Friday, August 27, 2021

From Joy I Became a Fabulous Opera, The Long Goodbye and Other Arias as Summer Turns to Fall


Mom and the Medici portraits

Maggie Wrigley writes:
"What a great night with the mighty Vivien Goldman! Her great band Dunia and Aram of Dubistry and old friends and beautiful people..."
Raymond Foye posts
"JACK HIRSCHMAN'S HNYC from Russ Tamblyn's Skyline Press, Topanga, 200 copies. Purchased at City Lights in 1979 for three dollars. How many great small press publications did Jack begat?"

Joe's fundraiser for court fees. 
Line Three defenders facing criminal charges. 

Dodi and Vivian, NYC, 2021, Carson and friends. NYC. 1950.

A lot of the other parents dropped off their kids at college, Mt Holyoake, Vassar, McGill, posting shots of kids we knew in grade school, moving into dorm rooms where we once lived, and met people we wrote stories about.

We had a few more weeks in New York before the little one moved out West, taking in the bits of the odd hot transition into fall, classes, meetings, parties, covid tests, friends testing positive even with the vaccine, more tests.  Growing up is never simple.  We’d barely figured it out before the little one came into our lies 18 years ago, forcing up to think fast, look beyond ourselves and help her with a transition, deprivations, moving into this crazy world, one stroll through the neighborhood as a time, day by day, fall by fall.


I walked past the Gowanus, where the rezoning seems to be moving forward, condos planned for a flood plane. At Union Street bridge, workers stand about, an old building – once a hideaway and  kids playground, ripped down by the bulldozers, secret places disappearing along the waterfront.

An old vacant lot where the kids rode bikes away from cars, now filled with big plans.


“NY, NY” wrote

Jack Hirschman


“It’s big

It’s ugly

I hate it

I love it

I’m free


Talk to me

Can’t you hear me

I can’t leave it

I’ll do anything for it

It’s filthy

It’s so sweet

I adore it

I’m staying

I’ll never leave….”


I feel the same way, not sure I’ll ever find my way out.


On I rode to Barbes to see my friends, toasting to the end of summer.

Emily’s 25 years in the city,

Occupy Anniversary coming up.

Josh was there.

Look.... he said pointing to  bike carrying a tuba riding

 by... ahhhhhh the sites and sounds of Brooklyn summer.



George Hirose invited me to a show at Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center.

“There will be one last performance of “Once Upon a Time on the Lower East Side” outdoors this evening, Friday 8/20. it has been a blast working with this amazing group of artists and puppeteers! Come and check it out …The play is an homage to immigration, activism, neighborhood community gardens and local heroes! (including my friend and photographer Corky Lee, RIP)… as part of the International Puppet Fringe Festival…”

On we walk through the city, visiting places we’ve been over the 18 years between that surprise 2002, a new friend arriving and departing, the eternal tension Freud understood as the ordeals of intimacy of our lives.

Saturday, we strolled through the park, to the west village to see Tim, past the Chelsea Hotel after a workout, talking about the luminaries, Stooges and Iggy, Janis and Leonard, Dad and Dodi who hung there.

Off to Metropolitan Museum to meet mom, exploring the Medici portraits and the new-woman-behind-the-camera.

We’ve been dragging them to this place with their grandmother literally their whole lives, connecting ideas from travels and art history, aesthetics, books they’re reading, on and on and on.

Its fun to be here with you, said mom, as Caroline and Dodi joined the teenager and I already there.

Off we strolled to the time of the Medici, questions about friendship and the Earthly Republic:

“friendship embraces innumerable ends; turn where you will it is ever at your side” says Cicero in a portrait, among a circle of poets, painters and sittings, subjects and objects, painting for  portraits, writing about each other, their stories of the Lives of the Artists Vassari traced.

All afternoon we looked before a late lunch down the street.

The kids went to Tompkins and we made our way back home, reading on the roof as the sun went down.

They don’t want us to join.

I was in that part before you were born, I think.

They are finding their own city, showing me things.

I saw the Pink Clouds at El Jardin Paraiso and brought them stickers.

Now they play at La Plaza Cultural for all their friends, on a first name basis.

The teenager tells me about Vivian Goldman show in Greenpoint.

This time, she lets me come along.

At the show, Vivien reminds us about those days when you just had to go with a vibe about a person.

That was what the launderette was all about.

And we danced, snapped a few shots,

Dodi from Brooklyn... and Nora from Queens... hanging tough in between.

Vivian singing about her BFF and Bestie, the stories about Ari Up and squatters and friends.

Its an odd thing, watching them grow up into their own people, finding their own city, their own stories and radio shows and music and movies and directions, from Brooklyn to Berlin, New York to Westwood.


Increase, reduce… coming and going.

Here and gone, departure and return, Freud interpreted watching the child saying goodbye to his mother, before she returned.

We all say goodbye.

Kids, Parents, we all do.


I spend as much time as I can reading Parisian Lives, Deirdre Blair’s memoir of writing about Becket and de Beauvoir….


Beckett was a piece of work, thought the his biographer… “He refused to dine out at one of his favorite locates, so they ate a simple meal at Beckett’s apartment, during which he kept repeating, “What’s the sense of living when all your friends have died?”


What a lament…

You’re not deal until you are dead.

Make new friends.

Maybe that’s the point in the book, says Caroline, chatting.

Maybe it’s not that easy.

But passing is real, so are new milestones.

And sometimes you never quite feel like that again.

Some friends are lost.

The feelings we had with them never quite come back.


The dreaded first week of school is around the corner.


First class. Ready to go. Trauma, policy, field, another year online. Pandemic still here.

Lynn and Jen say #safetyfirst #CUNYSafeReturn at a demo at CUNY central before classes start.


I’d been trying to get done with a draft of my friendship book.


Finishing this writing, San Francisco poet Jack Hirschman shuffled off. “Rest in Power Jack Hirschman,” wrote James Tracy. “In the 1990s, you ... opened my mind to poetry of the political imagination. That was the language of our friendship that always helped us find comradeship.”  Jack used poetry to support us all, reading at the hearing for David, recalling Brad, passed onto oblivion in Oaxaca.


The obits are always a better read, more telling than the front page, I think perusing Charlie Watts and Stanley Aronowitz obits in the same edition.

58 years a Rolling Stone, never missed a show,  finally joining Brian:

“This is the story of Brian Jones, he was a member of the Rolling Stones…”


I walk through the city with the teenager, looking at this part of Park Slope where she went to middle school, or Karate or to a show at Judson in the West Village or performed with her band, or went a roller derby practice in Bushwick, back to Tompkins, or a trip to Veselka, in awe of the passing of time, from childhood to teenage years to adulthood, 18 years, with a best friend who was there when I said goodbye to Keith Cylar in 2005, walking through Brooklyn Heights, my head spinning and to Florida with us when her grandmother Regina passed later that fall, and to Long Beach, where we went to the same school, and nine years later when my dad passed, after visiting the Chelsea Hotel and eating bagels at Yonah Schimel, dropping off supplies during the pandemic, walking to Red Hook on Sundays, on and on and on.


It all passes.

In a busy city, its not always easy to find new friends.

I think about what Beckett thought sitting in Paris, with dozens of people a phone call away, with no one to call a friend.


Sarah Menefee didn’t want to wake to the news about Jack’s departure.

“I slept very late today, as though l knew l would wake up to grievous news. Between asleep and awake l saw a little mirrored body of water surrounded by vibrant light lemon yellow. Such a feeling of vibrant life and also peace. Words fail. It just was. Oh heart that turns into the light at the heart of light! Oh”

Father, don't you see I'm burning?” the dead boy told his father in a dream.

Departures and are common.

So are arrivals and dreams.

Can’t you see I’m burning?

Wings of Desire remind of what happened.

There are angles in the streets of Berlin.

Harry was gone.

That’s how the Third Man, began, with a funeral.

Looking for a friend who’d disappeared in Vienna after the war.

Then Orson Welles re appeared.

Harry lives.

The long goodbyes are everywhere.




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