Sunday, January 29, 2023


'It's a happy lizard that stays warm all
day. It's a happy traveler who knows
the way. I can tell by hearing what's 
next to say, but the listening is the
hardest part.
Silence is good, or probably even
better  -  there are too many wasted
words in all this ideal chatter, and I'd
rather have a solo ride in an elevator.
No one gets on and no one gets off.
In the silence the trick is just to keep
it moving along. It's like knowing the
words to a well-worn song. I can tell
by the silence, it won't be for so long.'

Saturday, January 28, 2023


No, not the snake in the grass that I
did not see, but the obvious one on
the rock. It's aligned with the sun.
Here's the twist : the confabulation
mixes the good and the bad, and
the entire day rolls by. One thing,
is seems, after another.
The ghost in this field is a mostly
thin one, with not many stories 
to tell. That snake, and the ghost,
     they pretty much stay together.    


A patterned madness is woven into your
sweater; it's a pattern I've never disliked,
'though I can't say I've liked it either. Now,
even as the colors are fading and the flag is
on the run, I can still quite plainly pick it
Here comes the sun again, as almost every
other morning. An orangy light creeping 
over the hills from the east. The direction
wouldn't matter, but it's the only one we 
get. Why am I always watching? Every
day now is a cancelled expectation?


Get this burden off my shoulders, please, oh
Lord that be. This world is too demanding, 
wanting everything of me when I've got 
nothing more to give. We wait, and become
only mere slaves to conscience. So I stand
by this wall, leaning in.
I've never learned more than I've learned
right now : attitudes and expectations that
falter, and then we are gone with the wind.

16,023. TOO LOOSE

If I were to lose my vision I'd be
bind again, just as I was when
coming in. Babies cry for lack
of reference. Strangers, always,
in a new, strange land. When we
acclimate and begin to see, it's 
grand to learn a world will be.


And the depths are beneath me, where my
solace holds the middle ground. I had been
here in my youth and now I'm back, and sound.
Never a respite nor a dalliance; everything has
always had a purpose  -  but it was a much plainer
purpose then when things were simple.
The men who built the buildings use local stone.
The quarries are still there, and one of the builders
is buried nearby. Something must have happened
way back when. It's all so quiet now, and you 
cannot get a reason from the story of a stone.

Friday, January 27, 2023

16,021. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,359

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,359
(knowing what you want to own)
In a way, you can't lift a 100 lb.
rock with 5 lb. hands; meaning
you have to be 'up' to meet any
situation. I'm getting too far along,
and I know that's not my station
in life any longer.
It's a long and depressing comedown,
in many ways, but, in the same fashion, 
it's fated to be. I learned to relax, I hope,
before that first knife-cut got me. Now,
pretty much, there's not much there.
It seems as if  - when you move 
somewhere far from your original home -
your small-mind takes over and somehow 
gives you access to things you'd not get
ordinarily. Face it, the ground, the very
soil, you're walking on doesn't know you,
nor do you know it. It's all foreign soil,
no matter what's been there before. It's
new to you. I tend to praise the land and
the dirt and the rocks and the trees all
around me. There's a form, also, of ritual
cleansing that people seem to do when
they take over a 'new' place. I've seen it
in many forms and places  -  it's ritualistic
in that it confirms and solidifies the deal
between a person and his or her new place.
The acts involved (in a nearly religious 
sense) can range from cutting and cleaning
up a yard that was perfectly fine the way 
it was; re and-painting trim or foundation
blocks, simply for the sake of change or
stamping an imprint onto the new place.
As if answering to a spirit, things get done
until a pitch-level is reached where it's
really 'yours'  -  as the feeling would 
have it.
Probably this is all too tedious to explain
but it's just one of the kinds of things I 
tend to notice. There's no name for it yet 
there it is. Already in existence. Which
then prods me along to think, 'for how
much time can something exist before
being named?' Man gave names to all
the animals, remember, and that must
have been pretty early on, in whatever
semitic tongue it may have been  - I
guess they all got translated in their 
way to what we have today. Swans.
Horses. But... horses were never in
that mix; not even Arab steeds were
around early on. By contrast, today
we have quarks and charmed quarks
and muons, and the entire array of
physics and its scientific terms, and 
they all get named quickly. How's that
go? Existence precedes essence? Or
essence precedes existence? It can
get confusing.
Once I got to the 'country', most of my
living changed. Even as I got to Elmira,
the essence of my life was already altered.
Things were accepted, and the regular and
often strained routines were gone. The only
difference was that the senses of place had
changed. I found myself no longer caring
about the things that used to absorb me each
day, in Woodbridge. There were a lot of
nervous people there; I'd see them pop into
Platt's Stationary Store, and quickly come
back out with their New York Times, having
left the car running, and then swiftly head 
off again towards their work. There was
never a moment to spare, for them, and
everything was always running. One guy,
a chubby fellow whose clothes seemed 
misfit, as if he'd grown chubby after he'd
bought his work wardrobe, he come every 
day, for like 30 seconds, for that newspaper
I just mentioned, and his care bore a plate
from Pennsylvania. I used to try and figure 
out where he came from, and to where he
headed each day. As best I could figure, he
must have taken the turnpike from somewhere
by Mercer or the Trenton crossing, (say he
lived in Yardley, PA), and got off at a 
Woodbridge or Carteret exit, and come
up Main Street, stopped daily at Platt's, and
headed the rest of the way up Main Street,
probably to a semi-professional office job
in Raritan Center. Yes, it was all conjecture,
but that's how I made it, and named it  -  
his daily, without fail, commute  -  which 
seemed distant and way too far-fetched for 
me. (I worked right next to Platt's, in the 
old Woodbridge National Bank building,
and each morning afforded me the short
opportunity of watching this guy come
and go). I should have been a detective!
Once you name something, even if it's just 
a routine, you own it! 'My daily commute' 
or My daughter's wedding'. I think the trick
in life is in knowing what you want to own,
rather then just getting stuck with it.

16,020. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,358

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,358
(and maintenance-free as well)
The hardest thing I ever went through
was in August, 1967. What was it? Getting
my own place. 509 east 11th street was no
paradise, even though the old beatnik place
next door to the corner had always been
called Paradise Alley during that old era
of the '40's and '50's. You can still read
about it here and there, in references to
those days. I stumbled on it all by accident,
not even really knowing about it at all.
Each Weds, I think it was, the Village
Voice would publish their new edition,
a weekly, and it would hit the newsstands.
It was then a smart little local newspaper
breaking with hipness and cool things. Its
ads for apartments and lofts within the
greater Greenwich Village area was already
famed and notorious  -  people would line
up to get their copy (I mostly was at the
Sheridan Square newsstand), and immediately
run off as quick as they could to a listing
that caught their eye. I did so too; somehow
finding this 60 bucks a month 3-room and
a bath, place. It was all a new land to me, so
I had no location references or anything to
go by  -  except that one corny reference that
said 'cool people never go above 14th street,
especially not to live.' It was cheap in the
village, and pretty much lawless by reputation.
When I arrived to 509, it was a terror. What
was once Paradise Alley, (with its 'alley too),
was then (1967) a motorcycle den, a headquarters
of sorts of the initial planting of the Hells Angels
motorcycle bad-boys (and girls). They eventually
established themselves, for years, on 3rd Street,
with their famed headquarters and their famed
'safest street' in New York, motorcycle law
enforcement  -  which pretty much meant 'don't
mess with H.A. or the bikes, or we fuck you
up. I got an apartment on the third floor, and
moved in. With nothing except an old foot 
locker filled with my crap, and a bicycle I'd 
taken from the curb as a trash item and brought 
into the apartment. No one had bicycles back
then, as transportation; now they're a common 
item everywhere in NYC. I had no idea really
where I was or what I was doing there, operating
as I was on a remote control headed by an odd
intuition that this was the right place to be.
The 'super' or the guy on the first floor who
rented the apartment to me was kind of a creep.
I didn't much take to him from the get-go. I
can't even recall where I got the 60 bucks from
to rent the slimy place, but I did. As it turned out,
that was the last time ever that money changed
hands between us. A little while later I brought
a roommate in (another creepy guy), and he
covered the entirety of that rent each month,
though it was never in cash. Let's just say he
had a 'sideline' going, which I'd not known
about, as both a 'pharmacist' to the street, and
a male who very much sought after females.
None of it mattered to me; I was in a cloud
of my own making  -  a good cloud, but a
cloud nonetheless. Observant to a fault, all
that I learned I learned from awareness and
watching others. Street-smarts were easy
enough to learn, just by watching those
others, and without them you could pretty
much be assured of 'trouble' somewhere
along the line  -  so I made sure I caught
on, and as quickly as possible.
Besides the main NYC Library, at 42nd 
and Fifth, there were, down in the village
two or three cool libraries that I liked going
in. Sometimes just for the warmth they
afforded. The old Ottendorfer Library,
in the old German Section (Klein- 
Deutschland, meaning 'Little Germany')
was a red-brick, imposing edifice, with
carvings and busts of famed Germans
its facade. Very cool inside. Also, down
on East Broadway, another heavily-immigrant
section, was the Seward Park Branch Library,
which was a Jewish Red cell, back in the 1940's
era, of Communist and Socialist sympathizers,
and leftist Jew immigrants -  they'd argue all
night over tactics, ideology, politics, and
anything else they could, in almost Talmudic
fashions of intensity. After the library closed at
night, they simply transplanted themselves and
their debates to the numerous dairy-restaurants
and Jewish-dietary observant all night cafes and
eateries. It was like a non-stop and crazy
Civics class, at all times, and very 'European'
in its ways.
That entire area of the Seward Library has
changed now, drastically. The immigration
influx of the old Euro types is, obviously, all
over and the local populace has changed over
to different groups  -  Chinese, Grand Street
hipsters, some clubbers and art-gallery types,
and hipsters way too aware of themselves.
The old days are dead and buried, as are the
people who gave those days their panache.
The Jewish Daily Forward, once an authoritative
and famed Jewish-Immigrant newspaper, had/has
its headquarters building their (I'm not sure what
they do now), and a place once called 'Jarmulowsky's
Bank'  -  which was a Jewish-immigrant neighborhood
bank that gave out loans and support to the local
populace. It's still there, the building, at Canal and
Orchard Streets, but the bank-rush that took place 
when the bank ran out of money, in 1914, caused a 
massive street crowd and demonstration/panic, and 
many lost the money they had put their to 'escape' 
their relatives from the European troubles of WWI.
Once I began learning of these places and the local
immigrant patterns and social histories, I was
entranced. Every step I took had a history tour
within it, and I regaled in those with every step in 
the old atmosphere I was amidst. Of course, if 
anyone had told me then  that, in  another few 
years I'd be 250 miles away and living as a 
farm-boy yokel somewhere else and distant in 
time, I'd have laughed. So would they have, I 
bet. The area had so degenerated by the early 
2000's, that I was privy, from sitting on a park 
bench outside the library, at Seward Park, to 
witness a client/supplier undertaking, for 
money,  that, unfortunately, amounted to 
oral sex performed on a jolly, though gaunt, 
fellow by  what had to be one of the most  
'ugly' street  providers in the world. But,
such it be I guess.
Lastly, 509 e11th? It was OK for a while,
and from there I learned that 'maintenance
free' could often mean, not just ' at no
charge' but also, in the other version of
the phrase, 'no maintenance at all.'

Thursday, January 26, 2023


The men line their shoes up all along
the start-line. They are as distant from
me as they can be. Some onlookers
who seem to know what's going on
look on. A jewelry store line-up of
diamond studded earrings?
I am as confused as ever, and again
keep myself from admitting that fact 
to others. They all have phones, so
they wouldn't understand me.
I am a steeple-jack of the highest
order; a chimney-sweep from the
right side of Hell. As distant from
me as The Shroud of Turin could
ever be, I rattle my cage just to be
heard : nothing is left after that.
I look up and see  -  on the third story
window - gold lettering there that reads, 
'Madame Marie - Fortunes and Glory.'
In script, beneath, it also says : 'Fortunes
told and Riches developed' - again as
distant from me as that can be.

