Writer. Traveler. Learner. Teacher. Reader.
I met Adam at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, in Dance Studio Two in the basement of The Astoria, a regal building on 72nd. We were attending a first-day workshop: Introduction to New York City Crime. At the time Madonna—who we cheered as she jogged around the pond in Central Park flanked by twelve highly paid body-guards—owned the top floor. Gentrification had not become a common word. Adam and I were sitting beside each other. I was a lumberjack. He thought himself a Jersey queen, but was more of a princess in training, a firecracker mix of Cuban and Scottish descent. There was a female cop, tight dress-suit, badge on leather belt, perfect hips. We suspected her of being an actress. She was schooling us freshmen and women on how to survive in the concrete jungle. Her job was to clean the cornhusks and wheat sheaves from our ears and eyes, so we weren’t mugged, raped or abducted by serial killers. To make it on Broadway, we had to be callous on the street and keep the vulnerability on stage.
“Where is crime? On the Corner? On the subway? In those syringe lined-alleys? No?...
I was several hundred kilometers east of Ankara, the self-appointed capital of Turkey, in a town near the Black Sea called Suluova, famous for onions and wrestling, interviewing Mr. Ramaz Buycaz, president and owner of BuyCanShoes.com. It was a freelance gig for a magazine entitled ‘Social International Global Environment’ (SIGE), a meticulous hippy rag run by a gay couple, who were Trustafarians based in Oxford. They always paid on time, had their hearts in the right place, but this job was a bit of a brown loafer, until lady-luck raised her head above the East-West wall...
When we stopped at the border, somewhere west of San Ignacio, I knew there would be trouble. Not because we were carrying drugs or guns or doing anything wrong, we are not stupid, but because of how they looked at my wife. The car was old and falling apart, a cheap rental from near the airport in Cancun, faded beige, four gears, no acceleration. We had crossed Belize into Guatemala and were headed for Tikal, once the capital of the Mayan civilization, now a remote ruin. The road was mud. A wood arm blocked the entrance to a bridge. Tiny shacks lined the road, offering food and services. Two boys in uniform guarded the border. I watched them inspect the truck in front and turned down the radio. My wife put her hand on my knee. “Relax,” she said, ”my seasoned traveler.” “Let me speak,” I said, rolling down the window, and handed the kid our documents...
I, conquistador couldn’t settle.
Sailed far too south. There was
no fountain of youth.
God as common as disease.
Where is Gold in pillage?
She promised to remain
concrete yet with abstraction
avoid the atrocities
hold her tongue at first
sign of turbulence, wear
I’ve just read a story
about a bear
but the author
has never seen
just a man