Friday, June 23, 2017


That's a mushroom cloud in the sky.
uncle Albert notified I. And all your
children will have to die : Unless you
mend your ways and try putting things
back together.


I always thought it should be. One instead.
The acolyte is on the right. How trivial such
pursuit becomes when the mad-dashing cam
is catching knights in armor on the run. 
I fear for nothing, and all things together.
I fear for death, and for meeting my family.
I fear for the moment, most of all, of recognition:
the cold stone factor of Being; the rambling 
jaunt of how it goes. Blind children holding
coloring books and yet safe from the dissension
they sometimes bring. You say yellow. I say sing. 
I fear for closing the book that final last time,
for removing the dog's collar that very last night,
for eating my last cold, hard-boiled egg alright.
For waving good-bye, and really meaning it.
The last time ever to turn out the light.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


All the things which around me have changed : the
deprivation and the need together. Like bugs on a
singular surface, a glass perhaps, upon which none
get a grip, the world slides away. Its frantic pace and 
stupid face granting nothing back but illness and pain.
Plath-like, I decide to kneel before some chantilly oven
with the kids in the other room. How dumb an idea was
that : 'Kids, your Dad's not home yet, and I am dead.'


The underground scrawl goes on, and
nothing is brought to the table : the men
in the plaster-cab have gone away and
all that remains is an ambulance, idling.
I've tried to disinfect the cancer ward,
but failure is my middle name.


- the Jazz Loft, pt.11, 1967 -
I managed to stave off starvation,
and death too, actually. It all ended
up pretty easy. I was living mostly on
25 cent knishes, corn muffins, coffee,
and Orange Julius  -  which was some 
oddball orange juice and whatever
concoction made from some sort of
mix or powder blended with an egg.
I don't know. There was a skinny, little
Orange Julius place on my side of
8th street (the even-numbered side),
where all the hippies and runaways 
seemed always to hang out. Not much
was ever spoken, just mostly weird 
and vacant stares. I think the point 
was, 'do you have any money you 
can give me? Or drugs? Or needles?
Or sex, perhaps for money?' That's
how it went. Frankly, these people
were beyond contempt because they
were such total losers. I'd bet, now, 
50 years later, more than a third of 
them almost have to be dead  -  whether
from neglect (their own), ignorance,
mistake, or disaster. One of the outrages
was that a lot of these kids just plain
had it good, at home  -  big deal places
in Connecticut or Long Island or
Massachusetts. There was a certain type
of hippie slummer who sort of just 
expected  -  having come from money
and the 'upbringing' that gets you  -  to
have things done for his or her self. 
That simple. There are some people
who come to mind, even today, who
exemplify, and exemplified, that same
'privilege' thing, which came from
big-deal towns and breeding  -  like 
Carly Simon, and Loudon Wainwright,
Rufus Wainwright  (though he's much 
younger), the McGarrigle girls; there
was a bunch of them. In the Studio 
School too. You could tell such privilege
anywhere. I'd always be worrying
about a quarter. They ate quarters by 
the dozen, and for snacks too.
One of the things that was annoying,
that made you want to pop these hippie 
guys from money, was that their girlfriends
were always somehow so beautiful, all
things perfect. Hippie clothes, all that
peasant dress stuff, rings and gypsy crap.
These guys never cared. By contrast, I 
was a constant and filthy mess. One thing
to remember  -  maybe I can get it across  -
about 1967, was the absence of things a
lot of today's frilly crowd just takes for
granted. The simplest stuff  -  it was all
foreign and unheard of. Like today, every
half-wit hipster is walking around with a
morning yoga mat, yoga clothes and yoga
footwear. You go to most anywhere  -  
Bryant Park or other places, and in the 
good weather months there are like 60 
people, gathered together, doing a 
morning session, meditation, chanting, 
etc. That was unheard of. Gay people?
Same thing, mostly just kept hidden. 
Hippie culture helped break all that a 
little, but, whatever  -  it was still the
dark ages. Bicycles. Same thing. No 
one  rode a bicycle, citywide, in 1967. 
Well, I did, but I was an aberration and
an anamoly anywhere. Now there are
endless rows of Citibike rentables 
everywhere, their racks having taken 
away about 2 billion parking spots 
on the city. Tough for cars now. 
Pedestrian right-of-way crap all over
the place. It's lie polite kiss-me first
anarchy wherever you go. Totally
different. Going up to the jazz loft,
even then, was like going back even 
farther in time, more like the natural, 
black, slick 1940's. Nothing had changed
and that's just how these guys acted and
lived. And their women too.
I didn't have much a grasp of any of this,
but if you look back, maybe a documentary
or something, and see how people like
Miles Davis (mostly, him), Thelonius Monk,
Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, say, acted
and carried themselves, that's an idea of what
I'm saying. Before it all broke out into the
later bedlam it became  - black rights, the
various power movements, Black Muslims, 
and the rest. They were the Sainted Quiet.
Jut doing their music work, strongly
indebted to each other amid communal
recognitions of the unspoken. A few 
years later, someone like, say, Miles Davis,
exemplified a complete other spectrum of
personal enrichment and confidence. It was
a startling transformation  -  from the silent,
passive punch bag of second-class, to the
high-power, righteous (and right) stammer 
of deliverance. The hippies had this weird
white-people thing going on about peacock
feathers : they were really long-stemmed, so
to speak, and had that colorful little eye thing,
a circular round blaze, with intense color.
Those feathers became some sort of hippie 
icon; they were sold everywhere, and turned
up everywhere too. For blacks  -  not the jazz
guys, of course, who couldn't have cared less,
but for black hippies, who somehow always
seemed to be older, taller, almost dignified
gay black guys, the thing was  -  or so it 
seemed  - to have an afghan hound. They
were always walking these tall, long-haired
dogs, striking in coloration and finesse.
So many of them, in fact, it quickly
became cliched and boring.


'Went past a pharmacy today, they had
a sign in the window which read, 'Thank 
you, vets.' So I went in and asked the guy
if they were now also selling pet supplies
and medicines? He looked at me like I
was [perhaps!] crazy. Just goes to show
you never can tell. I swear, retail's gone 
crazy and....oh, what the hell.'


I went somewhere to count the daisies in the field,
but  forgot. Once I got there, completely forgot.
I just wound up enjoying the field instead.


The huge garbage truck is idling again, the
incessant Diesel grumbling roiling my nerves.
It's a sound I really dislike. The driver has
stepped out for mangoes, boiled potatoes,
a 12-pack of coffees and a sack of red donuts.
Whatever those guys eat for break. They
never get fancy until they start eating.
Shredded shards of happenstance; that's the
title I want to give my garbage memoir.


-the Jazz Loft, pt. 10, 1967 -
Two things, I noticed, were going on
about the same time : in the art world, of
which I also was peripherally aware and
involved with as a member of the Studio
School. These two things were fighting
each other, in some fashion of disordering
either one or the other. The art world was
breaking down, and the jazz/music world
was tightening up. A real paradox, when
viewed. I sensed it was coming, but I was
pretty lost.
Figure it thusly : When you're living on
the street as a newcomer from nowhere, it's
axiomatic that, to get started at least, you take
what's given to you, accept it, harbor it and
from it learn. You watch others. You observe
what they're doing and how they're going
about it. Believe you me, no one had ever
taught me how to scavenge for food, how
to pick for remnants, nor where the better
and best ones were. (I always used to
think it was heartily funny to listen as
food scavengers got on about where 'the 
best throw-outs were.' As if they were in the 
Gourmet Bum Club.' You don't learn that
hanging around the train station at Abbe
Lumber with the school-buses going by.
I'd never known what it was  -  and fortunately
for me it was soon high Summer and warm
for three or so months  -  I could and did
just plop down in the park, on the grass,
and sleep. Summer of '67 there were freaks
everywhere, new arrivals bounding off
buses every two hours  -  wandering in,
dazed and weary. Just like me. Me! Who
soon, within two weeks, was a veteran and
an old hand already at all this scavenging
and hippie-street-living stuff. It seemed
like everything was free, and everyone was
happy and able to assist, or share. Once it
all began getting just a bit too sunny for me,
too much good stuff, I backed off, and was
able to easily as  -  already stated  -  a
'veteran.' Funny. People had started asking
ME things.  I had the Studio School and I
had the park(s) and the dock(s). Only later
as I got more and more inured to things did
I venture  -  that's when I got the jazz loft
stuff. It's a long story, and it ain't pretty  -
suffice it to say (and I wasn't even gay) that
for what I thought was a free lunch some
black dude tried picking me up, made the
big move, which immediately smartened me
up as to what kind of stuff was going on and
why and how to keep away from the plain
old naivete that had gotten me to that pass.
I've written about this in other portrayals and
other formats, so I'm not about to rehash it
all here again. But! This black guy was the
one who led me to other black guys who
then turned out, some of them, to be allied
with the jazz guys I later caught up to. You
had to be there; 1967 was that weird, really.
I was juggling five balls in the air, each of
an unknown value and consequence, and I
myself only had one arm with which to do
the juggling. Mostly they call girls 'naifs.'
I fit that bill until I 'wisened' up.
The jazz guys took me over, they showed
me ropes. The geeks at what eventually
became my apartment had, by this time,
driven me off just by the crowded nature
of the thing that was going on there. I'd
lost control, bad shit was happening, it
was getting way too hairy for me, and I
just sensed that sooner or later someone
was going to get really hurt and something
illogical and mortal was going to come of
it. It did, eventually. The people at the Studio
School  -   which was then about as informal
an operation as you could think of  -  let
me start living there, in a little basement
room (which was better than things I'd
seen before) under the guise of being the
'night watchman.' It worked, though I
never really 'watched' anything.


Tuesday morning, out at the sound, the
back-scratcher motor was humming. A
12-foot wave was washing through, some
surfer dudes chasing water. What do they
call this, a barrier-reef? When there's a storm
out at sea, well then you should see them
strum. Banjo, guitars, and ukeleles.
We didn't launch anything and decided to
stay right there, on land, or what passes for 
it here. There's an old Methodist community
just a few miles up, we went there. Meeting
tents, little places to eat and sit, a large-sized
schedule of events on a common-community-
board. Nothing I cared about, but if I'd seen
the name John Denver on it for that night, I'd
not have been surprised. Why is it those sorts
get so soft? God, the Lord, and superstition.
Too many people drive blue cars, I've noticed.
The worst drivers, blue cars. Even here, the
retirees and ministers on parole, whatever,
they drive these little bean-sized cars and 
they're quite often blue. The cars, I mean,
but maybe the ministers too. Blue. too.
I suppose it's nice to be concerned for the
Earth, or to claim you are anyway, but I
have other things on my mind, and they
really do concern me more. Am I wrong
on that count? Tell.  Me. Why? (But
hey, don't cross the yellow line).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


It always the way : Summer screens the running in,
while the kids run wild and free. Some babe in Nike 
shorts bends over. Oh Lord, why me?


In walking this seashore, I notice I step
through the sand, not so much upon it  -
a realization as useless as it is curious.
How much then of this rounded, serious
globe do I inhabit, and is it somehow
taking me in? To my left, if that too 
means anything, scattered boats ride 
the surface, chained and tethered, as 
they are, to stay in place. A tall, strange
order. Absentee ownership, in the case 
of a boat, basically means tying it up
while setting it adrift (paradoxical
conundrum, yes), and walking off.
Off? Upon? Atop? - some Earth.


