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S K Rowlings Jul 2020
White knuckles turn blue from
a permanent fist
permanent frost that
bites his skin.
Bare feet blackened by
wandering nights,
running for light
as the dark creeps in.
A fragment of a longer poem, still drafting...
Steve D'Beard Apr 2016
Beggars line the busy streets
cup and cloth outstretched
the look of desperation etched on their faces
like the dawn shadow of a carved lithograph

they don't ask me for spare change
just a simple nod of acknowledgement;
even after a shower and a change of clothes
I must have their look, that broken beaten look
the look of the street.

George Square is busy today
tourists happy clicking panoramic memories
admiration of forced foolish bravery at the Cenotaph
a list of names they will never know
and marvel at the antiquated architecture
to later revel in the wonderment of how anyone
in a civilised and modern society can do without skyscrapers
while they grudgingly share a half-measure of a single malt

I sit on a bench that marks a families love and remembrance
to the passing of a woman named Judith
the pigeons flock in carnal mass gatherings
knowing I've been there for 3 hours already
because I have the look of someone who hides his crusts
because I have the hungry eyes of the look of the street.

The well dressed man at the end of the alleyway,
the plume of carcinogen cigar smoke
like a coal fired power station  in the sunlight
this is where they go for over-priced craft ales
with Sautéed Wild Rabbit starter and £65 Wagyu Tomahawk Steak
a place for fine pickings in the alleyway ashtrays
dispensed cancer sticks left disregarded
the half-finished defiance of another £9 packet
that was simply spare change to begin with

I hover around making false promises on a deadline phone call
pretending in mime to be semi-OK
that the compadres are running late
and "tell me about the theatre show later"
the misdirection amid the camouflage of plastic peace lilies
while my other hand rummages the unspent tobacco
and the black-on-black door steward keeps clocking me
because I have the look of the street.
Work in progress
Dreams of Sepia Jul 2015
I found a missing angel today
he asked me for a ***

& then walked away
in rain and snow he has

nowhere to go
& he sleeps beneath

the endless stars
each night his lullaby

is the sound of passing
cars & the voices going by

he likes the girls
he likes the noise

he hides his wings
beneath his shirt

he sings & smiles
amidst the dirt

he dines
on the night air

& hope
my missing angel

of the North
This poem is about a homeless man from Manchester, John who sleeps rough on the streets of my town...
Ottar Apr 2015
she sat with her back to the brick column
holding up a vestibule, she found useful
as a public sorting place for the private
contents, of her camel coloured purse, remarkably ****-
tered as her "****** life", her short term
fix, IT, took a carefully cared for, crack pipe.

Running late was I, and eye contact was made
and I quietly but firmly said to the seated glazed eyes look-
ing up at me, "might be best if you leave."

next day kilometres away, early morning bank
deposit, and a coffee run, me and the dog, out
for fun "car rides" bring her much delight, a voice
from behind said "mister, mister you gotta help me!,
I'm, not an addict, and last night I could not get home,
rode transit for free out to here from Kitsilano but,"
she breathed, "in the it cost me a ticket for one
hundred and seventy five dollars, when I got caught"

I looked at her, seeing her hair dishevelled and a face full
of what, despair...? "so what do you want from me?"  
ran on with her mouth, playing with her top, the sentence was
run on and wouldn't stop.  "I made some bad choices, came here to meet my EX, found him with a girl having ***, and I need ten or twenty,
bucks to get me home, the transit cop said he would not let me back on and would still be working until three A.M., stranding me, until this morning see?

went back and forth, verbally,
"transit does not cost that
much, stop asking me for
money!", and she fired
"my math is bad,
the money would be
nice and do your Karma
good, I am a big  believer
in that", finally I left her
with a small handful of
small change and watched her walk
away, got in my car, got my coffee, got  going home...

but as I drove by her, she was standing back to the hedge,
calm had returned as she waited, her hair was in place,
I saw something I failed to observe during our dialogue....

under her arm was
that camel coloured
purse...two women
suddenly became one
I finally recognized her but she did not recognize me, from the day before.
Ottar Feb 2015
the guy on the walk,
beside the road

stopped to gawk,
spoke to goad

every car that
drove by, every

person walking
past, as he spoke

they moved fast-
er to get past.

Or be caught
up in the fracas

with the man with
baggy pants, spoke

to fire hydrants,
and spoke to the

telephone poles,
in a language they

had never heard,
but now my house

is silent and closing
in it is time to go out

in to the chaos of  
the city streets

a fracas needs to
move his feet, and

feed his hunger
a blood thirsty disease

dietary fracas one
encounter at a time

three times daily
taken with water or rain.

Beware of the clown who
has not a painted face.
Ottar Feb 2015
Balding head, across the boulevard, catching drops of rain,
falling hard,
cars and trucks travelling fast, weather warning was plain,
for all to see,
watching the drops bounce off, where they land, the strain,
in him is obvious,

his coat sheds water like a duck, the burden he carries tight
to his chest,
he stops and moves and stops again, points prepares to fight,
shadows in the downpour,
he talks, then shouts maybe he likes the sound of his mighty
voice, all alone,

he stops and confronts a telephone pole, others pass by, not staring,
to get his ire,
what he held to his chest, was dear to him and had to stay dry, carrying
his shoes, high
so his shuffle was in soaked sock feet, he had his mannerisms, wearing
plainly for all to see, he only had socks on his feet
between him and the rain swept
                                                         ground and street.

He may have needed more, he was tweaking, maybe he needed less,
was it **** or worse, he was still walking and still cursing, confess
to the gods, he would make it through the day,
against the odds.

Doin' the Boulevard Shuffle,
it isn't hard, until you have to live it.

— The End —