Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Naked Son - Memoir of a Six Mile Creek Native

I wrote this for my friend Hilary who is watershed steward at the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network. At the time that I wrote she was at work on a project to walk folks from the headwaters of Six Mile Creek to the outsource into the southern end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY.


When we start out in life our maps are small. My earliest memory of 6-mile creek is from 55 years ago.

We lived in an apartment in the old mill building next-door to the store in Brooktondale, across from the post office. At that time the store was an IGA (Independent Grocery Store) with an actual part-time butcher on the premises. The present roadway bridge was not there then and I remember when they moved the large house down toward the former trestle location at the curve where there was the ditch with quicksand for many years. It is also at this curve where I suspect a UFO abducted me one night. Then with the large house out of the way they built the present bridge. But where the bridge is now before the bridge was a place where we would play at the creek. What I remember are kids that would throw rocks down, glacial boulders of gneiss, limestone and sandstone from the upper bank onto us as we played down below.

Further upstream from the lower bridge is the mill falls below the upper bridge and at that time the mill stood tall on the west bank. I remember we went in there in winter with my stepfather and the panted legs of men that would stand in close around the pot belly coal stove where they talked and smoked cigars. They were all into electricity and radio and tinkering with wires and tubes. Across the creek from there in a yellow house lived my first girl friend, Mary. It was a brief relationship.

Though as kids we would wade and dip in the sedimentary flats below the falls we had always been warned sternly not to swim in the pool directly below the falls. We had leaches, black snakes and red water mites to contend with.

Where the community center is now was the two room schoolhouse where I went to first grade before Caroline Elementary was built. Those were transition years when public buildings were built with concrete blocks instead of wood framing. My grandfather was a lay Congregational Methodist preacher and my mother a Fundamental Baptist, so one week I would go to the Methodist Church and the next week to the Baptist. Both churches were on the same street with a few houses between them. Once a year the Methodist church would have this certifiably insane man preach and it was the best poetry ever. Years later he found where someone had written a nasty word in the dust on the window of my Ford Falcon and he lectured me all about sin. My friends did not understand what the hell that was about out in the parking lot but I thought it was real neat to get the special sacred attention. Water and all that Baptism stuff of heavy words that flow from the heart.

When I was in Boy Scouts that was held at the community center there was a kid name of Watson, as I recall, whose family lived up a ways from the mill falls in a house near to the creek. They were a hunt and trap sort of family, beaver and muskrat pelts out on the back porch. Watson was a star in the troop, very athletic, sharpshooter type, what we thought of then as a future leader of men. He drowned in the pool below the mill falls when he attempted to rescue two young girls from their drowning. He got some sort of posthumous presidential medal presented to his father.

I went back there below the falls alone last year and the minute I smelled the water it brought a whole host of memories back to me. If I could make an incense that smelled like that I would burn it on the low days.

Closer in toward the lower bridge lived an elderly couple in a house that seemed to perch out over the creek. They owned a purple Studebaker. One time the old man showed me a walking stick on a tree in his yard. It was the first time I had seen one and years later in the desert in Oregon where there was not very much water on a reservation I made a walking stick out of twist ties for the kids and they called me coyote with the socks falling down. I don’t know what happened to the elderly couple. One day they were just not there. I looked in their windows and the table was set for dinner. Blue table cloth with red flower prints, white china plates, knives and forks and glasses at the ready. Never saw them again. I see the house fixed up now, it feels different. I no longer want to look into their windows.

We moved up onto Besemer Road just below Route 79. At the small creek there, a seasonal one that feeds into 6-mile, was a water stop for the steam train at Besemer Station. The same train line that went down south to the trestle with the quicksand ditch and the OOBE. Ruin of the concrete base of the tank tower is still there. You can go see it and you can stand there in the middle of Besemer Hill Road and imagine to see what I once saw. Just below the culvert there was a good outcrop of horsetail. That whole length of creek from the water tank down past the old cemetery on the hill up from Brooktondale Road, past the artesian well down to 6-mile was my playground. My first place mapped. I can draw you a map today if you would like one.

One time I was thirsty and drank water below the Route 79 culvert. I was upset in bed with dysentery for about a week. This is the first time I have ever told anybody about how I got that. Afterward I stopped drinking fresh open water.

Most of my time though was spent on either side of the culvert on Besemer Road. I built stone dams, packed them with sticks and clay, and made pools for the minnows and water skeeters. There is good blue clay in along there, particularly on the bank below the culvert. We would make ash trays and turtles and sun bake them on the rocks. In the bank below the culvert there were small springs from groundwater and we would fashion canals in the clay to carry the water down the side of the bank. At the time I was into hydraulic engineering.

Further down the creek is a stand of Hemlock and there were many a day I hid there and read a book. I had most all of my exposure to Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw there under the Hemlocks. Nowadays I live on Hemlock Drive near to Pattersquash Creek in wetlands on the south shore of Long Island near the Atlantic where the world, the coastal muck and the water smell in their own unique signature.

When the world hits me real hard this Besemer Creek is the place on the planet I need to go back to and remember myself and center. If you see some long-bearded bogey man out there one day then don’t get too worked up.

The steep bank with all the trees was our favorite sled area. Winters we spent a whole lot of time stomping around on and to break the ice in the crick (that is how I sometimes call it, a crick and a crickbed). I will never forget the time I had to drag my wet soaked frozen younger brother back home on the sled. He was not quite into winter water sports the way I was.

Further upstream from the culvert the flow splits and one branch goes off into a field and marshy area and runs along the elevated railroad bed. There was a very nice frog pond, masses of eggs in spring, and wild irises. The creek along in here was not rocky, all sandy with roots to overhang the deeper slow pools. There was a catfish lived in there I used to watch and play around with.

That was my small tributary crick. The best American English is either from Besemer or Ohio, take your pick.

And not to forget the crick and lazy lay of the landscape up behind the Nazarene Camp. That was up where the well driller lived. That is out past the lost trestle.

Rachel Carson published Silent Spring along in those years and I read it and because of popularity of the book I took my Scout patrol, Fox, out and hauled trash up out of 6-mile in the stretch up above the mill falls. To tend the watershed goes way back. Some time out there clearing Adirondack trail.

The land all round in there between Middaugh and Banks Rd. at the time was owned by a farmer the name of Locken or somesuch with a house down on the flat area on Brooktondale Road. The barn still stands there as an apartment house. I worked with my stepfather and grandfather to do the electric on that barn for the conversion. A lawyer had bought the property. Real quiet guy that worked alongside us had been locked up in Danbury Federal because he wrote a letter to a friend about what he wanted to do to Nixon. He told me about Tolstoy.

For several years I had the Ithaca Journal route that went along that section of Brooktondale Road along 6-mile creek, a circular route of five miles that wound up along Route 79 back up to Besemer Road.

An offshoot of the route was Middaugh Road with a bridge across the creek that in summer provided a good place to rest in shade. This section was mostly glacial till. Up the road a ways was the last stop on my leg where a family ran an ice-cream parlor. It was a sort of odd place for one. I liked the chocolate sundae. It is where I heard the Beatles, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. It was the first record I ever bought. The best part of owning that record was all the kids, friends and family thought I had gone nuts to listen to that stuff. It was my introduction to the allure of cultural contraband. Some years later I fell in love with Captain Beefheart and beyond.

Where Besemer Creek came down under Brooktondale Road there was a small house where a single mother with kids lived. I delivered their paper for years for free, paid for it out of my own five dollars a week. Further up in back was an artesian well with a pipe near on eight inches in diameter. Water just kept to spurge up out of there like a city fountain for no good reason. I should have meant last year to go back up and look and see if it is still doing that. I never drank out of that one.

Further toward north along Brooktondale Road past Banks Road lived an old guy alone in a very small house smaller than a 10-yard dumpster with a shed roof along the road. He had a large open field between the house and the creek. For whatever reason he spent his time to haul planks of wood up out of 6-mile and he laid them up against the trees to dry. It was like he had a field of teepee plank houses. Along the road he had hawthorn trees and when I would deliver the paper he would come out to see me with a handful of birdseed. I would watch the nuthatches land on his head and shoulder then jump down to his palm to peck at the seed. I wrote a poem about the bird man and my friend Dave Finn made a silk screen poster of it. I still got it here someplace. Yep, there it is.

And out in Slaterville next to the first store you come across there used to be an artesian well. I don’t think it is there any more. Too close to the road it probably got noticed and capped off. Since we had a car, the Ford Falcon, we would go out there to get drinking water and bring it into our commune apartment of townies in Ithaca where we would tell our stoner friends that it had magic head powers. We would drink the water and everyone would pretend to get a contact buzz. It was cheaper than beer.

Further out toward the far end of Slaterville was a woman that had a business to amber glass by soaking it in the water. I know she got writ up in the newspaper because I read about it, and I have seen the glassware. It was not much different to me than stuff I had won at the penny pitch at the Brooktondale carnival. I practiced a year to pitch pennies and got me a whole box of cheap glassware, ash trays and lacy edge candy cups. Then further out there was the dirt road we took every early winter with my mother and grandmother that went across the ford and then off we would go into the woods where we would collect ground pine to make Christmas wreaths. And when I go further out along Route 79 I remember another artesian well along the road where there was a small pull off and they kept a caged brown bear there. It is the place where I always imagined the gypsy pot-holder lady, the one that would show up mysteriously walking along the roads in the spring and knocking on doors to sell pot holders... I always imagined she came from where the caged bear lived.

At Banks Road was another bridge. The farmer here kept Holstein cows. I always thought the cows were neat and I never messed with them but I remember people talked upset about cows that stood around all day and pissed and defecated in the Ithaca drinking water supply. Those particular cows that could be seen black and white from the road they talked about but I never heard anyone complain about the cows stood in the water up further along Central Chapel near Bailor Rd. I don’t suppose any of all of those cows are allowed to stand there now. It was organic.

There was a back wash of an old loop here that would flood and hold water that did not flow steady and get replenished. It was mucky mud stagnant and arrowroot grew there. I delivered the paper to a farm worker out behind the barn who lived in an old silver trailer. On a Saturday morning I would have to bang on his door to get him to pay his weekly fee. He would always open the door, particularly in winter, in his underwear and there would be this intense waft of kerosene heater fumes and dead laundry hit me in the face. That was seconded only by the old lady up near Besemer Station opened her door stark naked. I think she expected different company. People that live near water can be a bit odd sometimes.

My mother was raised on East Main Street in Ithaca between Bridge and Giles Street where her father, my grandfather the master finish carpenter, built the family house. The deal was that my grandmother from Dryden was not allowed to marry until he had them a house and so he wagered a model-T garage he built along the west side of the lake to buy what was then out-of-town land and he took a picture out of the Sears Roebuck catalog and built a house. Regardless, they lived up above that section of 6-mile. So from the large dam in the area with the reservoirs up to German Cross Road was a whole different territory of creek and for me a wider map bled into the family history. My mother with her young family had moved up-creek and as I grew older I explored down creek. I don’t know how many times I walked that distance along Route 79 into downtown Ithaca and back. Sometimes I would just not even bother to walk the road.

My first business had to do with the fellow along the creek at German Cross Roads who worked at the artificial insemination lab at Cornell. His job was to handle all the bull manure and he had piled it up in his back yard for years into this giant fermented mound. Sort of like an Indian mound but mushy. My preacher grandfather lived near there and he worked a deal for me. I could haul out as many yards of manure as I could load in my truck. I sold them around the area at $1.00 per load. It was enough of a business to encourage me to do something else.

In High School it was popular to swim in the lower reservoir above the dam. My mother told me it was where they went to swim as kids. That is a long time of swimming. When we did it we were naked, everyone was naked. I’ve never thought to ask my mother how they did it. For us it was fairly regular sport to jump off the upper levels of the cliffs into the water. Then to lay out on the rocks and soak up the sun. We were not exactly hippies, we were post-hip but messed up just the same. Everything exciting and living through history and all that happens on some other water body than the one we may particularly be going natural and pretending communal at the time. So keep in mind all water bodies are sacred.

The upper reservoir though was harder to get to; you had to walk in from Burns Road. So if a group really wanted to be left alone they would go swim in the upper reservoir. Quite a few days I went in there by myself and fished for trout. A lazy day along the bank with the pole crocked up in a willow vee stuck in the shore muck and a book. I won’t say what else there was but the woods can throw off some really heavy vibes if you have a mind to spook for them.

From the dam to the inlet the creek got for me more industrial and confined and claustrophobic with concrete walls to form a sluice channel and I never found it all that interesting to want to get into it. The police department along there we had one evening an odd adventure that I won’t go into here other than to say that I have a fondness for stealing cigarette machines and them being dumped in the lake in the middle of the night. There was always in town a whole lot of crossing back and forth on the streets over the creek -- as if it were conveniently not there. The city itself as a first city to map was way more interesting at that place for me than the creek, unless there was a flood. I like to see big trees float down and ram bridges.

