I really want to get this going....

Each day's listing is an excerpted edit from my work. These are numbered and sub-headed for ease of read and isolation from full body of continued text. Each small excerpt is a single-themed piece culled from a much larger whole. Please follow the heading numbers down to #1, or click on 'archive'. The highest numbers are most recently posted, obviously. If so interested, for follow-up, you may contact via e-mail shown - perhaps for discussion or annotation needed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013



You are truly a mystery to me and always have been – the place and the why and the how and the everything complete about whatever it is you do : like doors swinging off hinges or that old dying sunlight at 8pm bouncing down off the mid-Summer glass and the reflections of all that’s outside of whatever it is that consumes you now EVERYTHING’S a mystery to me complete: I see the barges limping off the harbor and passing the Kill van Kull some weird Dutch name from long ago and I realize I married that name I was born right there I was in place at the time of the beginning and never met an end - starlight magic fountains jumping girls through flaming hoops some circus is in town again : I’m watching the bearded lady shave it off while a monkey sings off-key projecting broken pictures on the tentside wall canvas flapping like ribbons in the wind and no one stands nor sits but I ‘THINK’ they’re there nonetheless but I can’t understand how that can be and someone is reading the Zohar at the edge of the stage to two small boys with yo-yo’s and a kite ‘no strings attached – really!’ one kid says and the other stuffs a yellow rag down his throat and in the instant it takes to do that the large lady with the mellifluous voice ducks down and swats him with her hand and he goes flying  -  like some seaside butterfly broken on a rose thorn  -  and when he lands there’s a certain thud the kind that makes you think of death but he gets right back up and shouts back to her ‘you fat mother-fuck I always hated you and you’ll NEVER be my mother not now not ever again!’ but nobody knows the nothing of any of that anyway so I walk alone along the wharfside junkheaps looking for Scarlet Rita or Larry the Leg or anybody I maybe once knew but now they’re all gone and dead and wasted and over with not a glimmer left to show for time whatever once was just was and that’s the end of that  -  the guy who used to sliver oranges on the flat-top table right over here I remember well he used to sing Italian songs in another tongue while slicing and writing letters home: ‘Salvia aregamenturo moriscus tui’ I remember was one of his pet phrases from the very start and I recall he said it meant something like how you "maybe get’a used to da place’a you is but canna’ never forgit the home dat ‘a you left" but I never really believed him and I knew it was all just betting odds and names of broken horses and jockeys who’d killed but no one ever spoke about these things as if it mattered and my entire life was a joke and a loser’s paradise once twice or even more and I never knew the beginning from the end (may have said that already) but I do remember three things strongly still – dead bodies in their coffins laid out and looking nowhere my father my mother my father-in-law and even my brother-in-law whose box we had to keep closed because he had no head left  -  having blown most of his face and skull off with a close-range high-powered rifle – that’s called suicide if it’s successful and if it ain’t it ain’t ‘suicide’ I guess (figure that one out) and all I really ever learned was that ‘suicide’ was always successful or it wouldn’t be called that instead ‘attempted suicide’ which whatever the heck that was never made any sense back anyway – hell we’re all that no matter the rest and each of these dead people I noticed had cold skin like paper and some odd stretchy feel and their faces each only approximated something that might have been them once maybe or maybe not or someone’s bad idea of that look anyway who knows – when you’re dead you’re dead and there’s no taking back what you left behind or no having what you once forget either – nothing wagered nothing gained I think they say – what the fuck do I know I only knew ‘em when they was alive  :  can you notice my attempt at being colloquial here ? I want to talk and write and act just like the rest of you so as to pass for human to fit in to get away with murder or however you may phrase that stuff : ‘the moon was arising on the plastered horizon by the seascape the madman made : and now that they’ve left the edgings off the books no pages can be turned and everyone merely looks about with the quizzical looks they’ve learned.
And now all they’ve got is the picture of the girl running down the street or the Friday morning 7:00 commuter just ‘a tad late’ running for the train which is already on the platform and – alas – just will not wait : she is in pointed shoes with heels and a dark-colored skirt and jacket  with a white blouse and none of that is at all really set up for running or even a jog but she knows this all and is self-conscious about herself as she rushes past  -  holding also a bag AND a leather briefcase of some sort and sadly I moan to myself how poor that whole thing is that these lovely ‘creatures’ were somehow not made for this and the scène itself is a saddening one as in ‘what have we done to ourselves here and why?’ but she goes on her way and I really don’t know if she caught that train or not but she went on and time passed us by  -  later perhaps at the office she’d re-tell the episode of frenzy as if it had all been but another challenge OR perhaps she’ll rue the day and rue the scene and hate thereby the life she leads but whatever it WILL go on : we are known to be like that and we march lockstep amidst all things and I think to myself ‘in the presence of mine enemy’ I shall motor on I shall move along I shall head for home I shall continue and nothing can stop me now and I CAN SAY WITH SURETY – I have witnessed many things and I have watched men die and I have kept my silence as I selected and the wayward moves of law and order were nothing to me yet I remained amidst people with plenty to do : the man on the fourth-floor landing welding reinforcement struts to each fire escape along the way at each landing 8 stories high and each day he’d have made a floor or two and that progress was considered approved and that pace accepted and so before long this one side of the building having been completed was again certified somehow safe for those who must flee if perhaps they would need to : contingency operations to be sure but safety never takes a back seat anymore to anything and the glazier with his putty and his sheets of glass – mending windows and sealing frames installing wired safety glass in entryways and doors while the other man puts up convex mirrors along the lobby way – sight-spots for stealth or for watching who’s come and gone : the plumber with his work-case spec’ing out pipes and watching where the water leaks and how it runs the two garbage-men out front heaving trash the girl-scouts with their cookies and the Chinese food delivery guy parking his carrier bicycle out front while he dashes in with two white packages : I have witnessed the comings and goings of the good and the bad I have witnessed death as it lingered and birth as it walked by and I have seen the malodorous frenzy of what passes for a day go by me not once nor twice but some 17,000 and more times over and re-played like the dunning dice of a recumbent gambler on the mend from his awful wounds.
And maybe it all adds up to nothing or maybe not I’ll never know except by my own re-telling salvage the lot of it service the loss and gather gain from whatever profit there can be : I swig a shallow dose at Pete’s or at McSorley’s anew or sitting back at Chumley’s I remember Bobby and all that was  -  when that life beckoned and when he too lived and the old poet-hag on the corner nearby and the fey proprietor with his stupid dogs and the Irish firemen who incessantly babbled as they drank at the bar and then stood a’back just enough feet back to check out the girls as they’d come forth and walked along and stop to the very same bar : these men could talk and they could leer and they could ogle but I never saw them ever go home with a one nor get a fistful in the face : and all this sex was glory and all this glory was fame and that’s the way both men and women worked since all time began and ‘FACE IT!’ I shouted aloud ‘all men are hacks and all women their mere accomplices!’ but no one ever heard a word I said and now I sit at the edge of a river : broad river wide and swift and straight : and wonder at my meanings as I look down – how pale the ancient water yet how deep the silent currents run – parts of me want to jump and parts of me want to drown and die and disappear or never be present again to be heard and missed and lost and forgotten WHILE another part of me wants to set afire the flaming world and catch the smoke rising from these waters and brand men’s hearts with a message ALL of hope and glory ! but I step back once more and sense the time is over  -  nothing mine nor to be recovered and all hands were lost at sea everyone now is gone.

