Foto by tgw, "The Sun Over Sixth Avenue Shot Through Window Glass,"
New York City, Feb. 2012
Going Downtown Again
People find it hard to believe how bound I am to my Midtown Manhattan neighborhood. My main occupation in life takes place in my apartment, my workplace, my laboratory, my recording studio, my computer center, the site of my collections, where I write, from whence comes my worth, my wealth.
I leave my apartment at 5:30 am every weekday and go out to my Afghan-American coffee man and get my first breakfast...then I read while I'm eating that breakfast. Then I listen to the radio around 8, mostly to Amy Goodman's little goldmine, Democracy Now, mainly for the news, though I'll stick around should she be having someone bright and visionary on; otherwise, if it's a boring 'cast, I'm back working on my own pastimes.
At 9:30 am I take another break for another breakfast when I go back out this time to a deli on 32nd, a place I've been acquainted with for 30 years now--one of the first workers I ever met in there still works there--they treat me like an earl or a duke in there and I frequent where I'm known and respected like that so I go there every morning for their oatmeal, which I lace with real maple syrup, and on the way back to my apartment, I stop a second time at my Afghan-American coffee man's wagon and get some chamomile tea (I curse the gods of my guts for driving me away from coffee)(admitting I drink chamomile tea instead of coffee sounds so not masculine--I have drank some red zinger tea here recently and that doesn't sound so bad as chamomile--it's a silly male thing, women readers) and then a container of mixed nuts from my Afghan-American fruit seller--it's weird buying fruit off the street in the middle of winter. Wasn't it cooler when mothers and grandmothers canned the fresh fruit we didn't eat in the summer for use throughout the winter?--up rears the smell of my mother baking a peach cobbler--or my grandmother baking her famous shortening breads and teacakes on which you spread all kinds of preserves she had jarred for winter use--even watermelon rind preserves--or whole apricots in their own syrup--or whole peaches in their own syrup with pieces of clove in the syrup.
I'm back in my apartment by 10--unless I need something from the drugstore, which is in the next block from me, or maybe I need to go to Staples for some packing supplies or new ink or blank CDs, their store only about three blocks from me over in what was at one time Korvette's (a NYC department store started by a bunch of Korean War Vets, thus the name Korvette's), and when Korvette's bit the dust, the building was re-sided and modernized to become The Herald Center, owned and proftited-from by Ferdinand and Emelda Marcos. To be honest with you, I no longer know what the building's called.
The rest of the day I work at whatever I'm working on at the moment until around 3:30 when I trot out to get my dinner (does anybody still call it supper?). Right now my afternoon occupation is going through hundreds of cassette tapes of me performing in clubs with various bands I either fronted or worked in over the past 30 years. Which brings me to the reason for this post. [I'm trying to be polite so I'm not bringing up for a berating the idiots who rule us in this post...at least not yet, though I'm boiling inside for a chance to growl at these nincompoop crackpots who are fighting like dogs trying to get their jaws on that big meaty bone running for president garners them--a bone that if they successfully get their choppers on it will give them the power they need to go up against the bigger dog, the incumbent dog--the prize being GUARANTEED PARADISE FOR THE REST OF THEIR AND THEIR CHILDREN'S LIVES COURTESY WE THE STUPID PEOPLE OF THE USA...whew, there, I got that out of my system.]
