(From the Savage’s Journal, 23 Dec 1972)
So I thought I would do something else today, something new. Something that would enable me to say ‘At least I went, at least I tried, gave it a chance ’. You know, showing my face and letting the world know that I too can, that I too am a force to be recon with, that I am a doer extraordinaire and my vision too rests not on a point within your common reachable periphery, but beyond that, sort of. That’s what I thought I would do today.
The small bookstore where the poetry reading was to take place had a pampered feel of kindergarten lingering in it. Intentionally handmade looking stuffed animals sitting idle on the shelves with politically correct “children’s books for the adult reader” randomly placed at strategic spots around the few rooms that made up the bookstore. Handwritten lyrical themes in capital letter on blackboards were hanging over worn secondhand furniture, perfectly mismatched to give that homely feel that we book lovers all love. Indeed a place for us, the reader and rough street worn poet who really care about looking good with a book in hand. Who knows, you may even read it from time to time (with your trusted smart phone open and ready in the mid-spread as you mindlessly “get lost” in Kafka and Sartre) while waiting for your haplessly conned friends.
So here I was, doing something else. Not finding a place to stand or sit among the empty chairs and well stacked shelves, not finding the reason anymore, a reason that just hours ago was calling me to –give ‘em hell, show the world what true angst and lost hopeless desperation will look like I the flesh. Now not even the faintest lingering fart of a reason remained as I scanned the soft-covers covering the vertical spaces between floor to ceiling, colors and letters blending just fine. Eyes locking in on once read titles as in seeing distant friends amongst a crowd of minions all trying their best to be seen, to be heard loud and clear. For all it is worth.
They were all here, the international mismatch compote of our city’s local expat community. Sitting on the floor to show that while in Rome, do as the Romans even if the Romans had rather enjoyed a hard straight back chair, an angry young girl with her big hair and perky little titties meaning business, wearing too much makeup on top of a false attitude. Bringing back fading memories from a bleak childhood at a much hated elementary school, when the girls in your class for the first time were allowed and let loose amongst their mother’s meager makeup kit. A class party, ending up like fantastically exotic little sluts that we, the boys fell deep in love with and feared, emotions we didn’t know slumbered inside of us, woken all at the same time. Who were these new creatures? The only boys & girls concept we knew suddenly reviled another side, of what was to come. What was happening right there in front of our very own eyes was nothing short of mesmerizing. Where are they now?
The healthy looking old-timer is also here tonight, sunburned and skinny with his earth colored collarless long-sleeved organic cotton shirt tucked in under a high waistline. Demanding in every movement looking for comfort and requiring special attention at all times. His chamomile tea sipped with care from a large white mug. He has managed to talk himself worthy of a teapot full of hot water at no extra cost. Just hot water after all, costs no one anything extra right. Having lived, still living a life worthy to himself, eager to show the world that he is indeed the man to deal with if you have a spectacular enough dialogue to present. That this dialogue always turned monologue was something that you just had to deal with since in this room, on this very street in the city, on our dangling little blue and green planet in this universe of ours, that we know of, there is only one man that has cracked the code fully, a burden and holy responsibility. He carries a fake and effortless smile with resistant ease, like a grin, as he always finds a seat in the crowded space. He is after all the only person in the room.
The wannabe entrepreneur stands for whatever reason outside the toilet door peeking in from a second passage between sci-fi filled shelves, a former housewife of the old school with now grown children, all alone at last after years of boredom, tepidly restricted marriage, lost. Loud in her ways she is freely savoring the moment of the fantastically tense mode the room present, as we all are trying to fit in and create our own space of “me and you”, of “them and us”. She has no reason not to laugh loud to the most mundane poet and his shallow work. Fabulous prosthetic poetry are delivered one line after the other to us, and who knows the meaning of all this, just that it’s really great and she feels somewhere deep within her womb the “we” as one, in a country of others, in this room with likeminded “we’s”. As we do not really belong is the proof that she is, that “we” all are in the right place tonight. She is taking it all in, we versus them, false safety, as a famished family we dig into a feast while the big bad world outside is looking in, at us, at her. Giving shelter to us all under her canopy of lost motherhood. She never really learned to fit in, didn’t take the chance, never saw the chance, never realized that her hometown in her home state in her home country and it’s inhabitants across the seas were living in a precise like minded parallel universe. That she is now free to seek out a home, in any nook and cranny as the saying goes. She carries her deep-rooted homesickness as a filthy cape, all naked and cold underneath. She opts for no drink since she has a fridge with cold beverage at home. A double door oversized fridge in an empty large kitchen, the windows slightly open to air-out the murky smell from her last meal for one.
