24 August 2009

Café Edenborg R.I.P.

In my late teens, during the years when hip hop was my life and I got to travel to NYC for the first time, I found a poetry collection called Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Café that was to become my close companion for quite some time. It is an extensive collection of 500 pages or so, by more than 100 poets related to the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York - including ntozake shange, Maggie Estep, Lois Griffith, Reg E. Gaines, Dana Bryant and Sapphire among all, poets who were to become my idols for years to come. (*)

In the wonderful introduction by Miguel Algarín, The Scattering of the Ashes: The Burial of a Poet, one finds his personal account of how all their friends walked in procession upon poet Miguel Piñero's death, to scatter his ashes:

thru the Lower East Side

as he had wanted, and as he had written in a poem many years prior to that day.

Earlier today I vividly remembered cherishing that foreword, as the Nuyorican came to symbolize for me a place where everyone and everything was possible, disregarding of (for example) race and gender. The kind of place that I never got to be part of then, but that I actually would find in Café Edenborg some ten years later.

Since 2004, Edenborg has been my second home, the place where I've read, worked, hung out when I had nothing better to do. And I have gotten to know an extraordinary bunch of people, both the ones working and other regulars. People who I've wanted to share my world with, while everyone outside the café seemed biased, racist, homophobic or just plain out of their minds.

This evening at 7, when Mr. Edenborg made everyone leave the café so he could close the door and symbolically lock up for the last time, there were many with me who couldn't stop crying, scattered and shattered out on Stora Nygatan. An inconsolable group who have spent hours and hours together in that room.

This is the end of an era, and I have no clue what to do now, except for thanking everyone for all these years, and for the honourable award of Best Regular. Thank you Shenge, Evis, Siri, Sofia, Danne, Sara, Elias, Amanda, Carl-Michael, Caroline, Viktor, Chia, Aurora, Frida, Jessica, Elli and Hanna. For everything.

I love you more than.

(The award prize)


(*) A book that I happened to find in my beloved friend Patrik's bookshelf many years after, to my great surprise (considering the fact that we were living in Sweden and that it came out in 1994). Sadly, Patrik is no longer with us, but I somehow know that we had a special bond that came out of owning that exact book; like we were from the same block philosophically, or had similarly coloured dreams or something.