16,018. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,357

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,357
(ineffectivess and weird things)
I guess one of the problems with my
life has been sensitivity, and sadness.
That's two, but who's counting and
to me they're both the same. This
whole internet thing really killed
it for me. At one click I can be
taken to some site showing things
that people have posted, and, wham!
I come smack-dab face to face with
some street scene in Laos or Vietnam
or one of those places and it's a clip of
of a dog crawling along the ground
with two broken rear legs, in traffic,
amidst little motorcycles and cars and
a whole crowd street scene of morons
totally ignoring the poor dog trying to
crawl along and making the saddest,
most plaintive eyes contact with 
anyone able to maybe help. I swear
to you, that scene  -  which I'd not 
asked for, just about destroyed me,
and I began crying. What the hell
is wrong with the people of this 
world, and how can something like 
that be overlooked or ignored. I
swear I'd like to deck the jerk who
so cavalierly posted that. It's just
not right. I remember, while 
growing up in Avenel, how there 
were some really grotesque stories 
around town too fictional or not,
I never got to the bottom of. When
you're a 10 year old, you don't often
do get to the 'bottom' of many things.
But the people in these stories were
marked then for life. As I think back
on them now, I realize (well, almost),
that they couldn't have been true, even
in Avenel. The one kid, who lived on 
that little curved street behind the
Avenel Fire House. It between Rt. 
One and Avenel Street. Don't know 
the name. The story was that this
kid would freeze dead cats in his 
freezer at home, in water then, as 
a frozen block of cat-ice, he'd take 
the ice-block to the underpass and  -
-  from up above on the train platform  -  
he'd throw the block of ice down and 
upon hitting the ground the ice and the
cat would break into lots of pieces.
True or not? I never knew.
Cruelty of whatever nature has always
irked me and angered me. There are
certain things that just never seemed
part of the Human makeup but which
people did anyway. At any level it's
cruelty. Kids can be cruel, I knew that,
and as bicycle warriors, when young,
we too did some dumb-ass things that
I regret doing, but it was never with
forethought or malice, if that matters.
When I bought that house in Elmira,
I asked the lady selling it why she was
selling after just having done it all up
(she had an interior decorating shop
downtown). Her answer? 'To get my
son out of jail and pay for a good 
lawyer and legal expenses too.' I 
said 'Huh? What did he do?' She
replied, 'Manslaughter.' Then she
said he and his friend had taken a
rowboat into the Chemung River, to
one of the islands out in the middle,
one where they hung out and often
camped on. The rowboat was loaded
with beer, and they drank all night
and the other kid passed out. My son
though he was dead. He had a shovel
on the boat, and he buried his friend,
never realizing he was alive, not
dead, and just out in a drunken stupor.
Don't that beat all? I'm losing my shop,
and this house too, over all that.' Man
oh man, it sure did beat all. Her name
was Jeanne Bollen, and I never saw her
again. She was, back then, about 40 or
45 to my 22. Her kid was about 16.
How far apart is the distance, I wonder, 
between the frozen cat thing and this
kid's island burial  -  both too weird
to contemplate, but both within human
bounds, I suppose? Not for me though;
I'm the more sensitive type.
A lot of times things just become
difficult for me. There's a level past
which I seem to never be able to take
myself. All my dealings with others,
over the years, have crash-landed in
conflicts of one sort with authority.
Bosses and Managers;  with always a
new problem. I've got all this bubbling
material all around me, piles of things
and no movement at all. I always felt
ineffectual and stalled, while around
me everyone else seemed effective and
well on their ways towards achievement.
Ineffectiveness sucks, and it's not anything
that can easily be translated in something
with which to communicate a message
about to others. It's more just like a
general malaise which then becomes
a killer.
So, I just watched and observed, and
most of my life, at that point, became
recording and channeling each thing 
I'd see or observe, like a small painter 
painting miniatures of his own life and 
thought. I have lota more to say, and 
I'm not done yet.


And it was over in a second. A little bit here, a
little bit there. It's really hard to concentrate on
a theme like that. My hands are too cold to hold
the subject. 
You know those long shots, those photos of
Iowa farms and places like that. They always
seem serene and placid, but so many of those
high school kids have taken acid or already are
junkies for one thing or another. Such places
leave their traces everywhere. 
Some people are fortunate : important friends
who can get them what they want; the need for
most things is just a request away. Then, in 
some seedy, crappy, local newspaper you read :
'Ottumwa boy jumps in front of passing train'
or another story of how the local high school
is riddled with drugs and the white kids won't
say anything, except to blame the blacks or
the new influx of Mexicans and Vietnamese.
Surely makes you wonder, Shirley, what's
really going on.


