A Fifth of Beethoven Black Label on the Fourth of July
Smoking Mirrors Ė July 6, 2008
Thereís a lull in the airÖ some driftwood hiatus in the long decline of principles and manners. I donít know which one went through the door first. They tend to hang out with each other soÖ Yeah, theyíre part of a crowd that used to come around but we donít see them that often in recent times. Iím thinking they felt out of place at the usual affairs. It isnít like the old days; former times. Itís almost like they never existed at all.
Itís 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 butÖ there was always a prevailing sense of what was right, or at least I thought there was.
I havenít been in America in about five years now. Last time I was there they nearly wouldnít let me leave; didnít want to issue me a new passport. Iíd 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 meÖ they donít take kindly to that Jeremiah thing. They donít care for Cassandra. They prefer the Sisyphus, Step Ďn 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 Waitís had just finished painting a wide spot in the middle of the road.
I hitchhiked all over the place looking for something that just wasnít 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 afterÖ 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 didnít have anything to do with America as far as I could tell. It felt much more AsianÖOriental. For a moment I had that Yin Yang thingÖEastÖ WestÖ one turning into the otherÖ 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. Itís not a country really. Itís an experiment. It was a canvas but the canvas wasnít blank. There were rivers and trees, animals and peopleÖ 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 canít 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 Öand 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, itís the thing that isnít the thing, being sold as The Thing; the thing that doesnít exist.
Out of control nowÖ no compass, no rudder, no sailsÖ Harbor Lights might be playing in the background but I canít hear it.
Weíre 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. Weíve locked our doors. Weíre pretty sure that it wonít be love that comes knocking. If the van is rocking it is probably because Lawrence Bittaker is inside. People are saying Will Smithís latest movie isnít 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 Iím hearing it was a pretty good movie. I guess thatís 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 itís no surprise that he painted the New York City skyline in the fifteenth century.
Iím no saint. Iíve tried to do goodÖ but Iíve 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 butÖ I have learned. Pain is a marvelous educator and loss is a fine reminder. Five of Cups, Eight of CupsÖ. Mad Hatters with counterfeiting machines, counterfeiting love and money; where does it end except in sorrow and regret?
I donít know how you do it. I donít know how you get up every day and expect it to get better while it only gets worse. I donít 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 donít ride bicycles. Pig donít 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. Itís not just costumes and drama. Itís real people in movies that should never have been made. Itís an absence of love. We have to love something, we must love something but weíre not sure what that is any more.
Original source: http://smokingmirrors.blogspot.com/2008/07/fifth-of-beethoven-black-label-on_8654.html
Last updated 08/07/2008