Der Zuschauer

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

Archive for the ‘Inanities’ Category

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: Home for the Holidays

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I have not been living in a tent in Occupy Harvard.

I have been living in a shelter in the People’s Republic of Cambridge.

I do not care whether the Super Committee fails or the NBA saves a season.

My brother is dead; my mother is dead; my father is dead.

I just want to be home for the Holidays.

I am a socialist; I believe in promiscuity.

Why are women such nag-bitch-nag-viragoes about alcohol, reading, and a man’s free time? I can’t stand women. I’m a veteran of two-failed marriages, two failed foreign wars. My first wife was a chef and a passive-aggressive nightmare. Surely, it was all my fault. She was 9 years older than I was and we wed after knowing each other for 30 days. How much of a fool was I? My second marriage was a true heart-breaker, so I won’t write about it, except to say she was 20 years younger and I was an even greater fool.

Why are women such harpies about the grape and fermentation? My first wife would have made Socrates’ wife seem like a fairy-dust angel. It is true that women are always mad about that 3rd beer (that 3rd Gorky), and always wanting you to appear in coupled concert, with other binary partners, in pussy-whipt dominion. Add to the idea of amorous, monogamous chains, that of sexual satisfaction (Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas with diamonds), and you’ve got a ripe recipe for acrimony and dissolution.

As a writer, translator, and dramaturg, I find cold beer and red wine much more helpful and valuable in regard to my work than any broad can be, ever how interesting 38 DDs can be. My library, a few windows, a stack of moleskines, perhaps a trophy-bra hanging from a door-knob. Just now I’m reading in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I’ve just started working through an anthology of 20th-Century German Poetry, edited by the poet, Michael Hoffman.

In August of 2009 my significant other moved out and left me flat. There is a reason and necessity for euphemism, just as there is for the semi-colon. Then I had a heart attack and was in the hospital for six weeks. At the time of the ICU period, the Megasaurian Butch-Pussy 1st wife remarked to all and sundry, “It would be better if he just died.” Probably so, but, I didn’t die.

Americans have a lurid, puritanical idea of alcohol and drinking, almost as schizophrenic as their attitude toward sex. And if your girlfriend worries you about that 3rd beer, you can rest assured she’s a fan of Charles Bukowski. Strict about monogamy and STDs, with an I-forget # over 30. Which is to say, “Why bother with women at all except as intellectual colleagues and orgy-partners?” No small talk at the play ground, no dry Sunday brunches, no PTA meetings. “Aus bleichen Masken shaut der Geist des Bosen.”

Which is to say, “It’s certainly all my fault.” In 1999, they told me in the hospital that drink would kill me in 6 months. In 2009, they told me I could end up homeless, which would be worse than death, that I’d be better off dead, and who can argue with that? Have you ever been to one of those big Friday Night AA meetings where all the men ride Harleys and the coffee-cup-assed chickettes wear cowboy boots and skin-tight blue-jeans? Yeehaw, Yeehaw-you’re right, I’d rather be dead.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2011 Der Zuschauer.

Gorkyland: On Friday My Great-Coat Was Stolen

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It was at an enforced AA Meeting at the BU Marsh Chapel where the weasel-stoat denizens are described as “well-educated and enlightened.” I had arrogantly gone to the toilet with the supreme confidence of the smugly saved. “There seemed no reason for concern or suspicion.” It may seem like a scene from a Victor Serge novel (Conquered City, or Comrade Tulayev), where Higher-Power Assholes abound in the Stalinist totalitarian state, but it was just the same old piss-mire of dope-fiends, alcoholics, coat-pullers, fags looking for John the Bopper and Jesus the joint-jumper, and very predictable old Vladimers and Estragons, straight out of the old Godot flask. On the same Friday I saw an old duffer in pajamas walking down into the Davis Square subway station and seeing his plastic 1.75 bottle of Ruble Vodka slip out of his belt and down his trousers and out on the floor, all without breaking; such are the miracles of science. I recently had had a list of all the microbiological viruses and fungi, which tend to reside in the vagina, read out to me: “Think about that the next time you go down on some slag!” I have to go to Alcoholic Anonymous Meetings to satisfy a residency requirement. “Think about a sponsor.” On Thanksgiving Day there are these hideous 24 holiday marathons (Alcoholothans) for booze-bags and coke-heads and the other poor bastards who have to get their dog-it tickets signed. I get bartenders or package-store clerks to sign mine. This is all part of recovery, which is recovery from what? Earlier, I arrived on the Central Square T-Station platform and tried to wedge my way past a dyed-blonde, menopausal, female fright (not a street person), who was hanging in the doorway. I dodged one way and then another and finally darted around her with my cane in order to avoid getting crushed by the door. She shouted out, “Sir, if you are implying I am a Kosovo Serb, I will not stand it!” I said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” “I said, sir, I will not have you imply I am a Kosovo Serb!” This was a register higher and right in my face. All the usual, oblivious people were staring at both of us like we were war criminals. “I didn’t say anything to you until you began to yell at me.” Then she sat down fours seats away hissing: “At least I know what ‘imply’ means!” “That,” I said, “is a classic cunty remark, you old hose-bag!” This was met with incomprehension by the Trolls who now had decided I was a hag-molester, a veritable SVU criminal. I begin to long for a plastic 1.75 bottle of Ruble Vodka of my own, with which to beat the old monster to death, all the while calling her the ugliest, nastiest, Kosovo Serb I had ever seen still alive, and then, having seen her properly dead, I could begin to celebrate Thanksgiving early. I immediately left the train and the old bitch-nag with the trolls. I had a phone call to make about cash benefits and disability. Who knew? Were there any Serbs left in Kosovo?

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2011. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

November 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Gorkyland: Upon the Troglodyte, and, the Troglodytic

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A Troglodyte, according to the OED in the first instance, is one of various races or tribes of men (chiefly ancient or prehistoric) inhabiting caves or dens (natural or artificial); a cave-dweller or cave-man. That a cave-man can be prehistoric or contemporary is evidenced by the recent Geico Car Insurance ads on TV, or, the life of Hunter S. Thompson. Instance three notes people who live in seclusion; people unacquainted with the affairs of the world (i.e., both that of the 1% and the 99%), a hermit (i.e., one who fucks the duck, Clare, and then has Gertrude, the wife, cook the duck, also known as consensus among women). The 3rd instance in the OED (also known among atheists as the Word, the Gospel, or the Truth Historical) mentions a dweller in a hovel or slum (or an animal shelter, or a homeless shelter, or the Bristol Lodge in Waltham, the Sally, or Salvation Army in Central Square, or Albany Street, the wet shelter near Central Square), or a person of a degraded type like prehistoric or savage cave-dwellers (or alcoholics, dope-fiends, stock-brokers, 2nd level sex-offenders, tenured university professors, politicians on the right, politicians on the left, tent-dwellers, social-workers, case-managers, housing advocates, methadone bartenders, sophists, you know: Socrates, Plato). That these definitions can be astutely and precisely extended can be evidenced by H. Rogers in his Essays II (1854): “Some would make him…such a very Troglodyte in metaphysics that he was not properly acquainted even with such writers as Descartes or Hobbes.” One can’t help imagine further extension: Foucault, Derrida, Lacan. One wants to demand devolution as well: Celine, Malaperte.

Now among the Troglodytal, the Troglodytan, the Troglodytish, and generally of, all out, Troglodytism, one must mention men thrown out by their wives in the hideously wife-friendly Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for crimes like drinking a six-pack of beer a day; ghouls, goons, vampires, crack-smokers, werewolves, wife-beaters, crack-dealers, cross-gender wife-beaters, case-worker abusers, social worker level 3 sex-offenders, homos who beat up their pussy-bitches, all the zombies who know how to drool out 12-step cannon fodder, traumatized rhetoricians, potty-mouthed I’m sorry sorry sorry lying shit-house, abject fucking dogs. “Senator Brown was abused; I rooted for Penn State all those years; I’m proud now to be an Alcoholics’ Anonymous Sponsor, twinkle, twinkle, if you fucking, little star, know what I mean?”

A ghoul is an evil spirit (in Mohammedan countries) said to rob graves and pray on human corpses. Like Rush Limbaugh in this country. In 1812 Robert Southey remarked of the Tea Party: “These human ghouls were not content…to let their friends die a natural death before they ate them.” In 1824, William Irving, discussing 21st Century blogs, wrote of one Oxycontin journalist-asshole: “He was in a manner, a literary ghoul, feeding in the charnel-house of decayed literature.” In the coming weeks and months I will, as a PhD Troglodyte, try and look further into the ghoulish, the ghoulishness, and, into over all, religious-right ghoulism. If you wonder at a Doctor of Philosophy living in animal shelters, see most of Greek Philosophy. See Democritus, see Epicurus. Who was that asshole who walked around naked in a wine barrel? See goon in the OED: a sub-human creature, a person hired (esp. by racketeers) to terrorize workers; a thug. Later I will discuss goon-box, goon-squad, and goon-baiting.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2011. Der Zuschauer.

