Waiting and wonder


November 18, 1981


PASSAIC -- It’s cold, yet not cold enough – at least not for the change of season. Rain is in the air instead of snow, and this makes a difference in this world. It is a different mood that claims mere here, the mood of being protected by the thin (yet leaking) roof of my small porch.

In winter with the snow, I’d be up at Pauly’s place (well, girl’s friend mother’s) in front of a fire, smoking pot and wonder why I was there, old friends are like that sometimes, serving as substitutes for others. Old friends and fires and Christmas around the corner.

There is sadness in the air that makes me feel colder, the stillness and silence of a rain in the ghetto seeping into me, depressing me.

The cars that pass splash the puddles with loud dramatic slaps and the water covers the tin trash cans still uncollected at the curb, trash overflowing and condemned to get swept up by tomorrow’s street sweepers.

The world is gray; I am gray. This isolation (self induced) produced moments like there where I sit on my door step and watch the surface world move, the silly people covering their heads with sagging sheets of newsprint, darting from doorway to doorway. The hurried and angry milk man darts from his truck. The wet newspaper dropped on the previously dry sidewalk sags with the weight of words.

Isolation is a condition here, learned by habit, learned by living in oppression. Down Eighth Street, the whistles of the factories blow, calling the wetbacks hither. Two months ago, the police raided them, the seventh raid of the year, but no one raids the houses here, the ruins of the past now stuffed with three and four families, thirty or forty people at times living in two squalid rooms.

Strangely, they are no where near here now, and I wait and wait and wonder about their lives and how they feel, and if they have hope, and if they feel as gray as I do now, or angry, though I suspect they do not wish as I do that this rain was snow instead.



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