I saw ghosts on the streets of Manhattan today. First I passed by the 2nd cemetary in the city on 2nd btw 1st and A, where I read that a whaling captain turned oil merchant and later founder of The New York Stock Exchange named Preserved Fish is entombed.
Later I swiped across new iPad screens in the bustling Apple store on Prince, I wondered who else could see. I ended up writing on the notes app. Do you small the inexorable march of capitalism that has returned? The hovering sound of hummingbird clerks around the feeder, waiting to extra the nectar of digital dollars that exist in a world access by shiny devices that compare pixel counts barely greater than the number of graves in Washington Sq park up the street.
Everywhere we walk above the ghosts of those that built the structures that define our lives. The structures of wealth and the structures of our denial at its cost. For brief moments the walls come down, and we look around together in awe. But so quickly too are they resurrected, preserved by forces larger than each of us, yet agreed to with silent consent and another glass of the red.
I walked up Broadway and saw double. A vision of June 2020, when I walked at the same time of day amongst empty streets and the still smoking shells of vehicles burned out as our rage erupted onto the streets. We did not consent, and we broke what symbols we could. I remember watching a Prada store’s glass ripped apart. Later people would call it looting. I just saw righteousness. To take what is demanded bought is never about the stuff, it’s about the refusal to consent in capitalisms demands for our complacency.
Now on Broadway I see only commerce. Where once we stood together even as we stood apart, we now rub shoulders politely with shopping bags and porcelain dolls poorly disguised by masks.
I liked the masks worn for collective care better than the masks of complacent normalcy we seem so quick to trade for a world where questions with ugly answers get asked elsewhere.
Preserved Fish in the legacy of commerce, we are, indeed.