Lassitudes of Fire by Will Patton is a crazed and soulful, lonesome, funny, and violent compilation of Will's notebook jottings (including some drawings) going all the way back to his earliest days in New York as a vagrant and actor. It will have you haw. Cover art by the author.
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Will Patton is an actor who has won Obie awards for his roles in a Sam Shepard and a Richard Foreman play. He's also appeared in many films, including No Way Out, Desperately Seeking Susan, and Armageddon.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From Lassitudes of Fire by Will Patton:
I would like to be able to pray. Just like a simple human. Just like simple religion like when I was a boy.
The name of my book is called Old Man in the Forest. The name of the book is The Lost Hills of Caladon. It opens on a man coming up over a crest, he sees mountains and a little smoky town in a valley. He smiles. There are clues left all through out the book which indicate a genuine treasure map to gold (a secret) which is actually buried in a certain part of the United States of America.
I'M MEAN AND AFRAID AND I WANT YOU TO WORSHIP ME.
18th century manuscript. I've got the paper rolls of prophecy and cant find a way to put them back. I've stolen the inner rolls of prophecy accidentally.
And now a fleshly arm curves out gallantly, or should I say elegantly, and a nose for a wart with a mole for hair, Krist the steam is boining my inney's Cap'n. And don you forget alla a matter with stew, Boing! Boooingg! Boooooooooooooooing!
Meanwhile people in flowered shirts argue loudly about traffic incidents and frisk one another. The sun beats down without respite. I feel the loss of a friend. My only companions are now children. I hulk above them like a Martian, getting fatter and fatter. The sun will not stop its incessant shining, nary a cloud in sight. This is the time firing squads are set up against grey walls.
At the top of the hill we rest. I've been in this afternoon before. I know that animal which is at the edge of the field. Standing still, and with a knowledge of me as well. I had read about this in some heiroglyphics written on a rock in Utah. It had also been intimated at in a letter from some vague acquaintance. Then dogs start barking. I spoke to someone long distance. The music got sadder. I didn't recognize anybody anymore. You know the story.
And I'm tempted to forget. I'm tempted to forget by a candlelit darkness wherein some sweet beauty reads me dumb stories from thick red quilts, and I just keep stragglin back up the night road like a lazy hound dog forgetting to dedicate all fire to the cold-eyed Lord I owe my life to.
The earth starts quaking and I wake up. Too numb to care.
Lord forgive me it appears as if I have fallen into the hands of mine enemies, while I shyly nodded and shuffled, they gained a certain power. No it's not true but I am afraid.
I live at the foot of Blue Mountain. I love you.
I saw two dead coyotes.
And yesterday a moose which could have been mistaken for a crazy misfit cripple donkey.
The books in my two black book cases, equal me. They=me. The invention of my person is contained in two small black book cases not quite full.
I feel enormous affection for my bedside clock.
I'm in Venice, California waiting out death in this dive of a hotel just off the promenade of lost souls.
Sun's beating through the screen of my balcony as I sit writing in the shadows. Haze covers the rooftops, into the distance, with a poison aura.
You really can't swim in the ocean anymore, people who do grow fungus in their stomach.
Many is the black dog running along the side streets of Venice.
All the people I've ever known walk by beneath my window, walk by as caricatures of themselves. As if a portion of their being had broken off and landed as a distorted ghost walking slowly with no direction and kind of awkwardly, sadly along the alleys of Venice. I recognize my friends but don't know them.
Can't remember my dreams. There's rain clouds moving in but no rain. I wish I knew someone to write a love letter to. Someone I never had to see.
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