Sunday, June 08, 2008

New York City Under the Red Chief Devil

Holy Punishment
Why is New York City being punished? I went on wood s lot and tried to get into the various interesting intellectuals and poets and photographers Mark finds wherever he finds them, and I was looking for something to take my mind off the fucking abnormal heat that has out of nowhere decided to take a hot dump right on top of Manhattan Island, its asshole right over my apartment building, the shit due to hit the fan of reality tomorrow noon when the goofball teevee weather girls are chortling at the fact the old thermometer will hit 100 afore manana's gone.

I was disappointed--not at wood s lot, such harried but dedicated work deserves contemplation and praise, but at the articles he put up for this current post--except for the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the articles were superboring, superovermostheads too-intellectual, like Susan Howe's gushing madly over lost and gone Emily Dickinson, lonely little Emily, the American Bronte sister, up in New-Englandy stale Amherst, Massachusetts--the same valley that's now home to my old pal L Hat--and I've toured around Amherst and Northampton and found them fascinating though--and I'm unfair--too fucking Norman-Rockwell-American for my crusty ass--I'd rather suffer here in the solar plexus of America--New York City--and I'm writing this at a few minutes after midnight--it's cool, I sit with three fans swirling around me and it's cooler but it's still tinged with those little fire tongues that are still remembering when they were the higher flames at 2 pm, their moment of glory, though, too, they know like the Phoenix, they shall lick up into giant flames again later today--and perhaps on an even-more demonic scale--100 degrees in early June in New York City is catastrophic--and the sun is setting records--and today if it hits 100 that'll be the new record for June 9th, going back to the thirties when last it was as hot on June 9th--but then, I've seen it hit the nineties in June before--like I said, the year I came here it hit 95 in May. And suddenly out of human kindness I do not pity the fools who'll be working demolishing this building next-door to my building today--working out in the bald-ass, bad-ass sun for half the salary of an American union worker, speaking only Spanish in most cases, a lot of them from the Andes, the temp hitting 100--or at least 120 in the direct sun--and the ungodly heat perhaps makes me turn on intellectual approaches to something as simple as a poet, woman or man, the simplest of writers--those writers who want conciseness over long-winding journeys along prose-highways--some of which is poetry to a long-book have-to writer such as I, if I may use myself as evidence--though I have only limited evidence of myself as a published writer, which of course designates whether you are a real true-to-life writer, right?--being published making you an "author." And, too, I happen to like Emily Dickinson's best stuff--hell, I happen to like women like Emily Dickinson (the only image of her I've seen rendered her peachy-keen cute)--that's why I'm reading Charlotte Bronte, that's why the other night I dug out Edna St. Vincent Millay and read myself to sleep over her wicked poems--and, ah wilderness, Edna is more my kind of poet, a New York City-grounded lonely woman who tried to assuage her loneliness with drinking and dining and dancing and fucking around and smoking cigarettes and writing fatalistic moonstruck poetry. It is easy to get moonstruck in New York City. To have moondreams here. It's not easy to think in sunstruck Too hot for intellectual argument or my-point-of-view declaiming. I did find an interesting piece on wood s lot out of the Guardian on how America is the "home" of the apocalyptic religious craze, that the Armageddon crowers are all of American origin--per Cotton Mather and that ilk, that ilk that escaped to these stolen lands because they were driven out of England by the Henry the VIIIth-type thinkers who believed you believed in the Church of England or you were burned at the stake or beheaded or something worse than that. And also the Huguenots, those crazy Calvinist Frenchmen, were driven out of Europe because of their rather boring attitude of working your ass off for the day is coming--so sayeth John Calvin--when you'll work no more. You provide for yourself on this earth--saving up your moral tickets that'll get you into that Paradisaical Spa somewhere out beyond our universe run by a Nazarene Jewish Reformer named Joshua ben Josef and a guy he claims is his dad, though a lot of folks think a Roman soldier was his real dad, was the Jewish god Yahweh himself--or at least that's what this little fellow's mother told him every time he asked, "Hey, Ma, why do I have this damn Roman nose? Why ain't my nose Jewish like yours, Ma? Come on, I gotta know. They're kiddin' me about it down at the Temple, Ma. Plus, they say dad was too old at the time to have kids and besides they kind'a hint, Ma, that you were some kind of flapper, hangin' out at a wine bar rather popular with the Roman soldiers--eh, Ma, what about it? Time to come clean with me."

