Egad, the Casbah in Santa Barbara
Part of the fun is the embrace of perfume
Cafe Angelica Emerald Crème
A sabbatical delay waiting to be served
A ceremonial promenade hunched over gazettes
Unwelcome raindrops splatter the canvassed toes of my shoes
Thus the au courant cartoons on my stringy denim knees
Inside at last, I’m saved and Mocha Berry satisfied
Like the face of the fretless little girl
Blowing candy off the floor in her mouth
Clicking up and down in shoes too big for her feet
Stealing glances at an intellectual jerk
Chocolate Cherry satisfied between deep banter
With a friend floating in Vanilla Colada
Part of the fun is real references to books
And book references to real well read attitudes
What’s the shiniest patented leather flats
On the girl with the silkiest blonde hair
Doing with the darkest man
In Dreadlocks and Birkenstocks?
No talk between them
Then they’re sharing the table
Those lined outside will share tables too
The Raspberry Almond can sit with me
Keeping the beat with an aggravated drum lead
His body twitched with jazzy guitar licks
He smiled between the plugs in his ears
And faces fade into a mirror in the back
Part of the fun is waking up here
In an essay on spice and circumstance
A sabbatical renewal once more
On a regional affirmation of decadence
This day of rest I worship Santa Barbara
And the celestial trip I straddle
To be able to dry my canvassed toes
With the heat of Golden Pecan
And the fervent chill of observation
In my sanctioned Casbah
In my sabbatical home
I hold my head up
My cup runneth over
Reading books and people vicariously
Egad, I am dry and satisfied
© 2002, 2020 E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
We’re standing behind you
The window is your mirror
We‘re filming your reflections
In the window
You can see
The teardrop on her cheek
The other tear — is in your hair
Reach up and wipe the tear
With your thumb
Roll the tear on your fingers
As if water — is on the wings
of a butterfly_
Now, your face is dry
You point and say something
“See that gas station down there.”
Vignette for Love Divine.
Copyright © 2018 E Maria Shelton Speller
Parallel Discussions (In Medias Res) Overtaken by Events
Behind Pushkin’s Coffeehouse, Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso sat on the remnants of a barge, trading barbs in Ibiza… swinging high top leather sock hip hop sneakers, and creeper boots in blue green virtual water, with Rick Owens’ reflection in the pool, burning fat ones – away from the beautiful ones — in a Period Piece. The Darlings of today’s literati — visionaries during the Harlem Renaissance, play themselves in a satirical throwback in VR.
Louis Picasso: “In RL, it’s 6 P.M. You just got home from work or you work from home in your virtual office. You decide to spend the evening in space! You scan Balmain for your Avatar – dope fashion — with as much audacity as Hype Williams’ black lacquered Keisha in Belly — wearing Versace!
You decide to download your brand new Porsche designed by Porsche and Atari for Microsoft, on the Pacific Coast Highway — Malibu on the left, Pepperdine University on the right, you’re on your way to virtual LA in the fast lane — your thighs are burning. Other avatars and their cars share the PCH too — driving Vipers, Corvettes, the white BMW X6 and you are speeding at 100 MIPS, streaming Coltrane.
Aristotle Michelangelo interjects: “Then you decide to go to BET’s virtual Nuyorican Café in Gotham City for the Open Mike – Saul Williams and Jessica Care Moore are featured (as themselves) tonight. You hand the keys to the valet — pay at the door with your password, sit front row center no matter what time you arrive, sign up to read your poem — because you can start over from the beginning or resume. Gender! Lame. Race is unimaginative in Space. Ethnicity is a brand — at best. The Open Mike is over at 10 P.M. but there is still time to go to Bar Pitti. You walk in and Claude McKay is at the bar in a heated debate with Ralph Ellison about literary ownership — by Netflix.
McKay shouts and then nearly whispers to Ellison, ‘It takes more than creative androgyny to “embody” the opposite sex. The storytelling responsibility of all writers, whether female or male is to fill the void. When a woman creates a man, she must imagine the sensation of “owning” a penis. When a man creates a woman, he must imagine the sensation of “owning” a vagina. It is a void, not a vacuum. A vacuum would imply the all-consuming black hole — the feminization of sex. It is not trained comprehension or chromosomes — it takes pure imagination to get the story straight…’
Louis Picasso: “Then, at Midnight, you blow kisses and wuggles to your friends, and log off. You stand and stretch your back, and your bladder is bursting because you forgot about your biological realities. The television is off; it has been off for weeks. Why watch television when you can be your own audience? Randall Walser said it best, “The filmmaker says, ‘Look, I’ll show you.’ The space maker says, ‘Here, I’ll help you discover.’ We will be our own creators functioning like actors in high culture — tools of the taste public! We will create our own universes — our own planets. We can superimpose our images circa 6 BC – AD 30, and follow Jesus to the Promised Land, witness the crucifixion – and how we feel and what we think is utterly private and without commercials! Because, global messages with common appeal will forever change with today’s technology, the challenge is to make communication visual, images symbolic, and still sell product… I want to propose arcane ideas…”
Aristotle Michelangelo interjects: “I want to develop, manage, and direct vision. My goal is to be where imagination and business are indistinguishable, because imagination without business, and business without imagination is as incongruous as capitalism without consumers… I found a dope quote dog!”
“When, she was still in her teens, well before she met Caesar, Cleopatra already had slept with Antony… though Caesar was fifty-three and she but twenty-three or so she proved ready enough to bed her third Roman. It is said that Cleopatra was a woman of lively turn and enticing talents. She also had a keen sense of the political. That this Roman [Caesar] conqueror had the power to secure the Egyptian throne for her must have added to the attraction she felt for him…Caesar established her in a sumptuous villa across the Tiber, from which she held court, while political leaders, financiers, and men of letters, including the renowned Cicero, danced in attendance.” Michael Parenti
Louis Picasso: I’m reading the same book, and I have a better one!
“In a prologue to Caesar and Cleopatra [George Bernard Shaw] that is almost never performed, the god Ra tells the audience how Rome discovered that ‘the road to riches and greatness is through robbery of the poor and slaughter of the weak.’ In conformity with that dictum, the Romans ‘robbed their own poor until they became great masters of that art, and knew by what laws it could be made to appear seemly and honest.’ And after squeezing their own people dry, they stripped the poor throughout the many other lands they conquered.” Michael Parenti
Aristotle Michelangelo: Shrugged his shoulders unconsciously, “Chez Bricktop in Paris?”
Louis Picasso: Not now. I am having a violent reaction to prescription drugs! My body is like, ‘Don’t put that shit down here again!’ They gave me all this medication for Acute Caesarion whatever — and I took it! Of course, you don’t exhaust the shit. You’re not an idiot. But, what the fuck? Where the weed at?”
Aristotle Michelangelo: I think it would be dope to channel Kerouac’s apology for automatic writing.
“He likened writing to dreaming and fantasizing, as a substitute for life. So, he wrote The Subterraneans, in three days and nights of speed typing energized by Benzedrine — to imitate the rhythm of Bebop like free energy flow, and unrestrained association, to reveal the unconscious… because he wanted to flow from inside out in spontaneous prose!” Dystopia, Explode 2015 2.0
So, here goes… They called her Marnie — behind her back. I was torn. I played with variations of Marnie. Black Marnie. Brown Marnie, Tortilla Marnie. It’s the language of found art. Bansky, Kehinde, Jazz, Hip Hop… They teased each other. Hitchcock’s Margaret, Mary, Marnie, teases Mark, so she could get the combination, to his company safe, and steal the money. She was a Kleptomaniac, a compulsive thief. A killer. She disappears. On the run! He tracks her like an animal, and finds her at a Lodge, riding her horse to the stables. He orders her off the horse, tells her she’ll walk — he’ll ride. He interrogates her. She tells him a bullshit story she can’t keep straight. He calls it, manure! Tells her to start over from the beginning, and this time — tell the truth. Back at the Lodge – he tells her to freshen up, change her clothes so he might take her to the police – she thinks. She does not know… It’s Tippi Hedren in RL! The white woman of a black man’s dreams – when he dreams about white women. Blonde, pearly white teeth and skin — Barbie! Beckie! He tells her, they will return to ‘the house’ and announce they are engaged, would to be married within the week and then cruise around the world. Of course, she thinks he’s “Out of his mind!” He told her, it was either marriage or the police, old girl. Black Marnie. Who would play her?
They get married. Eventually he takes her virginity. She tries to commit suicide. I don’t think I want to go there… Suicide. Who should play Mark? [#nomoreslavestories.] Does he catch her?
Louis Picasso: I remember that story. He said, I caught a real animal this time. I had to train her… to trust me.*
Aristotle Michelangelo: Pussy Riot danced in the cathedral — goes to jail, and the artist nailed his scrotum to the Red Square. She’s a prisoner of love. That kind of love makes me uncomfortable, racked, and anguished like a pet must be around possessive people. The energy is ignitable like the choice between blowing up and letting go. I don’t want to belong to anyone. But, what do I know about love?
Louis Picasso: Black people don’t like black people. That’s why we’re in this — hole… barrel, bucket, duck it, fuck it… We know it’s true. Listen to the tonal center of this beat!
Aristotle Michelangelo: In sixty revolutions a minute, if it’s not organic, I can’t get with it. Hate is not organic. Hate is a social construct. I want to live the life I swam to the egg for… A social construct is like zoon pushed to the egg, by stronger swimmers behind it. It’s still goal niggaz. I want an organic experience on this gridiron. A certain freedom, mere man can’t give, conceive or contrive. I want freedom Divine. You want to be free — you have to fuggin’ work for it. Zufi?
Aristotle Michelangelo: You need money, software and rigs in the virtual world. Bombs are obsolete. Race and gender is a pastiche — game challenges for points.
Louis Picasso: Beauty and power is iconography and homely stamps are hiccups – and brick and mortar is a path to experience the destruction of daredevils and matadors — in coliseums of pestilence and poverty – empirically.
Aristotle Michelangelo: Why go there? When, life is a perfect dream in a virtual world.
Louis Picasso: IJS. Get on board with — evolution. Evolution is not physical space. It’s the diamond life in our heads on a loop. Its VR not the moon…
Louis Picasso: Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, it will be impossible to ignore slavery in America… Why are some Black Americans worrying about slavery in America being taught in schools? The horse is out of the barn! Instead of embracing Juneteenth and all that it implies… Black Americans are WHINING and using the language of slaves, “they won’t, let us, allow us, give us and get…” Instead black Americans are still looking the other way when a black man drags a black woman by her hair [DC], and black people are murdered by black people in Chicago – for giggles. June 19, 2021 marks the day, that Black America must acknowledge that ‘we’ are no longer slaves and assume responsibility — that’s what freedom is.
Copyright 2016, 2018, 2020 E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast rewritten or redistributed without permission.
*Alfred Hitchcock, Marnie