Monday, January 17, 2022

cracked lenses and shuttered drug stores, on Gays Against Guns in Times Square and other January moments


GAG reminds us, MLK was killed by a gun violence. 
We need every New Yorker possible to show up for this action on Sunday in Times Square, and to share it. We need to put the faces of our people whose lives will be endangered if the US Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in this case and eviscerates our safest in the nation gun laws. Please come this Sunday and join Gays Against Guns, Change the Ref, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, and other gun violence prevention advocates to stand up and say, "Hell NO!"
BS and Virginia, by Diane Greene Lent

simone de beauvoir a biography deirdre bair

Thanks for the pic cool @guten212

I can't stop thinking of Simone de Beauvoir  after reading Deirdre Bair's wonderful biography of the writer who  connected ideas, from Marxism to Existentialism to Feminism, in ways few had done before her or would do so afterward. What an activist and thinker.  She loved coming to New York, where she’s sit at the lunch counters and take in the pulse of the city.  On her last trip in the 1983, she sensed something had changed since her previous trip in 1971:

“There are a lot of new skyscrapers… Many of the beautiful buildings I know are torn down and I wonder why, because they seemed in good condition to me. Also Times Square has changed a lot. There were more sex shops then. Now, sure there are a lot of them, but there are also new skyscrapers of beautiful aluminum and glass which mixed among the old, make a beautiful skyline.”  

Sounds familiar.  She went on:

“There are very few drugstores left . Thirty years ago I often had lunch in a drugstore.  I’d sit in the counter and order lunch and a coffee and a sandwich, listen to the chatter, watch the people eat.  It was all very warm and friendly.  Now there are only impersonal fast food places and its not the same. The strange mixture that was the New York drugstore seems to be gone entirely.”

More skyscrapers and less drug stores - it's a story that repeats itself over and over again here. I feel like that's my New York.  I remember when Howard Johnson’s disappeared from Times Square. 

There is still beauty out there.  But you have to look for it, in between the skyscrapers.  We looked for it all week.  Sometimes the fun police were out, shutting things down, turning people away, rezoning, calling cops, displacing, putting up more skyscapters, putting up building permits, clogging the streets with more construction, wrecking balls out, knocking down the old, to make way for the new in the Gowanus, tearing down trees in Lower Manhattan.

Still the surprises remained. 

Mutual aid projects in the Gowanus on Monday. Say whatever you want to say about Eric Adams, but after a pipe exploded in the Gowanus Houses, he was there to make sure the city fixed the pipe and brought the power of the Mayor's office to fix the broken pipe, leaking in the projects.  In the meantime, Gowanus Mutual AID helped  bring people fresh water.

Tuesday, a few of us found ourselves out in East Village, listening to live music. @mothtreee dreaming of Berlin with @fluntmediastudios not quite wasting away in nyc, reminding us to feel the craziness of it all, to dance, on and on into the night. Brain Star channeled Bowie and the city seemed alive, between imitation and flattery on a cold January. 

Thursday, we found ourselves moving from Clockwork to 169 Bar with @guten212 in Chinatown.  Later that night, we walkeding about Bushwick, looking at the rubble, wondering what was to become of it all. 

Jeremy was at Barely Disfigured on Friday, last night in town for three months, chatting us all up, ordering us oysters for free.  Good luck with your trip to Thailand, he bid us adieu. 

Saturday, freezing, we biked to Second Avenue, meeting my two bffs.. for pierogies at Veselka, walking about the East VIllage. On and on we walked, through the cold, to the park and back, looking at the trees, the tough kids in the park, the bathrooms locked, new identities and old, trying to find a place for themselves, between childhood and growing up, here and there. 

In between it, we cocooned in, made fires. 

Sunday, were back in Times Square with Gays against Guns, hoping the Supreme court does not gut New York’s gun laws, talking about friends fighting and reconciling, forgiveness and reconciliation with Virginia, our community expanding, even on a cold day, looming bad news. 

“I was shot… here…” said one witness. “And the gun used is still out there,” he explained, standing in the cold in Times Square.  

Don’t light a powder keg, said Brad.  Can you imagine concealed carry here in Times Square?

Trump stacked the courts.  Their long shadow will be with us for a long time. 

It was too cold to stay long. 

A woman was killed on the Subway. 

More and more people are sleeping on the subways. 

Sometimes, we just gotta have a little faith, in the witches, the saints, the angels, the heretics, the poets, the prophets, the activists, the observers of the city, such as Simone. 

At Judson, Valerie preached about existentialism and MLK, You are included, said Valerie.  Get over it.  Own it.  You are welcome here. 

A welcome antidote after the Ditchdigger visited my dreams… swimming in Santa Monica… from the past forward… elusive, disappearing from there to here to there, not quite here… a year of no contact except for brief appearances in my dreams, apparitions. 

I keep my dream notebook, jotting down notes from visits from my unconscious mind, comparing notes with the kids. 

Notes from the bulletin at Judson memorial. 

The Ancient Testimony 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services… and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.”

Sounds like Hegel.  Or maybe Hegel sounds like Corinthains?

Modern Testimony Excerpts from: Shaking of the Foundations, Paul Tillich:

“But grace is more than gifts. In grace something is overcome; grace occurs in spite of something; grace occurs in spite of separation and estrangement. Grace is the reunion of life with life, the reconciliation of the self with itself. Grace is the acceptance of that which is rejected. Grace transforms fate into a meaningful destiny; it changes guilt into confidence and courage……Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley…….. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: "You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. …We experience the grace of being able to accept the life of another, even if it be hostile and harmful to us, for, through grace, we know that it belongs to the same Ground to which we belong, and by which we have been accepted. We experience the grace which is able to overcome the tragic separation of the sexes, of the generations, of the nations, of the races, and even the utter strangeness between man and nature. And in the light of this grace we perceive the power of grace in our relation to ourselves. We experience moments in which we accept ourselves, because we feel that we have been accepted by that which is greater than we. If only more such moments were given to us! For it is such moments that make us love our life, that make us accept ourselves, not in our goodness and self- complacency, but in our certainty of the eternal meaning of our life…. But sometimes it happens that we receive the power to say "yes" to ourselves, that peace enters into us and makes us whole, that self-hate and self-contempt disappear, and that our self is reunited with itself. Then we can say that grace has come upon us…”

I think about Dad listening to Valerie read. 

And keep on doom scrolling. 

Sascha dropped a word that seemed to point in a useful direction, reconciling Simone’s memories of the city and Tillich’s existential longings. 

"But human beings do not perceive things whole; we are not gods but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capable only of fractured perceptions. Partial beings, in all senses of that phrase. Meaning is a shaky edifice we build out of scraps, dogmas, childhood injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old films, small victories, people hated, people loved; perhaps it is because our sense of what is the case is constructed from such inadequate materials that we defend it so fiercely, even to the death." 

- Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie

No comments:

Post a Comment