Friday, May 24, 2013

In The Chalk Circle, Part 3

Saturday, March 12, 2010

9:06—In the Giant Bagel [Now gone forever—and I can find no photographic record of its existence—lost to us!] near the train station on Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn.

This dump always seems to be functioning at a minimal level, and appears to be designed to repel any potential customers. The place is laid out all wrong somehow—unclassifiable, anecdotal architecture—depending upon where my eye falls, I may alternately feel that I am in a dime-store casbah, an abandoned minimalist luncheonette, or perhaps the stuccoed coat-room of a run-down Greek restaurant. Smell of rancid grease—only two or three tables—there’s usually no one else in here—oppressive music—most of the staff can be won over with a few convivial remarks (which I’m normally not capable of).
Melancholy view of Cortelyou Road from the window table that I normally manage to secure.
The best thing about the place is the large white sign outside, with the huge orange type announcing “Giant Bagel”.

Feeling a little better today. Ah!—a fresh journal—a new start. I am slowly starting to lay the groundwork for my disability/compensation onslaught! I have been on the run for over ten f*cking years—ever since the attack—and I’m still not out of the woods! The dust from the pulverized towers is still in my body: microscopic slivers of asbestos, coated with deadly chemical compounds! Ruined my health! Bastards! I called up the WTC Compensation Center (or whatever it’s called) yesterday and started the ball rolling. They are supposed to call me within seven days and then I can come in for an appointment. Meanwhile, I’m gonna get all of my medical history together and write down all the names, dates, addresses, etc.
The music in here is cutting right through my head! Who needs this screeching early in the morning?

Thursday, March 17, 2010
1:01—In the Albatross Café off Union Square

In the crepuscular confines of the back room—air is always stuffy—odor of garbage, rotten food, and ammonia—a hidden generator hums and vibrates at a nameless pitch—windows look in/out onto the pale yellow brick of the interior courtyard of the apartment complex: a strange view, as if looking through the glass of an aquarium—people pass by, but rarely turn to look into the interior of this lost wedge of space, but when they do it’s always a shock and fills me with dread—a small patch of sky visible—horrid radio noise pumped in and giant tv screen bolted to the wall at the far end of the narrow aisle makes the room feel even more claustrophobic—commentators bark furiously, as if aware of the competing radio—sounds commingle—tuned in/out conversations—all add up to sonic disconnect and burbling tide-wash of uncertainty and distraction—the whole raised to a penitential frequency. Why do I subject myself to it? Because the quality of the bagels is unmatched, and the coffee is borderline acceptable. I return, again and again.
Someone from the 911 Benefits called me and took down some info. He’ll be sending me a package with a whole bunch of forms and stuff. I think I better wait until I hear back from them before I call anyone else—I’ll just get all confused. I’ll probably hear back from them next week, hopefully.

3:48—WSQ—North-West quadrant, on a bench facing North.
Afternoon settles on the Park, ghostly and with a gentleness...
For some reason, the renovation has seemingly come to a momentary standstill, and consequently the noise and pollution is at a minimum.

I just got hit with a huge ball of pollen buds or whatever they’re called—it fell off a tree and landed right on my head!—hit me hard—and it burst into a million bits of fluff and fibers! 

It was about the size of a ping-pong ball—all heavy and moist—and now it’s all in my hair, down my neck and back and in my shirt—all over the damn place! Now I’m all itching, and full of microscopic, asbestos-like fibers! I had no idea those things were so nasty. It was almost like someone threw it at me—or the tree threw it at me! I don’t like this—it’s a curse of some sort—what if those fibers get into my system and mess me up somehow—what if they somehow begin to sprout inside me?

I consider this a bad omen...

/// supernatural fiction  ///  Washington Square Park ///
lucid dreaming  ///  911 ///

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sun Temple—Part 2

s my visits to the Battery became more frequent, the idea gradually grew in my mind that I was perhaps performing a kind of ritual. The first part of this ritual was similar to a physical and spiritual cleansing: I would first engage in very vigorous exercise—weight-lifting and calisthenics—all performed with no rest between the sets, in order to achieve an increased heart-rate and circulation. For an hour and a half or more, I would struggle and strain against the weights until I reached a state of exhaustion, and my heart, lungs, and muscles were pushed to the limits of their capabilities, and my blood was pumping vigorously through my veins and arteries.

The next element on this path of initiation was the liberating effect of climbing aboard a bicycle and leaving the stifling confines of my dark and damp prison of an apartment far behind me, emerging into the sunlight and skimming across town on my way to the Hudson in a state of wonderful anticipation. I always approached the Battery by the same route—as if following the dictates of a carefully prescribed spiritual path or labyrinth: left on Cooper Square—right on Bleecker—left on Carmine, (which after two blocks becomes Clarkson) then left on Washington — right on West Houston, past West Street, through the underpass, and left on the Hudson River Greenway, which ceremoniously takes me all the way down to the Battery. It is when I reach Clarkson Street that a spell overtakes me, as the city relaxes and opens up, and the river begins to be felt.

I then add the next element to this equation: the sacrament—the flowers and fruit of the Cannabis Sativa plant—the brother of man—derived from potent and exotic seeds which had been obtained under the most difficult and harrowing circumstances, deep in the Hindu Kush, by a fanatical disciple of this most complex and mysterious of all intoxicants. These same seeds—harvested from legendary strains that had been in existence since antiquity—were then brought back to America to be grown and cultivated with a scientific precision and advanced technique derived from years of exacting practice and study. The product of this extraordinary effort sat before me on my humble kitchen table: the fruit of this most benevolent plant, glistening with sugary flowers—green and yellow, and shot through with white and orange threads—a most commendable achievement! These and other treasures of the Eurasian nomads were now in my possession.

Now, as is well known, Cannabis, whether smoked or ingested, has many strange and remarkable effects upon the human mind and body, and not the least of them is that it acts as a dilator on the blood vessels and arteries—that is, it opens them up, (unlike tobacco, for instance, which has the opposite effect of constricting them). As you will recall, my blood vessels were already opened all the way up, so the addition of the dilating effects of the Cannabis has an extraordinary effect on my system. The flow of blood and oxygen to the brain is increased many times over. Also well known is that vigorous exercise produces its own euphoria, as endorphins are released into the blood, and Cannabis also provides this benefit, so a synergistic effect is produced by this potent combination of the two. The resulting euphoria that is bestowed upon a healthy and robust individual using this method can scarcely be imagined.

The aforementioned Clarkson Street[1]—usually deserted, and with no one to interfere with the ceremony— is where I smoke the sacrament that is often prescribed for the treatment of Absentmindedness. Born upon the smoke that is as old as religion itself, is a most benevolent visitation, as the silvery fruit of that divine plant is released into the blood, generating orange and gold sparks of recognition, as man is once again reunited with his dear brother, in a ritual that had already continued for three millennia by the time Herodotus encountered it. The sky opens like an immense bubble, as the world expands and pulses with saturnine colors and a powerful current courses through my body as I give myself over to the intoxication of the sun.

There is always a temptation to linger on Clarkson—that moody street that encourages reflection and digression—but the imperative of the sun and river remind me to move on. Infused and inhabited by the essence of the being that is at once a God, a plant, and a sacrament, I move away from Clarkson's tranquil embrace and resume my journey towards the river.

I turn left on Washington—right on Houston, and then move through the cool darkness of the underpass—emerging into the light, and with the sun on my back—cross the highway. At this point the river is still hidden behind the pastel green façade of the Port Authority buildings—but they suddenly come to an end and the great Hudson appears: a shattered mirror where the sun’s face has broken up into a million facets that dance white-hot on the water’s surface, creating ever-changing kaleidoscopes in a blinding display. I am overly susceptible to the effects of these mesmeric and ever-changing patterns, and as my mind locks onto them, I am shot through with white and orange currents that burn like magnesium through my synapses. I begin to feel a light-headedness that threatens my equilibrium, and as I pull my gaze away from the river, I can still see the patterns of the solar sparks on the surface of the roadway. All of my cares and concerns dissolve as the Hudson flows alongside me as I continue down along the path that runs alongside the river.

The Battery—that great slumbering theater—once again appears in front of me as I pass by the abandoned Pier A, its paralyzed clock hands revealing the exact moment of its death, and its dark and shuttered interior hoarding a wealth of ancient secrets. I walk out onto the broad expanse of the Promenade, where the heat of the sun can be felt most strongly. It is a kind of platform that announces your supplications to the Sun—a place to perform your salutations. My body feels young and strong, and gladly soaks up and absorbs the heat of the solar bath. The white surface of the Promenade is the reflection of the sun’s face and radiates its heat upwards—generating sparks from glistening sugary flowers—all shot through with white and orange strands.

Under the influence of the Liberator of Sin, the quizzical expressions of the tourists remind me that "to be a little happy is suspect, and to be very happy is quite sinful", and I also fear that I may have angered the city officials by proclaiming myself a god and introducing these strange rites to the general population.

The immense weight of the harbor at high tide commands our attention, the tourist boats rocking back & forth as the water churns and boils, and the steam colors my thoughts with rare and antique hues. A sparkling cenotaph appears before me: decorated with a carved swag of foliage and flowers, and with my own story inscribed: I am Euphoria! I can hear and feel the hot water rushing in under our feet deep beneath the Promenade, splashing and gurgling around the piles and stanchions, finding its way in through a million tiny cracks and crevasses—then exploding up—ten feet in the air— through the small circular grates set in the roadway: a spouting whale that delights the sun's dark and gold-colored children who cavort around them. Seven generations went past while I marveled at the debauch of forms and colors, and a Chaldean priest whispers into my ear:

"It is a plant that grows on the highest summits…the birds carried it 
from there in all directions…it makes the beggar's mind as exalted as 
that of the rich."­

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, these sun-scape divinations begin to wane, losing a good deal of their flame in the process, and with them my thoughts begin to cool, as Great Neptune’s Daydream[3] is tinted by an obscure nostalgia that creeps in with the tides, and seeps in stealthily right beneath our feet. 


[1] Clarkson Street, which runs east-west, was at that time untouched by modernization—it was still part of the old Manhattan, with its 19th Century warehouses, loading docks and cobblestones. There existed a peculiar emotion on this street which never failed to resonate with me… a peacefulness that offered a respite and invited contemplation.

