The following passage is for all you self-ordained priests of higher education and parenting.
The following pieces of writing are parts of my story. These writings are my thoughts and outlook on life as a whole. In it are entangling lines of verse and still lines of prose. Allow this to be the first of your many maps to my mind as you flounder in the waiting room to be seen, help yourself to a magazine and catch up on what Time or Us Weekly thinks of the world before you go in. As soon as you read the first section you’ll be digging a hole to China so you never read my words again. I apologize if I hurt you (the reader) in anyway, but everything you read from now on is true.
The Pickled Beats
1968, New York, New York. There is Christmas in the air and someone was getting “the beats”. “The Beats” as they were called was a term used for a severe and harsh beating usually including the abuse of an already red rash just around the shirt line of your neck. It later became known as the Spark Pharcus affair. “The Beats” were no stranger to the affair.
Billy and Gus were average in the city, low income, French cigars and fisher-man caps. Billy carried a guitar and Gus, a drum. The two lads were once known as “The Pickles”, a local New York band had a following in the area of their mothers, whom the two rarely spoke to, and the four homeless nuts that lived outside their apartment building. Resembling the “Odd Couple” right down to the November 13th date of them moving me together, the two found themselves on wild musical adventures with Gus’s discovery of Cannabis, the missing conclusion conundrum, and the Blondie and the beasts.
The strangest thing was that nobody was there to greet us at the door. And I mean nobody. This was odd because normally when an entertainer such as the Fox Box trio or ourselves enters a café like this there are swarms of people ready to chop an arm off for us.
“Excuse me. Oh my!” a confused and frazzled waiter ran to Gus and I. “I am so sorry my greatest apologies I was under the impression that you all wouldn’t come until five.”
“Um, sir it is five.” I tipped my glasses on my nose up to my forehead smashing the wire frame against my nose.
“Right.” The waiter said. “I am so sorry you mustn’t tell the manager, Mr. Morley. He’ll fire me for sure if he catches wind of this.” In the background we could hear the clanging of dishes and glasses to be washed for tonight’s rush of people, if there even was a rush.
Gus and I were lucky they had even considered us for the gig. Especially since we were the newest game in town musically speaking. We were called The Beats like the beat of Gus’s drum and tambourine. We had come to the city in hopes of meeting up with the musician Nico. A fantastic female singer from Europe, not to mention she was beautiful too. When we arrived the only lodging we were able to afford was a bench in Washington Square. Now, before you hoot and holler about how cold and gross that must have been, it wasn’t gross. But, it was colder than the Devil’s alternate hell: The North Pole. I had never experienced such temperatures. As soon as I awoke I left Gus a note and hiked it on up to one of the local all-night dance joints. The one I found was called The Nest. I approached it flapping my arms like a hooligan trying to sustain some kind of warmth. I read the sign as I went in: Look ‘in for the best? Head to the Nest! All night dancing just $10 at the door.
I didn’t have ten dollars. So I snuck in the back. I went in by their shipping dock where they had a green room for bands, performers and “dancers”. I climbed through one of the windows that were open a bit of the way and crawled in. I was in luck; the room was empty and warm. I found myself seated next to a large amplifier and a strange looking electric guitar. I propped my feet up after sitting down on the large red sofa and read the issue of Action Comics that was on the coffee table. I thumbed through looking at the pictures I liked. I wasn’t all that great a reader, but I loved stories. They were the best. The way characters were thrown around like rag-dolls and the way plots twisted and turned like a toilet bowl. In this issue Superman had to fight the Russians in a nuclear war right here on the home front. Man, that shit scared me more than a spider on your head while you sleep. If there was one thing all Americans had in common back then, it was fear of the Soviet Union. I remember I was just a young boy during that whole Bay of Pigs heist. All this thought of the Reds gave me the shakes. I needed a smoke. I pulled out a joint of my special stuff and found a book of matches on the vanity. Man this club had seen a lot of groups play here in its day. I looked at the mirror for a while which was covered with posters and gig bulletins from all the different acts who had played here. Then I noticed a case in the corner. It was all dusty and looked ancient. I approached it thinking there was some dough in there or something. But I was wrong. It was just an old guitar. The thing looked like it had taken a beating. I took a gander at the other guitar in the room all shiny with a coat of red paint, then back at this mangled, dust ridden block of wood. I picked up the old guitar and I found a note in the bottom. It read this: 1939 Martin & Co. Quality musical instrument. The strangest thing though with this note, was that it was hand written. It must’ve belonged to someone. It was an old termite trap. And I took it. I climbed out the window of the green room, set the guitar by a trash can and climbed back in. I opened the door and was immediately hit by the loudest music I had ever heard. I saw people dancing and a multicolor light flashing on and off and a fast pace. I elbowed my way through the crowds of young men and beautiful girls to the bar. An older, fatter gentle man was there running the show there and he greeted me with a smile.
“Trying to escape the cold?” he shouted over the loud thumping music. He could tell I wasn’t here to dance my ass off party-boy style.
