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, August 30, 2008



We’ve been reading topical literature for so long that no one any longer has a grasp of what even the topic is : because of that there are squeamish figures who constantly hide and unformed characters vaporous and unreal – they come out from behind big trees when no one is looking they hide in piles of lumber and leaves : McGowan’s Pass and the hills above Harlem town – places like that where once the armies fought and the minions of revolt crawled fiercely up the tiring hillsides while escaping enemy fire or dying on the bluff and either way it all became part of the story : Jumel Mansion and Hamilton Grange the displaced places no one knows what to make of today and hundreds of men selling candies and pretzels and sodas around any park entrance or courtyard for kids they shamelessly congregate one dollar treats onto unsuspecting mothers and fathers : here where the British fell the militias clashed the very blood of two riffraff armies drained slowly to the ground and whose dying last breath was that I may have just heard Joe Houghton or Emmett L. Long or Howard Macawber or Marland Oakeshott these are merely names and more names and letters on gravestones now chiseled by time with the digits falling off and no sense to be made and these NAMES are but things men change on their ways to somewhere some other land some other place again : the marvelous effect of 3 centuries of tired grime built up and caked by retelling and rhyme : here where I stand about some withering street I juggle time and all its reasons in two soft leaky hands – I know nothing and I know not and the only thing different is things are the same as they ever were : there there the distant trains gouge their tracks along the beastly river below – we watch the gale-force winds which they create in their passing as limbs fall and houses shudder and the old river-captain’s barge-like home still is sheltered by the breezy shore : the ticket takers are all dead and their names too are legion and the gatekeepers wife I see still sits by the door – she waves a wet rag and she wears a blue apron – looking out to some distant point she seeks the sound of Frank or Alan or Robert coming home once more : and those rebel boys too are all dead : call it something – Manassass Chickamauga Spotsylvania Woods or Gettysburg or Deckhert’s Crossing - we can mix up the names and mix up the wars because they all are the same : deadening matter in old sodden books leaflets of disaster notices of hangings writs of execution or the firing squad for all - such is the way of our lives with houses climbing hillsides now and sunlight blocked by the coarse annals of information overload and notebook text and fiery messages of Indian guides blowing signaled smoke frothy and rotund over some highway landscape and the only noise we hear – besides the roar of traffic and truck – are the clappings and accolades and all the applause of the dead far behind us for the dead far ahead.

Monday, August 25, 2008



How lonely is it at the bottom ? I shan't say but I was sure alone and underneath everything else but did anyone ever tell me it's 'lonesome' at the bottom? never ? and so I'm gonna' be a no-name back-scratching cowboy for the rest of my days and get buried in some paupers' graveyard with no one to save and those are now MY plans for the future and AMEN to that - leave my toes pointing up and let buzzards feast on my face for none of it will matter to me - ('and that moment when the bird sings very close / to the music of what happens') : the 'music' here might refer to a hidden mystical system of high order (Seamus Heaney) OR to the music of the arbitrary (as John Cage would have it) but personal form is a personal solution and the rest doesn't matter ('I watched just today some swooning hawk rise high and up and swoop and dip and within it I sensed that motor of all nature and everything natural running on without sense or governance in the speeding fabric of ALL THAT IS and I saluted - for lack of anything better to do - all that which I saw) and it's at this time that I deign to take routine and make a magic from it : strawberry jam in dollops on vanilla ice cream or a headless nail hammered perfectly into a highly polished piece of molding and the 'Loneliness' I mentioned before then pales when compared with perfection (the ART of doing something perfectly right and with all the proper steps and awarenesses of doing : the ART which goes into the ACT) - oh bury my heart on the lone prairie oh bury my heart on the lone prairie.
When the BIRD sings very close to the MUSIC of what happens.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


235. THE MAN WITH THREE HANDS (the Harry Sled story, all true words) nyc 1967:

The man with the three hands was plying his horse and talking to himself as he came up alongside the Pottage O’Sire – a small Belgian Restaurant on 18th Street (I always wondered if they meant ‘Cottage’ but they never changed it so I guess they knew best) and the people inside I noticed just barely looked up as he came by and tied his horse to the little rail inside and walked where he stayed about 10 minutes – I figured having a beer since I could see him at the bar – and then came right back out and left the same we he’d arrived : all the same to a stranger like that : he’d been around for a long time and was treated nicely in the local area and he had one of the last few remaining non-police function horses around (which he kept in a shed behind a property on 23rd) and this was still odd and curious then (1966) as later – most people had long ago given up on horses - this guy’s name was Harry Sled and he pronounced it ‘Slayd’ and the reason he was called the man with three hands was for how adept he was at handling objects - cards hammers bits drills and all the rest - it was just some character summation in a few words that stuck and I’d gotten to know him only ever so much from spending evenings often at the lantern and bench nearby – there were a few restaurants close in which often throw out some major food as late-night trash – and this Sled guy had the foulest mouth I’d heard in a long while too (had heard lots of that however lofts high and low and filled with characters each) he’d talk down a-n-y female that passed by no matter what ‘there’s a ton of good pussy meat there I bet she likes eatin’ the pole I’d rather bend her over twice than get paid good money for nothing if she had a sister I’d play a double-header I bet she’s a swell screamer’ and most of the rest went just like that - some girls liked it all and smiled torturously back while others blanched but he never cared and it seemed neither really did they and he and I we smoked many a disdainful cigarette together outside the local places often many a night very late watching lights go on and then out again too watching traffic dwindle on the side streets to nothing at all hearing no noises after the revelers had gone (there’s no silence I found like a true city silence for those two and a half or maybe three hours in the depths of night that it occurs before it all begins starting up again and that silence can bring many a man a well-posted solace and a spiritual ken for goodness and mirth) and the slim notations of the street were black and dark and desolate too : (Harry sometimes fell asleep and I watched him and the horse too if it was around though it wasn’t often always present) : but the real pleasure came from picking up each day and just starting anew with another one and somehow Harry and I we understood that kind of stuff - he’d eat from a pail of slop if he could but most often the freshest dumpings were in the freshest dumpsters and we’d watch the throwouts get placed and then just fight the rats if we had to so as to grab what we could - I never was a gourmet mind you but I could always tell a good veal scallopine or some other fine mix of meats and sauces when they were present and one day I said to Harry ‘Harry what is it you think we’ll be doing if we keep doing this?’ and he laughed and said ‘well for sure we won’t be starving but I have a hunch that before long something will come up and we’ll both then be on our ways - wherever and where to I can’t really say’ and that was that as I never followed up on that rather sad-sounding statement which I actually found of dubious import but in a way he was sort of right because my the next December I was gone – never really knowing what happened with him but he’s gone now too as I see these years later and there’s really no one to ask about him because they’re all gone too and I’ve never rightly seen a Harry Sled marker nowhere about and the only thing there now is some stupid big back wall of a Barnes & Noble and a Blue Smoke restaurant or something around there too - made up of new people entirely and no one who’d know anything about nothing I’d care to ask : it’s like that sometimes as the past runs away or gets run away with and we have nothing more or less left with from it with which to play or sing about or even ply our trade as criers and memorializers of the past – most people just remain silent and scoff at events and effects if they weren’t there themselves so REALLY really stories have no or little value you see.
You’d maybe be wondering what I saw in people like Sled – it was always hard to say but I met lots of characters like him and have written of them often (Tony Main for example) and each one of them remains unique and personally infracted in my memory of all those old days of carnage and mayhem loss and deprivation – maybe that’s what adds to the glamour or what I’m seeing anyway : but no matter because I had this knack of just seemingly going up to someone or near to where they’d be and starting from a square 1 introduction from nothing just get things going ‘awright’ as they say - oftentimes most people treat other people not exactly like themselves as if they’ve got the plague but for me it was the other way around – I hated the norm and the common run-of-the-hill hidebound quacker on the way to something with business attire and that obscure and forlorn look of duty and honor and code and belief for none of that mattered to me and if I’d wanted that I could have long ago become a schoolteacher-in-preparation instead of a hot-stove philosopher of rancid warm dirt (the kind of stuff you get from radiant heating OFF other matter) – a kind of reflected matter an alteration of light and changing of sounds through echo and resonance – and that was the organ music of my own church so Sled fit into that fine – it started with the horse (‘what in the world are you doing on 17th street leading a horse?’) and went from there - he’d been jailed in his younger days once had a wife and a girlfriend knew a few things about commerce but mostly liked working outdoors on concrete and mortar and had spent a few long years in the construction business back before it was run by percentages and design firms - he’d say ‘there once was a time when a simple cinder-block and wood box was enough for people and that’s a lot of what I made – many of them still around – look at the parking garage sheds and food stands and stuff you see – many of them I was involved in and there was a time when most of the stables and horse-sheds at some point in the 20’s and 30’s were all changing over to automobile uses – it was a good line of work but of course now it’s over and here I am – Drayer here was once my carry-horse – we’d pull lumber-wagons and block-drags together along these very streets back in the old dark heyday of its earlier constructions – everything was by hand my boy and that took work – nowadays I’ve heard it said the word is ‘there’s only one thing we do by hand on this job – and that’s jerk-off’ and that hell well yeah pretty much sums it up too’ and if he did have a way with words I guess it all was his own way - there was compromising or dealing with other people who’d slow him down (even though there was nothing fast nor swift about him) and he told me once how there was a time way back when money was really short he took a job with the WPA people – government stuff – building the roadway and blasting the rocks up along the Palisades above Fort Lee when they were blasting the waterfronts there and those huge walls of rock had to be moved back to provide frontage and flatland for the road and beachfront areas being constructed - for a while all that section acted as the lungs and breath of the Hudson waterfront with NYC stretched out all along far below (I’d been there myself many times and had seen the work as it had been done - very nicely - stretches of rock beach and boat-slips and often hordes of ferry-boated people from the upper reaches of crowded Manhattan who’d come across for a day of frolic on the Jersey riverside and up until the end of the 1960’s there was also right there some huge famous nightclub dining room ballroom place high above the bluffs by the bridge which hosted many a famed star and thousands of people – using both the grand indoors and the wonderful starlit areas outside.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


