The Wolf-Man Lollygags
I don't smoke cigars anymore but if I did I'd be puffing madly away on one right now. Not a worry in the world. Fire in my building night before last; one of our Chinese residents left her rice boiling on the stove and went out for an evening's stroll or visit or something and then the rice over cooked and burned and burned and the rice blackened into guck and then the metal of the pot started burning and then the smoke thickened and then somebody saw the smoke billowing out of the apartment and called the fire department and yes I heard the mulitudes of sirens plying down 31st from 5th Avenue, wailin' away high pitched as though they were frustrated--and yes I heard the sirens and I knew they were out in front of my building but I paid them no mind and they soon faded away and I went out to get my dinner and BAM, there was the doorman looking raggedy and beat and I said, "What's up, Edmundo?" and he said, "We just had a fire on the fourth floor." "Whaaaaa! I didn't hear the alarm!" "I know, man, I didn't set it off...I mean it turned out to be nothing...I put it out with the fire hose...." I walked out of the building and damn the street was blocked off by at least 7 fire trucks, that's how many I counted, including two huge-mother hook and ladders jammed together right in front of the building's entrance, and then there were several fire rescue units, and a whole bevy of those guys standing around wearing the full firefighter gear and holding these long pole hooks in the hands, ready for ripping and roaring firefighting. By the time I got my dinner and returned to the building, the trucks had all but departed and the commotion was over except the doorman in using the fire hose to put out the rice pot's fire had flooded the fourth floor--and two dudes were mopping their asses off up there as I dropped by that floor on my way up to my apartment to check the damage.
This building had a fire before, about 10 years ago now, on the fourth floor that time, too, and the smell of burning wood woke me up--the window frames in my building are all old, old timber frames, mostly rotted wood, and that's what was causing that smell of burning wood that woke me up and I went over to my window and looked out and a god-damn billowing up cloud of black smoke hit me in the face followed by the breath of hell coming from the long lanky snaking up tonguing flame, an angry flame that was sailing up 7 floors tall to follow its warning smoke and tan my face and singe my hair and I jumped back in the room, slammed the window down, and then started thinking about busting a move and I jitterbugged a while trying to figure out what to take with me--I looked sadly at my electric keyboard and my recording equipment and sadly said goodbye, and I grabbed all the money I had in the apartment, you know, some hidden fun mon, and then I grabbed some of my best jewelry and off I went for the roof.
You know, I once hated jewelry but one day walking down a hall in Rockefeller Center I spied a ring in a jewelry store window and couldn't take my eyes off of it and I went in and asked about it and the man said it was designed by a Hopi Native American in Arizona named Red Bird--the ring was what he call gold turquoise, a large rectangle of the stone set in a worked silver mounting with Hopi designs burned into the sides. It was heavy silver and felt and looked good on my ring finger (the only other jewelry I had ever worn was my wedding ring with my 2nd wife--the one I should've...but then you've heard that story hundreds of times; in fact, you've probably told it yourself several times) and the guy said he'd sell it to me for $110, half price. I was a sucker and bought the ring on the spot. And that's how I got into wearing jewelry. In my fiery-er past, I thought wearing jewelry was so bourgeoisie (remember when we used words like "bourgeoisie" to put down ladder-climbers, pretenders, and middle-class go-getters, and Capitalist pigs in general?)(remember when cops were pigs?)(remember the Yippee pig they ran for president one year?)(I just thought of one, remember trashing? Now there's one for you. I remember the famous trashing involving Abbie Hoffman's wife--the mother of Amerika, what was her name, Alice? Remember the East Village Other and Gregory Battcock and the mimimalists? Am I being tooooooo New Yorker?). Now jewelrywise, I've gone the opposite way; hell, I've got tons of silver rings, even an Islamic ring dating from Byzantine Constantinople, and I wear a silver wrist chain bracelet, and I also have a huge collection of vintage watches none under 50 years of age, my favorite a 1907 Elgin wristwatch with solid gold works inside and a finely etched silver casing--it runs like a Rolex, and it's 101 years old this year. When I'm slicked out, I can look pretty Sammy Davis, Jr., if you know what I mean.
So I'm lollygagging. The fire's out. They are voting madly down in my old home state of Tejas--some say Hill's campaign could come to a screeching halt if Obama slams her in Texas tonight. How cute and Slick Willie-stupid of Hillary to say she'd d'rather have John McCain as president than Obama. I told you Hill would be flipping out soon, an N-worder beating her, an N-worder from her own sweet white home Chicago--and Hill don't like to be beaten by no man no matter his color, especially a man slicker than her slick as owlshit Billy Jeff. It's poor little bitter woman versus a viciously charismatic and seductive male like Obama! Women are suckers for such slick men; look at all these pansy movie stars women think are divine-- foppish twits (and yes I use the Brit definition) like Brad Pitt, that guy Demi Moore's married to, babyface baby boys, like Jim Carey once was (remember when Jim demanded 20 mil a movie?--now he's lucky to even get offered a movie--oh that's right he's recently done a voiceover for a cartoon character--how great is it that now cartoon movies are considered serious films!
Coolin' my heels, as we used to say. Thinking about nothing, nothing at all, just a whole lot of NADA--Hemingway's "Lord's Prayer" went, "Our Nada which art in Nada, give us this day our daily Nada...." It's on an old Caedmon LP that has Hemingway sitting around his finca in Cuba playing with a wire recorder somebody had given him and he reads some poetry--one "A Poem to Mary," during which Hemingway quotes his own "Lord's Prayer" and then belts out a couple'a stanzas of "Hail to Father Christmas," "All of us will dine tonight, Hail to Father Christmas...." It's great casual Hemingway. In one take Hem parodies a parody by EB White in the New Yorker of his Across the River and Through the Trees. White really panned the book snidely and this was Hemingway's cocky comic reply to that bashing. Hemingway was quite a bright man. Some of his journalism during his covering of the League of Nations and his predictions of a coming war with Germany is brilliantly deductive.
You see what lollygagging is all about? It's the coolest way to live--either that or get out in a garden like thewomantrumpetplayer. My grandmother on my mother's side ran a florist shop in our hometown's largest hotel for years before I was born--many years before I was born, and in order to stock her shop she went around to local gardeners and bought fresh flowers from them daily year 'round--she even had her own nurseyman who raised flowers for her in his greenhouse. Then she bought the vacant lot next door to her home and turned it into a lush flower and vegetable garden. Later in her life, she was in her late 70s, my parents built her an apartment on the back of our house and she immediately planted flower beds all around our garage, around the whole house, and along the picket fence on the northside of our yard that ran from the house 50 feet back to the alley. And my mother had already turned a large portion of our far backyard into a vegetable garden and my grandmother planted marigolds in the vegetable garden--she said they attracted lady bugs and glow worms and good insects--and my grandmother's love and speciality became peonies and one year she planted peonies in all her flower beds, especially a huge white peony she called her own and had registered it with the peony-growers of America, a plant whose flowers got so huge and heavy they would droop and sag all the way over to the ground and my grandmother would put tree-branch props under them to keep them upright--but there were also pink peonies and one stand of fire red peonies and I remember a yellow peonie--why one summer our backyard was a peony paradise full of all sorts of blossoming smily peonies attracting with the redolence myriads of flying insects, lady bugs, june bugs, dragonflies, bees, and my grandmother would be tending to her peonies most days from spring through the summer when she bundled up her delicate plants in burlap bags and planted her winter flowers, like a huge rhododendron bush she brought back with her one year from visiting her nephew in Bremerton, Washington, and while working in her flower beds she began to attract birds, especially a couple of sparrows who she called Petey and Mrs. Petey and you watched with wonder as my grandmother worked in her flower beds and these two sparrows perched on the telephone and electric lines that ran from the house out to the poles in the alley crossing over the backyard in their flight and when my grandmother would move, the sparrows would flutter fly over with her and she would be talking to them the whole time, "Petey, would you like a drink of water?" and damned if one of the sparrows wouldn't fly down and land on her arm while she was holding a watering hose and damn if that little bird didn't take a long swig of water out of that hose, and then he'd fly back up and perch the telephone wire again and damned then if Mrs. Petey didn't fly down and get a drink of water, too. My grandmother was amazing with those birds--and one day a bluebird showed up among her flowers and the bluebird stayed around for about a week and then one day it was gone.
I could care less who wins the Dumbocrat candidacy for President. I'm truly kind'a thrilled that a black man is having such success against a "pure" white woman; I'm especially thrilled when I got a glimpse of people turning out in Texas in droves most of them saying they're voting for Obama and I'm thinking holy shit, Texas is turning full turn on its home boy Georgie Porgie and its precious Bush Family who it so adore only a few years back--maybe coming to its political senses again like it did for a while after the Kennedy assassination--I mean, come on, Lyndon "Big Balls" Johnson, a racist, as was his political mentor Mister Sam Rayburn, like Hillary brought up, who signed into being the Civil Rights Act under orders from Mister Sam to do it (Bill Moyers says Johnson did not really want to sign the Civil Rights Bill). Soon the Repugnicans would be ignoring the Civil Rights Act...but then, blah, blah, blah, I'm not supposed to start gettin' serious.
And I'm not. I'm lollygagging all the way into tomorrow.
"Goodnight, Mrs. Callabash, wherever you may be."
for The Daily Growler
A Yard Full of Peonies
These are just coming to bloom.