunderous great thump. Loud enough to hear war in our midst. Loud enough to make fire.

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday I go to the Sabe. The Christian is indoors. He won't go outside.

"I don't like those helicopters," he says. "I feel like they're after me."

I watch my heart leap out of my chest. It speaks about mercy. It presses helicopters to the ground. It burns an atomic riot. My fist in the air. Loud enough to calm the dead. Loud enough to hear war in our midst. Loud enough for your thoughts to shudder. Loud enough for a miracle.

Dear Mr. President,

I can't keep this city safe on my own.

The Desert Rose

Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider


I got the book. It is called "Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider." This is the one I saw in the window of Counterpoint Books. This is the one I got.

I also picked up a copy of Bomb Magazine. I have not ever read it. I hope it's interesting. It was expensive. That's all I can spend until next month. I have to save. I have to eat. Got to buy those cigarettes. They keep me alive.

The Kandinsky book came with a Shoenberg CD. I ain't ever listened to the cat. It's pretty crazy. Kind of depressing. Reminds me of what happened at work today. I got into it with a girl who works upstairs. She was piping about her night, how she went out with a bunch of friends who got fired, and that when they were at the bar this guy wouldn't play anything but sad cover songs.

"We were all screaming, 'Please play something happy.' "

"Did he?" I asked.

"He did a Bon Jovi song,"

"Which one?"

"I don't know."

"Was it Young Guns II?"

[Fitz pipes in with his rendition of "Blaze of Glory."]

Yeah, Shoenberg seems kind of depressing. Interesting though. It reminds me of those elephants in Thailand. Those are my favorite musicians.

Anyway, I didn't get any hot chocolate. The line was way too slow and long. I went to a bar instead. I got tequila and red wine. I drank the tequila and winced. I watched this guy on the other side of the bar smile at me. He liked me wincing I guess. I have no idea. I wanted to punch him though, or, at the very least, tell him I don't drink warm tequila. (Most bartenders would know to chill tequila, but I got the light bulb of Hollywood; took him 5 minutes to figure out who he sold the tequila too after I handed him my card about 14 nanoseconds to the nanosecond.)

Outside of the bar (Birds on Franklin) , I sat and thought about reading the Kandinsky. He turns me on you know? I didn't read though. There was this old cat there. He must have been 83. (That's a guess, but I think I'm spot on). He was chatting it up with a fine specimen of the female species. She had this low cut number on, and her tits were hanging every which way, and that made it pretty hard to pay attention to their conversation, but I got the gist of it.

"So what happened with your date?" old man asks.

"He didn't look anything like his picture," she sips her beer. "He wasn't no six foot two. Then he had a problem with my height..."

She went on. The old man listens patiently and says, "What was his personality like?"

This gets her all hot and bothered and she is off. I snatch the open seat, and decide to lay into the old man and find out what's getting his tail out at 1 in the morning at his age, and he lays it on me pretty slow, talking about how I am Iranian (because that's how all conversations begin with me being that I'm so ethnically identifiable and beautiful) and how he loves Kirostami, the filmmaker, and that takes us through usual chess moves around Keats and Browning before we even get to the nitty gritty.

"I moved back here 5 days ago," he tells me. "I was in Texas before, Portland before that."

"What was Portland like?"

"Conservative," he sips his coffee. "I am a social person. They were nice and friendly there, but you didn't get past a certain point."

"Mmmm," I say.

I say this a lot. Too much I think. He didn't seem to notice though. James Brown was pumping in the background. I looked down at my foot. It had a mind of its own. I let it pump. It wanted to dance. The rest of me didn't though.

"You been married?" I asked.

"I have had 5 life partners. I believe in marriage. It's hard for artists though. There is so much expectation."

"Sounds like a human thing," I say.

"Yeah," he agrees.

I could say more about the old man, but I don't want to, except to say that I talked to an old man. He was old. I was young. It made me think how all my friends are over 70. That I am going to be a hit at the senior homes.

I already know this though. My first job was working at a Senior home. They liked the way I poured Sanka.

Pearl Jam was big then.

I didn't give two shits about them. I was about the free food we got as waiters. I was one hungry kid.

I did like performing for those old folks though. I would act zany. I would be what they expected. I would be a clown.

Tonight Dick, the old man, and I talked about Charlie Chaplin. I love Charlie. Those movies are some of the greatest inspirations for me. So much so, that as he talked about him, I thought about going to work on Monday as Chaplin. I could get the little mostache and everything.

Dirty Laundry

Tonight was another sad one for the record books. Not sure what's going on. I picked up an old copy of Basketball Diaries, and started plowing through. Pretty soon, the idea of sniffing glue or shooting up sounded attranctive. This was scary and exciting. I have not touched drugs or alcohol in a very long time. But these days there is a big pain, and I can see myself drinking into oblivion.

I remember when I worked at the liquor store in Boulder. I felt bad about giving the homeless alcohol. I even felt sick about giving anyone alcohol. Then a friend laid it to me straight: "You don't know what kind of suffering a person's going through."

I heard the advice then, and I wonder if it's some I need to take myself. I have been afraid to go near alcohol. I have not ever needed it. But, these days, I can see myself drowning in it.

It is so hard to lose a wife.

It would help if I didn't love her. It would help if I could pretend alcohol made a difference. It would help if I could drive into oblivion.

I don't though. I sit with it.

At work, people call me Mr. Rogers (I take off my shoes and all). Larry also does impersonations of me: "I'm Pirooz. I write books. La de da de dah!"

It's all in good fun. It's also pretty on the nose. I might as well work for PBS right?

Last night I talked to the ex-wife and she said I was such a good person and so strong, that whenever I ever came to her with a problem, it freaked her the fuck out.

"So only you could come with your problems," I say. "There was no room for me."

"Yeah," she says.

"I'm vulnerable and fragile like everyone else," I say.

"Yeah," she says. "But no one wants to hear that from you. It scares them. They're like, 'if he can't deal with life, then how can I?' "

This made me want to be flawed. This made me want to scream out loud.

"I am not perfect," I say.

"But if all you give is your strong side, then the other side is going to throw people off. "

I think about this. It strikes a chord. She speaks some truth. I do tend to be asked for advice a lot. I like giving it, if I know anything about the pain, etc. It might be better to keep my mouth shut though. But, if I keep my mouth shut, then who am I? It seems counter to what I am.

I am me. Does anyone understand that?

I certainly don't. I don't understand a thing these days. I don't get that someone loves you, but doesn't want to be with you. I don't get that one at all.

Whatever. This is very secret journaling stuff. But I figure I got to let everyone know that I am hurting. I am hoping this will let me see it in a new light.

What else?

It's strange. I have spent about 3 years alone now. Before, I wrote books, and so my time was filled with the beauty of me and my characters. That reality was much more real than this one.

I also think about Byron Katie's statement: "How do I know I don't need what I want? I don't have it."

I wonder how soon before I go crazy. That statement makes me crazy.

I went and met Byron Katie. Did I tell you? I gave her a copy of "...Strategies." Well, her assistants. She was very sweet, tough, and nice. I do believe she is the real deal for her, but I don't think it really works for me.

Spiritually, I have followed the Sufis. No rules. I know on the other end is something else. They attract me though. Those stories attract me. Yes, the stories attract me.

I know this day will die like all the others. I am here feeling it with you. It reminds me of when an old girlfriend and I had to get an abortion, and then I had to go play a show. I felt so horrible. There was a lot of guilt.

Do I feel guilty about something?

No, I am sad and lonely. Mmmm. Basketball Diaries. That is amazing. Reading this book brings back those old feelings. They have been there all the time. I am looking at them now. Mmmm. Yes, I am suicidal at times. No, big deal. Everyone has tough days. Drugs. Yes...

Do I want to do drugs? It might be interesting. It would be very different now. I don't need it though. Maybe, some tabs of e and 4 hot babes. Ah!

Who is this? What is this?

Mmmm... Hey, dude. I missed you. It's me, guys. It's Pirooz at 23. He is back. He is hanging out. Hold on...

Now it all makes sense. All these young chicks hungry for the MoJo. Rock star Pirooz is back. Actor Pirooz is back. Wow. What do I do?

"Dude, take me out to a party? Lets go have fun."

"It's okay. You can have fun in other ways. I am going to get a hot chocolate. I will drink a glass of wine. I will buy you a book."

"The kandinsky book?"




F*%@ Taboos I'm Happy: A Conversation with Adrian Ryan (September 8-October 20)

Pirooz Kalayeh: I love the freedom in your writing. You will go anywhere. Is this why you gravitate towards comedy? Because of its freedom?

Adrian Ryan: Hi! Thanks a million for your mention of "freedom" in my writing. That fills me with glee. It seems to me that humor is very mysterious and powerful---it transcends just about everything.(This forms the basis of the second of Adrian's Three Magical Rules to Eternal Happiness: "Always laugh at tragedy.")Also, it's simply the way I've always express speaking voice and writing voice are basically indistinguishable from each other.

PK: I hear the laughter - all the way from here. Has it been difficult making this flip for you at certain times. And, if so, how did you manage to laugh? Was it the writing? Was it your imagination? Your heart?

Adran Ryan: i am easily confused. allegedly. let's it difficult for me to make "this flip"? you mean to laugh at awful things? well...this notion wasn't firstly mine you understand; i can't lay claim to it. who was it? mel brooks who said it? "comedy is tragedy, plus time." maybe it wasn't mel brooks. who knows. good heavens. what the fuck were we just talking about?

PK: I love it. Don't sweat the small stuff. (I said that.) Actually, we were talking about how you like to go to humor. I was wondering what brought this on. Was it from facing a lot of tragedy, or just a natural tendency? For me, I end up going cartoon-y at the slightest drop of a hat. I don't know when this shift actually happened. I cried a lot when I was a kid. I'd hit a bird with my light saber, and that was it, crying. I couldn't speak English and got sent to the principal's office, and then I started crying.

I guess crying got replaced with laughing at tragedy because I was tired of crying. It was also a great way to enter a space, laughing and not crying. What was it like for you? Was there a particular moment, when you started laughing at things more?

Adrian Ryan: welp, upon deep and thoughtful consideration of your question, i'd have to say it is just a natural tendency. i suppose something deeeeeeep inside me just sought an expression that mirrored itself; but it seems, upon reflection, entirely organic---this tendency to laugh at extreme things. on that note may i please point out that i loathe and despise trite, polite humor and, dear god, JOKES. i like people who display unique wit and insight, not those who memorize "jokes". egads. the entire notion makes me quiver.

also, on the same subject, wasn't it Gilda Radner who said something like "all of the funniest people I know are also the saddest?" something like that? well, i disagree. i used to agree, way back in high school when i was a wretched drama queen of sorts, i guess, but. not anymore. which is just about the only thing gilda radner and i ever disagreed on. not that i ever new her, of course. at least not in the biblical sense. i'm far too young. word.

PK: Funny you say that about Gilda. I had the same reaction in a weird parallel with rock 'n' roll. As a big drama queen myself, I would often say shit like, "27 is my heaven" or work real hard at being a slinky snake of sexual machismo. Real childish actions that were about me trying to match up with the mythos surrounding Morrison and the rest. Thank, God I grew out of that one. So I hear you on the Radner thing. This whole idea that one needs to be a member of the depressed and insane in order to be funny or an artist is just so yesterday and bad news bears. It's strange how so many artists believe that this is the stepping stone to becoming artists themselves. It's so serious. I can see how valuable your ribs at pop culture are within this framework. The seriousness as to how we take celebrity and the myth surrounding it is so far from the things which make a difference in our day to day lives. Might as well make fun of it. That suddenly makes what was previously useless into a valuable stain-my-pants laugh, and allows for people to take pause on their personal views of reality TV, celebrity, and whatnot.

Do you find yourself going for taboo material? Is this where the magic happens?

Adrian Ryan: do i go for the taboo? indeed, heavens no. that would mean i spend time searching for taboo things to go to, as it were. i merely reflect upon whatever i am faced with--specifically celebrity in the case of Celebrity I Saw U. or whatever i've been thinking about, should i take a mind to put it in print. are we talking about the porn stuff, particularly? indeed? you might be shocked to learn that while i am undoubtedly the most sexually obsessed beast ever to trod sod, i am not an afficianado of porn. i own no videos, no vidio files, no i'm quite peculiar, you understand: i think i probably the most peculiar person i know. and i have a vivid imagination. who needs porn? even for the cheese factor? i have only written the porn pieces etc. as they were either assigned or commissioned. ironically, my erotica has been widely reprinted and published now, including in Susie Bright's latest book (i think). an entire of chapter of that is merely a reprinted email conversation she and i had about seducing hotel bellmen. indeed. peculiar. or are we talking about the prostitutes? or....

PK: We can take taboos wherever you want to take them, or, indeed, not take them, and we are back full circle to freedom. There is no taboo. This equals freedom. It is what you are faced with--be that Celebrity I Saw You or porn or etc. I get it. Have you ever felt like something was off limits? Or was there a time when certain topics were off limits, because you were afraid to put yourself out there like that?

Adrian Ryan: i'm so confused now. let's talk about my gigantic penis.

