What’s a ‘Poet for Hire’?

art, folktale, poetry, short story

Let me tell you a story.

Tonight it is hot, and the people, strolling and sauntering, occasionally rolling or rambling, down the street, catch like threads on street corners as they swing between the bars holding beers or tubas or flannel towels – to wipe off the sweat. 

There are four crates set out in a rectangle on the side of the pavement. Typewriters on two of them. “What’s a ‘Poet for Hire’ man?” comes the question…

It’s each to their own, and the man with glasses and the wide brimmed hat has a knack for the poem, writes his thoughts that way, fast and brief as bird wings on the back beat of flight. But if you take my advice, you’ll talk to the other, the one with bands of ink below each shoulder. Without keys on his carabiner. Tell him your story. It will be easier, more open and more full than you think. And, when you leave, and have returned some minutes later, he will give it back to you, on a thread of receipt paper, in pressed black ink. You may pay him what you feel, he will only suggest. 

Tell him your story. I never did, I only watched. And they all walked away, with more than the paper in their hands.

I said I would be back. I haven’t been back, yet.