Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thursday, June 27, 2019

mmdccclxxiii

Screening “Screaming Queens”

hasn’t happened yet.
It’s this Saturday (or
Sunday?  My memory!), but
for the purposes of life, love
and the pursuit of having a
happy life: being social, empha-
sizing the 50th anniversary of
the riots, rainbows, unicorns,
colorful flags unflown worldwide
thanks to a dying mega-corp-
oration being run by a large
balloon full of greed and self-
ishness.  And many other
awful things).  Persistently
practicing empathy is, to me,
and by far, the demarcation
between adulthood and child-
hood.  Most people never get
there (to adulthood).  These
are things we learn.  But the
show must go on, right?  In this
case, a titular event is pre-
sented from me to you as just
a silly tongue-twister.  Tongue.
Used in vocal warm-ups in
theatre.  For actors.  And mus-
icians; vocal talent.  In general,
also, linguists love language.
Or a logical assumption, right?
These people love tongue, and
often take great care of their
own (tongue).  The very best,
with practice, twist not only
tongues, but cognizance, hum-
or, culture; they often make a
mark more eloquently, more
fervently, more perfectly,
by using these silly sequences
of words.  Many people make
marks this way....  But this was
at first just an attempt at
being lighthearted when
my heart is not so very light.
Not important.

I could stop there, but I’m also
thinking about the recurring
problem (generically, I would
assume, even among the most
eloquent) of the inability to
speak what one wants to say,
of stutterers, of having our
words be completely mis-
understood or of having
them inadvertantly misrep-
resentive of intended mean-
ing.  Each of these things
have affected me in pro-
found and personal ways.
This seems a normal road
for my thought processes
to travel, even as I have
no idea where I might be
going, which, as you may
or may not know, seems
to be normal for me (by
reputation, but, (break-
ing news) most often
not purposefully.

What are tongue twisters
like in France?  In Egypt?
in Ghana?  In Guatemala?
In Iceland?  In Sumatra?
I bet they exist every-
where, in every lang-
uage, providing humor
and who knows what
else.  I could be
wrong.   I often
am.

Have I gotten serious
again?  The problem
of lightening the bur-
den, reducing the sev-
erity, helping oneself
emerge from serious
or even grim with a
bounce in one’s
step and a tingling
that works its way
up your spine like
goosebumps of the
innards.

Shall we now warm
up for that?  Life
is to be enjoyed.
So, for now repeat
after me, as the
performance is
about to begin:
Red leather, 
yellow leather,
red leather,
yellow leather;
Many merry men
making much mon-
ey in the month of
May; Whether the
weather be cold
or whether the 
weather be hot, 
we’ll be toget-
her whatever the
weather, whether
we like it or not.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

mmdccclxxii

I want to tell you about love
And loneliness.
            —Madonna

The song changes
and I can’t listen.
Can you?  I’ve been
sitting here for days waiting
on everything.  But nothing
comes.  Not you.  Not a box.
Not you in a box.  No car.
No fender bender.  No
tow truck.  No howling
winds.  Nothing gets
here but summer,
which is something
I never anticipate
because it is not
that for which I
hope.  And it is
not a promise that
can be broken.
And furthermore,
by the time it arrives,
everything is over.
Is everything over?
Summer is here.

The end.  Done.

