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30 December 2012

A Rough Facsimile of the Outside

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

The other question I get asked is how do you come up with all of that mierda about Albuquerque that seems to come crawling off of the screen like the backwards guitar in a John Lennon song that is really about the joy of oblivion.

Well, first, I tell those folks thanks for the comparison as that is indeed an apt and concise metaphor for the way I have seen words come spinning out of my head and through my fingers, just about like that, anyway.

Afterwards, when we have each and all settled on our favorite Beatles song, I tell about where this and that story came from and how it was something I saw, like the poetical refolding of the state fair into transportable, forlorn units and truckloads of animals that set me to thinking, or maybe someone I remembered that was wandering around the arroyos and storm drains with a collapsible psychedelic shopping cart in nineteen-hundred-and-seventy-seven. It is all pretty damn random, and sometimes I write some of it down.

I could write all of it down, but I am too busy skylarking and wondering about the ultimate destination of humanity and the way beauty is all wound up in the fragile construction experience to be too bothered with the thin transcriptions of my own fatty meanderings.

That ain't to say the words collected here are in any way meaningful, just plentiful when it comes to their organization into a mythos for this state that is mostly based on my eye for it, and the way it sings to me as I wander through and around the place.

So, now, I am gonna collect and display some words you most likely could be hearing or reading about from other sectors in the global data fiesta, right about now, how it is the end of the year and so making an accounting and displaying some quantitative data is the proper ritual to enlist, to mark our passage forward. 

The sort of instant gravitas accorded to that particular and especially ephemeral popular culture process always annoyed the hell out of me. As historiography or as narrative, most year-end lists, especially the most arcane and abstruse stuff found in American pop culture, have the weight and coloring of H.R. Pufnstuf, says I, offering the reader a dry, dusty, Dadaist version instead: independent of television, free from the nagging static of reality.

Of course, I took all of that into dreadful and sustained account whilst penning my own unaccountable, bounces-like-a-foreign-convertible-with-a-bad-front-spring configuration of hyper-local events, occurrences, circuses and meta-narratives. I reckon some are important, somehow.

  • There are still ruffians at the local Walmart. They were also out of rakes the last time I ambled through the holiday-truncated gardening section. It is not that much cheaper to shop there, but damn, everything there, centralized, the great navigator would be proud.

  • Lead and Coal look lovely and I enjoy driving down them almost every day. 

  • I think it must be for the first time in 30 years that there was not a Christmas tree lot in the Student Ghetto. Now, it is getting on towards the new year and my heart is broken for that whole neighborhood; Kai's Chinese is closed until next week, too, which is a particular goddamn shame to me because this is just the time of year when finding parking along Harvard is as easy as pie. 

  • I decided it was okay to stop worrying about the the three-thousand tactical nuclear missiles stored next door by my neighbors. They seem like good folks, but one of the fuel tanks in their backyard leaks and who knows where in the hell that'll end up.

  • When I was about 14, my brother and I had dirt-bikes.We met another kid out on the mesa who had built a suave fort out of plywood and all sorts of shit that had tumbled down the arroyo. Inside it smelled like burnt rope and there was a battery-powered radio and lots of canned food, plus some booze. In the intervening 30 years, esa chante has transformed into a Satellite Coffee shop, but is still cavern-like with dark edges, with inhabitants that look up from the shadows, surprised to know you are there, too.

  • During the first Gulf War, I was working at UNM. One day, chingasos broke out between a group of flag-burning hippies and hate-shouting hawks, right in front of Zimmerman Library. I was walking by on my lunch break and impulsively decided to separate the two main fighters, one of whom was trying to ignite an American flag. Somehow, my crazy gesture worked, I was bigger and older then the contestants. They both retreated and I was left holding the flag. The next day was Saturday and the local daily featured the war protest on the front page. Next to the story, above the fold, was a picture of me in action, yanking folks this way and that. Serio.

  • A summary of the latest reported UFO event in Albuquerque can be found here, and includes a fancy interweb map that could lead to a transformatively X-Files-like experience, except I promised you no teevee at the beginning of this scattering dataset and so ask that you believe with the above reference noted but not invoked.

Anyway, thanks for your support and happy new year from TiL.

24 December 2012

Allá En El Rancho Grande

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

Told breathlessly by the folks who reach this destination through wires and star-crossed radio wave networks that I ought to write more about weird or off-key things I have seen or heard or felt while drifting through Nuevo Mexico, apparition-like but still bound to la tierra by enchiladas and old farm implements, I have revised this post to reflect the aforementioned outlandish directions observation sometimes takes in consideration of home.

Mostly, it is la gente que no viven aqui, or maybe them just arrived, who want to hear about an elaborately eccentric and baroque version of New Mexico, but I think that if you are from here or stay long enough, you will probably dream of the state's astral relations and configurations anyway, a situation which makes for infinite possibilities, considering the one million five hundred thousand or so souls traipsing or crawling or flying around the province at this very moment.

So, in a vision conjured during my mystical association with a relational database code-named la neta, este estado still practices a form of political feudalism while lavishly entertaining powerful wizards from abroad. Subsets of that version invariably include alien visitation and miraculous images on tortillas. All of this is okay with the citizens of the alternate universe because they are happily ensconced at home, decoding lottery tickets, cleaning weapons imbued with religious significance, and interminably replaying depictions of violence, fictive and otherwise, on a million view screens in a million homes.