234. 'NO, I NEVER GOT IT':

['I will build a church in the field, and all around it I will lay (bury) the dead.'] : That was part one of a three part lunatic cycle they were showing at the Rialto and part two it seemed had something to do with Arab terrorism - being subtitled thusly : 'the philosophy of the lunatics - to the Arabs all Amercia is a blow-up doll and Americans are buying dolls by the armload' - which of course I didn't get at all except maybe as a reference to Arabs who blow themselves up to inflict a 'justified' holy terror upon infidels but of that I wasn't sure and it was all like an unmanned car speeding down a freeway anyway - hands off the wheel and watch the wall ahead and then there's a huge fearsome crash and someone's torso goes flying headless through the air or anyway that's what I got from the message and I figured we can make life difficult we can shoot the bastards in the back or we can square off face to face - either way it's one's own choice - and when the bus leaves the continent you better be on it - this new passage of time making a long story short - and this all for your elevated diction and I again recalled some civil rights crusader from 1964 who'd tired of the cause by then and was already sickened by the likes of LBJ and Thurgood Marshall too and who had said 'black boy oh black boy is the port worth the cruise' as a challenge to some fiery radical black-power type he was berating : meaning like 'all this bullshit you're going through and all this trouble you're inciting - what's it for ? what's your end goal ? you want to be equal to whitey so you can swim where he swims and eat where he does ? is that all ? BOY you better think' and that's how crazy everything was - Lucifer versus Lucifer in an incredible tag-team match wherein both sides were together and all ones were the same anyway and I NEVER GOT IT no matter what I heard : the Lucille Lortel Theatre down on Christopher Street was having this play performed and the play itself had been adapted from the movie now also playing (as I said) at the Rialto on 12th Street and people were gauging their ideology and personal race-cause purity by how many times they'd seen both versions - I kid you not - as it all had become some bizarre fetish-like avowal of performance envy and wealth show-off crap superiority over the very people one was supposedly trying to better and what it came down to was the inveterate monied New Yorkers - the Sunday types with the money - fatuously going about their imagined racial 'activism' and rubbing it all in the face of the dispossessed - that's how they were showing their allegiance to the cause : and I figured it always for bullshit pure and simple as anything else was and every Norman Mailer Imiri Baraka Arthur Schlesinger Andy Warhol Truman Capote Robert Kennedy moment taken up in such endeavors was nothing more than filth pure filth -- and the man at the Kit-Kat Club was selling guns in the back room and he was wearing a black cape with a pointed little cap and he looked like nothing no more than a weaselly gay moron to me : emotive Mamma's boy singing his heart out to any other fag along the way : it really was a long time ago and a person was still allowed to talk or think that way : so it little mattered what I said or did I bowed down to no one black white gay straight or in between for a good man could negotiate the shoals and a good girl had nothing to lose (it's easier for girls) she could just give it up and stay happy but a MAN was consumed and on fire and sex burned his loins at every minute of time and avoidance of that somehow caused all these other causes to arise 'activism will save my ever-lovin' day and calm my balls too' but if you want to ask any college kid why they're involved in a crusade they'd say - plain and simple - 'to get laid'.

Saturday, August 16, 2008



There was always some line in a Passion Play or something like ‘I adjure you by the living God…’ something or other about ‘are YOU the Messiah’ or like that and I always got confounded by that usage having the I guess the usual confusion always between the words ‘adjure’ and ‘abjure’ which are actually 2 different and quite separate words one meaning ‘renounce/recant’ and the other meaning to ‘command under oath’ (adjure) which is of course the one meant in that Passion line and of course the ROOT in each case being very important from the Latin ‘ad’ in adjure meaning ‘to/towards’ and ‘ab’ in the other meaning ‘from/away’ - two entirely different affects underlying the root of each word and I KNEW it meant nothing really at all except that it was curious and the sort of thing which absorbed (‘ab’) my mind always.

