Sunday, October 22, 2017


Take your mind back, to the cleaners,
turn it all into orders. The Green-Globe
Hilton Hotel is the next stop on this tour.
For those of you who laugh, this is where
it ends. She wants to be my straight booze
in a land of whisky-blends.


Turn your attention, please, to the altar
at the right  -  de-consecrated, all this,
years back when that stuff mattered.
Now it's or a shelf than anything else.
I do keep candles on it, for old time's
sake, though I've never lit a one. 'You
can't go to Rome again,' or whatever 
it was Thomas Wolfe said. 
One night there was a meteor storm, 
and I watched it from here. Funny, all
that  -  not like an eclipse at all; which
you can almost set your watch by, starts
at 3:13, dark by 3:24, and full-light again
for 3:51. In mid-afternoon, no less. This
was a meteor storm, in the dead of night,
of course, with its own peculiar time.
It seemed to go on forever, but not as
a constant. There would be 60 or 70
crazy, flying specks (one always expected
a celestial noise, but there never was any),
and then nothing for a while, and then, a
few here, and a few there until, soon, yes,
another big blast, like sparklers or fireworks.
Smashing through the sky, to us, but really
in some empty ether, I guess, up there. Or
out there; it's probably got nothing to do
with up. Which is something of what
Thomas Wolfe actually did say, and which
gives this whole starlight thing away :
'You can't go home again.'

10,081. RUDIMENTS, pt. 112

RUDIMENTS, pt. 112
Making Cars
One time I was driving around a corner,
and from the vantage point I had I could
see a small parking lot for a bank. It was
sometime well after midnight, so nothing 
was open. Once my light changed, I don't
know what came over me but I decided to
intervene, in my way. These two guys were
really beating the crap out of each other, one
obviously getting the better of the other. 
Their cars were rakishly parked, wherever
they'd stopped, and doors were open. Not
reflecting, nor even knowing why (I also
had a passenger), my instant thought was
that I could break this up if I simply drove
into the lot, and rolled right up them and
forced a cessation with the car. This was at
the corner of Avenel Street and St. Georges
Avenue, at the site of what once had been
'Charlie's Sugar Bowl' (a sort of candy-shop
hangout) and since then has been a long
sequence of small banks' offices. Currently
it's a Chase, I believe. Anyway, I barreled
in, not thinking past the instant, and got 
right close to these guys, who'd just then
looked up from their struggle to see what
was going on. They appeared drunk, and
furious, and bloodied. At the instant I also
realized my very poor planning had put 
me in the dumbest situation I could have 
been in  -  these guys could have turned
their fury on me, or had a weapon, or
knives, whatever. I had given myself no
real escape plan, nor next step. Once 
you 'make the move' you're sort of stuck
with it. I didn't even possess a tire iron or
anything with which to bash back. I do
believe my life had just then began flashing
before my eyes when  -  lo and behold  -
flashing lights and a police cruiser comes
barreling in, jamming to a sharp stop about
10 feet from my car. Good stories always
go bad, right? All the cop sees is me, my
car, and these two nitwits. I guess it looked
like maybe I'd arranged the fight and was
illuminating it for them  -  lights and car.
Meaning to say, I looked culpable surely.
I dare anyone, at one in the morning, in 
such a situation, to try and deftly talk
your way out of that, out of being taken
in, being found the culprit, etc. Fortunately
for me, I was not drunk, they obviously 
were, and bleeding  -  and, I think, picking 
up teeth too, as if they were identifiable
and could be simply re-planted  -  and I
really was able to present my case, just
summarizing quickly how my good 
intentions had betrayed me to be caught 
in such a ludicrous situation. As a further
boon to my case, one of the nitwits blabs
to the officer..."He's not with you? We
don't know who the fuck he was?" That
simple, tortured and out of tense (present
tense and past tense garbled) phrase got
me dismissed, with a warning to not be
such a fool ever again. 'It's police business,
not yours.' Well, OK then, officer.
Cool story, right? I often think of that,
and if they saw me then ('don't') but
didn't now who I 'was', did they mean
to say they didn't know who I HAD BEEN,
perhaps Jesse James or Genghis Kahn,
or more likely that they didn't know, at
the moment, who I WAS, and the heck 
with who I night have been. See? Have 
fun with that one, Officer.
So, you, see, you never know what you're
going to rope yourself into by being what
you think is a nice guy  -  there are any 
number of life-lessons to take from this 
scene. One being  -  how you can never
be too careful about your personal space.
In this instance, had a firefight broken out,
their gun versus police guns, in defense or
whatever, dumb old me, and my passenger
perhaps also, could have been shot from 
one direction or the other, or both, in
the false impression of it being OK for
me to be in the crossfire since I was one
of them, or them, and part of the scene,
clearly, and instrumental in it too. Dead
men tell no tales. So, be careful.
Had I to do this all over again, I wouldn't.
I've seen my share of brawls, bottle fights,
knife fights, and even a shooting or two,
in Biker uniform, overnight parties, late-night
drunken territory bashes, fights over drunk
women, by drunk men. I've seen knives come 
out, and guns. I've been shown the small arsenels
kept in vans, on the sidelines, for just such
occurrences. I've had to light out, in a steady
and cold, pouring rain, searching, along with
others, for the guy who has just had his head
split wide open with a ball-peen hammer and
who'd taken out into the high, wind-driven
wet marsh-grasses to escape. With pieces of
his brain exposed too, what little there was of it.
We didn't know if he was alive or dead, or would
be, when and if we found him. Never did. We
just figured he'd get home OK, and let it go
at that. It's just how things used to be.
All that Biker stuff was a few years after, 
however, this bank-lot brawl. Little did I
know where the aroma of violence would
be leading me and how I'd follow it. When I
run out of stuff to write about, I'll still
always be able to find another story about
something like this.
There was, all in all, a general sense of
maybe sixth or seventh grade levels of
justice underway  -  within the edifice of
'Biker' world, as the society at large put it.
I got dragged, quite wittingly, into the
middle of it all. A person had to watch,
remain aware, and walk very carefully,
when dealing within these means. The
club and outlaw environment didn't allow
much for mistakes, and retribution was
apt to be grand and inglorious. If you
survived. A person could go down for
any number of reasons  -  from the most
simple, 'clothing' violation (yes, clubs
and territory codes and who supported
what, oftentimes told quite tellingly by 
what 'shirt' on was wearing. Getting
caught 'out of territory' with the 'other
guy's' club-support shirt on could really
hurt), to the more complicated and far
denser violations of sexual protocol,
someone else's 'property' or woman. I'd
seen instances, of, for example, of a guy
getting dragged out and beaten mercilessly
and vividly  -  red, red blood flying on 
new white snow  -  for violating someone's 
16-year old daughter. I daresay, go nowhere,
people, for the stories abound.
As I said, all that was yet in my small future,
as the 1990's beckoned. Or 1989 anyway.
This little bank-parking-lot brawl was an
inkling, and should have been read as an omen,
of where I was about to be thrust  -  and, had I
only the sense to read  -  how utterly useless 
and wasteful the next eight years would be.
Fortunately, for me, as I was already good at
it, I managed to do two or three things, at 
different levels, simultaneously, so that I
really lost very little of the good, creative
stuff that really ruled my life, and no one
was ever the worse for not knowing.


You've got to learn to distance yourself,
or rather, just say 'Keep Away.' Remember
that no boats can leave the harbor except
with a tiller-hand at work. Reckless is as
reckless does, and the rest is pretty obvious.


