a stream of consciousness snapshot of new york in the summer. they say i take good pictures, but i know its just that the gods have blessed these eyes. take a look:
its aching hot, but thats okay, because the cool blue atlantic is right in front of you, they gotta main metro hub out here called atlantic-pacific, which sounds nicer than it is, but im not hating, well maybe a little, but i am from cali and the pacific reigns supreme, plus the atlantic is forever marred by the middle passage, but i digress. it’s hot as shit and youre at coney island. the life guards are young, the one, he’s from puerto plata, in the dominican republic, i lived there, he tells the girl he’s trying to holler at, her name’s amanda. at least thats the name she gave him. she and her friend reppin the PR paused mad long when he asked them their names. but that’s okay, because later, when these two beautiful young women went into the water, the cool refreshing amazing ocean water, dude was like, look, i told them my name is jose, so when they come back my name is jose. but yo, i already called you david (pronounced dha-veed) right in front of them, replies his hater-ish homeboy. so, then my middle name is jose and my first name is david, i go by jose because there’s already too many david’s on the beach. once the fake name strategy was hashed over a bit, the two young first and second generation immigrants move on to more important, more callous matters. so which one are you going for? now they are dividing up the prey, and i say this in the most gentle way. the hater-ish one, who is reggaeton handsome, says he wants the one in the bikini bottoms, the one from the PR, with the blonde do, and less clothes too. the darker skinned DR life guard says cool, i’ll take the other, the one who said her name’s amanda. the one with gym shorts on, and a tube top, glasses, and a flip of the hair that says she knows she’s cute too. i’ll take her, it doesn’t make me no difference, says the young man from puerto plata, who had declared i used to live there, when amanda hesitated to tell him her DR home town, saying shyly you probably won’t know it.
the two young women came on the sand silently coordinating their claiming of space with towels, bags, oils, this they did in tandem and i knew they were bright. but with the boys it was all giggles. and too many answers to uninventive questions from the boys. yeah, we like to drink. she’s got 19 piercings. i was on the rainbow blanket to the back left of the lifeguard station. we were right in front of ferris wheel, the wonder wheel they call it, remember in the movie, he got game, with rosario dawnson, to die for. there’s been a few times in nyc when ive seen women do their thing despite getting laughed at initially by young people, only to find the young people craving their courage, asking to learn a new way. the first was at central park, just outside the harlem pool, we were all waiting for it to open up, and this women comes by who’s a dancer, she’s got her head phones in and she’s going for broke, salsa dancing like lightening, kicking high and spinning hard. there’s like 15 youth of color to my right, we’re all sitting on this hill, watching her. at first they are all laughs, clowning her for sure. by the time i get up to leave, they are asking her, miss, miss, is that salsa?
the next time i saw a woman do her thing despite the stares, the glares, the laughs, was just this past sunday, on a packed to the hilt coney island bay. someone had drowned, and hundreds, if not thousands of people were standing by the shore, facing the ocean, standing vigil alongside the killer and the killed, helicopter chopping up the air, and there are still many of us in the water, and there are still many of us dancing in large crowds on the sun drenched boardwalk, and there are still me and my homeboy meditating, calms in the eyes of the storm, and there she is. on her towel, dancing to the music melting through from the boardwalk. but she must have heard it louder in her ears than anyone. because she was the only one. on the beach, dancing. the way she finished each move with her hands and her head told me she was a pro, or a pro in the making. i’m writing this, and i’m not faking. sober, and i’m not taking this life for granted.