Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'hood, another part

Dominic was ecstatic.
John F. Kennedy got elected
and The King came back from Germany.
My life was confusion; a compass spiraling in directions I couldn’t control and didn’t understand. These were days and months of a sixteen-year-old lifetime dragging to sixteen and a half. The roots of my restless period are found in a Billboard release of the “Top Five”. Pat Boone was rated # 1 and Elvis was second and I was in free fall; ultimately saved by Marie and 'Satisfaction' with a lot of pain and smiles in between.
Marie was soft; her breast pressed my breast, her hair lay on my face and I breathed in her gentle intensity. This moment promising to extinguish our uncertainty and timidity, holding firm we did not falter. I longed for this instant, though not knowing where next to go, her delicate strong hand stroking my neck and falling to my shoulder while she pulled me to her. There was no confusion in this embrace and we reeled with heightening intensity seeking the next moment. It came upon release to witness the excitement in each other’s eyes. Fixed, we didn’t move; we learned and cherished how this felt while we began to breathe again. I knew and she wanted what was to come next and I reached out with my hand to her chest, onto her breastbone, from clavicle onto the side of her breasts. Our eyes vulnerable as I felt the woman’s body at her round shoulders, following her lines across her rounded breasts, down to her hip onto her belly and up to her eyes – its sultry touch came to define beauty.
Now if you love me, please don't tease
if I can hold them, let me squeeze
You leave me aaahhhhhhhh
Jerry Lee Lewis

The next period, 16 ¼, rocked me when Billboard proclaimed “Volare” the song of the year and Elvis was #2, again. A fuckin step backwards and all the whiteman DJ’s were ecstatic that the devil and his swivel were confronting demise and his end was near. Who knows, "Doggie in the Window " might make a comeback. But we weren’t giving up and the next Top 100 sent its own shockwave when "Wooly Bully " scandalized our parents and General Motors pulled their ads. It’s all right because Phillip Morris was singing for our side and Dave Clark hi-jacked Bandstand from Philadelphia to take it on the road as American with Beach Boys and Bobby Darin – both a little lame and tame but heading in the right direction. Joey, our street priest, knew all along that this was temporary -
then Elvis recorded 'I’m Back'
He unleashed the fullness of his talents and Joey reminded us that the Top Ten meant only that - the first ten. All we needed to do was read further down the list to find Little Richard who blew the lid off the fifties and the rythyms of Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly and Fats Domino and the everlasting Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison and the Devil himselfJerry Lee Lewis who married his fourteen year old cousin.
“Great Balls of Fire”
and Joey, always educating us, pursuing balance, reminded us of our enemies – Pat Boone who actually released a recording of Blue Suede Shoes (and the payola stations played it)! Tony Diono threw his transistor radio at a brick wall and stomped on it ‘til Pat died. The other demons were Tab Hunter and Brenda Lee. Tony destroyed his entire album collection the day she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a tune called “I’m Sorry”. Fuck, she, and they, should be!There was another movement that Joey was trying to get some focus on. His cousin from Minnesota told him about a young rock n’ roller named Zimmerman who traded in his electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustic. Seems he was attracted to the folk music of Seeger and Guthrie; further influenced by three writers called beatniks. One of ‘em was a guy named Ginsberg who wrote some really rebellious poetry (and some of it was pretty dirty too ‘cause his book got banned a few years back ) and the only place you could buy it was London or San Franciso. Later, Joey got a copy – it was called “Howl” - and we figured out “beatnik” meant “on the beat”. Their movement lasted into the coffe house times but their music didn’t match rock n’ roll and I figured that three writers do not a movement make!Unless they’re songwriters - and Zimmerman was.

Marie made a difference. We were searchers of our days and nights and found each others fondness on the street and in our hands. I loved her; she was soft. We helped each other deal with our bodies touching and we felt a flame in the boldness of each encounter. I leaned into her and we moved till our lips met slowly yet softly with certainty; breathing harder as we pressed. Her strong rounded shoulders rolled downward to full breasts that, as I cupped them, served as a chalice for beads of her perspiration. I would drink from those pools and become thirsty for her love, only to suffer of our passions; our nest exposed.
Cedar Lake
Holly, Bopper, Valens in cold wind; pioneers, gone.
Buddy and his band were the first white people to play at the Apollo Theater in Harlem since the big band era. Buddy said, “if it weren’t for Elvis, none of us would be here”. Now he’s not here but Elvis is - Buddy had a #1 a couple years back called
'that’ll be the day'.
It was one of the songs his band did on tour in Liverpool, England at a club where two guys named John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in the audience.

my day to be lost, a whole generation’s worth

The charts are so lying. I don’t have the money to gig the rank of a song by buying it but Allen Freed and other DJ’s are committed to rock n’ roll and the radio is free to me – it’s become my toy! Somehow Bossa nova jumped across the network airwaves, appealing to jazz people who found no musical fulfillment in their local coffee house. Joey told me about Ipanema type love music and Marie and I tried it but Bossa died quickly of dispassion because the coffee house poetry just does not mesh with Bossa rhythms. I knew the back beat could support the poetry – I could feel it – why couldn’t the 'hood hear it?

and Zimmerman switched
but this time he had a following and his people were not happy. After all, Joni Mitchel didn’t sell out to the back beat rhythms that were too loud for the confined spaces!
An anthem hit the streets that made the distinction clear – if it’s too loud, you’re too old! Coffee houses were meant for delicate strumming and extended storytelling. Rock and roll never let up and the newer electric gear filled open spaces with newer, very raw sounds that came from blues and country and gospel and a lotta folk lyrics – except for the “roll” part which meant sex!

We were good kids. We did all the right shit for our parents (which began to fall apart the night when Bobby Siers and me went to a black party on Christmas Eve instead of Midnite Mass). Good grades and all. Marie and I were hot for each other. Like there was that night where we sat in the shadows on the entry stoop of an old Methodist church that didn’t make it in our neighborhood and our hands were at places we’d never been before. We kissed so hard that our lips swelled the next day. We lay on the stoop, our bodies hotter than the summer nights swelter that came on us and eventually even our fingertips dripped. Still, there was nowhere to go.

He sang those songs because beautiful people began to die and we were lost. Where would we be going without his words.


they are a' changin"

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