Creative Energy

  I was walking on the grimy upper level of the 179St. subway station in Jamaica, Queens today when I saw something strange.  All of the payphones had been removed from the thick pillars lining the walkway  —  that’s not the strange thing, I’d noticed it before  —  but  something hanging from the ceiling lightly brushed against my jacket.  It was a black, insulated wire that was plugged into an electric outlet at the top of a pillar.  The wire was attached to a cellphone that hung there in suspension.  Curious, I stepped a little closer when I heard someone call out “Hey!”  One of the homeless men I often saw sprawled on the benches in the station had noticed me.  He stood, a bit unsteadily, cautiously taking a step away from his belongings in a large, plastic garbage bag.  He wore long underwear, suspendered pants and a frayed woolen cap.  I could see that something was bothering him as he squinted in my direction, glowering protectively.  Then he made a sweeping gesture with his arm, warning me to keep away while he was recharging his phone.

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