Beer Mystic - Chapter 34

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Beer Mystic: A Novel of Inebriation & Light

bart plantenga


Furman Pivo believes he [plus beer] may be the cause of a rash of streetlight outages. This sense of empowerment transforms him into the Beer Mystic. He has a mission and a mandate. Or does he? In any case, 1987 NYC will never be the same and the rest is history or myth or delusion.


Beer Mystic Invitation: Participate in a unique literary adventure that will take you on the longest, rowdiest literary pub crawl ever. Follow the Beer Mystic's story around the world through a global network of host magazines [next excerpt at end of chapter / cover by David Sandlin].



<< Beer Mystic #33: De Player



Chapter 34


The first time I ever saw a Mohawk was in a cowboy movie. The second was pink and sat like a broom-head atop the lanky guitarist who, tipsy habitus said, played in the Plasmatics. Hed saunter in with a woman, the lead singer, Wendy O. Williams, as it turns out, whose breasts were the pivots of intense speculation. Tupperware goblets never enmeshed in much more than a leather cobweb.

            Did she go to DAgostinos this way? This speculation regarding their special pinkness, their resolute rouge fruitfulness, defying gravity, now included the likes of me in Puffys, with a bartender so beautiful that her utter unattainability made her comfortable to be around. Puffys sat in the grimy midst of Tribeca, a region consisting of warehouses the size of wheat fields, where you could wander around in without ever encountering another human. That was 1980. Each faade had its own peculiar mien of bewilderment. Check the paintings of Charles Burchfield and you will see what I mean. By 1986, however, it was already a colony of Long Island hot, desirable, bustling with the vibe of buzzards hovering over carrion.

            It was in this outpost of authenticity that I first encountered the Rum Seer, a woman with a nom de guerre of some duration and allegiance. She was apparently someone Nice had caught more than wind of and attitude from, who had evolved, she said, they said, from drunk to medium to Rum Seer. Shed heard of me; me being more fact of a rumor, to some, than rumor of a fact, from Nice as well as from others. We had even crossed paths a few times.

            When Id called she had proposed an old man bar on the Upper Westside, called the Shandon Star, part of a network of working-class Blarney Stone Irish pubs known for their dclass ambiences, boisterous drunkards at 11 a.m., and their various platters of gray steaming gristle dont worry about having to deal with trend seekers here. However, when we met in front of the place it had been transformed she swore overnight! into a Burger King.

            OK, down to the Blarney Stone, which had been transformed into the hyper-trendy Head Room which employed juggling bartenders with post-punk hairdos [lured away from the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus with the promise of prime-time television coverage highlighting their special talents] and gals in window seats with perms gleaned from the latest mini-series on the new Bandwidth Television Network [BTN], all dedicated to promoting the art of self-indulgent singles with a high-end purchasing demeanor. The atmosphere was somewhere between Caribbean, literary Dublin, and the inside of a computers hard drive and their specialty is creamy frapp drinks courtesy of Ben & Jerrys, Bacardi or Jameson, and Baileys.

            This is not my New York City any more. She lamented apologetically as we entered the classic 1930s revolving door. The fact that we were handed free drinks immediately upon entering certainly had something to do with our staying for as long as we did. Her upturned white cleavage bedewed with a hint of perspiration [Im reminded of a meadow at sunrise, July 16] absorbing an olfactory bouquet that lingered somewhere between Poison, salty sea breeze, Garbo, and Opium certainly didnt hurt. The virtual reality 3-D Caribbean-Dublin atmosphere was somewhere to get lost in but the louder the music got cranked the more you had to scream to be heard. With the 3rd gratis rum concoction the Rum Seer suddenly realized where we were. Not a movie set, no, but one of a series of Trend-Oriented Bars [T.O.B] with locations in Soho, Tribeca, the East Village, and along Columbus Avenue. They serve as the testing ground and stage for surreptitious actors who play live product-placement shills who order Bacardi Rum cocktails loudly and conspicuously in these bars and then enthusiastically talk up their drinks with their friends, while other actors are trained and tailored to look hip while profoundly enjoying their drinks to the point of generously offering total strangers free drinks Yo, yuh gotta try one! The conversation is peppered with fun facts and odd rum recipes. These are the first of the virtual reality adverts and its like you have just walked into an extended late-night TV commercial. Rum mixed with almost anything but usually with another product from the multi-national owner of Bacardi. So expect Oreo Bacardis eaten with a long elegant desert spoon. It is all the brain-child of ad agency Boors & Kwetsch, which specializes in cutting-edge promotional tactics. The actors work undercover and are by contract prohibited from discussing their cloak and dagger, or Bacardi & Coke subterfuge. But under the influence, loose lips sink whatever The actors are encouraged to snitch on any turncoats in order to receive bonuses including crates of the stuff

            We ultimately have to escape. Once outside she shakes her hair and her eyes are full of consternation. I dont need post-mod; gimme pre-modern any day. To Puffys, then? She urged. We headed for the #1 train downtown.

            Ill 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. Silence and glare. On the way across Franklin I noticed from the corner of my eye, a streetlight going the way of all previous black-eyes, descending into a sea of dark. I am here and decide not to point out my work.

            In Puffys, one of the last outposts of veracity of a former time, I had a Wychwood Hobgoblin, a strong dark ale with a thin creamy head. I followed that with a Piraat, a Belgian working-class beer becomes an exotic call to solidarity International Drinkers of Working-Class Beer Unite! We discussed the pursuit of authenticity in a city obsessed with marketing a hyper-real version of reality, so that every place was now a movie set version of some other neo-nostalgic reality. Not here.

            Youre from the Midwest. I just knew.

            Yes, my boy. Originally. Its the pancaked A I bet. Born in Gary, Indiana, precisely 33 miles to Chicago. I know, thats how far I had to come for a life. I started goin there when I was 13 hitchhiking. I had no fear. You could tell she was enchanted by her own mythology as Rum Seer and as one of the commandos in the Dame Brigade [part band, part feminist, part rabble-rouser, part ex-sex-worker].

            Hometown of the Jackson Five.

            Not much else. Karl Malden. Steel town. My dad was a steelworker. You know why I like it here? Cuz theres no Pat Boone Drinkers, PBDs.


            LITE beer lappers who even though they want to present you with this rotting and wilting bouquet of just how sophisticated they are, still like any LITE at frostbite temps as long as they maintain that slim exterior.

            Lean and mean. Slim in Dutch means smart. Any beer that hides behind the conviction that it needs to be chilled is a fraud. You gotta drink beer at 50 Fahrenheit. At this temp. beer can prove its worth.

            Oh yea, I hear in Holland you can order beer in McDonalds. And that kids get handed condoms in school when they are like 12.

            I think so, I was born there but left way before my beer and coitus days. If you ask me about breast milk and BREAST-feeding, then I could maybe tell you something. I mean that in a non-lecherous way.

            Con leche! I hear people drink like a gallon of milk a day before noon and a gallon of beer before midnight.

            Hmm. I guess I should go back to do some research.

            And that you can drink beer when youre 16. And that some schools let teenagers drink beer.

            And that all women work in the Red Light District. And that all men smoke weed all day.

            Listen, Im just sayin what I hear. I also heard beer and liquor is way cheaper. Like you can buy beer for like a dime a bottle. Like five bucks a case.

            Well, the only time I was back, was about 10 years ago and that was in a non-research mode. But I do remember Pitt Pils at 5% from Helmond, I remember the name cuz literally it means mouth of hell is like a dime a bottle and is no worse than say Bud or Schlitz. You can get a Heineken for a buck or so in bars.

            Thats incredible. I heard their gin that you gotta gulp down before you drink your beer is totally different from English gin.

            Its like its been siphoned through a sock full of pine needles and tarragon and juniper. Ok, the genever, the gin is great, but Holland is not where you go for extraordinary beer. Calvin and his ism had a way of shaving off all expressions of the extraordinary and so it is all really good without being memorable. With some exceptions.

            She took her forefinger, shaved off my Piraat head, put the finger in her mouth, said; Look, a brewcut.

            Thas funny. But you want extraordinary and memorable you go to Belgium. The Dutch have better haircuts, the Belgians better beer.

            Youre the judge. Youre the man.

            Im the man, Oh yeah! I satirically grab my crotch. It is now wet from my wet beer hand.

            Thats the rumor. Hope the inside of your heads more substantial and less flimsy than your hair. She didnt mean it in a disparaging way. But how did I know that for certain?

            I just never got nowhere to be. I never see anyone. I only go out at night. She needed another Bacardi and Coke. I have always admired or been fascinated by good haircuts how do you get one and where? Mine have always been groomed to provide me with plenty of ridicule. Humility, lotsa humility

            You can mix anything with rum and itll come up god.

            God or good?

Both. I go for Bacardi, mild and dry. But when Im feeling flush I go for Rhum Barbancourt Reserve, aged 8 years in Haitian barrels, or when some guy is trying to flatter me, British Royal Navy Imperial Rum. Obscure and expensive Jamaican rum. Dense and sophisticated.

            How bout motor oil drained from a 73 Plymouth Fury?

            Anything shorta motor oil will go fine. God or good. It just aint worth drinking well rum cuz cheap dark alcohol contains congeners, toxins that are created during fermentation. Dontchu know that? Congeners just spread throughout your whole body while youre drinking and basically cause the hangover. Theyre bad for your head nut if you avoid cheap darker drinks cuz cheap means scrimping during distillation. So I go top shelf because I respect my head.

            Lamour physique est sans issue / Je vais je vais et je viens / Entre tes reins / Je vais et / je viens / Je me retiens. I walked over to the vintage jukebox, G-33, Je TAime, Moi Non Plus, Donna Summer.

            “‘I just had to see who that was.


            Donna Summer. Its a Serge Gainsbourg. It was a big hit with Brigitte Bardot. The Pope got worried about its explicit lyrics which go Physical love is a dead end dudu duuuh I go and I come between your thighs, and then I hold on and then it goes I am the wave you are the island.…”

            Oooh. Im blushing. And you know French too?

            Well, I had a French girl friend who taught me the lyrics to some pop songs like this one. I can sing Serge, buy a baguette, order a beer in French.

            What else do you need in France.

            I went to the bathroom. In the urinal, three cigarette butts, grafitti at eye level: I will come again, and I will be millions - Evita Peron. In the reflection of 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 less soft ice cream swirl and more Joey Ramone-esque or somewhere between Johnny Rotten and Johnny Hartman. Grafitti next to empty paper towel dispenser: Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun - Evita Peron (33) RIP 7.26.52 CANCER.

            When I got back she had properly draped her leather jacket over the barstool and was sitting on it. So much of her black T-shirt had been cut away that I wasnt sure what was holding it together. It revealed a generosity of skin into which my mind could plunge impetuously. It was hard to concentrate on conversation. Skin like porcelain. Skin with a hint of glimmering dew. The small blond hairs like the soft hairs on some plants my mother grows in her garden. Delicate yet capable of withstanding extreme temperature changes.

            So here we are, Grog and Magrog, taking plunder and booty thas the Bible plotting the overthrow of the straight world.

            Yea, like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, Chip and Dale, chips and dip, Frik and Frak, drink and drive…”

            Back to bar gripes: The wisdom of the spirits says avoid bars with prefixes like il, el, le, la, or ye olde.’”

            Mens-name bars are good.

            Womens even better... Sallys, Dotties, Lottes. I should tell you right now that Ive NEVER had a tan, yuh know. Like never in my whole life. I am not like others.

            Bars with literary allusions like Hemingways like Faulkners where they got a bronze plaque that says Civilization begins with distillation William Faulkner.

            Thats touchy. You know, like I come alive after sun down and breed in basements and wine cellars.

            Like a B-movie. I couldnt claim as much. The overhead fan spun at the same velocity as my head and her thoughts. ThuWack ThuWack I heard choppers in Vietnam


            Just thought you might wanna know. I dont usually tell people about myself. The less said the more there is to contemplate.

