Three tracks from ‘The Gypsy Mile Reading’ & an excerpt from ‘The Modern American Gypsy’

Three tracks from The Gypsy Mile Reading

Running With Your Arms Out
(click above)
Bazooka Day
 (click above)
The Last Walk
 (click above)

 *

Excerpts from: The Modern American Gypsy

*

Germany

*

              The sky above the festival in Munich looked as if a young girl had applied make up to it.  The zentrum was blocked off for us to perform on a massive stage.  People filled the sunny street with children and beer.  I stood on stage, looking about, recognizing the buildings from classroom text books and WWII footage, of roof tops that flew dominating swastika flags.  The sides of these same buildings draped also with, the Nazi eagle and Iron Cross.  Now, nothing red bunts these buildings and only a few small indistinctive flags flap.

            The sun reflected on the crowd making their skin tight and their eyes slits.  The joy of the people of Munich sailed atop this day on the rapids of the flowing foamy beer, poured to them from small stands by pleased plump men.  Young kids wiggled around the base of the stage to get a peak at the American musicians and froze, casting their heads down and their eyes up if you felt and checked on their stare.

            We took the stage with no applause.  Got the young hippies dancing first, then the mothers jiggled with surprised faces at the babies they carried, holding one of their little hands and dipping them until they giggled.  The old men liked the sound enough to slightly nod their heads; old men like when bands have horns, the sound gave them something to do as they drank their beer and talked man talk.  The young girls sprang up together and danced in a circle by the third number and the boys smartened up and joined them by the fourth.  The wise elders were overjoyed clapping slowly to their own beat, while children jumped up and down with their dogs running around them, barking from all the excitement.  Teenagers found their own circle to dance, they knew the words and felt proud to be so smart.  And the promoter of the show looked relieved and finally smiled accepting his first beer of the day.

            I had learned some German, pantomimed it as I butchered the foreign words into the microphone.  The crowd cheered, clapped and corrected me with spitting laughter.  A few young girls had taken to the front and gawked at their favorite musicians.  The promoter came on stage in mid song and handed everyone a beer, the crowd screamed “PROST-PROST-PROST” and I scream “DANKE-DANKE-PROST-PROST!” back.

As the mascara ran down over the sky, the cool air delicately introduced itself not to disturb the party and the shop lights switched off as the street lights came on.  We began to play softer songs and the crowd tossed on sweaters and shawls and couples moved closer to one another.  Now everyone watched with sleeves-over-hands and both hands on their drinks, that is, if you didn’t have a woman or girl to keep warm.  Young men danced by holding their women from behind and swaying back and forth, while the older couples took their opportunity to show off the more elegant times, by embracing in the center, men holding their life loves assertively, spotlighted with love, executing light spins, dips with a kiss.  One of the men and I enjoyed pointing out all those who kissed while we performed to one another and there were many for us to smile over.  But it is not our job to leave people calm on a Friday night, so we brought the music up again and the celebration resumed. 

The German Compliment

If you ask me,

Germans are alright people.

They drink to laugh,

are joyous and loud

and don’t try and talk politics

with me at 2:00AM

like those in other countries do.

 

However, they do one thing

that strikes me as odd.

If and when they compliment you,

they always add an insult after.

The insult is stronger

than the compliment

and completely

cancels it out.

 

I call it – The German Compliment.

 

In Munich, a blonde girl – quite pretty,

with a voice like a sexy double agent

in a James Bond film,

walks up to me confidently,

interrupting the conversation at hand, stating,

“You guys were very good,

not as good as some groups, but good.”

I said, “Thank you.”

She checked my eyes for sarcasm,

didn’t find any,

turned

and went back to her friends.

 

In Goettingen, a wet drunk,

slapped my shoulder,

gave me a full body shake

and embraced me.

“Your new record is great,

track four is shit,

but it’s great.”

I said “Thank you.

Track four is my favorite,

give it another go.”

“No,” he said.  It’s shit.”

 

Yes,

the German Compliment.

It’s quite confusing when

you’re not ready for it,

but very fun,

when you are.

 

My favorite was from Erfurt though -

“I only liked it because I was drunk.”

said a slobbery young man.

It’s short and has a good punch.

I told him,

“Well, I’m glad you’re drunk.”

*

Denmark

*

            The first thing I noticed leaning against the Sprinter in the center of Copenhagen was all the beautiful woman.  Just beautiful.  Lovely.  Hair flowing behind them as they road their Wicked Witch of the West bicycles, with perfect posture.   I, the paralyzed American, hadn’t a clue what to do about them.  How do you choice a woman to speak to, when each one of them would tragically twist your tongue?  All us men stood and stared; smiled and exhaled.

“Oh right non of you lot have been to Copenhagen yah?  The woman are fucking brilliant here.  Top.  Read that ah, Denmark is the happiest country of them all,” said Dale as he came around the Springer.

“I heard that too,” I said.

“Great beer, great beer.  And smoke,” Dale continued.

“Heard that too,” I said again.

“Yah s’proper.  Yah they do it right here.  They know what it’s made of.  Oh and they got this market right, that has just troughs and troughs of smoke.  You’ve never seen anything like it.  The squatters took a whole block, made this mental market mate.  We’ll go for sure.”

And we did.

We sat with local bottled beer, on a stone wall, past the Green Goblin mural and soaked it all in.  We watched the market play out, saw the troughs of smoke and continued to breathed in deep the woman that were too pretty for us to talk to.

That night we were put up in a small empty apartment, over looking downtown.   It was a quite weeknight.  The wet streets sizzled from beautiful black bicycles.  We played cards, drank beer and coffee, ate cheese with meats and took turns toasting bread.  Denmark eased us.  I thought of Arend; he was right.

*

Germany through Belgium heading to France

*

 “McWane, David!  McWane, David!”, shouted the border patrol officer.

I was nudged awake by three sleeping men.  We were at a border crossing, Germany to Belgium.

“Dave, mate wake up, this officer has a question about your passport,” Dale said.

I ain’t pretty in the morning, I ain’t nice neither, I ain’t nothing but annoyed, and mean, angry even.  If you are on fire, I’ll help yah, but if you ain’t, help yourself.

“McWane, David.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Why is your passport like this?”  The border patrol man began splitting the cover of my passport in two, ripping the cover off.

“God, c’mon, ‘s because your ripping it in half, Jesus Christ.” Then I went back to sleep and know nothing else.

*

except one pretty girl 

“thank god we’ve made it,”

dale said, “I was losing my mind there,

going daff.”

us nine liminal men were

finished with

a ten hour drive

through east Germany

through the hopeless night

finally to end the drive

at the only open hotel in Belgium

our bodies were stiff

but our souls we’re hungry

joy from not being in the sprinter

made us parade about

we had a fresh air about us and

while unpacking the luggage

we caught word

that the Belgian hotel

had an open courtyard

and a full bar

and it was still open

we unpacked with urgency,

like that of a midnight swimmer,

submerged in a cold New England lake,

with a direct line of vision

on simply

getting the hell out

it smelled of mud and freshly lit cigarettes

it smelled of friends and the hope of laughter

the night’s lodging looked to be

an old elementary school,

now converted to a quirky hotel

us men,

all sporting big duffle bags slung around our shoulders

and healthy 22oz German beers in our hands

exhausted, yet exuberant 

opened the front doors

and were finally home

once again

somewhere we knew not

 

little ragamuffins and hooligans roamed

these school’s halls many years before

and now

grown ones do

 

we tossed our bags in our bunkhouse

plopped on our choice mattresses

the six bunks were bunked three high,

right up to the ceiling

half of us headed to the shower room

while the rest of us unpacked,

drank and laughed together

about nonsense

and about women

once the washed men were sorted

they met the waiting men in the hallway

and together we headed to the courtyard

 

a gift for us all

we found a party that was already in full crescendo

everyone dressed to the nines

men in suits that actually fit

and women in dresses that made them feel ten years younger

if it wasn’t a wedding reception

it was some sort of family reunion

I could tell that, because the

grandmothers and grandfathers

were

   drinking

            dancing

twirling and kissing

 

everyone cheered our entrance

as we walked through the orange bowed doorway

as if we were the matadors of the night

one of us was led by an older man at the party

to dance with a smiling slender woman in her early forties

she looked like a snake

as much as

she looked like a cat

she was long and sexy

with eyebrows that lifted sharp in the back

dangerous,

with bang-snap hips

and pillow case lips

 

we were all alive here

 

the music that played kept the earth on fire

it was a cross between gypsy music and, well,

mixed with nothing

it was just gypsy music

dancing,

twirling,

laughing

drinking,

shouting

stumbling,

swearing

loving

eyes wide with honest drunk smiles

tongues licking canines

lips puckered to kiss anyone that’d accept

women who looked over shoulders,

with hands on hips

- their best angle for the men to see

for us men

it was this excursion’s

first oasis

 

