Chris was the popular pretty boy rich kid who would bully with his personality, instead of his physical presence. Cliques form around strange attractors like this. I'd he's okay as an adult, he never seemed at home in the role.
Walt was the first person I ever met who could draw anything they wanted to and have it look like they'd done it--he developed a style in which he had full expressive power and each piece was undeniably his.
Kelsey doesn't know that she's always been one of my favorite people in the whole world. Life scattered me wide, but I still ask after her, to hear what I know for certain, that she's making her own way alright.
Craig has traveled the world on his poetry, and that is no small feat. Consider all possible intonations of "good work", "good, work", "Good Work", and "good. work." Now fuse them together and like a mischievous boy want for more.
Bob was the waxed handlebar mustachioed private club bartender who charged senile members for drinks their medication didn't allow them to have. "Where's my damned drink, Bob?" "You drank it already." "Oh, I'm sorry, nevermind. Bring me another?" "Yes, sir."
Bernie is a Baby Huey with a mustache kind of guy who knows everybody and everybody knows him. Exactly the guy you want doing the work of a charity organization. His demeanor of staunch dedication enlists others by effective example.
Caroline was my kindergarten teacher and about every two years or so I hunt for a way to contact her, just to send her a short letter of thanks for throwing the that paper airplane back, over those napping heads.
Barbara automatically agreed when her mother asked to come along to a poetry reading, then realized--midpoem--how many of her pieces were going to require substantial editing, on the fly, at the mic, in the spotlight, while mom watched.
Ned was the quick, skinny kid with big glasses whose determination offset his small, wiry frame in gradeschool. In high school he discovered weight lifting and threw himself into it, hard. Now he looks like he's wearing a meat suit.
Mary was small, thin, and dark-skinned in gradeschool with a personality that let you know she was in charge, but, you were better off as a result. Last I knew she was a small, thick, tank of a nurse.
Doug is friends with everyone in every bar in every town in every country around the world. If he isn't upon arrival, he will be within ten minutes. Could eat roach coach chili dogs for breakfast. A floor broom mustache.
Sandy was the girl everyone crushed on. Worldclass gum smacker. I asked her the secret and she told me: first chew hard until the flavor's gone. Turns out, that's the trick to get me to leave her alone. It worked.
Trisha was, easily, the shortest person I was ever friends with. Her personality could bobber her up through anything imaginable, you'd think, but the weird fact of her shortness was the everpresent elephant in the room no one would acknowledge.
Kurt was your basic good old boy from Southern Illinois, big belly, big laugh, big black hair, and a big time card shark if the game was pinochle and he could lure you into playing against him and his dad.
Eric was the quiet, intelligent uncool kid, not the angry, brooding, intelligent uncool kid. Blond hair, blue eyes, cupid's bow lips and the self-conscious awkwardness that comes from the way you walk when your father's shoes are too big.
Ed has one goal in life: to outlive his wife. She tells visitors to take anything in the house they see and want, since she won't be around much longer. He says, "Don't worry, I'll make sure they get it."
Fran was my 8th grade math teacher. I passed with a "D" and this note: "Based on coursework, this should be an 'F'. I'm passing Dan because I'm certain if he needs to know this material he can learn it."
Richard reads every poem from memory--his own and others'--and is consistently, quietly, and generously far and away the most effective supporter of poetry events, of all kinds, brands and ilks, in the area. Not enough people know this.
Peter is a retired dentist turned Tiffany lamp maker. The attention to detail that made him a success at the former serves him in the latter. But he also understands the art of interplay between color, texture, opacity and light.
Greg was the first kid to figure out how tongue kissing worked and he got a lot of first grade girls and boys (including me) in a lot of trouble for teaching them, by active participation, how it all worked.
John had a girlfriend who was model caliber, smarter than him, was putting herself through art school, and possessed low self-esteem; before going out he'd look at her clothes and tell her to change into the tighter jeans. Had.
Earl is ironed blue jeans and crisp never folded t-shirts every single day, with a beard that is always impeccably trimmed; not a single bit of anything ever strays out of place. Some who can teach can also do.
Franco is a biker for Jesus, as happy to witness for the glory of God or Harley-Davidson with equal enthusiasm. I never saw him hurry in that warehouse but no one did half as much work as he did.
John stormed into the basement of the clubhouse he was having built for his new golf course, swept his right arm in an arc to indicate all the walls, and barked "This isn't Georgia Peach, damn it, it's Nipple Pink!"
Pat was called Paddy O'Furniture by his friends, because he needed friends more than he hated the name. One spring break drive home he woke up, hands on the wheel, upside down in a ditch, tires going 75 on cruise.
Jayne lived at the bottom of my street, her dad was a high school English teacher with a military hair cut. I never could work it out if I liked her like that, but her dad definitely thought I did.
Ken was my best friend from 7th grade through college. A natural athlete and consistently scoring ladies man, he had sex with his girlfriend's best friend/roommate in the room next door while his girlfriend's birthday party was going on.
Jerry might be the father I didn't have, or my best friend ever, if our schedules can ever match up for more than the few moments a month we overstuff with conversations that leave us both brighter, sharper, smarter, wiser.
Steve was a wiry blonde and had biceps like baseballs. If the salesperson said to pack 4 of something, anything, the kitchen manager would say to pack 6, the cooks would tell him 8, and Steve would, rightly, pack 10.
Alan is the salesman of three completely different brothers. He said he loves his wife because he'd felt the need to explain the merits of previous women in his life, but with Nancy he understates, "Oh, and here's my tiger."
Kristen is clean lines and the elegant balance of contrasting elements. She gives freely in every way she knows how, and can say, "Green, this kitchen should definitely be green, lime green," and not only mean it, but be right.