Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Existing in New York City in a Transcendent State
Foto by tgw, New York City, June 2012
Act Four...Approaching the Finale
I love being around artists: painters, musicians, writers. I'm lucky that my friends are mostly these people. I find my friends have through their arts transcended the mundane, the everyday bullshit that passes for reality. My friends live in worlds that break out of reality to forage around in imaginational fields that compel them to experiment in both norms and abnorms.
As a musician, I find the totally improvisational aspects of all music the most elevating. When I compose, I start from nothing and evolve into something. In my writing adventures, I find my most fun comes in writing improvisational verse. Short verses some of which I can eventually put music to and turn into songs. Starting from a blank surface. A blank sheet of paper. A blank canvas. A blank music score sheet. Even this post I'm writing now comes straight off the top of my head. Like "head arrangements" in jazz--and I still find jazz the most wonderful music ever conceived because of its improvisational aspects, though all music can certainly be conceived from an improvisational standpoint.
Breaking boundaries. Breaking parameters. Breaking meters. Breaking tradition. Breaking norms. You could easily say I sound crazy. Though I'm like Henry Miller said he was, too sane to be insane. Like a truly insane person can take a razor blade and cut his or her own throat. Me, no, I couldn't cut my throat. I could maybe like Van Gogh cut an ear off given a trying situation, like being rejected by a lover. But, I can pretend to cut my throat in a verse. Or in a short story I can feel what it's like and have a character cut his or her throat.
I call this Act Four...Approaching the Finale because my cardiologist who isn't improvisational at all says given the damage my heart suffered in my February heart attack, I could go at any moment. My heart could just suddenly quit thumping. Later this year my doctor is going to implant a defibrillator in me so if my damaged heart does just stop beating, this device will electrically shock it back to life. Sounds like an Unka Dick Cheney adventure of the heart doesn't it? And that old bastard got a heart transplant at 71 years old. My doctor tells me that he's amazed how my brother got a heart transplant at 63. He considers that too old for so serious a procedure. I didn't mention Unka Dick getting one at 71. Screw a heart transplant for me. Even if I'm healthy enough for it, I don't want that; besides, I couldn't afford so expensive a procedure. Did you know Unka Dick is worth almost as much as Slick Willie Clinton? Hundreds of millions of dollars! A little jerk from Nebraska and Wyoming who has lived off We the People's tax dollars most of his Neo-Conservative career--he started as a young aid to a politician during the Nixon-Ford administrations.
Being a politician is one way to get rich in this country, but I couldn't do it. Politics is so beneath me. Oh, I could lie like a dog--and I was a great little liar as a kid--so I could easily get in front of a bunch of local yokels and lie like a dog to them--"Yes, we can." And do you know I heard Obama using that trite by now phrase in a speech the other day--he did, he said, "Yes, we can." Originality? No, politicians have no originality. Originality is what I'm writing about now. To get up and be original--"My feller Amuricans, let me be honest with you. I'm crooked as a snake at night. Why, you should see the line of lobbyists always welcomed into my office. You should see my bank accounts. I got nothing to hide, my feller freaks. Hey, we should have a national healthcare policy. No doubt about that; I mean even Cuba has free healthcare; even Costa Rica, folks. But, let me lay it on the line, there's no Capitalist profits in a national healthcare policy. You know how many under-the-table bucks come my way from the pharmaceutical companies? From the pay-or-die healthcare insurance business? It would make your head spin...why just yesterday, a Pfizer lobbyist handed me a check for two million bucks for my campaign coffers...and, hey, folks, let me level with you, my accountant, a creative fellow I went to Harvard with, makes sure I can skim several hundred thousand off the top of that Pfizer money...you know, for my personal expenses in the campaign. Boy howdy, folks, being a politician is a good life. So, hey, come on now, yes, we can, we can elect me, an honest politician, as your president and I guarantee, folks, I'll spill the beans on just how you folks are getting fucked."
Lies are easy for a good writer--and that includes a good speech writer. As Ernest Hemingway said when he was accused of being a liar, "I'm not a liar, I'm a fiction writer."
In the time I have left on this wonderful earth, I want to feast on the good things of life. I want to sail off into the wild blue yonder of creativeness--write verse, write stories, write novels, write essays--let it all pour out from my depths--reading those who came before me. Like now I'm reading Henry Miller's Nexus, and Erskine Caldwell's short stories, and I just got H.L. Mencken's autobiography in three long volumes and am already delving into it. And I'm writing on a novel; and I'm compiling my short verses into a book; and I'm still working on my Lester Young stage play; plus now I'm working on some tunes I'm going to be performing at my friends's Flamenco Latino theater here in New York City in August--rock and blues arranged by my guitarist friend and choreographed by one of the great Flamenco dancers...that's the excitement that I'm demanding now of my final days or years or whatever on this globe.
I'm refusing to waste my final act on the mundane. On the stupid. In the wastelands of politics or television or home buying or car buying or taking out insurance policies. So I may die in the gutter totally stone-ass broke. What will I care? I'll die clutching a fistful of my accomplishments. I will probably die an unknown, but again I say I don't give a damn; at least I'll die knowing myself.
for The Daily Growler