Monday, February 21, 2011

Death in Cleveland

This poor creature came to a stunning conclusion sometime this morning on Euclid Avenue. Can anyone identify what kind of bird this is? (If you respond, "a dead one," I will kill you). My eye was drawn to, then jarred by, that dot of red blood from its beak.

Another shocking dot of red caught my eye on Saturday morning: after the snow melted, left behind was a seared, iron-grey dead landscape of dead leaves and dead grass. It is hard to believe that Spring is around the corner. I am reminded of Philip Larkin's poem, 'First Sight,' about newborn lambs arriving in the snow-covered fields of the north of England: "They could not grasp it if they knew, / What so soon will wake and grow / Utterly unlike the snow." The red dot above, if you can't tell, was a half-eaten red velvet cupcake. As this photo was taken near an Interstate overpass on an otherwise deserted stretch of Cleveland roadway, I can only imagine the cupcake being tossed from a speeding car window, by... who knows?

Perhaps that dead bird and that done-for cupcake might have conducted themselves differently, if they had thought to consult this expert in Ohio City, a Cleveland neighborhood that resembles the older, historic parts of Brooklyn, NY.

If bird or cupcake had suffered only an injury, perhaps they could have claimed it was in the line of duty: "It happened while I was patrolling the skies over Cleveland..." "This devastating wound was inflicted while I was being eaten..."

Anyway. I discovered that Cleveland believes there are four basic elements:




...and "Cleveland Ecovillage," which is not an element I had heard of before. And believe me, I looked -- the same set of signs are up on various city fences, always the same combination: earth, air, water, Cleveland Ecovillage. Whatever happened to 'fire'? What mysterious properties does Cleveland Ecovillage possess? (Insert jokes here: _______ ).

If you are from Cleveland, you'll know who lives at number 6718 Lorain Avenue: the Slutbangers. "Darling! Don't forget to pick Jane and Billy up from the Slutbangers!" "Mommy, can me an' Molly go play at the Slutbangers'?"

Which is what happened to this poor dame, above: "Ish..ishokay... I... I washat the Shlutbangers, offisher..."

I finally realized what I had been missing about New York City betimes, here in Cleveland. The proximity to Lake Erie causes immense and near-permanent cloud coverage here, and so one rarely gets to experience bright sunshine as you do almost all year round in NYC. At the weekend, the sun came out for two days: see above.

Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street, at the weekend: that is meant to be Lady Liberty on the far corner. On a previous occasion, I came around the corner and said "Oh, Lady Liberty, you're a long way from New York Harbor. What are you doing?" and the lady in the outfit said: "Oh... I....uh....I'm....slumming."