Sunday, October 16, 2011

A clean sweep

In the church alone, waiting for the clean up day to begin, I feel very depressed. Can’t find our brooms and pans anywhere. When I get the cleaning closet door open, it’s filled with garbage. Some bags left over from the Tenant closing night party. In the control room, the chapel, it’s a disaster area. Coffee grounds about to come alive. Food in the refrigerator. The apartment rooms not cleared, bags of bottles, left over items. And our archival display still not put back up. I’m all for solidarity with Zucotti Park, but don’t want our home looking like Occupy Wall Street’s been camping out there. The load out seems to have been abandoned halfway through. There has to be a plan. Soon. Hope, others beginning to get angry, feeling disrespected. And it’s on me. Time to call Stephen.
Deryl arrives and heads to the basement to continue painting the bathrooms.
Hope arrives first. The Daecon James. I’m not going to waste time. I go to the hardware store and buy new brooms, a long handled dust pan, push broom. And we get to work. Luis arrives, we pull out all the pieces of the archival display, lay them out, look at the diagram. get the ladder. Ready to remount. 
Marsha comes. Time to clean the office, put it into order. Sort through, throw away papers. James is polishing the piano, the pews. I go to the steps with a broom, the first time in a months. Find an empty St. Ides 40. There’s a man asleep on the sidewalk. And Edward in the north doorway. Awake it seems. With a backpack. A child’s comforter.

He sees me, starts kicking cigarette butts to the sidewalk, I’m helping you clean up, he says. Got to keep the church clean, he says. You got too much stuff, Edward, I say. I’m not movin it, I’m  watchin my shit, takin care of my shit. And he scowls. I go inside, look out, he’s gone. His things remain. 
Hours later, things are looking good. We move the communion table, the pianos. Luis is getting ready to leave. We look outside again. Edward is passed out, clutching a bag in the north doorway. I try to wake him, tell him he knows he can’t sleep there during the day. He doesn’t move.
James comes out, C’mon, Eddie, you got  to get up, man. Luis comes out, too. C’mon  Eddie, we been through this before. Don’t make have to call the police. He rouses a little, Go ahead,call the fucking police see if I care. C’mon, Eddie do me a solid, I’m tryin to help you here. yeah, ‘I’m goin, I’m goin he says. But I have to see some movement, says James. Yeah, yeah, yeah..
James touches  his shoulder, gently. Pulls a bit at his blanket. You take your fuckin hands offa him, from out of nowhere, like a superhero swooping in, Charlotte swoops in.  Don’t you fuckin be pullin at him. 
I’m not pullin him, I’m pulling the blanket, says James. 
You live in my palce, she says, eyeing James, you leave him alone. 
We’re trying to help him, you understand? he replies. 
Charlotte pushes her body between Edward and James, C’mon baby, you got to get up now, she says, now baby, you got to get up. She keeps this up until he begins to rouse, raises himself up wobbly, hands her the bag with the bottle. 
He’s up, facing me. Unties the sweater from around his waist, lets it drop. Half raises his fists, looking at me, You come on, motherfucker. 
I don’t really think you want to do that, Edward, I say. 
C’mon baby, c’mon, says Charlotte, we goin now, we goin now. Back to my place, we goin. He turns begins to go with her. Good goddam thing I seen you from across the street, she says. 
C’mon, says James, let it be. Go back inside. And we do. Luis leaves. Ten minutes later, the doors rattle and Edward storms into the church, fists raised, c’mon, motherfucker, c’mon, you come get me now. 
C’mon, Eddie, says James, we got this to a good place. Don’t be takin it back there again. C’mon man w egot a good ending. Don’t mess with it. C’mon and he slowly walks towards him, slowly easing out the door. You take care, Edward, I say, as James walks out with him. 

I step outside to take a call. It's my friend Uli from Berlin. He's just back from a solidarity march in Berlin.  Thousands turned out to march in support of  what's going on here.

Jeremy has come in to practice. He's excited about the new venture emerging from Sacred Center. A venture that could lead to a permanent presence here. Who knows what could happen when you live in the same building?
Another hour or so and we’re done. Looks good. I go down to check on Deryl. Still hard at work. I tell him I’m leaving,to let me know when he's gone and I’ll come back and deadbolt. Outside, Edward is passed out again in the north doorway. I’m done. For now. I’m on my way to a rally. A demonstration. At Times Square. Occupy Time Square. 

(Read my report on Occupy Times Square here:

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