39. El Nopal August 4, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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39. El Nopal (The Cactus) Al que todos van a ver cuando tiene que comer. To which all go to see when they have to eat.
Interpretations: You know what you have to do to get what you need. OR There is a source of help for you
Aging Children August 2, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist.
Tags: Joni Mitchell, Songs to Aging Children Come
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I don’t know what prompted this memory, perhaps the stillness of Sunday morning, the exhaustion of another 60 hour week working a young man’s job, and most of all an answered email to a friend mostly encountered online who had vanished from e-space.
Are you OK? I wrote.
I had begun to feel old and irrelevant and needed to adjust to that, he replied. It’s coming along. Thanks for thinking of me.
Why this song? That is from the quiet of a Sunday when I have chosen to blow off a promised bit of busy work for Moloch, Patrice still asleep, the blinds not yet opened. Exhaustion as an opening to stillness. A mind not quiet but wandering, back in time to Sunday’s long ago in Washington, D.C. when a folk music show on WAMU-FM I favored opened its Sunday afternoon broadcast with this. Even at 30, I struggled against the responsibilities of Capitol HIll and my intrinsic non-conformity. Saturday night’s were the pleasant irresponsibility of of the BBC Robin Hood series, which opened with a lovely song by Clannad, and then on to pleasantly silly irrelevance of Dr. WHO. (Tom Baker is my doctor, as Sean Connery is the only James Bond).
My obsessive ex- would see all errands done Saturday. Not rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow would keep us from those appointed rounds. Sundays were pleasant nothings, a field of wildflowers in the mind, a little tending of the tiny garden in the back of the equally tiny two story railroad house on Fourth Street North East. I remember carrying my then infant daughter to Hechinger’s garden department one Sunday, and having forgotten her bonnet or hat I had tied my handkerchief around her head. This a gaggle of older ladies found absolutely charming. Such a thoughtful and resourceful father.
Come mid-afternoon, all responsibilities dispensed with, the breakfast dishes done and put away, the Post the only real Responsibility given my position on the Hill. Withthe only exception cigarettes on the stoop, it was the futon couch and the radio, this show and this particular song. On certain Sunday’s it comes to mind, and G’s reply to my email immediately brought it forth.
“Songs to aging children come/Aging children I am one.”
(Close your eyes to the overly busy video and just let the song wash over you, my cohort. As we reach the age where the aches take over, we are only as old as we think we are.)
Who Needs Sleep? July 21, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Little Murders, Moloch, Three Penny Opera
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Who needs sleep
when you’ve got
a double shot
a double shot
a Starbucks’ double shot?
Who needs sleep
when you’ve got
a double shot
and an aerosol
can of oxygen?1
Yes folks, this is the chorus to the first song of Moloch!, the musical version of my service to Big Bank America so closely based on the Three Penny Opera the ink will dry on the papers from the Brecht estate before the paste dries on the show’s posters.
These are the sort of things that go through what P calls The Mind of Mark when it’s over winding the spectrum spring until every damn thing runs too fast, spectrum being a Disorder in the
Disorder Service Manual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in which, at the deep end of the spectrum pool we find, balanced by the toes up on the high board, Manic Depression (sing it, Jimi). Yes, there is High Anxiety Disorder when the second hand is a blur and on a good day at work, when I am whacking them into the stands like it’s a home run slugging contest at mid-season break, I think: King Kong Fucking Superman. Then the roller coaster goes into those dizzying spiral loops before the last few dull humps and drags to a dead stop, the ticket man leering over his cigarette as he pulls the brake so tight nothing is right. It’s time to leave the park and go sit in the dark, alone out in the car, smoking (again).
If anyone needs some ironic musical comedy in his life, it’s me. With a chorus of just-like-me henchmen, a rousing “Seeräuberjenny” in the middle, and a Big Finish where I get to walk away from it all just like Mackie. That and a Blu-Ray remaster of Little Murders so I can finally perfect my Alan Arkin scream, which I think will come in very handy at work these next few weeks.
1. Oxygen for Energy the stuff is called, but I call it Hangover Helper, a little trick I picked up from my college mentor who was an alcoholic flight line washout in the Air Force and got transferred to the base newspaper. He told us that back in the day the cure for the prior night at the Officer’s Club was Full Oxygen in the mask. He was right. It also comes in handy when you’re sleep deprived and about to go face plant on the keyboard. And at least one highly aerobic activity which late middle aged smokers are not quite ready to give up on yet. If ever. Ask your reflection if you maybe need a can of Oxygen for Energy.
Good Morning To You, Too July 17, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, fuckmook, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Tags: Southwest Airlines
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I’ll tell them to you some day none the less, if I think of it, if I can, my strange pains, in detail, distinguishing between the different kinds, for the sake of clarity, those of the mind, those of the heart or emotional conative , those of the soul (none prettier than these) and finally those of the frame proper, first the inner or latent, then those affecting the surface, beginning with the hair and scalp and moving methodically down, without haste, all the way down to the feet beloved of the corn, the cramp, the kibe, the bunion, the hammer toe, the nail ingrown, the fallen arch, the common blain, the club foot, duck foot, goose foot, pigeon foot, flat foot, trench foot and other curiosities. And I’ll tell by the same token, for those kind enough to listen , in accordance with a system whose inventor I forget, of those instants when, neither drugged, nor drunk, nor in ecstasy, one feels nothing.
— Samuel Beckett, from the Complete Short Prose, title unsure, as if it mattered to forget in this kingdom of ignorance, intellectual banality of the Theoryists, USA Today and forever, retakes of reality television, the Fox in the newsroom, the implicit idiocy of us the cisgendered, the dumpster economy of a thoughtless and tasteless gluttony, the disliteracy of Twitter & caveman pictographs of Instagram, & a hundred other reasons to regret not asking for the cocktail coupons off my invalidated Business Select tickets when I was sent canceled and packing from the Southwest gate last night, struggling to be (is it possible?) happy to be a Beta. I console myself with the knowledge that the Bloody Marys are no doubt normalized well within six sigma of the national bland with nine nines of certainty…
— The Typist
78 July 14, 2015Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist.
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Op. posth. no. 1
Darkened his eye, his wild smile disappeared,
inapprehensible his studies grew,
nourished he less & less
his subject body with good food & rest,
something bizarre about Henry, slowly sheared
off, unlike you & you,
smaller & smaller, till in question stood
his eyeteeth and one block of memories
These were enough for him
implying commands from upstairs & from down,
Walt’s ‘orbic flex,’ triads of Hegel would
incorporate, if you please,
into the know-how of the American bard
embarrassed Henry heard himself a-being,
and the younger Stephen Crane
of a powerful memory, of pain,
these stood the ancestors, relaxed & hard,
whilst Henry’s parts were fleeing.
— John “The Revelator” Berryman
He Taught Me To Sing A Song July 11, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: #BestoftheNet, @SundressPub, Ray Shea
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My prolific and talented friend* Ray Shea just had a few of his poems from the online journal Revolution John nominated for Best of the Net, a signal honor in these days of the web-only journal, much better than a Pushcart nomination which has become as common as author copies and so a bit ridiculous when cited. Tell me when you win one.
I know he posted these before when first published but I don’t remember reading “Sing It For Me”, perhaps because of slowly burying own my cold mother, waiting so long until she was both cold and still, the sarcophagus pose, the blue veined marble skin, my own erasure until the only word left f was forget. “Sing It For Me” conjoins that signature scene in 2001 in which Dave is forced to turn off Hall 9000 with the decision on when to pull the plug on a parent, in this case his father (it helps but is not necessary to know his father was a Coastie). The poem is just so fucking beautiful and perfect, a simple yet intricate machine of words with all the beauty of a music box. You want to open the lid again and again, watch the works turning as the song plays out.
This time I promise not to reach for the blemish cream. This poem leaves a scar I will keep and proudly show my children someday, when my life is mostly read outs on the machine, and as we cry I will remind them I left some beauty in this world, a handful of poems and a couple of forgotten blogs, their own lustrous mirrors.
* Can I still say friend when we never speak, constantly miss each other when he comes for Carnival, each on our own trajectories not so much divergent as impossible to calculate an intersection through the massive traffic of parade days. Journalists and former journalists, my friend Victoria (again, how long?) noted, make the worst correspondents. I like to think you don’t lose friends so much as shelve them sometimes, like the books that stack precariously two deep on my book shelves, waiting for happenstance or an inspiration to dig them out to reconnect.
BEER July 5, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
BEER is an alcohol-based emotional solvent of the class Booze used to self-medicate anger, frustration, anxiety, depression and other symptoms of spectrum disorder and the general state of the modern world. BEER is frequently combined with other medications used to treat these conditions in direct contravention of those medications’ label warnings. Do not drive, operate dangerous machinery, make important decisions or attempt to address any dysfunction in personal relationships while using BEER. Use BEER with caution on Fridays, holidays and other excuses to consume BEER to excess. Possible side effects of BEER include: spilling food on your shirt when you finally decide you had better eat something before consuming more BEER, irrational urges to address personal or societal problems in an anti-social manner, ineffective sexual performance, localized obesity, headache, nausea, regret and self-loathing. Users of BEER may forget to rinse the cans before putting them in the special bag you keep for The Can Man who picks the recycling containers in your neighborhood and which you leave out on top of the can for him, resulting in a sticky spot you will have to scrub on your hands and knees while experiencing headache, nausea, etc. Women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid BEER. Woman who may become pregnant should consume BEER in moderation and avoid men who are consuming BEER. Shots of whiskey and tequila may exacerbate BEER’s side effects. If you experience clumsiness, dizziness, excessively garrulous behavior or delusional ideas about how to address your personal or the world’s problems, discontinue using BEER immediately and switch to drinking large quantities of water.
Coffee Zombie Wants Brains July 4, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Well, one would do. Mine. I think it is near where I left my coffee cup, the collision of ADHD and exhaustion. That’s quite enough, Brother Coyote, I mumble under my breath.
Another six hours sleep, divided by pointless wandering around the house from sixish until about 7:30. I will find out before long if the UI for SleepBot can handle a sleep debt in three figures.
I am so fucking tired. It should be a good tired. I climbed out of a hole of sloth and cleaned, mostly, the front room and bedroom. Nothing piled on the coffee table, most of the floor of the bedroom clear enough to vacuum, many boxes of indecision finally sorted and collated into a single, plastic container, hours of work. Spilling hole punch dots in the living room on my way out from the bedroom to the trash was a high point, leaving me on my knees picking up the tiny bits and some carpet burn in the process. So much left undone: the wall near the ionizing fan, a bad idea for smokers, the thin-film of tar capturing the zapped clumps which then cling to the wall. I know it’s the tar because of the two dozen screen wipes coming away brown from the television screen. The kitchen and bathroom of one-and-a-half men still to do, the boxes of not going to happen garage sale stuff to haul out to Goodwill. An A/C unit for the front so I can finally avoid a repeat of Satan’s Private Cellar Special Reserve Heat Rash with Fungus for Exceptionally Unrepentant Sinners, punishment for deciding to walk in the morning for exercise when I was cutting it so close to my 6:30 am meeting I didn’t take time to shower or change. And Monday spins over the horizon, sucking up the energy of its slaves until an eye wall forms and the storm winds blow, the Eye of Moloch which watches over us all.
I need a long weekend but not this. I need the fresh air of mountains and an unseasonable fire, the cool breeze blowing down the moonlight road on the ocean, beer with lunch and a long nap in a hammock or sling chair, bar-b-q from a shack down the road or a dozen Oyster Corexit and a pitcher of thin Mexican beer.
