The Ghost of Roosevelt December 7, 2013Posted by The Typist in music, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: d.b.a, Jon Cleary, Maple Leaf Bar, Roosevelt Sykes
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“I don’t think he takes requests,” my friend Eric said.
Jon Cleary had in fact spent the past two hours hunched over the piano at d.b.a with the intensity of a concert pianist at Carnegie Hall, announcimg songs to the microphone. From deep inside his trance the spirits of Professor Longhair and James Booker escaped into the room like the thermocline cloud of forbidden cigarettes, hovering at about ear level, microscopically turbulent at the pitch and roll of each arpeggio and left clef chord.
As I walked up with a bill in my hand he turned briefly toward the audience to announce last somg. I waved the ten and asked, “would consider a request? Some Roosevelt Sykes?”
“Some Roosevelt Sykes,” he echoed back in a flat, uncommitted voice.
I dropped the bill in the bucket and walked back to my friends. Before I could turn around to face the stage, he called the song. “Some boogie-woogie,” he said. “The Honeydripper.” Eric began to reminisce about the Maple Leaf back when, Roosevelt and Booker and the Professor, but only Patrice was really listening.
Stone Free November 24, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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What does it matter if I am cast out by Moloch, if the phantasm of modern banking grinds on without me? My talents that way are exhausted; I only observe the forms without rigor or commitment. To become what I wish, what I ought to be, requires the freedom of poverty of the wandering Japanese poet, to be as free as Henry Miller lost in Paris without a sou, free to wander the streets and haunt the libraries, free to stalk the Word as avidly as the Kabbalist counting out the names of god.
Sunday Morning Coming On November 17, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
It’s a sad, gray Cowboy Junkies sort of Sunday in a tire-hiss trance on the chicory and La Llave speedball speedway for an early airport run. You couldn’t ask for more charming company than Annabel and Linea, lovely twenty-somethings homeward bound to the Netherlands and Sweden but everyone is subdued by the hypnotic nod of the songs, by the hour, by the crack up of last night’s well-intentioned going away party.
“Did you talk to [her]?” Linea asks on the way to pick up Annabel.
“Texts I’d been better off not replying to,” I say.
More silence, and more on the ride out from [her] house after picking up Annabel.
The mostly empty highway funnels into confusion at the terminal, and they are both leaving on far Concourse D. I slide like the Junkies steel guitar through the maze of taxis and pull up to the curb. I lift out Linea’s single bag, suggest she could give my daughter packing lessons, then hoist Annabel’s book-stuffed duffel carefully to the pavement.
“Three kisses,” Annabel says when I give her the traditional Dutch greeting and farewell. I forget my rehearsed bit of Dutch for goodbye and we both just smile. They begin to roll their bags away and are suddenly bubbly, two young women bound for home. I climb back into the car, distracted enough to miss my turn and find myself on Airline Highway. I take the next light back onto the airport road and toward the city. Gray skies above, wet gray concrete below but I find a tranquility in the quiet music and the unfolding roadway.
There is an early morning apology in my phone, but I decide to deal with that later. I have much to do today, and am thankful for a good reason not to have snooze-bared myself until noon. Just a whiff of the young women’s excitement is a perfect leaven for the gray day and the Junkies roll an easy groove to laundry and an annotated bibliography. There is just a bit of blue visible over the lake at the edge of the clouds.
Crisp November 3, 2013Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, geo-memoir, lyric essay, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Fall Autumn
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To say the insubstantial air is crisp is to notice the absence of summer floral profusion, the sweet olive blossoms fallen and the jasamine gone to pods. Deprived of garden aromas and the spice smell of crawfish and shrimp boiling, the hearing becomes more astutue; the sounds of football and concerts carry through the evening air with the alacrity of flocks of starlings. As the flowers dwindle to funereal marigolds, the evergreen oaks’ deep green is familiar and comforting as a favorite sweater, the cypress and odd fellow’s oaks that dot the landscape like Jazz Fest banners echo the marigolds reds and oranges and yellows, hearth colors announcing the imminent birth of the cool.
Unhappy Hour October 29, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, Counting House, Dancing Bear, Moloch, New Orleans, Rebirth, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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That hour when you realize you have lost the connection with the people you work with and wander off to another bar to drink alone. Some sadness is natural, after seven years together. Some anxiety at what comes next. Beneath it all is the realization that this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. At 56 and on your fourth “career” you remember that somewhere inside you is the spirit of Odysseus. You have lingered too long at the money tit of Circe. It is time to visit Tiresias.
Mr. Bubble October 23, 2013Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street, New Orleans, cryptic envelopment, The Odd, The Narrative, The Typist.
Tags: god, Solaris, bubbles
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Studying the behavior of soap bubbles in a pan filling with water is not writing or working the day job but neither is it an excuse. When you live in the middle of the hurricane coast anything that creates a visible vortex immediately captures your eye. It is a lopsided storm, with bubble formation off to one side but you can see the soap and grease swirling around the falling water and watch the spawned mass moved toward the center and grow and you think of Solaris, watching the bubble island form in the middle, its center rising up as if volcanic but really a complex of bubble structures to transient to really study.
What is sentience? Why do the crew in Solaris think the planet a living thing? Perhaps they have gone mad from obsession and isolation, a possibility you must maintain until the very last moments of the film. We look in wonder at mystery and some will try to disassemble it like a clock, give names to quarks and postulate an unknowable constant to solve the equation and name the mystery. Others look at the mystery and see the working of an invisible hand, an indecipherable mind, and give it a name; bow down before it lighting josh sticks. The mystery of our own sentience lies somewhere in the middle, the ability to recognize mystery and bow our heads before it if only for a moment in unqualified wonder. Where you go from there is up to you.
You’re Looking in the Wrong Mirror October 22, 2013Posted by The Typist in Beauty, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: body image, Etude de fesses, Félix Vallotton, women
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Félix Vallotton, Etude de fesses
As we age, a woman’s body becomes rounder and more pliable, a development at once erotic and comforting. The asymmetries younger women seek to hide become more pronounced, each body becomes more itself, more the unique person you love.