And I know what you’re saying – like how could words simple words be so important or have any consequence like that but in their own way they’re important and the sort of person who would overlook things like that is the same sort of person who would overlook life itself if he or she could : the smallest of the little markings which pass them by the ideas and the notes which generate the ideas - the whole passel of the passing parade of stuff which happens and continues to occur OUTSIDE of the structural prison each person lives within and as I see it if you can’t catch any of that material then what’s the use of any of the rest - it’s all enough to become a trap and the trick is that no matter what you have to live it all anyway and whatever the consequences - which is why I get so annoyed when I realize how difficult it is to ‘speak the truth’ and the fact of the matter is that people won’t LET you speak the truth because it’s discomfiting to them - everyone’s in their own way a little Fascist - and generally everything which goes on goes on for the same of ‘control’ as the autocratic roots of anything are well-fed and most often well-hid (which is the essential root cause too of the ‘psychological’ kingdom of which Freud and Jung and Karen Horney and all the rest were part of in their quest for a realization of this meaning behind things) for the fact of the matter is that much like Plato’s shadows on the cave wall and all of that we really are operating in a deficit of light and knowledge just blindly reacting to images we barely think we see and certainly don’t always understand and any of these actions or moves on the walls of our personal caves are wanted to be ours alone and safe and unmoving please and in the quest for the personal security we fall into myriad traps which we cannot avoid : which is where the fascism of means and intents come in - we won’t ‘allow’ people to speak a ‘Truth’ different from ours (even though that too is a paradox unless one accepts the procedural fact that there is ‘more than one truth’ which then negates truth – but that’s another philosophical task entire) BUT no matter it’s just like that and just think for instance if I’d gone up to some happy little thriving shop owner out front of his shop any day hosing down the sidewalk and said ‘this city is foul the place reeks of the stench of urine the people are always indignant about everything it’s worldy and vulgar and trashy too – who but an animal would live here?’ – that person surely would have to turn to me and say things about the cultural amenities the richness of wealth and fine living the overwhelming indications of learning and tradition and the past with its array of architecture beauty and glamour so as to at least defend his structural image of the place he inhabits and anything past that point would result in an uncomfortable or noxious conversation - why? - because we’d both be defending or at least approaching each of us our two different ideas of the presence of truth in everyday life no matter how distantly apart of wildly divergent that may be : that’s just what notes about this reality are : and then I’d watch as the shopowner would put the hose down the sidewalk would be wet and the debris he’d washed would be at the curb he’d light a cigarette and with a white rag over his arm or in his hand he’d find a seat in the front on a chair so placed or on the Siamese water-connection out front and begin the normal observation of the passing parade while his minimum-wage helper was behind the counter or shuffling newspapers or unloading boxes of goods to be sold and the sidewalk grate would open as another helper begins going up or down with cartons and crates to or from the basement hole and the display cases out front would be tended – filled with flowers or fruits and vegetables on ice while just inside the coffee machine and express counter for cakes and sandwiches was busy and all sorts of passing locals came and went – buying this or that small item – and this would be a veritable completion of the internalized picture of that which the shopman sees and defends and lives daily : and that’s fine though not mine : so two divergent views in their inexorable way must pass and clash and close and remain....

