Sunday, September 21, 2008

who's afraid of an old mid-sized industrial city?

oh...i'm not even sure what the hell i'm gonna write about. i just know its been a while and i start to feel this need to post SOMETHING...ANYTHING....lest i lose my blog status and you will all wander off and forget me.

the eternal search for where to go next continues...balanced relatively well by lovely weather, a big yummy handspun blanket i'm weaving and lots of praying mantis, which are just about my favorite bugs ever. right up there with wolf spiders, inch worms and cicadas.

these past couple of days i've been toying with idea of returning not only back to new york, which is nothing new, but back to rochester....specifically the southwedge which is my old neighborhood from my sordid youth.If i were to get super specific i'd go back to swillburg, which is now being called part of the southwedge in some not so successful attempt to gentrify that tiny neighborhood.
i don't think i could return to swillburg. evenon the off chance it is all crack house free and queer friendly these days. i've too many bad memories there.
like getting chased by men with baseball bats. and that guy that blew his brains out in the street in front of our house.and being dropped off at the end of my street in the early morning after my first date rape experience. he was 26. i was 15.he picked me up in a bar.that morning it was cold out, i didn't have enough clothing on, i think it was a school day.
the smell of poverty and alcoholism that permeated our house.

so no, probably not heading back to swillburg. but the southwedge extends all the way over to mount hope cemetery and the river and up to highland park and all the way downtown.

i think i'm recycling around in my real estate search. after a spell of looking here in new mexico, its a giddy thrill to take a look back home where everything is so economically depressed that you can pick up a house for 30k....hell, i've seen them for 8k on the north side. ofcourse then your in an area thats really suffering, houses boarded up, not a grocery store or anything for that matter anywhere in sight. strange to think that my family hails from the northside. my great great grandparents from lithuania had a house there. my great grandparents had a general store on st. paul blvd.

but still, compared to here, where you can't get a house at all for less than 200k, and that won't be nothing special. 120k in rochester will get you a fucking palace.

so i dabble with dreams of home, in all its working class glory. i know that old city . i can wander the streets in my mind. i know them all. its where i first fell in love. where i came out. where i dreamed about the world beyond. where i slept in doorways and ran around on rooftops and burned up all that youthfull immortality.

my teenage years were all about escaping that place. now its some sort of full circle fantasy for me.

we can't escape who we are.

i bask in the thrilling idea of getting in my car and driving east.


jacket said...

Swillburg, eh? What a name! After living in an economically depressed town for about a year, I'm starting to think it's not so bad. I'm starting to meet folks and am working hard to maintain long distance friendships. But it sounds like the ghosts of Rochester are pretty formidable. I don't know you real well, but is it possible that there's an element of self-destruction embedded in the desire to return? Resolution, at least in most cases, does not have to involve a return to the "scene of the crime." Why not move to a place where you have a more positive view of the possibility for community and hope? I remember you mentioned Olympia once. Or an intentional community somewhere? In any case, I'm saying all of this in the spirit of friendship. I wish the very best for you.
xo, jacket

erin ambrose said...

yes...the self destruct element has crossed my mind. but the flip side is the slow mind numbing alienating feeling of trying to find a way to live in a trendy, middle class town. i just can't seem to afford it...and assimilation really isn't very good for the soul anyway. so the rochester thing is about thinking on being proud of who i am, where i come from. facing the music so to speak....
but hey next week i might be talking about moving to chiapas or north carolina so who the fuck knows....