October 24, 2007
Will you put those nipples away?
I feel like telling this 60+ hippie leftover at Café International.
HOW DO WOMEN,
if they’re not in the Safeway frozen fish department, keep their nipples erect? Because every time I see this male/female hybrid lost somewhere between chrysalis and butterfly at the coffee shop, there they are, pointing at me like pokes in the eye, these perfectly perky nipples that stay, not fade away…
Who once came in off the street and interrupted Lola’s and my attempt to forward to my sister’s cell phone a video of someone somewhere between professional cocksucker and circus performer, giving some Long John a blow job and “exhaling” the cum out her nose (obviously she doesn’t “swallow”)—to offer Lola a cup of coffee. Yes, the head bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the nose bone, the nose bone connected to the bone bone…
There was a woman in my college fiction writing seminar, at four hours a pop, who had these headlights that never dimmed till I wanted to ask, “How do you do that?” They had to have been the latex variety worn by Samantha Jones in “Sex and the City” to attract attention at a cocktail party. No woman who didn’t forget to wear her San Francisco layers can stand at attention for hours. Unless, God bless, she’s oh so lucky in love…
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
asks Lola, I never see you here this early. I’m still up from last night, I tell her. I went to the mayoral debate and…“She spent the night with the Mayor!” she announces to the room at large.
It’s Friday morning at the Café, but it’s still Thursday night to me, when I did indeed attend one of the most enjoyable events of my life, at the Main Public Library, the League of Women Voters San Francisco mayoral “debate” (a string of, as one candidate called it, “30-second sound bites” in answer to The Big Questions asked of all 12 candidates, the only rebuttals to which could be made in the candidates’ closing statements). I am told to remove the political button I myself made, and stride in self-righteously asking “What happened to Library as bastion of free thought and speech?” But there will be plenty of speech flowing freely from the audience throughout the ninety-minute condescension of Hizzoner to appear before his subjects. There’s no escape for ye, laddie, ha ha ha, ye’re stuck, stuck! between Quintin Mecke and Wilma Pang, and behind the cameras of SFGTV, San Francisco Government Television, because you would not agree to the debate’s being broadcast on ABC affiliate KGO Channel 7. Christ, asks www.Gavinwatch.com of Mr. Millionaire “Shoo-in”—what have you got to be afraid of? I don’t think even the “Teflon Mayor” has enough self-control to stop himself from blushing.
ROYAL SCION OF THE BULLDOG,
h brown, is one of the twelve running for mayor, for your information, but he was Number One at getting under Gavin’s skin at the forum, and as I told Some Reporter from Some Newspaper, I came to the debate to see Gavin put on the spot. For the sheer delight of seeing him squirm. Tell it like it is, h, y’ole cantankerous Bulldog.
I LEAVE THE EVENT IN LOVE
with the city like it’s a man I can’t wait to get into bed, and that man is not Gavin Newsom, who at the last minute strides by me like the Colossus of Rhodes to take his place on stage. “Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus, and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs and peep about.” I guess even the Gavinator can’t ignore the League of Women Voters, as he does all other offers to debate.
Here, read all about it:The video can be seen on the web at SFGTV, or elsewhere if you can find it. Check their archives. [link expired] Click on Election November 2007, then Candidate Forum: Mayor. Skip the LWV’s boring and slowly delivered opening remarks.
WE SAW THE WRITING ON THE WALL, AS WE FELT THIS MAGICAL FANTASY, AND YES
I had the time of my life.
That’s why I gratefully passed by the press box. Because while Vega and Wildermuth of the Chronicle were busy composing their article for the morning edition, I was having a grand old time at Temple Bar with a select crew of candidates and choice buddies old, intermediate and new, and I’ll write about the damn debate if and when I feel like it. I don’t want to feel obligated to “cover” something because I sat in the press box, much less write it in xxx words or less to fit in xxx space, by xxx a.m., and have someone cut xxx words out because they don’t fit, or have to spit out two columns a week like Mark Morford does on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I have remained a free agent clean of money all my life, preferring “day jobs” having nothing to do with writing but I am drawing the line for the first time in my life because my real full-time job was having nervous breakdowns and attempting to manage my undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder, which by the age of 40 had become so debilitating I had to give up and ask for help (drugs), and which by last year finished me for full-time work. I will not expose myself to that routine again, it’s too much for me. Those were stormy and erratic, ecstatic days, before I was narcotized into semi-normalcy and forgot how to have fun.
BUT HAVE IT TONIGHT I DID,
that I did. “Only In San Francisco” was never more in effect and I have never loved the place more than when candidate “Chicken” John Rinaldi announced, “We are not a city of zombies, and I left the building to find…
A CITY OF ZOMBIES,
not chickens but a crowd of in-your-face bloodied white-faced stiff-limbed ragged-clothed here’s-Halloween-whether-you-like-it-or-not-motherfuckers-and-this-is-just-a-preview-of-the-non-party-Halloween-party-you’ll-get-in-the-Castro-like-it-or-not-motherfucking zombies clamoring at the entrance of the library, blocking traffic, running down the BART up escalator, menacing and spraying spectators with theatrical blood, dancing like Frankensteins to “All Night Long,” broadcast by omnipresent SF character Edmund the medical marijuana cheerleader, h calls him, who wears a flag as cape and a crown of marijuana leaves, his shiny black face radiant with glee as he spins and spins and spins to the mellow groove of a Lionel Ritchie vintage LP played on a boom box with a built-in turntable, while the zombies disrupt Thursday night on Larkin St. Priceless. The City of San Francisco, you see, has canceled one of the greatest parties in America, Halloween in the Castro. For shame, San Francisco, for shame.
