lover of the black rose; unfettered and alive; chief archivist of the western slopes; another of Yemaya's babes in the world; Joachim's distant star; boring stories of - glory daze
Sunday, May 29, 2011
poem: boutique your geisha
armenian chocolate boutique, your geisha's showin', cher, ample feedmill severance pay: if you squander the wander, you'll sit tight in the afterwhey, all cuspidy spiders dancin in your eggy egghead. it's the simple that matters, as your garage sale mentality grows beyond Aristotelian shugga-shugga, that damn Archies song ain't half as bad as we all used to think (when we wuz thinkin'), & the old roll down Old Canton, whether flip side or not, whether tethered or retro, whether solid or golden ass shining out for all the world to see, is a conundrum we so seldom get to meet in these psycho killer daze of wampum and wanderlust, beaver cleaver tentacles in the 7 Rivers of June we all partied for, canvassing the willow tribes, jejune prophecies mis- calculating these Five and Dime custardmongers, fabricating the essence dolls, accentuating the fervent halls of dim sum catastrophe: apostrophize your damn name, son, it fits the calcifying calculus of your eternal flame.
I spent a couple of hours this morning with Tia Elena on South New Braunfels Avenue, running down some ancestors at St. John's Lutheran and Hermann Sons cemeteries. These are enjoyable enough excursions, both in the search for specific gravestones and in the delight of finding names that are now plastered on street signs around the city (this morning yielded Probandt and Walzem). Sometimes, as it turns out, the search is for the absence of a stone: I spent a good bit of solo sleuthing a while back, only to discover that one of the said ancestors was actually reposing in an unmarked grave. The fact that some family members had gone to the trouble of exhuming this great-uncle from a farm outside San Marcos, just to bring him down to his unheralded repose in Tres Leches struck me as quite odd and, knowing my extended family's predilections, somehow unsurprising.
Elaine always makes for good company, what with plenty of good stories and a vibe we seemed to have grooved into ever since she took me in for a few months after a fire in an upstairs apartment destroyed my downstairs apartment on Joliet Street, all while I was away that evening celebrating my 23rd birthday. Lovely "present" to come back to. Today's search was for some Alberts and Nauscheutzes: all found, with background stories filled in as we pulled a few weeds, tossed a few stones, or sat in the shade, backs to a pair of stones, wondering why Carlos Nauschutz dropped the "e" in his name. Upon our quick visit to her parents' plot, I pulled some weeds from around her younger sister Jessie Marie's stone. Jessie Marie died at the age of three, back in 1930, and was referred to as "the little green fairy." I know for a fact that this was a reference to a series of differently-colored fairy books that were popular in my mother's and Elaine's childhood, but it was fun to needle Elaine a bit with the competing fact that "la fée verte" (the green fairy) is also another name for absinthe, the alcoholic spirit attributed by some to have distinctively psychoactive effects.
All this by a most roundabout way of saying that, as much as I enjoy Elaine's company and her family stories, they are largely about people with whom I, despite their being family, feel virtually no connection whatsoever. This was not the feeling I had, however, when, after having dropped Elaine off at her house, I heard on KRTU that Gil Scott Heron had died yesterday at the age of 62: the very same GSH whom I had featured in a facebook post just this past Wednesday, his name popping up into my lint brain out of nowhere. As dj Joan Carroll spun two GSH tunes (both featured below), I was filled with a deep sadness and a familial sense of loss.
I'm fairly sure I was introduced to GSH during my senior year at Harvard, when I spent a fair number of evenings over at Craig and Phil's room, both of whom amply expanded my musical chops via a veritable musical appreciation course the likes of which I've only seen one other time, with friend Steph, as we (Steph and I) trolled the discs of Nick Drake, the Waterboys, Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," Al Stewart, and, of course, the mighty Van Morrison in his post-"Brown-eyed Girl" incarnations. While I had grown up faced by walls filled with a couple of thousand albums in my mother's record collection, C&P brought forth an avalanche of music that had never made it up on the childhood walls. This was the jazz course: Miles, Chick, RTF, Di Meola, Hancock, Billy Cobham, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, my first forays into the Dead, and plenty of Steely Dan to boot. As I say, I'm pretty sure that the top floor of Lowell House was where I first encountered Gil Scott-Heron.
GSH was an interesting anomaly: highly political discourse wrapped in a decidedly crooner-esque voice: a crazy - and very groovy - collision of sounds on the box. When in 1994, I made the fateful decision to sell all of my record collection in preparation for my relocation from New Orleans to Moscow, Idaho - with the delusional inner assurance that I would eventually replace all my records with their corresponding CDs - I'm sure that was the moment GSH went on out of my life, save for the occasional pop-up in recent years while surfing my new record collection, better known as YouTube.
Now just two years shy of turning 60 myself, I find 62 to be way too young for someone to be moving on; these days, I pretty much feel that "too young" is anyone under 80, and that number is nudging on up to 85 at this point. Tia Elena turns 86 this December, and she is still one young and feisty whippersnapper.
Peace to Gil Scott Heron and all the young 'uns. We (all) still plenty groovy.
my past few days have been bananas, tofu on the down low, mary on the rompy waves, strutting her mother of god oompah loom- pah, love ya boy, tango alley all tingly in the mangos severaling the times we passed this way, all eva diva, Ur-mama, outclassin' all the competition angling for the rain sampling the z's, rumbling down the mylifes the trace be tracing all the traces, lipstick, hopstick, stickystick eternity brothers, the sisters outsmart the needling rain, judgment day gains her tether you might as well boogie all night & we can use, & we can say, & we can bride the day with sassymissy doseydoh, a salamander friday salamandering the footstools prince of peace in the corners, countdown's on, sugarbaby, you might as well check your math & join the party, my extra credit ain't worth the sun risin' & I ask you, feelin' lucky? seekin' plenty? masqueradin' for pleasure or just for the down & out, my treble bells will treble you on out down the line, & seekers will salivate the fine line, regaling the left behind, sashayin' calculatin' the derivations of all pissy pompy actuarial happenstance.
I saw two men kissing, she saw a desert, fiery caravans of them willing, Saharan spirits, traumatized vocals, knotted cords bristling lunar throats, a vision of your fading across the Taos scar, up out of Pilar, brown haunch of Georgia's iglesia in your rear view mirror, sensible shame flooding the arroyos, castaway shame: dreams risen from Jesuitical slide rules, calculations of the godhead, peregrinations of a sashay the likes of which only Moses may have seen, carefully now, you on your Hanseatic quest, apogees falling while Impacciatore sidles up all nappy & sings us all to sleep, quivering in our wretched seasonings, on the verge of the next verge & the next & the next, mistle-blooms all Tosca, the fact that I am following commemorates nothing more than the herald that you missed.
sidescraping firmament navigating the inroads left sizzling down your western ways it can't be real, the way you size out the leftover gams, the absent follicles, the damsel in distress fairy tales we tell ourselves , waiting for the bus, waiting the quizzical way we mention yesterday's artesian memories hollow out that cave down the eastside, baby, the fishy-found aftersweep, Mardi Gras debris in your hair, starshine sensibilities, brides of the candysquare rubydolls, i ask you: been to the emerald lately, felt the sweep upon your skin, skedaddled down the raspa-heavens, the trailertrash prom nights, Ihopping morning prayers, them be the feet you wuz dancing? Shebop down the aisle, sister, cement your future selves with the abandon you expect in the prettyways, your tolerance for passion still sizzles the nights still gallavants the backyard cosmos, still amps the ramps, apes the homo sapes, articulates the particulates nano-seconding the corollaries expounding the capillaries sounding out the phonetic cavalcades of the cautionary, revolutionary, coparcenary kisses of the second round -
vigilante hamburguesas, now that the moon mystery's been solved, young striplings down the alleyways vagabond desires, handmade visions, big bertha rockets all in a row, glance beyond the certainties gather the surfing starts ease past the belief that abundance died in the precious sapphires of your drowning heart, flight past the infant dreams the major motion picture you call your life dustballing the finest wines, arrogant scenery my lord god blisters with her last cries, april-smothered, the kissing stranger rides once again in the split-second glimmer of the heron's eye, sample the tastes of the fishy book, fishy menthol-riddled flounder mamas the numbers endless as the moony night Miz Rain looks tired, the semblance lingers we ache for the down time, we chase the thinnest of filigree dreams augustinian falconian fais-do-do I'll be your cajun theologian, you be my ragin' scepter-wielding dairy queen on skinny blades saw-busting snapdragons of the last brigade the tiniest of tiny tinny rills, cascading down the ripple bends, after the knowing kiss, this maple grove accentuates the p's and q's, tuck your napkin, baby, lips be the taste of real, the sound of tawdry, the blast of the annotated bible of the rampant heart -