It's his breakfast again; Jeez all he ever
does is eat. I see him down at the corner
most every morning. Eggs over easy, lightly
buttered toast, home fries and the rest. 'Keep
the home fires burnin' can't be easier than that.
There's a gossip to each and every step; someone 
to tell and to try. Someone with words lightly
fried; just enough to crinkle the 'taters and pie.
Two gallons of coffee are gone in a wink. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


In Autumn, these guys are playing football,
and by April those others are on to their baseball.
One is never the same as the other. That's basic 
American stuff, and then, long back, basketball
snuck in, and then soccer too. Ghetto guys, long
and black, and then the small leg-muscle guys for
soccer  -   Portuguese, Irish, British, and all those
South American franchises of I don't know what.
Running around the fields in shorts, pounding the
shit out of each other, first chance they get. 'How
soccer saved the world,' or explains the world, or
something  - that was a book once I tried to read.
All gibberish, with the conclusion already made,
before the guy even stared writing the book, so,
no mystery there, and certainly no discovery either.
If you're not going to get to something new by 
reading a book, I figure, what then is the use?
This guy already knew his conclusions before he
began. All he had to do was make the pieces fit.
I would have liked it much better if he was at
least learning along the way  -  and if, by the time 
got to the end, and while he was writing the book,
he'd realized he couldn't even really make the
case he'd set out to make. He'd have to say  -
'How soccer saved the world? I haven't a clue,
and I really not sure it did!' Now that would
be a book worth reading.


- the Jazz Loft, pt. 9, 1967 -
There was a period of time, one March 
and April, when for a while I got a
little involved, through all these guys,
with some Friday night and weekend work.
It was pretty cool, and a real different
experience for me, and I ate it up. Real.
A few different jazz-clubs, music bars,
and cabarets beckoned. I started moving
around a little, uptown stuff, with some
of these loft guys, twittering away some
time while they talked fast and constantly
seemed to be on edge and always practicing
or warming up. Just a form of playing.
Terpsichord and violins together made
the sound of an unusual jazz ensemble 
tapping those sounds on tipcloths and 
bottlecaps - it was almost as if, right then,
 at that time, there was 'time' being made 
- cool guys on platforms wearing tophats 
and blowing tight horns while their feet 
kept time and the bodies swayed and 
in the background a wild drummer 
interspersed their time and rhythm 
with his own time amidst a wild staccato 
beat broken only by moments piled 
upon moments and no words could 
suffice ever to break in through the 
haze of sound and the cacophonous 
ride of scale with music. Out front and 
lounging along the few tables and 
chairs nearby, were half-wasted people
with twisted faces looking up just to 
watch what was happening and maybe 
getting it maybe not but in either case 
present for the execution. so to speak.
And even though this was but a final 
rehearsal, they listened and the real 
playdate was a few nights off - a few late 
sets rolling way into the wee hours but 
everyone was already set. One time I was 
on the street while the trucks lumbered 
by - delivery guys and freight-loads 
coming and going - and it was a lame 
mid-afternoon day in a cold grey late 
winter climate and everyone seemed 
tired of the cold tired of coats and 
tired of just being but it was that time 
of year too when a person knows things 
are about to change and the body can 
sense the new light and absorb somehow 
the new temperature and movement of 
the very air so that any unsettled feelings 
of cold or weariness can be withstood 
merely by expectation and hope alone.
It was that time of year when the things 
to come -  you just knew  -  would be better 
than the present. I looked at the poster 
on the entrance-wall and realized I'd 
mis-read the word and that Terpsichord 
was the name of the ensemble playing
and dancing, and not really an instrument 
at all; but also (as Terpsicore) the name 
of the Greek muse of choral song and dance 
which didn't really fit but so what maybe 
I'd just missed it all. And some people 
out front were busying themselves with 
the back end of a big station wagon 
which was filled with bolts of carpet 
or something which they were throwing 
onto the pavement nearby as some 
Spanish guy kept taking them into the 
next building and this went on for a 
while as I watched. I wondered how 
and why all these people had come to be 
- just going about their tasks each day 
in such a wide-open world with all these 
closed routines - and it was as if I saw 
the very future stretched before me and
that I was knowing that at some point 
I too would have to come to terms with 
life in that respect - what to do with all 
these days and how to go about that 
vapid routine of living and as the things 
of time came by me over and over in 
repeated manners I sometimes thought 
to myself that 'anything' would have to 
be better than that - better than taking 
the place and the station amongt the 
haphazard rank-and-file I saw around 
me repeating their daily chores but I 
saw too that I had nothing, I had no 
more promise to go on then did the 
window-washer across the way or 
the Spanish guy hauling carpet and 
even though I was for now in the 
advantageous position of just 'being' 
without connection it wasn't going 
to last forever but a part of me didn't 
want to engage just didn't wish to 
come up to the cruising speed needed 
to mesh with what was around me and 
I realized then that THAT was the calling 
of art or music or at least the finesse 
