jump to navigation

He had won the victory over himself August 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

— George Orwell, 1984

No.

Unremembering August 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, postdiluvian, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

You are a young soul, I think, he said, and not much troubled by ghosts.

Ghosts, she said, without the inflection of a question, but as if he had said pixies or unicorns, and with a just perceptible wrinkling of the features as if sniffing a carton of milk and pronouncing it spoiled.

You believe in ghosts? Have you seen one? And what exactly do you mean?

You have watched too much bad television, he replied. You don’t need to see them. He took another large swallow of his drink. It was a party, a deliberate unremembering party, and he was venturing into topics forbidden to the guests. They are just a sense of the age of a place, like the dust somewhere neglected but not quit as corporeal, not even as dust to dust. You sense them in things, such as the sagging of these old houses, and the noises they make settling into the earth, like old men sinking into their rocking chairs.

Uh, huh, she said, taking an ironic sip from her Stella Artois to punctuate her response. I thought ghosts were the spirits of the dead, some lingering part of a person’s consciousness, someone with unfinished business or some neurotic compulsion.

There is much unfinished business here, or rather there is finished business of an unpleasant sort. This is an old place, built by slaves and poor immigrants set to unpleasant tasks such as digging the old canal that is now a freeway and a long park. They buried the poor Irishmen who dug it in the spoil bank as they fell, you know. It’s like the old saying about an unlucky place: built on an Indian graveyard,. And then there are all those who died of the fevers, settling at the edge of a mosquito infested swamp. All this before the flood, and the guns.

That was all long ago, old man, she said, and has nothing to do with me. I look at these old houses, all gutted and rebuilt, the way they have been painted to highlight the oldwork of the facades. It’s as pretty as some corner of Europe. Everything is being rebuilt so beautifully.That is why we come here.  From what I’m told, the flood was the best thing that could have happened here, washing away your old ghosts but leaving these houses ready for fixing up. They probably were never as beautiful as they are today.

That is because you are a young soul. You don’t see the beauty that was there before, even as the weatherboards weathered, and the porches sagged like a middle-aged stomach. They were beautiful when they were painted in plain white wash, when they were built by night by men who worked all day, to make a home of their own for their families. They were built simple but sturdy. Once the walls were plaster-and-lath, and the houses could breathe. Now that is all torn out and if they are not sealed up like coffins for the new air conditioning,  the mildew creeps past the mill work and onto the walls. When they were plastered, carefully applied trowel by trowel across the delicate lathe work, that would not have happened. But so much of that was torn out, a bit of the soul of the house  put out to the curb. The dust of it that lingers, that is a sort of ghost.

We still have plaster, and bargeboard floors. We bought our house because it was old, because it still had those things.

And you appreciate their beauty, or simply their potential appreciation?

What does that mean? Why do you talk in riddles?

They are only riddles to you because you are a young soul.

Again with souls and ghosts. Another sip of beer. We appreciate the house’s beauty. That’s why we bought it, cheap and rundown, and are putting it not just back together but back together better.  And it is “it’s” appreciation. It is a thing, not a person. Sorry, I’m a teacher, and people here have laziest habits of speech. Now all the schools are new, and we can help lift the people up out of that laziness, make them ready for a brighter future. We just need to break their old habits and teach them proper speech, punctuality, and careful work. This will be a much better place for our coming, out contribution

What you call their lazy habits of speech are just another sort of ghost, the lingering gendering of things from the time when French was still spoken. We are not a lazy people. Who do you think built your beautiful house, its strong bones without which it would not be there for your to fix? Is it lazy to value time over money, and spend it freely? You may pile up all the money you might ever want, but it won’t buy you more time. I don’t mean what you, in your teacherly fashion, would call free time, but one’s own time, owned in a sense by yourself, time spent lingering over coffee mid-afternoon instead of running back to sell your time for money. What you might think laziness, a luxury you must steal away every now and then to enjoy,  free time as in freedom to spend it with friends, or in a book, instead of watching  time slip away on a cheap plastic clock on the wall waiting for your free time to begin.

That’s not the way the world works, old man. Time is money, and that money pays to fix up our house and all these others.

The world has its own notions of time, and we have ours. The two are not so far apart as your’s is.

More beer, buying time to think.

Whatever, was still all she could muster. People like you need to realize this is a different city now. Your ghosts and your excuses and your old notions were washed away. It will be a better city, keeping enough of the old to be charming, but not left behind the times as it was before.

Perhaps it was better to be left behind, he said, to amble along as we did than to march in lockstep to the ticking of a clock.  I have lived in other places, you know, for many years. I have marched dutifully into work at the appointed time, mowed my lawn as required, and even chiseled the plow-melt  snow on my corner lot up to the curb where the sidewalks crossed. I waged war on the dandelion and for what? So that someone could walk their dog along a perfect sidewalk past identical lawns undistracted from their podcast, or admiring the colorful repetition flats of annuals dutifully planted provides? I never did that, myself. I only planted perennials. Not as colorful except at their appointed bloom time, but themselves a sort of clock or calendar running on a time uninterrupted by the clangor of appointments on your smart watch.

Uh huh, again. I’m going to get another beer.

Enjoy the party, he said. She didn’t answer. He walked away from the crowd, none of whom  smoked, out to the sidewalk and lit a cigarette, trading a bit of lifetime for the pleasure of it, mindless of the consequences. He watched as someone at the corner carried plastic sacks of groceries from their tiny, hybrid car into the door set at an angle to the corner, and wondered if they knew why it was built that way, framed by what they called two picture windows which did not look out onto any sort of vista as a proper picture window would because, he knew ( but suspected they did not), they were meant to be looked into and not out of. The blinds were drawn tight and his gaze wandered off down the street with no particular purpose in mind.

Ten. August 28, 2015

Posted by The Typist in 504ever, 8-29, Federal Flood, Flood, ghosts, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

Again.

Three years August and the storms are being named like epic ships, a doom upon our shore, and I think of the levees still leaking and of the flood-walls patched with paper mache, our Potemkin defenses are not ready and we are not ready and the Big One is out there, invisible, a mighty wind, waiting for us. Someone empties a pistol into the night and I think of Jessica and Chanel and Helen and Dinerral as I watch the MPs in their Humvees roll by like armored ghosts. I think of the streets running into blocks running into miles of houses houses houses houses houses empty eyed with plywood doors and ragged lawns. And I think I’ll have another drink and light another cigarette and then another drink and then–I stop thinking. That is when this thought comes into my head. It is a compulsion, like biting ones nails until they smart and bleed, this thought that what we blog may not be our Genesis but an Apocalypse, the history of the end. And yet we stay because to live here is to walk through wrack and ruin counting the flowers in the weeds and discover you are not alone, everywhere there are people smiling, people with crumpled souls and rough stomachs, suffering what you are suffering, worse than you are suffering, suffering beyond your imagining and all for the sake of this place, because they see this city as you do, because they are the figures in the frame that make the landscape. A terrible beauty spills out of their eyes like tears and bathes the city in light.

