Saturday, June 19, 2010
out for a smoke
A man squats in the dead grass in front of his rooming house, digging in the earth and if everything around him falls away I am somewhere warm, in the country that he left to come here. I take a drag of my cigarette and wonder what he thought would be here for him. I wonder if he found it, if his body has forgotten what it is to be hungry, or if he still experiences hunger.
Five minutes later a few old (and seemingly drunk) people ride by on bicycles, laughing. Their matted grey hair trails far behind like a flag of wild poverty, a wolfish gesture aimed at the air around them. Their beards and bosoms sway and pretty soon I am laughing too, listening to them holler at eachother not to get killed, or drop the beer.
Finally there is a man in a wheelchair, moving down the sidewalk as if in a luxury vehicle. His strong brown arms move effortlessly, and there is so much grace that I have to look away, thinking of my own fumblings. His daughter moves in the background like an afterthought, humming a tiny song.
And my connection with fire is satisfied until I am compelled again to sit outside, astounded and bewildered by what it means to be alive in this world.