“Yeah,” I hollered back casually. Looking around the bar I noticed that there were some weird people in this joint besides the young men and the beautiful girls. I saw a shorter man with greased back hair, who was hounding these two women. He must’ve thought he was hot stuff, until tonight.
“What can I get you sir?” the large bartender bellowed.
“Tonic and lime,” I was not drinking tonight.
“Gotcha sir,” he made a little finger gun in my direction and winked. I ignored it. Just then the old player who was losing his game crashed into the seat to my right. He was near close to sobbing, already miserably drunk and ordered vodka mixed with some speed. Great. He was speaking but not necessarily to anyone in particular. He was just mumbling to himself and his cigarette, smoldering behind his ear. “Here you are sir, one tonic and orange.”
“I asked for tonic and lime.” I protested the beverage.
“Yeah and I asked for a raise. But Jesus Christ you don’t always get what you ask for!”
Officially done with this establishment, I high tailed it back to the green room where I had entered. I swung the door open only to walk in on a woman changing. Obviously mutually embarrassed I apologized and climbed out the window landing on a pile of card board. I looked around the corner of the trash can and picked up that old guitar in its case and strutted down the street. It was now six forty five in the morning and the business men were on the move. I walked amongst them all the way back to Washington Square, and arrived upon Gus waking to the aroma of a diner I had passed just down the street. He was wiping his eyes and gathering his things when he spotted me.
“Where’ve you been?” he asked me half cognizant of his waving arm.
“Oh, around. I was pretty cold so I found myself a dance club to warm up in,”
“Funny choice,” he was not into the whole dance club scene. And to be honest, neither was I. We finished picking our items up off the ground and stuffed them in our bags. We walked a block or two to the joint we’d be playing at tonight. It was a coffee house called, Diamond. I knocked on the door, no answer. Gus and I hoofed over to a hotel that was advertising a “free breakfast”.
“I think we can sneak in with the actual tourists getting their meals. Just ditch our stuff here.” Gus said in a whisper. We walked in together after I stuffed our bags in a dumpster off the side of the building. “Hi, can we get a table for two?” Gus asked the hostess.
“Right this way.” She led us through the clumps of people who from what I could gather, were from all over. There was this one family from Denver who were particularly loud. And another from Hibbing who were oddly normal. “Here you go gentlemen. Please enjoy your meal.”
“Thank you ma’am. Say, Gus,” I added.
“Yes my good fellow,” He replied.
“I need to run up to the room real quick for my watch I’ll be back in a jiff.” I was playing out our role as hotel-goers. And Gus knew. “Pardon me,” I said to our hostess as I slid past her and the other diners. I walked to the main hall with the front desk and went to the bathroom, took a leak, walked to the stairs and went up to the top and back down. On the way down I pretended to be frustrated with my inability to locate my watch. I re-approached the table to find Gus sitting there eating a piece of toast.
“Have a seat my friend.” He gestured to the chair across from him. “Any luck with that watch of yours.”
“Nah, man I got nothing.” We chuckled to our good fortune and not so good fortune to the hotel management who had no idea we hadn’t checked into a room, and had no intentions of doing so either.
Scott Pharcus was more terrified of his mother than his own shadow. Shadows and I were friends at some point in time, but that wasn’t always so. Scott licked himself clean every night making sure not a scrap of food was left for him on his plate. Nothing confused him more than his midge. That damned one eyed midget was making faces again. Roxanne put out the red light and he didn’t have to wear a dress but the midget insisted, and gave her (who was a he) the pickled beats. The beats became pickled that night no one really knows how or why, but they just did confused? Me too. It has come to my attention that although in a dress and the concept of the beats becoming pickled was born that night, one thing did not add up. The fact that “The Beats” were a band, and by no means pickled. That was difficult for that little midget to manage and to him this was unfathomable. Eighty-eight shifts and four smokes later it was done the midget had fought and fought.
