A Nieuw Yorke Sojourn {in Six Acts}. Part, The Fifth: THE BONFIRE OF THE SANITIES.~

A Nieuw Yorke Sojourn {in Six Acts}.  Part, The Fifth: THE BONFIRE OF THE SANITIES.~
Bonfire Of The Sanities
Bonfire Of The Sanities

"As the ship glided up the river, the city burst thunderously upon us in the early dusk- the white glacier of lower New York swooping down like a strand of a bridge to rise into uptown New York, a miracle of foamy light suspended by the stars. A band started to play on deck, but the majesty of the city made the march trivial and tinkling. From that moment I knew that New York, however often I might leave it, was home."

                       ~From 'My Lost City' by F. Scott Fitzgerald, circa the 1930's

{The Light on the Stage takes on the glow of Sunrise.But it is still dark enough to warrant light from the Gaslights and... a single lantern held aloft by the Author. He finds a place to sit near the fountain in the center of our holy stage. He sets the lantern at his side. There is an air of caution about. Aye, mayhaps that skirmish with the ghastly ghosty of Robert Moses in the previous chaptre had a more profound effect then we thought! He takes in the fleeting stillness. Then...}

"...And then one must pick a side."

Ages before I moved to the City... In my time as a wreckless young spawn of the country, I rode one frosty night to a notorious, violent, and fatal beach which was known throughout the realm as 'Duncan's Landing'.I brought all my effects... And gave them a blanket of lighter fluid. And I watched them BURN.

And I bared witness to the TOXIC, THE REPUGNANT, and MOST SHAMEFUL GHOSTS of plastic things. And the smoke turned to a dirty emerald so unmistakable in it's hue I could decipher it clearly as such against the pitch of the night sky. I thought I would make a fire lasting mayhaps close to two hours. This most fowl and altogether unholy fire lived for an unsettlingly nigh-five hours and it included exploding bits of shrapnel from the dying electrical objects deep within the white hot flames and their ominous green smoke which took on the face of a woman and then her face burned away to her skull and then it too was gone... and then, as if weary of the spirits of Witchin' Time- I snuffed it out. Aye, It felt Devine to be rid of material things by bonfiring them. I thought I was actually burning away the past but through the years, it roared up through brighter than ever before- never to leave. 

Ye have come so far. Welcome my weary Sojourner to...



How I wanted so badly to grow up. I was restless- wanting to feel in control of myself. To force such a destruction upon my own possessions, proved a formidable illusion of power over the physical realm. The odd thing here is that upon burning my things the question never occurred to me WHY I chose...

The Way of Fire.

{As if the uttering itself of the word 'Fire' carries with it the power to light nearby objects ablaze, a book furtively placed stage right suddenly bursts into flames. The Author looks at it and when he should be moving to snuff it- he indulges in befuddlement. Then- before the audience has a chance to get up and flee for the exits- the great SPRINKLER SYSTEM in the sky turns on, effectively dousing the flame. Then the great sprinkler system in the sky turns itself off- And the Author looks up at the sky and reaches out a hand, testing it for rain. Not a drop! He gingerly steps over to the olde book.}

Zounds. I am remembered of an evening not too different from this one! One night about five centuries deep within my ten cent mark in Cosmopolis, I was walking home to my nieuw apartment in Breuklyn with a lady friend. 'Twas once again, Witchin' Time and I spied a small fire down the street. Upon walking closer- the fire appeared to be in front of the door to my apartment building and upon closer examination- the object set ablaze was... a manuscript. The neighborhood was eerily deserted. There was no movement for several blocks in every direction. And the flames licked away at their meal. I'll never know how long that book had been burning. For a moment we stared at the quiet blaze as it silently devoured page after crudely-written-page. Part of me was confused... The other part was hypnotized. I saw it as a nieuwly ignited part of my being-and why not? I was finally in my own place- in a terrific locale and I felt like I could do anything and a beautiful woman on my arm... Or was it an olde part of myself I was burning away? And there was... that FIRE. And here was I, though now... I was seven years old.And the sky was blazing orange. And a fireman emerged. Gliding over me in slow motion, always looking ahead-ish and uppish. I didn't think to ask what the lady at my side was thinking. And then I swiftly stamped the blaze out. And knelt down, scooping up the Manuscript in my arms. Partially burned but for SIX chapters. Though I thank my odd stars for bringing me to these mysteriously spared magical pages I am binarely cursed to wonder as to the contents of the charred phantoms of this wondrous bound parchment. And the fireman kept returning to me.


