I Bought a Poem From a Homeless Guy

As I was thus driving down the road I saw a man with a sign that said, “New Poems for Sale”. What choice did I, a man who appreciates writing, have? I needed to buy one from him. So I gave him a dollar, and he gave me a poem.

View
How and why you lit my flame I’ll never know.
Never got to see you undress only caught your
views and so I’m told yours was unstoppable,
Your times etched in your mind.
Your touch I was not denied, amazingly you
made me so much more than I was. Gratefully
you babe allowed me, contained me, and gave
me your view.
Girl you were politically, moralistically, and
philosophically mature beyond your years. You
elegantly surfed through on top of it all, every
moment shared; no words could appreciate the
love you shared.
”Craig A.”
11-16-11

When I first read the poem. My thought was, “Creepy! Sounds like this guy is a Peeping Tom.” However, after careful analysis, I no longer find the poem creepy.

To break this poem apart, we must first make some observations: There are two characters in this poem, the narrator and the woman. We know that the narrator is referring to a woman and not a man because he specifically use the word “girl” in the third stanza. We will assume that the narrator is a man because the author of the poem is a man. It is possible that the poem is written by the author as if he were someone else (the poem is entitled “View” after all). However, the title “View” seems to have reference to the contents of the poem, and not the context in which it was created. Truth be told, however, that it doesn’t really matter what the sexes of the characters are.

Consider first the title, “View”. The word “views” is brought up twice. The context of which is that the woman is giving the narrator her “views”. The likely interpretation is that the woman was ”making eyes”, or in other words making eye contact in a way that suggests feelings of sexual attraction, at the narrator. That alone relieves us of ideas that the narrator is a Peeping Tom or stalker of some sort. In fact the first stanza also states that, “[hers] was unstoppable,” perhaps suggesting that not only was she ”making eyes” at the narrator, but also that she was rather diligent in her pursuit of him. In fact, it isn’t hard to understand that the narrator was basically surrendering to the advances of the woman.

Thus the first line, “How an why you lit my flame I’ll never know.” We might actually interpret this to mean that the narrator didn’t even find the woman appealing, but because of her advances, he took interest in her. It’s also possible that this is just generic rhetoric that a man might spout out to a woman in order to flatter her. In any case, the relationship between the narrator and the woman seems to be consensual.

We understand from the second stanza that the narrator and the woman had some kind of physical relationship since the narrator states that, “Your touch I was not denied,” followed up by some more generic flattering rhetoric, and again referring to the fact that the woman was ”making eyes” at him. We know, however, that their relationship never got too physical, both because the narrator mentions that he, “Never got to see [her] undress,” and also because he seems more enamored by the fact that she ”made eyes” at him than anything else. We might assume their relationship went only as far as hand holding.

As for the line, “Your times etched in your mind,” this seems to have reference to the third stanza. The word “times” could be interpreted as “age” or “experience”. The idea that it has been etched in her mind meaning that her life and experiences can be seen through her countenance and demeanor. This idea is supported in the third stanza when the narrator says that the woman is “mature beyond [her] years”. The phrase, “You elegantly surfed through on top of it all,” seems to imply that this woman has had some challenging experiences, but dealt with them easily. It’s unclear what the experiences were, possibly something as simple as her pursuit of the narrator being more challenging than she had anticipated. Possibly something else.

I suppose we are to assume that the closing, “No words could appreciate the love you shared,” is in reference to the narrator. One question is begged however: What happened to the woman? The narrator says “Girl you ”were”…”. He doesn’t say, “Girl you are…” He says ”were” past tense. Clearly this couple is no longer together, but based on the lack of bitterness are we to interpret that the woman has passed on? Possibly.

Now let us talk about the poem from a technical standpoint. There is no rhythm to it. It doesn’t rhyme. It has a few suggestions of allusion, but little follow up on the allusion. There is supposed metaphor, but without an external source it has no meaning. There isn’t alliteration. The poem doesn’t emote anything, as, even though I’ve provided a non-creepy interpretation, it still uses the line, “Never got to see you undress,” which is undeniably creepy. The third stanza ultimately implies that this is a young woman. The line, “You [are] … mature beyond your years,” is a line that older guys use with young women, even teenagers, when they are trying to get into their pants, which is about as creepy as anything I can think of.

Truth be told, I lied when I said that after careful analysis I not longer found the poem creepy. I do. It’s freaking creepy. On top of that, a homeless guy wrote this poem, think about that!

A quick search of the internet revealed more work by this struggling writer: Life in the Spin Cycle.

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