Bart Plantenga’s
Confessions of a Beer Mystic #10

The land was pinned, dumb and festering, under the shrieking light as the limo plowed through the truck-ass mallrat throngs pilgrimaging Times Square. They come here to be galled and unnerved by revelations of extreme epidermal mysteries. There is a porn theatre I have never found that supposedly shows women losing their skins. The wall-eyed crane their necks and peer intently into our skulls and lobbies to be sure they are not missing a single star to write home about.

I was here on a lark after work. I had time to kill and I kill it best by walking with one of the new 22 oz.-size brews downtown to meet my fate, my date, Jude the Obscure.

The limo, large as an empire, idled on the street as the somebody in sequined dress emerged from the Vermicom lobby and shimmered into the backseat. I was reminded of several large edible flatfishes of the genus Hippoglossus you can see flopping around on ice down at the Fulton Fish Market. But instantly she’s just a dark head burdened by the superior architecture of her coif.

“It’s the Mafia Princess,” I heard somebody declare. But it could have been anybody we wanted it to be. “She’s no ordinary fuckin’ oyster!” Somebody else informs. Was it the actress playing the Mafia Princess or the author who ghost wrote the Mafia Princess or the Mafia Princess, herself a frustrated actress, hoping to play herself in the story she has not written herself?

There are no autographs, no smiles and her silence some manage to instantly process as ingratitude or contempt, others saw it as a sign grace, and still others as fear. Still other others read further into it and will find sustenance there. It seems our entire communities subsist on the notion of discovering slights, slights we can get indignant about, indignant to the point of getting worked up about, until we can wallow in justified retribution and only then when the retribution is executed will we feel alive for an instant.

The limo glides by. Its proportions influenced by however far our eyesight is willing to carry our enchantment. And in the last glimpse of this bloated carcass I notice a flash in the backseat (not gun fire nor a lit compact!) — her reading lamp in the backseat has shorted out — done the ole “black eye.” Her head with coif attached disappeared into total oblivion — contempt given form and reign. Someday I’ll draft a petition with Nielle to claim proper credit, not a trophy mind you, just some gazes drenched in mystification, maybe a smattering of golf course applause.

I have no idea yet how this black eye thing works. I mean we’ve thought about it. Perhaps it has something to do with anger and the resultant static charge it builds up inside me.

Nielle explained it to me this way: “All matter is atoms. All atoms are nuclei — aiy-yai-yai — protons and electrons. The electrons whirr around the nucleus — us-us-us.” And at that point she stood up and with her arms outstretched twirled around, bouncing off my walls, orbiting around the perplexed nucleus that was me.

“But if something agitates the atom — it could be anything — the electrons are forced to jump ship, jump to another orbit. This leap is a quantum and this quantum gives off energy.”

But maybe its more metaphysical like somehow I have merely retooled the notion of serendipity to act like volition. Or maybe it’s the way beer makes a poster of Ubu, King Ubu’s abdominal spiral, spin hypnotically and knotically into the mischief of it’s dangerous corkscrewing action.

I keep detailed documentation now: odd rumblings of conscience, psychokinetic mayhem, things moving of their own accord, the time and place of each black eye, any distinguishing sonic or concomitant phenomenological details. Anyway, it’s something and I’m in the middle of that something. With a wish comes the will and with will, a way.

I saunter further downtown, keeping an eye out for a happenstance girl I saw on a corner a week ago. Her smile flung at me so flagrantly, so obviously into me that I could have floated across oceans in that smile. She had substance but also something that glowed around that substance. Someone perhaps not yet convinced that work led to dignity. Like she had no notions. Like her eyes were yet to grow tired. She was not where I had left her.

And as I’m waiting for the DON’T WALK to turn to WALK, a string of lights cheering up a café blew with a crackle. So what if much moisture was clinging to the surrounding air and that a wicked wind, the kind that can tear objects from their logical moorings, had just passed. I toasted each of the 26 dead bulbs anyway, with 26 sips from a Dutch Brand brew pulled from my coat pocket, like an outlaw drawing his 6-shooter. Brand means fire in Dutch.

When I spot Jude she is careful as always not to stand in front of a mirror or over a puddle because the puddle’s reflection might reveal her emergent double chin. Reflection, one might say, had outlived her purposes.

