Grandma’s Steps

I sat on that porch
at least a hundred times,
imagining the stories
you once told us
on an empty night,
prolly while you faced
your own ghosts
of unspeakable truths.

You said, “Listen.”

And I did, but all I heard
were toads and crickets
and some coyotes far off.
Today I drive past that
porch, and something
tugs at every lifeline in my
body to just look over there
and dares me to still
breathe and to not cry when
I see us not sitting
on that porch.

You said, “Listen, that’s
God’s symphony playing just for us.”

And where there was once just
an empty night of random
creatures doing their own
thing, and you mourning that which
would never come, and
me foolishly believing
it would come to me,
I know full well, now,
with you gone and me
grown, that of all the places
we went to there on that
porch, not only was heaven one
of them, it was the only place
that’s ever made
any sense to me.

Inexistence

You’re eye for irrelevance
regards me and then
casts a glance away,
distracted by trinkets
of rain and disguise.
I can’t run fast enough
to get caught by
your circumstance, and
I dont know where to stand
to be something that must
at least be unconsidered.
My only real choice in it
is to breathe or not.
My only hope is to go
unnoticed, sitting crowded
with this merry-go-round
running loose in my mind,
Asking when did the dream end
and this inexistence begin?

NYC ’15 – Farewells

My time comes to end here and I’m sad to leave, but happy to return home to my kids, Evan and our pets.

I love this place, not the glitz, not the tourist traps, but the history. Here is where much of our nation has been  shaped and continues to effect, not only our nation, but also the world.

What I love about this place is that there is a vibe of grit, passion and fragrances (in some cases odors). I can have people all around me, and yet I’m isolated and alone. It’s quieter here for me than almost anywhere. I think a lot better, and I can write better.

Nobody knows me, and no one cares who I am nor who I’m not.

Farewell, until another day.

NYC ’15 – Jackie O’s Grand

Today we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where I lit a candle in honor of my daughter Faith. I don’t know if that’s appropriate or how you do that sort of thing, but I did it nonetheless. 

The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879.

We did the hop on hop off tour. I recommend these because you really get a feel for the city and usually get some good information. I wasn’t as impressed with the tour guide this time, but it was still a nice ride.

We hopped off around Soho and tried out a place I had seen in the Travel channel called the Black Seed Bagel. I had the egg, cheese, avocoda and tomato bagel. With Jim Croce playing and the vibe of the city outside the window, I was in my element.

 

NYC ’15 – God’s Day

The weather was supposed to be in the 40s, but we had gusts in addition to temps plummeting into the teens. None of us dressed warm enough, but it didn’t keep us from enjoying a day in Harlem (Harlem and Morningside Heights are a couple of my favorite places to see when I am in NYC).

We started out the day going to church services at Mother AME Zion church. Once called the Freedom Church, it was one of the first black churches in New York and was also a part of the Underground Railroad. Slaves were hidden behind the pulpit and a black newspaper operated out of the basement.

I always find the music exhilarating. A portion of the service was about racism and promoted blacks taking a stand. At the risk of being called a racist, I was more than frustrated with this message that took on a tone of hate. It doesn’t seem to me that what is being advocated is equality; rather it is vindication. And tolerance is only applicable if you believe exactly the way you are told to believe.

Tolerance – in my book – is two people with known different philosophies being able to share a connection with each other, void of judgment and hate.

But I digress. It was exceptional music and once the sermon returned to worshipping God, it was a very moving message indeed.

After church, we had some amazing soul food at Jacobs (an amazing place that pays by the weight of your plate). We went to the Apollo Theatre, and also saw some pretty brownstones. We then went to see the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Riverside Church and Grant’s Tomb – all were breathtaking!

We finished the night by going to Ground Zero and eating at Katz (AMAZING!). Also while in that area don’t miss out on eating at the Clinton Street Bakery!

NYC ’15 – Family Ties

I had one of my best New York moments today. The rest of my group went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island today while I went to meet with family. Since I’ve been to Ellis Island a few times, I didn’t mind missing it, but I must stress that visiting Ellis Island is a must at least once.

Merv (cousin) made the very best waffles I’ve ever had in my life. He and his family were so very kind and welcoming. With us coming from very different backgrounds and having never met nor even known about each other, I worried that it might be awkward. To me, it seemed quite the opposite. I felt like we all connected well. Merv knew who my grandmother was and even spoke about being at her home. That meant a great deal to me. I was ashamed when I realized that all I really knew about his family was that his dad was my grandma’s brother.

I was fascinated with a story his wife told about choosing her career in jewelry designing. It basically follows the adage “follow your dream.” Few get to do that and I feel she is one who was fortunate to have done just that.

After waffles, Merv, his daughter and I did some shopping then he showed me where he works at Spotify. The thought put into designing the office space is most impressive. We then went to Union Square and went to a comic book store. I bought the Walking Dead comics for my son Jake.

I then walked around some before heading back to the room to meet up with the group.

We completed our evening with the Jersey boys and some Mac and cheese at the Cafeteria. The food was great, however, the noise level was terrible (but that is often the case in NYC restaurants). I should also mention that the place is quite trendy with diverse personalities so it might not be for everyone. I enjoyed the experience and loved the food.


NYC ’15 – The Arrival

I suppose I feel like I’m reliving my first time here by sharing the experience with others who are seeing it for the first time; and to know I have a small part in a moment that someone else will cherish forever is gratifying, to say the least.

We flew out of Dallas on a direct flight and checked into our room around 11:30 pm. Everyone was pretty hungry. I hadn’t eaten all day, except for some pecans. I researched places and found a food truck with high reviews. We walked a couple of blocks to find the location. By this time, it was about 12:30 am and there was a line that was about 40 people deep. There were about three other vendors close by who had no customers. Could this place really be that good or was this some kind of “special brownie” place?

There was absolutely no good reason why 40 people (and counting) would be lining up and waiting at midnight and in the cold unless…

YES, It was really that good! So please, if you do nothing else go try some food at the Halal Guys food truck on W 53rd (I’ve seen them all over the city, but I have eaten at this one twice and can vouch for it).

I’m signing off tonight. It’s been a good day, and tomorrow promises more good fortune. I get to meet a cousin I  didn’t even know existed until a month or so ago. I will be having brunch with him, his wife, their children and his niece. I am very excited about this.

My traveling partners are going to visit Ellis Island while I acquaint myself with family. I love Ellis Island, but don’t mind missing it since I’ve already been a time or two.