NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 91

Leaving New York at the sight of Fire-Breathing Torches, Broadway, March 5, 2014 I want to tell the city of New York to build: more churches like the one on 96th and Amsterdam, white gothic patinaed steeple: more hole-in-the-wall cafés selling dosas and chai like those American Southwest Hindu temples made of clay earth and slender men with dreadlocks, golden Gustav Klimt paintings so luminous from beneath a cityscape canvas. I want to tell them to feed the seagulls, eagles on the Hudson and dig worms from beneath rotted alleys, spear life above every subway molehole so the fossilized museum sea monsters can see, tender pink from birth with scrunched ugly old man faces turned up to the sky like the gargoyles outside Central Park — plant an oak in the middle of Times Square reflecting the seizure lights there, is no calm here, only glorious youth — I want to splash the graying skies with modern art, watercolors dripping into streets battered low by stilettos, strikes, dark-framed glasses with no lenses, nicotine, cigarette smoke — but you can’t build old buildings over skyscrapers, they say through fur-tipped welding masks that catch fire from every spark, you can’t look back, you just can’t know — New York City, a wild, beautiful creature that eats your money to survive the long winters, pulsing neon with a ravenous, cavernous heartbeat. Its hide is painted with three-day ol d urine stains, rare purple musks harvested from exotic shores. Its teeth are endless and sharp, drawing blood 89 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE without warning, but it’s rump is almost canine when it wags and there’s a snaggle-toothed grin behind every potential pickpocketer who reminds you of someone you loved or wanted badly to love or read about till you fell in love so even in hating it all you’ll forgive it almost anything.