Gorkyland: Twist, Twist, Twist Again

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The are no pussies in an animal shelter. nor punch-bunnies either. There are barking dogs, baying hounds, Aegis-class cruise missiles, but there are no pussies in a shelter. There are no female breasts, no tits, titties, no jugs, hooters, fun-bags, wahoos. There are no bra-busters in a men’s shelter. No A-Cups, no B-Cups, C-Cups, D or DD-Cups, no Triple E-Cups, no Quatro F-Cups. There are no female nipples: pink, red, or brown, barely pronounced, big as your thumb, flashing like lights on a patrol car. No biting, no sucking Lulu’s nippons. There are no girly armpits either, shaved, hairy, stubbled, five-o’clocked, razor-fatigued, no sweaty, salt-licked, girly armpits. Nothing. There is no female pubic hair in a men’s animal shelter. No bush, cotton candy, Black Forest, swampland, barely there, tease-tufted, no navel to anus, no shaved, bald, nor red-demonette, nor wooly bully. And, of course, there is no pussy, beaver, squack, snatch, taco, bearded clam, sperm-barn; there is no mons veneris, Venusberg, love-shack; there is no semen-intake center in a dog house. You will find the usual gattling-guns, howitzers, moon-rockets, yogurt cannons, roman candles, sad-sack dicks. There are baton rouges, baton noirs, tossers, and walking sticks. But, alas, there is no muff-diving, no rug-munching, no forced march, no frog-march, no boob patrol, no crotch hawking, nothing like that in a men’s animal shelter. Just the pass word: Ou la femme? Charchez la femme?
I don’t even know what it looks like.
I never knew what it looked like.
I can still remember what it smells like.
Fish shack in late August.
Sauteed sole in a lemon beurre blanc sauce.
She harrowed out my nostrils.
Nipples like red cherries in the snow.
Armpits with hair like the end of the Korean War.
Curls at the back of her neck.
Her ears gone beet-red.
I remember when-
Let’s twist, twist, twist again,
Like we did last summer.
O do you remember when?
Let’s twist, again, like we did last year.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright by Der Zuschauer, 2011.

Written by herrdramaturg

October 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Gorkyland: Or, Living in Hobbes’ Ditch

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My name is Maxim Gorky, the 3rd; I was born in Moscow in 1953, the year of Stalin’s death. I am a distant cousin to distant cousins of the famed writer, Maxim Gorky, and a fifth generation Old Bolshevik. I am also related to the celebrated Russian wolfhound in Walt Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp, and like him I have lived a desperate life in various animal shelters and man shelters; and so have come to know, and can thus write about, the lower depths, the high and low, the down and out, shit hole and armpits of Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aka., the People’s Republic of 02138. I entered Moscow University in the Fall of 1989 to study classical languages, fled the Soviet Union in 1992, took an MA at Harvard in Comparative Languages, and finally, after a second failed marriage and two daughters, staggered to the completion of a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Studies in Moscow in 2003. Things had been edgy all along and were destined to get a lot worse. You see I have long been an underground man like my countryman Dostoevsky. I have endured crabs in London, washed filthy dishes in filthy water in Paris, gambled away fortunes in Baden-Baden; I have drunk myself into an asylum in Dublin, haunted typhus wards in Berlin, died in the snow in Warsaw, and come back from the dead, only to end up this past February in the stinking, nasty, Salvation Army in Central Square, and that is not the worst, that is only the beginning.
As a still committed Old Bolshevik, I can tell you all about life from the inside of American socialized medicine. I can tell you about the growing infinity of names for shit, schiesse, merde, (forget 17 names for a blackbird, forget 38 names for snow). I can discourse on the plethora of cheap vodkas available in unbreakable plastic bottles. I can tell you about hepatitis A, B, and C; HIV, Dengue fever, and the Ebola virus. I have slept under the same roof with weasels, stoats, badgers, dogs, pigs, felons, liars, hose-bags, scum-bags, shelter faggots, rump rangers, pimps, whores, shooters, hit men, stabbers, sterno-drinkers, and old Trotskyites, Mensheviks, Black Panthers, SSI Men, SSDI Men, accessories to murder, ministers, Mormons, Tiger Woods dudes, the ghosts of Martin Luther and Martin Luther King. I have drunk cool-aid with Jim Jones survivors and the acid was very good. I know how to party; I can grab the night by the junipers; I can tangueray and martini all night long. I can dodge plates thrown by bitches. “Ants crawl upon my drunkard’s arms.” I can toss piss, sperm, and the whole nine yards. I can do Hegel, yodel, and schmegel. But I can’t get a job; I used up all the money I had; I used up all the unemployment I had. The Dramatists Guild Fund won’t give me any more emergency money. I lost my apartment, my library, my clothes, my girlfriend, my cat, my dog, my Communist Party card. I lost the lush life and found the low life. All I’ve got left is the truth and I’m getting paid 5 cents a word for that. I tried selling my sperm, but they told me I was too old. Tall, yes, blue-eyed, even handsome, yes, and the advanced degrees; hell, you can make $900 a month smacking your mackerel twice a week; you can even mail it in, but not if you’re 58, look like one of Milton’s fallen angels, and your Johnson isn’t, after all, what it used to be. If I could get a grip I could get a job or a flat or subsidized housing after two years. I’ve done everything else. I tried to sell Dr. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets as my own but no one was buying. so now I’m trying the truth for 5 cents a word. Stick around, it could get interesting.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright by Der Zuschauer 2011.

More Pudenda Studies

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Written by herrdramaturg

October 11, 2011 at 11:51 am