Day Eight: ‘Forty-Six Bliss’

April 8, 2013

Down from the skyward platform of number seven

local haunts the oaf who croaked for change at the crosswalk,

the black-coat vagabond laureate,

the bum you saw each weeknight until you didn’t.

His eyes black with unrest, his phrases jumbled,

sharp mutterings spat like fire on the tongue,

and a shine of brown-green coins in his paw —

the daily net — the sludgy uniform.


His tortured sneaks and mugging face betray

a lack of self-control. Whispers of abuse

from a daddy who drank, a mother who folded in sobs

leak like broken standpipes on the sidewalk.

Stroller women swivel, husbands clutch hands.

A dark-skinned Quasimodo in our company

with too few teeth, his smile still beautiful

as a child reunited with a pet

out along the howl of one-way roads.


The night brings terror to the boulevard

in brown shadows and pockets swills —

the morning hours a bouquet of urban horns

and porch lights and the kettles out for tea:

the stiff reminders of our daily bread

and their lack of it.


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