The You-Tube vocals at the Outremont Theatre in Montreal that I linked up with, halfway down my Selected Poems section
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I was patiently explaining to a slow friend that the 'inspired' and 'possessed', but probably epilectic Hildegard von Bingen is not Crosby's German love child, when I shouted 'I don't believe it, that man writes like his sofa!', blaming my small outburst on the premature evaporation of my drink. A writer I know was interviewed from his own living room on Twittish Television, the thing a brown, soft, dull monstrosity with flowery pillows, quite static and like its owner... utterly straightlaced.
The internet’s different; no comfortable, outdated stuff should clutter it. In this spirit my site proposes to be a living document: I frequently re-think and re-draft my texts keeping them fluid and relevant. In fact, following their evolution might be of interest to international readers sympathetic to my work, perhaps even ready to do some cross-referencing as my novels find their roots in my essays and my essays in my novels, depending on which I wrote first. So that constant minor changes are aimed at reinforcing coherence and occasional overlapping a vital feature, given that modern life also plays that trick on us. Yes, it all sounds complex, doesn't it? But intricacy looms only here and there. Didn't Orwell warn us we can't over-simplify, that it leads to crypto-totalitarian or at least despotic 'truths'?
All this demands a subversive type of writing, digging deep and trawling wide, exposing where not only all that beauty but the hurt began. And on this bumpy, twisting road, cutting through layers of bunk, I frequently discover how matters really stand, affecting people in surprising or even insidious ways. My last move to recreate these findings through half-real or fully fictional characters and core dynamics leading to specific human drama. In other words, fascinating events relived not via more headlines or insipid generalities but through ordinary people, from their urgent walking shoes and the pavement of the day on up.
Now please select play, essay, critique or a novel from the navigation bar on the left for the first part/chapters/paragraphs of each literary work.
This is my first critique, from The Unbound Underground:
This book is an immensely gratifying experience. Where plot, character, language
and historical context are concerned this book succeeds, brilliantly keeping
everything focused, factual, and against all odds, fun. This book is engaging
and teases the reader with tantalizing foreshadowing, without becoming too
enamored with its own literariness. It's intelligent and emotionally honest,
while still maintaining the pace of international intrigue.
Pass it on!
ALL THREE NOVELS WOULD MAKE TERRIFIC FEATURE FILMS WITH RICH CHARACTERS AND UNUSUAL, DRAMATIC PLOTS NOT WITHOUT HUMOUR
BELOW THE TIGHTROPE
Amsterdam's Hegeraad Café. A. Steyning in black sombrero & white scarf & rapt APPLICANT prime suspect: obviously waiting for Godot... to crash. Or is that Leni Riefenstahl up there? Singing her immortal I'm forever blowing Goebbels? (Read Truth &Lies)
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Recent Revisions & Additions
Please start reading McRae's Journey, an excerpt!
These are the first 30 pages of my latest work. An
electrifying read for the modern world. This rich 122 page Novella has now been
completed in Word and I'll be searching for a US or UK agent to represent me for
its international publishing and film rights
April 2/17 version
What's your name, the pretty thirty-two year old with an elongated and alabaster Nefertiti neck asked, mechanically flicking the ash off her burning Camel cigarette, taking him in with long lazy lashes and tired but not bedroom eyes and not applying for a missionary position…
The place had a high ceiling which he liked, and also went with the neck, hair black, angular, cropped on the short side. At least something and someone of interest, he thought, the lights subdued the way the scene dished out. Her dress and stiletto steel heels intrigued him: there had been far worse starts and tarts and it wasn't as if he didn't have taste. Now, if only he could light up this unusual face, melt the tip and the tits of the iceberg, survive the occasion, maybe get laid! It was well after eleven, more people entering to frolic, the night scene speeding up as she spoke. A shot of single malt Scotch or two and this wallflower talking to him setting the pace, and yes, the whole thing a cliché, corny, but hey, she started it, she set herself up this way, asking who he was, a simple out of town dude in her opaque eyes the token house sucker. No, this lady wasn’t for the taking, uninterested in potential toy-boys, just a tad bored, not shy, and something he was about to find out.
It didn’t take long at all, after scrutinizing her he quickly concluded he could say goodbye to his promising halfie hard-on, that she was no hooker or some easy, unbearable lightweight. Just someone like him, suffering from cabin fever the way folks in sub-arctic Canada and other godforsaken places do, cooked up in some inhospitable abode for too many days and hours on end. Yes, right here in New York, why not, in some digs three floors up, sitting in front of an outdated, small-screen, black and white TV all day, ending up speaking like they did in the dozens of noir movies that she had to have watched. So he chuckled and picked up the gauntlet, trading his carnal impulse for an attempt at humor, despite her obvious attributes, a remarkable set of twins, a town’s proverbial pet shop owner’s more than magnificent parakeets, deciding to enter a celluloid and smoky dialogue with her. What the hell, the whole thing no skin off his back, like water off a duck's ass as local parlance goes, sure of himself as he was believing one is casually sophisticated and well-mannered, or one is not!
- Hi! How are you? I’m McRae! Nice dress!
- You like it? I Just bought it… second hand!
- You must be Dorothy...
- Why Dorothy?
- Because you look like...
- Dorothy Parker? You nuts? That's eighty years ago...
- So's the dress, eccentric, great...
- I'm Edna, if that's all right with you!
- Hello, Edna, you're stunning and look utterly bored!
Some women are not immediately attractive until they speak, and all their beauty comes out ready to conquer. Others are beautiful but possess the depth of a frying pan, except Edna, beating that rap on all counts! She wasn't supposed to smoke, but she didn't give a damn, her small cigarette holder defiantly pointing at a ceiling painted black and covered with large, silver pipes and ducts. The olive-skinned bartender from a place where his four letter name Pepe is a diminutive for the four letter José, but where not to make things any simpler they found it necessary to call him by the four letter name Pato, apparently waddling like a little duck when he was young. A country of abbreviations then, where men speak 100 miles an hour, walk slow and flaunt every religious and civil law they know but will carry a life-size and ornate statue of the mystical Virgin Mary on their shoulders, down crowded, cobbled streets. Celebrating her below pointed medieval hats and masks donned not to get spotted by the Devil, so avoiding his eternal punishment, paradise lost. A land where jails are filled with Mayors on the take and where debt chasers knock on doors dressed like Fred Astaire in Top Hat and Tail Coat. For the entire neighborhood to see, trying to collect by publicly shaming some poor bastard… Now isn’t that a dance!?
This barman not surprisingly ignoring the fact that she smoked, even though it wasn’t a rip-roaring Twenties, a Charleston flappers-swinging speakeasy, some kind of tobacco smoke filled Blind Pig. So, no, he wasn't American, probably moonlighting, not naturalized, illegal, not part of the national DNA, not yet, the feeling that no matter what, you can't or won’t leave. Something having changed you profoundly, that from now on you totally belong. Including blind loyalty to adolescent rules and attitudes, having nothing to do with your accent, or whether you hail from Poughkeepsie or Tucson.
- What's that you're drinking?
- A Daiquiri...
- A small Cuban lesbian?
- This one’s frozen…You're a riot, McRae! I had to run into you!
- Ancient Egyptians believed that cats have seven lives...
- Always thought it was nine!
- Me too! But anyway, that on their seventh reincarnation, they turned into humans...
- Does this have anything to do… with anything?
- You look like Nefertiti!
- I'm no cat!
- But human?
- Ah, that's for you to find out!
Forgetting that according to lore Schrödinger’s Cat could be dead and alive at the same time and often pretending to prefer dogs over humans just like that cranky old Diogenes, he had to admit this time he was dead wrong. She was cool and strangely distant, though she had asked him for his name, which didn't quite jive. He had napped a couple of hours, minus commercials, so an hour and a half probably, making him feel energetic and fine, but hoping he hadn't subliminally bought a lawn mower or thong. And a respite from what exactly, it must be asked, to which he had no immediate reply? Suggesting he's for someone like Edna to find and sort out and she by someone like him, the way, if carefully listening to her, she had implied.
- How come you're alone?
- Who says I'm alone?
- Why else would you ask me my name...?
- Often I'm more than one person…! I dislike being me… each and every moment of the day!
- A second one doing the asking… just now?
- Something like that! Does it matter a lot?
During the day cats pretend to be domesticated, but at night they go out and assassinate, and if they were the size of a lion they would kill you on your own front lawn. Dogs the only really tame ones, come evening retiring early, if they could put pajamas on. And while she’d said she was no kitten she sure played like one, with him as her mouse and lucky at that. The luck not only hers but also his, certain hours, certain places suddenly coughing up people like them, having to make the most of it, killing boredom with mystery, no time for regrets. He decided not to ask her whence she hailed, probably getting some strange answer, like the Panama Canal or Alaska, at which point he would be unable to resist asking her if she was one of those frostitutes he’d read about, a street walker from Anchorage, away on a hot, off-Washington Square sojourn. Where, in this erstwhile mechanical-bull and waiters-as-rodeo-clowns saloon, they’d just met. A venue a stone's throw from Wall Street and the New York Stock exchange, the geography where on the outside and here on the inside turbulence meets turbulence, rip tides cleverly disguised as insouciance. Those in attendance representing the times, or at least copying the times, even incarnating them and visibly addicted to the night in strobe light. Their cell phones muted but lit and shining onto faces bobbing to low techno sounds, that horrible substitute of the beguiling drums, horns and reeds of modern Jazz. Though Bach ain't bad despite his near military precision, the harmonious mathematics of sound and faith, but hard to drink to and this generation ready to party forty-eight hours straight. And all from within a sense of desperation he guessed, the fear that should they stop, everything would come to an end. Immersed in something that could only be described as a gnawing melancholy for the future, the desultory becoming a way of life, plunging, diving, swimming, relentlessly in waters which regardless and at one point will sweep them away. "Hi!", a twilight peacock spoke to the human fawn at the edge of temptation "Want to rest on my shoulders?". "But you have none!", a woman replied, " You're like the Bird of Paradise, you hold beauty, you hold promise, but you can fly me no place!" It's what he heard, or thought he overheard, but it was all in his mind and he wasn't even high.
- HELLO THERE!
He’d had trouble focusing of late, tonight no different, almost certainly becoming like them, the others out there across the aisle from them, too damn detached, even though by the looks and sound of her not this Pharaoh's wife, the only one to speak to him. But it’s hard to see what’s worse, the indifference he came to spot in others or that duality in him that Edna would later discover, at one point having asked him for his help. This man as it turns out a double agent of himself, a double agent onto himself, even his own mirror, mirror on the wall when asked Who’s the fairest of them all, saying… Goddammit, who is this bird!?
- HELLO! ANYBODY HOME?
- I'm sorry, I was imagining a Brandenburg Concerto…
- Where’s that, up the street from Brighton Beach?
- Now you’re the comedian! I was only taking in the place… All these people over there, so ready….
- So ready for what? You're strange! Perhaps the strange one! A strange stranger! Should I worry, sit somewhere else?
- What do you mean? Why worry ‘bout me?
- Who else…?
C'mon, he insisted, it looks like we make a difference here, starting with what we wear... But it was just that he loved loose fitting everything, and he wasn't even big or fat, but feeling more comfortable in something sub-tropical. Including his slicked down and dark blond hair, a Mediterranean shark tooth dangling from a gold chain below a square, a stubble chin, and a pair of red framed shades uselessly riding his wavy crown. And what happens when one tries to blend in, ending up looking like some faggoty Gino with no chest hair, and most certainly not the smartest way to project any sort of character. His upper lip not his only stiff part he’d decided to hit a gin joint, as they're called in Casablanca but only on the silver screen. Whoever wrote this, he thought, probably claiming Bethlehem sports the oldest dairy shop in Palestine, a place named Cheeses Christ... But never mind this crap, let's get on with it despite the heat and humidity and what that old Greek wrote.
He’d already taken a deep swig from his mickey before leaving his digs, to loosen up before reaching out to the perilous. Hell are the others the French toad wrote, and sounding about right. And why our man had opted for settling in that rare part of the city between stifling conformity and snide doormen falsely smiling while opening doors of tenant’s washed and waxed late-model cars and that other one, the one of anger and constant violence. Because it was Tuesday, or it just didn't make a damn difference there anymore. Many denizens on that second side making sure they always felt threatened, have enemies, impossible to have one if one’s a Nobody and therefore only a Somebody packing a gun or knife. And always at night, after it really gets dark, not the daytime darkness of life, during late hours a deep lack of self-esteem and victimhood always shining bright. Like fluorescent phosphorus, hard to kill, impossible to wipe. A place featuring assaults as career moves, rapes as a pastime. An area with no rest for the wicked, but also none for the pretty young things navigating streets pulling ugly ski caps down over fair hair, wearing oversized coats no matter the weather, hiding their figure not to get molested by the deplorable laureates of a lousy youth or other social mishaps.
So there he was, having rented a loft in no-man’s land, one none too easy to spot or to find, even though this is a strip of city much, much wider than he realized. Thinking it was the only street he could walk down into getting neither converted nor mugged, but no small part of an imagination tending to over dramatize. For there are many avenues like these, not only in New York but everywhere, cities like Buenos Aires, Budapest, Cairo. None of them paradise, far from it, but inhabited by loyalists refusing to leave, to travel for even a day, afraid of risking their urban nest, by love attached to their neighbors, their hangouts, their corner loaf, their black coffee and schnapps during good times and bad. The uncorrupted, neither Left Wing nor of the Right, inhabiting the space between Church and State, between Black and White and Existence and Drudgery, living smack in the middle of it all, life inside the bull’s eye. And all these feelings reflected in their deeply local and melancholy Tango, Saïda and Czarda, the Blues over and over again, though here in A-train New York imported from St Louis, Missouri, by railroad. The Blues itself that train, steel wheels on iron tracks clonking, clonking out an even, driving rhythm under a haunting whistle drawn out long. By speed and gravity but since then emanating from a B.B. King guitar, heard by people at music halls as if they stood at level crossings, watching, listening, one day wishing to get on. All aboard! Stories sung and strummed, of lost loves, of moving on, to Chicago or Manhattan, North, East, where hope and work and better food awaited migrants leaving the South, a Black exodus that was.
Yet Blues or no Blues, there was no such song that our man could whistle or hum, a ransom paid by the rootless, free but adrift, often lost, losing. And let there be no doubt, even when nominally free of cassocks and tanks people in most places living the fear of street injustice, songs or no songs. In their hands holding newspapers ready to sensationalize, the city on Henry Hudson’s river no exception, proving Camus’ point saying a country’s only as good as its Press. Within this quandary only they themselves representing the magnificent, the ultimate truth; to hell with detractors like our visiting resident and never worthless or drab their life, charged with all the existential passion that he lacked.
Of course, it's not easy being hip; failure instantly punished in this part of town, though his baggy pants remained a great way to hide his aroused little friend, freely sniffing the territory, just like his beloved dogs would. This dog business again, and he didn't even own a canine, never had, but as people go too many having disappointed him, though not this gal, not her, not yet, maybe never, and anyway in general mostly the result of way too high, of naively inflated expectations on his part. Still, he would give the night a try...
- So tell me, new in town? Where’you from?
- Not so new! I’ve been coming over for years! Even rented a place not far from here...
- But where' you from?
- Does it matter, you asked me a moment ago? The Panama Canal!
- Just curious...
- And this time, Edna, which one of you is doing the asking..?
- The stupid, the conventional one! I hate her!
- She can't be all bad! I remembered her name, didn’t I?
She did say she was waiting for Bernie, her Wall Street mogul friend, the one she’d met in a park while he walked his giraffe, playing Frisbee with him and his pet, the two laughing their head off, and she joining in. The neck thing, he thought, but didn't say anything as she was making it all up, testing or making fun of him. Unless this Bernie guy was real, a man loving all things taller than him, one who, no sooner said, walked through the door, in his hand, close to his mouth, holding something that looked like a smoking turd but must’ve been a Havana cigar.
- Hiya, Bernie!
- Hiya, Edna!
- This is McRae!
Bernie, a dwarf who stood tall had made it big in the financial world by selling short; his defiant, deeply ironic statement to the world. It's what Edna soon let on and in front of him would not lie or joke about. Let's sit at a table, she said, Bernie doesn't really like to look up, only to be looked up at. So they moved away, taking along McRae, as a foreign correspondent accepting the invitation, always ready to go the core, what he was trained to do and what he was here for, hoping one day it would pay off and make him a media star! No longer a wanna-be, an also-ran, someone shaping opinions not repeating them, coming up with the goods, seizing the bottom line without fail, without exception.
How's your proclivity? Kids all right? Need more help? Bernie asked Nefertiti, McRae almost falling off his chair, not sure if he'd heard right, wondering if he’d met Mother Courage rather than a stunning lounge Queen. The little guy puffed away on his cigar as he spoke, unmolested by management or any other naggers, in fact the two of them acting as if they were Royalty, which as it soon turned out they were, though not in any conventional sense. Proclivity, McRae asked? Yeah, you don't know? She runs a shelter for special need kids, doing a great job, Bernie proudly clarified, knowing what's like to be down, though not in the same searing sense.
- Bernie donated half a gazillion! Plus a yearly endowment, nothing to do with his dick!
- I saw her bring home a hurting youngster from the window of the limo, Rufus spotting her first...
- Rufus is his driver, ten feet tall!
- The thought entered my mind to offer her some cash, to help with the child...
- Thinking it would make him feel good! But also trying to get into my pants!
- Finding love's not easy…
- You thought I'd give one away…
- Can you blame a small man?
- I always give everybody everything, but never my bod!
- Your figure not public… I found out the hard way!
- Bernie, sweetie, what can I do, what can I say, I prefer Rufus…!
- I wish I’d seen you barely…
- I love you for everything… in a different way!
- Rufus saw, conquered and came!
-Vidi, vici, veni?
- He's got a dork longer than me… longer than mine!
- Not quite, believe me! Though he does make him last... Big time!
So of course after this explicit exchange which seemed to be the thing with them, the inevitable question both raised was Who the hell's McRae? A man at the end of his own, cab-driven sex-drive, of which they weren’t aware, could only guess at... For why else would anyone set foot in a setting like this, except if one’s a horny market speculator or a charity worker removing herself from her cause, a few well-earned night-time hours at one time?
McRae thereupon owning up to being a foreign correspondent for Reuters, sent to the USA to figure out the puzzle of the Second Amendment and Jesus Christ, corpses sprawled out everywhere like Nouvelle Cuisine. Why you, why now, Nefertiti asking him sweetly, toying with a man she wasn’t sure she could either believe or trust!? Then going on to suggest that as long as he knew the difference between LGBT and BLT, he was probably up to the job; McRae nodding, smiling gracefully, saying tongue-in-British-cheek that yes he’d heard one of the two involved Bacon! Both actually, Nefertiti laughed, knowing she’d been drawn into a conversational chess match. After her witty interjection McRae slowly confessing that some Kansas anthropologists settled in Hawaii where they gave birth to a child, but that his own mother ended up in Gibraltar, tracing the last known habitat of the Neanderthals to its caves, a place where some are rumored to still live, employed as surly waiters and croupiers. In this way trying to confirm his legitimacy, gaining confidence as he ranted away and not having spoken with anyone in a week, departing on a verbal tear about how 5 million years ago the Atlantic burst through creating the Mediterranean, the breaking of all waters, the birth of the soon to become classical world. How Neolithic first dwellers were followed by the Phoenicians, the first ones sailing back out from as far in as the Levant, founding Carteia at the entrance of Gibraltar Bay. The Rock becoming a place of worship where sailors made sacrifices to the Gods, before venturing out into the endless, the open Atlantic, no more coast, no more shore, only high seas and an ephemeral horizon.
Our man then going on to tell them that he lives on a nearby avenue right here in N.Y.C., not wishing to have to go far… far whence he came… and anyway usually pissed off about something or other preferring to stay in, not wasting time on encumbrances, doing his viewing and competing press reviews from home. Edna saying Holy Shit, I’m breathless; you don’t stop talking, taking us all over the place… But Bernie, more fascinated and always eager to broaden his Manhattan perspective, enquiring…
- Yup, it's the world's oldest news outfit, in 1865 first to report Abraham Lincoln's assassination!
- Sending you to take a new look at us?
- Why not? My father was a failed car thief...
- In Gibraltar?
-Doesn't it, like, own one street?
- Precisely! And why he failed, my mother eventually having to send me off to the UK, where I studied political science and journalism, picked up by Reuters, barely nineteen...
- In other words subject of the Queen, with an American side?
- We’re pro-life and pro-gun here, Boy! If you can figure that one out: Welcome Home!
McRae reassuring them he fostered warm feelings for the land of freedom, hard-nosed yet fair but widely mistrusted, despite Dale Carnegie teaching it how to sell incapable of selling itself. On top of which established structures were seemingly falling apart because of the workings of the new social media, the danger of a small guy’s main-street dictatorship, elevating a primitive simpleton or a metropolitan cowboy into office a new phenomenon…. The venting of small frustrations having zilch to do with real issues, the mixing of street potholes with intercontinental ballistic missiles, migrants with crime, guns and dope, public idiocy, the voice of nothing, beginning to mess up life for everyone. Edna though and on the other hand trying to figure out if this guy was for real, frustrated, cynical or just a disapproving snob. Some show-horse insisting on Oat Cuisine, here only to jump, nights hunt a little cunt, hoping to find a female who wouldn’t care less mainly because she couldn’t if she tried. But how to even begin judging a new duck in the pond, dressed like a Putz, speaking like some foreign President?
- C’mon, McRae, this is what's going on everywhere, not only here!
- I still have to get used to people, not children, wearing their beliefs on their sleeve...
- Constantly saying how much they love their Mamie?
- Americans having to be accompanied by an adult, as the Brits say…
- Yeah, I guess that’s us, some of us anyway, but so what!?
- Exaggerated patriotism often a lack of individual self-esteem…
- Maybe, but all of it better than tossing bombs into crowded fruit markets and night spots!
Not my markets Bernie carried on with certain pride. Money just fine with him, giving him a life and the ability to return the favor, in addition his height putting him front row at the spectacle of Edna’s crème caramel tits. Finding out she wasn't trained for her noble mission making sure her kids were well cared for by specialized assistants reporting for work at her Bronx brownstone from early morning well into the night, paid for by him. Kids needing love, therapy, and having to learn, getting mentally and emotionally freed, a halfway house for the crippled and the hurting, probably conceived at the periphery of Rock Fests and Spring Breaks McRae would later remark. Children staying with her for a week, ten weeks, whatever, cared for as long as was required until N.Y. Child Services found a permanent arrangement for them, their young parents failing, not able to cope.
Poor kids all of them, McRae said out loud, though not an especially compassionate man thinking What a classy broad, as the vernacular went and goes. A woman both submersed in and committed to this painful, puerile culture of hers. One day beginning to put it all down on paper with Viva laIndiferencia, one of his more sanctimonious forays, influenced by people like her, but also taking advantage of, in a way even using her personae as a counter force. Loftily concluding that none of this indifference a case of hipness, for what’s lacking is focus. That to love is to focus. Productions like massive Pop Rock concerts not progress but a progression, a lousy one at that, remembering that once upon a time he personally loved his Coltrane who played at a casino on the Rock, one of his heroes and up close, but today the young refusing to contemplate, only seeking to be overwhelmed, quickly, superficially, if possible surrounded by thousands, through massive amplification, showered by chemicals and blinding lights, out of sheer but piss poor peer taste.
Possibly for not having been the object of such focus himself, in the article bemoaning the lack of deep love, protesting its loss, the squandering of it. Yet time would prove, while not admitting or even being conscious of it, that McRae often would exhibit the very same sort of indifference. Out of insecurity manipulating people who were in no position to spot it, innocents like Edna, and lack of loyalty perhaps his greatest flaw of character. A guy nevertheless harping on about focus and love having been replaced by push-button passion, the explosion of brash, fast, self-serving politics, everything street, phone or stadium stamped, and everyone’s problem…. but washing and wiping his hands when it came to himself. The accusation of shallowness passing for depth, of ego-centrism for generosity, of complete indifference for friendship, but McRae denying it as applied to McRae, masterfully excluding himself under the guise of cool objective journalism. In the end even grandiosely sermonizing ours is no longer such a brave new world, but a lonely, in the end cowering crowd and strangely uncommitted one, callously ending up producing kids like Edna’s unloved little ones. But all words, all mouth, as opposed to real people like Edna and Bernie, dealing in the flesh and as best they can, every day proving their worth and their point.
So that there’s another question to be asked, and it goes… Really, McRae, is this how you lay your eggs? We’re quickly full circle with you now, aren’t we? Here to dissect America, you said, but committed to generalities, unable to connect deeply to persons, and that Coltrane nostalgia probably all bullshit. Wanting your cake and eating it too, your anthropologist mother forgetting to insist that there comes a moment any man or woman must start taking full responsibility for their acts, neither blaming the past, the system nor where they came from. Which, while sitting in judgment on entire nations, is what you’re about to do. And fat chance trying to impress Edna with this stuff, in the end perhaps better off writing an Ode To A Woman I Never Understood, before asking her to approve your dispatches to London for accuracy. Not only because it’s where the same shit reigns, but because of her having figured you out. A reporter as it turns out ad infinitum climbing while descending an M.C. Escher staircase, setting standards he doesn’t himself live up to. And all this so everyone gets to know the man who unexpectedly walked in from nowhere, everyone wondering about him. With Edna playing it cool suddenly pulling the rug out from underneath her companions, their thoughts, by blurting out…
- Bernie only reads short stories!
- Only to forget she prefers Rufus over me....
- Rufus is coming up in the world!
- Just because he owns the limousine I paid for!
- We all own things others paid for! But earned nonetheless..!
- I was tired of always walking twice the distance of anyone else, so I got myself a driver!
- What a guy....
- Also, so people would take me seriously!
- You could have hired a stalker… Without one, one’s a Nobody these days!
- To help keep me in the public eye?
- That's not the crime! The crime would be… to screw the crowd!
- Never trust a circus claiming the tallest dwarfs in town. I'm the real thing!
- You can say that again!
Edna and Bernie going at it verbally, just before the music slipped into a louder mode. He'd been out sporting his signature lapel carnation at a basketball game in Madison Square Garden that night. He wasn't crazy about all those numbered jumping beans, their ugly flying armpits, but enjoyed sitting courtside betting on slam dunks with an Italian pasta man he had acquainted, getting served by him during many a Wall Street lunch. But now it was getting late for him, he'd come in on the off chance Edna would be there alone, always hoping that one night she’d cave in, but now with this Anglo/American press character at her side, his dream becoming mighty damp on the wrong side. It was the moment Rufus arrived looking for them, wearing white gloves on black skin and an enormous, glistening grin.
Hello, Sweetie, Nefertiti said, caressing the large hand inside the cloth glove at the end of an endlessly unfolding arm, asking if he'd come for Bernie or for her. First the King, he said; then I’ll drive you home… Take your time, she said, in no mood to carouse, to sugar off her man that night. I don't want to leave, got here late, today one of the kids had a small crisis but in the end did fine, so give me a break, I need to unwind! Besides, she added, I'm in good, safe company: Rufus, darling, this is McRae, he's from the UK, a writer with no first name. She wasn't going to be deprived of her night out and ready to settle in, unless the substances started to kick in, people letting themselves get driven by a D.J. guiding them to their alter life, which she didn't want to see, wanting no part of that scene. Hello McRae, Rufus said, not sitting down, appearing restless, having had something different in mind for the evening, but no longer unloading in the Bronx it seemed, his gal not up to it, thinking hard about where else to go, what else he could without upsetting her.
I'm out of here, Rufus, if you don't mind, Bernie interjected; help me off this fucking chair, it chafes my thighs, if that's what you can call them… All righty, Sir, the black man spoke, saving words for another day so as not to mince them in this strange, pulsating place...
- Don’t Sir me, Rufus…
- Nice to meet you McRae, I still got work to do!
- Call that work?
- What work?
A simultaneous reaction, Nefertiti unhappy with his remark, what it implied, jumping right over Bernie's little sarcasm, aiming at Rufus' frankness, symbolically kicking him in the balls, followed by the two men furtively bowing out into the dark. Like David and Goliath wounded for different reasons, still brotherly, leaving the two who remained to live out the night as long as their patience lasted. Rufus, perfectly getting her drift no longer planning on returning to pick her up, leaving her to McRae, saving his tryst for one later on in the week, if he was lucky, till then sticking it out in Harlem, so to speak. Revered there not least for his limo, never stolen, never touched, a symbol of the kind of success some of his people were approaching, he and that vehicle defended to the hilt, belonging to all, the man and his super long vehicle… all theirs. A superb front guard of a community looked up to in many ways not just for his height, a man wise enough to respect his lover’s wishes, no tiffs, no word, no bile. Edna abundantly demonstrating she’s a free woman, no cruel bitch like Bovary & Gabler, something Rufus better accept and understand, which he did, having no clue to what or to whom she referred when she said that, as far as he was concerned sounding like some foreign firm of lawyers or auditors.
- I don't like to be told what to do, but I won't stay late either. Those kids of mine get up early...
- I'll see the night out in here; seems I just arrived!
- Try pick up someone else?
- I didn't make a move on you, did I…
- I know...’twas I. Off-setting the insanity...
- Of New York?
- No! The century!
Whereby they chatted some more, with Nefertiti fascinated less with the man than with his job. She’d never travelled overseas, not even south to Ipanema, Iguazu, Iquitos, though she was acquainted with Ichituat, but not right now. Only by train once having gone West, flying over the big yawn between the East Coast and the Rockies, crossing the big mountains by railroad, its ravines and streams, its bears, bison, crossing elk and the Andreas Fault, something that as a girl she’d always dreamed of doing having seen those silver, domed continental Sleeperette trains on film. At one point asking McRae for his informed opinion on London art, the Tate Gallery, refined cold-cut artists like Bacon and Freud even though much preferring vibrant, protest ridden, subway graffiti, but stuff she’d picked up on in sections of Sunday’s N.Y.Times. Plus that she wasn’t particularly interested in his native Rock by the sea, but yes, in Rome, Berlin, tall men, great food, and whatever happened to the Guillotine. McRae quite taken, intrigued by the vaguely informed woman, who spoke well and seemed to know enough but also drifted all over the place, in reality having been nowhere, not yet, for her sake the best perhaps still to come.
But in the end conversing wasn’t easy in a palace filled with constant sound, action, distraction, so that they left it at that. With him at one point, later into that night, leading her out to get a cab only to come back in for the hunt and more drinks at the bar. Pato his barman and Iberian neighbor failing him miserably, no great help in lining him up with some other gal, with the late night hunter called McRae slowly giving up on the idea. And, Egyptians or not, perhaps do well to dwell on a mantra that had come to him selectively not long ago
If a cat has 9 lives
And I had 7 cats,
It may be said that I had 63 lives within my own,
With these doing whichever what
None to impose, but a few to waste perhaps,
The hours of dolce-far-niente, of contemplation,
But also of frustration,
In which pain, real and imagined, wouldn’t, couldn’t stop
But here I am, at 3 a.m, 3 cats to go,
and still discovering, hoping...
For more cats and for far fewer of us,
So doors to earthly bliss
And yes, he had to admit he felt a strange attraction to the woman he just sent home and into the dark, someone he was destined to meet again, until he too got revolted by the D.J. and his screeching vinyl disks now shaking him to the core, remembering and paraphrasing Beethoven’s quote, saying Never break a silence, unless you can change it for something… superior. But as this was not his expertise he asked for his bill, deciding to go home still lusting after Nefertiti the way he fantasized about America. Walking the walk this time, back to his place on the avenue to calm his urges, but during the days and weeks to come likely striking out on all counts as life on the wrong side of history, yes, was his specialty and had a lot to do with the way he carried on...
All his people thought that Rufus by banging the shit out of Edna banged the shit out of America, even a score, strike a blow for the downtrodden, the humiliation of being dirt poor in the richest city on the planet. Where he came from this not only his badge of honor, but something to live up to, which he did, though not in the way everyone thought. And it’s true, his affair had started out as an act of subdued revenge, stealing love from a daytime vanilla white woman, alabaster-at-night owner of a complex challenge, caring for the disadvantaged, her Charity, yes, but holding on to everything she had. When he still owned next to nothing, except for that limousine... Their arrangement eventually blossoming though, beyond something involving only bodily fluids into a deep asymmetrical partnership, beginning with that invalid child he saw her carry into her house, one late morning ride, bringing Bernie to Wall Street, where trading had started, but not life. Those vague feelings of certain envy and resentment over the early months growing into reluctant admiration, especially after finding the child wasn’t hers, paler than pale but of mixed blood, entirely on her own taking it home for the first time. With him soon thereafter wanting to copy her flagrant display of goodness by starting to look with different eyes at the hungry, lost, B-ball playing kids on the abandoned lots of the 'hood’, where he parked his limo at night. Though it wasn't food these kids were lacking, but chance, opportunity, which he knew all along but ignored as a fact of life. The time the thought of redemption began to enter his mind, trying to hitch that wealthy, that horny little patron of his, signing him up for his cause.
- Bernie, you never ever came back home with me!
- Don’t give me that! You’re hiding us, because we’re white …
- I thought my streets would worry the crap out of you!
- Or are you scared? To be seen as an Uncle Tom?
- I'm not scared! I’ll always be me….
- It's the very first time you’ve asked me over! What’s on your mind?
Bernie no fool, Rufus wasn't going to pull any wool over his eyes, coming clean straight out of the gate, asking him to help not only Edna’s kids, but any time soon some of his own young monsters, waiting in the wings, waiting for something good to break.
- This new concern of yours… Is this Edna again?
- I got my own dreams!
- Last time, you stole mine!
- I got laid, 'cause she asked me in...
- It was my turn!
- Of the car you mean, the wheels of justice? What can I say...
- All right, set me up in Harlem, and I'll think about it.
- Ho! Ho, on the range! Where the dears and… Ladies and Gentlemen … May I present… Mr Cunnilingus himself, BERNIEEEEE….!
- Wait a second, wait a second…I never went down!
- Yeah! But only on the Titanic!
In some languages the word career meaning road, and roads in Harlem short, violent, unfit even for break dancing. Where Rufus began to make his move, learning about Churchill accusing the Hun of being either at one’s feet or at one’s throat, and Washington saying the same thing about the Arab, pointing at unspeakable Arab on Arab atrocities, those demanding Give me your goat, Where’s your throat, then jubilantly shout Isn’t God Great, capable of crying only for their own!? But asking where and how did the Hill face its own lesser sins, how does it deal with its people, or is it part of the problem that it ignores them, the conflict never at home, always ‘strategic’, and far? Of course one day someone like McRae writing that to some degree this was their own doing, the result of glaring complacency, too often turning backs on family strength, the fortress most propelling White, Asian and Jewish dominance. But what the hell did they really know about two centuries of smug subjugation, denied education, the cruel justification and justice of it, systemic suffering dished out on the black nation. This country, his own, Rufus felt, a loveseat with two toilet bowls Dada style and Marcel Duchamp’s creation he was told, only less laughable. One on which two parties can turn towards each other and still look away while saying little nothings, but upside down the one he was sitting on...
Still, you can’t take away he would tell his urchins, crack not the track, dignity and identity having nothing to do with goofy dress, hot wheels and hub caps. Forget your rabble babble rap, your smelly gyms and rings, your pool halls and electronic galleries, those furnished nightmares. Get off your ass, he chastised them, be no one’s patsy, don’t be fodder, when you get older work twelve hours a day, no heroics, no holdups, not appearing on the News. Admired, not platinum members of the Planned Victimhood Association, just as ugly as what causes it. That if great white sharks and great white dwarfs can do it, so can they! By converting resentment, he insisted, into meaning. Arbeit MachtFrei, labor sets free, it really does, nothing to do with the hijacking of an otherwise noble dictum by barbarous Nazis and not even remembering where he got all this. Bernie’s voice probably, in the background, always busy expanding his mind since he couldn’t do much with that poor body of his, and because they talked a lot, but anyway those youngsters listening, getting his drift. For them crime, despite rebounding Black pride, still an insidious temptation especially after Puerto Ricans replaced some of the new Black middle class moving on and out, triggering violent turf wars off 125th Street, the place where in a theatre Apollo lives, but wasn’t born….
