Beautiful one, your sadness will not fade with distance, nor your burdens ease with age. The darkness that you grope in now defines you. You have attuned yourself to the lack of lightness, and of light, and neither sunlight nor limelight can change you now.
You may only see in neon.
Your tears have rut your beautiful face, distressed your leather, quickened your thirst. You come out in darkness, parched and hungry, yet seeking no one and no thing. You wish to turn no stone, meet no eye, live as a gas, drifting, untouching, unredeemed.
Jumpin’, just jumpin’, or maybe not just – and tapping, and sliding, and spinning, whatever the move, those shoes made it look Astaire clean. The specs, borrowed at first from the look of spats falling from Edwardian trouser legs, then from summer shoes after the Great War, were hand-painted at first, at least his were. Hard to find anything but brown clodhoppers in 1979. When he found his first real pair of spectators in a store it was a revelation. He wore them everywhere, even in the winter, when the salt and the wet ate away at the soles. Stuck cardboard in them until he could get to Frankie the shoemaker for a ten dollar sole job. He built entire wardrobes around his specs, found ways to wear them with summer whites, ordered a second pair for a backup as soon as he had the extra money. Around that time, in the alley under the El track, the shoe graffiti appeared. Everyone knew who did it.
Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.
The fast moving Radical keeps to the perimeters of the bestiary, leaving a trail of newspaper clippings and insects blowing from its ratty mane. Radicals cling to one side of the edge, or the opposite other, depending on political affiliation, but never travel to the center of the bestiary, except in retirement from public life when they take positions with lobbying firms on K Street. Some time thereafter, in their dotage, Radicals pale and soften and recede into an amoebic final life stage that ends in an quiet evaporation and subsequent assimilation into the beltway atmosphere. During the prime of life, however, the Radical is anything but unnoticed, it is reddened and vituperative, flashy and course, a motorcycle in an echo chamber, constantly striving to amplify its resonance. Proceed with caution, but not fear, while interacting with this creature. Often the radical’s ideas are of interest, even if the creature itself is repulsive.