Sadly, what I need is a new mop. And that tiny, rattly A/C unit I found on the Home Depot web site, which will draw just few enough amps to allow it to run on the outside wall circuit with two others. And the joy of throwing open the window long enough to install it, with heat indexes over 100. I don’t think I’m so wicked I deserve to be reduced to a puddle by that exercise, but sadly the world thinks otherwise. No rest for the wicked, hah. As if lounging with a hookah smoking black tar in company with comely courtesan were hard work. Instead, it is no rest for the diligent, or at least for those of us who put up a Potemkin front of diligence, propped up by coffee and an irrational send of duty, just sturdy enough to last the week. I can leave the kitchen as it is (sandals recommended, like a gym shower, to avoid the loose bits and stickiness) and go fix my sister’s computer and printer. Or go out and get a mop. Or get the mop after. Going back to bed is not an option.
And then the question remains of what to do tonight, on the Fourth of July in this year of Our Founding Father Who Art In Heaven 2010, also the 207th anniversary of the sale of my people to the United States, the descendants of the paternal ancestor who arrived on a ship uncertain but who was married in Lafourche Parish in 1721, two generations before 1776. What little patriotic excitement I could once muster was washed out to sea by Katrina, and sunk under the blood-red waters of the Deepwater Horizon. How to feel that stirring at tonight’s rocket red glare after all that? As I concluded years ago, the American Experiment is ended and the results are in. It failed.1
Do I know how to put on a cheerful face? Or what.
I do know how to put a flag on my flagpole. I didn’t have time this latest, crazy week to go get a new flag of Orleans, so I will have to fly the faded and ragged one I have, the sort the flag over Fort McHenry probably looked like after all those mortar bombs bursting in air. I never much liked the Star Spangled Banner anyway. I much prefer the Marseille and its bloody honesty.
I keep forgetting: how would one say “we will armor the levees with their skulls” in French?
Ah, yes, coffee zombie is rambling if not babbling again. That is how the mind of The Typist works on a good day, the rambling turning into babbling under the influence of coffee and exhaustion. Coffee zombie clearly needs another cup, because brains are so hard to come by these days. Just spend five minutes on Facebook if you don’t believe me.
1. If you find my opinions offensive, as my people were here first, feel free to go back to where ever you came from. As if they’d have you. 2
2. “It’s the straight dope peddler, spreading joy where ever he goes.”
The Broken Road July 1, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
As the statistics dwindle and more and more followers of this blog are simply hoping for a reflexive return on my part, to build their numbers for whatever racket they are running–probably blogging hollow consumables for a penny a word–I wonder what I am doing here.
Here is not even here. I have not lived on Toulouse Street for most of five years. I cling to the tenuous position of having once, long ago, beat out the Doobie Brothers on Google. Toulouse Street is broken with the marriage, the beautiful Craftsman house sold, and all that remains is the banner picture above these words and a street sign my daughter’s kleptomaniac friend once brought to the house, which once graced my office and now hangs in the kitchen on Fortin Street. The ex- is now No. 2, intended as the least emotionally charged term I could come up with, no scatological pun intended. The children are grown. Others walk the halls of Toulouse Street. All I have are ghosts, Dickensian visitations of Christmas Past.
Perhaps the statistics dwindle because Toulouse Street has lost its way, lost it purpose to capture Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans. Now it is the Odd journal of The Typist (and so long since I used a capitalized Odd). Perhaps I am just become a whinny old man, and no one cares about the sidebar description: “the life of a man of late middle age racing frantically towards and away from death.”
Perhaps my words have lost their power
Perhaps all words have lost their power.
I don’t believe that.
“You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.” Words of power, from a movie most people have forgotten, a cautionary tale from a decade or more ago of where America is today. Bulworth was ready to kill himself until he discovered what it means to speak truth to power.
“and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive”
― Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn: Poems
Words are powerful. What is lost is the audience for words, even words spoken on a screen, particularly uncomfortable words. And Toulouse Street has become an uncomfortable place, a reflection of the uncomfortable world I (we) live in. Oh, there is discourse civil and uncivil enough on places like Facebook, which has largely supplanted general purpose blogs, but the discussions there occur in the echo chambers we have built for ourselves. We talk to each other when we agree, past each other when we do not, and admire the kittens and the side show characters. One can spend hours on Facebook drowning in words and learn a few things. You can hear a thoughtful explanation of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement and the death of human democracy, or the news that America’s trillion-dollar fighter being built in as many Congressional districts as possible to ensure its survival is a piece of junk. You can also learn by the simply arithmetic of counting Likes and Comments that most people do not care for such things. They care about the Confederate flag, as if the flag itself matters to Black lives. Flags, like guns, do not kill people. People kill people, often because of the power of words amplified by the echo chambers. What is more important: removing a single statue, or removing a single sociopath (be they an isolated hater or a commissioned police officer) from the streets? Which will save more lives?
If I have grown weary and turned inward it is in part that the external, public world of words makes less sense, seems to serve no good purpose, more and more so every day. I believe my ramblings here have their purpose, even if you think me narcissistic and a bit unhinged. I am Surplus Labor Incarnate, and I rant against my job because my service to Moloch is to facilitate our enslavement. Hey, I tell myself: I am only in it for the Benjamins. A daughter in New York at Columbia, well launched in life, is a considerable expense. I have bills to pay, the cost of stepping away from Moloch for nine months to finish a generally useless degree in English Literature. I hoped to be an example to my son. He is doing exactly what I did at his age, stepping away from college to figure out what he wants from life. My return to school, and my voyage to Europe are not so different from the decision he has made. I abandoned my degree thirty years ago, and so did his grandfather, and we managed to push our way through life to comfortable middle class positions. Still, both my father and I received considerable education before we walked away. I want him to understand that college is not a stupid recapitulation of everything he learned in high school. That’s just the freshman year price of admission to the real learning.