Thursday, August 14, 2008



[For one great unmovable moment the walls don't move and the sky itself opens : every star imagined comes down and crosses over and imbued with an earth-like existence every possibility in its own chance opens up like a flower and each one is a possibility and billions and more of distant lives are inhabited by parallels and probabilities and the massive mathematics of time and place take you home at last and you are left to wonder what all of it was once again and with that I figured to end my quoting of myself - minds are like that sometimes in a self-referential way especially towards the end of a life which breeds nothing farther along than contempt (I went once to old Sleepy Hollow where the headless Ichabod Crane was swooping by and on some ancient rock aligned right in a parkland setting I saw his mention ascribed to dream or imagination only - and his was but twenty years but I knew I had eons on him and the headless man is the man who speaks not and nods to nothing and realizes - perhaps amidst some broken shame - that he can neither be nor see and it's an altogether different world for him) and when I looked around me where I was NOW I sensed the moment of the watermill was gone the coalfields and the ironmills were beyond all understanding and I was anew amidst a culture keen on nothing but that which is imagined ephemera and distaste but if MAN the Maker no longer makes anything worth trading for what systems have we left ? the accumulated junks of wandering souls without origin and lost in a deep cosmos of want and manufactured need : mankind can no longer talk but just sings instead and young foibles are dancing on tabletops to the ruination of fathers and mothers and sons and daughters too - the world has wobbled and is falling swiftly to its predetermined (but oh so logical) end - and that sphere will open and other curtains unfold - at once as you imagined you will see 'all things' and your infinity will unfold - there was a time when a certain Nihilism penetrated everything and the airwaves seemed filled with dire predictions of bombs falling and clouds of lethal gas and fire and destruction and atomic death for all - people ate it up and thrived and flourished by it and with it and the streetcorner ferries where Water Street ended even they were filled with new people lined up for the going and for the taking of their terrible new chances and every mouth was talking thusly : 'there's money to be made I can feel it in my bones and if I can just play this right we can all rest easy because we'll all be rich - playing up the consequences can be a means to an end - people don't really have to die but if we can make them think so then it can all be turned into cash - these fools will buy anything if it has to do with doomsday and doom and their own supposed dire endings and I say let's make it while we can for tomorrow never knows and it'll all be over by then anyway' and it was always stuff like that which got my gander up - some stupid 1964 version of the future filled with ideas that never work and wouldn't if they could : paralegal secretaries hunched over typewriters and punch-cards now falling on the floor from new-fangled ways of information transfer and the peddling of crap to the masses : no one knew and no one cared and the big black Lincoln I saw pulled up to the curb from which Lincoln three men alighted and walked ceremoniously into the nearby jeweler's and as I watched they stood for a moment speaking with the proprietor behind the counter who eventually handed to them a nice black box evidently filled with something of value - what is what I never knew - and they took the box shook hands with him turned over some paperwork - not money as far as I could tell - turned and left whereupon they got back into the car and it slowly drove off : it was nothing really but it stayed in my mind as a perfect vignette of the sort of New York City street-scene stuff I'd imagine mystery books and thrillers were written from : all those arrivals and departures and exchanges and handshakes under the cover of suspicion and wonder - who knew after all where the guns were and how many or who these men represented and for whom their driver worked - their origination - thieves ? extortionists ? swindlers - any and all of that made up the play of the scene and just as obviously interesting as all that was at one end of the spectrum I was always taken as well by the activity at the other end of that spectrum - the lumber yards : at this time Manhattan still boasted its share of lumber yards and hardware wholesalers (these now have mostly passed as long ago any real estate used for these sprawling lumber-storage purposes was taken over for far more remunerative uses) and these lumber yards still in turn hosted the most perfect share of 'leftover' men - the sort of men who'd become scarce in the 'professional' faces of other New Yorkers : these were strong squat loud hefty rude pushy direct and to-the-point men in the 'lumber' trade and nothing more - they could listen as one spoke determine the need visualize the cutting and trimming of the wood ascertain which type of lumber and wood was needed grab heave throw and heft whatever it was - all the while barking commands writing on clipboards moving materiel and adding up and seeking the needed payments - all in one swift move of the streamlined brutal business of lumber-picking and delivery within the squashed and vertical confines of a screaming-back Manhattan - many a time I thought of seeking employment within one of these lumber-supply mills had I really the dire need and necessities of desire to do so (I never got to that point and was sure I'd be rejected no less) but nonetheless I watched in faint awe always as these men congregated between jobs or hawked at curbside their jabs and directives to the forklift men and the loaders and truckmen parked there : sawdust in the air the sweet-harsh smells of sap and cut wood the fire of saws and trimmers all amidst the blasted air of whatever the outside weather was - the confines of these lumber-yards too were cramped and often half covered and half inside and out of certain weathers but the overall scurry and activity covered all bases and grounds - trucks ambling in and out of the load-yard with its gas pumps and bays people and yard-hands milling about or quite busy at a task and otherwise-occupied trucks open at the curb loading OR unloading their freight cargoes - I loved it all and figured it to be the modern day's equivalent of the old horse and wagon yards and tree-cutters jack-posts of old - the contrast being that Manhattan having already been built over and structured two or three times was as unlike any of these open-post and fielded original settlements with their constructions and cuttings and forests and fields as could be and YET it still somehow held all of that activity and fascination and laborman's charm for my sore eyes - a bedraggled wonderland to be sure - and within it all I recognized always more than was there and because of it I had to do something : I smoked while twisting yarn I grimaced while breaking smiles I shook hands with the Devil's minions and had salad with the Pope Mary Quant Theodore Kheel Michael J. Quinn Henry Barnes and Geldzalder too I stayed up for days at the Wayward Hotel making ice machines melt Marlon Brando Greta Garbo Pocahantas and Mickey Rooney too all this as I wanted to run away to some African Missionary Placement Test Deadman's Graveyard in the sun and I asked my father I said 'who am I?' and there was no reply I asked my sister Jonah who said back to me 'you are the ending of whatever was and that's that' I asked the neighbor's cat-faced girl in Apt. 20d and all she did was smile back and rub her hands all over me 'you are to be frank just what I was waiting for ever and before too long I'll shade the apple-dumplings your way or closer than they are and by that smile you can know I'm yours forever - sincerely Audra' - so many words I loved and sought to hear in some confessional mode : hearts within my sleeves and dirty fingers in the pipe : the broiling sun was orange and turning up in the most unlikely places and every moment later than before I wanted to cry out 'Zeno's Paradox will help us!' and I wanted to explain just the same to anyone who'd listen 'Fermat's Last Theorum' but before I could they all had drifted away except for two little kids cutting words into the tree nearby 'what's that?' I said to myself and read 'there shouldn't be anything open that's closed and the last Columbus who was here SHOULD have known that ! H.T. and K. M. Forever!!' and that was all they'd carved and I saw the tree was bleeding elsewhere and losing leaves at an alarming rate : snack food dunder-haven margaritas and the whole Bronx Zoo!].

