Monday, February 07, 2011


Episodes: 1

"I put people on the map that never seen a map" M.I.A.

Crunch time, bafflement, Chicago we cooked & ate & would have been happy as characters in someone else's story, Bulls' first three-peat still in the future but underway, books beginning to collect the dust of relics & the barest sense of fundamental change looming, still clinging to a romantic notion of what it meant to write our own stories. Impoverished bon vivants, really, taking up work in kitchens both for the work & access to prime cuts we wouldn't have been able to afford any other way. Time at home on homemade pasta, sauce, bread. Chris, tongue rolling around a mouthful of stolen red, "The trick to good black-eyed peas is molasses." Nobody made Thanksgiving sing like Chris, chestnut stuffing, gravies 40 hours in the preparation, mashed pots unpeeled w/ roasted garlic, but he couldn't bake a loaf of bread to save his life. 3 a.m., the rest of the party dismissed to their quarters dotted around the city, north-siders, Wrigleyville, Bucktown, Wicker Park, our flat 3 city blocks from the Belmont stop, walks to transport dotted with broadsides & tabloids, their readership a clear gauge on the splinters of the city's population, burrito joints wedged into the tangle of iron under the El station advertising "Burritos tan grande como tu cabeza," interiors brown with framed Spanish gastronomic jokes involving flatulence & a cork, Chris & I talking about choice, is it fundamental to being human or illusion, or both, as we try to decide if we're going to make the final slide into dawn cracking the last remaining bottle of wine, both cognizant, inebriatedly disciplined against the temptation to give into the maudlin, of time-sick days to come when we will refer to these slow pre-dawn hours, dusted over with the sepia of memory, as our glory days.

They will make fun of my ampersands, my abbreviations & run-ons, but I'm finished caring. Yes to those old tomes, yes to Wolfean inventories of grandmother's pantry, yes to Kerouacian name-dropping, to the glittering shards of beat poems smashed against the spaghetti of concrete we've erected, marked like cats, named, yes to Dostoyevski's innumerable Russian nicknames, Hamsun's hunger, Algren's court reports filled with broad-nosed Poles given to drink, the ignominy of not enough money an antidote to beat nostalgia for slums, yes to admiring ridicule at Hemingway's file clerk ways & to the picaresque in this age of plane travel. What's been offered as replacement is speed, fragmented, like the channels on TV, 150 where 4 once did, that sliver of the human population that makes any sense of this burnt out ignored b/c to really reflect & amplify that gestalt requires a mental state indistinguishable from schizophrenia. The post-mods should be having a field day, an absence/presence with no center, the only accurate representation of which must be pastiche. Bricolage my ass: I miss my electric typewriter and the dog-eared, highlighted to hell pages of my copy of "Visions of Cody," and that's all.

"The trouble you have here," Chris tells me, "is that you hold onto your ghosts. I never did. I only got into writing for one reason: I had something to say. That's why I don't write any more. I said what I had to say. But, I think, you're doing this for some other reason. I'm switching media. I'm moving to cooking, because it's an art that understands its own transience. It's meant to be consumed."

Glass raised. There is no beginning but the beginning we choose.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?