WINTERDREAM

A homeless man in his 50s was found frozen to death the morning after Christmas at a downtown bus stop in the city I call home….though it might have been any city on earth where cold weather reigns this time of year.  Local homeless advocates said he was known to them: a drug addict who recently relapsed after staying clean for several months.

The homeless here have no ‘home’ in which to stay (homeless shelters are open only overnight, not all day), but each one has a name, a face, and (no doubt at some point in his or her life) a dream. The frozen man’s name was Ken Martin. His face was invisible. His dream? Perhaps it was something along the lines of this poem I wrote years ago:

WINTERDREAM

Suppose a homeless man came upon
what survived of a tattered old jacket,
abandoned, like himself,
to the elements….
and in that tattered garment,
crumpled up inside a pocket,
a winning lottery ticket
might transform his existence.

But first, that paper future must be
found, and then, having been found,
not tossed like litter to the gutter,
unopened and unexamined.
Let us further suppose
the deadline to claim its prize
was coming at midnight
of that very day.

That night, in winter’s turn,
the man had a dream
that he could live his life
all over again,
knowing in his lost youth
what he knew now
so that all the choices
and hidden chances
of wasted turning points
again lay open before him.

But the thought made him cringe
— regret was a fire
that gave pain without heat.
He awoke in cold sweat
to the taste of snow
on the cracks of his lips,
pulling tight the collar
of today’s good fortune.
What luck to have found
a buffer against fate.

 

 

 

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PRE-RESIDENTS’ DAY

My fellow Americans: as most of you know, today is PRE-RESIDENTS’ DAY. But whether you’re a typical well-educated American, or just a good-old-boy American, you probably can’t name many PRE-RESIDENTS. Some of you may not even know where the PRE-RESIDENT resides. Know problem. Think of him or her this-a-way: if you’re addicted to playing the lottery, you no doubt think of yourself as a pre-multimillionaire. In the same way, being the optimist that you are, it logically follows that a PRE-RESIDENT must be a homeless person — but only a temporarily homeless person (or, in this case, a temporarily White Houseless person). So, as soon as a temporarily homeless/White Houseless person wins the big prize, (s)he’s home free, so to speak.

But, sad to say, neither want nor optimism guarantees a winner, as you may perchance recall:

https://theobservationpost.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/winterdream/

Feb. 15 being a holiday and all, I trust you’ll pardon my using the re-reposted WINTERDREAM poem one more time (I could’ve taken today off, you know). But, as long as I’m here, Feb. 15 also happens to be the birthday of prolific pre-WW II songwriter Walter Donaldson, one of whose noteworthy songs is on the money for resident Ohioan mistermuse (that’s Hoagy Carmichael on the vocal about two minutes in):

Yes, there really is no place like home. May you never end up a PRE-RESIDENT.

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P.S. As I put the finishing touches to this post on Sunday, it saddens me to add this postscript: late Saturday night, a fire across the river in Kentucky destroyed the 185 year old Rabbit Hash General Store, which was not only “the center of the universe” (to quote a board member of the local Historical Society), but the campaign headquarters and second home of Lucy Lou, the doggone best of all the pre-presidents running for President, by fur:

Rabbit Hash General Store destroyed in fire

WINTERDREAM

Suppose a homeless man found
what survived of a tattered old jacket,
abandoned, like himself, to the elements
….and, in that tattered garment,
crumpled inside a pocket, a winning
lottery ticket could transform his life.

But, first he must find it, and then,
having found it, not toss it aside to be
blown wherever discarded debris blows.
Let us further suppose
the deadline to claim its prize
came at midnight of that very day.

Late that night, in winter’s turn,
he dreamed a new-day dream
that he could live his life over again,
knowing as much in his youth as
he knew now, so that all the choices
and hidden chances of wasted
turning points lay exhumed ahead.

But the thought made him cringe; regret
was a fire that gave pain without heat.
He awoke in cold sweat to the taste
of snow on the cracks of his lips
and pulled tight around his neck
the collar of yesterday’s fortune.
What luck to have found
a buffer against fate.