Sunday, July 16, 2006

LESSER MEDITATIONS, WITH A GENTLE CRISP

When the world seems a little gloomy, I try to picture Rachmaninoff, not playing his Third Piano Concerto to a feverish international acclaim, but instead trying to cross the street, bent over a little bit with an aching back and saying “Eh?” when someone riding a wicked fast horse yells “Watch out, grandpa!” and then because he doesn’t watch out the horse plows into him and knocks him on his rump and it smarts.

Even though this never happened, it does for me, and quite often, too. Usually before I fall in love, or before I fall in love with a catchy tune, or fall down, a little pretentiously, as though I were Rachmaninoff.

**

SAFARI OF LOVE

When Ava Gardner turned around to face Clark Gable, I realized that she was sporting fully erect nipples al fresco. Clark Gable was unaffected by same, and remained so throughout the movie. And so, accordingly, he revealed nothing. There is nothing to reveal. Ava Gardner responded to his lack of affect, while remaining unaffected in kind. Ava Gardner, unmoved, revealing nothing. There is nothing to reveal. For eventually, and for such, the heart gives out and it secretly resembles a red bell pepper that is not terribly fresh or appealing–perhaps even stinky. And yet, when Clark Gable stood against the wall while the native Congoians threw spears at his toned body, he did not flinch, but oh how his eyes did twinkle! While deep beneath the haut couture lingerie, as such spears flew, Ava Gardner’s bright red bell pepper, fully inflated and fragrant, danced a native beat, deeply moved. For love, it seems, upon its precious moments, remains bright and sparkly and, if not steadfast, at least unaware of nothing.

**

ODE TO CLOWNS AND MILK

My room is filled with clowns. How did this happen?
I hate the circus. Well, that explains it, I guess.
I think this is some sort of revenge thing.
I guess this was inevitable. I don’t care.
I am going downstairs. I think I will go down
to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich
and stay there until I die from something.
Would you like a glass of milk?
Would you like to kill me?

**

TUTTI FRUTTI

Once, a long time ago, a young man
who lived in Italy, after they spoke nothing
but Latin and before they spoke that kind of
modern Italian style idiom, asked a fruit
vendor what kind of fruit he sold. “Tutti
Frutti” he replied, which doesn’t mean what
we think, which is that amazing marbled
tasty sweet multi-colored fruit jelly bean,
but instead, simply “All fruit.”

“I sell all fruit, you bastard,”
which is a rough translation
of “Tutti Frutti” which is also
a song that was done quite
nicely by Mel Tormé in 1957,
sweating profusely, not to be
confused with Little Richard’s
equally sweaty but different
“Tutti Frutti,” while Albert Camus,
cool as a cucumber, won the Nobel
Prize (1957),much luckier than
Oliver Hardy, silent star and later
talkie comedian, who was quite plump,
until he died, yes, quite, right then
and there (1957) eating, I think, sweet
multi-colored fruit jelly beans,
so chewy and deelish.

Tutti Frutti! Those things will make
make you sing velvety songs, or
write existentially, or die, plump
and missing your better half, which
is quite slim and exists really or
only theoretically.

If you are lucky, you can do all
these things with Tutti Frutti.
If you are unlucky, my heart
breaks as I sit down by
the shores of the Adriatic Sea
and think about you.

**

THE FACE

of man. Every inch–no, every pica of a man’s beard is inhabited by a hair, rooted in place, growing constantly. For those lucky men for whom this is true, there is nothing quite so satisfying as a ‘clean shave.’ Suddenly, such a man has the face of a baby: you can pinch it, or caress it, or give it a good slap–all are equally satisfying–that velvety face innocence belies the hair-to-pica ratio richness that could blossom into a melange or menagerie or–what’s the other word? Oh yes: an entre-nous of billowy beard were it to be left unattended, at which point, a clean shave is the only way to go.

Someone in the audience asked what the difference is between a ‘close’ and a ‘clean’ shave. Before I answer that, let me mention two details that I neglected to mention earlier: 1: given the choice between eternal life and a full, rich beard, most men choose the beard: for the beard is immortal, isn’t it? You’d have to go along with it. This is sort of a trick question. 2: and this is particularly important: pinch or caress such a man, but do not slap. Remember, the full, rich beard is immortal, and it will haunt you, and someday, your heirs. Or, if not, and at the very least, guys with big beards tend to slap back.


all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

CRISPY MEDITATIONS ON THE SABBATH HOW I SPENT THE SABBATH, BUT JUST THIS ONE (images by Crispy Jr.)

