Thursday, May 28, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Three - "Pretend"


Worn Collars

Part Three

"Pretend"



            When there is going to be an option... in my favor... as a commercial antiquarian.... I denote this option... and say nothing.  Pretend becomes a subject of solid substance; a foundation.  Always bashful, I see it (pretend) all around me as flits, shadows, fuzzy thoughts and... old things.  “Old photographs of someone’s mother.” you say?
            Or sister?
            Or Nanny?
            Or housekeeper?
            How do you tell how old someone is?  I’ve never been good at that.  I cannot tell how ‘rich’ they are either.  Or how ‘schooled’.  Their ‘things’, of course, are a different matter.  I’m all over those.  As I said (Part Two), ‘old’ ‘rare’ books... are tattletales.  So is much of the other crud... ‘people’ ‘have in their home’.  I can be bashful too.  Even if I am shown ‘his underwear’ in its drawer, I ‘divert’ (my eyes) from the requisite four second view.  “I don’t want to see”.




            “Brokered” is a modern antiquarian commercial status... generally applied to an antiquarian vender acting to ‘sell off’ for a private party on a ...flat fee, percentage or commission.  Boxes stacked up at the back of the garage ‘never opened since I (he; Arlington St. John) moved here’.  In the attic too?  The basement?  Boxes stacked in the front (entryway’s) closet?  “THOSE GOT PUT THERE AND NEVER MOVED”.  So too with the boxes under the eves “you can crawl back there if you want to.”.  I didn’t
            Want to
            That day.
            I said nothing
            During our board game of
            Pretend.
            Soon enough I’ll ‘bedevil’... that... too.





            “When he first moved up here (1969, Part One).  And bought the house.  A big moving van came along with a smaller one.  Everything was put in there.  In their boxes.  All of it was in boxes.  They gave him the list of the boxes.  That list told what was in each box too.  He didn’t pack them (the boxes) himself.  So he didn’t know what was called what or any of that.  He didn’t care anyway.  We opened up the ones marked ‘kitchen’.  There was so much of that we didn’t know what to do with it.  After we filled his kitchen he gave the rest of it to my mother.  “JUST TAKE IT” he told her.  Of course she did.  We still have most of it.  We’ve never used it either.  It’s all out in the shed still in his boxes.”




            There was that much stuff... from the... estate... of Arlington St. James’ mother’s “house” “IN” “Chestnut...HILL”.  The china cabinets... filled with the ‘rare books’ were... just the very single... neat and tidy... “those... I want”.  Otherwise... he (Arlington St. James) “don’t care” (his words, oft repeated... for the next forty-five years) ‘about that’’.




My signiture memory of our (“Arlee” and I) ‘getting down to business’ was my escorted stepping ‘into’ the ‘book room’ and noticing (one could not miss them) a pair of cast brass Girandole ‘candlesticks’; old marble bases supporting old oxidize darkened two dimensional relief cast Empire-Transitional-Victorian floral “FOR CANDLES”.  Probably Boston, 1855-1865, possibly earlier.  Perfect ‘old estate’ ‘surface.  They may have had (could have had) glass prisms.  Or may not.  The tiny little holes are there but... do not look ‘ever used’.  The Boston maker forced the buyer-for-my-home to ‘get their glass’ ‘somewhere else’.  And anyway, ‘their (design is) so busy one doesn’t notice’.
            I noticed.  And noticed them.  And spoke up.
            “OH THOSE ARE TOO BIG.  For this house.”
            They were on his damn desk top taking up all of that space so.  Well.  He was right:  They are too big.
            “Fifty dollars” I said.
            Furtive and brow down... a glance.  Then:  “THE ONLY TIME I EVER USED THEM... I must have been TWELVE.  WAS AT... let’s see... twelve is right.  MY BIRTHDAY.  PARTY.  They were on the table.  We sat all around.  Mother wouldn’t let us TOUCH THEM.  You know; play with the wax.  That was the only time.  I hated that.  It’s my BIRTHDAY.  We all wanted to PLAY with the WAX.”
            “Fifty Dollars”.
            “I get that.”
            We went on with our ‘visit’ in the ‘old’ ‘rare’ book ...room.  The Girandole set... sat between us... for two and one half hours... including the iced smidgen and insufferable old books with rancid titles on their ...title pages.  “WHO CARES” about Washington Irving?  Or was it “WHO CARES ...BY... Washington Irving.






            Actually... I do care.  I re-read “Rip” (Van Winkle)... too often.  It’s too often’ because the readings have become a retreat for me:  It is a ‘defensive read’ in opposition to the whole ‘it’s that bad’.  Further, frequent ‘touch base’ with Irving allows me to ...put a pumpkin on my head and RIDE AFTER YOU... in your darkness.  Do not think that you do not have darkness and that I do not know you have the darkness.  HOW do you “think” I get myself escorted into these ‘old’ book buff’s ‘book room’?  WITH A PUMPKIN ON MY HEAD, you idiot.  You wouldn’t even “THINK” of buying the old Girandole “SET” on that old rotten man’s DESK TOP.  I’ve already offered him fifty dollars for the set... TWICE.  I did that with a pumpkin on my head.  I told you:  PRETEND.





            So we ‘sitted’ there with them there... between our eye-to-eye... ‘throughout’ the THAT of the ‘secrets’ of the old book room.  Or is it the ‘clue’ of the... ‘old’ book room...
            Nancy Drew?
            That’s stupid.  But it works.
            YEAH just ‘sitted’ there and let his bowels do the work.  Old whiskey will ‘clean him out’.  He never touches the stuff so when that iced, cold and raw lands on top of the ‘stacked and packed’ colon core diet of Saltines and “CHEESE” (yeah; that kind of cheese).  The housekeeper puts that out on a plate she just washed and sets that down between the Girandole set ‘for you... you must be hungry’.  She knows we’re not drunk.




            The Girandole set is actually heavy.  You could ‘kill someone’ with them.  Send that as a clue... to Nancy Drew.  The marble bases.  The cut steel nuts screwing those bases to the “BRASS” “FIXTURES”.  Swinging them around, in my hands... I had to be careful not to ‘hit anything’ like... the doorway(s) (I had to go through, like, FIVE doorways to “GET OUT” of “THE HOUSE” “WITH THEM”).  I paid him fifty dollars in cash.
            For that old trash
            From his mother’s house... and his birthday party “I remember”.  He didn’t remember shit.  Not even the fifty bucks.  NOTHING.  WE
            PRETEND
            NOTHING
            Ever happened.





            What does this mean?  It means that ‘some rich guy’ ‘moved up here’ ‘to Maine’ and ‘brought all the... from his “MOTHER’S HOUSE” “IN BOSTON”.  He “BUYS A HOUSE and “PUTS” all of the ‘brought all the’ IN that house... and puts the china cabinets of GOD KNOW WHOSE ‘old rare books’ “THOSE I WANT” in the “THIS IS THE BOOK ROOM”.
            Want to know something else?  He ‘made’ another room... on one half of the first floor of the house he bought... into... “THE”.... “ANTIQUE ROOM”.  I’ll get to that.  It was and is still ‘always’ ‘called that’.  By ‘everyone’.
            I, having ‘shown up’, know something about this ‘real quick’ ‘right along’.  I know his rare books are not ‘his’.  I know the rare books are rotten.  I know he is ‘rotten cheap’.  I know he’s rotten rich.  I know he’s rotten rich fleeing.  I know.
            HOW DID I EVEN GET NEAR this?
            This is what I do.  It’s like... tracking a wounded animal:  You know... Maine forest and stream stuff.  Footprints.  Broken twigs.  Trampled ferns.  Wet boots.  Wet feet.  Out of bullets.  Lost my compass.  Out of cigarettes.  Arlee didn’t smoke.  He was too cheap to smoke.  ‘Costs money’ to ‘smoke’.  Getting a little worried here?
I wasn’t.
            I got plenty of time.  How much is plenty of time?  How about forty-five years of ‘plenty of time’.  Ever have that much time with an old Boston ‘rich people’ estate packed in boxes... in boxes... in boxes... stacked up since they ‘came there’ in a ‘moving van’?
            I didn’t think so.
            After forty-five years
            That cheap rotten bastard died on me.
            Now I’m stuck with his housekeeper.
            Showing me his underwear
In its drawer.
            Really.








            Most of the time we were in the rare book room.  With the rare books in the china cabinets and the over iced smidgens.  After a while we got along so well we’d go on sojourns.  And look around.  And look at the boxes.  And look in a box.  And the rest I took from there... depending what was in a box.  In an estate like this its hard to ‘screw up’.  There were even rare books in the boxes too.  Rare books that were not in the china cabinets in the rare book room but, too... seemed ‘mostly’ to come from the same place (source). But since they were just ‘books in the boxes’... they were not ‘rare books’.  I remind you that this man is a... rotten book collector.
            “OK.  I can deal with that.”
            There was even an Irving.  A ‘three volume set’.
            “OK so what do I do with that?”
            “READ IT YOU ASSHOLE”.
            Ok so I did.  It wasn’t anything great.  You know:  Not like Rip. 
I thought:
            “What if I found Rip’s rusted musket in there (the Arlington St. John estate).
            “That’s not gonna happen.” I said.
But I could pretend.  Right? 













Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Two - "Oh God"


Worn Collars

Part Two

"Oh God"



            My... contact... with Arlington St. John was through... and founded upon... “Rare Books” (his title) and his... persistent ‘piss me off’ hanger-on skill in and about a local tribe of ‘old book buffs’ (my title) who, as males, kept women at bay by... persistent ‘piss me off’... pandering that ‘old title pages’ be ‘of secret’ that... women “do not understand”  This last quote is from a local rare book buff’s definition of the boundary... of ‘Rare Books’.  That definition policy left me with them in ...their... little rooms with their... ‘preferably’... ‘floor to ceiling’ ‘old books’ “shelved”.  I ‘sitted’ opposite them (each) at the ...classical... ‘old rare book buff’s ... bibliomaniac’s... “DESK”.  Even a rotten book collector of a rotten man such as Arlington St. John had, too, ‘a...  rare bookman’s... desk’.  And the requisite ‘chair’ for a ‘visitor’ such as I to ‘sitted’ “in”
            “Oh God.” Does not well denote my feelings but was (and is) used by I constantly to express my ...circumstance ... ‘of this’ (“sitted”).  Do not feel that ANY... ONE... may be ‘of sitted’ “IN” the ... ‘of’.... book collector’s... little rooms.  That room’s door is kept closed to the ‘thee’.  AT a ‘best’ one may... possibly... perhaps... have the door opened and a ‘be allowed’ to ‘look in’ that room for... fifteen to twenty seconds... before that door is ...shut... by the ... ‘old book buff’ whose hoard thee just ...beheld.  That, to explain the ratio of this showing... is the direct one to one same as being shown a little used ‘guest’ ‘bathroom’:  “Remember it is there; that you ‘saw it’ but... please ... do not use it.”




            I am a horrible and rotten man to these reprobate rare books buffs for my punctual poke of the cadavers of their ‘(old) rare book collections’?  Of course I am.  I speak at them as to the rotten state of their collections, their rotten state of being a remedial ‘(old) rare book buff, their rotten ‘(old) rare book room and... that they, themselves, TOO... are... rotten.  But I am a ‘dealer’ of ‘rare books’.  These delineations from ‘such as I’ are considered ‘normal’, a mark of their (the old rare book buff’s) success as... “rare book men” and... therefore... a compliment... from me... to them... too.
            “Oh ‘God.” Does not well denote my feelings about THIS... too.
            Urinating in their guest bathroom is my ‘fickle’ for their ‘knowing ones’*?
            Even their ‘booze’; a rare bookman’s subplot, is cheap.  And rationed.  After being measured.  After the old bottle cautiously being twisted open... and its portal sniffed.  The glasses, too, are tawdry; 1960’s Goldfinger era... and style... with black and gold “PARIS” and “LONDON” decoration.  And they are... dirty.  Ice comes from a long expedition to the kitchen and back.  It is not carried in an ice bucket but comes to the rare book room in an old... soup bowl.



* My ‘play’ on Timothy Dexter’s “PICKLE FOR THE KNOWING ONES”.




            Arlington St. John’s ‘rare book room’ was absurdly neat in comparison with the ‘others’ I ‘visit’.  Behind him was an ‘old’ ‘china cabinet’ full of ‘rare books’... very neatly shelved.  On either side of his seat and desk... and my seat... were, too, old china cabinets against the side walls.  These too were full of ‘rare books’.  Everything, including these books, their shelving and... the desk top... were ‘as neat as a pin’ including ‘dusting’.  This state of physical rare book status... alone... assures the ‘knowing ones’ that... “therefore his (Arlington’s) rare books are rotten”.  It is that easy for a bibliolater**... to denote.  And I here denote that the ‘thee’ would... “THINK” this room and its collection “IS NICE”.  This shows bibliognostes*** “what an idiot” you are... too.
            Do I have to define what one is supposed to find as an ‘old book buff’s’ ‘rare book room’?  Perhaps I best wait a verse or two before... tackling that?  A ‘verse or two’; yes... that is cute isn’t it.
            Arlington would put the ice in the dirty glasses by taking it from the (dirty) old soup bowl with his fingers... one ice cube at a time... very slowly... so that his hot little fingers... with his old and virgin fingernails... would ‘melt’ the ice and droplets of this melt would... ‘fall’... on the desk as he overloaded each glass with ‘ice’.  He’d then pour a ‘smidgen’ of...:
            A ‘smidgen’ is less than a ‘finger’.  “Oh GOD.” Does not well denote my feelings about THIS... .  And I NEVER ‘just knock that one back’.  Oh no... we... ‘sipped’.  Meaning... the... crummy old whiskey... in it’s bottle from the ... BARRY GOLDWATER Presidential ‘RUN’... simply... slightly... ‘touched’ our lips... DURING THE WHOLE AFTERNOON.
            Unless I ‘got out of there’ QUICK.



** :  A worshipper of (old and rare) books
*** : Those ‘knowing’ of title pages, editions, imprints, printers, bindings, ‘states’, ‘points’ and the ‘et al’ of ‘old’... ‘rare’... ‘books’.




            The getting out quick is a commercial perspective that to the “I” a rare book dealer... is... a honed and endeavored ‘skill’.  Simply... I am not a “THERE” on vacation and USUALLLY am nursing the over iced smidgen in a concise effort to ‘sell’ ‘something’.
            “Puke in a bucket?” You say?  And we are not far off of that are we.  I being disturbed, this saga began by a chanced crossing in the outer rare book fringe of ‘out there’ where by foul luck I hand held a ‘good’ “FIND” of some sort of a “LET ME SEE THAT” of a purloined ‘rare book’ that I am at that moment very satisfied with as a ‘money maker’ but... being in the purloin haze of rare bookman’s ship... I held it in the open too long and a:
            “Oh ‘God.” Does not well denote my feelings about THIS... too... spied it and the follow up is that I committed to...:
            “Bringing it by”.
            I gave him (Arlington) the damn number (price) ($1250.00) but he still came on including the asinine “I THINK I may HAVE one of those (a copy of this ...rare book... [pamphlet]).”.  He does not have a copy of “IT”.  NO ONE HAS A COPY OF IT.  That is what a rare book is.  THAT IS WHAT I DO: FIND THOSE.  If he claims to ‘have one’ and rises from his ‘sitted’ to search the china cabinets full of his ROTTEN rare books... I am going to ...beat him to death with the toilet plunger next to the toilet in the guest bathroom.  Arlington rises from his ‘sitted’.
            “I don’t have that.” he says.
            “Of course not.  No one does.”
            “I feel that it is too much money.”
            “I feel that it is too little money.”
            “You quoted me twelve fifty.”
            “I want sixteen fifty.”
            “You quoted me.”
            “And you are not buying it.”
            “I haven’t said no.  Sir.  Yet”.
            “It is painful to your collection to say ‘no’.”
            “I need a minute more.”
            TWO AND A HALF GOD DAMN HOURS LATER... I and the old pamphlet... ‘get back in the car’ and ‘drive away’.




            Nobody knows I ‘have that’ (have found and offer this rare book) except that... rotten man.  BLABBER MOUTH around the trade you say?  NO.  He doesn’t even ‘know what it is’ so cannot ‘utter’.  He can mumble.  But he is always mumbling around the local (old) rare book buffs.  They never listen.  They don’t even notice he is mumbling.  This is because he is a rotten book collector and has a rotten... old... rare... book... ‘collection’.
            His collection... now... ‘lacks’ ‘this’ (the old pamphlet he... did... not... buy).  Too.  Arlington has a large collection of ‘rare books’ he did... not... buy.




            I learned... from these ...it is not an ‘experience’...:  I learned that... when the rich flee... no one notices.  This has nothing to do with rare books?  On the contrary, the rare books... of a ‘the rich’... are the ones that ‘tell’ this tale of ‘flee’.  Old books tattle... tale.  Do not ‘think’ Arlington could conceal his flight from me.  I saw right away... his neatly dusted shelved collection of his
            Flee.  It was very easy to see.
            He had not; he did not buy the books that were in his china cabinets.  Someone else did... a long time ago... after lunch... on Madison Avenue... in New York City.  One by one for maybe as long a fifty years but certainly for forty years... each old book was bought; a ‘rare book’ after lunch... to ‘be shelved’ and never, ever, touched again.  Never taken out of the cabinet.  Never... thumbed through.  The purchaser didn’t even bother to erased the dealer’s penciled price at the front upper corner of the ...front free end paper... or, off times, on the top front ‘fly’ (leaf).  I would always look to see that this pencil price was of the same hand as the last pencil price I ‘looked at’... whenever I ‘looked at’ the
            “Oh God.” Does not well denote my feelings.
            Of the tedium of the last book I was ‘looked at’ while I was ‘sitted’ in the’
            “Oh God.” Does not well denote my feelings.
            “KNOCK THAT BACK and I am OUT OF HERE”.
            Never worked.  I was left with a glass of melting ICE for ‘another hour’
            “Or so”:  “HAVE I EVER SHOWN YOU
            (My collection of worn SHIRT collars?”)
            He’d say.







Friday, May 22, 2015

Worn Collars - Part One - "YOU GO"


Worn Collars

Part One

"YOU GO"



Arlington (“Arlee”) St. James was a rotten book collector.  He was, too, a rotten man but to his credit he kept that aspect well hidden ‘from the average’ as he called them.  He did this ‘well hidden’ best by shadowing his local Maine village “the Boiled Dinner Set” (his title).  He did this shadowing wearing crisp, clean. locally pressed... aged... and very worn at the collar... Oxford cloth... button down collar ...old... all cotton... made in USA... by a “They are well known” for their collar roll... shirts.
            First off... I am not bothered by rot or... ‘rotten’.  It is, to me, a foundation aspect of my antiquarian... love.
            As for Arlee’s old shirts, his ‘housekeeper’ (of forty-two years) gave me “all of them”; a large lump of... some washed, some not washed and... none ironed ‘his old shirts’ “To use as rags you want them?”
            “Of course I want them.” I said and... took them, still have them and... have yet to use them as ‘rags’.  I don’t know what to do with them.  Yet.  I have them all on one plastic hanger... hanging up in one of the sheds... on our property... on the coast of Maine.
            “HE” the ‘housekeeper’ said “NEVER bought a new shirt after he moved UP HERE (1969).  JUST WORN OUT these old shirts he brought with him UP HERE.  I’d SAY ‘TIME TO GET SOME NEW ONES’ and he’d just shy me away.  That man kept a firm grip on his money I tell you I was lucky to HAVE SHOES from him so I let his old shirts alone for the most part.  I’d IRON DOWN the (worn) collars.  You can have those reversed I told him; double the life but THAT TOO cost him his money and he kept a tight fist to that.  I stopped my mention of his shirts TWENTY YEARS ago and I’m proud to be alive to say that to you.”
            “He was a rotten man.” I said.
            “Now I don’t say that about him.  I can’t.”
            “How about ‘he was a rotten book collector’?
            “I’ve never tried that.”
            “You don’t have to try.  It’s the truth.”



            “Well I just thought you should LOOK at his old books.  He always TALKS of you about his old books you know.  I mean ‘did talk’.  ‘WHEN I’M DEAD’ he’d say ‘HE’S THE ONE WHO WILL KNOW’ his old BOOKS he always SAYS.”
            “Yeah well I KNOW his books alright and HE knew I KNOW’D them more than HE ever know’d them and HE KNOW’D too that I KNOW’D THEM be ROTTEN BOOKS.  And he know’d I know’d he be a ROTTEN book collector TOO.”
            “He said to me that ‘SO MUCH’ would be that but you’s still SEE ME STRAIGHT.  On them old BOOKS of his.”
            “You won’t need doing MUCH if you LISTEN RIGHT.”
            “Right mind you I AM so say it out STRAIGHT.  HOW do I EVER rid this HOUSE of ‘em.”
            “Being YOUR house now ain’t it.”
            “It’s being SETTLED.”
            “NOT the biggest house of dreams IS IT.”
            “He bought it TOO with his fist clenched TIGHT.  I remember seeing him do that then.  I said I’d be the ONE in there THAT DAY for he be... in this house... just up across from Mama’s and she’d CRY if I’d move away any further.  She’s dead now and I want THIS simple place and WE GIRLS will SELL HER’S NOW (the mother’s old house).  Now if I can get his OLD BOOKS BE GONE I’ll have ALL that SHELVES to put my ‘Nicky’s’ (her life time collection of knick-knack ...junk) on”.
            “You’s a rich woman I hear.”
            “WHO hear you?”
            “I hear they say you OWN HIS BANK”.
            “Don’t you TELL MOTHER.  I’d did MY TIME FAIR AND SQUARE.  Now it be just me and my Nicky’s.  HE, himself, said he’d be BOILED DINNER one day and HE IS THAT this day.  I know you know THAT TOO.  He boiled your dinner TOO I know.  That’s why I trust you with these Damny Books.
            “Damny Books”?  You know him?”
            “I know him TOO.  He PINCHED ME.  When I was SEVENTEEN.  On my BIRTHDAY he did that; PINCH ME.  Damny... is a NASTY MAN.
            “He pinched you?”
            “Pinched MY TIT”.
            “Jesus.”
            “That’s not what I said to him.  MY HAND SET HIS FACE RED.  Mama:  She throw’d the STOVE WATER on HIM.  “DAMNY:  YOU GO” she told him.  Five years later I started here for Mister St. James.  I’ve been that way ever since.  No one can say I haven’t.







Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Under the Porches; The Picker's View


Under the Porches; The Picker's View



            I hadn’t expected this to become a topic on
            Saturday morning
            At the flea market but.

            The day before I had
             And had
            So I just did happen,
            I guess,
            To be offering up my little something from doing that and
            Pretty much went to getting the negative side of doing that right off
            From the first two and then getting a
            Backup and thumb up from the third
            Picker***
            That morning (Saturday morning at the flea market) and he too
            (this third picker)
            Just flipped the first two off
            Just like I did,


            We said to each other right there that, for us, it is
            “IMPOSSIBLE”
            To NOT
            Crawl under the old porches... on an old house...
            To get (retrieve)
            What we find
            Doing that.

            I am not going to and was not
            Going to make any ‘much’ of this
Until the first
            Two were such ‘Flea Market Cry Baby’
            Assholes about it with that ‘their derogatory’ meaning that in addition to
            Having never ‘crawled one’ themselves they both
            Further belittled my ‘offering up’ from my
            Under-the-porch creep the day before.


*** :  A ‘picker’ is an antiquarian action figure and antiques (physical object) hunter who goes into old places to hunt for, find, buy and ‘bring out’ ‘old stuff’ that they then sell, usually wholesale, to ‘antiques dealers’.






            Sneering, they both said (it is worth) “NO MONEY” before
Religiously pointing out “THAT IT’S CHIPPED ON THE BASE”.
Both of them did this.
            OK I admit it was a mistake because I can sit here writing this and know in the
            God halo of truth that I did NOT look around and see if the chipped-off piece was
            There but
            It wasn’t and I... OK I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED AROUND BETTER
            Maybe
            Who cares... I was crawling on all fours; a man in his sixties
            Crawling under a porch like a kid
            For an old beer bottle.







            So those butt weeds didn’t even think you could do that;
Look for the chip of the “IT’S CHIPPED ON THE BASE”.
            “Holy Jesus”.
            And all that I found under there was a beer bottle OK?
            An OLD beer bottle.
            See what I mean; I didn’t think I was or would be making much of this.
            What do you want?  “Who cares?” or the “Holy Jesus”.
            Or maybe I should go back and look for the chip.
            No...:  That bottle went under there (the porch) with that chip. 
            I can tell by the wear; the crate wear
On the embossing and the chip’s edges.
That bottle was chipped and was still being used
            By the beer company.
They didn’t even think about it; the chip.  Just kept using it; that bottle.
            That’s the way things used to be done. (Now one recycles the
            Can or
            Maybe there IS a glass beer bottle but... that couldn’t take a chip like that
Old bottle did [does] and
            So that new bottle is recycled
Too).





            Ok; we’re getting this straightened out.  See what I mean about this
            Should never be ‘anything’.  But it did that (be an ‘anything)
            Saturday morning
            At the flea market
            After I retrieved (‘found’) the old beer bottle from
            Under the porch
The day before (Friday).

            I LIKE DOING THAT; crawling under old porches
            Attached to old houses
            And retrieving what I find
            From doing that.
            I ALWAYS DO IT; all of the old porches all of the time at
            All of the old houses.
            I retrieve whatever I find.
            And get it (what I find).  Most of the time the people (owners)
            Just give it to me.  Or sell it for like a buck.  Or something.  They look at it;
            What I retrieved and
            They don’t care.  “OLD BEER BOTTLE HUH” one of ‘em said.





