Writes the Wrongs
Frankly, Scarlett, I Don’t Really Give a Sinatra
Originally published by drfaustroll under Invective, Pataphysics, Sedition February 17 2009
One of my former co-conspirators punked Poets and Writers, Inc. in the early 1980s when punking someone still meant taking one of those glowing sticks you used to light off fireworks with and shoving it up some ignorant asshole’s nose. The proper term for what Paul Fericano did, in those days, was what Clifford Irving accomplished with his unauthorized biography of Howard Hughes. Yes, people, he created an elaborate hoax.
Today, if you punk somebody, you don’t just phuck them physically, you pwn them spiritually and pataphysically, although ordinary faith-based lifeforms in the NOMPH™ often confuse pataphysics with metaphysics. I don’t even want to get into a discussion of metempsychosis, which might fry the shorts and panties off some of my less than prurient readers.
Last night I dreamt one of the Frank dreams. I have a menagerie of Franks I have known or met or corresponded with during my ludicrous lifetime who spontaneously and randomly barge into my special private resting time and attempt to alter the future of the universe for no other reason than to get even with me for not yet being dead and not feeling bad about it! There. I’ve said it. It’s as if a huge murderous chimpanzee has been shot and dragged off my chest.
Paul’s book, Sinatra, Sinatra, by the way, won the 1982 Howitzer Prize for poetry. It sold for two cents. Yes, it was Paul’s two cents worth of commentary on literary capitalism. The Howitzer Prize was what the literary terrorists did with something Nobel invented, whereas the Pulitzers just kept getting less and less relevant in the emerging digital age, like an earlier Paris Hilton with a mission. You don’t have to turn on that red light, Roxanne. We can smell you. Open wide!
Not that Paul had any concept of what the digital age was. He was still in recovery mode from being a real Catholic, whereas I had always preferred to be a pretend Catholic who can appreciate seminary abuse as an elaborate pun, akin to your heavenly stimulus package that I got right here, sucker.
I still think that Paul’s greatest accomplishment was the Howitzer Prize hoax, in which he put together the perfect poetry press release package, complete with a photo that showed him with arms crossed looking professorially into the admiring photographer’s lens. We created Yossarian Universal News Service, cream-pie-bombed a Adrienne Rich, hijacked the Olympic Torch, and even published The One Minute President to help George W. Bush figure out how to be presidential, but for sheer silliness and pure presentation, The Howitzer Prize took the yellow cake for pre-9/11 literary terrorism.
I have no idea how many places he sent that announcement to, but I recall seeing it printed pretty much verbatim in several literary supplements and artsy-fartsy gathering holes. Poets and Writers, Inc. bought the whole rig and printed it flat out with no verification, because they are run by stupid assholes who still think poetry makes shit happen.
The details are sketchy now in my Oldheimer’s infected brain, but I do recall that many of the Howitzer Prize judges and members in the press release were either associated with the Three Stooges or otherwise involved in slapstick literary comedy. The address for the next year’s Howitzer Prize award belonged to Wayne Newton, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Imagine that!
Poets and Writers, Inc. was so horrified by the 300 unsolicited manuscripts that showed up at Wayne Newton’s residence following their publication of Paul’s punking them that they printed a retraction with a scathing denunciation of Paul’s unprofessional attitude that promised a redoubling of efforts to separate the ergot from the chaff going forward, so that the world would finally understand that art was serious bidnez!
Flash forward a bit to the world you have no problem living in. Former First Idiot George W. Bush punked the entire phucking nation for eight years, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians around the globe, and nobody is going to do anything about it. Are you? Do you think Paul Fericano hurt more people than George W. Bush did, or that his intent was more malicious?
An entire administration of scumbags and murderers and child molestors is going to be preserved and extolled for future visitors to the SMU presidential library gift shop because the American people are a bunch of dead-enders. Losers. Idiots. Undeserving of any love, to paraphrase one of those imaginary prayers I had to say when I pretended to be a Catholic.
Other Franks who drift through my dreams are Stanford, Nick’s Coney Island, Assisi, Serpico, Lloyd Wright, James Cooper, Oz, Miller, Langella, Gallardi, Capra, and Black. Last night, it was Zappa. We were at a party where people were competing by telling stories of all the places they had seen Frank perform. I had called one of them on a show at the Balloon Farm, which later was leveled by an explosion at the Weather Underground bomb factory.
“How could you know that?” Frank said, as if asking a question indicates any intelligence. I ask questions all the time and I will die such a stupid piece of shit that in thousands of years prospectors will not realize what they have found is simply super-compressed anger and pretend that the stones they can cut out of it, facet, and polish are diamonds. Sniff that ring you are wearing and think about whose furious asshole produced it. Those are my ancestors! That is my proud heritage!
“What the fuck is it to you?” I asked Frank. “You lost your right to question me when you died, asshole.”
And Frank let out that chuckle that made life worth living, even on the recordings, so many years later, and when I woke up, nothing was changed. Life was the same as it has ever been. This is want you want. This is what you get. Being frank don’t mean shit, but it sometimes beats being dead.