Back in the 80’s, living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn I’d take the N or the R train into Manhattan, where I worked in the film cage at SVA. I considered this my reading time and barely noticed the commute, unless there was someone gesticulating and mumbling nearby, in which case, I surreptitiously took out my notebook. I was fascinated by the words and gestures people used when talking to themselves or their demons. One day a man stood up and gave the following spiel, periodically lifting his arm in the manner of a Heil Hitler salute. His words were about color, but I cannot remember the tone of his skin. I assume that he was African American as I cast an African American in a film project that his words inspired. But the image I have in my mind is of sunlight shining through scratched and smudged subway windows, elevating him to a beam of fiery light and rags.
79% of your babies out of wedlock
That a disgrace.
Why did He put you here? To get degrees?
You don’t know how to communicate
Lack of knowledge is the most dangerous.
I was the first one–and you know that.
Draft. FDR. First month: mail call.
Who read your mail?
You don’t respect the man. You don’t know him, that’s why.
You know what you’re doing or you don’t.
I was too young to be a mercenary.
This man walked the highway.
I don’t think I’ll see you tomorrow or next year.
One father. One son.
He put you here.
I was too young to be a mortician.
Frankly, I don’t give a damn. I worked in a drug store.
I didn’t fear until 1982.
I was too young to be a mortician. I cried like a baby.
17 ½ years old. I went to Central Park.
I went to the Air Force.
What color am I?
Only one mistake your father made:
When he made Adam and when he made man.
No, I’m wrong. When he made Eve and when He made man.
50 billion years ago.
The last 49 years I’ve been out on this highway.
The Father. Son. Holy Ghost.
You know what takes you here. You know what takes you away.
You don’t know that? The lack of knowledge.
The lack of knowledge.
50 billion years ago, and you don’t know what color you are?