jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.

5.18.2006



I clatter down the steps of a familiar subway station after an evening with friends. I am tired and hope for a seat on the bench at the bottom of the stairs, even though this station, always oddly warm, is a popular oasis with the indigent.

It's no different on this night, there are two homeless guys sitting on either end of the bench and that's fine with me. One of them looks pretty generic, but the other, hair matted, shoulders jerking, ashy skin...I head back up the stairs to the station attendant.

"There's a guy on the platform bench with no clothes on."
"Like, no clothes at all?"
"Well, he was wearing his hands. If he had on something under that, I didn't get close enough to see."

And I wait while he makes the call, then head back down against the tide from a just-emptied train. I look into their faces, some are distressed, angry, upset, and I know what they have seen. Some are laughing, shiny-eyed, giddy, and I have no idea what they think they have seen. Suddenly, I want to cry.

3 Comments:

Blogger remue-menage said...

life must be quite like your photo - a jagged stabbing thing, for that man

one can reach out to him with emotion - and hope that a social net to carry him is a phone call away

8:20 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I hate to report it, but by the time the next train came no help had arrived. And I got on that train.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Ashley. said...

This breaks my heart.

2:10 AM  

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