Monday, April 07, 2008

9 Below Zero

Frosty the Snowman
A man looked in a mirror. God, he was thinking, nuts, I look like an ape, without essence however--and how do you ever gain essence if you stay an ape? His thinking was reflected out of the mirror. ["Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson Tonight at Sir Vasoline's Rub-It-In Club, One Night Only. You Knights Bring Your Ladies."] The mirror was winking. Bad luck, a winking mirror. He hated mirrors; he purposely broke mirrors; his mother caught him once, "You did that on purpose," and then she beat him to within an inch of his life for that breaking with formality. Yuck. And he staggered forth out of the unfamiliar bed to drown his face in the stale cold water out of the sink tap. Why was there a sink right here? he then thought, thinking this time looking down into a wash basin sticking straight out into a room, a room in which he was living. Is this really living? he thought.

The Wilson Hotel. Not a safe place to stay and certainly not to live; especially for a dirty-gritty white boy trying to escape his white predicament. "You in quite a predicament, boy." "Don't tell no one, Mister Wilson." "Don't worry, boy, I ain't never snitched on no one no how." [Lies sometimes are truths.] A dirty-gritty white boy in a hotel 'cross the tracks from "where he belonged" in an out-of-zone hotel room listening once that night to someone playing a pretty (awful) trumpet late in the night--it waking the pretty girl also in his unfamiliar bed up and then she asked would he rub her back and he rubbed her back to the punctuations of the trying trumpeter whose triumph over the three stops of the regular old trumpet was many spaces of time away in the nonexistent future though it was pleasant hearing a trumpet being played badly at that time of night while rubbing a beautiful woman's naked back. "A white boy like you gettin' caught messin' down here and with your pants down, too; jeez, boy, you gonna git caned." Mister Wilson laughed a big broad-gummed laugh. "Blacker the berry the sweeter the juice, boy." "What?" "Nuthin', boy. Where's you mind, boy?"

He felt better after gushing the tepid cold water onto his tuckered face. "Tommy Tucker, Tommy Tucker, Come Faster, Faster!" "I'm comin' as fast as I can." "Well come faster, Tommy Tucker, or do I have to come up there and beat you into coming?" Holy frightening hollering Jesuses, he was embroiled in Tommy Tucker fascinations, tangling up his brain, unfettered after last night in Mister Wilson's notorious Wilson Hotel, where the music always blared forth; where half-naked women traipsed in and out at all hours; where a hell of a good breakfast was only a buck ninety-five and all the mocha java you could tank down; where the juke box was stocked with the latest records out of Chicago and L.A. and Houston, a Delta-Chicago-L.A.-Texas juke box--Little Walter singing "I'm just your fool/Can't help myself/I love you, baby/And no one else/ I ain't crazy/You're my baby/And I'm just your fool." It gets rougher. Little Walter Jacobs lived a rough life. Such beauty came out of his harmonica, such gentle cool jazzy lines--and yet he walked off the stage and right into a rough life, a rougher life than most folks will ever have to face, a rough life that took Little Walter Jacobs off to some Chicago (New Jerusalem) in the sky; and where the beds were big feather beds with big pillows and strictly laundered linens, sheets too clean like they were beaten on rocks until they were pure, washed in the blood of the lamb so that they're whiter than snow. And he felt a sort of "Praise the Lord" spirit in the Wilson Hotel even though across town, across the tracks the other way they were snarling around worrying about him. "Where could he be?" "Damn if'n I know. We've looked all over. Old Dick Dunn's out with his blue tick, Gator, sniffin' around where he used to hang out with them Messkins out thar at Red Moneypacker's whorehouse." "Oh come on, Brander, whorehouse is a strong word for Red's." "A whorehouse is a whorehouse whether it's Red Moneypacker's white trash joint or that damn Wilson Hotel." "Surely he's not at the Wilson Hotel." "God, I hope not. That'd ruin my career." "Is that all you can think about now , your career? Our baby's missing!" "Baby. God-damn, Nellie, he's twenty-five years old, you and me'd been married ten years by then." "Ten years! I was 17 when we married; you were 20!"

The woman walked naked from the mussed up bed across the creaky floor to that same sink where she went through a water-splashing ritual of her own that made her naked behind jiggle. He was dried off and dressed sitting in a ladder-back chair watching this fascinating woman going through her ablutions. He liked the word "ablutions." It sounded holy. Like an angel washing up with holy water. And the poet in him was describing her to himself as an angel, a devil in the disguise of an angel--"She was a devil with the face of an angel"--Mose Allison sang that in...what was that damn thing Mose sang that line in?...he was thinking inside to inside--his eyes still fixed on the beautiful woman's jiggling cheeky rear, her buttocks, he laughed as he thought of them as buttocks--"ass" was too crude, though in heats of passion it was a good word to whisper in her ear--"Gawd, Gwen, what an ass!"--girls usually had a cute name for their tushies--bunny wagons--damn, he shook his head--he had to think straight. How the hell was he gonna get out of this? Out of the Wilson without gettin' seen so he could at least get to his bank with as little outside notice as possible. Maybe Mister Wilson would sneak him out in the backseat of his showboat-long Cadillac with the tritone trumpet horns mounted on top its long hood--bee-pee-bo-pee-bo! That's what those trumpet horns sounded like when Mister Wilson hit the button that activated them, though he had to be careful since once he went over the tracks to that other side over there he had to watch for Sheriff Ribeye Mullins who didn't really take to uppity dudes like Mister Wilson showing off in front of the people on that other side of those tracks. Jurisdiction it was called.

Mister Wilson hit shots of Wilson whiskey all day long; he loved Wilson whiskey because his name was Wilson and some of the dudes around the hotel called him Wilson Whiskey and he liked that and he'd salute them with a jigger of Wilson whiskey and then toss it back to their health. Mister Wilson could chalk up 30 jiggers of Wilson whiskey a day easy, one and half ounce jiggers, 30 of 'em, that's 45 ounces of Wilson whiskey a day--almost two gallons of rotgut a day. What a man! That's what the ladies thought. Even though Mister Wilson was throwing back 45 ounces of Wilson whiskey a day, he still was the best smelling and best dressed man in that part of town; in fact, as far as the ladies went, in both sides of town, that other side, too, and Mister Wilson could tell you some exciting stories about his adventures in that part of town. There was Monk's Barber Shop in the Wilson Hotel and Monk specialized in keeping Mister Wilson's "doo" up to date--quaffed, pomaded, then the nylon stocking cap to press the pomp down--sleep in the stocking cap and the next morning, wow, one pick out and wow, holy wow, and Mister Wilson, though a little doe-eyed, looked like a million bucks, with his white suit all tailored, quaffed, pressed down, and his white shirt and white silk cravat, fuck ties, Mister Wilson wore cravats, whooo boy, the men would whistle when Mister Wilson came down for his breakfast. "What's that, Wilson, Brute?" "Baby Jake, I got the biggest bottle of Brute ever made at the Brute factory." "And it smells like you used 'bout half that bottle on this morning's foray." Laughter all around. And he could hear them laughing in the cafe below the room he and this beautiful naked woman were trapped in for the moment. He couldn't get to Wilson until after his breakfast and he went in his office and then he'd try to sneak down to the office and barter with Wilson to sneak him out of his predicament in the boat-like-long Cadillac.

The girl said, "I'm hungry." "Call Wilson and tell him to bring us some breakfast up here." "You call him. I don't like his ass." "Put your clothes on and just go down there and ask to speak to him, you know, just go to the door there and peek in...." "Shit. OK. Give me some money." "Wilson's got a tab on us down there. Hell, tell him I want'a see him. Go on." And she pulled a thin cotton dress over her voluptuously naked body, the dress emphasizing that voluptuousness, and he watched her lope over to the big high door and disappear out into the broad hallway. Soon she was back and Wilson was with her. "Keep yo' woman out of my cafe, dammit, white boy. I told you I'd take care of everything." "I'm hungry." Mister Wilson walked to the door, disappeared, then returned. "I told Willie to send you up a couple'a steaks and eggs and some biscuits." "And coffee." "OK, woman, I told him coffee. And my whiskey, too, but you ain't gettin' none of that, neither one of you." "I don't want your licker...I don't want nothing from you." "Watch out, sistah. You may need me." Mister Wilson looked at him. "What if I wanted a little kiss off your woman, boy?" "You're more of a gentleman than that." "I like you, boy. You're cool for a white boy. Dumb, but cool." "Damn right I'm dumb. I wouldn't be here if I were smart." "I told you, son, blacker the berry...." "Cut the shit...." He was interrupted by a man in a white cook's uniform rolled in a cart crammed high with silver servers and china and a vase of flowers. "Oh, thank you, Jesus," the girl said and immediately started lifting lids and picking up a piece of toast with her fingers. And soon she was sitting down, her dress gathered up around her waist exposing her long nicely shaped legs. She's goin' Hollywood on me, he thought looking at her with hungry eyes.

The man in the white cook's clothes left the room. Mister Wilson produced his whiskey bottle and poured out a neat in one of the water glasses. He then slugged it up a notch then slung it back deep in the back part of his mouth and then he swallowed hard and fast to burst out with a big sigh as the whiskey burned down into his stomach. "You drink too much," he said to Wilson as he cut off a chunk of steak and dipped it in the broken yolk of one of the fried eggs. "My drinkin' is none of your concern." "Hey, I like you, man, I care for you." "Yeah, sure, and fuck that whiny talk. You sound like a skunk when you talk that way." "Sorry."

It was a masculine thing. It was. The mirror had told him that when he woke up and went to it to check himself out and ask himself what the hell had he gotten himself into.

To be continued

Such Sweet Sorrow

Writing is a difficult desire to fulfill. You must be constantly devising ways to stop the bleeding of words that gushes forth from your brain 24/7, from your dreams until you pass out at night, either inebriated, toked to unconsciousness, or so damn tired the sheep you try counting refuse to jump the fences you set up in defense against insomnia. When you can't sleep you read. While reading other writers's words, your own words keep tumbling forth, though occasionally you are able to form a coagulation in that word flow, to dam a lake of them into an actual story form, a sentence of words leading to a continuance of words leading to other words in other words placing words in juxtapositions that begin making sense in terms of reading them--and then keeping the blood from that cut coagulated takes more work, more words being arranged like bricks being laid to form a wall. I recall a time when some geniuses laid bricks as a hobby when they weren't writing poems or conducting the Poobah Philharmonics of the world. I never knew a jazz musician who laid bricks for a hobby. Jazz musicians go to strange religious cult meetings for their kicks. Or as my nephew said when he got hooked up with the Buddhist cult that Herbie Hancock and Calvin Hill still kiss-ass to, "I met the sweetest women at that joint. A sweet piece of ass from one of those peacefully contented and willing Buddhist babes is worth sitting there and chanting mantras to an ear of corn for an hour and a half--wearing all-white clothes, I might add. You know why? White clothes are alluring to Buddhist babes!" Aha, so you see, even brick laying for a hobby has to do with your woman situation if you're a man and I doubt if there are that many women bricklayers out there, professionals or hobbyists, whatever, but if there were, they'd be layin' every brick thinking of a different man for every brick!

Oh I'm such a sexist. A male-chauvinist-pig. The worst kind of pig. And you notice, the pig is brutally picked on by all mankind, except the Chinese who love eatin' the pig, man.

There was the Yippee pig. And the cops were called "pigs" in my heyday. And Porky Pig the stuttering pig. "He eats like a pig." "She's a pig, man." Remember the "Pig Man" episode of Seinfeld? Even Miss Piggy is a parody of fat girls who think they're glamorous! Why the pig? Because the pig is a condemned animal because of desert-dweller religious beliefs (our three desert religions who believe salvation is coming from the SKY (heaven): Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)--you see pig meat when left out in the heat of the desert spoils faster than sheep meat or oxen meat, especially wild boar, which is the pig meat desert folks got the most from the meat dealers of those days--even fish meat can be left out in the sun and dried--also pig meat carried worms--and all meat was full of worms in those days--even bird meats--and the cloven-hooved meats cause deadly trichonosis--aha, thus Hebrew dietary laws--also Arab dietary laws--they are so similar--and Christian dietary laws--though a Christian in the USA without his pork chops and pork-drippings gravy--pan gravy, white gravy, peppercorn gravy, red-eye gravy--hot damn, bring me some pork, Porky!

