You know how when something
gives, everything starts flowing
freely. It's also a funny phrase,
to have someone ask, 'what gives?'
But, that's another point. When
something gives, it's a breakaway
moment. As a kid, watching that
little mud-pack damn you've
erected, tiny as all get out but
it stops the little water flow
and the leafs and all that have
backed up, once it does give
way, they all go flying which
way and the water takes its
own paths, just running. That's
more like what I'm meaning.
There was a funky, weird song
once, by some crazy group
called the 'Funkadelics' or
something, and it was called
'Free Your Mind and Your
Ass Will Follow.' That was it,
it just went on, with all that
black-group funky voice stuff
behind it. My work-friend,
Rick Hoey, and I would play
it on CD just to have a laugh.
It was funny stuff - late 70's
black music pick-up reaction
to all the hippie looseness of
the years before. You really
understood instantly what they
were trying to say. Back then,
I learned that black people
really didn't make good hippies.
They made good hipsters, and
jazz dudes, yes, but leave the
hippie stuff to the white people.
Like when Marvin Gaye did a
song called 'What's Goin' On';
it just didn't work. It was so
faux everything - wasn't any
longer a black song, except in
its stupidity - his own stupidity
I mean - and it surely was NOT
a white people song - trying to
out-Beatle the Beatles or something
in the extended, mantra-like way
they had. But then, I looked
around me and - why would any
sane black person fit that mold?
Or want to? White hippieness had
ownership of history : History is
written by the victors. These kids
were mostly all white privilege,
eked out of schools and fine
homes only because their system
was breaking down and dying
from the rot within. But, still,
it was really 'their' culture, and
they owned the narrative at that
point. Black people certainly
didn't. Black people, except for
the really few privileged black,
never had any of that anyway,
never shared that level. It was
always against them. They had
no reason now, all of a sudden,
to get comfortable and pretend
it was all easy, turn on, drop out,
act white-hip. No need and no
reason. Better a Black Panther
stab to the heart. I don't know
what those asshole music guys
were ever thinking about.
But, anyway, that's all politics
and in 1967 politics didn't mix
too well with anything. By
1969, it was so crazy that like
the biggest radio hit was 'but
if you go carrying pictures of
Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna'
make it with anyone anyhow.'
Revolution, #9, or something.
Such gravitas. For myself, I
just let it all go. There were
always to be those dweeby
sorts who go on about every
little incidental motive in politics,
and than grandly carry it out to
global geo-politics, like they
really know and are involved.
In Vietnam, like movies today,
the soundtrack was all rock 'n' roll;
Napalm runs and field landings
to the sound of loud music,
people screaming, and the facts
and figures of all that spiritual
malaise and killing and maiming
just itself became like a Hollywood
sideshow. Guys went mad. Came
home totally cracked in the head,
and then when they got no applause
for coming back home, they got
even worse. Sickbeds and psycho
wards, everywhere. it was a
shambles, a real wreck and ruin.
By the mid 70's, when people
who maybe were still there
waiting out the end, I felt really
bad for the bunch of them. But
they did it to themselves, I
always though. It was like the
AIDS epidemic years later,
but in military terms.
There was a recruiting shack
in NYC, believe it, right smack
in the middle of Times Square.
All sorts of half naked whores
and ringers roaming around, and
this little shed of stupid-ass Army
guys signing people up, or trying
to. One time, about 1980, the place
got bombed by some guy whizzing
by on a bicycle. I kind of really
did sympathize with the guy; I
mean who the hell had the idea,
the really crackpot idea, for a
military sign-up and recruiting
station like that in the middle
of 42nd street? What kind of
country, really, had we become
when we'd stand for that? Let's
just say it sent the wrong message.
One time, I was way uptown,
along Central Park West, I guess
in the upper 60's, maybe 72nd
street. The Dakota was nearby -
back then it as only famous for
being the site of Rosemary's Baby
being filmed there. Now it's of
course triple-famed for John
Lennon and Yoko Ono, for his
death right outside there, and,
across the street, in the park, for
'Stawberry Fields', that little
memorial patch they set up
years ago. Some crazy mosaic
on the ground, people throw
flowers, leave notes, and guys
play endless music. No matter.
I was sitting there on one of
those benches they have along
the stone wall all along the park.
Right across the street, on that
side, is all really expensive
apartment housing, Then it was,
now it's all conversions to condo
units and probably five times
more expensive. like 5 million
bucks, starter. Royalty crap all
lives there now, Sting, famous
singers and models, big deal
thinkers and entertainment
types. Securities millionaires,
loudmouth TV types, all that
crud. Anyway, this really nice
girl comes over and sits next
to me and just starts talking.
Like I was her brother or
best buddy or something.
I mean all, the whole
life-story bit, every bit as
lovely and curious as she was.
I'm sitting there, trying to think
my best thoughts : what was
she after? What's going on?
Where will this end? Am I
going somewhere with her?
- you know. The whole range
of boy thoughts around a
pretty girl. Then she turned
it on me, wanted to know
all about me, asked a million
questions, cut right into me
with two bright, beautiful
eyes, all in earnest, saturating
me with interest and curiosity.
She was big time, not a hippie
girl or anything like that - real
upbringing and wise attitude
and stuff. Here, I'll just cut
to the chase : as it turned out,
her parents, her father anyway,
was a cruel taskmaster to her,
her mother was often just not
around. This girl was sixteen.
She lived a wealthy and quite
constrained existence. All she
really wanted to do was run off
and 'be' a hippie. Live the 'life'
she apparently thought I was
living. Her parents had clamped
down, were keeping her on a
really tight leash, with even her
doorman and cleaning people
being put on the guard of her,
told to be watching her comings
and goings, etc. Her father was
some big-deal Wall Street guy.
Neither parent was home right
now; she'd seen me, and hustled
down just to see what I'd be like,
what we could talk about. She
swore total fealty to me, wished
for hearts to meld and for only good
things to come from this meeting.
That was it. And then, the
strangest thing of all, she told
me not to move, stay right there,
and wait for her to come back.
Fifteen minutes, she said, at most.
I said OK, but with absolutely
no idea what was going on.
Soon enough, she returned.
With two bags of food -
sandwiches, candies, fruit,
some juice and soda stuff
to drink. She said the bags
were mine - her parents
were , no one was home,
she took the food from their
refrigerator and made it all
herself. She pushed it all at
me, two bags, and said, 'here,
for you, please take this,
and come back again.'
And then, she turned, on
heel, like a young girl
does, and went quickly
back into her building.
And I've never seen