Uglybeautiful
Today has been a beautiful day in the city. Everyone was out for lunch. I met a good friend at Bryant Park next to the New York Public Library, where they have much café style chairs and tables. We stared out onto the pristine lawn and fountain. We also discovered a merry-go-round. It’s such a different version of the spring that also I’m seeing and feeling. I live in Harlem. Yes, there’s rich culture, amazing architecture, spacious homes, easy commuting. But there also drug dealers, murders, domestic violence spouts, garden defamers and just plain old ignorant ass folk. On Easter Sunday, a guy was killed across the street – right outside my window - because he insulted a homeless woman and she stabbed him. The paper just listed the victim as a drifter with no family mentioned and the homeless woman on the run. There’s no follow up. Tonight I’m going to a block meeting to speak of things going on in the neighborhood. I hope my new start at a garden will come up. I started it Sunday, and already folks have been using the hydrangeas and gardenias as a waste basket. Considering I absolutely adore flora and fauna, for someone to actually desecrate a garden is like spray painting a church alter. I cannot fathom what type of person does that. Just like the homeless woman I know parading around our streets will come into the laundry stained with feces and sores. It is disturbing. We are all human, but are our values so completely different on what is acceptable? It is unacceptable to kill. It is unacceptable to desecrate nature. It is unacceptable to wear shit like its in style. The meeting probably will focus on keeping Home Sweet Harlem Café on 135th near Frederick Douglass open. The landlords are kicking her out along with the rest of the block on a technicality in the lease because they plan to do crazy renovations and raise the rent sky high, in the process, kicking out good and decent family businesses. So as we deal with trying to build the community up out of the wreck drugs and guns have had on our community, the building owners are not helping. Harlem has a lot at stake right now. The folks who grew up there are trying to heal a community and build it up, without losing the profits and the culture to Starbucks-like block takeovers. This is some serious stuff. But unlike where I lived in Brooklyn, Harlem fights back. It turns out there are plenty in the neighborhood helping me maintain the cleanliness of the garden and we’re all signing petitions in support of Home Sweet Harlem. And do you know it was someone from the department of sanitation who helped me dig up the ground so I could plant there? I’ve thought about quitting my job, working for the sanitation department specifically to go into schools and teach kids on why it is bad to litter. I’m obsessed with litter because people do it here as if outside is their personal toilet. And as I mentioned above, many people actually use the streets as a personal toilet. I don’t want to look down on folks. I like to see the underlying humanity in all of us. But in my opinion, if you grew up in a house with no basic ethical rules and no strong foundation of love and stability, you have to fight at not being scum. How the hell do you litter on hydrangeas and stab somebody up on Easter? That’s just so low. On a side note: Since I’ve moved to NY, I’ve seen 1 shooting, 3 blocks I’ve lived on have had 3 murders while I was there, 1 epileptic seizure in my train car right in front of me, 1 gang marking their territory on a mailbox with spray paint and 2 pissing in public episodes. Sometimes this can be a hard town to love.

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