I Attract Weirdos at the Festival of Friends (1983)


"I Attract Weirdos" - drawing by Harvey Dog 2020 for the 1983 poem "I Attract Weirdos at the Festival of Friends".

Walking through the park
staring at Mother Nature’s art,
enjoying the feeling of
being alone in a crowd.

That beautiful feeling vanishes
as a weirdo walks up to me and
breathes stinking vapours into my
sensitive nostrils.

“I’ll give you a quarter for a cigarette.”
To get rid of him quickly I offer him a
cigarette for free.
“What day is it today?”
apparently, the cigarette is not enough,
he wants to talk.

“Today is Saturday.”
“I had a few hundred bucks at the beginning of the week…
lent it to my friends…they haven’t paid me back.”
Bullshit thinks I as I stare at his heavily nicotine-stained fingers,
“You should acquire more reliable friends,” I say aloud,
“Damn right! One of my friends tried to commit suicide last night.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Didn’t work though. He’s always been a lousy shot.”

He laughs hideously and ambles into the crowd
and I sit puzzled, wondering why
I attract weirdos at the Festival of Friends.

A band is playing and I’m on the grass
(by myself goddammit)
letting the environment soak into my soul,
then a kid sits beside me and I can smell his unclean breath,
there’s lots of room elsewhere but he chooses to sit…
directly beside me…
of course, he strikes up a conversation.

"A Day in the Park" - drawing by Harvey Dog 2020 for the 1983 poem "I Attract Weirdos at the Festival of Friends".

“Nice looking girl in the band.”
“Yeah.”
I try not to encourage him
of course, my attempt failed and he continues:.
“That guy’s camera looks expensive….”  blah blah blah,
I miss the rest of the information he imparts which is
technical and means nothing to me.
I remain silent.

“It’s supposed to rain tonight.”
OK, I think to myself.
I remain silent, hoping he’ll get the hell away from me.
“My name is Ivan but my friends call me Steve.”
I mumble something and clam up, 
“My friend attempted suicide last night…but he failed.”
I stare intensely at him with the word “conspiracy”
reverberating in my head.
This must be a plot to decrease my sanity.
I remain silent waiting for the rest to follow:
“…he’s always been a lousy shot.”

He laughs hideously and ambles into the crowd
and I sit confused and despairing, wondering why
I attract weirdos at the Festival of Friends.

I conversed with sleep to cancel my turmoil,
a volcanic eruption in my head hummed
hideously, disappeared into the realm
of my unconscious state…a face flashed
before my eyes, grinning excruciatingly, painfully.
I asked the soul inside the face to help me out…
he ambled away into the crowd of my dreams.

I turned off the dream and slept uneasily,
the pounding of new dreams infiltrated my slumber,
I stared into an abyss of shit stinking
the peace out of my head as a man dressed to
symbolize God continually repeated:
“You are their mirror.
You are their mirror.”

I woke up in the park with a start 
and asked a stranger for a cigarette,
I offered him a quarter, he offered me a butt for free,
I told him: “My friend attempted suicide last night…
but he failed.”

I amble away laughing hideously
shouting through my stinking breath,
“He’s always been a lousy shot.”

1983



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