He listed a single first in the air reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 68′. But this time it wasn’t a silent protest. He yelled at the top of his lungs…loud enough that the whole world could hear his pain…an echoing sound that brought true meaning to the words struggle, injustice, hope and anger. His strained vocal cords let out a resounding – BLACK ….. LIVES…. MATTER!!!!!!!!! And he meant it. He knew it. He wanted to believe it. But he is also a kid from East New York. And it’s not pretty there. People…the police…teachers.. everybody treats you different when I don’t have a nickle to your name. He has regular interaction with those paid to serve and protect but has never felt like they were protecting him or providing any type of service to his hood. The interactions…well…let’s just call them “…….while black” incidents. Like, walking home from school “while black” and being stopped and frisked…apparently he fit the description of someone they were looking for. Or the time when he was walking out of the corner store with groceries…again…stopped and frisked. Or when he was waiting for a cab or going to do laundry. You get the picture….. But today.. he is angry. He’s always been angry….and for good reasons…but today…he is letting it out. They are all letting it out. His voice will be heard. Their voices will be heard. Our voices will be heard. And maybe it will actually lead to action… maybe…..
It’s gotta be cold in there. I’m not sure how they do it. They are crammed in a space that can’t be more than 8’x4′ and filled to brim with stuff…..all kinds of stuff. 100 + different magazines….30 flavors of gum….every type of M&M made and on and on and on…just stuff. This guy definitely looks a little grumpy. He always looks grump….but today..he must be annoyed with all of the people rushing by undoubtedly heading to some place warm….while he stays in his icebox.
If you blink, you’ll miss it. The ghost the ride moving subway cars. They’re there in plane site, but most of us are too busy looking at our iphones or staring into nothingness with heavy eyes after a long day at work. Not me. I’m always looking for the lost souls that haunt our trains….and today….I found one…
He plays for loose change and crumpled dollar bills. He plays simply for the love of melodies and the echoing sound of the horn. Maybe he he’ll be a star one day and these long days hustling tunes will be a distant memory. And 57th street will just be a stop on his way to Lincoln Center.
I love this time of year. The Salvation Army is out in full force ringing their little bells on just about every corner. Every once in a while you get a special treat…..like this morning when they had full-on choreographed routine! They twirled and dipped all while keeping the bells in sync and singing Christmas carols. What away to start my day.
The rain finally stopped and I get to walk around today taking in the new neighborhood. I’m in Bedstuy now…close the J/Z/M trains..and the G at Myrtle. I’m in the cut! I got at least 5 different public housing complexes within blocks of me and the corner stores have that certain smell that kinda lets you know that fresh food is something that’s not on the menu. And of course there are the bodega cats chillin in aisles as well….patiently waiting for their prey…or just sleeping on a loaf of bread. This my new hood…it’s going to be an interesting year.