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Wandering February 11, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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When I first came home to New Orleans, 469020_10151593918210138_253649131_oI was working out of a converted kitchen cum office. I would often take a lunch break to step away from the massive monitor to bathe myself in sunlight instead of the cracklin radiation of the CRT. As it was closest, I often found myself wandering the groves south of Bayou Metairie.

That is where I walk today with more purpose: briskly for exercise, sometimes for distance, often just to be among the great trees, to catch a glimpse of the anhinga that haunts the west end of the cutoff remains of the Bayou.

Anyone who lives near this end of the park knows the air whistle of the miniature train that wends its way around the south end of the park. It has been a fixture of my life since childhood, when the trains were a streamliner style engine and cars, and an Old Smokey engine with false pistons tied to the wheels, a Smokey Mary stack, and most incorrect confederate flags flying at each side of the cow catcher. Those trains are gone. I miss the Old Smokey Mary (but not the flags), the actual tie-in of the decorative pistons and arms to the driving wheels, the antique look of it.

It does not run all of the time, only weekends and the long Celebration of the Oaks. What is always present is the line’s curving tracks wandering among the trees, another path I sometimes wander along the ballast or stepping gingerly along the ties.

Fire, ashes and garlic soup February 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Time to twist up a wicker sin man and put him to the torch, and wash the taste of ashes out of my mouth with a big steaming bowl of garlic and leek soup. To rest the aching brain, I can dredge up this now traditional post and return to an intent contemplation of Brownian motion in dust motes.

At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”

Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.

And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.

Adiu paure Carnaval
(Occitan)

Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval

La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal

Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater

Farewell, Poor Carnival
(English)

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival.

The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.

The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.

Yorick February 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, The Dead, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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Yeah, I knew him. Nice guy, what kind always finish last. Or first.

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Carnival February 9, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist.
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ZAGREUS! TO ZAGREUS!

The soft flutter of a fan
In Venice piazza
Blows chaotic tropical salsas
Across the Atlantic.

The drums rumble the earth
The dancing triangulates
On all the instruments
Far to the north

(Trombones most of all)
Registering ecstasy
Riotous in the Old Quarter
Of New Orleans.

Wyrd Synchronicity February 5, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Imbolc, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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It is Imbolc, typically thought of as Brigid’s feast day. Somehow, I found myself at Yule falling into the myth of Frau Holle. Instead of simple decorations, I used the shelf that hosts the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage to erect a small altar to her. At Carnival, I stumbled through a link that took me past the usual matter on the pagan roots of Carnival and into the realm of the goddess Nerthus, one of the Vanir of Germanic (Heathen, if you will and as most prefer) goddesses. It seem as if at a point in my life when it is most necessary, my Germanic ancestors are calling me to a path of responsibility and righteousness. In spite of my acquired, indolent Carribean ways (perhaps because of them, the need to overcome them at this moment, to tend to what is necessary, to my kith and kin), the pull is in fact a specifically Wyrd synchronicity.

As I last posted, the parallels between Nerthus drawn on a cart by white oxen and our own, modern Carnival traditions struck a chord with me. So instead of twisting up a Brigid’s Cross as my friend Bart did today, over the last several days I have assemble on my public altar (born one long Jazz Fest ago as The Shrine of Jazz and Heritage) to Nerthus, who is like Brigid a goddess of fertility honored at this eighth-point of the earth’s orbital compass, the winter cross corner.

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If it seems strange to honor a goddess of fertility when in much of North America the ground is frozen hard as a rock, consider the lighting of bonfires (a tradition still well honored here) at the dark of Yule and New Year’s, calling back the light. it is not so strange to call upon a goddess of the earth and fertility to return. Am I ignoring the old Biblical injunction about praying in public by putting this on the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage shelf? I don’t think so. I’m not a biblical person, anyway, and why not start a discussion with someone about alternate ways to honor our ruling and guiding spirits? My new neighbor up the street from Germany was  much impressed by  my small altar to Frau Holle this past holiday season.

Ay any account, that strange January of blooming tulip trees is behind us and we are back into our New Orleans winter just as we reach the winter cross corner. The pot of daffodils I found at the home center store seem to like this current weather just fine, and I hope to walk out of my girlfriend’s front door one day soon greeted by my favorite flower, long before the snow drops burst through in the higher latitudes. I love daffodils (and tulips, and all the bulb-borne flowers) because there is something so damned right about them in spring, the perennial bulb sleeping through the long winter in the earth, and then as the earth itself is awakening the daffodil emerges as Her messenger of the brightly painted tulip days to come.