But this is not
what I am here
to tell you tonight.
Tonight, in the un-
sleepable quiet,
I want to tell you
about love and
loneliness.  The
funny thing about
this desire, about
any desire, when
it comes down to
desire that sits in
solitude—in a rec-
eptacle of loneliness,
is to whom could it
possibly be undone.
Because who can one
tell in such a place
as this?  Once, like
it would be always,
yes.  A decade hap-
pens.  Or a heart-
attack.  Where are
you?  Where is he?
With your kitty-cat
photos that come in
the mail (i.e., the phone,
the old laptop) covered,
blanketed almost,
with “I miss you”s.
And yet, nobody, no box,
no blank check.  That
last part I got from the
song that just changed,
and then again I got from
the song that came after
that.  Almost every song
tells me there is a blank
check arriving.  Or, mostly,
that there is cash. Lots of cash.
Lots of love.  Lots of shopping;
what’s called—in the
song now playing—that just shot
through the Aurora Borealis and into
my head just now, radio waves
with yet another promise to some-
how contend with, retail therapy?
It has been promised.  And I
am afraid I know where all
of the promises go.  All too
well.  So if you do arrive,
will it be necessary?  No.
Will this arrival contain
any currency; or whatever
the lion was missing that
motivated him to somehow
join the others on their
way to Oz?  Forget it.
Forget love.  Or else I have
forgotten it.  I forget now.
Just like now, my head,
hurting, having another
piece ripped as if strategically
from my memory.  Something
as impossible as walking down
Sixth Street from Market.  Al-
most two blocks.  And climb-
ing the stairs to the fourth
floor, where you might find
a door on which the number
424 is stencilled.  Open it
and you’ve found my
box. I believe you missed
our moment.  I dreamt that I
missed your moment.  We
most certainly missed
our moment.  Your
moment is gone.  My
moment is forever.
It seems.  Am I just an
exaggeration?  A short film
of a ceramic heart, shown
on the screen in a small
theater, falling in slow mo-
tion (perhaps the film strip
breaks before the heart
hits the ground and
crashes into inexplicable
beauty).  I forgot beautiful
when I thought it was you
that I lost.  But I had forgotten
my deadline, too.  We all have
deadlines. And now that
I am reliving this gor-
geous life every single
day—every single day
this gorgeous life—
it doesn’t matter
that you’ll never
arrive. Whoever comes
first, I think.  That will be
okay.  That may be alright.
So. I am almost all the
way to Howard Street.  On
the left.  175 Sixth.  Yes.
You must climb the stairs
because the elevator
is always broken down—
like you must be now
that I am beautiful again—
all the way to the fourth
floor.  No, I will not pick
you up at the airport to-
morrow.  But I will see you
when I get there.  When I get
there (when I get there).  And
I am now almost where I belong.

Friday, June 21, 2019

mmdccclxxi

It Was All Just a Blur

  Plague took us, laughed and reproportioned us...
                                         —Jack Spicer

Was I here?  Oh, yes,
at the beginning, some
what centric, desirous
ever so hopelessly of
veering left, finding
that fork in the road,
or at least an on-ramp
onto the parallel uni
verse of wrong direc
tion.  Then I got rad
icalized.  How do you
suggest to anyone
that they R.I.P. if
you don’t even like
peas, much less app
reciate any of them?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

mmdccclxx

There Are So Many Reasons To Be Happy

                                  The sinking sensation
  when someone drowns thinking, "This can't be happening to me!"
                                      &mdashJohn Ashbery

