Tuesday, February 20, 2018

10,554. OLD CUSTODIANS REST HOME

OLD CUSTODIANS REST HOME
Why they would even need one, 
you'd have to ask. Related to unions,
I'd guess. Tired and gravelly, after
30 years of toil  -  same every day, 
the grime and that oily stuff they
spread on the floor to sweep up.
Keep the dust down. Up. down,
I ask you, what is the difference.
Vapid gapes. Now today's kids,
they do rapid vapes. These old
guys, remember, used to sit by 
the mop sink, smoking most of
the day. One stinking butt after
the other. Everything's different
now and they really do need a
rest home, like no other.

10,553. SOMEONE HAS JUICED MY WATER

SOMEONE HAS JUICED 
MY WATER
There's only so much I can take : 
all these funny light-bulbs that 
keep burning out. Can't they 
make anything good anymore?

10,552. MEPHISTOPHELES

MEPHISTOPHELES
Mephistopheles reached the top of
trees, with all those harms and bad
intentions  -  the magical hand of
an integrated mind. The demimonde
of a dark and demanding place.
-
Listen, I spun the cartwheel for you,
so you wouldn't need to do it. I may
be dizzy still, but now you don't
have to do a thing at all.

10,551, RUDIMENTS, pt. 232

RUDIMENTS, pt. 232
Making Cars
I never had an alias, presumed name,
nom de guerre, or any of that stuff.
That was all more like wartime and
the self-importance given to 'will'
oneself over to someplace where you
wished to be or be seen as. I was
always more or less just class-B
junk, and OK with being that. It
took the pressure off. I used to
have to listen to the otherwise
miserable takes and stories of all
the high-achievers  -  which also
somehow got to include (by his
invasive and false self-inclusion)
my crazy friend Alex : early entry
into Harvard, high-attainment on
this or that test, connections to
elevated-status people who'd clear
the way. It was all frivolous and
all BS too. He ended up with his
story line of being in Boston Univ.,
or as he colloquially referred to it
as 'B.U.', where the elite hung out.
I ended up not knowing anything
real about it, because it was all
bunk. Even his crime stories and
supposed sting in Rahway Prison
I ended up doubting. His mother
used to beg me to watch out for
him. We lost each other somewhere
along the line, and that entire
family ended up in Las Vegas.
They're all dead now, except for
Alex. I guess he's OK.
-
I knew any number of Biker guys
who really did do the prison scene.
Ugly stuff  -  the crimes that did
them in involved everything  -  drugs,
murder, high-speed, organized crime,
interstate transport, trafficking, etc.
Biker club stuff and they didn't care;
they had fronts for lots of things  -
van delivery companies, go-go bars,
girls, (and then later, the go-go bars
were elevated into 'Gentleman's Clubs.'
Which meant supposedly an entry fee
at the door (private club, allows for
more), totally nudity of thee girls and
hostesses, varied arrays of back-room
shenanigans  -  again for pay  -  and
(also supposedly) NO alcohol. The state
somehow makes the (to them, logical,
I guess) conclusion that sexual
exploitation WITH alcohol is OK if
the girls are scantily clad, (that's a
go-go bar), but if the girls are
completely disrobed , instead of
g-strings and bras (right, yeah),
AND an entry fee is charged at the
door, ALCOHOL cannot be served.
OK, that works  -  a bunch of ginger-
faced droolers drinking Sprite, Coke,
and Ginger Ale. Hey? Wanna' buy a
bridge to Brooklyn? It's all about
payoffs and corruption in your local
municipality. That's where the Biker
world sometimes got very weird.
-
Half the time anyway what people
called me I never dd understand. When
I was growing up, you just did your
growing up stuff  -  fights, mistakes,
injuries, odd habits,  and let it go
at that. You were what you were. But
now, every little quirk of a kid's act
has a syndrome, a name, a drug, and
a school diagnosis. I've been called,
once or twice, an idiot savant. No
freaking idea what that means, but
it had the word idiot in it, so I never
liked it, thanks. I've been herded in
with the bi-polar crowd, the autistic
crowd, the obsessive-compulsive
crowd. Each crowd has a different
dance, and none of them did I like.
It was all like doing the polka with
a broom handle up your butt, and
someone always pushing it. What
was the use of that? I just got away,
moved away from it. I've never had
any prescribed pills and medications.
That stuff just wasn't around. What
really used to piss me off was the
