THE OTHER LAST PAGES (2)
"The Last Page" by Nelson Gary (Feb. 1997)
(Ed. note: Jay is on a brief hiatus but fear not, he will return)
Most images in today’s poetry, which descends from imagism, lack potency; few images really shock the mind into higher consciousness or provoke deep thought and possible study. The intimatist constructs a field of images that are both concrete and suggestive, thus creating a magnetism, a dynaminism between such polarities as surface and depth, thus also dimension. These magnetic dimensions are put in flux or set in stasis by the poetic imagination’s attraction and/or repulsion to that which initiates the form and content of the poem. The intimatist subtlely wants to share with the reader what it feels like to have written the poem as it was written; the intimatist wants to pass on the intial spark or instinct that caused the poem to find its way from consciousness to paper without mention of it, giving the poem an aura. This can oftentimes be achieved through the individual poem’s musically or mix of concrete and suggestive images.
The symbolists wrote much about the inner life; the imagist wanted to magnify the beauties and intricasies of everyday life.
Excerpt from a rough draft of “Taste” (a Manifesto by Nelson Gary).
"Process Rap" by Scott Wannberg (May 1997)
The process just called me collect. I wish it could afford its own phonebill. I thgink I might have told you about it once, the process. Sleek and sensual, somehow vulnerable, in the weather that never ends. Sometimes you try to sisown the thing, throw it out the open window, but it bounces back regardless. Some kind of ongoing voodoo attached to its ability to stick to you, even when you try and change all the shoes in the world you ever thought you owned. The process almost got the lead in some international epic but the money all burned up right before the cameras were set to hum. The process got nominated for some specious thing and it had to go and rent a tux in order to make it to the hootenanny.
We were singing all the songs we never knew all that well. Back there in the room of enduring. The one with the walls that feel good when you know you just can’t go on. Process takes your daughter on a date. Don’t trust it, now. Look in the big book of phones under the page of yellow and see under process, what it just might warn you. The relatives of time disappear and when they show up again for the reunion they have odd ways of looking you up and down and saying, yeah, I think I know you, cousin. Make it to the hootenanny is the title of the process’ soon to be released tell all autobiography. I’d like to share a bit from the galley I found at my door one cold morning. Listen to the process talk. . .
Process: (234 of Make It To The Hootenanny)
I have no parents. I have no brain. I just take up the magic and when the fires erupt you have no choice but to bathe in my tissue.
I hear the cattle sing a rich Gaelic. I hear the el trains of love whisper above my neck. I am your guardian angel worst nightmare, I’m the deck of the last ship in the world on its way down for the final act of some play you thought you wrote years ago when your faculties could figure things.
(so ends the excerpt. Soon to be a major motion picture no doubt.)
The jukebox knows all your secrets, love. Sit down now on the couch and sing your latest. The afternoon has a headache and the pioneers swear they are unable to continue on. The hit parade just claimed it wrote everything you think you know. We stumble around the rubble of our thought process and now and then a lucid bird sits on a frayed wire and sings a tune that kinetically embraces you.
Process drives up in a sleek stolen limo. Process is on a first name basis with Billy Bob Thornton. Process has its own midseason replacement series on one of the major networks.
Process is finally who we are when we can’t be anything else. Go on, open the door, it’s out there, with your name on it. Take it on in and see where the whirlwind rides.
Until the next roundup, this has been your weather report helicopter bouncing up and down and even now and then a bit sideways. We now retrurn you to our sponsored program of the decade . . .
The LAST last page by Jay
THE LAST PAGE - a kind of memorium - (Oct. 1997)
Mr. Armstrong, Esq:
the story you read was good. Thanks.
the story you WROTE was good.
I’ll really be tryin’ to beef up the last page for next issue.
I mean, Bill Shields? Shit.
I must suppose that that is it. Fluffed out... fucked over... beat down... rejected... all that. How the hell... I ask you... is someone supposed to grow (artistically speaking, that is) in the hostile & misguided condition of “...my shit stinks better than your shit.” Atmosphere. Jesus Christ... Steve Abee made an incotravertible & undisputable point by saying “...being known is seemingly more important than being known FOR SOMETHING...” or something along those lines... Where’s the substance. Where’s the beef... all that happy horseshit
have I lost my... Puh...Zing... shit. Probably. That I ever might have had it at all is the miracle thing to begin w/... if we can be at least bearable for more than the time it takes to smoke a filtered king (warhol was a wee bit conservative) w/o managing to bore the shit outta OURSELves (especially POETS) in under 5 minutes, the collective hat, symbolically speaking, my friend... should be off to us all... figuratively speaking.
We are more than screwed up. We are screwed downwards & sidewards. We are lost. Doomed. Forsaken.
Try driving the 405 freeway at 6:52 on Monday. It’s enough to let ya know.
Okay... later then...
Jay Alamares... right up yer alley.
(Editor’s note: I found this letter as I was boxing up the non-essentials in my office, prior to moving. I run it in this issue as a sort of ‘ode’ to a passing era. It was wriiten a year ago, prior to, obviously, the Bill Shields interview - November of ‘96. I hear thru the grapevine that Jay is doing well; steady job, writing prodigiously, all that. I say GOOD!)
the last page by Jay Alamares (Mar. 1997)
absolutely, kurtz...lovebrain child of conrad, yes
“the horror. the horror.”, is what we get is what we find at 3 pm is what we find in a disposable razor is what we taste in a lover’s kiss...
one of the finest poets of our age writes me a note & slips it in a slot...the government smacks it’s stamp of approval & brings it to my doorstep...
“hemingway had his black dog you’ll make it through this...” is his message to me.
“the little, wag-tailed bastard is here, w/ me now & I can’t seem to get the fucker from my leg.” I reply.
not only is he a fine poet, but a fine human being & that is rare, friend, rare & he has helped w/ the booksales & the despair...
he makes me feel irreplacable, even as a woman has just replaced me w/ some other mother’s son.
“...there are words enough, I think, to get me through this thing, or anything.” I write as a postscript.
love falls away from me as I sigh the long deep blue.
"jesus, c’mon...is it really that bad?” someone asks me
“it’s not continual, of course, but it is damn consistent indeed.” I answer. less than a week later, I get a PINK SLIP from a job I barely had a chance to start AND get notice that i’ve been nominated for a literary award...what a screwy, goddamned existence & god is dead, but he pokes me w/ sticks from the grave now & then.
“she’s moved on.” he tells me. I ask for phone numbers of various women that I have no intention of ever using...at least not for the purpose I imply. I do this out of anger which isn’t even anger but sorrow.
it doesn’t come out in the sunlight, but comes through on clean white sheets shoved into this machine, this machine, this is my machine. there are many like it, but this one is mine. but surely, I digress... hardly the first time...hardly the last time...
but enough until the next time...& so on.
the last page by Jay Alamares (April 1997)
o yes, by christ...they shoot horses all right (alright?) but that is hardly the horrible thing at all...that is the expected thing...it’s what they do w/ what remains of the beast. what they do w/ what remains is what defines human nature. enough to make you sick to be a member of the lousy club. they USE the remains.
I remember someone once telling me that he had travelled extensively w/o much of anything (flower child/he) & that he found inherent goodness in people that was amazing. where do these people come from? I wonder where that guy is now? probably neck-knifed in a public crapper for his tennis shoes or love beads or somesuchshit.
once when I was on the drift, I saw somebody get clubbed in the goddamn forehead (broomstick; nail in the end) for a box of commodities...flour; cheese; powdered milk... I was there w/a particularly tasty little italian morsel which I inevitably ended up marrying. not so tasty then, hell no! then there was nothing but a bad taste in my mouth, but I digress... so there was this clubbing, of an old man NO LESS...here was the clincher tho, the fucker that did it was SMILING all the while.
“c’mon.” I told her.
“aren’t we gonna get a box?” she asked.
“fuck it. i’m not hungry anymore.” I told her. we got on out of there then.
it doesn’t even have to be that extreme. it can be much more subtle... lovers that hate you will do.
like the italian girl. I have suffered...endured some of the most petty thoughtlessness & cruelty at the hands of that female. she wasn’t the first. she wasn’t the last. why is it so hard to simply be good to somebody. now, i’m not saying i’m not an asshole in my own right. but I feel I know when to back off. of course i’m probably wrong w/ this...ask some of my women...or, x-women that is...jesus I MUST be wrong.
I think that all of this helps the writing very much. very much indeed.
probably wrong about that too.
but why the hell am I even bothering to tell you any of this?
piss off, why don’t you.
you’re mucking up
the last page by Jay Alamares (June 1997)
I was in a bit of a tight spot, so I headed for Lofredo’s. The guy was a soft touch. This had far less to do with a generous nature, than a sort of uncanny and naive stupidity. Someone his age just simply should have had a bit more common sense. At age fifty-two, he exhibited not even the slightest smattering of insight into human nature.
The world had taught him nothing.
It was exactly for this reason that every bum, sneak-thief, whore, scammer, shammer, tweaker and freak had found their way to Lofredo’s front door.
Once there, you were as good as in.
