Archive for March, 2009

in a cab

Driver asks if I’m married. I say no. “Women get married,” he tells me, tossing his head back to make sure I hear, “Women get married because they want extra aggravation. You’re smart.”

in the cafe

Three old women sit down a few tables away. Their faces are still as masks, their wide eyes look right through me.

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 subway

A fat girl with a hauntingly beautiful face. She laughs like clear water at something her pug-faced friend says. She looks at him with such open longing, and he turns to stare out the window into the dark tunnel. This can’t end well.

on the avenue

An old man is shuffling slowly along, his wrist leashed to an equally slow dog. He’s going slow because he’s old, certainly. But also he’s reading a magazine, clutching it with two hands, the way a small child would hold a book. He’s not very tall, I can see over his shoulder. It’s porn.

in the snow

There’s a man scraping his shovel along the sidewalk in front of his house. His son is there too, by the look of him he longs for the playground down the street, it’s filled with the shrieks of a snowball fight. But he’s stuck. The man stops and leans on his shovel. “When people pass by you gotta make nice,” he insists. He mimes a little as he demonstrates, “Hel-lo, how ya doin, this and that.”

The kid kicks a block of ice into the snowbank. He is not convinced.