Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Like Summer (In memory of John M., an angel of the streets)


Breath. I can still see my breath. This sidewalk is cold. Nobody comes down here during the long dark days of winter. I’m alone, but yes, I am alone and I can be alone.

Breath. I can see my breath.

Sleep. I’ll go to sleep again.

My arm is still warm. I never lose that warmth in my arm after it starts with the first sting, a warm flow after my little poke that doesn’t bother me anymore. Just a little one and then....warmth. It stays, it lingers; my arm about the elbow stays warm and then I sleep. Go back to sleep....

Oh, it’s like summer and I am just here to rest. No one will bother me. Cops took my CD player yesterday, said I couldn’t have owned such a thing – I must have stolen it. In our house we would say “he stold it.” My sisters, sweet flowers -­‐ I wonder where they are? When it’s like summertime I think about them and I feel warm, but the sidewalk is cold. I’m gonna guess what time it is.

 No, I’ll sleep.

I want to pick up my spoon. It’s frozen to the sidewalk. I saw a rat come out one day and give my spoon a good licking. He fell asleep; we slept, but when I awoke, the birds were picking at him. I should pick up my spoon. There, in my mind I am picking up my spoon. That’s good enough.

Newburgh is really something. This east end is my home. Some want to escape from here, but why would I escape? This place never changes. Think of that. How many places can you live where things never change? 

I’ll eat tomorrow, no need to eat now. Father Jim will be there tomorrow. “Don’t you go smoking that Crack again dear friend!” No Father, I won’t smoke that crack, I don’t even have a pipe and it keeps me awake. And I’m a sleeper.

It’s black now. People don’t really know what night is unless they sleep down here. They don’t know how beautiful the river is down here. In the winter I see it like no one else ‘cept maybe Sir Henry from his perch on the Half Moon. I’m kinda like him, Sir Henry. He was looking for the great passage and happened on to this river, but later got cozy way up north and then his crew left him. He knew the winter and being alone and cold. Poor Henry didn’t have a spoon.

It’s slower now. Things slow down...boy this is slow. I should say goodnight fella, you fella.

Slower....

Breath? I don’t see my breath. Is that the dark?

No breath. No.

Kevin Swanwick, October 3, 2013 

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Phoenix. It is based on a composite of homeless men I worked with a few years a ago.

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