Monday, September 18, 2017

Circus Amok in the Tropic of Cancer

New York comes as a surprise, a juxtapositions of memories and fall rituals, big skies and community gardens,  street preachers and performers crying out that something is terribly wrong, in a convulsion everyone seems to be having.  We are all a part of that collective scream from the tropic of cancer.

Over the weekend, we met remembered 16 candles, said hello to Molly, goodbye to harry,  ate seafood on the waterfront in Red Hook, explored the Pacific Community Garden in Brooklyn, rode around the Lower East Side, and took in the absurdist delight of Circus Amok  in Prospect Park.

These days everyone feels like things are falling apart, democracy feels like its crumbling.

I dream of dismantling the electoral college.

Fires rage to the West.

Storms careen through the Southeast.

Ice melts north of us. 

And the sun shines, bearing down on our increasingly tropical climate.

Mike and I sat on the roof, talking about the left.  We are in a strange place where forgiveness and atonement feel elusive.  Stones fly.  Aspirations careen through the air.  Lines are marked.  Scarlett letters are drawn.  And no one is quite sure how we can unmark them. Thought crimes are everywhere.  We scold and banter about our respective positions.

In book club, we read Tropic of Cancer.

Writing in between world wars nearly a hundred years ago, Henry Miller seemed to be describing these latter days of the USA.

"There will be no more calamities, more death, more despair.  Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere.  The cancer of time is eating us away...  The weather will not change."

Yet, there are places where we can still laugh.  Jennifer Miller reminded us of this during her 38 minutes of fabulous with the magic circus in the park.

Friends from all over the city were there, the Rude Mechanicals, Church Ladies, Participatory  Budgeters, and even a few kids. Some danced, other drank whisky in the grass.

"How are you feeling?" asked Jennifer Miller, the bearded mc extraordinaire from the circus  .


"How are you really doing?" she asked again, reminding us that, "you have a fascist for president."  For twenty years she's been suggesting that we are in trouble.  "This time you are really in trouble."

An opera singer began with a sorrowful aria, about wanting to sleep, to return to a quieter place. 

The mood changed.

The show was off, full of juggling and jokes, stilts and high octane fun.

Bodies careened about as the band played "sing,sing,sing."

We are all in  a Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller explains:

"But even as the world falls apart, the Paris that belongs to Matisse shudders with bright, gasping orgasms... the world is falling apart but the revolution is intact...."

I felt it laughing at ourselves all afternoon.

A week we said hello to Molly, goodbye to harry



a sunday afternoon in the park with circus amok

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