Another week of impossibilities.  The Murphy family
and their incessantly recurring in-laws, sandwiching
themselves one on top of another as if mattresses
that are excruciating at first, then there is a few
moments of extreme comfort before they smother
you to death.  Only these deaths are just dreams,
and you are the Sysiphyus who every night has this 
same thing happen all over again. Oh, Murphy, 
my Murphy, I intone hotlym so muffled that the perpet-
rators cannot hear me.  The mattresses might as well 
be bone-saws, and I might as well be screaming my
bloody lungs out in the process.  Nothing can stop the
repeatedly absurd way in which the Styx is absurdly
crossed, night after night; night after night.  Even
during this routine, which seems to go on for decades,
I can dream sometimes.  I think these dreams are often
about the better life I had before this, these seeming
decades of smothering beneath mattresses.  But I'm gen-
erally not sure, as I awaken, as if being punched in the
ribs by a dying matador's bucking bull, and I do not
remember any of the details of these dreams.  Which
seem at times to be all I have left of the diminishing
dream of who or what I might have been before this
daily exercise in murder by mattress.  However, last
night there was a change.   I tossed and turned some-
how able to move my limbs among the piling rectangles
being thrown upon me, the perpetrators left a bit early,
and somehow, somehow, I was able to climb to the top
of the bed.  I found myself in a little box of a room ta-
ken almost wholly up by the green plastic and cotton
mattresses (as if they weren't certain I wouldn’t pee
my pants or need the ounce of comfort that the cotton
might bring momentarily to a sweat-soaked cheek or 
my crushed rib cage.  This is where I reside.  Where 
I am is, after a while, simply residue.  Until the hotel 
staff puts me back together again for the next day.
Which, as it always turns out, is identical to the day
before, and the day before that. It is all the same.
All the same.  Except for this night, when I sleep
for most of it atop the mattresses piled nearly 
to the dull ceiling thinking, of all things, about
the original New York School of Poetry, of which,
until all of this tragedy, my favorite of their individ-
ual collections of work, my favorite, had been the
poems, correspondences and journals of Jimmy
Schuyler.  How affected one can be by another’s
art, especially by that of nearly an entire collection
of their life work in a certain totality.  It means
they are no longer with us, which has generally
never been an issue since I've been so close to so
few who have passed, much less artists, poets,
those to whom I feel now such a connection that
this web of connection sometimes pulls from
deep within the insides of my heart, outward, 
toward the sky; or downard, toward the curb.  
Things change.  Friends who are also heroes die.
Dare I say that if you’ve had such generosity 
in this life to become friends with some of these 
people, your favorites of all favorites, made even 
more favored by virtue of your actual engagement,
by a genuine friendship, whatever bond that
might entail....  But with one you’ve never met,
it’s easy to disregard it as tragic, use it more
as an excuse to reacquaint, or to finally acquaint;
to now place your head into your hands, which
are upon her.  Spending too much time with the
tragedy of life turns out less to be about dying
heroes or loved ones of any kind, but fraud.  A
fruad in which you are the victim.  You watch your
finances going down a drain because you believed, 
thanks to a commitment you made years ago with
someone who decides there never was a commit-
ment, and maybe there never was.  Someone who
doesn't have the guts to tell you, disappears, and
when this the subject is brought up in general con-
versation by you, the victim, among a singular ac-
quaintance or a cadre of friends, each of them be-
come former friends, and you begin to understand
tragedy in a much truer sense.  Certainly nothing 
that hasn’t been experience throughout eterni-
ty.  You wonder, is it a mental illness that needs to be 
nurtured out of its ailment.  If so, is that even poss-
ible, this nurturing oneself to health standing alone
among the blank spaces where once stood freinds.  
Or you Uber a few passengers until your rental car, 
on which you ad spent your last hundred dollars, gets 
towed.  Before you have even had a chance to have
that first paying passenger, and when you get a few,
say five or six in a two day period, you think you are
finally adquately learning the ropes, so to speak, you
learn that when driving someon who need to be some-
place at some specific time, or even driving an arguing
couple out to a bar, one might complain, and then you
are out of a job, despite glowing recommendations
according to all of your emails and mixed messages
from everyone you talk to on the company telephone
(never able to talk to the decision-makers, of course,
as they are not to be bothered; in fact you for many
years you’ve kept the general public at bay, a-
way from the decision-makers, so that the bosses were al-
most never bothered by such nonsense).  I'm a charity,
not a non-profit.  Non-profits have to make profits,
unlike charities.  I am a rental car with a few weeks
left to look into its rear-view mirror; the odor of the
shit I stepped into directly before I got into the car 
in which i accept passengers, and therefore spend 
the last two dollars on an odor-reduction method 
procut which replaces the smell of shit for another;
much like a bobby pin or a hair clip or a small chip
clip onto one of your air conditioner (or heater)
vents in your rented car so that everyone can get a 
headache while smelling a distinct odor of shit and
Fabreeze (linen or lilac scented).  One can be an 
Executive Assistant by trade for well over twenty-
eight years ahd have plenty of time to take over
additional tasks, like working for a gover-
ment office on aging and adult disabilities
while living on the streets, or recovering
from pneumonia for a month in a top bunk
in the middle of room around which a hundred
or so men also sleep each night.  You, barely able
to move, are of course of the belief that no one
even knows you are there, until you wake up
and realize your wallet has been taken from
the back pocket of your bottom layer of pants.
I was in the business of personally transporting
passengers for two days, a total of eight hours.
One year, thanks to my ordering cars to trans-
port VIPS one spot to another spot just a
few blocks away,I racked up a an invoice coming
to something like $200,000.  Twenty years later,
I get a check for $144.  Because i was driving.
Not ordering.  Because i was let go after two
days without an understandable explanation
("you received a small complaint but other
than that you have got a five star rating, one
of the highest in your city.").  I believed this
to be my new profession, or carreen, as I
called it, which would get me even more
in touch with the city I love.  I only dis-
covered briefly the massive changes,
enough to bring my curiosity down onto
a sensitive brake pedal for a passenger,
no physical damage done.  Yet.  Until at
the gas station after I'd finished delivering
my two half-days worth of passengers
before filling my gas with the $30 given
to me by a Catholic Charity in town that
after about 35 calls I received as a rec-
commendation for.  Because this was to be
my weekend of finally getting financially
caught up enough to feel human again.
Sisyphus.  I am better off now under
these deadly mattresses than I have
been in all of my days of standing,
with or without others standing
nearby.   I know this because I am
told this over and over again as I
an having these heavy mattresses
tossed over me, in a tone very like
the innocuous tapes we'd put under
our pillows to learn new words while
we dreamt.  I am better off now than
I have ever been.  A better person.
A better human.   We are evolving.
This is a beautiful thing.  There is
nothing wrong with me.  I ask my-
self daily, during the hours when I
am Sisyphus, "What is wrong with
me?"  Nothing.  I know this now.  I
say to myself during the day, when
I am Del, "Why am I a failure? I
am not a failure.  I know this now
as the mattresses bend my ribs
into my heart and lungs.  I perform.
My performance is I not only can do
this, but I will do this.  Some sort of
perfection of which I know I am always
capable.  I'm feeling "Look at me, what
a life, I am living!"   I am a boy.  A bo-
hemian who is gracefully starving.  Once
I chose so deliberately not to be that kind
of artist.  Look at me now.  Embracing
each mattress like a first love.  A second.
A third.  A fourth.  And then the fifth one
that kills you in your sleep.  Now I embrace
the morning.  I stay up all night despising
sleeping, beds, mattresses, pillows and
bed bugs.  Roaches are fine.  They are
beautiful to me.  I embrace it all as if
it will bring back the embraceable me,
my youth, the box springs I slept on
as a child, unable to allow anything
but me to live in its vicinity.  The
sheets under which I was able to
lift my bread from the oven and
eat before anyone else could
catch the aroma o  what we
used to call a meal.  Embracing
this is the thing that will help
me put an end to all of the
tragedy that this life, like all
lives, have found,  Automatons.
Engines on steroids.  Bunnies
on Jupiter.  Wings of cicadas
which will never vibrate the
drums of ears again. This is
truly the life.  And it could
go on like this for many
glorious years to come.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

