Watching you roller skating, doing tricks at Venice Beach this fall, I had a flashback to little Dodi on the move, all those years ago, while we were away, running away from David, as he slept, looking after her, Dodi on the move, out of the house, up the street, leaving us all behind, to where - no one knew.
Dodi Shepard on the move, away from David,
Away from Grandad at Yonah Shimmel Knishes Bakery on Houston Street
Away from Bay Ridge, away from NEST, away from ICE, away from Brooklyn, on the move, away, to parts on known.
And growing, whirling through COVID high school, saying goodbye to the Lower East Side, but not without a thousand trips to Trash and Vaudeville and Veselka and Tompkins and Washington Square Park, walking out to see Eight and a Half.
19 years of Dodi on the move, arriving as war was looming in January 2003, Mom and Dad watching Amadeaus, hours and hours for you to arrive, before getting on the move, skating in Bushwick and Bay Ridge, on the Hudson River and Venice Beach.
Visiting Santa Cruz and San Francisco, making her way back to the city of angels, no to Redwoods, no to Claremont, no to Sarah Lawrence, on her way to Westwood, even if she didn’t agree with Bobby Columbi about what it all meant.
Working with Aunt Caroline all summer, in between a weekend in New Orleans, talking Anne Christine about queer history, stopping at Frady’s One Stop, to bring a message from Lucy, past Dalphine and Desire to the end of the world, desolate decommissioned army base, exploring our favorite places.
Singing about a launderette, where her socks tumbled into your jeans, at the KGB bar, as Indian summer went on and on and on.
Out to Hollywood, running into Rodney at dinner over and over again.
Becoming an inaugural member of the international fun society, exploring the treachery and fun of the city of quartz.
Reading about Dada, her shero, Elsa Hildegard Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven, “Swapping lovers, a rebellion against everything…” - German avant-garde, troublemaker, poet making her way from Greenwich Village to the world.
We all have to have hero’s.
Skater Dodi out to LA making a life on the Western edge of the continent, learning a history of art, taking the bus to Hollywood, looking at the city decomposing, reading about Elsa, walking along Santa Monica, studying in Westwood, finding a secret swimming hole in the woods, every week out to campus at Venice Beach and Hollywood Blvd.
We took the bus to Hollywood Blvd for dinner.
Looking at the surfers and the crazies on the bus.
Eating a burger with Penelope that summer, saying goodbye by that fall.
Back out to NYC, to East River Park, and Jalopy, fighting the fun police at House of Yes, on and on, between covid and christmas, another year older. Looking out for grandma. And wandering back to secret places, the tides at Red Hook, with views and Valentino Pier, looking at the fisherman, munching pierogies at Veselka, taking in the world from Tompkins, left coast, east coast, our favorite places expanding and expanding.
Chatting about it all, plans for Paris where Simone reminded us to think about the Ethics of Ambiguity, writing She Came to Stay in Cafe Flor as the Nazis loomed in the distance.
Her words are worth remembering:
"One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, compassion,” wrote Simone de Beauvoir years later (1970). “It is far better to live a fairly committed, fairly justified life so that one may go on in the same path even when all illusions have vanished." Sometimes those illusions disappear. And the friendships remain.
Dreaming about Berlin and the creature from the black leather lagoon, Lux Interior, RIP.
And Morocco in the movies with Marlena D.
And Danny and the Ramones and Nico.
And Django in Brazil:
“Brazil, where hearts were entertaining June
We stood beneath an amber moon…”
Listening to Matt Bianco:
“So you may find me
Sneaking out the back door with a grin.”
Muses and heroes all of them
Me and my bestie and my bff
“You make no, you make no sense at all.”
19 in Westwood, wow, who knew.
Into the beach and back.
I am more of an absurdist… she says, reading Andre Bredon,
Talking about dreams….
Reminded by what Andre Breton said Manifestoes of Surrealism:
“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
May we all find that resolution.
What a revolution.
Walter Benjamin (1978, p. 189) found the group’s “energies of intoxication for the revolution” tantalizing. “[O]nly the Surrealists have understood its present commands. They exchange, to a man, the play of human features for the face of an alarm clock” (p. 192).
Each day reading, riding, tracing the Signs Preceding the End of the World. “Their gestures and tastes reveal both ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people,” says Yuri Herrera.
Going out every night, to the park, to East River Park, Jalopy, to Theater for the New City.
COVID Comrad, fuck we have it. Damn. Tears. Not on my break.
Weathering the storm with Miyazaki movies and me, Bear and Mom, downstairs, from Tokyo to eternity.
And Christmas in Brooklyn walking to the waterfront.
East River Park Dance Party, with all her boyfriends, jessee and will and will and johnny and nora and dad and donald… nyc now and forever…
Where is that copy of the Surrealist Manifesto?
I thought it was in LA.
No its here.
So are you, for now, before you go back to LA or Paris.
Back to LA, back to Venice, skating away… looking at what happened… at the abandoned carnival, as the people disappeared, and the homeless arrived.
Thinking about NYC, where Richard sang:
“Love comes in spurts - oh no, 'cause
Love comes in spurts - it always hurts
I just can't get wise
To those tragical lies
In dangerous flirts
And it murders your heart
They didn't tell you that part…”
I know love comes in spurts.
But so does the Sunflower soutre.
So do friends.
So do books.
So do skateparks, abounding.
Enjoy your last teen year, with all its promise of tri coastal adventures, from LA to Paris, with a little NYC in between.
Dodi Shepard still on the move.
Out into forever.
Proud of you gorgeous.
Home is always here for you, in your heart,
From ours to yours.