PK: Okay. Tell me about it.

Adrian Ryan: speak not of my giant penis! not now! i'm in a tori spelling movie! no kidding---that's where i've been (sorry to evaporate), but I’m playing a small part in a horror movie with....well. i already said. a HORROR movie! peculiar.

anyhow! someone on the set said offhandedly, "That's the thing about you, you can say anything, because everything thinks your kidding." i think that sums it up. probably. it's early. they've made me get up early for this movie: i never get up before 9. egads.

PK: What are you doing on a movie set? An actor too? Well, my fine thespian, you'll have to dish some dirt on the film. What got you into acting? And on a Tori Spelling film?

Adrian Ryan: well, yeah: acting. since i was a weeeee little nipper, little nipping. i'm just a smaaaallll part---a horror movie...i can say no more! actually, i can say plenty more, soon...i am rushing off now; this is the first day Tori will be on the set, and i want to poke her with a stick! POKE POKE!

[4 days later]...

my part is done: i was on the set for four days. egads, it was fun. and indeed, tori spelling! i didn't think i would like her, but i did; she was charming and adorable, and we were 15 inches from each other for two days. she smells purdy. it's a horror film, a lovecraftian sort of thing, called Cthulhu. fabulous catering. sorry for the bump in communication. where where we?

PK: Beats me. How about you tell me how acting and writing meld for you?

Adrian Ryan: welp, although not all writers are actors, and certianly not all actors can write, for me the acting and writng (and visual art and singing for that matter---neither of which i really do) are cut from something of the same cloth: the outward expression of an inner idea or process...i haven't acted much lately (i've been writing a book! don't ask: it is top secret!!!), but this little venture has whetted my appetite for it again. i've been acting since i was 13 and writing forever. literally, maybe: the only psychic i ever really believed told me circa 1992---long before i was writing professionally---that i was a writer in England in the 20's in my last life! LOL! that's a weird story...

PK: Tell me a bit more about the psychic. How has seeing psychics, clairvoyants, etc., changed your life?

Adrian Ryan: welp; i don't go to a lot of psychics...see; i worked at an old and famous haunted in hotel in Portland, just out of college. I was the graveyard concierge. after a year there, a strange little guy named Mark was hired as an assistant manager. he was in his late thirties, rather goofy looking, someone you would never, ever notice. but i did notice---many strange things. first: he didn't work graveyard shift, but, indeed, he was always there, finishing up something or other. the thing was, he had almost always been there since around six thirty the previous morning....which meant that by the time 3am rolled around on my shift, he'd been up nearly 24 hours. but he was never tired, nor grouchy---then he'd drive home for three hours and be back, fresh as a daisy, 630am. in fact, he was, indeed, the most inoffensive and, well, kind person i'd ever met. it wasn't drugs: we had plenty of coked up folks, and they were easy to spot. he was not one of them. also, i saw him physically threatened by local crazies, i saw him screamed at and almost assaulted: he never lost his temper or stopped smiling. it was very peculiar.

well, after a few months working with him, one night, through a strange series of events i won't get into, he admitted (under much duress) that he was, indeed, either "crazy or psychic", that he had been taught psychic thises and thats by an old woman of his acquaintance in England, and he had spent the better part of his youth helping to unhaunt houses. that was why he was never tired he said: he could rejuvenate his energy, and he was adept at psychic readings. or, that was his story. testing him, he agreed to go to a secluded part of the hotel one night and "read" me. he blew me away...he was, of course, correct about everything...past present and future. it was an unnerving experience. of course, you meat a zillion people who think they are psychic or whatever, but this guy really took the creepy cake. to this day: he was right about it all.

PK: So what's in store for Adrian Ryan's future?

Adrian Ryan: well, indeed, most of his futuring is now firmly past: this was in the mid 90's...closing in on eight years. at the time i wasn't writing a bit, and he not only told me that writing was indeed my vocation, and that it had been before, but that I would leave portland for a bigger city and become a well known writer...then i would begin acting again, but that that wouldn't happen for close to seven years. we capped off there, but. egads. here we are. i wish i knew whatever happened to that guy..

PK: Well, how much of that is your own will power? It wouldn't have come to fruition if you didn't believe it was possible, right? Isn't this part of the freedom of who you are? I mean you write like you live life. You don't think about taboos. You just roll. You're like, "Seattle what's up?" "Celebrity: I lust you," and then "Tori Spelling she smells purty." That sounds to me like you made some choices, but you were pretty open to see them coming. What do you think?

