I’m an Old Brooklyn Social Media Ambassador

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I met with some neigh­bors at the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation tonight to learn about their #what­sy­ourold­brook­lyn so­cial me­dia cam­paign. I signed up to be one of their lo­cal so­cial me­dia am­bas­sadors, was se­lected, and have now been ori­ented.

Having spent 4 years (mostly thank­less) pro­mot­ing Tremont out of good­will via Tremonter (I have no idea what the hell it is now, or who owns the do­main), I’m glad to be out of the driver’s seat and happy to help out do­ing — quite frankly — ex­actly what I’d be do­ing any­way. I also have more pow­er­ful tools in my pocket than were avail­able from 2004 – 2008.

I’ve only lived in Old Brooklyn since August 2015, but I like it here. It’s too big to be­come $450k con­dos sur­round­ing a street of $40-per-plate restau­rants like Tremont — and if there are fac­tions fight­ing over what “Old Brooklyn” means or should be, I am com­pletely obliv­i­ous to them. People keep their yards tidy, shop lo­cal, and chat with each other. I don’t feel like this neigh­bor­hood is try­ing to be a des­ti­na­tion. I feel, rather, as if it wants to be the place you come home to.

What I value in a neigh­bor­hood has changed, es­pe­cially now that I’m a dad. There’s a lot of au­then­tic­ity in this part of Cleveland, and a lot of his­tory, and I look for­ward to help­ing peo­ple dis­cover it. For the next 6 months, I’ll be do­ing so via Twitter (& Periscope), Instagram, Google+, and to a lesser ex­tent, Facebook and Snapchat (sci­u­rus). There might even be a lit­tle Poetry 4 Free ac­tion as well. And, of course, post­ing here on my weblog.

Feeling kind of nos­tal­gic. Should be good.

At Lincoln Park Pool

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

de­spite the heat
ad­vi­sory, I brought my
son to swim. ninety-four de­grees
on July 4th and Cleveland has been
grilling ribs since 9AM
and bot­tle rocket blast­ing since
June 15th.

My son runs off — but Antonio,
thumbprinted mark of Cain
beshoul­dered, 
ever-bel­liger­ent, 
red­mopped stut­terer with 
metal-backed teeth — comes to spit self-con­scious
im­pu­dence. He may sway to 
full-bore bully in an­num
but now the ques­tion growl­ing in his seven-year skull re­mains
unan­swered. I fa­ther at him, a learned herd­ing, out­flank,
astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style.
Girls with fresh breasts, too shy
to show their bikinis un­der shirt, come 
tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger
take turns sit­ting on spout of foun­tain­spray, hands trick­ling
down…
ever all-pur­sued by some om­nipresent brown brawl of boys, 
stum­ble-tongued and
puppy-ea­ger.

And I feel my age as
the only par­ent here — adrift of vigor — cross-legged on a thread­bare blan­ket
palms flat into 
ground grit — A tart
mag­na­nim­ity, and all these young run­ning to be old. 
As chil­dren sus­pect we
with­hold — I clutch this.
It is right to keep from them.
The pat­ri­mony, my first
taste of en­tropy as cool lemon­ade. 
I died when my life be­came my child’s.
Already my blood 
only heats be­tween hot
con­crete and sky blaze. As some­thing done grown,
I watch this pack of grow­ing things.

A soggy neon el­lip­sis with spi­rals of wa­ter
flung as it flies. A poor throw brings 
the ball to
the feet of 
Antonio
and
the chil­dren all shout
his name. All shout his
name. A bend and I see 
fin­gers squeeze 
wa­ter; drops 
stut­ter pool­side, the metal
creak of the life­guard stand.
ALL shout his name.
A choice made but in­ept arm
be­trays — launched in the 
gen­eral vicin­ity of
no one. 

An erup­tion
of wa­ter and from the scrum sud­denly
the whole pool is play­ing catch. 
Old men and life­guards, my son
astride my shoul­ders arms aloft
and we all shout his name. All
brought to life for
what I’ll re­mem­ber as — amid sun and the shad­ows of lost dogs — the mo­ment
when
Antonio was king.

Sportsmanship

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

I’ve pretty much al­ways not been good at sports. This holds true de­spite the fact that I have a huge NCAA Championship ring that I’m al­ler­gic to wear­ing. In Little League I played left field and chased but­ter­flies out of bore­dom. I had no idea about the cor­rect tim­ing to hit the ball. Elementary bas­ket­ball was sim­i­lar. Instead of steal­ing the ball, I asked if I could please have it. I was the tall kid, but had no hops, and no ag­gres­sive streak. I was okay at golf, but out­grew my clubs. In Junior High and High School I ran. I was the slow guy.

In col­lege I walked on to the fenc­ing team, worked my ass off, and mostly due to the ben­e­fits of hav­ing team­mates of world class, Olympic cal­iber, was good enough to beat those op­po­nents who didn’t have the op­por­tu­ni­ties and ac­cess that I had.

I’ve al­ways con­sid­ered my­self more co­op­er­a­tive than com­pet­i­tive. I still am, but I’ve come to a dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ing about what it means to be com­pet­i­tive. I used to think be­ing com­pet­i­tive meant get­ting re­ally up­set at los­ing; want­ing to win so badly that los­ing is anath­ema. I think I’ve re­al­ized where I (and other folks) have gone wrong. Being com­pet­i­tive can also mean rev­el­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion, no mat­ter what the out­come. Sounds like a ra­tio­nal­iza­tion from a guy who’s used to los­ing, right?

What keeps me in the game then, if I’m such a loser? It’s the com­pe­ti­tion, the striv­ing, the test­ing, stu­pid! I en­joy it. Trying to win does not mean hav­ing to win. The mind­set is sort of zen with a lower-case z. Would you rather be com­pet­i­tive as a test of your own abil­ity or that of your team’s, or be com­pet­i­tive be­cause you en­joy beat­ing your op­po­nent? If the lat­ter, why is beat­ing your op­po­nent so im­por­tant? Answer that ques­tion and you’ll know what fu­els your com­pet­i­tive streak.

I’ve pretty much al­ways been good at trash talk. I’m mouthy. I’ve been known to play games with my own goals in mind. I used to play chess by try­ing to see how many pieces I could take be­fore los­ing. I used to have a Magic: The Gathering deck which could pretty much not ever win, but would make the process of win­ning as ab­solutely mis­er­able and drawn out for my op­po­nent as pos­si­ble. The sadis­tic psy­chol­ogy of com­pe­ti­tion lives in this kind of trash talk, and asym­met­ri­cal strate­gies. But like the two types of com­pet­i­tive­ness I’ve cre­ated, there’s an­other type of trash talk, too; sports­man­ship.

What?

Taking the high road is al­ways a win. My friend Chas is a huge Pitt fan. Being a Domer my­self, we’ve got an un­der­stand­able ri­valry. Chas loves to talk smack. I’ve not talked to him in a few years, but it used to drive him ab­solutely crazy that I wouldn’t rise to his bait, and would in­stead com­pli­ment Pitt whether they won or lost. Graciousness and class can be just as ef­fec­tive at un­set­tling your op­po­nent as any­thing else.

I guess this boils down to the fol­low­ing: The stereo­typ­i­cal com­pet­i­tive streak, and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing trash talk & other be­hav­iors seem to re­flect such a strong need to win, there’s got to be some lack dri­ving it. For folks who just re­joice in sport, how­ever, win­ning and trash-talk­ing aren’t nec­es­sary (al­though both are quite fun in dif­fer­ent ways), just be­ing in a po­si­tion to strive, and hav­ing the abil­ity to do so is enough. At the same time, that zen-with-a-small-z state of mind can be just as ef­fec­tive a tac­tic as telling your op­po­nent that you’re sleep­ing with his girl­friend.

Saturday Observations

Saturday, 8 April 2006

  • Apparently they’re called gin­ger­bread per­sons now.
  • Pretty girls in Tremont run early in the morn­ing, not in the af­ter­noon like I do.
  • Little boys named Mateo will mag­i­cally ap­pear every time you’re at the li­brary and an­noy the ever-liv­ing shit out of you while you ap­ply for jobs.
  • I love giv­ing peo­ple di­rec­tions to places in Tremont.
  • I can get in­ter­mit­tant WiFi from Jewel Heart while sit­ting in my car at the laun­dro­mat.
  • The squir­rels are go­ing through their first molt of the year.

2005 Year in Review | Preview in Year 2006

Friday, 30 December 2005

2005

2006

  • Meet with a mort­gage per­son about what it takes to buy a house.
  • Look for a house in Tremont, if I can af­ford one.
  • Find more ful­fill­ing em­ploy­ment that pays a de­cent wage.
  • Packrat moola.
  • Run the Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon.

I Found Your Pink Thong

Monday, 21 November 2005

I posted this at Craigslist:

I was at the Tremont Laundromat, which in­ci­den­tally, didn’t have raw sewage flood­ing out the front door to­day, and af­ter I brought my clothes back to my apart­ment I found it. Yes, it. At first I thought I’d in­herited a raggedy piece of pink dryer lint, but upon closer in­spec­tion I dis­cov­ered that it was, in fact, your thong. Not just any thong, though. Your thong. This one is also, ap­par­ently, made of cheese­cloth. The lit­tle bits of fab­ric that ap­prox­i­mate cov­er­ing are only dis­tin­guish­able by be­ing slightly wider than the ac­tual thong, and a lesser shade of pink. Also, com­pletely sheer.

Wearing see-through un­der­wear [if one could be said to ac­tu­ally “wear” this item, and if a thong counts as “un­der­wear”] is some­thing of a co­nun­drum. Roland Barthes’s es­say Strip-tease may of­fer some in­sight into the para­dox­i­cal na­ture of cov­er­ing that is, in fact, not cov­er­ing; but I think it is rather ob­vi­ous that this thong serves as lit­tle more than gar­nish for a care­fully or­ches­trated rap­proche­ment be­tween var­i­ous and sundry gen­i­talia.

Stealing a page from Duchamp, I have taken to wear­ing your thong on my head, with the lit­tle tri­an­gle doohicky act­ing as a nose-guard. Thankfully this un­der­gar­ment had been washed be­fore I at­tempted this ex­per­i­ment. As a nose-warmer, the thong lacks a cer­tain ef­fi­cacy that I can only at­trib­ute to its screen-door like con­sis­tency.

Currently, your thong is pinned to my bul­letin board, be­tween a pic­ture of my first dog and a po­lit­i­cal flyer from the Ward 13 Councilman.

In any case, Miss, if you would like me to fa­cil­i­tate the re­turn of this sex­u­ally charged un­der­gar­ment you may send me an email and I am sure that an agree­ment can be reached.