Where I Am is Not Where I’m From.

What do you see in your day? Does it matter?

Sometimes you have to look despair in the face to find the beauty. Most of us never do that. Despair’s gaze is incredibly uncomfortable.

If you do look you may find more than you assume. Ugly doesn’t go away, but you find there is more to it.

From decay can grow new life. I see it every day. If I did not look, I would never see it. I see a lot of things.

The dark lump at the bottom of the subway platform was a man. He lay crumpled up, shaking and mumbling. People just walked past and did nothing. I did like all the rest. The next day I walked past the same spot and he was still there. I did the same thing as the day before. It is one of the reasons things don’t change. The lump at the bottom of the stairs doesn’t change and neither do I.

Just around the corner, on the same block, are the kids. I remember the game they are playing, I played it when I was their age. The ball bounces off the wall and you have to catch it within the first bounce. If you don’t, or if you touch the ball without catching it, you have to run and touch the wall before someone else can throw the ball against the wall. If the ball beats you to the wall, strike one. On the third strike you assume the position; both hand on the wall, legs spread, and this time the ball is thrown at you and not the wall. You just have to stay still and take it.

We used to love that game. The kids are laughing and joking with each other. I’m no where near where I grew up but it takes me back. I smile.

What do we see? As I look around I wonder if others see what I do. The deeper I look the more I realize that looking rarely lets you see the whole picture.

The ruined green door does not tell me what it once was or how it came to be that way. I have seen other green doors before but I have no idea if their stories are the same.

What do we see when we look around, if we even choose to look? Normally we see whatever we choose to see, no matter what is really there.

Beauty and despair sometimes share the same space.

As I walk and I look, and sometimes I see, I like to think I am learning. I get caught up in what I learn and what I see when others don’t, till I realize, that like all the rest, I just keep walking.

The Subway

It suppose it could be symbolic that I go down the steps when I leave the ivory tower. I balk at this stratified metaphor but in many ways, it’s true.

I cringe because I know the people who live and are below, are people and sometimes those above look down, or worse, they ignore.

Most of the time I do neither, I just play angry birds.

I like the balance these worlds give me, or at least I like to hope it gives me balance.

During the day I sit in study spots and people use words like “problematic” or “reification.” I’m not always sure what these words mean.

But then when I descend the train platform onto the street a crowd of callers mumble the words “works, works, works”, or “box”, or loosie, loosie.” I don’t know exactly what these words mean either but I know what these guys are saying.

I see parents with kids, commuters, people going to and fro, living life, and on the walk home I also see human feces.

My day is filled with people doing better than me and people doing worse. They are all people. The other night I walked past a man on a stoop slumped over. he mumbled something at me and when I looked down to see what he was saying I saw the syringe fall from his hand. I thought about it, about him, but I kept walking.