Watching People: Who They Are and Who I Imagine Them to Be

Middle-aged man
scowling on the subway
bitterness in his eyes
more dense as the years go by
his acoustic guitar
propped against a corner wall
dreams unheard, collecting dust
as he collects empty paychecks.

Little girl in a hot pink tu-tu
finds joy in the glow of the neon lights of a subway sign
she thinks she is a star
and says so.

Businessperson, shops solely at Holt Renfrew
marching down the street
never says “bless you” or “excuse me”
never holds the door for those following behind
to her calendar she is a whore
doesn’t yet know that at the gates of heaven profits are worthless
and that her bank account will be drained by the government.

A couple walking together
legs and vocabulary in sync
he takes her elbow gently
and leads her around a puddle
as he hears the question in her voice,
which he’ll respond to.

A broad-chested twenty-something
a nice guy, or so he believes
candid with words, is secure, or so he believes
walks with a stride that diminishes with daylight
because he is a selfish lover,
his eyes are cloudy.

A boy, honestly
stares at my soul as we cross the street simultaneously
in opposite fucking directions
I saw myself swimming in clear blue waters.
I like him.

Curly-haired girl
walking with a beat and a red scarf
corners of her lips curved upward
I know she writes in and dog-ears her books
because books are meant to be used.

I like her.

She is on her way to meet the blue-eyed boy.


Published in Apt, October 2007


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