Praca Quinze reminds me (of all things) of New Jersey in a strange way
In most other aspects there's nothing to be found of similarity between the two
Jersey to me was trees and gray skies and a hundred thousand miles of road going and going long scars across the flatness
Tradevans and great big semi trucks barreling on the turnpike by exit 13
Pagan Motorcycles rumbling and crackling in bass river
Old crumbling boardwalks sinking into the thin white sand and piers sprouting reaching failingly into the dark green sea
Dim flashing lights from creaky Ferris wheels, mirror mazes, bumper cars, balloons and swings, pizza joints and bagel stands
Wawa, shoprite, acme, a broken windmill in Bayonne
Men with baseball mitt palms sitting in rows eating breakfast at the va, Memorial Day parades in the hot summer sun
Jersey was fast food and fast cars
Shallow hills and forgotten, broken pieces of sidewalk in Newark
Dingy apartments forever shadowed by gargantuan casino resorts in Atlantic City
Thrift stores littering the landscape, shelves upon shelves of sweet refuse, dirty dusty treasures
Goodwill, second avenue, cobweb corner, local joints
We would spend many hours each week at these stores, getting there early before the hipsters
Sorting through the madness of alarm clocks, coffee makers, board games, novels, cassettes, frying pans, side tables, printers, typewriters and more typewriters, bikes, toy guns, tacky paintings, children's synthesizers, rocking chairs, dirty tweed jackets and rubber soled sandals and a big rack of neckties in dark faded colors
Sometimes (or most of the time, really) we would sneak little trinkets into our coat pockets, rip off tags of high price items and replace them with ones that read 99¢
Fill a cart with garbage we liked and only scan about a third of it at the self checkout, hurriedly shoving everything into plastic bags and shuffling past the automatic doors and to the car
And soon our apartments were filled from creaky wooden floor to crumbly white ceiling with holy relics of New Jersey's past
And if it wasn't from the thrift stores it was from Craigslist
How many miles were driven in service of that dated site?
How many strange houses did we visit in chase of the perfect comfy chair?
Of a thousand Casio keyboards?
Of forgotten Hammond b3's too huge to haul away?
Of rusty guitar pedals hidden away in a dark yellowing Victorian home with tin foil covering each window?
O, how do I miss the aimless scrolling through “for free”, and the excitement and inevitable
disappointment of the junk
That's what I am reminded of at Praca Quinze
And while a flea market is different in many ways to the thrift stores of jersey the soul is the same
And each time I visit I'm taken back to that poorly lit overpriced room on Audubon
Amidst the trash, the smoke, and the typewriters, and the typewriters