Thursday, November 26, 2015

Twas the night before The DownTown Holiday Market....

*Twas' the night before The DownTown Holiday Market

And all through the DMV not an exhibitor was sleeping not even those who were not going to set up for weeks. There houses were packed with art objects and such- soaps jewelry paintings scarfs maps and even hats The exhibitors were hoping wishing and praying that lots of customers would come down there and shop.  The DMM team was all nested snug at there desks while visions of what could go wrong danced in their heads. Tom Rall in his hat and Mike Berman in his beard had just settled down to there PC and MAC.  When down at the Holiday Market there rose such a clatter that Rudy Coates got on the phone and told them something was the matter.

They both tore down town in a flash.  Mike was so upset his hair almost grew back.  The moon, on the breast of new fallen snow gave the place an eerie glow. When, what to there wondering eyes should appear, but a man and some friends gone on not so long ago: on the wind could be heard a Coltrane riff, while the breeze blew and moaned like Dizzy and Miles..  Tom said , "hey man" it was John Harrod and crew...there was Alex Becky Gene Kent Larry and Mr. Booker too- Danny Bill Tom Cathy Marta and Mitch.  To the top of the tents they sailed in a sench

As they drew back there heads  
 Tom Rudy and Mike cried out with fright, "what are ya'll doing here on this cold dark night"
As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane flew Tom Rudy and Mike did not know what to do.  Down to the information booth John came with bound.

 He was dressed all in fur from his foot to his crown and his clothes were all fly with a red Kango on his head and stacy adams on his foot. His eyes- how they twinkled! His cheeks were so rosy his paunch shook like jelly. With a pull on his eggnog and a tug on his cigarette  he gave a shout out to Rudy an a handshake to Tom then looking Mike right dead in the eyes said, " don't be a shit, remember what I taught you ,the city and exhibitors can both act like twits."  Then in a flash, on the top of the tents he flew.  With a quick wit and a chuckle Rudy shouted, as John flew ..."ya'll here to do some early holiday shopping too!" And in each little tent, the next day it was true, the exhibitors were to find a small pile of money waiting - it was true.  In a wink of  John's eye and a twist of his head- he and his heavenly crew started fading away.  Tom Rudy and Mike heard them exclaim as they were fading into night....Happy Christmas to all and may the sales be just right!

 By: The spirits of  Market 5 Gallery and The Flea Market at Eastern Market
*loosely based on the poem "Twas the night before Christmas" by: Clement Clark Moore (1822)


The Downtown Holiday Market 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"I, too, am America.": Meechai Phulsuksombati at Eastern Market

Crossing the Bar
"Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.

   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;

   For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar."
By: Alfred Lord Tennyson

On Sunday last every now an then I swore I heard your voice...

You came to America when?  In the late 1960's...  I remember you telling Daniel Jessie Cleveland Ms. Doris I and... about your long hair pony tail and motorcycle riding days back then.  You came to America already trans cultural being both Thai and Chinese.   Like many folk you have worn many hats...having owned stores sold flowers worked in almost all capacities in restaurants and...
Not in Thailand but in America you met and married...Pia a women from home in this new land.   Then came as your wife has always called her "My Michelle" your daughter.  At the market  it was always Michelle is studying this Michelle is doing that Michelle graduated from Michelle is going to...
Back in the day from 1992 until the fire in 2007 on Sundays at the Flea Market at Eastern Market I set up across from you and Pia...  It was the best time...In 2009 when I started writing about the market the love fun community friendship silliness kindness generosity diversity that I lived and witnessed was the driving force behind my words.  
                         Meechai Phulsuksombati, Charles Ellis and Sheila Little ( Oct. 2010)

                                              Meechai Daniel Barker and Sheila

                                   Meechai Charles and Sheila  being 'wrong' and silly

It was these gifts that Meechai brought with him and  gave freely to his new home: America.  Like many after years of hard work and sacrifice Mr. Phulsuksombati suffered no fools if disrespected.  It was on more than one occasion;  his voice could be heard...(even above Jessie's) telling some idiot where to go to find the bridge they could jump off.

Meechai was ole school" don't start none won't be none". There are many many many Meechai stories...that ....well.... I aint telling but ask....Daniel about that time they lived together in West Virginia or about Meechai's Elvis impersonations or the many times he would cook up a huge pot of spicy chicken Thai style and bring it to the Market to share or about...

On a personal note: Once at a show in Bethesda; I was not having a good moment, my tent was blowing all over the place...from out of know where here comes Meechai with weights and wise counsel...He and his wife had a kiosks in the same area and saw me...

A gift given...it was not long after 9/11  that he and Pia became American citizens.  I was honored to be asked to attend.  I have a complex relationship with my country because of that 'pecular institution' and all the preceding history.  However...the folk that come here like Meechai have added changed shared overcome given so much ...that, that day sitting there with Meechai and his family in this room full of everybody...what I realized was that they have given me America...our America.

Witnessing with love, 

On October 24, 2015 Meechai Phulsuksombati passed away.


I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

For Meechai and all those who loved him...because he would have loved this....