The background musical selection is by one of Lamont's favorite
singer/songwriters Greg Stier, accompanied by Ray Scro
and Paul DiLoia (known collectively as This Old House).
Lamont Bridges, Vagabond Poet, Dies
Bayonne, June 11 - Lamont Bridges, the enigmatic young writer
who only recently began to gather a growing underground cult following, died
underneath the shadows of the Bayonne Bridge, ironically the very object that
inspired his pseudo-surrealistic poetry. The cause of his death and his exact
age have ignited a tempestuous debate among various circles of academia, scholars,
critics and tollbooth workers.
It was only a year ago that Bridges shook the literary world with the publication of his epic poem "Pigeon Feces". Written
in the Homeric tradition, this modern day odyssey was a semi-autobiographical account of Bridges' years spent living beneath
the Bayonne Bridge in a makeshift hut.
The literary world was stunned by the passing of this young poet who, in the words of former Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren, was " a beacon to all struggling, albeit self-deluded wordsmiths a giant in the literary tradition of Whitman, Pound, Eliot, and all those guys who write those clever little sayings for the insides of Chinese fortune cookies."
Born of a British mother and an American father, Bridges' early years were spent on the rugged terrain of the Outback
in Australia. Bridges was raised by a tribe of Aborigines who found him sitting alone, in an almost trance-like state, humming the ShopRite jingle, at the age of two. His parents, terribly late for their train to Sydney, had left the small boy on the bus stop, and when they frantically rushed back, they hurriedly snatched up only their luggage. In their haste, young Lamont was left behind.
Bridges adapted to his new indigenous family, learning to play the didgeridoo in a remarkably short time. Later in his life, he gave up playing, though at the master level, often complaining about how he couldn't get any gigs.
He came to America at the age of 12, working on a ship as the cook's assistant. It was during the crossing of the Pacific
that he developed his now legendary passion for humus. So emotionally charged from gorging himself on vats of this dip, Bridges began writing feverously. Even after filling all the available paper on board with his earthy, swarthy, sweaty, youthful
writings, he continued to write, a young man possessed, using his fingers on the fresh smooth surface of his beloved humus.
Sadly these early writings were consumed and lost forever.
Arriving in America, literally regurgitating a string of chillingly brilliant poems, Bridges wrote incessantly, but he didn't even have a pot to piss in. Growing increasingly distraught, he heard that he might be able to earn a couple of bucks turning tricks on the mean streets of Bayonne. Pulling a rabbit out of his baseball cap didn't earn him enough to even feed the rabbit so he realized he could sell his body. No one apparently wanted all of it, so he thought about selling it for the parts. Unfortunately Rocco's Body Shop only wanted chrome.
Nearly suicidal, Bridges was rescued from his life on the street when his mother tracked him down after seeing a PBS documentary about the homeless. She recognized his when a close-up on his face revealed the unique birthmark he had on his forehead: a few simple lines on his discolored forehead that actually resembled one of those yellow smiley faces.
Now reunited with his mother, Bridges once again began to write. She had had a literary career of her own, having worked on the series of Dick and Jane books that were popular in the '50's, supplying the punctuation to the texts. She was often quoted from her discourses on her art, once writing that "the mastery of punctuation outshines the more glamorous and overrated task of choosing words and composing ideas for which most writers are lionized!?" (Note her brilliant use of the sentence-ending exclamation point/question mark coupling.) Young Lamont was so inspired by his mother that he invented the "nolocimes", a new punctuation mark to be used at the end of a sentence that exposed an inherent and implied idiocy on the part of its writer. Sadly, its subtlety was lost on most of the English-speaking world and it never caught on. Now it can only be found in cartoons, being used for the eyes and eyebrows of various characters.
Thematically, Bridges' poetry focused on the absurdity, moral decay and surrealistic ambiance of life in America during the twentieth century's final decades, as well as mankind's unending quest to find happiness, spiritual rebirth, and a really good parking space.
The cause of his death is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. The time of death, for instance, has been reported as 2:15 P.M. on June 10, 1998, but in other reports was listed as May 2, 1992 and April 18, 1989. Experts believed this puzzling situation could be attributed to the fact that Bridges often appeared deathlike or deathly, when in fact he was actually still fairly alive.
Upon hearing of Bridges' death, Dr. Allen Ascher, notable scholar and bookbinder, immediately seized some of the copyrights to Bridges' work and will publish the bulk of it posthumously in the world-renowned Curtis Mosaic literary magazine. Further plans include a marathon reading at the Cargo Café of Bridges most scathing and controversial ballad "The Groin Police".
A short memorial service will be held at the hone of friend and fellow writer David Garvin who first brought Bridges' writing to the attention of the highly influential downtown writers and critics after coming across a few pages of his poetry which were absentmindedly left on the seat of the Staten Island Ferry on a cold winter's night. Garvin fortunately remembered the author's name, but only after he used the sheets of paper to wipe off his spilled coffee from the seat next to him. Garvin's deep mourning for a friend is dwarfed by the self-loathing he now experiences over his incredulously cloddish error in destroying those rare early manuscripts. He blew the motherload and he knew it.
Bridges' written will stipulated that he be cremated and that his ashes be place in the resin bag that is currently being used at Yankee Stadium, with the belief that a mystical channeling would occur through the symbiosis of the sweat, resin, and human ash that would in turn bring a kind of literary awakening to the largely illiterate staff of major league pitchers. Officials from the Yankees' front office have refused to comment.
Perhaps fittingly so, for a man whose writings had no true origins, purposes or conclusions.