At Lincoln Park Pool

despite the heat
advisory, I brought my
son to swim. ninety-four degrees
on July 4th and Cleveland has been
grilling ribs since 9AM
and bottle rocket blasting since
June 15th.

My son runs off - but Antonio,
thumbprinted mark of Cain
beshouldered, 
ever-belligerent, 
redmopped stutterer with 
metal-backed teeth - comes to spit self-conscious
impudence. He may sway to 
full-bore bully in annum
but now the question growling in his seven-year skull remains
unanswered. I father at him, a learned herding, outflank,
astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style.
Girls with fresh breasts, too shy
to show their bikinis under shirt, come 
tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger
take turns sitting on spout of fountainspray, hands trickling
down...
ever all-pursued by some omnipresent brown brawl of boys, 
stumble-tongued and
puppy-eager.

And I feel my age as
the only parent here -
adrift of vigor -
cross-legged on a
threadbare blanket
palms flat into 
ground grit -
A tart
magnanimity, and all these young running to be old. 
As children suspect we
withhold - I clutch this.
It is right to keep from them.
The patrimony, my first
taste of entropy as cool lemonade. 
I died when my life became my child's.
Already my blood 
only heats between hot
concrete and sky blaze. As something done grown,
I watch this pack of growing things.

A soggy neon ellipsis with spirals of water
flung as it flies. A poor throw brings 
the ball to
the feet of 
Antonio
and
the children all shout
his name. All shout his
name. A bend and I see 
fingers squeeze 
water; drops 
stutter poolside, the metal
creak of the lifeguard stand.
ALL shout his name.
A choice made but inept arm
betrays - launched in the 
general vicinity of
no one. 

An eruption
of water and from the scrum suddenly
the whole pool is playing catch. 
Old men and lifeguards, my son
astride my shoulders arms aloft
and we all shout his name. All
brought to life for
what I'll remember as -
amid sun and the shadows of lost dogs -
the moment
when
Antonio was king.

Free Haircut

I got an unex­pect­ed free hair­cut today from the ladies who run the Gentlemen’s Bar­ber Shop in Tremont. Appar­ent­ly they’ve got­ten some busi­ness from my Tremon­ter post­ing about the place. I tried to talk them out of it, but there was no dice. They wouldn’t even take a tip. I’m just glad to know that I helped out a local busi­ness. I final­ly got back a few pieces that I took to have framed at Kel­ly-Ran­dall Gallery awhile back. I got an unex­pect­ed 20% off there since I’m a res­i­dent and have got­ten sev­er­al things framed there now. Liv­ing in Tremont has its unex­pect­ed perks.

One of those perks is not near­ly gag­ging from steel mill sul­phur first thing in the morn­ing after leav­ing my apart­ment though.

Cartographer

Almost a year ago I made my first Google Map for the redesign of the TWiFi site. I didn’t touch the API again until I final­ly start­ed redesign­ing Tremon­ter a few months back. The idea for cre­at­ing a neigh­bor­hood map for Tremont had been rat­tling around in my head since I first start­ed the site, but I knew how tedious the work would be and so kept putting it off.

Now that the Tremont map is final­ly tak­ing shape, I must admit that the tedi­um is still present, but is cur­rent­ly out­weighed by the fact that the map looks so cool. I’d bet­ter be care­ful though, or I’ll start putting Google Maps on every­thing.

I still need to fig­ure out the right javascript tweaks to make no mark­ers appear until their respec­tive box­es are checked in the leg­end, but oth­er­wise the only thing left to do is cob­ble togeth­er the address­es, phone num­bers, web­sites and coor­di­nates for sev­er­al hun­dred busi­ness­es in the few square miles that is Tremont, and plug the data into the xml file. Look­ing at it in that direc­tion seems a bit daunt­ing, so I’ll just take it one mark­er at a time.

Another Tremont Weekend

DSC01291On Fri­day I spent about 5 hours on the Art­Walk, includ­ing judg­ing a Mutts­quer­ade, and on Sat­ur­day and Sun­day I spent much of my time on the redesign of Tremon­ter. The design itself is pret­ty much fin­ished, and now I’m just tweak­ing the con­fig­u­ra­tion, adding more con­tent and a bit more func­tion­al­i­ty. If I can just fig­ure out how to get the lat­est ver­sion of Dru­pal to import Mov­able­Type con­tent, I’ll prob­a­bly just go ahead and launch it. I might have to con­vert from Mov­able­Type to Word­Press to Dru­pal first.

