an ode to Allan Stewart Konigsberg

On New York Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I notice a film crew. It is sometime between 9:30 am and 9:45. I am wearing sleep between my eyes even though I’ve showered and coffee’d. My legs are parted and I am straddling a heavy beast of metal, gears, rust and squeaks called Heleanore the bicycle. I slowed down because I always do when I see a wardrobe truck, table of catered food, and a slur of wiring and lights. I am thinking about work, the exhaustion of being a worker and…then…I…see…

There were two main things on my list to do before I die:

In March, 2012, BlazeVOX books published my full-length book of poems, to go without blinking

…and on 25 October, 2012, I crossed #2 off my list: meeting seeing Woody Allen.

Somewhere on that residential street, you can find my heart– that literal pumping muscle– in a pile of yellow, orange and red leaves because I am quite sure it leapt out of my body.

I. Just. Stared. Got. Off. My. Bike. And. Watched. Him.

I thought about what I could say so that I wouldn’t be seen as just another “fan”. Instead, a future friend or someone he might call on Sunday to drink coffee with and talk about our favorite NY Times articles. I’m not looking to run away with him or have a romantic tryst. I’d just like to share a peanut butter sandwich on pumpernickel bread, maybe a Dr Brown’s root beer soda and some stories.

If I wasn’t on my way to work, I’d have remained in that spot all day. Instead, I breathed him in, waited for him to look over (which I am quite sure he did!!!) and notice the frizzy-haired redhead. Then I shakily biked off.

As I ride the 5 train toward the Bronx, I reflect on what I would have liked to have said to him…..

Hi. Hello. Welcome back to Brooklyn. I live here. Well, I live about six blocks away. What made you choose this area to film? How is your health? I mean, you look great. I was just wondering. I really enjoyed To Rome, With Love, though I must admit that my top three favorites in order are Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Play It Again, Sam. I didn’t think you were filming in New York anymore. Where is your favorite place in New York to eat? Does Soon-Yi call you Woody or Allan or Stewart or…? What are you reading right now? Do you like peanut butter sandwiches? How do you spend your Sundays? Women who I’ve attempted to flirt with have said I look like you. Perhaps they didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I was flattered. How do you balance marriage and kids with your creative life? I make everyone I fall in love with watch Annie Hall with me and they usually love it just as much as I do. Do you still talk to Diane Keaton? Have you read her new book? Do you think I look like you? I write poems. Do you ever read poetry? What is your biggest regret? Are you a morose character? I think about death all the time even when I’m in the throes of an orgasm. Where do you feel most inspired? My dad met his idol, Milton Berle, on an airplane and it wasn’t such a positive experience. Do you idolize anyone? Is there anything you’re afraid to speak out loud? How often do you cry? You always get the girl in your movies; I always lose the girl in real life. How non-fiction is your fiction? Can I give you a poem? Can I make you a sandwich? Can we have lunch together? Do you really not want to be part of a club that would have you as a member? Yeah. Me either.

sometimes you have to lie to tell the truth

I am moving.

I never really owned any traditional luggage: matching bags with wheels and retractable handles. It’s always been backpacks and garbage bags.

Perhaps I will just gather up enough books to keep me occupied until I can replace them, a toothbrush, my notebook, black ink extra fine pilot pen, an extra change of clothes and a map.

Just me and my bike and an open rode where schedules and student loan hauntings are past tense.

I will collect community at each state line. Queers who look beyond my spotty gender. Poets who want to write with me. Strangers who will drink a pint of beer beside me and reveal the unabridged version of their lives thus far.

There is no rent on the open rode. Just highway signs and fields of grass where I can carefully lay my bike (Heleanore Herman II) and sleep beneath the aroma of stars.

The complication of love and its demands and my inability to commit will be dust. Thoughts will move from fragment into complex sentences due to lack of interruption and complete awareness of unplugged surroundings.

No cellular phone.

No internet.

No television programs.

No social media outbursts.

Just air…the wild beasts hidden in trees…and the ones napping on porches.

* * *

I may miss New York, and the 8 million people clustered inside of it.

I may miss my Saturday morning Farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza, where I purchase dinosaur kale, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peaches, apples, cabbage, yams and a morning treat of blueberry or strawberry rhubarb muffin. I may miss that patch of shade I tend to lay in where I rest my bundle of New York Times. I may miss the nap I often spontaneously take after the sun lures me to sleep.

I may miss the New York Times and my weekend subscription.

I may miss all those poetry readings and the brilliant minds I’ve met off stages, gathering at various cafes, theatres, bars.

I may miss this home in Crown Heights where I have memorized my bike routes, the pattern of scents wafting, the pigeons with barbecue sauce dripping from beaks.

I may miss the sunrise here.

* * *

Sometimes, you have to lie to tell the truth.

I am afraid to remain because what if I really can’t make it.

What if there is no job for me.

What if (my) community is just a shadow blurred from lack of commitment.

What if New York doesn’t even notice I’ve gone……………..