Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

You Really Should Wear a Tie

My stomach was empty.
My mouth stinging from the remarks
about my pants and shirt
being mismatched and how
I never wore a suit or a tie.
This County job filled with constant
demands from clients,
doctors, social workers,
nurses, lawyers, and families
of the clients.
I decided to leave the office and
the computer screen
wreaking having on my eyes:
the computer keys destroying
my hands.  I took the elevator
down.  I stepped onto the
pavement, headed south,
Downtown, LA, toward
the Central Market for some
Mexican food, in slacks
and a white shirt.
At a crosswalk, men in suits
and expensive shoes stood beside me
waiting for the light to turn green.
A disheveled, homeless woman,
with too much red lipstick on her mouth
shouted in our direction, “pansies.”
Stunned, I thought to myself, not me?
I don’t own a suit.
I don’t even have a tie.
I wanted to say that to her.
Later, I gave her a dollar.

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