Friday, July 13, 2012

After Work

5 o’clock commuters freed to green throng across the cross-walk, like the flight of pigeons over a vent except the faces, seen outside the hive, purse their lips with weary eyes, suddenly lost as to where home is, each wearing a different dimly understood cross. Others wait vacantly in lines outside the Griffon and the Pickle Bar for "The Bodacker” or “The Beast” or for the misanthropic moralists who turn the gears of cabs or buses or postal trucks; they stand perfectly still like ghosts except for their thumbs, having given over their souls to the boxes in their hands.

On the street, shadowed by towers, everyone leans underneath to speak, one guy even kneels on the curb so he’ll be heard. An endless bark of questions into cellphones: “What’s the rate?”, “What’s the hold-up?”, “What needs to happen?”, “Where were you?”. Then, with the pragmatism that never saw a fact that wasn’t something else, the answer comes, another question: “Who knows?”, “Who knew?”, “Who’s counting?”, “Who cares?”. It seems this makes the city run, that if anyone actually knew anything the whole black Gotham carousel would seize up in its chains.

Meanwhile they’re not getting paid to wait at the train platform, sheen of interlocking wire below, and the man on the billboard, no matter how many times you catch his eyes, remains a dick. Islands form on the concrete, in darkness, shrugging untracked hillsides, framing mottled shores. They board with summer looseness for Stamford, the city of big-horn sheep, red, joyous, relentless, where they move with intent, like Flamenco Dancers, with self-absorbed kindness and gentle violence, knowing what is right and what is wrong but too determined to be satisfied with the world as it is, for they have no patience to learn to be insane.

1 comment:

Jack said...

The tone and structure, to me, came close to shrieking. If the narrator could not have framed the goings-on in that great, scathing ridicule, he would have exploded with a much less cool diatribe.