Then again, there’s no condom against crime, no condom against this infection, once in a gang like getting sucked into a whirlpool, only very good swimmers coming back up and out, which they knew all too well, but still couldn’t always resist. Only to suddenly and while shooting hoop Rufus making them laugh, telling them how the asteroid that crashed on the White House lawn turned out to be a huge pile of shit originating in outer space. Proving there’s life out there not thinking a hell of a lot of the building’s carefully emasculated occupant. And had he been in on it, McRae probably pointing at Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture of the Pope getting struck by an asteroid he saw exhibited in Madrid, raising the question if this was divine punishment or conclusively proves there is no God… Either way, doing Harlem’s prone streets no good, an anecdote of little or no consequence, but after speaking with Edna Rufus still hoping to get to know the man from London, not to shoot the messenger, but enlisting him, the foreign press, the same way he was trying to hitch old Bernie to his cause. Politics and crime: motive, means, and opportunity, or jealousy, revenge and profit? Yes, Alice, it all depends what you find … behind the looking glass!
- You gotta write about a U.S.A still not understanding Blacks, that we're not scared of the death penalty!
- That it’s our last stand! Publicizing our cause!
- A country never taking the time to face itself, having no…
- God shivering?
- I love this country! It’s all I have, it’s all we’ve got…
Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull at Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee knowing a thing or two about this situation, their survival at stake having fiercely fought the Keshagesh, unlike those who fight after it’s all over, slights mostly overcome. Like some Irish, some Basks, ETA and IRA, in Belfast, Bilbao, when it no longer matters, the people not rising, only the odious. Too late now, Rufus thought, we’ll do it our way, minds remain small but the world keeps growing. Open them with the help of people like this UK dude, shame the vested, telling him this in a language a foreign correspondent understands, almost pulling it off. Speak like your target, not only a dictum but the good old way in the USA, the salesman in an American for better or worse never quite dead, never quite gone.
- Shaming them, like Spanish Fred Astaire debt collectors do?
- Excuse me?
- Just a thought. Don’t forget Grant won, Lee lost, take it from there!
Rufus spotting McRae on the avenue one day, recognizing the guy he’d left Edna with that night, deciding to find out more about him. The correspondent looking more normal in daylight, dressed slovenly, a segment of the N.Y. Times folded under his arm, the limo man having to look twice, honking his horn before pulling over coming to a quick stop. He’d dropped Bernie off at work including his faith in, better said, use of Wall Street, and rolled down his smoked glass window, or new window as Edna would later have it, one opening on to broader roads. A chance encounter, both men looking at each other with certain trepidation, like rivals, one over a woman they both coveted and never having dealt with a foreigner, the other because of his insecurity about ‘reading’ a new and dark face, its expression, its eyes, its lips, the intonations, and anyway minds in general having to be cracked open like small bank safes. Kind of stupid by now, London just as colored and rainbow, grow up, McRae, don’t preach, apply, it’s no longer a cliché, the world becoming a melting pot where faces don’t matter, only the attitude and ways. But then, you can take a man out of Gibraltar, but you can’t take the Rock out of the man. Like the time he berated a Chinese businessman for wanting to open a restaurant there, calling it, hold your breath, the Wok of Gibraltar. McRae, still young and from the somewhat reactionary side of the Strait, giving him shit for being so crushingly stereo-typical. Quite a load of snootiness for the kid of the Colony’s star con man, though his mother highly seduced and educated. The man condescended to shouting ‘I wok your dog’, which he would, wouldn’t he, though again, McRae never owning one, but if he had probably calling the bitch Virginia, Virginia Woof, equally corny and nothing to be afraid of. “You plick want shlimps?” the man persisting, daring the young hothead, with both eventually laughing it off at the border, the sea, the end of each descending lane there.
Edna restored my faith in people, and Bernie, I have no words to describe the practical goodness of that little man, I hate tall dwarfs, Rufus exclaimed. I call her Nefertiti, McRae corrected, because of her bearing. Who’s that, the other asked, not exactly versed in archaeology and antiquity, but understanding his lover just got complimented? A noble woman, a Queen of Egypt, an indescribable beauty, McRae embroidered, the limousine’s owner silently accepting his description, wit and sentiment not always in need of words by him. They had sat down and chatted at the delicatessen Rufus called Delinquentessen given its lukewarm cup of Joe, tepid pastrami and a clientele not so hot either, whispering early and secretively in its brown leatherette stalls. A place he evidently had visited before, probably with Bernie who was hungry most of the time, always eating to boost an insignificant physique crowned with no small mind. The eatery smack, right next to where they had run into each other just now and where he quickly parked without getting ticketed he hoped, the limo dark and official looking, Bernie’s idea, always a step ahead, despite those puny, short legs of his. But this trick doesn’t always work, a cop car eventually buzzing the vehicle, grim-faced Rufus rushing out from his unfinished fast meat, the mustard, the sliced pickles, the coleslaw and rye bread, to avoid a slapped on Manhattan parking fine. The cop lying eyes on the black, running chauffeur, aggressively reaching for a riot baton, McRae not seeing this or that it was the highly predictable part of a war of attrition, played here over and over again.
At the same time McRae also realized that he was the object of a fishing expedition, victim of the awakening of a conscience, but he didn’t mind. He really had no business getting mixed up in the national mess, only reporting on it, but Rufus was right, the Statue of Liberty was getting smaller, her torch scarcely visible, especially during long, long nights. The U.S. a magnificent beast, apt to trample, not always roaming peacefully. And he wasn’t here to knock it as much as to find new light, the home of the brave in the end also and always having been on the forefront of change. An imperfect reporter like him, from a small nation, born into vulnerability, forced to go out to grasp the big picture, searching where it all came from, but finding those inside that large picture were also trapped by a horizon, be it a different one. Yet as jobs go, getting in on a nascent rebellion, in the air, as yet undetected, hopefully making editors drool and go orgasmic, the birth of a scoop too good to ignore, even though the outfit he worked for, or said he worked for, was known more for quick, incisive news blurbs than for trenchant editorials.
This then appearing to be the beginning of Rufus’ hesitant, his mostly innocent attempt to have the hurting rainbow crowd join him in his not for much longer dormant rage. By way of international exposure! Recruiting the madding crowd, including progressive Latinos, though not the lunatic Caribbean way, Cuba, Venezuela, no bread, no tampons, each 5000 Generals… Bernie, inspired as ever, telling him in the car one day that rampant life kills life, and why in order to protect it locusts deliberately reduce their own number, or, job done, ant armies start walking in endless circles until they drop and why there must be bacilli, viruses and a food chain. As if the crazy, destructive behavior of mankind, its pogroms, its bloody outright wars, weren’t enough. But to discard dogmatic Socialism, rampant Capitalism largely beneficiary, doing the job, though in urgent need of not being rigged, always aiming for decency and so the marsh to be de-swamped, its trash to be placed on the sidewalk. And above all its caste of deadly errors, the voracious, to get tamed by free radicals like him. A mere wash-up not what’s needed, soaps and disinfectants keeping jackals smelling like roses not required, long ago deciding better to beat the system at its own game and from within, a ninth inning, fourth down, eleventh hour for him, and who knows, American life. With Rufus telling himself, now why couldn’t I have thought of that?
Nefertiti was doing a Glenn Miller, a trombone solo on the toilet bowl, a recital an ill-closing washroom door could not muffle, her kids cracking up, but a concert interrupted when the telephone rang. It was Rufus, calling her about McRae with whom he’d just eaten a smoked meat sandwich, afterwards getting hit with a zealous cop’s parking ticket handed over to him after a loud, two-way shouting match.
- What are you doing?
- I just pulled a Glenn!
- For heaven’s sake, girl…!
- Loose stool beats a loose tool any time, to put things in proper perspective!
- Edna, stop it… And stop accusing me! I’ve done you no wrong!
- My kids love music, I’m only human!
- I could have told you that!
But you never did, she said, which wasn’t true, Rufus again using words not leaving his mouth, quickly shifting the conversation to the man she’d been the first one to meet, but of whom she still knew so very little. That he’d asked him to write about the changing times, reporting in from the outside, or better still, from the inside reporting out.
Daylight Savaging time
A submarine scene
They come from below
They come from the top
They come from all sides
Life and death on the reef
They swim and they float, they crawl and meander
Dizzying colors and stripes
Weird wall eyes
Creatures straight from outer space
Just landing and having to eat
Stinging, snapping, swallowing
But why the horror?
This is worse than New York!
SATIRE IS NO JOKE
THE NUDITY OF SOLITUDE, THE NUDITY OF SILENCE
Light of day is beautiful, existence terrible sometimes
BELIEF IS CONSTRUCTED MEANING
The difference between religion and a sect or a cult is that the latter punish those who want to get out. As such they have criminal underpinnings because they hold down believers as prisoners, even though some of the indoctrinated may think they're free, Stockholm Syndrome style...
The problem starts when religions become huge cults, because they operate like one.
A NEW LIFE? REALLY?
THEY'RE FLEEING, INSISTING ON BRINGING ALONG ALL THE BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS THAT CAUSED THEIR UNSPEAKABLE SUFFERING... YOU SEE, THIS IS THEIR SACRED RIGHT!
INSTEAD OF TRACING THE HUMAN GENOME, IT IS SOME HUMAN THINKING NEEDING TO BE TRACKED, MAPPED AND CURED...
Just had my stomach checked by a very pretty nurse, and in it she found three butterflies
Looking Back Forward
Days can’t be captured, moments only superficially by way of photographs. But he would stop time, cage fleeting happiness with the simple trick of looking forward 10 years, then immediately reverse from there, so enshrining the now....
Socalled wise old men usually turn out to be literalist old farts having learnt nothing
LIFE SUGGESTS ONLY THE POSSIBILITY OF MEANING
If we are the opposite of nothingness, we should prove we merit it every single moment of the day
Empathy and Intelligence are very closely connected
- Faith in Globalism:15 million Bibles a year produced in China, for worldwide sales. Also clucifixes, with oh without Chlist!
- False Shame: When and where to kill your own is NOT a dishonour on a family!
- The Joy of Slaughter: To savagely destroy another human to express-order your front seat in the afterlife, essentially rejecting all earthly life, including your own, so swindling your very Creator. And you say this is not absurd thinking? But then, how dare you cry, wheep, wail, bemoan your own, which we see you do, while you send your sons to take down people none of you knew, and whose only crime it was to buy food at an outdoor market?
To be happy is to be free of any kind of fear, which has nothing to do with being fearless
When only one of the two is inevitable, it's not life that is absurd, but death
Some men are so intelligent, they actually know how to cry
Sillas Salvaescaleras is not a Greek philosopher, but a Spanish stair lift
Wittgenstein struggled with his own super intelligence, which at times had no place to go. Saying language is a straight jacket and often misleads, that the word or sound 'snake' for instance has nothing to do with the animal. But 'snake' is only an aural tag to differentiate it from 'shoe' or millions of other items, alive or inanimate. Yet when at a certain moment both are absent, become abstract, unable to be pointed at or touched, everybody understands exactly what's being discussed. So what's so misleading about this? I rather think a word, a sort of reference number by way of characters, promotes clarity and exactness, facilitating the truth instead of circumventing it...
What say you !?
" I seem to wake up on the wrong side of history, every bloody morning!" he sighed.
Dialectic Materialism evaporated when Marx & Engels evolved into Marks & Spencer
If only Putin listened to Rachmaninoff
hostile acts emanating from a deep-seeded inferiority complex, not only confirm but perpetuate the rot
After dry cleaning not only did my suede jacket shrink, but logically also its button holes. Though not its buttons, so that as a result I cannot close the damn thing anymore. Let this be a message to astro-physicists: when the whole shrinks, the holes get smaller!. Or perhaps I should have studied gynaecology...
A State ofFlaw and Order
People not only get the Government they deserve, they get the Religion they deserve
Stanislavski was not a Methodist
It is not life itself that is surreal, but one in which Magritte and his mockeries are taken seriously.
(this is not a computer)
(this is not here)
Canadians are cold-fashioned,
On Mordecai Richler: 'Twas the bastard Davidoff, and
his pal Old Glen whot got a damn fine writer!
Middle East: And Aristoteles Wept
- MODERNITY: I met her on the Internet, and her name was Lydia. When she signed off XL, I didn't know whether she meant Love & Kisses, that she is Full Size or a Roman 40 year old
- I was busy paling in comparison to almost everyone, when the phone rang!
- Who called?
- A savage beast!
- What kind of beast?
- A beast called... Hope?
- Couldn't kill her..!
- Cage her...?
- Can't live with, can't live without her..!
FATALISM IS DEFEATISM
I have started drafting a novella, under the working title
Ulysses and the Man-o-War
Sub-title: Frankie & Billy
Every day, early, when a still gentle sun rises over an east facing promenade, the breeze as always toys with waves rolling west, and a young Frenchman named Billy walks his Labrador on its hard yellow clay. It is known as the Paseo Maritimo, from where he hopes to catch a glimpse of his father taking his morning swim. And where they meet after Frankie rises earlier, the way parents always seem to, afterwards having breakfast together, chatting, beefing, reminisce. The place from where the young man’s eyes never fail to drift towards northern Africa, beyond the azure, and from where a generation ago his family had left.
But then, suddenly, that familiar scene changed; the weather, as so often occurs, within minutes turning radical. And it worried him, for he still hadn't spotted his old man in this rapid squall, born over the strait of Gibraltar where Mediterranean and Atlantic skies instead of kissing, sometimes brutally collide. Ochre the earth of the Spanish coast, striped with the colour of old blood and new, like its flag, its history, its dances, its afternoon, summer bullfights, yet this morning distant fishing boats quickly pulling in their bobbing nets, seagulls crying, warning each other, preparing for strong shears and gusts, and all the anchored oil tankers off the Rock solid but bucking nervously on their chains, agitated, like the young man’s mind. Not necessarily by those dark clouds rising on the horizon, it wasn’t the first time he had seen them, or his dog running wild and excited, chasing balls of flying dust, but because his father Frankie hadn’t come home last night and might have gone straight to the beach, take his ritual swim and wash off his nocturnal sins, at least it’s what he hoped.
But he saw no swimmers in the early morning water, his eyes scanning the surf for a bald man slowly trawling parallel to the sand as long and as far as he would last, and before letting himself drift over shallow submerged rocks so as not to get cut and ripped. Then step out, heaving himself out of the sea to let his wobbly legs carry him onto the shore. The Romans calling this land Finis Terrae, end of the erstwhile world, but now a place where Frankie swam and dealt with his worries, his doubts and the constant memory of what Billy, the son, thinks continues to be his father’s greatest defeat.
The tide was also rising, the new wind whipping south-westerly, the waves already three metres high, pulling away at a man and his struggles, a man in the centre of one, two, and now three storms, the time of year the water chilly so that he would last half an hour, not more. A man dressed not in bathing suit but in an ordinary shirt and torn jeans, having raced into the kelp and froth already in distress, for Frankie was there all right and invisible to the few people walking alongside the beach, including his son. A man in a battle to leave it all, first the booze, suddenly, too suddenly, then the other pain, the constant pain of paternal betrayal, this morning in a state of delirium tremens, swimming with spastic, fisted hands, kicking, kicking ferociously into those empty yet loaded waves, thinking if not to beat them what are these tides for? Tsunamis to be fought, in his pastis, his mickeys, his endless pitchers of Ribera del Duero wine. Fight, kick those tides as if they were time. And time the space in which the trust between men can get destroyed.
Ideologies are made for small people by small people, and nearly always wrong, Frankie used to think. Even so, they too are tides, and for the masses, but what about the links between a father and son? No not between him and Billy, the kid, but between his own Dad, and him. Sure there are tides in paternal love as well, but never, ever the end of respect. Thinking, the thinking, the years of humiliation never letting up, intensifying every dangerous day, more, more, especially now while he battled and swam, the jellyfish invading him, a Portuguese man-o-war nearly engulfing him, stinging him into a swollen, bloody mess, cut into by the salt, blasted by the floating, pounding sands, on his eyelids, his neck, the still rising sun beginning to strafe from in between the sudden clouds.
(Only a start, more to come.... But in order for me to finish this classic story I need to spend 3 or 4 days in each Oran, and Marseille. It ain't far from southern Spain where I reside, but I just don't have the moolah right now!So I've been thinking about crowdfunding, or krautfunding as my Berlin friends aptly pronounce it.)
What if… the brain is like a face, pretty, ugly, elongated or puffed, skin marked or not, loose or tight, of colour indistinct, wrinkles deep, nose pointed, dull, long, short, chin double or tight, lips large, thin, ears flat, wide, eyes oblique, dark, myopic, below brows bushy, frown sudden, smile furtive, muscles of laughter relaxed, uncertain or fake, cheeks hollow, teeth not stained, but uneven, gums pink, jaw sunk, suddenly jutted in ways undefined, hair patched, black, brown, blond on grey turf, memory inscribed long ago, opinions caked with acts to match, whether it is night or day, dry or wet, hot or cold?
Or more like a landscape, a voyage in it, through it, on it, in which case desert, forest, swamp, plain, mountain range, ocean, beach, ice field, a river, a lake?
Would it help navigating our fellow, our selves, circumventing calamity, heartbreak?
-Beckett's ugly beauty: When he opens Murphy with the Joycean, somewhat awkwardly phrased, yet beautifully poetic The Sun Shone, Having No Alternative, On The Nothing New.... he admits that, by itself, the sun shining also has nothing new, so that what we have here is the Nothing New shining on the Nothing New, and not so much a reverberation, as perhaps a lazy start.
- In his hand, close to his mouth, he held something that looked like a smoking turd, but must have been a Havana
- Remembrance of Things Past is a lousy translation of Proust's A la Recherche du TempsPerdu in that all things remembered are in the past, making this a tautology. In Search of LostTime is only slightly better as search and loss are mutually implied with 'lost time' sounding like a factory problem. The latter also has no rhythmic quality whatsoever, and why I would settle for Of Days Time Forgot! But then whoever came up with the simple movie title Time Regained hits the proverbial nail right on the head.
- Tombs filled with the ignominious: Are they also set free?
-And A Reminder To The Haughty!
Never forget, Ma’am, sitting down at dinner, in your splendid gown, adorned with your finest jewels, that the waiter's balls, however-well-covered, dangle only 23.5 cm from your face.
- Now, may I have your over-reaction!?
- There is nothing sadder than an empty theatre, except for that desperately hurting child, outside!
And then this small bed-time thought
- True intelligence creates awareness
- The first notion it produces, recognising the self
- The second notion, to ask the self a question
-This question: Why?
-The third notion, finding the answer
- The one immediately implied, pinpointing purpose
- Man in search of purpose as much as needing a morsel of bread, a gulp of breath
- The difference that he can make the former up, compromising his true intelligence, and a greater tragedy than death.
- Off with saviours and amulets.
