Friday, September 26, 2014

Mandallying Columbus Circle (for Karen Finley)

Mandallying Columbus Circle 
(for Karen Finley)

by Eva Yaa Asantewaa

This is Karen Finley.
She is a performance artist.
Karen wants to know why Columbus Circle
has fountains styled after Bellagio Las Vegas.
None of us can answer.
Maybe there is no answer.
And that is the answer.
This little fella doesn't care.
It's bath time.
This leaf is quite through with its tree.
It's fall time.
This creature (wounded eagle?)
lives on a monument
ringed by traffic and glass.
Not quite used to it yet.
Columbus doesn't care.
He has conquered the ocean,
now stands on a phallus
hard by CNN, Time Warner.
The conquered ocean.
Karen tells us
the fruit of these trees
from North Carolina
hold poison.
Well, so does the fruit of conquest,
does it not?
Here is fountain water.
Before you learned it was fountain water,
it looked liberated, didn't it?
Here is Karen again.
She wants us to muse
on inner and outer circles
and leads us over a stone path
between flower plantings
where nobody walks.
Protected space.
A wondrous thing to know:
below our feet,
indigenous trail from Albany to Battery Park
The corpses we've drawn are exquisite,
it might turn out.
Or maybe not.
Hard to tell.
The Bike Rental guy
doesn't care.
Everything is going up at Columbus Circle
And on the rise at Central Park
And super-jazzed at Lincoln Center

 All photos (c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

On September 26 at noon, performance artist Karen Finley led an Elastic City walk, Mandala: Reimagining Columbus Circle, co-presented with Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).

For information on future walks by Elastic City, click here.

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