Month: December 2014

Time To Kick The Mes In The Knees New Year Baby

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2012. Acrylic on canvas 24 X 18″

I have until 50 to make myself known enough to sell one painting or a book to a stranger. I shall meet this milestone even if I have to bribe a sports fan or a bank teller. I will do it in a round about way. Several degrees of separation so nobody will suspect that I had a hand in it. Pay some anonymous tween five bucks to leave a note on a windshield in the parking lot of a Best Buy. “Here’s $50.00. Go to the following web address, buy just one painting or a book. When I see the transaction complete, go back to Best Buy. Another fifty bucks will be stashed in the butter dish of the black refrigerator price-marked at $3,599.00. Signed R”.

Yesterday I took my youngest daughter to the mall to spend a couple gift cards she received at Christmas. It was a mob of dangerous color. I looked upon every face that passed wondering if levels of sentience were equal with only slight variations among the population. I kept repeating Henry Miller’s second to last paragraph of Tropic of Cancer:

Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space—space even more than time.

The mall probably grossed over a million dollars yesterday. I hear it’s the second biggest mall in America. A couple hundred corporate boxes to buy all things from ankle bracelets to Zowie Pies. Guess how many bookstores? The answer equals Ron Throop’s income via creative effort in 2014.

One more piecemeal from Lou Reed, and a listen to end the year. (Sorry, Youtube wants you to see 15 seconds of sell-hell first):

They say no one person can do it all
But you want to in your head
But you can’t be Shakespeare and you can’t be Joyce
So what is left instead

You’re stuck with yourself and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment this wonderful fire
Started up again
When you pass through humble, when you pass through sickly
When you pass through I’m better than you all
When you pass through anger and self deprecation
And have the strength to acknowledge it allWhen the past makes you laugh and you can savor the magic
That let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
And there’s a door up ahead not a wall

Waxing Nostalgic On Time And Spirit

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Wedding reception of David and Keitha, December 29, 1962

These are my parents, my mother Keitha 18, my father David 20 years old. His brother Bill and her sister Toni Marie. I won’t be born for five years, yet I already know this place very well in my future dreams. The Seneca Inn. It is the restaurant my grandparents own on route 5, before the time of the great atomization, and the construction of the corporate-friendly, human-hating thoroughfare called the New York State Thruway. The bride cleaned rental cottages since she was eleven. The groom would hitchhike across town to visit with her during courtship. She liked courtship. He liked cars and duck’s asses. My grandfather offered to buy Keitha a 1963 Jaguar if she would postpone marriage and go to Cazenovia College where she was accepted earlier in the year. She would have no part in that scheme! After a frozen honeymoon in Gettysburg (the groom’s bad idea), they set up housekeeping in a rented pink trailer a few hundred yards up the road.

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The Seneca Inn today, for lease. And the window behind my parents in the photo, sided over.

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I have been gorging myself on their memories my whole life, yet am unable to receive any digestive satisfaction. I am not born. I am only spirit of Christmases yet to come. In this future I have lived there exists a fullness like the unknown memory I have of this restaurant, the patrons, the staff, my grandfather who died before I am born to write this… Aunts and uncles will exodus—the two in the photo would be the first in the history of the world to leave Central New York for private and economic reasons. Before that, beyond the call of war, there was only localism. It was life, c’est la vie, and you made of it what you could where you were born. Family was slow and purposeful. Children met and fell in love in high school, and were married. Each could throw a rock to the family home of the other, and monstrosities like Ted Turner had no eternal claim to any living room in the county.

Christmas shopping downtown at the Busy Corner and the Boston Store. Then the settling in of rock n’ roll, the village shoe store moves to the shopping center, and then to the mall. My generation born and raised without knowing the joys of liquid lunch, any sad stories of the traveling salesman, nor even the occasional solace of loneliness bolstered by the rock of community trust that welcomes all travelers back to their sense of place.

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My painting of the Seneca Inn. 2012. Acrylic on wood panel, 48 X 32″

I am still a sojourner in life. I am not home even in this town where I have lived for nearly thirty years, 90 miles from the Seneca Inn. I go back to New Hartford and Utica for a visit and wax nostalgic over a time that never was, but will come again, soon after the Industrial Revolution explodes its local Chinese and Vietnamese families into the oblivion of an improving economy. Our generation has been transitional, instructed to follow economy, to look up to it like some admired uncle, and even most diligently, to send the next generation (our children) away to the better paying jobs of our imagination. The best paying jobs will always rob your sons and daughters of a future. College became a hate crime after the existence of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. And the Seneca Inn, of all it represents to me in my mind’s nostalgic lust, died the day Ray Kroc bewitched his first customer with a milkshake machine. I know and feel most unfortunalely, that without the Seneca Inn, over half the population of my town and yours suffer some form of chronic psychosis.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the arms of that waitress serving the cookies. She knows no joy but in the here today, here tomorrow.

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Good News? I Am Sooo Not Used To This!

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“Just What Is Gushing You Conceited Snuts?” 2014 (paint still wet) Acrylic on canvas, 20 X 16″

The last rage painting directed at politicos of my state. This is a people win. No fracking in New York! It is official. I knew all along my paintings would compel the most obstinate snut (new word) in power to see the light. I shall drink two gallons of water tonight. And a tall bottle of my homemade brew. And a glass of blackberry wine. I will soak up my luscious New York water like an eager sponge. Hurray! The fascists are leaving our territory. The northeast is the new west. No goose step in my lifetime.

Politics Are Plaque Gobs In A Hypertensive Soul

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“Well, It’s Not Like I Have Eyes On The Back Of My Head!” 2012. Acrylic on press cleaning sheet, 16 X 9″

Near time for New Year’s resolutions. I am picking out two now to improve my winter nights and days. Yoga with the wife at night, and no more morning round-up of the International news. I will go to Painter’s Table instead to muse and study technique. I will use the Internet for imaginary travel, gallery queries, book and painting sales, hope and communication. If lucky and determined, I will squeeze out thirty more years of circulatory success.

Oh yes. No more food service outside of familial need and love. The following story is from Cookbook For The Poor. It might do some good for the heart to read it. Not as much good as 12 milligrams of lysinopril. More like beer and oyster good. Soul food.

