A middle aged man standing in the sidewalk outside Cass Cafe talks through passersby, waving his cigarette, eyes rolled back somewhere above. I wonder what his life is like. I think he’s left handed like me. Based on what he’s saying it seems he’s hearing voices that tell him he’s not enough, or worse. He’s fighting back. Other pedestrians make space for him as they pass, tracing an almond eye around him with their feet, it’s doubtful that they know him, the others here are used to seeing this apparent confusion. He’s not talking to them. Now he’s miming deference as they move through his space. He’s just curtsied for a young woman and pointed off in the other direction, talking all the while to invisible detractors, but maybe not.
It’s so much more important to me than I am willing to admit that people pay attention to what I do. Maybe admitting that in front of you will help me going forward. It still feels a little, hmm… what’s it called when you get up in front of a bunch of post grads and talk about Herman Melville or Mary Shelley or Pablo Picasso? It feels like I am a pile of bones ground into powder, then after that I am sent to a lab for analysis so that a special adhesive can be designed to mold me — now a pile of bone dust — like clay. Then the adhesive is tested, distributed, and made available for bulk purchase at home improvement stores nationwide. The adhesive is then purchased by career custodians with a grant from public school teachers, and I, the dust, am molded into individual bones and carefully set in a pile in a ritzy, but also leaky warehouse gallery next to an accompanying text that reads “Sorry for the mess.” in a small, almost illegible script. It feels more like that.
This is to say that I haven’t written to you in a long time, and I’m sorry. Sorry for myself. I need this. Maybe my sentimentality, or self loathing, or grief and stress stopped me. Maybe my last piece was so bad I wanted you all to forget who I was. Maybe I haven’t been inspired by the world lately, or maybe I’ve been too drunk to see it. Am I oversharing now? I’m just learning about that kind of thing.
That man is still out there, and I’m glad he’s got a full pack of smokes to wave at the yuppies walking by. They seem annoyed, and it pleases me because at least they’re paying attention. He’s just fixed the Cass Cafe sign from when someone bumped it walking in. He’s punching invisible folks in the face now. I hope he gets what he needs alright, but I doubt he will. I offered him a little cash and told him about the Detroit Rescue Mission at 3rd and MLK, but he didn’t seem interested or couldn’t hear me. It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit in Detroit today, August 22nd, 2018. I’m not optimistic, I’ve got to poop, and parking enforcement is out here writing tickets. Situation normal. Okay stop paying attention to me now.