[2] Dhalla, 1938

[3] Great Neptune’s Daydream, A Wastrels Book of Verse, Solaric Press, 1911 

/// Battery Park /// Cannabis /// Sun Cult ///

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Sun Temple—Pt. 1

he Noonday Sun, directly overhead, and suspended so low in the sky that it almost touched the roof of the apartment building in which I lived, found itself in a quandary as it tried to make its way down to me on the first floor. It peered and squinted down through the dark and narrow alley between the old tenement buildings, generating sparks and flashes as it tried to navigate the fire escapes and ledges, losing a good deal of its flame in the process—then caromed off the moldering bricks which absorbed more of its strength, and finally arrived apologetically at my dusty and decrepit window in the form of a feeble ghost. Then, with a single narrow beam of sunlight that had painstakingly found its way through the aforementioned obstacles, it slowly and carefully inscribed a small arc (no more than 12 inches in diameter) across my kitchen floor: a solar hand burning a hieroglyphic message and then, quickly—before it can be deciphered—evaporates in the gloom of that unfortunate chamber, leaving me to ponder its significance. But the message was clear, and I could feel the mighty presence of the sun—I knew it was out there—blazing right above the building, burning the black tar of the roof as it illuminated the East Village, and lending a thick crust of noon-tide colors to those gray and listless streets and buildings.

This knowledge of the sun's presence is enough to cause an intense unease and dissatisfaction—an irresistible urge to break out of that damp and dreary shell and reunite with the glorious sun, who tries so diligently to find me. He is not easily discouraged, however, and seeks me out again from another direction: as I open my apartment door I am happy to see the reflection of his face through the thick prism of the small glass panes in the front door at the end of the long hallway, as he puts the lie to the counterfeit light from the florescent bulbs in the ceiling.

Once out on the street, I feel a tremendous sense of relief at having escaped from that sepulcher once again—I feel alive, as I bask in the radiance of the God who is so great that his face cannot be looked upon without being blinded. Yes, the sun has returned and with him my imperative to continue wandering this jagged and refracting city, as I give myself over to the sun’s hot shower. But even at this glorious moment, the day’s demise has already been set in motion, as gigantic orbs twirl and turn majestically on their prescribed routes in the heavens. As the afternoon slowly rotates away from us, the euphoria begins to evaporate, and is replaced by an aching sadness and nostalgia, as the sun withdraws his favors, abandoning us to latitudes of blue, green, and violet as evening approaches.

But the sky has ignited in the west, turning an apocalyptic orange, and I have the notion that a great event is occurring, but is being obscured by the intervening buildings. Once again, I am troubled by a general sense of unease, as if life is taking place somewhere else—that I am missing out, and that I must hurry after it before it’s too late. As I hurry—almost in a panic—through the darkening streets towards the West, the great disc unexpectedly breaks through the buildings, covering me in red and gold, as I pursue it all the way down to the southernmost tip of the island, the oldest part of the city…whereupon is situated…the Battery.

* * *

I can’t recall exactly when I first started becoming infatuated with the Battery—it must have been during that painful period of my life when I had gradually begun to find myself isolated and estranged from other people. My friends had fallen away, one by one, and I had become increasingly cut off from normal associations and activities, and had instead begun to prefer the spectral and consumptive nourishment that day-dreams provide. My life had somehow lost direction, with no plans or goals—that was it, really: I was aimless—that was the root cause of my perhaps unhealthy obsession with the old Battery. The park and the harbor exerted a powerful psychological pull on me—a magnetic force that brought me back day after day.

Now, the Battery, by this time, had fallen into a state of neglect and disrepair—its roads and walkways eroded and crumbling—its beds untended and overgrown—its statues and monuments pitted and stained—its fountains run dry, and it’s buildings blackened from decades of exposure to the soot of the diesel engines of the boats that sail in that ancient harbor.

I had closely studied the Battery for several seasons, becoming intimately acquainted with and finely attuned to the psychological nature of the old park—each facet of which held its own peculiar spell that pulled me back to silent dreams of antiquity.

Of course the old Battery is now hopelessly wrecked—all the wonderful old maritime monuments have been torn out (why?) and taken away to God knows where—a tragedy—especially for a fantasist such as myself. They destroyed the soul of the park…

But this was still the old Battery—the way it used to be—before its destruction and “re-design” — still the old Battery of antique, nautical monuments that had faced the harbor for an eternity of lost days & nights. It was filled with an obscure assortment of oddities and curiosities: the bizarre and disturbing statue of Verrazano, set in the middle of a circular, cobble-stone courtyard ringed by powerful arc lamps, who gazed out into the harbor from atop a ten foot pedestal and was guarded by a green-copper allegorical female figure who was meant to represent Discovery, but whose features had blackened over the years, and who now resembled an advancing angel of death with sword in hand.

Set a little further back from the water was the Wireless Operators Monument: a beautiful and delicate cenotaph decorated with a carved swag of seashells and foliage, and inscribed with long forgotten names. It was fronted by a small fountain set into a semi-circle facing the harbor, but was now given over to neglect—the fountain had run dry ages ago—the whole presenting a most mournful appearance and feeling of abandonment.

At the very bottom of the park stood the charred remains of the old Concession Building, which had been gutted by a fire, and was now slated for destruction. Its western wall faced the harbor— its shuttered and blackened entrance crowned with a semi-circular roof which, lining up perfectly with the ascendant sun, cast a symmetrical shadow across the corrugated metal gate and crumbling stone riser. It was flanked by two smaller ceremonial doorways which had also been scorched and blackened from within, as if the sun had been called down in a fire ritual, but had come too close and burned the temple.

Hidden away and embedded in the southern wall of the Concession is the most obscure marker in the entire park: the John Wolfe Ambrose monument, a decrepit and forgotten altar that faced the river, and whose bronze head had been stolen and carried off years earlier.

Opposite the west wall of the Concession—forlorn and abandoned— was a strange little circular courtyard that faced the Hudson. Weeds and grass had grown up through the cracks in the shifting flagstones whose warp and wobble gave it the appearance of a terrain map. In its center was a gnarled and ancient tree ringed by a weather-worn, circular bench. Always unpopulated, the courtyard gave me the impression of a lost and abandoned observatory that might once have tracked solar movement throughout the year. This circle was the most potent and mysterious spot in the park: the very bottom of the island—it was a kind of sieve or repository for the psychic currents that ran down through the entire length of the great and tumultuous city.

Adjacent, and to the north of the Concession building was the glorious Promenade—a broad apron of white concrete that embraced the sun and harbor with outstretched arms—its three broad and gentle steps leading down to the perimeter at the water’s edge. The Promenade could invoke a range of dramatic effects and emotions: on a crystal clear day in High Summer, you felt as if you were an offering to the sun—under different weather conditions, you might have the impression of a great melancholy or tragedy, or at other times you might find yourself dissolving into the vaporous mysteries of the harbor.

All day the tourist boats arrive and depart at frequent intervals, bringing a swirling, variegated parade of tourists and visitors from all parts of the globe. But the true character of the park only emerges after the last tourist boat has sailed away for the day, and the throngs have departed. That is when a distinct change would come upon the park—its great melancholy soul finally free of the distracting hordes. This is when the true heirs of the park would emerge and collect down there at the bottom of the city, to sit and stare at the harbor, and reclaim their rightful place in the great park.


/// Battery Park /// Cannabis /// Sun Cult ///

Friday, May 10, 2013

Evening (Conclusion)

The Mask had started to slip—a demon’s face revealed in the terrifying visage and uncontrolled rage of my father. Cracks began to appear everywhere: the growing isolation, the fear and confusion, the complete blank of my future. I couldn’t imagine what I could possibly do in this world. Where would I be able to work or live? I didn’t feel capable of anything.

The familiar green face of the Q-20 bus started to rise as it came up the hill to my left. The Q-20!  The words “College Point” lettered across the banner on top of the windshield. Back in those days they used to have a roll of canvas set in the space above the windshield with the numbers and destinations in black letters that the driver would operate with a hand-crank. Yes, it was the Q-20, alright, there was no doubt about that. The Q-20 was the very first bus I had ever ridden and the name alone carried a weight of memories that stretched back to my early childhood. Slowly it revealed itself, like a ship on the horizon, the green and white colors assuring me of it’s identity, as it rose up the hill at the end of 14th avenue. It came to a stop right in front of me as the old, accordion doors opened up as the driver pulled a lever.

I took a seat near the back. It was half empty, just a few passengers—no one I recognized, fortunately. The raking sunlight blasted through the windows and created a flickering effect that seemed to hypnotize me. Familiar landmarks washed by my field of vision; the overpass, the small patch of woods by the highway exit. I had been down this street since ancient times—the route forever stamped into my mind. Now I traveled it in a fever, hardly able to focus on anything for more than a second.

A woman stared at me from across the aisle of the bus. She must have seen that there was something wrong with me. I averted my gaze and looked to the left at the scenery flying by. I could still feel her gazing at me and the tension became intolerable. I was pinned down like a lab specimen, unable to move as time slowed down to a standstill. I felt like screaming. I couldn’t concentrate. I heard murmuring from the back of the bus and I slowly realized that others had become aware of my existence. I thought I detected a mocking sound in the air. The traffic conspired against me—long waits at intersections, missed lights, passengers getting on and off— all prolonged my torment. This was not only excruciating, but it also interrupted my fleeting and precious experience of the transition into Evening. It just wasn’t fair—why couldn’t they just leave me alone in my misery and contemplation? I thought I heard the woman say something but I couldn’t be sure if it was directed at me and I was too afraid to turn my head to see.

Gears meshed, wheels turned, cylinders pumped back and forth. My neck ached from the unbearable tension. I hated this little town filled with sadistic louts with no minds to dream with. The bus turned right onto Union Street—just as expected—the corner bar, still there; onward past the empty lots and the Garden Jewish Center as the road forked at the bottom of the hill. Up the hill we went, bearing left as the apartment complexes came into view. Up ahead, the towers of Flushing High School loomed above the tree-tops. Then the wide expanse of Northern Boulevard, as we passed the familiar row of  stores that are forever etched in my mind: Robert Hall Men’s Clothing on the corner, Aqua-Pet Hobby Den, Gum Kew Restaurant, and the great, dark, gothic facade of the YMCA. All these are now long gone save for the YMCA. Up the hill, and then the right turn onto Roosevelt Avenue as the last stop loomed up ahead at the corner of Main Street. I was drowning in a sea of memories as all the old buildings floated by in a haze of atomized and illuminated dust particles.


The ancient town of Flushing still retained most of it’s former character at this time, before the complete transformation of a few decades later. This was still the old town of Flushing that I knew from earliest childhood, still holding on as the decade of the 1960’s swept through everyone’s lives and altered things forever. In my state of near delirium, the intersection of Roosevelt and Main, the buildings, the stores, the people, all seemed atomized and daubed with a thick coat of crumbling, phosphorescent paint. I moved through this gauze of pain and longing, back there in this dream town, at once familiar yet unknown to me now. A thousand scenes floated in my mind as I struggled to tear my gaze away from all this. I heard the murmurings of voices long faded from memory, reverberating down the old brick and concrete, the tops of buildings, the cornices, turrets, and architectural ornaments from another era, long before my time. My Time! Stolen from me by a wicked jester! The Precious Time! Irretrievable Time! A fine, luminous dust: all that’s left now! Once taken away and then it’s too late. You can never get it back and it’s all too late, far too late in the day, as day turns into Evening, pulling you along, calling you: hurry up! You’re already woefully late! All your classmates have already moved on and left you behind—they’re somewhere else now, out of your reach. You failed at some point along the line—you fell out of step: you’ll never catch up! As Day turns to Evening and Evening to Night . . .


You’ll fall into despair! Roads deceive you, call you down false routes, back-roads to places long dead in your dreams. The corner of Nowhere and Nowhere, the Avenue of Deceit and Despair, Wrong-Turn Road, Somewhere-Along-The-Line Road. I return every night in my dreams: streets meld and morph—elastic roads take you where they want. The bend in the lane takes you back down that familiar route right back to unlived times and unsavored places and all the precious things that you missed out on are revealed to you now.

The drama was reaching it’s apogee as I surveyed the unholy illumination at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. A fearful spectacle! I paused and looked back up the hill of Roosevelt Avenue, then down Main Street towards the great old face of the RKO Keith's Theater, still intact, long before they gutted the interior and locked the doors forever. I turned again and glanced up Kissena Boulevard, towards the library and the old Prospect Theater. No time!

The light was receding very rapidly now as I waited on Roosevelt Avenue for the Q-27 bus. Purple and blue now dominating as the oranges and reds and yellows were pulled by the retreating sun around the curve of night. I got on the bus and it headed down Roosevelt towards the fleeing red and orange sky, and by this I hoped to buy more time, but I knew that we would make the left turn up ahead, as the route was deeply inscribed in my memory. The apartment buildings loomed up ahead, with the taupe and clay-colored bricks that told me to try very hard to remember when I had first set eyes on them. When? Twenty-five years ago? Echoes of places that were maddeningly familiar, yet too vague to pinpoint and the bus kept moving and there was no time to rack my brain
trying to remember. We lurched ahead, past more tantalizingly familiar buildings—but again, no time to linger. The view spun out in a movie-reel projection, too fast to contemplate, too fast to recapture. People hurried on, scuttling here and there as if their lives depended on it. Up Kissena Blvd. we went, as a feeling of despair took hold of me. The scene was half familiar and half unknown as I perceived that many changes and alterations to the landscape had occurred when I wasn’t looking or perhaps I had been distracted and hadn’t noticed. Maybe these changes were made only at night, to deceive people, to make them not notice them as if it were possible to sneak the changes in so as not to unduly upset your feelings at being raked along with the inevitable destruction of all that you once knew.

On and on, through a darkening twilight as we passed the graveyard on Utopia Parkway, strange vistas and hopeless views, all jumbled up in my increasingly distorted senses. Drawing nearer and nearer to the college as the night grabbed hold of the bus and sucked us into despair and fear.


I got off the bus into an enveloping, ink-black cloud: the deserted campus! I knew right away that my plan had failed. 

I walked into the wide, circular area that was the main entrance to the campus. A few stragglers were making their way down the hill towards the avenue as I stood in the middle of the circle. I stayed there for some time, slowly turning and staring at the deserted buildings on the now lifeless campus and looking up at a low-hanging and hostile night-sky that offered no relief from this emptiness and isolation. Even so, I kept staring up into the blackness trying to reach out to indefinable things, memories, forgotten hopes, familiar sights: but the sky was of a low and oppressive nature, no stars or constellations visible—just a gray-black swirl of  clouds that filled me with a vague fear and unease. It was time to go back home . . .


The blackness of the bus windows was disturbing and nightmarish—all glossy, liquid-obsidian panes. I couldn’t see outside. I wanted to drink in the night-scape of the passing streets and houses but the black-mirror panes threw my own image back at me and caused an end to my rapturous views of the town. I was confronted with the starkness of my own pale and blinking image—framed by the glossy blackness and glare of the internal lights of the bus. I was revealed to myself and thrown into stark relief—forced to contemplate my own image: the observer becomes the observed and the duality was forced upon me.

The bus was cut off from the outside world—the magic light show had come to an end—only the stark and hideous reflections in the impenetrability of the glass remained. The bus had become a world of it’s own—a night-chamber cut off from everything else. I was turned in upon myself and conscious of myself as an object and hyper-aware of my own naked psyche reflected back at me, hurtling through the night-suburb, rushing back towards the house with it’s dead relics of my childhood and the fear of entombment in the
lifelessness of the now altered childhood home.

I am left with the deep fear of a black and morbid mirror that throws back at you the image of your pale and trembling face as you churn on and on through the dense night of a city known to some as Absentia, forty long and luminous years later...


/// loneliness /// nostalgia /// alienation ///

Thursday, May 9, 2013


ll of my friends had fallen away one by one. They had all moved on—to college, careers, and activities that I could not be a part of. I had been left behind somehow, still half-stuck in childhood, unable to make the leap into young adulthood.

The objects of my childhood still populated my room: the comic books, baseball gloves, scale-models, science fiction novels, stamp albums... they all seemed lifeless now, disturbing, as if they had all died. There was no pleasure in them now, just a vague feeling of uneasiness about the future.

I was woefully out of step. In fear and despair I had slunk back to the trails and pathways of my childhood: the marshes, the rocks by the water’s edge, the remnants of the old railroad tracks down along the shore...

I sought refuge in the town itself, in the inanimate things, in the backdrops of life, in the faces of the houses, lit up by the red-gold light of the last, slanting rays of the sun, in the saturated colors of the purple and blue shadows. The faces of the old homes were familiar, yet somehow altered by my nervous condition. It was almost as if I couldn’t quite trust them anymore. Some of these houses had harbored me in times past, but entry was now forbidden, as all that was in a time that had passed.

I re-traced my steps through the winding trails of the tall marsh-grass, perhaps disturbing a pheasant which would suddenly burst out of it’s nest in a great display of noise and beating of wings. I sat on the rocks and stared out at the bay, thinking of the times that I used to go fishing with my grandfather years ago. He was gone now and I was alone . . .

There seemed to be a gathering of forces that day, meteorological and barometric, of wind and weather that rose up to compel me out of the house. I was lured out by a certain luminosity that I could see slowly forming in the sky and reflecting on the streets and buildings and on people’s faces.
The hand of the Deity had brushed wide, slashing strokes of fiery, red-gold paint that streaked between the houses and yards and trees and splashed upon the faces of the old, familiar homes across our street. The supernatural brilliance and luminosity overwhelmed my senses and made a fearful spectacle in front of my troubled eyes. Lost in a luminous solipsism, tormented by the beauty of the approaching twilight, I wanted only to connect with life. To be a part of something—anything—before it was too late!

The window panes in the houses across the street had started to catch the falling sun and blazed like mirrors. They caught the dying sun and shone it back at me like a warning: not much time left! Hurry if you want to take part in the Eveningtide!   

I could not bear to stay in my room that evening. I had hatched the idea in a state of nervous agitation. It was a desperate plan: a plan, moreover, that would surely end in failure—a foolish plan, pathetic and childish even! The alternative was too grim to consider: an agonizing night spent in my room alone with my thoughts and fears. I was consoled by the thought that even if the plan failed, at least I would be on the move—I would have my illusion of purpose, of activity, of life.

All these things conspired to drive me out of the house and into the streets. A few people milled about on the street, their lengthening shadows stretching across lawn and pavement, their faces catching a scrim of reddish light from the inexorably sinking sun. I left the house and struggled to make my way up our street, which seemed to be slanted uphill in a peculiarly exagerrated manner. All things familiar, but now seen in a new, terrible light. My old friends, the trees, were lit from within by the hazy, yellow glow of the street lamps. The black asphalt turned to a purple-violet where the trees cast their shadows.

I had the feeling that the otherworldly spectacle was mocking me, torturing me with a luminous beauty that stood in sharp contrast to my desperate loneliness and isolation. “Here is the Pageant, the Parade, the Magic Theatre, and all the wonders and fearful beauty that serve only to remind you of your own impoverishment!”  I felt as though I were moving through an illuminated box, a strange stage-set, or miniature house, lit by an unnatural spectrum of hyper-saturated colors. But all this was fool’s gold, glittering false promises that were impossible to keep. A feeling of acceleration took hold of me and I hurried on as fast as I could.

A few figures moved slowly through this brilliance, as if in a trance, the contours of their forms indistinct, as if obscured by gauze. They were lit with the same fiery spectrum as the houses and trees but they seemed thin and vaporous, incapable of speech and were merely objects in this frightful and gorgeous tableux. I thought I recognized one of them and started to raise my hand in a greeting, but saw that I was mistaken. It was no matter as my gesture went unnoticed, as if I didn’t really exist. Why didn’t they scream out in astonishment at this spectacle?  There was a silence that saturated the whole scene, as if any sounds were unnecessary and would only distract from the spectacle. There was not the slightest breeze to disturb anyone’s reveries, just a stillness that enhanced the brilliance of this light and shadow play.

I felt shame—I knew that I wouldn’t hold up under scrutiny. A sense of desperation took hold of me, of time running out. After all, evening was fast approaching and the transition from day to night was the magic time: it wouldn’t last very long—like most things! 

But let me tell you about my plan! I had almost forgotten to tell you, distracted as I was by the Magic Lantern that illuminated everything around me in our old town, back there in the time of my sad and distressed youth. This was a Friday evening, and the normal routines of the weekdays gave way to the promises of the weekend. I no longer had refuge in my weekday activities of school and it’s related undertakings. I was faced, suddenly, with no structure, no prescribed route of activities and tasks, no foundation. I was on my own. No friends, no destinations, no ideas whatsoever as to how I would fill my time on this weekend, back there in that evening of phosphorous and illuminated dust-motes sparkling in the paintbox hues in that terrifying time.

But I keep digressing! The plan, I tell you, was pathetic and childish in the extreme. I knew this and it did not deter me in the slightest. Allright then, this was my plan: to go about my business as if it were actually a weekday, instead of the weekend! I would get on the bus and ride it into the town of Flushing and then transfer to the Q-27  and take the trip to Queensboro Community College as if I were going to attend classes as I would during the regular week. Ridiculous! I fully understood that, but I went ahead with it anyway.

I reached the top of our block, up the inclining street and stood at the top of the hill on 14th Avenue. I could see the bus stop a block away. I looked back down the hill at the sight of the old town, with the view of the water of the Long Island Sound in the distance, and the Whitestone Bridge on the right. The vantage point gave a very peculiar view of things and was astonishing in the way it seemed to transform the town and surroundings. I could see our familiar red-brick house with the green roof and white trim. It seemed unearthly, set into an impossible landscape, bordered by memory and regret and lit by the fearful hues of a disturbed and desperate evening. It is not often—maybe only a few times a year—that these conditions come into being. The light and atmosphere must be at just the right concentration; the barometer and temperature at just the correct levels to produce the awesome effect. When all these elements are in place, that is the time for the onset of Evening: a light and shadow play of great luminosity, of flickering images and a sped-up sense of time.

