Saturday, January 14, 2017


'Eve, I've dreamed 
of apples again.' I 
often thought about 
things like that, 
dreams and all 
the rest, when I
considered 'Life' 
and what it may 
be, or have been, 
or could be.  In
Ithaca, the entire 
time I was there, 
something was 
always hanging 
in the air  -  
maybe Ithaca was 
a spiritual place, 
somewhat more 
than others, or 
maybe it was 
just all those 
types of people 
walking around 
on the high hills 
of the campus. 
What was really 
funny was the 
'cliche' of 
Chinese people  
-  as seen in 
San Francisco 
vignettes, etc., 
(I hadn't been 
there, to San 
Francisco yet, 
at that time) 
with their funny 
little footsteps 
and determined, 
brisk walk-paces 
up and down the 
hills. In Ithaca, 
that was certainly 
real, brought to 
life, and not so 
cliched. There 
were plenty 
of Asians, 
doing just 
that. It was 
almost an 
place, as of 
a dream-scape 
creation. And 
there really 
were little 
people constantly 
in motion, up 
and down the 
hills, with their 
deliberate, anxious, 
fast steps. There 
were rocks and 
walls everywhere, 
twisty lanes and 
paths. Any person 
certainly felt 
that they were 
a real part of 
the geography 
there. Cars 
were mostly an 
especially in 
Winter and 
Winter's storms  
-  sideways, 
failing about, 
people AND 
cars. The idea 
of heights and 
hills really 
made you 
think. Made 
me think (I 
don't know 
about you). 
It just cleared 
the head  -  
there's something 
about a non-straight 
line by which to get 
somewhere that 
brings out the 
animal instinct 
of thought, some 
more primitive 
and basic 
that's within 
each of us. 
The landscape 
sings to our souls  
-   for want of 'place' 
so many of us 
remain disgruntled. 
You could certainly 
feel that there.
Up or over 
anyway, at 
the other part 
of town  -  in 
a farther-off 
direction, coming
 in, from the 
Elmira side, 
as it were  -  
there was this 
crazy Buddhist 
halfway house 
type thing. I've
 written of it 
before, either 
in an early 
chapter here 
or in one of 
the other two 
books on all 
this subject 
and era  -  (I'm 
intending on 
calling this 
'Three Lives,' 
all together. 
It's one life, 
but told three 
different times 
in three different 
ways, in one 
volume, and 
with different 
incidences. A
good compilation.  
And it shall be very 
unique).  As was this
Buddhist house  -  a 
twisty old house, 
lots of it, rooms and 
space, filled with 
a fairly motley 
assortment of 
recovering addicts, 
hippies, criminals 
and, even weirder, 
Buddhist monks  
-  real ones  -  
who took care 
of them. They 
sold pies and 
cookies and 
clothing. Pottery.
All sorts of 
bizarre goings-
on. We stopped 
most every time  
- to visit. Inside 
it was curtained, 
incense'd, dim, 
meditation music 
always going, 
pillows, chairs, 
couches, all 
quiet otherwise;
wispy, fragile girls 
and guys, everybody 
seemed hurt and 
wounded, as if we 
were in a den 
of young, vulnerable 
deer who'd been 
winged by gunshot 
and were getting 
better, slowly.  
The crazy monks, 
all they ever 
seemed to do 
was smile and 
bow, funny 
monk grins on 
all their faces, 
hands always 
held together 
in front of their 
bodies. Our son 
was about five 
then, and they 
all doted and 
fussed, each 
time, as if he 
was the center 
of (their) attraction. 
It had about it 
all a sense of 
I thought  - as 
if they accepted 
us, and him, 
because we never 
brought them any 
problems and 
they could become 
children for the 
hour, with the 
child we always 
Pretty strange. 
For myself, 
on the other 
hand, I was 
dark matter, 
a black hole, 
compared to 
them  -  it would 
drive me nuts, 
these people. 
All I'd think 
about was 
how could 
anyone be so 
distant and 
naive about 
things to live 
like this. So 
fragile. That 
happiness had 
to be fake. I 
thought about 
sex, constantly  
-  all these people, 
who was doing 
whom, what 
were all these 
sweet girls up 
to, how did it 
all work? Even 
today, when I 
see his sort of 
thing, or the 
Dalai Lama 
or any of that 
stuff, I wonder 
what the heck 
is possibly going 
on with these 
people. Where's 
the animal in such 
a freak show? Or 
is it just me? 
I think 'where 
must these 
people be,' 
now, 45 years 
later give or 
take  -  did they 
make it out of 
their mess, did 
they survive? Did 
they manage to 
salvage anything, 
or build something 
new? Are they 
the old parents
now of the 
children they'd 
seemed to wish 
for then? I've 
revisited that 
house, just 6 
months back, 
and it's now just 
a vacant ghost 
on the side of an 
expanded and 
newly busy highway  
-  weedy, overgrown 
abandoned, and 
painful to see. 
I'd a' cried, if 
I had a damn 
tear left in me. 
My life has 
turned dowdy 
and dense, but 
I've got dreams, 
and memories,
to go on.

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