the party was in their thirties and up

except one pretty girl

who sat in a beautiful blue flowered dress

at a small table,

under a large yellow umbrella

beside an adolescent tree

looking bored, but not tired

she held a glass of ice

and twirled it around

with

a thin red straw 

 

us men were old enough not to mind

the ages of the other party

but she was around eighteen years old

so she couldn’t yet relate

 

alone, she sat

across the courtyard

across the firecracker dance floor

looking at us

wanting an escape

wanting fun

wanting a conversation with the matadors

the foreigners

the Americans

the young men

that weren’t

from around town

 

but she wasn’t allowed to leave her table

or by any chance walk to our side of the courtyard

you could tell that,

after her father walked over to her

pointed at us and brought her

a new soda

 

us slightly doolally men with

large beers

loud laughter

now dizzy dancing

with gypsy mothers and grandmothers cackling

danced as the music continued to burn the earth

and the earth burned our feet

and our souls cooled from the release

 

I noticed, as my drunk and me

twirled the women

and belly laughed with the men

that the young girl

would smile at times and laugh at times

changing her seated position

by crossing one leg over the other

and over again

she sat longingly

and

lovely

in a blue flowered dress,

under a yellow umbrella

at a small table

beside an adolescent tree

twirling ice

with a thin red straw

waiting for it to be all done

or just waiting

to grow up

The Modern American Gypsy is available on this site. Click the Store tab.

Two excerpts from: ‘The Modern American Gypsy’ & Three Poetry Readings From: ‘The Gypsy Mile Reading’.

Two excerpts from The Modern American Gypsy available here & Interpunk.com.
 

*
England 

            The drunk Englishmen at the pub liked us Americans less and less as each of their pints went down.  Their doping faces could tell that tale.  They drank sitting horseshoed around a table full of empty pint glasses facing us.  We sat at the bar.  I stood up to go to the loo and said to my men,

“Watch this.”  I knew the wet Englishmen would follow.   They would only make their move if one of us separated from the group.

‘Don’t use the stall, that’s suicide, use the first urinal, that way they have to enter the room and you’re closer to the exit,’ I thought.  Five of them entered, but didn’t know how to kick up the dirt; it wasn’t the positioning they had imagined.  I finished, washed my hands, but skipped drying them.   I did take the time to sort my hair with my wet hands and headed out.  They stared, standing awkwardly too close to one another.  Their stall lost the hyena’s dinner.

I smiled at my men at the bar knowing that I approached them with a line of surly pups following me from behind.  The drunkest one of the group made his move, he quickly double stepped ahead of me to sit on my stool.  I had draped my jacket on the stool, which was now underneath him.  It was a good move.  Blatant, but good.  A classic way for a true tight wanker to start a fight.

“That’s my jacket, that’s my seat.”

“You all Americans?  S’right, yah?”

“That’s my jacket, that’s my seat.”

“You’re Americans.”

“Boston.”

“Whu?”

“We’re from Boston.”

“You’re Americans.”

“We’re from Boston, Massachusetts, yes, that’s in North America.”

“What’d you lot think of New York getting well sorted?  It was legend.  Plow!”  He made a gesture with his hand to pantomime decimation.  It was about a month after September eleventh and these boys probably didn’t have many chances to let Americans know what they believe us to be.  They were red faced drunk, wet around the lips and smelled of body odor, kabobs and chili sauce.  Wankers.

The rest of his mates, about eight, circled around us.  Six of my men sat at the bar, slightly turned, drinking.  I stood in the middle.  I reached for my beer over the drunkard sitting in my seat, brushing his shoulder and arm for some fun and for him to know I didn’t mind touching him.

Surprising after New York City and Washington D.C. was attacked by hijacked planes, certain young men and women at the pubs, concerts or parties had enough liquid courage to approach us Americans and let us hear about their politics.  Lucky weren’t we?  We called this time of the night – ‘fight o‘clock’.  And they often started the conversation with – “You Americans”, which I often found interesting, because America is about the size of Europe and you’d have to be one well uneducated lout to say “You Europeans” when generalizing.  My point?   There is just no way a group of people on either continent can be thought to all think and behave the same.  A German does not think as a Frenchmen, nor does someone from Texas think the same as someone from Vermont.  Pure modern day prejudice.  Juicy and fresh.  New and un-caged.  A slander used by those unknowing of a prejudice in them they incubate in their thoughts and serve in their words, as we imagine less evolved humans were feeling when dealing with our society’s outdated prejudices.  The tallest of these Englishmen decided to let himself be known by saying the most popular quote…

…”You Americans, don’t you think, you deserved it?”