Any secret revelation of John had always been lost on me and I was salvaged only by a savior in my imaginings – savage at best – so it was felt that ‘at least I knew where I stood’ and marvelous entities like asteroids and comets portents in the sky overhead lanterns of light or doom sparkling sentinels of something to come they each had momentous occasions and then were gone : something coming something here and over as quick : the lighthouse at Alexandria perhaps had one on me but I was not really to sure and any ‘wonders of the world’ were just that – wonders of the world and not of me nor my world – which bore a different language and had a different edge was something of silence and something of dread and I’d walked these many moons with burdens on my back yet soon as destination neared (it seemed) I’d start out again and just keep moving  -  ‘no rest for the weary no sleep for the dazed’ or whatever that phrase once was : life had changed one million times since I first took air and though I’d never flown I’d certainly more than hovered (this I knew) – Patmos Pharos Phoenicia any one of those places would have been enough but I had all three – I lived in a library deep and one of my very own persuasion where things came out for me and rested steadily before my eyes and hands and I partook of that whatever and I kept clinging as long as I might and as was said of the Alexandria Lighthouse on the Island of Pharos in the harbor of ancient Alexandria ‘Description of it falls short, the eyes fail to comprehend it, and words are inadequate, so vast is the spectacle’ and likely too for me as much.
You need few things really to be able to keep going or to get by : you need to search and know how the human ‘animal’ works – watching its movements reactions grimaces and feints seeing how thoughts of the animal are made manifest by moves of the animal – all these are things which add to the growing idea of ‘feel’ of felicitude for life itself ease of motion and movement and all this to see- for Mankind is a busy animal and one always scurrying about changing building cutting moving and bringing things to and fro and just by watching everything occur there is a richness that accumulates and it is cost-free and constantly changing as it enervates the mind and spirit to move itself forward – we bring back from that swarm each part and parcel of ourselves and things we remember the people and faces who come and go for just as in passing through time and events together we gain people and lose people we still ‘keep’ portions of them all within us and out traveling tableau provides us all the fodder and material we need to proceed and continue making a life  -  the rolling land sliding by the sunrise and its fall the spiriting of clouds and wind the rain ads and snows which come all of then precipitate themselves and more as they both ACT and are ACTED UPON and so it is with events and people around us : we are the chemical agent of change and process we are the reagent into which all this mix is thrown while WE are consumed and that exact-enough life-chemistry is what makes us have value and goal and just as NATURE wastes nothing but re-forms all things so too do we in our way possess and transform together everything around us ‘all the world’s a stage’ and all the rest and if we are actors in it playing our parts we are as well actors out of it developing roles changing the script and entering a constant re-write : these were the little things I learned the notes-of-notice of a man on the street and I amassed a fortune in my way  -  talking to people sourcing from anyone proposing links and adding to the catch-all fervor of the crowds barely held at bay and still now I can recall the bleat and the utterance of each person along – just months before I had been settled and screwy in a madhouse a house in a nowhere of sameness in families filled with dread and confusion up and down the streets all the same and now I had transformed what once was cheap carpet into a lush grass and I recalled the years spent in a certain lassitude of local movement – school home yard and field and not much more – visiting with relatives in the same boats with the same attitudes and ideas altogether and with their deafening silence towards anything which then may have been happening outside of themselves it was startling they heard at all : my father’s plight was one of three usually – fearing getting ‘laid-off laid-on or laid-out’ as I’d put it and the solace he brought to himself was in feeding and tending a family just the rest : but that held no cold comfort for me and I wanted out and got it : words on a jacket lines on a lawn sports in the attic and nothing to do and it’s a shame how many things were wasted.
Not that there ever was a severance of doubt about any of that.
Like gravy-ridden old men telling about themselves mile after mile of renegade story from here or there – the time he was in Berlin right after the war and it was a communist zone in east Berlin where the taxi-driver wouldn’t take them to some Strasse or the other and how the only thing that got them there was 20 bucks and two packs of Marlboros – for which the taxi-driver would have taken them most anywhere all of a sudden and if he’d had a daughter of age thrown her in too to boot or the time the soldier’s rifle went off in the guardhouse as he was cleaning it and killed the woman from Paris who’d just been passing by along the way coming back from a vegetable market and how the bullet went clear through her arm and body and how an international incident was prevented at the time only because two snarling dogs had scared everyone else away from the scene and two East German Stasi’s had come down off the higher platform and sprayed the air with gunfire as the lady died and they’d had a military car pulled over her and taken pictures of the horrible ‘traffic accident’ which had killed this ‘lonely visitor from Paris’ who was unfamiliar evidently with the traffic habits and walking patterns of the ‘new’ Berlin and how it had all been hushed up and quieted off so long ago  -  and they’d keep telling stories of things they’d seen these two men on the outside bench of the circular path around the bottom of Riverside Park down by the Eleanor Roosevelt statue in a nice garden area where they could watch the traffic separate and pass and the river out below stretched placidly along : gigantic old fronts of the big stone and granite homes along the road – voices of the little girls and kids with balloons coming down off the hill : I was there everywhere too and spent much time figuring to the west and then to the east where and how I wanted to go – fifteen or twenty pigeons flocking and pecking along the sidewalk picking up not food so much as the tiniest specks of gravel and dirt to ingest by which they cleaned their system and added grist to digestion – such a bird-simple system we should be so lucky ingesting grime-ridden hot-dogs and mice-infested kernels of popped corn  -  and it always seemed that everything was everywhere that May and warm weather would never arrive like this again and all the flowers and blossoms had bloomed and had their wonderful moments and then disappeared that quickly as cold weather and cold rain came back  -  everything good seemed washed away and every Spring color was lost – only green light green and dark coated the hillsides and the trees oak and elm and sycamore too in their own ways and own timings had taken over the landscape the world once ablaze with colors was now a steady strong green rippled by wind and coated by wet and it seemed over and over that everything was just as it had to be or it wouldn’t be and we ingested that like the gristle roughage the birds ate in the very same way and went on – no shame ever penetrated it seemed the Earth and its matter two-hundred billions and more again of dead bodies since ever – dead of natural causes bludgeoned by cavemen’s stones and rocks fallen from cliffs sundered in two by lance and axe and saber and knife blown to bits and dead by cannon rifle gunshot pistol grenade bomb atom bomb hydrogen bomb laser-guided missile bomb suicide-bomber poisoned by the slice cut open in experimentation and left to die contaminated bad blood disease-withered emaciated ripped to pieces by hordes by mobs a’frenzy burned at the stake buried alive tortured for the Pope or Allah or Moghul or Hengdu or Pasht whipped by Lucifer death-by-the-Devil or hung by a rope : Good-God it just goes on one thing after the other : and here we sit and here they sit and there they are again telling stories or making things up it’s all the same no matter.
The coxswain’s catacombs the habits of death and all the rest of that crappy jazz and the signs read ‘Mo e tel: Rooms to let’ and ‘China Blue Cheerful Botticelli - Nose-Up in the Indistry’ and as you can tell they all meant nothing to me gibberish mixed-up words some faltering native tongue rolling off the lips of a foreign devil – and even the nearby Chinese restaurant scared me off : ‘Jade Colon’ it read in neon and I was hoping against hope at least that the ‘y’ was just not working and nothing more than that was meant – a Jade Colony I supposed I could take but a Jade Colon I’d let pass : it’s like that everywhere now a steady slipstream of balderdash and inconsequence with things gone wrong and errors built in to the system and parts where they’ve already allowed for the screw-ups which inevitably happen : when you beat the workings down the workings take the submission in stride and everything degenerates by it just another little bit and The Filipino family in the other house is playing  -  loudly  -  old Connie Francis records (this I can’t believe) on a turntable garnered from somewhere and I can hear the crackle and hiss of the record as it plays again loudly I say and wondering as I am WHY in the world people from such an other culture would pick up late 1950’s or whenever Connie Francis music I sense it is all beyond me but it makes me wonder what they’re all about  -  transoceanic colonialism bullshit they don’t even comprehend and how nasty is that to be in such straits but it seems not to matter nor alter anything in a sense of daily living no more than watching 5’4” Mexicans shoot baskets in a neighborhood New Brunswick basketball lot  -  somehow I’m feeling something’s lost there too and here I am silently acquiescing to all this crap but demanding my privacy too : I want the world to BE if it must but to leave me alone (and so I TRUST it will be so) but at every step there’s something new someone or thing entering one’s face : tax this merchant- man can’t do this here nor there have no recourse no way out must have a permit and have time scheduled first and WHO SAYS FREEDOM AIN’T FREE (actually I’ve heard it said the other way around by those leftover military tyrants still celebrating their wars ‘whoever says ‘Freedom is Free’) never had to fight for their Freedom’ and in whatever way that crap makes sense for someone who says it than all the more happy may they be but it’s a long distant walk away from everything else in my eyes : bastards and buzzards at every turn just lurking to take what they can and the other ones – the little ones the servants the fools – they willingly serve at and gather the crumbs AND CALL IT FREEDOM to boot ! so that’s my categorical imperative do you see my own plague of spirit and venom and I once leaned over into an old man’s face and said ‘tell me all you know about living but make it quick’ but he couldn’t do anything but mutter back at me something curious and odd but perfect to him I’d supposed – ‘there’s no telling the time nor the place but one should always be ready for action’ and I remembered the cop once I’d heard in line at the deli-counter he was buying his lunch and I was waiting to buy coffee and he’d overheard someone say in line they weren’t ready yet and he turned and said ‘not ready ! you should always be ready and if you’re not – well -  then just never admit that’  -  and it was all meant as happy small talk between characters in line (the NYC cop the neighborhood locals the outside kid the student and me) but it all came across as something more than that somehow something beyond the rim of normal endeavor as of people really trying to connect over long and vast reaches of time and intention – everyone so different involved in so different things – yet it had all been done before and he bought his stuff and paid full price too (I’d thought cops got big discounts) and went along then on his way and there was a time when something like that managed to quell within me something - some feeling of angst some rabid disposition of anxiety and fault but it all passed so quickly that – just then – I let it go and anyway just outside the doorway was a bright sunny day with hundreds of people milling about and music playing and street-dancers dancing while hawkers hawked their wares : ‘inveterate tourists in pastel blue hats were looking around and referring to maps’ – the first instant poetry I’d every made up.
It never came as a surprise to me that leftover people gravitated to each other – thus the clutches of bums and cripples the indigent and unwanted the criminal and the piker all hanging together at streets’ ends and grassy parks along roadways or under abutments – for a singular language of sameness and a shared sense of love and lost-love and bad opportunity and missed fortunes all come to one piece as around each other they shelter and harbor whatever left there may be and it’s heard in their words and seen in their eyes how they each clamor to share in the solace which each somehow affords the other – the man with the one bad eye and disfigured face meets the one with the withered hand (and together they enter grace).
So how do you say it how do you take it how do you bring it forth ? do I talk too much do I overdo it and do I just go on without knowledge of limits or with no finesse of endings and stops ? I cannot say as for myself it’s all of one presentation : carpenters on the rooftop plying their trade and generals in the cornfield recreating the very lines of battle none of them need to stop and figure their limits or measure their stops and any reflected glory they bask in is worn like folded garments of royal cloth  -  without any ado they’ve already got it made and here I stand : lonely on 10th Street broken on 17th and forgotten for sure by 49th and all this without a doubt in a boy too old for the boyhood due and a man too withered for youth : there’s no declension to make this language right it’s all sadness and sorrow and doubt.
But yet I scramble nothing not too big for this bag I carry – the whitewashed minions of Alastair McCowley or some guy who wrote about witches and magic and I see his portrait scowling in the most unlikely places like some Shel Silverstein glaring out from the back of a kid’s book ever : dead dead and dead times three they all are see : I’m having Genesis for breakfast again all those Seths and Esaus and Mables and Moronis packed into one place grooming while twenty people in glittering garb are reading I see the Bob Dylan newspaper given out for free and Gods who are flying are already overhead but the ones who have landed have crash-landed DEAD and every few generations another warbler comes someone fierce and stupid  who claims the wide field and wishes to say ‘take me oh cloistered man take me away!’ but it’s all insincere for society has been built by the littered broken foot  -  the crazy man in shackles the sex-fiend jerking off the Mater Dolorosa on the box-store flyer and Portuguese abutments made of concrete brick and steel are the only things left where we stand : Newark’s dainty streets have been A-bombed away and the small rivers of Passaic and Garfield and Rumson and and Clark are paved over or jammed into sluice pipes the better for sealing the fates of Mankind (YOU you who have given me nothing You you who have taken my sweat I’m here now to die BUT I haven’t died yet)….let me see your fingers let me see your thighs let me handle your motor let me drift in your eyes WE can walk off together (Me with my trousers rolled) and you with your self growing old and together like some Romulus and Remus or Nelson and Eddy or Abbot and Costello or Klavin and Finch we can march off towards Pretoria singing this song ‘The Bowery the Bowery they talk so strange on the Bowery’ but that was eighty years before when we were just learning to read the Rotogravure : you held my hand and I held you palm while small cobbled streets led us everywhere and that very first trip we took to a southern town held wonder and fear in equal degrees (we talked in tents like merchants we smoked cigarettes out on the lawn).
And then the way I was told was that they really wanted someone to make noise – a loudmouth but someone with intelligence and stamina too and I figured there must be a hundred of those sorts of people around at any one moment so figuring that such was the way of any start-up religion I looked to the streetcorner to see who was there : the newspaper guy the dog-walker the guy who colors with Chinese chalk the namesake of Judas Iscariot the Naked Cowboy and the Intellectual Who Ate Paris  -  they all were there and as one person it seemed they all volunteered for anything I said : ‘I’ll do anything to advance my position I’ll be the best you can find I’ll do it all or most of it for money I’m not the person you always thought I was I want this moment in the sun just for me It’s my one chance alive yet to live…’ and that’s how they talked these whiz kids of the kettledrum these knights in errant armor these graduate students of the deaf and dumb and I said to them ‘if any of you want to make some money go to the Edgeton Property offices on W23rd Street ring the buzzer ask for Sal and tell the Jerry sent you – they’ll know what it all means’ : I watched as they all ran off and I sensed a real hunger in Mankind for Glory but thought it suspicious how they all had so much free time but just as this always happens to the person that it happens to so I was sure it would never come off successfully  :  Sal wanted volunteers for blood work to research some streetwalkers’ disease then going around and none of these people would know that but in reality what they were doing was getting twenty bucks for a blood test and a sample with a blood screening and dental exam to boot : that was it and even though it didn’t sound like much it would all be explained to them as saving the future of mankind and I’d seen homeless people take a dive for less so I figured ‘what they hey’ and I’d already been paid ten bucks to pass the word around anyway and there’s no fool like an old fool or so the saying sometimes went and like the guy I knew whose friends all called him ‘wretch’ all I could do was wish them luck  --  I stayed around for another two weeks after that sleeping on the floor with Wendy Spinner each night to stay warm but we never had sex nor any of that because believe it or not she was already engaged to Peter Serkin who was Rudloph Serkin’s kid (the big-deal world-class pianist) and Peter Serkin was by then already on his way to his own famous classical piano career and I – compared to any of that – was a tiny little weasel but I got on really really well with Wendy and actually liked her a lot too but that was 40 years ago and more believe it or not and I still see Peter Serkin around and listen to his music too but Wendy Oh Wendy I never heard of again (no well really they married in 1968 and had two kids and but are not still together) and back in those days it often seemed cold and I often seemed lost but we stayed together in some little front room at the Studio School on the first level floor a few steps up and just past the front reception desk and mail box area I don’t remember the incidentals of Wendy’s looks nor her face or hair but all I do recall is the feeling of being swept away by a compatriot I could ‘dig’ and someone at the time for whom no interlocutory words were needed – it was all direct and right between us no cross-hatching needed and no intermediary either BUT THEN IT CAME TO PASS as the bible would put it that time’s great farmer seeded all things other and what grew grew with each its own directions and tendrils and those who followed what was theirs followed wherever it led : Pippa Passes and Pilgrim’s Progress too.
But let’s listen no matter for the water is washing the walls and the sea is coming up from its limitless depths and flooding the walkways and the saltwater seeds what it can as fish die flopping around and the little pace of seaside snails and crab-legs too are seen slithering slowly to their own small demise  -  the windows stay wet and everything is damp and there really is no weather any longer for the sky has become the air and all atmosphere as only rainclouds perform at street-level now and fog is the name for the daylight : we wish it were not so BUT yet it seems as if this civilization is over and ‘we have tanked the attempt we have surely ruined the effort but whether or not we get another chance is the question on everyone’s lips’ and at night when the world goes dark it is such now that no one is ever sure any more if it will ever be light again (a certain uncertainty is certain).
The Bunko Mob The Gang With Two Brains The Marlo Brothers The Infestors The 12th Street Maniacs The Mongoloids and The Harem Girls you know what they were ? eastside gangs that I came across as I lived like a corpse on 11th Street and any of these would rather kill you as lick a stamp and I lived right there right next to Paradise Alley which was legendary famous and an outrageous corner of 11th Street and Ave A or whatever it had an archway over the entry which said just that ‘Paraside Alley’ and somehow it stayed put all those years  -  motorcycles and motorcycle gangs came and went and by ’68 the Angels were moving in in whichever incarnation they’d blown into town with – Chicago Outlaws Diablos Hell’s Angels I forget the exact name but when they came in it all shifted and soon enough they were a big gang of their own and there’d be bikes parked out there in a row from all over and people coming and going but before that JUST before that in Summer ’67 there were still leftover things from the era before  -  it was once an actual Beatnik nest and famous for poetry and for who’d hung out there : the girls were the best though and it wasn’t just girls because the Beats prided themselves a lot too on ‘older’ women dark severe and really black in outlook and clothes too black I mean like serious and negative not black so much like Negro – that never mattered – and by older I meant like 35 or so which was ancient by those standards and they’d stand around dressed in black sweaters and small hats and berets and scarves with cigarettes dangling and smoke everywhere and they were all skinny and beat small and emaciated-looking and I never saw a fat Beatnik somehow like that at the end by the end it was over anyway in those years – squashed like yesterday’s toadstool or a bad mushroom and so quickly replaced by the next mess that it never mattered but the very first beat-gropes I ever saw was right there – one of these ‘older’ women had nudged a guy aside out at the back wall of Paradise Alley which was actually right where I could look down from my window and watch and they were going at it hard and strong and then two more guys I saw came out and they all started just fucking her and she never said a word was digging it greatly wanted more and was loud like an animal with pleasure and I saw it all everything and nobody winced nobody minded and those guys were coming like string all over her by the time it was done and they laughed and were all kissing and laughing some more and then they all went back inside and Paradise Alley was like that and I never saw so much of it anywhere else  -  the best and the greatest it seemed like some Playland from the bounds of Hell and I still now and then read about it along the way  -  so many wan reminisences and/or people really trying to do it justice or get the feel of it across but they all  -  it seems to me  -  fall short : and all of those little local gangs I mentioned eventually just disappeared as the street was subsumed soon on a much larger crash-pad fad of hippie and druggy stuff which took over and really THAT was wherein I lived – the stupid cusp of one age overtaking the other like Summer crowding out Fall or something akin to that anyway  -  the cold winds blowing took it all away and the next thing that was seen was like puke on the streets or blood in the alley and infestations of people like rats – kids insanity murder bad trips stolen cars runaway people cops Puerto Rican hoodlums and whores dominoes in the street gunfire eruptions of bad food and water with hungry children and goons and morons on the prowl along Tompkins Square Park and it was fun and it was done or ‘if it was fun it was done’ however and there was sometimes glory but more often trouble everywhere : rock and roll’s pathetic attempts at wisdom supplanted dark be-bop jazz in the park – this was remember where Charlie Parker had lived – and kids never even knew and nobody else either knew what had hit them for it all was like some condescending lark a happening of mirth and fantastic celebration but underneath it all ran a dark black strain of ignorance and conceit but no one saw it then never.
“You know what it’s like when somebody dies and they know that no one’s gonn’a care or come get him ? you know what it’s like to see someone put on ice for three days and then when still unclaimed they just cart his sorry stiff ass away and bury him out on the island in the middle of the East River unmarked in a pauper’s grave in some Potter’s Field tended by prisoners brought in on workboats ? you have any idea how sad that all is?” of course I didn’t know had no way of knowing but was just listening anyway and as I sat there the old Hudson River was at my back at some broken down-run-off crumbling pier at the end of 19th street or somewhere the water ran within itself and it seemed sometimes to by moving up and down more than along its way the river roiled so it was sometimes like that – churning and bubbling like you couldn’t never know what was under there a’bubbling up or trying and we were sitting lousy on a temperate day just a couple of us passing the time before food  -  or some idea of food where it could be found  -  and the conversation had gone into this ‘death’ mode with stories of when and what happened and to whom : Johnny Fyfe “kil’t by a train on the upper fields of Harlem” whose dead and mangled corpse was carried down on some planks by two of his friends and when they got to the west 60’s the cops finally stopped them and said ‘you don’t gotta’ go no farther – his Irish buddies from Hell’s Kitchen is steppin’ in to take him from ya’ and there was a three-day drunkfest in his honor on the fields over by the river “we drank like sawhorses and crazy pigs and every girl dat’a ever knowed him when he was good – well that times they let us ALL in jes’ for his honor and I swear I NEVER stood straighter than when I was honoring Johhny Fyfe – and never got so much pussy goin’ again neither” and nobody wanted to forget ‘Slanderous Tommy Rhodes’ who’d gunned down a fourteen-year old over the proceeds of a mugging and was killed himself in turn by the kid’s very mother – his dead body was left to rot in hundred-degree days for nearly three ‘til the stench drove them crazy and they called in the coroners to take it away’ and everyone there had a story and reason to tell it and I sat there staggering as I listening  -  what a strange lethal world this bizarre time had brought me into : puffed-up men with red bloated faces talking a mile a minute about whatever last passed their brains and going on forever about things they’d never have again  -  everybody missed a women everybody remembered a favorite fucking everybody had a gun story or one about hunger or cops or horrid violence done to another : it went on like that and seemed to last forever and I couldn’t be squeamish because no one else was and then it broke up later on just as sudden the instant everyone started realizing that it was time for the restaurants now to begin hauling out their stuff -  leftover portions scrapings waste whatever – never no-minded anyone did – they all picked and scraped and ate at whatever was found  -  and I was among that crowd COUNT ME IN and never more proud neither for a veritable feast just for the taking.
Well it wasn’t the Good Ship Lollipop that much I was certain of – the siding was harsh steel plating the color was a dour and stern military hue the sounds were militant and composed of bells and clangers and commands and the only reason I was on it was because I was delivering fish : ‘delivering fish’ was a euphemism – I’d always been told – for bringing whores to a location to which they’d been summoned but this wasn’t that – I was literally delivering two large frozen white boxes of fish to the kitchen area below decks of this ship which had docked on for the overnight or something  -  the guy at the fish market who’d called me over asked if I’d take the job making the delivery and if I could do it right then and as quickly as possible  -  and ten bucks later I was off with a hand cart loaded with three large boxes as I said of fish that had been frozen it felt near solidly into a triple-block of concrete but which in reality were some part of yesterday’s leftover catch bought and paid for by the ship cook or kitchen mate or something  -  so I was let up the gangplank and went smartly on my way and then elevatored down-decks to the galley or whatever the kitchen area was referred to as  -  the guy was a big sloppy burly Irish guy in a white short and apron and he grabbed the boxes from me and said a quick ‘thanks that was perfect’ and although again I’d always thought that all this stuff was taken care of beforehand and carefully measured out by military brass this extra order of fish was to be for the captains and officers alone  -  some sort of special meal they were getting : I wondered about ‘why fish?’ as if had I been at sea for two or three months probably fish was the last thing I’d want but maybe in some perverse way now that they were ‘on land’ again they wanted ‘fish’  -  go figure that one :  so I walked away down the steel corridor with an occasional sailor or mate or whatever milling about going on with business  -  sweeping and brooms and dials and shovels and all that THINGS being checked  -  the view outside was certainly cool – the tall buildings were framed with light and steel as if it was all some passing parade of postcard or picture the harbor was slapping the walls and there was some form of a spray which occasionally washed along  -  I’d been on the Staten Island Ferry a hundred times so that I was familiar enough with all the sensation felt but it was much more massive this format was and everything seemed magnified : the guys at the fish stall were grinning when I got back and I really couldn’t understand why but I grinned right back and watched them as they hosed things down and washed the metal trays but no one ever told me what I’d just delivered outside of the story I just mentioned  -  which seemed right to me  -  yet the way they grinned and stuff I had a feeling of something else – like it wasn’t maybe ALL fish or it was BAD fish or leftover scabby stuff they wanted to unload or fish they’d pissed on or hid a gun beneath or something  -  a million stupid thoughts went through my brain and I was none the wiser for any of them but the two guys nearest me had sat down to begin playing cards and so then did I sit and said ‘what’s up?’ and they said ‘oh nothing scamp – you just made the captain’s day that’s all’ and I said ‘how’ and they said ‘that was four hundred bucks worth of the best prime fish we got – we’d stolen it and then sold it – the four of us – and you just delivered it all for us – SMOOTHLY brother’ : and then I realized in an instant that if this went BAD it was ME and no one else who’d be culpable as I’d made the delivery – most of the real operation of the fish market was overnight and by morning was mostly cleared out and these guys were here just for their clean-up shift and hanging around but they’d done all this thievery during the night and it was only me who’d taken that fateful last step of making the ‘delivery’ and once I realized that I figured I’d better move along just in case  -  nothing ever did come of it but I moved along smartly anyway just to get to some other part of town.
Times like that were tense and funny and I was still a newcomer to that Summer town  -  August and September 1967 I was still finding things on every streetcorner that astounded me and it felt as if each day was a billion degrees with hot sidewalks melting and streets of black tar sagging in the weight of old pennies screws and washers and gum melted in – if you looked carefully you could see most anything pressed into the soft surfaces of each street and corner  -  it was a wond’rous excitement just to watch trucks unloading and hear the catcalls and bravado of the drivers and carriers  -  whistling or shouting out to passing women or yelling about this or that as they moved and scurried about at the sidewalk floor receiving elevators and basement entryways which opened onto the open sidewalk with cars more tracks and taxis honking and screaming in their bids to get past  -  people walked around or over things as they has to – the girls and women in the shortest pastel-colored skirts imaginable in a stylistic fantasy of panties and bloom which defined that Summer and those few years  -  no qualms about showing whatever showed or even bending over for whatever reason no matter and showing everything there was to show  -  it was as if on that singular level of id eros and sexuality no one cared as everyone cared – a blasé lust was in the air everywhere – men and women too – sex ruled the night airs and married women it seemed suddenly gained a second wind : I didn’t know what to make of much of it and for sure a lot of it all probably passed me by : I literally lived for a time with no sexual fantasies of any nature at all and I walked about as if a kangaroo-character in some odyssey of the Outback a wandering localized continental drift which was apt to take me anywhere – some places had connections in my head to other things – like some mesmerizing Holden Caulfield grip on the Central Park Boathouse or lake or the Natural History Museum and so many other references everywhere about – I scrounged and I waited I littered and I took – and most everything I got I got for free and strange mountains of food and refuse seemed always about as much as the breezes off either river blowing inward to cool off or try to some unfettered blinding lower eastside heat blasting along St. Mark’s or 1st Avenue or A or B it never mattered as everything just seemed adrift in the same hothouse air.
The surrendered angle the alcove of some mad perdition the shade of an arching tree – any of those things could have held me forth or kept me dangling just above the edge of danger : masked men shooting randomly into crowds myself included with very inauspicious endings but I just went on paying no mind to what was around me and marveling instead at the sharpness of the attitudes I’d see : the fat guy from the music studio engineering a full board of slides and power turning a set of songs into something they never were – adding tympani and verve to what the poor guy had barely whispered the firemen out front of their station – slowly painting red the old wooden doors – probably their 50th coat of paint (it was thick like its own separate plywood) since its own time began and I wondered ‘why does nothing change do all things just go on?’ and even though of course I knew the answer I asked too -words anew for something sterner to do – question existence ! pander nothing for the common man ! take no prisoners!’ and of course and most importantly ‘whitewash no fools!’  -  which last one I never really knew what it was supposed to have meant BUT nonetheless I always thought an idle man to be a dead man and so BECAUSE OF THAT I lived on and just kept working I hoped at something  :  walking swiftly down Great Jones Street or Cornelia or Sullivan or 7th or Spring  -  all of those weird little enticements half neighborhood and half trying to be international-in-flavor big-city streets and stores but in essence none of it was anything except for whatever gloss was put over it all by storytellers and guidebooks and tourist crap and truth be told each street such as these was filled up with the anxious the loud or the angry or fired up old Italians on their last red-sauce legs or crinkly wizened Orientals shuffling along bent on something and bent of back with Slovaks and Spanish and Negro porters leaning into doorways or peering out windows to see what was down below – the airshafts filled with debris and mattresses broken bottles and cans the old window sills the stone of which had either been already broken or chipped away or in the process of becoming someone’s ridiculous artboard for profane graffiti or ignorant markings and the tumbling beatnik potheads or ghosted storytelling hippies crossed each other like twisted ships in the night : half-hearted artists and gay young men with brushes and flowers to paint while staring at naked beauties posing as models for artists-to-be (‘there’s nothing easier than this’ she said ‘anyway they’re all queer men so nobody makes a move’) guys drinking black coffee from oversized Okinawa mugs – dark colored hints of something in magenta clothing with oh-so-flamboyant scarves – and the fortune-tellers were out in force squeezing little hearts into over-sized chests while lesbians sat at the bar staring out in their overall and jodphurs and boots and everyone was smoking something while they littered the field-of-play at the Sheridan Street Station with old New York Times or Village Voice junk and gum was stuck to the flagpole and some stinking old rag hung limply forlorn – turpentine-battered oldsters asleep on any bench or guys with their dicks hanging out just barely exposed but touching themselves nonetheless while they watched : cars taxis and buses the subway beneath the Maidenform bra mothers and the 18 years old girls pretending to be pure while salacious horny cops twirled their sticks as they slowly walked on watching everything and nothing too or seeing it all but seeing nothing : and as I watch the fey young kid waltzes by as lightly as an angel with a wiggle to boot he floats along as gaily homosexual as a butterfly or hummingbird could be and I wonder about it all ‘self-consciousness’ at least or ‘what’s he feel as he does that stuff?’ or ‘are they born in the wrong skin or in different skin anyway just trying to get out?’ – and surely nothing of it mattered to me but I wondered like a saint in some pure wind-driven snow and I was thrown to nowhere in this mixed-up mash of people : as I often wondered are we ‘a part of this life’ or just witness to it ? do we take in our awareness while playing a part in it too ? are their still mysteries that about about things which will be found ? and up high above my head I stare at the sunlight passing across the old building top – old wooden plank siding and two small windows in a leftover house from 200 years back – leaning and creaky small and yet serene amidst all the city verve that’s grown up around it and only in this part of ‘town’ as they call it can these old places yet be found  -  the twisted lanes and wooded copse of an old Greenwich Village and the surrounding areas of what once were marsh and brook with twisty lanes turned reluctantly into streets and the potter’s field and ammunition grounds to parks and groves and every corner has another old vista  -  wooden buildings once shacks that housed the masses and these quaint old buildings were still stuffed – like stuttered words in an active mouth – between things and behind others as the new and old mingled and the lazy days and evenings brought forth the memory and attitude of everything that long ago was – I watch the sunlight make a triangle in the sky and a geometric proportion of goodness on high and the imagined tri-arc of light to sun to window and sky somehow sweetly settles my brain – some personal and cosmic overflux of peace and well-being and the storyline of what once was but shall be no more : yet somehow it makes me feel fine.
“Men are all alike and so are all their Gods – I found that out a long time ago – all that vengeance and anger violence and retribution and the killing of the masses that goes with it all and I never know why but the only thing I’ve ever gotten from this stupid world is sadness – the sadness that comes with it : that absolutist bullshit crap about men killing men for a cause and men taking it upon themselves to rule over others with the solid stipulations of rightness AND righteousness too and the straight-line direct message from the Gods stuff by which we apparently murder and main each other and it’s all a direct link to stupidity and madness nothing else : I’ve been sickened over time and over again by things I’ve seen and heard : the stupid Spaniards who put a bull in a bullring – first unloading him blindfolded from the rear of a truck – after dousing his horns with gasoline and then setting him free after the horns have been lit into flames – stupid sucking bastards these famed Christians are – and then cheering as they watch the bull rave and rant to its death in some forlorn corner of the arena – WHAT PRIDE’S IN THAT for a God OR His creation you’d have to tell me that – or the American Appalachian hunters who select the dog with the least successful treeings for the afternoon and hang him from a tree in glee and I’m sickened by the sadness around me : animals like corpses along decimated highways left to die and rot after being massacred by cars and the time a thousand small frogs in some post-rainstorm frenzy were crossing Route 6 at dusk right by the ‘Camptown Races’ Stephen Foster sign by Wyalusing Rocks and the cars going by just ran them over by the hundreds – smashed frogs and guts all over the roadway – what kind of God would forget this stuff in the equation and not kill off Mankind – if even as merely a gesture of His own righteousness about His own work : how can this be accepted how can any source of justice be found coming from a mess such as this  -  meandering millions of evil idiots crawling and crowding over the very globe they’re ruining and NOT A WORD BACK in either direction for this God or that God nowhere and Mankind in its eyes harbours resentment and hatred and cannot then fathom its own reasons why RUINATION is its wont REVOLUTION its aberration as the thunder roils and rolls overhead the great pealing of perfection breaking back over itself and every God story has its own ending : while we ‘wait’ for Salvation (again) or fire up the maddening guns for to make RIGHT the world in the WAYS of GOD – hangdog message-mentor that it is – there is no meaning but rot and there is no passage but the one to DEATH and to BACK from whatever oblique blackness we once came from EMITTED like atoms spit forth atomically and clinking to the darkest sides of some magicians swift DNA – ‘we are monkeys not men and we prove it and then…’ SO I’ll mention once more – ALL men are the same and so are their Gods” and as he was talking to me I was sitting up in a chair reading the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius which reading he’d interrupted to tell me what he’d just told me  -  based I guessed on the premise that he saw that I was reading about Gods : and I might as well have been since they were all alike – Pagan Animistic or Religious doesn’t matter – and I wanted to harken back to where I’d been and tell him I’d been there and visited and seen and lived the times KNOWING FULL WELL that all it would do would be to certify back to him and confirm that he was right in his meager and raging opinion but WHAT HAD I TO WAGER no sum worth anything : and the thunder overhead pealed again and the thin stick of lightning jagged lit its jagged way down ‘God’s saber this ? God’s diminishing sword?’ I questioned myself : “for Pete’s sake” I said to him “why don’t you stop your harrowing outrage and get down to business here anyway – like what the matter really is is you’ve got nothing to do and too much time to do it in so your brain is breaking things down way too much : people don’t give a shit about that stuff – if they’re told to ‘live like this’ they do it and if they’re told to ‘go to church’ they do it or repent or pray and seek the God of their likeness – notice I said likeness not choice – why is it every man’s God in the end comes out looking just as they do anyway ? which is to say as sadly humanoid as possible” and my point was (even though no one was listening) fairly much the same as his had been : Mankind are dolts the message is sadness and ALL THINGS LIKE THIS DO PASS AWAY  - -  (but hell I said to myself I could have read all that on a matchbook cover for what it all was worth)….
Sex is like a cardboard box – as much as you can stuff into it it will take  -  up to a certain point : what made me think of that was the two naked girls curled up on the old tan couch in the old studio room where some 10 or 12 people were busy sketching and painting them while an art instructor went from easel to easel and spot to spot critiquing each work in its progress – I’d never done this myself ‘painting from life’ never really having interested me since I painted an entire different format for myself and any drawing I may have done was usually done on the fly and nothing really studiously approached or worked over – so I couldn’t tell what the point of any of this was and a few of the resultant drawings and paintings did seem the same to me anyway as they were made of of the usual jagged charcoal markings denoting the breaking down of object into form and then form into line and all that eventually ended up as much looking like a jumble of smudges and blurs as anything else (studio drawing like this was part of a grand old ‘traditional’ artist’s education in the old ‘Continental’ vein and was the one attention this school really gave to the old hoary tradition of art education – the rest being free and fluid loose and easy) and by contrast at the same time a few were painting and drawing in very true-to-life manner yet each thigh and breast and neckline was pretty much the same : how much could you do to raw unbridled nudity without advancing the pornographic angle anyway : but it was nonetheless always worth it to see the girls splayed out against one another all breasts and asses and vulvas and faces haphazardly displayed by ones and twos and even the guy models whether in faux-heroic stances or semi-self-conscious languid poses of informality always had a dick hanging somewhere and an expression of some lackadaisical awareness of what they were doing – egad no boners please! -  so anything an instructor had to say – I thought – would be comical indeed ‘well you’ve got that pussy just right but there’s a little too much line on that guy’s cock’ or that’s how I laughed it off anyway – knowing it wasn’t really about that stuff anyway : and then that got me thinking about God again and all the cool stuff He’d supposedly made  -  all these bodies and swells and juices and orifices – and I wondered if that guy who’d just been talking at me had ever taken any awareness of all that as he considered the plights of both Mankind and its Gods – those Greeks on Mount Olympus seemed to fuck enough for a real tribe anyway – and human or not I wondered what he’d thought of any of this and the beautiful girls and even the not-so always attracted my attention and I loved to watch them upon completion as they slowly broke down a pose gracefully moved themselves around and then somehow always demurely put on a purple or nicely colored robe or wrap to walk off in – they’d re-appear a little later nicely dressed and ready to walk out and no one would ever say really a word to them about the whole scene they’d just gone through  -  entertainment or not as it was  -  the art world was weird like that – especially for 18 year old boys don’t you think?
“Hold it up motherfucker” that was all I heard and all I really had to – the guy was a sailor of some sort a stevedore maybe or a deck-hand all cocked up and rippled with muscle and bravado – and what he had just then mistakenly assumed was that I was someone he should be chasing down for taking something from the deck of the ship – which of course I had but could never tell him or let on about – so I turned and simply said back quickly as I kept moving ‘it’s for Ed Trenery and he wanted it brought down to him immediately – you’ll have to take it up with him’ which was some form of the truth in the fact that yes there really was an Ed Trenery down on the wharf but he was in no way concerned with me nor what was in my hands and it apparently worked as an excuse or at least forestalled any further pursuit at that instant of me and of the two large brown envelopes in my hands – which were stuffed with cash and had been sought immediately by three men in a strange black car out along West Street who – I’d noticed – were still awaiting my arrival and that arrival being made (at least long enough for me to get away) I dove into the opened door and the car simply and with great ease I might add sped away into the early dusk of any Tuesday evening and if I was pursued I had been pursued fruitlessly I’d guessed since no one seemed to be following and the apparent ease of the ‘heist’ – if that was what it was – in and of itself was alarming for me : I’d been promised a clean 75 bucks to do what was needed – which I’d just done – and that amount of money-as-pay had just been handed over to me “nice going how you went about that kid – took nerves and balls to just walk up there and you did it with both – good now beat it and stay close so’s we can catch up to you again when needed awright?” - I nodded my assent and scrambled out of the black Cadillac stretch somewhere I noticed just north of the US Postal building on Eight Avenue and everything else – me and them included of course – just merged with traffic  -  me on foot in a half-rush and them in their black car tooling along pretty much like all the rest except longer and headed towards uptown and not across town and it felt good to have succeeded first time like that and I knew I’d see them again soon – once the taste of this gets in your mouth you just generally want more – but for the moment what interested me was in going over all of what had occurred in my head : the envelopes had seemed to have had hundreds no thousands of dollars in them and the bills were all aligned and crisp and banded – so it wasn’t just some day’s receipts kind of thing or anything like that – they seemed perfect and clean and new and counted and separated – all that stuff just like a bank does –so I figured they were either bank-stuff already stolen or new bills just – shall we say – ‘mass produced’ and I don’t mean a church collection – I mean real solid-gold class A counterfeit money like ‘if it fits under the counter we take it!’ kind of dough : however what it was doing on board that little cargo ship and why these malfeasant knuckleheads too had an interest in it was beyond me AND why it was pretty much just left there untended and allowed to disappear as it did still rankled me but I had done what was asked and gotten already my 75 bucks plus the good notion that I could work well and could do more for them sometime soon – I almost looked forward to the day.
It was only later much later after I’d done this sort of thing 6 or 7 times that I found out what was really happening – and because of finding that out I stopped doing it (at probably a greater risk to my own life and limb) : the guys name was Antonio DeScarpa and he was from somewhere around Sullivan Street I forget but what came down was that one day we were somehow just talking and he was asking me a lot of questions about my interests and what I wanted to do and what I was doing all this stuff for – all of that sort of talk – and I began telling him about my interests in art and writing and learning and literature and all of that and of course it was like telling him I was interested in translating the Septuagint back into a new form of Greek and he just stopped dead in his tracks and ceased talking to stare me down and say – “get the fuck out kid and get the fuck out now ! this shit’s gonna ruin you for life – you’ll never live it down and sooner or later you’re gonna take a fall – y’unerstandin me?” – I had at that moment no clue as to what he was alluding so he explained it all for me pretty much as follows: ‘everybody ‘cept you is in on this heist – this is counterfeit money in a constant stream coming in from somewhere and everyone knows about it – the guy who leaves it laying around the guy who never chases you down though he sees you taking it the twerps in the car who drive you away and pay you their measly hundred bucks or whatever it is – the people on the boat the whole bunch of them they KNOW this is all going on – HUGE amounts of counterfeit money being brought in and distributed – tens of thousands shit hundreds of thousands eventually of money – and the only one right now in real jeopardy is YOU you dumb son-of-a-bitch – you’re a nobody and you’re the ONLY one they all know enough to finger if they’re poked – you’re the stooge the fall guy the whatever and if they DIDN’T want you to take those envelopes believe me they’d have shot you dead the first night and right now each and every time you’re brought back in your getting closer to big big trouble and fuck all your dreams of painting or writing or whatever the fuck you’re talking about  -  now take this money and get as far the fuck away from me NOW as you can – I do NOT wish to see your sorry ass ‘round here again!”
All in all the weaving of the web was something akin to maintaining the fiction of always having fun or being exciting  -  like Life Magazine covering yet another Edie Sedgewick sighting – it was all bullshit and story for effect and the idea was simply to promote promote something keep the ship afloat and moving forward allow each person to remain busy and distracted enough so as to not ever have the moment needed to view the real situation  -  the great fiction that was hip reality happening now the scene where it’s at and all that crap and beneath it all was a Jewish coyness a gay vacancy something which was slowly creeping into the fabric of the society and which would (and has) eventually destroy(ed) it like the shadow of Jack Ruby moving forward with a gun taking that slow time needed to fall between the cracks of time  -  all of that was still vivid in everyone’s mind and the country had snapped as craziness became the order of the day but an ordered craziness one still with lines and procedures for it was all put forth as something without challenge or danger and in that manner it was better able to seep seep slowly into the same fabric of time through which Ruby and his ilk had crawled and everywhere one looked there was something afoot  -  nascent industry of couture and clothing and faux-music and styling and posture and ‘journalism’.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


