Embracing the world with positive creativity since Sept 2007.
The following is an excerpt from the short story “That Poem Is Not My Brother” published in the newly released U.S. edition of Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black. Enjoy…
“This is very mysterious; think about it.” ––Jack Kerouac, Some of the Dharma
The great black blues singer, youngcat that he was, unhinged his mighty lungs and drew in prana as if he were the earth herself sucking deep the holy cosmic winds of holy endless time and preparing to demonstrate for always and once the whole sticky thing about eternity, about the mystery and controversy and the irresistibleness of its beauty. I looked at Tombstone and he checked me out knowingly from the corner of an indecipherable gaze then both our eyes swung with the beat back towards the current world-order blues master: J.C. Faulkner. He is a much—larger-than-fantasy African cherub who suddenly squatted as if to take a moutainous shit but who instead unleashed out of his inner kingdom a laser-cannon blast of hoo-doo hollers and dead-souls-calling-for-theirrights, his perilous voice ruling now all life just like the cruciality of a broken heart commanding one’s education. His nose-antenna quivered, and the song he’d been singing, “Might As Well Be A Dead Man Blues”, came like an electrocuted life to its hot sputtering end.
First the crowd faded into an astonishment of silence then several chairs and a table too bit the floor as everyone’s collective dumbfoundedness boomed with applause that fell like walls then stood up as if tidal waves offering genuine love and the great blues singer stepped back from testifying Gullah Man to born-again college boy, grinning through tortoise-shell spectacles at the noise he’d made the crowd make, letting himself feel along the curves of his more-than-small belly some of the affection drizzling light all around him.
“C’mon, let’s say hello to J.C. real quick before we take off.”
This suggestion, I swear, is not a surprise to Tombstone who with enviable skill when he responds raises his left eyebrow only. “We can’t get anywhere near J.C. You know how his fans like to press and giggle all over him so they feel like they’re the star instead of him.”
Thus spoke Tombstone, so named when caught dickydallying with two lovely femmes atop the tomb of a famous soldier of the War of Northern Agression. As true or not true as his words were, we probably could’a got to him if we’d been moving instead of talking since our table was second from the front, on the circle outside the circle next to the circle where J.C. had been singing, but by the time we stood it was just as Tombstone self-fulfillingly prophesized: our great bluescat was surrounded by babes and honeys and would-be dudes teething (as in smiling) appreciation and talking much smuckadoody. Even so, as we approached the door and some lonely-heart hand stole a squeeze on my lonely-heart zipper that great angel of midnight tears and unspecified fornications yelled loud my name:
“Hey, Danny Blue!”
I turned, and there they were, large eyes shining amber radiance above the heads of the surrounding boy cubs & girl cubs, they poured out that part of his music he never gives completely and which the joy hiding inside never stops singing.
“You got my song with you, right!?”
“Brother you know I do. It’s all typed up in my heart but we still dealing with some of that editing and transcribing blues. Know what I mean?”
“Baby if you mean it’s not written down yet, that’s bullshit! You done gave everybody some damn music except my black and blues singing ass so I need to know what’s up with that!? Brother!”
I smile at the way we holler through the crowd, as if we are our ancestors shouting encouragement across rows of cotton and thrilling ourselves with the heedlessness of our mandatory and desperate ignorance. I dig inside the croker sack shoulder bag snuggled against my left side and ignore the large anonymous palm that casually measures my ass then I pull from the sack a single sheet of paper with lyrics typed black on both white sides, a song I’ve written, as blues dude J.C. stated, for someone else. But now I fold it into a paper jet and send it zooming through the haze of smoke, thick smell of beer and loud chatter of bar-people towards J.C.’s wiggling reaching fingers.
“Ha ha ha, yeah baby! I knew you had some good shit for me. Y’all comin’ back for the second set, right?”
These words spoken even before he has tasted my offering of fatted-calf lyrics make me love him without regret. Me and Tombstone slide through the crowded doorway like shadows with certain destinies or erections withdrawing from slippery flame, ease out beneath the stars of a cool November Savannah night.
The sparkling crispness of the air wraps our bodies in a coccoon of chilled contrast to the overheated club we have just left. It is one of those schizophrenic Savannah nights where the weather cannot decide if it should be mid-autumn, early winter or thinking maybe about spring and the ocean-scented breeze stirs one’s sexual curiosities with one long lazy finger after another. The mind sighs defeatedly.
I let my head turn slowly to the right and breathe deep as if while living my heroic life someone is taking care to forget themselves and is, instead, carefully tending to my lips, toes, chest, knees, the innocence of my genitals, someone is approaching me from any number of dimensions with love heavy in both their hands. I fall, nearly, into a flow of dreams, when Tombstone knocks my forehead with his and I assume the parade-rest stance of a docile airman.
“You can sleep and dream anyplace, can’t you?”
So fucking what.
We are on the corner of N and B Streets in the main vein of the city’s famed historic district, where glittering bars, clubs, restaurants and coffee houses sit wedged between monuments to numerous lies, propped like tye-dye haired art students sitting on a bus between popes and nuns. Poets, whores, musicians, artists, homeless philosophers, doctors of one -ology or another, schizophrenic hustlers, thieves and children stick to the nightscene like barnacles on the bottom of a sunken ship’s ass. The bars and clubs flash names like The Silk & Wool James Dean, Daddy’s Gin & Tonic, The Chicken’s Funky Mama and Time To Eat Betty. The Friday night crowd flows from block to block and door to door , boys dressed in jeans and shorts and leather jackets sometimes with matching leather skirts or boots; girls dressed in jeans and shorts and leather jackets sometimes with matching leather skirts or boots. A fog of friendly confusion drifts above the pavement like clouds of moth in luminous anti-motion.
For the full weird metafictional story please pick up a very affordable copy of Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black or take a free chance on winning a copy at Goodreads.