The young woman is here tonight, American, sexy and sleek, with sad passive aggressive eyes. Follower of others yet comfortable and ready as one can be under her own skin, a doer and capable of deeds her dad just a couple of years back would no be able to even dream up. Daddy’s girl on an outing as this part of the city is the place to be, so better be seen while at it, for now. An early Tuesday evening and at least something to tick off, will come handy, being socially active, having “friends” that never enlightened her spirit but ‘meeting people’ never means new people. Keep it in the family. Close-knit inner circle from the new world, feeling less vulnerable is just one perk. No need to explain ones street cred. Tank top showing just about right amount of adventure and esteem, feeling strong while walking further out on the thinning ice, out on deeper water of the unconsciously turbulent sea of doubt. So while her mustache clad companion trying his best to once again set the bar for likeminded onlookers she drifts off like under a veil, holding onto a by now rather lukewarm bottle of beer in her damp hands. Mind drifting off to a proper fuck on an unstable kitchen table in a warm room, a fuck in the shadow of the mighty Genus Pinus, on a soft carpet of dry pine-needles, a violent fuck on the hood of the finest marvel of German engineering, all while the clouds gently shape shifts and glides back home, westward. True poetry of the flesh. Hard to control but with a big enough lid its all doable, for now.
The poetic Hipster with a body like a juvenile boxer can’t sit still, a perfect mess donning a little thin mustache that is so in vogue these days. His worn Daniel Johnston T just perfect for the evening. Showing us that he is an interesting, smart, wicked hungry young man, full of hidden surprises. Not a man to sidestep as he can take thing up and beyond, over the crest for you if you just let him show you his true colors, up and beyond just a little more than the average Joe whom is his wingman for the evening. If only, if only.
Two Indian men from parallel worlds sitting next to each other, facing the open room on uncomfortable rigid wooden chairs. The city of New York has taken most of the original accent and shyness out of #1, while #2, the humble son of the dusty and chaotic masses still clings on to a melody of the old, a rolling smooth mother tongue. #1 distantly tender a superiority lacking understanding and tact but still dictating in what direction the discussion will continue, path of least resistance. Shallow camaraderie, limited boundaries. Seemingly lost as they improvise, adopt and overcome.
The owner of the establishment (someone mentioned Lithuanian, or was it Estonian?). A young bolding bookstore owner with an American accent grabbing onto his dream in a tight pinching hold. As in the center of the universe he dictates the phase, the tempos and moods, a driven multitasking conductor and beat master, knowing what is best for his flock of big eyed minions, the lambs of God. His baby giving birth to fantastic prosa tonight and he is the kingpin that hold up the structure, unbreakable and steadfast. With social media he has boosted his own credentials to a near fever pitch while his eager to please “partner” worries over revenue and bills, paid and unpaid. Is there enough cold beers in the little fridge under the home made counter you decided would be both functional and pleasing to the eye, will you be able to manage and build on this foundation, is this the answer to your questions little cage bird, and if not, why?
-We just wanted to and truly did create a community of poets for poets and I’m taking full credit for it at the same time. I ended up burning my own bridges to the literate community, but making a buck in the process so…a (wo)man gotta eat, man.
