Inside the Void

Mr father and I scaled a cliff face today. It was a slippery slope. Lots of loose stones. He was not keen on the idea. I found some mountain goat in me, and took a pass to the left. I managed to get to the lip of the mountain.

"Let it go," my dad called after me. "Pirooz!"

It was a dangerous maneuver. I would have to go into no man's land - my hands free from the rock, without any supports. I looked down at my shoes. Not much. Just regular New Balance. I wish I had Go GO GO GADGET mountain boots!

"Pirooz!!" my father shouted. "Your shoes."

It was as if we thought the same thing. That was enough for me. I could risk death another time. Not today.

"Okay, dad," I smiled. "I'm coming."

I made my way back down the mountain. When I got to the bottom, he was waiting for me with a pair of sunglasses he had found in the dust of the canyon. He handed the glasses to me. Then he said, "You were right there."

"I think I could have done it."

"But your shoes is not good."

"That's true."

"We can make it though."

"Maybe, if I push behind you."

"No, that's not necessary. We could do it."

As we walked back down the trail, my father caught sight of a rabbit. It was his first sighting of one in Los Angeles. It impressed him very much. "Oh, look at this guy," he said. "Is the first time I see this rabbit."

"Lots of rabbits," I told him. "Lions too."

"Oh, this lion is dangerous."

"You have to make yourself as tall as you can, if you run into one. Then you make a lot of noise."

"Oh, yeah, man. You have to get a stick put it on your head."


My dad thought it over, "Maybe tree is better."

"Could be," I laughed. "It won't help you if you run into a bear though."

"Oh, no," my dad frowned. "Bear doesn't care how big you are."

"No," I agreed. "They are the most dangerous animals in the world."


Got the Job

It looks like everything has worked out. I'll wait for Jim to give his A-OK on this contract, and then South Korea here I come. I'm so very excited. It will be a thrill to be in Seoul, and whatever other countries I will travel to after that.

I'm coming to beat you in chess, Jim!!

I am also coming to you, Mars.* We will be together again.

*If you haven't figured it out yet, Mars is me.

Birds, Birds, Birds

Just got back from my brother's birthday party. I had a nice meal of chicken quesadillas. I watched people die on television. I played "Walk on the Wild Side" on the juke box. I listened to my brother play guitar. I drove down Wilton Avenue to get back home. I talked on the phone. I felt 3 drops of rain. I asked what I would write if I was going to die. I asked what I would do. I had an image of making a joke. This happened earlier, then it passed. I can't even remember the joke. I can remember the question though. I ask it often. I like that. It's an interesting question. I don't even know if it's a good one. I ask it though. It's who I am. This I don't know. I can't be anything else. I don't know if I'll write. I don't know if I'll stand. I don't know.


There is a bird named Frenchie. He lives next to Mortimer. Mortimer is my best friend. We usually play in the grass by my house. We like to look for ants. I'm really good at finding them.

Mortimer makes me smile. Yesterday he told me ants were made just for us. I didn't believe him. I knew ants were made for the rest of us too. It was still nice though, so I smiled.

I smile when I least expect it. I don't ever smile when I do. Then it wouldn't be a smile. I know that. I've practiced it in the mirror. I smile real big to see the difference. Then I can tell. It's all right there.

The oak where we live is a tall tree. It's not like the other oaks around the glen. They are about a foot smaller. That makes them better for squirrels. Birds like oaks as high as they can go.

Tweet, goes my beak.
Tweet, tweet, is my song.
The farmer can hear me.
He looks up from his corn.

I like the farmer. He puts bird seed out by the mailbox. We eat there when it gets cold. It can get really crowded.

It's good to be black in the night. Sometimes when I blink, I disappear. I told this to Hoopoe, who watches over us. He said he liked disappearing. It was what he was best at doing. Then I smiled, and closed my eyes.


Birds, birds, birds
mind on birds
Birds, birds, birds
mind on birds

DL and 26 Jobs

DL - Obviously, my long post didn't communicate to you.

I didn't mean to offend you. It's very easy to miscommunicate on a blog. All I was saying was think outside your box. But, fuck it! It doesn't really matter. Don't give my words so much power. If you're able to put yourself out there no matter a positive or negative remark, you'll be better off for it. And the funny thing is, that all you saw was negative in my comments. Honestly, that wasn't my intention. I play devil's advocate to my friends in conversations and in critiques. It's not about taking away drive or passion, but to catalyze a deeper intention.

Writing is like enlightenment. People think it takes years. It doesn't. Writing and Enlightenment are already yours. There's nothing you have to do.

