Der Zuschauer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Intellectual Life in New England

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: 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.

Gorkyland: Huge Birds in Central Square

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There were seagulls, really big ones, fighting with ravens and pigeons in the streets for food and trash this morning, right out where all the buses come bounding into time and space and then stillness, and the hordes on the sidewalks were eight abroad or abreast like in Manhattan. And the thing was, last night, at the shelter, they had tossed an African-American woman from upstairs who was crazy but clean and who never drank, did drugs, nor yelled, nor shrieked nor did any of the periodical, weird, science-experiment shit that so many babes do. She was benign, I swear. I mean she was crazy about her three bags of fabrics which she carried about with her everywhere she went and she had all these bizarre, anal, pack-rat organizing tendencies, that made trying to clean out the refrigerator once a week while she was around impossible, but still, she was no fright or horror. She read the New York Times in Au Bon Pain. She had a musical, clear, high voice that seemed incongruous coming out of her body. She dressed in some of those rich fabrics she kept in the bags and seemed African although she betrayed no accent. It seems all the other females hated her, couldn’t stand her; it was all about the toilet and how long she spent in there. “She showers with the light off.” But then all the women upstairs are bitches with pie-slits for eyes, and voices like howitzers, and they can all peel paint off a wall with the language and the attitude, and they call their abandoned daughters cunts, liars, or twats. Anyway I thought Jesus Christ where is this woman going to go at night with all her bags and the ice and snow, and sure she said she’d be back in the morning with lawyers but that never happens the very next morning. You get tossed and you feel angry, outraged, impossible, lost, and then it’s, “Where do I go now? What do I do now? I didn’t do anything.” And then this morning it’s like Spring outside and the enormous seagulls were out fighting ravens and the drunken pigeons for food in the street. You thought, I thought “What we need now are some red-tailed hawks to swoop in and do red tooth and claw.”

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

Written by herrdramaturg

January 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Gorkyland: In Every Standing Ditch

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There are poets in every standing ditch, in every animal shelter, playground, back alley, in Central Square; there are poets in short skirts bent over taking hog front and back in the men’s toilet of Phoenix Landing, refugees from the dressing rooms of Hubba Hubba. There are poets stacked like dead bodies in the back of Cambridge Police paddy-wagons. There are poets eating pizza on the corner of Mass Ave and Brookline St. passing Rouble Vodka back and forth in a plastic, pint bottles, sitting in the front window, sideways. There are poets with hard-ons in the Salvation Army Worship Hall with nowhere to go. They listen to bands and drink Sapporo; they listen to live music and drink Bushmills.

There are poets who have no place to keep books. There are poets who hate books; they are after all like head-lice and bedbugs. There are poets who have hepatitis A, B, and C. They have tuberculosis. They are young and have no idea what HIV is. The never ask themselves what women want? Or, what are women are for? They think dogmas are off the leash. They pee on walls. They fill up the hopper in the McDonald’s men’s room with so much shit it won’t hold anymore. They are not registered to vote. They think Mitt Romney is already President of the United States. They know that Mormons are aliens from outer space. There are poets who blow off their case-worker. There are poets who check out Samuel Beckett’s Letters, Vol. 2, and take it with them wherever they go, wrapped up in dry-cleaner plastic. There are poets in Central Square who think Dr. Martin Luther King is a PCP, and that he can’t possibly assuage Michelle Obama’s anger. There are poets, there are poets, there are poets, in every standing ditch. They expect no mercy; they will have no mercy; they give no mercy.

