July 2020 “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.” ― Charles Bukowski –Next Book due out later in July- entitled Retread Rubbereden 2020. Get in the car -loaded up with some pals and a trunk full of beer on ice. It’s the return of the Drive-in movie season in (What are We Watching)- “A New York City Pandemic Diary.” by Phillip Giambri (located below in What are We reading) & advance selection from Retread Rubbereden 2020 in Po of the Month.
July is for Julius
The Roman Senate named the month of July after Julius Caesar to honor him for reforming their calendar, which had degenerated into a chaotic embarrassment. Bad calculations caused the months to drift wildly across the seasons—January, for example, had begun to fall in the autumn.
The high priest in charge of the calendar, the pontifex maximus, had become so corrupt that he sometimes lengthened the year to keep certain officials in office or abbreviated it to shorten an enemy’s tenure.
Effective January 1, 45 B.C.
The new calendar went into effect on the first day of January 709 A.U.C. (ab urbe condita—”from the founding of the city [Rome]”)—January 1, 45 B.C.—and put an end to the arbitrary and inaccurate nature of the early Roman system. The Julian calendar became the predominant calendar throughout Europe for the next 1600 years until Pope Gregory made further reforms in 1582.
Certain countries and institutions in fact adhered to this ancient system until well into the twentieth century: the Julian calendar was used in Russia until 1917 and in China until 1949, and to this day the Eastern Orthodox church adheres to Caesar’s calendar.
The month Julius replaced Quintilis (quintus = five)—the fifth month in the early Roman calendar, which began with March before the Julian calendar instituted January as the start of the year. Unfortunately, Caesar himself was only able to enjoy one July during his life—the very first July, in 45 B.C. The following year he was murdered on the Ides of March.
by Borgna Brunner
What are We Watching ? Return of the Drive in Theater Season- opens July 4th- Double features start at dusk- don’t forget to visit the concession stand –
Opening up with a double feature presenting a couple of classic 60’s Spaghetti Film Noir Westerns-
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian title: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, lit. “The Good, the Ugly, the Bad”) is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles respectively. The screenplay was written by Age & Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni, and Leone (with additional screenplay material and dialogue provided by an uncredited Sergio Donati), based on a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film’s sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the film’s score, including its main theme. It was a co-production between companies in Italy, Spain, West Germany, and the United States.
The film is known for Leone’s use of long shots and close-up cinematography, as well as his distinctive use of violence, tension, and stylistic gunfights. The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find fortune in a buried cache of Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of the American Civil War (specifically the New Mexico Campaign in 1862), while participating in many battles and duels along the way. The film was the third collaboration between Leone and Clint Eastwood, and the second with Lee Van Cleef.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was marketed as the third and final installment in the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. The film was a financial success, grossing over $25 million at the box office. Because of general disapproval of the Spaghetti Western genre at the time, critical reception of the film following its release was mixed, but it gained critical acclaim in later years. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is now seen as a highly influential example of the Western film genre and one of the greatest films of all time.
Once Upon a Time in the West (Italian: C’era una volta il West) is a 1968 epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Henry Fonda, cast against type, as the villain, Charles Bronson as his nemesis, Claudia Cardinale as a newly widowed homesteader, and Jason Robards as a bandit. The screenplay was written by Sergio Donati and Leone, from a story by Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci and Leone. The widescreen cinematography was by Tonino Delli Colli, and the acclaimed film score was by Ennio Morricone.
After directing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Leone decided to retire from Westerns and desired to produce his film based on The Hoods, which eventually became Once Upon a Time in America. However, Leone accepted an offer from Paramount Pictures to provide access to Henry Fonda and to use a budget to produce another Western film. He recruited Bertolucci and Argento to devise the plot of the film in 1966, researching other Western films in the process. After Clint Eastwood turned down an offer to play the movie’s protagonist, Bronson was offered the role. During production, Leone recruited Donati to rewrite the script due to concerns over time limitations.
The original version by the director was 166 minutes (2 hours and 46 minutes) when it was first released on December 21, 1968. This was the version that was to be shown in European cinemas and was a box office success. For the US release on May 28, 1969, Once Upon a Time in the West was edited down to 145 minutes (2 hours and 25 minutes) by Paramount and was a financial flop. The film is considered by some to be the first installment in Leone’s Once Upon a Time Trilogy, followed by Duck, You Sucker!, called Once Upon a Time… the Revolution in parts of Europe, and Once Upon a Time in America, though the films do not share any characters in common.
The film is now generally acknowledged as a masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made. In 2009, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.
What are we Reading ?- A New York City Pandemic Diary from fellow poet & brother Phillip Giambri
“A New York City Pandemic Diary” will be published as the Editorial feature in the next edition of “Revista de traduceri literare” (Review of Literary Translations) in Bucharest, Romania, and may also be released in additional language translations. European writer friends have watched in horror the decline of the American Experiment and I was asked for a first-person account of my life in New York City during the pandemic and racial protests. The diary is a compilation of daily comments, poems, and personal feelings.
A New York City Pandemic Diary by Phillip Giambri aka The Ancient Mariner
Returning from a writer’s conference in Texas with my lady in March, I develop what I assume to be a severe cold complicated by seasonal allergies. Sick and alone at home for ten days, I recover to find the world I knew disintegrating around me. Thinking that I may have had a milder case of Corona Virus, I am grateful for surviving but find that I’m unable to resume the post-retirement life I’ve been joyously living as a writer/performer.
I can no longer dine out, socialize, perform in clubs, or roam my neighborhood on daily adventures. I’ve lost my gym, and the friends I’ve made there over many years. I leave my apartment infrequently in search of non-meat foods that I can eat. Today, leaving a market, a homeless woman spots yogurt in my clear plastic shopping bag and says, “Can I have one?” I hand her one. She looks disparagingly at it and says, “Lo-fat vanilla? Is that all ya’ got?” and suddenly I’m apologizing for not offering a better selection, “That’s all they had. Sorry, it’s not my favorite either.”
Not cooking, I exist on smoothies, PB&J, and tuna sandwiches; things I haven’t eaten in a long time. I guess college-dorm dry ramen packs are next. Perhaps the most uplifting is the generosity of neighbors who leave bags of homemade bread, soups, and fruit pies by my door without note or comment. Home cooking is back in style in the East Village. I’m grateful. Nightly, I clap/salute front-line workers at 7, watch movies while sipping a vodka on the rocks, and retire early. My heart grieves as I observe the daily body count escalating beyond comprehension. Each morning brings a repeat of yesterday and each day melds into a hazy ambiguity. That other life now seems a dream or fantasy; hard to imagine or grasp as once real.
Trapped in a looped rerun of “Groundhog Day” with no apparent exit, my lover and I remain segregated and alone by government decree, in separate parts of the city, each fearing we’d infect the other. Separated since mid-March, our relationship now exists solely by phone, Facebook, or Zoom. Can any love survive under such deadly and depressing circumstances? We wonder aloud and hope for the best.
After a lifetime attempting to meditate and failing, I’ve unexpectedly fallen into a form of it during my quarantine. I spend countless hours in a seemingly suspended state of disconnection that I believe to be a product of my Navy submarine service during the Cold war where I was conditioned to disconnect from emotional distractions and to focus only on my assigned mission. It worked fine in the military but isn’t working well here at all. I can successfully disconnect emotionally for hours but haven’t been able to focus on writing, reading, or any important artistic endeavors that had motivated my life prior to the pandemic. Corona Malaise overwhelms my imagination and cripples the muse who provides the words I write.
March 9, 2020 Full of false braggadocio, foolish enthusiasm, and having no real idea of what was about to happen: “Fuck Corona Virus. I’m gonna’ be 79 soon and I’m pretty sure I’d rather die quickly from that than leaky colon cancer and a colostomy bag. Too old to give a SHIT! Literally.” March 12, 2020 I find it quite astounding that average people don’t have enough toilet paper at home to last two weeks. It’s not like this virus causes diarrhea and you have to crap twenty times a day. WTF? March 16, 2020 Sad that our trip to The Dominican Republic this month will have to be canceled. Was so lookin’ forward to hangin’ with the guys in the warm sun. March 25, 2020 Now that the shit’s goin’ down, who ya’ gonna’ call ….. two NYC born and bred Italian Americans with the balls to speak truth to power, the brains and honesty to speak truth to frightened Americans, and the decency, empathy, and genuine caring that make our orange POTUS look like what he really is, a stupid coward who tries to bully his way out of everything. YO! Thank you, Andy and Tony. Forget the cannoli, bring the ventilators. March 29, 2020 Funny how quickly my world changed. Gentrification now seems like such an irrelevant and naive topic for conversation. A sudden tectonic plate shift in new priorities dominates everything and everyone’s perception of a newly emerging reality. “Nothing is lost but it changes.” – Anais Nin April 5, 2020 Why I love NYC: 7:00 PM St. Marks Place erupts in clapping, banging, and a very loud heartbreaking Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” blasting from somewhere. “We’re coyotes. This ain’t the first or the worst we’ve seen. We’re street smart and we ain’t dead yet!” – from The Amorous Adventures of Blondie and Boho (Two East Village Dive Bar Coyotes). April 13, 2020 Love survives the pain. Hang on.
April 18, 2020 Watching “One World Together” and am so moved by the workers, artists, and corporations who are struggling and yet are supporting the WHO with large investments and donations while our faux president is trying to defund them and other corporations are getting billions in bailouts sucking the remaining life from our failing government. No hope left for Democracy in this failed Republic. So sad to see this in my lifetime.
April 22, 2020 Sad watching the actual end of life as I knew it disintegrating before me. What will the world become after this shitstorm ends and governments completely failed us? Have we learned anything or will the Political/Corporate Empire win again and continue to destroy life on this planet? “Earth Day” has become the new corporate slogan to make greed and environmental destruction acceptable to we vulnerable idealists. They sold us all out. “The Awakening” will probably not happen and everyone will go back to the same old shit that got us here. Sad for us all!
April 24, 2020 Who are the Real Heroes? I enlisted in the Navy when I was eighteen. As a result of dangerous and life-threatening incidents in the Submarine Service, I learned to be a responsible adult because everyone’s life depended on the honesty, skills, dedication, and performance of everyone else. No fakin’ it on a submarine. You either measure up or shipmates can die. No “fuckups” allowed. I learned, grew, and became a “qualified” submariner. I left the Navy a richer person than the immature teenager who wanted to get away from home and get laid. I never really considered myself brave, selfless, or heroic, I just did my job and tried to be sure that I wouldn’t be the one who fucked up and killed 120 shipmates or broke down and cried when shit got bad. I was honestly more afraid of that than of dying. No hero, me. We are now confronted with a horror of unimaginable magnitude and a federal government that refuses to commit to its responsibility, I find my beloved city and my state in a situation where healthcare workers, EMTs, firefighters, Police, Sanitation Workers, Transit Workers, janitors, bodega workers, and all the other “essential workers” who’ve labored at minimum wage and daily endanger their lives and the lives of their families to protect us, save us, and provide us with the basics of daily survival are left without the equipment and staffing they need to protect themselves and their families. They work in horrific situations that I can’t even imagine, lacking the tools they need to save lives, protect themselves, and their families. Their lives are now lived in fear, exhaustion, and isolation as they watch fellow New Yorkers die terrified and alone. Who in their right mind would sign up for that? I am humbled yet again by the selflessness of my neighbors who go to work daily trying to save lives and protect my sorry ass. At this late stage in my life, I can only attempt to salute the real everyday heroes who do it without any promise or prospect of reward. We bang pots, clap, and make noise every night at 7:00 pm to honor their sacrifice knowing that our government will not respect, equal, or match our appreciation for their sacrifice. YOU ARE OUR REAL HEROES! I’m just a grateful grumpy old Vet who isn’t worthy enough to shine your shoes. The woods are burning and you are asked to fight the fires with garden hoses. Shame on our government for failing you. April 25, 2020 At this stage, most New Yorkers have lost someone they know. With a flat line around 450 deaths a day, the nightmare goes on.
April 26, 2020 Food vs. Naked Women I haven’t cooked for years. I eat out. I love eating out. After forty-eight days in quarantine, I’m fantasizing a lot about sitting in one of my favorite local restaurants, ordering a Manhattan straight up, savoring a mouth-watering meal, and ending with a double espresso and dessert. Will I ever see that again? Who knows? One can dream, can’t one? These times once again harken back to my days as a submariner. Reaching the end of a sixty-day patrol in the North Atlantic, we received word that our patrol was being extended because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Food rations were getting critical after a few days of the extension and after a week we were down to coffee, pimento cream cheese spread, and powdered French onion soup. Things were getting bad but submariners have a way of always coping. In the days long before politically correct, most naval ships were heavily decorated with foldouts of nude women from Playboy and other “nudie mags” of the era. Our crew started fantasizing about food, glorious meals, mouthwatering delicacies, and desserts of every kind. Soon, the “nudies” were all replaced with beautiful color pictures of food and sumptuous meals clipped from magazines and hung everywhere, even more so on the walls of our Mess Hall. When our emergency extension finally ended, we returned to Scotland, and restocked our freezers and food lockers with filet-mignon, lobster tails, canned crab-meat, and other incredible delicacies we had been fantasizing about those long hungry days. The food photos were replaced once again with our favorite centerfolds. Comment this day: This horror will end, we will all rejoice for a week, and then go back to the same old stupid shit we were doing before. “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
April 27, 2020 Top Manhattan ER doc commits suicide, shaken by corona-virus onslaught April 28, 2020 If all was good in the world, The Blue Angels would have flown by and dropped a few tons of testing swabs but I guess this wasn’t about helping; it was showbiz. Just received in the mail a well-made, washable, protective mask from “Big Sexy” in Los Angeles, CA. The only “Big Sexy” I know moved from NYC and returned to her hometown in Australia a few years ago. Whoever this “Big Sexy” is, thank you from a grateful New Yorker in the thick of the soup here. Joke of the Day: First, we hear alcohol may prevent the virus… now research suggests the opposite. Then we’re told heat and humidity has no effect but wait… direct sunlight might quickly kill the virus. So, if you come across an old guy standing in the sun in front of a building on St. Marks Place, intoxicated and naked, leave me alone… I’m conducting important medical research.
April 29, 2020 NY Times: Dozens of Decomposing Bodies Found in Trucks at Brooklyn Funeral Home The funeral home director said that he used the trucks for storage after he ran out of space in his chapel. “Bodies are coming out of our ears,” he said.
May 2, 2020 St. Marks Place is pretty busy today with about 1/3rd of the people feeling they don’t need masks or gloves. They’re mostly thirty-somethings and under.
May 3, 2020 On 1st Avenue in East Village NYC. Hipster joggers beware.
May 5, 2020 In this pandemic, New Yorkers are acting the way all Americans used to act in times of peril and disaster. I’m proud to live here and so very happy I live in a state where we’re not being forced to go back to work in a contaminated meat-packing plant because we’ll lose our unemployment if we don’t. Never liked this governor but he rose to the occasion and put the needs of his people
above his political agenda, unlike Old Orange Face whose re-election plans are to try to revive the economy by tripling the amount of lost American lives. The Statue of Liberty is weeping.
La Palapa on St. Marks near 1st Ave has a line outside waiting for Cinco de Mayo takeout orders. The security guy was handing out free t-shirts to everyone in line. Nice gesture neighbor.
May 17, 2020 Really? No masks on you Millennials hangin’ in front of takeout bars on Sunday night without safe distancing? A mask around your neck is not a mask. Is the plan to kill off all of us old Boomers? Good luck with that. We’ve survived worse shit without getting trophies just for showing up and Keith Richards is our mentor. Fuck ya’ll.
May 26, 2020 Yes, the deaths are going down in NYC but why do I keep hearing of more every day from friends and families? It hurts.
May 29, 2020 This is not the America we studied in Civics Class. Maybe the problem is that we dropped Civics class in schools and the following generations never learned or understood clearly who and what we were/are supposed to be. We are not and never were Red States and Blue States. We are the United States and yet we find ourselves permanently split into angry factions and on the brink of becoming a third-rate banana republic. So sad to watch the American Dream fade not just for us, but for the whole world that aspired to be us. We blew it. The Great American Experiment in Democracy has failed. Shame on all of us. We should have been better than this.
May 30, 2020 Peaceful protest march tonight from Tompkins Square park marching west on St. Marks Place with drums beating, signs hoisted, and passing under my window. Looked to be 200-300 or maybe even a bit more. Seven police walking along the sidewalk together keeping an eye on things. Nice mixed group of mostly younger folks. That’s a positive sign.
May 31, 2020 After watching hundreds of peaceful protesters march along my street last night I awoke this morning to reports of “rioting and looting” on 2nd Avenue near my block. I couldn’t believe that the people I saw last night would engage in rioting and looting. This morning I went out an toured the “riot” zone alone 2nd Avenue. First stop was the Verizon store on 2nd near St. Marks Place. I hope the sign that was posted there is true and that this was not my neighbors. Next broken windows were at Moishe’s Bakery and the last I saw was at Apple Bank, the former site of Fillmore East. That’s the only damage I saw and it seems very deliberate in the choices of damage; a large national communications company, what was for years a landmark Jewish bakery (flashback to Kristallnacht), and a bank. Rioting and looting doesn’t seem to have been the objective here but rather sowing hate and dissent. I truly hope it was not my neighbors who would do this. We’re better than this. This time is mine now. You were not my voice. I am now my voice I will be heard and this time you will listen.
June2, 2020 E. V. Grieve on Facebook: Windows were smashed at the Gap Women, Kmart and Starbucks on Astor Place
June 4, 2020 When I served in the Navy Submarine Force, my life was in the hands of black, brown, red, yellow, and white brother submariners. We were friends, we were combatants, we were shipmates and we had each other’s backs when shit got bad. We trained, we sweated and we bled together. We came together from all parts of the country; we came from all religions. We were a society unto ourselves. We worked as a team, a well-oiled machine. We had each other’s back That was what we did. The only color we saw was Navy Blue We were and always will be brothers. Racism is never okay and should never be tolerated.
June 6, 2020 I still remember when American soldiers were ordered to fight enemies on foreign shores, not fellow Americans here at home. With all of the highest-ranking retired military condemning this administration’s coup attempts, I can’t fathom how anyone who ever served in the military can still support such anti-American “wrecking ball” destruction of the constitution and the rule of law.
Dreamers How did we get to this place? We were a nation of dreamers We were a nation of idealists We were a nation of accomplishment. We were a nation that valued the rule of law. But we are a nation that dreams only white dreams. We are a nation based on consumerism not need. We are a nation based on capitalism, not charity. We are a nation that values the rule of law for US, not all. We are not the United States imagined by founders but we can be if we start again and dream a different dream a fair and just dream. June 11, 2020 Until today I was just another dive bar Coyote prowlin’ the neighborhood in my disposable blue CVS protective mask. Now I’ve joined the Saint Marks fashion elite in my new handmade protective mask with original graphics by local artist Sarah Sweeney. Her friend makes the masks and Sarah provides original graphics. They’re offering these very cool, stylish, and original masks for $25 with ALL of the proceeds being donated to the ACLU. Sarah’s on Facebook if you want to message her and get one. They’ll probably be collectibles in a few years ’cause she that freakin’ good.
June 14, 2020 These Times Dreadin’ these times yet wedded to these times. We shook the bottle ‘til it blew up and we still ain’t grew up. Now we screamin’ at the system that we allowed to become us ‘til it’s eaten the core of us yet we all still suckin’ on its tit. We are not the victims, we are the cause. We’ve been bought, sold, and delivered to the highest bidder while Mitch the Bitch spins the wheel and everybody loses.
June 18, 2020 Well, the Zombie Apocalypse has arrived but not with the expected grey-faced, returnees from the dead staggering toward you with arms outstretched and ready to kill you. No, it turns out they’ve come cleverly disguised as Millennial’s and Hipsters staggering in front of bars with takeout designer cocktails, wearing masks around their necks, if at all, and not bothering to socially distance, not caring if they inadvertently infect and cause the death of some local geezers. Scarier for me than those B Movie zombies for sure.
June 20, 2020 After weeks of news coverage showing large crowds lining my street not social distancing, masks around necks (if at all), drinking takeout drinks from local bars and restaurants the Governor of NY was furious and threatened to remove liquor licenses for any establishments serving drinks and allowing customers to loiter out front partying. It worked. This week most bars and restaurants posted signs saying that they’re no longer serving alcoholic drinks and/or posting signs that loitering is not permitted. My next-door neighbor posted this amazing picture of our deserted block with available parking spaces on a Saturday night in Summer. Last Saturday the street and sidewalks were overwhelmed by young partyers and traffic jams.
June 25, 2020
Months of isolation, distancing,
lack of interaction with others,
watching daily death tolls mount into absurdity
and catastrophic national political failures
eventually caused me to emotionally disconnect;
for self-preservation, I guess.
No new life experiences
other than loneliness and despair
have slowly eaten into my identity
and the perception of who I am.
Music and photo were always a means of
connecting to memories and emotions
but they now seem detached
as though they were someone else’s
or that I read about or saw in a movie or play.
I still see them in my mind or in pictures
but they no longer belong to me
or connect emotionally.
When this pandemic ends
and life enters a new “normal”
will I emerge with a new identity
bereft of past life experiences
beginning life anew at 79 years old?
I hope that as I emerge from isolation
and engage with others in the new reality
that I will be able to reconnect
to the me that was
and enjoy the memories of past life
experiences, emotions, and loves
“A New York City Pandemic Diary.” “A New York City Pandemic Diary.”
“The Ancient Mariner”
Phillip Giambri left home at eighteen and never looked back. He’s seen and done what others dream of or fear. That’s how he lives and that’s what he writes.
His 2016 book Confessions of a Repeat Offender is a compilation of his performance stories and poems. His 2017 chapbook Love Borne in Retrograde is a collection of love poems and erotica. His work has appeared in From Somewhere to Nowhere: The End of the American Dream (Unbearables Anthology 2017) Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of 100 Poets with Yuyutsu Sharma, Home Planet News (Issues #2 and #5), Sensitive Skin Magazine, Artists in the Kitchen, “Walt’s Corner” (The Long Islander), Silver Birch Press, NewYorkCityTalking.com and the prestigious Revista de traduceri literare (Review of Literary Translations) no. 5 (Bucharest, Romania). He has been featured in a 2016 New York Times story/interview, The Villager, Chelsea News, and in 2017 on WBAI’s “Talk Back” FM radio with Corey Kilgannon. He was also a featured poet at the historic Club A in Bucharest, Romania.
Phillip produced and curated a popular monthly spoken word/poetry event, Rimes of The Ancient Mariner for five years, is Associate Producer Off-Broadway production of “Intrusion” (Written and performed by Qurrat Ann Kadwani), as well as special collaborative events with other artist/performers; Barflies & Broken Angels, The Nickie, Jameson, and Fred Show, What the Hell Is Love?, The Losers Club, Are You Dangerous, What Were the ‘60s Really like? New York Story Exchange, and 10 Penny Comedy Show. www.AncientMarinerTales.com.
New work from my good friend Anthony Murphy- Shiftless
To order :
Today we’re celebrating the official release of Rimes Associate Producer and Silver Tongued Devil Anthony (Murph) Murphy’s new book, SHIFTLESS. Gotta’ say I honestly love this book and posted the below review on Goodreads:
“I’ve met a lot of former blue-collar boys from factory towns in England and they all share a swagger, an attitude, and a survivor superiority that I’ve never encountered anywhere else. Anthony C. Murphy’s character Sean is a “factory boy” in spades. Murphy elegantly expresses the nuances, the slang, the “in your face” bullies, the broken families, the dark and damp mustiness of the homes, factories, and towns that breed these unique and often charming individuals. Sean’s story is totally captivating, is peppered with dark humor, and captures the smells, the tastes, and the characters he encounters on his life journey. A joyous story from a gifted writer. Highly recommend this book.”
“The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
“It is unfortunate that in most cases when the sins of the father fall on the son it is because unlike God, people refuse to forgive and forget and heap past wrongs upon innocent generations.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly,
Shiftless by Anthony C Murphy is set in the late 80s primarily in Rochdale a town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines on the River Roch, northwest of Oldham and northeast of Manchester. Shiftless is an episodic narrative that falls somewhere between William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch and James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young man. Dispensing with traditional novel structure entirely we are immersed in a stream of consciousness recall as memory disjointed from paragraph to paragraph. If this work had been written in the 1950s it might have been recognized as a Beat classic of the era. The British equivalent of the literary movement of time as The “angry young men” were a group of mostly working- and middle-class British playwrights and novelists who became prominent in the 1950s. The group’s leading figures included John Osborne and Kingsley Amis. The phrase was originally coined by the Royal Court Theatre‘s press officer in order to promote Osborne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger. It is thought to be derived from the autobiography of Leslie Paul, founder of the Woodcraft Folk, whose Angry Young Man was published in 1951. Shiftless is an account of the rights of passage of youth aimless, living day to day to having to face the reality of mortality in light of the authors’ father sudden passing. The journey between England and Ireland is an attempt to reconcile the contradictions between the paterfamilias origin and ironic events to a final resting place in Cork a city in south-west Ireland, in the province of Munster. Shiftless attempts to bring to resolution, reconciliation and peace to the mind and heart of his father’s life to a sons perspective. Rich in colloquial language and dialect the result is authentic linguistic history lesson in the terms of daily expression in the time period the work was written. The setting, tone and atmosphere of Shiftless owes much to Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by British author Alan Sillitoe and that won the Author’s Club First Novel Award. It was adapted by Sillitoe into a 1960 film starring Albert Finney. While Shiftless is somewhat biographical the work raises the question of just to what degree fact and fiction influence the creative process. Perhaps it might be considered that reality are the facts that dedicated to us, while the author conveys fiction as reordering of what is retold between the lines of truth and fancy.
-Vincent Quatroche 5/2/2020
If you’ve ever lived in the East Village and have fond memories of the funky times you had there, don’t bother goin’ back. It ain’t there anymore unless ya’ got $4,000 a month to pay for rent and wanna hang out with hipsters buying $14 designer cocktails. You can still find some good memories of the last days of “cool” in the EV in my new novelette “The Amorous Adventures of Blondie and Boho (Two East Village Dive Bar Coyotes).”
…… available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1513657992/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Part Kerouac remembering his family while drinking beer, part Thomas Wolfe writing on the top of his refrigerator to the dead in Brooklyn. This isn’t drive-by authenticity or maudlin sentimentally; more like razor-sharp raw oral tradition that leaps off the page. In this series of episodic vignettes – at times you can hear the Last Exit voice of Hubert Shelly Jr. as Norman Mailer’s mouthpiece when he was on the Lower East Side in the 1950’s founding the Village Voice and writing shorts stories like The Time of her Time. But ultimately this is Giambri’s personal resurrection and homage to lost souls and a forgotten urban world of Terrible Now back then. The illustrations (by Linda Wulkan) are superb – Edwin Hopper with a pencil counterpoints the word jazz.” – Vincent Quatroche
Daniel Canada aka Obsidian
ALSO CHECK OUT MY 2 BOOKS “THE SHAITAN” & “HOBO HANDBOOK: MEMOIRS OF A HOMELESS POET IN NEW YORK” SOLD AT THESE LOCATIONS:
Barnes & Noble Bookstore: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shaitan-daniel-canada/1123886050?ean=2940152342888
Kobo Bookstore: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-shaitan
What were We thinking ? No. We are not out of the woods as of this date. Sure things have improved in NY State- but the rest of the country ? The jury is decidedly out. Way out
What are We listening to ?
July pic hit(s)
Frequent updates to the Rubber Eden Jukebox always pending
The Temptations– Ball of Confusion– Radio edit
(all titles can be cut/pasted in search engines to listen to)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe- Strange things are happening everyday- Jukebox Version
Echo and the Bunnymen–Bring on the Dancing Horses– LP version
New Order- True Faith-Title Track
Translator– Necessary Spinning– Album version
Triola -Mondlied –Pop Ambient 2005
Stanley Turrentine –Look out –Title track
801- Tomorrow Never Knows– Live
Art Farmer & Benny Golson- Killer Joe- Jazztet
Bob Dylan– Subterranean Homesick Blues- Bringing it all back home
Joni Mitchell -Case of you– Blue
Eddie Lockjaw Davis- in the kitchen- Cook book Vol 1
Jethro Tull- Micheal Collins, Jeffery and me- Benefit
Joni Mitchell-Sweet Sucker Dance– Mingus
Brian Eno- Stiff -Nerve Net – Bonus Track rare
The Temptations- Papa was a rolling stone– Extended Mix
George McCrae– Rock Your Baby– 45 Single extended edit
Pharoah Sanders– Harvest time– Pharoah
Lou Donaldson– Here T’is– Blue Note
Dropkick Murphys – The season was upon upon us – In Retrospect
Joni Mitchell – River– Blue
The Avalanches–Frontier Psychiatrist – Since I left you
Dizzy Gillespie– November Afternoon-Something old- Something new
Garbage– Special– Redux R & B Re-Mix
Lambert,Hendricks & Ross- Halloween Spooks– Flying High
Chet Baker- if ever I should lose you -Diane
War- Four Cornered Room-World is a Ghetto
The Quick– Zulu – Extended Dance Mix Single
Nils Frahm & Ólafur Arnalds – Life Story –love & Glory (for my old friend Ben T)
Jim Ed Brown –Pop a top again- Jukebox cut
Bryan Ferry– In Your Mind–Title Track
Firmament and the Elements– frothy muggament– Radio Edit
Mulatu Astatqé – Éthiopiques 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale 1969-1974 (Full Album)
Siouxsie and the Banshees– Kiss them for me- Superstition
Small Faces– Itchycoo Park– Wham Bam Thank you Mam
Donovan– Way down below the Ocean –Atlantis
Echo & the Bunnymen-Bring on the Dancing Horses-Songs to Learn & Sing
Lovin Spoonful– Hot Time Summer in the City –Hums of the Lovin Spoonful
Big Joe Turner –Chicken and the Hawk– Atlantic Recordings
Joe Tex– Skinny Legs and all- Juke Box Single
Plumbline Rodger Eno– Adaptation- Transparencies
William Boroughs –Advice for Young People– Dead City Radio
Wes Montgomery, Milt Jackson & George Shearing- Wes and Friends – Full LP
Jan Garbarek- Brother Wind March– Twelve Moons
Chet Baker & Paul Bley- Diane– If I should lose you
Nils Petter Molvaer- Khmer– Title Track
Fela Kuti- Shuffering and Shmiling– Extended New Year Groove Version
Joe Turner- Lipstick, Powder and Paint- Meyers Jukebox edition
Harry Connick Jr. -The Last payday- Blue Light
Pharaoh Sanders- All night Sucker punch LP– Harvest Time
Lucky Thompson– They didn’t believe me– Willow Weep for Me
Stars of Lid– Artificial Pine Arch Song– The Ballasted Orchestra
Earth Wind and Fire– September- Live old school SFX Video
Rubber Rodeo – She Had to go- Extended EP version
Hank Mobley– Another Workout- Title Track
Eric Burden and War-Spill the Wine-Jukebox 45 single
Dusty Fletcher– Open the door Richard– 1947
Wim Mertens You see– A Man with no fortune with a name to come
Jim Ed Brown –Pop a top again- Jukebox cut
The Tremeloes -Here Comes My Baby- 1967
Soul Makossa– Manu Dibango
ANNA MEREDITH – Taken
Lee Gamble– Mnestic Pressure– Title Track
The Normal– Warm leatherette–
Anna Meredith– Nautilus- Varmints
John Surman– Pattern one– Withholding Pattern
Tangerine Dream –Risky Business -Original Soundtrack
Brian Eno– No One Receiving– Before and After Science
Johnny Hartman – I just dropped by to say hello– Ballads
Ry Cooder– Bolero Sonambulo – Mambo Sinuendo
New Order– Your Silent Face– Power, Corruption & Lies
Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian– Noosphere– Not Two, Not One
Charlie Haden & Kenny Baron -Twilight Song– Night And the City
The Temptations– Ball of Confusion-Sky’s the Limit
The Cure– Just Like Heaven– Kiss me 3X
Deacon Blue– He looks like Spenser Tracy Now– Raw Town
Mathias Eick- The Door-Title Track
The Gerry Mulligan Quartet- Festive Minor -What is there to say ?
Champion Jack Dupree – Nasty Boogie– 1958
Moby- These Systems are Failing– The Void Pacific Choir
Charlie Parker- The Original Bird –( Savoy 1944-49 – Vinyl Album)
Dexter Gordon- Body & Soul– Round Midnight Soundtrack
Nils Petter Molovear -Frozen– Streamer
Leonard Cohen– Chelsea Hotel-New Skin for an Old Ceremony.
