Isaac Singer stated that God is a pulp fiction writer, a supremely gifted and creative author of page-turner melodramas. If you seek to know The Truth, read Sidney Sheldon or Jackie Collins! Certainly the vignette of the "caviar socialist" who allegedly came charging naked out of the bathroom like a rutting rhinoceros is a master stroke. And the photo above -- which has the ambiance of Rembrandt's "Night Watch" -- is even better: the divine Author playing with the image of Monsieur Strauss-Kahn "frog marched" from the police station. Just the best! Hats off! God is great! Sh'ma Yisrael!
We've been going to McDonalds in the morning for the past few weeks. At this early hour I look even more like Pruneface than usual. I'm grateful to Rachel for being seen with me, much less hanging out with me. I'm also grateful for her discussing Bible stories with me in a completely unselfconscious way. There are points in the clip where we may seem ironic or sarcastic -- but no. As Hemingway wrote, this is a "clean well-lighted place." Or at least fairly clean, and the oatmeal is a little too sweet.
Bob Schieffer, who covered the Confederate surrender at Appomatox, says that Trump's demand for Obama to release his school transcripts is a racist insult!
What would Dick the Bruiser do?
Trump says, 'That’s a terrible statement for a newscaster to make! I am the last person that such a thing should be said about! Affirmative action is out there! It's a program that’s available! But I have no idea whether it applies in this case! I'm not suggesting anything!
Many years ago I attended a demonstration against the Vietnam War. There was a television crew from CBS filming the event, recognizable by the "eye" logo on the side of the cameras. I noticed that the network had hired motorcycle gang members as security guards. A bright idea! The Rolling Stones followed up on it a few years later at Altamont. On that day I felt like my eyes started to open to some realities of how things like government and media really worked. How cynical and brutal they were at the core. My eyes have opened and closed many times since then. But now, as Dr. King preached "I'm not worried about anything. I don't fear any man." And as the song says, "I was blind but now I see."
I see, for example, that professional wrestling -- especially as it existed in the early days of television -- is the best template for seeing what Donald Trump is doing, and also for understanding the spectrum of public responses to Trump. I want to say also that I fully support Trump and my only worry is that he'll "drop out." He has the power and the know how to really drive people crazy, just like 1950s villains such as "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers could do. There really is no other way to comprehend (and enjoy) Trump except as a old time pro wrestling bad guy!
Trump's baiting Obama about the birth certificate is a perfect example. Months ago Trump said that he would release his tax returns if Obama released his birth certificate. So now that Trump has succeeded in forcing Obama to release the certificate, one of Obama's flunkies (Gates) challenges Trump to do what he promised. But do you think Trump is going to go for that? What would Buddy Rogers have done? Yukon Eric? Dick the Bruiser? Needless to say, Trump doesn't even respond to Gates. Instead, he calls Gates "a loser" -- which of course he is compared to Trump. Why? Because Trump has more money! Because Trump has a sexy wife!
Oh, and does this make you angry? Does this make you feel like the furious pro wrestling crowd in Memphis felt when Andy Kaufman told them to "shut up or I'll sue you"? Trump can REALLY make the elites nuts and I say bring it on. This is the closest thing we will get to a real court jester.
And by the way, Obama is the ideal pro wrestling "good guy," the perfect target for Trump. And let's not forget: sometimes the good guy would turn into a bad guy, or be revealed as a bad guy all along. If it's done right -- and so far Trump has been a master -- there's really no telling how it will play out. But usually there would be a big showdown match that promised to resolve things once and for all. We'll see.
And here's a picture of Reggie Lisowski in action -->>
Old ladies carrying yoga mats Chain their bicycles to the Parking meters on Larchmont, Then head to the yoga room or Whatever it’s called above The newsstand. I salute them.
I applaud these women, I admire them, I mentally compare Them to Bess Turk, who, holed up In the Shoreham Hotel and sleeping On a Murphy bed for thirty years, Developed dowager’s hump.
Yet – and I say this as an old man Myself -- my gorge also rises and Acid reflux pains my sense At the sight of the yoga crones. With incorporeal ear I hear not TheLittle Old Lady From Pasadena,
Nor does Jan and Dean’s joyful chorus ‘Go granny go granny go granny go’ Echo in my teeming brain. I hear instead The ominously salacious closing words Of Die Verwandlung: ‘Die Tochter sich ‘Erhob und ihren jungen Korper dehnte.’
Yes, it is the daughter who stretches Her young body, not some grandmother And still less a dithering old grandpappy. This is simply the natural order of things. Although W.B. Yeats had monkey balls Implanted in his scrotum, he knew this
And wrote, ‘That is no country for old men’ Apropos of which Mosemolleus Tronsork Notes how country in a literary context Always means cunt. Thus, Hamlet to Ophelia(III:ii), with his head in her lap, ‘Did you think I meant country matters?’
Thus also in Dustin Hoffman’s revolutionary Portrayal of Willy Loman, Biff is horrified Not that Willy is tired, defeated, limp, Flaccid, drooping, detumescent, suffering From erectile dysfunction, and old, But that he still wants to do it, whereupon
Biff discovers Willy with a whore. That is Georges Bataille’s definition Of obscenity: ‘Showing what should Be hidden.’ Take it to heart, seniors. Were I to write a poem about getting A room with a hot twenty year old
UCSB anthropology major with a tattoo Of the Greek letter omega above her ass Would you or anyone want to read it? I don’t think so, and I don’t blame you. Twenty years old? Smokin’ hot? Feh! Omega tattoo above her ass? Feh! Feh!
Drilled through the kishkes in ’44 He subsequently worked for The old Central Electric Company On Washington Boulevard until Mr. Achtboim died in 1956. Then came what Leo and Ruth Manasin Always called the cow magnet years.
Cow magnets: bits of iron swallowed By cows to which adhered any Gum wrappers, bailing wire, nails, Or what have you that a grazing cow Might ingest, thereby creating a mass Of sufficient bulk to travel through The digestive system of the cow.
It was the brain child of Jim Porter, A Wisconsin veterinarian who said, ‘I got tired of tramping barnyards ‘On cold mornings to vaccinate hogs ‘At five dollars a shot so I dreamed up ‘The cow magnet. They said I was crazy ‘But with a hundred million cows
‘In America the dairy and beef industries ‘Would pay two bucks per magnet to keep ‘A herd of cows from coming down ‘With the so-called Hardware Disease.’ Not long after Mr. Achtboim passed away, Steve Drago introduced Jim Porter To Leo Manasin at Nippersink Manor.
At that time a sort of black cloud seemed To hover over Leo Manasin’s head. Although Mr. Achtboim was no saint, He was the pater familias that Leo Manasin Needed in the post-war years when lingering Effects of his wounds imbued every moment With a vague unconscious sense of dread.
Now this man Jim Porter entered the picture. Here was a new pater familias, possibly An improved version of Mr. Achtboim, Who offered Leo Manasin the position Of cow magnet sales rep for the Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana territories in which Resided tens of thousands of cows.
But Leo Manasin hesitated. He ruminated. He looked skeptically at a future in which He would call on dairy farmers with A satchel of cow magnets in his lap while Over a blue propane flame water boiled For instant coffee in farmhouse kitchens Of stained linoleum and peeling wallpaper.
He was a city boy after all, a Jewish fella Whose occasional exposure to anti-Semitism Made him leery of many (not all) goyim. Jim Porter seemed like an honest goy, And now Jim Porter allayed Leo Manasin’s Fears about the future with some simple Truths about the cow magnet business.
As the veterinarian explained, most magnets Were bought in bulk by feed company Executives over lunch in the grill room of The Cliff Dwellers Club where past members Included Cyrus McCormick, George Armour, And Rufus C. Dawes, and not bought by farmers With a load of manure out in the dump truck.
This mollified Leo Manasin and he was soon Turning heads in the cow magnet industry. Sales of a hundred or two hundred gross Were run of the mill for Leo Manasin In the grill room of the Cliff Dwellers Club And it was there that he met Chester Schultz, The heir to a milking machine fortune.
Chester Shultz shrewdly took the measure Of this family man named Leo Manasin, This war veteran who sold cow magnets For a living and -- liking what he saw -- Chester Schultz took Leo Manasin under His wing and began making discreet Overtures to Leo Manasin about a job.
These discreet overtures, these coy hints, The innuendoes, the asides, the ingratiating Small confidences, the verbal nosegays, The divertimenti – they also had a deeper Purpose, a much more sober intention. The discreet overtures were the foundation For the hiring of Leo Manasin by Chester Schultz.
It was a very nice employment package that Chester Schultz offered with substantially Larger revenues to Leo Manasin in exchange For less work -- because once milking machines Were leased out there was nothing to do Except deposit the checks which would represent Leo Manasin’s salary plus a generous commission.
And since milking machine leases were always Rolled over, Leo Manasin could be set for life! A home in Lincolnwood on a double lot, A Buick, an Olds, or even a Cadillac convertible In the garage; a country club membership; And a summer house in Sauganash, Michigan; All this was possible with Chester Schultz!
Only one small matter remained: Jim Porter Must be told of Leo Manasin’s decision to forsake His pater familias and cleave to this wealthier Mannamed Chester Schultz, this man whom Leo Manasin met at the very Cliff Dwellers Club Where Jim Porter was footing the bill for Leo Mansain’s lunches of broiled whitefish.
But then occurred one of the eerie Turning points that we encounter in life, One of the head-scratching moments In which our decisions seem to be made By some external agency and we can only Look back on the decisions as they fade In the rearview mirror of our years
Like a roadside restaurant where we ate Something but what exactly did we eat? This eerie turning point in Leo Manasin’s life Occurred at the bar mitzvah of his son Mickey At Temple B’nai Zion on Pratt Avenue Where Leo Manasin had naches – that is, pride In his child –as he made small talk with Jim Porter.
This was in the hospitality room where, After the ceremony, cold cuts were being served. There Leo Manasin felt an unexpected surge Of emotion, a cresting wave of affection For the mannamed Jim Porter, and all at once It seemed unimaginable to Leo Manasin that He could ever disassociate himself from Jim Porter.
What caused the unexpected surge of emotion? First, it was Jim Porter attending the bar mitzvah And also the sight of Jim Porter wearing a kippah, A yarmulke. In fact, the sight of Jim Porter wearing A kippah was a great honor to the Manasin family As a whole: to Leo, Ruth, Mickey, and Melissa, Who was also known as Missy or Lissie.
The remarkable thing was how comfortable, How relaxed Jim Porter looked, as if he’d Worn a kippah all his life. Whereupon It occurred to Leo Manasin that perhaps The veterinarian could convert to Judaism. There could be bar mitzvah for Jim Porter And if necessary he could be circumcised..
What a mitzvah it would be for Leo Manasin To bring about the conversion of Jim Porter To Judaism! The thought of Jim Porter reciting The sh’ma almost brought tears to the eyes Of Leo Manasin -- and Jim Porter also seemed Sensitive to the moment. He spoke not a word But put his hand on Leo Manasin’s shoulder
And guided Leo Manasin toward a quiet Corner of the B’nai Zion hospitality room. There in a voice charged with feeling, Jim Porter said to Leo Manasin, ‘Leo, ‘I want you to know that come what may ‘In the cow magnet business, regardless of ‘What happens in the cow magnet business,
‘No matter what may or may not occur ‘In the cow magnet business, good or bad, ‘You and your family will be taken care of ‘Forever because of the hard work and ‘Loyalty you’ve given to the organization ‘Since that day at Nippersink Manor when ‘We were introduced by Steve Drago.’
Late that night, after the gala celebration In the Hyatt at 4500 West Touhy Avenue, After all the singing and all the dancing And the many clever toasts, Leo Manasin Lay awake as a voluptuous sense of relief Washed over him, subsuming even his Naches about Mickey Manasin’s bar mitzvah.
The phrase ‘dodged a bullet’ occurred To this man who’d been drilled through The kishkes in ’44. He saw that a personal And professional catastrophe had nearly Happened when he came so close To deserting Jim Porter, that mensch, By going to work for Chester Schultz.
