Out in the Street II

Which way, Mario? (2018). Acrylic on wood.  Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

I imagine him in the street, walking about in the rain, burdened only by the vital but mundane complexities of raising a family in the boroughs. Without the calling, the platform for rhapsodic rhetoric, the stepping stone political offices, he’d be just another guy in a trench coat on a rainy night. Maybe he’ll stop for a cocktail after court in Manhattan or closer to home, after the subway, at a neighborhood joint in Holliswood, Queens. Maybe the T.V. would be on, talking about Nixon, and setting him to thinking.

Decisions, decisions – for now they are provincial, almost intimate; small family and work dilemmas that will be sorted out with a little time and without the greater world giving a damn. Choices of case law at work, colleges to ponder for his children, all of which debated without the looming presence of an airplane parked on a tarmac, waiting for a Queens man to change history. What an unexpectedly full and rich life to be led in the bubble of those you know and care about, in a place you’ve lived your whole life. His wife was a schoolmate. His parents’ former grocery store was just down the block as he pulled up his collar against the drizzle.

He reaches a familiar intersection. Home is to the right. To the left are the local New York Liberal Party Offices. He is always taken the realms of possibility; by forks in roads. As he debates how to proceed, the rain continues, the world goes on without him, and the water begins to puddle around his shoes.

-Danny Grosso

Angels in the City

I Am TCB (1990). Oil on banner cloth. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

I am flying low, down toward the lights that run up again on the sides of the buildings; lights yearning for the heavens, for my roost. I am a watcher, I am an intervener, I am taking care of business, and there is much of it. Pan the camera back and upward and you see a Van Gogh; blue night sky, yellow light below. Art up above, but down here, it’s all business.

I can hear them thinking, mulling, obsessing in their own heads, and I can’t divulge their minds without undermining my dignity, so I am alone – with their thoughts. However, I can say that their thoughts are much like my surroundings as I descend among the edifices. Disjointed phrases, random words, emphasized, lots of exclamations, some sentences fading into the fog.

I am here for this, for them, though there is often little I can do. Most of them don’t believe in me, so they would dismiss my specter as a migraine symptom. Those that do believe would be too shocked to survive an encounter. The small mercies I can offer without alerting them are often overwhelmed by the enormity of the world they built. There are so many of them now, and so much light, and noise, and mindlessness, and worry; and war, that quiet persuasion is most often lost among the milieu.

Still, I descend from the limitless sky each night, on this eternal watch, reading their signs, reading their minds, choosing, doing. I am marooned in this vocation, a heavenly being somehow glass-ceilinged. I can go everywhere but I am going nowhere. I am notable but unnoticed.

Thank heaven for the artists, or there would be no sense of me at all.

Danny Grosso