Daily Archives: July 19, 2022

Junkie Questions

suppose the junkie on the median
with the cardboard sign and the leg tattoos
screams out that they love you
as you drive away from the brief encounter
where you passed a dollar into their hand
and made a left hand turn toward the highway — 

is there any need to shout it back at them
if you do not indeed love them as well? did your
act of small charity represent love well enough?
does their addiction disqualify them
from hearing it spoken explicitly? how long
should their cracked voice echo inside you
after you are far away?  

Birds Feeding In The Street

In the street, 
small birds pick
at something left
from someone’s lunch.

There are 
similar birds on 
feeders here and 
in the neighbor’s yard.

I wish I had 
more solid ground
under me than this
couch provides. 

I wish I was less inclined
to be a spectator 
and had more of the ease
with which these birds

stay in the street,
rise when a vehicle
comes through, return
to their feeding at once.

I’ve become
just another coddled old man
hovering at the window
from behind old walls.

The world exhorts me
to get out,
be part of it,
be not afraid; but

I am afraid. 
I am afraid I’ll become too wild,
soon enough be like the birds
eating from right off the street;

I’m afraid I won’t rise
from feeding when
the car comes through
and will just let it take me.

This is the way of things today,
I tell myself. Either 
lose your mind stuck to the couch
or lose it along with

the rest of your life by
getting out there and being
dirty-sad in the dirty sadness 
of a city street. 

If I die out there
everyone will know at once
that I succumbed to the hell
within. If I die here,

sitting very still,
no one will know for sure
how the last days were for me
and maybe I will go so quietly

that the birds 
will chirp my story when I’m gone:
he watched us from the window.
He did a good job of sitting there

just watching. People 
will make up their own stories
about me, picking at me
as if were posthumous trash

in the street which holds 
something to nourish them.
He saw a lot from the window.
He must have seen something that killed him.