Noise

“For the most sensitive among us, sometimes the noise can just be too much.” – Jim Carrey – upon hearing of the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The cross city bus clamors out a murderous seasick solo backed by an orchestral scrum of whizzing internal combustion engines in uproarious brawl spewing invisible air and ear pollution death while begging for second gear; both instruments of audio-olfactory destruction, an offense to the ear and nose from landlocked personal space-ships bumper to bumper on the narrow streets of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood; all, along with the antique streetcars sing out a cacophony of noise so disturbing I had to hold the phone, physically 1,500 miles away from the action, six inches from my ear.

Our story’s hero Jeff is laboring, careening up and down intensely inclined ski sloop streets chasing said bus while he screams into his cell phone at me “Man, the first thing you’d notice if you came back is the noise”. I tell him he’s preaching to the choir. The air in my environs of northern Wisconsin is so calm I can hear the sound of autumn leaves rustling along the well-kept lawns and iridescent blue birds singing their daily arias.

Writers flood into big cities, whether they know it or not, to be uncomfortable; since like the late, great Charles Bukowski opined “no one comfortable ever wrote anything worth a damn”. The city is life on steroids; it’s intensity keeping us all tense. The boulevard is a raging river of humanity and sometimes inhumanity. There is rarely a shortage of stimuli upon which to opine. Here the writers cup runneth over.

Our hero confides he’s been reaching back into his past to make that connection that sooner or later, sooner I think for some of us given recent societal developments, we all eventually make; that DNA linked memory to our roots. Jeff is currently covered by a warm blanket; surrounded by like-minded west coast social justice warriors – yet when looking back over his shoulder in contemplation of revisiting comrades from his mid-western past; he is floored, repulsed and catatonic over the addiction he sees in his childhood pals adherence to the new ersatz fascism; the redneck noise that is Trumpism.

In the same way it’s nearly impossible to escape the noise coming at us all like a Chinese parade, from eight different directions all at once; it’s the same for our natural inclination to decipher the content and arrange it in some assemblage of bite-size order. Is it as it seems? Is the new avalanche of information overwhelming our capacity to upload, sort-out and categorize it’s meaning and importance so we might get a handle on our collective future?

It can’t only be me and our hero who, overwhelmed by the noise, wish solace in heeding the wise voices from our past. Timothy Leary’s advise was “tune-in, turn-on and drop out.” Or the angelic voices of groovy guru of the day who suggest wandering in an open field for mindfulness training. Or the Birkenstocks environmentalist who insist we head back to nature and hug a tree; or the mental spiritualist that whisper meditation is the key. Maybe the best of them are the Tantra yogi’s who claim sexual pleasure is the way in and out; that the answer is a bit more of the old in and out. Being a hedonist myself I tend to flow in this direction.

Yet, with escape valves in place in case of overload and prayers to the universe for guidance, I can’t help myself wanting to sort through the noise and discover, like a pathfinder, which direction to point; for myself and others. The Stoics posited that the philosopher left the cave, examined the outside world and returned to tell the others of the joys and dangers outside the cave.

Now they’re be a noble and heroic cause; to be a fearless scout in the face of unknown dangers; to be a trailblazer for the greater good in a quest to report, interpret and transmit the findings. The conundrum seems to be we can’t translate through the noise to know what’s coming if we disengage from it.

In the end I’m left perplexed. Shall we try to make a path through the noise though we fear not knowing the answers and fear worse not even understanding the questions? Are we all just like our hero; wishing to be heroes; but succumbing to the dictates of surviving the day and reach for the safety and sanity of just catching that bus? #rednecknoise #Stoics #Trumpism #CharlesBukowski

Impostors

For Charles Hubbard on his birthday

All the crooked women
everyday I see
in their girlish prime
vamping me
don’t want a lovers
intimacy
they just want to
sleep with me.

All the inane men
fellow travelers
they proclaim to me
impersonating friends
are full of jealousy.
It’s a misanthropic cult
of personality.

All those mad elves
can go hang themselves.
I’d rather dream about reunions
and glasses of cheer
with the vanished brothers
and the misplaced lovers
no longer here.

Morphine Dreams

Nick Masesso, Jr.

I slept with that old Devil again

last night

she crept in round midnight

cuddled right up, spooning me

she’s hot on the outside

steamy

all fuzzy velvet on those sharp red horns

but her breath

dank and fowl

and smelling like sulfur

comes from her insides.

She took her best shot

She’s use to winning

and all fighters know

the hardest opponent to beat

is the one that hasn’t yet learned

how to lose.

She tagged me with her greatest hits

had me seeing stuff

hearing stuff

crazy stuff

scary stuff

and when she felt confident she had me

she stoked up one of my Camels

took a hit and passed it to me.

I had a drag

then rolled over so she could

see my smile as I

extinguished the hot tip

on my tongue

we listened to it sizzle.

What God never tells you

is he’s scared…

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Intimate Strangers

“She’ll change so suddenly; she’s just like mercury – She’s entwined in me, crazy as can be; yeah, but she’s all right with me“ – Mercury – Counting Crows

We met cute. I’d locked myself out of my apartment and if I’d a’ had a cell phone, which I do not, I wouldn’t have had the phone number to call for rescue anyway. So, by virtue of cosmic gamble, I walked east instead of west and knocked on the front door of the apartment two doors down from mine in my heavenly duplex complex. She answered the door cautiously, somewhat hiding at first behind some invisible worn-out wall of flimsy cardboard she’d erected to keep away those I suspect she thought might carry bad vibes. I scaled it in seconds.

She had a kind of dark hazy light around her that summoned something akin to the heroic in me and just as suddenly I felt a mild wave of protectionism surge in my psyche. In an instant it seemed we’d become what I can only describe as intense yet intimate strangers. So, words were exchanged, her phone offered, and the deed done; I split the scene to await my rendezvous with the cavalry. Later that day, out of a sense of panache girded by common courtesy I left a thank you note with my phone number in her mail box offering my services should they ever be needed. The rest as they say is current history.

Now she tells me she loves me every day, delivers hand-made artsy cards and love letters with great frequency and rubs my feet with sweet-smelling potions for hours at a time and I’ve never even asked for it once. Christ; she even cooks; and real good too. I normally can’t spend too much time with women unless it’s centered around sexual magnetic energy and the subsequent mattress gymnastics since they simply do not interest me. But on our first date we shared a gab-fest that lasted seven hours.

She tells me “you make me feel safe” and after the four words every man wants to hear most from his women, “I believe in you”, it’s the best five words any guy can ever hear from his soul mate. She has that perfect mixture of needing me while not being needy. She has her own life and that too ranks high on my woman/partner/lover wish list. She’s smart, sexy, sweet, loving and tilts toward her Mexican ancestral peasant warmth and strength. Her favorite way to make me laugh is her imitation of a Cholo switch blade artist saying, (if any other woman so much as looks at me;) “I’ll cut a bitch.”

She knows how to act like a woman and how to treat a man; a dying art form. She’s also promoting my career while having her own; a modern-day Lee Krasner to my Jackson Pollock. They say opposites attract and given our designer simpatico I guess so. However, and this may well be the best part of it all, my new girlfriend and I could not disagree more. I’ve had girlfriends wherein we were so alike, so precious, I ended up wanting to punch us in the face. If we’re out walking and there’s a split in the path, simultaneously, like a well planned comedy sketch; she says let’s go left while I point right. When she’s cold; I’m hot. If she’s hot; I’m sweating.

She’s got this 80’s goth cum Mestizo Indian style thing going and while she wears it well my contemporary American western style makes us look like we ought to be on opposing sides of the Spanish-American war or members of an savant-guard post punk rockabilly/jazz fusion band. She’s a technology geek perpetually wired in, while I still rely on a land-line for my phone; probably the last guy around without a cell phone or a GPS in my car. She’s into Werner Herzog and Wes Anderson while I favor Scorsese and Coppola. Maybe it’s our generational distance, which god knows she informs me of frequently, that accounts for our many dichotomies. Since she is the better part of two decades younger than me; that may account for some of our differences; but it works just about right for me overall since women my age are way too old for me.

I could go on; fill another page or two with similar contrasts that keep us loaded with debate material for conceivably the next millennium; but at this point you probably get the point. Yet despite this seemingly incompatibility we couldn’t be more attracted to each other. All our seeming differences pale in insignificance when superseded by the undeniable fact that she has the kind of face I want to fall asleep and wake up to? I can’t recall being more comfortable while at the same time more stimulated by any past love partner.

And so it goes. Just when I thought I’d jettisoned all attachments in an attempt to achieve my own personal brand of enlightenment, sequestered deep in my post recluse period, (now safely inside my new country gentleman period), I suddenly find myself jonesing for one more night wrapped around my loves warm and tender thighs like tinfoil; yearning for one more slow-motion kiss from her soft and yielding watermelon sugar lips.

Light Enough To Fly

The sun sets on Gotham.
Superman repairs to his
Fortress of Solitude,
mixes a lime green cocktail,
lights the first kryptonite cigarette of the day
and broods.
He contemplates his dissociative disorder.
He has loved like a fountain
It has left him with nothing.

He throws up the bat-signal
and Batman rings.
He asks his friend
if he too
feels disconnected from everything,
which is to say,
not connected to anything.

“I live alone in a bat-cave,
everything I own is black
including my wardrobe
which
is rubber.
Do the arithmetic.”
They share a knowing chuckle.

Their women have left them and
moved in with each other
in order to seek other dangerous men,
yet one’s less complicated.
They are not breeders but
they are looking to settle.

As the two men
unwind the tale of their days
exploits, triumphs and praise,
a silent truth lay
between them.

They know that they could never fly
so incredibly high,
could never achieve that
Olympic-wide smile,
unless they emptied themselves,
and went
all-in.