Tuesday, November 24, 2020

12,238. AND OH, THE POOR COMMINGLED ROUSTABOUT

AND OH, THE POOR 
COMMINGLED ROUSTABOUT
Having heard all this, I declare
we treat everyone like garbage 
now. You, Jethro, can be as
recycled as the first sin, in the
recycle bin, and it still won't
change a material thing. This
world is falling, and failing, 
together  -  one through deep
space, and one in the heart of
every living person:
-
Who thinks they can ride side-saddle,
screw like Ron Jeremy, and talk as
fast as anyone can. The stories that
outrun their endings are never taught
in school.
-
Listen, if you will, to the furious
wind at night, as it rolls over in the
dark and tumbles down these hills :
A rip-roaring facetious county-fair, 
where the men drink beer at their 
festive tents, and the ladies dance
 together without their gents.
-
By hook or by crook : A Minuet,
a barn-dance, or a polka.

12,237. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,092

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,092
(me?)
I never knew if I was disorder,
or order. Meaning more towards
one than the other? Actually, I've
always been, and felt, closer to
disorder; in fact, it was my whole
life. I've never made plans of
much any sort, and any I ever
tried to make went far awry.
I'd have rather jumped at
things, by any impulse I felt, 
and squared it all up later on
if any accounting arose that
had to be done  -  something
to explain my actions, or 
defend my moves. Mostly 
how people end up in trouble
or jail, and it never makes for
easy courtroom testimony or
alibis. 'Well, your honor, I
don't know, I just went ahead
did it.' Nature too is that sort
of maelstrom, always reeling
and raving about.
-
Pretty much par for the course,
the rest of the world around me
has unwittingly taken its own,
ignorant course, leaving no
regard of my opinion of it nor
it of me  - which is just fine. I
can guarantee you, ten dollars 
to a penny that  -  if asked  -  
people would answer 'The
constellation Astra-Zeneca?'
when asked where the solar
system had originated. That's
how dumb it all is. 
-
Sickeningly dumb? Banal and
gross? Ignorance greater than
Sunday professional sports?
Beer? Leasing automobiles?
Plastic siding houses, after
years of aluminum siding the
same? Toxic applications to
lawns, so that the grass can 
grow rich and thick with
fertilizer so as to grow with
gusto and then be trimmed
and mowed nevertheless to 
wih a half-inch of the very
ground it was just encouraged
to grow out of? And then the
big-balled man of the house
sues the companies making
this stuff, claiming it all 
harmed him? No one says a
thing, they just smile and
throw another steak on the
'barbie' while staring lustily
at their 15 year old niece's
budding breasts at poolside,
they having misconstrued
barbie for Barbie. The doll.
-
How disenfranchised has true
desire become? I think it's
as widespread as dope: Mass
culture has always been a
wreck. Once I first landed
in NYC, my sudden exposures,
at the low-end of my personal
scale, involved just that. I
was suddenly scrounging
around for any sort of those
unique, 'pocket-change' jobs
with fluid hours and limited
responsibilities by which to
carry aloft my (very-leaden) 
balloon of self. They all led
me into the black holes of
'mass-culture' jobs, whether
it was cheapo food-service,
work at a recod store, 
any of those Rappaport family
stores that ran lower 2nd Ave;
or, as it turned out, the hamburger
grub and ice-cream store which
bordered on the north side of the
Fillmore East, just then starting
out. Moby Grape, actually, was
the first guys I saw; not their
show, just them. 8:05 was
their song, then. Just guys; it
was cool. I didn't know anything
about any Skip Spence stuff or
any of that  -  or even the Fillmore
itself, whatever it became. It was
a complete mass-cult of nothing
much to me. Clumps of stpned
people, chugging out of rock
shows to stumble next door nd
get some ice cream, or a hamburger
or any junk to satiate their probably
raging and irksome pot hunger.
It was a gas. (That's humor!).
-
This writer guy by the name of
Ortega y Gasset, he once wrote,
in reference to this 'mass cult' 
stuff, some kind of interesting 
words. Way back then, and they're
still good. ('Revolt Of the Masses'
1930): 'The world is a civilized
one, its inhabitant is not: he does
not see the civilization of the world
around him, but he uses it as if it
were a natural force. The new man
wants his motor-car, and enjoys it,
but he believes that it is the spontaneous
fruit of an Edenic tree. In the depths
of his soul he is unaware of the
artificial, almost incredible, character
of civilization, and does not extend
his enthusiasm for the instruments
to the principles which make them
possible.
-
So now I still cannot tell if the so
called 'civilized' one is that one 
which demands the order and the 
compulsiveness to put things right 
and straight, but never does (after
all, let's face it, the entireties of the 
twentieth and now the twenty-first
centuries to date have been dedicated 
to the proposition that the fist, gloved
or not, caked with war-paint or just
well-concealed, can be set right by
arms, force, control, power, and
coercion), or the 'other' one  -  mine  -
which rather proclaims the mad-dash
to non-uniformity and an anarchy
ramble-fest of the creative and the
wild impulse. Which brings forth
progress? Growth? Satisfaction?
Me?

