The Fulton Street Drummer

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He’s not just a busker. He not in it for the money. It’s the music that he cares about; it’s what drives him to play the beat that he alone can hear. That only he can feel, which runs along in his head and clamors to get out, to be set free, so he sets up his drums by the A/C/E platform and plays.

His set consists of three overturned buckets, and deep welts on them show evidence of the hard plastic’s deep familiarity with his third-hand drumsticks. With feverish intensity he pounds out his song, only it’s not a song but a frequency, a pulse in the air that he gives life to. He’s the heart pumping blood to the extremities, to the bowels of the New York subway.

Yet, despite the gravity of his position, the Fulton Street Drummer seems to genuinely enjoy himself. He’s smiling, though his eyes are mostly closed in that blissful way of those entranced. There’s a slight sheen on his face. It seems to be sweat from exertion, or perhaps an inner flow that radiates outwards. He knows his work is vital; he’s spreading the message. If he looks up — and he doesn’t, ever, but if he did — he’d see commuters bobbing their heads, tapping their feet in time with the rhythm. He doesn’t see them, but he doesn’t have to. He knows. He can feel their vibes bouncing back to him. He can feel their energy responding to his, and in turn he responds to them, mirroring their reflection, echoing their echo. He plays and plays. Nothing can stop him. After all, the Fulton Street Drummer is not just a busker.

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