photo by E. Herd
In Grand Central Station:
I gave a buck to the accordionist who plays “La Vie en Rose,” “Lara’s Theme” and gypsy tunes.
I gave a buck to the violinist with a sign on his wheelie cart that says “Need money to get my wife a liver.”
I gave a buck to the harpist who looks Eastern European and has a warm smile. He plays “Cielito Lindo” and some tunes I don’t know.
I gave several bucks to the Marine Vet on the street who used to be bundled up and stationed on the grates at the northwest corner of 42nd and Lex. We talked for a while. He said he was shot up in Afghanistan, lost his home and his family, got slashed and robbed at a homeless shelter and wouldn’t go back. I saw him for weeks during the winter, then was afraid to make eye contact. He looked worse and worse each time I saw him. He didn’t look up anymore. I felt like a bad person for avoiding him, not being able to help. Since I really can’t help, why talk to him, I reasoned to myself. I felt powerless to help, ashamed even. I don’t see him anymore. I wonder where he’s gone.
Giving away a couple bucks here and there won’t change anything.
I think I can do more.
I have to figure out how in our new Gilded Age.