RUDIMENTS, pt. 13
Along about the time I was done with
a lot of this NYC-environment stuff, the
feeling started arising that I better be
skedaddling off because it was getting
a bit too hot around there for me. There
had been some crimes, a raided apartment,
police tape, and even some dead bodies.
Not cool. And yet, I hesitated greatly to lose
my dream. It just wasn't right. I'd had
too much riding on it all, and it just seemed
falling away. If you've ever read Huckleberry
Finn, you may recall the scene where Huck's
Pappy, mostly just called 'Pap' - after being
portrayed as a mean, vindictive and ornery
cuss, is found, or turns up, dead in the cabin
of an old wandering watercraft. Huck's
sidekick here, the runaway slave Jim,
conceals the body from Huck, concocting
a story, just like Huck concocts a story to
keep the river-men who are out hunting for
a 'runaway' slave (Jim) by telling them of
some horrid disease and situation on that
raft - to scare them off and keep them
away. The story is at least two stories deep
and related well. All these little episodes
bounce around and off each other, progressing
and making the story attractive. It's kind
of a writer's game, to concoct and produce
such 'narrative' movement. Adventure tales.
Of course, certain sorts of writing just don't
lend themselves to that sort of extended suspense.
Like this one, mainly because I have to stick
better to facts and things that really happened,
and because I'm not making things up; this
is my life, so to speak. Not even 'so
to speak;' it just is.
Jim doesn't wish for Huck to either see or
know the truth about that dead body - certainly
not to find out it was his father. He concocts
a story (three stories deep now) about an
old tramp found dead in the corner. Period.
That's what all this had become like for me :
bits and pieces of bad folklore, things I
smelled that were just bad. And it was all
getting ranker - even though I was no longer
around it. I figured just as those draft-board
jerks had able to locate me, so too eventually
would the regular NYPD hippie-crime-dude
corps be coming to get me. Anyway, I was
supposed to be a famous artist by now (thought
I) and that too wasn't happening. My friends
were all good. The spaces I lived in and moved
around in were all good. I knew lots of really
cool people, and was constantly learning. But
my fatal flaw, as I saw it, was my bum upbringing.
Inconsequential, to be sure. The silver spoon
that maybe was supposed to have been in my
mouth, or hand - however that 'privilege' thing
goes - was instead jammed right up my ass since
day one, and it weren't made of no silver either.
So I just kept turning my eyes away from that
gruesome scene in the corner.
I guess you could say I was estranged, but
from what I'm not so sure. I disliked Avenel,
but it was home - my senses had been honed
there, mostly in the senselessness of whatever
was there. At age 11 anyway (closer to 12), I
was gone even from there. Cumulative knowledge
is sometimes the only sort there is, because once
you begin trying to pick and sort it out, all the
little pieces of what you've learned just fall away.
If you stop seeing the larger picture, the small
pieces just begin looking really foul. What keeps
the soul and the spirit going - nay, soaring - is
that 'eyes on the prize' sort of grand flight. 'Don't
sweat the small stuff,' my friend Ace used to say.
After being away until age 16, I was unceremoniously
dumped right back into that same hideous Avenel -
it was crazy. In the time I'd been away no one had
moved off dead center. Some of the girls had
grown, budding breasts and all that, but there
had been no concomitant blossoming of mind,
brain, or intellect. Or consciousness. Avenel
was ALL small stuff. That dinner jacket no
longer fit me, for sure. I was bursting the buttons
and the seam down the back too had just split.
What did anyone there have to offer me? Basketball
at the local church hall, a hot rod running down
Avenel Street, glass-packed and noisy but nothing
at all? Most of the 'boys' were gung-ho about, well
about nothing. The mix was bad. I had to do it all
by myself, and that entailed getting out.
One cool memory I have, breathtaking in its
simplicity, but symbolic as all get-out too, was
a car, along Avenel Street, at about, maybe, #50
in the house row there. I saw it day after day,
and had never seen its like before. The design
ethos kicked in, trashed my brain with desire.
Th car itself apparently never moved. It was
an Olds Toronado, first year style, when that
design format was still new. I'd never seen
anything like it; a primitive power, a form
of metal I'd not seen before. My inner-head
art ethos took over; I was unstoppable and knew
I just had to break away and go far, far off from
any of those usual idiot pursuits of job, degree,
money and the rest. Prestige. Name. Niceties.
Fashion. Style. That was all for idiots. Not me.
One never knows what's going to really hit
home, and seep away all your reticence and
reluctance to break ranks and run. It could
be the darnedest, stupid thing. It could be
a mosquito or a paper airplane. It could be the
slow rise you see while gazing upon a girl's dress,
the breathing, the human quality inherent in the
wear, it could be a racehorse, snorting. Right
then and there, in little, old dip-shit Avenel,
it was an Oldsmobile Toronado of some
impossible and muscular proportions; and
I swear, it took me away.