Archive for the 'oneiric' Category



on the block

A cop is walking her beat, seeing nothing, sending text messages as she strolls. The corner boys, unexpectedly, are harmonizing on someone’s stoop.

on the corner

In the warm night the corner boys seem younger. They’re practicing footwork with invisible basketballs, pivoting around each other. One takes a jumpshot and his gaze follows it up to the shining moon. “Yo,” he says, “is the moon a planet?” He’s looking at the smallest of the boys, the wiry one who must be the answer man among them. Answer Man says, “The moon’s name is Maria.”

on the block

Three men with parkas over their pajamas, each pulled along the sidewalk by a dachshund on a leash.

in midtown

The snow has just begun to drift down from the sky. The workers are late for work, the tourists are huddling onto their buses. A company of police, in dress blues with tall white spats, makes their laughing way across town, carrying gilt-tipped flagpoles and regulation lunchboxes.

on the subway

Two boys, brothers, with creamed-coffee skin and halos of long kinky hair that’s just a shade darker. The older one plays guitar by the doors, the younger one sits on the bench and plays bongos, it’s a halfhearted rendition of “Norweigian Wood.” The younger one’s fingers are gifted, and he is languid. He takes off his glasses with one hand, tucking them into his shirt,  still tapping the beat with the other. The song ends far short of the coming stop. The tips are collected in a plastic bag. The train jerks across the bridge. The boy puts his drums aside and makes a fist, which he tries ambitiously to shove into his mouth.

He knows I’ve been watching him. I ask, “Does it fit?” He shakes his head. He tries again, compressing the fist first with his other hand and stretching his mouth to its limit. “Ouch,” he says softly to no one, pulling his hand away. “That hurt.” There is one final attempt, again falling short of success. The train slows into the station, and he slides out after his brother just as the doors are closing.

in the subway

A platoon of junior-highschool kids striding along the platform in full military dress. An accordion plays.

in the projects

A skinny man in a Santa hat talking on the phone: “You do the right thing when I get home, hear?”



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