Sunday, June 29, 2003

chapter five...........

i can cross a piranha infested river, survive a sandstorm, stop a runaway train, live thru an airplane crash , build a shelter during a blizzard, escape from the trunk of a car, bend steel with my bare hands, treat a shark bite, rescue kids from burning buildings, and pass a bribe - but i can’t understand gurls! Dammit!

oh....ya cross the river at nite to avoid the piranhas, and don’t wake’m up!

dunno who said the only trouble worth having is the trouble of falling in love. could use THAT kinda trouble rite about now.

sure, i’ve tried clever pick-up lines, “do you prefer gin and plaTonic, or will that be scotch and sofa?”, or howzabout, “they call me coffee, cause i grind sooo fine.....” no, well check this out, “there must be something wrong with my eyes, cause i can’t take’m off you!”

yeah, i know what yer thinkin’ : “Looooser....”

look, i never claimed to be an expert on the biochemistry of love-at-first-site, think yer supposed to hear bells ringin’ and stuff ............ all i know is: 1) expect the unexpected, 2) accept things beyond your control, 3) always have plan B, and 4) no matter how bad things are, it could always get worse.

“i’ve heard it all before”, tweaked Twitch. “well what four things have you learned about gurls”, i said taking a toke. “find’em, feel’em, fuck’em, and forget’em.” yeah, well i’ve heard all that before too. Twitch is writing his dad in Thailand. wants to move there for “sex till i die”, he laughs. “roll a joint, roll a duck-tail joint.”

there’s an offering at 4:20 every day at the pot club. “offer me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water and i will accept it...”, read sister rosemarie during invocation.

after some announcements, and several joints later, i left for Gilbert’s house. think i’m being followed so i take the scenic route thru Chinatown via North Beach. paid my respects when i passed St. Peter’s where joltin’Joe married Marilyn in 1954. at least that’s where they took the picture. those were the days, uncle Hank was on drums in a Count Basie type big band with uncle Carmine on sax....they did all the was a good time. he was quite a character. the quintessential street philosopher. “choose yer friends, don’t let your friends choose you, cause they’re always the ones that’ll get’cha”, he’d say.

“skepticism is a virtue, think fer yourself. you’re not going to become a millionaire with little or no money down, and ya know what?, ...all aspirin are basically alike.”

self-reliance was Carmine’s main theme. he was an intense, but calm man. success involved a lotta hard work after the family arrived from Italy in the late 1800’s. in his talks over the years, he would tell us how important a good education is, but even more important was the success that comes from within.

a deeper and richer experience of life meant inner peace. a burning desire, passion, an inner candle flame that can never be put out. be open to everything...attached to nothing.

“that’s an interesting point of view, i’ve never considered that.”

“everything that’s old, is new again...ya can’t do the same old shit and expect different results....don’t die with the music inside you....listen to the silence....back to the source.....the space between thoughts, creates the longer need a personal history.....make believe you are who you want to be...
wisdom is right thought, and what is right
thought monks? right thought is harm-
less, rite thought reduces suffering.......
hey, hey,
yeah, yeah............””

yup, uncle Carmine was quite a guy.

Chapter six.....

“you do not have any problems, ya only think you do.” “energy”, said dr.Wheeler, “comes to us thru our senses.” “no problems, just energy converted into problems.”

sounds like a new firewall is in order . we’re having a stoner philosophy session at the pot club.

“well, where does bad come from?” asked Twitch. “oh, it’s just an idea we carry around , a shadow of our integrity mistaken for the real error in careful what ya think about, cause thoughts ARE things!” whoa dude! heavy!

every relationship is in yer mind processed thru your thoughts. change your mind to the divine. pull up the shades and let the light shine in! there lived a little man in Italy named st.Francis who gave all his possessions to the poor. he wrote a prayer:

lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
where there is hatred let me sow love........

it hung above the entrance to st.Anthony’s dining room, the soup kitchen on Jones and GoldenGate in the heart of the Tenderloin near downtown. i never met a city that wanted to be New York more than San Francisco. what essEff doesn’t realize is that it takes more than grimy streets and homeless drug addicts to make a city big.

it takes autumn.

bright colors, crisp clear powder-blue sky, crunchy leaves underfoot. one of those days where ya think nothing could go wrong, especially a plane ride.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

chapter four........
nobody out, bases loaded..... subway series in the making. it’s been at least 45 years since the last subway series. i was three years old living in a loft at Lafayette and Spring streets on the lower east side, not too far from St. Vincent’s hospital where i was born.

the time i spent at Yankee Stadium as a kid wasn’t so much for the games. Dad didn’t go in much for sports, am i still pissed he never took me to a game? of course not.

aunt rosalie’s brother Louie would take me. it was some kinda drop-off point for the gambling paraphernalia dad and some of his art student pals made for wiseguys running illegal gambling rooms. as a matter of fact, most of the Yankee games i saw were from the 161st Street subway platform for the #2 line. was there when Johnny D caught a Roger Maris homer and almost fell into an uncoming train! long story, lotsa beer......

mikeyJr. was the pick-up guy. son of Michael duNord, an oilpainter in the Village, mikeyJr wasn’t into art, he was into money.

marked cards, fixed dice, rigged roulette wheels, counterfeit script. the GIbill just wasn’t enough to raise a family with an art student father. mom would eventually put dad thru school while completing her masters degree at Hunter College. had the first mom on our block with a college degree!

when i arrived back at my campsite that evening, a pure snow-white kitten with an extra toe on each foot was waiting for me. almost squashed her getting in my sleeping bag. named her Cosmo. Riff-Raff said she’s polydactyl, that’s where the extra toes come from. “great, i’ll teach her to play piano and take her on the road!”

she’s got plenty of friends. there’s Rocket J and Blackie Squirrel, Freddy Fox, Peter Possum, Rocky Raccoon, and “ten pounds of bullshit in a five pound bag....” that’s what Riff-Raff said when he heard about my trip to New York,. “they’ll follow ya there too!” he was probably right.

Friday, June 27, 2003

chapter three................

passed the spot i found Andy hangin’ from a tree. been clearcut now, the sun shining in places it hasn’t seen in years. recognized the stump and sat down on it.

“how are the kids doin’?”, i asked Chung, master gardener and Tai-Chi monk. he considers the trees his children.

“MAGIC”, he said, “is the ability of nature to channel and direct sunlight from a star 8 billion miles away, to grow new life where once there was none.” oh brother, here we go on one of Chung’s mystical mental imaginings. “like these seedlings that make the most of all available resources, the time to act is at hand.”

dam rite...San Francisco is so drunk on itself, people die on the streets and nobody notices. so i stick my thumb out on hwy 1, where Playland by the Sea used to be, and hitch a ride outta here. it’s drizzlin’ out and the wind is pickin’ up. left my tent set up to confuse the issue for anyone watching.

an old Volvo pulls up. it’s Heather from the pot club. if i was getting paid by the word, I'd tell ya the whole sorry ass story about how we wound up back at my tent having sex, that was mistake number one. mistake number two was tellin’ her her kid is better off in protective custody. that’sˆwhen she yells, “so you don’t think i’m a fit mother either!!!!!.....maybe i should just kill myself...”

then she pulls out this 8inch bowie knife, “I'll cut myself rite where i did last time”.....showing me the scar from her last suicide attempt. rite now i’m feelin’ like that guy in the psycho-bitch with a knife movie and i’m freakin’’ve heard the term “his bark is worse than his byte”, well i don’t have a byte, so i run like hell screamin’ for the cops!!

when i get back to the site with the police, we find my tent shredded and my pocketPC in the lake. spent that nite, Sunday the 8th, sewing my tent in the rain. turns out that’s kid number four she’s lost to child protective custody for violence and abuse. number FOUR!! another beat-up little boy. just what the world needs, rite? good luck kid, you’re gonna need it. and a good therapist too.

it was quite a storm. thunder reigned with the tumultuous sound of drums, bugles, trumpets and this intense buzz combined likeˆ the roar of a lion vibrating in the sky and on earth. my head started spinning when i realized that people who know me and call me friend, want to hurt and harass me. How could i be happy in the crime of destroying friends and family, even in self-defense? these hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing for profit.

“snap out of it!”, barked Chung like a marine drill sergeant with a Chinese accent, “how have these impurities come upon you?”, “it is true, some have come to fight you to please the evil-minded son of an east coast businessman because you possess the only object linking this person to robbery and murder.”

great!.....dunno what the hell Chung is talkin’ about. all my stuff fits in a
28lb duffel bag, and I've already been cleared of murder.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

chapter two.....................

“find anyone hangin’ in the park?”, yelled riff-raff. “Still early’,
i yelled back. there’s a few people I'd like to hang in the park myself, but i won’t. my x-wife must be getting desperate. been five years since our divorce. she must be looking for hidden assets, how else can you explain these creepo guys hiding in the brush, sneaking up on me in the middle of the night.

she left for Hawaii a month before my dad made his first trip to San Francisco. we’d already been divorced, but still wanted dad to meet her. he even bought a couple of sculptures and an original painting he’d done for our new apartment.

but his son had no wife, no apartment, no career, no money -
let’s face it - everything he wanted me to be, i wasn’t. he left without saying good-bye. haven’t talked since.

brought the artwork over to aunt Rosalie and uncle hank’s house in the Richmond district. 6th and Balboa is where the painting hangs over the fireplace in the living room, a sculpture on each side of the mantle.

“still hiding in a paper bag at golden gate park?”, joked uncle hank. “sure”, i said, “who’s gonna find me in a paper bag?”

“change would do you some good”, said aunt Rosalie after she heard about my planned trip to New York. who-are-they-and-what- do- they-want is what i wanna know. is this the price i pay for hangin’ at the pot clubs?

“human beings didn’t invent marijuana and have no right to regulate it’s use”, stammered Twitch the resident tweaker. a lotta speed freaks use pot to help with the crash landing. “like a parachute”, tweaked Twitch. “never forget the peace rallies in the sixties when half the hippies there were undercover, sometimes it felt like i was the only guy NOT undercover, that was probably the speed talkin’.”

“question authority, but don’t get drunk outside yer house!” riff-raff didn’t have a house. he wasn’t homeless, just at home outdoors.

chapter one............

I'll never forget the time i came face to face with the fact that i am completely nuts! my mind, a shrieking, gibbering madhouse barreling down the hill outta control, and hopeless. no problem...always been this way, not crazier than yesterday, not crazier than anyone else. just tired, so tired of lyin’ to myself.

finally changed when i didn’t wanna be me anymore, but didn’t know who to become, that space in between is called insanity.

folks have different ways of dealing with it. Andy hung himself.

found him hangin’ there mid-july. heavy mist made him look like a mannequin. a bad joke. just stared for awhile. the noose done perfectly with the required loops and length. jacket full of weights. ponytail like mine, except no gray hair, mid-twenties.

it was on the way to callin’ the cops i realized crazy is better than dead. give up on logic - it doesn’t make sense! Andy shoulda just gone crazy ‘stead of hangin’ there. knew his name from the beautiful memorial at the tree a few days later. a lotta people loved this guy. sure cured me. ain’t gonna be no memorial at my tree. i’m lovin’ life anyways. anyways i’m gonna love life.

maybe i shouldn’t call the cops. then i gotta explain what i’m doin’ campin’ in golden gate park. been two years 2 months. beat my old record by a mile. turns out, cops didn’t care about campin’ - happy to get Andy’s body removed before it got busy....

got a little nervous when the forensic guy said he wanted to rule out was ruled out quick - “the only foul play is what this guy did to himself.”

happy to hear that, he looked so much like a younger version of me, wondered if those guys tracking me made a mistake.