Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Liquid Life (installment thirty-three)


She says she and Cassius are going to find an old ballroom and convert it into a small studio for their collaborations.

All I have to say is, “Elendele, if you hadn’t come to me when you did, you’d be the queen of a 976 sexaphone line now you little slut,” which, of course, wasn’t true and to which she answered anyway, “Dominique, I have always been concerned with life beyond Bloomindales.”

Then I began to beg. “Elendele, please baby, these things you think are all wrong. These nights in front of the Honeymooners smoking your sweet Maria, they have to keep on. I helped you. At your times of confusion I helped you. The abortion. The union happenings with Whitey. We picked up the bricks from your broken-up pile and built a little thing for us.”

“Men,” she swashbuckled me, swooshing her custard scarf, “there are simply too many of you. I couldn’t possibly throw my whole life at just one.”

“And that’s not counting the girls,” I threw in, pushing her, remorsing her. “I’m not going to let go that easy. I can get even, too. You know I had you one night in Mexico and after that you cried and I asked you why and you said it was because you were sure that you loved me.”

Then she bounced her way to the door and trilled with no malice, and delicate wrist flicking, “But I’m doing different things now Dominique. I’m doing different things.”


Zazou. That’s what they all were.

In one of Trevor’s English magazines full of ridiculous fashions that nobody wore their hair full and rich on top, but never over the eyes or the ears, in a style that was known as Anthony Eden after the British foreign secretary Elendele so despised. Even the ugliest of them was not. Their manifesto, which remained unwritten, urged them to lead lives dedicated, first and foremost, to fun and fashion. Any of Elendele’s army could have qualified for their corps.

Zazou. The invading Nazis despised them for a dearth of discipline and a maple syrup morality. The French and their blessed resistance despised Zazou for lightheartedness, cynical song-singing, during that particular trial of humanity.

The new Zazou. Now there were no invading armies. No one hated Elendele and company for anything they did. They were having fun in downtime, in a repeating sunset only over me. Elendele had promised that we would write the unwritten manifesto of Zazou together, but she’d given that up for acting’s daily auditions. Or maybe she’d forgotten. Maybe she’d been to busy living out and reviving that strange philosophy through her action.

Maybe she felt I just wasn’t the guy for the job. And I could live with that. My feeling was good riddance to all of them. I told myself I was better. Finished with all that scripted wildness. Oddly stationed earrings, nose rings, exaggerated bustiers, oceanswell hairstylings, expensive second-hand fashions, overblown credit accounts at the hot shops, the mapping out and following of every rise and fall in the hemline deigned necessary by the scions of a world I would never understand.

If everyone was a rebel, than what was the status of rebellion? With this question I had clearly found my moment in history and seized it with the flame of my dull eight-month rage. Let those paper doll revolutionaries chase themselves in a blind alley search for outrageousness, I told myself over a bottle of Bombay, alone and drawing up some kind of new map. A map that made me a rebel against rebellion and which came easy, too, as it grew out of the tramp’s endless unloadings of me.

It was decided then. I would dedicate myself to the re-creation of the gentleman. I would rid myself of slangs I had worked too hard to acquire, update, and maintain. I would scoff at the whims of the tout hip in favor of the timeless classics. I would steep myself, not in the relative terms of the older free thinkers, of the syndicalists Elendele had tried so hard to enliven for me. The revolutionary perception of these things was draped in some notion that they had failed. But they had not. See Elendele. Everywhere had their tenets been invited. Rebellion was the tool even of advertising, and it worked.

In the gentleman, and his gentle lady, if one might be found, lay the future of rebellion. And I would be its chief propagator, its Tom Paine-in-the-ass. Its soul and salesman. How different would my classic provocateurs seem in their uniform insanity; steeped as they would be in the crumbling truths of a once-great Western civilization. Long sleeping in the burned hulk of the Alexandria library, would they relearn Plato and reapply the principles of his Republic before the stylized and seductive vagaries of the modern language splicer. In the revery or Rousseau would we base our revery. In theories of franchise and freedom of the True Levelers, in the enlightened landed gentry of a departed world, where discourse and reason were pagan tools of worship, would my stock be invested.

Haywire democracy. Flat equality. Where did they leave one but with a broken heart by a woman whose free-ness left her floating and unaccountable to anything but age or the inevitable lines on her face? Two things certain to halt ever her circle meander.

I would represent that return of the linen suit, the deft expression, the refined observation in a world of raw poetic explosion thought and blatant world-spurtings.

I would put a break on humanity; reject the world of free verse with my own perfection in the iambic pentamenter, declaring the rehabilitation, the return of the well-formed and manner chevalier.

No comments: