1 - A Very Hollo Christmas
At parent’s house for Christmas eve dinner in fine suburban grace, we are entertaining at my request, a Mister Anselm Hollo. Though through the house is warm, well lit, decorated in plush antique, we eat in a dungeon-esque basement that has feel of 15th Century hovel in Bergman film. The fire place glows and one begins to feel safe, but also edge of concern over whether or not the host will accept who you have brought to dinner. The evening starts fine with pleasantries, soon one glass of wine becomes three, four, then it is obvious: we are dealing with a very drunk poet. Anselm gets louder, and redder, through his unkempt neck-beard. He staggers to the fine buffet, begins bailing the salad like hay, maniacally laughing at our bourgeois manners as lettuce falls to floor. I secretly cheer his antics, but can’t help but worry what my parents must think, not of him, for he is old, of respected position and rank – tho has obviously lost his temporary mind – but how this will negatively reflect on me. A knock at the cellar door, and before any one answers, appear dozens of hippie punks in dirtied costume and deliberately disjunctive accessory; top hats with ripped jean vests, lion costume with argyle sweaters knotted to shoulders. More pile down into basement, Hollo laughing, showing all the table, the room seems to enlarge as these kids continue to arrive. Our cellar has become a theater, they have erected a stage, a sound system, projector, video screen. Instruments, musicians appear, Anselm whips them into shape, chanting performance poetry dressed in drag as Anne Waldman, the band pounds behind like The White Stripes. The kids are all over, freaking out, goofing, strutting. My parents are horrified and leave. The music ends, a movie begins, the group sit in rapt attention. The film has no discernible plot, poorly shot, amateurish acting, characters move through nonsensical dadaist scenes; the crowd sways in ritual imitation. I notice the crowd as the actors come to life, some still dressed in costume. I voice my disapproval to one, he scoffs and tells me to wait for his scene coming up shortly, about his character Beefcake Jones’ epic quest for the Holy Hamburger of Gold. I plead with Hollo, – who directs the crowd with semaphore at foot of stage – he ignores me. My parents come downstairs, announce they are off to bed, tell everyone to go home. I stand at the foot of stairs as crowd exits past me, each stopping to register disgust at my uncool ways. At the end of the long line, our first guest – he hugs me. Wishes a Merry Christmas. I think of how angry my parents will be tomorrow. And I couldn’t be merrier.
2 - Anselm Hollo Rides His Prop Plane Into the Sun
Anselm at the helm of a small airplane, his wife Jane beside him. I'm in the back with a couple shadowy others - can't recall who, perhaps other Naropa poets, perhaps friends from other walks of life, perhaps you. Hollo takes the plane far up into the dark blue sky among the sharp clouds. He tells me to get out onto the wing to sit, it's really a thrill. There's a seatbelt on the wing for such occasions. I strap myself down. He starts doing all sorts of balletic airplane moves, loop-de-loops and other air show tricks. I can hear them all laughing inside the cockpit. Then something goes wrong, and he loses control of the aircraft, and it's diving around and whirling in downward circles. Somehow he navigates us towards a soft corn field. I faint (and this confuses me, because how can you faint in a dream? Or, how do I know I've fainted?) When I regain consciousness, they're all standing over me circular-like in the movies. The plane sits smoking atop the corn stalks while we're in the rich warm soil. Hollo laughs and says, "See, you did great!"