I’m a old man now. True, I don’t appear to be so (I know, sounds braggadocious). Grant me this.
65 years of age (not advertising for a mate).
I’m in a relatively safe place now, so all you young pups (m/f) listen up.
I’ve made it through life’s minefields. Yes, I have. Made it into the hands of a merciful God. The same God I often shook my fist at.
“I’m stronger than you”, is what I used to say. I will make it, this city is mine (NYC, Bronx).
Funny, I used to walk into the corner Bodega to buy something. I would be quiet, pick out my stuff, put it on the counter to pay. The talk would be centered on me, by three employees.
All three older than I.
I heard but did not listen, as I did not understand their world. Serving the public for a profit. Safe. I wasn’t safe. I was free but not safe.
Talk amongst themselves; “Mickey”, the mention of my name, but not directed at me, perhaps lots of different cultures do this ( They were likely Puerto Ricans, a larger body of inhabitants in this Hispanic community).
Funny they knew me, I did not know them by name. So it went, our fame, The Turbans, street gang, for years we made a name there, Wilkens Avenue and Boston Post Road.
“How come Mickey hasn’t given in to the drugs the way the other fellows have?”
“Mickey is strong, he is different from the rest of the guys.” “I don’t get it, why? Why has he survived the drugs and they didn’t”.
I didn’t give it a lot of thought. By then the Turbans existed as a remnant. They had evolved into groups seen here and there, just hanging out, doing drugs. Some beer, some alcohol. No longer famed for our parties, the famed Turban Debs which were floating in from all the Boroughs, settling down to live in the two basement apartments which belonged to us. Crazy huh?
The Debs were girls from problem lives. Different type of abuse experienced.
All of them pretty.
Beauty is one thing we don’t understand. Another two sided coin, a duality, born of a horrid, yes a horrid. If we knew this we would not be lulled.
Life’s minefields. Subtilty like the snake, they had acquired.
Some would find a temporary place, and home with some of the dudes. Chino became a Father and a husband to one.
He is seen pictured in the documentary; “The Rubble Kings”. We were hurt, marked by the minefields of life. His marriage did not work.
Manny who later after returning from Nam, took over the new blood pouring in, due to the history of the Turbans, running a body of recruits, operated a basement after hours.
I was already working for U.S. Customs then, brought two dudes with me one night to the place. We enjoyed the notoriety. Scoped out by some females.
Less than a year later, this same Manny was found in a van, his brains decorating the roof of said van. He had been dealing drugs. The same Manny I had known as a kid who bailed me out of several situations, because he had a crush on one of my sisters, which at the time was going with Big Hector, President of the Old Turbans. His (Manny’s) eyes….
His eyes were not the same, nobody home, after Nam.
Life’s minefields. Hard to make it pass them. Yet we, humanity, created them.
They all began with Adam. For us, he lost the Spirit of God. The life of God and we were all born dead.
We have to fulfill death, without the Life of God. I don’t care if you are successful, have a clean and lovely, family, mate, I don’t care. The Void within us, left by the absence of the Life of God is fulfilled, manifested even in lovely and beautiful shades.
Life’s minefields. Don’t be deceived.
You still hunger for something, that thing which you can’t define. You might find something like it in Adultery, substance abuse, in Power, prestige, notoriety.
All that which is a manifestation of Death cannot give you Life.
And there you stand protecting what’s yours because you know that it is built out of death, and death will one day fully be revealed.
Spiritual deprivation will have its claim voiced loud and clear one day.
You can’t escape life’s minefields without God. Without His Life, shed abroad for our benefit at the Cross of Calvary. The Perfect One, the Obedient One who failed us not.
Thank you for reading.
I can be reached at email@example.com, and
https://firstname.lastname@example.org, and at Facebook as Miguel Angel Oquendo (Huachuca City, Az))
Or you can contact these folk; Rev. Bob Schembre (Missouri), or Ministerio APG (Pastor Angel L. Oquendo, Spanish, and English, Florida) both on Facebook