Bart Plantenga’s
Confessions of a Beer Mystic #25

Some couple at the party was wearing his and her Halloween costumes portraying both the Murderer of the Year (Richard Speck, the Hillside Strangler, Son of Sam had all been popular for years) and one of his victims, complete with appliqué entry wounds. They were making fun of the Beer Mystic, not knowing that he was now subletting my I. You know what I mean. I mean if they’d known that I was underneath my costume dressed so much like him as to be him well, they would not have let me into the party. But that’s my upside down pride speaking.

The mocker (himself a failed so-and-so, dressed as a Ted Bundy wannabe) stood in the doorway and flipped the light switch on-off-on-off … punctuating each flick into darkness with a flip, “POOF! Hey guys, I’m duh Beer MysTAKE! Hehehe!”

How did he know the Beer Mystic? That’s a good question. In the field of Ethno-Historography, for instance, myths, legends, gossip, and personal accounts of history do not deny that gods and demi-gods are important participants. Now, I’m not saying … What I AM saying however, is that when people are paralyzed by boredom people begin to pass along certain entertainments that reveal their fears as fact, as history. Word of big mouth leads to logorrhea, to an illness sometimes called the blablas.

In any case, Nielle could be counted on to fume in a charming manner. And with clenched fist she declared, “Beauty In The Eye Of The Beerholder!” as slights and grudges began to fall into a higher place.

I wanted to tout my black eyes, give them all a tour — the city is my studio; my work hangs in the galleries of 3 boroughs. But cockiness leads to loose tongues and hubris to police brutality on lonely subway platforms. Delusion, they say, is incremental but cumulative. Illumination is instant but fleeting. [Ed. note: Michael Stewart described as a “graffiti artist” by police died in when he was “beaten to death by transit police in September, 1983 … At Union Square … Michael Stewart screamed for help for almost 10 minutes and was heard as far away as Fifth Avenue … Some students watched the police kill him … A small crowd of cops — 11 are named — handcuffed his ankles and methodically kicked and beat him … That night, according to one witness, there was blood all over the street; early the next morning it was all gone  …” Terry Brisson, “The Murder of Michael Stewart.” East Village Eye, New York, March 1985.]

I pictured my demise as anonymous, “accidental,” for naught, alone — severe head trauma.

The more ditzed we all got the more we dressed in beer and other proofs. A series of masks fit character across the featurelessness of our faces. Like beer-battered Bakios or steak tartare stewed in sterno. Even my mocker, now someone else and still relentlessly trying to convince one and all that he was “really real,” became bearable to talk to.

One guy (or a spokesmodel representing some ur-frat male) with a hammer outfitted to look like a tomahawk, was bragging about cruising “fully-outfitted” prostitutes up in Harlem in his Saab.

I suddenly found myself standing before Jude with beer in hand, managing to rig a necessity-determined, physics-enhanced scaffold: my right hand crosses my solar plexus, grips a fold of flesh under the crux of my left armpit, upon which my left elbow rests, allowing my left hand (holding beer) to pivot like a metronome so that the feeding of “sudstenance” can remain intimately linked to my breathing patterns.

And the more Jude lunged at the undiscovered erogenous zone known as my tonsils, to kiss me out of this state, kissing like a starling feeding her young, the more I ate with nausea all that she fed me.

“Let’s celebrate your latest black eyes.” The very work she disdained and made regular fun of.


“You can tell me all about’m while you gimme a back massage — and more … and take advantage of your good fortune. If you want we can lock the bedroom door … I can take your bad breath away.” And the more she fed me the more she’d mark me as taken with an expressionistic clown face smear of her “Sultry Siren” lipstick.

“When’m I gonna be on your radio show?”

“When the time is right.” My power existed only in so much as someone else had already insisted I had it. The more she denied this power the more time she spent figuring her elaborate denials.

“In my writing I run across this persistent question, Furman: Why does god make me suffer so?”

“Because god hates people.”

“But yer an atheist.”

“That’s the tortuous thing; s/he keeps insisting on her existence despite my not believing in her.”

“My mouth was made to prove the existence of her perfection. My mouth can make you scream ‘Oh, god, I believe!’”

“Oh yeah. I doubt it, since you’re even averse to bobbing for apples. Besides, god didn’t create ALL suffering. No s/he was smart enough to let us all attain our own comfort level of suffering. And the government enforces our comfort, our convenience, our safety. And this pisses god off … And with that I must piss.”

I went to the bathroom, the kind with mirrors everywhere that allow you to observe every aspect of your intimate being. Seeing different corners of your head and haircut you never knew existed.

