Those who on occasion…

A Simple, scuffed-up meditation on huge, simple things. I spent a few of this summer’s heatwave evenings singing to the walls of my apartment and to those walking or loitering down below on 8th Avenue. My windows are always open. I’d make up songs, mumbling half-formed words to whoever was listening. On one occasion a group of born-and-raised Brooklynite youth joined together in a chant, calling up to me with a message I couldn’t make any sense of. Maybe they liked the sound. I’d like to think so, but I really don’t. But why not share an occasional song, ragged as it might be, like the days when people gathered in a living room and passed the accordion, or listened to Sweet Cousin Chucky tinkle away on the piano. Now we often gather here in the abstract, screen-to-screen, rarely at the same time. Between writing sessions, I sometimes improvise a quick jingle with no literary aims at all. Just the simplest words, however they come. If you listen closely, you can hear the sirens and the brakes hissing as the buses come and go—I’d gotten so used to the city sounds, only the strangest noises—a howling drunk or a gone-to-madness lovers’ quarrel—would even register. Or those boys, shouting with some groupmind that didn’t understand itself, because they looked so confused once I stuck my head out and shook my fist along with them, offering total solidarity.