Monday, December 16, 2013

Vessel


Art and criticism go hand in hand.
That is the most important lesson of art.
The object that we call art,
whatever it may be is only a vessel
among many vessels.
Vessels can be cherished,
archived, displayed, protected.
Vessels can be broken,
destroyed, deteriorated, forgotten.
Losing one is not the end of the world.
Many others, always, will make vessels.
These may seem unfamiliar in medium.
Paper, linen, canvas, clay, stone, metal, plastic.
Coal, graphite, ink, water, pigment, words, numbers, code.
They may be understood.
The maybe considered out dated.
The contents of the vessel
is the breath of longevity, if not eternity.
All else is left to the eye of the beholder.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Smokey Mountains


    Meditating in nature requires no ink or paper. I tried, with others, to draw write or read. I did not want to read and could think of nothing to set down yet, so I collected what little firewood I could find.
    All the wood was damp.
    One of the most bone chilling lines I could remember from the novel Blood Meridian is "They made no fire."
    We did not need a fire.
    I wanted a fire.
    I wanted to make a fire.
 
    I could not sleep out there in the mountains, the forest, on the trail, in the campsite, the tent. I could not sleep when there was still light. I crawled out of the tent with Bailey, Aaron, Carrie, and Claire sleeping or attempting to sleep. Bundled in clothes I calculatingly or haphazardly chose to pack in my backpack, I walked out and around the campsite, not knowing what I was doing yet. I walked around alone and it cleared my head. I had been thinking on my feet the whole day without much to say, taking in where I was: Smokey Mountain National Park: backpacking and camping with friends in one of America's major national parks: not a day trip to Shades State Park outside of Crawfordsville, Indiana: not lounging on the beach of the Indiana dunes on the southern most edge of Lake Michigan. This seemed more serious to take in. Exposure. Hypothermia. Injury or death due misstep and falling. Carnivorous or reactive animal encounters. Forest fires, though very unlikely in this cool and balmy early winter season in December. All the wood was damp. No matter how uneventful this trip could be, I was going to see it as an adventure.
    I put on my gloves and grabbed the hatchet, happy to be moving with a purpose.

    These stalks that I found caught in the thin branches of young trees or barely rooted with decomposition in the cold wet ground are straw. Hearty straw with strong and rough exterior, but still straw with soft dense cotton-like interior. They remain dry when all the wood is wet, so long as they do not completely touch the ground. They are light enough to be stilted from the wet ground on occasion, but they are not rare. Many stalks of straw fall between the gaps and decompose, start over, usefully return to the earth. A trait that should be praised, but not exploited.
      Collect this straw when it is the only thing that is dry. It burns fast, but it might help catch a larger fire. Look at the small trees. Not the stretchy and sappy trees whose insides are green and taste like Wormwood liquor. Look for the branches that are hard and brittle, without sap. Break off these dry limbs and collect them for kindling. Prune the hedges, cut them off with your hatchet. Snap the twigs and collect them to burn when you ought to because you have damp wood to dry and then burn.
    Dad collected wood when we were sleeping.

    The campsite fire in Smokey Mountain National Park was the second most difficult fire I have ever tried to keep burning. First place goes to the fire the following night at a Kampgrounds of America because it seemed as if it would have been an obvious success: Bought (and dry) firewood, manufactured composite starter log, newspaper (where before we had only sketchbook pages) and other flammable detritus. A campground with damn fine amenities. And still the fire would not stay lit.
    Chopping wood in categorizes: Starters. Igniters. Kindling. Twigs. Sticks. Chopped and split links of wood in various widths, ideally ten to eighteen inches in length. And finally, when there is a safe bed of embers and coals glowing beneath the flames, a log. A log smoldering, emitting light and heat, to stoke and feed with the smaller wood that is quicker to ignite and burn.
    Starting a fire is in my blood and upbringing. The house I was raised in was heated, as often as possible, with a wooden fireplace. We had central heating and central air conditioning, but I possess parents and extended family who believe wood fires and open windows an ideal and not arcane choice. Chopping wood was the most cathartic and satisfying chore of my childhood; to me its better than fishing. My parents still rely heavily upon the heat of their wood stove and will never be without a fire pit on their property. Starting a fire is like riding a bike to me; even if I momentarily forget how to do it, I will relearn how through trial and error.
    Two of the most difficult fires I've ever tried to start. It was frustrating, I admit, and failing to start a long lasting fire left me feeling defeated for a moment. With that defeat I realized where I was and who I was with again. Friends.
 
    Bailey Mileham, Aaron Bumgarner, Carrie Wing, and Claire Burley. Friends experiencing this camping trip in similar and varying ways. Hiking, ascending, descending, exploring, studying, seeing this foreign, but strangely familiar environment. In the woods, in the mountains. among the powerful rush of rock bedded rivers and the oozing and trickling streams without name or prediction. Land marks where white rolling water falls over rock and moss and bare rooted trees teetering on the precipice of collapse into the valley below. Evidence of animal life in these mountains, both human or otherwise. The ruins of settlements, not ancient, but old, at this time, damp, mossy, blanketed in flora. It felt like a temperate rain forest. Everything was green, brown, blue, gray, a little yellow, a little red, and sometimes almost black, and sometimes almost white. It was an unexpectedly affecting palette. So much green in December with occasionally glorious beams of sunshine. Shafts of natural light breaking though the canopy, warming the ground and our faces.
     How good food tastes after you've truly worked for your meal. How delicious water tastes when your body just begins to truly need it, pumped and filtered directly from a cold mountain stream. How satisfying to rest and stretch without a backpack on for just a moment, splashing water on your face and neck, taking a piss. Simple and natural needs met in a way that can only be understood and appreciated in a place such as this.
    When things slow down for a moment, we relearn to love the little things. The things we realize are truly very big things. I'm very glad to have relearned this with the beautiful people I was with. If you find yourself in the same situation coming down off of the mountain, let me suggest grabbing a meal at Riverstone Family Restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee. Their food is delicious, and the people friendly and generous.
Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Discourse


Thinking?
Wanting to start new.
Disrobing the burden of memory
 and entering the world
curious, confused, intrigued again.
No worry of annihilation.
No understanding of annihilation.
A mushroom cloud.
A vaporized high rise or household,
grainy black and white images
of possible nuclear holocaust, decades before me.
Do not tell me fear is not taught in this country.
Do not lie to me because they are not my memories.
I was shown these things,
I was taught these things,
I understand now and thank my elders.
Two towers collapse, that is a memory,
a memory understood finally through fruition.
I want to trust something even if I trust little.
What can you trust?
Love, family, self, others, close others.
Things that represent love, family, others, close others.

Better living through chemistry.
Whose chemistry? Mans chemistry.
Sarin gas, Agent Orange, Napalm, Mustard gas, chloroform
awful venom of man.
Better living through technology.
Whose technology? Mans technology.
Drones, IEDs, fighter jets, tanks
fortresses, warships, war boats,
leviathans of all kinds
flying, moving, floating,
remaining sedentary, decaying,
rebuilding, always feeding the little things around it,
damaged for now, but not dead.
There will always be a big white whale
and  it is always willing to end you
if it feels the need. It can erase history if you let it.

It is natural.
Whose nature? Mans nature.
You love your family, you love your friends.
You love the things you do, the things you have,
the things you think and feel.
You love some more than others.
You love the things you make
and the things you experience
even if not always, not always.
You have favorite things.
Pen, paper, bike, shoes, shirt
coat, bag, green apple, book,
whatever you have on when you awake
unless it is too worn for comfort.
The ones you love always
even if they are gone.
You carry them with you always.
Water. Oil if you need it.
Water and oil still fuel you.
As does salt and vinegar.
You are going to be fine. For now.

Aaron C. Molden






Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn Day, Autumn Night

I.

What a dismal day.
Over sleeping through the dwindling sunshine
blanketed by the clouds of grays and blues.
Walking, pedaling, no where, no destination
reading, thinking, sitting, meditating
waiting for you.

II.

I was stopped by a police officer last night.
I was walking her home after a night of irresponsible drinking.
It was a very enjoyable night for me.
The officer asked if we had been drinking.
I said I was escorting her home
because she had too much to drink.
She lives right around the corner
from where we were standing.
The police officer asked for our licences
and went to his car to check them.
"Another cop car." She said.
"Anytime they stop someone
they have to call for back up here." I explained.
She sat down on the curb.
She told me to sit with her. I did.
The police officer asked me if I was really taking her home.
I explained she lived around the corner.
"Okay." The police officer turned to her.
"Next time don't drink so much."
"My boyfriend died." She said.
The officer's face twitched for a moment.
"Okay." He repeated.
"Next time don't drink so much."
In front of her house hugged and rocked her.
"I don't know why I don't love you." She said.
Her boyfriend died.
I text her -made it home safe.
Sweet dreams beautiful Bailey.-
When I got home
then tried to write something,
but I could think of nothing to write.

III.

What a dismal day, today.
I hope the show this evening is good.
I could use a good show.
Jonathan Richman.
I still hope and worry she is okay.
Good grief.
Ken Burns has his finger on the pulse
of the United States with documentary movies
Funded by the Public Broadcasting Systems.
There is something beyond this worth exploring.

Aaron C. Molden


Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Arts


The Arts

    On Saturday, I watched a performance art piece by a local performance artist, friendly bartender, and former co worker: Drew Davis. He had told me earlier in the week his intent for how the performance piece would go, explaining the dark choreography of it. I didn't know if it would leave an impression on me by how he explained it in broad daylight in the performance space. Foam City, beautifully placed next to a Hyper realist painter's studio and an informal Christian church with many attractive young members. Foam City rents the rest of its space to artists and teachers who simply need a space. It also rents space to small businesses comprised of musical and visual artists and patrons.
    As mentioned earlier, it is also a performance space.
    The wash of the arrhythmic noise came in waves through the darkness, slowly and methodically rushing into the audience over and again. Drew nailed three large pictures to broad planks of particle board. He mounted one after another after another to easels made of two by four lumber. As he did this in the dark he bore an air of someone not happy to do the task. Instead, he appeared as some one who simply knew it had to be done. Everyone, this is what you are thinking about and here it is for you to see.
     Bondage prints blown up, fuzzed out, washed around, altered into partially abstract and expressive compositions in black and white. Three large prints from bondage, sado-masochism and fetish news prints. The last of the three prints was woman's face being urinated on by two penis's. Something about them reminded me of De Koonig's Black Paintings. These fetishes of sex and power have always existed . The fact that I can boil it down to two authors who have been dead, one for over two centuries, Sade and Masoch, put both a chill and a jolt in my body. If this is too much to bare how will you ever function in this world?
    The experience lasted precisely the amount of time to make me unquestionably happy to be alive for the rest of the night and not because I enjoyed the experience. It didn't matter if anyone enjoyed it. It was going to happen either way. A recording of this would be an excellent educational resource in an advanced course in existentialism. Philosophy majors would ponder it to no end if they were told to drop everything and ponder it. Obviously it made and impression on me and I am very glad I was there to see it.
 
    After the performance, a band from Columbus, Ohio named Nervosa played a set of punk (or what I perceive to be punk based on several bands making music in the late seventies and earlier eighties in a poor area of a city, almost any city I now believe) songs: Fast, calculated, precise, but still erratic at times. It was the first time I had heard Nervosa and their music. I wanted to jump around. There is nothing better to do when hearing such music than jumping around to achieve singular physical and cathartic joy. I can understand if someone would not won't to do such a thing at the time, but I hope they do not forget this joy too completely too early. It is a very satisfying thing to do with like minded individuals and yes, in fact, it can get out of hand.
    Speaking, personally, it became out of hand for me once, awhile back at a different show. Two young Caucasian men decided to bring a case of Busch Light to Foam City and push around a lot of art and music club members, or art and music majors with double majors in business, even if they were not really enrolled in any school. It became out of hand when one of the two males walked up behind a young woman in a leather jacket and flannel shirt with black rimmed glasses and pushed her hard to the concrete floor without warning.
     I turned to the male who had pushed her and said "hey man." From the left I saw his friend rush towards me. His friend punched me in the left cheek no harder  than when I bounced my face off of someone's shoulder during a song. It didn't make or leave an impression so I continued "just chill out."
    "Come at me!" he screamed in my face as several people grabbed his friend.
    I put my hands out. "Just chill out" I said again.
    "You pussy! Come at me!" He responded. "I'll fuck you up!"
    "Jesus. Man. Just calm down." I said.
    Paul, the owner of Foam City walked up to us. "Hey! Man!" Paul said loudly  and the man shoved Paul as hard as he could. They were both escorted out of Foam City. Both of them should be athletes because it took a lot of people to take them out. They would make good football players, and probably better wrestlers. Better with instruction than intuition with them.
    I would guess one of them will find happiness outside of who they were and how they acted at the time due to the influence eastern religion has on my mind. Black and white bleeds grey when splashed together. Add red and see what happens.

    Pink Reason played last. One of their last shows. Pink Reason is Kevin Debroux, or Kevin Failure. Many others have played support cast to Pink Reason, but Pink Reason, at its heart, is Kevin. Many people I personally know have played support cast to Kevin, happily, at least for time. "I'm kind of an asshole." Kevin was quoted in a Columbus, Ohio news source.
    Kevin mentioned something about Wisconsin in between songs.
    "I thought you guys were from Russia!" I yelled.
    As they played, Kevin, shirtless, writhed up next to a group of people I clustered around in spare flooded white light. He slammed his microphone into my left chest plate and it pulled a muscle. It continues to ache as friends can attest; I feel like doing nothing, but complaining about it sometimes; the ache, not the experience. I think he wanted to make my heart hurt anyway he could at the time.

Things to do:
1. Clean out my car.
2. Sweep and tidy up my room.
3. Write Drew a letter (or just publish what I've been writing.)
4. Reread what I've been writing.

    Watching Pink Reason with platonic stillness for the rest of the show, after I pulled a muscle, I studied the bands movements on stage. They were all striking in their movements and brooding as they reacted to the sounds and words they made. They were everyone in the bands songs and they no doubt felt them whenever they heard and repeated and sang them. This was also true of many in the crowd. This experience on this night was unconditionally loved by many people in this city. The content may be wholly different, but the experience is the same.
    It was a very good show. I am glad I was there. These kind of nights seem rare and I don't think one can easily recreate them after being there, but I find it admirable to try. I am trying.

    On Sunday I explored the Fountain Gallery on Main street across from the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. The gallery was recently opened by Purdue University. It was exhibiting the University's permanent art collection. I did not know Purdue had a permanent art collection. I attended and graduated from Purdue with a degree in art education without knowing it had a permanent art collection. My mom, an employee of Purdue for over thirty years explained later that there was a trading program at Purdue where employees can hang a piece of art from the permanent collection on their office wall for a period of time. Time share on an object instead of a place. A time elapse of tossing works of art to other persons when one is done with them. There is a Picasso. There is a Dali. There is a Kollwitz. There are countless others by masters whose names escape me at the time. This was the biggest mindfuck of the weekend because everything else felt natural.Works of art by some of my favorite visual artists. How did I now know about this truth?
    The best art is through passion and catharsis, no matter its medium, but some choose to hide it until they no longer can.
    The greatest of therapies.

Aaron  C. Molden    

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reluctance


    Feel the discomfort flood your conscientiousness once again. Open your blurry and boozy eyes and stretch your dehydrated muscles, emitting various cracks and pops, perhaps only audible to you.
    Who do you see?
    Who is there to share this aftermath of a late breakfast and  an afternoon stroll through a city or a park or in  the wilderness. Walking, eating, dancing, reading, watching a show, playing a game, laying in bed all day talking and touching each other in playful ways.
    Drink water with them, laugh with them, be with them.
    Savor the moment and do not worry. Do not worry about who you are, or what your are doing, or what will happen tomorrow or the next day or the day after that or a month from now or a year from now. Do not worry about the world outside of your room, outside of your home, outside of your yard, outside of your neighborhood, outside of your city, outside of your region, outside of your state, outside of your province, outside of your country, outside of your continent, outside of your hemisphere, outside of your planet, Earth, that glowing blue marble in the vastness of space, outside of your solar system, outside or your galaxy, the Milky Way swirling in circles and spirals made up of endless other circles and spirals within the faint tip of the wave of light we all occupy.
    Look at them. Look into their eyes. Do you they feel as you do? Do you want them to feel as you do? Does it even matter? Hold them as they hold you for as long as you can and please, I say, please do not forget it. They are beautiful like you and I and everyone in just the right moment.

    The orgasm was sustained and intense and it left me feeling drained of everything in my body and mind. I forgot, for a moment, that this sexual encounter was for something other than recreation. My body went limp on top of her, my neck nestled in the nape of her neck. I felt her cheek muscles, pressed against the side of my head, curl up into a smile. She ran her fingers through my hair. We're trying to bring a child into this world?
    I suspect she my not be paying as much attention as me, but I could be wrong.

    The next night, when she was at work, I went for a walk on the grounds where the Pythian Senior Home once stood near Jefferson High School; where new and no doubt paranoid policies are being instilled and enforced every time the news covers another school shooting in a fleeting and sensational way; instilling only fear into the public conscientiousness without provided context to the situation. There was a football game being played and it sounded well attended. Fear be damned, a football game will bring the crowds in. Do schools on Lafayette still have marching bands?
     About half way through walking the grounds I decided to turn back. I wanted to see if there was a marching band at Jefferson High School, but I felt strangely watched by unseen and suspicious eyes. I am an adult male and I was wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt and dark green pants, walking alone at night next to a high school. I am a part of the public conscientiousness and paranoia.
     I walked through streets with Spanish names such as El Prado and El Granda. The name El Granda confused me when we first moved into the neighborhood. El is masculine and Granda is feminine. In Spanish the street should be titled La Granda. The streets are slanted forty-five degrees to the normal city planing of a rigid ninety degree perpendicular grid. The streets were jarring and disorienting. For a while I walked slowly through the streets, looking for recognizable objects. Street signs. Houses. Road intersections. Trees with knots and hard bark. Green and brown-green asymmetrical polygons of yards surrounded by clean or crumbled concrete. The weaving branches of small and leafy green  bushes. A fire hydrant  stained with dog piss or dog shit. I am usually walking a dog when I am navigating these streets. It's the best way for me to become familiar with new streets and neighborhoods.
     I finally found my way home. My new home, still unfamiliar in the dark. A home built in 1930 and in need of repair, according to her, with modern innovation. Her bathroom is constantly a sight of dynamic repair and disrepair, very progressive stuff.

   "Children find a way. They side step times, as it were, and the ravages of progress. I think they operate in another time scheme altogether. Imagine standing in a wooded area and throwing stones at the top of a Horse chestnut tree to dislodge the sturdiest nut. Said to be in the highest elevations. Throwing stones all day if necessary and taking them home and soaking it in salt water."
     "We used vinegar."
-From Underworld by Don Delillo

    She and I spent the evening with friends, drinking wine. We had not seen these friends in a very long time. She flirted with a former lover.
    After an argument I found myself in, I slept on the couch, surprisingly apathetic to the entire situation. I didn't care that she had flirted with him and apparently she believed I should have. I didn't know how to win an argument based entirely on hypothesis, so I gave up and slept on the couch.   

    On the weekend I went hiking with friends, an old friend and a recent friend. We went to Shades State Park. I took pictures when I felt the urge to take pictures of what I was seeing. This is something I try to refrain from doing most of the time because much of the time I feel over-flooded with mostly banal imagery. The practice of constantly taking pictures of what you are seeing with your phone seems like a new trait of our digital age that many take on without actually thinking about what they are doing. This seems especially true when someone uploads them to a internet in someway. I perceive it in a mostly negative light, but I partake when I feel I am seeing something I do not see in reality very often. All too rare views.
     I draped my feet over the Devil's Backbone. We explored the honey comb of a natural sculpture of sandstone. Aaron leaped from a sturdy swing set and I caught him in mid air with a picture. We ate at a Chinese Buffet afterwards. It was a great day.
    I became the Gatekeeper of Rock Kingdom on trail two. I explained the fabricated economic status of Rock Kingdom to Charles and Aaron. Charles walked with me on the wooden plank steps erected above the boulders and rocks. Aaron leaped and climbed up the loose stone face held together by the natural flow of water and wood and green moss at a warrior's dash next to the wooden steps. It was a commercially grim economic status. I explained that Rock Kingdom now has their first Shoneys breakfast buffet and they are building their first Subway. Our inspiration for embracing the corporate world was the educational source of the Fraggle Rock videos found in the garbage dump next to Rock Kingdom. Many Nurseries in Rock Kingdom have begun to make their own puppet sets and plays of Fraggle Rock with various local artisans. I said that was kid's stuff, though.
     We reached the divide in the trickling the creek. A fork in a hypothetical road. A sign read "Do Not Hike Beyond this Point" It was once carved in dark wood and the painted yellow ochre in the beveled edges. Now it is plastic.
    "What's up there?"
    "You don't want to go that way."
    "That sign makes me want to go that way. Why did they put that sign there?"
    "That's where the Minotaur lives and roams."
    "Like a labyrinth?"
    "You understand. Shall we continue on the trail?"
    The three of us stood in silence for a moment. Sometimes I have trouble justifying some of the practices of Rock Kingdom, but I did not voiced them to Aaron and Charles at the time.

    When she and I last went hiking at Shades State Park she spent our time there complaining. The bugs. The rough terrain. How many steps she had to walk up. Sweating, which I do not understand, because I sweat everyday. Rudimentary plumbing, even though we were obviously out in nature. Things are less specific in service when in nature. I thought everyone understood this, so why complain?

    Reason is six letters brought together to create possibly the most debatable word in the English lexicon. It is curious and possibly torturous to find it when confronted with nonsense, but I assume we must still try. More than anything it is something that makes and keeps us human beings and it gives people an excuse to use the word quandary.

    Define empathy. The mental capacity to allow yourself to believe what another person's mind and body is thinking feeling and experiencing at a specific time. Mental atrophy of one's own reality due to how one perceives another's reality. Weakness in one's sureness of their existence due to the hypothesis of another's existence, real or otherwise. Caring. Caring too much. Caring for someone even if they do not care that you care. Stagnation of personal progress due to disprovable ecstatic truth. A way of pissing other people off without doing anything other than being there. A foolish way of making a living. A way of making other people uncertain and paranoid because of the selfish yet confidant environment they were raised in. When something unexpected, positive or negative, occurs. A way to confuse a person who believes the concept of empathy does not exist. An excuse for writing something down when words seem void. To believe one understands without over explanation. To be familiar with what humanity and reality is capable of, even if one pretends to be detached from humanity most of the time. An exercise someone can conduct when someone one knows is suffering from something someone doesn't know in order to become closer with something one must understand. A crap shoot, really. Love in some way or many ways. Something that seems strange, but really is not due to historical and human fact or theory. Memetic evolution or hearsay. Western subversion. Transgression, progression or regression. Thinking and feeling outside of one's self.
Empathy is a word.
Empathy is a collection of letter
It is a code.
It becomes difficult sometimes.
Empathy is a haiku.

Again the hiking
I wanted to feel again
It really feels great

In America
Insanity beckons more
than reason these days

I told her we needed to talk.

"You don't love me."
"What?"
"You don't love me."
"Why does that suddenly matter to you now?"
"I'm not pregnant."  

Aaron C. Molden



Monday, October 7, 2013

Pinwheels

Lesson

    Many people think art is only an expression of a single person. But there are other important lessons to learn from art. Organization, consideration of others ideas, and collaboration can be learned through art and can serve as a way to learn how to work together. Through collaborative projects we can learn that even though we are special and unique, so too is everyone else and their ideas about the project are also important to consider.

    This project is about collaboration and limitations. The main idea is that we discover the almost limitless possibilities we still have if certain rules and limitations are set.
    We will be making and decorating paper pinwheels, which when completed will be pinned to the hallways bulletin board, arranged so that the collection of pinwheels become one work of art through collaboration .
    In decorating the pinwheels, separate the square paper with an X both lines meeting their ends at the four angles of the square paper on both sides. Each triangle on this paper is a different area where we will add line or texture with black marker.
    Here's the rules though, the limitations. In each triangle you can only use one shape or one style of line to create texture. You can use the same shape or line on more than one, even all of the triangles, but you cannot use more than one shape or line in a single triangle. You have free reign on the size of the shape or line and whether they are separated, touching or overlapping in that triangle.
    With these simple limits, I hope, we can all discover what almost limitless possibilities we still have. I encourage all of you to also consider what your fellow classmates are making on their pinwheels. It you like what they are doing, try it out for yourself; try it with your own style on the texture because an important part of working together is considering someone else's ideas.

    After we have completed one (or many) decorated pages, we will turn them into pinwheels:
1. Using a ruler, make a mark approximately two thirds of the way down each line of the X on the paper.
2. Cut down to each of the marks with scissors.
3. Bring the left angle of each triangle to the middle of the paper.
4. Then stick a pin with a bead on the back and the front through the middle of the paper creating a pinwheel.

    Turning this paper into a pinwheel allows one to consider their own texture or textures from many different angles. Angles you may have not considered before.
    Once you have completed your pinwheels and pinned it down, we will add it to the bulletin board. The bulletin board will be organized to make your own pinwheel one important part of a single work that will make your walk through the hallway more interesting, more satisfying, better. With collaboration we can make things more interesting, more satisfying, better. It also allows us to consider things that may not make sense to use and may never make sense to us. Thankfully, it is just a piece of paper. It is a piece of paper one can ignore if they must.
    The most important thing to remember is to have fun with this project because we've received a memo from the Administration that we are not to trust the students with these tools and materials: scissors, pins, rulers. They believe that they may be wielded as weapon so you very likely will not have another chance at a project such as this.

Personnel

2. Eifler            1. French            3. Roadruck            4. White
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    Samuel             name                  name                        name
    name                name                  Dakota                     name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                Sarah                 name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
    name                name                  name                        name
                                                      Maxwell

    The names are students between the ages of 14 and 18 who go to an elective alternative school due to various social and personal reasons. Some of them could be the result of teenage pregnancies. Some of them may have social anxiety in larger schools due to their inability to adapt to modern public exposure. Some of them may simply want to graduate as soon as possible because they plan on working at the factory their father or uncle tells they'll have a job at once they are done with school. Their are several other examples, these are just a few.

Notes

-The first class did not have a student example, only the example I made, but several students thrived on the project simply because they were given the opportunity to actually make something tangible.
-The second class was more varied in interests: from completely not caring to totally engrossed. I was told that there was nothing I could do about the students using their phones. This was slightly annoying because even if they were not going to put forth any effort on the project, I think it would have been better if they at least socially engaged with the rest of the class and myself.
- The third class seems much more excited than the first to classes. I think it is because there were so many other student examples to see. It might have also been because is was the first class after lunch time.
- The fourth class was the most informal because it was the end of the school day. Yet all the students were amiable and willing to work or at least socialize with the other students.
- Don't devalue what these students have to say all the time, There is a lot of truth there that can be profound to hear.
-When students can consider their fellow students, they move to a specific style, causing an organic unity through collaboration. This will happen with or without guidance and that is a very important thing to remember.
-Even with the simplicity of this art project, I was surprised to discover there were still students who could not grasp the concept of making a pinwheel. I worry American students, on a whole, are not getting a very well rounded education because I was essentially teaching an elementary art lesson to high school students. What would happen if they were introduce to Damien Hirsts's work or even the Dada movement? Would I be met simply with blank stares or would the students not be intellectually or critically equipped to handle the context?
-The students made pinwheels and they can make so much more if they are allowed to grow in the way they must grow in this world.
-Not once did I think any of these students were planning on using the materials as weapons. The administration might need a strong dose of reality for their paranoid streak.

Aaron C. Molden

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cosmic Realization


    A light year is the distance light can travel in one calendar year. The next closest star to the sun, to our solar system is 4.2 light years away. That star and the sun are part of a galaxy made up of 100 billion stars. That galaxy is one of 100 billion in the known universe which is only five percent of the entire universe (that is the rest of the universe that does not reflect or emit light.)
    Think about this the next time you throw up on someone's shoes and pass out in a bush after drinking too much at a party.
    Please note the error of my facts because I would like this to be more accurate... or read this haiku.

I sure love robots
but not enough to do math
math is for big nerds

Aaron C. Molden

Friday, October 4, 2013

Missed Connections 2


    Do you remember me? I was the mutant manbird browsing the seed and nut section of the Discount Den at Chauncey Hill Mall. You may have thought I was just a guy in a chicken suit because it was Breakfast Club at Purdue. I think it was Homecoming, but I am not for sure. I am in fact part man and part bird. The genes of man and bird (specifically Wyandotte rooster) were brought together in a lab and I am the result.
    I saw you buying an Arizona iced tea while I stood at the counter. I was flirting with the cashier because she knows me and even though I'm a mutant bird she enjoys our conversations. You looked up at me. I looked at you with my cold black bird-eyed gaze: A pretty girl in a summer dress with floral patterns. Beyond my beak and the feathers I malt and the deformed talons I attempt to type with, there is a human. A human that does not won't to miss another connection.
    Sometimes I must kill mice and rabbits in order to maintain my humanity. I want you to know that about me.
    Please contact me via messenger pigeon.
    -Ba-Kawk!-

Sincerely,
Kevin the Manbird


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Missed Connections 1



    Do you remember me? I was the slightly overweight (my doctor claims I'm obese) Caucasian male in the Tap Out shirt and JNCO shorts. I was shopping with my mom and she was asking me what vegetables I would be willing to eat -rather loudly I might add- while I played Angry Birds on my phone at the produce section of the Payless grocery store on Greenbush.
   You were the skinny girl with the bleach blond hair at the deli counter. You were wearing a Rue 21 halter top with spaghetti straps and  low waist jeans with elaborate sequence embroidered on the back pockets. I could see your leopard printed thong. You were holding a carriage with your left arm sagging toward the ground. You baby was screaming as you talked loudly on your cell phone about how your period had been different since you had Jed. The deli clerk looked on blank faced while you chatted.
    At one point you looked over toward me and my mom. I didn't look up because I was about to drop a bomb bird in just the right place to completely destroy the structure in the game. But I saw you look my way. Is it just me or did we make a connection?
    If you feel the way I do please contact through Facebook, publicly or not, or email me at blahblahblah@gmail,com, or text me from the phone number I will send you if you send me an email that says you would like my cell phone number, or call me at home from this number, 555-555-5555, but please do not call after nine because my mom gets upset if people call after nine (even though it only happened once when I was in high school and I am a strong-willed man now, in my mid-twenties.)
     I hope to hear from you.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Public Service Announcement


    Everything is not okay in America. Our quality of life is across the board appalling for a first world country. Education means nothing to the majority of the population and educated people laugh at the idea of following a career in humanities. Every time some person stuck in their demented, delusional, and lonely head decides to get a gun and try to shoot up a whole mess of people, the public clamors that youth is to blame without asking why.
    Why? Why would someone do such a thing? Why does it keep happening? Why has it happened in the past? It has happened in the past (A lot of times they used bombs instead.) Don't ask we who, don't ask me when, don't ask me where. Pick up a book and do some work for yourself. Work on being a human. Here I'll give you some direction: Read almost anything Don Delillo has written, read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Read Kurt Vonnegut I write for the millionth time. Okay, some more specifics: Cosmopolis by Don Delillo. Shut off your brain to morbid and glorious globalization and read that book.

    Blaming reflection is a cowardly move. If you blame thinking for doing, you aren't thinking straight because you are most likely afraid to think.
    What do I know? Lots of things most people I know believe to be useless. This is why I write. No one wants to hear it again.
    It's not not nice. I know. Do you know what is nice? A sunset? A mountain? A vast body of water? A child?
    Nope, those are only nice in pictures. A sunset is so radiant and colorful due to noxious vapors released by products of human progress poisoning the air we breath since the industrial age and the nuclear core of a star that is, as much as many of us do now want to hear it, finite. A mountain is a scar on the seam of a landscape, evidence of the Earth's growing pains and a monument to the fact that it wants humans dead. A vast body of water, any vast body of water is, at our core, humanities toilet. A beautiful cistern for our poisonous run off. A child? A child is a selfish being. They only know self, unless we teach them that they aren't that special. As much as many people want to believe this, hitting them will not teach them humanity or empathy. Children must experience things to understand them.
    Zero tolerance on growing minds breeds contempt for those imposing zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is for those who already know better or should know better.
    A ten year old bully is a reflection of an adult bully who should know better.
    Why are we scared to talk to children? We were children once, we know what it is like, we know it can hurt, and we know we made it through it with help from others who made it through it as well; with us or before us.
    A ten year old with a gun? I'm almost positive I could out wit a ten year old with a gun unarmed. They are without full dexterity and, by the way, why the fuck does a ten year old have a gun? That is a reflection of someone who should know better.

    Things are not okay in America. If you are jealous of the youth of America, you must have had a really fucked up youth. I sorry to know that. Remember the fist fight you lost because you never knew you were going to be in a fist fight? Remember when you were hit for doing something you didn't know was wrong until after you were hit? Do you remember the first time a girl accidentally crushed your heart by simply not paying attention or not caring? And you made it through all of that and much more. You have something to say to these children, no matter how they act, selfish as they are.
    What about eighteen year old children wishing to wield weapons? Send them to the middle east, correct? I still don't believe oil is an excuse and that (as well as road rage brought on by extended inactivity behind the wheel of a car) is why I try to ride my bike as often as possible.

    Have you ever watched a documentary by Ken Burns?
    Jazz.
    Baseball.
    The Civil War.
    The War.
    National Parks.
    The West. (That was his brother, but it is still great.)
    Prohibition.
    The Dust Bowl.
    Everyone of those is a reflection of America on a shoe string budget. The Public Broadcasting System is deteriorating with every passing year and this makes me a little more depressed. But who am I? Just a human writing what I need to write to get by at the moment.

    Everything is not alright in America, but it could be worse. It could also be better and there are many trying to make it better. Believe it or not, a lot of them are young and because they are young they are most likely scared. Understandably scared. Moral support goes a lot further than moral condemnation.
    It is a beautiful September day in Indiana. It is warm and there is very little humidity. If I cannot appreciate that, I cannot appreciate anything. Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Do Not Fully Understand Metaphysics: A Collage


"Aesthetics, for me, is what ornithology must be to the birds."
-An Abstract Expressionist

"I'm not one who gives in to the notion of visual omens and portents very often. But watching a flock of turkey buzzards circle above an art museum packs a pretty powerful aesthetic wallop on a partly cloudy September day."
-Me

This is a sentence I hate:
Postmodern polytheism in a neo-romantic sociopolitical and environmental American environment in the twenty first century.
And I wrote it.

This is a poem I hate:
I fucked around with sketchy dudes.
I smoked weed in your house.
I read books believed to be subversive.
I fucked and used people
to get my way.
I ran back to you.
Have we reached seven lines yet?
And I wrote it.

I like haiku because it cuts away the fat of words:
nature does not judge
it does not know how to judge
it acts on instinct

I rarely act on word play on several levels unless it is all I have to work with:
cellar door
sell her door
sheller boar
shell her bore
keller store
hell and more
bell or yore
tell her more
sell the store
smell her core
fell and more
-excellent exercise everyone-
tore the bore
smelled her core
sell your store
more and more
more and more and more
more and more and more and more
(the bell rings)
-thank you aaron i'll get back to you next semester remember to read the homework i assigned everyone-

Bullshit written to pass the time:
If I am in the right mood
I could probably steal your girlfriend,
but I don't want to steal your girlfriend.
Unless I have to...
Devious cyclical thoughts.

And this:
I am not trying to hurt you,
but you clearly do not love me
for who I am.
That's fine,
but you don't have to
destroy me.
I don't want to be destroyed.
Do you?
A loaded question.

This too:
Andy Warhol always answered honestly unless he was afraid.

Notes on Song of Songs:
I don't say this enough:
-You are beautiful.
-You are cute.
-Your ass looks great.
-Your smile calms me.
-Your smile agitates and excites me.
-Your hair is a natural wonder.
-I want your mouth, your face, your lips, your body pressed against me.
-I want to touch you.
-I want you to touch me
-I want to press against you.
-I want to touch your body: press it, grope it, lay upon it, have it laying upon me, make it one with mine, even for a short time in the cosmic scale of things.
(damn it!)
-I want to stare at you, examine you, study you and your body, your beautiful body and your face, your beautiful face, both calm and flush and all which lies between the two.
-I want to appreciate the in between of the two.
-Note: the four: north, south, east, west, and all else in between.
-Note: the other two which makes six: up and down.
-Note: one more makes seven: everything in between that is so hard to define.
-They are "twin fawns of a gazelle."

Define Joy:
1) Joy is discovering something you know you will love forever.
2) Joy is waking up next to someone you always wanted to wake up next to and feeling no guilt or anxiety.
3) Joy is the static energy in an over crowded car filled only with people you want to be over crowded by. All of you drift down a country road in the middle of the night, heading nowhere and anywhere.
4) Joy is discussing something you are usually afraid to bring up and finding interested listeners; interested listeners with something to say about this something being discussed. Even if there are opposing opinions, the discussion continues through waves of anxiety, eventually residing back to joy.
5) Joy is witnessing.
6) Joy is instigating.
7) Joy is spontaneously acting on the usually unfathomable urge to sing a song you know or wrote or made up on the spot. DANCE FOR YOURSELF IF NO ONE WILL DANCE WITH YOU!
8) Joy is listening to a friend, stoned as you all were, singing every verse to Old Man River, their favorite song. They sang A cappella while everyone paused, rapt by the voice and the gut wrenching words they sang.
9) Joy is kissing her and she kisses you back.
10) Joy is seeing something you have made turn into something you are proud to have made.
11) Joy is finding a beautiful place where you never expected to find a beautiful place.
12) Joy is the expectation of an encounter with something beautiful and being justified with an encounter with something that is indeed beautiful, such defines "overjoyed."
13) Joy can also be a game.

Ah! I knew I'd finally get there!

Aaron C. Molden




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Illiterate Bukowski


Illiterate Bukowski

(Start tape recorder)
   
     Nobody believes in god these days. It's a shame, but I can't blame them. Even if I don't believe in god, I still got love to explain the idea of god. But if no sucker believes in god, I start to wonder if the world tricked its way out of feeling love the way I tricked my way out of feeling god.
    So I sit here looking out my window in my attic apartment and I see both a church and a bar. I sit and I drink and I smoke and I think: two places, one to pretend you love god and one to pretend you love love.
    I can't blame them and I'm too tired to give a shit anymore.

(Stop tape recorder)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art Bust


Art Bust

    Alright, alright, break it up. You over there, put down the paint brush. That doesn't even look like a flower.
     A what? It's a face? Man, you're lucky I showed up.
     Hey kid, stop singing. No one wants to hear it and even if they did they can't understand what you are saying.
    I  have the floor now.

    Now, all of you know you don't have a permit to be doing what you are doing here. I'm looking at you guys over in the drum circle. And the dance circle while I'm at it. And the table working on collages, you know we still allow scrap-booking here, so clean up your act and join the club for a reasonable fee of twenty dollars a month. Anyways, all of you know -and if you don't let me be the first to inform you- you can't be developing personal or reflective expressions (art as some call it, whatever that is suppose to mean) unless you have the proper permit. I don't care if it is on your own time. I don't care if you're not making any money off of it. What I care about is that it is against the law unless you have a permit.
    Hey! Hey you over there. Don't think I can't see you. Were you doodling in your notebook while I was talking? You see, this is the whole problem. How can we know what you're doodling over there? All you have to do is purpose your idea to city counsel, let them discuss the proposal and respond back to you in three to six weeks, reconvene, discuss it again, and then vote on whether you can doodle your proposed doodle in your notebook, but only after the residing authority figure has said what they intend to say. Is that so hard, doodler?
    What's that? Are you being a smart ass? Fine, dancers, take his pen away.
    See, they know who the authority is here and that is why there will always be dancers.

    Wait! Natasha. Come on, don't be like this. I was only joking. Natasha. Come on Natasha, I thought you could take a joke. Baby, I'm kidding, I love what you do. Come on baby, I'm working.
    Fine. Leave. I don't care.

    Anyways. You guys know you're in the wrong here. The law is the law. I was going to just give you guys a warning, but the doodler over there ruined it for all of you.
    Don't even think about it, drum circle! I have a taser as well as a gun. I can bring you down faster than you guys can bring your palms down to the skin of your drum head. I can incapacitate you without serious damage if that is what I have to do.
    Sue, please stop trying to fix your already glued collage. Just get back to the scrapbooking club and no one will say a word.
    Where did that young singer go? I guess he snuck out when I saw you, doodler. You can't understand what he's saying anyways. Yeah she's understandable, I know, but... Whatever.
    Where'd that flower guy go? What? A head? Really? I guess I'll take him, I guess. A head? Really? There is something wrong with you, kid.

    You know I don't want to have to come back here. All of you be more careful and let me... let us know if you see that singing kid again. You too, doodler.
    What? I don't know. That's not my problem. Why don't you go home and watch TV or play videogames? While were at it, hand me that notebook, I'll dispose of it promptly. Oh, real mature, I don't even look like that. Just for that you're coming with me and flower over here.
    Everyone else. I better not catch you guys doing this without a permit again.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Existential Mess


I hate this:
I wait too long to feel anything other than empathy towards other persons, especially if I believe I will fall in love with them. I stave off instincts of human thought such as admiration, infatuation, obsession. I sandbag against the rising tide or fill buckets of uncomfortable emotion, pooling it up in my conscious mind, as it drifts a top the dark sea below.  I toss it over the side once more, over and over again, until it is too late and I sink.
It is too late. I procrastinate.
I have no stake in this emotional claim. I should have nothing to feel when the news drops. I am intellectually prepared for this news, but when I hear it, when I know it, when I understand it in my mind, my body drops out.
My stomach drops and I curl slightly, trying, always trying to fight it, but the rest of my body still gives a little to my stomach when it drops in a way I thought it would never do again. I struggle against collapsing into a fetal position. Resisting fetal position is a very human and adult thing to do even when my body is telling me the is no other option: defiance to reality.
I can still think somewhere in my mind it is all in my head.
There is so many important things dwell on and this is what I fall apart about?
What an asshole.
Another dream lost, it seems. I have so many dreams and visions, but losing one always hurts. I do not think it is impossible to find again, but I know I need to mourn. I hope this does not last very long, though I am aware it can. Doing this streamlines extended arbitrary mental suffering and it can ripple and rub other people, other persons, the wrong way due to limited imagination or perception of reality. BLAH BLAH BLAH!
Retreating to the fetal position is inevitable.
Oh, my pregnant head.
There is a reason to care
even if I am disappointed.
There is a reason to care
especially if I am disappointed.
It is okay to be angry.
Do something constructive with it.
Also, listen to Moondog.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 12, 2013

After the Sunset


After the Sunset

I.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We were immersed by a herd of Bedlington Terriers. Four moppy little gray dogs stampeding toward the water. A slightly whiter, moppy little dog with a genetic mohawk from the top of its head to the tip of its nose trailed behind them. The breeder of the dogs, a broad shirtless red and white man, balding and middle aged with a beer gut and defiantly proud posture, bounced down to the shore. Instead of the dogs following him to the water, they detoured to our camp.
    Is there anything more emotionally satisfying than petting a dog? Petting a designed dog with curly teddy bear hair and a perfectly plastic looking snout still wet and glistening because it is still real and alive? Petting a herd of designed dogs in recline with the reward of compassionate stroking and petting? Petting a wet dog with thoughts of loyalty, though it does not understand word, but does recognize the action? Brushing away the anomalies in their coats gently, but meaningfully?
    Yes. There is, but this would do.
    "They're okay?" the breeder yelled to us. I waved my hand to indicate yes. Eventually Savannah and Haleh ran over to the breeder of the terriers. Jacob and I watched and made quiet sarcastic comments. "You have questions." He told them. 

"Bashar Assad's government must be punished after allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, possibly including sarin gas to kill hundreds of Syrians."
-The Associated Press, August 2013

Read the sentence again. Focus on two seemingly benign words: allegedly and possibly. Translation: United States policy is shoot first and ask questions later. In America we are confidant about our actions, but a bit wishy-washy about our explanations. We tried to attack another country in the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and no doubt countless others I am woefully unaware of.
    When the light was still good, I saw her naked beneath her bathing suit, white wet cloth barely concealing her peach and tan skin. An Iranian and an American and a beautiful girl with no doubt beautiful and terrible thoughts in her mind. 

II.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We walked on the beach towards the east in near total darkness. At first Jacob posted up next to Savannah. Haleh was next to Savannah, farther away, closer to the water. Facial and figure expressions were faint. I lagged behind them. I ran to catch up and create an equal sequence of four instead of an uneven sequence of three. When I reached them Haleh dashed forward. Savannah sped up, turned in front of Jacob, then me and grouped with Haleh. Ahead of the boys.
    The waves had grown near deafening. As the ability of ones eyes recede the other most present sense takes over their perception. I learned my second sense is sound, again. The white noise of the waves of water crashing against sand and rocks over and over, relentlessly crashing, foaming, bubbling, sloshing, misting, gurgling, roaring, the waves were roaring.
    I hate myself sometimes for knowing I should be doing something, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I am a procrastinator. I have to live with this.
    Jacob stopped walking, but I did not know. I was staring at my feet moving in front of my dwindling line of visions. Wide feet walking in wet sand. Eventually I looked up. Haleh was faint, but far ahead of me. I could no longer see Savannah. I looked back and barely saw Jacob, staring to the west. I shrugged my shoulder to the east to imply walking with no luck in him responding. Then I simply shrugged and tried to catch up with the girls without running. I looked back again.. I almost reached Haleh. I still could not see Savannah. Haleh dashed ahead once again. I kept walking until I saw them both. I stopped because they had stopped. They were talking. I looked back at Jacob, who was nearly out of sight. I looked over to Savannah and Haleh. They began walking towards the west and me and Jacob. I began walking west and towards Jacob hoping we had not lost them to unknowable darkness. Dark white noise.
    We were a group again on the walk back to the car. We found a small sand dune and tried to smash it down to the water with our feet. We could have done it if we were more determined, but we were hungry.

III.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We went to a Mexican restaurant in a plaza with dental care offices and wine distributors. It had a triangle-shaped court yard with a gazebo and a fountain. Rose bushes scattered the courtyard. I could not tell it is was fake or surreal or if there was ever really a difference between this place and the places I truly know. 
    "I've had better quesadillas, but these will do for now." Some asshole said.
    After dinner, Jacob and Savannah sat under the gazebo. Jacob started rubbing Savannah's neck. I leaned against a wood post supporting the roof of the gazebo staring into the dark sky. Haleh cradled, then plucked a rose from a rose bush by the fountain.
    I elected myself to drive home. Not a hard sell from the rest of the group. I stopped for gas and coffee, then drove home to Lafayette, Indiana with two slumbering girls in the back seat and a barely conscious young man in the passenger seat, trying to listen to me pontificate about the song I recognized on the radio. They were adorable in the backseat car light, sleeping head to head when I opened the car door.
    "We're home." I said.

     Lake Michigan has been I vacation destination through the most wonderful and most dreadful times of the past century, when taking flight was not necessarily an option. The Globalization of my mind almost lost this notion. Almost.

Aaron C. Molden


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Day: Part 3


Working

    The work was monotonous and labor intensive. For Jed and Zeke it was mindless and off balance, their thoughts never able to sync with their movements. The other workers did not trust Jed or Zeke with anything other than a shovel. The way they wielded their shovels never reached the natural fluidity it could have because neither of them seemed interested or even able to focus on the task they had at hand. Through out the day Zeke wandered off to the grass and sat quietly, next to his shovel, sometimes staring at his phone. All of the workers, including Jed, did not react to these impromptu breaks. Most of them must have believed the most useful thing Zeke could do was be useless and out of the way.

Shoveling rubble. Your arms plunge the spade into the pile of drywall. Push the wood or plastic handle down. The bent metal plate angles upwards and scoops chunks of chalky compressed dust. You should be wearing a respirator, but you try not to think too much about what you are actually breathing most of the time. This fascination and misery is not a train of thought you enjoy dwelling on. Focus on the work. Focus on your form. Focus on the grace of the arc as your arms shift. Straighten your core as you catapult the shovel 180 degrees into the dumpster. An explosion of dust from with in the receptacle. A direct hit.
     This is satisfying work. It is a sunny day and you are working outside, not sitting in an air conditioned office, wondering what you could be typing or clicking on to prove what you are doing is really work. Only the frame of the collapsed building you stand within remains.
    You are sweating profusely. It is in these moments you are glad you sweat a lot. If you were in the desert it would be a problem. You drink a gallon of water on a full work day and try to remember to bring a salty snack. When you work like this in wooded areas, cutting down trees, slowing razing and leveling the Earth, there is usually a cooler provided with juice, Gatorade, and water. The work crew mix and match different liquids, all in an attempt to level out their ideal Ph levels. After an hour or so of physical labor you always become stretched, calm, lucid in body and mind. Every drink is the best drink no matter what you're drinking.
 
