In the inner city, beneath skyscrapers that peer down
like corporate elite, after a night in the shelter,
where bed bugs bite, where derelicts mutter in their sleep,
where the only meal is soup and peanut butter sandwiches
an unemployed, divorced, middle aged homeless man,
who’s out of luck, with empty pockets, tormented by melancholy,
disabled from a bizarre construction accident,
sits crossed legged, next to a garbage pale,
on the sidewalk, as if a Buddhist statue,
shivering from the chilly wind of autumn.
He’s unshaven, has oily, disheveled hair,
breath stinking like the sewer.
Teeth rotting, throbbing pain from decay.
Fingers stained yellow from nicotine,
a hacking cough that refuses to depart.
Bones aching from arthritis.
He wears a pair of filthy white socks, holes in the toes,
scuffed, dirty black shoes, a torn white tee-shirt,
soiled trousers from Goodwill,
a down-filled winter parka, two sizes too large,
shoplifted from Sears.
As nameless souls stroll past on the street,
The homeless man extends his trembling
hand, holding out a soiled baseball cap,
retrieved from the city dump, makes a feeble request
for pocket change to
purchase hot coffee and sweet doughnut.
“Please, any change will help,” he begs
in a hopeless tone.
Chatting on smartphones, lost in thought, an endless
stream of strangers pass, tossing remnants of fast food
in the garbage can, next to this homeless soul
ignoring his misery,
as if he’s trash on the city street.