Surveillance Pelicana Chapter 2: ‘Night of the Living Poets’

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

(The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-full-book-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/.)

Chapter Two Synopsis:

Following the Saints playoff loss, Tyger and

his friend Armor’s Tungsten attend an open-mike poetry night at

the Blue Bayou club on Tchopitoulas Street.

 

CHAPTER TWO

“Night of the Living Poets”

 

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A horrible shroud of sadness descends over proud New Orleans

on Monday January 4, 1988 ringing in the New Year with the worst

of all possible visions. The boys have been humiliated yet again,

this time by a mangy band of Vikings from the frigid north

country led by Anthony Carter, Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, and

Wade Wilson.

“Where is that darn Pope when you really need him,” the Yats

— a descriptive term derived from the local expression “where

y’at?” — are railing on Buddy D’s radio talk show. “I know what

you mean, Johnny from Gretna. And now Paul from New Orleans

East.”

Just when you thought it was safe to be a Saint.

On and on the broken record of reality spins around a city

mourning dead playoff hopes. A certain awful comfort survives as

the usual booby prize.

“Tell you what Buddy,” Joe from Metairie looking on the

bright side, “the boys had a hell of a year. First playoff game,

12-and-3 record. We’ll get them next time.”

“Yeah you right, Joe,” Buddy D. agrees. “But I wish it were

 

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next year right now.”

So much for New Year-‘s optimism.

Tyger takes the loss as hard as anyone smashing a Saints

drinking mug against the wall of his house about 30 minutes into

a game the Saints are already well on their way to blowing

miserably by a score of 44-10.

He watches the entire debacle more out of a sense of

histor-ical trauma than appr-eciation or joy. This is his duty as

a die-hard Saints fan. After all, it’s not as if he hasn’t

seen this sort of behavior before on the part one of the NFL’s

poorest excuses for a franchise.

Following a brief mourning period consisting of smashing

other objects and commiserating via telephone with friends like

Mac Long, Sandy Alexander, Mr. Milty, and Armor’s Tungsten, Tyger

lets go of the pain and prepares once again to confront life. He

admits his lack of power to affect the final outcome of that

encounter. He must face the future come what may and may become.

And now for an important news fake. (“All My Children”

interruptus, the assholes.)

President Ronald Reagan’s chief physician today in Washington

picked the President’s nose cancer.

Long  pregnant

pause

Watch “News Fake” later for all the lying details. Yeah,

right. Thanks for nothing.

Commer-cial. Commer-cial. Commer-cial.

 

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Finally, the day’s important new resumes in earnest. “All

My Children” continues with Tad Martin and Erica Shame

melodramatically scrambling for attitude.

Sorry babe, no daytime Emmy for that prattle. You need

better writers. Tyger Williams is available.

The two, shall we say, actors prance across life’s stage in

a wooded tableau resembling mad Manhattan’s Central Park. Oh,

they are in Monte Carlo. Yeah, right.

Preparations continue unabated on a damp cold misting day. A

puff puff here; a puff puff there. Clouds of joy hang over puff

puffing air.

Time capsules bob like sleds careening across

consciousness, white tides washing over all swell ended.

Ungainly surfers vanish beneath giant rolling waves.

What were we contemplating? Oh yes, that damn Adam

Chandler. Why is he stealing Dixie’s baby?

No change in the feckless political weather. A surprisingly

to the uninitiated brisk cool January afternoon follows a

northerly wind whipping down the wetlands.

Brrrr. Who said New Orleans was always hot as hell? It is

hell, yes, but predictions call for bone-chilling cold later that

night. Ooooh.

Tyger pauses to reflect on current events before the proper

psych-job necessary for gaining employment. One last fling is

 

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needed before settling down to whatever business the future has

in store.

That evening a warm dimly lit place calls out for Tyger’s

attention. It is the Blue Bayou, a tavern that transforms itself

each Tuesday night into the venue for an open-mike poetry

reading.

The large one-room drinking establishment doesn ‘t do any

business on Tuesday anyway, so the proprietor figures he can

chance the poetry crowd. A good news-bad news dichotomy has

developed these last two months of weekly readings.

A respectable crowd of about 50 persons can be counted on;

poets being poets, they won’t spend money on drinks. A few of

them buy drinks, true, but generally they sneak in vodka, gin,

ethanol, grain alcohol — whatever it takes — and maybe order

cokes.

Management suspects there is more than a random explanation

for the lack of financial reward on their investment and are

becoming quite peeved in return. The poets do not believe they

should be held accountable for their refusal to be ripped off by

high liquor prices.

No cover charge collected, this being an off-night,

way off, although donations for publicity are appreciated.

About half the crowd are regulars each week. Another half wander

in lost in the weeds, the cold world’s mortal coil, or for

 

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whatever reason suffices.

In any event, an environment of growing hostility has

forming. Just an undertone for now, but worth keeping in

mind.

Sign-up, as usual, begins, more or less, at 9:00 p.m.

Yes, something to do. Hours, however, to kill before then.

Beautiful young pseudo-hippy-happy-hippity-hoppity

bathe poetic eyes with

long tie-dye evening wear.

glorious rose petal fingers

chicks

adjusting

long tie-dye evening wear.

 

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“I thought I saw a pussycat,” Tyger drifts into mantra

sitting alone stage right.

“I did. I saw a yellow pussycat with Ray-Gun face falling

asleep during a cabinet meeting.”

And similar semi-madmanic rambling. Just killing time by

killing lines while the poetry flows.

Passes fitfully day falling into dusk. Oops. Tyger can be

seen through narrow portals viewing television, getting high, and

getting by about 6 p.m. dozing into nap-hood, sir sheepishly

sleepy head ambling through time as if he has nothing but time to

waste. Perhaps he will wise up some day.

But until that wonderful moment, rising and shining, Tyger

must wipe eyes, splash water on face, consider the nothingness of

current fate.

Media madness self-censored news personalities march on in a

never-ending self promotional frenzy. Yep, and the evening lies

keep washing out our sandy shores.

Ray-Gun at Santa Barbara vacation. Vacation–from what? Dem

kills dose as dozy-does a lame feature on Cajun dancing. They

call that dancing? Looks more like a tractor pull.

Big deal. Big deal. Big meal at Wendy’s advertisement. Eat

Eat it. Eat it already, local dimwit news.

 

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Knock. Knock. “What·’s up Doc?” Tyger stumbles to the door.

It is, who else, Armor ‘s Tungsten. “Hey brother,” as the big old

bear inside gambols. Snake eyes, bro.

“It is my right as an American to drive any place I please,”

Armor’s lectures, still bristling from a roadside close

encounter; He falls into the officially designated visitor ‘s

chair. “It is my right to drive at any speed I please.”

Armor’s took

explicable reason.

his name as a performance moniker for no

He proceeds to explain the day’s folly of

elderly male driver suffering from terminal Alzheimer’s, or some

brain blockage, blocking the artist’s path along the entire

length of St. Charles Avenue.

“Armor’s, my man, how about them cats?” asks Tyger in a

random changing of the topic. Armor ‘s currently has two elderly

models. “Doing fine, but I wouldn ‘t mind a new generation. Add

some sizzle to the steak.”

 

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Colors – purple pink magenta orange strawberry – swirl in

aura traces around the dancing fickle finger of odd fate glancing

above Armor’s smiling face. Tyger brews a final batch of coffee

that they drink before attending the poetry show.

Armor’s salivates over visions of long lush female legs

crossing themselves in sexy out-of-body pornography that he has

pla. yed all day on a VCR at his house. “Oooh mama. They are so hot

you can fry your brains on them,” Armor’s concludes thoughtfully,

“That sounds pretty amazing,” notes Tyger after a few more

explicit descriptions of swinging sex acts provided free of

charge by a more than willing Armor’s, his tongue wagging to the

ground.

“I’m getting a new bunch tomorrow,” Armor’s adds. “They are

do-it-yourself amateur snuff acts.

amateurs are blowing.”

Can’t wait to see what the

Time mimes a more artsy landfall to

encounter. Time to fuck this poetic mumbo-j umbo stinking shit.

“Screw this

chants Armor’s

place, screw this

favorite mantra as

place, screw this place,”

he drives staring straight

ahead stone-faced. “You need an act of congress to get around

this town,”

Armor’s leans on the annoying horn. “And fuck the donkey you

 

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rode in on,” he yells at the offending driver holding back

progress.

Crawling crawling stalling shit-for-brain pretty babies

snake slowly along the curved street strolling parallel with the

Mississippi River.

car preceding.

Armor’s gets up close and per-sonal with the

This vehicle is revealed to be operated by a demented outof-

body, out-of-mind silver-haired matron who suddenly starts

weaving nervously like a rural farm truck about to drop its

cabbages.

“Ker-splat, you are fat,” yells Armor’s at the lady’s silver

grey Cadillac. “At least she has an American pig car,” he adds.

Her ahhh don’t give a damn attitude subverts the traffic

flow grinding it to a near halt. That lady spent a little too

much time at, shall we say, late tea.

“I thinks she is smashed,” Tyger concludes. “You’re right.

I’d like to smash her,” Armor ‘s replies although he restrains

them,” Armor’s continues as he

himself for the sake of the moment.

“Ahh fuck her, fuck all of

startles with a loud horn blast in her face before turning

riverbound right towards Tchopitoulas Street.

Then, it is a quick pass by the railroad tracks and long

view to the wharves. The boys are back at the Blue Bayou again

like a killer cold. The latest prescr-iption: Take two million

 

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aspirin and crawl home by morning.

Quite a scenic experience,

then, as poets walk down

Tchopitoulas Street puffing on grass by the neutral ground turf

and dirt. Or bunches of beatnik beret-heads gathered like bananas

inhaling sweet marijuana by the railroad tracks.

Girls like rouged pumpkins are plump down shivering besides the

club. Pretty pieces of flesh adorned mohawk tops and nose

rings form quite the fashionable brood seeking for culture on

which to rest. Yet, there is no denying their Southern American

Princess — SAP — heritage.

A shivering soul in a color drenched Hawaiian shirt stands

nearby in awe. Must be the manic macho hour.

Aloha y’all. There is no getting past the genetically

unenlightened guarding the gates to the Blue Bayou.

“Crap, ” notes Armor’s Tungsten who has seen it all before.

“The pseudo art crowd is clinging around here like vines at

Wrigley Field.”

Poetry night is no day on the beach. It varies from an

acceptable level of poetic inspiration to the depths of death-inlife

mediocrity. But the scenery can be pleasant and from time to

time a brilliant sun rises over the sea, raising the game a notch

 

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for those usually stuck in mud huts.

Armor’s struts by the pumpkin crowd feeling just fuckin’ ham

beautiful, thank you very not. The nose rings ignore him. They

are too busy talking about breast implants or abortions.

Who wants, who knows, who cares. Piles of dangling particles

suspend bright air, strangling rainbow streamers from toe to tip.

Headed inside while feeling outside, Tyger and Armor’s are

confronted with the wails of a somewhat lame rock and roll band

moaning English style on the juke box. “Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby

please.”

Weren’t they on Saturday Night Live once? “Sound

like the waking dead to me,” Tyger observes. “Bunch of zombies.”

Armor’s has heard them before. “Flock of Seagulls,” he

corrects. “Or is that Flock of Bad Haircuts? I never can keep

that straight.”

No one pays any attention. The group of 30 space walking

astronauts are too busy floating through personal atmospheric

space.

Nonetheless, a poetically waxed mood is being readied for

launch on the pad building. Count-down commences at approximately

9:00 p.m. The sign-up list grows rapidly as the event reaches

escape velocity.

So it blasts off in quasi-surreality. A paunchy balding fat

man about 40-something reads the ingredients of an apple pie

 

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recipe to a mixed response.

“Is that art?” Tyger asks. “Sounds like he spent too much

time in the kitchen.”

The fellow reads another diatribe–ode to the unavailability

of proper bathroom facilities in Central America. “I don’t like

this simp,” Tyger concludes as Armor’s farts loudly in response

before walking to the tavern restroom for some relief.

The, shall we say, poet finishes to no applause. He sits

down looking somewhat confused. Perhaps that is his resting face.

Now, a shaved head with brain begins a tribute to the

homeless. “A brilliant purple sunrise, he reads monotonously

from a dirty torn piece of browning white paper.

“Heads swimming in flames. Derelicts: your time has arisen

like a dogged tail wagging a mangy mutt. Eat the rich and shit

them out for fun.”

“Once this was our world,” recites an artsy-craftsy female

type, attractive in an all-American way with long black hair and

sweet red cheeks. She stands next

to a high stool on stage

provided tor poets who wish to sit.

“Exemplified by plastic manikins, how lifeless and unmoving.

 

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And stupidly worse than automatons walking along their fruitless

groves tilled with useless consumer items, waste crdeams and

fearful futures.

“Don’t fear those awful tears

A new day rises from

beautiful torrid flames, their ashes, the pretend shock of a

dozen onlookers. Their number might not be legion but it is

growing by the moment.”

Lovely, lovely red eyes burning. She is not afraid to cry

and dips her head like a classy mare to polite applause as she

finishes the recitation.

“Hey, that a way,” Armor ‘s stands as he claps. “Way to go

babe. Looking good.” She smiles shyly and evacuates the stage.

Just a phase he is ogling through.

A 20 year old boy with long blonde hair introduces himself

as Bob, just plain Bob, and begins a poem dedicated to, of all

persons, himself.

“Bob has become a great orchestra conductor pulling the

robots’ strings and tooting some very under-utilized horns. The

slaves to fashion must be freed so they can be released again

through the father, the son, the holy Bob”

“Hmm, religious theme,” Amor’s says too· loudly on purpose.

A moronic woman with short black

shooshes him equally loudly.

hair who looks

Armor’s swivels rapidly on his chair. “Sit on it

like a dog

baby,” he

 

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tells her. “Shhhh.” “Shhhh this,” giving her the good finger. She

recoils in disgust.

“Bob has come to save the masses from their horrible fate–

boredom, death-in-life, those things that dare not speak their

name. Bob names it then after your evil souls, and master flash

Bob is shaking it up. Watch his dust.”

Yeah, right. Bob reads this narcissistic crap for 10 more minutes

exceeding the time limit. The mohawk nose ring crowd applauds

wildly while Tyger sits on his hands. There is no accounting for

taste.

“Yes well, ahem, I grasp his point,” Armor’s says. “And it’s

moot. He is like a vegetable, green on the outside and yellow in

his head,”

Yet another temporary poet of the moment to quote, comrades,

to approximate the general idea of the event. “The forecast is

for cr-uel and unusual weather,” intones a sad eyed lady in long

white dress. “There is a cold front blowing in from North Dakota.

Things are going downhill fast.

“Toggy Hill from Donaldsonville reports his ducks have

quacked. Blah blah blah his meaningless cold front bores me. I

live in the endless summer of my ovary. I give the best head in

the world gentlemen. But I refuse to be oppressed through my

desire and yours …. ”

Hmmm. Armor’s is slightly interested. “Sounds like she wants to shake

 

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some action,” he observes, if you know what I mean.”

Unfortunately, everyone does.

Crap crap scrap, rattle and rack, nowhere men and crazy

hats. Armor’s takes a smelly shit and onward into the futur-e,

comrades, they like fireflies repast. Yoouuch( Allens, let’s like

this egg creamer scram.

Tyger takes a break. He walks outside as a male poet yells,

“Flashbacks? That’s all I ever have are flashbacks .. ”

Automatic poetry feels for the moment as Tyger seems temporarily

satisfied with his lot at the Blue Bayou. He is just listening

tonight inviting whatever inspiration becomes available. The

future waits for tomorrow.

Dancing ballerina on time’s toes prancing, flashes glances

tres romantic:. The poetic: soap opera continues until official

break-time.

“Time to break something,” Armor’s declares to his antimatter

companion growling from the seat behind him. “How about

your face?”

The in crowd stretches outside enjoying the brisk weather,

a pleasant change from New Orleans’ usual pattern of hellish

heat and equally uncomfortably unnaturally high humidity. Armor’s

poses Sphinxian riddles as poets mingle in small groups

exchanging the latest artistic information.

“They call the front passenger seat riding shotgun, but I

 

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prefer to call it the death seat.” Armor’s finishes at last.

“Care to drive to the store and get some popcorn?”

Tyger passes on the invitation. “Come on. No one has died in

my car yet,” Armor’s drives on. “At least nobody that I know of.”

Strains of a familiar tune drift outside from the bar’s juke

box every time a poet enters or exits. Goody, it’s the Monkees

blaring out “Daytime Believer.” This must mean something although

Tyger hasn’t a clue what.

Nothing matters like nothing matters, time like glass

continually shatters. Visualization technique continues as Armor’s

harasses a pretty young girl with golden curls and extremely

apprehensive manner.

Good old Armor’s is making friends again. Hey dude, remember

the last time. No more law suits, O.K.?

Oyez, oyez, and oh yeah, the poets have finished their

business inside the fabled Blue Bayou. They begin wandering back

to their chairs.

Suddenly extreme darkness alternates with a slightly lit

front platform and better lit side bar. A medium sized bird

perches behind the rail chattering at a female companion

with spiked black hair, leather, and missing tooth smile.

Adjusting slightly for the absence of light, objects as in a

vehicle side mirror are larger than they appear as they sweep by.

 

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Hear you, hear ye, hear ye comrades near to far . A night of

fortitude fortissimo lies around the secret bend. Have some fear,

dear friends. The future is now.

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