One might be thinking to themselves that if I were to ponder wearing a powder-blue cape and neon green stripped nigger trousers, I’d be considered fruity. But not in today’s society, we have come a long way from making fun of what people wear. Now we constantly insult their entire being as a person. For as long as they are home in time with enough time for somebody to re-enact an after school special, all is well. Not that any of it actually mattered, you idiots who call yourselves scene. I mean honestly where do you get it? And you who is the most beautiful yet troubled girl in the world. What am I supposed to do? How can I help? I’ve asked these questions and I got no answer for two weeks. But then I got it. I was done my time had run-up the clock had buzzed, I was out. Out of love, out of mind, and out of luck. i mean sure it’s easy to say, good-bye see you another day. But no, no it is not. One must go through severe emotional and psychical stress for days all because of a longing to be with you. You ungrateful little twit. Forgetting you would be the best thing for that person but, much like myself we like to hold on to all things once precious. Out of shear enjoyment you torment, because you there, sitting there from the broken home cannot fathom such a love coming from another besides the parents you never had. The love you had never know and the pain which used to cause you to fall asleep at night fine and wake up in tears to the sound of you family crumbling under the pressures of real life. Its not a fairy-tale. Even I knew that. You always were the one who painted me as dumb, look who’s talking now…still you. And I don’t know why I’m so hung up on it. Could it have been all the effort I put into making your life comfy and happy? Was my constant readiness to serve and abide by your every whim boring you? If so than I am sorry and I can change. If not then, whatever I did my best but I could have done better. But what did you ever do for me? Just asking. I do know that pity is such a hard charity, especially when it’s with someone who does everything for you, even until the end. That’s another thing I have yet to grasp. He was there with support and everything until the bitter, cold hearted, fever thumping end. But what’s the use it would humiliate me anyway, coming back to you that is. As would it him, he would never. But I would. Just saying. I mean honestly he is perfect for you, he’s got it all. Confused and depressed would have to be an understatement. Crazy life, man I’m not even sure how I should be taking this. If I were a different man, if I were in a different time, with a different life, and a different person then maybe if I were a “divine” man then I’d be more of a man for you. I just want to die inside, but then I just feel like I’d like to go away, or get back. Get back to where I once belonged. I just feel so helpless and powerless in this skin. I just wanna get my ass kicked by you one more time just for another way for me to fix things one more time. Lasers and naughty places, I could’ve been having a stroke. Jamie Far of Mash could not help me at all and Fez and Nina were on a flaming Gran Torino Buck naked. Just like Battle of the Network stars. She always giggled about dropping the soap and clinging to my arm and giggling into my chest and smiling your sweet smile and flashing your beautiful eyes and loving your loving love. But, if I’m done for then I am done. Cook me like a turkey on Thanksgiving. But none, absolutely none of that would make a difference would it. Screw me and laser Floyd my ass. I just really need to lose hope and give up. But I won’t. I will keep on chasing and fighting for the love of God and all that is sweet. That does include candy, just to be perfectly clear. Not the candy from the store, candy from a soul.
The most miserable thing in the world was the fact that even though I was all alone, I always had a shadow of you following me around. And as usual I don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about man. In all honesty I’d just like to forget about this crap. Baby Jesus was watching in your room, but what idiot leaves a LEGO set in the middle of the doorway. I’m just so disheartened, like really! Why should I have to deal with this? I will be much too successful for this bull one day. Get this creepy bastard off me! In the beginning she was giving me nothing, but then she was giving me something by the end of it. And then, bam I was out on the street homeless without any food to eat. You’re like the old lady who lived in a shoe. You had a million guests and I was just one of them, was I not? But wait everybody Mr. Nude has an opinion. Mr. Nude what do you have to say about that. Stoned as poop, my lumber jack head blocked out the sun, in the nude for no disgusting reason, I’m not really a hot sleeper, I just know that my brothers live next to the girls they love. Things occur to them man. I’m a be man pretty. So I stuck a “kick me” sign on his back and I had sent him on his way. But that’s how you not make a canoe out of banana skins and burned ice. Tommy gives everyone free slurpies at the 7-11 because a year ago he tried to jump a river on his motorcycle and now he gives everyone free slurpies. After he took the toaster, he was lost. With a toaster. If the toasters a problem with this toaster, why do you not take it up with-out sales people to go have diarrhea. Gone without any chance of reforming to love, he walks head down and heart even lower.
She seems to be fine, whimsical, jolly and sweet as usual while the gentle man weeps into his coat. “Get over it” they all say. And he has no intention and no response for a man this deep in sorrow knows not only what he does not feel but what he does not taste. He knows what he misses day to day. The touching, the longing, the kisses. But it is not these things that would fulfill his wishes. All he ever wanted was love. But all I ever wanted was to find something real in a world that seemingly has nothing of the sort. So goodwill to all you lovers and to you dear lady goodbye is too good a word so I shall fare thee well. Goodnight, sleep tight, and I shall cherish every sight I ever see of you.
^that’s what happens when I think about my cat.
Today has been a horrible day. Apparently my friend has found God, my new seven hundred dollar guitar broke at it’s bridge and I’ve become a Jimmy Buffett fan. And what I see now is worse than I could ever imagine. A city that resembles Rosalyn, in D.C., is where I am. And I hear cries of the ghetto, men that behave like dogs, born to suffer. One a friend and the other a newer stranger, scarred by a father’s belt weird. She only drinks soy milk and whole wheat bread is all she eats. I could start a religion, find a boat and sail out to sea, I could do it all actually. All of it, freedom and enterprise, power and glory, love and fear. What did all these things have in common? One simple, simple thing. I must set this scene.
Freedom and Enterprise
The door opened and the two business men entered. The elevator was tight, already packed densely with three female file clerks and two window washers. Business man One thought it was odd that the window washers were inside the building but didn’t give it any mind. One of the file clerks was pregnant and deep in conversation with the other on baby names. If it was a boy, James and a girl Roxanne those names were in the running. Business Man Two hit the floor button that had a big number 23. The twenty-third floor was where the executive offices were.
The elevator started its upward whining effort leading to the next lit number on the board, it read 19, not much time left for the business men. Two lifted his brief case towards his face. On the brim there was a number pad and a small LED screen, Two typed in the four digit pin code. Two looked to One across the elevator for some acknowledgement. One nodded. The elevator bell rang at level 23, and the two business men took their queue and exited the elevator without their brief cases. The elevator doors closed and the two business men started down the fire stairs and right out the fire door.
I know this because Allen was one of the window washers in that elevator and he was my friend. Anyway I suppose it’s about time I introduce myself you’ve been listening to me ramble on for some time now. The name’s Jack I’m from Newark, New Jersey. First born male of a Jewish family I have a younger sister names Jenna who I don’t speak to and a younger brother who I really don’t speak to. My family was upset when they found I wanted to be a poet and moved out of the house. I lived in a commune well, I actually still do. I’m looking for new housing though. So many people put down being a poet because you’re pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have to work a part-time job, you know, a waiter or something, or what I am, a full time poet. It’s actually a lot more work than anyone would think, because I’m also the houseman of my commune. Our host is called Mother Maggie, she’s in a band and drinks herself to sleep every night except for Sunday, the Lord’s day or something like that. Our house had seen it all, prostitutes, con-men, men trying to avoid draft, homosexuals, and minorities. I could go on.
More of the Beats.
Gus was lost in New York City and it was the bad kind of lost. Many people always get confused whenever I tell them about the different kinds of lost. There’s the kind everyone knows, the bad kind and there’s the good kind of lost. Like the other night at the Nest, when I couldn’t make up from down. But to make the story short, Gus was lost. After our delicious meal at the hotel, as were about to leave the hostess asked for our room number Gus acted naturally.
“I believe our room number is room 369.” He announced as he swaggered in toward her podium.
“I’m sorry sir you must be mistaken. Our room numbers only go up to three fifty,” And at that point I think I did the stupidest most humiliating thing a vagabond could do. I pushed a waiter into a table kicked a bellhop on brake was dining with his wife and screamed: “Run!” Almost all instantly in that order or maybe not, I don’t recall. The point is, is that we were moving and getting nowhere fast. We dashed in through the kitchen, and before we knew it the cooks were chasing after us. Down and down we went, Gus started reciting a poem he made up on the sport to commemorate this moment.
“O sweet air that we dash through, allow us not to pass through you but merely to insert ourselves inside you, and draw upon your strength to save us from the Blues, Amen,” Gus smiled as we cut across an alley out of the kitchen door, he was satisfied with himself and I couldn’t blame him. The poem was good. And I approved. Although if I had written the poem it may have sounded like this; O sweet Lord who we lash at, allow me to embody your speed and perfection by zooming past the stars,” yeah. That’s how it should go. While we fled for our very lives my mind drifted. I started dreaming of the past, my past. There was a woman there, actually there were quite a few women there, but only a few for me. There was just one once, she was perfect until she fell to the power of society. Worrying about what to where rather than how to avoid speaking in tongues, there was another worrying about being caught trying to whore herself out on me. Although it would do her no good, I was never much interested in recreational sexual acts. In fact if intoxicated I found them to be quite immoral, a waste of time, boring, wrong, unlawful, dignifying, and glorifying to the American whore. The American whore, I remember meeting her for the first time. Her fixating eyes and her lips that bind. The way her smile told you she knew something she didn’t, and the way she chose her victims. Manipulating the young innocent, beautiful intelligent girls into joining her on her war against her daddy issues. The American whore I scoff at the title. I lost both women to her, and I know I’ll never get them back. Even if I could just have one, I’d take her. I would treat her as an African king treats gold. Our minds would meld into one, and I offer, but I don’t get any takers. I offer, but no takers. I offer, but no takers. I am in the streets near the entrances to the subway, begging, pleading, screaming and crying for something, someone, a life partner, a best friend, a sign that I have the right intention and I’m moving in the right direction. But nothing comes.
I didn’t mean to get lost, but I did. But at the same time, I was not lost. If anything I was found. Found in my work, found by the art and the music. It was the only thing that kept me grounded. My life among my friends was a wreck. I was never accepted, ever and I’m still not accepted by anyone. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up they all say. Get out. Get out. Get out I say.
Men and women everywhere have become slaves of the system.
The system that is America.
Some believe they are the source of criticism
So if this is the case then I’d rather die.
I can’t seem to find answers to these questions
And because I gave a cat Cialus for men
He can’t control his erections
There’s a cat in my oxygen
What the f*** does that mean
There’s a cat in my oxygen
My s***’s turned green.
There’s a cat in my oxygen
Chicken in my pants
It’s also known as a cock and
For it’s funny dance
It does for all the ladies
Each time they row their boat
They see Manson eating babies
And a midgets cutting out their throats
It’s raining ketchup and camels
You know, the cigarette
It’s raining ketchup and camels
After cutting you off I felt regret.
It’s raining ketchup and camels
What am I to do?
I can’t eat the camels and can I
Bite off their hooves? (No?)
So I must grab their humps
And head for the dumps
Because it’s time to throw them in the shits
I know this because it’s the dump
And believe me, the dump’s the pits
I cannot tell you enough times how much it means
That you took the time
Out of you day,
To read this self-examining
Over thought piece of shit
So I thought I’d include
A little thank you bit.
