Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shakespeare. Prayers. An empty St. Ides


Edward is there asleep when I open the doors.
Edward, wake up. You’ve got to go. Can’t sleep here during the day.
I’m not alseep.
Yeah, I know. I just woke you up. Time to go.
I’m goin.
Go inside. Start to work. Danielle arrives. Then John walks in. Wants to talk about his upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Gospel Parodies by his Dark Lady Players. He’s not only my advisor on business plans but has his own radical take on Shakespeare and through his research has discovered gospel parodies woven throughout Shakespeare’s plays. He’s also developed evidence leading to the conclusion that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by Emilia Bassano, a black Jewish woman, Shakespeare’s Dark Lady. His work is good strong stuff for interfaith exploration and dialogue. He’ll be using Woodshed’s sets to present his production as museum theatre with docents and all.  And we agree to host a talkback session after one of his performances with special invitations to our neighborhood clergy and their congregations. 

(For more on the Dark Lady Players, see  Website
I see John out. Edward’s still there. Still asleep. 
Edward, you got to wake up man.
I’m awake.
You got to go.
I’m goin.
Danielle and I are reviewing what all went on while I was gone. A well dressed professional African-American or Afro-Caribbean woman walks in.
How can I make an offering?, she says.
You can give it right here, I say, and introduce myself. 
Her name is Desiree. She works at a mental health facility across the street. Been there about a month.
I saw the church, she says. The security guards told me it was closed and then I came over and praise the Lord, it was open! I like to come in here, gather my thoughts. Pray. It settles me. I’m thankful. I want to make an offering.
I tell her that’s why the doors are open. She’s welcome anytime. And we worship Sundays at 11. As I see her out, Edward is still there.
I know, I know.
An older white woman walks by, looks at us.
What the fuck you lookin at?, he says, Get the fuck outta my face. She looks down. Walks on up the street.
Edward, you can’t be talkin to people like that. Can’t do it. Not right. How are you feelin?
Horrible. Like shit. Dead. His eyes are bloodshot, glassy.
Those Outreach folks want to help, you know? They can find you a place.
He waves me off, dismissively.
Anyways, you can’t stay here. I had to get you t the hospital man. I don’t want to do that again. It’s no good for you out here. 
As Danielle and I start again, Deacon James comes in. The VA is moving uo his trip to Nashville. Evaluation first, then the procedure. It’s wearing him out.
I saw my man out there, he says. I been there. Know what it’s like. He’s got some intelligence. Just messed up behind tha stuff, that’s all. I can’t even touch it anymore. Not with my blood the way it is. I got to tell him I’ll walk beside him if he wants, side by side. 
We go back outside. Edward’s gone now. Only a bag left. Let me guess, I say, yeah, a St. Ides 40. That’s his favorite. 
Danielle and I talk. Reachout wants to be kept informed. But if he doesn’t respond, well, the it will have to be 911. 
Stephen comes in. Checking out last minute details on the Woodshed previews starting Wednesday. The time grows near. 
A represntative of a non-denominational church comes in. They’ve been meeting at a public school. New church state interpretations mean they’ll have to leave. Looking for new space. Danielle will give him a tour. I’ve got to go meet Jane at office annex #2, ie, Starbucks. Talk about the sustianable boiler tour I missed. Our Wednesday night study series we’re planning. Collaboration.
When I get back, Marc is there to discuss contract issues. Hope soon arrives and we talk together about a social initiative we want to launch. And how to keep the AC informed.
I head to the backyard, our crumbling patio, as the Times called it, for a PHEWA call planning an intepretive event in Pittsburgh next summer. The need to share the context, the organizing change work going on. I agree to follow up on my connections. My old hometown. Stephen is sitting, looking pensive. 
Hope and Marc and Danielle are finishing up. Marc heads off to our gala meeting cross town. There will be more contract discussion.Strategizing. Danielle considers coming, too. Go home, I say. It’s been a long day. And mine has a ways to go.

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