Tuesday, June 28, 2016


You can stretch things until
they break, or, if you're really
fortunate, they just keep on
stretching. Or maybe the trick
is to just know the breaking
point and only go that far.
Some sort of engrained talent,
maybe. But, no matter, because
it only works in limited formats;
you can't kill five people and
then figure that a sixth would
just be too much.
In Avenel, back when I was
just busy being a kid, there, to
me, existed none of the finalities
or closed doors that arose later
in life. Partially, that was just
because of youth  -  raw and
unblemished, wide open, trying
out all sorts of different scenarios.
I can remember, once, deciding
I wanted to be an airplane pilot,
but only based on the experience
of riding my bicycle almost
endlessly over the sidewalks,
and the cracks and rises and
dips and cracks in that sidewalk,
all up and down the street, on
alternating sides, and pretending,
or almost actually 'experiencing',
that sidewalk terrain below me,
as I looked down riding it, as if
it were the land and terrain of the
world below me from the window
of the plane I was piloting. Every
dip and crack and gouge meant
some differing geographic point
and blemish to navigate. It was
pretty glorious, and I'd get done
feeling as if I'd just traversed the
entire USA. What a feeling! I
wonder how many other kids
were influenced in that manner
by their J. C. Higgins or Huffy
or Schwinn bicycles? I ran
through the years of my
budding youth in a lot of
that same fashion  -  the quite
grandiose adventures of saving
an entire town single-handedly,
by fighting it off from strong-armed
evildoers and malingerers by
taking on the sole and heroic
challenge of besting their 'violence'
with my own courage and return
violence. Beating the crap out
of the gunslingers, in front of
the entire 5th grade no less!
Undertaking some grand and
glorious quest, in full view of
a hundred others, and succeeding,
to the cheers and accolades of
all others. How all very weird?
Do all kids go through this?
Just boys? Just psychotic boys?
Simply nut-maniacs? Or, on
the other hand, is that how
Mt. Everest and the South and
North Poles were conquered
and attained? Which is which,
and what really is 'heroics'
anyway? Can it not be done
alone and in solitary, a solo
self-quest of bettering demons?
I certainly felt it could, and all
the parts of this new environment
were to where it brought me.
To me, it all was the home of
that rebellious street-music, the
psyche and the embodiment of
turmoil and quest. All the deep
writing and thoughtful reflection
that had gone into erecting the
vast, intellectual world of 'self'.
I'd here and there talk to people,
a couple of guys on Bleecker
Street I'd see  -  they were
getting by cutting leathers
and making sandals in their
little workshop and storefront
right there on Bleecker, and
though you'd never know it
were all hip and savvy with
the stuff of business and profit
and loss  -  all that annoying
stuff I could never get right
with. He'd tell me, the one
guy  -  a big Italian-faced
born and bred local  -  not
to worry about that stuff if
it wasn't me. 'A dollar's a
dollar,' he'd say, 'and if you
can't get it one way you can
get it another.' I never knew
what that meant, but just let
it in  -  words of comfort? Or
just advice? Or maybe nothing
at all. I could never tell. I knew
within that those words were
not really advice for anything,
more like a translatable
small-talk for 'what else is
new.' So I never let it bother
me. Greenwich Village used
to have, also, these outdoor
art-exhibits, like roving
collections of not-quite
'Sunday' painters but real
artists, except they painted
to sell  -  mostly schlocky
stuff, junk, what I used to
call 'tree on a bridge' art.
Nice, comfy wall scenes
of country stuff, horse's heads,
boats and harbor, vague and
colorful harmless abstractions.
I meant, by 'tree on a bridge'
art, of course, the complete
opposite of any art I've ever
approached, or done. It's
art without concept, just a
representation of the world
around us for means of
'reporting' it back and happy,
which it never is. Which is
why I always considered it 
dishonest, and which is why 
I was at least glad it was 
relegated to sidewalk sales
by hobbyists. However, these
people, like those sandal guys,
felt at least that they were
really in business  -  their 
little cash-boxes handy, 
accounting sheets, replacement 
paintings for whatever they'd
maybe sell off their little
wall-stands and displays.
The guys wore berets, and
they all tried throwing off some
blase Parisian 'we're so 50's cool'
art vibe - the ladies with colorful
scarves and hats and glasses,
smoking from cigarette holders,
men in tight Euro pants, 
everything just so. It was, 
really, all fairly ridiculous and
so very magazine-oriented it 
was never any wonder that 
things like Look Magazine 
and Life Magazine would do 
photo spreads  -  'weird art 
confabs, crazy beatnik girls 
and women, loose and free,
who didn't even shave under
their arms!' That was easy, but
when it got difficult was when
all this did get reported back to
hinterlands, through such publicity
as this, and those people believed
it all  -  lock, stock, and barrel. (I
wonder, is that a gun reference 
that we soon shall be considering 
indecorous?). And then, believing
it, those very same people began
streaming to New York City to
'BE' that, to become that weird
imagining they envisioned. Wow!
What a world is that, and where
does 'authenticity' start or stop?
I never really knew, but I was always
on stage for the lookout towards
'authenticity'. That was always
important to me, from the heart 
and made with love. Even then, like 
today, that was all that ever counted.

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