How To Get My Full Attention

D16Ca-Zac asked me to shave his chest for him before he put on his open white denim vest. He knows he has my full attention. And he knows I know I have got his full attention. Finally!

Tuffenuf shows me the red spandex he is wearing. “I want to get you in my show,” I tell him, “so can you wear compression shorts a lot higher up those thighs?”

“No problem,” he smiles cooperatively. When I see Tuffenuf smile, he makes me feel twenty-three again. That is why I am really fixated into this fantasy about nineteen-seventy-nine SupraStyle Retro-Gear. Rema actually got me into this.

“How old were you when you felt your parents’ home was no longer your home?” Out of the blue comes this Lad who is more interested in hearing what I have to say than what he has to say. Finally!

“Oh, in nineteen-seventy-nine,” I tell Tuffenuf. “That makes me twenty-three.”

“I was 14,” says Tuffenuf.

It is time for images of moon-glow, face-glow, and fist-glow. It is time for the New Gypsy Minstrels to play their music for us. It is time for the Fight-Dances. Last night, I saw one hell of a Fight-Dance between Rad and G-Ray. In my mind’s eye, we are creating two hundred grand in six months.

“With all this unconventional genius,” says Rad, while showing me his entire photo spread of head-to-toe full body shots so he can show off his Retro-Wear. I am ready to climb over the fence with Rad__any minute__without offense. There are a lot of nice shots of him wearing spandex. “I am paying attention, Rad,” I tell him. “I got my eye on you.”

“Yeah I know.”pi5

“So you noticed?”

“I always catch’ya lookin’!,” says Rad laughing. “I know you want me to catch you looking.”

And now I see that Rad did respond to my watching, even when I thought he never would. I always knew that he would find his way back. He knows he is ready now.

“And who is that black guy in track shorts with the dark, smooth ebony legs?,” I ask upon seeing the Prince’s New Vision Vision Wall.

“That would be me,” says Rad, “the one with the inner-thigh slaps.” He shows off, for me, his smooth sculptured legs. “You flatter me,” he says as though he is reading my mind. Could it be that since he can read my mind, that now finally another Soul-Mate has arrived? Now that would be worth a thousand dollars a day.

I am facing The Radical Pirate. Face to face with Rad… That is all I can say about it now.

A Favorite Ghost Hauntingly Entices

supra-hero_5Meanwhile__Levi’s apparition appears out here on the deck. He is one of my favorite ghosts. He is here to hauntingly entice Justus with his smooth shaved legs; in fact, totally man-scaped, except for trimmed under-arm hair. He is the ghost of creative energy flow. He appears to have a pair of scissors in hand. He says to me, “Trim the hair under my arms.” I am always more than happy to oblige.

“It is time to transform Boo into Justus,” says the Prince.

For the moment, Levi and Rema are distracting me. They are wearing nothing but their Timoteos and tube-socks which cover their calves and emphasize the size of their thighs. “They epitomize what Lads of the House should be,” says Justus.

Levi, Rema, and Boo shout at me simultaneously, “Get back to your writing!” Justus dons black thigh-high compression shorts, a white muscle-tee which many have referred to as “wife-beaters,” his soiled socks are rolled down to the top of the black boots that Nehemiah and I bought him. With Levi’s scissors, he trims the hair on his legs.

“I’m cooking us a steak,” says Prince Nehemiah. He sneaks up behind me, and he opens the sliding glass door out onto the deck. He whispers in my ear. “You’ve been sounding like we’ve been cooking our own steak!”

“We are.”

“Rare, lean meat,” says the Prince. “That’s me.”OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL 5

“I know.”

How long have we had this house-boat? 7 years. For all intents and purposes, I intend to stay here 7 more. I know my Prince would like that. He gets so much work done here. Yes, I do. And how long have we had Camp Sporaticus? 3 years. And for all intents and purposes, it’s time to unlock the front gate. Yes, it is.

How long have we been working on this art of transitional thought? About the same, since 2031. And how long have we been working on the art of transitional visions? Seems like since yesterday. But we will get to that later.

“I wanna do a character study on The Radical Pirate,” says Rad.

“I thought you would never ask!,” I answer. “Hold that thought.” [It’s like writing normal conversation, only it isn’t normal.]

“I have been discovering Newell’s Art of Transitional Thought,” I announce proudly.netime9

[Good.]

The Ghosts Out On The Deck Revisited-[2]

 

Justus is always the last to appear. He is one of my misguided love ghosts. And he is my favorite Supra-Hero: the hooded warrior who refuses to come out from beneath his hood. I have seen him in old film clips that I have watched in the past but never really looked at because his image had not registered with me back then; but now, does it ever!pi16

 

He is a student of this Supra-Hero game, and now he performs for me what he has been learning. He performs the impossible. He is doing his supra-heroic house of mirrors effect. He sees me without even turning around to look at me. It is as though he has eyes in the back of his head. Mouth opened in disbelief, I am staring at his back. No words can come out of my mouth. With no words coming out of his mouth either and his back facing me, Justus speaks for me. He is showing me, not telling me, that he is my favorite Supra-Hero. 

 

pi19

 

I see Ca-Zac! standing in a corner of the deck like a statue. Birds are shitting and perching on his shoulders, making themselves at home. I have watched them and cleaned him. I know. When everything he believes and every word he speaks gets hidden or censured, he is still collecting his pay. Without the bread, he cannot eat, drink, and be merry.

 

YASF5

 

Ca-Zac! shows me his lower back pains and spasms after shoveling winter snow. He shows me his sore legs after skating hours on the ice. With every feeling in his heart and soul, he tells me, “I’ve made my way my way!”

 

 

pi18

 

He shows me that searching is action, and that the hungrier he gets, the more creative he gets. He shows me an honest living that I could not buy. He shows me that he can pay ten bucks for a used computer monitor, no matter what anybody else believes. It is time to shatter paradigms anyway. With Mario’s musical beats in his head, Ca-Zac! is busting paintings and busting busts in the basement of a museum. He goes ahead and spreads his views. He is going to get his black-and-blues. He is going to be a talker with tape on his fists. He is the show. He is the plan. Buckle down. Knuckle down. That is the way it goes when he has got no cash. The more food storage, the thicker the porridge.

 

pi21

 

Ca-Zac! whispers in my ear. “You know Pop Culture won’t survive, so stop struttin’ around like you own the joint. It won’t look pretty when we meet in Fist City. You see the way and talk the talk while your hoverers, followers, stalkers and snitches keep hovering! I’m ready to go man to man, toe to toe, no longer tripping over myself on competitive routes. And I will always have my rhymes. Your version of your supra-hero is my version of myself.

 

In Case You Missed It The First Time: The Ghosts Out on the Deck-[6]

“I know.”Hartford-2

How long have we had this house-boat? 7 years. For all intents and purposes, I intend to stay here 7 more. I know my Prince would like that. He gets so much work done here. Yes, I do. And how long have we had Camp Sporaticus? 3 years. And for all intents and purposes, it’s time to unlock the front gate. Yes, it is.

How long have we been working on this art of transitional thought? About the same, since 2031. And how long have we been working on the art of transitional visions? Seems like since yesterday. But we will get to that later.

“I wanna do a character study on The Radical Pirate,” says Rad.

“I thought you would never ask!,” I answer. “Hold that thought.” [It’s like writing normal conversation, only it isn’t normal.]

“I have been discovering Newell’s Art of Transitional Thought,” I announce proudly.

[Good.]

“I want to make discoveries of my own,” says Rad, “about the Radical Pirate, and I wanna find out more about myself.”

“Powerful results!,” shouts Nehemiah taking his meal out of the oven. “Profitable spirit! Or is it profitable results and powerful spirit?”pi5

“We have got to keep doing what we are doing,” I say, “regardless of the naysayers.”

“Remarks from family,” says the Prince, “friends or acquaintances.”

“Seek out one or two people,” I continue, “who support you. Who dig everything you are doing.” [Even if they don't understand.]

“Or privately disapprove of what you’re doing,” says Rad

 

But Raymond begins talking about something that not even I am thinking about. He says, “I haven’t broken many laws. I haven’t told many lies. I’ve just been jawing with the devil in paradise. In a world some think will end in fire. Some others think in ice. Second-guessing or correcting Robert Frost might not be nice, but you can’t outrun a fire is the best advice.

 

“The pecking order only gets the flames going. Fear, ego, pride. Not admitting wrong doing. Commercials all around us, might as well be sitting on shelves, while the Weather Channel shows us forces great than ourselves.”OLD SCHOOL,NEW SCHOOL 10

 

And now Rema catches my eye. I am having a hard time figuring out how old he is. What is really tripping me up is that he is admiring me! He is respecting me! And he is ready to consult me! Rema is the ghost of A-R-C__admiration, respect, and consultation. At the same time, he is showing me what it looks like to be a supra-heroic fight-dancer, and he and Raymond are a fight-dancing team with smooth legs.

 

In Case You Missed It: The Ghosts Out On The Deck-[4]

Copy of pi4

I see Ca-Zac! standing in a corner of the deck like a statue. Birds are shitting and perching on his shoulders, making themselves at home. I have watched them and cleaned him. I know. When everything he believes and every word he speaks gets hidden or censured, he is still collecting his pay. Without the bread, he cannot eat, drink, and be merry.

Ca-Zac! shows me his lower back pains and spasms after shoveling winter snow. He shows me his sore legs after skating hours on the ice. With every feeling in his heart and soul, he tells me, “I’ve made my way my way!”

He shows me that searching is action, and that the hungrier he gets, the more creative he gets. He shows me an honest living that I could not buy. He shows me that he can pay ten bucks for a used computer monitor, no matter what anybody else believes. It is time to shatter paradigms anyway. With Mario’s musical beats in his head, Ca-Zac! is busting paintings and busting busts in the basement of a museum. He goes ahead and spreads his views. He is going to get his black-and-blues. He is going to be a talker with tape on his fists. He is the show. He is the plan. Buckle down. Knuckle down. That is the way it goes when he has got no cash. The more food storage, the thicker the porridge.netime6

Ca-Zac! whispers in my ear. “You know Pop Culture won’t survive, so stop struttin’ around like you own the joint. It won’t look pretty when we meet in Fist City. You see the way and talk the talk while your hoverers, followers, stalkers and snitches keep hovering! I’m ready to go man to man, toe to toe, no longer tripping over myself on competitive routes. And I will always have my rhymes. Your version of your supra-hero is my version of myself.

Let me hear you read this my way, and then read it your way, and let’s take a vote and see who’s King of the Hill. I can have my boom-box, too. You can walk up to somebody you are playing with and glare at him, stare at him, and shoot him with your index finger. Bang! Bang! Bang! You can see the villain on the corner of Madison and Monroe. In a van. No! In a SUV. And the villain is driving. Bang! Bang! Bang! With his index finger. You thought he was going to pull out a real gun. He is just showing off a wad of dead presidents he has. You ignore him. He could not have gotten away with shooting anybody on the corner of Madison and Monroe.” pi11

Later in the spring, pouring down rain, Ca-Zac! sees Night-Hawk on a bus with some girl disguised as an 8-Ball Chick. Ca-Zac! is wearing calve-high white tube socks, rolled down to the top of his black combat boots. Where did I end up going anyway on that bus?, he whispers in the darkness.

Ca-Zac! focuses on their conversation. They are talking about “dumping delusions and demons into ditches.” The 8-Ball Chick stares at Ca-Zac! with a hypnotic gaze before Night-Hawk, with bullets in his fists, gives him a round-house right, then a round-house left.

Now, Ca-Zac! is bruising me because I am ready for him, but he is not ready for me. Ca-Zac! bruises me with his fists and his music during each and every fight-dance. With his fists and his music, he is shattering paradigms. In my search for him, I am searching to be humbled. In turn, Ca-Zac! says, without words, that I am humbling him. Yet, when I tell him that I want to talk about him, I scare him off.

I can hear him talking to himself. Damn! He wants to get to know me. I didn’t bargain for this! He wants every second of my music in his next video. pi12

When I see ten-second images of Ca-Zac!, each image shatters a lot of paradigms. This kid is pure protein. Like cottage cheese and chicken. But he is no chicken. Damn! April is nearly over. I am not trying to fool anybody. Every thought I utter is in black and white. I have nothing in fine print. So, I am not trying to trick anybody. So, I am being Googled. They are discovering my brilliance. There is no way they can throw away my stuff in some trash can. No, my stuff__my intellectual property__is destined to collect dust on library shelves.pi13

In Case You Missed It The First Time: The Ghosts Out on the Deck__2

But Raymond begins talking about something that not even I am thinking about. He says, “I haven’t broken many laws. I haven’t told many lies. I’ve just been jawing with the devil in paradise. In a world some think will end in fire. Some others think in ice. Second-guessing or correcting Robert Frost might not be nice, but you can’t outrun a fire is the best advice. OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL 6

“The pecking order only gets the flames going. Fear, ego, pride. Not admitting wrong doing. Commercials all around us, might as well be sitting on shelves, while the Weather Channel shows us forces great than ourselves.”

And now Rema catches my eye. I am having a hard time figuring out how old he is. What is really tripping me up is that he is admiring me! He is respecting me! And he is ready to consult me! Rema is the ghost of A-R-C__admiration, respect, and consultation. At the same time, he is showing me what it looks like to be a supra-heroic fight-dancer, and he and Raymond are a fight-dancing team with smooth legs. OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL 4

Rema is standing at an imaginary bus stop with me and hands me the other half of his sandwich. “I don’t need it,” he says. He is on his way to see his baby’s mama where he will have a home-cooked meal, even though he will be eating with a woman from whom he has become estranged.

I bum a cigarette off him. When he gives me the whole box of Basics, he says he does not need them. I am thinking about asking him to come over to the house-boat to read for me after his home-cooked meal when he goes and gets himself killed on the Sunday night before Memorial Day. I lose a voice this night. I lose one of my characters this night. I lose the kid who gave me the other half of his sandwich. “I don’t need it.” Do not ever say you do not need anything.OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL 3

“By example and design,” says Rema, “is how I shall lead, but first I have to take the time to sow the wild seed. I’m trying to provoke. Trying to antagonize. You might think I’m a joke. You might think that I being wise.” netime10

“The devil with his demons, full of air and full of vice have been jawing with each other in a world some think will end in fire__some others think in ice. They cannot see that mockery is flattery to me. They may not realize it ’til they’re pushing forty-three. Not claiming to be full of wisdom, not claiming to be wise, yet not beyond jawing with the devil in paradise. Still leading by example and leading by design, judge not the hen in the pig sty courting the swine.”netime3

Heroes

untitledThe intent is to perform this Mind Behind the Mask on stage, even at the fountain on the campus of the University of Diversity. There is no security cops there to tell you that you have to keep in mind that this is private property, so you’ll have to do whatever it is you’re doing someplace else.

I remember Joe Daly, Andy Brown, and Gump Worsley. They played goalie without the mask. Joe Daly is a common name, but he is not common at all. I have never seen more courage since I had seen guys like these. I see a vision of Gump lying flat on the ice after being skiced in the face by a puck.

I am focusing on my own face, whether my face is masked or not. I am that net-minder__that goal-tender__that mind behind the mask. Now Mario has got Sir Elton John blasting through the speakers. I am now back in the seventies. I am focusing on my face and assuming that my audience is getting the essence of the rest of me. You are hearing my transitional thoughts and are seeing my transitional visions. With the help from Prince Nehemiah.

“The essence of the essence is the essence,” says Prince Nehemiah. “Visions like thoughts are transitional too.” I give him the last word and say nothing.

Pittsburgh goalie Les Binkley’s face performs a series of sporadic muscles ticks which he has acquired from all of those years in goal. That is why the cameraman shoots an interview from clear across the hockey rink. If John Davidson does not mention the twitches, I would have never known about them. Davidson admits that he has ticks of his own.

I am grateful I do not have those facial ticks and twitches. Yet, I still felt what it is like to be a hockey goalie. Gary shoots another slap-shot on the frozen pond__back when ponds froze. The puck deflects off my goalie stick and smacks my mask. The sting is is a shock to my system over-bearing, yet I am able to ride it out. And I continue to play. I am feeling what it is like to be a goalie, even if it is on a frozen pond at the Country Club and not the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

In the early seventies, the Pittsburgh Penguins are wearing white with light blue trim at home and light blue with white trim when they are away. Les Binkley and Al Smith are my heroes__until Smith gets traded to Detroit for Roy Edwards. I have seen myself, head-to-toe, inside the mind and skates of Roy Edwards many times. He drifts back and forth from Detroit to Pittsburgh and back. He is not happy in Pittsburgh. He is in town tonight, in Pittsburgh, dressed as the Red Wing goalie in red.

During the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, the fans are screaming at Edwards to go home, along with a few other colorful remarks. Roy Edwards continues to stand at attention to the National Anthem with a hint of a smile on his face as he is getting cursed at. Tonight, Roy Edwards becomes one of my heroes.

An Evening Of Firsts

65The first hockey game I see is the last Pittsburgh Penguins home game of the 1970-71 campaign. The St. Louis Blues are in town on a Sunday night, a school night, I am pretty sure the date is April Seven.

 

The most vivid visions of this evening come from a fight between Penguin Goalie Al Smith and St. Louis Defense-man Barclay Plager. It is ten minutes into the first period. I do not know exactly how and why the fight broke out. Yet, there is Al Smith, our goalie, putting up his dukes against Plager. Their hockey gear falls from them and is scattered on the ice. They hold and punch each other. This is obviously a staged event; after all, it all is happening exactly ten minutes into the first period. I do not believe they are allowed to “stage” fights anymore in the National Hockey League. I am grateful they can stage them tonight.

 

The Pittsburgh and St. Louis benches clear and all the players are on the ice. Gloves and sticks and chin-pads and sweaters are scattering all over the ice. The Blue and White teams are keeping each other at bay. I watch the legendary Glenn Hall, in goal for the Blues, holding a Penguin in a half-nelson. Everybody, besides Al Smith and Barclay Plager, is trying to keep each other out of the penalty box. Or worse. Ejected.

