on coney island dance dance, deep forest, and letting it all sink in

dear readers,

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yesterday the sunset broke out over coney island in orange and purple determination. i was walking the boardwalk with my father. we split a lemonade from nathan’s. he drank that whole shit. and patiently explained why everyone is mapping the human gene, the asthma folks, the liver folks, everyone is in it to to win it because that’s how genes work, there’s a gene for everything.  a gene, even, for dancing.

dancing.

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my father and i walk the length of the boardwalk, cyclone stadium to brighton 3rd st. i remind myself to breathe. step by step, breath by breath along the wooden slats. a deep beat beams in the distance. feet hear it, heart drinks it, hips need it. the beat to a dancer, its like the bat symbol to batman. we walk towards revelry. and suddenly my father and i are eyes full of dancers. here, at the coney island saturday night dance party, dancers gather to form a new shore, and crooklyn native pernell morrison spins out a new ocean. the sound system drips fela, mouths open to catch the rain, om nama shiva chants up a frenzy over a downbeat, this is soulful house, i explain to my father.

he looks dubious, house? yeah, dad, it has less lyrics than hip hop or rock, and more beats per minute.

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booming speakers dot the horizon of the boardwalk dancefloor like blackened-in versions of the ephemeral trashcans that are row after row like jelly fish awash on the sandy expanse around us.

its a lively crowd, fit women in short cuts mouth the words, eyes wide children dance in antics for short spells then get shy, and the small cypher of dancers before us gets wickedly hype. men in faded nike t-shirts move like platinum selling albums, rapid, heads snap like you need this, 360 spins like have you heard, sky flown into like look at a life loved fully.

a life loved fully.

most things take a while to sink in.

as i move forward on a warrior path, trying to invest my all into everything i do, i’m realizing that most things take a while to sink in. i had a caring phone convo with a desi homegirl from the bay. the next day, i was still hearing her words, still responding to her. last week i stared heartstruck at a new york times cover photo of a young mom and dad, holding their small dead daughter. china’s earthquake, the survived and destroyed. and even now, i’m still feeling the impact of witnessing that moment.

the cd player on my old school boombox finally broke. so i’m digging in the tape crates until i upgrade. this morning i slid in an old school deep forest tape, rewind to sweet lullaby, first song, side A. the song is a comb of comfort, a one/twothree/1/2/1/2/three baseline, a soul stirring chant from the solomon islands, an older sister comforting her little brother, speaker for the dead, she assures him their father who is no longer here is still taking care of them, because that’s what the dead do.

nam and i bonded over this song in the 10th grade. nam had just moved to san diego from vietnam with his fam. he loved madonna *so* much. he borrowed his restaurant working parent’s sedate brown car. we had sweet lullaby on repeat for days.

for more info, lyrics, translations, check out this youtube of sweet lullaby: here.

i guess i’m still savoring that moment in time. cuz i sure as hell am still feeling that song. don’t you love it when you rediscover a song that got you through as a child, only to realize you’ve *always* had good taste in music. 🙂

on my way to the superhero exhibit at the met, but b4 i go:

congratulations to all my graduates. who have achieved goals, of any kind.

stay tuned for more on the news to come.

i love you,

rs/N

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4 thoughts on “on coney island dance dance, deep forest, and letting it all sink in

  1. Matt says:

    R,

    This is really lovely! You’re generous to a “t” and let me (and your readers) experience so much by giving links, anectdotes, feelings. Did you ever see Spike Lee’s Girl 6 when the main character Lovely gets stood up on the Boardwalk at Coney Island? It’s sad and haunting at the same time. It must have been very special to experience the walk with your Dad; bringing up old memories; mixing them with new ones. Whenever I visit my parents in Virginia I take a walk with my Dad also. He still enlightens me; grounds me to the past; gives me hope for the future…

    Write on!
    Matt

  2. Dakker says:

    Lemme know when you go back for the second annual ‘last year of coney island’. I’ll hook you up with tix that will get you on the cyclone with all the $ in your wallet intact.

    Remember, cheese fries and chili dogs AFTER the show.

    Great pic, by the way. Any chance of getting the original, full-sized?

  3. TARA says:

    Hey, where and when is the dance party on the boardwalk? I stumbled on it last year and it was amazing.I want to dance the night away again!

  4. Britt says:

    We visited Coney Island for the first time over Labor Day weekend, and it’s a sad but intriguing place, which is one of the reasons why we wanted to go there in the first place. If I had wanted the perfect illusion, I would have gone to Disney World instead. Maybe Coney Island was once the Disney World of its time, but as it slowly sinks into oblivion it’s gritty pathos becomes more poignant and more real. Thanks for your nice story.

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