the guys on the cornerdown the street from my loft, there is an empty lot that for as long as i've been here, has been filled with empty cars. there are fewer cars these days. recently a hot dog stand with an umbrella took the place of a rusty mercedes. i remember when the weeds grew tall in between the cars, and there was a huge thornapple growing right by the chain-link fence, its huge white flowers would tempt me. the thornapple doesn't grow there anymore.
louie lives there, in his collection of cars. in the winter mornings i would walk by and he would already be in the van - parked on the corner, idling the engine to keep warm. one summer he somehow got a generator, and would sit on the sidewalk watching television in the steamy night. sometimes he and his friends would bbq under the tree that is more or less growing out of an old jeep. one of them would usually offer me a hamburger. on other days they played dominoes under the linden across the street.
eventually, every day, someone would say hello - ask about school, out on dates (especially at first), my truck, the weather, where i've been for the past week, etc. i met chris, a vietnam vet who would visit his sister who lives on my block. he would lecture louie about the tall weeds and how sanitation would give him a ticket. he told me that he helped louie get the lot. i used to see him on the b61, going to the VA to get his benefits or cheques or whatever, and would tell me about the apartment he's trying to buy in southside. more recently one of louie's friends started setting up a flea market of sorts on the weekends by the lot, shiny musical instruments and gadgets on display.
anyways. i walked by them today, and louie called out "what's this i hear about you leaving the neighborhood? what'd you go and do that for?" i told him i'll still be around anyways, that i'm not gone yet, and i'm not moving far away. mike said that he thought i'd gone already, because i'm rarely around anymore anyhow. chris made a comment under his breath about how the polish people over there were weird, and when i looked at him he growled "i know, i am polish!" and told me to be careful, and if there are any weird ones, to let him know, cause he still knows some people up there.
as i continued on my way, beers in hand (now that i've managed to actually get out of my flat!) to continue packing (eleven boxes of books, and five of ceramics - so far), i could hear louie behind me say, "what is up with all the good people leaving the neighborhood?"
yep. instant inner mush.
i love brooklyn.