(Ok I think this more of an experimental prose-poem than regular poetry)
This may sound creepy but bear with me….
When I was young and even up to a decade or so ago, I was terribly shy with women. I had extreme low self esteem that sabotaged any attempts to get to know girls. As the years passed that faded. Not all but most of it did. There was this burden on me of looking at so many women as possible mates or in some sexual way. NOW, I feel comfortable in being free of so much of that. It allows me to WATCH people in what I hope is a non staring way. Gaze and let my gaze keep moving. Have them in my sights but keep the cross hairs moving to the many targets around me.
In the grocery store.
Grocery stores are great places to watch people. Sometimes we find Lights and other times we think a light that was merely shifting shadow.
Such as today.
I was doing my weekly food shopping trip at my favorite grocer. I was dirty and full of back and other pains from work. As I trundled along often looking at the list of food to get on my phone, I looked out of myself at people. Most people are unremarkable to me. I often force myself to smile at those and try for a remarkable smile from them. I did that today. Large black women looking as tired as I. Stop. Excuse me. Smile. Smile back. Not so unremarkable. Some light in there.
As I walked along, I saw a woman that seemed ageless. Fit. She was there for more than the food. She was fun to watch. She was … CURIOUS. I did my purposeful search and kept seeing her. Random curiosity. Go over here, look at this. Over there, look at that. She had a few items. I found her remarkable for her ENERGY. An energy that came from inside. She was like a dancer going through the store. I wanted to go up to her and tell her what I saw in her. To make her smile. I did not. Perhaps the oddness of it would have seemed like something CREEPY. I left her alone. Remembering her energy. Wondering about her. Hoping all is well with her as I sit writing this. THAT PERSON. I had wanted to encounter a person I felt was remarkable. To glance inside them a little.
In the check-out line I saw a blonde woman. A little heavy. She had a bitch quality about her I found intimidating and interesting. She seemed to help an old woman who was probably close to my age, cut in line. I told the blonde woman what she had done was a good thing. She gave me a hostile look and said something that seemed to not have words. Just an utterance of NASTY.
There are people like that that have a confusing vibe to them.
There are also those that are confusing about what gender they are. Maybe they are not human.
I wondered about such a person in the produce area. Dressed in women’s clothing. Dark lined face. 5 O’Clock shadow? A face of darkness not man or woman but dressed AS a woman.
Look at the feet.
A man’s feet. More RIGHT to be in work boots not those soft very very LARGE shoes. Is there a woman locked-up screaming to get out of that man’s body dressed as a woman?
I did not want to find out.
I waited to get the bananas and let the darkness pass.
I find the greatest courage I see in life,
In a grocery shop,
A vulnerable woman
Will simply SMILE at me,
Trusting I am not a monster
Looking past my work place begrimed clothes
Gnarled dirty hands
Looking into my eyes
Joining my smile and knowing the courage was rewarded.
(Now THAT took courage!
You went outside your walls and dared to trust)