Confessions of a Beer Mystic #26
Confessions of a Beer Mystic #26
My neighbor’s head went crashing through her bedroom window again. This is how I was awakened the morning after the party. Men in blue escorted the bare-chested guy in cuffs to the cruiser. They pushed him into the backseat with his curious smirk intact. And she followed, hankie pressed to her forehead. She too, was either wincing or smirking. The community paper said the boyfriend said it was an accident. I take it all personally, so I have a beer.
Everything but its ragged head seems to mock me. My alarm clock, for instance, couldn’t care less. It goes off whenever it wants to. Keeps its own time. Garbage cans clatter and stink. Diapers fall. Car alarms get triggered without provocation. Wine bottles roll down the street. Some mom’s around here eat plaster. They make their hands into the shapes of hammers, knock holes into walls then make their hands into flour scoops and scoop out plaster chunks and dust.
“They say it calms the nerves. Its sustenance. Calcium,” she says in our hallway on her way to her #8.
“Just hope they don’t discover MY walls.” I raise my voice as she ascends the stairs. And with every notch of raised voice I feel the throb in my hand intensify.
Last night, after the party, I discovered myself out wandering. Lit up like a holiday church. And for 40 blocks I punched out sideview mirrors with my bare fist and imagined in the morning hundreds of drivers looking into their askew mirrors and seeing cracked reflections of sky for the first time in years. My fist ached like my penis sometimes does.
When I got home I had trouble with the duplicate key in the lock and I noticed my fist had nearly doubled in size. I wrapped my fist in an old sock which didn’t make it feel any better but it did manage to hide the more gruesome aspects of its puffiness. Couldn’t open it for 2 days. And the throb made me marvel at how the body talks and changes colors in different situations. There was a yellowed sheet of onion skin typing paper on the floor near the front door.
The letter was from Pasha Georg in #4.
Radio Transmitter — READ ACROSS YOURE “AIR” WAVES — URGENT!
I live in a “semi-industrialized” area, and cannot put up with “baboons” that continually harass “my person”, sending interstellar voices into my oven, a known receiver of signals. It seems they arrest “these People”, and let them out on “Bail”(?) Then, these individuals come back and “engage” me in mortal duels to challenge “ME” with their “swords” of broken off airials from “automobiles” and “supercede” even F.B.I. requests, to keep away from “certain areas” namely the “places” where I “conduct” my own “personal affairs”. PLEASE!!! “keep” these B.O.Z.O.S. away from me and my trunks of well-deserved riches. They are approaching an “IDIOTIC stage” namely trying to “name” me! Please be aware, I have reported to the F.B.I. And somehow they “Still!” seem to be clinging to “life”. “It just so happens” that “I feel” as a “defendant” when in actuallity, I have a “court case pending!” Please be aware of this!
P.S. “I have been struck with a “snowball” saved in a freezer!
I sat there on the floor, hearing distant moans filter under my door, pieces of light stuck to different parts of the room, clung to the shelves.
My mom arrived right on time. Actually she was early: I always thought she meant to be early so as to catch me off balance, not quite done washing dishes, shoving clothes in the closet. But Nielle took a kinder view. Said my mom was just anxious to see me. This is whom I had meant to spend the night with but somehow I ended up back on East 11th. This is a manifestation of the human instinct that defies what is best for the survival of the self.
I fetched her a glass of water. She inspected the water by holding it up to the light.
“You need a fEElter for your New York vAAter.” She sat very still, taking in her surroundings; trying to make sense of what she saw. She was miffed. Got up to re-fill her glass but first washed it thoroughly along with some other glasses and utensils.
“Dis place is filt’y.”
She sat back down in the living room. That same look of injured bewilderment as when she discovered I’d been having sex with my high school girlfriend. Tears welled up in her eyes — those rain-pouring-down-cold-dark-window eyes. She spotted the pizzamaker she’d given me 2 Christmases ago on top of the kitchen cabinets still in its box.
“Do you like your pizzamaker?”
“Love it.” A constructive lie is really a truth with loftier goals.
“It is very handy for your fast living.”
She got up to straighten some things. Dust a shelf.
“Mom, sit down. Don’t worry about that.” She sat back down, grabbed the glass with 2 hands and held it there on her knees.
“You wass such a sVeet boy …” The phone rang. The answering machine engaged and began to haul in words the way a fisherman’s net hauls in silvery fish: “I heard it, I heard it, my latest death bed music! It will lend drama to the earth being tossed atop my casket — the music of Hildegard von Bingen. It will give my funeral the weight of ethereality …” Elsa Triolet liked leaving confessional-length messages. The relationship of answering machine to human made it easier for her to come clean. “… like an angel with dirt on her knees is how she sings … I mean she’s the one that gave light a celestial sound but also made light feminine, something not harsh and blinding like a light in an interrogation room — you know exactly what I mean. I hope you’re not screening your calls — its light that holds you like a mother holds her baby — sorry to bug you about this — its only that I know that what I am preparing for is the second most important event in my life and since I didn’t have time to prepare for my first most important one, I just wanna be sure I get this one right. Will you come over this week? I have a special beer that I bought, Rodenbach. It’s from Belgium and aged in barrels of uncoated wood. I also have another treat for you. It is something you will … well, I pierced my clitoris with a bell so now every time you … you’ll ring my bell.”
“Daat is a strange vooman. Does not Djuna mind?”
“Djuna is just my roommate now.”
“It is strange I did not raise you so. I raised you … You waaeere alvays a niice boy. You never did cry or complain about sings. So many sVeet sings you do for me. You vould nap mit your big smile on my laap. And daan you vood bring me some buttercups from dee fielt.”
