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Boy in the Hood

GATHER ROUND, Y’ALL, AND I’LL TELL YOU about the little village I grew up in seemingly a lifetime ago. It’s long gone now, its flavor left in traces less comforting than haunting. Sometimes in the early spring when the shit begins to thaw, or perhaps in the fall when the air gives out an unnatural early chill, memories drift into focus—the forgotten face, the bodega that turned into a gallery, then a boutique. Suddenly I’m back. A crummy day, a slight drizzle drawing out the aroma of last night’s arson, junkies lined up in the open drug markets spread out over a labyrinth of derelict tenements and vacant lots, and that daily midafternoon parade of artists, musicians, drag queens, filmmakers, writers, and like-minded souls simply too lazy or fucked up to get around to cultural production just yet, waking up to a zone of immense possibility. A small community, intimate to the point of incest,

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