When I get off the L Train at First Avenue, I usually take the Avenue A exit which is closer to home, but I had to stop at the post office and CVS so I got off at the other end, the last car on the train.
Going up the steps, I see coming at me a half dozen people jumping over the turnstiles and going under the turnstiles, but nobody’s paying at the turnstiles. These are not teenagers jumping the turnstiles, but a real East Village demographic—that lady there could be my age—all of them in a something for nothing dash, as if drawn by one tune, perhaps the Pied Piper of Hamelin’s, but whether they are the rats or the children, I do not know.
In a long line at Trader Joe’s, the woman in the couple in front of me, takes a nutrition bar from the shelf and starts to eat it, finishing it and throwing the wrapper into the trash right before she goes to the cashier. Did she pay for it? I don’t know and draw no moral judgement—Most, if not all, of us have been thievish at times and rationalized our thefts any way we wanted—but if she doesn’t pay for the nutrition bar, who does?
On the street, at the corner of 14th and Avenue A, there is a man who is screaming, but when you look at him, nothing seems to be happening except that he is squatting and picking through stuff at the gutter as if he’s looking for gold. Then, up and running, hurrying on down 14th in front of me, this thin man goes screaming, screaming, screaming. Right before Avenue B, he stops and lobs two glass bottles into the street where they smash into smithereens, but not hitting a passing car, breaking a windshield or killing someone, no harm done.
I watch him run toward Avenue C screaming at the top of his lungs, “William Blake! William Blake! William Blake!”
Clearly, the road of excess did not lead to the Palace of Wisdom.
I’ve just spent two weeks in Boca Raton and didn’t see one homeless person. Of course, I didn’t really see the Atlantic Ocean either because the wealthy have erected hotels, resorts, palaces, and private clubs for miles along the shore so maybe you get a peek of a wave off in the distance as you pass by in a car straining your neck to get a glimpse.
We live in the Age of Trump. I think of Yeats:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned…
There was a lot of rain yesterday. Just when I thought things were getting back to normal with cooler weather like autumn should be, there’s a climate change flood. I had hoped for bright brisk weather in the autumn of my years and the colors of changing foliage, but today I am resigned and full of quotes:
I coulda been a contender.
Svengali loves Svengali.
Quoth the Raven: “Nevermore.”
That’s all she wrote.
Recent drawings by Akram from his sketchbook