Saturday, January 23, 2016
There & Back from a Portrait of Jason
A guy on the train is selling bootleg Star Wars DVDs - "You'll need them when there's two feet tomorrow!" No takers - just a chubby adolescent who wants to talk sci-fi. He's hardly a customer at all. A rapper in the car's getting more of the looks, with money & some loud applause right around Jay. At 34th, through an open door, the platform's a medieval court for an instant, with Friday night strains of implausible lute. And then they're gone. At 59th, a kid is playing superfast rhythms on a couple of buckets, and hours later, back at the same station, there's the kid again plus a whole brigade of other bucket players, right next to a group of middle aged ladies just happening to be singing while they're waiting for a downtown A. At Times Square a wild-faced man who may or may not have Tourettes lurches into the car & lets off a stream of fucks and cunts & groans. A station later, a guy I recognize joins the car, and takes our attention from the wild-faced man. This is a guy I see all the time, on trains & platforms, and out on the street. He's often right around Fourth & 9th. He's a latter day Visgoth, a giant, bear of a man dressed in blankets. His head's a mass of long, unkempt hair, & his voice is deep, almost operatic. He recites his sing-song appeal for money loudly but courteously. Today his bare legs are red with cold. I switch to the F, & grab a seat. Soon the handles of the door at the end of the car are rattling furiously. They open & look, the Visgoth barges in. He's changed trains too.
By the time it's my stop the Visgoth is gone, in another car somewhere, farther down the train. It's started to snow.