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Gust – the whipping wind
wraps lovingly around dieing limbs,
life from the bondage of
limbo, a pale place between
alive and not quite dead.
Others not ready
to die – die anyway
cracked in two.
The splintered shards stab
at the free air.
The radar rumblings kick
dogs in the rear, lift
spirits out of a deep slumber.
Taken sand swirls in a twister
of wished potential – a
howling black melody skips over
cracks. A door bangs
to remind me the experience is shared.
The banging owns no
rhythm or rhyme.
The sound defies prediction.
Upper air balloons
fail to warn the
very people who set their
sails, while they sail away
to parts unkown conditions
The people, at this moment
in time, forget to care.
Like me, the people are
hiding in their safe room,
that place of phantom noises.
Fear breaks down the door;
the belching engine blows.
The Western Train Wall wails
and rolls over me.
Twitching, the grey squirrel
at the unboarded window
to scrunch his teeny nose
as he scurries by for shelter.
To know what he knows
in his parallel world,
that would be something to know.
The Anima is a-walking
on a walk about,
cleaning house as she goes.
My sister calls to check.
I think no – and say yes.
I’m not alright – but
I’m not all wrong either.
Two worriers fix naught.
And so I pray –
Once upon a time the wind stops.
The banging ends.
© October 24, 2005
The Emperor forgot to wear his clothes.
Constituents fell into clouds of Fools
from steaming golden leeks cooked in the pot
burned black, when the water boiled off sticky
temple tangled sentences with empty
words, while all the interns kissed the Lizard
of crossly Knights. Monkey shouted, “Lizard
get some air, and our leader back in cloth!”
Monkey gave up yelling at the empty
headed lights, floating up the Yangtze. Fools
don’t sense danger when their brains are sticky
cells of grey glop. They smoke a lot of pot,
and anyway the garden’s gone to pot.
Rabbits chewed the carrots and Lizard
Back-o-gammoned while the imps drove sticky
wagons on a search for royal clothing.
In looking high and looking low, the Fools
forgot, and sure enough the gas was empty.
The naked monarch screamed, “Find me empty
space! I need to piss rum, my, where’s my pot?”
Rum Man blamed the Monkey, who blamed the Fools
who always blame Rabbits hounding Lizard
smokin’ Cajun “Ah – EEE”- wearing silk clothes
from Barneys on Madison. He bought stick
dolls on three inch stilettos, who foolishly
thought they deserved a Hampton House of sticks
and bones – legends from the mist all Lizards
believe. Until the telling time empties
all trash, all waste into the sacred pots,
the Monkey wants the Emperor in clothes
now, before the Fools run off and empty
all the golden pots of sticky treasure
into pockets of Lizard who wears clothes.
© All Rights Reserved
Madrid was beautiful on my walk home from the University Of New Orleans’s opening night fiesta at Plaza Mayor last month, an event for students studying abroad, and in my case, working on my MFA residency in playwriting. Shiny marble statues adorn granite buildings with massive doors of wood or steel and line promenades that periodically give way to plazas centered around grand lit-up fountains honoring gods like Neptune, Cibeles, and (guffaw) Christopher Columbus? I was born in Columbus, Ohio. Not a name I particularly like to honor these days. The brainwashing about the ‘discovery’ of the New World was excised from my brain years ago, but Cristobal Colon is still a hero in Spain.
Literature ruled the day, especially my re-visit of Hemingway for the Expatriate Class taught by Dr. Nancy Dixon.
Most of my life I’ve had no use for Hemingway, other than a required High School assignment. His bruhaha and machismo made me puke. I gave up on him years ago, after I read the story about how he liked to shoot terns for fun. I couldn’t divorce my opinion of the man from his writings, no matter how special…or handsome.
After reading A Moveable Feast, I found myself laughing out loud. The ‘pussy’ stuff about Gertrude Stein is a riot, but then he describes her.
She got to look like a Roman emperor and that was fine if you liked your women to look like Roman emperors. (119)
Stein’s chastising Hemingway for reading Huxley hilarious;
Huxley is a dead man. Why do you want to read a dead man? Can’t you see he is dead?
Hemingway busted Stein for saying the current generation (1920) was “lost.” Hemingway goes on.
All generations were lost by something, and always had been, and always would be.(30)
I agree. My generation is certainly no exception. Look at the “lost” leadership that rose to power from my crew. Pathetic. The 70s did seem a little fuzzy in terms of definiton. That 70’s Show isn’t far from the truth – just screwin’ around, getting laid or trying to get laid – both parents still in the house, and the dad “seems” to be the boss. Glad all that war stuff is over. Time to party! There’s a token foreigner hanging around, and he’s gay, so that only takes one actor.
Hemingway is a dick to wag on F. Scott Fitzgerald and others, but then he says things like this.
By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it up by finding something better. (62)
The thrift of his writing was a phenomena in his time. After reading A Movable Feast, I let my indifference go. I love his writing, at least in this book, and honor the moments of perfection in an imperfect man. Once I realized that Hemingway paved the way for some of my heroes like (early) Henry Miller and then later Hunter Thompson, his legacy made sense. His line about “transplanting yourself” (5) rings true – as I write about things back home…
The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway’s book about Europeans grousing around the bull run and fight in Pamplona, was a painless read, but pain is all a bull gets in a bull fight – disgusting event disguised as art. I suppose when the animal groans it means he’s happy?!
Feint of hearts – close your eyes 😦
And then, there’s the other art in Madrid. I paid my homage to Guernica…
It was something I needed to do by myself. When I moved to NY in the 70s, I spent many hours at MoMA (in total) staring at this. This exhibit at Reina Sofia has no benches, so I didn’t stay all that long, but there was the pitiful horse, the pitiful women, and the stodgy bull still lording over all. My eye seemed to gravitate to the female holding a lamp, zooming in from above to shine a light on the horror for the world to see – for a world to care is another matter.
In the 70s when I first looked at this painting I had no clue about the Spanish Civil War, other than it being the cause celeb for writers and actors. Errol Flynn comes to mind, as well as Hemingway et al. For me, the suffering was (and still is) a global malady, a malady that still tears at my heart. Picasso nailed it with this work.
And speaking of Goddesses…
The day I arrived in Madrid I was surrounded by a huge Gay Pride Parade. The streets everywhere around my apartamento were blocked off. My place was near the district of Chueca, a sort of West Village gay community. I have since explored the area, and love the little shops, and cobblestone streets. At one edge of this community is the huge statue/fountain of Cibeles, the Greek Goddess of fertility. Her priests in Rome were trans-gendered males. This Goddess is the one Waite used for the Strength Card in his Tarot. I have certainly relied heavily on the strength of Cibele over the years. I’ll end this chapter of my mee-moir with a picture of the Goddess watering her lions.
Hey, Madrid is one HOT city!
La Forêt des Mânes
Je suis vide
Je suis plein
Je suis plus qu’ici!
“The Forest of the Manes thus symbolizes the way of the exile; volunteer or not, of transplantation, and at the same time as it celebrates a multitude of possibilities it acts like that of a projection, rather than a return to the origins – it is a questioning on the act of becoming to being. “
…escargot, truffles, crepes, croissants, cobblestone streets, ghostly cathedrals, flagons of wine, memories of my youth, the fragrance of today…
Viva la France!!!
AND THANKS TO YOU TOO ROGER NICHOLS
Last night’s moon was tremendous, casting veiny limb shadows on fresh snows. Eerie. A spider web of images projected on untouched canvas. Sweet sleep happened. Cozy as the brew of nectared gods. Barely had time for a dream that night. Didn’t mind at all. Fermented, cemented. River boy (©sjm)
Steve Matty is dead. Writing those words sends a chill up my spine. His birth name has some ‘ski’ on the end of it, but he was always Matty.
I sit here dumb, and wonder what’s to be done. Matty was one of those lone wolf types with arms in constant motion. His ‘from the hip’ journals are legendary among friends, of which I feel honored to have been for twenty-five eventful years. How do I replace someone who reminded me of who I really am? Impossible.
Jim Harrison (one of Matty’s favorites) describes him to a T. I’m a poet and we tend to err on the side that life is more than it appears rather than less.
(Excerpt from For The Life Of Me, I Just Can’t Make Her Fart)
...I lived off the 101 between Laurel & Coldwater on Moorpark. Vitellos (where Blake’s wife was murdered) was a great place for clams and linguini. Sometimes me and some boys would have some tables full of pizza there, although, Mary’s down on Lankershim served up a good pie. It wasn’t far from Beverly Garland’s Ho-Jo where us music types would bunk up on many occasions.
