Wednesday, September 11, 2013

miller's bathroom dialogues

people huh..., often come in here and get lost, as it were.   they’re in here for, i don’t know how long...  and i imagine maybe something happened, that they got constipated or something...  but it isn’t that, of course... they get fascinated with these pictures.  huh..., i myself, to tell you the truth, i often spend long minutes in here, reviewing them all, wondering where did i get them, why did i put them up there.  they run quite a gamut, from the buddhas to the whores to the maniac that made that beautiful castle up there.  in a way, it’a again very much like, it’s a sort of voyage, i look upon it...  a voyage of huh, ideas.  we’re traveling, not around the world, but around my bathroom which is a kind of microcosm, like the world, huh...  that’s one of the beauties about it... that they can take you anywhere, if you let your mind roam, as we say, one things leads to another... if you sit here and you’re relaxed, why, you’re free to make free associations.  now for instance, is really i think one of the most magical to me in this whole room... that neuschwanstein castle by the mad ludwig of bavaria.  he was truly a mad architectural poet and that is his greatest piece of work.  he ruined the state of bavaria, the kingdom, by the expenditures on his castles.  to me it’s a magic castle, the outside and the inside, all marvelous.  yeah...  

then, there of course is that crazy man, huh... tanizaki!  one of my favorites... japan’s dean of literature.  delightful old man who loved life, women, song...  you know, drink and everything... and his books are about love and often very perverse aspects of love.  huh, he wrote a book, among many by the way, which is called “the key,” and they made a film of it.  umm, very interesting story about a middle aged couple... huh, who huh...  each keep a diary, each keeps a diary, and each huh... somehow wants the other to read huh, the others diary.  they arrange so that they discreetly leave a key somewhere that the other can find and read...  huh, it begins with the fact that the man, a middle aged man, huh, thinks that he is becoming impotent... and his doctor recommends that he, huh...  finds some young man to fall in love with his wife, which will make him jealous and therefore increase his huh, ardor... you see.  and all this does happen.  but what’s interesting is, that each one records the experience... you see, that they had..., and that especially, let’s say, the experience with each other in sleeping together, because huh, one of the complaints of the old man is... he’s not so old by the way... huh, is that his wife is too passionate and at the same time too puritanical.  he has never seen her below the waste.  he doesn’t know what she looks like.  and that’s his supreme desire... that, and say... to touch her toes, and kiss her toes even.  well, to achieve this he resorts to a strategy of getting her drunk.  huh, it appears that she likes cognac, which if found really remarkable, japanese liking cognac, especially a bourgeoisie woman... but she does.  so they fill her glass over and over till she gets drunk.  then it’s her habit to go upstairs and take a very hot bath, and in, she puts it on so hot, the water, that she looks like a boiled salmon, you know...  and in on point of fainting also.  huh, they catch her several times asleep or semi-unconscious.  when they put her to bed, she’s not really huh, fainting... she’s not really asleep... she’s pretending..!  and she’s doing this so that her husband may take liberties with her, do you see... ha ha ha... and what liberties... he’s somewhat of a maniac, sex maniac.  huh, in addition to huh, viewing her and, he moves her about in bed in every position.  he gets a camera and he takes pictures of her and whiles he’s doing this his twenty year old daughter is looking through the keyhole at him doing this to her mother... ha ha, do you see...  so it’s a fantastic yarn huh..! and unfortunately, in cannes where i saw the film when i was a judge, they umm, eliminated it in favor of la dolce vita!  i was the only one who stuck up for this film.  

here’s another picture of, huh, hoki, my fifth and last wife.  a few years ago she came to america where i met her singing and playing the piano at the huh imperial gardens restaurant... huh, i think know she’s finished with her life as an entertainer.

ya see this man... huh, japanese, huh, famous actor and huh writer? tomi yoma, tomi yoma son fixit umm... he’s at the imperial gardens with me sitting in front of the piano and hoki playing, you know, and hoki can hear everything he says.  suddenly, huh, he says to me... “tell me, mr. miller, how many women do you think you have slept with in your life..! ha ha...  i was of course embarrassed, you know, and also puzzled and i said well, i have, i have never thought about that...  well, i said, maybe forty or fifty...  what did he say...  “i’ve slept myself with maybe two hundred and fifty, do you know, and you, with your reputation, you must have had a thousand, you know, all this in front of hokisan who was straining to hear every word... 

