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Urban Sprawl

May 14, 2014

I drive East
It doesn’t matter if I take the main roads
Or if I take the back streets
34 years of memories wash over me
Like rain
Laughter and Pain
Hit me at alternating stops along the way
I turn the radio every 5 blocks to a song that fits the mood
For the times brought to mind
Replaying as if my life is on rewind
As I drive East.
Faces, memories, smells, songs, albums, cars, kisses, lovers,
Houses I’ve lived in
Friends and Family I’ve buried
Burdens I’ve carried
Things I’ve tried to forget
Places I’ve forgotten I’d been
120th street – present to 5 years ago
Buying cigarettes and gum on my way out on Saturday night
Looking good and on the prowl
Meeting up with my room mate
Drinking ourselves stupid, karaoke, booty calls that never really amounted to any booty
But the thought was nice
Kings of Leon, Keri Hilson, Lady Antebellum playing in the back ground.
All the while, my heart thinking of that one special guy…That last phone call that always leads me across town to the south side at 3am.
Where I can hide from all the heart ache of love lost
And find myself in your hoodie, in your sheets, in your arms
90th street – 5 to 10 years ago
I’m a taxi driver and a step mom for an 8 year old and a 3 year old.
Soccer practice, gymnastics, baseball games, grandmas, school.
Abusive relationship with their Daddy.
Childish in my thoughts of ‘fixing it’ and ‘life being perfect some day.’
It was never fixed.
Cheating and lies, control and abuse
No boundaries and babies that aren’t mine.
I hate this part of my drive. The memories are painful. The pain here littered like potholes and cigarette butts on every street.
Their smiles and faces tear at my heart for at least two miles. While I was loving them, he was hurting me.
I remember holding their hands, reading them stories, tucking them in, goodnight kisses, love and family that wasn’t mine and isn’t there any longer and proved to be not much of a family at all.
Jack Johnson plays on and calms my sadness and soothes my heart. I hope he does the same for theirs.
72nd street – 10 to 15 years ago – the good years!
The city livens up, the road narrows as my awareness expands
Houses all look different and interesting
People are walking dogs and bumpin their music
The downtown sky line is getting close now
Lauryn Hill, Miles Davis, Norah Jones
So many things that are imprinted on my soul happened here.
I learned to write, I learned to love, I learned to run, I learned to quit smoking, I learned to be sober, I learned to live alone, I learned to love dogs, I learned to let go, I learned to be alone, I learned to move on, I learned to hang on, I learned the value of life, I learned and learned and learned…
I became an adult on these streets and have a romantic memory of this time and place.
60th street – 15 to 20 years ago
Biggie and Tu Pac
Thug Life and we lived it
Drugs and blood
Cops and guns
Hood rats and brothers
Stealing and lying
Skipping class and getting in fights
Going nowhere in a hurry
People I love dying and going to jail
It’s strange that we ever got out of that spot.
But get out we did
And once I got out
I ran like hell so that I’d never have to go back.
I never want to be scared like that again.
I never want to be poor like that again.
I never want to be tough like that again.
I never want to be a statistic like that again.
My history is told on the map of this city.
My life story can be told as I drive East.


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