Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Last heard to say : 'There's nothing I want more than to
be important in your eyes, or good at something, or at
least, valued.' Then he ran off. I don't even know what
he was doing  -  perhaps the head baker there at Panico's
Bread and Icings'. Maybe they left out 'cakes,' or maybe
I did. In either case, 'Rothschild,'' they're screaming, has
fled!' I did that once myself  -  Emerson Quiet-Kool, to
make assembly-line air conditioners. The fools gave me
an electric screw driver and two buckets of screws at
8am, then they turned the line on. 4 screws to a unit;
torque and fix, proper. The units just kept coming. I
was freaking, and the boss guy running along the line
said he'd kill me if I fell behind. Yikes. I knew I'd have 
to pee by 10  -  three cups of coffee, an hour ago. He
laughed when I asked. 'This line goes down because of
you, you're dead.' I was maybe 17, Summer job crap.
8 bucks a day. I stayed two full days. My arm was
cramped, the guy kept pissing me off. On the third
day, by 9:35am, I just put down the driver and walked
off. 45 air conditioners every fifteen seconds, flying by,
and a dumb kid like me with a screwdriver and screws.
For two days I'd been skipping one or two each anyway.
I never even went back to get my two days worth of
16 dollars. Maybe back then a fortune. I don't know.
All I kept hearing for weeks was, 'If that line 
goes down, you're dead.'

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

9843. RUDIMENTS, pt.44

Making Cars
OK, here's where it's beginning to get
tough, all this relating of things. I'm
tooling along, still something like
Oct. 1967, doing my most brash ways
to poke and prod things along. I'm
settled in a little, my feet are finally used
to things  -  no more real 'homelessness' -
no more sleeping in the park, food in the
gutter, dumpsters, barrel fires, old guys;
all that's over, except by choice, when I
'select' to do it. I have friends there. I've
even got a decent, steady bathroom to use.
(Go ahead, you can laugh, it's OK; but
when you've been there, if ever, you'll
know what I mean when I mention how
important something like that becomes,
and can seem). I've written of this before,
but I had an old-timer friend too, a chestnut
guy with a horse and a wagon  -  he'd pull
this little vendor cart around, clomp-clomping
through the village streets, with a little fire
going in the bottom of the rolling cart, coal
and wood, and above that the chestnut trays,
warming and all. By the end of his day, each
time, he'd have to go back you to the area of
w38th, where there were a few horse and cart
places  -  to tend and feed the horses, hold and
clean the carts. They were in a row, these
spots, part stable, part garage. All mostly gone
now, Javits Center and all that stuff. The two
or three still there are now, last I knew, service
places for  -  mostly  -  taxis and motorcycles.
Anyway, this old fellow was really special  -
and represented a whole different era that was
running down the same drain he was. We'd
go along, he'd talk a little, kind of a drawl.
I never knew what he made of me. I wasn't
Hell's Kitchen, nor was I the docks, to him.
But he never sadi anything about origins
anyway. While  -  for me  -  that's all he was;
a sort of representative for any of the origins
of old New York City that I was trying to
decipher, and find (first). I was on  a mission.
That was why I'd left home on this vagrant
quest for origin or identity  -  knowing there
wasn't any of that in Avenel, NJ. Years later,
funny thing, I read a book called 'The Westies'
all about this area, the Irish dock thugs, the
crime and the penny-whistle antics, murder,
drudgery, toil and poverty, whores and spent
hookers. It was all I could do, then, to stay
out of it. We'd get to his spot, he'd do his
tallying, I'd unhitch the old horse, which
would just shuffle off to its stall. Some guys
there did the rest  -  there were bags of raw
chestnuts, heavy canvas, the roasted ones
leftover had to be kept moist and held over
that lessened fire, until the morning, when
they'd be mixed or used as starters for the
new ones to be sold. October would be
the start of the whole Fall and Winter
chestnut season thing; people would visit
seasonal NY sometimes just for that to be
included. The smells and the tastes, yes,
they were pretty special, but I don't know
if I'd leave Iowa over it. No one does these
anymore, chestnut carts are long gone  -  as
is that warmth and aroma and the fires. Now
there are a zillion carts of sweet, sickly coated
candy-peanuts, bags of I don't know what,
things sold by Lebanese and Mideast vendors,
falafels, candy, soda. Even ices and ice cream
are more difficult to find than they used to be.
The entire vendor-component of all this has
turned over. All these great old guys are dead
now, 40 years on, and they've been replaced by
India and Pakistan carts, Mideastern quick
foods, simmering all day but smelling of nothing
but grease, toil, and gross animal fat. Yet still,
people line up. Just that the horses, the chestnuts,
and all my guys are gone now. Replaced by idiots
on cell phones, while they work. I tell you, you
can't get a decent deal anywhere  -  some swarthy
broad-mouth and big-booted rap-star type is
always sneaking around trying to sell fake or
cheap jewelry, gold chains and teeth, knock-off
bags with fancy designer names. Like who cares
except some Jew-ladies from Scarsdale, really?
The world really ought to just get real.
And then it all started, for me. No kidding.
I was living in the basement at the Studio
School, writing and reading my ass off until
whenever and how, painting and drawing
upstairs, cool lectures and gallery romps,
people hanging  around, Jim Tomberg and I
doing weird stuff - (You need to read other
things, way previous, to fill in on my Jim
Tomberg chapters of time and place). What
started for me? The messages and the voices.
I said no kidding. I hit the taproot of something,
some other room or place from which I could
go, and come, from at will  -  like a monstrous
cosmic library; it was filled with volumes of
already written world-words, voices bouncing
around, messages, intentions, and things for me
to write down, to get, to retrieve. I said yes. I
accepted it all, knowing I'd probably never be
the same, nor be recognizable again. This does
probably happen to everyone, whether at 9, 12,
15 or 25 years old. Most people just say, 'no
fucking way, thank you.' Well, they just say
no, let's put it. And they  move on. Not me.
I let it hit me and take me just like a
cinderblock had hit me squarely in
the middle of my forehead.
After that, a lot of it just got real easy. I was
gold  -  to myself. But more importantly, I
no longer really cared so much if I was NOT
gold to others. I was on my quest, and that
ship was sailing on my own blue ocean.
It was a very personal way of seeing.
Also, one thing I learned, right quickly, like
a first responder learns CPR : nothing is exactly
right. The gist may be OK, but the details are
always wrong and never set. I'd found family
life wanting  -  sort of like capitalism was also
wanting. You know how people say someone
is a Model Son, or a model this or model that.
It's a trap. All that means is you're stopped,
frozen in place, being 'Model.' When people
say that they no longer allow you to change, 
grow, adjust, or alter. That's dangerous stuff   -
don't be a model anything. Like 'Capitalism,'
you can never get to the end of achievement 
because inherent within the spectacle is the
constant need to continue. Once you get 
something, or, in the case of Capitalism, 
once you amass possessions, things, stuff, 
they'll always throw some new and latest 
desire on you, to do more, to still go farther 
and amass something else. Once that pressed-for, 
manufactured desire is stopped, it's over.
Capitalism can never cease to manufacture false
desires, for more  -  if it did, if everyone did
become 'Model'  -  filled with achievements 
and in happy possession of all their goods, 
there'd be nothing left. It would all be over,
quickly. This, the contradiction. That old
chestnut guy never told me this, though in 
his own slow, plodding manner, time after 
time way, I began to see it, from him.
Happiness somehow meant work, always
more, always new  -  not in goods and 
services, and certainly not in things, 
because I had little of that. Just in the
creative idea of working forward, the
stretching out, moving along. I quote:
"It's not just the soul, but the soul of the
body that you must learn to trust, for the
soul in the body represents the corporal 
meeting of the physical and nonphysical 
selves in the most practical of terms."


Always carrying a stink-bomb uphill.
I wanted to be just like him. There's
nothing like clearing out an auditorium
of dolts by the waft of a bad nostril.
He played poker with one hand only.
Left. The right hand he saved for his


And the ice-break goes nowhere and
the green barge is sinking. These are
all the things I may have seen : candles
on a garden cake, a party in another yard,
two fine fellows working over their
aging pick-up truck. Outside, she 
comes, the little one, holding
her vat of Summer lemonade.


See if you can make it all come together;
every little stitch of the thing should hold.
Like a doctrinal bacteria eating its way
through ten hundred times its weight and
bulk. We are but servants here. I will stand
by this doorway and wait. If you need, maybe,
to use force, go ahead and do so  -  try to
convince him the moment is now.
Some of us are friends and some of us are
enemies, and vice versa. Don't you see, 
then, how useless it all is?

Monday, August 14, 2017

9839. RUDIMENTS, pt. 43

Making Cars
Science is mostly about naming things.
At one level anyway. Philosophy is a bit
like that too, except that in Philosophy
there is supposed to be a conceptual
meaning behind things. Good luck with
that one. The good thing about Philosophy,
on the other hand, is that it does allow you
to step, or walk, backwards and talk your
way out of most anything. Once you put
a name on something in the 'real' world,
you're stuck. Like the planet. 'Pluto.'
As I was out, walking through that real
world, everything around me was getting
filtered into me. Not in a narcissistic way
-  I'm not meaning that  -  but in  away
that afforded me both shelter and progress.
I had never had that before; more than likely
I'd had one or the other but never the two
together. All through my early years I
never much understood why things were
as they were. Furniture that was kept
covered, let's say  -  to me that was like
having the Book of Revelation but never
opening it. Who wants to sit on clear plastic?
The concept behind that is that the owner
of this junk is able to show off their
finely-made and proud possession of
fabric and furniture BUT, apparently, not
well-off enough, behind their facade, to
replace it as and when it wears out. But,
the purpose of furniture, I'd think, is use.
You name it, call it what you will  -  sofa,
couch, settee  -  and by naming it you own
the concept, yet you falsify that concept by
obscuring the factor of 'use,' which is really
the only factor and reason why these
things exist. That was the sort of thinking
adults always seemed to do  -  a bit of
denial and insistence. I never was able to
understand that, and never did much want
to. Like, all our fathers had gone to war;
only slightly talked about it, but the world
was not really changed in any way because
of it, and that was never talked about.
Whatever they had done, by ten simple
years later they'd all allowed themselves
to be led by the nose into the roles of
consumer, dupe, fool, and know-nothing.
That too baffled me. What had any of
it been worth? To come home to a little
house, with a room you 'named' a 'den,'
say, and put a 'television' in? Those were
all words, chosen and selected to represent
something. But useless somethings.
They simply threw everything else away.
Except maybe for a small, dark stream of
beat, angry, existential-type non-conformists,
their 'America' had been fought over, the
world around it salvaged, and then, betrayed.
Mama got her kitchen; Dad got his den.
In Avenel, all of life was continuity. It was
a really simple place, new houses, only really
a street at all of a few of the most simple,
displaced kinds of businesses, and then the 
highway, where you could maybe find 
something if you needed. Before the advent 
of 'today' there was none of the centered, 
parking-strip, clustered small business 
fronts as there are today, every 2000 feet.
Today there's junk everywhere, and everyone
brings a car to the junk. 60 years ago, no
way; there was little semblance of that and 
places like 'Avenel,' if they did exist off 
a map, were simple pass-throughs not 
worth a darn. I truly came from nowhere.
I got fascinated, and quickly, by places that
had a past  -  even the most rudimentary of 
a past. As a Boy Scout, kid-jerk, we'd camp
in Edison at 'Raritan Arsenal.' And also at
Camp Kilmer. I was maybe 9 years old and
what attracted me to those places was their
'space' and the way they'd managed it. It was
military stuff, yes, so that it was in its way
regimented. Not regimented like plastic
furniture coverings regiment a room, but
rather just plainly and mathematically lined
out in a quaint military-fashion of thinking.
Barracks, mess hall, parade ground, path,
barracks, path to parade ground, path to
mess hall. You had to think in those terms;
terms wherein artificial words took on real
meaning by what they did. Utility. There
was rank and unity and protocol and  -  guess
what  -  things were made of wood! Yes,
all these buildings  -  nothing large, all 
human scale  -  were just repeated one 
after the other and the layouts were the same.
But inside, you got the feel of space, totally
different from the feel I'd learned to live with.
It's difficult to explain, and here I am 60 years 
later trying to tell of it, but it telegraphed, to
me another sort of living, a different view of 
life. If you could live (forget the military aspect)
with that peculiar sort of reflective quality, and
think about it all as you did, it seemed to me
you'd have a much better grasp on life and 
possibility. Today, as I go to places what
somehow maybe still retain some idea of that,
although everything is ninety percent gone, I
can still in my head run it all backwards and 
return to that place. Cars on gravel, wooden
buildings centered on a grassy plot, genteel
shadings of overhangs and decorated eaves, a
sort of silence, a short-form of solitude, a
reservation for place and patience. That's 
where most parts of me still live, or strive
 to, or want to get to. I think that's why I
write, and why I create. It's like naming, but
it's making  -  in a philosophical way I own
the concept by inhabiting it. No plastic on 
my reality at all. It's all just there.


Listen swingframe bullshit centrifuge
I'm already so sick of you like I'm sick
of death, and water, and harm, and life.
And like the pickle barrel of brine, threading
a notion in the salty, dark time, I can only
say, 'go home, why don't you, go home.'
If that's from where you ever left : which
fact will be vouched for by no one like me,
having never seen your tepid face nor heard
your tepid words. Cowards. You are dull.
But, having been promised and seduced into
believing all these things, I can see you go
willingly forth. I saw today 'KPop' for peace.
a thousand stupid Koreans at the south massed
to listen to pop drivel to keep a war from
happening. And oh so yes, that'll do it.
Like anything else, an idea as stupid as dung.
In this country those hordes are the same sorts
of people  -  after a rally in Charlottesville  -
a mass of people and twisted youths take to
celebratory dancing in the street. An 'anti'
guy mows them down with a car. A part of
me, (quite frankly), wants to say 'Good! Drain
the gutter of the fools.' Another part realizes
fetishes such as evil, harm, ideology, and deceit.
So much for the heat. Who is anyone, and I repeat,
anyone, to alter history, to change the recollection,
to remove all concept  -  be it a statue or any other
frank memorial? What are these people's problems?
And what is really wrong with them, in this late day
and age? Too much sugar, or too much stupid? Or
maybe the idiot-pablums of how they were raised  -
all that he pending geekology of Sesame Street 
childhoods willing to withstand nothing but for 
rhyme and laughter and a dance to pleasure's
principals. Too many orgasms? Too much fun?
So now I come, to ask you  -  you tell me. What
is it? Trying to fiercely re-take and re-own any
altered narrative is simply not right. Not today,
not tonight. So, the next time you're 'dancing'
in the street for ideology that can't be beat, and
if you notice a swiftly arriving car  -  drop your
self-absorption and get out of the way. Deal?


Every year when August came along I'd figure
it's my last : then, boy what a disappointment.
But, that was my used-to-be; I've tried to stop
that now. Like a come-along chain that
mechanics use, I just try to keep rolling ahead.
Life is a drawing of death, in pieces; we
keep filling up space with our pencils
until that page is filled.

