the reason that I am alive
the reason that I am alive
for the tanned leg
of a blonde woman
propped against the wall
beneath the round sun
for the billowing sails
of a sleek schooner
at the mouth of the harbor
the iced coffee sipped through a straw
for the caress of sand
gazing at the watery deeps
turning so blue
descending into the deeps
with the fish
the tranquil fish
they calm the bottom of the ocean
fly above the seaweed hair
like slow birds
like blue birds
the reason that I am alive
because it is beautiful
I don’t know much about Delia Derbyshire, but she did incredible things with a tape-recorder in the era before samplers. She made music for the British TV show, Dr. Who. A fascinating artist, quite cute, as well. The proprietor of http://drwhogirlsknickers.co.uk would kill for a pair of her panties.
Find an olive tree, pick olives. Use ladder if needed. Make a small slit in the skin of each olive with a sharp knife, soak them in water for thirty days, changing the water every day. Brine olives uncovered in salt water, 10 parts water to one part salt, for five days. You do not need to change water. Put olives out to dry. When dry put in jars with good olive oil, whole peeled garlic cloves and Greek oregano (if you can find it). Seal jars. Let marinate for a week. Open jar and enjoy with cheese, bread, salamis, wine or any tasty drink. And music!
“What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.”
I do not have anything to say about Beethoven, the man who freed music, that has not already been said.
I was introduced to Beethoven in my early twenties by two newspapermen, Ed Frisbie and Fran Ortiz, both of whom worked at the SF Examiner where I was a copyboy. We would sit around the M&M Tavern at 5th & Howard and talk about the late quartets, the Grosse Fugue … and I would try to soak it up and I’d go buy pieces they recommended … and I’d listen to them when I tired of Bowie, Roxy Music, and Captain Beefheart.
I am forever grateful to the two of them.
Fran was a great news photographer whose works – four pieces as a matter of fact – were chosen by the New York Museum of Modern Art for their retrospective of twentienth century photojournalistic excellence. He was a gentleman, a kind man, a great cook, and quite the ladies man: he gave me a lamb recipe for the first time I had a woman over for a serious dinner date. It worked.
But this is not really a story about Fran, or Beethoven, but about Ed Frisbee, one of the most serious drinkers and most entertaining story-tellers I knew in my early life. It was another era. I had a lot to learn about booze.
I occasionally like to dredge up an old piece from Sun Pop Blue, my old site, to post on here. There is a treasure-trove of material there. I thought I would share this piece on the statistical evidence that any man who wears a baseball cap around town, not playing baseball nor fishing, but as everyday wear, is most likely a minute-man.
BTW, if you listened to the Audioboo about this subject, there isn’t much in this story that wasn’t in there.
Many years ago, I was the member of a club that met on Tuesday evenings. Mutual friends introduced me to an attractive, tall blonde woman, whom I shall call T. I was immediately smitten.
It turned out that T was the coffee and snack person for the weekly gathering, but didn’t have a car. Naturally, I offered to pick her up and drive her and the goodies to and from the meeting.
Over the next few weeks, we got better acquainted and my hopes for a more intimate relationship were bouyed by our conversations about music, the seventies, her claims that she was a total pervert … you know, the usual.
I didn’t make a move because the time never seemed quite right. I was coming off a painful divorce and still sort of in shock, I guess.
Anyway, one day after the meeting I was helping T pack up the supplies and she said,”I don’t need a ride home, Knox, I’m getting a ride with D——.” And indicated some tall doofus in a baseball hat
standing near the door.
My heart sunk.
I bid T adieu and drove home to my big empty apartment. I called my friend J in Philadelphia. I had met J online. She was a musician, in a relationship, but we had become friends and she had helped me learn the basics of web design, html, and all of that. This was almost eighteen years ago, now that I think about it.
In her day, J had been pretty wild. She was the kind of girl who would sleep with the UPS delivery man as he delivered a parcel to her home if she thought he was cute. I must say I really respect a woman who is honest about her sexuality, whatever form it takes.
I mention that just to indicate that J knew a little bit about men in all their varied splendor, the good, the bad, the skilled, the inept, and so on. By the time I met her, she had met her mate and they are together happily to this day.
She answered the phone and asked how I was.
