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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Observed

In the long tile tunnel connecting two lines of the train, four young men sing together, tenor and base, harmony reflecting, deepening, reverberating everywhere. As they sing, crowds flow past in each direction, rushing, and the music flows over everyone.

During a period of quiet in between one train and the next, and with the tunnel nearly empty, they begin to fill it with Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come."

I was born by the river, in a little tent...

And as we walk away from those four young men and come to the end of the tunnel, the music is behind us, but its echoing words are still clear, still spirited, still hopeful, still joyful.

Oh and just like the river I've been running ever since.

And there, at the end of the tunnel, there is a single small trash can, and a man of about forty-five or fifty who was previously seen moving through the tunnel with a distracted, aimless air, almost appearing as if he were perhaps given pause by the music (until he is seen closer up), this man is going through the trash, and he's pulling out a McDonald's bag he has found (which is crumpled up) and he is reaching into the bag, and he is pulling out a hamburger that has already been partially eaten, big bites already taken out of it, and he is still leaning over the trash can as he takes a bite of what's left, and then he throws the rest away again, and continues digging.

It's been a long time, a long time coming, but I know, a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

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