Keith Haring in the Brooklyn Museum

by

05/05/2019

Neighborhood: Brooklyn

I used to like
Keith Haring’s stuff
When you’d see
It on the subway
You’d look out
The window as
The train pulled
In and see
A space ship
With a beam
Of light on a
Baby or
A dog or
Something
And you’d smile
Or see the ones with the
Big muscle guy
With the dollar sign
On his chest
Standing on people
Crushing them
And you’d nod
And say yeah
But today
Standing in the Brooklyn
Museum exhibit
It feels really
Different
With everybody
Looking so fucking
Cool and mostly young
While on the subway
Most people are
The everyday beaten down
Workers of the world
And here you can almost
Feel the education and
Insider hip world
Of money
And art publicity
Or I don’t even know
It’s probably just
Me in my self-conscious
Walmart clothes
And all the years
I’m dragging around
But there was one thing
That got me
And that was
The photos
Of John Sex who
I knew as John McLaughlin
Back home
On Long Island before
He came into the
City and became part of the
Club and art scene
Back home where he
Hung out with
The greasers
And wore a leather
Jacket and
In the city one time
I even saw him
On his way into
Studio 54
Wearing a blue
And white striped
Sailor suit with
His hair combed up
In a swirl he
Got out of a limo
And the bouncer
Opened the velvet
Ropes for the group he
Was with and in they went
Smiling and laughing as
The bouncer closed the ropes

Again  to make sure the rest of us
Were kept out
That’s what went through
My mind as I stood there
In the Brooklyn Museum
Looking at the photos of
Keith Haring and John Sex
Thinking back to
When I lived downtown
And worked as a
Super and thought Keith
Haring was really onto
Something back then
Something about the importance
Of the context but how now
For Keith Haring
And John McLaughlin/Sex
The context and
Everything else
Was pretty much
Settled

 

***

Dan Hubbs worked as the superintendent of 258 Broadway from 1980 to 1984.  He is a father, a librarian, a songwriter and a banjo player in a string band. He is currently finishing up a novel based on the early life of bare knuckle boxing champ John Morrissey.

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