I eat pork a lot. I don't like chicken because I hate chickens since I was a little kid--I used to love watching my dad kill a cocky young rooster every Sunday after church--he had an old tree stump right in the middle of the chicken pen where he did these cocky little bastards in, these cocky young rooster punks who used to chase my young child ass all over that pen when I was told to feed them or change their water or the worst having to go into the henhouse and collect the fresh eggs--plus I had to candle the eggs, too, to check to see if they had that little red speck in them, which meant the house rooster, Big Boy, had gotten to the hen and had knocked her up, and those eggs I had to put in the slop bucket, a big tight-lidded tin five-gallon bucket you put leftover food and bad eggs and spoiled meats and even spoiled milk in and which one of my dad's brothers or one of his boys (he raised pigs outside'a town) would pick up three times a week to take out to the pig farm. Those pigs ate that slop with much enjoyable fortitude and gusto. I used to think it funny how pigs would eat eggshells, coffee grounds, even wadded up paper if you threw it in their feedin' trough. Amazin' what a pig can eat!

My dad told stories of finding eggs that had fairly well-developed chick fetuses inside 'em when they were broken open to be fried or scrambled--"Eggs with meat already in 'em," dad said the short-order cooks called 'em at the diner where my dad ate his lunch every day.

So the pig is still ridiculed in the US, though pork is gluttonously chowed down on by the tons in this "Christian" nation (remember, Pappy Bush said if you didn't believe in the Christian god, you didn't deserve US citizenship. Yep, Georgie Porgie's Pappy said that).

The world is so full of mythical shit now it's getting clogged up like my mother's prize willow tree used to clog up our sewer line to the point the old man had to dig up the line at a certain point, unplug the line, and then send his plumber's snake down in there and turn the handle that made the snake's head cut out the willow roots causing the clog. Yeah, we need to clean the world's sewers out--they are clogged with so much mythical bullshit. Like the myth of Al Queda that is driving We the Lemmings-People of the USA over the brink of destruction!

In the meantime, Charlton Heston, Moses in his Jewish disguise, gave up the ghost, and one of my Michigan friends was defending Charlton as his own kind of man, a Michigan man, Charlton born up in the Michigan north woods where a man's gun was his only protection against bears, injuns, and wild white men, and my Michigan friend said all those northern Michigan white types like Charlton were into guns and hunting and fishing and learning the ways of the woods--plus it's cold up in that part of Michigan, too; makes for stony faced cold-hard individuals, which my friend says is why he always idolized old Charlton; "Hell," my friend says, "he marched with Doctor King, right up there in front, at Selma. Plus, he was once about as lefty as you could get in Hollywood." "Yeah, OK," I replied, "but he was still a nutjob!" "I got no problem with that," my friend replied.

I cool down--2 years of grinding out The Daily Growler crap, thousands of words, 666 posts as of our 2-year endurance effort--the mark of the beast is on the Growler. Praise the Lard and pass me some of that possum gravy, pleez!--and I'm still on-call, when one never knows, to grind out another 5,000-word wordy The Daily Growler post--argghhhhhhhhh! Like Sam Kinison used to say in his act where he dies and is laying on the undertaker's slab over the gutbucket and the undertaker comes in and looks at Sam lying naked there, starts licking his chops, and he comes over and starts rolling Sam's body over--"Oh know!" Sam starts screaming! "Oh know! Not that, you rat bastard." And sure enough, the undertaker soon starts to mount poor old Sam's unresisting rearend, which is followed by Sam's final pliant 'Tis Finished scream, "It never ends! Even after you're dead and gone, it never ends!"

for The Seemingly Endless Daily Growler

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

There should always be a bad trumpet in the background on a hot swampy night. In my life is was usually in the foreground and it was usually mine.