Friday, March 07, 2014

The Elegant Sadness by Mark Anthony Given

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance. -Aristotle

         TENNESSEE WILLIAMS WASN'T born in Tennessee and The Battle of New Orleans wasn't fought in New Orleans, but ten miles up the river in Chalmette, Louisiana just past the parish line in Arabi where sheriff deputies on one side, and New Orleans detectives on the other watched the "Da Parish" Line day and night like they were sitting on a private stocked pond, often with a highly trained big Belgian Black Shepard Police Dog, that can smell you coming before you got out of bed this morning, and just like the British at the sudden turn in the muddy fast running Mississippi River, they could have spun their battle ships on a dime in the treacherous and fast current but by the time you see the motley crew of determined early Americans, they lit their ass up so fast it was like shooting ducks in a barrel and just like you, 'they didn't stand a chance....
           THE WHOLE PLACE with it's wide open expanse of wasted traverse with ground level fox holes and makeshift garrison belied the enormity of the Battle of New Orleans, and not even the brightest sunshine and clear blue skies overshadowed the number of withered headstones behind me and either them are American boys and girls laying claim to the soggy dirt or some of them ducks got out of the boat...   

           I WAS PROBABLY LOADED out of my mind driving a little old red Volkswagen, or VW Bug stole from who knows where.... both my girlfriends two children in the front seat they were maybe seven and eight years old and fit in the same seat.  Right past the Battlefield is the Battlefield Cemetery you pass thru a little gate to walk from the battlefield, or you can drive right down the middle of an old red brick road under ancient oak trees smothered in Spanish Moss darkening the already foreboding zone I was doing five miles an hour on Halloween evening.  I have a long-suffering habit of talking to my automobiles, and they knew it even if they never saw this car before. 
           "I'm sorry Mr. Red, 'bought bringing you back here like this on a night like this, but these two kids made me!"
           "Know we didn't! Jefferey screamed;  I didn't even know this place was here! 
           The littlest one Jillian was sitting in the middle and couldn't see over the window sills, but she was looking concerned.
           We are driving as slow as possible because I know if we run into one of these frightening gravestones you go straight to Hell without even a Bond hearing...  I traded a beautiful 1977 two-tone baby blue and white landau top Oldsmobile Cutlass 225 with white lettered tires for this old Bug that didn't have a battery in it and no reverse and had to be pushed to start.
          "Alright, I'm getting scared!" "Whose idea was this, the suns going down were not supposed to be back here!" 
 You had to turn around at the end towards the River to get back out, and I started acting like I was really scared and like we were having car trouble or running out of gas again, and reminded them they would have to get out and push.  It would 'start rolling down a small driveway it was so light and pop the clutch it would fire right up and run without even a battery in it and eighty cents of gas you could drive around all day in that refinery town.

            AFTER I WHOPPED them up into a hysteria of near frenzy I hollered, 
"That's it!, I'm out of here!" 
and I bailed under the front seat of the passenger seat with my foot still on the brake and the look on the kid's face, Jill was standing up on the front seat like a boat captain at the helm, and Jeffrey was trying to keep it in a straight line then I popped the clutch stalling it out and made them get out and push it started.. 

             Andrew Jackson's resounding defeat by outsmarting the British propelled him to the Presidency.   I used to drive out there and do a complete circle over a mile all the way around I would park all the way in the back with my back to the River, and could watch the park entrance right by the ancient cemetery behind low rusting wrought iron trying to hold back Time. I would park with a half a can cheap cola next to a half-eaten sandwich by a map on the dashboard with out of state plates like Joe Tourist except, I would go out there to shoot dope out under the bright sunshine, and blue skies and battle and it was kind of fitting of the elegant sadness left behind...

            THE CHALMETTE NATIONAL Battlefield is just off the highway behind a row of tall hedges opens into an open battlefield and makes a complete circle and straight back almost a mile and then circles back and there are places to pull in and read plaque's and hear tourist groups by the River.

         Peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on December 24, the word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.  Jackson's 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing.
U.S. forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.   Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson's overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the United States and Britain.

Anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven. -Sal Paradise

All Rights Reserved
12:26 PM 3/7/2014      28 USC 1746