The fences were drooped down low
heavy-laden with youth,
hundreds of nondescript faces
hung on the wire like pale coins
turned upwards to catch the sun,
the thrumming churn of voices
resonant with desire
for a talisman to link them
to the mighty gamesmen.

Now and then some knew their names,
made implied kinship part and parcel
of the ritual of exchange.

But mostly it was hey mister
Hey Mister!
Hey Mister Man!
the sharpies and ballpoints
swapped to and fro
by anonymous hands.

They went clambering after his scrawl.

©1998 Rick Lopez (text) & Art Becker (images)