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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006



"Freedom accomplishes extraordinary things - though you’re never sure what they are" the man said quickly turning around to watch the passing crowd behind us "and oftentimes when you later come back to look at it difficulties still arise in determining what happened" and although I knew what he was saying it still seemed strange to hear it in this location - along 59th Street next to Park Avenue in the middle of all that wealth (for I thought of it as incongruous to be hearing lessons of the ‘good life’ from someone who was probably born into it) and a moment later as we turned into Argosy Books I overheard quite nearby a young couple discoursing as the male of the two examined the many one-dollar books on display in the outdoor alcove area "I want to buy a whole bunch of these I want to fill up those shelves in the living room" and I watched her (his companion) scrunch her face up in some sort of anguished disbelief at his saying that - in addition she was aware of my overhearing and I thought perhaps her reaction was because of a twinge of embarrassment at what had just been said – but the two of them managed to stay there while he perused what were basically hundreds of non-descript perhaps generic ‘books’ as decoration - strange old tomes of errant history or medical reference books and the sorts of things you find at leftover estate sales and the like - books which perhaps were once important to someone in a long-other day but books which – at the same time – held little fascination or meaning for the present day and which concurrent with that held no expectation of reaching ‘antique’ value in any way ‘PURELY DECORATIVE VALUE’ perhaps would have suited the scene as a posted sign (if there had been one) or from another extreme a useful tool in learning English (perhaps) as a second language (although I certainly saw no lines of immigrants landing here) and anyway we entered the store itself whereupon two clerks looked up from their perch near the doorway as they were sitting at the area from which one would purchase ‘antique signatures’ or whatever the trade would call them - meaning old documents and letters signed by the likes of Neils Bohr Ulysses S. Grant Albert Einstein Bette Davis Maurice Ravel Dwight Eisenhower and countless others (where they acquired their retail ‘value’ and on what scale that value was ladled out was beyond me but in any case various and myriad levels of celebrity and reputation were represented) "you know" he went on "I was in the Middle East for quite a few years back about a decade or so ago and acquired a bit of learning and a fascination for the way in which our simple term ‘freedom’ is relegated to really a term of retribution there where actually one is free to do nothing more than torture or punish others for family tribal or supposed slights and betrayals and that to them is the real meaning of ‘freedom’ – which of course to us is abhorrent and means something quite other – perhaps what we call revenge or vengeful murder or what have you but in any case by such terms they have entire governments and enclaves set up and ruled and adjudicated so that people actually DIE a quite fearsome physical death which is ladled out as ‘freedom’ to these poor people so one ought to be very careful in describing terms and meanings to simple mannerisms we are almost serenely bored of in our daily lives here" and we had by this time gotten to the rear of the first floor where the displays were of rich-looking bindings and gold-gilt covers and spines of hundred year old books behind glass and the unusual assortment of classic titles and odd titles coexisted quietly as if there was never to be any difference between them and in addition to the perfectly pristine new versions of these fine leather volumes there were shown old tattered faded and beat-up bindings of the very same books from entirely other ages - books which once graced the townhouses and mansions of great tycoons and masters of industry some long long time ago (I imagined the great lives and fortunes which probably once went with these titles and the grand drawing rooms wherein they were displayed) and I thought to myself at the same time that if I was nothing more than a scene-decorator for some movie-producer/director this would be a field day indeed for selecting props and background effects for varied scenes of wonder and richness in some mannered comedy or tragic-drama on the big screen (or these days small screen too) and so I imagined myself a location scout for all the same reasons "you know there’s really no adventure in being free if there’s no real value given to it now is there?" and I nodded back ‘yes’ as he continued "so I wonder often why we’ve so devalued both ourselves and our nation’s ‘core beliefs’ by so mucking up this entire society as we’ve done and sometimes I swear it actually pains me to be here yet here nonetheless I am" and hearing that my attention was caught by paintings which lined the balcony and the stairway leading to it - bucolic snow scenes of a much earlier America and portraits of strange and odd-looking matrons millionaires and military men who once (somewhere) held regal court in their own expansive manors and I thought once again of the vast crowd of ‘decoration’ which dwelt within this space - part bookstore part antiquarian storehouse part collector’s horde of nothingness held at bay without meaning - and I watched the quite businesslike woman at the rear table cataloguing or maintaining order slips and reference cards as she worked steadily with one eye always on the lookout for customers and their questions and interests and her swarthy looks belied a small generosity which seemed almost sweetened by the location she worked in as it all enticed me greatly - this general and genteel interest in books and in all things old being amassed in some great malformed clutter of generosity and knowledge and interest and learning and I almost wanted to ask her something just to hear her voice but I did not and instead found myself listening again to my companion's voice "it wasn’t so very long ago that all things held different meanings so much so that were someone from 175 years ago to come back now there’s be I daresay a great difference and barrier between them and us - in concepts words ideas and deeds - and it would be hard indeed to find us sharing ideas completely enough to even understand each other and all of that MAYBE gives this place part of its charm (for if they were to come here and meet us we’d perhaps have a better chance of coming to terms over things) but old is always old and even us as we move about and age we either alter our concepts or fade away and live solitary lives amidst the rational fusions of all our old ideas and these are things anyway that for myself I find to be a lot more comfortable that is trying to fit in and merge with today’s dastardly horde and all their equipment and needs and concepts and sounds and all that but anyway that’s the life we lead and perhaps we only lead the life we love in the long run (take it from me – the cemeteries are filled with people like me) but no matter you should remember too that a thousand years and more ago people much like us perhaps burned the grand library at Alexandria out of spite and pique and that kind of lingering anger and hatred still smothers us today so that even as we – the two of us – try to cover over these lapses with our supposed grandness and wisdoms we fall short by the largest degree possible in making the world any better or any different on the outside and it’s all about the inside work we do THAT’S where achievements are and the real key is in both managing them and at the same time communicating them to fellow men which is probably impossible and nearly unthinkable in the long run for society is nothing but an anarchy of great means held at bay by fear of death of sickness and of hunger - all three things together composing what we know of and call ‘outlook’ and I’ve seen ‘outlook’ from many different angles and to everyone involved in their own angles that ‘outlook’ looks perfectly natural and manageable and – in the midst of their own societies – it’s WE who look like the fools and the strangers and that unbridgeable gap is what language tries to connect but it only ends up widening the gulf and then we all fight over that widening (not even the gulf itself)."