Adrian Ryan: well, i haven't lived long enough yet, nor gathered enough info on life to make a decision whether or not he merely set up a self fulfilling prophesy for me...but right now? i would have to say no. i believe that guy. i really do. i do not believe many people who claim to be psychic.

PK: Sounds good to me. Anything you care to share about the not-so-distant future. Better yet, what is the magical Adrian Ryan doing right now?

Adrian Ryan: what is the magical adrian doing right now? well, i'm thinking that if you keep calling me magical, there's a good chance i'll have sex with you. so, thinking about that mostly. also, i've been quite busy working on my first book. i mean, i've been IN books, but never did a whole one, all by meself. the subject? TOP SECRET! i'm also working with a local producer to get a series of local theatrical readings done...but that is longer term: we wouldn't run 'til next October. and so!
Adrian Ryan writes for The Stranger (Seattle's only newspaper) and is a fine thespian. You can visit him at to catch up with his past, present, and future.

Woody Loverude can take Vin Diesel if he wasn't looking and Woody had a bazooka.

Woody rips into Vin Diesel. Very funny. Thanks C. Dale for pointing this out. Thanks Woody for making my entire office laugh.

Vince's favorite was the Sun one.

Jeff's favorite was the last one.

Fitz's favorite was the one where Diesel has sex when he's born.

Mine was 29. I also like the sex one when he's born.

1. Billy Sue’s Hips

I joined the mafia last week. They needed someone to run the numbers. They thought I was a good candidate. I didn't wet my pants. That was an important thing to being a criminal. In fact, it was Jacksaw's motto: Don't lose control of your bowels.

He carved it into this statue on his desk. I was staring at the letters as he talked to me. I don't think he noticed. Jacksaw wasn't the type of guy who noticed things. He was more of a henchman. At least that's what Molo told me.

"He's more of a henchman," Molo said, under his breadth. "Just nod when he says bowels."

I nodded pretty much the whole time. I had been up all night. Molo took me out to this club on Sunset. He said I had to figure out how this town worked. That was the only way I could be a right-good-criminal.

"Pay attention to the streets," he said.

That was a tough thing for me. I had Billy Sue on the mind pretty much all the time. I think it was her hips that did it. They went back and forth like a grandfather clock.

I could see them now when Jacksaw said bowels. I didn't let on though. I just noddded.

This impressed Jacksaw. He said I was right-good by him. All I needed was a toothpick. Then I would be prime time.

"Take one," he said.

I put the toothpick in my mouth. I clicked it against my teeth. Cick-click.

"Yeah," he said. "You're prime time now."

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I am.”

Molo did the rest. He sliced right into him. I didn’t stay for the festivities. There was no need. I wasn’t doing the cutting. Molo was. He was doing a good job of it too. It took me a while to get all the blood off that little statue. Then I put it in my pocket. I figured Billy Sue would get a kick out of it. She was into arts and crafts. Not me though. I just wanted to see those hips click.

JP asked me to talk about love. Okay, here it is.

When you have nothing, love is as natural as Hello.

Hi/ My name is P. I dream hard. I been dreaming hard all my life. I write books. I paint too. I don't make no money off it. Well, not yet. But I'm going to do it. I am going to sell my book. I am going to have love. I am going to have a kid. I'm going to accomplish all my dreams. I just wanted to let you know in case you were wondering. I believe in all your dreams too. I am watching them all happen. I won't stop dreaming ever. Come join me. Take 5 mintues. Dream with me. Dream.

Now before I go, I just wanted to say how much I love my family. They put up with my dreaming. I love you Dad and Mom. I love you Paiman. I love you Panauh. I did it. I'm dreaming.

I also want to give a shout out to my boy, Sonny. I love you, man. Thanks for believing in me all those years, and giving me a chance to play music with you. You taught me a lot.

Yo, Mark! Thanks for always believing, bro. I did it. I'm dreaming.

Kev, I know I was tough to put up with back in the day, what with all the, "I'm here to destroy all cover bands. Thanks for believing in me.

Hey, Meg. Thank you for believing me in high school.

Thank you A.I. Tennis Team. You guys helped me make it through some of the toughest years of my life. I couldn't have kept dreaming without. You guys were my Ambassadors of Kwan. Man, it still tears me up, when I think of all you guys running with me during those sprints. It meant a lot. I won't ever forget.

Yo, John Forester. You're still my best friend, man. There is no one I'd rather play basketball with.

