Thursday, May 14, 2009

TC: Heartbreak Hotel

Stories Told by the Shores of the Lakes of Africa

While the cash-green palm fronds sway, tears round as coconuts tumble out of their eyes and roll down their gleaming breasts, finally toppling over when they reach the nipples, like big drops hitting the headlights of a Porsche streaming down the Pacific Coast Highway in the rain.

Character Is Fate

God was a woman. Mary was, frankly, God, John said. Yes, she was God; that was all there was to it. Falling in love with her had been like a religious conversion, John said. But you should not make a god out of another person. John was later to find this out the hard way.

Life Among the Canyons

Life among the canyons of Los Angeles. Explorers in jodhpurs and jungle hats drink gin slings on the porches of huts built on stilts. Cars pour up the freeway in the rain like homing salmon, ahead of the full lash of storm tilting in from the Pacific. Arriving home, we hear the women laugh. They run to fasten down the mats and hatches of batting and bamboo, their skin-covered breasts flashing as the water streams down them. We will give them diamonds and record contracts and they will sit for paintings. Our portraits of them will end up in a museum whose architectural character is geometrical and unfriendly. The curator will be twenty-nine years old and from the East.

Death, Revenge and The Profit Motive

Death is good, revenge is a waste of time, and who ever thought up the profit motive didn’t understand either of those things, John said, tipping his head back to pour another drink into it. He was paying twelve hundred dollars a month to keep Mary in a glass and redwood shack with a hot tub in the hippest canyon in town, he said. And now she wouldn’t even talk to him, and – he said – he was dying. “But only to get even!”

Heartbreak Hotel

Heartbreak Hotel is located among the abandoned oil derricks of Venice, California, on Feb. 15, 1954. It is a small bungalow with a white picket fence. A man in a dirty undershirt stands in an open window staring at us. Suddenly a chill wind blows across the oily surface of the grey canal. We look up into the sky, which has no color at all. It frightens us and we turn to leave but as we begin to run, our first footsteps are drowned in the loud strains of “Heartbreak Hotel,” which the man in the window is singing in the window of the Heartbreak Hotel.

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