Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rocco de Giacomo writes

Park At Your Own Risk

A charming hotel in Kenora's thriving downtown
district the guide book reads, and the tattooed concierge
in the Iron Maiden tee-shirt will attest to this as he
tells us the noise from the band won't make it
to the third floor, but it's 9:00 on a Saturday night
and the windows are twitching. The finger-smears
on the upholstery, the phantom stains on the bed sheets
and the knuckle-marks in the walls are all the signs
we need to try someplace else, but the Shriners have taken
The Holiday Inn and the bird-watchers have occupied
Best Western, so now we are standing
at the check-in counter at Nancy’s Place
swatting at flying ants as tractor trailers hurl past
as baleful as comets. The elderly woman behind
the desk turns the pages of the local telephone
directory with the frail grace of a seer, I wonder,
she says, phone in hand,  I wonder if Bill
has any vacancy tonight. Two ants, wings fidgeting
like fingers, crawl across her left shoulder and under
the neckline of her blouse. Nope, she says with eyes
that don't match the hope in her face. You might try Charlie's.

The drunk is angry.
Charlie sighs and gestures at a bar devoid of glasses
bottles and stools and covered with sawdust.
We're renovating.
We’ve been closed for two weeks now.
Can't you see? 
I SEE A LOT OF THINGS, replies the drunk
to the middle-aged women behind the clerk’s desk
with a face as weathered as a smoke-house wall.
As she butts out her cigarette, however, and motions for us
to approach, scratching a long chipped nail
down the motel registry, she the Virgin Mother
of God. Room 323, she says, on the train side.  
I misinterpret the last bit, as in "train" being the cart
which will bring us breakfast in the morning, served by
waiters in white flannel clothes. The thick, double-paned glass,
the two layers of doors, are but meaningless anomalies,
the inconsequential quirks of Charlie's mismanagement.
The moist carpet is the floor of a boreal forest
and the lumpy mattress a soft bed of moss where
I will lay my head and let the comets and meteorites
augur the windows and herald what warnings
they can, for I now, will sleep the sleep of the illiterate,
the ignorant, the blissful.
  ‘anxious glances and twisted fingers became, in Picasso’s portraits, a seismographic record of the dark times when the Spanish Civil War raged and the Nazis were on the march…’ – Anne Baldassari

 Pablo PicassoFemme allongée sur un canapé (Dora Maar) 1939oil on canvas, 97.1 × 130.2 cm, The Lewis Collection© Pablo Picasso/Succession Pablo Picasso
 Femme allongée sur un canapé (Woman lying on a couch) -- Pablo Picasso

1 comment:

  1. Kenora is a popular rustic tourist spot on the Lake of the Woods in Ontario, near the Manitoba border. Its name is an anagram of the 3 towns Keewatin, Norman, and Rat Portage (its former name) that amalgamated in 1905. It is a stereotypical "hoser" community (the term was coined ca. 1981 by the "McKenzie Brothers" comedy team [Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas] and has become a derogatory synonym for a Canadian; it may have been derived from logger slang -- "hoosier" meant an inept or slack worker -- or from the Canadian use of "hosed" as a euphemism for drunkenness.) Thus a Kenora dinner jacket" is a flannel coat.

    William Jermyn Conlin was a successful American actor who adopted the name William J. Florence after his favorite city. From a suggestion by Florence's wife actress Malvina Florence, Benhamen Woolf wrote the comic opera "The Mighty Dollar" 1n 1875, and the Florences performed in it over 2,500 times over the next decade. Earlier, in 1870, he had founded the Shriners as a branch of the Freemasons devoted to fun and fellowship, and he created the organization's ritual, emblem, and costumes, including its red fezzes. By 1888 it had over 7,000 members in the US and Canada and eventually had some 350,000 members in branches in Europe, Brasil, Bolivia, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, and Australia. In 1922 it founded the 1st of its 22 free children's hospitals and sponsors numerous charitable events.


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