Monday, October 5, 2020

Glacial Pothotes - Microbes to Metropolis

Dreamscapes and friends in the garden. 


we found ourselves walking among the glacial potholes in the forests of Inwood, the Hudson obscured by trees.

"Just off the path, in an area of Inwood Hill Park known as “The Clove,” are a series of rock formations that have fascinated geologists and hikers for generations," says My Inwood. "These glacial potholes, which look almost man-made, are the product of glacial runoff that occurred during the last ice age some 50,000 years ago.  During a huge melting event 'turbulent, rock-fortified swirling water making its way through crevasses reached the underlying bedrock and drilled the holes.'"  

Looking at them, we seem to observing time itself.

Some things never go away.


On Friday, a woman asks for some food on 40th street.

I give her a bag of groceries Kate gave me from Matt Ebert's donations at New Alternatives.

 “I source all the food from various farms within my reach,” says Ebert, a veteran of ACT UP. “To gather the produce, I shop at about eight farms in total. Either organic, or non-secular farms—Amish and Mennonite. All the food is non-chemical, most is organic."  

I got started because of the pandemic and the lack of fresh food access.

Also, it’s so easy here to get fresh healthy organic or no chemical food

So it made sense to put 50 people who need it on to the tip.”


New Alternatives is distributing this food and support for the queer kids, the homeless kids, many living in parks, such as Inwood, the corners, under bridges.

"With food prices up and food stamps super low people are in a jam," says Kate.


Kate sends me out through the Bronx, with a list of people who need supplies,

where I spend the afternoon dropping off food.

I start in Upper Manhattan,

Amsterdam Ave in Washington heights.

Up to the Bronx, to Trinity Ave, garbage strewn about.

On my way to Morris Park Drive and Drye Ave, locating addresses, double parking and connecting with New Alternatives clients.


Driving I'm thinking about Elizabeth Owens, who knew this crowd like few else.

She shuffled off just a few weeks ago.

Tim Murphy's article about her had just come out:

"She was also widely remembered for her signature line, “Thank you for coming to work today,” which she would say to everyone from politicians to fellow activists.

“It wasn’t just a greeting,” former VOCAL colleague AK Saini wrote on Facebook. “It was her whole ethos and way of being in the world. It was an expression of gratitude and, perhaps even more so, expectation that you will show up to do the work today and every day.”

Said Jeremy Saunders:

“She strongly believed that we had to be a family for one another, especially if we’d been abandoned by our biological families or stigmatized by larger society.”


Friends from countless NYC worlds,

showed up at Elizabeth's funeral, showing us what an abundant space this can be.

We can have gratitude for each other.

We can love each other.

Elizabeth's life reminds us of that.


I was supposed to be driving through the South, for Trish's service.

 My Aunt passed the week before.

I was going to go down, drive through the Spanish moss into that old space.

But it wasn't to happen.

This like so many other plans was not this year.


My friend Rob told me his old home town went up in flames on the West Coast.

"Fires and floods, plagues - what's next?"

So, we watch the flux of the moment, plagues, fires, greed, a president offering a case study in hubris.

Says Octavia E. Butler

"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery."

Reeling in it, we watch.

I listen to the reports about the president's sickness all day long, dropping off supplies, watching taking in the beauty and the trash,

the desperation and resilience of the people I meet.

In the news, I see that Tucker Carlson is upset with the left for making light of the positive diagnosis of the POTUS. He's upset at all of us for being mean, just like they were mad at the aids activists for being mean to Reagan after he ignored aids and let our friends die. 208,000 deaths later from COVID and he's ridiculing Biden for wearing a mask, exposing his staff and supporters to this. They are upset with us for chiming in on this morality play. I am not happy anyone is getting sick. I wish they had not politicized public health.

I wish they were not attacking the affordable care act. I wish they were letting the scientists speak instead of the politicians. We're not supposed to worship false idols. We are taught not to think we're better. We're taught to read the science. Not wearing a mask in a pandemic, it’s called hubris.  How are we to handle the textbook excessive pride from the POTUS? Sophocles' taught us with Oedipus.


Back home,

we're all hanging tough, trying to learn from each other, give enough support, enough gratitude.

Well into October, and the kids still haven't set a foot into the classroom.

The light in NYC is gorgeous.


Saturday, we hike through Inwood,

back to Brooklyn and off to the Lower East Side,

where the garden people are out.

Its a hello and a goodbye, says JK.

We're used to seeing each other every day.

But we've been secluded.

So this is a hello and a goodbye for winter.

But i see you every week, i say.

Gardens are for everyone, I tell Charles.

They are an invitation to our imagination, to look at the earth.


JC and DD are at

Grace Exhibition Space 182 Ave C between 11 & 12th St.

"Current artist in residence Elizabeth Detjens Maucher, aka DD, Is around [for] a fantastical journey from Microbes to Metropolis by MoS MoBS LoBS Lab.  MoS and participatory arts, amending soil, making kombucha.  The Loisaida Plaza of the Wind at 11th St. on your way between garden offerings."

Paradigm shaking, shifting, stories and poems and plays, reimagining the city, JC tells me about his new play, DD leads me through the gallery, reminding us all of the possibilities we have if only we imagine.

Samuel R. Delany did so for decades, walking these streets, drafting his manifestos:

“Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they—and all of us—have to be able to think about a world that works differently.”

I still adore the East Village, our Brooklyn, our communities, our gardens.

DD and JK give me mugwort plants for my dreams.

Put them under your pillow says JK.

Uptown a car was making its way through my biking comrades.

Peace flew over me, watching, feeling, letting go, tapping into that inner landscape.

On Sunday, a slow breakfast with the teenager, before Micah's sermon,

reminding us we are all still learning from the exodus,

the movement of the Israelites, out of the desert.

"out of the house of slavery..."

We can escape bondage.

But we have to imagine that way of looking.

Says Octavia E. Butler:

"We can, Each of us, Do the impossible As long as we can convince ourselves That it has been done before..."

Mom and I ruminate on her departure from Georgia, not wanting to go back.

At La Plaza Cultural Ave C and 9th Street.

Penny Arcade is pontificating about our city, separated from us by a fence, reading from her from her assorted works “Front Row Seat At The Apocalypse”

"We've become a monogenerational movement," says Arcade, lamenting the homogenization of the city.

“The cupcake is a tool of oppression.”

"I am all the ages I have been.

I spent a lot of time knocking around. "

My dreams were wondrous I tell JK,

She must like you then.

Thank you.

The feeling is mutual, even as we are walking in between those glacial potholes.


 Message from Diane Green Lent:

The so-called Proud Boys can't hold a rally in Philly.

A bright spot from a friend in Philly:
“The Proud Boys — a white supremacist group with a stupid name — planned a rally a block from my house today. The "belly of the beast" rally. Because apparently that's where I live — the belly of the antifa beast. Whatever the fuck that means.
2 hours before it was supposed to start, the park starts filling up with my neighbors. A drum line shows up. A brass band plays. The anarchists are giving away vegetables and nachos and some artists are selling jewelry. Black leaders give speeches. We chant Breonna Taylor's name. And all the other names.
No right-wing rally ever coalesces. There was never room for a critical mass to congregate. A lost-looking man or two walks to the park, doesn't see their people, turns around. A right-wing vlogger trying to debate people is surrounded and walked to the edge of the park. Someone spotted with a handgun is chased through the park, to their car, by over 100 people. The ice cream truck music plays the whole time.
The usual guys set their chess tables and start playing, the crowd of neighbors start to break up.
Nazis, we will replace you. We will displace you. We will be louder and more numerous. We anti-fascists are full of music and love and nachos. We will always replace you."
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