Inspired by idle academic activity.
We stopped at a street performance between the Riverwalk and the French Quarter in New Orleans. They were four young to prime black men, and after the first demonstration, the MC began pulling volunteers from the watching crowd. Three lovely ladies, two rich white men, one Asian and five kids. “Now,” he said, “we are politically correct.” For the next half hour, between feats of dance and performance, the dancers ribbed the audience with every racial joke that made room for itself and they lavished over the Asian Sensation, bowing, mocking accents, looking for his camera and map, and goading him to dance to Kung-Fu Fighting. Just before the last most spectacular trick—flying over six adults—they took donations, pitting states and countries against each other for twenty, forty or a hundred dollars. New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas three times; Denmark, Serbia, Australia, Mexico and France. Finally they fleeced the rich white men, forty dollars apiece. Then, with sixty from the Asian Sensation, they asked where he was from. Laughing, he said, “Alabama.”
I walked up to a church, a church that doesn’t exist, didn’t exist, but is the church of all the churches I have ever walked up to. It is Orthodox and Catholic and Presbyterian. It is plain and ostentatious. It is abandoned and destroyed. The steeple has fallen in on the pews. You cannot get to it easily, you must fly, and then walk, the sun watching, the worn white crossed markers glinting near the ground. “Her tribulations were her glory” reads a faded slab. Fragments of painted color huddle in the shade, Mary’s robes, Jesus’ eyes. The foundations are local stone, blood red in the sun and buffed to a shine by the wind. The slats are wooden, imported, clinging to paint in the deepest grains of splintering cover. Broken shards cast jagged shadows on the muddy, scrubby, forgotten ground and the cross is gone.
It’s obviously been quite a span since I’ve posted. Taking the time to slow down and synthesize some work or reason has just been difficult to justify.