Thursday, March 31, 2016


I was never comfortable in my
skin, still am not; it's as if I'm
annoyed at being human  -  that
sounds funny, but it's not meant
to be. I can swear to lots of things,
and a few of them are, (I swear),
that I see things and hear things
that other people don't. I sense
variations on the shades of things
and the essences which prove that
things aren't. Simply are not. Just
not there. It's not much fun : have
you ever tried to explain to someone
else a sense of the non-reality of
their world. It's almost non-sensical.
Back in Pennsylvania, when I first
bought that old farmhouse and land,
the barn which I possessed instantly,
for me, became the ghostland of that
present. In the creamery-room (like
a workroom for the milk business of
the barn) there was a 1957 calendar
on the wall, just left there, as if
they'd just exited yesterday, and
were coming right  back. There
were some tools, and chain left
there, on the workbench. Even
something I'd never heard of,
something called a 'creep-along'
or somesuch; kind of a ratchet-lever
and a cable thing, with a big,
rounded hook at the end. It fell in,
somewhere, between a winch and
a pull-bar. We'd even use it now
and then to drag a car along with.
(I was left with five junkers in the
yard, a 1960 Mercury Turnpike
Cruiser being my favorite of them,
but it was already a black wreck).
Funny how you can run across
something never known before.
Having it just left there, that tool,
I always felt it was like getting a
million dollars, freely. In fact,
just today, running along the
roadway at 50 miles per hour, I
came across a serious hammer
with a real good claw end, right
there on the dividing line in the
middle of the road. Normally, I'd
pull over immediately to retrieve
something like that  -  it having
fallen off a truck I'm sure, bet in
this case traffic precluded me from
stopping and trying to get it. Too
bad. I was out of my skin with envy.
See that! See what I'm saying  -  the
same guy (me) who goes around
banging the drum for nothing
existing, all hung up here over a
hammer. That's what Life is like - a
predominant over-riding assumption
about the world we live in, seen as
real and experienced as spirit too.
I've never been able to put my finger
on it. Anyway, back to this barn  -
upstairs, where the hayloft would
have normally been, this previous
owner (known locally as one crazy
dude, problem-infested loner),
Denton Parmenter, had built walls
and a bathroom and stuff. Never
finished  - his intentions had been
to rent these out to hunters  -  it all
was just set in place, ready for real
flooring, wall-spackling, paint, etc.
It had a bathroom, had a sink, all that.
In the bathroom, crazily enough, was
a pile of magazines, called 'Arizona
Highways.' All dated from about
1960-1964. This was like 1970-71
and it was weird to say  -  for a few
reasons. The time and dates and place.
And Arizona, oddly enough, through
the pages of this magazine, was still
congratulating itself on its highway-
building and its connecting of all sorts
of far-flung places within the state by
new roadways. Car and truck travel,
and it even showed campers and
vacationers driving all about. It
was all just very weird and
disconcerting  -  here I was in the
wilds of dirt-road Pennsylvania,
galvanized and happy to be away
from it all, and this stupid magazine
on my premises, for some reason,
was promoting and celebrating access
through highways, travel, speed and
roads. How this had happened, and
all the strangeness of it, I never
understood. But that's how linearity
is  -  straight-line craziness, always
at work.
To me, there was always something
more important in straight-line
everyday living than anything else.
School and colleges didn't make
any real sense to me, still don't.
You have to buy the dream with
that stuff, and I never did the buying,
let alone had any part of the dream.
I heard somewhere once, a long time
ago, a quote, and I always liked it,
that 'Colleges are like old-age homes,
except that more people die in colleges.
There's really no difference. Colleges
are part of the American institution;
everybody respects them. They're
very rich and influential, but they
have nothing to do with survival.'
And I sure found that out soon
enough  -  underscoring and
reiterating for me just what that
little quote meant to sum up. If
it's not you, don't do it.
There's more than two sides to
anything; I've found that out. And
everyone's got their own side, so
how many is that? Like God once
said, to Isaiah : 'I form the light,
and create the darkness. I make
peace and create evil. I, the Lord,
do all these things.' That was
pretty stunning and who are we
then to squabble over all the grays
in between? I know not me. Earthly
life is just a temporary sojourn, one
wherein nothing really exists at all
except for its own terrible, fleeting
moment. And that includes the good.
And by the way, along the way, this
Parmenter guy, after he left Pennsylvania,
his kid came to visit us once, about age
20, wanting to revisit the place he'd 
grown up in. I asked about his Dad, 
why he left and where they all had 
ended up. Here I was, living my own
version of reality in what I thought was
the hog-wallow wild-outs of a deep
country Pennsylvania, and this kid 
said, 'Dad? Dad just had to get away 
from all this, he said it was too built 
up  for him. We ended up way out 
in Ohio somewhere, at first. It's all 
shut down and beat-up, and then we
moved some more, way out to the 
country. There ain't nothing around
us now, 'cept for birds and stuff, and
some Amish people a few miles off.
Dad's real comfortable now, but 
he's getting old now too. But
I'll say hello to him, for you.'

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