“who is that over there... bing crosby?”

you mean this guy?  bing crosby..?  farthest from the world... that’s my great, great, huh, idol, as a writer... blaise cendrais, the french writer, the man that i really adore, and huh, whom, like knut hamson fixit when, sixty years ago i wanted to imitate knut hamson.  if today i could imitate blaise cendrais i would do it with a whole full heart!  this is a man i really venerate as a writer.  he had his right arm cut off in the first world war.  just before the war he was an organist and blaise cendrais was a juggler, on that stage with charley chaplin, imagine it!  umm, of course, during the war, the second world war, he gave up writing, for three years he wouldn’t write a line.  he lost, i think, two sons in the war as air pilots.  then one night a friend visited him and as a result of that meeting he sat down and he wrote about six novels... and the most wonderful novels you can imagine.  he huh, naturally he had to type with one hand.  very very slow work, and his novels are big novels, long ones... 

right next to him is the most wonderful painter of all, hieronymous bosch.  his is the most unknown, mysterious life... his paintings likewise... they are absolutely unique, huh, and forerunner of course of the surrealists paintings.  

you know, the strangest thing is when i go up in an airplane... what happens to me... i’m slightly deaf, you know... but up in the plane i hear perfectly, and i not only hear, umm... imaginary, symphonic music, huh, coming from god knows where... but i hear celestial music too, what’d you call the music of the spheres.  i hear it, it’s as clear and beautiful and i can’t describe it either, because it’s like no other music that i ever heard... and it comes to me, you know, like over the ether waves... and i ask sometimes, i ask pirates..., i mean... ha, pilots i ask “do you hear that too?”  and they said “yes,” they do...  and they’re absolutely mistyfied fixit.  

huh, tom, over here in this corner... huh, i have huh... couple of photos that huh... i put up her expressly for people who want to be shocked.  there are people who have already heard a great deal about the walls in this bathroom and they imagine all sorts of things.  huh, if you notice, huh... if you look around, there’s nothing really very obscene on the walls.  they’re largely curiosities.  huh, but i, huh, put these expressly for those people who... what would you call them... who are looking always for... dirty stuff, do you know... huh, ah ha ha... 

