Bart Plantenga’s
Confessions of a Beer Mystic #29

The first time I saw a Mohawk it was pink. And sat like a broom head atop the lanky guitarist who, tipsy habitués said, played in the Plasmatics. He’d saunter in with a woman whose breasts were the pivots of intense speculation. Tupperware goblets never enmeshed in much more than a leather cobweb.

Did she go to D’Agostino’s this way? Speculation regarding their special pinkness, their resolute rouge fruitfulness, defying gravity, now included the likes of me in Puffy’s, with a bartender so beautiful that her utter unattainability made her comfortable beyond possibility to be around, that bar on the grimy fringe of Tribeca, a region of warehouses the size of fields to breathe in. Each façade with its own peculiar look of bewilderment.

I had come to meet the “Rum Seer,” a nom de guerre, they said, she’d claimed for a long time already. Someone Nielle had caught more than wind of and attitude from, who had graduated, they said, she said, from drunk to medium to “Rum Seer.” She’d heard of me; me being more fact of a rumor, to some, than rumor of a fact, from Nielle as well as others.

When I’d called she had proposed Puffy’s. “Le’s go,” she said, “I’ll put on my prosthetic drinking devices.”

The Rum Seer had a Mediterranean mouth that dominated her face the way an awning ripped loose, flapping in a storm, dominates a storefront. She was all bangs and mouth. Veil and orifice. Shade and suction. Mystery and force. I had a brew with a formidable head.

“I like it here cuz there’s no Pat Boone Drinkers, PBDs.”


“You know, like LITE beer suckers.”

She took her forefinger, shaved off my head’s excess, put the finger in her mouth, said; “Look, a brewcut.”

“Tha’s funny.”

“You’re the judge. Hope inside your head’s not like your shock of hair. You musta got comb-aphobia. It’s like a dirty mop standing in a Mediterranean sun or somethin’.”

“I just never got nowhere to be. I never see anyone. I only go out at night.” She needed another rum and Coke.

“You can mix anything with rum and it’ll come up god.”

“God or good?”


“How ’bout motor oil drained from a ‘73 Plymouth Fury?”

“Anything shorta motor oil.”

I went to the bathroom and in the reflection on the chrome paper towel dispenser I tried to do something with my mop. Something that would appeal to her, something to make my dishevelment into style-with-purpose, something Joey Ramone going Johnny Rotten.

When I got back she’d draped her leather jacket over the barstool and was sitting on it. So much of her black tee shirt had been cut away that I wasn’t sure what was holding it together. It revealed a generosity of skin. Skin like porcelain. Delicate yet capable of withstanding extreme temperature changes.

“So here we are, Grog and Magrog, plotting the overthrow of the straight world.”

“Yea, like Chip and Dale.”

“The wisdom of the spirits says avoid bars with prefixes like ‘il,’ ‘el,’ ‘le,’ ‘la,’ or ‘ye olde.’”

“Men’s name bars are good.”

“Women’s even better … Sally’s Dottie’s, Lotte’s. I’ve NEVER had a tan, yuh know.” I couldn’t claim as much. The overhead fan spun at the same velocity as my head and her thoughts.


“Just thought you might need to know.” Its mere audacity left her one up on me. Her skin did, indeed, seem to reject all light. As she unfurled ever further to the marrow of all matter she suddenly spotted this biker, a menacing hulk of hair, leather and grimace with keys dangling from his hippie-tooled belt. Did all those keys still own keyholes? I was skeptical.

“He’s got about 80 tattoos.”

“You counted?”

“I started to once. Don’t even start me … Stopped at his belt and just guesstimated from there. He’d talk me up. Up and DOWN, UP and DOWN! Every time I come in here. Tryin’ to get me tanked. And after awhile he thought that by proximity — us both hangin’ out here that I’d become his. Just cuz I counted all the above-the-belt tattoos and took one ride home on his Triumph.”

“And now?”

“Well, I figure, all YOU gotta do is act like my husband.” The fan blades caught my umbilical cord and the whirling tangle drew me up toward the ceiling.

“Like ignore you?”

“No, here’s the scene: recently married couple, still in lust. He’ll respect that — I think.”

“And if he don’t?”

“We’ll deal with that as it comes.”

