Archive for the 'men' Category



on the corner

Tall guy says to me, “You’re a beautiful lady, you just made my day walkin’ by here.”

Little guy crossing the street says, “Mine too.”

Tall guy calls out to him, “Right? You work all day, you deserve to see something beautiful.”

Little guy says, “It’s like the icing.”

on the corner

That guy who wanted to carry my groceries is back. He’s not looking so fine today, a grubby t-shirt and sweat beading up on the dome of his head. He’s pacing off some anger, punching the air. “He’s not even a citizen. What’s he talking about,” he grumbles to the guys by the bodega. He spits in the gutter. “Cocksucker.”

in the projects

That old dude with the beatnik beard is strolling around like he owns the place. The corner boys let it ride.

near the university

Two young Italian men are strolling down the sidestreet. They’re in dirty jeans, plain thick hoodies, they have the chalky hands of laborers. But everything about them is elegant. Their faces are framed by loose dark curls. Each man leans back into his gait, every step as languid and sensual as the long vowels that trail off at the ends of their sentences. I let them pass by and then I walk behind them for a long time, listening to their lullaby voices, understanding nothing.

on the block

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

on the block

The corner boys fill the warm night. They circulate in packs, moving in their slow, liquid way. But their eyes are sharp, scanning the distance. Something’s up.

on the corner

Dealer’s back. I haven’t seen him for at least a season, maybe two. He’s gladhanding his corner boys as I cross the street. He looks good, better-kept than he used to. “How you feelin’ baby,” he sings out to me through a big grin, “long time no see.” He says it just right, familiar and curious, as if I were the one who’d been gone the whole time.

at the coffee place

The coffee kid asks me what kind of jeans I like to see on a man. I’m not sure how to answer. I ask, “What are my options?”

Then a tall, narrow man with red stubble and a dockworker’s hat comes in. He pulls off the hat and orders a coffee. The kid hands him a cup and turns back to me. The man takes a sip and lets out a loud, unselfconscious sigh. His eyes are closed with satisfaction.

“Hey, I like to hear that, man,” says the kid. “Makes me feel like I made the coffee right.”

The tall man, he must be a regular, says, “Yeah, you’re good. The quality is a little more stochastic on the weekends.”

The kid looks confused. “I mean it’s more variable,” the man explains.

“Are you a math nerd?” I ask. The kid laughs, “Oh yeah, variables!”

I turn to the tall man, “No, I mean stochastic.” The tips of his ears go pink and he looks at the floor. Sheepish, caught showing off.

“Oh,” he says. “I’m a scientist.”

on the corner

He’s thin and tall and you can see that his hands have been working for a long time. He’s chopping the thick mean ice in front of the church. “That’s tough work today,” I say. He stops and looks up, leaning on the long stick of the icebreaker. “Yes it is. But lookin’ at you,” he says, “I got me some new energy.”

under the moon

It was as big and bright as is possible given the orbits and angles of planetary motion. It hung low by the borough’s lone skyscraper, dwarfing the neon clock on the tower. I was going to the bodega for a soda, but I stopped a while, leaning on a parking sign’s metal post, washed over by the impossibly lovely light. This man walks along, gnawing on a fried chicken leg, giving his back to the sky’s spectacle. I stop him. “Did you see the moon?” I ask. He pulls the chicken away from his teeth and looks at me as if to say, but you don’t look crazy, honey, what’s up with that? Finally he plays along and asks, “It full?” I say, “Yeah, but it’s really really big,” and I point behind me. He shifts around a moment to see. Then he turns back to the way he’d been going, shakes his head, and sucks a sliver of meat from its bone.