Saturday, April 29, 2017



I had an unwitting energy and a manic propulsion to walk seaward - edge to edge the crazy island swarmed with people and water and as the two went together it was everywhere merged - men in dark coats trudging dutifully in early morning lights towards their rendezvous with 17th floor windows lit early with light from within - a yellowing light seen from below - and the lobbies of the many downtown buildings which took them in had as much eager activity inside as out - the newly married apprentice businessmen types learning their means and methods as they sorted through life (that new apartment on 21st and that new little lady left in the apartment) and career : everyone so serene and vacuous in the same way that they were striving and greedy to make it big : that slalom to the top regardless of who got hurt along the way and like a piston pushing from below the entire apparatus was one of profit/loss and accounting and making every and each tiny little dollar count for something - lawyers trained in laws used to sue and doctors seeking medicine which would make them rich and all about them too people were lined up to take part : soldiers and sailors and psychiatrists and counselors everywhere and wherever I turned there was something or someone needy showing up and people seeking advice from others while giving none themselves - taxi drivers impatient at red-lights staring ahead as they brazenly ran through them BUT YET for myself it was all different - I kept losing things and I could find nothing and so I had nothing just the endless declensions of Latin words the endless lists of encyclopedia entries and the scribblings in journals one after the other and picture postcards of things I savored : Empire State Building Chrysler Woolworth United Nations and the Savoy the Plaza the Algonquin the Pierre and the Waldorf or any of those grand hotels perched on nothing but air and filled with stories and everywhere I went there was something to take or get or see and bring back with me : yet again I was alone and singular and I literally had nothing NOTHING except these collections of junk mementos or the broken things I'd pick up on the street (by those counts I was wealthy indeed) and in such a fashion it went on - the endless turmoil of the Vietnam years and the people parading stamping screaming and steaming all along the streets and squares with protests demonstrations hunger strikes burnings and the rest - the mass of impractical rules and laws controlling draft and service and the wiry induction center on lower Broadway - the quaint and odd old building spired up like some new branch of an evil hell filled in its corridors with the dour and stupid bureaucrats of fake power and elan pulling kids in to churn them out as draftees inductees fodder to be killed and maimed for the Johnson/Nixon bullshit machine and I watched and stayed with it all - Nixon's proud yet stupid post-election and pre-inaugural President-elect set-up in the Hotel Pierre where he immediately began living like luxury like some fearsome King of old all puffed up with power and intent - no one stopped him and no one cared and six years after Kennedy another bullet in the head to him wouldn't have much mattered for EVERYTHING was spiraling down and I lived on 8th Street and I lived on 11th and I stayed at places all in between - 1st Street 14th Street and all the lofts and studios through the west 20's and places too on the eastside with its towers and doormen and money and presence : everything swarmed and in it all I swam : the police who swaggered through the park with billy clubs at the ready and the mobs of disenfranchised and angry nobodies who shouted back at them and the crazies who doused themselves with holy water and then screamed or the lines of girls at the Judson Memorial Church holding candles for the dead soldiers whose names were posted out front on a daily basis and there were no comrades-in-arms NOT because there were no arms but because there were NO COMRADES as everyone went diving for themselves and little else - quick-study romances wherein boy-rebel gets girl-rebel or hippie meets hippie and they happily fornicate forever - all it ever was was a nightmare kingdom of liquor and law and drugs and sloth and let no one ever tell you different - for yes I was there and yes I swam in the same oily muck as the rest and maybe (just maybe) the only man I ever killed was myself.

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