It was that time when the day and night are equidistant: that brief moment of grace that reminds you that your time on this earth is limited. You must hurry! Grab hold of life! The Spectacle won’t last much longer, night is fast upon us! It’s all going to go away and you won’t have anyone to share it with.

Time at once stood absolutely still and at the same time raced into the night. You were both suspended and hurtled at the same time into the terrible transition. You were caught, captured on a whirling film-frame, lit by an unearthly projector, trapped in the play of light and image. A panic sets in as you race against the fading light. So much to do, but no time! I was propelled along the streets by my own sense of panic and desperation. The entire history of the town seemed to play itself out before me as the transition into Evening inexorably played itself out. I wanted to linger and look back at the terrible and beautiful sights that enveloped me on all sides. No time! I saw a girl walking across the street—I thought I recognized her—I had a desire to both greet her and at the same time to turn my head and hurry away. No time!

I quickly roused myself from these reveries as I realized that precious time was passing by and the town was the past—the dead past—and I needed to find life! I wouldn’t find it here!

The hopelessness of the situation filled me with fear and agitation. I felt foolish and ashamed. I hurried on my way to the bus stop. I dreaded the thought that I might see someone who knew me. I didn’t have any explanation as to where I was going or what I was doing and I didn’t think that I could create a convincing lie—I had no faith in my ability to convince anyone of anything.

Guilt! I was doing something that was very wrong and I didn’t want anyone to find out about it. I was in a nether world and I was pretending to live, even though I had no idea how to do it.

The Past rose up from all the streets and sidewalks and houses and overwhelmed me with a flood of voices and images. The familiar telephone poles distracted me with their thousands of rusted staples from a lifetime of signs, notices, and flyers. The old blue and white mailbox on the corner . . . It was absurd to have this sense of nostalgia at such a young age, when I should have been embracing life to the fullest. But there it was, nonetheless. Every minute, every second, seemed to be inferior to the one preceding it. My Fall had not occurred overnight, but had progresed very slowly and evenly in well-measured increments.
I must have once existed in a pure, unsullied state, where I hadn’t yet made any mistakes—where things were still O.K. Where the family was intact
and doing all the things that families are supposed to do—all the rituals, all the activities. Before things started to go wrong . . .

Before Guilt and Shame had appeared and begun to cripple me. Before Confusion and Fear took hold. Before the odd stares of the neighbors
began to signal that something had happened. Before the failing grades and adolescent terrors of Bleecker Junior High School, when it was pointed out to me that I had fallen out of step. Before the mocking voices and chants of the Predators informed me that I was not going to fit in. Before my teachers started to regard me with a certain concern and pity . . .

There must have been a time when things were still right. But when was that? It was before all the trouble—before all the pain and longing. But it was a very long time ago and I couldn’t get back there and the memories were growing very dim. It all had seemed so glorious, so bright: blazing suns, and a wash of colors and lights and every street and avenue was designed and laid out to lead you to more riches and . . . There was a sense of wonder back then, a connection to Nature and the elements that started to slowly recede and evaporate. 


/// childhood /// loneliness /// nostalgia /// loss

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Loadstone

he Loadstone buried under the South West Quadrant of Washington Square, and how I dug it up one night in a dream and discovered a partial explanation of the Chess Circle

A slowly rotating afternoon . . .

Irrelevant postulations and dire jottings.
Aphasiatic conjectures under a lowering sky as the Poison* slowly wears off.

Circumnavigation of the Fountain in a time of utmost dread and dislocation.
Fountain-thoughts trail off with the spray . . .

Chess Quadrant as seen from a distance of approximately 30 yards—enveloped in a yellow-green haze of pollen and particulates . . .

South West Quadrant as fed by waves of Historical Discontent.
Fulminating bismuth and churning conjecture.
Masks catch fire and spin wildly.
Loud-Mouth Meridians as madmen scream obscenities all day and deep into the lantern night.
Molten jive and hairy palms.
Sulphuric Death\Chant
Threats and insults linger in the air long after their authors have departed.
Strident lectures aimed at no one and everyone.
Murder is in the air!
Criminal potentates incur infinitesimal advantages on checkered squares.

Clocks stopped at precise moments.
Small islands of Kindness and Peace amongst the raging battles.
Hot-spectrum experiments at End-of-the-World Park.
Third eye locked onto artificial satellite.
Pineal gland park-quiz.
The Great List of Atavistic Excuses.
Sleeping Souls of Old Telemetric Park.
The Periodic Table contaminated during a game of chance.
Dissolute Fountain/Miasma—falling off the edge of the Imploded Solar Calendar.
The Geometry of Despair and Dissolution.
Estranged in Echolalia
Stasis at the periphery . . .

Shadows grow longer across the Circle as the afternoon rotates out of existence at the behest of colossal and incomprehensible forces

Pulled over onto the cool end of the palette now as celestial forces exert their mighty influence. Park Circle and Fountain are pulled into impending darkness as they are whirled through time and space . . .

I walk dejectedly along one of the oblique meridians as I exit the Park and turn onto Serigraph Street where it merges with Inquisition  and head north to Little West Colloquy.
Then along the tracks that twist and turn and dive and rise again through dank and odious tunnels of electro-spark toxins and moldering dust and dirt—bursting to the surface once again, through the charred and rusted stations and soot-filled buildings of the Substrate City, and then down Subliminal Street and Arcane Avenue, towards Teleport and Scepter.

