Clicking Your Heels Will Not Get You Home or Kansas

In the Spring of 1962 my father had business in New York City. My grandmother volunteered to take care our my younger brothers and sisters, allowing my older brother and me to accompany our parents to the great city to the south of Boston. Upon our arrival my father drove to the southern tip of Manhattan and pointed out the Statue of Liberty across the harbor.

On our way to the hotel our Ford station wagon proceeded up a broad avenue. Men clustered on the sidewalks and I spotted a man lying on the street.

He wasn’t moving and I asked my father, “Is he dead?”

I had never seen a dead person before.

“No, he’s a bum. He drinks too much. This is the Bowery. The Avenue of Broken Dreams.”

“Why doesn’t he go home to sleep?”

“Men like him don’t have a home.” My father didn’t explain why and my mother was quiet. They looked at each other, as if they knew people like the sleeping man. If they didn’t, those kind of men never came to our house on the South Shore of Boston, not even Red Tate, who Korean War veterans from our church said that he had been a hero in the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir.

Red Tate lived in the town dump.

He drank cheap wine across from the church.

Homeless.

As I got older I moved to the East Village. I realized other homeless people existed in America.

In the 1980s homeless people clustered throughout the city.

The police evicted them from squats and park encampments. City authorities put them on buses to distant cities. The housing shelter were more like cattle pens. No one was allowed to stay the day. Millions were spent on the problem, but I have never seen any of that money going to the poor, who now are displaced families displaced by luxury condos, underpaid working people, the sick, the unfortunates, the tired, hungry, and lost.

New York City spends $35,000 per annum on the tens of thousands of permanent homeless.

No new no-income or lower income projects have been build in the city. The soul of the city has been sacrificed for greed.

$35,000 a year is enough for a good apartment with money left for food and transportation.

Little escapes the grasp of the bureaucracy or the realtors planning to ethnically cleanse the outer boroughs like they did Manhattan.

I know the feeling well.

I am homeless too.

ps San Francisco spends $55,000 a year on each homeless person.

BEATEN BY BLONDIE by Peter Nolan Smith

Two boys bullied me the last year of grammar school on the South Shore. The daily beating were witnessed by friends and classmates. Joe Tully and Mark Scanlon were not in good shape. They stopped after a few minutes and everyone wandered home to watch WHERE THE ACTION IS.

No one ever tried to stop them.

I carried those scars into my teenage years and beyond.

I fought countless times in Boston.

Nothing stopped me.

Not victories.

Not defeats.

I had a chip on my shoulder, but for the most part I protected the weak.

Fags, women, blacks, jews.

I was no superhero.

Just that if I fought that much, it looked better, if it was for a good cause.

This behavior scared women.

None more than my precious Alice from West Virginia.

In 1978 we lived together in the East Village.

Punks, artists, artists.

Alice’s eyes were two colors.

Actually more than two, counting the sparks of gold, agate, and emerald.

Her skin was as smooth as Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton’s moonshine.

I was more than in love, but my violent streak was an obstacle to peace in the valley of East 10th Street.

Never against her.

But she saw me at my worst.

Her gay friends considered me rough trade.

Her girlfriends thought of me as a Neanderthal.

They weren’t 100% wrong.

I liked a fight for a good cause.

I liked them for bad ones too.

Against all odds.

In the end it was against a fight against my hometown bullies, Joe Tully and Mark Scallon.

In the winter of 1978 Alice and her friends organized THE NEW WAVE VAUDEVILLE SHOW at Irving Plaza.

Klaus Nomi was the headliner along with a horde of starry-eyed rockers and artists.

I was asked to be the securit with my friends.

None of us were paid, but we guaranteed free drinks .

The night of the show started slow, but by midnight the auditorium on Irving Place was packed with new wave affectionados. Klaus killed the crowd. He was a star.

At the end of the stage lights came up, signaling time to go home.

I went from table to table telling the guests that they didn’t have to go home, but they couldn’t stay here.

The rest of the security was guzzling liquor at the back bar.

Alice and her friends were flush with of achieving glory for an evening and tomorrow promised more with the B-52s headlining the show.

Only one table remained and I approached the four rockers, telling the same thing as everyone else.

They didn’t like what they heard and a thin-haired guy in glasses asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I had seen him someplace, but had to say, “No.”

“We’re Blondie and we’re not going anywhere.”

“Blondie? I had seen them several times at CBGBs. I liked them and said, “It’s been a long night. Just do me a favor and finish your drinks.”

I turned to walk away, but he grabbed my shoulder. I shucked off his grip and slapped the beer out of his hand.

“Just leave, you cunts. You guys suck.”

I was no music critic and they attacked me as if one of them had said, “One two three four.”

I seized the forelock of the rocker in the glasses and whacked him in the face.

He backed away and I found myself with a hank of hair in my hand.

After that I was buried underneath them and their roadies.

Not a fair fight.

I was used to those.

Alice wasn’t there when I got to my feet.

I had trouble breathing.

Two of my ribs were broken.

I returned to our apartment on East 10th Street and lay on the futon wheezing.

I coughed a little blood.

Nothing serious.

Alice show up at dawn.

She sat in the kitchen.

“A good night.”

“Yes, but you had to ruin it all. Blondie wants to play, but both them and the B-52s won’t perform if you’re there.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Well, the show must go on.”

That morning we slept in separate beds.

Alice left for the show before sunset without saying a word. I wandered north to Irving Plaza and drank in the Polish Bar beneath Irving Plaza.

The Poles toasted me.

I toasted them back.

“Na Zdrowie!” I coughed with pain

I spit up blood for the next two days.

HEART OF GLASS rode the charts to # 1.

I should have sued the band for a hundred-thousand.

Sadly I wasn’t that type of guy.

Fighters never are.

We win.

We lose.

We never cry.

Never.

B52s Over The Gulf

Something about Iran has pissed off America since the Tehran Embassy takeout of 1979 and Trump’s support group of CIA director Pompeo and NSC John ‘the Walrus’ Bolton have cheerled a confrontation of Persia to prove our resolve to Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War on Justice.

The mainstream media has been dedicated to selling the fear of the Shiite Nuclear threat based on Israeli intelligence.

Sounds like Iraq II all over again.

Here comes Shock and Awe.

Via B52s built between 1952 and 1962. 76 of these old carpet bombers remain in active service. They might be serviceable into 2040.

Their bombs killed thousands in Indochina.

Target North Vietnam.

If the weather was bad, the B52s dropped their loads on the jungles of Laos.

Death from above and today is no different. No bombs landed on it target. Bomb blasts are 150 meters wide. Bombardiers target a crossfire. They never think about who existed below them.

Death from above.

And for what?

To preserve death.

Free Goliath.

Doris Day RIP

Everyone’s life is finally seized by the twilight and yesterday the movie actress Doris Day was promoted to the stars.

The Cincinnati native sought to be a dancer. A car accident curtailed that dream, however during the recovery the fifteen year-old discovered an unknown talent. “I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along with the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller”, she told A.E. Hotchner, one of her biographers. “But the one radio voice I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I’d sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.”

Her first professional gig was at Charlie Yee’s Shanghai Inn, where her voice attracted the attention of orchestra leader Barney Rapp, who suggested the blonde songbird drop the name Kappelhoff in favor of Day. It was all up from there.

She was America’s sweetheart.

Clean, blonde, and white.

She was no square no matter how her publicist painted her image.

Hitchcock’s THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH was one of the few movies the Sisters Of The Foothills played on special movie days.

Doris Day was pure.

She was friends with Rock Hudson.

Day stayed with Rock to the end.

She wasn’t perfect.

Who is?

Doris Day in the 50s was a goddess of the American Dream.

Then again so was Marilyn Monroe.

Not to mention Lena Horne.

Brown Mixture

800 kilometers north of SriRacha is the Golden Triangle. Tourists identify this fabled name with the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. The term more accurately referred to the opium-growing regions in Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, where once most of the world’s opium was grown by the tribesmen living beyond the law.

Back in the 1990s the highlight of many backpacker’s mountain treks from Chiang Mai was a night’s stay at a remote village, where the headman offered opium or fin to the farangs. More enterprising westerners attempted to ship the narcotic back to Europe. Some only made it as far as a Thai prison. One of the world’s worst destinations this side of the grave.

Viktor Bout, infamous arms dealer most recently extradited to the USA from Thailand said, “Prisons in the States are like mental hospitals and here they’re like a zoo.”

Even money won’t save a farang, but this doesn’t prevent westerners from challenging the gauntlet of police snitches, DEA, and custom inspectors.

I haven’t seen opium or ‘fin’ in years, although in 2007 I went to the local pharmacy in Pattaya and asked the chemist for medicine to cure a persistent cough.

The druggist prescribed a small bottle labeled ‘Brown Mixture’.

20 baht or 60 cents.

I returned home, where I took a slug, then read the read the label. The last ingredient was ‘tincture of opium’. In other words I was drinking laudanum. The drug of choice for the 19th Century. I finished the bottle in one go andI slept like an angel. A good destination for a man my age and my cough was gone too.

Good old Brown Mixture.

Nothing like it in the States.