So I was the one saving things marking things making notes all the while walking and hanging all over this crazy city like I owned it and everywhere I went there was a marking from something else drooping down filling spaces and all those sweaty crazed boys in the basketball court over by the movie theater playing crazy hot games all the time sweating and just going on ever without stopping  -  drug-infused bastardized mixes of sport and sin the loitering facts of people just hanging around and whenever now I think back to the when and then of what was going on I realize that I myself too was infused with something the sort of thing that just drops from the sky to a kid from somewhere else finding himself new and smack-dab in the middle of a place he'd never been before fallen like an angel into a city street and scene of voices chattering and clashing and vendors and carts and foods and smells everywhere the dazed sorry look of cheap pizza places the stacks of broccoli and cauliflower like you were supposed to know and piles of apples New York Stae apples falling into place off apple barges down the Hudson from Albany all those people speaking yet another tongue some vibrant tone that took getting used to crazy apple pickers off the boat and staggering around New York City all quiet and noisy at once together I looked for something and I took something too but at every crossing there was new possibility and he was an OK guy a kid really not much different than me hanging around this Jim fellow in the basketball court just standing around not saying much and I wondered but then only much later it all came to the fore and over by the fence there was a pretzel guy always standing there and I figure about this time the pretzel guy had to be like 50 if a day and I wondered what the world looked like to someone like that but now it all seems so over and different and I realize he was pretty much a youngster by even my own standards now and that all these definitions they constantly change and it's a moving line of reference but back in those days the city was pretty much still it's own unique place  -  particular things everywhere  -  and in order to be there back then to stay there one had to really work at it remain decided about being there and it wasn't easy but now it's still now easy but everything has been taken care of everything's been made to make it easy for people no one has to work hard at being there you can just go about your stuff and things are brought to you there are no hardships  -  all the docks and the piers and all that stuff now gone they've all been replaced somehow weirdly by 'happy stuff' and everywhere you go it's 'happy stuff' in your face there's no darkness any more no gloom or doubt the whole world's been turned over to idiots the screaming and the cheering sorts the ones who root for things but only programattically never on a stark dare of their own and this world truth be told this world sucks leaves a lot to be desired isn't really worth much like this at all and anyway Jim Carroll's dead the one guy I did know in all this mess while it was and before it was changing for the worse and did I mention Jim Carroll's dead?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


 Like a man I was walking now and my middle was the middle and all the birds were screaming in some bluejay-frantic energy not worth anything at all but the noise it made and as I crossed the straight-line street a jaggle of lights and cars a mess of people all that happened at the very same time : abundant buildings strapped in blacks and grays lined the sidewalks and every window festooned with something trying to lighten the gloom and the upper floors showed the window-cubicles of all those little shapes who entrapped themselves in places like that : pencil cups sharpeners family photos and arty pictures all this crap on each indoor window ledge seen from the street and giving somehow a sad glimpse into the private third-floor lives of the traveling people who worked within - walking forth each day to greet the new world which was really the same tired old world and the nearby church yard the old grounds near the park the sad old bricks and broken fountains by the old Friends Meeting Hall and the nearby seminary grounds and all the rest in turn reflected the same dour world : things shorn and broken fallen over and twisted like so many lives and why I was here I asked myself why I was so damned self-examined at every step of the way I could not know and why I wished to dwell alone completely alone the only man on this forsaken and forlorn Earth was behind me but presented itself as the only option I'd ever care to take part in  -  one play endless soliloquy one long silence to brood over and a singular lone Mark Twain tree to hang from forever - that was my saddle-Earth middle world place I lived lost soul lost preponderance of evidence sir points to him being guilty points to his guilt death sentence recommended better yet let's just kill him now he's not really fit to live.
Now I see how all this goes forward  -  there is ever a froth on the air and it changes to time and to the factors of time that we learn to inhabit (look look the wise men sit about hunched as well thinking of what to speak as they say  -  formulations of meaning for those seeking meaning and simple confusion for those others who get nothing more from it than that) and in the all-together the girl from Mundano Street or where that address in long-ago Montclair came from she looks back as if to Life and History together and is heard to say 'I knew there was something innate in this ability I have for getting by - not saying whether that is good or bad it has no matter always brought me along pretty well to see the places and levels of everything in my life  -  small stuff like from the Stations of the Cross to the words of some stupid song and I can always sing aloud and whenever I want!' and apparently that was enough to keep her happy but she continued (as if speaking just to me) 'my brother was a farmer and he lived in sad places  -  old flatlands covered with corn and oats and fields of grain which always looked so peaceful but which in reality took more work than mining gold I never knew why he did all that - he wasn't always a farmer could have been anything he chose at all but he stayed to that idea of going back to the land and faltered only when it got too much  -  wife kids cows barns horses dogs mortgages crop-loans Farm Administration services with repairs and new buildings and new construction for this and that and it all never seemed to end and it became too much for him eventually and yes it ruined his wife wrecked the family killed him in fact  -  he never even got that crazy self-satisfaction he was always seeking of satisfying some ancient need for husbandry and growing things and providing  -  no one ever really gave a damn for what he did and his product or whatever one calls that which a farm achieves his 'product' went for nothing  -  conglomerates and corporate factions taking his produce and taking the meat and milk from his cows and all his work and just turning it all into junk  -  every potato into some salty crap every can-load of milk turned into some confectioner's nightmare of junk baked goods at some wild corporate bakery in the tired Pennsylvania hills' and I said 'why are you telling me this ? how did it end ?' and she smiled and looked out and said 'not good - he wound up killing himself with a shotgun blowing his own face off in the end as if seeking true annihilation of self and identity all and it worked I guess  -  at the funeral no one even got to see his face or get a last restful look at him  -  closed coffin gruesome dead and death-riddled face blown away to smithereens and if he died in a minute or he died in an hour no one was ever really ever able to tell  -  by the way then how long can you live with your face shot off?' and shuddering to think I said nothing at all but thought of how I used to see the long willowy blue-green field of ripened and ready-to-harvest oats wavering in the breezes back in those days myself and how enchanting only enchanting they were to me - nothing like it anywhere else except perhaps the green sea - which somehow sometimes does seem to move in the same slow undulating and quite mysterious yet comforting manner : little known men of the Transfiguration my muddled hand held up the ribald one the schemer the one with the thirty fingers pointing skyward I sit in these my very last days arranging lines on paper stringing things along : outside the gifted horizon the old doorway beckons with chipped paint and a seventy-five year old mail slot someone installed back in 1940 when the entire world was yet stalled in its Gropius manger of trepidation and the bombs were yet falling upon unsettled gimcracks of towns and public halls and the rooms wherein lovers stayed entwined for fear they'd be lost and a million London wartime babies just now waking up to finish are understanding right now very little  -  a background of shade and music enhances the chances and all the babies singing together in a choir leave me feeling nothing if not blue 'I've never been this way before I've never come out of the nook so early who put this noise in place and what universe now is this?' that's what I heard along the hospital corridors where the victims were massing  -   burn'd faces broken limbs and buckets of chemical blood and supplemental vitamin tablets ground to a fine pewter color by anyone not already dead the doctors have all gone away the limping nurses limp for love and still thinking of her beau the thin one turned to me and said 'we found ourselves somehow walking beneath the monstrous oaks and elms still standing and at my feet was the grave of a grandmother - one I never knew - the crazy one the one put away the one who died in the asylum  -  the expansive hillside lawn and all the ghost people just walking around  -  duking it out with the white sheets of the other crazy dead and all I could do to keep from screaming myself was to say to utter just to spit out these words - 'leave the mystery ! don't take it out!' but myself to my God and now to you I say to tell you I don't know from where that came I don't know what it is I was even saying.'

Monday, November 21, 2011



Mail the picnic card on time and slurp your broth with shuttered lips but never do two things at once for something has to suffer and  -  just as well  -  don't think while you're doing the one for most things will simply recur and all the girls will come home once more for it's a crazy mixed up world and they only want so much  :  lip-smacked Garbo smiles and all those similes of love arms and legs a'kimbo with features entwined and faces together as the world holds on and stops itself to wait  -  'I recall the time I was speaking to the Society of Flagellants and their donor cards all fell onto the floor between courses of two entire meals' : nothing ever came of that stuff anyway  :  'not long enough' the miner said.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


315. 'BUT I HAVE FRAGMENTED MY LIFE SO AS TO SEE IT IN PIECES' (I haven't set up for Tuesday yet):

There are so many things I never really wanted but ended up with anyway – but that’s probably the way it is with things like that and it all reminds me of the guy buying two-by-fours in the lumber yard while figuring that with a little planning and some few more purchases of wood he’ll soon have that entire extension to his house completed and yet three months before he wasn’t even sure which end of a hammer was used to hit which size of a nail and nevertheless in just a little time it’s all about finished and over and he’s got no clue what he just did but dangling so high like that over a precipice can make anyone nervous and the only quote really worth uttering is ‘que se rompe la cuerda’ which actually means ‘let the rope break’ by which is MEANT ‘please help me by letting this cruel illusion end and let me see really what it is I have done and what it is that I am walking carefully over (two tiny feet on a thin thin rope) and before I say help let me NOT lose all hope – for letting this end will at least bring me to my senses’ - and it’s like that living this life (for the crap piles up the tasks grow higher and the rivers and bridges are soon either too high or too low for any real passage) but I have fragmented my life so as to see it in pieces and now it appears as if every few days I review BEFORE THEY HAPPEN the things which will occur the next day : I see spiders in their web – centered in the hot Summer’s end and two days later I see the very same spider (illustrated and all) in an article about spiders and their webs in this year’s wet warm season YET I see this life as a work in progress (as in Philip Larkin’s memorable phrase) – ‘smaller and clearer as the years go by’.
And do then why are you running like a madman past five hundred things I see the eye and the eye is watching and all of this life is nothing but a moment a sieve something leaking high and mighty on down from above - which is only a direction not a time and place - and all the circumstantial evidence leads only to the scrim of the stage : the one dark spot where the ladies linger dressing in their stage robes and commingling with the oasis and the workmen who make the scenery they are about as well and talking to one another sitting and grimacing the twisted faces of the demented the declined the lost and they flail about as well as anyone and the men with scripts are walking onto the scene but just then the stage opens up the orchestra rises on a mechanical platform the lights come on and the walls and the very edges of even the room disappear all is light and gold and everyone rises as one and is swept away : so so yes so so far away I witnessed all that on an oriental stage in my passage and then I re-opened the book to where all the words were gone and missing and someone had scribbled in place instead a large handwritten broken word 'LARA' with no meaning and I never did understand any of that what it meant or why.

Monday, June 27, 2011

SLOW BY MEANING (nyc westside piers, 1968):


I was never slow by meaning and as I went along most things fell right into place for me - a rather quick understanding of what I'd see and because of that what is called a 'quick-study' or something like that was often applied to me although the truer meaning of that having something more to do with 'Jack of all trades/Master of none' as that saying went - no one ever spoke that precise phrase but it was always there : someone who knew how to change a tire quickly or lube a chassis or change a plug and all along the westside piers that sort of thing was always needed for there were without fail broken down trucks or old crummy cars having problems and back then it was a different situation : carburetors needed constant attention mixtures and chokes and fuels had to be just right so that these cars and trucks could withstand the brash punishment of start and stop and re-start and go again under load and then without load all of those things together for the case was always thus - nothing was ever knew and all these cheap and battered hulks were really just hanging on often well past their point of value but these old jobbers and truckers would run anything they could and run it until it was plain out and out fried and dead and anything that could be done along the way to keep something running was looked upon as a favorable boon to be taken advantage of : all-night news trucks sagging on their springs and leaky and rusted old lumber trucks and food carts and vegetable or fish wagons all that shiny and leaky stuff would eventually need some attention and there were gasoline puddles and oil traps under most everything - all with seals and gaskets gone and foul seepage dripping down the sides of warm oil pans and engine blocks fuel backups flaming out carburetor tops and mostly always and everywhere the clouds of blue oil smoke plumed - bad piston rings and broken-down adjustments spewing oil and leakage everywhere while miraculously these things still ran and there was always a few dollars a day to be made from scrubbing or fixing or adjusting something - spinning tales of repair and renewal to which no one ever really followed up as long as something was still running or running again and for a long period of cold months that was my prime day job too - stalking these gasoline heaps and seeing what and if anything needed doing and all the while making things us talking fast stealing what I could and pilfering whatever tools were needed to get the task at hand finalized finished and out of the way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TOMMY AND LENORA (nyc, 1968)

313. TOMMY AND LENORA (nyc,1968):

Tommy and Lenora Vicks were two people I'd gotten to know from down along e12th Street - he was a stage-construction union guy for some of the big uptown theaters and she passed her time waitressing and trying to put together some sort of dance career - which never went anywhere that I saw - and the two of them were pretty normal in all other respects and by the time I met them it was surprising to me to be able to find two NYC people in a close age range who actually did live fairly normal lives from their own nice apartment - flowers and window-sill planters and a decent little garden spot out back nicely furnished rooms and kitchen and all the other amenities I'd normally have thought about for some older uncle or aunt somewhere - but they did this pretty well and I guess really the only thing they'd not acquired was a car - urban New Yorkers took that in stride and never thought twice about it even though it did stand out a bit to me - but Lenora's paradise was 14th Street and all the stuff it offered so that I suppose from that spot most of these things appeared and back in those days it was still the sort of environment where 14th Street yet held some dignity - fairly decent dress and gown and linen shops and dishes and stuff - whereas now it too has degenerated into the usual Chinese junk and imported trinkets sold by immigrants along the way - acres of cheap paper products and detergents indoors and ten dollar shoes and watches outdoors - and the rows and rows of carts and booths which now distract the eye and ear (and nose) were not there : another funny thing about old New York is the fact of the now 'glorified' charm of the old pushcart vendors who sold along every street their wares and fruits vegetables and most anything else in the early days before the establishment of sales taxes department stores and compartments and sections for selling this and that under roof and ceiling - now that same 'once-so-charming' outdoor sales effect has degenerated into trash merchants redundant up and down some streets and certainly any historic 'charm' has long ago been cancelled out : but Lenora partook of all this stuff and from it made a nice place and Tommy - always busy - just came and went as he needed and it was a pleasure to visit them - 311 e12th if I recall - the few times I did but before that Tommy Vicks had gotten into some sort of scrap with the law and had a few precarious months as he put it in jail or Rikers or somewhere sweating it out but he was always the same - direct and strong-willed with a foul-enough mouth used mostly on the job but it was all something he'd say you get used to real fast if you're 'gonn'a survive' and because of his skills he'd built a few really nice shelf-cases and tables in the apartment which added a nice touch but there really never were any books about - they'd load this all up instead with decorative stuff I guess called 'furnishings' or something that she'd get out shopping along the streets and it was nice visually but never meant too much to me to see and I did always rue the lack of books there - one day he came home with a small sculpture as I remember from some production or other - a form made of sticks and wire - some sort of human pose supposed to be evocative of something and he plunked it in the corner on a small pedestal he'd brought - it stayed there a while but the next time I went in it was gone so I never knew what happened : I was never much a theater guy but they always had those little Playbill books laying about too for any of the current productions and they were sometimes fun to see - especially the ads - and Tommy would say he needed them for work and from them he referenced names and titles and locations where he could at any time be sent on a job - made sense to me - and then I learned later also that 'opening night' Playbills or sometimes opening night Playbills signed by a cast member or two were very collectible and considered sometimes quite valuable - the 'opening night' specials were often sealed and stamped in a corner especially to denote their provenance or uniqueness or whatever - anyway I learned later that the root of Tommy's problem had been in forging signatures and falsely sealing and stamping playbills which he and another person had amassed and they'd been selling them as original 'opening nighters' through some form of mail-order or something for the theater crowd - they'd gotten caught and had been charged with forgery and theft-of-services mail fraud and a few other things and for a while it had looked bad (serious enough charges) but after a month or so in jail and after a few hearings they'd been able to buy a good enough lawyer to calm everything down - Tommy's biggest fear was in losing his job and his union card and all that - so that nothing much came of it all after a while - funny and totally unique story to me at the time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011



It never had been my contention to avoid the contingencies of life along the streets here where I'd narrowly averted - so many times - catastrophe : the lingering feeling that somehow my number was the next up the aggravating feeling that somewhere there just around that corner lurked the spectral something which would soon have me - engulfed finished and forgotten...there was therefore at all times a feeling of suspicion about me : sunlight daylight evening too.

Sunday, March 06, 2011



The collected works of everyone are sold by the pound – for if you can do nothing wrong you can do no good – and wagers placed at windows of solace never come due and ALL BETS ARE OFF as the end of this labored world approaches so soon and (“Hey! Charley! you left your napkin behind!) and the words of the long lost explorers are just now found in the Central Park caves and all they translate as is ‘Misunderstanding and all the cars are violet’ and of course no one of the modern era can figure that out so two guys in grass jump from the roof of the glass-tomb of Dendur and they shatter on the icy ground below but high in the sky above us runs the spacecraft crying and lowering itself down with twisted arcs askew it roars out a warning ‘ALL BETS ARE DUE!’ and with that the whole world screams but the screaming makes no sense at all and the doors and windows of everything I see are slightly askew and yes really there is the man in black holding a bible aloft and screaming out : 'repent now for the hour is at hand and God himself returns in a chariot to take away all good men' and then the man sits down and hangs his head and I realize the life has gone out of him and he has turned to nothing but a presence a Being of no substance and knowing I had heard him I at least felt better and across the way two men come out of the doorway talking intensely as they get into a car and the bigger one of the two motions to someone else who then comes over and gets in to drive and they drive away - some late model oversized chariot of their own never knowing where they're headed but heading nonetheless and as the car drives off it is leaking something or leaving anyway a trail of liquid behind and I feel for a moment as in some fairy tale where Hansel and Gretel or someone leaves a trail through the deep forest so to retrace their steps and return but of course that never happens and just like that I realize too that for myself any trail I would leave would lead right back here no matter what else or where I went so why bother and something like a disappearing snow would cover over all my trails and tracks anyway and the enfolding and folding over of time and matter for me always does bring its own singular and far-different results so that by the end my equation is different than all the other equations and my personal math as well - new numbers never learned and colors never seen - but anyway that's how it has always been all this never knowing from where nor from when.
It was William Blake who said 'I must create my own system or be enslaved by that of another' - and I guess that's true as far as it goes but enslavement wears many faces and if you think too much about that stuff you're only going to get hurt : spacemen intruders visitors aliens and all that I mean who can speak for what's really going on and memory impaired is most likely the best way to half-remember those things which would be only too startling to realize fully anyway if we could for what really shatters things is the harshness of knowing you are pretty helpless on a stupid clod of rock.
I woke up dreaming it had rained and was raining everywhere and every window in the entire realm was open everywhere and no one made a move - there was no one that I saw actually - and all these open windows took in all the rain ever and always and whatever rain fell wound up soaking nothing at all just entering and flooding and overwhelming all the barren and bare and open windows the world over and no matter I thought nothing of it nothing of any of it and just went about my ways as if all was normal and the rain kept falling and that same rain kept coming in and seeping over everything but the world was its own place : all the usual automatic cunning and rotation and moving and marking of things time and place and objects and huge boulders and slabs of minerals and large beautiful crazy gemstones everywhere and all of them suddenly in the rain suddenly having absolutely somehow no value at all : and I looked up skyward and all I saw arrayed silently too was a long line of objects hovering - spacecraft boulders rocks asteroids vehicles whatever - just hovering in place slow lights silently blinking as through all this the rain fell and nothing moved and nothing seemed to care nor any others either and all these objects high and silent in the sky in lines and lines and rows and rows were up there simply and silent just waiting.

And from that point it seemed nothing mattered anymore as I walked through the elevated rampway by the porno-pit at the end of Christopher Street some God-awful shithole of a place covered over with XXX graffiti and offers by men to men and women to women and vice versa and the PATH hole for the old Hudson Tubes was spitting out people in groups - all those crazed Jerseyans out for barter and barrage seeking escape on city streets puking over Hudson swarming towards the Village dens of Sheridan and Bleecker and MacDougal and all the rest of the shit and I never knew why any one of them would ever come here and then once they did why they would ever leave but it didn't make a difference they came anyway and it was like an open invitation to something unknown and I'd not know anyway and the filthy sleazeholes of this part of the Village were filled with nothing so much as the mobs of gay and close-to-that the masses of those who clung to each other and boldly tried re-defining the cultural gap as if it mattered but it never did and there was never any gap anyway one is what one is and the rest be damned and that's where pride comes in truly - someone proud enough to keep living is proud enough for pride and the innate good sense and the beauty and poise of any gay man's musculature speaks enough for itself anyway - Christopher Isherwood to Hart Crane to Auden and Ginsberg too and shit I knew them all or feared enough to and kept on my own way : horses like silver and gold and the grand steed of the vegetable man whose cart was pulled slowly by one massive horse the guy with piles of coal on the flat shaped wagon behind him all that I witnessed as they each died away - a time was passing and I knew it I sensed its way : my time once spent doing old things no was good no more for those old things were all gone away and the only thing one could do was learn new things or forget about movement at all : everything I ever did citywise had become outmoded and grown into death : but once all that was over what good was anything left ? all that metal and steel and gold and iron turned to plastic and junk and outlasted crap gone already before it began.