I get off the Belt Parkway at Rockaway Boulevard and
Jet aloft from Idyllwild.
(I know, now called J.F. ******* K!)
Aboard a TWA 747 to what was then British East Africa,
Then overland by train to Baroness Blixen’s Nairobi farm . . .
You know the one at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
I lease space in Karen’s African dreams,
Caressing her long white giraffe nape,
That exquisite Streep jugular.
I am a ghost in Meryl’s evil petting zoo:
I haunt the hand that feeds me.
Safely back in Denmark, I receive treatment
For my third bout with syphilis at Copenhagen General.
Cured at last, I return to Kenya and Karen.
In my solitude or sleep, I go with her,
One hundred miles north of the Equator,
Arriving at Julia Child’s marijuana herb garden–
Originally Kikuyu Land, of course—
But mine now by imperial design &
California voter referendum.
(Voiceover) "I had a farm in Africa
At the foot of the Ngong Hills."
My farm lies high above the sea at 6,000 feet.
By daybreak I feel oh, oh so high up,
Near to the sun on early mornings.
Evenings so limpid and restful;
Nights oh, so cold.
Mille Grazie a lei, Signore *******!
Andiamo, Sydney, amico mio.
Let it flow like the water that lives in Mombasa.
Let it flow like Kurt Luedtke’s liquid crystal script.
We zoom in. We go close in. Going close up,
On the face of Isak Dinesen’s household
Servant and general factotum. (Full camera ******)
Karen Blixen’s devoted Muslim manservant,
Farah: “God is happy, msabu. He plays with us…”
He plays with me. And who shall I be today?
How about Tony Manero for starters?
Good choice. Nicely done!
Geezer Manero: old and bitter now,
Still working at the hardware store,
Twice-divorced, a chain-smoker,
Severely diabetic, a drunk on dialysis 3 times a week.
Bite me, Pop: I never thought I was John Travolta.
But, hey, I had my shot: “I coulda been a contenda.”
Once more, by association only,
I am a great artist again, quickly made
Near great by a simple second look.
Why, oh God? I am kvetching again.
I celebrate myself and sing the
L-on-forehead loser’s lament:
Why implant the desire and then
Withhold from me the talent?
“I wrote 30 ******* operas,”
I hear Salieri’s demented cackle.
“I will speak for you, Wolfie Babaloo;
I speak for all mediocrities.
I am their champion, their patron saint.”
Must I wind up in the same
Viennese loony bin with Antonio?
Note to self: GTF out of Austria post-haste!
I’ve been called on the Emperor’s carpet again,
My head, my decapitated Prufrock noodle,
Grown slightly bald, brought in upon a platter.
Are peaches in season?
Do I dare eat one?
I am Amadeus, ******, infantile,
An irresistible iconoclast and clown.
Wolfie: “I am called on the imperial carpet again.
The Emperor may have no clothes but he’s got a
Shitload of ******* carpets."
Hello Girls: ‘Disco Tampons!
Staying inside, staying inside!
Wolfie: "Why have I chosen a ****** farce for my libretto?
Surely there are more elevated themes . . . NO!
I am fed to the teeth with elevated themes,
People so lofty they **** marble!"
Flammis acribus addictis.
So, I mix paint in the hardware store by day.
I dance all night, near-great again by locomotion.
Join me in at least one of my verifiable nine lives.
Go with me across the Narrows,
Back to Lenape with the wild red men of Canarsee,
To Vlacke Bos, Boswijk & Nieuw Utrecht,
To Dutch treat Breuckelen, Red Hook & Bensonhurst,
To Bay Ridge and the Sheepshead.
Come with me to Coney Island’s Steeplechase & Luna Park, &
Dreamland (aka Brownsville) East New York, County of Kings.
If I’m lying, I’m dying.
And while we’re on the subject now,
Bwana Finch Hatton (pronounced FINCH HATTON),
Why not turn your focus to the rival for Karen’s heart,
To the guy who nursed her through the syphilis,
That old taciturn ******, Guru Farah?
Righto and Cheerio, Mr. Finch Hatton,
Denys George of that surname—
Why not visualize Imam Farah?
Farah: a Twisted Sister Mary Ignatius,
Explaining it all to your likes-the-dark-meat
Friend and ivory-trading business partner,
Berkeley (pronounced BARK-LEE) Cole.
Can you dig it, Travolta?
I knew that you could!
Oh yeah, Tony Manero, the Bee Gees & me,
A marriage made in Brooklyn.
The Gibbs providing the sound track while
I took care of the local action.
I got more *** than a toilet seat, a Don Juan rep &
THE CLAP on more than one occasion.
Probably from a toilet seat.
Even my big brother–the failed priest,
Celibate too long and desperate now–
Even my defrocked, blue-balled brother,
Frankie, cashing in his chips at the Archdiocese,
Taking soave lessons from yours truly,
Taking notes, copying my slick moves with chicks.
It was the usual story with the usual suspects &
The usual character tests. All of which I flunk.
I choose Fitzgerald's “vast, ****** meretricious beauty,”
My jumpstart to the middle class.
I spurn the neighborhood puttana,
Mary Catherine Delvecchio: the community ****
With the proverbial heart of gold &
A backpack full of self-esteem deficits.
I opt out. I’m hungry and leaping.
I morph again, grab *** the golden girl.
Now I’m Gatsby in a white suit,
Stalking Daisy Buchanan in East Egg,
Daisy: her voice full of money;
My green light flashing on the disco dance floor.