“Yeah, now you lot, know what s’like.”

“Yah cunts get a taste.”

“You Americas must have known it would eventually happen.”

“Your turn.”

“Don’t you think you deserved it?”

We made a pact to keep quiet at fight o‘clock as best we could.  And these days that was tested at the end of every night.  The unwise have always been fire starters, always wanting to spark hate, yet fire starters aren’t worth peaceful people’s spit.  For now – we stayed cool.  It was truly a new time to be an American abroad.  Most drunkards wanted a go at us American’s with fists or words.  Occasional new friends, women with class and the seldom who practiced practical wisdom would see our silence, understand the night is about to get ruined and would tell whoever was brave at the time to ground his soap box beliefs, to simmer down, take a breath and leave it be.

But, none of those people were here tonight, so our pact was loosely being honored.  I decided to give them one chance to settle down.

“They were all innocent people.  Family people.  Women and children were in there.  And the men had families,” I said.

“They deserved it!  Americans deserve it!” one of them spouted from wet lips.

“No they didn’t ‘deserve it’ , no innocent women or children deserve to be murdered.”

“BLOODY HELL THEY DIDN’T, HOW CAN YOU EVEN FUCKIN’ SAY THAT, YOU FUCKIN’ CUNTS HAVE BEEN…”

I had enough.  I was tired.  I wanted to have a nice night and I decided to move things a long.

“GUYS, GUYS, OKAY, OKAY, LISTEN!  We’ve only been here for a couple days and we want to have a nice last night here in England.  You see?  If you guys wanna fight, that’s fine, absolutely, let’s do it, but can we just get to it?  Ugh.  I hate waiting. Makes me jumpy.”

About this time all the Englishmen start screaming and yelling at us even loader.  They didn’t move in for a fight, but they did move around from side to side a bit more.  That signaled the bouncers and they moved in, grabbing all the Englishmen, having a bit of a tussle and tossing them out of the pub.  The bouncers apologized, were kind, chatted us up a bit and we turned to finish our beer, order a quick last round and pay the tab.  As we put on our jackets, the bartender lined us up a free round of well whisky shots.  We thanked him and decided to find a new pub where it didn’t smell like confrontation.

Any proper kid from Boston, Detroit, Philly and such know that chances are your trouble still lingers outside.  And it did.  We walked out, and the Englishmen stepped up.  It was the same conversation and too much déjà vu gets under my skin, so I shouted at them to get their attention and move things along.

“GUYS, GUYS, HEY-HEY, LISTEN, listen guys, if you want to fight it’s fine let’s go, let’s just not keep chit chatting around it.”  Then our men moved a bit forward and into proper brawl positioning.  Oddly, the Englishmen turned around and ran off.  A bit drunk and a bit angered to have our last night wasted, I took off after them followed by two of our men.  We ran about three and a half blocks, but realized we could easily find ourselves in a position where we could not find our way back if we continued further and now the odds we’re even worse for us.  We slowed down into panting coughs and spits.

When we walked back, we found the men outside a chip shop, under a dull yellow light.  One of the men, with a nicely cut new lady friend was having a balancing completion of empty Carling cans on their heads.  The rest of the men were chatting up a couple of girls and guys asking them where another pub could be found.

The new friends decided to come along with us and as we walked down the quiet, wet brick roads, chomping on steaming chips with vinegar, we chatted them up about tonight’s fight o‘clock.  With an agreeing head nod, while nursing a Carling can, one of the English girls looked over and up at me and said,  “Yah mate, bloody hooligans.  ‘S fuckin’ shite.”

*
Scotland

            A ‘Rider’ is what a band sends ahead to the clubs to have ready for when they arrive.  Usually that starts and ends with a case of beer.  However, chips and salsa have also become a nice treat to find after a twelve hour drive, when you’re broke, un-showered and starving.  Some of the more famous riders would be Van Halen’s only green M&Ms, or Maria Carey’s, ‘must have a bed covered in small stuffed animal bunnies’.

One of our men got excited when we realized that if you are booked to play a college show, you can have a big rider and they will actually get you everything on it, because their budget is so large.  We started adding things like socks and underwear, batteries for guitar pedals, fruit, cold cuts and two cases of beer.  For this tour we added for a laugh, an elephant and a midget in a bikini.  Leave it to my homeland to come through.

After loading into the venue in Glasgow, meeting the crew, setting up, sound checking and having a quick rest, the show started.   The promoter of the show, a big Scot, with curly red locks and a booming voice burst into the basement green room.

“G-t evr-ding den, ya?”

“Yeah, thanks man, everythings great.”

“No, n-t evr-ding, na.  Som dings mis’n.  Fillow ma.”

We followed the booming promoter up four flights of stairs to his office / personal bar room.

“Epen dat, der.”  He handed our biggest man a wrapped present.  Inside we found male underwear.  The front of it was a face of a blue elephant.  And I don’t need to explain what fills out it’s trunk.

We all boomed out in laughter.  The promoter headed behind the bar and started slapping glasses down and filling them up with a scotch he was very proud to offer us.

“Dlrrank, dlrrank, s’propa loc-kill sc-tch.”  It was smooth, smoky and tasty.  My heart warmed.  Each time one of our glasses hit the bar it was refilled with a roaring laugh and, “Gon, gon, dlrrank.  Ye g-t ta be gud an’ dlrrank fer ye neex geeft.”

Just then a little person in a bikini came out, laughing and twirling.  She went over to our 6’2” man with the elephant underwear and said, “Ye gat tu p-t dat un. Goo-on den.  Dant bee shie.”  And he did.

I stood there thirty minutes until show time, whirling and spinning, laughing and coughing, staring at one of our men in elephant underwear dancing with a little person in a bikini and the promoter smashing glasses down and roaring with laughter, screaming, “Dlrrank, dlrrank.”
  *
Three Poetry Readings From: The Gypsy Mile Reading available here & at CDBaby.com.

 My Floating Dead Body
(Click above)
 Dead Drunk Clown
(Click above)
The Good Old American Saturday Night
(Click above)

Poems & Poetry Readings:

The Gypsy Mile Reading
 

Money In The Toilet
(Click above)
The First New England Warm Day
(Click above)
We Sell Beer, Gas and Condoms
(Click above)
The Man With God
(Click above)

Poem from: Let The Poet’s Come & Stop Me
 

First Weekend In Heaven 

If Picasso and Dali

Sat together in chairs

Would they talk about art

Would they both want to share

 

“I like the flow of The Seated Woman

Dali might start

“Well, I loved your Still Life – Fast Moving

True innovative art”

 

Would they have a cup of coffee

Or a bottle of wine

Would either suggest collaborating

After they’ve loosened with time

 

There is one thing

I’d sure like to know

Would Picasso paint Dali

And Dali, Picasso

 

“I find art is lovely torture”

Dali would confess

Agreeing Picasso would whisper,

“Dear Dali you sing it best”

 

First weekend in Heaven

I’d send out invites

Including Dali’s mistress

And, of course Picasso’s wife

 

Because I’d love to listen

And watch the affairs

Of Picasso and Dali

Sitting together in chairs

My First Dinner in Heaven

 

I want Shepard and Banksy to paste the walls

Dali to arrange the furniture

Rockwell to prepare dinner

And Picaso to choose the wine

 

I want Van Gogh and O’Keefe to choose the flowers

Gould to play his piano

Edith Piaf to sing

And Ms. Audrey Hepburn to be my girl

 

I want Dr Suess and Gorey to trade stories

Jane Goodall to inspire us

Fred Astaire to teach us steppin’

And Arno Rafael Minkkinen to photograph us all

 

I want my mother and father to be kissing

All my old pets to be young and playing

My old teddy bear living

And all my heroes as proud as anything

 

I want to eat, drink and laugh with everyone

While Rembrant and Basquiat work together,

Drunk off hot wine, painting us all

At my first dinner in heaven


Mooning For Those, But Too Late In The Game

Mooning For Those, But Too Late In The Game

Friends question age’s life confusion
Ready, not ready, take fear, anger, sex, tears
Oops, love soothes too well
Seems no my first real breath
Answer, secret to life’s always punctual,
Early morning visits
Both must keep early love in each eye constant
Both must keep early love in each eye constant

Mooning For Those, But Too Late In The Game
(click for audio)
Music by: Sean P. Rogan

The woman reading this poem were recorded over a long excursion over Eastern Europe / England and The United States in dive bars. You will hear voices from Czech Republic, France, Austria, Mexico, New York City and more. All the participants are wonderful woman with big hearts.

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