Wednesday, May 28, 2008

XY's and Me

XY's and I are not meant to be.

Sure, I've had a few chances....the guy in the great suit with the umbrella, the man I shyly flirted with on the train, right before my boot heel slipped when I got off, and I ended up not only lying on my back, but, the engineer held up the SIR and insisted on asking overandoverandover if I was okay.

For a good month after that, I rode the bus home from the Ferry. I felt it best.

Oh, and the nice man who bought my coffee one day... he said I had a great smile.

Most of the time, though, I have men like David, who used to be a busker in the W. 4th Ave station for the 'V' and 'F' station (what have I said about the 'F' train?). He's moved and currently is working the 14th Street station, by Union Square.

David plays, um, himself. Yes, he is David, the Human Percussion Machine. He ties hunks of cardboard on his legs, and a pie tins on his knees, and he hums and sings slightly off-key in time to the, errr, music. He had great sound in the tunnel on W. 4th... I haven't asked him why he left yet. Lately, David's been a little, well, off. He's wandering quite a bit away from his chair and his collection bin, and slapping that pie tin, humming and chanting and singing. I always ask how he is, and he says, "Fine, m'am... how's you?" I say, "Fine" and I drop a dollar in his jar. He tells me I'm a nice lady, and goes back to playing himself, as it were. I worry about David, he's wandering pretty close to the tracks... both physically and mentally. I wonder if I'll get off the 'R' one day, and he won't be there. I'll be put into a position of having to listen at each station after that, to see where he settles... I don't have much time left to do that...

There is the ex-Marine down on Wall Street. He asks for money, politely, saying thank you when you put some in his hat. He wears his jacket, with the patches showing where he was stationed. We've chatted some... he was in Desert Storm, his youngest brother is in Iraq. He can't get any help... nothing really they can define that is wrong with him, he gets the deep blues, and can't hold a job. He left his wife, came to New York, and he begs. Sometimes, he will go to a shelter to sleep... sometimes, not. We've talked about the war, what happens to young boys at war... he knows about the Jarhead. When I can, I put $5 in his hat... we hug and I go to meet CF for lunch. He yells out he has my boy in his prayers... I keep him and his brother in mine. He, too, was missing the last time I went down that street, and I wonder where he is, how he's doing.

On Monday, I saw Passing Strange, a play so intensely moving for me, I cannot find the words to wrap around the emotions it evoked. I can say, the message that the journey to all you want and need in life begins within resonated with me, and I suggest it to all... if nothing else, get the CD... it will shake your world. A small, talented cast, a set that consists of a table and five chairs, some musicians that overwhelm you with their music, a book that is personal.... yes, it moves you. On the way home, I rode the Ferry with a number of Navy men, a few who let me know that even though I'd been told by the Jarhead not to speak to any 'Squid', they were okay because they were officers and had great respect for the Marines.

That made me laugh.

When I was leaving the train, a young man stood, watching every female who walked towards the stairs, saying to each, "Jasmine?" Each woman shook her head, "No."

He was 25 or so, all in black. His hair was in a carefully done Mohawk, the colour zig-zagging down the grouped masses, in shades of deep red to startling yellow. He looked as if Jackson Pollock had been reincarnated as a hairdresser... a bad one. The spikes were so sharp, drawn to a crisp point, he is someone you'd want around in a disaster. I'm sure he could have opened a tin can of beans with that hair if needed... I didn't see a bit of flesh on his ear edge not pierced, with huge spacers on the lobe itself. African tribesmen would have wept, knowing he'd outdone them. Those odd metal spikes were embedded above his eyebrows, his nose, eyebrows and all around his lips were pierced, under the lip, over it... he was a TSA nightmare.

Thinking about what lay beneath his leather jacket and pants.... I imagine his nether parts were named "Prince" for a reason.

I was the last person to walk down the station linen pants, white shirt, maroon leather shoes with 3" heels (yes, I can clean up). He looked at me, gulped, and before he could open his mouth, I said, "No, I'm not... but, wouldn't you shit if I were?"

We both started laughing, and he walked me down the stairs to the street, each of us going a different way... it made for a nice ending to a good night.

My last man? My C of course.

We did homework today, had snack, looked for four leaf clovers, discussed Tasmanian devils, and he asked me what did dinosaurs feel like. Our day was finished off with our favourite youtube video.

Makes you want to dance, doesn't it? We did.


Bill From Gainesville said...

Quin, you make me want to dance. I am still trying to think of my own day as a child that defined all the other days, I dont think I have one particular moment like that but thinking about it has been fun, and not to offend but I am pretty sure you dont have to pick a man who is homeless, No doubt some one somewhere is living in a basement at his mothers house, strive for that type of guy, Quin! -- old guys that live with their mothers need love also.

Quin Browne said...

bill~you'll think of it, and then, i want to hear the details. i'll start looking in basement windows...

oh, and i'm fortunate c watches the video (over and over) for the dinosaurs and the rhythm of the music.. all i need is him to start singing "he takes a he takes a whisky drink, he takes a vodka drink..." in front of his parents.

Peter Varvel said...

Such rich writing! Such rich living you're doing.
I actually did LOL at your response to Mr. Mohawk. That was perfect!
At least David plays himself in public, and not with himself.

Writeprocrastinator said...

I don't get it, you should be fighting them off with a stick. I'm glad to see that you don't use your power of words for evil, taking advantage of guys left and right.

the Constantly Dramatic One said...

@Peter: Playing with himself. Ahahahaha..

The title is sooo clever and the writing, superb as usual. You are actually nice to the homeless. I dont do that. I dont even make eye contact. I'm afraid that they would grab me.

Anonymous said...

Quin: Your writing just blows me away, it flows so beautifully. And you really do appreciate and care about people. You are a terrific role model for us all!

Casdok said...

Great post and yes it does want to make me dance!

austere said...

Quin- you have such a rich heart.
And a mastery over them words.
Bless your soul.