Friday, January 13, 2017

I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

                                         The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett

Here I am in my subterranean laboratory, with cauldrons bubbling and a blackboard full of chalk. I am feverishly working through the night to calculate the algorithm for an elixir to ingest so I could nod off for four years and wake when all this is over. 

The alternative is to live my twilight years inside an apocalyptic sci-fi spoof given a zero rating by Rotten Tomatoes. Even the Hollywood Foreign Press offered no thumbs up.

The story begins when in 3rd grade, the class disrupter trades in his dunce cap to run for class president. On the promise of no more homework, short lines and the return of hickory sticks, for anyone disagreeing with him, he wins in spite of his tantrums, history of embezzling milk money and habit of throwing spit-balls. His opponent gets more votes but he claims a landslide victory after capturing aisles 2, 3 and 4 but losing all of 1 and 5.

Saying anything more is too easy. Word-weary stale, I’m spent. He has us raiding the glossary for adjectives. Is there another word for Thesaurus? I ask you. Did he ban that too, he of barbed tweets? Onceuponatime boidies churped. Now they are turned away from migratory routes, undocumented.

One tablespoonful should do it. Maybe two with a shot of….

But wait, I can’t swallow the potion yet because Peggy is putting together a chapbook of two dozen poems written over the past 25 years …all about movies. Her poetry is a distillate of films which struck chords in the far reaches of herself. So much so that the names of the movies have been erased from memory in some cases. This very act of transmutation gives me hope.

I must go on also because our friend Peter Merlin offers his art for exhibit at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. In one piece he has rendered a workingman’s boot on a pedestal. It could be Van Gogh’s shoe, crumpled and encrusted. But it isn’t; it strikes meas a juxtaposition suggesting today’s populist supported elitism. His portraits are fractured, demanding our attention from multiple perspectives.

It is alright that all roads lead to youknowwho? All we can do is to try to go on beyond the Donald. To listen hard for the voice of other Peggys and Peters and Becketts. Or as that other Nobel laureate put it…Oh Mama, can this really be the end / Stuck down here in Mobile / with the Memphis blues again.

No, not the end. We’ll go on.

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