Potatoes and Zombie Keats

The latest issue of Details arrived yesterday, Robert Pattinson was on the cover with dark, brooding eyes looking like this year’s Jake Gyllenhaal.  Today I received my issue of Time magazine. They’ll both end up in the bathroom behind the dog-eared copy of Leaves of Grass I’m not yet halfway through, but now I’m reading an article in Time on how the hamburger has reached its zenith and can’t be improved upon — and I’m thinking to myself, and now out loud to you, hasn’t all food, really?

“The orthodox cheeseburger, with its pillowy, enriched white bun, its creamily melted square of tangerine-colored American cheese and its blissfully spice-free beef, is an invention that’s virtually impossible to improve. Like sashimi or peaches and cream, it might be a gastronomic end point.”

It’s somewhat a stupid article because the same can be said for pizza, ice cream, chicken, etc. – anything you inject into your mouth and digest out of your ass.  The basic recipes that Man has been preparing for centuries are the best tasting, most durable, through trial and error we’ve come to the conclusion that spaghetti with marinara on top is damn good.

Or, to counter what I myself have just suggested, is it possible that our stomachs and their required tastes evolved around our particular cuisines? To an Inuit, seal must be delicious. Indians need curry and spices to make food palatable to them. Let me now submit that our stomachs have grown accustomed to certain combinations of flavors and spices and thinking outside the box is desirable on an intellectual, cognitive level, but our guts just want to be fed what it is used to. If we started to eat garlic encrusted cockroaches in two thousand years there will be Michellin-rated cockroach restaurants on the moon.

Nevertheless, here in L.A. Umami makes a damn good burger, full of original ingredients. But after half a dozen times I think I’d be just as happy going to Big Tomy’s on Pico and getting a traditional double cheeseburger. In fact, the best burger is down at Hinao’s, by the beac, cooked on a grill behind the bar by the bartender, a bar with sawdust on the floor and a cheesy cover band belting out 30 year-old rock n’ roll.

There’s not much left in the world that can be improved I find. Can poetry improve upon the passion Keats took with him when he went? Keats supposedly sold only 200 copies of his poems during his life and died at 25. He could have been a doctor, could have been a contender! But, alas, the call of the nightingale’s song possessed him more than the call of pounds and pence. I wonder what dredge of human emotion I’ll ever properly pen on page . I wonder if I’ll ever be one of a dyad, conjoined, one wing of a bird’s flight… will I ever feel, and taste, true love. Ha! There’s more chance of digging up Keats and re-animating him to become my opponent in a spoken word battle.  And even then, I’m sure, Zombie Keats will win.

We dream of the air, the funnel clouds, the thermals, the tornadoes that whip through our hearts and our breasts when the one we admire and lust for is close enough to feel the warmth of their breath upon our cheek and descry the tiny hairs lining their ears.  And if they listen to our pleas for mercy, they might refrain from planting that kiss that will dry up faster than a drop of water on a frying pan — even if it lasts a million years — it’ll never seem long enough.

I have potatoes on the stove and I sprinkle salt from a foot above so it floats down like a snowstorm and covers the skillet and some lands on the flame and sizzles. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I am too hungry to scoop it up.

What is your life’s ambition? To string together posts and build a picket fence? To paint it white and hide inside your house? To be asleep after Leno, listening to your husband snore? I want to make a lantern for my Japanese garden from fireflies, and play my bird bone flute by its lambent glow. I want to tightrope-walk across a lake of fire to find my true love and kiss her angel nose, waking her from a 100 year nap; then we’ll get a burger and discuss the latest album by Arcade Fire and why they’re overrated, or underrated, it doesn’t matter, I’ll probably agree with anything my angel says, and that’s why love is a doomed enterprise, it’s too much nebbish compromise and altered-perception. My friend is dating a bulldog on a broomstick and thinks she’s sweeter than Midori straight.

Do you wake up and realize what a blessing the day has brought? Do you pick your nose in the car?

There’s a woman who sells her paintings on the corner of Wilshire and Crescent Heights, on a grassy median, where cars line up at red lights. They’re drawings of singers, mostly old-timers like Etta James and Billy Holiday.

She derides modern singers like Britney Spears, hasn’t even heard of Lady Gaga, and Lord knows the rant that would follow should she come across her. She is planning to record a demo once she gets her teeth fixed and prays that real music will make a comeback. I was planning on speaking to her for thirty minutes and finally pulled myself away after two hours, not that I was enthralled but that she wouldn’t quit complaining about modern music.

I won’t say she can’t draw – because I’m the world’s worst drawer myself – but let’s just say that her creations are appealing like your child’s drawing of the sun magnetized to your fridge, not on ascetic merit, but because the artist is oblivious to any critical reaction. I bought one anyway, mostly because I talked to her for so long and planned on writing about her so I felt I owed her as much. She is homeless and certainly can use the $20 more than me.

This is her portrait of Neil Diamond.

Neil, if you’re out there and want to purchase it from me
I can make you an amazing deal.

She is delusional but extremely intelligent and saw through my bullshit but kept talking to me anyway, either for the company or for the sell, I don’t know. She is from Canada but thinks Mexicans should fix their own country before coming here. She is waiting to get dental work that will be done at a discount but thinks Health Care shouldn’t be offered by the government. She’s a woman of many contradictions, as are all people. She loves Michael Jackson to pieces but hates Beyonce. She goes to a Baptist church after trying out Judaism but when I mentioned I was Buddhist she looked at me like I was crazy…

She is an angel, a spiteful one albeit. Los Angeles is full of artists of all types, those that sell their work on street corners or give it away free on shitty websites.  Dryads too numinous to comprehend clutter our boulevards and rise in elevators to lonely apartments outside of which the city sparkles and gleams. I love this town and it loves me back, in parcels and parchments, in small, little tokens of glee.

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One thought on “Potatoes and Zombie Keats

  1. this is great fun aos, and beautifully written. “I want to make a lantern for my Japanese garden from fireflies, and play my bird bone flute by its lambent glow.” that artwork is classic primitive “outsider art”. I like looking at it. it is so, uh, i guess the word would be ‘direct’. http://outsiderfolkart.com/ see ‘jesus with a pink bow’. great piece, love the last image too. “zombie keats” cracks me up!

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