The down­side to this is that the extra step will mean that the old MT links won’t redi­rect to Dru­pal like they do in pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the con­ver­sion. Cur­rent­ly it looks as though there is no way to port phpBB forums into a Dru­pal instal­la­tion, so I’ll just have to lock down that DB once the inte­grat­ed func­tion­al­i­ty of Dru­pal goes live.

I also had din­ner on Sun­day at La Tor­tilla Feliz, which was deli­cious, although just a lit­tle bit more expen­sive than the quality/amount of the food would sug­gest. Patrick told me this well over a year ago. I’ll prob­a­bly stop in often when I get the crav­ing for fried plan­tains though. Man those things are deli­cious. Please share any plain­tain recipes that you have.

Art­walk Pho­to­set, Mutts­quer­ade Pho­to­set, La Tor­tilla Feliz Pho­to­set.


Tremont is Dead. Long Live Tremont.

DSC01111When I first moved to Tremont almost two years ago I only knew two peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood. They’ve since moved to New York City, green­er pas­tures, and bet­ter oppor­tu­ni­ties. As I’m not very good at mak­ing friends, I decid­ed that a good way of meet­ing peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood would be to start a weblog and forum that would pro­vide res­i­dents and vis­i­tors with a space in which to inter­act. Thus, amid spring rain and mud, was born Tremon­ter. Lit­tle did I know the impact it would have, or that I would become a nation­wide con­tact for neigh­bor­hood web­sites and a nation­wide ambas­sador for my neigh­bor­hood.

But that sort of lau­da­tion is a dis­tant sec­ond to the true ben­e­fit that I have derived from the site. Through it, I’ve made con­nec­tions with Lou Muenz, Matt Was­covich and R.A. Wash­ing­ton: inde­pen­dent sol­diers of the Cleve­land art and music. These guys are the ones who bring me out of my grim moods after a day in my cubi­cle and make me want to stay up late on week­nights, even if they don’t know it. These guys are my friends.

When some­one mess­es with my friends, I get pissed. The night before last, The Cleve­land Church, The Church of Ayler, The Best Unsung Music Club in Cleve­land was shut-down by the Sec­ond Dis­trict Vice Squad for an occu­pan­cy vio­la­tion. Nev­er­mind the ram­pant reports of theft, nev­er­mind the crack-deal­ers and knif­in­gs, The Cleve­land Police Depart­ment has big­ger fish to fry.

Includ­ing, appar­ent­ly, a strug­gling music venue like The Church.

THE HEAD VICE DETECTIVE ACTUALLY SAID, “I GUESS SOMEONE HAS A VENDETTA AGAINST YOU.�

This is not the first time that a vendet­ta has result­ed in the clos­ing of a Tremont insti­tu­tion. The Stark­weath­er had been a bar at the cor­ner of Stark­weath­er and Scran­ton for years. In the first year that I moved to Tremont it was com­plete­ly restored to the beau­ti­ful brick build­ing it is now. They had the best dart boards in the neigh­bor­hood and poured a good pint of Guin­ness. But one man with a vendet­ta man­aged to has­sle and keep them closed just long enough for them to run out of mon­ey.

This must not hap­pen to The Church. First off, they have no mon­ey. The Church is not around to make a prof­it. They are around to pro­vide young Cleve­land res­i­dents with music they like at a price they can afford. Tick­ets are nev­er more than $5, and it is a lucky month where they make enough to pay rent or fix the PA sys­tem. The Church makes no more noise than the Guatemalan Pen­te­costal Church that had occu­pied the space pre­vi­ous­ly. At least The Church of Ayler keeps its doors closed dur­ing its ser­vices.