Nerthus and Carnival February 2, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Ever wonder why there is a white bullock at the front of Rex? Below is an image of Nerthus, a Germanic deity whose worship involved a sacred cart pulled by white bullocks. Nerthus, close cousin to Freya, is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania.
Nerthus_online

The word ‘Carnival’ is of uncertain origin … Usener drives “carnival” from currus navalis, the ship car, and finds its origin in some ship procession similar to that which figures in the cult of the goddess Isis. Certainly in the Middle Ages ship processions were held as spring celebrations in England, Germany and the South of Europe [and] the procession may take place either at Christmas or at the beginning of Lent; for the resemblance between the Kalends and the Saturnalia is paralleled by the resemblance between the Twelve Days and the Carnival.

The Court Masque
– By Enid Welsford

Hail & Farewell, Commander Kantner January 30, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Remember, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“…and we commend his body to travel forever in the depths of space. Farewell and Hail, Commander Kanter.” The thin, silver death vessel is launched to voyage forever among the family of stars.

Requiescat in Astrorum Paul Lorin Kantner: March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016

Asperity in the Cosmos January 29, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, science, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In episode five of Cosmos, at 15:30, Neil Degrasse Tyson gets it wrong. He is not communicating with us as the speed of light. Every device in the production and distribution of electronic media from the time of the telegraph, be it analog or digital and including television, radio, internet, our telephone calls phone calls relies on circuits constructed from copper wire. The signals that arrive in our homes traverse the “last mile” which is almost universally still copper wire, not glass fibers transmitting light. Electrons travel through copper at normal temperatures at 2/3 C.

I think this is wonderful, evidence of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi, the imperfection integral to any great work of art. It enhances Tyson’s message of the inevitability of mistakes, of the need to question everything, the very bones and tissue of the scientific process. It is not a mistake so much as a badge of his own humility as a frail human standing before the greatness of the Cosmos, the moment at which the series most closely approaches perfection. It illuminates Tyson’s own wonder at the ability of humanity to strive through all our limitations, to learn to learn from out mistakes, and so arise to the level of understanding we have today, to be–as the Grateful Dead song has it–the Eyes of the World.

Agraphoria January 28, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Crappy to report that the lexical selection terror on this knew medication is much butter. Going to try not to drink about it, and go watch something mindless (like me), like Disney’s Dysphasia. I love the part with the element ballerinas. Agraphia me a beet while your up, will ya?

— Benzo the Clown

Hello, Cruel World January 27, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Bring it.

 

Floating January 26, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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floating away

“I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.”
Author: Khaled Hosseini

S’no Thank You January 24, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Fargo, literature, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist.
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I was in DC in January ’87 and remember the wonder of my first sled ride  a few weeks after my arrival just after New Year’s. I left New Orleans New Year’s eve for the three day drive, knowing an early start New Year’s morning not very likely.  The first city-closing snow a fellow roomie and I stole our hostesses clothes moving boxes for rude sleds and trudged to the other Washington Monument, the Masonic one, and tried to slide. Children took pity on us to learn we had grown well into our twenties without ever having sledded down a hill,  and cheerfully lent us sleds and disks for  turn or two. As we trudged home we watched a lone police car struggling along, and first heard the sound of snow chains.

My only prior experience of winter was a trip to Western Massachusetts with my girlfriend one year, driving the turnpike through a fresh snow wonderland, rural houses back up toward the low mountains along the road with their great stacks of wood and smoke threading up from their chimneys, that turnpike verse of James Taylor’ Sweet  Baby James ringing in my head, the idealized winter of nonsectarian holiday cards. Somehow in the years between then and my arrival in D.C. I had forgotten the lesson of being blown off my feet on an steep and icy Boston sidewalk.

That memory came back to me in the terror of the Washington, D.C. Super Bowl Day storm that first year. We rode the train in from Arlington and walked and slid on the prior storms melt ice  slick from Union Station to the park at the far end of East Capitol in our Southerners’ idea of winter coats (a lined London Fog is not a winter coat) and regular shoes, sneakers chosen for traction, but without so much as rubber mucklucks to put over them.   We preceeded to drink much beer throughout the hours of the Super Bowl party as the storm rolled through, dumping a massive slush of most unfluffy wet snow. We proceeded to try to walk back to the station in the howling dark, wading through the wet cold stuff which quickly soaked our shoes and everything exposed below the knee. There was not another soul or a moving vehicle in sight. As we began to lose all feeling in our feet and consider whether we would actually make it to the station alive and if pounding on doors begging admittance might  be our only hope of survival, a heaven-sent DC Metro bus came slip sliding sometimes side to side  but mostly forward down East Capitol, struggling to get back to the garage, which picked us up and took us to the station.

