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, January 17, 2010


(John Street, nyc 1967) -

...Only once, a good, wild sleep... (Being the tale of a youth at wild imagining time-traveling through this world - with lessons learned and somehow remembered).

I have said all this before (in my sleep) and I'll say it again I'm sure : there are ten million ways to waste time YES to waste time and a few good reasons (sometimes) to do so - one of them for me has always been to simply walk and the walk along John Street was always a good one because it allowed me to trace the progression of Manhattan Island's growth and people in a most obvious fashion starting from the base along the East River waterfront area (once much closer) and walking upwards or uphill past all the remnants of what once was - the old places the streambeds the rocks the old original church-settlements and the waterfront homes and buildings and trade terminals and - in their final extensions - the very last remnants of a time and place now long faded yet in all of these endeavors it was always possible for me to simply let the mind wander and find its own traces of time and place within which to dwell - for I have found the mind to be the one part of the human being which can still connect to the ether and bring forth communications with what is no longer and for any practical purpose - were someone to see me - I would be not there but somewhere else mingling and dwelling along the old paths and clumps of wood meadow fen and swamp past the old trees bent and drooping along the dirt paths where recently the Indians last passed and which of a sudden were being cut and dotted with small huts and dwellings of a newer sort and the wanderings of the sailors and dock people as they trekked inland and up for the hostelries and inns and taverns where they'd spend their time and find their passing pleasures and all and every part of me was able to make manifest the urges within which were left to merge with the times and places of my own choosing and - as I said - had someone tried to reach me they'd not find 'me' instead they'd find some other being representing me in passing and only in a wan manifestation of what inhabited the more modern day of our new-found pestilence and I'd rather sit alee of a tree or stump and watch the smoke from some chimney wire its way skyward than I'd want to co-mingle with the foul emissions of roadway and building which today has despoiled and ruined the pleasurable craft of living which was then prevalent and if it can be found again I'll bring forth to you the particular notations of those exact visits in time and place as I experienced them and recorded them in writing - witness of what was lived and what still exists just underneath the fair layer of reality we now so solidly and famously call ourselves and our day - unmasked it all is nothing but it's a fable and fiction we must by term live with today in order to make this mess work - and deep within everyman is the knowledge of this and the realization that NONE of this needs to be (if only we can disconnect that fabric which connects it all).
From the drink the drink there was nothing - swarms of fish and the bent over figures of men with nets or workers toiling through the mud banks bringing up whatever catch was there - on top of or under the mud : clams mussels oysters and fish - all the rest of a shore-side feast of the sort they used to hold for celebrations or seasonal festivals among the landed gentry - all those settlers of old the men who made the city the same ones now dead who linger on the edges : graveyards cemeteries and potter's fields filled with the indigent and lost - I am walking and thinking and going past the old generating station where Edison first transformed New York into his multi-volumed dream of light and energy and I'm watching the men as they go by me - today's men of the sort we make now - no more of high-hat and topcoat but instead the stern and the sure pacing themselves in a new time forged of money and all its muck - men who devalue words men who sink in that mud of old story-lines forgotten names and words of lore long gone and no one to care remains anywhere - to them it's all a figment of dollar and trade and percent and return and too bad for whomever is lost or loses no master for them these silent soldiers stare back sullen and forlorn in the savage knowledge of their time and death - nothing really to be gained by the gainsay just spent time a few moments more to mire in the passing fancy of imagined gold I RUE these men I laugh at their backs for they are reckless they are lost they swarm stairways at speeds unsafe with nothing to hold them no bannisters no foundation NOTHING to grab onto : lost minions and lost millions whether minutes seconds time or money it would all be the same for them to process : lost dogs surly sick distempered mutts and just as in my own life I pilot and pivot and turn to speak so to them I hold out at the least a hope for them of something : I am a Goodness Merchant I want to sing I wish to tell them to NOT despair that life goes on whether beleaguered rich poor or broken whether King or Knave no matter they can have it all and the spattered noise behind my mind is of gunfire staccato and all those who will die in fetid Asian swamps as they jump forward without thinking soldier to sailor and back ('where are you going ? where have you been ? what have you found to say to me ? - if anyone OH should ask me I am prepared (for their very simple souls) to speak : 'so here's the deal: life makes me squirm: life makes me laugh: life makes me sad: life makes me nervous: without it, in so many ways there's nothing at all with it in so many ways there's nothing at all I am - I persist in this - the sum total of all my parts' and I watch them to wonder how numb they really are).
It isn't like one is climbing Heavenward mind you reaching for some star with nothing to hold onto - we HAVE signposts and guidelines to grab we have golden bannisters unsullied in their ways by doubt and pestilence we have guiding golden lights AND at the same time we have the steady plow of Evil cutting furrows around us - each direction holding its row - something not unlike the man who raised an ant colony from Hell and found himself awed by how it had taken over the entire world had fixated him had grabbed him high and holy and unknowing whether it was - actually - an Evil or a Good (as if to sense the difference is all one ever needed) for there are shades of meaning everywhere : I slump at Fraunces Tavern thinking of this dream I sit at India House to watch the fat bankers roll in I gaze outward to watch the girls slide by - awakening in me each as they do some outlandish fancy thought of love where I want to be I see the dead soldiers recruiting their own : dead dead napalm-haze men in a trance I note how those who've returned fit right back in to the mordant dead Hell-Hole of Finance the means and the way of what they live : I squander no time ('59 Chevy grazes by like a minesweeper on patrol darting hedgehog curbside fury blowing the cover of each man within us) I see Pal Perini the baker as he steps down from the flour wagon heaped high in burlap bags and in his jump and step I note is JOY real joy a living loving man at work : Oh if only that I could be ! all that is a part of what I felt as I marveled in the negativity of what I lived amidst and while walking along all I could was to continue maintaining my position between two cultural places in order to stay focused on what it was I felt 'truer' to be part of - which was of course the older kingdom - and people of course marvel at this idea of transporting time and walking between things but it CAN be done I'VE DONE IT! to exclaim - for as we've previously expostulated TIME DOES NOT EXIST and only its agents do - much as in a dream-time sequence we find ourselves parading past and paddling through the scenes and memories of other times and places just as vivid as the now but varied and slightly wavering from what we've come to know but yet ALL the earmarks of what we consider 'real' are present and identifiable and - in the most arresting fraction of the endless moment - are MORE real and MORE sensibly concrete than the morning's pale and mirrored light we must inhabit upon awakening anew to the devalued ken of sadness and doubt in which we find ourselves living ! yet out of that fog-haze of time I came ! and the first thing I stumbled upon was the ramshackle store housing Larry Demarack's 'House of Antiquities' which had been in place since 1881- an obscure but untraceable date to be sure - under the purvey of a full four generations' worth of back-ownerships within the Demarack family (of Dutch origin hobbled together in this country and wedded and founded to early mercantile culture of the sort represented by Van Nostrands and occasional Montenegs yet salient nonetheless in their continued business acumen as Demarack by whatever means AND their continued claim to fame was the collected font of seafaring and other supposed 'antiquities' which only a merchant family of 200 years worth of work could amass and have accumulated on this New World shore - the windows of this place shone with no light except that of the18th century as it was first reflected off the obvious dews dusts and webs of time and light and casting only old shadows these lines were ephemeral yet as strong as a ghost could be and shelves and cases of old wood were stacked with things of wonder (and I NEVER heard a transaction nor the sound of a cash measure be made in the place and so marveled all the more at its resilient and continued existence) clay pipes pottery shards statuary clamps clasps hasps and brackets glass from distant places bottles of deep color and hue markings on glass spyglasses peep-eyes patches hemp rope twine rafts floaters old sailing jackets pots barrels cans cutlery plates dishes drink ware books hand-written journal ship logs transit bills lading lists cargo customs inventories maps itineraries stamps and ports of origin stamps colors books passports passes charms amulets religious figurines bells klaxons whips chains hooks pulleys longbows weapons knives staves daggers shivs bolts-barrel guns cannons pictures metal tintypes bawdy faded photos daguerreotypes of sin and shame dead-bolts dumb-bells caskets coffins wrapping sheets bales of canvas and twine heavy blankets hats tophats shawls capes boots ties-rags bloodied bandages splints plaster casts arm-braces finger-splints canes walking sticks lanterns throw-lights eye-patches bird-cages peg-legs death certificates birth reports cans footlockers travel-cases --- and seemingly on and on it went and with each item there stirred a long story a tale some heroic situation which for the willing could all be told for a sitting and a spell and amidst all of this came and went oddities of nature - wounded people old creatures bent-over and lame blind or crippled sad slow and sorry types age-old criminal sorts gun-toters drug-runners addicts reformed killers broken preachers ladies of the night creatures of leisure fallen girls and the men who'd fallen them hook-armed veterans salty dogs with eye-patches traders merchants swindlers and crooks ALL ALL in one place at one resolve passed through the timeless edifice the shaded place the unknown pedestal of mystery and subterfuge - the amazing and hawking John Street crowd all those who joined nothing and came from nowhere to their way somewhere else and they walked about and amidst the richness of the very same squalor which bore the squalor of its richness as dumb and as high as anything else and they traipsed in with their dirt and filth their spittle and blood their screamed obscenities and devil-may-care attitudes and they swept past the portals and joined the stairways in disarray and they flavored and sang of John Street of old the black church the reformed the chancery house the counters the customs - all and all which they knew by name and number as they knew the stars which were millions and the paths of the sea and the paths of the oceans as they are marked and whittled in the passages of the deepest and the darkest of nighttime skies AND as anywhere else in Manhattan the highest ground the rocky high spine of John Street the top of the graduated ascent housed a church and its spire - in this case a Dutch Reformed church with Negro members (of course 'Negro' was a meaningless phrase except for landed Americans for on the sea the open sea all men are dark and swarthy and tan and strong and wild matted African of ancestry and outlook too) and this meant nothing other than a difference of color and comportment but the rocky heights and the splurging garden grounds were wondrous to behold and next to the down a bit through the trees was Ancetta Da Palovera whom I'd gotten to know and she was abandoned there and lonely by her last past love a sailor from the Chilean Navy who'd never returned from the sea and she wished for more she wished for all but in her licentious beauty and charm she'd found more than enough ways to survive and wait and stay quite busy but often she'd walk to the river and gaze out longingly towards he distant ocean in hopes of seeing some sails rolling in BUT disappointment was her only stock and she'd slowly amble back and return again to her idle work and I'd find her too outside of Demarack's standing in a shawl on the side of the path and sometimes with a basket filled with coins and other times with a gentleman lackey sea-dog sailor arranging her time for her and THEN the basket was full and she'd saunter off to be gone until next seen and her face and hair shone and glistened and her fine body took shape beneath her layers of obscure fabric and her manners exposed both charms and temptation in both the same measure and she remained in that way for years - even until much later AGE itself made her much less the attraction but present nonetheless - and now she lies buried 'neath flowers in the small graveyard right next to her church and her man from the Chilean Navy never did return.
I collapsed on the John Street ground knowing I'd traveled my time and in seeking that clime had only now (barely) returned and I made my way to the side of the nearest building and right there on the ground - still flying loosely with but nothing to hold onto - stairway to this or stairway to that never mind - I sensed my living body and leaned back with a breath : one GREAT breath : and on that ancient building decided to settle in and (I swear) like some other Van Winkle amassed in a time - I slept for a hundred years unbothered by any.


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