Humans from as far away as Chicago, New Bedford, or somewhere in the frozen tundra and perpetual frontier twilight which I am told exists up north, display trance-like behavior and quirky, involuntary hand movements when, in the course of telecommunications made using mildly radioactive materials, they describe esta ubicación geofísica to the folks back home.

The story of this place sure ain't square and therefore invites random gesticulation.

Such representations are, more likely than not, the imaginings of dreamers and inward looking butterfly correspondents who came out here for the weather or else in search of the freedom found under every extant cactus needle, in the gut of a spider traversing the lonely desert, in the mud you mixed up with straw to make your walls.

Those seeking solace in the dry communion with myth, available here on most days, found such readily available on the poorly paved back roads, ruined mining towns, electrified quonset huts, and rattlesnake dens scattered blamelessly, perfectly, among the sage and pointy little rocks that fill up the empty spaces between towns.

They often accessed that particular form of structural magic in the murky hours before the sun rose in obliterating glory, baking every damn thing to a sunny, leathery representation of the thing itself. This process grows roots. Más tarde, los comienzos de hojas aparecen.

Consequently, y en defencia to the continued presentation and preservation of this imaginary state, texts generated by observers are often infused with the subtle tension, mystery, and allure that results from being produced in a location whose modern basis was mainly a response to the existential needs of the service workers, soldiers, and scientists that came out, built, and continue to utilize an atomic powered outpost here in the middle of  a desert that presents lightning bolts and scorpions when asked.

22 November 2012

A Gift for My Friends, at Thanksgiving: Future social experiments—Burque-style, yo

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

If you want to see what a true West ghost town really looks like and ain't got the time to traipse up to Cabezon or Waldo, then try driving through Burque on Thanksgiving Day. That chore'll be easy enough; I wrote up some sort of experientially based yet mythically labyrinthine suggestions to help get you started next year.

Drop the clutch into second because you can drive around as slow as you please. Everyone else is inside eating. If you got a mechanical sunroof, call joyfully upon its pulleys of retraction, so as to allow the golden light of autumn pour into your vehicle. The sun is made from something beautiful.

No one will notice if you turn up the radio because the damn thing happens to be playing an obscure segment of the rocanrol album you dreamt of thirty-two years prior to the excursion suggested herein. If your vehicle happens to possess a graphic equalizer, make sure to set the controls toward an emphasis on those frequencies regarded as treble. Those are generally happy sounds.

Most of the trees have lost their leaves. Now they rustle around your head and on the sidewalks as you soar down Ridgecrest Drive, where folks are not even walking their dogs today on account of all the food to be et. Pinewood smoke is coming out of some of the chimneys, tangy and comfortingly aromatic. You ought to breathe some of that sentimental stuff in sometimes, I reckon.

That autumnal leaf rattling I alluded to works just fine in combination with hearing Down in the Park piping out of some good old Jensen coaxials, you might be apt to think, as you brush a big bronze mulberry remnant away from the windshield; you know it is dead anyway and are sorta hopeful that later on it will be gloriously and miraculously replaced by another just like it, but green and alive instead.

Before long, all that arcadian luxury gives way to storage depots of varying sizes. If you are so inclined, you might want to spend some quality time discussing the falling price of petroleum products with the attendant at the gasoline station. She's had a long day and the fumes are giving her a headache that only your mournful eyes can change into music.

It is always a good day to buy frozen things. They have key lime pie and goat cheese with spinach pizza at the main multi-purpose product storage warehouse. You don't have to stand in the queue forever, either.  It is as slow as it ever will be there, tonight, with Christmas music, slowly ripening bananas and the anxious, glittery dust of tomorrow's antithesis swirling around the heads and ankles of all the clerks.

Besides such victuals, I ended up with some dark as night utility pants plus a new blanket, colored to look like a zebra and guaranteed to keep out the cold. On the way back to mi chante, a big old crow swooped past us, making noises like an analog clock and showing off his silky wings. Later on we had snacks and were thankful for life and memory, for quantum entanglement.

In re-creating this scenario at your leisure and with individually defined, discrete and inventive variations, perhaps you'll find something meaningful, tooor at least a gray like rain clouds and hoary owl will hoot at you as you spin through our village at dusk in your Toyota Prius or something like that.

If you do see any local birds while attempting to recreate this magical holiday ritual, make sure you record the configuration of their wings as they relate to adobe walls or red chile ristras dusted with the new snow of the postmodern age. Send these observations to TiL as commentsbroadcast them toward your favorite star as we pass into winter.

Otherwise, the outcomepoetically undescribed here and transmitted from a small light bulb-lit room on the broad and rolling plain between the river and the mountainis contingent upon your ability to engage the naturally languorous and verbose time travel made possible by a spinning earth. A swirlingly expanding galactic cloud awaits.

Happy holidays.

28 October 2012

TiL Presents a Very Mello Halloween Mix

Samantha Anne Carrillo
DJ Mello created this killer Halloween mix, Songs That Go Bop in The Night, specially for Things in Light readers. Aren't you boils and ghouls lucky? She mined her impressive collection of creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky vinyl to unearth 22 tracks from a bevy of genres—ranging from cinematic found sound to The Ideals' R&B ode to gorillas to Cal Tjader's Latin jazz interpretation of oft-covered Mike Sharpe instrumental "Spooky" to obscure '60s girl group The Magics' eerie tune "Zombie Walk" and beyond!—to create an All Hallows' Eve mix that will raise goosebumps. See the full track list below.

1) Ray Noble & His New Mayfair Dance Orchestra - The Haunted House
2) Vic Crume - The Haunted House (poem)
3) Johnny Brown & The Joy Boy - Suspense
4) Cal Tjader - Spooky
5) Spells
6) Al Caiola - Experiments in Terror
7) The Brain Eaters
8) Nu Trends - Spooksville
9) The Mighty El Dukes - Frankenstein's Den
10) The Magics - Zombie Walk
11) Lord Dent & His Invaders - Wolf Call
12) The Ideals - Mo' Gorilla
13) The Frogmen - Underwater
14) Frankie Stine & His Ghouls - Mummy's Little Boy
15) The Ventures - Out of Limits
16) Monsters Crash the Pajama Party
17) Thee Cormans - Werewolves in Heels
18) Rex Gavin - Strange Happenings
19) The Phantom 5 - Graveyard
20) Theodore Roethke - The Bat
21) Jack Dangers - Bats In My Belfry
22) Outer Space

21 October 2012

Things in Light Podcast #26: Shutter Mix

Samantha Anne Carrillo

Things in Light is pleased to present our twenty-sixth podcast, Shutter Mix, featuring recordings by TAHNZzz, Discotays, Whiteshell Girl and Turquoise Boy, Mama Coma, Rosie Hutchinson, Veery, Ryan Dennison, and Black Range. See the full track listing below.

1. TAHNZzz - Her Strange Dwellings
2. Discotays - Riots and Stuff
3. Whiteshell Girl and Turquoise Boy - IX
4. Mama Coma - Canto
5. Rosie Hutchinson - Sgrey
6. Veery - Caroline
7. Ryan Dennison - Crow Hop
8. Black Range - Blood Goods

18 October 2012

The New Chinatown Restaurant and Polynesian Lounge Versus David the Android

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

It sure as hell was never up there with the stars, in a Lee Ho Fook sorta way, but in case you wanna know, the joint that housed the once-legendary New Chinatown Restaurant and Polynesian Lounge, and was later briefly reincarnated as Mr. K's before spending an infinity of several months in the regalia of the half-priced sushi roll place called Fujiyama, has been razed, so that only hunks of concrete and twisted corten i-beams that have been released forever from their structural duties remain.

I am pretty sure they dug up the parking lot, the two anemic cottonwood trees astride it, as well. I hope someone remembered to take the koi from the pond in front, before the ginormous backhoes took things over.

I know that sounds kinda grim, but I gotta tell you, I was just waiting for all the stuff I just told you about to come prancing outta the potential and into the actual. There had been a fire in the roof above the lounge a few months back, you see, and I figured that pretty much sealed things up. Like maybe the ghost of Freddie Kekaulike Baker had to fly away from there one night because of boredom and too many teevee monitors loaded with football and loneliness. He could've got caught in the rafters with his angelic rocket thrusters still pouring out cool jazz standards and fiery ionic exhaust. You never know.

In the last decade of the twentieth century and continuing for a few years post-millennially, Baker and his idiosyncratic combo burned it up on the weekends in the Polynesian Lounge. The band played in the southeast corner of the bar. A crafty facsimile of a Hawaiian war canoe hung from the ceiling, nearby. All the tables had blue hurricane lamps and were ceremoniously lit at sunset and before Freddie's set, by an authentically costumed crew of paid alcoholic beverage presenters. I remember the place was usually packed at least one night of the week, but when I asked Freddie to play something by Steely Dan, he trickled out some quiet and out-of-key version of Rikki Don't Lose That Number, then pointed to me in the audience and laughed heartily afterwards.

And if you wanna talk about decent Chinese, then wasn't the New Chinatown just the perfect location to have that discussion? In its heyday, it had three dining rooms in addition to the Polynesian Lounge. One was decorated in the fashion of old Imperial China and formal, too. Then, another room had a giant and hand-painted wooden dragon climbing and twisting around on the ceiling. Last of all, there was the modern, no-nonsense area, where mostly folks ate their lunch and left small tips. Did I tell you they had a mechanical panda bear out front by the pond, and it was always smiling, waving, and thereby inviting new guests through the door. The fish were pretty suave, too, especially when there was someone to care for them. Lots of shiny quarters in that little lake.

The thing was, and in defiance of all the wonders mentioned above, the New Chinatown Restaurant and Polynesian Lounge were always in a sketchy part of town. It used to be worse and I oughtn't mention the time my girlfriend's parents took me there for dinner one night in nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-nine and were going on and on about how wonderful it all was when we ran across a fresh turd in the parking lot. Everyone went in and ate like kings and queens anyhow, but things were different for all of us, somehow, after that.

The city did a damn good job of cleaning up the urban mess on Central between Washington and San Mateo, but I think it is still as forlorn as it ever was. Endemic poverty mixed in with a dose of economic stagnation and chronic joblessness are helluva depressing things to look at whilst zooming through mi vecino. If this were a political site, I might be inclined to inch you all towards a solution or discuss what sort of creative class-generated business would emerge to thrive on that small lot of land in the middle of Albuquerque.

But it ain't. These posts I write are just mostly my memories and visions and whatnot. So. as I stood there this evening, looking over the chainlink fence running around the crushed remains of the New Chinatown Restaurant and Polynesian Lounge, I thought of something David the Android said in the movie Prometheus. He said, "Sometimes, to create, one must first destroy".

Damn robot was probably right, but I'll still miss their sweet and sour chicken.

07 October 2012

Two Octobers

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

I reckon I ought to warn the reader about how this post follows no particular order, how this update from the back side of a ridge that still faces the sun in winter - but is now covered in unique three-bedroom homes, lush gardens that could not grow here naturally but ironically, and so perversely prosper, growing green and prosperous on well water that has more than likely been poisoned by the fluid by-products of war-inspired technology - will just kinda shift from year to year. 

Right now, it is getting on toward evening on the seventh day of October in the year known to some as two-thousand-and-twelve, but I might be apt to jump about temporally using random and unadorned methodologies. For instance, the last time we met like this, I told you about the time I flew into Mustang.

During the first week of October nineteen-hundred-and-ninety-six, I trekked up to Muktinath. I stayed for a few days, mostly to get used to the height of the place, which was something like 12,170 feet. I was thinking on whether I should go on up further into the mountains. Muktinath was the last town on the trail before the portion of formidable earthly geography known as the Thorung La Pass.

Ten miles on and located at the most unkind elevation of seventeen-thousand-and-eighty feet was a place where the earth touched the sky roughly, I imagined. I looked to the east as I rushed back down the trail. As I dragged my ass into town at sunset - pulling an old Tibetan pony behind me that was no good for riding due to my ample girth, but was just fine and dandy for carting camping equipment just the same - I wiped a grip of mud from my Ray-Ban Wayfarers and said the hell with it.

I settled into an inn with electricity and a flush toilet down the road a-ways from the trail, a suburb of sorts called Ranipauwa. It is mostly a collection of inns, restaurants, and horse stalls developed to make a commerce of all the pilgrims, hikers, ghosts, and new age savants that traipse through the collection of temples, monasteries, and holy shrines that comprise Muktinath. 

The kid that ran the office downstairs had Bon Jovi posters tacked up onto every available free wall surface and went on and on about the hair band from New Jersey and Michael Jackson; what was it really like in the United States anyway, he half-whispered, as he passed me a room key.

In case you are interested, as I have sorta hinted at up above, the town called Muktinath, in the province of Mustang, has deep signifcance to Buddhists and Hindus. There is an ancient temple to Vishnu there, with a golden statue inside and a fountain in the courtyard that pours out very cold water forever from 108 intricately fashioned bronze bullheads.

Padmasambhava, is supposed to have walked through Muktinath on his way to Tibet; wherever he trod, the humans that live there now say, poplar trees sprang from the ground. There is a beautiful poplar orchard at the edge of that temple and it was wagging in a fierce breeze on the day I came to town.

Three days later, I headed back down the mountain. By the seventh evening in October, I arrived in Larjung, a small village on the edge of the river where a few Tibetan refugees scratched out a living by growing buckwheat and marijuana. I rented a room for the night at a shabby guest house. Excepting years of dust and complex spiderwebs, my quarters were dark but comfortable. As I drifted off, I listened to the local monks playing football on the water's edge.

I dreamt of my mother that night. She was wearing an elaborate silver crown and a white dressing gown as she descended the far western escalator at Coronado Center, a shopping mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was smiling and radiant and wanted to reassure me that things were just fine back at home.

Of course, that wasn't the case. She was actually in a hospital bed at Lovelace Medical Center, dying. It took me another week to trek down to where the road to Kathmandu slithered out of the mountainside. During that week, I saw some of the most sublime and wondrous and beautiful things a man might ever hope to see, but the bus ride back was long and shitty and hideously hairpin; I kept having to lean my head out the window to vomit.

I left Nepal behind a few days after my mother died in Albuquerque. I had ten American dollars and five-fifty in Singapore currency for the twenty-one hour plane ride back. At Changi Airport, I had a twelve-hour layover so I spent the sawbuck at the bar, drinking cheap whiskey. I passed out at my table and dreamed about my mother again. She was young and full of life and wanted to lecture me about what I needed to do to get my life together after she died.

The next morning I awoke to find the bartender rifling through my jacket, telling me I probably better get out of there soon and back to the transit lounge because someone might call the police; I had long hair, after all.

I spent the five-fifty on a burger and coke at McDonald's and almost missed my connection because I was watching the Crocodile Hunter, a new nature show that had just debuted on Australian teevee. It was being piped into the terminal in Singapore at various and sundry locations for the benefit and amusement of the multitudes of English-speaking passengers headed back home to warmth and convenience.

But, back in Burque, it was cold and windy. Winter was setting down its plan, much like it seemed to be doing last night. Mostly folks were glad to see me come back, but sad and angry that I had missed my mother's funeral. I drifted around very mournful for a couple of weeks, then took a job teaching English at Ernie Pyle Middle School. Anywho, I'd usually cry on the way to work from the Heights; Albuquerque was so beautiful, my mother was dead, and the Himalayas were very far away.

I remember a few people that I worked with down at that school, like the burnt-out science teacher who always wore chunky Navajo bolo ties and constantly picked at his goatee beard while complaining about how dangerous kids are these days.  But mostly that part is foggy since I was still seeing mountains and temples and blood sacrifices to Shiva whenever I closed my eyes.

A little less than sixteen years later, I closed my eyes again as I sat in the back yard and soaked up sunlight while my dogs barked and danced around the vestiges of an Indian summer wherein the weather is damned warm during the day but cool and languid by night. Some sort of vintage aeroplane flew over the house at about four in the afternoon and its engines sounded mysterious to me.

Later on, at Ghetto Smith's, my wife and I passed Don Schrader in the produce department and he said howdy. He was wearing more clothes than I was used to seeing these past few months, it being autumn and all. I gave a respectful hello back and Samantha said hi and waved.

After all that, we waited at Cervante's Restaurant half an hour for our take-away enchiladas, but that was okay with me because you expect that kinda action during the first week of October when the Balloon Fiesta is upon us and the town, and that restaurant is also filled with tourists and pilgrims, ghosts and all sorta seekers of higher places. Just what you would expect in a place with mountains.

01 October 2012

Sixteen Years from Albuquerque

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

I had to get up very early for the flight from Kathmandu to Jomsom. That was just fine. There was a dog barking nearby all night before I left. The mutt was making a ruckus somewhere down by the alley that connected Baluwatar to the main road into Thamel. Its lonesome howling made for a fitful sleep whose own flight into the breaking dawn I gratefully obliged with a cup of instant coffee laced with powdered milk.

The week before, I gathered all sorts of camping gear together; a sleeping bag, flashlights, a first aid kit, and a shovel. I used Nepali Rupees to buy the gear in Tridevi Marg, a gaudy tourist district on the other end of the alley of mournful barking.

Palm trees lined the main avenue into town, which was adjacent to that rough road. They were usually filled with huge fruit bats. The bats had faces that looked just like little brown foxes.

The money I told you about earlier had pictures of the King of Nepal or his father printed on the bills. They both looked just like Peter Sellers.

In the early morning light, I hauled the whole lot of ramshackle equipment down to the auto-rickshaw that was waiting for me, buzzing and vibrating in neutral. The operator peered through his sunglasses, smoking a thin cigarette while I descended from the third floor of my luxurious accommodation.

At the airport, which was also named for the King that looked like a character from I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, I bought a Coca-Cola and wondered out loud about the fancy helicopters that were busy whisking away some of the other tourists and pilgrims and curious adventurers.

It turned out those whirlygigs were army surplus, mostly reliable, but relatively slow and loud. Some of them were still outfitted for military travel. They had tiny, steel, form-fitting buckets for seats. There were ragged rubber straps to hold on to, while in flight. Apparently, these factors made for a rough experience, for a flight into a place were one would be better occupied considering nature in its most majestic complexity and not retching or wishing for other forms of gastronomic relief amidst the din of two fifteen-hundred horsepower General Electric CT58-140 turbo shaft power plants.

It happened that missing out on the helicopter ride worked out just fine. The plane I took to get to the Mustang Province was a modern turboprop whose pilot zipped us up through the increasingly, forebodingly deep Kali Gandaki Valley with a sort of magical confidence that, in reality, just meant he relished his avionic duty. The pilot knew the mountains' twists and turns as if those grandiose topographies belonged to his favorite lover.

At nine-thousand feet, the lush Himalayan flora, first tropical, then alpine, gave way to a wide valley surrounded by vast arid reaches. Up here was a spot by the river, almost a plateau, with an airstrip and helipad. The whole affair looked damned sketchy because it was on such a small plot of land whose boundaries dropped off precipitously into a rugged abyss. The mountains seemed to crowd in on all sides and everything looked waxen from the air, but we lit on the packed earth tarmac as if dropped gently out of heaven by the hand of Hanuman himself.

We came to a stop and the aeroplane started unloading. I shook the pilot’s hand and winked at him as I exited into the autumn wind.

Jomsom was cold and blustery that day. About a dozen townfolk came out to meet the arriving flight. Some of them were kids who wanted a look at the flying machine itself, to marvel at its bravery and perfection. Others were adults looking for work as porters and guides. Most of the passengers, excepting me, engaged the latter and began glorious discussions about their plans to conquer the Himalayas or to find the truth at the edge of the Tibetan plateau.

I just kept on walking. During the flight out, I had decided I was going to take a trek without porters or guides. The trip inside and back out would be between fifty and seventy miles, depending on the routes I chose along the way. Somehow, I would end up near a place called Birethanti in two weeks. There was a paved road there where bus supposedly stopped by every couple of days, pausing momentarily on its crawl through the mountains and valleys, back to Kathmandu.

One of the porters ran after me as I approached town. He came off as friendly and guessed out loud and in good English that I was American, British or Israeli. He decided I couldn't be Canadian or German because of my long dark hair. I told him thanks and said I would be okay without him. That's when he stopped in his tracks and yelled back to his comrades, "Indiana Jones!” They all pointed at me and laughed. One of them rolled on the ground, then got up, danced around the others and lit a joint.

By then, I had crossed into the village of Jomsom, a dusty rock and adobe town replete with buckwheat, lentil and marijuana fields, apple orchards and plenty of huge furry yaks. Besides the sky machines, the only other motorized vehicles I saw for the next fourteen days were the small, Chinese-made utility tractors the farmers used to drag around bags of grain, their kinfolk and to till their smallish portions of land.

I ended up at a building in the middle of the main road. It was called the Moonlight Lodge. I could have stayed in a place down by the river that advertised itself as the location where Jimi Hendrix had once taken refuge from fame and celebrity. But I chose Moonlight instead, urged myself towards its threshold because they had a placard out front that said the kitchen served the best Mexican food in Mustang.

