A Poem About Coming Home
Dec 24, 2005
by Endria Richardson
I am going to tell you a story about how I learned to
love three things: where I came from where I’m going what I am.
It might sound like a lie but Question:
just because you have to open up your small eyes
so small tooth floss could cover them and open up
your ears so big and empty sound gets lost, shoots around
in them then falls out unheard,
and shut your mouth so big pieces slip out of it on a regular basis
maybe makes it a story but it’s not a lie.
If you say there is no ocean between New York and
Massachusetts I will call you a liar. Here’s why: I
came across it on a journey that took four months and
eight days. I can still feel the salt under my skin.
II. Where she tells the story of her journey from
New York across the ocean during which she finds herself
coming to The New World all alone
in landscape unrecognizable
I am feeling barren today and in snow country. It is
the great white nothing with hands and more hands.
I wandered past the land that keeps me, and fell
into the ocean…
When I landed, I found myself in the snow that swallows
in gulps. It is the great stacks of waves that fly saltily, briskly,
full of life. In the piling, heavy, weight-y dance of their pause
and fall, everything between is like touching for the first time:
hesitant, then rushing forward. Rough hands catch me when
the wave spits me out.
I left in search of
great things: the whales that spit stories, blow the air in,
brine, sweet sea, Meaning of life, what it is to be alone. I am
feeling today, I am salt-sticky, I am the lonely, I am the
Sea drifting through the snowy wet country full
of the bubbling, white foam that makes me think of
the snow-hills, or foam is the angry wig atop a shifty face.
Such centripetal claws rolling towards their center,
un-catchable center throws me off balance.
I landed on a boat that is stealing me
away from my home. When the boat rolls
I dance the jerky sea-sick motions.
On day four, I am going to tell you my story: I came from the
buildings, bracketing high buildings,
holding warm bodies moving between
curled tenement hands. The wind-tunnel buildings over
eased up sidewalks with a million feet the smooth hollow
sound of the people’s poetry Nuyorican poet’s café and the
strand bookstore right near 14th St, that’s the old home.
What’s the old home? The warm people the warm place
the warm red lights place the many colored place the brown place
New York sounds like rolling drum holes punched in by
solo blues piano, thick black nights holding my hand
walking alone surrounded by it.
All spaces filled in by bins of dusty newspapers gray-slicking the ground
by cement-layers’ feet
Can’t walk without tripping up on any-all of it
Rhythm arrested when I hear drumming. Coming from
Off the Coast we came from drumming sounds like beats
through wool. The snow catches sound and throws it back in
our faces, pickled faces, punched in by the wind faces.
I remember the drum sound, it is calling me back. Remember
the warm things, remember the word family. I am an
immigrant. I get my mind around the word like swallowing bananas
whole. I am from a land of newsprint blackness rubbing off all over
Here: the charcoal shadings still line the bags under
my eyes, cheap ink that’s come undone from all that looking
I used to think it was for keeping the sun out of my eyes
Now it mixes with sea and leaves train track black smudges
down my salt-cheeks just another reminder of home
Now my eyes hang on stalks over big belly-full waves
full of nothing but longing to go back home
All I see is what’s right in front me and that’s a lot of
empty water that pours out of your hands when you try
to pick it up
The snow is a big mountain
sea between me and home.
When I vomit, it is eaten up by the curling young
wave-mouths, always sucking drop down below me tumble me
up and down a coarse rock sucked and rubbed smooth
suckle suck at my face moist face damp and raw
nothing to dry me off. Wind whips my eyes closed. My
ears closed. Drums coming in and out of focus. I open
my eyes and see the snow country sea
Remember the vomit smell of the subways? Smooth and damp
subway sounds noises like a million homeless men nursing from
the tits of healthy brown bottle-breasts rats are the gray balls
running by my train-track feet I pick one up and pluck its wire whiskers
out one by one. When I straighten up from the side of
the boat, I know I’ve been imaging again.
Here everything wobbles and creaks.
Here: everything is made of hollows and curves,
like the sad space between collarbone and flesh,
where nothing hopes to fill the dips.
There are open spaces between the boards that I slip through
I see the sea try to reach up and lick me
Everything is swelling and un-swelling; like the space between
me and home seems small and far. Like the space between
boards comes open and closed. My heart has taken to beating
the same rhythm as the sea. The drums are swelling and un-swelling;
I fall asleep to the lapping, like dogs, on the shell of a long banana
home. I dream of the places that I came from:
I am in a
mouth that closes and opens, offers itself to me, and I
take my boat along. Together, we mount the underside
of hills jumpingly. The wave, a cupping hand, waits for us
to tumble down.
This is where I came from when I close my eyes. My boat
turns around and I am back to where I came from. Step outside
the boat and this is where I come from, the place I left when
I got on:
my paradise land, my place where the dirt rubs off on your
palms. The loud laughter place the living way up high
with windows facing windows place. I look through glass
see a naked man across fifty feet of space. He covers himself,
or doesn’t. The wind licks the dirt off the salt rubs my skin clean
Think: home is everything you leave behind you
think, this is where I come from. When I open my eyes,
I see nothing but the water that doesn’t remind me of
I start every story, “back where I come from…”
In the hollow
of the wave, everything is ice
cold and still and dark.
After days on the sea, this becomes true: everything
is made up of open space or lack thereof (the sky, the
sea, the boat, then, me). I have grown accustomed to
the sound of nothing. Today, the air is so cold I feel like bones.
Together, we are a groan with our boat in the middle
of a mountain. It is the twenty-third day and I feel my face to see
if it is still there. My hands, limp; too numb to tell. My ears
too groan-stuffed, can’t hear the old drum sounds.
This is what it looks like from where
I am sitting (a small incomprehensible thing surrounded
by so much water): like a growling canyon, rushing towards
me and curving all the while.
I miss the land
On my eighty-fifth day:
In the knocking sea,
I hear the trees I haven’t seen.
I miss good pine, solid oak, roots
spreading out beneath
I miss such solid earth that my feet could be put
down. Miss the drums, miss the beats, miss the
sidewalks with a million feet.
When I return to land, I will miss the unsteady rock-
a-bye; the waves used to lull me. I will miss the angry,
white-haired wig, the ragged claws, the snowy
The drums stop reaching us
I don’t dream
of the places I came from
III. Washed Ashore
Here I am
in New England. I came lumbering across the snow
caps, the ice peaks, climbed the big mountains with
ice pick and banana boat to wind up here: land of
big red apples and more snow.
When my feet hit the land it is like circuits of
energy that have been closed. For a moment I feel:
cyclical. I come up like fish heaps, like un-ceremony. The
opposite of what is grand. Left the sea. Now my home is
here. Home is where you go back to. Here
I come, forward marching. Can home be in front
or beside of you? Move with sea-motion still.
I dance memories of the old
sea-sick dance, like ghosts watching their shadows.
When I close my eyes I become a smooth,
slow moving wave
going around in circles, trying to reach my center, center
keeps moving away from me like when I curve my spine outwards
stomach follows it outwards crumbling into myself I move like
molasses under my heavy eyelids that still hurt to open.
Like salt licks
my face is still white with it.
Lick my lips, I taste salt.
Suck the crook of my arm and taste salt,
leave teeth marks.
When I open my eyes everything looks too bright.
What I remember is the dark sea staring up at me over
the side of my banana boat, cozy small boat people huddled up inside
cupped in the big wave-hand, held and rocked to sleep
every night a little lullaby.
