Powell Burns

Night. It’s wet and foggy.

A man and a woman stand at a hot dog cart under a street lamp near a corner of Brooklyn's Prospect Park . There is sweat on the woman’s upper lip.

She wipes the sweat away with the back of her tea colored hand smearing her dime store lipstick, creating a red blur in the corner of her mouth.


Powell likes the blur. It reminds him of his life so far.


Powell Burns. Brooklyn graphic artist. Illustrator. Filmmaker.

He pulls his custom tailored raincoat tighter around his girth. She reaches out to him, a dripping dog lying in a soft bun covered in condiments and dirty water dog juice clutuched in her six month old manicured hand.

Powell takes the proffered hot dog slathered with mustard & pickled jalepenos. He bites it.


The snap of the tube steak is the sound of Powell’s youth, growing up way too fast in Manhattan's upper west side.

But this was not the upper west side of Riverside Drive or West End Ave. This was the upper west side of Amsterdam and Columbus. Fredrick Douglass Houses. The Projects.


The sevnties in New York City offered everything a growing boy could want. Central Park, 125th Street, The Bowery, Alaphebet City, Bed Stuy, Fort Apache, The Deuce. It was all there and Powell experienced it all.


Yeah, New York City is home. His place of birth. Powell has been around this rocky pile a few times. So what? He knows that he’ll breath his last shaky breath within Gotham’s borders.


The woman still has her hand out. The tips of her fingers are stained

from the juice of a thousand dogs dripping with kraut and onions.

Powell hands her three duckets.


“Keep da change, baby.” He says.

“Thanks papi.” The woman replies, her smoky voice sending a warm garlic and tobacco embrace Powell’s way.


Powell accepts the aromatic embrace, turns and walks away, chewing on the memory of a city that he is addicted to.


He walks to his Brooklyn home, the home he shares with his wife and his two sons.

The woman puts away the cash and ythen sucks the wet tips of her stained fingers. She loves that dirty onion flavor.