Friday, July 8, 2016


Remember that first little job
I got, at the ice cream and hamburger
place, next to the Fillmore East?
Working at late night duties with
that Mexican wife killer, and Andy
Bonomo. I used to think funny
stuff about it, when people called
it an ice cream stand. It wasn't
actually that at all, but, whatever.
People would stand there, yes, to
wait and to get ice cream. I always
loved things like that  - the words
and the names. Was that why it
got called an ice cream 'stand'?
I knew I loved words that said
just what they were. It was a cool
thing about language. Bus stop.
Car park. Ice cream stand. I
wondered why all things couldn't
be so straightforward, like at
peace with what they were.
It was an ideal. And then,
sometimes we'd be cooking,
or warming things, on a
'hot plate.' Was that the same
thing, or just more simply
'descriptive'? See, entire
programs could be made
over this stuff. Material was
everywhere. Eskimo Pie?
So, you know, you live a
life in whatever capacity you
want. It's just so much of it
all depends on you  -  wishes,
dreams, energies. Everything
starts with a mental construct,
an idea. Wrestle straight with
that idea, first, get it worked
out, and things will run
Over on the other end of
Tompkins, where the avenues
went from numbers to letters,
(thus 'alphabet city', as it all
later became to be known),
it got even darker, bleaker.
It was considered truly a
no-man's land, inhabited
by the destitute, angry,
and mostly Hispanic, local
populace with little patience
for the newer influx of hippies
and runaways. These people
were really poor, not pretend-
poor like most of the hippie
kids, and it really rattled them,
this influx. But, no matter;
the spread of hippiedom
extended itself right to them,
to the walk-ups anyway,
which were renting quickly
to newcomers. Basic-stock,
totally run-down, housing.
The hippies and such never
got to the east-side projects,
row after row of brick
apartment buildings, with
subsidized and family rents.
Those were for the entrenched
families, the folks who'd lived
lives there, not just visiting.
I never spent too much time
past Avenue A, it was just
too much the stupid hinterlands
and I was just not interested.
My interests were in other
directions, the Village, 23rd
street, 14th street, all west.
The few times I ventured in,
it was always troublesome  -
plus, that's where the dead
body or two in my steamer
trunk, and my steamer trunk,
ended up. Not much drawing
power there for me. My
biggest, most horrid mistake
ever, and it's already starting
to work me up again, (I've
never lived this down) is
when I 'gave' my cat, Blake,
a perfectly beautiful, black
cat, whom I'd raised at
home from the size of a
comma, and did eventually
bring into NYC with me,
away. I was a complete
idiot and it was a horrid
error, but these two girls
I knew who were living
at the corner of A and
10th volunteered to take
the cat from me, and keep
it, care for it, etc. Just another
one of my service errors. And
maybe they did. They were
nice girls, and we got along
fine  -  but I never saw my
cat again, not from their
fault, but from mine. I
just moved on and let it
all go. If there's like a bad
karma Hell or Limbo or
whatever all that is, for
people who were pet-idiots,
I'm sure to be doing time
there for a while. Now I
only wish that dogs and
cats can feel, because I
have so much remorse
for some of my really
dumb behavior. At present,
I take care of my dog like
she was gold bullion; but
there's a lot of crud behind
me too to atone for.
Those girls were a good
example of the whole
'location' thing. They
were, or one was anyway,
art students around the
Studio School with me.
I can't recall their thing,
actually, attractive, busy,
maybe even taken with
each other, I don't recall.
They weren't 'hippie' idiom
people, just fine, free girls
with a modern, American
energy, for art and whatever.
How they bravely ended up
at that corner, I never knew.
It was little scary, though
even only a long block off
from me, one down and one
over. I remember going there,
and even though it was actually
slightly nicer  -  in that New
York creepy way  -  than my
place was, it was still in an
entirely other section of
atmosphere and feel. Just
edgier, more dangerous.
They survived, and nothing
ever came bad out of it. But
'getting there' made it all the
more dark-feeling. Once inside,
the entry area seemed tighter,
more narrow, hemmed in. And
it was all so different in color.
The stairs twisted a little. It
all seemed higher. As I said,
I don't ever know what
happened to my cat, but I
only hope its life went well.
The human cost of such
pass-off neglect is deadly.
None of this, mind you, was 
any of that 'legendary' New 
York living like in the old 
books and movies  -   big 
spacious lobbies, family-friendly
doorman and delivery guys, a
friendly sidewalk out front, 
with a butcher and a baker 
nearby. That was all storybook, 
from my point of view. This 
end of things, in reality, except 
for the geographic location and 
all its entwined history, personages 
and mythology  -  insofar as 
went the creative and the 
intellectual arts ( in which
invisible locations I dwelt 
anyway),  otherwise could 
have been Elizabeth, New 
Jersey, for all the cultural 
crossover  -  ethnic churches 
and blessings and rites. It 
wouldn't have mattered, in 
that realm. BUT, for the 
stuff I was after, it could 
only be here. Let me step 
back one step here, to better
portray this whole 'ethnic'
thing that always seemed 
to linger. This little Andy
Warhol fellow : his real name,
in Pittsburgh, the family, was
Warhola. Heavy, ethnic, and
Pittsburgh Polish. Andy was
the sickly kid, kept at home, 
facial and complexion issues,
quiet, obdurate, and creative.
He laves home to be a 'fashion'
drawer, quickly gains a bit of
fame and reputation for drawing
'shoes', an designing displays
for one of the large stores around
(I forget).When he commences 
his 'art' career, and it all begins 
to take off for him, the first thing
he does, almost in secret but it 
was a funny joke among everyone 
who knew it all anyway, is bring
his mother in from Pittsburgh -
this archaic, short, stumpy, ultra-
traditional Polish lady, to be his
house-mom. He installs her in 
his expensive apartment locations,
and as they change and get better,
he keeps her on  -  the meals, the
cleaning, the groceries, the chores,
watching little Andrew's eating 
and sleeping, clothing and friends 

(I don't know what she did, or even
knew, about the ever-increasing
drugs and sex too, unless the Andy
crew specifically relegated all that
only to the Studios, and at 'The
Factory'  -  which is what he 
called his workplaces). No
matter, the point I was making
was how, even here, the extreme
cutting-edge enlightenment of the
supposed ground-breaking art and
social ethos, never really much
left the basics of ethnic-living 
and 'slow' life. In so many ways, 
New York City was a spiteful 
wonderland to someone like 
me, watching and taking it all
in; a harbinger of all futures
everywhere, whether for good,
or for the bad. I always remember
how many deaths all this took in,
how many people (above and 
beyond all those Vietnam soldier
deaths, which was all the same war
anyway), and how often people
died. When you came right down
to it, however, just like Avenel,
or just like Poughkeepsie, it
would all need explaining to, 
and by, some squat, little 
know-nothing ethnically
pure, Polish, in this 
case, mother. Just
like home.

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