Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Archive for the ‘Gorkyland’ Category

Gorkyland: Barking Dogs

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These doctors who become writers: Chekhov, Bulgakov, Gottfried Benn, and Celine, William Carlos Williams. And why do they love cats, dogs, women after all that? We know why they ask for that last glass of champagne. Are there female doctors who I have forgotten to mention. What does “bottoms up” mean after all? Was Rabelais a real doctor? What does Doctor of Philosophy mean in the 21st Century? Consider the string of titles: BAJ, MFA, PhD. What level of higher education did Steven Jobs have? Robert Burton was a doctor. Goethe and Schiller were not. Walter Benjamin and Nietzsche were. John Donne, the Dean of St. Pauls? Jonathan Swift was but lived in Dublin. Ovid, not Steve Miller, was the Doctor of Love. Plato and Aristotle were simply beyond Doctor of Philisophy. So to Kant and Hegel (who was) and Schopenhauer. Then there was Lord Russell and Corporal Wittgenstein, but really then, who was the Doctor of Love? Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix? Every great mind ends up a parboiled dog whimpering around a Hebrew National Hot Dog stand. The key is to avoid becoming a man-librarian. More later.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd, PhD.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

April 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Gorkyland: Mental Square

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And sometimes the burning hotel drives towards you, instead of you driving towards the inferno. People continue to be tossed from the shelter. People continue to think they will get back in, or, instead, stay at the Sally. Even the Albany Street wet-shelter, shit-hole has cut its alkie beds in half, a third, who knows? No money, these days, is available for active drunks, dope-fiends, unless you are Bill Clegg, literary agent in New York, author of Portrait of an Addict as A Young Man. “He had a thriving business as a literary agent, representing a growing list of writers. He had a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his work and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life.” That bullshit is from the dust-jacket. Nine and two makes eleven, right? Wooie! Irvine Welsh writes: “A remarkable achievement. Bill Clegg’s story of a man–largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself–is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction.” All I can say is fuck Irvine Welsh for his cliches; he should have stuck his head in a nasty toilet and spared us the desperation, the destiny, the cult classic, and remarkable achievment. As for Bill Clegg, fuck his wanker asshole and his almost lost his home, his money, his career, and very nearly, his life. If a writer like Andrew O’Hagan is reduced to “instant classic,” “beauty and truth,” and “I suppose we live for the magic of these things,” then we are all lost in a miasma of dreck; cheap, whisper-thin, toilet paper; and bad-boy at Dartmouth masturbation. Sebestian Junger, went to war for 15 months, as a sort of male camp-follower. He at least “showed [us] the adrenaline-fueled confusion of being ambushed.” He knocked me to the floor, he took all my crack, and he took the last of the toilet paper. Junger, at least, “shows what it means to fight, serve, and face down mortal danger on a constant basis.” But really, why can’t any of these male pussies actually write well? Socrates went to war, Sophocles went to war. Grant and Sherman wrote well after the fact. I’ve been locked in hotel rooms; I’ve seen public men’s rooms in Central Square. I’ve lost my only pair of glasses down a fecal rat-hole. It wasn’t my cell-phone. Trusting colleagues, loving friends? Dylan Thomas put some egg into his whiskey. Malcolm Lowry ate the worm in the tequila bottle. When did being “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” become such a man-girl exercise in bad writing? Hemingway, Ford Maddox Ford, Dos Passos, and Faulkner could write. Most of the time they did write well. George Orwell wrote well about being down and out; the dishroom was greasy; the john stank. Josepth Roth wrote brillantly while lit up on schnapps or marc. He didn’t make himself out to be a hero for drinking hard. He wrote about men and women living in history. His last rehab episode was in the Hospital Necker, in Paris, where friends reported seeing him strapped to his bed with delirium tremens; he was denied alcohol by the hospital staff; no benzos in May of 1939. According to the poet and translator, Michael Hoffmann, that was a “contributory cause of his death.” “I have finished my last book. I don’t want a doctor, just a priest.”

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

April 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Gorkyland: Driving towards a Burning Hotel

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So, before he had become a rogue cop, on Beacon Hill, where his girlfriend introduced him to the fag-bar, Sporters, on the back side of Beacon Hill, back in the 1980s: “The place was jumping up to heaven like a line dance to the toilet, where guys kept offering me lines in the crapper on toilet-paper roles, and poppers, and the joint sold more Budweiser than any bar in the Boston area. Anyway, the vagina and I had an argument and I left her rat-hole and had no money for a cab back to Southie, so I decided to take a cab and then do a runner on the driver. Coming back down Bowdoin Street and heading towards Charles Street, I came by Sporters again and found an empty cab parked outside, lights on, engine running, and I thought, fuck, what the fuck, so I jumped in and took it for a ride. I got up on the Southeast Expressway and there was a great, crazy sky from the Carleton Hotel in Quincey, on fire, going up in purple skyline and the usual smoke. I was high as a well you know kite kite kite, so I just kept following Deep Purple. Then I got down to the Quincey rotary and because of the fire there was a line of State Highway Patrol cars, twenty deep, and I had to go through the line in a stolen cab, wired on poppers and cocaine, and of course they just looked in and waved me on. Cab driver to the nation in a time of need. I had kept the CB radio on and it was chirpy with no mention of the stolen cab I was driving. Then, remember the purple haze I was driving inexorably towards, I got sloppy and called in some stupid noise on my own radio. The line went dead, no one made a peep; the car-thief was on the air. That’s when I realised I had to bail. I called a friend of mine who lived in Savin Hill with a trash-heap lounge-lizard car he couldn’t get rid of. I told him to drive it into the public lot at the beach; it was now two, three in the morning. He said, “What’s up?” I said, just drive it there and leave it. I saw it as soon as I drove in the lot; I drove straight into it with the stolen cab and totaled both cars. I hopped out and ran home. He got the insurance and he owed me one. The next morning I slept in late, then went out and got the papers and read all about the hotel fire. Real news. I was young; I still had my work with the Police and the MBTA ahead of me.”

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012, Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

March 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Gorkyland: Taint

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Sometimes, we, the Gorkyland main-framers, decide to go out in search of a certain object, or, a certain aspect, of human potential and experience; we go out looking for human possibility. It is said that everyone has a taint, even though the OED does not seem to list this particular nuance of human anatomy. One either knows about it not, or, one does, often heavy with the olfactory gathering intelligences from the nose and the tongue, and rarely, the eye. You may not know you have a taint; you cannot not have a taint. What does a taint do? Is an examined life possible without a taint? Is a female taint any different from a male taint, or either different from a bisexual taint? Do cows have a taint? Do howler monkeys have a taint? Do women with those tick-tock tick-tock stalker boots have a taint? More importantly, have they ever done anything worthwhile with a taint while wearing those hideous, thunder-thigh announcers? Did Lassie have one? Did Eddie Haskell need one? Mrs. Cleaver definitely had a taint. Saint-Just? Robespierre?

Now when you go out looking for something you have to be able to stick your nose in something.

Wide-tongued swiving is one way to really get at taint; Pliny the Younger, mentions this in his Letters. Mina Loy mentions it in her Lesbian Baedeker.

Woof woof bark bark!

Schlampen ja ja da da da ja Fotz zwischen. You can Doktor Frankenstein taint.

God, Dear Reader, should taint be shaved? Should it be left hairy, hirsute, while everything else is shaved bald, temporarily?

Mark Twain doesn’t do taint; Charles Dickens doesn’t. Trotsky and Susan Sontag do. Courbet does, as all fans of the 1871 Paris Commune know. Zola. Flaubert, Victor Serge. Do babes who don’t shave their legs or thighs have more of a taint than baldies? Jewish taint? Jap taint? Austrian taint? Polish taint? Jaegermeister taint? Now we know that Wittgenstein had a thing about taint but we are not sure if it was a male taint or a twat taint. Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore had a thing about a beaver taint. There has never been such a thing as a kosher taint, but you can pour single malt scotch on a taint and lap it up without disgrace. Red Vienna had a lot of taint, as did Moscow when George F. Kennan was there. You can find taint in the crotch of an old oak tree in Missouri. Alligators are afraid of taint. It is not possible that taint ain’t. African-Americans who think they are Black Irish do not have taint.

You can rock, bop, and jive taint; you can funkadelic taint; you can paint taint. You cannot SVU taint. You can only arrest SUV taint.

Most importantly, you can scratch taint, but only if it itches.

God Bless taint; God Damn taint. You can lower-case taint, you can swat-team taint, you can double-up and double-down taint.

Spread your legs for taint; open your pupils for taint; order taint on the rocks or straight up.

You can marry a taint; you can divorce a taint.

Taint definitely has a sexual content.

Catherine Millet never mentions her taint.

Dada jaja dada jaja.

Goodnight, and, good luck, taint.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

February 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Gorkyland: Death Comes to History