Bennet! Thank you for teaching me how to draw. I couldn't have done it without you. 7th grade was awesome with you.

Now I'm pretty far back. But thank you for playing with me Erin Post. You were one of the most special friends of my life. I know you got second place in the Read-A-thon, cause I was so crazy about it, but I knew you would get it the next year after I was over it.

Thank you to all the teachers in my life. Thank you Betty and Katherine. Thank you Michael Cotsell.

Thank you Nicole for being married to me and teaching me all those lessons.

Thank you Loggers United. An extra special thaks to Mickey and Fitz. Mickey I believe in you. I know you can get this record done. Fitz. I love you. I'm going to miss you, man.

To all these bloggers. Jim Goar. Dacheux. My hats off to you. The whole naropa crew. Marlowe, Kyle, Sara. My heart is thumping with you.

Now for my most special shout out. Dear Christian, I love you. Eating fried chicken with you and watching you draw has been some of the greatest moments of my life.

And, of course, life wouldn't be complete, without thanking all the animals in my life. T. J and Zeba. Shah Air. Buddy. Oh, my Buddy. I miss you all.

Thank you all for helping me do it.

I've done it. I'm dreaming.


P{irooz Mahmood Kalayeh

PS. JP! Don't think I fogot about you. I am watching you like a baby eagle. You are constantly teaching me how to fly. I will give you the comic today.

Hiss #1: "I hate it when people deny what they've got and then ask for it like it's something they don't."

Golden Ashtray Looks Good

Well, Golden Ashtray, the comic book has my stamp of approval. It looks good. Perfect bound. Comic book size. 154 pages. Gorgeous cover. Definitely, get a copy today. Paper quality is nice too.

As I said before, it is now available on Amazon or Lulu. It would make a nice gift, toilet book, or other, etc. I am now allowing downloads on Lulu. The price is $5.94. To purchase the printed copy it is $13.52. A nice price for both.

If you do purchase a copy, go write a review on Lulu or Amazon, and tell your friends or show them. It really is a cutie.



An Open Letter

Dear Artists,

I do not know what is best. Take or leave what I have to say.

I believe in one thing as a teacher and that is freedom. To allow students a complete reign to pull and choose from anything they desire. What I hope to provide artists is a fertile and safe ground of discovery. The best method I have found for providing this foundation is by helping individuals lose the idea of a qualitative good and bad in their art.

How easy it is to stop a great idea or a magnificent poem or painting with thoughts like, this line is not good enough or I am not good enough? I know this, because there are times when I have suffered under this totalitarian regime. But, as with all absolutes, there are moments when one begins to see the frailty of the stories we tell ourselves. We question their validity, and, in turn, those questions lead to other possibilities.

In the case of "good and bad in art," it stands to reason that if one does not have such a filter, the work that will be created will be outside any particular standard or expectation, both within the artist, and in their respective communities.

On first contact, this idea is revolutionary. Many react with disgust. There may even be name-calling. This is to be expected. Some minds are very comfortable in chaos. They, in fact, see anything other than their own thinking as the very chaos from which they are a participant.

That is why it is important to offer the idea, and let the mind filter its own choice to participate or withdraw.

Some are very hungry for this possibility. They drink from the cup, and, in turn, bloom very readily. Others are not ready to bloom at all. They are as tight as a fist, and their reactions behave as the very thing they have become.

Now many of you may be reading this with curiousity. How is it possible to have no good or bad in art? We make judgments all the time. This is a very human thing. And I say, "Yes, I agree."

I make judgments all the time. This is what it is to be human. This is reality. Of course, the difference for me lies in perspective. If I am very close to an idea, then I cannot see that it is just an idea. I think that it is absolute, and expect others to behave accordingly. But if I move outside the realm of my concept, I begin to see the interplay between ideas, and in this kaliedoscope of possibility there is no good or bad.

Let me use an example.

Jimmy Smits loves Keith Haring. He thinks he is a fantastic artist. He spends all his moments upholding Keith to any other artist, and when other artists are placed before him, he uses Keith's effect on him as a gauge for the other art he views.

I may show him a William De Kooning painting, or Marcel Duchamp's Urinal, but no matter the validity of these other objects being art--all are seen as sub-par in comparison to Keith Haring.

The same can be said for poetry. Lets say Jimmy Smits loves Jack Spicer. No other poet matches his mastery in language. I can show him Frank O'Hara or Walt Whitman or even Allison Stine, but none of these poets can match the feeling Jimmy has in response to Spicer, and thus, these other poets are beneath his idol.