Watching a crocodile trainer tapping a crocodile’s snout in a rhythmic pattern again and again. This was some sort of crocodile message, and the crocodile gave the trainer a knowing look, a kind of crocodily wink, and then, BINGO! chomped down and took the whole damn thing, I mean the arm, and changed the life of his trainer for pretty much ever. I think that the crocodile was experiencing that ‘basta’ feeling which is sort of ‘enough is enough’ and decided to mix things up a bit. I watched it two or three times just to make sure that the crocodile had actually done what I thought he did. Yep, he did. And then, somewhat surprisingly, he sort of flung the arm out into the audience. It seemed like an unnecessary flourish. Meanwhile, the trainer was screaming like a baby, real drama queen stuff, and saying ‘Please God’ or ‘Help me Lord Jesus’ or something. This bothered me, a lot, really, but I didn’t know why. So I watched the crocodile having his snout tapped and then the basta part and then the chomp and then the fling into the audience part ten or twelve times until I finally realized what bothered me so much.

My friends tell me that you can’t always play the victim. And that you can’t control what people, or things, do to you: you can only control how you react to what they do. And this trainer was nothing if not a person who really restricted by his victim-type lifestyle. He chose to live in that moment, and not move on, at least for as long as that movie lasted. I forget exactly how long that was, but it did seem to go on for a while. I do hope, for his own sake, that he has learned to move on since then. Because even though there aren’t that many crocodiles out there with your arms in their jaws of steel, crocodiles are really no different from people: everyone hates to have their noses tapped. And nobody likes a cry baby. And it seems like everyday one of my friends is biting somebody for something they did, sometimes on the arm but oftentimes in places even worse, and I personally think that they are right to do so. But when this happens, I think the best thing to do is move on. I know that, even as I watched that arm flying in the air, even before it touched down, I was no longer thinking about the pain or the loss or disability or anything else. “Think of it not as a problem,” my friends say, “but an opportunity.” Now you can wear a trench coat, like Pepe Le Moko, and smoke a cigarette. One sleeve remains tucked in, mysterious and continental. Now you can blow a kiss, in the French manner, and wave to your friends, all with the same hand. Now you can pray, in a new way, but in a funny way, a way that will make your friends laugh and remember the good times. Your enemies, too. But your prayers will take care of them. And your friends will smile and say thank you. You can still speak French, if you happen to know it already. And so can your enemies, right back at you.


all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

CRISP REFLECTIONS ON BEING MORE SOMEWHAT MORE REALISTIC

It’s easy to say “things were much better in the ‘50’s” because so much time has passed and the memory of those distant years, over time, becomes wrapped in sweet nostalgia as if wrapped in a soft and gentle decorous georgette saree, but not a saree that covers your body so much as one that dwells restlessly without a body to cover, and in your mind.

