Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lunatic

How many of you out there are secret horoscope readers?  Rational, politically active left-wing intelligent liberals who look down on astrologists and palm-readers but consult their daily vague cheap paragraphs written by people maybe in bathrobes watching daytime soaps and eating Doritos while they bank a weekly check from some news agency?

Okay, I occasionally look.  Maybe more.  The cynic who sneers at friends who won't travel or make decisions when Mercury is in retrograde which have you noticed seems like constantly these days?
I remember a one-night stand when I was around 20-- about to have this romantic night with some rock musician and as the guy takes his shirt off, there's a libra-charm around his neck...and I start to look for the exit, wonder how I'll get through until morning.  Well, maybe I was tougher then.

Besides... what if you're born premature, were scheduled to be a Capricorn and you emerge a Scorpio? Who are you then?  Or say the doctor gives you chemicals to speed up your labor--- or magnesium to slow contractions--- are we playing with fate? Shouldn't the sign be based upon conception-- the moment of conception?  Then there would at least be some scientific consistency here...
I think the fact that Bob Marley shares a birthday with Ronald Reagan, and Hitler with Carmen Electra---kind of kills the credibility factor for me.  Of course, astrologists all defend this with rising signs, moon phases, etc.... but Jerry Hall and I were in labor simultaneously at the same hospital... and I couldn't help thinking about our babies' futures.  She certainly had better drugs and 300-tpi sheets  and still screamed louder than anyone on the ward, so go figure.

I was looking at the moon on the way home from a gig last night--- a big old misty near-full summer moon that undoubtedly was overseeing plenty of heartache.  It looked tired and sort of about to drop.  I wondered what sign the moon is---I mean, that's something to wrap your brain around--- under what astrological circumstances did that chunk of planetary mystery break away and ally itself with our complicated planet for life, love-struck lunatic that it must have been?

I just came back from a trip to my old neighborhood which, like most of Manhattan, has had one of those facelifts that doesn't quite suit its bone structure.  Some of the shops--- like an old diner, a Betsey Johnson boutique, were just vacant, with the sign still there.  I went by my old building--- trying not to reminisce about all the great parties and amazing sex I had in there--- and in the lobby, next to the hideous pseudo-impressionist pastel oil painting of Central Park, someone had tacked up an American flag.  Not a real one--- a cheap reprint on cloth that looked fake.  It wasn't even hung up straight-- it looked like some kind of republican bad graffiti there... or a sign that designated the building as marked or condemned.  It looked pretentious and absurd-- inappropriate and sort of obscene, in the way a moon never does.  Just an observation.

The whole neighborhood looked as though it had briefly tried to become upscale, and then failed.  Empty restaurants, pretentious shops and markets--even a hotel. But everything looked sad and old-new.  I observed some locals coping with the economy; a guy emptying a dumpster of shoes, lamps-- someone's apartment contents.  At first glance the stuff looked cool, I was thinking--- but he'll soon find out the leopard print is screened on, and the leather is Chinese composite material.  He was very cool, though, the scavenger--- was not getting excited or remarking on anything which might call attention to his potential treasure.  Further down the block a skinny man with no teeth was stretched out with a box of Newports on the sidewalk like a summer pastiche.  What possible astrological configuration might have influenced his choice of cigarettes, because this looked major montaged, out-of-context--- like something you'd find on a beach, surfy and turquoise to bring out  your tan--- not the choice of your average black homeless man.   Maybe it was an art exhibit, I thought.  Fringe performance stuff.  But real life isn't staged or photo-shopped.

My brain has been so altered by the way I've learned to think.  I guess it is fairly obvious to non-lunatics that all memories are mostly of things lost.  But I don't want to find new regrets.  My son is driving me crazy today-- moping around, making memories of what he might have lost last weekend.  Still, I am glad I didn't forget to have children, although I miss the ones I've lost; I try to shield them from too much sunlight and from the catastrophes that they won't suffer.

A woman on the street the other day stopped me--- like an ancient seer--- and she said -Don't FEEL so much--it doesn't do you any good.   Oh but it does, it does.  For those of us who haven't yet succumbed to the philosophical and emotional flabbiness that is America now-- it does matter.  It is our way of working out, of warding off blindness.  And if our aging eyes are less sharp, and our ears ringing, let it be from too much looking and too much listening.  My old moon knows what I mean.  I'm beginning to think he's a fellow Aquarian after all.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Poetic Relief


BEADS

The dream of a Coltrane solo
accompanies this evening
too wet for saxophones,
lines my ears
with the soft noise of a record
before the music comes.

Manhattan is touched
by a tropical wand;
Through curtained windows
I see the crumpled mirage of you.

Sleep a troubled memory,
my bed a factory,
I string each hour like a bead
on a night necklace.
This is what blind women did
to mark the hours
until someone comes to love them.

When the city is blackdark
I walk through Bermuda air so heavy
the occasional raindrop fights
for breathspace.
Puddle-vapors
suffocate in asphalt clouds
of Apocalypse 
in Central Park.