Peasant Stock

This afternoon I’m going to kill two birds with one stone. I will write about my restaurant, the one that isn’t open yet. I figure I can brainstorm an idea, and not only turn that into, well… An idea, but write down the thinking and the dreaming, and turn out another story. It’s the best I can do considering I’m feeling more asthmatic than usual. I’m also a bit nervous about tomorrow’s trip to North Carolina. I always get intense before travel.
This morning over oatmeal I shared with Marie my idea for a restaurant. Lately we’ve been getting wildly frustrated over our lack of funds—only because it’s the one thing we don’t have for our dream business. We’re on the verge of silly now, at least I am—because I know that borrowing a considerable amount of money is a foolish thing. The Devil’s victory. The newlyweds sitting up late at night discussing business! That’s pitiful! That’s the Devil’s handiwork. “Ah sweetie, we can make twenty thousand the first year. A worst case scenario!” No it’s not. We both know it’s not. When you start dreaming about business, the worst case scenario is already in motion, with no hope of stopping it either, until long after divorce or alcoholism—and then it takes a successful exorcism, which is very rare. Otherwise, you’ve sold your soul to the Devil for twenty grand, and there ain’t no refund coming from selfish Satan.
What is it about food and cooking that turns my wisest thinking into scatter-brained delirium? My heart knows the truth. All business is evil. Just a lone, seemingly innocent, profitable transaction will devastate an entire  bustling city of brain cells. No business is good. You either love something enough to share it with the world—and that doesn’t know any kind of business—or you just love business for business, which means you are mostly a usurious twit.
But I love food. I love cooking for Marie and Rachelle. I love when we come together to create. It’s wonderful! The sights and smells of a happy home are intensified in a shared kitchen. The old world is born again. We’re talking to one another and moving our hands at the same time. “Marie, can you stir the risotto?” “Rachelle, now what liaison did I use to bind this sauce?” “Come here you two. Look how beautiful that is!”
The Devil ain’t in my kitchen. That’s a blessing. Now what’s next for two young lovers in America after they have everything including good food? Why yes, of course—they go into business!
Wow! Where the hell did that come from? Do you see how powerful he is? You’re a constant happy for a long stretch of time, but with the first show of weakness or doubt, and zoom!—Devil’s at your door with a stack of papers to sign.
A sad ending for many couples. Mortgage the home, the car, the kid’s—swipe their college money, invest in yourselves, hell yea! Go into business!
You see, there he is again! The Devil’s right on top of me. He’s got Marie too. She’ll go back to work, happy and satisfied after a great meal and foot rub during lunch break, and spend the rest of the afternoon doodling logo ideas onto a napkin. At the end of the day she comes into the kitchen to empty her pockets. There on the table, the doodles will haunt us. The Devil’s got a new toy for the rest of the night. Unless I cook. In that case we’re blessed again, and after our dinner, feel the need to lay on the bed and talk about the day. That’s what happens when you’re full. That is satisfaction, and it is what anyone who goes into business lacks.
You begin pure. A fawn born in a wood. You run and play, still with a purity undaunted. It’s true that it can last a life time. You can keep your childlike energy and longing if there is another child to share your dreams. That’s how you feel in love and wanting to give. You begin pure in the wood. Stay there, find a lover, make babies, and eat. The only difference now is responsibility. That should not make you an asshole. Don’t take anything besides what you already possessed when you were born, a lover, and children. Run and play. Lay about in the den when the snow falls, and feed your family.
What else? Nothing. Well then, where does business sneak into the picture?
It comes after giving birth. You’re a mammal and love your seed. Unfortunately you’re a human mammal, and must also nurture worrisome dreams about clothing, soap, transportation, housing, heavy cream, dustballs, clean sheets, gasoline… You had these things as a human child, and believe wholeheartedly they are necessary for your child’s proper physical and mental development. Now you think money is the first necessity, and the other stuff will follow neatly behind. That’s where business begins. You leap into the poisonous stream of business, and the shorter days of death begin. Business flows and you begin drowning.
You forget that you’re alive, and imagine all life is for the taking. It’s the Devil in disguise again. You have the kids and the food, and a thousand other things, and yet, you’re not quite where you want to be. Devil’s sitting at your kitchen table. You took a job, and got good enough at making money to eat and purchase the thousand things that have dragged you far away from your dreams. Devil says that’s good, but not good enough. “You can do it better yourself,” he says. “You can make more selling yourself, and feel proud that your hard work bought all this stuff. You are not a slave,” says the Devil. “Sign these papers. Sign this last paper here.” You ask “What is it?” Devil says, “It means you’re accepting premature death. You’re not physically dead—you just can’t love anymore, now that you’re in control of the money. Oh yes, and I own you.”
That’s the beginning of business.
The Devil’s got a damn good case. He offers several solutions, the most pleasant one bringing a welcome relief from drudgery and boredom. Who doesn’t want to be his own boss? It must be every man’s dream since the time he lost the guarantee of acquiring his own food. At least a slave got a pick of the crop he planted. The tenant farmer, indentured servant, even the serf who didn’t know what letters were, got to sign his “x” to the creation which kept him. Unless he plants coins to grow paper money, today a man who doesn’t own a business is being whipped. There is no pretty way to look at it. Whether he is sweeping floors, installing floors, cutting those handsome square tiles for floors, he’s not signing his name on the floor, and that’s the wrong way.
As much as I hate to admit it, the Devil’s got the right w—
Ah! There he is again. Jesus, get him off my back! I want to think clearly. He’s got Marie too, I know it. She’s at work picking up the pen to doodle. She talked about the Devil last night. She knows. We feel the same. He’s wooing us both, although I believe for different reasons. That’s not a concern with him as long as we sign the same paper. The Devil doesn’t care about our reasons. She’ll oversee the front of the house. I’ll be in charge of the kitchen. And we both agree that Peasant Stock is a good name for our restaurant. We will draw up a list of our individual duties and mark specific points where we cannot cross over into the other’s space. We’ll work very hard at avoiding divorce. We’ll work twice that hard trying to avoid the inevitability of hating each other. Working long hours, night and day, signing our names to Peasant Stock. The telephone will ring and ring—Oh my God, he won’t leave me alone. That persistent red bastard! That lying, devious angel! He knows damn well that I’m afraid of the phone. He knows that I know he doesn’t care, and yet, I’m still thinking about the restaurant!
Well it’s a good thing we don’t have any money. Almost down to nothing. When we hit zero, I plan to take a minimum wage job (or just slightly above that) cooking in one of Oswego’s food businesses. Without money one can plan and dream all he wants. The wise Devil knows he’s beat and turn his sights on the real takers. Just like our real estate broker. He’s given up. He showed us a hundred thousand dollar building and we pretended that money was not an issue. Ha! I haven’t made a hundred thousand dollars yet in my working life. I’m a trillionaire dreamer. That is, money is never a concern when I don’t think about it. Buerre Blanc is a world of concern. It doesn’t cost a penny to cut cold butter once I have the butter. I didn’t get the butter on credit. I didn’t walk into the bank with my head down and offer the tubby bank manager a thirty thousand dollar indenture—hoping she’ll take it so that I can owe her for life and pray to God every night that thirty people will come to our restaurant for a butter sauce. Whoa, wait a minute… God ain’t listening. He gave up after I made that deal with the Devil, remember?
So our broker took us on a free tour of an old building. He had to mention the staggering utility bill, high taxes, regular maintenance, the leaky roof that hasn’t been repaired since the fire, the shared stairwell with the Born Again Christian Alliance, ripped walls, broken fire escape, four inefficient boilers…All for just a hundred thousand dollars. No mention of the art of cooking. No discussion about the price of butter, the chopping blocks, kitchen sink, walk-in cooler, purveyor schedules, the hourly pay of my first cook, Marie’s chances of having a sane baby, my duty as a father and a husband, another Saturday morning spent cutting inch cubes off fifteen pounds of butter… No, the broker wants to work, and his work declares that he make a deal. He’s in business. It doesn’t matter how we get the money, why we get the money—he suggests how we can get the money; I could kill someone for the money, and he would still take the money. He doesn’t know or care especially that after our little meeting, I’m going to shop for butter and wine. It will cost a small fortune for the dinner I’ll prepare. No successful businessman would waste a penny on such a meal without cutting as many  corners as possible. He won’t need butter. Margarine looks like  butter and is a quarter of the price. Wine? Really, is it necessary? Just add more salt. Flavored vinegar? Tarragon? Naw, more salt. Wait, let’s just forget the ber blanky and serve hot turkey with fries and gravy. $5.95. Geez, I can’t see more than a dollar going into it. That’s under 18% food cost. If I have the dishwasher make it, and give him a ten cent raise… And thirty people order that? Wow! Do you see what a stupid waste of time your art is?
So we paid a hundred thousand for the building and fifty thousand for renovation, and once upon a delicate time a man and woman were happy. It’s all over after that. It really is. Everything. If your marriage survives, your kids must be emotionally pathetic creatures, or they were never born because the man couldn’t get an erection to put into that sorrowful place! You never dreamed that the first time lying down with her warmth while the snow fell heavy out your door, would be the last time you ever laid pure together. Once you walked through the storm with a bag of groceries. One bag might have cost you a third of your paycheck, but you cooked all day, got steadily drunk on wine, wrote a poem, shoveled the walk, and served her like a queen. Of course she is a queen! Not after a hundred thousand, however. No, after that, she’s a machine. You’re a machine. The child becomes a machine completely out of whack. The machine has to make a living by postponing life. Business does not sleep; you cannot sleep while the pipes freeze, the toilet overflows, the compressor bites the dust, the waitress slips and falls, hitting her head and suing your business. You can pretend to rest. You can take a week’s vacation to North Carolina leaving the business to a man you employ. Is he a machine? No—well, yes. He’s a machine while he’s getting paid. But he gets turned off at eleven p.m. and walks home in the snow, meeting up with his beautiful wife shoveling the walk. “How was your night, my love?” she asks, her cheeks cold and flush. “Oh baby, Ron is sure to have a heart attack this time. The pipes froze and burst, the toilets backed up, a woman fell on the ice and cracked open her forehead…Oh geez, forget about work. Not our problem. Let’s go inside and get warm.”
Absolutely! Stay right where you are, hired help. You are fortunate if you can still see the beauty that she is. You rich man with a love of food, cooking, and watching the snow fall out your window! You have no idea how far gone the businessman is. You envy the man who doesn’t get his hands dirty. You think you want that for her because it looks secure, and profitable enough to buy a wall of windows and French doors opening out onto a terraced garden. No. She cannot possibly have this if you want to cook for her. It’s a life of business, a signed non-voidable contract with the Devil, that will eliminate the memory of an empty head. You will forget the beauty of walking home to her in a snowstorm carrying two bags of groceries which you was needed to create one dinner. You will forgo a true eagerness. You might want to get up, but for all the wrong reasons. You will have to get up when you don’t want to.
Two menus, prix fixe— two separate paths:
Your day off: Rise when you open your eyes. Take your hand off her back. Walk downstairs, thinking of dessert, since that is the most difficult task for the day. It’s a sunny morning to welcome the first blasts of autumn, when you can count more than five colors to a tree. That will keep your brain and heart dancing, your eyes alert and shining. Fine. Take some money and shoes, and start walking. I’ll keep it  simple since you have a purpose, and not mention the many muses singing sweetly on your way to market. It’s right to call it a market when your mind has the sense to call it that.
To the market then, without a list or an idea. Ooh, it’s the  harvest season, there are ripe pears and you smell the powerful presence of arugula. Okay for a garnish. What else is my fancy? Some staple garlic—I think we’re low in the wood bowl at home. Hmm. Bananas and chocolate. I’m thinking different for dessert. Forget all plans. I don’t want to watch a cake bake this afternoon. We’ll take the cats outside instead and run a stick through the  fallen leaves. Sauté the bananas with lime and cardamom. A chocolate sauce and ice cream. Simple. That’s done. Yams. We’ll puree those with butter and maple syrup. No, because a gravy won’t go good with that. And Rachelle loves gravy. Roast chicken and mashed potatoes. I’ll need two chickens. One for a stock and one for the oven. Cream for the chocolate sauce and gravy, butter for anything, eggs for the morning, orange juice, and Rachelle’s favorite ice cream. Now back to produce for potatoes. Oh, those apples look nice. Applesauce. Ah, we need peppercorns for the stock. Thirty-nine dollars? Fine. A thousand dollars? Hmmm. Pretty steep. I’ll have to bring one of the chickens back.
Another menu. Devil’s path:
Your day off: Rise at five a.m. Shave and shower. Walk downstairs and make coffee. Sit at the desk and read the paper. Look for your add on the restaurant page. “Peasant Stock—Soups and such for the poor man” What a great idea that was! Low overhead. High mark-up. A professionally prepared high quality soup for $3.99. Comes with toasted bread and garlic clove. They think they’re in nineteenth century France. They think I’m just scratching by. Fifty bowls of soup a day, plus all the other treats I sell… After payout, we’re still getting rich. Thank you Satan. No I didn’t forget. What’s that? Oh, the baby’s crying. “Marie!”
Now what am I going to do today? Another cup of coffee. Jesus, it’s almost Thanksgiving! Pumpkin Soup and a personal  chicken. Marie can waitress. We’ll get a baby-sitter. “Marie! C’mon, I’m working!” Wait, Rachelle knows how to change a  diaper. She can watch the baby. There we go. You’re using your head. We need new tile in the bathroom. I’ll talk to Joe. Different schedule this week for Bobby—get my order in early. Mark that. A thirty soup luncheon on Wednesday. The old bags want black tea and a cherry dessert. I’ll go to Syracuse today and pick up the tea. Frozen cherries! Oh well! The leak in the kitchen—what can that be? Wait. You got to write this down. The paper wants my add tomorrow. Oh God-damn that woman! “Marie, please!” Shit! I’ll just do it myself. No! You work all week. Rest now. You’ll drive yourself crazy if— “Oh, there’s my sweet little one. Here’s a kiss from Daddy.” Keys. Where are the keys? “Marie, where are the keys? Thanks. I’m going down to the restaurant. Why? Oh, just to see if I can get ahead for next week. You can take them honey. I’ll walk down. Bye.”
Arrange orders. Roast bones. Make a double chicken stock. What a beautiful day! No time to cook. Just bring some cold soup home, and take the car to Syracuse later.
What a stinking mess. That little bastard! Time for a new dishwasher. Set that up for Tuesday. Might as well sort through those applications and toss them. Nerve of that lady telling me the soup was too spicy. I could kill her! Almost like the time the Chilled Squash and Cream Soup was “ice cold!” Ah these idiots. Just keep coming. I’ll take your filthy money. Why not? Oh damn! Money. The roofers need a deposit. Write that down. Marie will have to oversee. Nice ass on the counter girl I hired last week. Keep them young and pretty for the bankers. She rubbed against me on purpose. She’s thinking about it.
Marie will be home. She won’t have to bother about dinner. Shit! The Pumpkin Festival. Eh. Business is business. Gotta get to Syracuse for the old lady luncheon tea crap. Man I use to live for these Indian summer days! What’s happened?

