You have your tower.
From polished stone and tempered glass, village life assumes tolerable perspective. Each man below is classified and labelled to correlate with choice of coffee shop habitation; a neo-modern caste system veiled by towering disparity.
Some men sleep with little, all, or nothing.
You sleep in a cushy cocoon spun with a high thread count, supported by stacking IKEA mattresses to heighten the experience; breezy jazz pipes through your walls. Sometimes, a scream or siren disrupts your spa dream but it only lasts a moment - these city sounds are miniscule and transitory to you.
There are moments when you see it all…and that’s when comparisons are drawn. It’s not a question of what does the world need from you now but what have you bucket-listed in your inventory of dreams? Or better yet - what pressing want is your priority this afternoon?
Acquisition created this singular panoramic view. Rarely do you climb down your ladder to remember former steps of where you once braced yourself.
But have you come far?
Today, you strut to subway station, passing the sea of coffee enthusiasts. The café ahead hosts international fare, a mix of students and young urban professionals. You frequent there but prefer to be seen sipping lattes brewed in grass-roots neighborhood ventures.
One must do his part.
Across the street, there are middle-aged men with mobile phones raised as a new barista customer lines up an approachable distance recorded by Scruff or Grindr. Conversations there are minimal bytes of sound. You recollect another cafe where older men sleep or nap on soiled newspapers. You have never walked through those dingy doors.
Subway door opens …all thoughts compressed.
I ate with you on weekends; brunch with the boys you called it. There I learned codes and conduct - the tiers of acceptability.
- “Oh…he’s just that way – don’t take what he says seriously”
- “Could you believe what he was wearing?”
- “Got a great deal on a condo that was trashed by meth whores”
- “Where is it you work? An AIDS Service Organization?”
Brunch banter lowered to an uncomfortable silence like seagulls awaiting a storm.
But the world is open.
It contains the mundane and beautiful, the oppressed and affluent.
Your slice is but a piece of a larger pie. Your silence is deafening.
Assumptions may carve out your walls but the barricade you build fails to create a safer space.
Compassion and empathy may leak into your room and one day, flood your portals. There will be collateral damage but you will learn to swim in the common pool.
You remind me to calculate my own checks and balances.
My want is to build a bridge for my brothers.