After my job sent me home yesterday I decided to believe the news telling me no rain was dropping until 5pm and thought I would take my usual ride out to the River with my old King Cornet and see what all this drama was like in person.I want to feel the storms power not so much as get blown out to sea.
Flashback! Puerto Rico,.the small town of RINCON around 2005.I’m on the beach by myself and decide to see if I can Surf.After about 5 minutes in the water I blink my eyes and I’m suddenly WAY out,and WAY left to the place I entered the Ocean.All ready paranoid about losing my glasses and going blind I ended my insane quest and made it back to shore alive.We all have are walls that we run into,right?
So all I could do yesterday was laugh when on my FIRST note out the case I had more buckets of water dumped on my head than ever in my life.In seconds I had an inch of water in my shoes.Without windshield wipers for my glasses I rode back up the hill to 162nd and Broadway.I had to laugh again when my friend Ramon saw me on the elevator soaked.Ramon calls my bike “Mercedes”,and when he saw me we both almost fell on the floor laughing.
Today when I woke I was expecting to wake by maybe my 5th floor window exploding and covering me in glass.The media and politicians relentlessly told me how serious the danger was.I chose not to embrace all the fear mongering and woke to a quiet sky and a post storm mist floating around my block.I knew JIMBOS would have my eggs and grits ready,and of course they did.With Irene on her way up the coast I knew I had to return to the river to discuss what was happening with my friend Seiren.That’s me and her in the pictures below.Seiren just moved in to my spot around 65th and west.ALL the way west.
Flashback 2! I’m leaving the Brecht Forum from playing a gig a few years ago and my friend Charles Gayle,a big inspiration,asks me which way I’m headed as he’s headed out to the subway.I said I was going west.
The Brecht Forum is on the west side highway.So all Charles could ask was,.”West? Your walking into the River?” I’m still laughing over a response I made that I still don’t understand.
I have a relationship with the River.it’s my thing,playing music down there,part of my transformational process.Today I thought I might be nuts to go out there again with Irene still visibly floating away in the near distance.I went anyway and was shocked by what I saw.All the damage?
No..All the people! More people on the bike path from 162nd down to 50th than I have ever seen in years of riding.
Old Folks,kids,babies,dogs,tourists,Couples,photographers,.everybody wanted to head to the River and check it out right after the Storm.I had to thread the needle of people traffic and at last made it to my girl Seiren.We had much to discuss.
Seiren is really something.She is the most pure and dedicated artist maybe in history as she seems to be singing her heart out 24/7.From what I’ve read she will be singing until 2012.Something like 11 feet tall and seemingly naked,Seiren cares about her song above all.I could not ask for a better partner to create music with.She’s one of the few musicians I’ve met that need to play music right to the river.Seiren and I have spent about 20 hours together so far playing music.
On our break today,(she said she only stops for me),she said that she was now on intimate terms with IRENE.She said that Irene was all about CLEANING.Irene told her that one of her purposes was to CLEAN,.as a representative of the Earth.
I told Seiren that on the way downtown I rode by massive amounts of Trash.During the night Irene must have pushed the river up on the banks.When the river receded,she left all this TRASH on the ground.In this way I told Seiren that Irene had literally done exactly what she wanted to…clean.
Seiren asked me though…”Matt,.who fills the river with Trash?”
What happens when the next storm comes looking for the source of the trash?
I had no response,but eventually brought up the recent 5.8 Earthquake that we just had.
Flashback 3! The other night I woke to the most surreal nightmare I may have ever had.As I’m prone to nightmares of massive destruction of New York,I was still shook by how impossible this dream vision was :me standing on the other side of the Hudson River watching the entire island of Manhattan float by in the sky upside down!
Wait..what? Say WHAT again.It was SO out.Parts of the nightmare I was in the city talking about escape routes with family members as the city was about to END.
So when we had the earthquake the next day,I was shook by my vision the previous night.
I told Seiren that I have written about category 8 Hurricane’s coming to town if we don’t clean up our act on multiple levels.Am I fear mongering? So many of us are vulnerable to fear.I don’t want to push the idea that we have no choice but to be destroyed,Youtube has enough of that poison.
She said the Human race is just like all the stories we tell when against all odds and in the face of certain doom,.we somehow squeeze out victory.We do the right thing,but we need to be PUSHED.She added that Irene actually made New York City stop! She has been singing all this time with no effect,but Irene came around talking Flood and everybody paid attention.Now WE have to clean up she added.She added that Irene and the earthquake both contain important lessons.
Mad props to Matt White,the Sculptor of Seiren
Thanks to Claudia and Glenn Barasch for the photo