Fripp Roach Fryman– Trance spiritz –Seeker
Steely Dan– Gold Teeth- Katy Lied
Jack DeJohnette (w/ Bill Frisell) –The Elephant Sleeps– …but still remembers
Earnest Tubbs– Walking the floor over you –The Definitive Collection
The Tubes– TV is King– Remote Control
Eberhard Weber- French Diary – Endless Days
John Surman– Portrait of a Romantic- Private City
Roach Reyes Saiz- Distant look- Suspended memories/forgotten gods
Bishop- Johnson et all– One finger Snap– Walk Spirit- Talk Spirit
Anat Fort- Morning Good- A Long Story
The Fire Balls– Bottle of Wine– 45 Single
Brain McBride– Overture- For the Other Half’s
Dave Peck– Every time we say Goodbye- 3 on 1
Apex Twins– Vordhosbn – Drukqs
Frank Zappa– What’s New in Baltimore ?- Meets Mothers of Prevention
Dead Can Dance -The Carnival is Over- Into the labyrinth
New Order- Age of Consent- Power Corruption & Lies
Eric Taylor -Peppercorn Tree -Hollywood pocket knife
Bill Morrissey – 23rd Street- Something I saw or I thought I saw
Enrico Pieranunzi -Marc Johnson-Joey Baron– Ninfa Plebea- Play Morricone (live in Japan)
Spunkshine– Reflective Temperature- Distorting the Hertzian Wave
Patrick O’Hearn– Sea –Transitions
Hammock– Will you ever love yourself ?- Raising your Voice-Trying to stop an Echo
Thelonious Monk– Evidence- Live Monterrey Jazz Fest 1964
James Hunter-Walk Away-People will Talk
Gillian Welch– Title Track- The Revelator
Joey Frehrenbach– Behold –Mellowdrama
Floating Points– Sals- Shadows (ep)
Miles Davis Quintet – If I was Bell- Live at the Blackhawk SF 1961
Northcape– into Sunlight- Captured from Static
Charles Mingus– Blue Gee- The Clown
Steve Roach– The Memory- Empetus
Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Sitt, Sonny Rollins –Title Track- Sonny Side Up
John Abercrombie/Ralph Towner– Over and Gone–Sargasso Sea
Jan Garbarek (et al)- Dansere -Title Track disc 3/3
The Residents– Micky Macaroni- Demons Dance Alone
Stenson, Jormin & Motian -Send in the Clowns- Goodbye
Fredric Chopin– Nocturnes (3) – For Piano OP 9 Ct. 108-110
Steve Roach – Structures from silence- Structures from Silence
Terje Rypdal– I disremember very well- Rarum- Selected Recordings Vol 7
Big Joe Turner -Jumpin at the Jubilee – Chrono 1949-1950
Pat Anvo -Spiegel for Viola & Piano –Nicola Ben-Fentasic
Peter Gabriel – On the Map- Long Walk Home
Paul Motian – Yahilah- Old/New Masters
Eno/Hyde– DBF- High Life
Eilen Jewell -No place to go- Boundary Country
Stars of Lid – Austin Mental Hospital- The Tired Sounds of…
Louie Armstrong – Muggles- IV Armstrong & Earl Hines
Charles Mingus- Memories of You (alternative take 3)-East Coasting
Sanjay Mishra- Mirror- Chateau Benares
Champion Jack Dupree- County Jail Special- Penitentiary Blues (Songs to do hard time by)
Edo Castro- Chance of Rain- Phoenix
Rodger Eno- A Paler Sky- Voices
Jan Gabarek- Molde Canticle –I took up Runes
Helen Jane Long- Echo- Porcelain
John Danley- Cemeteries – Missed Trains & Blue Skies
Jack DeJohnette -Music in the Key of Om- Golden Beams Collected
Coeur Saignant – Marsen Jules– Les Fleurs
Oliver Nelson – Cascades – Blues and Abstract Truth
Pat Metheny – Sueno Con Mexico – Cafe Del Mar Vol 3
Pastoral – Northcape – Captured from Static
Terje Rypdal – That’s more like it – Vossabrygg
Bobo Stenson Trio – La Peregrinacion- Indicum
Jimmy Forest – By the River St. Marie – Out of the Forest
Charles Mingus- Myself When I am real- Mingus plays Piano
Nels Cline Singers – Ghost of the Pinata – Instruments
Joe Turner -Lipstick, Powder & Paint – Best of
Blind – TV on the Radio– Young Liars
Eno – Lux 4- Lux
Liquid Mind- Thought Museum-Liquid Mind V Serenity
Windy & Carl -ode to a dog- Eternal Struggle
John Zorn- Zhakor- Film works XlV
Steve Tibbets – Black Mountain Side – Big Map Idea
Stars of Lid– Don’t bother their here- Refinement of the Decline
Laraaji -Space Choir- Flow goes the Universe
Patrick Geren- Cross the line-Orange Skies
Frank Zappa- Part 1- Lumpy Gravy
Robert Rich/Steve Roach- La Luna- Strata
Champion Jack Dupree- No fool/no more- Emeritus
The Residents- Beyond the Valley in Day in the life- A Side Single 1977
Thrones- Easter Woman Day Late- Dollar Short
Gli Uccelli– The Bridal- Suite for Orchestra P154
Floyd Dixon – Tired, broke & busted- Complete Aladdin Recordings
Harold Budd – 0f Ancillary Dreams – The Room
Elmore James- Strange Angel – Complete Chief Fire Sessions
Gregor Samsa– Loud & Clear – 55 12
Herbie Harper Quartet – Jive at Five- Complete Nocturne Recordings 1954
Tentenmuller– The Very Last Resort- The last Resort
Anat Fort – Lanesboro- And if
(Very soon information regarding books will be moved to the Printed Matter section)
Got Abstract ? (2014)
Well, being a poet is a funny kind of jazz. It doesn’t get you anything. It doesn’t get you any money, or not much, and it doesn’t get you any prestige, or not much. It’s just something you do.
There is a light that is unquiet in creative endeavor . In this Synesthesia there echoes a sound that expresses a very private illumination in the certain knowledge of fragile seasons as time that digs in its heels in just enough to turn its back on you and smirk. You learn that to open your mind’s door to the inlays of the stream of consciousness is a very risky and vulnerable action. Abstraction in the currency of contemporary thought revealing itself as implied associative content twisting the Schemata theory of comprehension and language acquisition into a labyrinth of confusion.
Human beings are the only mortal beings able to articulate in the most confusing of protoplasm crosswords. We offer vague inklings of intents and meanings to each other shrouded in a personal cryptic emotional system of associations. Every human has two distinct histories. One of the interior world; unseen and seldom spoken and in the exterior the other is merely observed by the world at large without either compassion or perspective.
When the artist shrugs at this and cuts loose without filters the society at large shudders and is indigent. For all the talk about honesty, very few either want to believe or recognize it. There is this primal thread that we acquire here on earth call language
These words define us. Incoherence Incarnate. Thought; spoken, written or hidden. We are practiced liars here. Cowards to our own mutual fate. In permanent denial. We will leave this place without our flesh with only the lifetime of experience and sensation we employed in the primary vehicle we drove off this planet into the gutter lacking or the stars packing. What we thought. What we did. Who we loved and what was abandoned.
This collection is a recipe book of what was remembered recently and what could not be dismissed or forgotten, half baked or burnt and perhaps made lousy leftovers or hangovers. Much like a transcript of scar tissue there is this voice perhaps that reminds…. perhaps heals all wounds but then falls short to explain or console between promise and reality a reason for any of this.
Embedded in the very title of this collection is the concept of denotation and connotation. Some will think of an advertising slogan hawking dairy products. These minds indeed get milk, but not abstract.
This most recent collection of Po, Prose & Short Stories is available to order. In Hard/Soft cover & E-Book. Orders can be placed directly from the publisher
Additional access with usual cyber book stores to follow as they make the grid. Direct availability to anybody interested can happen here in the Rubber Eden. Just use the contact feature on any page to make inquiry. Can cut you a Gridville discount (have PayPal, take cash, checks & wolf tickets)
Sometimes Grief- barks up the wrong tree (2012)
Sometimes Grief –barks up the wrong tree is Vincent Quatroche’s most recent collection of Prose and Poetry. This hybrid work of rage, reflection, resignation and gallows humor straddles the high wire between a cryptic emotional stenography and literal response to the conundrum of attempting to navigate conflict and radical change while coming to terms with significant loss in daily life. Employing the theme of the four seasons Quatroche draws and quarter’s time into a metronome of signature expressions addressing not just theoretical or even traditional challenges of dealing with some sorrow, but with a deeply personal voice asks more difficult questions. What is the accepted appropriate boundary in grappling with remorse as society defines it and the unknown private parameters of just how long, how deep, and how far the echo of grief barking up the wrong tree resounds.
Vincent Quatroche continues to write about subjects that defy the ordinary perceptions of existence, while being clearly interested in the abstract fibers that compose that very same fabric. Sometimes Grief barks up the wrong tree takes a magnifying glass or telescope to some things that are very, very close and others that are as far away as can be and still barely be perceived. But seldom are these instruments of perception aforementioned employed in the conventional manner. The present here (his Terrible Now) is being jumbled with the past which as any future knows simply and only exists in the next second or word. Immediacy collides with distance; propinquity with remoteness while his ink stream of consciousness splits the difference to the page. A lifelong career educator and irritant this is Vincent Quatroche’s 7th collection of Prose, Poetry and Short Stories.
Forward from Sometimes Grief…..
The title for this collection of prose and poetry Sometimes Grief –barks up the wrong tree came to me in the late Spring of 2011 during an ensuing period of significant change and a series of disappointing struggles with some of the more harsh realities of life. The passing of my Father on last Easter Sunday was hardly an unanticipated event. His decline was (for the most part) mercifully brief and he left the earth with loved ones present, in his own home and quite peacefully. The rituals of saying goodbye were observed with the usual decorum and to be honest? That part of dealing with the inevitable demise of life of a beloved father was actually a quiet sort of sad comfort in the memory of a good man and vibrant artist. I thought I was adjusted to that. Not so. What ensued on a personal level was a real old fashion shit storm of confusion, doubt, despondency and loss. Normal you say? To be expected? Perhaps. On the surface maybe, but such a world of chaos descended that it virtually affected every aspect of my life. And then one late Spring morning after teaching a class at a local community college a phrase resounded in my mind as clear as a bell. Sometimes grief-barks up the wrong tree. It was a revelation really. Surely not an answer to anything, merely a sort of internal realization. A recognition. I was in fact grieving, angry and ashamed that my intense personal feelings of sadness and loss were not wholly directed to my Dad being gone. No. I was furious the world with all of its confusion, contradictions and uncertainties that had encroached upon what I perceived should have the appropriate grief towards my recent loss. I felt my emotional interior had been hijacked by worldly concerns. Someone or something was diverting and demanding my attention and energy towards a dead end of self centered remorse, regret and devastation. Intellectually I accepted, (even understood) someone very close to me had left. Died. But I discovered much to my embarrassment that I was ill-equipped to deal with the more collateral damage of the “off-the-rack” influence of others in my life and while it was true I once cared deeply about them, I now had to face the unpleasant truth that the relationship with them had now gone toxic and was damaging and draining my strength to move on to the next chapter of my life. I couldn’t let it go. And the same time it was like holding on to a burning white hot ember I responded by closing that hand into a fist and holding the pain tighter. I ran wildly with it, quitting long time teaching positions that represented normalcy, purpose and economic stability. In short ? I was gutting my life. Severing every tie, except the right one. I was determined to hold on steadfast to that smoldering coal in my fist. I wondered what would come first. It would simply burn out or burn a hole through my flesh. At this point I must make this clear. There was yet a third level to the grief. I felt I was being delusional. Indulgencing in private, pointless emotional suicide. I was trying to kill my feelings while entire world out there had real problems. Serious tangible sorrows and pains that dwarfed my perceived issues and again I was ashamed at my transparent mini-drama I was perpetrating upon myself. Shutting it all down inside myself switch by switch. My mother’s situation for example certainly could be taken into account. She had lost her husband and life companion of over fifty years and now at an advanced age herself had to deal with his absence on daily basis in the family home they shared practically their entire adult lives. I’ve provided a unique perspective into her own experience in dealing with grief in the section of this collection entitled The Edna Variations. So I did the usual self medicating prescriptions that depressed individuals do. With a vengeance. Thankfully I eventually grew bored with that. So I returned to an old friend. My oldest friend. My self- expression. Creativity. I wrote. And wrote. Much of it will never be seen. I was simply taking a sort of emotional stenography. Just to see those words on page after page in the notebooks seemed to reinforce exactly what I had heard in my mind that morning. Sometime Grief barks up the wrong tree. What is included in this collection are at least some of more lucid expressions of my feelings at that time. The hope is that another may read these someday and come to be comforted, perhaps understand how their own grief is barking up the wrong tree. Dealing with personal hardships is very different for everyone and I believe the truth of the matter is that the only way past it is through it. The problem is that while that might take time, we don’t really have a surplus of that to squander on what we cannot change by wishing if only we could. Ultimately the only real change we will embrace and have to face is what the next thing time will dish out at us. Perspective is key here. One must step back from themselves and honestly see oneself as just another sucker on the vine (for want of a less colorful phrase) and accept that whatever your are brooding over, fixating upon may just an unnecessary dress rehearsal for the time when grief will show up even larger and start barking up the right tree.
Sometimes Grief -barks up the wrong tree & 21 Short Dogs Stories are now available on line in at the local bookstore special order desk, and @ St. Mark Books in NYC (details in Cold Millers) or Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Xlibris.com or direct phone contact: 1-888-795-4274Â Ex7879 Vincent Quatroche’s 21 Short Dog Stories is a collection of the previously published works that appeared in Another Rubber Eden 1997, Attitude House 2001, Greetings from Gridville 2005, CyberStein 2007 and the Terrible Now 2009. Divided into three sections entitled Fiction, Work and Memory there is also an Essay on the life and work of Charles Bukowski that originally appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal Volume 29 Fall 2009. Demonstrating a desire to display a wide repertoire of genres, Quatroche has included a variety of prose rifts here. Everything from science fiction to baseball, affairs of the heart and family, life lessons and perspective of the common laborer and at least one good payback story. These tales and vignettes resist categorization. Somewhere in a far flung outpost of imagination in the deep underground of the contemporary world of Post Modern literature that seems to exist to drive and serve current trends de-jour in the marketplace only, these stories read like individual transcripts of day to day life experience, and at times the fantastic, the brutal, the beautiful and the ugly all are represented in a surreal hyper reality intended to transport the reader to the many dimensions of human existence in the Terrible Now. Of this it can be stated with confidence, there is a story here for you to recognize, remember, adopt and embrace as your own.
Vincent Quatroche Sr. pictured above circa 1949 was a vibrant, productive artist working in a number of mediums and styles. From abstract, cubist, pop-art (both in oils and tempera), pen and ink, and watercolors Quatroche employed a highly individualist style that evolved continually during his lifetime. His early influences were variations on the themes of Pollack and Picasso. As his creative production which numbered in hundreds of canvases, sketches and notebooks spanned over half a century Vincent consistently challenged himself to grow and express his talents with a variety of subject matter. His great love of the history of trains from steam to diesel figured prominently. Still life, landscapes of the sea and nature and portraits were also constant themes rendered in pen and ink and watercolors. In his latter years he returned to the impressionist treatment of another of his lifelong loves Jazz and the great musicians who were giants in this art form. He continued to work up to within weeks of his demise at the age of 89 on Easter Sunday 2011.
This book of short stories is dedicated to my father, who was my first teacher, mentor and friend and through his love, support and encouragement inspired me to find my own voice in creativity and expression.
The following excerpt is taken from the Preface of 21 Short Dog Stories
The stories collected in this book represent interpretations of the individual perspective spanning over 35 years. While somewhat biographical in places, like almost all alleged fiction is based upon, I will resist the wholesale codification that this work can be dismissed as trivial, contrived or confessional. What happens to us here on earth channels the prism of the collective through the sharp iris focus of the singular. We do share our elemental nature of humanity (well, some more than others), but of all the things we want to believe, love, fear or cling to this one truth is to my way of thinking unmistakable . Somewhere beyond philosophic negotiation or sophist negation the simple truth is you are born alone with nothing and will exit in exactly the same state at the end of the line. Any discussion of a supposed imagined afterlife is a matter for faith or conviction to either reassure or terrify. However any departure point for that debate might begin I believe with this perspective; If memory constitutes the soul then that soul must constitute memory. The soul could be defined a pure memory. If we take anything of personal identity away from this existence, would it not be every thought, action, dream or nightmare we experienced in a lifetime? If consciousness endures beyond the grave, we will inhabit our own memory for infinity. Perhaps a much more sobering thought than the traditional constructs of a heaven or a hell. In part the writer performs the act of expression out of a deep personal compulsion and necessity. When the voice of the Stream of Consciousness is obsessed in reliving a past event, reordering present reality or projecting a possible future so loud and clear there must be a release to attempt to restore some tentative truce with sanity. So the recording and retelling of experience commences attempting to make some sense, to make peace with the holocaust of confusion, fear and pain that seems to rage on a daily basis over the course of a lifetime unabated. So where does that leave joy, beauty, love and fulfillment to fit into all of this? Well of course it must, but unfortunately I believe it merely escapes, leaks or somehow perseveres to force itself as a counterbalance to the dark other. And of course there absolutely must be a Court Jester There has to be. Lacking a sense of humor and appreciation of irony or the absurd, the perspective is twisted in a mask of madness and bitterness which drains the color from the mind, heart and soul into a small, gray, hard core of desolation. Then, our existence in this flesh is reduced to merely a life sentence. Doing time in the skin where upon death swings open the cell door. They stories are my humble attempt at obtaining time off for either good or bad behavior, but above all? An early release
Singing Mr. Cedric 2010
Meanwhile Bartleby sat in his hermitage, oblivious to everything but his particular business there. I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. … Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the clearest tone I could assume; but in quite as clear a one came the previous reply, “I would prefer not to.” “The time has come; you must quit this place; I … am sorry for you; here is money; but you must go.” “I would prefer not,” he replied, with his back still towards me. “You must.” He remained silent. Will you tell me anything about yourself?” “I would prefer … not to.” “But what reasonable objection can you have to speak to me? I feel friendly towards you.” He did not look at me while I spoke, but kept his gaze fixed upon my bust of Cicero, which, as I then sat, was directly behind me, some six inches above my head. “What is your answer, Bartleby?” said I, after waiting a considerable time for a reply, during which his countenance remained immovable, only there was the faintest conceivable tremor of the white attenuated mouth. “At present I prefer to give no answer,” he said, and retired into his hermitage.
