Slim Pickens

 Austin is amazing. Walking down South Congress, Jeff and I nearly tripped over a traveling custom poetry salesman. It was late afternoon and getting chilly, and there he was, a thin, bearded man occupying a small patch of sidewalk with his fold-out chair, rickety table, and vintage typewriter. A bonafide itinerant poet.

Did we bite at his inky lure? Um. YES!

The itinerant soul in me identifies as Wander Woman.* So it only took a few minutes for our vagabonding natures to connect, then we struck our deal. “Come back in half an hour,” he said, threading a small rectangle of paper through his typewriter. “And pay what you like.”

So we left him to his ode and headed down the block to Güero’s Taco Bar to order him some hot coffee, a bean burrito, and a mess of chips. Handing him dinner later, he greeted us with a warm smile. “I just finished your poem,” he says, slugging down some coffee. Then he stood to perform it aloud, while a little flotilla of passersby gathered at our edges, entranced by his word-work.

Silver Streamline Shine

In the dawn with a rosy sun
   At dusk, when the color is rust
The Silver Streamline
   Slice of home pie

The satellite broadcast Sputnik
And builds up Roman’s
   Sweet, precious Mind
To call for Lucca
   Who’s in just the other room
And waiting there for You

Roman, whose World in His Eyes
To compliment the joyful cries
And Laughter, and Lucca,
   so brilliant, and after
We sit in our sputnik satellite
   where the feeling’s almost
   always just Right
Oh Roman, your Tower soaring
   over power lines
and overhead in cloudless sky

Were waiting here, and Lucca too
Roman, I sing loud, how Proud
          we are of you.

Slim Pickens

So Slim literally typed for his supper (and a tenner).** Once the spell was broken, the stranded onlookers plowed onward while I stood crying behind my sunglasses. I’m pretttttty sure no one noticed.

* Wander Woman is like the mythical Grey Woman - a chameleon who can blend into any surroundings - from NCIS: Los Angeles. (<— don’t judge me, nothing else was on.) I accessorize with the bulletproof bangles, but leave the whip of truth at home. Honesty is too truthy. Also: my outfit does not include a cape. Have you seen The Incredibles?
** Dinner AND a show!

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