The Church pro­vid­ed a venue for bands whose exper­i­men­tal nature and emerg­ing sound would not be accept­ed at places like The Grog Shop or the House of “Blues”. Unsigned bands, tour­ing on their own dime, knew they could play at The Church and crash on the floor after the show. Steve Gold­berg had his first read­ing as a fea­tured poet there. Trans­gen­dered and fem­i­nist bands were wel­come, bands with home­made instru­ments, bands with no instru­ments, bands from around the coun­try and inter­na­tion­al knew of The Church as a place where they would be wel­come. Tremont was revi­tal­ized exact­ly because of places like this.

This is the exact type of space that Cleve­land needs. This is dis­rup­tive inno­va­tion at its heart and soul. This is eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. And it has been shut down because of a vendet­ta and lack of vision. It sets a bad exam­ple and a bad prece­dent as well. Hun­dreds [and I’m not kid­ding] of young Cleve­land res­i­dents now hate their city a lit­tle bit more, will be a lit­tle more like­ly to leave Cleve­land, have a lit­tle less faith [as if there was any to begin with] in jus­tice among city gov­ern­ment. Oth­er peo­ple will be less inclined to pro­vide a venue for fringe bands both nation­al and inter­na­tion­al to play. These bands will have no place to play in Cleve­land and will dri­ve on through to play in Chica­go or Detroit or Colum­bus or Pitts­burgh or Buf­fa­lo. Cleve­land becomes poor­er.

R.A. Wash­ing­ton is DJing tonight at Lava Lounge in the hopes of rais­ing enough mon­ey to reopen The Church. Please stop in if you can. If you can offer assis­tance deal­ing with the mad wall of bureau­cra­cy that is City Hall, please do. If you love The Church, help keep it open. If you love Cleve­land, take a stand.

Apolo­gies for the pur­ple prose. You can see all my pic­tures from The Church here.


Nimbus

The night before last I met a rel­a­tive­ly new Tremont res­i­dent for beer and tacos at the Lin­coln Park Pub. We spent near­ly two hours chat­ting about the var­i­ous places we’d lived in Indi­ana, job prospects and how to fix Cleve­land. Yes­ter­day I was going to write more about this, but due to a pow­er out­age, I had no inter­net access. They end­ed up send­ing us home from work at 11, after near­ly three hours of sit­ting in the dark. So, I did what any red-blood­ed Amer­i­can man would do with an extra 4 hours of time in a day; I went shop­ping. I final­ly found a replace­ment hood­ie, even though it is brown, not black, slight­ly dis­tressed and from a com­pa­ny called Amer­i­can Rag. At least it doesn’t have a logo on it and I am now warm. It does have an inside breast pock­et which will be per­fect for my cam­era when I’m out and about.

When I got back to Tremont, Rafiq need­ed a ride out to E.91st and St. Clair so I took him and a friend out there and spent a sol­id forty min­utes talk­ing poet­ry and the artis­tic process with the friend. I’ve for­got­ten his name because I’m a jerk. Friend is going to LA for a few months for some inten­sive writ­ing with a cre­ative part­ner in crime and from the few glimpses I had of the work he has done and has planned, he’s going to cre­ate some fierce stuff.

The weath­er yes­ter­day was the sort that only appears in the fall. Brisk and most­ly cloudy, most­ly nim­bus but ragged in shape and errant in move­ment that light from the sun kept leak­ing around them all and mak­ing the whole day into a fleet­ing gold­en hour.

Some Deal

I’ve got so much web-based work to do that I’m con­sid­er­ing drop­ping the $50/mo it would cost to have inter­net access at home again. The redesign of Tremon­ter is mov­ing fit­ful­ly, I’m hav­ing to teach myself much mySQL, and Dru­pal’s doc­u­men­ta­tion assumes a cer­tain lev­el of devel­op­er exper­tise that I’m just now get­ting. The inter­ac­tive Google API-dri­ven neigh­bor­hood map I have plans for hasn’t even been glanced at. I run into too many peo­ple that I know at Civ­i­liza­tion to accom­plish much, and the Jef­fer­son Library dis­al­lows FTP access. I’ll prob­a­bly just ride on over to Talkies.

Actu­al­ly, it looks like Adel­phia has a $24/mo for 3/mos deal going on if you sign up online. Of course, there is a $35 acti­va­tion fee along with that and their online sign-up form is bust­ed. So much for that deal.