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"Take Care Mike"

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As I sit in this bookstore/coffee shop I see the biography section

And I can’t help but wonder what causes some of these people

To think I care at all about their lives Sarah Palin? Or even you Mr. President?

With respect, neither of your lives was interesting until about two years ago

Then again, some people are a little more intriguing

Like the guy who just walked in decked out in baseball gear

but no shoes…  Or more so, the homeless guy I’m sitting across from

I’ve seen him all over town for about two years now.

Huge winter coat, and heavy winter pants, regardless of the weather

A couple walks in and apparently they know him. And although

as far as I can tell he speaks normally; they speak as though he is

to quote a friend, “marginal”. And they ask him if he needs anything

I almost laugh out loud when he tells them he would like some water

This, of course is free. Apparently what he really wants is a waitress

Eager to help, they happily oblige him. And although a part of me screams

That this whole thing seems rather condescending, it appears

that his entire day was made by someone talking to him.

They leave with a “take care Mike” and I honestly

Don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase used more appropriately

Or accepted more seriously.

And then I think about how I take something like simple

Conversation for granted.  I wonder how often someone

Says “how are you?” to Mike and genuinely means it.

Without the undertone of, “when are you leaving my store?”

And to get back to my original point, this is the person who

Really needs a biography written. The how-i-got-rich-and/or-famous

Story is rather old. How about a story about a person who instead

Got broke and homeless?

It will likely never get written, but I take a small amount

Of satisfaction in knowing that I now know his name. 

And that I can write a few lines about the homeless guy Mike.

Except now he’s starting to stare at me, and I wonder if

He suspects that that these clacking keys are about him.

Or maybe he’s just eying my laptop, and then I think

How ironic it would be if he robbed me after I left

And what he would think if he did, and then read this.

But then, he merely gets up, puts on his gloves (its 75 degrees)

And then leaves. I close this document briefly as he passes

But he doesn’t as much as glance at me. He pauses once outside

As if deciding which way to walk, then heads west.

And just so it’s been done twice today I think:

“take care Mike”


Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very nice. It's true he could've been your neighbor or mine. He's somebody's son and maybe someone's father too. Take care Mike...

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

There was a movie in 05 called "Reversal of Fortune" about a homeless man who becomes a social experiment for lack of a better term. It's a good flick... sad ultimately in the end, (the guy was better off before the film) but worth watching!

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