Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Hallway

Always recalling the hallway, I am.
"Little Freddy, come and have some Kreplach soup.
I made too much"
I think we lived on the third floor then.
Mrs. Gorchow always made too much soup.
She lived alone.
But cooked for a big family.
Later she became a Scientologist I think.

All these widow ladies and their soup.
Kreplach, matzo ball and chicken noodle.
The one old lady in 300 made swedish meatballs.
She would not talk about her past.
She said something bad happened.
Would not talk about it.
She said "Don't do what I did"
But she would not tell me what she did.
I was a little kid and did not want to hear about it anyway.
But I keep wondering if I did it without knowing it.

Some old guy lived in that corner apartment on 2.
He walked with a carved and painted cane from Mexico.
One time he told me how he had worked in a nursinghome out in California when he was young.
Says he met Frank James there.
Frank, brother of Jesse James the bank robber.
I never believed that story.
I wish I had asked him more about it.

Fast forward fourty years and 2 blocks west.
Different apartment house.
Same kind of hallway.

John lived across the hall.
He had been kicked out of monk school.
Always typing, he was.
The click click of his old manual typewriter was always there as background noise.
He was writing his autobiography, he told me once.
I talked to him at the quickshop on 14th street last year.
He is driving a truck now.

Larry was a retired astrologer.
His apartment was full of boxes of research and charts he had done of murderers and their victims.
He did several charts for me.
I could not really understand them.
Larry and his wife have moved to a nursing home.

Some older woman use to call me about once a month
and ask for Henry.
I told her that she had the wrong number.
She said Henry had given her that number.
She was positive.
I told her that I had it now.
She did that for about 5 years.
Then she stopped calling.

Now, I make too much soup.
Always recalling the hallway, I am.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How to Make the Periodic Table of the Elements

You need to get an old table.
A perfect one would be made of oak.
Maybe the top would measure 3 feet by 6 feet.
You could also make one out of plywood and 4x4s.
I have even seen people use round ones.
One guy used an old oblong table.
Folding card tables are fine.
Metal kitchen tables could work.
Plastic tables are not appropriate.

Once you have the table,
you need to paint it.
The bottom 12 inches of the legs should be painted black.
The remaining part of each leg should be painted light blue.
Paint the sides of the table tan.
Paint the edge of the top green.
Paint the rest of the top red.
In the center of the table paint a large white egg.
In the center of the egg paint a yellow circle.
This painting process will take several days.
Waiting for paint to dry can take awhile.
Don't worry if the lines are not straight
and you were a little sloppy
and dripped colors in the wrong places.

Now the table should be dry.
Walk around it clockwise for maybe 10 minutes.
Now reverse direction and go the other way.
Again walk around it for 10 minutes.
Turn the table over so the legs are facing up.
Paint the exposed part grey.
Paint a Black Heart in the middle of the underside.

Let it dry again.
Turn it over so that it is resting on the legs.
Walk around it again.
Both directions.
Lay down under the table.
Look at the Black Heart for awhile,
until you are sick of it.
Never look at that Black Heart again.
Now open all the windows in your room.
Get some fresh air in there.
Light some Sacred Heart votive candles.

Turn the table over and repaint the heart red.
Close your eyes while you paint it.
Remember not to look at the Black Heart again.
Let it dry again.
Turn it over on its legs again.

Walk around it again.
Both directions.
Now take out a compass,
and put it in the center of the table.
Make marks on the table where each cardinal direction is.
Paint a white spot on each mark.
Let them dry.

Walk around it again.
Both directions.
Stand beside each directional white spot on the table,
turn away from the table,
and offer an appropriate prayer for each direction.

Now it is time to decorate the table.
Put some elements on the table.
Put a sealed bottle of river water near the center.
A bowl of sand from anywhere.
A box of salt.
A feather.
A can of 10w-30 motor oil.
A twig.
Nails. Four nails.
Sisal rope.
A book of matches from a bar.
A Barbie Doll.
A Ken Doll.
One hundred pennies.
Sun glasses.
A loaf of Wonder Bread still in the wrapper.
A toy plastic gun.
An unopened can of beer.
A brick.
A battery operated alarm clock.
And up to 23 elements of your own choosing.
Glue everything down on the table.
Let the glue dry.
Reapply if needed.

Now what do you do with it?
What do you do with The Periodic Table of the Elements?

Three ideas from the Encyclopedia of Outcomes.
Maintain it's dignity.

Options from Pollen's Opera of Throwaway Handguns.
Plant it on a suspect when there is no other evidence.
Throw it in the River.
Bury it.

The Fellow in the Next Apartment,
when he made his table,
glued 4 plates to the table,
and eats off of a different plate each night.
He has installed a large mirror above the table.
He does not even remember the Black Heart.
He sleeps under the table at night.
He believes:
All That Was,
All That Is,
All That Will Be,
Is in and on that Periodic Table of the Elements.
He thinks he is the Creator.

He does not remember the Other Fellow.
The One who lives in the basement.
The One who is always oiling his chainsaw.

Both of them always forget about each other.
The guy with the elephant head writes it all down,
And keeps a detailed history of each table that is built.
He keeps these histories in a trunk in the attic.
You should ask to see them sometime.


I have been in here a long time.
I am just waiting for the call.
They bring new ones in all the time.
The light is not too good in here.
So I cannot really see much.
I wonder if I would recognize anyone,
if the light was better.
No one talks.
Just a grunt or a belch now and then.
And the continual sound of breathing.
Once in awhile someone farts.
You can sense a common discomfort.
Now and then someone gets up and leaves.
Sometimes they step on those of us left behind.
I never really feel any pain.
It is not cold in here.
It is not hot in here.
I just want to leave.
But if I think about leaving,
maybe they will lengthen my stay.
So I just wait.
I am just waiting for the call.
I have been in here a long time.