Saturday, September 1, 2012

Even love


I arrive at the church to find Edward asleep in the north doorway and a large pile of cardboard in the south doorway, like someone grabbed a whole recycling bundle and dragged it here. And Danielle is on the steps, wearing gloves, picking up. Unacceptable.

I tell Edward he’s got to go. He gives me that sullen look and says I’m goin’. I continue to stand there. And I don’t need you fuckin’ standin’ over me...he says. I wait another couple of minutes then head down 86th to Jamie’s where the rental truck is with Steven and Teddy. I explain the situation. And that it is unacceptable. Teddy comes back to the church what me, Edward has gone, but there’s still a mess. Teddy helps gather up  the cardboard and he and Danielle and I  talk. Which is not easy given the jackhammers and digging being done as Con Ed digs a trench down Amsterdam to get at the electrical damage that has been done. Teddy tries to explain  it to Danielle. Then says, Be glad it was electric. If it was gas, we wouldn’t be here...The steady staccato sound of jack hammering will continue all day. 

Con Ed at work

Ellen Chandler, an older opera singer, has come with an idea for  Natioanal Opera Week. It seems she’s done great work with senior citizen groups in recent years. We explain that we’ve got no capacity for promotion or production, she’d have to do that herself.  She understands. She shares with us her scrap book of reviews, programs, etc. Her repertoire ranges from opera to Broadway to light of so many dreamers....

RL is back again. Hs discovered some dampness in the room he’s working on. Best case scenario, we figure it out , deal with an easily accessed pipe and we’ve solved a bigger problem. Worst case, we can’t locate it within the wall and he does a limited stop gap repair. Living with this building is like dealing with an aging body. It stays alive, but there’s aways something. Nobody knows.....nobody knows....

Tracy stops in to continue our ongoing exploration of organizing, radical social change, religion....I take her by Martin’s studio where a Noche rehearsal is in full flash. I want her to see that in the justice  struggle, beauty remains part of the whole, 

We go to the B. There’s a lot on the table. Organizations where lines are drawn. Do you agree or disagree? The continuing pressure of political correctness. (Yes, it’s still an issue.) Who draws the lines? I ask. Well, it’s a collective process, she says, or supposed to be, but.... I nod.

She tells me that in traditional Marxist-Leninist groups, love and friendship are seen as distractions, negative interference in accomplishing the ideological goals. On behalf of the people. I talk about how abstract ideological purity apart from real peoples’ lives winds you up with Pairs educated intellectual Pol Pot and a lot of dead people. And how Che had said At the risk of being ridiculous the true motivation of a revolutionary must always be love.  And how frequently so called vanguard groups acting for the people (not with) end up destructive. 

Then I recalled my high school reunion. Th woman who sat bedise me.  Didn’t remember me from high school, as I didn’t remember her. Told me she had been quiet back then. Nondescript, not visible. . Then she told me of her years of working as a burse, her long marriage, her husband’s death two years ago from cancer.  Her children. And how once again I felt deeply how every human life is infinitely valuable, infinitely beautiful and infinitely sacred. Just one life holds all we need to see the holy. And our need to see the beauty of simple life as it is. Therefore, Tracy, every life must be valued, respected, loved. How in Nicaragua and the Middle East, when I returned two summers ago,  I had heard the language of transformation overtaking  the discourse of liberation, that our lives are holistic and our revolutions need  to be holistic, even as we are more thah material manifestations. And I will choose where I will make my commitments on that basis. Rigor, yes. Discipline, yes. But respect of reach other’s diginity and yes, even love, yes. The beauty of Occupy was the heartfelt desire to begin living in new ways now. To live out the change desired. Romantic. But nonetheless necessary. I admire her commitment, her militancy, her never ending questions. Knowing her combination  of mind and heart will not make it easy for her.

Back at the church, the Con Ed workers have knocked off for the day. Teddy and I will  head out to review the day’s events and talk strategy.  He will tell me how he saw Edward and Charlotte walking down the street holding hands. In the midst of the ongoing traumatic chaos of their lives, there remains this touch of grace.  Jeremy and the Magi are hard at work rehearsing for their Saturday gig. A full line of flamenco dancers is setting the floor on fire in the studio.

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