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Disposable People

We pass them on street corners, specters

ragged and threadbare

the red light intersections of our lives and theirs

shut out by a quickly closed window


Yet they haunt our retinas

negative afterimages

try-to-forget moments of simulated sympathy

their tenuous tomorrows placated by

the clatter of small change

in disposable cups


Caught in the hubbub of

day-to-day concerns, I ask myself

whether I really care, wishing

for a downpour to cleanse the streets


Home to feed the cat

listen to the late night news

a cup of tea, a peek into the kids room

to make sure they’re breathing


One tragi-comic image remains

A San Francisco afternoon

he’s too far from adolescence

cup in hand, cardboard placard

hanging from his neck, a childish scrawl

‘Yes I admit, I need your loose change

to buy a drink’


I grin, hand him a dollar…

cat and children slumber on

my dreams wipe away the ghosts

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© Johnmichael Simon



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