Sunday, September 23, 2012

John Oughton

The Naked Man

The naked man ran all over the rooftops of the city, his buttocks twinkling like tiny moons, his back
somehow turned to all viewers. Perhaps he had heard of the Sadie Hawkins tradition on Feb. 29, and the
very thought of a proposal from a woman, any woman, made him strip off his clothes in the February
chill and run, run, his small man-self brushing the hydro wires, his teeth chattering at the squirrels and
pigeons who were the usual natives of the cluttered rooftops on which he ran, ran.

His back always somehow turned to the audience, his hair brown as an ad for toupees that no-one
could tell. Of course, the taggers and sprayers pursued him too, always one slogan or arrow behind his
speeding calves, his elongated arms. Last seen, the naked man was running straight up the gold-leafed
windows of a major bank tower, distracting sober-suited execs from their next bonuses.

He needs nothing, being naked, but the wind in his face and the next leap over busy streets that barely
notice him. No-one looks up at the naked man, except the nutcases, the poets, those who dream wide
awake following their boots along the sidewalk.


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