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2004-05-03

Keith Haring
B. 5.4.58 Reading, Pennsylvania / D. 2.16.90 New York City
AIDS

I plunge down Brighton Beach verge through the tail end of a day-long fog. Air like cold steam blasts off the pressing waves, soaking my sweatshirt, clouding my glasses. Every time I take the glasses off itís like stepping into Oz, the suddenness of color. Cross-hatched with clouds, the high blue sky is faintly visible out above the sea, beyond the haze. The sun, though, is nothing but a silver lid, sightless over unsee-able Coney Island.
Making much that is as if it never was, the fog erases.
Tide going out fights itself; gray-green waves come in fast, high and foamy. Foam laces the brown track that opens and widens before me on the verge, brown fringed with wrack: dead seagrasses, waterlogged golden; spangles of marigold, distantly overthrown from shipboard puja stations. And hereís a fatality: a red-brown chicken, drowned and pale-eyed, splays the feathers of one wing in SOS. A pink rubber band still binds its yellow legs fast together. This bird is the emblem of never having had a chance. It may also be a prophecy about Damascus.
But enough about politics!
I pick up a seashell, and a plastic vial labeled Split Shot Sinkers. I must be nearly parallel to the aquarium when I spot a figure up ahead, coming my way, and even though the figure is still tiny and quite featureless I can tell that this is a huge and crazy man approaching. Rather than cross paths along the verge I decide to tack up towards the Boardwalk, and to keep an eye out while Iím at it:
Head a bump upon a blocky torso, limbs like strips of duct tape, oddly bending.
When Iím about half-way up the beach I see the figure stop, set fists to hips, and perform a series of vigorous pelvic thrusts in the direction of New Jersey.
Little apostrophes of fog form by his hips on either side.

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