Posts Tagged ‘ homeless ’

Warmer ‘neath the Bridge


Warmer neath the Bridge

saint crackhead
stood outside the store
he never asked for much
he helped old ladies with the door
and had cold bread for lunch

he lived in sartorial squalor
underneath my bridge, my view
of privileged chains held tight in place
among us lost
us Few

(sorry, I’ve had to order my 2nd keyboard
for this laptop, i am a sight typer, and even
that ain’t so hot, and half my key faces are gone.)

He warmed His Place with but a Candle
his needs were only Few
He held his Station of the Cross
a Cross that few could handle

and YOU

walk by Him

Every Day

Did you Ever?

turn your Eyes his Way
or stop to consider
The Weightiness of his Stay

a dollar tossed into His Cup
With a look of high Disdain

Your Saint and Savior
saved your Soul

’tis you Who Bear The Shame

I knew such a man, name of TC, in Columbus
Ohio in the 1990s.  My friend Rod says he
stands outside the same grocery, although
the name of the grocery chain has been
changed.

Spare Some Change


Drunk PIrate

Drunk PIrate (Photo credit: OpenThreads)

 

 

 

This is a poem I wrote at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.

 

To listen to my first reading on SoundCloud—->  <click here>

 

 

 

spare some change

wish i had a drink right now…

seems like a good spot,
30,000 people crowded into a small square,
they got tents and heaters and oh God! all that food.

i get my plastic cup and sign out of my shopping cart
(i di’n’t steal it, a friend gave it to me, yeah)

it’s cold out here and i wish i had a drink right now…

“can you spare some change?” i say to the empty suit
trying so hard not to look my way,
you never know, once one of these empty suits
dropped a twenty in my cup.

i remember back before i lived under the overpass,
a long time ago, or so it seems,
on some goddamned desert, tanks burning in the sun,
we took a grenade and i shit my pants.

i’d shit my pants right now for a drink…

lots of signs being carried round this place,
will anybody see mine?
a bottle of wine is only $3.68 with tax
and i have a $1.42
but the Lord will provide.

that long-haired man has a five in his hand,
don’t look him in the eye,
don’t look him in the eye.

he doesn’t see me and walks past.

a couple quarters from some sweet young thing!
i didn’t even see her,
don’t look her in the eye,
don’t look her in the eye.

“thank you!” i mumble.

i’ll just push my cart to where the food is,
maybe somebody will see my sign,

God, i need a drink…

some young dude leaves a sandwich at my feet,
i knew it, the Lord does provide.

in high school, i was voted class optimist,
it serves me well right now, just about right now.

some odd change and a couple ones from a kind soul.

“buy yourself something to eat” they say.

don’t look them in the eye,
don’t look them in the eye.

“thanks!” (“don’t tell me how to spend my money!” i think to myself)

there’s a liquor store near the overpass,
i can go back home to my warm spot with my bottle
(if the cops haven’t taken down my boxes)
things don’t change much under the overpass.

i push my little world on up the street.
the Lord will provide, it’s a good day to be alive.

Agnew T. Pickens
URR 11.15.20..11

 

Retread Angels on Mount Ararat


Safeway Medallion logo, 1980

Safeway Medallion logo, 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was walking with my magic staff in the Safeway parking lot when
I spotted another man walking with a staff.  He was rather disheveled
and had a backpack.  I cried, “Ho there!” and walked toward him.

He looked me up and down and said, “Hi!  Are you a magician?”

I replied, “No, I’m a wizard.”

He muttered, “Well I’m a working man.” and walked away.

Later, I would see him walking around town with and without his staff.
It was obvious that he was another homeless soul in the wealthy hamlet
where I had sequestered myself.

One day, I saw him outside the Safeway again.  I thought I would try
and approach him again.  I didn’t have my magic staff but I took a chance
and walked up to him again with a $5 bill and said, “Here’s the $5 that I lent you.”

He said, “What is this?  A pigeon drop?”

I said, “No, just take the money, it’s yours.”

He thanked me and went into the Safeway and I took a seat on the bench
outside to roll up a cigarette.  As I was lighting the cigarette, he came outside
and sat on the bench next to me.  I introduced myself and he said his name was Curtis.

We talked for a good bit and even bought a losing scratch off ticket together.
( He insisted on giving me 50c for half the ticket.)  Apparently he had grown
up in that area of California.

As we were sitting and talking, Michael, one of the guys that worked at this
Safeway as a bagger and cart rounderupper came over to us.  Michael and I
had often spoken, he seemed just a little slow, or maybe it was just an act.

Michael and Curtis seemed to know each other pretty well.  Michael asked if
that was a bottle of wine Curtis had in his backpack.  Curtis told him it was.
Michael told him to be careful and not get caught drinking outside the Safeway
again.  He then asked Curtis if he had gone through the groceries he had given
him.  Curtis said he was still good.

I am still touched by the pathos of Michael, a low wage bagger in one of the
wealthiest areas in the Bay Area, helping out a homeless man in a city where
Safeway would block people from taking day old bread out of their dumpsters.
(I got nailed trying to retrieve some dumpster donuts on a couple of occasions.)
I never saw Curtis again but I am sure Michael is still working at that Safeway.

I’m convinced that both of them were angels.

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