I Believe it is Inherent for the Artist to Doubt His or Her Own Face


2017. Acrylic on (8) scrap canvas, 6 x 6″

News this morning says that the big penis bomb dropped on the subterranean  compound in Afghanistan killed 36 ISIS fighters. All bad guys according to the Pentagram, I mean Pentagon, upside-down crucifix… whatever the name for “Satan Central” is these days. So I get low some mornings down in the basement studio, knowing that, with a dead Constitution, we are all just a broken people without a country. And I paint emotionally.

The Pentagon thought a million Vietnamese were all “bad guys”. A million Iraqis too. 300 million dollars (cost of exploding penis) to kill 36 repressed suicide bombers, and our heavily armored, eye-brow-cured “leader” declares it a success. And yet, the ISIS gang can achieve equal success, and more by murdering innocents at an airport, or shopping mall, or public park—wherever the heck they want to. And all they need for it is some wires, TNT, an electrician, and of course a man or woman whose child was killed by the Pentagram, I mean, Pentagon, no, I mean upside-down crucifix.

My God, this broken war-mongering state has made so many psychologically sick persons that it wouldn’t be difficult to recruit a few, and for a million bucks a pop, strap some explosives to their bodies and drop them from airplanes onto any heavily ISIS’d desert military compound, or, tit for tat, an ISIS airport (Oh wait, they don’t have any of those), shopping mall (none of those either), or public park (nope, zippy, nada).  There are many American life failures who might offer up their bodies for a cool mil to be collected by loved ones after a successful mission. And it would simultaneously free up millions for home improvement. Infrastructure, housing, health care.

Nope. The corporito mafia wouldn’t get its cut.

Anyway, Happy Easter! In 2004, during the recent memory insanity of constitutionally illegal Iraq war, I wrote the following open letter and mailed 40 copies to all the religious houses in my city and countryside. Hummers were delivering their broken families to church, while the paid-for military was spreading disease all over the globe. It was time to scold the scared little preacher lambs. They weren’t doing their Jesus job. Cost me 40 stamps and I never got one reply. Oh well Mr. Vonnegut, so it goes…

An Open Letter to My Local Messengers of the Gospel to be Read Aloud This Easter Sunday….

Earlier today I heard over my car radio that a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq had been struck by three U.S. missiles. A Mosque in Iraq. Missiles. In 1938 rocks were thrown at Jews and their windows. The Night of Broken Glass.Today, April 8, 2004, forty Iraqis were blown to pieces by your government. A sacred house. A holy shrine. Today I believe this mosque to be the holiest place on earth. Little Jesus was one of those children inside, crouching, holding his tiny ears while your government assassins melted him.
This Easter Jesus will die and rise from the grave for Iraqi children. Why should he even bother with the Americans? Our children are not in need of any god or its savior. Our children have been orphaned by the holy spirit.
So now you know what has happened, and what will you do about it? Myself? I stuck my head out the car window and screamed a thousand curses on mankind. With all my vocal might I shouted out hate until I nearly passed out with rage. If war is crazy, then a church that is silent about war is criminally insane. Criminal to Jesus Christ. To men, to birds of the air and beasts of the land and of the sea. A mosque is burning and children are screaming for their mothers and fathers. Grief is destroying the families of Iraq and I must do my part to block your false Easter joy with cries of their suffering.
I am tired of crying my heart out to fallow fields, to oblivious trees and squirrels. It is time to confront the men of my village. The truth is that your church is partly responsible for the premeditated murder of human beings. I call on you to end the global murder perpetuated by your silence, your acquiescence, your tax dollars and those of your congregation’s. You have a pulpit and therefore a responsibility to God and the people to right the wrongs of your brothers and sisters.
The children of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine… Are you not getting the story correct? Who is David and who is Goliath? If Jesus was walking the streets of Fallujah this morning, where would he run to when all hell broke loose? To the mosque of the holy spirit, or to the Bradley tank? Do I have the New Testament wrong? Have I been away so long that Christianity has warped into a reliable adjunct of the Pentagon? Do you ever wonder why people don’t pack full your churches? Do you speak for Jesus or the American emperor? Are you a Pharisee, a mobster, a coward? For God’s sake, stop reading Christ as if he were literate! You know as well as me when the gospel was written. You know who wrote it too. A good comparison would be the Indian Parliament in the year 2300 interpreting Gandhi’s message for the masses, with uplifting words as well as a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Please now, the suffering people of Iraq are deserving of good news this Easter. Say something for them if you can claim understanding of anything Jesus. Why so many preachers live the better part of their spiritual lives in Revelations will always be a mystery to me. Maybe fear and impotence play a larger role than I had imagined. Maybe after all is said and done, the lot of you just suffer from spiritual envy. You can’t deny that those terrorized Muslims sure know how to feel!
I think regular doses of suffering would make us better believers too, but unfortunately Walmart doesn’t carry any of that in stock. In America, Sunday church is only as palatable as the brunch afterwards. The latter is always too cheap for real maple syrup. The former just gyps the spirit.
For Christ’s sake, go out into the streets this Easter! At least lead your congregation on a march through the parking lot. Point to the machines that are destroying their planet. Help them to understand what that means… to not have a sustainable planet. For contrary to present Christian representative opinion, global warming is a Jesus problem. Also nuclear weapons, the military budget, the Patriot Act… Jesus, these are all very good Jesus problems. I’m afraid that the real revelation these days is that most of you are so far gone from the teachings of Christ that American Christian spirituality is one of the world’s biggest jokes. You are good comedy. Funny like the Morris family in Uganda
preaching the gospel to unbelievers. I think that a Ugandan criminal has more Jesus in him than all the Morris family and their church sponsors combined. Why? because chances are that that poor sinner has actually suffered. Americans don’t suffer. They weep into their pillows and buy cars. And you, who could possess so much authority in your own house, allow them too many transgressions, even these mass murders of late. Why? For your own security?
For the sake of all God’s creatures, risk your jobs this Easter Sunday. Tell the people what they do not want to hear. Give to the Iraqi children who have died for you. Cease negotiations with the Emperor. Let the people come to your mosque for reasons of life and death. But first tell the people what they damn well need to hear. That Jesus Christ would not be proud of them. At least no Jesus of my heart would die for these hide-behind-missile child murderers.
The killing must stop now. It is your job to stop it. Make our Jesus proud! Imitate the Christ this Easter.

A Couple Weeks Painting as I Come to Grips With My Limitations at 50


“Cannibal Cornish Hen Fancies Cabbage for Valentine’s” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″


“A Skunk Got Us and the Rats This Morning” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″


“Canada Goose Knows Late Apples are ‘for the Deer’” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″


“Fat Rat Digs a Memory Hole” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 9 x 12″


“If You Study the Intricacies of Mathematics, and Neglect Art, Then You are Probably a Maladjusted Social Animal, But Never Vice-Versa” 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18″


“Hamlet, the Old Dog, Tries a New Trick” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″


“I Wonder if All That Money We Spend on Space Just Happens to be a Real Sexy Breakfast” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″


“Holy Mackerel Arrive for the Garum Sacrifice” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 21″


“Chef Newt Has a Tricky Menu Tonight at Salamander’s” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 10 x 13″


“Adding Bone Black Was Probably the Best Thing I Could Do For This Painting” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 18 x 27″


Four Paintings This Morning While Mourning


“Robert Allen Mazza was Born on November 7, 1934 and Died on January 12, 2017” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″


“I Do Not Recommend Death” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″


“I Think Careerism is the Only Obstacle to Being Born Again” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″



“Rex Tillerson, the Highly Protected Sociopath, is Going to Kill a Lot of Stuff” 2017. acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″


Deconstructing Key Lime Pie


“The Cosmological Playoffs—Ascendance of Mankind: 1, The Rest of Respirating Life: 0” 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24″

Deconstructing Key Lime Pie from Cookbook For The Poor

Rose and I can talk for an hour about deconstructing Key lime pie. The finished dessert is global and global is hastening doom. We can discuss karma, which I declare is “fate” with a few freewill choices. I believe fate and karma are inventions of the freakishly comfortable species man, so I say “impossible” until the raccoon is allowed to fall onto the spinning wheel of life and death. The skunk too needs to make his karmic choice. “To spray or not to spray this jerk crapping on my habitat?” Without all living things respected thus, fate and karma are superstitions of species-ism, collaborating with guilt, justifying the gruesome murder of anything, as long as it doesn’t affect our dessert.
From Key Lime Pie to karma, to power, corruption, evil… And from those one or two fleeting dreams of contentment NOW— which tend to put me (sometimes my loved ones) in a state of anonymous poverty, secure in a non-motorized hut, with a wood stove, gun, and a four-season garden with saved seed—from these clear and happy daydreams await the visions of what my species has given up for the constant decoration of key lime pie for dessert, biweekly trips to the super-duper market, a deep bitterness brought by a devotion to standard time, individuality, and the purchase of a thousand materials to cram inside a wooden box, dressed up pretty in vinyl strips pretending to be wooden strips.
We have forsaken clan devotion for the hate crimes of individuality.
The mechanized hyper-individual is a lone cancer cell. He is the beginning of the end of nature. Self congratulation, self pride, self-satisfaction are not only meaningless without clan approval, but infinitely depressing as harbingers of doom. If we are living and working on a global treadmill, and my specialty is Key Lime Pie, the wife dabbles in printing runs, Mom does garage sales, Dad knows black fly fungiciding, sister claims insurance claims, friends teach kids fifty miles away, or guard prisoners with a night stick in a sweat-stink, cement room, etc., and over time we cannot come to value each other’s specialization beyond how much it stratifies our class position, and nurtures our personal “comfort,” then nothing besides boredom and incompetence ballooning in the brain awaits the hopeless worm of modernity.
The mass of physically comfortable folks obliviously act out their dreams slowly torturing all the living things on earth.
Themselves included.
There are no more clans here.
There is no sharing or need of one another. Who has ever needed an insurance worker or a prison guard in the family?
The hyper-individual Carl Sandburg published a little poetic blurb not so long ago about Hungarians at a beer picnic. Group happiness. We need that now. Bonfires, wine sharing, poetry spoken from every mouth. Never again the written word!
We must have a group expectation of the dawn—not only for the sake of the new economy, but for our happiness too. Our extended families are in ruins. Thoreau was right about simplicity, but dead wrong on the individual. He was an excellent spokesperson for the dangerous hobbyist of the future, that is all.
It is inevitable that we will come to clans again. We shall need to build successful ones. Survival of the fittest is unnecessary at first. In western, that is, rich society, we can chant the mantra “survival of the happy” for now, and nurture our fledgling clans without immediate economic or natural disaster implications. It does necessitate group projects, however. Like corn planting, water gathering, and grand meals at siesta, finished on those easier days with some exotic, mouth-watering Key Lime Pie.
Cities will have to die out. Urban clans will soon discover that cabbage cannot grow on asphalt. Sadly, the hyper-individuals will annihilate 9/10 of the living planet long before the first clan boy or girl’s rite-of-passage ceremony. A one or two meter rise in ocean level will launch nuclear winter for sure, no matter what happy, hopeful, denial predictions the specialists spout. Clans in the wild are the future. Coastal urbanites, find yours on higher ground. Suburbanites, may I suggest bowling night, and many mead and shredded wheat parties?
Making a Key Lime Pie amidst the knowledge of dinosaur implications for thousands of species, including our own, is doom. Definitions are changing. Joy will be defined as “the feeling of clan nurturing.” Individual will be synonymous with “clan crime,” a future capital offense.

Key Lime Pie

Lime filling

4 teaspoons grated zest, plus a ½ cup juice from about 4 limes
4 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Graham cracker crust

11 full size graham crackers, bludgeoned to fine crumbs (1¼ cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped cream topping

¾ cup heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ lime, sliced paper thin and dipped in sugar (for decoration)

For the filling:

Whisk zest and yolks in a medium bowl until light green color, about two minutes.
Beat in the milk and then the juice. Set aside at room temperature to thicken.