The manager of the apartment where Lofredo lived was at his wits end. He was constantly threatening eviction but for some reason never made good. I think he like Lofredo enough, he just couldn’t stand the company that he kept. He chastised Lofredo on countless occasions. Even though he was a good ten years younger, he spoke to him as if he were a child.
“You’ve gotta promise to keep the traffic down, Lofredo. Can you do that for me?” He would ask.
“I’ll sure try, I promise.” Lofredo would reply.
“Okay now. Remember that you promised me. It’s gotta stop. They stole the copper pipes from #304, you know.”
“I didn’t know that Tony.”
“They ripped ‘em right out for chrissake. How’ll I rent it out now?”
“I don’t know Tony.”
Anyway, this sort of conversation was typical. I heard this, or something similar to this on more than one occasion. Of course, nothing ever changed. It wouldn’t until he threw Lofredo’s ass on out of there. It was Monday morning. I came around the corner of the building; to the flight of steps that lead up to Lofredo’s. There was Tony and Lofredo.
“You’ve gotta promise to keep the traffic down, Lofredo. Can you do that for me?” Tony was asking him.
“I’ll sure try, I promise.” Lofredo told him.
“They stole the washing machine from the laundry room last night, you know.”
“I didn’t know that Tony.”
“Gone. Just gone. They ripped it right outta the wall, the bastards!”
“I’m sorry, Tony;” Lofredo said.
“How the hell will we wash clothes now?”
“I don’t know Tony.”
“Me either;” Tony said. He turned to go and saw me at the foot of the stairs.
“Good morning;” I said and started on up.
Tony didn’t speak to me as we passed each other. He did leer at me, however.
Lofredo quickly hustled me inside.
It was standing room only in there. There were two filthy, shirtless guys right in the center of the one room apartment trying to figure out how to bust open the coin box of a washing machine. Some skanky looking grandmother was standing inside a closet. She was smoking something off of tin foil with a straw. She paused long enough to smile. She had no teeth. She pulled the door closed. I was glad when she did that.
“It’s good to see you Alamares;” Lofredo said, leaning in close. He led me into the bathroom. It was the only unoccupied room.
“Want some shit?” He said, producing a small mirror and a straw.
“No thanks;” I told him and sat down on the toilet.
“How about a beer?” He asked, putting the mirror away.
“Now you’re talking;” I told him.
(To be continued...)
the last page by Jay Alamares (July 1997)
While he was out in the kitchen getting the beer, I noticed that the faucet was missing from the sink. The medicine chest was gone too.
“Here you go;” he said, handing me a bottle.
“What happened?” I asked him, pointing out what I had norticed. He simply shrugged. I knew anyway.
“I want to show you something;” he said, smiling. He pulled a canvas out from under what used to be the sink.
“whadda ya think?” He asked.
It was a painting of a screw. It wasn’t very good at all. In fact, it stunk. I knew that Lofredo valued my opinion on such things. He knew that I was a writer, and had been published. Of course Lofredo thought that he was a better writer than I was. He wasn’t. Simply because the guy had never written a word. He just talked about doing it. In his opinion, I was going about the whole thing all wrong. What I needed to do, he had once told me, was write a best-seller. He had the formula, he said, but he’d never tell me it. He also said I should leave poetry alone.
“It’s a game for losers;” he once said.
Well, shit. Everybody is right sometimes. He had me there.
But, back to the hideous painting.
"It’s great;” I told him. I could lie effortlessly.
“...marvelous use of space and light;” I said, embellishing the lie.
“You’re an idiot, Alamares. It’s horrible. The worst I’ve ever done.”
“Say, Lofredo... I’m in a bit of a jam. Float me a loan.”
“What the hell do you need money for?” He asked.
“My clutch went out on my truck.”
He was staring at the painting again.
“Maybe the angle is all wrong;” he said.
“The angle...” I told him, “...is everything.”
“You’re an idiot Alamares. Want another beer?”
He came back, not only with the beer, but with the grandmother as well. On closer inspection, she wasn’t really old at all... maybe 25. She just looked old. The dope had done a real number on her existential parameters.
“Here’s your beer. You gotta get outta here NOW!” Lofredo screamed.
It was all quite unnecessary.
“I’m gonna fuck her... then I’m gonna paint her... then I’m gonna write it all down!”
“How about that loan?” I asked.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fiver.
I took it and the beer without another word.
On my way through the front room, Heckle and Jeckle were still fucking around with the coin box.
“Hey dude,” one of them asked me, “do you know how to open one of these?”
“Fuck him,” said the other, “we’ll have to split the money with him.”
“Oh;” said the first guy.
That was settled. I was out of there. I had five bucks, but still a goddamn bad clutch. Less options now then before.
I was in a bit tighter spot, now.
Lummox Journal / Raindog