Friday, June 2, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The man stands on the overpass shouting at the traffic. Maybe he's angry. Maybe he's dropping benedictions on the harried commuters checking the time on their phones. There is tension radiating off of him in waves.

He is wrapped in clothes and blankets, all "homeless grey" - this is his disguise. Maybe his protection. 

Maybe the soiled clothes are a moat to keep interlopers away. 

He caught my eye. Just a flash. In between changing radio stations and checking the time. Just one man, alone on an overpass. In simpler times, he might have been taken for a prophet. A seer. Maybe people would have gathered at his feet like Socrates. 

He is fighting a battle. That much is clear. But that's something you can say about everybody. Everybody is fighting something. Maybe this man is fighting himself, the world, addiction. Maybe this man is channeling the voice of God. 

He caught my eye, but I wonder if he caught anyone else's. I wonder if he wanted to be seen. I wonder if I'll see him again on the same overpass. I wonder if people will look when I am the man on the overpass, shrouded in sodden, stinking rags. 

I wonder what my battle will be. 

I'm comfortable admitting something that you won't. Here it is. Given a few different circumstances, a few bad breaks, and some bad luck ... that motherfucker on the overpass is me. Or you. You're not so clean. 

Start preaching. 


  1. Aside from the sentiment, which, having worked with street populations, I fully agree with, this is beautifully written. Nothing overstated; just emotionally true and quietly powerful. It feels true.

  2. She was caught. Or she let him catch her.

    Seated, they faced each other in a nondescript room, he a large man and she a small woman. Or was she the larger of them?

    Neither had a craftily concealed weapon. Unless one did. Or both.

    “You know why we’re here,” he said.

    “I don’t even know we’re here, let alone why.”

    “I don’t play games.”

    “That’s also a lie.”

    He leaned forward. She stayed still. Or perhaps it was she who leaned. He who was still.

    “Why do you say I am lying?”

    “Simple. I know you play games. You think you’re playing 3-D chess right now.”


    “You’re not even playing regular chess.”

    “Can we start this?”

    “You just lost at checkers and mentally swept the board and the pieces off the table. You’re an impatient and superficial man with a low tolerance for frustration and a dawning recognition of your own mediocrity.”

    The man grimaced momentarily. Or maybe he grinned.

    “Yet I’m in the big chair and you’re not.”

    “An illusion. Perhaps my chair is sturdier.”

    “Why do you think you’re here?”

    “The why is immaterial.”

    “What is material?”

    “That you think you’ve won.”

    The man sighed loudly. An airplane droned overhead. Or instead a wolf howled. Otherwise silence. Except for the gurgle of a faulty pipe somewhere.

    It seemed clear that the story was trying to tell itself, and that it was tentative and noncommittal. Regardless, an ending was required, and one of the two, perhaps the least likely, got up, stepped around the spreading pool of blood, and left the room.

  3. Any one of us could be the ranting, homeless person on the overpass at any time. Fractured families, fractured society. Shitty economy. Today it's each man for himself with no more safety nets.

  4. I don’t believe in religion. I don’t believe anything supernatural. I think that our lives are everything there is - there’s nothing I can imagine that won’t manifest itself, providing I’ve got the commitment to create it.

    Writing is delusion. We love to be fooled. It’s a fundamental factor of our existence, our willingness to let other people inside, let them walk around, put on our clothes and try our bodies for size. Many people believe that it’s the other way about, that we slip into the thoughts of the writer, but I don’t think I believe that. It’s not the writer is with us and open to suggestion; it’s a one-way relationship, with them being the dominant one, playing the cards in their hand.

    Some people are like blocks of wood, unseasoned lumber. They believe they’re inert, unchangeable, unaffected by what they read. They skim through the pages, streaming words like they’re numbers, giving none of them the weight they deserve. It’s like they’re reading in monochrome, with their eyes less than halfway open.

    But scientists have proved that subliminal suggestion has an even greater power over us than what we perceive with our conscious mind. It’s like we’re letting people tinker under the hood of our brain, not even paying attention to what they’re doing. It’s unthinkable that we can open ourselves up like that, like an innocent stepping blindfold into the abyss, unaware that there may be demons there, waiting.

    And then there’s Lego: the forever unseen menace. Would you walk in the dark without any shoes on your feet?

    Be aware. And keep your eyes open.


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