And isn't that the way of this old-world
history. I think I'll just sit here and bask.
They tell me this is Princeton, those
guidebook fools rating colleges and
universities  -  by the heights of their
trees and ivy. Really, I think that's
all they care about. I have so many
momentary choices : I can curse the
left while I join the right; I can join
the right while cursing the left. It was
much better when - I used to know
Shirley Tilghman, and see her in the
morning for coffee, the dead-end lines
of morning sharpies grouped to have
their Joes and Toffees. The blond lady,
too, Dean of something or other, and
curse me out but I now forget her
name. But don't tell, if you see her.
I used to sit with C.K. Williams too:
fine old guy, dead now, alas. He
seemed so grousing all the time.
Unlike knucklehead Paul Muldoon
who used to talk a blue streak to every
lass and widow he'd see. Funny, and
totally different cat. Yeah, I knew a
bunch. "I was staying at the Marriot
with Jesus and John Wayne. I was 
waiting for a chariot, they were
waiting for a train."


Certain things just do delight, and
I have studied this, carefully, and 
with a full regard for the retelling.
It has to sound like truth  -  like
a ruby setting, in a pile of grass;
hard to say how nice. When nihilists
build bridges  -  I have found  -  there
is nothing in between that's bridged,
and neither do the two sides ever rightly 
meet. Something is always off a few feet.
The joining is missing, the 'junction don't
junct,' as it were. I've noticed this is not
(always) because of bad intention, just
more sometimes bad design or engineering.
Their real feat is to be never talking of it.
'Problem? No, we have none.' They say.
While people are still rolling off the edge.
I've come to this from varied angles: For
some sum of years I believed in nothing
myself, and threw that attitude around,
wherever it was I went. Like marrying a
ghost and looking under the covers (finally)
on the wedding night and finding nothing's 
there  I took my lesson book and just walked
home. Those birds and butterflies were still
ringing around, and I heard their sound.
Funny it is, in a nihilisitc manner, how one
of them is noisy (the birds, of course), and
the other never makes a sound to be heard 
at all. The butterflies, that is, even when
six or seven strong. I tried to listen, but
knew I was wrong. In a nihilistic sense,
that too is nothing; yet, even the silence
is 'something'  - or I guess it can be made
to be, or so construed. On the other side,
if I could just get across that bridge.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

10,077. RUDIMENTS, pt. 111

RUDIMENTS, pt. 111
Making Cars
There's a photograph that has
always stayed with me -  nothing
special, just one I could never shake.
It has something to do with the sort
of person I am, which has usually
never been a good thing. Dead end.
Ineffectual. A tad too sensitive for
my own good, or at least too sensitive
for the sort of rip-your-heart-out
piss-in-your-face tactics that people
who get ahead put to use. This
photograph did everything (below)
necessary to both make me sad,
and anger me at the same time.
I know, you're going to start saying,
'why'd you look at it then?' That's
a typical power-guy's response. I
looked at it BECAUSE it hurt, and
if you can't understand that, well then,
you're one of them. You're one of all
those other people in that photo. Just
like, in Vietnam days, those two iconic
photos which were well-publicized
and which closed the book on that
ridiculous and pathetic war (the guy
in the street a Vietcong prisoner, getting
the side of his head blown off by the
captor-guard who is about two feet
away from him, and the other one of
that girl, those little naked kids, fleeing
and screaming as napalm burns their skin).
I know I could never live like that, and  -
soldiers or not  -  if I ever saw any one of
the guys that did that stuff, I'd be sure to
stab them to death, and maybe then (only
then), say 'thanks for your service.'
All of this stuff hits me hard and hits
home. It's just what my character's about.
Any of otherwise gung-ho crap about
'my country' and 'defending Freedom'
and all that crap is pure, boilerplate,
rip-off BS. Nothing of that exists at all,
in any way. All those podunk guys
bending elbows in Legion and Elk Halls
and all that, blubbering over their past -
they're all hunks. Salami. Baloney. Capicola
too. Seasoned and processed, and not
good for you at all. My time in New York,
a good portion of the beginning time anyway,
was taken up with, and squandered, with
US draft and Vietnam stuff. Those people
were absolute evildoers. The induction
center on lower Broadway then, called
'Whitehall' but not on Whitehall Street,
was a pale-green-walled mental camp
for retards. People in suits and uniforms,
demanding fealty to Death. And everyone
just accepted all that. It was pretty hideous,
and I'm at least glad that those photos came
out and were publicized and printed so as,
in their own way, to pull the panties down
on these military pieces of shit.
So, you want to say I'm not wounded and
maimed from Vietnam service, go ahead.
You want to say I don't have a good grip
on myself and am not giving credit where
credit's due, go ahead. And then meet me
in the alley, OK. When I look at this photo
the one I first referenced, I still fume. I
fume at all the duplicitous garbage that
this country has always, always, been
underway with. If you ever thought I'd
fight for that, you're crazy. Here's the 
background story, as I'll put it for you. 
The last thing I wanted to do today was 
get on a rant here about all the sorrowful 
moments that have rattled my past life 
and how they now affect my present. 
But this just came up. I just completed, 
based on some old California musings, 
a book entitled 'Cadillac Desert'  -  all
essentially about the 'California,' later
20th century water situation. Of which 
there is none, really, and how it's all
dammed and taken from others  -  all
this Eel River and Feather River and,
down south, the Mulholland stuff, the
Colorado and Snake Rivers, Arizona,
Idaho, etc. It's all an artificial fantasy
of water  -  trouble abounds. AND it's
built upon the broken backs of any 
number of Indian tribes  -  whose 
people have been coerced, stolen 
from, transplanted, and then transplanted 
again, and then again too. Endless lands
taken from them. Areas of their tribal
and sacred lands submerged; they been
treated and betrayed in the most dastardly,
evil (again, that word) ways by every level
of the US Government, top to bottom
because of water need, using only ONE 
example. Mostly so that shit-ass Americans
can move there, have their sub-divisions,
lawns, pools, sprinklers, strip malls, movies
stores, clubs and cabanas, highways, interstates,
bridges, dams and water-supply, and
indigenous people be damned. The gifted 
endeavors of  a civilization in search of 
the well-sprinklered lawn. So take your 
guns and bombs and go fight for that.
'One of the last-known consequences 
of water development in America is its
impact on the Indians who hadn't already
succumbed to the U.S. Cavalry, smallpox, 
and social rot. Although many of the tribes
had been sequestered on reservations that
were far from the river-bottoms where they
used to live, some tribes had been granted
good reservation land...Colonel Pick, for
the Interior Dept., got his way when the
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
tore up Interior's version of the bill and
wrote its own version as dictated by a
still-smoldering Pick...the tribes would not
even be allowed to fish in the new reservoir
being created. Their cattle would not be
permitted to drink from it or graze by it.
They had no right to purchase electrcity
generated from it (the dam). They were
disallowed to use government monies 
granted the tribes, to hire attorneys. They
were not even allowed to cut the trees
which were to be drowned by the reservoir
anyway, nor were they allowed to haul
them away...The bill was signed in May, 
1948. At the signing, stood George Gillette,
leader of the tribal business council. 'The 
members of the tribal business council
sign this with a heavy heart. The future
does not look good.' Then he cradled
his face, and began to cry.'


If you confiscate my hi-hat, I'll
have to take your platter  - these
drum guys can't just last forever.
Here's the jazzy music you desire,
now shut up, sit down, and listen. I
used to know them all by name  -
the songs, the players, all the
numbers. Now, nothing.
And I have shoveled your dirt 
and absorbed your conclusions; 
osmosis-by-the-sea is my resort. 
Now, nothing. For if I have to hear
this line of thought again I'll simply 
go. The line-marshal guy says he 
is coming back to check on things
again, so be alert.
There are crystal floaters in the sky;
each one an angel with a message.
Or at least there used to be.
Now, nothing.

Friday, October 20, 2017


I don't even know what they are, 
but the canasta players are saying 
all is good. I think I can remember 
my own parents going on about that 
word, long time back, in the 1950's, 
late. I never knew what it was and it 
just seemed like a high-class card game
to me. I hated cards. And board games
too; Jeez they were a waste. I had two
friends, about 10, a brother and a sister,
and all they ever wished to do was play 
some crummy board game named Mille
Bournes. It had cards too, as I recall,
which probably made it doubly evil to 
me. I think it meant 'a million miles.'
Or it felt like it for sure  -  something 
about car-trip stuff. They had a stupid 
little dog too, they called it 'Cherie.' 
I should have known something was 
up. I'd go over there, and right next
door to them, two older kids lived in
that house, two brothers. They were 
always playing The Everly Brothers,
and whovever it was sang 'Peggy Sue.'
I don't know, I forget his name. 
Lily-white, white-bread crap.
Oh, yeah, Buddy Holly. And
the Crickets, no less.


I'm very busy on the alternet
right now, where nothing I say
is what I meant; where gold
is lead, and lead is gold. In
such a way are problems
faced  -  we mis-represent the
meanings we traced. In this
way the world is flat and reason
rules a fading day. Yet, everyone
here agrees on one thing : There
are no second chances given.