    You get an hour for lunch. There is a reason you see a lot of work crews at buffets. Chinese buffets, Indian buffets, American buffets. Mexican restaurants with portions suspiciously large for the price you paid, but the food is almost always delicious and satisfying. Some times it makes you gassy and flatulent, but who cares? You're working outside. The crews are hungry and eager to eat. What could be better after the first half of a hard days work? Huevos Rancheros at Taco Rico. The pretty Latin waitress filled your water glass five times because you brought only a small water bottle to the work site. Your boss or who you believe to be your boss asked how much you paid for the bottle of water. He was sort of smiling and you knew he was mocking you. Drink it from the tap. You bought it for the bottle manufactured in China. It was not the time to discuss this because there was work to be done. You didn't think ahead and you can refill the bottle and its only a buck and some change. You smiled and said thank you to the pretty Latin waitress and always made eye contact when she came to the table. You were damp and dirty, but why not be a gentleman?
    Jed ate his chicken burrito furiously and without much table etiquette. Clumps of yellow rice and pinto beans spilled from the tortilla, down to the wax paper on his platter, creating sporadic and snared tapping noises. Zeke picked at his tacos, untrustworthy of the meats origin. He told Jed, several times during lunch, he should have ordered the chicken fingers.
 
    After lunch, the entire work crew became as sluggish as Jed, but not nearly as sluggish as Zeke. No one else would ever dare to be as sluggish as Zeke, not as experienced workers. All the crew was digesting their meal. You let yourself admit, after the sixth or seventh hour, this work has become tiresome. You, all of you except maybe Zeke, finish your final hour of work, some of you with complaint, some without. Acid slowly seeped into the muscles of your arms and legs and core. You are tired.
    Tom, with the thick glasses and streaks of gray hair, asked you if would like to join him and the crew for a beer after work. He always has a work belt on with an array of tools he carries, but never uses. You smile. You are tired and want to see your baby. You want to see your baby's mother, who you now live with and casually flirt with, mildly. You want to go home and kiss your child and flirt with your child's mother. There is a reason.
    Not tonight. Not this night. There is a reason.
    "Some other time" you said.

    At home you kissed your baby's mother, Sheena. She showed you a picture of baby Tyrone. You are use to seeing them. You usually go through the motions: look at the phone screen for five seconds, bring a smile to your face, look up and quickly kiss her on the lips and look into her eyes and then say "I'm going to check on Tyrone." You walk down the hall that will soon be decorated with pictures of Tyrone, framed in frames you and Sheena found that fit the printed pictures of Tyrone, once you and Sheena finally settle into the new place. This new place will be your home. A place where you will make a life. One hundred years of solitude.
     They tore down the old hospital. They tore down the Victorian funeral parlor, gated up with vagrants finding solace within the slowly deteriorating structure, built wide then upwards in ever narrower steppes. The sinew and skeleton of attempted geometry merges with a spiraled structure draped in shingles like dragon scales. Russian spires of subdued hues of light pink and lime green, so long all sooty and gray. They tore it down and you helped them. Because you helped them, they will want you and your opinion on how we should rebuild it all. Make it right, finally. They are building angled buildings across the river and waves of concrete roads across the land again. We are ready for another golden age and you will be there, ready and willing to build.
    You stopped and Sheena stopped. You stared at her phone longer than you usually do. This picture of Tyrone, with its light and its shadow over a plump chocolate face, concerned, worried, frustrated. A picture of a brooding black baby boy.
    You stared at Tyrone from the doorway in his centralized crib. Light cast shadows of you, then his mother towards him. You stared at Tyrone with your left arm around Sheena's waist.
    You went to the bed you intended to sleep in that night and prayed to your reason that you would not raise a Zeke and would be a little bit harder on a Jed. You cried. Sheena and you looked on at Tyrone from the doorway. Both stared at baby Tyrone, smiling, your arm around Sheena's waist.
    Remember innocence sometimes. It's scary how long it takes these days.
    "Sheena, be with me." You muttered.
    "What?"
    You kissed her lips.
    "He's young and will be perfect."
    You kissed her again.
     Sleep tonight, baby Tyrone.

Last week, They said there was something wrong with your brain. You do not like to think about it..

Aaron C. Molden

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunset


Sunset

I.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

I can tell you the sky was blue,
but blue is not enough.
Part of the sky was a gradient wash
of every word remembered or imagined
representing the different colors of blue:
Navy cerulean turquoise teal.
Somehow sky blue does not count
because I will never know all the different names
of all the different blues in the sky
in those precious moments
before everything was dark
on the beach.

I can tell you about the light.
What was earlier naked white light,
became robed in layers
of deep reds and Halloween oranges
and both bright and subdued yellows.
All of these colors have so many stories to tell.
Purple too.

I can tell you about green.
Lake Michigan washing waves to its shores,
an ebb and flow of liquid greens and blues.
Vast water allowing the sky above to open up.
Not a river snaking its way through the terrain.
Land bows to water here, for now.
A vast body of water can be a vast desert.
A vast body of water can be iced over by glacier.
This was neither here.

If there were a mountain, it would have obstructed the glowing yellow ball.
A subdued yellow ball I was raised not to stare at
because it could damage my eyesight
even when it is subdued,
seemingly harmless.
A mountain would explain what I am trying to explain through words:
crudely geometric panels with slowly shifting light and shadow
over a palette of sun and rock and water
accelerating with each passing moment.
Contrast.

II.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

There were four of us.
A co worker and a good friend,
his girlfriend, a pretty girl,
there friend, another pretty girl,
and me.
Lovers and bachelors are words
used in the time of cholera.

Jacob and I worked the first shift at the shop.
Both of us lethargically went about our day,
pretending, without much effort,
because I assume we were both mentally ground down
by our roles in human apathy atrophy entropy,
that we still cared.
We were not cued by rote memory
to respond to stimuli, both positive and negative.
Working added up to a whole lot of nothing.
We were both looking for something,
anything other than what we faced.

"I'm going to look this up" I said
with a Todd Rundgren album in my hand.
"I'll do that to stave off my brain
telling me to kill myself." I laughed.
He laughed.
"Jeez, that was dark." I said

"That's why I laughed" he said.
"Skateboarding saved my life."

"Yeah yeah."

Jake showed up after he finished class.
He was told by our boss he was working the second shift.
Jacob had prepared himself,
in the best way he could,
to endure a twelve hour shift
in a basement again.
Our boss, Bob, had not completely
thought this schedule transition through.

"Let's go to the dunes" I said.
"Okay" Jacob responded.

It was hot in Indiana on August 27th, 2013.
It was rare for it to be hot this summer.
Much of it resembled and ideal Indiana Autumn:
mild, bright, breezy, warm, and sometimes more than warm
when the sun was out. Warm sunlight.
Clouds cast and dissipate shadows to the ground.

This day was hot. Few clouds cast shadows.
The air could have been water.
Why not be in water?

Jacob asked me if I could think of any friends
who would want to accompany us.
"Not here" is what I said. "You're my only friend now."
A load of bullshit because I was feeling lonely.
He called his girlfriend, Savannah.
She called her friend, Haleh.
A free afternoon between four people
who needed to get the fuck away
from their reality thus far.

Before we thought about it anymore we hit the road.
As I sat staring out the window of the car this passage stuck in my mind:

"Past the flannel plains and the blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscatine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
An arrow of starlings fired from the windbreak’s thatch. The glitter of dew that stays where it is and steams all day. A sunflower, four more, one bowed, and horses in the distance standing rigid and still as toys. All nodding. Electric sounds of insects at their business. Ale-colored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow. Insects all business all the time. Quartz and chert and schist and chondrite iron scabs in granite. Very old land. Look around you. The horizon trembling, shapeless. We are all of us brothers."


-David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Thank you David. I'm sorry it killed you.

III.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

Other people on the beach tried to capture what they were seeing with their phones. My impulse was to do the same, but I resisted. It would not have captured it properly. I've tried. It's hard to try unless given time for meditation. I would have just made another flat surface of color when I truly seek aesthetic vastness within a geometric panel.

-this guy-

The sun sank below the curved horizon. Glowing cities and towns created a faint, but luminous gap between the dark earth and the dark sky. Looking to the east I saw the reflection of the sun mirrored in the clouds, still basking in the glow. Clouds high above Lake Michigan. Colorful and dynamic clouds, surrounded by gray fog. All the previous blues were now grey and black.
    The waves receded, but continued to splash against the malleable shore. Before bits of rock, not quite sand speckled the beige shore line. Beige. It has a story too. They were black and grey too.
    Everything but the clouds were gray and black. The eastern clouds reflected the western sun with stoic and fleeting austerity and then faded away too. Humanity does not matter when aesthetics play their role in a way I rarely see these days.

August twenty seventh, two thousand and thirteen, Michigan City, Indiana, on one of Americas Great Lakes. Words and pictures and sounds and smells and tastes do not matter at that moment unless one chooses to do something with them. Even if it is simply remember them and smile. These fleeting moments

I miss you
I love you
I'm sorry
I worry I do not know you
It is dark and I wish you were here.

Aaron C. Molden

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Day: Part 2


Maxwell

    "What is it about Steph?" Zeke asked in the back of the man's pick up truck.
    "What are you talking about?" Jed asked. The black ribbed plastic of the truck bed appeared as skewed square in motion on a concrete treadmill. "What about her?" he added.
    "Why do you care where she ended up last night? Zeke asked repairing sorrow.
    "It doesn't matter." Jed said. "It's stupid."
    "It's something." Zeke said. "You definitely bring her up a lot."
    Jed looked over at Zeke with a blank face. From above they were two boys sitting against a wall within a very small courtyard. Beyond the walls was moving concrete flowing pass them. Frothy fast gray moving river water. Chunks of asphalt erupt like waves when black rubber tires rolled over these roads day after day, chiseling them down to what they once were, a pile of stones. A rough stretch of tributary in the asphalt paths. Paths no longer dictated by natural terrain. Two boys leaning against the side of a raft on a river beyond their control, whether they knew it or not. "I just want her to be safe, okay?"
    "Somebody's in love" Zeke laughed.
    "Fuck off." Jed said and then turned away from Zeke. "You don't understand and you probably never will."
     Zeke slumped his head in the plastic raft on the concrete river. Jed's head stared straight faced at the pavement flowing away from him.

    Conceive, if you can, that Maxwell cared for someone's health and well-being other than his own. His acts, words, and thoughts on a day to day basis are decided and executed  based on the notion that there are people, other than himself, who he cares about, maybe even loves. Though his actions in a public spectrum are based on a set of social and regional structures, he still also thinks, says, writes and acts on the impulse to care and love other human beings, in whatever way he can imagine whenever he can. Maxwell, though critical of humanity in certain ways, loves at least a few, maybe many other human beings.
    Formulate this Maxwell in your head.
    Describe what he looks like.
    Possibly give Maxwell a background story based on your own impressions.
    Pick a Maxwell out of people you can remember who seemed aesthetically or ideologically insistent in some way. Also, allow yourself to use your imagination, for that is the true intellectual pleasure of what you are doing. Creative writing.
    Build a character with your mind.
    That character is not Maxwell.
    This is Maxwell.

    She raised her head when she heard her shoulder pop out of place. Her hands and legs were brought together by her ankles and wrists, bound together by her pantyhose. Hog tied with her skirt above her hips. Bare white legs akimbo on the rose colored bed spread. Her clothes wadded at her joints. Her body sunk slightly into the mattress.
    "Something is wrong." She mumbled. Maxwell's left hand was placed flat between her shoulder blades. His right hand held her arm up from the bed. Her right arm had popped out of joint. People need to test the scale of the pleasure pain ratio, such is the reason for free competitive sports of all sorts, and free pornography of all sorts and free exercises of all sorts, so long as one follows the rules. What rules?
    "Something is wrong." She said. Maxwell could have imagined her thinking this when her facial expression abruptly changed:
This has gone too far.
I know how I like to feel and this is not it.
These are only games.
We are just playing too rough.
We didn't choose a safety word.
All those articles about bondage mentioned something about a safety word and I didn't take the time to establish a safety word.
It's fine. He heard me say something was wrong.
I'm scared.
I'm still tied up.
This isn't funny.
What is wrong with him? He popped my joint out of place so going to the hospital is the next step of action in an emergency circumstance. What steps of emergency circumstances?
What does he plan on doing?
I have to go to the bathroom.
How am I going to get out of here?
I have to escape or make him love me.

    Maxwell didn't need anyone to love him. She was tied up and he could bend her to his will. He could bend many to his will if he simply heard and disregarded their character. Maxwell was alone. He was happy or sad depending on the circumstance, but he was nevertheless alone. Maxwell learned his humanity could overcome a different humanity. He reacts on this impulse of narcissism anyway he can.
    "Filthy pig" he said. He spread her legs farther apart from each other. The lips of her vagina glistening pink flesh. His penis became erect as blood engorged the arteries and veins beneath his pale skin, beneath his tight denim jeans.
    "Please don't" she said, her mouth partially muffled by the mattress.

@Weirdbeardtacos commented on instagram:
-Hashtag Opium is my new Shoegaze band-
@Burritoking85 commented back:
-Hashtag Opium played a quiet, almost inaudible set last night. The crowd chanted "Quieter! Quieter!" Eventually, the conversation overwhelmed the live music. The music became a John Cage composition bootlegged on a staticky recorder. History was made that night. @Weirdbeardtacos-
    Two boys commented on each others instagram posts while in the same room, downstairs with the rest of the party.

    Maxwell pulled her right arm towards him. The gap between her shoulder blade and arm stretched her still elastic skin. Tearing muscle and sinew. An organic rubber band.
    "Please don't" she asked. The adrenaline and endorphins were surely still flowing through her body. She probably had not felt very much pain yet, but she pronounced those two words in such a quiet and desperate way. Maxwell knew that something had gone wrong for her. Maxwell grabbed her left thigh and dragged her towards him.

    It wasn't quite rape because she never said no or she never screamed out or she allowed herself to submit because she always truly wanted it because she wanted to be famous that famous victim everyone sees on television explaining how they never knew that playing with fire could somehow get you hurt.

    Victims aloof of their circumstances. It's hard to understand until it happens to you. You have to learn from these experiences, understand them and realize you are not alone.

    -As a conscious observer, is it your responsibility to dole out justice on Maxwell? Or is it your responsibility to tell the truth. Maxwell is white. Maxwell's family is wealthy, or at least wealthy enough. Maxwell is educated. Maxwell never had to worry about his future, so he could let his mind wander wherever he pleased. Keep calm. Do what you want when no one is looking.
     -A church sign I read today, when I rode my bike to class. "The wrong train of thought can lead you down the wrong train of life." The billboard made me angry, but soon I realized there are more important things to be angry at other than sentences. "The wrong train of action can lead you down the wrong life" is what I would have posted on that sign. Thought has never truly hurt anyone. Thought is the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't want to forget the weight before the straw. The last straw. Crude oil.
    -You realize that Maxwell, if not smarter than you, is at least as smart as you. He may have gone to church when he was younger, but it didn't mean what it meant to you. He never experienced the naive beauty of a child's church and he is still as smart as you. He thinks while you meditate. And he gets away with it. He doesn't kill that girl to keep her from squawking. He's smart enough to not panic and skip that gruesome fantasy. He can talk his way out of it. He'll make a great politician, someday.
     They may even swing it, if it gets enough press, which I doubt that it will, that she was the one to blame. If Maxwell were a famous child, the girl would be media fodder.

    A man, while engaged in physical and consensual foreplay with a woman, pulled her shoulder out of its socket. He knew it had happened and she knew it had happened. She mumbled a few words of protest, but they were ignored by the man.
    They had met at the party still active downstairs during this circumstance. They spoke little at the party because the music was perpetually too loud. They danced and rubbed against each other while they drank cheap beer. After an hour and a half or so they ascended the stairwell towards the house's bedrooms.
    Without much more than a frown on her face, the woman submitted to something she would have otherwise been pleased with, so long as something had not gone wrong. Energetic and aggressive sex in an upstairs bedroom. '
    After the man fell asleep, the woman snuck out of the room, holding her left arm with her right hand. She tip toed down the stairs and stepped slowly over unconscious bodies on dirty carpet. She looked to the right and saw someone she recognized. His face was slumped into a couch cushion, but she recognized his t shirt. She snuck over to him, took her hand from her dislocated arm and shook his limp arm.
    "Wake up" she said.
    "Huh?" He said.
    "We've got to get out of here." She said.
    "Steph?" He asked.
    "We've got to get out of here." she said again. "Will you come with me?"
    "Alright"
     They went to his mom's house where he helped pop her shoulder into place. She never went to the hospital. She doesn't remember who Maxwell is and she occasionally feels a dull pain in her shoulder if it is about to rain or there is a full moon. The only other damage was psychological. She asked him not to tell anybody about this.

    "She's kind of a slut" Zeke said.
    "You better fucking drop it." Jed responded.
    The man slammed the brakes of his black truck. Both Jed and Zeke's heads bounced off of the cab. "Here we are" the man said stepping out of the truck to a gravel lot.

Aaron C. Molden