The Singer

There is a man who stands on the street near my apartment around 2 in the morning on most nights.

I can’t quite get used to him, and I can’t say that I don’t mind it, because I do.  I can never understand what exactly he is saying, and I have a hard time finding him on the street when I look out the window.  He might stand around the corner or something.  Sometimes I hear passersby talking to him.

Who is the singer?  I have no idea.  I know these things:

  • He is a he.
  • He likes to sing.  The songs he sings sound like older songs because of the phrasing and melody.  There are no hip hop beats in the background.  He has an old person’s voice.  He has a black person’s voice.
  • If he sings on the same street corner so frequently and is consistently in that place and outdoors, it is reasonable to believe that he lives on the street.
  • He has no problem with the idea that his singing might be keeping people awake, or he has not considered that possibility.
  • He has a reasonably good, if scratchy, singing voice.

I think the only thing that truly interests me about this man is that he botherrs me for a little while each night, but for whatever reason he makes me think.  What is the reason that a homeless person would serenade the neighborhood each night?  Is he singing for anybody else, or just for himself?  Where did he learn these songs?  Did he make them up?  Why only at 2 in the morning (I’ve always heard him at about this hour and never during the day or in the morning)?

Some people walk by the singing man like he isn’t there.  Some people engage him in conversation.  Some people aggressively command that he stop singing.

“Sing with your head up, with your eyes closed.  Not because you love the song, because you love to sing” – Aaron Marsh (Copeland, You Love to Sing)

He challenges every aspect of my life.


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