Brooklyn to DC
We leave only skid marks behind in Brooklyn, escaping under cover of the big city night and the not-so-far-off twinkle of Manhattan lights.
On the road, we are mesmerized by the brick walls so unlike California stucco and so many windows, each exposing scattered objects of a life or three.
“I have a strange obsession with bridges,” Becca confesses as we cross one, red brake lights winking all around us.
It seems magical and perhaps it is. Bridges connect us and transport us to places we have never been. Sometimes when you start a great journey you cannot see the other side. We must somehow find an impossible bridge from Brooklyn to Big Sur. It exists only in our imaginations and maybe in the constellations shimmering on the water beneath our wheels.
In the distance, Lady Liberty, the namesake of our trusty ride, holds her torch high.
Becca reads the poem inscribed at the base of the statue, “The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus.
‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
Onward, the wheels pull against the open road and in the cold northwest November night we pay tolls –robbery and “sorry, my window doesn’t work” –and see Hurricane Sandy refugees charging cell phones on the linoleum floor in a Quikstop and slide through silver rain on the promise of DC –America! when we wake.
—from The Impossible Grapefruit Project, a co-creative project with Annie Woods and Becca Raetig.