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The Ghost in the Stone May 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Travel, Writing.
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Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

I remember listening to this, the almost prophetic lines, almost a year ago to the day in that window of time between my graduation and leaving for Europe, wondering what lines an intent and malcontent young man a thousand years hence would–given an fortuitous manuscript in an ancient tongue–would render into his own poetry: Pound’s or Dylan’s?

I cannot see the future any more clearly clearly  than Ezra Pound could see the past. My current desire is to find a narrow swath of time, a butterfly’s worth say, in which to find some peace, the surcease of the black verses of Pound or early Dylan.  When I need to get away from the chatter of streetcars and the lowing of trombones,, I think of the Castle, Brunnenburg, last outpost on the winding castle road and guardian of the springs that watered the mountaintop fortress which loomed over it.

Madness. Pound is madness wrought fine, at once the distilled essence like  Nick’s fine grappa from the grapes that surrounded us, and the great stone in which the reader must discern the form. I followed the steep Via Ezra Pound and immersed myself for a month, my studies interrupted everyday by a gourmet lunch fresh from the Castle farm tended by his grandchildren, up late, falling asleep sitting up in my tiny room in the croft, and up again early scribbling marginal transcriptions of the sense of it from Terrell’s agate companion. Madness.
image
Ruins of Brunnenburg, 19th century engraving

I would do it again in a moment, for there I discovered not Pound’s truth but my own: dedication to something I loved beyond all reason, at least two healthy meals a day, and the steep climb to town if I wanted dinner or cigarettes. A mind well engaged and a body well fed and worked hard at least once a day. To live well and work hard at something worthwhile, not just to pay the bills.

I would leave today.I have my passport and 30 Euro found months later stashed in various pockets of my clothes.

I sit here sipping a Campari and soda (there is cava in the fridge, but not just now) listening for imaginary vaporetti passing along the canals of New Orleans. Yes, Venice: Venice is an essential part of the equation, four days our reward for hard work but still kept on task, following in Pound’s footsteps, passing our hands over the smooth sandstone pommel on the bridge leading to the small piazza where a young Pound contemplated tossing his early verses into the canal.

I am so often to tired to write much. Books of poetry topple constantly from their otherwise undisturbed stack. I sometimes go through my meager manuscript and consider what, if any of it, is worth the death of a tree. I watch from a quiet distance the steady success of a friend who for all his own troubles and the grind of his job practices his craft with a discipline I cannot conjure. In those moments I want to return to the castle, to rent the spare room off the küche and lose myself in poetry again, distracted only by the fairytale beauty of the low mountains of the Südtirol, the rescued eagles of the Castel Tirolo soaring, the warbling of the turkeys wandering the yard.

That is not going to happen anytime soon. June will be a death march through the work project at hand and I hope that keeps me too busy to dwell upon last June. Still, I must not forget the lessons of the castle: to eat well and walk long, to find time to bury myself in poetry, to stop and watch the hawks hunting in the park.

I write, Castles and mountains and iron-cloistered Virgins are all within my reach. I need only place myself before a metaphorical Via Ezra Pound, and take that first step up the daunting climb. Once started there is no point in turning back.

Through a prism, darkly May 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Spectrum

King Kong Mother Fucking Superman

                                                                     cries sometimes

                                               alone

in his Fortress of

                                                                                                 Solitude

Hey, Mister May 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street, New Orleans, NOLA, cryptical envelopment, The Odd, The Narrative, The Typist, The Pointness.
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Another week booked and billed, another chapter lived but unwritten, another beer opened on Eastern Time and I want a fucking cigarette. How else, then, smoke rings?

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

— Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tamborine Man”

This completely unnecessary attribution is dedicated to the handful of patient professors–Gery, Marti, Hazlett–who tolerated (just) my rambling sentences of intricate internal logic unbound from the shackles of Latin and Aristotle, and my irregular conjugations of the MLA handbook, which was no larger than Strunk and White when I started out on that road. Why does English in any usage or situation adhere to something like the MLA? Rules? In a knife fight?

Stop That May 16, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist.
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“Don’t you think the Sagrada Familia is a bit Gaudi?”

#pynchonhumorsyndrome #punforthecure

it is myths that haunt us, not ghosts May 16, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, literature, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
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That it is myths that haunt us, not ghosts, which are only specters produced by an unexpected intersection of myths. A Celtic myth, for example, might intersect with an Aztec one. But what interests me the most is the syncretic capacity of Christian myth to embrace them all and make them all rationally accessible at once, and at the same time irrationally sacred.

— Carlos Fuentes, “Reasonable People”, from Costancia and Other Stories for Virgins

You’re Only Coming Through In Wave 1 Release May 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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This week has been more fun than pulling cactus spines out of your hide, but not as much fun as falling drukenly into the cactus. I am listening to the solo works of Syd Barrett VERY LOUD while sipping a beer as I finish up work. There is an unopened bottle of the sugar skull tequila, intended initially as decorative, staring at me suggestively (cut that out!) from the mantle.

This is certain to end well.

The madcap laughed at the man on the border
Hey ho, huff the talbot
The winds they blew and the leaves did wag
And they’ll never put me in their bag
The seas will reach and always see
So high you go, so low you creep
The winds it blows in tropical heat
The drones they throng on mossy seats
The squeaking door will always creep
Two up, two down we’ll never meet
So merrily trip for good my side
Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the octopus ride!

Do you remember the future, Dr. Memory? May 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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I’m sorry, Clem, but you’re making The Doctor unhappy happy.

wavy-gravy-header

Someone get the lizards out of my guacamole May 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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11:30 No, it’s actually 10:21 Central River Time but I put my last task entry in about 20 minutes ago and logged off, and that was today’s total. Now I’m sitting here wondering if I can make it to the Sketchy Store for cigarettes before two mood stabilizing agents, two melatonin, valerian and various hippy weed caplets and this Negra Modelo kick in. I think I had another hour in me but the fucking lizards would not stay out of the guacamole, and I had to stop and do something about that.

So instead its Visions of Johanna (the ghosts of electricity crawl through the bones of her face), a fine late night song when you’re out of guacamole and you don’t care for lizard canapes. This could quite possibly flow into Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, at a moderate volume playing in the next room, a much younger man than either Dylan or I am serenading me across the decades slowly into Mirtazipine-enhanced dreams of a badly synced technicolor convergence trembling at the edge of coherence in the mildly psychedelic shades of South Pacific.

Did they mean the film to look like that, or are the psilocybin tints a fortuitous accident like that transcendental fuzz on an overloaded mix channel in the guitar part of the Kink’s See My Friends?

Some things are just meant to happen. Escher falls up and grasps a railing that accidentally yanks everything back into a rational perspective. Tomorrow will bring its own set of incidents in search of coherence, and once again I will go dredging through the barrage of emails and the contentious spreadsheets, navigating the meetings alternatively panicked and authoritarian, until I drive the last nail into the finely crafted coffin of another day.

Monday May 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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half done and I am waning fast. Still night meetings to go. By Woden’s Day I should be hanging upside down by the ankle from a nearby tree. Eye gouging optional.

Freya, Lady of the Vanir,
come swiftly to our aid
and we shall hail You,
always.

Handbill art by K Switzer  for the play CRAVE for The Catastrophic Theater, found as I cleaned out old papers

Handbill art by K Switzer for the play CRAVE for The Catastrophic Theater, found as I cleaned out old papers

HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME May 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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New Orleans: 4:39 pm
New York: 5:39 pm
Poland: 11:39 pm
Malaysia: 5:42 pm
India: 3:12 am

Monday 6 am: 61:14…61:13…61:12…..

Bunker 3036 May 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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            I can hold out for ten minutes
With my sergeant and a machine-gun.
            And they rebuked him for levity.

— E.P., Canto XVI

you May 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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You Are Beautiful

Fortin Street Stage April 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Jazz Fest, je me souviens, Memory, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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by the time I stop drinking and start thinking about sleep
by the time we’ve eaten the last of next-door jimmy’s hot meat
by the time my feet have shuffled their last hussle
on the public blacktop ballroom of Fortin Street
and the hustle has all gone downtown to Bourbon
and the bustle has all gone downtown to Frenchman
and the last of the one-song, school-kid bands
and the last of the weary ice-cold water men
have carried themselves home weary to the bone
and one sad bicycle hangs abandoned on the fence
and the can picking man passes on his sad, last round
i will stand on Fortin Street and glisten to the sound
the last frantic arpeggios vibrating in the silence
attenuated into memory, a faint flow of the distant glory
like the milky way backdrop to the asterism’s story–
then, yes, then and only then will I go to bed
with tempered brass angels at foot and at head

∆ t April 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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‘Personal density,’ Kurt Mondaugen in his Peenemünde office not too many steps away from here, enunciating the Law which will one day bear his name, “is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth…
‘Temporal bandwidth,’ is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar “∆ t” considered as a dependent variable. The more you dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are.

W.A.S.T.E April 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist.
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image

Why The Fuck Are We Not All In Lafayette? April 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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My tax refund (first in years, and a nice one) has come, and I say: fuck it, and start looking at the cubes. The Jazz Tent. Congo Square. Where are the big names in Jazz that tour the rest of the country and never come here? I love Terrence Blanchard and he’s New Orleans to the bone but couldn’t we book just one, big name, never gonna see them hear otherwise act? And Congo Square? Where is the Afro-World music? Mannie Fresh and Big Freeda and Kermit and What. The Fuck. Why am I not in Lafayette where the real festival is? The price of the ticket is nothing. But I can’t find a day I wouldn’t be going in just to eat. The Blues Tent looks the best and well, folks, I’m listening to it now. It’s right across the fucking street. Elton John and The Who and all I can think of is that British tabloid with the pictures of Jagger and Richards with the Night of the Living Dead headline. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga? OK, I think Tony’s desire to do duets with pop stars has finally jumped the intergalactic warp-powered mothershark. Phone 042415 001

Just: Fuck you New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival​. Fortin Street is still the best place to be, here at the Fortin Street Stage VIP Seating Area (King and Queen Seating Only)​ at the Fortress of Squalitude​. And if I can’t resist closing my eyes and imagining Roger Daltry isn’t pumped up on some sort of steriod–B-vitamin–Peruvian Pure cocktail straight out of Jim Carroll with autotune in both ears, I can hear the Wheeling Crash of Beautiful Doom one last time from the Secret VIP Section. If Townsend’s rotator cuff is still up to it.

Like the MoM’s Ball, I still have my memories, and I can take a pass. And at least on Fortin Street, I can still Be There, Hovering Just Above on a Cloud of Righteous Fuck You-ey-ness. FYYFF. The Shrine of Jazz and Heritage is up. Time to run the speaker out the window for between acts.

At least please keep the shirts ugly. Hollering WATERMELON at the people not unfortunate enough not only to buy them but to turn around and wear them the next day was the height of last year’s Festival. All my tax-related file are mixed with work and a week’s mail on the board that spans the easy chair behind my desk. I’ve been sick all week. I haven’t cleaned the bathroom. The carpet in front of the couch is full of Cheez It and tortilla chip crumbs. There are no Vegetarian Heaven Red Beans. But you know where I at. Maybe I can pass the vac, clean teh toilet and clear a path through the bedrooms. Just ping me if you’re coming in case I’ve wandered off. And if I have, see what Jimmy’s got cooking and get a beer from him till I wander back.

Let A Hundred Congas Bloom April 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I’ve just gone from six hours of dark apartment contractor hell starting at o’fuck:thirty no Herman Miller chair can redeem, the house surrounded by packs of voracious two-stroke monsters which no amount of O.K. Computer at any volume can subdue, into in-and-out of Canseco’s on a blindingly blue day with a pack of no-you-don’t cigarettes and a pack of Wholly (Unnecessary), Guacamole while on the balcony above Fair Grinds a circle of pickers work through You Can’t Always Get What You Want, holy banjo notes on a beautiful afternoon.

If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, or perhaps 7:45 April 18, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Fortin Street, fuckmook, FYYFF, ghosts, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Metairie encroaches from the East, swallows Carrollton Avenue. Brooklyn comes from the west across the Industrial Canal in a pathetic, staged white second line. We lost the north when they made  Lakeshore Drive the private dog park of the of  Lake neighborhoods along Robert E, Lee. To the south loom the gas-flare, metal islands  of BP, Mobile, Exxon.Sucking the black ghosts of marshes long past was not enough.The water must run  red as blood.

There is no retreat, no defense.  When America erupted in flames and east Detroit held off the National Guard for two days,  nothing happened here. Riot is not our style.  Its too damn hot and a lot of work.

You are left only one choice, to chose the place, the once familiar  corner with its shuttered store, and the moment (Esplanade in the rare, painterly  golden light of late afternoon, perhaps) when New Orleans dies inside you.

Death of the Cool April 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Beauty, cryptical envelopment, Jazz, je me souviens, music, New Orleans, Remember, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist.
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Listening to Yusef Lateef brought this song to mind (and only one other person in the world would know why). God Damned arpeggio showoneupmanship.  The world has forgotten how to swing slow, soft and sweet. Miles. Yusef. And Prez. Always Prez. (Yes, that’s our hat.)  How did we miss the Death of the Cool?

Miles Davis / Darn That Dream: https://youtu.be/-jYCpOOsEV0

The History of Poetry: 1 April 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in literature, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Sing, Goddess

            [crickets]

the tantrum of Achilles. The woman blamed. Again. All the men rushing to the slaughter, each yearning to be reborn immortal in the lunatic cycle of blood shed by metal. The gory precision of description of the wounds. The listing ships made manifest. The detailing of Achilles’ shield. Down low Patroclus bro’ ergo Hector in drag. Look. A gift horse in Cassandra’s mouth (seen not heard). Athena (Goddess) spares Ajax the Lessor for the rape of Cassandra. (Scream.)

What fabulous brides do we have for our departing contestants?

The hindsight of a man blinded is perfect.

Been Down So Long April 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Hell is the place where we place ourselves when we wish to look upward.
— Jack Spicer, “Prayer for My Daughter” from The Heads of the Town Up to the Aether (1960)

Postdiluvian Afternoon Manscape with Bulldozer April 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Back of Town, Bayou St. John, City Park, Federal Flood, geo-memoir, Hurricane Katrina, levee, Louisiana, postdiluvian, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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This was once bottom land, he says with the practiced eye and assurance of a successful environmental engineer. He is probably right. This recently mown rough at the edge of this former fairway is not far from the ridge of Bayou St. John and less than a mile south of Filmore Avenue, the line your grandfather told you was once the start of the softly indeterminate shore of the lake, the gradual transition from bottom land to open water, before the concrete seawall, the back fill and subdivision, when the land followed the natural contours of water.

Across Harrison Avenue snowy egrets play tag with a bulldozer returning another feral fairway to its appointed state of gracefully sculpted landscaping. They have carefully fenced off the trees they elected to keep just outside their crowns, but they have not bothered to put up runoff barriers along the lagoon. The other trees, the once mature oaks and cypress older than the park, did not fit into the new PGA-caliber design and were themselves bulldozed, cut and chipped into mulch (one hopes), the thicker branches and trunks, the massive root balls hauled off to some dump itself perched at the edge of useful bottom land, to cycle back into muck, the gumbo mud of marginal land that will suck the boot off a man’s foot as if to say: careful where you tread. You do not belong here.

This was all bottom land in flood a decade ago when the lake toppled the less-than-carefully designed levees, the work of a hundred bulldozers sculpting golf and parkways and neighborhoods, the labor of decades, was undone in a few hours. How we clamored to rebuild back then, even as we and the water birds reclaimed the ruins of golf for our own pleasure in spite of the lurking coyotes, after the hired guns had cleared the park of ill-tempered feral hogs washed in from the East, that last failed attempt to fill and subdivide marked by exits to nowhere on the highway out of town.

We follow a well-worn but little used path this beautiful afternoon until we find a shaded spot to plant our beach and Jazz Fest chairs, crack open the cooler filled with rare ales and settle in for a beer tasting. We used to do this in the Couterie Forest, another bit of man-scaping which was once an open field where the local AOR station staged free concerts, but the Couterie has grown crowded since the acres of feral fairway around it have been fenced off for construction of the new golf course, the confluence of FEMA dollars and the investments of men who could not play a PGA caliber game to save their lives but who can afford $150 for a round of eighteen holes, who will crowd the sponsored tents when the golf circus comes to town. (Build it and they will come, they tell themselves).

The FEMA relief we all fought for requires the reconstruction of what was and nothing more, although the men who run the Park have found a loophole big enough to drive a bulldozer through, to try to steal away the local PGA stop via a “public-private partnership,” that popular euphemism for privatizing profit while socializing risk; a great racket if you can get in on it, and our carefully-groomed and well compensated politicians love these sort of arrangements. Without them the contributions would dry up and instead of campaign billboards they would litter the landscape with solicitations for litigation, become just another schmuck lawyer grafting a living off of our ridiculous insurance rates.

In the middle distance is a beautifully bifurcated cypress, rising out of the roots of a clump of dying, non-native palms planted by some long-ago golf architect. The land here takes its revenge slowly but surely, as slowly and certainly as the land upon which we sit and the cypress prospers gradually subsides from bottom land to bottom of the lake. In another hundred years the furor over golf versus a carefully manicured wildness will be settled not in court but simply settled, back into the Back of Town, more wetland than bottom land. The golfers will move north as the water moves back in. Anyone who treads this path along the spoil bank of the artificial lagoon down which this afternoon past three women in a rented canoe, two paddlers and one lounging beneath an orange parasol, will likely find a very different landscape, too boggy to mow and covered in water-loving grasses. The lone cypress in the middle of the field, suited by temperament to flooding, will perhaps have grown into a stand, safe from bulldozers which will have moved on long ago to more certain and stable investments, far from the gulf that will someday reclaim this all, when my imagined stand of cypress will stand as denuded grey ghosts, victims of the relentless salt sea from which we all came and to which all this will return.

The Faster We Go The Rounder We Get April 3, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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2001 Kubrick wormhole sequence on mute with China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider at 11 1/2 and repeat on my mini-monster Yamaha CRX with the Polks on rockers vibrating the insides of my eyes in the Blue Agave Terror of the Burkian Sublimity of the Precipice. I once worked with a dry drunk who spit cheap chaw into a duct-taped wrapped Diet Pepsi bottle and said when you come to The Edge (the Bottom of The Book) you only have Two Choices. You’re wrong, I said. There is a Third Choice. You can Leap into the Light.

When they get to the end of the North Bound Train verse throw the Hadron Supercollider into the tub.

FYYFF April 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in fuckmook, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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WANO

Excerpt in draft of The Bayou: Tell Us About the Light March 31, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Tell us about the light.

There was the lemon fresh light of early morning, the sun’s abundance after the long night, grasses, vines, leaves, and saplings all stretching toward it as the morning cupped them like a breast and the bayou echoed with the moan of a distant outboard, droning unseen toward some secret breakfast haunt of the speckled trout. It was then, in the early hours when the water was darkest in the shadow of its own shining, that its browns were most golden, its greens iridescent. The long stalkers fished the shallows, the egret and the ibis, while pelicans stirred but rested in their nests waiting for the coasting updraft of the warming land, for the water clear of the sun’s reflection, for the vision of fish. This was the hour of the gamey peat and green smell percolating as the heat slowly seeped into the water and its soft land, and then the boiling of the coffee.

Where did the darkness hide?

It lay quietly beside the water every which way, where the pirogue-narrow channels slithered into the tangle of cypress knees and creeping things green and black, rooted and rootless, where the logs had eyes and the only way to tell a water snake from a cotton mouth was with a stick, watching for that flash of white in the day-long twilight, far back from the canals where men went about their business, far from the fishermen and the oilmen and their noisy, oily boats rusting away to nothing beneath the scraping of the deck hands. Back there the water gleamed faintly with leaf-rot, another delicate color in the palette of this water forest, not the false rainbows of sputtering two-strokes. On the bayou the pelican traced the bayou coasting up and down, hunting for lunch, a marker of the bayou as certain as clouds and flotsam speak of an island over the horizon. Ice tea tinkled in glasses besides sandwiches.

And later? When all grew dark?

In the mosquito evenings the bayou floated golden brown beneath the creeping shadows of its soft land, the water prairie grasses mellowing from green to yellow, and the dense growth explored each new shade of green blacker than the last, the land camouflaging itself in the growing darkness as the sky turned a burning autumn and the first and strongest star winked. It was the hour of the needling whiz of the mosquito and growling drone of the homeward bound boat. The bayou itself was silent except for the chirp of fish picking dinner out of thin air. Somewhere in the darkness, a roux was stirring through the colors of the evening.

Someday there would be the horns of morning traffic, come afternoon the smell of warm asphalt and finally the flickering buzz of street lamps: that was the darkest of all.

I got the blues March 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Jazz Vipers, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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No matter that I could not get to sleep after last night’s final shift of weekend work. An eye mask of supreme comfort and impenetrability to light cannot make up for the fact that the circus has come to town. The horsey people are still fighting their once-a-year hangovers and the fancy hats reserved for Opening and Derby Day have not yet been put back in their boxes, but the mechanical elephants of grinding diesel are dropping the piles of steel struts that will soon be assembled by roustabouts with their own roaring machinery and directed by megaphone into the Blues Tent.

My shotgun neighbor Jimmy has been counting the days like an excited child marking off a calendar for Christmas for two weeks now, anxious for the days when Fortin Street (you know it, you just never knew its name) becomes for two weekends something like upper Royal Street on Carnival Day but with a circus twist. The coozy on a neck strap man will start-up his sing-song pitch before too long: “How’r you gonna clap with your hands full!”, the man begging for donations to his home for trouble veterans will arrive with his bucket and handbills to repeat his spiel a dozen times to the people lined up to hit the Fest the moment they open the gates.

We love those days here on Fortin Street, although work will be hard over the noise but not everyone gets to live across from the Blues Tent, can walk two blocks to park themselves in hearing distance of the Jazz Tent, or take a stroll to the secret back fence spot that puts you closer to the Accura Stage than most of the people inside.

It is coming, weekends of no rest and too much beer, of Jimmy cooking for “donations”, of trying to drive for some errand through the ambling crowds going just a hair slower than my cars idle. I was just unprepared this groggy just past ten a.m. for the bang and crash, the mechanical bump and grind that means it is Jazz Fest time.

DO NOT STOP OR START OR DO ANYTHING ELSE THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS March 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Two cups of coffee, an over-charged e-cigarette (27 milligrams of nicotine) and the lizards of adrenaline trace the paths of my nervous system with familiar claws. An ogre well-known hereabouts grinds the clockwork of my molars and a pill box monkey dances unwanted telegrams of ALL CAPS urgency to the discordancy of my broken pianos. [Draw upon the e-cigarette with irritable pencils.] The brown stains at the bottom of the cup forecast anxiety, desire and disappointment.. Big Pharma arrives in the waiting room wearing bespoken suits and pink salad bowls carrying sample cases full of cash to reward the doctors for their advice about my bad choices. The reps are peddling punch-foil sample papers of simple solutions to complex problems which the night sky, covered in starry equations, cannot solve, not before it is time to get up and greet the sun with another cup of coffee. I would go back to bed but the pillows are stained with forgotten exams and misplaced passports. The day is leaving without me and I have forgotten to purchase a ticket two weeks in advance. An unreliable narrator suggests solutions to the world’s Facebook agendas involving a black bandanna and a healthy disregard for the law. My sour stomach hollers obscenities from the balcony at the unanimous consent to pour a drink. The lap bar is locked and the cars do not stop (leering clown-faced attendant taking his leisure at the brake lever) and we are dragged clanking back to the top of the roller-coaster from which sunrise is visible over the event horizon from which there appears to be no escape from the plummet into centripetal gibberish.

Somebody scream!

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd March 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Smiling.

IN-A-GADDA-DE-DOLCE-VITA March 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is Friday. Innocence is not an option.

dolcevita6 (1)

I hear the singing of the undertow
where the anxious waves come and go.

I watch it greedily leach
away the sand beneath
Fellini’s beached monster.

The tide has drowned the beach.
The cafe angel waves. I cannot reach
her distant innocence from here.

I turn my back on the fantastic
and light another cigarette.

Let Sleeping Camels Lie? March 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I walk into Canseco’s and It’s Midnight at the Oasis on the ceiling speakers. It’s Day 4 of red beans, day 4 of late night meetings with our colleagues in that huge swath of the earth on China Standard Time. I’m eating a salad, again, to relieve the tedium of just red beans.

The best I can say about this week is last night a line came to me, and I forced myself out of bed in spite of my exhaustion and managed three draft strophes for a long poem I’m working on, a break-through, really, another approach to telling history through poetry without hitting a false note: typing, not writing.

Come Friday night at midnight, I am the camel. Coo coo ka choo. OK, maybe you weren’t born when that song came out or were waiting for Saturday night and the Lawrence Welk Show, but this is not a happy thought. Maria Muldaur was a pop pin up girl in my day, with Cher’s looks locks but a real woman’s body, not a stick figure. And a come hither voice in that song that sent chills up and down the spine.

Now I hear it and I remember the card I saw once in the same store, before the changed the racks. Over what hill? When? Where? I don’t remember any hil1!. (I add here my own: harrumph!) I don’t want to be the Camel. I want to be Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, both terrified to ride in a camel charge, finishing off a pint of scotch whiskey and milk before they took Aqabah from the land side. To paraphrase another song of long ago, I want to up get on my camel and ride before I’m so old no amount of extras and crew and scotch and milk can get me up in that saddle. I want to stop collapsing on Friday night like Welk’s dead accordion.

I better run. I think my sausage is about done. Wait, can I rephra…oh, never mind.

Good Night. Safe Home. March 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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NO. I am NOT going to the Holy Ground. (Write on the blackboard 100 times). I’ve had a 12 hour day and more to come this week.

The last little bit of Jameson is gone, and I’ve got a few bottles of Guinness and Altan for company.

When I die, after you leave my marker or scatter my ashes, I don’t ask for a brass band and Didn’t He Ramble. I ask every friend I’ve known (and one I haven’t met yet who can play the fiddle, or at least the penny whistle), to lead everyone away from the sad moment to the party to follow playing this, the one song I’ve heard in fifty plus years that marries sorrow and joy perfectly, that echoes the music of the Acadians whom my German ancestors were assimilated into.

Long ago, halfway into my exile, the Scottish host of The Thistle and Shamrock Fiona Ritche had Micheal Doucet on her show, and pronounced the Acadians the Lost Tribe of the Celtic Race. I felt this on my one visit to Ireland, especially the nights spent in small town inns. And I’ve taken that as license to drink a bit on this day, as I am right now, even though I am but 1/32nd Irish (and thank my sister whose Mormon genealogy, if I can lay hands on it, can give me the name and the county.

(NO. I WILL NOT go &c.)

(Echoes of drunken Welshmen abound in that last statement. But dammit, I shall not go. NO)

If you can talk Doucet into playing my funeral, I’ll promise to arrange for someone to return the ankle bells I drunkenly stole off the stage at the Mardi Gras Party at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA one long-ago carnival season early in my long exile. If he preceeds me, I will make arrangements for return of the bells myself.

A penny whistle would be just fine. I hear it in my head that way. May this tune carry you safe home tonight is my prayer.

