Monday, October 24, 2011

In Don't Want To Occupy Wall Street, I Want To Occupy Troy, NY. My Home Town

When I hear the phrase 'occupy Wall Street' what comes to mind is that I wish to fully occupy the city that I chose to call my home, Troy, New York. But alas, there are militant presences that have also chosen to occupy Troy, with devastating effects.

What immediately comes to mind is the automobile/petroleum/insurance/medical/legal/war industry that occupies the very streets and parking garages of troy, that occupy the soundscape and the air we breath.

I think of the Hoosick street bridge overpass, a monstrous military presence that some combination of huge automobile industry/government bodies dropped on a once thriving neighborhood like a giant atom bomb, and now occupies that space, exuding It's lifeless larger than human scale ugliness and the violence of 100s of tons of metal and explosive combustion of gasoline every second speeding by at an inhuman speed barely touching the landscape it races past (unless of course it's 'rush hour').

I think of butt-ugly housing projects and parking garages and cheaply slapped together soulless buildings that now occupy the spaces and streets of troy in which i would like to enjoy living, in which once historic buildings were occupying that were built by people who made their fortunes in troy and chose to invest those fortunes in the town they admired and chose as their home.

I think of multinational corporations which have at their disposal all the power of our nation's military to occupy Troy and cities like it across the American landscape, who have sucked the life out of those cities in much the same way as have great empires sucked their colonies dry for profit.

And I think of the electronically amplified and disseminated entertainment and communication complex that occupy our soundscape, our conversations and our very minds, so that we no longer talk to each other face to face, no longer sing to each other breath to breath, or in fact sing WITH each other, no longer tell each other our stories, and ultimately no longer can think for ourselves.

These are the forces against which I would like to RE-OCCUPY the city that I wish to call my home. If such a re-occupation were to take place locally in every city (with the ghastly Disneyland suburbs contracting once again to cities and farms), then the source of wealth of the multinational banks and their collusion with our government would simply dry up.

So, I don't want to occupy Wall Street, I want, along with my neighbors to once again fully occupy the city I call home, Troy.


I Have Seen The Future Of Art, and It Is The Jetsons

I was walking around at RPI today in Troy, NY, and came across this EMPAC (Experimental Media and Arts Center) thing.

So what is this all about, this high tech futuristic stuff? It reminds me of that juvenile imagination of the glorious future we used to watch as kids on saturday mornings called the Jetsons. and then i looked harder, and something actually looked familiar. could it be? I had to check:

Yes, it's her! Jane Jetson! Million dollar serious performing arts center and it's modelled after a cartoon's hairdoo. Hopefully I will write a more detailed deconstruction of this hideous piece of architecture shortly.

Also, I'm taking up a collection to raise money to ship it off to the moon.

Ok, i realize that's an artist's conception, so i found this photo (see below):


I Find The River Restful

The Hudson river is calm now,
before me.
by Green Island bridge
at the feet of Troy.
I imagine its green soup seeping from sundrenched algaes
that grow over pebbles in the Adirondack brooks.
The sandpipers stepping, plucking grubs.
A primeval place i could have made my home
to wake to the sounds of the speachless birds.

The river is resting.
after its busy weekend, when
on my way to the bus this past friday
the river surprised me.
Not aimless and ambling,
bland muddy,
but an swirling burls of green waters intent on passing me
faster than i had ever seen it,
toting jostling tree trunks and foam and random stuff
startlingly high.
I could almost reach below its cement berm
and touch it
where it's usually five feet below,

The tide was up .
And i remembered seeing the sliver moon
inching towards dawn a few mornings ago.
The rebirthing jesus moon
who called people to churches
emptying the streets of troy
last easter weekend.
Then to slipp behind the sun for rebirth.
Sun, the far seething furnace giant
birthing the elements
and the moon our brother, closer
ball of silent rock finished with its violent geology,
together shoulder to shoulder pulling
the seawaters with their tide ropes of tugging gravities
towards the hot summer noon
calling the river to flood banks, and hide tree roots.

Now the river washes me
from a weekend of rushing and conflicted interests
of indecisions
of filling my life with pencilled in commitments
pulled by the tides that distract,
from the rest,
the nourishment
of the silence of earth of foundling brooks
at Lake Tear of the Clouds
silent origin of the hudson
nested in trees far from the industry of men.

Now I dream in the green deeps of the ocean dreaming river
before the human tides of this city pull me apart


Troy-On-Hudson Unfurles Her Sails

After loosing another two pounds of sweat at African dance class in downtown Troy(thank you Emily), I walked two blocks down State street to the Hudson river where an amazing breeze and blaze of sunlight met me to dry the sweat off of me and the river calm and here comes a couple paddling kayaks upriver and the trees on the far shore and the seagulls wheeling above calling for the ocean and

behind me are those riverside apartments that from the river's side have those quaint windows and brickworks, and we could be in Europe with cafe's down there by the river's setting sun and damn the parking garages and

I walk up River Street to Monument Square(triangle) and the space is amazing and the care and craft supported by commerce that went into the details of those buildings, hoping the same care would go into the ones to be built in the site of the thankfully demolished 20th century version of city hall, but alas... and yet...

walking up Broadway I find two new bars open and there ARE side walk cafe's where you can get a cheeseburger and sweet potato fries until 10pm and there's some life wakening here, and

the sun still spilling down broadway and bronze Columbia, standing atop the pillar her skirts billowing in the breeze and I begin to imagine Troy at full capacity, sails unfurled catching the strength of one hundred thousand people with every shop open and all crafts and commerce and commotion and there would be more reasons to be in Troy and less reasons to drive away, more people would live in Troy and less need to drive cars here... there would be less cars,

and more children running around the streets playing ball and hopscotch on the sidewalks and what did we use to play back in nyc? skilsies!, and RPI blowing into a full grown university reaching her arms into downtown uprooting the suburban sprawl that has blighted 6th street, and between them parks grow over parking lots and playgrounds devour parking garages and more children and and more dogs running around and even philosophers and writers sitting at sidewalk cafes

all fed by the river, boatloads of produce floating down the river from farms and more people chugging up the river from the whole world and Troy begins to draw its energy again from the river Hudson, the river that brings strength, the river that can take you places, the river that can bring calm, the river that can rise up again and take a whole city back down into the ocean where it all began.


I Choose To Make Troy Home

I've been walking around Troy. looked at the bothwick place, maybe I'll rent there. not a homey spot of town, but it could be workable. 4 blocks around the corner from the bridge, then downtown, 5-10 minutes across a thuroughfare to rpi hill. very curious cityspace. of course the overwheiming presence of amazing architecture and energy of the space of what Troy once was, powerful, energetic, industrious, the work of craftsmen, with hints of beauty. and now history has passed and much of the city is abandoned, the energy has run elsewhere to multinational corporations on airplanes, away from human place. abandoned boarded up beatuful brownstones each a unique shape and work of art. the sadness of a disposessed people roaming the streets without work, without roots in the industry of what this city was.

and i'm reminded of why i wanted to live in Ithaca, to get involved in civics, to get a feel for a place the size i could encompass and help steer it creatively to make it bloom, to defend against the Borg of multinational corporate Mcdonalds america. but you know what? ithaca wasn't so much. it was two colleges and a fairyland. it didn't really have much history, was isolated...

Now I'm sitting at the foot of RPI way up the hill with the city way below. I'm looking at the jumble of housing projects, old churches nestled into steep hills, a panorama of richly textured proud buildings below me, the hills across the river, on the horizon, and i'm thinking: yeah, Ithaca has this incredible natural beauty, rural character once you climb over the hills, wild gorges cutting right into town, you can walk up and out into the woods... but it doesn't have the chartacter, the historical presence of this place, Troy. this place had greatness, and now it is sad, but it has amazing potential if we can find the way for it to awaken, if some creative change of civility sweeps across this nation.

or maybe not. maybe The greatness that was troy was something that thrived on the easy rape of the open landscape that was america that we enjoyed for a century or so, wiping it clean of it's native cultures. Maybe this density of industry, art, culture nestled betwen hill and river is no longer possible?

i don't know. but the paradox of it now, is a stonger challange than anything hapening in ithaca, and perhaps it would be a far more real place in which to attempt my project of civics.

Item: in ithaca, there was a corner for the dispossesed, but it was rather hidden. the center of town was fairly white, comfortable folks with advantage. but here in troy, the stronghold of cultured americans meshes intimately with the roaming youth of the dispossessed, in each other's faces, the possibliity for a creative engagement.

god, there is a power emanating from this crafted city sitting below me against the hills, under the sun, with its stately domed theatre standing out from the other buildings, variously shaped church steeples punctuating the sky, aeries of wheelinig pidgeons... i can almost imagine this a city in rennaisance Italy.... just beyond, is the Hudson, 200 mile long arm of the atlantic ocean, pushing her tides all the way up still 4 feet high, just up to the first cataract just a few blocks up from the center of town, placid sleeeping giant, who might one day awaken with fresh water again, ripe with fish and fowl.

the sun is peeking out, the air cool, but hinting at spring, the muddy ground showing grass again. I feel hopefull. i say, yes, lets start this new adventure.