Set The Controls for the Heart of the Gone October 22, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Emptiness as a quality of dharmas, in the early canons, means simply that one cannot identify them as one’s own self or having anything pertaining to one’s own self…Emptiness as a mental state, in the early canons, means a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply, “There is this.” This mode is achieved through a process of intense concentration, coupled with the insight that notes more and more subtle levels of the presence and absence of disturbance.
– Thanissaro Bhikku
You can’t get there on this bus October 18, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
“Victims 2010 91 searches”.
That is what it’s come to, really: a catalogue of the dead. And Odd Words, but in life as in literature it’s the dead who get the attention. Odd Words lives on Facebook, mostly. This is just a convenient place to store the column, words buried with a telephone.
Even the peaceful fields of Arles can drive you mad, and it has been rather quiet here, lately: a book of photographs I am less and less inclined to open, because I’m not that person anymore.
I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning. – Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)
I’m not sure who I am just right now but I can’t complain about that. It is all part of a process, a methodical accident prompted by the subconscious, by events larger than myself, by a tiny piece of magic: a string of beads hanging from my rearview mirror that decided, while the car was at rest, to burst one August afternoon. I still keep what are left of those beads, the little black voodoo men who hung from the bottom, but these are a memento, not a fetish. They hold memory but not power. The process continues. The hollowness of not knowing who going where is sometimes an aching cavity, and sometimes the space through which cherry blossoms fall to earth.
I have a blog where I wrote incessantly what I hope are phenomenal personal dispatches from a place of constant wonder, Leopold Bloom crossing Bourbon Street . . . The whimsical distractions that turned into poems don’t come anymore. I walk down the street and instead of that perfect moment of New Orleans for the blog I look for a good place to put out my cigarette.
I wrote that a while back as a description of over-medication, not depression, but I was diagnosed with a melancholic personality. (Looks around office for jars of leaches). I swallow my Jetson’s breakfast like a good fellow. Enough has been said about depression, antidepressants and writing so I won’t go there. I did a good bit of writing after posting Confessions of a Pill Eater, but not much of it here. Then it just stopped again, my life becoming a centrifugal melee of Too Much Everything, and writing tapered off to nothing. The listings. Odd jottings. The quotes I posted on Tumblr that I used to post here.
Toulouse Street is just a memory, and the Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans that were its reason to exist come less and less often. Perhaps Odd Words needs a home of its own.
Sometimes the littlest things can prompt me to write: a fresh notebook aching to be filed, an idle hour in the coffee shop.
Maybe it is time for a new notebook.
In the Shadow of the Beach October 7, 2013Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Alabama, beach, Orange Beach, The Original Romar House
The Rosemarie Dunes trailhead is right on the shore highway of Orange Beach, Alabama.. The most striking view isn’t the loblolly pines or yucca and grass undergrowth but a towering condominium. You have to ride until tree-bearing high land behind the dunes can hide the monstrosities that have become for most tourists their vision of the beach, a slice of high-rise life rising a dozen or more stories built on foundations of sand and lifted into the air by balloons of boosterism.
On both sides of the trail are visions of tall dead things, the gray tree trunks Orleanians will recognize from drives in and out I-10 across the spillway. Everywhere in sight of the beach towers are trees that did not survive the flooding or salt spray, and resilient more resilient pines shorn of all their lower branches as if by the clippers of a bonsai artist. On the day I arrived at the Romar Guest House, a carefully preserved specimen of the pre-high-rise shore, Tropical Storm Karen formed at the mouth of the Gulf of Campeche and took more or less direct aim at Orange Beach. On my first ride into Gulf Shores Park I was reminded how far storm surge or salt spray can reach, far past my ground-level room less than 200 feet from the high tide line.
Orange Beach is thankfully a gap-toothed work in progress, with private cottages both weathered and ancient and extravagantly new, a declaration of the wealth to be made shuttling tourists to their breath-taking room views by elevator. The Romar Guest House’s deck is nestled in the afternoon shadow of that high-rise but has a clear view of the beach, and a stretch of several hundred yards to the east with one nouveau beach mansion next door and a line of older beach houses. That land is owned by an association of ten people, and my gracious hosts Greg and Deb assure me the chances of getting ten people to agree on anything are slim. They think that land safe from development but I’ve seen Destin’s endless parade of highrises as I crept through Saturday night traffic. It’s not efficient to recycle glass–which is basically melted sand–but there are hordes of people who have figured out how to transmute sand into concrete and then into gold, so I’m not so sure.
I take solace in October and what amounts for me to a private beach, and in my daily rides down the Rosemaire Dunes trail. Once past the views of condos and hotels it’s easy to get lost in the loblolly and slash pine and wiregrass, to catalog with my camera unfamiliar flowering plants and a peculiar thing which looks like it belongs underwater and grows in great profusion in certain spots along the trail. With my limited knowledge I think some sort of wort, but I can`t seem to find a matching pictures of the dozens of varieties native to Alabama. I peer out into the bogs looking for alligators. At the stretch signed “alligator habitat” and fenced in wire there is a bridge with a Do Not Feed the Alligators sign and there it is, a good-sized specimen basking exactly where most convenient. I’m tempted to toss a coin at him to see if he is real but I can see his eyes follow me as I maneuver for a good picture. Further on there are isolated patches of cactus and I wonder if these are native or perhaps storm-planted refugees from someone’s home garden.
