Friday, January 10, 2014

A discovery. A correction. Urban forest redux.


Priska continues to work on her studio.

ETHEL is done with recording, out of the gym and back in the balcony. I’ve got their music all day long.

Eldridge is back again. He shrugs his shoulders. I shake my head. And he speaks relatively plainly. OK, OK won’t ask for money. Just want a cigarette. Got to get out of here. This bull shit, here. Got to run here, got to run there. I gotta go to North Carolina or something. What you think about that? This here, bullshit. And he gets up and lumbers off.

Jeremy G is checking out final details for the residency of the Workcenter Project with Mario Biagini that is beginning tonight.

I think I hear my name being called through the closed doors. But I keep working. Later I’ll find that Sean’s electric cart battery is gone but his acoustic wheel chair is back. Left behind. Like a sinner on Rapture day.

Noche is hard at work preparing for their short Connecticut visit.  I ask Soli how her knee is doing and she’s determined to keep on going. I offer to try a healing and we both laugh.

When I return from the Village and my church and society meeting, Mario’s choir is wrapping up, filling the sanctuary with the sound of southern Appalachian style music. He’s working on taking the Gospel of Thomas and other gnostic texts and translating them into gospel music style. I think of the arc of the day from ETHEL to Noche to now the sounds of  Mario’s Workcenter choir. And I smile.

Mario brings in  two of his choir members, Lloyd from Alabama and Gabrielle from Brazil.  They cold be cousins of Bread & Puppet. He met RL earlier. Mario smiles and says He’s like a character from a Coen Brothers film. I think RL would like that.

RL walks in. I’m ready to walk out. But he says, Don’t you want to hear about my adventure? And of course I do. He leads me to a pew. There seems to be a well wrapped body. Boots sticking out the bottom. This is what I found, he said.  It’s like a clothes dummy, built or constructed by someone escaping from home—or prison—wanting you to believe that they are still there. Did Rachel do this? If so, why? Where is she?

RL came in  the dark. Saw the body. Tried grabbing the foot and shaking. When there was no response, he got concerned and called me. If it was dead, I knew you’d be upset, he said.   But if not, I’m not afraid to take on anyone who’s wide awake. But people you wake up, that’s another story. I waited 20 minutes for the police.

What did they say?, I ask.

Let’s just say they were kind.

We will replay this more elsewhere.

             * * * *

CORRECTION: The original singer of Early on One Christmas morn was Frankie Half-Pint Jaxon, not Freddie Half-Pint Jackson. Only 5’2.  Toured with Bessie Smith.  Recorded with the Harlem Hamfats and the Black Hillbillies.  (Today in he subway system we have the Ebony Hillbillies.) Did design for Ethel Waters. New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, New York and Boardwalk Empire era Atlantic City. Gospel, burlesque, vaudeville. And a pioneer of female impersonation. And finally worked at the Pentagon. (What??!) Here’s to you, Frankie, wherever you are.

               * * * *

This is the bookend of the urban forest whose front end was the arrival of the  Christmas trees from Quebec right before Thanksgiving to make their way into our homes and be dressed and decorated, surrounded by presents and gathered families and friends and parties. Now discarded and piled in the streets. Their dried and crushed needles filling the sidewalks with the fragrance of fir, spruce and pine.  To be gathered. Mulched. And added to the ongoing ecosystem of Central Park. The cycle continues. I breathe in as I walk down the street. Watch my breath in the night air.

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