A mortgage wasn't exactly handed to us with a smile and a handshake, our
being poets and all. I clearly remember the endless trips to the bank and the
saccharine smiles of the blue suit behind the desk. When we finally were
approved it was only because one of my pieces sold, as ad copy. I sighed a lot
when the acceptance letter arrived, but I decided to go through with it. What's
a little compromise among artists anyway? All the Angst was worth it though, to
see the look on that bank toad's face.
"It's a pleasure to see you, again. How can we serve you today?"
My hands breezed through the shimmering pages of the magazines lying in my
lap. "I thought I might stop by and, oh, get your approval on that loan we
The smile floated up. "I'm very sorry, but I thought I'd been quite
clear before in our policy. No matter what the, perceived, value of your work
may be, the bank is primarily concerned with collateral."
I stood from the winged back chair, dropping the monthlies on his desk, open
to my art that was now selling face créme or furs or trips to Grand Cayman. I
punctuated each magazine plop with "Collateral." When the pages of the
Cosmos and the New Yorkers, Marabella's and Condé
Naste's were all reflecting the recessed lighting that fell from the
ceiling, I allowed the first of my royalty checks to flutter onto them.
His eyes danced across the check's zeros: my pen across the acceptance form.
The 60's were a misdirected time. All those people walking around, unshowered,
looking for spiritual enlightenment in another toke or another dose. With this
in mind, a poet commune in the new millennium honestly didn't sound like the
best of all possible worlds. Andy always argued in its favor, though.
"No, see, before they were creating new societies based on the principle
of shared responsibility. They were self-sufficient and grew their own food and
livestock. We'll be cocooning ourselves because work is man's greatest enemy,
and there'll be a 7-Eleven on the corner."
"Yeah, I know, it's that whole 'acceptable materialism' thing, but I
don't want to put up with some hippie chomping down on his granola when I'm
trying to eat my veal. You know, I'm kinda turned-on by the fact that they keep
the calves in those small pens and force feed them all those hormones and
"It still bothers me, though."
"Look, no hippies, I promise. Just yippies and beatniks. We'll be the
new Jack Kerouacs, riding around with paperback Camus' in the pockets of our
"Armani fatigues?" I smiled.
"Yeah, I think I saw some in that Vanity Fair over there."
Our group is called Molested Eggs. It's printed on a hand-painted sign above
the door of our four story colonial. It's Fall, and Vermont is beautiful. Andy's
been spending most of his time staring at the Mikasa teacups, trying to come up
with a good internal rhyme for Snuffelupogus for his series of poems on Saturday
He has this one sonnet to Fred Flintstone, that just makes me sob openly.
Most of our group is here now; Wakefield arrived yesterday. We heard his car
stereo blaring Ministry's "Just One Fix" so loud that the windows were
bucking, trying to ride the vibrations. He entered the house shooting off his
AK-47 Hemmingways. "This place is too corporate. It needs atmosphere.
Where's the Vodka?" Wake was of the mind that no great poetry came from an
unsodden mind. Rage is fuel of his word machine, and that's cool. He was the Id
of the house's Superego.
In our artist colony suburbia, where the suburbs meet Utopia, I find myself
wondering how long it might last. It's been years since my Madison Avenue
submission, and The Ave has been very good for me. Right now I'm doing a series
of promotional spots for euthanasia centers; Atlantic Monthly's expressed an
interest. The rest of the house hums smoothly along. None of us has had to drop
our stuff to word-process or messenger or teach, and I imagine that's quite an
accomplishment. As for our being Kerouacs, I'm skeptical.
But my Armani fatigues are neatly pressed, hanging in the armoire.