The trail is busier than the beach but on a beautiful weekday not much more so. Intent cyclists pass me on narrow-rimmed alloy racers and recumbent bikes but they are counting miles not flowers. The one inescapable reminder of where I am are the regularly spaced benches with the donors names burned into them: the Michigan Snow Birds Club sticks in my mind among the memorials and Rotary clubs, but I am here in the peculiar season between the sun worshipers and the snow birds, breezy days of low eighties and scattered cumulus with the children all in school and the parents busy working to save up for next year’s condo week
At trails’ end I am deposited back onto a busy highway. The bike path ends to my left, leaving me to huddle on the shoulder until I reach a shopping center accessible by a wooden bridge over a pond filled with lilies. As I make my way past CVS and Holiday Inn Express, before I reach the imposing row of relentlessly identical Phoenix condo towers in their endless Roman numeral variations, I pass a few reminders of the pink and aqua stucco motel beach of childhood memories. Souvenir City raises its high pink roof promising endless shelves of conch and dried starfish and ships in a bottle. I hesitate for a moment but resist the temptation to redo my apartment in retro beach chic. I don’t have enough room for the things I already have. A Flora-Bama t-shirt complete with hangover and sunburn more pink than any shell I might buy will be my souvenirs. Just before I reach the condo cliffs I pass an older cottage with a yard filled with tropically colored aging single-wides nestled on crushed shell. The past is not completely erased here as it is in Florida. The conquistadores came to Florida seeking gold and eternal youth. They arrived a few centuries too early for the gold and after sizing up the glittery examples of eternal youth in the Flora-Bama as dance partners, I settled for leaning on a railing sipping a Red Stripe, making chit-chat with my neighbors. Eternal youth, with the best potions and surgeons available, is not all that attractive a proposition in acid washed jeans and sequined tops.
I leave early with my shirt and head back down Perdido Beach Boulevard, stopping at the Waffle House for breakfast and flirting with the bored waitresses who for once seem genuinely interested in the attention. I am the only customer they have seen for hours. Back at the Romar House I am no longer the only guest but at 56 still the youngest and the rest retreated to their rooms hours ago. I pour out a glass of Meyers and step out onto the deck to listen to the surf in the idle solitude I have enjoyed for days, glad to know I have found one outpost of the old beach just down the road from the faded tropical trailers and Souvenir City. There is hope for Orange Beach yet.
Complicated Life September 10, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The Wrath of Frog August 15, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Great lashings of rain like the wrath of Frog making the world over for the sins of men. Streets run rivulets & storm wash (do not cross when) peaked in white & swallowing cars & lapping at the stoups iron storm covers dance & rattle & the beer can chicken bone cigarette butt flotsam tumbles past visions of the sins we ought repent but every flood passes in its time & in the low lots all frogdom will sing with delight & we will sit again on the stoup with beer & cigarette & listen & take joy in their singing.
Certainly August 13, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, New Orleans, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: anais nin
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Death Not Yet August 4, 2013Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Build the funerary urn
with mud & spit,
bit by bit under
an unconcerned sun
which none-the-less will
harden it shard by shard
until the last spittle
is dabbed from your chin.
Build the funeral pyre
twig by stick
bit by bit beside
the muddy river,
ashes from flashes
& dust to muck
by summer thunder after
the last match is struck.
This much is required.
The woman lying between
you & the muddy river,
beneath the shade tree,
flower necklace on her breast
& serenade of bird song:
her you must earn &
treasure while you may.
No Services July 30, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Bismark, I-94, North Dakota
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Smack dead in the middle of the continent, nodding and dreaming of oceans, ghost signals on the FM and pedal steel soybean reports crackling over the AM. You stare at the highway but don’t let yourself become hypnotized, eyes roam over the instruments, speed 78, gas three-eights, tach and temp steady but not too long. There is a term from aviation that I often encounter at work, task saturation. On the highway starting at the map on your knee or desperately searching the radio and suddenly the lonely overpass stanchion on the next road to no where is coming up on you at 120 feet per second and only the rumble strips save you.
You begin to wonder what lies up those empty roads, numbered exits, no services. Somewhere out there a tree stands alone, older than North Dakota and you wonder what spirits inhabit the rise it has conquered and held against a hundred brutal winter. Take the other turn and find a glacial pond filled with trumpeter swans ballet graceful on their brown stage yet raucous in their calls as a brass band testing their embouchures.
Speed climbs over 80 breasting the next rolling ridge, gas one-quarter (bingo to Bismark), radio useless, the horizon rushing toward you vacant as a corridor of discount malls and over the crackle of Saskatchewan cattle prices a tinny voice in the back of your head urgently deadpans: Eject! Eject! Eject!
The tires hiss in your ears, a distant bit of sand, butt sunk in the damp wash, baby waves rolling in the calm, the kiss of the wave and the gentle hiss of it’s retreat calling you in, the gentle tug like eyes and hands locked backward into the bedroom and in this dangerous 80 mile-per-hour daydream suddenly the undertow is pulling you toward another horizon, the conquistador possibilities of a southern ocean. Loud goose arrows in the sky call to you, pointing south: last star to the right and straight on until dawn
(Yes, this is a report. When the brain goes on vacaction, you can always pull the Art Buchwald is On Vacation repost trick).
Interrupted by Hummingbirds July 29, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Compose your life like a prose poem suddenly interrupted by hummingbirds mistaking a woman’s perfume for wildflowers in Arles, a Scorpio moon the only excuse necessary for hallucinatory episodes at Starbucks’ counter, visualizing Cthulu in your latte foam and paralyzing the commerce of graven tablets. When confronted with a Don’t Walk sign, improvise. Sing. Tear up the book in your pocket and stuff a poem into each mail mailbox you pass. This is not chaos. This is the Coriolis force reordering helpless pedestrians into your chorus, storefronts into episodes, sparrows into characters.(Pages of illustrations). Don’t be pigeonholed into a notebook occupying a park bench. Don’t let your day be the litter of butts around an outside table. Don’t spend your nights lonely and mooning over your poetry. This is not how sonnets work. Follow a dark woman with a fistful of violets in your hand. When she confronts you, pass her the flowers, tell her she has mistaken you for a villanelle. Smile. Anything could happen, the moment you have been fomenting all day.