I am face to face with Jude. She is adorned “so to allure the eyes of all men that should see her” — it’s basically the only Bible stuff I know. She is my date, in the West Village, lined with its insistent and agonizing dreams in museum cases and storefronts that are pulled from our collective memories of times that never occurred. And since the anorexic nature of our coin purses barred us from entering these scenes I sent some of these snooty tracklit terrariums on the blink. Or so I made the story go. Or so the story made me go.

I said something to Jude that rhymed perfume with tomb. She did not (want to) get at what it was I was saying. She wanted me and the mind I fed to stand still. She wanted me to act like the men she knew from Capra movies.

“What’m I, just some attractive kinda clingthing to you?” she wondered. By constantly using words like “attractive” when referring to herself she could stand with bait on hook and wait for me to agree. So the whirlpools of her need for compliments and my whirlpool founded in a need for beer would collide and whirr into one another. This quantum dynamic coaxed from me niceties, compliments on her choice of earrings, top shelf liquor, her legs — they were luscious. But all of it was meant to prop her fragile self up on these auto-deluded, auto-choreographed instants where she would believe the lies that she fed my mouth.

And so I stood before her with a smirk and toasted this terrarium black eye with Jude the furtive, Jude the obscure amourant who loved radio. Or the way radio seeps into you like beer seeps into unnamed internal organs. Jude, who read by candlelight. Who would drip candle wax onto your nipples only if the drink had gone far enough. Whose cramped abode smelled of myrrh and dust from a more glorious age.

She felt obliged, by virtue of her concern for her future in communications — i.e., via my radio show at a fledgling basement radio station — to tag along, act impressed, add her imprimatur to the proceedings. The station’s signal scattered only about half as far as we thought it did. I tried to explain this. Our press — the Voice called us “Rapatistas”; Spin called us “Radio Egotopia” — going 100 times further but really nowhere because by the following week 3/4 of the readers had forgotten they ever read of us — but not Jude.

Jude felt obliged to act (or be — she had long ago given up distinguishing between the 2) flattered when I insisted that it had been the 2 of us, indeed, “our unique bio-electrical chemo-hormonal interface” that had caused these latest boutique-window black eyes.

She wanted to read from her book, A La Belle Étoile, on the air. She had become a victim of the hope that this well-received book had once promised. And so I kept leading her along — and in the mean time she led me along. And this was the irony: I flattered her to get her to reveal more of her skin, to get closer to her splayed legs, to flatter her into bed, the very bed I would hope to pass out in so I could avoid having to make love with the desperate her that Jude bludgeoned all hope of a satisfying relationship with. Persistence is that sad memory of hope. And she had somehow forsaken all delicacy and discretion for lunges at the crotch which the crosshairs of her mind had made into the way to the heart.

“I gotta tell you that deejaying’s just a hobby.”

“I have to promote my book.”

“There’s no guarantee anybody’s even listening at 2 in the morning.”

“But you promised.”

“You’d be better off gettin’ on yer knees in front of a grate and reading down into the sewers.”

Her skirt was always black, skimpy and rode way up past whatever is beyond the thighs whenever she sat down. Her blouse was always the same or forever some variation of the same — clingy, diaphanous, silken, suggestive. And with every trip to the ladies room in the old Knitting Factory, she’d return with another button undone and all this skin, this delirious cleavage (to which we were both beholden) was all meant to perform some trick of mind in man but instead only revealed more of who she could never be than who she was.

We went eastward by cab in deference to her posing (i.e., non-walking) shoes, to see Bell, Book and Candle at Theatre 80. And there in the dark, cramped and creaking seats I watched her feverishly rub her hands warm in the aromatic weld of where desire met misery. And then watched her grab the hands that had once been attached to my arms (rather precariously) and place them under the pendulous awe of her breasts. This was exciting to her; to feel my palms go moist and then to subsequently denounce me for the way my sweat would stain her silk blouse. But I pulled one hand back anyway because, although I enjoyed the moist warmth under her breast, I wanted to keep one hand free for holding my beer, no matter how much her breasts resembled the most exquisite Belgian goblets. And she knew this. Weakness in me (there was plenty to feed on) is where she found most of her delight. The confusion she had been infected with was contagious.

