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 
 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 
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.

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

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