Saturday, March 13, 2010

Anachronisms of Portsmouth

Who let these guys loose?
I'm rediscovering Portsmouth...

There is an Alf doll frozen in clear epoxy outside of the old Mystery spot junk store on State Street. I wonder if my boy Hobo slim in S.F. is responsible for that? You know, this is a public street and vandalism is not looked on kindly, even if it is done with mini aliens from Planet '80s. actually, I love it and will include it on my Trivial Walking Tours of Portsmouth this summer. "To your right you will see the park bench where Amy Pattington lost her virginity to Bobby Dolittle. Step along, ladies, we've lots to see..." Here is the "shipyahd."

Took a long walk around pierce island this morning, (again, waking up early to make sure the car I had abandoned during last night's pub crawl was not towed). No, I was not there to have a quickie with my gay lover. "Flash your lights twice and I'll come out of the bushes..."
I had never seen the remains of something called Fort Washington. The cannons are gone but in 1776 the sons of liberty decided to push some dirt into an embankment and fire at the British ships. It really came in useful during the 1812 skirmish. anyone want to write a few words about that war? I had a revelation that history is one long pile of dirt that later gets a plaque next to it so people know what happened there. Here's my plaque.

That walk led to Graves Point, where some mighty old bones rest in peace that we will all know eventually. There were many pretty graves but I took a picture of one that was blank except for an upside down R.M. I hope the stone was right side up when the family put the person in the ground. The revelation there is that after the people who know you are gone then your name on a stone really doesn't mean much more than an upside down letter. The one behind it is completely blank, having been worn down by 200+ winters. This is a fancy one for a guy named Lear who died in 1781 AE 45. it's getting to the point where the only thing made in America are fancy gravestones. this one says that "An honest man is the noblest work of God." I want a gravestone with the van carved on it. "Econoline or Death"

speaking of gravestones... a store that I've written countless words about, a store where you could buy a puppy, a grilled cheese sandwich and a frappe...J.J. Newberry. In direct competition with Gillies but they both managed to survive the 80s. It even had a small arcade in 1983 when every public store had an arcade. The white ceramic tile was skuffed by many sneakers. Someone said there was a J.C. Newberry in Laconia back in the day and I wanted to post proof that ours was J.J. Newberry's. It closed in the '90s chain retail surge, swallowed up by The Gap...fitting because there was a huge gap between my childhood and the future of chinese domination in the plastic crap market. Now, The Gap has actually closed due to lack of yuppies in Portsmouth or maybe an overabundance of multicolored scarves. HAHA. I actually wrote about the gap too in my book Memorabilia and it's a little weird because there is absolutely no trace of The Gap now except for my book and in the book I talk shit about the gap and now I will have to summon some kind of nostalgia for the time I was nostalgic. Maybe I'm nostalgic about hating The Gap as much as I am nostalgic for the times I loved J.J. Newberry.
This is not a picture from 1988, it's from last night.
Though the years have stripped us of our youthful glow, dear buddy, we make up for it in loyalty earned with scars and glorious artifacts of history written on Gillies napkins.

Happy birthday Kerouac!

Ash street in march, you hit the pavement with sneakers and scuffed soles and books overdue at the library. Don't look back at the churches and the mills and the lawns and the brick warehouses. these are arms you have to hold on to now and no metaphors in their paper sleeves. grab tight and don't let go. the river will soon breach the levee and take your memories down stream to Chelmsford or Woburn or Billerica. Your child is one fuck away. the p.j. mini mart with packaged cakes and newspapers with safety cages around the scratch tickets. The river is frothy in March and the benches at your memorial are used as skateboard ramps. This is the future my friend and I want you to embrace it. there is a store called Dharma Buns that sells soup baked inside rolls on market or Prescott street and a Brazilian pastry place where cute Latina girls sell chocolate covered custard, their hair in a bun under a brown cap. We're all there, Jack, we all trod that brick sidewalk and pid those laundry bills and bar tabs at the black raven and the broadway bar and grill and the streets to Lowell high school where you played football are worn now and I got lost in the new development and the maps to downtown include your memorial. I know you would appreciate the mandala and catholic mystic cross layout of the memorial and even the two skateboarders who met up with the two girls in skinny jeans at your bench and asked, "where you been."
" You been gone. you disappeared."
"Naw, I was just under cover."
Well, that's gone."
and all this happening under, Visions of Cody, and Travels to mexico, and town and the city, and on the road, and doctor sax, and tristesse, and Dharma Bums the book that made me think of the top of the mountain as the bottom.
Jack, jack, jack, I've heard your song sung from one coast to the other. it won't die if I can help it and if I can help it it will grow.
Happy birthday, Jack.

Thought it was tomorrow, but it was friday and I was there, without knowing. I thank Claire and her friendly emails that drew me to the area along with the promise of work in Dracut or Salisbury. It was you, Jack, that brought me to the granite. Of all days in the last 6 years, I was there today. No idea. And the streets sang your name at last call.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.