There’s this girl I watch
a couple times a week:
Stringy hair, thin frame,
carefree style, opinionated
in her silence and mousiness,
(mousiness in the sense of being subtle
and not in her looks), which I like.
She brings her lunch in little plastic baggies,
nibbling on her homemade
peanut butter and jelly
sandwich with the crust still on.
As if she’s trying to hide
something from everyone around her,
she checks out.
Munching on her sandwich
with intent, her thoughts seem
to overrule the feast of the
fruit in her mouth.
She finishes her lunch off with
a bruised banana, chewing slowly, not
losing her resolve to fulfill
her hunger. She wraps the peel
up quietly, tucking it in on
top of her purse, waiting to
dispose of it, not wanting to
draw attention to her awkward
walk across the room.
Her lack of shower, (maybe she
had a bird bath instead) which
I know is to save the water, is
a reminder of my own choices to
do the same: Save the planet. I
envision her standing in front of
her vanity mirror, scrubbing her
arm pits with a faded yellow
wash cloth, which was probably
her grandma’s while humming songs
to some anti-government band from
years before, making sure to avoid
changing her underwear.
All of this reminds me of a time in my own life where:
We drank a lot,
fucked a lot,
fought a lot.
We were opinionated,
Life seemed to pass us by,
exist only in it debauchery,
remind us of our nemesis.
We crawled into bottles
to hide our resentments,
our lackluster views of society.
We chastised our leaders who lied to us,
our drug dealers who stole from us,
the bums on the street who got their
booze for free.
We sang songs screaming for justice,
wrote poems begging for silence,
and passed out every night in our own puke.
I think of those times and don’t
miss them one bit.
But, I just wouldn’t trade them
for anything. Sometimes,
pain is the great motivator and
stinky armpits are the reminder
that I need to shake it up once
in a while, despite my age.
So, I thank you little girl, (not in
a bad way, but in the way that
I was truly a little girl pretending
to be all grown up, too). You reminded
me of “my roots, my rock, my reggae.”