Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Death Star is Born/Illuminations Were Everywhere.

the aids memorial in the lobby of the fountain theatre. audience members were offered markers to write on the wall, as a way to commemorate lost loved ones. caption and photo: tim cummings

                                                                                                        Zack and company taking  a bust.  

A Death Star is Born/Illuminations Were Everywhere.
Brian won the tickets at the fundraiser for the queer kids.
Still homeless.
I’m at Julius he texted,
As I stood at an emergency action at  Union Square.
Protests and counter protests.
Full moon shone over  the Village.
The sickness is only getting worse.
Its long been  there.
A national affliction.
I’m  beyond words. 
“… when news broke that Donald Trump declared a fake national emergency in order to advance his anti-immigrant agenda, MoveOn organized 277 rapid-response events in 48 states, with at least 50,000 attendees. Our demonstrations took place just 72 hours after Trump announced his fake state of emergency…” said Nick Berning.
My friends from Texas and I wondered what was going on. 
Growing up in Texas we never ever heard anyone fear for the border.
The crisis does not  exist, noted  Ade.
When  we were kids the  border  was  basically open and civilization did not collapse,  wrote Alex.
My mom grew up in Laredo.  It was a non issue.   We used  to  go there and  walk across to Nuevo Laredo and  back to buy cool stuff, said Susan.
The president  was panicking,
The  country in a collective convulsion. 
I  took the bust Friday,
Zach tells me at Union Square. 
Twenty did.
We just had to  sit down.
Ken snapping  photos in the cold.
This one got rough, he said gesturing  around.
Protests and  counter protests.
Another demo, another low.
Rise and Resist.
After the Amazon Museum deal fell  apart, Sarah S thought it was the best news she had heard in  a long  time. “Now DeBlasio and Cuomo can spend those billions on our schools, hospitals and subways. But will they?
Will  they?
Can  we  force them I thought riding  to the West Village.
We met at  the Duplex on 7th Ave.
What do you want sweetie, asks bartender.
Karen joins us for the  show.
We all thought we were going to die,
She recalls,
Stories downstairs.
Cabaret upstairs.
Recalling Liza and Sally B. 
The show roars onward,
A piano player  and singer  in a dark  room.
There’s gonna be  a heartache tonight.
“I can’t get enough of that DK,” Thea exclaims.
“Ain’t that right grandma!”
“As everyone in  New York knows,  I come first.”
Encore I scream.
Since you asked.
Walked over to Julius gossiping.
Chatting  ACT UP and Jimmy Summerville
Drag marches since 1994, 25 and counting.
A trans student, back from jail.
“The  war is in  my heart,” he tells  me,  recalling  the nightmares,
“… I developed dark gifts during incarceration, instead of going crazy (which did happen) I opened my eye and “worked from the Root.” … there is no such thing as a crazy thoughts.’

Playbills and illuminations are everywhere.

None  of us really have normal  hearts.

None of us have  normal lives.

In the weeks following the closing of the show, I walked the neighborhood streets at night, wandering in and out of local parks and shops, cutting through parking lots and back alleyways, marveling at the economic disparity on full display from block to block—a gorgeous modern mansion beside a fading, dilapidated Craftsman—and pondered my experience of the play. It was difficult to let go of. It haunted me for months. I wondered when it would leave me in peace. I felt incomplete, as if Michelangelo had never finished the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I’ve never had to let go of the cast, thankfully; I still see the boys on a regular basis and we are a band of brothers. But I had to let go of the young men who’d perished from the plague and accept that I’d done my part to illuminate their stories by bequeathing all of my energy and all of my time. I still think about that letter from the audience member who’d written that I had changed him forever. I knew exactly what he meant. Great art, whether you are creating it or witnessing it, is always best measured by the amount of change that it manifests, both in your life and out there in the world."

Sickness is everywhere.

The illuminations are many.

Monday, February 18, 2019

You Gotta Have Friends: as blackbirds spoke Zarathustra

Image result for Continental Baths BETTE SINGING
Bette Middler at the Continental Baths, 1970. 

Sitting around in court.  

With  friends like these...

“Cause you gotta have friends…”
Bette sang at the Continental  Baths, 
At  the parade, breaking  up a riot.
Cause you gotta have friends;
To meet you in jail.
Solidarity forever?
To fight the police. 
To catch a lunch
Or a trip to Red Hook for a  bite on Pioneer Street. 
Or down the street in the  Gowanus for a  birthday, sharing a snack
To make a bagel.
To sing a birthday for the niece born  16 years ago.
Her favorite poet Mary Oliver.
You gotta have friends.
To catch some lunch.
To light a fire.
To read a poem.
It’d be nice to be in Ireland, says Caroline.
But Brooklyn is not too  bad.
You know, Thus spake Zarathustra had a section  on friends.  
The friend of the anchorite is always the third one…
which preventeth the conversation of the two sinking into the depth.”

And sometimes there are two. 
You know, Benjamin  and Adorno went  to grade school together,
Adorno admired Benjamin.
Who looked for praise from Adorno.
as  time  went  on.
Friends who fought.
And then it was over.
You gotta have friends.
Mark recalled his Dad who loved Stevens, reading him till  the end.
Recalling 13 Ways of Seeing a Blackbird.

                   Friends elevate and pull, lulling and reminding us of our limits:

“… tell me, ye men, who of you are capable of friendship?
…There is comradeship: may there be friendship!”

Wonders Nietzsche.

Always a mystery.