Anything Helps

Photo by Josh Hild on
Anything Helps

He stood in the deserted island formed
at the intersection of Kolb and 22nd Street. 

Sleepy-eyed commuters glanced
 at his cardboard declarations:


He clutched 

sheets of white paper flapping like seagull wings 
on the stirred currents of whizzing cars.

The light turned the color of autumn leaves. 
Cars slowed and rested.

Windows slid down. Elbows protruded.
Voices sang out.

“Any of those 
old-school rhymes today?”

“Hey, man. Make me giggle. 
Need one terrible like.”

“Loved yesterday’s. 
Read it to my kids at the dinner table.”

“Touch my heart, Poet. 
It’s hurtin’ bad sore.”

“I got a feeling 
you’re gonna make me cry.”

He walked the line. Handed ‘em out.
Touched skin. Stretched his grin.

“Morning,” he said. 
“Feelin’ good today?”  

“Thinkin’ ‘bout yuh,” he said.
“Hope this helps,” he said.

The light changed color, 
golf course green.

Traffic edged away, 
a soothed tide going out.

Some waved the words out the window 
in a nice, see yuh later kinda way—

and his ribs ached 
from the banging goin’ on inside.

. . . j
from the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection 

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