Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Here We Go Again

It Can't Be...but It Is
Every morning I wake up around 4:30 or 5 because that's the most peaceful time of the day in this giant town I call my home--all the motors around this giant town aren't full revved yet at this early time of morning and the giant town's hum is down to a kittenish purr. A peaceful purr. There must be no fires at this time of morning, I decide based on how peaceful it is and how purringly nice its now rather soothing hum is. No people needing ambulances either, I assume...or, there is so little traffic they don't have to use their sirens, which I know is crap since persons who drive ambulances, police cars, or fire engines (are they still called that?) are continuing playing out their childhood-hero fantasies and they need so much attention to the fact, they will blast their sirens whenever--night or day; therefore I have deduced there must be less emengencies at this time of morning.

It is for me a thinking time. I lay back on my pillows and watch the outside lighting up, turning from night to day, and then I indulge in a little reminiscence.... For instance, in reminiscing already this morning, I remembered that I have a laptop right overthere, I'm pointing at it as I type, hidden in the shadows of a corner of my loft bed [I, like Hugh Heffner, work out of my bed both as a writer and a lover] that contains a novel I wrote on for two years and finally "topped off" about a year ago now. I had started it at a time when my solar plexus was so confused my mind was crazily scrambling about for a trace of considerate reality, the force of change hitting me like a truck when someone I loved--hell, it had gone beyond love with this someone--got me involved in an evolving yin and yang interwoven thing--when I was yin, she was yang, or vice versa--and a balance could never be reached, like one of those irritating dreams where you're trying to run to escape some creature of horror that has just escaped your narrative zoo and you can't run, though the situation is demanding that you run, but you just can't run.

It's like one time in New Orleans, it was just after I had arrived there with my new young, young bride and I was trying to live a totally bohemian life, trying to be a writer, trying to live and write in the shadows of William Faulkner whose first novel, Mosquitos, which I had read while still a daydreamer living in Dallas, had thrilled me to the point that I decided I had to quit my easy county job in Dallas and move immediately to New Orleans, with only $500 to exist on, and start doing what I craved doing, what my genes were guiding me toward, being a writer, dammit!

I was so stupid in those days. So damn utterly stupid, though in a poetic way--you know? I was stupid, but I was poetically witty--which could lead me to say to any young person wanting to be a poet in this unpoetic world, you are stupid, but it's OK, go ahead be stupid and write your poems. My stupidity had to do with money, of course; attitude--I was a smart ass; sense--I had no sense at all, especially no common sense; and me being a romantic. What fools we romantics be. But, hey, one stupid day, I found myself in New Orleans. I found myself living in a fabulous old Rue Chartres mansion that had been broken up into apartments--it had been the whorehouse in the movie A Walk on the Wild Side -- from the novel by one of my all-time great writer heroes, Nelson Algren. I determined once established there to live my bohemian life to the fullest. I would get up in the mornings early and go into my makeshift office in the kitchen leaving my wife asleep in the bedroom and type like a maniac on my Olympia RED portable typewriter working on my novel about the Kennedy assassination and a man named Maximilian. I would work faithfully at my novel until noon, when I would stand up, stretch, then open the fridge, pull out and pop open my first beer of the day.

What a life! I was a kid in New Orleans. After lunch, usually fried fresh shrimp my wife had gone over to the French Market and bought right before she knew I was about to finish my work for the morning and then fried up while I mixed a big salad--especially divine if my wife had picked up a container of fresh shucked oysters--there's nothing like fried shrimp and raw oysters for the first meal of a bohemian day. The rest of the day I would prowl the Vieux Carre, hanging out in my favorite bars, starting at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop over on Bourbon, then on up to the Bourbon House where I would sit and write in a schoolboy notebook under a plaque that said William Faulkner had written his first novel Mosquitos at the very old thick-wood-carved-up-topped table where I sat scribbling my philospohies rapidly as though I were young William Faulkner and he hadn't really lived yet. Later, I would make the Napoleon House around four for a game of chess or to play the old beatup upright piano in the very back room--by then drinking brandy alexanders--and New Orleans bars made the best brandy alexanders in the history of the drunkard's world in those days. Around 6, I would meet my wife at Ruggiero's Restaurant over on Decatur for some green-sauced spaghetti and steak Veronese topped off with an order of king crab legs; or maybe we would meet at Buck's Fried Chicken, also on Decatur; or maybe it would be Victor's, her favorite, for a fisherman's platter. After dinner, we always went to the Napoleon House, another of her favorites, for after dinner drinks and listening to classical music on the Napoleon House stereo--you could actually go through the albums and pick out ones you wanted to hear and put them in order in a pile or the house would take off what they were playing and put your selection on immediately. Legend or lie had it that Napoleon had hidden out in the attic of the Napoleon House one time when some liberated French bastards were after his Corsican ass--maybe at the time of the Haitian Revolution.

Then, at 10 pm, every night, and I do mean every night, we made our celebrity entrance into Papa Joe's bar on Bourbon, and I mean we walked in the door exactly at ten every night, my very very favorite New Orleans hangout, and, fortunately for me, also the same with my young, young, attention-getting, good-looking wife. In fact, I became well known in there; it became my fantasy reality. In Papa Joe's (after Joe "King" Oliver, Louie's mentor) I was already a successful writer, jazz musician, experienced traveller, master of the flim flam--shit, in retrospect, I should have been an actor. What a character I was. And I stayed in it, too, right up until the time the owner kicked my drunken ass out, politely, he wanted my business, at 4, when bars in New Orleans had to close, sweep up and mop the floors, and then they could open again at 6. I've been in some New Orleans bars in those days where they merely roped off an obscure section of the bar, declared it closed, and you just sat there continuing to get drunker and drunker while some slob swept and mopped the obscure roped off area over and over until 6. But in Papa Joe's I was believed. And what a thrill it was being believed for a young nobody inspired by this old strange city to be a bohemian writer; though nobody knew anybody was a nobody in those days since everybody was a nobody until they became somebody and all of us still knew they were still nobodies like us except now they were nobodies who were somebodies, that's all. We're all in character all our days long; in fact, all our damn lives. That's what old Sigmund Freud was trying to tell us with his Greek tragic characters. Carl Jung, too. Old Joe Campbell the mythologist, too. You're either satisfied being in the chorus, or else you are aiming your sights on the front of the stage in your own little circle of spotted-on-you light. Hell, I was living a JAZZ bohemian life at that particular moment; in Papa Joe's I was in the solar plexus of jazz. What a life, right? And it was.

The nightly problem in this "perfect" bohemian life was, come midnight my wife was ready to go home and go to bed because she was beat. But every night not I. Oh, no. I was BEAT all right, but in the romantic, poetic, bohemian way, yeah man, dig? Can you dig it? So, one night my wife left me in Papa Joe's; I mean, she up and left me; she was pissed--yet, I was still going strong, only a morsel of guilt somewhere buried deep in...probably my billfold, and I rattled on, maybe retelling one of my favorite fabulous stories, like the one about the time I sailed with my one-eyed uncle on his tugboat from Galveston, Texas, down to Havana, Cuba, bounding out across the Golfo de Mexico and then chugging into the Caribbean and crossing the Gulf and a blah, blah, blah. Soon I found me, myself, and I spinning Dervishly drunk in the middle of Bourbon Street, down that street from Papa Joe's several blocks, yet not really knowing how or when I got there.

I suddenly got scared and knew I had to get home. The guilt popped up alive in my solar plexus and my motor operandi started motivatin' me to headin' toward my paradisical home and my open-armed, naked I hoped, young, young wife.

I started out on my quest. I got several blocks down Bourbon when I suddenly came to Canal. Oh shit. I was going in the wrong direction. I turned around, I knew I had to go the opposite way, so I started back the way I had just been, still swerving, staggering, dragging my drunken ass slovenly up what I thought was Bourbon Street--though I still to this day remember it all clearly, as though I were out-of-body, you know, floating above myself as I Raggedy Andy-ed my way up Bourbon, full of bourbon, or what I thought was Bourbon. I looked up. Through a mist, I saw a blue sign simmering above me, a lovely neony bluey wavy ocean-lapping sign containing a script that spelled out slowly P A T O' B R ... and then I heard music, a woman singing accompanied by a piano, bass, and drums; it was jazz. I couldn't resist. I wandered pie-eyed but dignified into Pat O'Brien's, a sprawling old New Orleans bar in several rooms, the first room the huge bar, the second room where the music was, a piano, drums, bass, and a huge Bessie Smith-looking woman belting out some jazz blues, you know, a la Helen Humes who used to sing with Count Basie? You heard of Helen Humes? I was hanging in there at Pat's. I even very dignifiedly pretended I was sober enough to get to the bar and get a Hurricane ordered. That was the house specialty at Pat O'Brien's. It was a Planter's Punch-type drink served in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp, and holding about as much liquor as a hurricane lamp held oil (whale oil in the good old days), enough to burn all all night long in a high howling wind for as many hours all night long as it takes to suffer and survive a hurricane.

