Thursday, November 09, 2006


Encounters with other animals

Last night on my ride home I saw a pale white moth fluttering around the fluorescent lights in the far corner of the middle car of the A train. There was a man in a foppish black hat and trench coat standing against the sliding doors nearest the moth until the train stopped at 125th street. He was unconscious of the moth. But they looked good together. I can’t see a dignified black man get off the train under Harlem without thinking about Ralph Ellison on his invisible way to his basement of iridescent bulbs.

I almost got hit by the rat that lives in the train station at 200th street. I yelped like my father-in-law (who I like to imitate privately) and yanked up my foot, which made the back-glancing nervous man, who (via his position in space) had corralled the rat unwittingly my way, glance at me again.

It gets dangerous at night, after dark. Homeless men who practice psychosis in a New York sort of way might pile very battered bags next to your seat. If you’re a classy woman of middle-age their scentless sight might penetrate your practiced oblivion stare, breaking the nowhere mask into a grimace and a lurching step away. A lurching step accented by the sound of iron being scraped into a scream; a scream which contains so much metal that it tastes according to Don Delillo “like a toy you put in your mouth when you are little.”

This morning a gray haired woman armed with Ziploc baggies searched the ground in front of the glass doors I was guarding for birds that might have unwittingly killed themselves by flying into their reflections. She picked up the body of a sparrow and carefully sealed it in plastic. She yelled through the (in)visible pane, “Did you see it fly into the glass?” I yelled back, “No! I must have been looking the other way.”

A man was stabbed to death on 200th street last week.


Anonymous harlan said...

Hey Darrin,
We have encounters with roaches fairly reguarly now. It seems they are one the move.

You might want to check out Eve's photosite for a picture of her new political affiliation. She dosen't look to the left so much anymore but now she raises a single fist in the air for long periods of time. Isn't that a symbol of communist solidarity?


6:07 PM  

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