Monday, August 17, 2020

Strange Bedfellows and Bike Rides


Sites and scenes from a quiet week in August. 

In the second act of The Tempest, Trinculo encounters Caliban.

Walking on an unknown island, he’s lost and so is Caliban, the monster.

Gradually, the two become acquainted, two worlds colliding.

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” says Trinculo.


Sometimes when we’re lost, we are forced to look at each other,

to see each other, to talk.


The virus finds us.

Reminding us.


Tuesday, we tried to imagine a way outside a rezone Brooklyn.

No more big boxes, lets have spaces where we see each other, public spaces with streetcorner societies.


Only the dead know Brooklyn, I thought riding to see Billy at Greenwood Cemetery on Wednesday.


Looking like Jimmy Dean, he told me stories about encounters, selling encyclopedias in New Orleans, recalling dancers who recognized him at Show World, reading French poetry, along other forking paths from 42nd street to sunset park.


As the day passed, we moved from

Gowanus to Sunset Park, out to Manhattan up to 181st street, out to Pelham, back to Brooklyn,  back home at sunset, after an afternoon of food distribution.


Nekesha Lewis writes:

“The Judson Food Bank continues weekly distribution of family sized grocery boxes with door-to-door deliveries at Baruch Houses, home deliveries to the Bronx and Queens throughout the day and onsite pickup at Judson later this evening.

Feel free to come by Judson and pick up a box of fresh produce this evening between 5:30pm and 7pm to arrange a pick up for tomorrow, July 13.

Huge thanks to Benjamin Shepard and his daughter, Dodi - for volunteering to do our long haul deliveries to the Bronx last week and again this week!”


All afternoon Wednesday, more meals, more friends.

Thinking about what Billy said earlier.

What people don’t see is the same knee that was on George Floyd’s neck will be on all of us, says Billy, referring to climate chaos.



Up to Bryant Park,

Back to Brighton Beach

Sitting on the beach, reading Haruki Murakami’s

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,

Stories of Tokyo, losing and finding friends,

Navigating the subways from Shibuya Station,  a desperately existential experience.

“As we go through life we gradually discover who we are, but the more we discover, the more we lose ourselves.”


We lose ourselves and find something else,

Riding in the Critical Mass,

Streetriders Justice Ride Number XI,

Meeting at the African Burial Ground.

Meeting friends, making new ones, running into old students,

“All men fall back!!!!”


Riding up to Union Square with 5000 new friends,

Talking about the old critical masses,

Looking at the city.

Bodies in motion.


Debating voting.

Please vote in person.

Please put on the mask and do it.


Greeting Ken and Roger and Jessica and Natalie, riding into the evening again.

Strange bedfellows on the ride.


Going back to 2046 later that night, one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen.

Set in Hong Kong, 1966.

“Everyone who goes to 2046 has the same intention, they want to recapture lost memories. Because in 2046 nothing ever changes. But, nobody knows if that is true or not because no-one has ever come back.


It was a drizzly Sunday, plans canceled, everything closed.

This is getting old, I think,

 scrolling through social media, I see I’m not the only one feeling a little down and out.


Lara B. Sharp posts:

“I rarely admit things like this, but today was a really, really rough day for me. 
I miss socializing, so much... Today, I want to go to the beauty salon and get everything done.
I miss fine dining, and coffee shops, and dive bars, and traveling, and live performances, and I miss art openings, and riding the subways, and thrift shopping, and smiling at strangers, and being super busy, and I miss random conversations with weird and wonderful women in the ladies toilets... and most of all, I miss Actually HUGGING My Friends.
Some days are much harder than others.
… I just feel angry and sad, and all I really want is my pre-pandemic life back.
I don’t want to see anymore masked faces.
I don’t want to see anymore unmasked faces.
I’m sick of conspiracies and greed and politics and deaths, and grief.
I’m fed up with Fear.
I’m done with tweets and likes and texts, and live feeds, and FaceTime and Zoom time, and phone screens, and computer screens, and TV screens... and plastic screens.
I miss lipstick and parties, and saying, ‘try my drink, it’s so good’, and I just want my old life back.
Today, I’m not feeling at all grateful for the good things that I have, or for any of my many privileges.
It’s ok to feel this way, sometimes. It’s definitely ok. This is all very difficult, for all of us.

 Me too I post in reply, looking back at the movie.

(Zhang Ziyi) "Why can't it be like before? Please don't go. Stay with me tonight. Let me borrow you."

Chow Mo Wan: “Take care. Maybe one day you'll escape your past. If you do, look for me.


A gorgeous lonely, in splashes of color, I remember Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Reading about Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,

Falling asleep listening to Prospero reminding us we are all players in this magic circle. 



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