7

Manhattan...downtown...uptown

  job seeking

Abyss

1985 Walking Figure

My brother would pick me up one night a week and take me to an osteopath. It was hoped that he would be able to straighten out my crooked spine and pelvis. Doing something alleviated the ennui or depression of lying around in the evening. Perhaps it helped some...can't really say. What did help, however, were the dinners with friends from life before the accident. I needed to socialize, to feel connected and satiate my appetite for other foods!

That ended after a few months. Spending money for doctors and food that did not result in real physical changes was definitely extravagant. Asking people to bring me here and there for unnecessary excursions had to be curtailed. Night times became solitary occasions. Mom and Dad did their thing and I usually collapsed on the bed and watched television.

I looked out my window one beautiful July morning and watched Dad as he tried to scoop water out of the bird bath with an empty coffee can. Something was wrong; his body leaned to one side and he kept repeating his moves without any result. Mom took him to the hospital; the same one I was brought to.

Back on that very floor only now I could wheel around...a sense of loss and fear prevented me from communicating with a paralyzed father. I sat there and looked away from his sad eyes.

O Sole Mio, Andrea Bocelli is singing now...Dad would give me a dollar to play his songs on the piano. Crying now when I couldn't/wouldn't before. So sad afraid to let the tears start because they might never stop.

1990 Hempstead Harbor

A few of the things I remember from those days are the fleas, fights and smell of Chinese cabbage from the vendor downstairs; the time a transvestite was sitting with Paul when I came in, her stockings had runs. The east side restaurant was a definite plus. (We didn't have a kitchen or real bathroom.)

Whenever I'd think about moving the children back with me to this place I'd fall into a state of total depression. How could I when they were in sunshine, had rooms of their own and a very loving, stable environment. I didn't have a real job, the loft was disgusting and the corners were filled with pimps and prostitutes. Our rent was $110 a month. That was the reason we moved there, plenty of space...

I moved out to work with an Oriental dealer. Her business space/apartment was located at the corner of 86th Street and Park Avenue. My room was small; there was a kitchen and bathroom. Three rooms were devoted to storing and displaying rugs. She lived with her husband and children in a large apartment elsewhere. He was a noted surgeon. There were no stores to shop for food, certainly no neighborly visits. It was extremely lonely.

Another move, to a loft on Warren Street...with Paul. There was an opening for evening jobs with Boise Cascade on nearby Rector Street; they were experimenting with a new process of collecting information...data processing. the engineers would sit with us and we'd exchange our mutual needs/responses. Who knew?

After work I'd be too wide awake to sleep I began to play pool on Duane Street. Didn't drink but it was a bar. Not much to do in the financial district at night. I'd watch the twin towers grow from my bed beside the window.

No art work at all. All semblance of a healthy ego was demolished.

I left and rented an apartment on Jane Street. It was a street I had loved and wished to live on from my Cooper days. The front hall led to a garden and another building behind it. Totally off the street. I was hired by a vice president of Boise Cascade after temping. His secretary begged him to let me work part time as I requested. He said there are no part timers. I was their first.

The job lasted a week. He felt I should take stapled pages apart to make copies and replace a new staple in exactly the same holes. He would call me into his office and ask silly questions just to make me reply. There were files of law suits from their nuclear plants; I could not conscientiously work for that company.

Sick, I drove to my sister and brother-in-law's home on Long Island.

Harbor the answer

           behind some wall

           of pearly crags

            ...those blissful rocks

Imagine where

            and being a rose

            then taking soup

            ... it's Jack Daniels 

                alone

Give me reasons

           when known is deep

           break habits

           ...besides my words.

There is difficulty writing, breathing, living, etc. when one's conscious state is altered. Whereas once the rebellious state allowed me to blindly act out an experience without worry or choice-making, now each movement seems precarious and marked 'danger.'

June 17, 1973

<story |next>