I’m anxiously trying to get a lot done before my August vacation. He walks in. I look up, slightly annoyed. He asks to speak to the pastor. And I know what that means. He’s new to the city. Has a wife. A new baby. (He does look a bit old, but…). It’s after five. He’s been to the Westside Campaign Against Hunger. They were just closed. Told him to come back tomorrow. Can’t I please just help him with formula? I try to explain that we, and most churches, just don't keep money around. That’s why we work with places like WSCAH. But can’t you please….? I ask him to step outside for a moment. He seems upset. I can’t explain that what we’re talking about here is my own money and that I have to check my balance before I know how much, or if, I can help. Yes, it’s that bad. OK, that’s done. We’ll go across the street. We’ll get some formula.
The two sisters are on the steps. They will be there all day. Surrounded by all their worldlies. The younger one wants t go back to her knitwits knitting group. Wants to sing in a chorale, the older one will ensure that never happens. This is no way to live. I have to get it together to intervene, for which O have no passion.
TK is in to discuss plans for the August Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration. He’s been promised the space since April. Only now we discover that it’s booked for the same night as martin’s last official performance. This is not good. I immediately start calling my colleagues to see what we can figure out. And I a sad to lose this event.
Rudy has come for a visit. We look for a place to visit, the church is full, Even the chapel, where the crazy jazz musician has commandeered the piano. How did he get in here? Rudy wants to bring his gymnastics program back to the church. Nowhere else has ever worked as well. We’ve had some rough years, especially during the landmarks struggle. We never ever truly worked it out. We both individually decided to just let it be. Both understood that it was a difference of how we looked at the world, not a matter of good vs. evil. Sometimes it’s like that.
He even came to my last show. Said he thought of Jack, how he would have enjoyed it. Jack, who hosted our men’s writing and spirituality group for years, where his apartment was safe space, where other conflicts were left at the doorstep and only our writing mattered. He was a life mentor. I miss him deeply.
I remember Rudy’s Sunday morning program. Kids coming in to the service then up to the gym. Some people never did really get it. Or the morning I had as a liturgical prelude Rudy jumping on the trampoline. Or his annual gymnastics concerts, an early West-Park expression of Dream. Real. Hard, where performers from Cirque du Soleil or Big Apple Circus, body builders, contortionists, aerial artists, hula hoop artists, fire jugglers, anti-gravity dancers., on and on…each using their own special skill not in a gymnastics exhibition but as an artistic expression, When we first proposed the idea, we got blank stares. Those were some amazing performances. I tell Rudy there’s a lot to check out. We’ll work on it. Together.
We’re busier now. There’s a lot of equipment, less space. I don’t know….but…
As we’re finishing, the crazy jazz man walks by. I talked to the jazz guys, he says, we can do something. We’re gonna do something…Thank you , I say, as he walks wild eyed out the door.
After my new writing group in the Village, I stop at the church. Catch the end of Antigona. Her journey to the river Styx. Her final bravura dance and death scene. I visit with Andrea and our old friend Ruealla. I’m learning that this is still an imperfect venture. Or that not everyone gets it,. Or all of it. Martin has ventured out into uncharted waters. Risking big time for his vision.
(Here’s what the reviews for the American dance festival had to say…
Outside, on 86th street, the flamenco cast is gathered and smoking. I once wrote that they all some to avoid spontaneously combusting. Soli comes over, beaming. Yo necesito decir gracias, shes aays. Esta es la iglesia mas major. Es como un sueno…
The perfect church. Like a dream…
Yes, I think, if only, and yes again.