The inlet was a whole other world and best met with a borrowed canoe. It was years that I heard about the squatter community on the west side but it was only about fifteen years ago that I got to read Tess of the Storm Country (1909). For anyone that loves this place and likes to read early 20th century pulp fiction I do recommend the novels of Grace Miller White.

I can’t end up, this end of the creek, without mention of the story that a young fellow who worked along with me when I did stone work and built fireplaces in the area that he and his father were down to fish in the inlet and they found the floater of a young college girl that had jumped into one of the stone gorges. I don’t mean to end on a macabre note, but one always needs to keep in mind that the water that brings life also tempts death.

Keep it between the banks and keep it clean.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Revive the Draft

This was sent to me by my brother... it is too good of a farce not to steal and re-post.

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of sending 18-year-olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters, researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry.' We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for awhile.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10am. Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell. Besides, like I said, I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch. If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys.. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however... I've been in combat and never saw a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training. Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too... I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head (or that the top of his underwear should not be worn below his knees).

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way.

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons, who know that their best years are already behind them.

Send this to all of your senior friends...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tea Party News: Improved UFO Disabling

Soon real Americans will be able to shoot down UFOs without causing them to disintegrate and dump their alien occupants out all over our local county parks. This is good science what with the propagandistic left-wing unpatriotic lies about climate change, evolution, cancer prevention, death panels and all. Who needs a fence when we have photon beam weapons?

National Synchrotron Light Source II
Meeting critical trans-galactic challenges with an increased light source at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Foot Prints

Outside the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Whale Sound: Tree Reader

Whale Sound is an online project where poems of various contemporary writers are read aloud by Nic Sebastian. 

A few months ago I submitted my piece Tree Reader and this morning it came online. You can hear it read here: 

‘Tree Reader’ by Gabriel Orgrease « Whale Sound 

A writer can write a whole lot of junk and every once in a while they will find a gem. This is a gem. When I hear the piece read it makes me shiver. Nic has captured nuances that I was not even conscious that I had writ. This for me is a most wonderful gift.

The story behind the story. 

I had a new smart phone and I was riding on the Long Island Railroad when the scene occurred. One of the stops for the line is Pinelawn Memorial Park cemetery. 

I like the concept that at one time people were more sparing in their written words because they had to be set in type (or carved in rock or pressed in clay). In my case with this piece it was composed slowly on the smart phone, thumbs and all. 

It never touched pen or pencil to paper. 

Uncharacteristic for me I submitted it to an online publication. It was accepted with one minor change. That felt good. 

Subsequently I was contacted by a textbook publisher who asked if they could include the story in an anthology of American short stories. Like from Washington Irving forward to Gabriel Orgrease. 

I like the idea that HS students somewhere on the planet will get to read my story. Also I can imagine they would immediately go to the shortest story in the whole book then wonder who in blazes is this Gabriel Orgrease.

When I first was contacted by the publisher I thought it was a joke. I got paid $200 for it. The fee paid for the smart phone. 

It all goes along with my life plot to publish good writing in unexpected places.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Men Walk on Moon

David w/ the NY Times 07/18/2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.53

“Her head was tilted back and with closed eyes she faced the sky, her mouth gentle with the half smile that can only be shown by those whose joy is so private that they have forgotten that other people exist.” -- Howard North

Dear Mr. Falswater,

As per our phone conversation last Wednesday we write you in regard of our business plan that since you have that fifty million venture capital that you got from those Nigerians ready to invest my brother and I have an idea how you can use it very quickly to good effect to help us start our chain of franchise stores. My brother wanted to start a sperm bank for endangered French hamsters but he has run into a snag as to how to transport them via trebuchet from the continent to Bullamanka. Everything is about logistics these days. Logistics, logistics, logistics, you would think it the start of a massive movement. So last night after we polished off seven bottles of Judge Yuro Peese Uckerknobb’s homemade red wine I shut him down and now he has agreed that this is a better approach to satisfaction of a market need that we present to you for your esteemed consideration and philanthropic titillation. We sincerely look forward to your support of our sales funnel. Oh, and before we forget, we have interested Booger King in an action figure set to support the ribbon cutting of our first thirty-seven retail outlets. They will also supply us with an electric brass band. And there is the young lady that used to work for Martha Stewart in laundry to assist us in the shop décor.

Sincerely yours in connubial admiration,
Etidorpha Orgrease


As Swipes, LLC

Toilet paper offers an opportunity to document an underlying trend in human history. With this intrinsic propensity for the value of mythic story in mind our focus in business development would be on the location of retail outlets in upscale historic districts near to the most prominent institutions of knowledge distribution.

Harvard, Cornell, Berkeley, Columbia, Stamford, Liberty, NYU, University of Chicago, Yale and Princeton and such other high-minded repositories come easily to the fore. Places that are certainly in need of unencumbered escape and quick relief from mental strain with the ultimate convenience of novelty. Most likely we would seek a disposable target in off-campus ‘college town’ venues where there is also a high incidence of heritage tourism, independent surplus family wealth, a demonstrated need for the product in volume, and an appreciation for the simpler vagaries of the arts and crafts movement.

In some respects the promotion of a specialized toilet paper store can be approached as a Rorschach test of various popular trends in retail consumption. We perceive models for the business along the lines of candle, incense and greeting card stores. Toilet paper represents an unexploited opportunity for marketing and sales along the lines of the ‘cult of candle’, for which there is a representative shop in every suburban mall in America. We also perceive a symbiotic relationship between the widespread marketing of smelly candles and the need to suppress the downside negatives that the contemporary public may unfortunately notice as associated in their use of toilet paper.

Though toilet paper in the mass market has been highly commoditized and comes conveniently packaged off the supermarket shelf, and it may appear on first approach that there is not an opportunity for retail specialization, there is a great deal of nuance in the available solutions to the human situation.

Toilet paper can be considered in a parallel to the sales pipeline of beer, for which up until the opening up of a deluge of micro-breweries the common assumption was that beer was a fairly mundane and watered down product of modest interest to the drinking public. Whereas now we understand that the pyramids would not exist without it.

Toilet paper serves the need of a slightly different public interest, but serves an essential need just the same. It is unlikely that our modern civilization would have developed to the extent that it has without toilet paper being close at hand. Unfortunately the earliest Neolithic practices cannot be established as toilet paper has always been of a fairly biodegradable and ‘green’ nature. Though we are free to imagine what the first use must have felt like.

