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.

Life Has Layers… Like Ogres

Beneath the ivory tower, beneath our feet, is another world.



Some say this is where the real people live. I’m not sure who the alleged fake people are, but I do know all sorts of people live everywhere. I know this because we all see each other on the train.


I like the train because it lets me see all the people who aren’t sitting on their sofas. Don’t get me wrong my living room is much more comfortable than a bus bench, but I think I’m a better person for getting out of the living room.

10 pm


I especially like the bus and subway on Sunday mornings.

6 am on a Sunday

I know that if I see you getting off the train at 6am on  Sunday carrying your dressed and sleepy daughter, you have likely been up since 4 or 5, and that you care. You care about where you are going, why you are going or have been, you are trying. No one gets a kid dressed in time to get off a train at 6am on a Sunday morning just for fun. You do it for a reason.

6am on a Sunday


We don’t know each other. Some times we don’t even see each other. But here we all are. Coming, going, doing, maybe even wishing, hoping, or regretting. Whichever or whatever it is, it is good to be reminded that it is us.

the blue line

Indulgence in the City

I sold the van.

On Monday I will be tucked cozily into a cubicle at a “respectable” job.  Nine to five, Monday through Friday, forty minute commute; I will be one of “them.”

This is just one step in a larger plan.

Yesterday, my plan was to make like Napoleon (Dynamite not Bonaparte) and do what ever I want.  Had my wife granted herself her own day she probably would have spent it in some family activity focused on the children.  I wish I was, but am not, that selfless.  I boarded a bus and went to the city.

Most apples have cores, this one has a heart.

I travel better by myself.  No worrying about if others are bored while I am entertained.  No ticking from the time bomb built-in to all children; just me and my own fancy.

Journey from the depths to Celestial heights.

I will spend the foreseeable future constrained by schedule, on this trip I defied planning and let whimsy be my guide.  Except for that one appointment in the afternoon, the bus schedule, and a budget.  I am not very good at whimsy.

He was surprisingly good.

The temple, a museum, and a library; look out I’m out of control.  Some time earlier I dropped my camera and lost the ability to see the images on the camera.  I now shoot from the hip.

He sat as if he was part of the architecture.

Perhaps it is my appreciation for the honorable Robert Nesta, but finding myself in a room filled with third century books of scripture, I spent my time squinting at Coptic writing from Ethiopia.

Europeans colonizing Africa in the name of converting the heathen were surprised to find Ethiopia already Christian.

Television tells of our society being in decline.  We are taught to fear urban centers and the youth therein as dangerous.  Public libraries, full of common folk, encourage me to turn the television off.

The library where I grew up looked nothing like this.

The internet puts the whole world at our fingertips.  The East Coast puts a good portion of the world available for personal visits.

Hollister Hovey. More on our visit is to come. http://hollisterhovey.blogspot.com

Ms. Hovey gives good dinner advice.  After our meeting I moved on.  I have no shame and do not find dining alone in any way awkward.  The conversation is of course lacking but the company is always top-notch.  On this occasion so was the food.

Burger with bleu and sweet potato fries.

Day trips to places that aren’t your home, traveling alone, get tiring by the end of the day.  I love New York at night but the excitement of it is lost when there is no one with which to share, or when your knees hurt and the only place to rest requires a purchase.

The Skylight gets 1/2 of a star from my stomach, five stars from my knees.

Had I a van I would retire to the hammock.  But isn’t this the city they say never sleeps?  I suppose the city wanted company as much as I did.

Wonder if they would like a freelance writer?