9836. RUDIMENTS, pt.42

Making Cars
I used to get heavy-down about
things; wondering a lot about 'is it
normal, or useful, for a writer to
carry around the 'past' as a burden?'
I finally decided that it was. A
definite yes; it went with the power
and the glory of being all that  -  art,
writing, thought, arguing back and
forth, the 'disputations' of a world
which was also disputatious. Every
other opportunity in the world was
at the ready, opening its door for me,
to entice me away. Oh, how I wanted
not to fall. But  -  as with a pretty girl,
I suppose  -  it finally got to me and
won me over. Always against my own
better wishes, but like a fool, I went.
A person cannot spend the rest of
his or her days ruing and regretting
all that  -  or I don't think so anyway.
I went ahead, no matter whether
anything added up or not.
I met a truck driver today, from Florida,
in his big rig, sitting at the side of a road,
right where he was going to stay for the
night, sleeping in his sleeper cab. We talked
but a moment, a quick little joke or two
about some old factory building that was
there. He said he'd come up from Florida,
the truck was full (tractor-trailer) and, since
it was Sunday afternoon, he was going to
park and stay right there, for the morning
shift to arrive, and be first in line for unloading.
A truckload of cheese, he had, going in to
a cheese distribution warehouse  -  restaurants
and such. When we were done, he shut down,
adjusted his air-control for the inside of the
sleeper, covered up his windows, and turned
in. What a life! I was almost envious  -  tooling
around, 7 or 8 states away, 1200 miles from
home, a real road-guy. He just seemed normal
and total and regular. Nothing bugging him,
not even the 14 hour wait. That was all I
could never be. I'd go stir crazy in two hours.
Maybe the possibilities abounded and were
endless, once.  He was going (my practical,
stupid knowledge here), to be empty once
they unloaded him, with that long trip back
to Florida due. One thing you NEVER do
when driving like that is go back home,
empty. That's a dead trip, nothing in it,
no profit, lost mileage. These truck guys
have freight-brokers they contract with who,
for a fee, keep them loaded and happy : 'OK,
you're coming up to NYC, when you empty
in Elizabeth, I've got four skids for you to
load for Georgia, in Jersey City, at Chandler
Lamp, and another seven skids of clothing
at the Textile Center warehouse in the Jersey
Meadows. For Orlando. If you want another
stop, there are three skids in Charlottesville
that go to South Carolina.' Gypsy caravan time,
for sure. Nothing like living on the road. In
fact, I used to think, if not being a driver,
it would be pretty cool to be one of those
broker-guys, arranging all this stuff, the
contracts and pick-ups and routings. Home
office, work one's own desired load and
that would be that. More wishful thinking;
I'd not know the half about it and there are
probably a hundred really annoying factors
factors that go with it all. From insurance,
to trust and fulfillment in the drivers, etc.
No time to think.
What room there is in that for brooding, for
art, for doubt and distaste, I don't know. He
seemed to have none of that, though he also
seemed not to notice that I could hardly hear
him over the roar of his idling truck, and the
compressor cooling his interior. So maybe h
wasn't so sharp after all; or at least not as an
actor. An actor-guy would know how to 'project,'
and know that he had to. But, anyway.
All across New York City, from most every
direction, there were trucks. You'd think of it 
as the stupidest place in the world for that sort
of traffic and commence  -  and it really is  - 
yet it goes on. Canyoned streets, vertical buildings,
no places to park large trucks, everything has to
off-load at street level, and go UP, usually in
really miserable freight elevators. The helping
hand and loading dock guys are mostly marginal
characters, half the time up to no good. You
turn your back, something's missing. Parking
cops are everywhere, ready to pounce for the
double-park, the time violations, whatever.
People are angry, cars back up on narrow streets,
their fuming and yelling occupants ready to
kill, everything is aggression; no one's happy.
Everyone's skin and face is pale, bad sunlight,
dirty streets, pollution, junk food everywhere,
rats and pigeons, leaky water and who-knows-
what-else running in the gutters; all that crap
gets all over you. In the heat your skin crawls.
The streets get oven-like, while inside the
buildings they keep it set at maybe 12 degrees
above freezing. It's 114 degrees at curbside and
the indoor people are wearing sweaters. All
things are crazy  -  tunnels, bridges, traffic 
jams, fees, fender-benders, tickets, a paucity 
of bathrooms. Yep, that's what I want to do, 
that's how I want to spend my time, that's 
where I want to be. Please, get me another 
load of bananas, the whole truckload, to 
deliver to these monkeys in their zoos.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


All that raven stuff and talking birds and
magical fingertips. All true. Yep, I lit a fire 
once from the end of my index finger. If
you don't believe in such mystical magic,
you're leading a very constrained life. Open
up to the possibilities of all things other.
The landscapes around here are just fields
of horror, like Kampuchea of old (hey,
who remembers that?). First we bombed
it to smithereens with our Nixonian
incursions, with Kissinger too, then after
the fires cooled we allowed their local pride
to change the name back to Kamupuchea  -
famed kingdom of old. Now it's Cambodia
once again. Pol Pot be damned.
And then, I open the newspaper yesterday
morning and  -  who's there  -  Henry Kissinger
redux, telling me all about how we should solve
the Korean problem. Yesiree, Hammerin' Hank,
just like he never had left.

9834. IGLOO

I've got an igloo on order.
It better get here fast.
I expedited the shipping.
All those darn fees.
Maybe that will help.


Should we be beating this horse? Should we
be feeding it oats instead? Does that bring
anything to a change at all? Should we be
standing here together deducting the cost
of trinkets? Has the man with the rolling 
wagon left yet? Kids still are looking 
around. In small towns like this they
seem to look to find meaning in
every little thing.
Over there, I still remember, it was The
Rialto. In 1961. A tiled movie theater,
a bit like a palace in fact, in a hardware
dump town like this. I think, as well, I
saw 'Anatomy of a Murder' there. My
own mother never found out  -  it was
an adult film in those days; not sex, I
mean just an adult theme : murder. My
Grandmother took me to see it; she
didn't care, even if I was just only 10.