Conversations Around The Bar
Some of my friends tell me that they need love in their life. Mind you, not from everyone. But from select entities. Well, that’s fine. What I need is to find work and keep working. To keep producing! Almost at a maniacal level of pace. That’s just what I do! That’s what I’ve learned to do. And I guess, like that heartbeat in my chest cavity I’ll keep going until I have to stop. After that point, it will be meaningless. Everything I have done up to that point will mean nothing because I am no longer there working away. If I am not there working then it means nothing. There is no validity to it. To those who might read these words, I hope that they appreciate the meaning underlying such a declaration. It’s my life, of course! It is my entire being because, of course, it is ever a question of what feeds you. Feeds you both emotionally and intellectually. If I can’t find love, I’ll have work. That’s what men do. As well as some women.
What’s on your mind pal?
Do you now know a guy named Sal?
A pusher and a piker and a praetor, don’t you know?
The one that said that when it rains it’s likely to start to snow.
But why would I care about such mindless empty things?
It’s the absence of money that makes my life go bling.
Whoever said, a wise man who knew his stuff . . .
. . . a guy that’s shoveling coal or shit, he really has it rough!
Keep looking up the skirts of life and tell me what you see?
It’s nothing that will work for you and certainly not for me!
But on we go upon this ride to take a merry jig,
And if we’re lucky, we shall find another fat laced pig.
In high heeled boots and floppy tits with other kinds of stays,
The executioner’s finger positioned hence in all those many ways.
The money goes, the eyes, they seize, when wondering where one can,
In terms of if your eating now, you’re eating no less than Spam
The rhyming thing can go on you know for as long as breath it lives.
But if we are all adept at things we really billy the shiv!
Up the oral corridor, in orderly fashion, we march.
But what is the sense of knowing these things if humbled by the fatal arch?
Who knows this part of their occupation cutting human flesh? Postmortem of course! They feel that somehow they are the gate keepers of death. I would respond, “That you are just cutting flesh!” Dead flesh! Rotting flesh! Flesh that is in a transition of decay to an elemental substance. Something that must accompany the existence of all great things. I recall as a child of twelve that point where my own downfall began. I am inclined to think that at that time my dear now dead parents had to have witnessed this transition. My fall into certain inclinations that they either encouraged or abided. Some that led to that slow slide. An event where I began to dissect a frog so as to impress my peers at school. That classic exercise of show and tell then in vogue. I can no longer recall if it was in grammar school or junior high? The event concluded and now one left smuggling the pieces of internal organs evacuated in small plastic prescription pill bottles. Keep them around in the basement in formaldehyde being semi-assured that one day I would discover the art of somehow re-assembling them. A way of reconstructing life. The modern Prometheus, Dr. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. A perverted form of procreation that violates the natural order.
And perhaps this opened up the innards of a deeper darker world within? Those proverbial bowels of Hell that we are all likely to fall vulnerable to, as so many times is repeated. The fittest form of analogy to describe this mortal crossroads. Yes, I developed as great sense of fear from that time. No longer sure to this day, if it had been spurred on by some other actual contemporaneous event? Something footed upon me to fashion me into a player in some anonymous cloistered drama, the import of which I did not know what? Yet, maybe it was a forecast of the world that I was about to address. In some ways maybe picking a baton left over from some former unstated existence? Now a bygone time. All I know by the standards of regular society, I became demented. Offbeat! Not seeing the world the way that others did. Something that became so fundamental to my existence that I let it carry on unattended. Unbounded. And now, whatever I sought to find out has found me out. And I am its plaything. On the end of its string like a YoYo it seems. Cut off from my own kind with few exceptions. How water finds its own level in the end? I will always be amazed!
A big visit to a hipster’s hangout. Half a strip mall, half a warehouse. The other two or three percent squeezed in a place that wasn’t looked after. The custom linoleum tile on the entrance floor telling all who cared to look down that it was an old J. C. Penny’s. The mensch inside who wandered about and I seeing what the local cretins had done to it. And there were many of those! All acting beyond their years. I happened to stop at the Internet cafe portion of the place that offered many types of computers that, once disassembled, I was clueless of how to get back together again? Something that resembled an I-Mac but that had all sorts of little trays and bits and pieces that at the end along with all the covers that belonged to various printers and other add-on devices collectively posed an enigma. One that wasn’t my business to solve. Dark and piecemeal, several of the hotel nerds were hanging out trying to impress you with their diffidence. Something that left me completely cold. All sorts of Marijuana momma’s were banging and bouncing about showing their store bought AmVets finery. All trying to look hip and lazy. As if somehow they could impress you with the fact that they didn’t give a shit about you. I tried to tell one how to get around an ankle deep mud puddle outside. But my reward was a, “Don’t ask me anything!” When I had asked her name on an old flea-bitten worn out couch I got the “Bitch! Get out of my way!“, treatment.
So, I wasted a lot of time in there going from place to place wondering if I was going to drop dead from some unknown disease. Cough! Cough! I got nothing but a dry throat out of the whole damn thing. Finally after cleaning the joint up with the bottom of my heels, I took it on the arches. I wandered out towards the exit door. A bunch of Latino mobsters were coming up the stairs. One guy looked like Ratso Rizzo! Barely hanging on the staircase railing giving me bad junk sick vibes waiting for me to give him space to get out of his way. Cough! Cough! Something he wouldn’t give to a plain chick so I walked around him at the bottom of the cascading stairs and into the sunshine again. Half-witted wandering about with a Satan’s sack upon my shoulder full of all sorts of goodies and odds and ends that more likely ended up as manna from heaven to the residents of a junkyard. Yeah, some place along Broadway by the El in the old part of town! Cough! Looking for my car in the bright morning sun. Wandering how in the Hell I could keep my mouth shut so as to look like one of the goons. At least, long enough to make it through the night.
I guess it is a compendium of so many memories? Of the recollections of so many hits and knocks and brazes? And those Jesus boys! The one’s that became Antifa’s because they wanted someone to kick around but didn’t have the guts to do it when they were young and alone. Yeah, misery loves company alright! Those old house old home neighborhoods hanging on from the wrecking ball uptown. The equivalent of an East L.A. So now I left and went home thinking about how the smoke from downstairs had addled my brain leaving me in another world with a bunch of anonymous nobodies. The whole group of us wondering how anyone had the ability to waste so much time as life is so short? Who could answer that question any better than I?
And then there was my old buddy, crazy Bill! The one from Scranton Pennsylvania who claimed he had to take off because he blew up a bar and had to get out of there or end up in a Federal pen. Yeah, he was hanging around wanting to weigh his arms over me and climb up on back of my shoulders like old Pring to drag him around! Quite frankly, he didn’t have anything better going on. And was unlikely to! We wandered around, independently of each other, thank God! All the rooms of that place looked like that at some time might have been a place that I would have wanted to rent. But now wit all these skag’s hanging about with all the mess they left behind? Those cancer ridden slugs leaving their slime across the floor! A hod of old clothes and other odds and ends of dog eared yellow books scared amidst ladies’ unwashed underthings. From room to room, checking out the peeling paint, listening to the floorboards squeak under the weight of my over worn Thom McAnn loafers. Shoes that were so old that the internal labels were worn out by sweat and monsoon’s. The combination of same giving them an identity crisis. Yeah! All by that coffee shop where they left the coffee just ground up by the roaches. Well, that was it. Security glass with the inside metal grid. The Leyden glass wire filigree still in place after that first fifty years. And I, a stumble bum, once again! Trying to escape life and find some new measure of paradise. And, disappointed! What else would you expect living around a bunch of youngsters that never had a real mother? Or frankly, a father! all of them trying to pretend that the universe was their’s. And then being sorely disappointed in the light of day.
The Indian spirit walk didn’t leave much? Now I am wandering around like a punch drunk trying to find his teeth which dropped out twenty years back. One of them still embedded in another bastard’s knuckle. An old punkster that now is lucky to wash a window or sweep a floor if he can find the gig. I couldn’t believe so much rotten would could be in one place? SO much peeling paint! So much misdirected effort to keep alive something that should have died and been buried deep long ago. That mildewed smell of old and cheap and living perpetually on welfare. Something that I am beginning to know too damn much about! Holding on to an era that everybody would wish would disappear, go away and stay long past. A collection of other people’s memories that they can keep! Prefer that not be mentioned. But yet those people that some call niggers live in to this day?
I don’t know who’s happy? I don’t know who can be? All I know is that we are bouncing around from pillar to post trying to do the right thing. In the end, I find myself left short around the old bar room. Boozers who’ve got nothing giving you a good story for a quarter or a dime. Building their war chest for the next round. Here’s to him! If I had a drink in my hand? Or a smoke left on me? You’ve gotta find your own matches son! Because the last one I used set a building on fire. That was the long and the short of it before I take my rest with those long tendril worms.