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People 3

My first morning in Taos, I sat on the back patio of Cafe Tazza, a coffee shop. My plan was to continue reading Studs Terkel's Working, but I was distracted by the conversation next to me. A tan lady with short gray hair, blue plaid shirt, and jeans, had come from the back entrance and spotted a friend, and began to talk to her. She looked rather normal, not homeless or crazy at all. I took the best notes I could:

"Did you have a good July 4th? Good. I just read the Dharma Bums and I felt like Jack Kerouac, so I went into the woods on July 4th and took off all my clothes to let the mosquitoes eat me. I've been reading about myself in Nostradamus, there's a prophecy about how I'm going to conquer the West. I'm still thinking about that, I need to think out loud, you know? Thanks for listening. I thought I'd go to an American-Indian ceremony, but they're all commercial these days. I just want to experience some authenticity, something real. I was at a Japanese Tea Ceremony recently, they're authentic. I think I belong in the Orient, they are focused authenticity, like me. I just want to live on a rice paddy in Japan, especially a brown rice paddy. That's the most harmonizing grain, it's my favorite. I don't want to be famous, I don't want this prophecy, I just want to live anonymously on a rice paddy. Kennedy said 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for her.' He was right, but I've got to think of myself. You know, the prophecy was saying I'm the Christ, and I thought, you know, I do remember the spikes in my hands when I was on the cross. But you know what, I'd rather be the anti-christ, we all would. That's just more fun. I'm sorry for going on about this, I just need to think out loud, I just don't know what to do. I didn't ask for this responsibility, I just want to live on a rice paddy. That's all. Andy Warhol said 'It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor's finger.' I have to be the Christ. You know, speaking of Warhol, I saw Search for Signs of Intelligent Life on Broadway. The play is soup, the audience is art. I have the last line memorized, but I can never say it without crying. [Starts to walk away, comes back. Pauses for tears.] 'I like to think of them out there in the dark, ...... watching us. Sometimes we'll ..... do something and they'll laugh. Sometimes we'll do something ..... and they'll cry. And ....... maybe one day we'll do something so magnificent, everyone in the universe will get goose bumps.' ........ I saw that with a friend who later died from AIDS. Do you understand, though, that we're going to be ok. We're all going to make it back, we're going to ride the course and be ok, understand that."

After apologizing for going on and on to her friend, she goes inside and plays the piano for half an hour, then wanders out. She was in the shop the next day, sitting by the barista, reading a magazine.

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Comments

ex_marcy
Jul. 25th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Did you read his book, he lived in all kinds of shitty places. He was a very losery kind of guy, writing his manuscripts all cracked out in his mom's house.
garrettpalm
Jul. 25th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
Of course I read his book. But he was part of a movement that redefined cool for a generation. To think, one of the founders of the Beats lived with his mom.

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garrettpalm
Garrett Palm

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