foto by smith
foto by smith

found this old video of my 35 pound heavier self reading poetry 14 years ago in the basement of wildflower (now lemko hall). it’s on The Lit site. Lady K and i will be the featured readers at The Literary Cafe next month. it’ll be our 1st american reading after 14 months away. video is at The Lit

the video me is 2.5 years sober, weighing 210 pounds on my way from my 240 pound drinking weight down to my current 175. it’s my collaborating co-reader Marty Sokolich who saves the reading from being boring.

more on yesterday’s paris:

we went to the largest flea market in the world in north paris – les Marche Aux Puces. it’s like the endless souks in marrakech, only richer and with a heck of a lot more variety. in marrakech all they sell are shoes, belts, lamps, purses, clothes, spices, need, and con – here they have the cultural flotsam and jetsam and human detritus of the last 500 years of western civilization. it’s an assemblage maker’s dream of heaven, except they sell the fragments for way too much – a broken 6 inch doll arm with missing fingers went for $26.

lady got tons of excellent art fotos. me, i got rather down seeing all this STUFF to buy, especially along antique row where there’s endless tacky tasteless trinkets for the uber rich. but where i see tacky, lady sees treasure. i wish i could see with her eyes – she sees how pretty and unique the work is whereas i see toys for the rich to purchase with their gains from the poor. i can also see all these rich dried dull spiritual dwarfs and mental midgets sitting around their sterile sitting rooms admiring their latest excesses while talking how much or how little they paid. in many ways lady’s world is richer than mine. i believe it’s a function of the varying times we’ve each spent on this earth – my soul has been seared with experience and skepticism while she still believes much of the world innocent.

she was right about one aspect though – many of the dealers had created magnificently eccentric art installation assemblages in their stalls consisting of doll parts, mirrors, dead animals, mannequins, the old and the odd. if i could keep my eyes on the surface, it’d be fun, but i keep analyzing the undercurrents and their social implications, the spiritual cost.

lady’s young and growing. i’m old and curmudgeoning. soon i’ll be drooling and swatting at passers-by with my cane, a lot of whom seem to think Lady K is nothing but an old fart’s tart.

it’s weird watching people watch us. our age difference attracts looks. i watch their faces back. most people understand why old me would be with young flesh her, but they’re puzzled why she’s with me – i’m obviously not rich so it’s not for the money, and i certainly don’t appear to be famous or powerful. the old guys look at me with either a way-to-go glance or a yearning why-can’t-that-be-me look. most old women look at me with disapproval assuming i probably dumped my older faithful wife for this young piece of fluff, while the lone older women look at lady angrily for taking one of their chances away. the younger women look at me speculatively, wondering what’s there that attracted lady. and teenage girls don’t see me – i don’t even register on their radar unless i’m in their way and they have to go around me.

little do they all know i left my first wife 32 years ago when my current wife was 3 – or that i spent the 20 years before lady in celibacy – i stopped dating in 1986 because relationships were too twisted.

few more odd paris memories and i’ll go:

used a public toilet, and the men’s urinary stalls were open to the view of all walking by – men, women, children – with just a little wall shield covering the penis area. i stood pissing, watching the crowd stroll by. good thing i have a small penis cuz the wall flap tweren’t very big.

they let dogs on the trains here – big dogs, little dogs. let em in the stores too. which is fair – i’ve met a lot more nice dogs than i have people.

notre dame is a lot smaller than i thought from the movies, and i didn’t see a single hunchback. walking through it inside, i realized notre dame is just one more tourist game – the religious tour with the sacred soundtrack and the holy gift shop. most parts of paris are essentially tourist games, each with their own soundtracks, gift shops, spiel con, and beggars.

but paris does do the tourist game very well, much more interesting than any other city i’ve seen. and the coup de grace was looking up through the night at the well lit white Sacred Heart / Sacre Coeur, and then turning around looking out over paris at night beneath an almost full moon – now if only the smoke merchant at the foot of the hill had been in business.

but it’s not the tourist scams that make me love the place – it’s the small crooked streeted old sections like Montmarte where i could happily live. i’d even learn french, the lovely language of the lazy lips.

foto by smith
foto by smith

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