I just had an encounter with the street poetry dude. I'll give you a little bit of background on him: When I first came to Ireland, two years ago, he was one of the first people that I actually spoke to. He occupies a corner of Grafton Street, and you might recognise him by his long hair and glasses.

Street poetry dude writes poetry, on the street. He uses chalk to write it, and then sprays over it with some sort of lacquer that protects it from the rain. He self-publishes pamphlets of poetry that he sells, mostly to tourists. As well, his hat is always next to whichever poem he has inscribed, and passerby often drop spare change into it. To be quite honest with you, the poetry isn't all that good. It's not as though he's a bright flame, waiting to be discovered. Or, if he is, his discovery will not be in the realm of poetry. Interestingly, though his poetry isn't exceptional, he still has no trouble pulling young women. They drop their names and numbers into his hat, an image that has always struck me as amusing. A sort of lottery for those so inclined.

I like street poetry dude. I like that he has the balls to just write on a sidewalk. I like that he is relentlessly pursuing his dream, and I'm sure that he will improve in time. I like that he never complains about how the Garda lob him in prison every few weeks for defacement, loitering and panhandling. He mentions it only in passing, to explain his absence.

Street poetry dude and I saw each other almost every day during my first summer in this country. We'd always chat for a bit while I was on my smoke breaks. We shared a mutual interest in poetry, and when we first met I was being highly discouraged by my then-agent who had recently informed me that poetry won't pay the rent. Two people with an interest in poetry can speak for days on end about how there's not enough interest in this dying art form.

Towards the winter, street poetry dude wasn't around much. I ran into him here and there, shared a couple of joints with him when we bumped into each other at the bars. It was always nice to see him, and he actually wanted me to join his band, completely undeterred by the fact that I have no musical talent whatsoever.

In my second Irish summer, he re-surfaced and we resumed where we'd left off with our casual, undemanding friendship. I'm in my third summer, now -- I arrived midway through the first -- and I was starting to worry that I wouldn't see him again before I left for Canada.

He walked past me on the street when I was on my four o'clock smoke break, and didn't miss a beat. It was back to old times. He introduced me to his girlfriend and we chatted a bit before he ambled away to do some busking. I said my farewells and we both expressed a hope that we'd see each other again before I left.

I node this because I don't want to forget all about him in a few years time, and because I thought that maybe you'd all like to hear about my relaxed, casual friendship with a young man who is one of the warmest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

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