The tortillas were coarse and grainy. They were filled with lentils and it was all covered in greasy yellow yak cheese, which sorta tasted like Swiss, but with a heavy, rustic tang. There was no chile anywhere within 1000 miles of the Moonlight Lodge.

For toilets, they had rooms with singular and dark holes in the ground. The beds were made from wooden planks, so the sleeping bags came in very handy. I stayed up that night and plotted my journey using an old oilskin map and a US Army surplus compass.

Outside, a band was playing disjointed, droning tunes while the Milky Way hovered brightly overhead, forming an arc that began somewhere in the Annapurna range and ended just over the horizon, in the direction of Albuquerque.

09 September 2012

Your Protagonist's Brief Reverie at Winrock

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

"From the outset, let us bring you news of your protagonist."

On the way to Winrock Mall to ransack the bargain racks in the men's building because they have two buildings at the Dillard's in Burque, one for the men and one for the women your protagonist cranked up the car stereo and listened to 94 Rock while his wife sang along to the blare of the overly familiar pop-heavy metal songs being offered by a part-time DJ on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

As the non-exiting freeway overpass on Pennsylvania was surmounted and conquered by the ramshackle and mostly reliable Saab 900 Turbo, the ramshackle and mostly abandoned shopping center initially mentioned in this post loomed in the short distance and a song by Ozzy Osborne called Changes drifted with ironical peacefulness (given the singer's oeuvre) through the speakers, briefly causing the driver of the twenty-year-old silvery-gray sports car from northern Europe to lament the death of his dog, whose permanent absence from the earthly realm had coincidentally banished summer from the man's world, because here it was already near the middle of September and he was already shopping for woolen sweaters and hardy shoes and could not remember a goddamn thing that really happened between the beginning of May and the end of August, except for a couple of dreams.

In one of the dreams, your protagonist's dog was happy, living amongst the other grateful doggie dead, while David Foster Wallace oversaw the whole operation and repeatedly enjoined the dreamer to shorten his sentences and to choose his adverbs wisely.

In the other dream, it was already snowing and Burque was still part of Mexico. That was obvious from the shapes of the streets and sidewalks and buildings; the age of the concrete suggested Cortés and Moctezuma mixed up in equal proportions.

But, anyway, at the mall, most of that tragic stuff, those snowy aftermaths was and were sublimated by the totally amazing sale on men's shirts available for consumption by the general public and especially those seeking drastic reductions with just a hint of aging hipster fashion sense thrown in for good measure.

One of the salesmen wore a striped bowtie knotted in the traditional manner, imperfect and just madly droopy on the left side. Everybody with a nametag wanted to help out; can I help you find something in your size or are you ready to check out, they all said with pearly smiles.

On the way outta there, two French pullovers and one worsted wool set of trousers later, our protagonist and his lovely, brilliant, life-saving and totally the only person in the world even remotely capable of dealing with the sky-larking, Swiss cheese-brained, mournfully snarky and heroically underachieving alien-hybird that is, in essence, your protagonist, zipped along the perimeter of the once glorious Winrock Mall. Some construction company or other was tearing parts of the old place into shreds, carting portions of the lonesome asphalt parking lot over to huge rubbish bins. Only three of the ancient, nineteen-sixties Native American-art influenced parking lot signs remained standing: the one for clouds, the second for comets, and the third for rain.

03 September 2012

Dirty Zines at The Tan

Rudolfo Carrillo

By TiL Guest Blogger Korben Dallas

There is a fundraiser this evening for Albuquerque Zine Fest. It happens tonight at The Tan gallery. The fundraiser is being hailed as a Dirty Zine Reading and features readers named Billy Da Bunny and Major Rainy Sneer. DJ Mello will spin throughout the festivities.

Things in Light caught up with organizer Marya Errin Jones, asked about this popular precursor to ABQ Zine Fest, her thoughts on zines and the upcoming festival of self-printed lit.

What are you most excited about experiencing at the second annual ABQ Zine Fest?

I am really looking forward to seeing wall-to-wall zines at The Kosmos. Equally, I can’t wait to get inside the I Fly Away Zine Mobile, coming in from Oakland. The book mobile was one of my all-time favorite things when I was a kid. I think I’m going to turn eight years old when I see that Chevy pull into the parking lot!

Why do you think the dirty zine reading last year was such a popular event?

I think people keep coming to our dirty zine readings because they’re curious.  People enjoy this type of zine reading because it quickens the pulse
dirty zines are exciting! The human imagination is vast and rich, and there are so many ways to tap into it. Almost as a rule in this culture, we’re exposed to sexuality and sensuality primarily through visual images, which is one way in, but sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes it’s too immediate. I think text can be tantalizing. A good, dirty story is like a great strip teaseyou don’t yank off your clothes there’s got to be a story behind the desire or the need to disrobe. I think it’s the same for dirty stories. It takes courage to speak the words that turn you on and it takes courage to listen. People show up to witness the spectacle of vulnerability. Strangely enough, I think it’s also exciting to be a little uncomfortable, to squirm a little, to giggle a little. Adults don’t giggle enough. I think a dirty zine reading is a great place to explore the internal edges of desire and curiosity, in an intellectual context.

Tell us about your love of zines.

My love for zines is new, fresh. We’re new lovers that don’t know a lot about each other, which is cool. I’m new to zines, and maybe they’ll turn out to a boyfriend who kisses and tells. But right now, I love that stapled, folded paper, and the stories and drawings tucked between the covers. I love reading zines as much as I move holding them
the texture of the paper, the shape and size of the zine. I secretly enjoy the quiet struggle I know a person goes through to get the story or the image onto the paper, and then the ease with which most zinesters just give the work away, or trade it for other zinecash is good, but it’s not about making moneyfor me, it’s about giving a part of myself away, and hoping someone else will enjoy what I’ve made. I love it when writers are rock starsit’s a great feeling to finally meet your favorite zinester, in the flesh, and know they’re just as awkward and weird as you! In a year, I’ve written nine zines of my own so far, and contributed to a few. Zines gave me my writing voice back when the sight of the blank page used to paralyze me. Seriously. It’s not that I don’t feel sick every time the idea for a zine comes up and I know I must chase it down. The difference is now I do it, and there’s no right way or wrong way to pursue the story. Zines gave me permission to be the scholar, the teacher, the lover I want to be, in print.

What's your favorite "dirty" zine?

It’s strange
I don’t really have a favorite dirty zine yet. But of the ones I have read, I would say I am partial to tales that get creative. I like sexy humor. I like smart smut.  I’m inspired by Anais Nin’s short stories, I like the writing of Johnny Murdoc, published by Queer Young Cowboys.


So yeah, that's happening tonight, folks, at The Tan, starting at about 8 p.m. The Tan is located at 1415 Fourth St. SW, in beautiful Barelas. If you go, maybe you can get a picture taken with Billy Da Bunny, or something dirty like that. In any case there will be heaps of great stuff to read and listen to and it probably beats the hell out of Zorg's Labor Day barbecue.

02 September 2012

September Sojourn Shattered

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

What happened yesterday was I drove my car over to Fair Plaza to take advantage of the plethora of acquisitive possibilities contained therein. They've got a place on the corner that is stocked to the brim with a wide variety of recordings made by other human beings, mostly for the sake of entertaining others, but sometimes for informational purposes or to elicit emotional responses, too. Somewhere in there is a movie which is about a book that is about a movie, I am sure of it. You gotta give the clerks silver clad tokens to take any of the collection with you though, even if you are just borrowing it, and there are only two types of workers on duty there. One type is middle aged, frantic, but handy with computational devices; the other is comprised of kids with extra-long fingers who are working there when they aren't busy studying the forces of capitalism.

There is another a big room at the other end of the plaza where food is stored and distributed. In between them there used to be a liquor establishment called the Wine Cellar that was dark and mossy inside, usually filled up with neighborhood drunks and carnival workers. The tavern had a decent happy hour buffet with plenty of greasy red hotdogs and preheated, chemically treated nachos available for the above referenced subcultures to indulge in whilst they rooted for their favorite college football team or Nascar champion.

Now that is all gone. Instead there is a dollar store and rent-to-own joint in the bar's place. I don't know which is worse, but I reckon it is more productive to have the poor and downtrodden buying stuff rather than drinking away the afternoon to the accompaniment of roaring motor cars and million dollar collegiate athletic programs.

The food storage and distribution warehouse I told you about is roomy, with shiny concrete floors, cool-blue fluorescent lighting, heaps of vegetables, and a load of fresh-killed meat from faraway places like Grants and Clayton on display in luxuriously cold refrigerators in the back. There is a kiosk stocked with tobacco. The folks behind the cash registers all got pretty red vests to wear and will load up your haul in plastic sacks that last for a million years, but only after you hand over some cottony-green slips of paper or elsewise type in a series of numbers onto a device that is hanging around nearby and is more intelligent than the ships men sent to the moon.

On the way outta there, I saw a red-haired woman pulling her plunder toward the bus stop. She had a red-haired baby fastened to her chest with a bandolier. A red-haired child with dreadlocks and a tie-dyed t-shirt trailed behind, dragging a sack of diapers and a case of Mountain Dew behind him like the whole lot was made of fissionable material. They all began to trot when they noticed the number eleven waiting on the curb and blowing black smoke out of its end, cigar-like, infinitely gritty against the cloudless sky. As we passed them, rolled out onto Lomas Boulevard in a dependable silver automobile that was powered by the liquified remains of dinosaurs and the broad-leafed ferns they once frolicked amidst, a song by the Rolling Stones began pouring itself out of the speakers. It was something called Shattered.

I pushed the clutch down with my crippled left foot, positioned the shifter properly with my broken right hand. As we accelerated away and that whole scene became part of the past, I told my wife that Some Girls was probably the last good album the Glimmer twins ever made.  It was hot outside, for September, anyway, and the streets were mostly empty on that account.  Home was only a couple of miles away.

26 August 2012

ABQ MTV: Salad, Pancakes! and Salt Verse

Samantha Anne Carrillo
Salt Sculpture by Motoi Yamamoto
Things in Light is pleased to present the eighth installment of ABQ MTV, featuring videos by Autumn Chacon and Mello Sanchez, Pancakes!, and Father of the Flood.

Performance artist/musician Autumn Chacon and DJ/musician/pastry chef Mello Sanchez toss a salad like, well, it's never been tossed before.

Pancakes! video for "Lipbiter" is psychedelic, energetic, and darn cute.

Father of the Flood's video for "Disclosure/Salt Verse" is a dark and twisty journey one probably best not undertaken by the faint of heart.

25 August 2012

Fiction For Generation X, Albuquerque Variation Number Seven

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

Working at the office supply store on Saturday was one goddamn harsh toke after another, thought Thurston the painter as he crawled around the floor of the unisex water closet at the back of the shop. But hell one more day wouldn't kill him and since it was an off day, he could probably stop by Luther's pad after work and dance with some of the deadhead gals that had been hanging around the old red head's trailer since he inherited his father's horseshoe and moved back to Burque from Califas.

But Thurston would have to save that for later. Presently, he was bent down over the toilet, scrubbing up the week's worth of piss. The urine was mostly dried up and dark by the weekend. It stank like hell and had been deposited there by larger than life postmodern graphic artists and the assistants of lofty bureaucrats whose output was neither tamed nor directed, Thurston reckoned solemnly, as he poured some more bleach into the crack between the porcelain target and the tile, scrubbing the foul work of humanity into clean chemical oblivion.

Just then, Bart the manager tried to push the door to the privy open but could not because Thurston's walrus-like body was in the way; his vietnam era combat boots effectively blocked the hinges as they tried to swing around in space, intent on revealing a shabby room that had been painted in bright colors to distract from its intrinsic shitty-ness while still somehow and mysteriously inducing customers to exit with the word buy smeared brightly upon their rosy or pale lips.

Bart was in the closet, was married to an older woman he did not love. So sadness and the faint odor of vodka followed him wherever he went. He was always trying to hook it up with the other guys that worked at the store, tossing around invitations to have a drink or go swimming after work, to whomever would listen. Thurston thought Bart was a goddamn creep because he'd always come off in public as being against gay folks, telling jokes about them, snickering ominously at his own punch lines, and then referring to the sublime nature of jazz music as a way of moving the conversation on when no one else laughed.

Since he needed the money from the office supply store job to get his craptastic life back together, Thurston never said anything to Bart and ignored the man's anxious advances, his cluttered bigotry. When they did talk, Thurston always tried to guide the conversation towards art or literature, so he could plaintively praise the violin of Ingres and allude to Hemingway or Mailer before slipping away toward the copier supplies isle.

After a summer of that sorta thing, Bart suddenly retreated from the other employees, was sullen and drunk most afternoons and the boss, Jerry - a tall fellow with big teeth who came from a town in New Mexico where everyone still wore a cowboy hat and drove the kinda truck that could really be used for hauling livestock around or saving the United States from foreign invasion if so called upon - let him stay, but said he had to work mostly in the basement from that point on, making picture frames and keeping the loading dock organized and so forth and so on.

That was fine with Thurston mostly because it meant more skylarking. He was a slacker, alright,  and took that identity so seriously that he had a poster of the Richard Linklater movie with the name of his cultural affiliation plastered on the wall above the ratty mattress upon which he slept. Thurston dreamt of being a great artist, one who had access to stuff like clean sheets and cheery, antiseptic studios that went on and on forever.

Anywho, Jerry hardly came out of his office, excepting emergencies like when this or that famous corporate entity came rolling through, on the lookout for a special mix of renaissance-style lead bearing toner. Similarly, gloriously odd consumer-related events raised him up too, like the woman with a zebra skin purse who wanted a fashionable computer desk more than anything in the world.

At the end of the day, Jerry would walk down the stairs, lock everyone in and count the money the shop took. If the counting turned out alright, he'd shove a toothpick in his mouth, wink and then say goodnight to his charges in a drawl you ordinarily might hear in southern Oklahoma or on the Missouri border.

Besides those fine folks, Thurston could always talk to Audrey. She had been to the south pole and had a leather parka with a National Science Foundation patch on the shoulder as proof. She told how she ended up in Burque because of her husband's architecture studies at UNM and how she could not wait to get back to where it was icy and the ocean churned.

Thurston believed she vaguely resembled one of the characters from a teevee show he used to watch. Twin Peaks, or something like that, he said to Audrey as she handed him a sawbuck and asked that he make change for a purchase of two graphite drawing pencils, stock number one three seven five nine two. He smiled wanly; she flirted vaguely, with her porcelain hands, when the change was transferred back to the woman with dark hair and antarctic experience.

A couple of hours later, at the end of the day, on the Saturday afternoon in September I am writing to you about, a solar emanation of some magnitude came right through the front door of that otherwise maudlin place, sending a bright and beckoning beam of light across the showroom floor and right up the stairs to Jerry's office.

Thurston walked out from behind the counter, to the perimeter of that spectacle, sat quietly in the fashion of a mendicant, and begin reciting the names of all the hues of oil paint that he had ever used to represent ideas on canvas. Bart climbed languorously from out his cave holding a carpenters square and asked in a plaintive voice for a dry martini and a good man, while Jerry sat immobilized in his custom executive recliner, listening to the birds chirruping in the alley.

Noticing the bright stillness around her, the voices drifting like insects, and the smell of bleach coming from the back room, Audrey checked to see that her converse high-tops were well tied, left her parka on the counter for Thurston to find, walked out the door and crossed San Mateo Boulevard headed south with the sun in her right eye, bearing two graphite drawing pencils in her left hand; becoming a beautiful and curving instrument as she went on her way, clothed in fleshy ivory and adapted to function in the deep cold.

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