Migrant (2008) Choreography, Direction: Paul Zmolek
“—a strong, pull-no-punches look at hobos, migrants and misfits…Zmolek’s witty text was given a sharp performance…the powerful ensemble choreography intricate with fear and violence. … An intense, challenging look at
lives that society prefers not to notice.” -Rosemary Ponnekanti, The Tacoma News Tribune (TNT)
Migrant featuring an all mast cast, flowed seamlessly from Joséphine's all female On the Backs of our Mothers to create a single evening length work featured at Barefoot Studios within our Train festival. Two excerpts of the work were performed in various railroad-related sites throughout Tacoma. I invited G.B. Waldschmidt to join myself and the members of the cast to create the script inspired by migrant laborers: the hoboes of the Great Depression, undocumented workers of today, the Chinese “Coolies” that, through the “Tacoma Method”, were forced out of town once the railroads were built.
How the Hoboes Dine Under Mt. Tahoma
Catch Michael of “Operation Keep ‘Em Warm & Fed” in front of the library
Before seven-thirty for a wake-up coffee and day-old pastry.
Breakfast a 9 at Hospitality Kitchen
Brunch at Nativity House.
Back up to St. Leo’s for lunch.
They have a big flat screen tv there now.
Last time I was there, I think they were playing “Jarhead.”
High tea at Nativity House is three-ish.
Hot dinner at the Rescue Mission at 5:30--
Liver, tater tots, beans, macaroni & cheese
Spaghetti and unidentified meat chunks, bleached bread, creamed corn
Powdered eggs and bacon shards
And thousands of stale but tasty doughnuts.
For a midnite snack there might be a bag of raisin bagels in the St. Leo’s bread bin.
Institutions know the value of the High Starch Diet.
You can always tell when one of the women has come back to the Ave.
After a stretch in Purdy.
They go in junkie-thin and meth-skinny,
Nothing but a bag of abscesses and bones,
And come out ready for the clean-up spot
On the bowling team.
I even gained weight on this stuff
After I got out of St. Joe’s.
So the next time somebody at the bus stop
Hits you up for a couple of buck
Keep in mind
That the only reason to go hungry in this town
Is because you were so fucked up
On rubbing alcohol and crack that you
FORGOT TO EAT.
And nobody feels sorry for you
Because you got a bad memory.
Where is Home?
Where is home?
Moved thirteen times in the last 17 years. The transient in transit. Pierce Transit runs through it. Before I came here I was in Rush Limbaugh’s home town before I was surrounded by corn fed Norwegian bred Lutherans singing praise in perfect four part harmony to that Home on the Plain before I’m taken Home – Praise Jesus. I grew up in Iowa, Little Town on the Prairie an island afloat in the ocean of corn. Lived in SoCal, in the Desert where golf and plastic surgery reigns, left the grit of rainy Tacoma for the dust of windy Pocatello, but, I always say I’m from San Francisco - though I rarely visit anymore.
Home, where is home?
Home is where you are.
Correction, home is where you and the two cats are.
What is home? That safe place. That place with love. I love that old car, it always brought me home. The ’75 Westphalia could be home. Or rather, the place that used to be home. Too old, too unreliable to be trusted anymore. Baling wire and duct tape. Just like the U-Haul I drive to the next place, hoping for home.
Searching for home. Migrants with heavy furniture. U-haul. Our orange travois with wheels keeps getting bigger. Full of stuff. Heavy Stuff. Stuff that anchors us. To a home of nostalgia. Anchors to a home that never really existed. That place. This is the place! Well bully for you Brigham Young. Bring ‘em young. Not young anymore, with more stuff each move to stuff in the moving van and every move leaves behind anchors that are mourned in passing.
A house burns down and the anchors are cremated and the past has passed on.
The bubble is burst. The house is on the market. The anchor is weighed. The trees we planted are left behind. Do the new owners love that Japanese Maple we planted as our 10th anniversary gift to our dream of home? Have they maintained the landscaping? Have any of the plants, the dreams, the love we planted been cared for in our absence? Or have they been torn up by the roots, burned and buried in the sandy soil to make room for the next owners’ dream of home?
Where are the anchors? Is there a home port? Adrift. Without a home. Drift wood is picked up for beach fires to warm the beach rats without a home. Their shacks have been bulldozed like West Bank ancestral olive groves to make room for more condos and home-loving dreamers blowing a bubble. Pop!