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.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

MIKVAH (nyc, 1970)

299. MIKVAH (nyc, 1970):It's a difficult thing to realize Murder is murder but when organized and undertaken correctly it's called policy or foreign policy or even statesmanship or warfare and even Machiavelli wrote about it right nicely and as seen for the good and seen all on a larger scale than the ordinary undertakings of ordinary life but try to explain that to anyone on death row try to say that to a murder victim's kin and see how far it takes you - leaky boat on an embroiled sea for sure - so putting that aside I never faced off the issue but just went on my way never really thinking more than a bit about it and I spent hours along the old Hudson waterfront - the old one before it was cleaned up - fish-shacks truck sheds piles of tires metal heaps old buses and wagons splattered around with the crumbling highway overhead and people by definition only people in a daze - slobbering walking sleeping dying and every medicinal herb this side of Cochise you'd ever heard of - that river that place and space was really all I had right then and the profusely curative powers of that river became something for me like a wash a bath something to redeem all my sins something that ran concurrent with and alongside of everything never talking back never judging never pointing a riverboat finger towards anything but just running ice-jamming splashing slashing and that was my first city companion the first I remember anyway : late night mid-night shadow play dark stage of my dreams and peoples my hideout and deliverance and there I felt as if I LIVED! bestride all things - only years later of course did Death itself become a style be seen as a style and a made-up way of living and dealing with things and in fact entire industries now have grown around it - entertainment and music and the rest essentially worshipping at the altar of Death and its sidekick Money and all their negativity and mayhem - but that too is for others to say not for me ('haven't I said before 'I don't judge' but hey I don't lie either') and for purposes of and in order to be right to not
pre-judge the doer to not drown in my own dumb human pulses I walked straight along an observant path as if I'd have willingly walked upon the water had I been able - to watch both what sank and what stayed afloat next to me - the steady river flows while things come and go seemingly at will or at times and choosings of their own and the time I'm here writing about wasn't yet overtly concerned with all that drivel we now know as 'living': these were days of a certain compunction when people still had the roles and the rituals of expected behaviors and the ways of how things were supposed to be and all that being still in place ran things and coalesced everywhere into concepts and rituals strong enough still to put society correctly in its box but long after that but not so long it all began falling apart and there was just nothing to be done putting it back together - it shambled and collapsed the way things happen when bad weather rolls in big time bad weather to spoil the picnic and blow all the tablecloths tables food AND the ants too away it was just like that and whatever did become left of this older society was then only to be found around the edges HOWEVER (and ran ran the river still ran) the time here I'm talking about was still a time when the fragments of the old society were still about : grandparents and toddlers together a few generations of people yet able to tolerate not so much each other as much as each other's concepts - which were not yet each self-canceling and confining and suffocating to the point of cultural clash turning violent even among family and everyone you'd meet you just knew came from a storyline of folks deeper and more stolid than your (my) own - I'd come from a wreck a fragmented nervousness amidst which I lived and had been brought up - a scowling boil-pot of issues and intrigue and petty jealousies and angers which had by then already taken their weird toll on my psyche and from which I wanted nothing so much as divorce and distance - great heaves of distance - to displace my past with some sort of bold new future and I guess like so many others before me ('wash me oh wash me in your eternal waters!') and my own new and more fantastic lineage : it was to be found in ones and alone on the streets of New York City part of nothing and certainly not American - in a patterned way of living that sought to be almost European in its unconnectedness to anything tawdry and 'new world' - the mess Americans had made of their land was almost pathetic and here in Manhattan there was no giving attention to any of that 'historical' stuff nothing of the past as it was simply all rolled over torn down rebuilt paved over hidden ignored disrespected and destroyed on a daily basis - unlike the hinterlands where the 'new' simply gets set up in places where 'nothing' (so to speak) had been before here in NYC everything that went up first took down any connection to the past - witness 52nd Street (I note how it is 'dry' land a land which changes everything) witness the financial district witness any of the once-discreet and countrified lanes and avenues of the past - the carriage racetracks the caves and hovels the shanty villages even the hills and rises - everything had been leveled and destroyed and taken dawn to a poor common denominator and a level at which people could be more comfortable in their distance BUT that was another entire group of people (all those movers and shakers) from what I was living with and the avenues of my growth were to be (hopefully) along the oldest and most shadowed lanes and alleys of the real past that I could find - which endeavor did really mean I was the loneliest man in the city and a complete