Sunday, April 23, 2017


They're stirring again : creatures with the
little minds and the talk and the mowers and
the blowers. They stand at corners, gawking
at each other and just wondering. As I do. I
wonder what's coming through. These are
the worms of Earth, the things that inhabit
the land, the misbegotten, the tiny elephants
of this large, ant-hand. No, it isn't that I've
wondered where they've been  -  any 
nighttime walk could have told me that.
Through their insipid and vapid land 
of TV. That's what they learn, so that's
what will be. No wondering about that
in this the Land of The Misbegotten, with
a new season's babies, in this land
of the rotten.


These days I live on the side of a hill with
only a shovel as a guide. I've burrowed in,
instead of going up or down, deciding to
just dig through sideways,. The shovel has
become quite handy to me. I don't know
how I'd be without it and I know I wouldn't
be able to make one  -  tempered steel and
all that  -  that would withstand the rigors
of hitting these rocks. Sometimes here
the sun just blinds me, but I take shelter.
It's a nice place; there's a small brook
which runs below me, though far below,
actually. I sometimes see the glint : that
sunlight I mentioned, hitting the water.
It's not that I get bored, though lonely
perhaps would work. A word, mere 
non-presence, like things forgotten.
Nooks, pencils, satchels; all that
was long ago. Now it's nothing
but a slavish pile of space. Yes,
strange concept, but that's about
it : slavish pile of space.

9426. SO

So, running down the street takes all
sorts of energy. And my coat is now
flying as I talk.  For breakfast, I had
nothing. Never do, and the same for
lunch. If life was a game (it is, I have
a hunch), I could win the starvation
prize for waiting.
One time, in a vat of de-natured alcohol,
Laurie Anderson said she once went
an entire Winter without a Winter coat.
So. Big deal to that, I say. Whoever
thinks of that as an achievement
has another thing coming.
So, I used to be a prono star, but way
back, before they filmed the stuff like
they do now. Another time of my life,
I kept a colored notebook with a
different shade for each day. It was
difficult to find (365 shades), and I
had to go to one of those travel-journal
notebook companies to get it made.
But, boy, were they a pain to deal with:
mostly fussy ladies who only liked other
ladies and never took tea with men. If
you know what I mean. Thy thought 
having a little journal in which to write
while you sat in some cafe dreaming 
about your life was the greatest thing
in the world. I had to tell them to get
a grip ('cause I knew they'd never grab 
me). I got it done. It went down easy.
So, a year later the notebook was filled.
I sold it to Putnam for 35 grand. They have
it still, and I got my advance of 17 thousand,
but the rest I'll probably never see because
it's contingent on them printing a product.
They've said my 'tone' has gone out of style.
I told them so has theirs.


To all things come deliverance; one way
or the other. life-line, below-deck, FedEx
or UPS. Sanctuary and far beneath the
meaning we think. Angels on heads of
pins do dance. 
I speak these words, known as a malingerer
and a scamp. I always mix things up : was it,
for instance, Eliza Doolittle or Emma Lazarus
who said 'I lift my Lamp to Freedom,' or
something near to that? You know. That
'Colossus' thing in the harbor we sing.
Your tired, your hungry, your poor.
Or was that, 'You're tired? You're hungry?
You're poor? So what do you want from me?
Get away before I close the door.'
Hey, man, there's no escaping freedom.
The butterfly sings with the bee, and the lamb
goes along to slaughter. The way all things
should be. No second acts in American lives;
or there shouldn't be, because to have a second,
you most certainly need a first. Heretofore the
standard went that way, though maybe
now it's changing (but for the worse)?

Saturday, April 22, 2017


The blue light of a candle flickers.
How it's blue, so much so, I am not
sure. The patient takes my hands.
'I am not a doctor, no' I tell the
patient, 'but if I were I would a 
heart doctor, for you.' That seems
to settle things a little better.
How often do we die in bed? Is it
really only once in a lifetime? Or is
it, rather, every night, again?


They say that fame is fleeting, and
I guess I've found that out. Was it light?
Or maybe fire? I forget. It wasn't kitchen
utensils, for I think they were out already,
but  -  then again  -  if there wasn't any fire
first than how could that have been? Or,
well, perhaps it was the round wheel? I
do remember those first ones I used to
see were square, and made for a very 
bumpy ride for carts and people, leaving
many quite unhappy. And vocal about it. 
Hey! Maybe it was cursing I invented.
Damn, I forget that too. Well, anyway,
I know it was something, and long ago.


Like Whistler had his bones and Stalin
had his steel, so I come running to you.
My head's on fire and my legs are hot,
can you understand or do you not? I
walked in tonight with Ed O'Brien,
the used-to-be geek who was the chubby
Mayor of my town. Back then. He was
raising Irish whiskey to his chin. All the
lines of double-talk he's ever spoken
were lined up at his lips : 'Yes, it's silly 
season once again, Fat Boy, drink up.'
And to think, I was once a friend with
Bert Blyleven too : what a life and
what a game. Now I do nothing but
stand in line  -  50 bucks a day for
jailhouse line-up calls, and ID
procedurals. I'm never the guilty,
just a stand-in for whatever went down.
Sure it gets boring, but there are lots of
pretty girls and plenty of papers and
magazines to go through : forget the
phones and hand-held notebooks and
computers. I don't do any of that  -  for
my dumb line of police work, it doesn't go
with my 'age-group.' And yes, they had
the nerve to put it that way, the fools.

However, in all this time I am writing the
novel of the century, even though that's 
fairly preposterous to say this early in
that century  -  but you never know. It's
get everything now needed - the florid
language with a modern touch, the sex and
scandal, even the driverless cars. What the
hell, I'm no fool. Have you ever thought
how what was once a science-fiction story
would now be filed under 'Realism' instead?
One time I was reading Arthur C. Clarke.
It was about 1974, and he had a story that
floored me to death : all the phone lines, on
all those poles everywhere, well they began 
listening in on all the words that passed, and
they got together (as phone lines will, I guess)
and planned a way to use all those words and
take over, re-aligning the messages to say other
things. Everywhere. And it worked. And they won,
and took over, and Mankind never knew a thing.


By the end of time all things will be
over and we shall be walking backwards.
Lanes will be highways and paths will
be roads. That supermarket is now the
kennel club where the scientific types
by their human food.

Friday, April 21, 2017


That was a pool hall in old Perth Amboy. 
I always spelled his last name Mizerack, 
with the 'C' though I didn't really know.
Maybe it was Mizerak. But it was a
pool hall so what the heck  -  you 'rack'
the balls, so I let it go. He had been
himself some sort of pool pro, like
Minnesota Fats, running the country 
on bets, and winning, as he traveled
along. I guess he had to be young to
do that. And wise and crafty too.
Easy to get killed or wrecked, doing
shit like that. That's not a happy world
at all. Blood on the tracks, and blood
in the racks, let's just say. The old
Wilentz Law office was right across
the street  -  Warren Wilentz was once
a big-time Jersey lawyer. He was the
guy in the Lindbergh kidnapping case
too, at the Flemington Courthouse, back
when all that was big-time. The law-firm
isn't here anymore, and he's dead. They
grew too large and now have a big-deal
office on Woodbridge Center Drive, or 
near. What's even funnier is that now 
they defend corruption. Ain't that a switch?
All those dirty political thieves, stealing
public money and getting themselves
written into nearly every contract, these
Wilentz people defend them all. Used
 to be 'Wilentz, Goldman, and Spitzer.
Now it's just Wilentz. A 'W', as in
'willful violation of the legal process.'
Yeah, well, whatever. I don' talk shit
for nothing. Right across from then also,
by the 1980's there was a small Cuban
store, maybe Hondurans, I don't know.
But they made cigars by hand, Cuban leaf.
That's all I know and I don't know how they
got them embargo and all that. (Ask Wilentz,
maybe). But they had their little molds, all
different kinds and sizes, for all the cigars.
The ladies there would be gently rolling.
They guys (macho stuff, remember) would
do the actual 'construction' of the cigar.
Just past them was the old movie house, now
a World Mission for the Jesus Exploding
Domain Preachment Center or something.
And just past that, too, was the old Fishkin's.
Now that was a place! Bicycles, cameras,
model cars, planes, kites, toy trains, Lionel,
and a hundred other things. Maybe guns, but 
I forget. Artist and paint supplies, for sure.
I never cared about anything much else.
People would say I was odd, just look at
me and laugh, or shrug me off  -  but I
knew what was up, even if they didn't.
For me, it was all pure disdain and they
were all creeps. I always wanted to say,
'Watch out, asshole, I know what your
daughter likes, just remember.'


Just don't tell anyone or they won't
come along. All those sheep, in the
pasture, even they don't know.
They put a railway in the space
between Harmon and McCaffrey.
Now the night air is sounded by
the rattle of rail and whistle.
Once, there were two nice log cabins
in the acres between the swamp and
Annon. The family Quistor lived there,
probably three generations, maybe four,
about 40 people all told. All gone. I
don't know where they went.


'Oh carry me back to Ole' Virginny.'
Yes, just like a dream I heard that
spoken in a small-town cafe. I was
just sitting there, and the girl with
the rain-kerchief on came in. She
came right over and asked if she 
could sit. I said, 'What would happen
if I said 'No?' Would I awaken, and
find you were gone?' She laughed
and just said, 'Maybe, maybe not;
but would you know what to do
with a million bucks anyway?' 
I love talk like that  -  you see it's
all like abstract art but with words. 
We go where it leads. Usually I don't
like talking - the miasma of the small,
those words and concepts I can never
understand. But this is like blush, with
the eyes and the mind. Different, for sure.
Oh, tweedle-dee, they've got some old
book jackets up on the wall, framed. It
gives the pretension that they're a literary
salon instead of a small town coffee shop
which only recently was a furniture store
that went broke. Maybe there's a story
there, but I don't know. Water and suicide.
Intuitive vision. Whatever you will.
Hemingway? No! Jeez I hated that guy. He
wrote like a gut-string, nothing but bluster.
The scream of a cat on a hot stretch-bar.


You can maybe read about this in the textbook
of Miles Standish one of those overt but quite
useless schoolbook references; the kind the
academics sell. 'But don't come on this campus
with it, we are free thinkers.' Yep, that's how
it goes. Organized comportment  -  like the
joy to be felt when they round-up illegals
in New Brunswick. Finally. It's a beautiful
thing. Liars, one and all, these sorts,
The academics who proclaim, and the lay-low,
low-life cactus eaters from Juarez. Take them
all away and quite the charade. I've been at 
this since 5 am, and really I don't have any
patience for this time anymore. Don't tell
me you've got them  -  laws, I mean  -  
if they're flouted. If you say the law is to
be flouted, then I can start a revolution.
All I can say now is 'It's about damn time.' 
The way a Mexican says it, I really don't know.

9417. SO

'My God,' I thought to myself,
immediately, 'they really ought to
call this off.' My impression was
based on nothing, but the treacle
was turning to broth and I'd
gotten tired of hearing.
Like some Brobdingnagian
manslaughter of mind, the real 
thinkers were already all dead.
They'd been taken out early on,
to spare the masses the chance of 
of having to think. (All I ever learned,
I learned from Jonathan Swift. Pay
me no mind, please, but pay me).
'Jesus, Easter was just last week?'
I replied, 'Yeah, but are you just saying
that, or is He here?' Now? Once more?
How can you tell? No laughing matter,
all this stuff, as I considered it. I do
hate confusion; transfusion too, but
that's another bloody matter for another
bloody land and time. Now we're all
in one big world, and all together.
So, it still freaks me out : this whole
Easter story and all that stuff. One small
little clump of people, two-thousand years
ago, coming up with all this in their Qumran
caves, and now they're tax exempt everywhere
and their guy's out on the road once more.
Still, that's how it is. I take my measures, for
sure : I pray every day; I pray for you, and I
pray for me, I pray for the waters and the
trees and the sunlight and for all immortal time.
I greet each thing with prayer, and people too.
I pray for the lost and miserable, the sick and
the crippled. I do things, against my better
judgment, for others  -  when I'd really rather
slit their throats. Wow, listen to me now go on.


Just because he's neat and natty, doesn't
mean he knows a thing. Other than,
maybe, as a concierge, or someone 
who knows were to get delivery after
2am, or where your pants are, or how
you look from behind. With his hand
out, of course, that's the sort of things
these fellows notice, and work for.
Fancy, rich-ass hotels are all alike. He
might do you favors, but needs something
in return. And please don't bring your
daughter down where he can see her.
Just too much that goes on for any of
that to be worth it. You read about it all
the time, and this ain't Kansas anymore.
You can get the Paris papers at the desk,
and the Metro editions of any city paper.
Except, of course, they don't do that 
anymore. People barely read : I can 
remember, 40 years ago, when the New
York Rimes printed twice a day, the
morning edition, and the afternoon.
As events warranted and matters changed,
they'd recompose the paper to update all
the stories and often even change the lead.
No more. First off, no one cares, but more
like I said, no one reads. Things change
constantly and they all look at screens.
Screen-feeds are real-time, like the bellboy's
needs. I mentioned to keep your daughter away?
I hate to read both tragedy and crime together.
Maybe one without the other I can take. But,
if it goes bad, and someone dies, that really
breaks me up. Like kidnapped daughters from
Albuquerque who get taken down, kidnapped
or raped, and left for dead at the bottom of 
some crummy stairwell that only the service 
people know. See what I mean? Bellboys 
and insiders always on the prowl.
So, don't let anything out of your sight, kids
and wives included, I guess. They even get
into your rooms when you're not around, so
watch the cash and jewelry. Insider stuff
abounds. I know, I used to work in that 
racket. Big-time city hotel glomming of
things : people are always due somewhere
else; they can't away around for results or
investigation, and the hotel cops are creeps
as well. Like bank dicks in a safe-deposit box.
If I were anyone so naive, I'd pick a crummy
Holiday Inn, and somewhere else. Mostly, there,
they're just too dumb to get all this stuff going,
and corporate is always breathing down their
neck too. Who wants to lose the franchise? 
Know what I mean. It happens, all too often.
And it's always the ladies with the big bowl 
of showy jewels, they're the worse. Loud and
bossy and cheap to boot. They think they can
push a servant guy around just to show their
worth. They forget they're only worth as much
as they are when they leave, not when they
arrive. There's a justice there. Real monkey
business; 'cept they're the monkeys.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

9415.11th AND ANNUAL

11th and Annual, or 11th and Animal, 
I forget, but it's where I alwyas wanted 
to live. Just a no-place at all; some joint
with a really weird name. In the same
vein, my goldfish once grew legs, hoisted
itself right out of the little water tank, and
walked off. I never did find out what happened
to it, nor how it adapted to needing to air
instead of water. Oh well.


I want to justify the ways of God to man,
but should I turn that around my plan?
The ways of God to man seem less
important now than do the ways of
Man to God. Whatever the mix, that
cauldron boils. Things fall from the
sky  -  no longer angels, just bombs 
and fires. Rivers, yea, overfloweth,
but they are yellow muck, not water.
The tallow of Man's candle now is
but the mighty search for lucre, lies
and loathsome lust. How is that just?
How can that be justified? The ways
of Man to God are fried.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Dawn comes too soon and these little
feet are walking in the chill. Spring
seems good on paper, but it's not here
until....the heat pipes are turned off, the
windows can send air, and I am again
a happy man, walking. I watched a
movie once, I remember, called by
that idea : 'Dead Man Walking.' I'm
the opposite for sure. 'Dead Man
Walking' is the honorific call-out
that prisoners do  -  they all stand at
their cell doors, staring out in a sort
of perverse respect for one of their
kind going down to his death. The
last walk along the walkway, past
the cells, to his execution. 'Dead Man
Walking,' someone calls out. Never
made much sense to me, but I can
get it  -  despair makes for strange
bedfellows. Anyway, move on.
I set the stage a long time back for
what I myself have engineered as a
sorry life, a sort of nothing for the
ending of nothing, Now I'm not
proud of that and that's too bad,
but that's the way it's gone. Nothing
to do now. 'Rue the flue,' like the
chimney says to the grate.
And it wasn't always that way.
There was a time when even I
held some promise, to myself.
But then it went. The bleeding
land of the bleating lamb, in its
way; it was my story. 'They're
gonn'a ruin you, kid.' I wish
someone had told me that a
long time ago. But I see it all
now : I was water, running
everywhere, while they were
all in their boxes, contained.
It's pretty simple, though
I hate to cast blame.


Last date within the womb; something
comes striving out. Perhaps one great
mistake, whatever it may be. The 
suspense is the darling we live with; 
like it's all together as one, as if it
matters. Anyway, I just had to ask:
'Have you put poison in my cup?
This all tastes so very weird. It's
not as if a random accolade is
headed your way, but many lethal
concoctions are made to taste like
mint. Unassuming. This then, you
say, is toothpaste I taste?'
Remember those lines? That was
the opener of Act III in some
miserable play by Hobarth. We
had to sit and listen, so we just  
pretended to enjoy what we heard.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Intent drops like honey from a
beehive here; my anxious heart
seems broken at each turn. Already,
it's the day after tomorrow to me,
and all the reviews are in.
Sit me back to watch the screen  -  
some silly escarpment evading
measure. Those folks, they linger,
too near the closed-up pool. My
moist intentions are good, but
everything just hurts too much.
New foundations shall make me
stronger, and the men are digging
out back : 3 feet deep and 60 feet
square. Nothing shall beat this new
rectangle of dirt and stone and brick.
Yes, I am building a movie hall where
I shall endeavor to invite the dead : 
watching old home movies of 
everyone; seeing old home views
of the world at large.


I always wonder about people who 
take a long time to do anything: like
the ones who get in their car to leave, 
and four minutes later are still there,
fiddling with something or going
through some routine. It seems a so
distractedly wasteful intent. Or the
supermarket or gas station types who,
once they're done, are still there  -  
rearranging their purse or selecting
their money. Not for me, any of
that. I like to finish and make up
my mind and be gone, while the 
whole world waits. Quicker than,
the light of a distant star  -  which,
while it may be quick, sure takes 
a long time to get here no matter.

9409. EASTER

Easter is a sign that the wicked
shall be drenched : I have my 
luggage packed and am ready 
to go. I am a citizen of amazement.
Three days in the hole  -  even though
it's really only a day and a half here
now  -  and I shall fly again. My Easter
bonnet shall be wrapping cloths. I
am off, like a new bride's pajamas.
My, my, how these things entertain :
grovel on the ground in old Nashville
town, jump from the exercise table in
Seattle. All this land is without any
explanation. Come Mary, come
Martha, and let me hug now.
And Jesus said : 'But you 
must not touch me.'