On the Street

He didn’t want to know about that worn granite gravestone and all that crap about human nature— boredom, old man worry— to never realize its profits. He didn’t dare to dream, so only imagined behind a theater, drunks and broken bottles, cocaine and black cigar butts, greasy darkness like implications of webs and blood. He paused, walking by slowly after a show, to see a dancer leave with an usher, buttoned up tight to the neck. He refused to read the magazines that had pictures of naked women, thinking of prostitutes—afraid, but it was more than the unknown. He wouldn’t give an inch for fear of running the sordid miles that he would have had then to live. He wouldn’t face it; he couldn’t admit what it was. There, a burning chasm between what he avoided and how he couldn’t ignore it, a wretched chaos, and loneliness was an illicit tax on freedom he didn’t know.

July 1972