Fire,it seems became my gift to all that I held sacred forI was burning- In every sense of the word. I burned my insides with black coffee and pizza grease and bourbon and I burned my past with N'Yorke City and in the ashes I read the the language of fiery centuries come before me. I learned of my TRUE CITY. WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN CITY HERE. It takes the form of a PERPETUAL MEMORY! She is that moment in which Ye and Cosmopolis became aware of one another's existence. For a fleeting instant you understood eachother.

That instant will become more familiar to your subconscious than all the rest of the guises she slips into until the End of Time. Aye it is the moment she was laid bare and ye glimpsed her nakedness and ye were full of desire...and an ache! An ache for the impossible: to simply wrap your arms around her and never let go...and mayhaps more impossibly- ye hoped she might do the same. And there ye may both share a mutually desperate embrace only to realize the simple truths like.... 'I was not desperate. I was disparate.' And so too were she. And that was and will always be the attraction-but that MOMENT inwhich ye FIRST beheld her- Ye shall never get that moment again. And your City, Your OWN PERSONAL LADY NIEUW AMSTREDAMM is but one frozen moment. For you- this moment is all ye see but it is as significant to her rapacious Sister, N'Yorke as a drop of Bordeaux be to the Great Atlantic.

Ye shall try to find her- YES!Try for another GLIMPSE!

Yet all ye have now is the loss.Inside.The utterly brutal- the relentless-nay- the exquisite despair of white-hot ghosties and familiar ghouls with whom ye once corralled the lightening- they haunt and rage all about.It is as though one of your violent sneezes let forth a deluge of Freaks and they had no friend nigh to say 'Bless Thee'. Now- THIS concatenation of moments IS BECOME MIGHTY and- although it is complete- can take a few years to REALIZE.The parlor of rag tag tattooists whom ye knew by their first name is no longer of this world. It is not even the frozen yogurt shop which took it over. All it be now is some odd spin on bratwurst or something BUT TO YE,my fellow Nieuw Amstredamm Burgher-all ye see when you walk near thither are those TATTOOISTS and that is all ye shall ever seeAND THEY BURN MORE REAL TO THEE THAN ANYTHING OR ANYONE WHO WILL INHABIT THAT SPOT AFTER THEM.That was how and when thou came to know The Lady and she thee. That was when the two of ye were a remarkable item.And ye attended dinner parties arm in armjust as she hadwith her former lovers Alexander Hamilton, Dewitt Clinton, and Walt Whitmanheretofore.Later by the grand window ye stole her ear for a whisper. The contents and words were immaterial.It was the FIRE of your hushed voice thrust forth toward her luscious lobe, making those exquisitely framed shoulders rise and fall with honeyed laughter that drove the Literati to wonder and theorize incessantly as to what you were in fact telling the Lady Amstredamm.

Nay it was not WHAT thou was't saying my friend. It was that you were WHISPERING it in her EAR. Knowing THAT and DELIGHTING in it is what LIFE is about.


That is when you became something beyond a Mere Burgher of N'Yorke and now consequently you be absorbed into Lady Amstredamm's eternal citizenry. But in the physical sense it wasn't meant to last. Your Nieuw Amstredamm was conquered by another soon after. And whate'er she became- no sooner had she raised her weary head to take in her N'Yorke identity when she was ravished again and all ye could do was watch.Aye the Lady Amstredamm you came to recognize in the first place- she is now buried deep beneath the layers of real estate face lifts and the added plumage of every single nieuw architectural idea heralded with a very fashionable frock of scaffolding and navy blue painted plywood which exclaims to all: PROPERTY OF THE CITY OF TOMORROW.

And now to live there means to eternally search for her... To search for a GHOST, a banshee- nay a SIREN...

Who is keeping ominously quiet.

And the more fervently you look for her, the hotter the fire within shall roar. But she is gone to another and then another. And it isn't until one moves away or DOESN'T but somehow in a similarly EARTHSHATTERING action to leaving does one realize as though they were a heartbroken F.Scott Fitzgerald that the city is not here to be found again. Ever.She is your city to be found BUT ONCE and that is all. Thank your stars that you saw her when thou didst! I mean this! Be Grateful. You are here to discover fire in YOUR belly.

Her strength is that she cannot forget. It is also her sadness.Quite opposite to her sister, N'Yorke. O, my forlorn Lady Amstredamm. So many wights she has taken in. For instance-One Hundred, Three and Twenty of her daughters andThree and Twenty of her Sons.Perished in a sweatshop fire one strange day in the year of our Lord, one thousand, nine hundred and eleven. Yay, I speak of the Infamous 'Triangle ShirtWaist Factory Fire' as it lit up one day like a wild paroxysm overloaded by CORRUPTION and OPPRESSION and it devoured these one hundred, six and forty souls. With elevators eventually heated beyond any possibility of use and the stairwell doors regularly bolted shut heretofore to prevent workers from sneaking out to take breaks- there was ANON little else to do but leave this world quick with a leap to the ground below rather than to be burned alive by the fever of N'Yorke at her most angry and careless hour. And amongst the first to do so were a man and woman who kissed by a windowand married themselves to the waiting embrace of the ethers beyond. I often wonder-

When these doomed lovers sealed their decision to die together with an immortal kiss, each tasting the end of the other's life- did they experience the end of one another's loneliness? Indeed I hope this poor couple did. Mayhaps they then looked back at the ravenous flames and the horrible sounds QUIETED- and anon- to these same lovers having made their decision- might these flames seem to cool in the face of these lovers' courageous passion to live life and die on their own terms?

I live my life as one who fervently believes that were so. I resurrect them as Ardent Citizens of Amstredamm as they were left to a sad fate by Lady N'Yorke. Regardless of whither this dreamer's hyperbole may have come to pass- it is the most stark of truths that they leapt as did scores of ill fated souls after them. Most of these victims were women. Some were going to leave to catch a moving picture with their saved money that evening with a fiancé. Alas N'Yorke had other plans. And they kept flying off the tiers of the Asch Building like great flaming tears of Lady Amstredamm who could not wipe them away fast enough. And her unfeeling N'Yorke sister self is quick to point out that this travesty of Capitolism spawned the labor movement it is Amstredamm who feverishly mourns her unfortunate children of the Garment District of the Year of our Lord One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eleven. You see? Her strength is in her unrelenting REMEMORY.

And as I toiled for years and years to my place of work, I walked by that most notorious landmarked building {now called simply "The Brown"} feeling the heat of ghosts nigh a century old. Such Heat. It induced a quicker pace. O how I wish I had lingered a little more often to pay my respects to those misty women and men. Alas...

I came to this very proving ground of an island and the best thing I ever did for myself was once I had seen her, to eventually fly and leave her be.

The only way I could find her was in that special time when the night has loosened it's grip and given over to the morning. 'Tis then when the Lady Amstredamm knows not what she is yet. And sometimes I could talk to her though it were long over between us.


{The lantern tosses aloft two sparks which become apparitions playing out the following tale.}

Once I was so lucky as to win her indulgence in a stroll among the stony streets. And we laughed SO heartily together- why- I thought I might be the first man in Herstory to have a second go with her. Alas it was for naught for as I held her incorporeal hand within mine own through the steaming cobblestones of failing moonlight, singing "The Sidewalks Of N'Yorke" to her {and much to the befuddlement of the occasional passing Burgher} I spied the darkness take her and her laughter far from me.And she wrenched her self away to scrape her tiny finger bones down a shop window as she wept rain.

