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.

Monday, September 24, 2007


173. ALL OF WHAT I MEANT TO TELL (nyc, 1968):

There were all sorts of things which were falling into place at this time : for me it was all a distant oblivion running from me and not towards me - a good perspective as I saw it - men had embarked upon riding the moon nuclear submarines were cutting beneath the sea people in old China were following leaders without any mirth (a mere funny man swimming in the Yellow River) confessing to anything and killing thousands Africa fried in its Limbo and Europe slept away oblivious and useless too - I read all of William Blake and the Bible too I absorbed the passing moments of Bellow and Mailer and Roth and whatever else came through I grabbed it as I could I swallowed T. S Eliot whole Hart Crane and Lucius Beebe too Lincoln Pindar Paine and Emerson and Thoreau ten million times of little things and big : I was never alone and with the flickering candlelights and gas-lamps of Patchin Place and MacDougal Alley and Washington Mews it was easy for me to remain old and I swore to myself someday once to out-write them all and undo their past to the present and I evaded nothing and was glad of that ('to the touchstone of merit alone you should be - all certain and sure of what you will see') and I realized that circumstances don't always control one's situation because by other means you can erect through imaginative fury far better reflections and angles of light through which to view what's there - one day someone took me uptown with them and we walked along the reservoir deep within Central Park simply so that he could take me to a spot wherein he'd hidden a metal box filled with purloined jewelry which he'd learned to obtain from some rich estate or something in the Catskills where he'd spent the summer and although I didn't quite get the reason for it having to be buried right there nor why right there it was all amazing to me just to watch him take a few pieces and enter a pawnshop in the mid 30's somewhere and as I watched I saw the Pawnbroker behind the counter take the merchandise and step back with it to a small area with a heavy desk and a lamp and as he put on a magnifier strapped by elastic to his head and covering one eye he inspected carefully what he saw - the jewelry for purity and carat and gleam and - as he said - he also inspected it for any telltale traces of 'violence' - of having been 'ripped from someone's neck or arm' and he said that such activities leave marks and stresses and broken clasps and the like and he would not handle any goods brought to him which seemed to have possibly been results of theft or violence and I thought to myself that that was a purely random code of honor I'd never really understand - since what difference did it make to him - and he said he wanted to know nothing of how we'd come by this nor any stories with it and his appraisal being what it was he offered us like 40% of that for 4 months or whatever it was take or leave and the rest of it all I really forget but I remember a signature and a promise and a locker number and then some cash being dispersed (about $160 as I recall) and with that we were back out on the street and set to do more of this and the person I was with said that he'd go to other pawn-shops to do the same and never use the same one twice on such an endeavor as this - so it all meant a few trips back and forth to the top of the reservoir and then back down to the next peculiar establishment with the three-balls displayed out front (the last real pawn-shop I saw was along Hudson Street and it disappeared about 1982 - the kind with the metal balls suspended over the entrance and a display window filled with varied and sundry goods - trumpets and saxophones and telephones and shoes and coats bicycles and bowling balls - nowadays what passes for 'pawn-shops' are really no more than sloppy jewelry counters with a cash window and a display case amidst really cheesy and small surroundings) and then I went back to the library a few times just to find out information as I could about pawn shops and how they began and what was behind that entire idea and who and where they originated - interesting material but really having to do now with nothing at all - the old sorts of pawnshops as I said have disappeared but the ones we were hitting back in the late 60's of this time were most certainly the leftover remnants of another place and time in that they still captured all of that 1920-40's mystique of darkness and stealth and tobacco-stained walls and dim lamps and seedy interiors meaning merely business and no glamor at all and the proprietors of these places - whether bent-over old Jew men or more cavalier Lebanese and Turks - operated well within the knowledge and awareness of their ancient hold on an old capital of stealth and trade and tricks and misrepresentations and all of that went without saying but the most telltale aspects were of the cages and counters which kept the 'client' at some remove and in an always-somewhat-humbled position as a beseecher of favors and a supplicant - having to look up at a caged dealer set slightly higher than you and more secure than you - and sometimes there were gloves and guns too - pistols often on display or barely concealed - and it was all of a very low-level game of crime and punishment in its own way - 50 or 60 bucks here or there for rent or food or something else to tide one over the next 30 days - or (as in our case) merely a simple means of turning purloined material into ready cash - starting from zero as we did each time it really little mattered what final figure we came away with : all in all a very curious business model with which to operate but it somehow worked.
After a while I became resigned to an idea of perfection - an odd concept that I'd seemed to have constructed myself and made personal parameters from - small guidelines with which to judge some almost ephemeral quality of my own existence - and it consisted in some ways of a really genteel view of daily life - an almost routine yet casual form of operating which allowed great space and time to be used in quite regular operations and this in turn required a set place and a set number of personal items to be at hand (which meant that my lodgings in the Studio School basement room had to take on more the complexion of a real 'place' for me to be in than a mere 'spot' in which to sleep - and so I did make it such) - and the very idea of 'resignation' to the qualities and happenings of life led to a feeling of 'perfection' or of having a 'perfect' life and one able to be lived without judgements being made and without categorical designations for every thing - just acceptance and detachment just a resigned sense of goodness and its manifestations no matter how confusing - which did away with much of the pessimism and cynicism I'd been acquainted with and that once bleak emotional landscape then was able to be replaced with a more flexible religious optimism and even joyousness (these all were curious new qualities for me to see and recognize in myself - MYSELF which had once been a mere empty vessel and an un-marked amoebic slate of experiences) I'd found some sort of HOPE in a blighted world and any questions I may have had about the 'meaning' of life included conclusions now about that bleakness and anguish and disenchantment (as Albert Camus had suggested 'the fundamental question of philosophy' is to ask whether or not life is worth living and he'd also mentioned that the kind of insistent optimism our culture was pushing was 'like a bad joke in today's world') and Camus had also said that our sense of the absurd arises out of the encounter between the human need for meaning and the 'unreasonable silence' of the world and in my own musings on that subject (I don't want you to think I was a walking philosopher everywhere I went but you should understand the enormous thirst and desire I had for acquiring ideas and knowledge and conclusions - thus I thought as I walked along) I decided he'd meant that we each desired that our lives made sense and did not seem valueless and insignificant and that made sense to me and I was able to stay with that.


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