“You gotta teach your troops to understand and respect black rage, to not treat the man who can’t keep from yelling at the top of his lungs as a threat.”
“They may own the skies but we rats down here know the streets, our alleys,” says the black man in a gas mask next to me and my son. We’re out in the street a half-block away from home, facing police in riot gear.
Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh have tinderboxes where gentrifying areas sit next to long-decaying neighborhoods that have been forgotten, labeled as gang-ridden. Hudson and Beacon have built dream communities along long main streets filled with increasingly upscale businesses, plus loads of fancy restaurants. Ellenville’s long had a sense of divide to it.
We picked the free school our son attends for its ability to assuage his tics, build his socializing skills, get him street-savvy in an urban environment, and yet offer a wilderness element and farming acumen. He’s made friends for lifetime, wows older people with his conversational skills and ability to confidently look a grown-up in the eye while talking on most subjects, even when he admits knowing nothing.
One time we unspooled a thousand feet of extension cord and dragged a piano up onto a small mountain in the Catskills, where The Wind was shown among aeolian harps; star Lillian Gish sent a message to be read to those who assembled. When we showed Huckleberry Finn, half the kids, all boys, knew Mickey Rooney’s lines by heart.
I live in a city with working vegetable gardens. It’s as urban centers that no longer thrive on commerce, the
We got the cat we call our “little one,” CP (for Cutie Pie) when she was smaller than my palm. She was close to feral, frightened of everything. She had been found in an old shed about to be renovated.
The first time I went to a therapist’s office, I felt trapped. My partner of the time seemed to have made a specialty of couch talk. I canceled our second appointment because I realized the relationship wasn’t worth the weekly charge … to me.
I’ve been thinking about where we could go swimming safely when the weather reaches up towards 90 degrees. Much is being written about how to go to the beach Upstate, or down where the ocean touches our shores. Many others are thinking as we are. I lose myself in Googlemaps, running my finger around lakes, along river and stream courses. I do the same within my memory of little-known swimming holes I might return to.
Music’s been playing out on the street for the past three days. Instead of the hard hiphop that’s usually the norm, the dudes on the stoop across from us are playing sweet soul, Quiet Storm balladry, sultry sounds that match the weather and lift spirits.