August 29, 2014
Very rarely has my father dealt with his memory of a place or time. He looked at the world as “now,” and history I think meant a lot to him, but he was a person who existed for the present. So one would never ask him what it was like being in a recording studio with Charlie Parker. My father is dead, and I’m curious to know these things now, for instance, what did Parker say or do in that recording studio in Glendale, California? To hold that much culture on one’s shoulder, one would think someone has a need to share that information. Alas, as time marches on, the faces and names get cloudy, but surely Charlie Parker is important enough to share that tib-bit of information regarding what it was like to be in a room with Charlie Parker.
It comes as no surprise that I feel like Pinkie in Graham Greene’s novel “Brighton Rock, which was also a wonderful film starring Richard Attenborough. I’m so full of anger, that I just take out - anything, anyone, anywhere. I want to destroy so I can be destroyed. My existence is so full of holes, that if you drew it on paper, you would need to have a mouse sticking his head through one of the cheese holes. Because that is what my life is like, Swiss cheese.
Then again I should relax a bit more. One thing that is important in order to live is to laugh. I sometimes forget how significant it is to be able to walk into a movie theater, hopefully a comedy, and just putting your angst aside and just laugh what’s on the big screen in front of you. What’s in back of you can wait till the film is over. The thing is, I project Pinkie’s face over everyone in the film. I laugh, but it is like swallowing air and it makes me sick to my stomach. I’m searching like a manic that there is some humor, either being said, or implied. For all I care they could be showing “Night and Fog” and I would be laughing my head off. I sit in the theater and I feel my scar on my cheek. I remember when I got into the fight, and he slashed my cheek. It didn’t hurt for some reason, and when I went into the bathroom to examine the wound, I was intrigued by the cleanness of the cut. I took my thumb and little finger on my right hand, and open the cut to see if blood would come out. It reminded me of a woman’s vagina, as I opened and closed the wound on my face. Thinking about the cut on my cheek in those terms made the pain bearable. It seemed like it didn’t happen. I often dream at night that I have a loose front tooth, or an open scar on my body that is bleeding in front of the public, and when I wake-up, I feel that those physical dreams are quite real. It takes me at least five minutes to recognize that I was dreaming and the fact is that I don’t have a loose tooth or a scar on my cheek. Yet, I play with my cheek, thinking that I have such a scar.
I wonder at times if I’m actually here or not. I often felt that I’m in someone else’s dream or vision of a life that is not exactly mine. Perhaps Charlie Parker didn’t exist, nor did my father. I feel I have seen something, and I can remember the scent of my father’s shaving cologne, but as one gets older the senses get duller, and you eventually just have a memory of having the experience of smelling such a scent. I imagine Joan of Arc, who heard voices from another world, as she knew the game was up, and had to face the bonfire, that she had no choice but to follow the voice that came within, and surely not from another source outside her body. At the very least, I have the physical copy of the album cover that my father did for Dial Records, which is the first time Charlie Parker has appeared on a disk. That’s real, and my memories are really a movie, as if it was directed and written by Preston Sturges.