Mike and Me

A poem for a homeless man…

He looked up at me and I looked down at him

reading his mind and watching him weep afraid

that I would cause him harm

He asked if I would lower myself to his status

in life or just stay hovering over his soul like a

seagull circling for the morning krill.


I saw his pain and knelt before him

bringing my eyes to his level while his soul was

revealed through the deepest blue eyes that

only gods were given in ancient of days.


I sat beside him on the dirty curb of the road

loosened my tie sharing some pain from my past

and present life and how I fell off the wagon bruising

my shins and ego by getting back up again.


He shared with me his saddest secrets

while scars so deep pulsated from the veins

that now were darkened red from needle ends

he called his friends and pulled a butt

from his pocket with nicotine

burnt gnarled finger tips.


We dreamed together unwrapping

a chocolate bar I pulled from my

suit jacket pocket broke it in half to

give him the bigger of the two pieces

watching him grin while thanking me for

sharing sweets so he could put his

bitter pills away for just a spell.


Amazing man he was at one time professor

of words at a renowned University

until his world crumbled before him

with the loss of his family

an auto accident had claimed.


He slowly hid away the crumpled

photo of his wife and children with

a shaking hand and wiped the tear

that lingered there awhile frozen

like his past of happier days.


He went mad while his world fell apart

and the demons threw him in the

guttered fumes of chemicals

and alcohol that rubbed and smeared

his ever again wish to live among the living.


I felt a strong kindred to this man of worth

no matter that his posture was bent and

out of sync with reality nor that he was

rough edged and callous and smelled

of stale everything and scratched

the lice that crawled his skin.


He was a man a sad man a man

I shared my time and courage with

and felt a kindred with his soul of

understanding and empathy not sympathy

we met each other on a level of humanity.


Equal and naked souls no different

yet blessed to be alive thankful for our lot

in life no matter the calling,

for at this moment in time a light shone

in our harbour while the mist was lifted

to let both our ships pass together in peace.


I shook his hand gave him a hug and

took a minute to pray together for peace

on earth the end of wars and famine while

we placed our differences in the

garbage lying around us.


We wept and wished each other well

and left without any regrets of having met

in the gutter of life on the mean streets

of concrete jungle while shadows past us by

with disgust and bitter tongues of stereotyping fools.


Mike and I met with the hope that we were knocking

on heaven’s door.


© Copyright 2011 by Vincent Moore. All rights reserved


Mike and Me — 4 Comments

  1. How incredibly sad and beautiful. Brave, too, to stay awhile with him in his grungy ‘place’, if, indeed, he had any place to be, really. When I think of how thin is the line between what most of us have as ‘normal’ life and such a profoundly lacking existence, it makes me feel a kind of empathy. “There but for God, go I,” hardly suffices to explain what that thin gulf really is. I doubt that God wished that on Mike nor did Mike wish it upon himself, though bit by bit, choices had to have happened which led to it, many of them so small and seemingly insignificant, but building upon each one made.
    Yesterday I was with my friend, Val, who is such a lovely lady but she has begun to stoop over. Her husband is so stooped, he’s almost like a right angle to the floor and can’t straighten back up. She mentioned that she was beginning to stoop like Norm. Without thinking it through, I reached over and ‘unbent’ her up straight and told her not to let it happen, that it doesn’ happen in one day, but as a result of many days of not correcting oneself when one realizes it’s happening, fractions of inches by inches, little degrees by degrees. One does have to think not to allow it to happen or it can and will! Oh well.

    • Yes it is, I’ve seen far to many on the streets of my city and any city for that matter. There are more and more losing their jobs, and thus their homes due to not having the rent or mortgage money to keep them afloat and a roof over their heads. There was a time that hobos and gypsies were living on the rail or open road, now you can find middle class and even some rich who have lost everything now living in the mean streets of any city. I always ensure I have a pocket full of change in my pocket to hand out when I go shopping in certain areas where I know they to will be for the handouts. How sad, our governments have to find a way to free up all those empty warehouses, apartments to these down and out folks. Why should they remain empty and vacant and sitting idle. Let’s help out the homeless and needy to at least have a place to get out of the elements. So sad indeed to see children with parents on the streets of America and Canada. If I were rich I would help out financially in a big way, make my life count for something. Thank you my dear friend for your comments and empathy, I am so glad you used that word in place of sympathy. They don’t want that, they need us to understand their plight and know that like you quoted “There but for God, go I” and believe me I’ve often wondered where I will end up when I’m out of work and living off my pensions. Hugs

    • How very true, we need to find time in our busy and hectic lives to acknowledge these peoples of the streets, I have done so, and will always have change available in my pockets to give out to them.

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