John Lennon and John Legend

The first time I heard Yoko Ono sing I was tripping on acid. I was tripping with Gloria who had put the record on after we’d been listening to Iggy and the Stooges. This was East Lansing, Michigan, probably 1970, early 1970; Jimi, Janis and Jim were still with us. Gloria lived in a house, a commune of Weathermen, who were always cleaning their guns and talking about a war with the Pigs, who were right outside the window spying on them and ready to charge at any moment, a testosterone ego trip really all about them, reminding me a lot of the Bundy brothers out there in Oregon as we speak getting ready for their showdown with the Feds, the Pigs, whatever you want to call them, Your Nemesis.

A lot of folks would have begged Gloria to change the record quick, put on something different like Donovan singing Wear Your Love Like Heaven, a lot of folks would have been having a bummer, would have felt they were being torn to bits by a vocal hurricane, but Yoko for me honestly was like the eye of the hurricane, the center, or better yet shelter from the storm.

The next time I heard Yoko was on a juke box in a pizza parlor in East Lansing, Michigan. It was the flip-side of Instant Karma, I believe, a song called Don’t Worry. I liked it so much I played it again, and again until people eating their pizza at nearby tables began complaining, but I kept on playing it until someone or several someones if I remember correctly threatened to hit me or pummel me to death, but the owner, nipping it in the bud, pulled the plug. I knew there and then I was on to something.

Now here we are, the royal we, at the age of 66, and I have started to take what’s called Silver Sneakers at the Chinatown Y with a bunch of old folks, old Chinese men and a bunch of old ladies, Chinese and otherwise; there are all these old people and me, a kind of aerobics class, but centered around sitting in a chair, working on your center—and trust me you do work out. The instructor is a Chinese American in his 20s. Every class he mentions how he doesn’t like John Legend’s wife who is on some TV show he watches; he claims she ruins the show. Every time he says it, I think he is saying, “I hate John Lennon’s wife,” which would make perfect sense to me.

I believe all the ladies in Silver Sneakers know who John Legend is, and his wife—Is it a gender thing?—I didn’t know who John Legend is or his wife, but as it turns out, the instructor doesn’t know who John or Yoko are either. We are both caught in Time. Like ants in a drop of amber. I just looked John Legend up on the Internet, and now I remember him because I was once walking down 14th Street and John Legend came by on a flatbed truck playing a piano going east toward Con Ed followed by trucks with cameras, a lot of cops and hoopla, filming some music video. Christine Teigen? Still don’t know her.

Walking down First Avenue this morning to do some mailing I couldn’t do on Saturday because of the blizzard, I saw that the guitar shop First Flight has closed. Oh no! This is where I go to get guitar strings when I need them, this is where I can have my guitar strung and cleaned because they do it better than I do, First Flight right next to De Robertis, which is also gone, after a century of customers, Italian pastries and ices into the maw of time, the eventual always eternal abyss of forgetfulness temporarily replaced by a brand new coffee shop called Black Seed. I want to say Bad Seed. I’m smiling. Espresso anyone? Take a sip and savor. Mmmm.

I met Yoko Ono at a party once and I told her how much I loved her. It seemed to scare the shit out of her; she left the party quick. Oil and water, me and celebrities, oil and water. Oh my goodness, I started writing this around noon and here it is one fourteen, not even what I am supposed to be doing.


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