Category Archives: Quarropas

Saloons Instead of Salons

This is how perception has re-formed amid the Mojave and the Southern Nevada mountains – bands like the Eagles and the Pure Prairie League sound more appropriate here than they ever did down in Arizona’s Sonora Desert and certainly back East in New York. Those guitars and keening voices cut through the Mojave’s harshness.

Although the poignancy of the bands’ ballads further emphasize the region’s emptiness, each offers relief to the barren horizon and the few figures populating it. Hmmm. Figure that out.

People often ask whether I miss New York, and if so what do I particularly miss. My pat reply is usually, “Whatever I miss was already gone before I left.”

Until recently that response sufficed because it was the only truth. Continue reading Saloons Instead of Salons

Good Ether

Hear music as ether. Good ether.

With zero apologies to Marcel Proust, music not madeleines better allow ourselves to re-immerse ourselves in the past and fully revivify it. Not so much live music at that as tunes sound engineers have massaged down to their last notes. To me, too much concert music sounds ragged. Live performances allow bands license to mess with the perfection which either narcotized or motivated me in the first place.

I generally prefer my ether unadulterated and exactly the way I’ve come to favor it. Continue reading Good Ether

Betsy

Of the three, shouldn’t Zygyac have been the most reprehensible? After all, dusted as he claimed to have been, he’d sliced and diced his lover, a la Sid Vicious upon Nancy Spurgeon.

An Iron Curtain émigré, Zygyac had always emitted an off-kilter vibe since his family’s arrival in Quarropas. Yet no one ever could’ve foreseen the doughy, pasty-faced boy growing into a hulking and heaving beast who behaved in such a mindless manner. Other felonies? Yes. Murder? No.

Alibi, though? Projecting him as a murderer, that image didn’t tax imagination. Who knew? Maybe he had. Intimidate as he did those under his thumb, knowledge of bodies rendered inconvenient might remain uncirculated despite his current incapacities.

No, Moret was the worst of this rogues gallery. His, unlike Zygyac’s and Alibi’s transgressions, have been worsened by discovery, time, and scope.

Sure. Zygyac took a life, while Alibi committed depravity. Nonetheless the law dealt with the former and karma, if it truly exists, laid the latter as low as possible.

All things told, though, that pair left small numbers of victims in their wakes. Even now, who knows how many people suffered through Moret? While women predominated, at least one man served as collateral fodder.

Betsy among the wounded, first and foremost. The ripples emanating from her are exponential and generationally tragic. Have there been others like Betsy? Certainly there were numerous unknown girls Moret shoved into premature womanhood. Continue reading Betsy

Girl Clash

Now and then news from Quarropas, once my New York home, wends its way West and gives me pause to consider the arc of our world. Is it by design? Are there patterns in its seeming randomness? One beyond the ken of us simple mortals?

Two years ago, the notable event among locals which received widespread coverage was Eddie having stabbed Mike to death then in, oh, let’s say, remorse, or recognition of his heinous act, Eddie blowing himself up. As much as nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, who the hell could’ve foreseen real-life ending Grand-Guignol playing out in sleepy Quarropas?

This latest incident is bloodless, though pleasantly mortifying. Continue reading Girl Clash

Edna Long Left Questions

Vernon waited too late. A cousin, he now wants to assemble our family tree. A branch of it at least. One comprising our mutual matriarchal entities. The moment to have done this was decades ago when enough generations still stretched among us to weave that narrative together.

My grandmother Alice, his aunt, was born in 1908. Hers would’ve been a fine memory to excavate. She could’ve provided his enterprise’s bones. After all she was old enough to have known ex-slaves.

Ex-slaves. Talk about history coming to life. It’s one thing to watch Skip Gates’ Finding Your Roots or Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. It surely would’ve been more immediate to have such recollections lent voice from a listener who heard them directly from people who underwent those indignities.

It’s no stretch to any imagination in Alice seeing her own grandparents as having once been chattel.

What prompted Vernon’s late, nearly futile search? Edna Long. Edna Long piqued him. Continue reading Edna Long Left Questions

The Idol

Forsaking the East required me to pare possessions. Fortunately or unfortunately, I lack a lot of sentimental feeling so few precious heirlooms weighted my way West. Instead, I brought along plenty of memories. All of which bear greater substance than most of the dustcatchers dispersed or abandoned in Quarropas.

One item borne along means absolutely nothing to me. It had been father’s. Looking at it now foments all sorts of questions because having observed him the thing is inconsistent with who he was. Or at least the man he presented. Continue reading The Idol

Less Thanks

Thanksgiving is the perfect American holiday. It involves no organized religion and doesn’t commemorate any national event. Pretty much a civil feast day, Thanksgiving allows Americans to enjoy our one singular unifying trait – mindless gorging.

Strange how diet gurus quit hibernating and emerge en masse to inform and warn Americans about the perils of overeating on this single day. Really. Setting aside one day of the year for sanctioned mouth-stuffing won’t lard on that much tonnage, will it? A month? Yeah. One day? Please. Continue reading Less Thanks

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. Continue reading New Start at New Address

Wartime

    This post follows She Humanized Him. Language and characteristics reflect the times, people and places.

    The Second World War. I would’ve thought Jim Crow defined father. No, that he brushed off. Instead, Adolf Hitler yanked him and millions of others from preordained ruts in American life.

    While father praised Roosevelt for his bravery, grit, willingness to experiment, his simple man’s outlook saw Hitler as a cauterizing savior who advanced American society.

Continue reading Wartime

She Humanized Him

This post follows Phony Gold and Our Patrimony. Language and characterizations reflect the times, people and places. 

    Without Waymon our two-family home shrunk. That’s a statement I couldn’t attribute to his wife Camille, or sons Richard and Junior together. Combined my aunt and cousins lacked my uncle’s single vitality. Waymon’s subtraction multiplied emptiness.

    Although obviously gone, one truly became aware of his absence after the funeral. Esteem him, fear him, my uncle lived 93 years. He’d known a lot of people. Not all of whom went before him.

    The significance of Waymon’s death was such that even mother made a pilgrimage to our old modest homestead. Certainly acrimony ruptured my parents. However, that happened in 1966. So long ago time had blurred its sharpness.

Continue reading She Humanized Him