If anything, comments that challenge a person who already feels that they are in shackles, can do one of three things: 1. make the shackles heavier, lighter, or non-existant.

From having an internet relationship with you for over a year and a half, I thought you would take my comments like friends I have known personally for that long. That's my mistake. If I had known that any of my comments would have hurt you, I wouldn't have said them. I was responding like I do in a workshop. That's what I thought was happening.

There is also a lot of miscommunication going on. People I know personally would get what I was saying right away. I thought you would too. When I ask if a person is just writing pretty poems, for a particular audience, or any other external other. I am simply asking who the audience is. It is a question; not an accusation. Because :), we all right for different audiences. There's no escaping that audiences do come up. It does for everyone.

I believe there can be a deepening in writing that happens when you let the audiences, alter ego's, and personal critics in your mind go bye-bye. From my perspective, I wanted to offer an honest take. I wanted to ask the question. I ask it of myself, and I ask it of other writers. It is not an implication or a separatist position. We are all trying to do our best with writing. It's new every time. And everytime we have different things that will launch us on the page.

My biggest mistake with you was thinking that you weren't writing without an audience in mind to begin with. This is my presumptious behaviour, and it is not fair to you or your writing. I can't know in any way if you are writing for another audience or not. If I have offended you by being presumptious, I apoligize. I really do want to encourage all artists around me.

I know I have a tendency to be short and tough with artists I feel particularly close to or admire. I treat them as artists who are already there. Artists who have found their voice and are using it. That's where I was coming from with you.

Now I realize that I'm better off not saying anything to someone about possibilities, unless it is asked for. I didn't mean to offend anyone on your site or you. Believe me. That's not what I want to do.

I hope you can hear where I'm coming from. If not, I understand. I wish you the best with your writing, life, and all that you do.



P.S. I have also found that thinking in the box is nutritious. You don't have to be outside anything. Inside, outside. It's all the same. What matters is if you're passionate about it. That was my point in my email (not sure if you got that). I've gotten thousands of critiques that are just soooo way off. I just wanted to offer something unexpected. I wanted to challenge. That's fucked up if you don't ask for it. It's also fucked up anyway you look at it. But that's my issue. Not yours. You be you. Work, write, live, play.

P.S.S. And don't you dare think that I'm saying you got shackles on (well, you can if you want) - I am saying the opposite. I'm saying there are no shackles. It's only when we believe our thoughts that we have shackles. It's when we believe others' thoughts that we have shackles too.

That's why critiques that bruise are so useful. They can be launching pads - a place for an artist to put down their shackles. It's about asking what is true. And all in all, nothing is. It's all an illusion. That's why I know you love me deep down inside. That's why I know I didn't really hurt you. You're beyond shackles. You're already Enlightened. You're already an artist.

There's nothing you have to do, if you can see there are no shackles.

P.S.S.S. Byron Katie's story...

So this lady, B. Katie, was walking through the desert. Suddenly she sees a snake, and like jumps a freaking foot in the air. Then she looks down and sees that the snake wasn't a snake. It was a rope.

That was when she realized all throughts were just ropes.

Writing is like this story. We think there are all these snakes, but they're just ropes.


In other news, it is still my brother's birthday. I am excited to see him and kiss him. I am going to miss him and all my other friends here in L.A. and in the states, but I'm excited to experience Korea, write, and play chess with Jim. It's a Godsend really. I've been trying to rack my brain about how to pay off all these student loans and save to start a publishing/record company at the same time, and I've finally found it - teach as a professor online and teach esl overseas simultaneously. It's a minimal workload, and gives you plenty of time to write.

The girl I've been seeing is mighty upset with my decision. This is understandable. I hope she gets over it though. She is way too cute, and we could make up for lost time, by having time together now. Hopefully, she'll melt at the sight of me, and we'll get to have some quality time before I take off.

As far as the count on jobs Pirooz has had, I think it may be time for a tally...

15...Waiter, Cokesbury Village Nursing Home
16...Service Merchandise, Electronics Department (where I would meet the lead singer for Spindrift, Kevin Thomas).
17...Pizza Express, Slowest Delivery Guy (I had no idea it was a front for an acid haven. I was so clueless).
19...CRWings (Wing Slinger)
20...Road Construction, Flagger (worked with some tough guys who liked jazz)
21...Dishwaser, East End Cafe
22...Waiter, East End Cafe
23...Booking Agent, East End Cafe
24...Visual Artist, Macy's (I dressed mannequins!! Can you believe it?)
24...Mason, (Laid brick for a real chump. My brother still likes the guy, so I won't bag on him too much. Chump.)
25...Sinclair's Cafe, Waiter
26...Iron Hill Brewery (Lots of chumps here. Most corporate job I ever worked.)
26...Physical Education Teacher, Frederick Douglas Middle School
26...Men's Fragrance Specialist, Strawbridge & Clothier
27...Audio Engineer, Naropa University
28...Adjunct Faculty, Naropa University
28...Creative Arts Teacher, Seven Oaks Academy
28...Hair Salon Receptionist, Pompadour's
28...Telecommunications Expert (I told people they won free vacations, which they did, but they had to show up to a seminar. I quit after a month. Told the lady thanks, but no.)
29...Dub Logger, Weller Grossman Productions
29...Academic Manager/Tutor
29...Associate Producer
29...Post Production Coordinator
30...Associate Producer
30...Online Instructor
30...ESL Professor in Korea

And through it all, I have been writing. Thanks for stopping by. I hope these next two jobs will be my last. I want to go into business for myself now. I'm thinking

31...Publisher/Record Label Owner

Either that, or I'll join a monastery.

Most people will probably think I'll do the latter.

Who knows? Not me.

Blow, wind, blow. Blow, Jack! Blow Allen! Blow! Blow! Blow your tops off Jim! Blow to the wind Stace! Blow those candles Pay! Make it last Hoosht! I could be dead tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!! So blow!! Blow!

The wind I can't hear
because the window is shut
doesn't stop me from listening
to the cold I can feel.

Happy Birthday Paiman!!

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Except maybe Mapquest. I'll see you at Medieval Times tonight

Outside the Box

There have been plenty of times when I have gotten an artistic critique that made me cringe. I mean, even last month my brother told me he didn't like my comic books as much as my novels. At first, that hurt and it made me upset. Then I realized he was just telling the truth. It was his truth. I love that he can be honest with me like that. It's what I want and expect from my friends and family.

In the world of critiquing art among friends on the blogosphere, it becomes very difficult to see people remove you from their blog lists or ostracize you as a friend for speaking your truth. I am very up front when it comes to possibilities in a piece of art. Like many of you know, I don't believe in a good or bad. Art is art and that is a subjective process. You do it. Someone likes it. Someone doesn't.

Now when it comes to critiquing this is outside good or bad. It's simply an option for possibilities. Each artist when viewing my work can see different choices that I could have made, whether it's punctuation, word choice, or theme. This is the nature of art and it's a process. Just as much as the critique is a process for us to move deeper into what we do.

I am continually looking for new ways to present the internal me in an external format. I get critiques from dishwashers, corporate executives, hair stylists, priests, you name it. Everyone has a way in which they can see an art piece go a different direction. They might say, "Did you have to use so much green?" or "I don't like the way you wrote this line."

That's okay. It's not personal to me. I might like the green. I might even look at the painting a few days later and say, "Hmmm, maybe I could use less green." It doesn't really matter. Our choices as artists are our own. We decide what is right for what we do. And second guessing ourselves doesn't come from the outside world. It is there internally, then externally.

That is why when someone says that I am ________(insert adjective here). I look for it in myself. Am I arrogant? Have I been stubborn? Can I be insensitive? Could my novels be a different type of writing than comic books? Sure. I can be any number of things. So can my artistic work. Me, like my art, is in constant flux. There is no end or perfection. It's simply trying again in each moment I have.

That is the secret to a happy artist and a happy person. We can't look at the approval or disapproval of someone to dictate who we are. We can't expect to be perfect in our life and art, or expect others to be models of what we're not. All we can do is try and change what we are. Then the world around us changes. This is the truth.

Now for me as a critique of a person's work, I do not have an intention to do harm. All my questions or comments correlate point ouside of what is possible. This has been the modus operandi that has been offered me by my favorite critiques: my family, Ann Waldman, Cole Swenson, Shane Book, Jim Goar, Stacy Dacheux, Dana Lynn, Rebecca Loudon, Moksha, Michaelangelo, Fitzy Boy, Bret Agins, Franky, John P., Vikram Bhagat, you name it.

The list continues upon itself a thousand times over. It can be my 5 year olds at Seven Oaks Academy, who said, "There's not enough kissing in your story." Or it could be a big, Turkish guy who says I'm not a good singer, because I can't sing like the lead singer of The Cult. All these moments are opportunities for me to show up. I can either run from the question, or I can ask if there is truth to it.

