Like Robert Frost, I never met one I could love. Humpty-Dumpty, I think, would agree. Edgar Allen Poe hid bodies behind them. Walls are where people wail. They divide and isolate us. The Berlin Wall did nobody any good except to spawn John Le Carre novels. The Dodgers, after four months of great baseball, have hit a wall. The Old Testament had them tumble in Jericho with a riff from Miles Davis or Wynton Marsalis. The Vietnam Wall testifies to our tragic folly. Walls are where kids who run with scissors in school, had to face for long minutes in shame. Maybe that’s where Donald Trump first went off the rails.
My brother drove his car into a mountain wall fifty-five years ago. He loved jazz and was returning from a night in Santa Barbara at a jazz bar, filled with scat singing and whiskey. Maybe he thought there was a portal in that mountain face on the San Marcos Pass. I’d like to believe he heard some hot bluesy sax to accompany him out of this world.
Melville’s Bartleby preferred walls to all else. And look what happened to him. He stared at a dead brick one in a Wall St. office which, now that I think of it, is well named. Later the poor guy ended up in a courtyard with high walls. We have come to this point of erecting walls behind which, the one percent can live in the illusion of safety from the invading hordes, real or imaginary.
As a function of the punitive American mind-set our obscene prisons are bulging beyond what those walls were meant to entomb. While outside, Kafka saw the labyrinth high with partitions where workers toiled with no exit. Mindlessly they even bought into the hokum of fear and rage against otherness; an agenda of hatred which walls them in deaf to all reason.
I take it back; there is one wall I look back upon with endearment. It was the wall against which my pink Spauldeen was thrown hundreds of times. How many times I smashed my ball dreaming I was in games of my own invention in which I played pitcher, batter and fielder? That wall was the outside of my father’s drug store; the external skin of the twelve-stool fountain. On the other side my father concocted elixirs with earthy smells and vapors. One day I would walk through that wall and become my Dad.
Across the street from my wall was Donald Trump, (literally) sealed within his private school called, Kew Forest. What witches and demons did he see to erect walls on his interior landscape and what tunnels and bridges were never built?