i thought i'd be short and sweet today...but alas.
i said we were walking maybe four hours
but it was probably two, three, if you add the hour
we spent running around downtown brooklyn looking
for a coinstar machine or something to take the baggie
full of change that we had on us.
but it was more like two hours
over the brooklyn bridge, dodging the tourists,
and then up hudson street as far as it would take us
commenting on things we
remembered about this city over the years
like that bar on vestry that we’d never been to
but had watched so often from the
window of the old dodge neon
as we sat in holland tunnel traffic
waiting to go back to pittsburgh
for a weekend back in 2003 and 2004
how we hated that bar!
or not knowing how to pronounce duane reade
or houston (how-ston) street
or finding the christopher street
path station, the one we used to take
all the time to get back to jersey for an escape
a change of scenery
something other than the prison
of glass and steel and concrete
new york city could become at times.
they say this city belongs to no one
and i believe that is true.
anything you could say or write about new york
has been said or written about better by someone else.
new york city isn’t a city you own
the way pittsburgh or buffalo or cleveland might be
those places most people don’t want to escape
or can never escape
so they simply sit back, throw up their hands
and make them their own.
i like not owning a city because when you leave it
there seems to be less of a mess left in the wake.
i like pointing out the things of our past, here,
knowing they belong to millions of others
that the background of our moments
may belong to someone else.
and that fact doesn’t make the moments
any less significant, just different, from my point of view
something you always got to work for to remember
as your own.
like today, the first decent saturday in february
when we said why don’t we walk all the way to central park
because we hadn’t been to central park in almost a year.
but we only made it to 44th street at 9th avenue to rudy’s pub and grill
a bar that saved our lives when we first moved here
and didn’t want to go back to our cockroach
ghetto apartment in brooklyn
after working the two worst temp jobs new york had to offer.
we walk into rudy’s and the memories come flooding back
the tears, the fights, the stolen kisses and beaten red, vinyl booths,
getting drunk watching a staggering indian dance by himself
as his friend told us to call the bronx the “boogie down.”
we take a few stools in the back, because the joint is crowded
early on a saturday afternoon, full of people doing their best
to escape the beauty of the day, and their own memories.
we order two drafts of rudy’s blonde ale and decide
on the next round we’ll get a couple of those free hot dogs
for old times sake
the ones we used to eat out of necessity when we were hungry
and broke and clueless where to go next
when we thought this city would eat our souls
on a daily basis and send us running back home
and away from each other.
then we clink glasses and decide that it’s okay we didn’t make
it to the park that day.