Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Play Of Authenticity In Times Of Light-Speed Reproduction (Or, Walter Benjamin Slurped Through A Straw)

He’d sing most of what he read. Even the ingredients on a bag of chips. A baritone of saffron. It wasn’t culpable, inherently at least, to be hip to his rhythms. They were bound by clocks, like most of ours. The tape recorder did its best to keep up. Mangled most of it. But here’s what’s left of it. Surely it’ll do. 
“I had about 10 drinks waiting for the train, which helped things enough. The depot bar was reasonably priced. I had higher recommendations. The grocers around there were ex-actors who never studied plumbing or anything like that. So, I helped out, or had been. Remunerative jobs and the likes. Friendly enough kids, for the time, who used to come in and not bother me a whole lot. I didn’t mind. The course of occupying my time was being run by lunatics with spaghetti in their hair. Things replaceable. Things worth less. I ran out though. I had to get some distance between me and the dead-enders hanging around then. I fell into the habit of giving out too many broken noses. People who can’t duck fast enough, you know? Startling things. I guess. Counting out. Getting seeds instead of flowers. Whatever that means. Delivering a lot more than just the mail, you know? But even chefs get hungry sometimes too. And who arrests the cop but another cop? Hell, it’s all salad dressing for the masses. And Whitey ain’t got a thing on Henry, Ford-wise. Gripe and groan. Go ahead. Older than most. Crankier than some. I’ve held my own hand through harder times than these. I can be fuzzy, or close to it. And it’s still a dicey proposition to smile at strangers in public. Starring all the extras, all the movies I make up in my head that never get made. Made a mistake of ruining that Chrysler by crashing it into a cab. Not much more to say. I’m leaving it further behind the closer it gets.

“Most parties, they don’t do that. Looking for something to shoot, going around pocket-less, hoofed to other whereabouts than I should’ve been. Matrimonial difficulties. Seeing if the pistol’d shoot. Practicing on a toilet bowl, cracked the sucker up real good. Various and sundry places, my wife she was cut up with the pieces of it, but I didn’t shoot her. She makes a bigger deal out of it than she should. Great woman, she was; or is, still, I guess. We all have friends and enemies. A real prince of a guy, I tried to be, when I wasn’t getting into trouble with the drinking. I’d go around wearing this hat, this felt deal with holes in it and everything. A devil’s cap. And people’d say, 'Wow. He must be drunk to be wearing that hat.' And the bartenders wouldn’t serve me. Kept calling me Spit. It stuck, and then I wandered out of it. Mugs was another one, and Slick Mahoney too. And me, going around with a plastic spoon in my boot. People’d write me letters and things. My tongue was planted so firmly in my cheek so much of the time that I never cared about all that. I may become a hermit at last, here, but it don’t quite divide down, if you divvy the gist of it up, you know?

“I am not shallower in my misgivings, now. Pot’s boiling. Why’d we name her that? Well, choices were slim in the Detroit of our years. Birthrights be damned. Options weren’t abounding with your mother. We only had so much not to do, or have, or be, for that, or any, matter. Protests were built in with her. Stomping around, never a churchgoer, and the bells stayed silent for the most. Oh, they’d have you believe it was all a plot to grate and mash the purpose right out of you. But that’s beyond my capacity to drag on about. I squint. I cough. I disperse the fragments of my life, but never turn my back on them. See what sparks fly, you know? I wonder if I can see myself. I wonder. Well, you could’ve spit in my socks about it, back then, or now, really, even. This must not be love, you know? That tells where you haven’t been-- for me, at least. I’d rather be old and wise than young and dumb. I almost said that, once. Now I just play it closer to the vest, playing mum for the expecters.

“Really, there are no difficult ways in. To the lower crust, to the moochers who’ve got not enough time in their shoes. I wince with holiness at the sight of most recuperating highdeaths. Lots to not go on or off about, or on and off, I figure. In the wane of my nights, in the curt lump of my constricting clauses, in the bafflement of the days rolling by. I am corrupt only in my baser motivations. I order steak and martinis for lunch whenever I can; and I add a little ruin to the sound my name makes.

“There you go. Here. Take what you can. I know I did while I could. Paint your time with the harmony of use. Me? I’m stuck inside and out with the anticipatory blues, again. Really, there isn’t much else to smell. Hint around it. I’ll be rounding the mountain pass soon enough, the way I figure it, and the boys squatting at Union Square will be all eyes for the sight of me, chucking change at tour buses, behaving like rats with their tails hacked off. I can hear the fire alarms going off all over town. Me? I’m not a showoff; I’m a tell-off. Somehow I barely have enough when I thought I had plenty. That’s not how this was supposed to go. My thoughts are bottled and tossed: fragments of gone turned to now’s here. Glad there are no do-overs, though. Really. I still makeup the most of what I’ve got. And I swear I will be quiet from there off-or-on in. Yep. No more heavenly riots; not in this place where nothing grows. The seraphim don’t sing, ‘Holy. Holy. Holy,’ anymore. They sing, ‘There. There. There.’

“Well. Satisfied? Hope so. Because that’s all I got.”