But I liked the Sportman’s Lodge much better. Not better than the Westwood Marquis where Jim Harrison and I slept and drank, unbeknownst to the other. They had a good pool there tucked away in the foliage out back with chaise-side phones…where Dustin Hoffman ranted in a tirade to his agent one afternoon and all participants gave the little talented squirt a standing ovation. He bought a poolside round for all clappers. If I’d been thinking more clearly I would’ve insisted that we hoisted glass in toast to say, “…here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…” But I forgot. It would’ve been a decent chorus.
I enjoyed staying in Neil Diamond’s guest house just down the street from the Playboy Mansion (never been there) in Holmby Hills a couple blocks off Sunset. I may have been the only pick-up truck driver in LA then, certainly in that neighborhood. Cops pulled me over for a swerve on the Strip once, but let me go when I said I was bunkin’ at Neil’s. Name dropper.
We’d smoke fat honkin’ joints by his pool and talk about French poets a lot, then ring up Dylan to check and see if we were on the right track. Bob would just say, “Quit askin me stuff like that. And, do you guys know anything about peacocks???” Why Bob?? Is NBC buggin’ you?? He’d laugh at that one. But later on when he found out that Hunter had a brood of birds, he sheepishly asked, “He doesn’t let em in the house, does he??” Which meant, Bob did. tee hee…
Everyone should know a pal like Glen d Hardin: The President of the Pacific. Barney and I named him that along with his den called the Shipwreck Lounge….lots of stuff happened there on the corner of Ethel & Sara. Gram Parsons hung there often. Wish I could’ve known him, but then he had to die for some reason known only to him. Phil Kaufman stole the body and burned it in a pyre in the Joshua Tree desert, it was a fulfilled request of Gram’s, I guess. All charges were dropped.
Phil later owned Douglas Corner in Nashville, a hang. Funny how the connections keep connecting the dots. Gary Vincent and the Swamp Honkies played good music there. That goofball Vincent sometimes played in pajamas. We’d go fishing out to JI’s driving in his pink Porsche. Nice visual... ©sjm
Matty loved to bate people and watch em squirm.
Tues Jun 28, 2005 3:20 PM ...they never let me testify in your DUI case. I was ready. Had my rap ready. love, steven –
Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:19 PM – Not guilty!!!! Video doesn’t lie! F**k it, it’s’ all a dream anyway. C
Anyway, you get the idea, lots of history, good times and bad. In light of recent events, I think his thoughts on the great beyond are appropriate.
(excerpt from River Mix)
…I’ve been spewed on recently about…rapture. None of my beeswax, choose yer own gods and leave me alone about that stuff. Figure out your predestination and then think that the god who loves you will destroy you. Go ahead. I can’t subscribe to Armageddon. I’ve got bigger things on my mind. Ain’t that right, Jesus?? ©sjm
For some reason known only to him,(to steal his phrase) Matty wrecked his truck coming down the road from his cabin in Wisconsin on the Peshtigo River, dying instantly. In the absence of toxicity, the general consensus is heart attack, based on recent complaints about his arm being numb. In human years he was 54, but Matty said he was really 14. He never told me why he settled on 14, but I can guess. I do know this means I’ll spend the rest of my life missing him.
Don’t know how to end this, so I’ll hand it over to Matty.
“Peaceful sleep within the eyes of Great Spirit is insisted. I hope so…and then to revisit as a peregrine falcon in a steep high dive towards a spinning Earth.” (excerpt from Red Topped Maples ©sjm)
I send you kisses.
I send you my mouth –
full of a fine dry Italian wine.
The oak perfume lingers
around our lips touching,
while tongues search
soft insides of petals and stems.
I send you the heavy air from my lungs,
full of bright red blood,
as I write dull black lines
on a scrap of tree that will never
be seen by your epic eyes.
The pregnant air hangs all around with our dreams,
and our potent idea of two people locked arm in arm:
in that moment – safe,
in that moment – alive.
Hey you, I send you kisses,
and a piece of tile washed back to me
from the windswept sea. This piece
of clay, only less than the life we knew,
now holds my hand, and on an occasion such as this,
I almost hear the buried sound of you saying,
‘Hey you, there you are…’
On The Beach ©2005