Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Like a Fox

Every evening about this time a man passes by. Pushing a grocery cart. A kind of prop--usually empty. Up the middle of our one-way street. Against the traffic.

I don’t have to look for him. I hear him. Even in cold weather when the windows and door are shut.

He shouts, curses. As though he is angry, challenging any and everyone not to “fuck with him.” But I don’t think he is. Angry. No one around here pays him any attention—certainly don’t feel threatened.

It seems a kind of learned program. A defense strategy. On occasions when he sees me sitting on the stoop, he waves a fist--not in threat, but as a gesture of recognition.

I gesture in kind. Fellow conspirators against the greater insanity of the world.

And he smiles—even while keeping up his cursive rap. Who can imagine what kind of abuse this man has suffered? I won’t venture to classify the disorder, but it’s likely longstanding and relentless.

At this point, he has a system. Crazy like a fox. Really crazy—but with a method. The streets here—especially on the other side of Broad where he’s headed, can be dangerous at night. 

Don’t nobody mess wit ME! He shouts. I’m fucking NUTS. You can’t scare ME, bro! I’m WAY too fucking crazy to notice!

… I hear him, I listen... till he’s out of earshot.

My own craziness has never achieved such coherence. 

Maybe one evening I’ll follow him. Has he, perhaps, been inviting me to do just that?

I could learn from him. There is much I could learn from him.

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