I, a fool for love; she, my faithless uptown girl,
Golden and delicious like the apple,
Capricious like a blue Persian cat.
My “orgiastic future” eluded me then.
It eludes me still. Time to go home again to the place
****-ant Prufrocks ponder their pathetic dying embers.
Time to assume the position:
Gazing out from some trapezoidal patch of green
At the foot of Roebling’s bridge,
Contemplating an alternative reality for myself,
A new life across the East River,
In the city that never sleeps.
I crave. I lust. I am a guinzo Eva Duarte.
I too must be a part of B.A., Buenos Aires:
THE BIG APPLE.
But I am ashamed of my luggage,
Not to mention my baggage.
It’s like that last thing Holden Caulfield said to me,
Just before he crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge,
Crossed over to Manhattan without me,
Leaving me alone again, searching for our kid sister,
Phoebe, the only one on earth we can relate to:
“It’s really hard to be roommates with people
If your suitcases are much better than theirs.”
Ow! That stung; that was a stinger.
I am smithereened by a self-guided drone,
A smart bomb full of snide antigravity,
Transformational and caustic.
My meager allotment of self-esteem
Metastasizes into something base,
Something heavy and vile.
I drop to earth like lead mozzarella.
I am unworthy, unworthy in the maximum mendicant,
Roman Catholic mea culpa sense of the word.
I am now Umberto Eco’s penitenziagite.
I am Salvatore, a demented hunchback
(Played flawlessly as a demented hunchback by Ron Perlman),
Spewing linguistic gibberish in a variety of vernaculars:
“Lord, I am not worthy to live anywhere west of the Gowanus Canal.”
By East River waters I weep bitter tears,
The promise of a promised land denied.
I am a garlic-eating Chuck Yeager,
Auguring in, burnt beyond recognition,
An ethnic trope, a defiant Private Maggio
From here and for eternity,
Forever a swarthy ethnic stereotype
Trying to escape thru a small but significant
Hole in the ozone layer above South Ozone Park,
New York, zip code 11420.
That’s right, Ozone Park.
If you don’t believe me, look it up.
GO ******* GOOGLE IT!
And I just don’t know when to quit.
So why quit there?
Work with me, fratello mio, mon lecteur.
Like you, I took the LSAT so long ago.
Why am I not a distinguished American jurist
Asking the one question that seems to be on
Everyone’s eugenic lips today:
“Aren’t three generations of imbeciles enough?”
I am Charly from Flowers for Algernon,
A slow learner with a push broom, swept up in
Some dust from Leonard Cohen’s cuff.
Lenny: a grey-beard loon himself now, singing
“Hallelujah” for fish & chips in London’s O2 Arena.
“Suzanne takes you down, Babaloo!”
At last, I am Jesus Quintana—
John Turturro stealing the movie as usual--
This time in a hair net and a jumpsuit,
"Made of a comfortable 65% polyester/35%
Cotton poplin, you can even add your own
Ribbon leg trim and monogramming
For just the right look to be one of
The Big Lebowski’s favorite characters.
Mouse-over the thumbnail below to see our actual style
(Color must be purple). Style #: 98P, Price: $55.95. On sale: $50.36.www.myjumpsuit.com."
Fortunately, I am a savvy marketeer:
I understand the artistic potential, the venal
Possibilities of product placement. Go with me
To that undiscovered country.
The humanities uncorrupted till now by
Crass gimcrack television ads. That’s right:
******* commercials smack dab in the
Middle of a ******* poem. Why not?
Great literature has always been about
Selling something, even if only an idea.
Hey, **** me, Herman Melville!
We both know the publication costs of
Moby **** were underwritten by the tattoo artists &
Harpoon manufacturers of New Bedford,
Matched by a small research grant from some
Proto-Greenpeace, Poseidon adventure in some
Great white whale-watching swinging soiree.
Murray the ******* K, pendejo!
At last, I am The Jesus, a pervert & pederast,
According to Walter Sobjak—another post-traumatic
Post Toasty, like me, still out there in the jungle,
Still in love with the smell of ****** in the morning.
My bowling buddy, Walter, comfortably far to the right of
The Dude, and Attila the *** for that matter,
But who gives a **** if Lenin was The Walrus?
(“Shut the **** up, Buscemi!”)
“Once you hang a right at Hubert Humphrey,”
Said the streets of 1968 Chicago,
"It’s all ******* fascism anyway.”
That creep could roll, though, and as we know so well:
“Nobody ***** with The Jesus.”
Can you dig it, Travolta?
I knew that you could!
I just heard from an old girlfriend who is miles away,
Teaching school in Navajo Land.
The Big Rez: a long day’s interstate katzenjammer,
A Route 66 nightmare by car, but by email,
Just down the block and round the corner.
I had previously closed an email to her with a frivolous
“Say hello to my stinky friend.”
It was a total non-sequitur, an iconic-moronic,
Ace Ventura-mutant line from Scarface,
Which may have meant–in my herbal lunch delirium—
That she should say hi to some mutual acquaintance
We mutually loathe, Or, perhaps an acknowledgement that she–
My surrogate Cameron Diaz–has a new **** buddy,
Of whom I am insanely jealous.
Or maybe it was a simple Seinfeld “about nothing.”
Who knows what goes on in that twisted *****’s head?
She spends the next two hours in a flood of funk,
A deluge of insecurity.
A veritable Katrina ****** of self-consciousness,
Interpreting my inane nonsense in terms of vaginal health.
Hey, you want to ruin a woman’s day?
Tell her, her **** smells.