The Utter Nots

The utter nots are the people

(Or maybe they are the clones or gnomes)


They do not return a greeting of hello.

They pretend not to know.

They utter not.


If you ask them how they are today

they would not say.

Maybe because they are not being today.

What can you say?


The utter nots think they are special.

Maybe they think they are better

than the people that speak. 

Are they being meek

by making the decision not to speak?


Well, God bless the utter nots because they are soulless.

They don’t care to converse with the nothing people.

Oba Maja sold his handwritten poems in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago for decades. He remained a neighborhood fixture, watching over the constant stream of revelers and employees of the businesses along Milwaukee Avenue, as the area became increasingly gentrified. When Oba died last October, Katy Travelstead, a bartender who worked across the street from his favorite spot, set up a Give Forward campaign to help his brother pay for a funeral and burial. The campaign quickly raised the needed funds and spurred an outpouring of personal memories of Oba. The mural below, which can still be found a couple of blocks south of Milwaukee Avenue on Damen Avenue, features his portrait. To purchase Oba’s poetry collection, Avenue of Happiness, contact Michael Donahue at