Godspeed you black empress


Shakespeare concordance lists four examples of “God speed” but none involving an empress or emperor, let alone a black one:

God speed fair Helena from Midsummer Night’s Dream;

A brace of Draymen bid good speed him well, from Richard 2;

God speed the parliament who shall be the speaker from Henry 6;

Neighbors god speed give you good morrow sir from Richard 3.

Somewhere in the above I wanted to mention my strawberry ollieberry medley jam from Swintons or Swantons of Half Moon Bay procured behind the mask as it were in Covid times.


I’m sitting in my small Palo Alto yard, under three giant Sequoia. I am dripping Philz’ coffee in a panda themed mug. I am eating challah, toasted, on a yellow orange probably not made in Deruta, Italy, although I have been to Deruta, bought a trivet there, maybe with a dragon theme — or is it a griffon — and was thinking about Deruta just last night when Eric Cohen, a Swedish Jew, asked me if I had been to Italy, and I replied: three times, Roma, Milan, Florence — not Venice — and I did not mention DeRuta.

I said that last time I went it was my girlfriend’s mother’s 50th birthday – but now I –as is Eric — am 56.

I am reading the New York Times, I bought from General. I don’t think General has served in the military. Maybe he is a generalist, or good at many things. He calls me “brother” tho it comes out more like “bruddah” which my computer wants to call “buddha”.

I opend the magazine section somewhat randomly. I am on page 51, area 51. But now i am writing and not reading, again. A writer named Isabel Wilkerson not be be confused with Frank Wilderson 3 is writing about her writing from years before about The Miracle Mile, in Chicago and her source not believing she is Isabel Wilkerson of The New York Times. Oddly, I thought she was writiting about Jeff Sessions, tho I may have skipped a page. Did I mention I was only reading fro about 3 minutes while waiting for my challah to toast? I also thought of a band name: Buddy Challah, a mix of doo-wop rockabilly and klezmer. I also thought of Gwen Stefani and challah back girls, you like the crumbs from their tanned lats. You lick, like James Lick. Who wanted to build a pyramid, it all fits together. I probably should not admit this here but, wait, I probably should not admit these things here, but earlier this am I was going to make a joke about a Wooden Indian. I think I did ask General who is from India or thereabouts about Indians — because the Tv was showing something about the Washington football team.
Ok, I am digressing but:
I wrote to Mateo Romero, or texted him, I suggested three replacement names for the Washingtons: Caribou — and I sent a picture from Terry’s menagerie. Carybaba or something, a little rodent — I actually learned that there are more than 1.6 million animals to choose from if you want to name your team that way. I also sent Mateo a photo from my desk of a white buffalo with turqouise answers that my mother gave me. With a poem I think by Naranjo. I called the author and spoke to her briefly, years later. I recall being upset on some strange level that my mom bought be this object — it came with a stand that was see through and included a poem — maybe we’ve lost the stand or the poem but I can find the name and number. Could be Naranjo Morse. Stella, it’s Stella. I was upset that my mom bought be the object, a fetish, a zuni fetish but did not know about the prophecy of the White Buffalo. Weirdly also, and I will have to get back to Chicago and Isabel Wikerson and maybe Jeff Sessions. Before this session expires. And Eric Doyle I met in the elevator, going down I think.

Ok, there is the wooden indian and maybe a Bakelite Cochiti.

But also it was me who put five found objects on the street in front of Houzz in Palo Alto: a figurine of a Disney character, maybe an Egyptian princess but I was suggesting in my imagination that she is actually a Sephardic Jew or a cross-dressing Israeli pop star. And a little blue licensed character maybe not by Disney — my grandfatherand name sake by the way who was also a Black Friar worked with Walt Disney in Chicago according to my auntie who lives in Florida. A smurf. Coinky dinky the group of undersized but highly achieving Washington footballers from the 1980s were called Smurfs. Anyhow in my installation on a street in Palo Alto — and I mentioned my intention to a guy named S — who I mistook on first encounter to a guy named U –together they are US or U.S. — both are Jews — the smurf is either breakdancing or about to suck the toes of the princess or queen. There’s also a red chair and a blue chair and a ramp that goes from land to water that says LOVE or live or maybe Olive. And it has a butterfly . I call the installation To Slurp a Butterfly. Not sure what it all means. Do you?

Anyways back to the main story: reading Ms Wilkerson of the times reminds me that I was born in Chicago and that Terry Terry my Terry also known as Terry My Wife the artist Terry Acebo Davis we had a conference in Chicago and we stayed at the Omni and the author had a talk and I said to him “I appreciate your work” even though I had never heard of him. Eric Michael Doyle or something. He had a list just last week of about 100 titles he recommends but also says he loved Robin DG Kelley, who wrote about Monk. Or maybe he loves that book.

And we found that Larry Bailey the former Falcon NFL alumnus — even for 1 game — said that Bruce Davis is the former janitor in the picture, god rest his soul but we are not sure if he is the same janitor that recorded Monk in Palo Alto in 1968.


When Duffy has his haircut from his Brazillian groomer friend I am going to bike over to shoot my statement.


Somewhere in here I asked my Israeli neighbor to translate the lettering on a Godspeed You Black Emperor t-shirt or album cover and he says it says helter skelter thoough its breathed more like toohoobokoo. 



and1: i am ordering from Alta of Stanford Books the Baldwin by Dr. Eddie Glaude. I also heard from Horace Porter. He said he was here in Palo Alto for a few years in the 1990s but back in Iowa. Which reminds me of the Dar Williams song that the hills of Iowa make me wish I were a lesbian. 


  1. I thought it was Shakespeare but the title comes from a Japanese biker movie:she, 2, is a pulitzer prize winner and if her book about migration is about people who worked in Chicago in the early 1960s but were from the South before that, I am definitely buying (and maybe even reading) a copy:I noticed, 3, that although I have not gotten any further with Ms. W and Sessions that the LA Times today has a lead story about Wichita and Omaha and Buffett and Koch but I noticed a picture of a sculpture or monument to Dave Stallworth the basketball player who scored a reverse layup on Wilt Chamberlain in the 1970 NBA finals, when Willis Reid was resting his knee, and that the NY Times obit calls him a “bulwark” not a “stalwart”.

    Stallworth was drafted by the Knicks as was my teammate years later Kent Lockhart

    The Shakespeare concordance 4 I noted a bunch of references to the almighty as a literary trope and since today is the Christian Sabbath might as well run with it although I was also noting Sun Ra and Sun Day and tomorrow is Moon Day but yesterday was Saturn’s day I guess but also Shabbat or sabbath:I see God’s blest mother, God’s body, God’s bodykins, God’s book, God’s bread, God’s creatures, God’s curse, God’s delight, God’s dew, God’s enemy, God’s dreadful law, God’s fair ordinance — which is not likely about Mac’s Smoke Shop being prohibited from selling Cherry Tobacco conjoined together — God’s glory, God’s good grace. Bless. i am 6 actually trying to finish a burt reynolds movie based on an elmore leonard book stick but if i had 30 min to spare maybe i would take in more of this smurf cartoon about all that glitters is not smurf or gold which reminds me that i want to work with the purple pam foundation, for the artist who worked with Boots Riley but also liked Prince – and what is Prince’s name?

    he so horny

    Not in my six but my three and today lucky Seven is Nick who offers this corny reference to unhip hieroglyphics and media tropes of the days gone by, like Delta Dawn, who says that the confluence of things to climb upon and helmet calls to mind or Mime or mimick in a Knick like Stallwhir and all the rave: it’s actually above like an airborne toxic event of who who ha ha he he and I forgot my Macs joke oh yeah there was a writer at the ad agency and there was like a liquor not Compari and it was Chuck Berry and it said CB cider Christian brothers I guess which is thematic but I also had Vanna White who was briefly in the Supremes And said see beside her but also the Burt Reynolds movie I’m trying to get back to you does have a plot point where Bert ass Candace how to make Compari he doesn’t know what color it is.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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