From Cookbook For The Poor, which, by the way, has already sold upwards of almost a mil—uh, rather, a copy.
I think that anyone pursuing a dream should move to a depressed upstate N.Y. village or town. Here is a fine testing ground for a dream’s fat chances. Only the strongest immunity to old men and their mind disease can keep steady to hope after the onslaught of a northern winter. The cold is bitter and almost forever, but it’s never the cold which finally kills a dream.
What then? There are colder places to pursue a future. Regions left on earth that get frigid below zero in February, yet still welcome men bringing hope and idea and action. I believe, but I don’t know where in the world, do you? Alaska? The North Pole? Houston, Texas?
Houston comes to mind because I have been dreaming about it all day long. My daughter says it is the fourth largest city in America. I imagine it flat with oil drills downtown. A city without nature in the way. The new city. The American city. Houston has the envy of every township in Texas hoping to become a Houston. And being such a huge hungry city, eating and belching millions of wayward souls each day, all of them thinking alike, dreaming alike, and not a single person arriving on foot or by mule, the chances are slim that at the tail end of one of its many brightly lit fast food strips, there awaits even a trailer’s kitchen full of artists for Houston to devour. Maybe on the outskirts, on a treeless plain with pools of dust and rolling tumbleweed, where tornadoes still rip by after the storm, maybe there might live and breathe a teensy-tiny community of dreamy artsy folk. But I doubt it. Why? Because a true community of artists must create without means supplied via the millionaire’s pocket. That means no government jobs. No part-time secretaries to the oil mogul. No art-inclined landscapers to discover new, decorative ways to make the rich man’s lawn look even richer. Artists who earn a paycheck by other means besides art? “We have to eat!” they exclaim. Fine I say, fine and good. But eat and eat alone. Eat for fuel. Eat for fecundating. Eat for creation’s sake. No chewing while you eat. Swallow fast and hard. No matter how belittling work was today, it had better be rice or corn in some form at sunset. Then a walk to chase the sun down and start the blood flowing again in Houston. The rich are rich because the poor want to be rich too. What is the middle class but a sour clump of feeble-minded wanna-be rich people? What are the poor and degenerate classes but the temporary disguise of agressive rich people with extremely bad tastes? Would any of these fakers pass up the chance to be a millionaire? Absolutely not. Everyone is eating. Sleep is inevitable. Creation remains on schedule. What pray tell is the problem with Houston?
It lives! Stop! Man stop! Don’t let it get any bigger. Don’t let Houston grow another hand to slap you in the face with Charlie! You’re down on your luck because of Houston. Houston is the cruel, faceless, unanimous vote against you. It passed a thousand new laws today. One would put you in jail for stealing food. Houston is not a sheep farm in the country. Laws. What laws? Laws to help build a huge house for him and a plastic poor box for you. This is not Hammurabi. If Mesopotamia had Houston, archaeologists would uncover petrified shoe boxes stuffed with porn, plastic wrap and mummified cheeseburgers smelling like Houston. Houston is not the artist’s hope. It is his Antichrist, his judgment day, his netherworld, his hell on wheels. Every man for himself? Okay. I’m ready. Are you? I want that loaf of bread and I will set your house on fire for it. Houston is the monster of death. Houston is death brought back to life in order to create more death. Houston eats her degenerate poor, then shits out streams of laughing coins. Reflected from the monster’s eye is a picture of your loving mother. Mommy would never hurt you. She smiles asking you to come closer so she can see. You move closer. Then she kicks the sap out of your brain with steel-toed boots. Houston laughs the collected roar of a thousand whistling twisters mopping up your blood. It is not a war I call between the haves and have-nots. There are no have-nots. Everybody has and gots too much already. I hate the rich, but I despise the poor, and I could strangle all the fakers in the middle. The poor aren’t great. The poor are not noble. The poor have not been noble in over six thousand years. The noble poor in Houston? Grandma buying her own coffin and plot, rotting peacefully underground until Mr. Bush drives an oil drill through her skull. There’s a noble pride for you, Houston. An example of a sturdy citizenry. The poor are not beautiful. There is no poor beyond the naked and the hungry. Artists want to create something beautiful, while naked and hungry. Copy the artist’s life. Especially if you are poor.
It is the people of Houston who make the ugly of Houston real for me. They have allowed Houston to happen. And Houston rewards their reticent acceptance of brain smashing-ins with splendid arrangements of trees and flowers in magnificent, irrigated parks, quiet air-conditioned buses with friendly bus drivers, new museums stocking the latest dead crap uncovered in France, a thousand “howdy, friends!” heard a day from the shoddiest looking bunch of human beings ever gathered together in one fat, greasy, malignant macrocosm—the best frame, plastic siding and asphalt roof offered in twenty-first century quick-build architecture, and extremely favorable conditions for the ordinary citizen to become a millionaire, provided he keeps wanting and hoping, always thinking new cars, and playing the lottery. The pretty landscaped drives are slick and friendly. It is a warm and lovely day in Houston. Soon dark clouds will billow on the horizon, when the oil gush will paint a lighter shade onto a blacker sky. Do not fret, good citizens of Houston! Turn the radio dial to “Weather-talk” and listen for instructions. Click on the TV and wait. Don’t bother to watch hail balls the size of human heads bouncing off the freshly paved blacktop. Just close your eyes rich or poor man, cause here comes Houston, gonna bust open your skull and rain on the sap of what’s left of your brains.
Impatient to get off and get rich are ya? To Houston then. To Houston everyone! It’s the fourth largest city in America. Whosoever is searching for a new life should come to Houston. A new wife, a new job, a new cheat, a newness beginning and already complete. A ready-made life awaits you in Houston along with a friendly government to help you get rich. Everyone is screwing someone else’s sweetheart in the sun. Houston is clean. Houston is a smart, new shiny thing. Houston is the fourth largest city of proof that the human heart is burned out. Everyone to Houston then for the finished life of more money and security, more Burger Kings, and an endless array of choice in hair care products. Houston has everything in store for the stupid and getting more stupid. The most stupid never get to Houston. They live in my town, restlessly searching for their Houston. All desire the knowledge of Houston to protect the lies that keep them here growing old with or without money.