What a mess that would have made. What a train wreck it would have been. It would have been like a twelve car pileup On the interstate during the rush hour. It shouldn’t happen to a dog, and fortunately It didn’t happen. Willy-nilly, Leo Manasin Had made the right decision in the end.
So the cow magnet years continued and To his credit Chester Schultz took no Offense at what for him was the very Unaccustomed experience of a rejected Job offer. Leo Manasin and Chester Schultz Even took steam together occasionally In the Cliff Dwellers Club steam room.
And Jim Porter’s conversion to Judaism? Leo Manasin now saw it as a hare-brained Scheme, heart-felt and well-intentioned, But brought on by the emotional turmoil In which Leo Manasin found himself that day Amid the bar mitzvah’s hugger-mugger and The hurly-burly of the Chester Schultz affair.
No, Leo Manasin was not leading the most Exciting life but as long as there were Cows there would be cow magnets And for that he had Jim Porter to thank. ‘Leo, come what may,’ Jim Porter had said, ‘You will be taken care of -- you and Ruth ‘And Mickey and little Melissa Manasin.’
But ‘always’ is such a long time About which to make promises -- And must not ‘always’ always end? One day Leo Manasin arrived At the modest downtown office Maintained by Jim Porter and Found two men waiting at the door.
Since Leo Manasin had come downtown To meet a couple of buyers from the William M. Glass Company, he asked, ‘Are you the guys from William M. Glass?’ They said, ‘No, we are the guys from ‘The Internal Revenue Service but ‘You may call it the IRS if you prefer.’
Thus concluded the cow magnet years And thus did ‘always’ come to an end. It was not for lack of effort on Jim Porter’s part but understanding The digestive system of a cow is not like Running a business where the damn Complexities can make your head spin.
It did not happen all at once. For weeks, Months, almost a year the cow magnet Business stayed more or less afloat but What with judgments and liens and even The possibility of a criminal case against Jim Porter brewing, Leo Manasin saw That the party was over once and for all.
Nights Leo Manasin lay awake kicking Himself, asking himself why, why, why? The image of Chester Shultz appeared Like a ghost in the darkness, mocking him, Making faces at him and tossing money Into the air or feeding it to some obnoxious Animal – a cow? – that he’d brought along.
Mornings Leo Manasin was agitated, Irritable, he couldn’t sit still to read The newspaper, yet at the same time He was exhausted and often fell asleep In front of the television set. He snapped At people for no reason but he also wept Uncontrollably in the laundry room
Where, pathetically, the washing machine Drowned out his sobs. This was a far blacker Cloud than the cloud that hovered over Leo Manasin’s head when Mr. Achtboim died. This cloud rapidly descended and engulfed Leo Manasin until he became invisible To his own family in his own home.
Meanwhile Mickey Manasin became obsessed With motorcycles, literalizing his desire To escape the Manasin family’s dismal Twenty-eight hundred square foot home In favor of the open horizons celebrated In the Bob Seger anthem ‘Against the Wind’ Which he kept blaring in the garage all day.
Melissa Manasin was now called Mel. Missy? Lissie? Are you kidding me? At seventeen Mel radiated a hard, Wised-up sexuality that scared away The high school boys, so she blew off school And worked downtown at the Furniture Mart Where at least a few guys knew how to fuck.
As for Ruth Manasin, she mourned her life’s Reduced circumstances, a life now sustained by Social security and the savings accounts which, Thank God, she had insisted on opening during The cow magnet years. As Ruth mourned, She saw too how Leo Manasin was suffering, Was deteriorating, was no longer the same man.
Money alone could not account for his misery, Ruth Manasin concluded. The black cloud that Now engulfed Leo Manasin seemed like it had Always been there and always would be there. Cow magnets, aging, even disappointment In the children could not begin to explain what Ruth Manasin observed each day in Leo Manasin.
He lay on the sofa, defeated and deflated, In boxer shorts and undershirt. By the way, He’d lost a leg to diabetes. His snoring briefly Seemed louder as Ruth Manasin turned off The television set, but then came a diminuendo In the snoring until there was only the low Rumble of the refrigerator motor in the kitchen.
