LAURA JUAREZ

(1/1/84) Inspired by a story in the L.A. Times

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– A bag lady.
An old woman who has lived
under a sycamore,
on a sidewalk in downtown L.A.
for more than a year.

– Her clothes are filthy,
her ankles are dirty black,
her feet are swollen…

– “She has chosen to live like this,”
says Police Detective Walt de Cuir,
“I think we should respect
her lifestyle.”

– She says her name is Laura Juarez,
and that she is a 64 year old
Apache Indian from Phoenix,
but there’s some question about that,,,
her identity remains a mystery…

– 16,000 cars pass her spot every day –
when she’s hungry
she goes across the street
to a take-out Chinese restaurant,
where she insists on paying
& the owner charges her half-price.

– She’ll accept money only
from people she knows ///
has been known to scream
if someone insists
on being too helpful.

– She almost always orders
the same meal –
pork chow mein & Coca Cola;
takes it back with her
to eat under a tree.
When the place is busy
she becomes impatient
& doesn’t wait for her food…

– When it rains
she takes her belongings
to a doorway nearby…

– There she remains
with her heap of trash bags…
an old Apache Indian Woman.

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