Kevin Sampsell

Song for Spare Change

The girl looked normal at first

She came right up to me
On the street.

She was blocking my path.
Then I noticed that she looked
Scrawny, deflated,
Somewhat sucked out

She asked if she could sing
Me a song for a dollar.
I said no

But I was curious
So I walked around the block
And spotted her asking
Someone else.
This man pulled out a dollar.

Her voice was not beautifully sad
Like I thought it might be.
It was normal and
Kind of bad.

Too sing-songy.

That was fantastic, the man lied to her.
He gave her another dollar and smiled.

She did not smile back
and he became angry.

He leaned toward her and
Do you do anything else
Besides sing?

A Group of Them

One of them is fifty years old today.
One of them is wearing jeans that once cost $120.
One of them has three cats.
One of them still has perfect teeth.
One of them remembers the night they met Bon Jovi.
One of them is reading a thick paperback with the cover torn off.
One of them is talking to a woman with a nametag.
One of them says they were in a Skechers commercial.
One of them eats a burrito that is too spicy.
One of them is pretending to knit with a stick and a pencil.
One of them asks for "spare cash."
One of them says they live in a cave.
One of them used to be friends with Michael Jordan.
One of them believes in the devil.
One of them has two cell phones.
One of them is from Hawaii.
One of them has letters to mail.
One of them never takes off their shoes.
One of them has slept with many of them.
One of them sees their mother only on Thanksgiving.
One of them has faked their own death.
One of them has a gmail and a hotmail.
One of them does a crossword puzzle every day.
One of them has soft, pretty eyes.
One of them won't stop looking at me.

Kevin Sampsell is a Portland, Oregon author, publisher, and bookseller. His latest book is A Common Pornography. These two poems are from a series in progress called "The Homeless Poems." Kevin Sampsell has never been homeless but is afraid he will be someday.

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