That was it up there ^^ (in case you didn’t see)
And if you want my advice kids, do not take it
From the parents of thee.
Stay in school, and learn a lot,
So you don’t become a part-time poet
The incredible inevitable story of the American Whore
As most things do, this started all too innocently. The match was made, the cards we played and the game was set. Until, culture kicked in, the part of the brain that urges you to be like your neighbor, the part that is tearing at the gates of acceptance just asking for one shot to prove yourself. Pleading, proving that not only can you conform, but that you could be used as an advantage to the culture. The culture is what got to Madonna. And you, like the lot of them, but you were supposed to be different. You were the rumored savior that I heard was coming for me. I thought you were sent here purely to get me out of where I was involuntarily put by a woman, who doesn’t understand a damned thing about me, accept that despite what people say, I am okay inside. So I was hooked, I was convinced it was you, so I did what I do. The old routine that repeats itself over and over. And you walked right in to it and said: “When do we start?” and I liked that, a lot. You hated what I hated and you refused to join the majority of the rest of the society that is the sport worshipping Oakton High School: Center for ignorance of art and under-funded swim team. You were determined then, you stood for something and that something was, holding on to the very life that was all you knew and then was ripped from you torn apart across thousands of miles and a culture fusion that seemed all so impolite and over-weight. And I liked that, a lot. I saw in your eyes when I looked hard enough, ideas and theories that were indigenous to your mind and foreign to the people around you. I admired that, I admired your maturity and independence and I even envied the way you captured attention, as if your person was a camera catching stills for reference later. Those kids in leadership, you hated them. And I liked that, a lot. The artists and singers, you enjoyed them. And I needed that, a lot. But then, as all things must come to a climax you graced me with your then untainted gentleness and I was grateful that someone such as yourself with all you interesting quirks and the things that you did that, in your mind were normal, was the one to bring me company on that sweet, thick, summer night. As we cut through air you fell asleep on me bringing together all the little ideas and hopes that I organized in order of events. But like all good things it had to come to an end. The next week or so with you was odd as you still did not conform, but you did not fight either. Summer was in full swing and you were taken hostage by a cult. They convinced you they were your friends, and you considered letting go of what you came to know and starting all over again, which if you had been counting would be the second time that year for you to begin a new life. And I was not about to let that happen. I now had to fight for your time and your attention where before it seemed to come to me. The cult had informed me that they had taken you hostage and that’s all I know really. I see you and I see you in there (that skinny flattened thin hair you hide behind that’s been fried to hell by your captors). I know it is you because you see me too and with your eyes becoming harder and harder to read as you try to assure me that I am not alone. Although you had failed in your attempts, you say I do not have to and in fact, you believe I will succeed. Unbeknownst to you, you say those things to me, when I tell you sports are a joke and that the worshipers who thrive on it are lemmings of an out-dated image that was left ago in the fifties, you ask me what I mean and say I have no solid facts to back myself up on this theory. But as a matter of fact, I do and you should not be so arrogant to my wisdom, I’ve been here a lot longer that you have, and unlike you, I know who I am and I don’t need to hide behind others or an image or portray the actors who carry out their roles as characters on a Disney channel sit-com. I don’t need that. I am an artist and that’s all there is to it. No glitter, no dancing, no following, no managing (I have people to do that for me), and on the other plus side I won’t end up being raped by the Basketball and Football teams. Because that’s bullshit. You were groomed by the American Whore like an internet pedophile grooms his prey. You were promised an image and that’s what you got. You think you’re proud of it, you think it’s helping you “fit in”, but it just makes you more fake then you already are. If you “fit in” originally you wouldn’t need that image that the American Whore provided you. You stick out like a sore thumb don’t you honey? And that’s fine with me, I liked it better that why. You fight off who you were before, you suppress your true emotions, you beat down that life you knew and the life you had and you think this is what you want. And I’m not here to tell you it is, or it isn’t. I’m just saying I don’t know if this is what you want out of the world. But you’re here now, not there. Would you like to go back there? Back home? Because I would. You’ve become the exact person who you said you loathed. They say people who are a lot alike do not get along because the personalities tend to clash, being so similar. But now they accept you, because my darling child you have become the American Whore. Congratulations.
Smashed between two worlds that were destined to collide at some point in time I stand there, numb. I cannot move and I am suddenly unable to speak. I want nothing to do with anybody.
I’ve become more lost in this world than a blonde in the corner of a circular room. I am upset and I am nothing. I wish I had some idea of where to take ourselves. I wish we could just be alone, it’s not fair to you to never have known, and it’s not fair to me to have to deal with this.
Days With Hymie
A story from my childhood.
When I was in fifth grade going into sixth, I suffered from one of the most extreme cases of bullying. Not the suicidal kind of bullying, but the kind that made you sad that you weren’t as good as anybody else; I don’t care what anyone tells you, because that’s the scary kind of bullying. Fortunately, the years were not kind to the old soul who bullied me and he now looks like a mildly autistic child with a bad haircut. Moving on from that, this boy tortured me as a youngster and needless to say I think I let it go.