“I had 4 perfect attendance awards in school.”
“Yes I did teach you vell to be on time. Vot hAAppen mit now?”
“Oh come on.”
“I haff still dee photo off you ven you waaeere dee crossing guard mit your white strap on. I haff dat photo mit me.” She pulled out a tattered manilla envelope and showed me the creased and cracking photo. Yes, indeed there I stood stiff as a piece of wood, proud to be an appointed guardian of safety.
“And now maybe together we make this place clean. Maybe make it a little nicer to sit.” I remembered suddenly that long ago when a word was spoken I believed that word. That word meant exactly what it was meant to. So long ago. I remembered how when I wanted to sleep in she would punish me for my late nights with “daat whore” by vacuuming very early in the morning, the vacuum nozzle banging up against my bedroom door. It was as if she wanted to be sure that I knew that she got up at 5:30 AM. Her only basis for any moral superiority hinged on the facts that she was an early riser and an advocate for cleanliness.
The phone rang again.
“Do not these vimen want me to be 2 minutes alone mit her son.”
“I went up and down the dial during the time you said you were on the air. Didn’t you say Tuesdays from midnight until 3? And so I called information. There’s no listing for any WOOS. This makes me think that you’ve been lying. This means that you have thus far received numerous sexual favors based on false pretenses. And I DO mean favors! They certainly did ME no good! What goes on? I mean are you a DJ and am I going to be able to read from my book on your show or WHAT?! If I don’t get a satisfactory answer in 24 hours — it’s 4 on Sunday — I will go public with details of tales of your sexual abuse of me …” Jude’s willful misunderstandings were borne of convenience and a pride that sat atop a flatulent bubble.
“What is de matter here? I seem to not know you no more.” I watched her pick up the glass of flat beer. “Dis is disgusting mit dee roaches dar in.”
“Its a roach trap. They’re attracted, go in, get drunk and drown. At least they went in a nice way and I get rid of some more roaches. It was a beer I wasn’t going to drink anyway. I mean, what’s the big deal!? So I left a beer out over night.”
“It iss filt’y.” Her heaven would be a tidy and orderly place. “Let me just help you. We clean up and we feel better.” To her, help meant cleanliness. To her untidiness, a dusty place was indicative of — nay — the very cause of depression and lack of motivation. To her, dust, dirt, and clutter were the enemies of sanity, well-being, progress. Sanitation for sanity. She saw my “suitcases” emblazoned with hundreds of beer labels. I had already fit my beer paraphernalia collection into 3 old naughahyde suitcases.
“Are you now moving some place new again?”
“Vhy not find a nice place wid a nice girl who can maybe cook a little bit you know.”
“I dunno. I think I mighta.” I was ready to move. Was calling Djuna’s bluff. Threatening her with peace of mind. But then situations fell back around to nothing and I did NOT move. Began to live right out of the suitcases. I admired how Nielle could live NOwhere, without permanence or knickknacks. But then again, I think I may have actually inspired that in her. That there can be pride of NO place as well as pride of place. The clochards in Paris are not dejected like the homeless, for instance, because like hoboes, they choose their lifestyle and find place in movement, esteem in travel. Maybe it was Nielle who told me this. Or maybe it was I who had told her.
“You were always so happy as a boy. And now … Maybe always preparing for your worst you make happen this worst.” Another hour, another glass of luke warm water, was consumed when finally she spoke up, “To stay here will drive me crazy. Any maybe you too. I will use a toilet in maybe a restaurant …” Home for me, had become not a place but just something to lie home about.
I walked her out, down the stoop where I kicked a used Pamper into the gutter. I walked her up the street to where she had parked her car. As she climbed into her car I noticed her swollen ankles, the blossoms of varicose veins on the backs of her calves. The way she hunched over ever so slightly.
Walking back, I saw the kids playing with the talking vagina with “ultra-vibro action.” And then I saw the ravaged envelope from Japan, from Rita Mitsouko, to me in the garbage, in the garbage can of Marco. They floated it across the thick air as some pursuing evil creature (pink and sucking) from the bottom of a deep sea, terrorizing each other with it, barking in pidgin Japanese screeching down the street, sucking and humming after their gooseflesh.
Inside I discovered 3 dead roaches inside a crumpled Lik-M-Aid package. Why do cockroaches die on their backs? How do they do it? Is it dramatic? Is there some sudden wresting of soul from body that causes this physiological imbalance or flip flop? Is it nature’s way of tagging certain states of being for us humans? I vow to get a 6er, stay up and witness Roach Death.
I rewound the messages on the answering machine. Ben from work had called to inform me that we’re not allowed to own relic WWII tanks, surplus halftracks and B-17s afterall. He’s looked into it. Thanks Ben! Is it my ears or what?
The other message was from Nielle, “Hope you are OK. I just thought I’d share this with you: ‘Oh tis jesting, dancing, / drinking spins the heavy world around / Think no more; tis only thinking lays lads underground.’ That’s A.E. Housman. See you in the dark. Come to my place. I got a bigger room with a lock that works.”
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=6 – #5
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=1344 – #6
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=2192 – #7
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=2295 – #8
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=2725 – #9
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=2783 – #10
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=2910 – #11
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3008 – #12
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3206 – #13
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3363 – #14
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3448 – #15
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3505 – #16
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3516 – #17
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3550 – #18
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3593 – #19
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3604 – #20
http://smokesignalsmag.com/7/?p=3665 – #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 @ http://www.brooklynrail.org/2011/10/books/beer-is-two-subway-stops-away-from-mysticism
WRECK THIS MESS
Confessions Of A Beer Mystic by Bart Plantenga