Remember: looked up at the sky and every star was a white hole,
saw it from inside the yellow hole that held and cupped
curled up in a little dark womb space emptiness all around,
safe darkness thick heavy warm darkness miss the salt smell
miss the wind sounds
one banana boat surrounded by
caverns and caverns of blue
every step I take seems too solid
wait for the ground to throw me up
when realize it hasn’t, I’ve already braced
myself made a different kind of movement
It seems like I’m never ready to leave
At least I have my bicycle
Where did the drums go? I remember to ask,
but only just.
I take three steps on new land.
My stomach rumbles like a monster.
I need a job.
I need a place to stay.
V. The Girl and Aureliano
Here is where the story becomes more like a fantasy
than like the truth. If you let me tell it to you with
eyes half-closed it will be easier to believe. Close
your eyes with me. Here I’ll start with something easy
yes I got a job yes I got a place to stay, see? Easy.
Once you believe the first
the rest slides right after.
Met Aureliano when I was walking home from work, yes
work mopping the floors cleaning the places where
other people shit put their asses on wipe up what
things they spill from their bodies nasty bodies porous
Smells like subway smells but fresher lit by bright fluorescent
lights not like the soft gray glow of trains. I
close my eyes and hear the rumble sound big gray beast sidles
up to the sink and opens its mouth with that old air sucking sound
Wet pink tongue slithers out like big red carpet, and I see inside:
a draping chandelier, the workers with their clothes with their shoes off.
I’ve never met a train like this
See a man with a blue sweatshirt, silver pants, black boots
takes my hand pulls me inside to serve tea, coffee and
cookies. In the middle of the night, small children’s dream
of when magic things interrupt the boring regular night
like soft bangs, secret muffled footsteps on stairs.
Like a polar express but summer but in the city
Anything’s better than tucking off to sleep packed away from the fun
The train takes off with a well-oiled slide and I think of the places
it is taking me to: Far Off Rockaway?
See the surf see the beach
I’ve never been to Rockaway but the sign
on the ACE says Far Rockaway like giving away a secret
saying Far Rockaway boys throwing rocks away
cocked arms and skinny thighs sticking out from under cut off shorts
I think I know what it would be like: there I am standing
holding a mug of sweet smelling something
warm thoughts happy I see my banana home built on stilts
above the waves.
Big gray rocks
all around for climbing on I see my little dog running I see my
little happy faces smiling I see inside a little yellow window cut
in my little home. See the family table set for a family see the happy
thoughts caught up inside see the warm yellow glow around it see my
little blue and white bicycle Aureliano
see me walking towards it
happy little footsteps tripping back
this is my home go
up the stairs and inside see the view big building view windows
facing windows see the little families in their windows seeing me and
my little family in our window see the beach and buildings from
my home best of every world.
When I open them I am standing with a mop in my hand.
Finally time to go I look outside, no snow no windows looking
back but I remember the boat trip so long ago.
Of course, it is summer, and it is night and there is
nobody else walking up the long hill to get home
except me. There are no more cars. The people
have all gone to sleep. In this city, everything
stops so early. No more breathing sounds just me
walking plodding shuffling up the street the long long
walk the infinite walk.
There is a streetlight and it has a warm yellow glow I
stop to smell the warm black gravel streets, look at the cold
black iron lamp light look at the warm yellow glow.
When I close my eyes I can hear the music of Second Street
and Avenue A again small little music places cut
into holes in the wall.
I take out my old ice pick and coil of rope and I make
a long lasso loop, swing it, tie it around the lamp and
begin scaling the big hill it tilts up and up and soon I am
climbing the underside of it like the big drooping belly of a
curling wave. This is an impossible feat of strength I
feel my arms quivering legs shaking just one more go I say
to myself and pause to wipe the sweat from my eyes catch
my breath mountain/wave climbing sure is something!
The streetlight goes off. My ice pick catches on loose
cement. I fall down and land on my feet, walking up the
long hill, looking up Face to face with Aureliano the boy
who’s propped up against that streetlight.
VI. I found a place to stay but I didn’t find a home
until I found Aureliano
The most important thing when you first meet Aureliano is
that he is not really a boy. Aureliano might look like a boy at
first but he is not even a person. That is the first thing to know
about my friend, the first friend I found here only living
warm breathing thing with only a name to call him and nothing
else to go by. I call him Aureliano because it is a small
brown warm name just like Aureliano is a small brown warm
something. Aureliano tells me that that is his name but I
think I would have known anyways. He is that kind of boy.
When I say brown it is more of the idea than the color,
Aureliano is painted mostly blue and white. Don’t make
that mistake of second-guessing this information he doesn’t
like it he won’t talk to you if you assume that he is made of
the same things me and you are made of. I could tell
you what but it doesn’t really matter what matters is Aureliano
is the first person I met who was really here, I really saw him
he knocked me out it was love at first sight for the both of us.
He stuck out his hand said Hello my name is Aureliano
pleased to meet you and then he tipped his hat and did a bow
and offered me a ride home.
I gladly accepted of course.
Beautiful things start to happen now.
I take his hand and
this where time
Now it’s important for you to know that
what I’m telling you is all the truth
or as close to the truth as telling something can ever be
but don’t get confused and think
I am making things up
remember just because it’s a story
doesn’t mean it’s not just as true as everything else you see and then
tell yourself again when you’re remembering it
everything’s a story you know
but some of us tell more people than just ourselves
when we go about remembering it.
I’ve heard the way to do these things
is to start at the beginning
here we go off and away!
That’s the way Aureliano started
so I think it’s a fitting way
Here we go off and away! I take his hand and what surprises
me is how quickly we’re moving. What I come to notice, though
and it takes me a while because I am looking at how pretty
Aureliano is (and pretty is the right word, not handsome or
good-looking or anything less delicate like that) and focusing
on his hand because the only way I can hold it is if I imagine
very hard that it is there, is that it is not so much my feet that are moving
past the sidewalk but the sidewalk that is moving past my feet.
Soon I start to see Aureliano’s feet moving next to mine and
I begin to understand what’s happening. He’s moving the sidewalk
past us. I know I know how it sounds but just believe me. It
is like an old treadmill the kinds before everything was very
electronic and technological and it was just like a belt that was
moved by your own feet. I don’t know if I can keep going this fast
so Aureliano says Here jump on! and it takes me some time
because I am nervous about my feet getting caught on the
moving sidewalk conveyor belt if I try to jump up
He squeezes my
hand and tells me not to worry he has it under control
so I jump and he takes me in his arms and this is when it feels
exactly like a roller coaster or something cheesy like that when
we have pushed off the ground completely like
leaving everything behind him like something is pulling him
by the chest and pulls him up up off the ground and
pushes the ground down away below us that keeps
whirring past us like its spinning on wheels going backwards
here we are skimming almost touching the ground he is holding my
arm but I don’t think it is to keep me flying but to make sure I
remember he’s there Aureliano I say what is this? Flying he says
It is like the idea of flying more than the actual act.
I could say magic but I can already see your little eyes
squinting don’t believe me then. Fine.
VII. Trips to and from
We are in the middle of the street.
Aureliano I say don’t you love
how everything has shut down
and we can take up the whole street?
we are the special ones now not like during the day when we
have to ride squeezed over on the sides in the ditches where all
the dirt collects like rude things pushed over where nobody notices
where we feel like we are hindering the big things the loud things
the noisy red and blue and green things with four wheels? Here
we can be like the cars in the street the only ones here look at us
we are flying everything is going by like the trees on either side
of us and the two yellow lines banana lines two banana boats
below us I see them like they are underwater we are swimming
or flying? Am I back on my banana boat did I just fall out and
now am I going away slowly drowning seeing things making things
up? No I look over and see Aureliano smiling
at me how can he smile he doesn’t even have a face
that’s the thing it’s not even important because I know he’s smiling
Exactly says Aureliano that’s exactly right where do you want to
go now? Rockaway I say, of course! I could have guessed
says Aureliano and then we are on our way.
I am going to try to tell you about how we got there and what
it was like. Just stay with me, ok. Here goes. The most
important thing is that it is like at any moment you might hit a pebble
and go tumbling out of the air and the ground you hit won’t be soft
like the air but black baked gravel hard it’s the idea of flying and
the idea of falling but as long even right before falling ever happens
the idea of it is even worse don’t you think?
I look at Aureliano’s limbs brown limbs strong
limbs the kind you can hold on to that pick you up and take you away into
warm night air change things so you’re flying instead of tired
trudging walking up long steep hill flying to the beach
beautiful beach place you dream about standing on when everything
is calm and settled and stays the same for longer than a little
while. And when you fall (which we did a few times) it
is because you forgot to concentrate completely on how it
feels to be in the air. This is how it feels like being pushed up:
like being a paper airplane very light running very fast so
fast that you just lift up like that! and if you forget that it is
out of the ordinary to be lying vertically in the air going up and
up again and forwards very quickly well then everything is fine
and you will stay that way until you start thinking about what’s
going on too hard. I think about Aureliano instead, he needs
a lot of concentration too. It is tricky I’m not
going to lie. Aureliano helped me I won’t pretend
I don’t think Aureliano has wings, at least
none that I could see but if he did
I really wouldn’t be surprised.
What I was looking forward to was seeing the sunrise from
up there so Aureliano I say can we get a little bit higher
above the tree line I suggest might be best for catching a few
rays Oh sure and so we veer up I scrape my knee
against the ground and for a moment I think I will tumble
out along the yellow line street but then I focus on rising
and I am fine. That was close Aureliano says
I know thank you. Of course it was Aureliano that kept me up
When we stop to rest on the top of a green tree, lots of leaves
tree big brown limbs just the kind remind me of apple orchards
hiding from parents slow lumbering things Hurry Hurry you
can’t see us We really are hidden oh no they are getting angry
scurry climb down quickly look you two here I am! Proud grin
hold an apple in your hand a big apple had to stand on dad’s
shoulders to get it named it Elizabeth there is something about
naming things that makes them rounder warmer Aureliano I say are
you listening Mm Hm he says he is warm his back warm wearing
his blue and white striped shirt resting against my knees
feel it going up and down of course you are alive
nothing breathes like being alive I am sitting on the branch
above him he looks up at me I think I can make out the
color of his eyes in this new dawn-light that is coming over the hills
that are over there they are blue and white
open very wide
or maybe it is just the reflection of the sky I think
Aureliano I say I am going to describe this sunrise
to you Ok he says but I can see it No I say I want you to
close your eyes and just let me tell you the story of
what it looks like.
So he does and so I do.
Things are feeling so shaky I haven’t slept for days just
traveling on Aureliano’s back strong back but still my
legs are so tired Aureliano looks back over his shoulder smiles
up at me and I take his hand in my hand and we just keep going skimming
over the surface of things in that way where it’s like everything
below us becomes water and we are going so fast it begins
parting beneath our hot bodies rising up in mist all around rise
up surround us enshrouds us in thin white vapor I peer through it
peek around it look down Aureliano’s face is shining clearly like a
brown hole in all that whiteness I smile back. Are we almost
there? Where says Aureliano.
As soon as he asks I hear it sounds like drums
it’s the surf I say Exactly says Aureliano we’re here!
But all I see is sand where is the beach?
Getting there is half the fun he says
Getting where and how and
where are we starting from?
Look around he says! Don’t you see
the sky, the sea, the moon, the beach?
When he says this suddenly I see
the sand dunes all around glowing like
big hills of white powder
we are standing in them running up and down
gigantic snow hills but warmer
Where is the beach Aureliano?
Up and over these hills he says
we’re going to take a journey through a dune dessert
in the middle of the night
just me and you and some sand mountains
grab what you need and let’s go!
That’s what I love about Aureliano
he’s always ready for an adventure.
We climb hills all night
Soft white sand glows like moons under blankets
some of them are taller than even the waves
that would wash over the boat
some of them we have to run up
some cave into themselves on the downside and when we tumble
fall to the bottom we hit air as much as we hit ground
lucky everything is so soft
at one point we see coyote tracks and Aureliano gets scared
but I calm him down
don’t worry I say
I will just give them names and then
they will know us
just like I said we see a some coyotes running around
over there and I call out
give beautiful names to them
and they leave us alone
stand there looking wild and knowing how to use the night time air
and I wish we could stay around for them to teach us how
but the beach is still miles away
Aureliano and I are getting tired
two young sojourners
braving the arctic sand
stop to make a fire and
just sit down.
Next time says Aureliano
we’ll include some wild dogs in our travels.
We don’t mean to fall asleep
but when we wake up it’s still night
and we can hear the surf sounds even louder
When do you want to get there says Aureliano
how about sunrise of course
He says I am too poetic for my own good
but I disagree I say
this time I’ll let you watch it for yourself
he says there wouldn’t really be a difference
between that way and they way we did it before
Aureliano always knows what to say.
I don’t know how long we’ve been walking
but I’m just starting to get tired from
running up and down the snow hills
when we get to the top of one and suddenly there
it is just the sea
just the blue water all around below us
let’s go! I grab Aureliano and we just fly
right down that last sand dune
when we get there
It looks different I say I look for
the fleet of yellow banana boats coming I don’t see them I say
where is my home
where are the boats
where are the waves
No says Aureliano you are looking for the wrong things
this place is just for you to tell your stories about later
Look now and tell me what you see
I see a beach beautiful sand
packed tight in not loose but
the kind that’s good for walking on
making sand dragons in
big towering castles with sleeping dragon all curled up alongside it
big red clay cliffs
the rocks are there but they are the only things
big green and gray rocks standing half in and half out of the water
go stand on the rocks
go stand in the water
go bury your feet in the sand by the water
This is not how I thought Rockaway would look I tell him
But most importantly do you like it says Aureliano
Oh yes I do
I go dig my feet in and I stand let the water wash back
pile on all the sand it wants to
Buried in up to my ankles I
turn see Aureliano running like a pup in the waves
Will he rust I wonder
Don’t stay in too long I shout Don’t worry
I’m not that kind of boy replies Aureliano
big laugh open mouth laugh warm laugh I see his
blue and white teeth inside
big pink tongue rolling out like a red carpet
I think about my little dog
little happy faces family for a little
while and then I forget and then I think about how nice it is
to be here with Aureliano
and what nice memories we are making today.
We are sitting out in the middle of the sea
just me and Aureliano and all this water
I can see the red cliffs standing small some miles away
but mostly it is just me and him and the
blue and white water frothing down around us
no small banana boat underneath
I feel my face it is sticky again
like salt face
it reminds me of
Home I say
Aureliano I have to think about going home
Home he says? I thought that’s where we are No
I say home Oh he says I see.
VIII. Going Home
When I go back I skip the ocean
and take the Chinatown bus.
Aureliano drops me off at the bus station when they
tell us there’s not enough room for the both of us. I’m sorry
you can’t come I say
Me too he says and I watch his small
brown back disappearing as he walks away
It’s probably for the best
I think all the cars might scare him away
Sit next to a man with forehead stacked like
ten thin cords
piled on top of each other.
I get the window seat and try
to sleep away the four hours thirty minutes
at least it’s not months I say and think I see the tiny little buildings standing
up on their toes a hundred and thirty miles away. Try to sleep
cramped up legs wake me every five minutes
prop them on the blue 80s dance video seat in front
tuck them under
stretch them between seat bottom and grubby wet floor
I sniff and smell
fish? No: greasy paper bags full of french fried potatoes
and soggy bread and meat sandwiches. I think about Aureliano
and what he’s doing right now.
When I close my eyes I dream about the sea
I am looking for my banana home
when I realize it’s a different sea.
I look down see my hands covered in red clay
I paint three stripes on my arm
One for Aureliano one for me and one for home.
Eyes open, my head hits the window my elbow cracks the armrest
Hey the man says having a bad dream or something
No but is this the bus going home? I ask
Depends on where home is he gives the stock answer and
follows it with a grin his corded forehead bunching up
and breaking in the middle like a wave
Yeah I guess so I say. I look out the window and don’t see
anything I recognize.
Bus stops tilts over and we all slide out,
I am sprawled on the sidewalk like so much dead fish
Hey! I say What do you think you’re doing?
Bus driver flips me off, screeches off.
Manhattan Bridge yawns up over my head
Hey! I say, long time no see. Bridge grins up above
like a big inverted
Lick my lips, pull up the sleeve of
my new winter jacket to
suck the crook of my arm
taste faint salt residue. Home.
Delivery man on bike swerves past me pointy cardboard
box of greasy noodles and shrimp bangs my leg. Hungry.
Grand Street subway stop yawns up at me like
it’s bored It’s head is propped up on its hands and it is
lounging right there in the middle of Chrystie St. between
the Asian orange vendors and the smell of fresh fish It’s
Sunday new shipment today? The fish stinks like salt and sea
I get nostalgic for the wrong place.
Metro Card machine eats my bills and
shoots me out six gold dollars
What do I do with these I ask annoyed
Broadway Fulton West 4th St.
I make my way up and out
two long cavernous flights up fluorescent tiles
look at the dirt mud smeared everywhere right hand itches
for my old mop look the dark light of the city pouring in
I come out Home I say! Here I am!
Hey someone answers
I see the McDonald’s yellow archways
I see the playground
three boys running around passing the
orange ball back and forth
(Remember the nights with
me and Aureliano
outside in the dark, the warm dark
sitting around this would
have been nice to sit around in this dark brightness)
I see a long papaya dog on the corner
I see the West Village streets
I see one blue note strung out in the middle of the air
I see Will standing there outside the subway like he was
waiting for me What a homecoming!
Will this boy there lighting a cigarette
looking like a hipster holding a skateboard
Oh! Let me see your skateboard I say
and remember someone else’s wheels
Will I say
How about we go hang out maybe take a wild
ride down the Brooklyn Bridge?
just me and you Nah he says
I have a girlfriend now Oh
I say well see you later then
I make way to the park and see the Chessmen lined up
Old black men Kings and Knights
playing checkerboard chess with each other all night long
I don’t have a dollar to spare I say and pat my pockets reassuringly
Rat pulls out across my feet I can’t
catch it to pull out its little whiskers one by one
gray body looks more brown pink tail looks more dirty gray
the arch is shining down I wonder when they made it light up like that
Fountain sits empty I go sit in it and think.
I need food
a place to stay.
I think about Aureliano and how he’s doing without me.
My stomach rumbles.
I am staying with a friend in an apartment on Cliff St. staring at the
seaport It all comes back to this I say
Stand looking at the Brooklyn Bridge the buildings
the tall buildings the sea
I didn’t know there was a Strand down here I say
Oh yeah? she says. There is.
We used to live in Union Sq so I never really got down past 4th St much
Now everything’s village and seaport
What is this? Old fishing town I say?
Where’s the city the 24 hours?
It’s mostly financial but
At least we get the view she says.
I see a boat on the horizon
I should get going I say
Grab my coat and walk out the door.
Stop in my new-found Strand and handle books
lovingly some things never change thank god for that.
I buy 100 Years of Solitude for Aureliano half-price
for used paperbacks
He’ll get a kick out of that
$5 book some things you can always count on
Seaport is kind of nice I almost forget to smell
the fishy smell but I remember just in time
It’s nice here.
Aureliano it will be good to see you when
I get back home.