sunday, april 6

yesterday morning.

walking up the pearl street mall
i'm tailed by a cop car
this is ridiculous i think as i step to one side
and sure enough he rolls down a window
and asks what i'm doing down here so early

it occurs to me that the legitimate transients
have all gone to ground by this time
for sound reasons
and i don't actually have a good answer for him
so one of those mundane but weirdly sharp
exchanges follows — you know the pattern
i say something stupid
the cop says something stupid

yes, officer, that is just exactly it
i have nothing better to do at 6:00 on a saturday
morning than shuffle along the deserted pedestrian mall
later of course i'll think of all the witty
or disarming or confident kinds of things
i might have said

i have never been good with the police
something about power & authority
i get slow & stupid,
downright shifty

anyway i throw the guy a bone
and ask if he's noticed the vandalism down
the street a bit
three smashed up benches
and a couple layers of shattered glass at
the cycle shop that used to be a coffee house

he thanks me, i go my way, he goes his
me feeling like a six year old child all over again
and him, who knows — what does a cop feel like?
between fatigue and the darth vader car
and the stupid stereotyped roleplaying
of almost every interaction i have
ever had with johnny law
i'm not a good enough person to even wonder much

i guess this is better than reacting like
i used to when the authority was let's say
an uptight superintendent of schools
and my basic response was to see how much
fat important anger i could wring out
into the air and how quick
the threat was of course implicit there too
the usual implication of potential physical violence
but there's a scale to these things

and i'm not much for winding people up any more.