Grant Park in Chicago is large enough to get in the way of the city. Where I come from, the parks are contained within and of themselves. They take up a good city block, in my stomping grounds of small city south-west, and they "contain themselves" like a margarita that spills nothing over the rim of the glass. Grant Park, however, is interrupted by streets and railroad tracks and buildings, and these seem to be the ingredients that push the slush of the park over it’s curbs like fruit over a rim, and it seems as though these big cities like to make a park more like an event. Large ovals of flowerbeds enclosed within and without by large expanses of grass. Purple, white, and yellow flowers sleep. Tasteful walkways lead to fancy fountains and massive statues. People sit and read and tan and eat and feed pigeons and loathe pigeons and smoke cigarettes and watch people watch people, and most are quiet, making sure not to wake the flowers. And some look happy, and most look sad. And some are bums, and most are sad. And it’s as if this list I’ve written is hanging on a lamppost under an entrance sign, and you have to check in by choosing a collection of things from this list to do, to get in. I chose people watching and the bum..
An old, fat black man as big as the park, his beard all round and full like the flowers, he looks like a black Santa. White Santa gives presents with nothing in return, and this man seems to be expected to receive presents with nothing in return. And then old Chris Kringle is white in the winter, and this man is black in summer, sitting atop powder coffee creamer steps, and I think that black children must be confused as to the descent of Santa Clause come Christmas mourning.
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...f our own minds. It seems as though this man lives inside his own head, and that’s a long way to fall. Watching this particular man I wonder weather or not I could lead him to anything but food. I wonder if he is happy. I wonder whether or not he is a good man. I wonder what he has learned from living in this state and how his life has changed so since childhood. I think the how is important. How do we get to this point, individually, and how do we get to this point as a species where we don’t know how to take care of each other enough so that we all have the will to live enough to work and take care of ourselves so that we can, in turn, share ourselves in a positive way with this family. And we must find a beginning. Pardon the revolution of "when(?)." I know only that this man looks like a good man, fallen off the face of the earth like a chess piece off a board.
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