Saturday, January 23, 2016

7727. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 141)

(pt. 141)
In the same neck of the woods where John had
that fit over artificial sweetener, my father had 
grown up. All of that area at the west 40's  of
NYCity had been torn up for the Lincoln Tunnel
ramps and entrances and all. I guess in the early
1950's Prior to that it had been an Italian 
neighborhood, crowded and heavily ethnic. That
was the street from which my father, with his 
original family, had been raised, before they 
were broken up, with the destruction of the 
family unit, and sent all over various places as
separated foster children. My Aunt Mae went to
a nunnery in Brooklyn, where she was given a
good schooling and lodging in return for some 
domestic service. The others all were scattered 
around Bayonne, various addresses. It was all
very convoluted, but they managed a tenuous
contact as street kids in poor neighborhoods.
The center of that area in the west 40's was a
tall, spired Catholic Church, now gone. Nearby to
it, and still there, is another church, now a Serbian
congregation. They keep all the records of the once-
there Catholic Church. In addition, in the waiting
area of that church are all photographs on the wall,
nicely framed, of the old church and its neighborhood
festivals, processions, and street fairs. All you really
see are hundreds of top-hatted heads, and the heads
of women, from above, milling about. It was once 
quite thriving; now it's nothing at all. Visiting there 
once, I asked the Secretary in charge of the office
about things, and told her the story, and she led me,
incredibly enough, to a series of low, wooden cabinets
which housed all the hand-written, fountain-pen inked
and beautifully scripted, records books of the parish 
history; births, baptisms, communions, weddings, 
and deaths. In the years around 1924 were found 
my father's records as well as those of his brother, 
my Uncle, Joe. I couldn't find any other names, of
aunts, but I'd found enough. It was pretty impressive.
Maybe there was always some blood-energy within me
somehow that kept mixing me up with this church stuff.
I never knew, but sometimes I could feel the legions of
the past trying to work through me; for what reason,
I did not know nor sense. I followed, for a while, in a
sort of path-of-least-resistance formula, where these
things led me. Then, I finally just gave it up, finding
only a spirit of restlessness and uselessness too. Whatever
voices they once may have been they were getting fainter 
and more silenced. I was able, on the physical plain, to
eventually walk away from it. I knew I had to; it was
too old, too pale, too physical and too weak. All that
constant pining for varied Paradises. Saint Augustine 
has a quote, somewhere, about like he being his own 
worst obstacle, or something. (I looked it up : 'Mihi 
quaestio factus sum'  -  which means 'I have become 
a problem to myself').  That was pretty much the deal.
I was free on the streets where the streets weren't free.
That was Paradox #1, right off. You can't live a split
allegiance. You can't be in two places at once, or in
both of them good. I had chosen an absolute One-directed
path of absolution  -  clearing and cleaning myself out
of all present-day cultural affinities and going someplace
else, internally. There was once a sort of Christian mystical
teacher 'Mani'  -  (Manicheism). He, and his Gnostic 
sect, proclaimed Duality, a basic and entrenched split 
in the world between absolute Good and absolute Evil, 
a cosmic, ongoing battle between forces of The Kingdom 
of Light, and The Kingdom of Darkness, always waging
a battle. He questioned how a perfectly 'Good' God could
make Evil. Evil, to be a breakaway, a madness fulcrum,
torn from the godhead, enflaming and engulfing Earth,
as the Evil doers came down to mingle and intermix with
Earth women and men. Offspring. Generate. It's all in 
the Bible, coded and partially hidden, but it's there. 
Chapter 6, for starters, Genesis. You're really not going
anywhere, my friend. The forces of Evil have you in their
world. It's violent stuff, and there are no answers to the
queries raised; the only answer is the Life you lead. The 
way you interpret your moment. And they are still here, 
all around you, enflaming your world, defaming your 
world with their filth and obscenities, taking your women 
and killing your children. You either make the comfortable 
alliance with them that they demand of you, and fall in 
place, just be a normal drone, or you fight. To death. 
You find a way to fight, and stand up for the Light 
and the righteousness while others scoff at you saying 
you're 'too absolute, things aren't clearcut, they're not
black and white.' Well oh fuck if they're not, because
I know they are, and Evil rules this world and land. 
Pure. I even tried telling that to the secretary in that 
church, after she'd tried explaining how it all once 
went down. But I stopped myself short. She was 
old world, she'd understand  nothing. She was 
tethered still. She'd call the cops. I was  
a madman, and she'd be right.
I realized, even in Avenel, that I could read the world
around me differently than others read it. To me it was
a dimensional language, something that had doors and
openings, portals and entryways. Not flat or linear, this
world led into dimensions. I'd walk them. That's was 
what the entire Library thing was about for me. I'd 
walk down Avenel street  -  all those angular rooflines, 
many duplexes in a  row with little pointed roofs which
made a strange, picturesque streetscape. Though it was
meaningless, I went along it. Before me stretched the
swamps, but I'd turn right onto Rahway Avenue, and 
walk on. I'd get to the tracks where I'd been hit by the
train, but by that time my walk had numbed me to
anything physical. I'd notice nothing, just step across
the tracks. To my left was a doorway and a drawer; I
could have entered it at any time, any of those nights, 
and disappeared forever, been taken right back to that
Death which I'd somehow cheated nine years before.
No one would have known where I'd gone, there'd be
no evidence left behind. It was enticing, believe me.
I'd continue walking, past the old Avenel Coal and Oil,
that grand old white manor house, redolent of other days,
with the trucks and piles of coal, graded by size, in the
great truck bins around it. The house had been sacrificed
too, I knew this, taken by Evil and put to poor service,
business service, a filthy sick trade for lucre. A disgust.
Again, the world had won. A forceful ripping out of
a grace'd past, one that still existed, and to where I, again,
could have entered. There was a place, portal there,
calling to me. There were angels on either side of the
golden door, fired with soft, rippling flames, a glorious
sight. They wanted me there, but again I resisted. A
parallel universe of Me was going on, but for the 
moment yet, without me. Yet I could read and hear its
language. And then I'd pass the ludicrous. The side 
grass -yard, the farmed filed of the old house, which
had been turned over to a ridiculously stupid driving
range for golf practice. 25 cent buckets of golf balls,
endless hitting out, for distance and travel, of golf balls,
a whole field of distance markers and white gold eggs 
flying. Complete, Disgust. Tongues of flame rose up
from here, as me eyes revolted and my own heart hid.
I knew Evil's splendid Kingdom of Fun to be right there.
I refused all entreaties, each night, right there. And then
the Library, into which I'd enter to get lost, get 
subsumed, stay steady. It would center me
in this new world of bleakness.

By this time of my life, I was spinning away. I was rugged,
and enraged, singular, insular, reclusive, and alone. Frankly,
'Religion' had ruined my life, turning me mad long before my 
time. I had nowhere else to turn but more and more into my own 
references and universe. As silly as it sounds, the Woodbridge Public 
Library, without even knowing it, was harboring and furthering the 
work of a fugitive. For which I was indebted to them. Little
did they know, and how mis-shapen they'd have been if they
did know. It was like a Karl Marx or a Lenin, hiding and burrowing
in some haunt, formulating their revolutions. Maybe more Savanarola.
Lucretius, who wrote : 'Tantum religio potuit sundere malorum'.
'Such is the terrible evil that Religion was able to induce.'
That's the translation for that wonderful line. Avenel had me,
again, for a time, but my fires were burning and there was no
putting them out. Those Salvatorian Fathers and Brothers sure
knew their work.  That library became my study seat for many
vast, deep takeoffs : fifth century Greece, Democritus, coining the
term 'atom,' from the Greek for 'indivisible', speculating that
reality consisted of nothing but elementary particles swirling
randomly around in the void  -  propounding a theory that 'talk
of the Gods comes naturally to primitive people who, unable yet to
grasp the laws of nature, resort to fantastical storytelling.'
Hmmm, excuse me, library person, you're in my seat.

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