Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I like to leave the iPod home and take my Walkman with one of my countless running tapes I made between 1982 and 2002, the year I had my first hip replaced.
more later...Garland Jeffreys in the park, the stupidity of running in 102 degrees, bush people, two raccoons in the garbage can I'm leaning & stretching on , 101 Dalmatians
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18th @ 6pm
@ Cornelia Street Cafe
(between West 4th Street & Bleecker Street, just west of Ave of the Americas)
I’m Murt, the old barkeep from Loftus Tavern on York Avenue. If I didn’t throw you out of the place, I certainly hurled your father or mother. My lumbago’s acting up & my doctor said, "Murt, move it.”
Tommy Pryor’s performing at Cornelia Street Café along with Susan Lewis, a fine poet and fiction writer. Tommy and Susan will beguile you with timeworn tales and poems. Stop your gallivanting and roll your carcasses down there for a fine affair. I’ll be sitting in the back booth nursing my whiskey. Stop by, say hi, then pick your window and I’ll knock you through it.
It’s Tommy’s birthday, I’ll have my Irish up.
Lend an ear, have a pop, your mother approves. Get home safe, Murt
They'll be free beer and wine, for as long as Tommy's money last. He wants to thank his friends for reading his stuff and sticking with him.
Cornelia Street is right around the corner from the West 4th Street subway station off most Westside lines.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Cool Joe, Cool Joe Gonzalez.
Mr. Beyrer's trigonometry class was right after lunch. Before the class, over our mutually crushed sandwiches, Joe and I decided our whole class would take their shirts off in class at one o'clock, at the first point that Mr. Beyrer a/k/a Uncle Eddie turned his back to the class. Joe and I passed the word to the 35 other kids spread out in the gym that functioned as our lunch room. Many guys were enthused, some humored us with a quick OK. We figured half were on board. We were satisfied we'd get the desired effect.
When the second hand hit one o'clock, everyone looked around the room and moved their hands to their shirts. I could see some guys going through the motions, but I had faith we'd make our statement, whatever that was. When Mr. Beyrer turned to write on the blackboard, I looked at Cool Joe on the other side of the room. He was the first to take his shirt off, I didn't notice anyone else. Joe was in, I was in. Neither of us had T-shirts on, so we were sat there nipples to the wind. When Beyrer turned around he said one thing and looked one way.
Mr. Beyer couldn't say my name. He had a problem with his "R's." I also had a problem with my "R’s." Picking on Beyrer with everyone else took the attention off me. Beyrer pronounced his name, "Buy-wah." He whacked us with his Masters of Science ring from some Catholic college when we imitated him.
"Mr. Buy-wah, Mr. Buy-wah!"
My name, Pryor, came out of his mouth, "Pwhy-ya."
Mr. Beyrer whipped my shirt off my desk, then he let have it, "Pwhy-ya, this, and Pwhy-ya, that," out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cool Joe put his shirt back on, he gave me a smile and a raised eyebrow. Beyrer was focused on me, so everybody else got dressed while I sat half nude.
"Pwhy-ya, go to Bwha-the Kevin's office."
I made a move to grab my shirt off his desk.
"Without the shirt."
He could say shirt.
I sat in front of the Vice Principal for Discipline's office for 20 minutes. He wasn't home. This gave half the school an opportunity to give me the business, as they passed me sans shirt during the class break. When Brother Kevin showed up, he laughed at me for a good minute. He'd start, then stop, look at me, and start laughing again, did it about three times. Then he invited me in to his office. He hit me the day before for fooling around on the stairs, so I guess I was over my quota for the week. He never asked me what happened. He was a ball buster, but had a dark sense of humor that I enjoyed. That day, I got a piece of it.
pictures above, going clockwise: Cool Joe, me & Brother Kevin McQuade
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
If Mom knew Tom Beller asked me, could he include my story, "Madame Butterfly Goes Down," in his new book, "Mr. Beller's Neighborhood Anthology," Mom would've had a baby. Straight over to Lenox Hill Hospital in a Checker cab and out would pop the baby sister, Rory and I always wanted. Dad would cry over that girl. He'd be mush.
The book will be published this spring by Mr. Beller's Neighborhood Books and distributed by W.W.Norton.
be well, Tommy
Monday, February 16, 2009
As he was walking out the door in his Elmer Fudd hat with his rifle, Mom told him," If you shoot something, I want you to think about Bambi's mother lying in the woods bleeding to death, and she's thinking about her poor baby left with that heartless bastard father."
Dad's face did tricks when Mom said that. I never seen such complicated movement from Dad's mouth, eyes, cheeks, and eyebrows. He looked heartbroken, sad, angry, confused and through it all still came back to the look, like he wanted to kill Mom.
Well, one time he gets home from hunting, and he ain't talking. I give him a good look over, and I can see he's not playing mum because he's hungover, something's on his mind. He sits in his chair, and Mom starts pressing him.
"What the hell's a matter with you?"
For a long time, he says nothing, but Mom keeps at him, and he tears up. Up to then, I only saw Dad cry over movies. "I watched it die," he said.
"I shot a rabbit, then I watched it die."
"You son of a bitch."
"The poor thing was in pain, I'm never hunt again."
"You bet your ass."
And that was that. While Mom and Dad were talking, I began to think about Thumper. Dad loved Thumper, he drew him and Bambi for Rory & me all the time. Dad shot Thumper. I had nothing to to say.
The next day it snowed heavy, I asked, "Dad, since you're not going to hunt anymore can I use your pigskin gloves?"
Dad gave me one of his "you're out of your mind" looks, he loved those yellow gloves, had them since 1952, then, he thought it over and said, "OK."
I flew over to Central Park with Rory and the McNamara brothers. We worked the hill on 79th Street until we were soaked to the bone. When the chills got us, we dragged our sleighs back home. Mom wouldn't let us in the house until we took off everything but our drawers in the hallway. I was hoping to go back up to the park that night, so I needed to get everything dried quick. I wrapped my dungarees and long johns around the steam pole and put my socks, sweatshirt and dad's pigskin gloves on the radiator. An hour later, I went to check on everything. My dungarees and long johns were almost dried, then, I went to the radiator. The socks were fine, but Dad's gloves looked like shrunken voodoo heads. The fingers were blackened and curled up like they wanted to take a nap, for forever. They were half their normal size. Resembled beef jerky.
Before I could say I lost them, Dad came in the house and saw me looking them over. I tried to palm them down my underwear. They were too hot. He walked up to me and took one of the gloves out of my hand. Dad didn't hit, but sometimes I wished he did, rather than deal with his leaning in, verbal assaults. I could see he was about to rip into me and I rushed to say, "Dad I'm really sorry, I didn't mean it, and you're not going hunting anymore, right?"
Sunday, February 15, 2009
My daughter, Alison, deejays a radio show at her college. On her Valentine's Day show she played a bunch of dedications for friends and family. She dedicated "April Fools," to me. I was touched Ali remembered I love the song. Later in the show, she put Lorenzo Saint DuBois into the rotation with "Love Power."
This song from the original 1967 Mel Brooks film, "The Producers," is psychedelically speaking, the greatest love song ever recorded. And who better to perform the number than the supreme nut job, Dick Shawn aka LSD. This tune is so cool, Yo Lo Tengo covers it. See the film, be awed.
Take it, LSD
Love power. I'm talking about love power. The power of a sweet flower is gonna rule the earth. And there'll be a great rebirth. Love is a flower that is fine. When I'm walkin' with my darlin' and we're holding hands,and life is fine, 'cause she understands.' A walking down the sunny street givin' pretty flowers to the people that we meet. And I give a flower to the big fat cop, he takes his club and he beats me up.I give a flower to the garbage man, he stuffs my girl in the garbage can. And I give it to the landlord, when the rent comes 'round. He throws it in the toilet and he flush it down. It goes into the sewer, with the yuck running through her, And it runs into the river that we drink. Hey world, you stink! Ah, man it's later than you think Girl you got just one more chance. Come on baby, while I dance. Love, love power. I'm talking 'bout love power. The power of a little flower. You don't think 'bout no little flowers,Oh no, all you think about is guns. If everybody in the world today had a flower instead of a gun, there would be no wars. There would be one big smell-in.
Just the flowers. Hey, man, a flower. A flower. What you do to my flower, man? You hurt it, like everything else. Everything else. Flowers.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
"When ah fires [my gun], all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin - after givin' yo' a fair start - Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husbin."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Last night, I watched the film, Rebecca, and ate leftover cold noodles and sauteed string beans with hot oil from Szechuan Cottage on York Avenue.
After the Hitchcock film, I went to bed and had a strange dream.
I was in the land of my father's paintings and in front of one certain moon lit snowy scene stood
When I woke, it was easy to remember the dream's details, but impossible to get their meaning.
Was Dad secretly into Pee Wee and never told me?
Has someone been stealing the heads off my daughter, Alison's Barbie dolls and freaking out people by putting the heads on Christmas angels?
Should I stop eating hot oil after 11pm?
Excuse me, I have to go back and finish a good cry, I'm watching Lassie Come Home on TV.
"I'm putting a light in the window tonight. Per chance, She's just gone for a long run."
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
August 26, 1968, Narrowsburg, New York.
Dear Mom & Dad, Camp's Great! I made two friends yesterday and they only hid my eyeglasses for three hours. Tomorrow they are going to show me how to make a splint for the arm they broke for me.
Love, Sonny Boy
Scout Camp was getting to me. Heat, Mosquitos, Counselors. Every day, we were forced to sit down for a half hour and write postcards. Didn't matter whether you had anyone to write to, during that half hour, you could do nothing other than write in your tent. The first day I wrote two postcards, one to my Nan Dutch and one to my Nan Cuckoo or Kook for short. I was 14. This is embarrassing, let me explain the names.
My mother's parents name was Ryan. They lived on York Avenue between 85th and 86th Street. They had a backyard off the kitchen of their first floor railroad apartment. The Ryans next door neighbor had a German Shepherd named Dutchess. I called the dog, "Dutch."
My father's parents lived on York Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets. Their name was Pryor Rode, you know second marriage name plus first in front. I couldn't pronounce the two names, so I called them Nan and Pop "Cuckoo" because they had a beautiful cuckoo clock in their kitchen.
The nicknames stuck. My parents got a kick out of this, so did the Ryans, not true with the Pryor Rodes. I remember a conversation between Nan Kook & me when I was around 6 yrs old.
"Tommy, you know I'm a big lady and your other nanny is not so big, so why not call me Big Nanny, and call your other nanny, Little Nanny, OK?"
"That's silly, your Nanny Cuckoo!"
My grandmother ran her hand through her hair and that was the end of that.
Here's the first postcard. They're both widowed at this point.
Dear Nan Dutch, I miss you, please send me two bundt cakes with lots of powdered sugar. Camp's great! We swim every day. love, Tommy
Here's the other one.
Dear Nan Kook, I miss you, you miss me? Camp's great! please send me a lot of cans of Bumble Bee tuna and a ballpoint pen this one's running out of ink. love, Tommy
On the Saturday after we arrived at Ten Mile River on a Sunday, I get a huge box in the mail with two bundt cakes in it. "God bless, Nan Dutch!" And a smaller box with six cans of tuna. "I Love you, Nanny Cuckoo!" Holding a can of tuna in my hand it dawned on me, we had no mayo and there was no mayonnaise at the post to be bought, these cans were useless, i forgot to ask for the Hellman's, tuna is cat food without the blue label condiment. Upset, but still happy about the bundt cakes, I put them under my bunk and covered the cakes with the box they came in.
We went for our afternoon swim in the lake. An hour later, we got back to the camp site. My tent looked like it had a stroke. I looked into the opening, and saw a humongous raccoon with half a cake in its mouth splitting out the backside of the tent. I hate camp.
photo above, compliments of Gerard, Mickey Mantle playing first base in his final summer in Yankee Stadium (1968).
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
To Celebrate, I'm taking the #4 to old Yankee Stadium, then I'm going down Carl Schurz Park for a Catch
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
My favorite squatters, the rotators, live on the 4th floor on the right. They recently formed a small orchestra despite their complete lack of harmony and inability to ever be in tune. They are rude and indiscriminate about when they play, or how loud. They stagger through the halls trying to drag other apartments into the conflict.
On the 5th floor are the building’s nasty drunks, trap and neck muscles. Always irritable, they can’t keep still and fight with everyone. They have a nasty relationship with the couple below them the rhomboids and the lats. Trap and neck drink to all hours banging and screaming through the night about the peanut subsidy. This pisses off the rhomboids and lats who get all wound up as trap and neck finally pass out crashing to the floor... Now it’s their turn… Popping up off the couch, bouncing down the front stoop, rhomboids and lats veer through the streets to the liquor store, where they fill up their cart like it’s the day before Prohibition kicks off.
On the way back to the building, punching each other in the arm, they drop into the Tropicana Club, making sure Ricky brings the entire band home for the lease breaking party, “Babaloo, Boom, boom, boom.” These fellows are mischief. Each has been known to start a fight coming out of their sleep without being fully awake, so by the time they are awake, someone’s got someone else in a headlock for no apparent reason.
The back of the building holds its own secrets. Think of it as the set for Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” tension and anxiety viewed through every window. Pull out your binoculars and voyeur away. In this film, there are four to five Raymond Burrs scurrying around burying their hacked up spouses in the backyard. The flower bed is a mess.
The front of the building is deceptive. It appears structurally sound, but it’s out of rhythm. The outward sign of serenity leaves the building’s rear resentful, disturbed. Especially, about the couple in the top front apartment who enjoy reading. Occasionally, when their small reading lamp is lit, the entire building comes to a reluctant rest. A clear moment. The quiet is deafening. Beneath the floorboards a slow steady drumming builds, out of the silence in a rare show of solidarity comes a roar from the building’s core tearing the peaceful lull apart. Snap!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The New York Times ~ City Room section picked up "Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts" today.
If you go the link below, the City Room page opens. On the right hand side, down a bit, is a blog roll with different categories listed alphabetically. Under "People & Neighborhoods" you'll find "Yorkville Stoops to Nuts" on the bottom.
I'm silly happy & my stories are cooking.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009