Walking Cross-Town. With Al.


Jorie Graham: “The slow overture of rain, each drop breaking without breaking into the next, describes the unrelenting, syncopated mind.” (from “Mind,” Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts.)

6:30 am.
The train pulls into Grand Central, and clears. I sit. And wait.
The conductor walks up the aisle gathering tickets.
I cue up a Paul Simon playlist and walk.
The platform is empty. Stragglers amble toward the exits.
I nod to the armed guard, and slip through the open door onto 42nd, passing a conga line of yellow cabs. Not today gentlemen, not today. We’re walking Cross-Town.

Good morning America.
Dawn in Manhattan.
Sun Power lights up the skyscrapers, they lean in from the shadows to warm.
A wisp of a breeze cools, a welcome cut of the ever-present humidity, and a respite from the simmering trash and the marinating urine.

The electronic horse walks.
There’s a skip in the step this morning, loaded with a full night’s sleep, and boosted by Sun’s Solar Power.  Beast and Beast. One up Top. One on the ground. Duo is Un-freak-ing-stoppable.

She (Her? Samantha?) cuts in and directs: Take a left on Avenue of the Americas in 3/10’s of a mile. What’s happening at Madison Square Garden Mate?  Do you really need me to guide you in mid-town? Did she really just say that? I’m takin’ sh*t from my Maps App?

Ear buds pumpin’ – head’s-a-bobbing to Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” – bongos are beating, na na na, na, na, na

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard

Jesus.  Really?

What’s that? The skin tingles. Like mist, it drifts to the nostrils.  And then fills the lungs.

Bacon!  Devil’s perfume. McDonald’s dead ahead.  Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese.  No. No. No. No.

I veer left to avoid the Golden Arches, 40 Zillion served, but not this one, not this morning.

Samantha is annoyed at the detour: Take a right on 39th. Take a right on 39th.  She’s tense now, I turn down the volume. The iPhone, wired to the Apple Watch, is vibrating, it too alarmed at the mid-course correction.  I jaywalk across Fifth – Sam yelling now, watch is vibrating, mouth is salivating – I want BACON.

The city bus bears down on me as I cross the center line. Sam is screaming: TAKE A RIGHT ON 39th DAMN IT! DO IT NOW!

A man walks down the street
He says why am I short of attention
Got a short little span of attention
And why my nights are so long
Where’s my wife and family
What if I die here
Na,na, na, na. Na, na, na.

I cross safely, Sam breathes a sigh of relief, my wrist has stopped vibrating (shin bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone…), and we’re back on the road map. My forehead glistens, I grab little puffs of the bacon laced air and re-grip my case.  Simon plays on:

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now

Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore

Wow, I need a new Playlist.

And a Work-Out.



  1. As long as you never stop sharing your walks through midtown. You make it come alive (& at times you get way too close to what goes on in my head)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Man, DK, this one was a tour de force! Skyscrapers “leaning in from the shadows to warm,” the smells of the “the devil’s perfume” wafting through the air, singing their siren song…magic! When I was in Manhattan recently, I thought of you and your resplendent descriptions as I walked the streets. You have a gift, pal…keep sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When poet meets song…it’s a beautiful thing.

    Just keep walking, DK, you can call us Betty. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love it! Especially the lure of Devils perfume. Thanks for putting this song in my head for the rest of the day … Cue bongos 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bacon and samantha – devils at odds with each other!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “…Na, na,na, na. Na, na,na……”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Full night’s sleep? You?
    Is the tart cherry wine working for you, or are you giving fiction a try?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was right there with you. Great post. Love the Paul Simon song. Perfect here. And Sam – hahaha – I love giving those gadgets a hard time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ROFL! This one is so d..m well written, David. Really enjoyed the struggle, if I can say so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow you need a nicer APP and maybe a new play list ha! But when you walk down the street it’s so interesting and descriptive and we all see your side of the street Mr K 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your walks make me miss my home. I lived in New York for 49 years, there is no place like it. I do go back and visit when ever my health allows and Manhattan is my favorite place to spend the day. Thanks for the memories. :o)


  12. I’m late, but love it as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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