Tag Archives: New York City

Edifice

Well, worn masonry

Cimmaron square set with paste and algae

Dutiful to kinder and country

Served with quiet simplicity

With faith flaking a ruddy face

Bearing witness to a contract’s breach

Absentee care leads to rainy weeping

And glances askance by other parties

Clutched in fear with selfish concerns

Truer solutions are beyond one’s reach

Old and tired from a century’s work

Rest is the best rescission

In truth, expectations are nigh to nothing

When agreements are honored not

As time used to build one’s trust

Is never time prodigally spent

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

**********************

Last Friday I ruminated on the building decay in town and how other people aren’t willing to step up to the plate to prevent urban blight. This is not advocacy for mandatory civic duty in as much as it is a candid critique of American operating philosophy.

As I see it today in 2013, people are not acting with the due care needed in public. We have romanticized individuality to the point of caricature. This caricature believes that it’s someone else’s responsibility to keep and maintain anything of public interest. If one’s name is not on the title or deed, then one is not responsible for any of it. Even if it is, action is debatable.

The easiest, and most visible, proof of this is the amount of litter permitted to lay on the roads and sidewalks of this country. New York City is atrocious about this, but on the other hand it could definitely use a revamping of waste disposal methods. Albeit a fruitless endeavor, I keep to a belief of picking up litter, if I see it. Yes, this means getting one’s hands dirty. Yes, this means worrying about a mess someone else created, but I do I anyway. Just because I didn’t create the mess doesn’t mean I’m scot-free to ignore it.

Another phenomena is the wanton development of a municipality without consideration to the existing infrastructure, resources, or body politic. It is understandable that some people in the community may be reticent to demolish the older buildings, but it’s really too late to save them. There’s a time and place posterity, but there’s most certainly a time to start anew. History is, and always will be, in the making.

Someday I may take pictures of Hooterville, but for now my poem will have to do.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From Baloney to Bull Oni

#1795 Namahage

As we see here, the Vince Neil oni is predictably guarding a row of bottles.(Photo credit: Nemo’s great uncle)

The concept of Japanese oni (demon), a subset of the Yōkai (ghost), are very endearing to me. They have such an identifiable image when displayed. It’s always a wacky, outlandish, grotesque figure ready to be menacing any moment. They’re traditionally evil, but I can’t help finding them simply adorable. Does that make me a strange person? Probably.

Modern representations of oni portray them more like wards against evil. It’s the same concept as gargoyles, and are displayed similarly on houses. Wild how society adapts tradition to suit its needs, isn’t it? It’s even wilder how cultures can mirror each other. Humans being human beings, or Human Beinz as the case may be.

The Japanese have a saying, “oni ni kanobo,” which translates into “oni with an iron club.” At least my primer material suggests such. I don’t specialize in much, and like a little variety. Most of the time I read introductory material and move on. So sue me; I’m not going to major in it. At any rate, this adage was meant to mean “invincible.” None of us are truly invincible, but I know a few times where I felt like I picked up the Super Mario Brothers star.  Others know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

This post from Andra Watkins reminded me of a rumination I had back when I was trying to explore my life’s path in New York City. It was about success and progress. I was an unpaid flunky (intern) at an indie record label that operated out of a spare office in the co-owner’s family business. It was cool for a lot of things, like understanding the moving parts of the music industry and soaking in a New York way of life. It also had terribly horrifying, scruple-crushing events that may not seem much to others as it does a good kid from the rural Midwest. Some of them weren’t my fault, but some were.

Being outgoing was, and still is to some extent, a circumstance that would make the blood drain from my face. People are unpredictable. People are judgmental. People do not serve me with the level of respect they should, and this is regarding episodes like getting shouldered out of the way on the sidewalk. Basic respect, in my mind. I never asked anyone to believe in me, take my ideas seriously, or like me. I just wanted a little cooperation.

All of this fear and anxiety seems to manifest itself into a structure of defeat, a Berlin Wall of the soul. Concepts like these have an ethereal nature about them, and as such, there truly is no wall. Barriers happen to everyone and are the mind’s way of  taunting, intimidating, and scaring the person into inaction. The reasons will vary from person to person, but mine certainly were borne from a lack of self-esteem. I had been put through the wringer at school, and was left to drift about for the rest of my life. For once, I grabbed the paddle and moved somewhere.

