Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Vanities of Quasimodo/It's Alright

in Just-

spring          when the world is mud- 

luscious the little 

lame balloonman 

whistles          far          and wee 

and eddieandbill come 

running from marbles and 

piracies and it's 


when the world is puddle-wonderful 

the queer 

old balloonman whistles 

far          and             wee 

and bettyandisbel come dancing 

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and 






balloonMan          whistles 




That is neither my photograph nor my poem, of course.  I don't know whose image it is, but it should be Wes Anderson's.  The poem is e.e. cummings. 

I went to the beautician yesterday late.  I went in with long, almost platinum hair.  OMG!, I thought, I am looking GOOD.  Of course.  That is what happens when it is time to do your hair.  I was nearing depression with anxiety.  But of course, as I told my friends, no one is looking anyway.  Still, I mean. . . I was luminescent.  

So, of course, I took a before photo of myself in the beautician's mirror just to memorialize that "me."  And, even more "of course," I sent it around.  Then myself in foil.  And then the final product.  

All to little fanfare.  What can I say?  The Vanities of Quasimodo.  

I am sure I don't like the poem as much as I used to before I was the goat-footed balloonMan.  

I stopped by to show the results to my mother who was also pretty blasé about it all. It was getting late and I hadn't eaten all day, so, getting shaky, I said I had to go home and get food.  

On the way, I got a text from my tenant.  She wanted to know if I had eaten.  This was terribly odd.  We don't eat together.  We don't go out together.  I rarely see her at all.  But fortune smiled, I guess, as we were both on the road.  We decided to meet at my favorite Italian restaurant.  I got there first and grabbed a seat at the outside bar.  One of my neighbors, a divorced orthodontist my own age, was there, so we began to chat.  The most beautiful bartender in the world was working which was fun.   She doesn't like me at all, I think.  She has craziness in her eyes (which is always an attractive quality for me, if history is any guide) and has never smiled at me--not once.  As a matter of fact, she grimaces, I think.  I've watched her smile and laugh with others, but never in my direction.  Maybe she has mistaken me for someone else which seems fairly unlikely.  Perhaps she thinks I was screwing her girlfriend.  Beats me.  But I've accepted he fact and have become bemused and amused by it.  

She approached me with those beautifully dead eyes that told me it was only her job and not her pleasure, so I smiled and ordered a Chianti Classico and a Caprese salad.  She seemingly didn't notice my hair. 

I started chatting with my neighbor and the tenant showed up.  We rearranged seating so that she was between us.  The two of them go out together from time to time, I think, but I don't know what it is.  He  has money, dates hundreds of women, went to good schools and is a good conversationalist.  He's not even terrible to look at.  Nothing like me, a bohemian Quasimodo, outside the boundaries of proper behavior and standard tastes.  The bartender probably smile sat him, too.  But I preferred the two of them be engaged in talk as I observed the actions of the street and of the bar.  Across from us there was some high-toned shenanigans going on.  

I must say, my bartender pours heavy, and two glasses of Chianti were about all I could take.  Dinner done, my tenant and neighbor decided to split a tiramisu.  I decided on a scotch.  I asked the barkeep for my usual, but they didn't have it.  

"What do you have?"

She looked.  "We have Glenn Levit."

"Ah. . . no. . . . "

"We have Oban."

I paused.  I like Oban, but bar prices are usually outrageous.  What the hell.  

"How much is the Oban?"

She told me.  

I ordered it and grinned.  "That's not really sexy asking the price of a drink now, is it?"  

Dead eyes.  This isn't the town in which one asks the price of a drink or anything else.  But even though she seemingly is disturbed by me, like I said, she sure gives a heavy pour.  

They were slow with desert.  My tenant has some position with the film festival coming up, and they were excitedly talking about John Cusack hosting and the Indigo Girls performing.  

"Sounds like the 1980's," I said.  

"I saw the Indigo Girls in Newport this summer," said the neighbor.  The tenant said yes, they'd been performing a lot lately.  

I ordered another Oban from my girlfriend as the neighbor told the tenant they should go together.  Tickets were a couple hundred dollars, she said.  Oh. . . he was buying.  

I grinned and told the bartender that our dinners were on him.  They weren't, of course, and when the bill came, I realized that between getting beautified and going out, I was over $300 down.  And still nobody really gave a shit about my hair.  

Driving home, I realized I surely didn't want to get pulled over.  Once safely home, I poured a last scotch that I didn't need.  I turned on the television.  YouTube.  Some Dylan came up, and I watched and listened to early Dylan the Thief.  He was better than Dylan the Business Tycoon.  He invented, they said, the singer/songwriter during the big Folk Music Scare.  I listened to Johnny Cash cover some Dylan songs.  Then Joaquin Phoenix.  His versions were, I thought, better than the original Cash.  Both he and Witherspoon.  But I was drunk.  I decided to play my guitar.  God. . . I was so much better than any of them.  Where was my harmonica?  I searched and searched but could not find it, the one that Q sent me long ago.  What the hell.  I guessed it was time for bed.  

I did not wake until 8:30 today.  I went to bed with a song in my head.  

I once loved a woman,

A child I am told. 


Don't think twice, it's alright


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