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Broken Umbrella

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Can’t you smell it?
Like new socks and that clean plastic
fresh from China
like people with money
in nice restaurants
vanilla lattes
beer and body odor
between the cracks
in these
cold, grey streets.
Crisp bills, the peach ones.
Winter has come suddenly
Somehow I forgot
that death was a thing?
Cobblestones slick
sweet and romantic
in a light, fine mist
I can smell it.
That breeze that cuts
like a hundred pointy knives
down to my toes
Brown leaves watching
shoes pass by
crunching them into the wet pavement
Grinding them in
to powder
washed away by the rain
with all the other garbage
no one ever looks at.
A land without culture
but oh,
do we have boxes.
Sometimes the fragrance of a color drifts by
in-between the power lines and Land Rovers
like the sweet funky brown
of cinnamon and coffee
on hot laughing breath.
A lovely evening, actually.
Like a Hemingway story
playing jazz piano
These people traverse
such predictable lines of motion
orderly and calm, so as
not to disturb anything.
(A little bit is fine, I suppose)
Peaceful on the streets.
Aren’t we very blessed?
Even the noise here is
So quiet
From here, we
go there
Over there?
No, we don’t look
so, obviously,
we don’t go.
Thoughts, like grooves
in a motherboard
Behavior, quite like a machine, isn’t it?
How fascinating!
It’s the latest technology
Christmas time, co-conspirators
We keep secrets here
and play along
Holly jolly
Merry and productive, a convenient forgetting.
A weathered man
with a leathered face
Old, strong, and proud
eyes sharp as a sailor’s knife
and a big hole in his cap
sits alone eating his sandwich
watching winter dance around him
From here, the bench seems like home
while he is there.
He doesn’t seem like he owns the place, just
home while he is there.
Only home his body
his world a big bundle of things
that feels like duct tape
worn wool sweaters
salvaged pictures
vintage novel
a secret pocket somewhere
containing things
he doesn’t take out very often
Centuries of insights
gathered from only 60 odd years
Ancestors in his aura, keeping his heart warm
calling him home
(I think he knows they’re there)
Wisdom I would pay for
that he would probably share if someone
thought to ask
A broken umbrella, 5 feet away
It might not be his, but
it probably is.
Pink rosy cheeks walk by
on healthy 12 year olds
like flower petals in the most manicured front yard gardens
His parents, healthy like picket fences
with watchful blue eyes
keeping out all the trash,
all the hungry old men
facing death alone,
blown about by the breeze.
Sandwich eaters,
like leaves slowly on their way
to the sea.
Who knows what
He knows?
Who sees what he sees?
that sandwich on a windy grey Christmas
eaten alone, in the park
could be his last
and who would ever know?
but that umbrella, and me
if I sit here long enough

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