Sunday, June 5, 2016


I had known lots of little things,
before landing in New York City.
I had the bits of mythology, the
readings in the Gods and Divines,
histories of wars and prophecies.
All the sorts of crazy stuff which
I'd put everywhere in my head.
But nothing yet of the 'Big' ideas.
As a computer 'defragments' itself
pulling all the bits and pieces of
far-flung information together so
there's not so much the need for
scanning all over the place to get
the info's  -  which only slows things
down  -  so too was I. My exposure
time in NYC was of 'Unified Field
Theory, as it were  -  using a current
physics term. It helped with the
referential-efficiency needed for a
smoother working of 'me'. To Hell
with college and school, where the
nitwits go so as to have all of that
process 'Stopped!' so as not to any
longer interfere with career and
fortune. Too bad; a total dead-man's
waste of time, and rah-rah for the
football home team too. I'd see them,
my 'peers'  -  shuffling along in their
new experiences of city living with
textbook and umbrella, not knowing
a second of the real source of the
'Time' they were living in, a time
not even made up of seconds,
more like nano's. No one ever tells
you that so much of what flows
through you is subjective. They
instead try to school you in the
fixed and supposedly perfect
precepts of 'objectivity'  -  so that
things stop for you instead of
continuing their expansion; for
unless they 'stop', you can't take
advantage of them to lie, cheat,
steal and amass dead things from.
I kind of got to New York in 
a silence. I kept it that way 
and just let the place talk to 
me, or talk back to my spirit 
anyway. Can you have any 
inkling of what it was like, 
1967 version, for a dumb, 
rube, skinny, outlander with 
maybe only balls and ignorance 
on his side, to just show up like 
that unannounced and proclaim
to the largest city in the world 
that he was there to stay and 
ready for taking over? Based 
on media info and endless
readings of the Village Voice, 
I knew enough to head for 
St. Marks Place to begin my 
trek. At the very end of St.
Marks is Tompkins Square, at
which - as I've explained  -  I 
ended up, first night and many 
more. All those Spanish dudes 
playing their wild, bandshell 
music. Long, white-bright
hot afternoons. Observing 
and just trying to make sense.
I slept in the park, with 
various others who came 
and went (Summer '67 was
a sort of hippie/runaway
high-tide). I used their
facilities, and managed to
eke out some subsistence. 
The Peace Eye Bookstore
was right nearby. Ed Sanders
and Allen Ginsberg. Yes, 
those guys. Gregory Corso.
Peter Orlovsky. An entire
raft of deep, intellectual 
crazies who just happened 
to be making history too.
It was all fun, and good.
The big thing that Summer, 
I guess, was peasant tops on
girls with no bras. It was a
hippie thing, and it was OK 
with me. For guys, it was an
option  -  like maybe jeans 
that had been worn for 90 days
straight, or peasant tops and beads,
not so different from the girls. 
It was pretty weird. There was 
always something very androgynous 
anyway about boy hippies. I think,
that now, much later, today these
types just come out as gay guys
and no one really cares anymore.
Back then, I guess the crossover
was different, and any factors
of gayness had to be hid or
subsumed into other things :
fine tastes, music or art. 
Like Donovan Leitch or like
Bob Dylan. Even funnier was 
the current of homo-eroticism I 
could detect in the hard-ass 
Biker crowd. Leathers, chains, 
camaraderie, closeness, hugs
and brotherhood stuff. It was 
but a few years later, as it turned 
out, that Robert Mapplethorpe 
started coming out with all his 
photo stuff, nearly instantly 
proving my case. Look at 
any Danny Lyons photos
of the era, 'Bikers'.
At the corner of Avenue A and
10th, in the 1980's, there was a
guy who ran a bicycle-repair 
thing, right out there on the 
curb across from the park. I
was long gone by then but 
whenever I passed I was 
intrigued. There was a period
of time through the 1980's,
after all the dismal dereliction
and death of the 1970's was 
over and gone, when art 
galleries and a certain louche 
class of hipness moved in to
the area. It was a brief, three-year
or so mini-renaissance, and
then it too was over, Anyway,
this guy held business-court
outside, without any overhead 
at all. People would bring him 
their bicycles  -  and he usually 
had probably five or six to 
work on  -  for various repairs, 
bearing changes, chains, 
lubrications, new pedals, 
any and all of that stuff, 
and come whenever later 
or a day or two, pay and 
pick up. The guy worked
up on milk-crates, as seats 
and as bicycle stands  -  he 
had his entire array of tools 
and pumps and things and
it was all kept right there, 
outside. Radio blaring. 90
degree heat, or not. I never
knew how he did his 'cash' 
business  -  for tax purposes
or even to cover costs. No 
idea. I guess he'd buy 
whatever he needed, parts
and all, for one price, and 
mark it up a bit, and charge
the 'customer' that price,
plus labor. Just like a
businessman. He must have
paid someone something to
keep the spot; no one ever
bothered him. I'd love to find
and meet that guy today  - 
not knowing whatever 
happened to him. In my
time there, '67 era, he was
probably a baby. That spot
then was the spot of that
Polish guy's strange little
diner I've written of, and the
offices and 'distribution' center
for the East Village Other (EVO)
which came to be and was given
out as a sort of 'hippie' alternative
newspaper all over the area. It
was meant as a challenge back to
the 'Village Voice', which by 
then had become a bit staid and 
stodgy. By comparison, EVO
was a fiery comic strip. Incendiary
information, reviews, photos and
opinions. Guys in a band called
'Cat Mother and the All Night
Newsboys' had a nice, white van,
for their gigs, equipment and all,
and I'd ride with them, through
the night, on distribution nights
sometimes, a few bucks here and 
there, flinging string-bundles of 
the new issue out the door, to 
newsstands and delis and 
all-night places all over the 
city. It was fun and, by-Jesus,
the things I'd see.

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