By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004
I walked the streets of twenty-five cities in the last year. Some were dirty. Others were clean. Some were crowded. Others were silent. But the people were the same. Sad faces, unsure gestures, and wild eyes greeted me with every small step. I heard whispers of uncertainty. I ducked angry shouts of disbelief. I swam upwards against the flow of deranged pedestrians. I side-stepped sticky piles of chewed-up and spit-out gum. I ignored the aggressive panhandlers in foggy San Francisco. I chucked pennies at homeless men in Brooklyn. I chatted with strung out street kids from Portland. I drank Jagermiester with surly frat boys from Chicago in a bar one block from Wrigley Field. I danced in the moonlight with hippie girls from Wisconsin. I stole a candy bar at a gas station in New Mexico during a wind storm. I cursed out a cab driver at the Las Vegas airport for being rude. I told horrible racist jokes to surgically enhanced models at a party in the Hollywood Hills. I sat next to a verbose, drunk Canuck on a Greyhound bound for Foxwoods. I smiled at a group of dying children who ate ice cream in Central Park. I cried on the shoulder of a friend I had not seen in years. I emptied my pockets when I was searched by security guards in Boston. I recanted tragic stories of 9.11 with a neurotic hooker from Amsterdam. I drank pints of beer before noon at an old man's bar in Philladelphia. I bluffed a cowboy from Colorado while we played poker in Las Vegas. I followed The Dead in upstate New York with Japanese hippies. I got drunk at a bar near the airport in Detroit with soiled mechanics and hagged-out Air Canada stewardesses. I smoked potent ganja with a old junkie from Cleveland in a dark alleyway in Albany. I bought Valium off a girl with butterfly wings in Maine who said her name was "Earth". I stood on the sandy beach in Miami and winked at the massive ocean. I ran down a snowy street in the Bronx like a four-year old and my feet got wet. I gave away most of my artwork to a blind woman from Iowa. I found a crinkly $20 bill on the ground in Indiana in front of a 7-11. And with globs of tears in my eyes, I finally said good-bye to the girl with the sunflowers. I walked the streets of twenty-five cities in the last year.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.