Issue 21, Spring-Summer 1959
I am sitting near Perth Amboy, N.J. on the port quarter of the scow whose starboard side is swinging just free of one of the Colonial docks.The water is dung-coloured and slides away smoothly, horizontally before the eye. A tanker. Low brown and green countryside, low bridges. Concrete piles.Elevated roads with automobiles like little bugs running across them. Squat and strutted things, trucks, gastanks, tele-graph poles, scows, gravel, endless concrete, low, flat, dispersed, representing man's functional rape of unenviable countryside, marginal, flat and bogland. As the afternoon wears on the sky is becoming thin and milky white and the water is gleaming in reflection. I feel constricted. To walk beyond it would take how long, one pillbox after another through a skeleton factory, mile after mile flat and deserted? The nearest bar, I was informed by the last dockhand before they knocked off, is just over a mile away beyond that under-pass—that the first evidence that man is not only a working animal; but it is really not much more than a filling station between here and the next one a mile further on, and so on. It reminds me of Hull or Sheerness, places like that on the east coast of England. The nearest bar a mile away. I've been down for some time now and there's no more heroin. I have smoked a joint. It has had the effect so far of increasing my depression.
What a Godforsaken spot, and to be hung up here for three days with less than six dollars! They told me that too before they knocked off, that they wouldn't be unloading me until the day after tomorrow. What the hell am I doing here?