Monday, November 23, 2020

12,236. NO CLAMOR

NO CLAMOR
I've grown accustomed to minding
my ways : or, like the Japanese kid
with no idea of Halloween, standing
idly by in doorways and costumes.
Why? How? Where am I now?
-
Little matter the fruits of the day:
We go to school standing, but sit
all day. Is that the way to learn?
-
It gets more and more narrow as I
pass along the edge; knowing I have
little time left. My face grows distorted,
but I'll not even fix my appearance for
this disappearance. How rude the
noise of the crowd.
-
No clamor like this again, thank you.
Though we all must die, I don't look
upon it as anything good.
-
The man walked over to me, saying:
'You certainly have ways of twisting
words, and the things you say are so
often difficult to grasp.' My reply,
after I thought about it for a bit? 
'Full fathom five thy father lies. 
of his bones are coral made. Those
are pearls that were his eyes'... and
nothing of him doth fade?
-
With my twist of ineptitude I left out
the last. We go to school standing, but
sit all day. Is that any way to learn of the
past? No clamor worth mugging, and
and no task worth the mission.

12,235. HUNTING SEASON

HUNTING SEASON
The deep, the deep. Mr. Cardiff have you
been there before? I mean to say this ship
is sinking while we stand here at the door.
But is it true we've nowhere else to go?
-
Sister, sister, listen to me; no more sitting
'neath the apple tree. This farmland is now
fodder for the urban mill. If they can build 
here  -  yes, they will!
-
Just outside the window pane, acres of
trees and forest. Rolling hills, snow and 
rain. Brave men with rifles, stalking?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

12,234. ROUGH AND TUMBLE

ROUGH AND TUMBLE
Like ready to wear, and when you
were a kid. Blood instead of lipstick
on your collar. Just another fight
as the neighborhood scholar.
Everyone used to laugh at you,
but now see what they've got.
Scotch and soda, running
down the spout.
-
No one knows how to handle
anything now; let alone this.
There's a motion awry, sent
afar, out-of-kilter  -  nothing
joyful at all within the lines of
Noel. Shall we go a'caroling?
-
I was once a manufactured idea.
I was once the guy at whom you
sneered. I come forth now  -  no
accolades  -  just seeking justice,
not parades.
-
I was the very fist astronaut; 
balloon man; zeppelin tot.
Before everything blew to
smithereens in this rough
and tumble world. All I
get now is solace.

12,233. HIDEBOUND AND BROKEN DOWN

HIDEBOUND AND
BROKEN DOWN
As simple as a figleaf upon Adam and
Eve, the one clue I had was a giveaway.
Yes. We had just come home from the
Slider Jones Show, the one at the old
Maple Tree. I was still thinking of what
to wear for tomorrow's Winter ride. 
-
Long-Short forecast of 14 degrees, and
we had to be to Belmar by five. Some
movie shoot for 75 bucks  -  a group
of Biker extras, and a free movie meal.
-
Dinner-break lasted three hours and we'd
gotten drunk as Hell. My friend John
had stormed the starlet's trailer and been
thrown out. He'd gotten inside, and she
really didn't mind; but the hairdresser
came back in and took a fit. By that
time too he'd stolen a 24-pack of D
Batteries and stashed them away. The
electrical trailer was right next door.
-
Late the next morning, he had two
saddlebags filled with purloined 
goods. We'd gotten paid as extras,
and found our way home. Hello
Garden State Parkway at 4am.

12,232. WHY AM I SO TIRED OF ANOMALIES?

WHY AM I SO TIRED 
OF ANOMALIES?
Here's the part I wanted you to see; watch.
When you peel back the paper, another
image appears. They're layered, so it goes
on forever. Well, not forever, I mean more
until the papers run out.
-
It becomes to difficult now for me to
keep track of things. I'd rather the anarchy
that takes place in a bundle : things all
thrown together and a Devil-may-care.
-
I saw some guy the other day ride by:
some gleaming concoction of motorcycle
and girlfriend together. She was on the back.
I wondered where they were going? Just
another country bar, to waste some time?
-
Around here, the whole world is gleaming;
even the running gear and the neglected
sheen of everything seen : barns and sheds,
old cars and horses in a field. What matters
now is that nothing really matters at all.
Everything is an exception, and the
regular world is a bore.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

12,231. ONYX AND SCHOOLING

ONYX AND SCHOOLING
All things being equal, the sky is
black at night and the educated
man says nothing. A few thousand 
stars make little difference either
way. Now I have you; now I don't.
-
Like the coating on wax paper :
distorting the clarity of what gets
wrapped up. Who cares so little
for distorted mirror images? Me?
-
Me? Who threw my bicycle into 
the sea and went home carrying a
pail of mussels? Who stopped in
West Long Branch to eat at the
saloon and drink at the diner?
-
Not so soon kemosabe; your
chemical condition is inebriating
the doors and windows. The sky is
black at night, and the educated
man says nothing.

Friday, November 20, 2020

13,230. TOUGH LITTLE SUGAR CAT

TOUGH LITTLE SUGAR CAT
Out from the harbinger they say here
that everything now means something.
I don't think so; it's all meaningless.
A scattershot recital by brats; a litany
of abusive excuses.
-
My screwdriver tray fell off of the
cabinet; everything went everywhere.
'Like ideas,' I said to Fred, 'like ideas.'
He wanted me to tell him about the
last time in Woodstock.
-
Candy paper wrappers. Cellophane phone
books, and that weird girl named Tendra
selling pictures from her table. 'A tough
little sugar cat,' I said, as she came
over and smiled anew. 
-
She'd grown up in Timothy Shoals, which
was a town somewhere near Biloxi; she
claimed. I wouldn't know, and I said so.
'Geography was never my strong suit,
but I always know where I am.' 

 


13,239. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1091

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1091
(some guy named ken healy)
'I and the public know what 
all schoolchildren learn. Those
to whom evil is done do evil
in return.' That was W. H.
Auden, who used to live, in 
my days there, down at the
bottom of St. Marks Place,
at the sight of two concrete
lions at the entryway. Those
lions looked miserable, were
withering; sizzling away, from
the acidics in the air, as well
as the hacking pollution of
morons who'd smash away
at at them every so often,
with a hammer or a mallet. 
Sad scene, how all that anger
comes out. Auden used to have
the most lined face I'd ever
seen  -  not even knowing his
true age, he looked, to me, 110
already then. The last I saw,
a few years back anyway, the
remnants of two 'lions' were
still there. Two 'somethings'
anyway. The rest is all forgotten,
and will remain that way. You
need grandeur? Go see the large
lions at the 42nd street public
library. If they even let people
in anymore.
-
I never knew much about
anything, even though I studied
and delved. Foreign places stayed
foreign; other tongues and habits,
cultural ways and means, stayed
a'distant to me. I managed Spanish,
and a little French (hated that). The
too-fast rapido of most NY Hispanics
left me in the dust, so I kept it to just
being able to read. Latin was my
basis of the rest. On the other hand,
German was far and away the most
tendentious and perplexing of the
languages I dealt with. The sense
of connectedwordcoldness, as they
would put it, killed me. You 'take'
a concept and then string words
about that concept's relevance
together, all in a nasty row, to get
another word ABOUT that combined
concept, in a word. How weird is
that?
-
Voracious probably was my best
watchword. By 1962 I was already
lost in the words and jiggles of that
day, and I was but 12. I was away
too, remember  -  seminary crap just
kept me bottled up. I was ready to
explode  by December. Neo this
and neo that; 'new-journalism,' 
people writing, all of a sudden, in
a fictional mode but with non-fiction
elements. Introducing 'Self' as a
character; one guiding the reader
through the created world such a
narrator had put together. It was
cheating, a set-up. Fiction, and
non-fiction, both, were completely
transformed and anything read had
to be accused, first, of slant. Of
steering the reader. Like slumlords
of buildings, these persons became
slumlords of words. The words they
wrote. Here: The 'author' makes
something up, and then brings his
or her self into it, as a character, 
witnessing, guiding  -  and even 
sometimes explaining  -  what has 
been introduced or been going on. 
Not quite 'Deus ex machina,' but
somewhat close to 'Doofus ex...'
-
I watched words and ideas get
deconstructed  -  ground down to
nothing-at-alls, mere suggestions
of an idea thrown in. One had, then
better carefully read the proverbial 
small print, a la any of them : 'All 
information is seen as useful.
Inaccurate information is in itself
accurate information about the
informant [telling the information]. 
The accidental did not figure. Many
people are intolerant of the accidental. 
This was something more  -  as all
behavior was seen as purposeful.'
-
Perhaps that was so. Within a few years,
entering the 1970's I realized that the
more intense focus to events which I'd
gone through living there had a different
backlight that the usual, crummy and
workaday world  -  where most things
meant nothing and all of life seemed
dedicated  -  unless one was Dorothy
Day or something  -  to the pursuit
of the glib : ease, pleasure, satisfaction
and the rest of that. Hedonism of an
American sort? (I used to think of
the Marx Brothers and their 'Hail
Fredonia' schtick, merely renaming
it 'Hail, Hedonia!'). Hey, private jokes
kept me afloat.
-
I've studied deep and hard, lots of
language, writing, composition, reading,
and commentary stuff; all it's ever got
me was appreciation, on my part, for
what others have done. I remember the
cold, Winter days of half-twilight, in
the basement of NYC, Studio School,
just devouring books  -  watching
people's feet pass by in the small, 
elevated window above me. It was
as quaint as it was odd  -  an entire
history of Humanity, passing daily
by me, in dark Winter coats, freezing
and bundled, all these people in their
normal, workaday NYC world, and
mostly silent too. Flurries of snow
tossing about, and then, every so often,
a real snowfall  -  a white city, with
changed noises, all the wet and moist
drag of tires and wheels. The entire
landscape, whatever it may have been
changed; altered drastically. Piles
of snow atop the iron fenceposts at
the Church of the Transfiguration, and
the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian. Local
reference-points, each. I would walk
that lower Fifth Ave section often,
starting at One Fifth, a storied place
I'd read of so many other times.
I was bundled too, but my mind was
as naked and free as at some Gaugin
embroidered Tahitian beach. No fetters
attached, and gun for hire.
-
A person can read and read (and, yes,
I had a friend through the Studio School
and the San Francisco Art Institute  -  in
fact, I was sleeping with his sister!  - who
wanted to burn all books, never read again, 
claiming it was deadening, malicious, and
detracted from experiencing real life! Try
that one, Hitler!) and still go nowhere. 
-
There are levels of reading. You can
simply 'read' any old informational
packet of trash, and take little away.
At the same time, it was possible to read, 
say, 1975 American dispatches from the
miserable, failed USA rushed-exit from
its destitute Vietnam crusade, and have
learned, hidden deep with the copy of
the dispatches, valuable information:
'I would skim the stories on policy
and fix instead on details  -  the cost 
of a visa to leave Cambodia in the weeks
before Phnom Penh closed was five
hundred dollars American. The colors 
of the landing lights for the helicopters
on the roof of the American embassy
in Saigon were red, white, and blue. The
code names for the American evacuation
of Cambodia and Vietnam respectively
were EAGLE PULL and FREQUENCT 
WIND. The amount of cash burned in
the courtyard of the DAO in Saigon
before the last helicopter left was
three-and-a-half million dollars American
and eighty-five million piastres. The
code name for this operation was 
MONEY BURN. The number of
Vietnamese soldiers who managed to
get aboard the last American 727 to
leave Da Nang was three hundred
and thirty. The number of Vietnamese
soldiers to drop from the wheel wells
of the 727 was one. The 727 was 
operated by World Airways. The name
of the pilot was Ken Healy.'



13,238. TRUTH?

TRUTH?
I went out for a walk through the woods,
to see the ramble and clear my head. Off
to the side the old leaves crumbled, to
groan their chorus as I passed them by.
-
I had little to say, but listening is a chorus
more grand. Re-entry makes glad-hands
shake. I shouldn't be here if not for that.
-
Hunker down again, for perhaps a miracle
worker may still arrive to paint this shallow
and fen anew : Bright greens and hazy
yellow too. Blue sky, so forthright, high.
Do you hold dear any other truths than
these , and if so, are they just as true?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

13,237. SMALL TIME HOODS

SMALL TIME HOODS
I watched the train consume the
dwelling, taking down boards and
beams and windows and doors. The
sound was fairly small, for what
you'd imagine should be roars.
Otherwise, so they spoke, some
sort of justice ruled.
-
That what the people were saying,
those at the precipice and those at
the edge. No longer weary, it seemed
a new energy propelled them forth.
But to where, I did not know.
-
Probably just another ledge.

13,236. HEAVY FOOTFALLS

HEAVY FOOTFALLS
Your friend Keri said 'Lunch at 2,'
while I wondered what  she was
thinking. Seemed awful late to me.
Might as well say Dinner at 3.
-
I never knew how things went, so
it mattered little. Drinking heavily
again, I was in Metal Mattel Land,
with all my toy cars and trucks.
-
There's a shimmering cimmaron
somewhere that's probably a TV
show waiting for renewal. How those
girls walked with their big, flouncy
skirt is beyond me. Beyonce?
-
I watched the huge billboard falling,
as they dismantled it for, instead, one
of those current light-board signs that
ruin the night sky. Can't shill for booze.
Can't shill for tobacco. Lottery is all
the country has left? What sort of
dump is this? Bereft?

13,235. CARRION, MY WAYWARD SON

CARRION, MY WAYWARD SON
I heard the bulls on Christmas Day
There will be peace when you are gone.
Hickory dickory dock....
-
Radiators were planted in the lawn.
Boxtops grew where once grew trees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

13,234. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,090

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,090
(kindles of magic)
Conglomerations of dreams never
come to this. I am reverent. I sit
back, thinking about...myself? I'm
at Christine's, as I recall, some
shithole maybe Polish Restaurant
dive on First Ave, between, oh, say,
hard to remember now, 13th, 14th.
Barley soup, Pierogi, Polish ravioli,
and the rankhole Suyvesant Town
bitchiness, sitting right next door.
Sort of, anyway. Blintzes, red
cabbage, cabbage soup, rice? All
that too I really forget, but I was
eating something. Colored sodas?
Drinks? A bar right next door, for
Bourbon? A whore?
-
My life amounts right now to nothing
but the vacant past I used to live in.
I had hammers and wrenches and
tools; painted birds and stretcher
bar'd canvases. Another world of 
language back then was opened up.
Yiddish, and German-speaking
maniacs. Fedora-Jews, and Slavic
revolutionaries; most of Kiev's
debris was on the street. "My
poshlem tsarskikh prispeshnikov
na mnozhestvo smertey, sozhzhennykh
uzhe etikh mnogikh gorodov bol'novkh
i umirayushchikh..." [We will send the
royal henchmen to their many deaths,
these cities already burned down by
these many sick and dying...].
-
You think I knew what they were
saying? No. I had to ask  -  some
50 years out of date crap about
the Revolution and the Czars and 
all that crap. The fucking-craziest
part of it all was The Rolling Stones
start singing about it and everyone
goes about believing they know
all about it. What a bunch of fecking
crap! You want to know what 'fecking'
is? It's a word I learned, over at the
White Horse, from the Irish and
English people there. They'd never
just say 'fucking,' as Americans would;
to them it was always 'fecking.'
-
My gay, dead, friend Paul used to
say, about Ithaca NY, when I was
there, how much he liked it because
it was so 'Cosmopolitan'  -  way out
like that in the middle of absolute
nowhere like that. Living on 1st
street Colonia NJ sure must have
made him weird. Even queer, I
guess. It was about as cosmopolitan
as the UN  -  which is a mix, yes, but
an enforced mix, kept within confines.
When I was in Ithaca, the streets still
smoldered from the Black Power
takeovers, and none of the new girls
wore bras. I was in favor of one, and
not so much for the other. Black
Power comes and goes, but girls
are forever.
-
I can't say, like the song does, 'I
been everywhere, man...' because
I sure as hell have not. But within
my stalled constellation of time, and
the remnants of place that I dragged
along with it, I was in pretty wondrous
times, at any one time.  Over by 11th
street, 1967, the Polish guy who used
to serve me gruel now and then  -  25
cents for oatmeal and endless coffee  -
he had concentration camp tattoos
on his forearm, a string of numbers,
and his one eye, or maybe two, I
forget, was pink and always tearing.
I loved that old sonofabitch, and
would sit there for hours with him,
just watching. We got pretty close,
that old, sad, lower eastside guy,
though we hardly ever talked. He was
sad, through and through, and by him
I read the history of the world. At
6am each morning, the Con Ed
guys from the generating station
down at the river on 14th, would
come in for their breakfasts and
cigarettes and bullshit. They sit 
there talking, updating each other, 
who they'd fucked and who they'd
screwed, what their wives knew
and what they didn't. I'd sit there,
knowing that, over at my apartment
at 509 east 11th, the radical activists
of the day were underway with their
plans to blow that very substation
to smithereens in November. I never
really felt guilty, though I pitied those
poor sons of bitches with all their
Con Ed mouths and presuppositions
and crapola stories. It was all going to
be coming down, and soon. 
-
Fact of the matter? Nothing ever 
happened. My apartment got raided; 
police-taped and sealed off. 16 people
in that hovel I never heard from again.
Stupid is as stupid does. Yep. There
were one or three dead bodies too,
chopped and channeled like
Hot Rod Eddie's cute girlfriend.
No one ever found out a thing, and
I was gone with the morning breeze.
Funny about NYC...those streets
can chop you up, or they can
take you in.




13,233. ROUGH BEATS

ROUGH BEATS
What rough beats are come this
way, over the mannered hill? I see
shadows across the field, but no
more than that  -  chimeras wearing
coats. So I will sit amidst my cronies
and think of things to do.
-
I am that man, and that. The flannel
shirt and the tilted hat, seventy-five
years far out of date, with stubby
fingers and a longshoreman's cape.
-
My bag is hunched and bent, and
from each pore pours a tired lament.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

13,232. CEMENT ME

 CEMENT ME
I am seeing things again.
Though I wonder why that
is, I duly accept the burden.
Fledgling critters in the shapes
of other forms; resilient matter,
all leaving their outlines in
snow and ice. Leave me be;
oh please be me.

13,231. HARLEQUIN

HARLEQUIN
Main-shaft. Curlicue. Costume.
Here now, here I am; there too.
No rest for the leery, one and
five make two. It's a family
legend how I got here.
-
Opening the mail with a
sharpened stone. Some new
flyer for the grocer's, and the
Buick dealer is offering rebates
anew? Five will get you ten.
-
Over the sunset hill, the newly
formed snow is flying : a routine
of swirl and twist, as if nothing
ever hits the ground. This I just
gotta' see...

13,230. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,089

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,089
(finding a way out)
It had taken me a long time
to make the reach between
real logic and real fantasy;
as crazy as that sounded, it
became Reality for me soon
enough. Realizing the lack
of truthful foundation behind
most things was painful. The
long and dark passages of the 
tunnels beneath Grand Central
and the catacomb-like environs
of any of those weird and bizarre
subway stops and stations had
become my answer to the world:
my rat-like warren, my den of
travel and wait. Port Authority
was a cruel NJ joke (bus terminal,
beleaguered outpost of crap).
Penn Station was pathetic, loud
and light and cramped; a totally 
inept replacement for the grand
and beauteous one which had
previously been there and had 
been ignominiously removed, as
if bludgeoned and torn away, 
to the death of all memory, 
just a year or two previous.
The 'replacement' station was
a travesty of squared walls,
idle walkways, and paltry
surroundings, all without any
theme or bliss. I still held a
somehow 'romantic' idea of
travel and trains and ground,
and each of these new places
traitorously betrayed all that  -
except for Grand Central, which
thankfully still held itself out
as the refuge needed when a 
free refuge was, indeed, needed.
Or due. Like a train. On time.
-
The great city surrounded it; nay,
swallowed it, so that one immediately
felt swept up and covered by the
grand maw of the massive scene 
-  one both, at the same time,
swaddling and comforting. If so
inclined to see it that way. Of course,
for most of human existence all
around it, that same city could be 
seen as a treacherous and cruel
executioner. I was always careful
to keep both of those ideas and
inner codes out before me, spread
as antipodes to existing as one
way or the other. There's a certain
form of 'tension,' existentially, that
keeps life itself suspended between
extremes. I was with, and a part of,
all that; so I played it, as well as
I was able. The problem with New
York, and, perhaps with a hundred
other places too, is that what's held
out as the 'ideal' and the prime
aspect of the location  -  that dreamy
swoon of being  -  is a view and
an acting-within-it, that, in reality,
is not 'it' at all  -  that view demands
money and privilege, connections
and inside vantage points that the
greater mass of humankind simply
does not have. Put simply, the 'richly
idealized' and pluperfect view of
location which is presented is but
the dream ideal unavailable to the
more common Joe or Joan, who then
most always comes away disappointed
or let down. I'd see it over and over. It
sometimes turned itself, in fact, into
the anger and disdain felt by people
who'd ended up, instead, trapped in
some ratty 2nd Avenue tenement with
no place else to go, or afford, and
with little hope of getting back out.
-
Things odd have always attracted me;
like the distance between, say, paroxysm
and placebo, each just simple words
in an alphabetic row but with worlds
between them. I sensed the gulfs and
the spaces between worlds. Not just
worlds, but the millions of worlds,
all different, which are being lived
together, all as one, at any one time.
Agreed-upon assumptions, of course, are
the means by which we keep sane and
keep all this 'difference' tied together.
It's the equivalent of the most boring
politics in the world  -  men and women
saying things, talking crap, and everyone
nodding and acquiescing as if they did
believe and agree. Meanwhile nothing
aligns at all and the entire mess just
keeps moving along. The old sense
of things, even the idea of 'Salvation,'
went out the window a thousand and
more years ago. But now no one cares,
-
Robert Frost it was, who wrote: 'I'm
waiting for the one-man revolution; 
the only one that's coming.' I guess,
back then, I figured I could wait
with him.
-
Key phrases and curious sayings
and quotes oftentimes kept me going.
In some ways that's as much being
like an idiot as it is a mime, but it
worked. The train kept rolling. 'Let
those who want to save the world;
if any can see it clear and as a whole.'
That was Hemingway, and he had
another too  -  'The great thing is
just to last, and get your work done.'
-
Spacing things out, conceptual things,
as if they were objects, was a means I
kept of monitoring my own, small,
world. I knew I myself was sort of
caught between places, mostly penniless
and at the mercy of lots of other events
and viewpoints that took little consideration
of me, those like me, or those around me.
As a unit, we were mostly a motley array
of the soon-to-be-lost; and it did happen
that way. Suicide(s); heroin; bungled 
crimes; run down by cars or taxis. I
found it best to concentrate solely and
as completely as possible on ONE thing
at a time and not be swayed or blown
about by the many activities always
open  -  for distraction, mis-application,
or complete detour. Looking back now,
there are, yes, things I regret. Things
I did or said; chances missed. I had an
uncle, all that time  -  my father's
brother, Uncle Joe, in fact  -  who
daily went to his job on Wall Street,
and to whom I never paid attention.
Not a visit or a talk. Heck, certainly
too I could have gotten lunch! My
rank stupidity and my own certain
forms of unheralded anger kept me,
foolishly, away from any of those
sorts of connections. As in that long
space between paroxysms and placebos,
I'd fallen in, deeply  -  into a philosophical
space of both my own 'creation' and my
own entrapment. My new assignment
was going to be in having to find
a way out.