Friday, December 25, 2015

The Kerouac at Columbia on Christmas Eve

The Kerouac at Columbia on Christmas Eve

            The Kerouac at Columbia on Christmas Eve finds a grown man hoping to hear footsteps in an old apartment, shouted poetry, abandoned staircases, broken windows and hole filled dirty lace curtains blowing in the wind
            On the Upper West Side
            Just steps away from the Morningside Park’s vista of Harlem to the north and
            Wet sidewalks under foot wandering
            Down Amsterdam
            From the high ground where General Washington fought a revolution.
            I can see how far away I am from that too quickly walking
            On Amsterdam:

            “Needed to know about that if”
            “Can’t you be you’ve got to be kidding me there
            Isn’t a place
            Like that somewhere here you God forsaken”.
            “There is.”
            “Ten Twenty.”
            “What is that?”

            It begins in the morning ‘at eleven’ but at actually “10:30” “for breakfast”.  The union men in the open manhole out in front design their entire work day (7:00 AM – 3:30 PM) around 1020 so they are, as a customer base, ‘solid’.  Safety vest coloration dictates wardrobe, rain dictates fashion, whiskey dictates beer and men kickback never taking the hardhat off... all day
            After climbing out of their manhole, looking around and then going inside of
            Ten Twenty.

            By 4:00 PM the first graduate students ‘show’ and their momentum begins.  No one bothers anyone about anything so the rise and fall of the ‘solid’ customer changes guard without note or notice but the old man who owns the place “IS FROM MAINE” they say and he notes and notices the rise and fall.  A few more hardhat shots directly greet the shouting scholars who, within the graduate departments of Philosophy and History tour 1020 from a stool or booth.  “Isn’t that?” “He’s not here yet”.  Cheap (“cheapest”) beer and body slam shots keep
            The need to ever have a sign beside the street number.  That is what it is:  1020 is a street number
            Of a bar
            That otherwise is missed.

            “He just stands out there all the time anyway.  He is always there all day drunk.  He is never not there.  I have never been there and he not be there; in there.  Or out there.  By the door drunk and staring at his cell phone.
            “Jack Kerouac.”

            By eight the “grads” are gone excepting ‘special events’.  “APARTMENT” home “ABOVE” the street that is a quad of Columbia that is back up the hill “on Amsterdam”.  Up hill Kerouac staggers (swaggers) home to a hill top sixth floor walk up at 118th 412 “he lived there”.  I hear them up there shouting poetry and peeing in the corners of the rooms.  “TEN TWENTY” is what the morons shout.

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