Monday, January 11, 2010


His anxiety was picking up speed, whirling around in his head. The traffic lights, pedestrians, steady drivers looking on, avoiding, ignoring.

What was that thing in the middle of the intersection? “What the hell is that!” I recall saying to myself as I turned down the radio and observed.

My eyes intent on dissecting this thing. It was black with an appendage poofing in the cool, exhausted city air. The moon, full and high, bright against it’s midnight blue canvas. Stars percolating amidst the late autumn smog.

I scanned. Traffic light, cars…a black man, homeless, mentally ill, hesitant. A look of worry shrouding him. Wrapped up in some sort of emotional cyclone. This thing was his charge. Like a frightened animal, his steps reflecting the feeling of loss. He moved ever so slowly towards this thing.

I was mesmerized. I was worried. I was caught up in this steady moment. The traffic light seemed to be distracted as well. It was still red and the activity in the middle of it all was standing still. No car moved. Each person viewing this humble circumstance hovered on the brink of this distraction. Rooting for the man. We were all holding our breath.

The man, now rushed the thing, taking the poofed appendage by the hand. We could all make it out more clearly. It was a jacket. A poofy black jacket. His winter coat, one would suspect. He held the imaginary hand and walked it to the other side of the street, dragging the torso along the asphalt.

I turned up my radio. A mix of emotions. Giddy with laughter and agitated by the poetry lost when the hand stopped flashing and the light turned green.

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