The Irish Again Will Rule the World.
I was 54 years old when I took to pissin’ in the bushes. The old bladder was dyin’. I was told that 49 was the mark. After that, it was don’t go far from the latrine, stay near a Jiffy-John, when outside and communing like Henry David Thoreau with nature, even if it is only city nature, where you are blind to the immaculate stars.
The bushes of old Strathmore Avenue, a mile from the house which I rent in, was the first place I went, at about 9 in the evening. I was headin’ home from my drawing class at the Hillyer Gallery Art Space, down there off Dupont Circle, behind the Phillips Gallery, in the town of politicians that call themselves “the honorable so-and-so and the honorable such-and-such, from Maine and Alabama.” I made a couple good drawings at the Hillyer, too. Charcoal nudes. Better than Picasso and Andre Duran, I swear.
Saw several girls I wanted to do Shakespeare’s two-backs to, down there at the Hillyer. Beautiful girls, 25 and 30, hangin’ out at an art gallery, bein’ relevant, until they get pregnant and marry and morph like a caterpillar into an ignorant middle-class lifestyle with an ignorant husband that makes enough money for them to afford two children, a vacation in Honolulu, maybe Acapulco, and maybe a sailboat, too, like everyone does in the U.S.
Took the old subway train home. Six maybe seven miles, north through Tenleytown, where a good kid we used to call Colonel Wilford got run over by a cement truck and killed when he was 13 in 6th grade studying under Miss Bergquist who, not married, got good-sex pregnant, sending all the emotionally incomplete and therefore psychology unbalanced nuns at St. Anne’s Grade School into a moral tizzy, searchin’ passages in the Bible, tryin’ to find clues about the what to do, how to act; then through Friendship Heights past Cheesecake Factory where I got drunk one night and nearly killed myself drivin’ up Rt. 270 to Gaithersburg, Maryland, north 50 miles away, in a snow blizzard, to take my date , a Jamaican girl named Ackley, who was half my age, home. Things were getting’ ferocious bumpy on 270, as I rode Ackley who, half my age, was beautiful at 27, when I thought I heard the her—she could have been a New York fashion model—yellin’ at me. When I came to and understood, I figured that she had been yellin’ at me for five or six minutes.
“You’re not on the God-damned rode! You’re not driving on the God-damned road!”
Sixty miles an hour up 270, a maniac and his sex-hope-for-the-evening on the shoulder of a super highway, or maybe even on the dirt to the right of the shoulder of the super. I don’t know. I was in a black out. I used to black out all the time, when I was drinkin’.
There’s a bridge to the north of Strathmore Avenue, the road on which I live, connecting the sidewalk to the sidewalk across the wooden planks of No Man’s Creek. I yanked on my Docker’s zipper 10 yards before I got to the bridge, turned left on the bridge and let it go on three bushes on the bank. It’s a metaphysical thing to piss to the north toward the eveining star off No Man’s Bridge at 9:12 in the nighttime, after art class where you long for girls you cannot have and hope that there are no people in the windows of the houses off about 40 yards to the left, and it feels somethin’ like sex.
I made it home okay, didn’t even dribble on myself.
There was a week later, last night, too. Comin’ home from the nubile art class again. I might have drawn another Picasso. I don’t know. I can’t be sure. I drew in color this time, and I ain’t never done that before. I was walkin’ from the Grosvenor-Strathmore subway train station, which is about a mile and three-quarters from the house which I rent in. I was walkinn’ up the pike, the Rockville Pike, the road I drove on before I got on Rt. 270 with that Jamaican girl Ackley, to the north on the right side of the road. I felt it real good when I was about a mile out from my house. I thought I could hold it. I thought I should hold it. I mean, that is what civilized people do, but I couldn’t. There was a steep hill covered with green and brown-orange grass off to my right, and I took it, thinkin’ of the U.S. Marines who took Pork Chop Hill in ’Nam. Don’t wanna get guillotined for traitorous thoughts or nothin’, but all those Marines were all God-damned hoodwinked fools if you aslk me. Misguided God-damned hoodwinked fools, but let’s talk about my pissin’ instead. No need to start a war over common sense and truth.
The hill was a bitch, if you don’t mind my sexisim and racism and insensitivity to girls. I practically lost one of my shoes, a leather one, a newfangled notion shoe, a revolution of sorts, I suppose. It had like a mound of Venus on the bottom of the sole in the middle. Made you walk like a see-saw. I didn’t like it and the other shoe much but, like bein’ born, I had no choice. My New York sister, Katharine Tynan, who is married to a guy named Derry, sent ’em to me in the mail. I slipped up one day and told her I had holes in my shoes and that I had been wearin’ them for six years, the six years after I decided to quit the big city newspaper, The Washington Post, as an obit writer, and reinvented myself into an artist, makin’ photographs which look like Impressionism paintings and writin’ stories like Jack Kerouac or Theodore Dostoyevsky, or maybe even Blondie. I don’t know. Maybe Blondie doesn’t write stories. Nobody is interested in that shit, anyway. Maybe after I am dead. Maybe after my 21-year-old daughter discovers me, after she gets my inheritance. That would be my computer. I ain’t got nothin’ else to give her. Yeah, after my daughter inherits my computer and starts lookin’ at my shit, I might get discovered like van Gogh did. That poor fuck died having sold only one painting in his lifetime, and he died after he shot himself with a bullet into his chest on Christmas eve, 198X, because he was so God-damned lonely. And when my daughter discovers me and sets forth into the world tellin’ everybody that her father is a veritable Ernest Hemingway, I’ll be under the clay, chanting the sacred Om and hob knobbing with the holy spirits.
I am almost broke an ankle, too. The grass was slick and, like said, the hill was steep, and a 54-year-old starving artist can’t manipulate and maneuver like he did 40 years ago, when he was 10 and getting’ sex urges. I did make it up the hill eventually, though, and I would have felt like a Greek sports hero who had just finished a marathon, but I was feeling pressed, instead. I was afraid I was gonna wet my Docker’s cackey pants, the same ones I was wearin’ the week before, for I only got one pair of pants, and I ain’t let my sister in on that. She would send me 30 pair, if she found out I got only one pair of pants, but it’s okay. I like bein’ poor. It allows me to feel morally superior to everyone in America.
After I got up the hill, like Jack and Jill did, I realized I was on the grounds of the Strathmore Music and Arts Cultural Center, and I headed for the nearest bushes I yanked at my zipper, thinkn’ about immortality for some reason, and then I went again to the north once again. I didn’t think the cultured people of Strathmore would mind me pissin’ on their Henry David Thoreau bushes. They would probably say it was just like a 1960s art happening event. It was metaphysical when I went, and it felt somethin’ like sex. I hadn’t had any of that in six years, either.
My name is Father Edward Daly.