The price of admission. That’s what I am working for, the descendant in one branch of slavers from Haiti, slaving for Moloch to enslave us all in hopes my well- and liberal (arts)-educated children can escape enslavement, to equip them to have a chance to be a little more free, to give them choices.
Irony is an immutable law of the universe.
If there is a purpose to my navel-gazing ramblings here it is to make a record for posterity, even though I know how transient and impermanent electronic words are. The Typist struggles against Irony with it’s own sword with the diligence of Prometheus, and if you find that boring I am sorry, I can’t help you. You have lost touch with the power of words, traded that magic for the magic of toaster Jesus or imaginary vampires. It is OK if you do not care to hear about my Fridays or Mondays, the book ends of a very minor tragicomedy, the struggle against ancient humors and modern entries in the Diagnostic Manual that are like pervasive allergies: reflectively symptomatic of a diseased society. If I have lost the power to enchant you, perhaps another’s words in the very same vein might.
“They say there is no Fate but there is. It’s what you create.” I will go on creating, chronicling the consequences of my own choices good and bad, and the occasional moment of joy, in the hope that someone out there is listening. “No one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own.” Of course they do. I just want them to know they are not alone.
Don’t Look Down June 29, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Monday: that moment when the path narrows to a goat track of uncertain rock which every few steps sends tiny landslides into the precipice. Don’t look down and don’t look ahead, where the bottom of the precipice opens into a verdant, river-threaded place of distant calm. You have gotten up too early, and are not clear enough to remember if the path leads there, or further into the icy granite heights obscured by clouds. Or whether the path just continues on like this forever.
Fare Thee Well June 28, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Grateful Dead, music, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist.
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The Last Waltz.
I was in a foul mood last night, buying cigarettes with the thoughtless compulsion of a junkie, when “Satisfaction” came on the satellite channel. Satisfaction is not a young man’s problem. It is an issue for an aging man who will not settle comfortably into a finale of routine mediocrity.
I have a new CD of Garcia and a copy of the heavy green vinyl repress of the second album to open the evening, to invoke His spirit before the live stream. I have the necessary cables to wire the laptop to the TV and the TV RCA out to the Yamaha AUX in. I have juat enough of the Jah-blessed remedy.
I have enough space on the mantle for some rearrangement into an altar to the four fingered Mojo hand of The Spirit in the Stings which will be both absent and present, at once a Doleful and Glorious Mystery.
We shall, in the words of Sun Ra, erect a shield of beauty over the earth.
Tonight the Fortress of Squalitude shall become The Broke Down Palace. We shall roll, roll, roll.
Crabapple Lane June 27, 2015Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Happiness is for saps.
You see them paired in
matching polos and shorts,
their fat pink squealing children
on even, green lawns.
Science we find is wrong.
The universe does not rush into
their vacuous block
to fill the gaping void yawning
in formless boredom.
There is this skulking skunk.
He squats inside my chest
I want to yank him out, toss him
butt first in their yard.
Going In Circles June 26, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Tags: Confederate memorials, Lee Circle, Robert E. Lee
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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Gravity Always Wins June 26, 2015Posted by The Typist in Moloch, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Fuck you tomatoes, miraculously irregular Renatza’s 4800s, each as soft and meaty as a breast.
Fuck you summery cucumbers. Fuck you broccoli florets.
Fuck you crisp lettuce, blessed with the sweat of the pickers like blood of a Mexican Jesus.
Fuck you, too, lovely artichoke hearts gleaming slick with olive oil.
Fuck you mushrooms, you glorious flowers of cyclical immortality.
Popeyes, that’s it: dark and spicy, the crisp skin all slicked up and sliding off as if god meant you to eat it that way, like pulling apart Oreos.
Hemoglobin diabetic markers equals fuck it, a biscuit.
The clock ticks. Nothing happens.
The end of the week hasn’t started yet, the little bits still sliding through the wires into place at 2/3C, the Speed of Copper, waiting to be arrayed into fields and screens, checked off one against the other, work for monkeys.
Suck the fingers clean enough for a cigarette.
Fuck you, vape.
But I can’t go on like this !
Would you like a radish?
What is the glycemic index rating of fingernails?
If there is not enough nourishment in coffee and cigarettes, I won’t have to worry if they’ll have an iron lung in my size.
This is becoming really insignificant.
That’s what I think.
Enter title here June 23, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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If not exhaustion then running on fumes, as if huffing fumes, stumbling more like it, threading the obstacle course of too much stuff of a life squeezed into too small an apartment with a ragged disregard for my personal safety. Sort of a swashbuckling exhaustion if your idea of swashbuckling is Johnny Depp mimicking Keith Richards on Quaaludes, and if you don’t like Jack Sparrow there is something deeply, disturbingly normal about you.
The spring water bottle drips and coughs like some sad Dicken’s character. So: Winn-Dixie, an archipelago of unimaginably distant, mythical aisles and all I really need is a bottle of spring water. The Kentwood cooler which no longer cools (but thankfully still pours hot enough for tea) will have to stand totemic and emptyfor a day.
No tea tonight, anyway. Not night meetings. So certainly no coffee. When one’s body goes into shutdown mode at 5:30 in the evening clearly sleep is the necessary medicine. Perhaps it is the new medicine, warnings of somnolence and such, in the absence of mania. My lifelong ADHD is compounding my complete lack of investment in the current job, and the job has to stay for now, so I can’t afford this medicine not to work.
I can make it to Canseco’s riderless (good horse), threading the overhanging plants and managing the rippling brickwork. There are, however, cigarettes at Canseco’s, and winded pumping up the bicycle tire argues both for the bicycle and against cigarettes and untold other things a laptop-bound, post-amitryptiline fat man should not be allowed to even consider.
