someone once said  
that the eye
that God sees you through  
is the same eye
that you can see him through

you eat it, it eats you

the last acid trip I took  
I was up all night writing  
it eats you, you eat it  
on every piece of paper
that I could find  
you eat it, it eats you  
I’d start in the center
and work my way out
in a circle  
writing  
it eats you, you eat it  
over and over again  
all night long  
you eat it, it eats you

life expresses itself
through me  
and I express myself
through it

it eats you
you eat it

they gave me a rattle
when I was a baby  
and I used to run around
the house
shaking that rattle
like an Indian  
dancing around a fire,
chanting

you eat it
it eats you

as my family danced
around the house
like Zorba the Greek  
whenever someone
got married
or on holidays  
except for my grandfather
that is  
who looked like a holy man 
and worked in a country club
scrubbing floors
and washing dishes
till the day he died  
somewhere in his eighties

you eat it
it eats you

and my Grandmother Maya
wore black
till the day she died  
at that ripe old age
of one hundred

she would sit on the porch
every evening with her friends  
all decked out in black    
drinking strong
dark Turkish coffee
out of gray ceramic cups  
as them big silver zeppelins
came floating out
from the setting sun  
across Clinton Avenue  
like big silver gods

and I would always make
the sign of the cross
every time I saw one of those
zeppelins  
just like when I passed a church  
or cut through the graveyard  
I would always make the sign
of the cross  
they were like gods to me  
those big silver zeppelins  
were like gods to me  
and I worshiped them like gods  
long live the zeppelins

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

the same eye that God sees
you through  
is the same eye you can see
him through

lollypops and zeppelins
baby toys and dinosaurs
rubber balls and atom bombs

my sister’s name was Mary  
but the lamb was my pet  
my friend  
and he was white as snow  
and just as scared as I was  
and my father had him tied up
in the cellar
where I used to play on rainy days

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

after slaughtering my pet lamb  
with the dexterity
of that old sheep herder son  
that he was, once upon a time
in the old country
my father sat in his favorite chair  
surrounded by clouds of gray smoke
as he played with his worry beads

it eats you
you eat it

where soldiers fall
the wheat grows best of all

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

my Grandmother Maya
pulled my pet lamb’s tongue out
of his mouth
and handed it to me  
and with her mouth still watering
she carved my pet lamb’s eye out
with that dexterity
of the sheep herders wife
that she used to be
once upon a time in the old country

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

it was Easter Sunday
and my pet lamb
was no longer tied up in the cellar
no, he was now part of the family
no, he lived in me now
he saw through my eyes now
he ran through the streets
with me now
he was no longer tied up the cellar  
no, he was part of the family now

you eat it
it eats you

where soldiers fall  
the wheat grows best of all

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

the same eye that God sees
you through
is the same eye that you can see
him through

someone once told me
that my pet lamb was a metaphor
for blah, blah, blah

“fuck you” I said
“I ain’t into metaphors
the lamb lived, he lived  
and my father had him tied up
in the cellar  
and we ate him one
Easter Sunday  
we ate him

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

and after eating my pet lamb
my aunt lit up a Chesterfield  
and everyone drank brandy
with their black coffee
everyone but me

you eat it
it eats you

where soldiers fall  
the wheat grows best of all

I used to have this recurring dream  
that my Grandmother Maya
was locked up in the cellar
behind wooden bars  
pleading for me to let her out

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

and I would wake up in the morning
and run around the house
shaking my rattle
like an Indian
dancing around a fire chanting

it eats you
you eat it

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

then my grandfather died  
and the lamb no longer lived in him

you eat it, it eats you

then my Grandmother died

and I saw a tear fall out
from my father’s eye
for the first time  
I saw a tear fall from his eye

and then he died

and then my aunt died  
reaching for a Chesterfield  
she died

and the lamb no longer lived in them

it eats you
you eat it

but he still lives in me  
my pet lamb still lives in me

he dies when I die

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

where soldiers fall  
the wheat grows best of all

you eat it
it eats you

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

and remember
the same eye that God
sees you through
can be the same eye
that you can see him through

ab –  a  –   dab  –  a  –  do

it eats you
you eat it

So I’m told that this is the third time you’ve tried to interview yourself.