And off I go impersonating Jesus again--and this Guardian article, by Ian McKay I think his name was, went on and on about how American evangelicals championed the Apocalypse and how it even affected our politicians, every one of them claiming to believe in this form of doomsday Christianity--come on, Ian, you mean to tell me most British Christians don't believe in this rapture shit or this Armageddon tale?--I quit reading Ian--it became too pedantic after a while. I mean who was Ian writing to in that article? Fellow Brits? We Americans? Take these evangelicals's tax-free money away from them and they will disappear overnight--all these goons collect buckets of free moolah--tax-free buckets of twenties and hundreds, all the greasy, wrinkled, hard-earned bucks from out of the pockets of the trailer trash, the white trash, the white hopeless, the always-present Southern blacks, and the Asians, always the Asians are the most believing Christians in the world--to the point a lot of them truly believe Jesus had a brother who moved to Asia and that Jesus visited him in Japan, I assume, I've only heard the story from some Korean women, and that Jesus died while he was in Japan and is buried there and the crucifixion was staged and the empty tomb was because Jesus was in Tokyo!

Besides, there's a doomsday rumor starting amongst our true believing Christians that Europe is being taken over by Muslims--huge numbers of Muslims are in Europe for the work--and these Christian-flim-flammers say it's an Islam jihad thing--and flim-flammers (snakeoil peddlers) is all these evangelical Christian clowns are--they've been in America since the beginning, since white people stole this land from the Native Americans--and we now condescendingly keep these native people to this day on reserved plots of land, reservations drawn up by the Great White Fathers that put the "Redskins" on what the GWFs thought was the worse god-damn land in the world, the bald-ass hills of Oklahoma, the Badlands of the Dakotas, the awe-inspiring desert home of the Navajos and the Zunis and the Hopi and the Apache. Most of the great East Coast nations were massacred down to chicken-feed numbers--
L Hat at had a post yesterday discussing the Penobscots and whether their language is "dead" or not as some white scholars have written--and of course it's not dead to the Penobscots, or what's left of them. Ben Franklin, that wicked old bastard, admired the Penobscots--he wanted to model our government on the Penobscot and Iroquois and The Six Nations council kind of government--pow-wow-kind of government--into the sweat lodges for clear-thinking solutions--except they may have been high on tobacco or peyote--George Washington had a field of marijuana on his plantation--his slaves made rope and clothes and shit out of it--but now come on, folks, surely somebody back in those days dried out a plant, you know, like hung it upside down in a shed to let it season and then you know they rolled it into spliffs and smoked the hell out of it. Peace pipe? How 'bout Pot Pipe! On the James Madison Center's Website I found this great essay written by Ben Franklin--full of irony, of course, Ben's speciality--it's interesting to note.

Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America

Savages we call them, because their Manners differ from ours, which we think the Perfection of Civility; they think the same of theirs.

Perhaps, if we could examine the Manners of different nations with Impartiality, we should find no People so rude, as to be without any Rules of Politeness; nor any so polite, as not to have some Remains of Rudeness.

The Indian men, when young, are Hunters and Warriors; when old, Counsellors; for all their Government is by Counsel of the Sages; there is no Force, there are no Prisons, no Officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment. Hence they generally study Oratory, the best Speaker having the most Influence. The Indian Women till the Ground, dress the Food, nurse and bring up the Children, and preserve and hand down to Posterity the Memory of public Transactions. These Employments of men and Women are accounted natural and honourable. Having few artificial Wants, they have abundance of Leisure for Improvement by Conversation. Our laborious Manner of Life, compared with theirs, they esteem slavish and base; and the Learning, on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous and useless. An Instance of this occurred at the Treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, anno 1744, between the Government of Virginia, and the Six Nations. After the principal Business was settled, the Commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a Speech, that there was at Williamsburg a College, with a Fund for Educating Indian youth; and that, if the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their young lads to that College, the Government would take care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the Learning of the White People. It is one of the Indian Rules of Politeness not to answer a public Proposition the same day that it is made; they think it would be treating it as a light matter, and that they show it Respect by taking time to consider it, as of a Matter important. They therefore deferr'd their Answer till the Day following; when their Speaker began, by expressing their deep Sense of the kindness of the Virginia Government, in making them that Offer; "for we know," says he, "that you highly esteem the kind of Learning taught in those Colleges, and that the Maintenance of our young Men, while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinc'd, therefore, that you mean to do us Good by your Proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you, who are wise, must know that different nations have different Conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some Experience of it; Several of our young People were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your Sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a Deer, or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counsellors; they were totally good for nothing. We are however not the less oblig'd by your kind Offer, tho' we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take great Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them."

So let it get hot. The Native Americans who first founded Manhattan Island never suffered such heat because this island was a wonderland back then, an Eden, with creeks and hills and tons of trees and the fresh waters of the River of the North and the clean-then River of the East, plenty of PCB-free fish in the waters, the amazin' sea just off the tip of the Island, the Verrazano Straits still out there, Staten Island still was said by the Dutch to be a most lushly beautiful spot when they invaded it and took it away from the Manhattan Native Americans--well, old Stuyvesant, that asshole, trick jived the "savages" out of it for a whopping $21 worth of junky trinkets--and the Dutch were then the best at sailin' the seven seas and trading junky trinkets for spices and gold and silver and ores and coffee, chocolate, tea--ah how proud we white folks should be of what we've done to this paradise.

The coolness of the evening has bottomed out, I think, as I feel those little tongues of flames beginning to leap up into full-flamed lickers--licking our bodies with flames in a few hours--I am being burned at the stake today--I do hereby take my Emily Dickinson poetry with me to the stake.

I leave you on the brink of the lowest level of Hades with a little Emily Dickinson--she's goin' to heaven--we love Emily--but not like Susan Howe loves her--the unreal Emily--not the Emily I know, the Emily who just had to write it all down in hundreds of poems--writing constantly--her eyes seeing words everywhere she looked.

Part Four: Time and Eternity


GOING to heaven!
I don’t know when,
Pray do not ask me how,—
Indeed, I ’m too astonished
To think of answering you! 5
Going to heaven!—
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the shepherd’s arm!td> 10

Perhaps you ’re going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost! 15
The smallest “robe” will fit me,
And just a bit of “crown”;
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

I ’m glad I don’t believe it,
For it would stop my breath,
And I ’d like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found


theonfiregrowlingwolf--experiencing a Hell-like situation
for The Daily Growler


Marybeth said...

It was $24.00 worth of trinkets (not $21.00) and it was Peter Minuit (not Peter Stuyvesant) who pulled off the deal, not with the Manhattan Native Americans (there were none) but with the Canarsee Native Americans of Long Island, who had no claim what so ever to Mannahata, as they called it. It was a double swindle, the Canarsees selling an island they didn't give a shit about for a handful of Dutch bauble (good for trading if you were a Canarsie, good for nothing (except swindling) if you were Peter Minuit). No Natives actually inhabited Mannahata year round. The Lanape tribes of Weckquaesgecks from Westchester, Mahicans from New Jersey, and the Long Island Canarsees visited Mannhata in the summer to eat from the 350 square miles of oyster beds. They travelled up and down the island by a well worn path that eventually became Broadway. (I'm a fifth generation New Yorker and went all through the NYC public school system where I was properly indoctrinated with the history of my city.)

The Daily Growler said...

Whoooo-hoo, that's why we love you here at The Daily Growler, WTP--remember, our chief editor is an editing horse--from California and not New York City--what are facts except things to be constantly challenged?...

The Wolf Man, with Dunce cap atop his dome, sits on his high stool of shame in front of The Growler staff, including our editing horse, Mr. Ed, who has a damn tan....

thestaff (one is from Michigan and is forgiven)

Marybeth said...

p.s. I love you too (obviously-- or I wouldn't read you every damned day).

Marybeth said...

Black Oaks Books, my little neighborhood bookstore here in Berkeley, on Shattuck Avenue, just a few blocks from my apartment, always has little literary excerpts in the glass case next to their front door. They change them periodically, but the one they have up now is this:

Ever since this day I have dreamt sometimes... I, a street rat in my soul, dream even now... that if it were possible to lift this littered, paved Manhattan from the earth... and all its torn and dripping pipes and conduits and tunnels and tracks and cables--- all of it, like a scab from new skin underneath--- how seedlings would sprout, and freshets bubble up, and brush and grasses would grow over the rolling hills... entanglements of vines, and fields of wild blueberry and blackberry.... There would be oak trees for shade against the heat, and white birches and weeping willows... and in winter, snow would lie everlastingly white until it ran off as pure and glistening as spring water. A season or two of this and the mute, protesting culture buried for so many industrial years under the tenements and factories... would rise again... of the lean, religious Indians of the bounteous earth, who lived without money or lasting architecture, flat and close to the ground--- hunting, trapping, fishing, growing their corn and praying... always praying in solemn thanksgiving for their clear and short life in this quiet universe. Such love I have for those savage polytheists of my mind... those friends of light and leaf... those free men and women... such envy for the inadequate stories they each other, their taxonomies, cosmologies... their lovely dreams of the world they stood on and who was holding it up.

form "The Waterworks" by E. L. Doctorow 1994

Odd, no? What would you call that? Serendipitous? It supports a solipsistic conception of the world.

The Daily Growler said...

Wow, we didn't know Doctorow had it in him--great quote!

The Daily Growler

Marybeth said...

And here is another past/present image of NYC that you might enjoy. This is from a little book called "New York New York The City In Art And Literature" published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, that juxtaposes images of the city from the Met's collection with relevant writings.

I often feel drawn to the Hudson River, and I have spent a lot of time through the years poking around the part of it that flows past the city. I never get tired of looking at it; it hypnotizes me. I like to look at it in midsummer, when it is warm and dirty and drowsy, and I like to look at it in January, when it is carrying ice. I like to look at it when it is stirred up, when a northeast wind is blowing and a strong tide is running--- a new-moon tide or a full-moon tide--- and I like to look at it when it is slack. It is exciting to me on weekdays, when it is crowded with ocean craft, harbor craft, and river craft, but it is the river itself that draws me, and not the shipping, and I guess I like it best on Sundays, when there are lulls that sometimes last as long as half an hour, during which, all the way from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge, nothing moves upon it, not even a ferry, not even a tug, and it becomes as hushed and dark and secret and remote and unreal as a river in a dream. Once, in the course of such a lull, on a Sunday morning in April, 1950, I saw a sea sturgeon rise out of the water. I was on the New Jersey side of the river that morning, sitting in the sun on an Erie Railroad coal dock. I knew that every spring a few sturgeon still come in from the sea and go up the river to spawn, as hundreds of thousands of them once did, and I had heard tugboatmen talk about them, but this was the first one I had ever seen. It was six or seven feet long, a big full-grown sturgeon. It rose twice, and cleared the water both times, and I plainly saw its bristly snout and its shiny little eyes and its white belly and its glistening, greenish-yellow, bony-plated, crocodilian back and sides, and it was a spooky sight.

from "The Rivermen" --Joseph Mitchell, 1908-1996

Sturgeon in the Hudson as late as 1950! Flying up past Manhattan. Wow.