Bad Chinese translation. I blame my own ignorance fueled by Google faux-energy.
It’s that time of year when the world falls in love with a Ron Throop painting or book. Every song you hear seems to say, “Merry Christmas, may your new year dreams of owning a Ron Throop painting or book come true”
Santa’s on his way. He’s filled his sleigh with things that appear to be mostly Ron Throop paintings and books.
A free story to get the wallet-out-of-your-pocket-ball start rolling. From On Rainy Days the Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself:
Fruits and vegetables on the tablecloth. On this cool hazy morning I shall execute the perfect dog walk. I know my themes are repeated over and over. If I do this enough times, I might end up with five or six perfectly picked and placed words to explain the entire horror show of modern life. Drive slowly by beauty walking through the leaves. Songbirds sing along with her and the wind in the trees. Coax beauty into your van with a false smile and caring. Then pull the door closed and slap your devil face back on. Proceed to carve her up while she cries out for love and compassion and gentleness.
Today I live for the shes in my life. When their eyes open wide, I will clean, bake, play. I will kick right into gear for love. Yesterday in bed with Marie I let her have it with the angst. I cannot be so selfish to forget about her. She never blames anyone. The child inside… Both imaginary and literal.
But get a load of this…
Further on I promise to write about my chef. I have been wanting to do so for over a year. There is so much meat on his bones. Spoiled meat for the starving to pull from the garbage. Writing about him will not change the world, nor improve one bit the days and nights of the most poor and neglected human being. But it will show my grandchild what I was up against, the blockheads I had to fight just to get my hour a day, maybe two, to do the things I was born to do.
It would also be fun to write about some of the other characters who work with me into the night. The shared pulse of no-life, therefore no poetry or love. The death of life standing upright, propped like an Irishman at his funeral, usually with whiskey and a sham of a good time. Human beings ruined from the top down. Exhausted. Pooped out. Circumstance has nothing to do with their miserable lot in life. They are able to eat and pay rent for less than a forty hour work week. That’s a job. The strike babies of the last century were fooling themselves. This cannot be the hopeful result of the brotherhood of man. These spineless animals? But yes it is! Their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A club on the head for an eight hour work day? If they didn’t strike, they were mere slaves. Who really wanted to stop work at five p.m.? What did those lazy buggers give back for that luxury? More bars. More men-only games. More spousal neglect and abuse. More children ignored and made to wait to grow up miserable like Dad. Nothing has changed today. A thousand revisions of tried and true cover-ups and alibis. No better love. No better devotion. No better humility or caring. Death to compassion. Death to passion. A concave curvature of the spine. Three hundred years later and we’ve developed the freedom dreams of captive horses. My sous chef puts on a heavy flannel coat—wait. Rachelle just woke up. She stands next to me asking if I’ll clean up the dog’s vomit. Time to keep my promises. I will catch up to my reading public later.
My sous chef puts on a heavy red flannel coat. It’s a cool autumn day. A pumpkin patch in the neighbor’s yard. Crows on the mowed lawn. Crows on the porch. One crow eating grease out of a can hanging from the portable grill. My sous chef bought a pellet gun at Walmart. He’s twenty-two years old. Crows and squirrels eating. It might take three or four close shot pellets to penetrate a layer of crow skin. It stuns the bird. He flaps in the yard crying. Reload and point it a foot from his wide open eye. Fire!
What kind of father made him and kept him?
Sous is a French word.
Of course man is evil.
When I was eight or nine years old I aimed my BB-gun at a fat bumble bee resting on a peony. I pulled the plastic trigger and petals exploded into the air. Last night I picked up a pincher bug and put her in the garbage can. Over the years I have killed a battalion of mosquitoes. Because of malaria in the tropics I pretend that it is war with the mosquitoes. I won’t harm a spider.
Last night I quoted Kenneth Patchen to him after he justified his backyard crow massacre. “They were noisy,” he said, “while eating the grease off my barbecue.”
“There are no proportions in death.” I replied. I should have quoted myself, and followed that line up with, “That means your precious pale hide is covered with crow feathers. Your daddy and mommy are crows. You are pecking at the grease of the world and creating a nuisance unknowingly to a thousand living things a minute. How many pellets to penetrate your thick skull? Do you see why it’s not a tragedy if a hundred crows ate your brother? What the hell is so god-damn human about us? If to be human is to be merciful, caring, or just a little bit careful at least? Romantic love and the slaughter of cows. How do we make love with such bloody hands?
Today is a school day. We have a hundred apples to bake and books to read. Rachelle my sweet baby child, reveal your true cruel heart. There are happy squirrels running to and fro. I intend to teach you how to rip off their hides with boots and your bare hands.
I love my innocent babies. I am a daddy crow.