FULL MOON, LOONEY TUNES
Only artists or hermits or monks choose
poverty, any other social theory is baloney.
Wine, women and song cost little; studio
space next to nothing if you live in a
ghetto. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and
what’s her face works for a long time, at
least when you are in your prime.
An artist, poet or painter, wants to work
as little as possible at some job that takes
them away from their pen or easel.
“So there’s that 47%,” Mitt Romney whined,
“that we can forget. They will vote for Obama
and collect their gifts.”
“There are givers and the takers – those
who contribute and those who mooch,”
Paul Ryan stared steely eyed at the press.
“If you’re poor or out of work it’s your
own fault.” Rush, the bus, Limbo roared.
Moochers, takers, goldbricks, sure fits
artists. But I don’t think it applies to the
poor or anyone who’s out of work or ever
has been. I suppose there’s always been
junkies, and winos, and panhandlers on the
streets, lost souls with mental problems and
those who are, OK, just plain lazy. It can’t
be many. But these politicians and that radio
guy somehow forget we just got out of the
Great Recession and what’s available are
still slim pickings, and I can’t see how it
applies to homeless families or those doomed
to meager lives in the ghettos and hollows,
and slums across the nation through
That 47% has grown. Half of the country lives
in or near poverty now. The Affordable Care
Act has added 6 million to the ranks of the
insured. 45 million to go. But the
Republican governors refuse to let their
constituents get the expanded Medicaid,
so that won’t happen.
There was only one artist at the Boston
Center for the Arts who actually got on
disability. Helen the heavenly. Many tried.
They got their inspiration from a character
by Thomas Pynchon. To prove that he was
crazy, so he could collect government checks,
he would jump, every year, through the plate
glass window of a department store.
Whatever antics my friends pulled didn’t
work. The government techs said “Nix.”
Helen was a poet, much published. She wrote
like Sylvia Plath on acid. She was mad as a
Hatter, as beautiful as a movie star. Once
each summer, on a full moon night, she would
wear her platinum hair in tiers, don flashy
costume jewelry, wear a black satin gown and
walk barefoot through the ghetto. No one
could stop her. The police would find her in
the morning, raped and beaten. They would
file a report. Helen would give it to her social
worker. “I couldn’t help myself.” She would
say through tears.
We all knew she set the whole thing up
with her gangsta lover.