About this book

Before worldwide electronic media and large media corporations, people didn’t necessarily realize how odd they were.

These poems describe unusual characters. They might be called “usual” because interesting characteristics have been present in all civilizations; however, since each person is unique, each is unusual.

I am a poet, not a psychologist or cultural anthropologist, so please do not try to read this book as portraits of real people or cultures. Instead, read it as a means of expanding your own possibilities and understanding others.

At all times, and in all places and cultures, we should be kind to our fellow human beings, especially if they are different.

The cover is a photo by Den Trushtin from Unsplash.

The characters

Aakash
A boy from a poor family in the Black Town of Calcutta, around 1850.
Adiharja
A Javanese woman in Jakarta, around 1620.
Agni
A brick layer in Baghdad, eighth century.
Aishe
An Arabic woman in France, 1759.
Akari
A woman in Kyushi, Japan, about 790.
Akilah
A girl in Rijeka, Croatia, around 1500.
Alex
A schoolboy in Rieux, France, 1750.
Alice
A young woman in San Francisco, 1969.
Alyia
A Moabite woman in a nomadic tribe near Madaba, Jordon, about 800 BCE.
Amed
A son of a wealthy man in Ramadi, fourteenth century.
Anahita
A girl in Arbela, now Erbil, Iraq, eighth century BCE.
Anita
An unmarried woman in Szeged, Hungary, about 1650.
Anzolo
A young man in Venice, tenth century.
Araoluwa
An Yoruba woman near Lagos, sixth century BCE
Asenka
A young woman in Hawai‘i, around 1910.
Asher
A poor Philistine near Ekron, Philistine, thirteenth century BCE.
Ayat
A girl in Rabat, Morocco, 1756.
Aysel
A beautiful woman in Carthage, Tunisia, third century BCE.
Bassel
An juggler in Thebes, Egypt, 725 BCE.
Bata
A boy in Antalya, 1230.
Biagio
A young man in Milan, around 1400.
Bibek
A feedstore clerk in Oyam, Nepal, nineteenth century.
Binasa
A woman in Adelaide, Australia, 1970.
Binoba
A Bengali office worker, Bombay, around 1955.
Boubacar
A builder in Kano, Nigeria, around 1870.
Chang
A Chinese craftsman south of Shanghai, 1540.
Chodrak
A young man in Kathmandu, Nepal, around 1870.
Damir
A baker in Ayagoz, Kazakhstan, around 1810.
Darryl
A motorcyclist near Fresno, California, 1980.
Debjit
A poor Hindi man in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, tenth century.
Devkumar
A Punjabi man in Lahore, 1570.
Donkor
A hod carrier at Luxor, Egypt, 2300 BCE.
Dria
An Etruscan girl near Spica, 600 BCE.
Eikkir
A boy in Meroe, Sudan, about 700 BCE.
Ejaz
A young Muslim man in Algiers around 1560.
Eliza
A trader’s daughter, London, 1850-1911.
Epa
She was in contact with her ancestors
Γεⲛⲛεοⲥ
A Palestine woman in Megiddo, 3002 BCE.
Gilraen
A Gypsy girl near Granada, Spain, about 1450.
Guilabert
A worried boy near near Cessenon-sur-Orb, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, 1949.
Guillaume
A soap maker in Glanyrafonm, near Aberystwyth, Wales, about 1250.
Hilda
A married woman in Hirta, on St Kilda, Scotland, around 1740.
Ichtaka
An Aztec man in Texcoco, about 1250.
Ifedayo
A healer in the Ijoko, Nigeria, 1910.
Itai
A Shona boy in Masvingo, near Great Zimbabwe, twelfth century.
Javed
A Hindu boy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, about 1900.
Jian
A boy in Nanning, China, around 1350.
Jimena
A married woman in Seville, about 750.
Jonatas
A blind French interpreter in Lisbon, Portugal, eighteenth century.
Layla
A woman in Sfax, Tunisia, fifteenth century.
Leroy
A farmboy, near Le Havre, around 1610.
Lukman
A man in Cairo, 975.
Lyle
An import clerk in Barcelona, fourteeth century.
Kastriot
A cleanup man in Belgrade, 1680.
Kordt
A German man in Hanover, about 1650.
Massika
A slave girl in Canopus, Egypt, around 1100.
Micah
A shepherd near Yeruham, Israel, ninth century BCE.
Milo
An unmarried clerk in Augsburg, Germany, sixteenth century.
Mio
A woman in Kyoto, around 1650.
Mohammed
A clerk in a fabric shop in Haifa, Israel, 1754.
Mustafa
A Turkish laborer near Kırıkkale, seventeeth century.
Nealon
A fisherman in Oulu, Finland, 1722.
Nihir
A street sweeper in Lagash, Summer, around 5000 BCE.
Oktai
A Mongolian man in Uliastai, Outer Mongolia, 1915.
Omar
An Arbic man in Lebanon, around 200 AD.
Penny
A former prostitute in Seattle, 1930.
Poppy
A farm girl in Northumberland, near Morpeth, 1822.
Rana
A Jewish makeup artist in Alexandria, 310 BCE.
Saniya
A woman in Constantinople, 1735.
Sarthak
A man in Indore, India, 210 BCE.
Seth
A Hebrew seller of scrap metals in Ashdon, Israel, tenth century BCE.
Shu
A young woman in Beijing, about 1410.
Mr. Smith
Retired, London, 1848.
Sonya
A woman in Bologna, 1953.
Susu Wei
A woman in Hong Kong, around 1850.
Timo
A boy in Tallinn, Estonia, thirteenth century.
Ursa
An assistant to an architect, Uruk, Sumer, around 3000 BCE.
Yasmeen
A young Persian woman in Shiraz, Iran, the daughter of a tile salesman, during the Zand dynasty, 1760.
Yolanda
A woman in Ghent, Flanders, fourteenth century.
Yong
A boy in Shanghai, around 1150.

Any resemblance to any person living or dead is incidental.

Links and shortcuts

In any page, you can click on or touch links to jump around in this book.

You may find the following keyboard equivalents to be convenient. Here I use the symbol ⌥ for the option key on Mac/OS or the alt key on Windows, ⇧ for the shift key, and ⏎ for the return (enter) key. Arrow keys are ◄ (left), ► (right), ▲ (up), and ▼ (down).

Context Keys Jump to / Behavior
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contents ⇧ ⌥ ▲ cover
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The poet

Tom Sharp, self portrait

Tom Sharp is a Native American of Aleut heritage, a member of Seldovia Village Tribe. He is the author of numerous books, including Spectacles: A Sampler of Poems and Prose, Taurean Horn Press (ISBN 0-931552-10-9), a novel, Hans and the Clock (ISBN 979-8580172484), The book of science, SciFi (ISBN 979-8694935210), Things People Do (ISBN 979-8687425568), The book of beliefs (ISBN 979-8683553593), The I Ching (ISBN 979-8573510620), Images (ISBN 979-8577560515), Aleut Artifacts (ISBN 979-8575608998), Aleut Words (ISBN 979-8582103394), and First Nations (ISBN 979-8682924769).

You may email tom/AT/liztomsharp/DOT/-c-o-m-/ to share comments on this work.

Acknowledgements

He could be only a clown,” “He dreamed he was at sea,” and “She lived in a fantasy world,” are in The Antonym, 12 November 2021.

Tom Sharp initials