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“And now he thinks that I will uninvite this girl, so that he can bring his other girl…I said, no man, you can’t come!” Flako was passionately explaining the subject matter of his last phone call. “Besides all this creativity I have to deal with this!”
Only 2 hours before Brooklyn Flo-etry at The Bushwick Starr, Flako was still driving around Bushwick and Ridgewood picking up beer, pastelitos, texting people who had never heard of The Bushwick Starr, and calming me down like it was my huge event to worry about (it wasn’t!). “I have to offer food and refreshments to the people from the hood otherwise they won’t come next time,” said Flako about 100 warm and fresh pastelitos ordered from 255 Café on Wilson Ave.
Modesto Jimenez who goes by Flako or by Brooklyn Gypsy, is a tall skinny poet originally from the Dominican Republic. He came to Bushwick with his family when he was six. A lot has changed in Bushwick since. After he came home from Bennington, he realized that all his college buddies were now his neighbors. They were now riding bikes like only the dealers used to. Strange. You could say that Flako, a former Latin Kings member, is part of both worlds. But Flako keeps reminding us that there are no two worlds. There is just one world and it’s up to us what kind of world it will be. Loving and understanding or divided and intolerant to difference.
On Friday night, Flako invited five poets (Monica Wendel, Chris Slaughter, Xenia Rubinos, Keith Daniels and Franchise Liaiso) to join him at The Bushwick Starr and recite their musings about Brooklyn. Accompanied by musicians Far From Jumping, they performed, jammed, and let themselves get carried away by the colors, smells, and sensations of Brooklyn. The poetry was rough, gentle, exciting, sometimes angry, other times happy. Far From Jumping did an incredible job coloring the words with the tones and enhancing the atmosphere. The smell of pastelitos was mixed with the taste of art, photography and the whisper of the crowd between the Spanish and English verses recited by Flako and Xenia Rubinos. The night of Flo-etry was dense, complete, and was full of stories.
Bushwick needs gatherings and platforms like Flo-etry night at The Bushwick Starr where people can meet and talk. Bushwick needs people like Flako to bring us closer and help us understand.