Tuesday, July 19, 2016


All those Revolutionary War
skirmishes and things, the Battle
of Princeton and the rest, parts
of them all took place right there,
at the middle of the campus.
It's called Cannon Green now
- just a lawn with some ceremonial
cannon buried in the ground. It
was also a place of fallen soldiers,
'Continental Army' soldiers  -  you
have to remember that all was
from before actually there was a
'country'. These guys were fighting
for an idea, and nothing more. I
always thought I'd love to see any
five of these squeamish intellectual
dandies prancing along this campus
have to face that. They'd run like
there was fire in their ass. That was
all, this 'Cannon Green' stuff, behind
Nassau Hall, which was the site of
the Continental Congress meetings
working out the idea of a Republic
and the rest. The dead soldiers,
probably on both sides, were dead,
and they were buried were they fell.
Right there. The University itself
now makes very little of this idea,
hardly touched on it  - there are
tours and notes, yes, about the
sainted Nassau Hall and all those
George Washington and James
Madison types who tried working
it all out here, and failed, and then
tried again a few years later, at
Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia,
(that's all there still too)  -  Princeton
University gets all blowsy about
showing the 'sacred' tables and
desks, swords and portraits and
 all that. It's all really played up
like high, holy day stuff. That's
all OK as it goes, but it always
seemed like cheating to me. They
conveniently make no mentions of,
first, the Indian trails and lands and
waters here that were taken over, and
then the dead and maimed beneath
their soils, in a noble cause today's
present-day people have little use for.
Namely  -  Freedom. The real kind;
not the candy-assed 'Freedom' that's
preached in universities and all their
seminars and lecture halls. That's
more bullshit than even God can
handle. They preach State and
National politics, order, regimentation,
correctness, fear, programmed
readings of instructions and issues.
More like chains than Freedom.
But they don't know it. Their
intellectual capital is coin,
commerce, wealth and riches.
Like the ostensible, but quite
laughable 'Marxists' across the
street running their
My dog  -  and I have a strong,
brave, mighty, dog  -  will NOT
under any circumstances, take
herself across Cannon Green.
And I have tried, and I have
leash control, and she walks
always at my side, off-leash
or not. And I have witnesses
to this. Perhaps there are
psychic echoes, perhaps there
are depths thereon that I can
know nothing of. She will
NOT cross Cannon Green;
withdraws, shrinks, slinks
along, and hedges into
retreat. Whatever it is,
it is ever-present.
So, it leads me to a
million memories. I walk
backwards through it all.
In the early mornings, warm
weather, and nice days, I'd
sometimes sit, having gotten
a coffee, on the iron chairs
with tables, overlooking
Prospect Gardens  -  that's
the big floral spread behind
the Woodrow Wilson House
I mentioned. Awaiting sunrise,
or just watching morning turn
about. I'd have my notebook.
to write in, and something
else to read if I sought to.
The old landscape was
stretched out before me.
The history I knew of these
lands I'd read had told about
the old farms and land donations
and such which had gone into
the almost constant expansion
university and its lands. The
process of historicizing it all
left a lot out, but it was good
enough. Here I was, a nothing,
completely, sharing in and
partaking of  - for free  -  a level
of riches and rank of landed
royals of the past. Whatever
I knew of what had gone on
before, here, I realized only
scratched the surface. The
past is always with us, and
we walk upon the lanes and
paths of those who came
before us. I always kept that
in mind.
At the bookstore, another story
entire. It was a two-tiered affair.
On one level, downstairs, the
thousand coursebbooks needed
for each semester of the school.
Lists and lists, of each course
and program, professor's names,
titles, the whole thing. 50 kids
at a time would come barreling 
in to get their books, once the
semester book-buy days opened
up. There had been some weird
deal made where the cost of the 
books became university-subsidized
and part of tuition. All these pretty
crazily and surprisingly air-headed
kids would get in line, grumbling
about this or that like they were 
paupers who had to buy their salt
and pepper. Girls in the constant
yoga-type clothing and dumbo
sports outfits; guys looking like
they either just came in off Huck
Finn's raft or some royal knight's
horse brigade. They'd chatter and
stand about. One year, surprisingly,
someone tallied the loss to theft,
and it was apparently quite high,
(Privilege!), so the next two times
they hired what were called 'guards',
to police the scene and stand around.
A bevy of losers now introduced
into the mix. These guards were
atrocious, and it didn't work out.
No one ever said any more about 
it. Once everything, including 
loss, was billable to the 
university, it no longer
mattered. (It had become 
part of the newly-negotiated 
deal for lowering the cost 
of books to the students, 
who'd been grumbling). 
The university would just
pay us the cost of the books 
as if we'd sold them at the
full normal cost, so for the
ostensible 'Marxists' running 
the place, it was somehow a
twisted form of capitalism, 
in their favor. None of it ever
came my way  -  by today's
activist-liberal standards a real
joke. Eight years, on my part,
at the very same wage. And I
mean, the very same wage.
That's NY and Columbia
University dilettante justice for
you (that's from where they 
all came, including Cornel 
West, who was their big buddy).
It seems there's always an unspoken
alliance going on beneath what
we see  -  between favored forces
who simply take their stances for
the sake of charting territory for
their own benefit. This was all 
simple and mercantile -  nothing
more. To have to listen to all their
high-mind cant about it used to
make me puke. Enlightened
employee relations. Fairness.
Holding to standards and promise.
It was all crap. They'd get these 
lefty pinko dudes in, sending 
high-message missives and
scheduled book-sends to prisoners 
and persons doing life. I had lists
of Trenton State Prison and
Philadelphia prisons, and other 
places, to which books would 
be sent, 8 or 10 at a time, by 
the donation boxes of those 
screwed-up Princetonians feeling
bad for some mental aberrant 
in prison. They'd actually 'select'
books for them to be reading  -  
usually some crapped-out elevated
stuff they couldn't rightly get through
anyway. I don't mind any of that,
but always felt at least they should
let up on the religious fervor of
saving souls with which they
pushed this along  -  as if no one
else had ever done such a thing
or as if no one else ever harbored
feelings of generosity, good-will
and hopes for a better future, for
anyone. Only if they did it was it
done right. One time, one of
those notorious prison guys, 
Abul-Jamal or something, in 
Philadelphia, doing time for
killing a cop, claiming total 
innocence or a frame-up, was
live on the phone, as a store
event, with (yep, you guessed it)
Cornell West and some others, who
endlessly pontificated (trying as
well to sell some West books 
on the tables  -  all that 'injustice'
crap) about how twisted the
justice system was to be entrapping
him as it was and what a fine and
noble individual he was, for reading
all those books they send him, and 
for learning so very much during 
his incarceration. Well, at least
they didn't promise him he'd be
out next month. What crap.
Another dead field my dog 
would never walk through.

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