Channeling the anger and desire from within my core produced a spirit wind. My metaphysical being would take the shape of a ram or bull and pummel the barrier with a force only revered by the intangible block. This ram batters and batters and batters the wall until it yields. Through experience, more often than not, that wall will break. It will buckle and groan, and your face will bloody and bruise, but it will give way eventually. Some mountains take longer to topple than others, but that’s where patience and persistence come in real handy.

As a caveat, I would like to acknowledge it takes brave soul to know when to try a different route. It’s decision requires discretion, though, and shouldn’t happen too often. With that in mind, be the oni ni kanobo. Be the bull, and give your barrier its reckoning!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Junior High Dance on Main Street

In an effort to avoid being holed up in my abode on a Friday night, I decided to attend a local event in town. There’s an annual party in downtown Hooterville involving a makeshift stage, a couple of cover bands, a smattering of food carts, and lots of cheap beer. These elements are vaguely familiar to the county fair, including the people.

Being there was alcohol involved, a block of Main Street had to be fenced off like a playpen. All of the adults were now children, and couldn’t wander past the gate with their beverage. It vaguely reminded me of K. Jean King’s Celebratory Gunfire: Why You Can’t Drink in the Park. There’s plenty of distrust and control, admittedly with some reasonable concern. Idiots ruin it for the rest of us.

I found the event unimpressive. Shocking, I’m sure, for those who frequently read my blog entries. There’s still a valid reason though: it reminded me of the junior high dances I attended. Everyone was clustered in familiar circles, there were several people in attendance I didn’t care to see, the music was mediocre at best, and it left me wondering what exactly was I expecting.

During a long, sobering march to pick up cigarettes (in and of itself a complicated struggle) I had plenty of time to think what the Devil was I trying to accomplish. I was trying to accomplish something. I know in my gut when I set out to find an experience, even if it had little  definition at the time. There was no time like the present to figure it out.

As it seems to me, I’m looking for: like-minded people, vivacity in community, and a fresh start. When corralled into these three categories, I can easily extrapolate them to other facets of my life. Explaining them in more detail, I’ll discuss each item with a bullet. I’m very business oriented, you see, and businessmen like bullet points (pew! pew!). I also get a sick pleasure out of seeing someone shoot me with finger pistols. It’s only second to referring to oneself in the third person.

  • Like-minded People: Sure, the phrase has probably been worn out by now. I’m not terribly sure how else to reword it though. “Logging in to the right hot spot” perhaps? Regardless, the fact that I don’t feel a connection with the general population is worrisome. I grew up here. I had many similar experiences as the rest of these people. Why, then, do I not bond with them in such ways as other communities do? I’ve watched resonance happen in Greenwich Village, Austin, TX, and in other parts of the country. It’s different here. The feel is totally different. People work together differently. There’s no other way to describe it.
  • Vivacity in Community: Whether it is my perception through years of buildup or genuinely observed, there is a complete and utter lack of energy in this area. It feels very tired. Everyone is simply there. They could be replaced with cardboard cutouts, and the atmosphere wouldn’t change. The crowd is a nonentity. I find this troubling, as we’re allowed to have personality. No one seems willing to take it out of the box. Why is that?!
  • A Fresh Start: From personal experience, this is not taken as seriously as it should. A few years ago, I spoke with a medical technician from New York who relocated to Hooterville on a job offer. She said, “it’s strange here; the majority of people I’ve met never lived anywhere else in their entire lives!” People like me often get accused of being too familiar with a place. We’re labeled as malcontents and told “familiarity breeds contempt.” For a population that has had no desire to leave its place of origin, that may very well be the only lens available.  What about all of those ghosts (read: bad memories) piling up over the years? What about all of the bad blood? What about the freedom of anonymity? This counts for much more in happiness than people are willing to give it.

Ultimately, I think I’ve worn out my welcome around here. I’m like the annoying relative that doesn’t know when to wrap up his affairs and “head back home.” What’s concerning is that I don’t have a home, not in a metaphorical sense anyway. For many years, I thought I knew my home if I saw it. Now that I’m older, I’m starting to question my instincts.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,