Brian Arsenault’s Short Takes:”50″ “They Just Keep Coming” “Time Keeps Passing” and “Crazy”

By Brian Arsenault

50

I try to do 50 every morning. Two sets of 25.

They call them push-ups but they are really push backs. Push backs against time. Against sagging flesh, loosening skin. A loser’s game but so what. Time always wins.

Sometimes I wish my name was Ferlinghetti, a poem in and of itself. Nobody reads the beat poets any more. Beatnik is just a slur, a joke. But those poets — Larry and Corso and Snyder. Poets for all.

Not like those guys in The New Yorker today where obscurity is valued as “true art.” Oh you didn’t get it. Too bad. It wasn’t for a slob like you.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

You didn’t need a short sighted professor peering at the page through thick glasses to understand Shelly, did you? Ginsberg is the one beat still remembered widely but more as “character,” not an artist.

But Ferlinghetti and his Dog. Dogs don’t run free anymore (hey Dylan) so we don’t get to see through their eyes and fire hydrants are cleaner. I guess. Best damn poem I ever read.

The dog trots freely in the street

And sees reality. . .

Past puddles and babies

Cats and cigars

Poolrooms and policemen

But we need to protect dogs now don’t we, so we imprison them. No one gets bit or run over in the streets. I was bitten as a kid and I saw my dog run over once. I lived. Both times.

Hey, life is a risk and if you followed a dog like Ferlinghetti did you might learn something. What’s big and what’s small. About cops and politicians and what should be peed on. About waiting for an announcement of truth.

Still waiting.

Cock your head now.

They Just Keep Coming

When I started this gig I used to look forward to the mail for the first time in a long time. Amidst the bills and sales pitches there was often a little brown envelope with a treasured CD. Time to review.

Brian Arsenault
Brian Arsenault

Now they arrive in batches. Still in brown envelopes like they used to send porn. CD after CD after CD by folks looking for just a little attention in the world of Katy Perry and John Mayer. Those two just broke up so here comes another hit.

There are singers who can really sing. Sax players who’ve taken music lessons from Angels. Little Lonelys and jazz cellos. Every amazing combination you can think of and some you haven’t.

I can’t review them all. Hell, I can’t even listen to them all. My burden but better than many burdens. Just can’t help thinking I might miss the reincarnation of Duke Ellington.

Probably we all would.

Time Keeps Passing

I didn’t watch the Academy Awards. Pretended it was because of my contempt for that spectacle. It was actually because I hadn’t seen one of the damn movies.

Matthew McConaughey.
Matthew McConaughey.

I like McConaughey. (Had to check that spelling three times and still may have it wrong. I never used to need to do such a thing. But time passes.) I like McConaughey but I know him for True Detective (have you seen that?!!) not Dallas Buyer’s Club.

Damn, I just read that McConaughey won’t be back for a second season of True Detective. That’s depressing but maybe such starkness must end.

Should I catch up with the Award winners On Demand. How forceful. Or Netflix where I can’t keep up with the technology. Actually, as regards the technology, “I prefer not to.’ No one talks about Melville any more either.

Oh well.

Crazy

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

It’s funny how some things get missed. Angela Merkel, who runs Germany as far as I can tell, said that when she talked to ol’ Vlad Putin she was distressed by the fact he seemed to be living in an alternate reality, a dream world of his own making.

I only saw a mention of that once but if Angela has it right even darker forces are at work than we feared. For a long time people tried to convince themselves that Hitler wasn’t crazy and that things could be worked out. Can’t you still see that old black and white newsreel with ol’ Neville Chamberlain waving a scrap of paper to announce that he had a “deal” with ol’ Adolph.

Kinda chills me to think of that. You can sometimes negotiate even with terrorists but you can’t change crazy.

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To read more posts, reviews and columns by Brian Arsenault click HERE.

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