Traveling the Geboren circuit this year took us to New York City to peek in on an old friend. "Happy Memorial Day. Hope that you got in at least one war movie this weekend to celebrate your country's ability to kill, kill, kill," writes Landry, our recent emmigrant from DC to San Francisco, this morning the day after. She saw Patton. As fate would have it, I was shown The Year Of Living Dangerously.
Rolling along in a sparsely filled Amtrak train car, my first time as an adult, to visit the lovely Jennifer of subsequent charms, was as fun as travel to New York gets, I suppose. A social anthropologist in the making, formerly of the American University in Washington, now at the New School in New York, Jennifer the sweet, the sour, the sassy, the geisha with one eye trained on Indonesian studies and the other on herself, popped in the videotapethe only one she owns besides Gilbert Grape, oh well, except for a couple of pornosas Sue snored like vanishing rogue zebras on the savanna sprawled across the floor bed nearby. With me sedentary in the only piece of furniture that could be called a chair in her tiny 5th floor airconditionless Midtown flat, Jennifer settled upon a huge throw pillow I had nestled below my feet. She dropped then snuggled her head into my groin where we watched the television off and on like unsubverted lovers. Some of it anyway. Year depicted the Indonesian coup of 1964 (I think).
Moxy Lexington Avenue girl with the long black hair and bangs and familiar black moles marking her pale body map set up the plot for me, adding she suspected quite a few CIA dollars went into the making and the breaking of the only two Indonesian regimes to hold control since independence from the British crown in the 1940s. Communists threatened to gain control in this 1960's revolution but were successfully thwarted by western influence-peddlers. Linda Hunt won the Oscar for her role as a dwarf male Indonesian photographer and influence peddler himself before plunging to his death when pursued by the failing ruling regime's muscle.
It was strange to hear even these most simple of political words coming from the mouth of my big-eyed punk rock baby doll, rudimentary cocksucker, lover of many, now a snarling scholar, who was intent on going all the way with her mind, and with that quick glimpse into her soul I felt warm inside, grateful she had not given up, since I had been too lazy and only negligibly bright enough to manage any sort of higher learning plus too many hours of sniveling grunt work wrapped neatly into poisonous packages of self-assured destiny, decadence, destruction visibly manifest in everything I had ever done or said since my earliest troubles which I am still working out in poetry and prose. Besides, it's not like I was ever waitron material. Neither was she, she had made clear, but I made the case that she'd had strong parental dollar and sense testimony which was not my case. I just didn't have enough grit in me to fight the entrenching powers of academic hegemony to fling it at the university level like I had done for years when my own powers of memory kept me in the top rung among my small town peers. Despite my past and present love of knowledge, conveying disciplines and social contingencies of school, and the whole spirit of competitive struggle, I'd already shown a strong streak of rebellion which played itself out in bucking weakness that was masked by petty authority everywhere I found it, although let's not play games, the more I rejected folly the more likely it found me, so I thought better of joining Sisyphus on that rock. Better to go off alone. If I was being forced to turn myself inside out, I wanted to make it a solo flight, to make it my own journey away from the herd and the axis of privilege, but each year was proving even to me that I had crashed and burned long ago.
We gossiped about sex, the provocative and various sizes of female aureoles, and the protocols and paraphenalia of B/D while practicing restraint and good sensual instincts, bad links, why Microsoft sucks but is an necessary evil until it's no longer around anymore, the Ramones, since she was a classicist, handjobs, female masturbation, anything she could suggest we talk about to keep the heat going. After all, we were veterans of several past flings with each other going all the way back to the beginning while dithering on that thorny road to higher meaning, I now interpreted as nothing to write riveting vertical novels about, because when I look back even now it all seemed to compare poorly with riding too fast on too many dangerously flat tires at best, lacking lasting impact, uh, except maybe that one time we spelled it out under the bright sun for the rolling camera and monitor while Sue and Chris Ravenholt...
Neither of us were really interested in the movie, and true to expectation, most of it was lost to activity usually associated with the flickering technicolor drive-ins of old.Exhausted, she finally dozed off about three-thirty, two thirds through, and I dozed off about five minutes from its end, with Jennifer again curled around me, a knee, warm and timeless between my legs.
Yes, yes, step right up to the kiss and tell booth, get your tickets punched, win a door prize for the most fetching synonym for making out without benefit of penetration. Hear ye, hear ye...
During the movie we rolled around nearly in tears and spasms, tumbling about, pinching, twisting, pulling each other's nipples about as unmercifully as we could pull but always accompanied by a playful snicker and the stiffening of nostrils, so better to embrace like pernicious darlings only to pull away again, lapsing to a more coy posture than before, submissive, the wooer and the wooed banging the wholesome drum, then dialing the knob all the way back to bashful, as if reliving that Mister Potatohead afternoon when the four of us were trying to guzzle off a keg left from the night before after a party we hosted back in the days of North Carolina Avenue. But that was nearly a decade ago. While affections were obviously still running high or obligatory, we kept home plate isotopes to the minimum zero on this NYC weekend, and our cameras rolled only after two wayward dogs scrapping in Central Park, blahdy, blah, blah (as Jennifer would growl in one of her more hostile voices).
Thankfully we weren't dragged into loud spaces. Saw no bands, went into a bar only twice. Only the second one counted. That was @Café in the St. Mark's quarter of the East Village. Squandered nearly a hundred bucks sucking suds and surfing the Internet. Showed Sue and Jennifer my web presence, downloaded a Windows JPEGviewer to upload to her home PC so she could view some bondage pics she wanted put on floppies. After a few bumps and grinds Jennifer gave of herself plus a few the Windows environment gave MacTekkie Sue, most of the 4.1 MB were finally made viewable on Sunday. Lapsitting gyrations were all she wrote during this particular mood, so there's little to read between these lines.
Reveling in this small order of synchronicity, I repeated all this to Jennifer, pop pop pop. After all, she claims Seinfeld devotion, and I'd hoped she'd recognize the validity of my argument. A New York Jew had heard of and thirty years later was recalling for a new generation that same Johnny Yuma ballad. Whether it was Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David surely something here would stifle her protest that this was some obviously forgettable B-side. And yet she bitched out, splashing around in muddy discourse as most of us are wont to do after a dozen beers or so, leaving me my assessment. Jennifer Connolly was simply not a first tier Johnny Cash fan like myself.
But as writing goes, she's as hip as any dark-spirited retro-70s doctorate candidate goth chick on her way to Cornell I've ever had the pleasurejust for grooving to any Johnny Cash. Yet her glimmering hipsterism was further tarnished with rude remarks about June Carter. So I again, this time more quietly, upbraided this "sweetie on the side" just to be clear, educating her about the illustrious first family of hillbilly music, pointing out in fresh adjectives and unresisting adverbs that the Carter family is to country music what the Kennedy family is to American politics. And Elvis is to pop rock. I mean, I'm just a fan of the music, the man, the woman. That's it. Pitching thoughtless blasphemies into the mood while gyrating her half naked still intoxicated nearly blacked out body politic against my flickering frames at four o'clock in the wee of morning as I struggled against the mat, failed to keep me from any old friendship duties I would face that night with Jennifer the stray kitten, not because Sue was still starched, still smack dead drunk, still asleep on the bed where she cracked emeralds for eyes and blew ex post facto dreamy white bluffs along the hard roads of her own deeper relationships, kissing the parabolic name now cloaking her painful lack of confidence, her wrecking ball illiteracies, her tip of the iceberg struggle against lifelessness while crumbling in dutiful acceptance of it all.
Two women, three studies in deliberate behavior.
But Jennifer and I do love each other on some level among men and women, despite the spikes and the sputters and the rules of the land, sea, and hells of both, and do for each other in ways we have always known we can. We are quite alike, our intelligence, our moods, our metallurgy configured so similarly as to render us equalities in the equation for trouble where arguments always give way to selfishness.
After a morning spent gridlocked in a malingering after-flirtation depression I am beginning to feel better I think. Writing this has helped evaporate a few inches of psychosmog. And despite my highstrung needs for acceptance at any cost I can state the following: Love is a trainwreck. But also know this: Life is a gooey five dollar ham & cheese sandwich lifted from the café car on that trainwreck just after the crash.