I’m walking downtown
down a street swimming in suits, sewn
with nimble fingers, worn to the jointbone of resistance.
Sharp segments of time, reflecting grim faces
clipped heels snapping against ground gravel
grinding smiles into these thin lines.
Smog and sun settling densely,
a thick fog of power
sucks wry grins
uncalloused fingers clench steamy coffee cups, to-go orders
thick wrists snap, check cell phones
toned upper arms sling gym bags and briefcases
stride down the sidewalk
stride in and out of meetings
from event to pre-scheduled event, bustling
walking PTA time bombs.
A sea of excellence, power suited to dance a mean-ass techno tango.
One hand hinged around the bones of a sculpted
upper arm, the other hand smothering any excuse for why things could,
in fact, be different.
I’m an undecided lesson in ethics, posturing
in an Aikido dance with attitude and intentions, moving
towards sidestepping executive exhales of disdain,
of dissatisfaction that I’m interrupting images of perfection.
I am a human wrinkle in power-time
generating a generation of giving. O.R.G from
a dot.com handshake and deal-stealing-dot.do.your.own.dirty.work.dot.com
I’m focused on getting down the street,
swimming through the patriarch of patent leather,
when time stops in a silent spasm of shock ripples.
Inbetween glimpses, snatched
as woolen gray-blue blurs of power primp by, primly
looking forward, only forward and slightly down
—I see him.
Sitting on the heels of a significantly held breath,
is a man perpendicular to pedestrian traffic,
a man who is directly facing me
long hair, strands of black curtains, cascade in stringy chunks down his face.
He’s staring at me but seeing nothing
one hand squarely crammed down the front of his pants,
the other is fanned out on his breastbone
fluttering slightly each time his tongue appears briefly between his lips .
I turn away for a moment,
then look back to make sure
he’s still there behind the traffic of people
framed in by the wall of some business or bank,
he’s got a wide berth of space around him
about as wide as the law of polite distance and resentment can give.
His face, what I can see through the curtain of black,
wears pain as broken blood vessels, little road maps
of mistaken turns and dead ends
as the hand down his pants moves faster the rest of his body seems impossibly still
Shit! Who the hell does he think he is, jacking off on a corner!
Taking up space, the space I have to walk around just to feel safe!
As I turn on my heels, stride away in a huff of stuffed up
rage and resentment, I find myself sucked back into the void
of his fluttering fingers and that damn smile on his face.
He’s staring at something behind his open eyes,
something that is still
within the parameter of space around him,
that wide berth of concrete and sidewalk
that he’s allowed, that’s what he’s got
it’s all his.
I feel a little like a voyeur staring as I continue to
stare, transfixed by those fluttering fingers, his smile,
bigger and my anger at the danger of being caught, being a voyeur
begins to reorient its self.
I find I am suddenly angry, that he’s probably more angry
than me right now, pissed off that all the hustle
of daily life can’t just shut up for five fucking minutes
so he can get off.
He already has to wake up, sleep, shit, smile, snore, and daydream
on 9-5 time. He has eight feet of personal space,
and I’m somehow pissed off because he’s jacking off
on a street corner
Why not be angry that people have to make walls out of necessity,
make walls out of resentful eyes and smoggy city air
why not be angry at a city,
at a city that does not provide enough space for everyone
to jack off privately.
How can I be angry with this man who’s magic
is making space out of no space
and walls out of thin air?
I’m angered at a magician for surviving
and worried about how I got there.
I’m out of place among the power
suits of gray wool and expensive perfume,
angry and disgruntled
at the sights and smells of true pain
I wonder about his anger
this man, who stands across from me,
inside his house, his castle, his soul, his mind, and his body
outside, on his street corner
I wonder about my anger,
how did I get here
how can I come home
I want to make change.
I want us to all come home.