Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let us go then, you and i: Public Space Party/ Poetry Romp through the Gardens

Garden romp by gardens... by  Johnathan Morpurgo
spiral dance by Stacy Lanyon

For a few years there, we had yearly garden pageants, Earth Celebrations, and Garden Parades.  There is a poetry in walking through the streets, into the nooks and crannies of the city, where the Earth wakes, and the wild winds its way back between the cracks into our presence. We’ve carried banners, recalled gardeners, and continued our procession through the years, through the trees in our concrete jungle.  This year, we’d let the poetry mingle, between texts, green spaces and memories.

It was inevitable , the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of requited love” I read from the first lines of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in homage to the maestro of magic realism, whose writing helped me see the world as mutable, that there are multiple realities out there, not just one right way to be.  These were the first lines of our Lower East Side Poetry romp through the Community Gardens. 

Poetry lingered throughout the Lower East Side, between the trees, all day long.  

“In the rooms the women come and go,
Talking of Michaelangelo”  we read from the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

Why were we all there?

Einstein suggests:

"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Gardens are ideal places for such practices. 

The invitation was simple.

 Join Public Space Party April 26th at 2 PM for a march / procession through the Lower East Side community gardens to remind the city that community gardens are for everybody and they need to be made permanent. 

Bring a poem. Bring snacks. Dress for spring!

Join us as we read poetry and revel in the democratic possibilities of these spaces all afternoon long. Bring a poem, a snack, and something to share as we meander through these green treasures of the Lower East Side.

Jane Jacobs reminds us: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Public Space Party is a practice and a group dedicated to supporting democracy, fun, joy, justice, and full participation in a vibrant public commons.

A few days before, we made a banner for the event, reminding the world all the gardens need to be made permanent.   Flowers forever, number two noted.  The City Council can introduce a bill to do this today. We need to ask them to do so. The action was also a call to remind the city to act.

Prop making.

We met on a sunny afternoon in the corner of Stanton and Attorney Streets, at a garden, where a vacant lot once stood.  Over the last two years, we’ve transformed this lot into Siempre Verde Community Garden.

We’d scheduled our poetry romp to coincide with Shakespeare’s birthday.  The bard loved flowers and gardens, referring to them n play after play.

Here’s flowers for you.
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram.
The Winter’s Tale

 It also happened to coincide with the Lower East Side United Gardeners Spring Awakening Festival.

Please join us for a LUNGS–East Village
“SPRING AWAKENING” as we parade from garden to garden Saturday, April 26 1-3pm . It’s a celebration of our community gardens!
Bring your music, wear your costumes. It’s time to party!!
We are asking all gardens to be open from 1 til 3 and welcome the revelers.  Bring your smiles and kids, your music and your dance and join us as we snake Pied Piper style through Loisaida.
Flower Power–Peas & Love–Salad Daze 
Three groups will parade through the neighborhood visiting each garden and then converge at 3pm at El Jardin del Paraiso on E.4th St, btwn Aves C & D for continuing music and frivolity.
Each group will form at one pm.
Flower Power comes from the north beginning in Dias Y Flores on E. 13 St btwn Aves A & B. Smells like Flower Power.
Peas & Love breaks out of the south at Children’s Magical Garden on Stanton and Norfolk Sts. Dance like nobody’s watching.
Salad Daze blasts in from the west erupting from LaGuardia Corner Gardens at LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St. The The Salad Daze posse will be on bikes. Speed and dazzle.

As I arrived, gardens blocks were already zipping to and from, joining us in the streets and the garden. 

JC, who helped MC and organize, was there to greet everyone.  The poetry event was his idea from the previous springtime. As we circled and started reading and sharing, JC recalled the legacies of Lower East Side poets including Pedro Pietri. And he read his own poems about thriving and striving, meandering and dreaming in the city. 

Thanking the Public Space Party, Jeff Wright gave his best impersonation of Pedro Pietri.   He stood  recalling his adventures with the community gardens, wondering if these really could be democratic spaces.  After losing the keys to his community garden, he created a key ceremony in which other garden supporters, gave him their keys, calling the ritual the Key Ceremony.  He read poems about being denied a space to share information or to gather in his own way in his life, in his neighborhood.

As he read, more and more friends joined us.

Kim read poems about the planet and its struggle to survive.

Accompanied by Eric, Monica read the poem the Word by  Pablo Neruda.
The word
was born in the blood,
grew in the dark body, beating,
and took flight through the lips and the mouth.

Farther away and nearer
still, still it came
from dead fathers and from wandering races,
from lands which had turned to stone,
lands weary of their poor tribes,
for when grief took to the roads
the people set out and arrived
and married new land and water
to grow their words again.
And so this is the inheritance;
this is the wavelength which connects us
with dead men and the dawning
of new beings not yet come to light.

Still the atmosphere quivers
with the first word uttered
dressed up
in terror and sighing.
It emerged
from the darkness
and until now there is no thunder
that ever rumbles with the iron voice
of that word,
the first
word uttered—
perhaps it was only a ripple, a single drop,
and yet its great cataract falls and falls.

Later on, the word fills with meaning.
Always with child, it filled up with lives.
Everything was births and sounds—
affirmation, clarity, strength,
negation, destruction, death—
the verb wook over all the power
and blended existence with essence
in the electricity of its grace.

Human word, syllable, flank
of extending light and solid silverwork,
hereditary goblet which receives
the communications of the blood—
here is where silence came together with
the wholeness of the human word,
and, for human beings, not to speak is to die—
language extends even to the hair,
the mouth speaks without the lips moving,
all of a sudden, the eyes are words.

I take the word and pass it through my senses
as though it were no more than a human shape;
its arrangements awe me and I find my way
through each resonance of the spoken word—
I utter and I am and, speechless, I approach
across the edge of words silence itself.

I drink to the word, raising
A word or a shining cup;
in it I drink
the pure wine of language
or inexhaustible water,
maternal source of words,
and cup and water and wine
give rise to my song
because the verb is the source
and vivid life—it is blood,
blood which expresses its substance
and so ordains its own unwinding.
Words give glass quality to glass, blood to blood,
and life to life itself.

—Pablo Neruda (translated by Alastair Reid)
Moved by Neruda’s “wavelength which connects us,I followed.  Looking around the garden, I welcomed everyone and recalled the many gardeners and heroes we’ve lost this year, including Matt Power and Pete Seeger, each of whom defended and celebrated the gardens in their own distinct ways.
But most of all, I told everyone I wanted to recall the poems my father and I had shared before he departed to parts unknown, shuffling off this mortal coil just a month ago.  So I told the story of my father, who ran away from school to become a beat poet when he first heard Howl almost six decades prior.  The last time I saw Dad, we read Robert Frost together.  Barely able to walk, he told me Lone Stryker was one of his favorite poems.   

The Lone Stryker by Robert Frost
He knew another place, a wood,
And in it, tall as trees, were cliffs;
And if he stood on one of these,
'Twoud be among the tops of trees,
Their upper brancjes round him wreathing,
Their breathing mingled with his breathing.
If——if he stood! Enough of ifs!
He knew a path that wanted walking;
He knew a spring that wanted drinking;
A though that wanted further thinking;
A love that wanted re-renewing.
Nor was this just a way of talking
TO save him the expense of doing.
With him it boded action, deed.
Laying in bed, wanting to live and love, barely able to get up, Dad really was the thought that wanted further thinking.  I told him so, looking at him for the last time last January. 

Standing in the garden, I recalled calling Dad to tell him Allan Ginsberg had died in 1996.  My favorite poem by Ginsberg is Kaddish, so I read the first page, recalling my father with each line.  
Kaddish, Part I
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
   the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking,
   talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues
   shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm--and your memory in my head three years after--
   And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud--wept, realizing
   how we suffer--
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember,
   prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of An-
   swers--and my own imagination of a withered leaf--at dawn--
Dreaming back thru life, Your time--and mine accelerating toward Apoca-
the final moment--the flower burning in the Day--and what comes after, 
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom
   Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed--
like a poem in the dark--escaped back to Oblivion--
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream,
   trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, worship-
   ping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all--longing or inevitability?--while it
   lasts, a Vision--anything more?
From Collected Poems 1947-1980 by Allen Ginsberg, published by Harper & Row. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Online Source

It felt so good to be there with everyone. The gardens help us heal and love and care for so many others along the way.  Listening to so many voices, perhaps just perhaps we were all expanding “our circle of compassion” as Einstein beseeched us to do. 
But it was also time to move. JC stood reciting his homage to movement, Spoke N Word, calling us to the next garden. 

So, we walked with our banner, walking north to Houston street, where we’d pause, read, and be.

Erik, who not only hangs out and documents, creating many of these wonderful photos, but who read and shared with all of us. 

I’m not usually a poet but…  she was ready to try, confessed Monica who howled with love at Petit Versailes, the lovely, queer public commons just north of Houston Street. 

Dada would have liked a day like this Monica declared, reading from lawrence ferlinghetti's untitled poem 23.  With its various very realistic unrealities each about to become too real for its reality which is never quite enough to become Bohemia… yes dada would have liked  a day like this with its sweet street carnival and its too real funeral just passing through it.

Towering with the trees, Monica read poems of love. 

Peter and Jack joined us, reading a random passage from 100 Years of Solitude.  Poetry dripping from every page, their memories lingering in time, connecting all of us to a previous moment in time when we first read it and the life we lead before this moment, the zigging meandering road between there and here, and in between.

Erik, Stacy several others read their own, highly intimate poems on love, sadness, loneliness, and hopes.  These personal poems were some of the most lovely of a day of many. One day, I hope we can collect them all into one poetry chapbook for others to read in their own gardens in another time, another city.

We sat; Johnathan climbed the trees and looked about in the beauty.

I think you need to go, Peter confessed, reminding us that the poetry block was needed at El Jardin Paraiso.  So we walked over, quietly, greeting friends from decades of struggle to preserve these spaces.  Holding hands, we joined in a spiral. 

And slowly we listened, climbed the tree house, and merged, as the dialectics of our bountiful opposites, intersected, connected, into a synthesis of stories.

Monica suggested we read The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock together, passing the book along in, from person to person.  This was a poem Monica woke with her grandmother, who listened, hearing the words deep in her sleep, only to awake once more, if only for a moment more.

Barbara read

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds, 
Like a tree 
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman 
Are one. 
A man and a woman and a blackbird 
Are one.
I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window 
With barbaric glass. 
The shadow of the blackbird 
Crossed it, to and fro. 
The mood 
Traced in the shadow 
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam, 
Why do you imagine golden birds? 
Do you not see how the blackbird 
Walks around the feet 
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents 
And lucid, inescapable rhythms; 
But I know, too, 
That the blackbird is involved 
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight, 
It marked the edge 
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds 
Flying in a green light, 
Even the bawds of euphony 
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut 
In a glass coach. 
Once, a fear pierced him, 
In that he mistook 
The shadow of his equipage 
For blackbirds.
The river is moving. 
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon. 
It was snowing 
And it was going to snow. 
The blackbird sat 
In the cedar-limbs.

Sitting there, I read the final lines of Kaddish, about those of us that walk through these streets of own Lower East Side decades prior and today.

