Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sunday morning I am sitting on the front porch , Concord California.

The house sits at a crook in the block on one of those residential inlets off of a primary artery that runs the length of town.

Perfectly chiseled sidewalks serving as a frame for the lawns and driveways that lead up to the ranch style 3 and 4 bedroom houses.

I want to talk about porches.

There are very few porches on this block. That’s unfortunate. Where I grew up, In St. Louis…every house on our block had a porch…even the two story apartment building at the end of the block….porches on both floors.

The porches were kind of a launching pad for most of us kids in the neighborhood…they were perches for the old folks….and my mom and the other ladies on the block swapped thinly veiled gossip….

“Uh huh, you know Margaret did not let that girl go out the house lookin’ like that….she need to stop runnin’ after that man….be at home a little more to keep an eye on that little fast girl of hers”

"Uh huh....Lord Jesus"

There would be a porch where the girls would dominate the stairs....perched in a layered hierchy…. steps to red brick sides to the braided lawn chairs…us guys would kinda move from porch to porch based on who’s parents were out.

There was always, it seemed, a stream of people moving down the side walks…conversations and salutations bouncing back and forth to the porches….a kind of drum song….connecting us all.

As I am writing this in Concord, I realize I don’t know the guy who lives three house down from me .…there is no drum song here on my block….there is the house on our left that has a bunch of guys who hang out in the garage with their girlfriends….but, it is rare to see someone walking down the street …unless they are walking a dog , always buffered from the neighborhood by a jog or an ipod.

Now, before you accuse me of the “white folks do this and Black folks do that rant”….I don’t think it’s a color thing….ever met someone from Brooklin?....there the "stoops" are the anchors of the drum song…they know what I'm talking about…white, black Puerto Rican…don’t matter.

Must be a cultural thing and in our so called “melting pot” all kinda folks get caught up in a culture….start believing in the community or genre’s “expectations”

For whatever reason…. The construct here seems to dictate that the lawn, sidewalk and driveway act as a buffer between folks.

Now, there does seem to be something to these “Yard Sales”….that have the ability to draw the village together….and admitting that I am an immigrant to this “culture”….maybe I need to observe that phenonmana for the drum song I am missing.

....but, on this Sunday morning...I am missing porches. Porches and stoops have the ability to connect a neighborhood Lawns tend to separate the homes from the street…creating an manicured palet that seems to disconnect neighbor from neighbor.

On this Sunday morning, I am feeling disconnected...oh well.

This is my porch...and I think I will play the role of old folks perching...or maybe the Ladies from my old block dishin' and testifyin' now and then.

Well, we will see what this porch sitting will become...if nothing else it will give me the opportunity to share with you what's up with me as artist and neighbor. You are welcome to respond...with comments, questions ar jusst to say "Shut the fuck up, you are embarrassing yourself"

Take care.

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