Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I see him on the corner,
Holding his sign
Be-bopping to music
Only in his mind.

A simple soul,
A little boy
In the grown man's body,
Brain not quite whole.
His smile, contagious
His work ethic strong.
He waves his sign, all day long.

I think of his mom
Wonderful schemes
Plans for her child
But he's not what he seems
A child forever,
Shattered dreams.

But he's happy on his corner,
Holding his sign
Be-bopping to music
Only in his mind.

I've seen him many times since this particular sub shop has three locations in our town.  Once he was taking his break inside the store, and I overheard a conversation between him and a co-worker.  "Get out of here, Charlie.  Go wave your sign."  

"Not yet.  Charlie gets a break.  Charlie gets his coke.  Charlie has three minutes." 

"Well don't hang out here, we've got customers."

"Charlie can help."

"We don't want your help, Charlie, just go."

"Charlie has two minutes left." 

He finished his break, picked up his sign, and went outside.
The workers then threw some nasty comments his way about his intelligence, his speech, etc.
I'd say it would be the rude co-workers who lack the intelligence to deal with anything different.
You go, Charlie.  I'm rooting for you.


purejoy said...

beautiful prose. we have a guy with diminished mental abilities who works a few hours a day for us. he's embarrassed us on occasion (he has a tendency to have "wet" speech patterns) but more often than not, has brought all of us great joy.
the life would be too dull if everyone were the same.
yeah, you go, Charlie!

Brian Miller said...

charlie sounds like a beautiful person...and someone has instilled in him a work ethic that is second to none...i imagine life has been hard for his family and for him...and sorry he has to deal with ignorant co workers...you go charlie!

Jenny said...

This is beautiful. I love Charlie. And I love you for sharing this story with us.

One Photo said...

Oh Tina what a beautiful poem and post. Please give Charlie a hug from me next time you see him and I agree it is his co-workers who lack the understanding to deal with him and appreciate him for what he is.

Natasha said...

Good for you, Tina. The guy can't help being what he is, but the co-workers don't have a reason for not trying to admire him.
Wish you had punched the co-workers on the nose, but this poem must have got your anger out.