Thursday, October 27, 2016


Nothing but trouble, nothing
but trouble. Seems as if my
entire life was like that. I
guess I did it myself. First
real 'book' I ever read  -
believe you me, this is
true  -  was 'Autobiography
of a Yogi.' And it wasn't
about Yogi Berra, in case
that's what you thought.
It was 1959. Yogi Berra,
or as I called him, the
'Neanderthal Man,' was
a catcher for the Yankees,
who at this time was also
doing idiot-ads for Yoo-Hoo,
some chocolate-soda drink.
'Autobiography' on the
other hand, was a real book,
by Paramhansara Yoganandra,
and had been published in
1946. It split my head open,
right in half. I'm not sure
what you'd called him,
Indian mystic, Hindu
Wise-man, there's
surely a word for it. In
English, I mean. The people
of whom he was part, they
didn't care about words and
names like we do. That's
purely a western thing. To
this day I still get a belly
laugh out of all these rock
stars and fake poetry-philosophy
types who tell about their
supposed 'youth' in, like,
Minnesota, listening deep
at night on their little radios
to the far-off sounds of
Nashville, country-music,
blues, or race-music. That's
what black-folks' music
used to be called, in the
'industry'. Oh, wow, man.
Robert Johnson on the RCA;
twirling knobs from 1933.
Big deal. I was getting in,
loudly and clearly, Hindu
radio from 1600 years ago.
It's funny, when you're
growing up, the things they
hold out to you as exemplars:
a man-child, like Yogi Berra
was supposed to do it. Yeah,
sure, that'd work. Thanks,
world. What a measly crock
they offer  -  and it's still like
that today, poor kids, except
now the scrawny adults have
light-sabers, maybe race cars
or soccer balls, or rap-names
they expand while grabbing
their balls. You can bet some
local politico no-brainer will
be down the bottom of some
underpass somewhere saying
how great and enlightening
all this is. Whew! Glad none
of them was ever my father.
My little, local library, Avenel,
NJ, gave me everything I wanted.
I had my own personal librarian,
in fact. Mrs. Muccilli. She was
probably  -  forget about the
stupid, neighboring, school,
or Mr. Ziccardi or any of those
tweakbrains  -  for me the most
formative person I'd met. All
the books in that tiny library,
(and there weren't that many
'books' in there anyway), she
held out to me, with a smile.
and she never once 'stopped'
me from reading something,
no idiotic schoolmarm or
dumb-ass councilman
interdiction thinking they
'knew' better for me, and
holding out instead their own
versions of lies and puke for
kids to live by. She just always
said, 'Here! I understand.' I
went through every volume
of new and breaking prose
and poetry they'd get  -
Ashbery, Plath, Bishop,
Rexroth, O'Hara, Berryman,
Wright, Kerouac, Jarrell,
Ferlinghetti  -  the list went
on. I lived for that stuff, and
that little 2x4 library building
brought it all home for me.
I imagine she's long dead,
but I'd praise here every
day, if I needed to. Phillip
and Dennis,wherever you
guys are, your Mom was
the best, but tell her I
didn't quite make it.
I got to New York City while
some of these guys were yet
alive.  That was a good thing.
It brought vitality, even just
to having their names around.
So much time has passed now.
Names I see now, just drivel.
Billy Collins makes me ill.
I sort of, I admit, self-exiled
myself by age 11/12, by running
off to the seminary. I know I've
been through a lot of this on here
before, but that part is true. I
couldn't have run away any
faster if my head was on flyer
and there was a pair of vice-grips
on my 'manhood.' It was all too
much; the indifference, the
falsehood and the lying. I saw
it everywhere. A least, there,
hiding out, cloistered, learning
to be a 'human' (that was all new
to me), I could put together the
rudiments of a Life I'd choose
to live. Something better than
the usual skull-dudgery offered.
I had enforced and essential
'religious' duties there, but I
didn't care. I found that I could
listen to anybody, take it all in,
and understand just like them;
in fact, I was able to 'be' them
just so as to see through their
eyes and mind. I think one of
my unearthly extra gifts given
to me when I was put here was
the ability or capacity to present
myself as alike to whomever it
was before me. Take their view.
Understand their role. That was
a good thing. It allowed for a
compatriotism that always
drew itself up quickly and
seamlessly. No one looked
'past' what I presented to
them as 'me.' Easy rowing,
on a quite calm sea.
In the seminary, in the dark
of long corridors, or in chapel,
(our 'version ' of church, which
was really no more than like a
cabin-style church room in a
wooden barrack-type building
that belonged out somewhere
in the middle of the woods),
not one bit of it made any
sense, nor did it really bear any
relation to the internal truths and
arts of being as presented to me
by Yoganandra. I had passed
that great divide some time
before, and the literal sense
of 'real life'  -  all of it, even
the quack-platitudes of the
supposed leaders, culture-mavens,
entertainment masturbators,
and wise-men of the era, meant
nothing to me, or were a complete
clown-joke. As I used to like
to put it (I learned early to be
what's called, I guess, snarky,
or nasty, or sarcastic), people
fell into one of three camps.
Masturbators. Calculators.
Or Incubators. It was a way
of dividing up the known world
into self-indulgent obsessives,
wizened sneaks and tricksters,
or people who'd soon enough,
later, work their way up into
quite large problems, for
everyone else. The world
had no clue what was about
to come down. They all talked
one game and, for sure,
played hard at another.
Previous to the seminary,
and after the train-accident
coma period, I still had to
figure out a life. An earth-life,
let's say. Not that easy. The
small stance of a small boy.
All I did was watch things,
carefully, and everywhere.
I watched things along as
strange words and messages
echoed around in my mind.
Influencing things, and
changing them. Not for any
detriment, but for just for
the working-sense of a
better mesh with the 'reality'
I had to learn and work with.
It was harsh, and it was funny
too. Humor can be a good 
thing. You've got your 
extremes, that's all, and 
you've got to know to 
watch both of them  -  
on the one hand the 
Lenny Bruce, on the other, 
the Jackie Mason. Both too 
much of what they were, 
and in opposite directions.
I was sitting on the train 
yesterday, alone, in the first 
car. The conductor, about 4 
seats away, was also just 
waiting. It was 5:15, in the
AM, dark out. I was ready
for anything, as always. on
my way in. Thinking about
things, writing the beginnings 
of some of this down. Two
weird things happened. First,
the conductor, he'd taken out
some round thing, small, about
the size of a pie plate. He had
it in his bag. And he went to
on it, referring occasionally to
some guide or pattern book
he had on the seat. A diagram,
I guessed, of what he was doing.
It was totally bizarre to me. 
He was doing needlepoint, 
or whatever that's called  -  
a longish  needle, pulling 
some colored thread through
the plate thing he was holding.
I guessed he was making 
some sort of design, maybe 
a train-image or something. 
It was just very weird to see. 
I'd been riding these trains
for years, and conductors have
always, no matter what else,
in uniform and at their tasks,
first off, older than me, it 
seemed (though no one
 'working' is now), been
authority figures of a sought,
men at the business at hand.
Never needlepoint. And then
over the train signal radio 
thing he had on his belt, at 
a turned-up volume, came
the message : 'Reverse Our
Instructions, Of Previous.'
Whatever that meant, it put 
him into immediate action.
Away went the needlepoint, 
the threads and needles and 
the book, as he fiddled with
the volume knob, and, up 
and it it, left the seat area 
and went to the car-control
panel. It all kind of felt
dream-like to me. In the
dark too, as it was. Life 
sure has its odd moments. 

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