Monday, September 21, 2020

“Pressure Drop”: Barbes to MOMA, Losing Toots and RGB, and Elizabeth Owens and Stanley Crouch








ACT UP 29 Action. April 2016,
 Elizabeth Owens RIP. 


Elizabeth Owens RIP, Photo by Erik R. McGregor

Online classes all week and trips out afterward, fall was in full burst.

Greg,  Emily and  I gossiped outside at Barbes on Tuesday.

Carline and I with Jeremy on Wednesday at Barbes.

Thursday, I zipped by the demos at City Hall,

Friends from Extinction Rebellion, Rise and Resist out in force.

Missed the Democracy Dies in a Police State demo.

Still, they had a poignant message.

Brennan and Austin,  Babs and I talked about what happened to us at 7B,

A lost parent here,

what might happen if we won.

 

It almost felt like we were getting back to things.

Still, forebodings made their way through the crisp fall air.

Word of Toots passing, and the Clash playing,

“Pressures gonna drop on you.”

A dialectic from reggae to punk,

Island to the  world,

Toots to The Clash.

“when it drops,

You gonna feel it.”

 

We were gonna feel it.

We were about to feel it, again.

 

Friday, Ken and I rode to the Met.

In the past three falls, we’ve been in DC for the Kavanaugh hearings or the budget vote or fighting for the affordable care act, one crisis after another.

Its so nice riding with you instead of going to DC, I said to Ken on the way to the Museum.

Walking through Dorothea Lange show, images of workers and migrants, sharecroppers and emaciated bodies,

Greeting the Goat in the Sculpture Garden.

The Brancusi sculptures.

These old friends remind me to think of colors, lights splashing through the city.

Off to 303 to say hi to Lisa

Snapping photos, walking the highline.

Up to a favorite bookstore on  41st,

The city is opening  up again.

Looks like those buildings are next, says Ken,

Pointing at the townhouses amidst the skyscrapers on 9th Ave.

“Pressures gonnna drop on you.”

 

And down to Brownsville, we ride.

8.2 miles from Bryant Park.

Brooklyns not a sacrifice zone.

Ken passed me as we rode.

There and back.

String quartets play in the street,

People rushing to service.

 

Watching movies  with he  little  one.

About to go to sleep., the little one had some news.

“Dad, Ruth Badar Ginsberg died.”

Tears of rage

Terror

Its all falling apart.

Why didn’t she step down under Obama?

The checks and balances gone

I remember her coming to court in 1993, before it all fell apart

Before the center crumbled.

Couldn’t hold.

Later that night, Ken sent me  the old Yeats poem.

I’m not sure a second coming is on the horizon.

“Surely some revelation is at hand….”

Fascism looming.

No gods, no masters.

“Vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.”

 

First sad, then accepting.

Either you kill yourself says Camus, or

Embrace the absurd.

That’s what  the  myth of  Sisyphus is all about.

Find the freedom in motion, the freedom is knowing nothing is guaranteed.

 

Kids were out playing stickball in Dumbo.

Old Brooklyn coming back.

Jay Walker invited me to a vigil for RGB:

“This is not about what’s next, though that is important. This is about needing a space for collective mourning for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

This weekend, we hold space for mourning. Monday, we pick up the fight.

…Her words, her decisions. Let’s lift up her memory together.

…light a candle and honor her memory in your home.”

 

I remember  when she joined the court I told Alexis D at Washington Square Park.

Recalling those early days with Bill C.

Its going  to be a rough run.

Mitch has the votes to put them on the court.

No  checks and balances.

They can kill whatever they want.

Civil rights on the ropes.

"What the fuck is going on?” said Jenny. “I've always said I thrive in fascism...."

 

Everyone get to dc, I wrote.

Mourn RGB, and Fight for the Living, says CPD.

Get to dc. If thousands and thousands of us show up, we might have a chance. …

We need to swing a few votes. They are all on record as saying they oppose votes for justices in election years. Lets hold them to their word and be smart about it. We lost with Kavanaugh. We have to win this one. And get Mitch out, swing the courts, and win back democracy.

 

Friends drop by that night.

Going to bed I check my messages.

And see word of Elizabeth.

A post from VOCAL announced:

 

“We are devastated to share that our beloved Elizabeth Owens has passed away.

Elizabeth joined VOCAL-NY in 2010 as an outreach worker and soon became a full-time community organizer, where she built the power of our organization for the last decade.

If you’ve met Elizabeth you’ll remember her. She greeted you with a loud “thank you for coming to work today!” and gave you a big hug, never a handshake. She talked to everyone on the street or the subway, breaking the monotony of a commute to work with her infectious smile & laugh.

She was particularly proud of She’s So VOCAL -- the women’s organizing project she dreamed up and ran for the last several years. She created a beautiful, affirming space for women in our organization to come together to strategize on campaigns, and to lift each other up.

Elizabeth always showed up as her full self - a drug user, formerly homeless, “gay as hell” and a powerful advocate for her community. She was never afraid to be on the front lines of a protest & spent hours knocking doors across the city to recruit & inspire ppl to join our fight.

She will be deeply missed. We love you Elizabeth!”

Elizabeth, last time I saw her was at the VOCAL fundraiser last fall.

Or any number of demos, where she always brought

Hugs for me, welcoming me as a brother from another mother.

Welcoming my kids.

It’s the most important thing you could share with us, your kids, she said.

News and tears.

She’s so VOCAL.

Thanks for coming to work.

Bringing her whole self.

Drug user.

Gay as hell.

Thank  you for coming  to work  today.

We laughed about show world, laughed about being alive, doing the work.

Lots of laughter.

She rejected shame and showed us we could be kind.

Too much  loss.

My mind flashed back to her at ACT UP’s 29th anniversary demo.

“My friend Elizabeth, of VOCAL, spoke about pharma greed.

 

“This is not a joke to me.  I have hepatitis C and they think that my illness is not critical enough,” she explained. “This is not an April fools to me.  I wanna live till tomorrow and the next day. And I’ll be damned if I let anybody make a joke of this. Hepatitis C is very much among low income communities.  Its more than car accidents.  I don’t see any reason to be joking about this.  I wanna live. I don’t give a damn how long it takes.  I’m gonna stand right here and make sure Pfizer and every other corporation knows.”

 

“We got your back!” we screamed.

 

“Lower prices now!  Lower prices now!”


When she finished speaking, I greeted Elizabeth.  And as she always does, she gave me a hug.  I introduced her to my kids.  And, she gave them hugs, thanking them for their support and asking them to come again.  This is signature ACT UP and VOCAL. Lots of love and lots of anger, desire, hope, grief and burning ambition.   It makes a beautiful, smart, sexy, combustible, pulsing movement, three decades and still churning forward, impacting corporate pricing, as well as media, and city and state policy.

 

My daughter wrote a paper about the high hepatitis C drug pricing, speaking with Elizabeth about this problem.

For Elizabeth and members of ACT UP and VOCAL, this is about their lives, our lives, everyone’s lives, those no longer here and those at risk ACT UP has always made this point.  Its about everyone.  Its not over till its over for everyone.”

 

That old feeling grasps me.

 

Sunday, the worries.

Barr and Sedition.

No checks and balances.

Its all lined up.

The little one and I zip about the city.

Into the country.

Listening to tunes.

That afternoon, How We Fight for Our Lives in book group, chatting with my friends about what it all means, to read, to live, to think together.

“Somewhere between the fact we know and the anxiety we feel is the reality we live,” says Mamie Elizabeth Till Mobley in the epigraph.

The reality we live,

The anxiety we feel.

Its with me all the time.

All I’ve, all we’ve worked on, hanging on a precipice.

 

Sunday Jazz.  We sat out listening on Smith Street.

I find myself thinking of Stanley Crouch, another hero, who passed this week.

Back at Vassar in the fall, I found his liner notes, thinking about jazz and democracy, play and politics, aesthetics that could convey the negative.  

The last time I saw him was on Smith Street.   He always reminded us jazz could be a conversation about democracy. “The demands on and the respect for the individual in the jazz band put democracy into aesthetic action,” said Crouch. “The success of jazz is a victory for democracy, and a symbol of the aesthetic dignity, which is finally spiritual, that performers can achieve and express as they go about inventing music and meeting the challenge of the moment.”

We need the conversation to expand, out  into everything.

Fall days, Pressure drop. Pressure is gonna drop on you.

 “The ceremony of innocence is drowned.”















































































































































































 





10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to use this medium to thank Dr Noah, you all should thank him for me. I started having some symptoms, warts started coming in so I went to see my doctor. He carried the test and he said I have (Herpes) so went to another hospital for another test. My doctor prescribed some tubes  and cream which I started using, I use it for a while and I couldn't trace the infection and after a while it came back so I had no choice than to do research on some natural remedies there I saw a post about Dr Noah powerful herbs, I contacted him and purchase the medicine from him which I used for 2 weeks. On the 10th days of using it I couldn't have any trace of if I was not amazed hoping it will come back so that lead to my doctor for confirmation to my greatest surprise the result comes out negative, I was still a bit shocked I want for a month and still no trace then I called Dr Noah to appreciate his work in my life and I promise not to keep it to myself.
      Here's his basic information. Go get in touch with him: dr.noahmedicalcenter@gmail.com, call +1 310 982-4670 and do get your healing.Website https://noahmedicalcentre.webs.com/

      Delete
    2. I want to thank Dr Emu a very powerful spell caster who help me to bring my husband back to me, few month ago i have a serious problem with my husband, to the extend that he left the house, and he started dating another woman and he stayed with the woman, i tried all i can to bring him back, but all my effort was useless until the day my friend came to my house and i told her every thing that had happened between me and my husband, then she told me of a powerful spell caster who help her when she was in the same problem I then contact Dr Emu and told him every thing and he told me not to worry my self again that my husband will come back to me after he has cast a spell on him, i thought it was a joke, after he had finish casting the spell, he told me that he had just finish casting the spell, to my greatest surprise within 48 hours, my husband really came back begging me to forgive him, if you need his help you can contact him with via email: Emutemple@gmail.com or add him up on his whatsapp +2347012841542 is willing to help any body that need his help. 

      Delete
    3. Hello everyone, my name is Alfreed siang  i am here to say a big thank you to my doctor DR OLU who helped me enlarge my penis.i have never had a happy relationship in my life because of my inability to perform well due to my small penis, due to frustration,i went online in search of solution to ending my predicament and than i came across testimony on how DR OLU has helped them, so i contacted him and he promised to help me with penis enlargement,i doubted at first but i gave him a trial and he sent me the product which i used according to his prescription and in less than a week,i saw changes in my penis and it grow to the size i wanted and since then,i am now a happy man and no lady complains again about my penis.if you also need the services of my doctor,you can also contact him on his email..  drolusolutionhome@gmail.com   or his whataspp is +2348140654426



































      Hello everyone, my name is Alfreed siang  i am here to say a big thank you to my doctor DR OLU who helped me enlarge my penis.i have never had a happy relationship in my life because of my inability to perform well due to my small penis, due to frustration,i went online in search of solution to ending my predicament and than i came across testimony on how DR OLU has helped them, so i contacted him and he promised to help me with penis enlargement,i doubted at first but i gave him a trial and he sent me the product which i used according to his prescription and in less than a week,i saw changes in my penis and it grow to the size i wanted and since then,i am now a happy man and no lady complains again about my penis.if you also need the services of my doctor,you can also contact him on his email..  drolusolutionhome@gmail.com   or his whataspp is +2348140654426

      Delete

  2. I want to testify how Dr. BALBOSA cured me of my cronic Herpes that i have been suffering from over the past 4 years. Never give up in life they all say no cure to HSV 2 which is a big lie, I have pass through many processes and i never believe there is really cure to HERPES until I meet Dr BALBOSA the doctor that have been helping many people for many years, I came across this doctor online when I was searching for cure and to my greatest surprise this man have the herbal medicine which I have been looking for. I explained my problem to him through the email I found on someone who testify about him also, Dr.BALBOSA write me a reply and explain how the process work so after ordering for the medicine I got it within 4 days and I took it according to the way Dr.BALBOSA instructed, I was so happy after two week I took the medicine there was very big change in my health, when I was done with the process I went for a test and I found outthat i was negative... that was the day I have the tears of joy, you can also get in contact with my doctor through his email now on balbosaherbalhome@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2347048047728...God bless you all

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happiness is all i see now, i was herpes sicker for 6 years but i thank God for directing my footsteps to Dr Emu, he gave me instructions and i followed and in 2 weeks i was completely cured using his medicine, I am now Herpes Negative Contact Dr Emu for more information, He also has other cure to other ailment, HIV AIDS, CANCER, DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, HEPATITIS B/C And also restore broken relationships such as Ex HUSBAND, Ex WIFE, BROKEN MARRIAGES, Any kind of Problem in any relationship can be restore back in 24hours, Just Email: emutemple@gmail.com  Whatsapp or call: +2347012841542

    ReplyDelete
  4. Powerful Herbal treatment is 100% guaranteed to cure Herpes Virus, The  main reason why most people are finding it difficult to get cured from HSV 1& 2  is because they believe on medical treatment, i want you to know that drugs and medical treatments is not helpful to cure HSV permanently but it can only help you control it but the truth is in life time it will still be inside your nervous system, But Natural roots/herbs are the best remedy which can easily eradicate herpes forever. I never believed it until I was helped and cured of my 2 months genital herpes with natural herbal medicines from Dr. OKITI . Where other medical prescribed drugs and treatments failed, Dr. OKITI herbal medication helped me and cured me from herpes virus permanently and I’m so grateful for this. You can also get help from this great and powerful African Herbalist called Dr. OKITI by reaching him via email: Drokitiherbalhome100@gmail.com or call/whatsapp him at +234 705 067 0365. Thank you so much Dr. OKITI.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I want to use this medium to thank Dr Noah, you all should thank him for me. I started having some symptoms, warts started coming in so I went to see my doctor. He carried the test and he said I have (Herpes) so went to another hospital for another test. My doctor prescribed some tubes  and cream which I started using, I use it for a while and I couldn't trace the infection and after a while it came back so I had no choice than to do research on some natural remedies there I saw a post about Dr Noah powerful herbs, I contacted him and purchase the medicine from him which I used for 2 weeks. On the 10th days of using it I couldn't have any trace of if I was not amazed hoping it will come back so that lead to my doctor for confirmation to my greatest surprise the result comes out negative, I was still a bit shocked I want for a month and still no trace then I called Dr Noah to appreciate his work in my life and I promise not to keep it to myself.
    Here's his basic information. Go get in touch with him: dr.noahmedicalcenter@gmail.com, call +1 310 982-4670 and do get your healing.Website https://noahmedicalcentre.webs.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is another testimony on how Chief Dr Lucky cured my HIV disease. Do you need a cure for your HIV disease? Do you want to be cured from your cancer disease? Or you want to be free from any type of disease. Kindly visit his website https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/ , he just cured my HIV disease and I’m very grateful to him, he is the only herbalist that can cure you.  
    WhatsApp number : +2348132777335 
    Via Email : chiefdrlucky@gmail.com
    Thank you all for reading,
    God bless"

    ReplyDelete