~ Fini ~

In The Zone August 28, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, Memory, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, Sinn Fein, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
add a comment

In The Zone

The reconstruction of the city around me will last at least as long as WWII. There will be long periods of boredom and routine punctuated by times of great excitement, much of that of the unpleasant kind. Yes, we will have shore leave for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest but most of our time will be spent scrapping rust and paint knowing all the while that just over the ocean’s horizon there is something threatening.

In this peculiar armada the officers are as useless as the French nobility. They look fine high up there in their crosswise hats and give marvelous speeches, but we know from hard experience that they are worthless. People mutter all around the city about mutiny of one form or another, but mutiny is a lot of damn work and it is awfully hot. I like to think we could yet rise up and have our storming of the Bastille moment but every passing day it seems more unlikely. No Fletcher Christian or Maximilien Robespierre has stepped forward to lead us, and every angry mob needs a leader.

Perhaps I ask for too much. If history and the city consumes us all one-by-one but the city lives on, that perhaps what was always intended, why were were all lured home. In the end, perhaps Pynchon has given us the model to surviving It’s After the End of the World. If history has gone too wrong for any one of us to stop what is happening around us, maybe it is better to amble down a shady street in New Orleans without a particular thought in my head except the distant sound of what might be Slothrop’s harmonica, to disappear into the random noise in the signal.

And death shall have no dominion August 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, Memory, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, Sinn Fein, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
add a comment

Ghosts of the Flood

Postdiluvian August 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, Memory, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, Sinn Fein, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
add a comment

“It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.”

wet bank guide

Resurrection Fern August 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Back of Town, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

How long their beards have grown in ten years, the oaks along Roosevelt Mall. The wind, such as it was and the coast got the worst of it, stripped away much of the Spanish Moss from the oaks that stood through it all. Ten years, and now it hangs in long, Confucian threads, the oaks like monks who have stood in long silence on the high ground on what was once the spoil bank of Bayou Metairie. The Great Depression, the men who came and built much of the old park around them, the hump bridges that gave a thrill to the stomach, the widely spaced row of chiseled concrete eagles along the Mall, were as the brief passage of a gnat.

The moss is back, the Resurrection fern that lines the branches–taking its name from its habit of drying brown during dry spells but coming back after a grain, and some small fan palm has rooted  in the crooks of a few where the wide base trunk divides into the branches, the lowest of which tend back toward the ground as they lengthen, granting easy access for adventurous children to scramble into the trees. The oldest oaks, the ones with names and stories–Dueling Oak, Suicide Oak, and another name I heard the other day and have forgotten because it has not been repeated since childhood–are old, older than any building in the city, older than the arrival of Europeans.

The idea that the oldest grow on the spoil bank of Bayou Metairie, the last bit of which is the one natural lagoon in the park, the one south and parallel to City Park Avenue, came to me the other day walking out for cigarettes from my girlfriend’s house in south Metairie. The crazy job of which you have heard too much of late in these virtual pages, the one that keeps me trapped in the house rather than out noticing the oaks, has started me smoking again. It was Sunday morning, and I have developed the habit of going out for a really dark cup of coffee, not the weak store-brand Colombian she buys. I needed cigarettes and set out first down toward Dolly’s gas and cafe, taking the next  cross street to Canal Boulevard and  there I found a cypress of incredible girth, and a crown the size of a hot air balloon, which I immediately christened Grandfather Cypress. My arms (not the longest) stretched out encompassed a third a best, perhaps only a quarter of the trunk. This tree, I thought, was so much older than south Lakeview, older than the spur track just south that grew up along what was once the Lafitte Canal toward downtown, older than Metairie Road when it was a farm-and-cattle track before the bayou was filled in ,older than the cemeteries sited at the back of town to bury the yellow fever dead far out-of-town. I have never seen a cypress of such size but I am a city boy. This tree clearly predates the city.

On my way back from coffee (in the opposite direction, up the boulevard and back toward the L&N line), I went out of my way and passed the shortest cross-street home in spite of the early morning heat of a record-setting August to see this tree again. The current owner of the house was out watering her front garden, and we spoke for a bit. The crown was once even larger, and she had called an arborist to have it cut back a bit, to make sure it would weather any storm. She told me once she described the three she didn’t have to give her address. The man know it well, a tree familiar to those whose care for trees. I did not kneel as I had meant when I broke open a cigarette and sprinkled some tobacco as an offering and said a silent prayer, much as I had on my way out when I stood in silence several minutes, my hand against its trunk. I explained before I started how I had come back to do just that, and she just smiled. She had bought the house, she said, because of that three.

Ten years since the last Great Flood, what I once called the Federal Flood for the failure of the levees, but to Grandfather Cypress and the old oaks on the river end of the park it is simply the last great flood. They have weathered many, no doubt, and survived. The City survives as well, rebuilt by what I called the 200,000, those who came back in the first year and rebuilt it with their own hands and the help of a flood of immigrants from Latin America, the children of people who built even greater cities and saw them abandoned back to the forest, or destroyed by Spanish conquistadors, the bricks of their temples taken to build the new cathedral and palaces. i wonder if they think at all of the transformations their ancestors underwent, or if they just think of the beer and dinner at the end of the day, of a weekly remittance to family back home wired from the corner store now well stocked with familiar baked goods and tubs of iced, cold Modelo.

We have our own conquistadors in our own small way, the influx settling into and transforming the old neighborhoods in the sliver by the river, the high ground running down from downtown toward the mouth of the river, come to bring us Yankee ingenuity and industriousness while they take the pleasure of an entirely different culture which does not care so much of such things, and which may or may not survive their arrival, the resulting dispersal from their old neighborhoods of the people who made that culture.  That is all the worry these days, in the bands of land from which the old trees were cleared hundreds of years ago.

I don’t live down there, and while I find it regrettable that they come as the Spanish came, greedy and bearing an alien religion in which the dollar sign supplants the cross of the Jesuits I live in the back of town, where the oldest trees survive, and now think more of them. The culture of the dollar at all costs has pushed nature too far, and I walk past grandfather oak in the warmest August since records began in the 1880s. Worse, the best minds tell us we have pushed the oceans themselves past the tipping point already. These will steadily  warm, the distant arctic ices will melt and the water rise as sure as Noah’s flood. Other’s argue about whether the levees are really any better but I know that New Orleans is doomed, if not in my life time than in my children’s and their children’s. A greater flood is coming than the old oaks and cypress have ever seen, one that will not recede. Even the resilient cypress, accustomed to flooding, will not survive. Grandfather Cypress has seen his day in which the minutes are decades, in which we are less than the passing buzz of a mosquito.

Odd Words August 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with author Ellen Urbani celebrating her new novel, LANDFALL. Two mothers and their teenage daughters, whose lives collide in a fatal car crash, take turns narrating Ellen Urbani’s breathtaking novel, Landfall, set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Eighteen-year-olds Rose and Rosebud have never met but they share a birth year, a name, and a bloody pair of sneakers. Rose’s quest to atone for the accident that kills Rosebud, a young woman so much like herself but for the color of her skin, unfolds alongside Rosebud’s battle to survive the devastating flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward and to find help for her unstable mother. These unforgettable characters give voice to the dead of the storm and, in a stunning twist, demonstrate how what we think we know can make us blind to what matters most.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features Roberta Brandes Gratz’s We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City. Watching coverage of the hurricane on television in 2005, noted urbanist and veteran journalist Roberta Brandes Gratz knew that the best chance for the city’s recovery came from the people who would return to New Orleans. She also knew that she wanted to see for herself how the city would respond. Two years later, after having made several trips to the area and written several articles, Gratz bought a house in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans and immersed herself in the life of the city. We’re Still Here Ya Bastards presents an unprecedented panoramic look at New Orleans’ recovery in the years following the hurricane. From the Lower Ninth Ward to the storied French Quarter, Gratz shares the stories of people who returned to their homes and have taken the rebuilding of their city into their own hands. An internationally renowned urban critic, Gratz shows how the city is recovering despite erroneous governmental policies that serve private interests rather than the public good. By telling stories that are often ignored by the mainstream media, We’re Still Here Ya Bastards shows the strength and resilience of a community that continues to work to rebuild New Orleans.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West bank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Also at 6 pm Octavia Books welcomes Louisiana native son Blaine Lourd when he returns to discuss and sign his memoir, BORN ON THE BAYOU.

As the youngest brother and son of a father whom I respected, feared, and idolized, I know well the rights of passage Blaine writes about: We don’t really become men in our fathers eyes UNTIL we buck them and go our own way. Hard, scary and at times unfair, it works. Blaine Lourd tells a personal story that a lot of sons and little brothers know well. A story that a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today without.”  –Matthew McConaughey

&  Gary Rivlin will be at Maple Street Book Shop, Wednesday, August 26th, at 6PM to read from his book, Katrina: After the Flood.  Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting affects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure-but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities. This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes-politicians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and white-as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city that’s the soul of this nation.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Octavia Books hosts acclaimed YA novelist Libba Bray is coming to NOLA to celebrate the release of LAIR OF DREAMS, the follow-up to THE DIVINERS.vAfter a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dream world and catch a killer?

& At 7 pm it’s Big Easy Author Night featuring Tom Piazza at the Keller Library & Community Center. Piazza is celebrated both as a novelist and as a music journalist. His twelve books include the novels A Free State, City of Refuge, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and Devil Sent the Rain, a collection of his essays and journalism. He was a principal writer for the innovated HBO drama series Treme, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey.

& At the East Jefferson Regional Library it’s also an Author Event featuring Conversations with My Daughter About Human Trafficking. Stephanie Hepburn, a local author and attorney, will discuss her new book for children titled Conversations with My Daughter About Human Trafficking. The event is free of charge and is open to the public. Books will be available for sale for those who would like to purchase them. Hepburn’s book focuses on the question – How does one get into a conversation with children about how individuals are tricked, extorted and enslaved without exposing them to ideas that may be too mature for them, such as sexual exploitation, rape and the murder of their loved ones?

Beginning Wednesday at 7 pm and running through Friday The Telling: Photo exhibit by Andy Levin, A reading + new work by Chris Rose, and Sounds provided by The Piano Warehouse. Independent curator Pamala Bishop brings together internationally renowned photographer ANDY LEVIN with Pulitzer Prize winning author CHRIS ROSE for THE TELLING, a multi-sensory experience of Katrina explored through visual art, music and written word. By Admission.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features John Biguenet’s Rising Water Trilogy: Plays. Widely praised by critics and hailed by audiences, the award-winning plays in John Biguenet’s The Rising Water Trilogy examine the emotional toll of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Approaching the storm, the levee collapse, and subsequent socioeconomic catastrophe through the lives of three couples and their families, Biguenet conveys insights into the universal nature of trauma and feelings of loss with heart-wrenching intimacy and palliative humor. Each play–Rising Water, Shotgun, and Mold–incorporates the structure of a house as it examines the anatomy of love, moving from the hours just after the levees’ collapse to four months into the flood’s chaotic aftermath–and then to a year later when a family returns to their now mold-encrusted home. In aggregate, these plays employ the seemingly simple act of living together to examine questions of what home truly means. Biguenet also delves into the consequences of living in a city wracked by catastrophe and long-simmering racial tensions, yet so beloved by its inhabitants that even decades of federal neglect and municipal mismanagement cannot erase their emotional attachment to the place and to each other.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with anthropologist Katherine E. Browne featuring her new book, STANDING IN THE NEED: Culture, Comfort, and Coming Home After Katrina. The book presents an intimate account of an extended Lower St. Bernard Parish African-American family’s ordeal after Hurricane Katrina. Before the storm struck, this family of 300 members lived in the bayou communities of St. Bernard Parish just outside New Orleans. Rooted there like the wild red iris of the coastal wetlands, the family had gathered for generations to cook and share homemade seafood meals, savor conversation, and refresh their interconnected lives In this lively narrative, Katherine Browne weaves together voices and experiences from eight years of post-Katrina research. Her story documents the heartbreaking struggles to remake life after everyone in the family faced ruin. Cast against a recovery landscape managed by outsiders, the efforts of family members to help themselves could get no traction; outsiders undermined any sense of their control over the process. In the end, the insights of the story offer hope. Written for a broad audience and supported by an array of photographs and graphics,

& At the East Bank Regional Library of Jefferson Parish the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at 7 pm. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday at 11:30 am  it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen. In remembrance of 10 years past, we’ll read Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner (Chronicle Books, $16.99). In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Also,  The Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery, illustrated by Jean Cassels, which  tells the real-life story of animal friendship between a dog and a cat who helped each other survive during and after Katrina.

& At 2 pm Saturday a Poetry Reading: Before, During, and Since, will be hosted by master of poetical ceremonies Gina Ferrara at the Latter Memorial Library. Readers TBA in the daily post (or updated here when I find out).

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features a Katrina Open Mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Think Ghouls. It’s Friday. August 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
1 comment so far

20150619_153901

Arabella’s request for a Friday song. The Speaking Tequila Skull approves.

And roverman’s refrain of the sacrilege recluse
For the loss of a horse
Went the bowels and a tail of a rat
Come again, choose to go

And if epiphany’s terror reduced you to shame
Have your head bobbed and weaved
Choose a side to be on

If this job doesn’t kill me, I will emerge a creature that would horrify Rimbaud, Hunter and Lovecraft. I will utter words of truth so monstrous the unfrozen pole will shift its axis, the clouds will rain fears dissolving the statistically consistent, and all of the money hustlers will be swallowed by the gaping cracks that will grin in the earth hungry for their souls.

No Camels or Burros Were Harmed In The Making Of This Message August 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Tags:
add a comment

Before I settle down to an evening of [NON DISCLOSURE REDACTED]: first, settle in with a big, steaming mug of hot, black WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING THIS PEOPLE ARE GOING TO KILL ME to make you straighten up and fly right, as my good old mother used to say. And to help keep me going, light up a COUGH HACK WHEEZE cigarette made without added chemical ingredients by sage smoke-wreathed, earth-prayer chanting naked Indian maidens WHO ARE IN REALITY A ROBOTIC PRODUCTION LINE IMPORTED FROM CHINA. This message has been brought to you by DEBT IS THE MODERN BASIS OF SLAVERY [Ezra Pound].

