Dec 022013
 

1

birds suddenly take flight spirit of a man lifted
calm spirit in the shelter ripples of peace expand
feeling my love fade away fade away.

hard to face the truth I really am sick
head down standing in line a homeless man
heart empty no quarter to call my girl.

homeless, alone but the snow falls gently.
homeless man scared by his mirror image.
homeless shelter my head is in my hands.

some part of me has the desire to disappear.

soup kitchen homeless woman feeds pigeons
the planets shining brighter, closer, closer
this time really locked in, really homeless
walking on the shoulder of the road, lost
walking, walking, walking alone, alone.

2

at dusk riding the bus back to nowhere
at the diner I mingle with truckers
I find baseball cards on the shoulder of the highway
my tie is askew and my shoes are covered in mud
my woman is far away dimly in mind
state police search the bags of this vagrant
when will he find a way to settle down.

3

a big semi rushes past, blinding me
calming his spirit, the dark trees at dusk
cradling a wounded bird in his shirt.

dawn – walking downtown – homeless, but at peace
eagle’s silent flight on a distant shore
father long gone – he loved the sea like me.

finally, I used my one-way ticket back to the South
flashing in winter light, unseen below, silent wings
ghetto dog weakly rises when I pass
greeting other homeless and travelers.
head down, standing in line, a homeless man
heart empty – no quarter to call my girl

homeless, alone, but the snow falls gently

in a storage bin, sorting through my life
in Motel 6, a woman parts much too soon
in spite of debt, there must be an answer
in the shelter, Ken plays his Irish music for me
I walk miles down the highway, my bag stuffed with poems
jailed kid alone – his grandfather dies
late winter snow – an old man’s shot true in sunlight
making a space in my single room, and in my heart
light slowly fades at dusk – strumming guitar
man punished for admitting he needs help.
miles distant – woman in my life – let her be free
my body releasing last night, alone
my companion, a parolee, handcuffed
my old friend George Fair – goat behind his shack.
no word from my girl and no job today
on the street, faint fluttering of a bird
parking on the street, I face the unknown
planet closer to a sliver of the moon
poet and dishwasher cross the railroad tracks at dawn
razor wire all over town – in prison and out
romantic song lifts the spirit of a rootless man

some part of me has the desire to disappear.

spring dawn – bird’s cry unceasing
standing in the mist, beside the empty road, a train.

 

This nontraditional haiku sequence depicts my experience of homelessness in Western Massachusetts in the late 1990s.

Regarding aesthetic considerations in this work:  Experimentation is common in modern haiku published in English. My haiku fall between 10 and 17 syllables. They do not adhere to the 5-7-5 syllable, three line tradition.

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