Accept me as I am. July 24, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Oddball, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: 8 1/2, 8½, Fellini, Oddball
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Accept me as I am. Only then can we discover each other.
– Guido in Fellini’s 8½
The Two O’clock Morning Moon July 14, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Your eyes, she said, flashing a wide, coed smile, they are so bloodshot.
Allergies, I replied.
Pabst Blue Ribbon and the two o’clock morning moon.
Not quite, not here, not now July 13, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Fairgrinds Coffeehouse
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The twitchy flicker of Facebook and G Mail visible over your shoulder give the lie to the technical book open on the coffee shop table, my own inevitable distraction by the Doric perfection of a woman’s neck with her hair put up reflected by your MacBook. I should follow the glances over your shoulder to your table with some remark about Facebook versus textbook but somewhere on the path between distraction and commitment, infatuation and an evenings obligations my feet stray instead to the counter for a refill, victim to my clumsiness with introductions.
I’ve moved out of the sun and can no longer see your screen, cannot tell if holding your highlighter aloft signals concentration or surrender, is a caution or an invitation. I am now a quadrant beyond a glance, for all intents invisible, nose down typing anyway, turning my citron green tea fantasy into words, without the sketching artist’s excuse to stare, the escalation of glances that lead toward your empty chair.
Moloch’s Kabbalah June 25, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I sit in the coffee shop sipping green citron iced tea and making notes on the Rumpus poetry club book. Behind me sit two techno-yipsters cackling acronyms and algorithms, the hollow stories of the latest Agile software development process. Tonight I will sit on the phone for hours with people whose entire minds–excepting perhaps a spot for a favorite sports team–are entirely dedicated to the minutiae of a vast project, who can call up any obscure detail of it without frantically searching through email and documentation as I do. I will spend the dead hours of this long call reading the same book of poetry, and a novel for a class: a heathen among the rabbinical faithful constructing the final algorithm of their Moloch’s Kabbalah.
Burning the Roman Candle at Both Ends May 31, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Kerouac: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Strike a match. Strike another. Burn them all.
From About Toulouse Street: ” It is, to borrow novelist Tim O’Brien’s line: A Fiction. It is loosely based on the life of a man of late middle age racing frantically towards and away from death.”
You will never remember finishing the race. What matters is the pain and elation of the running, the clatter of the keyboard instead of the patter of running shoes.
“Beckett: “I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.”
When we cease to transform we cease to live.
Frazier: “Kill the head and the body will die.”
Today is a good day to die. Today is a good day to live beyond any rational capacity.
Stevens: “These two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)”
Prismatic Transformation May 22, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Herman Blount, Sun Ra
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Sun Ra’s Afro-Futurist vision can only be realized via prismatic transformation. Look into the black night sky spangled with uncountable stars of white, brown, red, yellow and yes, blue and black. Imagine yourself as one point in an immense gravitational web of space/time transformation. Close your eyes and wait for the first voice to pass and speak, without looking, “greetings, brother/sister. Welcome to your future.”
When the Music’s Over May 20, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, je me souviens, New Orleans, Remember, the dead, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Ray Manzarek
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…now night arrives with her purple legion
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready
Somewhere in the City of Lights tonight a single bulb fails to illuminate and that absence will be drowned in rivers of headlights and the sparkling hills. PG&E will not notice. The grid of copper and gold will continue to enfold us in its clutches. There is, however, another grid, an etheric one, that operates in that place where photon waves collapse into particles and the very air dances at frequencies only discernible to the ears of the so attuned. The minor catastrophe of the end of a single human life vibrates through that grid until it reaches every other life the lost one touched. A harmonic resonance begins which, left unchecked, could shatter the world, and only the countervailing vibration of Love that runs back through the etheric grid cancels it out and prevents cataclysm.
The old embed code no longer works on You Tube. When the Music’s Over.
RIP Ray Manzarek
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame May 20, 2013Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Someone I know said that to me not long ago. She suffers from fibromyalgia. It is a deeply misunderstood condition causing serious, chronic pain. Many people including some physicians treat it as psychosomatic. It is poorly understood but is not. It is real and debilitating. If you or someone you know suffers from this condition, or if you don’t believe in it, please go read this excellent piece by the wonderful G Bitch.
It’s like sunshine, the pain. It’s burning all over my body.
Surrealistic Willow May 18, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Willows are tricksters, roots exploring far beyond the canopy to play havoc with those who plant them unthinkingly in their monocultured and manicured lawn where no dandelion dare rear its head. You learn this later, after you have discovered the willow’s secret of invisibility as a child wandering the park with a cane pole and a bologna sandwich, the ability to vanish into the foliage out of the palpable but inaudible roar of summer’s furnace. Wait patiently for the fish who do not understand that the willow’s power of invisibility stops at the waterline. If the fish run slow, lay back on your split-root seat and watch the younger children who do not yet understand the willow’s power running in the stickery grass, observe the mysteries of couples wandering slowly, hand-in-hand in search of their own inconspicuous spots, the turtles camouflaged on their logs. Every good grouping of oleanders has its secret, dirt-flooded center and every child in the neighborhood knows these spots to spend languid afternoons in intermittent conversation or mischief. These are no match for the deep-canopied willow when afternoon’s hot breath rustles the leaves with a sound like cooling rain and you can sit, inconspicuously shaded, counting the toadstools and wondering if the little people your grandparents spoke of were not so much magic as wise, knowing where to hide when chatty women or rattling wagons passed on the road. Pick up a twig and whittle it clean, carve thoughtless patterns into the wood to pass the afternoon and then plant it in the earth, a mystic hobo sign for the crafty passerby.
Let It May 11, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Beatles, rain
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Having established a stable orbit and allowing for the radio delay from Saturn, we resume our old habit of Radio Free Toulouse Street.
W.A.S.T.E May 8, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
At five in the afternoon May 1, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Beckett, Godot
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Spectator: “He’s not coming.”
Spectator: “The man. He’s not coming.”