I said, “Terrible! I was driving this girl to and from the meeting every week and I really liked her and tonight she told me she was getting a ride “home from some asshole in a baseball hat.”
And she said,”Knox, listen to me. Premature ejaculation. I have the facts and figures to back it up. Trust me … if he is wearing a baseball hat, we are talking premature ejaculation every single time!”
And she said,”Oh yeah. Without fail.”
And then we talked about other stuff for a while. And I guess I felt a little better.
Several years later, T had become a hairstylist and she was cutting my hair. She was married to someone, but not D—–.
I told her the story of my phonecall that night of my heartbreak at her unwitting behest. And when I got to the part where J said “Trust me Knox, if he’s wearing a baseball hat, premature ejaculation every time,” T had a shocked expression on her face.
She said,”He had that problem!”
So girls … now you know.
On a related topic, a rich Danville friend of mine, a married woman was trying to set a friend up with another mutual friend. She asked me what I thought. I said,”He’s cheap.”
And she said,”Forget it. Cheap guys are always lousy in bed.”
And I said,”Well, just remember, I’ve been a spendthrift all my life!”
I’m sorry about what happened, for the loss you all feel. But he did it, no one else. And he is gone, quite a while now. You are not honoring him by creating a false nobility for him.
The time has come to let go of the dead, and to respect the living.
By his final act, he relinquished all claims on the house, the yard, on her, and their daughter. He abandoned them.
As he abandoned all of you.
So you show no respect with your actions here: no respect for her or her struggle to keep going since his departure. In fact, you are showing no respect for him. He wanted to be gone. He is gone. Let him be gone.
You are, in fact, making it all about you.
And I can assure you: it is not about you. It is about her and the little one. She is still mourning the loss, although she is healing. She is as courageous as any woman, or man, I’ve ever known, with a beautiful heart.
The little one—I don’t think was even two yet, so it was early this year—said to me, one day, out of the clear blue sky,”My daddy went home.” And then she was on to something else.
Some days, I look at those two and I wonder, “How could any man leave them like that?”
I have lost almost thirty people close to me to suicide in the course of my life, including my brother, Nate, and my best friend Greg, who was like a brother to me. I’m not counting the overdoses, like my sister or Tony M., who was like a brother to me as well. Greg and Tony left within a month or two of each other.
In fact, you probably know Jeff, who was Tony’s brother, and who lived on the property. Jeff still owes her two months rent. If you care so much about her, why don’t you go after him to pay up? I am forbidden to contact him: in his moral cowardice, he is once again hiding behind her. (This is not the first time.)
In this way you would be focusing efforts where you could actually do some good, if that is your intent.
I know about suicide. The first guy to do it was my boy scout patrol leader at the age of 14. That was 45 years ago. Then my best friend’s dad dropped us off at school (Berkeley High) one morning and drove to the Bay Bridge and jumped off. Then another high school friend Brent and another guy I drank with in my early 20’s, Stuart … and the list kept growing: my brother, women I had dated, old school pals, drinking buddies, friends of my parents whom I knew well, on up to Greg, about five years ago.
While I mourn them, the great and tragic loss, I do not forget that they took their own lives, causing immeasurable pain and chaos in the lives of people who loved them.
I have lost everything—everything—more than once in my life, drunk and sober … and I have hung in because, as much pain as I was feeling, I could never get to that level of black-hole self-centerednessthat is required to take one’s own life.
So allow me to reiterate that I feel for your loss, but it is time to look to the living, the ones who stayed, the ones who have the courage to keep going and be there for each other.
After Greg and Tony died I was in so much pain, it was physical. And one day I was compiling a list of my people who had died and suddenly it hit me: I had to let them all go, let them all be dead, for my sanity and future happiness.
And I respectfully suggest you do the same.
I have never in my life seen more shit swirling around someone than I do around her. Everybody seems to have expectations of how she is supposed to live her life, with no consideration for her. People seem to believe they have some kind of dominion over the house, or over her, or both.
It’s sick. No one has a claim on any of it or her: not them, not you.
The fact that you took the time to find two sites of mine and, like a coward, post anonymously amazes both of us. And upset her, which makes you no friend of mine.
Somehow, sometime, you will reveal yourself.
Meanwhile, I will try to feel compassion for you and the rest of the meddlers, but I’m not doing a very good job, ‘cuz it never fucking ends.