walking in the city

i follow them – two men
letting my feet tread quietly
yet they stare back at me
letting me know that i’m either
crazy
or stupid
to be alone

i sit on a park bench counting dandelions
and shine as the park lights do
a man in blue and gold
comes up to me
and lets me know that i’m either
crazy
or stupid
to sit there alone

i stand at a bus stop
it is late at night and i am waiting
impatiently
worrying about the one
whose pride was stolen
and i let myself know that i’m either
crazy
or stupid
to stand there alone

he says “i don’t walk downtown”
he says “this is a rotten neighborhood”
he says “it’s not safe here for you”
i reply “my rights are being infringed upon”

yes dear you have the right to lose your pride
you have the right to lose your life
but ask them “do i have the right to walk
in the city?”
and they will let you know
that you are either
crazy
or just plain stupid

1989

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