david plumb | hero


For Jose Camacho

Shot in the head at the Texaco Station at 1420 E. Sunrise Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL August 3, 1993. Died Friday August 6, 1993. Age 33

Did you know you were a hero to me
when I handed you the credit card and
waited to sign the credit slip with the blue pen
strung at the end of the register?
Did you know I sometimes walked back to
my car with the feeling something was right with the world
that day, even if I wasn’t, or felt it wasn’t?
That your few words, in a transaction
of maybe fifteen, twenty seconds,
often gave me a small piece of humility
and grace knowing you just did what you did?
You, a gas station attendant who worked dangerous hours, and kept his spirits high for his customers, a regular guy.
A guy I remembered and remember
when I feel out of kilter or rushed
in this world of gas and cars,
and bizarre circumstances.
when I feel out of sorts as I do now
knowing you’re gone.
A man who walked bravely into the daily accident
with perhaps more courage than
I can muster some mornings.
May I thank you now when I might
have thanked you then, could have
thanked you again and again.
You were a teacher of life, yes.
Doing what you were doing.
May your truth stay with us.
May the warmth of your few words
as we passed through your life
lift us from this moment, this time
and give us that sliver of courage and hope
we sometimes need to get from the car,
to the station and back and then some.

David Plumb

is the author of 8 books, David Plumb’s most recent is, Poetry on Strings 2009 with marionette maker, Pablo Cano. Writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, Beatitudes 50 Years, 100 Poets Against the War, Salt Press, Instant City, Blue Collar review, Homeless Not Helpless Anthology, Mondo James Dean Anthology-St. Martin’s and Would You Wear My Eyes, Tribute to Bob Kaufman. Blog, Notes from a Wavering Planet. Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” I say, “It depends on the parrot.”

2 Replies to “david plumb | hero”

  1. This picture is disturbing because it’s not Jose and I don’t even want to think of a picture of it. But the poem is nice and a sweet tribute to him. I was with him that night hours before. We talked for over an hour. He asked me out for the first time. We were supposed to go to the movies days later. I waved to him from my bike at 10:30 after going to the beach and stopping at Dunkin Donuts and struggled for years… why didn’t I stop? Things could of been different. The most horrifying time of my life. It’s coming on 20 years and I’ll never forget him… He was so special.

  2. I was there at that very night when josey got shot. He was my friend in need he was fun and he was, wilde to Party with we have shared lot’s of ments together And I hope that very night I could give him comfort and be there for him.

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