Saturday, August 09, 2008


231. HOW TO READ THE BIBLE (Chicago to New York):

It wasn't never was just about sending something forth : I met the guy from Montana once - he had a glimmering smile and he had his cousin 'Angelita' along visiting from Chicago - the two of them made an incomplete version of some strange American character traveling around the country in a Japanese car looking for nothing much but 'mostly checking out colleges and antique stores' as if that incongruous combination somehow replicated the divergence of American national interest or something like that countrywide : I never knew but when we got to Small World Coffee it was closed for the first week of August - convenient vacation time plus replacement of all the refrigeration and freezer units - I knew about the downtime from hearing it from Matt an acquaintance behind the counter who was one morning talking with the refrigeration specialist about the upcoming shut-down and replacements but I'd simply forgotten about it until we came upon the darkened and uncharacteristically empty coffee-shop : for only a moment I was perplexed and then it all came back to me so we simply walked around the block to another one : much the same and much different too and Angelita who by this time had asked me to call her either Marian or Claire but NEVER Angelita ('it's sounds so fucking Spanish' she said) had asked if I "do this every morning" and I said "yeah mostly - as soon as I get off the train I come over here and sit for a while with a coffee - it's nice and it gives me a minute to get my head together and think where I am and what I'm doing - do some reading or write some more notes about things and I watch carefully each morning the sun as it peers over the tops of the nearby buildings across the street - I have learned even to gauge the seasons and the seasonal changes as they occur : the 'position' of the sun you know is quite swiftly-changing and quite precise too and I often feel like an ancient Sun-follower watching this great orb with some regularity fling itself across our skies or at least in some way be 'flung' or whichever non-scientific terminology you'd care" - she shrugged and didn't quite get it anyway so we moved on and then she said "you know it's like that where I live too - although I don't often really notice it except when I'm driving or something and the sun suddenly starts blinding me through the windshield where it didn't before" and I said "yeah - it's like that exactly as it moves about you only notice that as it affects what you do - I guess" and she said "yeah I know - there's a lot of car accidents and motorcycle crashes by us which are caused by that blinding sun as drivers just can't see and are momentarily blinded" - and I began thinking what an odd end-result all of this was to whatever ancient paths of worship or reverence for the Sun people of whatever ilk once had - Egypt Mesopotamia Syria Aztec or Mayan - whichever - it certainly seemed a long way down from the heights of that old ethos when Mankind was searching searching and searching for more of what became 'Religion' in its own crippled sense : Sun-God to Male-God to Control-Deity on and on now NOTHING but some sort of human anarchy everywhere (and I also wanted to say there are accidents near everyone you idiot ! but I realized that such youthful self-centeredness was just a figure of her speech too) and then I said "well Claire Marian Angelita in your hometown Chicago groove have you ever read Saul Bellow?" and she said "yeah but only as I've had to - for school and stuff - he's OK but seems to go on and on and really it's all old-fashioned stuff anyway" and I was startled again to realize that perhaps to young people Bellow WAS old-fashioned already whereas to me (like 1970 Mr. Sammler's Planet or something) he once seemed to verge just right on the crest of dealing with the 'new' modernity as it occurred - surly bleak cantankerous and moody city folk dealing with the society changing around them - but that view was all different now and anyway everything else had changed too : there was a time when Saul Bellow Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth - to name just three - represented some flying wedge of a new American grand literacy amidst a middle-America trying to come to terms with itself - that too now gone and they've all been reduced to curious names in some old log of time people who once were scribes who 'scribed' before any of it was electronic ephemeral stupid or vague like now : "las paredes oyen" she said - meaning 'the walls have ears' which baffled me a bit because I didn't know what she was referencing with that so I asked and of course she rattled on about something of her home and friends catching everything and it all ending up these days on some sort of computer bulletin board that everyone reads and how nothing anyone does anymore or says is sacred or kept secret and what she meant by that was how old these 'old writers' whom kids were made to read in high school and would be in college (which no one really actually read anyway - there were now 'so many ways to get around that') spent all that time struggling and fighting with the turmoils within themselves and making up dark unseemly characters and personifications for feelings and occurrences to get points and philosophies across and how today that was all so seemingly 'silly' because it's all EVERYTHING'S out in the open and it all just gets posted and put up and everyone's friends read it and talk back and exchange messages and nothing's hidden and everyone just babbles on electronically about whatever's on their minds - a different soliloquy of life at each moment to be sure - I was amused by her points as she made then but I was just as much in a way impressed at her glibness and swiftness in talking through all these points with such lightness and without any dark or somber reflection (the sort of old-line literary habits I'd grown so accustomed to) and I wondered in my turn if this really was some bright and brash new world having overtaken us or if instead this all was just some Chicago aberration I hadn't known of before - I wasn't sure either way that I'd be comfortable with any of it - all these light and airy people besides making me nervous to be around just oftentimes also made me sick - plain and simple - but I soldiered on and the three of us did somehow manage to keep it going and kept talking the usual back and forth stuff (even though really all I'm doing is relating what Angelita said since it was so curious to me or at least fresh and different and female - after all her companion was just a regular male-of-the-species and of little interest to me if I must say so) : and then I told her how I'd always wanted (and wished I had) to learn another useful current language something like Spanish or French so as to be readily able to just converse read or understand any of it with ease and how I did have 4 years of Latin which of course gave me a leg up big-time on everything in English plus those other languages too but I told how it still wasn't really something you could 'use' to speak with in a general about-town fashion as such and she said "yeah I know but we had to learn all this crap in school - they give you choices of course but also they first force sample courses down your throat in early grades - like I did have Spanish and French too as introductory courses but went back to Spanish and learned it pretty well but I could never get into the 'speaking' of French - all that twisting of the tongue and funny ways of saying things just winded up always making me horny - if you can dig that - and it made me laugh too to see how it always felt like you should be making love or something while speaking it - but anyway knowing Spanish is cool enough but it's not really important."
"And then you go around saying 'there's nothing like contentment' when you know it isn't really that at all and you're being shadowed by something but you don't know what : some fearsome and looming black cloud or some giant white whale - all the same at that point - and the only response you have or find to have is the idea of changing essences and trying to understand the doubts and shadows of things and not the real things themselves and it all becomes a huge game of charades or some form of shadow-boxing somehow aligned with planetary things - so little you know and so little needed to know for it's ALL at that point run on pure intuition if only you can just get out of the way" I was talking that way because she wanted to know what I could say if I had to say it all on the impulse of the moment on the spur off the cuff and all that - it was some form of impression/expression slam poetry ad-lib stuff they did in her drama school (she said) though it was nothing I'd heard of before but it was surprisingly easy I found - although I knew not really how LONG it could have been sustained and she said it was pretty good much different than most and enjoyable to listen to - she said I'd probably have done good at that and would have gotten an 'A' for sure but I said "screw that none of that would have ever matted to me - I do this stuff all the time and it's old hat - I just don't call it what you do."

Saturday, August 02, 2008

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (the story of Feltville)

230. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (the story of Feltville):

It was always (had to be) something like punch-drunk love or some riddler’s oasis on the threshold of vague time : the abandoned mill at the bottom of the river down in the deep valley where no one goes – a lone and forgotten place filled with ruins and old buildings and graves from another day long ago – an entire community lived here (Feltville) in a sort-of meritocratic communal fashion – plebians workers drones and leaders : church school home farm and fare : a jumble of little places now barely discernable and only the largest of structures remain – the old meeting hall the church house the broad building used for school and socials and the once-much-larger rows of housing now with but a few remaining and others leaning and with the only true evidence of all which once was here being the lines of trees and shrub which used to ring the places that were once important - an old brick-kiln oven yard a flagpole-centered village oval old paths through the big trees and down to the waterway as one makes the path there are all sorts of evidences of the old mill-work the plant the offices the rock-walls and cartage slopes for wagon and man and beast YES YES it’s all there in some fashion and the true excitement of discovery is about for all to partake : stumble-stones graveyards little piles of heaped rubble old foundation walkways lookouts baths and sheds : ‘could’a been a really wonderful place’ someone uttered ‘and they had ‘free-love’ too’ another said ‘plenty of kids about I bet and for sure they didn’t die out for lack of people – not with all that porkin’ going on’ the wiry one said and then the old-timer spoke up ‘it was 1841 and everything was still wide open – the very idea of Utopian communities was about taking off – all those stern New Englanders were breaking down their stuff into looser configurations - communes and sacred communities and Nature-Worship and the like - this was all an off-shoot of those early days and it worked here for thirty years too – plenty of graves attest to that – but it’s little known and not much mentioned either but at one point everyone stopped here – all them crazy-commune-preacher types and there was regular circuit they all ran speaking and preaching at one place or another but it wasn’t a religion at all in the ‘religious’ sense – it was self-sufficient self-knowledge nature-worship love humankind dignity and salvation somehow all rolled up in one and yeah you’re right probably throw in lust there too – but what ever made more sense than that anyway?’ and then he nodded as to himself and looked skyward and said – while walking away – ‘it’s all over anyway and nobody now gives a damn about nothing’.

