Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Cukoo Cat Lady

The other day I was visiting my grandmother's nursing home eerily named "Happy Heights Nursing Home." I find this a curious name for a nursing home, for it is as if the residents are going on a joyous mountain climbing expedition that they will never return from. That mountain climbing expedition is death.

I love visiting my grandmother because she herself is an adorably classy and sweet woman who by her very nature opposes the rest of her wretched, wailing nursing home peers.

On this particularly wrinkly day, I was ascending the staircase (I always take the stairs because there is nothing more vomit-inducing then getting stuck in an elevator with a flock full of residents digesting their afternoon chili, their bowel smell merging with twelve different prescription ointments for shingles) when I heard what sounded like a bomb eruption.

I rushed upwards towards my grandmother only to find the noise coming from the room of Ms. Shucklemore, my grandmother's peculiar third floor neighbor. I peeked my head in her doorway and what I saw made me GASP!

Ms. Shucklemore had mounted twenty-four plus Cuckoo Clocks on her wall. The wall was gaping with weight. The Cuckoo Clocks all looked very similar, almost identical, except for one slight different quirk on each. That alone, I believed was enough to make anyone go mad. Like trying to pinpoint a killer in a police lineup of Octuplits. These clocks were mounted over this frighting blue and black striped wallpaper. It was more decoratively frightening than actually spooky...but none the less left me terrified.

In front of the clocks stood Ms. Shucklemore in her floral mumu, her cat Cliloris by her side, his eyes bulging with anxiety.

"Ms. Shucklemore! Those clocks are kind of loud. Did you set them all for the same time? I think you may disturb the other residents," I shouted at her, fearing her hearing-aids may not be in.

"You! These cuckoo-clocks would never disturb anyone, we are in a god damn nursing home! Like any of these buffoons hear anything! They couldn't hear their own god damn thoughts in a library," Ms. Shucklemore shouted back at me.

What a delightfully polite woman I thought.

Ms. Shucklemore, composed herself apologetically and got real quite. She scanned the clocks with her eyes as if taking in an incalculable miracle.

"These cuckoo-clocks are not a disturbance, they are a revelation. You see, none of my clocks have never been set to go off at the same time, and I didn't set these clocks. They just started merging, all on there own, as if my petty life was aligning with something greater. Some more perfect time all together."

"Geez-us" I said, "You are very wise and mystical for a crazy old woman in a mu-mu."

"That is just it" she spoke, "Am I crazy because I witness something no one else does? Or am I a genius? Do other people's perceptions ever even matter anyways? Or all we all on our own?"

"Like woah" I said in shock, "You are like some sort of poet."

"That is exactly what I perceive myself to be," Shucklemore spoke.

Suddenly, the cuckoo clocks started doing something very peculiar. They started ticking a rythmic beat, a beat that Ms. Shucklemore started to speak in synch with. She then recited the deepest, most profound poem on Existence I have ever heard, read or witnessed. She articulated it in a dramatic fashion, pausing when necessary, giving life to the words as if they were spontaneously arriving on her lips as a revelation...

Silence. Lets begin.

The Scene I See
by Edna Shucklemore

Is this really it, or me?
Is this really IT, or me?

For I have felt the pangs of joy
Amidst the waves of tragedy

Is this really it, or me?
Do I make or see?

No person I ever knew
Or shook
ever turned out to be me

Do I wear a sweater on my brain
Or is the sweater in my veins

(For fabric clothes
And inevitably molds
But in the thickest wool turtleneck
I have still felt free)

So it has been my fate you see
To travel down roads collapsing with calamity
And laugh and giggle
And roll cigarettes and wiggle
And swear to a jury
That I was on a road brimming with majesty

I have sat in empty rooms
With no doors or windows-
Any other soul would weep
Knowing no company forever
they would keep

Yet with the blink of my mind’s eye
I wake in surprise
To find myself dancing at a ball
Surrounded by the gorgeous millions

So is this It?
Or me?
Is this really IT?
Or me?

For all the psychic abnormalities in the world
Could never convince me
That I wasn’t me

So where is the terror in being different
In seeing worlds where others see dust
Where is the joy in being indifferent
When choirs of robed angels could rejoice
your every huff and puff

So walking down roads all alone
Full of mildew, stains, mold
And dripping birdshit the size of homes
Seems in the end, to me...
Rather like Eternity

Nowhere to suffer,
Nothing to prove
All the joy and beauty
forever
dancing together

The scene itself
Or seen itself
Is always on the move...