Though first I was rather flummoxed, upon peering beyond the tips of those screeching finger bones this Author realized the object of her vexation: a yearning for what was behind the window: A Dress. Pale Pink Silk like a strawberry ice cream. It puffed out below the slender bodice with a sanguine's audacity and I was knocked off guard by what appeared to be three savagely dry-brushed representations of long black roses scrawled across one side of the puffed up flare with the stems made of an emotional precision reminiscent of a Chinese Calligrapher. Indeed it was just this aspect which made me both scratch my head and simultaneously nod in adoring approval.

"Thine come morning."

"Meaning?" Those hollowed eyes looked awae from the strange dress and back to me. At last they were looking upon me. Despite the sinking feeling they were piercing through me.

"Rising to the bloodletting of tomorrow's Red Sun, hitherto find me awaiting the shopkeeper's arrival to open this place. I shall then pay the required sterling to put this haunting garment upon your exquisite figure. For I see now 'tis the singular labored artistry captured within this artical of clothing that touches thy fancy. And thou must have it. And I must give it to thee."

{There is a silence so unbearable to the audience that they begin to nervously murmur to one another- no doubt it is the women hypothesizing to their lady friends or husbands as to what is about to transpire. Silence! And the Lady Amstredamm, our silent siren, our quiet bereaved banshee, our heroine raises her hand...}


AMSTREDAMM: Do not try to close mine eyes with thy kisses. I am not to have this silk tiered bodice and her accompanied dark scrawlings. I am meant...TO WANT IT. If I should have it I should become like THE LITERATI! Or worse I would become mine own greedy sister-N'Yorke, {who simply must have and destroy everything} And my fire will die. And I would make the same materialistic mistakes she made in the twenties and then again in the fifties AND AGAIN IN THE...oh! Darkness! Let us awae heretofore another moment's passing. Thou shalt be my beloved AUTHOR not my suitor. And let me annoint the moment by teaching thou a thing or two about MISERY: misery is not to be feared. It is to be allowed to drop in on thee- much like a friend. It is to be caressed as a lover. Besides I should think I might wear leggings soon instead. Or nothing. It will be warmer soon... Nay The feeling of thine hungered eyes upon me is all the clothing I wish. I see no need to paint the lily my dear. For I know that no matter where I am or who I be with, I will feel the heat of thy search for me. And I must have thy search my dear- My Author. That is the closest thing to delicious respite as I can fathom. Goodbye my precious dark man. There remains no point hiding the truth anymore. I am simply waiting for the next champion. All that I can give thee... Is this moment. May ye drink from it often and may it nourish your soul each time.

{Upon saying these words- the Lady bursts into FLAME! and so too does the Dress in the shop window. The Author looks at the dual spontaneous combustibles with shock. And then takes out a handkerchief and covers his face as he waves awae the foul smoke. He awkwardly stoops to reach down for a piece of cloth and lifts up a strip of pale pink silk with three black roses on it. He wonders at the spectacular cloth, staring back at the burning dress. He opens the manuscript and places the tattered strip of garment within its pages...and he realizes ANON that he shall never look at accumulating material possessions the same wae again. Infact he will never look at buying things the same wae period. O he shall buy and acquire to be sure! But they will somehow be 'olde' -never ever nieuw again. There is something inspiring about Lady Amstredamm's 'Abstemious Speech' and her following explosive action which leads the audience to feel the same wae from thence forth.}

A few centuries passed and I now lived with a woman, whom I affectionately christened, 'Mumbles' on account of her uncanny ability to relay important matters loud enough for only her ears rather than for whomever she was talking. Mumbles is thankfully a lighter sleeper than I. I say thankfully because well-- I once owned a beautiful great skull made of resin adorned with strange markings. It was given to me by a dear friend. The Skull was set upon my dresser to be admired by all {if not to frighten unwanted sprites and will'o'the wisps and things} and in this wight's gaping maw, stretched a yawn just big enough for a tea candle. There were figurines I collected arranged ornately around this gaping skull as well. One might say it was the diorama of mine own life in a way. Sorry- I was saying...

