by W.M. Francis
A man looking for an honest person
|Spontaneous visions I see walking down this street for the first time empty faces covering empty souls who just don’t care much that they’re empty. I want to scream, “be mad, get happy, find yourself” but no one listens and I just walk on to the sound of my own feet bumping on the ground and the buses roaring by like a wild fire in the night and I won’t stop until I find a soul, a real true soul.
Dead all around me from the lack of variations. Unanimity in all the wrong ways, places. I’ve met all types of people but not a human being, not a man or a woman, but a copy of a different man or different woman already existing in some form or some way.
I take a ninety degree turn into the cold dark subway stairwell and head down into the darkness of underground day. Hopping over puddles and homeless shells of men, shells of their former selves from which they have lost or sold for half a pint of crumby bitter whisky, and I buy myself a ride.
Through the turnstile (click, click, click) I shake off the fat rain drops from my shoulders; they bounce off the ground onto my shoes. I walk to the train seeing the same sights in a different light, a hazy light that can only be seen on a rainy night in New York City, in the bowels of the city that welcome so many so coldly for money, like a giant whore who moves you briefly and lets you off in the same place every day and night, only to surface, knowing that by the end of the day you’ll sink back down, needing another ride , in her dark cold wet tunnels just to get home in time to be a family man.
The last car is empty, everyone that’s anyone is home or out at a pub having a grand time, while the bums and the likes of people like me ride the tubes, searching for a true soul. Those bums, down in the bowels, right before the tracks, laying there unafraid, those bums are some of the fullest people I have ever met. My feet up, I’m leaking water from my hair, shoes, jacket, everywhere onto the seat next to me. I stare off into the advertisements, selling cleaner skin, asbestos lawsuit help and whisky. All the things a person needs in this world today; a lawyer, grooming help, and a drink. Its like they make the train car for the working man.
I scribble some thoughts into my pocket notebook and stick the pen behind my ear, notebook in my back pocket, hope it doesn’t get wet, that would ruin my already terrible night. My stop, time to go home, to the place I call home for a lack of a better word. Off the train, the station is a smaller version of the last one. Built to look clean, built to look like a bathroom, clean but not.
Outside the rain has thinned out into a mist, still dark as sin. I walk past another bum, and a trash can on its side with Styrofoam sticking to the concrete next to it. Jump off the curb into the street and walk the rest of the way to the park in the road; to my house, the gazebo in cannon ball park, its not really named cannon ball park, I don’t know the name I just call it that because of the giant cannon in entrance to it with the cannon balls all stacked in black little pyramids.
Under the roof another bum has moved in, he’s already asleep in my dinning area so I just kick back under the roof, out of the rain, put my feet up on the hand rail and watch the cruise ships leave for paradise under the Verrazano Bridge. I got real soul, cause I ain’t got nothing else.