It's Nothing, Like Nothing, Nothing at All

Henry with more than a few things on his mind, allot of it being written now.

A poem by the black poet Ismael Reed comes to mind, Henry remembered reading it in high school in the early sixties. The line that is edged in his consciousness was —I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra,

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. Boning-up in
the ol’ West i bide my time. You should see
me pick off these tin cans whippersnappers. 
I write the motown long plays for the comeback of Osiris. Make them up when stars stare at sleeping
steer out here near the campfire. Women arrive
on the backs of goats and throw themselves on
my Bowie.

Ismael Reed later calling the OJ trial a telecommunicational lynching and so on—

Ismael was at his best, feral and juiced up on the boat of Ra, sitting at a campfire with ladies who come and go stage left and right on the backs of multicolored goats. 

Somewhere in the vast African nowhere land.

Henry itching some, he had been snorting smack in his Queen’s digs— 

thinking of Ray Charles, 

Wondering some, but knowing that the genius of Ray Charles was his music which was written in junk.  

Henry a lifetime user of every dope out there and booze too, laughing out loud when he thought of Keith Richards and Ray getting busted by flat foot cops, both saying to the cops,

I don’t bother anybody, I use that’s all, what business is it of yours? 

Henry had been holed up in his Queen’s digs for a month or so, going out occasionally to score dope or to buy staples, beans, rice, tortillas, and booze.

The time was late evening, somewhere between 1970 and 1980. It was time to revel, time to honor what was left of life, time to dance on the sacred sidewalks of New York City. 

The air was cool that evening, Henry dresses warm—black leather pants and a flannel shirt, then walking a few blocks to Chaim’s Deli.

Sitting in his favorite booth, Ruby his regular waitress walks over to him and gets in his face right away, saying,

Henry where have you been, don’t you answer your phone anymore? I have been trying to call you for the last month, Chaim figured you had overdosed for sure.

Henry a black and decomposing maggot-ridden corpse, that's the stuff.  

Henry then says to Ruby,

Ruby baby, you know me, I just got strung out you know, the usual same old. I'm famished doll, how about a Reuben sandwich, a plate of fries, some borsht and a bottle of cream soda to wash it down. 

Henry finishes his meal and then walks around the deli, thanking anybody he sees for being there, they were his family, everybody, all of them the family of man. 

Invigorated by the cool night air, in the Bowery, walking up to a group of bums hovering around a fire in a garbage can to keep warm and saying,

Jesus, I’ve missed you guys, good to see the bums of the Bowery alive and kicking!

It’s the bum’s resilience, what else could it be? 

Henry walking to Times Square to see a movie called Chappaqua, showing at the New Amsterdam Theater. He buys a ticket and looks around for the cowboy junk, who was usually under the marquee critiquing the films and selling dope. 

Inside the theater, he asked the usher what had happened to the cowboy junk? The usher says smiling, his teeth dripping green cheese,

oh, they locked him up in Ryker’s Isle for a while, my manager didn't like his action and had him committed.

Chappaqua was a mad-house of a film, made in the 60s. An autobiographic journey put together over 3 years by Conrad Rooks, a Joseph Conrad style spiral into darkness with a shit load of tripped out cameos and other contributions by Beat nobility and varied artist.     

Henry sits in the back row. He had a hit of acid he had found a few days ago in the pocket of the buckskin vest he wore to the Woodstock festival, he drops the small tab, washing it down with Jack Daniels out of the bottle, you could fuck in the aisles of the New Amsterdam if you wanted, it was that kind of place.  

The film shot in the style of a Robert Frank home movie, unclear, dark, in black and white. The images are Cocteau like and are taken from Frank stills. The music is very turned on, way out stuff by Ornette Coleman and Ravi Shankar. 

The opening scene, a camera pans a street in New York, unclear, black and white glowing images, then cutting to a bit of The Fugs playing in a club. 

After the number is finished the lead singer steps on and smashes sugar cubes of LSD into dust on stage as if to say— 

Let the trip begin. 

Henry coming on to the Woodstock Festival leftover acid as the film enters trip mode, it was magical timing, serendipity to boot.   

Everything peachy—I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad, the warm warm feeling of dope percolating inside your being as the glorious hallucinations raise up into Heaven. 

Allen Ginsburg playing finger cymbals as he chanted mantras of Hare Krishna.  

Now and forever spiraling upwards into a yellow circle of light, merging with something which ended the same way it started, oddly going nowhere.

Henry coming down off the acid as he leaves the New Amsterdam Theater, his mind blank—the usher asking him what he thought of the film Chappaqua? Henry replying,

it was nothing, like nothing, nothing at all. 

The thick and unhip usher with cheesy teeth didn't seem to get it.

If you think you’re getting a refund you're wrong, you know where the exit is, don't miss it Henry!

Henry walking out through the exit, walking all the way home to Queens, later waking in his bedroom and going to take a pee— 

Wondering why his pajamas where were hanging loosely on his body?    

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