New Start at New Address

Those Metropolitan Museum of Art bulletins are having an insidious effect. They remind of what’s been left behind. That’s why I’m already looking ahead to August 2015 for a return to New York.

Of course one upside regarding this move to Nevada is finally being able to enter contests whose grand prizes are all-expense paid trips to New York City. Before, sponsors never failed stuffing my inbox or mailbox with entries. For trips to New York City. Maybe if I lived in Buffalo or Plattsburgh the excursion offered might’ve been worthwhile.

Instead, had I entered and somehow won, travel would’ve consisted of catching a commuter train to Grand Central Terminal, then, depending on the hotel, taking a subway or cab there.

That sojourn wouldn’t have provoked any bug-eyed, screaming gratitude. That just would’ve been another weekend downtown.

Strangely enough now that I live in Las Vegas, I’m receiving pitches whose big prizes are Vegas vacations. Like I said, strange.

Frankly, the most intriguing part about travelling back to New York would be seeing it from the perspective of a visitor who once resided there. I’ve joked that I hope the natives treat tourists better than they ever did the locals. I’ll be one who’ll know the difference.

From just cursory reading of the Quarropas newspaper’s online contributions, I see the old town has become rougher since my departure. More shootings in the months I’ve been gone than the lifetime I lived there.

Read of some gunplay a block away from our old suburban house two weeks ago. Well, our old address. New owners have made the old box unrecognizable. Let’s hope no restless spirits are loosened from the city cemetery then seek their former temporal lodgings. They’d have a tough time haunting the renovated place.

While Quarropas hasn’t become Detroit, the level of violence has seemingly increased. As stated before, I don’t read the regional rag’s online version frequently. Who can? Yet when I do more often than not there are reports of incivility and disorder that would’ve been out of place as recently as three years ago.
I guess Eddie killing Mike then blowing himself up last August released impulses.


Welcome to the new site. The old one suited me and plenty of others fine but the host determined the amount of easy money earned mustn’t have been obscenely lucrative enough.

Day by day Americans discover despite all of our complications, we’re boggled by the simplest: we just can’t leave well enough alone. I would’ve thought Coke introducing its new formula decades ago might’ve instilled a lesson.
Don’t mess with success. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t let the Umbrella Corporation reopen the Hive.


For a hot minute years ago I considered naming Slow Boat Media “Sestri Levante.” Or some such variation. Like “Yorikke” or “Argo.”

The “Sestri Levante” is a freighter in the thriller Journey into Fear. The Eric Ambler novel could be read as a Levantine version of The Third Man. Except with belly dancing.

The “Yorikke” is another rust bucket featured in B. Traven’s The Death Ship. B. Traven, also known elsewhere under different circumstances as Ret Marut, was one of those figures who did nothing to dispel the rumors swirling around him.

Did B. Traven ride with Pancho Villa? Was Ret Marut the Kaiser’s nephew? Did he, not Frankie Lymon, write “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?”

His seeming obscurity aside, American pop culture owes him a great deal of gratitude. Without B. Traven movie aficionados don’t have a seminal piece of dialogue to chew.

“Badges!? We don’t need no steekin’ badges!”

He wrote The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

Perhaps the “Argo” wasn’t a slow boat but it surely took a roundabout course throughout the wine dark sea. And Jason, it’s captain. Look what happened to him in the end. So maybe it’s just as well the literary vessels remained moored among book pages. Any might’ve been too clever. Or twee. I hadn’t targeted an audience but I knew what topics interested me.

Sirens, yes. Medea, no.

I remember sitting in our old Quarropas place, cobbling together what would become Slow Boat. My then-employers turned a slowly forming notion into urgency. Unfortunately, they won the race. They destroyed faster than I could create.

The three years between yesterday and today don’t seem possible. The profundity of personal events should’ve occurred across a more measured pace rather than as the quickly dropped burdens left where they landed.

Death was anticipated, though never expected so soon; the thoroughness of the crashed career was unforeseen. The women whose neglect disrupted lives weren’t Furies, but locusts. Childishness vied with their criminality. Too much wreckage in New York and not enough time or energy to clear it and rebuild.

Nevada as refuge, or Nevada as last resort?


One of the favorable aspects of my new address (it’s an address, not home; not now, likely never) is the city’s utter lack of propriety. No need to exhibit much correctness in Las Vegas. What doesn’t go and who doesn’t do it?
Take Agnes, for instance. I met her … well, that revelation isn’t vital yet. Let’s just say I came across her while she engrossed a sculptor in conversation. No. Captivated by Agnes, he latched onto her. Every Wednesday, expressly for the purpose of Afternoon Delight.

Aside from her appeal, and having examined the sculptor’s oeuvre online, I saw her slender contours the sort which heavily influenced his own art. He must’ve seen similarities between the innate and living as Kismet. And once I explained Kismet to him he agreed. Doubtlessly her vast moral laxity also firmed the attraction.

Let me add here, despite Agnes’ pliancy she’s not compliant. Nor all that complaisant. An attribute she unconsciously reinforces. This chick is id. I’m subterfuge. I don’t know whether I like that but given our arrangement – open and tenuous – ours is a boat which won’t be rocked.

Before she abandoned town for several weeks of lolling somewhere in the Caribbean, oh, through the goodness of some kind and generous older man whose compound simply happens to abuts a beach, Agnes learned of a story verging on being written.

A stranger must forsake his home. He settles in Las Vegas. Hey. It’s a coincidence. There, he meets and interacts with characters more akin to aliens than exotics.

Of course there is a woman. Okay. There are three. (You’ll read about the other two once the story is completed.) The woman who intrigues him most suffers a fatal incident in the end.

Agnes showed sang-froid about my fictionalization’s closeness to flesh and blood … and temperament. Nor did she bother inquiring whether the concluding incident authored by a sort of ex-husband, an outside provocateur or some lover who wanted that unobtainable more.

Agnes enjoys the sporadic clamor outside my residence. My less ambitious, more uninhibited neighbors sometimes vent their unbridled selves. These outbursts are occasioned by who knows what. Probably akin to magma rising before pressure makes the volcano erupt.

The “realness” she finds absorbing annoys me. Naked, conducting ourselves behind blinds and thermal curtains against a brutal Mohave summer sun while people unfettered by conventional notions skylark madly mere yards away should be on some page written by Jack Kerouac on mescal, not a state which we view through contrary regard.

More contrariness: she’s abstemious, I don’t smoke. Her temperance and my distaste for fumes could’ve been hindrances. However, Agnes’ lips will touch liquor and I bought her a smoking robe (jacket?) in order to wear outside my door when her nic fits demand calming.

Which do the neighbors notice more? The sedate garment, the brown woman wearing it, or her cigarette holder? Gauguin would’ve loved Agnes’ complexion. French as she is, part of her heritage derives from the country’s Indochinese aspirations and realizations and melding into glory.

Observed and observing, Agnes and the neighbors. Their ogling can only be mutual.

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