Posthumous longings in a bio-chamber of regret and bitterness.
Toxic delirium amid night-sweats and chem-soaked pillow.
Dreams colored in obscure hues and revelations in a vague language . . .

Under the sway of a murky and dreadful constellation, and oblivious of any moral codes, I re-enter the now-deserted park under the cover of night and pry loose several of the flagstones in the Chess Circle in the Southwest Quadrant and claw through the dirt and sand until I find a large stone of singular qualities buried in the exact center of the Circle: the Loadstone! Imported from Magnesia itself, and doubtless responsible for the frenzied aberrations of that charged quadrant! 

Hiding it under my shirt, I steal out of the park without bothering to cover up the evidence of my criminal excavations. As I move through the damp and yellow phosphor of the night-streets of Abscondia, I become aware that I am dreaming. Even so, I still feel a tremendous sense of guilt and fear of punishment.

*  *  *  *  *   *

Upon awakening I feel no less guilty and am troubled by a singular worry:
What if I am to be held accountable for my theft even though I merely dreamed it?

*Methylene Chloride

/// Washington Square Park /// lucid dreaming /// guilt ///

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In The Chalk Circle, Part 2

Tuesday, September 8, 2007
1:45—WSQ—In the west end of the park, on a bench facing the chess circle.
The last days of the Old Fountain. The whole east side of the park is closed off for the renovation—its all fenced-off, and torn-up.

Everything will be ripped out: fountain, monuments, chess circle, and all the odd little corners and eccentric spaces that gave the park its character. To be replaced by what, exactly?
There are some kind of nasty chemical fumes blowing in from the west end of the park—getting sick and I gotta move on—but to where?

Re-located to a another bench up on the north end, but the fumes are still swirling around—too much poison over here—damn them and their f*cking “renovation”! My scalp is even itching—a sure sign of poisoning!

Wednesday, March 9, 2010
12:00—Battery Park—On a bench facing the Hudson
Opposite the old Colgate Clock across the foaming river. Gray haze and thin yellow sunlight illuminates the harbor. 


I hadda flee WSQ! It’s a total toxic disaster inside and out—dust, chemical fumes, debris, and the clang & clatter of heavy machinery all around! The dreaded renovation is in full swing. My battered immune system can’t handle the pollution. They’re destroying the park—half of it is closed off—everything is ripped up! The fountain has been moved so that it lines up with the arch! Why on earth did they need to do that? Why did they have to re-design it—why couldn’t they just leave it alone? That’s supposed to be my hangout—my home away from home—and now it’s ruined forever! Damn them!

Thursday, March 10, 2010
2:12—In Ostropoler’s on Avenue J [Now gone and I can find no trace of it anywhere! It must have been there since 1950—at least!]
Wedged into a narrow booth way in the back of this old-style cafeteria. Strange layout to the place—I can make no sense of it. Ancient, filthy... noisy... tumultuous... and the absurd notion that I am not wanted in here... that I shouldn’t be here... a mistake... but still, it reminds me of a certain period of my life back in the early 1960’s somehow... elusive...
Just ordered scrambled eggs & home-fries.
Poison hangover. Listless, paranoid, wobbly, and dispirited—have I left anything out? 

Something has gone wrong with my order—where the hell is it? I’ve been here 25 minutes already—I fear that the waitress has it in for me for unknown reasons. It’s sickening in here! I have a craving for a late breakfast, but there isn’t a decent diner within ten f*cking miles! Why is that?
And now it appears that my last month’s rent is in arrears! At least that’s what it said on the ticket that they stuck on my door!
Where is my damn order?

12:35—Jeezus, what hell: even worse than that Mexican joint yesterday!
And there are screaming brats climbing all over the place. I feel that my mission to get breakfast has totally failed!
Gotta get out of here right now!

12:43—Leaning on a parking meter across the street from that hell-hole. I feel compelled to make a journal entry right here on the damn street amid traffic fumes, screeching brakes and assorted stares from the passersby. Gotta finish this book right here and now! I can’t wait and let it drag on.
I think that I should go into the city. I am quite ill and hung-over from yesterday’s poisonings! Gotta simply get out of town! For the rest of the day, anyway! I wanna take a fresh book with me into the city and attempt some writing.

One and a half pages to go in this suffering tome! Lord!
It’s fairly warm in the sun, if a bit breezy.
There are pains in my stomach that concern and worry me.
On the corner of Avenue J and East 13th street. 

The intersection of Dross and Dram! Whaat?

I am oppressed by memories that I don’t have—of an Avenue J that I’ve never seen before, as hopeless storefronts stretch though this turmoil.

The psychic debris of an avenue...

I’ve made up my mind: I’m heading into the city forthwith! K will understand.
The whole block-long string of cars is honking their horns! This is sheer hell!
My head is all jammed-up. I pray for success this week with my exploratory efforts at getting some kind of help/compensation/etc. My brain is clouded by poison/fear/aggregate-conglomerate!

12:54—Staggered under the weight of a dozen or more atmospheres—Orthodox tumult surrounds me!

Journal #51 staggers into oblivion—another hell-book mercifully done with and thrown on the slag-heap with the rest of them!
I give thanks for all my blessings! And they are many!
I conclude this book on a note of gratefulness and optimism!
Amen and goodbye to Book #51!

/// supernatural fiction ///  Washington Square Park /// lucid dreaming