skaters taping at the Brooklyn Museum
sun setting on st marks
this city’s in my blood and I mean it
I’m searching desperately for the conspiracy theorist;
I can’t find him and then I do.
I say hello to the man digging;
he thinks I want something from him but I don’t and he’s surprised. I’m beaming. We’re flipping so easy,
This bubble on 7th Avenue is all charged up and life here is ok. We’re safe here. We listen here; we let it echo through our chest and then we give it up for $10 and pick up again too.
A man with missing teeth walks by and says
Old man: Look at that, Gil Scott-Heron. I got that record when it came out in 1974. That’s a gooood record you got there, I know every song on that record. I got it when it came out in 1974.
The Conspiracy Theorist: Oh yea, 1974? Let’s see… (flips the record over) 1974! You have a good memory there, Sir.
Old man: (to me, cracked smile shining-) Yea yea, what else you got? Oooooh, Ann Peebles! You got Ann Peebles?! Oh and Miss Nina too….
He starts singing To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. He looks me in the eye. He’s smiling. The conspiracy theorist is smiling and bobbing his head. I can’t feel my feet touching the ground. The overcast over head stops time and wraps me up in a fire blanket and all I can do is smile and laugh and say
Me: I’ve got Aretha singin’ it too!
TCT, surprised: Look at that!
Old man: Aretha!? Well ain’t that somethin’. Miss Nina wrote it though. You always gotta look at the writers. Look at this Ann record (flips the record over)
W. Mitchell. That must be Willy, that must be Willy Mitchell…
The conspiracy theorist is checking out my stack and says I lucked out with the Bolshevik Revolution; it just came in and he missed it and I’ll have to tell him how it is. Another man sees my Keats and says, “You’re a friend.” I didn’t need the record to know; but I’m glad he said it anyway.
I saw Devin today too. I can talk to him about God and I’m not shy or uncertain; I know that he knows what I mean. He and my Mother might be the only ones. We’re broken and almost cry but we don’t. I don’t know why he doesn’t; I don’t know why I don’t. Maybe we’re stronger now, and more thankful.
Om Gum Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha