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10/31/13

Tonight We’re Coming out of Our Tombs, We’re Crossing the Death River

Halloween. 
Carl and I are in SoHo to watch the crowd spectacle. Carl is an actor friend of mine. The best way to see the costumes close up is to go an hour before the parade in the area where dressed up revelers line up and wait for the parade to commence, so they can march and show off.
The wind blows and the crowd coils, a mincing machine crowd, we brush, roll, push against each other in this human collimator, startled by close ups of puss gashes, cadaveric complexions, some blood drained pale like flour, some putrid green black with gangrene, we grind against plump French maids, goose pimpled above their garters and white knee-high stockings, batting their enormous blue eyelashes, here go the Spider Men and Bat Men and Cat Women, oh, the Cat Women with their buttocks, rocks under black spandex, the tail, a pitiful knotted rope, the knees buckling up by the end of the parade, not a good idea, Cat Woman, those high heels not a good idea, Cat Woman.
Here go pirates, brides, one with a black veil, drops of blood on her embroidered shiny atlas gown, and a sad bride, dead, with dark circles, head inclined, her tresses and veil flutter in the wind as she poses, oh, so sad a bride.
Here come the salsa dancing marchers! You are in the wrong parade, man, your drums force me to dance along but your bright feathers and sequins are in the wrong parade! You are to scare us, scare us! Why can’t you be menacing cohorts of death? Look, like these three witches with orange wigs, pointed hats, black gowns and miniskirts! Look how they have a blast charging into the audience crammed behind the police fences! That’s how you do it! You are to scare us!
Here comes General Michael Jackson, in his red coat and golden glitter, and woos softly his signature, I love you, to a kid who wants a picture with Michael, oh, Michael, save the world, save the children, Michael! Here comes Jackie Kennedy Onassis waiving in slow motion her white gloved hand, a patent leather handbag dangling from her elbow, and then Marylyn in her blonde curls and her halter white gown. Oh, you need a fan, a hair drier, a leaf blower Marylyn, so your skirts go up your leggy legs.
Look, such long legs on this Deviless, she has long white legs, her red wig with red horns, she came all the way from Harlem the Red Deviless, she walks alone people gawking at her legs!
Look, the whip lashing dominatrixes, black leathered, scare the Tea Party Aunt Hattie, who holds a tray with miniature tea china and pretty cheesecake slices, all proper with her white hair bum and white apron. Then a Barbie doll ambushes us, confined in her Barbie box, pressing her face against the plastic wall, while her Ken doll rolls her enormous box up Sixth Avenue, and oh, the squadrons of gigantic skeletons and white serpents and bats, a cloud of bats, all huge puppets assaulting the dark skies, and then humungous fish skeletons, that’s how you’ll end up too, naughty little boy, piranhas shall eat you, if you go into the water when your mama told you not to!
Oh, and here is Marie Antoinette with her cauliflower, sky-scraper high wig, and her wide, wooden apparel hips! She stops ever so graceful for pictures. Here goes Schindler’s List Mom, or what’s her name in the painting, Whistler’s Mom, and then come the Asian monster-headed warriors, kamikaze samurai, in kimono gowns of gold and shine, and then monsters galore: one-eyed monsters, and fluffy fluffy plush monsters with white baseballs for eyes, the balls running amok, shifty, shifty, and then comes opulent King of France, or Britain, in his red mantle trimmed with a rich white fur leopard collar, his face is a skull and his hand is skeletal. Oh, majestic King, parading solemnly, you are dead, dead, dead. Why did you kill all your eight wives?!
And then come the bores from the movies, the Mad Hatters and the Star War Jedi and Princess Leas and the Elvises, many Elvises, wig and pompadour and diamonded belts, and the District Nine aliens and the Shout painting’s masks and the Sponge Bobs and Chilean miners, lots of Chilean miners, the 30 rescued miners multiplied to hundreds, and clock faces with angel wings, and the cohorts of dancers paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, man, two large groups, man, two, what bores.
And here are the drag queens, one has a golden phone receiver grafted on her wig blonde, the coil wire hangs dangling about, and a power plug couple comes, one has two penises, and one has two anuses and when they plug into each other, oh, how they twist in the agony of pleasure, oh, how they like it and oh, how we laugh! Then the ghoulish couples, white faced, a white strand in their black hair, the man in English tailcoats, the woman, long hair, black eye circles, all lace and finery, walk together solemnly.
Another couple parades in white dainty gauze shrouds, his eyeglasses lenses iridescent holographs. ‘Who are you, who are you?!’ I ask him, ‘so elegant and so absurd a man?’Hhe shrugs sweetly as his pair drags him away, ‘This is what one year of marriage turned me into,’ he shrugs sweetly.
