I wander aimlessly across Brooklyn as much as I can. Any day I have free – if it is not too bitterly cold – or torrentially rainy or wildly windy – I head to Brooklyn – either on foot across one of the bridges, or else by subway. Even on rainy days I often go there.
I wander aimlessly through the streets. I have been doing so for years. Or else I go to Prospect Park. I have been going there for almost thirty years now. In Prospect Park I picnic on a bench – or under my umbrella or some shelter I find in the rain – and then I sit there with my tablet and wait – and sometimes I put one word after another and see what comes of them – if they lead anywhere. Or else I write nothing and think to myself – It is enough simply to be here – to be here in the rain – to be here in the sun – to be here among the trees. If I have to pee – I can do so easily among the trees and then return to my spot and sit there some more with my tablet and my pen and wait – wait until dark – watch the light – watch the rain. When it grows dark I leave the park. It’s too scary to stay there then. I walk up Flatbush Avenue – the long, dark stretch between the park and the botanical gardens – up the long, gentle slope of Flatbush Avenue under the trees. At the top of Flatbush Avenue is the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library – my favorite building in Brooklyn. If it’s not the weekend, the library is open til nine – and I can sit there some more with my writing tablet. But sometimes recently – before I head up to the library I walk out Empire Boulevard to the newly and beautifully remodeled McDonalds and set myself up at a table with my tablet and pen. They play great music there that doesn’t interfere with my thoughts or lack of thoughts – black music of all kinds – soul music, I guess – and black hits from my childhood. The McDonalds is like a cafe. They don’t seem to mind that you don’t get anything. You can sit there as long as you like. And there are plenty of other people there doing like I do. They’ve set themselves up at a table and are sitting there. It’s a great place to write. In fact, I’m sitting in the McDonalds on Empire Boulevard writing this now.
So that’s what I do with my life when I’m not performing. I perform a lot – either my own works or in plays by friends of mine. But most of the time I wander aimlessly – mainly in Brooklyn – and mostly in Prospect Park. Most of what I have written over the past ten years has been about my aimless wandering – and about Prospect Park. I have written many poems about Prospect Park. I hope it will be granted to me to write more.