Friday, August 01, 2008



I was a bomb-thrower for a week : someone intermittently setting off flashes and fires which burned quickly but then one minute I just got up and said to myself 'that's it it's over screw him may he drop dead in his tracks if he ever says my name again' and that was it for the telling of the Aleck story that was it at the stupid doctor's place and his stupid couch and that was also it for the enforced enrollment I'd been given for 'psychological counseling' by the draft authorities who'd chased me down : and all those years back now seem meaningless and unaffected of anything : isn't it like when you want to say 'do you have any belief systems at all? are there things you really believe in? do you have any contradictions you want to talk about? are things as sure as you're saying they are?' - anyway that's the sort of notion which went through my mind as I lingered (perhaps too long) at the waterfront on the old side of the harbor - across actually from the New York City waterfront - all of which you can see clearly and strikingly from the piers along the old Black Tom coast from what is I guess Jersey City - but no matter I was was standing there with just a few people about watching the boats glide by what few there were and the occasional yacht and Circle Line boat plod along the water - I was thinking of Robert Fulton and all that mess too - steam power Whitman the Erie Canal and the slave boats too (this all was once the sight of the Morris Canal which was used to navigate the small craft used to pick up runaway slaves on their ways north - but all that was long ago and now everything was different : Jersey City's crazy-junk Financial District has patterned itself on the Wall Street district right across the water (I could touch it I felt and knew) and after all it really was 'right there' and the gaping nothingness where once the Twin Towers stood was yet quite visible as well as all the construction and swarming of the people laboring to rebuild (something whatever whenever - a vast philosophical void left by the cratered destruction and filled now with vague and lost/homeless nothings of everything BUT any substance of philosophy) and I missed it all - missed those stupid old towers with their canyon'd stupidities and awful notions of height and linearity and steel and bulk - the swarthy streets around which were littered at one time with the newspapers and coffee stalls of a million commuters and the fabricated necessities of everyday living - business and clothing and the patterns of banter and booze and noise - now but rubble and memory everywhere and the lingering shadows of the 'destruction' though gone in reality had never left in essence : a strange differential bearing upon itself the weltering marks of punishment and guile and retreat and salvation EVERYTHING all mixed up as one : and people it seemed lived with that - boats glided by as I said and onlookers gawked - eyes and faces staring out wondering about something looking at the harbor watching the waters and trying trying to imagine to think to recreate to reconstruct some essential and now lost material of life as it was - of course as it never could be too - but the memory of Mankind stays for too long at the fair and the beliefs and contradictions and wonderings I was thinking about I wanted to mention to anyone around me : stop the parade and ask say something aloud find someone willing to talk - but I was sullen and lone and lost and did nothing - and I knew that around me were people of no substance and with no real mind to speak of these matters the commingled glue of the doing and the getting of their times and lives alone but nothing of that mattered for I was living internally - some better sort of bath which produced the things of another world one with the depth and presences of the very sea before me and like some Ishmael facing Ahab of old I adduced from those twin sensations the third one of acceptance and knew that to go on meant just to go on - to be deliberate with proper speed and all due respect for the things of the world but no more and to rule possessed as a man with many things would rule his kingdom possessed of rightness and candor and care and the privileged matter of the mind at hand - the vast ancient world of spirit and philosophy stretched before me in each direction the past being that as it became anew a future sublime and resting upon a properly maintained present : a summit of leisure and thought and wisdom and knowledge - finding the ancient mariners of the hearts and the minds of all Mankind as the myriad days of old would reconsider and re-group before me : I watched the far waters just as I watched the people from my Melville soul seeking the source from the bleak November of my own soul to the upended hands and the pleas and supplications of fifteens of millions of others - I knew these land and waters to be both old and ancient AND new and bold - either way I was their 'catch' of the moment and - stepping from some entirely other place as I did - I understood only some of all what before me transpired but sought to uplift the many by my mere presence : writing a scripture coming forth from even Paradise's own blasted hole.