Yes.


Why so many interviews?

Ask Milo.

I did.

And…?

Well, he didn’t quite dig them, I guess, or we wouldn’t be doing this one, right?

Yeah, right.


Well, what about your book, The Last Guy to Sit at the Counter at Schwab’s Drugstore? It’s about when you first came to LA in the early sixties, right?  And started hanging out on Hollywood and Western.  Right?

Yeah, mostly…


Bukowski, I think, liked to hang around there too, right?

So he said –- I never saw him though –- and I knew everyone who hung out around there –- the pool hall –- the Playwright –- hell, I fell in love fore the first time in my life in that bar.  Anyway, I was always asking everyone if they knew Bukowski –- no one did though –- no one I asked around there remembered ever seeing him –- and I showed his picture to everyone, and I knew everyone, and no one knew who Bukowski was, but me — and I never saw him.

Sounds like a good title:  Looking for Bukowski…

Can I use it?


Sure, why not?  You like to write about all the people you knew and hung around with though — am I right?

Yeah, I like to keep their memories alive.


Who are some of the people you liked hanging around with?

I liked hanging out with all of them, I only write about people I like.


Lay one of them on me.

Well, I used to live in New York City in the late sixties and early seventies –- I really loved hanging out in the Village back then.


Who did you like hanging out with back then?

Well, I used to hang out with Charlie Rouse.


You mean the great sax player who played with Monk all those years?

One of the most charming guys I ever hung out with.


Did you know Monk?

Not really –- he was always seeing me with Rouse –- sometimes I’d sit with him and Rouse in the dressing room, at the Village Gate -– I can’t ever remember ever hearing Monk talk –- he liked to smile a lot though -– Charlie didn’t like to talk much either -– we were a match made in heaven -– cause you know me, sometimes I can’t shut the fuck up -– hell, every good friend I ever had was always telling me to shut the fuck up -– but not Rouse -– I remember him and his girlfriend stayed with us this here weekend -– and me and Charlie were up till 4, 5 in the morning talking -– well, I was doing all the taking -– and Charlie says to me — “You know darling” –- (Charlie called everyone he knew darling) –- “Anyway,” he asked, “how’s your jaw feel?” –- “A little sore,” I said – “I’ll say,” said Charlie – “I ain’t never ever heard anyone talk so much in my life – that was really something…”

Yeah, I’m sort of starting to know what he meant.

Oh, so you think I talk too much, too?


From your mouth to God’s ear.  Before we go any further — I’m sensing some hostility here — I get this feeling that you don’t like being interviewed.

Sometimes I wish I was a dog…


I thought your story was about a cat…

What does that have to do with me wishing I was a dog?


Let’s just step back a second here — I get this feeling that you don’t like being interviewed — You do remember me asking you that?

Yes, I do –- I mean you just asked me that –- didn’t you? –- and I told you that sometimes I wish I was a dog –- didn’t I — didn’t I just tell you that? –- and you give me some bullshit about –- oh, I thought your story was about a cat –- now what kind of bullshit is that? –- what does my writing about a cat have to do with my wishing that I was a dog? –- I mean you could have asked me why I wished that I was a dog, right -– but no — I thought your story was about a cat -– I mean what the fuck is going on here? -– and you got the balls to tell me that you’re sensing some hostility -– oh, pray tell — I wonder why -– I mean it’s bad enough when I’m interviewed by someone besides myself -– but like I said before, babe -– I wish I was a dog -– if you were paying any attention to me, you would have asked me, “Why do you wish you were a dog?” and I would have said –- “So I can bite my own goddamn head off” –- and then I wouldn’t  have to be interviewed by myself -– get it? –- get it? -– is that so hard to get? -– now get your ass out of here or I’ll bite that goddamn head of yours off -– out — out — out! –- no more interviews — I want to be left alone — and I want a glass of vodka — can you do that please? — get me a goddamn vodka — then get the hell out of here — interview over…