A ventriloquist’s dummy, an applause-generating puppet with a dopey, flap-happy grin: that’s how I felt during my half-life as a conduit of capital-cuddly current events, printing distraction, status-feeds and the status quo into the dirty teeth-white spaces around advertisers’ cash. Genial, gentlemanly, I was an almost-human apparatus for prevarication facilitation, artificial ignorance, dance-plugged into the laps of public officials, public menaces, often identical, as well as the famous, the fatuous, almost and not, so each and every one, like avuncular Edgar Bergens, could slide their Crisco fists up my check-needy Charley McCarthy and woo the world with hollow words from a wooden head.
Rehab, Treatment for a Silent B/W 16 mm Andy Warhol Film starring Paul America
Bolex at 64 fps: America’s face is reflected in a bathroom mirror.
F/X: Over 10 seconds, the mirror cracks slowly throughout America’s face. Cut. Print.
Note to projectionist: Run film in reverse. Repeat for eight hours.
Recognizing Mr. Flynn (pace David Markson)
During a raucous story meeting, actor Errol Flynn once demanded attention by standing, unzipping his pants and pounding on the conference table with his penis.
Manly buzzards in budgie-smugglers snorkeling full English breakfasts on bleached straw beaches with beery surf; yummy blond Mosman mummies with voices like smoke threshers carving the foam off flat whites; the marathon punting in hot pants that isAussie Rules football; a dawn-filtered sand-wave, taller than Tasmania, rolling in from the Outback, dust-painting the Kirribilli sky a momentary impossible: the glowing, blood orange hue of a nuclear wake-up cry.
Ferrying across the heaven-lit harbor every day, past Jørn Utzon’s iconic alabaster scallop shells, to work on a novel in the empty piano bar of an old quayside hotel, and, once there, wasting hours gazing at streams of zoned-out travelers from the States, shark suits from Shanghai and rough, sun-toasted escorts, all of them staggering, strutting and slipping in and out and around the dreamy concentric circles dotting the aboriginal prints carpeting the lobby floor like isobars on a color map of an upside-down Mars.
Sadly, no ’roos except in the zoos and too many tourists trying to play didgeridoos.
Nick Ravo is a poet in Seattle and a former reporter for The New York Times.