Saturday, May 28, 2011

IV. On Foot At Word's End: Snowflake

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying,"Come up here, and I will show you things that must take place after this".
Revelations 4:1

The train screeches and rocks north through Harlem and into the Bronx. Most of it's passengers have their eyes closed, and I cannot be sure whether their day is just beginning or coming to an end. Three friends talk together, two young men and a young woman. One of the men reclines with his head in her lap. Her face is serious, tough, not angry - not someone to mess with. I'm not sure how far to go, so I pick a stop - Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx - disembark and climb the stairs into the early morning light. There are a few people in motion, and my presence on the sidewalk provokes a double take or two. I walk along a street beneath one of the high walls of Yankee Stadium, like a prison or a fortress, revealing nothing of the world within. Ten or twelve people come out of a small door in the wall marked Housekeeping Entrance. They smile, say goodbyes, and move off alone or in pairs. What a dizzying job that must be cleaning up after 52,000 baseball fans.

I'm not sure which way to walk, there's no plan, but I do have a map. So I consult it and see that I am not very far at all from The Grand Concourse. Well, this sounds pretty grand to me, and I could use some breakfast, so I move in that direction. A black man is walking toward me holding the hand of a small boy, his son, I expect. The man looks at me with something like suspicion, and I smile tightly trying to signify that I'm not crazy, cop, or criminal and say, "hi". He says, "good morning" with something like civility, formality, and I can't help but think he is consciously teaching his boy something. I try to act like this is not tense, but it is, and I can't seem to walk naturally. I continue through a neighborhood, it's very quiet and there are lots of tags on the walls and trash in the street. Someone walks a dog. I write for a few minutes on a bench. I think about litter, what's behind it, why we do it. I'm anxious about it - the mess, the carelessness, on a larger scale - and I think it would be noble and perfect to be someone who picks up the trash in the early morning.

The Grand Concourse, I find it and make use of a comfort station in a park. There's a Bronx Walk of Fame here, and I look up to see the names of Hal Linden and Afrika Bambaataa together on the same lightpole. I don't know which way to walk. A few minutes ago, a young woman in a car parked outside a bodega said,  "look, it's snowing!" It took me a few steps to realize that I was the snowflake to which she referred.

I saw a subway stop and thought maybe it was time to try my luck on Staten Island.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy reading your itinerary,
    hope one day I’ll have on foot journey in this great city, recording my own experiences and observations!


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