Hank Williams Archive

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———- Forwarded message ———- From: Jon Sarkin <jonsarkin@gmail.com> Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 10:38 PM Subject: To: michael digregorio <m.digregorio@att.net> I woke up in a cool sweat. My recurring nightmare again: the one with Andrew Dice Clay. The one where Andrew Dice Clay is in a deli and orders a ham and Swiss cheese on rye. Only he calls it “Squish” cheese. Then Hank Williams walks in and shoots Andrew Dice Clay with an M-16, but the bullets bounce off his chest. Then he, Hank Williams, turns into a giant squid, but still retains his features. Then the Hank Williams squid pours himself a cup of coffee, lights up a cigarette, and says, “like Johnny Guitar says in the western ‘Johnny Guitar,’ ‘There’s nothing like a cup of coffee and a cigarette.’” Jim notices that Hank Williams is missing several teeth in his lower jaw. I wonder why I remember this detail. Perhaps it’s because my father was a dentist. I pay more attention to the condition of one’s teeth than the average person, and this fact has much to do with it. None of my parents’ friends had bad teeth. A dentist doesn’t have friends who don’t see a dentist. All of his friends were patients. The dream got me to thinking. I do a lot of thinking these days, but I always did. Sometimes I think about thinking, although I’m not sure if I think about thinking about *thinking*, and I’m not even sure what this means. After a while, it just makes no sense, and you move on to something else. For example, here’s some things I thought about recently: the Mods and the Rockers, Walter Brennan, Walter Benjamin, Al Pacino, The Wizard of Oz, The Bride of Frankenstein, Buddy Ebsen, Stiff Little Fingers, The Smiths, Pere Ubu, Peter Sellers, Nina Simone, Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Marvin Gaye, Diane Keaton, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Deniro, Obama, Robin Williams, Craig Ferguson, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Htler, Sinead O’Connor, Bob Marley, Toots and The Maytals, The Stones, The Beatles, The Who, ISIS, Humphrey Bogart, Lou Gherig, Derek Jeter, Bill Belichek, and Serena Williams. I look out the window and make another drink. Somehow, the howling of the wind and strong drink go together. Rain and scotch and water, yes? The night seems like a hammer to me. I don’t understand this – it makes no sense….but there you have it – to me, the night *is* a hammer and it seems the only thing to do on this rainy howling hammer of a night is to get drunk. Perhaps a king-hell hangover is the only way to greet morning after this nightmare. I flip on the TV news. Nothing but horror. I turn off the TV and refill my drink. I look out the window: the lashed trees, the sweeping sheets of rain on my driveway. A plastic garbage barrel skids down the street. It reminds me of the time, back in ’74, when I saw a huge garbage scow catch fire outside of New Orleans. Also that night, I saw a guy throw a garbage can through a plate glass window. The cops came and took the guy away. They had to mace him. He was obviously on something, There was a lot of angel dust in New Orleans back then; gangs of drooling, wolverine-eyed young men carrying baseball bats and sawed-off shotguns, hurling bricks at cars, aiming for their windshields, and when the cars crashed, they’d pull the driver out of the car, stomp him mercilessly, sadistically, gleefully, and then steal the car, all the time cackling like addled hyenas, their screeching, cacaphonous laughter echoing into the night, reverberating off the windows of the boarded-up liquor stores, the deserted streets where nobody much cared about living anyway, no, the hollowed-eye feel of the whole neighborhood permeated the place – the air of hopelessness, of crushing humiliating defeat, the streetlights giving a sickly gleam as if they were stuffed with dirty sweat socks or used toilet paper – oh, the gloom, the utter horror and lifelessness of the place reminded me of some evil, primordial throwback to an era goneby, a place of nightmares and curdled dreams where the seasons show no mercy and are run by some uncaring coruptness, where everyone can be paid off, where everything is for sale and nobody cares much about anything, where lancinating pain is a given and agony is to be expected. Later that night, Nixon resigned. Come to think of it, I got drunk that night too. You probably’ve guessed that these are not the only two nights that I’ve has gotten drunk. — Jon Sarkin jonsarkin.com

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JIM IN KANAS CITY

Jim walked down the road to the rusting truck.  It was a hot day.  He sat in the shade of the hill,  looking out over the freeway, the sun setting over the Kansas City sky.  He had come a long way to this rusty-truck road, and he thought of that Hank Williams song, the one about the red sky at sunset.  His hangover was now just tiredness.  He wished that he was back East where and when he could still grasp things.  Kansas City was like the treadless tires on the truck, forgotten and broken.  Now he felt battered, yes, battered by the stuff he couldn’t face anymore and he couldn’t decide whether to go further West or go to back East where he could probably get his old drywall job back.  Enough of this battering, he thought.  The thing you really want out of life is the thing you never get.  You just get…*grimy*. Grimy and darkened by stuff that happens to you.

The industrial smog of Kansas City, modern civilization’s crazy dust, this is what he was seeing, and he thought of that city now as a gutted machine, whose guts and innards tangled the sunset and grasped at sunset’s shadow like the flies buzzing around him, like, he said, *the* *grime*.  You curse it and this dark road and watch as your skin becomes soul-less like the ghost of an old rusting locomotive, its dead skeleton thick with grime.  Who will listen to my broken-toothed sermon?  In a way, I hope no one, for my skin of grime and dust inside feels like some mad black vision.

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JIM’S DREAM

Jim wakes up in a cool sweat. His recurring nightmare again: the one with Andrew Dice Clay. The one where he, Andrew Dice Clay, is in a deli and orders a ham and Swiss cheese on rye. Only he calls it “Squish” cheese. Then Hank Williams walks in and shoots Andrew Dice Clay with an M-16, but the bullets bounce off his chest. Then he, Hank Williams, turns into a giant squid, but still retains his features. Then the Hank Williams squid pours himself a cup of coffee, lights up a cigarette, and says, “like Johnny Guitar says in the western ‘Johnny Guitar,’ ‘There’s nothing like a cup of coffee and a cigarette.'” Jim notices that Hank Williams is missing several teeth in his lower jaw.