11 June 2008

Yes, it certainly is...

Another thing I can't resist when I'm shopping--old doors. I got this one at a 3-story flea market in downtown Kansas City on an excursion with my loyal shopping buddy Shannon. In addition to my sister Lane, my friend Barb and my mother, Shannon is one of the few who can really hang with me on marathon junking adventures. Shannon and I are already looking forward to hitting the Junk Market in September. I should start saving my pennies now for a major "blowout" (our favorite shopping term) around Minneapolis that weekend. I visited her there last winter and we shopped 'til we dropped, and she has discovered a number of new places to go since then. Can't wait. I would like to have more old black and white clock faces; I have a couple of others. The little velvet bird is from a cute store here in Springfield called The Nest. I like how it is nestled in the ivy, but I have recently developed an aversion to faux greenery and have tried to eliminate most non-living plants from my house. I don't know...it looks good from a distance, but up close it just doesn't seem right. This little basket is one of the few remaining survivors. I'd like an alternative, but don't think I could keep real plants alive in the spots I need it. The concrete scottie dog was a gift from one of the kindest and most creative people I've ever known, Colleene Dameron, who has a great shop off the square in Ozark, Missouri. I used to help her out at her old store from time to time. She liked my handwriting so I made price tags for all the lovely things she'd discovered for her store and she often let me have first pick. The dog is one of my favorite treasures, and even though I don't see Colleene much anymore, I will always consider her a bright spot in this world. The sign was a Gordman's $5 find a while ago. I had to edit some of the attachments to it because I like the pared-down look of it better. And I love the message. I mean, duh. I have a great life. A wonderful life. I shouldn't ever take that for granted (or take it for "granite" as my students always write!), but I guess we all sometimes do. Life as a mom and wife and "grown up" is hard, for sure. Harder than I ever thought it would be. But I've got it good, baby. I know I do. There's this guy I see walking around town who reminds me of that, although I really know nothing about him that is fact, only my intuitive guesses. I scratched out some observations about him on the back of a Barnes & Noble receipt one day in my car at a stoplight when I saw him walking for the second or third time in a couple of weeks, thinking I'd try to write some poetry about him. I finally did at that same English teacher writing day I mentioned before. It's an unpolished piece, but it seems to go with the sentiment of my sign and my appreciation for all I've got that others might not:

I see him often on my side of town,
a man of about fifty,
dirty Levis and worn hiking boots,
a flannel button down and
a navy, mesh-backed ball cap,
full beard and sun-cracked face.

He wears a backpack, too,
the kind my students carry
their books around school in,
and carries a squared-off
duffel bag, packed full,
I think, because the sides
look tightly pulled. I wonder
what is inside, what baggage
is important enough to him
to be hauled here and there,
never out of his sight.

He walks at a slower pace,
no rush, a patient trudge--
nowhere to be, I suppose.
I’ve seen him at
Sequiota, too, headed in
to the park’s bare bones restroom
about dusk one evening.
I conjure up a number
of scenarios that would
lead him to do so, but
settle on him being homeless
and needing a place to clean up,
rinse his face, maybe run
some water over a change
of clothes in his backpack,
prepare to bustle down for
the night somewhere nearby.

The humility in his face
causes me to both want
to help him somehow
and at the same time
feel embarrassed for
assuming he would need
my help of all things to
get by in this world.
My conjectures about his existence
and presumption that my station
in this life is any better than his
aren’t enough to approach him,
and the way most people see the
world these days makes me think
I should be afraid to.
Probably so.

I’ve seen him more than a
handful of times over the last
year or so, enough to make
me wonder where he’s going
and where he’s been but
not enough to actually find out.
How would I?
No one is expecting me to
do anything for or about him,
least of all he.

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