mmdccclxix

Cheap Legs

Poem by me
with a title
that is also
one of, yes,
you guessed
it, John Ash-
bery’s.   This
could go on for
years.   But this
too-much-of-a-
good-thing has
now gone to
brand new
lovely lows,
as I have just
ripped one of
his poem titles
straight from
one of his
poems (from
Breezeways,
which I had
been under
the impres-
sion was his
final pre-
posthumous
book, but
now I have
been told
that I am in-
correct?)
and made
it the title
of one of
my very
own in-
ferior
pieces.
Why? 
Because
it sounded
like a great
idea at the
time.  Who
needs ex-
pensive
ones when
one can
have hand-
me-downs?

Monday, June 03, 2019

mmdccclxviii

     Was it this month?
     No, it was last month.
                  —John Ashbery

As for the flavor of the
book he seemed so into,
he claimed he’d lost
most of his senses; had
no taste.  This was, to the
point, at least how I defined
his “I do not recall,” which
he kept muttering to himself
or to the book but definitely
not at or to the proposer
of the question.  Existence is
futile when in such company.
Company?  Yes, I am looking
for one.  When pressed for
specifics, elaboration, eluc-
idation, or even a sampling
of dry statistics, my reply
is always, “Ask me again,
tomorrow.”  Or at least
it wants to be.  Good gracious,
how thusly I do desire it!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

mmdccclxvii

We drank the grass, drunken fish,
in servile mode.
                               —John Ashbery

Often, this is how it begins,
rather than ends.  Endings are,
after all, so unbecoming.