Joseph Buehler

Advice To The Lovelorn

Eat a burger every other day.
Get to bed by four.
Take rotten care of yourself.
Try to understand the strange
and devious meaning of cats.
Donít wear that ratty raincoat.
Donít vote for anybody.
Viewed from such a height as this
the Alamo looks quite small indeed.
Guard the night against what?
(You left an immense imprint on the
sands of time, but it was quickly
obliterated by a hot dry northern wind.)
Wind your huge tin-faced Russian
watch---oh---itís battery driven, my
mistake. New Orleans, you realize,
is quite humid this time of the year.
Oh yes, I was going to tell you something
else, but my train of thought must have
gotten derailed somewhere near Columbus,
Ohio. Oh yes, this is very important, this
is what I was finally going to tell you . . .
wet birds never fly at night. No, thatís
not it at all. How about: find someone
who is right for you?



 A New York Story

He was asking me about Gene. This was back in 1963 when
my father and I were visiting New York. It was in the summer
and this fellow and I were striding down some busy New York
street; crowds of people surrounded us as we walked. He was
well dressed in a custom-fitted suit; he was a good looking enough
guy, maybe forty or forty five. For some reason he was jealous of
Gene. There must have been someone else involved. I was just a
visitor; I didnít want to get entangled in any of their domestic dis-
putes. I said I didnít know anything about it.

We walked along and he told me that he was creating special gowns.
Heíd made one for Shirley Bassey, the singer, for her night club act.
It was loaded with shiny black sequins and it was beautiful and black
and expensive, maybe three or four thousand dollars, a lot of money
in those days. I saw it later. He lived with Gene, who was an actor,
in one of those Manhattan towers. He himself had been in show bus-
iness: heíd danced on ice with some famous movie star in one of her
films way back in the forties. He used to be a professional ice dancer,
I guess.

 A Rant, Letís Say

A rant, letís say, totally unseemly, was expostulated into some type of
unpurified thin air, and a colleague of mine, Professor Crumke, a former
very stern and proper officer of the so-called ďPolish BrigadeĒ, an unauthor-
ized militia group (they didnít even try to hide it from the authorities) that
was formed in France before the Boer War (think of a young handsome
Churchill in his overalls, cigar clamped tightly in his mouth, making his
daring escape from the five boroughs of New York City); Crumke, it should
be added, took no actual part in the rant and was neither for it nor against it.

Yet I wish to speak (it must be said) of the so-called elevated trains (noisy
things) that continue to spread their dirty filthy black soot everywhere they
operate, spewing it out upon the poor unfortunate citizens and the visitors
to our fair city; one of that number couldnít take it any longer and left town
the next day (even though he had six more days of vacation left) to return
home to the small town of Fulton, Michigan, so distraught he vowed never
to return again.

Also, you donít have to tell me anything about all of those boring soporific
lectures at the University Hall (the downtown one, not the uptown one; the
one on the east side, not the one on the west side; the one with the huge marble
elephants in the front) that drive people stark raving mad. For instance, they
drove poor Harry P. crazy, so much so that he couldnít contain himself any
longer and so he made a b-line rush back home to Traverse City to find the
tallest tree in the nearby forest. He climbed half way up, but then calmed down
the next day and decided to go into the furniture business which he eventually
made a great success of through a good deal of effort and the help of his rich
uncle Sven.

          All Night Restaurant, Cleveland, Summer 1959
                               (After Edward Hopper)

     My friend and I spy the neon lights and step inside the all night
         restaurant:  stools and tables and chairs and a counter and a long
     mirror behind the counter and white florescent  lights.  He and I
          sit down at a table in the back of the place and order sandwiches
     and coffee (I take cream in mine).  We devour the sandwiches very
                      quickly and very slowly nurse our coffees and then, after some
     time has passed  by, we politely order refills.  A blonde woman
                                walks in with a man in a sport coat and no tie.
          She wears a flashy tight fitting dress.  They begin to quarrel 
     immediately:  ďYouíre drunk!Ē he says disgustedly.  ďDonít tell
     me  Iím drunk in front of all these people!Ē she protests loudly.  The
        counterman, a big guy in a slightly dirty white apron, walks slowly
     over to them and faces them squarely.  ďIf you people donít quiet down
           youíll have to go,Ē he informs them.  The blonde woman gets a mad
     look on her face. ďLetís get outta here,Ē she says and they get up to leave.
                       They pause at the door and she turns.  ďThis is an unfriendly 
          place!Ē she says angrily and then they walk out into the darkness.
             The customers smile at each other and go back to their food and drinks.
     I stare out of the window at the hard dark night outside; my friend and I
          politely ask for two more refills and the counterman glares at us, but
        grudgingly fills our cups.  I donít want to go back out there until I
            have to and neither does my friend because we are tired of walking
     up and down the city streets all night, over and over again.  Weíve 
         missed our out of town bus and the next one wonít be in until the early
                                   An old man comes in and looks around at everybody
     and finally sits down on a stool at the counter.  He picks up a menu
         and looks at it quizzically.  After a few minutes, the counterman comes over.
                       ďWhatíll you have?Ē he asks the old man tiredly.  ďWhatís good
     here?Ē the old man inquires, still studying the menu.  ďEverything,Ē the 
          counterman says impatiently, waiting for him to order something.


 Eaglesí Way

(For the full effect, listen to the ď Eaglesí Greatest Hits Volume 2Ē
as you read.)

A haunted California hotel in the dark night. Donít go in! Donít go in!
Too late! Too late! Drawn by beauty---canít get out!---canít get out!.
(Screaming guitars!)

At the party. Donít want to go home tonight---but some one will get
hurt, get hurt tonight!---itís bound to happen, bound to happen.

Bridges, road, Southern skies---moonlight---loved you for a long time,
long time,---stars above us, dark road.

Be careful of that girl! Sheís not what she might appear to be!---bang!
bang! bang!---into the chorus.

(Simple four note introduction.) We used to spend a lot of time in that
old cafť---remember? We were going to change the craziness of the
world, remember? (Quiet sweet harmony to the finish.)

Fast lane life!---useless!---spent, empty, sex, death . . .

(Quiet guitars, slow drums.) Canít tell you, baby---canít tell you---I get
lonely---canít we make it? Canít we make it, baby?

Familiar talk. (Moderate beat.) Tied to this girl---she wants someone else,
someone new. Be carefu
l!---be careful!---watch out! New guy!

Running long and strong. Will we make it, baby?

As time passes us by, has the thrill left?

Copyright © Joseph Buehler 2013

Joseph Buehler has been published by the Kansas Magazine, the "Canadian Forum", "Defenestration", the "Common Ground Review" and "Theodate".