Ruben De Escapado
Most know me as a poet sitting on a park bench in Central Park. Writing poetry for strangers. Before that I lived a life and learned a few things. Now I listen to what the world had to teach others. Believe in yourself and be honest. Okay.
There is no shame in asking for help.
When busking in Central Park, a failed writer was high on heroin and asked me for a poem about ‘flattery’ but left before I could finish. While he was there, he was intentionally distracting me. He sang "Strawberry Fields" by The Beatles. He described the cool alleviation of putting a needle in your arm. That a pen would never come close. He was a violent and aggressive reflection of the worst version of myself. I feel as though the experience made me a better writer.
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Nonetheless, when Trenton woke up the screams rung in his head. There were vocal cords in neighboring pods finding themselves. There were the echoes of distant screams from those trapped on the bridge. Not able to afford the trip. Women holding on to their children. Men holding out their wives. Trenton saw all of it occurring from his window and hibernation pod. The sign to put on your mask had illuminated but he hesitated. Holding the mask ready to deploy sleeping gas for the cryo-sleep he looked out on his burning home. Once green earth is now engulfed in red. The sky reflected the burning trees and homes that filled the air with a red smoke.
When I was home
What was it like going home? On Hemingway’s birthday I did an event at a bar. The idea of doing a gig wasn’t necessarily my style but writing custom poetry and drinking old fashions was. So, I did what I do, had a drink or two, and laughed with friends who came out to support me despite there being nothing I can do about their hefty bill. One of them, let's call him Donatello, suggested that I do this at the Ossining River Jam. A weekly event our home town began to do, giving live music on the waterfront to the residents. The same town where we’d play soccer endlessly, chase after girls just for the timing to be off, where apples were our bongs, where seven eleven was our church, sour straws our eucharist, where we rode skateboards and bikes down the hill just to walk them back up, where we’d watch sunsets by the water and find ways to work it out. I told him I’d think about it. We all parted ways that night with a hug and a handshake. A handshake that solidified for all involved that something had, in fact, happened here tonight. Friends were friends. Poets were poets. All was right in the world.
In the endless yesterday
I’ll go for a walk. When I have punched out and looked out on the rest of a senseless day. The train station was down the road from my house, and I’d figure a way to drag my feet further. Not too fatigued from work but exhausted from life. The only thing heavier than my soles were the bags under my eyes. They always drooped when I passed my apartment complex heading toward the station. I’d stare at the front door and feel like I knew what was behind it. I don’t know. I always think about that quote on Abraham Lincoln and his ax. I am compelled in two directions, forward and back. Back feels natural, but the whole day was back. I need something forward. Pushing toward the train stations with a shadow made of sand.