New York Times proclaimed it a great triumph for unity, andnsecession died a prompt death.n(A similar fate will likely befall the separatist movementnoperating today on Staten Island. By far the smallest of NewnYork’s five boroughs, Staten Island gets stuck with 80npercent of the city’s rubbish. “One man-one vote” rulingsnhave nullified the borough’s influence in city affairs, sonfed-up islanders are crafting a charter for an independentnCity of Staten Island. The state legislature, dominated bynanti-secession slickers — why liberate your best garbagencan? — will have the final say. Those who have everndepended on the kindness of politicians can predict thenoutcome.)nI suppose there is no reason for anyone outside of NewnYork to care about our plight, but I’ll take a stab atnmanufacturing “relevance.” Division of New York is in thennational interest because it would permit a new generationnof Upstatesmen to take the stage. We did, after all, givenAmerica Martin Van Buren and Grover Cleveland. (WithnMillard Fillmore we’ll take our mulligan.) Barber Conable,nmy congressman for many years, a man of republican virtuenand rectitude, would’ve made a fine President. Democratsnfrom Rochester and Syracuse are colorless, but the ruralnDemocracy is populist, anti-bureaucracy, and Creen. (Innmany cow counties, the Democrats are the anti-tax, antispendingnparty.) Give us our own state and we just mightngive America another Bob Taft or William Jennings Bryan.nIn mid-September, Batavians honored Major PhilemonnTracy of the Sixth Georgia Infantry, the only Confederatenofficer buried in Northern soil during the War.nThe Blue Trainnby Charles Edward EatonnThere he was, going down the coast — the wagonlit —nThe Blue Train overnight, holding the pale, white mannWho wanted to lie like a sponge at the bottom of the sea.nHe tried a drink, read a novel, but the pagenLeaked off into the night somewhere, a blue miasma.nAnd nothing in that hurtling, tight compartment could assuage.nYou see, some of us are born to want ineffable blue drink.nTo soak it up in every etiolated pore —nWherever oceans are, we would be the sink.nTracy was a Macon, Georgia, boy who spent his summersnin Batavia with his uncle. Judge Phineas Tracy. WhennMajor Tracy was felled at Antietam, his uncle had the bodynsmuggled north and interred without fanfare in our founders’ncemetery. A century and a quarter later, local Civil Warnbuffs, led by Don Burkel — whose printed cards describe hisnoccupation as “Controversial Person” — decided to givenMajor Tracy a proper memorial.nFifty or so Batavians paid their respects on a brisk Sundaynmorning. Reenactment soldiers, blue and gray, planted thenstars and bars and stars and stripes in Tracy’s dirt. JeffersonnDavis made a brief speech. An adorable elementary schoolgirlnread Mary Ashley Townsend’s poem, “A GeorgianVolunteer.” The soldiers fired a volley. A bugler playedn”Taps.”nAs we left the cemetery, my dad and I talked about thenKauffmans in the Union army, privates all, farmkids whonmarched off to war. I felt proud of them even as I doubtednthe justness of suppressing the South. When I got home Inperformed an etiolated act of localism worthy of the 90’s: Inopened a beer, flopped on the couch, and watched thenBuffalo Bills game on television.nThe Bills are a respected team, finally, and Western NewnYorkers are inspirited in the days following a big win. Maybe,nin some small way, these muscle-bound mercenaries arencontributing to a revived regional patriotism. But PhilemonnTracy’s grave, its Confederate flag rippling in the Septembernbreeze, sent a loud and sure admonition to any romanticnfools who might still entertain secessionist dreams: don’t!.,n<^nMorning comes — groggy and a little sick.nWe wonder if oranges hang like tiny buoys by the sea.nPushing back the blue moons of our nails with — what else? — an orange stick.nBecause you see we do not want to be quite lost —nWe mean to come up from the depths, wear the blue mantle in the sun.nSwing the oranges like censers for our Pentecost.nStill, you may ride all night and never take the plunge —nJust the sun’s ocellus on the hand in the dining car:nThe spot of peacock blue — no more than this one squeezes from the sponge.nnnJANUARY 1991/21n