With that Ms. Shucklemore ended and smiled at me with her gleaming eyes, to signal that the poetic moment had ended. Even Clilorlis the cat had fallen into a soft, peaceful slumber. So I turned quietly on my heels and left Ms. Shuckemore in peace. From my grandmother's room as we sipped tea in silence, I swore I could hear the quiet tick-tock of twenty-four cuckoo-clocks all in perfect, eternal synch.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Actor Thinker

The other day I went to an artshow at The Celebrity Scientology Center in Hollywood. I love going to the celeb center because I can always boost my excitement for life by spotting a minor D list celeb like the fat guy from Lost or Tom Cruise's mom. This way I feel important myself, like hey, I saw that guy, which is kind of like I know him. He has probably stood by someone important before, which is kind of like I know someone important myself, which is kind of like I myself am important. I feel all of this without actually achieving anything, which I find more satisfying than outright achieving importance myself. Call me American, because in our culture the allusion of success is just as important, if not MORE important than success itself.

So anyways, I was getting my bi-weekly celebrity cult fix when I spotted this red headed, heavily bearded man deep in ponderous thought over a painting of a ship on troubled water. He wore a hat from another century which made him look smart. He wore a flannel shirt like a lumberjack or somebody who had built their own cabin in the woods with their bare hands. He wore big black workman's boots caked in mud and grass. In fact mud and grass had trailed behind him all over the creepy Scientology Persian rug, living his muddy imprint everywhere he walked.

I immediately began making snap judgments about this ruddy red man, so deep in thought over a mere painting. I mean he was INTENSELY thinking. Like his fist was balled up against his mouth and his eyes were narrowed like a tiger going in for a kill...but he wasn't a tiger. He was merely a man, looking at a painting.

I wondered how long he had been standing there. It looked like years, centuries perhaps. Perhaps he had never moved since he first saw that painting...I began to believe this painting alone, like Scientology, answered all questions about reality and existence.

I had to move into the painting for a closer look, I wanted to be moved as much as this strange Sam Adams look-alike man, shocked into deep, all encompassing thought.

Here is what i saw:

The painting was of a ship in the ocean at night time. The water looked kind of rough but not too rough. There were no people on the boat. It kind of looked like any image of a boat on the ocean at night. If you google imaged: Night Boat, right now, I am sure you would find an image that was even more engaging than this image. In fact, it looked like a screenshot of a boring, deleted scene from The Perfect Storm,  where the crew stared at the wall counting wood grains,

It was the stupidest painting ever. A blind man who never had seen a boat, or the night, could have painted a cooler picture than this dumb ass painting. Helen Keller could have effortlessly surpassed this meager display of talent.

What the hell was this man so intrigued by? The idea of the ocean? How ancient man managed to build a boat?

No. Perhaps he was much smarter than I had originally believed. I mean his hat was vintage and his boots where dirty. Smart people always wear clothes like that. In fact he kind of looked like Henry David Thoreau after finally finishing up his Walden cabin. Perhaps he was the next Henry David Thoreau. Perhaps I was standing next to, sharing oxygen with, a LEGEND.

This man knows something I do not, I thought. Maybe it is because he is a Scientologist. Maybe this religion gives you supreme mental abilities, where you can look at a blank piece of paper and perceive the glory of God.

Yet this painting was a whole lot stupider than a blank piece of paper. Was this deep thinker actually a blind man who did not know he was looking at the lamest painting in history ever? Had he fooled me into believing he was looking when actually his eyes were just glazed over in a blind trance. Blind people always sometimes look like they can see. Especially when they wear sunglasses.

The thinker cleared up my blind doubts when he suddenly turned directly at me, making intense eye contact directly with me. His non-blind eyes blinking in recognition.

"Hey" he said, in a deep whiskery voice.

"Hi" I replied, nervous to be making such intense eye contact with pretty much Henry David Thoreau.

"So, what do you think this picture is about?" He asked. My heart began to beat fast. My mind got blurry with mental performance anxiety. I had no option but to tell the truth.

"It looks like a boat on the ocean at night" I said.

I regretted the words as soon as I said them. SHIT!! I thought!! Now he KNOWS I am not as smart as him. Now he KNOWS that I don't know the secret, that I don't see the secret Scientology perception.

"Hmmmmm" he replied, "Hmmmm. interesting. wow." He said in wonderment.

"What were you thinking this painting was about?" I finally asked.

"Its weird... but I was actually thinking the exact same thing" he said.

With that he turned on his mud-clad heal and walked out the door, stopping only to sign an autograph. I was left in a whirlwind of mystery.

I asked a blond-headed usher, "Who was that guy?"

"He is an actor from some TNT TV show" she said.

As I went home to paint him, I couldn't help but think about this actor thinker. Was he really thinking? Or just acting like he was thinking? Sometimes, in our culture, it is really hard to know.

Belva the Great

This is a painting I did in twelve minutes with a children's watercolor set. It is of a tranny named Belva whom I met in the Romantic Fiction section of the Carlsbad Public Library. I was browsing for images of exotic canaries in the next isle over from Belva when I heard her distinctive and glamorous sniffling. It almost sounded like she was sniffling to the tune of Cher's, "Do you believe in love after love?" which happens to be a favorite song of mine and fittingly for her (remember she was a transsexual) a heroic gay anthem. The sound of her sniffles was intoxicating, like mimosas on the beach on a warm summer morning. No lies, Belva should have won a freakin' grammy for her sniffle rendition. It sounded like God. You see, Belva has a glorious set of nasal passages, as gorgeous as bone china, even if they are full of transconfused snot.

Curious to match a face to sniffles, I peered through the books on birds for a peek. The first part of her I noticed where her six inch silk platforms. They were the kind of physically restrictive shoes only a geisha would wear in twelfth century Japan. I admired the pain she must have endured in presenting her desired image to the world.

However, I was ashamed of myself and the rest of the public library for not hearing the clacking of Belva's shoes on the linoleum. None of us had apparently looked up from our mundane reading on canaries, genealogy trees and the biographies of famous scientists to notice a Fabulous-Sheman shuffle across the floor in size fifteen silk platforms. God mother fucking damn, the general public is so freaking self absorbed.

Anyways, back to the peeking. Her battleship sized shoes plunged out of a floor length 1920's harem gown. The kind women wore in silent movies as they cried into martini glasses brimming with bathtub gin and chain smoked out of porcelain cigarette holders. She wore a string of pearls that she kept twisting in her ape-sized (but manicured) hands. When her sniffles got overwhelming, she bit down on the pearls to silence her cries. I thought that was very courteous of her because libraries are supposed to be quite.

As for her man bulge, it looked pretty hefty which contrasted the soft, light pink fabric of her harem gown. I swear her penis must have been fifteen feet long but somehow it did not shock me. Why? Well, she carried it as elegant as a geisha bowing during a tea ceremony. Hell, her big man dick might as well have been a feather boa that he-bitch carried it so elegantly. As the great gay icon Rachel Zoe once said, "Style is how you put things together-glamour is a state of mind." Belva's mind must be seated on a Parisian Rug and her neurons must be strung together like a string of pearls...cuz she exudes glamor. Even her tears fell down in bubbling drops, like champagne erupting out of a wedding fountain.

The part of Belva I loved the most was her face. It was exquisitely framed by a huge throbbing Adam's Apple. Her features however were very dainty. It was almost as if her ears, eyes and lips were cut out of a teatime doily. Glorious lumps of mascara gooped up all over her piercing blue eyes and her lips were stained with red tranny gloss.

My soul had enough, I had to say something to make her stop crying, "My God, you are beautiful" I whispered through the books, somewhere between Hummingbirds and Owls.

"Oh! My, thank you for noticing. Do excuse me for my appearance, I don't have a kerchief, " Belva tearfully chirped, biting into her pearls. The squints of our eyes focused in on each other through the shelves.

I pulled the scarf from around my neck and slid it through a space in the books, "Here, use this" I said. "Why are you crying?" I asked.

"Oh. That. Well I just found out I was born a man. Isn't that awful? Fourty-three years of living and I never put it together" she sobbed.

"Holy shit. How did you not notice?" I asked.

"My mother wanted to protect me from my true identity so when I was young she drew a picture of a penis and said it was a vagina and then she drew a vagina and said it was a penis. I never knew that this huge lump between my legs defined me as a man. I assumed every vagina looked like mine" Belva spoke sincerely.

"Holy shit." I said, my throat drying up in shock.

"I know. It wasn't until I read this Danielle Steel love scene that I put it together. She has such elicit sexual description. I read this scene where a caveman put his manstick in his lover's cave like vagina and I thought....what?!! My vagina looks nothing like a cave, it looks like a stick! Then I looked up vagina in the encyclopedia and I have been sobbing ever since" she bellowed.

I had no idea what to do. A tranny in six inch heels sobbing over her vagina not looking like a cave? My UCLA education had not equipped me for this...but my heart had.

"What is your name beautiful girl?" I asked.

"Belva" she replied.

"Well Belva, you look like a woman to me. What is an encyclopedia? A book of "facts" printed on paper? Belva, vaginas are not printed words on paper, vaginas are a state of mind. Vagina is an attitude. Just because your vagina looks like a fifteen foot penis doesn't make it any less a vagina and no lack of vagina makes you any less a woman. " I proclaimed with all my vagina and heart.

"Really?" Belva asked.

"Really" I said.

"You must be an angel" Belva said returning my scarf, now covered in goopy mascara tar.

"I am no angel" I said, "I am an artist" and I proceeded to paint her exactly as she had looked to me....as a beautiful teary-eyed woman.












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