By Tom H. Brooks 3
A MISTY CRESCENT MOON HANGING LOW IN THE DEEP INDIGO SKY AT THE END OF BROOME STREET…………………..
The above photo is from the first night I met my future wife, Chiharu, at Lorelei German Restaurant and Bar on the L.E.S. of NYC. It`s not often that one is lucky enough to have a picture from the very FIRST time they met someone…
“Love burns brighter than sunshine.”
“bedtime for Bonzo…”
Little things can make a BIG difference
“I think people crash into each other just so they can FEEL something.”
“He`s a walking contradiction,
going up was worse than coming down…”
“Freedom`s just another word
for nothing left to lose…
Feeling good was good enough for me…”
My dreams have become
They are with me
in sleep and in waking,
They are mine
Dreams are an awakening,
into higher realms…
“A Floating City on the Water
I know not how you rule
nor what you forgive
To endure but not to wait
That is how our fate is woven.
Your secret is not a sin.
Gorgeous solitude, full void
I vomit blood to become an offering
The dead body of betrayal lies
where heaven meets the earth
silently enfolding a rainbow
that will never fade.
Watch the epitaph of my soul
Oh, the variation of life!
The bitter death
of inscrutable myth that is life.
A gargantuan city falls upon us.
Then the city reemerges on the water.”
“Graveyard by the Sea
My soul, do not seek immortal life,
but exhaust the realm of the possible.
Quiet that roof, where doves are walking,
quivers between the pines,
between the tombs;
Justice Noon out there compounds with fires,
The sea, the sea perpetually renewed!
Ah what a recompense, after a thought,
A prolonged gazing on the calm of the gods!
What a lucid toil of pure lightings consumes
many a diamond of imperceptible foams,
And what a stillness seems to beget itself.
For awhile the sun hangs over the abyss,
pure workings of an eternal cause,
and the Dream is knowledge.”
5/12/05…Only Me….Sunset Magic
I just finished reading the aforementioned book (“Floating City…”) and I am sitting here on Staten Island, on the Kill van Kull river at sunset.
I look north at Manhattan Island and it is indeed just that….”A Floating City on the Water…” It lies there sparkling in the fading sunlight,
wrapped in purple and peach and fiery red hues…
I just saw the same lunatic three separate times today, twice on the S.I. Ferry and again later on downtown NYC streets. He was ranting
and raving all the while in a loud monologuing voice, ” America, GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, IF YOU GOT MONEY! CORPORATE
FUCKING GREED, THEY`LL TAKE THE SHIRT OF YOUR BACK AND THE BOTTLE FROM A BABY`S TOOTHLESS MOUTH. IT
NEVER ENDS, IT ONLY GETS WORSE…” It was pretty funny but…sober up you asshole. At the same time, he was kind of right…
Downtown NYC, Trinity Church Graveyard…crickets and city sounds…
who would`ve known Death could sound so nice?
Having a 9:30pm Subway sandwich picnic at Collect Pond Park, formerly at the heart of Paradise Square, known as the Five Points…
phantoms, ghosts, still walk these streets…
NYC street graffiti:
“As soon as I lose
my sense of humor
“I`d trade all of my tomorrows
for one single yesterday.”
This is where that intro above comes in…
the misty crescent moon hanging low in the deep indigo sky at the end of Broome Street…
“A broom is drearily sweeping
up the broken pieces of yesterday`s life…”
You can hear the subway rumble beneath Lafayette Street city sidewalk…
“Where the rain is born
the moon in the labyrinth
the hunter after roots
In this net
it`s not just the strings that count
but also the air that escapes
through the meshes.”
I have decided that Staten Island is fascinating and deserves more exploration….
5 days later;
Staten Island…at Swan Street and Van Duzer
Where the fuck am I?
Later, I woke up in a sunny, grassy patch of land with the wind hissing through the trees. I am somewhere on
the northeast side of Staten Island, and I had a strange feeling that Chiharu`s head was on my chest. I must
have been dreaming. I then came to my total senses and awakened. I was alone but she is in my thoughts.
Verrazano Narrows Bridge
“The older I get, the less patience I have for nonsense.”
Staten Island Boardwalk in South Beach; overheard conversation of two older guys (48 to 52 yrs?)
Great Kills Park–amazing place…
Arthur Kill Road at Richmond; Richmond Town is unbelievable! It is like a time warp to a 17th century Dutch Village…
Rockland Avenue through the Greenbelt and the Great Swamp…
“Living is easy
with eyes closed,
misunderstanding all you see;
It`s getting hard
to be someone
but it all works out…
It doesn`t matter much to me…”
Castleton Street to the Broadway West Brighton Ghetto Projects…
it ain`t pretty… This is surely WU-TANG country, bitches!!
Later, blowing minds at a Staten Island deli when I tell them of my insane round-the-island skateboard journey (not ALL the way around, but a nice, long run anyway…).
They asked me, I didn`t volunteer the information. I`m sure it`s not everyday that these guys see a CA squid like myself roll in there on a Sector 9 skateboard. They
assume the usual CA stereotypes (“Peace, bro” and “Cool dude”) and I laugh along. They were friendly and inquisitive and insatiably curious. They had never been
to most the places I rode today (especially the Projects) and this is their home. They were wide-eyed and slack-jawed at my madness and suitably impressed. They
were actually really greedy with questions so I gave them what they wanted. I regaled them with tales of their own island that exceeded their expectations….
3pm The Kill van Kull is a busy harbor! I just saw 4 HUGE ships within only 15 minutes…
6pm; on the ferry home…
The warmth in her eyes
dripping like honey
Lips ripe and full
like cherry blossoms
Skin of the smoothest silk
A heart woven
of crystal filaments
of diamonds and gold
and a limitless aura,
open and free…
Like a spring breeze
she blew through my life
rustling the leaves
of my autumn tree
leaving them tumbling
along cold, dark asphalt
where it all ends
and where it begins…
The moon rises and
I see her face
glowing in the night…
The Allman Brothers, “Ramblin` Man” is still a favorite song of mine and has been since I was like 2 years old…
“You`re a writer, what do you write?”
“one word poetry…” NILS
“I am the Astrocreep
a demolition style type American Freak, Yeah!!”
We like to think words
can explain everything,
but there are so many
things that transcend
that are beyond words…
Central Park on the weekend almost brings a tear to my eye, an indescribable joy. It is good to see so many people of all shapes, colors, and sizes having fun. It is nice
to see people laughing, talking, interacting in the spring sunlight. Families rowing on the lake, picnics everywhere, birds fluttering through the trees, music drifting across
emerald meadows of green grass, the voices of children…all these things blend into an intoxicating scent of humanity–a seething mass, all one family in the end. It is good
to see my brothers and sisters happy and I am filled with life, overflowing with energy. It gives me just a little ray of hope for the future of the human race…
5/21/05 6:47pm, in my room, painting and listening to Miles Davis, Bitches Brew…
To create….to paint….to watch the colors expand and meld together across a field of white canvas–
to watch it become something out of nothing, a shadow of my interior mind reflected upon a blank
whiteness, a sublime, subconscious meaning, something beyond itself, bigger than us…it takes on
a grand life all its own….
After I finish painting, there is a thunderstorm with MASSIVE thunder and lightning.
“Just one thing. Remember me when I`m gone. If you remember me, then I don`t care if everybody else forgets.”
Nothing is Something
Nowhere is a Place.
“Do dreams of dying things warn or celebrate?”
If you have formed a circle
to go into,
go into it yourself and
see how you would do…”
“Everything is autobiographical.
I want to go on until
there is nothing more to see.”
“Sleeping in the Forest
I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire
of the stars but my thoughts,
and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell,
as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom.
I had vanished at least
a dozen times
into something better…
“So this is how liberty dies;
with thunderous applause.”
HOW TO GET FAMOUS
FOR DOING NOTHING AT ALL”
“What I imagine is perhaps very important. For the entire world.”
“because two bodies,
naked and entwined,
leap over time,
they are invulnerable,
nothing can touch them,
they return to the source,
there is no you, no I,
no tomorrow, no yesterday,
the truth of two in a single body,
a single soul,
oh, total being…”
“Today the loss of faith is universal. Here God himself is powerless. We have put
our faith in the bomb, and it is the bomb which will answer our prayers…”
“The Time of the Assassins”
“With this, MYSELF, I establish the whole universe, and remain forever separate.”
Yeah, and I`m the King of Old Siam…
“Once, if I remember well,
my life was a feast
at which all hearts opened
and all wines flowed.”
What I said to one of the guys in the kitchen at Freeman`s…(We were always railing on each other, so he could take it; actually, he laughed his ass off…)
I`m gonna carve some carne asada off your back, wrap you up in a tortilla and send you back to Mexico…
in thee I believe–
in an infinite smile
and the world
like an immense lyre
in the shudder of an immense kiss…”
I`ve found Jesus!!
He was behind the couch…
“Get yo fat ass outta here befo I cut some bacon off yo back!”
“An Artist of the Floating World”
LIVE LIKE A LEGEND
“There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre,
something of the terrible, and not little of that which might have excited disgust.”
Edgar Allan Poe
“The Masque of the Red Death”
YOU HAD ME AT `GET LOST!`
We as humans are such conceited fools to think that we could actually destroy Mother Nature.
She will take over everything once again long after we are dead and gone…
“…a cerebral, on-fire intelligence, fueled by exquisitely attuned curiosity…”
I have now given away all my New York maps. I need none of them. I will find my way. I have
given myself up to the random music and movement of the streets.
The Street Harmony Boys in SOHO….they can change the vibe of an entire city block…
The original Freeman`s Alley horse is back, complete with a caption by Rambo,
“Her glory always reinstated…”
Timbo Hudock, waving his pasty white arms out of his window and always shooting bottle rockets
around Freeman`s Alley while screaming…..goddamn, I love that crazy bastard…
Favorite NYC sign that I see everywhere….SHAFTWAY……huh….huh huh huh
Holidays really bring out all the assholes…
“He smiles, says, `Relax. There`s no point blaming one of US for this. There are VICTIMS,` he says, pointing a finger at his chest,
`and there are VILLAINS,` he says, pointing a finger at her. `Don`t create shades of gray that a mass audience can`t follow. You
want audience sympathy at this point; you`re going to have to campaign for it.` “
“…and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all…”
Edgar Allan Poe
“The Masque of the Red Death”
“The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps”
and the grass grows”
Well I can`t possibly do THAT!
“Illusions never fake their lies…”
“Nobodies are the new celebrity.”
Skateboarding NYC streets on Monday, Memorial Day…AMAZINGLY empty, like a ghost city…
SERIOUSLY! A ride north downhill on 2nd Avenue against minimal traffic on a wide open smooth space defies description….
MOVEMENT>>>>>>>>>>>is of the essence>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Fleet Week (the Navy Boys are home) Madness at 50th Street on the West Side…
Hell`s Kitchen, and then a thunderstorm. I wait it out and then continue to the center and south…
Skateboarding Times Square…..WHAT A RUSH!
Stopped at Hogs and Heifers in the Meatpacking District….
The bartenders are sexy young girls in leather hot pants dancing on the bar like that cheesy movie…
Lots of Harley Davidson Bikers and barbecue grills are set up on the streets…
Someone let loose a fire hydrant and it is spraying high into the air while everyone runs around below cooling off….
I mean EVERYONE….bikers, Puerto Rican grandmas, kids, blacks, it`s insane to see all these people together
playing like children in the cool whitewater flow….
And after all that, there is a food and games festival of some sort right in my own neighborhood on Mulberry Street around Little Italy…
“Away from its inhabited corner, Spetsai (“Phraxos”) was truly haunted, though by subtler and more beautiful ghosts then those I have created.
Its pine forest silences were uncanny, unlike those I have experienced anywhere else; like an eternally blank page waiting for a note or a word.
They gave the most curious sense of timelessness and incipient myth.”
Foreword to “The Magus”
“I didn`t know where I was going, but I knew what I needed. I needed a new land, a new race, a new language; and although I couldn’t put it into
words then, I needed a new mystery…”
“If you can just get your mind together,
then come across to me,
We`ll hold hands and watch the sunrise
from the bottom of the sea…”
6/1/05 4:20pm Smoke
at M`Finda Kalunga Garden (“Garden at the Edge of the Other World”)
“Cast no dust in the well which hath given thee water…”
“Well, there`s more concrete in the world than good surf breaks…”
NYC Street Graffiti
“Struggle is only
a minor setback…”
A Baker`s Dozen
F Train car all to myself on my way to Coney Island, Brooklyn at High NOON….
Sitting on the boardwalk on a busy Saturday afternoon in Coney Island, I could not even begin to describe the fascinating and
disconnected, alien feeling which has taken hold over me. It is not bad, it is just simply surreal, strange to be in NYC amongst
so many new faces and friends….a castaway, a stranger in a strange land. I value every minute of my journey, I revel in the
isolation, I seek new things, new places, I am lost under an east coast sky with puffy white clouds drifting overhead. I sit here
laughing to myself and drinking Budweiser. At least THAT never changes….
But…I never forget my west coast roots; the good old days in the land of sunshine, from LA to San Diego and back again, riding
from Venice Beach to Palos Verdes…. I always carry it with me in my heart, but I am still going, dead reckoning, for something
new…breaking ground, a pioneer, an explorer of the highest order…
And you know what else? I`ll bet you cash money that the DOGTOWN Z-boys NEVER skateboarded Staten Island….
Coney Island Circus Sideshow: You`ve NEVER seen a cuter female swordswallower….I`M NOT KIDDING….She could bring a grown man to tears…
A Puerto Rican Band set up on the boardwalk and played “Guantanamera” and then they played “Oye Como Va”…
10 out of 10 shots at the “Scarface Shooting Gallery”
I should have been an assassin…
Skateboarding back to Manhattan through Brooklyn from the beach….NO MAPS….
Stopped at an area I will call `Little Bombay` at Church and McDonald and had a beer at Denny`s Steak Pub…
Officially this area is called Kensington…
Flatbush Blvd. Manhattan Bridge at 8:15pm for dusk….
I decided to go down to the Brooklyn Bridge instead. Before I leave Brooklyn, I see a HOT babe Puerto Rican cop….
she could search me anytime…..
77 degree night…
I am a walking GPS
I`m cruising on autopilot, baby….
“Oh mercy mercy me
things ain`t what they used to be…”
“Here at the frontier
there are falling leaves,
although my neighbors are barbarians
and you, you are a thousand miles away,
there are always two cups on my table.”
A Poem from the T`ang Dynasty
You can say whatever you want about my paintings, but I can say this as my own critique; I have NEVER seen anything like them.
I am NOT copying anyone in style or idea. And they have great titles….
NYC….she has cast her spell on me, and I cannot leave. The street life, the masses of humanity, beyond description! The music
everywhere and the voices across parks and squares in the long hot summer…
Birds, honking horns, women, love and lust in the air, humid nights, sudden thunderstorms and the smell of cool rain on hot asphalt.
The wind in the trees, the sweet stink of the subways, fish markets on Grand Street, blue skies and gray canyons of stone facades,
relentless commerce, throngs of shoppers, bodies in the East River, brown bagging beer at sunset on the Hudson…all these things
and SO MUCH more, all of them magic, the music and the relentless energy of the City….
I got a massage at a really nice spa in SOHO from a BEAUTIFUL West African girl named Yandouba. I saw a ghostly and vaporous, amoeba-like, wavering
blue and violet aura behind my eyelids….so she either slipped me some drugs, I was having a flashback, or that was one HELL OF A MASSAGE!!
Riding my skateboard at an equal pace alongside a huge EVERGREEN (reminds me of LA Harbor, San Pedro) container ship on the Kill van Kull.
I`d say about 6 knots….
Rolling Thunder and Summer Rain….
Lead-colored skies and water glittering and rolling like mercury…
“Chance wears many faces.”
MODERN DAY MAGELLAN
Nagle and Hillside Avenue…..beyond the beyond…..if you don`t know, you`ll never understand…..
Me skateboarding through Inwood on Dyckman Ave with Dominicans and Puerto Ricans all around me….
ME, totally incongruous in this setting yet I got nothing but love and good-natured laughter,
and THAT, my friends, is all I ask…
I`m at Washington Heights at 167th Street. I decided I`m gonna skateboard the length of Manhattan today
to the 12th Street Hudson River pier for a sunset dusk beer refresher in the mist fountain ….
Malcolm X Blvd to Odell M. Clark Place around 138th Street in Harlem…
If you could see Park Avenue this far north in Harlem, it would change your whole image and perspective of what you THINK about this street…
Marcus Garvey Park and some Puerto Rican Parade on Lexington…
It`s all about NEW FRONTIERS…
Back to Central Park….south….south…..Times Square….Hell`s Kitchen…..Meatpacking district……to the Hudson Pier…..ahhhhhhh, BEER TIME….
Venice Beach roller disco pales in comparison to NYC Central Park roller groove….You have NO IDEA…..old school!!
4:20pm south Central Park alone at a waterfall …..smoking…..
no sound but the light misty rain on the water, the flow of the falls, and rolling thunder across a humid sky….
most incredible thunder and lightning ever! 10th Street on the Hudson…
OUT OF THE CITY FOR A COUPLE DAYS….>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Quiet nights of quiet stars
nothing but the trees
A forest alive
watching the grass
and me, under a mist lightly falling
on a billion leaves
mist, talking in the darkness
yet palpable silence
the cryptic hoot of the owl
as he flies across
the crescent moon
The stars present us
with many questions
if one is lucky,
a few answers as well…
A cool night wind
rustles the trees
and speaks to me
and then all is still
and I am left with only myself…
in morning sunshine
shafts of light
wavering though tree branches
the hum of insects
the silence of nothingness
the harmony of silence
The nothingness that
A song we can never write
but only try to
A piece of the eternity
that many try to capture
but very few succeed
A tangible slice of
forever caught in the amber
of this morning stillness…
something in the air
is trying to tell me something
I close my eyes
and melt into my surroundings
These messages come with
the rustling leaves…
There are mysteries here that
may not yet be revealed….
“On the battlefield–THAT is something different. That is when the real enemy, DEATH, appears. The madness of it…
standing in holes in the ground, thousands of men of all types, one March morning–and for what? If there is a hell,
then it is that. Not flames, not pitchforks. But a place without the possibility of reason. That is how war corrupts us.
It plays on our pride in our own free will.”
“I walked back beside her, in silence. I said goodbye to her under a street lamp. By a garden full of lilac trees. Not a single
word. Two young faces, suddenly old, facing each other. The moment that endures when all other noises and objects have
sunk into dust and oblivion. The scent of lilac and the two white faces in the bottomless darkness. And that is all…
`And did you ever see her again?`
`She died…but the dead live.`
`How do they live?`
`By Love.` “
Nature in all its glory….within 30 seconds, I had a dragonfly sitting on my hand staring at me with its bug eyes,
a garter snake slithered by, and then a tiny red, gold, blue, and green caterpillar that looked like a Dr. Seuss
character inched by…..
`Coincidence` is just a word we use to explain things that we can`t understand…
I`m swimming with a frog….
Ahhhhh, The Catskills……this is “Last of the Mohicans” country….
“Occam`s Razor”— The simplest explanation is usually the correct one….
a glowing sky
a profound moment
betwixt day and night
black against the fading light
of unknown birds
a symphony of lights
The night wraps herself
around the day
like a black velvet glove
and the quiet descends
upon the world
The mysteries lie
beyond the rim
of a cobalt blue horizon
The mystery is wonder;
what will happen next…
Morning Catskills mist
frogs were croaking in the wet forest
while I sat quietly
to the music of nature
diaphanous veils of lacy fog
drifting in ghostly tendrils
across chartreuse fields
bathed in golden morning light
Snake in the pool
the buzz of the insects
and the day moves onward
into an uncertain future
deeper into the delirious heat
which clenches us in its grasp
and makes everything more vivid
BACK IN THE CITY………>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The Shrunken Head Bar on East 14th St…(kind of reminds me of El Carmen on 3rd Street in LA…)
Tiki Bar with Pulp Fiction posters strewn about and 2 Jersey guys chatting it up with the big-titty bartendress…
“Los Angeles” by X is on the juke…..life is good….
A bike messenger ripping down Broadway gave me a friendly push forward as I skateboarded down the street.
He said, “you got an assist…” and then whizzed by. “Good looking out…” I called at his rapidly retreating back….
And the day moved forward almost as fast as I did….
Went to the music “Summer Series” at Central Park on 6/17/05 at sunset…
Saw bands; Burnt Sugar, Pharaoh Sanders, Graham Parker, and Will Calhoun….It was spectacular….
“sometimes love changes shape…”
the beyond of seeing
imaginings of sand
the scattered fables of the wind
space carved out god
axis of solstices
always two syllables in love
house of wind
the unreality of the seen
makes real the seeing…
I am the creation of what I see…
Water of truth
truth of water
All that remains is transparency…”
“Gimme a coffin nail or all three of us are gonna regret it.”
Blake is in NYC…he just showed up….
2 black guys on dirt bikes almost ran over Blake`s spectacular beer belly ripping through the park….
“Captain Redundant reigns supreme…”
Blake St. John
“Quiet is proper for such
the street subdued
half snow, half rain
but ending in the darkened doors
they who will be there always
Quiet as if proper for such people
Enough for now to be here
to know my door is one of these…”
NYC Subway Poems
Herb Alpert “Whip Cream and Cherries”
Coney Island Mermaid Parade…….BIZARROWORLD………..
Little girls on daddy`s shoulders
a riot of color
naked green painted mermaids in a Cadillac convertible
Bacchus on Rollerblades
A woman all in green under a green umbrella
A young boy doing amazing acrobatics off dad`s back
“Amy” with Neptune
4 lavender glitter naked women
Oh to hell with it, it is BEYOND the beyond of description
You gotta see THIS shit for yourself….
Ruby`s Bar and Grill during the Parade….beer and whiskey and Glen Campbell on the Juke
“there`s been a load of compromising, on the road to my horizon…”
and then “Dream dream dream”….
Later SPOOKORAMA ride…figure it out…
Wonderwheel and the Cyclone roller coaster…
“I am of old and young,
of the foolish as much as the wise…”
“I AM LARGE;
I CONTAIN MULTITUDES…”
NYC street graffiti
“KEEP YOUR ART TO
YOURSELF NEXT TIME…”
footnote: Tran, Caroline
======E N D=======THB3=============================================
Yes, hello my friends. So, it appears that the next 4 volumes are missing. I haven`t the slightest idea where they have disappeared to but
what can I do about it? It would have distressed me at a certain point in time but I am past all that worrying now. I recall Dave Polston and
I searching for hours up in the Hollywood Hills for another lost book but mostly just smoking herb and drinking beer. So it goes. Many exciting
things surely happened during this time in NYC, many random encounters. Many good quotes have possibly disappeared. I believe that I
flew to LA and drove across America during this time as well. There will be other descriptions of American driving adventures. I am missing
Street Journals 39, 40, 41, and 42. I find it odd that they are in sequence, so I am led to conclude that perhaps they were in one or two volumes
only. ??? If I knew for sure, I might be able to find them. Oh well, I will resume at Street Journal 43 which still finds me running around NYC
like a goddamned maniac. As to the lost books….they could be anywhere. They could have fallen in a river in the Great Smoky Mountains
of Tennessee when I was buzzed on White Lightning Moonshine that I tried from a local. I`M GONNA MAKE YOU SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, BOY!
Not quite. They could have been left on a bar of a juke joint in the French Quarter of New Orleans. They could be in a rowdy roadhouse
somewhere between San Antonio, Texas and El Paso. They could under the table at a Mexican Food joint in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They
could be covered in sand in the desert under an Arizona cactus where I stopped to take a piss. I like to think someone found them somewhere
and thought them to be cryptic and strange and fascinating and took them home and kept them in a safe place like the little treasures they are.
Who knows? Maybe I left them with my wallet in El Segundo. Or Brooklyn. Or anywhere. It doesn`t matter anymore. They`re gone, but the
memories remain…somewhere in this crazy head of mine. Thanks for stopping by, thanks for reading, see you in Street Journal 43 in a few days….