Wednesday, August 23, 2017

two guys in times square

AUG 23

a short walk
my first after my surgery

met two people

times square
1:30 pm
the constant current of people
must find strategic places
to shoot photos and video

middle island
a switch box on a wide green pole
wide shadow

i move to the pole
listening for the whine of the subways
beneath the grate
it’s the only place with that particular sound
but the crowd is too loud

i reach the pole
stop to position my camera
a guy jumps from the shadow of the pole
gives me a flyer for a tour bus

Older. 50s? Dark skin. 
Salt and pepper beard and hair.
Later, said he was Indian.

he asks, gruffly, “where ya from?”
“i live here. just out for a walk.”
“yeah? you look like the tourists from sweden or norway.”
“that’s my ancestry. i bet you get to know them all standing here.”

“i’m a child of god!” he proclaimed. “Shall I prove it to you?”


“i have no father or mother. i have no last name!
when i got my social security number, they told me,
‘you have no parents’
and that’s how i know God is my father.”

I thought of the movie The Lion.

i nodded, not sure how to respond.

“how many languages you speak?” He demanded, followed by,

“Parlez vous, Fr…” “Sprechen ze…”

Ashamed, I said "none," but then “Puedo habla espanol.”

“Meh. Everyone around here speaks Spanish.
It’s like speaking English. I'm Felix."

I said, “Mr. Bonus Round.”

But I think “Mr. Bonus Round” can learn a lot from this guy.

“Are you usually here?”

“They put me on different corners.”

“I’ll come find you again.”

met another guy on 44th and 7th.

I had stopped next to a trash can

A voice: “It never stops.”

Vaguely Eastern European. Male.

I turned.

Easy smile.

Tall. Handsome. Late 20s?

Very manly.

“No, it doesn’t. Except Sunday morning. Not a soul in sight.”

He pondered that.

“I’m from Belarus. Do you know where that is?” he laughed.

“You probably don’t.”

No. I couldn’t picture it on a map but,
“Eastern Europe, right? Was once part of the Soviet Union.”

“We are not part of it now.”
His easy smile evaporated for just a moment.
“I’ve been working in New Jersey and I came in to see it for the first time.”

We both looked at the coordinated masses streaming around us.

He said, “I like it.”

No comments: