Saturday, October 1, 2011

Magical Sky Garden

The backyard of Penny's Open Mic is a magical garden in the sky. In concrete jungles, sometimes the only way you find a garden is by looking up.

Penny this night is wearing a cool blue jacket left by an East Village artist who hangs things on fences.

* * *

This is a play between what's heard and seen. Between what's up and down, inside out, and round and round. A play between the lights--and dark.

That's how I'd try to describe the feeling of Penny's Open Mic.

A place, New York Magazine writes, where "inventive minds gather."

* * *
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When I see a poet like Tim Shea, who makes cheese steaks by day, burn like fire with a desperation in a voice you’ve not heard in a long long while, I think of how we use to dream on a porch in New York and the words just came out like there was no tomorrow.

* * *



True story – I once had this song on repeat for hours (first time I heard it). D never let me play it again. She hid the CD so well it got lost (and was never played again). It was found again years later the day she moved. And suddenly we had this look as soon as we saw it.

* * *

I am late tonight. Anytime I see Penny it is like she is in limelight – even while somewhere in the dark. No wonder American History X director Tony Kaye wants to adapt her play.

I tell her pieces at Penny's Open Mic remind me of Truth or Dare. Then, as if a lightbulb went off, faster than light she says, that’ll be the theme of next night.

Next morning I muse it's actually Truth AND Dare.

And I dream of Penny becoming the Mayor of New York City.

* * *

This would describe a lot of pieces I see at Penny's Open Mic:
"Make a piece of art that burns like whiskey, like lightning, raw tobacco, shrapnel, holy fire. ...And life and love and everything good." ~ Gregory Levine

* * *

Edwin just finished rapping something about pulling over.

Randomly at 2:15am Edwin mentions “Creole” in Ayiti. We whisper words in French. I loosely reference I once wrote in Creole beats, in an Ode to Moriso. Tim Shea says he’ll pay more than the admission fee to hear me read it. I tell him I never take the mic (from someone who's doing it as if life depended on it). I tell him the words are "a bit risquĂ©." How democracy "is more for you than for me." There’s racial tension. I think racial tension drives a lot of Creole poems, blues, Harlem Renaissance and rap.

Tim would be the perfect poet to read it. He once said, we are more tolerant today. “Just at a safe distance.”

This is a race map of New York City. Green dots = 200 "White" people live there. Blue dots = 200 "Black people" live there.

We walk out from the underground at 94 St. Mark’s Place (Under St. Mark’s) on a Tuesday night.

Tim stands on a porch just like Mick Jagger once did. Nearly the same spot.

Next door there’s a woman looking for her last dollar bill as a wounded dog keeps her company. Below where Mick Jagger stood.


How can you forget this? I never will. These are New York minutes.

* * *

Aftermath

Can't seem to leave this style of writing....words that move literally and figuratively in many directions.

Unrelated to this story, friend wrote - Dave Matthews and Eric Lewis (Elew) should join each other. I replied: "They both create musical universes that sound so powerful vast, which keep you in some moment, right here.

Here they are nearby at the Bowery Hotel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCJkPKOxH_8&feature=share


3 comments:

X said...

The 1st time I came here - this place made me take a risk http://xthespot.blogspot.com/2010/11/there-are-days-i-never-forget-this-is.html

The 2nd time I came here - this place made me write stream of consciousness http://xthespot.blogspot.com/2011/02/unfinished-new-york-serenade_20.html

The 3rd time I came here - this place made me write symbolist like Arthur Rimbaud, like I was 17 again.

X said...

A symbolist piece with directionality - up, down, spinning around.

X said...

For once a place doesn't disappear in New York City. I don't know what happened, but this home got saved - 7 year lease http://evgrieve.com/2011/10/horse-trade-theater-group-signs-new.html