through territories i navigate my way through the thickness of the air, as if water. pass schools of fish with ties, carrying briefcases, cell phones glued to ears, “yes sir,” corporations, capitalism, american way of life.
manhattan island, surrounded by water. connected by bridges, tunnels, ferries, trains both above and below water.
run along the east river. pass pollution, south street seaport smelling fish, seafood. see old asian men grinning with sunburned skin and fishing poles, squinting at sun. run over brooklyn bridge into magic, over water, what if the bridge collapsed.
or greenpoint, little polish girls staring at me as i show them yes you can show skin/be sexy/do anything as a woman as i run along the “beach” in williamsburg/seaside/what call it.
(where zodiac serial rapist and murderer preyed on his victims, all young women.)
scared, not enough cop cars, run over the williamsburg bridge.
(a woman was attacked on the bridge, raped and they/he pushed her body off the bridge into the water. that was late at night but still, sometimes you don’t see anyone but the occasional j/m/z train which can’t help you.)
we’re in kensington, 10 min train ride to brighton beach or coney island. eat cotton candy and nathan’s and june’s mermaid parade, ride oldest surviving rollercoaster, the cyclone, screaming from the top as you think the rickitiness is going to push you off the edge, a good view of the ocean. dirty.
(hospitals in the eighties were discovered to be dumping medical waste into the ocean. people started getting murdered at coney island. bad. people went to public pools, not risking the dangers of the beach. everyone was afraid of syringes with the aids virus stabbing them mid-swim, or gang members stabbing them as they might be trying to win a stuffed animal for their sweetie.)
here i survive. a mermaid on land. blow dry my legs daily after my bath to ensure that i will not reveal my true self. when the j train goes over water, i am sometimes tempted to stand in between cars and jump off. return.
garbled words, water fills their ears. their mouth can’t hear not sure what to say or do and nothing makes sense. skip shells and rocks along the beaches of far rockaway. nothing in the sky, not starfish or stars or fish, but lights, fake created with no imagination.
revere another way of life. i reject stability on land. i cannot help but feel this way in myself. it is time for a swim away from civilization.
(c) copyright 2002 c. yanek