N U C L E A R B U R N
A bright flash of white light—a nice tan for (half) life
Dying in Style
Hurtling through space at six hundred miles per hour is really a thing for people sitting in first class. Everybody else on the plane is merely paying for gas.
The best thing about my life in those days was, by far, not remembering what the back of a Jet Engine looks like.
I discovered this Car Service, which my employers regularly sent out to collect me, called BLS International. Luxury and Town cars, black, pure smell of leather, silent driver.
They can send out a car for you anywhere in the world…well…Anywhere someone like me would care to land into, after a 13 hour flight.
Basically, a private car cost exactly twice what a taxi would; not bad.
A first class airline ticket is ten to fifteen times more expensive than coach.
Once your neighbors have seen you getting out of one of those at 7:00 am, with all your luggage, they start to fear you.
I’m a Rabid Lamb in Wolf’s Clothing
Helene, once told me that it’s not enough to look to a person’s public achievements when you gage a life’s values and contributions. “The emotional trail
which a person leaves behind,” she added, “that which, for the most part they aren’t aware of, is also their legacy – not always what they wish to see – but a yardstick nonetheless.”
I wondered at the time if she was nudging me… should I take heed…?
I sometimes naively assume that my life touches no-one, and that I can do no damage because nothing stands close enough for me to knock it over.
Keeping a Journal reveals the sort of legacy that I never considered: Are there scratches in the hull that I’ve never noticed? Footprints in my kitchen that are not my own?
Are there friends I could offend, if they were to read my mind, and fail to see the hubris and irony that they once mistook for clairvoyance?
On the one hand, Lennon has been quoted many times as singing that: “the Love you take is equal to the Love you give”…
He was either right, and about to take a bullet in the chest as reward for a life well lived, or I am the most loving person I have ever met.
On the other hand, Jeremy, a couple of nights ago, said: “Hey, life is what you go out looking for”.
He thought he was quoting Brad Pitt, but in fact he was quoting Jeremy; Jeremy looks almost as good as Brad Pitt, so he’s forgiven for crediting the wrong stud.
I started out thinking that the Pen is Mightier than the Sword. I graduated to a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words; made a living off it. I am now contemplating the possibility that the Keypad is mightier than the Wacom Tablet.
I already know it is.
The phone rings, in my Man Cave.
Is this a Mammoth that I must kill?
It’s my Canadian filmmaker friend.
The news is grim; he still has no Star, and believes that his budget has been cut some more.
He is lost.
Lost at sea.
Without a star.
Halfway ’round the World, in Paris, in another realm altogether, Sebastien is on Instant Messenger.
I tell him about Robert Bly.
There’s no-one in France like Robert Bly, Sebastien reads English so he will be saved.
I tell him that Bly has charted Masculine Mythology; something which, for the most part, has been delicately excised from a young’s man’s education in a Society suddenly obsessed with Female Orgasmic Rights. Men have few useful philosophical life-rafts, in a place where women raise them, and fathers disappear at sea.
Fathers – derided for their pleasure, infantilized for their passions.
I know that, once a child, I grew up seeing the World through the eyes and needs of my mother – this wasn’t much help, and I had to spend much of my adult life unlearning and reprogramming what amounted to counter-intuitive coping mechanisms.
A woman’s compass is useless to a man.
In our bones, we are hunters, gatherers, warriors.
We rest on fraternity for our survival.
Loyalty is our temple.
We do not know what awaits us when we return to the Cave.
If we die fighting to feed our young, their DNA will carry our souls into a distant future, through which Nature, the matrix, carves out a time traveler, selectively – a specimen of perfection, chiseled through the pain of time, through the crushing of defeat. The survival of the fittest is man’s only destiny.
A female human has successfully mated with Sebastien. Many moons ago, she captured his seed, and cocooned his young, into our DNA chain.
Her work done, she has left the Cave — withdrew her love — a bee, retracting its stinger.
Sebastian has no compass. He is lost at sea. He needs his warrior soul.
Who failed to teach him War?
Who suckled him into such weakness, that the bosom of life became his only wand?
Who has lulled him into this false security?
Who has rendered our fathers tired, and weak, so they can no longer forge our swords?
Who gains from our slumber?
Deep at the bottom of the lake, where he has sunk, Man fights for his life.
In the depths of his nightmare, Iron John gives him fire and gold, his treasure.
Men have a story.
Men have a star, to guide them, back to the light.
The John of John Street
This trip to New York City – the 4th this year – nears its end.
What a curious life I lead; I get little of the things I want,
but I suspect I get a lot of things that other people would
consider “taxidermy” fit for those empty spaces
on their trophy wall.
There’s no-one on earth I can explain my life to – really.
I experience none of the things that sane folk consider vital, and everything that qualifies as wholly superfluous. No wonder it looks great, from a distance.
In a day or two, I’ll be buying a second Travel Bag and packing my junk once again; for where, I do not know.
I went out to Jersey for Sidney Lumet’s wrap. The poor guy had a black eye. He apparently fell a few days ago, flat on his face. The crew had a Party in a Midtown Bar.
I had another intense “mixed race” conversations with his daughter Amy – her grandmother was Lena Horne – imagine that…
The subject of second class citizenship and mixed biology is a tough one, because it is boring when addressed by people who do not live it, day to day; however, once every few years, I bump into someone who sees straight into the mouth of the monster, without romance.
For her, the borderlines of race do not supersede a class issue. “Bill Cosby can live up the hill from anybody, anytime”, she said. She also felt confident enough to venture out on a limb: “Someone like you probably feels ambivalence about ever having a child with a woman darker than yourself, by fear you might force that child into an even lower status”…
Most people are too nice or too stupid to figure this out – or too easy on themselves.
I replied I felt ambivalence about children altogether by fear that the genetic patrimony I offered was too much of a burden.
“The solution”, she offered, “is for you to become filthy rich, and circumvent the class issue”.
We laughed, but I rarely feel so well understood.
It’s good to know why things are, but it doesn’t do much to change them…What did I think this place was again?
After the party, a sly fox and naughty cat dragged your humble narrator to Scores – a trendy West End strip club.
Last time I went to a strip club was a birthday party, Gina’s, at Fantasy Island on Pico.
The mood was Electric, people were relaxed, everyone knew one another; good clean fun.
Gina, unbeknownst to us, had only a couple more Birthdays to celebrate.
Last time before that, was when all you needed was a wad of singles – a buck a dance, I think it was.
“Thanks honey”, a buck would get you at the Melody Burlesque, on Times Square in the 1970s.
Last night, I imagine a buck might have gotten you beaten up by the bouncer and thrown out into the street.
The second I checked my coat, I knew this was a mistake.
The blood-sucking Lamia were upon us – Vlad Dracul’s Castle. Some elemental part of my brain shut down to the bliss of it all, and I decided to be immune to the Mermaids of Lethe.
They were buzzing like flies…Beautiful beyond belief – a very bad sign – slithering, while massaging your neck: “Can I dance for you”? “Why not”? “You have to be open minded, sometimes”…“I can make you happy”.
…I can make you happy… She’d lost me right there.
“Really”?, I asked her, “I wish you a better life than my own”. She was adorable, but the acting dropped out for a beat, as I said that, and she stared sadly, worried.
She didn’t care about my life but something tells me she knew what I meant about hers.
I felt like Ulysses, without a Penelope unraveling her day’s work, of course, because if I ever had a Penelope, I believe she bought an electric sewing machine the day I set sail, and finished off that shroud in haste, and out of respect for her suitors – Bless her – but I felt like Ulysses enough, and enough to recognize that my shipmates were bleeding hopelessly and were as good as dead.
In truth, there was no moral high ground involved, the girls were gorgeous and I’d love to earn seven figures.
I was being cheap…I just didn’t want to bleed money all night…and for what?
Cat and fox earn seven figures.
They can stay all night and bleed all kinds of fluids.
I abandoned them and took a cab home to John Street.
Not “home”, but as home as I get.
This urbanite I know once invited me over just to show me a four-facing chair and table set from a Concorde aircraft, which he purchased at an auction after the airliner was retired.
They adorn his West London apartment.
Had he been German, he would have bought a set of burnt and mangled seats from the wreck of the Concorde that crashed in Paris, a few years back, and would have buffed them a little – ‘dinner table – very Post-Modern.
When he divorces his pretty little wife, she will unpack a chainsaw, and while he lunges for the Memorabilia, she will take off his nuts.
I love what he did with the place, but for the most part, London trendsetters spend far too much time shopping for tattered loafers with Italian names, and gelling-up the four hairs left on their skull.
Polishing brass on the Titanic, if you ask me.
My Beautiful Nightmare
I was walking across a Communist Era Town Square, at night.
I was ducking behind walls for no reasons.
He saw me and in an instant, was looking at me, his head big as a Pumpkin.
The main reason we don’t remember the greater part of our dreams
Is that we experience them much as we experience waking life:
In a state of general unconsciousness – a sort state of Auto Pilot.
Being fully aware of our own presence is a fairly rare event, in life or in dreams.
I could easily use the model of dreams as a template for how we live, since
I’m sure there’s little or no difference between one state and the other.
The main difference I see is that in waking life, things tend to be found repeatedly
as we last left them…Put it another way: What we forget,
the physical world remembers for us – what the Hindus call Karma.
If this difference did not exist, we’d be as lost in daily life as we usually are when dreaming.
Imagine going to work tomorrow, and finding out that you are now an Ice Sculptor – and that you have inexplicably grown a beard. That you live in a Cardboard house…And that none of it seems to bother you.
What can we learn from dreams?
Presumably nothing about Black Cats, but rather, how our inner state directly affects outcome, though not always in ways we can predict.
This sort of poetic musing is fun, but the reasoning works as far and as deeply as your imagination is willing to test it.
“Dreams are real while they last”, I read once.
’Works for me.
( more on that, later )
Good Luck !
Fluff & Fold
Americans behave badly abroad as cover for how well they live at home.
Nothing makes me happier to be here than the posh 24hour Supermarket selling Fresh Cut Flowers and Sushi at 4:00 am, just around the corner from the Corporate Housing Structure I call a hotel.
How about the friendly Cabs?
…And the Electronics Shops where they sell just-what-you-need-when-you-need-it?
…And the Starbucks on every block that hands you a stack of Free Coffee Vouchers for spilling a Frappucino on your hand bag…I noticed that on the back of them, it says they’re redeemable at all participating outlets in the US and Canada, and in England.
They know to leave the French out of the “Customer is King” game.
The best, though, is the Indian Laundry who does Fluff and Fold across all fifty States, and operates in the same colonies as Starbucks’ courtesy coupons.
Fluff and Fold: I take a bag of dirty Laundry, the clerk places it on a scale, tells me to come back in a few hours, charges me 10 Bucks ( currently 6.7 Euros ) and hands it back to me, cleansed and purified, tightly folder and shrink wrapped.
That is reason enough for me to know that I chose America as a place to live by default.