10,073. RUDIMENTS, pt. 110

RUDIMENTS, pt. 110
Making Cars
I used to often think about certainty,
the idea of getting things right and
completely secure, before attempting
them, and then I realized what a dead
end that would be. If that had been in
effect universally, not much would ever
have gotten done : certainly no Wright
Brothers, for sure. Using a most simple
example. Back when I lived up that way,
years after NY City, there was a very
cool place, to which I often went. it was,
back then, a quite ruggedly simple 'Glenn
Curtiss Museum' -  as I recall, a simple,
converted old red-brick schoolhouse that
had been turned over to story-line, photos,
info-boards, artifacts, and a few aircraft
and racing motorcycles and cars, on the
open floor and/or suspended. Very low-key,
utilitarian, and not glamorous in any way,
which was its draw for me. This would have
been in the later 1970's. As I look at this
same place now, it's all fancied up, has its
own huge, metal-shed type building, all
sorts of Curtiss things, planes, boats, etc.
Probably also all sorts of high-tech apps
and such for self-guided tours and learning
information. I don't know. What I do know  -
which is all I really can know  -  since it's
about myself in all  -  is that, the way it is
shown now, all these history-pushers and
guides have done is transform all of this
work into the work of 'certainty'. And
thereby completely killed it. Their
hindsight allows them, smugly, to make
their perfect claim now of knowing
everything he did or undertook, AND
the results of all of it too  - which is
nothing of the sort of what actually
occurred. Glenn Curtiss was actually
an early speed-demon madman, a pioneer
in the sciences (before they were sciences)
of speed, flight, travel, racing, speed-boating,
building, crashing, getting blown up, and
getting back up too. Hammondsport, New
York had never seen anything like him  -
nor had anyone else actually. He tinkered
and spun; he defied both danger and death.
There was never a second of certainty in
his work, or in anything he did. If you
see the current museum, you'd never
get that. The old museum, as a said, just
a make-shift unused space, was chock full
of chancy possibility and risk. First off, it
still generally looked like a workshop, a
place where someone intense and crazy 
would have put in some work hours and
gotten some results. The skies around
there -  the Finger Lakes  -  have good
updraft, pleasant flying conditions, and
not so much 'resistant to flight' weathers.
These were, remember, gentler crafts back
ten  -  lots of wood and spindles, canvas wing
covers, stuff like that. Believe me there was
no certainty  -  one was, basically, flying
in a pool of gasolines and oils and the always
possible fire or explosion, besides everything
else, including open cockpit. Funny thing
was, in order to break the nerve barrier
for speeding on high, Glenn Curtiss would
first tinker with the barriers of ground-speed.
Motorcycle daredevil, high-speed stunts and
flat-out straight speeds. And watercraft too.
Surely was a different  -  and better  - world.
A man was a man in all departments then,
and if you didn't like that, tough beans.
Now everyone wants complete insurance, 
and assurance too  -  they want heir fanny
patted first, as they're gently told there's
no danger, all the equations work, and the
computer enhancement and simulation
shows no practical obstacle. Until their
stupid ego blows up first.
I don't know who runs the Curtiss Museum 
now, and I'm sure it's no longer Curtiss family
people, but I'm sure it's staffed by its own
daily parody of wise-acre know-it-alls with
big mouths to match. As for myself, all these
years and experiences later, I still wish for 
those days of old, when I could walk like a 
slosh-headed drunk through puddles of
oils and fuels, and slabs of dropped grease
on old floorways of bad concrete. I have
places in my head and heart yet reserved for
those old experiences  -  the kind of guys who
used to huddle around the Washington Street
fire-barrels in December, 1967 and try to stay
warm, or warm enough not to die anyway.
Drinking from their bottles and lighting 
cigarettes with their dirtied and bundled
hands. The tortured old guys who would
talk to me like their own dumb kid, just
awakened by whatever and start spouting 
to me of all the things that had brought them
down, or at least to there  - which was pretty
much the same thing. If I knew five then I
knew twenty of those old guys. That's where 
I still live; in some figment of 'other' that
scientists still haven't figured out.
I never did, but some of my friends used to
sell their blood for whatever they got for it,
and I forget exactly how it went  -  so many
dollars for a pint or something, and you could 
only sell so much over a certain period of time.
There were stipulations too  -  no drugs, the 
alcohol stuff, etc., but at this level it was
all almost contraband and no one cared or
checked anything -  let alone AIDS and all
that crap, which this pre-dated by at least 
10 years. There wasn't a glimmer of that 
yet, then. Some guys, a lot of the old maritime
sorts, had tattoos but they were all old, the
tattoos. Not like now, when every third kid's 
got forty feet of ink wrapping around their 
body and they're insistent to always have 
it showing  -  weird shirts then, with 
cut-off holes and peek-a-boo spots, so 
as to see some stupid color-patch or flower 
of female Goth symbol or whatever. And 
it gets worse when they're unclothed, but 
never-mind. And that goes for guys too.
I always used to say, at the bars, that I
had a nice tattoo on a 'certain' part of
myself that 'first it says 'Tiny', and then, 
in a bit it says 'Ticonderoga New York.' 
Always good for a har-har. Back to
selling blood, I don't remember what 
they got for it but it was enough for 
As I started out saying, if I'd boxed myself
into a corner tightly enough to be worried
about the expectations and the outcome
of everything I did, I would probably have
ended up doing nothing. You just can't worry
like that, and I never did. You couldn't
much tell that about me until later, when 
I actually, near to like age 19, get a license
and a car. Before that I'd just never cared; 
city stuff made it all unnecessary mostly 
anyway. Most kids weren't like that; they'd
start dreaming of and going to sleep with 
a car when they were 15 or so. All it ever 
ended up was for something they could 
drive to the mall with or parade around 
town with to show off and or pick any 
Mable or Matilda who'd jump in. I 
never went through any of that stuff.
It was all too much like a kiddie movie
or something for me to deal with. I 
remember one time, bring back at 
home for something, and a friend 
coming by with his car, wanting for 
me to drive with him. I figured, sure, 
cool. What a bust, he ended up (big 
afternoon for him) taking me to 
Two Guys ( a chain store with an  
Automotive Dept.), to buy new 
floor mats for that very car, and 
then over to a friend's house in 
Hopelawn, to install them. It 
dawned on me that this whole
'car' idea had just engulfed the 
entire daytime life of three people. 
Huh? heck with that; I could'a 
been walking somewhere cool.
Could anyone ever imagine Glenn
Curtiss going out for floor mats and
coming home with hamburgers too.
I'm pretty CERTAIN not.