He went into business! Peasant Stock was a great idea but a miserable life. One can only scratch the surface. The true heart lies deep beneath layer upon layer of love-loss and dollar-despair. You can’t read the face of a businessman without feeling cold. It’s the evil cold of business that envelopes the businessman. Turn a profit if you don’t believe me. Your first trick has got to be an embarrassing affair. Hold out your hand to receive the cash. You’ll feel it this first time. Your face will redden. You’ll look down at the floor. You might even make an awkward bow. That man just handed you two dollars more than what the food cost you. Imagine that! A clear head might foresee the many miseries to come—beginning with the first wave of the hand, “Well, a man has to make a living!” That’s your signature signed in blood. That’s your “okay” to the Devil. You have sold your true heart for a profit. New definitions form for words and phrases. Now a “clear head” is defined as, “one who has a mind for business.” “Meaningless” might be a word pointed at your whistling dishwasher or your sweeping janitor. “Common sense” is a philosophy that will make more money. “Free time” is when the working dummies come give you their money. “Politics” and “government” must be held in check to keep your profits stable. “Change” is acceptable only if it makes you more money. The world remains a constant, wonder has ceased, and your  precious life works overtime like a machine.
No one, at the time of his right mind, would desire to dedicate his next fifteen hundred Mondays to ordering coffee and paper products—his next fifteen hundred Tuesdays to food, beer, wine, and laundry service. Because what follows are fifteen hundred “rest of the weeks” worrying about paying the bills. It’s a fool’s business. But when was the right mind alive and prepared to make important life-saving decisions? When was it awake? When did it have nothing to gain?
What is really loathsome about business is what it takes away. What is gained after thirty years of constant repetition is a quicker path to death. All businessmen are know-it-all dead things. It cannot be helped. They have to be. Business is math. Math is man-made. Anything man-made is dead. To get ahead in this life, I mean to get to the high places that few go to, one must accept that he is an idiot, a complete waste of time, a hopeless, useless, wonder absolute. He better do this with an addictive smile, because without a sense of humor, he won’t last long playing the idiot. Most importantly, all dead things shot at him must bounce off immediately, without pain nor scar. This includes knowledge, money, current events, phone bills, fuel bills, credit bills and of course, all business transactions. Laughter is a good shield. Forgetfulness is wise. Outright foolishness with money is a reliable survival tactic. You must make the businessman hate you with all his might. If he thinks the sandwich is worth $2.59, offer him five dollars. If you have the choice between two identical brands of potato chips, buy the most expensive one. The dead things must bounce off you. That is when the right mind is alive. I know when I am getting overwhelmed with illusion. Usually I can catch the Devil and dollars playing their sick and twisted game in my head. The loser is the man who controls his day, not he who greets each morning on a whim. The latter follows another path of control. It is the control of no control. He has to control himself not to control. He must let go of things because those things add up too quickly and begin to hurt the head. Too many things. So many things that make the businessman start to suffocate under a heavy heap of junk. He couldn’t let death bounce off him because he went into business which demanded that he take it all in. All of it. No matter how much it hurt.
The genesis of Peasant Stock began as a dead thing bouncing off Marie and I. We knew what to do with the food we bought. We prepared it special and worth remembering. The dead thing was the constant fear of catching ourselves in the act of wasting time. So we began to wonder if together we could make cooking our life’s mission. That was the urge of creation calling to us. “Yes we can!” said the right mind. “Absolutely, but don’t you dare go into business if you want to cook and be happy at the same time.” That meant we should come together at the end of a workday and enjoy the fruits of our labor—make our own yogurt, mix it with mango, and travel to India before seven o’clock. After seven, it is time to put the shield on and experience life our way. We knew that. We lived that. And then a knock came at our door. A persistent knock that wouldn’t leave us alone. One night the pears are poaching, and the knock persists. The next night, at the same hour, there’s a guinea pig beauty contest being held on the living room floor. The knock persists. The following night we take a spring walk while the sun sprays the houses with orange-yellow hues, and wet dirt smells fill the air. We walk home thinking lemon pudding. The knock starts up again. It won’t leave us alone. Oh for God’s sake, open it!
Of course we could do it better. We could feed strangers our love and at the same time, turn enough profit to free ourselves from the present drudgery of undesirable repetition. Never have to work for another again! I see dark wood walls, maybe cedar if we’re lucky. Some old man with a violin. Men in fedoras; women wearing scarfs. The children who arrive with their parents want to read or sketch the chef in action. Every moment is an expression of the love that craves to be released. We turn a meager profit, a massive sum to us, for we believe the work we do is play and good fortune. Why make anything more of that? All the customers are enlightened human beings. Nobody is in business. We’re making this place on earth our paradise.
I walked out of my house on a fine spring morning, slaughtered a lamb and disemboweled her in my dreams. This I have sacrificed to my brethren. My children are already at the restaurant doing their schoolwork and keeping the stocks at a very low simmer. My wife greets me at the door and wraps her arms around me. All worry is bouncing away.
Come in! Come in! Cut through my skin dirty Devil. Fill up your inkwell with my blood. I’m ready to risk all future happiness. I’m ready to beat wonder with a stick. I want to control life even if in so doing I forget what joy it was to be alive. I’m ready to hate everything. Ready to take. I’m so god-damn ready to go into business. Scribble-scribble, exclamation point! Yes!

Buerre Blanc

2 shallots peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ pound unsalted butter
Salt
Pepper

Combine shallots with white wine and vinegar in a saucepan. Gently simmer mixture until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.
Add the heavy cream.
Cut butter into 1-inch cubes and add to sauce. Whisk and stir pan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Take pan off burner.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Strain sauce if seeking a smooth consistency.
Serve as soon as possible or keep on back of stove.

Unfortunately, All Anarchists Alive Today Understand That They Were Breastfed Because It Was Good For Them

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2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 X 20″

2 days left to bid on the greatest middle talent painting ever.

Or this one, where you get seven for the price of one.

Meanwhile, a poem from the uncirculating publication, My Contribution To The War Movement. I shall consider serializing the book here in the near future. But first, a video about the true nature of squirrels.

Fragmentals While Practicing Spanish For Your Birthday

My sweet everlasting, temporary forever,
your soft flesh
makes this tremulous mass of guts I was born with wake up to work

Here’s a fine mess for us—
a woman
on a perfect day
wind and ease and leaves
a woman’s last arteries bleeding out today,
this perfect day,
the urge to paint her fake marble columns white.

I want the squirrels to eat all the women
who’ve given up any hope of love.
Who wants clean, attractive homes with expensive well-arranged stuff
only to later get mauled by squirrels?

¡Viva las ardillas!

Tienes veinte y ocho años.
In twenty-eight more years
the squirrels will be doing the exact same thing
without toilet paper.

Juanita. Juanita. Tu jugas en las hojas con su papa. Te amo Juanita.
Juanita. Juanita caminamos debajo de los arboles en dias azules…
Te amo Juanita.

The birds have got the whole truth. Quick now— everyone look the other way!

The real breeze comes from nowhere and has no home to go to.

Meteorology for the birds is the study of the old benevolent rock that crash-landed, smoking the worms out of their holes to a tremendous dinner.

All the little yellow fruits on her tree were dying. We walked by looking for money.

I don’t think a swiping sword across the stomachs of every man would make one squirrel cry. Do you?

Oh there’s so much I won’t do that I won’t want to do without you.

Oh my God you were born!
But all these old fishermen do is hook fish in the gills

I think you and I could use a couple winter months being tied to separate rocks by the lake. If we were forced in this way to hear our names called out enough times, along with semi-harmonious cries of writhing despair, begging, longing… If we were left this way to figure out for ourselves the weakness of being human, we might get a chance glimpse of what it’s like to live for five minutes as a squirrel, or a bird, or a sun, or a man, or a woman born to live on this earth for wonder and food.

There’s only one baby I know who should NOT have her parents arrested.

Ah Juanita, Elena, mis dos hijas, mis milagros… Soy el esposo de Maria, su amigo, su humana brisa. Somos de ninguna parte y tenemos no lugar de origen a ir.

Tengo hambre. I want some almonds.

 

How A Career Can Muddy Up A Painter’s Dream Forest

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Ghost Fish Flowing Above Benzene Stream 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 X 20″

A Very Short Story I Wrote Just Now Before My Second Cup of Coffee About My Fall From Grace As A Painter

Finally! I have been contractually released from my indentured servitude. I am no longer working for the big guy in the sky. Holiday perks were actually fewer than any hair shirt day of the week, and I began to dread plain oatmeal. The constant walking was hell on the feet, and the heart attack trumpet sounding off the frequent Armageddon drills was making me schizophrenic. Enough! I couldn’t take it anymore. So I literally got down on my knees and begged Penance Peter the overseer to chisel out my frontal lobe with a rusty fork. As usual, he would have nothing to do with my begging and pleading (I swear he actually got off on it). So I went over his head to the palace on high, ran fearlessly forward into the blinding light, straight up to the throne of gold blazing and called out demanding my release.

“Why should I let you go?” said the thundering sky surround sound.

“I want to be a painter—” I called out.

“You are.”

“…who can sell a pain—”

I woke up standing in a beautiful white gallery with all of my paintings hung on a wall. Each one had a red dot stuck under the title, and many tall, thin, young-looking people dressed in black and jewelry and holding drinks were smiling at me. A silver-haired man approached and shook my hand.

“Hello Ron. I am Larry Beelzebub Gagosian. Welcome to Hell. Do not walk to the door. Do not stop smiling. I have an appointment scheduled later for you with Paul Allen and David Geffen. I want you to talk about nothing but cheese and a dollar that you found on the sidewalk today. Do not sniffle, but stick a finger in your belly button from time to time. You will be a millionaire by midnight.

“Finally! Thank you Mr. Gagosian!”

“There’s one caveat,“ he said.

“And what is that?” I asked.

“Every painting from now until you die must have those colorful clouds spread on in exactly the same fashion.”

“Do they have to be the same color?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“Same arrangement”

“No. You may turn them upside down, elongate or compress, and of course you are free to choose any size of canvas we stretch here in Hell.”

“It’s a deal!” I cried.

“Okay. Great. Start talking about cheese…”

The End.

Remember, only 3 days left to bid on a heavenly piece.