This blog is part of a series on transformation and travel
As a writer, travel is my muse. The change in environment helps me observe, see things I would otherwise walk right by.
There was a homeless man standing by a poetry post, holding a red sheet of paper with a poem in his fingerless gloved hand. He wore a grey, brown, and green array of clothing, blending with dirt, a dark beard, a rugged face, a homeless camouflage for bushes and trees, if I ever saw one. His cart held empty soda cans, a pack with belongings.
Monday morning, off to work for him? Collecting cans? I greeted him with my morning, the sun is out, yes it is cold still, isn’t the world looking pretty, smile and asked: “How is the poem?”
He looked at me from under his thick brown eyebrows, eyes deep, struggling to keep from being bloodshot, and said: “Not such a good one, this time”. I read a few lines of the poem through the plastic cover of the poetry box and agreed, wordy, for a poem that gets read while standing on the street.
I wished him a good day and walked on, dog on leash. A dog with a warm home, food in his bowl, loving scratches on the head.
Can a poem, for a moment, lift someone out of their cold, hungry world?
It better be a good one.