Even now, though ensconced in a lovely apartment, well-fed and nearly middleclass again, I go for walks, like in the old bummy days, endless seas of black asphalt and white divider, the shiny new cars that squeak when the owner comes, the little mounds of McDonalds garbage, the horizontal wall on which this old spider walks.
Hallelujah, I'm a bum.
Hallelujah I'm a bum again.
Sure, I have the apartment. But the income is slight. The apartment is subsidized. I tried to turn respectable by actually working. Didn't tell anyone. They found out. "Thief! Fraud-artist! Ne-er-do- well. You actually worked. WORKED. Lazy bastard! And you didn't tell us. You now pay regular rent!"
Law of diminishing returns.
Hallelujah, I'm a bum again.
There is a story of the Great Pinspotter in the Sky, the god who always places you where he thinks you belong--in the gutter.
I suppose we all subconsciously follow our fathers. This is too good for me, this life. I don't deserve it.
My father spent two years in a German concentration camp.
I guess subconsciously, I am following him, hard as I try to work everyway but loose. But then my father nearly made a million after coming to Canada. No backward progress for him. Myself, I pretty well wrote the book on backward progress, just like in the movie, "The Jerk".
Rags. To riches. Back to rags.
Place to live, but rent- poor. Rags again.
Hallelujah, a bum again.
Out in the parking lot, thoughtful masturbator that one is. It is a good time to test your philosophy, your zen, your I-Ching,your Plato. And Kierkegaard, especially Kierkegaard, Either-Or. It gets darkest before the light. There is great power in a vacuum. It all hangs, like a guy hanging off a big junkyard magnet by his steel belt buckle--on the subjunctive.. You will certainly be subjunctive once the power is turned off. Actually, you will be in the indicative, your Adidas sticking up out of all that junk. With Wittgenstein, you will surely become aware of the case.
Most people are no great shakes. Automatons. They seek money, goods, power, sex. The bum seeks these things too, but he's under some sort of spell. The disease of denial.
This is too good for me. I am shit. The vacuum.
What did the bum have for breakfast today? Well, actually, it was pretty good. Over at the Dominion, there were four packages of shaved roast beef, a little green, yes, but then what country boy doesn't know that a steak is only good when broiled while a trifle green? You hang the Mother up for a day or two.
The bum is more oriented by the mother than the father. The bum can sew, understand computers, cook like a chef. Play chess.
Father always away. The war. The concentration camp.
Father's pain leading to alcoholism. Kicks you in the ass, calls you a bum. Love the bastard though. Builds and sells three houses in ten years. Not bad, even by Forest Hill standards.Yet there is this gap. The bum had chosen to get an education.Turned into a cliche. Educated bum.
Education is a drawing out, to turn all those gestures and motions towards the self, turn them outward. You become articulate, your motions and moves are deliberate, like an actor's. Educated, you are put out into the world, but like Supertramp, you find out. Sensible. Logical. And Lord, won't somebody tell me who I am?
But...Leonard Cohen: You have to walk carefully. The game is rigged. The clear illusions of young adulthood. Hah. Slaughterhouse coming.
Stupid Catholic in a Masonic world. This they do not teach you in school. Leave politics to the politicians. Stay in the middle where you belong.
It is getting into the late afternoon. There is this success/failure feeling, the empty feeling. The vacuum.
I am shit.
Then something taupe-coloured rises unnaturally out of the black ashpalt. Wittgenstein: Figure and Foreground. A sentence is a word picture, all that. And for all of that, you have the brain of a squirrel, and a squirrel is wittier than you, knows what he's doing. There is an unnatural blotch on the black pavement, the green piece of paper, just before you come to a footbridge along a brook. It is stark and out of place. It is a twenty-dollar bill, the gold embossing shining in the afternoon sun.
He who tries to deconstruct the great dead men for being fools is really at an ass's bridge. But what a lucky ass.
I pluck forth the greenback.