Ma and I just got back from the Wynwood Art Walk and we didn’t win any wood. We tried real hard to win wood but all we got was a photograph of this “While You Were Fucking Off” poster which hung next to another poster titled, “Andy Warhol is Over!”
Ma said she was a big a fan of Studio 69. She also said Andy Warhol reminds her of grandma Jipsy who was grandpa Buck back when he had a penis and one ball. He lost the other in World War II or during an alligator hunting accident in the Everglades National Park when grandpa forgot how to hunt. Sex changes, ma said, run around the family. I scratched my ear and wiggled my toes. Ma picked her nose and put on her glossy pink glittery lipstick.
FYI #1: Andy Warhol is not dead!
FYI #2: I’m not ashamed of anything when I’m with ma. Not even back hair.
FYI #3: This story will go through a meltdown. (See: later on.)
The gallery owner didn’t like us or our conversation so he asked ma and I to leave. And so we did. And so we floated out the door. But not until ma stole a beer from the bar and $2o bucks from the tip can. We needed cab fare to get home because ma left her purse on the bus, which means she left her bra on the bus, which means someone probably has ma’s dirty bra and her 20 bucks. We started a small fire and fled the gallery.
That’s when we ran into Adora saluting us like we just joined the gay military makeup brigade. When we ran across the street, which was actually 41st Street, which comes right after 40th street, ma was like ohwhoashit that’s Adora. I was like who is Adora and ma said that’s Adora and pointed to a photograph. Ma went up to the photograph and kissed her on the lips. Ma bowed her head and stayed silent for a minute. She became a buddhist monk smoking a cigarette in an instant. Then I did what ma did as an experiment.
As we walked out of the gallery, ma told me that all art is the communication cord that cannot be snapped by indifference or disaster. We’re always connected, ma said, to the past in the present. No matter what happens. And no matter if we forget that it happened. Like all matter, memories are forever.
I told ma she’s a plagiarist and faux-philanthropist, the anti Niels Bohr who also happens to be one of ma’s Danish ancestors. I told ma that Jeanette Winterson said those words and ma said no one owns words. They own us. Just like we own our lips.
Before we left, ma got on her knees. I thought she was going to do something sick. But she left the $20 bucks she stole across the street and left it at the makeshift altar at the base of Adora’s photograph. As an offering of peace. As a piece of an offering twenty years in the making. She gave me my first hand job, ma said, I owe her for that. I didn’t ask any more questions.
I’ve always wanted button eyes.
I’ve always wanted to break out like Superman can.
This is the world on red alert. This is how I felt the day my BFF Squinny died or passed away or flew him or herself out of the ionosphere. Into the tricked-out arms of firemen. This is every other Sunday in my head.
This is my heart everyday.
This is what we do to women. This is what we have done to women.
These are subatomic particles made out of a pink army of (possibly) Japanese women who march in synchronicity on film projected onto a proscenium for an installation by Felecia Chizuko Carlisle at the Dorsch Gallery. This is ironic. This subatomic scene. As Japan prepares for the “possible meltdown” of a second nuclear reactor, ma and I watch this scene (New York Times). This is Niels Bohr’s atomic legacy, that subatomic particles, all subatomic particles, are the quantum mechanics that cannot be stopped by man or Superman.
This is a man. This is a man who will save the world. This is a man who will feed BBQ baby back ribs and chicken to our kids. This is a man who will reinvent fire. This is a man who is powerful and proud. This is a man who will never tire even when the whole world wants BBQ. This is a man made from a woman.
These are yellow cage birds projected onto tiny televisions. Ma pulled the plug and then we left.
–Neil de la Flor
–All photographs copyright 2011 by Neil de la Flor. All photos, except for “Pink Toes”, were shot using Hipstamatic for iPhone with the Salvador 84 Lens & Dream Canvas Film.
–Location: Wynwood Arts District, Miami, FL