Ghost Streets

This piece originally appeared on Bed Crumbs.

These are the streets of our people.
The streets of ancestors not by blood, but by spirit.
These are the streets of the poets and the artists, the gypsies and the priests of nothing.
The streets of the people whose greatest fear was being ordinary.

Things are different now.
Things will never be the same.
There will be no more sleeping in the park, no more jam sessions, no more artists starving and scraping by until fame and fortune fatefully strike.

They turned CBGB into a designer clothing store.
NYU bought almost everything.
Old brownstones give way to high rise buildings that sit empty, shells for Middle Eastern oil tycoons to house their money.
They cast their shadows on history, as if they’re purposefully trying to erase it.

But at night, when the city gets quiet and the moon is clear and full and bright, the shadows are gone. If we try hard enough, squint just a little bit, daydream just a little more, we can see the ghosts of this city’s past.

We see Patti Smith sleeping in Washington Square Park.
We hear Bob Dylan’s sandpaper voice leak out from the Bitter End.
We envision Jimi Hendrix walking through the door of Electric Ladyland.
Carly and Joni. Simon and Garfunkel. Kerouac and Ginsberg. They’re all still here, somewhere.

Maybe we romanticize things too much.
Maybe we are naive.
Maybe we are foolish.

But remember that we are just kids.

We are the sensitive ones.
The ones who feel things.

We find inspiration in the soft breeze of a warm summer evening, the first brisk fall day biting your cheeks, the light of the moon.

We dare to dream.
We dare to believe in possibilities.
We dare to think that our wishes and desires are important, not silly and unrealistic.
We believe in magic, especially after midnight.
We are not soft. We just refuse to allow the world to harden us.
We refuse to be ordinary.

So at night, we walk the streets with the ghosts and we can feel it in our bones.
We are home.

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