Friday, February 09, 2007

Résumé Of Friends And Rites

Ben Cramer. Blond Indiana madman. Six foot four in the shade. Size sixteen shoes. Quiet genius. Won’t buy products that appear on TV. Sees humanity as an experiment. All the thoughts of civilization swimming in his blue blue eyes. Asks without fear: If you had a choice, how would you go out? Rural North Carolina Rite: Down by the train tracks, we drink cokes and watch freights go by. Ben picks me up by the waist and flings me at a coal car. I grab a handle and my legs are almost cut off. Finally I swing myself onto the beast. Ben jumps on, laughs at my gangly legs dangling. We ride a hundred miles into cowfields and clover. Watch the crazy sun rise over the steaming south. I jump off and hitch a ride home. Cramer keeps going. Calls me from Seattle.

Buck Schall. Sits for hours in zazen. Keeps head shaved. Speaks in koans. With his camera, documents dissolution. Photographs fire. Writes backwards and upside down. Tells me not to wonder what he’s thinking, to follow my own breath to safety. 400 Horsepower Pontiac Rite: Buck drives me into the Utah desert at a hundred miles an hour. Turns off the road, straight into the brush. Away from all human traces. Sits me down on a rock. Shuts his eyes and speaks. You got to get to where you can’t smell people. You can’t get quiet unless you sit. Are you listening?

Jann O’Mara. Shining black hair, sharp green eyes, animal grin. Lithe runner’s legs, quick painter’s hands. Paints beetles. Takes me home when I’m a wandering scribbler dwelling in black clouds. Shows me her paintings, what a disciplined mind can do. Speaks to me in perfect Italian. I don’t get the words, but understand. Desert Storm Rite: During Gulf War One, takes me up on her roof. Open air privacy. We remove some clothes to make it interesting. Photographs me doing handstands on the ledge. She begins to cry. If there’s a draft, promise me you’ll go to South America. Holds my head in her hands. There are words in here that have to come out. Don’t lose them in that shit war.

Manfred DeMateo.
Aikido wizard. Hispanic kid in Bruce Lee’s body. Thundering voice, shrill laughter. Dreams often of dead father. Like me, a mountain roamer. Communion Rite: Zinging on LSD, Manny goes into my kitchen, takes a watermelon out of the fridge, finds a meat cleaver. Howling and dancing, spins in the air around the blade. Jumping and shouting. Nothing to lose but his arms, hands, eyes. I’m afraid to look in the clanging kitchen. After an hour, quiet. Manny is naked, sweating over a table full of pink pyramids, finely chopped. Panting laughter. Take, eat! This is the work of my body! We fall to, sucking down melonflesh, spitting pits, cool sweet crunch crisp in our cerebellums, eyes wide with impossible flavor.

No comments: