The Man at the I-5 & Broadway Exit

The Man at the I-5 & Broadway Exit

there by the exit off interstate 5 and Broadway Ave
sits the man with the diesel mind,
broken down on a milk crate,
grass in his dreadlocks,
trousers at his knees,
screaming on the outside,
shaking on the inside,
and being stabbed by invisible shanks
all over his body.

he is a reservoir of pure madness,
a stew of disorders, schizophrenia being
at the top of his recipe.

his wiring diagram resembles a thicket.
cables and plugs jammed into the wrong outlets.
voltage surging where there should be none at all.
a tangled mess of wires and braids,
leads and filaments, sparking and firing,
for no reason at all.

i imagine that
inside him are vast institutions,
where fires have erupted within their
hallways, lobbies and offices
and the patrons of these buildings
are now tearing each other a part,
screaming in agony,
destroying each other and their surroundings
in their vain attempts to escape
his mind.

i have seen him off and on over the past two months.
and he is always screaming
and chanting and twitching.
a machine of complete and total unrest.

he is so disturbed that
even in a place where the mad seemingly reside at every intersection,
the often apathetic and callused citizens of Los Angeles
take notice when they pass him by.

because this one stands out.

his skin is as black as licorice
and his eyes as white as ice,
bulging and fragile, like eggs.
rarely blinking and frozen in place
as if shocked awake
by an unseen predator.

there is no touching this man.
there is no communicating with him.

the motor to his escalator
broke its belt years ago
and sent his jagged stairs flying 
down, down, down
at a record speed,
down, down, down
where they finally
slammed into that recessed crevice
of mysterious light
deep below the floor.

that crack where the stairs disappear.

that line where most of us step over
and quickly walk away.