“Or my face will.”

And after 3 more drinks and 1 Rum Rebellion each on the house we were lit like a hot-house on fire. She directed me through a series of dramatic entanglements and ever bolder embraces. Her humid breath flushing my face. Sonny Boy Williamson on the juke singing “Moonshine,” “Now moonshine will make you think you / the policeman instead of just every boy / Moonshine will make you think / the streetcar is just a silly toy.”

“Wendy’s tits defy logic cuz they’re pumped full o’ silicone. Someday they’ll shatter like teacups from China.” Just stroke her, clutch her, own her. She’d be forever indebted. “Get rid o’ him sniffin’ around my backdoor.”

“You know it’s silicone?”

“I used to go-go for businessmen. Strip in a cage to Yma Sumac at the Melody. And MINE are real. So real they’ve had men in tears. Anyway, he  …”Nodding in the general direction of biker, “has a dragon on his forearm. BUT DON’T LOOK! The mouth of which is in the bend of his elbow. When he straightens his arm the dragon roars with a ribbon of flame. He likes to hold that up to a woman’s tits and make believe he’s scorching her. Some sense of humor, huh!?”

Because I’d seemingly made eye contact with him she thought we’d better retreat to Barnabas Rex around the corner. Outside Puffy’s she was careful not to break our breathless clinch, placed my hand on the cumbersome pleasure of her ass.

“We’re not far from the first paved street in NYC — Stone Street.”

“My ass reminds you of a paved … ?”

“No but, no BUTT — it’s cuz beer delivery wagons kept getting stuck in the mud.”

“There’s Nick. We dated until he ran outa heroic stories of how he overcame his addictions. Hug me now like you wanna really do things to me!” I did as instructed.

“What’s in a Rum Rebellion anyhow?” I inquired in the scallop of her ear.

“Brown rum, the juice of one lime, brown sugar, ice, shake, orange slice and a little spirit of Che Gueverahahaha.”

Shortly after we’d molded with some corner in the Rex, serenaded by the clickclack of billiard balls, Biker entered, clinking like a silly — but dangerous — wind chime.

As he squinted in through the doorway she commanded, “And NOW, Furman, kiss me!” As if cameras were rolling. My hand, by now, expertly playing the keyboard of her backbone as I bent her back, flexible as an accordion.

She rewarded my act with a mouth full of rum, which she forced into my mouth, plunging it down with her tongue that shivered like a fish in my throat. Was her tongue proselytizing? To win a convert? A convert to what? Rum?

“I saved a young dip by fallin’ in love with him. He’s got a mohawk and I allow his multiple personalities to mess with mine. It’s innerestin’ but it gets a little crowded in bed when we beat each other to a bloody scene from a movie that’s never seen the dark of a movie theatre. A bloody writhing orgy or fun or one and the same. So yer lucky you got one of my … manipulatable ditzy sides tonight. I can be done to.”

“I’ve been a hero more’n once in my life.”

“A hero is someone crazy enough to do what’s necessary.”

“I spooked a snake once to make it cough up the toad it was devouring. Afterward I held the toad, covered in snake spit, in my palm. I tried to imagine the toad’s thoughts. I tried to imagine it as a girl’s heart.” I waxed as poetic as the utility of lust would allow.

“I once saved a pigeon from the jaws of a wild black cat in Central Park. Saving a rat with wings seemed to be beyond the ken of most of my crew. There was blood in the snow and the skaters twirled by on the ice. But who cares?!” She added.

Every time she sensed Biker might be “makin’ menace” our way, with a look halfway between brass knuckles and a cuestick to the face, she’d instigate further incursions into the “land of amour.”

This led to nonscripted incursions I’d rarely ever taken in public. But with the cover of a pragmatic conceit such as this, it became easier and easier. Play with her bangs. Kiss her nape. Gnaw on her gumdrop earlobes. MMM. Patchoulli? A voodoo candle? She placed my hand on her breast where I measured the exact dimensions of her condyloma nipples. Which set her to grinding her pelvis into me like the action of an old washing machine on spin.