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

Written by herrdramaturg

January 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Gorkyland: Bitter Cold, Vicious Wind

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“It is snowing. The farm-workers are fucking the cows, perched on 3-legged milking stools, it seems. They are called ‘juniors’ and are driven away pitilessly.”
Samuel Beckett, Letters Vol. 2. p. 332

The shelter is warmer but essentially seedy, shabby, and depressing. Men swearing under their breath, beating to death an old pair of shoes. My room-mates would make a rabid weasel or a raunchy stoat proud. No pinteresque drinks cabinet allowed. No one reads books, except some of the vagina-people who lean over bibles, self-help titles, all of them dog-eared, under-lined, yellow like rancid cook books. This morning it was all about the bathrooms, men desperate to go while the opera singers shower, or, the odd negro does god knows what forever. So surly, stupid men pawing the floors in the hallway in agony. Why are women so distrait in the morning? Puffy, pie-slit eyes, with raspy throats; voices expectorating across the kitchen like malevolent cannon balls. Three holes, bingo. Then there is the zombie coffee doctor spin and dance routine: pour, taste, sugar, pour, stir, Cremora, stir–hack hack hack a roo splat splat spit–more sugar, more Cremora, finally done, then the St. Vitus dance to the table and the chair. Imagine being 60 years old and feeling extreme nostalgia for rock and roll. Imagine being 60 years on with an oxy gnaw on trying to focus long enough to actually read Keith Richard’s Autobiography? Then the two hours of paranoia/porn research on the Internet at the public library. “Where does all the money go, man?” Then there is the Jap-mad-scientist guy with the Abraham Lincoln beard who pours over issues of Nature or Mind or Science. Then the sad, creepy, shelter-faggot homos. Why can’t men walk up to a urinal and do their business without getting urine all over the floor? And when it’s bitter, bitter, vicious cold where does one go? To stay warm? To piss, read, shit? Where besides the subways, the public libraries? Where do the vagina-people go because they do seem scarce on the street? Where, where, who cares? Sad sacks, male and female, in baseball caps scratching tickets with a nickel or a fingernail, happy happy happy to go to AA for the coffee. And the company? In a winter coat and cargo pants festooned with nips of Old Thompson’s, or nappy-head Seagram’s Gin. Overweight, homeless, shelter moron dressed in athletic apparel from the National Polo Association? Where have you gone Ralph Lauren? Where have you gone Louis-Ferdinand Celine? The way the Spare Change Newspaper works is, you pay 25 cents a copy, and turn around and sell that for a buck. Do they pay writers? I wouldn’t know. I’m too much of an intellectual snob to know that. God, shallow, false pride. Would Jack London know? Or Stephen Crane? When I work do I work for character or beer money? Now in the Stone Building at the library. Very quiet. Still early. So–the bathrooms at Shaw’s were closed down, the bathroom at McDonald’s (Due to extreme vandalism this bathroom is closed), then at Starbucks the door was open and so stood t-rex a 6′ 5″ spook, braying, reeking, rasta-mutha-fucka asshole asshole. A truly terrifying nasty shit-hole dinosaur. And all of that before I could even get out of Central Square. My intention is to work here throughout the day. “Three things happened at once: the communists lost an election; Solidarity won; the communists acknowledged that Solidarity won.” That might sound like a syllogism. Must stay awake, must stay warm, must rustle up chow. What ever happened to checking out chicks at the beach. Am I still an intellectual?

“The spirit of [Godot], in so far as it has one, is that nothing is more grotesque than the tragic, and that must be put across right to the end, particularly at the end.”
Beckett, Letters Vol. 2. p 350.

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

Georg Trakl: Die Ratten

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In Hof scheint weiss der herbstliche Mond. [an s-set]
Vom Dachrand fallen phantastische Schatten.
Ein Schweigen in leeren Fenstern wohnt;
Da tauchen leise herauf die Ratten

Und huschen pfeifend hier und dort
Und ein graulicher Dunsthauch wittert [umlaut]
Ihnen nach aus dem Abort,
Den geisterhaft der Mondschein durch zitteert

Und sie keifen vor Gier wie toll
Und erfullen Haus und Scheunen, [umlaut]
Die von Korn und Fruchten voll, [umlaut]
Eisige Winde im Dunkel greinen.

Written by herrdramaturg

January 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm