By Tom H. Brooks 3

THE ART OF RANDOMNESS……………………………………………………………

There is no time like the present to go back in time
and remember a time when you weren`t trying to
go back in time and remember something…
Chiharu and I have decided to leave Staten Island within 6 months or so.  Until then, I will fill my head and mind`s eye with enough
NYC adventures for a lifetime and a half….
On Staten Island, if you pay attention, there is ALWAYS a path into every forest…
My ghetto drink for the NYC summer streets…..Mistic “Lotta Colada” with rum added, of course…..
Standing on a dilapidated bridge in the middle of nowhere, guarding it like an old troll in the forest,
except I`m smoking herb and drinking a 40oz of Budweiser….
Spanish Camp, Hugenot, Wolfe`s Pond, Mount Lorretto Friendship Club (abandoned and creepy) above Hylan Blvd past Lemon Creek….
Through tall, grassy pathways off Sharrot Street.
Return to Dragonfly Pond.
A nice skate down Guyon Street and along beaches at dusk in a purple-blue moody sky.   The wind blows white, foamy breakers on a gray and black sea…
Basically, today I skateboarded the entire east side of Staten from Tottenville to my house in St. George….
MANIACALLY far, but worth it…!
“Life without music would be an error.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
There is nothing like the summer sound of morning cicadas in the trees…
“Peace sells, but who`s buying?”
As far as slamming on my skateboard goes:
17 minutes from Prince St in SOHO to the ferry, bitches!  FULL SPEED down Broadway on my skateboard and I just walked right on and then the ferry left….PERFECT…
“I agree with you about doing things slowly.  Now that I think of it, it`s one of the reasons I`m still here (Tangier).  One can set one`s life metronome at the speed
that seems convenient for living.  In the States, the constant reminder that time is passing, that one must be quick, removes all the savor of being in the midst of living.”
Paul Bowles
in a letter to Henry Miller
“I contend an abiding sense of irony over all that I do.”
Jim Morrison
“Come my friends,
`tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows,
for my purpose holds;
to sail beyond the sunset
and the baths of all the 
western stars until I die.
It may be the gulfs will 
wash us down;
It may be 
we shall touch the Happy Isles…
The BEST place to be in NYC on a sweltering hot summer night is on the bow
of the Staten Island Ferry with a cold beer in your hand and a cool wind in your face.
You don`t believe me?  TRY IT…but stay out of my way if you do…
The Maori name for the Pacific Ocean is Moana-Nui-O-Kiva  (Great Ocean of the Blue Sky)….
Happy Birthday Louis Armstrong….. born August 4, 1901…
New York subway poster:
A black baby with an afro in tears…it said, and I`m not kidding….
I`m sorry, but I laughed out loud for like 10 minutes…
People were looking at me and shit…
“…from this remote path blowing with wildflowers, these far-off people
seemed tiny and rather pathetic in their need for witnesses.  “Bullshit!”
I screamed into the wind, smiling…”
Paul Theroux
“The Happy Isles of Oceania”
12 midnight, Staten Island, HOOTCHIE MAMA!!!  Brown Sugar!!!  Oh lawd, lawd, lawdy……..!!!
“For Whom the Bell Tolls”….the old clock tower goes off and adds some character…
There is excellent graffiti and stencils and stickers all over NYC.  I have a great idea for my own sticker…..
An angry face with a distasteful and disgusted scowl……
“I got friends in low places…”
Garth Brooks
8/6/06  “Eight Days a Week”  working too hard!!
“I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in…”
Kenny Rogers
Over 3 years in NYC and they never changed me.  I am still so ridiculously California style….
 I`m here at BLT Fish Wednesday through Saturday.  You won`t see me here ANY other time.
I`m a busy man.  It`s all I can do to fit this whole “work” thing into my schedule.
“You`ll never see the croc that eats ya mate…”
An Australian Saying
When I fall off my skateboard, I tumble across the pavement like a bleeding autumn leaf.
It`s just funny….(but not THAT funny…)
“But in Samoa it was all backwaters.  And at those moments when I was most exasperated I would look up
and see the oddest things–a man holding a pig in his lap, or a man standing up to his neck in the lagoon,
smoking a cigarette–and I would laugh the witless Samoan laugh and think: take this seriously and you`re dead.”
Paul Theroux
“The Happy Isles of Oceania”
It seems like everything means nothing….nothing at all…..
a grain of sand on an empty beach under a gray sky….nothingness…..fade to black…..
“…with all the love I had which was not enough…”
“I did not suffer, my love,
I was only waiting for you.
You had to change heart and vision
after having touched the deep
sea zone that my breast gave to you.
You had to leave the water
pure as a drop raised by a night wave.
My love,
you had to die and be born,
I was waiting for you.
I did not suffer waiting for you,
I knew that you would come,
a new woman that I adore,
with your eyes, your hands,
and your mouth,
but with another heart,
who was beside me at dawn
as if she had always been there,
to go on with me forever…”
Pablo Neruda
Cops: they come for you early in the morning.
FOR YOU……not me….
Alone on Staten, as usual, in a forgotten and overgrown baseball field at the edge of time,
tall golden grass blowing in an autumn-like wind….the cool hiss of eternity whispering….
I scared a wild turkey out of the bushes with my bike but he scared the fuck out of me even more…MONSTER BIRD…..
On the west side of Staten Island, I found a Coors Light 12pack box with a HUMAN HEAD in it….seriously…..I got the fuck outta there!
Jade Island Cocktail Lounge, New Springville
Okay, I literally rode AROUND the island today….this may be a record; 50 miles?  I don`t even know….all this with a sprained ankle on
a beach cruiser…..HA!!
“Cure blindness with a whore`s spittle.”
Jim Morrison
The great Charles Bukowski`s birthday.  He may have passed away, but his words live on in the hearts and minds of many…
“Nothing matters
but flopping on a mattress
at 2pm with
cheap dreams and a beer.
The horses run…
brisk the music of pulled shades,
a last man`s cave
in an eternity
of swarm and explosion.
Nothing matters
but the dripping sink
the empty bottle
youth fenced in
stabbed and shaven
taught words
propped up to die…”
That`s life,
your time comes and goes,
comes and goes…
That is simply the nature of things,
no need to complicate it…
The indians who used to live on Staten must have had a really
good life before we came here to ruin it by building malls and
clone houses….
Or perhaps I should say the indians in AMERICA must have a had a good life……..
Sombrero`s Mexican Restaurant in Great Kills.  Really nice owner (white guy) but
the food was CRAP.  Salsa was way too mild and the so-called “enchilada sauce” was
basically flavorless canned tomato sauce.  I will NEVER eat there again….no Mexican`s
working there, what did I expect?  Let`s see… what else was wrong?  The chips were
stale, the tortillas were definitely store-bought, again, the salsa tasted like pureed tomatoes
with no onions or cilantro or peppers, the “refried beans” were pork and beans or some
shit like that and the rice came out of a box.  The enchilada was like a shitty pizza
with frozen cheese and marinara sauce.  The best part of that meal was the Coca Cola…
I`m gonna go throw up now….
I`ve become accustomed to sneaking up the stairwell at my Staten Island apartment building
from my place to the roof.  I am trying to avoid all contact with humanity.  I go up there where
I can gaze on the madness of Manhattan from afar….
“try to catch me ridin dirty….”
You know me; if there`s anything good to be found, I`ll find it.
The roof is the best thing about this building.  There are millions of BIG cockroaches all over the place,
my mailbox is broken, occasionally, brown water comes out of the bathtub, maybe it`s hot, maybe it`s cold,
the stove STILL doesn`t light properly, and there`s my stupid refrigerator from 1965 that doesn`t keep my beer
cold enough.  Forget the eggs and milk that sometimes go bad; you just don`t mess with a man`s beer!
Oh yeah, and there`s the fucking elevator that stops all the time in the middle of the floors trapping people….
“I drew a line upon the sand at the ebb tide
and returned later to find naught upon the sand but my ignorance…”
Kahlil Gibran
 Does anybody but me realize that we may be the LAST generation of humans who don`t get ALL their information from the internet?
On the other hand, maybe I am the last human who doesn`t get all his information from the internet.
No, that would be arrogant.
No, I`m afraid it may be true.
Dave and I; trans-Brooklyn bike express…..8/21/06…….from Manhattan to Coney Island, going every which way across the Borough….
talking to another lifelong Staten Island character.  He says, “that damn bridge was the worst thing that ever happened to this island (meaning the Verrazano Narrows Bridge).
He told me about the small manmade islands in the Staten Harbor, Hoffman Island and Swinverne Island (a former crematorium and reputed to be haunted….)
dumping popcorn on the soil of Staten Island and watching every one of them start moving immediately as they are picked up by ants
Dave and I are doing so much stuff and having so much goddamned fun that it is hard for me to find the time to write about it.  Let`s just say that
we have been EVERYWHERE in characteristic fashion…
Dave and I, going from bar to bar and saying in an English accent, “Hey, does this dump have any Hobgoblin?”
“When this party`s over
it will start again
not be any different
it`ll be exactly the same…”
David Byrne
Just met some European dude on the ferry who rode his racing bicycle all the way from MIAMI…..badass!!  So fucking cool…..what an adventure….
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
“Cool Hand Luke”
8/25/06  I am a SICK monkey…I`m dying over here…..I feel like I`m walking UNDERWATER….no power at all……
“Beyond a certain point, there is no return.  This point has to be reached.”
Franz Kafka
“I would rather be a ghost drifting by your side as a condemned soul, than to enter heaven without you.  Because of your love, I will never be a lonely spirit.”
“Whatever path you take in this life, always be true to yourself.”
“The things we touch in this life have no permanence.  Only by letting go can we possess what is truly real.”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“One night, I was lying there in bed, thinking about all those rejection slips I`d been getting in the mail, and I said to myself, `fuck it, I`ll just quit.`  But there
was this other voice inside me saying, `No, don`t quit.`  So I kept this one little ember of fire, of life, within me, burning, because even one little spark can
start the greatest fire.”
Charles Bukowski
“Not being able
to create Art,
they will not
understand Art.”
Charles Bukowski
“As the spirit wanes,
the form appears…”
I`m not rich (not yet, anyway) , but I`m rich in spirit and I`ve got a lot of love to give.  That`s gotta count for something…”
“When I was just a little baby
my mama rocked me in the cradle
in those old cotton fields at home,
It may sound a little bit funny
but we didn`t make very much money
in those old cotton fields at home…”
“Don`t buy into mental illness–it`s a bottomless pit.”
William Burroughs
8/30/06   2:45am
Standing alone on the Staten Island waterfront, near the ferry terminal.  I have a beer in my hand and a million thoughts barreling through my wandering mind
at warp speed.  The excitement is palpable.  The night wind whips waves and froth across the choppy black waters of New York Bay.  A huge, white crane
flies alone through the darkness.  Tomorrow, or maybe I should say later this morning, Chiharu and I are leaving on the Amtrak train for New Orleans.
On the ferry with Pineapple Head Chiharu, heading to Penn Station.  Finally….I can`t stand it!  I love adventures……
Sitting on “The Crescent” train, just exiting Delaware (the first state) and heading into Maryland.  Went through the old rustbelt between Newark, New Jersey and
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A moody, gray sky prevails as we pass and fits the mood of the grim landscape. Seeing old Art-Deco masterpiece warehouses from a
long-forgotten industrial era of yesteryear.  I had a 4:20 smoke in the bathroom and now I listen to Johnny Cash, “Big River” and I watch America passing by
outside the window.  My Sweet Chiharu is sleeping beside me.  Life is grand.  Heading south…..
Somewhere high in the night mountains of Virginia, the ones they call the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Alone in an empty lounge car listening to Hank Williams, “Teardrop
on a Rose”.  The train is always a sublime experience.  It is a place for thought and reflection while America moves past the windows.  I take another sip of whiskey
and contemplate the meaning of it all…
“Lord, my bucket`s got a hole in it……I can`t buy no beer….”  Hank Williams
A misty sunrise outside of Atlanta, Georgia….STILL ROLLING, baby!  It`s been a long time since I`ve seen that Georgia red dirt….
There ain`t nothin` in Georgia but red dirt, rednecks and peaches….
Met a couple of native New Orleans characters on the train last night that I forgot to mention, 2 ladies, Dell and Maggie….
“Stars Fell on Alabama”
Across Lake Pontchartrain during a fiery red sunset….we`re almost there…
The original Felix`s on Iberville is temporarily closed…..DAMN!!  That fucking Hurricane Katrina….they have the best shrimp Po`Boy ever!
4938 Prytania at Robert
Everything is so slow and lazy in New Orleans, even more than usual after the Hurricane.  Impossible to get anything done.  I spent 10 minutes on the phone with a guy
trying to rent a scooter or a motorcycle….turns out he`s giving me prices for an electric wheelchair.  HA!  Talk about miscommunication!  We ended up renting a car….
Bought a Chinese coin pendant from an old hippy on the Mississippi (River).  He told me it was a “bagwa” (circle of life) from the Wudang martial arts (WU TANG, BITCHES!!), and on the other side it`s a mathematical progression that represents every possibility….
The hippy`s name…..Beobe, get it?  BE OH BE……I suspect he took a lot of acid in the 60s, but who am I to judge?……so did I ……(in the 80s…)
I had to buy my po` boy sandwich at Serio`s Deli on Canal and St. Charles…..pretty good, but not as good as Felix`s….
Also picked up a big-ass round muffaletta sandwich from The Central Grocery on Decatur……TO GO……
Belle Chasse Parkway to route 23 south towards Venice, Lousiana…..the point furthest to the south to which I can drive without getting lost in the bayou or needing an airboat….
Driveside Daquiris Drive Thru Liquor…….NO, I`M NOT KIDDING……just drive up, order a drink, and drive on.  ONLY IN LOUISIANA…..
Venice, Louisiana; seemingly the end of the world…..desolate.  We spend some time feeding an alligator in the swamp some of my HUGE muffaletta sandwich.  (If you don`t know what
a muffaletta sandwich is, I suggest you go to the New Orleans restaurant at Farmer`s Market in LA and order one….it is delicious, originally a sicilian recipe if my memory serves… DO IT.)
{Better yet, get it at the Central Grocery IN NEW ORLEANS…..NOTHING like it, anywhere….}
“JESUS IS COMING” on the side of a building that the hurricane DESTROYED in the bayou……also found an old bar with the roof torn off and an old pool table in the middle of what was once
a room.  The toilet lies exposed in the corner of the room as the walls to the restroom have completely disintegrated…
Maison Bourbon on the street of the same name……AMAZING JAZZ…..thank god it`s still here…..
after the SHITTY Bon Jovi cover I heard at the last place, I thought all the soul was gone.  I was wrong…..
I left my sunglasses symbolically looking at a street corner in New Orleans….why?   Because I`m nuts and I tend to do things like this all the time…
Driving through wrecked and blasted black neighborhoods in the 9th Ward listening to African music.  Now I understand what they mean with the term, “Dirty South”
Chanced upon a JAZZ FUNERAL at Simon Bolivar and Magnolia.  It was fucking unreal.  If you can`t picture it, watch the old 007 movie Live and Let Die and you will get a taste of what I`m talking about,
except……I WAS THERE IN PERSON.  I want to go out with a funeral like THAT…..(you can YouTube it)
A lady in New Orleans singing “New York, New York” at a piano bar…Pat O`Brien`s
Reverend Zombie`s Voodoo Shop……”Baron Samedi”  scare charm…….(Baron Samedi is a popular Loa of Haitian voodoo and can usually be found in a top hat at the crossroads between the worlds of the living and the dead…)
Here`s an irony for ya……a jazz funeral on one side of town and on the same day, a jazz wedding in Jackson Square on the other side of town…
New Orleans Athletic Club on Rampart between Iberville and Bienville….
Country Flame New Orleans Mexican food….Iberville and Exchange Alley…
Bourbon Street southern decadence–I`ve never seen so many fat, old, ugly homos in my life….
at least in NYC and LA they try to be pretty boys……here, well, I don`t want to talk about it…..I`m gonna go throw up now….
We went back to Maison Bourbon for our favorite jazz band…
September 4th   7:20am…..
Leaving New Orleans….it was an amazing vacation for Chiharu and I.  There was a CLASSIC southern boy train conductor, talking
about Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.  When he came over to us for our tickets, he said, “New York City?!  Glad it`s you and not me…”
Reading Anderson Cooper`s Dispatches From the Edge late into the night on the train through North Carolina.  It`s got some really heavy
and sad stuff.  It actually gave me a couple tears….
“Photos are expensive, and Aminu was too young.  Zuera (the mother) will have nothing to remember her dead son by.
None of the mothers ever do.  The pictures we`ve taken of these little children are likely the only images that will ever
exist of them.  The only markers that they were ever alive…”
“You can just as easily run INTO a bullet as run AWAY from one.  I didn`t run at all.”
Anderson Cooper quoting a camera man in South Africa…
9/5/06  1:30pm
Back in the cold, white north.  Rainy New York…..STILL fucking rainy a week later…it`s like we never left.  I miss New Orleans already….such CHARACTER….
“I`ve got to go back there
and see that blossom fair,
With you who could
be a failure,
So nice……
Louis Armstrong
“Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us,
another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes from our own mind…”
William James
“The Principles of Psychology”
for some reason, this is Chiharu`s cute word for voodoo……”judibubu”
Stopped at Blarney Cove on 14th St and Korova Milk Bar on Ave A for drinks…….9/8/06  around 1am…
A plaque at Blarney Cove says, “IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO, PLEASE DO IT HERE”
|  THE    |
|  BOX   |
I have to go to sleep laughing or I wake up screaming….
I had a dream last night that a hamburger was EATING ME…
7/11/06   smoking “Mother`s Finest” herb….
Photo exhibit title for my work…….POSTMODERN RUINS:
                                                  THE NEW WASTELANDS
9/11/06  2:30pm
Blue Heron Pond, Staten Island….Autumn is coming early this year.  You can see it as the undergrowth thins and turns brown and
you can feel it in the cool, northwestern breeze…
It`s almost sunset in Tottenville, as far south as you can go in New York State.  I sit on my skateboard on an empty beach with a beer
in my hand (what else is new?) while smoking a joint.  I sit quietly watching the orange sun sink over Perth-Amboy, New Jersey.
The waters are still, for now…..
Never forget, when I move out west again, that I am giving up some things for others.  There are so many things that I see here that I will
never see out west, and vice-versa, of course.
There is a definite architectural connection between Staten Island and New Orleans (old houses, anyway).  Maybe it was just the era in which
they were built.  You can especially see this in Richmond Valley and Tottenville.
The end of summer, the beginning of autumn…that twilight period between the seasons that we can loosely define as “Indian Summer.”  The kids
have gone back to school, the crowds have left, the hot dog and ice cream stands are boarded up…..all is silent and haunting.  There is a new
peaceful feeling across the land, peaceful, covered in green and red and yellow and brown as the cicadas screech in the dry, hissing brush and
the birds sing in howling, windy trees.  The streets are empty…..forlorn……
“The Best of All Possible Worlds”
I can stand on the stern or the bow of the Staten Island Ferry, directly in the middle of NY bay, with a certain smug self-satisfaction.  I can gaze knowingly
around me 360 degrees, with the joy of having skateboarded or ridden my bike in every direction, exploring all of the five boroughs of NYC
AND many of the townships of New Jersey as well.  I`ve been fucking EVERYWHERE!  There is no stopping me…
Who`s Watching the Watchers?
9/18/06  1pm
Somebody has evidently been on a joyride rampage in the Brighton/Lafayette section of West New Brighton, Staten Island……you can see the tire tracks.
The fences are broken and smashed in 3 separate places in a park.  Someone apparently just PLOWED into the motherfucker…
just drove RIGHT ON THROUGH….funny, I don`t know why, but I was laughing my ass off picturing some crazy black dude on
crack just barreling around in the darkness….WRECKING shit…..HA!!!!
