Mother, You Need Shoes

I would not have noticed her had the subway car not cleared
of people at Lexington Avenue.

She removed a tattered stocking cap and stuffed it
into a grimy army jacket.

She held a smudged white bag between her legs.

She reached into it and pulled out half a doughnut.

That was when I noticed her shoes.

The uppers had split from the soles; she wrapped
her feet in newspaper and rags.

I thought, Mother,  you need shoes.

I wondered if forty dollars would do.

I looked up and watched her untangle a lock of
matted grey hair.

She reached into her bag and found a bobby pin.

She styled the lock of hair into a bun

I had forty dollars.

It was for vitamins; specifically, anti-oxidants.

My body was rusting faster than a wet Ford.

The crows feet around my eyes whispered: erase us; your
happiness demands our absence.

I examined the old woman’s cracked and broken shoes;
they were useless for January in New York.

She closed her eyes, as if ready to savor a long warm ride.

Maybe she lives in the subway, I thought, like those people
in the documentary,  Dark Days.

If she never leaves the subway she doesn’t need new shoes!

My crow’s-feet said, ’Yes!’

But that can’t be right, I thought; an old woman, alone, with
nothing but a stale doughnut for dinner.

I saw myself stand, and watched as I took two twenties out
of my wallet.

Then I knelt and said, “Mother, you need shoes.”

She opened her eyes and smiled at me and
nodded in agreement.

“Will forty dollars do?”

“Yes,” she said, “God bless you.”

I gave her the money and returned to my seat, and
listened as my crow’s-feet maliciously threatened
to deepen and spread.

 

Rob Goldstein (c) 2014-2018 All Rights Reserved
First published 5/29/16
Revised 4/7/18

 

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Faith

Love is an Ocean
An Ocean Refuses No River

 

 

 

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I’d Love to Turn You On

The Death of Timothy Leary (c) Rob Goldstein 2017

Accept the Gift

First posted 12/11/2016 as The Night Bobby Found Christ in an Abandoned Subway Car

I read the Nativity story as the story of a God who decides to incarnate as an outcast among the poor and oppressed people of a barbaric civilization with a static class system.

Life was brutish and short for the poor.

The warrior God of Israel takes flesh as an impoverished Jewish outcast whose
life is in danger from the moment of conception.

It’s a great story!

I wondered how it might look today and saw a homeless youth who finds
the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

Will he accept the burden of this gift?

An avatar that represents an alternate named Bobby is shown finding the Christ child in an abandoned subway car
A homeless youth finds the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

I used VR to make a video of it.

I got the idea for the subway car from Dark Days, a documentary made in the 1990’s about a tribe of homeless people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York.

I use two photo-shopped frames from the documentary as an homage to it.

I first came up with this idea in 2011 but didn’t have the skill I needed
to make it work the way I envisioned it.

I’m going to remake the video for next Christmas.

Merry Christmas to the World!

May we find our way back to the light.

The video is a series high-resolution panels staged and shot in virtual reality and processed in multiple apps.

I cropped a cover of Silent Night  found at the Internet Archives.

To the best of my knowledge the recording is in the public domain.