Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Labor Daze

Boom, boom, boom, it feels as if I’m sitting on a frantic heart, whose rapid palpitations seem to beat a jack-hammer rhythm on the collective ribcage, threatening to burst forth at any given moment.

Like a finger on a stage-frightened pulse, the violent vibrations turn the parkway into a trembling trampoline. Long flatbeds, stacked with enough watts of speaker to furnish a thousand Escalades, crawl at a snail’s pace and a hyena’s volume; MCs with mike in hand, intone popular dancehall mixes, while shouting for the people from Trinidad to “jump-jump-jump” and the people from Tobago to “shake dat ting;” DJs, the woof-woof of the sub-woofers keeping them “a-float,” cut and dice their way through the sea of rippling humanity; all the while, barrel grills – barbecuing the likes of jerk-chicken and some non-Kosher looking stuff – spew a West-Indies smoke, blanketing the air in a curry fog and the nostrils in a Cajun quilt.


It never ceases to amaze me how things flesh with physicality remind us of things flush with spirituality; and, as I watch an older man with an even older machete expertly remove the shell of sugarcane, so that one can access the sweetness within, I wonder if he knows that the king is in the field, and that – without the walls of a palace pulling rank – one does not need a machete to access the sweetness within.

“I am to my beloved, and my beloved is to me.” There is a relationship going on here, I reach for my beloved (Issarusa D’l’sata), and my beloved reaches for me (Issarusa D’l’eyla); yet, most people think that it is some Beatle lyric.

A float has just passed, the tingling of steel-drums (the bumpy bowl you see the guy playing in the subway) pierces through the many bodies. But, this month, there is another tingling sound, one that pierces the soul.

I am in a daze: it is Elul – the past year in review, the coming year in plain view – but the world doesn’t know it. They think it is September, with the baseball season coming to a close and the U.S. coming to an Open. How can they not know of Elul?

Is it because they haven’t been taught?


Now the garbage crews and cleanup trucks (those beasts, with the rotating bristles, that pull us out of bed for alternate-side parking), with their flashing yellow lights and reflector vests, have begun cleaning up the parade’s residue. Block by block they methodically remove any trace of mess. Within a few diligent hours, the parkway has resumed its normal traffic.

Will it take a good cleanup to remove the laboring daze?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a CH native living in close proximity to the parkway, this piece really brought it home....

Thanks for makin' Labor Day a bit more meaningful. I'll think about it.

9/06/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...


9/07/2006 11:40 PM  

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