Thursday, December 15, 2016


A large portion of my life
has been a personal form
of solo chess. And I'm glad
for that. It's all been about
strategy. In the very years
after the removal of myself
from 509 e11th, and NYC,
I finally felt that I was so
far away from anything
germane to the 'scene'
that no one would ever
locate me. I had high-tailed
it away from further trouble,
and let the dead bury the
dead. Peter Coyote and
those guys had their own
situation, hippie communes,
etc., up in Portland NJ,
on the cusp of nowhere
but not quite. The Delaware
Water Gap swarmed with
people. I had headed out
far past that point. All
things had to become
distant memory....and
soon. Others had run off
to the usual sanctuaries  -
Vermont, New Hampshire,
Maine. They all seemed
to obvious for me  -  too
sunny, too Life Magazine.
Playing solo chess allowed
me a distance from which
to view each strategy and
each maneuver. It was a
relief just to realize, at
the end of a day, there'd be
no one at the door, or calling.
Nothing more to answer for.
I was as good as dead.
God's calling.
In a way, I was so far
out on the last stretch
of nowhere that I really
could have died and no
one would even have
noticed. The past was
closed behind me like
a tomb-doorway. Marble
and brass. Some people
can't let all that go. I
have a friend who still,
to this day, thrives on
lies about his past, can't
let it go, won't drop it
down. Makes things up.
Whole cloth; speaking
of which, how lies will
catch you up, I contact,
in Maine, one of the
purported 'contacts' he's
working with  -   imported
fabrics, shirt designs, and
the rest, the guy turns red
with anger and says this
fellow 'Billed me and
collected for yardage
that he never delivered.
I was never able to
contact him or collect
my payment.' It was
no surprise to me, of
course, because lies
remain lies, a liars
remain liars, but oh this
poor merchandiser in
Portland, Maine (not
Peter Coyote's Portland,
NJ). I should turn in the
geek's reference info. In
addition, five days ago,
I write about Jardot's,
the 1967 bullshit hang-out
for high-school skeletons,
and today it's all over his
own info, as if he didn't still
go ahead stealing from me.
New York City was filled
with grafters and corrupt
people. I knew that, and
I dwelt among them. But
this was idle, stupid
Woodbridge, NJ stuff,
for pampered diaper-babies
who'd never outgrown it.
Entering late-life, and
still wanking off about
high school. Whew.
On 12th Street there was
this really cool place called
the 'Twelfth Street Bookshop.'
It was just off Fifth, and it
had a few steps down to get
to a really curious-looking
front area which I'm sure was,
in the mid-century years, a
street-front nightclub or
something. It had that whole
vibe of the art and soul days
of the old 10th Street Art clubs
which were near there and
in a time when these few 
streets teemed with all 
that breathtaking American
 postwar art and jazz, 
before the  bigger-time
uptown stuff took over 
and the really big money 
set in. The guy's name 
here was Tom or Ted, 
I forget. He was really 
cool, in that he 
possessed an 
amazing grasp of 
old New York, being 
something to do with 
and related to the third 
or fourth generation of 
family ties to a guy 
named Colonel Thomas 
Dongan, who had been 
sent from England, by 
way of Limerick too. 
He replaced the unhappy 
term of Edmund Andros, 
who had apparently made 
too many deals with the 
leftover landed Dutch 
who were still around, 
back then. Problem was, 
Dongan (for whom 
Dongan Hills in Staten 
Island, is named   -  one 
of his personal landholdings 
back then) outdid even 
Andros before him, who
was big on improving the 
waterfront. Dongan proved 
even bigger on handing 
out vast landholdings, 
huge grants of virgin 
land, to Dutch cronies 
and favorites. Under 
Dongan, the city 
came up with its 
wards and elected 
council and 
formats, etc. They 
made twelve 'shires.' 
New York (all of 
Manhattan), Kings 
(now Brooklyn), 
Queens, English 
towns of western 
Long Island). Etc. 
It all went on from 
there. I loved hearing
 about all this wicked 
stuff -   thievery and 
and stealth. (I never
tired of learning how
people could 'give away' 
what wasn't theirs). 
1683 proved a very 
good year for free land 
grants with minimal 
meddling. Dongan got 
on real good with the 
remaining Dutch  -   
basically buying them 
off with huge swaths 
of granted land: 850,000 
acres, better than 1100 
square miles, fifty times
 the size of Manhattan, 
went to what became 
and was called 
Manor.' Their lower 
family manor at 
Claverack added 
another 250,000 acres. 
Robert Livingston, a 
young Scot with 
ambitions, who 
worked for the Renssalaers 
and linked himself 
by marriage to the 
Schuylers and Van 
Cortlandts, obtained 
Livingston Manor, 
160,000 acres. All 
this went on and on  
-  Bentley Manor, 
Cassilton Manor, 
Pelham Manor, all 
to decisive 
It was amazing 
for this Tom or 
Ted, the bookstore 
guy, to have found 
himself sitting on all 
this very old family 
interaction while 
trying to seed 
himself off as a 
mad, Trotskyite, 
fervid leftist 
bookseller. Intent 
on making 'business' 
only insofar as it 
could make destruction. 
His joy was to fill my 
brain, and the brains 
of others, with serious 
sensibilities of the 
far-left. I loved it 
all, and his shop 
was great. In the 
front there were 
great stocks of 
records albums  -  
heavy and deep 
with early jazz 
albums, and classical 
recordings from older 
days. Things were just 
different, even the 
old sounds of 
recordings and 
music had merit and 
import and meaning  
-  way before the 
cackle and cant of 
1960's drivel.
He'd go on about 
what he called, 'Truth
by fiat'  -  by which 
he meant how reality 
was so bendable that 
this great forebear of 
his could simply make 
things up and, by fiat, 
by willing it to be, give 
it away too  -  to others. 
Regardless of the truth 
or the presence of things; 
others who may have 
had claim or even had 
called it home, let alone 
the natives there. There 
was carnage and 
unhappiness everywhere. 
Lives were lost and 
things confused and 
angered...until one 
day all the rulers just 
tired of him, and he 
was removed, caught 
up in changing alliances
 and the religious wars
 of back home in Europe 
and England. I'd never 
have thought how, for 
myself, forty years later, 
the same sort of lying,
creepy shackles would 
not be enough to hold 
another manic-usurper, 
in check. My own 
strategy of solo chess, 
kept me away; it had 
to work, just simply 
had to. Dongan lives!

No comments: