Chinatown is quiet
There’s a funeral parlor on the corner of Mosco Street, across Columbus Park and just a skip from my apartment. It’s a single steep block, Mosco, and real short—doesn’t warrant a name on most maps these days. It’s the last corner of New York’s original Five Points, the last physical vestige of the Old Brewery and Bandit’s Roost, the last bit of geography that stands quite the same as it did in 1840 when blood colored her gutters at least once a night. It was called Cross Street then, and ran through the mire of our great downtown, weaving around what was Collect pond and through to City Hall. Mosco’s all that’s left of it now—one tiny sharp angled block that starts at a funeral parlor on Mulberry and crests at Mott.
I passed the parlor on my way home tonight, and there was a viewing underway. It startled me, the bright light and the swept foyer and the folks shuffling round just inside the half-covered window. I was gripped by this maniac urge to slip in the front door, to file into the last row of folding chairs and sit quietly with these mourners, all come together in their grief for the poor bastard lying lifeless in his box. For just a moment I wanted to wiggle into their pain and hide there, because perhaps in that room, cast in mahogany and painted gold and draped in muslin, perhaps there was a person who is feeling the same things I am feeling. Maybe there I could find a 25-year old girl who lost her brother and is frightened. Maybe someone who’d understand that every day I have to pull myself back from getting six new tattoos or dying my hair black or smoking a bunch of pot and gazing at the ceiling for six hours or just up and leaving, really. I rarely smoke pot and I’m not a quitter, but these wild desires strike so hard and frenetic, I can’t figure out how to corral them.
For just a moment, I was sure that the crowd of people milling around in that room, blurred outlines through the half-opaque drapes, would take me in.
I kept towards home, weaving through a black clad crowd of quiet folks. A handful of suited men stood solemn on Mulberry, holding bright yellow FUNERAL PARKING ONLY signs. I sidestepped a toddler astride his father’s shoulders, wet smile on and a diaper poking out the top of his tiny elastic jeans. He giggled, and it was a nice sound.
I wondered about traditional Chinese funeral customs. I wondered where people in New York City are buried. Kids in my building play games on the roof and ride tricycles through the hallway; those fellows holding parking hardly had three spaces to save. Where do our dead go?
We pilgrimaged for my brother. He lived in Toronto and had lived in San Francisco and had lived in Buffalo and had lived in Ohio. Southern Ohio, our homestead, land where our blood lives and has lived and died for over a century. We took him to be laid to rest with our family, we buried him next to a baby oak tree. We journeyed south to take him home, to mourn at home, because that is what people do.
Most of the folks in my neighborhood are old immigrants, and I wonder where their bodies go. I wonder if the people at this funeral home will go visit, and how often. I’m so jealous that they’re here together, that they’ve got eyes to gaze at that understand the complications in their own, that they maybe, hopefully, can rally up and go stand arm-in-arm at a grave. Who here could I find to drive nine hours to see my brother? Who here will please, PLEASE, stop staring at the ground when I say his name? He’s not in this ground. We buried him next to a baby oak tree.
And to give y’all an idea of a MiniKins’ scale, check this shot. You can just see our little heroes under the camera.
Produced x4 teasers, x6 episodes, x3 music videos and the above Talk Show for Topps’ MiniKins (new Garbage Pail Kids toys). Excellent team/crew, super fun project. Check it!
Totally cameo in this b, too.
"The weather varies between heavy fog and pale sunshine; My thoughts follow the exact same process."
Virginia Woolf, 21 April 1918 (via wordsthat-speak)
heaven knows it’s got to be this time
she belongs to her mother and the state of ohio / i wish she belonged to me
god bless your crooked little heart