The Green Eyed Lady

I'm trying to be halfway chronological in this narrative, to give you some sense of how things unfolded. Holding my breath, biting my lip, gazing at her tentatively, pondering every "what if" in the book, I felt like our coming together was confirmation of all I ever believed in. As written previously, my mind and soul and heart had decades earlier barely dared such a woman might actually exist. Truly. I longed for no one ordinary. I knew she had to be out there, but whether I'd meet her in this incarnation or not was another matter. It really was a long haul; as each year faded to the next, from Norton Street days to the present, it was looking less likely she would be made flesh. A romantic life should never drop asymptotically to the x-axis. I mean, we only have one go at this.

Then the Year of the Horse and that unbelievable supernova. I still can't believe it.

Pushed to the limit. That business of throwing one's hat over the wall has ever been my approach, thanks to the important people who've guided me. Never say die. In powerlifting days, my brother Bill convinced me that one can always do just a little bit better, whether it be sticking to a top-heavy diet or pushing the platters, no matter how much it hurts. And then Harry, my professor, made it very clear that true beauty is never found without determination and an unwillingness to quit. (Corollary: always pick your professor by how empty his or her classrooms are). And now this. Bast, no longer a mere figurine from the British Museum but now a witch's familiar, watching me silently. She urged telepathically, don't take the coward's way out; haven't you tried that before? Despite a lifetime of doubting, I knew that was sound advice. I suspect fearlessness is inversely proportional to age.

While writing this preface tonight, I was reminded of the Oregon Trail (don't ask me why--my synapses have a life of their own). It's crazy to even think of it, but something like 350,000 emigrants walked those two thousand miles from St. Louis to Oregon. People looking for freedom, fulfillment, even Nirvana. And yet, the toil required is incomprehensible nowadays. (I have a bit of a feel for it, having explored one third of the Trail over a couple decades, and let me tell you, the overflowing rivers and July blistering heat is not a Garden of Eden, even with modern transportation). 

So, as I say, I'm thinking of one Alfred Wadsworth who trekked the Oregon Trail back in the 1840s, on foot, of course. When he finally reached the Promised Land, he wrote that it was "the greatest adventure of my life."

Well, the Year of the Horse was the start of the greatest adventure of my life.

With that, let's turn back to what I was feeling some four months in, after it all began. The year 2014, if you're keeping track.


Unlike some languages (i.e., French which doesn't need any stinking thesaurus), English--thanks to its mongrel heritage--contains so many subtle shades that sometimes it's hard to know how to begin a piece.  Earlier this year, I well recall spending some four hours (really!) writing, revising, discarding drafts, revising once more, throwing everything out, starting over again, just to say something in one sentence that required but subject, object and verb. At which point I gave up and left it at this:

That final sign on the stage entrance door in the video, above, makes me so proud to have come of age when I did.

Did you catch the drummer's after-beats throughout? They hint at a dark sexuality (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Mel Torme always had their bands strike emphasis exactly on the beat, a sure way for male listeners to avoid ejaculation), as does the non-standard flatted scale from the bass player. But I suppose it's really the percussive nature of the Hammond B-3 organ notes which really made me sit up and salivate. That organ so made me want to take my clothes off, then as now.

Another item of note: it seems to me that the central instrumental break features the same rhythm guitar chords and an organ solo virtually identical to the Doors' Riders on the Storm of a year later (apart from the tempo). Hmm...

And then again, there's the fact that the drummer and bassist chose to leave so many holes in the piece, much like Jerry Edmonton and Rushton Moreve of my favorite band, Steppenwolf did. Syncopation is surely at the heart of sexuality, which is why I suppose J. Edgar Hoover, Bishop Fulton Sheen, and all my junior high teachers thought the Tennessee Waltz to be the ultimate chastity belt. In the words of William Congreve:
Music has charms to sooth a savage breast...
And then the Fugs got a hold of that, transforming it to the more accurate:
Music hath alarums to wild the civil breast.
Goddamn! Ed Sanders and the Fugs were geniuses, weren't they?

Nothing has changed. Trying to revise this entry tonight for Spurts of Ink has led to the same brick wall, with a few additional libidinous thoughts thrown in for good measure, thank Gauss. Sensualism is the very seat of memory, don't you know.

Did you ever stop to think how easily words flow when when you're angry or vexed or discombobulated or disputative?  But when simply trying to relate happiness, the well often runs dry, unless you're a Keats or a Byron. What's that say about humans in our current century? Vituperation leads to loquacity, while felicity ends up tacit!

Dionysus was my god very early on, not a bad one by any means, from all there are on sale. (Moral: always choose your deity carefully--and, yes, you do have a choice in the affair).

Let's not mince words. At age 16, when first hearing this song, I was as horny as a heathen, envious as hell of the woman Sugarloaf sang of. Even though the
Man of La Mancha had urged us to dream the impossible dream just a few years earlier, knowing such a person still seemed to be the stuff of fantasies. As a high school punk, I so wanted to seduce or be seduced by that kind of girl, but some sort of natural diffidence suggested the real deal could only be a pipe dream. I basically spent my whole life feeling that way, swooping close from time to time for brief periods, but always learning the hard way that exciting romance only occurs in Victorian novels and Hollywood films. While never giving up the ghost, after six decades I really was wondering if those early desires were mere wishful thinking.

And then I met a girl who put debris in my mouth and that was that.

Next installment: On Temptation

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