Although I let it go, this doesn’t change the fact that this child sent me to therapy. My shrink’s name was Dr. Hyman, a great therapist, a good doctor. When I first set foot in his office immediately I was struck by the pine lined walls and therapy books. He had lots. I sat down and examined a small clay statue of a monster with a wide grin on his face reading the funnies. He noticed.
“You like it?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool I guess,” I replied.
He stared at my eyes with a half-smile and a beaming expression. He looked me up and down then up again. I sat back and hunched into the big leather chair that consumed my body.
“So,” it was beginning. “do you know why you’re here?”
“Because I’m crazy?” I dodged the real answer to the real question.
“Oh come on, you know that’s not it. Why do you think you’re actually here for, you have to have some sort of idea.” He coaxed. I knew why I was there but I would never admit that it was because I had been intensely bullied or horribly harassed. I’m not sure whether or not it was because of what I called “pride” or if it was just that I was insecure about what his reaction would be. As it turned out the question, as it came to be known, was to be asked at least twice a year during random sessions at seemingly odd intervals.
“I don’t know, I guess it’s because I’m stupid.” I answered that honestly. I figured if this man was going to play “therapist” with me, I might as well play along and plan my escape.
“Well, didn’t your parents tell you why you are going to be coming here?” I noticed there was a stair case on the outside of the building which I thought was odd and there were two hallways on either side when you entered the waiting room. Now that I was in his office, I found that an escape would be difficult to execute. “No? Well if they didn’t tell you then I guess I should.” I braced myself. “Melissa, you know her correct? And Alex, you know your mom and dad, called me and they informed me of some incidents that occurred earlier this year. Saying you had some friend troubles. Would say that’s accurate?”
“I don’t know.” I was scared shitless, this son of a bitch would not get any answers out of me. “I guess,”
“Right.” He sat back and his expression turned from interested and content to disturbed and concerned. “Well, tell me about yourself,” I gave him the old biography routine.
“Well I don’t have much that I like to do, I draw. Nothing good but one day I’d like to be a cartoonist or an animator for Disney or Looney Tunes, or maybe I could work at Disney World, that’d so cool. But yeah, not much,” this old bastard was not going know my life story. Although unbeknownst to me, he already did. I figured out later my parents had been meeting him a few months prior to my first visit with him and they had informed him on my most reoccurring behaviors. The name calling and public humiliation I endured on a daily basis, being called stupid for having to attend special education classes, being made fun of for my speech impediment and not being able to say my full name. I used to say Chrith-toe-fur and although I prefer Christopher, my speech issue was the main reason of why I go by Chris now, even though I still prefer Christopher. The kids at school used to say: “Chrith-toe-fur is gay.” Or they would invite me to sit down with next to them on the bus then leave just before the bus started so I would be sitting alone.
There was so much that I had to go through on a daily basis that it was hard for me to go through a regular school day without being thrust into a bout of tears. In order for my shrink to have understood me, he would have had to have the whole backstory.
Basically it all began in fifth grade when I had the meanest, nastiest teacher in the world who I’m pretty sure was related to Adolf Hitler and most likely somehow Osama Bin Laden as well. Her name was Mrs. Crybelsky. She was a bitch. For God’s sake the woman’s name begins with the word “cry”. It really does just prove to you what’s in a name. I was a safety patrol for the better half of the year and my job as a patrol was to put a the American flag in the morning, I was the only one qualified for the job because of the top secret training I received from over-weight psychopaths in Cub Scouts. Every day in the bitter early morning cold, I would stand outside with an adult and tie the ends of a rope and flag to the post and use the pulley to raise the flag. And without a doubt each and every day I was twenty minutes late. Because of my mild C.P., I was unable to tie and untie knots fast and effectively enough to be in my classroom on time. Mrs. Crybelsky or as I call her now Mrs. Bitchtits, never believed me when I told her I wasn’t late I was just trying to do my job. That I was the one raised the flag that inspired hope and prosperity in all America, I was the one who reminded veterans that it’s not the fact that we as American children were not ungrateful but the fact that we just don’t remember anything the army had ever done for us. But I was a reminder, a beacon of hope. That’s me.
But Mrs. Bitchtits couldn’t recognize that. All she saw was a special educated tool. At least that’s what I believed; another odd thing about this wretched wench was her nostrils. They were of abnormal size in the sense that you could stick a fully grown grape in one and it would fit perfectly. This led later in life to my suspicion that cocaine would have been her drug of choice. The woman taught up front but, her desk was in the back of the room. My assigned seat was always either far in the back or right up front, so either way she got a good look at whatever it was that I was doing, which was never much. Anyway, I was safety patrolling and doing a very good job at being the stool-pigeon of the fifth grade. Every morning regardless of the weather I would be out there tying knots and lashing things. It was usually bitterly cold and I could never move my fingers properly. So with my C.P., A.D.D., and lack of Ph.D. I attempted to tie this knots.
When the struggles with the ropes were over, I would high tail it over to my fifth grade class room. By the time I got there, the principal would have already started the announcements and I would have slipped in right in during the pledge of allegiance. But the fact that I was bad ass enough to do that bothered my teacher. She pulled me out of class one early December morning.
“Chris, I noticed you’ve been coming to class late for the past few weeks. What’s this all about? Is it your flag pole duties?”
“I uh, I don’t know,” I lied.
“Yes you do. You know exactly what it is.” She called me out. I was screwed. “And you know it is not right for this to be happening on a daily basis.” She was getting to me, a headache began. My head started to swell with thoughts and emotions that had been brewing all year and I couldn’t take it anymore so I did what every fifth grader does in times of struggle. I cried. “Don’t you dare blubber up with me and expect sympathy!” she protested the tears.
“I, I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I was just doing what I was told to do.”
“Also, I saw something in your notebook. It appeared to be a cartoon in the back. I believe I saw a Star Wars cartoon in your binder. Where is it?” she just so happened to catch me at a bad time as I was beginning to start a new series of comic books based on the Star Wars film franchise. When I was younger I made comic books out of whatever I could find. I used to take legal pads from my grandfather’s office and draw on them with a felt tip pen to tell a story. Unfortunately I never enjoyed using the characters I created because I never thought they were good enough. So I’d create something like The New Adventures of Looney Tunes or if I was feeling wild I would do Scooby Doo Meets Sonic the Hedgehog. I never kept good track of the titles so after a week or two of the last comics being lost, I would start a new one.
So she marched me back into the classroom while everyone stared at the crying sped kid, she dug through my binder and found the cartoon.
“No! Stop, what are you doing?” I belched out in between tears. “Why would you want my drawings?” I got no answer, but she found a cartoon and boy did she find one. It was a drawing of Luke Skywalker fighting these baboon-looking creatures. It was my favorite one I had done so far, and I gasped. “No! No please don’t, please!” it was too late. She ripped it apart and crumpled up the pieces. With the balled up shreds in hand she moved towards the trash can.
“I’m not sorry for what I did,” she wasn’t. “There’s a time and a place for everything. And this is not cartooning time.” There isn’t, and it was. “I don’t want to see anymore cartoons in your binder ever again. Is that clear?”
It wasn’t but I said: “Yes.” I wiped my eyes and running nose. Everyone in the class was still staring at me and I was pissed. I was pissed I was made a spectacle of in in front of the whole class, I was pissed they were still looking, I was pissed my drawing was gone and I was pissed I was pissed. I gathered myself and sat back down. Superman never went through this kind of stuff I thought to myself while settling in. I vowed never to draw again and got out a sharp pencil and a piece of notebook paper. Metropolis was calling.
Little did I know my shrink was already told this story, then he pulled out something that left me bewildered. It was a sheet of paper with a drawing I had done on it. I looked at it. I had drawn it after I had one of my tearful bouts of being bullied by students and teachers. It depicted me smiling, standing in one the lines just like elementary school children do, everyone was facing forward following the old witch Mrs. Crybelsky. But something was off in the picture. In my hand was a white sign that read; “HELP”. Why did Dr. Hyman have this? How’d he get it? The answers were coming and so were my wonder years.
In the Winter and Amazing
You never recognize the magic until it’s all gone. You never see yourself alone until you’re surrounded by others. You never know love, till you have loved. In the morning and amazing I was. I was magnificent, it was magnificent, you were, we were. It all buzzed us, it was magic. The pain, the unwilling-ness, the speeches, the innocence and the wonder. The wonder that was displayed in all our eyes as we set out, bare feet on tiled floor, facial expressions neutrally pumped to maintain our self-confidence and the unspoken love we had for each other. The kind of love that would work through it, the kind of love only seen once before in movies. This love was not romance, but brotherhood and sisterhood. We were teammates, we were fighters, we were a family. The crazy acts, the stunts, the swag and the magic, if there was a time in your life where everything was right, it was that time. Everything else took a backseat to the wonder and the ride your life was about to go on. On that ride you’d meet assholes, pricks and dicks, chicks, chicks with dicks, bitches, hoes, skanks, streetfighters, hunks, jocks, jerks, artists, lovers, punks, losers, and friends. The ride took control of your life you were in. It was your life, but was it? Or were you it’s life. In the morning and amazing, the magic and wonder. Eager, I was about to go overboard. Do you remember that time I made the movie? Or when they were caught making out in the back seat of the bus? Or when we rode the Cougar in the gym? Or when I ran pants-less through the school? Do you remember? When we broke the soap dispenser and made a slip and slide in the showers? When we lost our assistant Coach to Robinson? Or how about when I led the whole team to give him the cold shoulder, then remember he gave us the speech? Do you remember when we gave out his phone number on a date-me sign? Or when we were kicked out of Glory Days? Do you remember the words we spoke? The songs we sang? The things we did? Do you remember when I wore a dress to school? Do you remember when we pulled all those pranks? Or when my megaphone was confiscated from me by the police and I stole it out of the OakMar office room? Does anybody remember the magic? The feeling you get when it’s 12:58 and you had to have been home at 12? The feeling of blowing $30 on a bad burger and needing a ride home?
