But I don’t smoke

December 9, 2011

I know it is often said, but as a society we are very tolerant toward the insane. There is a man in our neighbourhood who is completely mad. As far as I can tell. He walks up the street. Stops at the same spot. And mumbles. Then proceeds on. Walks up the corner to buy cigarettes. He never walks on a crack on the sidewalk. He’s been doing this for over 20 years. No one pays much attention to him. Of course no one pays much attention to me either. And I step on all the cracks. But I don’t smoke.

THE GOOD EMPLOYEE

 

Diga Diga Do. Peggy took all the packages of corn flakes off the shelf. Individually. And placed them on the floor. Individually. Then she took each one and placed it carefully back on the shelf. She smiled and sang the lyrics of a song. ‘I take good care… the world belongs to me.’ Her head bobbed back and forth. Her smile hung in the air. Like the seat of a toilet. On a dewy morning. It is odd. To be odd.

“Doing a great job there,” a voice cried. Behind her. And up.

She looked up. And behind. The huge figure of Everest towered over. Like a cloud over city towers. On a sticky afternoon. In July. When you lose your papa. At the zoo. The laughing tangerines. A city floating in a sea of blue shampoo bubbles. Gulls flying about. Lovers sitting. In a swill. Betrothed. Dropping a coin on the city below and making a wish. It can be a strain. To have tu…ber…cu…losis.

“I was in a fight one time with a friend,” Peggy said. And stuck her tongue in her cheek. So that it jutted out of the side of her face. “I can’t remember what we were fighting about. Some people think that’s a crying shame. Not me. I don’t think it matters. We were destined to have that fight. No matter how much we fought it off, we would have had that fight. Destiny. I haven’t spoken to her since. My life would have been much richer if we had not fought. I picked up a piece of ice. So shiny. Like the frozen light from a star. And used it as a knife. She was smiling. Her smile got wider. With pearls of red at one end. She didn’t scream. It was the quiet that taught me a lesson. And it’s a lesson that we could all learn from.”

Everest looked confused.

“My name is Peggy. I may be crazy but I’m a very good employee,” the woman said. She held up one of the packages of cereal. “You need fiber in your diet. It kick starts your metabolism. In the morning. Any of the ‘ism’s really. And it’s good for your bowels. Like straw in horse dooey. Helps spread it around. And there’s nothing a man needs more in the morning than a good bowel movement. The old in and out. Slipping easily into the lake. From that dark recess. Like D.H. Lawrence.”

“I’m a coffee man myself,” Everest replied.

At that moment two young kids came running down the aisle. Everest stepped to one side to let them pass.

“Spoiled little buggers.” Peggy’s face screwed up. Into an ugly frown as she continued to replace the cereal boxes on the shelf. “My mother died of lung cancer at fifty years old. Never smoked a day in her life. If it was up to me I’d nail their little feet to the floor. Little bastards shouldn’t be running around free. They don’t let dogs free. Are you disappointed by life?”

Everest thought for a moment then responded. “Disappointed? No. Discouraged? Sometimes.”

Peggy smiled and returned to her packages. She sang, ‘Beyond the horizon, behind the sun, at the end of the rainbow, life has only begun’

Someone tapped Everest on the shoulder. Everest turned around. It was James Edwards, the pharmacist and one of the owners of the drug store. He was dressed in a three piece suit. Charcoal. White shirt that smelled of frabric softener. Lilacs. And a wonderful cologne. Old Sailor.

“Peggy is quite a show, eh?” Edwards said. His fingers reached for the knot in his tie. And made sure that it was straight. I wish I could dress like a buccaneer.

Everest smiled. “Did you say you’d like to dress like a buccaneer?”

Edwards shook his head. He pressed one of his hands on the other wrist. Taking his pulse. Like a long distant runner. In training.

Everest noticed. Is he expecting to have a stroke?

“She has an odd way,” Everest said. “But odd ways can be tantalizing. I had an aunt who dressed in the habit of a nun. Even though she had never received a calling from God. And gave birth to five children. Four of whom survived their first year.”

Edwards smiled. “I see you in the store quite a bit.”

Everest nodded. “I like your store.” Everest turned his attention back to Peggy. “She seems to enjoy her work.”

Edwards smiled. “I wish all my employees were as conscientious.”

“Has she worked here a long time?”

The pharmacist smiled. “Peggy isn’t an employee. She comes into the store, straightens out a shelf, buys something, than goes home. She’s harmless enough as long as she doesn’t get you into one of her conversations.”

At that moment, Peggy turned to Everest.

“They’ve got Ivory soap on sale. It’s a good deal. I’m going to buy a hundred dollars worth. You can never be too clean. Why smell like fish when you can smell like a cloud.”

The same two children turned the corner and ran down the aisle again.

“I need a hammer,” Peggy cried and stood up. “Sorry Mr. Edwards, I’ve got to go to the hardware store.”

“You don’t like children?” Everest said.

“I like them fine,” Peggy responded. She looked from Everest to the pharmacist. “I had a couple of rug rats myself. Fat little rats.”

Edwards looked at Everest and tried to discourage him from continuing the conversation. Everest did not heed his warning.

“And how are they doing?” Everest asked.

“I cut them up into small morsels and made meat pies out of them.” Peggy giggled. “The girl tasted a little tart.”

 

 

Something to chew on

November 17, 2011

McLuhan believes that the Gutenberg ruptured the middle ages sending it into the Renaissance. It moved from an ear culture to an eye  culture.  From a hot involved culture to a cool detached one. What does that say about music created during and after the Renaissance. Is it cool. Classical music has been accused of being detached. As opposed to jazz say where people get off their feet and dance. African music is portrayed my McLuhan as being essentially an ear music. So why is modern life filled with so much music. And music that is hot and invovling like rock’n’roll, beebop, jazz, big band, rap. Are we moving into a new era? Out of modernity?

Post-modern. What does that mean?

‘Postmodernism postulates that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs and are therefore subject to change. It emphasises the role of language, power relations, and motivations in the formation of ideas and beliefs. In particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial; it holds realities to be plural and relative, and to be dependent on whom the interested parties are and of what their interests consist. It supports the belief that there is no absolute truth and that the way in which different people perceive the world is subjective.’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism)

All realities are only social constructs. Now there is something to chew on.

In my darkest days.

November 2, 2011

Certainly one of the most depressing pieces I have ever written. Fed up with the common place. Fed up with routine. Fed up with myself. I think. Although if you write a poem about suicide instead of doing the deed then there is some optimism. In my darkest days I always tried to remember that I had to hold out for my friends. No use planting some stupid idea in their head. That’s kind of the domino theory of suicide. You don’t want to be responsible for other’s actions… And then something else happened.

……………..

AFTERMATH

 

bought a blowtorch

at 4 thirty at the hardware

to clear the cobwebs away

 

yesterday

found four spiders crawling

out of suzanne’s mouth.

Said that if it happened once more

she would no longer put up with my shortcomings.

 

Jimi’s buddy is a sniper on our block,

feeds his alligator

slow fingers.

 

Haven’t filled out my income tax yet

eyes r cryin

arms r cryin

legs r cryin

what’s goin on?

 

“wonder if its living that makes you sick or gets you better.”

the last words grandpa said

before

he let the razor rescue him.

 

We pulled on our rubber galoshes

carried him up from the basement

into the backyard

took him back behind the abandoned cars

and buried him

in the compost heap.

Somebody had to wake up

October 31, 2011

I had a dream. Or maybe it was a new television series. Everyone died in their sleep. The whole planet. Right away you imagine that someone had to survive. A wino. Someone working the graveyard shift. Someone who couldn’t get to sleep. Even in your dreams we as homo sapiens are eternally optimistic. Somebody had to wake up. And somebody did. Me.

Every weekend I would rush to read her column. They were always economic, insightful, and very funny. I can’t remember her name. Maybe she was a he. But I loved her reviews. Of restaurants. And that’s the life of a critic. They are the most easily forgotten of writers. Because they are parasites. And I mean that in the best possible way. They live only as long as their host is in the limelight. But unlike most artists, they make a decent living, marry happily (or not), send their kids off to college, and die, gasping for breath in an empty hospital room. I have been hurt by critics. One, I swear never read the book he was ravishing. I have even been hurt by critics who loved my books. They didn’t go quite go far enough in their praise. You see, the whole thing is about vanity. And the critic’s is the largest. Even larger than the artist. Because he/she decides who is worthy.

That’s it. I’m out of here. (Beginning to sound like a critic myself.)

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This was in my ‘ed. Rattling around. Like a pin ball. A question that every religion asks. Then cheats. The question. Why are we here? And then they change the why to for what purpose. Why are we here? The scientists ask the question. Then cheat. They change the why to how did we come to be here. Why are we here, is never asked. Not why are human beings here, but why are we here? Life? Being? Why doesn’t nothingness prevail? (I have to go back and read my Hegel.) In all the pain, joy, sadness, loneliness we experience in life, is the question pointless?

Cleaned up the mess in the backroom. The exterminators have left. (They gave up. That’s alright. The rats prefer abstract expressionism) Come have a look. i AM a GALLERY

 

I thought I might advertise my other blog called power of h. I’ve been using that little moniker for over 20 years. (Perhaps much longer than that.) And now I find others using it as well. Without even bothering to ask. Well there you go. As long as they don’t find my greatest discovery. The 8th day. Its stuck in the middle of the week. People are so tired that they don’t really recognize it. Of course employers know all about it. But are they going to tell? Get one day of free work out of everyone. I don’t think so. But getting back to my other sight power of h. Well here it goes. We’ll call this a trailer.

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Usually ‘pornography’ is defined as ‘the depiction of sexual matters to get someone aroused.’ Or something to that affect. But recently I heard someone define it as the depiction of reality in terms that were false, exaggerated, or idealized. So pornography depicts sex is such a way that it is unreal either because of the reaction of the participants or because of their various attributes. Ordinary people do not have sex like this.

Unreal. Idealized. Doesn’t that apply to a lot of things? For example. Couldn’t one say then that Romance Novels were pornographic? Or cooking shows on television? Or religion itself (in the eyes of non-believers)?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Except to say that one shouldn’t be too smug about anything one doesn’t approve. For myself, I just separate the stupid from the interesting. And go with that.

Edwin Drood dies. But why? His girlfriend never understood him. Though she feared for her life at times. His enemies were numerous. But would they kill one of their best dealers. Did he cheat someone in a drug deal? Or was it something else. About the world. About himself.

 

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