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.

Friday, November 28, 2008


251. HANGING OUT AT THE OLD CHURCH - 'God So Demanded a Fealty' - (nyc, 1970):

I couldn't feature any other aspect of things except continuity and simplicity - the sort of things which came from steadiness and awareness and because of that I'd often stop into places where there would be something to learn - something anything no matter what - the small Negro churches tucked in old cinder block buildings - they'd not think twice to let me or anyone in if you simply approached - singing along with a hymn or two and listening carefully to all the rising cadences of the preachers whether extreme preachers worldly preachers or strictly religious conservative ones : those intent on saving hearts and souls had always to be contrasted with the others who took the precise opposite tack of God benefiting believers and awarding wealth and possessions and money and gold to those who firmly believed and it was still a big deal - that sort of Rev. Ike ideology was - all through many of the black churches tucked here and there and way uptown in Harlem there was even a temple dedicated to that proposition - a really true and exalted Rev. Ike Temple - but sometimes the distances between these two forms of worship were so extreme as to render everything useless - prayer was hope and hope was prayer and nothing else made a difference really and that was the point of view I took as I sat on metal chairs or cheap flexible pews to listen to the words of one or another - either for comfort or care I couldn't decide - a sometimes warmth and a sometimes chill but always a refuge and somewhere to be : it had always seemed to me that poverty had its own methods of going about things and that (it always happened) when situations got so dire and extreme and the people were left with nothing but their own local ghetto - when businesses and stores and all the rest had given up and moved out - that was when the small converted storefront churches came in - taking over one after another defunct building fronts and almost really never 'looking' like churches yet bearing the simple signs like 'Shiloh Baptist Reformed' or 'Blazing Light Heavenly Church' or 'Right of God's Glory Temple' and all the rest - always then with some minister's name tagged on as if they were the author of the book so entitled or they were the ones claiming the prize of both the title and the church AND the ear of God Himself - and the people loved it and they'd dress all up to come in - big hats and store-bought Sunday finery and shiny shoes and big handbags - and it all made for a stunning and perplexing show of both Glory and Beseechment yet I always wondered why this God so demanded a fealty which resulted in nothing more than showy clothing and cheap attempts at portraying some weird form of worldly success such as this clothing supposedly showed - it was never understood by me but I never really cared either - and I knew I could never partake nor grasp what black religion like this was about anyway : idols and images and the trite symbols and trappings of 'worldly' success so as to prove a spiritual success - perplexing all the time and it did always seem that as soon as civilization crumbled and the local social structure moved out the small storefront churches and religions moved in but in any case by this time overall Christianity - all of it - had disproved itself of any real value and had become a mere set of markers by which to note and declaim various 'achievements' one of which was somehow the claim a person made upon his or her own soul : in some incredible (and indecipherable) fashion all these church yappers seemed to have it smugly in control how they would go about or had already gone about achieving their salvation (on purely personal terms) even as they declaimed the source of it for all Mankind - oddly disproving then in their way how they'd gone about the selfish achievement of their own destinies and salvations - selflessness vs. pure selfishness - something I never did quite understand and no one was ever able to explain to me how all religion wasn't a mere vanity : in any case I went around everywhere I could and did eventually come to my own terms and enlightenments with any personal (and very 'quiet' by contrast to these many noisome rabbles) structures of belief and credulity and no matter anyway that I'd seen religion as yet another form of exploitation and nothing more - the exploitation of weak people by self-appointed power brokers in mitres robes and gold and scabbards lording it over the weaker folk with gibberish and magical incantations chanted and spoken along with control-manias of 'secret' information insider tactics old-boy networks and darkened corridors of chant and sorcery- each item of which the weakest fell for the hardest and what IS control anyway really but a political tactic of monstrous proportions - proportions worthy of death and warfare propounded for a cause and in this case a 'cause' made up of holy writ and certain inalienable traits of power and origination by which thousands and thousands and thousands of people needlessly died in all their religious crusades fiery 30-year wars and inquisitional slaughters - no I found the tactics of warfare to be on a par with the tactics of religion any day and thus could never quite understand the crazed-post-African freed-slave tactics of all those singing and dancing and wailing and yelling 'religiousiers' in all of their down-home churches and found none of it any different than any stupid Easter in any St. Patrick's Cathedral anywhere uptown OR downtown.

Friday, November 21, 2008


250. 'NONETHELESS BY GOD THEY TRIED' (nyc, the Bowery, 1971) - The Naked Lunch Cafe:

Writing is a place to live : I felt as if I was in a curious place where nothing happened - try as I might I couldn't find Goodness in either direction - and such findings then made it difficult to go on or at least to forge ahead : I had somehow moved into a mixed place wherein both the glare of the supposed felicities of a good life as seen in the hundreds of people always milling about the colorful shop windows the jewelry and shoe assortments the girls misting perfumes towards the passing crowds and (for contrast) the dark lines of Bowery people and their tired bent-over outlooks and crazed prancing fantasies as they shuffled around in their own half-light (a dimness and sadness which belied all the happiness and glare of the shops just mentioned) BOTH these things rolled into one another and instead of clashing they simply and silently merged - so that at any moment a wealthy shopper loaded down with happiness and goods could turn a corner and come face-to-face with any denizen of the dark whose outstretched hand and crumpled hat would be asking for something 'small change spare any food for a good decent man I got nowhere else' - but no one listened : no one heard : and me that was somewhere mixed in between the two like a soiled shoelace running discreetly at a low-level pace between hundred dollar shoes on their way to somewhere else - actually I kind of liked the Bowery back then when it was just getting around to somehow re-branding itself from the hell-pit of despair into something more approaching just a forgotten blackhole into which everything had fallen - all the desperate storylines and booze-tales of murder death and mayhem had been slowly transformed into the same sort of broad and guttural decay which had taken over most of the other parts of the city - or at least the parts where any modicum of money no longer reached or if it did reach brought anything worthwhile : there were new layers of decay and rot everywhere - 15-year old junkies and Puerto Rican cross-dressers dying on door steps one after the other in a weird melange of punk-era desolation and ghetto black militant ranting - men would throw old sheets down on the sidewalks outside the Bowery Hotel or any of the old corner mission or food-joints and you'd see for sale the junkiest refuse of any trash-yard anywhere and it was all being sold somewhat incredibly by crazed and drunken or spaced out and violent bums black-militant hipsters drug-addicts or people with par-boiled complexions slowly dying of something in a mist of alcohol pot acid and rage - they'd start screaming and ranting at will even at passers-by who'd be their supposed customers if times were gentler (perhaps) - ten-cent piles of old lamps and bad shoes twenty-five cent luggage with broken-down snaps and locks - it was anything and everything all together at once and the screaming fierceness of the 'Bowery approach' was - if nothing else - some twisted new approach to marketing that somehow never did make it off the ground...and then these same people would slowly drift off - leaning against a building (the same spot where they'd just been raging) they'd sleep the slobbering sleep of filth and unconsciousness that any liquored-up bum had ever slept and just like that someone else would step in and take over the sales-pitches for them and it went on like this all day and into the night - bottles of booze and cigarettes passed from hand to hand the same queer words used over and over the loquacious and foul-mouthed denigrations of some subculture of a nervous underground which was in itself a subculture of something else - and it all went on into a broken social-fabric of nothingness hate angst and fever-pitch anger with everyone so caught up in their own personal poverties and situations that no solution ABSOLUTELY no solution could ever be forthcoming and all the missions and prayer-meetings and cheap meals in the world weren't going to solve the situation but nonetheless by God they tried ! shawl-driven preachers down on their hemware walking straight into little crowds of bums and down-and-outers to spread the Word of some ghoulish ghastly deliverance offered up as grace or sacrifice or treasure - and if you wanted to eat you had to listen to the 'God spiel' for at least 15 minutes in any style you chose - dozing gnawing on wood spitting up picking your nose scratching your head or milling about but you had to be there and be seated at the least for a few moments - easier for God's own Grace to seep in - and the lawyers with gold watches watched in case any one fell or got hurt on the mission's watch (God's money as good as anyone else's you know - so said to me by Leroy Lokum Lench Armitage III 'Lawyer to the Poor and Indigent' his card read) and it too was all bullshit just like the rest but people had to eat and needed bathrooms and all the rest so they went (along the street at any time the dark brown of trucks and cars and wagons and barrels and the men who worked the street knew every nook and cranny) and the old opera company over on the side street tried thriving but ended up barely surviving and the 'Naked Lunch Cafe' (named after a Bill Burroughs book) over on 6th and Second Ave - for the most part - took the overflow crowd and fed them well - but this bunch paid after they ate.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ME AND LILLIE MAE (nyc, 1968)

