The doctor thinking he's got to learn about the world all over again from square one Looking over words as he'd peer over a newly trimmed hedge seeing something just beyond and to one side The doctor doesn't think he knows anything for sure only the hula hoops and twinkies, the blues and violets of his mind very late at night He doesn't know what he's putting down only that he's noticing, noting, noticing his stethoscope here and here Red and pink lipstick cases with a little mirror on one side, hats, stockings, garter belts and gloves There is sound there's the refrigerator and the water dripping He bought a shirt in 1950 the most remarkable feature of which is a snag or tear will reduce it to nothing. It's a shirt made of a single cell that, when it's reduced to nothing, a single cell remains. The original cell of that fabric. What he is seeking is a quilt made up of the original cells of all the fabrics. What the l950s does like a blow to the back or side of one's head it relocates your mind The doctor in Intensive Care where he belongs if anyone else is here or still here that's fine. * * * What were the 1950s? Teresa Brewer and the Korean War It was hard apples and the popularity of DDT Popularity was a word heard a lot of in 1950 It was James Dean and Peter Lawford, TV's Karen and Chubby, the Mickey Mouse Club taken seriously It was the time many people who came into their own in the 1960s first got laid or had wet dreams the last wet dream the doctor had was sometime in the 1950s Basketball games on Chicago's north side and the walk home at 5 o'clock carrying a switchblade knife, the two Rosenbergs frying in the electric chair McCarthy and his crony Roy Cohn the atomic bomb already five years old Plastic surgery and nose jobs fame in a new light Nixon saying, "California politics is a can of worms" Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody Arthur Godfrey on television. the Outside the Inside Outside Inside Fresh hot toast with butter on it from the mother of a friend the doctor's own mother dead at 42 the knowledge there were two different worlds giving taking Epistemology Involved elaborate schemes for not making up your mind anyway "Saturday night is the loneliest night in the week--" Taking No-Doz and staying up all night for exams Right-handed angel playing a trumpet and Moses coming down off the mountain not with the 10 Commandments but a set of scrolls and where the commandments would normally go double sets of chimes. Moses coming down with castanets Saul of Tarsus with a set of drums Christ fluting Buddha blissful at the keyboard * * * The jazz was good Death was softened, advancements made in the salesmanship of everything The doctor's own deepest impulses were not to nurse or nurture but to attack Hanging out at Sonny Berkowitz' Pool Hall, wearing blue suede shoes, Levis and navy blue shirt, he bought a zip gun, joined a street gang Once, doing reconnaissance, exploring the intricacies of the Chicago Drainage Canal, he entered a sewer and ambled deeply as he could reflecting all the while on his chances of surviving the synchronized flushing of three-and-a-half million toilets. For the first time in 2,000 years one went four years to a University without saying one true word going to work for Hallmark Greeting cards or the phone company one knew something was at hand because things became easy. Richard Wilbur's poems arrived at one's door in little four-line stanzas Tin-Pan alley people in college dormitories subscribing to the Kenyon Review and listening to Pat Boone Five foot two, eyes of blue, cotton candy hair strapless white lace dress zipped up over a snug corset seated on a sofa in a dormitory in Champaign, Illinois, touch me, touch me black patent leather belt open and matching black patent leather pocket book beside her, 'petting' it was called, one foot touching the floor at all times ("that's right you two, or I 'll have to ask you to leave"), ejaculating beneath her dress somewhere or other discreetly as possible Birds flutter and when they walk they flutter too. The doctor sees giant mushroom cloud father of the H-Bomb Edward Teller Police Action Korea Harry Truman and Dwight David Eisenhower, each with six legs and arms dancing to the music of Lord Shiva and Judy Garland doing it on a pink velvet loveseat. The doctor makes a mental note to turn his socks inside out to empty out the sand before putting them into the laundry bag.
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