As a bird I would gently fly high above buses and those who mount sidewalks on a hardline damp day of waging war with office chores and bills to pay – but I’m a mere creature of arms and legs, and cannot reach an alien heaven from this Avenue of Saints. I’m stranded on the far shore of salvation.
On this street James and Julie and I are in the rain, our cardboard roof tapping the same slow hymn I remember from when I was a simple victim of family pain that thrust me from a home into the cold.
Once this city rested on a heart, but now it’s broken and spent. Some few lucky grabbed a good life by the throat and squeezed it hard with their coffee delight and the freedom of another birthright. And oh, how they do fast-track their feet when they pass, never sleepless at night of what would happen should they not make the rent on time.
Once I prayed for a new start. Give me a new start, I said, my hands outstretched. Give me a job so I too can pay credit card fees and donate my spare spoils to charity. I’d like a handful of bills and guys at the door demanding payment. James and Julie and I could tour from one encampment to another spelling the gospel of normalcy with our fingers, one united voice to the deafness.
It’s just a dream. Most of my friends chase drugs down the alley and I would be remiss to not admit I too take needles in the arm and pills that stun the thought of the bond I once had with myself. For this habit I must steal into a store at night through a back door in Chinatown or the Guatemalan district, grab a handsome item to sell or trade for a burrito or a fix. But one day, tomorrow or the next for sure, I’ll repair this broken timepiece inside me, watch the dials spin up another future.
Julie grabs me my the arm and shakes. “Wake up from your thoughts,” she says. “The rain has stopped.”
It’s true. The outside rain. And I almost thank god.
Instead, we walk to the subway steps and ask the children of buses if they can spare a coin or a word of cheer for three souls who rose from the confines of confusion into the embrace of destitution.
We are the future, we cry. We are you in ten years when your dreams collapse.
Most continue their descent into the bowels of the city where the trains screech their rage and drag the crowds into their cage. On their breasts this nation wears crosses, but inside the marrow of bones it’s all hammers and spikes.
That’s what we see anyway, everyday the same, some providence, some rain. We can’t climb from this divide, imprisoned in humanity’s cracks.
In daylight, there’s sky above the urban canyon and I see high gliding specks in my eyes.
But then night falls on my sight. I go blind to the freedom of flight.