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Things keep happening; people keep getting tossed; women get caught blowing men in the cellar, off you go. Others are told to leave for what? Why? Who knows? People keep getting tossed. Then people die. One King of Naples, hispanic, a Yankee/Giants/Mets/Jets fan, has numerous wives, girlfriends, comes up from Jersey and does the Boston system and eventually, after one year or more, gets housing, and then dies within weeks of moving out and in. Dead two days when the police find him. We last spoke on Superbowl Sunday. I congratulated him on the Giants’ victory; he graciously accepted my congratulations. There is more to tell: grey hair, pony-tail, constant cane, white bathrobe. No hint of drugs or booze so far as I knew, but what do I know? Now? Then? Tomorrow? There have been some various controversies regarding the use of artwork amidst texts, and god, we writers just are happy to have some access to publication and money per line or word. We don’t decide these matters; Ekaterina Degot, decides this; Max Klinger decides this. We just do the writing, I just do the writing, such as it is. There are commissars as well; people, women most often, who decide about correct language, human kindness in a nutshell cliché. There are commissars who watch Law and Order: SUV, pop-eyed, uncritical, and yet, are all over your attitude and tone of voice. Prohibition is so very inside the heart of every American woman in the United States. What are we to do? What is to be done?
I find it hard to keep straight, I find it hard not to worry about being appalling, shocking, nasty. There are dogs in the ditch; there are butt-ugly skanks, skags, assholes in the square. There are people who are experts on Wodehouse and know nothing about Celine. There are excuses for Eliot and there is rabid hatred of Pound. There are hefty Norton Anthologies Of African-American Literature. Who actually reads Black History in February? Do you? There is a book published this past January, Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters, edited and translated by the English poet, Michael Hofmann, that I think is superb and useful for anyone who is hacking away in the trade: meaning writing at anything at all. I have read Roth in German and English. He is one of ours, if you and fate will allow me to assert this. But then, evidently, I am a dog; I am not a son of the soil, I am not a man of the factories and cow barns, a pork butcher to the world; I am only a writer, I am a white man and I get Faulkner’s expression, “a train car full of cannon balls” quicker than you do. I’ve seen men drink shoe-polish, and I’ve seen men drink sterno drained through cheese-cloth; I’ve seen men drink Listerene and I didn’t care whether they lived or died. There is hope and faith in The Brothers Karamazov that is above the underground, but then Dostoevsky was a gambler and where’s the recovery in that?

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Gorkyland: Protective Custody

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So, this time the gentleman next door who was tossed, wasn’t actually tossed so much as he was taken away by the Cambridge Police department in protective custody. I had gone to sleep at my usual eight o’clock. The said madman had been seen in the kitchen nodding off into his dinner plate. Then he was seen sniffing the door frame trying to figure out a way to pass through. Everyone kept telling him to calm down and go to bed. Then he was seen sniffing the back steps leading up to the women’s quarters in the rear. What else can I say? The police were called and he was taken away. He did not come back, either last night, or this morning. The verdict from the experts was heroin or oyxies, because of the nodding off. Crackheads and coke addicts do not tend to fall asleep in their in their spaghetti. The point, earlier, was that someone next door the night before never came home (Dennis the Menace), so when Edward Said came in as the new dude he was suddenly enlisted by the loquacious new boss of the room to move beds and box springs around, so the Todster from the wet shelter at Albany would have the better main-frame. He had Chinese ideograms tattooed down his spine. After this and after I had gone to bed he begin to go wired and weird and crouching like Homo sapiens in a transformer world. What was he trying to smell on the back stair? With pints of Rouble Vodka you always know what will happen next; with heroin you never know: OD and death, bliss and extascy, or madness and mayhem. Who knows, if he had a few pictures of naked women he may have survived. I should point out there was a new broad from upstairs in the kitchen last night, who wore her shorts below her waist and hips like one of those gangbanger, loser, hip-hop assholes, and I can assure you no one needed to see her fat rump while eating Mexicali tacos. The Todster was not then present in the kitchen. You may think this is all electric barracuda or sex on the moon, but hell, I’m just trying to read Sergei Eisenstein, make notes, and then go to sleep. I keep my appointments, I go to AA meetings six days a week. I don’t want to run for public office. I continue to study German.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

February 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Gorkyland: Wherein the house is rife

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Wherein the house is rife with whispers, malcontents, rumors, lies, and the hard, cold facts: a person, a man, was tossed from the room next door, last night. Seemingly for not looking for work. Each case is different: I am considered disabled; also, I do intellectual work, writing, translation, etc., and so forth, so I am not expected to work for Stop and Shop, or volunteer at a food bank or an animal shelter. Other people do other things: hang at McDonald’s for eight-hour shifts, between coffee, shits, cigarettes, nips and drug deals. One of my room-mates, the Rhino, is a rogue cop and bombed and caught bus driver. He repeats the mantra: “I’m unemployed, I’m homeless; it is all my fault.” The other is a paranoid, conspiracy-driven, autodidact. Mad, mad, and combing the internet for not-for-profit crime. “They will pay; they will all pay.” The man who was popped yesterday was quiet, clean; his only sin, besides the inevitable inexplicable, was sitting up nights watching episode after episode of The Big Bang Theory, which seems to be a canned-laughter, Hollywood sit-com about graduate students! I swear, I swear, I swear, but then you already know this is true, don’t you, Dear Reader? Anyway, nowadays, the paranoia is all about busy work, paperwork, documentation of various meetings with various case-workers, clinicians, health-care providers;
AA, NA, and SA (sexual addiction), BA, MA, HOMOA, PhDA, and Polyamorist AA, etc., ad infinitum, blahblahblahA. If you are ever called an asshole, immediately explain, “Yes, but I am an asshole in Recovery.” Gratitude is the Foundation of Sobriety. Other useful terminology inside Gorkyland, especially inside wet shelters (aka. open drug and alcohol use, or abuse): prison or jail is referred to as “the Big House.” Doing time is referred to as “going on a vacation.” Denizens doing time rarely read Theophile Gautier, “People are nasty, my little one,” or, William Carlos Williams of Rutherford, or Adam Zagajewski from Lvov. Shelter for the homeless is compassion with a strap-on.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.