When I first heard Simon and Garfunkel`s Bridge Over Troubled Water in early 1970 I thought that of course the water would be troubled if you built a bridge over it. The trouble, to my mind, was the bridge, not the water.

And so I`ve spent my life, drawing cockeyed conclusions.

I wake up in the morning "well, not every morning "talking nonsense. Nonsense rhymes, nonsense observations. I make up slapstick names for myself and then spend the day wondering how my slapstick alter ego would react to whatever I encounter. After all, any response would no doubt be better than my own. Sometimes, with the help of gibberish, I even figure out what`s on my mind.

I have an innate silliness that has seen me through some god-awful times. In my drinking days, which were far too long and too many, this silliness abandoned me, and I ended up minutely examining the grain of wood floors and contemplating how much better off the world would be without me. The sheer grandiosity of this morbid thought is staggering in retrospect.

Walt Disney brought home to us the daffiness of human behavior, but unfortunately he did so at the expense of other species. The Greeks and Romans accepted the axiom in vino veritas, meaning that drink emboldens us to speak the truth, largely by removing our sense of consequence. But we pay no such respect to looniness, perhaps because our loonies and zanies don`t advertise, and hence we`re not paid to respect them.

As a constant stroller around Manhattan I can testify to the piercing insight of people we choose to regard as mad. I share with them a grand compulsion for engaging the elephant in the room. I know that I belong among them, and it`s only by luck I pass for sane. I think none of us are sane, but we`re crazed in varied degrees and shades. My mother noted my social preference for outcasts early in my life and thought it boded ill. I suspect she was right. What else would a poet be if not outcast "even when awarded accolades and honors? It`s a poet`s proper estate.

We`d probably make much better decisions about our leaders if we treated them in the media as Disney did the innocent ducks, deer, wolves, coyotes, bees, elephants, skunks, rabbits and other creatures that captured his imagination. We share many of the characteristics of those creatures; they, thankfully, share few of ours.

I`d rather be loony than right, right being so full of it and boring. Being wrong, on the other hand, is the very climate of left field.

I sometimes spend inordinate amounts of time researching matters of staggering inconsequence. For example, I`m currently attempting to define the bug line in Manhattan, by which I mean to determine how many stories up you have to be to escape buzzing creatures. Buzz of course is another matter and probably inescapable.

But in the absence of chemical assistance I`m naturally silly, absurd even. A born dadaist. The absurdity of things afflicts me at inappropriate moments, which are many in my life. I fantasize about wiping my mouth with my necktie at a fancy dinner, farting at the altar rail, and casually mentioning the obvious when it`s the one thing in the world nobody wants to hear, which is a more or less permanent human condition.

I like the elephant in the room more than any other living being in the room, whatever the room, and wherever. It doesn`t matter which room: that elephant will cast her doleful eye at me, as if she were in a zoo, and I will see the tragedy of it when everyone else is partying frantically.

I abhor parties, forced marches that they are, but I`m a one-man party in my head, and sometimes I have to hide my face so that nobody will notice the objectionable revels.

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