Saturday, December 18, 2010

from "slightly altered or drawn-out famous moments in history"

Clapton fell in love rather quick with George Harrison’s wife. Pattie Boyd was quite the looker. It was hard for Clapton. His good friend’s wife. But Clapton was uncredited on the Beatles’ White Album, so that was kind of fucked up. But still, Clapton’s jealousy probably should’ve been kept in his lips. His pining not lost on anyone. Not subtle at all. Wished his friend dead, or more like just out of the picture…no. Not that at all. He could lip sync his love to anybody. Got stuck in some fable about a prince or somebody being given away to somebody else who was unworthy of her company. Turned his pain to the proverbial drawing board of music. Chastened? Perhaps. A lost notation of what not to do with what’s left of his passion. Adultery swinging like an axe through his mindset, which was set on stun anyway, for the time being, whatever time having to do with love at all completely beyond him of course. What did it matter how long? A few months? That could be an eternity if he were by her side. Only a night to stay and hold and be held. That would be more than enough. But Georgie boy was in the way, no longer a moptop, just some longish-haired dude with a mustache who could’ve been a car salesman for whatever it was worth. No longer did it matter. Clapton’s love would throw more shadows on the walls of sorrow. Clapton would play his guitar until it wept. Not like him. Not like him at all. But what could he do? Just move around and on and over. Over? Maybe. Some day. But he was really starting to doubt it rather big time. A movement, one of the lesser known ones as far as movements go, crammed into his head, and he rattled off some scrappy lyrics and tugged and tied them together with some scratchy riffing and some plucky licks. Got himself some dominoes and rechristened himself to go along with them. He dealt himself a stacked deck. Without warning or sign from god this thing came on and wrecked him, his guts all knotted and his head crunched with unrequited longing. He didn’t want to hurt anybody, but he himself was already hurt pretty bad. Clapton was a mess. He played his guitar and dreamed of Pattie’s eyes. Kept his wishes that it wouldn’t last to himself. But really she did have him on his knees, doing a lot of begging please and all the likes. Probably Clapton wasn’t sleeping well. Maybe he drowned his going-nowhere ideas of romance in alcohol and flushed them up and out with cocaine. What was right wasn’t what was whating the whatever of what mattered to the what muttering, “what, what, what,” in his heart. Clapton was in a lonely place. Everything else going on in the world seemed insignificant. He couldn’t sleep. He lay awake at night and made up stories about his life, about he and Pattie making a life together, just them two. It soon transmogrified into all he wanted to do. Sweetly begging off today for tomorrow’s sourest notes. It was no way for a guitarist to be behaving. Time was something just to push his way through, to get over with, or to have to dreamily look forward to. The now he had wasn’t worth having. All we wanted was a then that never came. It sucked. Clapton played his song for Pattie. It got pretty popular. People thought it rocked. Harrison had no comment. He had Pattie. He’d made All Things Must Pass. What the hell did he care about some cry-me-a-river up-and-comer trying to get all smoochy with his lady? Not that Clapton was getting too pretty with his miss, but still, he must’ve been at least slightly enraged at this encroachment upon the attention of his inamorata. Clapton played his guitar. Clapton cried himself to sleep, fists clenched, screaming, “Layla!” at his ceiling fan. It wasn’t pleasant for anybody, especially his neighbors. But there was nothing to be done. You don’t get to choose whom you fall in love with. You just meet somebody, you fall in love, and then that’s it.


Jones Very just showed up at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s door one day. It was raining. Jones was drenched. His clothes were covered in mud. He’d been thrashing around in the forest, tumbling in the flowers, talking to trees and squirrels, like he was St. Francis of Assisi or something. Emerson liked him immediately and invited him in, soiled, wet clothes and all. They talked about Hamlet for a bit, both agreeing that the poor prince was merely feigning to feign madness, which made him quite mad, and a hero too. Jones told Ralph that Christ was speaking through him quite often these days. The second coming was here, and Jones was it, kindly donating his body as a vessel for good old JC to speak through. He showed him some sonnets he’d written while under the influence. Ralph thought them badly written, and told him that the holy spirit could do with some grammar and spelling lessons. But while in an ecstatic revelry, well, really, who could possibly concentrate on such mundane things? It was a ghost surging through his veins, and when it spoke to him he had no choice but to listen. Ralph made them some tea. He then proceeded to whine about how much he was at the mercy of the disturbances of daily life, and they spoke of the meteorology of thought, acute loneliness and the paradoxical need for solitude, and about how life was at bottom only flux, transition, and undulation. Jones wasn’t reticent in the least, and told Ralph that maybe they should flee to the mountains for a spell. Ralph guffawed, drank some tea, told him that everyone was dying of miscellany these days, and invited Jones to a meeting of his Transcendental Club. He even offered to print some of Jones’ poems in his tidy, little magazine called The Dial. They were both very excited about the divine nature and mystical prospects of this serendipitous encounter. Ralph told Jones about his recalcitrant, garrulous friend Henry David Thoreau, whom he thought would get along splendidly with this wild, crazed fellow who was born out-of-wedlock to a couple of first cousins. They chatted about how life was all circles with no circumference, and how around every circle another one can be drawn, meaning that everything was without end, that it all just went on and on. Though the night was clawing and scratching at the hours, their small time together seemed essential and immortal. Jones stood on a chair and recited a few of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Ralph looked on, softly smiling, beaming with gratitude for this strange man’s special sort of madness. ‘My eyes are like raindrops,’ he thought. ‘I will not let the days carry their gifts silently away. Fuck it. Politeness was invented by wise men to keep fools at a distance. I will marry this fellow to the infinitely repellent orb of my ways.’ Ralph then also stood up on his chair. He screamed at Jones, “Alone is wisdom! Alone is happiness! Society only makes us all low-spirited and hopeless! Alone! Alone is heaven alone!” Jones looked down at his muddy shoes, his sopping and shredded clothes flecked with bits of fern, and he ran his hands through his disheveled hair, and softly said, “Mr. Emerson. I am the second coming of Christ. I am in the midst of going completely mad, but I, my good fellow, am not quite sure how to do so. Surely somebody else will speak for me, for I cannot.” The wind trilled. Rustling came and went. A mouse scampered by over creak mines in the floorboards. Nothing happened. They both sat back down and silently contemplated what it meant to be alive, to be this particular person who they happened to be at this particular juncture in time, and felt damn lucky to be living just then, no matter what the hell else was ever going to happen to them. Then they both retreated to separate rooms and fell asleep.