Sunday, June 24, 2018


This life is a dream  -  correct me
if I'm wrong  -  and in it we flit from
island to island, circumstance to place.
Each book has ten thousand pages, and
we must read them all before we go.
In whichever semblance we undertake :
We each read differently, and all men have
different powers. Some so amply flee.
Running and hiding because they see
all the faults of others. Others stay in
place, dwelling on themselves. Me?
I'm still doing both; believe me.
There's nothing better than a long walk
in the rain. Enhanced roles for rudders,
new things to attain.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

10,920. RUDIMENTS, pt. 355

RUDIMENTS, pt. 355
(Avenel Academy, pt.1)
Once you're in the hospital
a long enough time, I found
out, in Perth Amboy anyway  -
which was kind of way low-key
as far as hospitals and rigors
and routines go  -  that they
all love you and welcome
you around. Like having a
healing pet or something,
as is done now. I just waltzed
around on my crutches, went
where I chose, mostly, and
got to know people. It must
be like an orphanage or
something, where, yeah,
even though it's sad, people
get by, and manage to smile,
survive and 'be.' It was like
that for me  -  in fact the
only crummy people I kept
kept really seeing were the
visitors, mine and all the
others, who would come
and go all miserable and sad.
I figured you can't be too sad,
at least you still have someone
to visit  -  ain't dead yet. Cheer
up, Kemosabe. (That's also a
cancer joke, 'Chemosabe' but
the Lone Ranger and Tonto
hadn't gotten that ironic yet).
I think I already told that story
about my mother getting that
TV guy, 'The Merry Mailman',
Ray Heatherton was his name,
to come in one day and do a big,
fancy visit. He cheered everybody
up. Frankly, I didn't much care,
but lots of others did, and he was
good about it. I always considered
his stuff to be below my grade-level,
as it were. He was like a pre-Mister
Rogers in an era that had as yet
called a need for either. When
he came in I was still bed-bound
and all laced up with tractions
and stuff, and my stupid mouth
wired shut too. So, I got by with
just grunting; kinda' pretending
I was a retard, back in those days.
(You could still do that). It was
weird too  -  have you ever really
tried to talk while keeping your
mouth jammed-shut? It's like
all you get is some strange roving
tongue banging around on the
back of your front teeth, trying
to make some definite noise but
failing. I had to do that like forever,
and it really sucked. (No pun,
but it's a good one),
Another thing about the mouth-shut
braces : I had them on for a time
after I was released too. I remember
well the day I went back to the
dental place within the hospital
to get all the hardware removed.
(Afterwards, through life, when
people would say, about something,
'keep your mouth shut,' I'd still
shudder). Anyway, they did
eventually get all this metal out
of my mouth, and wow what a
new world again I had. It was a
very weird situation  -  being able
again to flap my jaws, chew,
breath in, at least better than it
was. I was told, oddly enough
to chew gum, lots of it  -  to get
the jaw muscles revved up again.
(I guess they didn't know me very
well). My father was a Chiclets
guy (to stop smoking) but I
disliked them, with that hard
candy coating over the gum. I
went with 'Dentyne' instead,
which was a little weak-knee'd
on my part, but they worked.
Later I got cooler about it and
started buying, from Murray
and Martha's Candy Store at
the local corner, this licorice,
black-flavored, gum they sold.
It was called Black Jack, and
came in sticks, just like Doublemint
or something. It was neat, and
I treated it like I was chewing
some gruff cowboy chaw, and
spitting black crud. And then,
some years later too, I was
surprised when I started seeing
some product that kids were chewing,
called 'Big League Chew.' It was
a pouch of gum, in slivers, that
you could stuff in your mouth
and chew  -  just like baseball
guy did with tobacco. Pretty
cool; except they themselves
can't do that. Sometimes I wonder
why'd I ever even waked up from
that coma  - to be able to come
back to something like all this.
Kids can't do shit today, and they
don't want to anyway, but even
adults now can't do the ordinary
stuff that just plain old living
used to afford  -  like chewing,
for god's sake, whatever you
damn well please, as an adult,
while playing your stupid-ass
baseball game for which you
get like 35 million a year. What
the hell goes on anymore?
It's all gone from us, like some
mentally challenged Yogi Berra
saying 'Me-He for Yoo-Hoo'
while pushing some chocolate
and sugar drink concoction on
unwitting 8 year olds, or some
John Wayne marshmallow brain
pushing cigarettes, to the point
where any normal media star
or whatever can't even any
longer admit to farting, for fear
someone will take offense.
Also, when they unwired my jaw,
the doctors told me right up front
my teeth were going to be crummy
and smashed in the rear, and that
later in life I'd face teeth troubles.
No thanks to all that gum I had to
chew either, I suppose; but at
least they were upfront about it.
I'm nearing 70 now, and, yes, my
teeth are all mucked up, but I still
figure, or hope anyway, they'll
outlast me to the finish line. So,
due to money, I don't much get
anything on that count done.
So, now, it was almost two years
on, and I was in pretty good shape.
I could bicycle again, run, slowly
at first, get around, everything
worked, I had full extension of
bones and arms and all. I used
a line, once or twice, on bar girls,
if the subject came up, that the
train had severed my you-know-
what and all they had to graft in
its place was a horse-dick. It was
funny, perhaps, but I never got
anything out of it. The last piece
of business, which was probably
the most troubling, was that they
told me I had a problem because
'spinal fluid was leaking out my
ears.' WHAT!?? I asked my
parents, like, what did he just say?
They knew less then me, which is
about right, since it wasn't their
spine anyway. The good doctor
said it would require some watching
and some treatment. And then  -  get
this  -  he ordered me up for a series
of 'brain-wave' tests. Oh boy, that
was more fun. So they shave these
7 or 8 little spots in my head, and
affix some sort of suction-cupped
electrodes to my skull, wired to
some console, and whatever thy
did, they did. I never felt anything,
honestly, but then again I never
knew what the world they were
doing to me either. I had to sit there, 
like a lie-detector test guy,  while 
they juiced some electrical current 
or something through my humbled 
brain. It's pretty funny, but for 
the rest of my life, even now, 
if I get near any electrical stuff, my 
presence can cause static or make
things mis-function. After a few times, 
all this  testing stopped, and I never
was told anything about my leaky
ears (?), what exactly I'd been
leaking (?), or what the results
of my 'brain-wave tests' had been.
Weird, weird world. Talk about
some Area 51 stuff, for sure.
Now, lastly, and all these years
later, I want to present something:
A man doesn't have much to do
with the end of his life. It sputters,
runs out, OR, it goes out big time.
I'm by choice pretty much right
back where I began my conscious
life. A real, blurby, space-capsule
nodule of a place, this Avenel.
People in strange shapes and 
dress, walking around all
discolored and in fifteen 
different shades of K-Mart 
colored loose clothing that
makes everyone pretty much 
resemble an inmate. Those
muscle-bound, tattoo-freaked
guys, the ones wearing cargo
shorts all year 'round, the
shortstops and the long-tops,
wandering around endlessly,
looking for something. Cigarettes
and booze, yeah they both
still have a current and lively
life 'round these parts, as well
as do noisy cars, revved-up
street cars, motorcycles too.
The place is a real dreamlock,
running downhill fast. I got
out of all my own mess pretty 
good, and most all of my life 
has been spent thinking about 
what I could impart to others.
The way I see it, every other local
political rat-trap is always busy
spinning some shit to them which
they accept lock, stock, and barrel.
Putting true faith in false morons,
in a way. But only in a way because
I'm not so sure about the 'false' 
morons stuff. They might just 
BE morons only. No matter, my
point here is my own dream : I
always wanted to open a school,
an art gallery space, wherein
selected people would learn. I'd 
like the white-washed, open walls
feel of Art and plenty to be put in 
place, and then discussed. I'd like
6-8 students, maybe three months
at a time, 600 or 800 bucks a head,
as attendees. I'd give them a solid
5-hour day, and the rest would be,
in-place, reading and some serious
writing about the lessons and the
discussion. I figure the kids need 
be maybe 14 years old, to 18; no 
riff-raff, just serious kids with 
well-intentioned heads, no 
run-off cultural bullshit, no 
half-assed jeans. They'd have to
work, and listen. Some discourse,
a few road trips (transportation
provided, and well-rounded,
real-life, experiences. I can
guarantee they'd learn, and
learn to think differently too, 
and would leave there not at 
all the sort of person they 
came in as. Actually, the very
place I mentioned, Murray and
Martha's corner store, is again 
open and going unused, and
could be perfect for my use.
