Tuesday, August 2, 2016


I never measured my life
out in much of anything  -
lost spoons, tea spoons,
pennies or dollars. It
always amazed me how,
on the streets, you really
could get away with living
on very little. If you were
willing to forgo. Once you
get, of course, back out to
real-life places, or lifestyle,
that no longer happens, but
that's part of the deal, and,
hopefully, you're aware of
that before you get to that
point : bills, paychecks,
taxes, things, places; all
those recurring needs of
just being. Part of the lore
of old NY was always
the eccentrics and cranks
who got by and even made
names and reputations, by
that. The happenstance of
accident. Like 'Up In the
Old Hotel' written by
Joseph Mitchell, which
told the whole story of
Joe Gould, in 'Joe Gould's
Secret.' Mythical, farcical
-  but real-life  -  stuff. It
was pretty amazing. One
of those inveterate New
York City guys, this Joe
Gould, who always
claimed to be writing,
in his notebook, some
massive History of the
World, drinking around
and talking big, like
homeless people too
sometimes do, and who,
in reality, had really
nothing at all, just a few
pages and those were
just written over and
over anyway. Everyone
had fallen for his story,
gave him things, believed
him, watched out for him,
and it all turned out to be
drinker's fantasy malarkey
anyway. Joseph Mitchell,
in writing of all this, kind of
pulled the plug on that guy.
It was always like that  -  as
if two parallel worlds were
underway together, and I
was somehow stuck in
neither one of them, just
somehow floating between
the two. Which is the
complete opposite of
what I myself thought I
was doing. The fortune-
teller lady on 12th street,
she said it was all typical
Libra stuff  - a little here, a
little there, trying to keep
both, balance the two, and
commit to neither. I told
her she was bunko and
didn't know what she
was talking about, and
then, besides, I told her
I'd made up by date of
birth anyway and what'd
she think of that? And
she said, 'No, you didn't.
You can't lie because the
Spirit doesn't allow for lies
even if you do; You have
every earmark of what you
say you are and of the
date of birth you gave
to me. So stop it.' Yeah,
and she was right. Now,
right around there, on 12th
Street, is a very exclusive
antiques district, and
there used to be, even
into the 1990's, a place
called '12th Street Books'.
It was a nice, down a
few stairs, bookshop, and
to my knowledge was
probably the very last,
real, old-style NY
bookshop I went in.
Homemade wooden
shelves, obviously built
in place and constructed
as needed. Here and
there piles of things,
unsorted. A nice jazz-tray
of record albums, cheap,
and some show-tunes and
stuff like that. Estate books,
used and old volumes,
literature and essays.
Long ago gone, and now
it's some fancy something
else or other. Across the
street from it, and still
there, is one of those little
arthouse movie theaters.
Actually now, to show how
elite they are, they're all
called film houses, not
movie theaters. Indie
productions, maybe three
or four screens, not
mass-release stuff, just
the sorts of films NYU
kids like to take dates or
whatever, to impress
enough to have breakfast
with. Over next to that
is some bizarre, fancy-ass
gym/health club thing that
runs you about 600 bucks
a minute just to stand therein 
your see-through Lululamon
tights and get gawked at
while slimming up, or
down, whichever it is,
or toning down, or up,
whichever that is. Seems
for to me that your just
shelling 'out' for a life
you're gonna' lead
either way.
Like any moonshiner of
old, we run, we hide out,
we do things, escape, and
run off again. I used to run
into all those words  -  wise,
sagacious, and all that  -
and wonder about them.
Who was wise? What was
'sagacious'? Did any of it
matter? I always managed
to remember what that gypsy
lady had said  -  'the spirit
doesn't allow for lies.' That
was killer, and it shut me
right down. And then, like
that knife to the heart, she
adds, 'even if you do.' My
God, I always thought
that to be life-changing.
I was hopeless, and helpless
too. Even if she did have a
daughter named Angeline,
a gypsy conundrum in all
the same ways as her mother.
However much of any of that
may be, or have been, bogus  -
the crystal ball on the table,
the Tarot Cards, the curtain
behind it all, the big Mama
in her flowing gypsy dress,
the hoop earrings  -  it didn't
matter. The essence of it 
was a belief in the 
Spiritualism of that moment. 
Which was scary. Every
moment changes, one
from the next, moment to
moment, a zillion things 
have happened, and each 
one of them instantaneously 
becomes a part of our total 
present.  You can't stop it
and it can't be stopped. 'The 
Spirit doesn't allow for that', 
as it were.The world is 
change; that's all it is,
constant, and always
going. Religions try to
explain the world as if it
were a fixed constant.
That can be argued all 
day. No such thing.  
All that's ever sought 
is 'certainty', but there 
never really is any. 
Just like time, the past 
is the past, and the
present is always 
becoming the past, 
never really is the
present. So why 
bother? The future, 
in the same way,
is simply always 
becoming the present. 
So, as it were, what
is it you want?
In NYCity, when you 
come right down to it, 
all I was doing was 
trying to 'worship' a
past I'd never 
experienced. It was 
never anything to me  -
maybe someone else's 
'future' once, and then 
a present. But for me, 
only and ever, was it
someone else's dumb 
past. Never my present. 
Go figure. 'The world 
is equal to the sum 
of information we
have about it.'

No comments: