Saturday, May 28, 2016

Be Happy White-Folks - A Memorial Day Weekend Entertainment

Jean Baudrillard amuses me in discussing the fun-system, where a person is “obliged to be happy, to be in love…If he forgets, he will be gently and instantly reminded that he has no right not to be happy…otherwise he runs the risk of being satisfied with what he does and of becoming asocial.”

Thomas Merton got all admonitory about it, warning that "the man who locks himself up in private with his own selfishness has put himself into a position where the evil within him will either possess him like a devil or drive him out of his head. That is why it is dangerous to go into solitude merely because you like to be alone."

I don’t feel devil possessed, so I must be crazy, and a writer.

The writing life: reading, thinking, thinking about writing, sleeping, doing crossword or jigsaw puzzles, gardening, watching the birds (the yard regularly contains finches and sparrows and doves and scrub jays, but also I’ve seen pine siskins, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, hawks, grosbeaks, roadrunners, juncos, towhees, crows) and maintaining their feeding stations, surfing the internet (email, Facebook, websites), listening to Helene Grimaud playing Brahms piano concerto numero uno, considering art by Betye Saar, driving into town for groceries, fuel, and from time to time socialization at a coffee shop, or, rarely, entertaining an out of town guest; now and then I’ll participate in a community event, such as a fundraiser, or fulfill a civic responsibility, like voting. Most recently I’ve been to a birthday party and a wedding. Those are the good days.

The two journal entries below exemplify the extremes.

Wednesday the 12th

Up early, exercise. Reading. Picked apricots. Filled seed feeders. Breakfast was toast plus all the fruit that is around, peaches and apricots from here, strawberries from down south, apples from Washington State. But I did have lunch out later, and, for dinner, picked up tortillas and salsa anticipatorily and proactively at Los Altos market. Came home and wrote for a few hours and Shelley came by and we talked and talked and I was able to hand off some apricots to her and then I went back to writing.

Saturday the 15th

I stayed in bed most of the day, wishing I would die.

*******************

So anyway, here’s some literature that have recently smack me upside my head:

Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. He subtitled it “an entertainment” and that seems right because the only real sense of 1950’s Havana I got was the theatre scene where nude dancers performed in revues and porno films were shown between acts and marijuana cigarettes were sold by female vendors in the aisles. WOW! Greene also parodies spy novels and mocks UNESCO and other NGO bureaucracies, but there's no specific mention of Batista or Castro aside from offhand mention of the government vs. rebels. There are also British views of Cold War issues but scant mention of USA involvement in Cuba, and a colonial and inappropriately breezy attitude regarding torture.

The Blood of Others, by Simone de Beauvoir, (translated from French to English by Roger Senhouse and Yvonne Moyse) takes place during the German Occupation of France during World War II. There are lots of characters and much existential political talk heady to the early 1940’s but not to me today. Nonetheless, even though the story wasn’t working for me, the way de Beauvoir writes, if the translation is to be trusted, is a wonderment: time and space may change in the middle of a paragraph, descriptions are sumptuous and thick, a stylistic revelation to me and worth reading.

Out of the blue and in an entertaining and stunning manner is “A Day’s Work” by Katherine Anne Porter, which can be found in her collected stories or in a book titled The Leaning Tower and Other Stories. It is a grim, domestic narrative set in the Depression era of late 1930’s USA history. It destroys the idealized American concept of family and capitalism. It is an urban nightmare, hallucinogenic in black and white. It reminded me of the Twilight Zone if twilight zone wasn’t just weird but ugly, and contained brutal domestic violence and snotdripping drunkenness. This story scared the hell out of me, it resonates today.

From the daily poems and notifications I get via email and Facebook I came across: 
  • Two pieces by Donald Quist; one a fiction set in Bangkok, the other an essay about being black in the USA as opposed to being black in Thailand. A good writer.
  • An anthology of pieces from the litmag Drunk Monkeys, including a hilarious story called “The Island of Misfit Janitorial Items,” by Shawn Berman, an endearing tale about janitorial workers as portrayed by the tools of their trade.
  • Various pieces by Jon Leon (“Three hours later I have what feels like jetlag but I haven’t traveled more than two barstools.”)    
Which leads to another bar scene, the whole of chapter three, the notorious Golden Day whorehouse and drinking establishment of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Here’s a sample:

…The door flew open. A brown-skinned woman with red hair looked in. “How’s white-folks making out?” she said, staggering inside. “White-folks, baby, you done come to. You want a drink?” “Not now, Hester,” the vet said. “He’s still a little weak.” “He sho looks it. That’s how come he needs a drink. Put some iron in his blood.” “Now, now, Hester.” “Okay, okay … But what y’all doing looking like you at a funeral? Don’t you know this is the Golden Day?” She staggered toward me, belching elegantly and reeling. “Just look at y’all. Here school-boy looks like he’s scared to death. And white-folks here is acting like y’all two strange poodles. Be happy y’all! I’m going down and get Halley to send you up some drinks.” She patted Mr. Norton’s cheek as she went past and I saw him turn a glowing red. “Be happy, white-folks.”

That’s it. Be happy, white-folks.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

So Beautiful Artist Most Alive


ALL I KNOW IS

Well here.
You read it.


IF ANYBODY HAVE IT

The preference is hope
Very famous for beauty girl
You are a wonderful day.


OH MY GOD SHE WOULD DIE

If she knew how I found out.


SO BEAUTIFUL ARTIST MOST ALIVE

See you tomorrlw.
ThaNk s.


THE THING I WORRY ABOUT

Right?
Is.


THAT’S SOMETHING

It doesn’t matter.
You take and you.


SHE IS ALWAYS LIKE

So intense.


WHAT I WOULD DO IS

I would.


WE JUST

He’s like.


RIGHT?

But it turns out.


THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT

And he should.
He should.


A PERIOD

Where it’s just like OK.


NO I TRULY MEAN IT.

He should.


WELL I TELL YOU WHAT

Don’t be surprised if
It’s still very there.


I TOLD HIM I SAID

What?


YEAH NO

I do.


I TOLD HIM

Dial it back, dude.


SO IF YOU’VE GOT LIKE A

Let’s say.


YEAH

I don’t even know how old.


WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE ONE

To tell people.


BECAUSE SHE WAS TALKING ACTUALLY

To like both of them.


IF WE SO MUCH AS
 
No, you know what it is?


OFTEN

Of course not anymore.


AND SHE LAUGHED

She just laughed.


I’VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU

Fuck it.


WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

She’s always been like that. 


TO ME MAYBE A LITTLE

I was trying to think.


SOMETHING THAT

No.


I JUST

Yeah.


I CAN’T THINK OF IT EITHER

But definitely yes.





Saturday, May 21, 2016

Going As Planned


ENJAMBMENT AND OTHER EFFECTS

Cigar clichés like horseshoes and hand grenades
Ceiling fans with gold-plated blades
Rotating right to left, but in the
Mirror left to right and very bright!


WHAT DOES IT SAY ON THERE?

Oh, how cool. That’s awesome.


AND NOW THAT

My whole perception of everything.


I KIND OF REMEMBER

A plaid truck
In the middle of nowhere.


YES  IT DOES

A rebel skylark
In the creative cloud.


IF DUST HAD EARS

Its head would
Promote from within.


WHERE’S THE OTHER BOX?

This came out of the other box.
Oh, there it is.


I DON’T THINK THAT DEEPLY ABOUT THINGS

I prefer surfaces.


PAW PRINTS ON THE HIGH BOARD

A quickie on the dais.


TWO QUEENS

Non-smoking.


COMANCHES FIGHTING MEXICANS

Street races on the Silk Road.
Martians on the moon.


DARKNET DUMPSTER DIVING

Drunk on cheap champagne.


ORIGAMI CRANES

Melted in the rain.


STRIP MALL

Pot shop.
Locksmith.
Jade Garden.
Dollar store.
Agencia de viajes.
Tattoos.
Tacos.
Thai massage.
Shoe repair.


EXPRESSED IN CUBIC FEET

In torsos of potting soil.


IT’S LIKE OK

Right?


YOUR BASIC BLACK AND WHITE

In line at the Chinese place.


UP GOES THE PHOTO BOOTH

Sky miles away.


I STEPPED OUTSIDE TO SHAVE

And returned a year later.


