Good God the number of rain-drenched homeless men
disheveled and hunched against every liquor store
of this wretched city! Shaking in storms they could’ve
saved themselves from having to weather,
Oh look, there’s one right now! Oh and how convenient?
After his puppy-faced pleas win him a few bucks
from the pocket of my secondhand jeans,
he’ll go purchase himself a consoling night’s worth
of amnesia-inducing alcoholic beverages
and won’t even remember the hand that reached out
to throw him those few coins when he eventually
comes to, he might as well not.

Walk faster.

I once told a homeless man that I swear
I would find him if he used the two dollars I tossed
to buy drugs. I swore I would find him.
He promised he wouldn’t
but everybody lies.

Don’t make eye contact.

"Merry Christmas, ma’am"

Don’t respond.

Merry Christmas? What is this? This man
is strategically eliciting sympathy from those
consumed in the annual facade of charitable cheer
I don’t even celebrate Christmas. He doesn’t even get
a ‘Merry Christmas’ back. He just wants my money.

Stop walking.

What have I done?

Turn around.
Walk two blocks back.
Walk closer.
Stand right next to him.
Tap him on the shoulder.

"Merry Christmas to you as well, sir."

I felt colder
than the concrete
surrounding me.

We were crushed under the minimum wage slavery of our day;
micromanaging dictators sent us home for wearing grey shoes
and worked us to the bone for a little less than what we could
survive off of.

We were crushed under malls where culture went to commit
suicide, swallowing our froyo, grinning blissful and tame from
all the bags we clutched by our sides; the bags that held fabrics sewn
in sweaty caves occupied by humans that were enslaved by our
own bloody consumerism. But we believe we’re just dandy
with our hip crop tops and our translucent leggings, we think
we’re just the kings and queens of the world.

No, we were crushed by the powers that be; the powers that
demonize a new collective every few years, and it’s trendy
to bring down the Arabs, sending subliminal messages via
rubber stamp “free press”, via plastic anchorwomen RE:
“The Imminent Threat” these ragheads are to our blessed
homeland security, it’s elegant to make everyone forget that the
Natives were robbed of their soil and that the Chinese were raped
of their human dignity by the railroads that snake through this
“land of the free” where Blacks were considered less than human,
hosed down and lynched for wanting to be an equal member
of this useless society (after being shipped over against their will).

We were crushed under the “institutions of higher learning” that
failed to educate us about the sickness that both gutted out and
facilitated their civillization, about the transgressions that lifted
this country to the hegemonic status it possesses today.

We were crushed under the weight of the humans who ate fried
anything, slaughtering their meat with cruelty, taking
cinderblocks to cows’ heads, forgetting that they are not
the only ones who have souls and a right to live.

We were crushed under the humans that ceased to be humans,
the humans that ceased to be animals, we now interact with robots,
we were crushed under these free-floating self-interested robots
who do not know how to shed a tear more or less connect with
flesh, eyes and rising chests.

I’m exhausted,
I want to leave

being a city-slicker
isn’t all it’s cracked up to be;
despite the hoardes of humans
shifting about beside you
close enough to touch,
the intrusive clamour
the spectrum of colors
lights, smells
despite all that
it always feels
empty
silent
grey.

we vanish everyday
and all the neon nail polish
funky hair extravagance
won’t save you
from getting lost
among the hoardes

at the mall
where culture goes to die,
i lost my soul
when i deliberated
over whether i should buy
vertical
or horizontal
stripes.