I really want to get this going....

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

15 WAYS TO WEAR A SASH (the old eastside waterfront, nyc, 1968)

207. 15 WAYS TO WEAR A SASH (the old eastside waterfront, nyc, 1968):

I'd lost every reason to stay in place and I could see nothing more than that - the three people I had at least once known to keep me in place were gone and I'd already forgotten them and the old dives by the east side waterfront were no help - McCormack's was becoming a holding pen for old men and drunks and a place where there was nothing any longer but old stories from tired old mouths - they were excavating around it and every time I went there someone had just unearthed something - old pipes old medicine bottles buttons buckles plates and shards of pottery or old keys and chain links and firearms and pistols and casings and holsters too and as much fun as any of that may have been (the girls always jealously guarded whatever they'd find and the guys would simply brag to boredom) it was old hat since the entire scene was already picked over a hundred years 75 years before and more with the Brooklyn Bridge project (which had taken away blocks of old places - tenements waterfront hovels old bars and brothels and any rickety old standing building within a thousand feet of the old waterway) and anyone who wanted to start talking to me about digging and excavating and all that I could tell them a few things and give them a piece of my mind too - all their trite old crap amounted to nothing but more exploitation and theft padded with rubbish and stuff I was already tired of - and I just didn't care and wanted to walk it off anyway : eastside hovels henhouses bars and morgues - it was all the same to me : dressing-gown windows wedding stores and mirrors with 50 cent frames and candles reflected in cabaret lights and scabrous old demitasse sets and damask curtains and bedposts made of oak and ebony inlays and canopies and whorebeds it was everywhere and easy to overlook because everything now was rotting and falling apart - I'd seen windows just suddenly drop from above three stories up old panes of glass and sliders give way and I'd heard ancient old boards creak and crack and just as quickly come tumbling down apt to kill anyone in the way but somehow along the way I'd lost my own fingerprints and the marks on the wallpaper weren't mine either : painters and guys in painter's caps both pretending to be one-the-other but both mixed up as ever : wall painters and housepainters in their splattered clothes passing right by abstract painters and color-splashed homos and artists of renown with cigarettes dangling from their ink-stained mouths and every street was being torn up Nassau Street Pace College Gold Street and Fulton and all that - a thousand new people a day thriving on something - federal workers and census talkers both with their fingers up their asses and noses too getting a sense of smell from whatever their readings told them : how many and where and when and what do they do and how do they do it : the sexual habits of immigrants and tornados the offspring of the clout and power the wasted youth of the Centrifuge Society sitting on bleachers cheering on the basketball game being played in the wintry heat under artificial lights and pigeon-toed girls standing high with earrings that dangled while they danced and the Puerto Ricans beneath the bleachers looking up to strain an eye to see whatever they could see up any girl's flying skirt or dress and that was that and nothing mattered no Saint Tolstoy or Saint Sartre nor Karlo Marx nor Karl Marx either and only the ghost of Max Eastman knew for sure and I twirled with finesse just to learn to talk and I winnowed the finger and painted with ice and became a carpenter just to make my own furniture and then a theif just to steal it back and I had no compunction but never stole a car and I had no complexion either but never made a girl's face color with blush and Sister Mary Alonzo and Father Jack Benny the two idiots finally ran away with each other and got married anyway - old St. Joe's never was the same as the boys in the school went instead to the local School of Industry to learn to plane and learn to saw and weld and hammer but none of them ever came up to potential but the rest of the entire city can tell you that - 'what's made of wood anymore anyway' they'd say with a snicker while holding their crotches with each other's hands : silence had to be and every horse (by 1967) had already been put to sleep and the only agonizing memory left was the guilt of driving a car you called a 'Mustang' to boot and what the hell was that ! someone wanted to know but no one ever did.


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