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 325º.
Mix crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir with a fork until well blended. Scrape mixture into 9-inch pie pan and with a measuring cup, press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pie pan to form an even crust.
Bake until lightly brown and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for twenty minutes.
Pour lime filling into the crust.
Bake until center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15-20 minutes. Return pie to wire rack. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least three hours.

For the whipped cream:

Before serving, whip cream in a medium bowl to very soft peaks. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue whipping until just-stiff peaks. Spoon on to pie slices and top withsugared limes.
Yum. Think on future bonfires with your clan.

Two Humanly Paintings To Express One Afternoon of Exasperation and the Power of Propaganda


I Am So Not Ready For This Title 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16″


Spy On My Daughters You Fat Dripping Government Goon and I’ll Go All Hannibal Lecter On Your Pancreas, Dig? 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

The first painting I made yesterday in an outpouring of emotion while dreaming of the inevitable end to all whom we love. Whether they go first or we go first, we all go in the end. Not profound, still, sometimes overwhelming when contemplated for too long.

Then soon after, I got over my innocent and love overflowing daydream and drove out to the grocery store for ingredients to a dinner that would show my appreciation to the humble family I share stories with every night. NPR talked about Russian hackers, spies, brutal autocrats, near dead and very rich U.S. Senators, the President-elect and his nonchalance over Russian hacking, spying, sneaking around peeping into other people’s e-mails… Then they quoted CIA directors past and present—the ones who spy, hack, peep into American’s e-mails, phone logs, underwear drawers, etc., etc, etc., and my mood got progressively more sour over the next hour while perusing ingredients for my love feast.

Fortunately I purchased my foodstuffs before I got so low and ornery as to simmer gruel in a pot for the night and leave it at that.

I am supposed to trust with my nation’s tenuous future disgusting men who access my children’s whereabouts, online habits, or perhaps even sweetheart texts sent in dreaming of their own future love-giving scenarios? These filthy, dirty men peeking in on my toilet… I am supposed to trust them—knowing their wildly perverted intentions—to tell the truth when they lied to Congress when asked to tell the truth?

No. I do not trust them. They are Stasi-in-training. They are the enemy of the people. My people. The ones who I love and could learn to love because they are not rotten propagandists in collusion with any entity that attempts to prevent me from being the kind-hearted, sensitive creature I was born to become. NPR is CIA is FBI is Homeland Security is KGB.

I’ll make something nice today to dissolve these sordid agencies into the fine dust of oblivion. A painting. A meal. My greatest achievement this week will be to go a full day with the propaganda turned off. It is a confusion machine. And it is everywhere.



Teacher, Sorry I Painted On The Desk. I Want To Be A Ditch Digger

2014. Acrylic on antique scholar’s desk. Running out of paints again, but Dan is in Denver. I suspect Santa will drop some coal black and pyrrole red tubes in my stocking…

_DSC1551 copy

Here is the result of a week spent suffering canvas and paint box depletion. Sitting, stretching and bending all over the floor has made me more limber than normal. The desk was a miscellaneous tool box cobwebbing in the basement. After some color it became a testament to my education and a brief eulogy to the poet Lou Reed.

_DSC1550 copy  _DSC1545 copy

As explained in a previous post, earlier this week my friend Dan dropped off some paint and a couple canvases to my surprise and wonder. Then, he came back the next day with more paint and canvases. He also rolled up several Arts sections of the New York Times so Rose and I could be entertained with human good news over our morning coffee. I am a ditch digger of wealth and taste.

There was an article about Milton Glaser collaborating with the writer of the TV show Madmen. In it the reporter referenced the door of Glaser’s company bearing the words, “Art is Work” on the transom glass.

Yes! That is what this famous graphic artist is worth to me. Passing on a truism that I will take to the grave. Art is work. One, two, perhaps a cliff drop in salary grade from ditch digger. However, even with all the maneuvering to paint in awkward positions, I will never wake with a slipped disk and a painful drive to the next work site. So in matters of health and possible longevity, I save big time by being a painter. I work. I just don’t work for a living… Yet. Rose is making an investment in my education. She is putting me through life art school. She works. I cook the rice and beans. We eat together. She grabs my hand and admonishes me for the dirt under my fingernails. The paint dirt!

