Below is an excerpt. For the complete piece, open the pdf: Alive on the M5.
Alive on the M5: a poetic narrative of a journey through Manhattan
on a sun-drenched bench
in a box, flanked by a smiling
touting vodka, …
I am waiting
for the familiar squeak and squeal
of tired rounded rubber
alongside curb and dusty sidewalk.
As hoboes tend carefully
their tattered sheets, bags of
muted dolls, and patient canine
friends, panting languidly
in the cool dappled light
It comes tearing down the street,
almost swiping aside a woman, hunched
over to peer at something aground.
With unlikely grace
it swerves, sinking slightly
before balancing up beside
us, and in the same gesture
opening with a beckoning
hissssssss… spit.. crack, ah!
I step in.
Slip my card in the slot
retrieve it and look on, upward
making my way
to the back of the bus.
Sitting by the loud exhale of the AC
I strain to hear conversations
filtering into this bubble
created by that exterior chamber.
“What is dance?”
someone asks his friend philosophically. ..
The sunny day outside glimmers
across Korea Town
neon lights calling bonchon
barbeque, bibimbab! . ..
The greys of midtown Manhattan
shiver by in a proud flow
of shopping, construction, traffic.
I see words, “Avenue of the Americas”
“Bryant Park”, “Little Brazil”
“Trump” . ..
It’s a beautiful day.
I start to ask questions.
What would happen if all traffic stopped in Manhattan?
What if there was no concrete in the city? …
What if subways were silent?
What if the walls of buildings where grown like the bark of trees?
What if they bent to adapt to the flux in families and movement of people?
What if cars didn’t have horns? . ..
What if the trees made music?
What if everyone focused on the things they had instead of the things they don’t have?
What if there was no concrete in the city?
What if soft because synonymous with strong?
What if women and men wore long flowing silk dresses that trailed behind them for two city blocks? Would we all then be woven together in this fabric of amazing array?
What if airplanes blew bubbles as they flew overhead?
What if all the buildings were gilded with gold?
And all the fried chicken places inlaid with silver?
What if trees spoke to us and took the role of peacekeepers in the city?
They could give warning to transgressors and sweeps up bandits into their leafy limbs.
And then the question,
In our work, are we putting the art in the context of technology,
or putting technology in the context of the art?
But this is the topic of a much longer essay.
And perhaps thoughts spanning the scope of many years to come.