Recently, however, I watched an episode of Superman which demonstrated in vivid detail precisely how unsettling the ‘50s really were. Back then, everybody who went on vacation went to places like Moose Island, Maine. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, if you think so, try asking Jimmy Olsen how nice it is. First of all, back then, if you were to have an aunt, she would appear secretive and sinister. Your cousin, we’ll call him Chris, would wear one of those Joe Palooka beanies and wouldn’t look at you and wouldn’t greet you by shaking your hand. He wouldn’t have a bit of it. Nope. And the housekeeper? Beautiful, but also deaf and dumb. Scary, huh? But that’s not all. If you were to take a pleasant vacation stroll in the woods, you would hear a haunting voice scream “Help me!I’m drowning!” and the lighthouse that would have been abandoned–well, its lights would become mysteriously illuminated at night. And don’t forget Matt, who is about as nice as Chris in the Joe Palooka beanie and would suddenly appear out of nowhere and put a knife to your throat and tell you to stay away from the lighthouse! And even if you were to mind your own business and stay in your room, you would receive mysterious notes from your aunt, slipped surreptitiously under your door and pleading for help–and the hand-writing would be different from her handwriting on her recipes for her delicious blueberry muffins! Try to escape your so-called ‘vacation house’ and you will find yourself face down in a cave with the tide rising in the cave and you will be drowning–drowning, that is, until Superman comes and bends the cave bars (they used to have them back in the ‘50s) and he would do that with his mighty arms which
he would then use to kill Matt, hold Chris up in the air dangling by the scruff of his shirt collar and then bend one of those bars around his torso and then give Matt’s pistol to your real aunt–the one who really did write the recipe for her delicious blueberry muffins–so that she could personally apprehend the pretend aunt and bring her to justice with a pistol, which would be a good thing since she is really just a petty smuggler or arms dealer or something in cahoots with Chris and Matt who are also criminals who probably aren’t giving their real names anyway and because your aunt secretly likes the idea of holding a loaded gun and pointing it at an arms smuggler, and when she does, her eyes would dance playfully, like those of a little girl. I know that this part sounds like fun, but while you consider the fun part, don’t forget the rest of it: Chris’ sullenness, Matt’s knife at your throat, the damp and misty New England air, the “Help me! I’m drowing!” person, the Edsel, the Korean War, Algier Hiss, the Rosenbergs, The Clutter Family, etc. You can’t be too romantic about the 50’s–you can be gentle, but try to be realistic. It really wasn’t that great–even though they had Moose Island, Maine, and even though, at least for a while, they had Superman.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006. And oh, Joe Palooka. That's not me, either.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A NIGHT OF SOME DELIGHT

Ady invited a boy out for a date. “Would you care for coffee?” she asked. he said he would, and so they went to a café. There, the boy read a magazine. Ady looked at the paper cups and the ice cream.

When they finished their coffee, Ady said, “Would you like to go out for a glass of wine?” The boy said he would and so they did. Ady ordered a macon, and the so did the boy. Ady realized that this was a good sign. At the wine bar, the boy found a magazine at one of the tables and picked it up. Ady noticed that the boy’s eyes were very good looking, and that he read very fast.

After finishing the wine, Ady was hungry. “Would you like to go maybe somewhere for dinner?” she asked the boy. He didn’t hear her, and so she said, “Would you like to go maybe somewhere for dinner?” Ady liked to eat Chinese food in particular.

One year later, Ady threw a marvelous party. when her guests came to the door, she screamed with joy. Some guests were dressed in costume, some were dressed in formal attire, and it was a delightful party and it lasted so long that the guests, after a while, tended to drift in and out, sometimes going to the nearby convenience store to buy club soda, beverages, candles, chocolate. and wine, champagne, and toothpicks. One guest even bought a tire repair kit.

Late that evening, Ady’s neighbor’s doorbell rang. “What is it?” Ady’s neighbor said, opening the door slightly. It was quite late indeed and her neighbor was not expecting any visitors. Outside, a man walked by with a bottle of club soda. The bottle was made of real glass, not plastic. Another man fell off his bicycle and hurt his knee quite badly; there was a great deal of blood. The man with the bottle of club soda put the bottle down and walked over to help the bloody party guest. Next door, Ady and her friends were about to go out to see a very unusual meteor shower.

“Who is it?” Ady’s neighbor asked. It was the boy. He opened the door. “Oh, you’re ‘the boy,’” Ady’s neighbor said. The boy smiled. “I must have the wrong house.”


all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

DAY OF THE CONDOR

Once upon a time there was a giant condor (wing span: 3 meters) named Augustus T. Condor the Second. When he was knighted, he was, of course, Sir Augustus T. Condor the Second. Because he was knighted due to valor and bravery in the Crimean War, he was, upon his knighting, Sir Augustus T. Condor the Second, Lt. General of all Armed forces in Crimea (Ret’d.) He received an honorary degree from Harvard for his accomplishments, particularly those secret ones in Crimea, and the next thing you know, welcome to Sir Augustus T. Condor the Second. Lt. General Of All Armed Forces in Crimea (Ret’d), ph.D. We used to like to call him “Doc” when we saw him swooping down towards the barley fields in search of untitled field mice. When he missed, he cried like a baby. A baby pigeon. A baby pigeon in the dark who misses his mommy.


all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006
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