“I’ll be quick,” he says, and he is.
To speak to our group you’re required to qualify
so he begins: “We found the bottom of stupid and
dug us a hole.”
He says at the end he was runnin on empty.
He says even in the joint they didn’t have no trouble
and once when they couldn’t, why, a bunch of them
shot up whatever, fools
that they all was -- even lighter fluid, skim off
of boiled mayonnaise.
And then some died, or started floppin around “like
after you axe them.” (He was raised a farm kid,
never mind the crude blue stupid tattoos).
Just like he was sayin,
the bottom of stupid. The bottom: that was it,
and the hole we dug below it. The hole we all dug.
“They did that partly because they loved the spike.
It’s crazy: they loved the drug first, true,
but also the spike.” There is stupid and stupid
of course, he says, because in some ways they wasn’t
Like they learnt how you could go to the rec room
and when the screw
was noddin or readin or talkin to someone else
you yanked out a wire from the beat-ass piano.
Now if you could get a Walkman motor and a bottle cap,
you could put the motor in the cap and fill the cap
and take that plastic tube from a ballpoint
and run the wire through it down in the ink. That
your tattoo kit: start the motor, the wire’s your
needle, slicker’n shit.
He has Truth on his left forearm for some reason.
He has 1% on his right.
He says Charlene’s on a buttock, but of course
he doesn’t show us.
He says he don’t know what God is and truth is,
he don’t care: somehow or another he’s right
here with us, “And meantime a lot of them’s dead or
crazy or still in stir --
so why me? Why any of us?” He thanks God.
He remembers how he read about the wise man’s
turnin out to be foolish. Read it in solitary
(for the tattoos). In the hole.
And the fool’s foolishness the other way around.
He was both a wise-ass and a fool -- no high school,
let alone college --
so if he has any wisdom he’s here to prove a fool
can get it.
There’s a lot of appreciative laughing, but some of us
feel more than a little uncomfortable with the God stuff
so we stay silent.
Some of us don’t really want him to read
what he reads, which is Psalm 28, including the part
O Lord my rock be not silent to me lest if thou be
I become like those who go down in the pit.
He’s a Bible nut someone whispers.
But then again we are all of us alive.
A lot of people aren’t. That mayonnaise stunt.
The lighter fluid.
The time when one of us drove through the bridge
across the river and we hung till we got saved.
The time one of us came to in our bathroom
with the toilet seat all bashed to bits
in the mess of puke on the floor and we stood up
and didn’t know ourselves
and fell again and stood up again
and the blood was like a brown mask on our face
in the mirror.
We didn’t know our own face but we didn’t die.
Down in the pit. Down in the bottom of stupid.
“Someone, I don’t know what it would be... or
he claims -- “Something could hear me cry.”
Kinda duz. 33 years, five months, three days, a few hours Thanks Syd you’ve always been an inspiration, all the way back to 1977. William Meredith and Jack Bridgeman mixing bloody mary’s at Treman. You showed me a better way.
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…went to the bottom of stupid and dug a hole…. Kinda puts there, right in the hole
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