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Key To Survival

“the poem of J”


Have you ever seen someone
who has a flock of people around them
and that someone is just naturally talking
but people are attracted to them like moths to a flame
people there are like sun tanning high-school girls
facing this person’s bright light,
wanting to soak them all in
and hoping they’re more beautiful for it

You see these people,
everyone smiling,
circled around this special someone
it’s like an animal magnetism
you can’t help but
try to nudge in,
to hear their words
to try to get a little of that narcotic for yourself

it’s like being a child again,
with a ton of kids in a candy store
where someone’s giving out free candy
and all the kids are so thrilled
and they’re grinning from ear to ear

You haven’t even gotten close enough
to hear their words,
but you’re already starting to smile


have you ever seen someone
standing at the corner of an intersection
they look dirty and disheveled
and you try to keep your distance
‘cause you’re guessing they’re homeless
and asking for money
but you have to pass them
they’re right on the street in your way
so you try to walk
on the farthest edge of the sidewalk
but you watch them with your peripheral vision
and you see them making animated gestures
and you see their face contorting
like they’re having a great debate
with no one
like they’re giving the speech of their lifetime
to no one

because, you see, no one wants to listen
everyone knows this is a madman raving
so you just try to ignore them
you make a point to not listen
I mean, there’s a Hell of a lot of noise
we tune of out of our minds,
cars going by, honking their horns,
the low rumble of other people talking nearby
the shuffle of your footsteps
well, this is another one of those noises.
you don’t want to hear them
you had a bad feeling about them
as soon as you saw them
just ignore them
and hopefully they'll go away


I knew of a woman
who went on a date
with a male friend of mine,
and after the date
the guy talked about how great she was,
how they talked about their future
and what they both wanted
he talked about the inside of her place,
but after he left messages for her repeatedly,
she never called him back again

saw this woman weeks later
at a Starbuck’s
and she said she felt bad
but she never wanted to see him again
because during their date
they never talked about what they wanted
he just talked about what he wanted
like how she wouldn’t work
because he even told her how many
of his children she would bear

she wouldn’t let him into her home
(does that mean he was looking through her window?)
and she said that after the date
she showered for hours
because she felt mentally raped

poor girl
she saw someone who seemed nice
but it took her only a short while
to know what he was really like


sometimes you look at people
and you just know

sometimes it takes you a little while
but people can’t hide their souls forever

everyone gets feelings about someone
whether or not they want to admit it

it’s not women’s intuition
men feel it too
you feel it in your chest
when you see someone good
and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach
when you see someone bad

sometimes you look at people
and you just know
and you can try to avoid that feeling you get
and you try to shrug it off as nothing
and you try to run away from the feeling for years
but you can’t hide from your soul forever
it’ll catch up to you
when you least expect it

sometimes you just know
you’ve felt it
I’ve felt it too
we know what to run to
and what to steer clear of

we’ve got to
it’s in our nature
it’s a key to happiness
and our key to survival

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may be reprinted without express permission.

the 2007 book Tick Tock, front cover the CD set Live at the Cafe (3 CD set)