Before my reading at the Sundown Poetry Series at Piccolo Spoleto, I roamed the streets of Charleston contemplating moments of joy. The weather was ominous and dark clouds swept into the city and it was if the day was telling me that this too was joy. For lives are weather patterns. It started to rain, then pour, and my book bag stuck outside the small umbrella. I grew concerned that my little poetry book was getting wet and all the pages of the poems I had chosen to read would clump together. It showed in my narrowing eyes. All my worse imaginings swirled with the rain. That’s when a homeless man startled me and asked if I was OK. “I have seen you pass twice before.”
I thought he was asking for money and I was about to hurry on. But his eyes stopped me with their reflection of concern. He had a rooted presence and a musical Gullah accent. For awhile, we stood under an awning and shared smiles at passersby. We talked about what had brought me to Charleston. He shared his stories of growing up on John’s Island, of being a veteran, and the hardships he had seen. He embraced me as reflexively as picking up a child from a fall. There are souls in this world that remind us what we are suppose to do. My poetry reading went off without a hitch and I am forever grateful to those who attended. That day, under an awning, I was reminded that I write alone so I can be in a relationship with others.