Now when Jimmy approaches his art he takes this idea with him. He holds a pen in one hand, and Jack Spicer in the other, and begins to write. He soon finds he is not Jack Spicer. He has a different mind. He is a different person. We know this, but Jimmy doesn't. He thinks he is a bad poet.

Pretty soon, Jimmy takes his anger and frustration into the world with him. He cannot be what he wants as a poet, and therefore points fingers and makes classifications of the world around him. He sees a poem by Ann Waldman or Ted Berrigan or maybe even Jack's good friend, Robin Blaser, and begins to see similarities in style. He may even begin to correspond these poets as being close to his idol, Jack Spicer.

This in Jimmy's mind is equatable to good. Anything that is like the feeling that Jack Spicer gave him is good, and he walks with this feeling into the new poetic realms he encounters.

Now something interesting happens. Jimmy has spent so much time searching for other artists that create a similar feeling like his idol, Jack Spicer, that he no longer connects in the same way to his original idol. Now he is a fan of Ferdinand de Saussure or Ludwig Wittgenstein, because he has found their discussions on language fascinating, and he hopes to uncover a semblance of what is good in his own writing, by understanding the philosophical arguments of logocentrics and the interplay between text.

This leads Jimmy down many more years of grappling to understand good and bad, and trying to exhibit in his writing.

During this time, he has put forth many poems. In all, there are many that imitate his idols (for now there are many besides Spicer). There are some that sound very close to his original, and these he prizes above all others.

"This is what's good," he says.

And others, also inclined within the duality of good and bad, and the taste for such an aesthetic, agree with him.

"Yes," they say. "We agree."

This only perpetuates one idea to Jimmy. Jack Spicer is good, and he is shit. This continues to hurt his creative prowess, and he unknowingly believes it is strengthened. This sense of approval from his contemporaries, allows himsel a false sense of fullness, and he carries this into his next poems, continuing with the voice in which he has found approval.

If Jimmy is lucky, he will stop one day in his early 60's, turn around, and find himself no longer interested in the voice that he has so long cherished. Maybe, it is the death of his life partner or wife. Maybe, it was simply a death inside him. But, for some reason, Jimmy does not care to write like Jack Spicer anymore. In fact, he has no interest to write like anyone.

He writes several volumes of poetry. These are all published rather quickly. He finds himself a bit of a celebrity. He is being celebrated as good. He, by not caring or upholding his idol, found the veritable truth. He was writing for himself and no one else, and thus gave rise to a new idea, that he did not know what good or bad was all those years before.

Now, maybe, he reads his new volumes, or even pens his latest poem, and finds himself crying uncontrollably. At first, this seems strange to him, until he realizes, that the old ideas in him have fallen away. He is new and fresh and original and himself. He is outside the realm of good or bad.

Now if Jimmy had let go of his idol sooner, or had been given more encouragement for the work that was his (the lines that were simple and elegant, and became his trademark) he would have lived a happier or more productive life. Maybe. Who knows? He could have also, at the end of this story, not have ever discovered his truth, and died still holding Jack Spicer's Collected Works to his chest.

The point is that holding onto good or bad is a choice. It might serve its purpose for you to continue to uphold one or another artist, or a collective of artists, or a school of thought above any other. This is your choice.

It may also anger you that I say, Let go of these ideas. Let go and hold onto your truth.

Although it may seem kind to some for me to help Jimmy perceive new possibilities, there are those who do not not see it as kind. They do not want to see with their own eyes, because they have been in the habit of looking with someone else's.

I hope those of you who are beginning to see good and bad fall away, allow yourselves the full experience that you may offer your eyes to the person seated next to you, but not before you see your reflection in the night sky.

May we all die quickly to the Infinite,

Pirooz Mahmood Kalayeh

Is Mary Oliver's Poem Bad? Is there such a thing as good or bad in art?

Recently, a wonderful artist criticized a certain poem by Mary Oliver as ‘bad.’ This was my response:

Mmmm. I hear you, A. This poem is ‘bad’ because it adheres to a ‘super phony poet voice.’ And the idea that Mary is using a ‘voice’ is sorely mistaken, because she has yet to be stripped of her ‘super phony poet voice.’


Is it true though? Is Mary’s voice a ‘super phony poet voice’? How can you know this for a fact?

