A woman, who is as weathered as her black leather jacket, sits directly in front of me, two booths up.
On her lapel is a pin which states; “nobody believes I’m bi-sexual”, and on her back, spelled out in
silver studs, the word; “LIONESS”. She is old and ill used, but on her gaunt,homely features sits the
expression of a lustful s-ex-goddess. This might perhaps be inspirational, but by accident, when touching up her
hideous shade of lipstick,
she unwittingly smeared a large stripe
across her pale chin. So regal, so crazed was her manner while she counted coins
over and over again, sliding the same ones from one pile
to another, that no one dare approach.

There is what could only be a homeless woman, a damaged and discarded soul, sitting southeast.
A mountain dew, a pudding cup, a dirty pink duffel, blue sweats, dirt under her nails, and a pay stub
emblazoned with a government seal.
For the better part of two hours now, she has been dividing a pitifully small number
furiously into smaller numbers still, on a tiny calculator.
Mapping out the next few weeks, better weeks than most, weeks of food,
for an addiction, or for a child,
never once in these two hours looking up from her liquid crystal dismay.
The price of existence, menacing specters of numbers who hang maddeningly overhead.
Numbers ever dehumanizing. Numbers ever diminishing. Each press of every button an
example of an eternity of waiting for those numbers to arrive. It’s been two hours now…how much
longer?

An Asian gentleman sits to my right, and I can smell him from here. He coughs tremendously, a dry
hack
that seems to tear his esophagus to shreds. In between the explosions from his chest, he has
smoked a full pack of Marlboro cigarettes, a pack of black and mild cigars, and bummed about five
smokes from the other souls here who are smoking. In addition to asking for more tar, he hands over
a yellow legal pad that he has been scribbling in between fits and drags, and asks if his poem is any
good. I have seen it three times since I’ve been here, and no…it’s not;

. I see the trees and the grasses and they are beautiful
I feel happy to see them so beautiful, so green
I like the winter also, but I am sad too,
because I cannot see the grasses
and the trees are dead.

Each time I read this poem, I fish another cigarette out of my pack, hand it over and look out the window...
I still don’t see any trees…

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