mercedes

New York Revelries: An Installment

mercedes

In a madcap adventure set in New York, our heroine zips through subways and jaunts on the Upper East Side back down to Midtown. Here, she hails cabs and can elbow along the sidewalk with the best of them, mittens on hand, ear-flapped hat on head.

She meanders to the 92 St. Y for an All-Jewish poetry reading and makes a mental note to check with the parents to make absolutely sure she doesn’t have an inkling of Jewish blood coursing in her veins. Dan Bellm demonstrates how midrash can be tackled into form and Scott Cairns postulates how the “Fall” might have really come from a moment of witholding and resistance in the Garden long before the serpent showed up.

The next day she convinces a couple at favorite nosherie Candle 79 that they should definitely give the Seitan Chimichurri Skewers a-go. But then later realizes after she’s gnawing on the second skewer that seitan is wheat. Dr. M. will not be pleased and surprisingly, neither is her stomach! But now off to another poetry reading- this time as many Latin-American poets as you can cram into a 2 1/2 hour block. She still is imagining the black star creeping out from the woman’s chest in Blas Falconer’s poem. Aloud, she sings “Alabanza!” with Martin Espada. She wants to tell the man in prison along with Aracelis Girmay to go ahead and sing when they tell him not to sing. Self-consciously, she runs a hand through her oh-too-curly hair and sympathizes with Edwin Torres. And deep down she wonders about being an intelligent, over-educated “brown” girl along with Jose Gonzalez. But enough poetry- just for the moment. On to the deli and the pub and the cab and into bed because the morning comes too soon. It will.

So she walks the entire Jacob Javits Center in one pair of shoes and in the span of a few hours, whizzing by tchotchkes, designer gifts and inhaling the candle smoke as she goes. Over dinner at a bar at an Italian restaurant on a side street which gives her the hunch it will be good, she spends her conversation in two languages- English for the Italian wine rep at her side and Spanish for the bartender who somehow can tell she’s loving the Spatlese Riesling so much that once her glass empties, he fills it up halfway and gives her a smile and a wink. Hello fava beans and broccoli rabe and toasted garlic and I can’t forget you artichoke hearts! But again our heroine is off with a bang catapulting into a party with the right mix of friends and the unfamiliar. This seems good until the noise is high and fatigue is setting in. What’s a girl on a Saturday night to do?

Her friend M. has not seen New York since she was 14. New mission in the left hand, she feverishly types in the word “Pinkberry” with her right hand, into her telephone and off they go, walking into the thrall that is Times Square and then 45 blocks for a scoop of sweet and sour fro-yo. The night is now in cahoots with her spirit, even though her feet are loudly protesting another step. But off they go, seeking the dance party and carving out a plot of dance floor space on the too-packed dance floor. In case anyone ever wonders what poets do in their downtime, there is dancing and revelry. But more dancing as the deejay keeps spinning 80s tracks into each other like small planets orbiting and then colliding into such a fantastic symbiosis. Our heroine? she’s in the middle of the dance floor teaching a poet named Akeem how to salsa and feeling every bit of her alive.

Until she sails into bed reservedly, not wanting the weekend to end. Not wanting to bid adieu to New York. So happy *yawn* that the New York Restaurant Show is right *yawn* around the corner… as she sinks into the feather pillow.

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