Cain’t we all communicate in any other way?
'Stead of, “Please, i'scus me, do you parlay voos Fransay?
I ain’t no good at speakin’ French
I’m worse at speaking true.
But when my tongue is in your mouth
I sure am talking you.
Cain’t we all communicate in any other way?
I’m waiting to interview a woman who’s moving away from a huge antiques store she’s owned for over 30 years. While we’re waiting, I ask her assistant John - a 61-year-old black man originally from Memphis - to show me his favorite parts of the 15,000 square-foot maze.
He takes me to a section full of brass and copper pieces.
John: I don’t know what it is about brass. I guess it’s just the way that it, I don’t know, I just like it.
Me: What do you like about it?
John: I like the…like this. (points to the feathers on a brass eagle) The detail that the person took to do that. I don’t know how they do that, but I would like to see it being done. See, in wood, you can just imagine somebody got something and carve it. But with this, I wonder how they do that.
John: I like old stuff, antiques. I walk around everyday and I just see stuff…I see it and then it just amazes me how it looks, the way people took they time to do that. And then they don’t do it no more, so.
John: And trains, I like trains. ‘Cause when I was little we used to always…See, I’m from Memphis, Tennessee so like, when school be out, my mother and them used to put us on the train and we’d ride the train, me and my brother, to Chicago to visit with my auntie and them and stay up there for the summer and ride the train back. And all the time, the trains used to meet on up with them trains with the big tires and smoke coming out and I used to like that. And then, when I got here (the antiques shop) now she got the trains.
Me: Would you mind if I got a photo of you? You’ve got that great hat. Did you get that hat from here?
John: You know actually, it was a guy that worked at here. He had went and bought this hat and when he got it, the fur - when he let it down - it irritated his face and he didn’t want it. So he gave it to me.
I’m staring at the pink-lined women’s bathroom walls at Martyrs last night. I’m in the largest stall at the end because it’s my favorite. I feel kind of like a martyr myself. Ever since getting back from this L.A. trip, things have felt off. The cold is grating and my sanity grip seems to be slipping a bit.
It’s then that I start reading the bathroom graffiti, all of which reads like a cross between a fortune cookie and some chicked out version of the Hindu god Ganesh.
He who Hesitates is lost.
If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, all we gonna get is what we already got.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.
All you want and all you see is all your life will ever be.
If you want something you’ve never had, you need to do things you’ve never done.
Life is looking up.
I’m not exactly sure how life is a comedy for those who think, but I get the bathroom’s point. Fear is the great paralyzer, action the great de-number.
He - or she - who hesitates is lost. So sayeth the pink walled Ganesh.
Mount Shasta, a mountain in Oregon seen from the car.
Being near a mountain pulls on you. The vastness and stillness of the thing is infectious. It’s like the opposite of looking at a cellphone or being in a Wal-mart, both of which unnerve the heck out of me.
Traveling, being near that mountain have forced me to step back into my own vast stillness. A lonely place where there’s enough calm to gather my thoughts and feel out how best to move time forward.
"What are men to rocks and mountains?" -Jane Austen
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…" -John Muir
What is a bird but a thing with wings
that sings inside a cage?
What am I but some actor girl
who talks upon a stage?
Our hearts both flutter for better things
We long to turn life’s page.
I floss my teeth
and blood comes out
I choose to do it this way
They tell me, you get cavities
I don’t care what they say
If there’s no blood when I floss
Then something must be wrong
My mouth, she is a singer
The sink receives the song
Today I leave for all that’s good
A land that’s far away
That cultivator of the stars
That lion’s den, L.A.
Oh Shirley you must be joking me,
Shirley Temple can’t be dead
The little never grown up girl
all curled around the head?
Let her die in the 1930s
in peak of dimpled cheek
Let her not love Nixon
nor ambassadordom seek
Please don’t take my Shirley, lord
But if her death you cannot stop
then may she sail eternally
on that goodest ship of lollipop.
It unfolds like parts in some self-destructive watch
tick-tocking us into a poorly made film
disguised as lofty and worthwhile
It starts with an asian man and a camera.
And then kills him like it kills our appetite for this film
Like killing beauty
A rough thing to watch.
Our fun loving protagonist insults
dead women friends.
A bored man who watches his maid work for fun
Who exercises with his hat.
Who sings a broken Beatles song
Mine, me, me, I.
Some journalist who wrote one book.
If he spent even 1/64th the time he spends talking,
He’d at least have a whole lot of books about nothing.
In this film, there’s no convincing people to sell out
They do it freely.
It’s in Italian, so if you want, you can look away
though be warned, your subconscious
will probably still pick up on arrogant Italian phrases
and repeat them back to you later while you sleep.
Little dialogue gems like:
"She’s nice, that must mean she’s a dog."
"At my age, beauty isn’t enough."
"I’m a writer, not a pimp.
An insult to surrealism and women.
And to surrealist women.
A Rotten Tomatoes staple.
With opera music to make even Terrence Malick’s eyes roll.
A Great Beauty nominated for A Greater Oscar.
It should win best forgery
Best misspent use of time
Best loss of hours not given back
Best isn’t worth a dime.