Told Between Puffs, March 2017
In which our hero misses the old Kanye
Kanye had changed. As Verily looked over the waves of the Hudson, tinseled by the moon’s gentle touch, our hero’s mind drifted back to the summer of ‘08, back when Mr. West was the Kanye of the past, a softer, more human Kanye. He missed life back then. It was simple, and Kanye spoke to that. “Heartless” had gotten him through the death of Claudio, his ferret, and “Flashing Lights” through the shattering of his Fatimid ewer. In the turbulence of the hyper-saturated present, Verily missed the piece Kanye had given him back then: a glimmering fragment of a lost idol that he had once cherished and doted on. Kanye had changed. Yes, there were those nights when a 2-Chainz feature might strike a chord with the opiates swimming around Verily’s slightly rotund paunch, but the stoic message of Kanye’s original chansons de geste was just no longer there. Verily sighed eddying mists into the cool breeze. He was older now than he once was. His face had grizzled, his hair had greyed, tipped with the frost of Senex, and his eyes were on the cusp of glazing. (A very handsome old man, he reminded himself, before sadness began to ruin his routine dawn reflection).
Perhaps Kanye hadn’t changed; perhaps it was Verily who had slowed down. His adolescence seemed far away; the childhood spent in the Balkan hills among the guzlars even farther. Old Kanye was the last spark of youth he still felt. Perhaps “Jesus Walks” was the helikian cliff which now eroded all around, so as to plunge Verily into the withering, barren depths of old age’s unharvestable sea. Perhaps Verily was now doomed to a Tithonic perdition of inexorable age, surrounded by backgammon, patronizing twats who dropped out of med school to become “carers,” and, woe betide, visits from his shitty, illegitimate great-grandchildren who had somehow traced him.
Nay, Verily fought back: he wasn’t old, certainly not yet. 100 was the new 40. Kanye, not Verily, had changed. He missed the old Kanye; who was this Yeezus? Verily had pored over the illuminated manuscripts with the Hospitallers, alas to no avail. There was no mention of a “Yeezus,” not even a corruption of that great prophet’s name. This perplexed Verily, for he of all people knew the sacral onus of name- change. Surely Yeezus could not be part of his same heretical order? Of course not; he hadn’t endured the flagellance or the bison. “Yeezus” was a farce, emblematic of the new Kanye’s treachery to that which Verily once cherished: simple Stoicism. Kanye had sold out.
Verily didn’t even pause to consider “Pablo”… A brazen ray indicated the nodding horsehair of Apollo’s helmet to the East. Dawn was approaching. Soon day- light would muddle the ordered perfection of Verily’s Piraeic mind, and so he resolved to wrangle with his ultimatum. A smoke might help. Verily pulled out his ivory pipe from the inside of his bepaisleyed gown. It looked pretty in the morning light. He remembered the time he procured it on his way, with Dr. Watson, to the inner basin of the Congo. But that was long ago, and oh! how his mid was drifting in the morning air! He lit his artefact. Warm O’s framed the frosty convex of emerging Dawn. A gull flapped sleepily over the lapping wake of a returning Sound trawler.
This was Verily’s most impetuous hour. With a rush in his mind and burning tobacco in his pipe, he climaxed in his thoughts: “I still love Kanye!” Though a superego might have detracted from the raw emotion of his voice, and his profligate use of autotune had faded into more ominous sound experimentation, there was a spark of that old musician in there, that vivacious rapper from the Chíraq, with whom Verily had (platonically) fallen in love with. And that love was enough for Verily to incubate. He made up his mind: “I will buy the new Yeezys.”