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Most workdays, I stroll down the street and sit in Cathedral Park for a few minutes in an attempt to escape from computer screen-induced brain freeze and keyboard-caused tendonitis.
Because school is out for the summer, I end up observing all the teens hanging out on the grass, among the benches. It's nice to remember the days of secret cigarettes, plotting for parties that parents will never know about and generally hanging out with friends.
Certainly some parents and police will worry and wonder about what plays out at Cathedral. Subtlety isn't much of a teen forte, so it's not hard for a casual observer to note what goes down, but it's really nothing to worry about. We've all been there and these teens have the kind of intertwined support community that I couldn't have imagined at that age.
On Tuesday, June 30, there was incredible, unguided grief processing going on. A turntable was set up in close proximity to a tobacco hookah and small clusters dotted the park, processing the events of the past few days in their own way. The abominable sculpture that reads like a stack of livestock plugging a hole in the center of the park had become beautiful as a shrine to lost friends. The eventual clean-up tasked to the Parks and Rec Department will be a small price to pay for the gift of allowing the community to spontaneously construct the memorial and put down their feelings in marker pen on flagstone.
As the sun dangled low on the horizon, everyone gathered around the turntables and and members of the Warehouse 21 poetry team and others began to bust out with a modern mash-up of hip-hop, poetry, A cappella crooning and words that choked in throats as happy and hard memories roiled in the air.
Here's the shaky, hand-held capture of one highlight, a young man possibly identified as Joey Stephens (see note below video):
NOTE: If anyone can confirm the name of the talented poet/performer featured in this video, SFR will ensure that he gets proper credit.