Bartleby the Scribner-Herman Melville
Singing Mr. Cedric is Vincent Quatroche’s 2010 CD collection of Sonic landscapes on Dan Berggren’s label Sleeping Giant Records. Music by Matt Wiggers and Mark Heistand. Sound realization by Dan Berggren, with additional contributions from Jim Briggs. Available now from CD Baby, directly through here in the rubbereden via the contact section (make inquiry) various internet outlets in both CD & digital formats. All that info now listed in Cold Millers. The creation of persona characters is hardly new to modern American literature. Writer’s such as John Berryman had his Henry, Weldon Kees occasionally invoked Robinson, while in the Secret Sharer Joseph Conrad had the protagonist go literally overboard with his literately other. Enter Vincent Quatroche who introduces us to his latest experiment with alternative contemporary identity in a new CD release of work entitled Singing Mr. Cedric. Invoking Herman Melville’s Bartleby the enigmatic Scribner who retreats from the reality and responsibilities of the every day world with the retort I prefer not to the mundane realities of day to day existence. Quatroche’s recent persona is faced with a future he is ill prepared to deal with. While the personal realities of decay, demise and death are disturbing enough, it is a sense of the overall state of the world and society are unraveling just as quickly where the worst that can happen simply might not arrive soon enough. As Cedric sifts through memory and the years of his life he discovers that once seemed as the most enduring has eroded and as much as he no longer recognizes his place in the world where the mirror of mortality is reflecting back a world that no longer recognizes him. Obscurity will be only a pale foreshadowing to the total obliteration that is only a matter of time away. And how long is that? No one knows So Cedric decides that while he would prefer not to deal with any of these terrifying eventualities he has little choice. At last the truth about his own individuality has come into a sharp focus. He will lose it. Lose everything of the flesh. Cedric resigns himself to the moment. To live completely in the Terrible Now. And most of all ? Sing.
Vanishing Breed (2009)
1987-1997 Re-Mastered Cassette Collection
of Works rescued from the Obsolete Technology of Rubber Eden
1. Dreams of War 2. Vanishing Breed 3. Time Fries 4. List at the End of January 5.Rubber Eden
6. Where is Lucky Ward? 7. Drowning a Fin 8. Pliers 9. Screwing Me through Schenectady
10. What are We working on Now? 11. Jupiter 12. Knocking Yourself Out 13. What Dexter Knew
14. Maul Set 15. In October When the Price was Right 16. The Dybbuk Dreams 17. Chinese Proverb
18. Long Island Sound 19. Good Story 20. Book Scout 21. Radio Baghdad
These selections are representations of four independent cassette projects produced and released over a ten year period. They represent the spoken word genre in the Spirit and influence of Ken Nordine, Vivian Stanshill, Tom waits and even some Chris Morris lurking in there somewhere. I would like to thank Dan Berggren for his encouragement, support over the years in my audio related creative endeavors. Jim Briggs for the superb job of bring new life to these sonic landscapes. And of course all the talented musicians who I had the good fortune and honor to work with in collaboration. I dedicate this collection to future generations whom I hope will rediscover how to stare with their ears (As Nordine coined it) and allow the imagination to peer into the subconscious history of Rubber Eden some day. I am confident there is always someone out there who will not allow this sort of storytelling to become a vanishing breed that dwindles to extinction. To keep alive the art of listening, to travel beyond merely hearing.
The Terrible Now 2009
In a conversation with a friend recently discussing the impending publication of this latest collection of my work the subject of the title surfaced. When I remarked I intended to employ the title The Terrible Now, the reaction was rather mixed. The central question that seemed to go begging was, What’s so Terrible about Now ? I realized that a good point (or least a valid question) had been raised. Despite the overwhelming negative denotation and connotations associated with the word Terrible, I believe in the using the term in conjunction with Now creates alternative possibilities to understand what I wish to convey by The Terrible Now. In deed if you look up the word terrible in the dictionary, the news is not good. Synonyms such as fearful, frightful, appalling, dire, horrifying and dreadful are predominate in the definition. The word terrible is derived from the Greek terrin- to tremble or Latin terribillis-frightful. And over a period of time the severity of the definition has grown in intensity. In 1526 the term was seen as a weakened sense of very bad. By 1833 the negative sense had increased to be defined as extremely and in 1930 extremely badly is added (however awkwardly) I believe we get the point. But there is a usage of this extreme description of the definition I find most interesting. It can be found listed fourth on the possible ways to interpret meaning and is as follows formidably great….as in a terrible potential. It is from this point I will try and explain something of what I believe The Terrible Now is all about. As you read these words here at this very moment you are indeed experiencing the Terrible Now. However transitory, elusive and even illusionary, I defy you to hold on to this second that just passed and this new one that is now gone. Now I don’t want to digress into Sophistry here (but really you have to admire the Sophist, those ancient Greek philosophers who pissed everybody off so long ago with their examination/discourse of life’s most basic mysteries and contradictions to earn a dismissive general definition in contemporary dictionaries of even seriously considering their arguments) but from my point of view this is where we all are. Perpetually cast adrift in the Terrible Now. Consider what you know of the relationship in your life between reality, time and identity. All we perceive of our existence is in the past. That past is gone. Long gone. Never to return. Those who insist in living there, never grow, thrive or see the world other than through the perspective of what has vanished/disappeared. Many live for today, failing to remember the mistakes of the past and (as they say) are doomed to repeat those failures. While existing only in the present invites all sorts of Carpe Diem romanticism, indulgence and general hell raising (which is good time, but) you fail to prepare yourself to the reality of just what the hell you’re going to do if tomorrow shows up. This of course brings us to the concept of the future, that I would congratulate you for just entering this very moment. Beyond that however, there are of course absolutely no assurances of next year, next month, or even tomorrow at suppertime. Are you beginning to see the dimension of the tightrope I’ve drawn out here for all us to have to balance upon ? Of course, the key to comprehending any of this (if you really want to, gives me a headache) is awareness. The majority of the population never considers in the slightest the condition of living life with this concept even in the back of their mind. Modern life now is very shallow. Distractions and deceptions abound. We are not encouraged to think, consider or ponder. We are inundated with a media assault on our senses 24/7 to consume. Obey. Conform. Reflection and individuality exist only as pre-packaged options ready made to define, adorn, and suffocate. And that is pretty terrible. Add to all this how we have weakened our world. The complex, fragile systems we have become increasing more dependent upon to provide sanity and comfort. The general lack of concern for how much is discarded, never considered and taken for granted. If there is a Terrible Now? This is where all these things are manufactured and reside. The good news is you don’t have to live there. Certainly there are preexisting conditions no one on earth ever escapes. We are born, flourish briefly and we wither. (Some much more quickly than others). So what do we do with our Terrible Now ? I believe the only solution for myself is to write. To create. To try and live as fully in the moment as the situation allows. The expressions in this collection are captured moments recorded to some end. To remember. Question. Observe. And at least as some sort of proof of what I thought and did in my Terrible Now. For you see I don’t believe the Now has to be so Terrible. How could it be ? It is in effect really all we have. All we will ever have. So if you find yourself right at this moment in your Terrible Now ? Going through hard times and wonder how, why or even if you can make it ? Deal and Endure. And if your life is swinging really sweetly as you read this ? Relish and Celebrate. But don’t get used to any of it. Now is nothing but over. Over and over again. And if you find yourself with the gift of this moment bestowed upon you ? That’s not so Terrible…. Is it Now ? Vincent Quatroche 7/2009 Mr.Cedric pictured above in rare photograph Cedric (pictured above in a rare photograph) first appeared during the Summer of 2007 as a default spell-checker identity replacement for the name Quatroche was who invited to be featured at the Brownstone Poets Reading Society in Brooklyn NY. There are conflicting reports over just who showed up that July Saturday afternoon. Increasing the confusion over identity or separation between Quatroche and Cedric has grown and persisted. At least some facts are known to be verifiable. In a purely Doppelganger sense, that either Dostoyevsky or Conrad would concur with, it is clear that at least somebody resembling Quatroche has been teaching students at area colleges and correctional facilities in Western New York for the last fifteen years. Those assignments (by virtue of the name on the paycheck) had been in the past attributed solely to Quatroche, but being a pure Gemini has it occupation hazards. According to an agreement in which the details were not made public, Cedric has given permission to allow Vincent Quatroche’s name to appear on the front cover of this fifth collection of Poetry, Prose and Short Stories entitled The Terrible Now in exchange for the inclusion of Cedric’s photo here. This tenuous compromise may be short lived however as both claim to be have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for Poetry by the Fox Chase Review in 2008.
