Everyone in high, high heels, reaching for heaven, an eyebrow raised above the clouds, trying to see.
The fat man watching the black girl.
Revolving mirrors. Split images.
The fat man looking at me. Eyes like a doe.
Everyone waiting, for a train, for a sure passage somewhere.
The fat man is looking at everyone, as if he expected to pick out the face of some lost relative, some old friend, some long buried treasure of recognition and affection.
Underground, the train moves swiftly, a certain direction beneath that confusion of streets, that public collision of ways.
The fat man is looking past the faces, out the window, into the blackness.
A Spanish man and his little boy enter the train, sit beside the fat man. He smiles at the boy. He is smiling, still. I smile, too. Hey fat man, your jacket spoiled beyond shape, your socks the color of something old and alive from the sea of green, your hair still wet from the shower, your body some deep cave of forgetting — kiss the child, yes, and hug the father, and spend all that sweetness you wear like a suit of holy flesh, holy light.
The irony is that I can’t be a man — feel myself as a man with a rightful place in a world of men and women — until he is dead, and that, in this life, all he truly wants is for me to be a man, for only then will I be able to love him. With him, I am still the boy. Must we always be children in our parent’s eyes, and must they always be somehow more and less than human in ours, rather than people who eat, sleep, love, dream and who awkwardly and wondrously change?
It’s his dope, I begin to understand. Words, bullshit: his skag, his liquor, his sex, his wealth. Mine too, I suppose. And, truly, what makes mine, or those of any man, any better? I know I’m begging the question. Surely, there is a seriousness of purpose, a gracefulness, a wisdom in the words of some men that is completely absent in this pained and idiotic confession, this testament to senseless living, defeated living, death-in-life. Surely. But, in the end, unless I hear the song within him, I shall hear it in no man. Unless I accept the sourness, the sadness, the mad denial of the simple and the beautiful within him, I will not be able to accept it in myself — and make no mistake: it is in me, too. We are karmically bound. That we are father and son is no accident, and our fates are intimately connected in ways I still barely understand.
Why, she wanted to know, were they doing that across the street? What was it, some kind of publicity? I told her what I knew of the Hare Krishna worship. She seemed doubtful. Her girlfriend was still inside the church, she said. She’d been inside an hour and she couldn’t understand it because, after all, who can believe in God in this day and age? She offered me a cigarette. Her fingernails were green. A black man with a shaved head handed her the Hare Krishna newspaper, then turned to me and asked if I was on a spiritual path. I smiled and shrugged helplessly. Hungry for union, I should’ve said. Horny for the Light. But she was already gone.