Friday, November 9, 2012

Fire and Pearl

You know that moment when your car breaks down and you pop the hood and you don’t have a clue as to what’s wrong and you’re not even sure why you went to the bother of popping the hood because you don’t know diddly about cars to begin with?

It’s like that. Anguish, the mind, the ultimate inefficacy of theory regarding important existential questions. How to peel a potato. How to get a job.
Getting a job is the worst. It is the ultimate conundrum. Because you are looking for something you really don’t want. What you want is money. You don’t want a job. That’s why I get pissed when I hear politicians declaim that they are going to be bringing us jobs. Fuck jobs. I don’t want a job. Do you want a job? I want money.
So rolls the mind and its catfish religions. I live in city full of noise. Pain falls through the body creating sentences of fire and ice. I write them down and discover air and rain. Turmoil is my middle name. My first name is Keith. I play lead guitar for the Rolling Stones.
Which is a lie, of course. My name is Walt Whitman and I am a load of underwear tumbling round and round in the dryer at the local Laundromat.
I like the eccentricity and irritations and grouchiness of old women at bus stops. I like cars, too, even though they stink up the world. The highway is liniment for the wounds of description.
Description kills things.
Or does it?  Perhaps I am wrong about description. Show me a waterfront and I will show you a feeling. What that feeling might be is for you to decide. Or feel.
Here is what I know: blood circulates in the veins. Unless you’re dead. Then it doesn’t. Doesn’t circulate in the veins. Doesn’t circulate at all. I suppose it eventually evaporates and and goes back to being clouds and rivers. Or goes up in smoke after cremation.
The secrets of the blood gossip in the Louvre. The universal wound of existence smolders in a cave. A lobster crawls among luminous rocks. It is a mosaic of seductive rhythms. The sweetest sound in the world is Picasso slicing a pot roast. It is a worm writhing in the shadow of a wall. It is the sound of a word carefully inserted into a sonnet. Bach stirs in me like a destiny. The clackety clackety clack clack of Kerouac’s typewriter in Neil Cassady’s Los Gatos attic comes to mind as a form of inspiration and cosmic comic sewn with a piano and a nocturnal emission. As for me, I don’t like to travel. No “on the road” from me. I’m just happy if I can find a seat to myself on the bus.
I used to enjoy travels to North Dakota to visit my grandparent’s farm and sinking my hand into a giant pile of grain. Right up to my elbow, and beyond. To my shoulder. I loved the smell of that grain. It was woody, and a little acrid.
Then when I got older I used to enjoy lounging in lounges sipping martinis and thinking of Shakespeare. History doesn’t move forward. Quite often it goes backwards. Think of Shakespeare. Think of the Elizabethans. Think of those heady plays full of ideas and questions about existence and power and seeking the love of a father or falling in love with the wrong woman. Now think about people today. They can barely carry a conversation. And when they do, it’s generally about the latest iPad or Smartphone. So no, history absolutely does not always move forward.
The key to success is in finding the right kind of camouflage. And cheap entertainments, like going for rides in elevators. Or luxuriating, à la the Big Labowski, in warm water in a bathtub surrounded by votive candles and incense listening to the songs of whales. The dude abides baby.
Sink your eyes into Corot’s landscapes. Jellyfish floating in the sound shimmering and fat with translucence. Big tired horses. Gallantry and steel.
I feel radical and silver. Send me a dollar and I’ll send you a packet of space for the treatment of asteroids.
Are animals attracted to you? If the answer is yes, your life is an amazing triumph of feeling and compassion. Don’t spoil it by seeking a literary award.
The ocean is a big emotion smelling of fish and crustaceans. I feel the heft of a loud fat cloud. I meet Mick Jagger at the new Ferris Wheel and we go for a ride. The little car sways. Below us the bay glitters and people gather in clusters and lines.
This is another lie. It wasn’t Mick Jagger. It wasn’t anyone. It was the lap of waves on small smooth stones. It was warm cat emerging from sleep. It was a sentence in uneasy equilibrium. It was thousands and thousands of nerves translating the murmuring of the world into fire and pearl.



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