Monday, July 4, 2016


The fact of not having dreams
troubled me, actually, once I
fully realized it was happening. As
if someone to whom I had become 
used was always tapping me on 
the shoulder, or gently, ever 
so, prodding me along, was
now gone. All of my usual
experiences up until then had
welcomed and included the
dream nature, the input and
expansions afforded. And to
be frank, I had numerous dream
locations and situations to which
I'd always returned and which
most often became more real to
me than the supposed reality
I was living. That too was
gone, and now  -  to make it
more serious  -  only the glum
and the fierce new experiences
I was undertaking were carrying
my hold. That was tough. It
was a new exposure to another
form of 'nothingness'  -  for
without that psychological
component always being
underway and adding to my
constant experience, life was
quickly nil. I could still carry
on, yes, and eat and talk and
digest, but the multi-faceted
'proofreading', as I called it,
which nightly dreams and
reflections-by-dreams undertook
and consisted of, was gone. Days
began to stand alone and lose
some of their context. Breaking
continuity, I felt, was not good.
A man really never is as helpless
and abandoned (I don't think) as
he imagines, but that's what it
felt like : a sore abandonment.
I was without signal posts, and
the rest of all this was yet too
raw and overwhelming. Time
was becoming thin, where dreams
had always given it a thickness.
Dreams, as well, give a person a
lifetime's accumulated worth of
experience to draw from in that
very curious dream manner. Gone.
Anticipators of action, Ghost
reminders of a 'future' forming.
Gone. That was treacherous
stuff, and I felt more put out by
that than even about hunger or
discomfort. I had always had
that thread, and kept to it, for
writing and art as well as living.
Also gone. Consciousness, yes,
enjoys its physical manifestation,
but needs its dream manifestations
too. When they're gone, you become
subject to things : physical schemas
go off-kilter, the body stops reviewing
and correcting itself, even for health.
That's when sicknesses sets in, when
your body stops correcting its own
physical plant, ceasing to monitor
itself. We only see with a very
limited self-scope, while dreams
are multi-layered and can present
many alternate version of events
and possibilities. Compressed, as
they are, by us, upon awakening,
we remember them each only
confusedly as one, strange.
thing. Oddly compressed into
one, perhaps, predominant point
or series of 'occurrences' which
then confuse or perplex us, whether
momentarily or for an hour or two,
before receding even further back
into the pin-prick white dots of
off-flash consciousnesses that we
sometimes get, intermingled, with
the dailies of everyday life. All
those deja-vu's and 'Hey! Wait a
minute here!' moments. They all,
actually do take existence and
do exist, and we in them, but
we block ourselves out; almost
refusing, within the common
run of things, to admit to our
greater soul's ongoing
self-knowledge of all these
things. This all has to do with
death, and what goes on after
we die (we 'think' we die). (I
know, I know, you're saying,
'what's with this jerk, what's
he talking about?' Well, I'll
put it this way: Remember,
at the end of February, '58,
I was dead. This is all
revealed information, and
I awoke from my coma and
came back to haunt you all.
You think Halloween's such
a big deal? Why?)...
The most ancient pharmacy I'd
ever seen was down by 6th Street
along Second Avenue. Something
like that anyway. This was all
heavily Jewish immigrant area,
even in 1967. It was pretty
old-world wonderful; I mean
OLD world, like shtetl style.
This place was like a magician
shop in old Lodz or something.
If you asked for a god-damned
aspirin, for instance, they'd have
to put on their shawls and consult
first with Yajweh  - the same
big-guy whose name, for
some reason, they couldn't
utter, yet to whom they could ask
about aspirin. It was heady stuff.
and the answer was mostly 'no',
but they'd throw intense shades
of meaning into that 'no' to give
it layers and depth. 'German
company, Bayer, not good.
No. But Yahweh may just
look away for the moment
that we need to give these to
you, at three dollars please,
but never speak to Him that
we know of this.' I always
forgot if it was Yahweh,
Yajweh, or Yahjew. This
place had the very greatest,
(see the slipping in of
hair-splitting esoteric Torah
study-knowledge here),
'very-greatest of most-great'
signage, old displays, old dust,
chemical tubes and globes,
you'd ever see. Like 1933.
Period. I'd walk that street,
crooked, lambasted and
sideways too, though never
drunk or drugged (Rapaport's
crummy office in the rear of
a sweaty laundromat was there).
