Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dangling Conversations, Between Mountains and the City, AIDS and Remembering.



 brent-nicholson-earle in  the rain. 
out of the darkness
world aids day. 

ACT UP NY is proud to co-sponsor the 28th OUT OF THE DARKNESS World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil and Service.

When: Sunday, 12/1/2019 - 6 pm

Where: Vigil begins at 6 pm at the NYC AIDS Memorial (Greenwich & W 12th St)

Followed by a Candlelight March to St. John's Lutheran Church (81 Christopher St)

Reading of the Names - St. John's Church - 6:30 pm

KEITH CYLAR...KEEP UP THE STRUGGLE! — at Whitney Museum of American Art.

Shanti Avirgan, "Beat Goes On," 2019 — commissioned by Visual AIDS for STILL BEGINNING: The 30th Annual Day With(out) Art.
Beat Goes On is an impressionistic portrait of the activist Keith Cylar (1958–2004), co-founder of Housing Works (@housingworks) and a central figure in the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power NY (@actupny). Cylar spoke clearly, frequently and with moral force about the struggles of people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City, many of whom were impoverished and struggling with multiple social and medical problems. His openness about his own drug use and the centrality of the fight against the criminalization of drugs for AIDS activism make Cylar's legacy especially resonant and relevant at this time.
A fellow harm reduction activist recalls how "Keith moved from mixing with the government, to threatening the government, to beating the government—all in the space of five minutes." By resurfacing and weaving together archival media of Cylar's own words and actions, "Beat Goes On" conveys—in the space of about five minutes—some of the personal charisma, political savvy and fearlessness that characterized Cylar's advocacy.

STILL BEGINNING premieres on December 1, World AIDS Day — catch the New York premiere @whitneymuseum or at one of our 100+ partnering institutions around the world. (More info in bio) @ Housing Works
This blogger at Cylar's funeral in 2004. 

Benjamin Heim Shepard is with Caroline Shepard and Dorothy M Shepard at Mohonk Mountain House. · 

The little one loves having her picture taken! 
Sundown at skytop. — at Minawaska Mountain.


Rocking chairs in the morning. 










Scenes from Thanksgiving, World AIDS Day Vigil, Mohonk,
kids, Shanti, Viva, Jack, and, of course, Alice.

Driving up to Garrison
The teenager plays a mix.
Old Paul Simon songs,
The Dangling Conversation
Between U There and  the Past.
Whats not and what’s becoming.

Pauls
“dangling conversation”
Playing all day long:

““And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost”

Such a folkie.
The best  poet, I reply.
Not better than Leonard C, 
Caroline adds. 
But he married Eddie.
She was going to have my kids.

But he never played with Pete?
Driving looking at the leaves.
Where I was and where I am.

“Wondering which train to take today,” writes Rob.
“- the one arriving Garrison 12:23 or the one arriving 1:19.”

Picking up Rob and Gladys.
Who found new friends.
At the train station.
Has been here so long.
From the Bronx to here and past.

The kids growing.
Al telling stories.
Rob listening.
Visiting
Thanksgiving
A drink of red wine.
And a
A laugh.
Watching the Cowboys.
All the days of my life.
A dangling conversation,
Between what was ands going to be.
Kids growing, throwing the football.
The little one picks up her novel.
And says Dad that was fun.
But …
Extinction rebellion raging in the city
I’m with the little one.

Saturday dreams.
A crawfish in the floor.
Eluding its demise.
Don’t kill me it screams.
Noooooo!
I take the knife to its back.
Was that me screaming?
Slaughtering or slaughtered?

The kitten was lost.
Where is the kitten?
We don’t have any.

The dreams remind us
Of what ?
Why?

News.
A cargo ship capsized with 14000 sheep trapped.
Oh that’s horrible.

Riding through the city,
Through a magic corridor of lights,
Sacred spaces.
Where am I?
I’ve never been here before.
Waking from a dream,
Writing it down again.
Still wondering about Sylvie.

Driving to the mountains.
The earth is still just recovering from the last ice age.
Off for a hike.

Rummaging through remains.
An old stable.
A library. 
A buggy.
Dusty books long ago read.
Taking in the trees of Mohonk.
Old Settlers.
Chestnut.
Striped Maples.
Tupelos
Shaded Brush.
Special residents.
Varieties of European Breaches
Camper down.
Elms
Maples
Yellow Woods
Branches stretching into forever.
“I have never been aware before how many faces there are,” notes Rilke.

Up to Eagles Cliff, we walk. 
Between what was
And all that is now.
The sun rising.

“It’s a gorgeous day,” says Michael, our amiable ecologist,
Leading us up, around the loop.
Regaling us with stories of a three-rock typhoon planet earth.
A cosmic storm awaiting us.
Where’s the storm/
Snow tomorrow?
But what of the cosmic stew?

I wish I could remember geology class.
Michael pointing out rock formations,
A living planet.
Melting igneous, molten rock.
Sedimentary layers.
Metamorphic stones.

Two sedimentary formations here
That could be the hardest rock on earth.
410 years old.

I love the ecology talks.
There’s a twenty million year gap we know nothing about,
Posits Michal.
Cosmology is bigger than all that,
leaving a  gap between.

Five sky lakes fed by precipitation.
On top of a mountain.
Bisected by an earthquake.
The last glacial 13000 years ago. 

We’re at the top of a mountain
Water comes from the sky.

Terminal moraine at the periphery of a ice sheet settled Cap Cod, Long Island…
Pressure,
Gravity.

Michal has been walking these steps,
geography tours for 14 years.
Saturday after Saturday.
telling these stories,
about ancient streambeds,
Plate tectonics, 
Continental drift.
I’ve been on a lot of them.

Magma is spreading two inches a year,
There’s 25000 miles of earth,
Plates shifting
Clawing against each other
San Andreas,
Continental plate drifting
Bumping into the Pacific plate.
What’s happening between the two is time.
two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.”
Rilke reminds.
Our small lives encountering
“greater and greater things.”
Always what I feel  in  the mountains.

Water meanders,
We have tremors here weekly,
Drifting West
No boulder movement. 

Where do we see the climate changes?
We track it every year. 
You see it in the birds.
I haven’t seen one today.
Some eat insects and stay longer,
Woodpeckers wood,
And others each other.
Everything shifts.
Storms are coming.
Warm flow, hitting cold air. 

The ice dam in Lake Mississauga crumbled in 72 hours. 
It took 35,000 years to form.
The scientist who saw this was ridiculed.

When ice sheets melt what happens?
Why did the Ice age happen?
Water froze.
The earth crust is still recovering from that.
But that won’t protect your waterfront property from flooding.

Finishing the tour, I walk back down to the trail to find the little one.
Skating outside.
“I was thinking, is all we are doing going in circles,”
She wonders.
“Lets go find  a tree to climb.”
 Jumping from one foot to another.

Walking  with the teenager.
Talking about what  happened  before.
We nearly died  on this hike years ago.
Reading  the signs this time.
Walking to the Sky top. 
Looking at the ice on the rocks.
Dripping and freezing.
Through the woods, past the lily pond, to the sky top. 
Looking out over the mountains.
The sun fading into the distance.

Sometimes sadness grasps, with the cold.
Missing what isn’t here instead of embracing what is there.  
Talking about sad days,
The “solitudes” that “protect and touch and greet each other”
that Rainer Maria Rilke  understood as love.
To be a bohemian poet?
Are you a poet now Dad?
Good question.

The sun going down.
The day turning to evening. 
Hello darkness my friend.
Good evening Minawaska Mountain.

Sunday its colder.
Supposed to snow at  11.
Waking at 7,
Walking one final hike.
Fog rolling on the lake.
Morning light on the white elephants.
Wind howling,
Snow.
Age,
Time.
Quiet.
Oh so quiet.
A bird chirps.
Good to see you buddy.
Mind turning inward.
Time to go.
Back to the city.
Time to think of what was in the city.
Names echoing through downtown, 
bouncing off buildings in the canyon of heroes.
People gone. 

I’m thinking of Keith and Steven and Fred and all the greatest minds lost to this. I walk through the city thinking of the way they changed us, looking at the rain.

Anticipating seeing Keith again at  the day without art.
The AIDS  Crisis is,
I call Peter Jack.
But I know Peter is not Jack.
Jack’s the filmmaker.
Freudian slip says Jack.
Tell Peter I know you are Jack.
I say.
Hi Alexandra Juhasz.

Whether you couldn’t talk about it,
It still happens.
Burning people at  the stake didn’t work did it?
Notes Keith in celluloid.
15 years gone.
But still here in celluloid.
Thank you Shanti.
“How do you deal with that overwhelming sense of burnout?” asks Keith.
“I just love drugs.
We should talk about it. 
It makes  us more human. 
Not talking heads.”

Waves of harm reduction,
Battling the puritans and prudes.
Acknowledging our messy hopes and lives.

Charles and I chat afterward.
15 years after Keith left.
He had a premonition of his own departure
In San Francisco sitting in the park.
Woke up started from a dream,
Seeing what would be.
Stumbling off on holy week.
Not the only one. 

All the films  meshing together into a blur.
Recalling heroes.
Beloved friend Chloe Dzubilo, transgender AIDS activist, artist.
Recovered stories.
There should be a movie about the housing and harm reduction working groups, 
I reply.
Thanking Jack and Viva and Shanti.

Walking through the Whitney, visiting friends, Alice and George.   

Biking out into the rain.

Pray for the dead, but fight like hell for the living says Brent Nicholson Earle.
His 27th
OUT OF THE DARKNESS World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil and Service.
Sunday, at 6 pm in the rain.
At the NYC AIDS Memorial (Greenwich & W 12th St)

“I missed one last year after my stroke” says Brent.
Still at it after literally running 9,000 miles  to spread awareness, he reminds the world, there  was more to do to fight the plague.
Still beginning.
There’s more to do.
900 kids newly infected because of dirty syringes in Pakistan.

Later that night, the teenager and I listen to Cabaret again.
The dangling conversation turning to Liza and Cabaret. 
“farewell mein lieber herr
it was a fine affair, but now it's over”  

Listening to Liza sing,
Watching my daughter sing along.
“And though I used to care, I need the open air
you're better off without me mein herr.
I recall the Spring 1986 when my godfather Fred showed me the movie.
Introducing  me to Weimar Culture.
Lotte Lenya
Blue Angel
Caligari.
AIDS consumed him four years later.
World  AIDS Day
It all comes back.
Day without art.  
Feels like Fred’s still here.
A dangling conversation still meandering.

Ed Wolf explains:
Day 1118. The Winter Garden
On the 1118th day since Trump’s election, my husband’s mother, Suzanne Read, was laid to rest next to her beloved husband. She died suddenly, shockingly, 9 days ago. …came to the grave on a cold clear day and shared their stories, their shock, their grief. …Grief can pull you together, can tear you apart. In this family, members came together after decades of separation. Suzanne was a master gardener and I walked down through it earlier today. It’s perfect, even in winter. Spring will come and it will bloom again, even though she won’t be here to see it. Yes, spring will come again.”
Late into the night, Rob and I talk about going to Israel.
Traveling to the East,
Just as mom and dad did with Fred a half century ago.
Friends looking forward.

A dangling conversation meandering through time. 


























































































































































































































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