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Good Morning

His hair was uncombed
His head misshapen
cheeks swollen
by last night’s punches
Eyes rheumy
Skin bronzed red
fired by rum
Clothing frayed
stained beyond cleaning
Feet dusty

And yet . . .
When a vendor opened his shop
Threw on the music
He raised his arms
snapped his fingers
rolled his shoulders
swayed his hips
and stepped
in rhythmic grace
Along the white line
in the center of the street

As the cars zoomed by on both sides
The poor man danced
this morning

— Marcus Rediker
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
published in PERSPECTIVES (2001)