Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Passage to Camden


...one time crossing the river from Philly, noticed I didn’t see the Welcome to New Jersey sign ’til past Camden...a notoriously depressed city with one of the worst crime rates in the country, so broke it just laid off half its police and firefighters...

Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from
them,
No more modest than immodest.

...but that didn’t stop us, fueled by tequila, from crossing the bridge on a winter Wednesday afternoon, to visit an old man’s home...wishing I could show him my rambling Yoga for Cynics posts, ask him what he thinks...but settling for a vague plan to tip back a whiskey flask where he sat to write, despite the park service's no food or drink policy...a quick and surreptitious toast to the poet, patriot, and great American yogi...



I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

...the flask, as it turned out, was forgotten...which was fine since, truth be told, the margaritas with lunch were more than enough....the house small, narrow, and nondescript on a run-down street...an unspectacular example of what our guide called Victorian working class, even when it was built...a place anybody might’ve lived...which could not, of course, be any more fitting...

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

5 comments:

Brooks Hall said...

Hmm. (this is a cool post that might be beyond comment.)

Meredith LeBlanc said...

I have to agree with the lovely Brooks on this.

nothingprofound said...

DrJay-I click my glass against yours in a heady toast to the fiery old sage of American letters.

*accompanied by his picture of course*

Carah Santana said...

speechless as in wordlESS I guess?lol

LauraX said...

You won't believe this, but I think it might be true. My Great Aunt Bella's best friend Alice (don't know her last name)...well Alice's father was friends with Walt...ok that is how I remember the story...I was a little girl when being told this...I will have to fact check with my older sister, she always knows this stuff. But my family is originally from Bainbridge street in Philly so it is plausible. My sister has an original copy of Now We Are Six (A A Milne) from this same Alice person, who apparently loved my older sister (I don't think she ever met me...or at least I don't remember)...anyway...just kind of cool, right?

Oh and back then...when my Aunt would visit Camden with her bgf ...it was a lovely place... not like now. That's how I remember the story anyway.