Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Philosopher’s Club among other things between sex workers, protests, book club, and Sunday.

Look who I ran into in the farmer's market.  

Timothy Lunceford-Stevens, ACTUPNY member and Rise and Resist member premiers in this review in a Enhanced Reading at Stonewall Bar on Sunday 3:30pm to 5:00pm. Learn what inspired me to attend my first ACTUPNY meeting TIMOTHY: I was sad and attended the “We are fighting for our lives” candlelight march on June 20, 1987, from Stonewall to the Hudson River. I met David, an East Village Man that evening. I told him about Paul’s death. I said, I was angry someone as smart as Paul could die so young. David said there is a new group, they are angry too! They are ACTUPNY and meeting on Monday’s, at the LGBT Center...Hope to see you Sunday at Stonewall Bar Upstairs!I tell what inspired me before ACTUPNY and all the other events joining Pink Panthers, and other organizations inspired by ACTUPNY. And I tell what organizations I joined after like Gays Against Guns, Rise and Resist. I hope you can attend. Timothy.
Timothy Lunceford-Stevens

Tim and Mel in the philosophers club. 
Bronwyn Rucker’s Julius’ Philosophers. — at The Stonewall Inn.

All week we took part in the Philosophers Club,
Asking what to do.
What’s the right thing?
Best way forward unclear.
Two thirds through a life.
“All my life I’ve been waiting,”
writes Harold Norse. 
“expecting a grand finale, an awakening,
Love erupting from the streets, 
In the bars, in classrooms,
Everyone dropping their guard.
Their pants, their skirts,
Cops weeping tenderly
As they snap off your cuffs,
Bankers giving away their money,
Politicians telling the truth…”
It wasn’t happening.
Brooklyn would have to suffice.
Bike to House of Yes for Amateur Burlesque and Drag Night.
Everyone grand.
Eating  a taco riding  home.
Wondering what is the best way to vote for the Union  Contract
Ad Hominem and Invective flying from here to there, 
Sitting in the Union Hall in  Times Square.
Solidarity was our solution.
More powerful than a strike.
Off to DC in  a few hours.
Remove the president.
Restore democracy before it crumbles,
We hoped on the way to DC.
“All my life I’ve been waiting,”
expecting a grand finale, an awakening,
something  that  didn’t come on Friday.
Taking  a cheap bus back. 
Reading about Susan Sontag’s last year on the way home.
“I feel my body  has let me down,” she wrote towards the end.
“And  my mind, too.  For,  somewhere, I believe the Reichian verdict.  I’m responsible for  my cancer. I lived as a coward,  repressing my desire, my rage.”
Aren’t we all?
Have we repressed too much?
Forgotten to use our power?
Back in town by 930.
Chatting away, glad to be back.
Saturday morning,
Farmers Market and bike rides.
Meeting John and Joe and Margo.
Bike riding and cooking.
Book club reading poems. 
One after another.
“Not enough people are thinking of trees,”
Muses Gladys at Joan E’s.
Lets read our poems. 
Emily opens with
Louise Landes’ Levi Guru Punk.
A funky bohemian woman who hung out in the East Village.
“Will you meet me at the door of death?” she reads.
“Fascist  state motivated by hate, 
Families split apart.”
Just like our policy today.
“She  gave  it  to me on  the 10th of November 2001,” says Emily.
“Sweeter than crickets on a summer  night,” she  reads.
“Fast flow of punk and the endless flow of Bhudda.”
Gladys is next.
“So many songs are actually poetry,” she says.
Reading “Tale of the Oyster” by Cole Porter.
Wants to go up:
“Down by the sea lived a lonesome oyster
Every day getting sadder and moister
He found his home life awf'lly wet
And longed to travel with the upper set…”
Vicki  reads Prufrock:
“Lets us go there you and I.
Streets that follow like an insidious argument…
There will be time …
for you and me….
Do I dare?”
Do any of us?
There will be time. 
There is a time for everything…
: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…’
I read Harold again, waiting for something.
Wondering if something extraordinary might happen,
Here or there?
Winding  through a wondrous Saturday.
Back  to  Bushwick.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby Rocks. 
Skating against  Atlanta.
The teenager leaping.
And jamming.
Taking  in the murals.
Friends over.
Sunday to Princeton for lunch with mom.
“I always feel bad when I can’t finish a book,” says she.
“I absolve you on your sins mother.”
Chatting about the end of days.
Back to the philosophers club.
A reading at the Stonewall Inn.
Boys sitting at Julius wondering what it all meant.
A writer,
A social worker, 
A young person,
A bartender.
A Chaplin.
A reading at the Stonewall,
Recalling a Friday happy hour at Julius,
April 20, 2019.
Sitting chatting,
Mel and Tim.
Color is motion,
Light time,
Oil, paint, marble, dust.
Multiple voices.
The heart breaks in joy and sorrow.
There are two kinds of artists.
I am a young person,
I still have hope.
Intersecting conversations.
I just hate getting arrested, says Mel.
I really like to have older men in my life,
Says the young person.
I usually go to the Cubby Hole.
My mother died when I was young,
I have learned to make my own family
I feel you are my family.
Elder man follows:
A lot of people come here.
Its about gay life.
What is beauty,
What is the good life?
Look see,
I am a social worker.
Circle of life.
Fire Island
I hate Trump.
He says at the bar.
I love bourbon.
And Liza.
I’m writing about Fire Island from the Lesbian Perspective,
Says the Young Person.
Last time I saw him he told me he still has hope.
I’m so sorry I didn’t ask him more. 
The second he died, I knew it was fatal.
I retired from the hospital the other day.
I’m so glad I don’t have to talk about the end of life every day.
Says the social worker.
I’ve always been an activist
I wanna save kids like me says Tim.
Disabled kids.
I met a boy in 1963.
He moved in.
We lived together for thirty years.
In 1993, he died of AIDS.
Tim and Mel trading lines.
And stories.
Tim’s friend Paul Popham, founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, its president from 1981 until 1985, died in 1989.   
“I was sad and attended the “We are fighting for our lives” candlelight march on June 20, 1987, from Stonewall to the Hudson River. I met David, an East Village Man that evening.
I told him about Paul’s death. I said, I was angry someone as smart as Paul could die so young. David said there is a new group, they are angry too! They are ACTUPNY and meeting on Monday’s, at the LGBT Center...I went  to my first ACT UP meeting in June and  have been going ever since, 32 years.
Once an ACT Upper, always an ACT Upper.
We’ve had  many role models.
Jane  Jacobs.
We’ve got  to nibble at them like ducks.”
It’s immoral not to act.
I’m now involved with Rise and Resist and Gays Against Guns.
Whether you are ten or 62, you can still be an activist,”
Tim concludes.
“Art, that is my  political act,” says Mel.
“My heart and my hands tremble…”
“Lou Cheng gets killed.”
“I need  another drink.”
“You can look anywhere in this bar and find someone on their  way out.”
“That’s  the chair where the sailors used to sit.”
“Death is real enough at Julius.”
“I need to get out of here.
This is a depressing place.
You wanna see a list of people I used to see here.
You never know who you’d see.
Now I walk in  and all I know is the bar tender.
I’ve seen actual dead people come in here.
I went to her grave in Brooklyn.
Where  in the world would you find a person like David?
Some of the people I met in this place.
We always said Katrina washer her away.
I’ll see you guys tomorrow.
What is beauty?
What  is a good life?
What is pleasure?
The circle of life.
Spinoza says see the genius in  yourself in others.
Search for joy.
Faith in self and others.
That is art.
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Ken drops by as we applaud.
Standing ovation.

Walking to Wooster Street.
Back to the gallery on the way back to Brooklyn.
All my life I expected something extraordinary to happen.
Sometimes  it happens,
Just being home.

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