Blood is always redder than you think. It has the deepness of the dark side of a cherry and the velocity of a mid-season cherry tomato.
Usually when I see blood it is on the tip of a finger, the depth defined by the droplet. Sometimes it is a cut from a kitchen knife and it drips or even pours. These are dollhouse examples, scaled down into playthings.
I have never experienced war, and I hope I never have to. War in the streets where I live or war abroad. I daydream about it sometimes, where I am a unsung hero. I get to die and come back and replay it so that I am remembered with even more unwritten courage.
The stream of blood I saw on the sidewalk of 125th Street was not anyones daydream. I’ve only seen that amount of blood once before and I will not recite that incident here, but in both cases asphalt and concrete were the canvases.
The Harlem blood, like the miniaturized river of tabletop topography, was roped off. The people standing near the blood were not the former owners of it. He or she was somewhere else, alive and recovering I prayed. There was a second puddle a few feet from the main body of blood, perhaps it was the first to fall, or the last. Maybe it came from a different home.
We, the people, residents and commuters, had to walk around the scene of the incident. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know why and if they were ok. I wanted to keep going and get home because I was tired.
The next morning the tape was gone, and that deep, sharp red liquid was washed away. The protein stained the ground. It was dark and scrubbed, but not washed out well. Some sort of cleaner was put on top of both the river and the puddle. It didn’t matter if we washes it washed it all away, it doesn’t matter if we know it is there.
We, the people, walked over it because we had places to be or we didn’t care or we didn’t know what it was or we did know what it was and we cared. Today we step over the violence. We walk around it. We don’t even bother washing it out because we know it’s a part of us. We are a bloody people.