I got here Tuesday. Landing in JFK, I prayed and there were no bumps on the way down. Going through the airport, I smelled NY. Perfume. There were lots of lights. People buzzing. I should have waited for a yellow cab to drive me to my friend’s house but I had more weight than me and I just wanted to eat a callaloo patty with coco bread. I got in a cab that wasn’t really a cab. A guy without a taxi license. He charged me more than he should of but I’ve been away from Brooklyn for too long, I don’t know how to negotiate. We drove from Queens to Brooklyn. I felt like I never left. I felt like everything was new. I felt like I never left, nothing was new. But I noticed and I know I have noticed before, there are no trees in Brooklyn. Where are the trees?, I asked. Where are the flowers?, I asked. I left them in Oakland.
I live with two friends, three dogs and three cats. I have allergies. The room I am in is my goddaughter’s room/storage. I haven’t really unpacked yet. My bags are heavier than me.
“Penny and Me”
It is hotter than it should be. I am glad since I missed my NY summer. But I am surprised with humidity. My forehead gets damp. It is automatic to get to the subway station, to get off the train. it is automatic but when I see big buildings I am amazed.
I went to see Fela! The Musical. The colors, the dancing, the music, the story-all inspired me. Today is my birthday. Ok, I guess while I am writing this it is no longer my birthday but I am still on west coast time. So it is. I am 33 today. A good number they say.
i bought a one way ticket here. Not that I am planning not to go back, I am just trying to be open. There is part of me that wants to go into my water colored room.
Wants to roll around my new white carpet. Wants to wake up to sunlight. But being here is about taking risks. it’s about learning to make do with hardly anything. It’s about focusing on all the love I have and push forward.
So, I went to Park Slope and dropped off flyers for my show.
I went to see Fela! The Musical. I hung out with Jonah and laughed on the train. I smiled at people on the train. I walked home and in front of the building was a police car pulling out. A lady with crutches was talking to two men in the building. She asked me if I lived there. One of the men recognized me and I we both said, yeah. And she showed me a picture of this man and told me that he has been raping women at gunpoint in the neighborhood. And I still see him. She told me to be careful and told me to look again. And I looked. I still see him.
One of the reasons why I wanted to come back to Brooklyn is because I wanted to feel safe walking the streets at night. Yes, rapes and assaults do happen but I always felt safe in Brooklyn. I felt safe that there were always people around. I felt safe that the lights were on outside. I felt safe.
I heard about this rapist before coming here. I heard but did not want to think about his impact on my life. And I thought to myself, this is exactly why I wanted to learn how to shoot a gun. And I hate that I think thoughts like that. I am mad that he is still around.
I am here for a month or so. Less than, more than. Who knows. My friends asked me to keep them updated on my trip. So, here are my first words.
That is my re-introduction to Brooklyn. On a lighter note, I am delighted with the abundance of Halal food carts, Nubian Heritage products and aisles of West Indian condiments.