Thursday, October 24, 2019

Immigrant Songs and Other Adventures at Honk! #honknyc #honklife #supportlivemusic


I smiled on the beach reading the last page of The Master and Margarita.
That feels like a long time ago.
Sweet July, the hot sun and smell of the water.   
But the seasons pass.
School starts.
Fall descends.
“Then the moon goes mad, deluges Ivan with streams of light, sprays light everywhere, a moonlight flood invades the room, the light sways, rises, drowns the bed.  It is then that Ivan sleeps with a look of happiness on his face,” Mikhail Bulgakov writes as the saga of The Master and Margarita comes to an end.

My week was anything but like this.
The savage city hit me from all angles.
The sun shone as I rode down  Myrtle to the first night of the Honk festival,
At the Market Hotel.
Murals and music everywhere.  
For one week a year, NYC feels like NOLA.
Bands are everywhere.
We drink together.
Hang out.
Try to catch them in the street.
Make friends.
Gossip with
Fanfarra Feminina Sagrada Profana from Belo Horizonte, Brasil
L Train Marching Band.
Seed & Feel Marching Abominable
Wondering about the labors of work.
"[O]n a daily basis we combat the accretion of disparate obstructions and frustrations,” laments Caroline H. “… the sum of which threatens not only our ability to do our jobs at the level we'd like, but more broadly, higher public education. we attempt solutions, only to be borne back ceaselessly."
Barbes on Thursday with Barbara
And Yana
And Jamie
Chatting with
Fanfarra Feminina Sagrada Profana from Belo Horizonte, Brasil
Dawn Drake & ZapOte Batucada
Dingonek Street Band
underground horns
You can all stay at my house forever,
I tell one of the Fanfarra Feminina
Inside a round of tubas and drums,
A wall of horns unleash the
Immigrant Song,
A  crescendo of sound hits in waves.
Thundering tubas scream:
“Ah-ah, ah!
Ah-ah, ah!
We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow
The hammer of the gods
W'ell drive our ships to new lands
To fight the horde, and sing and cry
Valhalla, I am coming!”

Dancing and roaring through the old club
Riding into the night.
Whisky on my breath.

Meandering through the week.
To  the farmers market in Park Slope.
Greeting the fish mongers.
Our to the East Village.
Where are the bands.
They played in Washington Square,
Not Tompkins.
And Gumbo.
Can the roux really look like pecans?
Mixing flower and butter.
Adding oil.
Monk Fish
Sea stock
Red, white, black pepper.
Into an alchemy of flavor.
Out into the streets
For one more night  of Honk at Rubalad.
Dancing with Yana.
Lights colors feelings.
The city careening in front of my eyes.
For one more moment. 
Goodbye Honk.
It was great to know you.

Driving up to Poughkeepsie in the rain.
Thinking about the immigrant songs of the week.
Listening to Woody Guthrie’ s Deportee
“The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

I guess that’s all we’re doing,
Sending em back.
Losing a bit of ourselves along the way.
Chaos in Washington.
Kids locked up on the border.
We’re all a little unsettled.

Watching the leaves of the fall.
Wondering about what I did wrong.
What happened.
Conversation for hours. 
About Harold Bloom.
Lost brothers and friends.
And poetry that tears and digs
And snubs and shuns
And reminds.
Walking through the Poughkeepsie night.
Listening to the crickets.
Chatting and crooning,
“The Bottle Let Me Down,” laments Merle Haggard.
“Each night I leave the bar room when it's over
Not feeling any pain at closing time
But tonight your memory found me much too sober
Couldn't drink enough to keep you off my mind
Tonight the bottle let me down
And let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I'd found
Tonight the bottle let me down”

Quietly the day began as I made my way back to NYC to see the kids off,
A day not unlike the final lines of Bulgakov’s masterpiece.
“The next morning he wakes up silent, but completely calm and well. His ravaged memory quiets down, and no one will trouble the professor until the next full moon: neither the noseless murderer of Gestas, nor the cruel fifth procurator of Judea, the knight Pontius Pilate.”

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