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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HAIKU AUTUMN \ AFTERWORDS

SHORTFALL

The days early down….
winter nears by degrees….no
wonder….November

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BELITTLE SHORT DAYS? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS

Oh the days dwindle down/To a precious few…./September…./November….
And these few precious days/I’ll spend with you/These precious days/I’ll spend with
you
–Maxwell Anderson, lyricist

….and they lived….happily ever after….once upon a time….once in every lifetime….

bridge-of-dreams-near-danville-oh

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but where I am, there was snow yesterday, today’s wind chill is below zero, and tomorrow morning’s predicted low temperature is minus-five degrees….but do I mind?

SNOW JOB

Take this job
and shovel it!

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

Around here, when you say
“Have a nice day” —
You won’t seem a fool….
Believe me, it’s cool.