All Quotes tagged Brooklyn(19)

after Nazim Hikmet, for & after Rassan

At the Detroit Metro Airport
with the turtle-hours to spare
between now & my flight, there is
such a thing as the kindness
of the conveyor belt who lends me
its slow, strange mollusk foot
as I stand quiet, exhausted, having been
alone in my bed for days now, sleeping
in hotels, having spent months, now,
without seeing the faces of my family, somehow
its slow & quiet carrying of the load
reminds me of the kindness of donkeys
& this kindness returns me to myself.
It reminds me of the kindness of other things I love
like the kindness of sisters who send mail,
wherever you are, &, speaking of mail, there is
the special kindness of the mail lady
who says, 'Hi, baby' to everyone, at first
I thought it was just me, but now I know
she says 'Hi, baby' to everyone. That is kindness.
Too, there is the kindness of windows, & of dogs.
& then there was that extraordinary Sunday
back at the house, I heard a woman screaming
about how she was lonely & so lonely
she didn’t know what she’d do, maybe kill
herself, she said, over & over like a parrot
in a cage, a parrot whose human parent
only taught it that one sentence. I looked out
the window & saw her from behind, the way she flung
her arms like she was desperate & being killed
or eaten by an invisible predator, like a tiger or a lion, in the chest.
& her voice seemed fogged out with methadone, I don’t know,
something, & I walked away from the window
& sat, angry with her for screaming, & sad,
& not long after, I heard her saying,
What’d you say? What’d you say to me?
& a man’s voice, low, I could not tell if it was kind.
& she said, I’ll kill myself, I’m so lonely.
& did I tell you, yet, that it was Mother’s Day?
Flowers & mothers, flowers & mothers all day long.
& the woman saying, I’m so lonely. I could kill myself.
& then quiet. & the man’s voice saying, It’s okay.
It’s okay. I love you, it’s okay.

& this made me get up, put my face, again, to the window
to see my landlord’s nephew outside, just hugging her so, as if
it were his mother, I mean, as if he belonged to her,
& then, again, quiet, I left the window but sat
in the silence of the house, hidden by shutters, & was amazed.
When the front door of the brownstone opened up
& let the tall nephew in with his sad & cougar eyes,
handsome & tall in his Carolina-Brooklyn swagger, I heard
him start to climb the stairs above me, & my own hand
opened up my own front door,
& though it was none of my business
I asked him, Do you know that women out there?
& do you know what happened next?
He said, No. The nephew said no, he didn’t know
the woman out there. & he told me Happy Mother’s Day
as he climbed the rest of the stairs. & I can’t stop seeing them
hugging on the street, under trees, it was spring, but cold,
& sometimes in the memory his head is touching hers
& sometimes in the memory his eyes are closed,
& sometimes she is holding him
& singing to him I love you. It’s okay.
I mean to tell you that everywhere I go
I hear us singing to each other. This way. I mean to tell you
that I have witnessed such great kindness as this,
in this, my true life, you must believe me.
I mean, on a Sunday, when nobody was supposed to be
watching. Nobody at all. I saw this happen, the two
of them hugging, when nobody was supposed to be
watching, but not a secret either, public
as the street, not for glory & not for a joke,
the landlord’s nephew ready to stand there for the woman
like a brother or a sister or a husband or son,
or none of these at all, but a stranger,
a stranger, who like her, is an earthling.
Perhaps this thing I am calling kindness
is more simple than kindness, rather, recognition
of the neighbor & the blue, shared earth
& the common circumstance of being here:
what remains living of the last
two million, impossible years…

When the bass drops on Bill Withers’
Better Off Dead, it’s like 7 a.m.
and I confess I’m looking
over my shoulder once or twice
just to make sure no one in Brooklyn
is peeking into my third-floor window
to see me in pajamas I haven’t washed
for three weeks before I slide
from sink to stove in one long groove
left foot first then back to the window side
with my chin up and both fists clenched
like two small sacks of stolen nickels
and I can almost hear the silver
hit the floor by the dozens
when I let loose and sway a little back
and just like that I’m a lizard grown
two new good legs on a breeze
-bent limb. I’m a grown-ass man
with a three-day wish and two days to live.
And just like that everyone
knows my heart’s broke and no one is home.
Just like that, I’m water.
Just like that, I’m the boat.
Just like that, I’m both things in the whole world
rocking. Sometimes sadness is just
what comes between the dancing. And bam!,
my mother’s dead and, bam!, my brother’s
children are laughing. Just like—ok, it’s true
I can’t pop up from my knees so quick these days
and no one ever said I could sing but
tell me my body ain’t good enough
for this. I’ll count the aches another time,
one in each ankle, the sharp spike in my back,
this mud-muscle throbbing in my going bones,
I’m missing the six biggest screws
to hold this blessed mess together. I’m wind—
rattled. The wood’s splitting. The hinges are
falling off. When the first bridge ends,
just like that, I’m a flung open door.

Tessio: Barzini's people chisel my territory and we do nothing about it. Pretty soon there won't be anyplace in Brooklyn that I can hang my hat.

Michael: Try and be patient.

Clemenza: I'm not asking for help, Mike, just take off the handcuffs.

Michael: Be patient.

Clemenza: We gotta protect ourselves. At least give me the chance to recruit some new men.

Michael: No. I don't want to give Barzini any excuse to start fighting.

Tessio: Mike, you're wrong.

Clemenza: Don Corleone, you once said the day would come when me and Tessio could form our own families. Until today I would never think of such a thing but now I must ask your permission.

Don Corleone: Well, Michael's head of the family now and if give his permission then you have my blessing.

Michael: After we make the move to Nevada you can break off from the Corleone Family and go off on your own. After we make the move to Nevada.

Clemenza: How long will that take?

Michael: Six months.

Tessio: Forgive me, Godfather, but with you gone me and Pete will come under Barzini's thumb sooner or later.

Clemenza: And I hate that goddamned Barzini. In six months time there won't be nothin' left to build on.

Don Corleone: Do you have faith in my judgemnt?

Clemenza: Yes.

Don Corleone: Do I have your loyalty?

Clemenza: Yes, always Godfather.

Don Corleone: Then be a friend to Michael. Do as he says.

Michael: There are negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems. That's all I can tell you right now. Carlo, you grew up in Nevada. When we make our move there you're going to be my right hand man. Tom Hagen is no longer Consigliari. He's going to be our lawyer in Vegas. That's no reflection on Tom it's just the way I want it. Besides, if I ever help who's a better Consigliari than my father. That's it. [Everyone except Hagen leaves]

Tom Hagen: Mike, why am I out?

Michael: You're not a wartime Consigliari, Tom. Things could get rough with the move we're making.

Don Corleone: Tom, I advised Michael. I never thought you were a bad Consigliere. I thought Santino was a bad Don, rest in peace. Michael has all my confidence as do you. But there are reasons why you must have nothing to do with what's going to happen.

Tom Hagen: Maybe I could help.

Michael: You're out, Tom.