Bored and cold in 1816, which was known as The Year without a Summer Percy & Mary Shelly were on chilly holiday with their good friend the poet Byron. Remanded to the indoors, huddling around the fire, they challenged each other to write the scariest ghost story to pass the time Mary Shelly composed based impart upon the Prometheus legend where in the hero steals Zeus’ fire from the center of the Sun. Now this is a big deal. The acquisition of fire allowed for the development of weapons and tools. Elevated and separated the human from the animals and maybe just a step closer to the gods. Well naturally Zeus gets pretty pissed. Punishes Prometheus by chaining him to a rock in the Caucasus. Every night he is visited by an eagle that ate his liver. (which of course grew back every day) Meanwhile Mary Shelly’s take on all this turned out to be in the form of a strange tale about science run amuck with a mad doctor experimenting with the re-animation of dead bodies invested with life into a flesh and body living, breathing fiend. Sacred the living shit out of everybody in the movies as Boris Karloff lurched across the screen as a menacing nightmare fiend. And now some 200 years later all our advanced technology has generated a contemporary edition. Here comes CyberStein. In the late 1920’s the first modern economic re-adjustment occurred with the crash of stock market based upon wild financial speculation that investors erected a mile house deck of cards made of stock ticker tape and when the inevitable happened with a house of cards at least they had a deck of cards to pick up. But now we have CyberStein. And we aren’t leaving so much as nano crumbs to find our way back. This time the collapse will be complete sending society back to the 19th century or maybe the time of the new Greek Legends. All depends on how big CyberStein is this time and how far we fall with him. So take your pick just what system we have stolen our fire to create: Infer-structure de Jour: satellites, weapon systems, power plants, global sanity. So go ahead you tell me about science fiction or Greek mythology or why all this matters and where CyberStein will show up next in a maybe not so new ice-age to eat all our livers which I guess will, presumably, grow back during the day. Vincent Quatroche’s 2005 collection of Poetry/Prose and Short Stories takes another look at both the ramifications and implications of the Prometheus legend and an emerging contemporary mutation of Mary Shelly’s dark vision of a menacing creation brought to life by science and technology. Primarily metaphorical in content and form, Quatroche’s voice evokes the individual’s fragmentation and offers narratives reflection upon the emergence of a new experimental byproduct of our technological age; Cyberstein; an entity neither dead nor alive in a human sense of the reality, but a lurking like a ghost in the machine to force us to reconcile with transforming the human beings experience in life with society, personal life, relationships and perhaps ultimately with fate itself. One thing is fairly certain there is no humanity to be found in Cyberstein. No remorse to be expected from this force. We are witnessing the birth of new Prometheus fire gone mad.
Greetings from Gridville 2006
Greetings from Gridville is chronicle of one consumer/citizen’s account of life from a highly subjective basis. These perspectives are shaped and rendered in the “newspeak” of the individual. The ability of the connection or value of the poems and stories to the reader will be in direct relation to their economic status, position or role in society and perhaps most importantly the nature and disposition of current and/or past life experience. Collectively and increasingly the “hive” grows more complex, perplexing and fragmented. We live on the zenith of a cyber/fiber optic “house of cards.” Each passing day we add to the precarious balance of this fragile edifice just by the mere act of living. All essential systems of life sustaining distribution of goods and services in virtually every aspect of existence have grown more and more entangled, entwined and inbred. The example of an incredibly immense ball of twine thread throughout virtually all aspects of this edition of contemporary existence is as apropos as it is chilling. We don’t understand it. We are addicted to it. And those who provide, maintain and oversee it doesn’t care. Except when we fail to pay for it. As of this writing there are two new fundamental commandments that consumer citizens must be aware of and abide by: Thou shall not run a foul the legal system and thou shall not have a catastrophic illness. Translation: don’t go to jail or get sick in Gridville. Now at this point, you might be asking yourself, why would I want to read anything written by someone with such a negative message coming from such a depressing place called Gridville ? And of course I see your point. And there’s only one problem with using that rational as an “out” or point of dismissal; that is, we are all in the same boat. The good ship “I’ve got mine” as suddenly sprung a leak. There is no getting off the “grid.” It’s been tried. Many, many different ways. Alternative lifestyles, communities, communes, dogma, dope, booze and compulsive binge and purge shopping. There is no escape. The exit doors have been bolted shut. And I’m afraid as Captain Beefheart once wailed, “There ain’t no Santa Clause on the evening stage.” I have no way of knowing what the future holds for all the Gridvilles spread across the Rubber Eden. But I do sense a couple of things about our current situation. There is no way to return to what life was life in our country a mere hundred years ago. The future dawns every day and we are not leaving so much as breadcrumbs to ever find our way back to somewhat saner, simpler times. Yet each Attitude House of Gridville still contains humanity at its best and worst, humble and self-important. Just people. Fragile. Vibrant… Newly born or those near time to depart. As it has always been here in the Rubber Eden since before all the rubber and merely the Eden. I think it’s time to get to know your fellow citizens here in the Rubber Eden. The nature of their day to day dreams, joys, loves and fears. Greeting from Gridville contains the voices of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, lost lovers and current mistresses. Turn off the “Reality TV” with its’ debasing vanity iris and read the poetry, the stories, memories and secret hidden sub consciousness of the great collective “nobody” from “nowhere” who dares still to express “anything” to “anyone” just because they the desire to express and still can. You might find more of yourself or someone you know in Gridville than you bargained for. Greetings from Gridville is an extended series of postcard like word-picture images in which enigmatic prose narratives appear on the reverse side in an archaic language scrawled in a difficult font sent from a country that either no longer exists or has declined to such a degree that not only do the citizens fail to recognize their national identity any longer; they seem to be embracing their cultural vacuity with open arms. Meanwhile the rest of the world regards their nation as a menace or some sort of surreal punch line to a bad cosmic joke delivered in the poorest of taste. In Gridville mind numbing complex systems struggle to regulate and maintain order in a cyber-optic spider web where lust and greed are lynchpins for celebrity obsessed, creature comfort driven, image conscious consumers. Dreams of power and nightmares of paranoia permeate the major urban population centers; while in the vast empty spaces of the heartland the core of the countries populace regard themselves as the “chosen elite” spiritual gatekeepers and moral jury masters of the collective soul. For those who come of age and fall in love in Gridville, the William Butler Yeats quote from the “Second Coming” can truly be appreciated, “…The ceremony of innocence is drowned. The best lack all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Vincent Quatroche’s Greetings from Gridville is his third book of prose, poetry and stories. Previous collections include Another Rubber Eden (1997) and Attitude House (2002). For ordering info visit the “Cold Millers” section on this website Vincent Quatroche persists still in writing, publishing, recording and performing his rather askew worldview. The rational mind would think after thirty some odd years he might have gotten the message that not only does the literary world not even consider him a after thought and that perhaps if he insists upon annoying the general population of Gridville with his creative efforts that a knock at the door from the proper authorities wishing to interview him and ask a few questions regarding his personal political views and nationalistic loyalties is the best he might hope for. Vincent still resides on the outskirts of domestic strangulation in Western New York, with his wife and children, who with the passage of time have come to the ultimate realization that that their beloved father and husband is no doubt a couple of baloney slices short of a complete sandwich and who will not cease or desist insisting he hears the Sirens of Titan until it’s time for that long dirt nap in the wooden kimono. At press time collaborating comments from his students at nearby correctional facilities and local colleges were unavailable for legal reasons.