They have a candle burning. I never like
that  -  loose flame, spindly candlestick,    
too much movement. No one pays attention.
There are a few tables scattered about, where
waiting-room people sit. That's not who they
are, but that's what it resembles.
Outside, little noise is heard  -  each time
the door opens another someone enters.
If there's any commotion outside, that's
when it's first heard. A few blocks away,
the eye can see houses  -  old, brown, and
not in the best of shape. 
There's little money here, at this end of
town, and two blocks in, the old business
area's a mess. There's a bagel shop made
to resemble an oven? Some old municipal
building with a really tired flag  -  that's
now a Government agency building and
there's a newer town hall. Some artists
have painted booster-murals about being
happy and staying serene. 
If that's what America's about now, it's truly
just another lost cause. One last thing: In
the lobby there's a rainbow flag, and then
there's a poster about T4T.
I'd never heard of that before. Evidently
it's about something I'll never understand,
as a category, or as a reality too. It means
transgenders who are only atracted to
other transgenders. For that too, we need
a government?


I said 'Charley, why? The coast is right there.' He said
'Not that one; I'm after the other.' How did he even
know there were two? I wondered. 
A lot of things make we woozy. This Holy Roman
Emperor stuff, for sure. What connection could there
have been between such religion and a God? 
Strange days, indeed. Claiming the flatlands of
France in the name of Christ the King. Calling
out some Florida landing for a part of the Fountain
of Youth? How stupid could that have been? And
who were all these crazy men anyway? The way
I see it, either 'miscreants' again, or the hard-core
unemployed (which you never hear of anymore,
even though it used to be quite a large category
of men by itself, never spoken of now).


They have plans for painting the village,
opening craft shops, dropping in tasteful 
little stores and it feels like crud. No sense
or sensation to it. If you need another Princeton
every 20 miles, you really ought to give it up.
Nothing lasts forever and it draws in the wrong
It takes 200 years to grow a nice village. You
can't construct one from paper planning and 
council votes. Apparently, in this case, they do,
and it's only about money too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Sometimes when I awake I don't know who I'm
talking to. I then walk outside instead and just
fiddle with the thermometer on the garage wall.
The wind usually turns it around. It's just numbers
to me anyway. A scale that means nothing.
Centrifugal force and interior turmoil. That makes
a good breakfast pair. I sit back down, backing
away from it all. Voices start calling me: people
from the past, and others I've just dreamed of.
There's a chair in the valley, and a chair at the top.
One's always too cold, and the others always too hot.


What's it seem like? In this life, once.
Far and away the best  -  sunlight and
rising, warmth and green, birds and
frogs. All these things count, you know.
Don't try and hide, just come out and get
it. All of this will come to you, and sooner
than you'd expect. See the glass pane of
the window  -  it separates two worlds?
You think? Or is everything now wide
and open. I love the difference I now
navigate. This parking lot seems like
nothing now at all.

