Mike Roman

Giant Neil Young mutton chop sideburns
Sunglasses on 24 hours a day
Rail thin in Levis and boots in the summer
Or underneath 3 sets of overalls in the winter
Driving a giant pickup full of motors
Sheet metal
Auto Parts
And dogs, dogs, dogs
Friend to every stray dog and cat, no matter how dirty, unwanted or abused
And he treated people the same way.

He showed me that it is possible to live in America without compromise
Without a shopping mall
Without accepting conventional wisdom, the staus quo, Mayor Daley's "help" or calling the cops.

It's not easy to live this way in Chicago
Or anywhere, once you commit to fixing everything yourself
Houses, cars, animals, friends...
And I'm not as tough as Mike,
But he set an example for lots of us
And did with good humor and crackling, raspy laughter.

I'll miss him.


- Bobby Conn--aka Jeff Stafford, August 23rd, 2010, Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
- drawings by Margaret Robinson