Tenement Clutter: A Procrustean Bed

Tenement Clutter: A Procrustean Bed

Inquiry leads to inquiry leads to inquiry. Looking at the image of a tiny immigrant one-room tenement apartment on New York’s Lower East-side from the 1930’s, I am reminded of my own Greenwich Village mini one-room at 113 Christopher Street during the mid-1960’s. The clutter of that small studio, has grown and followed me through the journey that has led to my seven-room apartment in an ancient two-flat quietly nestled almost unseen within one of Chicago’s most elite neighborhoods.

It has been a journey that has moved with self-inquiries from solitudes forced to solitudes chosen, from solitudes of an outcast to bold actions, from solitudes of unbearable emptiness and terror to pleasures of rich imagination and writing. Self-inquiries about ways to let go but to keep in touch, ways to continue envisioning the future but also to look back, ways to walk away but also to find a way back home.

It is a search to connect, disconnect and recover one moment and another: thoughts, observations, feelings, smells, sounds and a myriad of other perceptions, each separately and with the other. Our personal clutter is but one expression of the fact that the borders between juxtaposition for inquiry and juxtapostition for evasion are obscured by shadows. Perhaps more accurately, there are no real borders. Self-inquiry and self-evasion fill the same room. We are always engaged in both clarifying and creating obscurities.

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