The Two Day Wonder / Memories of Pirate Mike
by Tony Glamortramp LeTigre
I’ll never forget two thousand eleven,
The year i died and went to heaven!
—A rhyme i made in 2013, the year i briefly shared a squat with Pirate Mike
A few pages in honor of my friend, Michael Clift, whom i knew as Pirate Mike, who was reportedly hit by a car while cycling in Texas recently.
Although we were both involved with Occupy San Francisco, i don’t recall meeting Mike there, but rather at Noisebridge hackerspace in the Mission district. I was taking a nap there one evening on “the hacker stacker”—a DIY bunk bed that was an experiment in officially-sanctioned sleeping for that oft vagrant-plagued space—and overheard this guy i hadn’t met before talking with friends about a marathon bike trek he’d recently completed. Mike crisscrossed the country by bike many times, from what i understand. I felt a kinship with him in that some of the technogentsia loathed people like him and myself for dragging radical politics into their supposedly anarchist hackerspace.
I remember reading a logical analysis of the Marxist materialist dialectic in the Noisebridge library one afternoon, and Mike saw me reading it and said something like, “That’s going to be a head full, that’s a serious read.”1
At one point I decided to emulate Mike & make a cross-country trip, but I decided I would make my trip on foot, squatting and hobo-ing my way from coast to coast. I told this to him, and needless to say he approved. So far, I’ve only talked about it, though. He’s the one who did it—and then some.
One night i led Mike and a couple other Noisebridgers on a walk up into Liberty Hill, one of my favorite walks in the Mission barrio. It was around midnight so polite people were asleep, and i brought us to the yard of a building where i’d crashed and stashed myself a couple times. It offered star-spangled hilltop view of the storybook City with its many lights. We hung out, smoked and joked, then moved on. I showed them other mysteries i’d turned up in my wanderings: the house that always had lights on and was eternally under construction that never seemed to move forward; right next to it, my dream house, which i called The Gatsby House, because i read somewhere that was the style of architecture it was built in; I wasn’t sure how to describe it, except that it looked awesome, it never had any lights on and seemed not to be lived in—yet somehow i could never work up the courage to investigate that place. Not far away, i walked us by another oddity set back from the road, apparently built in the style of a renaissance castle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike was familiar with all these spots beforehand, since he was quite the explorer. I was a mere neophyte compared to him in some ways. Nonetheless, he seemed pleasantly surprised by some of it, and thanked me for the tour.2
Another night at Noisebridge, i remember Mike preparing to leave for the night with his bike: “All right, i’m going to head off to one of my sleeping spots now.” Someone had vandalized his bike earlier that day at the hackerspace. He had detractors and ugly moments, i’m told, but I never saw them.
I remember Mike doing a live remote Q&A at Noisebridge for the premier of a documentary on the issue of veteran homelessness. Not sure if it was “his,” or if he was just promoting it. It was connected to a live premiere of some prestige in L A.3 As i recall, he was holding it down so well, so eloquent and strong with his answers to the questions that were being asked, that as soon as it was over i went up and complimented him on doing such a good job. An instance of saying the right thing at the proper moment. It made his day a little brighter, i think, so i’m happy about that. It should show up well in my next interlife review with the angels of light.4 Continue reading