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There was one man, however, that I saw with disturbing regularity. He stood out in the crowd. He was about my age. He had shoulder-length curly hair. He never smiled— never, at least in this atmosphere, registered any emotion whatsoever, as if his brain was a television after the channels had stopped broadcasting. He had a large tattoo in the middle of his forehead. The tattoo was just one color, a deep, faded-denim blue, which led me to wonder whether it might be a prison job. There was a star. The five-pointed design had lines maybe an eighth of an inch thick. A big blue star with the word God inside, and beneath this the number 69. What did this tattoo mean to this man? I could have asked but I didn’t. It would have been bad manners to call attention to something unseemly—boil, birthmark, or God tattoo—in the middle of someone’s forehead. Did he see God in 1969? Was it some sort of numerology? Masonic secrets? Hermetic mysteries? A hit man for a cult of robotic, God-possessed, Satanist Moonie Lyndon LaRouche disciples? Why not get it removed? Too expensive? Why not wear a headband or a cap? A young, muscular Hispanic man in the crowd had his entire back covered with a full92

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length, brightly-colored Virgin Mary tattoo, ascendant, radiant. Another had Christ crowned with thorns on his back, blood dripping down, eyes imploring, and the bleeding sacred heart, in blue flames, emblazoned on his chest. 4. Deep underground a man talks to himself, laughing. He has two pairs of everything—two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, two shirts, two jackets, but only one pair of unlaced L.L.Bean style duck boots. He has a photocopied picture of the Flatiron building stapled to his shirts, and he is holding onto two canes, both of which have the feet of dolls jammed on both ends, little pink-toed doll feet on his scepters, while he gibbers and rants and giggles in the subterranean darkness. I ride the subway with this inscrutable, gibbering troll. Suddenly we break into the morning air, out of the underworld, burst from the tunnel, and clatter up onto the deck of the Manhattan Bridge, high above the water of the East River, a band of cold blue saltwater aflame with the phosphorous-bright reflection of the morning sun. Behind us is the tarnished skyline of Manhattan. Trails of smoke rise in white tendrils from smokestacks

Profile for Katya Cummins

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Profile for nichelit
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