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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.
“Night of the Living Poets”
Torched box of troubles notwithstanding,
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
“Where is that darn Pope when you really need him,” the Yats
— a descriptive term derived from the local expression “where
y’at?” — whale and rail 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 Saints fan.”
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
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
historical trauma than appreciation 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, 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.
Commercial. Commercial. Commercial.
Finally, the day’s important new resumes in earnest.
“AllMy 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. Same difference.
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? Again.
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. Lala.
Tyger pauses to reflect on current events before the proper
psych job necessary for gaining employment. One last fling is
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. ‘Tis the Blue Bayou, a tavern that transforms itself
each Tuesday night into the venue
for open-mike poetry reading.
The large, one-room drinking establishment does no Tuesday
business anyway, so why not, 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. No pepsi.
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
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: p.m.
Yes, something to do. Hours, however, to kill before then.
Beautiful young pseudo-hippy-happy-hippity-hoppity
chicks bathe poetic eyes with
glorious rose petal fingers adjusting
long tie-dye evening wear.
“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 it. Eat it already, local dimwit news.
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, who took his name as a performance moniker
for no explicable reason,
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.”
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
played all day, along with his privates, don’t ask,
on a VCR at his house. “Oooh mama. They so hot
you can fry your brains on them,” Armor’s concludes thoughtfully,
“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.
Can’t wait to see what the amateurs are blowing.”
Time mimes a more artsy landfall to
encounter. Time to fuck this poetic mumbo-jumbo stinking shit.
“Screw this place, screw this place, screw this place,”
chants Armor’s favorite mantra as he drives staring straight
“You need an act of congress to get around this town,”
Armor’s leans on the annoying horn.
“And fuck the donkey you rode in on,”
he yells at the offending driver holding back progress.
“You a one man traffic jam.”
Crawling crawling stalling shit-for-brain pretty babies
snaking slowly along curved streets strolling parallel with the
Armor’s gets up close and personal with the car preceding.
This vehicle is revealed to be operated by a demented out-of-
body, out-of-mind purple-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 himself for the sake of the sacred moment.
“Ahh fuck her, fuck all of them,” Armor’s continues as he
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 prescription: Take two million
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. Aloha y’all.
Must be the manic macho hour.
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-in-life post-mediocrity.
However, the scenery can be pleasant and from time to
time, a brilliant sun rising over the sea, raising the game a notch
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 in 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?
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
as advertised at approximately 9 p.m.
The sign-up list grows rapidly as the event reaches
It blasts off in quasi-surreality.
A paunchy balding fat man about 40-something
reads the ingredients of an apple pie
recipe to 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 toilet humor,” Armor’s says,
punctuating his thoughts with a long fart
before walking to the tavern restroom for some further relief.
The, shall we say, poet finishes to no applause. He sits
down looking somewhat confused. Perhaps that is his resting bitch 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.
And stupidly worse than automatons walking along their fruitless
groves tilled with useless consumer items, waste dreams
fearful futures. Don’t fear those awful tears.
A new day rises from beautiful torrid flames,
its ashes, the pretend shock of a dozen onlookers.
Their number might not be legion, but growing by the moment.”
Lovely, lovely red eyes burning. She is not afraid to cry.
At least on stage. She dips her head like a classy mare
to polite applause as she finishes recitation.
“Hey, that a way,” Armor ‘s stands as he snaps his fingers.
Some part of her connects with Armor’s prurient visage.
“Way to go babe. Looking good.”
Just a phase he is ogling through.
She smiles shyly and evacuates the stage.
A 20 year old boy with long blonde hair introduces himself
as Bob, just plain Bob. He begins a poem dedicated to,
of all persons, himself. Got to love those narcissists.
“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 hair who looks
like a chihuahua pooch shooshes him equally loudly.
Armor’s swivels rapidly on his chair.
“Sit on it baby,” he says.
“Shhhh,” she barks.
“Shhhh this,” Armor’s 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 them after your evil souls. Master flash
Bob shaking it up. Watch his dust.”
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.
De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum.
“Yes well, ahem, I grasp his point,” Armor’s says. “And it’s
moot. He is like a vegetable, green on the outside,
yellow inside his noggin.”
Yet another temporary poet of the moment to quote, comrades,
to approximate the general idea of the event. “The forecast is
for cruella 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 more interested.
“Sounds like she wants to shake
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 future.
Allons, let’s like this egg beater 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? Just joking. Not. Yes.”
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
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
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 the beguine, aimlessly drifting
back to their random seats.
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.
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.