Does anybody really know what time it is? (C.T.A.! C.T.A.!)
You wake up hard with a little of the vodka
still in your veins, but you are O.K. and you get cleaned up quick.
While the wind is a fist this morning, you'll never touch the canvas.
Neither will you join the 8AM soaks at the Ez-Inn,
lunging through their third drink of the half-hour.
The temptation is there, however.
The old Ukranian ladies with their big fleshy faces are already in line at Rich's, waiting to buy their bread for the day. After work you will stop in
and buy a bottle of Nemiroff instead of Gordon's, just like the young hoodlum, thick accent and all, advised you to do the day before.
It will taste clean and cold.
At Augusta, the crossing guard smiles and greets you, as she does every day. You feel guilty for a splinter of a second that you do not always respond.
At Chicago, waiting for the 66, you spot Jimmy, who used to hang out at Baci all the time and get mercilessly heckled by the angry, belligerent pizza slinger.
This was the same guy who one time, swear to god, said the grossest thing you have ever heard, about a female customer just departed. Someone's mother. And you wanted to sock him in the gut so bad for saying it.
Instead, you got a slice of sausage to go, with cheese and peppers, and tried your best to forget the look on Jimmy's face.
The bus sucks, of course. Already packed. Runny noses, no one looking anyone else in the eye. Typical commute. Misery pounds you and you have to do this ten times a week every week.
Two kids behind you, both young (under 10) are talking very loudly about what sports cars they want to own, and swearing every other word to boot.
"I want a motherfucking Ford Mustang! The new damn kind!"
"Fuck that, motherfucker. I want a fucking Porsche!"
Then you realize they are just trying to push the buttons of the old lady sitting to their left, across the aisle, who looks at them and then you, with pursed lips,
and a little wag of her head. You smile with sympathy.
It is so hot in the bus that you feel your armpits getting moist.
Your mood has suddenly turned foul and humanity has given you the hives. Everyone looks ugly today, even your secret C.T.A. crush, and you keep thinking of some of the truest song lyrics you have ever heard: "I'd probably kill myself, if I was in your shoes".
Then you look outside and see, right next to Eckhart Park on the sidewalk, a very young little girl kiss a very young little boy on the cheek,
then run away.
And you realize that the silent music, the great sweeping architecture of the universe, has taken you under its wing, and wants to lavish you with gifts. If only you would listen more often, you would see it in the broken sunlight through the trees, hear it in the sounds of your love-making,
and feel it in the caress of never-ending motion.
And your ears are open now, except when they aren't.