249. ME AND LILLIE MAE (nyc, 1968):

'The guy named Fisk was just in from the Comstock Lode when he arrived on the scene along Lake Erie where propeller-driven winds were pushing the sailboats low across the water : it was race to the finish and the winner was to be the one who lived and he alone would tell the story'...I'd heard this all before and just gave up listening because I was solid-bored and it was all pretty tasteless to me just the same and no matter and my new best friend Lillie-Mae said she was willing to go along with me to the horse-stables over on 71st where I sometimes hung out and so we went together like a couple of real rich kids just out for a jaunt and once arriving there she went into a story about golden-chuted horses raining down from Heaven in a silence known only to God and that caught some guy's attention who said he'd buy us some food or a meal if she would just keep talking for a while - since he was lonely and a widower man without any companionship and he thought 'kids' were just the greatest thing in the world - by which of course he meant people like me and Lillie-Mae not kids at all just young people busting things up and 'making opportunities out of things his generation had passed up on long ago' - that was his quote and I always remembered him saying it almost with a sadness that could make you cry but I never knew why - I mean even if it were true (which it wasn't of course) why blame an entire generation of people for something that just had dawned on you alone and for all we knew he himself was a loser who never did anything at all anyway but I noticed that when people start getting old they begin thinking about death and old times and things they might have done but never did and all those regrets just start catching up to them and then BAM! one day it's just the opposite and they're daft - crazy foreverafter until they die all misty-eyed and wistful over the (suddenly) 'wonderful' days they'd lived through and the great times they'd had as young people back in the times when times were right and nothing was better than the old days except the old days themselves - so as I said I never really knew what to believe with people like this but anyway he took us across to Columbus Ave. and we had a couple of nice sandwiches and some soda and coffee and things and he sat there mesmerized for a long time just listening to us go back and forth about stuff - much of it what we'd just make up as we went along but he didn't know - and it was all on him so we enjoyed the eating and the talking too and occasionally he'd know somebody as they passed and the hello's and nods and handshakes all were about the same - turned out they all were like neighbors and building-mates of each other and their little block along 67th Street or somewhere and I guess this was just how they hung around passing their time - equally old and probably equally diverse too in the different ways they'd achieved their status and place and age : money is hard to come by until you come by it once and then it just starts bringing in more and manages to stay around - or so it seemed anyway - so that by witnessing in this way I at least got to learn about rich people from a different angle but an up-close one : and then we went back to the stables which were really that and inside the huge building there was like a riding academy and an indoor circular track or circuit or whatever it's called where people ran their horses or trotted and cantered or just moped around with their horses for the human/horse company and bonding it gave and there were very many expensive-looking riding jodphurs and fancy girls with straight blond hair and little hats and stuff and the guys too all were stiff and uppity about themselves and one could tell the old stables had been around for years and generations - back when horses were just normal things that everyone had - and layers of family traditions were overlapping like a cotillion or dance or coming-out party all the time for riches and wealth and its handing over to the next generation but it little mattered to us - we just stayed around and most people either thought we were hired-hands or visitors just as we were and no one really bothered us and it was kind of fun - the guy who'd fed us stayed around too and we hung back until it was pretty late and then he said he'd hopefully see us again real soon and we agreed to that and he left and then we too left a bit later and hauled off on foot across the dark park over towards the east and when we got to Fifth Ave. we jumped the wall and went down to the avenue walkway where there were hundreds of people walking in either direction and all across the avenue down to the end of the park by 57th the crowds were big and everything was lit-up as usual and the audaciously disgusting GM building as it was lit up the corner with fake radiance and it dwarfed by its light the stones of the old Plaza Hotel and the rest but people no matter hung around - all wealthy coats and patrons and then plenty of gawkers and tourists too but all the big stores down along Fifth were