“night people and poets”....by bsp

...to improve my drawing skills I would often venture out into the streets of manhattan at night to make quick sketches of antique furniture and things of interest in shop windows....i loved stopping at the horn & hardart automates..they were open 24 hrs....there were homeless people...writers...artists....night people...my people...i didn't feel qualified to join discussions but the electricity filled the air n charged my batteries with creativity...

...one night I stopped by the edge of central park near the plaza hotel...sat on a bench to write a poem about autumn....highly dressed people walked by on their way to something at the hotel.....a raggedy figure of a man approached carrying an old railroad lantern...he stopped at a nearby tree to curse n pee with no attempt to hide what he was doing....the people walkin by were not as amused as I was....

...he sat next to me on the bench...he smelled like a brewery...”what may I ask are you writing” he asked....”oh it's a poem I have been thinkin about”....”may I read it..i know about poetry?”....after reading what I had written...”not bad young man”...”you think I don't know” he added....before I could answer he stood up...pitched the lantern toward the park and moved in front of me....there were no more people walkin by...so I was the audience....he started with edgar allan poe's “annabel lee”....followed by “the raven”....his voice had the resonance and projection of a trained actor....sometimes a faint whisper growing in power and volume that seemed to fill the air with emotion...the city was his stage...his animation n body language added to the theatrics....i was stunned....he put out his weathered hand...”do you have a dollar so I can get some rot-gut before they close?”...i wanted to know more about him....what happened?...he took the dollar and hurried off into the night.......

...i learned a lesson from my brief encounter with the raggedy poet....to this day I try not to judge people by their appearance...there is always a story...a poem waiting to be heard...if we listen...bsp