In the end, there is truth to every critique. I am an imperfect being just like we all are. That's a beautiful thing. Especially when it comes to our art. It can be just like us - imperfect, shallow, arrogant, proud, beautiful, touching, skimpy, and fat. Whatever it is, it will be equal to what we are as well.

If we can move out of our safety zones, out of our needs for approval, fame, or success - if we can take a critique without flinchng against our own truth - if we can move beyond the external factors of art - we will touch upon why we create before there was Rolling Stone, Sub Pop, City Light Books, Hollywood Stars, Atmoic Bombs, or MFA's.

This is where I'm heading. It's a beautiful road. It will include teaching writing, reading, making, creating, you name it. And I won't hesitate to offer my friends, family, lovers, or strangers the truth about how I feel when I read their work, hold their hands, or kiss them asleep. I won't hesitate to see my stupidity, arrogance, or sense of ineptitude. I will be me. A man who is searching, honest, trying, and feeling his way to the truth inside him, to the wonders of creativity.

To no boxes! To freedom!!

Pirooz Mahmood Kalayeh

Could This Be Real?

My brother sent me this video. I can't ever tell if these things are real.


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Thanksgiving Wrestling

My dad was a famous wrestler in Iran. He never failed to demonstrate this to me. All it took was a little goading. Maybe, a slight shove before he grabbed me, shouted PUSH! PULL! and knocked me on my ass.

In order to compensate for his incredible skill and speed, I'd stand 3 feet away from him during any wrestling extravaganza. If he got too close, I'd punch him in the face. He hated that. I got a mean fist, and it does me justice.

"Shahin, quick!" he'd shout. "Get me ice."

So ended our wresting moments. My youngest brother is not as bright though. He still thinks size makes a difference in a wrestling match.

"I can beat you now, Dad," he says. "You're so little."

My brother flexes his 300 pound, 6' 2" frame, and waits for my dad to take the bait. I can even see him pull his fists up unconsciously. He's ready. At least he thinks he is. My dad snaps his arms together with one hand, and pops them forward and up into his face.

"Ow, Dad!" my brother shouts. "You got me in my eye."

"Panauh, you don't realize," my dad smiles. "I reserve 1/3 of my power for God."

I laugh for a while. All the way back to 1952. This male thing of hurting one another, when hugs can't make it through.


The Doctor Is in Town

Tonight I hit the Blockbuster with my Dad. We're there about 5 minutes, when a girl I know from a sister production company waltzes in. She hasn't seen me for a while, so we do the song and dance of what's new.

"How are things at WG?"

"Good," she says.

"This is my dad," I gesture.

"Hello, very nice to meet you," my dad says.

"Nice to meet-"

"You can call him the doctor," I interrupt.

"Okay," she smiles. "Hello, the doctor."

"No," my father says, and bows his head, "You can call me the ant."


"I am humble person," my dad smiles. "I am invisible."

When we get back from Blockbuster, I tell the rest of the family how dad told this girl he was an ant and invisible, and they all lost it. My mom even got into one of her laughing fits, where she can only say one non-related word - as if a thought had formed under a genetic mutation - it is quite something to witness someone's mind combust during a good laugh, and my mom has made it into an art form that may lead to infinite comedic chuckles.

Here are a few of her combustions:

1. "Ha hahhehehehha...and the Chinese...HAHAhahahahe..."
2. "...the sabzi..."
3. Ah!!!!!Ah!
4. this...hahahahahha


On the way home from Blockbuster, my dad stopped to wave at a burly woman pounding a punching bag. She glared back at him.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I am just saying hello."

"No," I said. "You're trying to be funny."

"No," he smiles. "No mind."

I smile back.
Today I went hiking with my dad. We heaaded up a trail in Griffith Park. About halfway he turns to me and says, "I have to use the bathroom."

"Number 1 or 2?" I ask.

"Number 4," he says.


We spend the rest of the hike philosophizing about life and spirituality.

"I want to make a connection with you," he says. "Remember this Star Wars?"


"Why did Darth Vader become Darth Vader?"

"Because he was manipulated by the Emperor."

"You see? Life is like this. We are manipulated by the Emperor."


I am not sure what to do at this point. I am feeling like George Bailey. In fact, I just watched "It's a Wonderful Life" for the 36th time. It's my favorite movie. I get emotional every screening.

Tonight I got to the end where Clarence writes: "A man who has friends is not a failuire" - and I thought, "Maybe, I'm a failure. I don't have too many friends. Then I realized at least I have a few. I also got me. That's enough."

Then I thought about what life would be like if I'd never been born. What would be different? Have I maade a difference? Have I helped people enough? Have I been a good enough friend to my friends?

I hope so. If I haven't, I apoligize. I do my very best.

Sometimes I disappear. I have to be in solitude. I have to sit with myself. I don't know why this happens, but it does. I've grown to accept this about myself.

There really isn't any other choice.


meeting aliens is like meeting a bike for the first time.

Listen to Slipshod at CDBABY

Orange Lamborghini Cover

Orange Lamborghini, the new Slipshod Swingers album, is now available on CDBaby.

To listen to the album click here.

For those of you who prefer a digital download, The Slipshod Swingers will be available on itunes, napster, and the rest by the end of the month.

Keep Rockin'


I have been trying to write this post several times now. How can I put it? Since I've been away from television, life has slowed down to a standstill. It's one of those moments where something feels like it ought to happen, but nothing does. I don't know. I can't even say what's going on. It's strange. It's as if something is falling away. Something old. Like the big, fiery demon that whips up and snags Gandolf's foot in the second Lord of the Rings. That's where I am right now. With Gandalf.

I didn't really want to be a white wizard. I haven't really wanted anything. That's the strange thing. I've never felt so empty of so many things. I don't want to write, draw, make music, work, take a hike, look around, nothing. I just sit there.

I'm sure I just have to accept it. I'm in this spot. That's it. I simply have to stop trying to understand it. Okay. You ready? I have to?


You can try and figure it out forever.

That's what it feels like.


Aside from the strange emptiness and lack of motivation, I've been reading Kenji Yoshino's Covering. I've gotten 3/4 through, and now it doesn't hold much more for me. I just keep thinking about Martin Luther King Jr.. I see him giving a speech, and then I have to shut the book. It just starts sounding like talk, talk, talk...

My brain does enough of that.


Los Angeles has been lonely these days. Not much going on. I'm looking forward to Korea. It'll be nice to hang with a friend.


I'm listening to Cat Sevens right now. It's nice. I've painted many times to his voice.

I don't feel like painting though. Nothing.

It's 626PM. I have to tutor a kid at 7.


It's 628PM. Cat Stevens is still singing. I still have to tutor a kid at 7.


...A red legged chicken stands ready to strike
And everything's emptying into wine...

What does that mean?


The first time I made love to a woman, I put the condom on backwards and it broke.

The first time I got my heart broke, I listened to Dinosaur Jr. for one month straight and got severely depressed. She was pretty amazing. I still love her a little.

The first time I got mad was when my dad tried to teach me math.

The first time I listened to Cat Stevens I was in Boulder, Colorado sitting by myself.

The first time I got a dog I was happy. I had a friend. Then my dad took him away. He did this once more with another dog. Then I couldn't take having dogs anymore. Friends either. I got very suspicious someone would take them away too.

The last time I had sex I felt old and useless.

The last time I changed a tire I was in Philadelphia with 3 so-called friends. They helped me by standing around me in a semi-circle. I got the lug nut off, by standing on the wrench. It took me an hour. Watch out, Nascar.

The last time I had lunch with a friend they asked me if I was out of it.

The last time I turned a lunchbox into a rainbow, I was at Ben Franklin Elementary. It was an assembly. My lunch was weird to the kids at the table. It wasn't bologna. One of the boys traded me bologna to try it. He liked it a lot. He traded me from then on. That was fine with me. I liked bologna.

The birthday when I got knocked in the head with a golf club was my most memorable birthday. I wore a red Polo shirt, with Polo cologne, and I felt popular. Then I got knocked in the head with a golf club. I cried. Then I didn't feel popular anymore. I hid in the bathroom.

The funeral when Shikor was in the cardboard box was the hadest funeral I have ever been to. It made me mad when his dad told me that he smelled his shirt after he died. I almost asked him if he smelt it while he was still alive. I didn't go there though. I offered my condolences and hugged his mother.

The first time I smoked weed, nothing happened.

The first time I got acid, it was a joke. My so-called friends gave me a fake tab. Then they laughed, when I asked why nothing was happening. It made me feel popular yet again.

The next time I punch someone it won't be with my fists. It'll be a sentence that tastes like sugar.

I am a powdered donut. White on the outside, but it's just sugar. Shake it off and there you have me. Brown and crusty just like you imagined.

I am a menace to no one. I would like to say I was, but I know people will make that choice based on nothing that has to do with who I am. They will have heard of me. I talked to someone. I said this thing or that. I didn't though. I don't even remember. It will be that way to some. To others I will be the hero I see in me. I will be the light from an old Bic. It will burn the charcoal in your grill. You will turn a piece of meat and stare at my ashes.

The touch of a woman can make things stop for a moment. The touch of a man can do the same.

"It won't stop," Monty decided.

"Kiss me."

"It won't."

"And then?"


Now lets all start living for the one that's going to last.
Don't you feel the day is coming...

It's 652 PM. I have to go tutor. Bye.

Adyashanti on Wanting


An eventful day in world of L and A. I got my paperwork done for this online teaching gig, hiked up Griffith, got a couple cans of peas (I heart P's!), and what else? Oh, yeah. I got an oil change and car wash. I also cleaned again. It seems that living with teenagrs requires continuous up-keep. It's definitely making me very cleanly, although I might be sick of the lesson by now, so PLEASE PLEASE let me get FREE! Ahhhh, they ren't that bad. Just messy kids. I can be that too, so WHATEVER.

I would rather spend my time contemplating my role in society, how I can change the publishing and writing world, and how many peas to eat tonight for dinner. I am thinking this on all topics: EAT PEAS, 1 CAN, THEN WRITE A POEM TO END ALL POEMS. Isn't that what's it's all about? To destroy and pillage, to conquer the world and eat the meat dripping flesh of our competitors? Don't we want to let the money bleach us dry into powdered donuts that flake into crumbs and ash the moment we shake a tail feather to CRATE & BARREL for an OH-SO-YUM-YUM chest with drawers?


Sometimes poetry is about being so emotional that you can't write nice sparse lines. It just wants to come out of you, to rip up the world. I say let it. I say find out where every thought goes. Don't flinch behind anything. Just write it. Write the mind on fire. Where will it get you? Will it drive you mad?

Well, lets get mad. Things are not right in the state of Denmark. Why? Because I can't smoke outside anymore. People are complaining. They complain everywhere. They think it's some goddamn right to point and tell and say how I can be more like them, but I don't want to. I don't want to...

There are many voices that shout in the night. There are many things that can be censored with a can of bleach. There are many things tat may seem as cryptic as a hawk swooping down over you. There are many things.

Today an artist cried to me on the phone about success and fame in this grand city. Oh, how many artists are crying, trying to see a way to move through hoops and gt that power and privelige to be who they are without apoligies - the promise of success.

"I want to be like Jack Black," an actor smiles. "So I can eat whatever I want."

"I want to be a famour director," another coughs. "So I can make movies and everyone and everything can think I'm great and kiss me and make my wounded soul feel a bit like normal."

"Um," another laughs. "I want to eat PEAS!"

Well, then, I say. Peas it is.


I can see how my life has been shaped by covering various identities throughout my life.

Iranian, Artist, Musician, Poet, Novelist, Spiritualist, Smoker, Lover, Conservative, Liberal, or Activist?

I resist coerced classification and want to be functional in society at the same time. What is one supposed to do? How do we operate within the cages we place ourselves?

Buddhism would suggest the cage is our mind's eye. Byron Katie would say to accept reality as it is. The Sufis would support complete dismissal and refusal to assimilate. Kenji Yoshino, the author of Covering, provides a new civil rights action that educates and creates inclusion for those who feel outisde and in. I am curious whether reading this book will resolve the various disparaties I have about my role in society.

This will be interesting.

I will talk more later.

Quotes from Vikram

"You are only allowed as much suffering as you can handle. You are also only allowed as much benefit as you can handle."


"Think of yourself as an orange. If you squeeze, what do you get?"


"Right, orange juice! Now that's all that's really inside you. Juice! When you get squeezed and you get mad or angry, that's not the juice. The point of Buddhism is that when you get squeezed all you get is juice. You're just an orange."

-"So not being an orange is bad?"

"There isn't good or bad in Buddhism. It's better to think of it as cause and effect. Your past dictacts the effects you're having in the present, and your future is made by the causes you make today."

-"So we can control our destiny?"


"Karma isn't like karma in the Hindu sense. You aren't bound to your karma. In Buddhism, they believe your past karma (past lives) put you into the situation you are in today - but it's not an ending - it's a continuous thru-line. You can effect what karma you will have tomorrow by what you put out into the world today. You can break from your past family line. You can be free from the 4 states - doing meditation and chanting that's what keeps you from bouncing between all these states, so that you can stay juice no matter how hard you're squeezed."


It was interesting talking to Vikram tonight. We spoke about a lot of things - societal demands, our upbringing, race, gender, covering, you name it. In the end, it was cause and effect. It was trying to find the space for us to be happy.

Isn't that what we're all looking for? What happiness is?

Is it a house? Marriage? Money? A book published? Doing good for your fellow man? Doing good for you?

Vikram believes happiness is being an orange.

That sounds nice. I like oranges. Apples too.


The gibbons
deep, guttural cries
mark territory
with swelled throats.
I watch.
Is this my home?
Is this where I come from?

At graduation,
I sat with my family.
Grandfather recited a prayer I did not understand.
“Jang!” he said.
“Jang,” I agreed.
Arms raised.
I shook them as he did.
Knew it meant something powerful.

tea in hand,
around the rug,
My father woke us from the quietude:

“I am Hussein. I am Sadrollah. I am Camiar. I am Talat. I am Aziz. I am Mariam. I am Khadijeh. I am Ismail. I am Ayatollah. I am mountain. I am desert. I am spring. I am freedom. I am unity. I am Mohammad. I am Esfehan. I am Hooshmand. Son of Ayatollah. I am Hooshmand. I am Hooshmand. I am Hooshmand.”

It moved me very much.

Was this my home?
Was this where I came from?
I asked him to write it for me.
He did not remember.
“I just say it now,” he laughed.

I remember only details:
A taxi,
the chick I bought from the vendor,
the golden cage,
mohst, a Persian yogurt,
I fed to my pet.
My grandmother upset.
Khan Joon, my
great grandmother,

Ayatollah in a yellow hallway.
Young and tall.
He looked at me for a moment.

Her arms.
The room spinning.
smiling at me.
Hands on my wrists.

This is all I remember.

Other memories,
not mine,
are told to me,
as if,
I simply
could not
But no amount of digging
can bore water
from an empty well.

my Father said,
I must write for Iran,
for his sister, Soheila,
for all those poets
who are being persecuted.

“You are their voice!” he shouted.

He almost convinced me.

Still lost
Stations A and B
I did not know
how to convert
miles to hours.

The child’s desk
he had bought for me.
My left hand
dark from the lead.
His voice urging me on,
“Again! A-gain!”

He almost convinced me.

In the lounge –
Say Anything
on the screen
in the background –
His voice
a whisper,
“I will send you wherever you want after you finish your degree.”

He almost convinced me.

My mom puts cardamom in my tea,
“Is special ingredient.”
My wife calls me baby.
My dog snarls like Elvis when I smoke.
Our roommates are barely ever home.
My brothers live far away.
My father’s sharp laugh.
Reunions at Broadkill Beach.
Marshmallows and saffron,
poppies and dill,
the deep color red.
These things I know.

I drink from my hand,
an endless well,
whole in spirit.
ears intact,
I see no winter
or dead flies in cupboards.
No voices to tell me what I am
or judge to shout wrong.
Only gibbons in a far off canopy.
A lonely bear on a mountaintop.
A humpback whale 300 miles away.
The plant on my desk.
The earth beneath my feet.

Happily shipwrecked.
My possessions in my throat.
The New Moon
drops into the valleys of my hand.
Great rivers of intoxication.
I drink what I am I am.
American lands.
Arapahoe country.
Canyon Boulevard.
Boulder, Colorado.
I am mine. I remember.
I am mine! I shout.

October 26, 2004 11:35 PM


I have received word from one recruitment center. It looks as if I will be interviewed within the next couple days. Hopefully, this will go as planned without complications. I am much more keen on having a recruiter place me within a school, than for me to pick one at random. I simply can't tell which is better than another, as I have little or no knowledge on the geography of South Korea, and am left fairly skimpy on my BEST LOCATION bat sensors.

Jim has sent me a contact through his university, so hopefully they respond favorably to the letter I sent them - a great option come appointment time. As far as others, my family is keen on me staying in the states living an EMILY DICKINSON LIFE, which is a step backwards and dehabilitating to someone of my character and resolve. I am simply much more cogent and lively in uncharted territories, and fairly sullen when I am given the option to be lazy, and not forage for myself. I am not sure if this is the hunter in me, or simply the warrior-explorer who is my true-core-yum-yum.

My guess is the latter.

Jim has just sent me a leter regarding the fish market in Seoul.

"Good stuff," he says. "Was wondering if you'd like it."

I'm sure I would.

Job Run

Well, it looks like today is the day for jobs. I sent out for my passport to possibly teach in Korea; got a call from a producer to work for the Style Network (something asscoiated with Vogue); and I will be having a phone interview to teach classes online in an hour. Hopefully, if everything works out, I'll have an opportunity to do all 3.

I am no good without a job. I love to work. It's when I'm the most productive in every way.