My friend Pete had an even more comprehensive idea–Cancel San Francisco! Yep, that’s it. Gonna have to be proactive here. Can’t risk any more anything. Shut this baby down, we can’t handle it anymore.
In honor of the death of Halloween in the Castro, I reclaim the fun San Francisco by renaming it San FranSASSY! (I saw that on a flyer for an inflatable statues event). I predict Halloween will be back next year, sassier than ever.
“IT’S A SAN FRANCISCO STORY,”
I said to my bewildered TIC partner who was adjusting our door closer as I got home the other night. “I know,” I acknowledge, “I have whipped cream all over my face.”“It’s a San Francisco story,” I told him. “I’m not going to ask,” said he.
Only moments before had I run into a friend genteel enough to wait for me to ask her, “Do I have whipped cream all over my face?” I had licked off the better part of it on and around my lips, but still had two generous dollops on the tip of my nose and my chin.
I’d been hanging with my PowerBook, Qwerty, at Coffee to the People in the Upper Haight, and taken the 71 Haight/Noriega bus down the hill, disembarking at Haight and Pearce. Across the street from the bus shelter was what I thought at first was another Halloween zombie, a fellow whose head, face and upper body were covered with a white substance that could have been paint, glue, an elephantine quantity of something else I won’t name, but which turned out to be whipped cream.
“It’s my birthday!” he gleefully explained, and he’d asked his four friends to throw pie in his face. They’d hurled one apiece, it looked like, and were “down to two—” as the ringleader asked the few of us who were looking on, “anybody want a hit?”
“Yeah,” I’ll take one!” exclaimed a guy who stepped right up, pausing to remark, “I don’t even know you!” and wham-bam-slammed the birthday boy straight in the mug with a silver pie plate of Reddi-Whip.
I declined, starting to turn, but hm, stopped to ask, “Can I have a whipped cream kiss?” I asked, and he obliged. I looked back at the busy group coaxing the last runny dabs of cream out of the containers, and walked the 2-1/2 blocks to my house still anointed with the sweet remnants of my delicious encounter, wondering why I’d turned down the opportunity to cream someone with a pie plate. Maybe I’ll do the same thing next birthday. Great ideas spread.
This San Francisco story was presented by Citizen Artist Alexandra Jones for those of you who still indulge in San FranSASSY! silliness. Muhammad the Younger at O’Looney’s on Haight, has lived here all his life and knows lots of others who have. No one likes the direction the city’s headed in, says he. Well I hope all those no ones are at the polls on the 6th expressing their dislike for the G-man.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CITIZENS OF SAN FRANCISCO
2007 is the first year Instant Run-off Voting will be in effect for a mayoral election in San Francisco. You have three opportunities to vote for someone other than Gavin Newsom. For what’s it’s worth:
1 Quintin Mecke
2 Lonnnie Holmes
3 Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai
THE BITCH IS BACK
Yes, I’ve been gone for a while. Thanks to the friend who expressed concern. Ya can never tell with us crazies. There has been a monolith-strength block between me and what the world wants me to be—this so-called Book Proposal which is intended to make my writing a commodity. Start with the Introduction, which is composed of the Overview, Resources Needed to Complete the Book and About the Author. And the Overview is composed of your subject hook, your blah blah blah and why You’re the One to write this book in 25 words or less. But oh my God, fuck all that!Literary agent Michael Larsen, the man who wrote the book on how to write a book proposal, How To Write a Book Proposal, is not talking about the flame, the passion, the joy and compulsion of creating beautiful prose; he expects you to render all that into formulas and strategies and pithy marketing pitches. I hate it, I hate the book, I hate the hoops I’m expected to jump through.
A friend showed me her proposal for a nonfiction book. It read like a business plan, and that’s what it is.
THE SELLING OF SOMETHING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE THING BEING SOLD
It’s all spin! How do I sell my clever yet profound book the likes of which the world has never seen? By “selling” it to some company/outfit who is in turn expected to sell it to bookstores, online services, to gift shops, to you.
THAT’S WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD
said my pal ol’ pal Pete Emerson in Portland on the phone the other day. I told him, God wants me to be a writer, but I can’t get past this selling my book proposal thing. Why I write has nothing to do with promoting my writing. Getting the word down does not equate to getting the word out. Why am I 52 and “not famous enough” to be on rotten.com’s database of famous people? Because I don’t promote myself. And Pete said, that’s why I believe in God. Because though Pete runs the enormously popular coffee shop the Bipartisan Café in my old stompin’ ground of Portland, OR, it could be immeasurably more “successful” except that he hates the business aspect of it, and claims he is not good at it. Good in the sense of conforming to whatever model the banks and the world court expect of a man—like my having to conform to some goddamned standard of How To Sell A Book so I can continue to write them.
