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Key To Survival 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    Have you ever seen someone who has a flock of people around them, and that someone is just naturally talking but people are attracted to them like moths to a flame? People there are like sun tanning high-school girls facing this person’s bright light, wanting to soak them all in and hoping they’re more beautiful for it.
    You see these people, everyone smiling, circled around this special someone. It’s like an animal magnetism; you can’t help but try to nudge in, to hear their words, to try to get a little of that narcotic for yourself.
    It’s like being a child again, with a ton of kids in a candy store where someone’s giving out free candy and all the kids are so thrilled and they’re grinning from ear to ear... You haven’t even gotten close enough to hear their words, but you’re already starting to smile.
    Have you ever seen someone standing at the corner of an intersection; they look dirty and disheveled and you try to keep your distance ‘cause you’re guessing they’re homeless and asking for money but you have to pass them, they’re right on the street in your way. So you try to walk on the farthest edge of the sidewalk but you watch them with your peripheral vision, and you see them making animated gestures and you see their face contorting like they’re having a great debate... with no one. Like they’re giving the speech of their lifetime to no one.
    Because, you see, no one wants to listen. Everyone knows this is a madman raving, so you just try to ignore them. You make a point to not listen, I mean, there’s a Hell of a lot of noise we tune of out of our minds, cars going by, honking their horns, the low rumble of other people talking nearby, the shuffle of your footsteps... Well, this is another one of those noises. You don’t want to hear them; you had a bad feeling about them as soon as you saw them. Just ignore them and hopefully they'll go away.
    I knew of a woman who went on a date with a male friend of mine, and after the date the guy talked about how great she was, how they talked about their future and what they both wanted. He talked about the inside of her place, but after he left messages for her repeatedly, she never called him back again
    Saw this woman weeks later at a Starbuck’s and she said she felt bad, but she never wanted to see him again, because during their date they never talked about what they wanted... He just talked about what he wanted, like how she wouldn’t work because he even told her how many of his children she would bear.
    She wouldn’t let him into her home (does that mean he was looking through her window?), and she said that after the date she showered for hours because she felt mentally raped.
    Poor girl. She saw someone who seemed nice, but it took her only a short while to know what he was really like.
    Sometimes you look at people, and you just know.
    Sometimes it takes you a little while, but people can’t hide their souls forever.
    Everyone gets feelings about someone whether or not they want to admit it.
    It’s not women’s intuition, men feel it too. You feel it in your chest when you see someone good and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see someone bad.
    Sometimes you look at people and you just know, and you can try to avoid that feeling you get and you try to shrug it off as nothing and you try to run away from the feeling for years but you can’t hide from your soul forever. It’ll catch up to you when you least expect it.
    Sometimes you just know. You’ve felt it. I’ve felt it too. We know what to run to and what to steer clear of.
    We’ve got to. It’s in our nature. It’s a key to happiness and our key to survival.

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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