And what do I have to show for it?

A small house filled up with much more than a repeated yarn or two expressed at the shuffleboard court about that awesome French drain I dug back in the summer of ’98.

“I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six. I drew some pictures I thought fairly good when I was fifty, but really nothing I did before the age of seventy was of any value at all. At seventy-three I have at last caught every aspect of nature–birds, fish, animals, insects, trees, grasses, all. When I am eighty I shall have developed still further and I will really master the secrets of art at ninety. When I reach a hundred my work will be truly sublime and my final goal will be attained around the age of one hundred and ten, when every line and dot I draw will be imbued with life.
—Hokusai Katsushika (an art crazy old man)

More desk. The tribute to Lou Reed part.

_DSC1555 copy  _DSC1546 copy

Coney Island Baby



Saturday Morning Love Theme Now!

I Love You More Than Madness More Than Dreams Upon the Sea

“I Love You More Than Madness, More Than Dreams Upon The Sea” 2013. Acrylic on panel board, 64 x 48″

This is an old post and introduction to the book below. Please read it to save the earth from eating itself out of disgust at the human “progressive” trajectory.

From Leopold Courting Rose:

Leopold Courting Rose 2013

Why Love Letters?
Who is Leopold?

Curse this political world! Last month I signed up for a free online course in social psychology hoping it would sedate my inner anxiety fool, and get me thinking about other stuff besides doom and gloom. Over the past ten years or so I have let the wrong people in. Unknowns, rabble-rousers, political cry-babies. So much in my mind not of the family and clan has focused its attention on strangers and their woeful struggles. I deemed myself the silent Sally Struthers’ spokesperson for civil liberties (of others), individualism (of others again), and freedom without war and atrocity (others again and again).
Silly me. I have always been free to speak, individualistic more so than Henry Thoreau, and anti-war with an internal, red hot passion. Seeking it for others? Why? It already exists. Don’t tick off the King in a super economy, and one will be showered with gifts and glory unbeknownst to the Gods and emperors of yesteryear. I can speak or write any blasphemy under the sun as long as I can prove no child molestation. I can walk out this door and keep walking to Utah, provided I keep myself looking a cut above meth abuser. And war? Don’t need it. Don’t have to join up. There are millions of neglected children jonesing for a chance to be loved by anyone, even a sociopath sergeant or general. I am not one of these millions of fools. So why attempt to be their social pastor? Especially if I’m not getting paid for it? Amazing freedom in the western world. But little wisdom. Even though all religions and philosophies swear the latter leads to happiness. Our freedoms are apparent, and they have made us very sick in the mind. Nero, for all the power he possessed on a diminishing empire’s credit, was just an insane freak of nature like a Rupert Murdock or Barack Obama. Not happy. Never secure in love. Yet it seems all the non-political commoners dress up to be like them, and would become them if they won the lottery. The common men who stop to admire a jet ski on display at the mall, and the women who consider purchasing the latest issue of People magazine with a dead Patrick Swayze on the cover. These folks are certainly not happy in their ignorance, which is never bliss, but rather chimera. Also, wrong acceptance of careerism and its habits of middle age has blown our happiness path to smithereens. No wonder so many are plagued with regret and night sweats of bitterness.
So why did the political world move into my brain and push out the wisdom-to-be that I swear was thriving in my younger years? Maybe this course I am taking in psychology will shed light on the social/anti-social animal I have become. Maybe it will speak about first love or second love, the born again feeling that arises when energy is directed at discovery, and bliss becomes everyday reality through the auspices of blind love for another human being. Probably not. Love is never taken seriously at the college level (although every single university affiliate has fallen to its power). Still, I would think it a doctoral track more necessary to happiness that physics or English literature. What else needs to be discovered in order for the “good life” to be realized? John Donne’s snuff habit? Another dimension of reality that we’re told we can never see (perhaps heaven)? What specialization need we focus upon now that cholera can be defeated? Have we in the western nations not enough potable water, clothing, shelter and fuel? I would argue that all we lack is proper distribution of these necessities. And that can be fixed overnight by determined revolutionaries in love. Sack a congress lobbied to corruption with rotten tomatoes and “We are the World” mantras.
I think that this college course will uncover some awful truth about modern humanity. That is this: We eagerly make efforts to go against the grain of the heaven on earth existing before our very eyes. It will show by experiment that humanity has always been subject to groupthink and group censure, from caveman times to the atomic age, and that this was necessary as far as groups go. Geese form a “V” to fly south. People arrange a militia to fight other people who covet their stuff.
But we moderns have made the blunder of taking social conditioning way too far, and have ignored the wonders of love, art, and beauty, which in older times the royal classes gravitated towards in their grateful acceptance of good fortune. Who in Jacksonian Democracy could foresee an Iphone with every volume entitled “me” in its Library of Congress-sized memory reading room? What Japanese noble of the Kamakura Period would not mutilate his own bowel after realizing he forsook his only son’s wisdom education for a shiny red Ford F350?
Unfortunately my free social psychology course will not lecture me that the above modern condition is abnormal psychology chomping on steroids. It will not instruct me on wisdom, nor on how to find it, nurture it, and use it to achieve happiness in this life. No, it is a social boo-boo to voice a strong opinion against the mountain of crap our society drops on us day after day. Normalcy is to be authenticated after 8 years of intense tunnel vision university study before society even allows an educated guess at what might be wrong with it. And then it won’t have credence without publication, which will only come if approved by an editor, himself overeducated to the point of fearing his own vocal opinion without first undergoing five years of proper research and testing.
But love? No degree necessary. And we think we’re very good at it, yes? We have experienced it, studied it, woke up eager to practice it, mainly during the courting stages, when it was as important to life’s mission as finding a career and establishing oneself an accepted player in society. So what happened? Why no mention of love promotion in the press other than hitting the 50th anniversary mark? Awards are many but private to be sure, credentials boxed up in the basement, photographs nonexistent to present-day visitors to the marital abode. Yet it was one of the three or four most significant moments in the life of every human being. It has been relegated as a social taboo to communally recollect and organize hard copies of examples of falling in love. A kind of embarrassment, almost a mild shame that prevents each and every one of us from “yawping” our love out from the rooftops.
I have a hypothesis to share with the social psychologists. By virtue of the 200,000 year old struggle for survival, modern well-fed human beings, who have no immediate threat to their existence, haven’t the slightest idea how to process the ecstasy of courting after the mate has been won. A species-wide denial of poetic joy that practically everyone has experienced pervades.
I would argue that by covering up real memories of courting happiness to the extent that they exist on par with other childhood rites of passage, like losing teeth or leaving the familial nest, we have denied ourselves and loved ones a published account of what could very well be an example of burgeoning wisdom.
So we forget about early love to make room for the tough, grown-up stuff, (ex., career, child rearing, keeping a clean house, grocery shopping, finding hobbies), and no periodic reference to the good ole days can be used to repair broken dreams. Hence dissatisfaction with our wife or husband, the seven-year-itch, and recycled ideas of how great life would be if we could just “get away”.
Separation in the mind, if not actualized, is all too common. And divorce becomes an option, since all reminders of why this girl or guy moved you in the first place, have been buried and lost to time.
I believe we all possess this poetry of love’s beginning. I think it is a course worth deep study, if only to research why its virtue has been lost to all and sundry. I have brought up these old letters and poems from our musty basement on the eve of my wife’s 40th birthday. Lately I have been feeling the overwhelming strain of practicing a repetition of days toward cliché goals. Security, conservatism, wealth, retirement—all notions I would have smirked at when I was in my twenties looking for answers to “why” and “what for?”. Then I started chasing Rose, and during the process, saw opportunities arise and abilities executed that I thought could never be. Not quite feelings of invincibility, but close. More like insight into the power of dreams to encourage positive action with another human being. That is I dreamed of a day, maybe a picnic and a movie, woke up and arranged it, and then experienced it with her. Success! Tenderness. Lovemaking. Sleep. And the promise of more. I already had a five-year-old daughter, and her well-being was much improved day-to-day as I courted Rose. The creativity, optimism, hope, excitement of new love was carried over to the nurturing of my little girl. There was no neglect, nobody pushed aside so abstracts like “job security” or “personal success” could make room.
So why did those feelings of wellness and “all is right with the world” ever fade away?
Now is when Leopold enters the concert arena.
The other night while doing dishes I made Rose laugh out loud as I explained to her my concept of Leopold. He is Bugs Bunny on the cover of this book, and can be found in action on Youtube or Vimeo. I told her that for once in my life (and hers too) I want the world to shower the praise on us that was given to that “wrascally wrabbit” when he was imitating some maestro of the time, real or imaginary. A necessary feeling to pull us out of the repetitive funk we find ourselves locked in. To spend it all on just one night! A suite booked at the Plaza, reservations at Daniel, a private car with driver, black disco dress with sparkles, tickets to the opera at Lincoln Center, where Rose and I conduct music for the worn and weary.
We had this feeling one time not so long ago. Every letter I sent to her was a promise for a night like this. And Rose was all about reciprocation, even if it was not literary. No doubt, we both believed wholeheartedly in each other and had faith in the future. I do not doubt that you, reader, have felt the same many times not too long ago…
So, what is the theory we can test? How do I institute this landmark study that will get the comfortable masses to recapture romantic love without relinquishing the urge to relieve social pressures in their every day lives? That is, how to find wisdom in love again, and save for retirement? Well, for starters, I wrote and edited this book. My private hope is that Leopold spends it all on one night to reinvigorate dreams which he believes were visionary in their wisdom. Of course none of this effort will matter if Rose is not convinced, and vies for austerity because the pay is never enough, keep working. John Lennon was about forty when “Starting Over” was a popular song on the radio. Those lyrics are poetry of what this book is trying to recapture. Also the following, written when I was feeling a little bit Leopold thirteen years ago:

Say, What’s Cooking In Oswego?

A plate of truth and a bottle of blood?
No, no numb skull, far from that!
There used to be fishermen here
but baby perch wiggle tougher
than our men do nowadays.
I think they kept chickens
back in the 1800’s
She already had an egg
and a log on the fire
before cock-a-doodle-do.
Whisk the egg with two fingers of sugar
and a dash of salt
Mix with yesterday’s milk,
pour into flour
then a pan on the fire
Eat with your hand and smell
her dirty apron and stinky toes.

There was one poet here in 1936
He went nuts
Walked up to his old Aunt Beasel
raking leaves into a pile,
and punched her square in the eye.
She kicked his ass of course
right in front of Joe and Mickey
and even their pet rabbit seemed to be laughing.
That was all of him
He took a bus to New York
Got a job washing dishes at Delmonico’s
Got rich, lived rich, died super-rich
with nothing at all.

What’s so wonderful about New York
that ain’t happening here in Oswego?
Well, now that everyone’s a sissy
(Joe was a truck driver
Mickey got a restaurant),
Now that even the cock swaggers down the street
terrifying the plump little bib drippers we’ve become
It’s nice once in a while to forget
about manhood, womanhood,
Aunt Beasel’s hairy mole next to her eye…
It’s good to forget about our legs and arms
and things like where water comes from
Now that we’re self-proclaimed half truths
and walking lies
why not enjoy life to its fullest plate of food?
And what’s cooking in Oswego
is only fitting for what Oswego cooks up.

Our restaurants mix powdered demi-glace,
deep fry their hairy ninety-five cent broilers,
Some chefs I know
should just piss on your plate
One place thinks rigatoni in Italian means
“looks and smells like Great Nana’s big toe”
At least in New York we can still pretend
that all life left is imagination
and get a king’s meal at a fair price
and window shop and make ourselves
smell real good for dinner.

“Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Throop
May I take your coats?
Chef Beasel saved a perfect egg for you tonight
You look so good, smell so sweet
Mrs. Throop,
your arms are bare and beautiful,
your neck perfeect
Right this way
Right this way
Right this way

Let this book be a reminder of what I believe makes the best humans in a comfortable world. Spend it all, and let the chips fall.

And thank Keith Richards for reading my books.