The feeling where, once in your life everything is right and you have no need to turn back and nor do you want to. The feeling of wonder that swallows your imagination. The magic that captivated you. The feeling where the weight of the world is lifted for one night a week and you wake up feeling happy. The feeling when you finally understand Kevin Arnold’s feeling in the end. The feeling when you’re in The Wonder Years. The Wonder Years.
A Letter to the Notion of Dharma
I have a notion of Dharma
I have for quite some time
I live my life in a coma
Robbing me of all my crimes
You live your life in fear
You are afraid of your mother’s shadow
You began your life in tears
You never learned to let go
He never went through Purgatory
He never even could
He never added to the story
He told you he never would
They move as a unit to Moksha they go
They move in a shadow of a life, they move through the snow.
The View of Another Kind
A view of another kind. The man with a $20 bill sat lonely in his chair waiting as pink paint swirled all around his feet. With no intentions of moving he took a brush and painted the town blue. Digging and digging and digging and digging downward. She moved like perfection in a dark room. Like black dye in a glass of water. She took her cue and sat like a little pure and simple princess, because she was. If perfection could be embodied and walk into your life, here she was. Smiling sweetly, she possesses the ability to lighten the mood. Even dark and even sometimes bitter-rooted moods of my own. Whenever I am near heart attack she’s there. It’s for once in the world there is another kind of view. A view in which I am divine and she is an angel. You picture yourself somehow being a savior to the people like you’re somebody’s personal Jesus Christ. Everybody does it, but it’s a load of duck shit. To some people this is okay.
What really disturbs me the most is the fact that these honest young girls are turned into these zombie-brained lunatics of society in which they spend every weekend at somebody’s house and spend the evenings getting drunk and high, it’s gross. Here we have some of the best of the best influenced by their friends to roll up a joint and puff out their brains. Or worse a young girl with a bottle of vodka and some fruit punch hiding in a high school bathroom. She was smart enough to bring a bottle opener. It’s sad really. It’s not funny, it’s not sexy, it’s not cute and it’s not cool. Its f***ing sad. When you love somebody enough, you overlook everything that could possibly be wrong with them. You don’t notice how they’re a little bit dumb or how they correct your grammar every time you use a wrong tense. You don’t notice it. That is not true love. True love is recognizing these faults but ignoring them because you know somehow this person was made for you, with you in mind. Even when you hear stories of before you met. Forever will be that looming feeling of disbelief and insecurity. Could the past steal her away from me? Does she remember anything from before? I become uneasy when I hear these things. I count the dollars in my pocket and I fix my hair. She must remember me, not some Latino scumbag who tried to get in her pants. This remarkable form of a desperate cry for help can change how you view someone. Coming to grips with the fact you don’t trust somebody you love can really show how much of a person you aren’t. I don’t trust you. You don’t trust me. I don’t care. Well neither do I. Good. Good. It’s so strange you never think of it, but the people who you trust and care about the most, in the end will be the ones who hurt you. It’s as it you put trust in the bottom of a ditch and jumped off the top of a cliff only to be greeted by misleading spikes of rock and dirt. They’re sketchy and junior criminals, you’re an artist and you pick up your influences from all around you. You’re life is filled with sadness yet, you’re the happiest person I know. It’s remarkable to think somebody who’s life has been so up and down could stay so loving and kind. I hope you never change. Always resist me, for I am the devil. I can do nothing but hurt you in the privacy of my home and bedroom. In public and around the house I will love you and care for you with my whole heart. Hanging around a horse with all your friends. Feeding it a cupcake or two along with a scroll filled with fire.
They know nothing
They can’t think for themselves-
All that their teachers have taught them get them nowhere faster than their bus picks them up in the morning. None of these kids have interests
None of them like railroads and poets. None of them like poetry and none of them enjoy drawing or painting. They like success.
I say f*** success unless it’s in something you enjoy. Otherwise, isn’t it just pointless?
I can’t do anything but laugh when I sit in my “honors” English class only to find that everyone in there is picking their ass and licking the finger of the person next door for fresh ideas.
They don’t deserve to be doctors, or “pro LAX’ers” or whatever. They can’t even tell what a verb is.
And to hear them go “AP this and AP that.” Who the hell cares?
My heart goes out to you Karouac, Ginsberg, and Warhol. You did what the f*** you wanted and didn’t care what anyone said. Smart move gentlemen, smart move.
I would just like to address the fact that one day I will sit atop my boxcar and think of the world. I will think of the kids I met in preschool and I’ll think of early childhood friends. I’ll go through my life and then one day, I just will go to bed and never wake up. My death will be the best thing that ever happened to me. Only then will I be able to rest and only then I feel will I be able to watch hours of non-interrupted television programs, and then I’ll achieve my enlightenment as a “Dharma Bum”.
Here is “the Last Poet in America” signing off for now. Good night, drive safely, and drink responsibly. Now get the hell out.
Created: Aug 08, 2012ChristopherGraham Document Media