Gratis (for Mike Land)


Spring '05: I swung a drunken loop from
the warehouse space back into the Highwire
Gallery itself— throngs of hipsters milling
around, whiskey, wine disappearing from
the little island space situated near
windows picking up western sun-
light, as night descended on Cherry
Street, with an ambiance of anticipation.
When anything can happen in human
life, nothing usually does— what spectacles
coalesced here, were manna to us. Avalon established
eye-contact; off we pranced to the stairwell—
Mike Land grinned lasciviously, as usual,
& polished off a beer he'd received gratis.

Nights I staggered drunkenly, down
the winding, white-walled corridor which
led to two major entrances (the ware-
house space & the Highwire itself); how
it was that our version of freedom, stitched
to good old-fashioned luck, had been
allowed to recreate Philadelphia from its
insides out, I could never figure out; as
the videos projected onto screens fixed
the right images into our heads (alienation
& archetypes in dim, exotic foreign films),
a Temple punk at a microphone squealed,
someone hit a keyboard, Mike reeled,
drunker than me, the voice, video pealed—