Archive for November, 2013



What It Is

seven sistersThere are two kinds of writers: those who speak, and those who talk about something. It may be an exaggeration to say that there are five writers in the world at this hour.

—Kenneth Patchen, The Journal of Albion Moonlight

Stand In The Fire

The wood of the madrone burns with a flame at once
lavender and mossy green, a color you sometimes see in a sari.

Oak burns with a peppery smell.

For a really hot fire, use bark.
You can crack your stove with

All winter long I make wood stews:

Poem to stove to woodpile to stove to
typewriter.     woodpile.     stove.

and can’t stop peeking at it!
can’t stop opening up the door!
can’t stop giggling at it

“Shack Simple”

crazy as Han Shan as
Wittgenstein in his German hut, as
all the others ever were and are

              Ancient Order of the Fire Gigglers

who walked away from it, finally
kicked the habit, finally, of Self, of
man-hooked Man

             (which is not, at last, estrangement)

—Lew Welch, “He Thanks His Woodpile”

City Of Angels

From the beginning, as a Spanish colonial town, Los Angeles was a tough place, whose first building was the jail. After the Mexicans were dispossessed by the Yankees in the 1850s, with a chicanery that is typical of the place, it remained for the next twenty years the worst frontier outpost in the West, with whorehouses, weekend murders, and frequent lynchings of Chinese and Mexicans. The Protestant churches even closed down and abandoned the city to the devil—and the Roman Catholic Church.

—Frank MacShane, The Life of Raymond Chandler

Time for another episode of “Overheard in LA,” in which little conversational gems culled—okay, stolen—from the laist featurette are rendered here for red readers. I so enjoyed the last one I posted, back he is risingthere in September, that I thought I’d put up another.

To refresh: these are Real words, uttered by Real lost angels, which touchingly reveal who they are, and what they are about.

—”Oh my god, I just realized they didn’t play ‘Gangam Style’ at our wedding!”

—”Oh my god, that dog is so cute. You should have it stuffed when it dies.”

—”Oh my god, I just got the best parking spot. I am going to change all my plans for the day.”

—”Why would anyone squeeze juice out of a giant mammal and drink it?”

—”If they can make watermelons seedless, I’m pretty sure they can make dogs that don’t shit.”

—”I don’t need to be drunk to be a stripper.”

—”After a wax, all my follicles are sore.”

—”It looks like the collagen is only in half of my lip!”

—”I spend a lot of time alone, so I change my look a lot so the people I talk to in the mirror always look different.”

—”People in L.A. are terrible drivers. Trust me, I almost hit a bicyclist, like, every day.”

—”Don’t you just hate it when your WiFi doesn’t reach your hot tub?”

—”Yeah, I guess I could just go home and write some songs.”

—”She never worked again after she got a nose job.”

Whole Foods cashier: “Would you like to kill a tree and get a bag or would he is still risingyou like to carry your items out?”

Young woman: “If I pay for coffee on a date, I devalue myself.”

—”You are the first guy I have dated in years that doesn’t have an iPhone. I still feel weird that your messages aren’t blue.”

—”I’m going to outsource my next breakup.”

—”He wasn’t a vegan. He was a Vulcan. It’s a different dietary situation.”

—”They’ve gotten more sexy now: Brussels sprouts.”

—”Spit that gum ball out. It’s not good for you. IT’S NOT SUGAR FREE.”

—”It’s a paleo, gluten-free, probiotic wrap. And it’s farm-to-table!”

—”Maybe I’m, like, just not meant to eat kale.”

—”I wouldn’t say I’m manorexic, but I’m giving up sugars and dinners.”

—”Whatever you do, Aaron, don’t get blackballed from Bay Cities the way our last intern did.”

—”My brother was re-birthed in a men’s group today. He literally simulated a vaginal water birth in a pool surrounded by men. He really had some breakthroughs. Apparently our mom was stressed during labor.”

—”I swear on my hamster’s life.”

—”I hate Waze. Buncha assholes telling me how to drive. I don’t need to crowd source my self-loathing.”

—”Halloween stresses me out. I can’t tell if people are celebrating early, or just back from their estheticians.”

—”I’m really shocked by the lack of Jesus in California.”

—”Will there be Xanax in heaven?”

March Of The Wooden Soldiers

We now know the genesis of addled actor Clint Eastwood’s “talk to the chair” routine at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Seems the man was arest in his hotel room, preparing his speech, when some puckish alien-being forcibly piped in over the radio Neil Diamond’s 1971 his faultemu-pop hit “I Am . . . I Said.”

This is the Diamond number that contains the notorious foursome:

i am, i said
to no one there
and no one heard at all
not even the chair

This last line is one of the great clunkers in all of songwriting. People active and practiced in the craft,  to this day they cannot understand why persons and/or sound machines emitting such a travesty are not pelted with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and other rotting substances.

I mean, yeah, the guy needed a rhyme for “there.” And, in this tune, Diamond is deeply afunk in Bummertude. Because he ain’t being listened to. About the crushing burden of having to live in Los Angeles, rather than New York. In order to earn eleventy-billion dollars in the music business.

So sure, okay, we get it, nobody’s listening to him bleat.

And, among the nobodies, can be counted a chair.

