So it was on Albemarle Street and the
man had a dishevelled gun; black guy,
seemed too big for his own opinion
and walking around like that, with a
strut, he already deserved a jail. I'd ask
what was the last book he'd ever read,
but he'd probably not even understand.
Man, we have to put up with his kind
always? Whatever he was doing, it wasn't
for me and I intended to pass right by.
On the other corner, the Salvation Army
Store was busy, black guys too, pushing
carts of clothes across the street from
the receiving room and the offices,
where they checked and cleaned and
then priced the incoming clothes. I'd
guess. Other than that, just a Newark
slum filled with filth and scabs and
now Mexicans too, in little round cars
filled with 7 or 8 people. They pull
in like monkeys chattering, and all file
out together. Whatever they eventually
buy, I guess it's all shared among them.
I can never figure out the poor; I mean
the lousy poor, who shop used clothes
and sneakers. Illegals, and dudes without
money. Landscapers and apartment
painters. Snide bastards too. But I
never complain. They talk in English
when they have to, but mostly use
their local tongue. That's OK. I
don't speak Ciudad Juarez either.
What's with all this anyway? Up above
my head the railroad passes - New
Jersey Transit, with those shitty,
cramped trains and Amtrak and Acela,
with their speed and acclaim. Want to
go to Philly, or DC? Here's your grab.
Metropark or Newark, either one is
fab. But, here and now is Newark,
where everything's broken down :
the culture and the magic are all
gone. I used to come here, in a
'62 Chevy estate wagon, to pick
up a Spanish guy named Angel.
Now that's all gone - those old
Spanish types are finished, and
I don't know where they've gone.
Everything's been replaced now
anyways, with cereal kids - Kix
and Cheerios and Alpha-Bits. I've
not met a kid yet named Kix, but
I bet it's coming soon - pack the
car enough and someone will have
a baby, right? Look at those old
stones that make up the wall. New
graffiti for sure - nifty and modern.
Today's 'brites' got the old colors
beat, and they get away with this
stuff now easy. It's so simple. No
one draws nudes of their sister on
the wall - just weird names in big
fat and goofy letters. 'Tyco 21',
and 'Mash Omari 3'. What's any
of it mean; beats me. Along the
McCarter Highway now, in fact,
to combat the graffiti, they have
some guys's painting of white
dresses, repeated like 30 times,
all down the rock-wall row.
Nothing left for me; I want to
go get drunk in the old Mac Turner's
Tavern that was on the corner, but
it's now gone and I don't care. I can
still go to McGovern's, but that's a
hell-hole now, and the last time I
was there they were holding a union
meeting in the big back room and I
just sat at the bar - where this ancient
old lady, probably 70, just stared at
me for half the hour. She had one of
those small grocery carts, the kind
you pull along, and it was filled
with baby clothes, while she wore
a full-length, old tweed jacket. The
whole scene was weird, but they'd
let her in and she nursed a beer.
Staring at me, enough that I wanted
to punch her out. Somebody's Mama,
I figured; so I just let it go.