That’s what my Nana used to say to me when I’d open up a fresh tin of sardines. But she’d often doze off in the midst of her soliloquies, not colloquies – or calls o’ quay, which are like catcalls at construction sites, but 100 times worser, as are seamen to construction workers - after which she’d awake refreshed and stinking of gin. That was Nana – who was I to say anything? Only a teenage tart just then coming into my own. A pop tart, they would call me today, had I been a pop singer, which I wasn’t, so they wouldn’t – they’d have just left me alone.
A clear style is beginning to emerge from these incoherent ramblings, and that is one of a desperate debaucher. Not “dee baucher,” as Fraulein Magda used to call the meat-cutter. But a depraved human being with a fondness for base animal desires like to eat and to sire. Debased and unstable like rolling stone. Gather no moss, but at what cost?
Bloom’s day. Bloomingdale’s. Which one for this culture prevails? But intellectual snobs have been propping themselves up with their judgments on others’ crass desire for basic human necessities for as long as there have been noses to look down. Perhaps longer, if you consider East Asians to have no nose, which only a quack with notions whack would ever really try to back with any kind of argument – one truly full of rage up-pent. Or an inveterate liar like Verbal Kent, but such was his bent, the merry gent, his legacy now in cement.
Though that’s still not exactly what I meant when I set to talk of things ill-sent. The first of these, the government-‘s taxes claiming your last red cent. And that scent it leaves behind, nothing like autumn leaves and fine red wine, which ‘round us right now we find, as we in this ship’s bowels dine, for once vowing to take the time to find out what the other needs – or says they need, which says it all. Not straight out, but off the wall. A carom shot, a blowing glance, a glancing blow thy lover’s lance the source of pain and of romance, the pleasure only to enhance like those crazy cosmopolitans in France. That one last chance, a wine romance, what more need thee than song and dance? But song so sweet and soft and full like Ray relaxing at the pool. You’d have to be a bloody fool to miss this chance to hear unspool melodies from the king of cool. Forty acres and a mule is all they asked the world cruel, but it declined – sent them to school – not one equipped with a slide rule. Rather, that of hard knocks – violence and cunning their only tools. Hard knocks, not knocking hard, though the latter recalls a scene in our front yard – rather, at our front door, some years before, a young man I’d come to know came calling one day just as though my parents were as liberal with me as each of us is with ourselves, hardly a feat one might expect encounter, much less assume from people strange – and strangers to him they today remain, their trust he never seemed to gain, for his search ended up in vain, his search for beauty, truth, and the humane, a quest for only the insane, for only they can find the strength to pursue to any depth or length a goal with such model-slim odds one might as well defy the gods.
They came in unrelenting waves, like Latinos into the construction trade or South Asians into hospitals. One after the other, like the locusts in the tale of Rip Van Winkle, or the Liliputians from Jonathan Livingston Seagull. An undeniable hunger pulled them forth – or was it a terrible fear that drove them on? No one could say, for no two shared a language. One might be desperately escaping while his compatriot, his comrade, his brother-in-arms, was relentlessly searching. Every which way but loose. Indeed, loose was the one thing they dared not be. A bad reputation would be a permanent scar – this group was all they had, and it was imperative that they keep in good stead. How a reputation is acquired when no language exists is a pertinent question, and one I’m glad you’ve asked. However, they dared not take that risk.
A little while on, when the cliff walls closed in to reveal only a narrow stream of sky above, the more cautious of them raised a cry of protest. But how does one distinguish a cry of protest from a call to persevere when one knows not the language of the protestant? Being a lone protestant in the group ranking as greatly more desirable than being alone in the canyon kept the group together and progressing.
When the stream above had turned from blue sky to black ink, finally the leader sat to think. Or so his followers may have thought. This, we have no way of knowing. But follow him still they did, stopping around him and waiting. Some reclining, others pacing. With time, more the former, fewer the latter. Soon after gravity overtook them, sleep followed.
Not for nothing had they come this far. The morning brought a renewed vigor to their march, and by high noon they had crested the hill and overlooked a valley pasture. Perhaps those who were running felt the fear in them abate. Perhaps those who were seeking found this is what they’d sought. They each of them spread out across the land, claiming their own plot, no longer part of the group, but still members of the community.
Perhaps it takes a village to raise a child. Perhaps it takes a group of confused individuals with more-or-less-coinciding goals to raise a village. The rivulet of sky they’d followed was now a vast sea supporting nebulous lily pads. The rocks, still so close as to look on, were in sharp contrast to the blanket of grass shot through by the occasional tree.
Over the horizon who knew what lay? Was it desert, swamp, plateau – the land changed so quickly here, it was hard to know. Perhaps over the horizon lay lusher fields. Maybe placid lakes abounded.
But, geez, you gotta stop somewhere.