I didn’t want to get in trouble. I wanted to be troubled. Like those men I used to see at 13th and Third. And across from the Port Authority on Seventh Avenue. And inside the lunch counters in the garment district. Those rooms that were 10’ wide and 90’ deep. One long space with a single surface next to forty stools. And this guy on one of them. Alone. Drinking the same cup of coffee for an afternoon.
These men who were somewhat nattily attired but in clothes that looked slept in. A houndstooth jacket that reeked of dried perspiration and hard living. A Daily Racing Form crumbled in one pocket. These men who had that air of being lost. But since they never looked up, you couldn’t really know their truth. I’d stare. I’d try to look into their eyes and maybe make a connection. And hope none ever noticed. I wanted want they had.
With the well-spoken body English that said leave me be. The detachment. That routine of monotony. And the full life that delivered them to whatever very day it was that my orbit collided with theirs. There were so many days like that, most before I left my teenage years, and the ones after too. I wanted to know what these men knew, however dark it may have been. To be derelict. To be a new breed of derelict.
All This By Hand