Friday, December 17, 2010


I am a fan of the video game Grand Theft Auto series. I always have been and I always will be. These games are not for pre-adolescents or adolescents or, even, teenagers. Those young folks' brains have not developed enough to enjoy (and not be scarred by) the "games."

My latest GTA kick is "Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City." In the game, my character is a guy named Luis, an ex-soldier, a bad-ass, a straight bodyguard for one of the biggest (gay) nightclub owners in Liberty City.

Drugs, violence, sex.

[By the way: Liberty City is a video twin of New York City.]

Luis may not like it, but I absolutely love Carnage. Mayhem. Luis is under my control...or am I under his? That's a transcendental question, I reckon. Be it as it may be, I am the Puppeteer. And when I say "jump" Lou jumps. And when I say "Throw your grenade at the cop car and see what happens" Luis does just that. And when I say "Climb to the top of the highest building and drop a grenade at your feet and wait for the blim-blam" Luis does just that.

I think "transcendental" is too big a word for this. I think "vicariously" would work better.

See? I am college-educated, I have a somewhat golden finger for writing, but I am not immune to the slowly-seductive forces of--gasp!--video games.

They are so fucking realistic. Every time I play, I am immersed in Liberty City. If I start, I play for, at least, three hours. Good. God. Yeah. Three hours.

I enjoy killing. Vicariously. I enjoy throwing a live grenade, vicariously, into a crowded, traffic-jammed intersection. I enjoy watching the cars blow up and I, also, enjoy watching the fire-bound wounded straggle from their vehicle, and deposit Life on my doorstep. Upon which, I shoot them either in the head or the genital area.

In this game, I am a malevolent God.


But. Back to the title. What can a video game teach a person?

Well. For one thing, this: I was in Chinatown; I had just bought another grenade and also a bullet-proof vest. (Kevlar?) Anyway, I walked out of the shop and intentionally bumped a dude twice. Once was enough, for him. He said something like, "Why you here-ah?" in an Asian accent and so I bumped him again. In my side-vision I saw the red-and-blew of Trouble. The coppers were on the scene. My fingers itched to hold my M-16. I, instead, backed away from the Asian malcontent, and I squeezed my hands into fists so tight that the next day I had semi-circles on my palms. During the interaction, the game-cops took the Chinese guy away. (I guess he'd been inflammatory.)


See? Don't tell me that (even violent) video games can not be informative. That one interaction taught me something: Listen not to your gut which tells you that you are the chosen one, that you can do no wrong. Instead listen to Logic.


Words to live by. In this case, Logic dictated that: One, there were cops with guns and batons and training and shields (so.what.) and Tazers. Two, the Asian with whom Luis had tangled was bearing the brunt of the policia pressure. All grenade- and M-16- and rocket launcher- and baseball bat- and handgun-laden, Lou knew where to turn: the alleyway. Let the bellicose Asian fend for himself. Live to die another day.


This is not all I do. I do not play GTA 24/7. Hell, I only play it, like, twice a week, man. But when I do?! Oh, shit. I get into it. I am Luis. Actually it's more like, I am Luidam.


I am Luidam. Hear m-m-m-me r-r-r-r-roar!


(Note To Self: Work on your mofo-ing Confidence.)


And that is all I have to say for today. Peace and Love, kiddos. (All two of you.)



Monday, December 06, 2010


A Poem:

your ashes rest right next to the television set
below, Oliver snorts his breaths on a double-bed

how long could I have waited?
i fear that i waited too long, you were all skinny

well, you were gangly as a puppy, too
all big-eared and big-headed and full of energy

i remember taking you roller-blading, but
you took me
long legs flexing, you carried me Home

Home is Love
Home is Peace
Happiness is Home

brindle, you were
and are, always in my mind
you're ashes now,
gray, in a plastic bag
but, to me, you'll always be brindled
Golden Louie

Time has a way of diminishing
you were never diminished
Time has a way of culling defeat from victory
you were defeated only once
Time has a way of shellacking over past Glory
your Glory never left you

you were Strong
until your last day, you were strong

does it seem stoopid to poime to a doggy?

not to me, it doesn't

you were my Constant,
you were my Louie

and you'll always be

dogs have a way of implanting themselves into a human brain
a human mind
a human soul
dogs have a way of ingratiating themselves into a human Life

and, so, when the dog is gone
the presence is still felt
and leaves oh-so slowly

dogs are kids and babies and companions and
dogs are Love and Health and Compassion and
dogs are life-savers
dogs are saints
doG is God spelled backwards
dogs are:

feeling the wind in your face as you are pulled on 'Blades
behind a boxer-mix who thinks he's a huskey

dogs are Safety
dogs are always there
dogs are 24/7
dogs will come when called

sometimes, dogs are "bad"
getting in the garbage
treating the basement like a toilet
snapping at contractors

but dogs are oh-so good
dogs are dogs
end of story

but it ain't

when i saw you suffering, Louie,
i waited for a reason
"he's lost weight!"
"he's all skin and bones!"
"he sometimes loses his bladder in the house!"
(which, of course, you'd--on one hand--done before)
"he's not looking too well!"
"but he still eats!"
"long live the Survivor!"

even Survivors have to succumb, eventually

your last week, i kept my eye on you
i watched: for differences, for malaise towards food and drink
eventually, it came
and i knew i had to make your decision for you
because you wouldn't
you'd have shrunk to nothing
your Survivor Spirit
was nothing less than amazing

it had to be done

it had to be done.

so i did it

and cried like a baby when you were shuffled off to buffalo
when, through injection, your heart quit
when, throughout it all,

i still remembered you as the gangly puppy
all ears
and the strong boy
all Heart
and the Constant Companion, always


before that point in my life, i'd never shaken with Grief
(every day is an adventure, eh?)
i shook with Grief
i kissed you on your dead head and your dead ears and
smelled, one more time, what i could of you

(the olfactory sense is too-often overlooked)

and then i realized, through the help of meeg, that
it was time to go
i realized that it was time to leave you....

but i never will; you know that, right?

one last thing:
you know how, when you were sick, you still licked ollie's ears?
that, to me, was a denotation of what you were
ollie, the trouble-maker, ollie the oaf
you, in your sickness, were there for him
i saw it in your eyes, man
whenever i would get a little mean with ollie
your ears went back
you'd protect a brother over a pack leader
that meant a lot to me

(could i be personifying?)
(when don't i?)

maybe i am over-emotional
or maybe i am not

the bond that exists between a "master" and his "beast" is strong

i'll never forget, lou
never forget


love you, man
have fun at that self-proclaimed "rainbow bridge"
i'll see you when i see you

i'll see you on the Other Side
baby doggy
i love you, man
and i always will