Vice

I have a vice, terrible and secret
But as real as when a movie starts
With Based on a true story:
I follow pedestrians,
Eavesdropping on what they say.
I sidle up next to them, at intersections,
At night. They talk on the phone
Or to themselves or to ancestors.
One of my victims is drunk:
He slouches, wilts,
Floats a little,
Then sinks and bobs,
Saying It’s not fair,
It’s not fair, it’s not fair.

On the next block,
Right outside the Indian DVD store
That sells porno and kungfu,
I pass a bunch of girls on their
Way to a bar – one screams
I’ll sleep with the first man
Who tries to kiss me!

I walk on, past a beautiful Mexican
With tree rings under her eyes.
I hear Does she notice
Strangeness in my eyes?

And am startled,
Because it is my own voice,
Talking to myself.
I hear more:
Every stranger is your friend.
This seems true and beautiful
And I wonder if I said it
Or if it was the Pakistani making
Chicken and rice at the corner
Of 14th and 3rd.