Thursday, February 6, 2014

§TA§O§ - Chapter 3 - SIGN LANGUAGE - 1/3

Tomorrow had come.

And yet the Sun had already set when I was walking down 10th Avenue,
So Hungry I was Delirious and Dizzy;
.11 Cents in my pocket.

.11 Cents.
Virtually and Non-Virtually, nothing.
Couldn’t even buy a banana at Trader Joe’s with .11 Cents.
Of course, if I’d found me two bottles,
I could turn them in for the Recycling Deposit and then go Cash in on Bananas,
But I’d already been through the ‘Collecting Bottles Shenanigans’ in past self-induced strugglings
For subway transportation and food,
And Broke or not Broke,
Reaching into NYC Garbage Cans
Over and again
Was one dirty undertaking of Shenanigans
That didn’t quite cut minimum wage,
Nor fuel the Glory that rings by the phrase -
'An Honest Day's Work...'

So I was heading for a Food Kitchen.
Bowery Mission.
Right next door to Whole Foods Market, Bowery.
Irony Squared.

The reason I had waited all day
Was because Bowery Mission was in the Lower East Side of Manhattan,
And having spent the afternoon in the Upper West Side of NYC,
I was hesitant to make the 2 to 3 hour walk,
Especially seeing as I didn’t even know what was on the menu.

I had been to a ‘Shelter’ once before,
And believe-you-me,
An Insane Asylum ain’t no Shelter.
I had not been to a Food Kitchen before,
But Rotten Slop wasn't part of my diet,
And I sure wasn't in any mood to get caught in the middle of a food fight.

I’d heard Bowery Mission was one of the better Food Kitchens in Town,
So finally,
Around Sunset,
I’d decided to make way.

On my way I passed by one of those souls one sometimes sees,
Sitting on the sidewalk,
A plastic container full of pennies and holding a sign, headlined -


Where beneath, also in bold letters, the type that read -


As I walked past, I held tight to my .11 Cents,
Thinking to myself that if this Dime and Penny
Between my fingers were to somehow multiply into 1,100 Cents,
I still wouldn’t put a Coin in his cup,
Because though I didn’t know the guy or what he’d been through,
His Sign wasn't nothing I was buying into.

Delirious and Dizzy - and perhaps a little too feisty - I kicked into ‘Writer Critique’ mode…

First of all, I thought, Sign or No Sign,
I've already considered the very-seemly possibility that you might be
Cuz really,
Who has time to sit on the curb and ask for money, while paying Rent in between?
Rather, why not tell me something I don’t know?

Second of all,
I've already considered the very-seemly possibility that you might be
Because sitting street-side and watching people pass you by
Looks to me to be the X, Y, Z Loci AKA Recipe for such a Bona Fide Outcome.
Again friend, tell me something I don’t know.

And lastly,
In the three seconds that it took me to read that sign,
I instantaneously intuited you got a bad attitude that beggin' to hit the bottle.

To clear my mind, I started thinking on some of my own.

What about a sign that read simply:


I’d seen stickers stuck across Manhattan,
And even a building, painted in Brooklyn
With font in big red capital letters that read LOVE ME in exactly that way.


It was short and sweet
And anyone with a Clue, a Heart, and some Change to spare
Would read that sign and know just what to do.

I started thinking up some more One Line Signs, or Universes.

Money for Puppy?

It was short and sweet,
And also kind of cute.
The people would read it and reach in their pockets,
And give a Coin in knowledge that they were contributing to some
Stray or hungry Puppy,
While entertaining their wonderings as to whether The Puppy was, in fact, a Canine
Or a Dog like You.

Cup of Soup?

That one just automatically came to me as the others,
Only after thinkin' it up,
I thought on it a bit longer.

Cup of Soup?

Yes, I’d decided. ‘Cup of Soup?’ was also a Winner.

That way, the people would be reminded that you’re Hun-Hun-Hungry
And just like them,
In need of food for SURVIVAL.
Plus, being within this Winter SETTING,
What food item could possibly hit the mark better than a Cup of Soup?
What better time than the OPPORTUNITY for the Pedestrian,
Here and now,
There and then,
To fork it over and...

I remember saying it aloud -

Cup of Soup?

- Like Oliver Twist, himself.

I was still walking down the block
When my eyes lit up at a pile of Trash,
Mounded on the side of the road for pickup.

Reaching in, I pulled out a Pizza Box,
Checked over the 'Not-Too-Shabby' Cleanliness of its interior,
And thinking of the Sharpie Marker at my place,
Headed to the Locker Room,
With the Expedition to a Food Kitchen well behind me
And fantasies of a hot cup of Chicken Noodle, in hand.


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