But, like, had the chair ever heard him? When he was moaning about having to earn more money than Midas, out in LA, rather than in New York? Was it normal for the chair to give ear, when he was on about such things? Was this like . . . a magic chair?

Or, since we are talking 1971 here, a drug chair? A chair that, when Mr. Diamond delved into the many fine psychoactive substances of the time, heard and talked and danced and sang and otherwise engaged in all manner of merry wonderful weirdness?

We receive no information about any of this. All we know is that the chair doesn’t hear him.

And this is not surprising. Because a chair—unless it is a drug chair, and/or a quantum physics chair—is not equipped with drug chairaural apparati. Hearing is not what a chair is supposed to be about. The thing is there but to plant your butt on.

No. Sorry to say, what we must here reluctantly conclude, is that Diamond was a lazy-ass mofo. Who just settled on some “chair,” not hearing him, because he was too slothful and/or thickheaded to come up with any other rhyme for “there.”

And it is said that the man spent four months writing that song.

And in all that time the best he could up with was “not even the chair”? The mind: it reels.

Today, while driving, it took me about four minutes to come up with about fourteen alternatives.

For instance, if Diamond had not been suffering from a city-disability, and were singing instead from or about some country place Normal, then various and sundry animals could have been mustered not to hear him. We could have had “not even the bear” or “not even the hare” or “not even the mare.” Who were not hearing the guy.

Or he could have complained “not even Aunt Clare,” which would also have allowed him to go wild with banjos in the break. Or “in all County Klare,” which would have permitted him to pour a thundering wall of bagpipes into the song.

Since Diamond at the time was riding a wave of songs in which he praised unrestrained bibulation—”Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Red, Red Wine,” etc.—he could have referenced his ongoing rednoseness by admitting “and no one heard at all/when I tripped on the stair.”

He could have been all stoic, and defiantly proclaimed: “and I did not care.” He could have gone dada, and pronounced: “so I ate a pear.” Or strayed into Isaac Hayes territory, with “so I porked the au pair.” He could have envisioned the onrushing cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and come out as a crossdresser, boasting “so I shaved with Nair.”

And so on.

Anywho. Clint—fast-forward to 2012—is there in his hotel room, when suddenly the extraterrestrials—who, as has previously been documented here on red, owned and controlled the GOoPer portion of the 2012 presidential campaign—bring to him over clint chairthe radio Diamond declaiming about the obdurate chair that will not hear.

And  Clint, he experiences a truly massive brainshower. He will go on stage, with a chair, and pretend it is President Obama. And, like the Diamond chair, the Obama chair, when Clint pours out upon it his complaints, it will just sit there; it will neither hear, nor respond.

This brainshower, it will be remembered, when it was spewed out across the land, was considered a laff riot by that 23% of the American population that occupies what is today the equivalent of Dogpatch.

“Way to put it to the black man, Clint!” the Dogpatchians, they squealed like a pig. “Yeehaw!”

However, those of us who have not married or otherwise had sexual congress with our sisters, and/or other blood relatives, we had quite a different reaction.

Not even the Captain Underpants people, it developed, not even they, could easily stomach the chair scene. Literally, they could not stomach it. Senior Underpants advisor Stuart Stevens, it is said, vomited. While the Neil-inspired Eastwood, he was dying there, on stage, with the chair. Stevens, he wished that, like in the Diamond song, no one would hear Clint. At all. Not even the chair.

It was the astute AvoWoman who first pointed out to me that this speech was not the first time that Eastwood had publicly addressed wood products.

Oh no. For way back in 1969, Eastwood wandered around on screen, “singing,” in the film Paint Your Wagon, “I Talk To The Trees.”

And even back then, the wood gave ol’ Clint the deaf ear.

And it was not only the trees. But every other blessed natural element, as well.

I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me
I talk to the stars
But they never hear me
The breeze hasn’t time
To stop and hear what I say
I talk to them all in vain

Be warned. Beyond the furthur, I shall embed Mr. Eastwood. “Singing.” Not only that, I shall also embed, from the same film, Lee Marvin, also “singing.” And this last, some say, is the aural equivalent of the Holocaust.


All Shall Be Well And All Shall Be Well And All Manner Of Thing Shall Be Well

I am a mutant.

I can see, now, where my people, may, quite probably, have been working, unknowingly, over the centuries, to bring me sandyto this place. To make me into a mutant.

But then, my immediate forebears: raising me, their child, they tried their best, but they could not; squash my mutancy.

They could not.

And so, then, I went out into the world.

And so, forty years on, mutant par excellance, I am, tonight, so happy.

Because, there is a woman, who knows what I know.

I don’t care she’s been dead 600 years.

Her name is Julian of Norwich. And she is a witch. And a mystic. And a saint. And a seer. And she saw this:

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

This is where, all my life, I have been wanting to be going. This is where, in the past couple years, in all my flailing writing, I have been. With all my “all and all,” and “all and every.” Trying to express. That it’s all okay. That Gaia has given us a pass.

There she is. Julian. All and every, all and everywhere. Six hundred years before. Into the great wide open.

She is sacred; she is secure.

She is The One.

People: settle down. It’s all going to be all okay. Till, so soft and satisfied and secluded and sweet, we all, go, together, into, the great wide open. And—if this happens to help you—we meanwhile never look, once, ever, back.

Code Blue

When I Worked

November 2013
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