Pagan Moss' Peep Show Stories

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Two Dollar Poem

Two Dollar Poem

There was a lovely young man that I met the other day on Broadway. He had dark curly hair, light eyes, and braces. He was standing next to an old guitar, holding some papers and called out to me as I approached.

"Hi, my name's Noah. I'm a singer/songwriter from Boston and . . ."

I stop.

"Oh, thank you so much for stopping. I really appreciate it. I've written some poems and I was wondering if you'd like to buy one?"

"Sure, how much?"

"Whatever you'd like to give."

I walk down this street every night after work and during that daily trip I must get hit up for money at least five times. Normally, I'll smile and politely demur, while on the inside, I am alternately saddened and irritated about having to make my way through what amounts to a gauntlet every day. Of course I am compassionate toward the homeless, but the kids on this particular street are largely young and punky and in almost no way evocative of sympathy--at least the kind of sympathy that would entail me stopping and giving then and there.

But this kid, he looked fresh to the streets; he was healthy, enthusastic, and seemed sincerely sweet. He was different. I wanted to help.

I looked through my purse and realized I only had a couple of dollars and I think, what an insult.

"Is two dollars O.K.?"

"Sure!" he says, beaming.

I hand him the two dollars and he hands me the poem.

"Thank you so much," he says, stuffing the money into his pocket.

"Good luck," I say and I walk around the corner out of view.

I read the poem as I walk home. It is a single photocopied piece of paper with text only on one side, surrounded by doodles. The central poem goes like this:

"Have A Mind And Do Not Be Blind! Give Me Clothes Give Me Shelter, Had A Chance Should Have Felt Her. Now I'm Lonely Now I'm Cold, I Can't Believe The Lies You've Told. Step From Darkness-In To Light, You Don't Love Me You Have That Right. En-Amored Heart There's Pain To Follow When I Awake Alone Tomorrow."

He's no Bukowski, but the kid has heart.

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