If I am dealing with a writer (of any age), proscribing an edit or suggesting a possibility, I do not believe that I know best. There are many pieces that artists create for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. It could be a cathartic piece—one which leads to another piece that is more ‘voiceless’ according to your personal taste. They may, in fact, be searching for a language in which to express a certain idea, and not have the language in which to communicate it. It is new territory. It is raw. Maybe, this is the case. I have no idea. There are so many innumerable possibilities. Infinite, in fact.

For me workshops are a safe place where an artist can take leaps and explore. It is not a place where conceptual ideas of ‘what poetry or voice is’ needs to be hammered. Let them search and explore, and find what works for them. I can make suggestions: stylistic moves; different approaches to language; messing with line breaks, etc., or I could say nothing at all.

I prefer nothing at all.

If anything, encouragement is useful. Most artists, in my experience, are extremely fragile. I, myself, have and continue to be fragile at times. There are different moves, different leaps. This could be seen as a lack of confidence, or a window of possibility. If I retained a sense of what ‘voice’ needed to be, or that certain poems were bad and others were good, this would severely limit my willingness to take a leap into the unknown.

Now I don’t know Mary’s catalyst or reaction of the poem. I do know that only hers matters though. If it was right for her, then that is all that needs to be said. There will be people who respond to it, and others who do not. Just in the same way that Britney Spears or Sark create particular reactions (in me). It may not be the music or poetry I gravitate towards, but it does not make it bad. In fact, there are many who will find an extreme sense of love for Britney or Sark. Sure. Why not? Just as with anything.

Of course, there are other tangents we could go on at this point. The one that comes up for me is this: With an economy that is based on good and bad, and an education system which supports this duality, will this country produce innovators or more of the same in every field? What would happen if there was no qualitative good or bad? What kind of poetry would be produced? What kind of poetry would you produce?

It is an interesting idea. It works for me. Take it or leave it. You know best.

There are two threads on Mary Oliver's "Dead Kitten" poem. Tony Tost has one, and so does K. Silem Mohammad. They are very interesting.

A strange newness

My body is going through a strange newness. I am not sure if this has to do with getting over the flu or what. I feel different though.

Tonight I went to bed at 6PM. I literally could not keep my eyes open. Now I am awake at midnight. What is going on?

The last time I had this sleeping schedule it was novel time. I am thinking about the novel, but not really writing. I have actually been reading THE SECRET GARDEN by FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT. I like it very much. The set-up especially. I love that Mary has to learn how to make friends with those around her; how she realizes she is sour and disagreeable after receiving love from the robin, Martha, the gardener, and Dickon. It really is a timeless book.

I feel like Mary. Dickon too. Even Martha. (Is that how I know a good book? When you can see yourself in every character, or the author as every character? I wonder.)


2. My Worst Day

“Hey you,” the voice said, “with the can.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Can you dance?”

I picked up my foot. It came down with a crash. I could see the water move. It was in a puddle. It was next to my foot. I liked the way water moved. I wished I could move like water. I couldn’t though. Believe me. I tried. The other day I lied down on the grass. I pretended like I was the ocean. I moved my stomach up and down. It felt good. I couldn’t move everything at the same time though. It just looked like I was breathing.

“What are you doing?” Lisa asked.

I told her I was the ocean.

She lied down next to me. She held my hand. We were best friends. It felt good to be there with her. She made my chest feel real big. It felt like the ocean. I told her we didn’t need to move anything. We were doing pretty good just lying there.

“Yeah,” she said.

Then she said it.

“I’m moving.”

“Where?” I asked.

“Far away,” she said.

I was pretty sad. I thought we were going to be together forever.

“No,” she told me. “I’m moving.”

We lied there on the grass. We were oceans. We were 12 years in the making. We were stars. Now we were sad. I looked up at the sidewalk. I could see some ants through the blades of grass. I reached up and touched one. So did Lisa. She was just like me. She was my best friend. I was going to miss her real bad.

“Yeah,” she said. “Me too.”

I walked her home. Then I went home. I thought about dancing. I didn’t know if I could move like an ocean. It was hard. Oceans are pretty big. They are a lot like space. I couldn’t even imagine being space. That was a lot bigger. I wondered how space moved. I lied down on the picnic table. I pretended I was space. I didn’t move at all. I just felt everything moving inside me. I could feel my heart. It was loud in my ear. I could feel my stomach. Then I felt something fly through me. I think it was a comet. Maybe, it was a star. I imagined I could feel the Earth. I could feel Lisa. She felt like the ocean. I stayed like that for a while. I didn’t even hear myself crying. I was space. I just lied there. I didn’t move at all.