Perhaps we haven’t really gotten to know Ruth -- but a favorite expression of hers was ‘I have news for you’ and another was ‘Let’s call a spade a spade.’ In that spirit (Though it broke her heart) she now saw Leo Manasin as a lovable schmuck, A putz, a wounded veteran whose wounds
Never really had a chance to heal before he went To work for the old Central Electric Company And found a pater familias in Elmer Achtboim And then another pater familias in Jim Porter. But essentially he was a tearful little boy Desperately looking for someone to protect him Which caused him to make a really terrible
Business decision about Chester Schultz. Though he had been a good provider in the Cow magnet years, she felt that Leo Manasin Had let his heart get in the way of his head About Jim Porter. Then it went all belly up. She loved Leo Manasin but she mainly felt sorry For him like on All My Children or One Life to Live.
As Leo Manasin opened his eyes Ruth loomed Above him, upside down from his viewpoint But an angelic vision of a benevolent old woman. Could this be his grandmother, whom he had Called the Buba? Then came a cresting wave Of emotion like that other cresting wave At the bar mitzvah when Jim Porter had said,
‘Leo, you will always be taken care of.’ How loved he had felt then and also now, With the TV off, the thankless children gone. As is our destiny at the moment of death He was changed into a great tzaddik Who reveals himself at last, and at last Is to himself revealed. ‘Sh’ma Yisrael…’
With his final breath he proclaimed the sh’ma! No mitzvah is greater than this one! Thus did Rav Shimon bar Yochai depart this life And thus did Leo Manasin also depart it! ‘Sh'ma Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad!’ His soul swept past the Heavenly Tribunal And was received at once in the Upper Worlds!
Charles Parker known as Yardbird For his love of chicken whether Fried or roasted sometimes performed On a toy saxophone and occasionally Dozed off on the bandstand or failed To show up altogether. He was Jewish.
Of Lizzie Douglas also referred To as Memphis Minnie it was said She could naturally play a guitar But would put the guitar down To turn a trick for two dollars. Her bat mitzvah was in 1910.
Tennessee-born Fred McDowell They called Mississippi Fred McDowell When in Lafayette County around 1949 He taught open-tuned guitar to R.L. Burnside. Those men loved kreplach soup. Gedempte fleisch? They fressed.
Such are the nistarim, the Hidden Ones! ‘Peradventure if ten be found there, ‘For ten’s sake I will spare Sodom.’ Amen!
You and I, my love, so many nights Driving on Clybourne past the Golden Ox In the years I was with Harrison Table Mat And later when I joined Quick Service Textiles At Walter Gips’ urging we still spoke frequently Of the Golden Ox and planned to eat there. (But we never ate at the Golden Ox And now we never will.)
Remember, darling, when I was repping Joe Cronin’s line of junk jewelry and we met A man -- his name? his name? – who By way of recommending the Golden Ox Rhapsodized about the zwiebelfleish? Oh, what was his name? Indindoli? (But we never ate at the Golden Ox And now we never will.)
That man, him, our talk with him to the wee hours, How he read Kane and Abel and how Albeit facetiously he bequeathed to me His bowling ball. But I digress. As love For the Golden Ox was his be all and end all So you were my ne plus ultra, my inamorata. (But we never ate at the Golden Ox And now we never will.)
Fifteen years in the making, and issue number seven of The Stud Duck is now available for your perusal! What's more, some of your favorite authors from The Best American Poetry blog are included. Feast your eyes on the contents of The Stud Duck #7 ---->>>
Reading The Stud Duck online couldn't be easier! Just click on the link below or paste it into your browser and the whole thing will open before your eyes like a land of dreams. You can even print it out to keep in your library, or email the link to your friends. But be patient! A document this dense with thought and feeling takes a moment to load on your screen. But it will happen!
I hope you enjoy this edition of The Stud Duck and that you'll look forward to the next issue as well. Number eight will be done on March 1, so if you'd like to submit poems, prose, photos, or drawings, you can do so at email@example.com. Onward! Man muss immer weiter gehen!