The worst place for mosquitoes on Staten is Mariner`s Marsh.  DON`T GO THERE….especially in September….
“A man searching for lost paradise can seem a fool
to those who never sought the other world.”
Jim Morrison
I`m at the corner of Broadway and Houston in Manhattan, where it was once remarked that,
“…you could fire a shotgun in any direction without hitting an honest man.”
regarding FLASH FICTION;
“When a story is compressed so much, the matter of it tends to require more size:  that is, in order
to make it work in so small a space, its true subject must be proportionately LARGER.”
Richard Bausch
“to err is human,
but to forgive is divine.”
interesting side note:
New Yorkers tend to call their apartments, “a space,” probably for the ironic reason that they often have next to no space at all.
(…unless they`re rich, in which case they`ll have a giant penthouse or loft……)
First day of autumn….ok, nice….but then comes old man winter…..shit, here comes the cold…..
And the expression, “Oh, for the love of god!”
has become, “Oh, for the love of money!”
A picture of a really fat, red-faced baby with someone pinching its cheek….
“Ugh, look at it.  It`s like Winston Churchill with a chemical peel.  If babies sometimes
get on your nerves too, just wait until the parents leave the room, grab their face and
squeeze as hard as you dare.  It`s cruel and evil and it feels really good.”
Vice Magazine (Gavin McInnes)
…”ride, Natty, ride…..”
9/25/06  5:25pm
Fort Wadsworth, South Beach, SI
I just had a deja vu of Cuyatlan in Colima, Mexico for some reason, sitting on the tree lined shore
at sunset.  It was a hallucinogenic light and the trees started to look like palms before my very eyes.
I started thinking about every beach I`ve ever been on as I smoked some herb and dreamed tropical dreams….
” `Who`s that Buddhist Richard Gere`s always hanging around with?`
`The Dalai Lama…..?`
`Oh, he`s fabulous….` “
4 elements that make up life as we know it:
I`m not gonna wait around for that pie-in-the-sky, fantasy, Candyland bullshit.  I`m gonna live TODAY, damnit!  TODAY!!
Many moons ago….
A man kneeling for prayers on a grease stained box behind his hot dog stand at Broadway and 17th St, facing Mecca for the 5-times-daily Muslim practice….This is New York City….a place of many cultures…..
“Be prepared to run and have your place to run to…”
A New Orleans guy from Spike Lee`s Katrina: New Orleans Requiem
Manhattan looks beautiful from across the water.
“Tell Charlie Daniels to write a song about this!”
“Why don`t ya go crawl back up your mama`s ass?!”
“That whore stole my midget.”
“Jackass 2”
Cool crackling dry trees
bathed in shadows
faded bricks colored
by spray-painted belligerence
empty overgrown roads
leading to still more desolation
sad, dusty hallways
colder than the tomb
light filtered through
broken windows that cancel time
hollow wind howling
the silence of ghosts
a place beyond time
in the Great Swamp
lost voices on an island
Written on the rooftop of the Staten Island Abandoned Mental Hospital     12:57pm  10/2/06
Then the sun went behind the clouds and I got spooked….this place seems so peaceful one minute,
and then the next minute, it is possessed by a malevolent evil…
Perfectly flawless skateboard run down Manor Road through Bloodroot Valley to the beach….INCREDIBLE!!
I`m so fucking sick of hearing New Yorkers talk about Derek fucking Jeter….
I honestly don`t understand the world.
Budweiser; it`ll cure what ails ya….
10/6/06  12:20am  A quiet moment:
This is one of the things I love about Staten Island…..silence….NOT A SOUND.  You`d NEVER know this was one of the 5 boroughs of NYC…
A New Yorker`s idea of fun and relaxation:  sitting elbow to elbow in a hideously overcrowded restaurant screaming at the top of their lungs…..(BLT Fish, 10/7/07)
Humans: we may all the be the same species, but none of us are really alike.
NYC….love it or hate it; it has changed my life forever…
“Cops or criminals; when you`re facing a loaded gun, what`s the difference?”
“The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows”
Where do we go from here?
The skeletons in my closet are rattling their bones….






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