Monday, July 26, 2021

Two Apocalipses and a Dream of a City

Riding over Christine’s house, the sun looked a distinct orange, the sky full of smoke from the West.

Two apocalipses at one time with a mutual piss off, said Andrew, back in town after travel during the pandemic. I have no plans to stay or to leave.

LA Kauffman aptly tweets:

2021 in a nutshell: It's safer to breathe outdoor air because of the plague, but the outdoor air is dangerous because of the climate crisis

Amanda Lugg puts it more aptly:

“A total cluster f*ck!”

Refers to the NY Times Reporting on London’s reported opening:

"Over the previous week, 332,170 people tested positive for the coronavirus — the most since January — as the Delta variant courses around the country.

New Covid-19 cases are expected to rise, perhaps reaching the dizzying figure of 100,000 a day later in the summer.

The number hospitalized, much lower than in previous waves of infections because of the vaccination program, is steadily increasing.

Deaths are creeping up.

Details, details. This was Freedom Day, as the government and the right-wing press insistently reminded us.

The time when the English, after more than a year of sacrifices, could let it all out — drink in a crowded room, go clubbing, have everyone over. No need for masks.

But really, it was Confusion Day, a monument to chaos, anxiety and the unknown.

We have no plan.”


In the meantime, the kids are half out the door, one at camp, the other, thinking about Los Angeles. 


 I was dreaming.

“I still feel lost,” said the teenager earlier in the evening. 

Get out and see some friends. 

Its hard to know where they are, she said. 

Its all changed. 

There’s a dress up party in Bushwick. 

Go for it lovely. 


Sleeping the little one and I were on the road, on a train, a boat along a river. 

Bill and Savitri were along. 

Not sure where. 

Arriving at a carnival.

Ever expanding. 

More music, more people, wandering through the night. 

I can’t find the little one. 

Where is she?

From one to the next, I run looking.

No little one. 

Where are they?

Its all changing? 

And in they walked, a smile from ear to ear. 


The buzzer rang on the door, interrupting the dream. 

3 Am

The teenager was back. 

The dress up party was fantastic. 


Maybe its going to be ok?

She’s leaving home. 

Its all changing. 

They found their way back. 

Hopefully I can?


Its another variation in my dream sonata.

Variations on four themes:

I can’t move or wake.

I’m in a hotel lost and the minotaur is chasing me. 

We are separated.

And I have to take a math exam but  I haven’t attended class.


Why the same dreams over my whole life?


What are you telling me?

Why the repetition?

Should I go?

Or should I stay?


Why can’t I let go?

Tripping with Anthony, 

Holding on, letting go. 


We are all dreaming in the city. 


JK and Virginia and I met in the garden, on East 4th Street. 

Babs confessed she spent more time looking at the trees than listening to the poems. What would Gary Snyder say? Is there a difference or anything to distinguish between the leaves or the words dangling in the air between?


Sitting with the bugs in  El Jardin Paraiso. 

Wendy told us about her dreams for the city, 

Tracing an alternative history of the present.

I find myself remembering and imagining.



Alternative History   The Road not Taken work-in-progress by Wendy Brawer

“It’s post Sandy 2013 and the Blueway Plan is accepted by everyone! Work began on making this vision for a durable stormwater surge plan a reality along a 4-mile-stretch of the East River waterfront from 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Developed by New York-based WXY Architecture + Urban Design in concert with local officials and community groups, the East River Blueway Plan adds storm water barriers, wetlands, parks, bicycle and pedestrian pathways and bridges, even a beach along this long narrow park and esplanades.

Preserving and extending the biodiversity, the plan filled long standing gaps in access, equity and storm protection with a comprehensive, habitat-oriented design that was based on ideas that came from community activists and residents who really understood how the river worked, according to Claire Wiesz, lead designer.

The Blueway was perfectly timed to compete in Rebuild By Design, winning $335 million in post-Sandy resiliency federal funding matched by city and state funding to extend this vision into the community, starting with a massive street tree planting and stewardship project that made sure each small sapling thrived. The additional CO2 that’s an outgrowth of climate change helped this community canopy become established and grow more quickly. The native tree species were chosen for their attractiveness to birds, butterflies and people as well as their ability to withstand chaotic weather and longer summers.

At the same time, Greening a Block went public with the data from its first five years of work in the East Village. Using $800K of the Con Ed settlement funding provided in return for bringing dirtier air to the neighborhood, this project leveraged millions more in incentives and tax breaks for every business and residence on their first block, creating over 100 jobs and changing out old boilers, refrigerators, HVACs, and so on for cleaner energy sources. Generating a model for environmental justice communities, the Greening a Block team has recently teamed up with NYC-EJA and New York Renews, a coalition of over 100 organizations devoted to promoting good jobs and climate justice with 100% clean, renewable energy, to bring this model to new neighborhoods.

In mid-2013, a mobility transformation got rolling that made ridership more diverse and commonplace. CitiBikes were planted on corners all around the city, in an ever expanding system that by June 2021, was serving 3 million riders a month. Zipcar and other shared car systems also arrived and concurrently, NYC started metering all the on-street parking, except for shared cars and electric vehicles. Gradually, people stopped wanting the expense of their own vehicle, and the number of injuries and deaths by car crashes plummeted. The streets became much more convivial and village-like, with birds singing and children smiling.

Local Spokes, the Chinatown and Lower East Side bicycling coalition, started new mobility classes and being multimodal became a hot trend for locals and tourists alike, as people bounced from ferry to bus to shared bike to train in the course of a day. Once the Bicycle Culture Center they initiated opened, it was game changing for everyone as new kinds of bespoke bikes and infrastructure moved from that lab into the street. Incubating everything from cooperative repair to energy-generating bikes, this center notably specializes in addressing emergencies and crisis response with bike-based and renewably powered products and services (an outgrowth of Bike Ready, a preparedness how-to video that went viral in 2017).The Center also hosted the year of discussion about the new greenway alongside East River Park, bringing the ever-diversifying number of eBikes, skateboards and micro mobilities (including ADA), runners and walkers to the table.

With the BlueWay plan under construction, local community gardeners were addressing the challenge of the Gardens Rising project, and set out to make stormwater sequestration as popular as growing veggies. While the new rain gardens, bioswales, pollinator patches and resilient solar charging stations were being co-built in the 53+ gardens of Manhattan’s Garden District, sensors were added to confirm how beneficial these interventions were. As a result, nature-based infrastructure, as proposed and produced by the 4LoveandScience Education and Research Collective, began spreading from the gardens to the parks. Once stewardship, composting, carbon-sequestration and other regenerative practices were confirmed as recreational activities, more space was made available in city parks for bio interventions, STEM class labs, demonstration plots and edible landscapes. Urban farms soon flanked the neighborhood, including the rooftop farms at Essex Crossing and the Earth School, and the newly relocated StuyCove native plant food forest which took root in sunny spots all around the community. Complexes with large open space, including Peter Cooper/Stuy Town, Village East Towers and Lillian Wald Houses opened ‘circular farms’ which take in food waste and produce fast growing, nutrition-packed leafy greens and compost for local use.

Work in progress, as of 7/23/2021

Still to come:

Local monuments to Lenapehoking, Young Lords and 1978 solar generation

Pier 42-35

Stanton Bldg

2030 District

LES Ready – climate conservation corps

Repair culture extends to the public realm

Energy bikes, solar charging

Public Space Party, open streets

Daylight creeks

Pandemic-ready with mutual aid,

By summer 2021”

Listening, i found myself thinking about the things that didn’t happen, the dreams that did not happen and the things that did.

More poems filled the garden. 


Anne Lee read:

“Woman I be, a magical singularity

though sometimes I live in loneliness

I can trust my monolone fidelity


then we shared a chaste kiss


Oh! How I hope for miraculous duality;

You know–no diva, no drone, no king, no throne

So please don’t make me say no

if you let me set the tempo, though you might think it slow

I’ll take your hand and show you a little tenderness


‘cause I’m tired of the limb-numb banality–

to only want my ache to be more

So if we take that leap before we learn to walk

we could find ourselves in a violent wilderness

or mired inside an inertial nothingness


So don’t take me for a tease, or for granted, patience please

and keep the faith in I&I and eyes, and ours and hours

‘cause all we got is time and sharing it as we will

isn’t life already whizzing by so fast–

Here Now, Then Gone, The Past.


The future holds a journey to join

in that joy of bodily bliss—

and it StArts with a kiss.”


That joy is always there. 

But sometimes its fleeting.


JK told us about a 

Holographic Rag:


“God and the Devil went to sea

On the ship “From Here to Eternity”

They cruised upon the quantum foam,

And ventured many miles from home.

They left the harbor with plenty of clearance

But soon ran into some interference -


It wasn’t pirates, it wasn’t the weather,

You could have knocked them over with a feather.


The vessel started sinking into the ocean

With a mysterious enfolding motion.


They tossed overboard their personal articles

Till all that was left was subatomic particles

That turned to waves and began to rise

And just at the moment they capsized


God said “Brother, go down below!”


Devil said “God, but don’t you know -

If you should send me down to Hell

My numbers will swell and swell and swell;

So thoroughly entangled are we

That ‘twill happen to you what happens to me.”


God turned to the Devil and said, “My brother,

If I’m your father, are you my mother?”


The Devil said, “Partner, close your eyes.

I think it’s time to synthesize.

It’s not about good, nor evil, my friend,

It's all consciousness, from beginning to end.

Let’s forsake our isolating duality

And sail this ocean of spirituality.”


So remember ere the setting sun

That what seems so separate

Is truly One.

The only sin is our separation

From the great dance of mind-blowing wiggly vibration.

  • Lilith 2017”

It probably is time to synthesize. 

Virginia told us about a lost dog, 

Or possibly a god, that starred at her on the train.

Peter lost control in the park. 

And then found himself giving all the kids the cameras. 

The kids are here.

And they are going. 

We are going. 


On we drove past junk shops, thinking about Johnny and Joey.

The world went to hell after Joey died.

The story pulled at us.

I grieved for my kid for two years before he left, said JK. 

Now its ok.

Its better to synthesize. 

JK is right.


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