Washington Square Park

The mania is starting to wear off. I sit in Washington Square Park wondering what my next move will be. The month is November. I’m beginning to forget what day of the week it is. I think it’s a Monday. Not sure. Could be a Friday. People walk by with baked goods and coffee. I check my pockets. There is $200 left. I think of going into a bar and drinking myself to death. Then I think of jumping in the Hudson. Or, in a dramatic fashion, off The Empire State Building. If that is possible. Wild thoughts go through my head on a daily basis as they always have.

Folks protesting climate change are setting up under the arch. A man playing saxophone opens up his case to collect bills and change. He plays the Coltrane classic, Naima. I hear the notes and I begin to cry. There’s something about sound. Music makes me weep. It has since I was a child. Even when I was a babe I cried at the sound of music. A trumpet, piano, anything that strikes a note makes me tear up; either tears of joy or tears of sorrow; not really sure. Signs and literature are being handed out by the weather freaks. Maybe they’re right? It’s November and the temperature is 70 degrees in New York. Am I in New York? Maybe this is a dream. Maybe I’m in Florida? Or, Hollywood? Perhaps I’m in the Tenderloin section of San Fransisco? Now I see a naked woman being photographed in the center of the park and I realize I’m in New York.

She is a beauty. Tall and statuesque. Dark black skin and long brown hair. I think it’s a wig. She strikes different poses. Nobody seems to notice, but, me. I look on. Not in a lustful way, but, in a way of admiration. I want to tell her I think she’s beautiful. However, I don’t have the guts. Bukowski would have told her. Bukowski would have done a lot of things. So would Henry Miller. These men were fearless. Completely in touch with their own reality. I have yet to realize mine. Then again, some things are best unsaid.

I’ve been up off and on for 72 hours now. Taking cat naps on park benches. I call myself El Gato. I walk into the men’s room in the park and throw cold water on my face. I run my fingers through my greasy black hair. I look in the mirror. My face is sun burned. It is November and I’m sun burned in Manhattan. I check my belongings in my book bag. I still have clean clothes. I go into a stall and change. There is piss all over the floor and the toilet is clogged up. There is shit everywhere. All over America for that matter. I read a quick passage from Tropic of Cancer. Nothing has changed. Miller spoke the truth. Maybe America has always been this way? I just never realized it till I was confronted with the shit that is our land.

I walk out of the park past the protesters, leaving the musician behind, seeing couples holding hands. It is Novemeber and it’s 70 degrees in Manhattan. Take it while you can.

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