Monday, December 31, 2018

On a Caravan of Dreams and Fragmented views of a year gone by

 The last Sunday in 2018, Andy played Sandy Denny's
"Who Knows Where the Time 
Goes" on the acoustic guitar.

I had just dropped Dion, my mom's best friend at the
airport after the holiday 
weekend.  Mom was exhausted and disoriented after the
 week with her kids and
 grandkids in her house.  I'm not sure how many more
of those holidays we will 
all have with each other. But this one was wonderful,
with cooking and drinks and
 lots more cooking, with the little ones who are no
 longer quite so little. 

Playing the guitar, Andy sang: 

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time 
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Listening to Andy'a familiar voice, I found myself
thinking of my kids who'd gone
 to Judson all these years
and all the other 48 Christmases I've had with mom.

I thought of the friends this year, of Anthony B who
 took us to places unknown 
reminding of unknown places in spaces we've long known,
 taking us around the
 world on winter nights when we were only traveling on TV
 in hyper-reality

And Roy Hargrove who played Ruby My Deal like Monk,
all those years ago in 
Texas, at the Jazz Gallery, the Village Vanguard, on Hudson
Street, reminding us 
about the shapes of jazz to come, even when we were kid
s in Dallas and he was
 jumping up on stage at the Caravan of Dreams. 

And Peter Shelly who reminded the world its ok to
 declare you've an orgasm addict 
when you're always at it. 
Don't be afraid.  Don't be ashamed. Don't be silent. 

And Hank's Saloon which closed. 

sixth story, her death leaving 
reverberations across a cohort of kids. 

And then the unknown strangers, Roxanne and Jakelin
 who died on the border, 
victims of official cruelty. 

So many more. 

"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,”
 Dr Ford reminded us, as those 
silent screams roared from the past. 

They're always with me, walking, riding, making my way
 through this ever-changing city,
around this big blue marble,  to and from DC, fighting the right,
beating back the fascists, 
to Jushua Tree and Hong Kong for spring break, through the
 dessert, across continents, 
to Brussels and Berlin in June, Edisto Beach, Charleston,
Carolina in July before heading out and Italy for the rest of 
July and August, back to NYC, 
where I rode to Fort Tildon, driving up Poughkeepsie, out to
New Orleans and the Monhonk 
Mountain range, around the neighborhoods, exploring art,
 watching the dialectical shapes
 of the city fall apart and come back together in new formations,
as the plate tectonics 
shift, the glaciers melt, and democracy crumbles, back to San Francisco,
 where the hills 
were burning.   There may not be a California to return to. 
 The new abnormal is everywhere. 

Taking it all in, its easy to see what Guy Debord saw:
 immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded 
 the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup 

I certainly saw these pieces walking through the East Village
 this December, where 
the Canibal Girls played before we made our way  back out to 
Brooklyn to Princeton
  to Margaretville to Monticello, where Ben E Smith ran a shop
all those years ago, 
back up to the Big Indian Wilderness, where the little one imagined,
back to Garrison, 
where Al told stories,  to Princeton to Newark back to Judson
 where Andy played the
 last Sunday in 2018, when we read from Debord.

I tried to write about everything i saw this year, publishing one book,
 finishing two others, 
in addition to 141 blog posts, many about the five acts of civil disobedience
 i was arrested
 for this year, voting with my body, pushing the world to hear our screams
 for decent judges
 and an independent judiciary in Washington, to believe women,
 for a fair contract for our 
union, for policies which support the climate here in New York,
so we can avert the looming
 disaster that the UN suggests we're bringing upon ourselves. 

Image may contain: 6 people, including Michael Kink and Eric Sawyer, crowd
Michael Kink, Eric Sawyer, this writer and friends in DC. 

"Failure is instructive," John Dewey reminds us. 
"The person who really thinks learns quite 
as much from his failures as successes."

So I tried to learn from a few of my many, many glitches and stumbles,
 bruised ribs, and
 arthritis-ridden knees, my fragile ego, and effort to learn from this
messy life, reading
 every week for book club, trying to write  a decent sentence.

If you are turning fifty in 2019, you are entering the third period
of this Hockey game. 

At least for this year, 

I tried to be a friend.

I tried to be support one big union.

I tried to be a dad.

I tried to be a partner.

I tried to be a brother.

I tried to believe women. 

I tried to let go and embrace some of what is important.

49 years into this life I tried to be  a few things.

Next year i hope i can read more, 
gossip less, 
laugh more and sit in the quiet empty places whenever i can. 

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