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”