Come on, Crew Cut, make like Santa Claus!

THIS WEEK: ghostwriting a ghostwriter & Franz gets lost down the Waits hole

Yesterday I was reading the part in Federman’s “Take It or Leave It” describing Frenchy’s side-business of ghostwriting absurd love letters for his fellow paratrooper-trainees for $5 a pop and I was struck by the detail that the soldiers had him read out loud to the whole barracks not only the letters he was writing for their girlfriends but also the replies the letters got–and soldiers who cheated by reading their response letters privately first were fined an additional dollar for the next letter.  As a break, I decided to write a little song about it called “Cyrano D’Regiment”:


If the recording quality here seems subpar, it’s because I had to use my computer’s built-in microphone since my regular mics are still in the car from our show.  Needless to say the guitar and the vocals are being recorded at the same time (basically the same technique as my medley of songs by The Walkmen but without the nice mic and nice guitar) so there’s unfortunately no way to adjust the levels–for that kind of polish, you’ll have to wait for the Heaps version if it ever gets made . . . complete with saxophone blorts.

Federman passed away recently but he’ll be remembered among the best experimental writers of the second half of the 20th century.  He is most known for his ramshackle post-Beckettian self-revising narratives, his playful page layouts and his evasion and incorporation of autobiographical trauma but he can also be conventionally funny, as well, as in the below reproduction from TIOLI of one the love letters ghostwritten for a fellow trooper:

My Darling, My Treasure, My Lovely Adorable Juicy Peach, My Dear M*******

You cannot imagine how much I thought of you, last night, under my lonely khaki blankets, alone, in my narrow military bed, surrounded by the heavy oppressive solitude of life in army.  I felt, in me, through my flesh torn by the pain of your absence, a suffering of indefinable nature.  the inner emptiness of my soul rang with shrieks and groans;, it was as though needles and knives of fire were piercing my body.

Unable to endure this atrocious suffering, I took my private member in my hands, and feeling it palpitating savagely like a lost animal, no a giant fruit rather, an enormous banana which was pulsating there outside my own body, I began to shake it, to handle it, to squeeze it with all the furor of my desire, and suddenly I felt flowing, full blast, Woosh, a delicious juice that I wanted to transmit immediately to your essential organs.  Ah my dearest reservoir, how much I wanted to feel, at that moment, the wild sugars of my fruit flow in you like a torrent.  How I wanted to hear them burst inside of you like a gun, like a cannon (a 75 millimeters), no, like a volcano, in the deepest parts of you, in your most secret, tender, rare, and unexplored regions.

Ah, if only you knew, my golden treasure, how much I missed you (how much we missed each other) last night, when, alone, naked and vibrant under my military blankets, at the most solitary moment of night in North Carolina my eyes closed, I saw the image of your sweet and soft body sneak next to mine inside my cot.  Ah! dear feathery chicken, adorable pitless peach of tender flesh, smooth and rosy body of such lovely round contours, velvety like a mushroom without tail, little sugared snail, landscape of my inner dreams, if only I could make you feel, yes, how much I wanted (last night but also every night) to penetrate you, with what endless passion, what a huge desire I wanted to rush towards you beyond the mountains, beyond the valleys, beyond the rivers and the canals from under my khaki blankets of loneliness, then you would have known the dimensions of my love, depth of my pool of pleasure, despair of my trembling tools, sources of my frantic appetite and frustration.  I see in my dreams your voluptuous greedy hips and your adventurous thighs, hardly ripe, avidly open to receive, there in that moist furry meadow of yours, the harvest of my nocturnal cultivation.

It goes on like that.

BONUS: On the third Bros K. album, I wrote a song called “Third Best Boxer In Hoboken” that I wanted Franz to sing.  I told him I was looking for a delivery “kind of like Tom Waits” and he paid very close attention to my request:



One Response to “Come on, Crew Cut, make like Santa Claus!”

  1. […] As you may remember, this song was inspired by an annecdote from Raymond Federman’s TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, a weird novel that’s weirder than most.  Erin’s monlogues in the song are taken from the samples of the letters that “Frenchy” wrote for his fellow paratroopers to their girlfriends and what they wrote back.  I’d like to think that Federman, who recently passed on, would get a kick out of literary smut that he’d written being made into a song–R.I.P. […]

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