            Mrs. McNeil; it was her MOTHER’S house.  And her friend.  Both of them were wearing their blue jeans but neither of them got dirty.  Her friend said the “HUH” about the beer bottle.  I only asked at the end (of our commerce) if I could have it (the old beer bottle)
            (With the chipped base.)
            I said “Do you want that?”
            They both said “No.”
            “Can I have it?” I said.  I knew I COULD have it.  It was actually WOULD they let me have it.  I knew that when I was saying COULD have it.  That’s not a small point.  I just made it sound like I was that stupid so they could
            Just flip it off on me; a ‘that trash’ old beer bottle I
            Found and retrieved from under her (Mrs. McNeil’s) back porch.




            See:
            That’s the part that you don’t
            See is the crawling under there;
            Me... crawling under there (the old back porch).  The whole neighborhood:
            It’s full of them.
            Old back porches.
            I’m crawling around that whole neighborhood
            REALLY.
            They know me.  I’ve been around there a lot.  And everyone of ‘em (the houses)
            Have an old back porch.  So... LIKE:
            Anyway.  They all have a little door on the side too:  To go in there.
            UNDER the porch.  NO ONE goes in under there.
            I know that.
            And I get all kinds of stuff.  I find.  I haul it all out.  All of it.
            I want all of it.  They usually just give to me.  Everyone’s laughing
            About all that old crap ‘how’d it GET in there’ and no one cares.
            So I just found the one old beer bottle there but
            OK SO I knew what it was but I LIKED IT right off. 




            It was back by the foundation just inside the little door so
            I saw it BEFORE I went in; back in the corner, so
            I picked it off and then crawled to the far back.  I left it by the door.  I
            Could almost stand up at the far end but there wasn’t anything under there.
            I took the bottle out.
            I knew what it was with the cap still on it and the tied (matching) the embossing and the
            Paper label was obviously long gone.  So what.  It had been sitting in under there for a hundred years.
            NO.... not quite.  OK so...  yeah just the way the dirt on it’s neck did it for me.
            And the cap of course.  They drank that on the porch and hid the bottle.  Right there
            Standing up.  Really.  I touched it; first time in one hundred years?  You bet?  Probably only World War Two actually huh?






            It is so pretty being there; in there under the porch doing that:
Finding that dirty old beer bottle.
            With the chip on the base.  Yeah... really neat
            Especially the ‘your not there never will be’ A CRAZY MAN crawling in there.
            They say “HOW DO YOU FIND THAT STUFF?”
            That’s how you idiot.  Creepy
            Crawl ‘em I DO.  YOU NEVER did one NO just go to the flea market and wonder how some guy like me FOUND THAT HUH”.
            Maybe I should take it back and put it back and let them try to.  THEY DON’T
            EVEN LOOK at a porch.  Or an under it.
            “OH DIRTY”.  Even Mrs. McNeil knew better.  “WENT IN THERE” when she was “YOUNG” she told me.  Laughing about it we were.  A big grown man like me doing that.  “CAT HAD KITTENS IN THERE ONCE MOTHER SAID”.
            Well it is nice and dry in there; back against the foundation so I SUPPOSE.
            Too bad there weren’t something better under there than that
            Old chipped base beer bottle.
            Of course I like it pretty much enough finding it that way anyway.
            It’s not about the damn money you fool.  Glad it is chipped I SAY.
            Keep ‘em back at the flea market.
            “Dirty” they say
            “Chipped and dirty”
            Why that ain’t DIRTY in under there.  THEY don’t know NOTHING about dirt
            THEM... it’s cleaner under that old PORCH than the FRONT SEAT of their CAR.
            Jesus.  They should TALK about DIRT.  I’m GLAD the damn bottle’s dirty.  I’d
            NEVER wash it.  MAKES IT RIGHT that old dirt on it.  INTERESTS ME I say.






            Nice of Mrs. McNeil
            To give it to me.
            “Of course it’s CHIPPED” she said.
            That ain’t the POINT.  I didn’t say that of course.
            Her old uncle drank it I bet.
            Then stowed it.  Under.
            That:
            Don’t I make you want to crawl UNDER ONE huh?
            You’d find that.  You’d keep it.  HAUL IT OUT.
            Too.
            Don’t you LIE to me.