As many historians make out that fire was an essential invention toward human progress we need to contend that once it was possible for early primates not to have to scoot themselves through the jungle abrading their posterior apportionments on bushes and tree leaves that it was noticeably the dawn of a new day.

Though the invention of paper had to have come much later in the timeline of the universe, most likely from the Chinese who would have known right off what to do with it, in our study of the subject we tend to equate ‘toilet leaves’ as the equivalent predecessor of toilet paper. Therefore our retail stock would include a variety of heritage leaf selections. A common favorite of our immediate ancestors was catalpa leaves for their broadness of form and ability to hold steady until properly disposed.

One variety of leaf, that of nettles, though not recommended for common application would be made available in our quaint shop as a little known historic curiosity of toilet leaves as a weapon of socio-political resistance for it being offered in the 17th c for free use to the Dutch by the Lenapes in their early exchange of the castorium trade. This also brings along the need for us to stock a variety of small-animal fur pelts to include those traditional of rats, skunks and rabbits. Neither should we not forget feathers, or hemp, or linen or cotton rags.

A brief review of the international toilet paper scene awakens one to the fact that toilet paper is inanely wrapped in cultural aspiration. Whereas the American consumer anticipates a certain width, color, texture, rate of absorption and delicacy of texture in many countries the toilet paper is smaller in width, of a different color, and often rougher in texture. We should look to Brazil for their outpouring of success. These subtleties of national variety, particularly when offered to the market in blind tests through workshops and other promotional venues such as clubs and swap-meets, can make available an intriguing panoply of sensation for the erudite connoisseur similar to the refined sample of our very fine local homemade wines [Hobo's Last Choice].

Toilet paper though it tends to be flat and is most often encountered in the American venue in rolls is not one dimensional in characteristics. It can be made available in designer colors, such as a humorous shade of tasteless brown, made suitable for display or disguise in the most upscale of interiors.

A toilet paper shop would not be complete without an element of humor and we should keep in mind to stock Appalachian hillbilly toilet paper that includes a favored moonshiner slogan printed on every sheet.

Designer toilet paper can also be adapted to floral decorations and highly-refined origami and when printed with a border of holly leaves or bunny rabbits can serve for seasonal celebration. The designer connection does bring in the potential for late night infomercials to be broadcast on cable television. One may even envision airing of a docudrama, “The Quicker Swiper” as a sort of George Simenon mystery take-off. Note that our utopian shop would also sport a back corner shelf selection of religious themed paraphernalia. The Tibetan Book of the Dead has on occasion been referenced as a substitute for the age-old standby, along with the Sears catalog. A free library of relevant literature along with comfortable places to be seated would suit the retail ambience and encourage browsers to linger and contemplate the merits of the proffered quality of merchandise.

Any shop specialized in toilet paper would want to include assortments of corn cobs, for which there is a profusion of literature and opinion as to the appropriate selection of varietals of corn that provide both livestock feed and when thoroughly shucked the very best bum use. And no self respecting shop would be complete without an automatic electric corn cob cleaner with an auto-feed mechanism.

As with an upscale coffee shop that also sells coffee makers and bean grinders a specialized toilet paper shop would also provide an assortment of accessories. For every bathroom in America there is a toilet paper holder and the extent of the variety of these utensils is staggering to behold. They can be made of a whole host of materials, natural and synthetic, double-decker and speedy unrolling, uplifting muzak chimes, pipes and gongs, to environmentally friendly dispensers connected to digital consumption meters with usb connection to your home computer. Design can range from the most utilitarian stewed-tomato can with a spindle to the heights of titanium Frank Gehry knock-offs.

- end -

Friday, June 24, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.52

Illustrations by Michael L. Johnson.
“Who says we cannot know the future? We can, but it [is] always a matter of interpretation, that is, of imagination. If that seems obvious, I should point out something not so obvious: that knowing the present is also always an act of imagination.” Lebbeus Woods

Bullfrog GO is not bearded GO, is not the shaven GO. There are now three GO's, a triumvirate of commotion forward, on screen, behind the screen and off. There is three of them like birch trees in a wind storm, the grove a paladin of merges, the real gazookus.

And I tell you to beware of the after taste of recycled cookies. The burp burned 'round the world.

May there be more? Are they all one? Are they all me? Are they all you? Are they this other imposing guy that parades around his city apartment and appears in his summer windows naked with a self-reflexive camera? We do not know. Ask their mother Momma Orgrease, who sends a monthly check to their brother Viédaze at the ecology retreat in the Yucatan jungle in order for his honorable and upright excellence who in perpetual meditation communes there with Mother Nature for him to please, pretty please, pretty please with a cherry on top... continue to admit that he is related to the many virile GOs of the world.

BF-GO: The sky room on rails was enclosed and overly stuffy, smelled of raw kerosene heat and moldy garments. The stage lights did not get any cooler as the climax lines of Tomorrow eased up and ended. The audience frittered in their undersized wooden seats. It was close in on the Radio Girl Squirrel to come onto the make-shift stage-in-the-round with her flaming baton and a yi yi yi ya ya ya! Then she would play a kazoo with her do.

Red silk hankie in hand – printed with a white skull and crossbones so that it would just perfectly fit over his face to make him out a pirate thief when he rode his hog -- a trace of a farmed pearl welled up just beneath his left eye with impending readiness to roll down the slant of his amphibious face where it would bisect the groove of his cleft chin. How many bullfrogs do you know with a cleft chin? Does a dancing frog sweat? He was desperate for the revitalization of a cold shower with the nerve soothing of Etidorpha's duck weed concentrated body lotion with honey, grapefruit-rind pomegranate and lanolin, sloppy, slimy aroma therapeutics. But for now as his act approached an end on this evening, no lotion was availed for him just yet, no relief as it came up in the auditorium a musk of bullfrog overlaid the otherwise dank space of sheetrock walls (black mold for now hidden) and knotty-pine board floor. Does a frog fret? GO the bullfrog threw a sloppy kiss to the digital vids and croaked out a final, "Tomorrow in the morning light, don't let the sun catch you cryin'."

In thrust of a genie's ass this small time performance was leapt and ascended in a tinkle to being cast in Meet the Depressed; only a pee-a-lot on a swing and an MP3 player as they always say repeatedly. Repeatedly as they always say.

But then as his arc took off from the port of hopes and dreams and credit default swaps and dreams and free credit reports and dreams and rapidly gained subliminal attitude on the sky train, the yellow vest with ketchup and crushed Japanese beetle-grub guts and pepper stains morphed into a red power tie and just as he (GO the BF) junted outward into the anus of oblivion (in one episode it is written that the massive hemorrhoid that quickly approaches on a trajectory toward Staten Island would be met by a reconditioned weapon of mass destruction but the otherwise undaunted crew of the space ship Further-Again would be imperiled by a gustatory expulsion) then in a swept up motion spiraled downward to the loving estimation of the now massive audience of three-dozen trilobites.

Shards of paper carnations of the very cheapest sort miraculously appeared humped up in a soggy pile at the stage door, little notes attached; and mutterings about "the next project" appeared in Rolling Stone all with the subtitle, "without really having a clue". No one could get enough of this odd little critter. "I'll thank you not to refer to me as a critter!"

In his heart he knew that his sister Etidorpha's BFF, the Radio Girl Squirrel would make his heart go pitter patter thump thump . What hope is there to imagine in the future romance of this celebrity frog with the Radio Girl Squirrel? Somehow the trans-species amplexus simply releases when converted into an on-screen 3-D animation and none of the children seem to notice the disparity.

But we live in a rapid world of industrialized artifice. Sex with robots supplants online experimentation with cats, dogs, Tolstoy, chickens and Thanksgiving turkeys in the suburbs of Middle America. Male robots barrage us with sextexts of their brass balls though nowadays replaced by titanium implants the size of trans-oceanic buoys. Female robots tweet us photos of creatures that plump their way into deep caves filled to the brim with lonely heart kisses. It is decades since BF-GO had first read in "The Fear of Frogging," ...this aerial switch is equipped with a moveable frog.” At the close of the act his legs twitch twitch in an electrified tap tap dance. Once again the suction cup balanced on his crown in a flash bang.

Stage direction from 1474: “Hell must be represented in the form of huge jaws which open and shut when needed.” anon

In an effort to make such and things not necessarily less crystalline clear, free of lees and dead dandelion wine yeast, we will elicit a spiritual dowser to drop a water melon seed pendulum hung from the web silk of a trap door spider. The diviner will say, "This is where we want the line to split between reality and play." to wit, shaven GO (S-GO) will respond, "And this here cut," as he slams down the sledge upon the basalt boulder, " where there is grain, true and right." To wit Bearded GO (B-GO) will say, "That seems less than fuzzy to me." To wit BF-GO will mutter, as he descends the back ladder (not to be confused with the ascending black adder) to his dressing room, how things that happen at one end of the universe happen instantly at the other end of the universe.

“Howdy do it?”

It behooves us educated ungulate to say straight out that the GO the bullfrog had accumulated too many fingers on his hands. Though he was somewhat consoled in the cosmic paranoia of his performance anxiety with reports of discovery of a star that shoots out water at 124,000 miles per hour.

Meet the Depressed: A retro 1970's historical reproduction all shot in a tiny back room studio situated up the stairs and down the dark hallway, shot in super 8 (or maybe even seven) with a daily budget of what amounted to $8.43 mostly for an assortment of flies and sow bugs to keep BF-GO fueled up and forever hoping. One midnight clear the director Suddy Warthole called out, "That's a Wrap! Put it in the can," as the day’s work concluded.

Critics complained periodically about the extensive editing involved in the production. Twit this, tweak that, adjust the volume, alter the hue, rejiggle the jaggle, shun the reader, by-pass the screenwriter, cut, cut, cut. All those cameo asides and the corny-copia of mop bucket be bop and altered off-tone slighting and clover-field crop circles not to mention the abundant gas track. Still, number one is number one; and that's in fact what it was. Number one. It was by no means not negative one. In fact, there was very little math involved at all. It was purely an overdone production.

Moon eclipsed evenings in the masonry room on the sky train were altered without question. Eti's day hadn't changed dramatically. Lots of great cookie and tart eating to be done there. BF-GO asked almost daily about bringing her on, in hopes that it would get him an opportunity to spend more quality time with the Radio Girl Squirrel. A new cast member and all that. She could wear a purple wig and the Radio Girl Squirrel a fake mustache. Great duet potential! But it was not hard to read Eti's thoughts on the matter. Three simple words, "NOT MY THING," were spelled out clearly (here finally is the clear part) as she lay about recuperation from their reality withdrawal, nestled deeply in the softness of her shiny near black fur coat. She dreamed of the embrace of endangered French hamsters.

To be continued: Shaven GO (S-GO) petitions the French government to establish a transnational sperm bank for endangered hamsters.

Text co-authored by Gabriel Orgrease with guidance from Michael L. Johnson.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.51

"I found white elephant, flying pig and unicorn all at once." George Maltezos

It was a stone menagerie of Robber Barons. I saw their leader in a movie fly off from the Hudson pier like he was a wetware helicopter to points north and east and wealthy on the early edge of a Friday afternoon. A fleshy little porker with ear flaps. It was balmy in a golden light which only seemed the more appropriate. We still watch those movies... I mean, of the Great Depression with song and dance, a banjo and minstrel black face though it is now the blue man group.

In our personal theater the lights are shut off and in a display of the cult of candle we forget what we forgot. Smells of apple-cinnamon, bayberry or the artifice of paper lilacs.

Yet, we continue to dream the lotus blossom delivery dream but it is one locked into a closet in a railroad flat in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. Aluminum sides the street walls, all sorts of faded pastel colors. Cookies and the super saturated sugar filler of cannolis, the smell of hot sausage juice and peppers and onions euthanize the street festival. Ferris wheel, the portable ferries a wheel of fortune to be a rotation of baby buns or skeleton cakes.

The old folks Grace and Doria on the floors below control the steam heat so hot that the Never windows in their aluminum frames not to close all winter the street grinds in our ears twenty-four hours. There are no bird noises. Barking unicorns inflate our sleep.

An uncloaked Gabriel in the desert, alone, naked in the sun on the orange and umber mesa he heard this urban... this urban scream, sirens, in search of silence it is not Odysseus strapped to his bully pulpit that yearns female forms or that gregarious earthworm sizzle on a Sunday morning but fire trucks, those highly expensive utilitarian well polished noisy blaring loud outlander outrageous and cared for trucks that pull us to come to the carnival. A very hard sadness in that when the firefighter at the medical center counter mentioned his herniated disc.

Such bad things as tornados, unseasonal and displaced on our terrain, it was as if a plug had been pulled in the Gulf and the oil slick screwed us with the weather all really really badly. Nobody to admit to nothing.

I walked the dog in the rain. A few days past, nights too. The nights were tricky sometimes. Then one morning when the room as still dark. Dark is anything but a white elephant that squeaks when squeezed.

