If you frequent Midtown South, chances are you've walked by Richard Musto. Credit: Michel Delsol
They're the people we pass every day and try not to look at. Whatever excuses we tell ourselves to keep our distance - they just want money; I don't have time; they're either crazy, on drugs, or both - poet Joe Lamport stopped making them. Instead, he formed a close friendship with a man who lived in a cardboard box, getting to know his past, present and hopes for the future. The result is "The Life and Times of Richard Musto," a story told through poetry about the 89-year-old World War II vet.
If you don't have plans to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day, a national event for sharing a favorite work of poetry on April 24, hearing Musto's story may cause you to reconsider and share a poem with someone you pass every day. Here, exclusively in Metro, are the first words of the book, as Lamport describes meeting Musto:
It's out on the street Where such stories begin As we're rushing to work Late for a meeting Or mindlessly drifting Amidst the densely packed throng That's where we People of the Midtown South Precinct step the most lively Alone yet primed and ready To love unrequited The next passing stranger Just as Baudelaire did Or else if we dare We might stop and inquire Where someone is from Not in the least prepared For whatever comes next