— from the Godot episode of Treme
Yes it’s a Beckett sort of afternoon: the gray threat of rain, the interminable diesels idling across the street, my best chance of distraction a call from a lawyer. Where would the savor of happiness or pleasure be without their absence?
Sorting Out The Horrors April 16, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
don’t come round but if you do . . .
yeah, sure, I’ll be in unless I’m out
don’t know if the lights are out
or you hear voices or then
I might be reading Proust
if someone slips Proust under my door
or one of his bones for my stew,
and I can’t loan money
or the phone
or what’s left of my car
though you can have yesterday’s newspaper
an older shirt or a bologna sandwich
or sleep on the couch
if you don’t scream at night
and you can talk about yourself
that’s only normal;
only I am not trying to raise a family
to send through Harvard
or buy hunting land,
I am not aiming high
I am only trying to keep myself alive
just a little longer,
so if you sometimes knock
and I don’t answer
and there isn’t a woman in here
maybe i have broken my jaw
and am looking for wire
or I am chasing the butterflies in
I mean if I don’t answer
I don’t answer, and the reason is
that I am not yet ready to kill you
or love you, or even accept you,
it means I don’t want to talk
i am busy, i am mad, i am glad
or maybe I am stringing up a rope;
so even if the lights are on
and you hear sound
like breathing or praying or singing
a radio or the roll of dice
or typing –
go away, it is not the day
the night, the hour;
it is not the ignorance of impoliteness,
I wish to hurt nothing, not even a bug
but sometimes I gather evidence of a kind
that takes some sorting,
and your blue eyes, be they blue
and your hair, if you have some
or your mind — they cannot enter
until the rope is cut or knotted
or until I have shaven into
new mirrors, until the world is
stopped or opened
– Charles Bukowski
The Foreman April 8, 2013Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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His voice is a holler, or better spelled a hollah: the flat, chesty, uninflected trumpet that carries between mountains and across battlefields. The attack is moderately steep, allowing each word or phrase to build to the correct crescendo to carry over the sounds of front loaders dumping metal girders in a crash and to reach the roustabouts perched atop the framework leading guide ropes to pull up the tent tops. Long before the first sound check of Jazz Fest the sound is idling and roaring diesels, the back-up warning and crash of cargo, the hollering of men over their machines to orchestrate the erection of the tents. They work with the urgency of a crew of SeaBees erecting a desperate bridge. I imagine one could hold this job with a megaphone, but I think it would diminish the foreman’s authority as king of the roustabouts. Like a drill sergeant or a lion tamer, a good set of lungs is an essential job requirement, the ability to command by tone and volume.
Daydream Believer April 8, 2013Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The tragic, formulaic sitcom of my life, as viewed with excessive empathy which renders too much of comedy painful. [I watched Synechdoche, N.Y. several times before someone pointed out it was a dark comedy.] Swallowing the draft of poison every day until I become invincible. Possible side effects include madness and sharing too much in writing.
“You give me a reason to live
You give me a reason to live
You give me a reason to live…”
– “You Can Keep Your Hat On”
Hypnotic Progression Therapy April 7, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, je me souviens, Memory, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: helical stairs, John Clarence Laughlin, spiral staircase
2 comments An icon of childhood memory, I cannot describe that spiral staircase in the gallery behind my great-aunts’ Royal Street apartment with any certainly. Is it as grand as I think it was, or simply amplified by the dimensions of my own smallness and the fog of memory? What remains is an ideal of the spiral or helical staircase; really the latter, with an opening instead of a newel pole. It is the view up that central shaft that gives such staircases the dizzying illusion of a gateway into the third dimension, neither the limit of a ceiling nor the infinite distance of the sky; not the abstract geometry of a tree for climbing but the precise spiral diminishing in perspective that lends a sense of motion toward a destination usually reserved for loose balloons.
What Not To Read April 2, 2013Posted by The Typist in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Writing.
Tags: Maud Newton, Quarterly.co, The Colossus of New York
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I anxiously opened the latest package from Quarterly with your most recent book selection because it was unexpected, my debit card gone lost on Carnival day and the number the company had no longer valid. I will read the enclosures later today. I know Roxanne Gay’s work through The Rumpus, but first I had to pick up the book. I hefted The Colossus of New York, weighing the “A tour de force” from the Times Book Review between the title and the author’s name. I wasn’t far into the opening, “City Limits” when I laid it down again, worried this book could be The One, except she’s already married. It could be the book of New Orleans I’ve been writing by fits-and-starts, in private and on my blogs, for the last seven years. It is the book I have to write or I’ve run my life all to hell for nothing. And it will have been done already, by another writer for another city.
The jacket copy alone should have been enough to warn me but I had to go ahead and open it, read through the blurbs (Danger, Will Robinson) and into the first chapter and I know New York isn’t the only place one where the initiated live in the memory of what’s gone. I just read Elena Passarello’s Let Me Clear My Throat, the excellent essay on the sportscaster Myron Cope and that piece basically could just as well have been about New Orleans’ own Hap Glaudi and the essay says exactly the same damn thing as “City Limits”. Whether its New York or Pittsburgh or New Orleans the old souls carry that geography of used to be in their heads. It’s not unique to Colson Whitehead or New York. Still, I’m afraid this is the book that would ruin me to write the book I should, afraid it might swallow my own voice like a haunted box or I will find my own plans laid out before me, my ship taken and me left to rot on a waterless rock, that it might leave me feeling incapable of the task, might rob me of the right idea of how to organize my own love letter cum ode and all of the other fine words of the reviewers on the back Whitehead’s.