In the middle of the film she nibbled my ear, coyly, just as Jack Lemmon’s Aunt declares “We can put out streetlights but we can’t turn anything to gold.”
“See,” Jude sneered, “yer no original. Yer just a scene cut from a bad movie.” She cuddled up in a smirk that glistened with a hint of saliva.
“I got diaries dated at least 6 months back. I never even heard o’ this film until you told me.” I said from under a whisper just seething to be more.

“They’re back dated, you fixed’m.” she gloated.

And with that I stood up, I had my honor but dropped the beer, an exquisite Belgian Dikkenek, or “thick neck,” to smash at her feet (a rare sacrifice!) assaulted by her, betrayed by film, abandoned by the celluloid myths to the point where I was nothing more than an awkward self-conscious mirror-beholden character, like an extra cut from a film that will never bathe in the light of the film projector.

And then Jude had to go. Had to outdo me. Had to beat me to the door. Had to look indignant at the dishevelment my desires had caused. Her skirt now as revealing as shrink wrap around veal shank. She had to feed a cat. Walk some dog — I don’t know.

Later she would covet this neighbor’s dog, talk to it in front of me like it was her own offspring, fondle it the way she used to my genitalia as if to encourage and discourage me at one and the same time. Why can’t people just say what they mean? Why can’t we believe what is said? But Jude liked this kind of drama. It was like a jumpstart to a sad heart, a way of gathering attention from strangers around the melodrama of her life. I knew she thought she was writing her own ticket, her own glamorous fictions, manipulating her own plots. But her pages had odd ways of recombining, morphing as self-doubt plunged her ever further away from a life she might be capable of leading. This is classic bunkum physics.
It is not unlike the nature of the hop plant. The hop female apparently develops a very bitter and unpleasant taste when it comes into contact with the pollen of a male hop.

[Jude Falley: “Despite 500,000 beers and counting Furman remains skinny and this bugs me. And because I was stupid enough to let him know this meant that he would parade around semi-naked in my place at the slightest hint of an excuse. He says it’s because the calories in 1 oz. of beer are about 8. Meanwhile an ounce of Drambuie weighs in at 110. While an ounce of a Baby Ruth contains 135. He is skinny because of speed, No-Doz, I hear, and coffee. He’s also got a highly excitable autonomic nervous system, a high idle in other words.”]

I bide my time though. Jude’s idea of an ideal relationship is for me to worship her and for her to periodically acknowledge my worship by giving me something of herself (some part she wasn’t using anyway). Sometimes she’ll allow me to cop a feel, offer me the wet scented sigh of her wishbone to take back home with me. Other times she gives me advice.

I write her advice down very earnestly in my notepad. She interprets this as a sign that I’m mocking her. But I’m not! But anyway, somewhere along the way my own journal began to command that I search the curious perimeters of living on my own. So when everyday peccadilloes failed, the words I fed my journal would balance all glory on this failure. The way rust sits on iron. Or the shadow of me (or someone else?) paints the twilight street with its stretched and unreal magnitudes. And the more I wrote, the more life had to cannibalize itself in the thrall and employ of the word. So the word became the tick of all life and life became the host of all words. And the ideas for life-as-story collapsed back upon themselves the way deliriously beautiful shadows absorbed the re-invented self in their shivery thickets of shade.

It’s difficult to go home anymore, with or without Djuna around. When Djuna stays away I’m relieved. Yet the contempt of her absence speaks to me everytime the clock ticks. So I have walking dreams. Each block along the way like a page in a book I am not reading.

But how do I verify this whole bio-magnetic “black eye” phenom to Djuna? Prove that I’m part of something bigger? Finally tonight I think I’ve found the courage (another beer?) to lay it on her.

I comb my hair, brush my teeth. “Yo, Djuna, come out with me, see my stuff — the night’s becoming my art gallery.”

“Look, I’m bored.”

“It’s just cuz yer not the center of it.”
“Whatever you show me will look to you whatever you need it to look like. Besides, if they’re artworks or whatever, they’re not signed and so they can’t be authenticated as being yours.”

“Listen I’ve tapped into something; it has to do with the secret tradition of Hawaiian shamans.” Why not! “Kahunas are based around the concept that the low self — our sub-con say — takes the biological low voltage force we generate and somehow through a hormonal rev-up, pumps it up so it can be utilized by the will. You know, like where there’s a will there’s a way. So the high self — the super-con call it — can take this force and further pump it up even higher to the highest voltage that a human body can hold and from there it can make things happen. Miracles that redraw the maps of fate and ultimately put out enough lights to repair the rips in our collective darkness.”

“Dju ever notice that CONsciousness has as a prefix CON as in con job!?” Djuna doesn’t care. Isn’t impressed. Djuna, when I’m around anyway, contents herself with reading the most sexist letters in Penthouse aloud from her bed. (She only looks good in bed anymore.) Her every word is now burnished with lascivious disgust, an entire accumulated repertoire of spitless, distant and evasive voices. As if all men are guilty of everything.

And when she gives me the gift of her body, her glassblown breasts, she says; “It’s useless. Like givin’ Dumb Perignon to a wino.” Provocation becomes proof. Anyway, she was never in love with me so much as with who she thought I should have been for her.

“Or a TV to a blind man.” She cannot leave injuries alone. When she’s in this kind of snit I’m reminded of an old beer pal’s comment about an entirely different woman, “I’ve seen prettier mouths in the trenches.”

“Listenlistenlisten: In 1986, two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling outlined his famous 12 steps to health, one of them, Step #10, was to enjoy beer …”

And there I stood before her mirror, Imbiber Religiosa, plucking hair from my torso. Hoping to regain that hairless agelessness that used to fascinate her. Even turn her on, the way I could simulate a boy, a boy she could fuck and sully. I searched the edges of my body with the palm of my hand for a sign of my bio-magnetic aura.

“Listenlistenlisten: Dju know that the first pharmacists in ancient Egypt had 700-some prescriptions and over a hundred of’m contained beer? …” I told her about my latest black eye adventures (the string of 26, the “Mafia Princess”), not quite ready to take full responsibility for them. And I don’t mention Jude, the obscure amourant, just yet. She’ll be my trump up the sleeve. Or my romp in the fallen leaves. Nevermind Nielle, my ace of spades …

“Oh, you boy, you lucky planet you, knockin’ over garbage cans, throwin’ rocks at streetlights.” Djuna spat. “Listen to this, ‘Dear Penthouse, I am proud of being a greasemonkey, let me tell you why. One night a pretty, leggy blond came into my garage begging I help her, she had no money and so we made another arrangement. After I’d towed her car in and fixed it, she bent over to pay me and to my shock she was keeping her word. She wore no panties under her short skirt. With her elbows there on my work bench she looked back and said, “I hear you’re good with crankshafts.” Well, I am proud of my trade and know just what it takes to satisfy my customers. I also know that the secret to the sound operation of a machine is lubrication so I reached my hand into the still warm motor oil I had drained from her oil pan and applied some to my … ’ I betchu this arouses you I bet.”

“Innaway. Hey, but, back to … I’m still sore about … my black eyes got nothin’ to do with throwin’ rocks.” A Curlian snapshot right then and there would’ve certainly aided my case. Exhibit #1: notice the photograph documents a certain radiant energy … It would have verified that something of me was out there in the air affecting light.

“Oh you naughty boy type.”

I went on and on telling Djuna that in 1932 Dr. Eric Müller discovered that the energy that radiates from the body can, under certain conditions, be conducted through electrical wires and be made to affect photographic paper. He said tea and tobacco intake affected the intensity of the emanation. Later studies (by me) point to beer as another enhancer (perhaps because of trace metals) of the aura-like field surrounding humans — and lab rats.

Some local authorities prefer to attribute the documented rash of outages to work being done on a switching station. I even made the papers, albeit, as an unattributed phenom under investigation on page 38 of the Daily News. Meanwhile some point to sunspots. While city employees think it’s the cheaper bulbs used in streetlights or less upkeep, electrical storms, you name it. Politicians tend to blame the mayor.

to be continued –
Confessions Of A Beer Mystic by Bart Plantenga #1 #2 #3 #4 – #5 – #6 – #7 – #8 – #9

How to become a Beer Mystic – by Mike Golden


Bart Plantenga – is the world’s foremost Beer Mystic and authority on yodel-ay-ee-hoo!•
Sharon Mesmer interviews the old Beer Mystic @


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