Sunday, November 30, 2014

Not looking forward to going out in the cold


Pat O, RL and Nick end the night

Sean back. Wants to go through his stuff. Yes, next week it will all be gone.

Conversation with Ryan C about social media. Our need to find better ways to get our word out.  Raise awareness. We’re doing great and exciting things. I ask him to come up with a plan. I’m excited that he wants to go to Union Seminary. Not to be a minister, but for a Master's in  arts and ritual. He could be one of those creating the new communities.

Thomas R back from Brooklyn again for his volunteer work . More folding. And going through cabinets, ordering things. He has a truly wonderful spirit. 

Seems like a quiet night at Open Mic, though a variety as usual. Kieran leads off with originals, which is really his forte.
Kieran leads off. 
A young man named Jonathan does some hip hop poetry. Joel does his improvisation with Steve again
Joel and Steve
and Steve has some of his own seasonal music.
Steve alone
Responding to our two days of chilling cold, Joe gives us a Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service.
The Cremation of Sam McGee
Nick has another set of his unique banjo stylings.
Pat O continuing to explore his pedal box.
Pat O
And a repeat of his original song about the Gate. David Lyons, who is seriously part of the glue that keeps everything going, has taken over the Open Mic Facebook page. And is taking photographs to make a record of the night.
David Lyons
With a real camera. ( have no idea what to do, but wind up doing Southern Lady as an opener, my acapella Bottom Line and after a short poem, Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain.

Monday night poem: While rebellion and resistance to oppression are breaking out all across the country, life goes on pretty much as usual
I am at the Gate singing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
The lights of Amsterdam Avenue shining through the window behind me.
Fires are burning. Bridges, tunnels, streets and highways shut down.
It's still pleasant out.
But a storm is coming.

 RL began the night. Held the night together, closed it as well.

Not looking forward to going out into the night.

Poems by Jake Schneider from Awakening 1: 11/23/14

Refrigerator Box Prophet

“The world is a washing machine
set to hot/hot, permanent press.
Now big bad wool-sock’s got little red
running shorts running hot on his heels.

Too many as in the yellow pages these days.
We can’t all come first in the alphabet, or sit tall
like a toddler on a phonebook, our jaws hanging:
hangars for incoming forkfuls.

Why is everyone developed
or developing? Better to cuddle
in the canister imagining our faces.
Exterminate the shutterbugs.

Enough one-way mirrors & streets.
Each snapshot shoots my spirit down–
I’ll snap into Dracula, whippersnappers,
send my image into hiding like a second sock.

I asked for change, but not mined from pockets.
What I got was salutary confinement.
No one to greet.             Hello.                        Hello.
My hands have hardened into cold cups.

My legs are lampposts.
My eyelashes are the frantic moths.
My ribs are gratings over the void
when the subway is passing.

This prophecy isn’t plagiarism
from some Bible, some textbook.
I’ve got a liver filtering somewhere
in there, kidneys, bile spewing.

They tell you progress is a ladder
you can climb if you’re in the mood.  Listen up.
It’s a skating pond with winter ballerinas
doing triple turns around the drowning hole.

Listen up.  It’s a train station built
like a cathedral over whole races
of humans who scoop like moles
to poke their heads out.  Do you copy?

Either I’m mute, or you’re deaf.
I want hands that know dirt.
Fingers that can darn socks,
plant potatoes, dig a grave.

My house preserves my temperature
like a thermometer.  Sometimes I wish
I were somebody’s Frigidaire.  I’d sit
in this box and await my deliverance.

This ice-box, this soap-box.
This box-car soap opera.
They think I’m a box turtle
but I’m mock turtle soup.

Enough cocoon eyes, enough necks tied.  Go on.
Attend your valley summits.  I’ve
got sweat cologne.  The bees

are my colleagues.”



by Jake Schneider
Kyrie, pote se eidomen peinōnta kai ethrepsamen
ē dipsōnta kai epotisamen, pote de se eidomen xenon
kai synēgogomen ē gymnon kai periebalomen[1]
City life is a painkiller that drains the streets
of agony, a deadened wound, an anesthetic womb
that brought us forth and shielded us
leaving an aesthetic sort of squalor,
a numb grunge and grit coloring the curb.
                                                      Did we feed you?
Until the day the key won’t turn, the card
won’t swipe, until the day you pack your desk away
and wonder how far down does the skyscraper go,
how deep can it scrape, and who would wait
to help you to your feet, to spoon the soup.
                                                      Did we feed you?
For I was hungered and ye gave me meat
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink
I was a stranger, and ye took me in
I was naked, and ye clothed me

                                                      Did we feed you?
A city is a congregation where no one is alone
and everyone’s alive, a flock of brightly colored
sheep, a crowd hurrying forward together.
                                                      Let us eat.

[1] Matthew 25:37-38 in original Koine Greek. “Lord, when saw we thee hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?” For Modern Greek pronunciation, see this YouTube video at time code 2:13:54.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Day Before Thanksgiving



Wednesday, November 26th , 2014
St. Paul & St. Andrew and B'Nai Jeshurun
86th and West End

Pat O and Esther have come to the church to rehearse for our performance at our benefit for the Interfaith Assembly for Homelessness and Housing coming up in December. We’re working on three songs, Emily Harris’ Light of then Stable, Storm Large’s Stand Up for Me, and the Stephen Foster classic, Hard Times Come Again No More. While we are rehearsing, Alex comes in looking to play the Beckstein awhile and work on her music. We invite her to join in on some harmonies with us, but she wants to just listen until she has to check in on her nanny job. The working together, figuring out harmonies feels good.

As we are singing, I see Rev. Kadisha come into the back of the sanctuary and listen to us. He catches my eye, waves.

Rev. Anh has been here to visit again and has left a bag of Korean pastries for us.

Later, a representative of one of the groups wanting to seriously negotiate with us cones in to meet with Pat O and I in the chapel. The conversation is still alive, but with multiple possible configurations. We're reviewing different options. 

And of course Sean drops by. And of course, they’ll come by to get all of his stuff out of here by Friday. Of course.

Almost time to leave to be part of the annual community Thanksgiving service at SPSA. 

It's cold and raw out

And tomorrow, of course, is Thanksgivng.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Still pleasant but a storm is coming


Milica and her friend Margaret the flautist are in to check out the space for lighting and other logistics for the Composers’ Concordance concert coming up on December 6th. As always, Mili with intriguing ideas. When they’re done, I’ll walk Mili down to the Gate to see if we can interest Paul in backing Mili’s concert.

After a successful visit, we com back to the church to await the delivery of a piece of playable art from last year’s festival. A marimba-like wooden instrument to reside in the West-Park sanctuary for awhile.

Jed S is wanting to schedule space for a  listening party. He’s made a sonic calendar and has recorded one minute of sound every day for a year. So his party will be six hours long.

Helen, an intense young woman who attended the Krakow UnSound festival here a few years ago ( She’s looking to do a sound and video projection installation.

Been invited to a critical response session by the revcoms to review their dialogue between Avakian and Cornell West. During the discussion, people will listen with rapt attention to the verdict from the grand jury in Ferguson.

Later, after our set at the Gate, Pat O and I will head to Union Square to see what’s going on, but the crowd had already moved on.

The sun and unseasonable warmth  gave a feeling of relief, of well being to the day.


Jeremy and I are planning out music and worship through the end of the year. Things rounding into shape. Just have to figure out how to get people out.

There will be an interfaith service in solidarity with Ferguson tonight at the First Corinthian Baptist Church around the corner from me.

While rebellion and resistance to oppression breaks out across the country, life goes on pretty much as normal. It’s still pleasant but a storm is coming.