It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder,
   Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings shoul-
   dering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant--and
   the sky above--an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south, to--as I walk toward the Lower East Side
   --where you walked 50 years ago, little girl--from Russia, eating the
   first poisonous tomatoes of America frightened on the dock 
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?--toward
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice 
   cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards--
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school,
   and learning to be mad, in a dream--what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window--and the great Key lays its head of light
   on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the
   sidewalk--in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward
   the Yiddish Theater--and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now--Strange to have moved
   thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstops doors and dark boys on
   the street, firs escapes old as you
--Tho you're not old now, that's left here with me--
Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe--and I guess that dies with
   us--enough to cancel all that comes--What came is gone forever
   every time--
That's good!  That leaves it open for no regret--no fear radiators, lacklove,
   torture even toothache in the end--
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul--and the lamb, the soul,
   in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change's fierce hunger--hair 
   and teeth--and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin,
   braintricked Implacability.
Ai! ai!  we do worse! We are in a fix!  And you're out, Death let you out,
   Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with 
   God, done with the path thru it--Done with yourself at last--Pure
   --Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all--before the
There, rest.  No more suffering for you.  I know where you've gone, it's good.
No more flowers in the summer fields of New York, no joy now, no more 
   fear of Louis,
and no more of his sweetness and glasses, his high school decades, debts,
   loves, frightened telephone calls, conception beds, relatives, hands--
No more of sister Elanor,--she gone before you--we kept it secret you
   killed her--or she killed herself to bear with you--an arthritic heart
   --But Death's killed you both--No matter--
Nor your memory of your mother, 1915 tears in silent movies weeks and
   weeks--forgetting, agrieve watching Marie Dressler address human-
   ity, Chaplin dance in youth,
or Boris Godunov, Chaliapin's at the Met, halling his voice of a weeping Czar
   --by standing room with Elanor & Max--watching also the Capital 
   ists take seats in Orchestra, white furs, diamonds,
with the YPSL's hitch-hiking thru Pennsylvania, in black baggy gym skirts
   pants, photograph of 4 girls holding each other round the waste, and
   laughing eye, too coy, virginal solitude of 1920
all girls grown old, or dead now, and that long hair in the grave--lucky to
   have husbands later--
You made it--I came too--Eugene my brother before (still grieving now and
   will gream on to his last stiff hand, as he goes thru his cancer--or kill
   --later perhaps--soon he will think--)
And it's the last moment I remember, which I see them all, thru myself, now
   --tho not you
I didn't foresee what you felt--what more hideous gape of bad mouth came 
   first--to you--and were you prepared?
To go where?  In that Dark--that--in that God? a radiance? A Lord in the 
   Void?  Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream?  Adonoi at last, with
Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull
   in the grave, or a box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon--Deaths-
   head with Halo?  can you believe it?
Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence,
   than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have--what you had--that so pitiful--yet Tri-
to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower--fed to the 
   ground--but made, with its petals, colored, thinking Great Universe, 
   shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate hospital, cloth
   wrapped, sore--freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flower, which knew itself in the garden, and fought the
Cut down by an idiot Snowman's icy--even in the Spring--strange ghost 
   thought some--Death--Sharp icicle in his hand--crowned with old
   roses--a dog for his eyes--cock of a sweatshop--heart of electric
All the accumulations of life, that wear us out--clocks, bodies, consciousness,
   shoes, breasts--begotten sons--your Communism--'Paranoia' into
You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later.  You of 
   stroke.  Asleep?  within a year, the two of you, sisters in death.  Is
   Elanor happy?
Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over
   midnight Accountings, not sure.  His life passes--as he sees--and
   what does he doubt now?  Still dream of making money, or that might 
   have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your Im-
   mortality, Naomi?
I'll see him soon.  Now I've got to cut through to talk to you as I didn't
   when you had a mouth.
Forever.  And we're bound for that, Forever like Emily Dickinson's horses
   --headed to the End.
They know the way--These Steeds--run faster than we think--it's our own
   life they cross--and take with them.
   Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind, mar-
ried dreamed, mortal changed--Ass and face done with murder.
   In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut under
pine, almed in Earth, blamed in Lone, Jehovah, accept.
   Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless,
Father in death.  Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I'm
hymnless, I'm Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore
   Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not
light or darkness, Dayless Eternity--
   Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some
of my Time, now given to Nothing--to praise Thee--But Death
   This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Won-
derer, House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping
--page beyond Psalm--Last change of mine and Naomi--to God's perfect
Darkness--Death, stay thy phantoms!
   Over and over--refrain--of the Hospitals--still haven't written your
history--leave it abstract--a few images
   run thru the mind--like the saxophone chorus of houses and years--
remembrance of electrical shocks.
   By long nites as a child in Paterson apartment, watching over your
nervousness--you were fat--your next move--
   By that afternoon I stayed home from school to take care of you--
once and for all--when I vowed forever that once man disagreed with my
opinion of the cosmos, I was lost--
   By my later burden--vow to illuminate mankind--this is release of
particulars--(mad as you)--(sanity a trick of agreement)--
   But you stared out the window on the Broadway Church corner, and
spied a mystical assassin from Newark,
   So phoned the Doctor--'OK go way for a rest'--so I put on my coat
and walked you downstreet--On the way a grammarschool boy screamed,
unaccountably--'Where you goin Lady to Death'? I shuddered--
   and you covered your nose with motheaten fur collar, gas mask
against poison sneaked into downtown atmosphere, sprayed by Grandma--
   And was the driver of the cheesebox Public Service bus a member of 
the gang?  You shuddered at his face, I could hardly get you on--to New
York, very Times Square, to grab another Greyhound--
From Collected Poems 1947-1980 by Allen Ginsberg, published by Harper & Row. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Online Source

Everyone helped me read it, holding me as stumbled through the words, clumsy with tears.
But it felt good to read and imagine, and see my life here in between those walking these Lower East Side streets five decades prior who Ginsberg recalled in his prayer for the dead.
Sarah, our old friend from Occupy Broadway, was sitting there with us, sharing her stories.  She started with another by Ferlinghetti.

I Am Waiting
I am waiting for my case to come up   
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting   
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier   
and I am waiting   
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming   
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona   
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored   
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find   
the right channel   
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth   
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed   
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered   
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did   
to Tom Sawyer   
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting   
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again   
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn   
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting   
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

We have not read any Whitman, noted Johnathan, reading from his perch on the tree.

 Behold this swarthy and unrefined face—these gray
This beard—the white wool, unclipt upon my neck,
My brown hands, and the silent manner of me, with-
         out charm; 
Yet comes one, a Manhattanese, and ever at parting,
         kisses me lightly on the lips with robust love, 
And I, in the public room, or on the crossing of the
         street, or on the ship's deck, kiss him in return; 
We observe that salute of American comrades, land
         and sea, 
We are those two natural and nonchalant persons.