Pray for me,


The Los Angeles Project Flourishes

"Collectively, if geniuses were able to build something destructively unimaginable out of science, surely we can build something constructively unimaginable out of art. This is a creative issue, not a political issue. This is the beginning. This is where you and I hold hands & walk into the project."
- Stacy Elaine Dacheux

Just imagine a world where we can create something constructive with our artistic forces. Something that can counter the most destructive nature of the human species. This is truly a remarkable project. I thank Miss Dacheux for putting into the world such a beacon of light, and encourage all of you to spread the word, contribute, and unite our collective genius to make a difference heard louder than any atomic combustion.

Susie at Giant Robot on the 11th!

I am very excited for Susie's show. I love her finches and the rest of her birds. I will be there on the 11th. If there is anyone who would like to come and hang with Susie and I, let me know. I got 3 seats in the car.

Where? Giant Robot, 2062 Sawtelle Blvd

When? November 11th, 630PM

Why? Because Susie Ghahremani is the bomb! So is Snoozer!


Wow! Thank God that's over. That was probably the darkest I have ever dug. Whew! I thought I wasn't going to make it there for a while.

Then... I pulled myself out. [insert pic of Pirooz as Superhero here.]

I'd like to thank the following inspirations:

1. My brother, Paiman.
2. My pop, Hooshmand.
3. That Daniel Johnston movie that was so depressing it made me sick.
4. The guy who emailed me and said I reminded him of Daniel Johnston.
5. Charles Bukowski and every messed up writer I know, which is a lot of them.
6. Myself - for letting go.
7. The Moon for taking me under its wing.
8. The cat who visits me everyday.
9. All these crazy Buddhists who think they know something, but don't know jack.
10. Ryan Phillipe for being a jackoff and making my dreams come true.
11. Douglas Adams for being so incredibly funny in my dreams.

Tangerine News: Today I finally got the Orange Lamborghini album off to CD Baby. Now it will be 4-6 weeks before The Slipshod Swingers have their own itunes listing. This makes me very happy.



A Better Brain

The October issue of Ellipsis just arrived. It marks the end of The Whopper Strategies being published by this fine ensemble. I thank Richard, Perry, and all the editors and staff at Ellipsis for bringing my work and so many others to the mainstage. It was a thrill to be a part of the magazine. Thank you. I wish your publication continued success and an even wider readership.

For those of you who read The Whopper Strategies and are curious about "Enlightenment in a Box" I did notice a missing element to the last installment - the secret itself. I will put it below for your viewing pleasure. Just remember not to let Enlightenment go to your head.

In other news, I have taken Jim's advice and checked out online teaching opportunities as an option to my burgeoning producer career. If I am offered the opportunity, I will let you know of its pros and cons.

As of this moment, I have compiled a list of independent publishers who might take an interest in the various novels loaded in my arsenal. Top among the list is Manic D Press, Soft Skull Press, and David R. Godine. I will query all 3 with different pieces. My guess is that they will be curious enough to see a complete manuscript.

The other publishers that I am on the fence about are Chronicle, MacAdam & Cage, W.W. Norton & Co., and City Lights. I will definitely query the first 3, but City Lights has become more of a poetry publishing platform, so it may be wasted postage.

As far as my decision to remain in Los Angeles and continue to be a producer, only time will tell. Several of my friends have gone the route of teaching and whatnot, and I am not opposed to that path. Still, I like the weather here. (I am not one for jackets or hoodies. Believe me. 4 years in Boulder, Colorado was enough.)

In the dating scene, I have lost another girl to my whimsical leanings for confusion and mental instability. For some reason, I have the propensity to freeze up at the mention of commitment and leave myself wide open for stakes through the heart, followed by garlic, and a sad cacophony of 80's music led by Cindi Lauper & friends.

My brother says I am an idiot. "When it's there, it's there," he says.

I didn't argue with him. He could be right. Who knows? My father helped me find solace, when he complained that the brain was at fault and could use a better design.

"This brain," he said with the utmost conviction, "it needs to be improved."

I must have laughed for 10 minutes. I love his scientific approach to matters of choice and heart.

Right now I am wishing there wasn't a bag of Snickers on the coffee table. I am also quite thrilled about it at the same time.

FYI: I will document my submission process and the company's replies. My hope is that by making my queries public and discussing choices, I will make the process creative enough to hold my interest, and possibly benefit others in their searches. If anyone knows of an independent publisher whom I've overlooked and you feel would be a nice match for my work, please let me know.

Until Tomorrow,