solitary : but besides all that I was paired right now downtown with a bunch of characters on their own and rightful indignants with each their own tales and stories from Judy Tenenbaum to Andy Bonamo to Billy Grosbard at this point but three of my lone posse yet I spent my own time in pieces everywhere - I would often sit in places seemingly odd to wait out the cold or to nod on a bench and by odd I guess I mean 'open-churches' like St. Francis Xavier and another one somewhere in midtown then - - the Little Church Around the Corner which had been set up somehow a long time back for show-business people (or at least I was told) and in which location there was an odd little priest fellow who often tried to coax me in and take me under his wing as it were (euphemisms here abound all among these people) and the book he was always peddling to me and which I did eventually spend idle time reading was 'At Play In the Fields of the Lord' a 1965 Peter Matthiessen title which this Father Janowski had somehow taken to heart in his way to use as reason and being of his 'mission' to bring forth some form of vital and active God to the streets and I listened and nodded and I read too as asked noting carefully Lewis Moon and Martin Quarrier both and making comparisons in the work and activities of these two with the Brazilian Amazonian Indians whom I transferred to the street-class primitives of my days and all that sacred versus profane stuff that balancing of two worlds that exploitation of one thing by the older that endless ballet of the new supplanting the old - it all was mirrored for me in this book the causes and the conflicts the quarrels and the dilemmas and between myself and Father Janowski there ensued many long conversations in this vein - me trying to get at his approach to spreading the word and he trying to fathom my entry and my point of view into the world and tracing the path of it from the world I'd left : seminary days boy-to-man crap and all that and all of this too had a sort of 'show-business' edge to it with him as did most everything (in the way now which is much more open and accepted in this time and which I only now can see again as that endless dance of homosexual craving from him towards me - completely in the dark about what was happening as usual) - and who were the outsiders and who were the primitives in his telling of the book I never did get to the bottom of but we had many a strong discussion over topics from it and I actually liked the issue itself always having had an interest in the 'leftist' idea of the labor-priest movement (not quite the same but close) which would have been a street-level mission to engage the flock - so to speak - among the usual dockworker and truckman class of people the congregation least expected to conform but I dropped that idea too as I saw it had already been done to death - all those waterfront movies and worker-priests meddling among the other classes - in fact an entire stupid movie had been made of it (On the Waterfront) and within that naive and dumb movie was all the scenery I ever needed with which to find reason to displace any yearnings I may once have had to be that way : one of the most-hated characters I ever held was that ridiculous priest figure in that movie played to its paradoxical catatonic hilt by the feverish and naively childlike forced optimism of whomever it was who played that character (Karl Malden) and all the blubbering naivete regarding personal responsibility to credos and believes and rightness and that priest guy I knew never really did a thing in his life that was worthwhile just walking around all the time emoting and dramatizing and sermonizing before his stupid parishioners local Hoboken idiots ensconced in fortress-church as if it was mother's apron strings all over again and the only thing about that movie that mattered probably was the walk-in-the-park scene with the bum who recognizes Brando's character and then the very ultra-cool but dark and onerous fiddling with the little white glove and putting it on his hand that Brando does with the Eva St. Marie character's glove - strikingly tough scene that for me in some way always reflected the real dichotomy of any issue - the while to gentleness versus the stupid bumbling will to reality upon which we must all hit our foreheads sometimes if not all the time : and you just knew that if Kazan meant what he'd set out to say he'd have blown that church sky-high with all those people in it but some sort of stupid reticence somehow kept him from that step - until the final and melodramatic fight scene when we are led to believe finally that violence - even if taken for the sake of movement and plot-advancing and (in this case) closing - that violence does in and of itself serve and end and a use and a purposes one way or the other go figure it out for yourself : but how to explain something like this to yet another stupid gay fag theater priest guy hanging around dank church halls lighting candles and playing at afternoons of holiness (after all is not the picture of understanding first a mental association everywhere?) and so I decided rather just let me be and never went back again - even never revisiting until just recently and just now that At Play in the Fields of the Lord book thing and anyway I've learned since then that once you make friends with inauthenticity it's usually here to stay - you can't shake someone's fakery someone's fantasy the glib falsehood associated with made-up life-stories and situations that don't exist but yet let's face it the entire world is a fantasy a chimera a vivid picture made up to supplant image with a certain form of moving reality which we can alter as it moves along and all that is the story-line which we live : no more authentic than that is what I tell you to be 'ooh-wee' as they say.


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