“It’s in me right now. I can feel it sitting like an invisible, nameless thing deep in my guts. It stretches its unusual, mashed potato limbs through my nervous system and up to the skull, shitting into my toxic brain waste, and then it’s impossible to make the slightest decision…”
I enjoy being drunk, and there has been quite enough said on the grandeur of this vice over the years, for all its delight and down-trodden romantic misgivings, but the world of the booze hound and his consequences continues to delight and astound me. Maybe I’ve grown to unreasonably lust, like any man (powerful or weak), after it’s curves and its warmth, its whispered word locked inside a caramel brown, sea-like history …we peer out into the vastness of streets in the dark, holding onto to one another for dear life. We believe we are in this together. There is a good chance we still are.
A young couple appears from a deep wonderless sleep, bashful and thirsty, and into trousers and combed hair. I take a plastic container of cold water from under the long sofa. I clear my throat and nose into an undershirt.
“We’ve got to get up now, or there won’t be anything left to see,” he says.
He’s the Australian. They both are. The couple does their best to motivate us for action, but what good is action without resources and a decent set of pink lungs and youthful muscle on bone. We are wounded, but cuts mend. Ours run as long as we’ll let them. We manage out of the shadowy depths from the curtains and into the daylight. Since our departure, the winds seem to have turned cold. The mood is not cheerless. On the contrary, to jest is our involuntary guard from the boots of silence.
The birds follow us. They seem to be doing their best remain undercover…like a swarm of private detectives suited in oil-black feathers as they scrape quietly behind, and we sense their vendetta, but can not discuss it openly for fear of the invisible. I am reminded of a friend who was once tormented by the pigeons while sitting outside of a cafe, trapped inside fears…
“It wasn’t all at once, but they came up in groups of two and threes, and before long I could see their disease and the garbage around them and I feared for my life. Closer, and then more putrid with each soundless step. You would swear they were losing feather in patches, cancerous growths pulsating in the meandering dusk. I had to leave suddenly. I walked quickly away from the table without paying my tab and went straight home and crawled under my blankets to forget about the absurd pigeons and their damn cooing.”
The hours are a tipping boat. I am all but numb to the cool breeze carried in after the rain. We dodge in and out of sluggish taxi cabs and dark windows. I need to eat. If I keep the hole in my face stuffed with coffee, beer and food, I can ward off the foreboding. It distracts me from the jitters and the stillness of non-thought. We arrive at a cheap Italian diner and order 1 of everything, because it costs nothing and a big jug of sweet, red wine for 1,000 yen which is also nothing. The modern Japanese are guilty of drinking red wine on ice, which is nearly unforgivable, but I choke it down. With every glass the corners of my cheek-flesh twists from the uncomfortable blend of sour and cold, and I am eased. The noise becomes less violent and we are sitting comfortably. The Australian falls asleep in the booth. It is quiet. We’ve been here for hours.
Day to night and the swarms of doubt return, passing as frustration and short-tempered fits of anger that end in guilt before they reach a logical climax. This is the contorted face of my own non-motivator; the heebbie Jeebies, a phrase that was incidentally coined by the 1920′s cartoonist Billy Debeck. It’s no secret that this pairing of nonsensical words has been used to described the particular flavor of depression caused by the over-consumption of alcohol, but I am moved to declare that the term is most pertinent in illustrating my own (and a few brave men and women’s) determent from the the real beauty of creation. It is the separation anxiety from losing the closeness of intoxication. As we know, C. Baudelaire (that wonderfully lazy lover of harlots) teaches us to “..get drunk without respite, with wine, poetry or virtue, as you please,” but the gathered band of battlers who fall for the night to hunt loneliness with pike and song (marching to this very tune) often forget the the truth of the flesh; that we are here to enjoy it all- the dashing lights skipping across the tops of icy hills, the laughter of tongue kissed lovers and the attractive sadness of a cold and empty room. I can deal with it if you can, but I put this forth to you as a poor explanation of for my rather often creative inactivity. It is inexcusable.
It must be made clear that I neither subscribe nor condemn this popular, over-used concept of becoming the hopeless drunkard wandering through his malnourished nights as if the predetermined concept of aesthetics out-weighed the irreparable damage done to ones’s emotional and social well-being, but it is an interesting process to examine. That strange and mysterious “sense of impending doom that never takes place,” as Tal Clapp once described it. If nothing else it will be something that we will use as an unusual reminder of ridiculous longing, or maybe it’s nothing more thanan easily solved contradiction: stop getting so drunk. Regardless of your solution, or progressive non-solution to this trivial inconvenience, I would like to curl my fingers down and tuck them into my palm so that a mighty knuckle sandwich shines like polished silver and gold to these dastardly creeps that’ve been crashing our precious Sunday evenings for years, and scream from the rooftop of very high building: “I Will not be stopped!”
But then it is quiet again. The neighbors have their television set down very low and you can hear them whispering. Impossible to make out exact words, but it’s obvious they’re plotting. You can feel their meaning. The pipes rattle curiously. Any minute now nothing will happen, but you wait in absolute terror shaking your head and damning the lonesome night.
J. Tenney has just finished the art for Bastards 4, so wash you hands and go for broke. Just a few more moments…HAVE AT THEE!