I have a curriculum already
put together, Amazon books
to be purchased, or from 
wherever, I don't care. 
Discussion, master-notes,
re-reading, and re-writing 
of conclusions and ideas, 
philosophies and cross-currents.
Yep, my wandering Platonic
ideal could really get some things
moving, get Avenel back on some
more-rightful map, rather than
the sludge-hole it's now relegated
to, and in time we'd have a true
coterie of enlightened beings 
with pointed, well-honed minds
and thought and exposure. That's
how revolutions-in-place begin.
Not in the swirligigs that get built
and then robbed by Governments.
We start them at home, right here.


Making a left at 46th will take
you straight out to the river :
headed uptown, of course. It's
where the Intrepid is, and its
also wherefrom I got my dog.
Long ago already, poor canine 
girl was locked in the basement,
in the utility room, of a two-bit
apartment house. It was all but
chance, as I passed, and saw the
sign on the window with the photo
of a sad-looking dog. 'Help me,'
it said, 'I'm locked in a basement 
and my owner doesn't care.' It
went on, but I noted the email 
and contacted later. I never met
the 'owner' who'd left it behind,
nor the two Serbian brothers who,
as Superintendent's, were also
involved in the hold of the dog. 
The girlfriend of one of them, 
however, was happy to oblige, 
and gave the dog away. To me. 
It all went smoothly and I really 
love that dog. It's five plus years 
on now, and everything is still
in place. I know it can't last
forever, but I'll take what I get
thru grace. I've planted my oasis.

10,918. RUDIMENTS, pt. 354

RUDIMENTS, pt. 354
(Perth Amboy : Avenel train wreck)
Walt Whitman said he loafed to
enhance his time. Yes, I can
understand that moment. Life
ends mostly on a dreary note;
within an estrangement of both
circumstance AND time as
they overlap. Go. Go then.
Just watch the birds in the
field, and see the river, how
it flows. The words of Man
are nothing, and the works
of man are battered. Long,
long ago it occurred to me
that I was born in the wrong
place and the wrong time.
Once a realization like that
hits, it throws you way off.
The papers said I had a family,
a sister, at first just one, then
more, and then a brother. So,
I guess I did, but it never ever
seemed natural, Or right. I was
one, alone, struggling through,
and without any aid or assistance
to take or give. Really, I wanted
to strangle myself, but that's
one thing near impossible to
do  -  for, at the moment of your
passage, your muscles, going
limp, undo the strangle and you
pop back into life. Kind of a
knowing-coward's try at death.
When I woke back up in that
stupid hospital bed, after getting
creamed by that lonesome train,
Jeepers, I wanted to die. I was like
6 floors up, whatever the height
of that  old Perth Amboy General 
Hospital was, and I could
see down to the street if I
craned (try that some day,
craning a broken neck and
body). Plus, I was in casts, and
all slinged up too. I looked
most like one of those Mad
Magazine caricatures of the
jerk who flew off the cliff
trying to elude Spy vs. Spy.
They gave me a male, Philippine
guy as a nurse, or orderly. I
hated him, bringing juice, like
a girl, messing with my bed
sheets and clothing, in fact
changing my sheets under my
staggered body  -  lifting me
painfully up while all wired
and tractioned up. They had
these ropes or slings that, as I
healed, they continually tightened
To better mend me, they said; yes,
it was called traction; or however
that guy said it with his Philippine
marbles in his mouth. Even those
few inches up so they could get
the sheets out from under me and
the new ones in, were killer inches.
Total pain and I don't know what
they were thinking. Once I woke
back up, I had all these things
to get used to again  -  like time
and clocks and lights-out and all
that stuff. I realized that where I'd
been, thankfully, none of that crap
existed. It was like some mad
Calcutta of dream time, and I
didn't really know anything
about Calcutta. I just said that.
For effect. I feel a Mark Twain
mood coming back on, so watch
out. One thing about this here
hospital, 1958 version anyway,
was that no one really knew what
they were doing. The science
involved was pretty much at the
level of a seventh grade lab. Medical 
care in Perth Amboy back then was 
just vying to be the equal of Civil War 
trepanning. and the cutting of limbs.
There were all sorts of people, even 
in the hallways, because the place was
way over-crowded; people were
healing, Beds. Wheelchairs.
Even just like waiting room
chairs. People battered and
bent, stitched up, bruised. I
remember these two old cadgers
going on, 'Didja know that 43
percent of the women in America
are battered?' said the one. The
other old timer looks quizzical.
