Monday, January 13, 2020

Cheat Death NYC, on Cannibal Girls and Quixote sightings in a labyrinth of my own confusions...


cannibal girls at  bohemian grove

Cheat death NYC.
That was the graffiti on the Manhattan Bridge bike path.
I’m not always sure its possible.
Can we?
I wonder.
Is she a rip off or sister death, a force to embrace or is it something to cheat?

Fucking cancer.
It took two in my world this week alone.
One was a colleague, another a writer I knew of from afar.
Each lived, trying to be honest and playful, ethical and impactful, making a contributions and being real.
Both in their early to mid-50's, now gone.
Vanished.
Wow.

A man knocked down Maria on the way home on 127th Street in Richmond Hill,
where they found her laying on the street.
Beaten to death, after  92 years here.

It was that kind of a week.
I guess it always is.
The obits are usually more interesting than the headlines.

Death, ups, downs, moods, blue demons, premonitions of death.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
That was the question for the audience at the performance of Nuptial Bliss/ Sex Tape,
an experimental piece at the Flea Theater earlier today.
“I am always eluding it,” I tell the young women I’ve just met, who arrived from China.
Traveling through Italy a couple of years ago, eluding earthquakes and crumbling highways.
The Muir Woods, a step ahead of a tumbling Sequoia sempervirens,
Redwoods and their luminal trajectories stretching into the skies,
Some of these trees live as long as 1200 to 1800 years.
Others crumbling just days after I left.
I’ve slipped between cars careening through traffic,
Been doored and hit more times than I can count.
“It’ll probably be a car,” I tell my new friend.
“I’m an artist. I’m sure I’ll die of lack of support,” she replies.
“I’m sure I’ll die alone,”  she says to me.
Heartbreaking. 

Mortality always accompanies us,
None of them were able to cheat it.

Friday, we felt like it was nipping at our heals.
Arthritis, bones aging.
Not as young as we used to be.
But at least we’re here.
Another day, to make our way to our favorite places,
Schvitzing at the Russian Turkish baths on 12th street,
with mold as old as the Czars.
Steam to sauna to the freezing bath and back, repeat.
How fortunate to be able to spend the day in the streets I’ve walked all my life,
gushes Caroline afterwards, flush and alive.
Moods ascending and descending back at Barely Disfigured over oysters and martinis,
crashing, old insecurities looming on  Smith Street.
Ditchdiggers nowhere to be found.
More demons to vanquish.  
Quixote…. knew them.
That’s what the journey is about, Roque explains to Sancho and  Quixote:
“… one abyss calls to another abyss, and one sin to another sin, vengeance has linked with vengeance so that I bear responsibility not only for mine, but for those others, but its God’s will
that although I find myself in the midst of a labyrinth of my own confusions, I do not lose the hope of coming  out of it and into a safe harbor.”

Sometimes those mazes are all we can see.
No matter where we turn, I walk  further  in,
Safe harbors elusive as ever, even if in front of our eyes.

Riding to Bohemian Grove, to see the Cannibal Girls, the mood lightens,
the  noonday demon ceasing.

Up to Bushwick where the music is every night.
“Watch your step Dad,” advises the teenager as I make my way down,  descending the stairs,
into the underground venue, filled with bands and teenagers moshing.
“We love you Maya” they scream at the Cannibal Girls guitarist
The music echoing,  sweaty, smelly bodies smiling.
Sound out of control.
Mics off and on and off and on.
The band opens with
“Fairytale of the Supermarket.”
More flute please, screams the crowd, the mosh pit swarming,
Dodi’s Entwistle like fingers crawling up and down the base.
“We’re Cannibal Girls and we Eat Men,” the band screams, in the dark,
No line between audience or band.
We’re all the show.
No spotlights, barely any light.
A new song, Rebel Rebel:
You've got your mother in a whirl
She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl,”
Dodi sings on the fourth anniversary of the Thin White Duke’s departure.
Finally meeting the Starman waiting in the sky.
“He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds…”

The mosh pit undulating.
Fractured mirrors broke her spirit,
They play, bodies bouncing,
Maya and Dodi switching instruments,
Josie pounding those drums, better and better each set.  

Riding. into the night.
I make my way back, Quixote by my side,
reading a random page the next day. 
Reminding that even in the midst of midst of a labyrinth,
we need not be lost.

Making it through the day, skateboarders take on Smith Street!
Keep on going.
Off to West 72 street where the teenager is playing.
Their singer like Janis.
And then to Princeton to see Mom.
Exploring her garden.
Back to Brooklyn.
At Judson, Valerie preaches.
2019 was hard, she laments,

No compass

No way.

No clear path.

Do not remember old things. 

 I am still making a path, she explains

paraphrasing the ancient testimony, Isaiah 43:16-20.
he who made a way through the sea,
“…a path through the mighty waters,
 who drew out the chariots and horses…”

 “do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
 and streams in the wasteland.
… I provide water in the wilderness
 and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people …”

 

With a heart of steam, a path shows up.

Streams in the desert and water in the  wilderness.

It must have worked as we are still here, says Valerie.

Some of us at least.

 

Some got through.

Many did not.

 

“I don’t want to get lost on one of your adventures,”

 says the little one in Washington Square Park. 


Bring Jean home, explain a few of the elders, two years he’s been deported.

Needs grow, from here to  there. 

Still  in  Haiti, in exile.

Puerto Rico is in our hearts.

So is Hong Kong.  

Laurie Wen writes a dispatch on food solidarity and  social supports:

On July 22, a young pro-democracy activist committed suicide after his relatives kicked him out of the house,” she writes. “That’s when Andy Cheng, a 28-year-old working in advertising, decided to step up. “If your family doesn’t want to be your family, come to me,” Andy thought when he sent out an open invitation for dinner that night on Facebook and Telegram. “I’ll be your family.” He made coconut chicken soup, scrambled eggs with tomatoes, stir-fried greens and steamed minced pork — as typical a Hong Kong home meal as it gets. Two people showed up….By August… he was serving 30 to 40 dinners daily and several people were crashing overnight on the floor of his work space. Andy started calling the office — a hip loft with gunmetal slate floors and shelves filled with collectible toys — a “safe house.” Soups are the taste of home, according to both Andy’s mother and many Hong Kong soap operas, and he makes sure to serve one, slow-cooked, at every meal… When, at the end of the day, the accordion metal gate of Ms. Sze’s shop is drawn shut, it reveals a hand-painted mural that could pass for a Hong Kong political philosophy: “Uphold Human Rights and Eat Good Food.”

Activists need safe harbors.

We all do.

Just as Quixote and company find their way out through the labyrinth of their own confusion.

Hopefully we all can.  








































































































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