March 28, 2010

Brazil



It wasn't the lady crazy like a fox who finagled a free ride in Long Island City, or the fat woman who started bitching at me after a night of traffic jams whom I kindly let out in Columbus Circle to find another cab when there weren't many...but the black guys who threw a bottle at me then spat in my face because I wouldn't let them squeeze past me at a crowded light...that's the kind of week...has anyone ever spat a big gob directly in your eye?...imagine my delight...I actually wanted to kill the son of a bitch, but my passengers were nervous: "We don't want to get shot!"...so I went on...they had looked coked-up and the road-rage was out of proportion to the imagined offense: I had the right-of-way...the farther I went the worse torture I imagined for them...is there anything more insulting or filthy?...what if the asshole was H.I.V. positive?...wouldn't that be attempted murder or manslaughter at least?...I regretted that I hadn't taken out my handy little camera and gotten their picture and license plate...I regretted that I had not gotten out and beat the living shit out of him...he was a younger and bigger than me but my anger would have split his lips...I would have torn his ear off and squashed his balls...at least I threw the full water bottle back, missing the spitter-passenger but getting the thrower-driver square in the side of his crackhead...you think I'm a violent guy?...Admittedly I'm not like Jesus but turning the other cheek only works now and then...I'm for putting them on a post and whipping the shit out of their butts with a cane...yeah yeah I know...the beatings will continue until morale improves...violence doesn't work love conquers all and blah blah blah...the hell it doesn't work...it depends on who you apply it to and how and why.

Sorry to bring you down, but there's no point in writing this blog if I can't be emotionally and intellectually honest...the world is already a shitpile of lies...there are so many lies hardly anybody remembers a truth anymore...and what is the truth?...I have no bloody idea...that's the only truth I know.

They say love cures hate...maybe it could cure mine...but I don't even know if what I have is hate or plain old outrage and anger...the only love I ever knew was my grandmother's...I go around offering violence to no one, yet violence has been threatened and perpetrated against me so much in my 68 years that I know there are some evil sons-of-bitches out there and no amount of love will ever faze them...all it takes for them to go off on you is to look them in the eye or be in the same room when they don't like your looks or your voice...I saw a guy get all his front teeth knocked out without warning from a guy who just didn't like his looks...a sucker punch...it makes me wish we could all wear guns...I would shoot some of these sons-of-bitches right where they stand...I wouldn't even say draw motherfucker.

I'm remembering this asshole named Roland Manuel...he was doing 10 years in Angola prison in Louisiana for being a goon hired to break up a strike with a baseball bat...besides that he was an armed robber...I was doing two years in the Calcasieu Parish Jail for two joints and 82 tabs of Leary's orange sunshine...Roland was back in Lake Charles for a new trial or an appeal or something...he was a loudmouth braggart who had boxed some...in the pecking order of the bullpen he was the biggest shit there...so the syncophants yessed his every stupidity...I of course stayed out of it and mostly-did yoga exercises on a blanket on the terrazo floor in the corner all day until we were allowed back in our four-man cells...it was a hard-enough life but I was younger and it was just another day of having to stay as sharp as I could in order to wake up another day shorter on my sentence...I had just read Gandhi's Autobiography and was taken with his vision of non-violence...I mean I was enthused...there wasn't anybody but a couple of potheads around to discuss it with though...so I was writing a lot and doing my yoga and minding my own business...mostly they left me alone while I stretched and stood on my head and twisted myself into the postures.

Each morning they woke us and put us all in the common room of the bullpen...we all proceeded to lie down on the floor to continue our sleep until breakfast arrived through the slot in the green steel wall...I was half under a steel table when Roland aroused himself walked to the bars and started shouting uselessly for a jailer...there wasn't even one on the floor...his shouting went on and on...finally I said Jesus Christ Roland give us a break..."Why you son-of-a-bitch you!" he said, leaping across the room and attacking me with fists.

Now my training in the Marine Corps told me to rise up thru the hail of fists and butt my head on his stupid face and proceed to kick the shit out of him by getting two fingers in his mouth and tearing his cheek off...but I had been reading Gandhi...I was part of the "peace movement"...not to mention that I was raised by a pious grandma who taught me to do unto others etc...so I rolled myself into a ball protecting only my face and neck and let him beat the shit out of me...when he saw that he was not hurting me enough, he reared back and kicked me square in the tailbone.

It hurt...it showed me it would only get worse...this thug would permanently cripple me if he could.

I threw Gandhi to the dogs and got up painfully and went at him with both fists...I landed a couple and he backed off but I went after him again...I was enraged...then one of his syncophants got between us...Roland suddenly was content to let it be...he wasn't in as good shape as me and he saw I wasn't a coward...if he was a boxer all he knew was the left hook...he never gave me any trouble after that...but the tailbone is still sore at times more than 30 years later...I still think about that asshole every now and then...I still want to beat his ass...when I was in New Orleans I ran into a guy who had been in Angola with him.

"That asshole? I kicked the shit out of him in the chow line," he said to my great satisfaction.





I hope he was telling the truth but like I said about the shitpile...everywhere I turn there is somebody lying somebody threatening or somebody posing...yet with me I think everything is written on my face...every now and then I catch a look at myself in the rearview mirror and I don't look nice...don't like what I see...if I were a woman I wouldn't give me a second look...



my ragged old face a mass of seams and scars from having been dragged across poisonous living coral 45 years ago...my eyes dimmed and out of focus...no hint of a smile...all the muscle tone gone from cancer weight loss...shrunken cheeks...white hair...yet I keep on keeping on...doing it every day...dragging myself from bed at the last minute...driving a taxi all night...paying traffic fines...paying personal loans...trying to be useful to someone...trying to write and knowing I'm not making it...alone as usual...confused outraged and on the verge of tears sometimes...looking at this hopeless mess called America and just wanting to move to Hanoi to finish my book...God please just get me to August...I promise I'll never come back...just get me out of here...to some place where no one spits in your face...where is my Brazil?

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