The reason for this post and the reason it's titled "Going Downtown Again" is just that, for the first time in maybe three years, I'm journeying downtown below 23rd Street...all the way downtown to SOHO. Me and my baby are going down to this SOHO joint where this swamp-blues band I used to play with has invited me to bring some harps and come sit back in my old chair with them for as long as I like--no pay, of course...oh, they'll buy me a couple of beers, but I'm still excited by it. I haven't been in front of an audience now in at least 3 long years, so it'll be fun to test my position in this music scene once again. I know all the band's repertoire already and my friend the band leader tells me he's got the boyz cooking on all four burners which is just the kind of band I like playing with...so I'm going back down to Downtown Manhattan. Down there where it was my neighborhood for 5 years...Spring and Greenwich...and what a neighborhood it was: full of Mafia hauling companies and a Chinese grocery warehouse (when this building caught fire one summer, they dumped all the burned can goods out in front of the building, a huge pile of exploded cans of all kinds of Chinese goodies, a tempting pile of goodies that suddenly out of nowhere called forth hundreds of rats to this vermin dining table) and a bunch of old wholesale outlet buildings that the new owners turned into loft spaces--my loft space down there was in an old butter and egg wholesaler building, 5 stories, with a roof terrace--only 900 square feet but brand new and sexy with brick walls and a huge plate-glass window with chicken wire in the bottom panes and with a door leading out onto an old iron fire escape which we turned into a place to sit out in the summer and smoke weed and drink beers and barbecue (and I add here, my first year in this loft I trapped over 100 mice). And down Greenwich on Canal were all these old warehouse spaces artists had turned into studios--and we all hung out at the Ear Inn on Spring Street--it's still there--but oh how that neighborhood has changed. It has been totally taken over by the real estate-developer moguls like Donald "Phony Baloney" Trump (why does a man if he's so rich keep going bankrupt with his properties while depending on a truly dumbass teevee show for his income?--oh sure, I'm sure, the Donald has stashed away millions in offshore banks all around the world--and, yes, I don't deny he's rich, but he's cash poor as Job's turkey--but here I go growling into the hot-air wind again--though it was fun to see one Trump's max-tacky Trump Places on fire here the other night--nice little blaze--put firemen in the hospital, though it wasn't reported as being a bother to the ultra-special-elites who can afford the outrageous rents old Don Boy needs to keep his empire afloat--look out when the Donald develops in your neighborhood. He guarantees he'll ruin it for you).
Leaving my neighborhood is a trip for me; I plan my trip to Downtown Manhattan same as if I were going to Cape Cod or Timbuktu. First of all I need the right clothes--it's cold here these days so I need to wear my nicest winter wardrobe. Next I need to pack what I need to take with me--in this case I need to carry 12 harmonicas--I've considered packing them in my Mexican leather briefcase--plus I need to pack enough money to get me to my destination and then have money enough to pay for the cost of my friend while at the gig and then have enough left over for dinner and the trip back to my neighborhood.
Back when I was younger I could easily walk from my neighborhood to this place. Back in the mid-90s, one day I found myself stone broke. I had to bust open one of my Rhodes electric pianos and dig out some Bicentennial quarters, about ten dollars worth, that I had placed in a thin aluminum slot that ran across the face of this one of my Rhodes from which most of these quarters had then fallen down into the instrument's insides. Then I got this gig playing every Sunday afternoon way down on West Broadway below Canal and I was so poor, living off those quarters--I survived on small coffees and Snickers bars, that I trucked my Korg M1 keyboard on my dolly via foot from 31st to West Broadway and Moore, a matter of several miles. That's no longer possible--I'm not inclined to long-distance walks anymore. You see I got spoiled on the last job I worked on. A job, which ironically I got from one of the persons who came to hear me at this bar where I played on Sunday afternoons. I saw her sitting at the bar working on sheets of paper, working with a pencil as though she were editing...so I simply walked up to her and asked her what she was doing and she told me she was editing and I told her I was one of the top editors in New York City and she said prove it to me and I'll put you to work next Monday morning--so by the next Monday, I was back in the old work saddle again and ridin' the range for a multi-million-dollar pharmaceutical ad agency making the enormous (to me) sum of $40 an hour.
My neighborhood is one of the coolest in Manhattan--though with the encroachment of this plethora of "cheap" hotels springing up all around me and these truly ugly hi-rise condos that are also springing up like nuked mushrooms around me are gradually ruining it; yes, this neighborhood is gentrifying--the most recent neighborhood-destroying invader being a Holiday Inn that took its Israeli-Indian (India Indians not Native American ones--do we White people allow American Indians to own property?) investors 5 years to build and which has now got the union rat out in front of it notifying people that this Holiday Inn's staff is made up of illegal immigrants (nonunion), mostly Mexican and South American illegals, to which they pay minimum or below minimum wages ($8.00 an hour is generally the most you have to pay the most skilled illegal immigrant). Already people are staying at this hotel. The beds sat in that unfinished hotel for two years before they opened just last month--how clean do you think those mattresses are?--how clean do you think that carpeting is? Our neighborhood Holiday Inn was once up a block from me in the old Martinique Hotel, but they soon sold that off to the Radison chain and now that old welfare hotel that held hundreds of single mothers and their crack-dealer boyfriends is "such a charming place to stay," say the tons of hinterlanders and Euro-Trashers who come over here because it's cheap. Soon, I think more and more Euro-trasher types will be moving over here for good as Europe falls into total Chaos--the brave Greek people right now burning down Athens rather than give up 23% of their incomes to a Goldman-Sachs-imposed austerity plan--Goldman-Sachs the very pirates who got the Greek government in debt in the first place. If Greece goes, so goes the Euro Union--and also so overflows that chaotic economics into this country, as Communist China and once peasantland India are becoming the major economic powers in the world. [Did you know there are more billionaires in Moscow than there are in New York City now? Do you believe that? One Russkie billionaire has come to this country and invested heavily in our real estate and even buying one of our professional basketball teams. What if he decided to move the New Jersey Nets to Moscow?]