I was just wiggling the last drops from the distended hints of my scarlet glans when Jude barged in, half fell, half plunged herself before my open zipper, took beer out of my hand, poured some in her palm and rubbed it over the entire length of its semi-tumescent throb and twitch. Humility had gone far afield to find her doing the very thing she so despised.

“It’s simple hygiene. Otherwise I’m not much one for safety. I’m not the bourgeois babe you think I am. And that should come as a pleasant surprise.” The quality of her character was in how quickly liquor led to the abandon of all principle so that all her cool, all her stylish waves and pleats, all her blasé hipoid gestures, all her need could so quickly be made to look like adventure.

“Caveat temptor,” she declared as she completed her act of contrition in sin, with a pearl of sperm bejeweling my urethra, as she stood proud as a soldier in a conquering army entering a liberated Paris.

“It’s your turn next. Proof is where the putting is.”

“I need tools and I need room.”

“I AM capable of other miracles but you need to be harder … Is it me or the beer?”

“I dunno I guess it’s the beer, if that’s what you wanna hear? But with uh, well with uh, um, it’s like the more I drink the more I’m about proof.”

“I just don’t get it, Furman, I have men all over  …”

“Except in yer life.”

“Let’s not talk about it. My book, by the way, whichu never read  …”

“I did, I did.”

“Dju notice there wasn’t a single typo? Everything where it needs to be. Every word like a puzzle piece.” She might have been right — I wouldn’t know, I was a mere proof drinker while she was a certified proof READER. She knew how to hyphenate a hard-on better than she knew how to hold one. And as I zipped up I noticed a red smear of her lipstick all around the lips of my fly. So that when I zipped up my fly looked like a woman’s closed mouth.

The more Jude fed me the more I realized she was actually begging for sustenance herself. Her eyes like 2 sad cockroaches on an old plastered wall.

When we rejoined the party, heated arguments abounded: Debby Harry better looking than Madonna? Phyllis Diller funnier than Moms Mabley? What’s wrong with the Yankees. I swayed between the door jambs and the beats of the music like a wobbly bowling pin.

Does intelligence lead to suicide? And what of the mystery of the “33” on the Rolling Rock label?

“Year Prohibition ended  …”

“There’s 33 letters in the listing of ingredients  …”

“You can drink 33 of’m and still be standin’  …”

“That’s cuz Americans are the biggest and best beer drinkers in the world.” Was he with the American Legion or something?

“More likely that they make the worst and wimpiest beers.” I was a snob only when erudition demanded it of me.

“The Brits fuggin’ drink more’n anybody.”

“No fuggin way! It’s us Micks, mate.”

“What about Russkys and Belgians? What else Belgians got to do?”

“Germans and Czechs are neck and throat. They both drink like 40 plus gallons a year. I know, I’ve done research,” I added. Suddenly it was a pedagogue to student relationship.

“Per what?”

“Per throat. Belgians are 3rd. Irish 8th. Brits 10th. Americans ain’t even in there. Thank you Baptists and AA! Now, if you wanna get into combined liquor, alcohol content — wine, vodka, rum and all — then you’re talkin’ French or maybe Russian with the Icelanders and the  …”

“But you, by your example — ‘O, you who are illumined’ — will lead America into a glorious eRRa of beeRR drinking respectability I have no doubt.” She was dressed as Druga, the fierce and beautiful deity with 10 arms, riding a tiger full of grace and menace. Her voice wavered between contempt and devotion.

“Beer knows no nationality. Beer makes all borders blurry,” I insisted as Druga daubed my forehead. She found pressure points. Stopped the bleeding. Seemed amused by the profusion of blood mingled with sweat. Seemed about ready to lick it off — if anyone was willing to watch. Her beauty and the menace (pronounced “mean ass” by her Eastern European voicebox) of its elaborate dimensions had stimulated the anterior portion of my hypothalamus; the sweat stung the blossom of wound she called my “3rd eye.”

“Beer is tantric, man. It arouses all the faculties into a spiritual twister so that senses, emotions, sex, and smarts are all roused to their highest pitch, so that your memories and responses can be reconverted into the pure energy from which they all originated.”

“You mean as vomit oRR spEErit?”

“Well, it’s like sending a trail of light like a lamprey eel up the spine from the gut and into the tarnished crown of the head.”

“DRReam on my LEEtle Spiritual SoldieRR of All Suds.” Druga was not convinced or was saving mask of face by ridiculing me. “Honey, you must RRelax. It is your beeRR that does talking and you do too much its walking.”

And thereupon Nielle, my neglected blossoming Nielle, the one who helps me rehearse grievances, reinforce our views, and draw the maps out of my head to give them a new head of purpose, entered our fray.

“Beer IS the talk. You Bet!”

“And youRR Mystic is the walk?” Druga. then turning and turning and turning to me, “My leetle Foot Soldier of ze Holy Stein, I know you aRRe him — don’t vorry, I will not tell — ze BM with ze BS, but who is ZIS?” pointing to Nielle. “She is so cute but she needs a life.”

“Or maybe just one of your masks.”

“I am the walking personification  …” Nielle was dead serious.

“… zuh talking amplifieRR  …” Druga.

“… the walking per-son-if-i-ca-tion of his black holes.” Nielle. I saw the fuzzy Cubist head of Jude (makeup all askew) nuzzled into the chest of a man dressed as an executioner.

“Honey, do yOOO mean like ‘I am Black and I am Deep’.”

“‘On tenement roof illuminated.’ Kerouac.” Nielle.

“Kerouac’s a hack. Kerouac’s a hack!” Someone — it may have been J.D. King — chanted as Nielle, with research and reading as her only weapons, hurt and frustrated, withdrew from our fraying fray.

[J.D. King, is a cartoonist who is built like a stork, if that stork sometimes doubles as a political assassin. He was at this party. “Sometimes I’m confused by this Furman thing, call it a spin. What pisses me off most is getting confused for him. Especially by people who oughta know better. Furman is this: Spit at a mannequin and whatever bounces off is him. I don’t have much to do with that type o’ character.

“Wake up the morning after a party and there he’ll be, seemingly right where you left him like a gargoyle guarding the fridge. He’s always in close proximity to all beer. That gives him cache, I guess. Did he sleep? Standing up? Meditate? Levitate? Yuh just never knew. And those who thought they knew don’t. This describes his so-called nocturnal habits. Don’t ask me any more. I’m busy doin’ damage control. Plausible denial. New haircut on the way. I’m not him and don’t know him.” King was heard to spit from the gnash of his teeth.]

On the roofs, in the distance, one could see the elaborate wrought-iron spikes — the only things of beauty, an essential element of security — gouging the marble sky. Some revelers, dressed as locusts with psychotic smiles hung out on dirty clotheslines, passed by before my eyes. A young executive type (even his eyelids were tanned) adjusted the post-crash bashed-in face like a toupee of pizza pasted to his cheek.

A skeleton with actual bones (dog leg bones?) went clacking by. One woman had painted a long knife scar across her chest to look like a smile. And to look at the scar meant beholding the bosom she felt was meant for beholding. Jude had passed out alone on the couch. A man dressed as David Bowie (circa “Young Americans”) dropped a grape into Jude’s agape and splendid sucking maw. Others laughed. Or was it Diana Ross he was dressed as someone else wanted to know.

“They’re one and the same,” said the man dressed as a Deadhead.

“Bowie’s an artist.” Bowie countered.

“What, cuz he’s good at hiding what he isn’t?”

“Yea, like every ad agency has an art department  …”

“They are media perpetrations, capital intensive Madison Avenue wunderkind cerebrations  …”

“SELL-a brations?”

“Yea, OK. They — Ross and Bowie — SELL discardable lifestyles, create our needs out of as-yet unrealized desires, the hypno-soldiers sent to the front of your wallet, your labia, your hard-on to arouse consumptive desires.” Was this pure serendipity, pure synchronicity? Hadn’t those words been the very ones I’d given to the Beer Mystic.

“Hey, Black MaRRia! I am to be fascinated by you.” Druga bellowed as some of the masked ones moved aside to reveal Nielle up on the coffee table, determined fist again punching the acrid and acrimonious air.

“They’re icons imploring us to shed gender, history, sense  …”

“Or just plain greenbacks!”

“… sense of self … start over … from scratch … self and emotion, allowing entertainment to become the blood of life and cool its necessary coagulant!” We had rehearsed these words together.

“Where avoidance becomes style and when we finally bottom out, we’re re-fed nostalgia, découpaged versions of ourselves, artifacts, souvenirs, and the professional care necessary that will allow us to get a pricey buy-back of our psyches and souls. Bowie and Ross and Van Halen and well, they all leave us stranded, high and dry, screaming our heads off …” And hereupon I joined her on the coffee table. Both of us screaming to drive home our point.

“Waltzing to the fragrance of the night in the bitter tropic of lost voices — Bingo parlors, muddy parking lots, stages obscured in dry ice. Oh, foam-headed brew deliver us …” Another scream began making our point quite pointless.

“RRather than you take a serious look at YURRselves, paRRanoids blame ze system, ze enteRRtainment industRRy, bRReakfast ceRReals.” Druga countered from among other hecklers.