filled with people and lights and goods and the crowd at the skating rink by Rockefeller Center was cramming the promenade there and it was all crazy but fun - we walked all through it arm-in-arm enjoying the immensity of what was all around us going on and she'd look up or past me to see the different things and then she'd say weird things like 'never had such a hoot at rambling' or 'no difference I bet 'tween Heaven and this 'cept my daddy said never to go there' and then she kissed me - and I wasn't ever sure what any of that stuff meant but it was like hillbilly talk and I dug it then and still smile over it now - we eventually got to her place on 19th Street and I stayed overnight a few nights there - she was good at everything how should I say - and the I left and we vowed to stay friends and look each other up (but hell that was 1968 and that was a long long time ago) and I missed that wagon I guess as it went around the bend - but no matter - there was one time I remembered she told that guy that night we were eating how her theory about marriage (he was going on about his dead wife) was that one's wife either became like a sister or like an enemy and either way that didn't sound good to her - and another thing she brought up when he was asking broadly about 'religious' ideals or beliefs (like if we had any) and she said some stuff she claimed to know from old Jewish studies - how (memory here) 'In the beginning God said 'Let there be Light' and there was and from open space a flame burst out and God crushed that light to atoms and now myriads of sparks are hidden in our world but not all of us behold them and the self-glorious - the ones who walk arrogantly upright - will NEVER perceive one but the meek and the modest with eyes downcast they see it and 'ALL light is sown for the pious' and that's the story of divine creation' and that sounded good to me but I never thought it went far enough and I always had my own ideas about that - Creation and the rest - until one day years later I was sitting on a train watching the morning sun arise over on the eastern horizon and thinking how ancient all of that was and the bare landscape stretched before me and all of nature's ritual and silence working together and it all just hit me - this idea behind really all creation and all religion and stuff and I realized the real ROOT of all this misinformation this charade this human error in fighting over the hows and whys and when of Creation and God too : the answer was GOD DIDN'T have to MAKE really a thing ! if within the course of His creation procedure He'd decided instead that all he had to do was to introduce to the spiritual cosmos (to the US within US) the CONCEPT of everything (all the stuff we endlessly argue at as religions and belief systems and the rest) and we would do the rest - He didn't need to do anything then except to throw out to the ether the very IDEA of Creation and all our place within it - the means and modes of choice and diameter and process and ruling and system - WE would run with it and create the layered-upon-layered layering of all the Life we lead everywhere and forever - we'd do it all and HE didn't make a thing - we'd made everything according to his introduction of the possibilities - and this creation goes on and on and every probable and possible is still being created over and over anon as are all ideas that go with everything - time death after-life right wrong chance probability regulation anarchy mayhem peace function color depth texture light dark internal exterior skeleton joint health disease plague growth diminishment and the most minute and unspoken things to the most huge and the loudest and overwrought - it's all the possibilities of US and all God did was give us the ONE concept the duality the human/divine dichotomy to work with and we would do the rest and every story was a story we'd made up and every idea of creation and time and death and Heaven and Hell and all that - WE'd done it all and it's ALL right and it's ALL wrong - every idea every version every value they all exist together and in some equal sense are ALL correct - God didn't make any of the errors - WE DID ! and I figured that was why so many times a person could see something that happened and understand immediately that 'that' just had to be - grasped perfectly the 'why' of something as if it filled a need which was projected by the absence at the same time (something like 'necessitated presentiment' or even Plato's 'ideal states') so that was my understanding of matter and material from that time on : and there were plenty of times after that I knew I had missed out on opportunities but I never regretted anything and so many of the people I'd see or meet anyway ended up going nowhere and if they didn't die they just ended up normal as people do - there's a certain period in everyone's life when the cape of 'outlandish' is thrown over the shoulders and then it slowly dwindles away as one realizes it affects nothing except the fey bravado of posture and stance and even the most violent of opinions satiate themselves eventually.