In the next scene, where my memory comes back alive, I found myself sitting with my back against a kerb in a gutter on St. Peter's, in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral, holding my empty Pat O'Brien's Hurricane glass carefully in my arms, thinking I should probably find some flowers, pick some, and put them in the Hurricane glass as a peace offering to my young, young bride back home...why, I was at St. Louis Cathedral, on Chartres, and I lived up on Chartres, hell I was almost home. I started heading home. Drunk. In a suit and tie, now in total disarray. Glass being solemnly protected; flowers now forgotten. The desire: to get the hell home. The physical action to do so: suddenly inoperative. I couldn't really stand up even. Once up, I couldn't move; I couldn't move my legs to walk. Then I would sit back down. It was really late in the morning by then; the streets were empty, so you know it was late. I had a wristwatch but I forgot I had a wristwatch and forgot the time; forgot everything except the fact I had to get the hell home. Hell, I wasn't drunk; hell, I was sober as a judge. And then I fell down flat on my face.

From that prone position, when I was once again wary, I found I could move--by CRAWLING. Like an F-ing baby, I had to crawl before I could walk, so I started crawling down St. Peter's towards Chartres. St. Peter's in those ancient days was made of stones, old ballast from the sailing ship days, old, cold, mossy stones, and there I was, crawling down St. Peter's, digging my fingers into the old stones to pull myself along.

The next thing I remember is waking up--it is morning, the tall windows of our apartment are opened on the patio two balconies below ours, with a frog fountain splashing merrily into a goldfish pond. The frog's spewing was crashing loud, as though Niagara Falls were below me. I shook my mangy head. I was on the couch in our small livingroom. A horrible couch from right out of the Amazon. I hated it; it was a rattan couch covered in a green upholstery containing a jungle canvas of a thick jungly growth inhabited by fauvistically colored parrots, about six of them, yacking and flapping in constant-present state--and God, I was sleeping and slobbering on this, Henri Rousseau's backyard. Where was my young, young wife?

Everyday the Same
What happened to my young wife? My young wife that morning was not the point of the above tale. Nope. It was to show you how "one never knows" from morning to morning what to expect of a day and the people who inhabit the time of that day and what will be, will it be, or will it be something entirely alarmingly different, at least until it's figured out and becomes a same ole same ole.

Like this morning, and here we come back to the NOW, up and laying back digging the purring solitude of the moment, when I decided to check the news on BuzzFlash. WHOA. There it was. The reflection of the full moon that hangs over my wolf-leaning head day in and day out. Georgie Porgie, our "president," has announced that he has activated our antimissile missile system! Holy shit, has any president before this fool done that? Let me repeat that, HAS ANY OTHER PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY ACTIVATED OUR ANTIMISSILE SYSTEM? This fool has; at least he says he has. Yes, I'm not believing my own beliefs: that everything this dumbass says is a LIE; therefore, this is a LIE, too. EXCEPT, this asshole phony believes all of his lies are truths! Holy Shit. Does this numbskull and his numbskull Pentagon staff actually know how to activate our antimissile missile defense system or whatever its acronym? And since it's never been activated, how do we know it won't malfunction or some such dumbass fuck up and blow the world to kingdom come (and not Georgie Porgie's kingdom either).




I wake up every morning early expecting maybe a true new world order but all I get's the same old same old, the same old smelly shit again, and nothing smelling good coming off any pile of shit I see looming up around me. And then, by accident, I hear a teevee Christian preacher and he's giving a lecture on Satan. This fool is talking seriously to true believers as if this character Christians call Satan, the fabulous character that represents the dark side of a Christian's moon, is a real live person. "Satan's headquarters" this nincompoop said was in a hidden section of the heavens. WHEWWWWWW. I need to stick my hairy head in a bucket of ice water. This ain't real what's going on around me. IT'S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, DAMMIT. IT'S THAT WILY SHAKESPEARE STAGING ANOTHER FARCE ON OUR ASSES.

Come on, let me show you where it's at, the name of the place is, I Like It Like That. That may be the bar at the end of the world, but that's the place I'm lookin' for. Anybody know where it's at?


for The Daily Growler

The Daily Growler Sports Beat With Marv Backbiter

I give up on soccer, man. As sure as I think I've discovered a clever team, they get their asses stomped by Alemania, the god-damn Germans. I'm talking about Ecuador, my dark horse. They got zipped, 3-0, and they looked like fools this time, not playing anything like they did in the other two matches I saw them play. OK, they're still in the running, 2-1, but shit, they ain't got a chance in hell if that's the best they can do against a semigood team like the Germans.

So here are my new listings,

1) Brasil, Argentina, Germany, England, Netherlands
2) Mexico, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Portugal as the long shots.

Let's see: if England and Germany play, that will get rid of one of them. If Brasil and Argentina play that will get rid of one of them. Netherlands I don't know; I haven't seen them play. But those are my big five. Italy is probably the only long shot with a chance to beat one of those top five; Spain, too, maybe, though what I've seen of Spain doesn't impress me; they are very active; and Portugal? Well, they're playing Mexico as I type this, so we'll soon see which of these two teams will advance on into the unknown. The score is currently 2-1, Portugal at the midpoint. [And that's the way it ended.]

I put England in the top five because they are lucky as hell. They play great until they get a goal or two ahead then their natural Brit cockiness overtakes them and it seems to become easy to slip some goals past them, especially if you can get them to foul and that seems pretty easy to do.

We shall see.

Most baseball fans, I believe, are mostly Yankees haters, and as a Yankees fan, I can understand it. What's not to hate about the Yankees? They've got the best manager in baseball. They've got Ron Guidry as a pitching coach. They've got Larry Bowa coaching--that's makes them my kind'a team right there--look at the Phillies without Bowa--looks like another sure losing year for the one-time wonder-in-one-hundred-years Phillies. The Yankees have Don Mattingly as their batting coach. And they've got Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera, three of the best baseball players I've ever seen and you notice I'm not including A-Rod in this. So far to me he hasn't proved he's deserving of much praise at all, what he's contributed to the Yankees in the three years he's been there.

Last night, I watched the Yankees come from way behind to beat the Phillies in the last two innings, the only way the millionaire Yankees offense can win games due to the Double A minor league starting pitching staff they have that gives up runs early, late, all through games to the point, if the Yankees can't score at least 9 runs in a game, they're not going to win. One reason the Yankees can come from behind and eke out any win they get these days is due to Mariano Rivera, one of the most fun pitchers to watch there is. Mariano throws the splitter. No one in baseball can hit Mariano's splitter when he's on with it. Even if you hit one of his splitters, it doesn't get much past the mound, or if you hit it in the air, it bloops, usually out to second base. Of course, if the bloop gets just past the second baseman, that's the only way to really get a hit off Mariano. Most times, too, any time a player hits one of Mariano's splitters, it splits their bat barrels to smithereens--Mariano's splitters shatter bats. Here lately, with most of the Yankees's high price pitchers totally worthless because they're injured, with a pure-dee Double A rookie pitcher bullpen, the only hope the Yankees have is holding the lead until they can get Rivera in the game, which has been of late almost impossible. Another problem is, the Yankees pitching staff is so has-been, over the hill, or crippled, Joe has been having to use Mariano for two innings, the eighth and ninth lately. Mariano can be beaten; the Nationals beat his ass a couple'a nights ago, but it wasn't Mariano's fault, the piss-poor relievers had left him with two men on base, put him in in the eighth, and, yes, he folded, and the Nats, a kind'a worthless team, beat him. When Rivera is confident, he can't be beat.

for The Daily Growler

The Daily Growler Quote of the Day

Here are two commercials from the 90s:
1) A Chevrolet commercial from March, 1996: "Americans need to cover more ground"
That's a kind of a two-pronged ad. It means Americans need to BUY more cars and then we'll need to COVER MORE GROUND-- pave it over, that is, because we'll need more parking lots. I love advertising.

2) A Motorola pager (remember them?) commercial from the same year: "You jump fast enough to make Pavlov proud." What a revealing commercial. You see what the adwriter is conditioning you with? A pager allows your masters to find you at any given moment and when they find you, you jump "fast enough to make Pavlov proud," you F-ing sleazy dogs.

Praise the Lard of Advertising, professional liars since time and the selling of worthless products began.

1 comment:

language said...

Damn, that's a great story. Makes me want to go right out, get drunk, and savagely wreck my life. But there's no more New Orleans to go to, so I guess I'd better not.