Our argument, with my gash in rube-faced forehead, entertained some, but convinced none. It even irritated a dozen or so gathered around the glow of the TV because Saturday Night Live’s host was a current rave fave, a freak for the freak in us all, a midget who played Snow White’s new 8th dwarf, a renegade named Bouncy, who now plays guard for an NBA team on some hot Fox5 sit com.

“A midget NBA star?”

“Why not! Don’tchu get it. A small guy dribbling through the legs of all these trees, beating up on all these big guys.”

“Oh, like ‘Jock the Giantkiller’?” My pun lost in the sarcasm.

“Shut the FUCK up!” Yelled the Bouncy fans. The table grew wobbly as we stepped down. The furniture was changing shape, throbbing, the ends of tables became mere terra speculata. I placed my drink on where the end of the table had previously been only to watch it fall, spill, and get thirstily sucked up by the miracle carpet.

“Like a furry garbage disposal.” And this beer had been rightfully mine. Where did it go? Back into the earth?

And when we entered the kitchen my Morticia of a previous lifetime (an hour ago?) said, “Don’t let the beer dominate the conversation.” As she verily picked the eye right out of my storm.

“Take the double-T outa beTTer and yuh got BEER!” I countered, pathetically.

Around a tub of cold brews, the evening’s major topic now availed itself: a certain evangelist’s “cornification” of a $20 wiggling dishrag blond in a cheap Baton Rouge motor hotel who had “flashed pink” in amazingly gymnastic ways while he yanked and yanked on his pud. This is the same glanocrat-evangelist famous for “curing” baldness and for his lobbying efforts on behalf of the “Abstinence Amendment,” which would revoke the voting rights of anyone who had ever engaged in “penetrable” pre-marital sex.

Our job: damage control. Our goal as his think (see drink) tank, was to win back the hearts and wallets of his flock.

“He’s gotta denounce the deep throat pink revealer as a ‘psycho-opportunistic junkie prostitute.’”

“He must think of his wife, that gruesome tangle of tear and histrionics and perm-damaged hair, to reduce the chance of re-tumescence.”

“He can fuckin’ blame his nocturnal neuro-motor erectile response on a subliminal Communist plot in concert with Playboy and rock & roll to lure him away from his divine mission.”

“He should push for his national ‘Mata Hari People’s Referendum’ which would make prostitution a capital offense like treason and punishable by death.”

“Or he could call up dat Georgia snakehandler-healer to apply an accu-pressure-like laying on of hands to leach his serpent of its ‘vile pagan milk’ until his devilish glands dry up, turn inside out like an old catcher’s mitt …”

And I saw Jude propped up by one of the hosts, bitter strings of words tainting her breath. Suddenly she laughed dangerously, as if the cool wit and promise she’d once offered us in her writing were now just quaint doilies upon which she placed her heavy goblet of very Bloody Mary. The host struggled to remove the glass from her stiff grip.

A more opportunistic sort, the man dressed as a tattooed model (or had he just come as himself?) or Brat Pak hanger-on peeled Jude off the host’s forearm. He tried to steady her head, that aquarium of murky concoctions. He was not distracted by her string of invective aimed at “Furman the Louse” as he schemed to release the cups that ranneth over and liberate her ample, but gravity-victimized breasts. “Furman the Louse!”

“I wasn’t drunk, I was post drunk,” I heard — I think it was — Deborah Pintonelli, author of Ego Monkey, declare from out of nowhere pose.

When it was time to leave none of us wanted to make the first move to say good night (from inside our drab change of clothes which allowed us to survive our surroundings through sartorial imitation of those gloomy surroundings) because each one of us was afraid what the rest would say about him or her after the front door was shut. But I made a daring move (or rather, Nielle forced my hand and allowed me full credit) because beer had sufficiently bludgeoned me with the regret of squandered idealism. I’d had 8 or maybe 12 beers and suddenly had no home. Or rather, EVERYwhere could now be considered home.

I lost Nielle and she lost me. This would not be good for my bearings. And from the death of the party I bid Jude a last fruitless good night as I watched her eyes become black fish doing the dead man’s float across my dreams. #1 #2 #3 #4 – #5 – #6 – #7 – #8 – #9 – #10 – #11 – #12 – #13 – #14 – #15 – #16 – #17 – #18 – #19 – #20 – #21

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 @
Confessions Of A Beer Mystic by Bart Plantenga

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    Dick Lit
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    “Dick lit” has been around since the first caveman’s curiosity stuck his dick into the equation when he rubbed those two rocks together around it until....
    Millie tittered, which is how girls used to be taught to laugh. Tilda wondered if this were an intentional jab.

    Barney Rosset Interview
    (The Subject Was Left Handed)