Saturday, December 24, 2016


So, what does one do on
Christmas night? Ignore it?
Over in Chelsea, it was like
walking on Clement Clarke
Moore eggshells. He's the
guy who started all that
Santa Claus, Night Before
Christmas stuff. To be
'honored' in the breach
wasn't enough : his
spirit(s) still lingered
on every mantle
and doorpost. A
person had to be
careful for every
thought and word. It
would do to say anything
negative towards that
entire scene. New York,
yes, famed, old
enlightened New
York, somehow never
tired of that  -  the
decorations, the Christmas
lore, fantastic caroling and
story-telling, snowflakes
dusting beautiful hair,
all that. I was lost
amidst a reverie...for
something, I didn't
even know. There are
two churches near to
each other on lower
Fifth, Transfiguration,
and First Presbyterian
of NY, something or
other, and they were
like some weird vortex,
a powerful intrusion
into this other world
from here, or the
other way around,
I never knew. There
was a book I'd stolen
from the Studio School
library  -  yeah, I still
have it  -  'Surrealist
Intrusion In the
Enchanter's Domain',
and I carried that
book ever close.
(Never really 'meant'
to steal it; somehow
it just ended up that
way). It was really
nothing much more
than a gallery exhibit's
book, to accompany
the exhibit of some
surrealist art and
add deep commentary,
opinion, and some art
history too  -  to things
like Duchamp's work
and Ernst, and all
those other guys
from that 'Surrealist'
labeled school of
real-art being made
 manifest. People can't
ever much accept Art
unless they first have
some label for it or
somewhere in which
to 'pigeonhole' it.
They might like it,
but first they have
to be told they do.
It's a weird world,
and an entire industry,
this 'Art' product gig.
These two churches,
for Christmas, they
were like holy holes
as I passed  -
each time I was
sucked in, had
to almost fight
off the draw. There
were, in addition,
famous stained-glass
windows, a bunch
of notes about
some President's
daughter who had
a big wedding there,
fancy-ass Mark Twain
era, 10th Street kind
of stuff. Loved and
hated, at the same
time, by me. I
couldn't fight it.
It was almost as
if, within 200
feet of either place
(they were like
a block apart),
all those angel
notes and angelic
voices would
start swirling in
the sky around
me, drawing my
mind and matter,
together, up,
elevated, to
something I
couldn't explain
-  nor could I
complain. I
was walking
that book, just
as if every step
had me in some
weird enchanter's
domain, yes, just
like it said, and I
was transported
into a place of
twisted time
and bent objects,
 horizons and
people made of
clods and openings.
The vast caves of
mind and eternity
crossing over and
into each other.
And then, again.
those snowflakes
dusting beautiful
hair. My life, man,
was perfect, was
dense and deep
and wide-open
and mysteries.
Down my own
corridors I could
hear the ages  -
people to chase,
beautiful girls
and wise men
with lanterns and
lights, breaking path
the old railroad notes
 of silence and shadow
like some trainman's
lantern broken into
dream. A million
times over, in the
center of my head.
Santa Claus and
all that other stuff,
it had nothing on
me  -  whatever I
was doing and
wherever I dwelt.
It was like  -  if you've
ever 'On the Road' by
Jack Kerouac  -  it had
a lot of that feel, in that
scene where he meets
that shriveled old man,
who he calls the 'Ghost
of the Susquehanna.'
Some old guy he meets,
maybe it's meant to
be a stand-in for the
search-for-Dad stuff,
whatever. I don't
know all that and
I leave if for all
those essayists and
decipherists who
do all that stuff.
I couldn't care less.
For all I know it
WAS Santa Claus,
and it WAS right
there on 10th street
or wherever  -
convoluted, twisted
over, transformed.
Some old guy
singing angel songs,
suckering me in,
and I really WAS
in another world.
In the book, Kerouac's
on a bus trip, then
hitchhiking his way
to NYC out of
Harrisburg, and
he's walking the
highway and meets
the shriveled old
man and they both
start asking a lot
of questions of
each other  -
real strange,
quizzical stuff,
and the old guy
says he's on his
way to 'Canaday',
meaning Canada,
and I always thought
that was way cool
and distant faraway
enchanting too, just
like the book.
I was mad, I'd probably
gone crazy for a spell.
No drugs, nothing like
that; just my own
solitary, 18-year old
wonderment at being 
alive, on my own, away,
 in some other life, in 
another place, deep 
in the canyons of a 
vast, hollow city, 
with openings for me 
to enter, everywhere.
I'd wonder, how many
other kids get this kind
of chance  -  unfettered
and loose. Broke too,
but so what on that. I
had no limits, no schedules.
None of that 'allegiance' to
other (new) things that all
these other, college-kids, 
had. I wanted none of that;
they'd just traded one old
allegiance for another,
newer, allegiance. And there
'weren't no difference a'tween 
the two, no-how anyways.'
Not for me, any of that.
I just lived alone, stayed
alone, and walked alone.
All these crazy people. they
all had stuff  -  things to
worry over, cart around, take
care of. I had a small studio
 spot, all my paints and colors, 
and unlimited things to take
advantage of. And a stolen book
I adored.  As for all these other
people, gathered and noisy, doing
endless Christmas stuff  - the walk, 
the church the song, the promenade, 
and all the rest,they were all
caught up, may as well have
been hog-tied and beech-coated.
Tarred and feathered too.
Their day was over, and the

day hadn't even yet arrived.

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