Die Till You Bleed 

#parkextension #winter #epiphany 


When I was in high school, we often went to Jarry Park when juking class or just during lunchtime.  There was a pedestrian overpass that took way too long to walk to and over the tracks to the other side. We settled for just ripping an opening through the fence, as pictured above. The time saved was considerable and it made you cool instead of a nerd if you used the shortcut. 

Today I found out that there are so many of these passageways. Illegal at that. They take you to your destination so much more quickly and give you a great scenic experience. It was quiet. There was only the background noise of faraway traffic.  Being seen driving through alleyways leading to the tracks felt as if you were part of some kind of deal. Or some kind of intelligence sharing. Suffice it to say I just came across 2 other cars whose drivers seemed confused. Things had changed a lot since I was a teenager eagerly trying to find a private spot to make out. It was my first time here with snow on the ground. The whistling of the wind made it a film noire waiting for a bittersweet epiphany to happen. It was a wilderness of placated fear that had now become commonplace frustration. A frustration that takes place when there seems to be nowhere to go beyond the borders of your immediate existence.  Trapped? Perhaps. Cheated? More so. But you tend to repeat to yourself  “every day above ground is still a day of hope “.  Yet there’s this filial disharmony that keeps things together. And since it’s Sunday,  you figure it’s better to wait till the next day before thinking of things like life passing you by. You take small comfort in this and trudge through the tracks until there’s a sweat inside your 4th layer of clothing that emancipates all this. Better than the gym. Almost as good as Prozac. 


These were the first pictures I’d taken of anything in a long time. If memory serves me right,  thsee warehouse doors used to be a gloomy industrial grey-blue hue.  Nothing like a cheery orange to liven up the employees. This was my first entrance into railroad tracks outside the back of high school. And Cassidy was the one who had taken me there. It was the place to make out that wasn’t that popular yet. Cassie was a beautiful girl who had no father and a mother with stage 3 cancer. She had this unbelievable spirit that always made her bright smile radiate. And she knew that she was precious and people liked her because she was very giving. We were behind a couple of trees next to the tracks and she wanted to be pleasing. It’s hard to say no to such a girl. She worked had and made sure I had a smile on my face while she was pleasing. She wouldn’t stop till she thought I was satisfied. The relationship evaporated after her mother died and she took up with Chris,  a dealer she had always been pleasing. I remember her saying “you are really so nice. But I don’t feel pain with you. ” I remember her departing while I looked at the fascinating graffiti across the tracks. 


I had a ski jacket and ski gloves on so I decided to lie on the tracks and close my eyes. I’d heard people felt alive doing this. There was a sort of interlude to accepted madness that apparently made the rut come out. John once told me he liked the danger of laying there and getting out of the way at the last possible second. “I figure I’m dead inside until the danger excites me. It’s as if I escaped from something inescapable. You’re dead till you bleed. Know what I mean?” I understand what he meant now.It touches me like a Bukowski poem on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August. It sort of hits you without warning. I lay on the tracks. I got cold, got up, and left. Am I not deep enough to understand this? Undeserving? Perhaps I was lucky enough to stop the bleeding. 

You tend to feel relief and shame at the same time. Like survivor’s guilt. My small tour of the borders of Park Extension was enlightening today. Although the demographics have changed so much, the same feeling is there. There is hope and there is comfort. There is no other urban area anywhere that is so underprivileged yet so unified. You’re never alone here. But somehow, due to human nature, you want and yearn to leave. But you visit often. You take pics, have a double medium Greek coffee, and write blog posts. 
Copyright Ted Kouretas,  2017 

From : Enlightenment and Glory 

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