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.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


289. I ALONE TO TELL IT VENTURE: (wglein*), nyc, 1968:

I was trying to work this constantly like a mule in the mud a handful of hay in a storm - something to hold me back - and it was only the day I found the old doorway in the rear room of the old Northern Dispensary that I took real interest in anything and it led to (after a slow creaking opening bereft of any oil and crusted with one hundred years of silence and neglect let alone any real working hinges) a small stone set of stairs down into a mud room which led in turn to an old wet muddy path out of what seemed the building and along into the streets below - as it were UNDERNEATH everything I'd ever known - and I followed it through the wet darkness and tripped and slid and wondered about the air and the light and everything until I came after some fifteen or twenty minutes to what I sensed was a deeper area of water and reed and some form of pooling sludge or whatever and slipping my way through all that too I espied before me the low marsh of the seeping riverside the very Hudson I'd known and loved to find and realize ONLY THEN THAT MOMENT that for all these years while the world above had been a'building with tar and concrete and wood and mineral this place far below had remained the same and what it apparently was and ever had been was the way of salvation for runaways and criminals and slaves and the like - a secret underground passage from the Village Dispensary right down into the shore-depths of the North River now pretty much referred to as Hudson and what this was was the freedom passage for so many to secret-midnight rendezvous plural to waiting boat and ship which would scurry them away and over to the Jersey shore for points north far and away Canada eventually after Catskill and Adirondack and Vermont border towns and all the rest : one glorious subterfuge by which so many had been saved and fled to wherever it was their salvaged lives took them - Underground Railway Elizabeth NJ Buffalo NY wherever points north Hudson and northwest beyond that : I'd stumbled onto a Manhattan secret and even to this very day TO-DAY as I passed the Dispensary now all savage looking and tired and soiled and abandoned yet still in place and still there awaiting whatever I nod and I know what beneath it lies and these days I speak of now are 40 years past the day today but this still lives REAL AND VOUCHSAFED by me alone as far as I have heard tell at least I ALONE TO TELL IT VENTURE and it was here in those beleaguered earlier days too that Poe himself has stumbled and struggled for treatment in and out - a form of early socialized civic-medicine for the indigent and the broken and all those in need and now this post-society form of breed and the compunction by which its punctilious ways are forwarded has erased all this from memory : contact industrial and corporate and municipal ALL of that has rolled over and taken down the old person-to-person reverence with which we once lived and this old dispensary building all its old red brick and slumping steps and narrow crooked entryway and even its weird triangularly placed plot at the convergence of other now more-modern streets all combine to make it somehow the something it was not ever and is not now and the finding of this underground passage of great fascination was to be as if the foundational steps of Heaven itself had been stumbled onto all Heavenward and skyward and all that and I of course immediately went in my thoughts to some Mark Twain Injun Jim Huck Finn grand litany of story and escape and adventure and loss and gain but all to no avail for I needn't have done any of it as the reality of it all made pale by comparison anything I could conjure up and only now by some secret compunction of mindless interference do even our subconscious longings grow any better tales than this : the midnight rendezvous the grand escape the secreted shuffle to transient and transit points : I too had miraculously myself escaped from a backwater of the day to a place far richer and dense - a place where the old resounding bells of the past were still ringing far-sightings distant and bright - men and women on the run with a sliding passage of wagon and carriage and mud and boat in secret dark moments all pledged between people in agreement on their mission to safe and to free those in other bondage and it went and I stayed down there as long as I could wondering too what behind me I'd left ? a closed door that would not open for me again a sealed hinged not ready to move ? was I stranded here within ? I knew none of these answer and so because of that instead I strode straight out into the running water of the Hudson's murky edge and after adjusting my breathing to the cold and the wet I made my way up through mud and marsh to the higher ground above and once I knew where I was again I boosted myself over the low trucking fence by Washington Street and the end of Spring and made my way landward once - and happy I was in the twilight's mysterious awakening.

*Whatever 'wglein' it was the name or the letters scrawled in a common hand in some black paint or something like it across the top left of the doorway I entered onto the facing wall opposite.


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