Brave Polemic on Poverty

Imagine: the beggar’s bones
lurching across the dampened
roads, lurching across the land-
scape, untouched by the guise
of dignity; you’re owned
by his eyes—I’m sorry.

There’s light out now, no
troubles for the bones, a chair is there
to comfort them. His body creates
color. The shadow doesn’t cling to the wall
of his memory. It’s gone. He’s gone
to modest things—I’m so sorry.

Something settles within
you. Do you remember the hope
that you tried to pull? But then it happened,
and the beggar lost his role.
There is a need there. Too bad
he became you and I.

The Ghetto

Another building jumps
into the terrain, its lights charge
the hollering in the barbershop.
I remember how you hated
those who defended the sanctity
of this place, now you stand there
alongside the protesting.

‘The renewal is eating-up
the neighborhood,’ you say,
‘this is our home,’ but this is no home
for rising. Even when they level
the derelict charm of tenements,
there will always remain those who yell
at the progress of things. You stand firm,
believing in the value of this place
and this life, and you will teach
our child to value the comforts
of squalor. You see me behind a counter
to feed our son, but I won’t see him,
bitter, or worse, in love with this
hole. I’m leaving, but you will always stay–
Fear is your life.

The Art of Art

A thing that blossoms from the air:
the air; nothing blossoms
from you. The earth is itself, and fills
its own definition for the eyes
to claim dominion over
progress. Cause-and-effect isn’t
the mind’s sculpture, but the universe’s
movement to the self. The canvas
isn’t marked by the empty; the painting
is without our hands, painting its own
form, and moves us to itself. It is
not ours, but we become it.


He persists despite the strangle
of his mind’s tombing—the purity
of potential crumbled to something
smaller than memory. Despite this, he manages
to walk to the drugstore.

Fifty-three. Pete Crumb. Nothing,
but praise for a master. Hunger shrinks
to the bloat of satisfaction. Ego scrambles
the bones. Pete Crumb: pile of life, shaped
by famelight’s mattering.

Old man. Pete Crumb. Drugstore.
The young man at the counter knows
nothing of the journals, nothing
of the prizes, nothing of the academia
which fawns over Pete Crumb.

A woman buying tampons.
She will never know of the immense
tumble, or the taint of talent
which isolates. Pete Crumb saw
in their scrawlings their lack,
and their envy. Pete Crumb. The other
poets used to hate him. Now, he’s just
like them. Pete Crumb.

Pills. For what? The young man
knows. Pete Crumb. Old man.

Grabbing the Hawks

Bernard was eighty and lived in a small room. He was given food and played cards, but he wasn’t content like the others who smiled when somebody they knew came by and acknowledged them. Every day, Bernard overheard their chatterings; they talked about the weather and what was on TV. They were content; death didn’t linger there.

He knew that the others did not give-up, but were mostly satisfied. They all probably thought that they lived a “good” life and, as a result, were unburdened by death’s nearing. But Bernard felt pathetic, embittered with himself that he too cannot succumb to relaxing, allowing his skin to warm underneath the sun.

And this was all because Bernard was an artist. He was never financially successful, but well-respected. He knew well of other people’s admiration, but wasn’t able to turn to his own works and see what they saw. No matter how much he was praised he felt the truth, that he was merely a mediocrity. Bernard, throughout his life, felt that he was on the cusp of greatness. On the cusp. But then Bernard became tired and old and unmotivated. He was placed in a retirement facility; they gave him food and he played cards.

But on one warm Saturday morning, Bernard left his room and went outside to sit on the grass and watch the gathering of ducks. There was nothing special about these birds except, by circumstance, they gave Bernard comfort. When he was a kid he was fascinated by the hawks that would fly above the buildings and trees. The ducks didn’t share the same essence as the hawks that hovered within his memory, but they allowed him to feel like a child, when he was allowed to marvel at the hawks that were beyond him and everything. Bernard sat there and closed his eyes, and somehow, felt that the hawks were now closer to him.