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.