A poem by Bingo Gazingo. Murray Wachs, better known as Bingo Gazingo (June 2, 1924 – Jan. 1, 2010) was a legendary New York street poet and real character. He was a dazzling wordsmith of in the vein of Captain Beefheart. His lyrics were often self-deprecating, absurd, confrontational, angry, and crude, but usually pretty damn funny.
In the 2000s, Bingo performed every Monday night at the Bowery Poetry Club in downtown Manhattan. This is where I met him.
It was 2007, and I was waiting in front of the club to meet some a friend. While standing out front I saw this shabby old man that was Bingo, exiting the club. He had just performed his set, which I got to hear some of when I went inside to the bar when i first got there. I told him that I enjoyed his set. He then asked me if I wanted to buy some CDs of his work, which he then removed from this old plastic rite-aid bag he was carrying. The CDs were a bit beat up but I said sure and handed him a twenty. He then thanked me, mumbled something, and then ran right out into traffic to cross the street.
This panicked me quite a bit since here was a guy in his eighties running into a rather busy Bowery Ave. Sadly I guess it was a premonition of his fate. Bingo was hit by a cab on Jan 1, 2010 as he was crossing the street on his way to the club.
At least he left behind recordings of his inspired poetry and videos of his even crazier performances. If you get a chance search around on youtube and vimeo for Bingo Gazingo. There's some grade A weirdness to be found.