Sunday, September 13, 2009

Street Scene, Street Sense

I stood at the corner of Bank St. and Despair and watched a homeless man with nicotine fingers jabber senselessly under the illuminant flicker of an old street lamp. He didn't have much going for him. A broken heart. A broken head. The ass-end of a used-up cigarette on flapping lips.

"Here's some change," I said, as I dropped a silver dime and a sliver of hope into his outstretched hand.

Then they started yapping in my respective ears. The ideologues. The absolutists. The true believers all-knowing of the root cause of human nature. "You're encouraging laziness and indolence."I hear in my right ear. Then opposite words are funneled noisily around my waxy left lobe: "It's the fault of the international corporatists who exact human suffering to line their exploitative Egyptian cotton pockets."

"No. You don't understand," I say in a smoky rasp. "When you stand on the north pole the only direction is south."

At the time I didn't know what I meant, and I still don't. But whenever I see the homeless man with his nicotine fingers, he smiles and says in a perfect Jack Nicholson pitch: "Gotta to make it to the North Pole some day and get me a good sled dog."

Yeah, I think. And have the wild husky piss on both the right and the left.

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