There’s a lull in the air… some driftwood hiatus in the long decline of principles and manners. I don’t know which one went through the door first. They tend to hang out with each other so… Yeah, they’re part of a crowd that used to come around but we don’t see them that often in recent times. I’m thinking they felt out of place at the usual affairs. It isn’t like the old days; former times. It’s almost like they never existed at all.
It’s a new scene these days. Sure, there was always a certain amount of shuck and jive. There was always the marauding instinct and the guys and girls who wanted to hump your wife or take off with your boy friend. Sometimes people got a little too drunk and they said the wrong things or got into a fight but… there was always a prevailing sense of what was right, or at least I thought there was.
I haven’t been in America in about five years now. Last time I was there they nearly wouldn’t let me leave; didn’t want to issue me a new passport. I’d gone to Maui for the winter as I had the year before. Things were different the first time. They were much different the following year. It was a tense progression. Finally, on the day before my companions and I were due to head back to Europe, it arrived.
I had left four years previous when I saw Bush coming. Something told me there was going to be trouble and I know trouble. They tried to stick me with twenty years when Nixon was rampant on a field of blood and then they tried to give me life when Reagan McDonald was in the ascendant; astrologically speaking.
America was always a problematic situation for me… they don’t take kindly to that Jeremiah thing. They don’t care for Cassandra. They prefer the Sisyphus, Step ‘n Fetchit, bend over and wait scenario. I always felt like I was tacking against the wind between Scylla and Charybdis, looking for mystical Ithaca only to find myself in Palm Springs by way of Cathedral City. No, they do not have a cathedral. Last time I was there Tom Wait’s had just finished painting a wide spot in the middle of the road.
I hitchhiked all over the place looking for something that just wasn’t there. It would show up a time or two but then it went away. There was no permanence. There was no candle in the window, no welcoming hearth. The love attracted me but it was very hard to find and it had an enormous costume closet that it would frequently disappear into and then I would be forced to follow after… which led me to all those roles in movies that never got released on this planet. I suppose that they might well be watching them somewhere else; in another time, in another place. I only ever saw them inside my head when I was in the desert or the woods or beside the sea looking for the man on the beach.
I met The Man on the Beach but it didn’t have anything to do with America as far as I could tell. It felt much more Asian…Oriental. For a moment I had that Yin Yang thing…East… West… one turning into the other… One minute it was Samurais in Kyoto and then it was knighthood in Camelot. It started to feel like everything was the same except for the outfits that kept coming out of that costume closet where love disappeared.
When I think about America, I think about an experiment. It’s not a country really. It’s an experiment. It was a canvas but the canvas wasn’t blank. There were rivers and trees, animals and people… some kind of landscape portrait which they gessoed white, so they could try some kind of modern art over the top and over the top it went. White can’t say much without black so they brought in a lot of different kinds of blacks for that chiaroscuro shades of gray thing and they brought in all the other colors they could find and they cooked it and stroked it and pushed it and pounded and formed it. They three dimensionalized it into the hollow of endless hands that ran it through every ritual and routine they could think of. They brought in lights and mirrors and music. They brought in ball room dancers. They wined it and dined it and then they took it home and they screwed it. They screwed it in every position and they photographed that …and then decoupaged it on to an old dining room table and then they put it in a history book with footnotes and fables for the benefit of the need to believe.
Then they put it out on the street and they sold it for whatever they could get and every time somebody porked it, it got a little less attractive until they just spit on it and punched out its lights and then threw it away in an empty, weeded lot and used it for target practice. Every bullet was a sperm engine that made it pregnant with pigs. Now we find ourselves in the final chapters of The Last Exit to Brooklyn.
I am sure that some few tried to make love to it but the nature of the experiment made that an impossible thing. You wind up In Human Bondage. From The Great White Way to Las Vegas in the sand, it’s the thing that isn’t the thing, being sold as The Thing; the thing that doesn’t exist.
Out of control now… no compass, no rudder, no sails… Harbor Lights might be playing in the background but I can’t hear it.
We’re in unknown country now. Anything could happen. Anything does happen.
Only Love is strong enough to power and direct the changes needed. We seem to be increasingly insulated against that. We’ve locked our doors. We’re pretty sure that it won’t be love that comes knocking. If the van is rocking it is probably because Lawrence Bittaker is inside. People are saying Will Smith’s latest movie isn’t as good as the last one. The last one was one of the worst pieces of shit I ever saw (almost as bad as Independence Day with the Judd Hirsh scene at the end). Now I’m hearing it was a pretty good movie. I guess that’s how history got to be the way it is. You could be right there looking at it happen and it turns out that nothing you saw was real.
In my mind there is an hour glass with the sand slowly falling. Grain by grain it falls until the sand has passed and then it turns itself over again. I tap my fingertips on the table. I stare into space filled with images by Bosch. I guess it’s no surprise that he painted the New York City skyline in the fifteenth century.
I’m no saint. I’ve tried to do good… but I’ve made my share of mistakes. It took me some time to understand what good was. It took me some time to understand the motive had to be love. As much as love can be seen as unbridled, Love is also restrained. It took me some time to learn restraint. I have been reckless, impetuous and a fool but… I have learned. Pain is a marvelous educator and loss is a fine reminder. Five of Cups, Eight of Cups…. Mad Hatters with counterfeiting machines, counterfeiting love and money; where does it end except in sorrow and regret?
I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you get up every day and expect it to get better while it only gets worse. I don’t know how you can stand it. I would be dead or in prison if I had not left because I could not stand it. I never could. Shit with Hollandaise Sauce is still shit. Hypocrisy is not beautiful. Lies are not necessary to protect the truth. Flags are not fashion accessories. Fish don’t ride bicycles. Pig don’t fly, though sometimes it seems that they do with all the shit raining down upon us.
I wonder if the reason people can stand the smell is because their own smell is that much more intense. Real people die and become Tom and Jerry cartoons. It’s not just costumes and drama. It’s real people in movies that should never have been made. It’s an absence of love. We have to love something, we must love something but we’re not sure what that is any more.
Original source: http://smokingmirrors.blogspot.com/2008/07/fifth-of-beethoven-black-label-on_8654.html