I once got on the train at 125th street by the old Apollo theater that runs express to Columbus Circle (a ten-minute ride). A man walks on just as the doors are closing. Just like Harlem’s buildings, he’s dressed in about seven different decades. The social consternation of a century of accumulated history brings with it an equally rotten taste in fashion. Amidst the fuchsias and scarlets and faded yellows, I hardly noticed he was holding a mint-condition pure gold saxophone.
As the train leaves the station he begins playing a chaotic series of tones. A dilettante’s Mahler it is ‘rough’ and ‘spontaneous.’ Really, ran ricocheted hostile forces in the shuddering metal can ‘til your vital forces (brain and flesh) were reduced to a punchcard.
The man stopped playing and pronounced to his captives:
I AM AN ALIEN
“I am from outer space and YOU cannot know ME! Give me money or I will hurt your ears!”