Nick was in the bedroom, occupied with a musical question. He held a red, Guild Sunburst acoustic guitar. Nick was a musician, and contributed to the support of the small family, along with Donna, the wife. She worked mornings as a kindergarten teacher in a private school. The school was one block east, on Utica Avenue. They were on East …
there are few noises
sweeter than a car alarm
shutting itself off.
a single poem:
you are as rare as a day
in dark alaska.
Sweet relief, the first. Erstwhile love comes, the second. We say “Thanks!” to Carl. – mh clay
Frankie Mann operated a small, Brooklyn music office. He often hired a junkie sax player named Freddie. Frankie’s father, Mambo, was a gangster down in Florida. He financed Frankie as a front. He also used a fat singer named Peter Vallone, who told jokes, usually with an Italian accent. Now Doctor Frankel stared kindly at Brown. Frankel sat erect in …
creating it is always
talking about it is always
Still, a breath mint before speaking attempts the illusion. – mh clay
We first wanted to start a wedding band. This is where I met Scott Howard. He was a fat guy playing keyboard across from me in a Manhattan rehearsal studio. The next week I had him over at my house. I watched him wobble up the walkway. We lived in a place called the Butcher’s Co-op on Midwood Street, Brooklyn. …
she does not want to know the dark side
she wants to know if the green napkins are
the right color green for the catered affair
if the band will play the bride
and groom’s special song
if the cute little candy bar wrapper
which had been especially designed for this occasion
by a very hip paper products company
will have very cute pictures of the bride and groom.
there is no room, no space for the blues.
she has done what scientists
have not been able to do –
squeeze out the dark side
every major 20th century american writer
hemmingway in the 20’s
kerouac in the 50’s
bukowski in the 80’s
dissatisfaction with the conditions.
even when the material things are okay,
something’s always peeving us.
something isn’t right
not just right.
even this little wedding as it is.
i keep thinking of my writers
and their stories
about episodes of their lives.
sitting at a small desk, taking a pen pencil paper
and getting the feeling on the page
really etch it
so you know it hurt.
none backed down.
they stayed in rooms and cried;
played blues as well as anybody ever did.
Fantasyland polished greens and blues, pressed to paper; expressing a bruise. Too honest for what Walt had in mind… – mh
Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and …
there’s always somebody with a longer pipe,
a bigger hose, a higher car, a louder voice,
a holier prayer, a furrier cat, more modern p.a. system,
bigger book, crazier look, jazzier hook.
more bark-filled branch, more experience in romance,
fancier pants, better dance. more charm, longer arm,
higher IQ and more and more and more of everything than me and you.
there’s always somebody with a louder voice,
wider choice, bigger wit, more brawn and grit.
there’s always just somebody with more,
makes a grander exit out the door, owns a smoother tile floor,
lives on the street of greater jones, elicits bigger moans.
always someone who can outdo you.
so don’t try, don’t sigh, don’t rush, push, squash
swelter with bristle and gristle and effort.
burst with will, over-kill. let go. don’t try.
listen to the breath run out your nose for
one pure second, that’s all.
if you could forget who you are for one-quarter of a second
you could be more than you.
there’s always somebody who could out-run you,
out-gun you, out-smoke you, out-fight you, out-joke you.
show you his mansion in the back,
turn your palace into a shack.
meet you on 4th street and turn your feeling into second place.
predators, workers, normal people with intention or without
un-do you before you try–
hang it up, let it alone, be still.
don’t ask, don’t try, don’t pull-push.
if you forgot who you are and released,
you’d be satisfied. and there would be
no place to finish, first or last.
you’d be everywhere without dis-satisfaction.
you’d be in the center with everything and if you could see the rose,
you’d realize it’s bigger than the entire cosmos. then.
if you forgot who you are in that way,
in the center with everything, larger, then you could be found,
while the rest are holding tiny straws of false gold.
And while you’re at it, tell me the sound of one hand clapping… – mh
lovers of the
night – always
looking for that
willing, oh, so
willing to sacrifice
for that one hour,
one gig – oh, fools – musicians
sending out the continually
new things on paper
and to anyone who will listen.
card players, horse players
throwing away life savings,
for the bite,
the biological high of huge winnings.
lovers, with seven wives,
still not finding it.
here’s another one,
and don’t forget
the surfers looking for that perfect ride.
Yup, such foolery, romping from ride to ride; takes dreamers from strength to strength. – mh
Coming into this place, it was like I was dropped from another planet. Fruit picker at 2 ½ cents a pound of strawberries, bar room musician, block buster scholar with academic title for recommendations needed by anxious friends, dishwasher at $4.60 an hour, resident scholar of the illiterate in the slums. Then I decided to read poems in bars. I …