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz by Altan:

Redemption Songs March 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Now at the annual collision of our African, Celtic and Sicilian cultures, in this town where the African’s ripped from their villages and put into bondage were too valuable a property to risk so the hungry Irish were set to work and die digging the New Basin Canal, where the Sicilian residents of the French Quarter were lynched by practiced hands, the Mardi Gras Indians will come out even as the Irish and Italians stage their parades and the green beer and red wine will flow, and the streets will be lined with rotted cabbage heads, pork chop sandwiches and loose feathers, a celebration in the way only our entirely Creolized culture knows how to do best. In this one place God set aside like Nod for the rejects of Anglo culture and in which we have established (with a wink and a blind eye from God) all that the propaganda of the north promised in their lies, the true melting pot. It is time to to sing Redemption Songs.

Impacts of Fuzz Effect Guitar on Dopamine Uptake and Recycling Rates in the Brain of the Typist March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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ABSTRACT: A study of the Fripp Effect, in combination with mellotron, in reducing states of oppositional misbehavior and inducing a state of exhilarated calm by the end of the second side.

Klaatu barada nikto mofo March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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What Tumblr’s email robot thinks I should be doing with my life. Banking is not one of the choices. Wise, wise robot:

college versus gardening. You decide

I thought the other day, for a moment, how happy I was working my ass off trying to cram six credit hours of graduate school into four weeks: eating well, not smoking or drinking much, climbing that damn hill every day, brain fully engaged in poetry.

A castle helped. As did lunch. As did Venice.

Then again, I”m watching three people go through the end of their MFA on Facebook. Not a pretty picture, at least for two of them. Not naming names. You know who you are.

Gardening. I used to do that.

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
By Wm. B. Yeats.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

WHAT HE SAID March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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honk honk honk [listen closely]

Miller Time 3 1/2 Hours [Exit Only]

A Riddle Wrapped March 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The unwrapping of which is my current task, to crack the nut and find perhaps in the kernal an enigmatic way to live.

We are here to kill war. We are here to drink beer. We are here to live so well Death will tremble to take us.
— Charles Bukowski

My literary heroes acted out by impulses beyond their control the myth of the drunkenly suffering artist. Bukowski, John Berryman, Everette Maddox, all but the last dead too young and by their own hand (Berryman’s bridge, Maddox’s “Drinking Glass“).

If I have a credo in my life it is Bukowsi’s. How, then, to live a moderately happy life and honor it? Politics drives me to the brink of a stroke, Klonopin drowning in adreneline, and regrets that I tossed my copy of the Anarchist Cookbook. Not a good place, but when I first came home I managed to channel the anger into words and civil action. Beer we may take to understand what the Irish call good craic:companionship of friends, out of the house and having fun. It need not end in a hangover.

The last is the most difficult. I am bound in chains of my own forging to a life, no, a job that is an exchange of soul for money, but at the moment money is what I need. It robs me of so many hours, leaves me drained and empty eyed, all in service to a system I loath.

Moloch, whose soul is electricity and banks.
— Allen Ginsburg, “Howl”

When my careful online code name for my employers of the last several years is an idol into whose furnace innocent children were thrown, a dark god which represented for Ginsburg everything that was wrong with America: what more can I say than that except thank you Mr. Ginsburg for the apt shorthand.

I have just finished making some notes after my therapy session, a process I have just undertaken. It is clear from the flow of questions that my psychologer is still figuring out why I am there, as I am. And if I am serious about the process. Am I?

I tell myself I am in her office to solve the conundrum above, but am I really? Would freedom from the Pill Doctor put me in a place of less dependence, closer to the staticially happy, within six sigma of the Minnesota Multiphasic mean?

I was born to peddle roses down the avenue of the dead.
— Bukowski

Perhaps I am, in this city where the dead all have an address and history uproots the sidewalks in the form of oak roots. If I manage to decode my life into its constituent parts and reassemble it will those parts still be me? It is one thing to take the clock apart. It is another to put it back together. If I am anything at this point in my life am my words. Going to a therapist to try and get off the Klonopin, the molecules unable to distinguish between an unhealthy anxiety attack and the urge at the edge of sleep to rise up and write down that fragment of an idea, to sacrifice sleep to follow that thought wherever it may go, is a gamble. Perhaps I do not wish to be fixed in any conventional sense, but rather to manage the madness without resort to well scotch or a tall bridge. Or the Klonopin, to which I exhibit symptoms of tolerance and possibly dependence.

Perhaps I was borne to suffer at times, to relish irrational exuberance, and in my spare time to peddle my flowers down the avenues of the dead.

The Mind of Me is a Terrible Waste of a Thing March 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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My EEG while at work today transubstantiated into sound. Primarily the part up to about 1:26 The heavy distortion effect is probably due to the coffee. The giant monkey may be the coffee or just me loosing it.

Damn, that’s a big monkey.

[coffee]

Trapped in Another Man’s Eyes March 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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Yes. This. Here. Now. Always.

Beat novelist John Clellon Holmes [describing Jack Kerouac’s On The Road]: “Somehow an open circuit of feeling had been established between his awareness and its object of the moment, and the result was as startling as being trapped in another man’s eyes”

Liberated from Randy Fertel’s A Taste for Chaos: Creative Nonfiction as Improvisation.

Radio Free Toulouse: In Case of Emergency Smash This Bottle and Go for the Door March 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist.
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In case of emergency are you prepared to execute the instructions on the seat back card in front of you? Are you? Ready?

The American Duende of the Blues March 7, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Duende, music, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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El Taranto

Dame venemo
Si me quieres dimelo
Y si no dame venemo
Y sal a la calle y si
Yo mate a mi dulce dueno
Con vememo que le di

Give me poison
If you love me, tell it to me
And if not, give me poison
And go out on the street and say
I killed my sweet master
With the poison I gave him

— Traditional cante jondo

I love Irene, God knows I do,
I’ll love her till the seas run dry
But if Irene should turn me down,
I’d take the morphine and die

— Variant verse of “Good Night Irene” by Leadbelly

The continuous glissando of the cantaor’s vocal cords and the bending of notes upon the guitar with hard calloused Black finger or the glide of a bottle neck slide.

What you must search for and find is the black torso of the Pharaoh.
— Andalusian cantaor Manual Torre, to Federico Garcia Lorca, explaining the duende–the “soul” if you will, of cante jondo or deep song; paraphrased from Greg Simon’s introduction to Ralph Angel’s translation of Lorca’s Poem of the Deep Song

Song born of pain, of longing, and of pride. Simon continues:

The apex of Moorish culture, which is represented for eternity by the Alhambra, was hallowed out from below by the brutal, secular incursions of the crusaders and brought to an abrupt end by the reconquest…By the time of the destruction of the Spanish Armada…Andalusia had splintered…and soon sank like a breached caravel from the sight of the world. I’m convinced that Andalusia’s Gypsy cantaores…began to be called upon for the consolation inherent in their art.

‘We are a sad, static people,” Lorca wrote of his fellow Andalusians, ‘people [who] cross their arms in prayer, look at the stars, and wait uselessly for a sign of salvation.’ ‘Static,’ Lorca’s description of the Andalusian…invokes the idea of the power of the force of life, potential energy waiting to be called upon by those who must have it to survive.

The further I go into the cante jondo and Lorca, in search of clues to the duende, a possible explanation for my own familiar demons that express themselves sometime in poetry, it seems impossible not to link the deep song, the cante jondo, to the blues. And if you listen for it, it lurks in the portamento of the fiddles in the saddest low waltzes of the Acadians, America’s closest native-born analog of the Gypsies.

“The black torso of the Pharaoh,” the common link in the Gypsy’s origin myth out of Egypt, out of Africa; the marginalization and suffering of a people who lived in caves above the city, and the Black American experience of their own harsh marginalization (the three fifths), the profound combination of sadness and hope, the constant portamento of the cantaor and the blues player, speaks to me of the universality of the duende. There is a force of unknown origin, the soul, the collective consciousness, or as Lorca relates (quoted from Archer) “…the words of an ancient guitar player who told him the duende pressed up through the crust of the earth and into him through the soles of his feet.”

I stood more than once in a tai chi class and felt myself rooted to the earth, the energy rising up through my own soles to the tips of my extended fingers and continuing by a tenuous but palpable thread to the sky.

As I read Archer’s translation, familiar poems in new clothes, the overwhelming presence of the earth, of the Guadalquivir and other rivers of Andalusia, of the olive grove and the flower, I hear echoes of haiku and the poetry of Asia generally. I am carried back to Ezra Pound’s free translations from the Chinese, in particular to the “Lament of the Frontier Guard” and the “Song of the Bowmen of Shu:”

When we set out, the willows were drooping with spring,
We come back in the snow,
We go slowly, we are hungry and thirsty,
Our mind is full of sorrow, who will know of our grief?
— from “Song of the Bowmen of Shu”

(Wind and dust
Fashion prows of silver.
— Lorca’s “Clamor”)

Lorca, in his published lectures and essays, and in his poetry, speaks often of the cave dwellings of the Gypsies of Andalusia, as do his commentators. Caves, openings into the earth, the place closest to the spirits of the earth. As Lorca himself explains, the duende is not the angel or Greek muse born of heaven, but closer to a demon, a spirit of the earth. The duende follows the ley lines beneath the rock and flowers, circles the earth and–when conjured by by stout hearts with the scent of sorrow–comes forth in the voices and fingers of the poet, the player and the singer.

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