Saturday, July 9, 2016


Someone once said I was haunted.
 It was a strange phrase or idea to
hear about one's own self, to be
sure, but it instantly made some
sense to me too. I guess there
are times like that when things
have an instant clarity, a value
that you recognize right off. We
have only 'words' by which to
describe concepts, So I guess
the word 'haunted' works. And
what's it all mean anyway?
The idea of 'haunted' captures
pretty well the half-leavings
and ghost images which
inhabited me. And still do.
Leftovers, stuff that bugged me.
Like, as you grow, ideas grow in
and then out of you, and just go
away, until some old cornflakes
box or the remnant of an old toy
or even a Twilight Zone rerun,
or something you may catch,
viewing along the way, rings a
bell and turns on once more a
whole waterfall of feelings.
As I got to my new places
here, though I may have not
had any 'luggage' with me
(face it, funny, I moved with
nothing. I see kids today in a
move, college or whatever,
having two vanloads of things
at the curb while they unload.
Travel light, my friend, travel
light; this whole set-up here
is temporary), I was carrying
tons of my own 'secret' baggage,
the sort of things that travel
weightlessly, within, you. God
is good like that : left us lots of
deep pockets for holding things.
One thing that I never shook, back
from the seminary days  -  we used
to have to sing it, some little spiritual
ditty I never got to the bottom of:
'God is Love, and he who believes
in Love, believes in God, and God
in him.' Now, I'm not going to go
all heavy here and begin editorializing
all that, but someone ought to tell
me, or have told me, what it was
supposed to mean. You can't just
throw that stuff out there, say, to
12 year old boys, without some
form of accompanying, deep, and
thorough explanation. Otherwise
it just short-circuits the poor kid's
mind. You may as well just tell
someone, using God as the cover,
that 'you only see what you want
to see,' and have them start singing
that. In that God is Love thing there's
just too much of everything to take
in. God, only once I believe in Him,
begins believing in me? It's that kind
of reciprocity, after this entire thing
anyway was supposedly His idea, all
that creation and power-God stuff?
What sort of paralell life is this to be?
I am created, apparently, we were told,
for benevolent purposes; but by a God
who will not move a chess piece
unless I first give back? Somehow
demanding 110% without saying a
word first about everything? Or if a
word is spoken, it's some furious,
crazy and dense stuff, or else it's
some weak and mild rollover bait?
I have to tell you, it's no wonder I
walked the streets in circles, with
all this resounding in my mind. None
of it worked, just didn't. Whatever
God-line I had for communication
was an entirely different line  -
I saw things not as the way all
these 'people' presented it to me  -
lost, meek, peaceable kingdom,
bless the babies and all the animals
too, stuff. No, the ground-wire within
me enabled a different sort of spark
completely, and it was wild and
crazy, and anyone in the way really
should have been forewarned and
moved out of the way if they didn't
like the steamroller coming at them.
I was the new inventor, the manic
Tom Edison of words, feelings,
and concepts.
Have you ever gotten the feeling
that everything's written in code?
Hard to understand, difficult to
grasp? Well, you're probably right,
and most people get to live their
lives not ever really 'cracking'
that code. And that all made
another good thing about New
York come forth for me : I was
invisible. I basically wore a cloak
of invisibility by which I didn't
have to bother with what people
saw or thought of me. It freed me
way up to set about cracking
those codes that perplexed me,
in my own ways and on my own
timescale. Wasn't that what all
that 'education' was supposed to
have been about? After all,
'twenty' years of schooling
and they put you on the day
shift', well that sure doesn't
add up to much. Doesn't now
either. In both ends, here, both
the cases of my own life, it had
to be liberation or nothing.
From this end, now, after 45 some
work years of real drudgery, doing
this and doing that, it seems like
I've again reached that same stage.
A personal 'liberation' from most
things. I can just sit back, and
remember things, using my own
clock, and punching, as it were,
my own card. Even that's a too-old
reference; people don't actually
'punch' cards anymore, they time
in and time out now by finger
recognition or some other
digital ID crap.
Along most all of these streets,
along this lower heart of the city,
there was usually a hardware store  -
along the way. Here and there.
These were old-line, real-stuff
hardware stores. Not like today's
version. These stores serviced
the thousands of little people who
inhabited streets filled with apartments:
needing doorknobs, sash weights,
screws, nails, hooks, screwdrivers,
hammers, lights and lamps. There
was always the old-line owner, an
'Ed Herschberger' type, standing
around behind nail-scales or
something. Chomping on a cigar,
staring down the little paper bags
used for screw and nuts and bolts.
I loved these places, their aromas
and metallic smells and feels. One
over the end of 14th street I'd go to;
I'd say to the guy, Sol, 'Hey Sol,
I got just the thing for you, a new
motto to hang over your door  -
'Sol's 14th Street Hardware : a
nut for every thing, and a thing
for every nut.' He never bit. Just
stood there. 'So, vat should you
vant today? A hammer I can
beat you with? Here, here, but
buy it first, only den I beat you
with.' Fun and games, the old
New York way. Now, you go in
a vast hardware palace, slick and
shiny, more interested in selling
you soaps and powders than any
of the nails, screws, nuts, and
bolts sprayed out all over Sol's
walls. 'Only then I beat you with.'
Ah, them good old days.

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