Super Bowl Saturday Night.
I know I was on Duty.
I know I was on the Clock, holding my Sign up as I was.
But these Fans wouldn’t have it.
I was out front of Starbucks, 48th and Broadway, sitting on my sleep pack,
Holding my fist up as Hawk after Hawk walked past like
DAP, DAP, DAP, driving their knuckles to connect with mine.
Though I didn’t follow football, I did recognize it was
One of the All-Time Favorites of American Past-Times.
Mob by mob, the Seahawk Fans were letting it be known,
Romping tight, up and down
The loose City Streets that'd been Hit with Super Bowl Fever.
Didn’t hear too many Broncos Fans.
I figured they were too busy on the internet reading about
The Year of the Horse.
It was around 9:00 PM. I had setup there just before 7,
And had somewhere in the realm of $50.00 in my pocket.
For one reason (Generosity) or another (Alcohol),
The Nickel and Dime Notes
“I saw your sign,” said the Gay Gentleman, who kindly handed me a Cup of Soup. “So specific…”
Having sat there night after night,
I’d watched couples go by and realized
How strong the Gay Community was in NYC.
If I was Gay, I thought, I’d be Gay, Naturally.
Just like if I was living on the streets, I’d be living on the streets, Naturally.
The Keyword here is Truth, I thought.
And Truth is Truth and Life is a Mystery.
We have to make the most of Life and the Revelation of the Day,
And to do so we each have to Play -
To Play the Game of Life -
And while there were Laws, I thought,
We each had to play by some set of Rules…
A set of Rules that were compatible with our unique selves.
You simply have to imagine
That amidst sitting there and staring wherever my eyes were looking to go
I also had plenty enough in between time to think about things here and there.
Right there and then,
I figured and fashioned together my own unique Trinity of Rules -
By which I play the Game of Life.
Rule #1: Dig a Pony
Rule #2: You don’t talk about Fight Club.
Rule #3: Wish you Knew…
“Thank you for the Soup…”
I held it in hand,
Waited till he walked along,
And then put it into the reusable Whole Foods Market Shopping Bag,
Which had proven to come in handy for the ride over
To 42nd Street, Port Authority,
Where the Crew was waiting for Sup.
CUP of SOUP?
The Question, Precise.
The Answer, Yes or No.
The Price, is Right.
And on occasion, the penny for your thoughts translated to
A Dollar, a Fiver, a Tenner,
Every now and again, someone would hand over a $20.00 Bill.
“Come on, Son,” said the Burly Man, who hesitantly dropped his change in my cup. “You’re Strong. You can Work. Get yourself up.”
He walked off like I had short-changed him.
As I thought -
Yes, sir, I am Strong.
Yes, sir, I can Work.
And whether you can see it or not,
I am working right now
To get myself up.
I thought on this further.
You see, sir, I too, am a Producer.
You see, sir, you too, are a Consumer.
I’ve written a Poem.
Some read them, but few see them.
There are few who like my Poem,
But those are the ones that have shown their support for having shown it to them.
Here came a Kid with a Five Dollar Bill already pulled out from his pocket.
His girlfriend was following close behind
And they appeared to be a cute couple.
Instead of putting it in my cup,
He extended the Bill towards me personally,
And when I reached out to have it, he aptly withdrew it.
“If I give you this, I don’t want you to buy drugs.”
I recall thinking exactly: WHAT THE ****?
“If I give this to you, are you going to buy drugs?”
What ******* Nerve this Pric had.
Here he was,
Maybe 16 or 17 years old
(Young but nonetheless)
Standing over me like he thought he ought be God with that 5 dollar Bill in hand.
What a Pric, I thought again,
But then again, I figure,
His Girlfriend was there.
All in all, he was most likely just trying to show off his philanthropic ways,
While making sure it would go to a good cause;
If he really gave a shit, he would have got me some soup for the Port Authority Crew.
Maybe I should just tell him to shoo…
Point him to the Red Cross...
But then I thought,
Wait just a second, JB -
If this kid is in the CUP of SOUP? Shop,
Then why not make the Sale?
“Man, I don’t even smoke cigarettes,” I told him.
And that was the Absolute Truth; smoking cigarettes was a costly addiction I did not dare try to afford.
At that, he handed me the note, but not without grabbing and holding onto my hand.
His girl was watching as he slowly shook it like he was having a moment.
At this point, the kid had gone so far, that in my book, he cut straight from
‘Obnoxious Loony Toon’ to ‘Groomed Class Act.’
“Be well,” he said.
Good grief. This kid was a better actor than me and he didn’t even know it.
I nodded in appreciation,
And as he walked off,
I ventured to ask:
“Hey, but it’s cool if I get a Six-Pack, yeah?”
He and his girl started frowning.
“Why don’t you get yourself a Cup of Soup…” he suggested.
I looked at the 5 Dollar Bill,
Was in my hand,
And never saw him again.
There were a lot of characters in the Big Apple,
And who was I to judge?
Here I was, a Ragamuffin, sitting on my sleep pack with a most innocent expression,
Accepting people’s money on account of a Sign that read: CUP of SOUP?
When I had already around $75.00 of cash stuffed in my pocket.
Sure, I suppose at one level, I was exploiting the people.
I was using a Sign asking for Food in order to generate income.
Plus, I looked young,
And if there was one thing the people did not like to see,
It was the Youth on the Streets.
No time had I experienced this more completely
Than one night when I was getting ready for bed,
Bundling up in my sleeping bag on the sidewalk,
Thinking about how I had just for the first time ever,
Seen Saturn through a Telescope
At a Public Demonstration at Lincoln Center,
When a Girl turned the corner and almost tripped over and fell across me.
It was around 10 minutes later
When I'd come to discover that the Girl
- My Trump Tower Sister -
Had called her Mama up right then and told her:
‘The Boy looks 16 and he's alone and I only think it'd be right that we should save him…’
My point being that just as my predicament there, my predicament here appeared sincere.
Was it not?
In fact, was there any trace of untruth in what I was doing?
Was I not merely holding a Sign that addressed a Question?
Call me delusional, but I thought I was bringing out the best in some of these people -
The 5 Dollar Baller, my proof withstanding …
The community was reaching out on this Super Bowl Saturday Evening,
Giving what they had to give,
Probably feeling good about themselves along the way.
And how often do you get some Peace of Mind for your Dollar?
It’s not like I was taking this money to be counterproductive.
I had bills to pay in between those moments when I was hustling
Through NYC to eat, exercise, learn, research, edit, become wise
And Deliver this E-NOVEL to YOU.
And even right now,
As the Library is about to close,
I’m figuring out which street-corners I’m about to head on out to
In order to Open Shop, Market and maybe get paid.
The People of NYC were and are enabling me to do what I do best -
To write whenever the opportunity arises,
For it is my belief
That a Truly Great Writer must be Free.
Whether or not one agrees with or sees into any of my logic,
I know with certainty that I am not inherently bad.
And unlike the majority,
I do my Twist ‘N Shout with a Clout you can’t catch
Unless it come of a Higher Power Beyond.
CUP of SOUP? was a business just like the rest of them,
Only our Investors Paid It Forward,
And Usually in Cash.
And Money aside…
I was beginning to Love Times Square, you know…
Sitting on Broadway there for hours,
One does tend to become dreamy with all of the sights -
All of the Lights and Advertisements,
Though the Bestest and Brightest I Justest have to say was surely mine…
Super Bowl Saturday -
Clocked in @ 6:45 PM.
Clocked Out @ 12:10 AM.
Walked out Times Square like T.S. Eliot
With $99.49 in the pocket,
And Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for the Authority
In the Bag.