Monday, January 26, 2004

the yard

It's time for some more beauty, isn't it?
(this is more for my non-urban-living friends . . . to partake.)

I live in a fifth floor apartment on a hundred and eighth street in Manhattan. The building is owned by a magnanimous slum lord (heard that word the other day--the m word--and found it funny). And we have just become acquainted with our new roomie, Fredrick, the little grey mouse. (So, where's the beauty, sistra?)

Okay, so I'm sitting here, quietly, after watching "The War" with Elijah Wood, Kevin Costner, Mare Winnigham, and the little boy from "Sling Blade" tonight on Channel 55, and I hear singing in the yard.

Our building is steps from a main avenue, so it is surrounded by neighboring buildings not only on either side, but also adjacent and of course those behind it on a hundred and ninth street. The space behind all of our buildings, where our windows and fire escapes are the view, is the yard. I mentioned the other day that I have no screens on my window. It's a long way down, folks. A glass votive holder slipped out for a peek and took a time to pop. (slum lord) There's a chain-link fence about 5 feet high adorned with razor wire that divides the space on the ground, and it's all concrete. Ugly. I got a close-up look one evening when I accompanied the cable guy out back as he re-juiced the box, but that's another story. It's very clearly a yard, yes?

The yard is always, always dead quiet. People in cities like to portion their space; suburban folks do too; we all do. But tonight a happy man with a clear tenor tone confidently sang out. He sang one song, and then stopped. A lady called out, "Please close your window," pleading loudly, not impolitely. It was quiet for a minute, and then the happy tenor sang again, with the same confidence and tone.

The yard is quiet again. It's time for bed. Goodnight.

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