16,011. RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,356

RUDIMENTS, pt. 1,356
(buy a book and shut your face)
On the outskirts of Ithaca, back
then, coming in from the south,
            there was this rambling old place              
like a mansion from 40 years before.
Its current use then  -  maybe 1974 -
was as a Zen Buddhist retreat and
rehab center. I forget the name and
the designated titles and stuff, but it
was apparently run by a few Buddhist
monk kind of guys, in the Hare
Krishna mold. I never knew if these
two schemes of people mixed or
mingled, but that's way they looked
like. 'Airport Baldies' I called them.
And I called those in the home 'inmates.'
You had to be there; those are 1970's
jokes, for sure. Anyway, the rehabbing
inmates were kept busy - apparently -
doing stupid thing as like making soaps,
floral things and flower holders, metal
kitchen implements for stove and cook,
and mending and cleaning for resale
used clothing. Their biggest sellers were
baked goods, which they also made  -  
cupcakes, breads, brownies, and varied
loaves of other unknown things. Kathy
knew all the stuff, I didn't. I mostly kept
away from the pastries. Our young son,
of course, always knew what he wanted:
probably 'one of everything' sums it up.
They sold most everything there, except
books, which kept me suspicious. Seems
like a real oversight. I always had a
marginal set of problems in thinking
of rehab and enforced seclusion; mainly
since I never understood what the end
goal was: To be 'normal' once again made
no sense, since that's what got them in
their predicament in the first place. To
become 'enlightened' or wise, or even
 'saved' in any religious sense, that too
seemed senseless by the concept it was
done with. Separation is never really a
solution to anything. Like a prison, it's
all just a prison of another sort, and
you never hear of anyone breaking
INTO prison. Or do you? I'd rather
just be cloistered with 100 books.
Up here, where we live now, it's a pretty
fortunate book scene. Which is good.
There's library over in Hawley, with the
prices of yesteryear  - .50 cents on
Paperbacks, and a dollar on hardcovers.
Just yesterday I scored, 'I Claudius' and
a huge book of American Short Stories, 
for a buck fifty, total. This selection of 
books is all separated out and shelved, 
and there are lots of good things. The 
Honesdale Library does the same thing, 
but it's a much smaller selection, and 
last August all the prices were raised 
(double those of Hawley). In Monticello, 
NY, a few miles off, there's a massive 
Goodwill Support Shop bookstore, or
whatever they call it  -  the entire building,
and a zillion books, two dollars tops. 
A real treasure trove. Plenty of things 
abound, you just have to know where 
to look. It's hit and miss, and then
sometimes one just gets lucky.
I don't think people read much anyway;
these days real literature, as it once was,
has been consigned to the dust bin of
literary history. Too tedious and time
consuming, by whatever means. Using
e-books and kindles is just another way
of showing others what you're doing, even
if it is not up to scale. It's a mere pretense.
A book demands two hands, a light source,
and a certain stillness on the reader's part. 
Each of those things are the underpinnings 
of a settled Humanity. There are, as there
used to be with old '78's, and other once
valued things, a passage of time that is
trying to tell us something : we are no 
longer nomads, travelers on the move.
Except for the blitzkrieg itinerant on 
7-day rapid tours of Cambodia and 
Ankor Wat, or viewing the Danube,
or seeing Marseille and then Rome, all
in the same 6 days, everything has been
devalued and rationalized out of any
existence. If it doesn't turn coin, it's
of no value to the nitwit brigades.
That's why all these fine books are
but a dollar  -  used now as loss leaders
for fund-raising stacks that start out
at zero with turned-in books, or all
Dad's and Grandad's old libraries from
their glory days, for free, and they 
get turned into a buck or two in such
places as I've described.
Gone from me now are inklings of
the present. I live in the past. It's a
far better place for me to be. I know 
I can be criticized for being another
version of a Luddite, or even some
nitwit at present with a Masada 
complex. All or nothing, Retreat or
Hell. I no longer care. The million
little pieces of my old life amount to
my own castle, and if no one else
gets it, I'll just keep explaining
until I do, and I can probably run
circles around any one of today's
rude hipsters. Have you ever seen
those two guys who sing (sing?)
'Blackest In the Room'? It's a real
example of where we're at today.
It works, but then it doesn't work.
It's representation is slavish.
Buy a book and shut your face.


All this hopefulness in one place : awaiting
the rain and snow to end; stuffed under a rail
station overhang, the eaves dripping and the
roof a white mess. Where they will stay until
then is anyone's guess.
There's probably a notion about that the
weatherman screwed up again. (That word
can be either; it's got a her, and a him!)...


You won't find this on any American
cooking show; maybe French or
Vietnamese? Like they used to make
in Dienbienphu. First you have to
peel the egg while blindfolded, and
separate the yolk from the white.
Then you boil the result separately 
from each other, and slowly jiggle
the pan.


I wake up minor and stay awake
all day? In my minor way? Now
there's no mistaking my category -
a category named as 'one' and
damned if you do and damned
if you don't. I chisel field rocks
by just going outside.
This Winter landscape is usually
nice to me, though it gets tiresome
by about another 2 weeks. Others say
they love their 'Winters' the best. I have
my limitations, eventually met.
The pleasantry of pleasure soon enough
will disappear; yes, yes it happens every
year. The bar-graph of contentment fails,
as I wake up minor again.


'The way Schiffman just stands there baffles me.
He responds to nothing at all, and anyone else,
by now, would have responded. And why does
everyone go after him like this. I wonder?
Every shred of evidence shows this life to
a fault and a degree  -  the Schiffmans of
the world ought to unite. He's got a nice house
and car, and lives a vacantly normal life. I'd
have nothing not positive to say about him,
by the terms of the world. And anyway, I
won't even judge.'
Office BS again. The voices that huddle in
break-rooms and lounges. So tiresome to me.
I've heard lots of adverse comments, and its
usually as soon as someone leaves the room.
I think of it all as one of the drawbacks of
the way we live; enforced and confined into
corners, with others we don't understand.
Why do we need to put up with all this?
I'd rather drive a truck, and be alone all
day, then have to square the sorts of circles
these chummy rooms present. The farther
from the curb you put the garbage, the more
likely it is to get hit by that truck?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

16,006 pt.1,355

RUDMENTS, pt. 1,355
(no golden lining to what the world gives you)
Most of the people that ever came to 
visit us  -  not all, but most  -  always
found something to complain about.
The kindred spirits to us never did 
that; they just brought along their 
merry selves (and sometimes cats)
and we all got on fine. Loose and
without the restrictions that tie
people to attitudes, etc. For myself,
I was as easy as butter on toast, so
I usually made sure nothing bothered
me. They'd be going on about cold,
a crummy bed, distances, or travel;
but I never cared about any of that.
Neither did my wife; the point was
that we'd long ago learned to life with
the situation you're given; that there's
no golden lining to what the world
gives you, so take and make the best 
of the situation. It always worked.
Times when I'd just want to say, 'shut
up, and quit your whining,' I'd just
stay quiet instead.
That Elmira house, yep, it turned out
well although I quickly enough found a
need for a piano. There was a great spot
and a wall for it. I guess I probably said
something, because next thing I knew
my father shows up for a couple of days'
stay, with the family, and in tow he's got 
a trailer, with my piano on it  -  the one
from Inman Avenue, that I had all those
lessons on and which had been languishing
in the basement for a few years. We did
manage to get it inside, and I had some
piano guy come by to look it over and 
tune it up. He said it was 'marginal', but
the sounding board wasn't crack (often
a lousy moving job like we had, does that,
rendering the piano mostly useless. He
tuned it up, etc., and it wasn't so bad.
I got some good years out of it, and I
guess we left it there when we moved.
Can't remember.
Things were pretty easy. I've told the
stories here before  - meeting Tommy
Hilfiger in his little clothing store
before he was 'anybody' at all. Doing
all the weird printing for 'Dancemasters
of America'  -  like a dancing school
monthly, or so, bulletin with all the
new dancing news (!). And another
thing like it, much the same, called
Toastmasters  -  which was a newsrag 
of sorts for Masters of Ceremonies,
and people who ran 'Roasts' and
Conferences and stuff and had to 
open proceedings and keep things
going. Some of this stuff was
priceless : firetruck companies
newsletters, and fire hydrant
company newsletters too! One 
of the last industrial 'hot spots'
of Elmira was firetrucks and
fire equipment companies.
It was pretty easy to maybe laugh at
this stuff, but I never did. There were
serious people, probably still living in
the 1940's  -  when things were more
formal, when items like introduction
and openings and ceremonies were
still meaningful. Nothing was out of
order, and no snide words were ever
used. They had made their places, all
these people, and money too, to show
from it all. My 'newer' world, which
would soon come crackling into their
old world, hadn't yet happened. It still
had 10-15 years to be born. Little did
the world know how steep that strong
downward slope would get to be.
There were some mornings in that old
Elmira town when it was so quiet you'd
just go thinking you were somewhere
else; some Missouri River town, maybe,
slowly squishing along. I always pretended
the Chemung River was the Mississippi  -  
all meandering and clogged up with bounding
riverboats and little islets and river obstacles
and shoreline shacks. It wasn't of course, 
and there wasn't even anything near like 
it to be found around  -  but that never 
stopped me. And then, just about the 
opposite of that there's come 10 days 
of zero temperatures, or below, with 
no or little thought of sun, and old 
snow and ice paths everywhere,
between and across peoples' yards
and across lanes and parking lots. I'd
walk them, freezing, each day, into
Elmira College  -  right past the 
college women's health clinic  -  
a new, 1970's, round two story 
building. I always figured their
biggest product was abortions,
and/or birth control dispensing.
Funny, 35 years later, the same
type of building, and for the same 
purposes, but square instead of 
round, popped up at Princeton.
What was that big craze sweeping
the nation? Got me to wondering.
Elmira was nothing special; it was
kind of removed from the world and
had its own clock. The same with 
Ithaca, which, in the early 70's yet
had its own private contingent of
hippies and loose-fits; a sort of
leftover college crowed not often
seen. While Elmira too had its own
time-warp, it was only a few stores
and exchanges. The Elmira College
kids themselves hadn't much of that.
Ithaca, on the other hand, and Cornell
still bore a full-frontal assault of the
hippie ethos; I guess that was part
of its fascinating appeal  -  in the
high hills and part of nowhere.