watching from a afar, like window shopping with empty coffers, I see it all slide by. once a participant, now a voyeur. life can be measured in many ways. we measure from within as they measure from without. the numbers never match. the bookie is out and can’t be reached. so I walk down to the corner store to buy a single cigarette. the guy behind the counter informs me that “well we just don’t sell ‘em like that any longer.” I get the idea.
down the street is a pub where I may, if I’m lucky, have enough cash for a cheap draft and a cigarette off the bartender. they always smoke when they work in shit holes. I look around and take in the scene. it’s a regulars kind of place. one guy brings his hound of Baskerville in with him. maybe he thinks an equally horrid drunken skirt will take a liking to his giant mutt. it stares at me with watery eyes and licks it’s chops as I sip my beer. I’m disgusted and amazed that anyone would allow such an animal into their establishment. I reckon it says something about the place.
I get the hell outta there before the feeling of that first beer hits my head and I realize I have no money to buy another. I forgot to ask the bartender for a smoke. so I meander along the avenue fronting the dirty river that separates old from new. on that side billions of dollars are made or stolen. on this side the trickle down effect is sensed as trust funded scenesters and hipsters lounge in caffe’s wearing mismatched styles simply because they can. bad tattoos are the sign of commitment to the lifestyle. for fucks sake. what am I doing here?
oh yes I have a key in my pocket. I have to catch the bus over by the subway station. take it a few blocks east then north. I have a key. my pockets are empty besides this key.
keys can be had and measurements may be taken. but watchers are not participants. they don’t pass go and they don’t get the prize. instead they tally on the wall beside their cold beds the days that pass without incident, or accident, or even an event on any kind. a tally of wasted days, hours, minutes. the keys don’t open that lock of steel and concrete. it takes something else all together. if only I had one cigarette.