One night We had drifted off without attending to the candle and coincidentally, I had left the match stick within and- O why drag this out explaining things- the flame eventually became irregularly large and the result was that of being pulled out of a state of riding olde locomotives about the plains or whatever I was dreaming by Mumbles who said quite audibly,


Before she was finished with that sentence I was out of bed and making some kind of embarrassing noise that communicated my genuine horror at the ghastly site of the resin skull-now a roaring blaze of flames screaming straight up in a brilliant tower of roaring light. The small figurines in there arrangement now appeared to be in an unholy "Ring around the Rosie". Again I found myself staring at the fire- I was now eye to eye with the unholy demon, forgetting where I was....A FIRE-FIGHTER twice my size walked passed meand huddled with other FIREMEN and I watched them walk over to my helpless Father after their meeting and said they had no jurisdiction in this area to save our house. And we would have to wait for the next truck.

And we watched it burn...out of control. The life we knew. The home we owned. The toys I owned. Beyond ALL CONTROL...

And the Siren of Fire Sung.


Such wondrous music. It sounded very much like... "The Sidewalks of New York."

And Mumbles called my name... And hither I was, A child no longer-- And I was not standing in front of my burning house But in front of a mere POSSESSION set a blaze. That was ALL! And I barked for her to fill a glass of water- "NAY! Wait! Give me the glass of water nigh the bed. The Water! The Holy Water. Yay In this moment, that water proved a righteous touch of heaven indeed come to cast out and smite all dark purpose. And Mumbles flew there. And Mumbles brought the water quick and true to my hand. And our eyes met. And I turned to the fire. And I extinguished the demon. And the demon was thus unceremoniously thwarted. And the 'Rider was fatally smited and dampened And thus I came to- staring down upon my kill. The smoted, smoking, snuffed-out corpse of this demon- once a horrific tower of laughing white fire, Now lay blackened sideways in it's nieuw realm of ashes. That singing... That ringing... In my head. No more. The next morning I saw the black smoke stain in the ceiling, The ashen traces on the floor and... Outside... There in front of my apartment...


The Sidewalk had a ghastly-split announcing it had  CRACKED sometime the night prior.


It has taken me nigh a century and a half to come to terms with that strange event. It happens to all who dwell here.I say it is an affliction which descends upon so many of us who dwell in N'Yorke Towne whilst really spending our days and years in Nieuw Amstredamm. Only a few years is all one needs and after that it is up to us to cling further or seek out where our nieuw home will be. Alas I Ignored Lady Amstredamm's profundity and I stayed. And I stayed longer than that too. And through the ages, she shrieked her pernicious fire repeatedly to turn me away. But I faced her down time after time. The INK she uses to write her message is different for every woman and man to whom she writes.For me- her ink were that of the flame. She sent fire to heat me right out of mine armor. It seemed to be the only language to which I listened. Sometimes this heated deluge came in the form of fiery events or fiery people or just plane FIRE itself but the worst of it was when she left me to the fires of my longing or my passion or worse still- my anxieties. Aye those were the darker times...

...and methodically With every SPARK, I learned the warm-blooded nature of this vernacular. And I began to SPEAK IT. Where I once THRILLED to the CRACKLING CITY NIGHT LIFE- I NOW TRAINED MINE EARS TO THE ROAR OFA CANDLE- As it lit a proud home-cooked dinner And mine ears stayed happily to waltz with the likes of RAVEL or LISZT! And as the sounds of SIRENS And Angry folkGREWMore and more DISTANT- As my abode GREWHigher and Further AWAY FROM THE GROUND LEVEL--

I achieved SILENCES that were at once as GLORIOUS As they were GHASTLY And WITHIN there, My questions took on a NIEUW FIRE OF THEIR OWN. Whilst the oven without seemed to COOL And slow to a small but irresistible flickering much like 



Ye have climbed and ye have climbed, Hot on my Heels. I welcome ye to a most terrific place-  my Brave, Steadfast Sojourner.We are almost there- For the thrilling CONCLUSION is UPON US with... ~Part, The Sixth: ‘KING KONG's AERY’~