When the rotating rapture hits I would rather be where there is beer and music. Give me oompah!

Dawn was still three minutes away; Rufus Sandbank, Mink Zero and the bearded GO were gathered around a small twin bed in a little amber colored guest room aboard the Ryugyong Express -- up the stairs and off to the side of things down a dusty narrow hallway. There was a sideboard and plain old china pitcher made in China filled with water made in the cycle of heaven to earth. GO held a cool damp gray-green recycled cotton facecloth lightly to Eti's furrowed brow. There was a window sill next to the small bed, pungent with black mold beneath the green-gray paint. The old wood frame window sash, the lower sash was open eleven and thirteen-sixteenths inches to let in any cool air that would do so. The three men heard a slight groan and what might have been a sigh as Eti's eye lids began to stir and then very slowly open...... "Whah? Where am I?" whispered Eti. She began to breathe a little more fully, to take the molecules of cool air into her lungs."Easy now Eti. Take your time. Everything's okay now." said GO; then to the other two, "Here she comes boys. She's back with us now," feeling a warm tingle in his gut.

Now there was a sepia glow about the room. If one were to put on their reading glasses and look closely then they would notice that the walls were of a roughly cut yellow-white brick and oddly resemble the interior of a masonry bake oven.

'Time seems to pass and nothing happens or seems to be happening. I'd see one helicopter here, another there, but nothing else, and always far from me.' Francisco Piedrahita

[There needs to be an organizational chart, a graphic narrative placed here at this location in the book in order to separate out in the imagination of the reader the puppet characters from the real characters and from those characters who are in name only and those who are in fact dancing cookies.]

A little tearful smile crept over Etidorpha's face as she peered up at the three men standing there. "Ah learned a little somethin' 'bout life after that screw up." She said in her closest approximation to "heartfelt". Yes, indeed. No lie. That there was somethin' else."

Eti began to look a little further round the room and got a little choked up with her furrowed brow as she remembered the bullfrog. She also remembered acres and acres of bean sprouts poking themselves up out of the night soil. Where was he, clean shaved Gabe with his spiffy dress shirt and red power-tie? Was he still back there?

"What is it, Eti? Is something wrong?" asked the bearded Gabe, all the while gently dusting the odd short chestnut brown hairs off from the Amish quilted coverlet.

He half expected Eti's next words to be, "You were there, and you and you. And maybe Mink would be thinking he'd a tin peter, or maybe one of straw so ginormous it required a bamboo scaffold...”

"Eti. Will you watch this -- I just nailed my thirty-second fly this morning. Come have some breakfast". Eti shook her little squirrel sized head. Now she knew. Squirrels dream just like people and dogs and white elephants. That might come in handy where they were headed. Who knew?

The train trucks of the car – the one that hailed this small room aloft into the milky melt of stars -- sounded a curragh like a wert unicorn unable to navigate to his navel, but as one moved forward along the yellow trails the steel to steel grind of bearings and shocks banged and popped the sound of white fireworks burst in the dark black night chitty chitty.

Her lips murmured as her mouth held in place a small pool of liquid adhesives. The breath hummed a breen crenelation of her rodented teeth. She shook her furry little head and suddenly there were streams of laser glitter light splayed across the ceilings and walls of the room.

It was fairly no linger what it may have been. Either it was June or November. With an ice age on the horizon little critters throughout the northern latitudes were frozen within a few hoots of morning with undigested buttermilk waffles and strawberries in their bellies. As things which stimulate and enflame the senses are not among the things that really are.

There lingered in balance on the cold air a scent of fresh cookie dough in the oven.

To be continued... everything gets baked out very neatly and made perfectly clear in the next installment.

Friday, May 13, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.50

"In fanciful stories people can talk to the birds freely , and I wish for the moment I could pretend that this was such a story, and say that Peter replied intelligently to the Never bird; but truth is best, and I want to tell only what really happened." James M. Barrie

I have been talking with Gabriel about how to give away things that bring him back.

As we sat on our upturned buckets, well, actually, I sat on an upturned chamber pot and GO sat on an upturned red-clay flower pot; we watched the progress of the traditional Norwegian-style outhouse that he is building out of bedrock basalt. It came to him as a build-by-number kit.

He had tried the diamond chainsaw – in a great noise dirty water was sprayed all over the place and Altuna, affrighted hid in their root cellar amid Eti’s jars of pickled mushrooms and the poor dog crouched down amid the antique Phelpsian sauerkraut crocks – he sluiced down on a portion of it, an attempt to cut moons and stars and sunflower memes, but the rarity of the saw soon grew dull and he only produced bright sparks that reminded me of Robert Johnson in the evening light. What with his devil at the crossroads deal, so we sat there non-pulsed upon it.


His attempts at levity always come out to resemble wayward turkey tracks in the surface of wet concrete.

Gab had resolved to use a sledge hammer. Set there on our pots I suggested plug and feathers, holes drilled maybe with percussive rock driller bits imagined in the machination recesses of the Society of Mammon’s Deep Rock Drillers with their many devices to plumb the depths and core of our alimentary systems for the purposes of god extraction. Our breakfast cereal with blue berries but no almonds and whole milk solid on the tongue an albuminous expansive mortar to break our inner cleavages as if we are in a perpetual movie where Yule Brenner chews, and then chews again, and again on his vodka glass.

For vitamins. Before all of our potable water is stolen and encased, or spoiled. Katherine Hepburn drank water while everyone else got drunk.

When I come to their front gate I say, “What is this smell?”

Gabriel has become enamored of the restoration of historic intangibles and thus for the outhouse museum he sets about bags of garden manure in a pile near the entry. If it is chicken or goat or alpaca curds nobody knows for sure but it sets open to the rain and heat and bacteria and ferments gaily and at a reasonable expenditure of effort for the gain of an agrarian affectation. Altuna sniffs approvingly as Altuna sniffs of all packages brought upon their premises.

Gab resolved to use a sledge hammer and to bash upon the stone with a twenty pound weight of steel.

It was not the most elegant of glanced blows as on strike of the stone the iron flew off in a random quantum of educational theory -- Heideggerian parapets -- and the stone, if anything, crinkled only slightly and let out the upturned nose of a sharp crack of stubborn defiance. It would have been so much easier if it was piles of dirt or sound-salty sand a house or three high, a multi-complex habitat of loam, in various shades of gray to yellow to black and the Scot Gab was let loose with an Irish banjo.

There is nothing as elegant to sing as the craft of a shovel in motion. Unless it be pipes in the iron hold of a ferry. We can chase chickens or a broad goose with that.

But there was another plot beyond this one where we likewise ourselves play-fellows sat upon our smoldered pots, an alternate one of which we dared only hut dream in sleep as it once again escaped our grasp when the kindly daft reader went berserker with their pads and pens, collage and erudite colors, their very soul poured out in a collaborative pantomime of raucous carnival. A caviar feast of hooligans of hooligan.

It was as if artists had been roamed around in shadows of the garden when Eve was all rapt to talk shop with the embrace of muscular serpents. And I do emphatically intend the plural, serpents, muscular. It was not one apple she bit, nibbled, nudged,, there were many to be bobbed and bobbled and Eve bobbed and bobbled them each with a thimble of a ply and kiss like a tagua nut button impressed by Eli Whitney.

But somehow to build of rock a brick house this was not even half the problem, nor a third. To look for counter charms and reverse spells in a thicket can be almost impossible to sniff out (consideration to plastic bags of wet dung set out like votive candles), to handle, identify or expect to work miracles (however infinitesimal). “I was discouraged. I'm not sure I'm up for this at all, I thought." (from the imagined annals of GO, the one now that's a frog and not a nanny dog if one can imagine that).

They, being Gab and Eti, were seemingly stuck. Their surroundings were familiar in a sense, leafy and fecundate but then totally foreign in another. A partial amnesia felt jointly in their little heads, little hands, black eyes and webbed feet was also not helpful.

Such as it is in Bullamanka in general when one is suddenly turned into a small animistic totem in the natural pantheon of small totems, if only our childhoods had started out in warp speed just think where we would be today!

“Ah, If only we had an ally to assist us in getting back." I said to no one and everyone present.  Those who were not listening did not hear me.

A hook, of some sort, they need a hook, or a book. A sky book, hook the helium balloon suspended hookah... the bucket of fog, frog lottery, the Cheshire that eventually meets common sense and finds it utterly deplorable, despicable, contrastive piddle on the inlaid marble floor of temple follies.

"Where's Rufus Sandbank when you need him?" said Eti, a puzzled look on her fuzzy brown face, only made to look more foggy with half an acorn crunched to wheat flakes, loaded into her left cheek. "He would set things right; get us back on the wagon train."

I had no idea what she was talking about. Rufus Sandbank? Wagon train? That couldn't be right, I ruminated while at the same I snatched a deliciously large housefly out of the air with my tongue. I spotted another helplessly nearby, I whispered, "Eti...Watch this......"

But that was them and not us nor they others that was not them or us but altogether different nimnuts.

“You must have your Cups fit and not too wide for the place you would set them on, or else they will not take any hold. Large and wide Cupps are fittest on the thighs, lesser on the armes, and the least for the hands or feete." John Woodall

On top of the Gabriel frog’s head he thought it was a crown but what it turned out to be was a vacuum cup that slowly sucked up his brain matter. And this technique worked well when the first Gabriel looked into the mirror and noticed the double-reflection of an amphibious persona tucked away in the abscess of his brain matter.

The decal on the back window of second Gabriel’s truck is a daddy bird, momma bird, two little birds the twins a boy and a girl, the baby bird with diapers, the dog bird, the kitty cat bird, another kitty cat bird, the parakeet bird, the fish bird with bubbles that rise from the finger, the cockroach bird and the flea bird. All of them signify the same thing, “Hey a**h*le, don’t honk at me!”

Rufus Sandbank told me that after he crashed his helicopter that the cost of his flight insurance went down because the insurance company has determined that 30% of those who crash a helicopter once will never do it again.

To be comminuted... Gab wears a spiffy dress shirt and the red power-tie (THE red power tie) with a belt and no suspenders for his cameo on Meet the Depressed...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.49

"Nothing is profane that serveth to holy things." Sir W. Raleigh.

It is good that this Gabriel transmogrified into a bullfrog is not the one of them with a beard as otherwise we would have here the wholly impossible conclusion of a green frog on its backside with chin hair.

As with any abnormal growth, and Etidorpha, playful as she is would be tempted to tie upon her brother thin pink ribbons with patinated bronze bells. The sort of bells one would find on sale in the lawn and garden section along with smelly candles and wind chimes.

A frog, thus adorned that jumped at the slightest wind would ring out chingy ching chingy.

This, we agree with our social anthropologist would provide a brief reintarnation among the gathered dragon and damsel flies.

On his amphibious hit to the brackish surface of the water pond Gabriel would find himself much belabored in a cacophonous sink that would drift him to the very bottom of the muck. Bells, bells, bells, a chingy ling bang bang Gamelon clatter.

Along in there our local hero would likely meet a hungry snapping turtle and after a chomp and a dingly ding chomp chomp would be a decimated bobbit of a bloody and dead frog to be slowly digested in the belly and intestines of a large and generally unsociable turtle. Can't quite express if this would be a heavy Jonah myth or just bad timing.

Bunker is the sort of thing that happens to very famous people buried at sea.

Fish sticks.

Stop. No, wait, stop. Cease and desist!

We regret to inform you that contumelious portions of this story line have been co-opted by a fellow with a johnson, or a Johnson that is a fellow artisan and that as we enter into this new normal we can no longer distinguish between the two Gabriel’s as now there is a puppet Gabriel masquerading as a frog and a puppet Etidorpha masquerading as a brown squirrel.

Through the craft of digital animation and illustrious illustration these homozygous recessive totems appear lifelike and not at all as the stuffed plastic and terry cloth phantasmal conjurations of a childish imagination let loose in the public arena of all-natural nature.

Buttons for eyes, yes.

Whereas this Gabriel, the one speaking in your head as you read this sentence, desires that the characters of the story speak for themselves in their own voice it is untoward and unconscionable that any one reader of this serial would begin to not only speak up but would act out like a trot infected ventriloquist to babble their swear words and puns and nastiness as if it were gobs of fecal paint exuded from the mouths of babes, and squirrels, and frogs.

As one cultured reader has pointed out this insurrection is nothing short of disgustingly narrative terrorism.

Lest there be any controversy in your mind as to the patrimony of this story we have appealed to Judge Yuro Peese Uckerknobb to provide arbitration to our defense of our intellectual property right. His honor has prescribed a duel of kick boxing with paisley blindfolds.

It has been said of fiction that it must in all cases be made plausible so that it can be believed and that the reader is not dropped to the bottom of reality as if bells were tied to them and they were sunk and pursued by a snapping turtle and forced to hold their breath as they swim mightily for their very lives. Nothing much escapist in that, is there? Whereas it has been said of non-fiction that as a true and fair representation of what actually happens in the world it can often appear to be very implausible and sound completely nonsensical and yet not be a batch of feverish lies. Suffice it that in the end one or another of us Gabriels will always tell you the plain and simple truth.

That all said if you are confused by any of this then do not blame the author. Blame the exuberantly errant readers. Let them eat cake, and then wash out their mouths!

Etidorpha, who paid absolutely no attention to her brother the frog who discorporated his bodily revelations as he lay there on his backside, sniffed along the ground and through the grass and beneath the browned oak leaves until she found herself a fermented acorn.

“Oh, goody,” she said in squirrel.


Monday, May 2, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.48

(hypothetically)..."Shit", she said.

"Only if we split it....right down the middle", I said.

So we split it and began again, "Shit", I said. "Shit", she said. "Shit", I said (doubting this was gonna work, but all the while hoping)..."One", I said. "Two", she said. "Three!", I screamed as we both swallowed the odd green muck as planned.

I woke up flat on my back with a distinct and very real sensation of smallness and froggyness. I strained my thick green and yellow neck to wittness Eti; now a chestnut brown squirrel, resting beside me, not on a boat of any sort, but rather in a thicket that opened up into an overgrown grassy field somewhere far away.

"Shit", I said, "It worked!"


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Work on SOS Gab & Eti 1.49

bullfrogs with brass bells on a pleasant Sunday morning on Long Island

Friday, April 29, 2011

Be Prepared

Scott Clark Interview

Scott's comments on a drummer's life are relevant as well for writers.

TheFreewayLife-Scott Clark from FREEWAYarts on Vimeo.

How We Don't Talk About Musicians : A Blog Supreme : NPR


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SOS Gab & Eti 1.47

There is a space in the crossing of the ferry where if you shut your eyes you cannot see either shore. At another place in white fog it looks as if we ghost about on a large lake surrounded by a dark land of low hills and gentle rises. It is a pleasant trip on the poor man’s yacht where the station of birth is an insignificant impression.

“I do not know where my thoughts come from,” she says to me as we take in the wet morning air. To which I respond, “Well, possibly you do not pay close enough attention.”

“Well, yes, a well it is...” as she clears her throat of a harsh wind, “I do have this incessant buzz in my head. At first I thought it was an apoplectic disaster in Gab’s truck, a cosmic upchuck. Then one winter afternoon when I set up to bake tarts I received a thought that the buzz is mine, the core of me. It is where I connect with the celestial micro-spheres. Like this firewall in my head it is the furthest that I have been able to reach back to my primal sauce. It is where all those fucking screams come from, you know. A congenital hot flash of buzz, I can read your mind with it. It tells me all kinds of things that come up fresh and slimy like an artesian well in a natural gas field.”

Her comments made me wonder right then on the passage deck if Etidorpha should be allowed to continue to chew on her lit cigar. Or if maybe I should make an excuse to wander down within the steel shell of the ferry to the lounge below and watch the television news on the giant screen. There was another fool running and I did not want to miss the carnival. But the waves of the placid sound and the softness of the morning haze kept me steady at her side. I stood; prepared if need be to have my mind read, stood in an uneasy attempt to erase all of my thoughts, of the banter of fools or otherwise. My face wore the mask of an inquisitive grin, at the least; I hoped that is what Etidorpha saw of me even with the aptitude of her buzz, that a useless grin of me is all of what she perceived.

There is no better mirror to the world than the dewy stare of a morning idiocy, fresh like kale and carrots in the grocery newly misted.

I did one time have a friend named Mink Zero, a wanna be electric guitarist in a coke band, his fingers were faster than his brain, who told me that he could receive music from the radio in his car, the Ford Falcon his parent’s had given him, when the radio dial was turned off. He may have had an excess of mercury in his head, tooth fillings or titanium or whatever but I never did find out for sure his specific metallurgy. He was then, at that time, only susceptible to FM broadcasts and very small pills. With those candy beads he could hold the keys to a pulsating universe in one-thirty-second flatitude of the palm of his hand.

It was a noise to signal love affair for him to listen to his own head. I first met him when he was lost in Peterson's Bog behind Sapsucker where he talked to a large rock surrounded by a field of skunk cabbage, the rock irresolutely stuck in the mucky ground. His desire was to persuade it to fly. 

For Mink though his reception was more than the hum of a large blast-engine, a buzz -- a social network composed of replicated story sounds, incomplete guitar riffs, discordant drum solos, chants scribbles, musical marginalia and drones, washing machines that bang off center without the touchy feely interference of real people, glinted mirages in an uncaged stockhausen of his me.

At times he picked up other signals, like sempiternal wave blurps and beeps, and on more than one occasion he told me there was a satellite of aluminum opalescence circled us overhead as dainty as his sweet angels. 

Though as Mink Zero aged he fell more and more into less regard to judiciously select the channels he would receive and as he sunk the slippery slope of cellular degradation he began to receive AM talk radio more frequently than not and it was little surprise to us who continued to know of him and where and when that through a number of undergraduate steps he took up to deal in semi-automatic weapons.

But that is another story. We were nearly to shore when Etidorpha opened her carpet bag, pulled out from it a small white paper bag and from that a small plastic bread bag, recycled and held closed by a yellow plastic clip, she then disrobed from a soaked paper towel that had on it writ in black marker the word ‘experiment’ and from this confine it emerged a doughy substance that looked to me for all the world like tree fungus. “Eat this,” she said.

"Shit," I said.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Moving Picture Writes

My writer friend Martin Heavisides in Toronto explores film... explores a whole lot of film. 

And I explore reading in a vid one of his stories here: Find the Wheel

His blog The Evitable

Martin Heavisides is a contributing editor to The Linnet’s Wings, a literary magazine of exemplary merit. He recently published his first novel, Undermind, and is working on a companion volume, Labyrinth, these being part of a projected work in four parts, WorldMind. The Living Theatre has given a live staged reading of one of his seven full length stage plays, Empty Bowl, whose first appearance was  in Linnet’s Wings (Summer 2008).  Soliloquies (Concordia University), Mad Hatter’s Review, monkeybicycle, Gambara, Jeremiad, Studies in Contemporary Satire, Cella’s Round Trip, Sein Und Werden, FRiGG and Black Cat Review are among the publications his work has appeared in. He has won a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and a Harbourfront Discovery Prize. 
His passion for film goes back to student years, and behind the work being offered by him at The Moving Picture Writes is upwards of two hundred reviews and essays, in his apprentice years, the twenties and early thirties.