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The Mystic of Arthur Avenue...

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  He looks at me still.

His name is Vincent. I met him one enchanted afternoon in New York City and it seemed to me that a hole had been ripped in the fabric of reality, and this man stepped through it, waiting for us to arrive in the New Little Italy of Arthur Avenue.

 I think often about Vincent. He’s the man in this image.

 When we stepped out of Alan Shapiro’s BMW, looking for lunch, Vincent was sitting on the sidewalk, just looking at me. No menace. No weirdness. Just looking.

 I went to him and started talking. It’s perverse, I know. But I felt like I was in the presence of royalty. There was something about my encounter with this man that travels with me still in my heart.

 In less than five minutes of conversation, Vincent made an impression on my spirit. He talked to me about slogging through the mud of Viet Nam with a heavy pack on his back and a rifle in his hand. He told me about his vivid dreams and came up short of actually saying his dreams whispered hints about what the future holds.

 It is impossible for me to convey here how drawn I was to talk to him. Sheree and Alan waited patiently by the corner for me to finish. But I knew that this micro-second of time was a Special Moment.

 I talked to Vincent. I listened to him. I looked at the broken dreams written like ink on his face. I listened and I could hear the soft slogging of boots through the swamps of a foreign land. I listened and I heard this man.

 I am trying to convey who he was to you…what it was like to speak to the Mystic of Arthur Avenue. I can't. Maybe the picture does...

...and Vincent had so much to say...and not to say. The other image I made of him...and the rest of the story is in...well...the book. But you knew that...