            In Holland they got a place called Drinkland. Its like Disneyland for drinkers. They got everything: 300 kinds of beers, maps, advisors, check lists, recommendations, Mandarine Napoleon [dont ask], Famous Grouse, Drinkland champagne, Calvados Chauffe, Springbank 25-year malt whiskey for 105 bucks.

            Her audacity mystique as personal PR left her a couple up on me. Her skin did, indeed, seem to reject all light. I shouldnt stare at her chest for too long. As she unfurled ever further to the marrow of all matter fixing clasps and straps she suddenly spotted this biker, a menacing hulk of hair, leather, and grimace with keys dangling from his hippie-tooled belt. Like hed been on the run since Altamont. Did all those keys still own keyholes? I was skeptical. You can berate someone like this quite cleverly inside the safety of your own brain

            Hes got like 130 tattoos. The asshole of god like a tornado funnel being just one.

            You counted?

            I started to once. Upon his insistence, of course Dont even start me... Stopped at his belt and just guesstimated from there. He talked me up. Go ahead, keep counting. You get it right I buy you rounds the rest of the night. Up and DOWN, UP and DOWN! Every time I come in here its the same shit. He thinks hes got some kinda Charles Manson allure over women or somethin. What you drinkin? What you drinkin? Always tryin to get me tanked. And after awhile he thought that by proximity us both hangin out here that Id become his. Just cuz I counted all the above-the-belt tattoos and took1 ride home on his Triumph. Once. I aint a fan of speed. Bullets and premature ejaculation. I prefer pleasure boats, epic novels.

            And now?

            Well, I figure, all YOU gotta do is act like my husband and hell keep his distance. The fan blades caught my umbilical cord and the whirling tangle drew me up toward the ceiling. Close as Ill ever get to heaven.

            Like just ignore you? Get it? As in married?

            OK, yea. No, heres the scene: recently married couple, still in lust. Hell respect that I think. I hope. Cuz despite the look, most bikers are actually quite traditional.

            And if he dont?

            Well deal with that as it comes.

            Or my face will.

            And after three more drinks and one Rum Rebellion [tippytop shelf, dusty bottle of rum] each on the house, we were lit like a hothouse on fire, like courage under fire. The kind of drunk where all phenomena,  all distraction, all entertainment, all sensory stimulation are all integrated fluidly into your soul and for a moment everything, all lyrics, all road signs, everyones comments, all methodology, all waitressing styles, every cabbys route from here to there all made ecstatic sense for a minute and you are as happy as you will ever be ever.

            She hacked into the reverie by leading me through a series of dramatic entanglements and ever-bolder embraces. Just stroke me here. Yes, yes, all human endeavor is ridiculous and rapturous. The curving waist between hip bone and lowest rib. Nothing any furniture designer or architect or sculptor has ever come close to getting just right. 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.

            Don Wendys tits defy logic? Like you wanna burpm. Theyre pumped full o silicone. Someday theyll shatter like teacups from China. Just stroke her, come on, clutch her, own her. Shell be forever indebted to you. [Ed: They had no way of knowing that Wendy O. Williams would commit suicide some years later using a shotgun to the face.] Get rid o him sniffin around my backdoor.

            You know its silicone?

            I used to go-go for businessmen, babe. Strip in a cage to Yma Sumac my choice at the Melody. And MINE are real. They move the way mens feasting eyes desire them to. So real theyve had men in tears. 

            She gave a very brief show a preview? something that resembled a parody of Gypsy Rose Lee or something. And in our need to look intimate we became precisely that. The centers of her pupils were like marbles I played with, looked at lights through as a kid, like miniature galaxies that obeyed the laws that defined interstellar black holes. This can happen: Beer or rum or opium can all serve as a telescope into other philosophies. She claimed that she could read peoples bodies like a blind person reads Braille. She had elaborate theories [I only later learned that her theory pretty much seemed to match the findings of some British psychologists who were hired by a British barkeep association to help them identify problem drinkers through their bodily actions].

            Guys in dull clothes might suddenly perk up with a few drinks and become real characters. Women are much subtler. But as we both know, yuppie chicks have decided that liberation means being free to act as boorish as their male partners…”

            Theres nothin worse than chicks who feign interest in male sports and hang around discussin football like theyre guys…”

            Well, famine and war are probably worse, but anyway, look at Mr. Power-tie over there shit, whats this place comin to?! Next thing you know therell be a crew with their own personal pool cues in nifty teak monogrammed cases he coincidentally represents Stance #1 perfectly: Defiance and provocation, chest puffed and swaying hips, holds his beer with a certain pugilistic flair, protecting his face with the glass and ready to jab away with it as well. Meanwhile, theres Mr. On The Move, hes obviously the recipient of plenty of hollow flattery for his numerous award-winning ad campaigns brilliant Darrel! Hes got stance #2 down pat: Look, self-assured and open with his drinking arm at a right angle to his swaggering body, non-glass hand loosely on his hip. Always scouring for ears to bend, for more room, for an opportune moment to buy a round. The guy over there is taking all this down. He embodies Stance #3: the chronicler who wishes he were #2. Hes thoughtful, pensive, bordering on self-referentiality.

            Be careful with this one. I feel empathy coming on.

            Id say head for the head and do it there. He fondles his glass, avoids eye contact, is more interested in the intercourse between himself, the glass, and his thoughts. Stance #4 is the popular pose: Eyes buggin, arms swingin Free spirit. Would shoot up the ceiling if his team won. Hides his uncertainties behind escalating bravado. Having too good a time. Could turn ugly if the team fails to perform and he has another round. The nervous guy over there; hes some petty bureaucrat or something, paper shuffler, hes got Stance #5: Protects his glass with his arms, holds glass close to his heart. Is disappointed that drink doesnt work the promised magic on his ability to have enlightened or entertaining conversation with the opposite sex or same sex, for that matter. Potential isolated brooder might turn ugly if he blames a particular woman for snubbing him. That guy over there leaning against the wall, face in the shadow. Hes an outsider, doesnt recognize a song on the jukebox…”

            Shit, he looks like my stunt double!

            Look, how he keeps his glass close to his chest and under his chin. He wants to crawl inside the glass. Hes awkward in his own thoughts and skin. Hes faint-hearted and blames his mousiness on others. Could turn ugly like some David Berkowitz or Bernard Goetz type.

            The problem with me is that Ive felt and looked like all six simultaneously!

            Anyway, he... Nodding in the general direction of biker, hes a #4 and hes got a dragon on his forearm. BUT NO, NO, DONT 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 womans tits and make believe hes scorching her. He thinks this means he has a sense of humor.

            Because Id seemingly made eye contact with him she thought wed better retreat to Barnabas Rex [a bar with a pool table way before the release of The Color of Money] around the corner. Outside Puffys she was careful not to break our breathless clinch, placed my hand on the turbulent pleasure of her firm full buttocks. Better than poetry. Is all I can come up with.

            Were not far from the first paved street in NYC Stone Street.

            My ass reminds you of a paved... ?

            No but, no BUTT its cuz beer delivery wagons kept getting stuck in the mud is why they paved it.

            Theres 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.

            Whats in a Rum Rebellion, anyhow? I inquired in the scallop of her ear. Cochlear Cochlea.

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

            Shortly after wed molded with some corner in the Rex, her ass on the edge of the radiator, 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. Hes got a Mohawk too like Jean Beauvoirs he was still the bassist on the Plasmatics Beyond the Valley of 1984 and I allow his multiple personalities to mess with mine. Its innerestin like a cock fight but it gets a little crowded in bed when we beat each other to a bloody scene from a movie thats 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.

            Ive been a hero moren once in my life.

            A hero is someone crazy enough to do whats necessary.

            I spooked a snake once to make it cough up the toad it was devouring.

            How adorable.

            Come on!

            No, I mean it.

            Afterward I held the toad, covered in snake spit, in my palm. I imagined it was a girls heart. I waxed as poetic as the situation would allow.

            I once saved a pigeon from the jaws of a 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. Icy stares. 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, shed instigate further incursions into the land of amour.

