I was nineteen, full of life, student, musician, believer and happened upon A wall flower, sodden but sweet, A drunk, full of his nectar. A peaceful drunk Leaning upon a concrete wall Near the overused metaphor of a Greyhound Bus station. Of a bus stop occupied By the rushing middle class. Of a city overcoming change. A drunk, a target of easy mark Was found by another mark, A pointed mark. Perhaps needing ease from his demons. The voices listened and He took a knife, leaned, put it On the old man's neck. Close enough to shave. The audience breathed drama, Turning slowly, waiting for buses. Standing full of wisdom As far as they could go. Time froze. They were mannequins. Needs, Simply a phone in need of quarters, An operator call, But locked into movie reviews,newspapers,work, They were motionless. I was nineteen then. Full of life, a 1945 wooden case that protected my heart, Holding my horn. My weapon of choice. After years, why a decade of years, Of playing, of lugging miles, building brass muscles, Of practice at spinning, I launched myself Pushing my horn between the two. I was a shield maiden, Because I was nineteen, descended From blonde Vikings and grim Scots, I became a piper of sound With the bottom of my lungs. Somehow, instantly, incredibly, Unsummoned, the infantry arrived. A squad car, blinking red, Drove up upon the curb. Collared the knife, the shield maiden, Slipped the men apart. I was nineteen, set to Activism, driven in hopes to Change poverty, racism, anger, hate. The men in blue sent me on my way, Part fool, part human. Head patted. Reform suggested for my safety, After all, I was nineteen.