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Memoir from Matthew

I want to write, nothing else but write. No more selling books, managing restaurants and whorehouses, setting up smack deals, flogging speed to neurotic musicians or mutual funds to security-hungry army officers; no more nagging obsessions about ‘can I write or can’t I write, should I write or shouldn’t I write?’ From now on I want to write.

“Write,” said the older German wife of the foolish young expatriate just out of the Air Force. “I will work, it’s okay.”

“Write,” said his mildly psychotic nymphomaniac mistress in more loving moments when they weren’t throwing cups and saucers and empty cognac bottles at each other. “I don’t mind starving a little, it’s you who minds.”

“Write,” said his Chinese drag-queen lover Kim, “you have nothing to worry about. I love you.”

But I write nothing and instead go looking for a job as a writer. Is it that I still have nothing to say, or quite simply that I am scared shitless to say it? Well, there are ways, and ways, to go about finding out.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink…

And Kim walks through the psychedelic mist of Singapore’s Bugis Street to touch my hand. “Feeling rich enough to buy me a beer?”

“No.”

“Then I better take you home and feed you milk from my tit and semen from my cock and prawn milkshakes filled with gentle tears and multiple orgasms and a nest full of horny butterflies.”

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them…

At the Bangkok hotel that by a fluke of fortune my friend Ray and I made famous almost overnight, the mad doctor slops barefoot through the lobby while his teenage Thai mistress stands winking and smiling; and on every red vein popping out from his white face and long grey hairs creeping down over his scruffy collar there is a living advertisement for arrogance, kindness, cruelty, compassion, hate, helplessness, cunning, love, greed, pride, prudishness, fear, folly, forgiveness and a million and one other human emotions and attributes that stalk the universe looking for a warm mental womb in which to cuddle up and breed.

“Sie bekommen Geld von mir. Dankeschön.”

“It’s okay, Doc. Nichts zu danken.”

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And I take thought. For nearly a third of a century I take so much fucking thought that my brain calls are burned to a frazzle. Thoughts about money and sex, about love, birth, death, work, marriage, divorce, babies, books, politics, war, disease, health, happiness, peace and utter oblivion, about murder and executions, thievery and hunger, beggars, bootleggers, poets, painters, prizefighters, prostitutes, God and the Cosmic Absurdity, the Devil made incarnate in the Queen of Sheba and yes, bitch, yes, if only I can stay locked inside your spastic perfumed cunt from now until Doomsday you can have my soul and every other psychic, physical and mental piece of gadgetry the Idiot of the Universe bequeathed me before he ODed on atomic laughing gas and expired in a fit of nucleonic convulsions.

I think therefore I think I am. Here, little boy, have a thought, the first one is free, addiction for a lifetime guaranteed. Nothing down and nothing to pay except your sanity, your spirit, your being, your essence, your awareness, nothing whatever except the very marrow of Being and Non-being, Mind and No-mind, wisdom and the ends of all wisdom. Nothing other than the very core of Love. Mary, mother of the whores, pray for us, now and at the hour of our never-ending birth, amen. And we the saints, we the sinners, let us also pray: pray for death, destruction and eternal sunshine, but most of all pray for an end of thought so that what thought there is and needs be can flow with silence through a clear sea of superhuman illumination.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like Eddie Woods, poet and Gentle Ghost handyman, walking free through the streets of London, spiffy as a bright silver whistle in his hand-me-down black corduroy jacket and tight blue cord slacks left obligingly on the living room couch at Heartbreak Hotel where he slept dreamlessly for a month of Sundays until he found a friend named Nicky and found Nicky’s cock and Nicky’s lips and Nicky’s love and Nicky’s pains and his blessings and his sorrow at losing Eddie and yet his joy when Eddie’s eventual soulmate Kathleen met another bear who thought he was a people and didn’t know he was alive and well and living all the time in the deep caves and happy forests where bears like to romp and play and sleep and make love and have sweet dreams and bright mornings and eat chocolate cornflake crunchies and curried rice and chapatis and dahl and samosas and cold bhang lassies and talk about Hinduism and Catholicism and atheism and suffering, the cause of suffering, the ending of suffering and the Eightfold Path of Truth and Liberation.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things…

The young man, thirty-four years old and growing younger, limped on blistered feet into the North Indian town of Mandi full of remembered joys and throbbing self-pity, wondering where shall I sleep and what shall I eat and how can I go on with sore feet and a twisted ankle or stay here without money; and when after long hours of quiet moaning and limping about he finally got it together to feed his body and had forgotten all the troubles he never really had and decided on a suitable resting place on the steps above the town square where a hundred or so homeless Indians and seemingly happy nomads had laid out their bedrolls or reclined half-naked on the bare stones, a man tapped him gently on the shoulder and softly asked, “Where are you staying?” and then took him home and gave him food and shelter and time to recover and asked only that he be whoever he was and that he stay for as long as he could or wanted to.

Dear old Pandit, distrusting sadhus yet feeling obliged to care for them. “I am a Brahmin and this is the duty of my caste.” Days later he presses a copy of the Bhagavad Gita into my hands and when I offer to throw it and my pocket Bible into the river just where the current is strongest and the giant rocks most jagged, when I offer to be done with books and words and wise sayings and live only on the winds of change and the present moment of total responsibility, he utters a loud oath of protestation, puffs furiously on his tobacco hookah and brings up another meal of cold dahl and hot chapatis.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

© 1977, 2011 by Eddie Woods

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