By the time I arrived in NW Minnesota for the horrific winter that in melting drowned Grand Forks (whose officials rushed to New Orleans’ aid with their experience in ’05) I had learned winter’s lesson well. “Been in the ditch yet?” was a common question, but I could always answer, “nope.” Detroit Lakes was small enough I could have snow-shoed to work in a pinch, and I remembered my first nerve wracking drive back to the airport from my future in-laws small North Dakota  town through a ground blizzard. A ground blizzard is something like what we southerners know as a ground fog, if that ground fog were being run to ground  by the hounds of hell. The invisible road was a matter of long pratice, muscle memory and the steel posts with reflectors that marked the shoulders. I  had no intention of going that native, although later I was required by the local work ethic to venture out and wind up in fear of my life more than once. When in Nome…but here is a fine line between dogged and stupid, as deadly hazardous as driffing over the highway’s center line, as a few proud and hardy northerners learn every year in spite of the winter survival kits in their cars. Thankfully I survived my few crossings over that boundary into white-blind peril.

When people asked why I would take my family to a disaster zone and risk future hurricanes, I reminded them that people went back and lived Grand Forks, where the Red River of the North–not much of river to the eyes of anyone from south of the Delta–is bound behind dikes as massive as those that front the Mississippi in New Orleans to contain Spring floods. And  that in North Dakota the weather can (and routinely does) kill folk–most often for stupidity–six months out of the year, not once in a generation.

I have fond memories of that idyllic drive through the wedding cake Berkshires, of snow shoeing in old fashioned beavertails the woods along the Red River on  a perfectly windless and sunny ten degree Dakota day , mastering the yogic art of turning around in the brush in those beautiful,  clumsy things and discovering the mystic beauty of an ice whorl on the river, and taking my children sledding down those massive river dikes along The Red of the North.  Still, from now on I’ll take my Blizzards far out on Airline Highway in one of New Orleans’ few Dairy Queens. With lots of crushed Oreos, putting out of my mind the resemblance of that muddy gray treat to the exhaust-blasted sides of a suburban D.C. street in February.

What Rough Beast? January 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Say OK, I’ve had enough. What else can you show me?

I do not wish, Doc, to be healed
lose everything that is revealed
to those who turned away and kneeled
their backs turned to where bells are pealed
& chose to keep their eyes wide-peeled
to witness the world burning.

Trois! Douze! Merde!

Marchon!

Understand Me January 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
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Tumblr is the new opium January 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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Facebook is a flourscent-lit formica bar, with sports televisions on three different events while the juke box blares and  everyone is approaching that state of drunken, irreproachable brilliance of opinion while the cruisers check out each others profile photos.

To wander through Tumblr is to drift in and out of other’s dreams, through scenes of beauty natural and bizarre, ideas both silly and serious, an unlimited hallucinogenic pass into the collective  unconscious through a strange synchronicity of connections. 

Persona non gravitas January 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“Temporal bandwidth” is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar “Δt” 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. It may get to where you’re having trouble remembering what you were doing five minutes ago, or even— as Slothrop now— what you’re doing here

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

poetry is not January 15, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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that monster under your bed.

That exercise in writing is my latest project, and seems to keep me from a more “serious” manuscript in revision. Still, there is nothing unserious about poetry is not. It is a conscientious attempt to explore the borders between versification, best (?) exemplified by Hallmark and a poetry deeply serious about its business but at first glance simple–and most of all accessible to the general reader. Then again, shouldn’t all poems aspire to be as simple as possible, to pare away every unnecessary word as an engineer builds to spec and budget, an economy of material and forces which at the highest produces both beauty and function, the Golden Gate Bridge golden in the morning? There is nature, the echo of haiku, and a playfulness to it, and a music. It is often self-referential, confessional even, but without the bottle or the oven. If assonance and consonance are a bother, brother, don’t go there. It is a chamber orchestra of penny whistles. It is my attempt to produce a poetry that resonates with a public ruined for poetry by modernism and post-modernism, poetry written for other poets and to please professors of creative writing, a poetry that is swallowing its tale, a Rosicrucian arcanum to which the reading public is not admitted.

Give it a look. Open the door, and let in a bit of sunshine and birdsong. Go fearlessly into the simplicity of snowflakes.

 

Black Star Man January 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“. . . I am going to put a shield of beauty
over the face of the earth to protect us.”

