Art Dealer Years /
When I was bopping up and down the east coast as a fine graphics dealer in the mid-to-late-1970s, early ’80s, I’d stop in to visit friends of a friend on their “farm” in New Jersey. The farm had been grad school dorm, commune, kiddie nursery for these friends: I’d have dinner, drink a bottle of wine, or two, or three … hang out before again braving Manhattan traffic, parking, etc. All this was not too far from Rutgers, not too far from Princeton …
Note: the first invitees commune discussion had been held at my place, that is, Hilary’s place, that is, Hilary’s mother’s place, that is Hilary’s mother’s husband’s place: big damn Columubia faculty apartment on Claremont. We’re all thirty years old, have nothing of our own yet, some of us never did, or not much: academics are descended from monks: have the habit of poverty.
A commune had formed, Hilary and I had not been invited, I never thought it was planned that way, just happened. Hilary woulnd’t have agreed anyway, I probably shouldn’t have. And of course the commune was a disaster, turning good friends into mutually contemptuous back-biting enemies: all for a little under-the fence-nookie, which was easy enough to get without forming any damn communes!
Poor Phil, dreamed of being at the bottom of a big drunken pile of pussy, and that’s exactly what he got, but in Toronto, when his wife proved to be a lesbian, indeed, a dyke, indeed, a bull dyke: and all the pussies pled on top of him wanted the other pussies; not him! He got a lot of pussy anyway until they ganged up and threw him out, on the street.
I remember a haggle of dykes pulling switch blades on me once in an elevator, after I’d flirted with one of theirs. I ignored them, and they didn’t cut me, just went away.
But wait, I’m telling about my E string: and it wasn’t the E String that got my goat: the goat wasn’t mine, the goat went with Duckhurst, the farm, with my friend’s friends.
Here, I’m coming back north, from Washington DC. I’ve spent a week or two servicing a gallery in Maclean. I had an affair with the gallery’s framer. My business provided me with occasional big piles of pussy. In this case the women were patrician, spoiled rotten, bred cats, went to cat shows: ah, but the framer, kowabunga! Maybe nineteen? cheez, what boobs, prettiest face, gave me a blow job in the woods, had her period, never mind. But you see she played the guitar, her stepfather was a pro: and I’d just turned a couple of hundred cash into this steel string guitar which I yet had no idea how to play, and no fingers for.
She took me out into the woods, I brought the guitar, and my wooden flute, an alto recorder, which I could play, a little. We had a wonderful time, as I’ve said. She showed me a chord or two to try to finger, and strum, and pick.
Well, when I got to Duckhurst the Jersey people were all playing guitar and signing away at each other. I try to catch up a little bit. Forget about it. Pathetic. So Dick and I are sitting with my guitar, Rene is watching. The two remaining goats, the rest of the litter already sold or butchered, are butting around, Bucky and his little sister, Bucky reserved for some Greek feast, Dick will make a dollar, or try to.
Bucky nibbles my E string, the bottom one, low E. BOINGgg. I push him away. The girl goat gives it a try, I push her away, she goes away. Bucky is back, takes a grab. I smack him hard! and he comes right back, gets my E string in his teeth, doesn’t care that I’m smacking him.
Rene is incensed. The girl goat goes away, Bucky keeps coming. “Of course, Rene …”
No, wait a minute: let me introduce Rene: first time I ever saw her, one of that gang’s houses, in New Brunswick. Joe was there, I think she was visiting Joe, not going out with Phil yet. Anyway, Rene, cute girl, really cute, nice face, nice everything (turns out she was going with an enemy of mine from Columbia), smiles sweetly, says, “What has one eye, a pink tongue, and loves to fuck?” Everybody, smiling, anticipating, says, “I dunno.” And Rene covers one eye with one hand, and sticks her tongue way out, making a riotous face. Funny girl, never forget that.
So Rene is incensed. The girl goat goes away, Bucky keeps coming. “Of course, Rene … She’s a she, but he’s a he.”
No, no, Rene protested: that’s cultural, that’s programmed, that’s perversion; that’s not natural, that’s not genetic …”
Now: there was a male acting like a male. There was a female acting like a female. But there was another female, acting in a way that’s seen sometimes, but not normally: using one ignorant untested prejudice to combat another ignorant untested prejudice.
I think of this in connection with the post I’d just jotted a draft of: Jazz Geology.
There I tried to avoid the assumption that there are big bad important genetic differences between (among) the human “races.” Oh, I don’t doubt that there are differences, maybe some large differences, maybe some clear differences; but I bet against our knowing very well what they are: preferring as we habitually do, ignorant prejudice.
A related memory tickles me:
Next visit to Maclean I spend the day grooming the owner, the ribbon-decked breeder of Siamese cats to retail what I’m wholesaling her, on into the evening, no dinner yet, she invites me to her house. Now, I was friendly with Sally, part of doing business, not her lover. Her friend is there, the ribbon-decked breeder of brown cats. The scotch she’s given me fills a twelve ounce glass. I have another. Sally said, “Becky says you have a big banana.” Brown cat breeder perches on the front of her seat. But she’s a fag-hag: she has no interest in me. I’ve petted her, had my face in her crotch for an hour, she took me to diner, but she has no interest in me!
“Is it true?” Sally continues.
“I know one way you can find out,” I replied. Brown cat got up swiftly and left. Sally’s gallery manager came in to feed the cats, but she shooed him away. And Sally indeed found out for herself.
But Jesus, the hangover! the pussy piles were fine, but all that damn booze!
I gathered from the cat women that their cat shows and conventions had perpetual orgy aspects; but I suspected that orgies were in fact dry, flirtatious, not all wet and runny. These people were dreaming of adultery, of fornication. They may have been wet to any extent, I got the impression that some were into golden showers, pissing all over each other. Not for me, thank you.
These were Washington backbone people, I assure you.