A silhouette
waddles across the Transverse
in the mist,
hesitates for a second
with my scent.
We exchange fear, his 
leafy dark primordial spell

Quivery and damp
I return to my kitchen
where all  ingredients
smell of desire,
where I will knead and press things.
From my oven I take out
my dark work:
eight beads—sweet
and unbearably fragile--
like papier mache, like berries,
one by one they slide with a prick
onto this rosary  
and pray
for sleep’s blind relief.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Talk is Cheap

On the way from the fireworks last night I began absorbing the noise factor in Manhattan.  From my admittedly luxurious viewing space, the  explosions were thrilling and loud enough to set off nearly every car alarm on the block.  Loved it.  But shuffling east in the massive festive crowd--  maybe it's the heat, the constant cellphone chatter in public space--- it seems to me that the general volume is louder than it used to be.  Like the glutted internet, the billion cable stations--- there is just so much chatter, people have raised their speaking level to compete.  I'm listening to snippets of conversations-- of public intimacy-- that I didn't sign up for.  And not at eavesdropping levels; these abused rock-musician ears have been gouged and tortured with cymbals, drum whackers, bad PAs, deaf guitarists with 4-figure wattage... it's a miracle I can hear my old television at night.  But the value of conversation seems to have not just declined but disappeared, while personal audio settings have skyrocketed.

Of course it follows that people no longer whisper but quite audibly discuss and promote their sex life everywhere-- on buses, in restaurants, in 5000 shades of cheap novels.  It used to be those who could, 'did'.. and those who couldn't, talked about it.  Now who the fuck knows or cares.  It seems to me, an old retired babe, that the quality of sex must be suffering along with conversation, journalism, literature, whatever.  Talk is cheap, the phone companies tell us--- we have become the Yngwie Malmsteen version of talkers.  Remember when telegrams charged by the word?  When e. e. cummings' economical response to the Academy of Arts and Letters' invitation to join was 'drop dead'?  

Maybe America needs a Twitter diet.  Like one a day.  Some quality control.  Levels of internet communication.  Asshole filtering.  And I'm not a complete old bitch; I love great loud rock; I love comedy that humiliates; I like the knife and I like the blood.  I spent a lot of years reinventing my personal sexuality brand and don't regret a minute.  But even minutes have lost their edge.  They're unlimited and cheap and low-res.  Like climbing all the way up Everest and finding you can't see a thing.  Or you get a billboard and 3-D glasses.  A view master if you're over 50.  

Look at our pop icons:  Brittany Spears has become a badly-spoken candidate for talent-judge.  We used to have Marilyn.  She fucked not only baseball allstars and the president and maybe even Albert Einstein,  but married the greatest 20th century playwright.   That was interesting.  The sex--- well, our daughters might certainly have learned something Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton didn't show them.  Now our icons (and I love Brittany--- she's so 'real' (!)) are the Barbie version of what they used to be.  What do we do when our culture is looking up at the American I-doll of what should be...and reality is a fake ill-scripted cheap version of post-Cassavetes television?  Who wants the super sized cup of diet soda?  Not Writerless.  Maybe we should all just give in and go to K-mart online and buy the doll.  Cindy Sherman knows about that.  I will order several of Eating Disorder Barbie.  Bulimic Barbie with a bulge in her stomach/ can be transformed into teenage pregnant Barbie.  Cutting Barbie.  True Blood Barbie.  Collagen lip-enhanced Barbie.  Breast augmentation Barbie in 3 sizes.  I'm not even amusing myself now.  I hate dolls.  PMS Barbie.

Did you women ever think that we spend 25% of our sex life bleeding?  The networks love anything with Blood in the title... but who writes 50 Shades of Blood?  I might.  I'm sitting in Starbucks taking advantage of the free air-conditioning and a young intern is waiting for his iced latte talking about diarrhea.  Loud.  Laughing.  Next to me a hot young Russian trophy wife is talking to her realtor.  Her ring could buy me coffee for life.  To my left a woman is making a reservation and her baby girl is yelling for another M&M cookie.  Another lady had a car accident and is reporting to her insurance company.   Building a case.  I literally hear all of this.  Not to mention the canned coffeehouse Latino-light music which is annoying.  A cheap cowbell.  Sounds digital.  Organ with too many runs... please God, spare us vocals.  Across from me a man with small hands is i-ordering his scarcely adolescent daughter a new phone.  It will be pink.  2 tiny boys in their karate uniforms coming from one of their myriad summer enhancement programs with their over-educated nanny.  Can't be too botoxed or have too many pre-school lessons here in Carnegie Hill.  Who will tell them that all their jiu-jitsu moves won't protect them from what lurks ahead?  

The heat outside is omnipotent today.  My mind is withered.  My Mom who is old enough to have earned a memory award now has Alzheimers and wants to wear an overcoat.  A rebel, she is.  I wonder if she thinks about sex.  She follows my Dad around like a young puppy now.  Tells me how handsome he is.  I wonder if the sex I had is better than the sex I will have tonight.  That 50 Shades book has affected my 1001 Arabian Nights parallel serial virtual novel.  I  don't want the soft whip and satin handcuffs package in any version of a honeymoon suite.  This is corporate soft-hotel-porn.  The Travelocity gnome in heels and black leather.  They ruined rock, they ruined the economy, they ruined medicine and now they're ruining sex.

On the hot asphalt my local homeless true-reality star James-with-no-surname is talking without a phone.  You have to love the guy.