“The other night I yanked this banker-yup out of 6th Avenue. In the glistening mist he pushes me away because he’s even more shit-faced than me and his sense of adventure has led him to this, playing toreador — dodging hunks of screaming steel, holding the world accountable, badgering every girl that happens by — as if their indifference to him is their fault. He shows passersby his shirt. ‘Fuckin’ criminal what this guy’s done to my shirt! $49.99!’ This guy’s having a baby over a wrinkled shirt! Never mind I just saved his life. And then he heads back out, flailing away at cars like a sad grey xenophobe with his briefcase full of numbers that justify themselves and the lies behind them. Figures with no infinity, no rhyme, no unreasonableness to them.” And this was how my resumé sounded as I felt my body crease across our corner in the Rex like a book folded back against its binding. She ran her calm knee against the sigh of my fly. Introduced me as her husband to an acquaintance whose drink was directly adjacent to Biker’s. Was Biker hard of hearing? Thick? Persistent? Was he really a menace at all? Was I the one who was thick? Thick as the heel of his Frye boot?

“Rum was the big motivator in the British Navy. Boat hulls were filled with it. No Rum, No America.”

“No beer, No pyramids.”

Outside the Rex I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care what movie this was. I didn’t care that NYC had over 2.5 million trees. I didn’t care that half of them were dead. I kissed her under the umbrella. Under the noctiluscent sky where the hiss of the rain sounded like wind through a forest. The rain made the streets smell clean. Clean like too much deodorant on a sweaty armpit. Clean like the hyperventilations of the Rum Seer.

We walked past Puffy’s “…  Will make you get drunk / and walk out in the street …” to the subway. Down in its maw she tried to coax me to her “sous-sol.” Who’d she hear from that I was a sucker for French? Kelly? Her tongue scurried around my face and torso like a rodent. I suggested my place.

Then I remembered the dishes, the roaches, the sheets I hadn’t changed in … Djuna, that there was no Djuna and then there was. It was mere blocks away. “Meat District.”

That made her chuckle — Meat.

“As in what hangs from hooks.”

“Whadda yuh mean?”

“You’ll see.” She was adamant about HER place. And there we stood entwined. Her body like an appliance on high. Chewing my lips raw, moaning, enveloping half my face. In a stand-off, a true filibuster of the wills, a mystical stalemate in which we’d exchanged several pints of spit, we stood. Finally we broke the clinch, vowing a future “showdown.” Curious word, “showdown.”

“I can come to you through my bones,” she threatened. I was miffed because I think poetry is constructed in a way to leave us all a little miffed. The less you hear the less miffed you are. And with that she descended further into the subway hole.

“Down down, down. How brave they’ll all think me at home.” As she took her “A” train to HER Brooklyn. A mind is a waste of time, a terrible thing. Had biker just been used as a ruse in a scheme and was I a chump of a ruse of a scheme?

Ah, to manufacture, capture, or photograph her white skin and document how she maintains those jet black bangs? Does she rub it against the inner walls of an old coal bin?

The Delaware Indians as well as the Mohicans called this place Mannahattanink or Mannahachtanink which derives from the term for intoxication, as in island of general intoxication.

I walked through the wiggly hiss and hum of Manhattan, with lips throbbing. Down to my new place. I didn’t tell you? Yea, I finally got out of our situation — with a little help from Djuna. An ex of hers was going to Japan for a year and wanted to sublet his illegal garret in the Meat Market area. Djuna even put the 2 month deposit down on it. She can be so … generous … or is it tender when she’s desperate? To some I say I moved out, to others, that I was kicked out. Semantics is all about eliciting the right response. I read something like that in the “Mission Statement of Methods and Motivation,” a 30 page photocopied treatise to guide Djuna into the next phase of her life where she can afford to end her latest roommate-from-hell misery.

I was unsure of what Nielle had intended by this meeting with the Rum Seer. My blood tasted like a syrup you might pour over flapjacks or the Rum Seer’s porcelain skin. I saw expensive plates from Limoges in a window. As I unlocked the 4 locks to get into my garret I saw a gangrel shadow in search of a body.


(to be continued) #1 #2 #3 #4 – #5 – #6 – #7 – #8 – #9 – #10 – #11 – #12 – #13 – #14 – #15 – #16 – #17 – #18 – #19 – #20 – #21 – #22 – #25 – #26 – #27 – #28

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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