Friday, September 21, 2007

Washington Square: Winter 2007

A black man happily mumbles obscenities to himself while the other people awkwardly move away from him.

"Shit! Fuck! Whore!" he yells while wearing a dumb grin. I've seen this man before. It was two months ago while on an aimless walk through New York. My thoughts, like steam, rose to the very top of my mind. The brain cells that carried memory were bespeckeled with goosebumps. The day was glossed over by the throes of anxiety. My bladder was past full and I hurriedly walked to the stinkhouse bathroom that was on the edge of Fourth Street.

I saw the man in front of me. The same one that just yelled, "Finnish cocksucker." I sensed his bad news or maybe it was his arms shaking as if joining in on the Saint Vitus Dance. As now and as he did back then, his muttering and strange squeels escaped his languid mouth. His skin was etched with blisters and scars while the flesh on his bones hung like threaded beef. Seeing something like this converts your innocence into fine steel adulthood. I wanted someone to put him out to pasture with other strange horses to gallop with.

Of course, the paths we took would intersect with the bevy of urinals that formed like Stonehenge inside that shit-stink bathroom. I stepped in front of one urinal. He took the one on the opposite side. I heard a groan of relief come out of him, which I agreed with. I'd been walking around with a full bladder for at least a half hour but lacked the depravity to let out such a noise.

There was a man for every urinal and I noticed the man's shoulders next to me tense up. Every one knew the token looney had entered. It was difficult to miss the trail of vibrations ending leading straight to him. Some sort of primitive mechanism developed by living beside saber tooth tigers in ancient days caught on to sensations which manifested.

"Jame's Brown is dead," the looney declared. "White people: Elvis is second to James Brown. No one could do a split like him. He died at 73. It's a crime to die at that age."

I all ready sensed the conspiracy theory he attempted to offer in that sick brain of his. The one in which the white man assasinated the leg-splitting great.

"Happy New Year's, New York!"

The man beside me looked around the bathroom. He was panicked. I'm sure he was a tourist but lacked the skin to experience the New York fantasies he had set out to see. I bet he thought he could take it on. Because of our sick friend, I became part of the tourist's story without intending it. Christ, I just came in to piss.

The looney left the bathrooms without causing much more disturbance. He apologized to the garbage can he just ran into and went on his way.

I walked to the train station and found this man again slobbering and yelling out silly things. Absurd sentences. Laughing to himself. Perhaps it is the optomist in me that thinks he's really happy. There's all those characters in his head the he speaks to. I wish I had that kind of imagination to draw real and breathing characters to talk to.

The man was like a stow away bird unable to fly out of Home Depot. They flutter and panic until they discover a unique method of survival. They build nests from sawdust and branches of plants that are on sale for $9.99, which might be stronger than the ones in the outside world made by free birds.

There is a way to adapt to strange scenes. This looney knows his sick mind better than any shrink. He's built a nest out of cultural comforts in the pseudo woods of New York City. Built it from newspapers, cups, boxes. Our sawdust from capitalist feats; the things we know longer need.

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