Consider Fig Newtons. It’s Real Fruit. Says so right on the package. Unlike the chocolaty peanuts which contain no fruit whatsoever and an adjective masquerading as an adverb pretending to be chocolate. Fig…Newtons, the last bit a soft and savory mouthful of vowels, with just a hint of the seedy crunch in the t and ending in the s of satisfaction.
So, glass of water in hand and a plate of Fig Newtons (not the bag, oh my god, don’t bring the bag) and all I need is something to read. Preferably with large type and small words. Or at least something on the Kindle, so I can blow up the type to some ridiculous size. Let the words pass by large and slow like a ship on the river which will certainly loose control and crash into my chest (“they are still dredging the carpet looking for the remains of several Fig Newtons missing after the disastrous collision”) before I can turn off the light.
Madrid, Espana 18 Junio 2014 June 20, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Memory, The Narrative, The Typist.
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I can’t help think of Washington, D.C. as I traverse Madrid on the N3 night bus back to my hotel, set in Ciudad Lineal, a quiet apartment block suburb much like Arlington, VA just outide the ring road. Both are great capital cities, but one was built by bureaucrats and acountants and one by kings and their artists. The meandering path from where the N3 night bus drops me requires I ask for directions three times before I manage to traverse the three blocks back to my hotel, via a rounabout intended to gather up and redirect the traffic directed by the radial imperatives of a monumental city . ¿Qual izquirda when five street meet? I am not sure it helped that the bus stopped across from an all night gas station where I picked up a tall boy of Mahou to combat the jet lag confusion of seven time zones and my first two sets of direrctions in Spanish.
My first mistake was setting my phone (which does not work in Spain) and my tablet an hour slow. I was up from my jet lag sieta an hour late, and took 40 minutes to realie it. I decided to take the autobus anyway to save money, and managed to find the Cafe Bogui Jazz in time to grab a hasty tortilla patatas and two cup of strong coffee before the show in a clearly local cafe. The second small cup of black dynamite was a bad idea, but I was still in my jet lag haze, trying to converse in my collegio Spanish with the waitress in what was clearly a neighborhood joint. Three beers at Bogui Jazz did not help much, nor did the adverture of discovering my 53 bus did not run at night, figuring out that I needed to take the N3, followed by a amble through the neighborhood, tall boy from an all night store in hand and half understood directions, in search of my hotel. Now I know the way, and that I can grab a beer if I think sleep wil be slow coming and find my way back all in 10 minutes.
The “free jazz” night of Bogui Jazz was more of a straight-ahead modern set with a few moments of transcedently improvizational glory. The saxophonist told me on break they had played with Donald Harrison, Jr. at a festival In their hometown of Leon, so I was clearly in the right spot. I was thrilled enough to write a poem on scraps of paper inspied by a duet beteen the singer and the drummer, and pressed it in her hands while thanking her in village idiot Spanish and then English for making a perfect first night in Madrid. I was clearly in The Zone.
I know I am going to love this city. I think I am going to find my way back to that cafe with its rack of dry cured hams one man was carving the whole time I was there to try the boqurenones rellenos con jambon before I wander off to another night of jazz flamenco, even if it takes me an hour to navigate the narrow and convoluted Europen streets from Salamanca to El Centro and the Cafe Central.
If it weren’t for the prepaid tuition I might consider abandoning a month in the Ezra Pound castle and spend 40 days here recovering my forgotten Spanish, and finding those one or two things each day that demand a poem, spend my siestas in the Bibliotque National or the Cervantes Center with pen and notebook, or early mornings in a plaza soothed into concentration by a baroque fountain. I think I may have found my haven when Atlantis comes to pass.
Moonlight On Vermont June 19, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I have 10 hours sleep total over the last two days, a Speaking Tequila Skull and my new CD copy of Trout Mask Replica (no more annoying scratchy ticks or other cicadaian interruptions; the record he almost dead, a penny for the old stylus).
What could possibly go wrong?
Arabella and I have this covered.
(It’s Just) Another Day June 17, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
There’s simply nothing you can’t do if you’re armed with patience and perseverance…
What my horoscope doesn’t tell me is where I can acquire these things. I am the poster child Gemini, flighty, garrulous, of two minds about everything but insistent when my mind is made up.
Patient, not so much. Perseverance? Really?
I think I will arm myself with patience and persistence. Mañana.
For now, there is coffee.
I had a good night’s sleep, by the clock. It started probably around 7:30, perhaps a quarter to eight. I know I woke just before ten with half of the beer I opened for dinner clenched in my first, my vape fallen into the sofa, my old Kindle lying on the floor. I had slid into a position that made the space between my toes hurt, my body gradually slumping while my rubber-bottom sandals remained planted in place, cutting into my feet. I went straight to bed, and plugged in the phone but forgot to turn on Sleepbot. I may have snored like a warped board saw and tossed and turned all night, but have no way of knowing. By five my brain decided it wanted to get up, although my body is exhausted.
I sit down with the microwaved dregs of yesterday’s coffee, and light a cigarette. I was determined last night not to buy cigarettes and did not. As I draw on one of the last ones in what was to be the last pack, I can feel Death’s hand squeezing the tops of my lungs. They are not icy but warm. Still, I can sense the cold bones underneath. Death whispers “emphysema” with each exhale, and gives a little squeeze. I look in the box at the last two smokes, and contemplate running to the sketchy store before works starts at seven.
Does contemplating going out for smokes in this condition constitute suicidal ideation? I will have to ask the expensive but empathetic psychiatrist.
I believe insistently logging into VPN at the current incarnation of Moloch before 6 a.m. constitutes suicidal ideation.
Memo to self: un-hide the resume on Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder. Let my boss’ next check-in call go to voicemail as if it were an accident. Let her hear the greeting that tells why I don’t answer unrecognized calls, that if you are yet another recruiter that I am currently employed and thank you for your interest. Change the arrangement; tip the scales in my favor.