apparent attitudes of, like, teachers
and school people  -  obviously they
were mis-diagnosed. They were the
ones who were obsessive about
being compulsive, demanding that
something is this way and this way
only. Strange behavior for people
considered wise. Same with church;
same with recreation groups, and
even family stuff. What the hell was
ever up I never knew. People would
rip down hundreds of acres of nice
woods and trees, denude and ruin
everything, put up 50 or 100 houses,
and then go around extolling it all,
nay, making money off of it, and then
begin preaching, in the front of a
classroom how you're supposed to
be re-cycling, conserving, going
easy on the chemicals and landscape,
use less power, remain frugal. Etc.
I ask you  -  who's the jerk around
here? And who's obsessively lying
and despoiling everything. That
includes parents, actually. They
should be the ones teaching their
kids revolution and personal
insurrection. Instead, everyone's
preaching 'murder, mayhem,
death, and violence,' as a real,
bona-fide career choice.
-
So, anyway, all it ever came across
to me as was a big hole. A hole
I neither wished to fall in nor stick
any part of myself in either. I had a
no-compromise attitude, but I kept
it pretty easy  -  even keel, cloak
of invisibility and reason. That's
probably why I went nuts  -  it's a
bad way to live. You can't repress,
can't always keep it all in. The
trouble is, society works against
you, and the things that need to be
said about things never get said.
Here's a for instance, right now  -
you tell me, you go ahead and
count them, all this Hollywood
and entertainment and corporate
and political sexual deviance and
exploitation stuff, you tell me
how many of those last names
aren't Jewish. Just go ahead. It's
never mentioned, never touched
on (no pun), never even brought up.
Why? Because no one has the balls
to stand up to the entrenchments
and call things out for what they
are. Because you'd simply get
slaughtered, media-wise, because
the very same people doing the
complaining are the same sorts
of people who are first to the
barricades of protesting about 
anti-Semitism or common
political  incorrectness. I don't
know where any of it ends. I
guess the self-destruction of
society and culture actually IS
the desired end, because they're
all well on their way to that now.
-
You remember how, in the previous
chapter, I mentioned the jumping
clock hands and how I used that
concept as a means of diving in
to the spaces created, the inner and
cosmic gaps it all represented, to
begin writing and filling that
space with details and facts
and situations? I meant it. I
enjoyed the details, and they came
easy to me. It became a way
of writing that I worked on, over
and over, endlessly. That, with
the added companionship of
'Art'  -  which basically allowed 
me to do the same thing with line 
and color and content, in a different,
abstracted (meaning WITHOUT 
words), less linear way than even
writing was. It was like a fine,
double-barreled shotgun of a
large caliber  -  in my hands and
which I controlled. Mischievously
touching; tenderly adroit. Like
watching the condemned man,
on his last walk to the scaffold,
avoiding the puddle before him,
and climbing the scaffold, after
being blindfolded for the drop,
putting his hands behind his neck,
and pulling to adjust the blindfold's
knot, where it was just a bit too
uncomfortably, tight.  You notice 
stuff like that and realize even a 
condemned man, at his very last 
moments, has a common and
simple human impulse. Those
things are details, the details
of being alive. And still one
other thing I noticed - in reading
the Bible, there's no detail. There's
no description of anything, just the
jump-act of activity : Most detail, 
if it's there, is functional or symbolic.
Ancient storytellers seemed to have
no pressure to invoke a lifelike passing
of 'real' time. Their time, too, passes
jerkily, swiftly. I figured it was part
of the plan they rope you with,
nothing being what it seems. First
they say Time is continuous, and then,
 just when you settle in, they lock you
up against your wishes, in a crummy
school, and hit you with a jumping
clock. Nothing is ever what you've
been told. If the self, as it turns  out,
is a fictional character (parented by
life and written by ourselves), it's all
ours to make  -  and you make it,
I surmised, by filling in those 
(equally fictional) gaps...with 
things and with details.




10,550. AT BARNEY HOWARTH'S

AT BARNEY HOWARTH'S
Sometimes just getting a notion of 
your own is a real kick. Something
new and substantial that wasn't there
before. The chickadee cannot rest
its head. The donkey cannot just 
read. I'm watching the new cashier
right now  -  being trained in the
window register by the guy who's
been here forever. What's he carry
forth to share with this new hire?
Hate? Anguish? Experience? Joy?
Has he any of those things right now?
He'll probably be retiring soon and
moving on. What's to show for all
his work, and why? Working the
register at Barney Howarth's for
fourteen years. Seeing ten thousand
people who all look the same?

10,549. LEO'S CAR LOT

LEO'S USED CAR LOT
'Blue Book value is
worthless here; we pay back
only what we choose. I don't
care none about your turbo
or or hyper-galactic after-burner
either. They each go the way of the
wind. What did you pay, and what 
do you want for it now? That's
really all I care. And I've not
much money to spare.
-
Where you say you want to go?
Arizona? That 's 1800 miles away.
I can sell you this old Pontiac; it'll
get you there, and a little more.
You play old music? It's got a
dual quad, fuzz-range, play-back
system, built right in. All the
way to Tucson, you can listen
in peace and glory. All you want.
-
By the way, feller, your trade-in
here's a real piece of crap. What
you do, steal it from a fire?'

10,548. JUICY LUCY

JUICY LUCY
No, not that, you jerk. She
worked on a sun-farm in
Florida - orange groves and
all that. Always wearing a
bright bandana and singing
Linda Ronstadt stuff. Gawd, 
no! I drove her home once, in
my 1984 Ford truck. She was
pleased but jumped right out
and ran inside. I figured she was
as scared of me as I was scared
of her. But isn't that how, 
sometimes, people meet and 
never part? What was I doing 
there; wasn't that you're question?
I was a guard at the dog pound.
Maybe a hundred bucks a week,
for about 24 hours work; standing
around, occasionally picking up
strays. When I got hired I made
it clear that I wasn't into the idea
at all of taking their dogs away
from people. I don't care the 
situation, just wanted none of
that. They said OK; not much
call anyway; here in Florida, the
problems dog are just let loose, 
and we get them anyway. And
then I understood better what he
meant when I let that girl run
out of my truck.

10,547. HERE'S WHERE THEY ALWAYS RUN AWAY

HERE'S WHERE THEY 
ALWAYS RUN AWAY
Tents that are kept in gunny sacks are
not really tents, I'd suppose. They're
just always on the move, and what's
the sense of that? Jumping a freight
car with the other hobos, someone 
always had to ask, 'What's in the bag, 
kid? Got any stogies I can smoke?
-
Tying to tell any one of them that
I was wandering just to learn and
absorb things, they'd have slapped
me down as one. 'Dumb sonofabitch!
Think this is pleasure?' Then the
drowsiest one would always wake
up, and say, 'What's in the bag, kid?
Got any stogies I can smoke?'

Monday, February 19, 2018

10,546. ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
I've got plenty of that though I often
mix it up with accidental evidence;
acrimonial evidence.  Lots of bad
feelings, stories about errors and
feats of dismay. But, no matter.
I'm tall enough to absorb the hit.
-
Matrimonial evidence, now there's
the one with pressure. One time I 
swore I'd get away so far  - Texas
or Baluchistan or someplace like
Mars. Never did get away. 
One time I asked to rent, for the 
day, the least expensive juggler the
clown place had. It was a big hit.
Except the juggler had no arms.


10,545. RUDIMENTS, pt. 231

RUDIMENTS, pt. 231
Making Cars
I wanted to maybe name this
chapter 'To Show the Passage
of Time,' but I didn't because
it would be out of the ordinary
and I can just explain it all
anyway. I found myself, wonder
of all wonders, adrift in a complete
world full of objects. Specifics.
Details. As if constantly in one,
long, deep breath, I walked around
stunned, agape, and gazing. My
mind raced about, realizing that
if I could find a way to capture
all of this  -  or even some of it  -
for others to partake, I'd really
have something. I'd never intended
to be on this quest, but there it
was, before me  -  presented and
clear. Even just by doing that St.
Basil's report I've mentioned, I
saw how it was enlivened, the
entire 'Russian' aspect of it, by
details : 'Before the Revolution,
Russia was largely an agrarian
society. At the turn of the 20th
century, four out of five Russians
were peasants. They were poor,
uneducated, superstitious, and
illiterate. In many places, life had
hardly changed since the Middle
Ages. Leon Trotsky began his
'History of the Russian Revolution'
with the observation that 'the
fundamental and most stable
feature of Russian history is the
slow tempo of her development,
with the economic backwardness,
primitiveness of social forms, and
low level of culture resulting from
it. In 'A People's Tragedy,' the British
historian Orlando Figes describes a
primitive world in which every aspect
of life was governed by a relentless
conformity: Everyone wore the same
clothes, everyone's hair was cut in
the same way, everyone ate from the
same bowl, everyone slept in the
same room. 'Modesty had very
little place in the peasant world,'
Figes writes. 'Toilets were in the
open air' and 'urban doctors were
shocked by the peasant custom of
spitting into a person's eye to get
rid of sties, of feeding children
mouth to mouth, and of calming
baby boys by sucking on their
penis.'
-
This is, sort of, how it happened
for me. And it's a fairly simple
construct. Upon leaving 6th grade,
which to my mind was akin to
leaving the simplicity of old 'ABC'
schooling, I began being bussed
and entered another school then
called a 'Junior High School.'
Had I not left, after 7th grade, for
the seminary, it would have run me
through 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.
When I got to this, new, school for
7th grade it was a brand new
building, an entirely new school
built in a modern architecture :
fully blemished, thought I, and
ugly and the rest. Nonetheless,
there I found myself, in Iselin
Junior High School, suddenly
mixing it up with kids from
other schools, area kids, locals,
and schoolbus transportation. All
new. Girls were entering their
high-starts of puberty, boys a
bit behind. Budding breasts,
wiseacre attitudes, show-offs,
etc. That in itself took some
getting used to. But, once
entered into the school I noticed
that they had these clocks, on the
wall, in each classroom  -  clocks
which I had never seen before.
Instead of a steady, second-hand
sweep, these clocks jumped a bit.
They were 'business' clocks, or
'station' clocks  -  the big hands
suddenly flipping forward once
a minute. A lapse; a jump. I was
fairly astonished. We are brought
up with all aspects of our  learning
and awareness being led along
to believe that things happen in
a continual, steady fashion. That
time has a flow and a keel that,
even though perhaps sometimes
illusionary, remains steady and
as a 'progression.' In my own
way I had just settled all of that
within myself, so as to come to
some working agreement and
format to develop the life of a
young man; I'd hoped. This,
however, blew everything out
of the water for me (I don't
understand what they were
thinking in taking this step  - 
the changing of each class,
all those buzzers and bells,
perhaps to them it made sense
in a 'business' vein of efficiency
and movement, but I'd think
that to be the very last thing
needed for growing the mind at
this stage of impressionable
life. Too bad. This was, after
all, school, and NOT working
for IBM). So, this new 'advance'
ruined it for me; twisted my life-
branch around some crusty trunk
of a strange tree.
-
But anyway, it occurred to me to
be a writer  -  to then be able to
FILL IN those gaps of time now
being presented  to me as utter
Reality, and fill them with
thoughts, ideas, details and
occurrences. These fools had
opened to me an entire other
world, with its own means of
access. In AND out. I don't
know what they were exactly
thinking,  but I knew what I
was. Between each jump of
those clockhands, many, many
things happened, each time  - 
all quite specific and detailed to
be worked within our frame of
experience. I would catch all that.
The world being presented to me
otherwise was a fiction,  a lie of
stopgap, herky-jerky 'Time' 
- a concept with no truth at all
except a supposed base economic
truth, which I wasn't  interested
in, and all their facts, figures,
and reasoning, stemming from
it, I was not interested in either.
Now, this was not easy stuff for me
to take, but I saw it all and I did
take it. Fate and destiny here were
intertwined, for me. I figured that
if 'they' were giving me the moment
'between' time  -  that break they
showcased  -  I could jump in,
transform my world, at least, and
fill these gaps with detail. (I'm not
even sure this comes across here as 
anything sensible, but it's become 
a working premise of my life  -  
my full-theory work-out). Life is 
NOT alone what we think it to 
be, we 'see' mostly without 'seeing.'
False and incomplete definitions, 
thereby lead to false, incomplete, 
and deadly consequences.

10,544. HANS THE TOPPER

HANS THE TOPPER
He's got flugel-horn feet and a
heart of gold. The kind of guy
I'd know from my past. Small
yellow car, with a syringe around
the doorway. Extra wheels where
the rear seats should be. He says,
when asked : 'Nothing special at
all, just content to be me.'

Sunday, February 18, 2018

10,543. A FRAGRANCE OUT OF ZION

A FRAGRANCE OUT OF ZION
This has to be the most fragrant
pestilence I've ever noticed. Smells
like tincture of eau de grace. All that
floral stuff like an old matron dragging
through a swamp of greed. I found this
crate of largesse out behind the old
shed. And wouldn't you know it, some
old lady sitting there too. They said he
was one-hundred-and-two and could
still recite a sonnet by Shakespeare
if you ask. If I'd ask? The problem
was she was deaf. How was I to ask?
-
Overhead, the helicopter from Linden
Airport kept jarring around. I pointed
up (I didn't like that sound). I said she
was deaf, yes, but the other guy piped
up. 'It's nothing. They run by up there
all afternoon long. Those are training
flights from Linden; an hour at a time.'
-
He said 'You can tell a training flight, 
because if you look, the rotors, at the
top, they're slightly pointed up.' I saw
nothing. If she couldn't hear then, and
I couldn't see, I figured we weren't to
much be up to anything anyway. I
smiled him off, and walked away.

10,542. WHEN YOU GET TO PARIS

WHEN YOU GET TO PARIS
If. Look up one Beryl Monet.
Mention my name, the English way,
none of the floozy French stuff.
She'll remember me, I'm certain,
from two years back. Never you 
mind about that. Have her show
you where Waldemare lives. He's
the guy who runs the show. Knows
all the stuff you'll need to know.
Leave Beryl alone. She's taken.

10,541. SYNOPSIS

SYNOPSIS
Leaving the bank with a bagful 
of cash : Do I detect a wandering
eye? One following? Two to spy?
-
I made sure the clerk was out cold;
the safe door was left ajar, even with
the fat-berry Jack tied up inside. He'll
be fine, after they change his pants.
-
I heard no alarm ringing, and I probably
broke that guy's wrist who I hit with the
butt of this gun when I saw him reach at
the button. That'll teach him. Sneak.
-
Leaving the bank with a bagful of
cash  -  do I detect a wandering eye?
One to follow; or two to spy?

