He is always on that corner in daylight, lounging on a great, high-backed cement bench, surrounded by copper plaques green with time, by granite lions heads with ferocious snarls made melancholy in decades, cars and pedestrians bustling by in carefree or carefully feigned ignorance of his presence.
The patchy beard framing a rhythmically puckering, pursing set of pale chapped lips is stringy, thin and unkempt, lying in tan gray streaks over a red striped polo stained with years of free coffee and grimed sweat, his thick smudged hands alternately folded over a withered paunch, twisting a strand of puffed gray forelock, or oscillating from scapula to sky as he rants at the unseen. A dusty green rucksack, straps flailed haphazardly, lies on the granite platform at his feet, strips of soiled fabric, a water bottle, a coverless paperback he often holds upside-down before him while he sleeps in various stages of spill-out.
He mumbles, his voice monotone but the volume variable, rising and falling, often accompanied by stereotyped movements of the upper extremities, as he is carried on waves of psychotic agitation, his eyes open wide, but unfocused.
The journey to finds him perched on the edge of his bench in the early morning shade, a steaming cup of coffee held high in his right hand, the right arm threaded through a faded black hoodie dangling like a flag at his side, cyclically soaked by spirals of mocha liquid as he thrusts his cup forward to the beat of some inner cadence.
“Not god, only human!” he screams again and again as streams of the ambitious fortunate in pressed business attire move briskly past, hugging the curb away from him, eyes rapt on the path ahead.
The journey from finds him seated, stout legs skewed at nearly right angles, relaxed in the fall brilliance of early evening, his wrinkled profile shining through shadows of grunge as he stares blankly at the damp, crumpled newspaper before him.
“When you hate someone, it’s personal,” he alternately seethes and barks as preppy college students lost in headphones, as closely entwined whispering couples stealing glances, as proudly tired young adults in scrubs and suits, as pleasantly joking construction workers covered in dust, as seniors leaning on walkers loaded with groceries wait at the curb for the light to change.