It is very easy for met to fall into a shallow routine with my blog. Updates are quicker, easier, safer. But my life is none of those things, so why should my blog be? So, in an effort to ward off the mundane I am so prone to communicating, I am pulling out something I wrote while in NYC about a life changing event I experienced there, along with three other amazing people. So, here’s to being brave and open in my blog – a trend I hope to continue:
The smells drawing us in – like a group of pregnant women seeking out a craving. We stop to look at Tai, or maybe the Key West diner. We’re on a corner, but its not the right one. We walk another block – how much changes in a New York City block. There are so many options, so many voices. Maybe Indian, or Pizza, the diner, or sushi?
“I’m up for some sushi.”
The voice from a man. A man, a voice, we hadn’t noticed, until he spoke up. He was carrying an old black briefcase, held together with white twine, and the shell of a piece of Tupperware. He was smiling, a hint of a joke in his eye. He was wearing a watch that didn’t tick, and seven rubber bands on his right wrist. He engaged us.
“My name is Kirby.”
My name is Kirby. So let me tell you a joke. It is about the time I got called down to my landlord’s office, and he told me, “Mr. K. I can’t pay the electricity for both you and Larry. So you are going to have to take care of that.” So I ran downtown, and I stepped in the office. “What do you want?” Mr. L sent me down, and you know why? Hurrrrrrr…its cause I’m the Hulk.
I cook on a hot plate, but you come to my house, and I will have a Bar-b-q, right outside of my front door! We’ll have potato salad and Chinese, and BBQed ribs, and BBQed chicken, and BBQed steaks! For those who like steaks at least. You come, the meat will be ready. And we’ll laugh, and we’ll sing, and we’ll enjoy today, because, that’s what is about.
So I sing a song. This time I sing along with the radio, and I watch their eyes, watching me, as I dance a little in my seat. They are engaged. They are listening to my story. It isn’t all joy. Sometimes the song is sad.
I have brothers and babies. The brothers I hate, the babies I spoil. I sing a song for my first born – she is my world! I let her run the show, and give her the candy from my pocket. And my second, my Michael – he is why I work 16 hours, every day. I don’t like to get up! I don’t like the daytime, it hurts my eyes. But this is my job, so I get up, and I work, ’cause the pockets need money for my babies. For a person who worked behind a hot grill, I was happy.
But my babies, my wives, my girlfriend, they are just a part of my song now. So I chose a different song.
Money money money…Money! Really, money is the root of all evil! Its my story – it ruined me. And I see it, it ruins everyone, because the Holy Book is right, money is the root of all evil.
And speaking of evil, this world, it somehow got messed up. Now, I love this country. I love my colors, the red, the blue, the white, with the stars in it too. But we have many colors. We have rags of red, black, pink, brown, Haitian. And they all count. But we are too busy popping each other. The Jews just need to stop popping the Jews! Or something like that. Everyone, man, they just need to start cris-crossing their shit. Cause that’s what its all about – loving everyone.
I am a Child of the King. I am. I know that. My momma told me that, and I know it. God is good. All the time.
I have choices. The choices I make are my choices. Its my choice, I don’t want a tree-trunk! Nope, no tree-trunk woman for me! I like ’em small, I just can’t do that. That’s too much love for me. But Love, now that’s what its about.
But I still have my choices. And I do what I have to do to eat. This is the first hot meal that I’ve had in years. I almost forgot why people eat their food hot, its because its so good!
Not everyone’s got that. My brothers. Four generations killed in war around this world! My momma was solider. On the home front. My daddy, he was in Korea. So many, they are out there, just doing what they have to do. And that’s what’s deep, when a momma has to be a mom and a daddy! Too deep.
And I’m deep. My poetry, my songs, my life. When I sing, I sing about my life. The words don’t always rhyme, but the words are mine, from my soul. The good thing about this country, I’ll tell you! This country, it will smack you on the ass! And then give you a second chance. Lots of second chances. I live in Brooklyn, because the people here, they don’t know – so busy, they just need to shut up. But my brother-in-law, when Osama bombed the downtown, his life was in that building, and it just crashed to the ground. His whole love, it was a mess. But see, my life, it was already a mess!
I help you. You help me. God helps us all. And where I’m going, I sing, oh where I’m going, the streets, they are paved with gold. Today, I enjoy life. Don’t cry girl, it really ain’t that bad, it really ain’t. I know that God put me on that corner for a reason! I know that. When I close my eyes, and then I open them again, its a new day, and I’m a new man.
We danced on the street to ABC/123, we shared a meal together, french fries and burgers, with a waiter with an Argentinean accent, who played jokes on us and made us laugh. We listened to Kirby’s wisdom, his songs, his stories. We watched him dance, shuffle, and light up his cigarette. We walked him to the subway, tears in our eyes, saying goodbye to a new friend. We asked him, “Can we pray with you.” We gathered in a circle, arms around each other, heads in the middle, touching. We closed our eyes, and then, something amazing happened. Kirby prayed. He prayed for us, for the forgiveness of our pasts and for the guidance of our futures. And the tears were falling around the circle, puddling on the sidewalk of 96th St. Tears and prayers that turned Kirby’s street corner, into a street paved with gold.