Back to Meltzer's "Third Spud From the Sun..."
AS I LAY DEAD
It's 2035. I've been dead 30 years. Welcome to my treasure trove. My hand-chiseled mausoleum. You and eight or nine others have stumbled in here: lots of goodies, take 'em and enjoy! And take your merry time, they ain't going anywhere. Where the hell were you when I was alive?
Ah! the thudding frustration of "slipping through the cracks" -- "dying invisible" -- or even worse: being branded a "cult writer" (whatever that is. Sounds like caves and dungeons. Moonlight; the bitter exhaustion of having to cheerlead my own act, my so-called career (why do we strive? why do we strive?) -- fuck me. Luck was never mine. Whatever could go wrong, did. You don't need a sob story. Not the complete one. Now that it's over, what's the diff? What ever was the diff?
But anyway, come in, take your shoes off, probe and grope me. While I was alive I didn't care much for the notion of scoring -- being "discovered" -- after I died. It means nothing to me now. "Me" doesn't exist, not anymore, "I" don't either, and "we" never did.
Don't wanna sound like a frigging solipsist (I die...it's over...I take it all with me), it has nothing to do with such biz. Obviously life goes on -- the last reader isn't dead yet -- so here's how we maybe should play it: I was generous then (i.e., now: my now), always gave the whole wad away, squandered my fluids on writerly whims with but the most esoteric of payoffs, spent 5-6-7 years on books that didn't get me laid, didn't earn me a can of clams, and the bounty of that generosity lingers on. If I can have a corpse, if I can be a corpse, so can my work...consider it dead. Bountifully. Does death fascinate you?
(While we're on the subject, I sort of doubt my corpse wishes were heeded: to be left naked in the street for the flies to feed on. Please be sure my grave is kept clean.)
Anyway, here 'tis: a gen'rous helping of smut, rant, provocative grocery lists, reviews of wrestling and lubricated condoms, bon mots, lively filler, evidence galore of the author's having ripped the eyes off his face, ripped the skin from his bones and poked it with an icepick, hammered the bones with a claw hammer, lopped them with poultry shears...a shitload of fine "stuff" from a deadman who knew how!
Hey, I was a contender -- almost -- in the final uneasy days of writing as we the still-living know, er, knew it. Or am I lucky I ever got published at all?
None of which exactly matters, y'understand, but it can still be a pisser, still living, to live with it. The taint of "failure." Non-recognition. Something almost like "shame." A cheesy burden on waking consciousness. (Fuck me fatuous.)
And why do we strive? Why in the face of setbacks and etc. there aren't sticks (bats) (clubs) enough to shake at, do we persist in believing it matters? Damned if I know. (Don't give me any hogwash 'bout the "indomitability of the human spirit.")
Listen, I grew up at a time when TV was new -- none in my home till I was five years old. Imagine such a world (a world also without rock-n-roll). Now you're probably six steps beyond laser discs--I'm talking your now. Do "novels" exist anymore? Books as such (without compulsory audio/video/smellorama)? Is "text" just something you at your option download off a CD-ROM, database X or the Internet, or whatever's replaced them? (Do eyes exist anymore? Do teeth?) This is not a science-fiction novel. Or maybe it is. I don't care if you don't.
In any event, behold the document: a "kitchen sink" (as we might once have called it) of life-wish and death-wish and grandiloquent nullity...a swag chest knee-deep in glowing all-for-naught...a rich accumulation of aromatic dust.
Early in the final decade of the last century, I got interviewed for a French documentary about a 1960s band called the Doors. Their singer was hot shit for a while. "How," I was asked, "would you describe the sexuality they projected?" Well, I told the guy, making it up as I went along, it wasn't basic rock whiteboy sex of either the '50s or '60s, it wasn't black, y'know, R&B sex, the blues, and it wasn't British-style androgyny or anything especially kinky or even all that topically macho. It wasn't specifically any of that so much as -- well -- it seemed from this end, seeing them in this crummy little club every night, like nothing less than a musical evocation of MY OWN dick.
May this heap-o-pulp likewise serve as the ur-expression of YOUR vanity. A foretaste of your own aftertaste, of your own extinction. Don't be shy: use me. I don't mind at all being useful. Let my legacy be your legacy. Fuck legacy. Fuck fuck -- I'm a duck.
Jazz doesn't have to swing
and rock doesn't have to rock
and religion has next to nothing to do
who what which
is at most just one of the goddam
thru which we have
so-called religious experiences.
The beer I mop up w/ my handkerchief
because my new raincoat is in jeopardy
slung over a chair in the east auxiliary press box
of the L.A. Sports Arena during round eight or nine
of Alfredo Escalera-Sergio Medina (1/29/83)
I mop it 'cuz
I am a bourgeois simp
KEROUAC NEVER DROVE, SO HE NEVER DROVE ALONE
You're born alone,
you die alone, you
pull into a truck
stop in Gallup alone
where every trucker
looks like the devil.
like pictures of the
devil. like they'd
kill you worse than
cops or buy you a
beer, two beers, if
they knew what you
were thinking. about
their looking like
the devil or kill-
ing you or buying
you beers. but no
beer at this stop
so it's only devil,
GENERIC DEATH POEM
and they die
and they die
John Coltrane (Nancy Sinatra) (etc.)
lived and he's (she's) (they're)
(will be sorely missed)