THE CONTAINER FOR THE THING CONTAINED
Remember James Thurber and the Container for the Thing Contained? It’s a figure of speech. Friends, roman, countrymen, lend me your ears. It’s not the ears that Mark Antony sought, but their ability to hear. Container for the Thing Contained.
I had forwarded Pete an email I got, called “God’s Coffee.”
Aside from the This-Week-in-Bad-Writing narrative style and the corny Wisdom-of-the-Internet happy ending of the story…
(ah shaddup….)…it’s a pretty good story. But when I forwarded it to Pete I said I disagreed with the professor.
“The cup makes a big difference in my enjoyment of the coffee. A ‘to go’ cup or one of those brown diner cups, or any color that is as dark or darker than the coffee, noticeably detracts from my enjoyment of the coffee.”But that’s just me.”
The point is, the coffee, for Pete, is The Thing Contained, the desired element, his love of being his own boss, providing for his family, serving his customers a quality product, creating a welcoming environment and meeting place for the neighborhood, etc.—the cup is the Container, all the extraneous bullshit that surrounds its pursuit—bank loans, business plans, credit card debt—all the crap he wants nothing to do with.
SO THAT IS WHY PETE BELIEVES IN GOD.
Because God wants you to do what you’re good at—his gift to you—but first you’ve got to pay your dues. You have to be put through some kind of wringer before you get there.
My last word to Pete was “Of course I agree that coffee is life and the cup is the vessel for life as well. But I am never going to drink coffee out of a plastic cup, even if I really want it. That is my pledge to you.
“Nevertheless I make myself some inferior coffee, at 6:14 a.m., contained in my 11-year-old pleasingly chunky forest green Pottery Barn cup, with the mini 4-cup Kitchen Gourmet® $10 coffeemaker I got at the corner Walgreen’s because I was having guests for brunch and was sick of the ritual involved in brewing coffee with my chemist-designed Chemex—the ceremonial wetting of the grounds, etc.—while people are waiting, so I just wanted to press the button and have the coffee come out, sue me. It is what it is—$5/lb. Safeway Select French Roast from an automatic-drip molded styrene small appliance—and I will never serve this crap to guests again. That is my pledge to Pete.
“YOU’RE GOING TO SELL YOUR BOOK, AND YOU’RE GOING TO SELL IT JUST WHEN YOU NEED TO,”
a friend told me, and that’s how I see it. “Well you’ve got to deal with reality,” said my shrink. I need an agent, I need a book proposal, I’ve got to make it happen. Yes, but selling the book just when I need to entails my having made it happen. You see. Doctor.
I WILL NOT CONFORM!
I want to scream! That’s what creation is about—forming something new, something other than what already is. It can’t be squeezed into some goddamned pre-existing mold that was cast from something already out there. Basically they want me to pour my coffee into their choice of cup. It’s the coffee—I’m selling you the coffffffffff—eeeeeee, the COFFee, not the cup! The cup does not impact the quality of the coffee—get it?”
I WILL NOT CONFORM, NO SIR!
I say to myself in analyzing my hatred of Larsen’s book and inability to finish it, which I was told by a published author to follow to the letter because it had worked for her. Well, I think the man knows how to sell something to publishers, things I certainly don’t know and am told I must learn, and that is the fucker of the thing. There may be an art to selling art, but it has nothing with the art that’s being sold.
I DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHY, BUT I MUST
So says the “attractive brute” impresario Boris Lermontov in “The Red Shoes,” played by attractive brute Anton Walbrook (who in “Dangerous Moonlight” warmed the inside of his lady’s fur in front of the fire before holding it out to her, saying “It’s part of my continental charm.”), who asks ballerina Moira Shearer as Vicky Page, “Why do you want to dance?” She pauses before asking him in turn, “Why do you want to live?”Lermontov exhibits surprise in answering, hesitantly, “Well I don’t know exactly why, er, but I must.” To which Vicky replies, “That’s my answer too.”
(But just you wait and see what Michael Powell has in store for Shearer in “Peeping Tom.” Yikes! Stay away from steamer trunks folks! IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THIS MOVIE FOR THE FIRST TIME DO NOT READ ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Go in cold. After my first viewing in Philly I ran from the theater to the nearest bar and gulped down a shot of rotgut. Let yourself be surprised—and creeped out. You’ll never see it for the first time again.)
I don’t know exactly why I write, but I must. I do know though, that why I write has zero nada zilch to do with convincing the Powers that Be that what I write will make money. Please leave me out of it. I just want to live sanely, decently.
I’ll be okay. Because the bitch is back. It’s time to put my nipples to bed. Stand down, girls. I don’t know exactly why, but, er, I must sleep.
This is the toilet of a grassroots campaign.
James, here’s your pile of blather
Zombies and chickens and mice, oh my!
copyright Alexandra Jones 2007