Friday, July 21, 2017

9760. RUDIMENTS, pt. 19

Making Cars
Well then, I guess, the dust-off comes.
I always wanted to use that as an opening
line, for something. And I just did. Things
such as that come winging through my mind
at any hour. I did used to try and figure where
things like that came from, when I was young,
and most people, instead of just tending to
laugh it off and just say accept it, no matter,
be glad, as I did, they'd instead get all contentious
about it being a gift of the muse (what the heck is
a muse?). At first I didn't know. At 12, say. Then,
with a little comrade-less studying, I find out
that amuse, amusing, and amusement too all
come from the root of 'muse'  -  which is also
something you do, as a verb, when you think
about, or consider, something. And then, go to
find out a muse is one of the 9 goddesses
in Greek mythology who 'preside' over the
arts and sciences. Daughters of Zeus and
somebody. (All that Greek mythology material
always mixed me all up). But it all gets too
suspicious too quickly because, as Westerners
all these years later, we pay no mind whatsoever
to any of that stuff and we just laugh it all off
thinking we lead and can lead better lives by far
than any of those people ever did, mainly because
we have TV and cars and communication and a
Society that fosters.....well, I don't know what it
fosters. Maybe it just fosters Foster's, which is I
think an Australian beer. But, before I get too
amusing let me think that over.
Let me 'muse' on it.
When I was growing up I had to make my
own humor because everyone else was so
deadly serious about everything. They made it
all so serious for no reason except  - as I surmised
-  when your life is really crummy I guess the best
thing to do is take it serious  -  not to increase the
pain but to alleviate it. At least then the 'feeling'
of being caught up into something gathers you in,
gives you a sense of active participation. Which
is actually too the complete opposite of the reality.
I could never tell anyone that because I'd get slapped
down for being an idiot and not being part of the
program. Which I never intended to be anyway.
One of my first friends, as a young adult, let's call
it, was someone who just laughed at everything. By
that  -  as maybe as belittling and facetious as it may
seem  -  it lent a grand sense of absurdity to everything
that I realized I'd been missing all that time. Once that
missing ingredient as located, my whole life became
a whole lot better. I'd want here to say it all became
'amusing' but now that brings in again that whole
other subject I just went over. Greek Gods. Greek
If you come to the conclusion that life is finite,
what do you do? Or, on the other hand, if you
come to the conclusion that life is unending and
spacious and wide-open, what do you do then?
One of these ways keeps to all the rules (I'd think),
and the other way takes exception to all of them.
I never knew the difference, but I knew I was,
for sure, a rule-breaker. Twister. Ignorer. I was
Absurdity itself. And now look at me. All I
know is that I never have seen any reports of
mass-murderers and/or crazy killers who were
just crack-up funny or absurd. It's all that deadly
seriousness that whacks them out.When I first
went to New York, it was to get out, to break fast
the chains which held me, to find and make sense
out of an absurd-at-base life which just wasn't
being addressed anywhere I saw. Once I got there,
lo and behold, I learned that Absurdity, in and of
itself, was an entire school of thought and art and
being that had long ago been well-addressed. Red
Skelton, laughing at his own jokes? Who did he think
he was? And the audience, roaring with laughter more
than the usual, was just as much laughing at him
laughing at himself while delivering the punch-line
to them. Occasionally someone like Lenny Bruce
would be performing somewhere  -  the Bottom Line
maybe, the Kettle O'Fish, wherever, and he'd be
angry, crazy angry. People quickly got scared of
that stuff, and once they got over the fact of him
NOT being funny, the anger became the attraction.
Who the hell else was 'angry' in 1965? Not too many
others went there. Bill Cosby, his stage shtick then
was a routine called 'Why Is There Air?' Ok, ha ha,
funny. It was an attempt at boisterous, black-boy
reminiscent humor, but after ten minutes it was just
boring. Boring because all it ever aimed towards
was normalcy and acceptance. He just wanted to be
laughed at as a 'cute comedian guy,' and no more.
No trickle of anger down his leg. Meanwhile, at
lunch counters and in Selma and such places,
compatriots are being hosed and shot and killed 
and lynched, chopped and buried, while Bill 
Cosby is just 'funning' his ass off. That's where 
the early/mid 60's fell flat and died. It was 
killed by fear, and there were but a few who 
braved the peril of going past that.
My whole life had been fear. All that seminary
stuff, and all the peddled religion, it was all
fear. The entire basis of any of that was the idea
of rank and privilege, accepting what others say,
following orders and dictates. Which is the same
as the military; which is why the Jesuits were
called god's Storm-Troopers, or whatever the
word was. Zealots. Crazed maniacs in the 
service of something which had been made 
out to be way larger then they were. It wasn't.
As soon as I hit the streets of New York it
dawned on me what God was. God was small,
and humble. God was smaller than Mankind,
and willing to accept betrayal, and forgiving
of it. There wasn't any pride involved. It was
Man who was the problem  -  entertaining
thoughts of greatness and might; unforgiving,
war-like, mad-crazed with lust and power, in
an enslavement to the devil and to lucre, to
false gain and money. The happiness I saw
came from the happiness I saw on the small 
faces of the poor and the humble, the broken 
or the indigent. Certainly NOT the indignant.
I realized I could be on my way to breaking
the back of Pride, by being nothing. Now 
that was a comical paradox indeed!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


...a drama in one act...
Oh hell, everything hurts; My teeth 
are wailing, my head feels split in 
two, my stomach grumbles, and I 
can't hear a word you do. Or see a 
thing you say, for that matter too. 
Whatever's left, yes, I throw it all 
away. That fat Friar on that Robin 
Hood future bridge : he, and they,
can all go to their bloody Hell 
with me I say.


'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the
coming of the lord.' Well, that's not
really true, and never was. Nothing like
that has ever showed up. Appointments
broken, and all that waiting. Here in
the Appalachian wilderness, those rolling 
hills are meaning to impress; but I see the
wheel-rutted trumbles where those wagons
tried going, and all those failed homesteads
and farms ruined by Injuns. No one is ever
easy to cooperate with  -  when you yourself
are bent on their destruction. How else can it be?


There's no use to sensation, before dawn
or otherwise either. My magician says she
can't make the clock run backwards, so I
hire her once more. Double-Trouble and
lickety-split. That first one's a South Jersey
Pine Barrens place; the second, I'm not so 
sure. If there ever was an attitude worth
remarking about, this is it.
That singer girl, I forget her name, from
Reading, PA, I realize I've never heard her
at all  -  therefore I'm only taking others
at their word when they call her 'singer.'
I think that's what media hype is  -  you
just believe what you hear, not what is.
Here's the toy chest that kid left behind :
he stayed all last Summer, a real pain in the 
butt. I'm not a fan of children anyway, but,
man, this was it. I suppose he's a year older
now, so the chandler's got a job, and the
whittler's got a carving mission, and I've
got  -  once more  -  nothing in between
Being and Nothingness. (As they say).


It's a small city, in the Southern Tier of NYState.
Oh, let's say, above Scranton, PA, and east of Elmira,
NY.  Self-Destructo IBM was founded there, and from
Binghamton to Waverly, the Soviets used to have it
nuclear targeted for take-down early, in the event of
a war. So much for peace, love, and understanding.
It's also known as the 'carousel capitol,' I think only
because they still have like 6 antique carousels in
operation around the varied city parks. Cool enough.
Maybe the Reds were jealous of that. And, as I noted,
all around the city, famous as 'their' cuisine and treat,
they sell 'spiedies.' It's a sort of cubed, diced meat
of pork or chicken or lamb, I think (all from memory
now : never touch the stuff) long-marinated in an 
Italian dressing, and scooped into a big soft roll. 
The word comes from the Italian word meaning 
spit  -  the long rod the meat is slowly cooked on.
I like the carousels better.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

9755. RUDIMENTS, pt. 18

Making Cars
When I was 8, I was in the hospital for a
long time. I guess when you're 8 anything
is a 'long' time, but I was all trussed up,
my jaw was wired shut, and it was, on the
whole pretty miserable, and just add pain
with every attempt at movement. Like being
tied up for months, in a really bad kids' game.
I remember little of the physical infirmities. I
just remember a squirming boredness. A few
things, to this day, come back to me with the
memories other wise, I guess hidden : orange
juice, through a straw. Oh man! What a bad
memory that brings  -  the juice cart, daily, in
the evenings. That feel of the juice in a straw,
the idle sound of the cart and those perpendicular,
cloying people dispensing all that -  in a hospital
environment there's always background noise.
Nothing is ever heard in isolation. So I hate
noise too. I dislike hearing things late into
the night, when it's just supposed to be quiet.
In a hospital there's always activity going on,
with echoey noises, all through the night.
How in the world I was expected to consider
any of this normal and acceptable is beyond
me now, but back that no one really mentioned
any of it. It had just tuned 1958, and I was
outside of pretty much everything. Having
been hit by a train, most everything on the
right side of my body was in some sorry
state of mess. Healing was slow, but I don't
recall even the simplest of things, like the
bedpan and all that. I guess, unless there was
some automatic way of me emptying myself,
I used one. My mouth was wired shut for
months, after I awoke (I was out for a long
time, not one of those super death-defying
comas, but a coma nonetheless, and what's
then the difference. I remember, back in the
70's that long, drawn out court and media
case over someone, a girl named Karen Ann 
Quinlan, who was comatose for years, and
was down to 65 pounds (she was an adult-sized
girl, not a kid), and all that hoo-hah about taking
her off life-support and all that. As I recall
she died pretty quickly, once they did so,
but I forget the rest. My point is, as I followed
that little story as it unfolded, I never really
thought of myself as having been in that same 
position. I was supposed to have died anyway; 
no one ever figured I'd pull through or get 
back to life.I guess the difference was that I was
essentially still alive, on  my own, and not
hooked up to pumps and monitors for breathing.
So, by various degrees, I was in a different state.
'Not quite so vegetative,' let's say. (That sure
sounds funny).
The thing abut the hospital was, and still is,
I guess, how that environment, with all the best
intentions, is the most insipid and depressing
advocate for just dying, and getting it over with. 
Doctors often say that there's like a 30 percent
factor of their patients who represent 80 percent
of repeat visits. Which means that there's a
certain sub-class of people who are inclined, no
matter what, to use their own psychological
weaknesses as cover for seeing endless doctors
and visits. A hypochondriac nation  -  people
who can't get enough of the attention and 
special compensatory feeling they get from
meeting with the 'doctor.' Old Mrs. Jones,
needing that push again, every three weeks.
Psychological dependency is a rampant,
insidious disease  -  little diagnosed. And
the reason it's little diagnosed is because
our society has been made to run on it.
Advertising. Entertainment. All those
self-help books and social-conditioning 
units, yoga and prayer groups, exercise
foundations, and all the rest. That's just
another means into the inside of your head.
Those are the 'Summer' people I mentioned
yesterday  -  the outgoers, the mixers. Man,
I disliked that, and I made sure I wasn't going
to have any part of that stuff. My entire
small coterie of people in NYC, I made sure, 
were Winter people  - dark, distant, and serious.
It was, in fact, when I began seeing (beginning
with that Andy Bonamo guy), Summer people
bounding one after the other into my 509 
e11th street place, I knew it was time to get.
Those were the same people who make mistakes:
in this case, rolling over for their military time
and then suddenly realizing it was no good for
them  -  so we'd get them, as AWOL runaways,
on the run to Canada or to invisibility. And
people who make mistakes just continue to
make them. I didn't want to be among them,
or counted. They'll always drag you down with
them, through some stupid best-of-intentions on
your own part, into the same sea of despond
they bring themselves to; one way or the other.
That was my own personal power-and-innocence
dichotomy. I stayed way clear.
Except that at first I didn't. We were essentially
wholesaling kids for Canada. It's a little bit fuzzy
now, but a lot of them came up from DC, sometimes
even in a gov. issue car (well, five or six times anyway).
These were white gov't Valiants, with small US Military
lettering on the side. I never got the whole story, but
they'd drive there, to where we had like a Canada-bound
underground railway safe-house thing going, where
they'd sit the one or two days it took for the next van
to take them away. In the meantime in my own dumb
little apartment, and with Andy as drug-infested
ringleader and dispenser, there's be 8 or 9 people,
males and female, stretched out on my floor; using 
it all as a crash-pad from which to eat and sleep,
and make out too. (Lot's of that going on. Even
AWOLs get lusty). (That's military talk for 'absent
without official leave'). There was a sleaze-ball
body shop across the street (not there any more,
for a while in the 90's it tried as a futzy, 
pretentious bar, but that too failed).These Puerto
Rican guys would sand down the cars, remove
the 'numbers', or whatever that sequence was, 
and quickly repaint and move the cars along. 
We'd get a hundred and a half, or so, for each 
car. Dollars, if lucky. You have to imagine the 
scene  -  this is what the stupid intensity of an 
enforced-hand military government does  -  
opposition turns to destruction and we all made 
ourselves, very quickly, very vulnerable. Culpable, 
which is pretty distant from capable, even though 
it looks about the same. Which means a lot of 
anything can go wrong. Stuff I never thought 
about then  - like, firearms. Who had them, 
were there any? Was anybody in this mess also 
armed? Parents. What about them? Each of
these kids must have had some worried mother
or father wondering about them. How'd that
get handled, and by who? Pregnancy. Sure saw
lots enough of the old two-backed beast, but
did nay of these girls ever get pregnant? 
Paperwork on the cars? Titles? Etc. For God's 
sake now that seems like the most vulnerable
link in the chain. Stealing govt'-issue vehicles?
People left toms of crap behind. I got shirts and
jackets galore, and at least four pairs of good-enough
shoes. These people were nuts.
So you can see my position and my realization  -
what in the world had I gotten involved with?  This
was even power and innocence; more like foolishness
and stupidity. That's how people get screwed up, or 
caught, or dead. Mistakes multiply, a small error
turns into a nightmare. As soon as I could, I abandoned 
that little endeavor while I still was able.


The misguided destroyer hit the sea-wall
at speed. All hell broke loose oh my. It
was named the El Cajon, and things went
down from there. Lighthouse and foghorn,
like mad klaxons from the netherworld glen.
A terrible, swift, spirit still in 1776. Heads 
hung on posts along the Philadelphia road.


I've got to find another, featured land
and featured lady. This one no longer works
for me  -  mobs in the street, noise and confusion,
nose rings and nipple piercings. All those things
with the signature of Caleb. Johnny Appleseed
is now Applesauce throwing batting practice and
hitting fungos in Candlestick Park. 'We make
wallets now, from human flesh.' Yeah, that's
what the catalogue said in Chinese.


There's a mark in the forest where the hermit
once lived  -  a tidy little hut made of wood.
Not used to visitors, he kept a rifle on the
wall pegged with a knot to a crooked shelf.
50 paces off was a small stream that always
ran  -  spring-fed from a slit in the open rocks.
A metal ladle or something hung there, also 
tied by string to a post. I guess he was 
afraid things would just take off.

9751. RUDIMENTS, pt.17

Making Cars
Wishing to read something? Try
this nugget I ran across today: 'For
while it's true that the unexamined
life is not worth living, it's also the
case that the unlived life is not worth
examining.' That's credited to some
guy named Robert McKee, from 1997.
All that may be true, and I like it, but at
the same time what a simple crock. I
had a friend once who disliked me, just
for the reason that I do all this writing
with only a junk-life to account for it.
His claim was (is) that I've done nothing
and achieved nothing, and therefore such
'nothing' is not worth a write. He may be
correct, but I still won't accept it. There's
too much inexplicable crud floating around
which people grab at  -  every other cause
and effect  -  to claim and make a part of
their own lives. I never do that, so I just
don't feel it applies to me, what he says.
The time I spent in NYCity, these tales I
relate, are like my own Iliad and Odyssey,
an oral tale told down the ages, except
here being written by me. I've got my
own version of the Gilgamesh quest.
Anyway, if a person had to wait for some
real, smashing life success to arrive before
doing anything over it, it would sure be an
even more crummy world than the one
we're left with. I always wondered how
cool it would have been to have had
George Washington and Aaron Burr
and Thomas Jefferson and all those
guys to have written a form of memoir
or recollection. They did nothing. What,
if any, they did write, even Thomas Paine,
probably the best of the bunch, was in
that stilted, formulaic, program-logic
thinking of the seventeenth and eighteenth
century. Plodding decrepitude, the plights
of history and the rights of man. Like it
mattered. It didn't, and it's boring and
painful to have to read. Thomas Jefferson
rewrote the New Testament, he figured,
by editing out everything except the words
of Jesus. How stark is that? I mean to say,
it's OK and all, and of course the words
of Jesus would be where the meat of the
New Testament is anyway, but still, excising
the extraneous stuff as superfluous? No
way. Like Springsteen or somebody said
about looking into the sun, 'But mama!
That's where the fun is!' Had any of those
guys (this is still what I myself used to
think, walking along, past all these older
and historic places marked in NYC where
this or that happened and this or that person
was), just inhabited a smidgen of the
modern, more abstracted personality and
approach or understanding, what a bunch
of great writing we'd have. As it is, we have
nothing by them of the real sights and sounds
of what they lived and felt and sensed. We now
get, instead, the closet-case documentarians
of pale politics and forced warfare telling
their stories for 3 million bucks just a few
years after they're spun from that web.
Nothing to show from it, no advancing
the cause of intellect or consciousness;
just instead the drab re-tellings of who did
what when and where while negotiating with
the Pulchama of Marachanba to re-fine the
floating value of the Pinda, the local
exchange currency of Winawabo province.
These people have no brains at all, and the
only thing they're advancing is the means of
extending the cage within which they've been
kept, and actually liking it, or thinking they do.
Which is where money comes in. The only
reason for the existence of money  -  let no
one tell you differently, and try they will   -
is to advance the servitude along. You end
up actually thinking you need it and just
keep wanting more. No one tells you.
I spent two good years with not a thing to my
name except the junk I could pick up or steal.
If there's no accounting for any of that than why
does it all keep resounding in my brain under the
rolling subtitles of 'write,' and 'record.' If I had
a fondness for anything, well, anything I'd feel 
like telling you about, you'd have heard it by now;
except that there' always more coming. Certain
portions of the streets I lived on, I owned them.
That's a declaration of intent, at least in this
telling. Inside a person's head,as I see it, there's
a Winter geography and a Summer geography,
and in either of those categories is a choice  -  
a very final choice because it then defines the
rest of one's days. Winter people versus Summer
people. New York City was all Winter people.
Just as I liked it. One time I bought a perfect,
tan colored, Winter, bare-trees, coffee mug;
for 25 cents, but no matter. It was perfect, as
by it's simple and direct graphic it captured
everything about me and the places I wished 
to be  -  there was a pattern of bare trees 
running all around the mug, the design 
motif. Just bare trees. So pleasing to me.
I'd visit home again, and there'd be mugs
saying 'Aruba' or 'Bahamas' or wherever, 
even one of the Disney places : sun and 
shore, happiness and sand, umbrellas 
and drinks. I could hardly not ever believe
that  -  a place of lawns :  Avenel, an old 
out of tune pianola of a swamp, with 
happy cups everywhere. Ugh!
I sure wished I was able to walk along, 
between two places like that, as it were, 
with any of those  old time Revolutionary 
War guys I mentioned before, but with them 
in their new guise of a completed cycle of 
psychological growth and literary maturity 
and abstract thinking. It was have amazed
me, always truly amazed me, I thought, to
have one of those guys along for the walk to
see with today's eyes and pen (keyboard,
whatever) what the world they'd begun had 
by now given back and become, or turned 
into. I don't think their sense of wonder,
frankly, would be able to extend or to stretch 
that far back into anything, forward or behind, 
to accept and absorb what's here today. 
Now that's worth a storyline, George.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


The morning was crinkled like some old
wrapping paper, and I tore what was left
of nothing open. Ribbons went flying. The
first thing that popped out was a grand, blue
sky  -  the kind someone's old grandfather
used to have. The Civil War vets marching 
to the bandshell in half-formation, lame and
shaky now. No one spoke. A bunch of horns
blared - all those old military tunes recalled.
Five women were sitting there, in bonnets,
fanning themselves with paper fans. They
were crying. I knew not why but I had a 
hunch. Times are now and times are harsh,
and sometimes times are trying...


To make things worse, the minister
came by with candy. No one knew what
to do  -  refuse, or take a few? He said it
was Miriam's last wish to hand out candy
at her wake. I volunteered : 'I think it wasn't 
meant to be so literal. She was always a comic;
she meant to be saying she'd rather be here
herself, handing it out. Not you, silly.'
Everything gets all mixed up : these clerical
guys aren't funny at all. OK, then. Write
this down. 'I'd like to be the comic doing
stand up at my own dumb wake.'

Monday, July 17, 2017


This pick-axe comes from Olduvai Gorge.
Some jackhammer anthropologist left
it there, and when I saw it untended, I 
took it and ran. With that ancient skull, 
too, they were trying to hoard. There
are no secrets here; I know them all.

9747. RUDIMENTS, pt.16

Making Cars
Fred Flintstone was wrong. I
found that out pretty early : you
see, round things are strong, they
resist pressure better. Round is a
more natural shape, Nature-like,
adaptable and streamlined. Much
better, and even more artistic, than
squares and right angles, which are a
bit reptilian and very linear in concept. 
I never worked that way. BUT, if you
look back over history, in and of itself
a 'wheeled' vehicle is useless unless 
you also have good roads and suitable
draft animals. You also need then a
workable horse collar, and the horse,
of course. And  -  here's the rub for
Fred Flintstone  -  you need a craft
tradition of specialized wheel-making.
You see, Fed was wrong: you can't make
a usable wheel from horizontal slices of
a log, because of the severe weakness 
of the grain in that orientation. 
Well, I'm not sure you'll understand 
what I'm getting at, but it has to do with
what I saw  -  a unity of things, a striving
of all things together, in a great, big,
jam-packed city of wheels, pulleys, ropes,
chain, hoists, trucks, lifts, gates, conveyors,
and ramps. Let me not forget grease and oil.
Just like art supplies (brushes, thinners,
tubes, turpentine, linseed oil), these items
were everywhere around. Spanish guys
talking their tongue, Americans guys theirs.
Cigarettes and packing crates. 
Everything seemed always on the move. 
The essential differences against today's 
work in the same places are probably more 
just the people involved. There are still all 
those categories of tool and manufacture  -  
though now faster, more powerful, sleeker 
and far less primitive; but the people have
changed; my guys are all dead, for sure, and
they've been replaced by a different work
crowd than I'd ever seen : heave-ho short
laborers, way fewer white guys, rougher
talk, more brawn, tattoos  - and of course,
on every break and  lunch line, the ubiquitous
message phone, or whatever.  Big, tough,
brawny guys, looking down and hunched
over some silly screen like a girl washerwoman
instead of the hunk-o-mass worker he pretends
at being. I'm going over the top on that one, but
someone has to; the world's been taken over
now by a fake-geeksterism distraction that
destroys people from the inside out, and is
mostly feminine anyway. So, screw all that.
Back in my day, such people would have been
churned up; not by me, because I wouldn't have
been there, but by the real dudes who were all
around me. Now it's just killer card-players.
Back then it was killers. Period. Break your
spine? I'll do yours, you do mine.
So, what's an artist anyway? Nowadays,
like all the stuff  just described, wheels and
all, it's mostly technology. Technology has
invaded, somehow, the art world, and that
was never taught, or even thought about, back 
then. The craze for all that began when minimal
artists and conceptual guys started working 
out ways to use lighting and environmental
atmospherics to fill a room with trickery. It
was like, in the old days, the guy who first
advanced better technique  -  pallet knife or
whatever. The equivalent I can think of today,
from my own experience, are the car and 
motorcycle custom-build show guys. It's 
all pizazz and not much else; the 
guy with the most money usually wins.
Hell, there's always someone who can 
outspend you or the others on flashier
paint and graphics, chrome, or some sort
of almost useless horsepower build. To me
the 'art' of any of that was never the flash
and wonder. It was the nickel-down
sincerity of heart and soul in the painting
or the object. The hurt and the misgiving.
I'd take any dumb-ass '53 Desoto in its
old and faded, dark-green mono-paint, 
just there drooping at the curb like an
old, jowly, dog, over any slick and fancy
re-done '90's muscle-car, or what was left
of muscle by the 80's, which wasn't much
at all. Hell, everything exhausts itself.
Even me.