Memories From the Balcony – The Declaration of an Open Ramble

I don’t know if anyone has seen what we’ve seen.
I also have no idea what someone’s take on this will be. But either way, that has nothing to do with this entry nor does this relieve me of my intention.
I don’t know if everyone can relate to the same smells or the same sounds as us.
We see what we see. We live where we live. To us, this might be everything.
To someone else, this could be nothing. This could be weird or strange.
The world is a relative place.

I know what I’ve seen. I know what I’ve heard and yes, I can say that I remember our City when we were younger.
I remember when music was different. I remember being in the parks. I remember the way we used to dress.
I remember hearing music of all kinds and not just the music of my choice.
There was a different spirit to us back then.

I remember the first time I worked like a real man. I was only a kid but there was no room for boyhood breakdowns or bitching and complaining.
I can remember the summertime as well. Hot as ever.
And New York, she was still so new to me.
I was a helper in my Old Man’s shop.
This meant that I had to clean up and carry the tools.
This meant that I was the go-fer, as in “go-fer’ this or “go-fer’ that.
It was summertime and my friends were running around the streets of my hometown, but not me.
I was up at dawn and working in crews of real men who fed their families and led hard lives.
They had tough hands and worked tough jobs.
I was a baby to them.
Stupid, perhaps.
Spoiled as well.
But I learned (and they laughed).

I can remember the fire hydrants that were used as a summertime remedy for the so-called inner-city kids. I also remember the old Dominican man on Archer Avenue. He stood out in the blaze of the sun. He had his shopping cart with the shaved ice and the different flavors. This was his business.
This is how he earned his money.
I remember the Mexican on the side of the Cross Bronx. He sold oranges and raw sugar cane. Perhaps the sugar cane wasn’t so good for me, but either way – it was all an experience.

You know, although I was young and had yet to be touched by real life, there was something to this for me. 
There was a strange foreshadowing nature to this.
I was learning. I was living. But more, I was wondering if any of this would somehow impact my future, which it has.

There was something more than typical about my upbringing or maybe I should use the same word as yesterday because there was something more than just happenstance about this.
Maybe this was more of a directional process to help me navigate my future or open my eyes when I see beautiful things or meet a beautiful person.

I loved that I had the chance to learn about this.
I love that I had the chance to try different foods.
Like oxtail . . . ever try rabo?

I experienced different cultures.
I heard different languages.
I got to see more than what my semi-version of a so-called life would be like in my small suburban town, which is not to say that I was limited or that I could only be limited.
But more, I was able to see things that I needed to see in order to grasp that life is much bigger than either of us.

I saw how life comes with a different texture.
We all come with our own substance and together we can weave a fabric of our own that binds us together from this day forward, from now until the hour of our death – Amen.

I saw that there’s a big world out there.
It would not only be arrogant but inaccurate to think (or believe) that I am right or wrong about anything.
I am only learning.
I am a learner and a teacher.
I am both as qualified and unqualified as anyone else in this world.

I have seen things though, like the sun coming up over the City.
I have smelled the food from downtown places.
I’ve seen 17 Mott Street and the crazy 24 hour Chinese food place which, by the way, is not a good place to go if you have panic attacks. Please trust me on this . . . greasy fingered people who gobble down fried chicken wings in one bite and clean the bone at the same time – as in one after another, like boom-boom-boom, while ranting about a bad romantic experience scare me. For the record, I will say nothing more other than this – she was mean and I felt bad for her thin little friend who sat across from her and appeared to be petrified and mortified by the speed and the amount of food this woman was eating. She had brittle yellow hair and nicotine stained teeth and yellowed fingernails too.
But, I digress.

I know that when I was young, I used to look out at things and see them in a different light.
What I mean is, I used to wonder who or what I would be.
Who would I become?
What would I be like?
What was life going to be like when I reached the ripe old age of 35. Yet here I am at the age of 50 still looking around and still hopefully youthful.

I still have passion.
I still have a love for my City.

Not too long ago, I was asked a question about my life and if it were to have a soundtrack, what would that soundtrack be like?
Well, oddly enough, as I write this to you, I am listening to Vide Cor Meum – Patrick Cassidy and Hans Zimmer, which is opera music from a movie. 

Is that funny?
Well, if it is, then come laugh with me (or at me) because either way, I like it.

I like a lot of things.
I like the sun coming through the window.
I like the sound of the ice cream truck when you hear it for the first time after the weather turns warm. 

I like old moves. I like the movies I grew up with. I like the films that matched the craziness of my youth and yes, I like the fact that people “in the know” who’ve seen these films can quote obscure lines and instantly, we can smile because we both know the film and the scene and the lines that follow.

For now though, I feel healed.
Maybe it’s the music.
Or maybe it’s the fitting translation of the song entitled, Vide Cor Meum which means “See my heart.”

I have decided to step out here and officially claim this moment in time.
It is spring and, me, I am elsewhere on the bow of a boat while drifting on a bay with blue water below me.
I am not in any sort of discord or stress.

There are no wars or battles or disputes here. 
I am allowing my mind to travel to different vicinities and dream of things I saw for the first time. 
I can remember everything now because, put simply, I want to remember everything right now.
I want everything, even the bitter sweetness.
I want to share my memories with you, even driving over the Manhattan Bridge for the first time back when the window washers used to stand at the traffic lights and try to wash your windows for change.
I wish I could have shown you some of what I’ve seen. I suppose this is why I’m leaving this here for you to see.

I suppose what I want to do now is celebrate this. I want to acknowledge that you were right all along.
There are no accidents.
There are no missed opportunities.
There’s only fate and the directions we choose, which in the light of our destiny – no one can fight our truths.
No one can stop us.
No one can dictate or determine whether we stand or fall.
No, this has all been a part of a plan. 

I am humble. I have room to grow and the need to improve.
I have so much to see and learn.
I am somewhat new to this world, which is not altogether true or accurate.
But, I am new because, at this point in my life, I am looking back at the different moments of my life which have led me up to this moment.

I see this so differently now.
I know that what I’ve felt or touched, seen or smelled is all that I know.
But I want to know more.
I want to learn more.
I want to scrap the old skin and be new again.
I want you to teach me. I promise, I won’t fight.

There was an afternoon that I walked across town.
I was alone; but more, I noticed the people around me.
I saw the way they gathered like family even if they weren’t family.
I loved this.
I loved the culture.
I loved how they chose to own the moment as if to say “carpe diem” in any language possible – even if the only language was foul enough to say, “Fuck it!”
It’s Sunday and the sun is about to go down.
The world is moving in a circle at speeds that we can’t see.
We just know that the earth moves fast enough to make one day last 24 hours.

As of now, or at the time where I have addressed this to the universe to hear my calls; I have been alive for 442,776 hours, which calculates into 18,449 days (give or take a minute or two).

I’ve spun around the sun a good amount of times.
I’ve seen so much and so little but all I know is this: I want to see more.
I don’t care where I go, so long as the culture is pure and rich and different from the way things are on the bougee turfs of the so-called nonsense lives where people live fat yet they’ve seen absolutely nothing at all. 

I am unpolished.
I am learning though.
I am emerging and growing and soon the sun will set on today’s precious gem we call life.

I could use a trip to a park though.
I could deal with a picnic with no other intention than to feel the sun on my face or to seize the day, to “carpe diem,’ or even to just say, “fuck it!’
It’s Sunday and nothing in the world is going to meet us halfway.

Vide Cor Meum –
Look, this is my heart.

Right here for the world to see.

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