October 12, 2016

I Played a Game of Craigslist Curb Alert. {Poem}

sidewalk curb sitting woman

Last Friday I played a game of Craigslist Curb Alert.

Announcing: One Smallish but Smiling, Free Maelyn
Stranded on the Street.
Comes with Groceries,
and a dead cell phone.
Plus a purse of
Rummage if you dare.

No Response…
for quite a while.

Just sitting and waiting in some shadier patch.
Legs wound-up criss-cross applesauce,
my gone-rogue car-keys yet to come across.
Stuck outside at this sidewalk in a pop-a-squat,
getting dangerously close to completely distraught.

My Curb Alert yielded no initial response,
so Craig and I resigned to Missed Connections

Still sitting…
and waiting.
Still smallish…
and smiling.
Just getting
more sweaty.

Yet now each passerby, each pedestrian
shopper and skater
all the babies-on-board and every break-time employee,
became opportunity for much more than mere chance encounter.
An invitation posed:
Just one look and smile
I’m sitting here,
You’re standing there
Will you connect with me?
I can see you,
Are you seeing me?

No response…
for quite a while.

Turn your head.
Shift your gaze.
Avoid eyes and walk faster.
Hey, that’s alright.
Sidewalk strangers—
I understand, I for sure get it.
Unprotected heart contact?
Sounds scary,
could be chancy.
At worst
might be catching.


Want some ice cream?
(Mine’s melting)
Push your cart back?
(I’m just waiting)
Have a great day.
(You deserve it)

Two hours of life-watching.
Two hours of life-living.
Not one moment undervalued.
No one person gone unseen.

Lots of emotions
(for a walkway)
Until surfaced surrender
(in the gutter)
Followed by trust
(as more and more time passed)

And as I defrosted old stories named “Separation”
slowly peeling back false packaging
catching sight of mismarked labels,
there came an answer to my Curb Alert:
A Connection.
New Contact.
A high-five turned hitchhike
Both borrowed a phone
and found my ride home.
Started my weekend
with a brand-new stranger-turned-friend

Who would have guessed.
It turns out that key I lost?
Was never for my car.

New Craigslist Posting.
Community Bulletin:
One Open and Fearless, Free Maelyn.
Makes eye contact, Asks questions
is comfortable with quiet.
Warning: she’s got a heart melted wide open,
She’ll love you if you dare.


Author: Maelyn Gandola

Image: Jan Michellardi/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Maelyn Gandola