Sunday, May 10, 2015

Episode 575: Sushi and Falafel

I deal in art, friend. My endeavors are in such a subjective area that one could say "I am horrifically mediocre" or "I am groundbreakingly novel" and both would be correct. Rare than address that further (I shan't), I will begin the beginning of a story, open and naked like a phonographic caterpillar, and then my column will be done and it will be good or it will be confusing and bad.

I wish to give advice to an imaginary young New Yorker, but instead of calling him "Neil," I shall call him "Paul." I took great pains to search out Paul as nomenclature, as many other male names have unwanted associations - Saul, as if on the road to Damascus, has been usurped by a TV lawyer. Noah is the current most-popular name for boys, which makes me think of entitled toddlers with BMWs before diaper training and trust fund teeth. Don and Edward and Jon and Michael I have used before. Calvin is too reminiscent of religious anal-retention and John Glenn's thighs.

Therefore, Paul, since life is amazing to no one, except as it can be described with drama and tension, I warn you against women named Carol and Alison - never because they are misguided harpies or malicious canaries, but because they begin the heartbreak experience, and you don't need that, yet. It is a necessary thing, to want what is unattainable, to lose what one desires, but I feel a paternal need to shelter you until such time as you can bandage your own bleeding.

Trust not love or attachment to heal. Trust that your soul can handle rejection or connection with aplomb, and relish the sunsets as equal to sunrises. Be aware that pain is useful and fun, and pleasure can be a tiresome burden.

Paul, I promise you, sushi and falafel are too savory to sample late in life. Do not take pride in actions untaken or roads avoided. Perhaps a cliff was dodged or a thrown brickbat prevented, but women like a man with rough hands and scars. Well, the women you will like, anyway, enjoy such fleshly brandishments. Live not as if you want to live forever, but as if you expect to die tomorrow and hope not to.

There is no museum that is a complete waste of time.

There is no love that counts as complete failure - even brief and physical efforts of the purely lustful nature can teach something about hygiene and the benefits of a splendid pair of shoes.

Paul, don't shirk from anger, nor shelter it in a closet that can be broken open. Unlock the door from time to time and admit that your rage is as valid as anyone's. Don't save your angst for a rainy day any more than you would save a tender endearment.

Don't assume you are admired or disdained, only ensure that your actions bring forth admiration from yourself. Try to teach with patience, and try to learn in the same manner.

Respect and observe the transitory nature of all things; do not fear change, cause it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Episode 574: The Prevarication Metaphor.

Write about what you know, the adage instructs; advice for writers, young and old, how to pontificate with unimpeachable veracity.

We storytellers are liars, by definition, fantasizers of what we want and dread. What has happened to me, of late, is the suppression of the desire to share experiences. I've circled my own wagons and disdained the concept of attempting to entertain. This is an untenable platform for an author.

I crack the bindings of my own prison by painting; no matter and where, nor for whom, I like to make pictures. I basically fail at art, in that I can't evoke the myriad impossibilities of life in a manner that can be absorbed without explanation. I paint for my own arousal. I should write for the same reasons.

I have been in love and in lust, and I still feel a yen for connection whenever I meet a person with whom I feel a unexpected kinship. This past week, I spent too much time in King of Prussia, PA, at a hotel that offered not just beds, but a suite, with a full kitchen and living room, and fed guests a nightly complimentary meal, as well as - wait for it - wine and beer on tap, gratis.

I'm an anti-social socializer, a reluctant gossip. I love to meet people and hear their stories and yet I hold back that "me" part of myself that I used to display, when I wanted to unveil the wondrous soul of me to new acquaintances. I play the pocket dullard, educated and polite, but baleful and dull, with nary an anecdote spun to generate amusement, nor harrowing tales to impress with my derring-do. I am unsure whence fled my ability to tell a tale.

I am not woeful or woebegone; somehow I know that the jet engines will wind up again. I should explain that metaphor, as if can: when I was young, a wee lad, my family would fly (on Eastern Airlines, Im Pace Requiescat), and my early memories and quivering exuberance that is associated with flying came from the idling whine of the jet engines. You know the sound, of course, an impossible pitch and volume that can only be a machine of that power. The jet engine is a marvel of the mockery of God, a Babel-esque finger flip at the Deity. God may have made purple mountains majesty, and bald eagles that can shit on rabbits from an altitude of 5,000 feet, but man made a shrieking, vibrating rotor fan that could deafen an unprotected eardrum, capable of lifting hundreds of thousands of pounds of human flesh, ginger ale and flip flops for thousands of miles.

The sound of a jet engine is all potential, as it hums, ominously yet loudly. As the airplane taxis around the concrete maze, the engines cycle, revving with promised terror as the pilot needs a burst of power, until the moment arrives, when the takeoff route is assured, the tower has signaled clearance, and the jetway is clear, and those massive, impossibly loud sirens begin to wail in earnest, and you can feel the titanic weight of the airplane's aluminum skin shudder, as the brakes are still clutched, bucking against the wail of the engines, and then the banshee howl of the engines peak even further, and the thrust implacably pushes you back into your seat, and the impossibly heavy metal tube roars skyward, to the sound of an engine doing what engines do:
They roar. They may vary in volume, as they wind up, but when an engine is told to "go," the engine goes.

The smartest person I've ever known (aside from your humble narrator) was unable to play chess.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Episode 573: Spring kicks Winter's Ass in Every Way Imaginable.


Whenever I am smitten with thought, intrusive radar rays penetrating my Podunk mien, I take stock as if inventorying my speeches.

I avoid my own traps of what I might want to say to your eyes, wound in a spiral tightly of a threadbare catwalk; bound by truth and honor but fearful of offense. And so months pass and I misplace my ability to communicate, trepidated by fondness. I master banal. I recall times different and situations similar, smelting iron allegories into prefabricated tool dies of expected results. 

The spaces between steps are a curious devolvement. Infinitesimal yet somehow interminable. Springy new shoes are needed, like seven league boots for navigating the novel.

I cast my glances forward into history, shadows against my  theater screen, a silhouette in reverse of what the audience witnesses. But still we are mesmerized by the production.

As the seasons change, a calling is felt, a heat that has scaled innumerable previous inquisitions, and scales fall away and my eyes are once more blue.

The world pricks me and I bleed and I cut into the world and find the others whose corpuscles I would suckle. I would never wish to be further distant from a select few than I have been this cold, cold stretch and I return to being the fool with the silver tongue that I play best. And I hope my favorite flavors remain on reachable branches to be savored when ripened.

12 walls surround the edifice,
unbreached by lightness or light
so the blood doesn't touch any more.

The East Northeast wall is orphaned
By a scourge of whimsical blight
a disease wretched enough to bar the door. 

When the world doesn't sleep, together.
A loss as one a night undone, a huddled
Mass of refuse rising off of the floor.

Episode 572: Fret is the Answer

Reclining in bed, and decompressing after a week of experiencing scenic vistas and more winding road-driving than I'd wish on anyone (seriously, YOU take a shot at up- and down-shifting 20 tons of drill rig through North Central Pennsylvania, for hours and days on end. I have a sore KNEE from stepping on the clutch so frequently. Like Swimmer's Ear or Tennis Elbow, I have Shifter's Knee), I opened my own blog site and realized that I have yet to post a column this year, and none since last November.

I think I know why, although I can't explain without a seeming soap opera, but you do have my apologies. I promise there is more humor and droll swearing to come. After the departure of one of my nearest and dearest, and the return of an old flame (number 5 on the list from my book, for those of you keeping score at home), not to mention a Winter of hell and little financial recompense, Spring is here and I am finally finding my feet under me - almost - again.

So, I exist, I still have tales, and as soon as I can think of which ones to tell, I shall. Also, my younger child, and my only son, turns 18 tomorrow. And has been accepted into a fine, private university on a scholarship. Which deserves a book's worth of columns by itself. Perhaps that is what life is - a series of unwritten columns? I do know that even to me, my life is strange and exotic and chaotic. God alone knows what it looks like to the normal folk. I couldn't say, I'm too busy fending of the horde of geese who refuse to learn their stage cues - and who have already been threatened with deportation to Wolgang Puck's kitchen, so what is a lowly Theater Director of Fowl to do?

Fret. I assure you, fret is the answer.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Episode 571: I Want to Fuck the World (or at least the women in it)

I want to fuck the world, it seems.

I spend no time at all, weighing whether or not it is advantageous to admire and desire beauty in most forms; it is not a conscious lust I feel. I see, therefore I crave - Descartes may have mathematically deduced the "am," from the act of thinking, but I deduce that I feel.

I desire, therefore I am. I do not let death, dismemberment or a poor news day cycle my brain into the toilet of despair; hell, I don't even have a choice. I see a flowing motion of beauty and I stop dead and admire it. I'd make a lousy surgeon or sniper. A sashaying walk can interrupt my thought processes as thoroughly as a taser.

That's not an affectation or flirtation technique - I really am that pathetic and singular.

The closest I've come to simpatico is to find a woman who settled for rolling her eyes at my behavior - she doesn't chastise or criticize my actions. There would be no point if she did, and she and I both realize it. We are happy because we don't try to mold the other into some foreign object - I love what she is, and she gives me the same courtesy. I would say that about 99% of people don't do that - they claim to be open minded or accepting of the unusual, but are consumed by jealousy and possessive insecurity, and can't understand why they hate their lives and loves.