So there I sat, on a high stool in the back row with my back against ‘A catcher in the rye’ and that Charlotte Perkins Gilman book about a world without men. Always protect your rear if no wingman covers your blindsides, that much I’ve leaned during the years. Never stare into the sun even if you know its here your hungry ace brothers will be if playing his cards right. A motto that does not compromise. A stab in the back always hurts more than one can imagine and so unnecessary at this point, at this time and place. As the lights dimmed to a homely level I look out over the roughly 50 various shapes, sizes and styles that made up the literate elite now waiting for the “show” to start. All eager to hear something new, to take part of something fresh and be able to pat one self on the shoulder of self-awareness afterwards.
I feel my eyeballs are an entity all by themselves, hanging in midair looking at all and nothing, seen by all and nobody. My hands not knowing where to rest, sitting in an awkward angle on my pedestal of doom, all that is me transparent and naked now, there but not present as the “poet” ups his ante and with shaking hands starts delivering his clean English voice, words falling like icicles on warm sand and seeps away before evaporating then seizing to exist all together. Like they never were, never meant to be. Dragging on now, feather light reasoning echoing between the paperbacks and lost Indians, between little angry titties and bravado gusto mothers. Echoing then falling flat on Daniel Johnston and getting fucked on a kitchen table, on we vs. them and too much makeup, gone forever for the only person in the world sitting with a belly full of warm water, gone to never be heard of again. Was it even there in the first place? Not so sure anymore since I only remember being in a room with humans while outside the world made hell of a racket, pulling at my curiosity cord, pulling hard and calling my name. If one could manage to pull this cord all the way up from the void to the very end, since it is not an endless cord as many of us have got used to tell ourselves, one would find a little black notebook with one remaining page in it. A worn notebook attached in a clumsy knot to the cords end. On this one and only page would be written in small shabby letters on crooked lines a statement of sort.
I want to be loud and rude, obnoxious and full of dark emotions, on the brink of unwashed craziness, spewing rivers of dirty prose straight in your face.
I want to scream my rancid words into your weak guts, as you love me relentlessly.
Bend you over and fuck you like an animal while you speechless feel your safe little world shape shift into an inferno of angst and bad luck.
Like a steamroller I will bulldoze my way into your protective psyche and let my army of verbal killer bees cause more havoc than the mighty El Niño and his evil twin sister Katrina, to cause more bloodshed and terror than the screaming hordes of the fierce Mongol berserkers.
I want to blacken your pumping little weak hearts with anarchical grammar and let loose my twisted suicidal demons of black theories upon your daughters, let the hounds of hell rip your sons to bleeding ribbons.
I want to drop the fucking A-Bomb on your wedding party, letting the shock wave level everything that you hold dear. Your demigods weeping blood as they burn.
Nothing is the same after you lost all and everything, when you need to try to start over again from the lowest rung of the ladder you so carefully have been mending and cared for since the beginning of time.
A worthy dust-up little man, not in the center of your comfort-zone anymore, but you’ll manage, you’ll see.
I want to be the brutal death-metal show you leave stunned with ringing ears, neck so sore you can barely keep your head up straight, I want to be the profound nosebleed at your violent laden underground grind core gig.
I want to burn endless pages of written angst, flames reaching for the moonless sky, trails of little sparks drifting off into the void as you slowly understand your true calling.
Standing there alone in the dark feeling and seeking with bloodstained sticky fingers at the gaping hole where your once compassionate and emotional hollow muscle could be felt, a muscle that let you live, day after day till all eternity if you had your wish. A dictator of sort.
I want to show you that you are not immortal, that you decay, that you are nothing and have never been and that you never will.
I want to tell you that you are everything, that you are me and me you, that nothing else matters.
I want and want is as we all know a fuckinmotherfuckingmotherfuckersonofabitch.
To “Search and destroy” I repeat over and over again as a mantra to myself as I leave the little bookshop to seek out what poetry is written in the trees this fine sun draped early summer evening, what real prose is drifting in the warm winds of the open sky this very moment. If I still can put one and one together for just a little while longer I may have a chance, the show must go on I lie to myself as I push my legs down to be propelled forward, smooth and soundless.