 

Ultimately, Smith and Plager are ejected from the game, as they should be. I did not come here to see a fight. I came to see hockey players play. Right now, the ref is telling everyone on the ice to get to their locker rooms. The last half of the first period is played after a fifteen minute intermission. This is the only time two hockey teams__in one period__switch sides to begin the second after finishing the first.

 

I want to learn this evening. I do not want only Ken Forney to tell me about the offside pass, I want to see it. What is the offside pass? “That’s when the puck crosses two lines,” says the gentleman beside me. Mother is on my other side. He is a cool guy, patiently answering my questions. He shows me icing the puck, offsides, and why the guy is sitting in the penalty box as it all is happening. He shows me what Ken Forney told me. And I cannot keep my eyes off Glenn Hall.

 

These days, everybody knows the former Gator QB named Cam Newton. Well, I am seeing Pittsburgh Penguin third-string goalie with the same name. Glenn Hall is in the other goal.

 

Dad Tells Me He Likes The Paint-Job

Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, Mother points to a gift on the tree and tells me she is saving this one for last.  In my heart, I know it is my goalie mask.    The Mask becomes one of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts.   

Out in the barn, I find a broken oar used for the raft we used to take out on the pond.  This Beautiful Wooden Oar serves as my inside-the-barn goalie stick.  Dad eventually buys me the real goalie stick.  He is getting a kick out of my hockey-mania.  Out in the barn, I close myself in, because it is off the barn door I bounce this tennis ball, throwing the ball with my right arm, quickly grabbing the oar, and making the save__or not.  I am playing out hockey games in my head, over and over throwing the ball off the wall.  I am winning games and I am losing them.  And I am the best hockey goalie in the league with the best goals against average.  

Out on the frozen pond, with my car-mat-goalie-pads, I wear my mask spray-painted candy-apple-red. I had brush-painted black and green diamonds and crosses on the candy-apple red background.  I did this all down in the basement, where Dad tells me he likes the paint job.   

Out of the frozen pond, with the real hockey goalie stick and my protective cup, I am feeling what it is like stopping pucks.  I am feeling what it feels like to be a hockey goalie, even when the likes of Bobby Hull are not shooting pucks at me flying over a hundred miles an hour.

The neighborhood kids did just fine.  Gary is here.  He is the best and the greatest challenge.  He plays on an actual hockey league, with a mean slap-shot.  He shoots the puck.  I do that Tony Esposito Blooper Bowl Sunday save and the puck whacks! off my goalie stick.  Everyone, especially Gary, cheers at my spread-eagle save.  I feel what it is like to be a hockey goalie. 

Now Where Am I Going?

Ken Forney teaches me the “sound” of hockey.  Ken Forney teaches me this game called hockey.   

I see a vision of my fifteen-year-old self, sitting at the kitchen table eating lime-flavored ice-cream with the radio on, listening to another hockey game.  The hockey game is my babysitter on a Saturday night when my parents are out, and my brother is upstairs in his room.  Thank you, Mother!  Thank you, Dad!  Thank you for that sweet hockey game with the levers and the one-dimensional, flat hockey players with the same faces. 

Now, where am I going?  I see Boo pacing the deck quietly as I write, until he asks me, “Can I see what you’ve written so far?”

Before answering, I look at him from head to toe.  He shows me his best punch-poses.  The Prince and I both put up the money to buy Boo boots, tube socks, and both black and white wrestling singlet. 

“You are distracting me,” I tell him.

 “Write!,” says Boo.  “Don’t blame me for distracting you.”

“I know,” I sigh.  “You are right.” 

“Can I see what you’ve written so far,” says Boo, repeating his entreaty. 

“No.”

Boo grabs my notebook anyway.  He always gets the last word.  Soul-Mates always give their mates the last word.  He begins reading aloud:

Nineteen-seventy-one.  Blooper Bowl Sunday.  The day my Dallas Cowboys lose to the Baltimore Colts.  Pregame is televised, so I surf through channels and tune into a hockey game.  The Chicago Black Hawks versus The New York Rangers.  Surprisingly, my biological brother watches the hockey game as well.  This is the only moment I can remember when he is not a bully and does not turn the channel. 

I see on the black and white television a Ranger in dark.  It is actually blue if we have a color television.  The Ranger shoots at the point towards the Chicago home goal.  And then the magic begins. . .

Tony Esposito performs a spread-eagle save.  I am hearing the whack! of the puck deflecting off his goalie stick.  I begin to feel like him.  This fourteen, fifteen-something boy is beginning to feel like Tony Esposito.  I want to look like him and I want to be like him.57

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