MESSAGES WITHOUT CONTENT

All the rage.


YEAR

Year and a half.


YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN

Talk about.


IT IS KINDA, HUH

I mean at least for now.


WHAT HAPPENS IS

Two things happen.


DO YOU KNOW THE DISPLACEMENT?

Or the Kings - Canucks score?


I THINK I’LL RIDE AHEAD

Adiós amigos.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Bistro in the Center of Excellence


VOTED BEST RIBS

Five years in a row!


BUT YOU KNOW I WAS THINKING

Why does your stupidity bother me so much?


DIE IN A HOLE

Please.


BENEATH CLOUDS OF THOR

People are but raisins along the sands of time.


WITH MUCH THOUGHT AND CONSIDERATION

Fuck you.


IN HOODIES, ON CELLS

Dealers crunching numbers.
Saints crunching visions.


WHAT I DO IS I

No but I want to.


IT TOOK ME A MINUTE TO REALIZE

Wow!


YEAH I JUST SAW ONE ON FACEBOOK

Very cute.  I’ll find it again.


YOU SPOKE TO MY HEAD

But my brain wasn’t switched on.


AND I’M SITTING HERE GOING

What living trust?


THE FRAGRANCE OF ROSEMARY

Is supposed to help memory.
I forget who told me that.


YOU’RE SO NEGATIVE

We’re all transplants.


THE SCHEDULE I GOT

Has me off.


SO I’M AT THE GAME

Right?


WHAT YOU JUST SAID

It rang a bell.


THAT’S WHAT I WAS WORRIED ABOUT

When I got the MRI and everything.


I LOVE THAT SHOW

I’m so addicted.


HOW DOES MY HAIR LOOK?

Does it look voluptuous?


AND I’M LIKE

Oh my god shut up.


PROBABLY, BUT

It also helps to know what day of the week it is.


DON’T YOU BITE ME
 
Now be good.


WELL MAYBE THE REAL PROBLEM

If you want to know the truth.


WHAT IS PLUS MINUS FIVE?

Three.


HEY GRAB THAT LITTLE TINY GLASS

No I want that baby one.


NOT OFFICIALLY

But it was great.


YES I’M DRINKING AGAIN

But I have it under control.


HE WAS THE ONE WHO

At the same time.


FOR ME RIGHT NOW

Sort of my personal thoughts.


YOU KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO START CALLING YOU?

I’m going to start calling you Rogelio.


WE’RE HERE

And we’re over there.


O-WEES?

I’m like really?


I KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO

Let’s form a unity government!


I’M HAPPY

It’s my nature.


THERE’S NOTHING IN STOCKHOLM

That I can’t get here, Rogelio.


BUT ANYWAY YEAH

Kind of feels nice.

Has a nice feel.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Tikkler File


I’M ANASTASIA TIKKLER

And this is The Tikkler File.


MEET CHANNY ANNEE CHOR

Cambodian trapper, magician, entrepreneur.


PRAISED TO THE HEAVENS

By every Lark and Robin.


THEN CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Killed by a drone.


GUILLEM

Guy I was going with.
Doing time.
Online romance fraud.


WHEN I WAS AT SKEETER'S

I met his son.


THERE’S IONE

My niece.
My great niece.


MARCEL

Brings tune-in.


HOW HORST BECAME A FAIRY TALE

Using green teas and energy drinks.


THE RANDY STARK BANDWAGON

A million easy ways to get on board.


KARL AND INDIRA

You see them all the time.


DARIUS

Reinserted into the rotation.


ZEUXIS

My friend baby sits her daughter.


N'TANJEH AND RUDY

Prequalified and preselected.


JILLIAN

At risk of removal from the home.


FROM WEST PALM BEACH

Kai turns feral and begins composing his second symphony.


VALERIA

She’s a great one for bridge.


MOM AND MAJOR TOM

No, it’s ok.


SCARLETT KIM CHRISTINA

I’m like you don’t recognize those names?


IN THE BOOTH

Steph and Shadow.


ONNESHA

Her planet’s moon is illuminated from within.


PURVIS STARTED WHEN HE WAS 19

Plumbing, heating, air and solar.


KARMA AND HONOR

Tossing their hair like pepper trees.


ELIAS SAID

Not in so many words.
He just said.


GAYLE ASKED JIRINA

Yeah.


BUT RHONDA

Wow. Who knew?


STACEY

Got wind of it.


MARION

Had other commitments.


THAT’S RIGHT BABU

Everywhere.


AND WHAT DID I TELL MEDUSA?

Having fun is doing good.







Thursday, May 12, 2016

Throw Lines


THIS SEQUENCE

Killed in a different location then dumped.


ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE

Your current profile picture
Is always public.


THE SON OF GOD

A two-man job.


STATUS UPDATE

Unprecedented in the history of humanity.


SHYNESS

Bashful octopus, hands in pockets.


VEGGIES

Super steamy.


COLD

A heart without cake.


THE GROINERY

Your penis and pussy headquarters.


SHOE

A cute little
Strappy kind of
Sandally thing.


OPPOSITES

Casino hotel spa.
Skid fucking row.


CAUGHT SUCKING DICK

He made the shortlist.


THE DAMNATION OF FAUST

I laughed out loud.


ASSHOLE

Size of the Grand Canyon.


WRITES WHOEVER WROTE THIS

Truly moved and deeply honored.
So excited and thrilled.


 “A NEW DAWN OF TOURISM”

Peacekeepers raping and abusing the locals.
Peace prize winners calling the shots.


MORNING

Raising trust issues.


EXPRESS VIBE

Sick outcomes for Planet Slam.


BIGGEST LOSER

Playing by rules few have gone broke breaking.


AMBIENCE

People walking in circles talking
To themselves repeating
The last four digits of their
Socials over and over.


BEACH CITY PSYCH

Surfers rule.


CRADLE OF CULTURE

Somebody drives us in.
We hike out.


CAUTION

Wide turns.


HISTORICAL MARKER

Next right.


TRUTH

It takes you back.


FACT

Only if everybody already knows it.


MATIAL ARTS

Something’s missing.


FORECAST

I would say.


LEADERSHIP

Meeting cancelled.


SOLUTIONS

Dots increasingly connecting.


FEVERED

A pace I enjoy in others.


GARDENER

A green thumb that won’t quit.


LIFE

You get a do over if you did it backwards.


SAVE AS

Birdsong.





Thursday, May 5, 2016

48:88

YOU ARE HERE

Or in prison for fraud, assault, possession and bestiality.


DON GIOVANNI’S PAYDAY LOANS

Where the time is always 48:88.


I AM HERE

In this overrepresented, problematized
And complicated space.


I AM HERE

To tell you.


I’M A YOUNG NATURALIST

Are you a young naturalist, too?


THIS IS NO RANGE FOR THE SPATIALLY TIMID

Animated violence strong.


I DREAM OF RV SUPER STORES

I am huge on document processing fees.


I WAKE UP AT 48:88

Every morning.
Wide awake.
La di da.


SO I TOLD DOCTOR

You know, doctor.


RECIPE FOR FUN

Cook.
Stir.
Drain.


SAUSAGE

Made with camellias, pansies, violets and snapdragons.


LADYBUGS MELTED

Over cheezy jalapeno kale chips.


PINK WORMS

Over 5 feet of meat.


YEAH PRETTY SWEET

And it takes hardly any time at all.


SOME FAVOR FRITOS AND SLURPEES

Some ultra dwarf snow queen nectarines.


I’M KIND OF LOW ON DETAILS

But I think.


WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING

Temporary slowness.


USSA

Two political parties, one ruling class.


ENGAGED CITIZENRY

Participating at different price points.


TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH

Life gets in the way of my credit score.


KEEP MY NAME OUT OF IT

Her name's Lysette, though.
Valued customer 354829.


THE DON’T GET ME STARTED QUEEN

Straps flapping.


SHE THINK THIS A HANDCLAPPING CONTEST

That girl gets kind of scattered.


SHE’S REALLY CUTE AND REALLY NICE

Anyway.


I NEED TO SIT HER DOWN

But I need to be back in time for the fish fry.


AND HERE’S THE THING

You.


AND HERE I AM BUT

I can’t really describe it.


I RAN INTO THE WOODS

You followed.