Somewhere, in a lonely coffee shop through a windowpane, maybe near you, a green beret is a lonely sentinel... steam rises from chamomile and rose hips tea... half-smoked candy cigarettes pile up like the dead bodies of soldiers on a bloody battlefield.

What I've just described is the presence of a certain man, or something more than a man. I'm not sure. It could be said that those stage props, all brilliantly arranged, describe the man more than his own mysterious face ever could.

This man is George Von George. His lungs, it's said, are like a powerful vacuum cleaner, sucking in the impurities of the world around him. Until those lungs, just like the world around him, are as black as coal. When they get too full of it, he belches the filth and dirt back out into the dreary droll world in quick, acrid bursts.

That's how George Von George writes his poetry, in furious fits, like a chronic smoker. And not because he wants to, but because he has to. Like the true smokers, the ones who can never quit.

Except George Von George never writes. His existence is the greatest poetry he could ever hope to conceive. He has no use for pens, for literary illusions, for metaphors. His life is the only metaphor that matters. A gesture, a glance from his vacant eyes - these are the lines of his grand stanzas in the epic poem we call life. Each carefully used, with all the care Shakespeare took. Maybe more.

Some men, George Von George believes, have no souls. They are like tempest-tossed ships with no captain. The crew frantically man the rigging and grab at the wheel, but without someone to guide them, they contradict themselves and do more harm than good. Men like that need a God to save them

But George Von George has a soul. He doesn't need God. Alone in the coffee shops, biting at his nails to sate his hunger, he never thinks. Not once. He just wases, or wased, or was. There's not really a word for it. Some acts are beyond words, beyond acts of faith, and beyond even actions. Some men are, too.

George Von George has always believed that to have a will is to surrender. He's a tortured artist.

"Tortured" and "artist." Each word already implies the other, making the title "tortured artist" redundant. What it be must be like, to live a life that's redundant. Perhaps only George Von George truly understands. His life is a masochistic exercise, torture begetting more torture. It's the path he's chosen to take towards enlightenment.

George Von George, it should be noted, is neither German nor French. He doesn't need to be. He owns a green beret. Isn't that enough for one man?

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