I live below a cubistic looking mountain, about the size of Mont Sainte-Victoire, Cézanne’s domain.
No, it wasn’t painted by Braque or Picasso, but in the ever changing light of day appears that way, delineated against the endless sky, an anchor, seemingly altering its appearance every hour, its sharp yet subtle angles stacked upon each other, reaching up towards its Matterhorn-shaped top.
Flat planets are dead planets. There would be no life on earth without constant volcanic action added to solar heat: humanity following flora and fauna in their footsteps, the last one to join the biological fray, and why I cannot live without my mountain, my life, itself the child of tectonic might, tenderly watching over me.
- WHORES DON'T MOAN...
-My gay pal William who works for NATO in Brussels brags that each time he travels to Washington, he stays in a Five-Star General. (He doesn't like Rear-Admirals, especially in choppy seas)
- Woe, begun! What strikes me in nature is that prey never fights back! No anger, no indignation, something that I would call unbearable equanimity, and acquiesced brutality also common in parts of the human world. For is it normal to go gentle into that not so good night?
- I'm a friend of hours
-Gravity, that tireless sculptor of flesh and earth
Magnificent! Nearly every frame a study in camera composition. I wish I could paint like this, in prose!
- Some will kill to belong, even when what they believed in has vanished long ago. Conformity a compulsive abstraction, or is the excitement of doing something significant even in theory, too strong for small minds?(Moravia/Bertolucci, the film)
- Do a story on a sneak love theft during a large public calamity, called: Under Cover of Conflict, like in a warzone plotting to steal a neighbour's pretty wife by anonymously denouncing her husband and having him arrested and eventually executed. Then patiently consoling her, consoling her, consoling her, with her coming to think Who is this wonderful man who by miracle came into my life?
- During her worst moments, the hours of profound loneliness, the elderly widow would grab a mop, turn it upside down, put on a tango, and passionately dance it through her kitchen, over and over again. No, not her last tango, and definitely not in Paris.....
Espermatozoïdes Caseras no es un filósofo Griego
- During an interview David Foster Wallace refers to "The reality I live in...", indirectly admitting there are other, in their totality larger, by definition more important ones.
A Dog Named Dylan
(push full screen button for extra canine effect)
Man should neither live
like mole afraid
nor as someone’s slave
‘ been given
Only taming himself
by feeding not stealing his other,
raging at injustice
and at day’s end,
any held out
(now if only I could find a bulldog to record my Rage poem)
-Goethe, one 'good' old German, said he'd take injustice over anarchy anytime. But he didn't live under Stalin, Hitler or in someone else's police state. Where order remained the greatest injustice of all, dictators early on slipping into moral autism, creating their cruel, their idiotic thugocracies.
- My doppelgänger is made of anti-matter, he rides antilopes, eats only anti-pasta and drinks anti-freeze. He is a semi-conductor who leads the orchestra half of the time, I do it the rest of the year.
-Godard equates age with space, as in: How much space have we left?
- Or as in: Time is the space one needs to reach someone else!
- The President of Brasil noticed the solecism of the Carnaval dancer, not wearing anything underneath her miniskirt, inviting her up to his tribune, then up to his palace, en-suite up to his private chambers. She wasn't around when he was forced to resign.
- The super-collider people have a point. This morning my neutrinos made it to the bathroom before I did.
- I've added at least twelve poems to my collection, please scroll down under Selected Poems and check them out!
- You're in trouble when you think you're lying on a porcelain-white beach, a stone's throw from azure water, taking sun, when it starts to pour, and you look up into the suddenly grown-dark sky and all you see hanging up-high... is some damp, curly hair and two pink slices of roastbeef.
- C'est Emmenthal, mon cher! (Elementary, my dear?)
- Waugh, be gone!
Between two orders
of rotten Sushi
Aung San Suu Kyi
Auld Lang Syne
in shoddy local Sake
New Year's Eve's
slow Burmese death
Read my 1 Act tragi comedy Charlie's Not Home Much Anymore! It's up under Plays, the objective to electrify. A blaze! Jake has tracked down elderly Charlie, suspecting him of horrible war crimes. He uses every trick in the book, including playing on the other’s evident loneliness and trying to speak and joke like him to gain his confidence. All of this to have the fugitive come clean without offering him any redemption or reward. Old Charlie’s been on the run all his life and uses every cunning device, speaking evasive nonsense and telling banal jokes to say absolutely nothing and in the first person singular at least, deny everything. What evolves is a hyper modern war of wit and linguistic acrobatics, both funny and immensely serious.
Exactly what happens to me. Struck by a luminous idea, invariably told that I don't know what I'm talking about...
- Rococo was Baroque's Dadaism, Postmodernism nothing but Neo-Retro, then again everything's Neo-Retro! And this is not art-wank!
- Poor bastard, always grabs someone else's convictions, and when they no longer work, steals another one! (See the Charlie play)
- The Veneration of St John the Fascist (See the Charlie play)
- When asked about the stunning shape I'm in, I tell them mornings I do a full workout including weightlifting, afternoons topped off... with a little shoplifting.
-Read about Tape's Last Krapp, in Waiting for Beckett (Essays)
- The man having the genital transplant was fondly re-membered
-Sorry, Pound and Eliot! I don't like poetry needing translation back into its own language. Deliberate obfuscation, go eschew yourself!
-The Axeman Cometh
Café De Pilaren
After the tourist season rolled by the natives would reclaim their rustic watering hole; Bergen a pretty village on the coast where everyone knew everyone. Which could be an oppression worse than the one intrepid tourism imposed, in summer, crowding roads! For is it good that in winter these folks can tell exactly who’s entering the establishment, at precisely what time, in the way the old door knob gets turned and the frontdoor gets pushed open, then closed? Hesitatingly, firmly, softly, or impatiently, with some sort of care or aggressive abandon, followed by the immediate certainty which anecdote will again be told, out of a collection of only six or seven, heard or overheard a hundred fold! Beforehand also knowing which drink will get ordered and imbibed, by whom, the tired waiter bringing the bill in the same amount, paid with the same reluctance precisely two hours on. In spring the invading masses welcomed back with predictable relief, a certain gratefulness prevailing, despite their foreign tongues, the loudness and the shouting clothing. Or would one want to go to Bergen at all, let alone live there, by the sea that most no longer saw? Only that door knob, not loved, but feared if not by all, apparently by most?!
Confessions of a Feathered Friend
Here I am, sitting on the roof of collected notions, a construction put up over centuries by people wanting so badly to be wanted, that for lack of better, they invented someone doing just that. Then attempt making this invisible presence not only visible but permanent, by building this monstrosity, as if it changes anything. And only because sitting outside, on the grass, playing the same game, cannot be passed on, they think, although this would be so much more... genuine.
I landed on the parapet of what feels more like a gaol than a place of inspiration and joy. Built, believe it or not, to keep out many of their playmates, but at least giving me the chance to rest and reflect after one of my own flights of fancy. They call it House of God, but up here wired it electrically while below and at dark shutting doors to keep out the tired, the hungry and the sick as if these suffer by the clock. And making me wonder how they built these enormous structures with a stiff neck, always looking the other way, yet endlessly at and after themselves.
And what about the prejudice that comes with saving your hide before saving the one of others, by the creatures building these structures? Because even if they have no fur and no hair to speak of, hides they do have, and thick ones, too, though no feathers. Telling us we’re unclean, diseased and defecating all over, when they’re making a mess of things wherever they dwell. Mistrusting and killing each other when they feel like it, in the name of a slow brainwave, they call Lord.
Here, hold my horn-rimmed glasses and my cigar and my Manhattan and I’ll show you in the Wall Street Journal why we stand accused of infesting society. Though look, look at me, I didn’t hurt anyone, releasing my droppings all over the place, spreading viruses or waking up the world with loud cooing all the time. That’s them and almost a business it seems.
Truth, by definition, cannot be prejudice, they say by way of self-defence and unable to take the slightest criticism, insisting that if hundreds of thousands of a certain kind do something, they’re all guilty and subversive to boot, especially if and when not of the same prayer. But even if I’m peaceful, clean, entertaining, providing and sharing, they’ll still insist they’re right about me. And that’s when I say, as long as there’s one who’s different, one with pin-striped plumage, they should never say ‘They’re all like that!’, don‘t you agree? Afterwards hectoring it’s all in the proportions, that true, nothing is absolute except their faith, and claiming all the same to be overwhelmed by us, when actually they’re the ones doing all the overwhelming. Implying we’re the invading kind, taking over their society, and certainly, we have our own vision, at least I do and so do mine and so what? Though we must learn to keep a low profile, not flap our wings too much, because down there they’re in control, not up here, thank who or whatever for that.
No, more I look at them, less I want to be like them despite some of that fleeting success of theirs. Sure, sometimes I wished I could cross my legs and sit like them, and least when reading my newspaper, but as for the rest they’ve lost it. Like if I built myself a granite coop with smart, stained windows and a huge, bolted door, coercing dozens of mine to sit inside and sing dressed up, no longer able to hear the music produced by water and wind, by songbird brothers, and sisters, and others of course.
It’s good to be out looking in, it’s good to be up looking down, it’s good to be few and free and strong, when they’re many and weak. I know I’m sitting on their structures, but I can leave and they can’t, the price they pay for visible permanence. I can float, sail, rise, dive, crossing oceans on my own, eating, drinking, resting, feeling happy and living just as long, with those I love, flying along. And I’ve never killed or hurt anyone. So of those two worlds, which is the better one? And this Lord of theirs, does He know what company He keeps, what He has also wrought?
But now forgive me. I'm off to see an ornithologist... about that pigeon stool I use, to express myself.
- Oh, go practice onomatopoeias!
-The Spanish writer Manuel Alcàntara puts it this way: Somos un pueblo estupendo para la pesca. Si tuviéra rio... ( We, the Spanish, are a nation of terrific fishermen, if only there were a river!) ( He said it, not me. But the fleet is large!)
Kafka’s is the art of comic exasperation, deploying
absurd even paranoid pseudo logic, labyrinthine insurance company and regulatory
double-thought and dead-end speak, at one point probably convincing Derrida and
the rest of deconstructionists, to become plumbers.
Of course, calling officials, their projects
and indirectly the Government itself the Arrangement, says a lot about
Kafka's own state of mind. (Personally, I think the Deranged is more
like it!), but he still created world literature out of the texts
that as an insurance lawyer and later a Workman's Compensation Board verifier,
engulfed him. He imitated the structures of treacherously simplistic
circular language so prevalent in his daily work. Additionally, the endless
incompetence and deliberate deception on the part of both the authorities and
the public constantly placed him in the middle of one contention or
another. This triggered his Walter Mitty-like imagination, a form of self-defence, his
day-dreaming both escape and a distancing from recurrent nightmares, off-setting
them and other health problems to preserve his
‘The crows maintain that a single crow
could destroy heaven. This is beyond a doubt, but doesn’t prove anything against
heaven, since heaven means,precisely, the impossibility of
crows!’ is a famous example of a statement of breath-taking incongruity. It
only makes one laugh; even by correcting it to say the absence of crows wouldn't
make it much clearer. Like some dyslexic atheist debating the impossibility of dogs, instead of gods, unless the case at hand is the result of a translation problem, as I haven't read the original. Anyway, the whole thing a bit like saying a statement by
a person doesn't make sense, because the man is mute.
Yes, Kafka was a great tragicomic figure, one
for whom in the end even a fire hydrant represented some sort of totalitarian
threat. His humour all part of that self-defence, as was exaggeration. For I
visited the castle in Prague; it's an innocent enough structure, housing
contemporary government offices, but as it’s located on a hill overlooking the
Moldau, in Kafka's dreamy eyes exercising an authority far beyond its real scope.
Yes, the Prague Castle is as innocent as one on a medieval Spanish hill top, in
particular those high coastal fortifications and watch towers in Andalusia,
constructed to keep exactly who (?) out, as invaders were and had been...
the Moors themselves!? Part of a paranoiac 'arrangement', in other words, the
Moors ultimately getting defeated in the interior of the Iberian peninsula, as
was to be expected, and by the Christian Kings, not by wily Barbary Coast
pirates or some other invading naval force. So that these castles were not what
they were cracked up to be, more part of someone's fantasy, as in the case of
Shades of combatting windmills then, and Don
Quijote. Taken in mostly by the symbolism of the Prague Castle, Kafka did set out to unmask that menacing old fool behind the curtain, much
like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, at the end of the day both lodging victory.
For Kafka is not only Don Quijote, Kafka is Dorothy, though a much better writer
- Courageously crossing Okeanos, Sir, performing months of strenuous field work in Greece, are you able to tell us: Do goats have a clitoris?
- I'm sorry, I don't speak ελληνικ!
- Not even with your new fiancée?
- Especially with her!
- Must be quite a beast, Sir
- When I was young I got some guacamole all over my ukulele. It was horrible, horrible...
- And why call it a watch anyway?. Do we call a pair of glasses a see? Our hand a touch. Our ear a listen. I have a pimple on my smell, did you notice?
- And what's with a fly? Do we call our dog a walk? A fish, a swim? Or if we can do no better than calling an orange an orange, isn't the very least we can do calling a banana... a yellow?
- Maverick: Structure is past. Past doesn't protect, past confirms
- Faculty Prince: Anarchy's not the cure
- Maverick: Neither's apathy
- Faculty Prince: I'm neither coward, nor parasite
- Maverick: Then let me breathe
- Faculty Prince: How's that? I suffocate you?
- Maverick: No. Your absolute certainties do!
- The dim-witted never give death a second thought. It or le mal-d'être, strictly speaking the condition of suffering from your own intelligence. If you have any. The agony it sometimes creates. The anxiety of it. For better or worse, the ability to recognize yourself in the mirror of animate existence. Cognition commotes, doesn't it?
- Outrageous (White) Lies:
My son has discovered he's allergic to towels, the reason he can't shower
Posing naked is proving allergy to textiles doesn't leave me any scars (Starlet)
I refuse to read Proust, because of the recent French ban on imported British beef (British Political Commentator)
If you hadn't let him in, I wouldn't have slept with him (Arletty, the French actress, to her accusers, about having had a love affair with a Nazi Luftwaffe general, in occupied Paris, during the the Second World War)
- Having absolutely nothing to do with this: Many obstetricians are obstinate patricians
- My friend Scarlett O'Hara may have had a heart condition
- The Dutch word for 'accident' is an 'unhappiness'. An unhappiness occurred on the night of St Peter, when a bull broke loose bolting into Mrs Entwistle's porcelain shop, causing great damage and agony. An unhappiness, indeed...
- Read about arsenic and black lace around white thighs in A Kiss By The Clowns
- Political aside: N-K : Terrible societies where the young get a single career choice: become executioner or victim, nothing else. Whereas historically we have fought for and opened up the beautiful space that exists between these cruel extremes.
-Hitler proves Einstein wrong: contrary to common interpretation E = MC2 stands for Energy equals Madness times the Speed of Light, squared. The great physicist belatedly recognizing the limitless energy emerging from massive daylight idiocy and, somewhat embarrassed as you can see, accepting the amendment I formulated.
(Besides his brain Einstein also had one hell of a tongue, the tip of which nearly reached the end of his chin, suggesting he may have had some other expert abilities.....)
-The question is, can satire take satire and parody, parody?
- Today I won't scrub my rabbit, but rinse my hare instead
- I don't think it'll moose, but do you think it might reindeer?
- Gide, the French writer, suggested that by the time he's in his fifties a real man should have had syphilis and the Légion d'Honneur, though not necessarily in that order. While Brecht,the German playwright, acidly asked Why be a man if you can be a success? And speaking of the horse's mouth: He should know; by all accounts old Bertold was not much of a man, but a great success. Would that standards vary...
- It's not easy being mediocre he must have sighed, and of course it's hard work. Nearly as much as being brilliant, he reluctantly discovered: Read COBB'S JOLT
- Cobb's hurting!
- What happened?
- He got struck by her wallet!
- Was it full?
- Yes, or he wouldn't have been struck by it!
- Sure hope he doesn't get Ballsheimer's...
- Forgetting her? Forgetting us?
- I hope not!
Fairy Tales: Cervantes wrote we're not immortal, but we should live life as if we were. This essay is not some tiresome Karma running over Dogma rant, but a passionate plea for dignity in human affairs by an ordinary XXI century citizen, hoping to eliminate 'truth' jobs once and for all. The Proctologist helping the Philosopher to get over himself. More like what Katherine Hepburn had to say, insisting We listen to the song of life...
Tradition: The Critical Core: Can't teach an old dogma new tricks (D. Parker)! Read about the treachery of tradition, how obstinate tradition is obsolete tradition, and the way in which Every man's a nation could change all that. How Michel de Montaigne already said it 400 years ago: If I can't govern the world, the least I can do is govern myself. With this author adding that the real, the only Body Politic is me, is you, plus that shooting new roots is always healthier than inheriting them...
Truth & Lies: "It's all a misunderstanding," Leni Riefenstahl admitted. "I had a mad crush on Adèle Fitler." (You read it here first!)
Waiting For Beckett: read why I concluded that Godot is a deeply religious play, not in a conventional sense perhaps, but in the way that any Godot would do, as long as we are wanted ...(Because with this of course comes a sense of protection, the warming fairy tale that something or someone looks after us, that we're not mere clouds of chemicals going the same place as dead rodents.)
On Fundament: deals with robotic believers, obstinate literalists willing themselves to denigrate the metaphor, killing life for total lack of moral imagination. Could it be that Mars was formerly inhabited by them, viewing what was left behind...?
Humour/Laughter/Silence:paragraphs 5, 6 and 11 were altered, adding notions that the very best comics are always deadly serious, and that while some like to think of the Messiah as a joke, I submit that much to the contrary Humour is the real Messiah, or that the young Bororo men in Niger dress-up outlandishly once a year and humour a woman in order to win her hand, obliged to prove they can make her laugh and smile rather than impress with crude masculinity: not bad for a desert tribe. Or:
Just line the street then march up to the gates of cruelty and incompetence and laugh out loud, before turning to your even louder silence. Damnation....
Plus... These days, everybody writing yet again about Freud, I make the link between him and that old Canadian trick of putting a small piece of fur round the keyhole of your front door, when it's freezing cold and dark outside and you're groping to get in... (track the name in my blog)
* * * * * * *
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Those helping the cause are sent the full text of one short story; a matter of kindness repaid.
(It's either this or I shall be forced to introduce a whole new banking concept, convincing rich amnesiacs to open trust accounts, then appoint me trustee...!)