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Saturday, May 30, 2009

He Wanted Attention, He Knew How to Get It

By Camincha

The man stunk.
His clothes, a crusty second skin
on his emaciated body.

He wanted attention.
He knew how to get it.
He must have been a long time
in the streets, she thought when
he materialized by her side at the bus
stop at 5th and Market, the 27 bus line.
He had tried it before. He knew
exactly what to do to make
the women jerk in fright.
Alerted by the stink he projected,
they would jump a foot away from him
as soon as their sideways glances
brought him into view.

He wanted attention.
He knew how to get it.
He provoked these reactions
on purpose. He would materialize
next to the woman and then move
sideways closer, closer. A woman
jumped, turned but could move
only half a foot away from him.
The woman scooped up her child and held
him to her bosom all in one movement.
The girl reflected his blank stare when she
lifted her eyes to his, then she shuddered.
A woman kept staring ahead hard, stone-like
in her effort not to acknowledge his presence.

He wanted attention.
He knew how to get it ...

Camincha is a pen name for a Calfornia-based poet.

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