— Sun Ra

They are the gods we the godless have invented to replace the old inventions, the godly models we follow and when they die a piece of our souls leaves with them. We are that much closer to the darkness and our sadness for the great ones is not abstract and remote, an ancient crucifixion or a one-shot starlet’s moment. It is a priceless fragment of our Adamic world the god clock has ticked off the list.

Damn the darkness. We must burn brighter.

…the seriousness and dignity of their feelings. January 9, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I see my son in the small tumult of the moment…shaking the man’s hand, nodding madly. He is not experienced at hearty rapport, of course, but his effort is meticulous and touching. He knows the man’s pleasure is important… . We must be more precise in the details of our responses. This is how we let people know we understand the seriousness and dignity of their feelings. Life is different here. We must be equal the largeness of things.

— Don Delillo, The Names

Not the largeness in the American sense of the monumental but in the warm, Mediterranean sense of this place, it’s large-hearted people. It is the particularities of the moment that are large in their ordinariness, the neighbor, someone across the street or around the block, the store owner, the man who catches the bus as the same time every day and the man who emerges from the store at precisely the same time the bus arrives with his first beer of the day. Each requires your attention in their own way, born of the familiarity and the pleasure of each connection, the roughly measured to overflowing by moment of the encounter.

The newcomers here do not understand this. They come from cities of strangers with a strict and distancing etiquette of sidewalks. Their connections are exclusively professional, whether accountants or poets. They are the people of the nodding acquaintance, subway elbows at the ready to measure their separation. They isolate themselves in the place they have come to immerse themselves in, run in packs of their own kind with the self-interested isolation of wolves, but without with an inbred knowledge of the landscape. They are forever expatriates in a land where they do not speak the language, lost without a map, forever miscalculating the human currency in which we trade.

Artifice January 1, 2016

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since fact is an artifice of fiction let’s call this fiction so like all good boys and girls we can relax

― Charles Bukowski, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck

Furthur January 1, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Shield of Beauty, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The faster we go the rounder we get.

Anywhere, anywhere December 31, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, quotes, The Journey, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.
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Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that only your own torment gives you pleasure?  If that be so, let us flee to those lands constituted in the likeness of Death.  I know just the place for us, poor soul!  We will leave for Torneo.  Or let us go even farther, to the last limits of the Baltic; and if possible, still farther from life.  Let us go to the Pole.  There the sun obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow alternations of light and obscurity make variety impossible, and increase that monotony which is almost death.  There we shall be able to take baths of darkness, and for our diversion, from time to time the Aurora Borealis shall scatter its rosy sheaves before us, like reflections of the fireworks of Hell!

At last my soul bursts into speech, and wisely cries to me:  Anywhere, anywhere, as long as it be out of this world!

— Charles Baudelaire

That’s It For The Other One, Con’t. December 28, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, Sinn Fein, The Narrative, The Revolution Will Be Televised, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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20151228_153813

I really need to sweep, but so does the United States.

Best Of Cast Off Sculpture December 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, art, FYYFF, je me souviens, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, Remember, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, WTF.
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The Forgotten Labor Of Heracles: The Slaying  of the Psychotropic Bacon at the Gates of Taste

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The Ignominy of Ignorance: Kinetic Sculpture by Some Guy from Some Where with Docent in the Background

All photos by A. Eulipion. Reproduced under a letter of Marque and Reprisal issued by the Committee of the Whole, Free  City of New Orleans.

Ed. Note: Some explanation for the blog’s many subscribers from afar: These are the sculptures that graced the front of the New Orleans Museum of Art in my living memory, a span of half a century. I did not grab a picture of the plaque beside the bronze sculpture of Hercules of my earliest memories and so cannot name the artist. The kinetic piece below, Wave, is by Lin Emory, a world renowned native of New Orleans. His deserved place of honor is now taken by a monstrous Lichtenstein. I would not argue the acquisition of the Lichtenstein, or a place of honor for it in the Bestoff Sculpture Garden behind NOMA. I am resentfully nostalgic that the museum would displace a native son with it. The title is a play on the Bestoff family partnership in the local Katz & Bestoff drug store chain.

Little Miracles December 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Xmas, Yule.
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This is an excerpt of a long ago blog post on Wet Bank Guide.
.

… [b]ut I believe in Christmas miracles. A decade ago, my three-year old daughter fell in love with a character called Rugby Tiger, from an obscure [Jim Henson production]  called The Christmas Toy. Having Rugby Tiger was her only Christmas wish, the only secret she had for Santa.

Finding Rugby Tiger proved to be impossible. The Christmas Toy is a wonderful show, but not a spectacular of the sort that generates tie-in marketing. The stores at Christmas are full of great piles of stuffed animals, but none came close to looking like Rugby. We scoured the smallish town we lived in at the time, and all the stores of Fargo, N.D. as well. I dredged through catalogs of online stores back in the early days of e-commerce, and called every major toy store I could think of. It became increasingly clear there would be no miracle, that the first Christmas my first child really understood would be a failure, a disappointment that would haunt her the rest of her life.

There’s a happy holiday thought.

Then one day, perhaps a week before Christmas, I went into a little mom-and-pop drug store in little Detroit Lakes, MN, and walked past the big pile of stuffed animals I had twice before torn apart. As I came back from the pharmacist with my little bag, I decided to have one last desperate dig. And that’s when I found him.

His tag didn’t say Rugby Tiger, but he was a perfect replica, the very image of the television tiger. Christmas was saved.

I’ve told this story to my children, when they finally asked me about Santa Claus. Yes, I can tell them with a straight face, I do believe in Santa Claus, because once when I truly needed a mieraculous Christmas present for someone I loved, it happened.

Perhaps I’ve used up my quotient of miracles. But I know that belief is more than just a bit of sustaining psychology. I am a poor excuse for a Christian, probably not one at all at this point in my life. But I know there is a power within us and without us that, sustained by belief, can work miracles in this world.

Most miracles are small and personal things: two people meeting and falling in love, a child’s face on Christmas morning when they find a dream come true, the birth on a winter’s night of a child entirely ordinary and no less miraculous. My Christmas wishes for myself and for my city may seem as improbable as the sentiments of a beauty contestant, but they’re not. My wish is for the thousand tiny and entirely human miracles I know are possible.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales December 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Xmas, Yule.
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The Junkie’s Xmas December 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Burroughs does Xmas stripped of all the pretense. I love this story but then I was raised on The Little Match Girl. If you don’t understand why Jesus of Nazareth would love this story go back to wrapping presents. Better yet,  burn your tree. Leave the angel on top so she can fly up to the heavens in the smoke and ash and ask whatever gods may be lurking behind the entirely ordinary stars of a mythical winter’s night to have mercy on your soul.

A Day in the Park December 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is a pivotal moment that occurs, of all places, in the lunch room at work.  It is the guy across the table eating his daily bacon cheese burger, dipping each French fry delicately into the ketchup, explaining that your quinoa is grown by people who are now suffering from malnutrition because their crop is more valuable than coca. So they chew coca and eat expired U.S. surplus cheese food and white flour which they make into something resembling biscuits and gravy. Cheese burger guy will, through a genetic dispensation, live to be 87 and die quietly in his sleep after a night of wild sex with his fourth wife, followed by a cheeseburger and French fries from the all night fast food joint.  This comes to you as a haunting as you stare at your floppy gluten-free sandwich, which was stiff if not crisp when it came out of the lunchroom toaster oven, but is now floppy again. You stare at it but do not eat until the lunch room is empty: quiet, white, almost serene. You get up and walk out of the office without telling anyone and wander the streets for hours stretching into days during which time you don’t eat. You subsist exclusively on weak diner coffee with three sugars and a non-dairy creamer, because when you walked into Starbucks your remnant college Italian left you incapable of deciphering the sizes on their menu. As you walk your cell phone will ring and the picture of a familiar woman will appear on the screen, but you don’t remember how to answer. Eventually the battery dies and you trade the phone for a patty melt on white with a side of fries and bottomless coffee for the night.

When the plastic card stops working you move into the park and start collecting acorns to eat and find a hollow shrubbery in which to sleep. Over time, the birds and squirrels and insects increasingly find you harmless, although they wish you had some cold popcorn. They speak to you until you begin to learn their languages. They explain that they too are dying like the Andean quinoa farmers because the world has become poisonous because of man. You are unsure what is quinoa or an Andean farmer.  You wonder if you are a man. None of the large animals you see in the park have a beard as long as you do, and they wear ugly boxes on their feet. You try to approach them one by one to discuss this creature man, until you encounter a creature magnificent creature covered in shiny bits who wears a belt much like the things the other bipedal creatures in the park wear on their feet. It is full of interesting looking objects. As you attempt to ask him your question the last stitches holding up your pants give away, and you stand naked trying to ask him your question. He pulls out a box that is at once black and shiny, with two bright shinier bits on the end, and he fills you with their light until everything goes black.

You awake up in a box lying on a soft box with a soft thing under your head. A two-leg in a white wrapping visits you every day and talks to you, doing something with a stick and a board as you walk, and another two-leg who brings you am acorn like thing only larger filled with brightly colored things to eat. You like to watch the light on the wall march across the room, and stand at an opening looking at the animals outside. You eat the brightly colored things until you are declared fit to get up and join everyone else in the lunchroom, where you eat brown things …. chicken …. chicken nuggets, yes, and soft white potatoes covered in …. gravy and and a mix of new colored things which are soft.  One day the man in the white wrapping informs you that as you have no insurance, you are now well enough to be discharged. You are not quite sure what this means, but you are given a set of wrappings …. of, clothing, and out of pity the white wrapped man named Doctor gives you a wad of green paper. You walk out, unsure where to go, until you capture a familiar smell in the air, and another forgotten word. Coffee. You walk into the place with coffee, and notice a green and white figure of a woman with something on her head, and she reminds you of the nice  …. nurse who brought you your …. medication. You stare at the menu, and because you have forgotten almost all human language much less Italian, you see the word Grande and something in your head tells you this means wonderful and large. You are disappointed at its size, but overjoyed by the aroma. The woman who is not green but just white and wears nothing on her head bangs on a metal thing, and speaks until you remember what the green paper is for.  You give her some, and she gives you more back (hurray! you think, you think) along with shiny things. You are afraid of the bright shiny things because something frightening once happened to you when you were touched by bright shiny things so you put those in a …. jar with other shiny things. You keep the brown ones, and wonder if the green paper and brown shiny things are something the animals would like to eat. The colors remind you of …. acorns. You wander into the …. park, but the animals will not eat either the green things or the shiny brown things. They chatter at you. You remember that once you could knew their words, could speak to them, but now it is all noise. Everywhere there is noise …. horns, you think, which go with something called …. cars. There are loud metallic and howling sounds that wake the memory of the shiny black box with the  shinier bits sticking out of it. And rhythmic noise you believe might be …. music, but you do not like this music. You prefer to whistle the sounds you once learned from the birds. You listen and try to remember how to do this.  You walk slowly through the park drinking your coffee. When it is gone, you drop the cup and a woman yells at you but it is all noise. You keep walking until you reach the lake in the middle of the park.  You keep walking until the noise stops and all around you are beautiful dancing lights.

 

Such a Beautiful Day December 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The End, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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This is the movie that will destroy your comfortable American life. It is on Netflix. What are you waiting for?

 

Saddest of All Animals December 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street, Poetry, errata, The Narrative, The Typist.
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““[V]erily I feel myself sometimes to be that saddest of all animals,” he wrote, “a poet who cannot write poetry…””

— Malcolm Lowry

Abandoned Cruciform December 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Once Upon A Bayou, The End, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Abandoned Cruciform
Take your oil
& burn it.

It is the blood of our uprooted earth
which we have given up to you.

Do this in ignorance of me.

Still Standing December 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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20151212_115832

“I am not alright but I am upright.”
— “O’Neil’s Lament“, Moose Jackson

Indecency December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, film, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Fellini fought so that indecency would not become a habit. When the TV channels went to spy on his death their real mission was to announce the end of a world and the birth of a new cycle. Politics as the constant invention of reality, as deception.
— Mung, Viva la libertà

Debt Is Freedom December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I am come from the underworld
to tell you your new gods
are concerned about your parsimony.

This country was built on credit, goddammit,
so spend it. You are not carrying your weight
in their grand scheme of things & things.

Their sisters will snip your disobedient cards &
abandon you to eating the happy employee meal
sweating at the bus stop over the rent.

They can take it all back at any minute,
a repossession worse than death:
carless, houseless, under the overpass.

The obsolete missionary gods slop contempt
on mercy’s plate. Get a job, their prayer but
there’s no good work for folk with your credit score.

I was as you once, and walked away, thinking:
freedom. It was then they came for me. No room
for bad examples except under the overpass.

Your new deities send me to tell you:
debt is freedom, the endless shelves
of choice beyond your grandparents imagining.

Spending and getting is all of heaven
you will ever know before the balloon note is due
& cold repo death, the only old god left

comes due at some month’s end.

Chicken Salad on Rye December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It’s 4 am and I’m hungry so I decide I’m not quite ready to go back to sleep. I make a sandwich. Chicken salad on rye, things that are good for turning around my pre-diabetes you have not through sloth and gluttony but because you sat too many hours through too many days in a job from hell, gaining weight while living in a constant state of molar-destroying stress. And you think chicken salad on rye not just because it’s on your safe list, and you are rapidly becoming one of those dietary obsessives, the vegan and gluten crowd, but because you know this drill. You father worked himself into a complete collapse, literally dropping at work followed by a week in the hospital and a month of doctor’s orders for no work. He had to piss on the tape back then but came back from it. I don’t know if he managed his stress by getting himself fired, or walking away (they always let you walk away, they let me walk away), owed $100,000 which was serious money back then. But he bailed, and he beat it. And I have walked away. And I’m going to beat it.

And if this is starting to sound like a Bukowski poem without line breaks I started reading Bukowski when I couldn’t sleep because Clarice Lispector is a madwoman of the first order, a twin separated at birth from Beckett but you’re just not ready for Lispector and her brilliant cockroach monologue, because that sort of concentration doesn’t come at 4 am. You are up because of an anxiety dream about your ex- who is freaking out because our daughter is bringing her dog home with her for Xmas, and you just know she doesn’t want to leave a nervous dog alone in her obsessively Southern Living-ready condo. And later this morning you have to call unemployment because they don’t want to give you unemployment. You have to call the insurance company because they’ve lost your crappy COBRA policy but at my age I need something. You have to call the life insurance company which canceled your life insurance policy because you spaced a bill with a rate hike. They’ve cashed the makeup check but you still don’t know. You have to get out and walk five miles to loose the weight gained sitting in the Herman Miller chair you splurged on to make sitting in that tiny corner of your apartment 12 hours a day slaving for people you hated a little more bearable, the job you kept only because they paired you with a single mom with two small kids who had never worked anywhere else who was also loosing her mind from all the work, and you just couldn’t leave it all to be dumped on her. (Asked once by an HR department if I had a friend at work, I declined to answer, finding it creepy and intrusive. But in the job from hell, I made a true friend at work. And I was not going to bail on her).

And you’re reading Bukowski because he’s not trying to be intellectual or clever in ways your brain can’t process at 4 a.m., and the other book on your bed is Grace Paley and while you love her stories she’s just so persistently cheerful through all of the mad lives of her characters you can’t stand it right now. Bukowski, he is just telling you brilliant little stories of life without Paley’s incessant optimism; stories of life’s moments of bullshit and beauty, and your own life right now is an endless freight train with moments of beauty glimpsed between the endless gondola and tanker cars of bullshit, the boxcars filled with sacks of bullshit, the boxcars half the politicians in this country would stuff you into if they were given the chance. Bukowski was first and foremost a journalist who looked deep into the cesspit of America and spoke what he saw. He afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted, unless he was drunk and the afflicted were making a scene of their affliction then he threw them out because they didn’t know how to suffer with class, because they couldn’t take a punch.

I should go back to sleep but in half an hour the lights will come on at the Fairgrounds across the street and maybe I’ll make some coffee instead, sneak in the back gate and stand at the rail and watch the horses warming up until someone tells me to scram. Maybe later I will go to the track instead of walking because the track is exercise for the mind and the body if it’s done right: first the form, to train the brain, a puzzle to keep the mind working; then off to the paddock to study each horse’s temperament, the way they manage themselves in a tight space surrounded by the competition; followed by a trot out to the rail for the post parade to see how they move, again a question of temperament but also how the muscles flow, if they prance with excitement do they do it with the grace of a dancer or a nervous wobble? Then watching the tote board, comparing what you’ve doodled on the form to the constantly changing numbers, probability and statistics meeting up on the mind. Then, at the last minute when the tote board seems to be settling in, the sprint to the window and back to the rail. Finally, the stationary cardiovascular circuit of the horses running, the blood pounding and your voice shouting encouragement.

Just maybe that is how Bukowski lived as long as he did with all the wine and beer, the cigarettes and cigars: he know how to exercise his mind and body in one place, how to celebrate the wins and how to suck up the losses; like the fighter he was, how to take the adoration of the winner and the humiliation of the loser, but most of all how to take the punches.

The sandwich is gone. I wonder if a glass of wine would help me get back to sleep, or if I should just call it a night and go watch the horses. The horses may disappoint, but they are always beautiful.

Baphomet’s New Orleans (17th Ed.): The Christmas Lounge December 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Baphomet's New Orleans, Christmas, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Uptown.
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The Christmas (or Christmas Tree) Lounge is a bad answer to any question. Located just over Lowerline Street from stolidly respectable Uptown–the tourist-bus haunt of gnarled oaks, neo-Classical mansions and money as old as Egypt, rooted in a river, cotton and slavery–the Christmas Lounge stands in the adjacent nineteenth century suburb of Carrollton, long ago its own town with a quaint neo-Classical courthouse turned school just where the streetcars turn at the spot called Riverbend by real estate agents but known to past generations Uptown as the Devil’s Elbow. Surrounded by the once modest but now fashionable bungalows of a prosperous antebellum bourgeoisie and their employees, like all good dive bars the Christmas Lounge has the low-roofed and neon ambiance of a place men once gathered to wreath themselves in cigarette smoke and drink away the day’s labor straight from the beer bottle.

Today it is more likely filled with weary service people after the manager has tossed them out of the bar and everywhere respectable is closed, and the children of local, Jersey and Long Island money who mingle with the confident ease of daddy’s platinum card, students at Uptown’s expensive if not precisely prestigious universities, scholars of the sort who have quiet forgotten exactly which class they are in. Here the next generation of waiters and lawyers assemble to while away the smallest hours of morning with a studied drunkenness handed down in New Orleans from generation to generation.

The Christmas tree can manage a quite respectable martini early the evening, but the specialty of the night is the beer and occasional shot. Upended bottles of Jägermeister stand half-empty in their chiller/dispensers, the inverted stag suggesting a tribute to the author of this guide. A bottle of cinnamon whiskey does not last long and sugary sorority girl cocktails can be managed at all hours. There is still an active jukebox, an increasing rarity in an age when bartenders are liable to dial up a Pandora channel on their smartphone, and the music is an indefinable mix best categorized as loud and danceable.

There is a small set of long overused couches near the front, available for whiskey-earnest arguments, public foreplay, and passing out to the Instagram amusement of your friends. Toward the rear are small high tables opposite the bar, stools across long taken by the time you arrive, and the usual, narrow obstacle course through the middle where drinks are apologetically sloshed back from the bar.

To truly appreciate the Christmas Tree, it is best to dress in casual and spill-sacrificial clothing, start drinking before dinner, and continue doggedly on through the evening at one of Uptown’s many music venues until the band tears down. If you think you can still drive the Christmas Lounge is for you, or one can simply stagger over from the nearby destinations on Oak Street as they close.

Ranking: Four horns out of five largely for its promising youthful depravity.

Cognitive Disobedience December 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Yesterday I walked away from the prospect of a job, a job job with health benefits for all the fun stuff that comes with growing old, life insurance to replace the policy I just lost (again, like my COBRA over and over) because, well, Aetna. Back to Moloch, with banker’s hours and all the usual holidays paid. Back to the racket, automating ways to shake you by the ankles until all the money falls out. A job job, in an office full of clones who wear a full undershirt beneath a polo shirt, with razor sharp faces and clean shaven hair. Razor cut. Razor. Cut. The blood of the lambs on my hands.

Again.

But I might die tonight.

Radiant Brains December 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Poetry as discipline (yes, mistress) the painstaking arrangement of the gunpowder flowers pounding the Anglo-Saxon drum of controlled explosions the crackling shower of non sequiturs of my radiant brains        Klonopin espresso shots! Wallace Stevens Terry Gilliam! Fellini Bugs Bunny! Gasoline-flavored rainbows! Clem and the Amazing Technicolor Radio!        the whizzing pinball governor humming Apple bomb chords of tilt resonating Steven Gould’s piano.

The trick is putting Xmas back neatly in its box–not a jingling crinkle out of place–with a just-so paper lady bow.

What The Cypress Knows November 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Once Upon A Bayou, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Cypress Turning It knows the warm spell is just that, a few days of enchantment before the cold returns. Few trees change color here, and I’ve never taken notice of the evergreen oaks, if there is a sudden November uptick in leaf litter. The cypress are among the few reliable barometers, turning colors of orange and sometimes a spot of red after the first cold snap. The short row of what I’ve pegged as burr oaks across the streets were unspectacular this year, quickly going roasted turkey brown without a hint of other color, but every neighborhood has its cypress. I walk through the park regularly and all along Bayou Metairie–what you probably know as the lagoon just north of City Park Avenue–has quite a few mixed in among the oaks, palms and bits of clumping bamboo. Those cypress know that while I ought to be in the shower on this 72 degree morning instead of capturing these thoughts, our octopus ride climate will soon come to a stop and settle in for its long winter’s nap.

Bloody Bourbon November 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Murder, New Orleans, Remember, The Dead, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I think it is time to take up again the Victims list pages I abandoned from emotional exhaustion, and to pursue another shelved project on the subject; to take it up again as something like chanting prayer, an invocation against that which I chronicle. Sweet teachers, pray for us.

I have some serious catching up to do.

Bloody Bourbon

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