            This led to nonscripted incursions Id 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 volatile 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 outta 6th Avenue busy with traffic. But in the process I mess up his shirt. He shows passersby his shirt. Fuckin criminal what this guys done to my fuckin Versace shirt! $219.99 at FUCKIN Barneys! This guys havin a baby over a wrinkled shirt! Never mind I just saved his life. And then he heads back out into traffic.

            This was how my rsum continued to read 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 Bikers. 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? Were we just imagining it all?

            Rum used to be 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 didnt care anymore. I didnt care what movie this was. I didnt care that NYC had over 2.5 million trees. I didnt care that half of them were dead. I didnt care that NY had more mediators than meditators. I kissed her under the umbrella. I didnt care. Under the noctiluscent sky, where the hiss of the rain sounded like wind through a forest. The rain made the streets smell clean.

            I caught a glimpse of Biker looking out at us from the Rex. He looked small like an Edward Hopper character  whose stories about Altamont no one had listened to in a really long time.

            We walked past Puffys... Will make you get drunk / and walk out in the street... to her subway. Down a few steps in its maw she tried to coax me to return with her to her sous-sol. 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 hadnt changed in... Djuna, that there was no Djuna and then there was. That it was finally arranged, Mr. Times Square Ticker had gotten me out of Djunas way. Had put a down payment on this place and now she could be all his. It was just a few blocks up the street. Meat District.

            That made her chuckle meat.

            As in what hangs from hooks. I thought of other places it hangs from.

            Whadda yuh mean?

            Youll see. Come on. I got Slim Jims. But she remained adamant about HER place. And there we stood entwined, tug of war. Her body like an appliance on high. Chewing my lips raw, moaning, enveloping half my face. Knuckles grazing meat hanging from bone. In a stand-off, a true filibuster of the wills, a mystical stalemate in which wed exchanged several pints of spit, we stood and constricted and exhaled and sucked. Finally we broke our clinch, vowing a future showdown. Curious word, showdown. And with that she descended further into the subway hole.

            Down down, down. How brave theyll 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 she just used biker as a ruse in a scheme and was I a chump of a ruse of a scheme? Had I been compromised? I felt for my wallet.

            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. You are the waves and I am the island.

            I walked through the wiggly hiss and hum of Manhattan, with throbbing lips. Up to my new place. I should explain. Yea, Im finally got out of the situation with a little help from Djunas Mr. Times Square Ticker? He was leaving for Japan for a year or maybe more and wanted to subsublet his illegal sublet garret in the Meat Market area. I dont [want to] understand the details. I thought it was his place, as in he owned it. Djuna even put the two month deposit down on it. Freedom never came so cheap, she was probably thinking. She can be so... generous or is it tender, when shes desperate? To some I say I moved out, to others that I was kicked out. Semantics is all about eliciting the right response, placing ones self-image in the right light. 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 Nice had intended by this meeting with the Rum Seer. The blood on my lips tasted like a syrup you might pour over flapjacks. I saw expensive plates from Limoges in a window and I thought of Rum Seer. As I unlocked the four locks to get into my garret I saw a gangly shadow in search of a body. I got inside and closed the door just in time.




bart plantenga is also the author of Wiggling Wishbone and Spermatagonia: The Isle of Man both published by Autonomedia. His book YODEL-AY-EE-OOOO: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World received worldwide attention. He is currently [not] working on a new novel, Paris Sex Tete, which lies around like an apathetic, half-clad, dissheveled paramour while his new book on yodeling Yodel in HiFiwill no doubt be a bread-winner of epiglottal proportions.

His life has been defined by women, undignified employment [not unlike 98% of the rest of the world’s population], migration, lack of money and writing. His writing focuses on inequity, unempowerment, insatiable desire, the unentitled, the under-regarded, ignored and ineffable, which has led to a life of luxurious suffering and indellible indifference to profit.

His radio show Wreck This Mess has been on the air since 1986, first on WFMU [NY], then Radio Libertaire [Paris], and finally Radio 100 and now Radio Patapoe [Amsterdam], the world’s most untamed and oldest pirate radio station. He lives in Amsterdam.

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