“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room”—Ray Bradbury - Zen in the Art of Writing (via dailyliteraryquotes)
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”—
― Ray Bradbury
Who would’ve been 92 today, if he’d not passed away on June 5. Rest in Peace, you brilliant, crazy man!
To get home I always take the 1 train to Grand Central, then transfer to the N/Q/R train.
On the 1 train, a man gets on board.
He is shortish, has a yellow tank top, a large crayola blue camping bag, curly hair, and lean muscles.
A little dirty.
He doesn’t sit down, he swings himself back and forth on a pole. A few stops later he does sit down and laughs annoyingly loudly, with his hands covering his face, saying, “Ohh, that’s great! That’s just so great!” So yeah, he’s crazy. I’m wondering what stop he’s getting out at. When it’s Grand Central, I hastily rush out of the car and head up the stairs. I look behind. I don’t see him. I look forward, and then he runs right in front of me, cutting me off. “Oh man,” he says, talking right to me, “You were really fast, but I was faster.” I don’t respond. He looks a little disappointed. I don’t think he would have harmed me, but really what else can I do but ignore him.
Now, when you’re in Grand Central, transferring from the
1 to the N/Q/R,
two paths you can take in the station.
I see him go down the shorter path.
I know that he’s probably going on the
that I’m taking.
I walk down the path that he didn’t and get to the platform.
I can’t spot him from where I am.
I catch the Q and have an uneventful trip to Union Square. I think about Union Square. I recently learned that Adam Brodheim, a Senior (who just graduated) on our school’s robotics team lives near there. I know that because we both went home after the same end-of-the-year robotics meeting a few days prior. We took all the same trains. It was awkward. I’ve never seen him in the neighborhood, but we must live close to each other.
I get out at Union Square.
It’s warm, so the Occupy Wall Street protesters are out.
At least the crazy ones.
A lot of the sane ones have given up, but some weirdo’s still stick around.
And who do I happen to see but our
He must’ve beat me out of the exit,
because he was already
deep in conversation
with a tattooed man by the time I saw him.
I tried to avoid him
(although I think he did see and recognize me)
but I did pick up one line from the conversation.
The yellow shirted man said,
“I now know what our bodies are for. Our bodies are weapons.”
He seemed excited about this.
I walk quickly, I don’t want trouble.
As I walk across Union square, I see an old man try to talk a woman who looks like she’s never seen him before. He looks like a protester too. As I come to the end of the block, I have to wait for the traffic light before I can cross the street. The woman is next to me, and that man has followed her. You can tell he’s not normal from his speech patterns.
“Nobody ever likes me,
nobody listens to me.”
The woman is middle aged and cynical. She’s not threatened. She ignore him. He continues.
“Nobody ever talks to me.”
She annoyedly responds, “Maybe it has to do with the way you present yourself.”
He puts his hands on her rolling bag and starts feeling it. She doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t look like he’s trying to steal anything.
I’m really unsure just what he’s doing.
The light turns green and I cross the street, abandoning the duo.
A few blocks down, walking perpendicular to my direction, I see Adam the senior.
Wow, I’m psychic.
“Adam! Adam!” He looks at me, and is just as surprised as I am.
Flies swarm around the coconuts’ open cocoons, hoping for a taste of juice. But he doesn’t let them. Pedro shoos them away, he doesn’t let them have a taste of the freshness. People gather. They cluster around his cheap whitewashed plastic table. “Cocos frescos” he bellows, puncturing straws into the opening green layers that rim the inside of the white fruit. Pedro’s scruffy beard heightens his playful smiles as he beams at his buyers. His humid tank top sticks to his cinnamon brown skin like glue. He smells of salt and sweat. Chopping coconuts brings pleasure, gives freshness from a hot day at the beach to his rambling customers. Coconuts are hard—can break ones head. Coconuts quench thirst. Coconuts help the marooned and the shipwrecked survive in desert islands. Coconuts, help Pedro provide. During breaks Pedro pushes through the rumbling waves, immerses himself into salty splashes. Las Olas: his favorite place to be. Walking near the shore, as the sun starts to hide behind the horizon, foam is heard bubbling as the waves unwind and retreat—the sand soaking up the salty residue. The sun dips under. Foam bubbles away in between his toes. His body claps against the wind, and he closes his eyes. *** Night brings forth las estrellas—silver thorns decorating the black atmosphere. They give him comfort. Underline his dreams. Pedro walks on the cobblestone road in his raunchy town of Lo de Marcos. Bungalows, trailer parks, bilingual menus provided in restaurants. Daily, the beach is filled with passersby, who get excited with cheap beach tattoos and braids with colorful beads. For Pedro it means more coconuts are sold. Pedro trudges through the dunes, leaving the shops and taco stands behind; he hears breaths of pleasure by the moonlight. Standing behind a palm tree he sees lovers coiling in the sand, wrapped in a turquoise blanket. The stranger grabs the woman’s long black hair, and curls it up in his fingers. Pedro leaves. It’s not his place to be. But pain simmers inside of him as he remembers. Passionate kisses under the moonlight. Late night dippings into the ocean. Shared coconuts on slippery black rocks. Whispers and secrets with Her beneath the stars. Running back to his stand, he gathers up a few coconuts, brings them to the beach. Tears hang on his lower lids, as he throws a coconut into a sharp-pointed rock. Juice spilling. Tears spilling. In the middle of the night when the breeze blows palm tree leaves to the sand, and when the stars shine brightest, you can hear Pedro and his Coconuts—Cracking.