mercredi 22 mai 2013

New York Series 4: Memory Fraught And The Queens Of The Village

A month has passed and my memory is finally fragmented by the distance separating me, cusp inductor, not yet readily in control of the changes operating in the me, present now, failing to recreate the fluid motion that tantalized the reconnection of my body particles at the time, and the words hurl themselves at the page, sporadically, I can’t get back into the self that could talk, communicate what my experience was, how it felt, what even this experience was.

I know I should have tried harder a few weeks ago. Then, typing the story of my time in New York came naturally - in this state of Nature that doesn’t think but lives, contracts and grows. It followed the cycles of birth and death and new beginnings in an altered state. But my memory is now ambiguous and can only be painstakingly collected by searching through photos, the internet, what exhibition or park did we see. The me that was there has definitely died and been absorbed by this me who is trying to write its epitaph.

He was in New York on the 5th of April, saw an exhibition at the Met about Blues and its aesthetic, walked in Central Park and dined on oysters in the Village, watched Blues rattle away in a club on Stonewall Place, came back happy to Brooklyn, a merry man Crisp beer in hand, and disappeared.

This isn’t enough. I went to the Marian Goodman Gallery on...W 57th St. I saw an exhibition by...Danh Vo. “Mother Tongue”, I remember. There was an old bag, not the artwork but a lady that didn’t like me helping myself to a flyer in front of her, I said sorry. She wore round glasses and her grey hair was parted in the middle. Maybe a black turtleneck? And in the exhibition there was a letter signed by John Kennedy. Bits of furniture. Mother Tongue, I didn’t make the link and now I can’t remember what it was about but Chloe had the genius to understand and explain it to me very briefly. We had taken the lift - the elevator - and couldn’t find the exit, escaped at the back in a different avenue.

We caught the train and swooped down towards 6th avenue, Spring St, where Chloe wanted to find Anthropologie. I pulled upwards past Bedford St and Downing St, towards Winston Churchill square, up on Bleeker St to meet Benjamin in Fish but he wasn’t there so got a beer in the Blind Tiger. With Ben. The barman wore leather trousers and had long blond hair. The beer had a strange name, its style I mean, something starting with an S, even the internet won’t help me, not listed in the draught beers anymore. It was fruity. Ben made a joke about my liking of the fruity kind.

We sat by the window. Chloe joined us but it was time to leave. Better beat the queue at Fish, the line I remember; that’s what they call it. We drank two beers in the waiting area on a bench outside, a terrace covered by a blue awning. A man stroke a conversation when I ordered the second round, told me he had lived in London. He had curly hair, his mother was Jewish.
We had to wait for a while because a table of three is a large party.
But finally we’re in, first round of oysters, six each, served on ice on a silver platter. We drank Pabst Blue Ribbon but the man at the bar earlier insisted I call it PBR. $8, half a dozen oysters and a pint! The waitress came back, we had finished but at $8 we couldn’t refuse another round, PBR, oyster croutons, three extra molluscs on the platter.

Satiated, we looked for desert. Not far we found a place where we could purchase sorbets in unusual flavours and combinations, on a stick, dipped in chocolate, hundred and thousands - I was plain and had pineapple.

Then we searched for the 55 Bar on Christopher St, but really Stonewall Place, and then I realised: the Stonewall riots, flashes of fists in the darkness, this is where it happened. I told the story, no one cared that much.

The 55 bar was fairly quiet, Michael Packer not yet on stage. We had more beer, waitress on the ball, knowing her business, a nod and a wink would get us a glass once the crowd had gathered and the blues was too loud. I am facing the wall and just there, between Chloe and Benjamin is Ornette Coleman, amongst jazz players, a black and white photograph.

I had come to see jazz but jazz clubs are blues bars, so I went to smoke a cigarette outside. Not the reason, just the nicotine. I like Michael Packer, he was born in New York City. While I was smoking outside, a bus pulled over in front of the Stonewall Inn. A lady in stilettos handsomely hit the pavement. And another one. And another one. A busfull of dames walking peacefully through the door, without fuss, with their fake eyelashes and boa feathers and glamour.

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