Dallas Dave

Before the developer

The Gypsies would camp there in the summers

There in the woods that would become

The Village

Now the restaurants and shops

Even places that sell only tea


But other travelers have come

I have watched them for fifteen years

I saw one of them only this morning

On my Sunday walk

It was the forty something guy with the skinned back hair

Straight hair in a pony tail

The one who is always clean shaven

I wonder if he shaves in a creek

Sometimes he has his woman with him

Much older than him

She is fat and grotesque

Clutching her big plastic bag

The clean shaven man is always smiling

The grotesque one is always frowning

Maybe why she doesn’t get to come all the time

They are some of them

The Villagers

At the Rite Aid there is another  one

On the inside

The woman with the high pitched whiney voice

The one that wears a lot of makeup

And hangs at the blood pressure machine

She walks pitching forward

Like she has a big steel plate inside her forehead

And she is being pulled by some very strong invisible magnet

She is there every day

I think she “gets a check”

On the outside are two more

The chubby boy who always wears the Carolina sweatshirt

Opting for a Carolina t shirt in warm weather

I have never seen him speak

The other one patrolling outside

The disheveled woman with the wire rimmed glasses

She wanders around the village


She never seems to stop anywhere


Gotta be drawin’ a check

Then there is the clean cut guy

Looks thirty five

Clean jeans

Nice shirt

Short haircut

An air of expediency about him

He too is a villager

Sometimes he even gets to downtown

Fayetteville Street

Had his customary yellow pad with him

Maybe a law student who had a nervous breakdown

He talks

Always is talking to someone when I see him

Someday I want to hear

The reigning king of the Villagers is the black man

The one that covers the area from the cigar store on Hillsborough Street

To the Village

And all points between

He is the king, not because of any coronation

Other than the one I have bestowed on him

But because of his tenure

I have seen him almost daily for twenty years

He used to be robust

Always smiling as he walked

I know he can talk

I heard him in the McDonald’s one day

He said “small coffee and cup of ice”,

Smiling through the stub of a cigar clenched in his teeth.

He is much slimmer now

No more smiling

Gone are nice clothes and the Fedora

Long gone is the confident stride

Now he is hatless

And shuffles

The check at the first of the month

Gone by the tenth

So saith the tobacconist

There are others

That come and go

But the core

The Villagers

Are always around

In the hot summers

The Villagers

Along with the itinerants

Start to gather about a quarter to ten

On Clark

The library opens at ten

The cool, cool library

Where one can hang

If you behave

And don’t mess with the security guys

Respite from the searing heat

A break from the norm

I will see them again tomorrow

The loyal ones

The Villagers

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