11/17/1989

Yesterday, after I missed the bus, I went into a small pub near the station and had my first pint of Guinness on this adventure. Then I walk Limerick with pack on my back. This is a dead city.

On the bus, finally, to Galway, I played a small game of pass the ashtray with this crazy Irish kid and slept. It was raining, but not hard, as we pulled into the Galway station and I immediately found the B&B Terry and I stayed in two years ago. This place is getting run down. The woman is very unsocial and was unimpressed when I told her that I had stayed here before.

Off into the night. Pizza at Super Mac’s is still really good, and the place was full of beautiful Irish girls, one in particular. There was a shrew-faced male, young, eating alone, like me, wearing a crazy looking suit and tie. I was going to talk to him, but he seemed distraught about something.

Off to the bar. This is a nice place, classy like, in a hotel. There was the shrew, with friends, hundreds of them! Graduation at some university. I figured it would be cool to hang out and meet people, but they weren’t into it. There was some old, 45ish, drunk next to me and he would talk and told me about how nice “hippies” are and about two hostels. He had a small bag of writing paper that he claimed the contents were 145 pounds. It was a gift from the missus. But he soon left. Pint of Guinness and a pint of Bud and I hit the street. I actually got lost. Wrong turn out of Mickey Dee’s or something and I was on the fringes of town. Nice place. Rivers and some crazy big cathedral.

I went back into the same pub and was received even less than before. Single pint of Guinness poured to say “Get out fast”. 100’s of these kids all over the place.

By 8PM, I was asleep at the B&B.

I woke once in the night, at 5 to midnight, from a dream about Megen and Matt McLaughlin.

Woke this morning and 8:45. No shower, because it didn’t work. I haven’t bathe since America! Now, after a pork breakfast, I must find a hostel.

There was no real challenge, but I am spending money much too fast. 10 pounds for the B&B, 4 for the hostel, my headphones broke so there is another 4 and change, food. I’m spending way too much money. I had to even buy a towel for 4 pounds on sale, but this I needed because I just had a lame shower but still feel great. The Post Warrior still is a spoiled American, but not for much longer. If I can learn not to spend so much cash, I’ll make it.

The bar (pub) I frequent, I just learned is a yuppie bar. Oh well. It is nice, but the people suck. After a long walk down to the fucking Oasis disco, which was closed when I finally got there After pissing in a combination Texaco/funeral parlor, it was closed! I couldn’t believe it.

(Letter to Terry)
Oasis is a hike.

I went back to the hostel, where everyone was making dinner. Sorry, I like being out. And I couldn’t eat even if I tried…no microwave or nukeable food! I met one of the two guys that I started out with in JFK, in some travel agency, as I walked the streets of Galway. Digging the people and sights. Holy shit, I’m in Ireland. So far from family and friends and Mystic. I’m in a pub now, which came highly recommended by one of the few people in that other pub. Yup, this is better. Called “Quays” (“Keys” as I looked for it). This is probably the nicest pub I will ever be in! It is beautiful and old with brick arch doorways and two bars. If anyone ever reads this and gets to Galway, Ireland, come here!

(Letter to Dawn)
Any Irish in you? I’ve seen you coming up the street several times now.

By the way, it is only about 7PM and clocks are hard to find in this really old country with walls older than God being just now knocked down to put up more pubs and butcher shops. Ireland, in any pissant little town, blows the Mystic Mile away. I saw those two young punk girls, that I saw yesterday in the center of town, daring all in the yup pub. Yesterday I felt actually threatened by the two probably 17 year old girls, but tonight, as they walked by, I wanted to talk to them but could not get my coward’s nerves up to say “Excuse me, please let me hang out with you.”

Loneliness hits hard. I am so lonely I am answering my own questions, but this is where Truth is found.

(Letter to Michael)
“Yah, Boy!” Listened to your tape in Limerick and Galway. “How low can you go?” That’s correct. Big into J. B. I’ve got names and addresses. Let’s go international, man!

On the walk down to Oasis, I gave a very drunken bum a Camel. I lit it at his request and asked him if he wanted me to smoke it for him, too (a line I learned as a janitor). He tasted it, expecting a Major, and said “What is this?!!?”

The busboy/barback wears a Talking Heads shirt. Very cool place, this Ireland. Tomorrow I think I’ll get on with it and get my ass planted on a bar stool in Castletownroche. Ireland, no matter how hard you fight, is a pub crawl. Soon, I’ll visit New Order’s disco in Manchester, and then on to see Maura in London.

Ireland is like a strange state in America. US news, music, cars, etc are here. But Bud is an import and you pay import prices for it!

The trip is worth whatever and whoever. I’ve hooked up with the potheads. Yeah, too cool. Drunk and kicked out of one pub and into another and into another. Take-away beers and smoking spliffs all the way back. Expensive and weak, but cool to sit around the circle; an artist with everyone’s voice ever, two English majors, and a worker. One of the English majors is by God too funny. Drinking beers by a canal by a river and people passing by and pot and Bud and drugs and all kinds we keep going and it isn’t even 10 o’clock and one wears a Jimi H. shirt. And they know Public Enemy and I Am happy smoking, now listening to a sound painting by the artist whose name I cannot remember, but god they are cool.

(Letter to Tarbox)
Get out of your house, boy! Your sounds have a way to go, as I listen to “just some tape.”

(Letter to Rich F)
Pixies are BIG in Ireland.

My beret has gone missing. These guys smoke resin, dance to Hip-Hop and Funk from the ‘70s. I gave them my address.

(PS to Michael)
Use wooden matches to pack jibbers!

{A separate page tucked into my notebook}
Quays 111789
Lovers sit quiet talking hand holding.
Please, please someone talk to me!
I’ll sit and smile and laugh and talk.
Just please talk with me, to me, but not about me.
Megen look-a-like sits ten feet away.
Much older, like old when the ring is around her finger
and I am long long long forgotten.
Hunger and loneliness and Guinness and Murphy’s
envelope me with fear and Death.
Help me, please.

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Something like the 16th

Sleeping on the plane, I had a weird dream. All the regulars were there, but lots of us, kindda like party “Group”, we were all trying to chill out at different people’s houses and drink and talk. Tarbox and Alex were going off. We were poor. There were turkeys and sheep and large-headed mules in the backyards. We kept getting yelled at and kicked out by parents, moms mostly. We were drunks.

(Letter to Dolph)
I saw this chick in the terminal at JFK. Pretty good looking. Saw her next morning after sleeping on the plane. Pretty bad. I had to piss, the sign read “VACANT”, I turned the knob and there she was! I closed the door. When she was done (which she was anyway, as she was standing), she flung the door open and stomped back to her seat.

Shannon Aeroport to Limerick:
Standing at a bus stop, a nice, young, mid-aged woman asks me when the next bus is. I don’t know. She goes and finds out it isn’t for two more hours and asks if I want to share a cab to Limerick, as the bus will go there anyway. OK and she goes to call for one. I, putting on a warm shirt, catch her in the aeroport and she has hooked a rent-a-car business American who will drive us to Limerick for free. Cool, as 100 bucks is 66 and change pounds.

Now in Limerick, and I just missed my bus. Guess I’ll go to the pub.

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11/15/1989 8:00pm

So here sits the Post Warrior, alone, in the crazy aeroport, alone, naked and vulnerable. Let’s Go, cheap Walkman, Dawn’s tape, two packs of Camels, and that is it. Loneliness starts and I cannot wait to see Maura in London and sanity will return. Trapped in this reality, waiting, and all the nuts and crazies walk past me without a look. Hundreds and thousands trickle past.

One man, waiting for his oil rig worker friend who is four hours late, starts laughing because that is all he can do. He tries talking to me but soon stops.

On the ride down to this crazy place, NY, that once was my home, I saw a mad throwback to Lowell, MA. A white, blank billboard on the side of I-95 South with the one word, not even on the space for the ad, “MURPHY”, the name of the crazy, big, old beatnik, and I smile as I just finished reading in the van “Dharma Bums”, stolen from Kerouac’s grave by your small little sneaky author. But Jack said it was OK and so it was.

After a half hour delay and a Beck’s Dark, the New Way of the adventurous Post Warrior begins. Talking smiling laughing with two Irish cyclist nuts and some Irish now New Yorker lady, I realize that all I can do for the world is make it better. Better by being in a good mood 24hrs a day and all the rest.

There is a stewardess that looks very new and very young 21ish and from a distance resembles Megen back in Mystic who promises to wait for me. I could talk to her, the stewardess, and ask her why she looks like she is so lost and confused and hope to find out thru her what makes Megen look the same. But I don’t because she is working. So sad she looks but must smile and be humble because it is her job, but she knows Truth and Sadness.

Fog caused the half hour delay and when we finally broke out of it and stars and moon were out I realized that what I was doing is going to be amazing and the Post Warrior has gotten out of basic training and is ready to be alone and make do.

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FUSE

Excerpt from “Young Offender” by Michelle Gemma, published in Post Magazine, Winter 1994

When the media broke the story on Jeff Poprocks last August (1994), there was already a certain amount of recognition surrounding the fuse phantom. Just days before his arrest, one local paper printed the plaintive demands of an eight-year old for the police “to please catch the fuse.”  Mystic resident Poprocks’   four month stint as a graffiti artist straddled the towns of both Groton and Stonington, common to most Mystical occurrences.  He is currently facing first, second, and third degree charges of criminal mischief as a result of his spray-painting various private and commercial buildings, rooftops, highway bridges and overpasses with his signature fuse. While Poprocks has raised the ire of Mystic property owners, for others, fuse lights our attention like the quick blue incandescence of late night television.

 

What’s surprising about Poprocks’ case and subsequent effect upon our community is that so many people readily presumed the gang implications of fuse.  Locals talked of the certainty of the fuse gang existence in Mystic, and most never questioned it.  The actual reality of the graffiti text may have frightened some, and perhaps raised again the suspicion of others that town has changed.  The frequent rhythm of the secret coded language marked something of significance, the actual meaning of which we could only speculate upon.  When questioned regarding his intent, Poprocks immediately alluded to the conflict of emerging teenage frustration of private self against expressing public persona in a medium at once visible and accessible.  Similar polarizations have occurred in the face of our society’s trademark television isolationism, except in the case of the latter, the individual sits at home in front of the television machine with the remote control and does nothing.  This may well be an exciting form of communication when taken to the next level of the video game, possibly a convoluted form of an individual art.  Graffiti art has always held the same level of fascination as any other individual athleticism:  the perfection of the individual will in the edge realm of complete self-reliance.  Once the basic technique is mastered, one lives to challenge the self and progress to higher levels of performance.

 

What the local papers failed to realize and capitalize upon as a positive vibe for town, was the big picture in Poprocks’ case.  Fuse is not a gang.  Any opportunity should be seized to comment on this.  But since most establishment sorts have done nothing to encourage the youth of our town in any real sense, let alone lead them forward into a new era of personal responsibility;  the public indifference is not surprising.  Instead the youth become criminals, and security forces must be hired to keep them down.  Down at home watching television until they go to college, which is not necessarily the most personally challenging option, only the most accessible for those most financially able.  As well, television is the most unlikely to encourage self-growth now so that a permanent commitment to Mystic and its cultural future is a reality.

 

 

Poprocks is fortunate enough to use the fortuitousness of cosmic timing to his advantage.  Since his graffiti artistry occurred entirely while he was seventeen years old, his eligibility for youthful offender status looks good.  He turned eighteen days after having been arrested, an occurrence beyond irony and cause for his own personal contemplation and subsequent call to duty.  Youthful offender status is granted upon affirmation of many conditions, one of which is the certainty that all offenses occurred while the individual was younger than eighteen.  And that fortune may well be his wooden cross to bear.  Having experienced the psychological scare tactics in the police’s questioning room after he turned himself in, Poprocks could not bear witness to other graffiti artists.  Primarily his outright lack of knowledge as to the others’ identity prevented him from revealing more than he knew.  The police were most interested to know who the perpetrators of the defacement of the Mystic Academy building were.   Anyone visiting the town-owned building recently is confronted with your more typical adolescent writings on the wall, of local romanticisms and rival town exchanges.  Nothing new really, except the scale and all over saturation of the spray paint due to the building’s current limbo status.  When the Board of education voted to close Mystic Academy at the end of the 1993 school year, the Town of Groton repossessed the building and its surrounding estate, and is presently trying to figure out its best use for the community.

 

And here we come full circle.  Poprocks’ case moves into its final stages, as he awaits verdict in his application for youthful offender status.  He seemingly meets all of the conditions for approval- he has no previous criminal or drug record of any kind.  He will plead guilty to all charges against him in a trial without media publicity, and no matter what, he will not go to jail.  As long as he is trouble-free until he is twenty-one, his future will not be shadowed by a criminal record.  What he will justifiably get from the court system fulfills the monetary implications of his artwork, which includes his own role in community service.  A role he has already impressively carved out for himself.

 

 

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