one, the man with no hands. The context here is kind of important. For one, he's on the six train, the lexington avenue local that runs right through Grand Central and is the only manhattan line that runs up the upper east side, which is pretty swank and pretty Jewish. Mostly the former, but mostly because of the latter. Anyway, I was heading up to 77th and something--a block away from both the east river and the building the Cory LIdle's leisure cruise plane crashed into--and i'm stuck on the 6, which is gradually thinning out as we get past Grand Central. And there's one sob story after another-- my children are hungry, i'm hungry, i can't eat cause i'm so hungry, my liver fell off, my kid's liver fell off, i had liver for dinner last night, can you spare a liver to donate? I've got AIDS, spades, i've got everglades, raids in my crazed, i'm amazed! This endless parade of raps for money from beggars, one after another, interrupted briefly by asians selling dvds or some other guy with a trashbag of old batteries sellin em for a dollar or a mexican magician with LIVE DOVES IN THE TRAIN or a troupe of breakdancing fathers and sons who fling their seven year old kids so hard in the air they whack their heads on the train ceiling. It's a rough truck for a buck, man, but i gotta LIVE.
Eventually they all blend together, this shuffling band of hustlers and isolatoes and desperate weirdos and godknows what, they become this herd of untouchable nobodies without faces pulling on the door to get to the next car cause this one's dry. Until I get to the man with no hands. He's in a trench coat, and his cheeks are all yellowed and pitted out (the guy should be a deep brown, the color of dark chocolate). He's got on sunglasses but you can see something seeping out the corners of them. And he doesn't say squat. he just staggers from side to side, holds up two stumps, two wrecked gnarled tree stumps with knobs instead of fingers. He looks up at his lepered limbs and wails at us, screams, "Please! Help me!! Help me!!!" he barely slows down for change, and can't even hardly take it from people. He just bashes at the door handle to get to the next car.
That was a while ago, sometime in early spring or late winter of last year. This one was not too long ago, on the 3 train, which runs right by my new apartment. This guy isn't crazy. He's motherfucking Moses. He's a prophet selling a roadmap for yer soul. For real. He's got a members only tan jacket on and baggy cheap navy blue trouser pants (like Sears Haggard brand), ill fitted, and velcro sneakers. He moves in jerks, and i can see the foodbits in his long, long--halfway down the front of his shirt--beard, which is gray and white and black, the color of a pigeon's breast. He's got a stack of neatly typed papers stapled together, tracts, and he's holding them out for people to take while he unleashes his vision:
The rich are the damned! It's the poor who are chosen! Anyone who can count to three and read knows that. Just go in the bible. The story of Jonah--three days in the whale he was, three days for the kingdom of heaven, and he found the earth, hell, and heaven, and knew only one could be found in riches. The blessed Jesus says three times you will curse me for another, and all at the age of thirty-three--you cannot serve two masters! Listen to me! God or Mammon, folks, it is God or Mammon, and Mammon you know is just a name for earthly riches, for xboxes and cellphones and all the stuff, all the accumulations of our life that we put between us and God, between us and eternal joy. There is no joy left in goods, for you are damned if you invest your soul in them. The rich are the damned!!
He looked like an ex-pinko jew turned jew for jesus. Fascinating dude. Two young black kids took his tract, as did the huxtable looking fellow next to me.
Next up, the polish hot dogger with my family, and whatever else i can remember. OH! The poetry junkie. Don't let me ferget.
3 days ago