Monday, May 9, 2016


So, you see how I was instantly
hooked up, almost by a fate, to
something; I wasn't even sure
what it was : I'd just come out of
a tough, ragged city environment,
my head on the table, and now
I  was dropped, by choice I guess,
but still, 'wily-nily', into the middle
of an entire other deep-blue sea,
and my little boat was leaking,
my gunwales were shot, and I
was headed, probably, with
or by, the direction of the
wrong star. My compass was
bent, and my astrolabe had
fallen to the sea. Was the
word 'a'drift' not made
for me?
When you read all that old
Greek mythological stuff,
and way before that, Gilgamesh
and all that Sumerian King-list
material you come up across
one of early Mankind's first
dilemmas. Was it 'philosophical',
or was it 'religious'? And whatever
was it between them to make a
negotiable difference? I could
never tell, the arguments went
back and forth a million times
and as soon as you felt settled
with one or the other, for me
anyway, the opposite conclusion
popped up, and it too again
looked right. The age-old moral
quandary; it still mixes me up.
Fate vs. Destiny, and which is
which. Then you ask old Gilgamesh
about it  -  or try to glean it from his
story at least  -  and all you get for
the optimum human conclusion is
'resignation'. More like a shrug than
anything else. What's that worth to
anyone? I'd rather have a Guinness
at Swift Hibernian Lounge and be
sweet-talking old Bernadette behind
the bar  -  a motorcycle ride for one
free drink. (Yeah, I used to do that).
But anyway, here in the mountain
top skylines of some rugged old
sidebar of Pennsylvania  -  past
the Susquehanna and seemingly
past all else too  -  I found myself,
all present and accounted for. And
it was freezing cold, and the
temperature never got above zero,
and that was like 10 days in a row
and 12 below too and more than
once. Everything was frozen,
including the frozen. One time my
car got so frozen in the frozen
that it wouldn't drive out. I had to
hitch it to one of Warren's tractors
and slowly pull it out, hoping the
cold-frozen rubber of the tires
wouldn't just rip and tear instead.
And to everyone I ever met there,
I always extended myself; I gave
willingly. I gave at the office, as
it were, every time and everywhere.
'What Kind of Fool Am I?', I had
to ask myself; Sammy Davis, Jr,.
Robert Goulet, or any one of those
60's creep-ass crooners, or not. Is
any of that good? I made no 
judgment; all I knew is that 
that Guthrie fellow, the very 
first night I arrived there, didn't
wince a minute at helping me get 
that crippled VW going again,
even not know really what it 
was. But it had a motor, and he 
did motors, engines, and the rest.
Why anyone would wish to drive
one of these things, he couldn't 
answer. But then again, he didn't
question. 'Mankind's enduring 
belief that someone in the past 
could foresee the future  -  that, 
in Sumerian parlance, someone
has know Destiny and could
determine Fate  -  was founded
upon the written word. Revealed,
or secret information had to be
recorded, had to be WRITTEN 
down  -  a covenant, a treaty,
a prophecy  -  what value to
the present or to those who 
will inhabit the future unless 
the words be written down?'
I must ask, do you get it now?
What was a Destiny, and 
what was a Fate?
And so I write.
Warren's barn fire was talked
about for a long time. His young 
kid, Danny, had evidently, by a
mistaken confluence of events,
burned the barn down. All of it.
Which, by some twist of fate, had
me arrive there at the end of its
group rebuilding (see a few 
chapters back) and help take 
part in this act. It  was a way in,
for me, painlessly, as in earning
my own stripes, my own place,
by assisting, by hammering, and
by peeing with the guys at 
the back of the shed. Fate? 
Destiny? It was  all that
simple, and it was all that 
complex. Lloyd Perry, and 
his outsiders  -  a grumbling
guy in a house full of misfits 
and deranged characters, 
meshed with no one, except 
his kind. Those guys hung 
around like death. But not a
one of them was around 
for this barn-building 
episode. I wondered later,
why wasn't it his barn that
had burned, and left me alone?
I wouldn't have had to do a 
thing, and would have met 
no one. Loyd's place was
no longer farmed  -  it was
just a big, old, dark shambles 
of a place on a curve along the
road to Bentley Creek. Right
across from them, and down
the hill a bit, lived Edie  -  a
sweet old lady of about 60, 
then, who lived alone and
raised sheep. Loyd's crazy
barn lorded over her hollow.
His barn was  -  believe this  -
covered over with carcasses.
Geese, pheasant, deer, fox,
and the rest. Whatever these 
boys killed  -  and they seemed 
always to be killing something,
shooting, trapping, they just
nailed whatever it was, spread-
eagle, with big spikes onto their
barn's outside walls. It was bizarre,
always  -  and right now as I close
my eyes I can still see it perfectly.
I daresay if his barn burned not a
soul would have showed up for
 anything, let alone a rebuild.
And it was, certainly, an unfair
match for Edie  -  who must have
lived in a form of terror within a
stone's throw of these guys.

No comments: