POINTS 16 did not list a season of publication but since issue 15 appeared in autumn of 1952 we can assume that POINTS 16 happened along in the winter or spring of 1953. Sindbad Vail upgraded the paper stock for this issue and the relatively acid free pages have stood up quite well over the sixty years since it was published. All previous issues had used the cheapest pulp stock available and the newsprint like pages have rendered most early issues as fragile survivors requiring careful handling.
The cover of POINTS 16 was in tones of light grey / blue and the higher quality page stock made the volume seem slimmer than previous issues even though the page count was the same as POINTS 15 and 14 at 64 pages. Sindbad Vail might have been influenced by MERLIN, the newest journal published in Paris that used a high quality page stock for their initial issues.
Commentary © James A. Harrod, COPYRIGHT PROTECTED; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Commentary © James A. Harrod, COPYRIGHT PROTECTED; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
SINDBAD VAIL – Notes by the Editor
D. JON GROSSMAN – Open Letter No. 2
HAROLD BRAV – Rats
HERBERT KIMMEL – Union Square
KENNETH l. BEAUDOIN – November Ballad
LEE RICHARD HAYMAN – Illustrated Booklet on Request
JAMES BOYER MAY – Two Poems: Watermark, The Unarchived
CLIVE D. GREIDINGER – Two Poems
JOHN K. SAVACOOL – Wisdom of Fools
HERBERT GOLD – Fireflies, a Harpist and her Ice Cream
(The first chapter from a novel to be called THEREFORE BE BOLD)
ELLIOT STEIN – Book Reviews:
THE INVISIBLE MAN
A novel by Ralph Ellison – Random House
D. JON GROSSMAN – Book Reviews:
EIGHT AMERICAN POETS
Edited by James Boyer May – Villiers, London, 1952
CHRISTOPHER LOGUE – Book Reviews:
THE SECOND HAPPIEST DAY
A novel by John Phillips – Harper
Pocket Books, New York
The back pages contained a few ads:
POINTS 16 featured several familiar names as contributors. Herbert Gold had been contributing to the book reviews on a regular basis and had won the first short story contest. Lee Richard Hayman had a piece in POINTS 10 and Kenneth Beaudoin had poems in POINTS 14 & 15. Another poet, Clive D. Greidinger had poems in POINTS 13 & 15. Harold Brav had been published in POINTS 10 and his short story in this volume, RATS, would also been included in the short story anthology that Vail would publish in 1955.
A new voice in this issue, Herbert Kimmel, submitted UNION SQUARE and would be seen again in POINTS 18 when his short story, DINGY, was accepted for publication. Kimmel founded the Jazz:West record label in Los Angeles in 1954, a short lived label that issued only ten LPs. After obtaining his PhD in experimental psychology at USC, he went on to a distinguished career as a psychologist and was one of the pioneers in the biofeedback field.
Skipping two steps at a time, a fourteen year old boy burst out of the subway exit into the bright autumn sunshine. The light contrast hurt his eyes, making him rub them with his fist, but his quick pace continued even while his eyes were shut. He had counted out the number of steps so many times in his daily trips to work that he actually was able to get from the subway station, all the way across Union Square Park and around Lincoln’sstatue, to Eighteenth Street and Broadway without ever watching where he was going. Perhaps it was a subtle way of expressing his secret hatred of having to go to work after school every day, this exaggeration of the dull routineness of it, because it had become a drudgery to him. He had even reached the point of leaving out all the devices he had once invented, when it was a new experience to him, little ways he had which made it like a game.
He didn’t stop to talk with The Mighty Atom any more, although that vender of health was still at his post on the west side of the Square, bending tenpenny nails with his teeth, hammering them into athick board with hisfist, or twisting a real horseshoe with his bare hands. Oh, how he used to hurry from school to the square in order to spend a few extra minutes with this wonder of a man; to listen to his tales of splendor, or tostudy for the hundredth time the worn out newspaper clippings which attested to the truth of his boasts; pictures of a man pulling a fire truck throughthe streets of lower Manhattan with his hair, of an airplane being prevented from taking off by his great mane, or, best of all, one of the Atom, lying flat on his back, holding a platform above him on which stood his whole family, a group of at least ten people. Now the game had lost its significance for him.
Nor did he care to listen to the arguments between the socialists and the anti-socialists in the square, or those between the followers of Stalin and Trotsky which sometimes even came to blows. At the ripe age of fourteen he was convinced that he could decide for himself without any further listening to the orators; he had heard all they had to say many times.
When he reached the store he found a notefrom Mr. Pearlman stuck in the door. His spirits brightened even before reading it. His guess was correct; it instructed him to go downtown to White’s on Broadway to pick up an order of paper. Then he remembered that he had only ten cents left and it would have to be saved for subway fare. Well, he thought, old Pearlman won’t be able to forget to give it hack to me this time because I’ll have to ask him for if if he does.
Feeling better about things, he stopped to watch a heated argument going on in the square. A young, rednecked sailor was shouting at a dirty-faced, extremely short, elderly man, (one of the most vociferous old-time socialists, he remembered).
“For Christ’s sake, why the hell don’t you go back to the damn place if you love it so much. If it was up to me, I’d shoot every damn one of you stinking, yellow foreigners. Stand around doing nothing in the best country in the world and then try to undermine it.”
The sailor obviously had lost control of himself; he took hold of the older man by his lapels and started shaking him like an empty gum machine. A policemen who had been standing on the outer fringe of another, more quiet, discussion group collared both men before any damage was done and led them away toward Lincoln’s statue. The boy did not even bother to follow them with his eyes; he knew by heart what the policeman would say before he told them to beat it.
“Such a way to destroy a conversation; when he’s losing the argument he wants to fight,” one of the observers commented.
“This is the way they’re beating us, by taking from us our sons and putting them on a uniform they should think they got something.”
“How a working man could be anything but a socialist is what worries me,” another old-timer said, looking at the boy who had worked his way into the center of the group.
”’I’m a capitalist,” the boy said softly.
Everyone stopped talking and stared at him. His face began to burn and he wanted to run away; instead he pushed his chin out as if to reinforce his bold statement.
“How much money you got in your pocket, Mr. Morgan?”
“With a home-relief jacket you‘re a capitalist?”
He wanted to answer them but he wasafraid he would burst into tears if he tried to speak. He took his dime from his pocket and held it in his hand for them to see, palm upward. His hand shook but he forced himself to keep it extended; he could feel his confidence returning to him through this act of physical self-control. All the other groups in the park had gathered around to listen but the size ofhis audience served only to increase his courage.
“I only have a dime in my pocket. You don’t need to be rich right now to say you’re a capitalist.” He spoke slowly, his grim eyes shining; in his flushed face.
“I’m poor now and I have to work after school”, he paused rather than admit that he secretly wished to be able to do a thousand other things; somehow he felt that to confess this would weaken his arguement.
“But someday I can be rich like those others.” He motioned in thedirection of some imaginary area of wealth.
“If I work hard and save, you‘ll see.”
Some of the men had tears in their eyes. No one tried to make a reply; they just stood there with their hands in their pockets and stared at him. With a sudden, lurching motion, he turned and ran to the subway entrance. At the bottom of the steps he sat down.
He felt very tired.
© The Estate of Herbert Kimmel
© Herbert Gold