Archive for the ‘Tagging’ Category

Not day, not night. Twilight. Chaotic, moody twilight. That’s when I like to stake out a new locations and possible future haunts.

It was a Thursday morning when I first stumbled onto the edge of small barely there creek. By twilight, it was more than a new shortcut.

The Reason: There were several small (unknown to me) tunnels. There were three easily accessible ones and two not so accessible.

Area Status: Lonely small town creek.

Everything was in place for a twilight tunnel crawl. All I needed now was my partner; Charlie Sparxx. Sparxx leads a different kind of life. Not so different from me but different enough that we get along without having to try too hard. That’s just how we do our thing. To put it simply: We don’t Shit, where we Eat and don’t Fuck around! Instead, we pass the time by Exploring our mostly Urban landscape. It’s no concrete jungle but this little creek side tunnel will have to do.

To go on a good crawl, you need to be prepared.

Here’s What You Need:

  • FLASHLIGHTS (PREFERABLY WATER PROOF)
  • SHARPIES (THICKEST ONE YOU CAN FIND)
  • MAP (OR PAPER TO DRAW A MAP)
  • WRITING/ DRAWING TOOLS
  • LIGHTERS
  • BACKPACK/ MESSENGER BAG (EITHER WILL DO)
  • SHOES YOU’RE WILLING TO GET DIRTY
  • CLOTHES YOU DON’T MIND GETTING DIRTY
  • ZIPLOC BAGS TO PUT TOOLS IN (FOR WET AREAS AND IN CASE OF ACCIDENTS)

Fun Suggestions:

  • MUSIC PLAYER WITH SPEAKERS
  • CAMERA
  • CIGARS
  • SPRAY PAINT (SOMETIMES)

We pack up, pick a theme song for the closing party, and get out the door just as the sun is starting to dip in the sky. The creek is only six and a half minutes away. The tunnel itself is eight minutes away. Normally, I don’t sweat minor details but Sparxx felt like we should put it out there. Sparxx is nice. Can’t say the same for myself.

Making our way to the tunnel is the easy part. We just made our way done to the creek and skipped a few stones over to the tunnel entrance. That said, we need to focus on not getting wet or stuck on the pointy and thorny shrubbery nearby.

Rule number One: Avoid Bleeding!!

Rule Number Two: Avoid Getting Wet!!

The Tunnel Crawl is the real challenge. Where a tunnel begins is clear. Where it ends is a whole other story. This tunnel is creek-side and laced with bits of moss. That puts it in the somewhat wet category. Based on this we can assume it is a drain tunnel. That means the width of the tunnel will be ever changing and that we need to be very careful. Never a good idea to get stuck anywhere, let alone a tunnel. Most tunnels change vary in size as you go in deeper but drainage tunnels tend to surprise you. Recent weather reports and a quick Google search tell us the last couple of days have been dry. Dry means we have the green light to go in.

The first thing we do is put our phones on silent. Then we pull out the flashlights and Sharpies. With the Sharpies we scribble our initials near the entrance. In case this tunnel snakes around, we will be sure to find our way. The Sharpie scribbles are our breadcrumbs. After we lay down the first mark we start making our way in.

Rule Number Three: Pay Attention!!

Sparxx and I are listening carefully. You never know who else may be lurking. As a rule of thumb our pocket knives are always within quick reach. In some places, homeless people sleep in tunnels. To avoid having a bad day, we enter with caution. Some tunnels need to be staked out for days before we enter. Others are lonely areas that do not need to be staked out. Although Sparxx and I love a good brawl, we strongly suggest you avoid fights and be prepared.

Back to the new tunnel. As I was saying, we went into the tunnel knowing there would be a variation in sizes throughout so we came prepared to duck. Lucky thing too. The first part of the tunnel (the entry way) was wide and short. To make it through this part we had to walk hunched over. Not bad but I prefer upright movement. The first part goes on for 20 to 25 feet. At that point there is an overhead grate that lets light, water, and anything that hits the floor in. The space was limited. Just enough for Sparxx and I to stand for a few minutes.

Part two of the tunnel was even lower. To cross this part we would have to duck walk. Now, if you have no clue what a duck walk is, let me tell you. It’s when you squat down without touching the ground and move by bringing one knee up and forward followed by the other. The real trick is to keep it from touching the ground. Good luck doing that the first time. After two minutes most people’s thighs will burn. First time Tunnel Crawling is a love it of hate it kind of thing. Most people are not fond of change and chance. For us, it comes with the territory.

Although, part two was lower, it was shorter and led to a bigger area with a grate. Being this far in offered us the opportunity to relax for a bit. Most people like to go into tunnels but their curiosity ends once they reach the first stop. Sparxx and I like to push beyond the general small thrill and get dirty, which is no easy exploit. Mud and dirt are like battle scars. No matter how much you wash up, the memory never fades away. Each crawl has a signature dirt, design, tag, or color that keeps it fresh in my mind. When I think of what Sparxx and I have in common, memories seem to be it.

Rule Number Four: Always Leave Clues!!

As part of every crawl we leave our initials behind. They show us the way back and act as signature for any future Crawlers. So if you ever crawl in the Midwest, find us:

Lenny Rokkitt  and  Charlie Sparxx!

We put our letters down, took a breather, and drew our essentially straight line of a map. Once we figured out where the grate was located, more or less, we wrote some notes on our map. This will help you find the tunnel above ground later. At this point, we are about 30 to 35 feet into the tunnel. The grate area is big enough for party of five or six people. Knowing that we are making plans for group crawls in the future. Satisfied with the information we gained we decided to leave. This tunnel is not fully known.

What we do know is that part three of the tunnel would require an army crawl or a skateboard. Neither of which we had prepared for, so that we will look into on out next crawl. Until then, we’re breaking out the cigars and some good music. I thought I should go into more detail about this crawl but Sparxx said, “The Basics come first.” So there you go. Now, you know who to pick a fight with.

First Crawl

Posted: September 12, 2011 in Crawl, Haven, Tagging, Temple, Tunnel
Tags: , , , , ,

The Temple of Junerism has always been regarded as a safe haven for taggers, graffiti artist, writers, troubled teens, and sometimes the homeless. It has housed many raves and even this young writer at one point.

It was the summer of 2006 when I truly came to call the temple my forbidden, but necessary home. I was homeless and not any closer to being homeward bound. It was the summer from hell. I fell in love, I was going to college, and I ended up homeless for a few weeks.

I guess I should tell you how I ended up at The Temple in the first place.

The first time I encountered The Temple, I was 14 years old and I had a friend named Kat Francisco who was a tagger. She called herself “Angest” or “Angst.” She was a small Phillipino-American girl who liked punk-grunge music and cutting. She was an artist starving for a canvas. I was a writer; not starved, but constantly fed.

Together we sought adventure in the concrete jungle we called home. We wandered in and out of secluded sushi restaurants leaving messages on napkins and dollar bills. Sometimes we would sit around Kennedy Plaza and watch the buses come and go. When that wouldn’t do we would go to The Temple.

Kat Fran, as I called her then, introduced me to her sacred canvas. It was a big stone and brick building dressed in wooden panels. To artists it was hallowed ground. To the city of Providence it was an abandoned construction project from the 1930s.

The Temple was named long before our visit. It was tagged along one side of the roof in bold red and blue slanted letters. The paint seemed fresh, bright, and clean from the adjacent highway.

For years I visited The Temple religiously. Then, in 2005 I stopped. Kat was gone, my first lover had left me, and I was alone. My time was spent wrestling and working a crappy summer job at a chicken joint. My parents were planning their escape, while I got ready for my senior year of high school.

That fall I applied for colleges. By spring I had decided. I made plans, just as my parents had. They were going to Puerto Rico after my graduation and I was staying until August.

That summer I was left in the care of my older sister as a favor to my mother. I was only seventeen but I believed I had a better chance on my own. Two weeks later my sister confirmed my suspiscion.

She wrote me a letter telling me to get out of her house. That night she came home late. I asked her why. She said her husband’s uncle was visiting and I had refused to stay in the same room as the unknown old man. Her husband told her to kick me out and she did. He said I had disrespected him by refusing.

To that I answered “Fuck you both,” while waving my middle finger in the air. I walked out carrying two blue suitcases. In some ways hoping someone would chase me down the street. There was no one. After thirty minutes of walking I stopped. I put my suitcases down and sat on them. I took out my phone and started making calls.

My aunt was away on business and would not be back quickly. My friends were traveling or on vacation. Some I just couldn’t reach.

On a warm summer night I was sitting at a bus stop on top of my suitcases wondering where I could crash for the night. Sitting there, it came to me. The Temple. It was my best shot and the only place I could stay for free. With my plan in mind I started to walk again, reaching The Temple in an hour.

Upon my arrival I stood on the steps I had given up for what felt like years and cried. There was no shame in it, just regret. That day I walked into The Temple and called it home. My sister I took to forsaking within it’s walls. In The Temple I slept alone, fearing I would be found asleep. I met many strangers who wanted me to belong to a group for safety and for the same reason I would quickly turn them down.

I wasn’t afraid of being found as much as I was bothered by thinking I would never love or trust anyone. The people I put trust in, betrayed me. They walked away or abandoned me. There was no going back to them. Time pushed on slowly, punishing me for my blasphemies and hatred of humankind. It let me be alone and seventeen.

It would be two weeks before I slept in a house again or even thought I had another home. My aunt finished her business quickly and flew straight out. She picked me up with her daughters who wondered why was leaving a boarded up hotel. I told them it was a school project to help the community. My aunt confirmed it and the girls accepted it. No questions were asked for while. It was just quiet.

That summer dragged its feet as I worked hard to leave. I refused to stay behind in the college migration that would take place. Instead, I worked to lead it.

Over the next two months, I bought a plane ticket to Missouri and set-up my ride to campus. It wouldn’t be long before I left the little city that had been my home for a new destination.

As my last days got closer and closer I met the perfect stranger. He was a tall man with brown hair and hazel colored eyes. We went out as friends and came back as lovers. This time, I was the one who left. It was good bye and I don’t know when I’ll come home. Then good bye again.