8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, September 16, 1999
The Bridge of Fl
i "I have a philosophy," says the man standi
panic." Oba Maja passes out his poetry in front c
week. Today is Sunday, his slowest day, and he i
his $55 rent. On average, Oba makes around $35
He can count on getting a donation of $20
room and other necessities. Although his incom
high risks and he is without health care and ben
One of the worst side effects of what Oba
Addressing people as brothers and simply offeri
amount of pedestrians who ignore him. He said
being and would infinitely prefer a "no" than the
Last Sunday, Oba passed out his poetry or
The police harassed him and gave him a $35 tick
ticket off by community service instead.
Due to the hassles he deals with elsewhei
Milwaukee streets, in front of a restaurant. The
Oba has been selling his poetry for around
College in order to get married. He worked at th
number of jobs including selling Oriental rugs, H
his back he could no longer drive. Ever since, O
The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, September 16, 1999 - 9B
ing on the corner of two busy streets in Illinois. "Never
of the Soul Kitchen in Chicago almost every day of the
s concerned because he owes his landlord the last $15 of
a day but today he will be lucky if he clears $15.
at least once a week and uses the money to pay for his
e seems suitable enough to live on, his 'occupation' has
does Is the disrespect he receives from passerby's.
ng his poetry, Oba frequently feels discouraged by the
he feels as though they do not recognize him as a human
no response he often receives.
Rush street, a busier and more centralized part of town.
~et for soliciting. Oba will be able to work the
re, Oba generally stays on the corner of Damen and
owners are supportive and even treated him to a meal.
t three years now. In 1965, he dropped out of Wright Jr.
e post office until he was divorced. After that he held a
elene Curtis hair products and driving a cab. When he hurt
ba has been relying on his raw talents for survival.
Pho$tstoryby. J essica Johnson I r nk out of poems,he copies _
Ph'soy b esc ono more at Kinkos Coples.
Oba excepts a donation from Brock Robinson, a regular customer.
Oba Maia has been living off his paltry
sales for three years. _ Milwaukee Street Is a popular place at night.
0 ne of the owners of the Soul Kitchen restaurant talks with Oba.
Oba is a prolific poet and passes out a a
variety of poems.
M.rr. r r I w 4 rrrrn ..