Monday, September 18, 2006

the High Life

There's too much to try and account all in one post, but since I am not likely to have the time to write about all that has happened, here's a shoutout to this past week and weekend, then my real post.

It was an emotional affair. What would the Jesus say? "Goddamn". Not in that offensive to Christians sorta way, but more like "holy fuck and wow!". Long talks about love, walks in our city fields, friends and community stepping up, surprises about the farm that really should not have been a surprise, the innocence and frailty of my nephew missing those who love him but are not around often enough, one very grand sunset that seemed to say 'this way to heaven-here is the hole in the atmosphere to escape the earth', and of course moving out of my old place and the goodbyes.

Moved a piano along with all my stuff into one room of the house, and it went pretty well I have to say. Took about 10 people 4 hours and cost me $50 for the 14 ft. truck, and $40 for lunch for some of the helpers and it was so worth it. Upon completion, at first it was like "what are all my things doing in this place?" You have to just take my word for it, the UpsideDownHouse is still very much in, let's just say a raw state and not really a space most people would want to move a piano into yet. That's where I am though, and to some extent who I am, and it's already coming together as far as the possibility of even finding some of my things. Tonight will be my first night staying there.

Still no electricity, running water, heat, back door, etc etc. , but there is a space carved out in the middle of the room where all my things are that doesn't seem all that bad and I am making progress on the room upstairs I am claiming as mine. It's looking pretty fucking awesome too. More on that later when I have pictures developed. Now for the real post.


It was the "High Life". Not a time for drug indulgences, but feeling elevated, if not often elated. It came to me that it really does feel like the end of an era for me, and that is how I think I want to recall that time.

From the nook in my attic room.

I watch kids on bikes who I imagine battle the midnight homeless and crack junkies in the trash for control of the alley culture. I can rarely pick out what they are saying in Spanish even though they are loud and a little too confident. I can also look down into my wild garden now and smirk, then as I have done for so many years look up at the "Organic Grdening for the Revolution" stencil I recut and sprayed onto a board out there; sorta proud to have brought this back to Detroit by way of a Nashville artist. But as the day fades with the sun setting behind my view of Holy Redeemer, having swept and cleared out my things best I can from this dusty attic in SouthWest, regardless of how wonderful it is, it is also time to say goodbye.

I spent over a year cleaning up, organizing and constructing this space. I actually had peace here, but it was never mine.

This is the 12th time I have moved in my adult life. When I moved back home I initially lived on 2nd at Canfield and it was not really gentrified yet, then a brief stay at 4th street as my girlfriend and I went through the final death throes of our terminal relationship, then after crashing in the theatre at the Trumbullplex I became a full fledged member with my own room and everything! It was during that time that I was got reaquainted with the city, and by the time I moved back home (for real), to SW Detroit, just a few blocks from where I was born and both sides of my family all had lived as I grew up, I definitely felt The D in my blood.

When two of us from the Plex moved out, we were fortunate to to have a new place to rent in a second flr. flat that was handed down to activists over the years with cheap rent and a landlord that really just didn't want to be bothered too much, which was fine with most of us because we really did not want a land lord. Soon I got antsy though in my finished room with just two of us and the cats and began to desire more space, more people and cheaper rent and I only had to look up.

The attic was completely out of the question for most, but I set my sites on it and said "fuck it". At first you could not even get to it, with the stairwell covered in serious amounts of debris, which was behind a door which was behind a curtain which was on the backl porch which was riciculously heaped up with stuff not really relevant enought to make it into the house from the previous tenants. I had a vision though, $100 a month rent.

The attic was storage for many activists treasures and junk for probably over 25 years, and when I got there it was also covered in serious amounts of fine black dust and bits of the old wood shingle roof that had all been dumped down into the attic when the roof was redone, rather than haul it away. Day by day and week after week I sorted and bagged and got rid of all the nastiness and began to see how this might actually happen, some day. It took so long I can not even remember for sure, but I know it took over a year. Now it's a large attic seperated in two by some walls I built and a door. One side has been drywalled and finished and the other (mine)the drywall is up but not yet mudded, sanded and painted.

It was a lot of work and I reused an incredible amount of odd materials that have been laying around up there and in the basement for who knows how many years, and of course there were many people who helped, especially the roomates, but for the most part it was a beast that I conquered, and I can see now that I was preparing for the UpsideDownHouse.

Why, or was it really worth it you might ask? Well, I did pay myself with minor treasures uncovered. A First pressing this, a Japanese print that, old Soviet propaganda poster, but I made sure not to get greedy and pillage the whole collection. I'm sure afterall that the owner (who still believes just two people live there)and her deceased mother would not appreciate that all too much, but I feel like if I had not done something, more than what I had found that was already destroyed would have been. So, yes I did reward myself beyond $100/mo. rent for a few years that allowed me to travel for months on end, and hell yea it was worth it.

Yea, in the end I worked my ass off there and I probably made out like a bandit with forgotten tools and cool little things that left with me, but I think most would sooner toss that all out in our cheap buy it new CONsumer CULTure rather than save it and see the beauty that is still present within, even if it's a little water damaged or bent.

I made a nice space up there and I left it better than it was before, plus I planted some trees, made new gardens, befriended the old and young, sane and probably insane and continued to grow while there.

Thinking back now,I learned I want to always try to prepare for new challenges by way of the challenges I currently choose to take on. I am sad to leave this-I gave my heart over to this place, it's how i did it. It was not merely a space in a house with a history, in a hood I felt connected to by proximity to my families old stomping grounds, but despite the fact we did not all own the house I feel like I still made it into a home. And that is what matters the most now.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home