All posts by rexmerritt

Broken Valentine


    Several years ago, a friend did something way beyond me. After 30-plus years of being apart from him she married her high school sweetheart.

    Admittedly the romantic aspect is hard to deny. All those years of having her heart fixed on one beloved then taking advantage of circumstances allowing her a return to square one validates true love.

    The interrupted romance started abruptly enough. Back in the early 80s he noticed her, but she made the first moves. From there it got hot and heavy fast.

    Up to and past the point where teen girls mistake sex for love. Continue reading Broken Valentine

Andy Hardy Meets Maigret


    The tough part of winter has arrived. Late fall through early January at least offered a succession of holidays to dread. The only promise to be kept from now until late March is gray and frigid. Naturally there are attempts to alleviate Northeastern nature. Mostly radio stations playing Beach Boys’ tunes. As if reminders were needed of what we’re missing. And while Miami is a direct flight away, there’s always soldiering those returns to LaGuardia parts.

    The only beneficial aspect to shorter colder days is optimum conditions to think, to contemplate. Or if one is so moved, brood. Or if mired, mope. Continue reading Andy Hardy Meets Maigret

Indirect Objects

 

    A feature inside the last 2011 issue of Intervìu by writer Alberto Gayo called to mind comments received about my compilations Reveries and Cool Brass. The latter especially.

    Maybe what Reveries sparked finally ignited in Cool Brass.

    The theme behind Gayo’s article: women taking responsive roles in erotica. A focus: Femme Fatale, a photo compendium by Finn Reka Nyari. Apparently Ms. Nyari’s lens exposed more than female forms offered up as living mannequins awaiting domination or mere male regard.

    You know. The usual. Continue reading Indirect Objects

Crossing Off the Crossroads of the World


    Our holidays were so desultory, all we lacked were a revolver and remorse to have made it a complete Camus Christmas. Being between jobs let me skip New Year’s Eve festivities. Just as well. I would’ve been ringing out 2011 anger and ringing in 2012 anxiety.

    The whole stretch of cold-weather holidays from Thanksgiving until St. Valentine’s Day darkens my outlook. An extensive slough of despond.

    If it were possible, I’d enter hibernation the day after Halloween and awake on St. Patrick’s Day. Early on St. Patrick’s Day. Was there ever a man less deserving of enduring the enforced spikes of autumnal and winter jollity?

    Yes. The above is an exaggeration. Thanks to the American labor movement my present unemployment is bothersome, not troublesome. The safety net so many Republicans yearn to shred keeps the wolf at bay. Unlike GOP governors, each a mouthpiece for America’s Mr. Potters, I’m quite appreciative of past labor agitators who organized and fought for workplace dignity, be they have been Wobblies, Socialists, or — shudder! — even Commies. Continue reading Crossing Off the Crossroads of the World

Merciless


    One of those hoary proverbs came alive for me recently. “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.”

    Alibi wasn’t an enemy. Just a mean piece of man.

    A lifetime ago we’d known each other. Or to be apt circled one another. Among the few things we shared was mutual wariness. As well as his sister Kari.

    Since our last brush Alibi’s condition had deteriorated severely. Good. We crossed paths inside the same rehabilitation center where mother underwent physical therapy. One cannot thwart old age. We may only develop methods to temporarily blunt its more debilitating effects. Continue reading Merciless

Before Hiroshima


    August 6th has become a date receiving outsized attention. Aesthetically that’s quite understandable. Hiroshima offers superior visuals to Pearl Harbor, a site whose tragedy lies beneath a placid surface.


    Pearl Harbor simply offers serene contemplation across Hawaiian waves. Hiroshima city fathers have done an artful job of propagandizing their preservations. Japanese ruins deflect guilt from the past. What incited 1941 America is mostly out of sight underwater and left to explanation. Continue reading Before Hiroshima

Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

    What was foretold came to pass. Ideally the doors to Mugwump, my former employer, would’ve closed in January 2012. Yet during the summer of 2011 I saw it barely surviving into October. The place staggered and face-planted one week before November.

    Awash in cocaine and/or drowning in vodka or THC fogging the remnants of their minds, Loca and Fea lost Mugwump, their patrimony.

    Wait. “Lost” isn’t the right word. “Frittered.” Nope. Still doesn’t convey the squander.

    “Squatted down and pissed away.” Much better.

    Coked out when not blind drunk, the Mugwump sisters squatted down and pissed away their company. In doing so they destroyed in five years what their father Blowhard established after 27. Before carelessly tossing the reins to his flibbertigibbet daughters, Blowhard built Mugwump into a company renown for dependability, reliability and accuracy. Continue reading Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

No Atonement Kabuki


    Oh man! Did I have a great time writing the three stories comprising Cool Brass, or what?

    When I wrote for newspapers my first immediate chief was an editor who loved quoting Red Smith’s dictum. The late Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times sportswriter likened our craft to “opening a vein.”

    Puh-lease. Continue reading No Atonement Kabuki

Ring-A-Ding-Ding!


    At my most recent meal in the neighborhood Italian restaurant the owner went aural wall-to-wall playing Frank Sinatra. That night maybe he had an urge to remember his hairline and when his wife still had a waist.

    The proprietor didn’t play one song on a loop. Instead, he tailored his listening preference after those Buenos Aires parrillas which nail their tuners on the endless Carlos Gardel, all the time radio station. Diners who appreciate Sinatra were even luckier.

    Rather than limit our listening pleasure to the crooner’s exhausted anthems (no “New York, New York,” thankfully) or the straight/no chaser/whole fifth downers (the entire In the Wee Small Hours album comes to mind) we ate while sampling the maestro’s oeuvre. Mostly mid-tempo selections personifying happy to be alive with my baby zest.

    The post-Ava canon. Continue reading Ring-A-Ding-Ding!