Nearby were old Yiddish theaters,
all sorts of Fanny Brice kinds of
shit, ancient vaudevillian junk,
lines along the sides of all the
old buildings, where people
always touched  -  I never knew
what any of that was about but
just figured it to be some twisted
and overly intense NY version
of  a wailing wall or something,
Solomon's Temple be damned.
Temple Mount? I use to say, back
then, the only Temple I'd maybe
mount was Shirley (she was 38
then, and I figured still doable).
I found, on the whole, the Jewish
people everywhere to be both sad
and funny. So many intense, little
gray areas and lyrical ways of
skipping over scriptural context
things. I want to say I enjoyed
all that, but sometimes it was
so perplexing, so archaic, so
tribal, so annoying with ritual
almost. As in, 'which world are
you in?' I could never understand,
ever  -  all those specialized
religious connotations to just
about everything, and yet they
were always, without fail, in
range of a cash register. Always
trying to make a penny here,
two pennies there, profiting
from something. I wanted to
say, 'where are you, really. What
world do you inhabit anyway?
Chosen, special, ancient and wise?
Selected by God? Really? What are
that God's feelings then of you all
always hanging around lucre, selling
and cutting jewels and diamonds,
twisting profit from the sap of a
stick, ruining his creation with
all those renowns  -  real estate,
buildings, developments. Wives
as be-laden with glitter and false
glamour and jewels as to be the
Devil's own. Foul, obnoxious
entertainments. Violence amidst
all your sadness, but violence for
money here. Tell me, what gives?
How does the bevy of lines cross
over, Mr. Gross? Metro, Goldwyn,
Meyer, indeed.'
Did you ever wonder about terror
and tragedy? The real dark side of
the old Americana we used to, as a
people, live with? Death at childbirth,
hundreds of tiny, small graves for infants.
Mothers who died, diseases that killed.
Wagon and farming accidents. The list
can go on. New York City, once, long, 
long ago, had its own lines of the tragic
and the deadly. Explosions, fires, and
the like. People getting trampled. 
There's an entire history of death  -
open flames, gas fires, heaters. I
always thought, to exemplify
perfectly the consciousness and
pervasive attitude of sad and tragic
with which people used to live, that
this summed it up all very well:
'Rock a bye, baby, in the tree top;
when the wind blows, the cradle
will rock. When the bough breaks,
the cradle will fall; and down will
come baby, cradle and all.' Imagine
people living with things like that.
Wow. Now, by contrast, if the cable
reception gets interrupted, people
are in a panic. And in NYC too.
The Jewish people, what I learned 
of them, by living among them, and 
their God (oh, excuse me, 'G-d'), were
tricksters. Cry as they might against 
being called duplicitous, shyster, 
schemers, etc., that's all they were. 
Up and down these streets and avenues,
outside of all the daily and usual scenes
of decrepit and sorry old people slouched
to death on new world benches while still
finishing out their old world ways, they 
populated this lower east side for real.
The Jewish people have this curious
cheating mechanism they use, as if both
G-d and anyone else were not, somehow,
looking or noticing. To begin with,
Eruv Tashilim has many ways of 
cheating by which to get around 
restrictions. Each tedious, overly 
studied, and ridiculous. Then there 
is the 'eruv'. The word itself means 
'mixture', and it is a stringed or wired 
area, (a 'ritual enclosure'), stretched
overhead above Jewish areas that are 
NOT specifically Jewish areas, just 
close enough to the neighborhood to 
hope that they 'remain convenient.'  
They get municipal permissions to 
string wires overhead which symbolically
extend their Jewish neighborhood,
supposedly integrating 'private' areas 
into one larger private domain  -
so they can do the things 'forbidden',
restricted on Sabbath and holidays.
Like carrying keys, tissues and 
medicines, even babies and strollers 
and canes. So, I have to ask you, how
crazy-ass stupid is that?
That's what it was like : incredible to me
that, anywhere, not just here, people
could be so stupid and insulated from
any dynamism of being : downtrodden,
burdened, broke. These are YOUR 
restrictions, don't you understand
you're making cheating sidesteps to
get around your own stinking rules?
You either believe this stuff or not,
but whatever you decide, own up to it,
and get the hell out of my sight-line.
Well, then, yeah, that was me on the
streets of lower east side, mixing it up.
Mixing it up, for real, for truth and GOD.

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