Monday, July 27, 2020

History and Beach Readings, Escape to Cape Cod

Winter 2019. Not only a politico, a thoughtful literary mind. 
Photo by Erik McGregor.


Photos from #CUNYSummerofStruggle.
by Photo by Erik McGregor.


 History and Beach Readings, Escape to Cape Cod

On the way to Cape Cod, we listened to Ulysses by James Joyce.

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

It is with us every day, each of  the day that make up the weeks, that fill the months, the years of our lives.
 Through a stream of consciousness, we think, the way we dream, fear, remember,  live, throughout a day in  Dublin,
sitting in Cape Cod
a majestic story to take us  through a week.
19 years ago, we were off to Greece,
18 we were off to Paris.
And then  Italy,
And then  Sweeden.
And then Berlin.
And then Italy again. 
Drinking in Dublin.
And then hiking through Spain.
Chasing Cyclops in Sicily.
Swimming the sea in  Sardinia.
Walking  Piss Alley in Toklyo, lost in Shinjuku, Japan,
Protesting in  Hong Kong,
Eating Lau in  Vietnam,
Watching time in Cambodia.
Going for an  anniversary swim in Cape  Cod.

We love Dublin, traveled there together as a family in 2012.
Now we have memories,  movies of Roan Inish,
“I  may be daft, but I’m not blind…”
"I'm not daft" says Fiona. 

Secret road below the surface.

Covid is not over, not  by a long shot.

We still awake to the ascending numbers, history that we cannot escape.

It’s the reality that sinks in  each  day.
The realities congeal  into  a moment. 

“Everyone has a plan till  they are punched in the face,” Steve told  his graduating students, quoting from Mike Tyson.

That punch hits of every day.

Steven Deadalous could not escape it.

Neither can  we.

Trump blue lives matter flags down the street in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

History was  with on the  bike caravan  for  CUNY the day we left.

Marching with John Lewis, declared  my sign.

John, who  taught us about raw courage and good trouble leaving that morning.

Ken and I talked about his pacifism as we rode.

And remembered John who said:

“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don't be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”

A few days into Cape Cod, we heard about Bluestockings closing. 

And Emily rising..

I first met Emily at the Kavanaugh hearings. We got arrested together.
Then did a book reading atbluestockings, then laughed, then fought a pipeline in Brooklyn.

Harvey Milk lost  the first few times he ran.
John Lewis lost  the first time he ran for office.
Emily won  on her first  try.

Brava

Here in Sandwich, we swim every morning, 
Every afternoon, every evening after dinner.

We write in the  morning and read on the  beach, thinking about our lives.
The little one with the Hobbit.
The  teenager takes her  Barnard classes on zoom.
Caroline  drafts the novel  that  will change everything.
From  here to New York and back again with ourselves. 
“It was a loneliness that walked  the streets of the Village and filled the bars, loneliness that made it seem such a lively place,” Anatole Boyard, Kafka Was the Rage.

“The world was a carousel, an amusement park full of spinning lights and loving  noises.”
Diane Di Prima, Memoirs of a Beatnik.

The  first few  days, I make my way through a couple beat, porn memoirs from Dad's old collection.
Caroline just ordered Kafka was the Rage.
Colin said I should read it.
It took di prima 176 pages to get beyond bodies to mention poetry.
 Love her voice.
Broyard,what a writer.
Listening to Joyce with Caroline in free moments, outside reading and writing.
Such gift in the sunset.

The next few days,  I pick up luc sante, rimbaud, and the oranges of hieronymus bosch, miller’s memoir of big sur, another favorite of dads....

My favorite Samuel Delany read Rimbaud and saw a path....
we are all on that drunk boat, floating through time.

Late night swims.
Looking at  the trees
Wandering through the doons.
Afternoon strolls  through Provincetown,
Swimming in  our underwear, under the piers.
Exploring  old bookstores,
Talk  of old trips to New  Orleans.
Thinking  about Rofes and Auden and Oliver, who wrote  here.
Looking at the  Victorians
And old paperbacks.
Picking up a copy of Trout Fishing in America, by Richard Brautigan.
“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.”

Looking at the water  and  dreaming.
The book  about trout fishing wasn’t really about trout fishing. 
“Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream.
I'm not, she said.”

My dreams take me.  
Dad and Will visiting
We went for Indian food on Houston Street, but Dad ran away into the night.
Running away into the  night.
I have no idea where.

Sometimes  I  can sleep.
Or the sadness creeps.

You leave home.
But take yourself.
It’s a simple adage, that  becomes more and more real.

Joyce saw it, chasing Ulysses, remembering Dublin,  writing in  Paris:

“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”


  





Scenes from Cape Cod.




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