The Lounge
Ishmael Houston-Jones
Ben Van Buren
6 October 2017
9:30 – 10:30 AM

always an air conditioner. And a little chat, about blank pages. Ices coffee and an OJ stand on two different desks, one a little up, the other down by the fading flowers and the statue of “the thinker” that rattles when shaken. The lights, a single line of florescent bulbs are, let’s say, 10 feet off the ground. Rocking back and forth, reading the teacher’s biographies, ISH has his hands in his pockets. And as she opens the door behind me molly says, “alright” under her breath. It’s a little clammy, but the sounds are dry. Keyboard taps, the swish of a thin plastic bag, the always air conditioner. The carpet is green and old and sad. Shoes are paired up around the couch, their owners are in class. It’s morning, no big deal, and voices are still low. Two butts slide onto the couch and knees come to chests, taping tapping, the room is tapping. In the distance the office door opens and shuts. The Doors are the color of Ox Blood Brown. There is a lot of paper on walls, a lot of words, a lot of information. Controlled chaos of a community. The rug has not been vacuumed recently it seems. There is a basket of toys. Not easy to find a place of comfort, but still not uncomfortable. Maybe I mean unsettled. I’m new here. Arrived yesterday. Black lives do matter but is everyone really welcome here. The stairs. The conversation last night about accessibility. Images and whispers. “FIG.” The word stands out on a poster here. Outside. He starts outside looking in. backing down the hallway, hand in a pocket and glasses held at stomach level observing as i... and then to the ground. He is lying on the green carpet, they come in and walk around he raises his knees toward the beam on the ceiling. Rolling a bit, the air is crystal clear, the light is alive, on everyone’s skin. In the hall conversation bubbles for a moment next to the yellow mop bucket. Standing again and walking, professorial with his glasses like that back to the back of the room and through the entrance to studio 3. Standing there with the door open just a crack. He looks out and sees us 5 people who all have laptops open. And he wanders back to the front door and I read “upper storage” on a sticker on the loft that has the lights and some cardboard boxes. The lights are dusty, and have fingerprints. ”IN PEACE AND WAR 3 TEENS KILL 4” is on the back of his comfortable button down. He dislocated his shoulder during a 3 TEENs revival when I asked him to dance. The 2 grays of the wall. The whispers, the quiet clacking of computer keys, the multiple glowing apples. The rainbow flag. “Ask pronouns; don’t assume.” Open the closed door and hear “double helix.” The couch doesn’t look inviting but people have taken an invitation to sit there. Yoga for Idiots. 5 is Jenn and Joy. Oh My God. Questions. Whispers. You’re all mornings, right, I know why what about I think it was back in june we had to change it and I think we sent out another email but there was so much email fatigue at that point. And open slot on Saturday, can you do that? JUICE. He brought the JUICE to go dancing! Come on roll of painters tape, get with it. Jump in to the action. People were understanting a good and there were so many options.. their needs met. Needs must walk. We all brought back packs. Keith talked about school yesterday, and about sitting in a circle and how that’s something new. How it didn’t used to be in dance class. How the past was old, and this is the new, and when we wince together we are the future. The lounge is very the present. Torn between... fires extinguished. Go back to class. He runs away with arms up. I forgot about Ish for a moment. He’s there behind me. Im sitting at the desk closest to the door to studio three facing a wall, not an ideal spot for seeing the whole space. Leaving feelings at seeings. POINTS OF CONVERGENCE is the title of a book I brought. I real fresh doughnut, “to be eaten on the spot” like Markers kids in Tokyo. I’ve never been to Japan. Curious but not eager to go. I’m here now. This space has not windows, nothing seen beyond itself. There are 2 HVAC sounds, a low rumble and a higher pitched one that come on during the last five minutes. There are no clothes hanging on the empty hangers. The woman who introduced herself as “The Black Joy” types beside me. He is rearranging stuff and himself. There is a security camera; I wonder what it sees. The sudden sound of a tambourine Jared’s hat on top of the scanner. Cool air from somewhere. The white t-shirt with primary colored lines. The rustle of paper. The tiny lighthouse. Things scanned. He’s busy, busy, busy. Busy with putting something on the wall. What is that? It looks like a venus fly-trap. Where’d that come from. Joy has their notebook out, handwriting looks like mine. Not neat but not sloppy. There is a lot of writing happening in the room. Joy also has a big yellow backpack, made out of that real durable stuff. Ish is back at the bookshelf. when last over there I selected a few books for display. I don’t remember their names—ish is suddenly on the floor again—“haiku for jews” was one, a hardback with a dust jacket; “Fred Astaire” was another, the cover was ripped off; and a small one with excellent type that had something to do with memorizing folk dances was another. He is touching things now. The bookshelf. the door frame. He is in the hallway, leaning on the wall, looking back in. In Keith’s class they are stamping, the army is preparing. Keith says something but all I catch is “energy in armpit.” The stamping sounds martial almost fascistic. That of course is my lens. Realizing that I have been over-relying on sight. Close eyes and listened in the last round. This time touched stuff. Rattled the hangers, touched the bookcase drew patterns with my fingers in the rug. Listened to wall where Keith was teaching. He’s beating rhythms with the remaining ice in his plastic cup. Choni. He’s looking at the bios. Mine is so generic. Now there is chanting from Keith’s class. Got water from the cooler and let it touch my fingers. He tossed his plastic cup. There’s a cubby labeled Joy’s food.