Tuesday, December 29, 2015

7638. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 117)

(pt. 117)
You know, here and now, let me state that I
think every place should be a sacred place. That's
what life is about  -  making things so. It all gets ruined
by jerks trying to turn coin, yes, but if you really believe
in all that you profess, money-changers in the temple and
all that, they're going to Hell anyway. Most people would
deny that, sure - even the most fervent Avenel Catholics.
A person knows when they're lying to themselves, the Spirit
tells them, and they know it. They may deny it, they may
'profess' differently, all because of being in the Devil's
employ - whether sheriff, sharpshooter, bailiff, mayor,
lawyer, doctor, councilman, or even 'justice of the peace'.
When I lived in Pennsylvania, in the wilds, most every
little civic action  -  license plates, permits, taxes, fines,
all that stuff, had to come from a local 'Justice of the Peace'
as he or she was called. Elected, I think. They always had,
connected to their home, or a shed or garage, a special place,
 a scared place, of sorts, separated and lit nicely, and quiet,
with a desk, etc., to do the business. I always loved that.
The 'JP', they were called.  At most any level, All that
stuff's the same. Duties. Clerk chores. That's the rational
world, the one you really put your belief in. It's actually
quite irrational, because it doesn't exist. Oh sure, if you 
stub your toe or bash your finger, it'll hurt. It has to, only
because you're way invested in the system  -  our entire
life and outlook depends on all that being real. But it's 
not. The Spirit within you, the ageless one, endless, the 
one that lives forever  -  the one in fact at the end of The
Lord's Prayer, if you use that slightly longer, 'Presbyterian'
version (?), knows. (We people across and at the 'other' end 
of Pocahant Place weren't allowed to use that one. Figure 
that out). When you say 'world without end, amen,' do you
really believe that then? Or is it just words you say? Can
this really last forever? What's it mean? When I told about
those other houses of my neighbors, being lit and quiet, all
differently, like sacred spaces, did you understand that?
Avenel had its religion, all splashed and squandered about  -  
those decorations of Christmas time, the mangers and 
babies and angels and all that. That stuff was splashed 
everywhere. Most every secular establishment played off
the religious angle for sales  - Christiansen's, jeez it was
built right into the name, and that was the landmark
business of Main Street , Woodbridge, a stone's throw
from Avenel.  Back then they still had 'Christmas' Parades,
weren't afraid of saying so, using the word  -  on displays
and on lighted messages thrown across Main Street.
Now, nobody can get away with that anymore  -  except
maybe the churches. You have to get inside one of them, to
hide away and otherwise 'profess' what you're not supposed
to otherwise utter. Like a catacomb in ancient Rome. Nobody
bothers now with the churches,  because everyone realizes
they're nothing at all. Just an edifice with a storyline meaning,
bold and solid. Maybe a soup-kitchen with a cross. A certain, 
foppish, male sentimentality has taken over, as if the Yule
is now to be ruled by secular 'designers' with all of the
near-sightedness of 'religion' left out. Even St. Andrew's
itself  -  Avenel's very own  -  if you go in there now, for
Christmas, is sweetly and childishly decorated up for
the 'Christmas' scene as pageant and little else. Perfect
backdrop for a civic-consciousness, for homily and 
sermon about nothing so much as maintaining the 
status quo. Which is bullshit, because the status quo is 
Evil incarnate, and should be fought off. St. Michael 
with his sword. This now is more like Bunny Lake 
with her mystery battalion of hungry urchins. Looking
for a meal. Should be fed. By others. Looking to do good. 
Great for those thousands of telephone photos done by 
parishioners. That's religion now? Churches used to be fairly 
clear and respectable. They were sacred spaces, for sure.
Just go look at any old scene anyway, all that darkness and
mystery. That's what it all was. No lights. No bothersome
community crap. Churches had personal, sacred space and
they mucked it all up. What orphan would run there now?
Sacred space is really personal, dark, quiet. The opposite
of most everything now presented. 
The Lord's Prayer was pretty much religion for me. That was
all I needed  -  it's short and pithy, and sums everything up.
The rest is all rules and regulations, fake dogma and control.
That's where the money comes in  -  church people are no 
different that anyone else. They'll lie to you over finances, 
as well as mess around with your son or daughter. Give me
a break with your silly high-falutin' rubbish. The Lord's
Prayer knows we're hopeless, knows we'll be tempted, 
hopes we don't fail but pretty much knows we will. It
'forgives' us the trespasses that it knows we'll do. Resigned
to our meager being, our helpless indifference. It's a shrug,
and offers daily food, maybe, steering us clear of trouble, 
maybe. Forgives us when we fuck it all up, as it knows 
we'll do, but gets hung up on nothing else. It starts out, in
fact, with the equivalent of, 'Yeah, yeah, God, in, oh, 
wherever you be, yeah, yeah, sacred and hallowed you 
are, and all your plans and stuff may they come true, but 
here's where we need the help, we're a mess. That's all it
says -  it offers nothing else  -  certainly no 3-day redemption,
back from the dead express notions of Salvation and 
Deliverance. That's all Council of Nicea stuff, year 325 AD, 
when they made all this stuff up and decided to grow an 
established church because the whole world was just getting
started with this societal stuff, and civilization, and Nature
abhors a vacuum and there were no established anythings, 
except the feuding and killing of false rulers and lords and 
kings and that Emperor and Holy Roman shit. Dead people
fighting over death, kind of. They made up a 'church', like
a secular power but scarier, because it burned into your 
soul some, and found ways to tax and reign people in and
get real wealthy  - gold and jewels, relics and stories. People
were desperate. It all grew from there. Today, it's called
Dogma, by people who live off that stuff.  Let me tell you
something, Freddy, and this is the real Avenel speaking  -  
there's nothing there except what's inside you, so forget the
niceties and the angels and babies and mangers. Go it alone.
Find your own damn sacred space, cradle and hug it, take it
home with you like the lost baby it is, within you, and grow
and prosper until Death here takes you to there. The rest is
all crap. And by the way, fellows, while you're here, don't go
fucking up the Earth. They'll get you for that, and it's hell
to pay. You're supposed to 'husband' the earth, as in Animal
Husbandry, say, not turn it over for coin and profit. Jerks.
Even in  a place like Avenel, with all the little fixtures of people
and place we'd get to know  - the eccentric pallor of Hiram's
Mobile Home Park, where everyone always seemed dense 
under  a cloud of cigarette smoke too big for their trailers, and
where a lot of husky-voiced women coughed and hacked as they
(tried to) speak; the caterwauling hysterics of Murray and Martha's;
or my own house for that matter; the strange gloom of the old
people we'd know; the churning garbage-can noise of those 
township garbage men, with their roaring trucks, letting us run 
and follow along as they flung the old metal garbage cans and 
lids around like plastic gambling ships -   roaring, loud, clangy  
- there were always special places that took you aside, apart.
'Sacred' spaces, if you will. That swampy woods above 
Avenel Park over the dirt access utility road that ran out to
Amboy Avenue. It's now King's Garden, Cloverleaf Gardens,
or some crap. Filled with weird immigrant-foreigners still
insisting on native dress. The land of the saris and the 'sorries'
too. It's even worse over by School 23, which also used to be 
a really nice hilltop sacred space there for me. There was 
some old manor house in the woods, which had been turned 
into a more vast roadside hotel/motel and banquet hall. It
lasted a long time, but then it was gone. I never knew what it
was, nor much about it  -  but I'd bet even I knew more than
Sheik Ramigampath Abiwani, or whoever lives there now.
The Lord's Prayer doesn't tell us much about that stuff, 
just lets us know that we'll probably screw it all up, 
but we'll slide by as long as we admit God's in His Heaven
and all's right with the world. Especially in His Avenel.
Probably the most sacred but still fun space was the junkyards.
For us, they were a definitive adjunct  -  the proverbial
hop-skip-and jump down the street to where there were no adults.
Truck-drivers lurked, maybe. Old guys with flashlights, towards
dusk. They never much cared about us and it showed since they'd
never fenced off any access or made it in any way hard for us to get in.
Anyone not feeble-minded  -  and we didn't hang with them anyway  -
could walk right into the place  -  a grand assortment of junked trucks,
and some cars too. But mostly trucks. It was wide-open. Have you ever
seen a young boy set loose in a truck junkyard? Whew! All those
steering wheels and dials and gauges, the big doors that swung open,
the cabs and trailers, the box trucks and tankers. I mean we were in
some metallic form of Huck Finn river heaven : forever and seeming
it stretched, just just like Heaven too. We'd jump into the tank bodies,
all those compartments, echoing chambers, and all that. Well, once
or twice now I can even remember there being a girl or two come
into the place. We had a few 'tomboy' types who now and then would
get riled up enough to check it all out with us. No romance or nothing
ever happened, though once or twice, yeah they got felt up or
something. What's an 11-year old superscout know or care? You tell
me and then draw your own conclusions as if it were you doing
the doing. The railroad tracks were right nearby too  -  which was
another great draw, the double-duty excitement of hearing the roar of
a train rumbling right past the truck you were hiding inside of. Excuse
me for getting wistful, but they don't do 'em like that any more.
Today's kids are tied and shackled compared to us, to what we were.
Maybe they care, maybe they don't. I know I don't, for sure.

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