huh, here’s a wonderful zen story.  it’s huh, about, huh,  a monk called roshi bobo, which in english means master of fuck.  now the title shouldn’t throw anyone and may not mean exactly what people think.  huh, but there’s one thing you can say about the master of fuck, that this fuck is an extraordinary one like none that ever was before.  and the whole story concerns a young man fifteen years of age whose parents sent him to a zen monastery to become a monk and of course to receive enlightenment.  umm...  he was a fairly bright young man, good looking, obedient and huh, as far as anyone can see huh... good material.  but umm, after a few years, huh, nothing seemed to happen, he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.  five years past, nothing, ten, and even his masters began to despair of him.  finally after fifteen years he decided that he didn’t have it in him, he didn’t have what it takes, and,  he would go out and enjoy earthly, huh,  life, you know...  be a man of the world, if he couldn’t be a monk.  so he slipped out one night with his bag and baggage and huh, he wandered in to the red light district.  and there he encountered a girl... seemed to him like a geisha, and he went to bed with her, immediately.  well, it was his first experience with a woman, and umm... instead of being awkward though, and embarrassed and shy, and so on... he seemed to be very adept, his senses were highly attune from his zen training.  he was aware of her body, the touch, the smell... everything!  even when the clothes dropped to the floor... created a sensation in him.  so, in the midst of this huh, marvelous, huh, experience, he suddenly has what he couldn’t get in the monastery; the experience of satori.  he saw things as they are and were and always will be, once and forever, clearly, you know... which is, huh, really what enlightenment is all about, don’t ya know!  the important thing was he had allowed himself to go to the very end of doubt and despair.  had he not, you see, this would never had happened.  but he went to the very end of the tunnel and saw the light.  and huh, this is, of course, huh, something does not happen to people in psychoanalysis.  they may be adapted to our corrupt world when they’re finished, but they never reach satori, do you see...  and they never see things as they really are, in my opinion.  and of course, there’s another aspect to it, huh, and a very wonderful one... it’s like william blakes idea of going, of reaching heaven through hell.  it doesn’t matter what road you take to, huh, reach paradise.  and beside that even, one might say that paradise is not even just around the corner but right under your nose, if you, you know, if you happen to be lucky and aware enough, you know...  and i think that’s the great burden of it, that one should, huh, one should, how shall i say... accept his doubts completely, as the buddha once advised, you know... accept despair and anguish and frustration and see it through.  don’t go to a doctor, don’t go to an analyst above all, heh, heh heh...   

by the way, up there is one of my favorite men, you know, yeah, herman hesse...  when i look at him here it reminds me of goldmund und narcissus, which is almost the two sides of himself, you know, the monkish one and the artist.  and as you remember in that book he pays tribute, he makes the monk confess to the artist that he is the better one, that his was the greater life, more meaningful life... you know, which is very interesting because the artist, huh, led a umm... sort of... a wild profligate life, of adventure, you know...  women and everything.  and the monk is austere and righteous and so on... and hesse makes the monk say to him, you know, yours was after all the better one.  and even meaning the more spiritual one too...  

i don’t know if you noticed but most writers don’t look so hot.  writers are alone too much with their thoughts, you know... and they huh, huh, bent over and they’re wizzend fixit and they’re, thin blodded and they’re living in an abstract realm all the time, of ideas, whereas the painter is plastic, you know, (?) and the musician of course is living huh, well, this is not true but you would  think that he’s living an angelic life, he’s up there with the birds.  

right under that is a very strange thing.  this is, huh, chiseled into a stone and this is done by huh, jung, the great, uh,  psychoanalyst.  in a few words, what this represents is the whole of his philosophy, jung’s philosophy in these symbols.  it’s very very strange and very interesting  but i can’t make any of it out, you know, except astrological symbols, but what the rest is, it could be huh, hebrew or egyptian, uh...

there’s another very strange, very interesting one; the very opposite maybe of jung’s.  this comes from some, some very ancient chinese book of poetry and umm... and it’s supposed to be eh... absolutely inscruitable. fixit i’ve had, huh, chinese in here looking at it and they’re given me all sorts of interpretations, you see... some say that it’s probably a taoist saying, you know... others say no, that is has to do with legends much before the tao, you know, and lao tse tung, what’s his name, i was going to say mao tse tung! eh hah hah...  then of course other people have said why shit, it’s nothing but a commercial uhh... advertisement, you know, maybe for uh coffee or tea or... rice or something like that.  but, every chinese who’s been in here has given me a different interpretation of this thing.  uhh... it’s weird.

before committing suicide general nogis’s wife wrote a letter to her niece who was about to get married and it was as if she were giving her, uh, a prescription for a happy marriage.  and having read that thing, i myself believe that it’s the most wonderful prescription.  well, they went into many details, largely how the wife should behave towards the husband at all times and it even went into uh, details about the bed, about intercourse.  for instance, how uh, she should uh, not act uh, too passionately and unrestrainedly or abandonedly fixit because then uh, it would be acting like a whore.  although, between you and me you know damn well whores don’t go that way...  uhh, then she said and when you are through, of course, you get uh long towel for your husband and you wipe him carefully, gently and as for yourself, you know they use a sort of a paper towel, the japanese, she said now when you wipe yourself, be very careful that it doesn’t crackle, so as to disturb your husband’s equanimity, do you know...  very wonderful touch.  what, in what country would they ever think of such a thing, eh..?

this man gurdjieff... i think that of all the masters i have, uh, read about i really think that gurdjieff stands out as the most interesting to me.  and uh, as you know he didn’t want to be called a master and that’s why he led for twenty one years what would be called a blameworthy life instead of a praiseworthy life.  he didn’t want people to uh, uh, venerate him, or bow down to him as a great master.  a very great enigma, and it’s absolutely true.  what the hell, nobody seems to have a clear idea what this man stood for.  gurdjieff had come close to losing his life once in an automobile accident, in france.  and um, he was unconscious, lied at, lay on the road for several hours, i guess before he was picked up by a gendarm, and it was really, thanks this gendarm that he, that his life was saved.  he waits about three years, ah eh, before ever rendering thanks to this gendarm.  then he tells him to come to fontainebleau, he wants to honor him with a banquet for having saved his life.  well, the gendarm had forgotten all about it long ago.  anyhow, he did come, and he was uh, he was not a drinking man.  he drank his little glass of wine with dinner but no alcohol.  and gurdjieff, as you know, loved armagnac, he loved all strong liqours fixit and he could drink like a fish.  so, he kept uh, saying to the gendarm, now please, this armagnac won’t hurt you and it’s in honor of you, we simply want to toast you... take it...  and the gendarm shook his head and said... no... no, i can’t do it... it’s, i can’t drink it.  and gurdjieff said, now look, and he calls the young boy who wrote that book about him, fritz peters, who was then thirteen years old... now he said watch, i’m going to give him a glass of armagnac to drink and you’ll see, nothing will happen to him.  and he fills a bumper glass of uh, armagnac, hands it to the boy who, obediently, gulps the whole thing down at once, a powerful uh, uh... administration!  well the boy is really out on his feet.  he’s serving the table but he’s skating around, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he’s doing everything properly, you know, automatically.  it’s only five hours later when he goes to bed that he knows he’s dead drunk and then he vomits, you know, and is sick and, and falls over the bed.  that’s the ki, sort of thing that gurdjieff could do, eh..!

i suppose that here is where people linger maybe the longest, especially women, i think.  i don’t know why.  this fellow in the center is a really phenomenal friend of mine named uh, florrian steiner.  well, he’s a bit uh... like myself maybe, obsessed with sex... and here he’s got his friends lined up with their asses exposed and he himself grinning at us in his very familiar smile.  it’s wonderful.  and of course, this is his little nephew photographed when sexus first came out.  everybody loves it.  this is my good friend emil white in big sur.  now here, arrives one day, a school teacher who’s a virgin and he fell in love with her, i believe, and so he got her, surprisingly enough, to pose for this.  people always say is it real or is that a statue... you could take it for a statue, couldn’t you?  the wonderful thing is, the expression on is face.  he doesn’t look like a man who’s holding a naked woman, does he?  he looks sorrowful there... uh... and meditative, reflective... as though he was far away from her, and her rich backside, there eh...  it’s a wonderful trio..!

but umm... there’s one here tom... uhh... two... that i want to tell you a little about.  i am very fascinated by these two.  this is a chinese actress, i forget her name, a young woman.  and that’s a japanese entertaining girls in a bar maybe, but if you notice, both have that full face, full cheeks and very luscious big lips!  the lips that you want to uh, bite when ya see.  and i think, on this girl, the expression in her eyes is beautiful.  it’s something melancholy there.  

ah... ahhh... pretty good, pretty good..! yeah... so that’s the kind of babies you have here... eh..!  very good!  all in once piece too.  eh..!  ha ha ha... ah hah...  umm... umm...  yeah... yeah...  umm... 

you may have noticed that i have a number of photos of the buddha, from various countries, by the way: cambodia, siam, burma, i think, i don’t where these all come from, but at any rate, uhh.. but all my life i’ve been fascinated by the buddha, the story of his life, and this smile, this seraphic smile or beantific fixit smile that you see always on the buddha.  it’s an inscruitible smile, but it always denotes great inner peace.  uh... you may notice the absence of something here; i have no religious, uh, icona, iconography, as it were, from the christian world.  umm... though they talk about peace a great deal, the christians, you see... uh, to me they don’t exemplify it, and uh, uh, even jesus, i mean... the representations we have of jesus uh, don’t inspire me with this same feeling of fulfillment, inner security and inner peace and radiance that the buddhas always, uh, iminate fixit.  

for some reason i’m fascinated with this gauguin.  this is the early gauguin.  it’s a beautiful tonality throughout and a very wonderful expression too on his face.

yes... up here is probably gauguin’s most famous painting, a tryptic, i believe and what fascinates me about it, particularly, are the words that he inscribed at the top of the canvas: where do we come from, who are we and where are we going.  eternal questions, never answered, unanswerable... umm...  now, it may seem, uh, trivial perhaps to say that in some way this connects up in my life with this matter of identity.  umm...  i seem like i’m in... ya know, i have all my five senses and i’m not dotty yet, even though i’m 81, but throughout my life and especially in my dream life i’m harassed by uh, this question of identity.  who am i, often i don’t know where am i, probably i never ask where i’m going...  but, uh, i think the first time it happened, one of the times when i was in my early twenties i was on an elevated station in brooklyn, i was going to get a bit of rigleys gum out of the slot machine and as you know there’s a little mirror there that you look into as you push the button... as i did that, put the money in, pushed the button, i’m looking at it and it’s another face.  i was halucinated.  and i looked again.  still that same strange mysterious face.  now fortunately, i was on my way to a burlesque show... eh eh... eh... and uh, when i got down in the street and i entered the theater, where it had all dissapeared.  but this recurs to me more vividly, more strongly in dreams.  i have veritable nightmares, frequently!  and it’s always the same theme, it’s that uh, i was shaving perhaps, i looked in the mirror, it’s another face, i go crazy, i’m in the insane asylum and i’m in there an interminable length of time, i don’t know what is happening, i don’t know who i am, that especially.  just a nut like all the others.  finally, i escape... it’s a heroic job to escape, to get over the wall and then when i get over... awww... i breathe a sigh of relief, i think everything is fine, i see a couple coming down the street and i wave and i say it, i begin to talk to them and they look at me and it’s obvious they don’t know what language i’m speaking... so, i’m still mad... eh eh... then i wake up, usually.  

awww... know i know, now i know where i am... and who i am... back in that old shit hole, new york, where i was born, a place where i knew nothing but starvation, humiliation, despair, frustration, every god dammed thing.  nothing but misery.  every bloody street i looked down i see nothing but misery, nothing but monsters.  of course, this is the new york that i knew when i was being born, rather i didn’t know it yet.  later, when i begin to explore it, why, it’s a different city, a little more horrible, it gets worse all the time.  today i think it’s the ugliest, filthiest, shittiest city in the world.  when i was a kid there was hardly anything that we have today, no telephone, no automobiles, no nothing really.  it was rather quaint.  there was color even, in the buildings, but as time went on, why it got more horrible to me.  when i think of the brooklyn bridge, which was the only bridge then in existence, how many times i walked over that bridge on an empty stomach, back and forth, looking for a handout, never getting anything.  selling newspapers at times square, begging on broadway, coming home with a dime maybe.  it’s no wonder that i have these god dammed recurring nightmares all my life.  i don’t know how i ever survived, uh, why i’m still sane... in fact, i don’t know now whether i’m awake or dreaming.  my whole past seems like one long dream punctured with nightmares

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