Friday, November 07, 2008


248. A GRAVE OFFENSE (at the burial site of Stephen Crane):

Someone once told me I'd be a natural playing drums - this after 12 years of piano instruction of course - so you could imagine my let-down - but they're both percussion instruments so I was so greatly crestfallen that I couldn't simply hit the keys harder and make them pay : my way of situating the situation within my personal life and I never did like organized music anyway - all those symphonies and chorale groups sitting down together with their earnest looks and faces and uniformed-look clothing as they played or sang from stages and pits either tiered or simply set out in really bad rows with music stands and oboes and all that : every cliche in the book has already attended every player of a violin anyway - 'Suzuki-method' or not - so I just never let it concern me and the old ways of fear and loathing and all that fire and brimstone stuff I left in the back pages of my very old copy of Huckleberry Finn wherein on the very last page all Huck does anyway is escape (west west into something very else) and if the story-book pageant of anyone's life eventually does run down and they slow and wither and die (as we all do) I'd have really liked to have seen an old-age Huck Finn many years on telling another great American story and that was my hint to anybody listening and they can take their drumsticks and 'stick 'em where the sun don't shine' - curious phrase that I heard a lot of when I was living in the country but now I was in the city deep city and anyway it was before all that and I was trying hard to read things and found myself enmeshed in Giles Goat Boy by John Barthes and the feeling I got was (later proven to be correct) that he (as the author) wasn't writing simple stuff for simple readers - if you wanted to read hard and dense then he was the writer for you : no compromises no half-measures and HE DIDN'T WANT any lazy-reading types and back then I could handle that OK but in today's world I really don't think Barthes anymore would have a chance but whatever I DIGRESS - my favorite sport of all time was reading those old English guys or at least English language guys like Sterne and Fielding and the rest - funny simple curious elementary-of-language but only in their own way each - and now we've so broken it all down that the sad sad English language is busted apart and fairly useless - used for commerce and used for lies mostly - but really no one cares and either way it's a wash for Civilization (the kind with the capital 'C' is over and done) - my mother's dead and my father's dead too so the writing's on the wall and everywhere I turn there's nothing really to see BUT OH I should mention - today was again such a dreary day (I'm talking to myself) that I went again to Stephen Crane's grave and just sat there for a while thinking about things.
The thing about Stephen Crane's grave is it's not really Stephen Crane's at all - it's actually his father's gravesite : his father was a rather famed and wealthy enough Methodist minister or pastor with a great congregation and a home-church in Newark into which he was buried with much dignity and as this stern and dour fellow dismissed and disapproved greatly of Stephen's work and undertakings the afterthought that is Stephen Crane's gravesite is a small brick-stone far at the feet of the obelisk which recognizes the lordly father within the family plot of sorts - merely marked with a succinct 'Stephen' and perhaps a number - Crane's resting place is serious lonely and forlorn especially by contrast to the wildly elaborate and flamboyant Gypsy gravesites in the other 'active' parts of the cemetery (Evergreen Cemetery - on the border of Elizabeth/Newark) - for in this current area of burials are to be found Gypsy legends Gypsy Kings Queens stars and whatever other motley assortment of outrageous characters one can wish for - these large stones are etched and decorated with stories and tales portraits and scenes poems songs and epitaph replete with wonder and joy and a sometimes overwrought sense of decorum : Jesus and Mary and all the rest of the Sacred Heart crew are displayed profusely amidst the ribald nick-naming and story-telling of these fiery Romanys and by such contrast is Stephen Crane's grave sad forlorn insignificant and notable - and I mention these things only to be observant - the end-result of such a forceful life is shown by its contrast to the screaming and attention-grabbing power of the insignificant-by-contrast Gypsy personages sharing the same grounds (it's a large cemetery with wide expanses of old traditional