standin’ on the corner
suitcase in my hand
jack’s in his corset and jane’s in her vest, baby
me, i’m in a rocknroll band
ridin’ a stutz bear cat
those were different times
the poets studied rules of verse
the ladies rolled their eyes
you know they’re sayin':
ah, sweet jane
I dream a lot.
Yeah. Well. Obviously.
But, I mean, I also dream, when I’m asleep.
Like, this afternoon, I awoke—like any cat, I sleep, and wake, all through the day, and all through the night—from a dream where I was at Lou Reed’s house.
Lou was there; there in his house. In the age and incarnation of the photo featured there just above. Settled; serene. Aged: experienced: passed. Beyond all the bullshit. In the clear.
There, in his house, Lou, he slung over his shoulder a guitar, and, naturally, effortlessly, clear as pure water, played for hisself, me just there hearing, “Sweet Jane.”
Then, he unslung the guitar. And passed it to me. So I could give it a try.
I commenced to fumbling with the strings. Trying to get it right.
Eventually, I hit, more or less correctly, the first couple chords (and in “Sweet Jane” there are really only two chords). And so began feeling a little better about myself.
Then I noticed Lou had settled himself into an easy chair. Had turned on a TV (and the sound was pretty dern loud). And was eating something like popcorn.
I felt kinda forlorn. Left behind.
I was playing his song. But he was paying me no mind.
I pass through these dreams, and they pass through me. But generally I have no idea what they might mean.
Sometimes I pass some crippled day-time gibbering verbal accounting of these dreams on to the wise—and these wise are always women—and, sometimes, through them, the light, it do shine.
For instance, in re the above-referenced Lou Reed dream, after I had cripple-jabbered it onto her, AvoMayor, she did say:
i think that is a perfect Lou Reed dream. How many times do you think he played Sweet Jane in the course of his career?? But he’s retired and trying to just relax now, so he has given it to you..
Use it wisely : ) No pressure or anything………
and jack he is a banker
and jane she is a clerk
and both them save their moneys, honeys
all when they come home from work
sittin’ there by the fire
radio does play
a little classical music from
march of the wooden soldiers
you can hear jack say:
he says: sweet ukraine
ah now baby: sweet ukraine
ah: sweet ukraine
Ukraine is a little tiny baby country.
Appearing, under that name, within those borders, but in the afterbirth of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
During which Lenin & Co., in a new and dusky shiny Red way, carved out, and named, various territories that, for the most part, had been subsumed, some decades, and even centuries, before, into the Russian Empire.
What is today, in these 24/7 times, causing ape-men to foam, from sea to shining to sea, rattling all and every saber, over “Ukraine,” is about a dirt-patch that, for most of recorded history, for about 500 years, was part of Poland.
People, these days, because it is nearly against the law to know history, do not understand that long before these was any Russian Empire—or even any Russia—Poland, like a colossus, did bestride, all and every, of its nearby earth.
But then, in the course of things, like all empires, Poland waxed, and waned, and, eventually, crumbled into dust.
Until it was no more.
Until there became no Poland.
Until, in the late 18th Century, Poland actually ceased to exist. What was once “Poland,” was divided between Russia, Prussia (read: crazed Germans), and the doomed Habsburgs of Austria.
After WWI, to punish the Austrians and Germans, who had been defeated, and the Russians, who had gone wild and gone Commie, the allied powers decided “Poland” should be reconstituted.
They also Made a new and different-one nation, out of what was once Poland, known as “Ukraine.”
Which was, quickly, and in the course of things, absorbed into the nascent Soviet Union.
This “Ukraine,” it yoked together a “western” stretch of people on soil that had, for millennia, yearned towards the west, and an “eastern” stretch of people on soil that had, for millennia, yearned towards the east.
Everybody, west or east, who ever wanted to grow shit, has always liked “Ukraine”—and lots. Because it features deep fertile soil, unmatched, anywhere on the planet, except in California’s central valley. Deep, unbelievably rich topsoil, 20 feet deep.
Of course, these days, the soil, that everybody for millennia has fought so over, is all ruint. Because, there in Ukraine, in 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor erupted, and scarred not only the near and far, but all the planet.
There were forty-one official deaths from the accident, and half a million unofficial.
An honest list would reach to the moon.
some people like to go out dancin’
then there’s other people, baby, they gotta work
—you better watch me now—
there’s some evil mothers
they’ll just tell you that life’s just made out of dirt
that pretty women baby they never really faint
and villains always blink their eyes
that children are the only ones who blush
and that life—LIFE—that life is just to die
but i want to tell you somethin':
Bobby Hoffman and Yakov stood in the middle of the road facing a security wall decked with shiny coils of wire. Each man wore a yarmulke and a tasselled shawl. Arkady couldn’t make out what they were saying, though they rocked back and forth to its rhythm.
Beyond the wall was another wire-draped wall and, fifty meters farther on, the sarcophagus, as stained and massive as a windowless cathedral. Dim security lamps glowed here and there. A crane and a chimney stack towered over the sarcophagus, but compared to it, they were insignificant. The sarcophagus was apart, alone, alive.
Arkady didn’t need to use his dosimeter; he felt his hair rise.
The chanting wasn’t loud enough to carry far. Bobby’s voice was whispery. Yakov’s was deep and worn, and Arkady recognized the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. Their voices overlapped, separated, joined again. Standing outside the corrupted shell of a nuclear disaster, rocking back and forth like human metronomes and intoning the same verses over and over, “Ose sholom himromov hu yaase sholom.” When they finished the prayer, they simply began again.
Arkady moved into their line of vision. Each step brought the sarcophagus closer, too, as if it had been waiting for the right hour to leap the wall, a hard sight to face without a prayer. Yakov acknowledged Arkady with the briefest nod, to say not to worry, that he and Bobby were fine. Bobby clutched a list of names that Arkady could see because of a rising moon that spilled over the station yard. The list looked long. Arkady remembered Eva saying that a complete list would reach the moon.
I loathe that I feel I have to step-by-step. I just want to play the chords.
Russia, the one place it has warm water, the one place it can sail its boats, is on the Black Sea. And the one place it can access that sea, is through the Crimea. Little strait. Through which the Russians can sail, and sail and sail, from the sea of Azov, to the sea of Black, and then into the Mediterranean. Where it can feel, at last, like it is a Real nation.
Russia, astrologically, is a Scorpio. Which means, at root, it believes that all and every are always out to get it. Whether that is true or no.
Crimea. The Mongols swept into all and everywhere beginning in the 12th Century: no one, anywhere (except the Vietnamese), could stop them.
Centuries later, the last Mongol Khanate to be made to retreat was that in the Crimea, which was absorbed into the avidly advancing Russian Empire, only round about 1800.
Not that these mongols went into the great good night: they retreated into the mountains, and from there fought the Russians, and, in the course of things, the Soviets.
Some of them, during WWII, allied themselves with the Germans.
And so, WWII concluded, Stalin decreed it was right and meet to export the entire population of the Crimea, to Central Asia.
When he was done, not a native inhabitant remained.
Stalin—heh—that’s just the way he be. A stone cold killer. With one hand on a vodka bottle. And another on a List.
I these days am only amused by those who burrow deep into dark and dank and-all-and-every all-encompassing theories. Where all is forever explained. By some nefarious puppet-stringing total control over everything.
The current ferment over Ukraine is a perfect example of how it is not so black/white, from however one approaches black/white, as it may seem.
Russia will never give up Crimea. That is the only place its Navy may flow from a warm-water port.
Crimea was part of Russia. Until 1954. When, Khrushchev gifted the Crimea to Ukraine. Why? Because Khrushchev was Ukrainian. He wanted to reward the homeboys. Against all logic. Against all history. But what did that matter? He did it. Because he could.
That’s all there is. There isn’t anymore. Except, again, I’ve wasted my time. I should, really, only have inscribed, these final eight lines. All the rest, in the long view, is either masturbation, or waste.
anyone who had a heart
they wouldn’t turn around and break it
and anyone who’s ever played a part
they wouldn’t turn around and hate it
they say: jane