This Is Not Funny August 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, music, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

I want to get off.

The hottest record on Radio Free Albemuth goes out to all of the frantically sprinting slaves of Moloch, whose soul is electricity and banks…

radio August 16, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

strange eyes in my head

I’m the coward and the fool and the clown and

I listen to a man telling me that I can get a

restaurant guide and an expanding cultural events calendar

I’m just not here today

I don’t want restaurants and expanding cultural events

I want an old shack in the hills

rent free

with enough to eat and drink until I die

strange eyes in my head

strange ways

no chance

Bukowski, Charles (2009-03-17). Mockingbird Wish Me Luck

Periplumb August 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags:
1 comment so far

Full-moon Venice preriplumb
Vaparetto No 2. S. Marco:
Campari soda at Harry’s Bar (2)
linen slacks, lime sherbet shirt
my best hat (American, called Milano)
new Italian loafers (no socks)
squandering Euros for a moment
of history, of artificial beauty–
better leather, tan-complimenting
French nails, Italian movie glamour.

The anarchists are out
in the dark like rats:
case por tutti
non si ama liberi
Sheila can you dance like Mussolini?

but the grave carabinieri
who shared my boat,
a blocky, Homeric man
with a square beard,
hefty Berretta on his hip,
keeps their paint bombs
away from S. Marco.

Abandon Harry’s mirrors,
women dressed for Venice
but not Venice, tawdry
among the marble.

Vaporetto No. 2. S. Marco,
round out the periplumb.
One woman alone: brown hair,
glasses, simple slacks and blouse,
natural, a primal Italian beauty,
a noble line of face
fit to strike in metal
the color of her skin.

Glances at my age are flattering,
returning them feels unbecoming but
alone in full-moon Venice
is temptation monumental.
By happy accident I take a seat
in the bow across an aisle
wide as the Grand Canal.
No words. No room. No hope.
Her glances continue, presuming
some intent in my choice of seat.
She removes one shoe, stretches red toes
suggesting the continuation
of lithe curves tending toward
a narrow alley in some quiet sestieri
but no. I watch the passing palazzo.
She turns assertively
to look the other way.

My Venice adventure passes by,
Ca’ Desdemona dark in the moonlight.
My periblumb ends as it began
at Ferrovia.

Dinner And A Movie August 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Watching Yukio Mishima’s Patriotism, macaroni and cheese with barbecue is not recommended, particularly if you’ve finished your brisket sandwhiches and the run-off sauce has gotten into the mac-and-cheese, even if the hari-kiri scene is in black and white. Movie: Five Stars. Dinner: One Star, and unfinished.

Psephology Presenting As Thalassophobia August 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Politics, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Word of the day:

psephology
\see-FOL-uh-jee\
noun
1. the study of elections.

Psephology, which puts me in mind of cephalopods which brings to mind the GOP candidates. Not the intelligent octopus, but rather the squid (best fried with marinara), in particular the lurking giant squid (genus Architeuthis), the terror of ancient sailors by rumor but which, brought up into the bright light of day, perishes. I am of a mind with the ancient mariners, fear the tentacle at the scupper, the terror of them dragging us down into their depths and oblivion, hope that exposed they will swell up and burst like Chris Christie at a pie eating contest.

Repent Walpurgis August 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: ,
add a comment

After all the sturm und drang, a light musical interlude…

I’ll Remember It For You, No Charge August 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in movie, Politics, Reality, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, WTF.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

It was the reference to Bobby Kennedy that was the gut punch. I won’t know if a Hollywood writer tossed in the line about Ferris F. Fremont buying up all the voting machine companies, or if that’s in Phillip K. Dick’s novel Radio Free Albemuth. It would be easy enough to find out. Get it on Kindle. Search it. It might put my mind at east to know that is was a bit a Hollywood fluffing for an overtly political movie.

I’m afraid if I buy it, I’ll read it.

Bobby Kennedy. I found myself compulsively wondering, as I wandered up to Cansecos for cigarettes to steady my nerves. if Sen. Bernie Sanders will make it to the podium alive. Bobby. Martin Luther King, turning from civil rights to the war and economics, stealing Malcom’s African Nationalist economics of the Ballot or the Bullet speech into equal rights on every level, questioning the foundations of a society that requires a pool of surplus labor of all colors starving in the wings, wars invented to siphon off and thin the surplus while making money for all the right people.

Bang.

Have you ever watched Bulworth? If you do, freeze frame on the assassination scene at the end. (Don’t complain about the spoiler. If you were going to watch the most important political film made in America in the 20th century you’d have gotten around to it by now.) Notice the uncanny resemblance of the central tableau to that on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

Bang.

Perhaps They have evolved beyond that, become more sophisticated. Buying airtime for Rush Limbaugh until he caught on, tapped a vital and ugly vein at the core of America. Fox News. Badgering the real journalists for not being Fair and Balanced until the media corporations took over and enforced their version of Fair and Balanced. Flat earth versus round, equal time for both sides: you decide. They have divided us as bitterly as the Serbs and Croats, something to think about if it all comes apart. Because that ended so well. And the Right has all the guns.

Bang.

So that’s it, I’ve lost it. You’re sure of it. Certain, because you never took a turn to sleep in your office because someone tried to break in, because someone was rifling the trash at night before corner-store shredders were a thing, because of the dark sedan frequently across the street that drove off when you approached it. All because of that Menace to the American Way, U.S. Rep. John Breaux. His voting record is hard to find, but he was as centrist as they come. A founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, which birthed President Bill Clinton and gave that cute young Republican Hillary a leg up into her lap dance for Wall Street. Still, he was a threat. A victory by Breaux in the “first primary” of the old Louisiana election system could have upset the apple cart and tipped the Senate to the Democrats in 1986. This bode ill not just for the last years of Reagan, but was a threat to the entire Southern Strategy of the GOP, built on open race baiting and voter suppression. And he did. We did. We beat the motherfuckers, even if my own views were nothing like Breaux’s. And those things happened: the sedan, the garbage riffling, the attempts to force the door.

Paranoid. If paranoia consists of someone putting a plate of fish in front of you and saying, here’s your chicken, and you call them out, then I’m pretty much stark raving. If paranoia is writing stories questioning the campaign finances of a suburban police chief who publicly pistol whipped a disapproved of boyfriend of his daughter’s b in the parking lot of Oakwood Shopping Center, and having your car broken into and nothing taken, not even several dollars of change in the tray on the console. Nothing but your briefcase. Yep, I’m pretty much talking to the lizard wall paper. That’s me.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that a few chapters of Black Lives Matter have taken to harassing Sanders, because groups like that are never infiltrated by the Red Squad. There are no provocateurs. Red Squads, he says. (Make circle around your ear with you finger here). No, I’m sorry, I meant that bunch of photographers covering the First Gulf War Protest who were standing at a good distance from the rest of the media. The ones in suits. Ever met any photo-journalists? Ever seen one working in a suit?

Paranoid. Ever had your named leaked to the newspaper as part of a list of people who would not be admitted to a George Bush rally? I think the most radical thing I had done in the 20 years before that was write a letter to the editor suggesting if they wanted a Decalogue in the city park behind my office, maybe they should consider the Bill of Rights. Oh, and I volunteered for Howard Dean. Remember him? Raaawwwhhhhh. Yeah, him. Pretty much everyone on the Fargo 42 had done some work for Dean.

