Omigod!!! (Sorry.)

I've got a library book due today.

Okay so, get this. I was studying in front of a coffee shop (this is before the righteous torrents of rain had commenced) and a middle-aged homeless man hits me up for some company. Of course I oblige. He's wearing a Lakers hat after all (as if that means something to me) and a silver ring on his right middle finger of a lion's head with red eyes, and seeing how i'm rereading the Chronicles of Narnia these days...

So down he comes into the chair across from me. Suggestive remarks and empty compliments roll off his tongue as if his only available vocabulary, and the smell of cheap beer suddenly drenching me made this probably the case, but somewhere in between all that silliness he offered to recite some of his poetry. I accepted because at least he'd never broken eye contact.

I could barely hear what he was saying most of the time but his presence was something like mesmerizing. He'd periodically rise slowly and fall back into his chair or pound his fist on the table or switch between a low, almost-whisper to an angry growl, all the while his eyes remaining consistent with each momentary conviction. It was like there was an underlying poem even beneath his words, dictating these perfectly coordinated movements, as though he practiced for his reflection in some flawless mirror as it hung on the backside of a tired building in one of the alleys he claimed to be running away from. I told him he should perform live someplace; he told me i didn't even know.

By the end of those three poems there were some newly arrived cops lounging about that made my temporary companion nervous and defiant. Lapsing back into his former gibberish, but now louder and more obscene for the sake of his perceived audience, the last straw was when a super pretty girl walked by with her probably boyfriend and he shouted out something like, "WHO LET YOU OUTTA THE CAGE TONIGHT, BABY, WOOHOO!" (Yeah, it was bad, pure silliness the whole lot of it.) I think i laughed incredulously and said to him quietly, to defend against his sheer volume, "Man, you can't just say stuff like that." He was monumentally worked up by then and shouted out to no one that he could say whatever the goddamn fuck he wanted to, but then he sat back and whispered to me fervently that he'd bring me copies of all his poems if I wanted, and would I be here for another fifteen minutes?

Of course the cops got around to it right about then and started addressing my poet by his first name with all the condescension they could muster, saying things like, "Hey now James, why don't you come take a walk with us. I see you've got nice taste in the ladies but come on over here now. You know you're not wanted around here, so why do you keep coming back?" One thing's for sure, those two cops didn't meet my eyes once. I'm trying to make something of the comparison, but I don't really expect to.

Later one of the girls that worked in the coffee shop came out to apologize, but crazy James didn't come back with his poems.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (11/29/05)

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