Tuesday, January 31, 2017


It doesn't always
take a magician to
make magic. Things
have a way of doing
it themselves : the
magic of disappearance,
or the magic of appearing,
coming back, returning,
if even in a different
guise. At 85 W. 3rd
Street was the house
in which Edgar Allen
Poe had lived, with his
wife, I think, when he
he wrote The Raven.
He lived in other 
locations over time 
as well, but this one 
was nearby, quite 
accessible to me, 
and, I thought, 
welcoming. In 
addition to the 
old Northern 
Dispensary, of 
which I've also 
written, here, early 
on, these two places 
formed, amidst these 
streets I was living 
upon, my own small 
circle of place. It 
was always very 
warming for me 
to have this. I'd 
go here, and just 
sit  - across the 
street there was 
some sort of a 
fire house or 
something, and 
there were a 
few places to sit 
 -  not benches 
or anything, 
because in 1967
the world wasn't 
yet quite that 'all-
welcoming' and 
open, but parts of 
the stonework and 
foundations of the 
buildings which 
had places to sit 
on. I'd just do 
there; lost in my 
own references. 
That was '67, '68, 
long back. In 
about 2005 NYU, 
as it usually does, 
gobbled this up 
to  -  rapacious 
land-users that 
they are. Local 
and neighborhood 
opposition went 
on for a while, 
but the University 
won. Funny thing; 
their idea of solving 
this puzzle was to
 re-erect, on the 
front portion of 
their new construction, 
what they call a 
of the old Poe House. 
It's right there; I 
guess the same 
bricks and windows 
and all, which they 
must have saved. It 
looks like that 
anyway, but it's 
all false  -  just a 
fake front wall 
of what-once-was, 
slapped right onto 
the new construction 
  -  offices, doorway 
and school stuff. 
Pretty funny. Ersatz 
as all get-out, but 
it still passes itself
 off as historic, 
and not everyone's 
the wiser for it.
Now all NYU need 
do is make up some 
good, walloping 
stories about the 
place, and ring 
up some student 
guides who like 
to talk and babble
 about made-up 
stuff, and they 
could have a real 
go of it. If everything 
reaches an eventual 
plateau enough of 
unreality, then they 
could own that 
'narrative' pretty 
darn well and 
near to complete, 
as well.
Over at the 
Studio School, 
I used to revel 
in the atmospherics 
of the past therein. 
That was a real 
humdinger of a 
building : a 
joining of what 
was once three 
into one, and 
an adjoining 
building which 
was used as a 
Youth Hostel. 
The Studio School 
portion of it all, 
those three 
buildings, you'd 
maybe never know 
about, except for 
the endless and 
twisty, long 
stairways and 
the sort of 
way a lot of the 
halls and spaces 
went. There wasn't 
a real 'road map' 
for the unified 
building, so at first, 
for me, a lot of it 
was hit or miss, 
or hit and miss, 
or whatever is 
said in that phrase. 
Mysteries abounded  
- plus there was 
the usual assortment 
of 'haunted' and 
'ghosts' and 'noises' 
in the night. None 
of it true, of course. 
I should  know because 
I lived there, in the 
basement, for a 
good period of 
my time there  -  
having been blasted 
out of my own 
place on e11th 
when the cops 
busted it and took 
everything and 
everyone away. 
I had already moved 
out because they'd 
turned the whole 
place into a mess 
of people. 16 at 
last count, AWOL 
military kids, running 
off to Canada. We'd 
been running it as 
a safe-house of 
sorts, and it 
blossomed into 
a mass-evacuation 
center for people 
on the run from 
Vietnam service. 
A lot more too, 
but I'm not going 
into that now. I 
sensed the end 
was near, and 
just stopped 
going back  -  
after the one 
time that no one 
knew who I was.
 I had to say, 
'Well, fine fellows 
and gals, it's actually 
MY apartment you 
see.' That was it 
for me. I let Andy 
Bonomo run with 
it, and eventually 
so many bad things 
started happening 
that they all got 
taken away and 
the stupid apartment 
was police-taped 
like a God-damned 
murder scene. 
Which it was too, 
but I'm not going 
there right now either.  
So I started staying 
in the basement of 
the Whitney, I mean 
Studio School, 
where, after Mercedes 
Matter and other 
got wind of my 
plight, it was 
realized that they, 
suddenly, really 
would like a 'night 
watchmen' on 
premise. There 
were all sorts 
of creaks and 
noises, but I 
never saw any 
untoward visages, 
ghosts, spirits, 
ghouls or vampires 
either, for that 
matter. But, man 
oh man, if I had a 
narrative of my 
own made up, 
I could'a been 
as big as 
P. T. Barnum.
That's all this life 
is; a fiction. It's a 
piece of this and 
a piece of that, 
all stuck together 
and given a scene 
in which to play. 
How strange it 
all is. In a way,
at one level, I always 
wanted  to either 
'tell' my story, or
'sell' my story. I
never did sell it, and
am still pretty much 
a pauper; but I sure
do tell it, I guess.

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