Here go two bemused clowns, in such delightful costumes with various dangling silky bags, sheltered under an enormous umbrella with kitchenware things hanging from it, handing out business cards, let us come to your parties! Let us entertain you! let us earn a living! There come gothy Edward Scissorhands, there are many Edward Scissors, the Jonny Depp teenage misfits, scissors, scissors are my hands and my hair is a bush I hide shy under, and they all charge into us, the  screaming bystanders.
Some just walk in the parade, talking bored on their cell phones, doing nothing to scare us, and so many in cheap boring costumes from Wal-Mart. No, man, no, you’re insulting the audience! Make an effort! and they walk, walk not sure if they should have fun or not. No, man, no!
Next year I’m gonna go in the parade myself, this time I chickened out when Carl said I can’t have a large ruffled skirt in the parade, the crows would tear it apart, so crowdy a crowd. No, no, man, next year I’ll have a large pink dress! Larger than Marie Antoinette’s.
Look at the old ladies, four white ghostly spirits, they charge and wiggle their jazz hands and they say together wooo! wooo! and I am happy to play getting scared by them, and I am happy that they are old ladies, in their sixties, fifties, and they are spirits and they go in the parade and they scare us, wooo, wooo, woooo!
Life is here, yes, I am bountiful with you, my New York, tonight I am resplendent with you my America, tonight!
Carl has a plush rabbit, he tears its neck off, its red and violet entrails hang from the ripped neck. Carl is a tall hat gentleman, with a pipe and a tailcoat and military bravery medals, and has cardboard eyeglasses with scary painted eyes and he is a moody disgruntled gentleman. ‘What are you looking at?!’ he snaps at passers by, ‘What are you looking at?!’ he snaps and they love it, ‘Let me take a picture! take a picture! take a picture with you, grouchy Mister!’
We take the subway and emerge on Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, prime location. We hang from fences, we can see over the heads of sidewalk crowds.
Every sidewalk is unnecessarily fenced up, policemen at every corner.
Carl says they practice anti-terrorism drills on us. ‘Crowd control they enjoy, fascists,’ Carl calls them fascists. ‘What has become America,’ he moans.
We are unable to get out of the sidewalks, at each corner all fenced up, unnecessarily. We are locked up.
Here comes a Russell Brand with his hair teased up. He screams in a high pitch voice, British accent, ‘Where are our fucking liberties, America? The fucking liberties, we should cross the street, mate!’ I first think he really wants to cross the street and I respond, ‘Yeah, man, we should cross the street, what is this? There is no traffic jam, few cars, let us cross the street!’ I quite shout worked up, ‘We should cross!’ and I expect Carl, the revolutionary who when he works as a bus tour guide tells the tourists on Wall Street that, ‘These robbers get away with theft, gentlemen!’ I expect him to shout along, and the Russell Brand to shout along, but I realize Russell Brand just does his comedy shtick, man, for cheap laughs, and Carl says some might get arrested if we shout. But then at least the rest of the crowd would be able to cross the street, he says.
I want to cross, it makes no sense to see all four street corners fenced up! ‘Let us go home, man.’ ‘Let us cross! Let us cross!’ the crowd coalesces in a booming choir, ‘Let us cross!’ the cameras flash flash, but the camera flashing is not the point, the point is we shouting at the top of our lungs, ‘Let us cross, let us cross, let us cross!’ and the police doesn’t seem to even hear or see us, impassibly motioning the cars thru the intersection.
We tire, the choir dies. That’s how we are, we get tired, we do get tired. Revolution gets tiresome. Drained, we are quiet. Only then one, two, three, as if they counted, the policemen pull carefully the iron fences aside and the crowd pushes thru the crossing, and we, Carl and I, with it, go forward.
I so love you, Downtown.
Back on the Uptown train scenery is drab. Uptowners didn’t bother to dress up. They took the kids with the pumpkin buckets to collect candy and that’s it. They are worried, they are tired, they won’t masquerade in Halloween parades, they have troubles. Bores.
The best was a white rubber glove man. He inflated rubber gloves, tied many whites in clusters, the glove fingers forming flower petals, or rooster feathers, tied bouquets on his neck, on his head, on his waist, and he was a creature of white hands floating in the moving air.
I haven’t seen pictures of him in the papers the next day. Why haven’t I seen him in the papers? Because the real thing is in the streets, man, not in the papers, not on TV, and you have to be part of it.
The real parade is Downtown, in the Village, Downtown in the Village, man. And I was part of it.

10/30/2010

 
 
Well, here you have it: If you’d like to throw a bit of money my way to keep my endeavors going, and also enable me to spread the money to my various causes, witnessing democracy, freedom of speech and faith, and engineering social change thru art being some of them, I’d be grateful.

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