So, signed any petitions for Bernie Sanders? Been to any rallies? Really. (Scribbles in notebooks). Anything else? Any intemperate political remarks on Facebook? Hmmmm. (Scribbles).

I have shied away from electoral politics since the Coup of 2000. (Yes, you heard that right. Or don’t you remember that video of the flown-in GOP hill staff Hitler youth trying to break down the doors in Broward Country, bringing the recount to an end.

(Damn, he went and did it. Hitler.} No, I said Hitler Youth. I think I get an exemption for that. If not go back and see if you can find the video on the Internet. It forgets nothing. Unless it is erased.

I haven’t watched a national news program since I returned from Europe. I had avoided cable news in any form for years before that. My ex- kept asking me why I wouldn’t watch MSNBC. I couldn’t. I probably would have had a stroke by now if I did. I joined the Breaux campaign not because I agreed with his politics, but because as a young newspaper reporter I was tired of watching. I wanted to get into the Great Game.

It is not a game, unless your definition of games includes Russian roulette, the poison scene from The Princess Bride and, possibly, Day Glo lawn darts in the dark while on acid.

I try not to click through the latest bits of idiocy by the GOP nominees. I would not have been caught dead watching that debate. This isn’t for shits and giggles. This is real, as real as that black sedan, as real as the leaked list, as real as it gets. And I have a feeling it about to get a lot worse.

Why did they have to mention Bobby Kennedy?

Why, when Sanders is single digits behind the neo-liberal (did I say lap dance?) Secretary Clinton.

Why did I watch that fucking movie?

Do not watch Radio Free Albemuth. Do not watch Bulworth (sorry about the spoiler). Just go on about your lives treating the GOP nominees like they’re from the Flat Earth Society. But do stop and think and debate the tactics of certain chapters of Black Lives Matter as if there wasn’t only once answer.

Oh, and definitely do not watch Network. Especially the assassination scene.

(Bang.)

Sorry, I hope I didn’t spoil that one for you, too.

Odd Words August 9, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with Ryan Stradal featuring his debut novel KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST. When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine and a dashing sommelier he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter starting with pureed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience. Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

& The Latter Memorial Library will be closed all week for termite abatement.

& Tuesday at 7 pm The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego hosts the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Thursday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event! Two Local Authors Talk About Their New Memoir. A Big Easy Childhood, by Guy Lyman – Guy Lyman’s memoir focuses on Ray’s Rollerama, Pontchartrain Beach, McKenzie’s, and Easter bunnies in the window of Scheinuk the Florist. Actor and New Orleans native Bryan Batt called the book “A fun and honestly nostalgic memoir. For lovers of all things New Orleans, this delightfully quick read captures a slice of our culture and a lot that ‘ain’t dere no more’.” Guy Lyman is a writer, entrepreneur and owner of Guy Lyman Fine Art on Magazine Street.

VeizerVizerWiezerWieser, A Memoir, Eight Stories and a Search from Granite City to Kompolt, is Keith Viezer’s memoir of his father’s Hungarian family and a history of Lincoln Place, the unique ethnic neighborhood in Granite City, Illinois, where they grew up. It also contains an account of the author’s three trips to Kompolt, the village in Hungary where they and many other Hungarian families immigrated to settle in Lincoln Place in the early 1900s. This book also includes eight short stories written and published over the years that connect Viezer’s family and the neighborhood where he was born.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the East Bank Regional Library hosts the East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

Saturday at 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read Yak and Gnu by Juliette McIver, illustrated by Cat Chapman. A romp in the river with Yak in his kayak and Gnu in his canoe leads to a safari full of unusual nautical discoveries!

& Also at 11:30 am Maple Street Book Shop will be hosting George Sanchez, the author of the Jeff Chaussier mysteries. He will be signing copies of both titles, Exploration’s End and Lit by Lightning.Jeff Chaussier has left his mediocre career as an actor in the Midwest because of another family problem, this time with his cousin Cal. Back in New Orleans with another mystery to solve, he discovers his old friends are dealing with a thriving drug trade. His search sends him to the university theatre, drug lairs, and Bryna’s patio to see if there is still a flame burning there. Has she healed from her injuries suffered in their first adventure? As he pokes about, learning new secrets about Bryna, he receives a second task from the same “certain mysterious gentlemen” who helped him last time. Jeff’s family and friends offer aid as he tries to discover Bryna’s secrets, help his cousin Cal, and keep those “certain gentlemen” placated. Without detective skills, but with a colorful collection of friends, old and new, Jeff pokes and pries, discovering new corners of New Orleans and plots within plots. EXPLORATION’S END is the second novel in the Jeffrey Chaussier mystery series following LIT BY LIGHTNING.The adventures of Jeff, Bryna, his family and his friends continue in the next Jeff Chaussier New Orleans Mystery, A PLACE UNCHANGED due next Christmas.

& Saturday at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts the Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Jim Azevedo, marketing director for Smashwords, will continue his three-part webinar series about self-publishing at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 15 at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

& At 1 pm Saturday the Norman Mayer Library hosts T(w)een Weekend Writing Workshop. No matter what kind of writing you do or even if just think you’d like to, join us 2nd Saturdays in the Teen Room to talk about and share (if you want to) your stories, poetry, scripts, or comics.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 2 pm Octavia Books features author Dana Gynther comes for a reading, signing, and discussion featuring THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH, a richly drawn novel about a talented and fearless young woman in the 1920s and 30s in Paris. Based around Lee Miller’s life, the story follows her as she catches the eye of Man Ray; and their story takes off. As with books like The Paris Wife and The American Heiress, THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH is a beautifully crafted portrait of a daring woman of her time.. Though Lee gets her start as an assistant to the well-known photographer Man Ray, it doesn’t take her long to find her own path, and put her career above his own.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. Coming up Aug. 23 poets Jimmy Ross and Laura Mattingly read from their work.The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (interrupted only by Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Beckett August 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags:
1 comment so far

How can you stand reading Beckett, she asked. I hate him.

I usually do not stand reading Beckett, as I do not frequently travel by city buses any more. More typically, I sit, although at times I recline, bolstered in the bed. And I do not read Beckett so much as enter into Beckett. I imagine myself in a chair in an empty room, as in a setting for End Game, or somewhere unidentifiable in the dark, as when I wake at an odd hour with my sleep mask on.  At such times there is an unsettling silence and stillness, leaving one entirely alone with one’s thoughts which is the most mentally unhealthy thing which a thinking person can do, I mean someone who really thinks, not just worries although worry always enters into it, worries not in the abstract but in the concrete concerns of a thinking, vivid imagination contemplating what slumbers in the dark, the great rendering gears of the world waiting for the sound of a bell to begin to grind and compress us into statistically satisfying compliance or into a reject package, like cast-off metal suitable for export. Or it is day and there is light, grey light while outside the drawn curtains the world rumbles and lurches by, an unbalanced machine always at the edge of the tipping point, lurching and smoking past the gutters of poverty where the hungry search the cast-off packaging of the rich for scraps, along streets the lamps of which are perpetually dimmed by willful ignorance, past crowded sidewalks governed by traffic rules the preeminent of which is eyes should not meet, but may wander the bodies of the opposite sex and appraise them as one does cuts of meet for quality versus expense, between buildings the windows of which have curtains drawn to hide their secrets, or which open into the spacious offices of those who rule over the cubicles, each worker like a bee assigned his place in the comb, beneath a sky laced with contrails of others hurrying on the errands of plutocratic commerce or toward resorts that decorate the coasts of mestizo poverty like colorful tumors.

I read Beckett, I tell her, to escape, to imagine him a madman, and that his material was not the world.

39. El Nopal August 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags:
add a comment

el-nopal (2)

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

Odd Words August 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts New Orleans author Katy Simpson Smith – in conversation with author Laura Lane McNeal, author of DOLLBABY, celebrating the paperback release of THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA: A Novel. Simpson Smith stunned readers everywhere last year with this magnificent debut novel. Now, you can meet her in person when she returns to Octavia Books for the paperback edition. Highly recommend for book groups, or anyone. Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife, Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her. in this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the desperate paths we travel in the name of renewal.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Reading Between the Wines hosts Laura Lane Mcneal, author of DOLLBABY and Greg Herren, author of THE ORION MASK Wednesday inside of the American Can Company from 7:00-8:00 pm. Mcneal grew up in New Orleans. She spent most of her career in advertising, and after Hurricane Katrina she seized the opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. DOLLBABY is her first published novel. Herren is an award winning author of more than 20 novels and 50 short stories. He also works as a freelance editor and has edited 15 anthologies. He currently serves as president of the Southwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and has served on the national board as well. In 2005, he was barred from a planned speaking engagement to the gay-straight alliance at Manchester High School in Virginia due to his erotic writing.

& Also this Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features John R. Batty’s Voices of Angels: Disaster Lessons From Katrina Nurses. Co-authors John R. Batty and Gail Tumulty interviewed dozens of nurses and healthcare workers after Hurricane Katrina and presented their findings at the American Nurses’ Association conference. In those interviews, collected in this volume, the nurses spoke about their experiences caring for patients at New Orleans hospitals and medical centers, including the Veterans Affairs Hospital, Charity Hospital, University Hospital, and Ochsner Medical Center. Batty and Tumulty’s additional lessons and disaster preparedness plans make this book an invaluable resource for healthcare professionals and consumers who need their care and a testament to the character of the men and women who worked under these incredible circumstances.

& Thursday at 7 pm the East Bank Regional Library hosts the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

“Ten Years After – Chroniclers of the Storm,” the first-ever Jefferson Parish Library Literary Festival, will occur at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 8 at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. The event is free of charge and is open to the public. Books will be available for those who would like to purchase them. The literary festival not only commemorates the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina but honors and promotes the writers who put their words on paper so the world would know what happened here. The literary festival will feature writers who produced fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoir, children’s and young adult works, as well as artists who produced books of photography and art.

10 a.m. – Keynote Address Susan Larson, host of WWNO Radio’s The Reading Life, and author of Book Lover’s Guide to New Orleans, will discuss books about Hurricane Katrina during the past decade.

11 a.m. – Fiction Writer’s Panel

· Rexanne Becnel, Blink of an Eye and The Thief’s Only Child

· Laura Roach Dragon, Hurricane Boy

· Tony Dunbar, Tubby Meets Katrina and Night Watchman

· Patty Friedmann, A Little Bit Ruined; Taken Away; and Do Not Open for 50 Years

· Juyanne James, The Persimmon Trail

· Moderator: Julie Smith, New Orleans Mourning

12:30 – Interview with Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic

· Interviewer: Stephen Rea, Finn McCool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead

2 p.m. – Panel discussion – Art and Photography Books

· Brad Benischek, Revacuation

· David Spielman, Katrinaville Chronicles and Katrina Decade Images of an Altered City

· Charlie Varley, Katrina 366

· Moderator: Anne Gisleson,

3:30 p.m. – Nonfiction Writer’s Panel

· John Batty, RN, Voices of Angels

· Richard Deichmann, MD, Code Blue: A Katrina Physician’s Memoir

· Carolyn Perry, For Better, For Worse Patient in the Maelstrom

· Moderator: James Nolan, PhD, Perpetual Care; Higher Ground and You Don’t Know Me

Saturday at 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read Good Morning to Me! A cheerful parrot pushes the limits of early-morning energy in this exuberant picture book from the author-illustrator of “Red Sled” and “Flight School”.

& At 1 pm Saturday the Norman Mayer Library hosts T(w)een Weekend Writing Workshop. No matter what kind of writing you do or even if just think you’d like to, join us 2nd Saturdays in the Teen Room to talk about and share (if you want to) your stories, poetry, scripts, or comics.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. Coming up Aug. 23 poets Jimmy Ross and Laura Mattingly read from their work.The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (interrupted only by Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society And Louisiana State Museum To Host Multi-Author Reception Honoring Faulkner Society
Gold Medal Fiction Writers With New Novels Just Released Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30 pm at the Cabildo. The Society will join hands with the Louisiana State Museum to honor Frederick Barton, author In the Wake of the Flagship; Moira Crone, author of The Ice Garden, Jennifer Steil, author of The Ambassador’s Wife, and J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest.

Odd Words July 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday at 7 pm Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego hosts Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts John E. Wade II and The Bipolar Millionaire and the Operation. John E. Wade II, author, investor, and millionaire, reveals in his memoir, The Bipolar Millionaire and the Operation, his personal struggle with bipolar disorder and his experience being the focus of an all-encompassing and benevolent entity he calls the Operation. Wade takes the reader through his family experiences, political aspirations and beliefs, spiritual journey, relationship trials and errors, battle with mental illness, and how he feels he has been cured of the detrimental aspects of bipolar disorder. With the help of a unique and powerful network he calls the Operation, and through religious beliefs, personal perseverance, and the help of friends, family, and his mental health professionals, Wade lives an active, creative, and successful life. His memoir doesn’t end with contentment at achieving a balance in his life, however. Instead, Wade expresses a determined vision for the future, aiming to assist humanity in finding lasting peace and prosperity through his writing, political, and spiritual endeavors, as well as through being the focus of the ever-pervasive Operation

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with New Orleans author Mary Helen Lagasse celebrating the release of her second novel, NAVEL OF THE MOON. A freelance writer and journalist, Vicenta (“Vicky”) Lumière has moved beyond her upbringing in the diverse Irish Chan­nel neighborhood of New Orleans. But a visit to her childhood friend Lonnie Cavanaugh in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women brings back a flood of memories.In Navel of the Moon, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut The Fifth Sun, Mary Helen Lagasse turns to the 1950s and 60s, where a young Vicky learns that the complicated people that we become as adults and the complicated world that adults create are shaped by events in childhood. The adults around her, beginning with her Mexican grandmother, Mimy, the family storyteller—who says she is from the “navel of the moon”—often confound and sometimes trouble Vicky. Yet Vicky’s strength of character is pro­foundly affected by the complexity of life, and in particular that of her troubled childhood friend Lonnie and of Valentina Dreyfus, the Holocaust survivor who becomes Vicky’s closest confidante.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 5:30 pm Octavia Books hosts a Find Waldo Party! Now, come join us for fun, games and the drawing of The Grand Prize (and lots of other prizes) for everyone who found Waldo in New Orleans this July Regardless of your age, you are encouraged to come in costume. The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs has been hobnobbing all month at 25 different independent local shops all around Octavia Books – from ice cream parlors, snowball stands, chocolate shops, and eateries to toy stores, hobby shops, movie theaters, and bike shops. Those who spot him can win prizes, including buttons, book coupons and great gifts contributed from all of the participating local businesses, with the grand prize being a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books. Collecting store stamps or signatures at 20 or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to entry in a grand prize drawing at the Waldo party. There is no charge to participate. And the hunt is still on.

Here are the participating businesses:

Angelique Baby & Kids – 5519 Magazine St.
Art & Eyes – 3708 Magazine St.
The Bead Shop – 4612 Magazine St.
Blue Frog Chocolates – 5707 Magazine St.
Canine Culture – 4920 Tchoupitoulas St.
Clement Hardware & Variety – 6000 Magazine St.
Creole Creamery – 4924 Prytania St.
Crescent City Comics – 4916 Freret St
Dat Dog – 5030 Freret St.
Dat Dog – 3336 Magazine St.
Dirty Coast – 5631 Magazine St.
Feet First – 4122 Magazine St.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – 4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
Jefferson Feed – 6047 Magazine St.
Magic Box – 5508 Magazine St.
Mike the Bike Guy – 4411 Magazine St.
National Art and Hobby – 5835 Magazine St.
Octavia Books – 513 Octavia St.
P’s & Q’s – 5720 Magazine St.
Plum – 5430 Magazine St.
PrytaniaTheatre – 5339 Prytania St.
Rye – 4223 Magazine St.
Scriptura – 5423 Magazine St.
Toast – 5433 Laurel St..
Weinstein’s – 4011 Magazine St.

& On Friday July 31st, Tubby & Coo’s, in collaboration with By the Clock, will be hosting a birthday party for the boy who lived! Join us from 6:30 – 8:30PM for food, games, crafts, and fun, all in the spirit of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Register soon – this is a limited availability event with only 24 open spots!

& At 9:30 pm Friday the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center hosts Moroccan poet and singer El Habib Louai and his band perform at New Orleans’s longest-lived alternative theater. $10. Sponsored by 100,000 Poets For Change, New Orleans and Surregional Press. El Habib recites original in English, Arabic and his native Amazigh plus Arabic translations of major Beat poets. Supporting local musicians include Will Thompson, keyboards and Ray Moore, saxphone.

& At 2 pm Saturday the Latter Memorial Library hosts Join us the monthly Poetry Buffet Reading. Poets Steve Beisner, Christian Champagne, David Cook, and Mary Emma Dutreix Pierson read from their work.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Who Needs Sleep? July 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

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.

Odd Words July 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features David G. Spielman’s The Katrina Decade: Images of An Altered City. The book includes 125 stark, black-and-white photos of New Orleans in the years after the storm. Acting as a window into New Orleans in the last ten years and providing an extention of the work done by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Farm Security Administration (FSA). With images whose simplicity evokes the work of FSA photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks. In the ten years since Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge overwhelmed New Orleans’s levee system, the catastrophe has lived in the public imagination as a parade of dramatic images. Often overlooked are smaller, more gradual changes. For years, David G. Spielman has documented these inconspicuous changes. The photographs depict the devastation and despair of the storm, but also have a quality of the haunting melancholy beauty that has befallen the city.

& Tuesday at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center at 7 pm it’s the latest entry in Teatro Sin Fronteras is a series of Seven Movable Feasts to engage the community at large with interdisciplinary theater events, music, & food to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina Rebirth of New Orleans in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the storm.

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Laura McNeill and Center of Gravity. The truth could cost her everything. Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful. Or is it? Her husband’s behavior grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm at the Rosa Keller Library founding members of the Peauxdunque Writers AllianceMaurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri S. Shrum, and Tad Bartlett will read their works in a no-holds-barred, 21-and-over show at the Rosa Keller Library.

& Meanwhile, the Mid-City Branch Library hosts an Author Night featuring Nancy Dixon, author of N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature, who will present highlights of 200 years of local writing.

& This event has been cancelled: Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Veda Stamps’s Flexible Wings. Stamps’ critically acclaimed novel, Flexible Wings, is a fictional exploration of the lives of military children. This book, written for preteens, delves into themes of sports, community support and volunteerism as a way to help children and their families through difficult times. In Flexible Wings, an eleven-year-old girl of mixed race uses competitive swimming to navigate her fears of her fighter pilot mom’s impending military deployment.

& At the East Bank Regional Library of Jefferson Parish the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at 7 pm. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 6 pm Harrison Scott Key stops by Octavia Books to share his wildy funny memoir, THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN. Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, “a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas and paved roads and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: how to fight and work and cheat and how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers.” Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World’s Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir the story of a boy’s struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsize role model, and a grown man’s reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.

& Friday at 6 pm Garden District Books presents Webb Hubbell’s Ginger Snaps. Attorney Jack Patterson returns to Little Rock, Arkansas after an old acquaintance, Dr. Douglas Stewart, is arrested for marijuana cultivation, possession, and distribution. Jack is no expert on drug cases, but meets with Stewart to fulfill a promise to his late wife, Angie, who was close to Stewart. Expecting to wrap up his involvement in an hour and enjoy the rest of the weekend golfing, Jack hears from Stewart that his arrest isn’t about the marijuana. Teaming up with his bodyguard, Clovis, and defense attorney Micki Lawrence, Jack begins to investigate why this highly-respected scientist was growing marijuana. He learns that Stewart had alerted the government about the existence of his marijuana garden years ago. Why the arrest now? Why are the Feds claiming terrorist involvement? Stewart’s wife, Liz, claims it has to be about her ginger snaps which are laced with marijuana to help ease the pain of cancer patients. As Jack delves deeper into the case, he discovers that both Stewarts and the federal government are hiding secrets, secrets that connect to a past Jack and all involved would rather forget.

& Saturday at Maple Street Book Shop at 11:30 AM the store also hosts Veda Stamps and Flexible Wings.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Odd Words July 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans is going to move to Sunday-to-Saturday, as work is not working out to have it done by Thursday. I’ve missed several weeks of a weekly listing, only just barely getting up daily postings on Facebook. Remember Odd Words is a labor of love, but love is sometimes a struggle and you can always help me get it done by chipping in a little something. Become a sponsor and buy the poor Typist a beer and a poboy, won’t you?

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& On Wednesday at 8 pm (doors at 7) Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are again going without a theme and that means no hold barred. An evening of surprising and unfettered original erotica in a variety of styles to pique your variety of desires. Original Erotica from: Panzachual, Otter Goodfellow, Paul Oswell, Aime’ SansSavant
and More to be Announced! Interested in joining our sexy party on stage at Esoterotica? Our Unthemed shows are a great time, and we love to experience new voices. Just drop us a line and/or submit writing to info@esoterotica.com

& At 6 pm Thursday the Garden District Book Shop presents Tony Dunbar’s Night Watchman: A Tubby Dubonnet Mystery. In this EIGHTH entry in the Tubby Dubonnet series, the laid-back New Orleans lawyer finds himself caught in a twisted trip down memory lane, distracted by a luscious new love, and, as usual, surrounded by screwball denizens of everybody’s favorite city. But he’s also caught in someone’s crosshairs, and so are half the cast of crazies and screwballs. Which makes for a delicious mix of danger and humor (with a dash of romance!), best consumed with a tall cold one and a bag of Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators.

& At 6:30 pm Thursday The EJ Writers Group meets at the East Bank Jefferson Parish Regional Library. The group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& Every third Thursday of the month the All People Open Mic Poetry Circle occurs at Playhouse NOLA, 3214 Burgundy between Piety and Louisa. Rooted in principles that empower the individual’s creative and intellectual growth, this creative venture particularly invites immigrants, people of color and those who identify the class system as being anti-human and benefitting a small percentage of society are encouraged to join.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& At 4 pm Friday at Octavia Books Mark Shulman, author of over 150 titles, presents two books that play with words, MOM AND DAD ARE PALINDROMES and its sequel, ANN AND NAN ARE ANAGRAMS.Shulman doesn’t just mix up words. Everyone loves A IS FOR ZEBRA and AA IS FOR AARDVARK, two pictures books that “picture” the alphabet in a whole new way. If you think these books are fun, wait until you meet the author who dreamed them up. He’ll leave you laughing

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

He Taught Me To Sing A Song July 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

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.

That’s It For The Other One July 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
2 comments

I have to go to a three-day long meeting, my first in person encounter with the New People, the ones who seem to have no life of the mind, nothing but work to clutter their minds. What frightens me is they know everything. They remember everything. The boss wants us to memorize every detail of what we are responsible for. as if this were some cram school.

Me, I remember I can look it up.

I am not one of them.

QueueThe question I put to my co-worker friend was what do to about my queue, which now reaches below my shoulder blades. Do I tuck it into my shirt, or let it hang. Leave it out, she said, and she is right. I am a hired commodity, and certainly not for my looks. I am hired to get up at 6:30, check my Internet/VPN by 6:40ish with my first cup of coffee and never look back. I forget to eat breakfast. I shower later in the day or at night. I barely escape the four-by-four pod defined by desk/wall, window/wall, easy chair behind me, and collapsible table upon which rests my personal laptop and all sort of essential brick-a-brack.

I spend my day electronically among people who can only work as they do bu living unexamined lives, whom I doubt read books, who if they do anything besides make and eat dinner it’s to give a desultory glance at their children’s homework before grasping the all powerful remote, duck commander of the thousand channels of noise.

I am not one of them.

When I hear the motto “The Power of One” (and perhaps I give away too much here), I think, “and in the darkness bind them.” I am sure they are lovely people. They tear up a bit at their children’s concerts and pageants, never forget a friend’s birthday, and make extravagant meals and tender love on their anniversaries. They are no doubt on the envelope plan at their church, and have never forgotten to open what they thought was marketing junk and let a forgotten bill go 90 days into arrears. Their FICO scores are far above their SATs, and they study dutifully for that online MBA.

They are, at a casual glance, almost human.

I am not one of them.

I am, by the decision of people much like them at another institution, rōnin. My faithful service to another corporate shogunate meant nothing in the end. My dress is not business casual but really need an air conditioner in the front room baggy, beater casual. My daily shoes are sandals, and my sandal are dirty. When they don’t allow me time to eat lunch, I cinch my belt a bit tighter and keep moving. When I barely have time to shower, I skip shaving. When I do stop to eat it is often sitting before their glowing screen, shoveling food into my mouth like a starving Toshiro Mifune just arrived from the road.

My sword, however, is sharp, and at their service.

If that is not good enough, if they do not like the look of me, if my irrationally faithful service is not enough, I will move on.

yojimbo01 (1)

BEER July 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags:
3 comments

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, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags:
10 comments

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.

Eye of Moloch

Creepy.

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, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
7 comments

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.

20150418_144246

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
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
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.

Amen.

Don’t Look Down June 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

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.

Crabapple Lane June 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
add a comment

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
sullen, hungry.
I want to yank him out, toss him
butt first in their yard.

Going In Circles June 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

“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, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
2 comments

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.

Fuck it.

The clock ticks. Nothing happens.

Waiting.

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.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Suck the fingers clean enough for a cigarette.

Fuck you, vape.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

ESTRAGON:
But I can’t go on like this !

VLADIMIR:
Would you like a radish?

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

What is the glycemic index rating of fingernails?

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

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.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting…

VLADIMIR:
This is becoming really insignificant.

THE TYPIST:
That’s what I think.

Odd Words June 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
add a comment

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface. Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina. In 1998 a collection of Mr. Rosenthal’s photographs, Regarding Manhattan was published by Safe Harbor Books, and in 2005 his work was included in Safe Harbor’s Quartet: Four North Carolina Photographers. In August of 2008 an exhibit of his Lower Ninth Ward photographs, “Then, Absence,” was displayed at the New Orleans African-American Museum and Boston’s Panopticon Gallery. Mr. Rosenthal was awarded a 2008-2009 North Carolina Arts Fellowship.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.

& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read The Skunk by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man’s doorway, it’s a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It’s not clear—but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature’s attention, only to find himself missing something. . .

This slyly hilarious tale brings together picture book talents Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell for the first time.

& Saturday at 4 pm the Nix Library hosts a Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Tuesday at 7 pm The Louisiana State Poetry Society features the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work at the East Bank Regional Library,

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday at the Old Marquer Theater the ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project presents “Teatro Sin Fronteras / Theater Without Borders,” a series theater events or “tertulias” in Spanish with music & food to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina REBIRTH of New Orleans in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the storm.

& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater conclues their month of poetry in June with readings by Sarah Xerta and Kia Alice Groom.

& Also on Wednesday the New Orleans Jane Austen Society hosts a night of all things Jane trivia at the Pearl Wine Co. Test your knowledge of Austen’s novels, her life, love interests, manners, films and more! We’ll have prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Enter title here June 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

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.

Odd Words June 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
add a comment

Coming up this week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday Garden District Books hosts the book launch of Laura Lane McNeal’s Dollbaby, A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.

& At the East Bank Regional Library on Tuesday the Louisiana State Poetry Society hosts the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work. Free of charge and open to the public.

& In Westwego the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at he Edith S. Lawson Library.

& Wednesday Amanda Emily Smith, Donney Rose and Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater.

& Thursday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface.Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.
& Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels

Moonlight On Vermont June 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

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.

20150619_153901

(It’s Just) Another Day June 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
2 comments

Hi Gemini,
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.

[rewind]

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.

[rewind]

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.

[rewind]

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.

[rewind]

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.

Coffee. Emphysema. Cigarettes. Work.

[rewind]

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.

[rewind]

“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]

2. A working class hero is something to be. [3]

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, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
3 comments

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,665 other followers