Main Street Archive

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———- Forwarded message ———- From: Jon Sarkin <jonsarkin@gmail.com> Date: Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 8:38 PM Subject: To: michael digregorio <m.digregorio@att.net> It really didn’t add up. No, it came to nothing, a bad deal gone down. I was thick in the gravelly gruel of my circumstance. Man, I was down-in-the-mouth about my happenstance. After perusing my options and nursing my broken-toothed luck, I still felt snaggled and fractured. I had this nimbulus, cold-cocked, landlocked feeling. I had no semblance of firmity. I felt small-changed into this bleak and bleary existence of malapropisms and poorly-seeded puns. Friend, I must recount my luck-lost and haggard, muffled exhaustion, the stupid idiotic after-shards of nonsensical soliquies echoing in my mid-brain – my clotted agonies, my unresurrected, unredeemable, passionless, guttural, speechless, ineffectual prayers. Would they ever be answered? I guess Faulkner thought they would not. “I,” he once said, “give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to a man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” I thought about this and then I didn’t any more. Faulkner wasn’t anybody but just some drunk who got published. It seems to get published you must be a drunk. I know there are exceptions to this theory. It’s not even a theory, no, not really, just some crack-head idea. But aren’t all ideas like this? My friend Bruce Newton is really a crack-head, so all his ideas are crack-head ideas. Admittedly, Bruce isn’t a great example of my thesis. He lives in a shotgun apartment on Main Street, above Virgilio’s. His apartment reeks of cigarettes and bacon grease. There are burn marks all over his sofa. His cheeks are grooved, and his eyes have the burned-out look of burnt-out light bulbs. But Bruce is my friend. Yeah, I trust him as far as I can throw a toilet bowl, and he stole my television, but I make friends with dead-end losers like this. I’ll bet Faulkner met some characters too. This is the devil’s bargain in Edge City, friend. You pays your money and you takes your chances. You belly up to the bar and roll them laughing bones. You bet the farm and put your bottom dollar on a long-shot. And when it comes in last, bubba, you roll up your shirt sleeves, dust your trousers off, and get back on the horse, and ride into another town and start the damned scam all over again. — Jon Sarkin jonsarkin.com

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JIM TAKE HIS DESSERT

Jim is in a state of flux, shifting, flitting, from stamen to pistil, to mortar and pestle. Everything in his life boils, boils, boils, til an essence is distilled, an essence that’s essential, an importance that’s unimportant and important at the same time, like a bird on the wing that’s wingless, making it up as it flies, in a sort of Memphis half-step of undulation and toodeloo-voodoo, and while Jim waits like a mongrel vagrant, like somebody trapped in a Mel Brooks movie where they are sleepwalking and sleep-waking, hithering and dithering like an unambivalent doppelganger, the kind you might see in an out-of-business establishment, grown men rolling down Main Street in broad daylight, polyester imaginations and calico clocksprings, thinking about Jim’s covered music sheets with almost unintelligible scribbling, taking his dessert with him and screaming, “Come everybody! Let’s see what this sounds like!”

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JIM IN FISHTOWN

Jim sees an old newspaper being blown down Main Street. Kerouac compared this to fame, that fame is like old papers being blown down Main Street, and Jim chuckles at this. What, exactly did he mean? Jim runs after the paper. He reads about the 2010 Gloucester football team. The paper is yellow. Newsprint is like that; it yellows quite quickly. It’s not designed for posterity.

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JIM GOES TO OKLAHOMA

Jim gets on the bus. He doesn’t even know where he’s going. He’s going to Oklahoma. His brother-in-law lives in Normal, in the panhandle he thinks. Or is it Norman?, Jim wonders. The bus smells like ping-pong balls. A Hispanic woman wearing a brightly-printed dress sits next to him. The bus is full, and smells like ping-pong balls. Why did this occur to me?, wonders Jim, that it smells like ping-pong balls? As he ponders this, the bus crosses the Illinois-Missouri border. It goes through a town called Mexico. It passes by a bakery and the bus windows are open as it is late spring and Jim smells the baking bread and thinks that this beats the pants off ping-pong balls. This makes him recall the time he was beat up by a gang of bikers in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1973. They really beat the pants off him. After the beating, he was arrested for lying in the middle of Main Street in his underwear, lying in a pool of vomit and blood and urine. Not a particularly fond memory as far as memories go, but this is what Jim is thinking about.

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