There are things we see, which do not make sense all the time. I suppose we can call this life. I suppose we can chalk this up to experience. And life is filled with this; experience, I mean. This is what makes us the people we are. Where we come from and where we lived, how we speak, our accent, or our common terminologies, this is us.
And me, well, I am a New Yorker.
In fact, I am proud to be a New Yorker. I love my city. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve shared here. I’m grateful for the late nights and downtown scenarios, which were crazy and wild.
I was young once. I was hopeful and yet often tameless. Still though, the city accepted me as I was (even if I didn’t).
I recall my late night strolls. I remember walking by myself and wondering if I was anywhere near the places that some of my favorite poets lived. I wondered if I could ever be like them. Could I be inspired like them or wild like them? Could I inspire people the way they inspired me? Good or bad, crazy or not, somehow; I always wanted to paint a picture with words.
I always imagined a small playhouse with a little stage and me, sitting at the edge of the stage, talking to the crowd and reciting my stories. I think about myself in the circled spotlight. Everything else is dark. I do not see anyone in the audience. In fact, I do not see anything else at all. Just me.
I call this my dream but yet, admittedly, there is something about this vision that seems a little pretentious. And I don’t mean to be. it’s just a dream anyway, an idea, a reading, a quick moment where I have the chance to reveal what I’ve been working on for all these years.
I think about some of my stories, like the junkie clips and the kid I was. The city is so much different to me now. Times Square means more to me than the first time I saw a hooker walking with her long legs. She was like pure sex, walking in high heels and revealing so much without leaving anything to the imagination.
No, really. I mean it.
42nd Street means more to me than it did when we were kids. This is back when we called the street “Forty Deuce,” which, coincidentally, is where I bought my first fake I.D and my first switchblade. My friend “C” stabbed someone while running around the corner but to be clear, this is a story that is better left unsaid.
I remember the time I was in a little playhouse and watched actors perform their showcases. I was sitting next to a friend of mine and pretending to be cool. Meanwhile, I wished I had the same courage and talent as the actors. I wished I could have played the stage but I was nurturing a drug deal that was coming up from Arizona.
I think about the nights on the cobblestone streets. I think about the moonlit walks I took alone, down by the Hudson. I think about the Towers and the mighty skyline. I think about the loveless loves and one night stands. i think about the pizazz of some of the places down by Mercer Street or the afterhours spots, which is where I learned that not everyone that appears to be a woman is one (Look for the Adam’s apple, they said to me and suddenly, all was revealed).
Ah, my city.
There is nothing like here. There is no place like this in the world. There is nowhere else that I find this same sense of romance or belonging.
I have my view from Midtown, which I take to from the rooftop of the building where I work. I arm myself with a cup of coffee and I look out at the world.
I talk to myself here. I tell my secrets to the stars. Sometimes I come here to talk with the God of my understanding. Sometimes I come here to talk with you as well because, hey, not everything I write is written in the same place.
They say that things in the City will be opening up soon. Of course, this news comes after a year of being shut down because of a virus.
I am seeing the City begin to resume. I notice traffic is picking up. I know that the summer months are coming. I know that now would be a good time to walk in Central Park.
I think I’d like to find a park bench. Maybe I could write what I see. Maybe I could pipe a little music into my ears and think back to the times where music ran my life. Back then nothing, —and I do mean nothing went without a playlist.
I haven’t been down to the Seaport in a long time. In fact, I was down by Ground Zero yesterday. I was meeting with some of the engineers that ran the property.
I thought about this for a while. I thought about how long ago it was, Father Mike.
He was casualty #0001 on September 11, 2001. He was my friend. Father Mike taught me how to care. He showed me how to help others. Father Mike showed me what it means to be selfless. Father Mike is a Saint now. Well, he always was a Saint if you ask me. Just sayin. . .
I was a different person back when Father Mike was around. God, it’s amazing how we grow. It’s amazing how the world designs a special course for us. There is a special course of navigation for us all. I have seen different places and met different people. And still, nothing is as comforting or as welcoming as the feeling I have when I see my city in this light.
No matter where I go, I will always be a prince here.
This will always be my castle and she will always be my queen.
So help me God . . .