'Really? All those years I was
eating mine plain." Like two
old TV comics, the laughs
ensued. Guffaws and slaps of
the wheelchair arms. Problem
was, even though I remember
it, I had no clue what in the heck
they were talking about. I guess
you miss a lot when you're a
kid, even though people always
say 'Shhh,' and talk low, because
they think you're getting it all.
Weird adults. When you do
get it, they hate you for it,
and when you don't get it
anyway, they think you do.
This wasn't an Army hospital or
anything  -  just regular stuff like
old people, heart attacks, car
crashes, stitches, operations,
bruises, falls. Not like now,
when they can change  your
hip at 7am and have you
walking home, and to the
square dance at the Elks
too, by 11pm. And nobody
cared about money either.
They just took care of you
and worked all that crap out
later. Now, they want your
life story and ID cards and
paperwork before they'll
even let you die. They also
must have made babies there,
giving them birth I mean,
because there was this whole
floor of nurseries, cribs, cradles,
bins, and everything was filled
with babies, crying or not, people
at glass windows looking in, 
masked nurses breaking kids
to the windows and all that.
It was happy, but just as
weird too. Once I got off
the bed and un-tractioned
and all, even with the leg 
casts, etc., they let me roam.
Wheelchair, cane, whatever.
It was supposedly good rehab.
I'd pass the same people often.
There were guys  -  I never
saw this anywhere else ever  -  
with slabs of raw meat, like
steaks, over their wounds, eye,
foreheads. I never asked about
it but someone told me it was 
a means of promoting healing
on bruises and things. Seemed
stupid, and wasteful and expensive
too. Unless that's the kind of crap
they later served the inmates;
I mean, patients. Why bother?
You could do that kind of raw
meat-healing crap at home.
There was this other section too.
real scary  -  they called it iron
lungs, what the kids were in.
Contraptions like space capsules
or time machines  -  I mean I
can't even describe it and how
sad it was. I wanted to cry even
as a kid. All you'd see is the 
person's sad head, and you'd hear
this pumping noise, pulsing, as
the forced air was jammed in, 
or something. I wasn't a doctor, 
but I knew trouble when I saw 
it. Polio maybe, I don't ever
know and no one ever said. 
Boy, but it made me glad to 
just only have gotten hit by 
a train, instead of having to 
be one of those alien things, 
pumping away. I always
expected them to rise, open 
their capsules, and start 
stalking about; like some 
old sci-fi movies me and
Kenny Kaisen used to 
watch at the old Woodbridge 
Movies, by Town Hall.
I spent way too much time in 
that hospital. Darn neighbors
kept visiting too, bringing me
stuff, except I couldn't eat
anything but regular Gerber
baby food, believe that, because
my mouth and jaw was wired 
shut from when my faced got 
smashed. I still can't breath 
through my nose like others 
can (their own nose, not
mine). It's like my nostrils
never got opened back up,
just stayed half flat-shut. And
other times, lungs and all, I have
a hard time breathing anyway.
I used to get the stupid baby food
and a big spoon, and they'd
taught me to smash it all up
into the braces on all my teeth,
wiring my mouth shut (about 
5 months) and sucking this crud 
in, for food. Other times they'd
stick me up with needles and
hoses to get like proteins and 
needed crap from a drip system 
or something. That too then
meant I couldn't twist around
and all, being hoked up like that.
Plus, it was all like some Nazi
torture that, the more I thought
about it, it would drive me crazier,
like being in a box you could never
get out of. I couldn't breath right,
my mouth and jaw was wired shut,
I was tractioned and in casts, this
needle-drip crap kept going in
my arms, and visitors expected
me to be all happy and glad to 
see them. Jeez, half the time
whatever they brought, someone
else ended up eating it. Bummer.
Yeah, that was some real loafing
I did. Weird thing was, no one ever
brought me a book, or anything
even remotely smart. Just crap.
And to top it off, the one kid I
hated the most ever in school,
Michael Hoffman, or John, I
forget, one day he and his 
happy family comes strolling
in and he's given the bed right
next to me for a two-week stay,
appendix removal and something.
Man, was I really bummed at
that one too. I thought about
renting one of those pods, or
hiding under some big, raw
steak. But someone  visiting 
would probably  end-up 
wanting to eat that too.