Sunday, May 25, 2008


Born: Hudson, Ohio, August 24, 1944
Died: Sarasota, Florida July 15, 1974

I tried to write about you with a pen, but a typewriter
keeps up better with my thoughts. But then I don’t
know if this is fair – anyone can write with a typewriter.

Christine: there is only one short film clip of you.
You are wearing a blue blouse, a long gold necklace,
and you are asking, Is It Really Necessary To Have
Another Hospital?

I think of you at the children’s hospital, playing with
puppets, and wondering what you are saying, and
wondering what the puppets are saying.

Christine–you were born on the day
that the Allies liberated Paris.

1944: Dave Davies was born. Joe Frazier was born.
Klaus Nomi was born. George Lucas was born.
Barry White was born. Booker T. Jones was born.
You were born. And yes, Sirhan Sirhan was born.

Five years after John Brown was born,
his family moved to Hudson, Ohio: 1805.

1944: Edvard Munch died. Max Jacob died.
Wassily Kandinsky died. And you were born.

In 1944, Harold Arlen wrote
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.”

In 1974, Nick Lowe wrote “(What’s So Funny)
About Peace, Love and Understanding?”

Your bed at home, Christine, is small,
brightly decorated, with ruffles, yellow
and checked–the bed of a teenage girl.

Christine–What happened to
your compromise button?

Whenever you entered a room, everyone’s eyes
turned towards you, and you walked through,
slowly, but no one came very close.

It’s hard to be on television
and not be a star.

It’s hard to be on television
and be a star.

I think that you liked asking questions
on television, and you were afraid to
answer them sometimes.

The Doctor said: If you don’t become pregnant
in a year, you will never be able to conceive.
But first, Christine thought, First, I have to bake
a cake.

Sometimes. Always.

I hope to become a lady with little spice–

“Long, slim, and beautiful.”

Herons, Vultures, Alligators.

–a mother, a housewife, and a
good friend to all my acquaintances

You hold out your hand. Like a man.
Who are you. You go home. You’re a woman.

Christine–why don’t you
like surprises?

Jean said: Christine, I don’t think the film
is going to roll. You are on your own.

Christine smiled. She had a bag
of hand puppets next to her leg.

Christine–Shay asked: When you meet
a good looking man, why do you say,
You ought to go out with Shay?

Christine–I would have thought you
would have swum out in the ocean
as far as you could go

Sarasota. North Lemon Bay.
Mullet, and schools of other fish.

Siesta Key.

Sarasota: voted ‘The Meanest City in the Country”
by the National Coalition For The Homeless.

The Ringling Brothers.

Yellow Bluff. Cuban fishermen,
in fish camps along the Bay.

Boston. You left before Jonathan wrote,
“When you get out of the hospital / let me
back into your life...”

On Thursday you sat on George’s lap.
You were almost flirting! And George just
wanted to know if you were OK. George
almost wanted to ask you out. But you don’t
like to answer questions. You had already
decided what you were going to do.


“At every action, no matter by whom performed,
make it a practice to ask yourself, ‘What is
the object in doing this?’ But begin
with yourself; put this question to
yourself first of all.”

On Monday you had a cup of coffee
with your mother. You work a black and white
print dress, you jumped into your yellow
Volkswagen convertible. Your hair almost
reached your waist and it was a
sunny day in Florida.

Your chocolate poodle,

Christine–Dan stood over you, leaned down,
and with a rag, water and razor blade, cleaned
the desk off as well as he could.

Christine, you never had a boyfriend.
I think of the time you made a nice cake
for George, and he said No, thank you
– I can’t.

The Sheriff said: To do it right, use wadcutter
target bullets in a .38. And don’t shoot
the temple, shoot behind the right ear.

Christine, there’s nothing
like a good pun.


Every day, five hundred people
would watch you. 500 sounds like
a lot, but it’s not a lot.



The cameraman looks up,

Presses the controls.

Fade to black.


GENTLE BEN? Wait! How?
What happened?

Where is Christine?

The kids say: I want to see

Jean looked at you through the camera.
Oh no, Christine, not another bad joke.

“These men are all talk,” John Brown said.
“What we need is action - action!”

When his body was laid to rest in a pine coffin,
the noose was still around his neck.

I have a nifty idea, Christine said.

Laurel School for Girls. You formed the
No Date Wonder Club. It was so much
fun, you said. Everyone said it was fun.

“Though men may hinder you from
following the paths of reason, they can
never succeed from deflecting you
from sound action...”

If there is anything that leaves
a sour taste in my mouth, it’s failure

Christine–please come–

Every day you waited behind your desk
for the prayers to end. Your eyes were closed,
your hands were steady, it was time to look
into the camera.

“When you reach out your hand and
nobody takes it, there’s something
wrong with your drumbeat....”

Christine–can’t you
take a compliment?

“A wadcutter has a flat or nearly flat front,
which acts to cut a very clean hole through
the target, making it easier to score and ideally
reducing errors in scoring to the favor of the shooter.”

I still believe in wine and roses...


George said: “I think she’s
getting better. I really do.”

“I don’t think,” the psychiatrist said,
“that she’s that serious about death.”

Jean said: Christine–

Your hair flew forward and covered
your face, as though by a gust of wind.

“I realized as I was sitting there,
tears were running down my face,
dripping into this red mess that
was on the table...”

I don’t think the film is
going to roll.

You are on your own.

Christine smiled. She had a bag
of hand puppets next to her leg.

Christine reached
inside the bag.

There is one question
I need to ask you–


One hundred and twenty people
stood near the water’s edge
in the Gulf of Mexico.

One woman
was in a bikini.

Gordon didn’t understand
what had happened.

I have some news.

Christine, I don’t think
the film is going to roll.

Christine smiled.

Gordon said

Her body began to shake

The telephones began to ring

I would like to have, just for one week,
someone I really loved, who really loved me...

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED textures but I have always been awfully bad at them. If you want to find the true texture master, you should look at the work of Dave McKean. How does he do it? I don't know. You probably don't believe it, but sometimes I lose sleep trying to figure out how he does it. What worries me most of all (and maybe 'worry' is the wrong word, but it is one of my favorite words) is that he doesn't use a computer at all, just a whole bunch of pens and oils and acrylics and deliciously beat up canvases. If you know if that is true, please tell me. I could use some sleep. So far, the computer does not look anything like Dave McKean.

I also love superheroes of course – who doesn't? But I think I love them in the 'right' way, which is I think about them when I am looking at them, but not terribly often when I am not.

Here is a ditty that I have been working on for a projected project called 'Palookaville' which I thought was a great name since I like Marlon Brando ( and I like ON THE WATERFRONT ( but a quick look into the archives made me discover that it might very well look like I like Fatboy Slim too, but I don't, because I really don't know him.

Anyway, this sort of thing is really easy to put together. All you have to do is find a mural size black and white drawing of a hundred or so Marvel Superheroes, rotate the canvas 90 degrees clockwise, and then duplicate the image and reverse the image placing on on top of the other with a standard transparency. Voila! You have a Superhero Melange that is also sort of a Rorschach Test, with a little color in it, too. Nothing too fancy, though.

I think I see a bear on a motorcycle in the center top. He also might have pincers, terrible pincers. Scholars say it's not a bear at all – it's Kali, the Hindi Goddess of Destruction. Smart money says they may be right. I don't think that it's cute enough to be a bear.

all artwork, including monsters but not old timey photographs,
® mr. crispy flotilla, 2007

Monday, May 19, 2008


Let’s go out to the store and buy you a bodice Why? Because then we can come back and I can come in and take it off and write it down, “It was then that he removed her bodice” I forgot what she said then because I couldn’t stop thinking of the words ‘removed her bodice’ Oh yes, now I remember she asked me where I left the poet and I said I don’t know he’s around here somewhere the kitchen is always a good bet. None of this was a dream but the fact is I dream now that I miss her but that’s the way dreams go nowadays What’s THIS? she says, grabbing my pants It’s just a dream go back to sleep I say twenty years too late and my bodice, your bodice is in tatters: perhaps even in flames!

I like to blame the poet in the corner, holding what looks like a giant match Oh no it is a viola Sure, like he can play the viola And now he’s messing around with the embers He’s dressed in black He couldn’t be more than twenty And now he’s got that stupid grin.

all artwork, including monsters but not old timey photographs,
® mr. crispy flotilla, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008


TODAY I met a minister. I asked him where he was from, and he said, "New York." Well, years ago, I was told that if you wanted to sound like you were from New York, you would never ask "New York City?" but instead say, "Manhattan?" And so I did that instead. I felt a little foolish, though, because he said, "Almost ... Yonkers."

As a young boy, I enjoyed eating SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS, but I always felt as though I was committing a crime. It's hard not to feel like you are committing a crime when you are eating SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS when you are ten years old: just look at them! It's not like a 'Smoking a Cigarette' crime, though – it's more of a 'Spin the Bottle' size crime. Maybe even a little less, because if you are caught, you are pretty cool. Spin the Bottle? Not so much. Someone might remind you of it years later, when you are a little hard of hearing and don't seem to recollect them very well but have to take their word for it. After all, they were there, and they say that you were, too.

When I was a lonely teenage boy, sometimes I would get so lonely that I thought I would go bonkers. What to do? Well, I used to look at a box of PLAYER'S NAVAL CUT cigarettes and I would feel better. Neither my Mother nor my Father smoked them. I just love the ocean, though. And Navy things, a little bit. Not too much, though. Mostly, the ocean on cigarette tins. Everything, better.

I never know what to say to somebody if they tell me something and I have nothing to say about it. Sometimes it is even worse if I only have one thing to say about it, and it doesn't seem particularly relevant.

I am thinking about that minister now, from Yonkers. Where did he go? Somewhere, I bet. It was rainy outside, the stadium lights were on, graduation was continuing apace, and there was a soft feeling of winter in the air, even though it wasn't winter anymore.

Ira Gershwin once wrote: "“Who cares what banks fail in Yonkers / Long as you got a kiss that conquers?”


Inquire if you wish, if you must

all artwork, including monsters but not old timey photographs,
® mr. crispy flotilla, 2007

Friday, May 09, 2008


It’s been so long since I have thought about Jacqueline Susann.

I remember reading her when I was 16. I did it by mistake. I liked the name of the book, which was THE LOVE MACHINE.

I was wondering what kind of a machine that would be. And lo and behold, I don’t think I really ever found out anything about that.

I do remember reading about vitamin shots, which were dangerous I think, and were probably amphetamines. Also, a really old guy sleeping with a really young woman. I am probably wrong about this, but I think her name was April.

The only other thing I remember is lots of chest hair. For some reason, I think it was grey. That’s one of the big reasons why I don’t really want to go back and read THE LOVE MACHINE again, although I do find myself thinking about Jacqueline Susann upon occasion.

I think she had a unhappy life. Then it was happy, and then she died. Although it was all probably more complicated* than that, don’t you think? It has to be more complicated than that if you have a name like Jacqueline Susann**.

* complicated = bisexual

* *I did a little research on this and discovered that I was pretty much wrong about everything. “April” was actually “January,” “The Love Machine” was actually “Once Is Not Enough,” and Jacqueline Susann had an affair with Coco Chanel and Ethel Merman, not, well, I don’t know who else she had affairs with–do you? Also, the book had better names for men than for women. Case in point: Tom Colt. The one thing I got right was the chest hair. There was definitely a lot of chest hair, mostly on Tom Colt. I have a good memory for chest hair.
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