“Worship as many as you can see, and more will appear.” – Peter Sheffer
“You seem to be in dire need of romance.”
“In trying to corner the last pea on my plate” says James Mason, “you squashed my pea! You don’t squash a man’s pea!”
“Aren’t we being little miss Corn Chex!”
“Milk, milk, lemonade, round the corner fudge is made.”
“Careful, there’s dynamite everywhere.”
“Now, don’t you go puckering up your lips for another Stinger.”
“I like Tweety-Pie.
He’s a real trouble- maker
and has such big eyes.”
“The odds are against us … so we must be odder.”
“Most of the time when you’re walking down Broadway, you’re just walking down Broadway.”
“Every other father and son are watching the football game together today. Except us. We’re like a couple of fairies.” – Dad.
“Listen to this song, isn’t it just dripping in drugs?” — Jon Savage.
“Always wear a tie in the center of London. It’s the respect you pay a great city.”
“Somewhere in the world it’s tomorrow. But not in England. In England, it’s already yesterday.”
“Some days I just PINE for money.”
“God is a wood cutter.”
“You seem familiar with my techniques. Try SUN coming out of CLOUDS.”
“I wish to establish the right to do anything.” —Gauguin
“Nobody paints peanuts like Peto.”
“A few pink minutes.” – Jimmy Schuyler.
“Oh, I love liberty dimes, they still made them out of silver then, they went *PING* when they hit the sidewalk.” *
“I was a teenage minimalist.”
“I’m a big flan of yours.”
“When she sang, she made the most fuss in the world.”
“The weasel who knew all about, what, electricity?” – Eileen Myles
“When you’re a kid, you go about identifying things.” – Tom Woodruff
“It’s wonderful how rude one can be to one’s own mother without her even noticing it.” – J.R. Ackerly
“Duncan Hannah, Poet, Painter, Swordsman.”
“I hate getting boners, man.”
“The not-there kid was literally … not there.” – Burroughs
“Hi … I sell pimples at Macys.”
“I’m the man in the pin-striped hard-on.”
“So you’re one of those guys who would take a left turn for a tin angel!”
“I’ve got so few T-cells left that I could give them all names.” – Tim Dengos.
“She’s the kind of girl that they used to shoot out of cannons.”– Richard Merkin
“I would as soon do that as enter a cave of asps!”
“These fragments I have shored against my ruins” – T.S. Eliot
“Just because it LOOKS like a painting doesn’t mean it IS a painting.”
“NICE?!? Nice is a drag!”
“How do you like the Mudd Club? Can I tie you up?”
“What are you making, a beret omelette?”
“Are you telling me that anything your mother thought, said, or felt, would make any difference to you?”
“Who are you?”
And what are you doing?”
“Go on telling me things,
about what things do when no one watches”
“Love is a bridge to the essential.”
“Having fun is the fifth drink in a new town.”
“In intelligence work there ain’t no such thing as coincidence.”
“What was that bit you were so airy about?”
“Blood! You dope, that’s catsup!”
“She was remote, about as remote as you can get, like a bad connection to Duluth.”
“Now a man is supposed to be a fool, but a woman is supposed to show some control. So what is it with you? Are you a nit-wit?” – Robert Duvall
“I bought a bunch of bananas for my monkey.”
“One’s crazy, one’s crippled, one’s incomplete.”
“I’m going to mummy on you.”
“Her legs go all the way from her toes up to heaven.” – Richard Merkin
“fifteen’ll getcha twenty”
“This used to be Frank Stella’s piano bar.”
“No, potato barn!”
* [ed. Liberty Dimes were actually ‘Mercury’ dimes, but we’ll leave as written]
* [ed. Liberty Dimes ( also known as the Mercury Dime) was produced from 1916 to 1945. The coin weighs 2.5 grams and is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.]
“HALLOWEEN IN BOSTON ’89”
Walk to the commons. A motorcycle cop pulls up to the fountain. He asks to see what’s in a vagrant’s parka. Vagrant produces a pint of gin. Cop pours it out and tells bum to beat it. Never even dismounted his Harley. Tough.
A drug addict on the nod by the library was hustled into the back of a police car. They’re really keeping a lid on things here.
I wanted to move here when I was a little boy. I liked the Revolutionary War, Boston Baked Beans, Boston Cream Pie, Boston had a mellower ring to it than New York, it was old and foggy, had a ball-team named SOX, the glamorous Kennedys. I considered myself a Boston kind of person. When the song “Dirty Water” hit the A.M. top 40, that anthem of sexual frustration on the river Charles, that clinched it.
I would go to Harvard and be a Cambridge beat-nik. Be a scruffy ivy-leaguer hanging out in the Brattle Theater. A 20th century Nathan Hale, a pony- tailed dandy of the arts, letters and l’ amour. My sister lived there in ‘69. She told me of a guy who roared up to the curb in a red M.G., cartwheeled out, landed on one knee, doffed his cap, and said “Robert L’Eclair, at your service, ma’am.”
This is what I aspired to be.
I visited her in Sommerville in 69. I first heard Cream’s “Spoonful Parts I + II” on a jukebox in a greasy spoon on Harvard Square. We saw them that week at Brandeis University. They came on hours late. They hadn’t even been in the right city at show time. They got a police motorcycle escort from the airport. They finally appeared after midnight, looking incredibly erotic in their lysergic pre-Raphaelite/gypsy gear. They were very stoned and very, very, loud. I imagined the music taking me places outside the hot, echoe-y hall. I was thrilled. My sister hated it, couldn’t believe this was what we’d been waiting for. My sister worked for Houghton Miflin. Isaac Asimov had a crush on her, kept pestering her for a date.
But I digress. This is the fall of ‘89. My girlfriend and I are in room 745 of the Parker House on Beacon Hill. We walk down the slope on red-brick sidewalks, shuffling through yellow leaves. Past the colored doors of Myrtle Street, gingerbread houses with crooked chimney pots, not unlike J.M. Barrie’s London. The kind of place where children in night shirts fly out of windows.
A girl bounces a green ball.
Another walks a black sheep-dog. Throws leaves in the air for him to bite.
Little Harry Crosby grew up at 95 Beacon Hill. Dropped water balloons from upstairs dormers on top-hatted swells below. His front yard was the Boston Common. Privileged little bugger. Blue-blood goes bad.
Over the Harvard Bridge on Mass Avenue. Gary sails on the slippery river surface, the sun a fading sloppy mess, getting more intense as it builds up to its finale.
Piero della Francesca at the Gardner Museum. A life-size nude man, hand on hip, holding a cudgel, wearing only a cape, knotted in from of his genitalia suggestively, it looks like a bag of penises.
Love the Puvis de Chavannes murals at the Boston Public Library, looking up from the worn marble stairs, it looks so easy, so straight- forward, the simple brushwork. Sprigs and togas and braids and all, done with that scrubby dry palette, I could do that, I think. Except I couldn’t, because I’m so ham-fisted and never leave well-enough alone.
At the Fogg, I’m taken by a portrait of a girl in a white dress by David, that he obviously lusted after. If I read her return gaze correctly, the feeling was mutual. A two hundred year old remnant of an intensely erotic infatuation. Woof! She lost her cherry, but she kept the box it came in.
At the Museum of Fine Arts I stand before “The Painters Honeymoon” by Lord Leighton. He holds hands with his beautiful bride while he sketches with his other. Their faces have a raptured glow. Great stuff!
Rousseau—that good foresty-feeling.
Sargent—little rich girls in the shadows.
Homer—2 boys on a hillside saturated with color.
William Holman Hunt—momma’s boy, very satisfying.
Boston Cemetery—the squirrels are jumping from headstone to headstone. Some poor sod killed at Bunker Hill fighting for independence. Hats off to you, bud.
Here lies Mother Goose (for real!).
A squirrel stops his gymnastics to eat an acorn rather excitedly, as if he never tasted anything so good. Shells flying. It’s an attractive squirrel, less dog-eared and frazzled than the Central Park variety.
Here the wall is overturned. A sparrow has a dirt-bath.
I smell the sea.