Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the Alfanoose

Journal #53

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
1:43—In an obscure and nameless restaurant on  lower Mott Street down where it reaches its southernmost conclusion. The entire interior: walls, ceilings, chairs, tables, menus, and waiters—are all evenly and delicately coated with a very thin film of blackened grease, giving the impression of an old painting whose glazes have tarnished and gone dark, and which slows down my sense of time as I must first travel through the intermediary of the layer of glaze before I can reach the image beneath it. (A slow read)

A not disagreeable feeling of resignation and weariness embraces you in the interior—as if the waiters, managers, and owners had long ago given up any pretense of competitiveness or entrepreneurship (which in fact, they had)—as I select a table midway down the aisle. Why do I patronize such an appalling place? Because I am an appalling man, and because the layer of grease in the interior drives away the more aggressive and intolerable of the tourists who swarm the area, (even though I myself, am a kind of tourist... my travels in Chinatown allow me to escape from the constant and eternal chatter that surrounds us all—but down here it is buffered by the intervention of the Chinese language—better not to know about the endless stultifying trivialities... )

Ordered “Chicken w/ Ginger & Scallion on Rice” from the portentous pages of the menu...

1:59—It’s become somewhat oppressive in here—gotta get back on the move.
Restless Man.
That dish was not fresh: slight rancidity detected...
Ready to get the hell out of here!

3:08—In the phantom interior of the cavernous Alfanoose!
On Maiden Lane, right around the corner from the crepuscular alley called Liberty Place. [One of my favorite streets, at least until they removed the scaffolding and renovated the Win Won restaurant—both of which ruined the Stygian gloom which was really the sole attraction of the street]

The Alfanoose [One of the rare establishments along my usual route that actually offers decent and reliable cuisine] wobbles between past and present as it floats uncertainly down at the bottom of the heaving city. Several lost incarnations [one of which used to be wedged into a tiny storefront up on Fulton Street, right off of Broadway] of the Alfanoose vie for dominance, until it settles grudgingly on a certain compromise—unsatisfying to all concerned.

Under the yellow-orange light of one of the hanging lamps, I watch as Journal #53 records something called: "Posthumous Impressions of Thomas Paine Park"

Trying to find my way back into the original Vision of the Park in a rotting half-dream.
[I cannot possibly convey to you what it was that I saw that night back in the now remote year of 2003, and I display the journal entries and accompanying photos merely as markers or place holders. But let me explain: I had momentarily stopped to rest in the park as I made my way down to Fulton and Nassau Streets that evening. I had been poisoned* and then rendered homeless in the year 2001—I was desperate and exhausted, and in a state of awe and wonderment at having been rescued and given a (temporary) place to stay down here at the bottom of the city. As I sat on a bench facing south and stared up at the courthouse buildings, the city seemed to rear up, the buildings achieving colossal and monumental proportions. They seemed to me to have taken on the aspect of symbols—a portal had opened up heralding my arrival down here and the buildings towered over the park at crazy angles—the black branches of the overhanging trees became scarecrows... I felt as if transported back to early childhood... and on the brink of hallucination I arose and made my way up the hill towards a new and unknown chapter of my life. But this vision was/is lost to me and the mundane "facts" of the park and the courthouse buildings intrude... obliterating the grand amphitheater... and where is the vision? Where does it exist now?
—B. Spaeth, from the thrice-removed and hopelessly obscure vantage point of April 11, 2013]

Conjure-Stone Mechanics:
On a spectral Autumn night as I made my way down into the Embarcadero...
While fleeing the lost street of Kenmare**, heading towards my new home.
I looked up at the towering sight of the courthouses at the top of the hill/magnificent/ghostly:
The Herald of the Dream at the bottom of the Old City.
Right behind the courthouse, down the ancient street called Nassau, and hidden from view at this odd angle, stood the mighty spectacle of the Holy Bennett Building*** [My destination!]!

Imploring, cajoling, summoning, I wind my way back down through the old streets—grown impossibly distant in the mere interval of three or four years... since I was driven out into the night of Fulton in 2005 by savage toxins and chem-solvent fury****!
But re-entry is almost impossible—I am denied admittance to the Interstitial City!
The city churns, fulminates, and breaks up amid mountains of dirt, dust, brick, and other psychic debris.
Old Cortex Street

In the fading light of the Alfanoose... still half-sick from yesterday’s poisoning.

3:26—Yearning for re-entry into the Old Dream: Apotheosis denied at Alfanoose.
A mocking calendar on the wall and the de-natured stares of husks passing by outside on Maiden Lane. Growing sleepy here in this banishment... dreams illuminated by strands of poisonous light bulbs.
We move through phantom routes, oblivious of our own demise: a dream observed through a poison scrim...
Monolith & Cadaver Streets

Tired, restless, afternoon frailties in Darkest Absentia.

I suppose that I should head up to the ruins of WSQ...

3:39—The fatigue holds me motionless.

Better to keep moving...

/// supernatural fiction /// phantom cities /// dreamscapes ///

* Poison-Fueled Literature, Vol. IV, Oak-Tag Press, 2001
** The Lost Books of Kenmare, B.F. Spaeth, Serious Ink Press, 2004  
*** A Tale of the Old Pastel Bennett Building, B.F. Spaeth,    Rexograph Press, 2005
**** The Fatal Renovation, B.F. Spaeth, Stat-House Books, 2003


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