Afternoon, this delicious Ninth Month, in my forty-
         first year, 
I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.

JC finished with a final New York poem, recalling the ways we all celebrate the needs of our comrades. 


from NYC Variations

Jim Carroll
I have walked these streets so often I could
forge the shadows of skyscrapers as they fall
to rest between the sculptured air of midtown.

Air-conditioned blood drips like rosaries
from glassy facades to the cosmopolitan eye

The fantasies of secretaries are washed to the streets
or trampled beneath thick heels along subway platforms

Engineers in orange helmets point out the flawlessness
of buildings which do not yet exist. My hands

Would drip with boredom or lust.   It was time
for evening in Time's Square. There the dim-witted clouds
at once unbuttoned, revealing a nasty aperture beneath
blue cables.
The thick veins on back my forearm
like the rope of an acrobat
have risen again
As a line of demarcation
between fields of battle
which vacillate easily but with some small pain
across this flux of anguish between light and dark
past and future      ash and flowering flame
In midtown again the way you stop
Casually to finger your hair
In some gray drugstore window
Across 53rd St. The Museum of Modern Art
That poverty vault
I fell right through the deep there once
I felt the light of Nolde scratch beneath my fingernails
And I found poverty once more
So much poverty     It follows me through subway cars
Poverty to die a death within one's own family
Poverty of the darkness across ice     Poverty of cataract eyes
Poverty of young men alone behind the stairway
   who practice
Alchemy inside bottle caps who know
The altruism of a last syringe.
When he was young in Harlem my father
watched the shadow of St. Anne, the mother
of Our Virgin, walking with shadowed gown
round a church rotunda, white as chalk and swept
with decals of starry blue why should I not believe him?
I cannot return. Never go back. Yet my father's word
has weight in its edges to stand straight like shields
and here I wait in the exhaust of his space and time
rolling my wrist with bandage to check the flow
of spit from the veins, the mucous music sticks
to fixtures on top these hotel dreams, parking lots
behind the Chelsea on West 22nd crowded with monolith
   lungs and dew
piles of dancing shoes . . . some guitar claws.
Here I walk with a memory of workers in midtown
returning at day's end to the safe edge of home near water
Streets abandoned to a purer grace, until the summit
of tall buildings is where the light of evening sleeps
And in the slit shadow below, blasting my way
through the taxied vapor, I finger the turbine mist
I wait on the origin of night's sounds waking. I know
that here only the blind man sings, even in rain
The notes of drenched violins rise like warped mirrors'
and the last clouds part slowly, like a cracked wheel.

Finishing, the birds were singing in the trees.  We should do this more often a few noted.  Barbara and Judy and I started talking about Mayday, planning for our Mayday ride this Thursday, starting at 7:15 at Tompkins Square Park.

The afternoon was over, and we all walked home, with the memories of all that happened before. My dad was gone, but the friends remained from the streets, and poems connecting all of us.  I walked back to where our romp began, grabbing my bike and looking at the gardens. 

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
 T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

It is Springtime and mayday was coming.

Join public space party at 7:15 :
Thursday, May 1st, 7:15pm Meet in Tompkins Square Park, Center, near the huge Gai, Elm Tree
Join Public Space Party for a Dance Ride to Celebrate International Mayday! Let's end May Day, International Workers' Day, in the streets, dancing together with tunes from our favorite sound bike. Dress Festive.

There are actions taking place all day long, including at Petit Versailles, our beloved community garden.






12 NOON.

And all weekend long, ht the streets for stores.

Saturday May 3rd- Secrets of Death Avenue Walking Tour 12pm at 14th st and 9th ave. Join Occupy the Pipeline for our educational, revelatory, fun theatrical walking tour of West Village! Sunday at 5 PM.

Kim, the poet from our walk, posted a note about the last rehearsal for the Secret Death Ave Walking Tour.

Last night, we stood on the walkway on the Hudson River and she swelled so high that it washed over our feet! It was magical and calming and frightening and exciting. Mama Earth is rising. Start belonging to her and give yourself over. Give all of your love to her. Stop the misguided guys from hurting her. This is our tiny little perfect home floating in an endless universe(s). We are so rare, so fragile and perfect. Money is transient and meaningless. Community, art, love and connectivity to this beautiful system we are a part of is the one little chance you get to genuinely feel it and shine. Do it up! You are the only you and part of an exquisite we.

Let us all join that exquisite we, in the multitude.