Barbara Henning

Sally Young

In ‘72, I’d sit at the bar in Cobbs with my book and my short beer, and I’d watch you and Allen bartending. Married to the drummer in Shadowfax, you became pregnant shortly after me. You cooked for our toddlers in Monteith Nursery, and every day you prepared and pulled their lunch and snacks to school in a wagon, along with your little girl, Esther. When Allen and I broke up, I was distraught; you came over and cleaned my apartment. In the early ‘80s, you moved to the East Village, living in a third-floor walkup, floor-thru apartment, with a police lock on the door and an extra mattress in the hallway room. I stayed with you for a few weeks while looking for a job. You helped me turn an old Brooklyn tire shop into Allen’s Copy Cat, painting and building walls, a sleeping loft and counters. The ceiling is still the dark green we painted it, although now it’s an Italian grocery. You watched our dog Dorothy for a while when I was in India. With endless creative energy you made art—abstract city paintings, inside and out, collages, toy soldiers on old turntables and so on—you built stage scenery, designed clothes and hats, sold them in the street markets, opened a store, worked in the schools, taught children how to sew and make art, and planted vegetables and ran events in the Avenue B garden, and more. You were the art editor for the first issue of Long News, your collages in all five issues. For years, every Thanksgiving, I’d head over to your place for a potluck. On my fridge, there’s a button I bought at Santo’s, made by you. Whenever I open the fridge, I think of you: Welcome to McHattan.

Barbara, Sally Young at KGB Bar, 2005. Photo: Cliff Fyman. R: Barb, Sally, and Raken Leaves, 1984.

Barbara Henning is the author of five novels and eight collections of poetry. Most recently: a Notable Book Award from the Library of Michigan for a hybrid biography of her mother, Ferne, a Detroit Story (Spuyten Duyvil); a poetry collection, Digigram (United Artists); a novel, Just Like That (SD); and Poets on the Road (with Maureen Owen, City Point Press). She has taught for Naropa University and Long Island University. A native Detroiter, she lives in Brooklyn and teaches for