Women Are an Abomination
Christians blame original sin on women's vaginas. Why did this Christian fictional God give women inverted penises? Why if it weren't for that hole down there between women's legs men wouldn't have anywhere to proclaim their macho and their power over women. A man's macho power is in his erected penis--his gun--his pistol--his baby-making apparatus--his most pleasurable extension out from his usually pleasure-less body. That hard penis is man's ruling rod. It is his power over women.
Women, you see, were a second thought to this Christian fictional God who is according to the hypocrites the reason this White nation was created. According to the fictional tale from whence Christianity comes, this Big Daddy in the sky somewhere (to early day Christians, most of whom were illiterate and superstitious, that place is just above our planet's clouds) first had to create light. Damn right, this God can't see in darkness no more than we human monkeys can, so he put a little light on the subject. It doesn't say he made the SUN, by the way--for that truly ignorant God thought the Sun sailed around the earth--he also thought this planet he created was flat--kind'a dumb for a God, isn't it? One would assume since there are 8 uninhabitable planets in our galaxy, God had to create and then recreate a whole stew of planets in order to finally come up with one he deemed a garden, a perfect place for this Big Daddy to reside. By the bye, that part of the tale has never been clearly explained by all the Christian tale-spinners and true believers I've ever known. Did God live in his fictional Heaven (Hebbin')? or did he live in the Garden of Eden? Next after he gave illumination to the planet earth only, one assumes this since space is very dark, he created a bunch of wild animals--beasts they are called in the fictional book of Christianity. Was this Big Daddy a zoologist? Why the beasts of the jungle and fields before man? Then one day he decided to make Adam. This fictional Big Daddy in the Sky took a little dust (because you see this Big Pappy later says we come from dust and we will end up dust--except for our bones), spat in it and I'll be damned, out popped Adam. [You see, spit was very important in Christian fables--like Jesus spat a lot into dust to make his so-called miracles (today's medical doctors can perform miracles Jesus had no idea could be performed--like heart transplants)(you know, Jesus brought a dead man back to life after he was already in his tomb--though that doesn't mean he was dead since these birds didn't really know when a person was really dead or maybe in a coma--don't you think those Jerusalem physicians would have proclaimed a person in a coma dead on the spot? But these modern-day Christian trumpeters blow over and over the proclamation that this fictional Messiah they truly believe in (the Jews don't even mention this dude in their histories nor do they see him as any kind of Messiah they're looking for) was supernatural because "HE raised Lazarus from the dead!" There were no life-support systems in those days--so vegetable-ized Judeans were considered dead and thereby buried quickly and forgotten).
I love watching these modern-day "faith" healers at work--yes, I watch my Christian television network faithfully--like the other night I saw this pompous fool, Richard Roberts, he's old dead-and-gone Oral's worthless son, healing his flock of true believers. I mean this rather imbecilically self-centered creature was saying that his Holy Father Oral (his Big Daddy in reality) had passed onto Little Richard on his death bed his healing power and that that healing power was evident only in this son of a lesser god's right hand. So old Richard has by inheritance become a near-God himself. He certainly lives a life of a god, folks, with Rolex watches, Corvettes, BMWs, Mercedes sports cars, his own private jet--hell, Little Dick Roberts inherited his own university, ORU, who do have a good basketball team because of the many converted Africans who come there to get sanctified in the Fables of Oral Roberts but to play basketball, too.
So old Richard (a true Dick) puts his God-powered right hand on the foreheads of his flock of usually older women and then he goes into his supernatural self and he says, "I command that that cancer LEAVES YOUR BODY NOW! I cast it out of your body and leave your body cancer free forevermore...." And this is followed by holier-than-thou groans and a host of "Praise the Lardy Lards" and "Oh, thank you, Jesuses" all around the room. I'm thinking, wait a minute, if Richard Roberts can cast cancer out of people then why wouldn't he be touring hospitals and healing all the millions of cancer patients our pay-or-die healthcare profiteers make billions-a-year off of? Believe me, if Richard Roberts could cure cancer that easily, the for-profit hospitals and the big pharmas or General Electric (they make imaging devices like MRIs) would have him suddenly die in his private jet's crashing somewhere; therefore, it's easy to conclude, this little Oklahoma hick can't cure cancer. And just think, Jesus, the Great Physician, had no idea what cancer was. A cancer-riddled Judean to Jesus was a stone sinner full of demons who were eating him from inside to out.
All of this diatribe due to the Republicans in Congress holding a hearing on contraception inviting only one woman witness to testify and then the committee head, this fool Darrell Issa from California, the Land of Fools, dismissed her as a witness because according to his idiot mind's interpretation of her credentials (she was a college student at a Catholic university), she was unqualified to discuss contraception--so that left only a bunch of male Christian blowhards to testify--all of this because of President Obama and his Repugnican geek opponents are sidestepping the big issues that are ruining this country to wile away presidential-election-year time on issues that are personal, private issues that have no business being ruled over in any way by a bunch of hypocritical male Republicans. My morals are no business of a bunch of true believing so-called Christian men--is Newtie Gingrich, that pig-jowled pompous ass, a qualified Christian? You think Newtie ever knocked up one of his mistresses? You think if he did and didn't want the little bastard he didn't send the mistress to an abortion clinic? Does Newtie have children? You never hear about these fools's children? Like Unka Dick, that true Dick of a feeble-minded and feeble-bodied man, had a Lesbian daughter. Hey, that's OK; at least his Lezzie daughter is a rightwing nutjob who keeps to her place. [Dick just shocked his backwards-thinking fans by saying he backs gay marriage--I guess his daughter wants to get married..."Daddy, say it's OK, please; I'm horny for a wife, Daddy...." Or is she the wife to be?]
The Democrat women in Congress got up and walked out of this hearing--and I'm thinking, whoa, ladies, why didn't you stay and shout the sons of bitches down with your parliamentary privileges. Elinor Holmes Norton (a three-name woman--they have different personalities than two-name women) tried to interject her two-cents worth into the matter but she was gaveled down by old Darrel Issa and his Repugnican male cohorts. No Democrat males defended their Democrat women.
But, hey, ladies, that's the attitude of these Christian men (OK, one's a Mormon, which to me makes him a bigger fool than those who truly believe in Christianity, a big ship of fools sailing off a deep end), including our "Christian" President; women to them are "mothers," "wives," "legal sexual partners," made by God to be in the kitchen cooking the man's grub, or in the bedroom fucking until she bingos with a son--an inheritor (modern men now accept daughters, though it wasn't that long back in our history when women were lower than dogs--our old Colonial White brothers married several women--why? Because a lot of young women died in childbirth in those days; once one breeder woman was dead, our old White forefathers went out and got 'em another young thing, knocked her up immediately, and if she died in childbirth, no problem, they already had their roving eyes on another young thing. Plus, their mistresses, too, got knocked up--look at old White Tom Jefferson's multicolored children).
Woman (the Woe of Man) tempted man into sin. A woman (Eve or Lillith?) got Adam kicked out of paradise. What happened to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve (and/or Lillith) got kicked out into the hardscrabble earth with their two worthless sons? Did it dissolve into thin air? Did God pack it up and take it back up above the clouds? What happened to it? [By the way, I was trying to mention that God made woman only after Adam bitched about not having something to fuck like he saw the beasts of the field and the jungle doing every time they got together when one of them mounted the other one of them, so, dammit, "God, why can't I have one of those?" So God took out one of Adam's ribs...I mean, come on, folks! Do you women want some man who truly believes such a cock-and-bull story to be your ruler?]
