New York state of mind 2

 

Continuing the adventures of a star-crossed visitor in NYC.

 

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NYC Public Library.

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Grand Central.

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Chrysler Building

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Tudor City, 42nd Street.

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A rare wooden house in Manhattan.
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Grace Church, Broadway
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Water towers on Lafayette St.
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Second Hand Rose, 12th Street.

All images used in this post are my own.

©2016

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Faded Flowers

 

Breaking up is hard, but keeping dark is hateful
I had so many dreams
I had so many breakthroughs
But you, my love, were kind
But love has left you dreamless
The door to dreams was closed
Your park was real and dreamless
Perhaps you’re smiling now
Smiling through this darkness
But all I had to give was guilt for dreaming

Bowie, Time

 

I made my pilgrimage to Lafayette Street in Soho, New York yesterday. I went specifically to pay my respects to my life long musical hero David Bowie.

I’d been planning this trip since before the Thin White Duke left us and, as I approached Houston Street, my heart was in my mouth. I came armed with my trusty Nikon to capture the scene, knowing that I would be unable to process my emotions in the moment.

As the apartment building came into view, that strange blankness I know so very well came upon me. I’ve learned that truly intense emotion shuts me down and that the processing can take days. (I’m feeling it now as I sort through the pics I took. And coincidentally, Paul Dempsey is singing Ashes to Ashes on my player right now).

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Part of the penthouse complex was (and remains) the Bowie home.

I’d seen the news reports of the spontaneous shrine that had appeared outside the building the day following the announcement of his passing and was curious to see what remained of that heartfelt tribute.

It was all still there, though, I guess that the stricken fans had stopped coming these many months later because all that remained were the dried husks of faded flowers, grief scrawled in black marker, and a spray painted message ‘lets dance’. It all looked a little sad and why wouldn’t it?

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New York has yet to organize a suitable monument to the eccentric genius from across the pond who made that city his home. I assume that we will one day have a site like Lennon’s Strawberry Fields at which to contemplate our deep sense of loss but, for the moment at least, this slowly deteriorating shrine on Lafayette Street will have to do.

It looks just exactly as sad as we, his grateful acolytes, feel when we listen to that last brilliantly courageous album.

After spending some time with the messages of those lost at sea, I wandered around the neighbourhood my stolen idol called home.

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Behind the building is a small and ancient looking cemetery by a church. It seemed strangely appropriate to come upon it in that moment.

The rest of the surrounding area is as eclectic and edgy as you would expect of a place Bowie felt comfortable in.

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The Puck Building is next door. Apparently Bono had to write a reference letter for Courtney Love to be able to live there.
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Bowie’s building includes this library. Seems appropriate considering how well read he was.

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This book store is right next door and was a frequent haunt of Bowie’s.

Eventually I had to go, but there were many backward glances towards the place where genius lived for too short a time. It was hard to walk away, it felt like severing a cord in some fashion. I’m glad I could walk in his world for a few brief moments but am so full of sorrow that he is no longer in it.

It had all been a surreal* experience to be sure, but one I will be eternally grateful to have had.

*To add to the surreal nature of the day, on my way back down Lafayette Street I spied Brooke Shields in an outdoor cafe. We made eye contact and I fancied I saw a fleeting moment of panic as she spotted the camera around my neck. For some, the camera is as terrifying as the gun.  Ah, the odd nature of fame. 

All words and images used in this post are my own.

©2016

62. Take me to church

 

Now honey, I don’t wanna clip your wings
But a time comes when two people should think of these things
Having a home and a family
Facing up to their responsibilities
They say in the end true love prevails
But in the end true love can’t be no fairytale
To say I’ll make your dreams come true would be wrong
But maybe, darlin’, I could help them along

Springsteen, I wanna marry you.

Well, it looks like we have our honeymoon location sorted out. I should add here before going on that we have now engaged an immigration lawyer to process our application for the fiancé visa. Once this is achieved we will need for me to be back in the US and for us to be married within three months.

It feels so good to have something concrete under way at long last.

And that honeymoon? Obviously we’re not going down the big wedding route. It will be a smallish affair with just a few good friends and family attending. Equally we will not be jetting off to some exotic location for the honeymoon.

No, we’re going to Frenchtown. Just twenty minutes down the road, Frenchtown is one of my favourite little spots to visit. I’ve mentioned it several times on this blog and the other day we went back for a walk and some lunch.

We’d decided to try something other than the Bridge café this time and as we drove into town, I noticed two women sitting at a table on the veranda of a building called the National Hotel, a place I couldn’t remember noticing before. Jersey girl didn’t recognize it either and so we decided to check it out after we’d had a bit of a stroll about.

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It was a gorgeous day and we thoroughly enjoyed wandering in and out of the artsy and downright quirky shops along the Main Street. Frenchtown is just bohemian enough to work without seeming like it’s trying too hard.

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The rear of the National hotel.

Just before we hit the National, I spotted this oddity in a closed down gallery virtually next door to it.

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I’d love to know the backstory on this. Did the artist drag the painting to a gig? Did the Church visit Frenchtown?

It was a painting of the album cover for Blurred Crusade, by Australian band The Church. And it was signed by all four band members.

Now, my association with this band runs quite deep. My mother knew lead singer, Steve Kilbey’s mom and my brother went to school with his. After me, my ex-girlfriend dated another Kilbey (Russell) and my guitarist was in a side band with that same Russell whilst playing with us. Steve Kilbey even turned up at our guitarist’s house warming party in Fitzroy (stoned off his tits as I recall) so you can imagine my surprise to come upon this odd little artifact in Frenchtown New Jersey.

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I always take such things as good augurs and so, I was not surprised when we walked into the foyer of the National, to realise we’d discovered a little piece of heaven. Originally built in 1833 as a stagecoach stop, it was rebuilt in 1850 and you can feel all those years in the wood and fixtures.

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If I told you this was a picture of Jersey girl with me in the French Quarter, would you balk?

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We sat in the main bar to have lunch (there is also a separate dining room) and I felt like we had been transported to the French Quarter in New Orleans rather than Frenchtown New Jersey. Dark wood, subdued lighting, and smooth jazz all combined to put us in a very pleasant state of mind. Then the food came.

Again, I felt a Southern sensibility in the food (though in reality it was an Indian influence). My beef and vegetable soup was spicy and the pork tenderloin (Spicy Apple Glaze, Roasted Rutabaga & Beets, Wild Rice Pilaf with Walnuts & Black Currants) I ordered for my main was cooked with an almost artistic precision. And Jersey girl’s Curried chicken sandwich (Slow-Braised Pulled Chicken Breast, Curried Dressing, Diced Apples, Currants, Fresh Bakery Roll) came with truffle oil soaked fries.

It was all crazy delicious and we felt the urge to check in to a room for the afternoon just for the decadence of it – but the kids would be home at three so…

Then it hit me. This is the place; this is where we’ll come for the honeymoon! We got very excited by the prospect and Jersey immediately checked out the rooms on her phone. They looked very nice and so we both agreed, this would be it.

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We drove home in great spirits feeling like our time was drawing closer by the minute.

Words and images used in this post are my own.

©2016

The pretender

 

Long walk from home

Poem in the style of a Springsteen song (sorry Boss)

When Jesus raised up Lazarus
Well, I guess he sealed his own fate
For everything that’s given in life
Something life must take

No selfless deed will go unpunished
Nor evil brought to task
The beat of this existence
is just a slow walkin’ funeral march

It’s a long walk when  home’s at your back
It’s a long walk and there’s no comin’ back
There’s no comin’ back

When Jesus raised up Lazarus
He knew his days were done
Lifting a soul out of the dark
Means someone’s got to lose their sun

We all have things we try to save
Tell ourselves the price won’t be too great
But when that horn blows brother
You better know why you took that walk

It’s a long walk when home’s at your back
It’s a long walk and no comin’ back
There’s no comin’ back
No comin’ back

They don’t let you come back.

 

 

©2016

 

 

 

Bird on a wire

 

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Morning

 

The way the curves of my thumb

Fit the curve of your cheek

The way your eyes hold the light from

The gap in the curtains

How your smile in this moment says

Everything’s right

Because just moments ago

Everything was alight

In this recumbent interlude

We watch the fires burn down together

The birds oblivious outside our window.

 

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2016

 

 

 

 

 

He speaks of senseless things

 

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The old time traveller

 

Each board a splintered timeline

Each leaf a past’s unwrit page

Here the clock ticks only to raise dust

For a thin beam of afternoon light

These blinded windows

The eyes of a soul that’s seen too much

This is the true and only time travel

Slow marching

Always forward

One second at a time

Stretching beyond decades into cling-wrapped moments

House becomes home becomes house becomes shell

The world turns

The ivy grows.

 

O rock of Ages

                Do not crumble

                                Love is breathing still…

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2016