areas of 18th and 19th century burials fully respectful of the Great God of Old which ends up in its rear corners at these raucous Gypsy sections - filling up every day - amidst weird rimmings of 1960's homes and duplexes just outside the fence filled with sloppy families of the present day - all their noise and loud cars and music can be heard within the comings and goings of the cemetery and just out of it - abandoned gas-stations factories parking areas and the rest : a totally weird site and one hard to absorb if absorbed as I usually was within the stern internalizations of Stephen Crane his grave his family and his era - Alas poor Rorick ! and all of that -- the silence of Crane is unsettling amidst all the now-accepted noise of a present-day which by its manners dismisses ahead of time any such notion of the sort of respect and homage Crane would be due - ah! had any of them but a brain worth a penny they'd know : instead the inveterate class-warfare of the living versus the dead goes on endlessly and these places while offering solace to both in a way offer solace to neither but also it must be said New York and its area is filled with such graveyards here and there tucked around with some even as leftover little squares and plots and appendages of where used to be fields and lees and as the roadways streets and trails took over many of these were simply moved taken away distressed forgotten about or plowed over without a care - how many bones of the dead are beneath us at any one time anyway - the vast geological history of the entire globe itself contains so many layers of time and people that it is surprising by what degree we do NOT trip on the dead : but most of this is kept hidden or forgotten and only in those references of church ritual and religious attendance are attentions and words brought to bear on the myriad levels of dead-dwellers underfoot - the dust and alchemy of bones and spittle the dear dead maggot-ridden corpses of the lights of day from millions of years of trouble and time : we hasten to say or we hasten to add what cannot be said or added to - we stand alive but for a moment and then bodily-dead as every corpse is for oh-so-long a time forever after - dust to dust and ashes to ashes as someone once might have said.
I guess it's always been pretty certain that things run downward things fall apart and eventually even the best lose all meaning - it's like that too with the tradition and the places of all these great old ideas the cemeteries once embodied - when once there really was grandeur and learning and dignity and all the rest - nowadays everyone's a cheap little know-nothing pimp running about getting things cheapening things acquiring piling up making noise babbling on trading junk for junk strutting about either like whores or junkies or both and the essence of the matter is that no one any longer knows for shit and those crapholes which pass for school pass nothing on because it's the same dunderheads who were 'them' then who're doing the teaching now - which is less teaching than mostly just placating and being done with that - so it's NO wonder nothing of any value gets passed on (even though in its 'word-play' quality it most certainly does get 'passed-on' and forgotten) - anyway now you go to a cemetery and it's mostly flamboyant crap just like in people's minds - you'll find Mickey Mouse figurines or any cartoon bullshit character stuffed animals toy planes and cars plastic guitars whatever all piled up on gravestones in some pathetic infantile fashion abetting a mental midget and that's their idea now of remembrance : like doodles and happy faces on a stupid memo pad : nothing more and only because people are deafdumbandstupid all together and like it that way and there's really nothing left to pass along anyway if it isn't already instilled along the way and it's just too bad but good for me (they can all rot in their own Hells) because at least the grand old traditional spots live on and like Crane's grave or something I can visit to find the turmoils and strife which occurred in the making of something that's lived on - I've been to many Allen Ginsberg Delmore Schwartz Isaac Singer to name just three - and always feel better and more wholesome and connected when I'm done so in light of yet another late Sunday Crane visit there better not be anyone to start on me about their tendentious bullshit ideas of 'value' and 'worth' as it refers to this present-day world because I'd just be apt to shoot 'em right in their very face and plant their twisted body face down and warm maybe two feet in the dirt and call that a grave offense.