Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Florida Keys Journal: The Trading Post
watercolor by Hallie Cohen
Key comes from the Spanish word “cayo,” and it means reef or low island. There are l700 hundred of them in the Florida Keys. Among the largest are Key Largo, Key West (also known as the Conch Republic, which
threatened secession in l982, “we secede where other people fail”), Plantation, Lower Matecumbe, Upper Matecumbe, and Sugarloaf. Driving down Route 1 from Miami, along the
Everglades National Park, you know you’re in the Keys when you start to see
signs advertising “Bait.” Islamorada, the village that comprises Upper Matecumbe, Lower Matecumbe, Windley and Plantation Keys is known for its fishing while Key Largo
attracts the divers. Passing the town of Tavernier you come to an establishment
called the Ocean View bar, which has retained its name though due to a
hurricane it was swept across the highway and now faces a golf course. Many of
the homes you see are on stilts since it’s the only way they can be insured.
There's a subtropical refulgence mixed in with an air on indulgence. Asian
massage parlors and in the age of cybersex one of the last XXX theaters in the United States are scattered amidst dilapidated shopping malls and million dollar houses which
come with their own landing strips. A strip club is the neighbor of a Sotheby's Realty franchise. Facing The Ceeca Lodge, the sprawling
resort in Upper Matecumbe, is a 24 hour store called The Trading Post, outside
of which is the display for a plot of artificial turf with the picture of a boy and his dog and the question "Has you grass EVER looked THIS good? followed by the misspelled “ask inside for detals.”
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.