For now I am one hour away from “protected time,” the arrangement by which a multi-national Moloch manages meetings between New York and Singapore. Next week it will be 7 pm until. And then I will start again with a two-hour morning meeting at 7 am, and another at 9 pm.
So it goes.
I need an attitude adjustment, but grow weary of pills. I can’t afford the psychiatrist I sought out to get away from them and a therapist. I missed the first class of Tai Chi yesterda, because work did not give me a moment to call doctors to make sure I got my new medication and made arrangements to not run out of my blood pressure medication. I should be practicing the mindfulness technique my psych and I practiced on Monday, but feel compelled to write, and the compulsion to write calls for the “seer in front” with a cheering section deep behind him, and the lizard brain hiding beneath the stands swilling coffee and contemplating cigarettes.
All along Moss Street they walk, they run, they bike. They walk their dogs, or run with their dogs, and sometimes (but not this morning) let their running dogs pull their bicycles. I drive, entombed in my car, a new pack of cigarettes safely in my pocket. (Emphyyyseeeemaaaa.) A clearly homeless man, wearing a dirty yellow safety vest, is hand-lining for breakfast, his distant but pleasant expression places him more at peace with his world than I am with mine. (Work: T minus 33).
If I had more time, I should have jumped on my recently repaired bicycle and forced myself to ride to the sketchy store for cigarettes. If I had more time. Today’s calendar hangs from my tiny whiteboard by a magnet, a cryptically colored, solid block of no-time, of not enough time even to do what is written.
Emphysema. Cigarettes. Work.
Tonight is date night. Hopefully I won’t be exhausted.
My side of the bed at my girlfriend’s house is what I call my “happy place”, the one spot in the universe where I feel truly relaxed and at peace. I don’t dare go there tonight, and risk falling into a restful slumber. I have a meeting tomorrow.
At 7 am.
“I heard another beep. Who joins?”
[rewind … flap … flap … flap … Krapp]
1. The title comes from the irrepressibly cheerful Paul McCartney, the one who should be dead. I fucking hate Paul McCartney. 
2. A working class hero is something to be. 
3. Listening to George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” on the car stereo while in a hypomaniacal state, I might as well be cranking it while swilling straight from the Speaking Tequila Skull while doing donuts in front of the police station. This is what I believe the mania index quiz calls “risk taking behavior.”
The Slow Noon Burn of June 16 June 16, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
As I am not making it to Bloomsday (again), republishing this.
Canal Street in the slow noon burn of June. Thin dribbles of tourists pass up and down, hug the narrow ledge of shade along the buildings as if some abyss yawned at the curb. A handful of hotel workers in dull uniforms colored maroon and dark blue shuffle unhappily toward work or tiredly toward their bus stops and home. There are few suits on the street, no conventioneers with plastic badges swinging from their necks our for lunch. Two men in wilted jackets, ties-loosened, pause outside the Palace Café; they consult the burning blue sky, one’s watch, the cool, dark windows of the restaurant and decide to slip inside. I imagine the spicy fried oysters nestled in a bed of cool greens and blue cheese, a sweat-beaded glass of tea besides. The café tables on the street are empty; pigeons huddled under the canopy pick at the crumb-less pavement. The birds outnumber the people passing by.
Canal passes like a diorama: the peppery aroma of Popeye’s Fried Chicken is followed by powerful cloud of patchouli coming from the Hippie Gypsy shop, then the more delicate smells of browning butter out of the Palace Café; music passes like the tuning of a radio, bars of Cajun from one and jazz from another of the progression of tourist shops with names like Gumbo Bayou and Jazzland and Dixie Market with their racks of tacky t-shirts and windows garlanded with beads; in between ageless Levantine gentlemen stand stiff and mute in the doors of electronics shops like sentinels in crisp cotton shirts and slacks, windows blazoned with No Tax! 220v! PAL Format! waiting patiently for sailors who no longer get shore leave from the mechanized container ships. They watch the masts slip past just over the floodwall up the block and wait.
By midday the sun has warmed everything until the heat no longer comes from above but radiates from every direction: down from the sun and up from the pavement and off the sides of passing windows and we pass in the middle like loaves through some mechanized oven, perfectly browned on all sides. In the distance a church chimes and as if part of the clockwork the last thin ribbon of shade slips under the buildings and there is only the harsh glare off the pavement. I stop and listen to the fading echoes from a dozen buildings, try to think: which church, St. Louis Cathedral to my left or the Jesuit Church behind me on Baronne Street?
I remember as a child my grandmother and I catching the old green Perley Thomas cars at Cemeteries for the trip down Canal. She would shop and we would eat lunch at the K&B Drugstore counter or the lady’s cafe’ in D.H. Homes Department Store but my clearest memory is Immaculate Conception; the dark, narrow Jesuit church filled with flickering red glass candles, my grandmother lighting a taper to Mary while I studied the procession of men who stood, heads bowed and murmuring prayers with one hand on the foot of Saint Joseph. To this day every time I see a status of Joseph I study its feet, notice how generations of hands sliding on and off have worn the wood.
I don’t remember it being this hot when I was a child. I study the parents leaning heavily on the handles of strollers, the women’s sun dresses collapsed damply over their bodies as toddlers skip happily away over the roasting pavement toward traffic. To a child this weather is as natural as the damp warmth of the womb, they see the sweat on their bodies as beautiful dewdrops, tiny sunlit jewels. I stop and mop the inside of my hatband and then my brow, watch anxious parents corral the children back into the stroller and set off grimly for the Aquarium and the promise of air conditioning and the cooling illusion of immersion. I squint over my shoulder back toward Baronne Street and imagine for a moment stepping into that dark nave, into the cool innocence of my own childhood, then turn back to continue my trudge toward the river.
I am not on vacation. I have no lunch date. I am walking away from work but only for a while. I have, frankly, no good business being out in the mad dog sun except to walk and watch and listen. It is June 16, and I am taking my own advice, spending Bloomsday not reading about Dublin 1904 but setting out on my own ramble through New Orleans, to capture a snapshot of this city in June 2009. There is little to see except the street itself. The heat has driven all but the desperate indoors, and those who are out in the sun don’t waste their energy talking. I walk on.
