Wednesday, November 02, 2005


He teeters
on his last leg
a human bonfire
in the windless air
smouldering fitful in
a floppy brown hat
a faded blue trench coat
with his stained duffle
dropped beside
his single split gumboot
on the crushed grass
of the centre median
beside the police station
the worn rubber tips
of his scarred crutches
firing defiance
straight up
at a hot cloudy sky.

Beneath his fierce watch
rush hour traffic
crawls and scuttles
a resolute random stream
of shiny disturbed ants.

He stands there for hours
on the verge
of burning out or burning
mouthing sequential curses
his face a tight warrior's mask
his words lost
in the deep voice
of the heedless traffic.


newspaper clippings said...

Surely there's more here. I'm missing what happenes next. It seems like a walk so far...he comes and stands and that's when you talk about him...and then...I want to know where he went, where he goes, each day, what does he sing to himself, whom does he sing for...

coyote said...

Of course there's more. But that would be a technicolour movie and this is one of those strange little black and white photographs that stays with you for days or months after you see it.

If you find yourself wondering about the rest of a homeless man's life, then this poem has accomplished everything I wanted it to. It's really all about questions, not answers, and now you're asking yourself questions. Good. Don't stop.