of sensitivity which made creative types 
always outsiders. Yet, realizing and coming 
to grips with that brought me nothing but 
comfort and in my way I sensed that 
maybe a comfort level of such a personal 
dimension was - in reality - the entire 
purpose of life anyway but NOT in the 
self-indulgent way of merely doing
(or not) what one wanted, but, instead,  
in reaching the inner achievement or 
attainment of personal creativity -  
so as to make and weave the thread 
of one's life into a sensible form or at
least some resemblance of that to 
those who watched (and to whom 
I guess it mattered). Outside the 
studio doorway, on the third level 
of the building, was a sign which 
read, in a really nice type, 'Matador 
Productions - Management and Booking -
fine art and jazz ensembles' and, believe
 me, it sounded bigger than it was. In 
actuality it was merely a booking agent 
for 'talent' which in this sense meant 
jazz quartets of whatever merit which 
were booked around town at any 
of the various nightclubs and 
cabaret/restaurants that wanted 
to 'trade' on the Jazz name but were 
more than happy with second or third 
tier acts that no one really cared about.
These are just the sorts of things you
get used to when clawing your way up.
And this is what I had been listening to
 - another set by another small groups 
of guys heading out for their night's gig.
It was all run as usual by some chubby 
guy in a cheap suit and plenty of sweat 
and humidity, named Goldsmith or 
Goldberg or somebody like that - usually 
a failed perfume salesmen or a sixth-grade 
history teacher who'd chucked one career 
for another but got by in both cases by 
doing nothing and trading off the work 
of others. There were lots of these types of
guys, preying and not, and they'd sit around 
and throw promises like darts and wait to 
see if anything stuck, so that there were 
always people around dumb enough to 
believe all this crap and who figured 
they really were on the verge of stardom 
and discovery by playing maybe just 
two more weeks at Hanley's Chop House 
or Trolo's Bistro and Cabaret or the 
Big Fixx Club or whatever. I saw lots of
that, and this on night here wasn't all
that special except that for me it was a
eal change of scenery. The people were 
more prime, the girls and ladies more 
prime. I guessed it was, like they said,
'Money talks, nobody walks...' It was 
all the same and nothing ever mattered. 
These scroungy-type guys got their 30 
bucks a night and they stayed late,
probably three or four nights in a row,
dicking with the chicks or getting laid 
easy and then they waited for the next 
one to do it all again. Anther night,
another gig. Hopefully.  And Goldsmith 
or whomever it was always got the big 
take and always talked big and got the 
next schedule card to fill out all over again.
Aand - yeah, yeah it just went on. These 
were always cheap green offices with 
poorly painted green or ivory colored 
walls and extension cords and phone lines,
brought in on temporary hookups - all 
cheap and all tack,y just like Goldsmith 
or Goldfine or any of the rest. What I'd do 
was, for ten bucks a day or so, move things 
around, or pull wires from here to there,
or hammer together another pedestal 
box for some jazz-cat to stand on and 
limelight his solo. Once in a while I'd 
get to plunk away on a piano as some 
form of accompaniment to whatever I 
was hearing - no one cared, and no one 
stopped me either,  though I was never 
sent out with a job-crew or anything and
I never cared. But there was one time I 
was let out to fill a drummer's roll in a 
song or two in a sot of warm-up or
practice session, while the 'drummer' was
'out' doing whatever, and twenty minutes 
later he was back and I was done. That was 
at some east-side club out by the UN in 
the 50's somewhere, and yeah, it was fun
but I had no card nor license or nothing 
of that nature so it was on the sly anyway. 
And, yes, fame and stardom, like all the 
rest, that eluded me too  -  but I was able.
at least, to stay  steady and just dig
the chance given.