But I’m going to keep it. I guess I’ll have to pay Quarterly who just dinged me again after trying to bill my old debit card, just when I was about to drop the subscription along with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club because when you are down to rolling your own cigarettes even some necessities have to go. I’m going to wrap this book up in Christmas paper and put it in the box where I keep my measly Christmas things, a drug-store Charlie Brown tree and the Marilyn Monroe skirt-girl ornament that hangs from it, that wicker basket cone with the red berries I wore as a hat to the Brew du Vieux holiday party with a bicycle flasher on top and the doorman wrote “Blinky” on my taster cup and “Sparklie” on my date’s and we took one look at our cups and could have danced all night, and still have begged for more—there I go, off on a tangent again but that is not just me, or a conscious, writerly voice: it is this city. If you are not ADHD when you arrive in New Orleans you will be when you leave because Look a tuba! Our squirrels carry parasols and saxophones and dance at funerals and peek out from the carpet as bits of glitter you still find 40 days after Mardi Gras and you can’t help but stop and look.
So, I’ll put this book in away in that box wrapped in dollar store Santa paper and leave it until then, until I have a manuscript. No, I haven’t been writing much of that sort on the blog lately, those odd bits of New Orleans. I walk down the street and instead of finding those perfect bits of New Orleans—Leopold Bloom crossing Bourbon Street—instead I find myself looking for a good place to put out my cigarette. And I need to snap out of it. I know it’s a curse to say My Book aloud and in public when you don’t have one but I think of it as a geis, a particular sort of Celtic curse the universe lays on you that will either lead to tragedy or triumph and it is all on you to live within its bounds. And when I unwrap this book at the end of the year, I’ll write you again—perhaps privately, this time—and say, ah, Maud, you shouldn’t have. I didn’t even send a card.
It hardly rains in Eureka, California February 25, 2013Posted by The Typist in Bayou St. John, Crow, cryptic envelopment, Fortin Street, Louisiana, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: California, crows, Eureka, Oregon, rain, Washington
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Certainly it’s rainy west of the Cascades: Oregon, Washington, Northern California; all those dreary grey days, redwoods and ferns, heroin and grunge. Portland and Seattle are the sentimental favorites. Along the Hurricane Coast it rains buckets, pissing pythons my girlfriend’s text message said the other night. It’s February 24th and we have had twenty cloudy days and thirteen of rain, including Mardi Gras Day. January we had twenty-six cloudy days, thirteen of rain. December: twenty cloudy days and eleven of rain. You get the idea. A rain of frogs would be an interesting relief.
Winter here makes you long for summer when the unrelenting heat and humidity are relieved by the afternoon monsoons, the fairly regular afternoon thunderstorms, watching the inbound cumulonimbus crowning over the coastal wetlands and the lake, the dense tropical splendor of the cooling downdrafts and downpours. One night not long after the flood I was stopped on a dark Marconi Avenue (the lights not yet restored) by a parade of ducks crossing the road to see what the raucous chorus of frogs were singing about in the small wetland that lies between the road and the levee. I rolled down the window and stopped the engine in the middle of the then-deserted road and simply listened in the cool aftermath, watched the egrets high-stepping through this cypress-studded niche eco-system.
The black sky is just turning gray as I write this but I can already hear the crows calling the laggards over the breakfast at the racetrack stables. When it’s this wet the seagulls will be with them, and I can stand just inside my door with a cigarette and watch their chessboard battle over the soggy infield and the best bits left by the horses. If I were a true naturalist masochist I could grab my hurricane slicker and an umbrella and walk the blocks to the park and watch the pelicans over the bayou but I have an inexplicable love of crows, love to watch the stark battle of black versus white against the gray sky. I don’t understand the attraction for the seagulls with the bayou a half-dozen blocks over. I understand the attraction to me, to stand with the heat of the house pouring out behind me just under shelter from the next downpour watching the crows loud party. We are rather fond of large and animated dinners down here.
Splish Splash February 11, 2013Posted by The Typist in Faubourg St. John, Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Splish Splash, washeteria
There is something about the laundromat, a plastic electric resonance it shares with the two-tap-and-a-tv dive bar and the bus terminal which makes these places as familiar to their likeliest visitors as the parade of names at the mall is to the people they most likely work for. I love the fluorescent shabbiness, the incessant televisions, the chairs designed for some proximate species but we’re not here for the ambiance, exactly. The comfort in these places is the instant camaraderie of people who are there by necessity. It doesn’t matter if you are Charity-born poor or fell into it by way of that degree in art which led to a career in tattoo, once you walk in you’re one of us.
I live on the sketchy edge of the fashionable Faubourg St., John just over the renters-insurance redline and facing the track. Just up the block the owners of the grand homes beneath the oaks have their own front-loading washers and dryers. Smack in the middle of this atmosphere of elegance sits the Splish Splash, next to the now closed neighborhood drugstore and the abandoned, half-renovated Circle K, a reminder that all around the stately homes of Esplanade and Ursulines lies a neighborhood of once working class shotgun doubles. Inside the stucco-faced washeteria there is nothing faubourg about it: a vinyl floor, clean enough early in the morning but past all point of mopping, rows of large and small washers and dryers rolling along except the one half disassembled for months with the parts inside the drum. The only place to sit inside is in front of the television, and there is never enough table space and no sitting on tables allowed. The crowd is about equally divided between those who pick up a coffee at Fairgrinds or a single beer from somewhere or an orange drink from the vending machine. The last are the Latino workers from the back of the track. The women stay inside and chat and laugh while their children run about. Their men or the single men tend to congregate on the bench outside and talk about trabajo and futbol as best I can make out when I step out for a cigarette.
The Splish Splash is not some chic urban cruising laundromat but there is always a certain amount of side-eyed appraisal between the singles of the coffee variety. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anyone striking up a conversation with a stranger for more than a few sentences. Laundry is a chore and double if you have to haul it down to the corner and fight for a dryer. The Latina women always seem to come in pairs, with or without their men, and their endless and gay conversation is a soothing relief from the chattering television and the endless thump-thump-whop of the machines. (We will, we will, dry you, dry you). Many patrons come and go between wash and dry, coming back with a fresh coffee or groceries from Cansecos. It is that kind of corner, with two neighborhood groceries and until deBlancs closed, a drugstore. Easy enough to get all your errands in if you drive over and park in the deBlancs lot
It’s easy to live in this city and never see past your unconscious blinders what sort of city this is. Many people like to compare New Orleans to San Francisco but in reality this city is much closer to the blue-collar bricks and sticks of Baltimore than to tony Frisco. It’s a working man and woman’s city with most of the real money–outside of the faubourgs with their Lloyd’s real estate signs and hired police patrols–long fled to the outskirts. Those who cling to the lakefront often take Orleans Avenue on the other sketchy edge of my neighborhood, one only real estate agents would call Bayou St John. They travel that road to and from work every day and I wonder if they see the old men in straw hats laughing in the shade on the neutral ground, the beers from the corner store their fountain of eternally recalled youth, or that elderly couple sitting on their porch, silent, their bent metal clam chairs angled apart as if what was between them were a repulsive anti-pole, a force they could only overcome together but can’t or won’t.
Back on Esplanade the Splish Splash never rises to discussion on the neighborhood mailing list, although every other local business does. Unless someone pulls a gun or the place burns to the ground in a flash fire of neglected lint it is invisible, a little puddle in the gutter of elegant Esplanade Avenue, lacking the bohemian charm of the bicycle clutter outside of Fairgrinds. Inside we know it is as warm and friendly as Liuzza by the Track, with its own crowd of first name or nodding acquaintance regulars as familiar as the check-out girls at Cansecos, as much a part of why some of us live here as Cafe Degas.
Ghostly January 24, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It’s 8:45. With the blackout curtains drawn you are not sure if it is anti- or post-meridian and you are not too sure you brain is clear on the matter after it shocked you awake with a dream meant for that purpose. You dream you are urinating and it has happened before, you were taking some medication that left you so dopey you were doing just that. You ask your doctor if you should see the urologist but you have just been discussing the problem with the medication another doctor has given you and she–who is younger than you–confesses to doing exactly the same thing when taking a similar medication, too knocked-out to answer the call of nature)
You are dead knocked out when the dream empties into your full body like an electric shock, bolting upright and every muscle at attention. You begin to wonder if your unconscious is just as confused as the waking brain after a 14 hour day starting at 3:a.m., up at 1 a.m. to have time for cigarettes, coffee and food in that rigorous, monastic order of addiction. Lunch at 3:30 in the afternoon with beers you hope will take off the coffee adrenaline edge of the day and lead to you what you plan as a nap which you now realize clearly is going all night with this interruption. You turn on the light, decide to ice your sprained wrist and read but realize you can’t smoke, elevate and read at the same time.
You look at the hotel window with the blackout curtains drawn for some hint of light and notice what looks like a pale leak of daylight above the curtain top but then the valence is hung from something clearly attached to the ceiling that would block any such light, and the glow is only on one end and ghostly blue. It is the reflection of the screen of your laptop. Ghostly is such a diaphanous adjective, weak tea any decent teacher of writing would strike right out but until you have studied that light, its faint gray-blue, the way it appears to hover just below the ceiling like a cloud of smoke and faintly pulse with the cycling of a screen saver you don’t know ghostly
The witching hour is only by the clock if you blow out a candle before you go to bed. Jump a time zone then get up with five hours sleep for a long day of coffee and tension in a meeting room with a handful of dreadfully intent people, two phones going and the walls covered with lists and charts, other people coming and going with urgent rumors or looking for news, then a late lunch with beer until you finally pass out at 5 p.m. and it might as well be the stroke of twelve in a cemetery. You have your own ghosts, the texts from your ex-wife asking if you’re free to talk and no you are not, not in the middle of all this, are just the incantation to call them up.
Exhaustion and Belgian ale put you to sleep but don’t unwind the spring work has wrapped around your chest. The dream is just a warning from your lizard brain which doesn’t know if it is time to eat or shit, run or hide in the dark. By the time you have padded to the bathroom and back, found your water bottle and the ice pack for your wrist you are groggy again. You lie on your back examining that light in the corner and you begin to understand what a little moonlight could do to someone awake at the wrong time with the burdens of the world like a lead stole filled with the world’s sins, at an hour when one’s own haunts creep just beneath the skin and suddenly you are sure that light is floating just under the ceiling.
Ghostly is a fine word, just the one you are looking for. It is the reason you got up to write this. You decide to keep it, it’s perfectly rational cause a talisman against the others that rattle their chains in your skull at the most inconvenient times.
The Small Rain January 16, 2013Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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One step out the door and I know I’m not going out, no way am I dragging my lingering smoker’s bronchitis out to the 7:10 Esplanade and downtown.Thank god and DARPA and whoever else is responsible for VPN. I linger a minute, immersed in the shocking north-blown damp, my hand out to capture to bit of icy rain. Spring they used to call this in North Dakota; I mean, the ice is off the lakes and the crocus are poking up through the last black bits of snow. That ice-cold rain even in the middle of June. The temperature has crept into the 70s but the rain comes down like some terrible accident at the ice house, stinging reminders of why the early pilots wore fleece-lined leather jackets, that 46.8 N is just over halfway to the pole.
It’s a small rain, as if the just visible mist were a distant cloud of tundra mosquitoes resolved into a swarm at the first scent of warm blood. I’ve just had my transom window repaired against the driving rains of New Orleans, the fat drops flung like missiles against the flimsy low-rent plastic and caulk that once passed for a window until there would be a fair-sized puddle just inside the door. I love the drenching New Orleans rain as long as I can sit just out of reach and contemplate its impenetrable jungle splendor and warmth, enjoy the cooling downdrafts. This winter rain is an entirely different animal, an arctic pseudo pod reaching out from the north to swallow its surprised victims.
Waiter, this is not the Wednesday I ordered. Take this unseasonable gazpacho back and bring me something warm.
3:40 AM January 16, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Diurnal dysrythmia is today’s neologism, the inability to remain flaccid when desired; premature exclamation, the brain suddenly engaged when one ought to role over and go back to sleep. Associated symptoms include waking on weekends to feed dogs long departed and children who are not around, aural hallucinations of the Barney theme song over 0-dark:thirty Cheerios. Facebook at 4 a.m., the informal fraternity of the insomniac, is a bad idea. Do not encourage the squirrel that has leaped onto its wheel at this ungodly hour. Do not feed the squeak. Make coffee, yes, but only to turn on the program mode for a few hours from now when it will be badly needed. Turn off the architect lamp (upgrade to laptop with illuminated keyboard). Go back to bed while it is still warm between the sheets. Do not light another cigarette.
Isn’t it time you had a conversation with your doctor about these conversations you are having with your reflection?
Some Where on the Far Side of Eisenhower January 12, 2013Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Fortin Street, Jazz, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Frenchman Street, Linnzi Zaorski
Eric and I are the oldest people in the room I think, the only ones who might have heard these ancient swing tunes coming from the cloth grill of a hardwood hi-fi set or or on some long-reprogrammed station from a Solid State AM Radio in the Chevrolet dashboard of 1960. We stand up at the front of the bar because every seat along the bar and wall is taken by a crowd born in a time when the guitar was the undisputed king, when trumpet and strings meant Peter and the Wolf. Linnzi Zaorski stands willow-sapling straight at the microphone, the swing mostly in her sweet-tea voice with just with just a bobble-doll accompaniment from her head and shoulders, her hips and one hand keeping time as softly as brushes on a snare. Her publicity photos like those of the other jazz standard singers in town suggest sultry but under the spot tonight she is all wholesome blond and smile, ready for the pageant judges.
The band of trumpet, violin, hollow-bodied electric and upright bass doesn’t need a drummer to swing. Close your eyes when they start “Lady in Red” and you would swear there were two trumpets instead of Charlie Fardella’s one and a violin. Matt Rhodi’s fiddle reminds me that somewhere between Carnegie Hall and Church Point there is a whole other sound, that nothing swings quite like a violin. The bassist is late and through the first set Matt Johnson’s hollow body drives the band, comping Kansas City swing warm and bright as the glow of antique amplifier filaments, taking delicate solos that complement Zaorski’s voice. Once Robert Snow sets the dance floor thrumming its just a matter of time before the dancers peel off the wall and start to take the floor. I don’t have a notebook and I’m too beer-tipsy fascinated by it all to keep a set list in my head. The sound is almost too clear. You expect the wandering modulation of a distant short wave station broadcasting from somewhere on the far side of Eisenhower like the RKO tower. These songs were growing old before most of the band was born but here tonight they are fresh again. The seated players lean into the songs, intent as surgeons, while the base player’s eyes close and off he goes where ever the hell it is bass players go when they are mounted by the melody. The dance floor fills by fits and starts, one couple at a time at first as if by prearrangement, the jitterbug and Lindy Hop couples each taking their turns, inviting the crowd to marvel at their steps like the first Lindy Hoppers at the Savoy in Harlem most of a century ago.
“Can you believe this? That we’re here listening to this?” Eric asks. We are like two old vaudevillians between shows grabbing a glass of beer and of course I answer as I always do. “Yeah, this sucks. Cleveland. That’s where we should be tonight. I bet it’s happening in Cleveland.” We both laugh and the people around us give us the slantwise eyeball and edge away a just-visible inch. Cleveland. Right. Somewhere in Cleveland in a Holiday Inn there may be a quick-silver blond with Betty Grable legs crooning with a pianist who misses his ashtray more than his youth, but I don’t think you would find a house full of kids and wish-they-were’s leaning in toward the singer just as the band does, swept into Zaorski’s updo and baby-doll vocals. The whole room–band, dancers, audience– is titled slightly toward the singer and you can almost see the energy flicker by spark jump from the crowd up to her and come back in a brilliant million candle-power flood of Forties poise and song.
I first heard Zaokrski sitting in with the Jazz Vipers at the Spotted Cat, before the big split in the band, before HBO’s Treme packed that place like the last dry room on the Titanic and they moved the stage and took away the old wicker chairs and couch where non-dancers like me could wait for a chance to collapse and just get lost in the sound. I’m not about to Google a lady’s age but Zaorski started a dozen years before that in a barroom called Southport on Bourbon Street. Between songs she talks about singing over the football game, of the bartender vacuuming around the bands’ feet during the last set. Swing has come a long way since bands like the Jazz Vipers took swing out of the dance-class and wedding ballroom and brought it back to the smoke and mirrors of the barroom where it was born. Half a dozen bands work the trade now to fill all the dance cards of the jitterbug-crazy retro fedora and nylons crowd. Its impossible for a stand-and-drink man like myself not to watch the footwork of the dancers but when singers like the sparkling Zaorski and pin-up sulty Ingrid Lucia and the fiery Meschiya Lake with her updo and tattoos take the stage the real magic is straight up center over the microphone. The magic of all the swing cats–men and women, singers and players–is the magic of jazz, the ability to bend space and time like notes, to take you out of yourself and toward another time and place, in this case to a scene out of some Ronald Reagan Rest Home dream, where the syncopation of music and feet among the sharp hats and shapely gams made old cats like us first twinkle in someone’s eye.
Little Miracles December 31, 2012Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Fortin Street, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is raining starling shit on the sidewalk in front of my house as I sit and smoke a cigarette.
At first I have no idea what these black berry-like things are raining from the sky. I pick one up. It is a little smaller than a coffee bean but about the same shape a color. I look up, and see birds ranged along the overhead wires. I step out into the street to be sure of the bird and the ones above me take flight to the right in a widershins spiral, and their brethren in the tree just up the street lift off to my left in a clockwise helix until they merge into two intersecting whorls of chattering birds. I watch them until the hypnotic black kaleidoscopic shrinks into a vanishing point.
I sit down to finish my cigarette.
I love my block.