Monday, November 8, 2010

From THE KEEPER OF WATTS

I am in Boston the day after the election. We cooked America on a Teflon grid, never mind the chef’s scrambled in their own eggs somewhere between virtual and cash, Jeff might have committed suicide, yet he still pointed at my signature, the root of it all. Yesterday the Senate ate it self in the cafeteria and The House of Rep., sold their mothers at 29% and wrote off the funeral as an asset in Afghanistan?

Enough brain wash and endless meandering, this virtual clandestine thievery, ongoing until the average checkbook looks invisible to the naked eye.

I need to know where the hell, The Keeper of Watts hangs out, if he was not HUNG out. Thus I perceived the idea of calling my brother Bill the invisible accountant of God’s Little Carnival, a Unitarian with a peg leg for prayer (he stored the last supper in the peg leg). And a true loving wife that no one could ask for more.

Fours hours and twenty one minutes later I meet him outside Grolier’s Bookstore in Cambridge. He wears a red beard and a green suit with tails, chin thicker than I knew and he carries a very large cage full of Society Finches in his left hand. They scurry madly, flicker and snick here and there, but otherwise, just your American Finches accustomed to cocooning in secret malls, TV blinked living rooms and step down dens, all on sale, but then…

He holds up the cage and smiles. We stand in the small shadows of the side street just feet from the entrance to the World’s greatest poetry bookstore and to consider the election.

“Have you considered expatriatism?” he says pointing to the Society Finches, of whom he adds, “I am buying them removable tattoos, just in case.”

“I’ll take the French Fries,” I say and he nods. The French have been screaming about retirement age in the streets again. “Mustard works,” I add.

“Miriam and I just moved the trailer to Hibiscus Point.”

“Less alcohol I suppose, but how’s the fishing?”

“Haven’t cast a thought,” he grins, tapping the bottom of the cage.

The brown and white Society Finches settle in, stretching a leg or wing now and then. They seem happy to be near Harvard, but not of it.

“I’m going to find the Keeper of Watts.”

“Good luck, Harry.”

“I sit at the curb and he joins me, placing the finch’s cage between us. It is fall and the coolness blows from the main drag blows over us.
“There’s an old joke about the guy who go all around the world to find the guru who will tell him the meaning of life and he finally meets him in Tibet and looks up into the late day and says, “I have come so far, great guru. What is the meaning of life?”’ and the guru replies, “Life is a banana,’ whereupon the man almost collapses, obviously shaken and says,’ Look, I have come clear around the World. I have given up all, my wife and children my job, my sense of consumption. I am, as you can see, I’m in rags. I am cold and you tell me life is a banana? And the guru seemingly nods and says, “Do you mean it isn’t?’

“Thus I want to talk to the Keeper, not the schlepper.”

“Didn’t you hear the version of the song,” Bill says with his lighted brown eyes, a scurried rally for the insanity of day to day? It goes like this and I know you are a better poet.
Folding up the ham.
Folding up the ham
We will come rejoicing
Folding up the ham.

“Jesus saves.”

“So I take it you are not going to Tibet.

“I’ve been to the Middle East. Met a very lovely woman in Hong Kong and another in San Francisco. I met a toad, who maintains an excellent diet in today’s world. The flyburger.”

“I’ve heard of that,” my brother says, leaning his elbows on his knees and staring out at the street, where a very tiny woman wearing a hat and pink veil walks by with an iguana on a leash. The iguana wears a wool pink suit. “In fact some of the offshoots of Monsanto have considered a genetically altered flyburger to help master world hunger.”

“With genetically altered catsup no doubt.”

“No doubt.”

“So what do make of the election, flyburger, or Jesus or whomever?”

“Well, you’re the poet,” Bill says. “You know what rhymes with bits.”

“I stopped writing poetry. My boss put all the quatrains in a plastic bottle with a sealed label and renamed them, Idols for All Occasions. Not to be taken lightly. Pop them as you please. Don’t look. Swipe the card here.”

“Harry, it really is great to see you and let me tell you, these birds,” and he strokes the cage wires gently, “really appreciate your understanding even when they know you’re the subject of rancor and contempt. And we all know from out family trees that you are only a cognizant blemish in the rhetorical eulogy based on condos in Afghanistan and a Wendy Double Stack.”

“I like to think of myself with a bit more celebration and my thoughts on the Keeper of Watts? It’s a bad waltz out there and if we keep dancing, we are going to wear out the shoes until we bleed to death from the children’s feet.”

“I suggest maybe we just talk to regular people and other toads and see if they are Keepers too.”

“How about you and Miriam and I going to Florence and hanging out with Bottcelli for a few days?’

“Great idea. Keeper comes through there on occasion they tell me?”

“Then we’ll do that. Now you got me going. Want to hear the poem?”

“You got a poem? I knew you had a poem. Is it in the bookstore?

“No, not yet. It will be. Here goes.

America votes for itself and there is no net
America, weeps a man with his right hand on his heart
and his left hand up America’s dress

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