Such bullshit. As I've said before, everything coming out of Washington, District of Corruption, is basically lies. President Obama lies like a dog to us every day. Every speech he makes is basically a lie--maybe some truths founded on lies, which makes them lies, too. Like this current bragging by Obama about how 270,000 jobs were created in some last quarter or some such bullshit time period. This is absolutely not true. The truth is we lost jobs in the last quarter--we didn't gain jobs. The honest unemployment rate is around 20%; the lying one is at 8.3%, which is still a very high number of unemployed. And these lies will go on and on and on. H.L. Mencken told us this back in the 20s and 30s. When I was a kid, every adult in my family joked about how crooked politicians were--especially local politicians.
Obama is being lauded by liberals and neoliberals and lefties and women and Black folks as the better of the worst candidates ever even though he's broken every campaign promise he ever made and continues to compromise with total fools, total idiots, and he continues to hedge on the matter of fossil fuels destroying human life, human existence, not the world, we'll never destroy the world, only ourselves. Freud, though condemned today as a sham, was right about this death wish that comes to us through our instincts from the minute we're dropped into this strange place full of strange things and creatures including us.
I having been married three times never wanted children. I can't stand most children. Mainly because I can't stand most parents. However, like all males, I did find sex the most pleasurable of the many pleasures our instincts allow us. My first wife and I had sex but we were careful; women back then were very careful--not with men using rubbers but with an understanding of their cycles. My last wife believed she could not get pregnant at certain times a month. As a result, she and I were constantly having sex--and as a result, surprise, she got knocked up several times, too. We did not want children. So what did we do? We went to the Tender Loving Care center and got an abortion. My second wife was a first user of Enovid, the pill, and she faithfully took the pill and though we had a lot of sex, she never got knocked up. God help any of my wives and I would we have had kids. I'm just no good with kids. I can't tolerate their little irritating ways. I don't have the patience. Nor did my wives want to be burdened by kids. My second wife was a scholar. She was more interested in her privacy, her reading, her philosophizing, her writing than she was in ever being a mother. My last wife had a kid from a previous marriage--I treated him like an adult but if he fucked up doing something or hurt himself or needed correcting, he would not allow me any jurisdiction over him. One time he hurt himself working with me in a garden. He cut himself fairly badly, but when I tried to doctor him, he screamed bloody murder for his mother. He was her kid; not mine.
In the backwards White male-ruled state of Oklahoma, the White idiot nutjobs have just voted via an overwhelming majority of Praise-God votes fetuses human beings and also that male sperm is a human being, too; therefore in Oklahoma tonight not just abortion doctors are murderers but also every young jerk off beating his meat over some girly magazine or Internet girly site and who eventually spends his seed into a Kleenex is a murderer, too! Yeah. How backward can you get? And I owe Oklahoma a lot since I spent several of my earliest years in Enid, Oklahoma. When Oklahoma was still an integrated state; it had not been a state when slavery was legal (just think, slavery was once legal in this country--this land of the free (White men) and home of the brave (White men); this great nation that is now forcing its form of non-democracy democracy on the rest of the heathen world). Our nextdoor neighbor in Enid was a Black family and that situation early made me very aware of Blacks and I think helped keep me from becoming a solid White racist--though here, too, I must credit my family, especially my very modern grandmother the poet, with teaching me to respect all humans no matter their color--my parents really believed in the little song they taught me early in life: "Jesus loves the little children/All the children of the world/Red and yellow, black and white/They are precious in his sight/Jesus loves the little children of the world." A bullshit ditty, but I interpreted it as meaning, though my White philosophers were trying to teach me that I was superior to all colored people who were God-and-Jesus-condemned heathen, that I, too, could LOVE Black people like the cute little girl that lived next door to me. You know, White Chrisitans (and White Mormons) believe that Black people are Black because of old Noah's Black son, Ham, the bastard, took a peek into old Noah's bedroom when he saw his old worthless dad dead drunk and naked, probably after just diddling one of his daughters, a wicked sin that thereby got old Ham driven out of paradise and exiled to Africa! To Ethiopia.
Anyway, that's enough diatribe (growling) for today. I'm on my way downtown to later be blowing my harmonicas and singing on stage in front of a packed house I hope and with my best gal along with me for moral and love support (she is one of the great ladies of the world--but that's as much about her as I'm revealing. I'm serious about this relationship so I don't want to jeopardize it by making this woman real. Remember, this blog is a novel in progress--I'm a character, OK, I am the protagonist in this continually present novel, which my last wife called simply "a diary." But then that's what journals are.
for The Daily Growler