The first and last real crowd I pass stands in the plaza of the last tall high rise before the river, the office tower disgorging lunchtime smokers onto benches. They stand alone or in small knots, and I wander in and through the crowd but there is not much conversation. It is all they can manage with a full belly in the noon sun to get the cigarette up to their lips and back down to their sides, blowing smoke up into the sky to carry away the extra heat. I bum a light to excuse my intrusion and perhaps pick up a bit of conversation but all I get are grunts of assent, and a flame held at arm’s length. I puff, nod and walk on.
The last block to the river passing the humming utility substation is empty except lone vendor eyes me excitedly, waving dripping bottles of water in my face for only a dollar, coldest on Canal he promises and the last chance, he throws in. I smile back (his the only smile seen today on the street, and my reply is equally forced). No, I manage through my pleasant grimace and head up toward the place where the streetcar and Public Belt Railroad tracks both cross Canal. I stop and look both ways but there are no cars or trains in site, the empty tracks remind me that the river is no longer the city’s big business. The Aquarium across the tracks and it’s tourists are now our stock and trade, the stores where my grandmother once browsed are now Gumbo Bayou and the Hippie Gypsy.
Here on the plaza another vendor paces up and down shouting his own cold drinks, water a dollar and Powerade available, but he’s on the wrong side of the square. I walk alone into the middle of the plaza while the scattered tourists make directly for the shaded overhangs of the Aquarium where they huddle under the arcade, lining up to escape into the promise of frigid air.
I head straight for the railing along the river, hoping to find a consoling breeze there. I can see it out on the river where the wind stirs up a tiny, rippling chop amid the swirling flat water where the confused current prepares to make the hard bend at the Gov. Nicholls and Esplanade wharves before heading down through St. Bernard and Plaquemine to the Gulf. I light another cigarette and watch the wind but it stays over the main stem away from the riverfront. I pull off my hat and mop again, then start walking along the water’s edge. Usually you can smell the river but today is so hot the creosote is oozing out of the timbers that edge the dock and its aroma overpowers everything. I am alone on the promenade.
There is no traffic on the river. I crane my neck to look upstream but nothing moves. Even here where tourists often congregate it’s deadly quiet; no buskers out playing or liquor-loud knots of bead wearing young people in from the dry north. The riverboat calliope is silent. I am startled when the ferry hoots its horn, ready to cross. Usually the pigeons that swarm here for the lunch leavings would launch themselves into disturbed whorls at the sound, but they are nowhere to be seen, have found shade somewhere else. Realizing I have less sense than a pigeon, I turn and start to head back to work.
The only action is a woman who poses in front of the aminatronic dinosaur advertising an exhibit at the Audubon Zoo and starts hollering, “Help mommy! Help mommy!”. A small toddler grabs his father’s hand and starts tugging him. “Help Mommy, Daddy, help Mommy”. Then the plastic raptor lifts it’s head and let’s out a roar and he freezes even as mother squeals louder, “help me, help mommy”. Not yet two and already he’s torn, facing his first betrayal: the woman and love or his own skin. You don’t get to save a pretty girl from a dinosaur every day and if you don’t you might wind up a lonely pair of eyes, one of the solitary watchers of the world walking alone at lunch, instead of one of the heroes.
I root for innocence and heroism but I need to find the water man, coldest in town and only a dollar, before I start my march back to the office, before the wriggling lines of heat invade my head and start to spin like disturbed birds. I need to replace the bucket of sweat the day has taken out of me, and to wash out the taste of cigarette and creosote. Before I turn the corner I look back to see how things played out but the boy and his parents are gone, into the aquarium where the monsters are kept behind thick safety glass.
The Perils of Memory June 14, 2015Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Flowers of Ruin, Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences
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The man with the silver hair and blue suit led the way. They climbed into the bus that was waiting at the sidewalk. The man counted the Japanese as they passed in front of him. He climbed on in turn and sat next to the driver. He was holding a microphone. The Jardins du Luxembourg was just one stop and they had all of Paris to visit. I wanted to follow them on that glorious morning, harbinger of spring, and be just a simple tourist. No doubt I would have rediscovered a city I had lost and, through its avenues, the feeling I’d once had of being light and carefree.
— Flowers of Ruin, Patrick Modiano
Teach Me To Dance June 14, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
You can laugh, too, huh? You laughed!
All The Way June 12, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I’ve had enough. I’m going to
pull myself up over the side, and get
all the way out of my mind.
From “JUST NORMAL” by Everette Maddox
Another long week at Moloch stuffing screaming debtors into the flames, and it’s time to just get fucking weird again. Just another Friday night at the Fortress of Squalitude…
Smile, my mother whisper-hissed, as I tread up the aisle many years ago..
Where Are the Snowden’s of Yesteryear? June 11, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”
Have Faith June 10, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I know you. I know your torments. When you fall into your fears and doubts like this, you become mesmerized. You see nothing outside yourself, my brother. It is as if you walked down a road forever gazing into a mirror, walking toward yourself and blind to the world. Have faith.
-Luis Alberto Urrea, The Hummingbird’s Daughter
When I Am Old June 8, 2015Posted by The Typist in Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I shall paint my house orange…
Fuck You, Google June 7, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: dumb, fat, unhappy
Of course The Google knows it’s my birthday. It knows Everything. I was fascinated and appaled when I found I could trace my movements through Europe last year when I relied on GPS and Maps to help me find my way..
So, O Great Google, do you now I now weight 259 pounds? That the medication I have taken to avoid compulsive eating in hypomania has caused me to blow up like a fucking balloon off the party shop stand up tank? That the last anti-depressent I took did the same fucking thing? That I’ve gotten up twice this morning and stood over the garbage can holding the Rouse’s doberge cake, only to put it back in the fridge because P wants to light a candle and sing Happy Birthday in her best Marilyn? That the new meds have not kicked in enough to completely stiffle hypomaniacal, compulsive eating? That the cigarettes I’ve reverted to this past two weeks haven’t helped?
I can live with myself at 235, am much happier at 215 , which is still on the red side of that chart written by doctors who haven’t gotten over their amphetemine addiction from residency. Two fucking sixty is just too much. I was ready to set out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurnts. P wanted to wear a dressy dress she made last summer so I changed into long pants and and a favorite linen shirt she found for me at Goodwill, and as I began to button it I knew it would not work:I was liable to pop a button the moment I sat down. The pants, Haggar Cool 18 chinos with a hidden stretchy bit, cut into my stomach.
Off we went, but this was not the happiest birthdy dinner I have ever had: fat, dumb struck and unhappy I still ordered the tamalaes with a crema drizzle, and split a flan for dessert. The flan and tamales at Casa Borrega are too damn good not to eat. I tried, really, but no amount of expensive reposado was going to improve my mood, flat as a fallen cake I came home and collapsed into bed in my (binding) boxers without even bothering to change into my drawstring bed pants. I turned to the wall and waited for the meltonin and herbal concoction to kick in.
So, thanks for the imaginary cakes, Google, but fuck you very much. I’m off to walk to Walgreens (leaving the car behind) to get a pack of cigarettes and browse the patent medicine aisle for a box of whatever berry and green tea pills. I am not ruling out mail order tapeworms.
The Universal Switch June 2, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Regular dancing has been shown to lead to significant decreases in salivary cortisol concentrations.
Down on your knees digging through the shelves of vinyl the cat has de-spined looking for Quadraphenia because you heard “5:15″ on the satellite radio at the store where you were loading up on intentionally healthy things to stuff hypomanically into your gullet: cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, a non-fat low sodium French Onion dip, a tub of guacamole with pico de gallo and a bag of blue corn chips and you still bought cigarettes anyway, home and not sure what pose to strike, the classic boy hunched over his scooter or the famous inside shot of Todd Rundgren from Something/Anything, hands extended in a Nixon victory salute, so you choose the slouch on the couch and the Kindle and manage 20 pages of the new novel before you get too fidgety, the buttons jumping pages and changing the font size unbidden like the time you tried to watch Arachnophobia while clutching the remote like a protective totem which worked, after a fashion, switching off the movie every time you spasmed with terror.
I want to find that remote, the Universal Remote capable of controlling all channels: the Shopping for Losers channel, the Netflix is Empty channel, the Radiohead and Patti Smith Pandora channels, the channel you have dug from couch to kitchen in search of more compulsive food, the Ant Races channel, any channel carrying Black Mirror’s White Bear episode [No Talking, Keep Your Distance, Enjoy Yourselves], the imaginary but compulsively anticipated stress episode flashback channel, the flood of emotions overflow outlet channel that runs through your nervous system.
This is the truly Universal Remote, as mystic and distant as the Theory of Everything. The instructions for its programming and operation are hidden somewhere in the Paragonian Foundation’s webpage between The Heraclitus Project and Integral Relational Logic: Liberating Intelligence from Its Mechanistic Conditioning. The PIN code required is Hebrew and hidden in the Kabbalah. By default it operates on the radio frequency spectrum around 2.7 GHz so stay the fuck away from the microwave popcorn. Operation at 1420 Mhz is not supported outside the mothership and Radiohead lied to you. Patti Smith lied to you. They are not coming to rescue you.
You can only rescue yourself.
Whew. For a minute there I lost myself, I lost myself.
1. Quiroga MC, Bongard S, Kreutz G (July 2009). “Emotional and Neurohumoral Responses to Dancing Tango Argentino: The Effects of Music and Partner”. Music and Medicine 1 (1): 14–21. doi:10.1177/1943862109335064
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) May 31, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The End, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Out of my brain on the five fifteen.
— “5:15″, Quadraphenia
Train songs for the cigarette apocalypse, at the hour of the conjunction of the Third Klonopin and the Second Beer, your jittery teeth the tight shot black-and-white of the piston and the driving wheels.
Love & Loathing May 30, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita, Stein
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“The day that you understand you love Marcello more than he does, you’ll be happy.”
— Steiner, La Dolce Vita
Fallin’ Ditch May 27, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet, Don Van Vliet Poetry Reading
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When I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
When I trip fallin’ ditch
Somebody wanna’ throw the dirt right down
When I feel like dyin’ the sun come out
‘n stole m’ fear ‘n gone
Who’s afraid of the spirit with the bluesferbones
Who’s afraid of the fallin’ ditch
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
How’s that for the spirit
How’s that for the things
Ain’t my fault the thing’s gone wrong
‘n when I’m smilin’ my face wrinkles up real warm
‘n when um frownin’ things just turn t’ stone
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
‘n when I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bone
— Don Van Vliet
The Ghost in the Stone May 23, 2015Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Travel, Writing.
Tags: Alto Adige, Brunnenburg, Dorf Tirol, Ezra Pound, Südtirol, Sudtirolo
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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.
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, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Odd, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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King Kong Mother Fucking Superman
in his Fortress of
Hey, Mister May 22, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Bob Dylan, MLA, Modern Language Association, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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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, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist.
Tags: punforthecire, pynchonhumorsyndrome
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“Don’t you think the Sagrada Familia is a bit Gaudi?”
it is myths that haunt us, not ghosts May 16, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, literature, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
Tags: Carlos Fuentes, myths
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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, 2015Posted 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, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
Tags: Bolos, Bozos, Firesign Theater, Wavy Gravy
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I’m sorry, Clem, but you’re making The Doctor unhappy happy.
Someone get the lizards out of my guacamole May 11, 2015Posted 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, 2015Posted 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,