Monday, April 3, 2017



The beggar burst through the sliding door,
his wardrobe a theatrical explosion
of color worthy of DeMille,
miscast on the set of a tragedy.
Beat-up Converse All-Stars
tell a novel of misfortune—
chapters of bad choices,
reams of rotten luck.

“May I please have a moment of your time”
--a sentence met with scorn sharp enough
to smash the windows of every 2 train
from White Plains Road to Flatbush.

Rag-reading riders clench their teeth,
resentment dripping without relent, like water
dripping from air-conditioning vents.

The beggar shambles onward,
a traveling salesman thwarted, desperate for a destination
that can’t be reached on the Seventh Avenue line.
His bloodshot eyes mouth a million words
of a world that’s left him behind,
stranded on the platform, waiting for the shining light
of a train that will never arrive.

--Eric Cohen

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