Saturday, August 19, 2006



I once knew a man whose sister’s name was Riva and all I really knew about that was that she was named after a river in Russia – which always perplexed me since I’d never heard it done like that before and after consulting geography I started to see the name in many other places cropping up and I began enjoying the exotic locale and feeling it brought with it and although I never met the girl or woman I of course conjured up all sorts of fantastical notions about her and her supposed Russian-ness (which for all I knew was untrue) or some absolute and crazed Jewish nobility of spirit and mind – also a notion which went unproven and without any foundation other than my fantastical nature – and the result over a long time was that it all faded away and nothing or no one of this was ever heard of again until I began just now thinking of Maimonides and Kabbalah once more and the rest of what goes with it all and then at a Jewish cemetery just the other day (one of those I’d just mentioned – the leftover crowded almost eerily other-worldly sad places) I saw a large tombstone with the word ‘FATHER’ emblazoned across the top and two hands engraved upon in in some form of mystical finger-separation format which over modern time has become familiar from science-fiction but which evidently in this use over 75 years ago meant something completely other - perhaps some Masonic symbolism or post-Christian or pre-Christian or Jewish Alliance precursor to something still unknown and I only wished I knew at that moment as for right now I still do not know and continue to search out its history but perhaps Riva would know or someone out there (some denizen dark of one or another long-abandoned memory hole of a busted-up synagogue wordless and bereft now of meaning WHY OH WHY do such things happen ? and how is all the world we owe nothing to always somehow calling in debts nonetheless?) - I know not I know not - BUT who is to file all which needs to be filed who is to be the collector of the wide escarpment of notion and tongue and information we require to continue and who WHEN WE FIND THAT PERSON will acknowledge the presence of what he or she is and by what means will we recognize what needs recognition ? for these are the questions which need answering and answering they need without any clinical attraction of the broken mind CLEAR THOUGHT and random harvest – somewhere between the two is all of what we need.

Saturday, August 12, 2006



When idiocy enters a legend there’s nothing left to deny and only at that moment do we listen to voices (like distant marks on a faraway planet) from a place where men have left markings and notes (but just as instead we harken to retribution against what we dislike so those arrayed against us too come forth with grudges and mayhem) in THEIR PARTICULAR form of matter - AND do you know that I am drowning in material and failing in my work ? that I am lost in translations and confused in what I take ? and all around me ONE BY ONE the compestuous interminglings of forcep and drown reap their own vague whirlwinds without my import or viewpoint being used (‘and I watched for a moment as she waltzed through the room and I merely wondered ONCE who she was’) and the waitress drew plenty and the cook produced a pen and the two people nearby (drowning their pancakes in syrup) sat just as transfixed as anything else and LIKE trophies in some living case while Civil War movies still played on the yellowed screen outside the entry where the black-faced lady with the dour spoon stood silent sentinel over everything which entered and STONE-AGE kids just born awoke and in the only way they knew screamed back with cries at the life just presented to them ALL THE WHILE in the same presentment their fallow parents both bickered and dodged the lowland life they led and lost amidst the mass morass ensconced in the feeble world of Earth and its matter they held forth just as confused as ever and put out all the WRONG efforts to dislodge such mis-education and YET THROUGH THE MOMENTS they stayed in one place listening to rabble and blabber and ANYTHING ELSE their dumb ears found out but nothing good came to them for their energies were so bad and attracted nothing but wrong and weak entreaties and like some wren from fourteen fathoms what landed on their heads was dross and what left its mark behind was death BUT THEY LISTENED as rubber hears the road or like the high jet cuts through the sky IMAGISTIC as a symbol and certain of meaning something but nothing more (‘I heard I heard two guys talking about a place called Carteret’) and there was no joke and we all ignored what we chose to hear and every kid’s parents are liars from Day One but there’s nothing to be done about that anymore – make sure the toaster works and the toadstool turns and Edward Grieg himself will visit Polynesia for you ONLY if you ask and the shadows which grow by the yellowing wall are higher than ever and growing quite tall but luck is in the logic and gratitude is nothing but payment for the PRIVILEGE of being born but ‘OH SO WHAT’ the Russian guy said and some shrugged it off while some others just wept for the voice was pristine and uncommon and arias and dirges alike came forth (‘Sunday but it was Sunday in the low graying sky with new snow on the way and the birds and deer hiding out and every tree I saw was dark brown and no green was to be seen but along the edge of the old miner’s cabin where the darkening smoke curled I swore I saw lightning and a glimpse of some other world’) but to millions of people I’ve never said a word and only now regret my passing them by without redemption being offered or something new and different (‘the small fat man in his overcoat I see him each day walking to his office door from the eager seat of his own Rolls Royce and he drives alone it seems alone and ever alone counting numbers and his racket in the stockbroker’s famous chair he’s lonely for something he’s lonely I swear’) but bush-league cameramen are planted by the window and their elongated lenses like eyes on a willow watch winds and hurricanes for anything occurring and somehow darling they mesh (‘Photoplay I think it was was once a magazine for the movie-star crowd but now they’re all struck dumb and dead and we might as well go home’) but cavalierly the young girl smiles with the bank-teller note as she stands there catching spiders and charting their webs and from inside the bank there’s only a squeal or something I’d heard AND I WANT TO BE SOMETHING - I really want to count…

Friday, August 04, 2006



I keep thinking back to how long ago everything was and just today I was jolted awake by some crazy headline beaming ‘No Oil For Pacifists’ of which I had no clue what was being talked of and couldn’t relate it to anything sensible anyway but that’s the rub and the fabric of this newer modern world - inconsequential and coded messages of a sort that take deciphering or at least an insider’s understanding and that’s what I certainly don’t have nor want to have and I’d much rather now stand far outside the awning of society than get my feet wet so as to drink that punch being given out beneath that awning and if I told you what I really felt you’d get angry and blush or seethe at the thought but (again as Ginsberg said) ‘we’ve abolished Hell!’ and I certainly can understand THAT and get on the side of such a phrase and enjoy and take note of what it means and even if I’d wanted to I could propound for hours on the import of what that means but as usual in his way he hit something on the head and let it go at that - no further declaiming needed nor intended - and just as sure as farm fields fall there’s still milk on the table anyway and no one’s the worse for wear and all of that but they said - as I recall - that oil itself was going to run out by the 1980’s and as far as I can see THAT’S never happened so what connection pacifists have with any of that is beyond me and if they wouldn’t fight it wouldn’t be for oil I’m sure they’d rather walk anyway but there’s a text and then a subtext and beneath all of that still another text too - the real words behind the words and the words behind that – but there’s someone always fighting somewhere for something anyway and no matter for the rest.
Worse than worst and whiter than white was the situation most of the time - the paradox itself being the quandary I had to get out of and all around me things were turning and locations were changing - the old lower Westside with its highways and docks was falling apart and being diminished to not much more than leftover and derelict parking spots for dead trucks and cars piles of rubbish tires and lumber and fewer and fewer trucks loading and unloading although it still occurred on a daily basis and the activity still brought in some money crime graft and trouble for varied people here and there - my own late-night forays into these warrens of inefficiency continued - leaky gas pumps and storage barrels broken frames and cargo-trunks piles and piles of contraband and things-to-be-stolen put aside and saved and it was in its own way pretty funny to see – people living in vans and trucks just living there amidst mattresses and piles of clothing and bags of old scavenged food and the occasional TV or radio hook-up ostentatiously displayed like some prized booty so as to watch a game-show or soap opera or any other televised fodder making even less 1960's sense in the situation : runaways losers drug-addicts criminals carriers runners messengers thugs and whores all together in one untidy neighborhood – ciphers each unknown and unnumbered with no one ever knowing the difference and it just went on day after day and night past night the same activity the same parade of crazies and there were no definitions nor boundaries nor borders nor rules : people were there and doing whatever it is they did and I’d step into this nightly and take some small role when needed - help move this or that crate help untie this bundle see what was in this one move this wood carry this over to there and all the while the soiled river rolled the small boats and tugs and barges floated to here or there covered with tarp or laced down with ropes and low in the water and police sirens and rotating red lights came and went the overhead highway – still passable – roared cars and New Jersey itself it seemed exchanged people and things in a steady array of trade and barter - food vendors set-up each morn at daybreak for another wild shift of coffee and sandwiches hot dogs and cake as the truckmen lined up in the early mornings to wait and ate while they waited and talked and huddled and smoked and the more it seemed that NOTHING got done the more it was that actually DID get done and it was for truly a weirdly different world.
"Ya’ know sometimes when you reach something it turns out it ain’t worth shit – and that’s kinda’ the story of my life" he said that to me with a mouthful of food so that as he talked I had to watch his cheeks bulge and move too – his name was something I’d forgotten but I had become familiar with him over a period of time as he walked around the same areas I did and we crossed paths "I got stuck here and just never left – had a walk-up on 1st Street and I kept it for a while but eventually lost it when I stopped paying the rent and even if I still go back there it’s vacant and I got the key so I just walk in and sleep whenever I want – I used to clean the stairwells and the hallway for the owner once a week but then I stopped that too because the smells of all the Spanish people cooking got to me and it just began making me nauseous and all the little kids that hung around they bothered me too - big brown eyes just staring up all the time at me like they wanted something and I had nothing to give them so the entire thing - except for the place - turned bad for me but it’s no matter now ‘cuz I can sleep in these sheds whenever I have to and the work – whatever it is – turns out to be steady enough for me and I only really need a little money to keep going and I steal a lot of food and get other stuff for free or nearly free from the guys around here that I know and nothing ever comes back to cause me any trouble so on the whole there’s really not much that I want that I don’t already have or at least have already had and given it up - what the hell what’s life for anyway - you lose a jumble and you get a jumble or vice versa whatever and it’s all like urban living in the Black Hills anyway – like NOTHING ever fits – and before I enter the realms of the bitter dead I’m going to first make sure that in some way or the best way I can every debt’s been accounted for and every account is evened – and I’m not talking about money mind you – I’m talking about that open space between every man and his next man his brother his compadre his fellow or whatever and if you leave things hanging they’re just going to hang so it’s better to make them straight early on and quickly you see like William Blake or somebody said – to the effect that a person should get whatever it is that’s on his mind out in the open before it festers and turns to evil hate and violence so it’s always better just to go up to your fellow man and tell them – ‘you’re an asshole I hate you I can’t stand what you’re doing’ etc. – get it off your chest and then AT THE LEAST they know where you stand and then they know too where THEY stand in regards to you and it’s all bettered just like that : I ask you wouldn’t it be just as easy for the President to go up to the Russian Commies and say ‘you fucks are really pissing me off you’re all jerks and I hope you piece of shit system crumbles but until then you ain’t getting a thing from me and I’ll blow you to smithereens if I have to without even thinking it over twice’ and if that was done don’t you think the world would be a better place anyway or maybe no worse anyway" and once again I nodded (the nod of a fool I guess) and just let it go and the waitress was bringing more food and the outside light was brightening the windows and the trucks I’d seen before as dormant were now up and about their ways – smokes gurgling engines on fire – and the backs of many of them were opened again and people were moving this or that here or there and I realized JUST LIKE THAT that the morning had opened up for business and I was again amongst the living – except maybe for this guy – and although he still talked on I knew he’d talk to anybody about anything and it wasn’t dependent upon me sitting there so I threw him some change and said I’d be on my way.