10,540. RUDIMENTS, pt. 230

RUDIMENT, pt. 230
Making Cars
Along about 7th grade, I can
well recall  - still being local
to Avenel schools and not yet
having departed for seminary
days  -  I spent nearly an entire
deep and dark November and
December doing an in-depth,
highly detailed, almost bizarrely
so, report on Moscow. The city
in the then U.S.S.R., Moscow
River, and the rest. I concentrated
most heavily on the ornately
styled and architecture'd St. Basil's
Cathedral. So much so that for
all practical purposes it stood
in for me as the absolute symbol
and icon for Russia. Well, one
did not refer to it as 'Russia' in
those days. It was The Soviet
Union; U.S.S.R being simply
the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics. Americans apparently
would not forgive that, even
though it was really no different
than taking the 50 states (48 was
the number I grew up with, until
1959, when Alaska and Hawaii
were suddenly added) and calling 
them the United States of America.  
That striking national alteration
of flag and country-line, along
with the changing of the penny's
design, were perhaps the most
momentous yet momentary things
of my youth. I leave out the space
shots, the dual-headlamps on cars,
the design models of fins, tails
and swoops, sugar'd cereal, Tony
the Tiger (the stupid tooth-rotter),
Eisenhower's heart attack, Nixon's
'Six Crises,' Marilyn Monroe's skirt
blowing up over the subway grate,
allowing my perhaps earliest glimpse
of a female's underside, Gary Powers
and the U-2 flight that crashed, with
its ensuing crisis, Cuba, Kennedy,
Doctor DeBakey, Christine Keeler,
The Profumo Affair, Seven Days in
May, by Fletcher Knebel, Splendor
In the Grass, Pope John XXIII
(Cardinal Roncalli), Twiggy, and
Rudi Gernreich. I'll stop there,
and I'll call this, again, the
 United States of America. 
But, no matter.
-
I was way caught up into all this;
of my own doing, my own impetus.
And, yes, perhaps it was an apparent
symptom of my own sloppy obsessiveness
about things. I had subscribed, well
before this, to the monthly 'Soviet Life'.
It was an equivalent version of Life
Magazine, if Life had been a mouthpiece
for the rash of Government-controlled
story and photo lines extolling ONLY
the system and the Government,
(which it may, in fact, very well have
been; Henry Luce, media, etc.). As
'Soviets,' no one ever concentrated,
at all, then, on 'Russia' or 'Russians'
nor the Russian 'volk', the everyday
burden-shoulderers of the large, harsh
and confusing land. Back then one
had to have given up any 'Russianness'
in order to become 'Soviet Man,' as
it was called. It was all a 'system, not 
a 'people.' And I never got a feel for
what the mailman ever thought of
this  -  it was still not that far removed
from McCarthy era stuff, and I was
but a 12-year old kid. Anyway. The
thing about my over-the-top devotion
to the cathedral was  - besides its
bizarrely enticing design and color  - 
the idea that the Soviet State was
Godless, officially atheistic (these
were once the more pious people
on earth). And they had all these
great Russian Orthodox churches
and cathedrals and buildings being
used for secular or governmental
purposes; or for nothing at all.
-
My little room at that time, at home,
was in the rear of the attic, atop the 
stairs and to the back, with a little
desk built into the wall, which desk
my father has somehow built in as
forethought. It became perfect for me.
A haunt, from which I almost, it
seemed, never emerged. For some
strange reason I'd tacked up a large,
National Geographic map of the 
world, upon the wall, and in the 
that map were 10 or 15 colored 
push-pins denoting places, cities, 
and locations I'd grown fond of 
(from reading about). Places my
dreams perhaps had me visiting
someday. Strange, boyhood stuff, 
mixed with baseball items, a Pope 
thing, also on that long wall, and 
a poster of some car-design and 
models of the last 40 years, then,
or so. I say strange, now, because
from what I've seen over the years,
kids' rooms now, of this ilk, get
filled with posters of stars, entertainers,
robots, babes, girls, bosomy stuff,
pin-ups  -  certainly none of the
junk I was entertaining here. I
would burrow down on this Moscow
report thing like I was writing a
new Bible. Only later, by 15 or 20
years, did I get involved with
reading the other side of all this;
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Gulag 
stuff, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky,
Malenkov, and all those mishaps.
That was a lot to atone for; and about
1980 or so there was a movie called
'Reds' which  -  after 'Doctor Zhivago'  -  
made pretense to try and cover this
material in their own, lighter-hearted,
Hollywood blowhard way.
-
As I think back now, after all that 
toil and work (construction paper 
backers for photos, text typed in 
place, drilled and grommeted binder), 
I have no idea what this report was 
or for what subject or teacher I turned
it in. I have no recollection of the sort 
of text I may have written to accompany 
all these references  -  my point of view, 
what I  included, etc. Complete mystery; 
but a young boy's lasting fascination 
for the remainder of the big, fierce 
world. And now, in looking back, the 
closest I can get is a Turkish writer 
named Orhan Pamuk, who has a 
wonderful sort of childhood book in this 
vein entitled, quite simply, 'Istanbul.'   
Thinking back on any of that
now brings a small sort of heartache;
I guess part of the realization of a 
life being over and with it all this 
backwards compensation for things 
done and achieved while yet being
essentially without value except to
me. In that vein Life isn't fair at all.
You give, give, give, and get nothing
back except junk. Sugar Frosted Flakes
to rot your teeth; trips to Disneyland to
look at fake, ersatz, make-believe,
bullshit towers, castles, and 
crenelations. Not worth
a darn; nothing.