Friday, March 29, 2019

Crossing Staten Island Ferry with Savitri D

Walt wrote about the Brooklyn waterfront.
Crossing from here to there.

“The similitudes of the past and those of the future,
… the walk in the street and the passage over the river,
The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small…”

Emma saw us as a colossus.
Immigrants arriving, pouring into the corridors of the metropolis,
Through the tributaries.
Filling the streets.
Creating a city.
Give us your poor, your tired, Emma reminded us.
A place where democracy means something about us all.
Walt wanted it to be a city of friends,
Connecting street corner societies and conversations.
Stories starting on 42nd street and emanating outward.

William Carlos Williams saw us all as part of that city.
It could be anywhere.
We are all a part of it, our arms arteries,
Hearts pumping blood,
Feet wheels.
Connecting us as bikes,
this way and that.
Human powered machines,
“beginning, seeking,  achieving and concluding”
our lives here and there.
Ever  crossing.
Strangers connecting,
Rather than incarcerating,
Holding kids.
Separating families.
The dialectic at a standstill.  

Caroline crossed  the ferry every day after school,
1975 was the beginning,
From Ave A to Brooklyn,
Crossing to and from. 
Usually up to Central Park. 
Or down to St Marks Place,
Maybe bumping into Billy at Max’s Kansas city.
Especially in the summer.

There was no punk rock in  Staten Island.
Ramones from Queens,
Television from Manhattan,
All was quiet in Staten Island.
If she missed the train,
She  had  to wait an hour.
And then a twenty minute ferry,
And then a desolate walk back to parts unknown.

Our lives meandering.

Savitri and Billy flirting on the elevator on  Bleeker.


Genetically modified food,
Not tested.
We chanted.

Not tested yet proven
Not tested yet proven
To cause new allergies
Grow cancer grow like a flavor savor tomato
Genetically engineered foods
Genetically engineered foods

Spalding jumping off the ferry on his way to Davy Jones' locker.

Organizing and remembering Emma G.
Union Square is not for sale.

A mermaid fasting for Coney Island.
Remembering this city was  made for you and me.

Riding the Ferris Wheel,
Welcoming  in the year.

Meditating on the water.

Lena finding secret places.

Sharing watermelon by the pool.
Greeting us.

Remembering a climb in Yosemite,
No ropes.
Cascading through the sky.

We remembered the colossus.

Ravi here. 
Not there. 

Jean there.
Not here.

A Critical Mass of us riding.
Bikes against deportation.
Feeling the heat of the summer
On  the hot concrete.

Savitri D brought us there.
Brought us here. 

To celebrate my birthday …
we will ride the 6 pm ferry to Staten Island and then return directly, you should be back in Manhattan by 7.
Some people bring snacks and drinks to share …
… you can buy a pretzel if you are starving.

I always think of Caroline there.
Riding to and from.
Through the years.

Please not Staten Island Mom, 
She plead in  1975.

Now she confers with Savitri.
I chat with them for a minute.

The little one joins us.

Walking down Court,
Grabbing the train to Bowling Green.

Magic sunlight.

The ferry building is at the southern tip of Manhattan.
We will be there around 5:45. 
If you arrive with no time to spare you will certainly find us on the boat.
Kids &  friends most welcome.

Lena ran
Smiling with us at the ferry building. 

Mark says hi.

Donald and  Jessica.

Halleluiah, we will never shop again.

We pour onto the boat.

Birds follow,
Ebbing  and  flowing.
Looking  down below.
Darting through the sky.

“Stella” Donald screams,
Doing his best Marlon Brando.
“StellLLAAAAA!!!!”  I follow.
Not quite as poetic.
Without enough pain.

Birds dip down.
Probably JK,
Who met us on the other side.

You were with the birds,

She smiled.
Shape shifters often do.
Without denying.

Billy toasts, recalling Howling in the 1970’s.
All the way to the Moloch part.

Happy birthday, we sang. Happy birthday.
Haaaaaapy Happy birthday,
Happy birthday, not quite as good as Stevie.

and to all you far away loved ones.....wish you were here.
Who doesn’t miss Ludmilla?

What was that chant, wondered Shanti?
I  can’t remember it.
Genetically modified food.
Not tested, but proven. 
I can’t remember  it

20 minutes to Staten Island and back.

Express train home.

Back to holy Brooklyn, city of immigrants.
Brooklyn Tides still with us.

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