Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.
February 2014 — Remember 12 Things
Commiserate is back for more poetic collaboration in 2014 and I’m glad to start the year off with a new work from myself and Dan Meth. Meth and I have known each other since the 90′s. He’s a cartoonist, illustrator, director, friend and probably my longest lasting artistic relationship. At the end of 2013 Meth and I were in Kentucky for a friend’s wedding. For some reason, we were laughing at the title of a Dave Matthews Band album. I guess we thought there were more than two things to remember. Some personal, some philosophical, some just ridiculous.
Dan Says: When you’ve been friends with someone as long as Ryan and I have and you’ve rambled far and wide together, you acquire an archive a mental encyclopedia of non sequiturs and running jokes. We didn’t discuss what this collaboration would be about before or during the process. All we needed to do was crack open those encyclopedias and start connecting entries. The times you laughed hardest are going to have just as much purpose later on as the times you cried. Fun is not frivolous and this piece became a manifesto to that.
‘Remember 12 Things’
1. When mistaken for a jazz saxophonist or mustachioed matador, soft stab your fork into meat like a professional. Take a breath deep into your lungs, let out a slow solo. All the world is a stage, but no one gets their hands on the script.
2. We get through the day, we win or lose and it is hard to tell the difference between the train and the air raid sirens. There are shouting nights I wouldn’t exchanging for anything. There are days we lost innocently; pennies from a pocket. So, considering we made it this far, considering the curtains fall before the show is over, maybe it is not so difficult to open a bottle?
3. We’re gonna die. So we better burn — be the ashes of stardust fertilizing the garden. Call Crazy Janey and the Ace of Spades and tell them we’re bringing some angel tears in a glass bottle that gets shattered. ‘cause the stars are like headlights shinin’ cross Greasy Lake. Throw those cards into the mud, everything lost in the flood, now you are being dealt the infinite game. You’ll never lose when your hair’s combed, alright.
4. You always have at least enough time for good penmanship. Even if the wind is blowing, it is cold to the bone and Christmas time too you can always get the train down to the parking lot and spell a name in petals.
5. Call me when your house is burning down. I’ll do my best to douse it with a hose that sprays commiseries.
6. The signs for the bus stop have been demolished, that’s how you know we’re still living in Rome. The roads may be paved, maybe you can drive, but you’re inside ancient future footsteps.
7. The airport bar is always bad. But you have no other options and it’s the same out there. Laugh at the decor, puff your biceps, get yourself awesome and order one of whatever they’re having.
8. Ingest at breakfast, not at dinner. Otherwise, you’ll taste the self-doubt. Self- loathing and self-importance are coiled together tightly like the tendrils of a coat hanger femur. You don’t know shit about Kierkegaarde. But you knew it complete when you wore a younger man’s clothes. And you don’t know shit about Namor, how moonlight and water makes men heroes.
9. Follow the old lady into the woods. You don’t know where she’s going. The autumn dread of being alone. Leaves under your feet crunch like time. That’s how you know it’s the best direction. Simply the best.
10. A man who met Billy the Kid could have also met John Travolta. The accordion of lives.
11. A Married Robot still needs a remote to control the television.
12. When we’re walking down atlantic avenue, remember to be hip to it. Like you are dancing under dinosaur bones as if art never mattered. You can see the world from erection to resurrection, from tango to tongue, you put the blood in the coconut and you drink them both together. Sun bouncing off the swiss girl’s hair, a summer refrain of awesome rocking and mungo jerry juice.
Dan Meth is an cartoonist/director/writer whose art you may have seen on the internet when you should have been working. He created the award-winning web series “The Meth Minute” and has made videos for Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, IFC, and MTV. On the flipside of his comedy work is a steady stream of existential and experimental multi-media art that has been witnessed by audiences in North America, Europe, and recently Asia. www.danmeth.com