Weather Beaten Bar Tramps eating rat salad soup, washing it down with the swill in the back end of a bottle of Bud. With their elbows permanently bolted to the bar with a smudged brass rail, they reach for the half a carton of Camels in their portable duffle bag which contains enough war paint to makeover the Statue of Liberty. The smoke stick dangles from their lips like it has so many times before feeling at home in the soft flesh that talks with many tongues.
They shave their legs with disposable razors twice removed and tweeze their eyebrows with staple removers. The stubble pokes through their pallid skin like raisins on tapioca pudding. Discount perfume with a wholesale smell stifles the air, but not as stifling as the lusty scent of love that lingers below. And like the mythical sirens sings a deadly song. Oh yes, that lovely song sung through teeth that look like the “before” tiles in a Top Job commercial covered only by lips that will give top-job for top prices.
Spiked heels, long enough to leave all 12 apostles hanging for a very long time, tap out a message in Morse code on the solid wooden floors that there is pleasure in pain, but only for a price. Those purple pumps scream “do me” to some young sailor, confident that the King of Beers will guide him through the night’ s haze, will approach our women de la evening and in a hormonal hurricane will be taken away to a reality that is not never, never land , but rather the city of here and now.
This is the town that tears me apart with addictions no suburban junkie can know. Working, always working the angles of survival, or avoiding them in the escape club of the downtown cinema. Fear, hate, lust and love all at once - anticipation of the big break to launch you up and out above the landlords and the weather beaten bar tramps whose sense of reality is yours as long as you’re buying. As long as you’re buying, as long as you’re buying. And you are always buying, always buying for the Weather Beaten Bar Tramps.
1990, New York City